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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Hebrews 8

 

 

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Verse 1

Hebrews 8:1. κεφάλαιον, the head, the sum) The Accusative absolute, which Paul uses, 1 Timothy 2:6, note. The head, that is, the principal point.— ἐπὶ τοῖς λεγομένοις) while these things are being spoken of, while we are treating of this object, while we are stating all these things concerning our High Priest, the sum of the whole discourse, as the arrangement so requires it, comes now to be mentioned: comp. ἐπὶ, Hebrews 8:6, ch. Hebrews 9:10; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 9:17; Hebrews 10:28. The force of the Greek prepositions ought sometimes to be taken by itself, nor does it admit of an adequate Latin or German periphrasis. See note 3 on Hebrews 9:15, ch. 9. I did not quote that verse at ch. Hebrews 7:11, note 5; wherefore the words of this note 5 are not to be extended to ch. Hebrews 9:15. ἐπὶ also applies to concomitancy, which is expressed by while.— τοιοῦτον, such) The capital proposition standing out very prominent. For, after having finished the explanation of the type in Melchisedec, he begins simply (without type) to discuss the excellence of the priesthood of Christ above the Levitical priesthood.— ἐκάθισεν, sat down) after having presented His oblation. [This is the very sum of the whole discussion, says the Apostle, that Christ, sitting in heaven, performs His office of priest, ch. Hebrews 10:12.—V. g.]— τῆς μεγαλωσύνης, of the majesty) i.e. τοῦ θεοῦ, of GOD, ch. Hebrews 12:2, at the end.


Verse 2

Hebrews 8:2. τῶν ἁγίων, of the holy things) the sanctuary, so called absolutely, the true, not made with hands, ch. Hebrews 9:8; Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 10:19.— λειτουργὸς) namely, ὤν: so λειτουργία, Hebrews 8:6. We may say in Latin, but in a very solemn sense, officialis, officium.— τῆς σκηνῆς, of the tabernacle) ch. Hebrews 9:11, note.— τῆς ἀληθινῆς, of the true) ch. Hebrews 9:24.— ἔπηξεν, pitched, fixed) firmly.— οὐκ ἄνθρωπος, not man) as Moses, Hebrews 8:5.


Verse 3

Hebrews 8:3. γὰρ, for) The reason why he called Him λειτουργὸν, Hebrews 8:2.— ἀναγκαῖον, necessary) viz. was; for the aorist follows, προσενέγκῃ, should offer.


Verse 4

Hebrews 8:4. γὰρ, for) The reason why he said ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, in the heavens, Hebrews 8:1 : a Chiasmus: comp. Hebrews 8:2-3.— ἐπὶ γῆς) If our Priest were a priest upon the earth, if His priesthood terminated on the earth, He would not even be [in the true sense] a priest at all. Christ, whilst He discharged the duties of the priesthood, entered into heaven.— ὄντων) inasmuch as there were already at the time priests existing.


Verse 5

Hebrews 8:5. ὑποδείγματι καὶ σκιᾷ) A Hendyadys. The latter is added, lest the former should be understood in too august a sense: each is repeated apart, chap. Hebrews 9:23, Hebrews 10:1. But it is the ablative in this passage, after the example and shadow. So ὑποδείγματι, ch. Hebrews 4:11.— λατρεὑουσι, serve) The same verb, ch. 9, often; Hebrews 10:2, Hebrews 13:10. He speaks in the present tense, as the temple was not yet destroyed, ch. Hebrews 9:6, Hebrews 13:11.— τῶν ἐπουρανίων, of heavenly things) which are both more ancient in design and more far-reaching in the finishing. Comp. Revelation 11:19. The mentioning of the mount accords with heaven.— κεχρημάτισται) he was commanded by God.— ὅρα, γάρ φησι, ποιήσῃς πάντα κατὰ τὸν τύπον τὸν δειχθέντα σοι ἐν τῷ ὄρει) Exodus 25:40, LXX., is the same as the above, with the exception of τὸν δεδειγμένον instead of τὸν δειχθέντα, and so ibid. Exodus 8:9; Exodus 26:30; Exodus 27:8.


Verse 6

Hebrews 8:6. νυνὶ, now) This is opposed to the εἰ, if, Hebrews 8:4.—(43) τέτευχε) The same phrase is found, 3 Maccabees 5:32, βοηθείας τετευχότες.— ὅσῳ, by how much) The character of the duty [of Christ as our mediating Priest] follows the nature of the testament, viz. that the promises, which it contains, may come to their accomplishment.— διαθήκης μεσίτηςἐπαγγελίαις νενο΄οθέτηται) These are all Paul’s expressions, 1 Timothy 2:5; Romans 9:4.— ἐπαγγελίαις, on promises) which are enumerated, Hebrews 8:10-11. The old promises, considered in precise strictness, referred to the things of this life, and they were exactly fulfilled, so that the people, being satiated with them, might then the more eagerly embrace the heavenly promises.— νενομοθέτηται) By an elegant difference in the words it is said of the Old Testament, λαὸς νενο΄οθέτητο, the people was established in the law, ch. Hebrews 7:11; but the New Testament itself νενομοθέτηται, has been established on the law. Man violates it: God keeps it.(44) The Greek word, νενο΄οθέτηται, does not admit the particle, as if; and yet the meaning is durch ein Gesetz, or durch Gesetze, Hebrews 8:10, νόμος, a law, a thing established.


Verse 7

Hebrews 8:7. πρώτη, the first) A Metonymy; for blame (finding fault) does not fall upon a divine institution, but upon a real and personal object. αὐτοῖς, with them, is said Hebrews 8:8; from which it is plain, that not only the New Testament itself was faultless, but also its people.— ἐκείνη, that) The pronoun adapted to a past event.— ἐζητεῖτο, should have been sought) A suitable expression: that first covenant would have anticipated all.


Verse 8

Hebrews 8:8. ΄εμφόμενος) A choice expression, as ἄμεμπτος in the last verse. Ammonius: ΄εμψις, ἀμελοῦντος κατηγορία, Blame is an accusation against a careless person; and ἀμέλεια, disregard, carelessness, was the fault of the ancient people. There was active (practical) carelessness or disregard, on the part of the people, which provoked God not to care for or regard them; Hebrews 8:9 ( ἠμέλησα αὐτῶν), note.— αὐτοῖς) finding fault with them who were under the Old Testament: μέμφομαι governs the dative.— ἰδοὺ, behold) Jeremiah 31:31-34. We shall point out where the LXX. differ.— λέγει) LXX., φησί; and so Hebrews 8:9-10 : for the very solemn phrase, saith the Lord, is used thrice.— συντελέσω) LXX., διαθήσομαι, the Heb. וכרתי ; for which word the LXX. give συντελεῖν, Jeremiah 34:8; Jeremiah 34:15. The expression is suited to this passage, I will perfect; comp. with the antithesis at the end of Hebrews 8:9, and with the promise at the end of Hebrews 8:10.— ἐπὶ) LXX., τῷ οἴκῳ ἰσραὴλ καὶ τῷ οἴκῳ ἰούδα: Heb. את, with. The dative is retained, Hebrews 8:9, as to the Old Testament; but the preposition ἐπὶ, concerning, with respect to (super), is more significant in respect of the New Testament.— ἰσραήλἰούδα, Israel—Judah) Therefore the Ten Tribes, as well as Judah, are partakers of this covenant.


Verse 9

Hebrews 8:9. ἐποίησα, I made) LXX., διεθέμην, I have arranged or disposed. To perfect is more than to make and dispose.— ἡμέρᾳ, in the day) Days, in the plural, are opposed to this one day, Hebrews 8:8. These many days are the days that intervened between the day of the Exodus and the New Testament.— ἐπιλαβομένου μου τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῶν, when I took them by the hand) Whilst their sense of the Divine help and power was recent, these men in old times obeyed; but they were wont soon to revolt and turn God from them. This was their custom; comp. presently after, they continued not. It was not merely one singular act.— ἐκ γῆς αἰγύπτου, out of the land of Egypt) There are three periods:—1. That of the promise; 2. That of instruction (pædagogiæ); 3. That of fulfilment. The instruction (as children) began at the time of the departure from Egypt, with that which was destined to become old (Hebrews 8:13).— αὐτοὶ οὐκ ἐνέμειναν ἐν τῇ διαθήκῃ μου, κᾀγὼ ἠμέλησα αὐτῶν, they did not continue in My covenant, and I did not regard (care for) them) Correlatives, as Hebrews 8:10, from the opposite, I will be to them a GOD, and they shall be to Me a people; but the method of proceeding is now reversed: the people had begun first to put an end to the covenant: God both begins and perfects all things in the new covenant, Hebrews 8:10-11.— κᾀγὼ ἠμέλησα αὐτῶν) LXX., καὶ ἐγὼ ἠμέλησα αὐτῶν, and I did not regard them. ואנכי בעלתי בם, and I ruled over them; although some claim for the verb בעל, the meaning געל, disregard, from the Arabic idiom. God’s ruling and disregard may, in some measure, be reconciled in this view: I treated them as if they were not Mine; Hosea 1:9 : nor was I propitious to their sins; Deuteronomy 29:19; Deuteronomy 31:16, etc. They are not regarded over whom such lordly rule is exercised; they do not rejoice in (are not privileged with) that access, in which those who are in covenant or in friendship rejoice; John 15:15 : but they are treated as slaves; nor are they held in great consideration, whatever may befall them; Ezekiel 24:6, at the end; Jeremiah 15:1-2. The passages, Jeremiah 3:14, Ezekiel 20:33; Ezekiel 20:37, express a somewhat similar idea: but in both places there is rather a promise than a threatening; nay, even in the present, Jeremiah 31:32. The Hebrew Masters, as Surenhusius shows, in βίβλῷ καταλλαγῆς, p. 628, understand the word בעלתי to apply to the dominion of love and good pleasure; and it is not, save by an error in writing, that they turn it into the contrary, בחלתי, I have disdained or disregarded (fastidivi). The LXX. seem evidently to have read געלתי בם, which very word Jeremiah uses, ch. Jeremiah 14:19, μὴ ἀπὸ σιὼν ἀπέστη ( געלה ) ψυχή σου; hath thy soul loathed Sion?


Verse 10

Hebrews 8:10. διαθήκη) διαθήκη μου, LXX.— ἰσραὴλ, Israel) Here Judah is to be understood. A new union together of the people. There were two houses in the Old Testament, Hebrews 8:8 : they become one house in the New.— διδοὺς) The participle for the verb; 2 Peter 1:17 : διδοὺς δώσω, LXX. So διδοὺς, Isaiah 40:29. There are four sentences arranged by Chiasmus. The first, I will give (put); the second, and I will be; the third, and not; the fourth, because (for) all. The second explains the first; the fourth, the third.— νόμους μου) Heb. את תורתי, my law. We have the sum of these laws presently, I will be to them a GOD, and they shall he to Me a people.— εἰς τὴν διάνοιαν αὐτῶν) בקר בם, into the midst of them, that they may obey willingly (from the heart).— ἐπὶ καρδίας) Genitive, ch. Hebrews 10:16.— ἐπιγράψω αὐτοὺς) LXX., γράψω αὐτοὺς, καὶ ὄψομαι αὐτούς.


Verse 11

Hebrews 8:11. οὐ μὴ διδάξωσιν, they shall not teach) A Metonymy of the consequent for the antecedent: i.e. All will be taught by GOD Himself especially the love, which is the sum of the law. The exertions of brethren in teaching are not absolutely denied; for men must first be taught, whilst the covenant itself is being promulgated to them; Acts 3:25; Isaiah 2:3 : then the instruction of brethren is plainly no longer necessary, at least to those who attain to the very power of the covenant in the remission of sins, and in the knowledge of the Lord. We have no need to write, nor you to he written to, says Paul, 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:1. There will be a very full accomplishment of these promises when that which is perfect has come, even eternal life. But on the way to it every man should certainly teach and exhort himself and his brother; Hebrews 13:22, Jude 1:3. In short, even the doctrine, which is either solid meat or milk for the strong and for the weak, both alike being godly, delights the godly; Hebrews 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7 : nay, these very persons now at last, and not till now, fully comprehend doctrine (‘teaching’); 1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 3:1; and the apostle himself, both here and in the whole of his office, teaches. That precept of highest importance, Know the Lord, is learned from the Lord. One proclaims to another every doctrine (every kind of teaching) that is agreeable to this one, which stands highest: and admonition has the principal place; 2 Peter 1:12. In the mean time the doctrine is not difficult and forced, because grace renders all very teachable; for it is no longer the ministry of the letter, but of the spirit; 2 Corinthians 3:6, note. Nor does the firmness of believers depend on the authority of human teachers. This is also the reason why the scripture of the New Testament is shorter, and why some things are not so clearly decided. GOD Himself teaches His people.— τὸν ἀδελφὸν, his brother) This implies a closer relation than a neighbour or fellow-citizen.(45)(46) ἀπὸ μικροῦ, from a little one [the least]) He that is feeble among them shall be as David, Zechariah 12:8.

ABD( δ), and almost all the oldest authorities, read πολίτην. But Vulg. reads, as Rec. Text, πλησίον.—ED.


Verse 12

Hebrews 8:12. ὅτι, because) The forgiveness of sins, the root of all benefits and of all knowledge of the Lord.— ταῖς ἀδικίαις αὐτῶν, to their unrighteousnesses) The abstract for the concrete: sin is abolished; sinners obtain grace or favour.— καὶ τῶν ἀνομιῶν αὐτῶν, and their iniquities) This is not found in the Hebrew nor in the LXX.; but the apostle adds it for the sake of giving to the discourse greater weight; ch. Hebrews 10:17 : comp. ibid. Hebrews 8:8; Hebrews 8:5.— οὐ μὴ μνησθῶ ἔτι, I will remember no more) Comp. Hebrews 10:3.


Verse 13

Hebrews 8:13. ἐν) in. The time is hereby denoted, wherein the prophecy was spoken by Jeremiah.— πεπαλαίωκε, He hath made old) For place cannot be found at the same time for both. The employment of the preterite of the verb πεπαλαίωκε implies that it was become old at the time when He spoke by Jeremiah. The New covenant was only once promised in the Old Testament under this very appellation. And yet the apostle urges this appellation very much: of so great importance are the very words of the prophets.— τὸ παλαιούμενον, that which is made old or antiquated) by the declaration of GOD. So also in 2 Corinthians 3:14, Paul calls it the old testament.— καὶ γηράσκον, and that which becomes old) by the revolt of the people. παλαιὸς and καινὸς are opposed: so also γέρων and νέος; thence διαθήκη νέα, ch. Hebrews 12:24 : for there is a new life, ch. Hebrews 10:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Corinthians 5:15.— ἐγγὺς, near) Jeremiah uttered these prophecies in the time of the Babylonish captivity, almost in the last age of the prophets, at a long interval [i.e. of 899 years.—V. g.] after the departure from Egypt, not very long [namely, about 627 years] before the coming of the Messiah, whose propinquity (nearness) was being proved by this very circumstance.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Hebrews 8:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/hebrews-8.html. 1897.


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