Hebrews 7 Commentary

vv.1-2 Following a common exegetical practice known as “argument from silence,” the author capitalizes on Genesis 14’s lack of any reference to Melchizedek’s ancestry, birth, or death. His point is not that Melchizedek exists as some form of supernatural being. Rather, he focuses on the details of what the narrative does and does not say.

[…] Since the Genesis text says nothing of this priest’s genealogy, birth, or death, his priesthood has neither the qualifications nor the parameters one finds concerning the Levitical priesthood in the law of Moses. The Levites were priests by virtue of heritage and ceased from the office upon death. Scripture places no such limitations on Melchizedek’s priesthood. For the author of Hebrews, therefore, the Genesis narrative confirms what is clearly stated in Psalm 110:4 — a priesthood according to the order of Melchizedek lasts forever.

vv.4-10 By virtue of his greater position, Melchizedek in turn blessed Abraham. When the author states, “And without a doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater,” he is not giving a maxim that assumes only superiors give blessings. […] Our author, based on his broader argument concerning the tithe and the eternality of Melchizedek’s priesthood, parenthetically proclaims (rather than argues for) the superiority of Melchizedek in connection with the blessing offered by him. Melchizedek’s superiority to the Levites primarily rests on his having received a tenth of the spoils from Abraham and the fact that Scripture gives no indication of his death.

vv.11-19 As a rhetorical question the second half of verse 11 in reality makes a strong assertion concerning the need for a new order of priesthood. This assertion in the form of a question proclaims, “Since God’s ultimate goal of establishing an eternal relationship between himself and people could not be attained through the Levitical priesthood, there was still a need for a priesthood to arrive that could bring that perfection.” He takes this idea from Psalm 110:4, a text written years after the law was given. Since God gave an oath concerning a new order of priesthood, the old order must have fallen short of his final aim. This does not mean the Levitical system was completely ineffective, but that it was intended to foreshadow something better.

In Hebrews 7 God has given us powerful words meant for a relational end. This discourse detailing the superiority of Jesus’ high priesthood is far more than a theoretical treatise. It expresses relational theology, as all true theology is in essence. (1) Notice that God has brought about the means for establishing a lasting relationship with us — the “perfection” of verse 11, the “better hope … by which we draw near to God” of verse 19, and the “better covenant” of verse 22. Thus he is the initiator in the relationship.

(2) God has paid a price to give us security in that relationship, Jesus being the “guarantor,” who assures us of the covenant promises of God as the high priest who has been appointed to office “forever.”

(3) God has expressed his commitment to meet our deepest needs for forgiveness, holiness, and future deliverance, Jesus being the Savior who is able to “save completely those who come to God through him” (v. 25).

(4) Finally, God maintains his relationship with us by the work of his Son as intercessor, a ministry he started in his incarnation and continues in his exaltation. God has gone and continues to go to great lengths to relate to us his love in words and actions. His aim has always been nothing less than a healthy relationship. May we relate to him in a healthy manner this day.

*All commentary from: Guthrie, George H. “Hebrews 7:1 – 10” In The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews. By George H. Guthrie, 252-264. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 1998.

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2 Responses to “Hebrews 7 Commentary”

  1. Hannah says:

    this commentary really helped me. thanks!

  2. dannyorozco says:

    I’m glad the commentary helped! Big thanks to Pastor Will in Berkeley and Debbie in Gracepoint Austin who faithfully post the commentary!

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