Bible Commentaries
Genesis 14

Expositor's Dictionary of TextsExpositor's Dictionary

Verses 1-24

Melchisedek the Uncanonical

Genesis 14:18

A deeply veiled figure. The force of the figure lies in its background; its mystery in its mean surroundings. Melchisedek was a Canaanite. His birthplace was uncanonical. He ruled with wonderfully despotic power. What gave this man such a marvellous power? His personal sanctity. Abraham represents earth; Melchisedek is the High Priest of heaven.

I. Where did Melchisedek get that priesthood which he was certainly credited with possessing. Melchisedek was the earliest man of his class, and was therefore not ordained with hands. The first priest of God in the history of the world must have come from a house not made with hands.

II. The beginning of every ecclesiastical chain is something not ecclesiastical something human. The churches of the Old World each began in a human soul. In Melchisedek within the precincts of one heart was laid the nucleus of all that sanctity which attached to the patriarchal line. There are three orders of priesthood in the Bible the Patriarchal, the Jewish, and the Christian, and at the beginning of each dispensation there stands an individual life whose ordination is not made with hands. The origin of the patriarchal dispensation is the holiness of one man the man Melchisedek. The origin of the Jewish dispensation is the holiness of one man Moses. The origin of the Christian dispensation is from the human side the holiness of one man the man Christ Jesus.

III. The point of comparison between Melchisedek and Christ is just the uncanonical manner of their ordination. Looking at the matter from the human side, and abstracting the attention from theological prepossessions there is nothing more remarkable than the uncanonical aspect of the Son of Man. He has obtained it 'after the manner of Melchisedek'. Unconsecrated he became the source of consecration.

G. Matheson, Representative Men of the Bible, p. 43.

Reference. XIV. 18-20. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x. No. 589.

Christ the True Joseph

Genesis 14:20

Consider (1) What is the true principle of interpretation to be applied to a particular class of so-called 'types'; and (2) What is the relation in which Christ's people have a right to consider themselves as standing to that outer world, which in some schools of theology is described as 'their spiritual enemy' and in all schools is allowed to be the sphere of their trial.

I. In what sense do we use the words, when caught by, and gazing on, some old saintly or heroic character, whose deeds are chronicled in the history of the people of God, we say instinctively 'Here is a plain type of the Lord Jesus Christ'? What do we mean by this manner of speaking? What sort of relation between type and antitype do our words imply? 'Whatsoever things are true,' says the Gospels' most renowned preacher, 'whatsoever things are honest, whotsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise think on these things'. Think of them as the diadem of grace that crowned the head of Him to whom the Father 'gave not the Spirit by measure,' Who made for Himself one glorious crown of all these precious jewels and set it upon His head that all men might behold its beauty, and Who now weareth it on His throne in the heavenly place for evermore. So He was the perfect man, the 'recapitulation' of humanity, the incarnation the prototype rather than the antitype of all that men have ever seen or dreamed of, or pictured to themselves in fancy of the heroic, the pure, the altogether lovely and spotless, the godlike in man.

II. 'The good of all the land of Egypt is yours.' So spake Joseph to his kindred; so speaks Christ to us who are members of His body. We dwell in Egypt, and all its good things are ours, we are not taken out of the world; but by providences and graces, inscrutable in their processes, palpable only in their results, are kept from its evil and suffering, bidden to enjoy its good. For it is possible 'to use the world as not abusing it'; and not only so but to use and be the better for the use. A Christian man may come in contact with what is loathsomest and foulest, and instead of being defiled he shall be the purer, the saintlier, the nearer and the liker God. Egypt is Egypt still: a land lying under a curse; visited at times with plagues; where idols are worshipped with more zeal than God. But if I am Christ's this Egypt is mine. Its curse shall not scathe me. Its plague-spots shall not infect me. While then I assert unfalteringly my claim to all the good things of Egypt, I shall limit myself in the use of them by three main considerations: (1) By my neighbour's good; (2) By the possibility of misconstruction; (3) By a wholesome fear of becoming secularized. I know not that we need any other safeguards; and I do not find that the Gospel has multiplied restraints. A few great guiding principles are better than many subtle, finedrawn rules.

J. Fraser, University Sermons, p. 18.

Reference. XIV. J. Parker, Adam, Noah, and Abraham, p. 111.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Genesis 14". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. 1910.