Bodie Hodge & Andy McIntosh give a good answer to a good question: How Did Defense/Attack Structures Come About? | Answers in Genesis.
Kidner does not enter into detail concerning the debate over the identity of Melchizedek. He treats Melchizedek as a historical person, king of Jerusalem, and priest of Jehovah. Kidner also notes the meaning of Melchizedek’s name and titles, associating him with righteousness and peace. Psalm 110 and Hebrews 7 note the superiority of the priesthood of Melchizedek to that of the Aaronic line.
Sailhamer’s view is similar to that of Kidner. He speaks of Melchizedek as a historical figure, the king of Salem, who is presented as the foil to the king of Sodom. Melchizedek’s name, titles, actions, and words identify him as a legitimate priest of the true God, and Abraham’s response is validation of his position.
Wenham does not share the view of Kidner and Sailhamer. He writes that Melchizedek’s name should likely be interpreted as an acknowledgement of the lordship of a false god (e.g. Zedek). Whereas Kidner identifies Salem with Jerusalem, and Sailhamer does not comment on the matter, Wenham leans away from interpreting Salem as Jerusalem. As for Melchizedek’s priesthood, Wenham asserts that “El-Elyon,” rather than being understood as a reference to Jehovah, should be interpreted as the highest of the Canaanite false gods. This view of Melchizedek, however, does not prevent Wenham from recognizing him as a type of Christ.
In addition to these views of Melchizedek as a godly, human type of Christ and a pagan Canaanite priest (who also served as a type of Christ), Davis notes that others have propagated the theories that Melchizedek was either “a theophany of the preincarnate Christ” or Shem, the son of Noah. Davis, however, opts for the same view held by Kidner and Sailhamer (and Waltke, as well). It is this view, that understands Melchizedek as a true, human, historical figure, king of Jerusalem, priest of Jehovah, and forerunner of the ultimate Priest-King, Jesus Christ, that I believe best fits the immediate biblical (Genesis 14:17-24), theological (Psalm 110:1-4; Hebrews 5, 7), and historical contexts. To interpret Melchizedek as a theophany or to identify him with Shem seems to require an approach to the text that is biased from the start. From a purely linguistic standpoint, Wenham’s view may be possible, but it seems to raise enough theological difficulties as to make the view of Kidner, Sailhamer, Davis, and Waltke much more preferable.
 Derek Kidner, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries v. 1 (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2008), 131-132.
 John H. Sailhamer, “Genesis,” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: With the New International Version of the Holy Bible. Vol. 2, ed. Frank E Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1990), 122-125.
 Gordon J Wenham, Word Biblical Commentary. Vol 1 ; Genesis 1-15 (Waco: Word Books, 1987), 139-141.
 Ibid., 322.
 John J. Davis, Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis (Salem: Sheffield Publishing Co., 1998), 181.
 Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 225-238.
Have you ever wondered why bad things happen to good people? Have you ever wondered how God can possibly use tragic or sinful events in history? Is God really in control, and does he really have a purpose for everything? Halim Suh, one of the pastors at The Austin Stone Community Church, delivers a sermon on Genesis 38 in which he affirms the complete and purposeful sovereignty of God in controlling sin and suffering for our good and God’s glory. It is rare these days, even among so-called Calvinistic churches, to hear such a positive explanation of God’s active role in causing such events according to his plan.
The sermon is part of a series on The Sovereignty of God over Suffering and Evil, and is entitled, The Purpose of Suffering and Evil. You can watch the video or download the audio here.