by Tim Barker
The Book of the Bee was a sacred Christian History by the Nestorians, who were a Christian offshoot, based on the teachings of Nestorius the "Patriarch of Constantinople." This movement began sometime in the mid 5th century A.D. after Nestorius' teachings were condemned by the Catholic Church as heretical in the First Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D.1 The text of this book is believed to have been written around 1222 A.D., by a Syrian Bishop named Solomon and contains many Biblical legends.2 From the text it is interesting to note that Melchizedek is given a genealogy from Noah through Shem, whose son was Arphaxad [Arphaxar below], and that Melchizedek received the priesthood from Shem. The chapter on Melchizedek is included below:
__________________________________________NEITHER the father nor mother of this Melchizedek were written down in the genealogies; not that he had no natural parents, but that they were not written down. The greater number of the doctors say that he was of the seed of Canaan, whom Noah cursed. In the book of Chronography, however, (the author) affirms and says that he was of the seed of Shem the son of Noah. Shem begat Arphaxar, Arphaxar begat Cainan, and Cainan begat Shâlâh and Mâlâh, Shâlâh was written down in the genealogies; but Mâlâh was not, because his affairs were not sufficiently important to be written down in the genealogies. When Noah died, he commanded Shem concerning the bones of Adam, for they were with them in the ark, and were removed from the land of Eden to this earth. Then Shem entered the ark, and sealed it with his father's seal, and said to his brethren, 'My father commanded me to go and see the sources of the rivers and the seas and the structure of the earth, and to return.' And he said to Mâlâh the father of Melchizedek, and to Yôzâdâk his mother, 'Give me your son that he may be with me, and behold, my wife and my children are with you.' Melchizedek's parents said to him, 'My lord, take thy servant; and may the angel of peace be with thee, and protect thee from wild beasts and desolation of the earth.' Shem went by night into the ark, and took Adam's coffin; and he sealed up the ark, saying to his brethren, 'My father commanded me that no one should go into it.' And he journeyed by night with the angel before him, and Melchizedek with him, until they came and stood upon the spot where our Lord was crucified. When they had laid the coffin down there, the earth was rent in the form of a cross, and swallowed up the coffin, and was again sealed up and returned to its former condition. Shem laid his hand upon Melchizedek's head, and blessed him, and delivered to him the priesthood, and commanded him to dwell there until the end of his life. And he said to him, 'Thou shalt not drink wine nor any intoxicating liquor, neither shall a razor pass over thy head; thou shalt not offer up to God an offering of beasts, but only fine flour and olive oil and wine; thou shalt not build a house for thyself; and may the God of thy fathers be with thee.' And Shem returned to his brethren, and Melchizedek's parents said to him, 'Where is our son?' Shem said, 'He died while he was with me on the way, and I buried him;' and they mourned for him a month of days; but Melchizedek dwelt in that place until he died. When he was old, the kings of the earth heard his fame, and eleven of them gathered together and came to see him; and they entreated him to go with them, but he would not be persuaded. And when he did not conform to their wishes, they built a city for him there, and he called it Jerusalem; and the kings said to one another, 'This is the king of all the earth, and the father of nations.' When Abraham came back from the battle of the kings and the nations, he passed by the mount of Jerusalem; and Melchizedek came forth to meet him, and Abraham made obeisance to Melchizedek, and gave him tithes of all that he had with him. And Melchizedek embraced him and blessed him, and gave him bread and wine from that which he was wont to offer up as an offering.
1 "Nestorius and Nestorianism" in The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church, (15 Vols., Charles G. Herbermann, Ed., The Universal Knowledge Foundation, Inc., New York, NY, 1913), 10:755-756
2 The Book of the Bee, by E. A. Wallis Budge, translator (Forgotten Books, Charleston, South Carolina, 2007), 1