Genesis 14:18 offers a succinct introduction as to who Melchizedek was. He was the “King of Salem… [and] priest of God Most High”. He blessed Abraham (called Abram at this time) after receiving a tenth of all the goods he recovered from the war between allied kings in the area. This event is listed on the Bible Timeline Poster around 2004 BC.
Melchizedek’s name was not mentioned again till much later. Starting in Psalms 110:4 and several chapters of Hebrews where it is evident that he was known and even revered generations later. In Hebrews 6:20, Jesus was likened to Melchizedek and has become “our eternal High Priest”.
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Abraham and his nephew Lot had stayed together since leaving Ur of the Chaldeans. Temporarily settling in Haran, and moving again to Canaan after Abram received a message from God. They settled amidst Bethel and Ai. The flocks owned by both men increased to the point that the land could not support both of them. Disputes broke out between their herdsmen, and they decided to separate. With Lot moving to the fertile Jordan valley to a place near Sodom (Genesis 13:12) while Abraham settled in Hebron.
Lot’s proximity to Sodom did not work out for his benefit as war broke out between allied kings of the area. The kings of Shinar, Ellasar, Elam, and Goiim went up against the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (Genesis 14). The Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were defeated and fled. Leaving the people and their properties vulnerable to captivity and plunder which King Kedorloamer and his allies did after their victory. Lot was one of the captives; this news reached Abraham, who promptly gathered his men and went in pursuit of the kings with their captives. He defeated Kedorloamer and his allies north of Damascus. Then freed the captives and returned all the possessions they recovered to the king of Sodom.
Melchizedek was introduced in the following passage as he brought out bread and wine, blessed Abraham, and received the tenth of everything they had recovered.
Picture By Dieric Bouts,the older. At The Church of Saint Peter, Leuven, Belgium – http://www.heiligenlexikon.de/Fotos/Abraham-Melchisedek.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=597499
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