Paul: Can you explain why you don't acknowledge what is written in verses 22-23.
Russ: It cover it in my 288 page book, not in my 10 page short essay summary. It is free online as a pdf file and free on my web site.
Paul: It is recorded that Abram made some kind of vow or agreement with God about the allotment of the spoil. This theory is stronger than your pagan culture theory.
Russ: My pagan culture theory is based on what happened in Genesis 14:21 which YOU skipped over. I found it in the Southern Baptist dominated Wycliffe Bible Commentary and several other sources. I did not originate it. If the 90% of 14:21 were controlled by pagan custom, then the 10% of verse 20 should be also. I quote several other commentaries in my book to show this contradiction.
Paul: Even though there is no recorded demand for a tenth, we can conclude some type of pledge was made by Abram.
Russ: The pledge was Abram's way of confirming that God could and would bless him by faith and not by his own works. In the last half of Genesis 12 Abraham became even more wealthy when he actually lied about his sister to Pharaoh.
Paul: On that basis, how did you come up with this eis-egetical interpretation of a pagan tradition?
Russ: Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Nelson's Bible Dictionary and International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Also see the extensive research by another person which follows my Essay on page one of my web site. It is not new.
Paul: Why do you exclude the "God" element when you are reaching your conclusion?
Russ: In Numbers God gave Moses a statute/ordinance which limited tithes from spoils of war to one per cent and one tenth of one per cent. That is the God element. It is described in my book which you have not read. They were never equated with the holy tithes from inside Israel. Why do you ignore that fact?
Paul: Circumstantial evidence is a collection of facts that, when considered together, can be used to infer a conclusion about something unknown. That may work in a court room, but not when it comes to exegeting God's word.
Russ: I am confident that my arguments will stand up in any court --civil or religious.
Paul: Since you are an exegete, why is that you don't follow the principle of exegesis. Exegesis - The act of establishing meaning of a text from the text itself.
Russ: I do. The text itself does not say WHY Abram gave a tithe of pagan spoils of war to a priest-king. The text itself does not say WHO El-Elyon was in Canaan. The text itself does not reveal that Zedek was the name of Jupiter in Canaan. Why do you ignore the proven theology of Canaan which has been found by many researchers? Abraham was living in a pagan land and had to obey some pagan customs. He could not pass through a priest-king's territory and ignore his rules.
Paul: Secondly, why is so hard for you to except what the bible says in Heb 7. that Paul, the author of the book of Hebrews, in recounting Gen. 14: 17-20 considered the Levitical priest who descended from Abraham and who appeared centuries later as having paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham.
Russ: Again read my book. The tithing command of Hebrews 7:5 was "of necessity changed" in 7:12 and that "change" was its "annulment" in 7:18. To me that is extremely clear!
Paul: Why would Paul connect the two dispensations? If Abram did something paganistic why would Paul mention him as an example to the Hebrews?
Russ: Paul is contrasting the "historical" Melchizedek of Genesis 14 with the "Messianic" Melchizedek of Psalm 110 and the "typical" Melchizedek of Hebrews 7. It was the OFFICE of the historical Melchizedek which was typical --his office was that of king-priest. He was only the king of righteous "by interpretation of his name."
Paul: You attribute Abram actions as following Pagan practices.
Russ: God can and does change pagan types to refer to holy things.
(1) To the Canaanite El-Elyon was a well known god around the world of Abraham's time. Abraham recognized that the real El-Elyon was actually Yahweh.
(2) In the OT God revealed himself to Israel primarily as Yahweh. In the NT God reveals himself as El Elyon, God most high TO ALL NATIONS.
(3) The brass serpent became a symbol of salvation in Moses' time. Acknowledge your sins.
(4) Cyrus of Persia is called "my servant."
(5) The Babylonian army in Habakkuk is God's army to punish Israel.
(6) The CROSS of shame is now a symbol of victory.
You, my friend, do not understand how the Bible uses TYPOLOGY.