4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils.
5 And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham;
6 but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.
7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better.
8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.
9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak,
10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.
The writer now proceeds to show that Melchisedek was better than Abraham, in order that he might show that he was better than Levi, and thus better than Aaron. It follows therefore that if Melchisedek is superior to Aaron, his priesthood must be better than that of Aaron. Since that is the case, Messiah’s priesthood, being in the order of the priesthood of Melchisedek, must be better. That makes Messiah better than Aaron and, therefore, the New Testament He instituted, better than the First Testament, which Aaron was instrumental in bringing in. And that is the argument of the book of Hebrews, namely, that the new Testament in Jesus’ blood is superior to and takes the place of the First Testament in animal blood. — Hebrews in the Greek New Testament, by Kenneth S. Wuest, page 128
consider (v.4) — a critical, discriminating inspection
even the patriarch (v.4) — the father of the Jews, Abraham, considered Melchizedek superior (patriarch = first father)
spoils (v.4) = the top of the heap — the best of the things gained from the enemy — usually reserved for offerings to deity
tithes (v.5) — Numbers 18:28-30; Deuteronomy 14:22, 27-29
according to the law (v.5) — paying tithes to Levitical priests was an obligation under the law and, therefore, no acknowledgment of inferiority, but Abraham tithed to Melchizedek under no law
The words “they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood” are in the Greek text “those out of the sons of Levi who receive the office of priest.” There should not be a comma after Levi in the Authorized Version. The point is that not all the sons of Levi became priests, but only those who belonged to the family of Aaron. These were given a special injunction to take tithes of their brethren, even though the latter, like them, were descended from a common ancestor, Abraham. — Wuest, page 129.
whose geneology is not derived (v.6) — Melchizedek — He had no right to demand tithes, but he accepted them and gave Abraham his blessing . Both Abraham and Melchizedek recognized Melchizedek’s superiority.
received tithes/blessed (v.6) — both verbs have a tense that indicated permanence (of Christ’s priesthood)
promises (v.6) — Abraham received the covenant, but he is the receiver of blessing from Melchizedek
contradiction (v.7) = dispute — There is no room for dispute.
lesser (v.7) — in rank and office — Abraham was a prophet, Melchizedek was a priest and king
here (v.8) — the Levitical priesthood
there (v.8) — Genesis 14
mortal men (v.8) Melchizedek’s priesthood is superior because, unlike Levitical priests, its priest lives on
Levi (v.9) — The Levitical priesthood wasn’t better than, or a replacement for, Melchizedek’s, because Levi, in Abraham, paid tithes to Melchizedek
so to speak (v.9) — roughly speaking