Chapter Two

Priest- King


This Priest King Sculpture was found in Mohenjodero Harappa of a Dravidian civilization of the pre Abrahamic era.

Mohenjo-daro, DK 1909
National Museum, Karachi, 50.852
Marshall 1931: 356-7, pl. XCVIII

The Mohenjodaro-Harappa culture was located along the banks of the Indus River circa 3000-2500 BCE. It is certain that they entertained the Priest-King concept.  Similar Priest-King concepts are found also in Sumeria.  At the city of Ur, mention of teak wood and Dacca muslin were found on some tablets, both of which were special products of India. Hence it can be safely assumed that these two ancient cultures were in contact with each other and probably shared the faith of the El Elyon – Parameshwara. 

“The Priest-King story of Melchizedek rests upon ancient Jerusalemic tradition (as Josephus, "B. J." vi. 10, affirms; comp. Gunkel, "Genesis," 1901, p. 261), "Zedek" being an ancient name of Jerusalem (probably connected with the Phenician   "Zedek" = "Jupiter"; comp. Shab. 156a, b; Gen. R. xliii.; Pesi. R. 20; see Baudissin, "Studien zur Semitischen Religionsgesch." 1876, i. 14-15). Hence "'ir ha-Zedek" (Isa. i. 21, 26), "neweh Zedek" (Jer. xxxi. 23, l. 7), "sha'are Zedek" (Ps. cxviii. 19). The city's first king, accordingly, was known either as "Adoni Zedek" (Josh. x. 1 et seq. ; comp. Judges i. 5-7, where "Adonizedek" is the correct reading) or as "Malkizedek."” Isidore Singer ,  Kaufmann Kohler


According to Midr. Teh. to Ps. xxxvii., Abraham learned the practice of charity from Melchizedek.  Philo speaks of him as "the logos, the priest whose inheritance is the true God" ("De Allegoriis Legum," iii. 26).

Zechariah 6:9-14 also portrays this Messianic priest-king relationship without even using the name Melchizedek. Here Zechariah is told to crown the current high priest, Joshua, in a highly prophetic act, symbolizing the coming of Jesus who would ultimately fulfill both roles

Priest of the Order of Melchizedek

Psa 110:4  The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, "You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchiz'edek."

 Some understand this passage to be Messianic in nature. 

Some scholars understand this reference to be a polemic inserted into the text in order to legitimize King David’s claim that his house had become heir to a dynasty of priest-kings. David seems to have acted as priest before the ark dancing with an ephod (2Sa 6:14) and have sacrificed (2Sa 24:25).  The New Year festival of Judah consisted of the processional, enthronement, and the reading of royal psalms (Ps 110.4).     Here David was being elevated to priest-king status, a feature of Canaanite religion.  Before David, King Saul had been castigated for offering a sacrifice when the Priest Prophet Samuel was late.  Soul’s attempt to get elevated to the status of Priest-King was thwarted by the powerful personality of Samuel.

Sa 13:9-11 So Saul said, "Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings." And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him and salute him.
 Samuel said, "What have you done?"

In contrast we see

1Ch 21:28  At that time, when David saw that the LORD had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jeb'usite, he made his sacrifices there.

Some others assume that , Psalm 110.4 was inserted to legitimize King David’s decision to appoint “Zadok” as priest in Jerusalem. This theory presupposes that Zadok was in fact a direct descendant of “Adoni Zedek” (Joshua 10) and “Melchi-Zedek” (Genesis 14).

Psalm 110.4 was certainly used by the Maccabees to legitimize their claim to power.  It was also used by “Ebed-Tob,” according to an “Armana Tablet” to lay a claim to the attributes of Melchizedek that the Book of Hebrews explains.

The legitimatization is seen in the following sequence of Priest-Kings:

First Melchizedek, as the first king of Jerusalem.

Second, Abraham, first Hebrew priest to offer sacrifices on temple site.

Gen 22:13  And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.

Third, David, the first righteous (like Melchizedek) Hebrew king to sit on "Melchizedek's throne" 1000 years later, announces that Jesus will be the first spiritual king to sit on the throne in Jerusalem. So from Melchizedek to David and from David to Christ is about 1000 years between each! Psa.110:4 makes the king-priest who is addressed there a virtual successor of Melchizedek, and the kings of Jerusalem might well, as Gunkel suggests, (Genesis. Übersetzt und erklärt , KAT 1; Leipzig 1924) have been considered successors of Melchizedek in the same way that Charlemagne was regarded as the successor of the Caesars, and the latter as successors of the Pharaohs in Egypt. 

Fourth, Jesus sits on the throne of David (and Melchizedek) at the ascension. Acts 2:29-36.Thus it comes full circle, to make Jesus as a king and priest after the order of Melchizedek. (Heb. 7:4-10)

Skinner (Gen, 271, where Josephus, Ant, XVI, vi, 2, and Amos M 6:1 are cited) points out that the Maccabees (The Hasmoneans) were called "high priests of God most high." Hence, some hold that the story of Melchizedek is an invention of Judaism, but Gunkel (Genesis 3, 285 ff.) maintains that he is a traditional, if not a historical, character.

The Maccabees appear in history as the family of a priest, Mattathias, dwelling in Modin, who opposed the Hellenizing tendencies of the Syrian ruler Antiochus IV. Antiochus had taken advantage of factionalism among the Jews and had stripped and desacralized the Temple and begun a religious persecution. Mattathias, after killing an apostate Jew who took part in a Greek sacrifice, killed the royal enforcing officer. With his five sons he fled to the mountains and was joined by many Hasidim (167 B.C.) Thus began a guerrilla war.

On Mattathias' death (166 B.C.) the leadership passed to his son Judas Maccabeus, from whose surname the family name is derived. Judas, an excellent military leader, defeated an expedition sent from Syria to destroy him. Having occupied Jerusalem, he deconsecrated the Temple.  the feast of Hanukkah celebrates this event (165 B.C.).

Maccabean Era  lasted from 166 -129 BC.

(The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. 
See also the Apocryphal Books of Maccabees