Melchizedek in 11Q13 (11QMelch)
Translation of of 11Q 13 (11QMelch) Col. II
(...) And concerning what Scripture says, “In this year of Jubilee you shall return, everyone ofyou, to your property” (Lev. 25;13) And what is also written; “And this is the manner of the remission; every creditor shall remit the claim that is held against a neighbor, not exacting it of a neighbor who is a member of the community, because God’s remission has been proclaimed” (Deut.15;2) the interpretation is that it applies to the Last Days and concerns the captives, just as Isaiah said: “To proclaim the Jubilee to the captives” (Isa. 61;1) (...) just as (...) and from the inheritance of Melchizedek, for (... Melchizedek) , who will return them to what is rightfully theirs. He will proclaim to them the Jubilee, thereby releasing them from the debt of all their sins. He shall proclaim this decree in the first week of the jubilee period that follows nine jubilee periods.
Then the “Day of Atonement” shall follow after the tenth jubilee period, when he shall atone for all the Sons of Light, and the people who are predestined to Melchizedek. (...) upon them (...) For this is the time decreed for the “Year of Melchizedek`s favor,” and by his might he will judge God’s holy ones and so establish a righteous kingdom, as it is written about him in the Songs of David ; “A godlike being has taken his place in the council of God; in the midst of divine beings he holds judgment”
Ps. 82;1). Scripture also says about him ; “Over it take your seat in the highest heaven; A divine being will judge the peoples” (Ps. 7;7-8) Concerning what scripture says; “How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality with the wicked? Selah” (Ps. 82;2) ,the interpretation applies to Belial and the spirits predestined to him, because all of them have rebelled, turning from God’s precepts and so becoming utterly wicked. Therefore Melchizedek will thoroughly prosecute the vengeance required by God’s statutes. Also, he will deliver all the captives from the power of Belial, and from the power of all the spirits destined to him. Allied with him will be all the “righteous divine beings”(Isa. 61;3).
(The ...) is that whi(ch ...all) the divine beings. The visitation is the Day of Salvation that He has decreed through Isaiah the prophet concerning all the captives, inasmuch as Scripture says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion “Your divine being reigns.”” (Isa. 52;7) This scriptures interpretation : “the mountains” are the prophets, they who were sent to proclaim God’s truth and to prophesy to all Israel. “The messengers” is the Anointed of the spirit, of whom Daniel spoke; “After the sixty-two weeks, an Anointed shall be cut off” (Dan. 9;26) The “messenger who brings good news, who announces Salvation” is the one of whom it is written; “to proclaim the year of the LORD`s favor, the day of the vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn” (Isa. 61;2)
This scripture’s interpretation: he is to instruct them about all the periods of history for eternity (... and in the statutes) of the truth. (...) (.... dominion) that passes from Belial and returns to the Sons of Light (....) (...) by the judgment of God, just as t is written concerning him; “who says to Zion “Your divine being reigns” (Isa. 52;7) “Zion” is the congregation of all the sons of righteousness, who uphold the covenant and turn from walking in the way of the people. “Your divine being” is Melchizedek, who will deliver them from the power of Belial. Concerning what scripture says, “Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; in the seventh month . . . “ (Lev. 25;9)
II MELCHIZEDEK IN THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS
11QMELCHIZEDEK (11Q13): SOME INTERPRETATIONS
The Dead Sea Scroll 11QMelch has become such an important witness to pre-Christian Jewish speculation on Melchizedek that it has had many interpretations. Let us examine some of them to get a better picture of what this fragmentary Hebrew text says. Thus, according to Kobelski (1981: pp. 5-23), Melchizedek is featured as a heavenly end-time redeemer, with attributes of the archangel of Michael, as depicted in the UB.He appears in the tenth and final jubilee of world history to rescue the elect, the “men of the lot of Melchizedek,” doing battle with Belial and his fellow evil spirits. Melchizedek’s triumph is described as a high-priestly act of “expiation.”
Hebrew Streams abstracting from different sources (Geza Vermes, 1997: 500; Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Edward Cook, 1996: 455; and Carol Newsom, 1985: 37), complementing with other Qumran texts, sees the author of the 11QMelch featuring Melchizedek as having heavenly origins and being the chief angelic priest, yet we remain without knowing how divine he is or how close he is to God:
The author of 11 QMelch says that the agent of the future jubilee salvation will be a heavenly deliverer: Melchizedek. In this text, he is an exalted divine being, to whom are applied biblical titles generally reserved for God alone: the Hebrew nouns El and Elohim (though they are also applied to angelic or divine beings a few times.) The mysterious king-priest of Salem stands in the place of God in the final judgment.
In the author’s citation of Isaiah 61:2 (which speaks of “the year of the LORD’s favor”) the name Melchizedek is substituted for YHVH, the name of Israel’s God. Also, Melchizedek is said to atone for the sins of the righteous and to execute judgment usually associated with God himself upon the wicked’s actions . The author also quotes Psalm 82:1 (“Elohim stands in the council of El”) but inserts “Melchizedek” in place of “Elohim” (God). ...
Melchizedek ... also presides over the final judgment and condemnation of his demonic counterpart: Belial, Satan, the Prince of Darkness. In other documents from Qumran this being is called “Melchiresha.” His name Melchi-resha (“king of wickedness/wicked king”) darkly mirrors that of Melchi-zedek (4Q280 “Curses of Melchiresha”; 4Q544 “Testament of Amram”). (The spelling “Melchi-” versus the Hebrew “Malchi-” is due to the influence of the Septuagint Greek Bible on English spellings.)
In the mystical Qumran documents known as “Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice” (originally called “The Angelic Liturgy”), Melchizedek appears to be a superior angel. The texts are broken up too badly to be sure of this identification (4Q401 11:3; 22:3). But what is certain is that the “Songs” depict a hierarchy of angelic priests who serve in the heavenly temple. They are surrounded by other divine beings known as elim or elohim (gods, divine beings) or holy ones, spirits, princes, and ministers.
In the so-called “War Scroll” (1QM 13:10; 16:6-8; 17:7), Melchizedek is “the prince of light” (1QM 13:10-11; cf. 1QS 2:20-22; CD 5:17-19) and “the angel of [God’s] truth” (1QS 3:24). According to the UB (p.514), Melchizedek acts Planetary "prince" in behalf of Michael. But he also resembles Michael's archangel.
Delcor (1971: 124-125) states that in 11QMelch:
Melchizedek appears as an eschatological saviour who has a heritage. His mission is to bring back at the end of days the exiles to announce to them their liberation and the expiation of their sins. The fragment here takes up in part Is. 61,1 which Luke applies to Jesus (cf. Luke 4,18), Melchizedek appears as a celestial being who stands in the assembly of God and on this occasion will judge among the heavenly ones. He participates in the vengeance of the judgment of God. Here we find (though with some modifications) taken up Ps, 82,1 and Is.,61,2. Melchizedek is helped by the celestial armies in his struggle against Belial and his angels.
There are other references by scholars on the Melchizedek priesthood in the Dead Sea Scrolls:
Florentino Garcia Martinez (1966) states that “Elohim will stand up in the assembly of God, in the midst of the gods he judges... all the sons of God, and he will preside over this assembly...” [called “the sons of justice”], and Melchizedek himself will free them [the deniers, or the “rebels”], from Belial. So Melchizedek takes the lead in helping the rebellious ones repent and come back to the “Zion” of God in the Dead Sea Scroll texts (p. 139f).
John J. Collins (1995) says that the “sons of El,” are, to be sure, “most often heavenly beings in the Hebrew Bible, examples include Genesis 6, Psalms 82, Deut. 32:8-9...” (p. 161). Collins also notes that in 11QMelch “Michael, Melchizedek, and the Prince of Light were three names for the same figure.” (p. 176).
S. Van Der Woude (1965) discusses the heavenly Melchizedek and his prominent place, as well as the close ties with The Archangel [of] Michael.He also deals with the assembly of the Gods and their discussion among themselves.
In short, among other attributes, Melchizedek is called a “heavenly deliverer,” a “divine or celestial being” who “execute(s) judgment upon the wicked’s actions,”who “presides over the final judgment of his demonic counterpart,” who is the Archangel of Michael or even Michael himself.Like Melchizedek, Jesus is described as the eschatological judge of the last days (Acts 17:31; 10:42 and John 5:27).