“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 descended from Abraham.”
Even though the author of our book is focusing on the Aaronic priesthood, he gets to them in a roundabout way. Numbers 18:21 gives the instructions for collecting the priestly tithes from the Jewish nation. How does this affect the special family of Aaron? The Levites were then instructed to give one-tenth of their one-tenth to the family of Aaron. So those who received the priestly office (Aaron’s family) were paid tithes from the people even though not directly.
This tithe was to provide payment for the entire Levitical family for the services they performed on behalf of their brethren. When we look back at the action between Melchizedek and Abraham, we must focus on why is Melchizedek is receiving the tithe.
Task for Today: See if you can figure where our author is taking us. What is his argument, and why do you think God set it up this way? How does the paying of the tithes help us to understand the priesthood of Jesus? Hint: Which priesthood was the superior one, Melchizedek’s or Aaron’s?