“And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. He blessed him (Abram – later became Abraham) and said, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’ And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything.” (see Gen. 14:18-20)
So who is this fellow, Melchizedek? Melchizedek means My King is Righteous.. Melchi (My King) Zedek (Righteous). We only hear him when a priest is ordained, we say, “by the order of Melchizedek you are priest forever.”
After Abram saved his nephew (Lot) from King Chedorlaomer, the king of Sodom went out to meet Abram at the Valley of Shaveh. Then out of nowhere, King Melchizedek appeared, brought out bread and wine, and blesses Abram.
Honestly, nobody knows much about this character. Scholars categorized him under mysterious. But what’s important is that a priest of God Most High blesses Abram. And most Rabbis think that if he is a priest of God Most High, then he must be in the line of Shem. For those who are not familiar with Shem’s story.. Shem is one of the sons of Noah. The other two sons are Ham and Japheth.
After the great flood, Noah got drunk, and then one of his sons, Ham, committed incest with Noah. Ham invited his brothers but they did not comply with Ham’s foolishness. Noah finds out what Ham did, and he cursed Ham’s son, Canaan. Saying, “Cursed be Canaan; lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.” Then he blessed Shem and Japheth saying, “Blessed by the Lord my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave. May God make space for Japheth, and let him live in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave.”
After the flood, these are the only people that survived. And in the line of Shem is where the blessing is, and so that is why many Rabbis believed that Melchizedek is from the line of Shem, and he passes the blessing to Abram. And in Abram’s line comes Israel, God’s chosen people, where the Messiah will come forth.
Melchizedek is the king of Salem, and most doesn’t know Salem. But later on, Salem becomes Jeru-Salem.. Jerusalem.
And the name Melchizedek is like a throne name. Just like Pope Francis is the throne name of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope, he chose Pope Francis as his throne name.
Going back, some believed that Melchizedek is Shem himself because age during that time permits it. Shem died when he was 600 years old. By the time Melchizedek met Abram (Gen 14:18), Shem’s age was around 465 to 476 years old, while Abram was between 75 (Gen 12:4) to 86 (Ishmael was born – Gen 16:16) years old.
At times, we meet mysterious people that helped us along the way. We don’t know them, we don’t know their name, we don’t know anything about their life. I’m talking about that guy who gave his sit to you in the bus, the person who let you get in line first because you’re late for something, the person that helped you carry that heavy baggage, or that person who gave a compliment about your dress.
Sometimes we ignore these small, nice, good incidents and we just brushed them off because they’re.. small things.. and that’s what they are, small. But we have to remember that most of the time, God works in small, itsy bitsy, unnoticeable things. Mary did not make any grandeur miracles. Joseph (Mary’s husband) wasn’t that much of an action pack follower of God like Isaiah. Mother Teresa did small acts but with great love. But they all did something great, in small ways and it change lives, forever.
Just like Melchizedek, with only one sentence gave a lifetime (and beyond) of blessing to Abram. May we find God in these small, good, hidden blessings from people God has sent. And let us also pray for them.