A close-up shot of an open Bible, highlighting the pages with the name "Melchizedek" mentioned, illustrating the inquiry about the frequency of its occurrence.

How Many Times Is Melchizedek Mentioned In The Bible?

The mysterious figure of Melchizedek, the priest and king of Salem, has intrigued Bible readers for centuries. If you’re looking for a quick answer, Melchizedek is mentioned a total of 12 times across only 3 books of the Bible – Genesis, Psalms and Hebrews.

In this comprehensive guide, we will analyze every reference to Melchizedek, looking at the context and significance of each mention. From his brief but important meeting with Abraham in Genesis to the Messianic prophecies later made about him, we’ll cover it all.

Melchizedek’s Appearance with Abraham in Genesis 14

The Rescue of Lot and Meeting with Abraham (Genesis 14:17-20)

After his victory over the Mesopotamian kings, Abraham was met by Melchizedek, the king of Salem (an early name for Jerusalem). As described in Genesis 14:17-20, Melchizedek brought bread and wine to Abraham and blessed him.

In response, Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth (a tithe) of all the goods he had recovered. This brief passage describes the first known meeting between Melchizedek, the archetypal high priest, and the patriarch Abraham.

The events leading up to this encounter began when the four Mesopotamian kings seized Lot, Abraham’s nephew, during a raid on Sodom. According to GotQuestions, Abraham responded by taking 318 trained men to rescue Lot and other captives.

Having defeated the kings at Dan, Abraham and his men pursued them north of Damascus. It was there that Abraham both met Melchizedek and received a blessing from the priestly king.

Abraham’s Tithing to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20b)

In Genesis 14:20b, Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth, or tithe, of all the goods he recovered from battle. This is the first record of tithing in Scripture. According to the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, tithing was a customary act in the ancient Near East.

It was typically given by a subject to their king.

By tithing to Melchizedek, Abraham indicated his deference to and honor of Melchizedek as one who ranked higher. In the years that followed, Abraham’s grandson Jacob vowed to give a tenth to God. Tithing thus became incorporated into the law God gave Moses for the nation of Israel.

The Bread, Wine, and Blessing (Genesis 14:18-19)

Melchizedek’s appearance to Abraham is noteworthy in several respects. First, he gave Abraham “bread and wine” (Genesis 14:18), typifying the communion emblems that Jesus later instituted. Second, GotQuestions.org notes that his name means “king of righteousness,” and he was the “king of Salem” (Salem means “peace”).

So, as the king of righteousness and peace, Melchizedek foreshadowed Jesus, a descendant of Abraham (Hebrews 7:2).

Finally, Melchizedek performed a priestly act by blessing Abraham in God’s name (Genesis 14:19). As there were not yet Levitical priests, Melchizedek filled the role of priest and mediator between God and Abraham. In so doing, he set a precedent for the future Temple priestly order.

References to Melchizedek in Psalms

Psalm 110 – A Messianic Prophecy

Psalm 110 is considered one of the most important messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. In this psalm, David writes about a coming messianic king who will also serve as a priest “after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4). Let’s take a closer look at the key verses that mention Melchizedek:

Verse 1 says “The Lord says to my lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.'” This verse prophesies that the messianic king will sit at the right hand of God in a position of honor and authority.

Verse 4 declares: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'” This verse makes the stunning prophecy that the future messianic king will also serve as a priest, following the pattern of the ancient priest-king Melchizedek mentioned back in Genesis 14.

The fact that Psalm 110 draws a connection between the coming messianic king and Melchizedek is highly significant. It shows that like Melchizedek, the future messianic deliverer will hold the dual offices of both king and priest.

This sets the stage for Jesus to fulfill this prophecy through his life, death, and resurrection.

The Eternal Priesthood of the Messiah

In addition to Psalm 110, Psalm 110 also highlights the eternal and unchanging priesthood of the coming messianic king. Verses 3-4 state:

“Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendor, your young men will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb. The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'”

These verses emphasize that unlike the mortal, imperfect Levitical priests, the messianic priest-king will abide forever in his priestly role “after the order of Melchizedek.” His priesthood will be unending and unchanging.

Also, the Messiah is said to have the freshness of the dew, symbolic of renewal, resurrection and eternal life.

Once again, this points ahead to Jesus Christ, who arose from the dead as an indestructible eternal High Priest (Hebrews 7:16). Having conquered sin and death, Christ now lives forever as our great High Priest in the line of Melchizedek, continuously making intercession for those who draw near to God through him (Hebrews 7:25).

The Superiority of Melchizedek in Hebrews

Greater than Abraham (Hebrews 7:1-10)

Melchizedek is introduced in Genesis 14 as the “king of Salem” and “priest of God Most High” who blesses Abram. The author of Hebrews points out that Melchizedek was superior to the revered patriarch Abraham, as evidenced by Abraham giving Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils after a battle (Heb 7:1-4).

As a priest-king of Salem (likely Jerusalem), Melchizedek serves as a precursor for the ultimate high priest in the order of Jesus Christ.

Whereas the ancestry and death of Melchizedek are not recorded in Scripture, the lack of details serves to establish his perpetual priesthood “resembling the Son of God” (Heb 7:3). By contrast, the Levitical priesthood descended from Abraham is temporary and imperfect.

Thus, Melchizedek signifies a greater, eternal priesthood fulfilled in Christ.

Basis for a New Priesthood (Hebrews 7:11-19)

If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood on the basis of the Mosaic Law, there would have been no need for another priest to appear in the order of Melchizedek rather than Aaron (Heb 7:11).

With this argument, the author establishes Christ’s priesthood as superior to the Old Testament priestly administration.

Because Jesus originated from the tribe of Judah rather than Levi, He could not qualify as a priest under the former regulations. But as a priest in the order of Melchizedek, His priesthood is validated on the basis of an “indestructible life” (Heb 7:16).

Thus Christ serves as high priest not by hereditary descent but by the power of His resurrection life.

Guarantor of a Better Covenant (Hebrews 7:20-28)

Whereas mortal priests like Aaron pass their office to successors, Jesus holds His priesthood permanently since He continues to live forever (Heb 7:23-25). Hence He is able to guarantee the better new covenant He mediates on our behalf (Heb 7:22).

Christ meets our need for a perfect high priest – “holy, innocent, undefiled” in contrast to other priests who had to make sacrifices for their own sins (Heb 7:26-27). Whereas the Law appointed weak priests subject to death, God’s oath appointed His Son as our eternal priest according to the power of indestructible life (Heb 7:20-22, 28).


As we have seen, while Melchizedek himself occupies little biblical space, these 12 verses have profound theological importance. From providing a Christological foreshadowing to forming the basis of the new covenant, Melchizedek punches well above his weight in Scripture.

This outlines the key details around each mention – tracing his path from mysterious Genesis figure to messianic prototype.

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