Sal and I have been exchanging emails on the matter of Melchizedek (you can read an Orthodox homily on him here). Most of us in the Orthodox world are familiar with the name from one of the Sunday epistle pericopes which ends with the following line from Hebrews: “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”. Another discussion from an Orthodox perspective is here.
The question we have been debating is what is the exact nature of the author of Hebrews quoting the line from the Psalm. Another good article is here. I need to do more research on the subject, but I will come back to one of my most-used expressions when talking about scripture: the meaning of the name matters. It is very important to understanding scriptural stories and characters from Aaron (probably Egyptian in origin as is that of Moses) to Zerubbabel (seed of Babel). Melchizedek – the “righteous king” – has such a powerful meaning that an argument can be made for translating it rather than leaving it as a proper name.