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Melchizedek and Shem

Are Melchizedek and Shem the same person?

This question is frequently asked and has caught the interest of many scholars. Let us examine first these two names and then the arguments for and against the two being the same person.

Melchizedek means “King of righteousness” (Heb. 7:1-2). He was known as the great high priest (Alma 13:14), priest of the most high God (Gen. 14:18) ordained as priest after the order of the Son of God (Heb 7:3). He’s also known as Abram/ Abraham’s ecclesiastical leader (Gen. 14:19) (Gen. 14:20) (Heb. 7:4) and King of Salem (Gen. 14:18.)

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Abraham and Melchizedek

Shem is the Son of Noah (Gen. 5:32), the progenitor of Abraham. (1 Chronicles 1:24-27.) It was assumed that he held the keys to the priesthood and was the great high priest of his day where he stands next to Noah during this time when patriarchs passed on the priesthood in the family.

Shem and Melchizedek are the same person:

  • The Great High Priest: There can’t be two high priests presiding at the same time. Shem was the great high priest of his day. Abraham honored the high priest Melchizedek by seeking a blessing at his hands and paying him tithes.
  • Order of Priesthood: Abraham stands next to Shem in the patriarchal order of the priesthood and would surely have received the priesthood from Shem, but Hebrews Teaching says Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek.
  • Reign over Salem: Shem inherited the land of Salem and Melchizedek is the king of Salem.
  • King of Righteousness: Shem reigned in righteousness (Melchizedek’s name means King of Righteousness), and the priesthood came through him. (Ginsberg, Legends of the Jews, p. 233.)
  • Name as Title: If Shem is indeed Melchizedek, the name is then used as a title, not an actual name. This title would seem to fit the biblical account of the Godliness and righteousness ascribed to Shem.
  • Hebrew Tradition: Shem, Noah’s Son that was still alive at the time of Abraham and that would make him the oldest man alive qualifying him as a candidate for the order of Melchizedek.

Shem and Melchizedek are two different people:

  • An account of Identity: Shem was born in 2448 B.C. and lived for 602 years. He was 100 years old at the time of the great flood. Abraham was born in 1948 B.C., and was 140 years old when Shem died. But the coincidence in Shem and Melchizedek living at the same time only makes their identity a possibility, not a reality.
  • Genealogy: We know Shem’s line and descendants. Abraham’s father was Terah, who was in the line of Shem. We do not know Melchizedek’s genealogy.
  • Melchizedek in the Bible: Genesis 14:18-20
    The Bible doesn’t tell us much about Melchizedek beyond that he was a priest of God, and that his line of priesthood is an important one. Some Christians see Melchizedek as an early foreshadowing of Jesus himself.
  • Canaanite Priest: Jebusites were idolaters who worshiped Canaanite gods. Melchizedek could not have worshiped a heathen god because of the titles he used for the true God. Archaeological records reveal that the Jebusites were preceded by that of a Shemite group. Noah predicted that Canaan would serve under Shem (Gen.9:26).

54 thoughts on “Melchizedek and Shem

  1. Check your calculations again. Abraham died before Shem.

    1. Shem was born 100 years (or 98 years) before the flood and lived for 600 years so that he lived for 500 years after the flood. Abraham was born 352 years after the flood so that Shem died when Abraham was about either 148 or 150.

      1. Shem was born 1558 (2370 BC), and died in 2158 (1770 BC) according to Genesis dating and the Hebrew calendar. Abraham was born 1948 and died at the age of 175, in the year 2123 (1795 BC) according to Genesis and the Hebrew calendar. At the time of Shem’s death, Isaac was 110, and Jacob was 50. This is why Jacob does not tithe to Melchizedek after returning to the land of Canaan with his great wealth.

        Shem outlived Abraham by 25 years.

    2. Shem died in the year of the world 2158,Adraham the year of the world 2187

    3. actually, our bible is a copy of a Hebrew text written 1000 ad. It differs slightly than earlier greek copies of the hebrew. These Greek copies date to 100 bc. These copies as well as Josephus add 100 years to each descendant of Shem. Shem died 500 years before Abraham was born. This older timeline makes Shem’s geneology look correct, it removes descrepencies in archeologic issues, it fulfills the writing of Paul who warned not to argue with the fabels of the scribes and geneology, and rebukes the Jews argument that Christ can’t be the new high priest if melckizedek is Shem as they know Shem’s geneology and Christ would have to be a descendent of Levi to be the new high priest, which Christ isnt.

      1. you are correct bro..

  2. Shem not only outlived Abraham, but he lived to see both Isaac and Jacob born.
    Shem lived to be 600 years old. According to the geneological data provided in Genesis, Shem was 395 years old when Abraham was born. Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born, making Shem 495. Abraham was 160 when Jacob was born, making Shem 555. Abraham died at 175 years old when time Shem was 570.

    1. It depends on which version of the Old Testament records you use and how the dates are calculated. We use Bishop Ussher’s calculations. You can read more about the different timelines here

  3. I have examining both respond. I have also learned through spiritual research that the majority of individual have error in scripture leaning on man word and not the true living word of God. People who said that they believe in God, FIGHT with God word… It’s like, hard for them to receive the truth. In the book of Matthew 22:29 Ye do err, not knowing he scriptures, nor the power of God. As for Mr. David….. your comment is on piont and line up with the word of the true living God. It is God calculation and not man. Remember.. Is not God greater than Satan, Is not God greater than Adam sin. Is not God greater than man. Shem did….. out lived Abraham. Go to Genesis 11:10
    Shem =100+35=135+30=165+34=199+30=229+32=261+30=291+29=320+70=390+
    175=565+35=600. Shem lived 35yrs after Abraham death. Shem was 390 yrs old when Terah…. Abraham dad had children, and Shem lived another 210 yrs and died at
    600 year old

    Thank you for listing.

    God Bless

    1. The Amazing Bible Timeline is based on Ussher’s Chronology, considered the standard for the King James Bible. Ussher took into account all the verses of the Bible related to a person’s life. For example in Genesis 11:32, Terah lived a total of 205 years, and Genesis 12:1 may be taken to mean that Abram set out at age 75 after Terah’s death (Gen. 12:4), in which case Abram was born when Terah was age 130 instead of 70. Thus there would be a discrepancy of 60 years. Thus Ussher calculation would be in 2008 B.C.
      Also see our article titled Are There Triplets in the Bible

  4. Was Yeshua in fact what we would call “black” or “African American” today? In Revelation Yeshua was described as having hair white like wool or wooly textured hair, and his feet the color of burnt copper. Also if you read Josephus he describes Yeshua as being a short black man.

    1. Yeshua or Jesus which is the Greek translation of Yeshua , was a Jew. Jews are NOT black. His hair is described as white ( curly ) as wool. Yabba dabba doo , Jesus is a Jew , not black or white , they had olivine colored skin back then. Now-a-days they’re are only a handful of true Jews but most are inter-bred with other peoples. The truly orthodox ones have brownish olive color skin , not black , white , yellow , red , or even purple.

      1. You don’t know what you are talking about. If you don’t know, the best thing to do is to keep quiet so you will not confuse the situation.

        THE LEMBA TRIBE OF SOUTH AFRICA ARE “BLACK” JEWS. This has already been well documented and confirmed. Not only are these “BLACK” people confirmed to be Jews, but they also hit the highest percentage of the Cohen markers found in the male y-chromosones. This means they are closer to the authentic original Jews than all other people, since in science we know over time things become diluted. Do more research and you will discover that your argument has been destroyed by science.

        1. the igbo are also hebrews

        2. After reading much of the scripture The RUACH HA QODEDH do show you the mystery so therefore as the the Subject about Shem outlived please like Avraham Yitzhak And Jacobs now history will prove it’s self also about him being Melechzadik” now it prove that Shem had own Salem# therefore he is Melechzadik —-”’no doubt on this if all his ancestry had died of course he will be without geological lineage. Now about the Yahudim’ being only black let me explain! !! Did you remember this same Shem was a Yahudi’ and he produced 5 sons and those sons was scattered throughout the earth so it will have a mixture of race please – think before you write and allow the RUACH to speak and not flesh Ahmein. Shalom

        3. Science would have you believe in evolution, too.

        4. There is no Lemba Tribe in South Africa! Do your research. South Africa is about as far from Ethiopia as ierra Del Fuego is from Washington DC.

        5. Your almost true,however, Nashua did not came from Africa, he was born in Israel, the African (Ethiopian jews) came from that line of order, king Solomon is there for father through emelich; his mother was the queen of ethiopia,and his father king Solomon directed him into the order of priesthood and the after completing his training he went back to ethiopia as a priest. Emelich was the high priest for Ethiopian jews,the most high priest is Yeshua HaMessiach for ever,are is no wrong or who is right when it comes to actual word from truth.

      2. Jesus was a black man>>
        Rev 1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
        Rev 1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

        (Wooly hair is black man hair)
        Fine brass burn in a furnace come out black)

        1. First of all, what does it matter what the color of his skin was in earthly form? God transcends race. Race is earthly adaptation to environment. It is completely irrelevant and pointless.

          Secondly, that scripture refers to his HEAVENLY appearance. Feet unto fine brass is repeatedly used to describe angels and the Lord in a glorified state where the skin literally shines and glows. White as wool is a similitude to describe the COLOR of hair.

          You are using a divine description of the Lord in his glorified state as evidence he was black?

          The fact you would even want to prove his races black just goes to show that you are probably black and you want to glean superiority I somehow linking your race with the race of our Lord and Savior.

          Understand that Jesus was a Jew of the middle east and the Jews of the middle east were not black or white or anything else. I don’t care if there’s some sect of Jews in Africa that’s black- that is not where Jesus was living. It only goes to show that skin color adapts to wherever you move to and live, which makes it even more of a pointless argument because it proves that it doesn’t matter- it’s a product of your earthly environment.

          1. “The fact you would even want to prove his races black just goes to show that you are probably black and you want to glean superiority I somehow linking your race with the race of our Lord and Savior.”

            Please sit and read this until you realize what is wrong with this line of logic, the aggressive tone, why that aggressive tone might’ve come about, how the tone and your acceptance of your flawed logic are connected (I’ll assume you know better than this), and what it says about your character.

            Your comment started out promising, man, what happened…

          2. BRILLIANT! Thank you Jaxon!

    2. We need not argue about what Jesus looked like. God left us a photograph of Jesus entire body, front and back, in the image on the Shroud of Turin, which is in fact reliably genuine, when all the truth is earnestly sought, including its perfect match with the Sudarium of Oviedo kept totally separate in Spain since the 7th century. The image on the shroud is a photographic negative, which was first discovered around 1900 when the first photos were taken of it. The resulting picture is stunningly real. Thus we know he was not black, his hair was wavy, we know how tall he was and his physique in every detail, since he was naked on the cross and buried that way too. FYI, His hands are discreetly folded across his manhood. Jesus carried a set of genes that perfectly matched Adam’s so He could perfectly satisfy the penalty for Adam’s sin in every way. He in fact genetically WAS Adam, even called the second Adam in Corinthians. Hence the near obsession of God that the Jews not intermix with the pagan tribes around them. He chose Abraham because he still carried the cleanest set of Adam’s genes with the least corruption from the mixing with Cain’s descendants before the Flood. Suitable mates to preserve the purest gene line from Adam to Noah would have disappeared with the next generation, hence God’s urgency to bring the Flood when He did was not just because man’s thoughts were only evil continually, but because of the impact of that on the corruption of His once perfect gene pool . He waited patiently until Methuselah, the last living ancestor of Noah died, before bringing the Flood that same year. Had the Flood not done a reset on the gene pool, the beauty of the genetic miracle He had wrought in Adam would have been lost forever. As it is, once God’s purpose was achieved in Jesus as the second Adam, which is why He preserved the Jew’s as His people set apart from the rest of mankind all those millennia, He unleashed His pent up anger against them and they were nearly wiped out and Jerusalem totally destroyed within a generation of Jesus ascension. Yet He has compassion on them as His once chosen people, and is bringing about a restoration of a remnant in our own life-times. They still carry the purest set of Adam’s genes within their ranks which might explain why they display an above normal collective genius, as evident in their likewise disproportionate number of Nobel prizes and their dominance in every field of endeavor, and I say this not being a Jew but a descendant of Japheth, but standing in awe of them.

      1. Funny, the grave clothes were two parts or more, and one part covered the face? Turin is all one piece.

  5. In Hebrew 7:3 says something about Melchizedek “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

    1. Melchizedek is a title, not a name. It means “My King” (Melchi) is Righteous (Zedek). The high priests were called Zedekites because of the High Priest under David and Solomon was named Zedek.

      Melchizedek was the King of Salem/Jerusalem … as was David and Solomon. Zedek (Righteous) was appointed by the King (David) as all Zedekites (High Priests) were appointed by the King of Jerusalem. For example, Caiphus was appointed by Herod. Herod was a fraud – appointed by Rome. Yeshua was the true king of Jerusalem (as stated on the cross “King of the Jews”) and direct from the line of David (Judah). Therefore He and ONLY He was to appoint the High Priest … to which He appointed himself after Caiphus disqualified himself by tearing his tunic (Matthew 26). Melchizedek is greater than Aaronic because it holds the title of both King AND Priest rather than just one or the other.

      Melchizedek is said to have no father or mother because his genealogy is not not given. He is used as an example because of his authority over the father of nations (Abraham). The focus of the verse is not about who Melchizedek was but on the title of authority that Yeshua bears.

      Now, according to Jewish Talmudic tradition, Melchizedek in Gen 14 was Shem. Melchizedek was an order (Psalm 110) so he died, he was replaced. Noah was the “Eighth Preacher of Righteousness” (2 Peter) making Shem the 9th and Eber the 10th. It ended there until the Israelites returned from bondage and claimed Jerusalem.

      1. I don’t put not 1 iota of stock in that wicked book called the Talmud n altho I have read it other then the inside I gained about how wicked n low down a ppl can go I wish I had not wasted my x with such junk. I however agree with u on just about every single thing u have said n in particular about melchezidek being a title n not a name pretty much like God being a title or Satan , ….etc,etc melchezidek means ,” the king of righteousness

        1. *My King IS Righteousness”. Zedek is a noun describing a state of being.

          1. and Melchi means “my king”.

            מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶֿק‎ malkī-ṣeḏeq, “my king is righteousness”

            Tzadik צדיק‎‎, “righteous one”, pl. tzadikim [tsadiˈkim] צדיקים ṣadiqim) is a title in Judaism given to people considered righteous, such as Biblical figures and later spiritual masters.

  6. Per epistle to the Hebrew his has no father and mother, no beginning or end of live. Cannot be Shem his father is Noah? Any comment?

    1. From what I am understanding, Melchizedek was a title – a ‘title’ would have no biological lineage. In the strictest sense there would be a first appearance of the title, as far as mans interpretation of time is concerned, however I do not believe that the Hebrew epistle excludes Shem as being Melchizedek.

      True, Shem had a father and mother.
      True too that Melchizedek – if it were simply a title describing a role and an attribute would have been assigned at some point in time.

      I believe the following – based on the above assumptions could also be true:

      Melchizedek Shem. (read in the same way we would read “Eternal Yeshua” or “King David”

      My Question is this:

      If the ideas pointed out in this fascinating article are to be take as true – what is the Significance of realizing that Shem, carried the torch to Abraham?

  7. there is no scripture dat support Shem to b Melchizedek.d priesthood came only after moses xtablished d law,Abraham lived under grace cos there was no law he lived under,so d priesthood was no where in dat era of time.come to think of it,,taking apostle Paul’s teachng ,Melchizedek had no father, mother or any descent,,so hw can one look at dis n say Shem was Melchizedek?Melchizedek was God in a theophany body foreshadowing or projecting Christ high priestly office.

    1. if there is no priesthood before Moses, then why does Psalms 110 say, “You will be a priest in the ORDER of Melchizedek?” You are forgetting the Father is the priest of the home and after the father dies, the firstborn becomes practically king and priest of all of his father’s household. This has been the norm since Creation. Therefore, if Shem is still alive when Abraham lived (which he was, as a matter of fact he lived through isaac’s time and died during Jacob’s time), and he (Shem) had received the blessing, and add the fact that 2 Peter says that Noah was the 8th preacher of righteousness, that would make Shem the nineth and would make him Melchizedek. Remember that the whole world joined in on Nimrodian rebellion at Babel. That rebellion was against God. [the following is speculation] Shem would not have participated in that rebellion because he saw the flood firsthand. but the rebellion of Nimrod was farspread to the point that the religion that was started there (in Babel) spread all over the world. The only living patriarch, Shem would have been the king of Righteousness.

      1. First born may not be the First Born. The meaning back then was the child that was most righteousness holy.

      2. Melchizedek is a title, not a name. It means “My King” (Melchi) is Righteous (Zedek). The high priests were called Zedekites because of the High Priest under David and Solomon was named Zedek. What exist and always has as Jesus Christ has, is the The King or Priest of Righteous. This spirit carries from human to human as tis did in David, Shem etc…even carriers to this day. The respect given to this spirit is Melchizedek. The order is the names of the blood line to Jesus and the blood line after death of the gentiles. (2) names, (2) Blood Lines or kinds. (2) is the common denominator for reoccurring spiritual value in the future of the gentiles. Two refers back as a relative reference as a diety or if Jesus and Melchizedek are the same. 2 meaning right or accountable. 2 meaning bear witness etc….

      3. 2 Peter 2:5 does NOT say Noah was the 8th preacher of righteousness. It says he was the 8th person on the ark.

      4. I agree with u. THE Bible Also Gives INDICATION That THE PRIESTHOOD Was Established FROM Adam On Down As THERE Were Altars Lifted 2 THE MOST HIGH in Adams day. Think Of Adam N Eve Also ABEL So THE PRIESTHOOD Was Established FROM THE BEGINING Of CREATION Along With THE Sabbath 4 Man

    2. I strongly believe ur line of argument. It’s crystal clear. It doesn’t need to be added to nor subtracted from.

  8. Melchizedek met Abraham after he had gained victory in d war,,n Melchizedek brought bread n wine to him..Christ b4 his crucifixion broke bread n wine to his,Melchizedek projects wat Christ was to accomplish for us Adam’s fallen race n dat was God doing dat,not can never be Shem.

  9. Just trying to learn understanding with what I read in the Bible

  10. Shem died in 1868 BCE, Abraham died in 1843 BCE therefore Abraham outlived Shem by 25 years.

  11. We can work out from Shem’s age at the birth of Arpachshad that Shem was 98 at the flood as he fathered Arpachshad 2 years after the flood. (Gen 11:10,11) and lived 500 years more.

  12. Could of Melchizedek been Noah????

    Since Noah was 892 years when Abram was born?

    Abraham was 58 yrs old when Noah died.

  13. If Hebrews was written after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and it was, then Jesus was probably not Melchidizek since He had a mother and geneology, although divine she was.And Joseph was his earthly father, so how could he have been Melchidizek? Melchidizek had to be Shem

  14. The book of Yasher (Jasher), mentioned by name a few time in Scripture, points out that Shem was the Malkitsedeq of Abraham’s day. It was the priesthood before the levitical/Aharonic (tutor; permissive will) priesthood. This is the covenant of promise that Yahushua (Jesus) brings us back into, making a us a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6/ I Peter 2:9; His origin perfect will) with Him as High Priest forever, in the order of Malkitsedeq!! HalleluYah!

  15. I happen to agree with Margaret… If you read carefully, it says that Shem was 102 when Arphaxad was born and that he lived another 500 years FROM THAT POINT. If one continues and adds from there it puts Shem ALIVE AT THE TIME OF ISSAC, but not outliving either Issac or Abraham.

  16. Andrea,add again and you will find that Abraham dies while Shem is still alive.

  17. Since Shem has a beginning and and end but the tithe of Melchizedek has no beginning nor end nor father nor mother ect. It may seem reasonable that this whole thing is based upon the title given to Shem. A levi could not be both priest and king but a gentile could be both. Jesus Christ was both king and priest.
    He is the chief corner stone. A corner stone holds two walls, Jews and Gentiles.
    He is both priest and king. Just a thought!

  18. Bear witness is referred as a third person, meaning Melchizedek and Jesus have God as their Bear Witness. If no one believed and if all believed. The spirit of Melchizedek is alive in someone today due to the atonement. The tenth that is relative to Pie or 10%, cycle is the jubilee year. They last for 50 years. The tenth cycle started in 1967 and ends in 2017. 500 years and who lived 500 years after the great flood. This all relates to the dead sea scrolls in cave 11 will be part of this atonement that will be acknowledged by the Pope on July 10, 2017.

    Mehl – Bezdicek – Meaning Government Law and God Law. It spells Melchizedek so let it B. Mehl – County worker, Bezdicek – Gentile God Law and blood line sacrifice worker. MORE TO COME I was born July 10, 1967

  19. When Queen Sheba journey and visit Solomon after hearing the merchant brag and boast about all of his wisdom she journeyed across the desert packed up with all the records and all precious diamonds and spices and all of the good stuff and brought it to Solomon just to sit and hear his wisdom after hearing Solomon’s wisdom, knowledge they together had a son menelik of Ethiopia ham and Israel is Shem when Queen Sheba visited Solomon she took the promise of God and brought it back to Ethiopia to fulfill Noah’s word that ham shall served under Shem soon as Imperial Majesty who’s the fruit of Eber and the seed of David sits on the throne then ham serve under Shem, remember out of all the brothers Shem was the only one with his son and Abraham and Noah who didn’t help Nimrod build the Tower of Babel so in return their language never changed so they kept the original tongue in the same knowledge that Noah built the ark with the knowledge of the Ancient of Days

  20. When the Hebrews entered the holy land after the exodus, either Aaron or his son’s married the Jebusite daughters of the Zadok (or the priests of Zadok), who was either a high priest or the title given to a high priest, thus preserving priesthoods (that the of the Hebrews, the Egyptians and the Jebusites). A Zadok chose King David and was instrumental in the construction of Solomon’s temple. I think it’s best to view Melchizedek as an ascended master. I wonder if Melchizedek is Mikl Zadok and if St Michael is one in the same. Salem is a very very old sacred city. There are megalithic foundations to the temple mount that defy description as to how they were constructed. the story is older than the bible.

  21. James 1:5 (KJV)
    5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

    Amos 3:7 (KJV).
    7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

  22. Shem is not a priest. That assertion in this article is wrong.
    Melchizedek could be a name.
    Melchizedek has no known genealogy so he can’t be someone we have a genealogy for.

  23. Whoever he is it’s badass that he gave abram bread and wine to take communion

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