(king of righteousness), king of Salem and priest of the most high God, who met Abram in the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s valley, bought out bread and wine, blessed him, and received tithes from him (Genesis 14:18-20). The other places in which Melchizedek is mentioned are Psalms 110:4, where Messiah is described as a priest forever “after the order of Melchizedek,” and Hebrews 5:10; 6:20; 7:1-4, 17, where these two passages of the Old Testament are quoted and the typical relation of Melchizedek to our Lord is stated at great length. There is something surprising and mysterious in the first appearance of Melchizedek and in the subsequent reference to him. Bearing a title which Jews in after ages would recognize as designating their own sovereign, bearing gifts which recall to Christians the Lord’s Supper, this Canaanite crosses for a moment the path of Abram, he is unhesitatingly recognized as a person of higher spiritual rank than the friend of God. Disappearing as suddenly as he came, he is lost to the sacred writings for a thousand years. Jewish tradition pronounces Melchizedek to be a survivor of the deluge, the patriarch Shem. The way in which he is mentioned in Genesis would rather lead to the inference that Melchizedek was of one blood with the children of Ham, among whom he lived, chief (like the king of Sodom) of a settled Canaanitish tribe. The “order of Melchizedek,” in (Psalms 110:4) is explained to mean “manner” = likeness in official dignity = a king and priest. The relation between Melchizedek and Christ as type and antitype is made in the Epistle to the Hebrews to consist in the following particulars: Each was a priest, (1) not of the Levitical tribe; (2) superior to Abraham; (3) whose beginning and end are unknown; (4) who is not only a priest, but also a king of righteousness and peace. A fruitful source of discussion has been found in the site of Salem.
Smith's Bible Names Dictionary (1866).