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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Hebrews 7

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 7

Hebrews 7:1. Instead of τοῦ ὑψίστου, Elz. has only ὑψίστου. Against A B C D E K L א, 23, 44, 46, 48, al. pl., Clem. Chrys. Theodoret, al. mult.

συναντήσας] Lachm. and Alford, after A B C (corr.) D E K א, 17, 117, al.: ὃς συναντήσας. Notwithstanding the strong support of authorities, manifest error, arising from the reading together of the article and the initial letter of the participle.

Hebrews 7:4. Instead of the Recepta καὶ δεκάτην, Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. 1 read, after B D* E* Vulg. (Amiatin. Toletan.) It. Copt. Basm. Syr., merely δεκάτην. Certainly καί is not indispensable, and might be regarded as a later gloss from Hebrews 7:2. But with quite as much probability it may be supposed that it was added by the author himself, the words of Hebrews 7:2 being still present to his mind. It is therefore, since it has in its favour the considerable attestation by A C D*** E** K L א, by, as it appears, all the cursives, by the Vulgate (also Demidov. and Harlej.), Syr. Philonex. al., by Chrys. Theodoret, Damasc. al., Aug. Bede, with Griesb. Matthaei, Scholz, Tisch. 2, 7, and 8, Bloomfield, Alford, to be retained.

Hebrews 7:6. The article τόν before ἀβραάμ is deleted by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. 1 and 8, and Alford, after B C D* א* 23, 57, 109, al. In favour of the omission pleads the very sparing use made of the article before proper names in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the article as a rule being placed only where, as in Hebrews 11:17, the perspicuity of the discourse imperatively demanded it.

Hebrews 7:9. In place of the received λευΐ we have here, with Lachm. and Tisch. 1 and 2, to write λευΐς, after A ( λευις) B C* א*** ( λευεις). In the ed. vii. and viii. Tisch. writes: λευείς.

Hebrews 7:10. Elz.: ΄ελχισεδέκ. Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. 1, Alford, after B C* D* א, 73, 118, al., Chrys.: ΄ελχισεδέκ. The rejection of the article is to be approved on the same grounds as in Hebrews 7:6.

Hebrews 7:11. The Recepta ἐπʼ αὐτῇ νενομοθέτητο (defended by Reiche) has decisive witnesses against it. Instead of ἐπʼ αὐτῇ is ἐπʼ αὐτῆς (approved by Grotius, placed on the inner margin by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. Alford), required by A B C D* E* א, 17, 31, 46, al., Cyril; instead of νενομοθέτητο is νενομοθέτηται (already approved by Camerarius and Grotius, adopted by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. Alford), required by A B C D* א, 17, 47, 73, al., Cyril.

Hebrews 7:13. προσέσχηκεν] Tisch. 1, after A C, 17, al.: προσέσχεν. Commended to notice by Griesb. also. Rightly, however, do Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. 2, 7, and 8, Bloomfield, Alford, Reiche (Commentar. crit. p. 56, note 9), prefer the Recepta προσέσχηκεν. In favour of this pleads, besides the yet stronger attestation (B D E K L א, Oecum. al.), the paronomasia with μετέσχηκεν, consonant with the style of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Hebrews 7:14. Elz.: οὐδὲν περὶ ἱερωσύνης. But A B C* D* E א, 17, 47, al., It. Vulg. Copt, Sahid. Arm. Cyr. Chrys. (codd.) have: περὶ ἱερέων οὐδέν. Rightly adopted by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. and Alford. περὶ ἱερωσύνης is a glossematic elucidation.

Hebrews 7:16. Instead of the Recepta σαρκικῆς, Griesb. Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. Alford have adopted σαρκίνης, after A B C* D* L א (also H in the title), many min. and Fathers. Rightly. σαρκίνης might easily be changed into σαρκικῆς by transcribers, since σαρκικός is an adjective of very frequent recurrence in the N. T., σάρκινος a rare one.

Hebrews 7:17. μαρτυρεῖται] Elz.: μαρτυρεῖ. Against preponderating testimony (A B D* E* א, 17, 31, al., Copt. Sahid. Basm. Slav. Cyr. Chrys. Theophyl.).

Hebrews 7:21. After αἰῶνα Elz. Griesb. Matthaei, Scholz, Lachm. Bloomfield, Reiche add once more: κατὰ τὴν τάξιν ΄ελχισεδέκ. Deleted by Bleek, Tisch. and Alford, after B C, 17, 80, Vulg. Sahid. Basm. Arm. Ambr. (?) Bede. Rejected also by Delitzsch. But without sufficient ground. For the words are found in A D E K L א*** It. Syr. utr. Copt. al., with Chrys. Theodoret, al., and the omission of them is to be explained by the fact that immediately after the same (Hebrews 7:22) the discourse is continued afresh with κατά; the eye of the transcriber might thus easily wander from the first κατά to the second κατά. Also for א* there was found in the twofold κατά the occasion for overlooking not only κατὰ τὴν τάξιν ΄ελχισεδέκ, but in addition to this likewise εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.

Hebrews 7:22. τοσοῦτον] So Elz. Griesb. Matthaei, Scholz, Bloomfield. But the weighty authority of A B C D* א* Athan. (cod.) al. decides in favour of the form of the word preferred by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. Delitzsch, Alford, τοσοῦτο.

Hebrews 7:23. Recepta: γεγονότες ἱερεῖς. So also Tisch. 2, 7, and 8. As better attested, however (A C D E, Cyr. [twice] Chrys. [ms.]), the order of words: ἱερεῖς γεγονότες, is to be preferred, with Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. 1, Delitzsch, and Alford.

Hebrews 7:26. Elz.: ἔπρεπεν. More correctly, however, Griesb. Lachm. Bleek, Scholz (?), Tisch. and Alford, after A B D E, Syr. utr. Arab. Erp. Euseb.: καὶ ἔπρεπεν.


Verses 1-3

Hebrews 7:1-3. Elucidation of κατὰ τὴν τάξιν ΄ελχισεδὲκ ἀρχιερεὺς γενόμενος εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, Hebrews 6:20, by a delineation of the character of Melchisedec. Hebrews 7:1-3 form a single proposition, in which μένει, is the tempus finitum. The characterization of Melchisedec combines in the first half ( βασιλεὺς σαλὴμἐμέρισεν ἀβραάμ, Hebrews 7:2) the historic traits which are afforded of him in Genesis (Genesis 14:18-20), while in the second half ( πρῶτον μὲν κ. τ. λ.) the author himself completes the picture of Melchisedec, in reasoning from that historic delineation.

βασιλεὺς σαλήμ] king of Salem. By Salem is understood, on the part of the Targumists, Josephus, Antiq. i. 10. 2, the majority of the Church Fathers, Grotius, Drusius, Owen, Michaelis, Gesenius, von Bohlen, Winer, Realwörterb. II. 2 Aufl. p. 95, Stuart, Stengel, Tholuck, Bloomfield, Knobel, Bisping, Delitzsch, Auberlen, Moll, Kurtz, Hofmann, and others, Jerusalem. On the other hand, Primasius, Zeger, Jac. Cappellus, Whitby, Cellarius, Reland, Rosenmüller, Bleek (see, however, at Hebrews 7:2), Tuch, Ewald, Alford, Maier, and others think of the place σαλείμ, mentioned John 3:23, situated eight Roman miles south of Scythopolis. The latter was, as we learn from Jerome (Ep. 126, ad Evagrium), the view already espoused in his day by the “eruditissimi” among the Hebrews, in opposition to “Josephus et nostri omnes,” as accordingly also it was thought that the ruins of the palace of Melchisedec were still to be shown at the last-named place in the time of Jerome. This σαλείμ, mentioned John 3:23, has, moreover, been held by some recent expositors, as Bleek and Alford, to be likewise identical with the σαλήμ, Judith 4:4. More correct, however, is the first-named view. For, besides the earlier name Jebus for Jerusalem (Judges 19:10, al.), occurs also the early name Salem (Psalms 76:3 (2)), and the narrative in Genesis 14:17 ff.) points unmistakeably to the southern part of the land. Comp. specially Knobel, Genesis , 2 Aufl., Leipz. 1860, p. 149 f.

ἱερεὺς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ὑψίστου] priest of God, the Most High. In the monotheistic sense, as in Genesis, vid. ibid. Hebrews 7:22.

συναντήσας ἀβραὰμ κ. τ. λ.] who went to meet Abraham when he was returning from the smiting of the kings (Genesis 14:12 ff.), and blessed him.

καὶ εὐλογήσας αὐτόν] Genesis 14:19-20. Wrongly is it alleged by Heinrichs that εὐλογεῖν denotes only: gratulari de victoria tam splendida.


Verses 1-10

Hebrews 7:1-10.(80) While the author now in reality passes over to the work of developing the high-priesthood after the manner of Melchisedec, proper to Christ, and consequently of illustrating upon every side the pre-eminence of the same above the Levitical high-priesthood, he dwells first of all upon the person of Melchisedec himself, in that, following the thread of the Scripture narrative, he brings vividly before his readers the exaltedness of Melchisedec’s position, and draws their attention to a threefold superiority of Melchisedec over the Levitical priests.


Verse 2

Hebrews 7:2. To whom also Abraham portioned out the tenth of all (sc. that he had gained as booty; comp. ἐκ τῶν ἀκροθινίων, Hebrews 7:4).

πρῶτον μὲν ἑρμηνευόμενος βασιλεὺς δικαιοσύνης] he who first, interpreted (i.e. if one translates his Hebrew name מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶק into Greek), is King of Righteousness. Comp. Josephus, Antiq. i. 10. 2 : ΄ελχισεδέκης, σημαίνει δὲ τοῦτο βασιλεὺς δίκαιος.

Bell. Jud. vi. 10 : δὲ πρῶτος κτίσας ( ἱεροσόλυμα) ἦν χαναναίων δυνάστης, τῇ πατρίῳ γλώσσῃ κληθεὶς βασιλεὺς δίκαιος· ἦν γὰρ δὴ τοιοῦτος. The author of the epistle, however, following more closely the sense of the Hebrew words, renders the name by βασιλεὺς δικαιοσύνης (instead of rendering it βασιλεὺς δίκαιος, as Josephus does), and thereby brings out more clearly the part sustained by Melchisedec as a type of Christ, inasmuch as the latter is not only Himself righteous (comp. Zechariah 9:9; Jeremiah 23:5), but also the mediatorial author of righteousness for others. Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:30; Jeremiah 23:6; Malachi 4:2; Daniel 9:24.

ἔπειτα δὲ καὶ βασιλεὺς σαλήμ, ἐστιν βασιλεὺς εἰρήνης] and then also king of Salem, which is (denotes) king of peace. Comp. with regard to Christ as our peace and peace-bringer, Ephesians 2:14-15; Ephesians 2:17; Romans 5:1; also Isaiah 9:6-7.

ἐστιν] corresponds to the ἑρμηνευόμενος of the previous clause.

There is no reason for taking Salem, with Böhme and Bleek, after the precedent given by Petrus Cunaeus, de Rep. Hebraeorum, Hebrews 3:3, as not being the name of a place at all, but βασιλεὺς σαλήμ together as forming the further name of the man, since the author of the epistle might discover a typical reference to Christ not only in the personal name of Melchisedec, but also in the name of the state over which he ruled as king and prophet. The author, for the rest, interprets the name of the place as though not שָׁלֵם (peaceful) but שָׁלו ̇ם (peace) had been written in the Hebrew,—a mode of rendering in which Philo had already preceded him. Comp. Legg. allegor. iii. 25, p. 75 (with Mangey, I. p. 102 f.): καὶ ΄ελχισεδὲκ βασιλέα τε τῆς εἰρήνης

σαλὴμ τοῦτο γὰρ ἑρμηνεύεται

ἱερέα ἑαυτοῦ πεποίηκεν θεός.


Verse 3

Hebrews 7:3. ἀπάτωρ, ἀμήτωρ, ἀγενεαλόγητος] without father, without mother, without pedigree, i.e. of whom neither father, nor mother, nor pedigree stands recorded in Holy Scripture. This is the usual interpretation of the words, which has been the prevalent one in the church from early times to the present. Less natural, and only in repute here and there, is the explanation: who possessed neither father nor mother, etc., according to which the sacred writer must have recognised in Melchisedec a higher, superhuman being, who had only for a time assumed a human form. The latter view was taken by Origen and Didymus, who would maintain that Melchisedec is to be regarded as an angel; in like manner the unknown authority in Jerome, ad Evagr.; Hilary, Quaestt. in V. T. quaest. 109, and the Egyptian Hieracas in Epiph. Haeres. 67, who saw in him an ensarcosis of the Holy Ghost; as also the Melchisedecites, a section of the Theodotians, who described him as μεγάλην τινὰ δύναμιν θείαν, surpassing in exaltedness even Christ Himself, since Christ appeared after the likeness of Melchisedec; finally, single individuals in the orthodox church, in Epiphanius, Haer. 55. 7; as also afterwards, P. Molinaeus, Vates, Hebrews 4:11 sq.; P. Cunaeus, l.c.; J. C. Hottinger, de Decimis Judaeorum, p. 15; d’Outrein, Starck, and others, who supposed that in Melchisedec the Son of God Himself had appeared in human form. This whole method of interpretation has against it the fact that ἀγενεαλόγητος—for not ἀγένητος is placed—can be understood without violence only of the neglect to cite the genealogical table of Melchisedec in the narrative of the Book of Genesis [comp. Hebrews 7:6]; and ἀπάτωρ, ἀμήτωρ must be taken conformably with the elucidatory ἀγενεαλόγητος, thus are likewise to be explained merely of the father and mother being passed over unnamed in the historic account, not of their actual nonexistence. The characteristics ἀπάτωρ, ἀμήτωρ, ἀγενεαλόγητος, moreover, are to be referred—since ἀφωμοιωμένος δὲ τῷ νἱῳ τοῦ θεοῦ cannot yet be brought into correspondence therewith—only to Melchisedec, without our being obliged to seek for them a special point of comparison with Christ, as is done by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Cornelius a Lapide, Jac. Cappellus, Bisping, al. (comp. also Kurtz ad loc.), in applying the ἀπάτωρ to Christ’s humanity, the ἀμήτωρ to His divinity, and the ἀγενεαλόγητος either likewise to His divinity or to His New Testament high priesthood. Comp. e.g. Theodoret: ἀμήτωρ μὲν γάρ ἐστιν ὡς θεός· ἐκ μόνου γὰρ γεγέννηται τοῦ πατρός· ἀπάτωρ δὲ ὡς ἄνθρωπος· ἐκ μόνης γὰρ ἐτέχθη μητρός, τῆς παρθένου φημί· ἀγενεαλόγητος ὡς θεός· οὐ γὰρ χρήζει γενεαλογίας ἐξ ἀγεννήτου γεγεννημένος πατρός.

By means of ἀπάτωρ, ἀμήτωρ, ἀγενεαλόγητος, Melchisedec appears as presenting a contrast to the Levitical priests, since in the case of these scrupulous attention was paid to the descent.

The expression ἀγενεαλόγητος only here in all Greek literature.

μήτε ἀρχὴν ἡμερῶν μήτε ζωῆς τέλος ἔχων] without beginning of days and without end of life, namely, in that nothing is related in Holy Scripture either of his birth or his death. The statement is quite a general one. To limit it to the beginning and end of the priesthood (Cameron, Seb. Schmidt, Limborch, Whitby, Kuinoel, Hofmann, al.) is arbitrary. Nor is the meaning of the words, that Melchisedec was not born in the ordinary human way, and, something like Enoch and Elijah, was taken up to heaven without experiencing death (Hunnius, Braun, Akersloot; comp. also Bleek, p. 322 ff.; Nagel: “On the significance of Melchisedec in the Epistle to the Hebrews,” in the Stud. u. Krit. 1849, H. 2, p. 332 ff.; Nickel in Reuter’s Repertor. 1858, Feb. p. 102 f.; Alford), a sense which conflicts with the right apprehension of the opening words of the verse.

ἀφωμοιωμένος δὲ τῷ υἱᾷ τοῦ θεοῦ] on the contrary (therein) made entirely like unto the Son of God, namely, as type of the same. The words do not belong to μένει ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸ διηνεκές (Peshito, Grotius, al.). For with justice does Theodoret already observe: ἐν μέντοι τῇ ἱερωσύνῃ οὐ ΄ελχισεδὲκ μεμίμηται τὸν δεσπότην χριστόν, ἀλλʼ δεσπότης χριστὸς ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸν αἰῶμα κατὰ τὴν τάξιν ΄ελχισεδέκ. They form, by means of the closely combining δέ, a more precise positive defining to the negative μήτε ἀρχὴν ἡμερῶν μήτε ζωῆς τέλος ἔχων. Chrysostom: ἀφωμοιωμένος δέ, φησί, τῷ υἱῷ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ποῦ ὁμοιότης; ὅτι καὶ τούτου κἀκείνου τὸ τέλος ἀγνοοῦμευ καὶ τὴν ἀρχήν· ἀλλὰ τούτου μὲν παρὰ τὸ μὴ γεγράφθαι, ἐκείνου δὲ παρὰ τὸ μὴ εἶναι.

μένει ἱερεὺς εἶς τὸ διηνεκές] remains priest for ever, in that, as of his end of life so also of the cessation of his priesthood, nothing is recorded. He remains so in the reality of his office, but only as a figure and type of Christ. Against the view of Auberlen (l.c. p. 497), that Melchisedec is termed an everlasting priest in no other sense than as, according to the Apocalypse, all the blessed in heaven are so, see the observations of Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 202 f., Remark. The subject, moreover, in μένει is naturally the Melchisedec of Genesis, not, as Wieseler contends (Schrr. d. Univ. zu Kiel aus d. J. 1860, VI. 1, p. 40): “the Melchisedec of the passage in the Psalms just mentioned (Hebrews 6:20), or the true antitypal Melchisedec or Messiah.” For it is not grammatically allowable, with Wieseler, to take the words βασιλεὺς σαλὴμἀφωμοιώμενος δὲ τῷ υἱῷ τοῦ θεοῦ as an apposition merely to ΄ελχισεδέκ, and not to the whole expression οὗτος ΄ελχισεδέκ, and in connection with οὗτος ΄ελχισεδέκ to rest the emphasis exclusively upon οὗτος.

εἰς τὸ διηνεκές] of the same import as εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, Hebrews 6:20. Comp. Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 10:14.


Verse 4

Hebrews 7:4. θεωρεῖτε] is imperative, whereby a strain is to be put on the attention for that which follows: but behold, namely, inwardly, i.e. consider.

πηλίκος] how great, i.e. how high and exalted.

οὗτος καὶ δεκάτην ἀβραὰμ ἔδωκεν κ. τ. λ.] Resuming of the historic notice already adduced at the beginning of Hebrews 7:2, in order then further to argue from the same. By the choice and position of the words, however, the author brings out the πηλίκος in its truth and inner justice. (Choice of the words ἁκροθίνια and πατριάρχης,—the latter in place of the elsewhere more usual πατήρ in regard to Abraham,—and effective placing of the characterizing title πατριάρχης at the close of the proposition at a far remove from the name ἀβραάμ.)

καὶ δεκάτην] καί is not the merely copulative “also,” as Hebrews 7:2 (Hofmann), but is used as giving intensity. It gives intensity, however, not to the subject (so Luther, Grotius, Owen, Carpzov: “Abraham himself also”),—for then καὶ ἀβραὰμ δεκάτην ἔδωκεν must have been written,—but the predicate: to whom Abraham gave even the tenth.

ἀκροθίνια] composed of ἄκρος and θίν, in the N. T. a ἅπαξ λεγόμενον, denotes the uppermost of the heap, the choice or best thereof. The expression is most current with regard to the first-fruits of the harvest presented to the Godhead; not seldom, however, is it used of the best, which was selected out of the spoils of war as an offering consecrated to the Godhead. In our passage, too, ἀκροθίνια denotes not simply the spoils acquired by Abraham (so Chrysostom: τὰ λάφυρα; Oecumenius: ἐκ τῶν σκύλων καὶ λαφύρων, Erasmus, Luther, Vatablus, Calvin, Schlichting, Böhme, Kuinoel, Stuart, Bloomfield, and the majority), but the choicest, most valuable articles thereof. Theophylact: ἐκ τῶν λαφύρων τῶν κρειττόνων καὶ τιμιωτέρων. Not that the meaning of the author is, that Abraham gave to Melchisedec the tenth part of the most choice objects among the booty acquired, but that the tithes which he presented to Melchisedec consisted of the choicest, most excellent portions of the booty.

πατριάρχης] he, the patriarch. The sonorous name of honour πατριάρχης, composed of πατριά and ἀρχή, designates Abraham as the father of the chosen race, and ancestor of the people of Israel. Comp. Acts 2:29, where David is distinguished by the same title of honour, and Acts 7:8-9, where the twelve sons of Jacob are so distinguished.


Verse 5

Hebrews 7:5. Admission of the relatively privileged position of the Levitical priests.

καί] the explanatory: and certainly.

οἱ μὲν κ. τ. λ.] preparatory to the adversative δὲ κ. τ. λ., Hebrews 7:6.

οἱ ἐκ τῶν υἱῶν λευῒ τὴν ἱερατείαν λαμβάνοντες] those of the sons (descendants) of Levi who obtain the office of priest. For not all Levites, but only those of them who claimed lineage from the house of Aaron, were entitled to enter upon the priesthood. Comp. Exodus 28:1 ff.; Numbers 3:10; Numbers 3:38; Numbers 3:16; Numbers 18:1 ff., al. Mistaken is the opinion of Delitzsch, Maier, and Moll (in coinciding with Hofmann), that the ἐκ in ἐκ τῶν υἱῶν λευΐ is the causal ἐκ of origin: “those who receive the priesthood from the sons of Levi, i.e. by virtue of their descent from Levi, in such wise that their person is not taken into account as such, but only in so far as they belong to this lineage.” If that had been intended, οἱ ἐκ τῶν υἱῶν λευῒ ὄντες καὶ διὰ τοῦτο τὴν ἱερατείαν λαμβάνοντες must have been written.

ἐντολὴν ἔχουσιν ἀποδεκατοῦν τὸν λαὸν κατὰ τὸν νόμον] have a charge to tithe the people according to the law. Comp. Numbers 18:20-32; Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Nehemiah 10:38-39; de Wette, Lehrb. der hebr.-jüd. Archäologie, 3 Aufl. p. 273 f.; Delitzsch, Talmudische Studien, XIV. Justification of Hebrews 7:5(81) (in Guericke’s Zeitschr. f. d. gesammte luth. Theol. u. Kirche, 1863, H. 1, p. 16 ff.).

κατὰ τὸν νόμον] belongs not to τὸν λαόν (Seb. Schmidt, Hammond, Starck, Böhme, Hofmann), against which even the non-repetition of the article after λαόν decides; nor yet to ἀποδεκατοῦν (Owen, Delitzsch, Alford, Maier, Ewald), but to ἐντολὴν ἔχουσιν.

In the closing words, τουτέστιν τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτῶν, καίπερ κ. τ. λ., Bleek, after the example set by Böhme, erroneously finds the sense: “that, although they are the posterity of Abraham, the lauded patriarch, who are tithed by the Levitical priests, yet they are, after all, still the brethren of the latter, i.e. fellow-Israelites; which cannot be so astonishing as when Abraham himself paid the tithes to Melchisedec.” On the contrary, the elucidation of τὸν λαόν by τουτέστιν τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτῶν serves to bring into more striking relief the singularity of the ἀποδεκατοῦν; since elsewhere only the higher receives tithes from the lower, not the equal from the equal (as here an Abrahamides from an Abrahamides), and this singularity of the ἀποδεκατοῦν is then yet further manifested by καίπερ ἐξεληλυθότας ἐκ τῆς ὀσφύος ἀβραά΄. The author can therefore only design, by means of Hebrews 7:5, to characterize the priests as primi inter pares. This superiority, however, in regard to their own fellow-Israelites, the author concedes only in order immediately after, Hebrews 7:6, to oppose to the same the inferiority in regard to Melchisedec.

ἐξέρχεσθαι ἐκ τῆς ὀσφύος τινός] So the LXX. render the Hebrew יָצָא מֵחַלְצֵי פ׳, Genesis 35:11; 2 Chronicles 6:9.


Verses 5-7

Hebrews 7:5-7. First point of superiority. The Levitical priests, indeed, take tithes of their brethren, although these brethren, in like manner as they, have descended from Abraham: they have thus, it is true, a pre-eminence above these; but they are inferior to Melchisedec, since this man took tithes of Abraham himself, the common ancestor of the Jewish people, and blessed him.


Verses 5-10

Hebrews 7:5-10. Unfolding of the πηλίκος οὗτος κ. τ. λ., Hebrews 7:4, in that Melchisedec is compared with the Levitical priests, and a threefold superiority of the former over the latter is pointed out.


Verse 6

Hebrews 7:6. Notwithstanding this privileged position of the Levitical priests (Hebrews 7:5), Melchisedec yet occupies a far higher position.

δέ] is not to be taken alone, as by Böhme, Kuinoel, and Klee, and then to be supplemented by τὴν ἱερατείαν λαβών from Hebrews 7:5; but δὲ μὴ γενεαλογούμενος ἐξ αὐτῶν belongs together: Melchisedec, on the contrary, without ( μή) his family or descent being derived from them, received tithes of Abraham.

ἐξ αὐτῶν] refers neither to the Israelites (Epiph. Haer. 67. 7; Cornelius a Lapide, Braun, Ernesti, Schulz) nor to Levi and Abraham (Grotius), but to the υἱοὶ λευΐ, Hebrews 7:5.

The parallel clause, καὶ τὸν ἔχοντα τὰς ἐπαγγελίας εὐλόγηκεν] and blessed him who had the promises, serves yet further to make manifest the dignity and exaltedness of Melchisedec. For, by the fact that Abraham had received the divine promises, that his seed should be multiplied, and in him all nations of the earth should be blessed (Genesis 12:2 f., Hebrews 13:14 f.), he had been already most highly favoured of God. How high thus must that man stand, who imparts his blessing to one already so highly favoured, since truly—as is immediately expressly added, Hebrews 7:7—the dispenser of the blessing is ever more exalted than the recipient of the blessing! Oecumenius: ἐξῆρε τὸν ἀβραάμ, ἵνα πλεῖον ἐξάρῃ τὸν ΄ελχισεδέκ.


Verse 7

Hebrews 7:7 joined on by means of δέ, since the verse contains the major of a syllogism. The minor is already furnished in the second half of Hebrews 7:6, and the conclusion: “therefore Melchisedec is more exalted than Abraham,” is left to the readers themselves to supply.

The neuters τὸ ἔλαττον and τὸ κρεῖττον serve for the generalization of the statement, inasmuch as the author has only persons in view. Comp. Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 167.

The truth of the statement, however, is apparent, in that the author is thinking of the blessing imparted in the name of God and by virtue of the divine authority. For Melchisedec as the priest of God was the representative of God, or one divinely commissioned, in the communicating of the blessings.


Verse 8

Hebrews 7:8. Second point of superiority. The Levitical priests are mortal men; but of Melchisedec it is testified that he lives.

By καὶ ὧδε μέν, “and here,” reference is made to the Levitical priests, by ἐκεῖ δέ, “but there,” to Melchisedec, because the Levitical priesthood still continues to exist to the time of our author, thus having something about it near and present; the historic appearing of Melchisedec, on the other hand, falls in the period of hoary antiquity.

δεκάτας] The plural, on account of the plurality of tithes levied by the Levitical priests.

ἀποθνήσκοντες] as the principal notion placed before ἄνθρωποι.

ἀποθνήσκοντες ἄνθρωποι] men who die (irrevocably or successively), comp. Hebrews 7:23.

ἐκεῖ δὲ μαρτυρούμενος ὅτι ζῇ] but there, one who has testimony that he lives, sc. δεκάτην ἔλαβεν. That by reason of the coherence with that which precedes only Melchisedec can be understood, and not (with Justinian, Jac. Cappellus, Heinsius, and Pyle) Christ, scarcely stands in need of mention. ζῇ, as opposition to ἀποθνήσκοντες, can be interpreted only absolutely, of the life which is not interrupted by death. That the author, in connection with μαρτυρούμενος, had before his mind a testimony contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old Covenant, admits of no doubt. Whether, however, he derived the testimony of Melchisedec’s continued life from the silence of Scripture as to Melchisedec’s death, or found in the declaration, Psalms 110:4, a direct proof therefor, or, finally, combined the two facts together, and deduced his conclusion from both in common, is a question hardly to be decided. The first supposition is entertained by Calvin, Estius, Drusius, Piscator, Grotius, Owen, Wolf, Bengel, Stein, Bisping, Delitzsch, Maier, Moll, and others; the second, by Theodoret, Zeger, Whitby, Heinrichs, Bleek, Bloomfield, Alford, Conybeare, Kurtz, M‘Caul, Woerner, and others; the third, by Böhme, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. pp. 201, 454, and others.


Verse 9-10

Hebrews 7:9-10. Third point of superiority. In Abraham, Levi the receiver of the tithes has also already been tithed by Melchisedec.

The formula ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν, of very common occurrence with classic writers, as likewise frequently met with in Philo, is found in the N. T. only here. It denotes either: to say it in one word (in short), or: so to say, i.e. in some sense. Theophylact: τὸ δὲ ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν τοῦτο σημαίνει ὅτι καὶ ἐν συντόμῳ εἰπεῖν, ἀντὶ τοῦ ἵνʼ οὕτως εἴπω. In the former sense our passage is apprehended by Camerarius, Jac. Cappellus, Er. Schmid, Owen (preferably), Elsner, Wolf, Bengel, Heumann; in the latter,—and this is here the more correct one,—the Vulgate, Faber Stapulensis, Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Schlichting, Grotius, Carpzov, Kypke, Heinsius, Böhme, Kuinoel, Stuart, Bleek, de Wette, Stengel, Tholuck, Bloomfield, Bisping, Delitzsch, Alford, Maier, Moll, Kurtz, Ewald, Hofmann, Woerner, and the majority. The author himself feels that the thought he is on the point of expressing has something singular and unusual about it. Thus he mitigates and limits the harshness thereof by ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν, whereby he indicates that the ensuing statement is, notwithstanding its inner truth, not to be understood literally.

διʼ ἀβραάμ] by Abraham, i.e. by the fact that Abraham gave the tenth. ἀβραάμ is a genitive. Mistaken; Augustine (de Genes. ad lit. x. 19): propter Abraham; Photius (in Oecumenius): διὰ τὸν δεκατωθέντα ἀβραάμ φησι τρόπον τινὰ καὶ ἐν τῇ ὀσφύϊ αὐτοῦ ἔτι ὢν λευῒ δεδεκάτωται.

λευΐς] As is shown by the participle present in the addition δεκάτας λαμβάνων, we have not to think of the mere individual personality of Levi, but of him in connection with his posterity, thus of Levi as ancestor and representative of the Jewish priests.


Verse 10

Hebrews 7:10. Proof for the assertion Hebrews 7:9. When Abraham gave the tenth to Melchisedec, he was as yet childless, and therefore at that time still bore his descendants as in germ in himself. When, accordingly, by the presentation of the tenth he acknowledged a superior rank of Melchisedec over himself, he rendered homage to the latter not only in his own person, but at the same time as the representative of his posterity, as yet incapable of independent action, because as yet unborn.

ἔτι ἐν τῇ ὀσφύϊ τοῦ πατρὸς εἶναι] to be as yet in the loins of the father, or to be yet unborn. The expression is explained by the analogous ἐξέρχεσθαι ἐκ τῆς ὀσφύος τινός, Hebrews 7:5 : by generation to proceed, from one’s loins.

τοῦ πατρός] is not to be taken, with Bleek, as a “universally recognised designation” of Abraham (i.e. as father of the Jews and Christians). It stands in special relation to Levi; thus: his father, wherein, of course, seeing Abraham was the great-grandfather of Levi, πατήρ is to be understood in the wider sense, or as progenitor.


Verse 11

Hebrews 7:11. From the inferiority of the Levitical priesthood to the priesthood of Melchisedec, just proved, it followed that the former was imperfect and incapable of leading to perfection. This fact is now presupposed by the author as a self-evident consequence, and he proceeds at once to demonstrate the truth thereof.

οὖν] deduces the conclusion from Hebrews 7:5-10, not from Hebrews 6:20 (de Wette, Bisping), whereby an interruption ensues in the continuity of the development begun by the author.

εἰ] with the indicative preterite (Hebrews 4:8, Hebrews 8:4), supposition of an impossible case: if there were, if there existed; in combination with διά: if it were effected.

τελείωσις] perfection, i.e. attainment of the highest goal of mankind in a moral and religious respect. There is included in it the obtaining of the expiation of sins and the glory to come. Comp. Hebrews 9:9, Hebrews 10:1; Hebrews 10:14, Hebrews 11:40.

λαὸς γὰρ ἐπʼ αὐτῆς νενομοθέτηται] for the people on the ground thereof hath received the law. These words can be taken only as a parenthesis (against Stein). νομοθετεῖν τινί signifies to give laws to one, to provide one with a law (here the Mosaic law). The mode of transposing this active construction into the passive λαὸς νενομοθέτηται is quite the usual one; comp. Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 244 f.

ἐπʼ αὐτῆς] relates not to τελείωσις (so, upon the supposition of the reading ἐπʼ αὐτῇ, Vatablus, but undecided; Seb. Schmidt, Starck, Rambach), but to τῆς λευϊτικῆς ἱερωσύνς. ἐπί, however, denotes: upon the ground or condition of the existence of the Levitical priesthood, i.e. the Levitical priesthood is indissolubly conjoined with the Mosaic law which the people has received; it forms a foundation pillar upon which the latter rests, so that with the fall of the one the other also must fall (Hebrews 7:12). Erroneously,—because the statement thus arising would be too insignificant, and because ἐπί in this sense is used only with verba dicendi (comp. Galatians 3:16; Heindorf, ad Plat. Charm. p. 62; Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 248),

Schlichting and Grotius [as also Whitby]: de sacerdotio Levitico legem accepit [an interpretation already rejected by Junius and Piscator]; as likewise Bleek I.: the people had received legal instruction concerning the Levitical priesthood.

But to what end the parenthesis? Its design is to indicate the ground on which one might expect to attain to the τελείωσις,—if the Mosaic law were at all capable of leading thereto,—by the intervention of the Levitical priesthood, since the Mosaic law is erected upon this very Levitical priesthood as its basis.

τίς ἔτι χρεία] sc. ἧν, or ἂν ἦν. The words following χρεία are not to be blended together into one thought (Faber Stapulensis, Luther, Baumgarten, Chr. Fr. Schmid), in such wise that λέγεσθαι is governed immediately by χρεία, and again all the rest ( κατὰ τὴν τάξιν ΄ελχισεδὲκ ἕτερον ἀνίστασθαι ἱερέα καὶ οὐ κατὰ τὴν τάξιν ἀαρών) by λέγεσθαι. The position of the words would then be contorted, and one explicable on no justifying grounds. On the contrary, the infinitive clause κατὰ τὴν τάξιν ΄ελχισεδὲκ ἕτερον ἀνίστασθαι ἱερέα depends at once upon the immediately preceding τίς ἔτι χρεία; and to this first infinitive clause the second καὶ οὐ κατὰ τὴν τάξιν ἀαρὼν λέγεσθαι forms an epexegetic parallel clause: What need was there still then (or: would there then still have been) that another priest should arise “after the order of Melchisedec,” and not be called (priest) after the order of Aaron?

ἔτι] sc. after the Levitical priesthood had long been instituted, and in general the Mosaic law promulgated.

ἕτερον] in distinction from ἄλλον, brings prominently forward the dissimilarity of his nature and constitution as compared with that of the Levitical priests.

To καί we have not to supplement the whole idea ἔτερον ἱερέα, but only ἱερέα.

οὐ, however, is placed, not μή as the infinitive λέγεσθαι might seem to require, because the negation extends to only a part of the clause. οὐ, namely, is closely associated with κατὰ τὴν τάξιν ἀαρών, and forms with the same merely a more precise definition to the ἱερέα which is to be supplied, so that the total expression καὶ ( ἱερέα) οὐ κατὰ τὴν τάξιν ἀαρών presents an opposition to the foregoing total expression κατὰ τὴν τάξιν ΄ελχισεδὲκ ἕτερον ἱερέα.

λέγεσθαι] namely, Psalms 110:4. That λέγεσθαι is not to be taken in the sense of eligi (Kuinoel, Stein, al.) is already shown by the λέγεται, Hebrews 7:13.


Verses 11-17

Hebrews 7:11-17. The Levitical priesthood in general has, together with the Mosaic law, lost its validity.


Verse 12

Hebrews 7:12. In the parenthesis, Hebrews 7:11, the author has brought forward in general the close connectedness of the Levitical priesthood with the Mosaic law, and thereby already indicated that if the former is an imperfect and unsatisfying one, the same also is true of the latter; the perishing of the one involves also the perishing of the other. This truth the author now further specially urges, by means of a corroboration of the parenthetical remark, Hebrews 7:11. So in recent times also Alford and Woerner. Otherwise is the connection apprehended by Bleek, de Wette, Bisping, Delitzsch, Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 484), Maier, and Moll. They refer γάρ to the main thought in Hebrews 7:11, and find in Hebrews 7:12 an indication of the reason “why a change of the sacerdotal order would not have ensued without an urgent cause, namely, because such change would have involved also a change of the law in general.” But subject-matter and form of expression in Hebrews 7:12 point back to the parenthesis, Hebrews 7:11. For in both the author is speaking of the inseparable conjunction of the Levitical priesthood with the Mosaic law; and ἐπʼ αὐτῆς, Hebrews 7:11, is resumed by τῆς ἱερωσύνης, Hebrews 7:12; νενομοθέτηται, Hebrews 7:11, by νόμου, Hebrews 7:12.

μετατιθεμένης] denotes, like the μετάθεσις immediately following, certainly as to its verbal signification, only a transformation or change, (not specially, as Chrysostom, Piscator, Grotius, Bengel, Heinrichs, Stuart, and others suppose, a transference of the priesthood to another tribe of the Jewish people, or to a non-Aaronides). As regards the thing intended, however,—as is manifest from the parallel ἀθέτησις, Hebrews 7:18,—an actual rendering obsolete or abrogation is spoken of. The author thus still expresses himself with delicacy of feeling.

That, further, νόμος is to be limited, neither, with Beza, Pareus, Piscator, Grotius, Wittich, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Zachariae, Whitby, Schulz, to the law of the priesthood, nor, with Calvin, Cornelius a Lapide, Jac. Cappellus, Carpzov, Kuinoel, Klee, and others, to the ceremonial law, but is to be interpreted of the Mosaic law in general, is self-evident.


Verse 13

Hebrews 7:13. ἐφʼ ὄν] With regard to whom. Comp. Mark 9:12-13; Romans 4:9.

λέγεται ταῦτα] contains, like the λέγεσθαι of Hebrews 7:11, a direct allusion to the declaration of God, Psalms 110:4. Wrongly Paulus: that which I have said heretofore.

φυλῆς ἑτέρας μετέσχηκεν] has part in another tribe (i.e. in a tribe different from that of Levi), namely, as member thereof.

ἀφ ̓ ἧς] descended from which, or belonging to the number of its members.

οὐδεὶς προσέσχηκεν τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ] no one, namely, according to the ordinance of the law, attends at the altar, i.e. performs the priestly functions.


Verse 13-14

Hebrews 7:13-14. First proof of Hebrews 7:12. Levitical priesthood and Mosaic law have lost their validity. For Christ, to whom the utterance of God, Psalms 110:4, refers, belongs in point of fact to another tribe, which, according to Mosaic ordinance, has nothing to do with the administration of the priesthood.


Verse 14

Hebrews 7:14. Further evidencing of Hebrews 7:13.

πρόδηλον γάρ ὅτι] for it is clearly apparent that. The προ in πρόδηλον is not to be taken, with Peirce (following Owen), temporally, according to which the sense would be, that Christ’s descent from the tribe of Judah was made known beforehand, i.e. before He had yet arisen upon earth,—with which, in the first place, the perfect ἀνατέταλκεν does not harmonize,—but contains the notion of lying manifestly before the eyes. Theodoret: τὸ πρόδηλον ὡς ἀναντίῤῥητον τέθεικε. προ serves, therefore, only for the strengthening of the simple δῆλον. Comp. 1 Timothy 5:24-25.

ἐξ ἰούδα] out of Judah, i.e. from the tribe of Judah (comp. Revelation 5:5; Genesis 49:9-10). With emphasis preposed.

ἀνατέταλκεν] has arisen or sprung forth. The figure which underlies the verb is either that of a rising star (comp. Numbers 24:17; Malachi 4:2; Isaiah 40:1), or of a tender shoot coming up from the ground (Genesis 19:25; Isaiah 44:4; Ezekiel 17:6; comp. also ἀνατολή, צְמַח, with reference to the Messiah, Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12).

κύριος ἡμῶν] Jesus Christ.

εἰς ἣν φυλήν in reference to which tribe.

περὶ ἱερέων] sc. who should be taken out of the same.


Verse 15

Hebrews 7:15. καὶ περισσότερον ἔτι κατάδηλόν ἐστιν] and the more still is it evident, namely, that with the Levitical priesthood the whole Mosaic law, too, is changed (and deprived of validity), Hebrews 7:12. Comp. also Hebrews 7:18. Not: what difference there is between the Levitical and the N. T. priesthood (Chrysostom: τὸ μέσον τῆς ἱερωσύνης ἑκατέρας, τὸ διάφορον, Clarius, Zeger, Bisping); nor yet that perfection is to be found, not in the Levitical priesthood, but in the priesthood of Christ (Jac. Cappellus, Bengel, Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, 2 Aufl. p. 551; Delitzsch); and just as little: that the priesthood is changed (Primasius, Justinian, Owen, Hammond, Rambach, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Stuart, Klee, Paulus). Quite mistakenly Ebrard: to κατάδηλόν ἐστιν we have to supply from Hebrews 7:14 the clause ὅτι ἐξ ἰούδα ἀνατέταλκεν κύριος ἡμῶν: “that Jesus descended from Judah is first in itself an acknowledged fact (Hebrews 7:14); this, however, is so much the more clear, since (Hebrews 7:15) it follows from the Melchisidecian nature of His priesthood that He could not be born κατὰ νόμον!” How then could it be inferred from the fact that Jesus could not be born κατὰ νόμον, that He must have descended precisely “from Judah”?!

κατάδηλον] a similar intensifying of the simple form, as previously πρόδηλον.

εἰἀνίσταται] if, as surely is the case, there arises.(82) εἰ thus, as to the sense, equal to ἐπειδή (Oecumenius, Theophylact).

κατὰ τὴν ὁμοιότητα ΄ελχισεδέκ] as the main idea placed first, and ὁμοιότης an elucidation of the τάξις in the passage of the Psalms.

The subject in the conditional clause is ἱερεὺς ἕτερος (if … another priest arises), not merely ἕτερος (Schulz: “if … another is appointed as priest”), nor yet Jesus (if He … arises as another priest).


Verses 15-17

Hebrews 7:15-17. Second proof of Hebrews 7:12. The abrogation of the Levitical priesthood and the Mosaic law follows further from the fact that the new priest who is promised is to bear resemblance to Melchisedec, whereby it is made manifest that his characteristic peculiarity is one quite different from that of the Levitical priests.


Verse 16

Hebrews 7:16. Nearer indication as to what is implied by the characteristic κατὰ τὴν ὁμοιότητα ΄ελχισεδέκ, Hebrews 7:15, what peculiarity of priesthood is expressed by the same.

ὅς] sc. ἱερεὺς ἕτερος, not: ΄ελχισεδέκ.

ὃςγέγονεν] who … has become so (sc. priest).

οὐ κατὰ νόμον ἐντολῆς σαρκίνης κ. τ. λ.] not according to the law of a fleshly command, but according to the power of indestructible [or indissoluble] life. In connection with νόμος, Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Böhme, Kuinoel, Tholuck, Delitzsch, and others think of the Mosaic law; but against this argues the singular ἐντολῆς σαρκίνης, to take which, with the expositors mentioned, in the sense of the plural (according to the Mosaic law, whose essence consists in fleshly ordinances), or as a collective designation of the constituent parts of the law as νόμος τῶν ἐντολῶν, Ephesians 2:15, is arbitrary. νόμος is therefore to be taken, as Romans 7:21; Romans 7:23, in the more general sense: norm (rule, standard), and the ἐντολή is the special precept or ordinance which the Mosaic law contains regarding the Levitical priesthood.

It is called fleshly, however, according to Carpzov, Böhme, Stuart, and others, because it is mutable and transitory; more correctly, nevertheless: because it lays stress only upon external, earthly things, which fall a prey to transitoriness, and (comp. the contrast ἀλλὰ κατὰ δύναμιν κ. τ. λ.) appoints as priests only mortal men, of whom one after another is snatched away by death. Schlichting: carnale (praeceptum) vocatur, quia totum ad carnem spectabat, carnisque rationem habebat. Partim enim ad certam stirpem, nempe Aaronicam, sacerdotii dignitatem adstrinxerat, partim mortalitati pontificum, quae carnis propria est, consulens, successionis jura descripserat. Inde enim factum est, ut unum alteri succedere juberet, quo, morientibus sacerdotibus, sacerdotium tamen ipsum perpetuaretur.

κατὰ δύναμιν ζωῆς ἀκαταλύτου] i.e. inasmuch as the power of living for ever is inherent in Him. Comp. Hebrews 7:17; Hebrews 7:24. Improperly do Cameron, Dorscheus, Calov, al., refer it as well, or solely, to Christ’s power of communicating intransitory life to others. But wrongly, too, Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, 2 Aufl. p. 551 f.), Delitzsch, and Alford: the ζωὴ ἀκατάλυτος is to be limited to that life of Christ which began with His resurrection. On the contrary, the ζωὴ ἀκατάλυτος is thought of as a property inherent in the ἱερεὺς ἕτερος, without respect to relation of time. Comp. also Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 458, Obs.


Verse 17

Hebrews 7:17. Scripture proof for κατὰ δύναμιν ζωῆς ἀκαταλύτου, Hebrews 7:16. This Scripture proof the author finds in the εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, Psalms 110:4, upon which words, therefore, the emphasis rests in Hebrews 7:17.

μαρτυρεῖται γάρ] for he (namely, the ἱερεὺς ἕτερος, Hebrews 7:15, i.e. Christ) has the testimony. μαρτυρεῖται is not to be taken impersonally: “it is witnessed” (Bleek, Bisping, Conybeare, al.).

ὅτι] recitative, as Hebrews 10:8, Hebrews 11:18.


Verse 18-19

Hebrews 7:18-19. Elucidation of that which is signified by this proclamation in the psalm, of the arising of a new everlasting priest after the manner of Melchisedec (Hebrews 7:17). By virtue of that proclamation of God, the Mosaic institution of the priests, and with it the Mosaic law in general, is declared—and that with good reason—to be devoid of force; and, on the other hand, a better hope is brought in. Theodoret: παύεται, φησίν, νόμος, ἐπεισάγεται δὲ τῶν κρειττόνων ἐλπίς.

Hebrews 7:18-19 contain a single proposition, dividing itself into two halves by means of μὲνδέ, for which γίνεται forms the common verb, and in which οὐδὲν γὰρ ἐτελείωσεν νόμος constitutes a parenthesis. So, rightly, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Primasius, Luther, Zeger, Camerarius, Estius, Peirce, Bengel, M‘Lean, Schulz, Böhme, Bleek, de Wette, Stengel, Tholuck, Bloomfield, Conybeare, Bisping, Delitzsch, Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 592), Alford, Maier, Moll, Kurtz, Ewald, Hofmann, Woerner, and the majority. Others construe differently, in taking each of the two verses as an independent statement in itself. They then vary as regards the interpretation of ἐπεισαγωγή, Hebrews 7:19, as this is looked upon either as predicate or as subject. As predicate it is taken by Faber Stapulensis, Erasmus (Version), Vatablus, Calvin, Hunnius, Jac. Cappellus, Pyle, Ebrard, and others, in supplying ἐστίν or ἦν, and regarding as subject thereto νόμος. According to this, the sense would be: for nothing has the law brought to perfection; but it is (or its meaning consists in this, that it is) a bringing in of a better hope. But against this argues the fact that, if ἐπεισαγωγὴ δέ was intended to form the opposition to the first half of Hebrews 7:19, the author could not possibly—after having placed a verb ( ἐτελείωσεν) in the first half, consisting as it does only of a few words—have continued in the second half otherwise than with a verb; he must have written ἐπεισάγει δὲ κρείττονα ἐλπίδα instead of ἐπεισαγωγὴ δὲ κ. τ. λ. Moreover, ἑπί in ἑπεισαγωγή would have remained without any reference upon the supposition of this construction. As subject ἐπεισαγωγή is looked upon by Beza, Castellio, Pareus, Piscator, Schlichting, Owen, Seb. Schmidt, Carpzov, Whitby, Michaelis, Semler, Ernesti, Valckenaer, Heinrichs, Stuart, and others. The sense would then be: the law indeed brought nothing to perfection; but the bringing in of a better hope did lead to perfection. Against this view, however, the consideration is decisive, that in such case, inasmuch as the preceding νόμος has the article, ἐπεισαγωγή also must have obtained the article.

The statement of Hebrews 7:18 is to be understood in special relation to the subject in question (not, as is done by Schlichting, Heinrichs, and others, as a truth of universal import). The article before προαγούσης ἐντολῆς is wanting, because the design was to express the ἐντολή regarding the Levitical priesthood as one which had only the character of an ἐντολὴ προάγουσα.

ἀθέτησις] a declaring void of force, abrogation. Comp. ἀθετεῖν, Galatians 3:15. The substantive only here and Hebrews 9:26.

γίνεται] results, namely, in the declaration of God, Psalms 110:4.

The ἐντολή, the command, denotes not the whole Mosaic law (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Primasius, Calvin, Grotius, Hammond, Owen, M‘Lean, Böhme, Kuinoel, Stuart, Klee, Bloomfield), but the ordinance regarding the Levitical priesthood therein contained. Only with Hebrews 7:19 does the author transfer to the whole that which he here states concerning a part.

The ἐντολή, however, is termed προάγονσα (comp. 1 Timothy 1:18; 1 Timothy 5:24), because, as a constituent part of the O. T., it preceded in point of time the institution of the New Covenant. Yet, at the same time, there lies in the emphatically preposed participle, on account of its reciprocal relation to ἐπεισαγωγή, Hebrews 7:19, at least the additional indication delicately conveyed, that this ἐντολή, since just as a mere precursor of something future it points beyond itself, naturally bears the character of the merely temporary and consequently unsatisfactory.

διὰ τὸ αὐτῆς ἀσθενὲς καὶ ἀνωφελές] on account of its weakness and unprofitableness. The ἐντολή was weak, since it did not possess the strength to attain its object, namely, the reconciliation of men to God; but, because in such manner it did not fulfil the end of its existence, it became for that very reason something unprofitable and unserviceable. On ἀσθενές, comp. Romans 8:3; Galatians 4:9.

οὐδέν] is not to be limited by means of οὐδένα (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Schlichting, Grotius, Carpzov, Kuinoel, Bisping), but, on the contrary, is to be left in the full universality of the neuter. Completion in general, in whatever respect, the law was not in a position to bring about.

ἐπεισαγωγή] a doubly composite term. Literally: introduction upon or in addition to, i.e. the bringing in of something new in addition to, or over and above, an object already present (here: in addition to the προάγουσα ἐντολή, Hebrews 7:18). ἐπί in ἐπεισαγωγή corresponds therefore to the πρό in προαγούσης.

κρείττονος ἐλπίδος] of a better hope, sc. than the προάγουσα ἐντολή was in a position to afford.(83) Better, more excellent, is the hope founded upon the newly instituted priesthood, in that this hope is certain and infallible, thus in reality leads to the desired goal.

δι ̓ ἧς ἐγγίζομεν τῷ θεῷ] by means of which we draw nigh unto God (James 4:8). Comp. Hebrews 6:19 : εἰσερχομένην εἰς τὸ ἐσώτερον τοῦ καταπετάσματος, and Hebrews 10:19 ff. In contrast with the character of the Old Covenant, since the people were not permitted to enter the Most Holy Place, where the throne of Jehovah was. Cf. Hebrews 9:6 ff.


Verses 20-22

Hebrews 7:20-22. As one element in the superiority of the everlasting priesthood after the manner of Melchisedec, assigned to Christ, over the Levitical priesthood has been already implicitly brought forward, Hebrews 7:18-19, namely, that the goal, for the attainment of which the strength was lacking to the Levitical priesthood, is really attained by the everlasting priesthood. A second point of superiority in the new order of things over the old follows in Hebrews 7:20-22. Of less moment than the everlasting priesthood of Jesus must the Levitical priesthood be; for the former was constituted by God by virtue of a declaration upon oath, the latter without a declaration upon oath. Hebrews 7:20-22 form again a single period, the protasis being contained in καὶ καθ ̓ ὅσον οὐ χωρὶς ὁρκωμοσίας, to which then καὶ τοσοῦτο κ. τ. λ., Hebrews 7:22, corresponds as the apodosis, while all that intervenes ( οἱ μὲν γάρ, to the end of Hebrews 7:21) is a parenthesis. Wrongly do Chrysostom, Theodoret, Erasmus, Calvin (in the translation), Er. Schmid, and others join καὶ καθ ̓ ὅσον οὐ χωρὶς ὁρκωμοσίας, too, to the closing words of Hebrews 7:19 : and, indeed, a hope which is better, inasmuch as it is not brought in without an oath. So also Luther: “and moreover, which is a great thing, not without oath;” while, with not less violence, Lud. Cappellus, who, in enclosing Hebrews 7:18-19 within a parenthesis, and taking καὶ καθ ̓ ὅσον οὐ χωρὶς ὁρκωμοσίας with Hebrews 7:17, gives as the sense: “Deus constituit Christum sacerdotem secundum ordinem Melchisedec, et quidem non sine jurejurando.”

καί] coupling on a farther link in the chain of enumeration, as Hebrews 7:8-9; Hebrews 7:23.

καὶ καθ ̓ ὅσον οὐ χωρὶς ὁρκωμοσίας] sc. ἱερεύς ἐστιν γεγονώς; and inasmuch (Hebrews 9:27) as He has become priest not without a declaration upon oath, i.e. He has not become so without God having sanctioned His appointment to be a priest by a declaration upon oath (namely, by virtue of the oath, with which the declaration, Psalms 110:4, is introduced). Only this mode of supplementing is warranted by the connection, as is shown partly by the οἱ μὲν γὰρ χωρὶς ὁρκωμοσίας εἰσὶν ἱερεῖς γεγονότες immediately following, partly by the circumstance that the author is still engaged in the exposition of the Scripture statement, Hebrews 7:17, this statement thus containing for him the gist of the matter; as, accordingly, this declaration of Scripture is repeated anew, Hebrews 7:21, and then likewise the εἰσὶν ἱερεῖς γεγονότες recurs in the further member of the thought, Hebrews 7:23 f. The explanation therefore of Seb. Schmidt, Wolf, Heinrichs, Böhme, Kuinoel, Ebrard, Alford, Kurtz, and others is to be rejected, when to καθ ̓ ὅσον οὐ χωρὶς ὁρκωμοσίας they supplement from the apodosis διαθήκης ἔγγυος γέγονεν; as also that of Storr, Schulz, Bleek, de Wette, Tholuck, Bisping, Delitzsch, Moll, and Hofmann, when they supply τοῦτο (sc. ἐπεισαγωγὴ κρείττονος ἐλπίδος) γίνεται ( γέγονεν).

οἱ μὲν γάρ] namely, the Levitical priests.

χωρὶς ὁρκωμοσίας] since nothing is related in Scripture of an oath of God, when He destined Aaron and his posterity to be priests.

εἰσὶν γεγονότες] forms one idea: have become. Wrongly, Paulus and Klee: are priests who have become so without an oath. Böhme (and so also Hofmann): “sunt sacerdotes, sed sine juramento (illi quidem singuli deinceps) facti”—which must have been expressed by εἰσὶν ἱερεῖς χωρὶς ὁρκωμοσίας γεγονότες. Still more widely mistaken the view of Michaelis ad Peirc.: “fuerunt, i.e. esse desierunt,”—which is grammatically as well as logically impossible. The tempus periphrasticum εἰσὶν γεγονότες marks the fact already belonging to the past as still extending onwards into the present.

δέ] namely, Christ.

μεθ ̓ ὁρκωμοσίας] sc. ἱερεύς ἐστιν γεγονώς.

διὰ τοῦ λέγοντος πρὸς αὐτόν] i.e. in the sense of the author: by God, not: by the psalmist (Rambach, Heinrichs), although certainly the statement, Psalms 110:4, that God hath sworn and will not repent of this oath, forms not a constituent part of the words of God Himself, but a remark of the psalmist, with which he introduces the words of God. Yet, when in the psalm it is said that God has sworn, and of this oath He will not repent, and then there is adduced as the subject-matter of this oath the declaration: σὺ ἱερεὺς κ. τ. λ., this is tantamount to saying that God has declared by virtue of an irreversible oath: σὺ ἱερεὺς κ. τ. λ. As, accordingly, the psalmist is relating the words of God, so does he also relate the oath which preceded them.


Verse 22

Hebrews 7:22. The apodosis: Jesus has become the surety of a so much more excellent covenant, i.e. so much more excellent is the covenant of which Jesus has become surety.

ἔγγυος] in the N. T. only here. Comp. however, 2 Maccabees 10:28; Sirach 29:15-16.

Surety of a better covenant has Jesus become, i.e. in the person of Jesus pledge and guarantee is given that a better covenant has been established by God. For Christ, the Son of God, had become man in order to proclaim this covenant upon earth, had sealed it by His sufferings and death, and had been mightily accredited by His resurrection from the dead as a Founder of the Covenant who had been sent by God.

Incorrectly do Piscator, Owen, Calov, Wittich, Braun, and others find the thought expressed that Christ became surety to God for men, in that He vicariously took upon Himself the guilt which they must have borne; while, just as erroneously, Limborch, Baumgarten, Chr. Fr. Schmid, and others contend that a reciprocal suretyship, for God with men and for men with God, is meant. Each of these views has the context against it; since there respect is had only to that which has been guaranteed to men by the new order of things. Comp. Hebrews 7:19 : κρείττονος ἐλπίδος, δι ̓ ἧς ἐγγίζομεν τῷ θεῷ; Hebrews 7:25-26.

ἰησοῦς] with emphasis placed at the end.


Verse 23

Hebrews 7:23. καί] parallel to the καί, Hebrews 7:20.

καὶ οἱ μὲν πλείονές εἰσιν ἱερεῖς γεγονότες] and they on the one hand have as several (or as a plurality) become priests, i.e. of Levitical priests there is a multiplicity. Attention is not here called to the peculiarity that many priests always existed contemporaneously the one with the other (so Erasmus, Paraphr., Braun, Delitzsch), or that “the Levitical priesthood was not given to one, but to a lineage” (Hofmann). That which is meant is—as is evident from the immediately following διὰ τὸ θανάτῳ κωλύεσθαι παραμένειν, and from Hebrews 7:24—the successive plurality, in that one dies after another, and consequently the one succeeds the other. For the author in thus speaking has before his mind the high priests, since it is just with these that Christ is placed in parallel. Comp. Hebrews 7:26 ff., al.

διὰ τὸ θανάτῳ κωλύεσθαι παραμένειν] because (wrongly de Wette: “by the fact that”) they are (wrongly de Wette and Bisping: “were”) prevented by death from continuing.

παραμένειν] not: ἐν τῇ ἱερωσύνῃ (so Oecumenius, who is followed by Grotius, Seb. Schmidt, Storr, Kuinoel, Klee, Stein, Bloom-field, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. pp. 459, 437; Alford, Maier, Kurtz, Hofmann, Woerner, and others). It denotes, as is clear from the corresponding διὰ τὸ μένειν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, Hebrews 7:24, to continue in life. Comp. also Philippians 1:25, and Meyer ad loc.


Verses 23-25

Hebrews 7:23-25. Third point of superiority of the priesthood of Christ over the Levitical priesthood. The Levitical priests die one after the other; Christ’s priesthood, on the other hand, is, since He ever lives, an unchangeable and intransitory one. The author consequently lays special stress upon that point of superiority to which already, Hebrews 7:16 f. (comp. Hebrews 7:8), he had pointed.


Verse 24

Hebrews 7:24. The other, on the other hand, because (not “by the fact that,” de Wette, Bisping) He abides unto eternity, has His priesthood as an unchangeable one.

μένειν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα] must not be explained, with Estius, Seb. Schmidt, and others, of abiding for ever as priest. For in this way the declaration of Hebrews 7:24 becomes tautological. The expression denotes the everlasting duration of life (comp. John 12:34; John 21:22-23; 1 Corinthians 15:6; Philippians 1:25), is thus equivalent to the πάντοτε ζῆν, Hebrews 7:25.

ἀπαράβατος] a word belonging to later Greek (comp. Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 313), save here, foreign to the N. T., as also to the LXX. Erasmus, Schlichting, Bengel, Schulz, Böhme, Stengel, Stuart, Ebrard, Hofmann, Conybeare, and the majority, take it in the active signification: not passing over to another, thus remaining with the same person, or unchanging. So, as it would seem, already Theodoret ( οὗτος δὲ ἀθάνατος ὢν εἰς ἕτερον οὐ παραπέμπει τῆς ἱερωσύνης τὸ γέρας), Oecumenius ( ἀδιάδοχον, ἀτελεύτητον), Theophylact ( ἀδιάκοπον, ἀδιάδοχον). More correctly, however, because more consistently with the demonstrable usage of the language (see instances in Wetstein and Bleek), does Bleek, after the precedent of Elsner, insist upon the passive signification: “that which may not be overstepped, transgressed; therefore: inviolable, unalterable, immutable,” which then, it is true, includes likewise the notion of “unchanging.”


Verse 25

Hebrews 7:25. ὅθεν] Wherefore, sc. because His priesthood is an everlasting one.

καί] also, represents the statement, Hebrews 7:25, as being the natural effect of the ἀπαράβατον ἔχειν τὴν ἱερωσύνην, Hebrews 7:24, as its cause.

εἰς τὸ παντελές] means: perfectly, completely, entirely (comp. Luke 13:11), and combines with σώζειν in one idea. Theodoret: αὐτὸν γὰρ σώζειν ἡμᾶς εἴρηκεν καὶ τελείαν σωτηρίαν παρέχειν. The meaning: in perpetuum, attached to the word by the Peshito, the Vulgate, Chrysostom ( οὐ πρὸς τὸ παρὸν μόνον, φησίν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐκεῖ ἐν τῇ μελλούσῃ ζωῇ), Oecumenius, Theophylact, Luther, Calvin, Schlichting, Grotius, Heinrichs, Schulz, Stein, Stengel, and others, in joining it either with σώζειν or with δύναται, is in accordance neither with the etymology nor the usage (instances in Bleek), but arises only from the connection, and is consequently to be rejected.

σώζειν] save, embraces the deliverance from the misery of sin and its consequences, and, on the other hand, the communication of everlasting blessedness. Too restricted, Hofmann: the answering of prayer, and deliverance out of every assault.

τοὺς προσερχομένους διʼ αὐτοῦ τῷ θεῷ] those who through Him, i.e. through faith in Him, draw near to God.

πάντοτε ζῶν εἰς τὸ ἐντυγχάνειν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν] seeing that He evermore lives, to make intercession for them (Romans 8:26-27; Romans 8:34), or to represent them (sc. in the presence of God). More precise unfolding of the notion already lying in ὅθεν.

Similarly for the rest does Philo, too, ascribe to his Logos an intercession with God. Comp. Vit. Mos. iii. p. 673 C (with Mangey, II. p. 155): ἀναγκαῖον γὰρ ἦν τὸν ἱερωμένον τῷ τοῦ κόσμου πατρί, παρακλήτῳ χρῆσθαι τελειοτάτῳ τὴν ἀρετὴν υἱῷ, πρός τε ἀμνηστίαν ἁμαρτημάτων καὶ χορηγίαν ἀφθονωτάτων ἀγαθῶν.

Quis rer. div. haer. 42, p. 509 B (with Mangey, I. p. 501): δʼ αὐτὸς ἱκέτης μέν ἐστι τοῦ θνητοῦ, κηραίνοντος ἀεί, πρὸς τὸ ἄφθαρτον.


Verse 26

Hebrews 7:26. Proof for the actual existence of a high priest who is able in a perfect manner to procure salvation, since He ever liveth to represent in the presence of God those who believe in Him (Hebrews 7:25), derived from the meetness and adaptedness to our need of just such a high priest: for such a high priest (as had just been described, Hebrews 7:25) also beseemed us. τοιοῦτος begins no parenthesis, so that ὅσιος κ. τ. λ. were only “the continuation of a series begun with πάντοτε ζῶν εἰς τὸ ἐντυγχάνειν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν” (Hofmann), nor is “ οἷος ἰησοῦς to be supplemented from Hebrews 7:22” (Woerner), nor does it serve for the introducing or preparing the way for the following predicates, ὅσιος κ. τ. λ. (Grotius, Tholuck, al.), but refers back to the characterization, Hebrews 7:25; while, then, with ὅσιος κ. τ. λ. a newly beginning further description of this so constituted high priest, or a further unfolding of the τοιοῦτος, follows, in such wise that the ὅσιος κ. τ. λ. thus attached is best rendered by: He, since He is holy, etc., beseemed us.

καί] also, i.e. exactly. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 408.

ὅσιος] holy or pure. In regard to the relation towards God. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Ephesians 4:24; 1 Timothy 2:8; Titus 1:8. With the LXX. for the most part translation of חָסִיד, e.g. Psalms 4:4 (3), Psalms 16:10 (Acts 2:27; Acts 13:35), Psalms 30:5 (4).

ἄκακος] free from κακία, from craft and malice. In regard to the relation towards men. Chrysostom: ἄκακος τί ἐστιν; ἀπόνηρος, οὐχ ὕπουλος· καὶ ὅτι τοιοῦτος, ἄκουε τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος· οὐδὲ εὑρέθη δόλος ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ (Isaiah 53:9).

ἀμίαντος] unstained by any kind of impurity. In regard to the relation towards Himself. Comp. James 1:27; 1 Peter 1:4.

κεχωρισμένος ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν] separated from the sinners, i.e. not: different from them by reason of His sinlessness (so the Peshito, separatus a peccatis; Vatablus, Calvin, Cameron, Carpzov, Owen, Böhme, Kuinoel, Stuart, Klee, Ebrard, Bloomfield, Kurtz, and others), but—as is evident from the member immediately following—withdrawn by His exaltation to heaven from all contact with the sinners, so that He cannot be defiled by them. As the Levitical priests in general, so must very specially the high priest preserve himself free from defilement (Leviticus 21:10 ff.); before the great day of atonement he must, according to the Talmud, spend seven days in the temple, apart from his family, in order to be secured against defilement. See Tract. Joma, i. 1. Comp. also Schöttgen, Horae Hebraicae, p. 963 f.

καὶ ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν γενόμενος] and (not “also” or “even,” as Hofmann contends) raised above the heavens, inasmuch, namely, as He διελήλυθε τοὺς οὐρανούς, Hebrews 4:14. Comp. Ephesians 4:10 : ἀναβὰς ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν.


Verses 26-28

Hebrews 7:26-28. Fourth point of superiority of the priesthood of Christ over the Levitical priesthood, in the form of an establishing of Hebrews 7:25. The Levitical priests are sinful men, who need daily to offer for their own sins and the sins of the people; Christ is the sinless Son of God, who once for all has offered up Himself as a sacrifice.


Verse 27

Hebrews 7:27. In the πρότερον ὑπὲρ τῶν ἰδίων ἁμαρτιῶν, ἔπειτα τῶν τοῦ λαοῦ there is an apparent allusion to the sacrifice of the high priest on the great day of atonement (Leviticus 16.), comp. Hebrews 9:7. We are prevented, however, from referring the words to this alone (perhaps to the including of the sin-offering prescribed, Leviticus 4:3 ff.) by καθʼ ἡμέραν, instead of which, as at Hebrews 9:25, Hebrews 10:1; Hebrews 10:3, κατʼ ἐνιαυτόν must have been placed. For καθʼ ἡμέραν can signify nothing else than “daily” or “day by day.” To foist upon it the signification: “yearly on a definite day” (“ καθʼ ἡμέραν ὡρισμένην or τεταγμένην”), with Schlichting (secundum diem, nempe statam ac definitam, in anniversario illo videlicet sacrificio), Piscator, Starck, Peirce, Chr. Fr. Schmid, M‘Lean, Storr, and others; or to take it in the attenuated sense, as equivalent to “saepissime, quoties res fert” (Grotius, Owen), or “ πολλάκις” (Böhme, Stein), or “ διὰ παντός” (de Wette), or in the sense of “one day after another” (Ebrard, who supposes the author is overlooking a succession of centuries, and so a succession of days present themselves to his eye, in which the high priest again and again offers a sacrifice!), is linguistically unwarranted. In like manner it is a mere subterfuge and arbitrary misinterpreting of the words, when Delitzsch, Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 438), and Alford, concurring in the suggestion of Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 404 f., 2 Aufl.), seek to put into them the sense: that Christ needeth not to do daily that which the high priests do once every year, but which He—if He is to be a constant mediator of an all-embracing expiation of sin—must needs do day by day. For all that is expressed is the fact that Christ needs not to do daily that which the Levitical high priests need to do daily.(84) Nor does it avail anything that Kurtz will take καθʼ ἡ΄έραν in conjunction only with οὐκ ἔχει ἀνάγκην, since these words do not occupy an independent position alone, and only acquire their more precise definition by that which follows. For that καθʼ ἡ΄έραν has “nothing whatever to do with the θυσίας ἀναφέρειν,” is a mere assertion on the part of Kurtz; and his contention, that only the “daily renewal and daily pressing necessity,” of the O. T. high priest on account of his daily sinning, the necessity, “ere (on the great day of propitiation) he could offer for the sin of the whole people, of first presenting a sacrifice for his own sins,” was to be brought into relief, is a violent perversion of the words,—admitting as they do of no misapprehension,—from which even the πρότερον, ἔπειτα, expressive of a relation of parity, ought to have kept him; in place of which, in order to bring out the subsidiary character of the one half of the statement, πρὸ τοῦ with the infinitive, or πρίν ( πρὶν ), must have been written. We have therefore to conclude, with Gerhard, Calov, Seb. Schmidt, Braun, Wolf, Carpzov, Bleek, and Tholuck, that the author had present to his mind, besides the principal sacrifice on the great day of atonement, at the same time the ordinary daily sacrifice of the Levitical priests (Exodus 29:38-42; Numbers 28:3-8), and by reason of an inexact mode of expression blended the two together; to which he might the more easily be led, in that, according to Josephus, the high priest—not indeed always, but yet on the Sabbaths, new moons, and other festivals (according to the Mishna tr. Tamith, vii. 3 : in general as often as he was so minded)—went up with the other priests into the temple, and took part in the sacrificial service. Comp. Josephus, de Bello Judaico, v. 5. 7 : δὲ ἀρχιερεὺς ἀνῄει μὲν σὺν αὐτοῖς ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἀεί, ταῖς δʼ ἑβδομάσι καὶ νουμηνίαις, καὶ εἴ τις ἑορτὴ πάτριος πανήγυρις πάνδημος ἀγομένη διʼ ἔτους. To be compared also are the words of Philo, who, Quis rer. divin. haer. p. 505 A (with Mangey, I. p. 497), remarks that in the daily sacrifice the priests offered the oblation for themselves, but the lambs for the people ( ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰς ἐνδελεχεῖς θυσίας ὁρᾷς εἰς ἴσα διῃρημένας, ἥν τε ὑπὲρ αὑτῶν ἀνάγουσιν οἱ ἱερεῖς διὰ τῆς σεμιδάλεως καὶ τὴν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἔθνους τῶν δυοῖν ἀμνῶν, οὓς ἀναφέρειν διείρηται), and de Speciall. Legg. p. 797 E (with Mangey, II. p. 321), equally as our passage, ascribes to the high priest the offering of a daily sacrifice ( οὕτω τοῦ σύμπαντος ἔθνους συγγενὴς καὶ ἀγχιστεὺς κοινὸς ἀρχιερεύς ἐστι, πρυτανεύων μὲν τὰ δίκαια τοῖς ἀμφισβητοῦσι κατὰ τοὺς νόμους, εὐχὰς δὲ καὶ θυσίας τελῶν καθʼ ἐκάστην ἡμέραν). Recently also Delitzsch (Talmudische Studien, XIII., in Rudelbach and Guericke’s Zeitschr. für die luther. Theol, u. Kirche, 1860, H. 4, p. 593 f.) has further drawn attention to the fact that likewise, Jer. Chagiga, ii. 4, and Bab. Pesachim, 57a, it is said of the high priest that he offers daily.

τοῦτο] namely, τὸ ὑπὲρ τῶν τοῦ λαοῦ ἁ΄αρτιῶν θυσίαν ἀναφέρειν. So rightly—as is even demanded by Hebrews 7:28 (comp. Hebrews 4:15)

Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Clarius, Estius, Piscator, Clericus, Seb. Schmidt, Owen, Peirce, Carpzov, Whitby, Storr, Heinrichs, Böhme, Kuinoel, Klee, Bleek, de Wette, Stengel, Bloomfield, Bisping, Delitzsch, Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 463), Alford, Kurtz, and others. Less suitably do Beza, Jac. Cappellus, Limborch, Bengel, and Ebrard supplement τὸ θυσίας ἀναφέρειν; while, altogether wrongly, Schlichting, Grotius, Hammond, and Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, 2 Aufl. pp. 405, 401 f.) refer back τοῦτο to the whole proposition πρότερον λαοῦ. For in the application to Christ, to explain the ἁ΄αρτίαι as the “dolores, qui solent peccatorum poenae esse, et quas Christus occasione etiam peccatorum humani generis toleravit, et a quibus liberatus est per mortem” (Grotius), or as “Christi infirmitates et perpessiones” (Schlichting, Hofmann, according to which latter in connection with ἑαυτὸν ἀνενέγκας, besides Christ’s suffering of death, His prayer in Gethsemane (!) is at the same time to be thought of), becomes possible only on the arbitrary supposition of a double sense to the preceding words, and is equally much opposed to the context (Hebrews 7:28) as to the linguistic use of ἁ΄αρτίαι.

ἐφάπαξ] once for all; comp. Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 10:10; Romans 6:10. Belongs to ἐποίησεν, not to ἀνενέγκας.

ἑαυτὸν ἀνενέγκας] in that He offered Himself. Christ is thus not only the High Priest of the New Covenant, but also the victim offered. Comp. Hebrews 8:3, Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 9:25 f., Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 10:14; Ephesians 5:2.


Verse 28

Hebrews 7:28. Establishment of τοῦτο ἐποίησεν ἐφάπαξ, Hebrews 7:27, by the definite formulating of the statement of the fourth point of superiority of the New Testament High Priest over the high priests of the Old Covenant,—a statement for which the way has been prepared by Hebrews 7:26-27. The law constitutes high priests men who are subject to weakness, and thus also to sin (comp. Hebrews 5:2-3), on which account they have to offer, as for the people, so also for themselves, and have ofttimes to repeat this sacrifice; the word of the oath, on the other hand (comp. Hebrews 7:21), which ensued after the law,—namely, only in the time of David,—and consequently annulled the law, ordains as high priest the Son (see on Hebrews 1:1), who is for ever perfected, i.e. without sin (Hebrews 4:15), and by His exaltation withdrawn from all human ἀσθένεια, however greatly He had part therein during His life on earth; wherefore He needed not for Himself to present an expiatory sacrifice, but only for the people, and, inasmuch as this fully accomplished its end, He needed not to repeat the same.

Entirely misapprehending the reasoning of the author, Ebrard supposes that even the first half of the proposition, Hebrews 7:28, is likewise to be referred to Jesus. The author, he tells us, presupposes as well known, that Christ has been as well ἄνθρωπος ἀσθένειαν ἔχων (according to chap. 5) as υἱὸς τετελειωμένος εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα (according to chap. 7), and is here recapitulating (!) the two. Thus, then, νόμος γὰρἀσθένειαν contains a concession (!) having reference to chap. 5, and the thought is: “the law (in so far as it has not (!) been annulled) demands of all high priests (consequently (!) also of Jesus) that they be ἄνθρωποι ἔχοντες ἀσθένειαν; the sworn word of promise, however (given after the law), proceeding far beyond and above the same, constitutes as high priest the Son for ever perfected” (!). A misinterpreting of the meaning, against which even the opposition of νόμος λόγος δέ, as a manifest parallel to οἱ μὲν δέ, Hebrews 7:20 f., Hebrews 7:23 f., ought to have kept him.

τῆς μετὰ τὸν νόμον] The author did not write μετὰ τὸν νόμον, according to which the Vulgate and Luther translate, because he wished to accentuate ὁρκωμοσία as the principal notion.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Hebrews 7:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/hebrews-7.html. 1832.

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