Hebrews 9:10
Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
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(10) Which stood only in . . .—Better, only joined with meats and drinks and divers washings,—carnal ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation. Here again the best authorities correct the received Greek text, omitting “and” before the word “carnal,” and so altering the next word as to make it descriptive of the “gifts and sacrifices” mentioned in Hebrews 9:9. These sacrifices—looked at in themselves, as powerless to attain the end designed (Hebrews 10:1; Hebrews 10:4)—are mere appendages of such regulations as deal with meats and drinks and washings. The character of this latter class of ordinances no one could mistake; and what the writer here says is that these powerless sacrifices belong to the same line of things. On the, “washings” see Note on Hebrews 6:2. The preceding words would most naturally refer to meats, &c., of which men were required to partake (as Exodus 12; Leviticus 7:15, et al.); but no doubt include the various restrictions and distinctions of the ceremonial law (Leviticus 11; Numbers 6, et al.). All these are “ordinances of flesh,” ordinances which relate to the outward state of things only; closely connected with the maintenance of external privileges and relations, but (in themselves) nothing more. “Imposed,” comp. Acts 15:10 : “reformation,” Hebrews 8:7-12.

9:6-10 The apostle goes on to speak of the Old Testament services. Christ, having undertaken to be our High Priest, could not enter into heaven till he had shed his blood for us; and none of us can enter, either into God's gracious presence here, or his glorious presence hereafter, but by the blood of Jesus. Sins are errors, great errors, both in judgment and practice; and who can understand all his errors? They leave guilt upon the conscience, not to be washed away but by the blood of Christ. We must plead this blood on earth, while he is pleading it for us in heaven. A few believers, under the Divine teaching, saw something of the way of access to God, of communion with him, and of admission into heaven through the promised Redeemer, but the Israelites in general looked no further than the outward forms. These could not take away the defilement or dominion of sin. They could neither discharge the debts, nor resolve the doubts, of him who did the service. Gospel times are, and should be, times of reformation, of clearer light as to all things needful to be known, and of greater love, causing us to bear ill-will to none, but good-will to all. We have greater freedom, both of spirit and speech, in the gospel, and greater obligations to a more holy living.Which stood only in meats and drinks - The idea is, that the ordinances of the Jews, in connection with the services of religion, consisted much of laws pertaining to what was lawful to eat and drink, etc. A considerable part of those laws related to the distinction between clean and unclean beasts, and to such arrangements as were designed to keep them externally distinct from other nations. It is possible also that there may be a reference here to meat and drink offerings. On the grammatical difficulties of this verse, see Stuart on the Hebrews, in loc.

And divers washings - The various ablutions which were required in the service of the tabernacle and the temple - washing of the hands, of the victim that was to be offered, etc. It was for this purpose that the laver was erected in front of the tabernacle Exodus 30:18; Exodus 31:9; Exodus 35:16, and that the brass sea and the lavers were constructed in connection with the temple of Solomon; 2 Chronicles 4:2-5; 1 Kings 7:26. The Greek word here is "baptisms." On its meaning, see Matthew 3:6 note; Mark 7:4 note.

And carnal ordinances - Margin, "Or, rites, or ceremonies." Greek "Ordinances of the flesh;" that is, which pertained to the flesh or to external ceremonies. The object was rather to keep them "externally" pure than to cleanse the conscience and make them holy in heart.

Imposed on them - "Laid on them" - ἐπικέιμενα epikeimena. It does not mean that there was any "oppression" or "injustice" in regard to these ordinances, but that they were appointed for a temporary purpose.

Until the time of reformation - The word rendered here "reformation" - διόρθωσις diorthōsis - means properly "emendation, improvement, reform." It refers to putting a thing in a right condition; making it better; or raising up and restoring what is fallen down. Passow. Here the reference is undoubtedly to the gospel as being a better system - "a putting things where they ought to be;" compare notes on Acts 3:21. The idea here is, that those ordinances were only temporary in their nature, and were designed to endure until a more perfect system should be introduced. They were of value "to introduce" that better system; they were not adapted to purify the conscience and remove the stains of guilt from the soul.

10. Which—sacrifices.

stood—consisted in [Alford]; or, "have attached to them" only things which appertain to the use of foods, &c. The rites of meats, &c., go side by side with the sacrifices [Tholuck and Wahl]; compare Col 2:16.

drinks—(Le 10:9; 11:4). Usage subsequently to the law added many observances as to meats and drinks.

washings—(Ex 29:4).

and carnal ordinances—One oldest manuscript, Syriac and Coptic, omit "and." "Carnal ordinances" stand in apposition to "sacrifices" (Heb 9:9). Carnal (outward, affecting only the flesh) is opposed to spiritual. Contrast "flesh" with "conscience" (Heb 9:13, 14).

imposed—as a burden (Ac 15:10, 28) continually pressing heavy.

until the time of reformation—Greek, "the season of rectification," when the reality should supersede the type (Heb 8:8-12). Compare "better," Heb 9:23.

Having shown the typicalness, weakness of the Mosaical covenant administration; in respect of the tabernacles, services, and ordinances, he closeth his description of them in this verse, by showing their carnality and mortality. As they were external things, they could reach no further than the flesh only, as appears by particular instances, and therefore could not quiet the conscience, considered without Christ, nor justify, sanctify, or save the sinner. For meat and drink offerings, and meats clean and unclean, and drinks prohibited by God, in which the Jews placed much of their religion, separate from what they signified, commended no man unto God, 1 Corinthians 8:8.

Which stood only in meats and drinks: as to meats, see Leviticus 11:1-47 Deu 14:3-21. As to drinks, forbidden the priests, Leviticus 10:9, and the Nazarites, Numbers 6:2,3; the jealousy water, Numbers 5:24, and the paschal cup, Psalm 116:13, and cup of thank-offerings; see Leviticus 1:1-17 and Leviticus 2:1-16.

And divers washings, which were many for the priests in their services, and for others in performing theirs by them; some by sprinkling with blood, Exodus 29:20,21, with water, Numbers 8:7 19:9-19; some by washing at the brazen laver, as the priests, Exodus 29:4 30:17-21; so the sprinkling of healed lepers, Leviticus 14:4-9, and the purification of the unclean. All these were of God’s own instituting, but still reach no further than the flesh or body of the sinner: see Hebrews 9:13.

And carnal ordinances: other carnal rites and ceremonies, such as could not reach the conscience, as they used them, yet were to be used by them in obedience to God’s will, and to discriminate them from others, which were various in the ceremonial law.

Imposed on them; epikeimena, imposed, may agree with dwra, Hebrews 9:9, gifts imposed; or may have the whole sentence for its substantive, as, being matters imposed or settled in meats and drinks. All these things were not the inventions of Moses, but God’s own institutions, enjoined by his own authority on the Jewish church, to lead them by a regular use of them to life by Christ, but by their own corruptions were made burdens to them. The Divine precept obliged them to an observation of them, and to the serving God in, by, and through them.

Until the time; as they were outward, bodily, and carnal things, so they were mortal; as to their being and continuance enjoined by God, they were mecri kairou until is a term settled and limited, and not indefinite, and its limit is a singular time, even that point of time wherein Christ, having finished the work of redemption, ascended and sat down on the right hand of God, and powerfully thence breathed forth the Spirit, of infallibility on his apostles, for guiding them in laying the foundation of his church, by preaching the gospel throughout the world, and perfecting of it, and no other. This the Jews and others expected from the Messiah, John 4:25, in his time. All the New Testament perfecting was by them, and therefore they give a charge against the least alteration of the gospel, truth, and law, which they left as a rule for ordering of Christ’s church to his last coming: see Matthew 28:20.

Of reformation; diorywsewv, of putting things to rights by the law, rule, and ordinance of Christ, the work of this special point of time. He, the great church reformer, thoroughly righteth things to God-ward, by removing and taking away what was faulty, not in itself, but by man’s abuse of it, even all the Mosaical economy and church-frame, which carried men about to God, by opening and making that to be seen with open face, which was well veiled, and so mistaken, even the mystery of Christ hid from ages, by manifesting and establishing that which was the truth itself, instead of the shadows that did but represent it; even that true churchframe intended first by God, and now fully revealed and settled by his Son as a standing rule and pattern to all for ever; which unmovable kingdom of his is described further, Hebrews 12:22-28.

Which stood only in meats and drinks,.... That is, along with the gifts and sacrifices offered, there only were meat offerings and drink offerings; things which only respect the body, and cannot therefore make perfect, as to the conscience; to which may be added, that while the tabernacle was standing, and typical service was in being, there was a prohibition of certain meats, as unclean, and an allowance of others, as clean, Leviticus 11:2 and there were certain drinks which were unlawful to certain persons, at certain times, as to the priests and Nazarites, Leviticus 10:9 and which, for the above reason, could make no man perfect:

and divers washings or "baptisms": the doctrine of which, the apostle would not have laid again, Hebrews 6:2 these were the washings of the priests and of the Israelites, and of sacrifices, and of garments, and of vessels and other things; and which, because they were performed by immersion, they are called "baptisms": and now since these only sanctified to the purifying of the flesh, or what was outward, they could not reach the conscience, or make perfect with respect to that: and

carnal ordinances: which belonged to the flesh, and not the spirit or soul, and therefore could not affect that; besides, these were only

imposed on them until the time of reformation; they were enjoined the Jews only, though by God himself; and were put upon them as a burden, or a yoke, and which was on some accounts intolerable, but were not to continue any longer than the time of the Gospel, here called "the time of reformation", or of "correction", and emendation; in which, things that were faulty and deficient are amended and perfected, and in which burdensome rites and ceremonies are removed, and better ordinances introduced: or rather of direction: in which saints are directed to Christ, the sum and substance of all types, shadows, and sacrifices, and in whom alone perfection is.

{5} Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, {g} imposed on them until the time of reformation.

(5) Another reason why they could not clear the conscience of the worshipper is because they were outward and carnal or material things.

(g) For they were as you would say, a burden, from which Christ delivered us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

διόρθωσις] only here in the N. T.

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

Hebrews 9:10. μόνον ἐπὶ βρώμασινμόνον evidently introduces the positive aspect of the virtue of the “gifts and sacrifices,” thus more closely defining μὴ δυνάμεναι κατὰ συνείδησιν τελειῶσαι … the gifts and sacrifices are not able to bring the worshipper into a final rest as regards conscience, only having effect so far as regards meats and drinks and divers washings—ordinances of the flesh, not of the conscience, imposed until a time of rectification. The change of preposition from κατὰ to ἐπὶ need excite no surprise (cf. Aristotle’s frequent change of preposition, e.g., Eth. Nic., iv. 3, 26); and here there is a slight distinction in the reference. ἐπὶ has frequently the meaning “in connection with,” “with regard to” as in Luke 12:52; John 12:16; Acts 21:24 [see especially Donaldson’s excellent treatment of this preposition (Greek Gram., p. 518) showing that with the dative it signifies absolute superposition, i.e., rest upon, or close to, hence addition, subsequence and succession, then “that which is close by us as a suggesting cause, accompaniment, motive, or condition”. ἐπὶ τοῖς τ. φίλων ἀγαθοῖς φαιδροὶ γιγνόμεθα, “we are cheerful on account of the prosperity of our friends”. ὀνομάζοι δὲ πάντα ταῦτα ἐπὶ ταῖς δόξαις τοῦ μεγάλου ζώου “but were to give all these things names from in accordance with) the opinions of the great monster” (Plato, Rep. 493, c).] The meaning then is that the virtue (δυνάμεναι) of the gifts and sacrifices is only in relation to defilements occasioned by eating and drinking or neglecting the enjoined purifications. δικαιώματα σαρκὸς may either be construed as a contemptuous exclamation appended, or it may be softened by οὖσαι “which are”. μέχρι καιροῦ διορθώσεως “usque ad tempus correctionis”. διόρθωσις is a making straight or right; used by Hippocrates of reducing a fracture, by Aristotle of repairing roads and houses, by Polybius of paying debts, of education, etc. It means, putting things right, bringing matters into a satisfactory state, and is thus used of the introduction of the new covenant, in confirmation of Hebrews 8:8. No term could better express this writer’s view of the characteristic of Messianic times.

10. which stood only in meats and drinks] The “which” of the A. V. refers to the “present time.” The Greek is here elliptical, for the verse begins with the words “only upon.” The meaning is that the “gifts and sacrifices” consist only in meats and drinks and divers washings—being ordinances of the flesh, imposed (only) till the season of reformation.

meats] Exodus 12.; Leviticus 11.; Numbers 6.

drinks] Leviticus 10:8-9; Numbers 6:2-3; Leviticus 11:34.

divers washings] Leviticus 8:6; Leviticus 8:12; Exodus 40:31-32; Numbers 19 and the Levitical law passim. All these things had already been disparaged by Christ as meaning nothing in themselves (Mark 7:1-15); and St Paul had written “Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink … which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17).

and carnal ordinances] This is a wrong reading. The “and” should be omitted, and for dikaiomasi we should read dikaiomata in the accusative case. It stands in apposition to the sentence in general, and to the “gifts and sacrifices” of the last verse; they could not assure the conscience, because they had only to do with meats, &c.—being only ordinances of the flesh, i.e. outward, transitory, superficial.

imposed on them] There is no need for the “on them.” The verb means “imposed as a burden,” “lying as a yoke.” Comp. Acts 15:10; Acts 15:28; Galatians 5:1.

until the time of reformation] The season of reformation is that of which Jeremiah prophesied: it is in fact the New Covenant, see Hebrews 8:7-12. The “yoke of bondage,” which consists of a galling and wearisome externalism, was then changed for “an easy yoke and a light burden” (Matthew 11:29).

Hebrews 9:10. Μόνον, only) The commandments concerning meats are as it were an appendage to the commandments concerning sacrifices; and this particle lessens the weight of that appendage. Sacrifices do not purge the conscience; meats have respect to the flesh. Concerning both, comp. ch. Hebrews 13:9, etc. Paul often puts μόνον, only, absolutely; 1 Corinthians 7:39; Galatians 2:10; Galatians 5:13; Php 1:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:7.—ἐπὶ, on) ἐπὶ, with the Dative, implies something concurrent, as we have already remarked regarding the appendage; comp. Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 9:17; Hebrews 9:26. Sacrifices concur in public worship, and meats also in daily life; while the same ceremonial law treats of both, and is wholly occupied with these and similar matters.—βρώμασι, in meats) of which some have never been allowed to any, others not to all, and not always, nor everywhere.—πώμασι, in drinks) Leviticus 11:34; Numbers 6:3.—διαφόροις βαπτισμοῖς, in different washings) These were manifold, of the priests, of the Levites, of other men.—δικαιώματα) The apposition of the nominative and an oblique case, as Luke 22:20, where see the note.—διορθώσεως, of reformation) היטיב, LXX., διορθοῦν, Jeremiah 7:3; Jeremiah 7:5; therefore the verbal διόρθωσις, reformation, corresponds to the adjective κρείττων, better, Hebrews 9:23.—ἐπικείμενα, imposed, lying upon) as a burden, without intermission.

Verse 10. - Rendered in A.V.," Which stood only in (μόνον ἐπὶ) meats and drinks and divers washings, and carnal ordinances [καὶ δικαιώμασι σαρκὸς, Textus Receptus], imposed on them (ἐπικείμενα) until the time of reformation." This is a satisfactory rendering of the Textus Receptus, ἐπὶ before "meats," etc., being taken in the sense of dependence, and ἐπικείμενα necessarily as agreeing with "gifts and sacrifices" (δῶρα τε καὶ θυσίαι) in ver. 9. But there are other readings, though none, any more than that of the Textus Receptus, to be decidedly preferred on the mere ground of manuscript authority. The best sense seems to be given by that of δικαιΩ´ματα instead of καὶ δικαιώματι, so that we may render (ἐπὶ being taken in the sense of addition), Being only (with meats and drinks and divers washings) carnal ordinances, imposed until the time of reformation. We thus have an obvious neuter plural (δικαιώματα) for ἐπικείμενα to agree with, and we avoid the assertion that the "gifts and sacrifices" of the Law "stood only" in "meats," etc. This was not so; their essential part was blood-shedding (αἱματεκχύσια ver. 22) the other things here mentioned were but accompaniments and appendages. The "meats and drinks" spoken of may refer mainly to the distinctions between clean and unclean viands, which we know were made such a point of by the Jews of the apostolic ago (cf. Colossians 2:16-23; Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8; also Mark 7:15). The "diverse washings" (βαπτισμοῖς) may be taken to include both the ablutions of the priests before sacrifice, and those enjoined on the people in many parts of the Law after ceremonial defile-merit, which kind of washings had been further multiplied variously in the traditional law (cf. Mark 7:3, 4, 8). Hebrews 9:10The impotence of the gifts and sacrifices lay in the fact that they were only symbolic ordinances.

Which stood in (ἐπὶ)

The passage should be read thus: "according to which are offered gifts and sacrifices which cannot perfect the worshipper as touching the conscience, being mere ordinances of the flesh on the ground of (ἐπὶ resting upon) meats," etc.

Meats and drinks and divers washings (βρώμασιν καὶ πόμασιν καὶ διαφόροις βαπτισμοῖς)

Βρώμασιν, clean and unclean meats. πόμασιν drinks, concerning which the Levitical law laid down no prescriptions except as to abstinence in the case of a Nazarite vow, and of the priests when they were about to officiate. See Numbers 6:3; Leviticus 10:9. For βαπτισμοῖς washings see on Hebrews 6:2.

And carnal ordinances (δικαιώματα σαρκὸς)

Omit and. The phrase is a general description of meats, etc. Lit. ordinances of the flesh.

Imposed (ἐπικείμενα)

Some interpreters find in this the suggestion of a burden, which these ceremonial observances assuredly were. Comp. Acts 15:10. This, however, is not probable.

Until the time of reformation (μέχρι καιροῦ διορθώσεως)

Διόρθωσις N.T.o , olxx, occasionally in Class. Διόρθωμα correction, amendment, Acts 24:2. Διόρθωσις lit. making straight: used by medical writers of straightening a distorted limb. The verb διορθοῦν (not in N.T.) in lxx of mending one's ways, Jeremiah 7:3, Jeremiah 7:5; Wisd. 9:18. Of setting up or establishing, Isaiah 16:5; Isaiah 42:7. "The time of reformation" is the Christian age, when God made with his people a better covenant. It was inaugurated by the death of Christ. See on Hebrews 1:2. The gifts and offerings were only provisional, to tide the people over to the better time.

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