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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Hebrews 9

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

1.] Now accordingly ( μέν answers to δέ, Hebrews 9:6, not to δέ, Hebrews 9:11, see there.

οὖν takes up the thought of ch. Hebrews 8:5, where the command is recited directing Moses to make the tabernacle after the pattern shewn him in the mount. In pursuance of that command it was that ἡ πρώτη κ. τ. λ.) the first (covenant) (not, the first tabernacle, as the rec. wrongly and clumsily glosses. There is no question between a first and second tabernacle: the μείζων καὶ τελειοτέρα σκηνή is a prototype, not an after-thought. The gloss has probably arisen from a blunder in interpreting τῆς πρώτης σκηνῆς in Hebrews 9:8; see there) had (it was no longer subsisting in the Writer’s time as a covenant, however its observances might be still surviving. ὡσεὶ ἔλεγε, τότε εἶχε, νῦν οὐκ ἔχει· δείκνυσιν ἤδη τούτῳ αὐτὴν ἐκκεχωρηκυῖαν· τότε γὰρ εἶχε, φησίν. ὥστε νῦν, εἰ καὶ ἕστηκεν, οὐκ ἔστιν. Chrys. Or perhaps the εἶχε may refer back to the time indicated in ch. Hebrews 8:5, when Moses made the tabernacle: had, when its liturgical appliances were first provided. But I prefer the other view) also (as well as this second and more perfect covenant: not that this has all the things below mentioned, but that it too possesses its corresponding liturgical appliances, though of a higher kind) ordinances (“The vulg. renders ‘justificationes culturœ.’ But the idea of δικαίωμα is ever passive. It imports always the product of either right appointment, or righteous judgment, or righteous conduct: the ordinance having the force of right (ref. Luke), the righteously uttered judgment (Romans 5:16), the decree according to righteousness (Revelation 15:4), the righteous performance (Romans 5:18); here beyond doubt, and Hebrews 9:10, in the first of these senses, in which the LXX have it for מִשְׁפָּט, חֹק and their synonyms. It is from δικαιοῦν, to give the force of law, to make of legal obligation. The old covenant also had liturgical ordinances, which were ‘juris divini,’ ordinances which rested their obligatory right upon revelation from God and declaration of His will.” Delitzsch) of service (worship: see ch. Hebrews 8:5 and note), and its (or, the: see below) worldly sanctuary (Thom. Aq., Luther, al. take ἅγιον not in a local but in an ethical sense, = ἁγιότης: Wolf understands by it “vasa sacra totumque apparatum Leviticum.” But as the whole passage treats of the distinction between two sanctuaries, one into which the Levitical priests entered, and the other into which Christ is entered, it is certain that the signification must be local only. As regards the meaning of κοσμικόν, it must not be taken with Homberg as = κόσμιον, 1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:2, for both usage and the art. are against this: nor again, with Theodor.-mops., Thdrt., Œc.(alt.), Grot., Wetst., Hammond, as σύμβολον τοῦ κόσμου: nor again as Kypke, “toto terrarum orbe celebratum,” as Jos. B. J. iv. 5. 2, where the high priests Ananus and Jesus are described as τῆς κοσμικῆς θρησκείας κατάρχοντες, προσκυνούμενοί τε τοῖς ἐκ τῆς οἰκουμένης,—a meaning which would apply only to the temple, not to the tabernacle, which, from Hebrews 9:2, is here spoken of: nor again as Chrys. ( ἐπεὶ οὖν καὶ ἕλλησι βατὸν ἦν, κοσμικὸν αὐτὸ καλεῖ· οὐ γὰρ δὴ οἱ ἰουδαῖοι κόσμος ἦν), Thl., Erasmus, al., which would only be true of a part of the ἅγιον, viz. the court of the Gentiles: but as in ref., and constantly in the Fathers, “mundanus,” belonging to this world. So Plut., Consol. in Bl., κατὰ.… τὴν κοσμικὴν διάταξιν: Hierocl. Carm. Aur. 126, τῆς κοσμικῆς εὐταξίας. So that it stands opposed to ἐπουράνιον, and is an epithet distinguishing the sanctuary of the first covenant from that of the second, not one common to the two. This is also shewn by the art. τό, to the consideration of which we now come. The art. itself is remarkable, as is also the non-repetition of it before κοσμικόν. And this latter circumstance has induced some, among whom is Delitzsch, to take κοσμικόν as a predicate, “and its (or, the) sanctuary, a worldly one.” For the necessity or veri similitude of this, usage is alleged, and such passages as τὸ σῶμα θνητὸν ἅπαντες ἔχομεν, where we have ἔχω with a definite subst. as an object, and an indefinite predicate attached. But if I do not mistake, the peculiar arrangement of the clause here forbids such a rendering. For, 1. εἶχεν is not peculiar to this clause, but common to the two of which the sentence consists: and we should therefore expect, especially from a writer so careful of rhetorical equilibrium, that the objects in the two clauses should correspond: not that the first of them should be merely objective, and the second predicative. Again, 2. the use and position of the copula τε seems to forbid any such disjoining of substantive and epithet: being, however loosely used in later Greek, a closer copula than καί. I conceive the article to be rather used to distribute the object and epithet which follow it: the first covenant had not merely a worldly sanctuary, but the only sanctuary which was upon earth: that one which was constructed after the pattern of things in the heavens. Possibly another reason for inserting it might be, to define beyond doubt the substantival use of the neuter adj. ἅγιον when joined with an epithet such as κοσμικόν. As to the omission of the art. before κοσμικόν, it is no bar to rendering the adj. as an epithet: cf. τοῦ αἰῶνος τοῦ ἐνεστῶτος πονηροῦ, Galatians 1:4).


Verses 1-5

1–5.] The liturgical appliances of the first covenant.


Verse 2

2.] For the tabernacle (most Commentators, as De Wette, Bleek, Lünemann, Delitzsch, al., render (correctly enough for the Greek, cf. ch. Hebrews 6:7; Acts 10:41; Acts 19:11; Acts 26:22), “a tabernacle,” and then take ἡ πρώτη as specifying. But I should rather query, whether this be not carrying nicety too far for the idiom of modern languages: and whether we can come closer in English to σκηνὴ ἡ πρώτη, and σκηνὴ ἡ λεγομένη ἁγία, than by ‘the tabernacle, namely, the first one,’ and ‘the tabernacle which was called holy.’ For as Delitzsch remarks, “the general idea σκηνή is put forward anarthrously, and afterwards defined by appositional epithets having the article.” But when we say ‘a tabernacle,’ we do not express the general idea σκηνή, but an indefinite concrete example of it. The English only admits such expressions in plurals and abstracts: e. g. γῆ ἡ πιοῦσα, “land which hath drunk:” δυνάμεις οὐχ αἱ τυχοῦσαι, “miracles of no common sort.” Or we may say that in both cases σκηνή being thrown emphatically forward, loses its article. At all events, by rendering it “a tabernacle” in both places, as Delitzsch (not the rest, that I can discover), we give a tinge of indefiniteness which certainly does not belong to it, and seem to lose the solemn reference to the well-known tabernacle) was established (on κατασκευάζω, see on ch. Hebrews 3:3. It is often found of the setting up or establishing of a tent: Xen. Cyr. ii. 1. 25, σκηνὰς αὐτοῖς κατεσκεύασε: ib. 30, κῦρος δὲ αὑτῷ σκηνὴν μὲν κατεσκευάσατο: Jos. c. Apion. ii. 2, ΄ωυσῆς, ὅτε τὴν πρώτην σκηνὴν τῷ θεῷ κατεσκεύασεν) the first one ( πρώτη, in situation, to those entering: see Acts 16:12 note, and compare the Homeric expression ἐν πρώτῃσι θύρῃσι. In the citation from Josephus above, the expression is used in a temporal sense, as distinguished from the subsequent one, in the temple of Solomon. The question, whether the Writer thinks (locally) of two tabernacles, or is speaking of the first portion of one and the same tabernacle, is of no great importance: the former would be but a common way of expressing the latter: and we can hardly deny that ‘two tabernacles’ are spoken of, in the presence of σκ. ἡ λεγομένη ἅγια ἁγίων below), in which were (not, “are,” as Lünem., holding it to be ruled by λέγεται below. But λέγεται only refers to a name, now, as then, given: the position of the articles enumerated in the πρώτη σκηνἡ must be contemporaneous with κατεσκ. above) the candlestick (with seven lights: of gold, carved with almond flowers, pomegranates and lilies: see Exodus 25:31-39; Exodus 37:17-24. There were ten of these in the temple of Solomon, see 1 Kings 7:49; 2 Chronicles 4:7; but in the second temple, the Mosaic regulation was returned to, and only one placed in the tabernacle: see 1 Maccabees 1:21; 1 Maccabees 4:49; Jos. Antt. xii. 7. 6: also B. J. v. 5. 5 (see below); vii. 5. 5, where he describes Vespasian’s triumph, and the candlestick as borne in it, which is now to be seen in relief on the arch of Titus at Rome) and the table (for the shewbread; of shittim (acacia?) wood, overlaid with gold, Exodus 25:23-30; Exodus 37:10-16, of which there was one only in the Mosaic tabernacle, and in the second temple (1 Macc. ut supra), but ten in Solomon’s temple, see 2 Chronicles 4:8; also ib. 2 Chronicles 4:19; 1 Chronicles 28:16; 1 Kings 7:48) and the shew of the bread (there can be little doubt that Tholuck and Delitzsch are right, who understand ἡ πρόθεσις τῶν ἄρτων not of the custom of exhibiting the bread, but, seeing that the Writer is speaking of concrete objects, as ‘strues panum,’ the heap of bread itself thus exhibited. πρόθεσις, says Del., is the Greek word for מַעֲרֶכֶת . We have it similarly used in LXX, ref. 2 Chron. There it is in the plural, which Bleek maintains would have been the case here were it so meant, in reference to the double row of pieces: but I cannot see why the whole mass should not be called the πρόθεσις): which tabernacle (the categorical ἥτις, ‘that tabernacle namely, which’) is called the holy place (Erasmus, Steph., Eras. Schmid, Mill, al. write this ἁγία, as fem., and agreeing with σκηνή, and so Luther, die heilige, and E. V., “the sanctuary.” The vulg., “quæ dicitur sancta,” appears to refer the clause to “propositio panum” immediately preceding. D-lat. (see D1 in digest) has “sancta sanctorum.” There can be no doubt that it is neut. plur. This is insisted on as early as by Thdrt.: προπαροξυτόνως ἀναγνωστέον τὰ ἅγια· οὕτω γὰρ ἡμᾶς διδάσκει νοεῖν τὸ ἕτερον ὄνομα: viz. ἅγια ἁγίων, Hebrews 9:3. So Erasm. (annot.) and all the moderns. But even thus the omission of the art. is significant. The Writer is not so much speaking of the holy place by name, τὰ ἅγια, as by quality and predication, (the) holy (places).


Verses 2-5

2–5.] Epexegetic of τὸ ἅγιον κοσμικόν, by a particular detail.


Verse 3

3.] But (as bringing out by anticipation the same contrast which we have in Hebrews 9:6-7, εἰς μὲν τὴν πρώτηνεἰς δὲ τὴν δευτέραν) after (i. e. in entering: ‘behind,’ as we should say, if regarding it ‘in situ.’ So Herod. iv. 49, οἱ ἔσχατοι πρὸς ἡλίου δυσμέων μετὰ κύνητας οἰκέουσι) the second veil ( καταπέτασμα, class. παραπέτασμα, see ch. Hebrews 6:19, is used in the LXX for the veil or curtain hanging before the sanctuary. There were in reality two of these, as described in Exodus 26:31-37; one before the holy of holies itself, פָּרֹכֶת (Exodus 9:31-35), the other before the tabernacle door, מָסָךְ (exo 9:36, 37). For both of these the LXX in Exod. l. c have καταπέτασμα, and so also for the first veil in Numbers 3:26. And Josephus, B. J. v. 5. 4, πρὸ δὲ τούτων (the gates of the πρῶτος οἶκος) ἰσόμηκες καταπέτασμα: and below, § 5, τὸ δʼ ἐνδοτάτω μέροςδιείργετο ὁμοίως καταπετάσματι πρὸς τὸ ἔξωθεν. Similarly in Antt. viii. 3. 3, κατεπέτασε δὲ καὶ ταύτας (the outside doors) τὰς θύρας, ὁμοίως τοῖς ἐνδοτέρω καταπετάσμασι. Usually however in the LXX, the exterior veil is called κάλυμμα or ἐπίσπαστρον, and the word καταπέτασμα reserved for the interior one. So Exodus 26:36; cf. Leviticus 21:23, πλὴν πρὸς τὸ καταπέτασμα οὐ προσελεύσεται: Leviticus 24:3; Numbers 4:5. And so in Philo, Vita Mos. iii. 9, vol. ii. p. 150, ὅπερ ἐστὶν εἰπεῖν πρόναον, εἰργόμενον δυσὶν ὑφάσμασι, τὸ μὲν ἔνδον ὂν καλεῖται καταπέτασμα, τὸ δʼ ἐκτὸς προσαγορεύεται κάλυμμα: so also above, § 5, p. 148. But elsewhere he calls both by the name καταπέτασμα, by implication at least: e. g. De Victim. § 10, p. 246, ἀντικρὺ τοῦ πρὸς τοῖς ἀδύτοις καταπετάσματος, ἐσωτέρω τοῦ προτέρου: and De Gigant. § 12, vol. i. p. 270, τὸ ἐσώτατον καταπέτασμα κ. προκάλυμμα τῆς δόξης) the (not “a,” see above) tabernacle which is called holy of holies ( ἅγια again, not ἁγία, see above. קֹדֶשׁ הַקָּדָשִׁים, sometimes τὸ ἅγιον τῶν ἁγίων, a periphrasis of the superlative adopted from the Heb.),


Verse 4

4.] having (on ἔχουσα, see below) a golden censer (or, altar of incense) (“Maxima totius epistolæ difficultas in verbis hisce consistit, atque hic locus fortasse præter cæteros dubium apud veteres reddidit hujus epistolæ auctoritatem.” Calmet, in Tholuck. The first difficulty is respecting the meaning of the word θυμιατήριον. And here the etymology gives us no help. For the word is a neut. adj., importing any thing having regard to or employed in the burning of incense. It may therefore mean either an altar upon which, or a censer in which, incense was burnt. The latter meaning is found in Demosth. p. 617. 3, ἐκπώματα δὲ ἢ θυμιατήρια, ἂν μὲν ὑπερβάλλῃ τῷ πλήθει κ. τ. λ.: Thuc. vi. 46, ἐπέδειξαν τὰ ἀναθήματα, φιάλας τε καὶ οἰνοχόας καὶ θυμιατήρια κ. τ. λ.: and so LXX, reff.:Josephus, Antt. iv. 2. 4, κομίζων ἕκαστος θυμιατήριον οἴκοθεν σὺν θυμιάμασι. The former, in Herod. iv. 162, εὐέλθων, ὃς τὸ ἐν δελφοῖσι θυμιητήριον ἐὸν ἀξιοθέητον ἀνέθηκεν: Ælian, V. H. xii. 51, καὶ κατακλιθέντι ( ΄ενεκράτει) θυμιατήριον παρέθηκε ( φιλίππος), καὶ ἐθυμιᾶτο αὐτῷ. It is true, the LXX have generally called the altar of incense τὸ θυσιαστήριον θυμιάματος or - των, cf. Exodus 30:1; Exodus 30:27; Leviticus 4:7; 1 Chronicles 6:49; 1 Chronicles 28:18; 2 Chronicles 26:16; 2 Chronicles 26:19; or τὸ θυσιαστήριον τὸ χρυσοῦν, Exodus 40:5; Exodus 40:24 (Exodus 40:26; Numbers 4:11; Numbers 3 Kings 7:48; 2 Chronicles 4:19; or τὸ θυσιαστ. τὸ ἀπέναντι κυρίου, Leviticus 16:12; Leviticus 16:18; or merely τὸ θυσιαστήριον, where the context shews which altar is meant, Leviticus 16:20; Numbers 4:13-14; Deuteronomy 33:10. 3 Kings 6:20 and also θυσιαστήρια, where both the altars, of burnt-offering and of incense, are intended, Exodus 31:8; Numbers 3:31. But later, the more appropriate word θυμιατήριον became the usual Hellenistic name for the altar of incense. So Philo, Quis Rer. Div. Hær. § 46, vol. i. p. 504, τριῶν ὄντων ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις σκευῶν, λυχνίας, τραπέζης, θυμιατηρίου, τὸ μὲν θυμιατήριον κ. τ. λ.: and id. Vita Mos. iii. § 7, vol. ii. p. 149, ἐδημιουργεῖτο καὶ σκεύη ἱερά, κιβωτός, λυχνία, τράπεζα, θυμιατήριον, βωμός. And Josephus, Antt. iii. 6. 8; iii. 8. 2, 3: B. J. v. 5. 5, καὶ τὸ μὲν πρῶτον μὲροςεἶχεν ἐν αὐτῷ τρία θαυμασιώτατα κ. περιβόητα πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἔργα, λυχνίαν, τράπεζαν, θυμιατήριον. So also Clem.-alex(47) Strom. v. 6. 33, pp. 665 f. P., and other Fathers. And thus it has been taken here by the old lat. in D, by Œc. on Hebrews 9:7 ( καὶ θυμιάσει ἐπʼ αὐτοῦ, τουτέστιν, ἐπὶ τοῦ χρυσοῦ θυμιατηρίου οὗ ἦν ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις τῶν ἁγίων κ. τ. λ.), and of later expositors Tostatus (on Exodus 25 qu. 6; on 1 Kings 6 qu. 16), Calvin, Justiniani, Estius, Corn. a-Lap., La Cerda (Adverss. c. 81, p. 112), Schlichting, Junius, J. Cappellus, Gerhard, Brochmann, Mynster, Owen, Bleek, De Wette, Ebrard, Lünemann, Delitzsch. On the other hand, the meaning “censer” is adopted by Syr., vulg. (“turibulum”), Thl. ( μετά γε τοῦ χρυσοῦ θυμιατηρίου ἅπαξ εἰσῄει τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ εἰς τὰ ἅγια τῶν ἁγίων· ἄλλο γὰρ θυμιατήριον καὶ ἄλλο θυσιαστήριον, on Hebrews 9:7), Anselm, Th. Aquin., Lyra, Luther, Grot., Villalpandus (on Ezek.), Hammond, De Dieu, Calov., Reland, Limborch, Wolf, Bengel, Wetst., Carpzov, Deyling, Michaelis, Schulz, Böhme, Stuart, Kuinoel, Von Gerlach, Stier, Bisping, al. And on this side of the question it is remarkable, that much stress is laid by the Mischna upon the censer to be used on the day of expiation, as distinguished from that used on any other day: on the fact of its being of gold, and of a particular and precious kind of gold. I give nearly the whole passage from Surenhusius, Ordo Festorum, ii. 229, as certainly forming an important element in deciding the difficulty. “In omni die deprompsit thuribulo argenteo et in aureum infundebat: hodie deprompsit aureo, et intrabat cum eo. In omni die deprompsit thuribulo quod quatuor cabos continebat, et in alterum infundebat quod tres cabos capiebat: hodie deprompsit thuribulo quod tres cabos capiebat, et intrabat cum eo.… In omni die grave, hodie leve: in omni die manus ejus brevis erat, hodie longa: in omni die aurum ejus viride erat, hodie rufum” (on which Sheringham notes, “Thuribulum quo singulis diebus odores incendebantur, ex auro viridi constabat, quod minus pretiosum erat, sed pretiosum tamen. Martial. xii. 15, ‘miratur Scythicas virentis auri Flammas Jupiter, et stupet superbi Regis delicias.’ Sed in die expiationis thuribulum rutilante auro coruscabat, quod genus auri pretiosissimum et præstantissimum fuit, et זהב פרוים, ut aiunt Talmudici, vocabatur, quia juvencorum sanguinem specie referebat. Quamvis verisimilius videtur a nomine loci sic vocari: vide 2 Chronicles 3:6 ”). See also the citation below on τὴν κιβωτόν. If this latter interpretation be adopted, we are involved in the following difficulty. This golden censer is no where named in the law: the word rendered “censer” by E. V., in Leviticus 16:12, is מַחְתָּה, a shallow basin, in which the high priest on the day of atonement was to take incense from the incense-altar into the holy place: and is called in the LXX πυρεῖον, not θυμιατήριον . Besides which, it is not specified as golden; nor was it kept in the holy of holies. Indeed it could not have been, or the high priest would have been obliged to fetch it from thence before burning incense in it, which is most improbable. Of these, the first-mentioned objection is not decisive; for our Writer is speaking, not of Mosaic usage only, but of several things outside the provisions of the law itself; and thus our explanation of any difficulty need not be sought in the provisions of the law only, but also in subsequent Jewish usage. This especially against Delitzsch, who, strictly confining us to Mosaic ordinance here, and asserting that the Writer speaks of it and nothing else, yet below, on the pot of manna, &c., confesses that he follows tradition. If now, influenced by the above difficulties, we adopt the interpretation ‘altar of incense,’ for θυμιατήριον, a difficulty arises, certainly not less than any of those adduced above. On the one hand the word ἔχουσα at first sight seems to admit of no other meaning than a local one, ‘containing.’ The parallelism with ἐν ᾗ above appears to demand this, and the fact that the other things mentioned are beyond question intended to be in, not merely belonging to, the Holy of holies. On this, see more below. Taking it as our first impression, we are startled by the fact, that the altar of incense was not in the Holy of holies, but outside it, ἔσω τοῦ προτέρου καταπετάσματος, as Philo de Vict. Off. § 4, vol. ii. p. 253. Hence Bleek, De Wette, and Lünemann, suppose that the Writer has fallen into a mistake, and Bleek infers from this that he was not an inhabitant of Palestine, but an Alexandrine. But as Delitzsch observes, whichever he were, he must have been a Monstrum von Unwissenheit, to have fallen into any such error. “Then,” continues Delitzsch, “since we cannot submit him to such an imputation, is there any intent which our Writer may have had, inducing him to ascribe the altar of incense to the Holy of holies, notwithstanding that he knew its local situation to be in the Holy place?” There is such an intent, recognized even by Bleek himself. “The Author,” says Bleek, and after him Tholuck, “treats the Holy of holies, irrespective of the veil, as symbolical of the heavenly sanctuary, and had also a motive to include in it the altar of incense, whose offerings of incense are the symbol of the prayers of the saints, Revelation 8:3 f.” And even so it is. Not only the N. T. writings, but the O. T. also, Isaiah 6:6, speak of a heavenly altar, which is the antitype there of the earthly מִזְבֵּחַ דַזָּהָב . Considering the fact that this antitypical altar belonged to the Holy of holies, into which Christ entered through the torn veil, it was obvious for our Writer to reckon the typical altar also among the things belonging to the Holy of holies. Philo, who regarded the λυχνία as the type of heaven, the θυμιαιήριον as σύμβολον τῶν περιγείων, ἐξ ὧν αἱ ἀναθυμιάσεις (Vita Mos. iii. 10, vol. ii. p. 251), had no such motive. Our second question then is, whether our Writer is justified, having this motive, in reckoning the altar of incense among the furniture of the Holy of holies. And our answer is, Entirely so: but not for the reason given by Ebrard, because the smoke of the incense was not intended to roll backwards, but to penetrate into the holiest place as the symbol of supplication and homage: which reason is none at all (but see below), seeing that the same might be said of the smoke of the fat of the altar of burnt-offering, and in the same way the golden table and the shewbread might be reckoned in the Holy of holies; for the cakes, a thank-offering of the twelve tribes for the blessing bestowed on them, lay on the table, that He who sat between the cherubim might behold them. Nor can we refer to Exodus 26:35, where the only reason for the altar of incense not being named among the furniture outside the veil, is, that its construction was not yet prescribed;—nor can we adduce the fact of its being called in Exodus 30:10, קֹדֶשׁ־קָדָשִׁים, holy of holies, seeing that the altar of burnt-offering is in Exodus 40:10, distinguished by the same name. But the following considerations have weight: α . that the altar of incense, by Exodus 30:6; Exodus 40:5, is to be placed before the ark of the covenant or before the Capporeth (mercy-seat), i. e. in the middle between the candlestick on the right and the table of shewbread on the left, so that its place is subordinate to the ark of the covenant: β. that on the day of atonement, it, as well as the mercy-seat, was sprinkled with the blood of the sin-offering: γ. that in 1 Kings 6:22, as well as by our Writer, it is reckoned to the Holy of holies, being there called חַמִּזְבֵּחַ אֲשֶׁר לַדְּבִיר, the altar belonging to the sanctuary (E. V., “the altar that was by the oracle”). Thenius indeed holds לַדְּבִיר to be an error for לִפְּנֵי הַדְּבִד, “before the sanctuary,” but Keil maintains rightly that that passage of Kings and our passage here mutually defend and explain one another. The solution to be gathered from this would be, that the altar of incense, being appointed by the Mosaic ordinance to stand in immediate contiguity to the veil separating the Holy of holies, and being destined in its use especially for the service of the Holy of holics (for this, notwithstanding the objection brought by Delitzsch, might have weight; the exterior altar of burnt-offering did not belong in any such strict sense to the sanctuary and mercy-seat), and being described in more than one place of Scripture (e. g. Exodus 30:6; 1 Kings 6:22) as connected with the sanctuary, is taken by the Writer as appertaining to the Holy of holies: he choosing, thus to describe it, the somewhat ambiguous word ἔχουσα, and not ἐν ᾗ as before. For we may set off against what was just now said about the strict parallel at first sight between ἐν ᾗ in the former clause and ἔχουσα in this, that it may be fairly alleged, that the very fact of variation of terms, in such a parallelism, points to some variation of meaning also. I have thus given both views of the solution to be sought: and will now state the result. 1. On either hypothesis, ἔχουσα cannot be kept to its stricter meaning of containing. For neither the censer nor the incense-altar was kept in the holy of holies. 2. The language of the Mischna concerning the golden censer is very strong, and more weight still is given to it when we reflect that it is especially of the day of expiation that our Writer is preparing to speak. 3. The word χρυσοῦν should not be overlooked in the consideration. When the ark of the covenant by and by is spoken of, which like the altar of incense was overlaid with gold, it is not said to be χρυσοῦν, but only περικεκαλυμμένη πάντοθεν χρυσίῳ. And this predicate being thus emphatically thrown forward, it is hardly possible to help feeling that a stress is laid on it, and it is not used without design. And if we enquire what this design is, we can hardly find fault with the reply which says that it is to distinguish a χρυσοῦν θυμιατήριον from some other kinds of θυμιατήρια. 4. On the whole then I should say that the balance inclines towards the ‘censer’ interpretation, though I do not feel by any means that the difficulty is removed, and should hail any new solution which might clear it still further) and the ark of the covenant (see Exodus 25:10 ff; Exodus 37:1 ff.: called by this name, אֲרוֹן הַבְּרִית, Joshua 3:6 and passim) covered round on all sides ( ἔσωθεν καὶ ἔξωθεν, Exodus 25:11) with gold ( χρυσίῳ, not χρυσῷ, perhaps for a portion of gold, or perhaps, as Delitzsch, for wrought gold. See Palm and Rost’s Lex. But all distinction between the words seems to have been lost before Hellenistio Greek arose, and the tendency of all later forms of speech is to adopt diminutives where the elder forms used the primitives. The ark, a chest, was of shittim (acacia) wood, overlaid with plates of fine gold, Exod. l. c. The ark of the covenant was in the Holy of holies in the Mosaic tabernacle, and in the temple of Solomon, 1 Kings 8:4; 1 Kings 8:6. In the sack by the Chaldeans, it disappeared. See a legend respecting its fate in 2 Maccabees 2:1-8, where curiously enough τὴν σκηνὴν καὶ τὴν κιβωτὸν καὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον τοῦ θυμιάματος are classed together. The second temple did not contain it, but it was represented by a stone basement three fingers high, called אֶבֶן שְׁתִיָה, “the stone of foundation” (Delitzsch: see Gesen. Thesaurus, under שָׁתָה, iii.). So in the Mischna, “Ex quo abducta est arca, lapis ibi erat a diebus priorum prophetarum, et lapis fundationis fuit vocatus; altus e terra tribus digitis, et super ipsum thuribulum collocabat.” So Jos. B. J. v. 5. 5, of the sanctuary, in his time, τὸ δ ʼ ἐνδοτάτω μέρος εἴκοσι μὲν ἦν πηχῶν· διεέργετο δὲ ὁμοίως καταπετάσματι πρὸς τὸ ἔξωθεν. ἔκειτο δὲ οὐδὲν ὅλως ἐν αὐτῷ, ἄβατον δὲ κ. ἄχραντον κ. ἀθέατον ἦν πᾶσιν, ἁγίου δὲ ἅγιον ἐκαλεῖτο), in which (was) a golden pot (Exodus 16:32-34. The word ‘golden,’ λάβε στάμνον χρυσοῦν ἕνα, is added by the LXX: so also Philo de Congr. Quær. Erud. Gr. 18, vol. i. p. 533, ἐν στάμνῳ χρυσῷ: the Heb. has merely “a pot,” as E. V.) containing the manna (viz. an omer, each man’s daily share, laid up for a memorial, cf. Exodus 16:32 with Exodus 16:16. That this pot was to be placed in the ark, is not said there, but it was gathered probably from the words “before the Lord.” In 1 Kings 8:9 and 2 Chronicles 5:10, it is stated that there was nothing in the ark in Solomon’s temple, except the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb. But this, as Delitzsch observes, will not prove any thing against the pot of manna and the rod having once been there; nay rather, from the express declaration that there was then nothing but the tables of stone, it would seem that formerly there had been other things there. The Rabbis certainly treat of the pot of manna as of the rod, as being in the ark: see the testimonies of Levi ben Gershom and Abarbanel in Wetst., h. 1.), and the rod of Aaron which budded (see Numbers 17:1-11. It was to be laid up “before the testimony,” in which Ben Gershom sees a proof that it was in the ark: “ex eo autem, quod dicit coram testimonio potius quam coram area, discimus, intra arcam fuisse.” Abarbanel refers to “traditio quædam Rabbinorum nostrorum.” See Wetst. as above. The Gemara (Joma 52 b) mentions a tradition that with the ark disappeared the pot of manna, and the cruse of anointing oil, and the rod of Aaron with its almonds and blossoms, and the chest which the Philistines sent for a trespass-offering, 1 Samuel 6:4; 1 Samuel 6:8), and the tables of the covenant (viz. the tables of stone on which the ten commandments were written by the finger of God, Exodus 25:16; Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 10:1-5; 1 Kings 8:9; 2 Chronicles 5:10, as above. It will be seen from these references, that these tables were ordered to be put in the ark):


Verse 5

5.] and ( δέ, as contrasted to ‘within’) over above it (the ark of the covenant) (the) cherubim (the well-known fourfold animal forms, fencing from human approach, and at the same time bearing up and supporting, the glory of God: symbolizing, as I believe and have elsewhere maintained (Hulsean Lectures for 1841, Lect. i. See also note on Revelation 4:6-8), the creation of God. See more below) of glory ( ἢ τὰ ἔνδοξα, ἢ τὰ ὄντα τῆς δόξης, τουτέστι τοῦ θεοῦ: Œc., Cyril, similarly Thl., … ἢ τὰ λειτουργικὰ τοῦ θεοῦ, κ. πρὸς δόξαν αὐτοῦ ὄντα: and Chrys., … ἢ τὰ ὑποκάτω τοῦ θεοῦ. There can be little doubt that the latter class of meanings is to be taken, though Camerar., Beza (vers.), Est., Corn. a-Lap., Schlichting, Kuinoel, al. adopt the former. For we may well say, why such a periphrasis if a mere epithet were intended, when we have already the epithets χρυσοῦν and περικεκαλυμμένην χρυσίῳ? The δόξα is the Shechinah, or bright cloud of glory, in which Jehovah appeared between the cherubic forms, and to which, as attendants, and watchers, and upholders, they belonged. The want of the art. before δόξης is no argument for the other view, as δόξα is often used thus anarthrous for the Shechinah: cf. Exodus 40:28 (34), κ. ἐκάλυψεν ἡ νεφέλη τὴν σκηνὴν τοῦ μαρτυρίου, κ. δόξης κυρίου ἐπλήσθη ἡ σκηνή: 1 Kings 4:22; Ezekiel 9:3; Ezekiel 10:18 al. On the Cherubim, see further Winer, Realw. sub voce) overshadowing (casting shadow down upon, causing to be κατάσκιον: see reff. Exod. χερουβίν here, as usually, is neuter: cf. Genesis 3:24; Exodus 25:18 al.: sometimes the LXX have used it masc.: e. g. Exodus 25:20; Exodus 28:23 al. There seems to be a reason for the variation: the neut. being employed when they are spoken of merely as figures, the masc. when as agents. The neut. prevails in Philo: Josephus has οἱ χερουβεῖς Antt. iii. 6. 5, and αἱ χερουβεῖς ib. viii. 3. 3) the mercy-seat (the ἱλαστήριον ἐπίθεμα of Exodus 25:17; the massive golden cover of the ark of the covenant, on which the glory of Jehovah appeared between the cherubim: Heb. כַּפֹּרֶת, cover. It was that upon which especially the blood of the propitiatory sacrifice was sprinkled on the day of atonement, Leviticus 16:15, and from this circumstance apparently, the propitiation taking place on it, it obtained its name of ἱλαστήριον . It was the footstool of God, 1 Chronicles 28:2; Psalms 99:5; Psalms 132:7; Lamentations 2:1; the spot where He, the God of the covenant, met with Israel, the people of the covenant: see Exodus 25:22; Leviticus 16:2; Numbers 7:89. See also Philo de Prof. § 19, vol. i. p. 561, τῆς δὲ ἵλεως δυνάμεως, τὸ ἐπίθεμα τῆς κιβωτοῦ, καλεῖ δὲ αὐτὸ ἱλαστήριον: Vita Mos. iii. 8, vol. ii. p. 150, ἧς ἐπίθεμα ὡσανεὶ πῶμα τὸ λεγόμενον ἐν ἱεραῖς βίβλοις ἱλαστήριον: ib., τὸ δὲ ἐπίθεμα τὸ προσαγορευόμενον ἱλαστήριον. Thl., h. l., says, ἱλαστήριον ἐλέγετο τὸ πῶμα τῆς κιβωτοῦ, ὡς ἐκ τῆς γραφῆς αὐτῆς μαθήσῃ ἀκριβέστερον· καὶ μὴ ἀπατηθεὶς τοῖς τινων λόγοις, ἄλλο τι νοήσῃς τοῦτο εἶναι): concerning which it is not (opportune) (this use of ἐστιν with inf.,= ἔξεστιν, is pure Attic) now to speak one by one (i. e. particularly, ‘singillatim:’ so κατὰ μέρος in Plato, Theæt. 157 B, δεῖ δὲ καὶ κατὰ μέρος οὕτω λέγειν καὶ περὶ πολλῶν ἀθροισθέντων: Polyb. iii. 32. 3; 19. 11, περὶ ὧν ἡμεῖς τὰ κατὰ μέρος.… διασαφήσομεν, al. in Bleek. The clause refers evidently not to the Cherubim only, but to all the contents of the sanctuary just mentioned. So Chrys., ἐνταῦθα ᾐνίξατο ὅτι οὐ ταῦτα ἦν μόνον τὰ ὁρώμενα, ἀλλὰ αἰνίγματά τινα ἦν, περὶ ὧν οὐκ ἔστι φησὶ νῦν λέγειν κατὰ μέρος, ἴσως ὡς μακροῦ δεομένων λόγου).


Verse 6

6.] But (transitional) these things being thus arranged (it is impossible in English to give the force of the perfect participle as connected with the present which follows. To say ‘having been arranged,’ and follow it by ‘enter,’ would be a solœcism: which shews, that our participle ‘having been’ is not so much a perfect as an aorist. Resolved, the sentence would be: ‘these things have been thus arranged (i. e. were thus arranged and continue so), and the priests enter.’ In taking our present-perfect participle, ‘being,’ we lose the historical past involved in the perfect, pointing to the time when they were so arranged. To carry the sense of ‘abiding even now,’ in the perfect, so far, as to suppose the Writer to imagine that the ark &c. were still, at the time he was writing, in the Sanctuary (Bl., Lünem., De W.), is quite unnecessary, and indeed unreasonable: he clearly conceives of the whole system and arrangement as subsisting, but not in every minute detail. The arrangement was essential to the system: the failure of some of its parts, accidental to it. κατεσκευασμ. in allusion to the same word Hebrews 9:2), into the first (foremost) tabernacle (indeed) continually (i. e. day by day, at any time, without limits prescribed by the law: certainly, twice at least in every day, see Exodus 30:7 ff.) enter (on the present, see above. It must not, as in vulg., be rendered by an imperfect, “introibant;” D-lat., “intrabant:” Luther, gingen: and E. V., “went,” which is remarkable, as Beza’s version has “ingrediuntur”) the priests (the ordinary priests) accomplishing the services (so Herod., ἄλλας τε θρησκίας μυρίας ἐπιτελέουσι: he uses ἐπιτελεῖν likewise of θυσίας, ii. 63; iv. 26: εὐχωλάς, ii. 63: ὁρτάς, iv. 186. See other examples in Bl. The services meant are the morning and evening care of the lamps, the morning and evening offering of incense, and the weekly change of the shewbread),


Verse 6-7

6, 7.] We now have that whereunto the above details have been tending, viz. the use made of the sanctuary by the high priest on the day of atonement.


Verse 7

7.] but into the second (innermost, the Holy of holies) once in the year (i. e. on the day of atonement, the 10th day of the 7th month: the same expression is used in reff. Exod. and Levit. The entrance took place, on that day, twice at least, from Leviticus 16:12-16; the Mischna says, four (three?) times, Joma Hebrews 9:1; vii. 4. Much trouble has been spent by antiquarians on the question: see the whole treated in Bleek, if it be thought worth while: it may suffice here to say that the Writer follows the ordinary way of speaking among the Jews and ourselves, meaning by ‘once,’ on one occasion. No one would think, if I said I was in the habit of seeing a certain person but once in every year, of asking how long I spent in his company during that day, and how often I looked upon him. Cf. Philo, Leg. ad Cai. § 39, vol. ii. p. 591, εἰς ἃ ( ἄδυτα) ἅπαξ τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ ὁ μέγας ἱερεὺς εἰσέρχεται τῇ νηστείᾳ λεγομένῃ μόνον ἐπιθυμιάσων. So ἅπαξ διʼ ἔτους, id. de Monarch. ii. 2, p. 223: ἅπαξ κατʼ ἐνιαυτόν, Jos. B. J. v. 5. 7: and 3 Maccabees 1:11) the high priest alone, not without (see ch. Hebrews 7:20) blood, which he offers (see ch. Hebrews 8:3) on behalf of himself and the ignorances (sins of ignorance, see ch. Hebrews 5:2; cf. Philo, Plant. Noë, § 25, vol. i. p. 345, αἱθυσίαιὑπομιμνήσκουσαι τὰς ἑκάστων ἀγνοίας τε κ. διαμαρτίας. See Schweighäuser’s Lexicon Polybianum, where he gives as the sense of ἄγνοια, “peccatum, delictum, præsertim errore et per imprudentiam commissum:” giving numerous instances. But further on, he says, “Nonnunquam tamen de graviori culpa et deliberato crimine usurpatur:” giving also examples. And similarly under ἀγνοέω, “nude, peccare: πολεμεῖν τοῖς ἀγνοήσασι, bellum gerere cum eis qui peccarunt, deliquerunt, v. 11. 5: τὰ ἠγνοημένα, errata, peccata, xxxviii. 1. 5.” So that here the word may have a wider meaning than mere sins of ignorance) of the people (it has been a question, whether ἑαυτοῦ can be taken as dependent on ἀγνοημάτων—“on behalf of his own sins and those of the people.” So vulg. (“pro sua et populi ignorantia”), Luth., Calv. (vers.), Schlichting, Limborch (vers.), al.: but as above Syr., D-lat. (“pro se et populi delictis”), Faber Stap., Vatabl., Erasm. (vers.), Beza (vers.), Calov., Bengel, Schulz, Böhme, De Wette, al. And no doubt grammatically this latter is in strictness right: the other rendering requiring τῶν before ἑαυτοῦ. The question however in all such cases is not whether the sense would not be better expressed by a more elegant construction, but whether the N. T. dialect was likely to have expressed it without that more elegant construction. And here, though I prefer the more strictly grammatical rendering, I am by no means sure that the other is absolutely excluded. The parallel of ch. Hebrews 7:27, πρότερον ὑπὲρ τῶν ἰδίων ἁμαρτιῶν, … ἔπειτα τῶν τοῦ λαοῦ, is very strong: and we have a similar irregularity of grammatical construction in 1 John 2:2, ἱλασμὸς περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν, οὐ περὶ ἡμετέρων δὲ μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου):


Verse 8

8.] the Holy Spirit signifying (by the typical arrangement of the sanctuary, excluding all from it except the high priest once a year: δηλοῦντος is not, as Semler, to be referred back to the prophecy of Jeremiah above quoted. We often have the verb in this meaning of ‘signifying by a representation:’ so in ch. Hebrews 12:27, and Jos. Antt. iii. 7. 1, περιτίθεται τὸν μαναχασὴν λεγόμενον, βούλεται δὲ συνακτῆρα μὲν δηλοῦν, διάζωμα δʼ ἐστὶ κ. τ. λ.: ib. 7. 7, δηλοῖ δὲ καὶ τὸν ἥλιον κ. τὴν σελήνην τῶν σαρδονύχων ἑκάτερος: cf. also viii. 6. 2. See Libanius and Hermogenes in Wetst. In the latter, δηλοῦν, “subindicare,” is opposed to φανερῶς λέγειν) this (which follows), that the way to (‘of:’ so in reff.,—see Kühner ii. p. 176, Anm. 4: but not in τὴν εὐθὺς ἄργους κἀπιδαυρίας ὁδόν, Eur. Hipp. 1197, where the genitives are governed by εὐθύς: cf. εὐθὺς σφῶνπλεῖν, Thuc. viii. 96, and Lob. on Phryn. p. 144) the holy places (i. e. the true holy places in heaven: for it is of antitype, not of type, that the Writer is here speaking. Hence there is no danger of mistaking τὰ ἅγια here for the outer tabernacle: it is as in reff., and τὸ ἅγιον in Ezekiel 41:23 and Leviticus 16:16-17; Leviticus 16:20; Leviticus 16:23; Leviticus 16:27, the holy place κατʼ ἐξοχήν. Syr. has a curious rendering—“the way of the holy ones” (masc.)) has not yet been manifested (not, had not: the present form is maintained throughout: see below) while the first tabernacle is as yet standing (what first tabernacle? That which was first in time, or first in order of space? Clearly the latter, which has already been used in Hebrews 9:6; no reason can be given for changing the sense to the temporal one, especially as the Writer is regarding the whole as present, and drawing no contrast as to time. In fact, if time be regarded, the heavenly, not the earthly tabernacle is the first. Still less, with Peirce and Sykes, can we understand the tabernacle in the wilderness, as distinguished from the temple: which would yield no assignable sense. Bleek supposes that ἡ πρώτη σκηνή, thus understood, symbolizes the whole Jewish Levitical worship which took place in the first or outer tabernacle: Ebrard, that the whole, exterior and interior tabernacle, is symbolical, the exterior of relative, the interior of absolute holiness: and he sees an equality of ratios which he thus expresses— πρώτη σκηνή: ἅγια ἁγίων:: ( πρώτη σκηνή + ἅγια ἁγίων): Christ. But both of these ideas are well refuted by Delitzsch, who reminds us that the first as well as the second tabernacle was symbolical of heavenly things. Thl. says, ἄρχεται λοιπὸν ἀναγωγικώτερον θεωρεῖν τὰ περὶ τῶν σκηνῶν, καὶ φησίν, ὅτι ἐπειδὴ τὰ μὲν ἅγια τῶν ἁγίων ἄβατα ἦν τοῖς ἄλλοις ἱερεῦσιν, ἂ τύπος εἰσὶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, ἡ μέντοι πρώτη σκηνή, τουτέστιν ἡ μετὰ τὸ ἔξωθεν θυσιαστήριον τὸ χαλκοῦν πρώτη εὐθὺς οὖσα, βάσιμος ἦν αὐτοῖς διὰ παντός, σύμβολον οὖσα τῆς κατὰ νόμον λατρείας, ἑδηλοῦτο συμβολικῶς, ὅτι ἕως οὗ ἵσταται ἡ σκηνὴ αὕτη, τουτέστιν ἕως οὗ κρατεῖ ὁ νόμος καὶ αἱ κατʼ αὐτὸν λατρεῖαι τελοῦνται, οὐκ ἔστι βάσιμος ἡ τῶν ἁγίων ὁδός, τουτέστιν ἡ εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εἴσοδος, τοῖς τὰς τοιαύτας λατρείας ἐπιτελοῦσιν, ἀλλὰ τούτοις μὲν ἀφανής ἐστι καὶ ἀποκέκλεισται, μόνῳ δὲ τῷ ἑνὶ ἀρχιερεῖ χριστῷ ἀφωρίσθη ἡ ὁδὸς αὕτη. The phrase στάσιν ἔχειν, besides ref. Polyb., occurs in Plut. Symp. viii. 8, εἰ νέα πάθη τότε πρῶτον ἔσχεν ἐν τῇ φύσει γένεσιν κ. στάσιν: and in Dion. Hal. vi. p. 415, μέχρις ἂν οὐρανός τε καὶ γῆ τὴν αὐτὴν στάσιν ἔχωσι. See other examples in Kypke. On the sense, cf. Jos.Antt. iii. 7. 7, τὴν δὲ τρίτην μοῖραν ( τῆς σκηνῆς) μόνῳ περιέγραψε τῷ θεῷ διὰ τὸ καὶ τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνεπίβατον εἶναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις),


Verse 9

9.] the which ( ἥτις = ‘quippe quæ,’ as almost always. ἥτις, viz. the first or anterior tabernacle, and that especially considered as obstructing, by its yet remaining, the way into the holiest. This is better than with Primasius to understand quæ res, and account for the gender by attraction) is (not, “was,” see above) a parable ( τουτέστι τύπος κ. σκιαγραφία, Thl. παραβολή is predicate, not subject, as Calvin, Storr, De W., al. If we make it subject, the verb to be supplied would not be the mere copula, but a significant verb, which would require to be expressed) for (in reference to: or it may be taken as indicating the terminus ad quem, ‘until:’ but I prefer the other: see reff.) the time (period, or season, with reference to the divine dispensations) now present (so Primasius, commenting on the “parabola temporis instantis” of the vulg., “Quod enim agebatur in templo tum temporis, figura erat et similitudo istius veritatis quæ jam in ecclesia completur.” And thus recently, and to my mind decisively, Delitzsch. But observe, the first tabernacle was not a parable of the present time, so that ὁ καιρὸς ὁ ἐνεστηκώς should be the thing represented:—but a parable,—for, reserved unto, or given in reference to, the present time,—of heavenly things, to which the access is in the present time revealed.

This application of τὸν καιρ. τ. ἐνεστ. to the time now present, has not been the general view of Commentators. καιρὸν ἐνεστηκότα, says Chrys., ποῖον λέγει; τὸν πρὸ τῆς τοῦ χριστοῦ παρουσίας· μετὰ γὰρ τὴν παρουσίαν τοῦ χριστοῦ οὐκέτι καιρός ἐστιν ἐνεστώς· πῶς γάρ, ἐπιγενόμενος καὶ τέλος ἔχων; and thus Œc., Thl., Schlichting, Seb. Schmidt, Baumg., Bengel, Stein, al. But this meaning, “the time which was instant,” would not agree with the pres. προσφέρονται, to which consequently those interpreters are obliged to do violence. Accordingly we have modifications of this view, e. g. that of Ebrard, al., reading καθʼ ὅν below, that ὁ καιρ. ὁ ἐνεστηκώς is the present time of offering O. T. sacrifices, in which the readers of the Epistle were still taking a part. “The author might have called the time of the O. T. worship ‘the past time,’ and he would doubtless have so called it, had he been minded to speak from his own standing-point: but with practical wisdom he here speaks from that of his readers, who yet joined in the temple worship, and for whom the period of sacrifices was not yet passed away.” Ebrard:—that of Bleek, Tholuck, and Lünemann, “This πρώτη σκηνή is, or there lies in its establishment, a parabolic setting forth of the character of the present time in general, i. e. of the time of the O. T.,—of Judaism.” Bl. And so E. V., “which was a figure for the time then present.” See more below under καιροῦ διορθώσεως), according to which ( παραβολήν: so Œcum., καθʼ ἣν παραβολὴν καὶ καθʼ ὃν τύπον: i. e. in accordance with which typical meaning; a specification accounting for and justifying the profitless character of the ordinances about to be spoken of. Some (as Lün., al.) have referred ἥν to πρώτης σκηνῆς, but καθʼ ἥν would hardly thus apply: we should rather expect ἐν ᾗ. Those who read καθʼ ὅν naturally refer it to καιρόν, thereby modifying their view of what is to be understood by τὸν καιρ. τ. ἐνεστηκότα: see above) both gifts and sacrifices are offered (see reff. for these words. The present implies only the matter-of-fact endurance of the Levitical offerings, not their subsistence in the divine plan) having no power ( μὴ δυν., subjective, ‘quæ non valeant:’ not οὐ δυν., ‘invalida,’ ‘quæ non valent.’ The gender of the participle, as so often, is taken from the subst. next to it) to perfect in conscience (see below) him that serveth (i. e. not the priests, as Est., al., who ἐπετέλουν τὰς λατρείας, but the people, who offered through them. “The offering Israelite assures,—doing, as he does, that which God’s law requires,—his part, as a member, in the people of the law and of the promised salvation: he obtains also, if he does this with right feeling, operations of divine grace, which he seeks in the way prescribed: but, seeing that the Holy of holies is not yet unveiled, the offerings cannot τελειῶσαι him κατὰ συνείδησιν, i. e. cannot put his moral-religious consciousness, in its inward feeling, into a state of entire and joyful looking for of salvation, so that his συνείδησις should be an onward-waxing consciousness of perfect restoration, of entire clearing up, of total emancipation, of his relation to God.” Delitzsch: who continues, “The material offerings of animals are only parables, referring to the time when that which is parabolically set forth becomes actual and passes into reality. They are, considered of themselves, incapable of any action on the inner part of a man, they are”),


Verse 10

10.] only (consisting) in (supply οὖσαι or προσφερόμεναι, and understand ἐπί as pointing out the ground whereupon, the condition wherein, the offering of the δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίαι subsisted. Some of the ancient Commentators joined ἐπί with τελειῶσαι,—“not able to perfect.… in his conscience, only as regards meats and” … So Œc., αἱ λατρεῖαι, φησίν, οὐκ ἴσχυον ψυχικῶς τινα τελειῶσαι, ἀλλὰ περὶ τὴν σάρκα εἶχον τὴν ἐνέργειαν κ. τὰ σαρκικὰ κ. τ. λ. And so recently Ebrard. But this is not the fact, as it would be here stated. The gifts and offerings, e. g. those of the day of atonement, had far other reference than merely to meats and drinks and washings: nay, these were parables in reference to higher things. Another set joined it with λατρεύοντα, “him who serveth under condition of meats” &c. But this is questionable as to usage, and would make a very lame and dragging sentence. Thl. apparently joins ἐπί with ἐπικείμενα below: μόνον, φησίν, ἐπικείμενα τοῖς τότε ἀνθρώποις κ. διαταττόμενα περὶ βρωμάτων κ. πομάτων. Others, as Grot., Bengel, Bleek, De Wette, give ἐπί the meaning “together with,” which is hardly either philologically or contextually suitable. If δικαιώμασιν be read, then on this view it would be more likely ἄλλοις δικαιώμασιν: if δικαιώματα, it could hardly be said that the meats and drinks and washings were δικαιώματα in the same sense as the δῶρά τε κ. θυσίαι, seeing that they were only their conditions, not their cognates) meats and drinks and divers washings (probably the Writer has in mind both the legal and the Talmudical conditions imposed upon the λατρεύοντες. See the very parallel place, Colossians 2:16. The law prescribed much about eating: nothing about drinking, except some general rules of uncleanness, such as Leviticus 11:34,—and in peculiar cases, such as the prohibition of wine to the Nazarite, Numbers 6:3,—and to the priests when on actual service in the tabernacle, Leviticus 10:9. But subsequent circumstances and usage added other observances and precedents: as e. g. Daniel 1:8; Haggai 2:13. See Matthew 23:24; Romans 14:21. So there is no necessity to suppose that the allusion is to the feasts after sacrifice (ch. Hebrews 13:10), or to the passover. The διάφοροι βαπτισμοί may refer to all the various washings ordained by the law, Exodus 29:4; Leviticus 11:25; Leviticus 11:28; Leviticus 11:32; Leviticus 11:40; Leviticus 14:6-9; Leviticus 15:5 ff; Leviticus 16:4; Leviticus 16:24 ff.: Numbers 8:7; Numbers 19:17 ff. al. But it seems likely that not the sacerdotal washings, so much as those prescribed to or observed by the people, are mainly in view: such as those mentioned in Mark 7:4), ordinances of (the) flesh (i. e. belonging to flesh, as opposed to spirit. They regarded material things, gifts, sacrifices, meats, drinks, washings, which from their very nature could only affect the outward, not the inward man. Of course δικαιώματα σαρκός is in apposition with δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίαι. The ordinary reading, καὶ δικαιώμασιν, has, besides manuscript authority, these two objections against it: 1. seeing that the things mentioned were themselves δικαιώματα σαρκός, we should rather require (see above) καὶ ἄλλοις δικαιώμασιν: 2. we should have δυνάμεν αι followed by ἐπικείμεν α, which, however possibly allowable, would certainly be very harsh), imposed (cf. Il. ζ. 458, κρατερὴ ἐπικείσετʼ ἀνάγκη: also Acts 15:10; Acts 15:28, which is a remarkable parallel. ἐπεὶ δὲ ζυγὸς ἦν ὁ νόμος βαρύς, εἰκότως εἶπε τὸ ἐπικείμενα. Thl.: who then, as Œc., quotes Acts 15:10) until the season of rectification (i. e. when all these things would be better arranged, the substance put where the shadow was before, the sufficient grace where the insufficient type. διόρθωσις, cf. ref. and Aristot. Polit. 8: τῶν πιπτόντων οἰκοδομημάτων κ. ὁδῶν σωτηρία καὶ διόρθωσις. See many more instances of its use in Lobeck’s note on Phryn. p. 250 f. The expression probably refers to ch. Hebrews 8:8 f.,—the time when God would make with His people a better covenant. I need hardly remind the reader who has kept pace with what has been said on τὸν καιρὸν τὸν ἐνεστηκότα above, that this καιρὸς διορθώσεως is one and the same with that. Those who give another meaning there, yet agree in referring these words to Christian times).


Verse 11-12

11, 12.] The fulfilment of these types by Christ. But (the contrast is to the μὴ δυνάμ. and the μέχρι καιρ. above—to the ineffectiveness and the merely provisional nature of the Levitical offerings) Christ (not ‘Jesus’ here: because the Writer will introduce with emphasis that name which carries with it the fulfilment of all type and prophecy. Nor again, ὁ χριστός ( παραγεν. δὲ ὁ χρ.), because he will not say that ‘the Messiah’ was come, but will use that well-known name as a personal name belonging to Him whom now all Christians know by it) having appeared ( παραγίγνεσθαι is the usual word for appearing or coming forward as a historical person: appearing on the stage of the world: see reff. And it is of this appearance of Christ in history that the word is here used. That appearance was the point of demarcation between prophecy and fulfilment, between the old covenant and the new. So that παραγενόμενος is rather to be taken of the whole accomplished course of Christ summed up in one, than either of His first incarnation upon earth, or of His full inauguration into His Melchisedek High Priesthood in heaven. Chrys., Thl., al. join it so closely to ἀρχιερεὺς τ. μ. ἀγ. as to make that predicatory clause the very object of His παραγενέσθαι: so Thl., οὐκ εἶπε δὲ γειόμενος ἀρχ. ἀλλὰ παραγενόμενος ἀρχ., τουτέστιν εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο ἐλθών. οὐ πρότερον παρεγένετο, εἶτα, συμβὰν οὕτω, ἐγένετο ἀρχιερεύς, ἀλλʼ ὁ σκοπὸς τοῦ παραγεγονέναι αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν γῆν ἡ ἀρχιερωσύνη ἦν. Chrys. very similarly, adding, εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο ἐλθών, οὐχ ἕτερον διαδεξάμενος· οὐ πρότερον παρεγένετο, καὶ τότε ἐγένετο, ἀλλὰ ἅμα ἦλθε. But there is no need of this. It was not εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἀρχιερέα, but as being ἀρχιερεύς, that Christ παρεγένετο. There is no need for a comma after παραγενόμενος on the rendering above given) as High Priest of the good things to come (the question of the reading has much divided Commentators here. I have had no hesitation in retaining the rec., believing γενομένων to have been either a clerical error, or a correction in the sense given e. g. by Ebrard, who requires a contrast between the mere antitypical and foreshadowed goods of the O. T. and the substantial and fulfilled goods of the N. T. But no such contrast is here to be found. The contrast is between weak rites which could not, and the sacrifice of Christ which can, purify the conscience: the stress of our sentence is not at all on τὰ μέλλοντα or τὰ γενόμενα ἀγαθά, but on χριστός in the first degree, and on παραγενόμενος in the second. ἀρχιερεύς is the office common to both the subjects of comparison. τὰ μέλλοντα ἀγαθά are in this case the blessed promises of the Christian covenant, different, in the very nature of the case, from their μέλλοντα ἀγαθά, but still, in formal expression, a term common to them and us: so that the expression ἀρχιερεὺς τῶν μελλόντων ἀγαθῶν might in its scantiness of sense have been used of a Jewish high priest, just as it is in its fulness of completed sense used of Christ now. Herein I should differ both from Hofmann and Delitzsch, the former of whom (Schriftb. ii. 1. 292) maintains that the difference between the O. T. and the N. T. High Priest is that the one is an ἀρχιερεὺς ἀγαθῶν, which the other was not: and the latter, disputing this distinction, states the difference to be, that the one is an ἀρχ. τῶν μελλόντων ἀγαθῶν, which the other was not. The fact being, that both might be described as ἀρχ. τῶν μελλόντων ἀγαθῶν, but that Christ has by His revelation brought life and immortality to light; so that those words bear another and a more blessed meaning now than they could then: in fact, that, as brought out in ch. Hebrews 10:1, which is a key-text to open this, the law had σκιὰν τῶν μελλόντων ἀγαθῶν, whereas we have αὐτὴν τὴν εἰκόνα τῶν πραγμάτων. After what has been said, it is hardly necessary to add that I take μέλλοντα as meaning not, which were future ‘respectu legis,’ but which are now future; the κληρονομία ἄφθαρτος of 1 Peter 1:4, the ἐλπιζόμενα of our ch. Hebrews 11:1; see our Writer’s usage in reff. The gen. after ἀρχιερεύς is, as Hofm. and Delitzsch well remark, not an attributive, but an objective one: the μέλλοντα ἀγαθά are the objects and ultimate regard of his High Priesthood), through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation (1. How are these words to be constructed? 2. To what tabernacle do they refer? 1. They belong to εἰσῆλθεν below, not to παραγενόμενος ἀρχιερεύς above, as Primasius, Luther, Schulz, al. For in that case, οὐδέ would be left without any preceding member of the negation to follow, or it must be considered as the sequence to οὐ ταύτης τῆς κτίσεως, or to οὐ χειροποιήτου, either of which would be absurd. So likewise recently Hofmann, joining however the whole, down to ἰδίου αἵματος, with the subject ἀρχιερεύς. Of his whole view, I shall treat below. 2. The διὰ is local: as the Jewish high priest passed through the πρώτη σκηνή in entering into the earthly ἅγια, so our High Priest has passed through the μείζων κ. τελειοτέρα σκηνή to enter into the heavenly ἅγια (on the second διὰ, see below). But, this settled, what is this greater and more perfect tabernacle? The Fathers for the most part interpret it of Christ’s body or human nature. So Chrys. (not however excluding the other interpretation, but maintaining that different things are typified by the same types: ὁρᾷς πῶς καὶ σκηνὴν κ. καταπέτασμα κ. οὐρανὸν τὸ σῶμα καλεῖ; … τίνος οὖν ἕνεκεν τοῦτα ποιεῖ; ἡμᾶς διδάξαι βουλόμενος, καθʼ ἕτερον καὶ ἕτερον σημαινόμενον τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον ὄντα. οἷόν τι λέγω, καταπέτασμα ὁ οὐρανός ἐστιν· ὥσπερ γὰρ ἀποτειχίζει τὰ ἅγια καταπέτασμα, καὶ ἡ σὰρξ κρύπτουσα τὴν θεότητα· καὶ σκηνὴ ὁμοίως ἡ σάρξ, ἔχουσα τὴν θεότητα· καὶ σκηνὴ πάλιν ὁ οὐρανός· ἐκεῖ γάρ ἐστιν ἔνδον ὁ ἀρχιερεύς), Thl. (similarly), Thdrt., Œc., Ambros. (on Psalms 118), Primas., Clarius, Calvin, Beza, Est., Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Hammoud, Bengel, al. Ebrard takes it of Christ’s holy life, and τὰ ἅγια of His exaltation; passing, in fact, from reality into symbol: Œcolampadius, Cajetan, Corn. a-Lap., Calov., Wittich, Wolf, al. of the Church on earth: Justiniani and Carpzov (relying on several passages of Philo, where the world is called the temple of God), the whole world: Hofmann, the glorified Body of Christ, which, and not the Body of His flesh, he maintains can alone be said to be οὐ ταύτης τῆς κτίσεως, and in which dwells (Colossians 2:9) all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Bleek, De Wette, Lünem., and Stier, the lower region of the heavens, through which Christ passed in ascending to the throne of God: Tholuck, merely a superadded feature, having no representation in reality, but serving only to complete the idea of a heavenly sanctuary. Delitzsch keeps to his interpretation in ch. Hebrews 8:2 (which see discussed in note there) as against Hofmann. But here, as there, I believe that his and Hofmann’s views run up into one: though perhaps here the weight is on his side, as it was there on Hofmann’s. Hofm.’s reason for joining διὰ τῆς μείζ.… ἰδίου αἵματος, with ἀρχιερεύς, is, that unless it be so joined, the stress laid on εἰσῆλθεν ἐφάπαξ is split up and weakened by the negative and positive qualifications appended to εἰσῆλθεν. But the answer is plain, with Delitzsch, that nothing can be farther from the truth; these qualifications being in fact the very conditions, on which the completeness and finality of that entrance depended. Another of Hofm.’s objections may be as easily answered; viz. that if we join διὰ.… διʼ both with εἰσῆλθεν we must understand the first διὰ local, the second instrumental. But as the preposition in Greek carries both meanings, so does it both in German (durch), and in English (through): and besides, both meanings are, in their inner import, one and the same. The σκηνή here, as in ch. Hebrews 8:2, is the οὐρανοί (ch. Hebrews 4:14, διεληλυθότα τούς οὐρανούς) through which Christ passed not only locally, but conditionally, being the abode of blessed spirits and just men made perfect = His mystical Body (see on ch. Hebrews 8:2; and below, on the other epithets of this tabernacle), and τὰ ἅγια is the ὁ οὐρανὸς αὐτός (Hebrews 9:24, εἰσῆλθεν εἰς αὐτὸν τὸν οὐρανόν), the especial abode of the invisible and unapproachable God. As regards the epithets of this σκηνή, first it is distinguished by the art. τῆς, = nearly ἐκείνης τῆς, ‘that tabernacle of which we know.’ Then it is called μείζων, in contrast with the small extent and import of that other, and τελειοτέρα, in contrast with its ineffectiveness and its exclusion from the divine presence: perhaps also with its merely symbolical, and its transitory nature. “The indeterminate οὐ χειροποιήτου, a word of St. Luke in similar connexion. Acts 7:48; Acts 17:24, is explained by the Writer himself by οὐ ταύτης τῆς κτίσεως, and serves as an apposition to the preceding. That tabernacle is not built by hands of men, but by the Lord Himself, ch. Hebrews 8:2; it is of His own immediate placing, not belonging to this creation, not only not to this material creation which surrounds us, out of which we get our building materials, but altogether not to this first and present creation: it belongs to the age of the future, to the glorified world.” Delitzsch. The rendering “not of this building,” E. V., also Erasm., Luther, Beza, Wolf, Bengel, Kuinoel, al., is wrong, and misses the idea, giving in fact a tautological explanation for οὐ χειροποιήτου. As to the word χειροποίητος, it is classical, see Herod. ii 140: Thuc. ii. 77: Pausan. Eliac. ii. 19: Polyb. i. 75. 4; iv. 64. 4; and other examples in Bleek), nor yet ( οὐδέ, exclusive, but not necessarily climacterical; q. d. ‘no, nor with any of the typical accompaniments of that other tabernacle.’ It is neatly stated by Delitzsch, that οὔτε is the opposite of καίand,’ οὐδέ of καίalso’) through (as a medium of preparation and approach. The instrumental sense very nearly approaches the local: so that there need be no scruple about the apparently different senses given to διὰ in the two clauses: see above) blood of goats and calves (the plurals are simply generic: for the portion of the ceremonies of the day of atonement, see ref. Levit.), nay rather (on this strongly contrasting δέ, see note ch. Hebrews 2:6) through (see above; through, as His medium of entrance: it was as a key opening the holiest to Him) His own blood (not διʼ αἵματος ἰδίου, nor διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου, but, which is more emphatic than either after the former anarthrous αἵματος, διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος—q. d. ‘through that blood of His own.’ St. Luke has used the very same expression in ref. Acts) entered ( χριστός above is the emphatic subject of the whole sentence) once for all (see ref.) into the holy places, and obtained (on εὑρίσκω in this sense, see ch. Hebrews 4:16. The aor. part. is contemporary with the aor. itself εἰσῆλθεν. The redemption was not accomplished when He entered, but accomplished by His entering. And our only way of expressing this contemporaneity in English is by resolving the part. into another aorist with the copula, as in ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπε, and similar cases. Consult the note on ch. Hebrews 2:10, which is not, however, a strictly parallel case. Here as there, the contemporaneous completion of the two acts must be kept in view, and any such rendering as Ebrard’s, “in bringing about,” carefully avoided. The form of the word, εὑ ράμε νος, is Alexandrine, found also in Philo, but not in Attic Greek: see Lobeck on Phryn. p. 139 f. The middle is of that force which Krüger calls dynamic, Sprachlehre § 52.8. It imports the full casting of oneself into the action: thus in an ordinary case, τοὺς τὸν πόλεμον ποιοῦντας, Isocr., but ἄγις οὐκ ἐκ παρέργου τὸν πόλεμον ἐποιεῖτο, Thucyd. So that εὑράμενος here gives an energy and full solemnity to the personal agency of our Redeemer in the work of our redemption, which εὑρών would not give) eternal redemption for us ( αἰωνίαν, answering to ἐφάπαξ above: as Hofmann remarks, the λύτρωσις is the aim and end of the approach of our High Priest to God: if then this approach has once for all taken place, the λύτρωσις is therewith for ever accomplished. For the fem. form αἰων ίαν, see ref. 2 Thess. It occurs sometimes in the LXX: e. g. Numbers 25:13; Isaiah 61:4 al. λύτρωσις (reff.) is used elsewhere by St. Luke only: so also λυτρώτης, Acts 7:35. λυτροῦσθαι, Luke 24:21, is also used by St. Paul once, Titus 2:14, and St. Peter, 1 Peter 1:18. ἀπολύτρωσις is St. Paul’s word, occurring also in Luke 21:28, and in our Hebrews 9:15, and ch. Hebrews 11:35. In both words, as applied to our final redemption at the coming of Christ, the idea of ransom is rather in the background, and that of deliverance prevails over it: but in both, as applied to the redemption which Christ wrought by His death, the idea of price paid for redemption and redemption by that price, is kept prominent. This may be especially shewn by the two great texts Matthew 20:28 (and (48) Mark), ὁ υἱὸς τ. ἀνθ.… ἦλθεν δοῦναι τ. ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν, and 1 Timothy 2:6, ὁ δοὺς ἑαυτὸν ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ πάντων. The price paid for our redemption is His death (Hebrews 9:15) as the sacrifice of Himself, Titus 2:14; 1 Timothy 2:5 f.,—His blood Ephesians 1:7, as the sacrifice of His life, Matthew 20:28; 1 Peter 1:19. And here also it is His blood which is the λύτρον. Delitzsch, from whom the substance of the above is taken, goes on to shew, on the ground of the analogy between Christ and the O. T. high priests who took the blood in before God and sprinkled it on His mercy seat, that it was God to whom this λύτρον was paid, and not, as many of the Fathers held, Satan. See his notes, in his Comm. pp. 386–7. On the matter itself,—the entrance of Christ into the holiest διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος, I cannot do better than refer the student to the following pages of Delitzsch, where he has treated at length, and in a most interesting manner, the various hypotheses. I do not sum up the results here, because it is a subject of such peculiar solemnity, that the mind requires its treatment in full, in order to approach it reverently: and such full treatment would far exceed the limits of a general commentary. I have indicated some of the principal lines of hypothesis on ch. Hebrews 12:24, where the direct mention of the αἷμα ῥαντισμοῦ makes it necessary).


Verse 13-14

13, 14.] Argument, ‘a minori ad majus,’ to shew the cleansing power of Christ’s blood. For (rendering a reason for αἰων. λύτρ. εὑράμενος) if (with indic.,—‘as we know it does’) the blood ( τὸ αἷμα, compared with τὸ αἷμα below, because it is not the one blood compared with the other in its quality, but the shedding of the one blood compared with the shedding of the other: the articles then distribute the subject in each case) of goats and bulls (viz. the yearly offering on the day of atonement, Leviticus 16 s ταύρων this time, both as more precise, males alone being offered, and as forming an alliteration with τράγων) and ashes of an heifer (see the whole ordinance, full of significance, in Numbers 19:1-22. σποδός has no art. because the ashes were to be laid up, and a portion used as wanted) sprinkling (= ῥαντιζομένη ἐπί. ῥαντίζειν is a Hellenistic form: ῥαίνειν is the pure Greek, and also the commoner form in the LXX (14 times: the other 3 only. See reff.): who however in Numbers 19 call the water in which were ashes of the red heifer, ὕδωρ ῥαντισμοῦ) those who have been defiled (D-lat., vulg., Luth., Calv., De Wette in his version, al. make this accus. depend on ἁγιάζει. But to this there are two objections: 1. it is much less likely that ῥαντίζουσα should be absolute, than that ἁγιάζει should: 2. on this hypothesis, those who were the subjects of the virtue of the blood of the goats and bulls would also be described as κεκοινωμένοι, which they were not in the same sense as those who were sprinkled with the water of separation containing the ashes of the heifer. This latter objection is to me decisive. The word κοινόω, in this usage of to make unclean, to defile, as the opposite of ἁγιάζω, as κοινός itself over against ἅγιος, is Hellenistic, and first found in the N. T.: the LXX have for it μιαίνω and βεβηλόω, and for the person defiled, ἀκάθαρτος. In 1 Maccabees 1:47; 1 Maccabees 1:62 only, is κοινός found in the sense of unclean) sanctifieth to (so as to bring about) the purity (not “purifying,” as E. V.) of the flesh (it is evident, that the Writer speaks only of the Levitical rites in their matter-of-fact results as ‘opera operata,’ not of any divine grace which might accrue to the soul of the faithful Israelite from a spiritual partaking in them. The outward effect of the sacrifices of the day of atonement, as well as of the sprinkling of the ashes of the heifer, was, to render ceremonially pure before God, in the one case from the imputation of the defilement of sin on the whole people, in the other, from the defilement actually contracted by contact with death or uncleanness. These effects they had in themselves: what others they had, out of themselves, belonged not so much to them, as to that great Sacrifice which they represented), how much more (see the logical connexion at the end) shall the blood of (the) Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered HIMSELF (emphatic) without fault to God (first, when did He offer Himself? Clearly not, as Socinus, Schlichting, Grot., which last says, “Oblatio autem Christi hic intelligitur ea, quæ oblationi legali in adyto factæ respondet, ea autem est non oblatio in altari crucis facta, sed facta in adyto cælesti:” with whom Bleek agrees. For, as Delitzsch rightly observes, when Christ is anti-typically or by way of contrast compared with the victims of the O. T. sacrifices, as the ritual word ἄμωμον here shews that He is, then beyond question the offering on the cross is intended, which corresponds to the slaying the victim and offering him on the altar. Besides which, the “oblatio in adyto” was but the completion of the “oblatio in altari,” and, when Christ’s self-offering is spoken of generally, we are to take the whole from the beginning, not merely that which was the last act of it. This will guide us to the meaning of the somewhat difficult words διὰ πνεύματος αἰωνίου: for thus do we read, and not ἁγίου, which appears to have originated in a mistaken view of the words. The animals which were offered, had no will, no πνεῦμα of their own, which could concur with the act of sacrifice. Theirs was a transitory life, of no potency or virtue. They were offered διὰ νόμου rather than διὰ any consent, or agency, or counteragency, of their own. But Christ offered Himself, with His own consent assisting and empowering the sacrifice. And what was that consent? the consent of what? of the spirit of a man? such a consent as yours or mine, given in and through our finite spirit whose acts are bounded by its own allotted space in time and its own responsibilities? No: but the consenting act of His divine Personality—His πνεῦμα αἰώνιον, His Godhead, which from before time acquiesced in, and wrought with, the redemption-purpose of the Father. Thus we have πνεῦμα contrasted with σάρξ in speaking of our Lord, in several places: cf. Romans 1:3-4; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18. This divine Personality it was, which in the Resurrection so completely ruled and absorbed His σάρξ: this, which causes Him to be spoken of by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:45 as a πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν, and in 2 Corinthians 3:17 f. as absolutely τὸ πνεῦμα. Not however that any confusion hence arises in the distinction of the divine Persons: πνεῦμα αἰώνιον is not the Spirit of the Father dwelling in Christ, nor is it the Holy Spirit given without measure to Christ, but it is the divine Spirit of the Godhead which Christ Himself had and was in His inner Personality. And I conclude with Delitzsch as to the relevancy of such a clause here: the eternal spirit is absolute spirit, divine spirit, and thus self-conscious, laying down its own course purely of itself unbound by conditions, simply and entirely free: so that Christ’s offering of Himself διὰ πνεύματος αἰωνίου is, as such, a moral act of absolute worth, as Baumg., Von Gerlach, Ebrard, Lünem., al. “Jam vero,” says Seb. Schmidt, “cum hic Spiritus æternus adeoque infinitus sit, utique pondus meriti et satisfactionis, quod ab eodem spiritu est, æternum et infinitum est. Quod si æternum et infinitum sit, ne quidem infinita Dei justitia in eo aliquid desiderari potuit.” The διὰ is beautifully paraphrased by Œcolampadius, “per ardentissimam caritatem a Spiritu ejus æterno profectam.” See for the prep., in this connexion, Acts 1:2; Acts 11:28; Acts 21:4. It is by virtue of—so that His divine Spirit was the agent in the προσφορά, penetrating and acting on the Humanity.

ἄμωμος, as above observed, is (reff.) the regular word of the ritual in reference to the victims which must be without spot when offered. Therefore to understand it of the perfection of the glorified human nature of the ascended Saviour, as Schlichting and the Socinian interpreters, is clearly beside the meaning, and contrary to analogy.

See many further details on this difficult passage in Bleek and Delitzsch), purify our (the question of reading, ἡμῶν or ὑμῶν, is one not easy to settle. At the word καθαριεῖ we unfortunately lose the evidence of B, the MS. terminating there, and being completed by a later hand. From all analogy it would seem that we must infer ἡμῶν to have been its reading here. It is true, as Bl. and Delitzsch assert, that ὑμῶν has a more lively and emphatic aspect: “habet aliquid inexpectatum,” as Böhme: but I cannot bring myself for this purely subjective reason to desert the guidance of the best and oldest MSS., though their company is now weakened by the defect of its most important member) conscience (our English word conscience does not reach the fulness of συνείδησις, the self-consciousness as regards God, the inner consciousness of relation to Him. This is, by the blood of Christ, shed in the power of the divine Spirit, thoroughly purified, freed from the terror of guilt, cleared from alienation from Him and from all selfish regards and carnal pretences, and rendered living and real as He is living and real) from dead works (just as death was under the old law the fountain of ceremonial pollution, and any one by touching a dead body became unclean, so carnal works, having their origin in sin, with which death is bound up, pollute the conscience. They are like the touching of the dead body, rendering the man unclean in God’s sight, as not springing from life in Him: inducing decay and corruption in the spirit. See on ch. Hebrews 6:1, and Chrys. there quoted. Here, the reference to the dead body can hardly be set aside, being more pointed than there, where I have rather advocated the general sense of νεκρός.

The Writer does not here set forth how this blood of Christ acts in purifying the conscience: it is not his aim now to speak of our way of participation of its benefits, but merely of its cleansing power itself) in order to the serving (ministering to, which the unclean might not do in the ceremonial sanctuary, nor can the unclean do in heart and life) the living God (God in His spiritual reality and absolute holiness: not a God concealed by veils and signs, but approached in His verity by the sanctified soul)?


Verses 13-18

13–10:18.] Enlargement upon, and substantiation of, αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος: on which then follows, Hebrews 10:19 ff., the third or directly hortatory part of the Epistle. “For the blood of His self-offering purifies inwardly unto the living service of the living God (Hebrews 9:13-14): His redeeming death is the inaugurating act of a new covenant and of the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 9:15-23): His entrance into the antitypical holiest place is the conclusion of his all-sufficing atonement for sin (Hebrews 9:24-26), after which only remains His reappearance to complete the realization of Redemption (Hebrews 9:27-28). In distinction from the legal offerings which were constantly repeated, He has, by his offering of Himself, performed the actual will of God which willed salvation (ch. Hebrews 10:1-10): our Sanctification is now for ever accomplished, and the exalted Saviour reigns in expectation of ultimate victory (Hebrews 10:11-14): and the promised new covenant has come in, resting on an eternal forgiveness of sins which requires no further offering (Hebrews 10:15-18).” Delitzsch.


Verse 15

15.] See summary above at Hebrews 9:13. This pre-eminent spiritual virtue of His redeeming blood constitutes his fitness to be Mediator of the new covenant, the main blessing of which, forgiveness, extends even back over the insufficient former one, and ensures the inheritance to the called. And on this account ( διὰ τοῦτο is not to be taken as Schlichting, Böhme, and Bleek, prospectively, responded to by the ὅπως below: for in this case we should have an entire break between the last verse and this. It is true, as Del. observes, that a new side of Christ’s work is here introduced: but it is one which stands in the closest relation to that which has preceded. Rather should we refer διὰ τοῦτο backwards, and understand it, on account of this virtue of His blood: or if it seem better, extend its reference further back still, over Hebrews 9:11-14, on account of the great work which He hath accomplished by his death: = ‘because these things are so’) is He mediator of a new covenant (see ch. Hebrews 8:6 and note. There is a stress on καινῆς, but not so strong an one as Bl. and Del. suppose: Del. would explain,—therefore is the covenant, of which He is the mediator, a new one. But surely this predicate does not carry the logical weight of the sentence, but rather both the words, διαθήκης καινῆς, the latter of which is taken up and responded to by πρώτῃ below, and the former by ὅπου γὰρ διαθήκη in the next verse. For its meaning here, see below), in order that,—death having taken place, for the propitiation of the transgressions under the first covenant,—they who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance (first, the object of the new covenant is an eternal inheritance,—cf. τὰ μέλλοντα ἀγαθά, Hebrews 9:11, ἡ οἰκουμένη ἡ μέλλουσα, ch. Hebrews 2:5; and therefore the idea of inheritance having once come in, gives to διαθήκη that shade of meaning which is deepened and insisted on below, viz. that of a TESTAMENTARY covenant or arrangement. Then, going backwards from κληρονομίαν,— ἐπαγγελίαν λάβωσιν, an expression (see reff.) used also by St. Luke, is to be taken in the sense of receiving the fulfilment of a promise, not merely of having the promise granted. Then, the κεκλημένοι are the κλήσεως ἐπουρανίου μέτοχοι of ch. Hebrews 3:1; cf. also ἡ ἄνω κλῆσις of Philippians 3:14; and reff. here. Calvin well remarks, “Loquitur de vocatis, ut Judæos, qui hujus vocationis erant participes, magis officiat.” This end, of the called being put in possession of the promise of the eternal inheritance, is to be attained, θανάτου γενομένου εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῶν ἐπὶ τῇ πρώτῃ διαθήκῃ παραβάσεων. Without this death, it could not be attained. The full reason of this, that death must take place first, is presently gone into: it is with the concluding words of this clause that we are at present concerned. These transgressions under the first covenant are in fact those of all mankind. Israel was a pattern of God’s dealings with all: and His revelation of His will to Israel extended categorically to all mankind. Against this will, primævally revealed, revealed to the patriarchs, revealed in the law, our parents and the antediluvian earth, the sons of Noah and the postdiluvian earth, Israel itself as a people, had deeply and repeatedly transgressed: and before a new inheritance by testament could come in, there must be a propitiation of all these former transgressions. All the propitiatory sacrifices, so called, of the former covenant, were but imperfect and typical: but as this is to be a real inheritance, so there must be real and actual propitiation. Cf. the remarkable parallel, Acts 13:39, ἀπὸ πάντων ὧν οὐκ ἠδυνήθητε ἐν νόμῳ ΄ωυσέως δικαιωθῆναι, ἐν τούτῳ πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων δικαιοῦται. See more below. This is fully and strikingly treated by Hofmann, Schriftb. ii. 1. 300: see also Delitzsch’s note here.

It is right to mention that some versions and expositors take κεκλημένοι τῆς αἰωνίου κληρονομίας together. Thus Syr., Faber Stap., Chr. F. Schmid, al., and recently, Tholuck and Ebrard (this latter, apparently, missing the sense of ἐπαγγελίαν λαβεῖν): which arrangement would perhaps be grammatically justifiable, but according neither to our Writer’s usage, nor to the requirements of the sentence. The severing, of a genitive in government from its governing noun is not uncommon in our Epistle, and frequently found in other governments also, in St. Luke: and, the stress being here on inheritance, as presently taken up in the next verse, it is not probable that it would be introduced merely in the most insignificant place possible, as a mere adjunct to the description of the subject of the sentence. So that on all grounds the other and more usually accepted construction is to be preferred. The ἐπί with dat. τῇ πρώτῃ διαθήκῃ, in the sense of ‘under,’ ‘during the time of,’ the first διαθ., easily gets its meaning from the primitive sense of close superposition. The things happening ἐπὶ τῇ πρώτῃ διαθήκῃ, had it for their substratum, were superimposed on it, as it were. See ch. Hebrews 10:28; and Winer, edn. 6, § 48. c).


Verse 16

16.] For (justification of θανάτου γενομένου, by an appeal to common usage) where a testament is (it is quite in vain to attempt to deny the testamentary sense of διαθήκη in this verse. Many have made the attempt: e. g. Codurcus, in a long excursus, which may be seen in Critici Sacri, vol. vii. part 2, fol. 1067 ff.: Whitby in loc., Seb. Schmidt, Michaelis, al., and recently Ebrard and Hofmann. As these recent expositors have written with the others before them, it may be well to give an account of their views of the passage. Ebrard understands it thus: “Wherever sinful man will enter into a covenant with the holy God, the man must first die,—must first atone for his guilt by death (or must put in a substitute for himself).” This he gives as the summary of his argumentation. But, as Hofmann asks, where does he find one word of this in the general assertion of the Writer? The text speaks axiomatically of something which every one knows in common life. Ebrard interprets theologically: by a declaration which it requires a theologian to accept. The Writer speaks in the abstract—of all διαθῆκαι whatever: Ebrard interprets in the concrete—of one particular set of διαθῆκαι. It is true, Eb. attempts to anticipate this objection, by saying that from the context, every one would know what sort of διαθήκη was meant. But this does not meet it in the least degree. Our verse is a perfectly general axiom, extending over all διαθῆκαι, in whatsoever sense the word be taken. Hofmann on the other hand rejects (Schriftb. ii. 1. 302 ff.) both meanings, testament and covenant, and maintains that of ordinance, disposition, understanding that disposition to extend to the whole property. Then, he says (see also Weissagung u. Erfüllung, ii. 165), “This idea of necessity implies that he must die who makes such a disposition of his whole property: because, as long as he lives, he can be always adding to his property, so that this disposition ( διαθήκη) cannot be meant to be used of the time while the disposer is alive.” But this, though approaching nearer the true meaning, is just as futile as the other. Why may not a man yet living make such a disposition? And if it cannot be made till death, wherein does it in reality differ from a testament? It would be quite impossible to follow out the various argumentations by which the testamentary sense has been sought to be evaded. It will be far more profitable for us to endeavour to substantiate that which I believe to be the only admissible acceptation. And this I will do by starting from the word itself about which all the question is raised. διαθήκη, from διατιθέναι, ‘disponere,’ διατίθεσθαι, ‘disponere sibi,’ regards, in ordinary Greek usage, that disposition of a man’s property which he makes in prospect of his death, and signifies, 1. a will or testament. So in Plato, Legg. xi. p. 926 B, ὃς ἂν διαθήκην γράφῃ τὰ αὐτοῦ διατιθέμενος, and in reff.: in Demosth. 1136. 12, τὴν διαθήκην, ἣν ἂν γνησίων ὄντων παίδων ὁ πατὴρ διάθηται, ἐᾶν ἀποθάνωσιν οἱ παῖδες πρὶν ἡβῆσαι, κυρίαν εἶναι, and al. On the other hand, the word is by no means tied to this its more usual meaning. The general one, of a disposition of any kind, is sometimes found applied to other circumstances than those at the close of life. So Aristoph. Av. 439, where Peisthetærus says, μὰ τὸν ἀπόλλω ʼ γὼ μὲν οὔ, ἣν μὴ διαθῶνταί γʼ οἵδε διαθήκην ἐμοί, … μήτε δάκνειν τούτους ἐμὲ κ. τ. λ.: where it evidently means a covenant, an agreement. And in this sense, either where there are two distinct parties, or where one only arranges or ordains a ‘dispositio,’ do we find the word most often used in the LXX and N. T. In the former sense, 2. of a covenant, with two agreeing parties, it is not so frequent as in the latter: but we find it Genesis 21:27; Genesis 21:32, διέθεντο ἀμφότεροι διαθήκην: in Job 40:23 (Job 41:4) of Leviathan, θήσεται δὲ μετὰ σοῦ διαθήκην: 2 Kings 3:12; Joshua 9:6; Joshua 9:11 al. fr. The other sense, 3. that of a disposition or ordinance made by God πρός τινα, or μετά τινος, is the most ordinary one in the LXX. To it may be referred almost all the passages where in a loose sense of the word we in English render ‘covenant:’ e. g. Genesis 6:18; Genesis 9:9 &c.; Genesis 15:18; and a hundred other places. In this latter sense it is that the word has come to be used absolutely and technically as in ἡ κιβωτὸς τῆς διαθήκης, ἡ διαθήκη κυρίου, &c.: and in the quotation in our ch. Hebrews 8:8 ff.

Now, having these there leading senses of the word before us, we are to enquire, which of them our Writer is likely to have intended when he wrote as a general axiom, ὅπου διαθήκη, θάνατον ἀνάγκη φέρεσθαι τοῦ διαθεμένου. It is obvious that in no general axiomatic sense can it be predicated of a covenant, or of an ordinance. There may be particular instances where a death (setting aside for a moment τοῦ διαθεμένου) might have been the requisite ratification of a covenant, or result of an ordinance: but such particular cases are clearly not here in question. Only when we recur to sense (1), that of a testament, can it be true, that where a διαθήκη is, there must of necessity be death, and that, the death τοῦ διαθεμένου, of him who has made the testament. And if it be objected to this, that a testament may exist many years before the death of the testator, the answer is easy, that the Writer here detines his own meaning of ὅπου διαθήκη, when he says διαθήκη γὰρ ἐπὶ νεκροῖς βεβαία: viz. that the document in question does not in reality become a διαθήκη, a disposition, till it is of force, till things are disposed by it. I believe then it will be found that we must at all hazards accept the meaning testament here, as being the only one which will in any way meet the plain requirements of the verse) there is necessity that the death ( θάνατον is prefixed before ἀνάγκη, as carrying the whole weight of emphasis, and is for this reason also anarthrous) of him who made it (the testator, as E. V., but it is important to mark that it is διαθεμένου, not διατιθεμένου, as it ought to be on the interpretation of Ebr. al. In the meaning, Christ is the διαθέμενος: and this agrees wonderfully with St. Luke’s manner of speaking in that text which is in fact the key-text to this: κἀγὼ διατίθεμαι ὑμῖν καθὼς διέθετό μοι ὁ πατήρ μου βασιλείαν, Luke 22:29. There the great and primary διαθέμενος is the Father, who is not here in question, as neither is His διαθήκη with His Son: but as regards us, the διαθέμενος is Christ; to whom alone, as human, the axiom, spoken of human relations, is applicable, and not to the divine Father. And when Ebrard insists on the former of these facts, and altogether omits noticing the second, saying that according to our interpretation God Himself must have died, we can only marvel at this fresh instance of the inconceivable rashness and carelessness which unfortunately characterize his spirited and clever commentary) be implied (it is not easy to express the exact sense of φέρεσθαι here. For we must remember, 1. that we have had θανάτου γενομένου in Hebrews 9:15, quite far enough off to prevent it being probable that φέρεσθαι is a mere rhetorical elegance to avoid repeating γενέσθαι, and inducing us to think that some meaning different from γενέσθαι is here intended: even could it be shewn that φέρεσθαι could bear to be rendered = γενέσθαι, which I am not aware that it has been: 2. that in looking for a sense for φέρεσθαι, we must be careful not to give too pregnant or emphatic an one, seeing that it holds a very insignificant and unemphatic place in the sentence. This being premised, I believe the most suitable sense will be found in such phrases as πάσας αἰτίας φέρειν, to allege all grounds, Demosth. p. 1328. 22; παραδείγματα φέρειν, to produce examples, Polyb. xvii. 13. 7; φέρειν τινὶ τοὺς ἀπολογισμούς, to make one’s apologies to, id. i. 32. 4. And of these I would take ‘alleged,’ ‘carried in to the matter,’ in fact, ‘implied,’ which seems the best word: he who speaks of διαθήκη, ( ἅμα) φέρει, carries in to, involves in, that assertion, the death of the διαθέμενος. On the logical connexion, see below):


Verse 17

17.] for (renders a fresh reason within the domain of the former γάρ, explaining the axiom of Hebrews 9:16) a testament is of force ( βεβαία, see on ch. Hebrews 2:2, and Romans 4:16) in the case of the dead ( ἐπί, over, the thing predicated being the substratum or condition of the subject. Doubtless in choosing the plural, and indeed the word itself, the Writer has in his mind the transition which he is about to make from the death of the New Testament to the typical deaths of the Old, which were of animals, between which and men, νεκρά, not ἀποθανόντα, would be the common term), seeing that it (a διαθήκη) is never (we should expect οὔποτε here, the assertion being absolute and of matter of fact: but it appears to be a habit of later writers after ἐπεί to use the subjective, not the objective negation. So Ælian xii. 63, ἐπεὶ μὴ πάνυ ἦν πλούσιος: Lucian, Hermot. 47, ἐπεὶ μηδενὸς ἡγεμόνος τοιούτου ἔς γε τὸ παρὸν εὐποροῦμεν: Ptol. Geogr. viii., ἐπεὶ μηδὲν εἶχε τοιοῦτονἀντιπαραγράφειν. But we must not render μήποτε as = μήπω, which vulg., Faber Stap., Erasm., Luther, Calv., Böhme have done. Many expositors take it interrogatively: “surely it is not?” &c. So Œc., Thl., De Dieu, Bengel, Lachmann, and even Delitzsch: but quite unnecessarily, as the above usage is undoubted, and the question introduces an unnecessary harshness) availing when ( ὅτε corresponding to μή ποτε) he that made it is alive.


Verse 18

18.] Whence ( τουτέστι, διότι ἀναγκαῖόν ἐστι τὸ θάνατον προηγεῖσθαι τῆς διαθήκης. Thl.) neither has the first ( διαθήκη, testament) been inaugurated (perf., inasmuch as the rites &c. belonging to it were still subsisting. ἐγκαινίζω is an Alexandrine verb: used in the LXX for to re-create or make anew: also for to put forth as new, to inaugurate: see reff., and numerous citations in Trommius. Notice that the reference is, here, simply to the first encænia of the law when it was put forth as new: not to any subsequent renewal of sacrifices by death: this is presently alluded to, Hebrews 9:21 ff. Thl. gives for ἐγκεκαίνισται,— τουτέστι, τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς συντάσεως κ. τῆς βεβαιώσεως ἔλαβεν) without (apart from, free from the exhibition of) blood.


Verse 19

19.] For (explanation of the assertion in last verse) when every commandment had been spoken according to the law (these last words, κατὰ τὸν νόμον, belong not to ἐντολῆς, as vulg. (“lecto enim omni mandato legis”), Schlicht., Calov., Jac. Cappell., Seb. Schmidt, Bengel, Chr. F. Schmid, Böhme, Bleek, De Wette, al., which would be more naturally τῆς κατὰ τ. ν. (as indeed Thl. gives it in his altern.: τουτέστι, καθὼς ὁ θεὸς ἐνομοθέτησεν ἵνα λαληθῶσιν εἰς τὰ ὦτα παντὸς τοῦ λαοῦ· , πάσης ἐντολῆς τῆς κατὰ τὸν νόμον, τουτέστι τῆς νομοθετηθείσης),—but to λαληθείσης, spoken according to the law, i. e. as the law directed, not varying from it in any point. The law was ὁ νόμος τῶν ἐντολῶν, and these ἐντολαί were faithfully reported) by Moses to all the people (see Exodus 24:3, καὶ διηγήσατο τῷ λαῷ πάντα τὰ ῥήματα τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὰ δικαιώματα. The παντί, not given in Exodus, may be inferred from ἀπεκρίθη δὲ πᾶς ὁ λαός, which follows in the same verse), taking the blood (the additional detail of Exodus 24:5 is omitted, viz. that “he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt-offerings, and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto the Lord.” It was of this blood that Moses took) of the calves and goats (the former only are mentioned in Exodus: שְׁלָמִים ליהֹוָה פָּרִים . But this is only said of the peace-offerings. The burnt-offerings (see above) after the analogy of the rites on the day of atonement, might be presumed to be goats. Indeed the key to the additions made here to the text of Exodus is, that the account is filled up by subsequent usage. We may presume, that the solemn legal appointment of various ceremonial details was in fact only a divine sanction of practices already existing: sacrifice having been long in use, and that under the direction and approval of God Himself) with water (prescribed, in Numbers 19:6; Numbers 19:17, to be mixed with the ashes of the red heifer which were to be kept for purifying: cf. also Leviticus 14:50 f.: see above), and scarlet wool and hyssop (see Leviticus 14:49 ff.: by comparing which with Numbers 19 as above, it may fairly be inferred, as our text here assures us was the fact, that these instruments were the ordinary ones in cleansing and sprinkling, even before their positive enactment as such by the law. The hyssop indeed we find thus prescribed, ref. Exod., in sprinkling the blood on the door-posts at the Passover. As to the manner of using, the stalk or bunch of hyssop was wrapt round with scarlet wool to make it absorb the blood, being tied with the same wool to a staff of cedar-wood to keep it stiff. On hyssop itself, there are various opinions, enumerated in Winer, Realw., “Ysop.” The most approved makes it to be a plant growing on walls, ‘hyssopus officiualis,’ with small lancet-formed woolly leaves, about an inch long, a knotty stalk from 1 foot to 1½ high, with blue (sometimes white) flowers), he sprinkled both the book itself (nothing is said of this in Exodus 24. And hence some have endeavoured to take αὐτό τε τὸ βιβλίον with λαβών, not with ἐράντισεν. So the Coptic and Armen. versions: and so Grot., Wittich, Cramer, Bengel, Michaelis, Storr, al. But it is obvious, that the καί after βιβλίον renders this impossible. The book is of course that out of which he had just read the ordinances of God: τὸ βιβλίον τῆς διαθήκης. If, as Stier supposes, Moses took the book (Exodus 24:7) from off the altar, where it was lying when he sprinkled the altar with blood, then the book was sprinkled likewise: but nothing in the text of Exodus implies this) and all the people (LXX, λαβὼν δὲ ΄ωυσῆς τὸ αἷμα, κατεσκέδασεν τοῦ λαοῦ. Of course the words πάντα τὸν λαόν are not to be taken to mean that he sprinkled every individual; but merely the whole mass, as they stood), saying,


Verse 20

20.] This is the blood of the testament (LXX, ἰδοὺ τὸ αἷμα τῆς διαθήκης. It has been suggested, first it would appear by Böhme, that the change has been made by the Writer after the tenor of the N. T. inauguration of the testament by our Lord, τοῦτο τὸ ποτήριον ἡ καινὴ διαθήκη ἐν τῷ αἵματί μου, Luke 22:20, the only Gospel in which ἐστιν fails) which God (LXX, κύριος: changed apparently to preserve more completely the O. T. character of the saying) commanded (LXX διέθετο, which would seem at first sight more appropriate to Hebrews 9:16. But ἐντέλλεσθαι διαθήκην is a common LXX expression elsewhere, see besides reff. Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 29:1; Ps. 110:9; Jeremiah 11:3) in regard to you (it is much disputed, how the logic of this passage can cohere: seeing that, how properly soever the latter διαθήκη may be spoken of and argued on as being a testament, the former one could have no such character, and consequently cannot be thus argued on. And the question is very variously answered according to the standing-point of different Commentators. Even such as Tholuck, Lünemann, and Bleek, question the applicability of the Writer’s argument. But, I believe, wrongly. The matter seems to stand thus. The word διαθήκη has the double sense of a covenant and a testament. Both these senses may be applied to both διαθῆκαι: to the latter more properly belongs the testamentary sense, but to the former also in as far as it was typical of and foreshadowed the other. In the latter, all is clear. Christ, the heir of all things, has bequeathed to us His people an everlasting inheritance; has died, sealing the testament with His blood. In the former all this is formally, though inadequately represented. The κληρονομία, faintly shadowed forth by temporal possessions, had yet a recognized blessed meaning far beyond those possessions: the testator was imperfectly, but still was formally represented by the animals slain in sacrifice: there was a death, there was a sprinkling of and sealing by blood: and surely it requires no more stretch of concession to acknowledge the victim in sacrifice to represent the Lamb of God in his sonship and his heritorship, than it does in his innocence and propitiatory power. The one idea is just as poorly and inadequately set forth by it as the other. But in both cases there is an inheritance, and in both it is the same. In both it is bequeathed: in the latter actually by One who has come in person and died: in the former, only typically, by the same One ceremonially present. So that, if our ὅθεν in Hebrews 9:18 were to be filled up, it would be, ‘Whence, i. e. since the former covenant also had its testamentary side, and thus was analogous to as well as typical of the latter.’

The charge brought against the Writer on account of his transition of meaning in διαθήκη, is equally without foundation. He is thinking in Greek. In Greek, διαθήκη has these two meanings: not divided off from one another by any such line of demarcation as when expressed by two separate words, but both lying under one and the same word. What more common, or more ordinarily accepted, than to educe out of some one word its various shades of meaning, and argue on each separately as regards the matter in hand? Take the very word ‘Testament’ as an example. In our common parlance it now means a book: the Old Testament, the book of the former covenant, the New Testament, the book of the latter. But we do not therefore sink the other and deeper meaning; nay we rather insist on it, that it may not become lost in that other and more familiar one. I cannot see how the Writer’s method of procedure here differs essentially from this).


Verse 21

21.] And moreover he in like manner sprinkled with the blood the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry (this cannot be spoken of the same occasion as that referred to in the previous verses: for at that time the tabernacle did not exist. Nor again can it be said of any practice of sprinkling with blood which existed throughout the legal ordinances: for the aorist shews the reference to be to some one act, and the subject of the verb is, as before, Moses. This being so, we must look beyond the ordinances of the law itself for the fact here detailed. For all that we have in the law respecting the dedication of the tabernacle and its vessels is in Exodus 40:9-10, where Moses is commanded to take the anointing oil, and to anoint the tabernacle and all that is therein, and to hallow it, and all the vessels thereof. So that our Writer is probably referring to some traditional account, which added to this anointing with oil, the sprinkling with blood. And this is not merely a hypothesis. For Josephus, Antt. iii. 8. 6, gives the following remarkable account, agreeing with ours almost verbatim: ΄ωυσῆς δὲ.… ἐκ τοῦ αἵματος τῶν τεθυμένων τήν τε στολὴν τοῦ ἀαρῶνος καὶ αὐτὸν σὺν τοῖς παισὶν ἔῤῥαινεν, … ἐπὶ μὲν οὖν ἡμέρας ἑπτὰ τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον αὐτούς τε καὶ τὰς στολὰς ἐθεράπευε, τήν τε σκηνὴν καὶ τὰ περὶ αὐτὴν σκεύη ἐλαίῳ τε προθυμιωμένῳ καθὼς εἶπον, καὶ τῷ αἵματι τῶν ταύρων καὶ κριῶν σφαγέντων καθʼ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν ἑνὸς κατὰ γένος. In Leviticus 8:30, from which the account of anointing Aaron and his sons is taken, distinct mention is made of sprinkling on them, and on their garments, the blood which was on the altar. It was a natural addition, to extend that sprinkling to the tabernacle and its vessels: especially as (Levit. Hebrews 9:15) the altar was already to be touched with the blood. Philo, Vita Mos. iii. 18, vol. ii. p. 158, cited by Carpzov and others as asserting the same as our text, does not do so, as Bleek has pointed out. He merely exactly reproduces the directions of Leviticus 8:10; Leviticus 8:30),


Verse 22

22.] and almost (one may say that) (the σχεδόν belongs, not to the πάντα, nor to the ἐν αἵματι (Bengel, Böhme), nor to the καθαρίζεται (as Chrys., Œc., Thl., διὰ τί τὸ σχεδὸν προσέθηκε; διότι ἐκεῖνα οὐκ ἦν καθαρισμὸς τέλειος), but to the whole assertion, ἐν αἵματι πάντα καθαρίζεται, καὶ χωρὶς αἱμ. κ. τ. λ. In the two other places where σχεδόν is used in the N. T. (reff.: both, observe, in St. Luke), it is closely joined with πᾶς) in blood all things are purified (there is a combination throughout of the ideas of the inheritance by testament, whereof the death is a condition, and the purification by covenant, whereof the death is the efficient cause. The combination is not a rhetorical figure in the mind of the Writer, but a deep truth in the verity of God. The same Death which purifies us from guilt, makes us partakers of the kingdom of glory: the same Blood which cleanses us from sin, seals the testament of our inheritance.

The fact that almost in all cases the law purified by blood, provides for such exceptions as Exodus 19:10; Leviticus 15:5 ff; Leviticus 16:26; Leviticus 16:28; Leviticus 22:6; Numbers 31:22-24) according to the law (i. e. receive legal purification), and ( σχεδόν still rules the sentence: see above) apart from shedding of blood ( αἱματεκχυσία seems to be a word coined by the sacred Writer to express his meaning. There has been a question, whether it imports the shedding of blood in the slaughter of the victims, or the pouring out of the blood at the foot of the altar, so often enjoined in the ordinances of legal sacrifice. On this question I give the substance of Delitzsch’s remarks. “For the second of these meanings it may be alleged, 1. that the mere shedding of blood ( שְׁחִיטָה ) is an expression in the O. T. ritual by no means confined to sacrificial rites properly so called, in which the catching of the blood by the priest is the first step: 2. that ἐκχέειν τὸ αἷμα ( παρὰ or ἐπὶ τὴν βάσιν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου) is the ordinary LXX expression for the usual שְׁפִיכָה (pouring out of the blood) in sin-offerings, while for the usual זְרִיקָה (sprinkling) in expiatory, peace, and whole burnt-offerings we have usually προσχέειν τὸ αἷμα ( ἐπὶ or πρὸς τὸ θυσιαστήριον),—once περιχέειν, 2 Chronicles 29:22, once at least ἐκχέειν, 4 Kings 16:15, Ed-vat. ( προσχ. (49) (50)), and once προσεκχέειν, Exodus 29:16 Ald. ( προσχ. (51) (52)).… But still it is to me more probable that the Writer here has the shedding of blood in mind. It would not by any means follow, that he treats this blood-shedding as a propitiation. He does not directly call it the medium of forgiveness, he says only, that apart from it there was no remission, that it is the indispensable means to obtain the expiatory דַּם הַנֶּפֶשׁ, life’s blood.… That however which determines me to refer the αἱματεκχυσία to the shedding of blood, is not entirely the usage, as Bl., but the τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυνόμενον of the institution of the Lord’s Supper in Luke 22:20 (cf. Luke 11:50),—at all events the close parallel in word and in thought to that. It is hardly probable that the Writer would mean an ἐκχέειν (- χύνειν) αἷμα of which that so called on Christ’s part is not the antitype; not to say that since Hebrews 9:13, αἷμα and θάνατος have been ideas most closely connected.” See this followed out much further in Delitzsch’s note) there cometh not (taketh not place) remission (viz. ἁμαρτιῶν: an expression occurring eight times in St. Luke and the Acts to once in St. Matt. and twice in St. Mark. As to the fact, Leviticus 17:11 sufficiently proves it: and the Rabbis deduced from that passage an axiom almost verbatim the same as our text: אֵין כַּפָּרָה אֶלָּא בַדָּם, “non est expiatio nisi per sanguinem.” The case of the poor man, who cannot afford the animal victim, Leviticus 5:11-13, which seems to present an exception and to justify the application of the σχεδόν to this clause, is not counted as one by Delitzsch, but as merely a negative expression of the need of reconciliation. But I do not see how this can be said: see Hebrews 9:13 there).


Verse 23

23.] There (was) (more probably than ‘is,’ seeing that he was before speaking, not of the renewed cleansing year by year, but of the solemn inauguration: and much more, now that he is coming to speak of the heavenly sanctuary, must he be asserting a necessity not of continually renewed cleansing, but of a past one, once for all) necessity therefore (this first inference follows from the facts just mentioned: and is introduced only to lead the way to the second, αὐτὰ δέ κ. τ. λ., which itself is a conclusion from the analogy between type and antitype, and is the converse of the ‘a fortiori’ proposition of Hebrews 9:13-14) that the delineations not, “patterns:” at least not in the present acceptation of that word. The heavenly things themselves would be the patterns, or antitypes. See on ch. Hebrews 8:5) of the things in the heavens (i. e. of the heavenly tabernacle with its contents: see below) should be purified (for the ἐγκαινίζειν was in fact not only an inauguration, but a purification likewise: and the proposition of Hebrews 9:22,—‘wherever there is ἄφεσις, there is αἱματεκχυσία,’—will bear converting,—wherever there is a sprinkling with blood, there is remission, and consequently, purification) with these (i. e. not the various purifications mentioned up to this time, the ashes of the red heifer included, as Lünem., al.; for these last were never used to purify the tabernacle or its vessels: nor again, “blood and the like,” e. g. the oil which was used with it, as De Wette, al.; for this has not been mentioned: nor, “talibus, nempe rebus Leviticis,” as Böhme, which is far too vague. It is the blood, and that only, which is meant: the plural being used most probably to indicate the animals slain, the τράγοι κ. μόσχοι), but the heavenly things themselves (i. e. heaven and the things therein: cf. εἰς αὐτὸν τὸν οὐρανόν in the next verse, of which Bleek well remarks, that the junction to this by γάρ can only then be valid when those words refer to the same as our αὐτὰ τὰ ἐπουράνια. But it has appeared difficult to Commentators to understand, how heaven itself should need this cleansing. Consequently various expedients have been adopted: and various meanings given, either to τὰ ἐπουράνια or to the verb. Luther, Calv., Beza, Grot., Le Clerc, Ebrard, Lünem., al. (not Bleek, as Ebr.) would understand καθαρίζεσθαι to be applied only by zeugma to the second member of our sentence, and would get out of it the idea ἐγκαινίζεσθαι, or “aditum pati,” or something of the kind. But to this we may answer, with Delitzsch, that every kind of inauguration, or patefaction, passed upon the heavenly things themselves by means of blood, must mean an inauguration or patefaction by means of propitiatory purification: so that the difficulty remains where it was. Thos. Aquinas (“Mundantur cœlestia, quatenus homines mundantur a peccatis”), Bengel (“i. e. usus redditus sanctus respectu nostri”), Tholuck, al. understand it of our being purified to inherit or enter heaven: which Delitzsch properly calls, after the difference which has been already in the text indicated between the purification of person and of the tabernacle, a precarious ‘quid pro quo.’ Still less can we accept the interpretations given in the ancient expositors, e. g. Chrys. ( αὐτὰ τὰ ἐπουράνια, τουτέστι τὴν φιλοσοφίαν τὴν παρʼ ἡμῖν, τοὺς ἐκεῖ κεκλημένους), Œc. ( τουτέστι, τὰ τῆς νέας ( διαθήκης)), Thdrt. ( οὐράνια δὲ τὰ πνευματικὰ κέκληκεν, οἷς ἡ ἐκκλησία καθαίρεται), Thl. ( τουτέστι, τὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας τὰ ἡμέτερα): so also Primasius, Aymo, Psuedo-Anselm. See this view well met in Justiniani. More literally, some have interpreted it with a view to the expulsion of Satan from heaven spoken of Luke 10:18; John 12:31, and especially Revelation 12:7-9; see also our ch. Hebrews 2:14. So Akersloot, and Bleek. But this does not meet the requirements of the case. There would thus be no cleansing, as far as the relations of God and men are concerned: none, to which the propitiatory effect of blood would in any way apply. We must therefore rest in the plain and literal sense: that the heaven itself needed, and obtained, purification by the atoning blood of Christ. And if we enquire how this could be, we may find an answer in reflecting on the consequence of man’s sin on the mind and aspect of God towards him. That unclouded benignity wherewith the Creator contemplated his creation, Genesis 1:31, had become overcast by the divine anger on account of sin, but was again restored by Him in whom the Father εὐδόκησεν, the darkness being by His blood turned into light, the frown into an eternal smile. So Delitzsch beautifully: “If I see aright, the meaning of the Writer is, in its ground thought, this: the supernal holiest place, i. e., as Hebrews 9:24 shews, αὐτὸς ὁ οὐρανός, the uncreated eternal heaven of God, although in itself untroubled light, yet needed a καθαρίζεσθαι in so far as the light of Love towards man was, so to speak, outflared and obscured by the fire of wrath against sinful man; and the heavenly tabernacle, i. e. the place of God’s revealing of His majesty and grace for angels and men, needed a καθαρίζεσθαι, in so far as men had rendered this place, which was destined for them from the beginning, unapproachable by reason of their sin, and so it must be changed into an approachable place of manifestation of a God gracious to men”) with sacrifices (categoric plural of an abstract proposition: not therefore implying that the sacrifice was repeated: applicable in its reality, only to the one Sacrifice of the body of Christ once for all, and most emphatically designating that as a sacrifice) better than (see on ch. Hebrews 1:4) these.


Verse 24

24.] He now reasserts, under the fuller light which has since been cast upon it, that which was enounced in Hebrews 9:11-12, and by it shews at what the word ἐπουράνια above pointed. In fact, as Delitzsch observes, the proposition of Hebrews 9:11-12, has been in course of elucidation ever since: in Hebrews 9:13-14 he explained διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος, in Hebrews 9:15-23 the ἀρχιερεὺς τῶν μελλόντων ἀγαθῶν, and now the εἰσῆλθεν ἐφάπαξ εἰς τὰ ἅγια. For (resumption of τὰ ἐπουράνια above) not into holy places made with hands (such as those into which the Jewish high priests entered: see above, Hebrews 9:11; and the two expressions Acts 7:48; Acts 17:24) did Christ enter, counterfeits of the true (holy places) ( ἀντίτυπος, correspondent to the τύπος; either, as in this case, copies from a pattern, viz. the τύπος shewn in the mount, however understood, ch. Hebrews 8:5, also Romans 5:14, ὅς ( ἀδάμ) ἐστι τύπος τοῦ μέλλοντος,—or the reality corresponding to a previously shewn figure ( τύπος), as baptism in ref. 1 Pet., where Baptism is the ἀντίτυπον to the flood of Noah: and which latter is our more usual English sense of antitype. The ancients mostly take ἀντίτυπα here as = τύπους. So Chrys., Thl. ( τουτέστι, τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἦσαν τύπος), not Œc., Jac. Cappellus, Schlicht., al. A copious collection of the senses and examples of ἀντίτυπος may be found in Suicer, sub voce. The Sacraments were often designated by this epithet, as representing to us Christ: and indeed Baptism in both the senses here given: thus Cæsarius, Quæst. Ult. p. 208 (cited by Suicer, but not to be found in Edn. Migne), calls Baptism ἀντίτυπον of Circumcision; while Cyril-jerus., Catech. xx. 6, p. 313, calls it τῶν τοῦ χριστοῦ παθημάτων ἀντίτυπον. Several of the Fathers speak of the Eucharistic elements as ἀντίτυπα τοῦ ἁγίου σώματος καὶ αἵματος τοῦ χριστοῦ. The true, genuine holy places are those in heaven, where God’s presence is manifested. See below), but into the heaven itself ( αὐτὸς ὁ οὐρανός,—none of the οὐρανοί, all of which the Lord διελήλυθεν, ch. Hebrews 4:14,—but the very holiest place, where God peculiarly reveals Himself, and which is uncreated. Delitzsch quotes from Seb. Schmidt, “Cœlum in quod Christus ingressus est, non est ipsum cœlum creatum, quodcunque fuerit, sed est cœlum in quo Deus est etiam quando cœlumcreatum nullum est,—ipsa gloria divina.” Hence what follows), now (in the present dispensation: almost = henceforth. It is an anticipation of the οὐδʼ ἵνα πολλάκις κ. τ. λ. of the next verse) to be manifested (first, as to the tense. Hofmann, Schriftb. ii. 1. 368, says that the aorist forbids the enduring “henceforth” sense of νῦν. But there can be no doubt that he is wrong. The infinitive of purpose is often expressed in the aorist when duration is distinctly implied, but, I believe, only in those cases where the commencement of the fulfilment of the purpose is contemporaneous with the act narrated whereby the purpose is to be served: so εἰσῆλθεν τοῦ μεῖναι σὺν αὐτοῖς, Luke 24:29; ὅν κατέστησεν ὁ κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκετείας αὐτοῦ, τοῦ δοῦναι αὐτοῖς τὴν τροφήν, Matthew 24:45,—in these cases the μένειν and the διδόναι, as here the ἐμφανίζεσθαι, beginning with the act related. It is obvious that these remarks apply only to cases where an enduring course of action is described: in other cases the aorist would be accounted for in other ways.

Next, as to the peculiar propriety of the word ἐμφανισθῆναι. It will be seen by reff., that it is one found mostly in St. Luke (Acts). It is there principally in the sense of making manifest, giving information: in ref. Matt. it is used of the bodies of the saints appearing to many: and in reff. John, of Jesus manifesting himself to his people. But the key-text to the understanding of it here is ref. Exod. ὀφθῆναι, not ἐμφανισθῆναι, is the word commonly used for the divine appearances: but Moses desired to advance beyond the mere ὄψις of God, and prayed ἐμφάνισόν μοι σεαυτόν. This, which might not be granted to Moses (nor to any man, cf. Leviticus 16:13)—this open sight of God, is that which takes place between the Father and the Son. “None knoweth the Son but the Father.” There is no veil hiding the Father’s face from the Son: so completely does this ἐμφανισμός take place, that he is the perfect image of the Father: “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father:” “No man knoweth the Father but the Son and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.” The Commentators refer to a treatise of Deyling’s, “Jesu Christi ἐμφανισμός in conspectu Dei,” Lips. 1722, which I have not seen) to (before) the face of God (see Revelation 22:4, where it is said that the servants of God shall see τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ. Commonly (see reff.) it is τὸ πρόσωπον ( τοῦ) κυρίου. See Stier here) for us (this is the intent of His entrance into the heavenly sanctuary, to appear and to plead for us: see ch. Hebrews 7:25. “He brings before the face of God no offering which has exhausted itself and, as only sufficing for a time, needs renewal; but He himself is in person our offering and by virtue of the eternal Spirit, i. e. of the imperishable life of His person, now for ever freed from death, our eternally present offering before God.” Delitzsch):


Verse 25

25.] nor yet (Œc. adds, ἀπὸ κοινοῦ ληπρέον,— εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν) that He may (i. e. with this intent, to) oftentimes offer Himself (before God in the holiest place: continue, as those high priests, year by year coming in before the face of God in His sanctuary. This προσφέρειν ἑαυτόν is not to be understood of Christ’s death, nor confounded, as Owen, Thol., De Wette, Ebrard, Lünem., and many others have done, with παθεῖν below: see there), just as (in a manner corresponding to, that which follows. ὥς περ, as ὅς περ, ὅσος περ, and other words lengthened by περ ( περί), implies a thorough similitude as far as the thing compared goes: Hartung (i. 340) illustrates such words by the obsolete German adverbs allda, allhier, allwo: cf. Judges 9:53, “and allto brake his skull”) the (Jewish) high priest enters into the holy (holiest) place year by year with ( ἐν, not instrumental, but elemental: he enters, furnished with, as it were clad with, that which follows. We use our ‘in’ of even the lesser articles of personal wear in a similar sense: ‘a man in spectacles’) blood of others (i. e. “not his own,” as Syr., which is an important point of contrast with Christ: see this brought in in the argumentation below):


Verses 25-28

25–28.] In Hebrews 9:24, His having entered into a mere typical sanctuary was denied: now it is denied, that His sacrifice needs, as those others did, to be repeated continually.


Verse 26

26.] since (in that case) it were necessary (no ἄν, which we should naturally expect: but the indicative is in fact dependent on and included in the hypothesis just made: “posito, eum ita cœlum intrasse, ut sæpius seipsum offerret, necesse erat …:” see 1 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 7:14; Romans 11:6; Winer, edn. 6, § 41, a. 2) that He should oftentimes suffer (not, “have suffered” as E. V.; by ἔδει we are already carried back to a time antecedent to the supposed repeated acts indicated by παθεῖν, and therefore do not need another carrying back in time. Notice, as against the Commentators mentioned above under προσφέρειν ἑαυτόν, and others, that this παθεῖν is here not equivalent to that προσφέρειν, but is emphatically placed as a new necessity, involved in that; the πολλάκις being common to both: the πολλάκις προσφέρειν necessitated the πολλάκις παθεῖν. If Christ’s view in entering heaven was, to offer, present, himself often to God, then, as a condition of that frequent presentation, there would be an antecedent necessity for Him to suffer often: because that self-presentation is in fact the bringing in before God of the Blood of that his suffering: and if the one was to be renewed, so must the other be likewise. So that the meaning is not, that Christ must again and again have descended on earth and died. To such a descent there is no allusion, as there is none to a renewed entrance into the ἅγια in heaven. That entrance Christ has effected once for all: this lies, as a ‘fait accompli,’ at the ground of the hypothesis. But the rejected hypothesis is, that once being in the celestial ἅγια, Christ intended to renew often his oblation of Himself. And in that case, says our Writer, it would be necessary that he should often suffer, often die: because each such oblation necessitated as its condition a corresponding παθεῖν. When, as in the case of the Jewish high priests, the αἷμα was ἀλλότριον, such repetition was possible (see Leviticus 16:14-15): but not so, when the blood was τὸ ἴδιον. Thus, in the main, Delitzsch; and Hofmann, Schriftb. ii. 1. 311. Cf. also Thl., ἐπεί, εἰ ἔμελλε, φησίν, πολλάκις προσενεγκεῖν, ἔδει αὐτὸν καὶ πολλάκις ἀποθανεῖν, διὰ τὸ τὸ ἴδιον αἷμα ὀφείλειν προσάγειν) since the foundation of the world (why this addition? Not, as often understood, e. g. by Bengel (“pro peccatis ab initio mundi commissis”), Böhme, Thol., Bleek, De Wette, Lünem., so as to bring under the merits of the Suffering, all the sins of mankind past as well as future,—which thought, arising from the erroneous view of a frequently-repeated entrance into heaven being supposed, has nothing whatever to do with the argument: but, inasmuch as the theatre of Christ’s sufferings is of necessity this present world, pointing out that those supposed repeated sufferings must necessarily in that case take place within the temporal limits indicated by ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου: that such sufferings would be spread over the space of time from the καταβολὴ κόσμου till He entered into the presence of God, each oblation of Himself there being the sequel of, and conditioned by, one such παθεῖν since the world has been. I may mention, that no parenthesis is here admissible. The words ἐπεὶ.… κόσμου are strictly and indispensably a link in the argument): now, however ( νυνί, not temporal, but = ‘ut res se habent’), once (for all, without need of renewal) at (as close upon, put in immediate contiguity with, ‘sub finem mundi:’ see Winer, edn. 6, § 48, c: superimposed, as an event, on its period as a substratum: see above on Hebrews 9:15) the end of the ages of time (i. e. when the whole period above indicated by ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου is gathered up and brought to an end. Between the first and second coming of Christ, the N. T. Scriptures know of no intermediate interposition of the divine dealings with men: in Him we are τέλειοι, and at His appearing, our αἰῶνες had their συντέλεια. All these centuries which have been since, are merely the lengthening out of the time in the mercy of God. The first Christians universally spoke of the second coming of the Lord as close at hand, as indeed it ever was and is: the σιτιστά are τεθυμένα, and all is ready: but the long-suffering of God waits while the guests are being gathered in: or, in the other view of His coming, while the ark is a preparing) hath He been manifested (viz. at His first coming in our flesh: the φανέρωσις ἐν σαρκί, spoken of 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:20. On the other meaning given, see below) for the putting away of sin (on ἀθέτησις see ch. Hebrews 7:18 note: putting away, i. e. abrogation, “quæ fit, quum peccato omnis vis et potestas adimitur. Quod dupliciter factum est: tum quatenus nullam vim habet ad homines condemnandos: tum quatenus vim non habet ad eosdem sub jugo suo retinendos. Utrumque enim ut fieret, Christus apparuit: tum ut homines a peccatorum reatu et pœnis, tum ut eosdem ab ipsis peccatis liberaret.” Schlichting) by means of His sacrifice (i. e. in the sense, ‘the sacrifice of Himself,’ but not here so expressed: had the Writer intended αὑτοῦ to express ἑαυτοῦ, he would have so written it, as in Hebrews 9:25.

By very many expositors, the construction of this verse is differently taken. Some understand πεφανέρωται of His appearance before God—the ἐμφανισμός above mentioned. So Jac. Cappellus, Grot., Heinrichs, Schulz, al. But this cannot be for a moment maintained. The analogy of the reff. is wholly against it, and so is the ἐκ δευτέρου ὀφθήσεται below: not to mention that had it been so, we should certainly have had ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ, or some such qualification, added. But more, keeping the right sense of πεφανέρωται, join διὰ τῆς θυσίας αὐτοῦ with it. So a gloss in Œc.: διὰ τῆς θυσίας πεφανέρωται, τουτέστιν, μετὰ τῆς σαρκὸς ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ: so Böhme, Tholuck, al. But none of the passages whereby this is defended, is applicable: neither Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:14 ( διὰ), nor Romans 2:27; 1 John 5:6; and for this reason, that θυσία, as Delitzsch observes, is not a continuing state, nor an accompanying circumstance, but an act, by which ἀθέτησις ἁμαρτίας, the scope of the whole, is brought about).


Verse 27

27.] And inasmuch as (not = καθώς, but bearing with it not only a comparative, but also a ratiocinative force, seeing that Christ is not only a fit object of comparison with man, but is man) it is appointed ( ἀπόκειται properly of things laid aside for future use: hence, of those things which are laid up as our appointed lot by a higher Power: so Plato, Locr. p. 104 D, κολάσεις ἀπαραίτητοι ἀπόκεινται δυσδαίμοσι νερτέροις: Dion. Hal. Hebrews 9:8, ὅσα τοῖς κακούργοις ἀπόκειται παθεῖν: see reff., and many other examples in Bleek) to men (all men: τοῖς generic) once (and no more) to die (see numerous illustrations of the sentiment from the classical authors in Wetstein), and after that, judgment (not necessarily here to be taken on its unfavourable side: the word is perfectly general, and anarthrous: nor is there, as Böhme imagined, any opposition between τοῖς ἀνθρώποις here and τοῖς ἀπεκδεχομένοις αὐτόν below. Such opposition indeed would mar the whole context, which has a totally different object, and deals with the general and inevitable fate of all men indiscriminately. Nor again must the question, whether judgment is spoken of as immediately to follow death, or after an interval, be imported into the consideration of the text. The indefinite μετὰ τοῦτο does not admit of any such question being raised. Next to death, with no more like events between, comes judgment: this is the fact contemplated—the appointed destiny of man, according to which that of the man Christ Jesus also, as far as it is applicable to Him, is apportioned):


Verse 27-28

27, 28.] It is shewn by a comparison with our human lot in general, of which Christ, Himself man, is partaker, that this often suffering (dying) and often offering Himself, has no place: that as in our case, we die once only, and after that comes the judgment, for us who are to be judged, so for Him there was one death from sin, and after that no repetition of it, but the judgment, for Him who is to judge. But in this latter member of the comparison, the bright and saving side only is put forward (see below): it is not said he shall appear to judge the world, but He shall appear without sin (and therefore with no more purpose to-expiate sin) to them that wait for Him, unto salvation: these last words carrying with them a hortatory force, that the readers might thus wait for Him.


Verse 28

28.] so also the Christ (not χριστός, anarthrous, which would seem to point to some one contrasted with, or at all events merely compared with, οἱ ἄνθρωποι: but χριστός, that man who was God’s Christ—the Christ, it being plain and palpable to all that ὁ χριστός belongs to the category οἱ ἄνθρωποι. Cf. the anarthrous χριστός in Hebrews 9:24, where the case is different) once (for all) having been offered (not = ‘having offered himself:’ for it might well have been προσενέγκας ἑαυτόν. The form and the meaning are both passive; and the reason of this is I believe to be found in the fact that it is in this verse not so much the agency, as the destiny of Christ, that is spoken of; that which, though the expression itself is avoided with regard to Him, ἀπόκειται for Him as for us. And this consideration removes from us all necessity of supplying an agent for this προσενεχθείς, as ὑφʼ ἑαυτοῦ (Chrys.) or ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ (al.), which as Delitzsch remarks would not be correct; Christ might be δοθείς or παραδοθεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ, but not προσενεχθείς. Nor would ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων express the right agency; for it was no conscious act of mankind, willing its sin to be atoned for, that offered up Christ: but if an agent must be supplied, it would be = διὰ πνεύματος αἰωνίου as in Hebrews 9:14,—the divine submission of our Lord subjecting Himself to the external force which was exerted against Him,—that force being in some sort the agent, but not without His own will co-operating. It is hardly necessary to mention, that the very terms of the context here necessitate the understanding this προσενεχθῆναι of the death of Christ,—not as in Hebrews 9:25, where the context, as there insisted, confines it to His offering of Himself to God in the heavenly sanctuary) to bear the sins of many (a plain allusion to ref. Isa., αὐτὸς ἁμαρτίας πολλῶν ἀνήνεγκεν: and here, as there, importing the “bearing,” “carrying on Himself,” Heb. נָשָׂא, cf. also in Leviticus 24:15, “Whosoever curseth his God shall bear ( λήψεται LXX) his sin:” Numbers 5:31, “the woman shall bear ( λήψεται) her iniquity:” Numbers 14:34, “each day for a year shall ye bear ( λήψεσθε) your iniquities, even forty years.” And so in Numbers 14:33, “shall bear your whoredoms,” where the LXX have ἀνοίσουσιν. The Heb. word may also have the sense of auferre, which many (e. g. Luth., Schlicht., Grot., Limb., Bl., Lünem., Hofm.) have wished to give it here: but not so ἀνενέγκαι. The sense given by Syr., “sacrificed” (“immolavit”) the sins of many,” and defended also by Chrys., Œc., Thl., would introduce a new and irrelevant idea, and cannot be maintained; so Michaelis also, taking however ἁμαρτία for a sin-offering, which it never means. Besides which, it is here πολλῶν ἁμαρτίας, which would at all events preclude that meaning. On πολλῶν, and its supposed contrast to πάντων (Chrys., διὰ τί πολλῶν εἶπε, καὶ μὴ πάντων; ἐπειδὴ μὴ πάντες ἐπίστευσαν: so Œc., Thl., and Thdrt., drawing from it the inference that Christ only διέλυσε the sin of believers), see above, ch. Hebrews 2:10, and Schlichting’s true distinction, “Multi non opponuntur h. l. omnibus, sed tantum paucis.” πολλῶν is, as Del. says, the qualitative designation of πάντων: all men are many in number. There is reference in it to ἅπαξ: He was offered, One, for all (“Multos uni opponit,” Calv.): and once for all), shall appear ( ὀφθήσεται, the usual verb of the appearances of Christ after his resurrection) a second time (reff.) without (separate from) sin (in order to understand this, we must remember what it is that the Writer is proving: viz. that Christ’s death, the repetition of which would be the condition of a repeated offering of Himself in heaven to God, admits of no such repetition. It was a death in which He bore the sins of many—but He shall appear the second time χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας, with no sin upon Him, and consequently the whole work of atonement done and accomplished by that first offering. So that there is no need of any far-fetched explanation, either of ἁμαρτίας, or of χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας. We need not say with Storr, that it is without an offering for sin: nor with Klee, that it is without punishment of sin: nor with Bleek, without meeting with sin (so Thdrt., οὐκέτι τῆς ἁμαρτίας κρατούσης, ἀντὶ τοῦ χώραν οὐκέτι ἐχούσης κατὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων τῆς ἁμαρτίας: and an explanation mentioned by Œc., ἐκ δευτέρου ἐρχόμενος οὐχ ἥξει πάλιν διὰ τὰς ὑμῶν ἁμαρτίας ὀφείλων ἀποθανεῖν): nor with Ebr., that He will have no more concern with sin: nor, with De Wette, without contact with sin: nor, with Lünem., free from all reference to sin. As distinguished from all these, we take, with Delitzsch and Hofmann, the simple sense of the words, and apply it to the argument in hand. At His first appearance in the world He came with sin, not in him, but on him: He was made to be ἁμαρτία: but this sin has been once for all taken away by his bearing it as our Sacrifice: and at his second appearance He shall appear without. having done with, separate from, sin. Theodore of Mopsuestia, though he has not exactly and clearly struck the right note, is yet very near it, when he says, νῦν, φησίν, ὀφθείς, ὅτε τὴν ἁμαρτίαν κρατεῖν συνέβαινεν, ἀναγκαίως τὸν διὰ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν κρατοῦντα θάνατον ἐδέξατο, τότε δὲ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ὡς εἰκὸς λελυμένης, ἀνάγκη καὶ αὐτὸν ἀπαθῶς ὀφθῆναι· τὸ γὰρ χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας τοῦτο λέγει, ὅτι μὴ κρατούσης ἔτι τῆς ἁμαρτίας οὕτω καὶ αὐτὸς ἔξω παντὸς ἀνθρωπίνου πάθους ὀφθήσεται τότε) to them that wait for Him (see reff.)—unto (to bring in: for the purpose of) salvation (these last words belong to ὀφθήσεται, not, as Primas., Faber Stap., Camer., Wolf, al., to τοῖς ἀπεκδεχομένοις. This latter notion has led to the curious insertion of the words διὰ πίστεως in A al. The object of Christ’s second appearance shall be, to bring in salvation: this is the bright and Christian side of His appearing, the side which we, who ought to be ἀπεκδεχόμενοι αὐτόν, should ever look upon. As Chrys. beautifully says, πῶς ὀφθήσεται; κολάζων, φησίν, ἀλλʼ οὐκ εἶπε τοῦτο, ἀλλὰ τὸ φαιδρόν).

 


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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Hebrews 9:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/hebrews-9.html. 1863-1878.


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Sunday, July 23rd, 2017
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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