To Coont My Kin an' Pedigree
DESCRIPTION: The singer is offended that his antagonist, in "the filthy stuff that ye composed [with help]," ridiculed "my kin an' pedigree ... ye are like Melchisedeck we dinna know your race." He notes his antagonist's name is shared by a hangman.
AUTHOR: Peter McCombie (source: GreigDuncan3)
EARLIEST DATE: 1914 (GreigDuncan3)
KEYWORDS: accusation nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
GreigDuncan3 674, "To Coont My Kin an' Pedigree" (1 text)
NOTES: GreigDuncan3 quotes Charles Murray's conclusion that this is part of a battle between rhymers: one being McCombie and the other named Milne. The Melchisedeck reference, according to GreigDuncan3, is to Hebrews 7.3 [more likely 7.1-3]: "For this Melchsedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God ... without father, without mother, without descent, ...." referring back to Genesis 14.18-20 and Psalms 110.4. - BS
While GreigDuncan3 quotes Hebrews 7:1-3, the actual reference in the song is indeed to Hebrews 7:3, which is the source of the statement that Melchizedek is without father or mother or genealogy. There is no hint of this in Genesis (which simply refers to him as king of [Jeru]salem) or in Psalm 110 (which calls him a "priest forever" -- although in fact the text of the verse is somewhat unclear and some think that it does not refer to Melchizedek). The reference to Hebrews is further supported by the spelling "Melchisedec," which is the form used in Hebrews 7:1 of the King James Bible; the Old Testament of the KJV, and most modern translations, spell the name "Melchizedek," which corresponds more closely to the Hebrew.
We might add that every New Testament reference to Melchizedek is in Hebrews: 5:6, 10, 6:20, 7:1, 10, 11, 15, 17.
There is an interesting twist here, in that the words used in Hebrews 7:3 for "without father" and "without mother" often refer to orphans or even illegitimate children -- a useful insinuation in a slanging contest. However, it seems unlikely that our author knew that.
In any case, the whole thing is probably overblown. Although the name "Melchizedek" does suggest "King [root 'melch'] of righteousness [root 'zadok']," it is likely that the name as used in Genesis is that of an actual Canaanite king; "Zedek" might even be his god. If Jerusalem had had Yahwist kings, there would have been no need for David to conquer it in the centuries after Abraham's encounted with Melchizedek. Hebrews is working from a legitimate Jewish tradition (hinted at in the Psalm and expanded in extra-canonical writings), but it is hardly based on actual history. - RBW
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