Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 11

Genesis 14:1-24   -   Isaiah 41:2-14;  1 Kings 10:9   -   Psalm 10   -   Hebrews 7:1-19


Sivan 18, 5761 / June   9, 2001

Sivan 16, 5764 / June   5, 2004     

Sivan 16, 5767 / June   2, 2007

Sivan 16, 5770 / May 29, 2010

Sivan 16, 5773 / May 25, 2013

Sivan 19, 5776 / June 25, 2016

Sivan 19, 5779 / June 22, 2019


B'yamei Amraphel / In the Days of Amraphel   SCRIPTURES should be read first



ELLASAR                                                             Way east of Sea of Galilee


ELAM . . . . . . . .


Gomorrah                                                             Near SE Dead Sea




Six other nations


Avram defeats terror in Iraq! The year was 2023 AM, and he was 75 years old.


Near the Persian Gulf, in today’s southern Iraq, there were four nations, each having kings. They were:

Amraphel (Nimrod)             King of Shinar,

Arioch                                  King of Ellasar,

Tidal                                    King of Goiim / Nations

Chedorlaomer (a Shemite)  King of Elam,

(Chedorlaomer means ‘Until the time of the Omer.’)


Five cities of the plains, near the Dead Sea, served Chedorlaomer for twelve years. These five cities were represented by the names of the two predominant ones, “Sodom and Gomorrah”. These cities and their kings were:

Bera            King of Sodom,

Birsha         King of Gomorrah,

Shinab        King of Admah,

Shemeber   King of Zeboiim,

(unnamed)  King of Bela (that is, Zoar)

 (Bela means ‘Insignificant’; it was southeast of the Dead Sea.)

These five served King Chedorlaomer until the thirteenth year, and then they rebelled.


In the fourteenth year, the kings of the four nations went to war and defeated six other nations and then the five kings of the cities of the plains. Lot and his family, who were living in Sodom, were taken captive.


Avram, upon hearing of this, took 318 of his trained servants, and went out and defeated all four nations, and safely brought back Lot with his family.


Today’s Psalm 10 is fitting, as usual.

(V. 17-18) O Yahweh, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.


So, Chedorlaomer reigned until the time of the Omer – the tithe of the Ephah. Then Avram the Hebrew (v.13) – the one from the other side of the dispersion of nations – put an end to the reign of terror in Iraq, and paid the tithe of the spoil.


Tithing neither began with the Levites, nor with Avram. It is part of firstfruits – from creation: “Because of the things called first, God created the heavens and the earth” (see Commentary Y1-01). A tithe of all of the grain crops was due by the last / fiftieth day of counting the omer.


Originally, the priesthood was held by the firstborn, though some, through sin, lost that birthright. God would later take the Levites for priests in place of the firstborn (Numbers 3:12). A priest’s duty is to maintain God’s standard of righteousness, to lead people in repentance and proper worship.


Avram would be expected to have learned the rules about tithing from his priest.


Hebrews 7

We read in Genesis 11:17-20 that Avram paid tithes to Melchizedek. In Psalm 110:4 we read that Messiah would be a “Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”. Hebrews 7 uses these two Scriptures to show the legitimacy of Yeshua’s priesthood.


First, we need to understand that Melchizedek is not a name. It is a title made up of two Hebrew words: Malchi – ruler, and Tzedek – righteousness. The person who rules in matters of righteousness is the priest; the person who makes rulings in matters of making peace with God is the priest.


Some Gnostic sects of the first century believed that Melchizedek was Messiah. Some of Christendom hold the view that he was a preincarnation of Messiah: Armstrongites are quite adamant about this. Some English Bible translations might, on the surface, seem to say that: KJV Hebrews 7:1-3 reads, “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.


In Hebrew understanding, when the Torah leaves something out, then there is intended significance. The writer of Hebrews was writing to Hebrew believers, explaining how Yeshua was High Priest, though not descended from Levi. The argument is that, since neither father, mother, genealogy, nor time of death are noted, then the silence was prefiguring the priest to come: the eternal Messiah Priest.


To be a Levitical priest, one must have an absolute traceable lineage. The Ruler of Righteousness and Ruler of Peace (Melchizedek) in our text was without specified father or specified mother, without traceable lineage, and without specified time of death: this was not the case with Levitical priests. Thus he prophetically pictured the coming Messiah, Who was from the beginning, and Who is eternal, though not of the order of Levi.


Halley's Bible Handbook says:

What is the meaning of 'without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life'? Not that it was actually so, but that it appeared so in the Old Testament Records. Levitical Priests were Priests Because of their Genealogy. But Melchizedek, Without Genealogy, was the Recognized Priest of the Human Race at that time. Hebrew tradition is that Shem, who was still alive in the days of Abraham, and, as far is as known, Oldest Living Man at the time, was Melchizedek. A mysterious, solitary picture and type, in the dim past, of the Coming Eternal Priest-King” (p. 652).


The text says that Yeshua was not “after the order of Aaron” (v.12), but “after the order (Hebrew Dibrah – manner or cause for choosing) of Melchizedek” (v.17): “after the order of” indicates that Avram’s Melchizedek and Yeshua were not one and the same. And being “made like (Greek aphomoiomenos) unto the Son of God” (v.3) always means a distinct identity: Avram’s Melchizedek was pictured in the Torah as a prophetic likeness, for our understanding of Yeshua.


In other words: Yeshua was of the priestly order of the firstborn; He is the firstborn of every creature (Colossians 1:15).


Ancient Hebrew scholars have held that Avram’s Melchidezek was Shem. That is because Shem was in the lineage of the firstborn, and Shem was oldest of the line alive during all of Avram’s life.


While the subjects of tithing and of Melchisedek are sources of many discussions, we would like to see more careful Scripture research and less emotion-based argument.


The important point in Hebrews 7 is that Yeshua is our eternal High Priest: that means that He is the proper authority to lead us in repentance, to lead us in righteousness, to lead our worship.



"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."


Reader 1* Amen 1And it came about in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, 2 that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 3 All these came as allies to the valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea).

 Reader 2* Amen 4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim and the Zuzim in Ham and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their Mount Seir, as far as El-paran, which is by the wilderness.

 Reader 3* Amen 7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and conquered all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, who lived in Hazazon-tamar. 8 And the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they arrayed for battle against them in the valley of Siddim, 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim and Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar-- four kings against five.

 Reader 4* Amen 10 Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell into them. But those who survived fled to the hill country. 11 Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply, and departed. 12 They also took Lot, Avram's nephew, and his possessions and departed, for he was living in Sodom.

 Reader 5* Amen 13 Then a fugitive came and told Avram the Hebrew. Now he was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner, and these were allies with Abram. 14 When Avram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people.

 Reader 6* Amen 17 Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him and said, "Blessed be Avram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." He gave him a tenth of all.

 Reader 7* Amen 21 The king of Sodom said to Avram, "Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself." 22 Avram said to the king of Sodom, "I have sworn to Yahweh God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, 'I have made Avram rich. 24 "I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share."


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."



"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."

Isaiah 41:2-14

Reader 8* Amen 2 "Who has aroused one from the east Whom He calls in righteousness to His feet? He delivers up nations before him and subdues kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, as the wind-driven chaff with his bow. 3 "He pursues them, passing on in safety, by a way he had not been traversing with his feet. 4 "Who has performed and accomplished it, calling forth the generations from the beginning? 'I, Yahweh, am the first, and with the last. I am He.'" 5 The coastlands have seen and are afraid; the ends of the earth tremble; they have drawn near and have come. 6 Each one helps his neighbor and says to his brother, "Be strong!" 7 So the craftsman encourages the smelter, and he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, saying of the soldering, "It is good"; and he fastens it with nails, so that it will not totter.

 Reader 9* Amen 8 "But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham My friend, 9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts and said to you, 'You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. 10 'Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' 11 "Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. 12 "You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent. 13 "For I am Yahweh your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you.' 14 "Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you," declares Yahweh, "and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.


1 Kings 10:9

Reader 10* Amen "Blessed be Yahweh your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel; because Yahweh loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness."


Psalm 10   (to be sung)

Why do You stand afar off, O Yahweh? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?  2 In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.  3 For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire, and the greedy man curses and spurns Yahweh.  4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, "There is no God."  5 His ways prosper at all times; Your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his adversaries, he snorts at them.  6 He says to himself, "I will not be moved; throughout all generations I will not be in adversity."  7 His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.  8 He sits in the lurking places of the villages; in the hiding places he kills the innocent; his eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate.  9 He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair; he lurks to catch the afflicted; he catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net.  10 He crouches, he bows down, and the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones.  11 He says to himself, "God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it."  12 Arise, O Yahweh; O God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the afflicted.  13 Why has the wicked spurned God? He has said to himself, "You will not require it."  14 You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan.  15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer, seek out his wickedness until You find none.  16 Yahweh is King forever and ever; nations have perished from His land.  17 O Yahweh, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear  18 to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.


Hebrews 7:1-19

Reader 11* Amen 1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. 3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually. 4 Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils.

Reader 12* Amen 5 And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest's office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham. 6 But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises. 7 But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8 In this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on. 9 And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

Reader 13* Amen 11 Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. 13 For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.

Reader 14* Amen 15 And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek,

 16 who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is attested of Him, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”  18 For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."

© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)