King of Salem and priest of the Most High in the time of Abraham. He brought out bread and wine, blessed Abram, and received tithes from him (Gen. xiv. 18-20). Reference is made to him in Ps. cx. 4, where the victorious ruler is declared to be "priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
The story is neither an invention nor the product of a copyist's error, as Cheyne ("Encyc. Bibl.") thinks, but rests upon ancient Jerusalemic tradition (as Josephus, "B. J." vi. 10, affirms; comp. Gunkel, "Genesis," 1901, p. 261), "Zedek" being an ancient name of Jerusalem (probably connected with the Phenician ????? = "Zedek" = "Jupiter"; comp. Shab. 156a, b; Gen. R. xliii.; Pesi?. R. 20; see Baudissin, "Studien zur Semitischen Religionsgesch." 1876, i. 14-15). Hence "'ir ha-?ede?" (Isa. i. 21, 26), "neweh ?ede?" (Jer. xxxi. 23, l. 7), "sha'are ?ede?" (Ps. cxviii. 19). The city's first king, accordingly, was known either as "Adoni Zedek" (Josh. x. 1 et seq. ; comp. Judges i. 5-7, where "Adonizedek" is the correct reading) or as "Malkizedek." The fact that he united the royal with the priestly dignity, like all ancient (heathen) kings, made him a welcome type to the composer of the triumphal song (Ps. cx.).
Type of Ancient Monotheism.
But to the Jewish propagandists of Alexandria, who were eager to win proselytes for Judaism without submitting them to the rite of circumcision, Melchizedek appealed with especial force as a type of the monotheist of the pre-Abrahamic time or of non-Jewish race, like Enoch. Like Enoch, too, he was apotheosized. He was placed in the same category with Elijah, the Messiah ben Joseph, and the Messiah ben David (Suk. 52b, where "Kohen?edek" should be corrected to "Malki?ede?").
The singular feature of supernatural origin is ascribed to all four, in that they are described as being "without father and without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the son of God abiding forever" (Heb. vii 2-3; comp. Ruth. R. v. 3, where the original text [see "Pugio Fidei," p. 125] referred also to Ps. cx. 4, Isa. liii. 2, and Zech. vi. 12, comp. Yal?., Reubeni Bereshit, 9d; Epiphanius, "Hæresis," lv. 3). According to Midr. Teh. to Ps. xxxvii., Abraham learned the practise of charity from Melchizedek. Philo speaks of him as "the logos, the priest whose inheritance is the true God" ("De Allegoriis Legum," iii. 26).
The Samaritans identified the city of Salem with their sanctuary on Mount Gerizim (see LXX., Gen. xxxiii. 18; comp. Eusebius, "Præparatio Evangelica," ix. 17).
The rabbis of later generations, rather antagonistic to the cosmopolitan monotheism of Alexandria, identified Melchizedek with Shem, the ancestor of Abraham (Ned. 32b; Pir?e R. El. xxiii.; Targ. to Gen. xiv. 4). A singular story is told of Melchizedek in the Ethiopian Book of Adam and Eve, which, before it was turned into a Christian work, seems to have presented a strange combination of Jewish and Egyptian elements emanating from a sect afterward known as the Melchizedekites.
There (iii. 13-21) Noah tells his son Shem before his death to take "Melchizedek, the son of Canaan, whom God had chosen from all generations of men, and to stand by the dead body of Adam after it had been brought from the ark to Jerusalem as the center of the earth and fulfil the ministry before God." The angel Michael then took away Melchizedek, when fifteen years of age, from his father, and, after having anointed him as priest, brought him to (Jerusalem) the center of the earth, telling his father to share the mystery only with Shem, the son of Noah, while the Holy Spirit, speaking out of the ark when the body of Adam was hidden, greeted Melchizedek as "the first-created of God."
Shem went, carrying bread and wine, and, assisted by the angel, brought the body of Adam to its destination. Melchizedek offered the bread and wine upon the altar they built near the place where Adam's body was deposited, and then Shem departed, leaving the pure lad in his garment of skins under the sole protection of the angel, no one on earth knowing of his whereabouts until, at last, Abraham met him. Compare also "Die Schatzhöhle" (Bezold's transl. 1883, pp. 26-28), where the father of Melchizedek is called "Malki" and the mother "Yo?ede?"; and see the notes to Malan's "Book of Adam and Eve" (1882, pp. 237-238).
Against the opinion of Roensch (Das Buch der Jubiläen," 1874, p. 502), that the story of Melchizedek has been intentionally omitted from the Book of Jubilees, see Charles in his Commentary to Jubilees (xiii. 25). A remnant, probably, of these Melchizedekites appears in early Christian literature as a heretic sect which regarded Melchizedek as a great heavenly power and as a son of God, superior to Jesus (Epiphanius," Hæresis," lv. 1-9; Hippolytus, "Refutatio Hæresium," vii. 36, x. 20; pseudo-Tertullian, 48; Augustinus, "De Hæresibus," 34; see also Herzog-Hauck, "Real-Encyc." s.v. "Monarchianismus").
The planet Jupiter or Tzedeq in Hebrew is the chief or king planet of all the planets. Its Hebrew name Tzedeq is the root of Melchizedek. Jupiter has long been recognized as a messianic star and associated with the Messiah. Tzedeq means righteousness. The Messiah who would come from David's genetic line was to be the righteous Branch, according to Jeremiah 23:5, who would reign as a king and execute righteousness. His name would be called the Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 23 5, 6 and Jer 33:15, 16). Thus Jupiter has characteristics that would associate it with the Messiah. Yahshua is made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec (Heb. 6:20).
The time of the patriarch Abraham witnessed unusual behavior by the planet Jupiter. The fact that Jupiter displayed a burst of activity exactly in the time of Abraham must not appear a coincidence: it was in the times of great global catastrophes, when the world was threatened with destruction, that religious reformers gained prominence and contemporaries looked to a divine man for guidance.(1)
Zedek was the name of Jupiter, and we read that in the days of Abraham the planet underwent some visible changes. Rabbinical sources relate that when Abraham was on an expedition against Cherdlaomer, king of Elam, and his allied kings—who had captured and despoiled Sodom, and taken Abraham’s nephew Lot into captivity—the star Zedek illuminated the night, thereby ensuring the expedition’s success.(2)
“When he returned from his victory over Cherdlaomer and the kings who were allied with him,” the book of Genesis relates, “the king of Sodom came out to greet him. And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; he was priest of the Most High.” (3) Abraham ceded to Melchizedek the spoils of the war he had obtained in Syria from Cherdlaomer.
Ancient Salem was a holy place, and Palestine was a holy land from grey antiquity. Thus, in the documents of the Old Kingdom in Egypt, Palestine is named God’s Land (Toneter), or Divine (Holy) Land.(4) Abraham lived at the end of the Old Kingdom in Egypt; and documents from that time already refer to Palestine as God’s Land. But in early times, it was an astral god.
The meaning of the name Melchizedek is “Zedek is [My] King.” Zedek, as said, is the name of the planet Jupiter, remaining so in the astronomy of the Jews in later ages. In the Talmud Zedek refers to Jupiter.(5) Zedek also has the meaning of “righteousness” or “justice.” It is beyond the scope of this work to find which of the meanings—the name of the planet or a word in common usage—preceded and which followed. It is conceivable that this planet was worshipped in that remote time and that, in the days of the patriarch Abraham, the cult of Jupiter was prominent in the Salem of the high priest Melchizedek. Melchizedek, “priest of the most high,” was, it follows, a worshipper of Jupiter(6).
(1) For example, the time of the great catastrophes of the Exodus saw Moses leading the Israelites from Egypt, to revelations and a covenant with God. And the time of the great upheavals of the eighth and seventh century before this era heard the voice of Isaiah. In later centuries, religious reformers found an especially large and responsive following when they announced the approach of the end of the world, or the beginning of the Kingdom of God on Earth. Numerous instances may be cited, but the best known became the foundation of the religion of a large part of the Old and New World.
(2) Rabbi Berkjah, quoted in Bereshit Rabba XLIII.3, translated by A. Ravenna (Turin, 1978), p. 328.
(3) Genesis 14:17-18. [Salem is considered to be the site of the later Jerusalem. Before Joshua’s conquest of Jerusalem the king of that city bore the name Adonizedek, (Joshua 10:1,3), an indication of continuing Jupiter worship among the Jebusites.]
(4) In Ages in Chaos I have brought extensive material for the identification of the Divine Land with Palestine.
(5) Cf. W. M. Feldman, Rabbinical Mathematics and Astronomy (New York, 1931).
(6) Melchizedek, the priest-king of ancient Salem, plays an important part in Christian catechism. [The Epistle to the Hebrews 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:1ff. Cf. also F. Horton, The Melchizedek Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 1976).]
(d) The Problem of Melchizedek, by Professor M.M. Ninan, is interesting as well, but you can only read it on Adobe.
At any rate, the link between "Melchedizedek" and the planet Jupiter is established. And there are many other provocative links, such as that with Salem or Jerusalem.