Abstract

Contrary to many scholars who argue or assume that the mysterious figure Melchizedek in 11QMelchizedek should be identified as an angel, perhaps as the angel Michael, this paper argues that he is a messianic figure perhaps even the Davidic Messiah. The angelic interpretation is problematic at several points, while the messianic interpretation coheres with Qumran's apparent expectation of a Messiah of Israel who would serve faithfully alongside an anointed priest. These two figures were perhaps thought of as counterparts to the "wicked king" (melki-resha) and the "wicked priest" (hak-kohen ha-rasha), arch enemies of the Qumran community.