Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
PRIEST IN THE
1. the sum--rather, "the principal point"; for the participle is
present, not past, which would be required if the meaning were
"the sum." "The chief point in (or, 'in the case'; so the Greek,
Heb 9:10, 15, 17)
the things which we are speaking," literally, "which are being spoken."
such--so transcendently pre-eminent, namely in this respect,
that "He is set on the right hand of," &c. Infinitely above all other
priests in this one grand respect, He exercises His priesthood IN HEAVEN, not in the earthly "holiest place"
The Levitical high priests, even when they entered the Holiest Place
once a year, only STOOD for a brief space
before the symbol of God's throne; but Jesus SITS on the throne of the Divine Majesty in the
heaven itself, and this for ever
(Heb 10:11, 12).
2. minister--The Greek term implies priestly
ministry in the temple.
the sanctuary--Greek, "the holy places"; the Holy of
Holies. Here the heavenly sanctuary is meant.
the true--the archetypal and antitypical, as contrasted with the
typical and symbolical
Greek "alethinos" (used here) is opposed to that which
does not fulfil its idea, as for instance, a type;
"alethes," to that which is untrue and unreal, as a lie. The
measure of alethes is reality; that of alethinos,
ideality. In alethes the idea corresponds to the thing; in
alethinos, the thing to the idea [KALMIS in
His body. Through His glorified body as the tabernacle, Christ
passes into the heavenly "Holy of Holies," the immediate immaterial
presence of God, where He intercedes for us. This tabernacle in which
God dwells, is where God in Christ meets us who are "members of His
body, of His flesh, and of His bones." This tabernacle answers to the
heavenly Jerusalem, where God's visible presence is to be
manifested to His perfected saints and angels, who are united in Christ
the Head; in contradistinction to His personal invisible
presence in the Holy of Holies unapproachable save to Christ.
"Word . . . dwelt among us," Greek, "tabernacled."
pitched--Greek, "fixed" firmly.
not man--as Moses
3. For--assigning his reason for calling him "minister of the
somewhat--He does not offer again His once for all
completed sacrifice. But as the high priest did not enter the
Holy Place without blood, so Christ has entered the heavenly
Holy Place with His own blood. That "blood of sprinkling" is in
heaven. And is thence made effectual to sprinkle believers as the end
of their election
The term "consecrate" as a priest, is literally, to fill the
hand, implying that an offering is given into the hands of the
priest, which it is his duty to present to God. If a man be a priest,
he must have some gift in his hands to offer. Therefore, Christ, as a
priest, has His blood as His oblation to offer before God.
4. Implying that Christ's priestly office is exercised in
heaven, not in earth; in the power of His resurrection life, not of His
For--The oldest manuscripts read, "accordingly then."
if, &c.--"if He were on earth, He would not even (so the
Greek) be a priest"
Heb 7:13, 14);
therefore, certainly, He could not exercise the high priestly function
in the earthly Holy of Holies.
seeing that, &c.--"since there are" already, and exist now (the
temple service not yet being set aside, as it was on the destruction of
Jerusalem), "those (the oldest manuscripts omit 'priests') who offer
the (appointed) gifts according to (the) law." Therefore, His
sacerdotal "ministry" must be "in the
heavens," not on earth
"If His priesthood terminated on the earth, He would not even be a
priest at all" [BENGEL]. I conceive that the
denial here of Christ's priesthood on earth does not extend to
the sacrifice on the cross which He offered as a priest on
earth; but applies only to the crowning work of His priesthood, the
bringing of the blood into the Holy of Holies, which He could
not have done in the earthly Holy of Holies, as not being an
Aaronic priest. The place (the heavenly Holy of Holies) was as
essential to the atonement being made as the oblation (the
blood). The body was burnt without the gate; but the sanctification was
effected by the presentation of the blood within the sanctuary by the
high priest. If on earth, He would not be a priest in the sense of
the law of Moses ("according to the law" is emphatic).
5. Who--namely, the priests.
serve unto the example--not "after the example," as
explains. But as in
"serve the tabernacle," that is, do it service: so "serve (the
tabernacle which is but) the outline and shadow." The
Greek for "example" is here taken for the sketch, copy,
or suggestive representation of the heavenly sanctuary, which is
the antitypical reality and primary archetype. "The mount" answers to
admonished--The Greek especially applies to divine
responses and commands.
to make--"perfectly": so the Greek.
See--Take heed, accurately observing the pattern, that so thou
mayest make, &c.
the pattern--an accurate representation, presented in vision to
Moses, of the heavenly real sanctuary. Thus the earthly tabernacle was
copy of a copy; but the latter accurately representing the grand
archetypical original in heaven
6. now--not time; but "as it is."
more excellent ministry--than any earthly ministry.
by how much--in proportion as.
mediator--coming between us and God, to carry into effect God's
covenant with us. "The messenger (angel) of the covenant."
which--Greek, "one which" [ALFORD]:
inasmuch as being one which.
established--Greek, "enacted as a law." So
"law of faith"; and
Ro 8:2; 9:31,
apply "law" to the Gospel covenant. It is implied hereby, the Gospel is
founded on the law, in the spirit and essence of the latter.
Heb 8:10, 11.
The Old Testament promises were mainly of earthly, the New Testament
promises, of heavenly blessings: the exact fulfilment of the earthly
promises was a pledge of the fulfilment of the heavenly. "Like a
physician who prescribes a certain diet to a patient, and then when the
patient is beginning to recover, changes the diet, permitting what he
had before forbidden; or as a teacher gives his pupil an elementary
lesson at first; preparatory to leading him to a higher stage": so
Rabbi Albo in his Ikkarim. Compare
Jer 7:21, 22,
which shows that God's original design in the old covenant ritual
system was, that it should be pedagogical, as a schoolmaster leading
and preparing men for Christ.
7. Same reasoning as in
faultless--perfect in all its parts, so as not to be found
fault with as wanting anything which ought to be there: answering
all the purposes of a law. The law in its morality was
blameless (Greek, "amomos"); but in saving
us it was defective, and so not faultless (Greek,
should no place have been sought--as it has to be now; and as it
is sought in the prophecy
The old covenant would have anticipated all man's wants, so as to give
no occasion for seeking something more perfectly adequate.
Compare on the phrase "place . . . sought,"
8. finding fault with them--the people of the old covenant, who
were not made "faultless" by it
and whose disregard of God's covenant made Him to "regard
The law is not in itself blamed, but the people who had
not observed it.
Eze 11:19; 36:25-27).
At Rama, the headquarters of Nebuzar-adan, whither the captives of
Jerusalem had been led, Jeremiah uttered this prophecy of Israel's
restoration under another David, whereby Rachel, wailing for her lost
children, shall be comforted; literally in part fulfilled at the
restoration under Zerubbabel, and more fully to be hereafter at
Israel's return to their own land; spiritually fulfilled in the Gospel
covenant, whereby God forgives absolutely His people's sins, and writes
His law by His Spirit on the hearts of believers, the true Israel.
"This prophecy forms the third part of the third trilogy of the three
great trilogies into which Jeremiah's prophecies may be divided:
Jeremiah 21-25, against the shepherds of the people; Jeremiah 26-29,
against the false prophets; Jeremiah 30 and 31, the book of
restoration" [DELITZSCH in ALFORD].
Behold, the days come--the frequent formula introducing a
make--Greek, "perfect"; "consummate." A suitable
expression as to the new covenant, which perfected what the old could
not (compare end of
with end of
Israel . . . Judah--Therefore, the ten tribes, as well
as Judah, share in the new covenant. As both shared the exile, so both
shall share the literal and spiritual restoration.
9. Not according to, &c.--very different from, and far superior
to, the old covenant, which only "worked wrath"
through man's "not regarding" it. The new covenant enables us to obey
by the Spirit's inward impulse producing love because of the
forgiveness of our sins.
made with--rather as Greek, "made to": the Israelites
being only recipients, not coagents [ALFORD]
I took them by the hand--as a father takes his child by the hand
to support and guide his steps. "There are three periods: (1) that of
the promise; (2) that of the pedagogical instruction; (3) that of
fulfilment" [BENGEL]. The second, that of the
pedagogical pupilage, began at the exodus from Egypt.
I regarded them not--English Version,
translates, "Although I was an husband unto them." Paul's
translation here is supported by the Septuagint, Syriac, and
GESENIUS, and accords with the kindred
Arabic. The Hebrews regarded not God, so God, in
righteous retribution, regarded them not. On "continued
not in my covenant," Schelling observes: The law was in fact the mere
ideal of a religious constitution: in practice, the Jews
were throughout, before the captivity, more or less polytheists, except
in the time of David, and the first years of Solomon (the type of
Messiah's reign). Even after the return from Babylon, idolatry was
succeeded by what was not much better, formalism and hypocrisy
The law was (1) a typical picture, tracing out the features of the
glorious Gospel to be revealed; (2) it had a delegated virtue from the
Gospel, which ceased, therefore, when the Gospel came.
10. make with--Greek, "make unto."
Israel--comprising the before disunited
ten tribes' kingdom, and that of Judah. They are united in the
spiritual Israel, the elect Church, now: they shall be so in the
literal restored kingdom of Israel to come.
I will put--literally, "(I) giving." This is the first of the
mind--their intelligent faculty.
in, &c.--rather, " ON their hearts." Not on
tables of stone as the law
and I will be to them a God, &c.--fulfilled first in the outward
kingdom of God. Next, in the inward Gospel kingdom. Thirdly, in the
kingdom at once outward and inward, the spiritual being manifested
Compare a similar progression as to the priesthood (1)
This progressive advance of the significance of the Old Testament
institutions, &c., says THOLUCK, shows the
transparency and prophetic character which runs throughout the
11. Second of the "better promises"
they shall not--"they shall not have to teach"
his neighbour--So Vulgate reads; but the oldest
manuscripts have "his (fellow) citizen."
brother--a closer and more endearing relation than fellow
from the least to the greatest--Greek, "from the little
one to the great one."
"He that is feeble among them shall be as David." Under the old
covenant, the priest's lips were to keep knowledge, and at his mouth
the people were to seek the law: under the new covenant, the Holy
Spirit teaches every believer. Not that the mutual teaching of brethren
is excluded while the covenant is being promulgated; but when once the
Holy Spirit shall have fully taught all the remission of their sins and
inward sanctification, then there shall be no further' need of man
teaching his fellow man. Compare
1Th 4:9; 5:1,
an earnest of that perfect state to come. On the way to that perfect
state every man should teach his neighbor. "The teaching is not hard
and forced, because grace renders all teachable; for it is not the
ministry of the letter, but of the spirit
The believer's firmness does not depend on the authority of
human teachers. God Himself teaches" [BENGEL]. The
New Testament is shorter than the Old Testament, because, instead of
the details of an outward letter law, it gives the all-embracing
principles of the spiritual law written on the conscience,
leading one to spontaneous instinctive obedience in outward details.
None save the Lord can teach effectually, "know the Lord."
12. For, &c.--the third of "the better promises"
The forgiveness of sins is, and will be, the root of this new
state of inward grace and knowledge of the Lord. Sin being abolished,
sinners obtain grace.
I will be merciful--Greek, "propitious"; the
Hebrew, "salach," is always used of God only in relation
and their iniquities--not found in Vulgate, Syriac,
Coptic, and one oldest Greek manuscript; but most oldest
manuscripts have the words (compare
remember no more--Contrast the law,
made . . . old--"hath (at the time of speaking the
prophecy) antiquated the first covenant." From the time of God's
mention of a NEW covenant (since God's words are
all realities) the first covenant might be regarded as ever dwindling
away, until its complete abolition on the actual introduction of the
Gospel. Both covenants cannot exist side by side. Mark how verbal
inspiration is proved in Paul's argument turning wholly on the one word
"NEW" (covenant), occurring but once in the Old
that which decayeth--Greek, "that which is being
antiquated," namely, at the time when Jeremiah spake. For in Paul's
time, according to his view, the new had absolutely set aside the old
covenant. The Greek for (Kaine) New (Testament)
implies that it is of a different kind and supersedes the
old: not merely recent (Greek, "nea"). Compare
Ho 3:4, 5.