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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Hebrews 8

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 8

Hebrews 8:1. ἐπὶ τοῖς λεγομένοις] B: ἐν τοῖς λεγομένοις. Explanatory gloss.

Hebrews 8:2. Recepta: καὶ οὐκ ἄνθρωπος. But καί is wanting in B D* E* א, 17, It. Arabb. Euseb. Already rejected by Mill. Rightly deleted by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. Alford.

Hebrews 8:4. Elz. Matth. Tisch. 2 and 7, Bloomfield, have εἰ μὲν γάρ. Defended also by Delitzsch, Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 504, Obs.), and Reiche. But γάρ cannot be referred back to Hebrews 8:3, and upon the referring of it back to Hebrews 8:2 the addition, Hebrews 8:3, would become aimless and inexplicable. More in keeping logically, and better attested (by A B D* א, 17, 73, 80, 137, Vulg. It. Copt., al.), is the reading: εἰ μὲν οὖν, already commended to attention by Griesbach, and adopted by Lachm. Scholz, Bleek, Tisch. 1 and 8, Alford, which is accordingly to be preferred.

Instead of the Recepta τῶν ἱερέων τῶν προσφερόντων (approved by Bloomfield, who, however, encloses the first τῶν within brackets, and Reiche), Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. and Alford have rightly adopted merely τῶν προσφερόντων. Preferred also by Delitzsch. τῶν ἱερέων, to the rejection of which already Grotius, Mill, and Griesbach were inclined, is an elucidatory gloss. It is condemned by the decisive authority of A B D* E* א, 17, 67** 73, 137, al., Vulg. It. Copt. Aeth. Arm.

τόν] before νόμον in the Recepta (recently contended for by Bloomfield and Delitzsch) is to be deleted, with Lachm. Tisch. and Alford, after A B א* 17, 57, 80, al., Theodoret. The later addition of the article is more easily to be explained than its omission.

Hebrews 8:5. Elz.: ποιήσῃς. But all the uncial mss., many cursives, Orig. Chrys. Theodoret, Damasc. Oecum. Theophyl. have ποιήσεις, which also is found in LXX. Exodus 25:40. Commended by Griesbach. Rightly adopted already in the edd. Erasm. 1, Ald. Stephan. 1, 2, and recently by Matthaei, Scholz, Bleek, Lachm. Tisch. and Alford. Approved also by Delitzsch and Reiche.

Hebrews 8:6. In place of the Recepta νυνὶ δέ, Lachm. reads, but without sufficient authority (B D* Ath.): νῦν δέ. The more euphonious νυνὶ δέ is protected by A D** D*** E K L א, min., and many Fathers.

Instead of the Recepta τέτευχε (B D*** א*** min. Damasc. [once] Theophyl. [cod.]), there is found in the edd. Complut. Plantin. Genev. the peculiarly Attic form: τετύχηκε. This is supported by 47, 72, 73, 74, al., Athan. (thrice), Bas. Antioch. Chrys. Theodoret, Damasc. Best attested is the form: τέτυχεν (by A D* K L א* 80, 116, 117, al., Athan. Oecum. Theophylact), which is therefore rightly preferred by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. and Alford.

Hebrews 8:8. αὐτοῖς] So Elz. Griesb. Matthaei, Scholz, Bleek, de Wette, Tisch. 2 and 7, Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Alford, Reiche, after B D*** E L א***, likewise, as it seems, almost all min. Chrys. Damasc. al.

Lachm. and Tisch. 1 and 8 read αὐτούς. But the attestation of the latter (A D* K א* 17, 39, al., Theodoret) is not at all decisive, and the accusative, seeing it requires the conjoining with μεμφόμενος, opposed to the context; see the exposition.

Hebrews 8:10. διαθήκη] Lachm.: διαθήκη [ μου], after A D E. μου is found, indeed, also with the LXX. in most MSS. (but not in the Cod. Alex.); yet, nevertheless, since it forms a tautological addition, and does not correspond to the Hebrew original ( כִּי זֹאת הַבְּרִית), it probably arose only by a mechanical repetition from the preceding διαθήκῃ μου.

Hebrews 8:11. Recepta: τὸν πλησίον. But the weighty authority of all uncial mss. (B: τὸν πολείτην), most cursives, as well as that of Syr. utr. Arabb. Copt. Arm. It. al., Chrys. (codd.) Theodoret, Damasc. Aug. requires the reading: τὸν πολίτην, already presented by the edd. Complut. Stephan. 1, 2, al., and later approved by Bengel and Wetstein, as also adopted by Griesbach, Matthaei, Lachm. Scholz, Bleek, Tisch. Bloomfield, Alford, Reiche, and others.

ἀπὸ μικροῦ] Elz. Matthaei, Scholz, Tisch. 2 and 7, Bloomfield: ἀπὸ μικροῦ αὐτῶν. But αὐτῶν is wanting in A B D* E* (?) K א, 17, 31, 61, 73, 80, al., Copt. Arm. It. Vulg., with Cyr. Chrys. al. Already suspected by Griesbach. Rightly deleted by Lachm. Bleek, de Wette, Tisch. 1 and 8, and Alford.

Hebrews 8:12. καὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν καὶ τῶν ἀνομιῶν αὐτῶν] The concluding words: καὶ τῶν ἀνομιῶν αὐτῶν, have been taken for a gloss by Bleek, Tisch. 1, 2, and 8, and Alford (comp. already Beza and Grotius); and in accordance with B א* 17, 23, Vulg. Copt. Basm. Syr. Arab. Erp. rejected. They are also declared suspected by Delitzsch. But in favour of their retention (Lachm. Bloomfield, Tisch. 7, Reiche) decides partly the preponderating authority of A D E K L א*** al., partly the recurrence of the same words on the repetition of the citation Hebrews 10:17. The addition might easily be overlooked on account of the homoioteleuton.


Verse 1-2

Hebrews 8:1-2. κεφάλαιον δέ] Now a main point is. κεφάλαιον is not accusative absolute (Bengel), nor yet the ordinary accusative with a λέγω τοῦτο to be supplemented (Ebrard), but nominative, and apposition to the whole ensuing proposition: τοιοῦτονἄνθρωπος, Hebrews 8:2. Comp. Romans 8:3. Just as κεφάλαιον δέ are also the kindred formulas: τὸ δὲ μέγιστον, τὸ δὲ δεινότατον, τὸ ἔσχατον, τὸ τελευταῖον, etc., very frequently prefixed to a whole clause by way of apposition. See Kühner, II. p. 146, Obs. 2. The expression κεφάλαιον itself is here understood by many expositors in the sense of “sum;” according to which the author would express the intention of immediately comprehending or recapitulating the substance of all his previous disquisition in a single statement. So Laurentius Valla (“in summam autem”), Erasmus, Clarius, Vatablus, Zeger, Calvin, H. Stephanus, Grotius (“post tot dicta haec esto summa”), Carpzov (“ut rem summatim et uno verbo complectar”), Stengel, Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, 2 Aufl. p. 405), Conybeare, M‘Caul, etc. This signification, however, although linguistically justified, is here inadmissible, since the author is passing over to something essentially new; a recapitulation of the previous argument accordingly does not take place at all. But neither is the anarthrous κεφάλαιον—although in itself this is not inadmissible—to be taken as equivalent to τὸ κεφάλαιον, as is done by Theophylact ( ἵνα εἴπω τὸ μέγιστον καὶ συνεκτικώτερον), Bleek (“the essential thing, to which all else is subordinated”), Ebrard (“the keystone”), Bisping (“the core of all”), Stuart, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. pp. 464, 481; Alford, Maier, Ewald, and others. For, besides the further main point in the superiority of the N. T. High Priest over the Levitical high priests, here to be mentioned (namely, His ministering in a better sanctuary), the author has yet before his mind the elucidation of a third leading distinction (that of the better sacrifice presented by Christ). Comp. Hebrews 9:9 ff.

ἐπὶ τοῖς λεγομένοις] cannot be referred back specially, as is assumed by Erasmus, Clarius, Zeger, Estius, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Hammond, Carpzov, Schulz, Stein, Stengel, Ebrard, Ewald, and many others, to that which has already been said. For therewith the participle present λεγομένοις does not agree; εἰρημένοις must have been put instead of it. Nor, accordingly, can the sense be: “in addition to that already treated of” (Calov, Wolf, Rambach, Peirce, Storr, Ebrard, al.). On the contrary, ἐπί must be taken in the signification: “upon the supposition of,” “in the case of,” as Hebrews 9:17 and frequently, and ἐπὶ τοῖς λεγομένοις has essentially the same meaning as the genitive τῶν λεγομένων. Thus: now a main point in the case of those things we are speaking of (or: in our argument) is the following.

With the utmost violence does Hofmann tear the words asunder (Schriftbew. II. 1, 2 Aufl. p. 406, and so still in his commentary, p. 302 f.), in that he will have κεφάλαιον δέ separated from ἐπὶ τοῖς λεγομένοις, and to the latter would supplement ἀρχιερεῦσιν, and renders: “besides those who are called high priests, we have a High Priest who has sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty.” That, moreover, the thought thus resulting would be a senseless one,—inasmuch as it would then follow that Christians have several sorts of high priests,—has already been pointed out by Nickel (in Reuter’s Repertor. 1858, Feb. p. 110). For how arbitrary it is when Hofmann seeks further to twist the statement, gained with so much toil, in the sense: “that the Christians possess a High Priest, compared with whom those who are so called have for them no significance,” hardly needs to be observed.

τοιοῦτον] is a preparation for the following ὃς ἐκάθισεν κ. τ. λ. Wrongly does Böhme refer it back to τοιοῦτος, Hebrews 7:26, and Carpzov to ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρνῶν γενόμενος in the same verse. The latter, moreover, with an erroneous accentuation of the ἔχομεν: “habemus omnino talem pontificem sc. ὑψηλότερον τῶν οὐρανῶν, quippe qui adeo consedit ad dextram Dei ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς,” in connection with which the progress of the discourse is lost sight of, and the fact remains unnoticed that the centre of gravity in the statement, Hebrews 8:1-2, is contained only in Hebrews 8:2.

ὃς ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ θρόνου τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς] who has sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven (Psalms 110.). Comp. Hebrews 1:3 : ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς.

The opinion of Schlichting, Grotius, Limborch, Klee, Bleek, and Alford, that the author designed by ἐκάθισεν, too, to indicate a point of superiority in Christ over the Levitical high priests,—inasmuch as the latter, when they entered the Most Holy Place, instead of sitting down were required to stand,—is far-fetched. There is nothing in the context to lead to such supposition. It is otherwise (on account of the express opposition there met with ἕστηκενἐκάθισεν) chap. Hebrews 10:11-12.

ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς] belongs to ἐκάθισεν, not to τῆς μεγαλωσύνης (Böhme), since otherwise the article would have been repeated; still less to the opening words of Hebrews 8:2 (Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, 2 Aufl. p. 405 f.), since in that case τῶν ἁγίων τῶν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς λειτουργός would have been the only natural expression, the rhythmical proportion of Hebrews 8:1-2 would have been destroyed, and the ἐν ὑψηλοῖς, Hebrews 1:3, parallel to the ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς in our passage, would have remained unnoticed as regards its coherence with that which precedes.


Verses 1-13

Hebrews 8:1-13. Not merely, however, as regards His person is Christ highly exalted above the Levitical priests; the sanctuary, too, in which He fulfils the office of High Priest, is highly exalted above the Levitical sanctuary. For Christ sustains His high-priestly office in the heavenly tabernacle, erected by God Himself, of which as the archetype the earthly tabernacle, in which the Levitical priests fulfil their office, is a mere copy. So much the more excellent is the priestly ministry of Christ, in proportion as the Covenant of which He is the Mediator is a better covenant, because resting upon the foundation of better promises. The character of this promised New Covenant is a more inward, spiritual one; and by the promise of a New Covenant the Old is declared to be outworn and no longer serviceable.


Verse 2

Hebrews 8:2. Declaration of the capacity in which Christ has sat down at the right hand of God: as a sacrificing priest of the true sanctuary and tabernacle, which the Lord erected, not a man. Hebrews 8:2 is to be joined without any comma to Hebrews 8:1. For only the qualification of the ἐκάθισεν κ. τ. λ., Hebrews 8:1, which is first added by means of Hebrews 8:2,—not merely the fact of the καθίσαι in itself, since this had already been often mentioned in the epistle,—contains the new main feature which the author aims at bringing into prominence.

τῶν ἁγίων] is not masculine (Oecumenius: ἀρχιερεύς φησι τῶν ἡγιασμένων παρʼ αὐτοῦ ἀνθρώπων· ἡμῶν γάρ ἐστιν ἀρχιερεύς, Primasius, Cajetan, Schulz, Paulus, Stengel) but neuter; it denotes, however, neither the holy things (Luther, Hunnius, Balduin), nor that which is required for the priestly service (Seb. Schmidt, Braun, Rambach, Ewald), nor “such holy things as stand in essential relation to the σκηνὴ ἀληθινή” (Kurtz), but the sanctuary (according to Erasmus, Jac. Cappellus, Böhme, Stuart, Bloomfield, Bisping, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 513; Alford, Maier, and others, specially: the Most Holy Place), in which (or: in regard to which) the priestly service is performed. Comp. Hebrews 9:8; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:24-25, Hebrews 10:19, Hebrews 13:11.

Synonymous with τῶν ἁγίων is the τῆς σκηνῆς, added by way of elucidation; and from the adjective of the latter, τῆς ἀληθινῆς, we have also to supply in thought the corresponding adjective τῶν ἀληθινῶν (comp. Hebrews 9:24) to the foregoing τῶν ἁίγων. For even the earthly high priest was a τῶν ἁγίων λειτουργός; only a τῶν ἁγίων τῶν ἀγηθινῶν λειτουργός he was not.

λειτουργός] Comp. λειτουργεῖν, Hebrews 10:11, and λειτουργία, Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:21; Philippians 2:17; Luke 1:23. With the classic writers, λειτουργός denotes the bearer of any public office, or office of the State. In the general sense of a “servant” it stands Hebrews 1:7; Romans 13:6; Philippians 2:25. But already with the LXX. (Nehemiah 10:39; cf. Sirach 7:30, al.) it is spoken specially of him who discharges priestly service. In accordance therewith it has here, too (comp. Hebrews 8:3), as well as Romans 15:16, the signification: sacrificing priest.

τῆς ἀληθινῆς] The σκηνή is called true, not in opposition to the false, but as the archetype(85) existing in heaven in contrast with the earthly image of the same (Hebrews 8:5), which latter, as is always the case with the copy in relation to the original, could be only something imperfect.

ἣν ἔπηξεν] Comp. Exodus 33:7.

κύριος] is here God, as elsewhere in our epistle only in the O. T. citations.

κύριος, οὐκ ἄνθρωπος] Comp. σκηνῆς οὐ χειροποιήτου, Hebrews 9:11; οὐ χειροποίητα ἅγια, Hebrews 9:24.


Verse 3

Hebrews 8:3. Subsidiary remark in justification of the expression λειτουργός, Hebrews 8:2. The λειτουργεῖν, or the presenting of sacrifices, is just something essential in the fulfilment of the office of every high priest; a λειτουργός, or sacrificing priest, must thus Christ also be.

By the statement, Hebrews 8:3, the argument itself is not interrupted. For enclosing the verse within a parenthesis, with Cameron, Stengel, and others, there exists therefore no reason.

γάρ] the explanatory namely.

On πᾶς γὰρκαθίσταται, comp. Hebrews 8:1 : πᾶς γὰρ ἀρχιερεὺςκαθίσταται τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεόν, ἵνα προσφέρῃ δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίας.

ὅθεν ἀναγκαῖον] sc. ἦν (Syriac, Beza, Piscator, Owen, Bengel, Bleek, de Wette, Hofmann, Komm. p. 306; Woerner), not ἐστίν (Vulgate, Luther, Calvin, Schlichting, Schulz, Böhme, Stuart, Kuinoel, Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, 2 Aufl. p. 407; Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 505; Alford, Maier, Moll, Ewald, M‘Caul, al.). For the author knows only one single sacrificial act of Christ, an act performed once for all (not one continually repeated), as is evident partly from the parallel passages, Hebrews 7:27, Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:25; Hebrews 9:28, Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 10:14, partly from the preterite προσενέγκῃ in our passage.

ἔχειν τι καὶ τοῦτον, προσενέγκῃ] that also this (High Priest) should have somewhat that He might offer up. By the τί the author understands Christ’s own body, which He gave up to death as a propitiatory sacrifice for the sinful world. The indefinite mode of expression by τί, however, was chosen just because the reference to the sacrifice in this place was only an incidental one, and that which was intended could the less be misunderstood by the readers, in that immediately before, Hebrews 7:27, it had been declared by means of ἑαυτὸν ἀνενέγκας in what the sacrifice of Christ consisted.


Verse 4

Hebrews 8:4. A sacrificial priest Christ can only be, either in the earthly or the heavenly sanctuary; for a third, besides these two, there is not. The author now proves, Hebrews 8:4, that He cannot be a priest in the earthly sanctuary, whence it then follows of itself that He must be so in the heavenly one.

εἰ ἦν] not: if He had been (Böhme, Kuinoel), but: if He were. το εἰ μὲν οὖν ἦν ἐπὶ γῆς we have, moreover, neither, with Grotius, Wolf, and others, to supply μόνον, nor, with Zeger, Bengel, Carpzov, Heinrichs, Böhme, and others, ἀρχιερεύς or ἱερεύς. It signifies nothing more than: if He were now on earth, had His dwelling-place upon earth.

οὐδʼ ἂν ἦν ἱερεύς] He would not even be a priest. Incorrectly Bleek, Bisping, and Ewald: He would not even be a priestnot to say a high priest. For the augmenting οὐδέ can refer only to the whole proposition, not specially to ἱερεύς, since otherwise οὐδʼ ἱερεὺς ἂν ἦν must have been written. ἱερεύς is therefore to be taken as a more general expression for the more definite ἀρχιερεύς. Yet more erroneously Primasius, Seb. Schmidt, Wolf, Rambach, Carpzov, and others: “He would not be that unique, real, or true priest, that everlasting priest after the manner of Melchisedec”—which, without an addition, the words cannot by any means signify.

The reason why Christ, if He were dwelling upon earth, could not at all be a priest, is contained in the ὄντωντὰ δῶρα. For on earth there are, of a truth, the legally appointed priests already present, and with these Jesus, since He belonged not to the tribe of Levi, but to the tribe of Judah (Hebrews 7:14), has nothing in common.

ὄντων τῶν προσφερόντων κατὰ νόμον τὰ δῶρα] since assuredly there are present ( ὄντων has the emphasis), sc. on earth, those who in accordance with law (i.e. according to the norm of the Mosaic law) offer the gifts, namely the Levites, among whom Christ could not be reckoned, ὄντων and προσφερόντων designate that which is still existing at the time of our author. To take the words as participles of the past (Peshito, Vulgate, Grotius,(86) Braun, and others), is already forbidden by the present λατρεύουσιν, Hebrews 8:5.


Verse 4-5

Hebrews 8:4-5. Return ( οὖν) from the subsidiary remark, Hebrews 8:3, to the main thought in Hebrews 8:2 ( τῶν ἁγίων καὶ τῆς σκηνῆς τῆς ἀληθινῆς, ἣν κ. τ. λ.), and proof for the same.


Verse 5

Hebrews 8:5. The author at once attaches to the proof given, Hebrews 8:4,—that Christ must be High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary,—the testimony of Scripture that the earthly sanctuary, in which the Levitical priests officiate, is a mere copy of the heavenly, thus only an imperfect sanctuary. Schlichting: Vel rationem quandam div. autor his verbis exprimit, cur Christus, si in terris esset, sacerdos esse non posset, nempe quia sacerdotes illi, qui in terris degentes offerunt, umbrae tantum serviunt coelestium; vel tantum a contrario illustrat id, quod de pontifice nostro dixerat, nempe eum esse veri tabernaculi ministrum, legales vero pontifices umbrae tantum et exemplari illius coelestis tabernaculi servire. Not to enclose within a parenthesis (Griesbach, Schulz, Scholz, al.), since the same easily joins on syntactically to Hebrews 8:4, and διαφορωτέρας, Hebrews 8:6, points back to its subject-matter.

οἵτινες] nimirum qui.

ὑποδείγματι καὶ σκιᾷ] a copy and shadow. ὑποδείγματι corresponds to the δειχθέντα σοι in the ensuing citation, and denotes here (otherwise Hebrews 4:11) that which is shown only by way of hints, or only in its general outlines (comp. τὰ ὑποδείγματα, Hebrews 9:23), has thus the notion of a merely imperfect sketch or copy. Yet more emphatically is the notion of imperfection brought out by means of καὶ σκιᾷ. For σκιά stands not merely opposed to the σῶμα, as the unsubstantial to the substantial (Colossians 2:17; Josephus, de Bello Jud. ii. 2. 5 : σκιὰν αἰτησόμενος βασιλείας, ἧς ἥρπασεν ἑαυτῷ τὸ σῶμα, Philo, de confus. linguarum, p. 348; with Mangey, I. p. 434), but also to the εἰκών, as the shadowy image melting into obscurity, and only to be recognised in its exterior outlines to the likeness distinctly struck off, containing light and colour, and enabling one to recognise the original. Comp. Hebrews 10:1 : σκιὰνοὐκ αὐτὴν τὴν εἰκόνα τῶν πραγμάτων; Achilles Tatius, i. p. 47 (in Wetstein ad Hebrews 10:1): οὕτω τέθνηκεν καὶ τῆς εἰκόνος σκιά; Cicero, de Officiis, iii. 17: Sed nos veri juris germanaeque justitiae solidam et expressam effigiem nullam tenemus; umbra et imaginibus utimur.

λατρεύουσιν] is taken unnaturally by Calvin, Pareus, Bengel, Peirce, Schulz, and others in the absolute sense: “who serve God in a copy and shadow.” The datives ὑποδείγματι καὶ σκιᾷ τῶν ἐπουρανίων form the object of the verb (comp. Hebrews 13:10): “who minister (as priests) to that which is but a copy and shadow of the heavenly.”

λατρεύειν here, by virtue of the connection, entirely equivalent to λειτουργεῖν; in general, however, of wider signification, and differing from λειτουργεῖν as the Hebrew עָבַד from שֵׁרֵת.

τῶν ἐπουρανίων] not “of the heavenly things” (Luther), “of the heavenly relations and facts of redemption” (Ebrard), “of the heavenly relations and divine thoughts” (Moll), “of the ideal possessions in general, belonging to the kingdom of God” (Tholuck); but: of the heavenly sanctuary. Comp. the citation immediately following, as also Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 9:23-24.

καθὼς κεχρημάτισται ΄ωϋσῆς] according to the response, or divine revelation, which Moses received. The passive χρηματίζεσθαι in this sense only in the N. T. (Hebrews 11:7; Matthew 2:22; Acts 10:22, al.) and in Josephus (Antiq. iii. 8. 8, xi. 8. 4).

ἐπιτελεῖν] denotes here not the completion of that which is already begun. What is meant is the execution of that which had previously only been resolved on.

The citation is from Exodus 25:40. The γάρ, even as φησίν, belongs to the author of our epistle, on which account ὅρα γάρ φησιν is to be written without placing a comma after γάρ.

φησίν] sc. χρηματισμός, the divine response, or, since in Exodus (Exodus 40:1) God is expressly named as the speaker: θεός (Heinrichs, Bleek, Stengel, Delitzsch, Alford, Maier, Kurtz, al.), not γραφή (Böhme).

πάντα] is wanting with the LXX.

κατὰ τὸν τύπον] in accordance with the pattern ( תַּבְנִית), i.e. corresponding to the archetype presented to the contemplation of Moses in the manner of a revelation, or by means of a vision. Comp. Acts 7:44. Over-refined, indeed, although linguistically not less admissible than the other, is the interpretation of Faber Stapulensis, Rivetus, Schlichting, Grotius, Limborch, Storr, Bleek, and Maier, that in connection with τύπος we have to think of a mere copy of the archetype, so that the Levitical priests served in priestly guise the copy of a copy.

τὸν δειχθέντα] LXX.: τὸν δεδειγμένον.

ἐν τῷ ὄρει] upon the mount, namely Sinai.


Verse 6

repeats, in the form of an antithesis to Hebrews 8:4-5, the main proposition of the new section, that Christ accomplishes His priestly service in the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 8:2); in the progress of the discourse, however, advances an additional argument in favour of this main proposition: in that the naturalness of the fact asserted is evidenced by the superiority of that covenant which has been brought in by Christ

Hebrews 8:6 repeats, in the form of an antithesis to Hebrews 8:4-5, the main proposition of the new section, that Christ accomplishes His priestly service in the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 8:2); in the progress of the discourse, however, advances an additional argument in favour of this main proposition: in that the naturalness of the fact asserted is evidenced by the superiority of that covenant which has been brought in by Christ. As, therefore, the author (Hebrews 7:20-22) had deduced from the higher priestly rank of Christ the more excellent nature of the covenant brought in by Him; so here, conversely, from the better nature of the covenant established by Him, is inferred the higher order of His priestly ministry, νυνὶ δέ forms the opposition to εἰ μὲν οὖν, Hebrews 8:4, while διαφορωτέρας points back antithetically to the contents of Hebrews 8:5. Theophylact: ἐκείνου τοῦ νοήματος ἤρτηται ταῦτα, τοῦ εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἦν ἐπὶ γῆς, οὐκ ἂν ἦν ἱερεύς· νυνὶ δὲ μὴ ὤν, φησίν, ἐπὶ γῆς, ἀλλὰ τὸν οὐρανὸν ἔχων ἱερατεῖον, διαφορωτέρας ἐπέτυχε λειτουργίας· τουτέστιν, οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῦ λειτουργία τοιαύτη, οἵα τῶν ἐπὶ γῆς ἀρχιερέων ἀλλʼ οὐράνιος, ἅτε τόπον ἔχουσα τῆς οἰκείας τελετῆς τὸν οὐρανόν.

νυνὶ δέ] not in the temporal, but in the logical sense: but now.

διαφορωτέρας λειτουργίας] inasmuch, namely, as the σκηνή, in which He fulfils His office, is the ἀληθινή, ἣν ἔπηξεν κύριος, οὐκ ἄνθρωπος (Hebrews 8:2).

On the comparative διαφορωτέρας, see at Hebrews 2:4.

καὶ after ὅσῳ renders distinctly apparent the inner correspondence of the two principal members in the proposition, Hebrews 8:6.

μεσίτης] Mediator (Hebrews 9:15, Hebrews 12:24; Galatians 3:19-20; 1 Timothy 2:5; LXX. Job 9:33), inasmuch as He has proclaimed the New and better Covenant, and has sealed the same by His death on the cross.

ἥτις] which, us such. Introduction of the proof that the covenant of which Christ is made the Mediator is a better one (Hebrews 7:22), i.e. affords full satisfaction to the heart seeking salvation and deliverance, which the Mosaic covenant was incapable of pacifying. The proof for this superiority the author derives from the fact that the New Covenant has been enacted upon the ground of ( ἐπί [cf. Hebrews 7:11; Acts 14:3]) better promises, i.e. promises more excellent with regard to their subject-matter. The expression νενομοθέτηται is chosen not in order to denote the similarity of nature in the two covenant-foundings, but, after the analogy of the Pauline mode of expression, Romans 3:27 (Romans 9:31), in order to oppose to the Mosaic law, hitherto in operation, the New Covenant as in some sense a new law (comp. νόμους μου, Hebrews 8:10) now come into force.

μρείττοσιν ἐπαγγελίαις] What is meant is without doubt the several factors in the contents of the passage from Jeremiah cited immediately after—to wit, the promise of the forgiveness of sins (comp. Hebrews 8:12), which the Old Covenant was not able to bring about (Romans 8:3; Galatians 3:10 ff.), in connection with the character of innerness of the New Covenant in general (Hebrews 8:10-11), as opposed to the externalism of the Old.

The explaining of the κρείττονες ἐπαγγελίαι, with Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Primasius, Clarius, Bengel, Carpzov, Whitby, M‘Lean, Bisping, and others, of everlasting blessedness and the other eternal blessings of Christianity, in opposition to the purely terrestrial and temporal promises of Mosaism (the peaceful possession of the land of Canaan, a long life upon earth, etc.), is to be rejected; because—apart from the contradiction in which this interpretation stands with the elucidation given by the author himself by virtue of the ensuing citation from Scripture—it is, as Bleek rightly observes, improbable that the author should have referred the promises deposited in the Mosaic law to merely earthly things, in place of referring them to the object of which he understands the promise already imparted to Abraham—the bringing in of the great salvation for the people of God in the person of Christ.

The view, too, that the ἐπαγγελίαι of the New Covenant are called κερίττονες because they are better guaranteed (Stengel and others), has the context against it.


Verse 7

Hebrews 8:7. Justification of the κρείττονος and κρείττοσιν, Hebrews 8:6.

εἰ ἦν] if it were (Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 8:4).

πρώτη ἐκείνη] sc. διαθήκη. On the superlative, quite in keeping with the linguistic usage of the Greek, see Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 229, Obs. 1.

ἄμεμπτος] faultless (Philippians 2:15; Philippians 3:6), satisfactory, sufficient. Theodoret: τὸ ἄμεμπτος ἀντὶ τοῦ τελεία τέθεικε.

οὐκ ἂν δευτέρας ἐζητεῖτο τόπος] place would not have been sought (sc. by God, in the O. T., or in the passage of Scripture immediately adduced) for a second (covenant); i.e. it would not have been expressed by God Himself, that a second covenant is to come in beside the first, and replace it. In this general sense ἐζητεῖτο τόπος is to be taken, and the form of expression in the apodosis to be explained from a mingling of a twofold mode of contemplation ( οὐκ ἂν δευτέρα ἐζητεῖτο καὶ δευτέρας αὐκ ἦν ἂν τόπος: a second would not be sought by God, nor would there be any place for a second). No emphasis rests upon τόπος; on which account it is over-refining, when Bleek finds in ἐζητεῖτο τόπος the reference that to the New Covenant, according to Hebrews 8:10, the place was assigned in the hearts of men, while the Old was written upon tables of stone.


Verses 7-13

Hebrews 8:7-13. Evidence from Scripture that the New Covenant rests upon better promises than the Old, and consequently is a better covenant than that. God Himself has, by the fact of His having promised a new covenant, pronounced the former one to be growing obsolete.


Verse 8

Hebrews 8:8. Making good of the assertion, Hebrews 8:7, that the Old Covenant was not free from fault, and God on that account made known His purpose of establishing a New one. Since μεμθόμενος manifestly corresponds to the ἄμεμπτος, Hebrews 8:7, and there the non-freedom from blame regards the covenant itself, not the possessors thereof, it is more natural to combine αὐτοῖς with λέγει (Faber Stapulensis, Piscator, Schlichting, Grotius, Limborch, Peirce, Michaelis, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Storr, Kuinoel, Klee, Bleek, Stein, Bloomfield, Reiche, Comment, crit. p. 65 sq.; Conybeare, Moll, Kurtz, Ewald, M‘Caul, and others) than—what is certainly possible in a grammatical respect (see the Lexicons)—to join it to μεμφόμενος (Peshito, Vulgate, Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Er. Schmid, Bengel, Wolf, Carpzov, Heinrichs, Böhme, Stengel, Bisping, Delitzsch, Alford, Maier, Hofmann, al.).

λέγει] sc. θεός. Comp. the thrice-occurring λέγει κύριος in the following citation (Hebrews 8:8-10).

αὐτοῖς λείγει] He saith unto them, namely, the possessors of the πρώτη διαθήκη.

The citation beginning with ἰδού, and extending to the close of Hebrews 8:12, is from Jeremiah 31. (LXX. 38):31–34, after the LXX., with slight deviations.

λέγει κύριος] so in the LXX. of the Cod. Alex. The Cod. Vatican, and others have φησὶ κύριος.

In place of καὶ συντελέσω ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον ἰσραὴλ καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον ἰούδα, it reads in the LXX.: καὶ διαθήσομαι τῷ οἴκῳ ἰσραὴλ καὶ τῷ οἴκῳ ἰούδα. Perhaps a change designedly made in order to characterize the New Covenant as a completed or perfect one.


Verse 9

Hebrews 8:9. οὐ κατὰ τὴν διαθήκην, ἣν ἐπίησα τοῖς πατράσιν αὐτῶν] negative unfolding of the foregoing positive expression καινήν (namely, a covenant): not after the manner of the covenant ( לֹא כַבְּרִית) which I made for their fathers, i.e. one qualitatively different therefore, and that as being a better one.

ἣν ἐποίησα] LXX.: ἣν διεθέμην.

τοῖς πατράσιν αὐτῶν] in the Hebrew אֶת־אֲבו ̇תָם, with their fathers. The mere dative with ἐποίησα excludes the notion of reciprocity in the covenant-founding which has taken place, and presents it purely as the work of the disposition made by God.

ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ἐπιλαβομένου μου κ. τ. λ.] in the day (at the time) when I look hold of their hand, to lead them forth out of the land of Egypt ( בְּיו ̇ם הֶחֱזִיקִי בְיָדָם לְחו̇צִיאָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם). An unwieldy but not exactly incorrect construction (see Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 531), in place of which Justin Martyr, Dial. cum Tryph. Jude 1:11, in citing the same words of Scripture, has chosen the less cumbrous ἐν ἐπελαβόμην. The note of time characterizes the covenant as the Mosaic one.

ὅτι] for; not: “because,” as protasis to κἀγὼ κ. τ. λ. as the apodosis (Calvin, Böhme, Hofmann, al.).

κἀγώ] emphatic personal opposition to αὐτοί: and consequently I also concerned not myself about them.

λέγει κύριος] LXX. (Cod. Alex. too): φησὶ κύριος.


Verse 10

Hebrews 8:10. Justification of the διαθήκην καινήν, οὐ κατὰ τὴν διαθήκην κ. τ. λ., Hebrews 8:8-9, by a definite indication of the nature of the covenant to be instituted.

ὅτι αὕτη διαθήκη κ. τ. λ.] for this (or the following) is the covenant which I will institute for the house of Israel, αὕτη introduces with emphasis the material characterization following with διδοὺς κ. τ. λ.

οἶκος ἰσραήλ] here embraces the whole nation, while in Hebrews 8:8 it denoted one of the two kingdoms into which it had been divided.

μετὰ τὰς ἡμέρας ἐκείνας] after those days, i.e. after the days which must first have elapsed, before the ἡμέραι mentioned, Hebrews 8:8,—in which the New Covenant is to come into existence,—begin to dawn. Wrongly Oecumenius: ποίας ἡμέρας; τὰς τῆς ἐξόδου, ἐν αἷς ἔλαβον τὸν νόμον.

λέγει κύριος] LXX.: φησὶ κύριος.

διδούς] So LXX. Cod. Alex., while Cod. Vatic. and other MSS. of the LXX. have διδοὺς δώσω. In the Hebrew נָתַחִּי. διδούς does not stand for δώσω (Vatablus, Schlichting, Bengel, and others). Just as little have we to supplement it with δώσω (Heinrichs, Stengel, al.), or with εἰμί or ἔσομαι (Kuinoel, Bloomfield), or διαθήσομαι αὐτήν (Delitzsch). Nor have we to join it to the following ἐπυγράψω (so Böhme, but undecidedly, and Paulus), in such wise that we must render καί before ἐπιγράψω by “also.” It attaches itself grammatically to the preceding διαθήσομαι. In order to obviate any unevenness of construction, we may then place a colon after διάνοιαν αὐτῶν. The separation, however, of the καὶ ἐπιγράψω from that which precedes is not actually necessary, since instances of a transition from the participle to the tempus finitum are elsewhere nothing strange. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 533.

διάνοια] mind, i.e. soul, innermost part ( קֶרֶב). Accentuation of the character of innerness in the New Covenant, as opposed to the externalism of the Old. Comp. 2 Corinthians 3:3.

καρδίας] either accusative (Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 5:22, al.) or genitive (comp. Exodus 34:28; Numbers 17:2-3, al.). In favour of the latter pleads the singular in the Hebrew original; in favour of the former, the reading of the Cod. Alex.: ἐπὶ τὰς καρδίας. We cannot take into account, in favour of the accusative, the greater conformity to the character of the Greek language, according to which, on account of the plurality of persons ( αὐτῶν), one must also speak of καρδίαι, in the plural. For without regard to this distinction the singular διάνοιαν has already been just placed, and in like manner the singular τῆς χειρός is placed, Hebrews 8:9.

In place of ἐπὶ καρδίας αὐτῶν ἐπιγράψω αὐτούς, the Cod. Alex, of the LXX. has: ἐπιγράψω αὐτοὺς ἐπὶ τὰς καρδίας αὐτῶν, and the Cod. Vatic.: ἐπὶ καρδίας αὐτῶν γράψω αὐτούς.

καὶ ἔσομαι αὐτοῖς εἰς θεὸν κ. τ. λ.] Comp. already Exodus 6:7; Leviticus 26:12, al.; also 2 Corinthians 6:16.

The Hebraizing εἰναι εἰς ( הָיָה לְ) as Hebrews 1:5.


Verse 11

Hebrews 8:11. The consequence resulting from the διδόναι νόμους εἰς τὴν διάνοιαν αὐτῶν κ. τ. λ., Hebrews 8:10. Comp. Joel 3:1-2; 1 John 2:27.

καὶ οὐ μὴ διδάξωσιν] and then they shall not instruct (Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 472; Buttmann, Gramm. des neutest. Sprachgebr. p. 183), as regards the sense equivalent to: and then it will not be needful that they instruct each other; the reason for which is stated immediately after, in the on ὅτι πάντες εἰδήσουσίν με κ. τ. λ. On the intensifying οὐ μή, see Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 471 f.

τὸν πολίτην αὐτοῦ] his fellow-citizen. So in the LXX., Cod. Vatic., and most MSS., while Cod. Alex. has in the first member τὸν ἀδελφόν, in the second τὸν πλησίον.

γνῶθι] in the Hebrew the plural: דְּעוּ.

μικροῦ] With the LXX. in most Codd.: μικροῦ αὐτῶν.

ἀπὸ μικροῦ ἕως μεγάλου αὐτῶν] Young and old ( כְמִקְּטַנָם וְעַד־גְּדו ̇לָם). Comp. Acts 8:10; LXX. Jeremiah 6:13; Jonah 3:5; Genesis 19:11, al.


Verse 12

Hebrews 8:12. The inner ground of this communion with God and this knowledge of Him.

ὅτι] not: “that” (Michaelis, ad Peirc.), but: for.

ἵλεως ἔσομαι ταῖς ἀδικίαις αὐτῶν] I will be gracious ( אֶסֶלֵח) to their unrighteousnesses, i.e. will forgive and forget the same.

ἀδικίαι] in the plural, in the N. T. only here, but of frequent occurrence with the LXX. Designation of the alienation from God in its single outbreaks and forms of manifestation.

καὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν καὶ τῶν ἀνομιῶν αὐτῶν] LXX. merely: καὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν, in accordance with the Hebrew: וּלְחַטָּאתָם לֹא אֶזְכָּר־עו ̇ד.


Verse 13

Hebrews 8:13. The author derives the result from the Scripture testimony, Hebrews 8:8-12.

ἐν τῷ λέγειν καινήν] in that He (sc. God) saith: a new (covenant). Comp. ἐν τῷ λέγεσθαι, Hebrews 3:15, and ἐν τῷ ὑποτάξαι, Hebrews 2:8.

πεπαλαίωκεν τὴν πρώτην] He hath made the first old (contrary to linguistic usage, Ebrard: “relatively older”), i.e. has declared it to be out of date, outworn, and no longer serviceable.

παλαιοῦν] a word belonging to a later period of the Greek language, elsewhere ordinarily used in the intransitive sense: “to grow old,” and generally in the middle voice (as a little below, and Hebrews 1:11); is found likewise in the transitive sense, “to make old,” in Lamentations 3:4; Job 9:5. To abolish or render obsolete the word itself does not signify; but rendering obsolete is the natural consequence of pronouncing out of date or outworn. The author accordingly does not directly express notion of abrogation by πεπαλαίωκεν in this place,—a sense, moreover, which, on account of the following παλαιούμενον, would here be inappropriate,—but leaves the reader to divine it.

τὸ δὲ παλαιούμενον καὶ γηράσκον ἐγγὺς ἀφανισμοῦ] but that which is growing ancient and is becoming infirm with years, is near to disappearing or perishing.

γηράσκειν] ordinarily said of human beings (to become enfeebled with age, senescere); then, however, also of things, comp. e.g. Xenoph. Ages. Hebrews 11:14 : μὲν τοῦ σώματος ἰσχὺς γηράσκει, δὲ τῆς ψυχῆς ῥώμηἀγήρατός ἐστιν.

The author says sparingly: near to disappearing (comp. κατάρας ἐγγύς, Hebrews 6:8), in that he takes his standpoint at the time of the divine promises just quoted. But if God in the time of Jeremiah already designated the Old Covenant as that which is nigh unto ruin, it was therein necessarily declared by implication, that now, after so long a time is passed and the New Covenant has already been in reality brought in, the Old Covenant, as to its essence (if not yet as to its external manifestation), must have been already entirely abrogated, must have entirely lost its force and validity.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Hebrews 8:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/hebrews-8.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 1st, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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