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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Hebrews 8

Verse 1

Of the things which we have spoken [επι τοις λεγομενοις] . The A. V. is wrong. jEpi is in the case of, or in the consideration of : not of, nor in addition to. Toiv legomenoiv "the things which are being spoken" : the matters now under discussion.

The sum [κεφαλαιον] . Rend. the chief point. It is not the sum of what precedes, but the main point of the present discussion. This point is that Christ is the minister of a better sanctuary, connected with a better covenant.

Such an high priest [τοιουτον] . Taken up from ch. 7 26.

Is set [εκαθισεν] . Repeating ch. 1 3. Rend. sat down.

The throne of the majesty [του θρονου της μεγαλωσυνης] . See on ch. Hebrews 1:3. The phrase N. T. o.

In the heavens [εν τοις ουρανοις] . Const. with sat down, not with majesty, which is complete in itself and needs no qualifying epithet.

Verse 2

A minister [λειτουργος] . Sat down as a minister. From an old adjective leitov or leitov (found only in this compound), belonging to the people, and ergon work. Hence, originally, the service of the state in a public office. In LXX and N. T. leitourgov minister, leitourgein to minister, and leitourgia ministry are used both of priestly service to God and of service to men. Leitourgia in LXX rarely of the service of the priests, often of the Levites. See 1 Kings 1:4; 1 Kings 19:21; 2 Kings 4:43; 2 Kings 6:15. Leitourgouv Hebrews 1:7, in the general sense of servants of God. Of the sanctuary [των αγιων] . The heavenly sanctuary. Ta agia the most holy place, Hebrews 9:8, Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 9:25; Hebrews 10:19; Hebrews 13:11. Comp. agia ajgiwn holy of holies, Hebrews 9:3. %Agia holy places generally, but with special reference to the innermost sanctuary, Hebrews 9:24.

The true tabernacle [της σκηνης της αλυθινης] . Explanatory oftwn aJgiwn. The form of expression is emphatic : the tabernacle, the genuine one, as compared with the tabernacle in the wilderness. For ajliqinov real, genuine, see on John 1:9. Skhnh a tent. For different shades of meaning, comp. Matthew 17:4; Luke 16:9; Acts 7:43. In this epistle always of the tabernacle in the wilderness.

Verse 3

A priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices. Therefore Christ, a high priest, must have gifts and sacrifices to offer, and a sanctuary in which to offer them.

Wherefore it is of necessity [οεν αναγκαιον] . Rend. wherefore it is necessary.

Somewhat to offer [ο προσενεγκη] . Lit. what he may offer. The construction is unusual. Comp. Acts 21:16. The statement is a truism, unless it be assumed that the Hebrew Christians were ignorant of the doctrine of Christ 's priesthood.

Verse 4

Rend. "Now if he were on earth he would not be a priest at all, seeing that there are those who offer the gifts according to the law." Christ could not be a priest on earth, because there is an order of priests already established by law; and as Christ was not of the tribe of Levi (ch. 7 13, 14) he could have nothing in common with them.

Verse 5

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things [οιτινες υποδειγματι και σκια λατρευουσιν των επουρανιων] . The connection is, "there are those who offer the gifts according to the law, such as [οιτινες] serve," etc. For latreuousin serve, see on 2 Timothy 1:3. Omit unto. Rend. serve the copy and shadow, etc., or, as Rev., that which is a copy and shadow. For uJpodeigma copy, see on 1 Peter 5:3; 2 Peter 2:6. Comp. Hebrews 9:23. Twn ejpouraniwn "of heavenly things." Ta ejpourania in N. T. usually "heavenly places." See Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12 : "heavenly things," John 3:12; Philippians 2:10; Hebrews 9:23. Hebrews 9:203 As Moses was admonished [καθως κεχρηματισται μωυσης] . By God. This, and the remainder of the verse, explain the words copy and shadow. For crhmatizein see on Matthew 2:12; Luke 2:26; Acts 11:26. Comp. crhmatismov answer (of God), Romans 11:4. In Exodus 40:1, where Moses is commanded to make the tabernacle, God is expressly named.

To make [επιτελειν] . The margin of Rev. complete may easily convey a wrong idea. The sense is to carry out or execute the plan given to him. For, See [ορα γαρ] . Gar for is not a part of the quotation, but is argumentative. Moses was admonished, for God said "See," etc.

That thou make [ποιησεις] . A direct command. "See, thou shalt make." Pattern [τυπον] . See on 1 Peter 5:3. The meaning is that, in all essential features, the Levitical system of worship was a copy of a heavenly reality. This was pressed into an absurd literalism by the Rabbins, who held that there were in heaven original models of the tabernacle and of all its appurtenances, and that these were shown to Moses in the Mount. The writer draws out of this vulgar conception the thought that the material tabernacle was an emblem of a spiritual, heavenly sanctuary. The Levitical priests, therefore, serve only a copy and shadow.

Verse 6

But now [νυν δε] . Nunis logical : as the case now stands. The statement of ver. 4 is taken up. "If he were on earth he could not be a priest," etc., but now, since Christ is a priest, and must have a sanctuary and an offering, he has a more excellent ministry.

He hath obtained a more excellent ministry [διαφορωτερας τετυχεν λειτουργιας] . The ministry of the heavenly sanctuary.

He is the mediator of a better covenant [κρειττονος εστιν διαθηκης μεσιτης] . For mesithv mediator, see on Galatians 3:19. Both here and in the following chapter, the ideas of the sanctuary and the covenant are closely united. God 's covenant was embodied in the sanctuary. The ark was "the ark of the covenant "; the tables of the law were" the tables of the covenant. " The essence of a covenant is the establishment of a relationship. The sanctuary was the meeting - place of God and man. The ritual of sacrifice adjusted the sinner 's relation to a holy God. All the furniture and all the ordinances of the tabernacle assumed the covenant between God and his people. Thus the two ideas belong together. The minister of the Levitical sanctuary was the mediator of the old covenant. A new covenant implies a new ministry, a better covenant implies a better ministry. Christ 's priesthood implies a sanctuary. The new sanctuary implies a new covenant. This covenant is a better covenant because it Was established upon better promises [επι κρειττοσιν επαγγελιαις νενομοθετηται] . For established rend. enacted. Nomoqetein to enact a law, only here and ch. 7 11. A few times in LXX : Nomoqesia enacting, only Romans 9:4 nomoqethv lawgiver, only James 4:12. The better covenant was enacted as truly as was the law. See ver. 10. The new covenant was a new law - the perfect law, the law of liberty, James 1:25.

Verse 7

The statement that a better covenant was enacted upon better promises is justified by the very existence of that second covenant. "If that first covenant had been faultless, there would no place have been sought for a second." The argument is like that in ch. 7 11 (see note). Notice the imperfect tense ejxhteito, lit. would have been being sought. A search would not have been going on. This implies a sense of dissatisfaction while the old covenant was still in force, and a looking about for something better. This hint is now expanded. It is to be shown that the Levitical system answered to a covenant which was recognized as imperfect and transitory by an O. T. prophet, since he spoke of a divine purpose to establish a new covenant.

Verse 8

For finding fault with them [μεμφομενος αυτους] . 204 Them signifies the possessors of the first covenant. The prophet says what follows by way of blame. The passage cited is Jeremiah 38:0, LXX (A. V. 31); 31 - 34. The writer assumes that Jeremiah's new covenant means the Christian covenant.

I will make [συντελεσω] . Rend. I will conclude or consummate. See on Luke 4:13. Only here in Hebrews, and once in Paul, Romans 9:28, a citation.

With the house [επι] . The preposition marking direction toward. A new covenant [διαθηκην καινην] . Always kainh in the phrase new covenant, except Hebrews 12:24, where we have nea. For the distinction see note there, and on Matthew 26:29.

Verse 9

In the day when I took [εν ημερα επιλαβομενου μου] . An unusual construction. Lit. in the day of me having taken hold. Comp. John 4:39.

Verse 10

The covenant which I will make [η διαθηκη ην δοαθησομαι] . The noun and the verb are cognate - the arrangement which I will arrange. A covenant [διαθηκη] is something arranged [διατιθεσθαι] between two parties. See the same combination, Acts 3:25.

I will put my laws [διδους νομους μου] . Lit. giving my laws : const. with I will make : "the covenant which I will make by giving my laws." Mind [διανοιαν] . The moral understanding. See on Mark 12:30; Luke 1:51. Hearts, kardiav, see on Romans 1:21; Romans 10:10.

A God - a people [εις θεον - εις λαον] . Lit. unto a God, etc. A Hebraistic form of expression, eijv signifying the destination of the substantive verb. The sense is, I will be to them to serve as a God; or my being as related to them will amount to my being a God to them. Comp. Matthew 19:5; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Hebrews 1:5.

Verse 11

His neighbor [τον πολιτην] . Lit. his citizen : his fellow - citizen. 205 Know the Lord [γνωθι τον κυριον] . As if commending God to the knowledge of one who is ignorant of him.

All shall know [παντες ειδησουσιν] . Observe the two words for know : gnwqi of the recognition of a stranger; eijdhsousin of an absolute acquaintance as of one born under God 's covenant.

From the least to the greatest [απο μικρου εως μεγαλου αυτων] . Lit. from the little unto the great of them. This knowledge of God will be without distinction of age or station.

Verse 12

Merciful [ιλεως] . Only here and Matthew 16:22, see note. Unrighteousness [αδικιαις] . Unrighteousnesses. The only occurrence of the word in the plural. For ajdikia see on 2 Peter 2:13.

Their sins and their iniquities [των αμαρτιων αυτων] . Omit and their iniquities. 206 For aJmarta sin, see on Matthew 1:21; and for both ajdikia and aJmartia, on 1 John 1:9. Comp. 1 John 5:17.

Will I remember no more [ου μη μνησθω ετι] . Lit. I will by no means remember any more.

Verse 13

In that he saith a new covenant [εν τω λεγειν καινην] . Lit. "in his saying new."

He hath made the first old [πεπαλαιωκεν την πρωτην] . Palaioun to make old, only in Hebrews and Luke 12:33. Comp. Hebrews 1:11.

Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [το δε παλαιουμενου και γηρασκον] . Rend. but that which is becoming old and waxing aged. Ghraskein (only here and John 21:18) adds the idea of infirmity to that of age.

Is ready to vanish away [εγγυς αφανισμου] . Lit. is nigh unto vanishing. Afanismov vanishing, N. T. o. Often in LXX Class. rare and late. The whole statement indicates that the writer regarded the Sinaitic covenant, even in Jeremiah's time, as obsolete, and that Jeremiah himself so regarded it. When God announced a new covenant he proclaimed the insufficiency of the old, and the promise of a new covenant carried with it the promise of the abrogation of the old. The new covenant is so shaped as to avoid the defects of the old one, and some one has remarked that, in one aspect, it is a criticism of the Sinaitic covenant. The following are its provisions :

(1) The law will no more be merely external, but a law written in the heart. Comp. 2 Corinthians 3:8.

(2) The people will be on intimate and affectionate terms with God, so that the knowledge of God will be general.

(3) Sin will be dealt with more radically and effectively. ===Hebrews 9:0

CHAPTER Hebrews 9:0

The new scene and conditions of Christ 's high - priestly work - the higher sanctuary and the better covenant (ch. 8 1 - 6) - are presented with more detail.

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The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 8". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.