Hebrews 9:19
For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
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(19) Every precept.—Or, commandment. See Exodus 24:3; where we read that Moses “told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments.” These he wrote in a book (Hebrews 9:4), and this “book of the covenant” (Hebrews 9:7) he “read in the audience of the people.” The contents would probably be the Ten Commandments, and the laws of Exodus 20:22 to Exodus 23:33.

Of calves and of goats.—In Exodus (Hebrews 9:5) we read of “burnt offerings” and of “peace offerings of oxen.” The “goats” may be included in the burnt offerings; for though Jewish tradition held that a goat was never sacrificed as a burnt offering, Leviticus 1:10 is clear on the other side. It is possible that “the calves and the goats” may be only a general expression for “the sacrificial victims.” (See Hebrews 9:12.)

With water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop.—In Exodus 24 there is no mention of these details, but similar notices are found in other parts of the Pentateuch, where the ceremony of sprinkling for purification is described (Exodus 12:22; Leviticus 14:4; Leviticus 14:6; and Numbers 19:6; Numbers 19:17-18). The water (itself an emblem and means of cleansing) was designed to prevent the coagulation of the blood, and to increase the quantity of the purifying fluid. The “scarlet wool” may have been used to bind the hyssop to the stick of cedar-wood, which was the instrument of sprinkling. The precise notices in the Law forbid us to doubt that each of these substances had a definite symbolical meaning, but to us the subject is involved in obscurity.

Both the book and all the people.—The Greek is more emphatic: both the book itself and all the people. The latter fact alone is mentioned in Exodus (Hebrews 9:8). The sprinkling of the book of the covenant may be regarded from two points of view. It may depend either on the same principle as the (later) sprinkling of the Tabernacle (Hebrews 9:22), and the “reconciling” of the Tabernacle and the Holy Place (Leviticus 16:20) on the Day of Atonement; or on the symbolism of the covenant as noticed above (Hebrews 9:15-17). In the latter case we must suppose that, as the blood was divided into two portions (Exodus 24:6) in token of the two parties to the covenant, and part “cast upon the altar,” the book of the covenant was associated with the altar as representing the presence of Jehovah.

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.For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people - When he had recited all the Law, and had given all the commandments entrusted him to deliver; Exodus 24:3.

He took the blood of calves and of goats - This passage has given great perplexity to commentators from the fact that Moses in his account of the transactions connected with the ratification of the covenant with the people, Exodus 24, mentions only a part of the circumstances here referred to. He says nothing of the blood of calves and of goats; nothing of water, and scarletwool, and hyssop; nothing of sprinkling the book, the tabernacle, or the vessels of the ministry. It has been made a question, therefore, whence Paul obtained a knowledge of these circumstances? Since the account is not contained in the Old Testament, it must have been either by tradition, or by direct inspiration. The latter supposition is hardly probable, because:

(1) the information here can hardly be regarded as of sufficient importance to have required an original revelation; for the illustration would have had sufficient force to sustain his conclusion if the literal account in Exodus only had been given, that Moses sprinkled the people, but

(2) such an original act of inspiration here would not have been consistent with the object of the apostle. In that argument it was essential that he should state only the facts about the ancient dispensation which were admitted by the Hebrews themselves. Any statement of his own about things which they did not concede to be true, or which was not well understood as a custom, might have been called in question, and would have done much to invalidate the entire force of the argument. It is to be presumed, therefore, that the facts here referred to had been preserved by tradition; and in regard to this, and the authority due to such a tradition, we may remark:

(1) that it is well known that the Jews had a great number of traditions which they carefully preserved;

(2) that there is no improbability in the supposition that many events in their history would be preserved in this manner, since in the small compass of a volume like the Old Testament it cannot be presumed that all the events of their nation had been recorded;

(3) though they had many traditions of a trifling nature, and many which were false (compare notes on Matthew 15:2), yet they doubtless had many that were true;

(4) in referring to those traditions, there is no impropriety in supposing that Paul may have been guided by the Spirit of inspiration in selecting only those which were true; and,

(5) nothing is more probable than what is here stated. If Moses sprinkled "the people;" if he read "the book of the law" then Exodus 24:7, and if this was regarded as a solemn act of ratifying a covenant with God, nothing would be more natural than that he should sprinkle the book of the covenant, and even the tabernacle and its various sacred utensils.

We are to remember also, that it was common among the Hebrews to sprinkle blood for the purpose of consecrating, or as an emblem of purifying. Thus, Aaron and his sons and their garments were sprinkled with blood when they were consecrated to the office of priests, Exodus 29:19-21; the blood of sacrifices was sprinkled on the altar, Leviticus 1:5, Leviticus 1:11; Leviticus 3:2, Leviticus 3:13; and blood was sprinkled before the veil of the sanctuary, Leviticus 4:10, Leviticus 4:17; compare Leviticus 6:27; Leviticus 7:14. So Josephus speaks of the garments of Aaron and of his sons being sprinkled with "the blood of the slain beasts, and with spring water." "Having consecrated them and their garments," he says, "for seven days together, he did the same to the tabernacle, and the vessels thereto belonging, both with oil and with the blood of bulls and of rams." Ant. book iii, chapter 8, section 6. These circumstances show the strong "probability" of the truth of what is here affirmed by Paul, while it is impossible to prove that Moses did not sprinkle the book and the tabernacle in the manner stated. The mere omission by Moses cannot demonstrate that it was not done. On the phrase "the blood of calves and of goats," see note on Hebrews 9:12.

With water - Agreeably to the declaration of Josephus that "spring water was used." In Leviticus 14:49-51, it is expressly mentioned that the blood of the bird that was killed to cleanse a house from the plague of leprosy should be shed over running water, and that the blood and the water should be sprinkled on the walls. It has been suggested also (see Bloomfield), that the use of water was necessary in order to prevent the blood from coagulating, or so as to make it possible to sprinkle it.

And scarlet wool - Margin, "Purple." The word used here denotes crimson, or deep-scarlet. The colour was obtained from a small insect which was found adhering to the shoots of a species of oak in Spain and in Western Asia, of about the size of a pea. It was regarded as the most valuable of the colours for dyeing, and was very expensive. Why the wool used by Moses was of this colour is not known, unless it be because it was the most expensive of colours, and thus accorded with everything employed in the construction of the tabernacle and its utensils. Wool appears to have been used in order to absorb and retain the blood.

And hyssop - That is, a bunch of hyssop intermingled with the wool, or so connected with it as to constitute a convenient instrument for sprinkling; compare Leviticus 14:51. Hyssop is a low shrub, regarded as one of the smallest of the plants, and hence, put in contrast with the cedar of Lebanon. It sprung out of the rocks or walls, 1 Kings 4:33, and was used for purposes of purification. The term seems to have comprised not only the common hyssop, but also lavender and other aromatic plants. Its fragrance, as well as its size, may have suggested the idea of using it in the sacred services of the tabernacle.

And sprinkled both the book - This circumstance is not mentioned by Moses, but it has been shown above not to be improbable. Some expositors, however, in order to avoid the difficulty in the passage, have taken this in connection with the word λαβὼν labōn - rendered "he took" - meaning "taking the blood, and the book itself;" but the more natural and proper construction is, that the book was sprinkled with the blood.


19. For—confirming the general truth, Heb 9:16.

spoken … according to the law—strictly adhering to every direction of "the law of commandments contained in ordinances" (Eph 2:15). Compare Ex 24:3, "Moses told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments; and all the people answered with one voice," &c.

the blood of calves—Greek, "the calves," namely, those sacrificed by the "young men" whom he sent to do so (Ex 24:5). The "peace offerings" there mentioned were "of oxen" (Septuagint, "little calves"), and the "burnt offerings" were probably (though this is not specified), as on the day of atonement, goats. The law in Exodus sanctioned formally many sacrificial practices in use by tradition, from the primitive revelation long before.

with water—prescribed, though not in the twenty-fourth chapter of Exodus, yet in other purifications; for example, of the leper, and the water of separation which contained the ashes of the red heifer.

scarlet wool, and hyssop—ordinarily used for purification. Scarlet or crimson, resembling blood: it was thought to be a peculiarly deep, fast dye, whence it typified sin (see on [2564]Isa 1:18). So Jesus wore a scarlet robe, the emblem of the deep-dyed sins He bore on Him, though He had none in Him. Wool was used as imbibing and retaining water; the hyssop, as a bushy, tufty plant (wrapt round with the scarlet wool), was used for sprinkling it. The wool was also a symbol of purity (Isa 1:18). The Hyssopus officinalis grows on walls, with small lancet-formed woolly leaves, an inch long, with blue and white flowers, and a knotty stalk about a foot high.

sprinkled … the book—namely, out of which he had read "every precept": the book of the testament or covenant. This sprinkling of the book is not mentioned in the twenty-fourth chapter of Exodus. Hence Bengel translates, "And (having taken) the book itself (so Ex 24:7), he both sprinkled all the people, and (Heb 9:21) moreover sprinkled the tabernacle." But the Greek supports English Version. Paul, by inspiration, supplies the particular specified here, not in Ex 24:7. The sprinkling of the roll (so the Greek for "book") of the covenant, or testament, as well as of the people, implies that neither can the law be fulfilled, nor the people be purged from their sins, save by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ (1Pe 1:2). Compare Heb 9:23, which shows that there is something antitypical to the Bible in heaven itself (compare Re 20:12). The Greek, "itself," distinguishes the book itself from the "precepts" in it which he "spake."

For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law: that the Old Testament was ratified by blood the Spirit proveth by instance, Moses as mediator having spoken every command, promise, and article of the covenant to all Israel, who came out of Egypt, according to God’s charge, reading all to them out of the book, wherein by God’s order he had written it; and the people declaring their assent and consent unto this covenant, as Exodus 24:3,4,7, as God covenanted and bound himself to his part of it.

He took the blood of calves, &c.: the Mediator then took, according to the common rite in such ratifying acts, a sprinkling bush made of scarlet wool, cedar wood, and hyssop, Leviticus 14:4,6 Num 19:6,18; to which David alludeth, Psalm 51:7; and with this bunch sprinkles the blood and water (which he had received into basons from the sacrifices, killed by the first-born, for burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, and there mixed, Exodus 24:5,6 Le 9:3,4 14:51) on the altar, book of the covenant, and all Israel, Exodus 24:6-8, confirming and ratifying the covenant on God’s part and theirs, as the words annexed, Hebrews 9:20, and Exodus 24:8, affirm: Behold the blood by which this covenant is made firm and inviolable. All this is but a shadow and type of the ratification of the new covenant with sinners by the death of Christ; he is the Mediator that brings God’s testamental covenant to them; he dieth and puts it in force; by his blood ratifieth it on God’s part and theirs, by his Spirit applying it to them, and sprinkling it on them; he brings home the testamental blessings to them, Hebrews 10:22 11:28 12:24 Isaiah 52:15 Ezekiel 36:25 1 Peter 1:2.

For when Moses had spoken every precept,.... Contained in the decalogue, in the book of the covenant, everyone of the precepts in Exodus 22:1 for this is to be understood of the written law, and not of the oral law the Jews talk of, which they say Moses first delivered by word of mouth to Aaron, then to his two sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, then to the seventy elders of Israel, and then to the whole congregation; so that Aaron heard it four times, his sons thrice, the seventy elders twice, and all Israel once (g): but this is the written law which he spoke audibly, and in a known language,

to all the people according to the law; which God gave him on the Mount: this may instruct persons concerned in the public ministry, to speak out plainly and clearly the whole counsel of God, to all to whom they are sent, according to the word of God, which is the rule of faith and practice:

he took the blood of calves, and of goats; in the relation of this affair in Exodus 24:5 which is referred to, only mention is made of oxen, bullocks, or heifers, here called calves, which were sacrificed for peace offerings, and not of goats; though perhaps they may be intended by the burnt offerings there spoken of, since they were sometimes used for burnt offerings, Leviticus 1:10. The Syriac version only reads, "he took the blood of an heifer"; and the Arabic version, "he took the blood of calves"; but all the copies, and other versions, read both. "With water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop"; neither of these are mentioned in Exodus 24:1, but since sprinkling is there said to be used, and blood and water mixed together, and scarlet and hyssop were used in sprinkling, as in sprinkling the leper, and the unclean house, Leviticus 14:5 the apostle justly concludes the use of them here; the blood, with water, was typical of the blood and water which sprung from the side of Christ pierced on the cross, the one signifying justification by him, the other sanctification; the scarlet wool, which is originally white, but becomes scarlet by being dyed, may denote the native purity of Christ, and his bloody sufferings and death; the hyssop may signify his humility, and the purging virtue of his blood, and the sweet smelling savour of his person, righteousness, and sacrifice. The apostle calls scarlet, scarlet wool; though whenever the word is used in the Jewish laws of the Old Testament, wool is not expressed, but it is always intended; for it is a rule with the Jews (h), that

"the blue, which is spoken of in every place, is wool dyed of a sky colour; purple is wool dyed red, and scarlet is wool dyed in scarlet.''

And sprinkled both the book, and all the people. In Exodus 24:8 no mention is made of the sprinkling of the former, only of the latter, which the apostle either concludes from the sprinkling of the blood upon the altar, upon which the book might lie, or from tradition, or from divine revelation: some think it does not necessarily follow from the text, that the book was sprinkled; and repeating the word "he took", read the words, "and he took the book and sprinkled all the people"; but this seems not natural, but forced; and besides, all the Oriental versions are express for the sprinkling of the book: the book of the law was sprinkled, not because of any impurity in it, but to show the imperfection of it, and its insufficiency to justify men; or rather the imperfection of man's obedience to it, and to point out what the law requires in case of disobedience, even the blood and life of men; and what it would be, was it not sprinkled with blood, or satisfied by the blood of Christ, namely, an accusing, cursing, and condemning law: the people, all of them, being sprinkled with the blood, were typical of God's peculiar people, even all the elect of God, being sprinkled with the blood of Christ, called the blood of sprinkling, by which they are redeemed, and which speaks peace and pardon to them. Some have thought only the seventy elders were sprinkled, as representing the whole congregation; and others, that the twelve pillars were only sprinkled, as representing the twelve tribes of Israel; but Moses and the apostle agree, that they were the people that were sprinkled.

(g) Maimon. Praefat. ad Yad Chazaka. (h) lb. Hilchot Cele Hamikdash, c. 8. sect. 13.

For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people {m} according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and {n} sprinkled both the book, and all the people,

(m) As the Lord had commanded.

(n) He used to sprinkle.

Hebrews 9:19-20. Historic proof for the assertion, Hebrews 9:18, with a free reference to Exodus 24:3-8.

κατὰ τὸν νόμον] is taken by Schlichting, Calov, Jac. Cappellus, Seb. Schmidt, Bengel, Storr, Böhme, Bleek, Bisping, al., along with πάσης ἐντολῆς: “every precept according to the law, i.e. as it was contained in the law.” So already the Vulgate: lecto enim omni mandato legis. But against this construction the absence of the connecting article and the strangeness of the preposition κατά. Rightly, therefore, have Oecumenius, Faber Stapulensis, Erasmus, Vatablus, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Wittich, Braun, Schulz, Kuinoel, Klee, Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Alford, Maier, Moll, Hofmann, and others referred κατὰ τὸν νόμον to λαληθείσης. Only we must not explain, as is ordinarily done, “in accordance with the commandment received of God,” but the sense is: after, in accordance with the law received of God, every precept had been proclaimed by Moses to the whole people. The standard for the proclamation of the ἐντολαί was the νόμος, since it contained these ἐντολαί.

παντὶ τῷ λαῷ] Exodus 24:3 stands only διηγήσατο τῷ λαῷ. But παντί resulted from the ἀπεκρίθη δὲ πᾶς ὁ λαός there immediately following.

καὶ τῶν τράγων] and of the goats. Of goats slain in sacrifice the underlying narrative of Exodus says nothing. Schlichting, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Bengel, Böhme, and others therefore suppose that the author had in view the burnt-offerings mentioned before the thank-offerings of oxen, Exodus 24:5; inasmuch as, according to Leviticus 1:10 ff; Leviticus 4:23 ff; Leviticus 9:2-3, Numbers 6:10-11; Numbers 7:27, rams and he-goats, as well as other smaller animals, might be selected for burnt-offerings. Nevertheless, it is also possible that, as conjectured by Bleek, de Wette, and Bisping, there was present to the mind of the author that sacrifice of bullocks and goats already referred to, Hebrews 9:12-13, which the high priest was to offer on the great day of atonement.

μετὰ ὕδατος καὶ ἐρίου κοκκίνου καὶ ὑσσώπου] along with water and crimson wool and hyssop. With regard to this also, nothing is stated in the corresponding passage of Exodus. But all three things are elsewhere mentioned in connection with legally enjoined aspersions for purification. Comp. Numbers 19:6; Numbers 19:17 f.; Leviticus 14:2 ff., Leviticus 14:49 ff. In accordance therewith, a mixture of fresh spring water in some cases with the ashes of the red heifer, in others with the blood of a slain bird, was prescribed in the case of aspersions which were appointed for the cleansing of one defiled by contact with a corpse or by leprosy. In like manner, according to the passages above referred to, hyssop (אֵזוֹב, comp. on this plant, Winer, Bibl. Realwörterb. Bd. II. 2 Aufl. p. 819 f.) and crimson wool. With the latter the hyssop stem was probably bound round, and this served as a brush for sprinkling the blood. Comp. this use of hyssop in Exodus 12:22.

αὐτό τε τὸ βιβλίον καὶ πάντα τὸν λαὸν ἐράντισεν] he sprinkled as well the book itself as also the whole people. τὸ βιβλίον is the βιβλίον τῆς διαθήκης, Exodus 24:7. Of a sprinkling likewise of this book of the covenant, nothing, however, is told us in Exodus. It has therefore been proposed, by way of removing the difference, to make τὸ βιβλίον still dependent upon the preceding λαβών. So, after the precedent of the Coptic and Armenian versions, Grotius, Wittich, Surenhus, Cramer, Bengel, Michaelis, Storr, Morus, Ewald, and others. But the καί following βιβλίον renders this impossible. For the setting aside of this καί by pronouncing it spurious (Colomesius, Valckenaer), or by the assumption of a pleonasm (so ordinarily), is an act of violence; while we are prevented from placing it, with Bengel and Ewald, in correspondence with the καί, Hebrews 9:21, as “et … et vero,” or “non modo … vero etiam,”—apart from the clumsiness of construction thus arising, and leaving out of consideration the inconvenient δέ,—by the twice occurring of the verb ἐράντισεν, Hebrews 9:19; Hebrews 9:21.

πάντα τὸν λαόν] LXX. Hebrews 9:8 : Λαβὼν δὲ Μωϋσῆς τὸ αἷμα κατεσκέδασε τοῦ λαοῦ. Schlichting: Omnem autem populum conspersisse dicitur, quia qui ex proxime astantibus conspersi fuerant, universi populi personam hac in parte gessere, ita ut totus populus conspersus fuisse censeretur.

ἐράντισεν] sc. for consecration and purification.

19. and of goats] This is not specially mentioned, but it may be supposed that “goats” were among the burnt-offerings mentioned in Exodus 24:5.

water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop] These again are not mentioned in Exodus 24:6, but are perhaps added from tradition on the analogy of Exodus 12:22; Numbers 19:6; and Leviticus 14:4-6.

hyssop] the dry stalks of a plant resembling marjoram.

both the book] See Exodus 24:6-8, where however it is not specially mentioned that the Book was sprinkled. The Jewish tradition was that it lay upon the altar (see Exodus 24:7). The “book” seems to have been the written record of what was uttered to Moses in Exodus 20:22 to Exodus 23:33. This is one of several instances in which the writer shews himself learned in the Jewish legends (Hagadoth).

Hebrews 9:19. Λαληθείσης, having been recited or spoken) Exodus 24:16, etc.—πάσης ἐντολῆς κατὰ νόμον, every precept according to the law) Moses had recited or read those commandments which occur in Exodus 20, and perhaps also those which occur in the following chapters. And the brief indication of the written book was tantamount to a recapitulation of all that was recited.—τῶν μόσχων καὶ τράγων, of calves and goats) In Exodus 24:5 they are expressly called μοσχάρια, little calves: the word ὁλοκαυτώματα, in that passage implies the τράγους, spoken of here.—μετὰ ὕδατος καὶ ἐρίου κοκκίνου καὶ ὑσσώπου, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop) These are not found in the passage quoted, but are taken for granted as already well known from other passages in the writings of Moses, Leviticus 14:5-6. The scarlet wool corresponds to the Hebrew שני החולעת. The LXX. translate תילעת κόκκινον, שני κλωστὸν διπλοῦν, double spun (twined), from its form: the apostle terms it from its material (wool); scarlet colour, viz. as being like blood.—βιβλίον) Many, and the Latins too from the Vulgate, construe this word with ἐῤῥάντισε, he sprinkled; but it should evidently be construed with λαβὼν, having taken, as Exodus 24:7, καὶ λαβὼν τὸ βιβλίον τῆς διαθήκης, and having taken the book of the covenant. There is an elegance in the conjunction; τὸ αἷμα αὐτό τε τὸ βιβλίον, as appears by comparing those words, τοῦτο τὸ αἷμα τῆς διαθήκης; that in this ceremony the blood may be shown by itself; the testament, by the showing of the book; and that ἑγκαινισμὸς, the dedication, may be perfected by that double exhibition (showing): αὐτὸ, itself, is added, because the testament described in the book, was of more importance than that blood. Τε does not always refer to the following καὶ, Hebrews 9:1; John 2:15, where the τε connects the discourse rather with what goes before, than with what follows: also the sheep and the oxen: comp. moreover Acts 26:11; wherefore it is not necessary here to construe αὐτό τε τὸ βιβλίον καὶ πάντα τὸν λαὸν ἐῤῥάντισε. The other things which are here mentioned by the apostle, and yet are not found in the 24th chap. of Exod., may be derived from other passages; but respecting the sprinkling of the book, which notwithstanding, if true, would constitute a very large portion of that ceremony, we find nothing in all the books of Moses. Furthermore, if the book had been sprinkled, and if the apostle had spoken of that sprinkling, he would have joined it, not with the sprinkling of the people, but with the sprinkling of the tabernacle and the vessels, and therefore of the altar; comp. Van Hoeke, p. 190. See, however, Jun. I. 1209, l. 54. But indeed it was not befitting that the book itself should be even sprinkled, for the book, containing the word of GOD, represented there GOD Himself, as Flacius in Gloss. says; where, however, he is of opinion that the book was also sprinkled. No doubt the tabernacle along; with the vessels [the tabernacle being at that very time adapted to the altar, Exodus 24:6-8; Exodus 25:8.—V. g.] needed purification, Hebrews 9:21; Leviticus 16:16; Leviticus 16:19-20; Leviticus 16:33; 2 Chronicles 29:21; but the book, or the word of GOD, did not need it. And since these things are so, yet καὶ before πάντα is not only no disadvantage, but has much elegance. For the sentence is copulative: ΚΑΙ πάντα τὸν λαὸν ἐῤῥάντισε, “Moses sprinkled all the people,” on the one side; ΚΑΙ τὴν σκηνὴν δὲἐῤῥἁντισεν (Hebrews 9:21), “and the tabernacle indeed—he the same sprinkled,” on the other. The Latins say, et, et vero, both, and indeed, or, non modo, verum etiam, not only, but also. So οὔτεκαὶ οὐ, Revelation 9:20-21.—πάντα τὸν λαὸν ἐῤῥάντισε) LXX., κατεσκέδασε τοῦ λαοῦ, in the place quoted above. But elsewhere they often put ῥαίνω, ῥαντίζω, κ.τ.λ.

Verses 19, 20. - For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the covenant (A.V. testament) which God enjoined unto you (strictly, to you-ward; i.e. enjoined to me for you). The reference is to Exodus 24:3-9, where the account is given of the inauguration of the covenant between God and the Israelites through Moses. He "came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do." And then he wrote all the words of the LORD in a book, and builded an altar under the mount, and sacrifices were offered, and half of the blood was sprinkled on the altar, and the words were read from the book, and again the people undertook to observe them, and the other half of the blood was sprinkled on the people, and so the covenant was ratified. The essential part of the whole ceremony being the "blood-shedding," it is of no importance for the general argument that the account in Exodus is not exactly followed. The variations from it are these:

(1) The mention of goats as well as calves or bullocks - of water - of the scarlet wool and hyssop - and of the sprinkling of the book, instead of the altar, as in Exodus.

(2) The words spoken by Moses are differently given, τοῦτο being substituted for ἰδοὺ ὁ Θεός for Κύριος. and ἐνετείλατο for διέθετο. On these variations we may observe that the mention of goats may have been suggested to the writer's mind by the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement, previously alluded to; and it is not inconsistent with the account in Exodus, where the victims used for the "burnt offerings" are not specified, only the bullocks for "peace offerings." Nor is there inconsistency in the other additions to the ceremonial. The scarlet wool and hyssop were the usual instruments of aspersion (a bunch of the latter being apparently bound by the former to a stick of cedar; cf. Exodus 12:22; Leviticus 14:50; Numbers 19:6, 18). It may have been usual to mix water with the blood used for aspersion, if only to prevent coagulation (see Lightfoot on John 19:34), though in some cases certainly also with a symbolical meaning (cf. Leviticus 14:5, 50); and, if the book was, as it was likely to be, on the altar when the latter was sprinkled (Exodus 24:6, 7), it would itself partake of this sprinkling, and, being thus consecrated, would be then taken from the altar to be read from to the people and to receive their assent, previously to the sprinkling of themselves with the moiety of the blood reserved. Probably the whole account, as here given, was the traditional one at the time of writing (see below, on ver. 21). With regard to the slightly altered form of the words spoken by Moses, it is an interesting suggestion that the writer may have had in his mind our Lord's corresponding words in the institution of the Eucharist, beginning in all the accounts with τοῦτο, and being thus worded: in St. Luke, Τοῦτο τὸ ποτήριον ἡ καινὴ διαθηκη ἐν τῷ αἱματί μου τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυνομενον: and in St. Matthew and St. Mark, Τοῦτο ἐστι τὸ αἱμά μου τὸ τῆς καινῆς διαθήκης τὸ περὶ πολλῶν ἐκχυνόμενον, St. Matthew adding εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν. That Christ in these words referred to those of Moses is obvious, speaking of his own outpoured blood as the antitype of that wherewith the old διαθήκη was dedicated; and it is likely that the writer of the Epistle would have Christ's words in his mind. Hebrews 9:19The statement of Hebrews 9:18 historically confirmed by the story of the establishment of the law-covenant, Exodus 24.

Of calves and goats (τῶν μόσχων καὶ τῶν τράγων)

Not mentioned in the O.T. account. The goat was always for a sin-offering, and the sacrifices on this occasion were oxen, and are described as burnt offerings and sacrifices of peace, Exodus 24:5. In the original covenant with Abraham a she-goat and a heifer are specially mentioned, Genesis 15:9.

Water, scarlet wool, hyssop - sprinkled the book (ὕδατος, ἐρίου κοκκίνου, ὑσσώπου αὐτό τε τὸ βιβλίον ἐράντισεν)

None of these are mentioned in the O.T. account, which the writer appears to have filled up from the details of subsequent usage. Comp. the additions in Hebrews 9:5, Hebrews 9:10. It will also be observed that the sacrifices on the occasion of establishing the law covenant were not made according to the Mosaic ritual. They were offered, not by the priests, but by the young men, Exodus 24:5. For κόκκινος scarlet, see on Matthew 27:6. Ὕσσωπος hyssop appears in Exodus 12:22; Leviticus 14:4, Leviticus 14:6, Leviticus 14:49; Numbers 19:6, Numbers 19:18; Psalm 51:9; John 19:29. Mostly in connection with lustral ceremonies. The vexed question of the precise botanical character of the plant has never been decisively settled.

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