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NEITHER the father nor mother of this Melchizedek were written down in the genealogies; not that he had no natural parents5, but that p. 34 they were not written down. The greater number of the doctors say that he was of the seed of Canaan, whom Noah cursed. In the book of Chronography, however, (the author) affirms and says that he was of the seed of Shem the son of Noah. Shem begat Arphaxar, Arphaxar begat Cainan, and Cainan begat Shâlâh and Mâlâh, Shâlâh was written down in the genealogies; but Mâlâh was not, because his affairs were not sufficiently important to be written down in the genealogies. When p. 35 Noah died, he commanded Shem concerning the bones of Adam, for they were with them in the ark, and were removed from the land of Eden to this earth. Then Shem entered the ark, and sealed it with his father's seal, and said to his brethren, 'My father commanded me to go and see the sources of the rivers and the seas and the structure of the earth, and to return.' And he said to Mâlâh the father of Melchizedek, and to Yôzâdâk his mother, 'Give me your son that he may be with me, and behold, my wife and my children are with you.' Melchizedek's parents said to him, 'My lord, take thy servant; and may the angel of peace be with thee, and protect thee from wild beasts and desolation of the earth.' Shem went by night into the ark, and took Adam's coffin; and he sealed up the ark, saying to his brethren, 'My father commanded me that no one should go into it.' And he journeyed by night with the angel before him, and Melchizedek with him, until they came and stood upon the spot where our Lord was crucified. When they had laid the coffin down there, the earth was rent in the form of a cross1, and swallowed up the coffin, and was again sealed up and returned to its former condition. Shem laid his hand upon Melchizedek's head, and blessed him, and delivered to him the priesthood, and commanded him to dwell there until the end of his life. And he said to him, 'Thou shalt not drink wine nor any intoxicating liquor, neither shall a razor pass over thy head; thou shalt not offer up to God an offering of beasts, but only fine flour and olive oil and wine; thou shalt not build a house for thyself; and may the God of thy fathers be with thee.' And Shem returned to his brethren, and Melchizedek's parents said to him, 'Where is our son?' Shem said, 'He died while he was with me on the way, and I buried him;' and they mourned for him a month of days; but Melchizedek dwelt in that place until he died. When he was old, the kings of the earth heard his fame, and eleven of them gathered together and came to see him; and they entreated him to go with them, but he would not be persuaded. And when he did not conform to their wishes, they built a city for him there, and he called it Jerusalem; and the kings said to one another, 'This is the king of all the earth, and the father of nations.' When Abraham came p. 36 back from the battle of the kings and the nations, he passed by the mount of Jerusalem; and Melchizedek came forth to meet him, and Abraham made obeisance to Melchizedek, and gave him tithes of all that he had with him. And Melchizedek embraced him and blessed him, and gave him bread and wine from that which he was wont to offer up as an offering.
3 Chap. xxii in the Oxford MS.
4 Gen. xiv. 18-24; Heb. chap. vii.
5 p. 34 'And Melchizedek was honoured by them all, and was called "Father of Kings." Because of that which the Apostle spake, "His days had no beginning, and his life no end," simple folk have imagined that he was not a man at all, and in their error have said of him that he was God. Far from it, that his days had no beginning and his life no end. For when Shem the son of Noah took him away from his parents, not a word was said how old he was when he went up from the east, nor in how many years his departure from this world took place; because he was the son of Mâlâkh, the son of Arphaxar, the son of Shem, and not the son of one of the patriarchs; for the Apostle has said that no one of his father's family ministered at the altar, and the name of his father is not written down in the genealogies, because Matthew and Luke the Evangelists wrote down the names of the patriarchs only, and hence neither the name of his father nor that of his mother are known. The Apostle then did not say that he had no parents, but only that they were not written down by Matthew and Luke in the genealogies.' Bezold, Die Schatzhöhle, p. 36; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 26 b, col. 1, line 22 to fol. 27 a, col. 1, line 5. In A, on fol. 39 a, a marginal note says: 'Know, O my brother readers, that in the manuscript belonging to the priest Makbal I have seen that Melchizedek's father was called Harklêîm, and his mother Shêlâthêîl (Salathiel).'
1 See also Bezold, Die Schatzhöhle, p. 28.