Originally Posted by Drac
John Taylor taught that he was Shem. Bruce R. McConkie that he was a descendant of Noah, not his son.
I lean towards agreeing with my friend Brucie McConkie, as D&C 84:14 supports: Which Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek, who received it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah;
If Noah were his father I don't think it would say, "who received it through the lineage of his fathers", it would just say, who received it from his father, Noah.
The idea of him being Shem is likely from the book of Jasher, 16:11-12 which says:
And Adonizedek king of Jerusalem, the same was Shem, went out with his men to meet Abram and his people, with bread and wine, and they remained together in the valley of Melech.
And Adonizedek blessed Abram, and Abram gave him a tenth from all that he had brought from the spoil of his enemies, for Adonizedek was a priest before God.
Interesting... Orlov notes in his book The Enoch-Matatron Tradition some interesting things and correspondences with Noah and Melchizedek as well. Here is a minor section (pp. 310-316) Yes, I have his permission to quote this:
Scholars have previously noted that Melchisedek’s birth in 2 Enoch bears certain parallels with the birth of Noah in 1 Enoch and in the Genesis Apocryphon.61 The Melchisedek narrative occupies the last chapters of 2 Enoch. It should be noted that initially this part of the apocalypse was considered to be an interpolation in the text of 2 Enoch. The earlier publications of Charles, Morfill, and Bonwetsch62 argued that 2 Enoch 69- 73 was a kind of appendix and did not belong to the main body of the text. Since then this view has been corrected, and these chapters are now considered as an integral part of the text.63
The content of the Melchisedek account is connected with the family of Nir. Sothonim, the wife of Nir, gave birth to a miraculous child “in her old age,” right “on the day of her death.” She conceived the child, “being sterile” and “without having slept with her husband.” The text relates that
————— ... and his eyes (were) beautiful; and when he opened his eyes, he made the whole house bright like the sun so that the whole house was exceptionally bright. And when he was taken from the hands of the midwife, he opened his mouth and spoke to the Lord of Righteousness. And his father Lamech was afraid of him....” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.244.
60 Scholars have previously remarked that these features of Noah’s story reflect priestly imagery. See Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 33ff. This connection will be investigated later.
61 M. Delcor, “Melchisedek from Genesis to the Qumran Texts and the Epistle to the Hebrews,” JSJ 2 (1971) 129; idem, “La naissance merveilleuse de Melchisédeq d’après l’Hénoch slave,” Kecharitomene: Mélanges René Laurentin (ed. C. Augustin et al.; Paris: Desclée, 1990) 217–229; M. Mach, Entwicklungsstadien des jüdischen Engelglaubens in vorrabbinischer Zeit (TSAJ 34; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1992) 236, footnote 340; G. W. E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981) 185; A. de Santos Otero, “Libro de los secretos de Henoc (Henoc eslavo),” in: Apocrifos del Antiguo Testamento (ed. A. Dies Macho; Madrid: Ediciones Christiandad, 1984) 4.199; R. Stichel, Die Namen Noes, seines Bruders und seiner Frau. Ein Beitrag zum Nachleben jüdischer Überlieferungen in der außerkanonischen und gnostischen Literatur und in Denkmälern der Kunst (AAWG.PH 3. Folge 112; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1979) 42–54.
62 R. H. Charles and W. R. Morfill, The Book of the Secrets of Enoch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896); G. N. Bonwetsch, Das slavische Henochbuch (AGWG 1; Berlin, 1896).
63 For a detailed discussion of the subject, see A. Orlov, “Melchisedek Legend of 2 (Slavonic) Enoch,” JSJ 31 (2000) 23–38.
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Nir the priest had not slept with her from the day that the Lord had appointed him before the face of the people. Therefore, Sothonim hid herself during all the days of her pregnancy. On the day she was to give birth, Nir remembered his wife and called her to himself in the temple. She came to him, and he saw that she was pregnant. Nir, filled with shame, wanted to cast her away from him, but she died at his feet. Melchisedek was born from Sothonim’s corpse. When Nir and Noah came in to bury Sothonim, they saw the child sitting beside the corpse with “his clothing on him.” According to the story, they were terrified because the child, marked by the sign of priesthood, was fully developed physically. The child spoke and blessed the Lord. The story mentions that the badge of priesthood was on his chest, glorious in appearance. Nir and Noah dressed the child in the garments of priesthood and fed him holy bread. They decided to hide him, fearing that the people would have him put to death. Finally, the Lord commanded His archangel Gabriel to take the child and place him in the paradise of Eden, so that he might become the high priest after the Flood. The final passages of the short recension describe the ascent of Melchisedek on the wings of Gabriel to the paradise of Eden.
The details of Noah’s birth correspond at several points with the Melchisedek story:
1. Both Noah and Melchisedek belong to the circle of Enoch’s family. 2. Both characters are attested as survivors of the Flood. 3. Both characters have an important mission in the postdiluvian era. 4. Both characters are portrayed as glorious wonder-children.
5. Both characters are depicted as ones born by autogenesis, i.e. fully developed physically at birth.64
6. Immediately after their birth, both characters speak to the Lord. According to 1 Enoch 106:3, “when he (Noah) arose from the hands of the midwife, he opened his mouth and spoke to the Lord with righteousness.” In 2 Enoch 71:19 we read that “he [Melchisedek] spoke with his lips, and he blessed the Lord.”65
7. Both characters are suspected of being of divine/angelic lineage.
M. Delcor notes that Lamech’s affirmation in the beginning of the Genesis Apocryphon, “Behold, then I thought in my heart that the conception was the work of the Watchers and the pregnancy of the Holy Ones....” can be compared with the words of Noah in 2 Enoch uttered at the time of the examination of Melchisedek: “This is of the Lord, my brother.”66
————— 64 Crispin Fletcher-Louis observes that “the characterization of Melchizedek, as one
born by autogenesis, who is ‘fully developed physically’ at birth (ch 71), recalls traditions associated with the angelomorphic Noah....” Fletcher-Louis, Luke-Acts, 155.
65 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 207.
66 Delcor, “Melchisedek from Genesis to the Qumran Texts and the Epistle to the Hebrews,” 129.
316 Polemical Developments
8. Their fathers were suspicious of the conception of their sons and the faithfulness of their wives.67 In 1 Enoch 106 and the Genesis Apocryphon, Lamech is worried and frightened about the birth of Noah, his son. Lamech suspects that his wife Bathenosh has been unfaithful to him and that “the conception was (the work) of the Watchers and the pregnancy of the Holy Ones, and it belonged to the Nephil[in].”68 The motif of Lamech’s suspicion about the unfaithfulness of Bathenosh69 found in 1 Enoch and the Genesis Apocryphon seems to correspond to Nir’s worry about the unfaithfulness of Sothonim: “And Nir saw her, and he became very ashamed about her. And he said to her, ‘What is this that you have done, O wife? And why have you disgraced me in front of the face of all people? And now, depart from me, go where you conceived the disgrace of your womb.’”70
9. Their mothers were ashamed and tried to defend themselves against the accusation of their husbands. In the Genesis Apocryphon, the wife of Lamech responds to the angry questions of her husband by reminding him of their intimacies: “Oh my brother and lord! remember my sexual pleasure... [...] in the heat of intercourse, and the gasping of my breath in my breast.”71 She swears that the seed was indeed of Lamech: “I swear to you by the Great Holy One, by the King of the hea[vens...]...[...] that this seed comes from you, [...] and not from any foreigner nor from any of the watchers or sons of heav[en].”72 In 2 Enoch Sothonim does not explain the circumstances of the conception. She answers Nir: “O my lord! Behold, it is the time of my old age, and there was not in me any (ardor of) youth and I do not know how the indecency of my womb has been conceived.”73
10. Their fathers were eventually comforted by the special revelation about the prominent future role of their sons in the postdiluvian era. It is noteworthy that this information is given in both cases in the context of the revelation about the destruction of the earth by the Flood. In 1 Enoch 106:16–18 we read: “And this son who has been born unto you shall be left upon the earth, and his three sons shall be saved when they who are upon
————— 67 George Nickelsburg observes that the miraculous circumstances surrounding
Melchisedek’s conception and birth are reminiscent of the Noah story in 1 Enoch, although the suspicion of Nir is more closely paralleled in the version of the Noah story in the Genesis Apocryphon. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah, 188.
68 García Martínez and Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 1.29
69 On this motif, see: Nickelsburg, “Patriarchs Who Worry About Their Wives: A Haggadic Tendency in the Genesis Apocryphon,” 137–158.
70 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 205. 71 García Martínez and Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 1.29 72 García Martínez and Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 1.29–31. 73 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 205.
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the earth are dead.”74 In 2 Enoch 71:29–30 the father is told: “And this child will not perish along with those who are perishing in this generation, as I have revealed it, so that Melchisedek will be ... the head of the priests of the future.”75
One cannot fail to note a host of interesting resemblances between the birth of Noah in the pseudepigrapha and the birth of Melchisedek in 2 Enoch. The author of 2 Enoch wants to diminish the extraordinary nature of Noah’s person and transfer these qualities to Melchisedek. The text therefore can be seen as a set of polemical improvisations on the original Noachic themes.