Hebrews 9:18
Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Whereupon.—Better, Wherefore not even has the first (covenant) been dedicated (or, inaugurated) without blood. (See Exodus 24:6-8.)

Hebrews 9:18-20. Whereupon — On which principle we may observe; neither was the first — Covenant, of which we have been speaking, I mean that of Moses; dedicated without blood — Namely, that of an appointed sacrifice. “In the original, the word covenant is wanting; and our translators, by supplying the word testament, have made the Sinai covenant or law of Moses, of which the apostle is speaking, a testament, than which,” says Macknight, “nothing can be more incongruous. The word to be supplied is not testament, but covenant. For when Moses had spoken every precept — The precepts of the law which Moses read to the people on this occasion, were chiefly those contained in Exo 20:-23., as is evident from Exodus 24:5. See the margin. To all the people according to the law —

The will, appointment, or express order of God; he took the blood of calves, &c., with water. The blood was mixed with water, to prevent its growing too stiff for sprinkling, perhaps also to typify the blood and water which should issue out of Christ’s side, signifying the expiating and cleansing virtue of his sufferings. And scarlet wool and hyssop — All these circumstances are not particularly mentioned in that chapter of Exodus, but are supposed to be already known from other passages of Moses; and sprinkled both the book — Which contained all he had said; and all the people — Who were near him. The book was sprinkled to show, 1st, That the law itself was not able to reconcile them to God, and give life without the blood of Christ added to it. 2d, That atonement was to be made by blood for sins committed against the law. 3d, That every thing is unclean to us that is not sprinkled with the blood of Christ. Saying, (Exodus 24:8,) This is the blood of the covenant, &c. — This sprinkling of the blood is a ceremony instituted by God to signify the mutual consent of both parties to the terms of the covenant; or, this is the blood whereby the covenant is ratified on both sides; which God hath enjoined unto you — Hath required me to deliver unto you or, hath commanded with respect to you, as ης ενετειλατο προς υμας literally signifies, requiring you to declare your consent to the terms of it.9:15-22 The solemn transactions between God and man, are sometimes called a covenant, here a testament, which is a willing deed of a person, bestowing legacies on such persons as are described, and it only takes effect upon his death. Thus Christ died, not only to obtain the blessings of salvation for us, but to give power to the disposal of them. All, by sin, were become guilty before God, had forfeited every thing that is good; but God, willing to show the greatness of his mercy, proclaimed a covenant of grace. Nothing could be clean to a sinner, not even his religious duties; except as his guilt was done away by the death of a sacrifice, of value sufficient for that end, and unless he continually depended upon it. May we ascribe all real good works to the same all-procuring cause, and offer our spiritual sacrifices as sprinkled with Christ's blood, and so purified from their defilement.Whereupon - Ὅθεν Hothen - "Whence." Or since this is a settled principle, or an indisputable fact, it occurred in accordance with this, that the first covenant was confirmed by the shedding of blood. The admitted principle which the apostle had stated, that the death of the victim was necessary to confirm the covenant, was the "reason" why the first covenant was ratified with blood. If there were any doubt about the correctness of the interpretation given above, that Hebrews 9:16-17, refer to a "covenant," and not a "will," this verse would seem to be enough to remove it. For how could the fact that a will is not binding until he who makes it is dead, be a reason why a "covenant" should be confirmed by blood? What bearing would such a fact have on the question whether it ought or ought not to be confirmed in this manner? Or how could that fact, though it is universal, be given as a "reason" to account for the fact that the covenant made by the instrumentality of Moses was ratified with blood?

No possible connection can be seen in such reasoning. But admit that Paul had stated in Hebrews 9:16-17, a general principle that in all covenant transactions with God, the death of a victim was necessary, and everything is plain. We then see why he offered the sacrifice and sprinkled the blood. It was not on the basis of such reasoning as this: "The death of a man who makes a will is indispensable before the will is of binding force, therefore it was that Moses confirmed the covenant made with our fathers by the blood of a sacrifice;" but by such reasoning as this: "It is a great principle that in order to ratify a covenant between God and his people a victim should be slain, therefore it was that Moses ratified the old covenant in this manner, and "therefore" it was also that the death of a victim was necessary under the new dispensation." Here the reasoning of Paul is clear and explicit; but who could see the force of the former?

Prof. Stuart indeed connects this verse with Hebrews 9:15, and says that the course of thought is, "The new covenant or redemption from sin was sanctioned by the death of Jesus; consequently, or wherefore (ὅθεν hothen) the old covenant, which is a type of the new, was sanctioned by the blood of victims." But is this the reasoning of Paul? Does he say that because the blood of a Mediator was to be shed under the new dispensation, and because the old was a type of this, that therefore the old was confirmed by blood? Is he not rather accounting for the shedding of blood at all, and showing that it was "necessary" that the blood of the Mediator should be shed rather than assuming that, and from that arguing that a typical shedding of blood was needful? Besides, on this supposition, why is the statement in Hebrews 9:16-17, introduced? What bearing have these verses in the train of thought? What are they but an inexplicable obstruction?

The first testament - Or rather covenant - the word "testament" being supplied by the translators.

Was dedicated - Margin, "Purified." The word used to "ratify," to "confirm," to "consecrate," to "sanction." Literally, "to renew."

Without blood - It was ratified by the blood of the animals that were slain in sacrifice. The blood was then sprinkled on the principal objects that were regarded as holy under that dispensation.

18. Whereupon—rather, "Whence."

dedicated—"inaugurated." The Old Testament strictly and formally began on that day of inauguration. "Where the disposition, or arrangement, is ratified by the blood of another, namely, of animals, which cannot make a covenant, much less make a testament, it is not strictly a testament, where it is ratified by the death of him that makes the arrangement, it is strictly, Greek 'diathece,' Hebrew 'berith,' taken in a wider sense, a testament" [Bengel]; thus, in Heb 9:18, referring to the old dispensation, we may translate, "the first (covenant)": or better, retain "the first (testament)," not that the old dispensation, regarded by itself, is a testament, but it is so when regarded as the typical representative of the new, which is strictly a Testament.

Forasmuch as all testaments are put in force by the death of the testator, and all covenants are most strongly confirmed by death and blood in God’s own judgment, thence it is that the Mosaical covenant was confirmed by them.

Dedicated; egkekainistai, strictly taken, signifieth made new, or renewed. It is not used in the New Testament but in this place, and Hebrews 10:20: the Syriac translate it here confirmed, or ratified. In the Old Testament the Septuagint use it to express the Hebrew wknh Deu 20:5. In which law, for a man who had built a house, and was called out to the wars, to return and dedicate it, was to take possession of it, and secure it from the claim of another. Here it is properly used to make sure, firm, and inviolable; and that by blood, typical of Christ’s, which is the highest and most solemn ratification. So were the covenants before ratified, but especially under the law, and the Mosaical covenant itself, as appears by instance, Genesis 15:9,10,17,18 31:44,54; compare Exodus 24:5,7,8. Whereupon neither the first testament,.... Or the first administration of the covenant of grace under the law:

was dedicated without blood; or "confirmed" without it, that dispensation being a typical one; and that blood was typical of the blood of Christ, by which the new covenant or testament is ratified; see Exodus 24:7.

{12} Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

(12) There must be a proportion between those things which purify and those which are purified: Under the law all those figures were earthly, the tabernacle, the book, the vessels, the sacrifices, although they were the signs of heavenly things. Therefore it was required that all those should be purified with some matter and ceremony of the same nature, that is, with the blood of beasts, with water, wool, hyssop. But under Christ all things are heavenly, a heavenly tabernacle, heavenly sacrifice, heavenly people, heavenly doctrine, and heaven itself is set open before us for an eternal home. Therefore all these things are sanctified in a similar way, that is, with the everlasting offering of the quickening blood of Christ.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 9:18. Ὅθεν] wherefore, sc. because, according to Hebrews 9:16-17, a διαθήκη becomes valid only through the intervention of death. To enclose Hebrews 9:16-17 within a parenthesis, and refer back ὅθεν to Hebrews 9:15 (Zachariae, Morus, Storr, Heinrichs, Conybeare, Bisping), is arbitrary.

οὐδέ] the augmenting: not even.

ἡ πρώτη] the first, or Old Testament, sc. διαθήκη. Erroneously do Wetstein and Koppe (in Heinrichs) supplement σκηνή.

ἐγκεκαίνισται] was inaugurated, i.e. introduced in a valid manner. The verb occurs in the N. T. only here and Hebrews 10:20.

Hebrews 9:18-22. The first διαθήκη also was not inaugurated without blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission under the Mosaic law.18. Whereupon] Rather, “Wherefore;” because both “a covenant” and “a testament” involve the idea of death.

neither] “not even.”

was dedicated] Lit. “has been handselled” or “inaugurated.” The word is from the same root as “Encaenia,” the name given to the re-dedication of the Temple by the Maccabees (John 10:22. Comp. Deuteronomy 20:5; 1 Kings 8:63; LXX.). The perfect is used by the author, as in so many other instances.Hebrews 9:18. Ὅθεν, whence) The two words ברית and διαθήκη differ; but yet they signify the same thing, in so far as both denote an agreement or an arrangement of that sort, which is ratified by blood. Where the agreement is ratified by the blood of another, viz. of animals, which cannot make a covenant, much less testify or make a testament, it is not properly διαθήκη, a testament; but yet ברית, a covenant, is not very much different from the character (nature) of a testament, on account of the victims slain. Where the arrangement is ratified by the blood of him that makes the arrangement, i.e. by his death, it is properly διαθήκη, testament, which is also expressed by the Hebrew word ברית, having (taken in) a wider signification. The particle ὅθεν, whence, ought not to be pressed too far, as if the Old Testament were also consecrated by the blood or death of the testator: but still it has its own proper force, in so far as it is intimated, that the New Testament, and therefore also the Old, needed to be dedicated with blood.—ἐγκεκαίνισται, was dedicated or initiated) So the LXX. express the Hebrew word חנך. On the very day of initiation or dedication, the Old Testament most properly began, and it continued till the night and day when the Lord was betrayed and died.Verse 18. - Wherefore neither hath the first (testament, A.V.; or, covenant) been dedicated without blood. Here the blood of slain victims, which had been essential for the first inauguration of the old διαθήκη, is referred to as expressing the principle of vers. 16, 17, viz. that there must be death for a διαθήκη (in whatever sense the word may be intended, whether as a testament or as a covenant between God and man) to take effect. Whichever view we take of the intended import of the word, the reference is equally apposite in support of the introductory proposition of ver. 15; which is to the effect that Christ's death (θανάτου γενμένου), fulfilling the symbolism of the old inaugurating sacrifices, qualified him as Mediator of a new διαθήκη. Whereupon (ὅθεν)

Rend. wherefore, or for which reason: on the general principle that a covenant must be ratified by death.

Neither the first testament was dedicated without blood (οὐδὲ ἡ πρώτη χωρὶς αἵματος ἐνκεκαίνισται)

Rend. "neither hath the first (covenant) been inaugurated without blood." There is surely no excuse for inserting testament here, as A.V., since the allusion is clearly to the ratification of a covenant with blood. But further, as this and the verses immediately following are intended to furnish a historical illustration of the statements in Hebrews 9:16, Hebrews 9:17, we seem forced either to render covenant in those verses, or to assume that the transaction here related was the ratification of a will and testament, or to find our writer guilty of using an illustration which turns on a point entirely different from the matter which he is illustrating. Thus: a testament is of force after men are dead. It has no force so long as the testator is alive. Wherefore, the first covenant was ratified by slaying victims and sprinkling their blood. For the incident see Exodus 24:8. Ἐνκαινίζειν only here and Hebrews 10:20. lxx, to renew, 1 Samuel 11:14; 2 Chronicles 15:8; Psalm 51:10 : to dedicate, 1 Kings 8:63; 1 Macc. 4:36. Comp. τὰ ἐνκαίνια the feast of dedication, John 10:22. Rend. οὐδὲ neither, as A.V., and not not even, in which case the meaning would be, "not even the first covenant, although its ministries did not perfect the worshipper as touching the conscience," a thought which would be foreign to the point, which is merely the analogy in the matter of death.

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