discuss. The Hebrews in general placed full confidence in the efficacy of the Levi-
tical sacrifices to purify them from sin at least, to remove the penalty of it. Every
450 COMMENTARY ON HEB. X. 1.
person, who is conscious of sin, and knows that it subjects him to the penalty of the
Divine law, must naturally feel a deeper interest in the question, Whether, and how,
sin can be pardoned ? than in any other. It was very natural for Jews who had
been educated in the full belief of the efficacy of the sacrifices instituted by Moses,
to cling to them as the foundation of their dearest and highest hopes, viz. the
means of pardon, and restoration to Divine favour. It was an attachment to the
Jewish ritual, built upon hopes of such a nature, which rendered the Mosaic religion
so attractive to the Hebrews, and endangered their adherence to a Christian pro-
fession. There was much, too, in the pomp and solemnity of their rites, which
served to interest the feelings, and delight the fancy, of the worshippers. It is on
account of the strong attachment which they cherished for their system of sacrifices
and purifications, that our author is so urgent in showing that real pardon with
God could not be procured by any or all of these means. The blood of Christ only
cleanses from sin, and procures acceptance for sinners with God, as their spiritual
Accordingly, in ch. ix. he declares that the tabernacle, with all its sacred utensils
and services, was only an image or symbol (TrapcrjSoX?)) of what is real and spiritual
in the heavenly world, a copy merely of the cKrivi) ov xpo7roiVo, ch. ix. 911,
or a mere vTrofcty/za T>V iv ovpavoTe, ch. ix. 23. The Jewish sacrifices availed for
nothing more than external purification, ch. x. 10. 13; while the blood of Christ
purified the soul or mind (avvti^iv) from the uncleanness of sin, and rendered it
capable of offering acceptable service to the living God, ch. ix. 14. After adducing
various considerations, to show how extensively the rites of the law, which required
the exhibition and application of blood, prefigured that atoning blood which Jesus
offered, to make expiation for sin, and that his death, once for all, was sufficient for
this purpose, he proceeds, in ch. x. more deeply to impress the great subject of
atoning sacrifice by Christ upon the minds of his readers, knowing that very much
depended on the conviction which might be attained in respect to this point. Could
they be persuaded, that Jesus had himself offered the only sacrifice which made real
expiation for sin ; and that this, once offered, was an all-sufficient sacrifice ; then there
could be no rational inducement for them to abandon their spiritual hopes, and return
to their confidence in the rites of the Levitical law.
The repetition of this subject is for the purpose of suggesting some new arguments
in order to enforce it; as may be seen in ver. 5 18.
Ver. 1. 2/w-mv yap tywv . . . Trpayjuarwv ; moreover, the law, which
presented only an imperfect sketch of future blessings, and not a full
representation of those things. S*aa and ek<W are related, as the Latin
umbra and effigies are. The former is an imperfect sketch, a mere
outline (as we say,) a slight representation or resemblance ; the latter
is a picture or image filled out or completed, and made, in all its
COMMENTARY ON HEB. X. V 2. 451
minuter parts, to resemble the original. Not that these words are
always employed with a sedulous attention to these nice shades of sig-
nification ; but in the case before us they are so, for they are evidently
contrasted with each other. The meaning of the writer is, " The law
did not even go so far, as to exhibit a fall image of future blessings,
but only a slight adumbration. "E^wv having, containing, possessing,
affording, or (ad sensum) exhibiting, presenting, so as to accord with
the nature of the image which follows.
Nojuoc means here, the sacrificial ritual law, of which he had be-
fore been speaking ; the old /THS., dm^r/icq, which was to be abolished.
The whole law of Moses, that is, the moral code which it contains, is
not the subject of consideration or assertion here. MeAXovrwy ayaStiv,
the same as in ch. ix. 11. TWV Trpayjuarwv, i. e. TOVT&V, viz. the future
blessings just before mentioned.
Kar' iviavTov . . . reXeiwcrai, by the yearly sacrifices themselves,
which are continually offered, can never fully accomplish what is needed
for those who approach [the altar.] By the Kar' iviavrov Svaiaig, the
writer means particularly to designate those which were offered on the
great day of national atonement ; which were considered the most
sacred and efficacious of all, inasmuch as the high priest then entered
the inner sanctuary, arid presented himself before the mercy seat.
Upofffyepovffi, with a nominative not expressed, is equivalent to the pas-
sive voice here, as often elsewhere, agreeably to the Hebrew idiom.
Et'e ro SirjvEKtg, without cessation, continually, they were repeated
each successive year. The word is peculiar to this epistle ; and
Schneider has omitted it in his Lexicon ; but Elian, Appian, Diodorus
Siculus, and Symmachus, employ it.
Tovc Trpoaepxppevovc means, the worshippers who approach the altar, or
the temple, or the Divine presence in the temple. The sense is for sub-
stance the same, whichever of these be understood. For reXeiwcrai, see
on Heb. ix. 9, and vii. 11. The sentiment of the verse corresponds very
exactly with that in ch. ix. 9, 10.
Ver. 2. 'ETTfi OVK av tTravaavTO irpofffapofievai, for otherwise, i. e. if
the sacrifices could have perfected those who presented them, would not
the offerings have ceased? To Trpoo^epojufvcu most critics subjoin elvai
understood, which would be equivalent to the infinitive TrpofftyepeaSai,
rendering the phrase thus, " They (i. e. the sacrifices) had ceased to be
offered." The sense of the phrase, thus explained, is the same that I
452 COMMENTARY ON HEB. X. 3.
have given to it. But TTjOoo-^epojun'ou [-Swiat] i-xavcavTo seems to rue
more facile than the other construction.
Ata ro n^tn'iav .... Ke^a^apperov^, because the worshippers, once for
all made clean, would have no longer been conscious of sins. Aarpevovra^
designates those who brought the offerings or sacrifices, and on whose
account they were presented to God, i. e. the worshippers. "A7ra
denotes here, as in the preceding chapter, once for all ; the nature of
the argument demanding this sense. For if a worshipper at one time
obtained pardon, or was made clean only in respect to past offences,
(and surely expiatory sacrifices were offered only with respect to the past,)
this would not prevent the dread of punishment at a future period, when
new offences would have been committed. To be purified once for all,
then, was necessary, in order to quiet the apprehensions of such a wor-
Ke/ca^ajOjuej'ovc, purified, atoned for. As KaSapifa means, in Hebrew
Greek, to make expiation for, to purify by expiatory offering, to pro-
nounce or declare one to be pure ; so KeKaSapfjivovg of course means,
those atoned for, those for whom expiation is made, those declared to be
pure, or rendered pure, and consequently restored to favour.
SvvetcJr/o-iv means not merely, conscience, but consciousness, opinion
judgment, sentiment, apprehension. Hvvel^trtv d^apruov is an appre-
hension of the consequences of sin, or, a consciousness that one has sub-
jected himself to them, a consciousness of guilt. 'A/za/mwv may mean
here, (as often before,) punishment of sin, consequences of sin, like the
corresponding Hebrew nNDH, fig, ^) ; or it may mean sin, guilt,
transgression. The writer, however, does not mean to say, that the
pardon of sin takes away from him, who obtains it, the consciousness
that he has once been the subject of moral turpitude. This the blood of
Christ itself does not effect ; and in heaven, the consciousness of this
will for ever raise high the notes of gratitude for redeeming mercy. But
pardon may and does remove the apprehension of penalty for sin ; or if
by dfjLapnioy we understand sin, guilt, simply, then, to be made clean
(KtKaSapuevovz) from this, so as to have no consciousness of it, is so to be
purified, as not to contract the stain of it.
Ver. 3. 'AXX' kv avra~ig . . . ZVLCLVTUV, nay rather, by these [sacrifices]
yearly remembrance of sins is made. 'AXXa, but rather, nay rather,
qnin, guinimo ; or, (as I have rendered it in the version,) on the contrary,
but. AVTCUQ agrees with Svffiaig implied; see in ver. 1. On the day of
COMMENTARY ON HEB. X. 4, 5. 453
annual atonement, the sacrifices that were offered being of an expiatory
nature, and being designed as propitiatory offerings, they were of course
adapted to remind the Hebrews of the desert of sin, i. e. of the punish-
ment or penalty due to it. As they continued to be offered yearly, so
those who brought them must be reminded, through their whole lives,
of new desert of punishment. The writer means, however, that a yearly
remembrance of sin in a spiritual respect, not merely in a civil or eccle-
siastical one, was made ; for in this sense, the yearly atonement pro-
cured pardon. In the other, it did not; as he now proceeds to assert,
Ver. 4. 'Advvarov yap ajuapriae, it is, indeed, impossible that
the blood of bulls and goats should remove the penalty due to sin.
'Atyatpeiv ajuapr/ae means, to take away sin, in the sense of removing
the penalty or consequences of sin ; for this is the subject of which the
writer is now treating. That the author has reference to the conse-
quences of sin in a future world, or to the punishment of it which God
inflicts as the spiritual judge of men, is evident from the whole tenor of
his discussion. One so profoundly versed as he was in all the Jewish ritual
law, surely was not ignorant of the fact, that civil and ecclesiastical par-
don for offences of various kinds, was every day procured by the blood
of bulls and goats, and this, too, agreeably to Divine appointment.
Ver. 5. Nothing could be more directly in opposition to Jewish pre-
judices, respecting the importance and value of the Levitical sacrifices,
than the assertion just made. Hence the writer deems it prudent to make
his appeal to the Scriptures, for confirmation of what he had advanced.
This he does by quoting a passage from Ps. xl., which he applies to the
Messiah, and to the efficacy of the sin-offering made by him.
Aio Eto-epxojuevoe eiQ TOV KOff^or, \lyei, wherefore, entering into the
world, he [Christ] says ; i e. because the blood of goats and bullocks
is not efficacious in procuring pardon for sin, Christ, when entering
into the world, is represented by the Psalmist as saying, viz* in Psalm
xl. 7, seq.
Qvffiav fcai 7rpoff<f>opav OVK eSe'Xrjo-ae, in sacrifice and oblation thou
hast no pleasure. Qvaia means, a sacrifice of some slain beast, from
Ovw, to kill. So the corresponding Hebrew rOT ? from H^T, mactare.
IIpo(r00joa is any thing offered or presented ; and here it means, other
oblations than those of sacrifices, such as thank-offerings, libations, &c.
The corresponding Hebrew niTlD, gift, present, comes from the obso-
lete root n3, to present, Arabic ^-^ the same. OVK tOe\ri(rac,
Hebrew .HSEn tib t is capable of being translated, thou hast not
454 COMMENTARY ON HEB. X. 5.
required, or, thou hast not desired, thou hast no pleasure in, or desire
for. The latter is, doubtless, the shade of meaning here. The sentiment
is not, that God had not at all required sacrifices and oblations, for
this he had done : but that they were, in a comparative sense, of
little value; they were insufficient in themselves to accomplish the
higher purposes of his spiritual law, and therefore he had no pleasure
Sw/za e KarrjpTicrto) JJLOI, but a body hast thou prepared for me. A
very difficult and much agitated expression. If we recur, in the first
place, to the original Hebrew, we find the corresponding words there to
be, 4'JTni) D^JTN, mine ears hast thou opened. The verb Jin3 (from
PHI)) means, primarily, to dig, to hollow out, e. g. a well, Gen. xxvi. 25 ;
a pit, Ps. vii. 16 ; or pit-fall, Ps. Ivii. 7 ; a sepulchre or grave, Gen.
1. 5 ; 2 Chron. xvi. 14. The verb PH3 has also the meaning of pur-
chasing, or procuring, e. g. water, Deut. ii. 6 ; particularly of procuring
a supply of food and drink, 2 Kings, vi. 23 ; also of other things, e. g.
a wife, Hosea iii. 2, where n"13N has a Daghesh euphonic in the D.
These are all the meanings of this word, which the Hebrew Scriptures
present. In translating v /V"13 D^tN, then, we may render it either
mine ears hast thou opened, which is only a small deflexion from the
literal sense, (for to dig out a pit or well, is to open one ;) or we may
render it, ears hast thou provided for me, in which sense the LXX. seem
plainly to have understood ^^3, when they rendered it by fcar??pr/crw.
The former sense seems to be more analogical with the nature of the
subject, and with the Hebrew idiom. The Hebrews speak of opening
the ears, and uncovering them, in order to designate the idea of prompt
obedience, of attentive listening to the commands of any one. E. g.
Isa. 1. 4, we have ^)ft$7 ]T& ^ "V??S ne excited my ear to hear ; and
in ver. 5 is an equivalent expression, ]T& v HJ13, he opened mine ear,
which is explained in the corresponding parallelism, by *<HHD 5$7 ^?-^1,
and I was not refractory, i. e. I was obedient. So ]fN PT73 to uncover,
to disclose the ear, means, to communicate any thing, or reveal it to
another ; e. g. 1 Sam. xx. 2. 12, 13; ch. xxii. 17. From such forms of
expression, in Hebrew, with such a meaning, we may very naturally con-
clude that *h JVT3 By?N ( in P S - x l- 7 >) means, thou hast opened mine
ears, i. e. thou hast made me obedient, or, I am entirely devoted to tfy
service. And Ps. xl. 8, 9, which exhibits the consequence of having the
ears opened, leads us almost unavoidably to make such a conclusion,
respecting the meaning of the phrase in miestion.
COMMENTARY ON HEB. X. 6, 7. 455
If this view of the meaning be correct, then another interpretation,
put upon the phrase by many critics, is not well founded. They render
it, mine ears hast thou bored through. They suppose the expression to
be figurative, and to be borrowed from the Hebrew usage of boring
through, with an awl, the ear of a person who became the voluntary
servant of another, as described in Exod. xxi. 6. Deut. xv. 17. Mine
ears hast thou bored through would then mean, " I am, through life,
thy voluntary servant," or, " I will be perpetually obedient to thee."
This sense, it will be seen, agrees in general with that put upon the
phrase by the other mode of explanation. But the source of explanation,
here adopted, does not seem to be admissible. In Exod. xxi. 6, the
verb bore through is y2H ? (not PHD, as in Ps. xl. 7 ;) and the instru-
ment by which it is done, is named ^iHD^ an awl, a derivative of the
verb y^l. So in Deut. xv. 17, the instrument named is the same JftTlfc,
and the action of boring through is expressed by faTN3, HAT)]!, thou shalt
put it through his ear, (not JT"]^) That J72H and iT)3 indicate very
distinct actions, is sufficiently plain ; for to bore through any thing, and
to dig or hollow out a pit, grave, or well, are surely very different
actions, indicated in Hebrew by verbs as different as the English dig
and bore through. Moreover, in Exod. xxi. 6, and Deut. xv. 17, the
singular ]T& is used, and not as here D^TN both ears.
V i * i T
The original, then, in Ps. xl. 7. T? DH3 0.^!** means, mine ears hast
thou opened, i. e. me hast thou made readily or attentively obedient ; at
least, this seems to be the meaning, if we make Isa. 1. 4, 5, our exegeti-
cal guide. See EXCURSUS XX.
Ver. 6. 'OXoKauru^tara Kai ev^oKijaag, in whole burnt-offerings
and [sacrifices] for sin, thou hast no delight. 'OXoicavrayiara means,
such offerings as were entirely consumed upon the altar ; so the corre-
sponding Hebrew n?ty signifies. Utpl apapriag is an elliptical expres-
sion, answering to the Hebrew original HN&n, and which, completed,
would be Qvaiai Trept d/^aprme, sin-offerings. OVK evdoKnvas, Hebrew
FbtfV} ^, requirest not, desirest not, demandest not, hast wo
Ver. 7. Tore tiirov, therefore I said, or, then I said. The first of
these versions is approved by eminent critics. They suggest, that if
TOTE (Hebrew ftf) be referred to time merely, it seems very difficult to
ascertain what is the precise meaning ; for at what particular time was
it, that God did not delight in whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices for
sin ? It may, however, be said, that the speaker here refers to the time
456 COMMENTARY ON HEB. X. 7.
when he s disclosing these views respecting sacrifices. Supposing this
to be the case, TOTE would mean then, i. e. immediately after this senti-
ment was declared ; which would be very congruous with the context.
If TOTE be rendered therefore, the meaning will be, " because thou hadst
no pleasure in sacrifices, therefore I said," &c. Strictly speaking,
nowever, TOTE is not illative. I prefer the other rendering.
'Idov iJKu .... SeXrjfjia aov, Lo! / come, God, to do thy will. (In
the volume of the book it is written respecting me.) 'I^ow //KW expresses
the readiness of him who speaks, to obey the will of God.
'Ej> KEtpaXifii (3ij3\iov is a much agitated expression. The Hebrew is
simply ISD'rfejp^ in the roll, or volume of the book. But how does
Kttyakih /3i/3Xiov correspond to this ? Ke^aXte denotes the end or extre-
mity of any thing, as being the head or summit of it. The Hebrew H3D
/3t/3XiV, was a manuscript rolled upon a cylinder of light wood, at the
extremity of which were heads or knobs, for the sak>e of convenience to
those who used the manuscript. The knob or head, KEtyaXlg, is here taken
as a part, which is descriptive or emblematic of the whole. Ke^aXte fiifiXiov
means, therefore, a (3i(3\iov or *")DD ? with a re^aXig, i. e. a manuscript roll ;
which was the form of the Jewish sacred books, and is still retained in
all their synagogues. It coincides, then, with regard to signification,
very exactly with the Hebrew ")3D J"! 1 ?^ of which it is a translation.
But what volume of manuscript-roll is here meant? Plainly, the
one which was already extant when the Psalmist was writing. If the
Psalmist was David himself, (as the title of the Psalm seems to affirm,)
the only parts of the Hebrew Scriptures then extant, and, of course, the
only part to which he could refer, must have been the Pentateuch, and
perhaps the book of Joshua. Beyond any reasonable doubt, then, the
jc0a\iff fitflXiov pDD rblft} was the Pentateuch.
But what is there written, and how, respecting the personage who
speaks in the fortieth Psalm ? Rosenmiiller (on Ps. xl. 7.) translates
the Hebrew v# Q^ITO (yyp a7rrai 7r P* *fow) by prescriptum est mihi,
and appeals to 2 Kings, xxii. 13, for confirmation of this version. He
compares, also, Gen. ii. 16. Ezra i. 2 ; where ^ is used after JfJS and
1p3 verbs of commanding or enjoining. Gesenius approves this version,
but produces no other instances to confirm it, which are of the same
kind. He appeals, indeed, to Esth. ix. 23, where ^ is used after 1/13 ;
and to Hos. viii. 12. 2 Kings, xvii. 37, and Prov. xxii. 20, where ^ is
used after the same verb, in order to confirm this interpretation. But
the three last cases plainly denote nothing more, than that the matter
COMMENTARY ON HEB. X. 7. 457
referred to was written for the use of another, or addressed to him.
Such, too, is the case with the other example in Esth. ix. 23, as may be
clearly seen by comparing Esth. ix. 20. With deference to the opinion
of these very distinguished critics, I must still doubt, therefore, whether
;)} HTI3 means prcescribere alicui. At most, there is only 2 Kings
xxii. 13, which is apposite to establish this signification ; and even here
the meaning in question is not necessary ; for ^ v^ H'WISH may be ren-
dered, with about equal significancy, which was written in respect to
us, or concerning us, i. e. for our sake, or to regulate our duties. The
LXX. then, who translated v^ ^1/13 by ytypciTrrcu Tn-pt epov, translated
it agreeably to the usual idiom of the Hebrew. The apostle, in our text,
has evidently recognized the correctness of this version. The difference
in meaning, between prescribed to me, and written concerning me, is a
considerable one in this case. The first version would represent the
speaker as saying, " I come, O God, to do thy will, [i. e. my duty,] as
I am commanded in the Scriptures to do." The second, " I come to
offer my body, or myself, in place of the legal sacrifices; for, in the
Scriptures, [i. e. in the law of Moses,] this is written concerning me."
Now, as to a choice of versions here, it will not be doubted, that the
latter version accords with the reasoning and design of the apostle, or
rather, that it is important to his purpose. The first version would not,
indeed, contradict the design of the apostle ; for he might say, it is pre-
scribed in the Scriptures, that the Messiah should do the will of God,
i. e. make himself an offering for sin. Compare Luke xxiv. 25 27. 46.
Acts xvii. 2, 3. 1 Pet. i. 11, 12. But I apprehend the meaning of the
writer to be, that the book of the law, which prescribes sacrifices that
were merely ovacu or 7rapa/3oXcu of the great atoning sacrifice by Christ,
did itself teach, by the use of these, that something of a higher and
better nature was to be looked for than Levitical rites. In a word, it
pointed to the Messiah ; or, some of the contents of the written law had
respect to him. So Michaelis, Storr, and others. Still, yeypaTrrcu 7rpt
ijjiov may have respect to declarations in the Pentateuch, of a different
and more direct nature. That there are such, Jesus himself affirms,
John v. 46. So Paul, Acts xxvi. 22, 23. Gal. iii. 16, seq. Construed
in either way, the amount of the phrase under consideration is, " In the
law of Moses I am described as coming to do thy will," i. e. to offer my
body as a sacrifice : compare ver. 10.
That the Hebrews, to whom the apostle addressed himself, would
recognize such an affirmation, and feel the force of it, seems to be
458 COMMENTARY ON HEB. X. 8, 9.
nearly certain, from the fact, that the writer without any hesitation
addresses it to them, in order to produce conviction in their minds with
respect to the point which he is labouring to establish. Certain it is,
then, that both he and the Christian Hebrews to whom he wrote be-
lieved that the Jewish ritual had respect to the sacrifice of the Mes-
siah, and that he was virtually revealed, in the law of Moses, as a
suffering Saviour, making atonement for the sins of his people. Were
this not so, then the argument in Heb. x. 5 10, would be destitute of
any real foundation, and consequently of any force, as a proof of what
the writer is labouring to establish.
'O 6eoc, Heb. VTOfc my God. If the Messiah be considered as
uttering this before his incarnation, and as Logos, then would it be an
embarrassing circumstance to explain it, how in his simple Divine
nature he could speak of " my God." But if considered as a prophetic
anticipation of what he would say, during his incarnation, (and so it
clearly seems to me the writer intends it should be considered) then
o QeuQ, or 6 Qtog //ou, accords with the usage of the Saviour in addressing
the Father, as disclosed in the Gospel ; Matt, xxvii. 46, al.
To S-eXj/juct ffov. What this will is, see in ver. 10.
Ver. 8. 'Avwrepov Xeywv .... ev^oK^a-ag, first, he says, " Sacrifice,
and oblation, and whole burnt-offering, and [offering] for sin, thou
desirest not, nor hast pleasure in them." 'Avwrcpoj', literally above,
which is equivalent here, to first, or in the first place.
"AinvEQ Kara TOV vvpov TrpocrfytpovTai which are presented according
to the law. This is a parenthetic explanation, added by the writer, in
order to show that the same legal sacrifices, in which the Hebrews were
in danger of placing their confidence, were those which must be super-
seded by the death of Christ.
Ver. 9. Tore cipqrc v .... ro S&tyMt ffov, and then says, " Lo, I come
to do thy will." We might expect e'tTrwv here, instead of eiprjKsv, for
the regular construction of the sentence would seem to require it.
But here is a sentence constructed in the Hebrew manner, which not
unfrequently begins with a participle in the first clause, and then uses
a verb in the second, when both stand in the same relation to the sequel
of the sentence, see Heb. Gram. 212. 2. It is evident here, thatd^wre-