Hebrews 7:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 7:5, NIV: Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people--that is, from their fellow Israelites--even though they also are descended from Abraham.

Hebrews 7:5, ESV: And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham.

Hebrews 7:5, KJV: And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

Hebrews 7:5, NASB: And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have a commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their countrymen, although they are descended from Abraham.

Hebrews 7:5, NLT: Now the law of Moses required that the priests, who are descendants of Levi, must collect a tithe from the rest of the people of Israel, who are also descendants of Abraham.

Hebrews 7:5, CSB: The sons of Levi who receive the priestly office have a command according to the law to collect a tenth from the people--that is, from their brothers and sisters--though they have also descended from Abraham.

What does Hebrews 7:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This section of Scripture pulls together several ideas into one somewhat complex argument. The overall point is that Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18) is a greater figure than Abraham, and by extension, a greater figure than the priests of the Old Testament nation of Israel. Melchizedek received a tithe from Abraham, although Melchizedek came long before the Levitical priesthood and was not part of Abraham's family. This proves that Abraham was a lesser figure than Melchizedek, and he was well aware of it.

The priests of the Old Covenant also received tithes, but they did so from their fellow Israelites. This was all done under the priesthood of Aaron, which the author will go on to discuss in more detail. Even they, however, paid a tithe to Melchizedek, in a manner of thinking, since they are descendants of Abraham (Hebrews 7:10). And so, the tithe given by Abraham to Melchizedek is more important, and more meaningful, than the one collected by the priests of Israel under the law of Moses.