“One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham.”
The author of Hebrews has one goal at this point. It is to prove that the Melchizedekian priesthood is superior to the one given under the law. As we will see, this has wide implications for the entire Jewish system of approaching God. It also paves the way for non-Jews to approach God, and that is a major consideration for the early church.
The priestly system organized under the Law drew its support from the rest of the Hebrew nation in the form of tithes. The Levites were given tithes of a tenth by the other tribes, and they, in turn, gave a tenth of what they received to the Aaronic high priest family. The Hebrew writer links this arrangement to Abraham, noting that the Levitical tithes came from the descendants of Abraham. By tying the tithes to Abraham, our writer is able to connect the tithes Abraham paid to Melchizedek.
One can’t say that Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek, but notice, “One might even say that Levi” did. The Jewish nation felt strong ties to Abraham, and the author is taking advantage of that to remind them that there is a connection with Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedek. If Melchizedek priesthood was receiving tithes from Abraham, then that proved that it was a superior priesthood.
Task for Today: Get the connection of Christ to Melchizedek and Melchizedek to the Jews. Christ is the superior priest, as was Melchizedek. Tithes and all that means is due Christ. Today be sure you are paying your tithes to the superior priest who intercedes for you. If you aren’t currently paying tithes, then begin today. It is a very old system instituted by God.