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Thursday, June 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 9

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

Even the first covenant (κα η πρωτη). Κα (even) is doubtful. No word for covenant with πρωτε (cf. Hebrews 8:7).

Had (ειχε). Imperfect active, used to have.

Ordinances (δικαιωματα). Regulations (from δικαιοω) as in Luke 1:6; Romans 5:16.

Of divine service (λατρειας). No word for "divine," though worship is meant as in Romans 9:4; Philippians 3:3. Genitive case.

And its sanctuary, a sanctuary of this world (το τε αγιον κοσμικον). By το αγιον the author describes the whole sanctuary (Exodus 36:3; Numbers 3:38) like των αγιων in Hebrews 8:2. Κοσμικον is a late adjective (Aristotle, Plutarch) from κοσμος, relating to this world, like επ γης (upon earth) of Hebrews 8:4. It is in the predicate position, not attributive.

Verse 2

A tabernacle the first (σκηνη η πρωτη). See Hebrews 8:2 for σκηνη. Large tents usually had two divisions (the outer and the inner or the first and the second). Note πρωτη for the first of two as with the first covenant (Hebrews 8:7; Hebrews 8:13; Hebrews 9:1). The large outer tent was entered first and was called Hαγια (Holy), the first division of the tabernacle. The two divisions are here termed two tabernacles.

Was prepared (κατεσκευασθη). First aorist passive of κατασκευαζω. See Hebrews 3:3. For the furniture see Hebrews 9:25; Hebrews 9:26. Three items are named here: the candlestick (η λυχνια, late word for λυχνιον) or lampstand, necessary since there were no windows (Exodus 25:31-39); the table (η τραπεζα, old word, Matthew 15:27) for the bread (Exodus 25:23-30; Leviticus 24:6 of pure gold); the shewbread (η προθεσις των αρτων) as in Exodus 25:30; Exodus 40:23; Leviticus 24:5-9. Probably a hendiadys for the table with the loaves of God's Presence.

Verse 3

After the second veil (μετα το δευτερον καταπετασμα). The first veil opened from outside into the Holy Place, the second veil opened from the Holy Place into the Holy of Holies (Hαγια Hαγιων). The word καταπετασμα is from καταπεταννυμ, to spread down, and we have already had it in Hebrews 6:19. Cf. also Matthew 27:51.

Verse 4

Having a golden censer (χρυσουν εχουσα θυμιατηριον). The present active participle εχουσα (feminine singular) agrees with σκηνη (the Holy of Holies). It is not certain whether θυμιατηριον here means censer or altar of incense. In the LXX (2 Chronicles 26:19; Exodus 8:11; IV Macc. 7:11) it means censer and apparently so in the inscriptions and papyri. But in Philo and Josephus it means altar of incense for which the LXX has θυσιαστηριον του θυμιατος (Exodus 30:1-10). Apparently the altar of incense was in the Holy Place, though in Exodus 30:1-10 it is left quite vague. B puts it in verse Hebrews 9:2. So we leave the discrepancy unsettled. At any rate the altar of incense was used for the Holy of Holies ("its ritual associations," Dods).

The ark of the covenant (την κιβωτον της διαθηκης). A box or chest four feet long, two and a half broad and high (Exodus 25:10). The Scotch have a "meal-ark."

Wherein (εν η). In the ark. There were three treasures in the ark of the covenant (a pot of manna, Aaron's rod, the tables of the covenant). For the pot of manna (golden added in the LXX) see Exodus 16:32-34. For Aaron's rod that budded (η βλαστησασα, first aorist active participle of βλαστανω) see Numbers 17:1-11. For the tables of the covenant see Exodus 25:16; Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 9:9; Deuteronomy 10:5. Not definitely clear about these items in the ark, but on front, except that 1 Kings 8:9 states that it did contain the tables of the covenant. For πλακες (tables) see 2 Corinthians 3:3 (only other N.T. example).

Verse 5

Above it (υπερανω αυτης). Up above, in local sense as in Ephesians 4:10, with ablative case αυτης (it, the ark).

Cherubim of glory (Χερουβειν δοξης). Hebrew word (dual form), two in number, made of gold (Exodus 25:18-22). They are called ζωα (living creatures) in the LXX (Isaiah 6:2; Ezekiel 1:5-10; Ezekiel 10:5-20).

Overshadowing (κατασκιαζοντα). Present active participle of κατασκιαζω, old verb to shadow down on, cover with shade, only here in the N.T.

The mercy seat (το ιλαστηριον). The pinions of the Cherubim spread over the rectangular gold slab on top of the ark termed the mercy seat. Here the adjective ιλαστηριος has to mean mercy seat, the place, not the propitiatory gift or propitiation, as in Romans 3:25 (Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 124-35).

Severally (κατα μερος). In detail, distributive use of κατα with μερος (part).

Verse 6

These things having been thus prepared (τουτων ουτως κατεσκευασμενων). Genitive absolute with the perfect passive participle of κατασκευαζω for which verb see verse Hebrews 9:2. A mere summary has been made of the furniture.

Go in (εισιασιν). Present active indicative of εισειμ, to go in, old verb, in N.T. only here, Acts 3:3; Acts 21:18; Acts 21:26.

Accomplishing (επιτελουντες). Present active participle of επιτελεω for which see Hebrews 8:5.

Verse 7

Alone (μονος). Predicate adjective with ο αρχιερευς.

Once in the year (απαξ του ενιαυτου). Once for each year (not ποτε, at any time) with genitive of time.

Not without blood (ου χωρις αιματος). According to Leviticus 16:14. Not even he could enter the second tent (Holy of Holies) without blood.

The errors of the people (των του λαου αγνοηματων). Late word from αγνοεω, not to know (Hebrews 5:2), only here in the N.T., but in LXX, papyri, and inscriptions where a distinction is drawn between errors (αγνοηματα) and crimes (αρμαρτηματα). In Genesis 43:12 αγνοημα is "an oversight." But these sins of ignorance (αγνοηματα) were sins and called for atonement. See Hebrews 10:26 for wilful sinning.

Verse 8

The Holy Ghost this signifying (τουτο δηλουντος του πνευματος του αγιου). Genitive absolute with present active participle of δηλοω, to make plain. Used as in Hebrews 12:27.

The way into the Holy place (την των αγιων οδον). Here as in verses Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:25 των αγιων is used for the very Presence of God as in Hebrews 8:2 and is in the objective genitive. Hοδον is the accusative of general reference with the infinitive.

Hath not yet been made manifest (μηπω πεφανερωσθα). Perfect passive infinitive of φανεροω, to make plain (φανερος) in indirect discourse after δηλουντος with negative μηπω.

While as the first tabernacle is yet standing (ετ της πρωτης σκηνης εχουσης στασιν). Another genitive absolute with present active participle of εχω (having standing στασιν), "the first tabernacle still having a place." The veil at the entrance kept the people out of the first tent as the second veil (verse Hebrews 9:3) kept the priests out of the Holy of Holies (the very Presence of God).

Verse 9

Which (ητις). "Which very thing," the first tent (της πρωτης σκηνης, division of the tabernacle), a parenthesis and explanation.

A parable (παραβολη). Only in the Synoptic Gospels in the N.T. and Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 11:19. See on Matthew 13:3 for the word (from παραβαλλω, to place alongside). Here like τυπος (type or shadow of "the heavenly reality," Moffatt).

For the time now present (εις τον καιρον τον ενεστηκοτα). "For the present crisis " (καιρον, not αιωνα, age, not χρονον, time). Perfect active articular (repeated article) participle of ενιστημ (intransitive), the age in which they lived, not the past, not the future. See 1 Corinthians 3:22; Romans 8:38 for contrast between ενεστωτα and μελλοντα. This age of crisis, foreshadowed by the old tabernacle, pointed on to the richer fulfilment still to come.

According to which (καθ' ην). Here the relative refers to παραβολη just mentioned, not to σκηνης. See Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 8:3.

As touching the conscience (κατα συνειδησιν). For συνειδησις see 1 Corinthians 8:10; 1 Corinthians 10:17; Romans 2:15. This was the real failure of animal sacrifice (Hebrews 10:1-4).

Make the worshipper perfect (τελειωσα τον λατρευοντα). First aorist active infinitive (Hebrews 2:10). At best it was only ritual or ceremonial purification (Hebrews 7:11), that called for endless repetition (Hebrews 10:1-4).

Verse 10

Only with meats and drinks and divers washings (μονον επ βρωμασιν κα πομασιν κα διαφοροις βαπτισμοις). The parenthesis of the Revised Version here is unnecessary. The use of επ here with the locative case is regular, "in the matter of" (Luke 12:52; John 12:16; Acts 21:24). What ritual value these Levitical sacrifices had was confined to minute regulations about diet and ceremonial cleansing (clean and unclean). For "divers" (διαφοροις, late adjective, in N.T. only in Hebrews 1:4; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:10; Romans 12:6) say "different" or "various." Βαπτισμοις is, of course, the Jewish ceremonial immersions (cf. Mark 7:4; Exodus 29:4; Leviticus 11:25; Leviticus 11:28; Numbers 8:7; Revelation 6:2).

Carnal ordinances (δικαιωμασιν σαρκος). But the correct text is undoubtedly simply δικαιωματα σαρκος (nominative case), in apposition with δωρα τε κα θυσια (gifts and sacrifices). See Hebrews 9:1 for δικαιωματα.

Imposed (επικειμενα). Present middle or passive participle of επικειμα, old verb to lie upon (be laid upon). Cf. 1 Corinthians 9:16.

Until a time of reformation (μεχρ καιρου διορθωσεως). Definite statement of the temporary nature of the Levitical system already stated in Hebrews 7:10-17; Hebrews 8:13 and argued clearly by Paul in Galatians 3:15-22. Διορθωσις is a late word, here alone in N.T. (from διορθοω, to set right or straight), used by Hippocrates for making straight misshapen limbs like ανορθοω in Hebrews 12:12. Here for reformation like διορθωμα (reform) in Acts 24:2. Christianity itself is the great Reformation of the current Judaism (Pharisaism) and the spiritual Judaism foreshadowed by the old Abrahamic promise (see Hebrews 9:3; Hebrews 9:9).

Verse 11

Having come (παραγενομενος). Second aorist middle participle of παραγινομα. This is the great historic event that is the crux of history. "Christ came on the scene, and all was changed" (Moffatt).

Of the good things to come (των μελλοντων αγαθων). But B D read γενομενων (that are come). It is a nice question which is the true text. Both aspects are true, for Christ is High Priest of good things that have already come as well as of the glorious future of hope. Westcott prefers γενομενων, Moffatt μελλοντων.

Through the greater and more perfect tabernacle (δια της μειζονος κα τελειοτερας σκηνης). Probably the instrumental use of δια (2 Corinthians 2:4; Romans 2:27; Romans 14:20) as accompaniment, not the local idea (Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 10:20). Christ as High Priest employed in his work the heavenly tabernacle (Hebrews 8:2) after which the earthly was patterned (Hebrews 9:24).

Not made with hands (ου χειροποιητου). Old compound verbal for which see Mark 14:58; Acts 7:48; Acts 17:24. Cf. Hebrews 8:2. Here in the predicate position.

Not of this creation (ου ταυτης της κτισεως). Explanation of ου χιεροποιητου. For κτισις see 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 8:19. For the idea see 2 Corinthians 4:18; Hebrews 8:2. This greater and more perfect tabernacle is heaven itself (Hebrews 9:24).

Verse 12

Through his own blood (δια του ιδιου αιματος). This is the great distinction between Christ as High Priest and all other high priests. They offer blood (verse Hebrews 9:7), but he offered his own blood. He is both victim and High Priest. See the same phrase in Hebrews 13:12; Acts 20:28.

Once for all (εφαπαξ). In contrast to the repeated (annual) entrances of the Levitical high priests (Hebrews 9:7).

Into the holy place (εις τα αγια). Here, as in verses Hebrews 9:8; Hebrews 9:24 heaven itself.

Having obtained (ευραμενος). First aorist middle (indirect) participle of ευρισκω, simultaneous action with εισηλθεν, and by or of himself "as the issue of personal labour directed to this end" (Westcott). The value of Christ's offering consists in the fact that he is the Son of God as well as the Son of man, that he is sinless and so a perfect sacrifice with no need of an offering for himself, and that it is voluntary on his part (John 10:17). Λυτρωσις (from λυτροω) is a late word for the act of ransoming (cf. λυτρον, ransom), in O.T. only here and Luke 1:68; Luke 2:38. But απολυτρωσις elsewhere (as in Luke 21:28; Romans 3:24; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 11:35). For "eternal" (αιωνιαν, here feminine form) see Hebrews 6:2. The author now turns to discuss the better sacrifice (Hebrews 9:13-10) already introduced.

Verse 13

Ashes (σποδος). Old word, in N. T. only here, Matthew 11:21; Luke 10:13. Common in LXX.

Of a heifer (δαμαλεως). Old word (δαμαλις), a red heifer whose ashes mingled with water (μετα υδατος, verse Hebrews 9:19) were sprinkled (ραντιζουσα, present active participle of ραντιζω, in LXX, though ραινω more common) on the contaminated or defiled ones (Hebrews 9:19) as the blood of bulls and goats was offered for sins (Hebrews 9:16).

Sanctify (αγιαζε). First-class condition, assumed as true. This ceremonial ritual does serve "for the cleansing (καθαροτητα, old word here only in N.T.) of the flesh," but not for the conscience (verse Hebrews 9:9). The cow was αμωμον, the individual καθαρος.

Verse 14

How much more (ποσω μαλλον). Instrumental case, "by how much more," by the measure of the superiority of Christ's blood to that of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer.

Through the eternal Spirit (δια πνευματος αιωνιου). Not the Holy Spirit, but Christ's own spirit which is eternal as he is. There is thus a moral quality in the blood of Christ not in that of other sacrifices.

Offered himself (εαυτον προσηνεγκεν). Second aorist active indicative of προσφερω (used so often as in Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 5:3; Hebrews 8:3). The voluntary character of Christ's death is again emphasized.

Without blemish (αμωμον). Old compound adjective (Colossians 1:22; 1 Peter 1:19) as the sacrifice had to be (Exodus 29:1; Leviticus 1:3; Leviticus 1:10).

Shall cleanse from conscience (καθαριε την συνειδησιν υμων). Future active indicative of καθαριζω. Some MSS. have ημων (our). The old Greek used καθαιρω, not καθαριζω (in inscriptions for ceremonial cleansing, Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 216f.), for cleansing.

From dead works (απο νεκρων εργων). As in Hebrews 6:1. "A pause might be made before εργων, from dead--(not bodies but) works."

Verse 15

Mediator of a new covenant (διαθηκης καινης μεσιτης). See Hebrews 8:6 for this phrase with κρειττονος instead of καινης.

A death having taken place (θανατου γενομενου). Genitive absolute, referring to Christ's death.

For the redemption (εις απολυτρωσιν).

Of the transgressions (των παραβασεων). Really ablative case, "from the transgressions." See verse Hebrews 9:12, λυτρωσιν.

Under the first covenant (επ τη πρωτη διαθηκη). Here there is a definite statement that the real value in the typical sacrifices under the Old Testament system was in the realization in the death of Christ. It is Christ's death that gives worth to the types that pointed to him. So then the atoning sacrifice of Christ is the basis of the salvation of all who are saved before the Cross and since.

That they may receive (οπως λαβωσιν). Purpose clause (God's purpose in the rites and symbols) with οπως and the second aorist active subjunctive of λαμβανω.

Verse 16

A testament (διαθηκη). The same word occurs for covenant (verse Hebrews 9:15) and will (verse Hebrews 9:16). This double sense of the word is played upon also by Paul in Galatians 3:15. We say today "The New Testament" (Novum Testamentum) rather than " The New Covenant." Both terms are pertinent.

That made it (του διαθεμενου). Genitive of the articular second aorist middle participle of διατιθημ from which διαθηκη comes. The notion of will here falls in with κληρονομια (inheritance, 1 Peter 1:4) as well as with θανατος (death).

Of force (βεβαια). Stable, firm as in Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:14.

Where there hath been death (επ νεκροις). "In the case of dead people." A will is only operative then.

For doth it ever avail while he that made it liveth? (επε μη ποτε ισχυε οτε ζη ο διαθεμενοσ;). This is a possible punctuation with μη ποτε in a question (John 7:26). Without the question mark, it is a positive statement of fact. Aleph and D read τοτε (then) instead of ποτε. The use of μη in a causal sentence is allowable (John 3:18, οτ μη).

Verse 18

The first covenant (η πρωτη). Supply διαθηκη as in Hebrews 9:1.

Has been dedicated (ενκεκαινιστα). Stands dedicated. Perfect passive indicative of ενκαινιζο, a late verb in LXX, one papyrus, and in N.T. only here and Hebrews 10:20. It means to renew, to inaugurate (1 Samuel 11:14; 2 Chronicles 15:8) and in 1 Kings 8:63 to dedicate. Note τα ενκαινια (John 10:22) for the feast of dedication.

Verse 19

When every commandment had been spoken (λαληθεισης). Genitive absolute with first aorist passive participle feminine singular of λαλεω. The author uses the account in Exodus 24:3 "with characteristic freedom" (Moffatt). There is nothing there about the water, the scarlet wool (εριον, diminutive of εροσ, ειρος, old word, here and in Revelation 1:14; for κοκκινος see on Matthew 27:6; Matthew 27:28), and hyssop (υσσωπου, a plant mentioned in John 19:29). It had become the custom to mingle water with the blood and to use a wisp of wool or a stem of hyssop for sprinkling (Numbers 10:2-10).

Both the book itself (αυτο τε το βιβλιον). There is nothing in Exodus about sprinkling the book of the covenant, though it may very well have been done. He omits the use of oil in Exodus 40:9; Leviticus 8:10 and applies blood to all the details.

Sprinkled (εραντισεν). First aorist active indicative from ραντιζω (from ραντος and this from ραινω), like βαπτιζω from βαπτω. Cf. Mark 7:4; Hebrews 10:22; Revelation 19:13.

Verse 20

This is (τουτο). Instead of ιδου of the LXX (Exodus 24:8), just like our Lord's words in Mark 14:24, a possible reminiscence of the Master's words (Dods). The author also has ενετειλατο (he commanded) for διεθετο of the LXX.

Verse 21

In like manner with the blood (τω αιματ ομοιως). Instrumental case of αιμα (blood). But the use of the article does not necessarily refer to the blood mentioned in verse Hebrews 9:19. In Exodus 40:9 Moses sprinkled the tabernacle with oil. It had not been erected at the time of Exodus 24:5. Josephus (Ant. III. 8, 6) gives a tradition that blood was used also at this dedication. Blood was used annually in the cleansing rites on the day of atonement.

Verse 22

I may almost say (σχεδον). Old adverb, only three times in the N.T., here, Acts 13:44; Acts 19:26. Here it qualifies the entire clause, not just παντα.

With blood (εν αιματ). In blood. There were exceptions (Exodus 19:10; Exodus 32:30; Leviticus 5:11; Leviticus 15:5; Numbers 16:46; Numbers 31:23, etc.).

Apart from shedding of blood (χωρις αιματεκχυσιας). A double compound first found here (coined by the writer) and later in ecclesiastical writers (αιμα, blood, εκ, out, χεω, to pour, like εκχυσις αιματος 1 Kings 18:28). "Pouring out of blood." The author seems to have in mind Christ's words in Matthew 26:28: "This is my blood of the covenant which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins." The blood is the vital principle and is efficacious as an atonement. The blood of Christ sets aside all other plans for pardon.

Verse 23

The copies (τα υποδειγματα). See Hebrews 8:5 for this word, the earthly (Hebrews 8:4; Hebrews 9:1) tabernacle.

With these (τουτοις). Instrumental case of ουτος, like the rites above described (verse Hebrews 9:19), perhaps with some disparagement.

Themselves (αυτα). The heavenly realities (Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 9:11).

With better sacrifices (κρειττοσιν θυσιαις). Instrumental case again. Point of this section (Hebrews 9:13-10).

Than these (παρα ταυτας). Use of παρα and the accusative case after a comparative as in Hebrews 1:4; Hebrews 1:9. To us it seems a bit strained to speak of the ritual cleansing or dedication of heaven itself by the appearance of Christ as Priest-Victim. But the whole picture is highly mystical.

Verse 24

Made with hands (χειροποιητα). See verse Hebrews 9:11 for this word.

Like in pattern to the true (αντιτυπα των αληθινων). Late compound word, only twice in N.T. (here, 1 Peter 3:21). Polybius uses αντιτυπος for infantry "opposite" to the cavalry. In modern Greek it means a copy of a book. Here it is the "counterpart of reality" (Moffatt). Moses was shown a τυπος (model) of the heavenly realities and he made an αντιτυπον on that model, "answering to the type" (Dods) or model. In 1 Peter 3:21 αντιτυπος has the converse sense, "the reality of baptism which corresponds to or is the antitype of the deluge" (Dods).

Now to appear (νυν εμφανισθηνα). Purpose clause by the first aorist passive infinitive of εμφανιζω (Matthew 27:53; John 14:21). For the phrase see Psalms 42:3. For this work of Christ as our High Priest and Paraclete in heaven see Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1.

Verse 25

That he should offer himself often (ινα πολλακις προσφερη εαυτον). Purpose clause with ινα and present active subjunctive of προσφερω (keep on offering himself, like Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 5:3).

With blood not his own (εν αιματ αλλοτριω). So-called instrumental use of εν (accompaniment). αλλοτριος means "belonging to another," "not one's own" (Luke 16:12).

Verse 26

Else must he often have suffered (επε εδε αυτον πολλακις παθειν). A common elliptical use of επε after which one must supply "if that were true" or "in that case," a protasis of a condition of the second class assumed to be untrue. The conclusion with εδε is without αν (verbs of necessity, obligation, etc.). See Robertson, Grammar, p. 963. The conclusion with αν occurs in Hebrews 10:2. See also 1 Corinthians 5:10. "Since, if that were true, it would be necessary for him to suffer often."

Since the foundation of the world (απο καταβολης κοσμου). See Hebrews 4:3 for this phrase. The one sacrifice of Christ is of absolute and final value (1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 13:8).

At the end (επ συντελεια). Consummation or completion as in Matthew 13:39 which see.

Hath he been manifested (πεφανερωτα). Perfect passive indicative of φανεροω, permanent state. See "the primitive hymn or confession of faith" (Moffatt) in 1 Timothy 3:16 and also 1 Peter 1:20. Jesus came once for all (Hebrews 1:2).

To put away sin (εις αθετησιν της αμαρτιας). See Hebrews 7:18 for the word αθετησις. "The sacrifice of Christ dealt with sin as a principle: the Levitical sacrifices with individual transgressions" (Vincent).

Verse 27

It is appointed (αποκειτα). Present middle (or passive) of αποκειμα, "is laid away" for men. Cf. same verb in Luke 19:20; Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:8 (Paul's crown).

Once to die (απαξ αποθανειν). Once for all to die, as once for all to live here. No reincarnation here.

After this cometh judgement (μετα τουτο κρισις). Death is not all. Man has to meet Christ as Judge as Jesus himself graphically pictures (Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:25-29).

Verse 28

Once (απαξ). "Once for all" (verse Hebrews 9:26) as already stated.

Shall appear a second time (εκ δευτερου οφθησετα). Future passive indicative of οραω. Blessed assurance of the Second Coming of Christ, but this time "apart from sin" (χωρις αμαρτιας, no notion of a second chance then).

Unto salvation (εις σωτηριαν). Final and complete salvation for "them that wait for him" (τοις αυτον απεκδεχομενοις). Dative plural of the articular participle present middle of απεκδεχομα, the very verb used by Paul in Philippians 3:20 of waiting for the coming of Christ as Saviour.

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Hebrews 9". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/hebrews-9.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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