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1For this Melchizʹedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him; 2and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 3He is without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest for ever.

4See how great he is! Abraham the patriarch gave him a tithe of the spoils. 5And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brethren, though these also are descended from Abraham. 6But this man who has not their genealogy received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. 8Here tithes are received by mortal men; there, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. 9One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizʹedek met him.

11Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitʹical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizʹedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

15This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizʹedek, 16who has become a priest, not according to a legal requirement concerning bodily descent but by the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is witnessed of him,

“Thou art a priest for ever,

after the order of Melchizʹedek.”

18On the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19(for the law made nothing perfect); on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

20And it was not without an oath. 21Those who formerly became priests took their office without an oath, but this one was addressed with an oath,

“The Lord has sworn

and will not change his mind,

‘Thou art a priest for ever.’ ”

22This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant.

23The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; 24but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. 25Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

26For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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