Then said I, See, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do your will, O God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Lo, I come.—Rather, Lo, I am come—I am here. The original meaning of the following words is not quite certain. The Hebrew admits of two renderings. (1) Then I said, Lo, I am come! in the roll of the Book it is prescribed unto me; (2) Then I said, Lo, I am come with the roll of the Book that is written concerning me. The “roll of the Book” is the roll containing the Divine Law. The next clause is quite distinct in construction: “I delight to do Thy will, O God; yea, Thy law is within my heart.” The omission of the words “I delight,” alters the connection of the words; but it will be seen that, though the Hebrew verses are condensed, their meaning is exactly preserved.
Lo, I come - Come into the world; Hebrews 10:5. It is not easy to see how this could be applied to David in any circumstance of his life. There was no situation in which he could say that, since sacrifices and offerings were not what was demanded, he came to do the will of God in the place or stead of them. The time here referred to by the word "then" is when it was manifest that sacrifices and offerings for sin would not answer all the purposes desirable, or when in view of that fact the purpose of the Redeemer is conceived as formed to enter upon a work which would effect what they could not.
In the volume of the book it is written of me - The word rendered here "volume " - κεφαλίς kephalis - means properly "a little head;" and then a knob, and here refers doubtless to the head or knob of the rod on which the Hebrew manuscripts were rolled. Books were usually so written as to be rolled up, and when they were read they were unrolled at one end of the manuscript, and rolled up at the other as fast as they were read; see notes on Luke 4:17. The rods on which they were rolled had small heads, either for the purpose of holding them, or for ornament, and hence, the name head came metaphorically to be given to the roll or volume. But what volume is here intended? And where is that written which is here referred to? If David was the author of the Psalm from which this is quoted Psalm 40, then the book or volume which was then in existence must have been principally, if not entirely, the five books of Moses, and perhaps the books of Job, Joshua, and Judges, with probably a few of the Psalms. It is most natural to understand this of the Pentateuch, or the five books of Moses, as the word "volume" at that time would undoubtedly have most naturally suggested that.
But plainly, this could not refer to David himself, for in what part of the Law of Moses, or in any of the volumes then extant, can a reference of this kind be found to David? There is no promise, no intimation that he would come to "do the will of God" with a view to effect what could not be done by the sacrifices prescribed by the Jewish Law. The reference of the language, therefore, must be to the Messiah - to some place where it is represented that he would come to effect by his obedience what could not be done by the sacrifices and offerings under the Law. But still, in the books of Moses, this language is not literally found, and the meaning must be, that this was the language which was there implied respecting the Messiah; or this was the substance of the description given of him, that he would como to take the place of those sacrifices, and by his obedience unto death would accomplish what they could not do.
They had a reference to him; and it was contemplated in their appointment that their inefficiency would be such that there should be felt a necessity for a higher sacrifice, and when he should come they would all be done away. The whole language of the institution of sacrifices, and of the Mosaic economy, was, that a Saviour would hereafter come to do the will of God in making an atonement for the sin of the world. That there are places in the books of Moses which refer to the Saviour, is expressly affirmed by Christ himself John 5:46, and by the apostles (compare Acts 26:22, Acts 26:3), and that the general spirit of the institutions of Moses had reference to him is abundantly demonstrated in this Epistle. The meaning here is, "I come to do thy will in making an atonement, for no other offering would expiate sin. That I would do this is the language of the Scriptures which predict my coming, and of the whole spirit and design of the ancient dispensation."
To do thy will, O God - This expresses the amount of all that the Redeemer came to do. He came to do the will of God:
(1) by perfect obedience to his Law, and,
(2) by making an atonement for sin - becoming "obedient unto death;" Philippians 2:8.
The latter is the principal thought here, for the apostle is showing that sacrifice and offering such as were made under the Law would not put away sin, and that Christ came in contradistinction from them to make a sacrifice that would be efficacious. Everywhere in the Scriptures it is held out as being the "will of God" that such an atonement should be made. There was salvation in no other way, nor was it possible that the race should be saved unless the Redeemer drank that cup of bitter sorrows; see Matthew 26:39. We are not to suppose, however, that it was by mere arbitrary will that those sufferings were demanded. There were good reasons for all that the Saviour was to endure, though those reasons are not all made known to us.
in the volume, &c.—literally, "the roll": the parchment manuscript being wrapped around a cylinder headed with knobs. Here, the Scripture "volume" meant is the fortieth Psalm. "By this very passage 'written of Me,' I undertake to do Thy will [namely, that I should die for the sins of the world, in order that all who believe may be saved, not by animal sacrifices, Heb 10:6, but by My death]." This is the written contract of Messiah (compare Ne 9:38), whereby He engaged to be our surety. So complete is the inspiration of all that is written, so great the authority of the Psalms, that what David says is really what Christ then and there said.Then said I, Lo, I come: when the Father declared the sacrifices of beasts and birds would not please him, nor be accepted for expiating sins, then I said, I appeared in person, and declared, Lo, I come with a fit and proper sacrifice; I approach myself with my human nature, fully resolved to offer that to thee as a propitiatory sacrifice, John 12:27; compare Psalm 40:7.
In the volume of the book it is written of me: kefaliv, the head; our translators keep to the Hebrew, rpo tlumb the volume of the book, Psalm 40:7. Books, with the Hebrews, were rolls of parchment stitched at the top, and so rolled up. In this book was Christ every where written and spoken of, as he testifieth himself before his death, John 5:39, after his resurrection, Luke 24:44-46. The Septuagint render it, the head, as beiag in the top and beginning of the whole roll to wit, in the books of Moses; compare Luke 24:27. And in the entrance of them the Spirit testifieth of his Deity, and of his union to the humanity, being to be conceived and born of a virgin, and offering himself a sacrifice to expiate sin, and reconcile sinners, Genesis 3:15; compare John 5:46,47.
To do thy will, O God; to obey his Father’s command, of dying an expiatory sacrifice for sinners. It was his Father’s will that he should so offer himself for satisfying his justice, making way for his mercy, and so redeeming and recovering lost souls. This will of God was in his heart, he delighted to obey it, Psalm 40:8; and his own natural will that would regret it, he would deny, and would not use his Divine power to deliver himself from it, Matthew 26:39,46 Joh 18:11.
In the volume of the book it is written of me; in the book of the law, as the, Targum and Kimchi on Psalm 40:7 interpret it; and which may design the Bible in general, the whole book of the Scriptures of the Old Testament: so "the book", is used for the whole Bible (r), and it is said (s), all the whole law, that is, all Scripture, is called "a volume"; accordingly there are things written of Christ in all the writings of the Old Testament, in the law, and in the prophets, and in the psalms. Jarchi interprets it of the law of Moses, and so it may design the pentateuch, or the five books of Moses; and there are several places therein, in which it is written of Christ, and particularly in Genesis, the first of these books, and in the head, the beginning, the frontal piece, the first part of that book; namely, Genesis 3:15 which may be principally designed. Books were formerly written in rolls of parchment, and hence called volumes; See Gill on Luke 4:17, See Gill on Luke 4:20. The end of his coming is next expressed by him,
to do thy will, O God; which, when he came, he set about with the utmost delight, diligence, and faithfulness, in preaching the Gospel, performing miracles, doing good to the bodies and souls of men, and in finishing the great work of man's redemption, which was the main part of his Father's will he came to do; and which he did, by fulfilling the law in its precept and penalty; by offering himself a sacrifice to God; by suffering death, the death of the cross; by destroying all his and our enemies, and so working out everlasting salvation.Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Hebrews 10:7. Τότε εἶπον] then said I. In the sense of the writer of the epistle: then, when Thou hadst prepared for me a body. In the sense of the composer of the psalm: then, when such deeper knowledge was revealed to me. Contrary to the usage of the language, Carpzov, Stein, and others take τότε as equivalent to ideo, propterea, while just as capriciously Heinrichs makes it redundant as a particle of transition.
ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ] is a parenthesis; so that τοῦ ποιῆσαι depends not on γέγραπται, as Paulus thinks, but upon ἥκω: Lo, I come to do, O God, Thy will. Comp. Hebrews 10:9. Otherwise truly with the LXX. (and in the Hebrew), where τοῦ ποιῆσαι is governed by the closing verb ἠβουλήθην, which is omitted in the Epistle to the Hebrews (τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου, ὁ θεός μου, ἠβουλήθην: to do Thy will, O God, is my delight).
ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ is in the Hebrew differently connected and applied. In the sense of our author: in the prophecies of the O. T. it is written of me.
κεφαλίς, little head, then the knob at the end of the staff, around which the manuscript roll was wound in antiquity. κεφαλὶς βιβλίου consequently denotes the book-roll, volume. Elsewhere also the LXX. translated the Hebrew מְגִלָּה (volumen), with and without the addition of βιβλίου, by κεφαλίς. Comp. Ezekiel 2:9; Ezekiel 3:1-3; Ezra 6:2.
τὸ θέλημα] in the sense of our author: the obedient presentation of the body as a sacrifice for the redemption of mankind.7. Lo, I come] Rather, “I am come.” This 40th Psalm is one of the special Psalms for Good Friday.
in the volume of the book] The word kephalis, here rendered volume, does not occur elsewhere in the N. T. It means the knob (umbilicus) of the roller on which the vellum was rolled. The word in the Hebrew is Megillah, “a roll.” It cannot be rendered “in the chief part” or “in the beginning.” The words “it is written of me” may mean in the Hebrew “it has been prescribed to me,” and others take the clause to mean “l am come with the roll of the book which is written for me.” If we ask what was “the book” to which the author of the Psalm referred the answer is not easy; it may have been the Law, or the Book of God’s unwritten counsels, as in Psalm 139:16. The writer of the Epistle, transferring and applying David’s words to Christ, thought doubtless of the whole O.T. (comp. Luke 24:26-27, “He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself).
to do thy will] The writer has omitted the words “I delight.” Slavish accuracy in quotation is never aimed at by the sacred writers, because they had no letter-worshipping theory of verbal inspiration. They held that the inspiration lay in the sense and in the thoughts of Scripture, not in its ipsissima verba. Hence they often consider it sufficient to give the general tendency of a passage, and frequently vary from the exact words.Hebrews 10:7. Τότε, then) We shall speak of this particle at Hebrews 10:8. The parallels are, then; I am come; in the book: and corresponding, I said; of Me; it has been written.—ἥκω, I am here at hand, I am come) It corresponds to the Hebrew preterite, באתי. The verb, ἥκω, is treated of at Revelation 2:25.—ἘΝ ΚΕΦΑΛΊΔΙ ΒΙΒΛΊΟΥ ΓΈΓΡΑΠΤΑΙ ΠΕΡῚ ἘΜΟῦ, in the volume of the book it is written of Me) מגלת ספר, LXX., ΚΕΦΑΛῚς ΒΙΒΛΊΟΥ here, and Ezekiel 2:9. מגלה is rendered by the same translators ΚΕΦΑΛῚς, Ezekiel 3:1-2, Ezra 6:2. This phrase (nomenclature) cannot be understood of any particular part of the Pentateuch (for, except it, no other prophetical writings, to which the psalm might seem to refer, existed in the time of David), for many, nay, all the parts, treat of Christ; nor can it be understood of the whole Pentateuch, for although the whole volume of the law is often quoted, yet it never receives this appellation. Moreover, the sacrifices in this passage are called ΤῸ ΠΡΏΤΟΝ, the first, Hebrews 10:9 : wherefore the volume of the book does not denote the book which contained the very account also of the sacrifices heretofore offered. Also, the Divine rejection of sacrifices (Thou wouldest not), and the Messiah’s exhibition of Himself to do the will of GOD, came after the perpetual offering of them, and not previously. What, then, is the volume of the book? We do not require to go far to learn; it is the very page on which this very psalm was written. There are these two parallels: I have said, lo! I come; and, in the volume of the book it is written עלי, concerning Me, of Me: by this very writing I undertake to do Thy will. The Messiah places Himself as surety by both expressions; and hence the presence, in the highest degree, of the Spirit of prophecy is perceived. David had before his eyes, and in his hand, the book in which the psalm was written, and shows this very book as the written contract of the Messiah; comp. Nehemiah 10:1. From that very day when this psalm was written, it became incumbent on Christ, by some new way, to do the will of GOD. It is consistent with all this, that it is not said, in Thy book, or in the book of the Lord, as in Psalm 139:16, and Isaiah 34:16, but simply, in the book. Comp. note on the following verse. Augustine understands “the volume of the book,” here, of the beginning of the book of Psalms; but at that time the Psalms had not yet been collected into one volume. Others have understood it of the whole Scripture; but even the writings of the Old Testament which then existed, had not been so collected into one, as to be called one book.—τὸ θέλημά σου, Thy will) That GOD wills and has pleasure in something different from the legal sacrifices, was evident from this very fact, that the flesh of oxen and the blood of goats did not afford Him satisfaction; but what His will is, we deduce from the very preparing of the Messiah’s body, by which, when it was offered, we were to be sanctified; Hebrews 10:10. Christ, in the Psalms, acknowledges and embraces this as the will of GOD.
 I come, or rather, I have come, was the creed (symbolum), as it were, of the Lord Jesus. I am come, says He, to fulfil the law, Matthew 5:17 : to preach, Mark 1:38 : to call sinner’s to repentance, Luke 5:32 : to send a sword, and to set men at variance, Matthew 10:34-35 : I have come down from heaven to do the will of Him that sent Me, John 6:38-39. These are the very words of the fortieth Psalm. I am sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Matthew 15:24 : I am come into this world for judgment, John 9:39 : I have come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly, John 10:10 : to save what had been lost, Matthew 18:11 : to save men’s lives, Luke 9:56 : to send fire on the earth, Luke 12:49 : to minister, Matthew 20:28 : to seek and to save that which was lost, Luke 19:10, comp. with 1 Timothy 1:15 : I am come into the world the Light, John 12:46, etc.: to bear witness to the truth, ch. John 18:37. See, Reader, that thy Saviour obtain what He aimed at in thy case. But do thou, for thy part, say why thou art come here. Dost thou, then, also do the will of God? from what time? and in what way?—V. g.
Κεφαλίς, N.T.o , is a diminutive, meaning little head. Lat. capitellum or capitulum. The extremity or end, as the capital of a column. See Exodus 26:32, Exodus 26:37. Sometimes the column itself, as Exodus 40:18; Numbers 3:36. Said to be used of the tips or knobs of the rollers around which parchments were rolled, but no instances are cited. A roll of parchment, a book-roll, Ezekiel 2:9. Meaning here the Scriptures of the O.T. for Hebrew מְגִלָּה. Κεφαλίς is found in lxx with βιβλίου book, only Ezekiel 2:9; Psalm 39:7. For, βιβλίον book, see on 2 Timothy 4:13.
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