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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Hebrews 9

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 9

Hebrews 9:1. πρώτη] Elz.: πρώτη σκηνή. But the addition σκηνή is condemned as a gloss by the fact of its being wanting in all the uncial MSS., in many cursives, in Syr. utr. Basm. Aeth. Arm. It. Vulg., with Gregory Thaumaturgus, Cyril, Chrys. Damasc. Theoph. Photius, al. On the ground, too, of internal evidence it is to be rejected, since, on the one hand, the coherence with Hebrews 8:13, and through that with Hebrews 8:7 ff., leads to διαθήκη as the main idea to be supplemented; and, on the other hand, the expression πρώτη σκηνή, Hebrews 9:1, would be made to denote something quite different from that which the same expression denotes in Hebrews 9:2. For, while in Hebrews 9:2 the outer division of the tabernacle is indicated thereby, in Hebrews 9:1 only the first or Old Testament, earthly tabernacle, in opposition to the New Testament, heavenly one, thus something entirely dissimilar, could be intended by this expression.

Hebrews 9:2. After ἄρτων, B, Basmur. add καὶ τὸ χρυσοῦν θυμιατήριον, and in return omit the words χρυσοῦν θυμιατήριον καί, Hebrews 9:4. Violent intentional transposition, with a view to the removal of the archaeological difficulty.

Instead of ἅγια, Lachm. writes ἅγια. ἁγίων, after A ( αγια· αγιων) D* E, It. But ἅγια ἁγίων is a mere slip on the part of the copyist, occasioned by Hebrews 9:3, and is to be rejected as devoid of sense.

Hebrews 9:5. χερουβίμ] A: χερουβείμ, B D*** (and so Lachm. Tisch. 7 and 8): χερουβείν, D* א: χερουβίν. In the case of the LXX., too, the MSS. are wont equally to vary as regards the final syllable of the word.

Instead of the Recepta δόξης, Griesb. and Scholz have erroneously placed in the text κῆς δόξης. The article has against it all the uncial MSS. and other witnesses.

Hebrews 9:9. In place of the Recepta καθʼ ὅν (D*** E K L, min. It. Copt. Sah. Basm. Syr. utr. Chrys. Theodoret, Theoph.), Lachm. Scholz, Bleek, Tisch. 1, 7, and 8, Delitzsch, Alford have, rightly preferred the reading καθʼ ἢν, in accordance with A B D* א, 17, 23* 27, al., Vulg. Slav. codd. Damasc. Oecum. (comment.). Already approved by Mill, Prolegg. p. 1046, and placed by Griesb. upon the inner margin. The καθʼ ὅν, as affording an easier mode of appending to that which precedes, is a later correction of the more difficult and ill-understood καθʼ ἥν.

Hebrews 9:10. The Recepta reads: καἰ δικαιώμασι σαρκός. But καί is wanting in A D* א* 6, 17, 27, 31, al., with Cyr. (twice) in Syr. Copt. Sahid. Arm. al.; and in place of δικαιώμασι, A B א, ten cursives, Cyril., and many versions have δικαιώματα, while in D* It. Sahid. there is found δικαίωμα. Lachm. Scholz, Bleek, Tisch. 1, 7, and 8, Alford have therefore adopted δικαιώματα σαρκός, which was already approved by Grotius, Mill, Prolegg. p. 1355, and Bengel, and recommended by Griesb. Delitzsch and Reiche likewise give it the preference. This reading is in reality to be regarded as the original one. For it is more easily explicable that δικαιώματα should, on account of the foregoing datives, be changed into δικαιώμασι, and joined on to them by means of καί, than that the καί δικαιώμασι, if it already existed, should, on account of the closing word ἐπικείμενα, be converted into δικαιώματα.

Hebrews 9:11. In place of the Recepta τῶν μελλόντων, Lachm. and Tisch. 1 read, after B D* It. Syr. utr. (yet the Syr. Philonex. has the Recepta in the margin) Arab. petropol. and some codd. of Chrys.: τῶν γενομένων. Defended by Ebrard. But the reading is not in keeping with the carefully chosen diction of our author, and its sense: “High Priest of the good things which have arisen,” does not commend itself. It is manifestly a transcriber’s error, occasioned by the presence of the foregoing παραγενόμενος.

Hebrews 9:12. εὐράμενος] D* (E?), 27, 44, 80, al., and some Fathers: εὑρόμενος.

Hebrews 9:13. Elz.: ταύρων καὶ τράγων. With Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. Alford, to be transposed into τράγων καὶ ταὑρων, in accordance with the decisive authority of A B D E א, Cyr. Theodoret, Bede, Syr. Copt. Basm. It. Vulg. al.

Hebrews 9:14. πνεύματος αἰωνίου] D* א*** many cursives, Copt. Basm. Slav. It. Vulg. al., Chrys. Cyr. Didym. (?) Damasc. al.: πνεύματος ἁγίου. Interpretative gloss.

In place of the Recepta συνείδησιν ὑμῶν, Bengel, Knapp, Lachm. Tisch. 1 and 2, Alford read more suitably, in accordance with A D* K, 44, 47, 67, al., Syr. Copt. Arm. Vulg. ms. al. Athan. Cyr. Chrys. (comment.) Theodoret, Theoph.: συνείδησιν ἡμῶν. Recommended likewise by Griesb., and already placed in the text in the Edd. Complut. Genev. Plant.

To the mere θεῷ ζῶντι in the Recepta, Lachm., with A, 21* 31, 66 (in the margin), Copt. Slav. Chrys. (comment.) Macar. Theoph., has added the words καὶ ἀληθινῷ. These words are, however, to be deleted. They are a gloss from 1 Thessalonians 1:9.

Hebrews 9:17. μήποτε] D* א* and Isidor. Pelus. iv. 113 (… οὕτω γὰρ εὗρον καὶ ἐν παλαιοῖς ἀντιγράφοις): μὴ τότε.

Hebrews 9:18. Instead of οὐδʼ in the Recepta, we have, with Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. 1, 2, and 7, Delitzsch, Alford, to write οὐδέ, in accordance with A C D E L, 4, 44, 52, Chrys. Theodoret, Oecum.

πρώτη] D* E* It.: πρώτη διαθήκη. Exegetical gloss.

Hebrews 9:19. Elz.: κατὰ νόμον. But the better attestation by A C D* L א*** 21, 47, 71, al., Copt. Basm. Chrys. ms. Theodoret, Theoph. requires the reading preferred by Lachm. Bleek, Tiseh. 1, and Alford: κατὰ τὸν νόμον.

In like manner is the article τῶν wanting in the Recepta before τράγων to be added, with Lachm. Tisch. and Alford, in accordance with the weighty authority of A C D E (D E, Aeth.: τῶν τράγων καὶ τῶν μόσχων) א* 80, al. mult. It. Vulg. Theodoret, ms.

So, in place of the Recepta ἐῤῥάντισε here and Hebrews 9:21, we have, with Lachm. Tisch. and Alford, in accordance with all the uncials, to write ἐράντισεν.

Hebrews 9:24. The order of the words followed by Lachm. in the stereotype edition, as well as recently by Tisch. in the ed. 7 and Hebrews 8 : εἰσῆλθεν ἅγια, rests only upon the testimony of A א, 37, 118. In the larger edition of Lachm., therefore, this has rightly given place to the Recepta ἅγια εἰσῆλθεν.

Better attested than the Recepta χριστός is the mere χριστός (A C* D* א, al. [Cod. B in its original form extends only to συνείδησιν, Hebrews 9:14]), preferred by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. 1 and 8, and Alford.

Hebrews 9:26. Elz. Griesb. Matthaei, Scholz, Bleek, de Wette, Bloomfield, Delitzsch: νῦν δέ. Better Lachm. Tisch. and Alford, in accordance with A C L (?) א, 37, 39, 40, Orig. Chrys.: νυνὶ δέ.

ἁμαρτίας] A א, 17, 73. Lachm.: τῆς ἁμαρτίας. Against C D*** E K L, almost all the min. Orig. (once) al. mult.

Hebrews 9:28. οὔτως καί] Elz. has only αὕτως. Against decisive witnesses (all the uncial mss., most min., many translations and Fathers).

After εἰς σωτηρίαν, Lachm. in the stereotype edition had added, with A, 31, 47, al., Syr. Philonex. Slav. codd. Damasc., the words διὰ πίστεως. Rightly, however, has he deleted them in the larger edition. The addition is a complementary gloss, which has against it the testimony of C D E K L א, many min. versions, and Fathers, and betrays its character as a gloss by its changing position (Arm. 27, 31, 57, 61, al., have it before εἰς σωτηρίαν).


Verse 1

Hebrews 9:1. εἰχεν μὲν οὖν καὶ πρώτη] sc. διαθήκη. Against the supplementing of σκηνή (Cameron, Peirce, Whitby, Wetstein, Semler), see the critical remark.

εἶχεν] had. ἔχει is not written by the author, although the cultus of the Old Covenant was still continuing at the time when he wrote, not so much because—as is shown by Hebrews 9:2—it was his intention to describe the primitive arrangement thereof (comp. Hebrews 8:5), which is the opinion of Böhme, Kuinoel, Stengel, and Tholuck, as, what is more naturally suggested by the coherence with Hebrews 8:13, because the Old Covenant had already been declared by God in the time of Jeremiah to be feeble with age and nigh unto disappearing, and consequently now, after the actual appearance of the promised New Covenant, has no longer any valid claim to existence. Chrysostom: ὡσεὶ ἔλεγε, τότε εἶχε, νῦν οὐκ ἔχει· δείκνυσιν ἤδη τούτῳ αὐτὴν ἐκκεχωρηκυῖαν· τότε γὰρ εἶχε, φησίν. ὥστε νῦν, εἰ καὶ ἕστηκεν, οὐκ ἔστιν.

μὲν οὖν] now truly. Admission that that which the author is about to detail is indeed something relatively exalted. The antithesis, by which again this admission is deprived of its value and significance, is then introduced by Hebrews 9:6 (not first with Hebrews 9:11, as is supposed by Piscator, Owen, Carpzov, Cramer, Stuart, Bloomfield, Bisping, Maier, M‘Caul, and others); yet in such wise that the material antithesis itself is first contained in the statement, Hebrews 9:8, which is connected syntactically only as a parenthetic clause.

καΐ] also. Indication that with the Old Covenant the New is compared, and possessions of the former are enumerated, which also (although, it is true, in a more perfect form) are proper to the latter.

δικαιώματα λατρείας] legal ordinances(87) in regard to worship, i.e. regulations made by virtue of divine authority respecting the cultus.

λατρείας] is genitive. To take the expression as accusative (Cameron, Grotius, Hammond, al.), according to which δικαιώματα, λατρείας, and τὸ ἅγιον κοσμικόν would as three members be made co-ordinate with each other, is untenable; because the signification of δικαιώματα in itself would be too extensive to fit in with the further development of Hebrews 9:1, to which the author himself at once passes over, from Hebrews 9:2 onwards. For as the statement τό τε ἅγιον κοσμικόν receives its more full explication by means of Hebrews 9:2-5, so does the discourse in Hebrews 9:6-7 return to the unfolding of the twofold δικαιώματα λατρείας, blended as this is in a logical respect into a unity of idea.

τό τε ἅγιον κοσμικόν] and the mundane sanctuary. Since, in accordance with the καί, possessions of the Old Covenant are to be mentioned, such as this has in common with the New,—while to the New Covenant there pertains no mundane, earthly sanctuary,

τό τε ἅγιον κοσμικόν must be regarded as a concise mode of designation for καὶ ἅγιόν τι, τὸ κοσμικόν, “and a sanctuary, namely the mundane.” That such is the meaning of the author, is indicated by the fact that the article is placed before this second member, although it ought properly to have been inserted before κοσμικόν also. Yet the omission of the article in the case of adjectives placed after their substantives is not a thing unknown among other writers of the later period. See Bernhardy, Synt. p. 323; Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 126. Forced is the explanation of Delitzsch, with the adherence of Kurtz and Woerner, that κοσμικόν as an adjectival predicate is to be taken in association with εἶχεν: “the first covenant had likewise δικαιώματα λατρείας, and its sanctuary as mundane, i.e. a sanctuary of mundane nature.” Had the author intended the readers to suppose such a conjoining, he would also—equally as Hebrews 7:24, Hebrews 5:14—have indicated the same to them by the position of the words. He must, in order to be understood, at least have written: εἶχεν μὲν οὖν καὶ πρώτη δικαιώματα λατρείας κοσμικόν τε τὸ ἅγιον. Under an entire misapprehension, further, does Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 408 f., 2 Anfl.) suppose that τό τε ἅγιον κοσμικόν is not to be taken as a second object attaching itself to the δικαιώματα λατρείας, but as a second subject joining itself on to πρώτη,—a construction which, upon the presupposition of the Recepta πρώτη σκηνή being the correct reading, already Olearius adopted (comp. Wolf ad loc.), and upon the same supposition also more recently M‘Caul maintained, in connection with which, however, τό τε ἅγιον κοσμικόν would limp behind in an intolerable manner, and would afford evidence of a negligence of style, such as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews would least of all have been guilty of.

The view of Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Zeger, Carpzov, and others, that ἅγιον is to be taken not in the local sense (sanctuary), but in the ethical sense (holiness, ἁγιότης, sanctitas, mundities), is altogether erroneous; since the expression chosen would be a remarkable one, the immediate sequel does not point thereto, and the more exalted seat of the cultus of the New Covenant forms the theme of the fresh train of thought opened up with the beginning of chap. 8

Quite as much to be disapproved is the opinion of Wolf, who will have ἅγιον to mean “vasa sacra totumque apparatum Leviticum.”

κοσμικός] means: belonging to the world, worldly, mundanus. Comp. Titus 2:12. The expression is equivalent to ἐπίγειος, and to it ἐπουράνοις stands opposed, as in general κόσμος in the N. T. very frequently has its tacit contrast in οὐρανός. τὸ ἅγιον κοσμικόν is consequently nothing else than σκηνή, ἣν ἔπηξεν ἄνθρωπος (comp. Hebrews 8:2), or σκηνὴ χειροποίητος, τουτέστιν ταύτης τῆς κτίσεως (comp. Hebrews 9:11), or τὰ χειροποίητα ἅγια (Hebrews 9:24), and a twofold idea is expressed in the adjective, first, that the sanctuary of the Old Covenant is one existing in the terrestrial world, then, that it is accordingly something only temporary and imperfect in its nature. Remote from the connection are the suppositions of Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, and others: that the Jewish sanctuary was called κοσμικόν, because the access to the same stood open to the κόσμος, i.e. the Gentiles; a statement, moreover, which possesses historic truth only with reference to a part thereof, the court of the Gentiles (comp. Josephus, de Bello Jud. v. 5. 2; Acts 21:28), while here the sanctuary as a whole must be indicated;—of Theodorus Mopsuesten., Theodoret,(88) Grotius, Hammond, Wetstein, Böhme, Paulus, and others: because the Jewish sanctuary symbolically represented the universe; the holy place, earth; the most holy, heaven; and the curtain before the latter, the firmament;—of Kypke, because the sense is: toto terrarum orbe celebratum (comp. Josephus, de Bello Jud. iv. 5. 2, where the Jerusalem high priests, Ananus and Jesus, are represented as τῆς κοσμικῆς θρησκείας κατάρχοντες, προσκυνούμενοί τε τοῖς ἐκ τῆς οἰκουμένη ς), which, however, could only be said with reference to the temple, not with reference to the tabernacle itself, of which the author is here specially thinking.

Entirely baseless, finally, is the opinion of Homberg, that κοσ΄ικόν is to be apprehended in the sense of “adorned, well-ordered.” For only κόσ΄ιος, κοσ΄ητικός, and κοσ΄ητός are used for the expression of this notion; never is κοσ΄ικίς put for it. See the Lexicons.


Verses 1-5

Hebrews 9:1-5. Description of the arrangement of the O. T. sanctuary as regards its essential component parts.


Verses 1-14

Hebrews 9:1-14. The author has in chap. 8 insisted upon the fact, as a second main particular of the superiority of Christ as a high priest over the Levitical high priests, that the sanctuary in which He ministers is a more excellent one, namely, the heavenly sanctuary. He has made good this proposition by the consideration that no place would be found for Christ, as regards priestly service, in the earthly sanctuary; and then has proceeded to show the naturalness of the fact that He accomplishes His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, by the proof that He is the Mediator of a better covenant. This train of thought is still pursued in the beginning of chap. 9, in that attention is now finally called to the fact that in the arrangement of the Mosaic sanctuary itself, and the order of the priestly service corresponding thereto, there lies an indication on the part of God that Mosaism is not itself the perfect religion, but only an institution preparatory thereto (Hebrews 9:1-8). With this, however, is then connected, by means of one of those sudden transitions of which the author is so fond, the reference to the further truth, that, indeed, the Levitical sacrifices also, since they belong to the domain of fleshly ordinance, are not able really to atone; whereas the sacrifice presented by Christ, by means of His own blood, possesses, by virtue of an eternal Spirit, everlasting power of atonement (Hebrews 9:9-14), and thus a third main point in the high-priestly superiority of Christ is introduced, the development of which occupies the author as far as Hebrews 10:18.


Verses 2-5

Hebrews 9:2-5. Unfolding of the collective idea τὸ ἅγιον κοσμικόν, as regards its several essential component parts. That the author has before his mind the Jewish sanctuary in its original form, i.e. the Mosaic tabernacle, is evident alike from the expression σκηνή, as from the use of the aorist κατεσκευάσθη. That, however, he likewise thinks of this original disposition as still preserved in the temple of his day, is manifest partly from the present λέγεται immediately following, partly from the proposition: τούτων δὲ οὕτως κατεσκευασμένωνεἰσίασιν, Hebrews 9:6.

σκηνὴ γὰρ κατεσκευάσθη πρώτη] for a tent was prepared (set up), namely, the first or anterior one (the fore-tent). σκηνή stands first as the general notion, and only acquires its nearer definition by the πρώτη afterwards brought in, without, however, our having, with Beza, Bloomfield, and others, to place a comma after κατεσκευάσθη. That σκηνὴ πρώτη is not to be combined immediately in one, as expressing the signification: “the fore-part of the tent” (so Valckenaer, who compares in ultimis aedibus, and the like; also Delitzsch), is shown—although such acceptation presents no grammatical difficulty—by the corresponding σκηνὴ λεγομένη ἅγια ἁγίων, Hebrews 9:3, whence it follows that the author is regarding the two divisions of the tent separated by the veil in front of the Most Holy Place as two tents.

πρώτη] not temporal, but local.

κατεσκευάσθη] namely by Moses, at the behest of God (comp. Hebrews 8:5).

ἐν τε λυχνία] sc. ἐστίν (not ἦν, Alford, Kurtz, against which λέγεται and Hebrews 9:6 are decisive): in which there is the candlestick (or lamp-stand). Comp. Exodus 25:31-39; Exodus 37:17-24; Bähr, Symbolik des Mos. Cultus, Bd. I., Heidelb. 1837, p. 412 ff. In the temple of Herod, too, there was, according to Josephus, de Bello Jud. v. 5. 5, vii. 5. 5, only one lamp-stand in the Holy Place, while in the temple of Solomon there were ten of them present; comp. 1 Kings 7:49; 2 Chronicles 4:7.

καὶ τράπεζα καὶ πρόθεσις τῶν ἄρτων] and the table and the setting forth of the bread (or loaves), i.e. wherein is found the table, and the sacred custom is observed of placing thereon the shew-bread. Comp. Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 590. Wrongly do Vatablus, Zeger, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Bengel, Bloomfield, and others explain πρόθεσις τῶν ἄρτων as hypallage or antiptosis for οἱ ἄρτοι τῆς προθέσεως. Yet more unwarrantably do Valckenaer (and similarly Heinrichs) maintain that τράπεζα καὶ πρόθεσις τῶν ἄρτων is equivalent to τράπεζα τῶν ἄρτων τῆς προθέσεως. According to Tholuck, Delitzsch, Alford, Maier, Kluge, and Moll, πρόθεσις is, like the Hebrew מַעֲרֶכֶת, to be taken concretely, strues panum. But πρόθεσις never has the passive signification of strues. On the matter itself, comp. Exodus 25:23-30; Exodus 26:35; Exodus 37:10-16; Leviticus 24:5-9; Bähr, l.c. p. 407 ff.

ἥτις] sc. σκηνὴ πρώτη. Not conjoined with the mere , because the fact alleged is something which is familiar to the readers.

ἅγια] Holy Place ( קֹדֶשׁ). So (as neuter plur.), not, with Erasmus, Luther, Er. Schmid, Mill, Whitby, Heinrichs, and others, ἁγία (as fem. sing.), have we to accentuate the word. It stands opposed to the ἅγια ἁγίων, Hebrews 9:3, and denotes the Holy Place, or the outer portion of the tabernacle, in opposition to the Most Holy Place, or the more secluded, inner portion of the same. Likewise with the LXX. and with Philo, the plural τὰ ἅγια in this sense is interchanged with the singular τὸ ἅγιον.

ἅγια, however, not τὰ ἅγια, is placed, because the author was less concerned about mentioning the definite name coined for the expression thereof, than about bringing out the signification which this name has.


Verse 3

Hebrews 9:3. ΄ετά] after or behind. Of local succession (Thucyd. vii. 58, al.), in the N. T. only here.

τὸ δεύτερον καταπέτασμα] the second veil ( פָּרֹכֶת). For before the Holy Place, too, there was a veil ( מָסָךְ). On the former, comp. Exodus 26:31 ff.

σκηνή] sc. κατεσκευάσθη.

ἅγια ἁγίων] Most Holy Place. Periphrasis of the superlative (see Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 231), and translation of קֹדֶשׁ קֳדָשִׁים.


Verse 4

Hebrews 9:4. θυμιατήριον] is either interpreted as altar of incense or as censer. The latter, and indeed as a golden censer, which was employed by the high priest on the great day of atonement, is thought of by Luther, Grotius, de Dieu, Calov, Reland, Limborch, Wolf, Bengel, Wetstein, Carpzov, Whitby, Schulz, Böhme, M‘Lean, Stuart, Kuinoel, Stein, Bloomfield, Bisping, Alford, M‘Caul, and others, after the precedent of the Peshito, Vulgate (turibulum), and Theophylact. The altar of incense, on the other hand ( מִזְבֵּחַ הַקְּטֹרֶת or מִזְבֵּחַ הַוָּהָב), of which mention is made as a constituent part in the Mosaic tabernacle, Exodus 30:1-10; Exodus 37:25-28; Exodus 40:5; Exodus 40:26, as a constituent part in the temple of Solomon, 1 Kings 7:48, 2 Chronicles 4:19, and as a constituent part in the Herodian temple (Josephus, de Bello Jud. v. 5. 5), is understood in the case of the Latin translation in D E (altare), as well as by Oecumenius (ad Hebrews 9:7), Calvin, Justinian, Piscator, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, Schlichting, Jac. Cappellus, Owen, Gerhard, Brochmann, Mynster (Stud. u. Krit. 1829, p. 342 ff.), Bleek, de Wette, Stengel, Ebrard, Delitzsch, Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr: p. 489 f., Obs.), Maier, Kluge, Moll, Kurtz, Ewald, Conybeare, Hofmann, Woerner, and others. Instances from the classical writers in favour of either reference, see in Bleek, II. 2, p. 480 f. That a censer is intended may be urged from the language of the LXX., since with them for the indication of the altar of incense the expressions: τὸ θυσιαστήριον θυμιάματος (Exodus 30:1; Exodus 30:27; Leviticus 4:7), τὸ θυσιαστήριον τῶν θυμιαμάτων (1 Chronicles (1Chr. 7:49) 1 Chronicles 6:49, 1 Chronicles 28:18; 2 Chronicles 26:16; 2 Chronicles 26:19), τὸ θυσιαστήριον τὸ χρυσοῦν (Exodus 40:5; Exodus 40:26, al.), τὸ θυσιαστήριον τὸ ( ὂν) ἀπέναντι κυρίου (Leviticus 16:12; Leviticus 16:18); and, where the altar intended is clear from the context, merely τὸ θυσιαστήριον (Leviticus 16:20, al.), are regularly employed, and only in unimportant MSS. of the same θυμιατήριον presents itself in some few passages as a variation of reading. To this usage of the LXX., however, is to be opposed the equally important fact of the usage of Philo and Josephus, according to which, at their time, τὸ θυμιατήριον was quite the ordinary appellation of the altar of incense. Comp. Philo, Quis rerum divin. haeres. p. 511 sq. (with Mangey, I. p. 504): τριῶν ὄντων ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις σκευῶν, λυχνίας, τραπέζης, θυμιατηρίου; De vita Mos. p. 668 (II. p. 149): ἅμα δὲ τούτῳ ἐδημιουργεῖτο καὶ σκεύη ἱερά, κιβωτός, λυχνία, τράπεζα, θυμιατήριον, βωμός. μὲν οὖν βωμὸς ἵδρυτο ἐν ὑπαίθρῳ κ. τ. λ.; Josephus, de Bello Jud. v. 5. 5 : καὶ τὸ μὲν πρῶτον μέροςεἶχεν ἐν αὐτῷ τρία θαυμασιώτατα καὶ περιβόητα πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἔργα, λυχνίαν, τράπεζαν, θυμιατήριον Antiq. iii. 6, 8 : μεταξὺ δὲ αὐτῆς ( τῆς λιχνίας) καὶ τῆς τραπέζης ἔνδονθυμιατήριον, ξύλινον μὲν κ. τ. λ., al. Of the altar of incense, accordingly, the expression must be understood in our passage. For the manner in which the χρυσοῦν θυμιατήριον is mentioned, as a parallel member to τὴν κιβωτὸν τῆς διαθήκης, shows that the former must be an object of equally great importance as the latter. But, since that is so, something as non-essential as a golden censer cannot be meant, but only the altar of incense, which formed an essential constituent part of the tabernacle. Besides, there is nowhere any mention in the O. T. (not Leviticus 16:12 either) of a particular censer, which had been set apart for the service on the great day of atonement. About the existence of such a censer at the time of the Mosaic tabernacle, which the author after all has mainly before his mind, nothing is known with certainty. Only from the Mishna, tract. Joma, iv. 4,(89) do we learn something about it. Moreover, according to tract. Joma, v. 1, vii. 4, this censer was first fetched out of the storehouse, carried by the high priest into the Most Holy Place, and upon the completion of the service again carried forth therefrom; even as it would be a priori improbable in the highest degree that such instrument should be kept within the Holy of Holies. For, according to Leviticus 16:12-13, the high priest was first to enter with incense into the Most Holy Place, in order that through the cloud thereof the glory of God, enthroned above the cover of the ark of the covenant, might become invisible to him, to the end that he died not. And yet ἔχουσα compels us to think of an abiding place of the θυμιατήριον; to explain ἔχουσα of the mere appertaining of the θυμιατήριον to the Most Holy Place as an object of use for the latter, as is usually done by the one class of expositors (but also by some advocates of the opposite view, as Jac. Cappellus, Piscator, Owen, Mynster, Ebrard, Delitzsch, Conybeare, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 490, Obs.; Maier, Moll, Hofmann, and Woerner, with an appeal to הַמִּזְבֵּהַ אֲשֶׁר־לֵדְּבִיר, 1 Kings 6:22), is—inasmuch as the author sharply separates from each other in his description the two main divisions of the O. T. sanctuary, as well as the objects peculiar to each of these divisions, by means of ΄ετὰ δέ, Hebrews 9:3, and thus ἔχουσα, Hebrews 9:4, unmistakably corresponds to the ἐν , Hebrews 9:2—altogether arbitrary. If, then, we understand θυ΄ιατήριον of the altar of incense, as we are compelled to do, there arises the archaeological difficulty that this altar had its standing-place not in the Most Holy Place, as is here presupposed by the author, but, on the contrary, in the Holy Place (Exodus 30:1 ff.). This point of inconsistency with historic truth is to be admitted, and therefrom the conclusion to be drawn, that the author did not himself live in the vicinity of the Jewish sanctuary, but had drawn his knowledge with regard to the same only from the Scriptures of the O. T., whence the possibility of an error is explicable. In favour of this possibility, Bleek rightly urges the following considerations: first, that Exodus 26:35 there are mentioned as standing within the Holy Place only the table and the candlestick, but not the altar of incense also. Then, that where the standing place of this altar is actually spoken of, the form of expression chosen certainly, by reason of its indefiniteness, admitted of misconstruction. So Exodus 30:6 : καὶ θήσεις αὐτὸ ἀπέναντι τοῦ καταπετάσ΄ατος, τοῦ ὄντος ἐπὶ τῆς κιβωτοῦ τῶν ΄αρτυρίων; ibid. Exodus 40:5 : καὶ θήσεις τὸ θυσιαστήριον τὸ χρυσοῦν εἰς τὸ θυμιᾶν ἐναντίον τῆς κιβωτοῦ; Hebrews 9:26 : ἀπέναντι τοῦ καταπετάσματος; Leviticus 4:7; Leviticus 16:12; Leviticus 16:18 : ἐναντίον or ἀπέναντι κυρίου. Finally, that in the Mosaic law the altar of incense was brought into peculiar significance in connection with the solemnity of the atonement, since on this day it was sprinkled and cleansed by the high priest with the same blood which the high priest had carried into the Most Holy Place (Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 16:18 f.).

χρυσοῦν] since the emphasis rests on it, is prefixed. The article, however, is wanting, because the sense is: a golden altar, namely, the altar of incense, in distinction from the brazen altar existing in the court, namely, the altar of burnt-offering.

καὶ τὴν κιβωτὸν τῆς διαθήκης] and the ark of the covenant; comp. Exodus 25:10 ff; Exodus 37:1-9.

περικεκαλυ΄΄ένην πάντοθεν χρυσίῳ] overlaid on every side (within and without; comp. Exodus 25:11) with gold (plating of fine gold). According to 1 Kings 8, the ark of the covenant was also brought into the temple of Solomon. On the destruction of this temple by the Chaldeans it was lost, and the second temple was without an ark. Comp. Josephus, de Bello Jud. v. 5. 5 : ἔκειτο δὲ οὐδὲν ὅλως ἐν αὐτῷ, ἄβατον δὲ καὶ ἄχραντον καὶ ἀθέατον ἦν πᾶσιν, ἁγίου δὲ ἅγιον ἐκαλεῖτο.

ἐν στάμνος χρυσῆ ἔχουσα τὸ μάννα κ. τ. λ.] wherein was a golden pot with the manna, and Aaron’s rod which had budded, and the tables of the covenant. ἐν does not refer back to σκηνή, Hebrews 9:3 (Ribera, Justinian, Pyle, Peirce, and others),—for to the ἐν , Hebrews 9:4, the ὑπεράνω δὲ αὐτῆς, Hebrews 9:5, forms an opposition,—but it refers to κιβωτός. On the pot of manna, comp. Exodus 16:32-34; on Aaron’s rod, Num. 17:16–26 (Numbers 18:1-11); on the tables of the covenant, Exodus 25:16; Deuteronomy 10:1-2. According to 1 Kings 8:9, there was nothing more in the ark of the covenant, at the time of its removal into the temple, than the two tables of the law; and according to Exodus 16:33, Num. 17:25 (Numbers 18:10), the two first-mentioned objects were not to have their place within, but before the ark of the covenant. The same opinion, however, which the author here expresses as to the place of the preservation of the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod, is found likewise with later Rabbins, as with R. Levi Ben Gerson at 1 Kings 8:9 and at Numbers 17:10, and Abarbanel at 1 Kings 8:9. See Wetstein on our passage.


Verse 5

Hebrews 9:5. The author turns from the objects to be found within the ark of the covenant to that which is above the same.

ὑπεράνω δὲ αὐτῆς] sc. τῆς κιβωτοῦ.

χερουβίμ] comp. Exodus 25:18 ff; Exodus 37:7 ff.; Winer, Bibl. Realwörterb. I. 2 Aufl. p. 262 ff.; Bähr, Symbolik des Mob. Cultus, Bd. I. p. 311 ff. There existed two of them, of fine gold, one at each end of the cover or lid of the ark of the covenant, upon which, with faces turned towards each other, they looked down, and which they covered with their outspread wings. In the midst of the cherubim was the glory of God enthroned (1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 6:2; 2 Kings 19:15; Isaiah 37:16), and from this place God would speak to Moses (Exodus 25:22; comp. Numbers 7:89).

χερουβίμ is here treated as a neuter, as likewise generally with the LXX., with whom the masculine οἱ χερουβ. occurs but rarely (e.g. Exodus 25:20; Exodus 37:7). The neuter is not, however, to be explained by the supposition that πνεύματα is to be supplied to it in thought (comp. Drusius on our passage), but from the fact that the cherubim were regarded as ζῶα. Comp. Josephus, Antiq. iii. 6. 5, where the Mosaic cherubim are described as ζῶα πετεινά, μορφὴν, δʼ οὐδενὶ τῶν ὑπʼ ἀνθρώπων ἑωραμένων παραπλήσια. Comp. also Ezekiel 10:15 : καὶ τὰ χερουβὶμ ἦσαν τοῦτο τὸ ζῶον, ἴδον κ. τ. λ. Ibid. Hebrews 9:20.

The cherubim are called χερουβὶμ δόξης. That may mean cherubim of glory or brightness, to whom glory or brightness is proper (so Camerarius, Estius, Schlichting, Jac. Cappellus, Stuart, Kuinoel, al.), or the cherubim which pertain to the divine glory, the כְּבֹוד יְהֹוָה, i.e. who are the bearers of the divine glory (so the majority). Grammatically the former is easier (on account of the absence of the article before δόξης). But the latter is to be preferred as yielding a more appropriate thought, and the omission of the article is to be justified from the usage of the LXX. Exodus 40:34; 1 Samuel 4:22; Ezekiel 9:3; Ezekiel 10:18, al.

κατασκιάζοντα τὸ ἱλαστήριον] which overshadow the propitiatory (or mercy-seat). κατασκιάζειν in the N. T. only here. Comp. συσκιάζειν, Exodus 25:20; σκιάζειν, Exodus 37:9; 1 Chronicles 28:18. A more choice verb than περικαλύπτειν, 1 Kings 8:7. τὸ ἱλαστήριον ( כַּפֹּרֶת), the cover of the ark of the covenant, which on the great day of atonement was sprinkled with the sacrificial blood for the expiation of the sins of the people. Comp. Leviticus 16:14 f.

περὶ ὧν] goes back not merely to the cherubim (Ebrard, p. 294), but also to all the objects before enumerated.

οὐκ ἔστιν] it concerns us not, or: is not the place, or: is impossible. Comp. 1 Corinthians 11:20. Of the same meaning as the more definite οὐκ ἔξεστιν. With Kurtz to supply τόπος is inadmissible.

κατὰ μέρος] in detail. The author does not design to set forth the typical significance of every single object enumerated; the indication of the typical significance of the two main divisions of the Jewish sanctuary is that which he at present aims at, and to this task he now addresses himself in that which immediately follows, comp. Hebrews 9:8.


Verse 6-7

Hebrews 9:6-7. After the collective expression τὸ ἅγιον κοσμικόν, Hebrews 9:1, has been analyzed into its single constituent parts, Hebrews 9:2-5, and a recapitulatory reference has been made to the total result of this given analysis by means of τούτων οὕτως κατεσκευασμένων,—the opposition to μέν, Hebrews 9:1, being formally introduced by δέ, and then receiving its more precise material defining by means of the statement, Hebrews 9:8, which is attached in a grammatical respect as a subsidiary clause,—the discourse advances to the development of the further general idea, which is placed in the forefront, Hebrews 9:1, but has hitherto remained unnoticed, the twofold expression δικαιώματα λατρείας.

From the present εἰσίασιν, as from προσφέρει, Hebrews 9:7 (comp. also Hebrews 9:8 f.), it follows that the Mosaic cultus was still continuing at the time when the author wrote. The participle perfect, κατεσκευασμένων, however, denotes that which is extending out of the past into the present, and is still enduring in the present (see Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 254). The present hereby indicated can, of course, only be that in which the author himself is living and writing. The endeavour to explain it of a present into which the author only mentally places himself, is as little warranted grammatically as is the asserting, with Hofmann, that the present in which the discourse here moves is “not a past, nor actual, nor something still continuing, but that set forth in the word of God, where it is to be read how the sanctuary erected by Moses was constituted, and what priests and high priests do in the same;” or with Mangold (in Bleek’s Einleit. in das N. T. p. 617), to find the Scripture picture of the tabernacle drawn in our passage as a “purely ideal magnitude, which by no means guarantees the actual continued existence of the temple worship.” For, in order to render possible suppositions of this kind, the conjoining of the presents with a participle aorist would have been indispensably necessary. From the form of discourse chosen: τούτων οὕτως κατεσκενασμένων (“in that these objects have been in such wise regulated”), in union with the present tenses εἰσίασιν and προσφέρει, it therefore follows of necessity that the author, although here entering only upon the presentation of the typical significance of the two main divisions of the Mosaic sanctuary, nevertheless thinks of these two main divisions, together with all that appertains to them,—which he has just now enumerated,—as still preserved in being, thus also as still present in the Jewish temple of his day; by which supposition, it is true, he becomes involved in contradiction with the historic reality, inasmuch as alike the ark of the covenant as the vessel of manna and Aaron’s rod were wanting in the second temple. Vid. supra ad Hebrews 9:4. With very little reflection does Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 491, Obs.) object to this conclusion, that “with just the same right one might infer from the present in Hebrews 13:11 that the author supposed the Israelites of his time to be still dwelling in a camp.” The passage Hebrews 13:11 has nothing whatever in common with ours, since it is here a question of the combination of a participle perfect with verbs in the present. That, too, which Delitzsch sets against it, that the τούτων οὕτως κατεσκευασμένων, pointing back to κατεσκευάσθη, Hebrews 9:2, certainly shows that the author has the Mosaic period before his mind, utterly collapses, inasmuch as the participle perfect, and not the participle aorist, has been employed. Phrases, however, like those met with in Delitzsch: that the author was writing for just such readers as would not have given him credit for an ignorance like this, are peremptory decisions, for which the result is already fixed before the investigation, and consequently intimidations of the grammatical conscience.

πρώτη σκηνή] as Hebrews 9:2, the fore-tent or Holy Place.

διὰ παντός] continually, i.e. day by day. Opposite ἅπαξ τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ, Hebrews 9:7.

οἱ ἱερεῖς] opposite μόνος ἀρχιερεύς, Hebrews 9:7.

τὰς λατρείας ἐπιτελοῦντες] performing the religious actions. Daily, morning and evening, an offering of incense was presented, and daily were the lamps of the sacred candlestick placed in readiness and kindled. Comp. Exodus 30:7 ff.


Verse 7

Hebrews 9:7. δευτέρα] sc. σκηνή, the Most Holy Place.

ἅπαξ τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ] once in the year, i.e. only on a single day of the year, namely, on the tenth of the seventh month (Tisri), on the great solemnity of atonement. The supposition that the high priest on this day more than once entered the Most Holy Place is not excluded by the expression, and the disputed question as to how many times this took place has no bearing on our passage. That the high priest was obliged to enter the Most Holy Place at least twice on this day, follows from Leviticus 16:12-16. That he entered into it as many as four times is the teaching of the Talmud (tract. Joma, v. 1, vii. 4) and Rabbins.

μόνος ἀρχιερεύς] sc. εἴσεισι.

προσφέρει] is not to be explained, as by Calov and others, of the sacrifices outside of the Most Holy Place. For in this case we should have to expect the aorist. It is employed of the blood of the victim before slain, which blood the high priest carries into the Most Holy Place, and here in the Most Holy Place presents to God (the Socinians, Grotius, Bleek).

ὑπὲρ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τῶν τοῦ λαοῦ ἀγνοημάτων] for himself and the transgressions of the people. To make ἑαυτοῦ likewise depend upon ἀγνοημάτων (for his own sins and those of the people: Vulgate, Luther (?), Calvin, Piscator, Schlichting, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Storr, Stuart, Paulus, and others), is, although the thought is not thereby altered (comp. Hebrews 7:27), grammatically false; because in that case the article τῶν could not have been wanting before ἑαυτοῦ.

ἀγνοημάτων] see at Hebrews 5:2, p. 198.


Verse 8

Hebrews 9:8. Now follows (apparently as a subordinate thought) the main consideration, with a view to which the author has been led more fully to describe the ἅγιον κοσμικόν and the δικαιώματα λατρείας of Hebrews 9:1.

τοῦτο δηλοῦντος τοῦ πνεύματος ἁγίου] the Holy Ghost indicating this very thing (following).

τοῦτο] has the emphasis, and acquires its development of contents by means of μήπω πεφανερῶσθαιστάσιν.

τοῦ πνεύματος ἁγίου] The arrangement of the sanctuary and priesthood prescribed by God to Moses is thought of by our author as carried into effect by Moses under the assistance and guidance of the Holy Ghost; the idea expressed in that arrangement might therefore very easily be represented as an indication designed by the Holy Ghost.

μήπω πεφανερῶσθαι τὴν τῶν ἁγίων ὁδόν, ἔτι τῆς πρώτης σκηνῆς ἐχούσης στάσιν] that the way of the sanctuary is not yet manifested, so long as the fore-tabernacle still exists.

τῶν ἁγίων] is erroneously apprehended by the Peshito and Schulz (comp. also Zeger) as masculine. It is neuter. Does not, however, as Hebrews 9:2, denote the Holy Place, but, as Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:24-25; Hebrews 10:19; Hebrews 13:11 (comp. also τὸ ἅγιον, Leviticus 16:16-17; Leviticus 16:20, al.), the Most Holy Place, and that not the earthly one (Kurtz),—for that would be a trifling statement; whereas surely τοῦτο δηλοῦντος τοῦ πνεύματος ἁγίου prepares the way for a deeper truth, vid. infra,—but the heavenly reality, the throne of the Godhead.

τῶν ἁγίων ὁδός signifies the way to the Most Holy Place. Comp. Matthew 10:5 : εἰς ὁδὸν ἐθνῶν; Jeremiah 2:18 : τῇ ὁδῷ αἰγύπτου, al.; Kühner, II. p. 176, Obs. 4; Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 176.

ἔχειν στάσιν further means: to have existence, to exist. We have not, however, with Böhme, to import into it a secondary reference to firmness or legal validity, and πρώτη σκηνή is not the one first in point of time, i.e. the earthly, Jewish sanctuary in opposition to the heavenly (Hunnius, Seb. Schmidt, Carpzov, Semler, Baumgarten, Bloomfield, al.), still less the tabernacle in opposition to the later temple (Peirce, Sykes), but the fore-tabernacle or Holy Place, in opposition to the interior tabernacle or Most Holy Place. The thought is: by the ordering that the Most Holy Place, the presence-chamber and place of manifestation of God, might not be entered, save on one single day of the year, and by the high priest alone, while the daily Levitical service of the priests is accomplished in the Holy Place, and thus approach to the former debarred and shut off by the latter, the Holy Ghost proclaims that so long as the Levitical priesthood, and consequently the Mosaic law in general, continues, the immediate access to God is not yet permitted; that thus, in order to the bringing about and rendering possible of a full and direct communion with God, the Old Testament covenant-religion must first fall, and the more perfect one brought in by Christ (Hebrews 9:11) must take its place. Comp. Matthew 27:51, as also Josephus, Antiq. iii. 3. 7 : τὴν δὲ τρίτην μοῖραν [ τῆς σκηνῆς] μόνῳ περιέγραψε τῷ θεῷ διὰ τὸ καὶ τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνεπίβατον εἶναι ἀνθρώποις.


Verse 9

Hebrews 9:9. ἥτις] is not synonymous with . It is employed argumentatively, in that it presents the following declaration as a fact, the truth of which is manifest.

We have not, however, to take ἥτις with παραβολή as a designation of the subject (Calvin, al.: which emblem was only for the present time; Storr, al.: which emblem was to continue only to the present; Zeger, Semler, de Wette, al.: which emblem has reference to the present time). For the verb to be supplemented would not be the mere copula; it would have a peculiar signification, and thus could not be omitted. ἥτις alone is consequently the subject, and παραβολή the predicate. Yet ἥτις is not to be referred back to στάσιν (Chr. Fr. Schmid), for the expression στάσιν does not occupy a sufficiently independent position in the preceding context to justify this; still less—what is thought possible by Cramer—to τὴν τῶν ἁγίων ὁδόν, by which the idea would be rendered unmeaning. Nor have we to assume an attraction to παραβολή, in such wise that ἥτις should stand in the sense of ὅτι (so Bengel, who makes it point back to Hebrews 9:6-8; Maier, who makes it refer to Hebrews 9:7-8; Michaelis, who makes it refer to μήπω πεφανερῶσθαι κ. τ. λ., and others), or, what amounts to the same thing, to supplement to the phrase ἥτις παραβολή, comprehended together as a subject, παραβολή ἐστιν as a predicate: which emblem (described Hebrews 9:6-8) is an emblem for the present time (so Nickel in Reuter’s Repertor. 1858, März, p. 188 f.). for, in the course of Hebrews 9:9-10, respect is had just to the closing words alone of Hebrews 9:8 : ἔτι τῆς πρώτης σκηνῆς ἐχούσης στάσιν. The exclusively right construction, therefore, is the referring back of ἥτις to τῆς πρώτης σκηνῆς, Hebrews 9:8.

παραβολὴ εἰς τὸν καιρὸν τὸν ἐνεστηκότα] sc. ἐστίν. παραβολή in the Gospels very frequently a fictitious historic likeness. Here a likeness by means of a fact, an emblem. Not incorrectly, therefore, is it explained, on the part of Chrysostom, Oecumenius, and Theophylact, by τύπος.

εἰς] in reference to, as regards. Instead of εἰς τὸν καιρὸν τὸν ἐνεστηκότα, consequently, the mere τοῦ καιροῦ τοῦ ἐνεστηκότος might have been written.

καιρὸς ἐνεστηκώς] the present time. The opposite thereto is formed by the καιρὸς διορθώσεως, Hebrews 9:10, by which the reader is referred to the Christian epoch of time, the αἰὼν μέλλων (Hebrews 6:5; comp. also Hebrews 2:5). καιρὸς ἐνεστηκώς is therefore synonymous with the αἰὼν οὗτος elsewhere, and indicates the pre-Christian period of time still extending onward into the present.(90) The term καιρός, however, is chosen, instead of the more general χρόνος or αἰών, because it is the thought of the author that this period of time has already reached its turning-point, at which it is to take its departure.

καθʼ ἥν] conformably to which, or in accordance with which, applies not to παραβολή (Oecumenius, Bleek, Bisping, Delitzsch, Nickel, l.c., Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 495, Obs.; Alford, Woerner, al.), but to τῆς πρώτης σκηνῆς, as the last preceding main notion; stands thus parallel to ἥτις.

΄ὴ δυνά΄εναι κατὰ συνείδησιν τελειῶσαι τὸν λατρεύοντα] is to be taken in close connection with δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίαι προσφέρονται (against Böhme, who unwarrantably presses the force of the plural δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίαι).

κατὰ συνείδησιν] as regards the consciousness, or as to the conscience (Theophylact: κατὰ τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον), i.e. so that the reality of being led to perfection is inwardly experienced, and the conscience in connection therewith feels itself satisfied.

τὸν λατρεύοντα] him rendering the service (Hebrews 10:2). Not specially the priest is meant (Estius, Gerhard; comp. also Drusius), but in general, the man doing homage to God by the offering of sacrifice, whether it be a priest who offers for himself, or another who presents this offering through the medium of the priest. [Matthew 4:10; cf. προσερχόμενος, Hebrews 10:1.]


Verse 9-10

Hebrews 9:9-10 are closely, indeed, connected grammatically with that which precedes, but, logically regarded, introduce the third and last main point of the disquisition on the high-priestly superiority of Christ over the Levitical high priests. For after (1) it had been shown that Christ, as regards His person, is exalted above the Levitical high priests (Hebrews 4:14 to Hebrews 7:28), and then afterwards (2) it was proved that likewise the sanctuary in which He ministers surpasses in sublimity the Levitical sanctuary (Hebrews 8:1 to Hebrews 9:8), it is now further stated (3) that the sacrifice also which He has offered is more excellent than the Levitical sacrifices (Hebrews 9:9 to Hebrews 10:18).


Verse 10

Hebrews 9:10. ΄όνον ἐπὶ βρώμ. καὶ πόμ. καὶ διαφ. βαπτισμοῖς δικαιώματα σαρκὸς κ. τ. λ.] which, together with meats and drinks and divers washings, are only fleshly ordinances, imposed until the time of reformation. Apposition to δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίαι, μὴ δυνάμεναι κ. τ. λ., Hebrews 9:9.

μόνον] belongs to δικαιώματα σαρκός, but is placed in advance of this on account of the addition ἐπὶ βρώμασιν κ. τ. λ.; and ἐπί expresses the accession to something already present (Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 367b), or the existence externally side by side. Comp. e.g. Hom. Od. vii. 120: ὄγχνη ἐπʼ ὄγχνῃ γηράσκει, μῆλον δʼ ἐπὶ μήλῳ; Thucyd. ii. 101: ὑποσχόμενος ἀδελφὴν ἑαυτοῦ δώσειν καὶ χρήματα ἐπʼ αὐτῇ.

Otherwise is it explained by others, in that they take μόνον ἐπί in close combination, give to ἐπί the signification “in reference to,” and place both words still in relation to Hebrews 9:9. They then regard μόνον ἐπὶ κ. τ. λ. either as nearer definition to προσφέρονται (so, substantially, Vatablus, Schlichting, and others), or as opposition to κατὰ συνείδησιν τελειῶσαι (so Schulz, Ebrard, al.). But against the first supposition the material ground is decisive, that the presentation of sacrifices in reality had reference by no means exclusively to the expiation of offences against the ordinances regulative of food and lustrations; against the second, the linguistic ground that ἀλλʼ ἐπὶ βρώμασιν μόνον κ. τ. λ. must have been written instead of μόνον ἐπὶ βρώμασιν κ. τ. λ. Yet others take μόνον ἐπὶ κ. τ. λ. in close conjunction with τὸν λατρεύοντα, Hebrews 9:9. So perhaps already the Vulgate (perfectum facere servientem solummodo in cibis), then Luther (“him that does religious service only in meats and drink,” etc.), Estius, Corn. a Lapide, Olearius, Semler, Ernesti, Ewald, Hofmann, and others. But the additional words would too greatly drag, the thought resulting would be incommensurable with κατὰ συνείδησιν τελειῶσαι, and the formula λατρεύειν ἐπί τινι in the sense indicated without example.

The βρώματα καὶ πόματα are interpreted by Peirce, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Storr, Heinrichs, Maier, and others of the sacrificial meals; by Bleek and de Wette, of the partaking of the paschal supper in particular. But the mention of these practices would be, here at any rate, something too special, and the words Hebrews 13:9 can furnish no standard for the interpretation of our passage. More correctly, therefore, is it thought in general of the meats and drinks permitted, as of those forbidden, in the Mosaic law. Comp. Colossians 2:16; Romans 14:17. With regard to drinks, there are in the Mosaic law prohibitions only for special cases; comp. Numbers 6:3; Leviticus 10:9; Leviticus 11:34. Comp. however, also Matthew 23:24; Romans 14:21.

καὶ διαφόροις βαπτισμοῖς] Comp. Exodus 29:4; Leviticus 11:25; Leviticus 11:28; Leviticus 11:32; Leviticus 11:40; Leviticus 14:6-9; Leviticus 15:5 ff; Leviticus 16:4; Leviticus 16:24 ff.; Numbers 8:7; Numbers 19:17 ff., al.

δικαιώματα σαρκός] ordinances of the flesh, i.e. ordinances that relate to the flesh, and thus bear the impress of the earthly and transitory.

μέχρι καιροῦ διορθώσεως ἐπικείμενα] imposed (only) until the time of reformation. The καιρὸς διορθώσεως is the epoch of the promised New and more excellent Covenant (Hebrews 8:8 ff.), which has begun with the appearing of Christ.

διόρθωσις] only here in the N. T.

ἐπικείμενα] Oecumenius: βάρος γὰρ ἦν μόνον τὰ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ, καθώς φασιν οἱ ἀπόστολοι. Comp. Acts 15:10; Acts 15:28.


Verse 11-12

Hebrews 9:11-12. Antithesis to Hebrews 9:9-10. What the religion of the Mosaic covenant was unable to effect, that has been accomplished by Christ.

παραγενόμενος ἀρχιερεὺς τῶν μελλόντων ἀγαθῶν] having appeared as High Priest of the good things to come. The verb in the same sense as Matthew 3:1, 1 Maccabees 4:46; synonymous with ἀνίστασθαι, Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 7:15. Strangely misapprehending the meaning, Ebrard: παραγενόμενος is to be looked upon as an “adjectival attribute” to ἀρχιερεύς, and the thought is, “as a present High Priest,”—an acceptation which is incompatible with the participle of the aorist.

High Priest of the good things to come (comp. Hebrews 10:1) is Christ called, inasmuch as these good things are the consequence and result of His high-priestly activity. They are the blessings of everlasting salvation, which the author, Hebrews 9:12, sums up in the expression αἰωνία λύτρωσις; and they are called future, inasmuch as they are proper to the αἰὼν μέλλων (Hebrews 6:5), or the οἰκουμένη μέλλουσα (Hebrews 2:5), and the full enjoyment of them will first come in at the consummation of the kingdom of God, to be looked for with the return of Christ.

διὰ τῆς μείζονος καὶ τελειοτέρας σκηνῆς κ. τ. λ.] through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, which is not made with hands—that is to say, not of this world. The words belong to εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὰ ἅγια, Hebrews 9:12, and διά is used in the local sense: “through” (not instrumentally, as the διά, Hebrews 9:12). To join the words to that which precedes, and find in them an indication of that by means of which Christ became ἀρχιερεὺς τῶν μελλόντων ἀγαθῶν (Primasius, Luther, Dorscheus, Schulz, Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, pp. 409, 412 f., 2 Aufl.,—which latter will accordingly also take the διά, Hebrews 9:12, in both cases along with ἀρχιερεὺς τῶν μελλόντων ἀγαθῶν; otherwise, however, in the Comm. p. 337,

Moll, and others), is erroneous, because by virtue of οὐδέ, Hebrews 9:12, the existence of an already preceding link in the nearer definition of εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὰ ἅγια is presupposed.

But to interpret the σκηνή through which Christ has entered into the Most Holy Place as the body of Christ, or His human nature (so, on account of Hebrews 10:20, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Primasius, Clarius, Calvin, Beza, Estius, Piscator, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Hammond, Owen, Bengel, Peirce, Sykes, Ernesti, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Friederich, Symbolik des Mos. Stiftshütte, Leipz. 1841, p. 296 ff., and others; also Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 415, 2 Aufl., who, however, will have us think of the glorified human nature of Christ), or as the holy life of Christ (Ebrard), or as the (militant) church upon earth (Cajetan, Corn. a Lapide, Calov, Wittich, Braun, Wolf, Rambach, Michaelis, ad Peirc., Cramer, Baumgarten), or, finally, as the world in general (Justinian, Carpzov), is inconsistent with the point of comparison suggested by the comparatives μείζονος and τελειοτέρας in accordance with the foregoing disquisition, in general is opposed to the connection with Hebrews 9:1-10, and has against it the antithesis in which τὰ ἅγια, Hebrews 9:12, stands to σκηνή, Hebrews 9:11, as also the addition οὐ ταύτης τῆς κτίσεως. The lower spaces of the heavens are intended—corresponding to the πρώτη σκηνή of the earthly sanctuary (Hebrews 9:2; Hebrews 9:6; Hebrews 9:8)—as the preliminary stage of the heavenly Holy of Holies. Comp. Hebrews 4:14 : διεληλυθότα τοὺς οὐρανούς.

μείζονος καὶ τελειοτέρας] sc. than the Mosaic σκηνή.

οὐ χειροποιήτου] Comp. Hebrews 8:2 : ἣν ἔπηξεν κύριος, οὐκ ἄνθρωπος, Acts 7:48; Acts 17:24; Mark 14:58; 2 Corinthians 5:1.

οὐ ταύτης τῆς κτίσεως] not belonging to the earthly created world (the earth) lying before one’s eyes ( ταύτης). Wrongly Erasmus, Luther, Clarius, Vatablus, Beza, Jac. Cappellus, Wolf, Bengel, Kuinoel, Friederich, l.c. p. 296, and others: not of this kind of building, sc. the same as the earthly sanctuary; or: as earthly things in general.


Verse 12

Hebrews 9:12. οὐδέ] nor. οὐδέ is written by the author, misled by the foregoing notes of negation: οὐ χειροποιήτου and οὐ ταύτης τῆς κτίσεως, whereas, properly, καὶ οὐ ought to have been written, since that which is introduced by οὐδέ is parallel, not to the negative expressions further characterizing the σκηνή, but to the preceding διά.

δἰ αἵματος τράγων καὶ μόσχων] by (by means of) blood of goats and calves, by which the entrance of the earthly high priests into the Most Holy Place was made possible on the great day of atonement. Comp. Leviticus 16:14-15.

διὰ δὲ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος] the Levitical high priest entered the Most Holy Place not merely by means of the blood of animals, he entered at the same time with this blood (Hebrews 9:7). The author, however, has respect, with reference to the Levitical high priest also, only to the former notion, since only this, and not at the same time the latter, was suitable for application to Christ (Schlichting). If he had desired that the notion of the μετά should also be supplied in thought in our passage (Kurtz), he would have known how to express likewise this “somewhat gross material conception” (Bleek II.).

ἐφάπαξ] once for all. Corresponds to the following αἰωνίαν.

εἰς τὰ ἅγια] into the inner sanctuary of heaven.

αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος] having obtained (by His sacrificial death) eternal redemption. Incorrectly do Ebrard, Delitzsch, Alford, Maier, and Moll take εὑράμενος as something coinciding in point of time with εἰσῆλθεν. If it had been so intended, the participle present would have been placed instead of εὑράμενος.

εὑρίσκεσθαι signifies: to find (for oneself), obtain. The λύτρωσις became Christ’s peculiar possession, thus—since He Himself, as the Sinless One, needed it not—to make it over to those who believe in Him.

This λύτρωσις is the ransoming, i.e. redemption from the guilt and punishment of sin, and it is called αἰωνία, eternal, or of indefeasible validity, in opposition to the sacrifices of the O. T. priests, which had to be renewed every year, since they were designed each for the [typical] expiation of the sins of a single year.

The feminine formation αἰωνία in the N. T. only here and 2 Thessalonians 2:16.


Verse 13-14

Hebrews 9:13-14. Justification of αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὐράμενος, Hebrews 9:12, by an argument a minore ad majus. With the quantitative augmentation, however, expressed by εἰπόσῳ μᾶλλον, there is at the same time blended a qualitative augmentation by means of πρὸς τὴν τῆς σαρκὸς καθαρότητα and τὴν συνείδησιν ἡμ. κ. τ. λ., in such wise that the two following thoughts are enfolded the one in the other:—(1) If even the blood of animals works cleansing … how much more the blood of Christ? (2) If that effects the purity of the flesh, this effects purity of conscience.

καὶ σπόδος δαμάλεως] and ashes of an heifer. According to Numbers 19, those who by contact with a dead body had become defiled, must be sprinkled with a mixture of water and the ashes of a spotless red heifer wholly consumed by fire, of which the ashes were preserved in a clean place without the camp (with the so-called מֵי־הַנִּדָּה, Numbers 19:9; Numbers 19:13; Numbers 19:20-21; LXX.: ὕδωρ ῥαντισμοῦ), in order to become clean again.

ῥαντίζουσα τοὺς κεκεοινωμένους] sprinkling those who have been defiled. Free mode of expression for: with which (ashes) those who have been defiled are sprinkled.

τοὺς κεκοινωμένους] belongs, since ῥαντίζουσα most requires an express addition of the object, to this verb (Erasmus, Beza, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Böhme, Bleek, de Wette, Bisping, Maier, Moll, Kurtz, Ewald, Hofmann, Woerner, al.), not to ἁγιάζει (Vulgate, Luther, Calvin, Bengel, Schulz, al.), which latter stands absolutely: works sanctification.

πρὸς τὴν τῆς σαρκὸς καθαρότητα] to the (producing of the) purity of the flesh. πρός, as v. 14. Indication of the result.


Verse 14

Hebrews 9:14.(91) Incomparably more efficacious must the sacrifice of Christ be. For—(1) Christ offered Himself, i.e. He gave up His own body to the death of a sacrifice, while the Levitical high priest derives his material of sacrifice from a domain foreign to himself personally; then: He offered Himself from a free resolve of will, while the Levitical high priest is placed under the necessity of sacrificing, by the command of an external ordinance, and the sacrificial victim whose blood he offers is an irrational animal, which consequently knows nothing of the end to which it is applied. The Levitical act of sacrifice is then an external one wrought in accordance with ordinance, a sensuous one; Christ’s act of sacrifice, on the other hand, one arising out of the disposition of the heart, thus a moral one. From this it is already evident how it could be said (2) that Christ offered Himself διὰ πνεύματος αἰωνίου. The ethical belongs to the province of the spirit. Christ accordingly offered Himself by virtue of spirit, because His act of sacrifice was, in relation to God, an act of the highest spiritual obedience (Philippians 2:8), in relation to the human brethren an act of the highest spiritual love (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). διὰ πνεύ΄ατος αἰωνίου, however, by virtue of eternal spirit did Christ offer Himself, inasmuch as the notion of the eternal belongs inseparably and essentially to the notion of spirit, in opposition to σάρξ, which has the notion of the transitory as its essential presupposition. The adjective αἰωνίου is added in natural correspondence with αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν, Hebrews 9:12. For only by virtue of eternal spirit could a redemption which is to be eternal, or of ever-enduring validity, be accomplished.

The majority have interpreted διὰ πνεύ΄ατος αἰωνίου of the Holy Spirit; then thinking either, as Clarius, Estius, Whitby, and others, of the third person in the divine trias, or as Bleek, de Wette, and others, of the Spirit of God which dwelt in Christ in all its fulness, and was the principle which animated Him at every moment. But this application is too special. For, in accordance with the force of the words and the connection of the thoughts, there can stand as a tacit antithesis to the expression: διὰ πνεύματος αἰωνίου, only the general formula: διὰ σαρκὸς προσκαίρου, whereby the mode of accomplishing the Levitical acts of sacrifice would be characterized. Moreover, if the Holy Spirit had been intended, the choice of the adjective αἰωνίου instead of ἁγίου must have appeared strange, because indistinct and liable to being misunderstood; finally, the absence of the article also is best explained on the supposition that the formula is to be understood generically. Too special, likewise, is the explanation of the words adopted by Aretius, Beza, Jac. Cappellus, Gomarus, Calov, Wolf, Peirce, M‘Lean, Bisping, and many others, in part coinciding with the second form of the first main interpretation, according to which, by πνεῦμα αἰώνιον, the divine nature of Christ, or “the principle of the eternal Sonship of God indwelling in Christ” (Kurtz), is designated. This view already finds its refutation in the fact that πνεῦμα has its opposite in σάρξ, and πνεῦ΄α and σάρξ are contrasted as spirit and body, not as divine and human. To be rejected farther is the procedure of Faustus Socinus, Schlichting, Grotius, Limborch, Carpzov, Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 525 ff.), Reuss,(92) Kurtz, Woerner, and others, in making the πνεῦ΄α αἰώνιον, as regards the thing intended, equivalent to the δύνα΄ις ζωῆς ἀκαταλύτου, Hebrews 7:16, whereby the essentially ethical import of the expression in our passage is lost sight of; entirely false and arbitrary, however, is the interpretation of Döderlein, Storr, and Stuart, who refer πνεῦμα αἰώνιον to Christ’s state of glorification after His exaltation; of Nösselt (Opusc. ad interpret. sacr. scripturr. fascic. I. ed. 2, p. 334),—as also van der Boon Mesch, l.c. p. 100,—who espouse the opinion: “ πνεῦμα esse victimam, quam Christus se immolando Deo obtulit, eamque αἰωνίαν dici propterea, quod istius victimae vis ad homines salvandos perpetua atque perennis futura sit;” of Michaelis, ad Peirc., who finds the sense, that Christ presented Himself not according to the letter of the Mosaic law, but yet certainly according to its spirit; and of Planck (Commentatt. a Rosenm. etc., edd. I. 1, p. 189), who even maintains that the spirit of prophecy in the prophets of the Old Covenant is thought of. Strangely also Oecumenius, Theophylact, Clarius, and others (comp. already Chrysostom): διὰ πνεύματος αἰωνίου stands in opposition to the fire, by which the Levitical sacrifices were offered to God. Similarly Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 420, 2 Aufl.), who is followed by Delitzsch and Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 527, Obs.): “the spirit by which Christ offered Himself is called an eternal spirit, in opposition to the fleeting spirit of the animals which the O. T. high priest presented.” Of a “spirit” of the animals the author (cf. Hebrews 4:12) can hardly have thought, inasmuch as, though in the O. T. a πνεῦμα is often ascribed to animals, this is understood only in the lower sense of the ψυχή. Needlessly, in the last place, does Reiske conjecture ἁγνεύ΄ατος instead of πνεύ΄ατος.

διά] denotes not the mere impulse or impelling motive (Vatablus, Ribera, Estius, al.), nor yet the condition or sphere (Stengel, Tholuck, al.), but the higher power, by virtue of which the offering was accomplished and made effective.

ἑαυτὸν προσήνεγκεν] is understood by Bleek, with whom Kurtz concurs, after the precedent of Faustus Socinus, Schlichting, Grotius, Limborch, and others, in the sense that Christ offered to God, in the heavenly Holy of Holies, His blood which was shed upon earth; which, however, is violent on account of διὰ πνεύματος αἰωνίου, since these words appertain to the whole relative clause, and are not to be referred, with Bleek, as a nearer definition merely to ἄ΄ω΄ον. The undergoing upon earth of the death of the cross is that which is meant.

ἄ΄ω΄ον] as a spotless sacrifice, yielding full satisfaction to God. The Levitical victim must be ἄμωμος ( תָּמִים), physically free from blemish. Here ἄ΄ω΄ος is used of the higher, ethical spotlessness, and has reference to the sinlessness of character manifested by Christ during His earthly life. Erroneously Bleek: the expression has respect to “the condition of Christ after death and the resurrection, in which, raised above even the infirmities to which as very man He was subject upon earth, He could in particular no more fall a victim to death.”

τῷ θεῷ] is to be taken along with the whole relative clause, not merely with ἄ΄ω΄ον.

ἀπὸ νεκρῶν ἔργων] forth from dead (legal) works, so that we free ourselves from them as from something that is unfruitful and useless, rise above them. The notion of the νεκρὰ ἔργα here the same as at Hebrews 6:1.


Verse 15

Hebrews 9:15. καὶ διὰ τοῦτο διαθήκης καινῆς μεσίτης ἐστίν] and just for this cause is He the Mediator of a New Covenant. By means of καί, Hebrews 9:15 attaches itself closely to the preceding context, and διὰ τοῦτο points back to the main thought contained in Hebrews 9:9-14; just for this reason, that the sacrifice of Christ accomplishes that which the Levitical sacrifices are unable to accomplish; namely, that, presented by virtue of eternal spirit, brings in an eternal redemption, these, on the other hand, as ordinances of the flesh, are able to effect only purity of the flesh. Not specially to τὸ αἱμα, Hebrews 9:14 (Sykes, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Maier), does διὰ τοῦτο glance back. For in this case διʼ αὐτό, or rather διὰ τοῦ αἵματος, would more naturally have been written. Nor is διὰ τοῦτο to be taken together with ὅπως, as a mere preparation thereto (so Schlichting, Schulz, Böhme, Bleek, Stengel, Ebrard, and many). For thereby Hebrews 9:15 would be torn from its connection with that which precedes.

Upon καινῆς there does not rest an emphasis, as is supposed by Bleek and Delitzsch. For otherwise the adjectives must have been prefixed to the substantive. On the contrary, what is to be specially emphasized is διαθήκης. For just the inner nexus of the N. T. διαθήκης, with the redemptive death of Christ as its mediating cause, is to be brought out; whereas the adjective καινῆς could be presupposed as familiar from the disquisition Hebrews 8:8 ff., in that there the perfect covenant promised by God was sufficiently characterized as a new one.

ὅπως] in order that. False the interpretation of Heinrichs: “unde sequitur.” The final clause ὅπως κ. τ. λ. is not designed to develop more nearly the διὰ τοῦτο; it depends upon διαθήκης καινῆς μεσίτης ἐστίν, and indicates the goal to which, in accordance with the decree of God, the διαθήκη καινή should lead, and at the same time the way and means by which the attainment of this goal should be accomplished.

θανάτου γενομένου] a death having ensued. The death of Christ is that which is meant. The author, however, expresses himself generically, because he has already in mind that which is to be observed, Hebrews 9:16-17.

εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῶν ἐπὶ τῇ πρώτῃ διαθήκῃ παραβάσεων] for redemption from the transgressions (or sins) committed under the first covenant (or at the time of the first covenant). Note of design to θανάτου γενομένου, not to λάβωσιν.

τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν] the promise, i.e. the promised blessing itself. With τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν we have to combine τῆς αἰωνίου κληρονομίας, as a declaration wherein the promised blessing consists (genitive of apposition). By the separation of the two closely connected words, τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν is brought out more emphatically, and the discourse gains in point of rhythm. Less suitably, although free from objection on linguistic grounds, did the Peshito, Faber Stapulensis, Braun, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Stein, Stengel, Tholuck, Ebrard, Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 594), Moll, Ewald, and others take τῆς αἰωνίου κληρονομίας with οἱ κεκλημένοι: those who are called to the eternal inheritance.

οἱ κεκλημένοι] Comp. κλήσεως ἐπουρανίου μέτοχοι, Hebrews 3:1. The expression is here used absolutely, and is not to be referred exclusively to the Christians. For, according to Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 11:39-40, the power of the redemptive death of Christ extends retroactively likewise to the generations of the past. And just for this reason the participle perfect is written, and not the participle aorist. For not to the historic act of the temporal vocation, but to the being called, as a fact in the decree of God already completed and extending into the present, is attention to be drawn.


Verses 15-28

Hebrews 9:15-28. In order, however, that Christ might become the mediator of the New Covenant, it was matter of necessity that He should suffer death. This follows from the very notion of a διαθήκη, since the same is only ratified after the death of the διαθέμενος has been proved; as accordingly the first or O. T. διαθήκη was not inaugurated without blood. For the inauguration of the earthly sanctuary the blood of slain animals sufficed; for the consecration of the heavenly sanctuary, on the other hand, there was need of a more excellent sacrifice. This Christ has presented once for all in the end of the world, by His sin-cancelling sacrificial death.


Verse 16-17

Hebrews 9:16-17. Demonstration of the necessity of the θάνατον γενέσθαι by means of a truth of universal application. That Christ might be able to become the Mediator of a new διαθήκη, His death was required. For, to the validity of a διαθήκη, it is essential that the death of the διαθέμενος be first proved. Since immediately before (Hebrews 9:15) and immediately after (Hebrews 9:18 ff.) διαθήκη was employed in the sense of “covenant,” elsewhere usual in our epistle, we might naturally, on account of the conjunction of Hebrews 9:16-17, by means of γάρ, with Hebrews 9:15, and on account of ὅθεν, by which again Hebrews 9:18 is joined to Hebrews 9:15-16, expect this signification of the word to be found also in Hebrews 9:16-17. This has accordingly been insisted upon, here too, by Codurcus (Critt. sacrr. t. VII. P. ii. p. 1067 sqq.), Seb. Schmidt, Peirce, Whitby [in com.], Macknight, Michaelis, Sykes, Cramer, Paulus, and others, lastly also by Ebrard. But it is altogether inadmissible. For if we take διαθήκη as covenant, διαθέμενος could only designate him who makes or institutes the covenant; to take διαθέμενος as the mediator of the covenant, as is generally done in connection with that view, and to understand this again of the sacrificial victims, by the offering of which the covenant was sealed, is pure caprice. The thought, however, that for the validity of a covenant-act the death of the author of the covenant must first ensue, would be a perfectly irrational one. Irrational the more, inasmuch as, Hebrews 9:16-17, only an entirely general truth is contained, passing for a norm in ordinary life. Ebrard finds expressed the thought: “Where a sinful man wishes to enter into a covenant with the holy God, the man must first die, must first atone for his guilt by death (or he must present a substitutionary עוֹלָה).” But all these definings have been arbitrarily imported. For Hebrews 9:16-17 nothing is said either about a “sinful man,” or about a volition on his part, or about the “holy God,” or about an “atoning for guilt,” or about a “substitutionary עוֹלָה.” From what has been said, it follows that διαθήκη, Hebrews 9:16-17, can be taken only in the sense, likewise very frequently occurring with the Greek authors, of “testament” or “disposition by will.” It is true there arises therefrom a logical inaccuracy,(93) owing to the fact that διαθήκη is used in these two verses in another sense than before, and the formal demonstrative force of that which is advanced by the author—although the underlying thoughts are in themselves perfectly just—is thereby sacrificed. It is, however, to be observed that while for us, since we are obliged to employ a twofold expression for the reproducing of the diversity of sense, the transition from the one notion to the other appears abruptly made, this transition for the author, on the other hand, might be an imperceptible one, inasmuch as in the Greek one and the same word included within itself both significations. Thus, accordingly, it has happened that the ancient Greek interpreters explain διαθήκη, Hebrews 9:16-17, expressly in the sense of a testament or will, then at once pass over to the declaration contained in Hebrews 9:18, without so much as noticing the logical inaccuracy which presents itself. The sense consequently is: where a testament or deed of bequest exists, there it is necessary, in order to give it validity (comp. ἰσχύει, Hebrews 9:17), that the death of the testator first be proved. The New Covenant, therefore, which Christ has established between God and man by His sacrificial death, the author here represents—in accordance with the figure of the κληρονομία, Hebrews 9:15—as a testamentary disposition on the part of Christ, which, however, as such could only acquire validity, and put the heirs in possession of the blessings bequeathed to them, by means of the death of Christ.

θάνατον] emphatically preposed, while τοῦ διαθε΄ένου, upon which no emphasis falls, comes in at the end of the clause.

φέρεσθαι] be declared or proved. Wrongly Grotius: the verb to be regarded as equivalent to exspectari (“est enim exspectatio onus quoddam”); Wittich: it denotes the being endured on the part of the relatives; Carpzov, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Schulz, Kuinoel, Klee, Stein, Stengel, Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, 2 Aufl. p. 428), and others, that it denotes nothing more than ensue or γίνεσθαι, Hebrews 9:15.


Verse 17

Hebrews 9:17. Confirmatory elucidation of Hebrews 9:16. The words of the verse are connected together as parts of a single statement. We have no right to break up the same, in such wise that διαθήκη γὰρ ἐπὶ νεκροῖς βεβαία is made a parenthesis, and ἐπεὶ κ. τ. λ. joined to Hebrews 9:16 (Hofmann).

ἐπὶ νεκροῖς] in the case of dead persons, i.e. only upon condition that the author of the διαθήκη is dead, or has died.

βεβαία] firm or inviolable (comp. Hebrews 2:2), inasmuch, namely, as, after the death of the testator has supervened, the abrogation or alteration of the testament on his part is no longer possible.

μήποτε] never. The making of μήποτε equivalent to μήπω or nondum (Vulgate, Faber Stapulensis, Erasmus, Luther, Schlichting, Böhme) is linguistically inadmissible. Oecumenius, Theophylact, Lud. de Dieu, Heinsius, Bengel, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Lachmann, Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, 2 Aufl. p. 429), Delitzsch, and Ewald regard the word as an interrogative particle, which does not alter the sense, and might appear the preferable course, since, on the supposition of an assertory statement, the objective οὔποτε might have been expected in place of the subjective μήποτε. Nevertheless, elsewhere too, with later authors, the placing of the subjective negation is not at all rare after ἐπεί, when it introduces an objectively valid reason. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 447; Buttmann, Gramm. des neutest. Sprachgebr. p. 304.

ἰσχύει] sc. διαθήκη, not διαθέμενος (Peirce).


Verse 18

Hebrews 9:18. ὅθεν] wherefore, sc. because, according to Hebrews 9:16-17, a διαθήκη becomes valid only through the intervention of death. To enclose Hebrews 9:16-17 within a parenthesis, and refer back ὅθεν to Hebrews 9:15 (Zachariae, Morus, Storr, Heinrichs, Conybeare, Bisping), is arbitrary.

οὐδέ] the augmenting: not even.

πρώτη] the first, or Old Testament, sc. διαθήκη. Erroneously do Wetstein and Koppe (in Heinrichs) supplement σκηνή.

ἐγκεκαίνισται] was inaugurated, i.e. introduced in a valid manner. The verb occurs in the N. T. only here and Hebrews 10:20.


Verses 18-22

Hebrews 9:18-22. The first διαθήκη also was not inaugurated without blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission under the Mosaic law.


Verse 19-20

Hebrews 9:19-20. Historic proof for the assertion, Hebrews 9:18, with a free reference to Exodus 24:3-8.

κατὰ τὸν νόμον] is taken by Schlichting, Calov, Jac. Cappellus, Seb. Schmidt, Bengel, Storr, Böhme, Bleek, Bisping, al., along with πάσης ἐντολῆς: “every precept according to the law, i.e. as it was contained in the law.” So already the Vulgate: lecto enim omni mandato legis. But against this construction the absence of the connecting article and the strangeness of the preposition κατά. Rightly, therefore, have Oecumenius, Faber Stapulensis, Erasmus, Vatablus, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Wittich, Braun, Schulz, Kuinoel, Klee, Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Alford, Maier, Moll, Hofmann, and others referred κατὰ τὸν νόμον to λαληθείσης. Only we must not explain, as is ordinarily done, “in accordance with the commandment received of God,” but the sense is: after, in accordance with the law received of God, every precept had been proclaimed by Moses to the whole people. The standard for the proclamation of the ἐντολαί was the νόμος, since it contained these ἐντολαί.

παντὶ τῷ λαῷ] Exodus 24:3 stands only διηγήσατο τῷ λαῷ. But παντί resulted from the ἀπεκρίθη δὲ πᾶς λαός there immediately following.

καὶ τῶν τράγων] and of the goats. Of goats slain in sacrifice the underlying narrative of Exodus says nothing. Schlichting, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Bengel, Böhme, and others therefore suppose that the author had in view the burnt-offerings mentioned before the thank-offerings of oxen, Exodus 24:5; inasmuch as, according to Leviticus 1:10 ff; Leviticus 4:23 ff; Leviticus 9:2-3, Numbers 6:10-11; Numbers 7:27, rams and he-goats, as well as other smaller animals, might be selected for burnt-offerings. Nevertheless, it is also possible that, as conjectured by Bleek, de Wette, and Bisping, there was present to the mind of the author that sacrifice of bullocks and goats already referred to, Hebrews 9:12-13, which the high priest was to offer on the great day of atonement.

μετὰ ὕδατος καὶ ἐρίου κοκκίνου καὶ ὑσσώπου] along with water and crimson wool and hyssop. With regard to this also, nothing is stated in the corresponding passage of Exodus. But all three things are elsewhere mentioned in connection with legally enjoined aspersions for purification. Comp. Numbers 19:6; Numbers 19:17 f.; Leviticus 14:2 ff., Leviticus 14:49 ff. In accordance therewith, a mixture of fresh spring water in some cases with the ashes of the red heifer, in others with the blood of a slain bird, was prescribed in the case of aspersions which were appointed for the cleansing of one defiled by contact with a corpse or by leprosy. In like manner, according to the passages above referred to, hyssop ( אֵזוֹב, comp. on this plant, Winer, Bibl. Realwörterb. Bd. II. 2 Aufl. p. 819 f.) and crimson wool. With the latter the hyssop stem was probably bound round, and this served as a brush for sprinkling the blood. Comp. this use of hyssop in Exodus 12:22.

αὐτό τε τὸ βιβλίον καὶ πάντα τὸν λαὸν ἐράντισεν] he sprinkled as well the book itself as also the whole people. τὸ βιβλίον is the βιβλίον τῆς διαθήκης, Exodus 24:7. Of a sprinkling likewise of this book of the covenant, nothing, however, is told us in Exodus. It has therefore been proposed, by way of removing the difference, to make τὸ βιβλίον still dependent upon the preceding λαβών. So, after the precedent of the Coptic and Armenian versions, Grotius, Wittich, Surenhus, Cramer, Bengel, Michaelis, Storr, Morus, Ewald, and others. But the καί following βιβλίον renders this impossible. For the setting aside of this καί by pronouncing it spurious (Colomesius, Valckenaer), or by the assumption of a pleonasm (so ordinarily), is an act of violence; while we are prevented from placing it, with Bengel and Ewald, in correspondence with the καί, Hebrews 9:21, as “et … et vero,” or “non modo … vero etiam,”—apart from the clumsiness of construction thus arising, and leaving out of consideration the inconvenient δέ,—by the twice occurring of the verb ἐράντισεν, Hebrews 9:19; Hebrews 9:21.

πάντα τὸν λαόν] LXX. Hebrews 9:8 : λαβὼν δὲ ΄ωϋσῆς τὸ αἷμα κατεσκέδασε τοῦ λαοῦ. Schlichting: Omnem autem populum conspersisse dicitur, quia qui ex proxime astantibus conspersi fuerant, universi populi personam hac in parte gessere, ita ut totus populus conspersus fuisse censeretur.

ἐράντισεν] sc. for consecration and purification.


Verse 20

Hebrews 9:20. Exodus 24:8, LXX.: καὶ εἶπεν· ἰδοὺ τὸ αἷμα τῆς διαθήκης, ἧς διέθετο κύριος πρὸς ὑμᾶς περὶ πάντων τῶν λόγων τούτων.

ἧς ἐνετείλατο πρὸς ὑμᾶς θεός] Bengel: “praecepit mihi, ut perferrem ad vos.”


Verse 21

Hebrews 9:21 adds to that mentioned Hebrews 9:19-20, not a simultaneous fact, but only something occurring later. For when the law was proclaimed by Moses, and the people promised to observe the same, the tabernacle had not yet an existence. Exodus 40, where we have the account of the erection and inauguration of the tabernacle, only an anointing of the tabernacle and its vessels with oil is enjoined, not a sprinkling thereof with blood. Comp. ibid. Exodus 9:9. Similarly in Leviticus, a sprinkling indeed with blood (Leviticus 8:15; Leviticus 8:19; Leviticus 8:24) is supposed in regard to the altar; in regard to the tabernacle and its furniture, on the other hand, only an anointing (Leviticus 8:10 ff.). It is possible, however, that Jewish tradition preserved more precise details. At least mention is made by Josephus also (Antiq. iii. 8. 6) of an aspersion of the tabernacle and its furniture, on the part of Moses, with blood.

Erroneously, for the rest (on account of the aorist), do Owen, Seb. Schmidt, Wittich, Cramer, and others find mentioned, Hebrews 9:21, in place of the one act of Moses, a sprinkling enjoined by the law of Moses, and occurring at different fixed periods, in connection with which the majority will have the sprinkling which is made on the great Day of Atonement, Leviticus 16:14 ff., to be meant.

καὶδέ] but also. Luke 2:35; John 8:16, al.

τὰ σκεύη τῆς λειτουργίας] the vessels designed for sacred use.


Verse 22

Hebrews 9:22. Confirmation of the special historic facts adduced Hebrews 9:19-21, by the general rule, which throughout the whole domain of Mosaic law was recognised as, with hardly any exception, of binding obligation.

σχεδόν] almost, nearly (Acts 13:44; Acts 19:26), does not belong to ἐν αἵματι (Bengel, Böhme). Still less is it to be joined to καθαρίζεται, as is done by Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, and Primasius, who, in opposition to the cohesion with that which precedes and follows, will find the thought expressed that the purification accomplished in accordance with the law is only a partial, bodily one, and thus only imperfect, since it is not able to cancel sins. It belongs logically to πάντα. The author, however, does not write καὶ ἐν αἵματι σχεδὸν πάντα καθαρίζεται, but, on the contrary, prefixes σχεδόν to the whole clause, in order to imply that the limitation contained in this expression extends to both members of the clause. The sense is consequently: and one must almost say that all things are according to the law purified with blood, and that without the shedding of blood no remission takes place. So, rightly, Bleek, Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 514 f.; Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 500; Alford, Maier, Hofmann, and Woerner. As concerns the thought, Grotius in his day aptly refers us to the saying of the Talmud (tract. Joma, fol. 5. 1; Menachoth, fol. 93. 2): אֵין כַּפָּרָה אָלָּא בַדָּם, non est expiatio nisi per sanguinem. The conceding, moreover, of the existence of single exceptions, by virtue of σχεδόν, finds its justification, as regards the first half of the clause, in Exodus 19:10; Leviticus 15:5 ff., Leviticus 15:27; Leviticus 16:26; Leviticus 16:28; Leviticus 22:6; Numbers 31:22-24; as regards the second half, in Leviticus 5:11-13.

πάντα] all universally (men as well as things), which as Levitically impure has need of cleansing. Wrongly Peirce and Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 563): all the furniture and utensils of the sanctuary.

κατὰ τὸν νόμον] in conformity with the law, i.e. so soon as the norm fixed by the Mosaic law is taken into account. The addition κατὰ τὸν νόμον is likewise to be supplied in thought to the second member of the clause.

αἱματεκχυσία] a word not elsewhere met with in Greek literature. What is meant is not specially the pouring out of the blood upon the altar (de Wette, Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, 2 Aufl. p. 435, al.), but in general, the blood-shedding by the slaying of sacrificial animals (Bleek, Delitzsch, Maier, Kurtz, Hofmann, Comm. p. 363).

ἄφεσις] remission, sc. of the guilt incurred.


Verse 23

Hebrews 9:23. The first of the two statements dependent on ἀνάγκη οὖν ( τὰ μὲνκαθαρίζεσθαι) is deduced as a necessary consequence from Hebrews 9:18-22, while then the second statement ( αὐτὰ δὲ κ. τ. λ.) is derived as a necessary postulate from the first, and in such manner a return is effected to the necessity for the death of Christ, already shown at Hebrews 9:16-17, in order to set forth the same on a fresh side. The necessity of the first-mentioned fact of Hebrews 9:23 is evident from the norm instanced, which is of validity in the domain of the Mosaic law; the necessity of that last mentioned, from the difference between the Christian and the Judaic. The main thought, however, lies in the second half of the clause, to which the first forms logically only the bridge.

οὖν] sc. because blood is so necessary a means for expiation and consecration.

ἀνάγκη οὖν] it is then needful. To ἀνάγκη οὖν we have to supplement ἐστίν, not, with Faber Stapulensis, Ebrard, Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Alford, Moll, Kurtz, and others, ἦν. For although the author has only one special fact in mind in connection with both members of the sentence, yet, as is shown by the plural θυσίαις, he expresses himself universally; because he is reasoning from the inner necessity, as this is presupposed by the state of the matter itself.

τὰ μὲν ὑποδείγματα τῶν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς τούτοις καθαρίζεσθαι, αὐτὰ δὲ κ. τ. λ.] that the copy, indeed, of that which is in heaven should be purified with these, but the heavenly place itself with better sacrifices than these, i.e. for the characteristically Judaic the means of expiation and consecration are necessarily determined in accordance with the norm specified in the Mosaic law; but since Judaic and Christian are distinguished from each other as the mere copy of the heavenly place and the heavenly place itself, so of necessity must the means of expiation and consecration in the Christian domain be a more excellent one than in the Judaic.

By τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς and τὰ ἐπουράνια we have to understand neither the heavenly possessions (Seb. Schmidt, Wolf, Rambach, and others), nor yet the Christian Church and its members (Zeger, Estius, Corn. a Lapide, Calov, Böhme, Stengel, al.; comp. also Tholuck). Still less can these expressions denote: “that which, where God is essentially present, brings with it His relation to the Church, i.e. first, His dwelling with it,—namely, in that the glorified human nature of Christ is the dwelling for the whole fulness of the divine nature; secondly, the human nature, in its consecration to God, in which Christ presents and offers it up to the Father; and thirdly, the place where God’s wrath against human sin meets with expiatory satisfaction, by which it is averted,—thus Christ, who, as the propitiation for our sins, stands between the Church and its God “(Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, 2 Aufl. p. 436 ff. [comp. also Owen]). Rather is the heavenly sanctuary specially meant thereby, as is evident from Hebrews 9:24. For in Hebrews 9:24 the meaning of ἅγια is supposed to be already known from Hebrews 9:23; inasmuch, namely, as ἅγια is there almost accentless, while all the emphasis is laid upon the adjectives χειροποίητα, etc. In accordance with this, too, is determined the meaning of τὰ ὑποδείγματα τῶν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς as the earthly sanctuary, inasmuch as it was the imperfect imitation or copy of the former, as accordingly already, at Hebrews 8:5, the Levitical sanctuary had been characterized as ὑπόδειγμα καὶ σκιὰ τῶν ἐπουρανίων. The plural τὰ ὑποδείγματα is placed, just because the author has already before his mind, in Hebrews 9:23, the plural τὰ ἅγια, Hebrews 9:24. Thus, then, the first clause of Hebrews 9:23 has respect to the special fact already brought forward at Hebrews 9:21, whereas the second clause receives its elucidation by means of the special fact of which mention is made at Hebrews 9:24.

τούτοις] by such things as these, i.e. by blood of slain animals, and similar means of purifying, which belong to the earthly sanctuary; to which general rubric, also, the ashes of the red heifer mentioned at Hebrews 9:13, but not here coming under consideration, belong. With marvellous inversion of the sense, Paulus: “to be declared pure for these, i.e. the Israelites.”

καθαρίζεσθαι] is passive. Arbitrarily is it taken as a middle by Heinrichs, who will have ἡμᾶς supplemented as object. Against this the tenor of the foregoing verse is in itself decisive. The notion of being purified is not, it is true, applicable to the second clause, αὐτὰ δὲ τὰ ἐπουράνια κ. τ. λ. For the heavenly sanctuary is removed from contact with the sinful world; it has no need, therefore, of an expiation or purification.(94) We are warranted, however, in supplying in thought, without any hesitation, from καθαρίζεσθαι, a kindred verb to the second member of the sentence, by the assuming of a zeugma. But since now, in accordance with that which precedes, the καθαίζεσθαι is an idea which entirely subordinates itself to the idea of the ἐγκαινίζειν, Hebrews 9:18, the former having only the design of the latter, we shall best extract from the notion of being purified, in the first clause, the notion of being consecrated to the service of God, for the second clause, understanding this consecration of the heavenly sanctuary of the opening up of the access to the same, effected through the blood of Christ (comp. Hebrews 10:19-20).

κρείττοσιν θυσίαις] The plural is chosen, although the author is thinking exclusively of the death of Christ, on account of the universal form of discourse, Hebrews 9:23, as a plural of the category (de Wette). False the interpretation of Grotius and Stengel: in addition to the sacrificial death of Christ, the sufferings of believers, together with their prayers and works of love (Hebrews 13:15-16), are thought of; and in like manner Paulus: the sacrifices of Jesus and all Christians for the good which pertains to duty; but false, also, the explanation of Beza: the fact is hinted at that the one sacrifice of Christ is instead of many.

On παρά with the comparative, see at Hebrews 1:4.


Verses 23-28

Hebrews 9:23-28. If the earthly sanctuary needed to be cleansed and consecrated by such things as these, there was required of necessity for the dedication of the heavenly sanctuary a more excellent sacrifice. This Christ has presented in the end of the world by means of His sin-cancelling sacrificial death; and at His return, which is now to be expected for the salvation of those that hope in Him, no repetition of His sacrifice will be required.


Verse 24

Hebrews 9:24. Confirmatory justification of αὐτὰ τὰ ἐπουράνια, Hebrews 9:23, by the proof that in reality the heavenly sanctuary is that consecrated by the sacrifice of Christ. Wrongly is it assumed by Delitzsch, that at Hebrews 9:24 the indispensable requirement of better sacrifices for the heavenly world is proved from the actual nature of the one rendered and presented to God. For the argument passes over to the character of Christ’s sacrifice, as offered once for all, only at Hebrews 9:25.

οὐ γὰρ εἰς χειροποίητα ἅγια εἰσῆλθεν χριστός] for Christ entered not into a holy place (i.e. most holy place, see at Hebrews 9:8) made with hands (Hebrews 9:11).

χειροποίητα] as the main idea emphatically preposed.

ἀντίτυπα τῶν ἀληθινῶν] a copy of the true (Hebrews 8:2), real one. ἀντίτυπα denotes neither the copy of a copy, as is supposed by Bleek, after the precedent of Michaelis, ad Peirc., Cramer, Chr. Fr. Schmid, upon the presupposition that the author already thought of the τύπος, Hebrews 8:5, as a mere copy of the original; nor is it to be taken as equivalent to the simple τύπος, as is done by Chrysostom, Theophylact, Jac. Cappellus, Schlichting, Grotius, Wolf, Carpzov, and others. What is meant is the corresponding image, i.e. the copy or imitation, formed after the proportions of the τύπος or pattern, which God had shown to Moses (comp. Hebrews 8:5). The expression, therefore, is of essentially the same import as ὑπόδειγμα, Hebrews 8:5, Hebrews 9:23.

ἀλλ ̓ εἰς αὐτὸν τὸν οὐρανόν] but into heaven itself, into the heavenly Holy of Holies, where the throne of God itself exists, in opposition to the earthly Most Holy Place, not to the heavenly fore-tabernacle, Hebrews 9:11.

υῦν ἐμφανισθῆναι τῷ προσώπῳ τοῦ θεοῦ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν] now to appear before the face of God on our behalf (as our advocate, and intent upon our salvation, comp. Hebrews 7:25).

νῦν] now, after He has obtained His abiding dwelling-place in heaven.

Before the face of God. In this respect, too, a pointing to the exaltedness of Christ, the heavenly high priest. For, according to Exodus 33:20, no man could continue to live who had seen the face of God; on which account also the earthly high priest might not even enter the earthly Holy of Holies until this had first been filled with the smoke of the altar of incense, and in this way the typical presence of God there existing had been veiled from his glance. Comp. Leviticus 16:12-13.


Verse 25

Hebrews 9:25. οὐδέ] nor yet, sc. εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν.

προσφέρειν ἑαυτόν] denotes not the presentation of Himself with His blood before God in the heavenly Holy of Holies (Böhme, Bleek, Delitzsch, Alford, Kurtz, and others; comp. also Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 474), but the offering of Himself as a sacrifice upon earth. The sense is: Christ entered into the heavenly Holy of Holies, not that He might presently leave it again, in order afresh to offer Himself as a sacrifice upon earth.

ἀρχιερεύς] the Levitical high priest.

τὰ ἅγια] the earthly Holy of Holies.

ἐν αἵματι ἀλλοτρίῳ] with blood not his own.

ἀλλοτρίῳ] opposition to ἑαυτόν.


Verses 25-28

Hebrews 9:25-28. Renewed (comp. Hebrews 7:27-28, Hebrews 9:12) emphasizing of the manifestation once for all (and thus the full sufficiency) of the sacrifice of Christ.


Verse 26

Hebrews 9:26. Proof of the necessity that Christ’s sacrifice should take place only once for all, from the non-reasonableness of the opposite. For if the sacrifice of Christ sufficed not once for all for the cancelling of sin, He must oftentimes in succession—because no generation of mankind, so long as the world has endured, has been free from sin—have undergone death since the beginning of the world. But now, seeing this is contrary to reason, the matter stands in reality quite otherwise. From this reasoning it is evident that the author supposed an expiation of the sins of all the earlier generations of mankind too, by virtue of the sacrificial death of Christ. An erroneous statement of the connection of thought is given by Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 441), Delitzsch, and Alford. See, on the other hand, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 552, Obs.

ἐπεί] since otherwise, alioquin. Comp. 1 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 7:14, al.

ἔδει αὐτὸν πολλάκις παθεῖν] it were needful that He should often suffer.

On ἔδει without ἄν, see Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 266.

παθεῖν specially of the suffering of death, as Hebrews 13:12.

ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμον] from the foundation or creation of the world onwards (comp. Hebrews 4:3), i.e. here: so long as there are men in the world.

νυνὶ δέ] as Hebrews 8:6, in the logical sense: but now. Opposition to ἐπεὶ κ. τ. λ.

ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων] in the end of the ages, periods of time. Antithesis to ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, and equivalent in signification to ἐπ ̓ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων, Hebrews 1:1. Comp. also ἐν τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος, Matthew 13:40; Matthew 13:49.

εἰς ἀθέτησιν ἁμαρτίας διὰ τῆς θυσίας αὐτοῦ] for the cancelling of sin by His sacrifice. These words belong together. The conjoining of διὰ τῆς θυσίας αὐτοῦ with πεφανέρωται, which has been preferred by Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Carpzov, Heinrichs, Schulz, Böhme, Tholuck, and others, is, in connection with the right determination of the sense of the verb (vid. infra), harsh and unnatural, and not at all justified by the alleged analogon: ἐλθὼν δι ̓ ὕδατος καὶ αἵματος, 1 John 5:6. Tholuck’s objection, however, that ἅπαξαἰώνων is antithetically opposed to the κατ ̓ ἐνιαυτόν, Hebrews 9:25, and πεφανέρωται διὰ τῆς θυσίας to the εἰσέρχεται ἐν αἵματι ἀλλοτρίῳ, does not apply, inasmuch as the second clause of Hebrews 9:26 forms the antithesis to the first clause of that verse, but not to Hebrews 9:25; on which account also ἐπεὶκόσμου is not, with Beza, Mill, Griesbach, Carpzov, Schulz, Bloomfield, and others, to be enclosed within a parenthesis.

No emphasis for the rest falls upon the personal pronoun employed with θυσίας, in such wise that the sense would be: by the sacrifice of Himself (so Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, in their translations, Piscator, Jac. Cappellus, Owen, Limborch, Schulz, Heinrichs, Böhme, Stuart, Stengel, Tholuck, Ebrard, Conybeare, and others). It means simply: by His sacrifice (Bleek, de Wette), so that not αὑτοῦ, but αὑτοῦ is to be written. The contrast between His own blood and the blood of other victims was already sufficiently brought out afresh at Hebrews 9:25.

πεφανέρωται] He has been manifested, i.e. He has appeared or come forth before the sight of men upon earth. Comp. 1 Peter 1:20; 1 John 3:5; 1 John 3:8; also Colossians 3:4; 1 John 2:28; 1 Peter 5:4 [1 Timothy 3:16]. To explain the expression of the appearing before God, and to make it of like import with ἐμφανισθῆναι τῷ προσώτῳ τοῦ θεοῦ, Hebrews 9:24 (Jac. Cappellus, Heinrichs, Schulz, al.), is forbidden alike by the absence of the, in that case indispensable, addition τῷ θεῷ, as by the ἐκ δευτέρου ὀφθήσεται, Hebrews 9:28, corresponding as it does to the πεφανέρωται.


Verse 27-28

Hebrews 9:27-28. Further ( καί) enforcement of the ἅπαξ, Hebrews 9:26, by means of an analogy. As death is appointed to men once for all, they, after having once suffered death, do not need to die again, but after death nothing more follows for them but the judgment; so also Christ has once for all offered up Himself for the cancelling of sin; at His return He will not again have to offer Himself for the cancelling of sin, but He will return once again, only to put the believers in possession of the everlasting salvation.

καθ ̓ ὅσον] inasmuch as [cf. Hebrews 7:20], is not entirely synonymous with καθώς, which one might have expected on account of the following οὕτως, and which Grotius and Braun conjecture to have been the original reading; for, whereas καθώς would express the bare notion of comparison, this contains at the same time an indication of cause. The indication of cause, however, has reference merely to ἅπαξ ἀποθανεῖν, to which then the ἅπαξ προσενεχθείς, Hebrews 9:28, corresponds; but not likewise, as Kurtz maintains,(95) to the addition μετὰ δὲ τοῦτο κρίσις, since to this an element of dissimilarity is opposed at Hebrews 9:28. The sense is: inasmuch as men, regarded generally, have only once to undergo death, so also Christ, since He was herein entirely like unto His brethren, could not die more than once.

ἀπόκειται] is appointed (in the decree of God). Comp. Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:8. The verb originally of that which has been laid aside, and so lies ready for future use.

ἅπαξ ἀποθανεῖν] to die a single time, or once for all. Comp. Sophocles in Stobaeus, ii. 120: θανεῖν γὰρ οὐκ ἔξεστι τοῖς αὐτοῖσι δίς.

Calvin: Si quis objiciat, bis quosdam esse mortuos, ut Lazarum et similes (comp. Hebrews 11:35), expedita est solutio, apostolum hic de ordinaria hominum conditione disputare: quin etiam ab hoc ordine eximuntur, quos subita commutatio corruptione exuet (comp. Hebrews 11:5).

μετὰ δὲ τοῦτο κρίσις] sc. ἀπόκειται, not ἐστίν or ἔσται. Whether, for the rest, the κρίσις is thought of by the author as ensuing immediately after the death of each individual (Jac. Cappellus, Kurtz, al.), or as a later act coinciding only with the general resurrection of the dead (Bengel, Bleek, Tholuck, Bisping, Delitzsch, Maier, al.), the elastic μετὰ τοῦτο affords us no intimation.

κρίσις] judgment, is to be taken quite generally. Wrongly is it understood by Schulz (and so also Böhme) specially of the judgment unto punishment or unto condemnation, in that he supposes—erroneously, because at variance with the absolute τοῖς ἀνθρώποις—two different classes of men (those to be punished and those to be blessed) to be opposed to each other in Hebrews 9:27-28. [Yet comp. John 5:24.]


Verse 28

Hebrews 9:28. ἅπαξ προσενεχθείς] once offered (by the suffering of death). Chrysostom: ὑπὸ τίνος προσενεχθείς; ὑφ ̓ ἑαυτοῦ δηλονότι. Wrongly (comp. ἑαυτόν, Hebrews 9:25; Hebrews 9:14) Delitzsch: in connection with the passive προσενεχθείς we have “to think of the violence proceeding from the human and demoniac power, which Christ endured, in order to become the προσφορά for the propitiation of mankind;” Kurtz and Hofmann: ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ is to be supplemented, which, accordingly, is interpreted by Kurtz into the signification of the “sending of the Son into the world, in behoof of the vicarious atoning for sin by means of His sacrificial death;” by Hofmann: into a “being brought to that place where He was to be at the disposal of Him who had ordained Him to be an expiatory sacrifice for sins.” The words ἅπαξ προσενεχθείς correspond to the ἅπαξ ἀποθανεῖν, Hebrews 9:27, and προσενεχθείς forms a paronomasia with the following ἀνενεγκεῖν: borne as a sacrifice, that He might bear away, dargebracht, um fortzubringen [oblatus ut auferret]. For ἀνενεγκεῖν denotes not the bearing up (and fastening) to the cross (Jac. Cappellus, Calov, Wolf, Bengel, and others, after 1 Peter 2:24, where, however, ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον is employed with it), or the substitutionary bearing (Augustine, de pecc. mer. i. 28; Estius, Seb. Schmidt, Böhme, de Wette, Bloomfield, Bisping, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 544 f.; Alford, Maier, Conybeare, Moll, Kurtz, Ewald, M‘Caul, Hofmann, and others, in accordance with the signification of the verb, Isaiah 53:12, LXX.: αὐτὸς ἁμαρτίας πολλῶν ἀνήνεγκε, an utterance which certainly may have been before the mind of the author at the time of his writing this passage), or the offering up of the sins, as it were, as a sacrifice (Peshito, Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Michaelis); but the expiation of sins, conceived under the form of the result immediately of necessity attaching itself thereto, i.e. the putting away of sins, in such wise that it takes up again the idea expressed by εἰς ἀθέτησιν ἁμαρτίας, Hebrews 9:26, and becomes identical with ἀφαιρεῖν ἁμαρτίας, Hebrews 10:4. From a linguistic point of view this interpretation encounters no difficulty (against Delitzsch and others), since the ἀνά in ἀνενεγκεῖν was employed not otherwise than, e.g., very frequently the ἀνά in ἀναιρεῖν. How easily the notion of bearing in φέρειν could pass over into that of bearing away or doing away with, is shown in the kindred verb βαστάζειν, which is unquestionably used, Matthew 8:17, John 20:15, in the sense of auferre. Comp. also Galen, de compos. medicam. 2 : ψώρας τε θεραπεύει καὶ ὑπώπια βαστάζει.

πολλῶν] here too, as Hebrews 2:10 and often (see p. 122), lays stress only on the notion of multitude or plurality, without regard to the question whether this plurality constitutes the totality of mankind or not.

ἐκ δευτέρου ὀφθήσεται] shall appear the second time before the eyes of men, namely, at His Parousia. According to Bleek, there arises a difficulty from the words, if we explain προσενεχθείς of the death suffered upon earth, and not, with him, of an action accomplished in heaven, only after the resurrection, inasmuch as in the former case Christ already appeared in a visible form the second time after His resurrection. But such difficulty does not at all present itself in connection with that application of προσενεχθείς either. For ἐκ δευτέρου ὀφθήσεται can only be understood of a second appearing in a visible form upon earth; when, however, Christ after His resurrection appeared again to His disciples, He had not yet left the earth; those manifestations of the risen Christ before His ascension belonged consequently to His first visible coming forth upon earth.

χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας] forms the opposition to εἰς τὸ πολλῶν ἀνενεγκεῖν ἁμαρτίας, is therefore to be interpreted after the analogy of these words. (Erroneously Bleek, according to whom χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας forms the opposition to εἰς ἀθέτησιν ἁμαρτίας διὰ τῆς θυσίας αὐτοῦ πεφανέρωται, Hebrews 9:26.) Christ has once offered Himself up for the expiation of the sins of men; when He returns to earth the second time, He will not once more have to do with the expiation of human sin, but He will, apart from sin, or free from all relation to sin, appear to bring the σωτηρία to the believers. Free from the guilt and punishment of sin, Christ has already rendered His believers by means of His sacrificial death at His first appearing upon earth. Positively, He will bless them with salvation at His return. To combine χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας with τοῖς ἀπεκδεχομένοις by means of an hyperbaton (so Faber Stapulensis and Grotius) is grammatically impossible. The sense, however, cannot be either, as the Irvingites will, that Christ Himself will be free from sin at His second appearing, in opposition to the lust which they suppose to have attached to Him during His first appearing; for that Christ during this period too, notwithstanding all the temptation to which He was subject, was free from sin, the author certainly distinctly asserts at Hebrews 4:15. Incorrectly also does Bleek—after the example of Theodore of Mopsuestia ( τὸ γὰρ χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας τοῦτο λέγει, ὅτι μὴ κρατούσης ἔτι τῆς ἁμαρτίας οὕτω καὶ αὐτὸς ἔξω παντὸς ἀνθρωπίνου πάθους ὀφθήσεται τότε) and of Theodoret ( οὐκέτι τῆς ἁμαρτίας κρατούσης, ἀντὶ τοῦ χώραν οὐκέτι ἐχούσης κατὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων τῆς ἁμαρτίας)—take χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας as equivalent in signification to μὴ οὔσης ἁμαρτίας, so that the sense would be: “at the return of Christ sin will no longer be present, at least in the domain to which the operation of the Redeemer will relate.” Even in a grammatical respect this application of the words is inadmissible, since χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας must stand in relation to the subject in ὀφθήσεται, thus cannot be torn away from this reference by being made equivalent to an independent participial clause. But also the thought thence arising would be encumbered with difficulty, as Bleek himself admits, by the addition of “at least,” etc., although Bleek has sought to justify it. Additional misinterpretations of χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας are met with in other writers. Thus it is supposed to mean: without, again vicariously laden with the sins of men, being made sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) for them (Oecumenius, Theophylact, Clarius, Akersloot, Wolf, Carpzov, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Heinrichs, de Wette, Bloomfield, Bisping, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 545, Obs.; Alford, Maier, Moll, and others), which is already refuted by the erroneousness of explaining the foregoing ἀνενεγκεῖν of the vicarious bearing of sins; without the punishment of sin (Klee, al.); without the sufferings undertaken for sin (Tholuck); sine corporis, peccato obnoxii, mortalitate (Zeger); sine sacrificio pro peccato (Jac. Cappellus, Stuart, M‘Caul, and many); not as a sufferer for the guilt of others, but as the holy judge of the guilt of others (Ebrard, Delitzsch; similarly Stein and others), and so forth, all of which have the plain expression of the language against them.

εἰς σωτηρίαν] belongs to ὀφθήσεται, not, as it is true, upon the retention of the spurious addition (see the critical remark) διὰ πίστεως, it must be conjoined, to ἀπεκδεχομένοις (so Primasius, Faber Stapulensis, Camerarius, Wolf, Klee, Paulus, Stein). For τοῖς αὐτὸν ἀπεκδεχομένοις contains a non-essential element of the statement, Hebrews 9:28; εἰς σωτηρίαν, on the other hand, an essential element of the same. εἰς σωτηρίαν, namely, is the positive nearer defining of the negative χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας, and forms consequently, like the latter, an antithesis to εἰς τὸ πολλῶν ἀνενεγκεῖν ἁμαρτίας. The whole clause, however, ἐκ δευτέρουεἰς σωτηρίαν, corresponds to the second member of the clause, Hebrews 9:27 : μετὰ δὲ τοῦτο κρίσις.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Hebrews 9:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/hebrews-9.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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