The Origin of Melchizedek

While researching Saul’s family, I was reminded of David’s procession of the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem, a story found in 2 Sam 6. On the initial attempt, a priest tries prevent the ark from falling when the oxen carrying it stumble. Yahweh immediately kills the priest for touching the ark, and David leaves it in a small village for three months. Eventually overcoming his fear, David takes up the procession again.

In the second procession to Jerusalem, David dons a linen ephod and offers sacrifices every six paces on the trek. When the ark arrives at a prepared tent in Jerusalem, David offers more sacrifices to Yahweh, gives a blessing over Israel, and distributes food to the gathered populace for a feast. It is obvious that David is fulfilling the duties of a priest in this procession. Yet, the Torah restricts priestly functions to Israel’s tribe of Levi, while David comes from the tribe of Judah.

I was curious how David was allowed to do this. Given the Torah has multiple law codes combined together, some of which appear to date to times after David, could it be that no such restrictions existed in his time? Or perhaps restrictions did exist in his time, but the community with that law code did not have power in Jerusalem?

I set out to find possible explanations for King David acting the role of a priest. Instead, I was almost entirely sidetracked by the figure of Melchizedek.

Summary of Melchizedek

I was detoured by Melchizedek because he is a biblical figure explicitly identified positively as a ‘king’ and ‘priest’. I initially looked into his story to see if he could explain David’s situation.

Melchizedek is mentioned just twice in the entire Hebrew Bible.

On the first occasion, Gen 14, Abram rescues his nephew Lot after he’s captured during a war between nine kings (four against five). When Abram rescues Lot and the war concludes, Melchizedek, the king of Salem and its priest of the religious community there, also comes to speak to Abram. Invoking his authority as a mediator between humanity and the divine, Melchizedek blesses Abram in the name of ʾĒl ʿElyōn (usually translated ‘God Most High’), and Abram tithes to Melchizedek from the spoils of battle.

After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram by ʾĒl ʿElyōn, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be ʾĒl ʿElyōn, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’ And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything. Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me the people, but take the goods for yourself.’ But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have sworn to Yahweh, ʾĒl ʿElyōn, maker of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal-thong or anything that is yours, so that you might not say, “I have made Abram rich.” I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Let them take their share.’

The second instance is a brief reference in Psa 110, a royal psalm, very similar in tone to Psa 2, describing the exaltation of Yahweh’s chosen king.

Yahweh has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’

Despite Melchizedek’s fleeting presence in the Torah and Psalms, by the late Second Temple period he evidently was regarded as a cosmic, savior-type figure by the community which produced the Dead Sea Scrolls. The most important, scroll 11Q13, gives an apocalyptic commentary on Lev 25.13 and Deut 15.2. Part of it reads:

For this is the moment of the Year of Grace for Melchizedek. [And h]e will, by his strength, judge the holy ones of God, executing judgement as it is written concerning him in the Songs of David, who said, ELOHIM has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgement1

Though Melchizedek is here called ‘elohim’, a Hebrew word that normally means ‘god’ or ‘gods’, it could also be used in the sense of a ‘judge’ or ‘ruler’. Hence, Melchizedek’s identification as ‘executing judgement’ in the end-times.

In the New Testament, Melchizedek only appears in the Book of Hebrews. The author, setting out to prove Jesus is the superior successor to essentially everything and everyone in the Hebrew scriptures, compares him to Melchizedek, a figure whom he sees as literally timeless. The author calls Jesus a ‘high priest’, whose arrival now replaces the Levitical priesthood. He supports his argument by claiming the passage in Psa 110.4 — ‘you are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’ — is a prophecy for Jesus. In the rest of Hebrews, Jesus is the cosmic messiah, the apparent incarnation of God’s personified wisdom, the living pattern upon whom the whole religious system of Israel was unknowingly based. (There is a popular misconception that the author of Hebrews identifies Jesus as Melchizedek himself. This is not the case, as the author simply says Jesus’ priesthood ‘resembles’ Melchizedek.)

Genesis 14

When I read Gen 14 this time through, I was struck by how poorly Melchizedek’s appearance fits into the narrative. The text suffers no harm when Melchizedek is removed.

After his [Abram’s] return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me the people, but take the goods for yourself.’ But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have sworn to Yahweh, God Most High, maker of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal-thong or anything that is yours, so that you might not say, “I have made Abram rich.” I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Let them take their share.’

Normally, Melchizedek emerges as the priest-king of Salem, yet his interruption of the king of Sodom receives no comment. Abram tithes to Melchizedek from the spoils of war, but immediately tells the king of Sodom that he has no desire to keep any of the spoils. Giving Jerusalem’s origin as a city named Salem in Abram’s time contradicts Jerusalem’s origin as a city named Jebus (Judges 19.10-11); David conquered the Jebusites and took their city to make his capital (2 Sam 5.6-10). I had never noticed this before, but suddenly Melchizedek seemed like a puzzle piece the wrong shape.

I turned to find scholars’ thoughts, and discovered they had concluded more than a century ago that Melchizedek is an interpolation. There are a few individuals who hold out against the consensus, insisting Gen 14.18-20 is just as ancient as the rest of the chapter, belonging to one author. There are only a handful of key arguments: (a) Melchizedek is priest for the god ʾĒl ʿElyōn, yet theophoric ‘-el’ names (e.g. Michael, Daniel) are not associated with Jerusalem. (b) Melchizedek brings wine to Abram, but wine is not a normal element of Jerusalem’s religious practices. (c) Using qônēh instead of bôrē (maker of heaven and earth) is more indicative of an earlier time period.2 (d) ‘Salem’ is a young nickname for ‘Jerusalem’, so Salem here must be another city. Instead of Jerusalem, ‘Salem’ should be recognized as a village near Shechem, or perhaps as Shechem itself. Gen 33.18, which says ‘Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem’, should instead be translated ‘Jacob came to Salem, a city of Shechem’.3 Shechem, after all, is a major city in the patriarchal narratives.4

None of these solves Melchizedek’s disjointed presence in Gen 14. In any case, other scholars remain unconvinced by these claims. The word qônēh, for example, has the same range of meaning up through the Rabbinic period, so using it to date the text is fruitless.5 Claiming that ‘Salem’ only emerged as a late nickname for Jerusalem, therefore Gen 14.18-20 must have been written long before that, when ‘Salem’ referred to another city, is a circular argument; it could just mean that, if ‘Salem’ emerged as a late nickname for Jerusalem, then Gen 14.18-20 is also late. Few scholars seem to agree with the alternate translation of Gen 33.18, and Psa 76.2 does identify Jerusalem with the name ‘Salem’.

Of further interest are the ‘parenthetical’ notes strewn about Gen 14. Each one provides a contemporary name for an ancient location.

  • v2: Bela (that is, Zoar)
  • v3: the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Dead Sea)
  • v7: Enmishpat (that is, Kadesh)
  • v8: Bela (that is, Zoar)
  • v17: the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley)

These ‘explanatory notes’ are redactional, meant to help the reader identify ancient locations with modern ones.6 This shows the text has undergone some degree of revision at least once. Gen 14.17 has Abram and the king of Sodom meet in the Valley of Shaveh. This valley was identified by a redactor with the King’s Valley, which was near Jerusalem (cf. 2 Sam 18.18).7 Whether this parenthesis was provided by the Melchizedek interpolator can’t be known, but the interpolator at the very least took advantage of it; Salem is clearly meant to be Jerusalem, and Melchizedek was Jerusalem’s ancient priest-king.

Since it appears Melchizedek is a later addition to Gen 14, is there any way to know when that addition took place? Let’s get back to that after looking into the one other place where Melchizedek appears in the Hebrew Bible.

Psalm 110

Individual psalms are notoriously difficult to date, because the vast majority of them lack references to any concrete historical events. Psalm 110 is one such example.

This psalm was by far the most important one for the early Christian movement. By my count, it’s referenced a couple dozen times in the New Testament, more than any other text from the Hebrew Bible. The psalm was critical for understanding the nature of Jesus’ messiahship, especially given his apparent absence following his crucifixion. Where was he? Exalted by God, in a literal sense. Upon his resurrection, God took Jesus into heaven, enthroning him ‘at my right hand’, as the psalm says. The New Testament text Hebrews further uses Psa 110.4 to identify Jesus not only as messiah, but as priest.

For many years, it was thought that priest-kings were anomalous in Israel’s history. David is briefly shown carrying out priest functions (as mentioned above). Other than that one instance, the only example we could point to was the Hasmonean dynasty. After centuries under the dominion of Babylon, Persia, Greece, Syria, and Egypt, the people of Israel finally achieved national independence in the wake of the Maccabean Revolt. Lacking a formal political ruler, the Maccabees, a family of priests, took the charge after having led the rebellion against foreign rule. Simon Thassi, high priest at the time, was appointed prince over Israel by the populace. Simon’s son John succeeded him and took the regnal name ‘Hyrcanus’. John’s son Judah Aristobulus then claimed the title of ‘king’. In this period, Jerusalem’s king was also its high priest.

This rapid consolidation of political power by the priesthood was recognized at the time as disconnected from Israel’s history, where the king needed to be a descendant of David, from the tribe of Judah, and therefore could not be a priest, from the tribe of Levi. Worse, the high priest had traditionally been required to be a descendant of Zadok, which Simon’s family wasn’t. How could Simon’s appointment as priest or ruler — or both — be justified? First Maccabees 14.41-43 describes his accession.

The Judeans and their priests have resolved that Simon should be their leader and high priest forever, until a trustworthy prophet should arise […] and that he should be obeyed by all, and that all contracts in the country should be written in his name, and that he should be clothed in purple and wear gold.

For many years, it was thought that Psa 110 was written in Simon’s time, to legitimize his rule. Psa 110, unique among all the psalms, uses the phrase ‘[thus] says Yahweh’ (נְאֻם יְהוָה), an idiom frequently used in Isa, Jer, Ezek, etc., to designate Yahweh’s own words as communicated through the prophet.8 On this basis, it would seem that Psa 110 is meant to function as an authoritative message from God appointing someone as both priest and ruler. Much like apocalypses were revealed just in time for the crises they claimed to predict, Psa 110 ‘came just in the nick of time and was providential’9 for justifying Simon’s union of two previously exclusive offices.

The inauguration, however, lacked legitimacy: the Hasmonean Simon had neither a Davidic nor a Zadokite genealogy. The entrusting of the political and religious leadership to Simon was qualified by the phrase ‘until a trustworthy prophet should arise’ (ἕως τοῦ ἀναστῆναι προφήτην πιστὸν, v. 41). Donner asks how a ‘trustworthy prophet’ in 1 Maccabees 14 could speak in order to legitimate Simon. His answer is: roughly as in Ps. 110:4.10

Psa 110 and 1 Macc 14.41 use nearly identical phrases — ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα and ἀρχιερέα εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα respectively — to specify the person will be a ‘[high] priest forever’. Some scholars even see evidence by arguing the psalm is an acrostic spelling Simon’s name,11 but this requires ignoring certain words and switching the poem’s meter.12 Today, identifying Psa 110 as having been written during the Maccabean period to justify Simon’s priest-king type of rule has fallen out of favor.13

The time of Psa 110’s origin has nearly reversed in scholarship.

However, largely since the acceptance of a theory of sacral kingship for Israel, the concept of Maccabaean dating for the psalm has fallen widely into disfavor, and the overwhelming majority of scholars now accept that Psalm 110 is a royal psalm, specifically a coronation psalm, dating most probably from the early monarchic period.14

A key point previously overlooked is that Psa 110 is about ‘a royal figure to whom priestly prerogatives are subsequently granted by divine oath’15. The psalm describes a king made into priest, but Simon was a priest made into a king (or more accurately, a ‘ruler’; it was his grandson who became ‘king’).

If Psa 110 is exceptionally early, what is its relationship to the Melchizedek episode in Gen 14, and what bearing does it have on the latter’s date of origin?

Psalm 110’s King of Justice

One issue with interpreting biblical Hebrew is that, originally, it had no vowels. The primary method of interpreting the text is via the Masoretic Text, which includes a vowel system introduced only in the Early Middles Ages, but in some cases scholarship emends or disregards these vowels in favor of, what they believe is, a more likely reading of the text.

Psa 110 is just one of many cases where the accepted voweling of the Masoretic Text has been called into question. Many English Bibles continue to follow the traditional rendering of the text, as in the NRSV here:

The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek.’ The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.

Mitchell Dahood, in the Anchor Bible commentary on Genesis, casts doubt on some of the Masoretic vowels, translating this very differently.

Yahweh has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest of the Eternal according to his pact; His legitimate king, my lord, according to your right hand.” He smote kings in the day of his wrath16

In just verses 4-5a, several significant differences emerge. (a) No longer does the psalm specify the endless duration of the priest’s office. Instead, Dahood takes leʿōlām as indicating the priest is ‘property’ of Yahweh who is called ‘Eternal’ (cf. Gen 21.33, ‘El the Eternal’). (b) The ‘order’ of priests is instead a ‘pact’, or oath, which Yahweh the Eternal has enforced (cf. Eccl 8.2-3). (c) The ‘Lord’, ʾadōnāy, is slightly emended to ‘my lord’, ʾadōnī, referring back to the same ‘my lord’ being addressed in verse 1. (d) ‘The Lord is at your right hand’ is instead interpreted as the ‘my lord’ being installed as priest ‘according to your right hand’, that is, the act of swearing into the oath (cf. Isa 52.8; Psa 144.11).17 (e) Finally — although ‘Melchizedek’ could be taken as a name, the Hebrew equivalent of the Akkadian name ‘Sargon’, šarru(m)kên18 — the Hebrew malkī ṣedeq should be translated as something like ‘king of justice’, ‘the king is just’, or (as Dahood does) ‘my king is legitimate’ (cf. Psa 2.6; 51.21).19

Psa 110 could well be from Israel’s early monarchy, but identifying the ruler as a specific person named Melchizedek only took place ‘gradually’.20 Despite the common identification of Melchizedek as a major figure in the Dead Sea Scrolls, with scholars such as Geza Vermes claiming he was ‘identical with the archangel Michael’,21 such an identification is not found in the scrolls anywhere, and Melchizedek only appears in one non-canonical text, 11Q13.

In 11Q13, Melchizedek appears as a messianic figure in the end-times, taking a stand against the chief enemy, Belial. Yet this ‘Melchizedek’, again, may not be intended to be read as a proper noun, but as a title. Unlike ‘Melchizedek’, Belial is a recurring figure in the Dead Sea Scrolls. In scrolls 4Q280 and 4QAmram he is called ‘king of injustice’, malkī rešaʿ, one of his many titles.

This leads us back to 11Q13. In this text, מלכי רשע [malkī rešaʿ] does not appear. However, בליעל (Belial) appears as the main opponent. It is from the hands of בליעל (Belial) that מלכי צדק [malkī ṣedeq] will rescue the community of the covenant (see 11Q13 2.25). Kobelski demonstrates that the motif of two heavenly opponents struggling for the control of persons is employed in 11Q13. Because מלכי רשע probably is identical with בליעל in the Qumran literature, we may therefore have indirect evidence in 11Q13 allowing us to assume that מלכי צדק did not function as a personal name in this particular text. On the contrary, the fact that his opponent בליעל (Belial) may also have been called מלכי רשע suggests that the stress was put on the literal meaning of מלכי צדק in 11Q13 and perhaps the entire Qumran literature. The phrase מלכי רשע, ‘king of evil’, is probably derived from the phrase מלכי צדק, ‘king of justice’.22

Put simply: ‘Melchizedek’ is not a person in 11Q13; instead we see the eschatological rivalry of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness, respectively led by the ‘king of justice’ (malkī ṣedeq) and the ‘king of evil’ (malkī rešaʿ). In addition to this reasoning, it must also be noted that 11Q13 never borrows from, or alludes to, Psa 110 or Gen 14. This suggests the use of malkī ṣedeq in 11Q13 did not come from either of those texts. The phrasing may only be a coincidence of the broader concept that Israel’s ruler should be someone dedicated to justice.

Genesis 14’s Construction

Because malkī ṣedeq in Psa 110 was not originally read as a name when the psalm was written well before the Babylonian exile (sixth century BC), and because malkī ṣedeq was still being used as a title as late as the Dead Sea Scrolls (second century BC), the scales are starting to favor the Melchizedek episode of Gen 14 as originating in a later time period. We find some evidence for this in the various text traditions for Genesis.

The Septuagint proper — the Greek translation of the Torah — was produced in the middle of the third century BC. The Samaritan Torah was produced about a century later, in the second century BC,23 and shares some of the Septuagint’s differences from the Masoretic Text, the Hebrew version used as the basis for most English translations. Dead Sea Scroll 1Q20, the Genesis Apocryphon, is an extensive rewrite of the stories in Genesis, made sometime in the same range as the Septuagint and the Samaritan Torah. Where Gen 14.22 has Abram refer to his own god as ‘Yahweh, God Most High’ (literally YHWH ʾĒl ʿElyōn), the Samaritan Torah instead has ‘God, God Most High’ (ʾĔlōhîm ʾĒl ʿElyōn), while the Septuagint and Genesis Apocryphon each only have ‘God Most High’ (τὸν θεὸν τὸν ὕψιστον and ʾĒl ʿElyōn).

The Book of Jubilees — another rewrite of Genesis and part of Exodus — was probably written in the middle of the second century, due to its dependence on the Book of Enoch.24 This would make Jubilees contemporary with the Samaritan Torah and Genesis Apocryphon. Noteworthy, then, that Jubilees lacks any reference to Melchizedek, instead containing a prescription for tithing. Scholars take this two ways: either Jubilees replaced the meeting with Melchizedek in Gen 14.18-20 with this tithing prescription, or Gen 14.17,21-24 was already being read in relation to the practice of tithing, such that Gen 14.18-20’s depiction of Abram tithing to Melchizedek and Jubilee’s tithing prescription were independently inserted for the same reason.25

Whatever the precise case, we see Gen 14 was still undergoing redaction and reinterpretation well into the second century BC. This chapter, for some reason, was particularly subject to change even at this late stage in the development of Israel’s scriptures. Looking at the reasons for this, scholars have generally identified two or three authors at work in Gen 14.

The first author is behind Gen 14.1-11, a ‘campaign report’. Although none of the kings named in verses 1-2 have been identified as historical figures, a few of them are taken as authentic to their respective languages (e.g. the elements of the name ‘Chedorlaomer’, the king of Elam, have been accepted as authentic Elamite, such that his name would be Kutir-Lagamar, ‘servant of Lagamar’).26 Gen 14.1-11 is unlike the style of anything else in Genesis, so that scholars don’t see it as fitting into any of the classic divisions of the Documentary Hypothesis. Because the identical grouping of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim is only otherwise seen in Deut 29.23, some take this as evidence the passage was dependent on that text.27

The second author gave us Gen 14.12-17,21-24, the capture of Lot and his rescue by his uncle Abram, who admirably gives up any claim to the spoils of war. Once more, Abram’s heroism in this passage is not seen anywhere else in Genesis. Frequently, he is timid and powerless; he never displays military prowess as he does in Gen 14. The number of ‘trained men’ at Abram’s command, three hundred eighteen ‘born in his house’, is excessive for a nomad. Even the successful Jacob’s household consisted of just seventy people (Gen 46.27). This has led to the critical opinion that this part of the story — detached as it is from not just the campaign report in Gen 14.1-11 but also from Abraham’s own life in Gen 12-25 — originated not as a tale about Abram, but as an altogether unrelated legend, perhaps a character like Gideon in Judges 7.28 This is somewhat evidenced by the identification of Lot as Abram’s nephew in 14.12 but as Abram’s brother in 14.14,16.29

This leaves us with the third author, who inserted Gen 14.18-20 into the preceding narrative. Two points provide reason for the author to have made his interpolation here, however clumsily. First, as noted, the redactional identification of the Valley of Shaveh with the King’s Valley near Jerusalem would make this the optimal place to introduce a king of (Jeru)salem. Second, the question of who should keep the riches Abram acquired provides a decent, even if not ideal, excuse to raise the concept of tithing. However, the sort of tithe here — plunder from war — is not the sort prescribed in the Torah.30

I think a plausible third point explaining the placement of the Melchizedek interpolation is the king of Sodom himself, ironically, given that his interaction with Abram is so awkwardly interrupted. The names of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah are given as Bera and Birsha, foreshadowing the doom of those cities in Gen 19.

The names of the first two kings are evidently pejorative: Bera is based on raʿ “evil,” and Birsha on rešaʿ “injustice,” in symbolic censure of Sodom and Gomorrah.31

Assuming the interpolator was aware of the wordplay in these kings’ names, ‘King Evil’ and ‘King Injustice’, malkī raʿ and malkī rešaʿ, a fitting opposite name would be a ‘King Justice’, malkī ṣedeq. It may be that this is where the interpolator came up with the name ‘Melchizedek’; not from traditions about a priest-king in ancient Jerusalem, but as a pun on the existing wordplay in the chapter, borrowing the phrase from Psa 110.

Usually Gen 14.18-20 is taken as an etiology for tithing, despite it not fitting the Torah’s agricultural tithe; it may instead be a precursor to the custom seen in 1 Chr 26.27, where David and his warriors give spoils of war ‘for the maintenance of the house of Yahweh’.32

Conclusion

If the character of Melchizedek is a complete invention, as it appears he is, can we determine when and why?

Reiterating what we saw with Psa 110, although the psalm is quite early, ‘Melchizedek’ originally did not exist in it. Rather, the hymn referred only poetically to a ‘king’ whom God had exalted and established as a priest. As for Gen 14, the chapter as a whole probably came together in the exilic or post-exilic period.

The Melchizedek episode, Gen 14.18-20, certainly was written by the time of the Septuagint circa 250 BC, but was still undergoing redaction a century later. It assumes Jerusalem’s importance, the value of tithing, and lifts Melchizedek’s name from Psa 110 due to that text’s concept of a ‘priest-king’. Despite the recognition of traditions of the Canaanite god El in the Bible, the specific name ‘ʾĒl ʿElyōn’ for Israel’s national god Yahweh is a late development.33 Melchizedek as a memorable figure is virtually unknown even in the Dead Sea Scrolls (possible misinterpretations of 11Q13 notwithstanding), and entirely absent from the Book of Jubilees. It seems to me very doubtful that Melchizedek could have entered the textual tradition much earlier than the Hellenistic period if he was still such a minor biblical figure so late.

As both Gen 14.18-20 and Psa 110 underwent reinterpretation, along with the emergence of apocalyptic literature seeking out exalted figures by reinventing old biblical characters and fabricating new ones, I consider it likely that Melchizedek appeared mostly by accident. By the first century, his short appearance in Genesis was tantalizing to clever theologians looking to fill in the gaps of their theology.


Footnotes

1 Geza Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, 501 (brackets, caps, and italics original).

2 John Gammie, ‘Loci of the Melchizedek Tradition of Genesis 14:18-20’, JBL 90.4, 386, 389-390.

3 Ibid., 390-393.

4 Yaira Amit, Hidden Polemics in Biblical Narrative, 151-152.

5 Fred Horton, The Melchizedek Tradition, 21. For indirect rebuttals to each of Gammie’s points, see Amit, 150-157; Fred Horton, The Melchizedek Tradition, 21-30.

6 John Emerton, ‘The Riddle of Genesis XIV’, VT 21.4, 404.

7 Amit, 156-157.

8 Horton, 27.

9 Ambrogio Spreafico, ‘Melchizedek in Psalm 110:4’, Wisdom for Life (ed. Nuria Calduch-Benages), 316-317.

10 Gard Granerød, Abraham and Melchizedek: Scribal Activity of Second Temple Times in Genesis 14 and Psalm 110, 184; cf. Horton, 30.

11 Deborah Rooke, ‘Kingship as Priesthood’, King and Messiah in Israel and the Ancient Near East (ed. John Day), 187-188.

12 J.W. Bowker, ‘Psalm CX’, VT 17.1, 31-41.

13 Granerød, 185.

14 Rooke, 188.

15 Ibid. This is also a partial answer to the original question about David. Kings performing priestly duties were common in the ancient Near East. The story in 2 Sam 6 of David’s procession of the ark into Jerusalem as the new center for Israel’s religious practices, in particular, is very similar to the sort of processions kings carried out when restoring captured religious icons to their sanctuaries or when establishing the cult in a newly-dedicated capital; cf. P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., II Samuel, 180-181.

16 Mitchell Dahood, Psalms 101-150, 112.

17 Ibid., 117-118.

18 E.A. Speiser, Genesis, 104.

19 Dahood, 117-118.

20 Granerød, 188.

21 Vermes, 500, cf. 85, 576.

22 Granerød, 209 (brackets mine).

23 Robert Anderson, Terry Giles, The Samaritan Pentateuch: An Introduction to Its Origin, History, and Significance for Biblical Studies, 16.

24 Michael Segal, The Book of Jubilees, 35ff.

25 Spreafico, 315.

26 R.K. Harrison, ‘Chedorlaomer’, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Volume 1, 639.

27 Joseph Blenkinsopp, Abraham: The Story of a Life, 55.

28 Daniel Sarlo, ‘The Peculiarities of Genesis 14’. Cf. Granerød, 34-36, though he argues against a substantial separation of the first and second authors; that is, neither can be separated without breaking the narrative continuity of the chapter.

29 Granerød, 39. He further notes that the same confusion over Abram’s and Lot’s family relationship is seen in Gen 12.5 (Lot is his nephew) and 13.8 (Lot is his brother).

30 Emerton, 416, 418.

31 Speiser, 101; cf. Gordon Wenham, Genesis 1-15, 309.

32 Blenkinsopp, 58-59.

33 Granerød, 161; contra Emerton, 415, who only briefly argues ʿElyōn is ancient, barely touching the compound ʾĒl ʿElyōn.