Hebrews 7:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 7:8, NIV: In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living.

Hebrews 7:8, ESV: In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives.

Hebrews 7:8, KJV: And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

Hebrews 7:8, NASB: In this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on.

Hebrews 7:8, NLT: The priests who collect tithes are men who die, so Melchizedek is greater than they are, because we are told that he lives on.

Hebrews 7:8, CSB: In the one case, men who will die receive a tenth, but in the other case, Scripture testifies that he lives.

What does Hebrews 7:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The reference here is to Melchizedek, to whom the patriarch Abraham paid a tithe (Genesis 14:14–24). Melchizedek is described as both king and priest (Genesis 14:18), and this payment of a tithe symbolizes his superiority to Abraham. Verse 5 made mention of the tithes received by the Levitical priests—but also pointed out that they received these tithes from their fellow Israelites, and as a part of the Law of Moses. Melchizedek predates all of these, and so his tithe is more important. This point is part of the author's overall argument that the priesthood represented by Melchizedek is greater than that of Aaron, symbolizing the superiority of Jesus Christ as our superior means of salvation.

The reference to Melchizedek being "one of whom it is testified that he lives" has to be taken in the context of verse 3. There, it is pointed out that Melchizedek is given no genealogy; symbolically, then, he has neither a beginning or end, and no mother or father. This is not meant to be taken literally, and the Greek phrasing of this passage suggests that it's a figure of speech. The real point is in the analogy: that Jesus Christ fulfills the prediction made through the incident with Melchizedek, as our ultimate High Priest (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:17).