5 November 2017 Bible Reading
In today’s Bible reading from Hebrews, we read of Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him. The 110th Psalm 110 alludes to Melchizedek as a prototype of the messiah. Based on evidence found in the Qumran Scrolls, Melchizedek was also used as a name of the Archangel Michael, interpreted as a heavenly priest; Michael as Melchi-zedek contrast with Belial, who is given the name of Melchi-resha “king of wickedness”. The text in today’s reading from Hebrews follows this interpretation in stating explicitly that the name in Greek translation (ἑρμηνευόμενος) means βασιλεὺς δικαιοσύνης (“king of righteousness”), omitting translation of the possessive suffix; the same passage interprets Melchizedek’s title of king of Salem as translating to βασιλεὺς εἰρήνης “king of peace”, the context being the presentation of Melchizedek’s as an eternal priesthood associated with Jesus Christ (ἀφωμοιωμένος δὲ τῷ υἱῷ τοῦ θεοῦ μένει ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸ διηνεκές “made like unto the Son of God abideth a priest continually”).
Today’s passage in Hebrews references Psalm 110:4.
12 Yahweh’s word also came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, you dwell in the middle of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see, and don’t see, who have ears to hear, and don’t hear; for they are a rebellious house. 3 Therefore, you son of man, prepare your stuff for moving, and move by day in their sight; and you shall move from your place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they are a rebellious house. 4 You shall bring out your stuff by day in their sight, as stuff for moving; and you shall go out yourself at even in their sight, as when men go out into exile. 5 Dig through the wall in their sight, and carry your stuff out that way. 6 In their sight you shall bear it on your shoulder, and carry it out in the dark; you shall cover your face, so that you don’t see the land: for I have set you for a sign to the house of Israel. 7 I did so as I was commanded: I brought out my stuff by day, as stuff for removing, and in the even I dug through the wall with my hand; I brought it out in the dark, and bore it on my shoulder in their sight. 8 In the morning, Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 9 Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, What are you doing? 10 Say to them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: This burden concerns the prince in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel among whom they are. 11 Say, I am your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall go into exile, into captivity. 12 The prince who is among them shall bear on his shoulder in the dark, and shall go out: they shall dig through the wall to carry out thereby: he shall cover his face, because he shall not see the land with his eyes. 13 My net also will I spread on him, and he shall be taken in my snare; and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there. 14 I will scatter toward every wind all who are around him to help him, and all his bands; and I will draw out the sword after them. 15 They shall know that I am Yahweh, when I shall disperse them among the nations, and scatter them through the countries. 16 But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence; that they may declare all their abominations among the nations where they come; and they shall know that I am Yahweh. 17 Moreover Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 18 Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink your water with trembling and with fearfulness; 19 and tell the people of the land, Thus says the Lord Yahweh concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the land of Israel: They shall eat their bread with fearfulness, and drink their water in dismay, that her land may be desolate, and all that is therein, because of the violence of all those who dwell therein. 20 The cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be a desolation; and you shall know that I am Yahweh. 21 Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 22 Son of man, what is this proverb that you have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision fails? 23 Tell them therefore, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but tell them, The days are at hand, and the fulfillment of every vision. 24 For there shall be no more any false vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 For I am Yahweh; I will speak, and the word that I speak will be performed. It will be no more deferred: for in your days, rebellious house, will I speak the word, and will perform it, says the Lord Yahweh. 26 Again Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 27 Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he sees is for many day to come, and he prophesies of times that are far off. 28 Therefore tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: None of my words shall be deferred any more, but the word which I shall speak shall be performed, says the Lord Yahweh.
13 Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, Hear Yahweh’s word: 3 Thus says the Lord Yahweh, Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! 4 Israel, your prophets have been like foxes in the waste places. 5 You have not gone up into the gaps, neither built up the wall for the house of Israel, to stand in the battle in the day of Yahweh. 6 They have seen falsehood and lying divination, who say, Yahweh says; but Yahweh has not sent them: and they have made men to hope that the word would be confirmed. 7 Haven’t you seen a false vision, and haven’t you spoken a lying divination, in that you say, Yahweh says; but I have not spoken? 8 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Because you have spoken falsehood, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, says the Lord Yahweh. 9 My hand shall be against the prophets who see false visions, and who divine lies: they shall not be in the council of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and you shall know that I am the Lord Yahweh. 10 Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there is no peace; and when one builds up a wall, behold, they plaster it with whitewash: 11 tell those who plaster it with whitewash, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and you, great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall tear it. 12 Behold, when the wall has fallen, shall it not be said to you, Where is the plaster with which you have plastered it? 13 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will even tear it with a stormy wind in my wrath; and there shall be an overflowing shower in my anger, and great hailstones in wrath to consume it. 14 So will I break down the wall that you have plastered with whitewash, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation shall be uncovered; and it shall fall, and you shall be consumed in the middle of it: and you shall know that I am Yahweh. 15 Thus will I accomplish my wrath on the wall, and on those who have plastered it with whitewash; and I will tell you, The wall is no more, neither those who plastered it; 16 to wit, the prophets of Israel who prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, says the Lord Yahweh. 17 You, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy against them, 18 and say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Woe to the women who sew pillows on all elbows, and make kerchiefs for the head of persons of every stature to hunt souls! Will you hunt the souls of my people, and save souls alive for yourselves? 19 You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to kill the souls who should not die, and to save the souls alive who should not live, by your lying to my people who listen to lies. 20 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I am against your pillows, with which you there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms; and I will let the souls go, even the souls whom you hunt to make them fly. 21 Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and you shall know that I am Yahweh. 22 Because with lies you have grieved the heart of the righteous, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, and be saved alive: 23 Therefore you shall no more see false visions, nor practice divination. I will deliver my people out of your hand; and you shall know that I am Yahweh.
14 Then came certain of the elders of Israel to me, and sat before me. 2 Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 3 Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them? 4 Therefore speak to them, and tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Every man of the house of Israel who takes his idols into his heart, and puts the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and comes to the prophet; I Yahweh will answer him therein according to the multitude of his idols; 5 that I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols. 6 Therefore tell the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Return, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. 7 For everyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who live in Israel, who separates himself from me, and takes his idols into his heart, and puts the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and comes to the prophet to inquire for himself of me; I Yahweh will answer him by myself: 8 and I will set my face against that man, and will make him an astonishment, for a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from among my people; and you shall know that I am Yahweh. 9 If the prophet is deceived and speak a word, I, Yahweh, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand on him, and will destroy him from among my people Israel. 10 They shall bear their iniquity: the iniquity of the prophet shall be even as the iniquity of him who seeks him; 11 that the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither defile themselves any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, says the Lord Yahweh.
7 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all (being first, by interpretation, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace; 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God), remains a priest continually. 4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the best plunder. 5 They indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brothers, though these have come out of the body of Abraham, 6 but he whose genealogy is not counted from them has accepted tithes from Abraham, and has blessed him who has the promises. 7 But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8 Here people who die receive tithes, but there one receives tithes of whom it is testified that he lives. 9 We can say that through Abraham even Levi, who receives tithes, has paid tithes, 10 for he was yet in the body of his father when Melchizedek met him. 11 Now if there were perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people have received the law), what further need was there for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change made also in the law. 13 For he of whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah, about which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15 This is yet more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there arises another priest, 16 who has been made, not after the law of a fleshly commandment, but after the power of an endless life: 17 for it is testified,
“You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.”
37 He brought them out with silver and gold.
There was not one feeble person among his tribes.
38 Egypt was glad when they departed,
for the fear of them had fallen on them.
39 He spread a cloud for a covering,
fire to give light in the night.
40 They asked, and he brought quails,
and satisfied them with the bread of the sky.
41 He opened the rock, and waters gushed out.
They ran as a river in the dry places.
42 For he remembered his holy word,
and Abraham, his servant.
43 He brought his people out with joy,
his chosen with singing.
44 He gave them the lands of the nations.
They took the labor of the peoples in possession,
45 that they might keep his statutes,
and observe his laws.
3 A stone is heavy,
and sand is a burden;
but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.