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Abram and Melchizedek

From the August 1963 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Brief as was the encounter between Abram and Melchizedek, recorded directly in but three verses in Genesis (14: 18-20), it suggests something of the close spiritual relationship between these two great men, whose work was to influence strongly the development of Biblical thought.

The Salem over which Melchizedek ruled is generally agreed to have been synonymous with that famous city which reached its greatest fame under the title of Jerusalem—an identification suggested in Psalm 76:2. In outlining the history of Jerusalem, Josephus, that famous Jewish historian who lived during the first century of the Christian era, reports that "he who first built it was a potent man among the Canaanites, and is in our tongue called [Melchizedek], the Righteous King, for such he really was; on which account he was [there] the first priest of God, and first built a temple [there], and called the city Jerusalem, which was formerly called Salem."

Since Josephus' records are generally accepted as substantially correct, his words may be taken as casting further light upon the position held by this somewhat shadowy personage Melchizedek, upon his historicity, and upon the obvious respect with which his contemporary, Abram, regarded him.

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