Tag Archives: Martin Luther King

Hebrew Play with MLK

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in my opinion for all intents and purposes a 20th century American martyr.

The good minister’s initials are of course MLK, which just happens to also be a first semester Hebrew word. MLK in Hebrew (pronounced ‘melek’, remember their language was written before the invention of vowels) means ‘king’. So the good minister was a king in more languages than one!

In today’s liturgical reading from Hebrews 7 the author references Melchizedek from both Genesis and Psalm 110. The word ‘Melchizedek’ begins with ‘MLK’ and ends with ‘ZDK’, which is the Hebrew word for righteousness.

About Melchizedek, Hebrews 7:2b reads: “His name first means righteous king, and he was also “king of Salem,” that is, king of peace.” We know Melchizedek from Genesis at the time of Abraham; he was the king of Salem, which was the ancient (pre-Davidic) name for Jerusalem.

Salem spelled in Hebrew (remember, drop the written vowels) is SLM. The Hebrew consonant ‘S’ is sometimes pronounced as our ‘s’ and sometimes as our ‘sh’, so in Hebrew SLM can be either ‘Salem’ or ‘Shalom’, the Hebrew word for ‘peace’. (An aside: the Arab word for peace is ‘Salaam’). So as is noted by the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, Melchizedek as ‘king of Salem’ is also ‘king of peace’.

So Melchizedek is in the Bible, both O.T and N.T., as a type or precursor for Jesus Christ, our king of peace. What a great image as we remember this week the foremost Christian hero of the civil rights movement. MLK was truly a testament pointing to Jesus Christ, the true ‘King of Peace’!

— Eric Wolf