Hebrews 8:10
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) I will make.—Literally, I will covenant—not the same word as in Hebrews 8:8.

Israel.—Formerly (Hebrews 8:8), Israel and Judah. When the reunion of the nation had once been signified, Israel” could stand alone as the name of the one people.

I will put.—Better, putting my laws into their mind, I will also write them on their heart. In the former clause the Hebrew has, “I will put my law in their inward parts;” the law shall be within them, not an external code. In the latter, the “fleshy tablets of the heart” are contrasted with “the tables of the Law.” This is the first of the “better promises.”

Hebrews

THE ARTICLES OF THE NEW COVENANT: GOD’S WELTING ON THE HEART

Hebrews 8:10WE can scarcely estimate the shock to a primitive Hebrew Christian when he discovered that Judaism was to fade away. Such an earthquake might seem to leave nothing standing. Now, the great object of this Epistle is to insist on that truth, and to calm the early Hebrew Christians under it, by showing them that the disappearance of the older system left them no poorer but infinitely richer, inasmuch as all that was in it was more perfectly in Christ’s gospel. The writer has accordingly been giving his strength to showing that, all along the line, Christianity is the perfecting of Judaism, in its Founder, in its priesthood, in its ceremonies, in its Sabbath. Here he touches the great central thought of the covenant between God and man, and he fall back upon the strange words of one of the old prophets. Jeremiah had declared as emphatically as he, the writer, has been declaring, that the ancient system was to melt away and be absorbed in a new covenant between God and man. Is there any other instance of a religion which, on the one side, proclaims its own eternal duration - ‘the Word of the Lord endureth for ever’ - and on the other side declares that it is to be abrogated, antiquated, and done away? The writer of the Epistle had learned from sacreder lips than Jeremiah’s the same lesson, for the Master said at the most solemn hour of His career, ‘This is the blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’

These articles of the New Covenant go very deep into the essence of Christianity, and may well be thought. fully pondered by us all, if we wish to know what the specific differences between the ultimate revelation in Jesus Christ, and all other systems are. The words I have read for my text are the first of these articles.

I. Let us try to ascertain what exactly is the meaning of this great promise.

Now it seems to me that the two clauses which I have read for my text are not precisely parallel, but parallel with a difference. I take it, that ‘mind’ here means very much what we make it mean in our popular phraseology, a kind of synonym for the understanding, or the intellectual part of a man’s nature; and that ‘heart,’ on the other hand, means something a little wider than it does in our popular phraseology, and indicates not only the affections, but the centre of personality in the human will, as well as the seat of love. So these two clauses will mean, you see, if we carry that distinction with us, two things - the clear perception of the will of God, and the coincidence of that will with our inclinations and desires.’ In men’s natural consciences, there is the law written on their minds, but alas! we all know that there is an awful chasm between perception and inclination, and that it is one thing to know our duty, and quite another to wish to do it. So the heart of this great promise of my text is that these two things shall coincide in a Christian man, shall cover precisely the same ground; as two of Euclid’s triangles having the same angles will, if laid upon each other, coincide line for line and angle for angle. Thus, says this great promise, it is possible - and, if we observe the conditions, it will be actual in us - that knowledge and will shall cover absolutely and exactly the same ground. Inclination will be duty, and duty will be inclination and delight. Nothing short of such a thought lies here.

And how is that wonderful change upon men to be accomplished? ‘I will put, I will write.’ Only He can do it. We all know, by our own experience, the schism that gapes between the two things. Every man in the world knows a vast deal more of duty than any man in the world does. The worst of us has a standard that rebukes his evil, and the best of us has a standard that transcends his goodness, and, alas! often transcends his inclination.

But the gospel of our Lord and Saviour comes armed with sufficient power to make this miracle an actuality for us all.

For it comes, does it not, to substitute for all other motives to obedience, the one motive of love? They but half understand the gospel who dwell upon its sanctions of reward and punishment, and would seek to frighten men into goodness by brandishing the whip of law before them, and uncovering the lid that shuts in the smoke of a hell And they misinterpret it almost as much, if there be any such, who find the chief motive for Christian obedience in the glories of the heavenly state. These are subordinate and legitimate in their secondary place, but the gospel appeals to men, not merely nor chiefly on the ground of self-interest, but it comes to them with the one appeal, ‘If ye love Me, keep My commandments.’ That is how the law is written on the heart. Wherever there is love, there is a supreme delight in divining and in satisfying the wish and will of the beloved. His lightest word is law to the loving heart; his looks are spells and commandments. And if it is so in regard of our poor, imperfect, human loves, how infinitely more so is it where the heart is touched by true affection for His own infinite love’s sake, of that ‘Jesus’ who is ‘most desired!’ The secret of Christian morality is that duty is changed into choice, because love is made the motive for obedience.

And, still further, let me remind you how this great promise is fulfilled in the Christian life, because to have Christ shrined in the heart is the heart of Christianity, and Christ Himself is our law. So, in another sense than that which I have been already touching, the law is written on the heart on which, by faith and self-surrender, the name of Christ is written. And when it becomes our whole duty to become like Him, then He being throned in our hearts, our law is within, and Himself to His ‘darlings’ shall be, as the poet has it about another matter, ‘both law and impulse.’ Write His name upon your hearts, and your law of life is thereby written there.

And, still further, let me remind you that this great promise is fulfilled, because the very specific gift of Christianity to men is the gift of a new nature which is ‘created in righteousness and holiness that flows from truth.’ The communication of a divine life kindred with, and percipient of, and submissive to, the divine will is the gift that Christianity - or, rather, let us put away the abstraction and say that Christ - offers . to us all, and gives to every man who will accept it.

And thus, and in other ways on which I cannot dwell now, this great article of the New Covenant lies at the very foundation of the Christian life, and gives its peculiar tinge and cast to all Christian morality, commandment, and obligation.

But let me remind you how this great truth has to be held with caution. The evidence of this letter itself shows that, whilst the writer regarded it as a distinctive characteristic of the gospel, that by it men’s wills were stamped with a delight in the law of God, and a transcript thereof, he still regarded these wills as unstable, as capable of losing the sharp lettering, of having the writing of God obliterated, and still regarded it as possible that there should be apostasy and departure.

So there is nothing in this promise which suspends the need for effort and for conflict. Still ‘the flesh lusteth against the spirit.’ Still there are parts of the nature on which that law is not written. It is the final triumph, that the whole man, body, soul, and spirit is, through and through, penetrated with, and joyfully obedient to, the commandments of the Lord. There is need, too, not only for continuous progress, effort, conflict, in order to keep our hearts open for His handwriting, but also for much caution, lest at any time we should mistake our own self-will for the utterance of the divine voice.

‘Love, and do what thou wilt,’ said a great Christian teacher. It is an unguarded statement, but profoundly true as in some respects it is, it is only absolutely true if we have made sure that the ‘thou’ which ‘wills’ is the heart on which God has written His law.

Only God can do this for us. The Israelites of old were bidden ‘these things which I command thee this day shall be on thy heart,’ and they were to write them on their hand, and on the frontlet between their eyes, and on their doorposts. The latter commands were obeyed, having been hardened into a form; and phylacteries on the arm, and scrolls on the lintel, were the miserable obedience which was given to them. But the complete writing on the heart was beyond the power of unaided man. A psalmist said, ‘I delight to do Thy will, and Thy law is within my heart.’ But a verse or two after, in the same psalm, he wailed, ‘Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up. They are more than the hairs of my head. Therefore my heart faileth me.’ One Man has transcribed the divine will on His will, without blurring a letter, or omitting a clause. One Man has been able to say, in the presence of the most fearful temptations, ‘Not My will, but Thine, be done.’ One Man has so completely written, perceived, and obeyed the law of His Father, that, looking back on all His life, He was conscious of no defect or divergence, either in motive or in act, and could affirm on the Cross, ‘It is finished.’ He who thus perfectly kept that divine law will give to us, if we ask Him, His spirit, to write it upon our hearts, and ‘the law of the spirit of life which was in Christ Jesus shall make us free from the law of sin and death.’

II. Now, secondly, note the impassable gulf which this fulfilled promise makes between Christianity and all other systems.

It is a new covenant, undoubtedly-an altogether new thing in the world. For whatever other laws have been promulgated among men have had this in common, that they have stood over against the Will with a whip in one hand, and a box of sweets in the other, and have tried to influence desires and inclinations, first by the setting forth of duty, then by threatening, and then by promises to obedience. There is the inherent weakness of all which is merely law. You do not make men good by telling them in what goodness consists, nor yet by setting forth the bitter consequences that may result from wrong-doing. All that is surface work. But there is a power which says that it deals with the will as from within, and moves, and moulds, and revolutionises it. ‘You cannot make men sober by act of parliament,’ people say. Well! I do not believe the conclusion which is generally drawn from that statement, but it is perfectly true in itself. To tell a man what he ought to do is very, very little help towards his doing it. I do not under-estimate the value of a clear perception of duty, but I say that, apart from Christianity, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, that clear perception of duty is like a clear opening of a great gulf between a man and safety, which only makes him recoil in despair with the thought, ‘how can I ever leap across that?’ But the peculiarity of the gospel is that it gives both the knowledge of what we ought to be; and with and in the knowledge, the desire, and with and in the knowledge and the desire, the power to be what God would have us to be.

All other systems, whether the laws of a nation, or the principles of a scientific morality, or the solemn voice that speaks in our minds proclaiming some version of God’s law to every man- all these are comparatively impotent. They are like bill-stickers going about a rebellious province posting the king’s proclamation. Unless they have soldiers at their back, the proclamation is not worth the paper it is printed upon. But Christianity comes, and gives us that which it requires from us. So, in his epigrammatic way, St. Augustine penetrated to the very heart of this article when he prayed, ‘Give what Thou commandest, and command what Thou wilt.’

III. Note the freedom and blessedness of this fulfilled promise.

Not to do wrong may be the mark of a slave’s timid obedience. Not to

wish to do wrong is the charter of a son’s free and blessed service. There is a higher possibility yet, reserved for heaven - not to be able to do wrong. Freedom does not consist in doing what I like - that turns out, in the long run, to be the most abject slavery, under the severest tyrants. But it consists in liking to do what I ought. When my wishes and God’s will are absolutely coincident, then and only then, am I free. That is no prison, out of which we do not wish to go. Not to be confined against our wills, but voluntarily to elect to move only within the sacred, charmed, sweet circle of the discerned will of God, is the service and liberty of the sons of God.

Alas! there are a great many Christians, so-called, who know very little about such blessedness. To many of us religion is a burden. It consists of a number of prohibitions and restrictions and commandments equally unwelcome. ‘Do not do this,’ and all the while I would like to do it. ‘Do that,’ and all the while I do not want to do it. ‘Pray, because it is your duty; go to chapel, because you think it is God’s will; give money that you would much rather keep in your pockets: abstain from certain things that you hunger for; do other things that you do not at all desire to do, nor find any pleasure in doing.’ That is the religion of hosts of people. They have need to ask themselves whether their religion is Christ’s religion. Ah! brethren! - ‘My yoke is easy and My burden light; not because the things that He bids and forbids are less or lighter than those which the world’s morality requires of its followers, but because, so to speak, the yoke is padded with the velvet of love, and inclination coincides, in the measure of our true religion, with the discerned will of God.

IV. Lastly, one word about the condition of the fulfilment of this promise to us.

As I have been saying, it is sadly far ahead of the experience of crowds of so-called Christians. There are still great numbers of professing Christians, and I doubt not that I speak to some such, on whose hearts only a very few of the syllables of God’s will are written, and these very faintly and blotted. But remember that the fundamental idea of this whole context is that of a covenant, and a covenant implies two parties, and duties and obligations on the part of each. If God is in covenant with you, you are in covenant with God. If He makes a promise, there is something for you to do in order that that promise may be fulfilled to you.

What is there to do? First, and last, and midst, keep close to Jesus Christ. In the measure in which we keep ourselves in continual touch with Him, will His law be written upon our hearts. If we are for ever twitching away the paper; if we are for ever flinging blots and mud upon it, how can we expect the transcript to be clear and legible? We must keep still that God may write. We must wait habitually in His presence. When the astronomer wishes to get the image of some far-off star, invisible to the eye of sense, he regulates the motion of his sensitive plate, so that for hours it shall continue right beneath the unseen Beam. So we have to still our hearts, and keep their plates - the fleshy tables of them - exposed to the heavens. Then the likeness of God will be stamped there.

Be faithful to what is written there, which is the Christian shape of the heathen commandment - ‘Do the duty that lies nearest thee; so shall the next become plainer.’ Be faithful to the line that is ‘written,’ and there will be more on the tablet to-morrow.

Now this is a promise for us all However blotted and blurred and defaced by crooked, scrawling letters, like a child’s copy-book, with its first pot- hooks and hangers, our hearts may be, there is no need for any of us to say despairingly, as we look on the smeared page, ‘What I have written I have written.’ He is able to blot it all out, to ‘take away the hand-writing’ - our own - ‘that is against us, nailing it to His Cross,’ and to give us, in our inmost spirits, a better knowledge of, and a glad obedience to, His discerned and holy will. So that each of us, if we choose, and will observe the conditions, may be able to say with all humility, ‘Lo! I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do Thy will, yea! Thy law is within my heart.’Hebrews 8:10. For this is the covenant that I will make after those days — In the times of the Messiah; I will put my laws into their mind — I will open the eyes of their understanding, and give them light to discern the true, full, spiritual meaning thereof; and write them in their hearts — So that they shall love them, and shall experience inwardly, and practise outwardly, whatsoever I command. They shall have that love to me and all mankind shed abroad in their hearts, which shall be a never-failing spring of piety and virtue within them, and which, of my mercy and grace, I will accept as the fulfilling of the law. The words are an allusion to the writing of the law on the two tables of stone. And I will be to them a God — Their all- sufficient portion, preserver, and rewarder; and they shall be to me a people — My beloved, loving, and obedient children. Or the former clause may signify, They shall know, fear, love, and serve me willingly and acceptably as their God, and I will protect, guide, govern, bless, and save them as my people.8:7-13 The superior excellence of the priesthood of Christ, above that of Aaron, is shown from that covenant of grace, of which Christ was Mediator. The law not only made all subject to it, liable to be condemned for the guilt of sin, but also was unable to remove that guilt, and clear the conscience from the sense and terror of it. Whereas, by the blood of Christ, a full remission of sins was provided, so that God would remember them no more. God once wrote his laws to his people, now he will write his laws in them; he will give them understanding to know and to believe his laws; he will give them memories to retain them; he will give them hearts to love them, courage to profess them, and power to put them in practice. This is the foundation of the covenant; and when this is laid, duty will be done wisely, sincerely, readily, easily, resolutely, constantly, and with comfort. A plentiful outpouring of the Spirit of God will make the ministration of the gospel so effectual, that there shall be a mighty increase and spreading of Christian knowledge in persons of all sorts. Oh that this promise might be fulfilled in our days, that the hand of God may be with his ministers so that great numbers may believe, and be turned to the Lord! The pardon of sin will always be found to accompany the true knowledge of God. Notice the freeness of this pardon; its fulness; its fixedness. This pardoning mercy is connected with all other spiritual mercies: unpardoned sin hinders mercy, and pulls down judgments; but the pardon of sin prevents judgment, and opens a wide door to all spiritual blessings. Let us search whether we are taught by the Holy Spirit to know Christ, so as uprightly to love, fear, trust, and obey him. All worldly vanities, outward privileges, or mere notions of religion, will soon vanish away, and leave those who trust in them miserable for ever.For this is the covenant - This is the arrangement, or the dispensation which shall succeed the old one. "With the house of Israel." With the true Israel; that is, with all those whom he will regard and treat as his friends.

After those days - This may either mean, "after those days I will put my laws in their hearts," or, "I will make this covenant with them after those days." This difference is merely in the punctuation, and the sense is not materially affected. It seems, to me, however, that the meaning of the Hebrew in Jeremiah is, "in those after days" (compare notes on Isaiah 2:1)}}.

I will put my laws into their mind - that is, in that subsequent period, called in Scripture "the after times," "the last days," "the ages to come," meaning the last dispensation of the world. Thus interpreted, the sense is, that this would be done in the times of the Messiah. "I will put my laws into their mind." Margin, "Give." The word "give" in Hebrew is often used in the sense of "put." The meaning here is, that they would not be mere external observances, but would affect the conscience and the heart. The laws of the Hebrews pertained mainly to external rites and ceremonies; the laws of the new dispensation would relate particularly to the inner man, and be designed to control the heart. The grand uniqueness of the Christian system is, that it regulates the conscience and the principles of the soul rather than external matters. It prescribes few external rites, and those are exceedingly simple, and are merely the proper expressions of the pious feelings supposed to be in the heart; and all attempts either to increase the number of these rites, or to make them imposing by their gorgeousness, have done just so much to mar the simplicity of the gospel, and to corrupt religion.

And write them in their hearts - Margin, "Upon." Not on tablets of stone or brass, but on the soul itself. That is, the obedience rendered will not be external. The law of the new system will have living power, and bind the faculties of the soul to obedience. The commandment there will be written in more lasting characters than if engraved on tablets of stone.

And I will be to them a God - This is quoted literally from the Hebrew. The meaning is, that he would sustain to them the appropriate relation of a God; or, if the expression may be allowed, he would be to them what a God should be, or what it is desirable that people should find in a God. We speak of a father's acting in a manner appropriate to the character of a father; and the meaning here is, that he would be to his people all that is properly implied in the name of God. He would be their Lawgiver, their counsellor, their protector, their Redeemer, their guide. He would provide for their wants, defend them in danger, pardon their sins, comfort them in trials, and save their souls. He would be a faithful friend, and would never leave them nor forsake them. It is one of the inestimable privileges of his people that Jehovah is their God. The living and ever-blessed Being who made the heavens sustains to them the relation of a Protector and a Friend, and they may look up to heaven feeling that he is all which they could desire in the character of a God.

And they shall be to me a people - This is not merely stated as a "fact," but as a "privilege." It is an inestimable blessing to be regarded as one of the people of God, and to feel that we belong to him - that we are associated with those whom he loves, and whom he treats as his friends.

10. make with—Greek, "make unto."

Israel—comprising the before disunited (Heb 8:8) 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 "better promises" (Heb 8:6).

mind—their intelligent faculty.

in, &c.—rather, " ON their hearts." Not on tables of stone as the law (2Co 3:3).

write—Greek, "inscribe."

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 outwardly (Re 21:3). Compare a similar progression as to the priesthood (1) Ex 19:6; (2) 1Pe 2:5; (3) Isa 61:6; Re 1:6. This progressive advance of the significance of the Old Testament institutions, &c., says Tholuck, shows the transparency and prophetic character which runs throughout the whole.

For this is the covenant that I will make: for, showeth it should not be such a covenant-form as was given on Mount Sinai, it being wholly different, and that denied before, being carnal and ceremonious, full of types and shadows, and through their sin ineffectual to them. This is the firm administration of the covenant which I will strike. To which three words answer is in this scripture, I will perfect, make, and dispose; which last is the root from whence the notion of a covenant in the Greek is derived, diayhsomai.

With the house of Israel: Israel is the comprehensive name of all the twelve tribes, as Hebrews 8:8; compare Exodus 16:31 40:38; and is so used by the Lord himself Matthew 10:6, and by Peter, Acts 2:36.

After those days; in the prophet it is, after those days of their delivery from Babylon, Jeremiah 31:1,8,11,16,21, but especially when those days of the first administration of the covenant are accomplished, when the fulness of time for the Messiah’s revelation is come, Galatians 4:4. To this God again puts his seal, he saith it.

I will put my laws into their mind; the great God, the Redeemer himself the infinitely wise, and good, and powerful Spirit, who only can reach the soul, will make impressions, and write clear characters of Divine truth on it, 2 Corinthians 3:3. None can alter, new mould, frame, and temper a spirit, but him, who hath a true original right of all the good he promiseth, which he will freely, graciously dispense from himself, John 4:10,14. All the doctrines of the gospel, which include in them the moral law, as now managed by Christ, all the will of God concerning our salvation, promises, and commands; and these in their spirit and power, which God not only ratified in, but conveyed to the world by, Jesus Christ, and especially into the mind. dianoian renders the Hebrew Mbrqb the inward parts, in the prophet’s text. The mind or understanding being the innermost part of the soul, is capable of receiving impresses of Divine truth, and its characters are by it made legible to the soul; which as promised here, is so prayed for by the apostle, Ephesians 1:17,18.

And write them in their hearts: epigraqw is a metaphor setting out a real, actual, powerful work of the Spirit of Christ, which leaveth the express characters of all God’s saving mind and will upon the heart or soul as plain as writing upon paper, or engraving upon stones; such an operation of the Spirit of Christ on the souls of them, as whereby is conveyed into them a new light, life, power, so that they are made by it partakers of a Divine nature; and though they are not other faculties, yet they are quite other things than they were for qualities and operations, so as they are enabled to know, observe, and keep his laws, which are set up in authority and dominion in their souls, ruling and ordering all there, Ezekiel 11:19,20 36:26,27 2 Corinthians 3:3,8,9,10,18.

And I will be to them a God: as in the former word was the promise of conversion, regeneration, and renovation, so joined with it is the promise of adoption. In which God engageth in Christ to be to penitent believers, Romans 9:6,8, a God, i.e. the cause and author of all good, Genesis 15:1-21,17:1,7; what he is, hath, or can do for them of good, is all theirs, and himself terminating all the knowledge, faith, and worship of them. He will exercise all his wisdom, power, and goodness to deliver them from all evil, and to make them eternally happy and blessed in himself.

And they shall be to me a people; and to him this true Israel shall be a true, spiritual, eternal, adopted seed and people, partakers of all that he hath promised to them or they can desire of him; so as their name is better than the name of sons or daughters, an everlasting one, not to be cut off, Isaiah 56:5. They, as his people, attend on, witness to, and contend for, him and his glory, are always at his beck, being purchased, made, and covenanted so for his use and service, that they are not their own, but wholly at his disposal, Jeremiah 23:7 32:20 Ezekiel 11:20 37:23,27 Zec 8:8 2 Corinthians 6:16. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel,.... That is, this is the sum and substance of the covenant, which God promised to make with, or to make manifest and known to his chosen people, the true Israelites, under the Gospel dispensation; or the following are the several articles of that covenant, he proposed to consummate or finish, as before:

after those days, saith the Lord; after the times of the Old Testament, when the Messiah shall be come, and the Gospel day shall take place. So the Jews (i) apply these days, when they represent the Israelites saying to Moses, O that he (God) would reveal (himself or will) to us a second time! O that he would kiss us with the kisses of his mouth, and that the doctrine of the law was fixed in our hearts; when he (Moses) said to them, this is not to be done now, but , in the time to come, (i.e. in the times of the Messiah,) as it is said, Jeremiah 31:33.

I will put my law, &c. and so (k) they are elsewhere applied to the same times. And the first article in it is,

I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; by the laws of God are meant not the precepts of the ceremonial law, which were now abrogated, but either the moral law, and its commands; which is a transcript of the divine nature, was inscribed on Adam's heart in innocence, and some remains of it are even in the Gentiles, but greatly obliterated through the sin of man; and there is in men naturally a contrary disposition to it; in regeneration it is reinscribed by the Spirit of God; and great respect is had to it by regenerate persons, in which lies one part of their conformity to Christ: or else, since the word "law" signifies sometimes no other than a doctrine, an instruction, the doctrines of grace, of repentance towards God, of faith in Christ, and love to him, and every other doctrine may be intended; and the tables where, according to the tenor of this covenant, these are put and written, are two tables, as before, the "mind" and "heart"; but not two tables of stone, on which the law of Moses was written, partly that it might not be lost, through defect of memory, and partly to denote the firmness and stability of it, as also to point at the hardness of man's heart; but the fleshly tables of the heart; not that part of our flesh that is called the heart; but the souls of men, such hearts as are regenerated and sanctified by the Spirit of God, and such minds as are renewed by him: and the "putting" of them into the mind, designs the knowledge of them, which God gives; as of the moral law, of its spirituality and perfection, showing that there is no life and righteousness by it, that it is fulfilled by Christ, and is a rule of conversation to the saints; and of all other laws, ordinances, and doctrines of Christ: and the "writing" them in, or on the heart, intends a filling the soul with love and affection to them, so that it regards them singly and heartily; and a powerful inclination of the heart to be subject to them, through the efficacious grace of God; and which is done not with the ink of nature's power, but with the Spirit of the living God, 2 Corinthians 3:3.

And I will be to them a God; not in such sense as he is the God of all mankind, or as he was the God of Israel in a distinguishing manner, but as he is the God of Christ, and of all the elect in him; and he is their God, not merely as the God of nature and providence, but as the God of all grace; he is so in a covenant way, and as in Christ, and by virtue of electing grace, and which is made manifest in the effectual calling; and as such, he has set his heart on them, and set them apart for himself; he saves them by his Son, adopts and regenerates them, justifies and sanctifies them, provides for them, protects and preserves them; and happy are they that are interested in this blessing of the covenant, which is preferable to everything else; they have everything, and can want no good thing; they need fear no enemy; all things work together for their good; and God continues to be their God in life and in death; so that they may depend on his love, be secure of his power, expect every needful supply of grace, and to be carried through every duty and trial, and to share in the first resurrection, and to enjoy eternal happiness:

and they shall be to me a people; not in such sense as all mankind are, or the Jews were in a more peculiar respect, but as all God's elect are, whether Jews or Gentiles; and who are such whom God has loved with a special love, has chose in Christ, and given to him, and with whom he has made a covenant in him; whom Christ saves from their sins by his blood, and calls them by his grace and Spirit, and who give up themselves to him; these are a distinct and peculiar people, a people near unto the Lord, and who are all righteous in Christ, and are made willing in the day of his power on their souls.

(i) Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 3. 2. (k) Midrash Kohelet, fol. 64. 3.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 8:10. Justification of the διαθήκην καινήν, οὐ κατὰ τὴν διαθήκην κ.τ.λ., Hebrews 8:8-9, by a definite indication of the nature of the covenant to be instituted.

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

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

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

λέγει κύριος] LXX.: φησὶ κύριος.

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

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

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

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

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

The Hebraizing εἰναι εἰς (הָיָה לְ) as Hebrews 1:5.Hebrews 8:10. ὅτι αὕτη ἡ διαθήκη ἣν διαθήσομαι … “For this is the covenant which I will covenant with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord.” The ὅτι justifies the differentiation of this covenant from the Sinaitic, and the ascription to it of the term “new”. It also introduces the positive aspect of the newness of the covenant. This consists in three particulars. It is inward or spiritual; it is individual and therefore universal; it is gracious and provides forgiveness. μετὰ τὰς ἡμέρας ἐκείνας, i.e., after the days, spoken of Hebrews 8:8, have arrived. διδοὺς f1νόμους μου … The LXX (vat.) has διδοὺς δώσω, but this writer omits δώσω in Hebrews 10:16 as well as here. The participle cannot be attached either to διαθήσομαι or to ἐπιγράψω without intolerable harshness. We must, therefore, suppose that the writer was simply quoting from the Alexandrian text which omits δώσω (so also Q = Codex Marchalianus), and does not concern himself about the elegance or even correct grammar of the words. See Buttmann, p. 291. νόμους μου. “The plural occurs again in the same quotation, Hebrews 10:16, but not elsewhere in the N.T.; nor does the plural appear to be found in any other place of the LXX as a translation of תּוֹרָה” Westcott. εἰς τὴν διάνοιαν. “In Aristotle διάνοια includes all intellect, theoretical and practical, intuitive and discursive” (Burnet’s Nic. Eth., p. 276). Plato defines it in Soph. 263 [33] thus: ὁ μὲν ἐντὸς τῆς ψυχῆς πρὸς αὑτὴν διάλογος ἄνευ φωνῆς γιγνόμενος. In N.T. it is sometimes used for the “mind,” as in Ephesians 4:18, 1 Peter 1:13, 2 Peter 3:1; sometimes for the thoughts produced in the mind, Ephesians 2:3; sometimes for the inner man generally, as in Luke 1:51, Colossians 1:21. And in this sense here. καὶ ἐπὶ καρδίας αὐτῶν “and on their heart”. καρδίας may be either genitive singular, or accusative plural, both constructions being found after γράφειν ἐπὶ. The meaning is that God’s law, instead of being written on tables of stone, should under the new covenant be written on the spirit and desires of man. “Unde significavit eos non forinsecus habere, sed ipsam legis justitiam dilecturos” (Atto). This “better promise” involves a new spirit, effecting that man’s own will shall concur with the divine. Cf. 2 Corinthians 3:3. καὶ ἔσομαι αὐτοῖς … “and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people”. For the distinction between the Hebraistic construction ἔσομαι εἰς and the legitimate Greek εἶναι or γένεσθαι εἰς see Buttmann, p. 150. This of course was the aim of the old covenant as well, and is expressed in the original promise, Exodus 6:7 : “I will take you to myself as my people, and I shall be to you a God”. See also Jeremiah 7:23; Jeremiah 11:4. This is the ultimate statement of the end or aim of all religion.

[33] Codex Sangermanensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., now at St. Petersburg, formerly belonging to the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Its text is largely dependent upon that of D.

Hebrews 8:11. καὶ οὐ μὴ διδάξωσιν.… “And they shall not teach, each man his fellow-citizen and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know me from small to great among them”. This second “better” promise follows on the first as its natural consequence. The inward acceptance of God’s will involves the knowledge of God. In the new covenant all were to be “taught of God” (Isaiah 54:13, John 6:45) and independent of the instruction of a privileged class. Under the old covenant, none but the educated scribe could understand the minutiæ of the law with which religion was identified. The elaborate ritual made it impossible for the private individual to know whether a ram or a pigeon was the appropriate sacrifice for his sin, or whether his sin was mortal or venial. A priest had to be consulted. Under the new covenant intermediates were to be abolished. The knowledge of God was to lie in the heart alongside of the love of parent or friend, and would demand for its expression no more external instruction than those primal, instinctive and home-grown affections. οὐ μὴ διδάξωσιν, “The intensive οὐ μὴ (of that which in no wise will or shall happen) is sometimes—indeed most commonly—joined with the conjunctive aorist, sometimes with the conjunctive present, sometimes also with the indicative future”. Winer, p. 634, who also discusses Hermann’s canon and Dawes’ regarding this form. εἰδήσουσιν, for this form of the future Veitch (p. 216) quotes Homer, Theognis, Herodotus, Isocrates. ἀπὸ μικροῦ ἕως μεγάλου, an expression commonly used in LXX to denote universality, Genesis 19:11, where possibly it is equivalent to ἀπὸ νεανίσκου ἕως πρεσβυτέρου of Hebrews 8:4; 1 Samuel 30:19, where it is used of spoils of war. Gesenius (117, 2) understands the adjectives as superlatives.10. and write them in their hearts] The gift of an inner law, not written on granite slabs, but on the fleshen tablets of the heart, is the first promise of the New Covenant. It involves the difference between the Voice of the Spirit of the God in the Conscience and a rigid external law; the difference, that is, between spirituality and legalism. This is brought out in Ezekiel 36:26-29.

I will be to them a God] For similar prophecies see Zechariah 8:8; Hosea 2:23; and for their fulfilment 1 Peter 2:9-10; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18.Hebrews 8:10. Διαθήκη) διαθήκη μου, LXX.—Ἰσραὴλ, Israel) Here Judah is to be understood. A new union together of the people. There were two houses in the Old Testament, Hebrews 8:8 : they become one house in the New.—διδοὺς) The participle for the verb; 2 Peter 1:17 : διδοὺς δώσω, LXX. So διδοὺς, Isaiah 40:29. There are four sentences arranged by Chiasmus. The first, I will give (put); the second, and I will be; the third, and not; the fourth, because (for) all. The second explains the first; the fourth, the third.—νόμους μου) Heb. את תורתי, my law. We have the sum of these laws presently, I will be to them a GOD, and they shall he to Me a people.—εἰς τὴν διάνοιαν αὐτῶν) בקר בם, into the midst of them, that they may obey willingly (from the heart).—ἐπὶ καρδίας) Genitive, ch. Hebrews 10:16.—ἐπιγράψω αὐτοὺς) LXX., γράψω αὐτοὺς, καὶ ὄψομαι αὐτούς.The covenant which I will make (ἡ διαθήκη ἣν δοαθήσομαι)

The noun and the verb are cognate - the arrangement which I will arrange. A covenant (διαθήκη) is something arranged (διατίθεσθαι) between two parties. See the same combination, Acts 3:25.

I will put my laws (διδοὺς νόμους μου)

Lit. giving my laws: const. with I will make: "the covenant which I will make by giving my laws."

Mind (διάνοιαν)

The moral understanding. See on Mark 12:30; see on Luke 1:51. Hearts, καρδίας, see on Romans 1:21; see on Romans 10:10.

A God - a people (εἰς θεόν - εἰς λαόν)

Lit. unto a God, etc. A Hebraistic form of expression, εἰς signifying the destination of the substantive verb. The sense is, I will be to them to serve as a God; or my being as related to them will amount to my being a God to them. Comp. Matthew 19:5; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Hebrews 1:5.

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