1This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him,2and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means ‘king of righteousness’; then also, ‘king of Salem’ means ‘king of peace’.3Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest for ever.4Just think how great he was: even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!5Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people – that is, from their fellow Israelites – even though they also are descended from Abraham.6This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.7And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater.8In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living.9One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham,10because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.
Jesus like Melchizedek
11If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood – and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood – why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?12For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.13He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no-one from that tribe has ever served at the altar.14For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.15And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears,16one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.17For it is declared: ‘You are a priest for ever, in the order of Melchizedek.’ (Ps 110:4)18The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.20And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath,21but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: ‘The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest for ever.” ’ (Ps 110:4)22Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.23Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office;24but because Jesus lives for ever, he has a permanent priesthood.25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.26Such a high priest truly meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.28For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect for ever.