Hebrews 9:6
Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
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(6) Now when these thing were thus ordained . . .—Better, And when these things have been thus prepared, into the first tabernacle the priests enter continually, accomplishing the services. As has been already observed (Hebrews 9:2), the present tense is used throughout these verses (Hebrews 9:6-10), not because the writer refers to the services as still continuing, but because he is still tracing the ordinance of Scripture. It is of the Tabernacle alone that he speaks. The words of Hebrews 9:4 would have been entirely incorrect in regard to the temple of his day, in which the Most Holy Place was empty.

The service.—Comp. Exodus 30:7-8; Leviticus 24:1-8.

Hebrews 9:6. Now when these things were thus ordained Κατεσκευασμενων, prepared. Having given an account of the structure of the tabernacle in the two parts of it, and the furniture of those several parts distinctly, to complete his argument, the apostle adds the consideration of their sacred use; the priests went always — Every day; into the first tabernacle — Termed the holy place; accomplishing the service of God — Performing what was there to be done, namely, burning the incense at the morning and evening sacrifice, dressing the lamps and supplying them with oil, changing the show-bread every sabbath morning. Added to this, as the principal part of the service of this tabernacle, the priests brought into it the blood of the sin-offerings, and sprinkled it before the veil, Leviticus 4:6. At all other times they entered into it without blood, for the blood of the burnt-offerings was sprinkled about the altar, Leviticus 1:11.

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.When these things were thus ordained - Thus arranged or appointed. Having shown what the tabernacle was, the apostle proceeds to show what was done in it. "The priests went always into the first tabernacle." The outer tabernacle called the holy place. They were not permitted to enter the Holy of Holies, that being entered only once in a year by the High Priest. The holy place was entered every day to make the morning and evening oblation.

Accomplishing the service of God - Performing the acts of worship which God had appointed - burning incense, etc.; Luke 1:9.

6. The use made of the sanctuary so furnished by the high priest on the anniversary of atonement.


always—twice at the least every day, for the morning and evening care of the lamps, and offering of incense (Ex 30:7, 8).

went—Greek, "enter": present tense.

The Spirit now proceeds to the second adjunct of the Mosaical administration, having stated the places of them, even the Aaronical priests’ services in them.

Now when these things were thus ordained; when the tabernacles were made and reared, and the utensils rightly disposed in them, and all things set in God’s own order, now

the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God; into the holy place or sanctuary within the first veil, described, Hebrews 9:2. Not only the high priest, but all the common priests, consecrated by God’s order to their work; every one in his daily course, constantly performing, and completely acting, all the services enjoined on them by God to be done there, as to put on the shew-bread, and to eat what they took off, Exodus 25:30 Leviticus 24:5-9; to keep the lights in the candlestick, supplying it with oil, and clearing the lights, Exodus 25:37,38 Exo 27:20,21 30:1,8 Num 8:2,3; to burn incense on the golden altar before the ark: the priests took a censer, and filled it with fire from the altar of burnt sacrifice, and then came to the altar of incense before the veil, and there put the incense on the fire in the censer; during the evaporating of which, the people in the court were pouring out their prayers for pardon, each person by himself; see Exodus 30:1-9,34-36 40:26,27 Lu 1:9,10; even all the ordinances of worship commanded by God, did the priests perform in it. All which services in the holy place do but typify the true services in the gospel church, of all made priests by the blood of Christ, 1 Peter 2:5,9 Re 1:5,6 5:9,10; offering prayers and praises to God continually in the name of Christ, perfumed with the incense of his merits, Malachi 1:11; compare Revelation 8:3; obtaining thereby the light of his grace through his Spirit, and the bread of life, till they are perfected by their great High Priest, and carried into the holy of holiest, there to be praising and enjoying God in him for ever, as he hath prayed for them, and promised to them, John 14:2,3 17:20,21.

Now when these things were thus ordained,.... Or prepared and got ready; that is, when the tabernacle was finished, and set up, and provided with all its vessels and furniture:

the priests went always into the first tabernacle; the first part of the tabernacle, which was called the holy place, Hebrews 9:2 here the common priests went continually every day, morning and evening; the Syriac and Ethiopic versions read, "the outward tabernacle", in distinction from the innermost part of the tabernacle, or the most holy place:

accomplishing the service of God; by offering sacrifices, burning incense, and trimming the lamps, which they did every day: the priests entered into the holy place every day for service; but they might not go in at any other time but the time of service (l) the phrase, "of God", is not in the text, but is a supplement; and it was usual with the Jews to call the worship of the temple, and especially that part of it which lay in sacrifices, "the service": Simeon the just used to say, the world stands upon three things; upon the law, , "and upon the service", and upon beneficence (m); by "the service", the commentators (n) on the passage understand sacrifices; and again it is said (o), no man enters into the court "for service", though he is clean, until he has dipped himself: the word here used in the Greek text is in the plural number, and may be rendered the services, because there were several sorts of services performed every day, as before observed, and several sacrifices offered; and the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "the offices of sacrifices"; and the Ethiopic version, "their offerings"; and the Arabic version, "offices": and the service which the high priest performed in the holiest of all once a year, was divers, which is mentioned in the following verses, and is called "service", Hebrews 9:8 it is said, that on the day of atonement there were five "services" of the morning daily sacrifice (p), in which the high priest ministered in his golden garments: but here the service of the common priests is meant, which was every day; and it becomes such who are employed in sacred service; both to be constant in it, and to do it fully and completely.

(l) Maimon. Biath Hamikdash, c. 2. sect. 1, 2.((m) Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 2.((n) Maimon & Bartenora in ib. (o) Misn. Yoma, c. 3. sect. 3.((p) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 32. 1.

{2} Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

(2) Now he comes to the sacrifices which he divides into those daily sacrifices and that yearly and solemn sacrifice with which the high priest only but once every year entering into the Holiest of all with blood, offered for himself and the people.

Hebrews 9:6-7. After the collective expression τὸ ἅγιον κοσμικόν, Hebrews 9:1, has been analyzed into its single constituent parts, Hebrews 9:2-5, and a recapitulatory reference has been made to the total result of this given analysis by means of τούτων οὕτως κατεσκευασμένων,—the opposition to μέν, Hebrews 9:1, being formally introduced by δέ, and then receiving its more precise material defining by means of the statement, Hebrews 9:8, which is attached in a grammatical respect as a subsidiary clause,—the discourse advances to the development of the further general idea, which is placed in the forefront, Hebrews 9:1, but has hitherto remained unnoticed, the twofold expression δικαιώματα λατρείας.

From the present εἰσίασιν, as from προσφέρει, Hebrews 9:7 (comp. also Hebrews 9:8 f.), it follows that the Mosaic cultus was still continuing at the time when the author wrote. The participle perfect, κατεσκευασμένων, however, denotes that which is extending out of the past into the present, and is still enduring in the present (see Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 254). The present hereby indicated can, of course, only be that in which the author himself is living and writing. The endeavour to explain it of a present into which the author only mentally places himself, is as little warranted grammatically as is the asserting, with Hofmann, that the present in which the discourse here moves is “not a past, nor actual, nor something still continuing, but that set forth in the word of God, where it is to be read how the sanctuary erected by Moses was constituted, and what priests and high priests do in the same;” or with Mangold (in Bleek’s Einleit. in das N. T. p. 617), to find the Scripture picture of the tabernacle drawn in our passage as a “purely ideal magnitude, which by no means guarantees the actual continued existence of the temple worship.” For, in order to render possible suppositions of this kind, the conjoining of the presents with a participle aorist would have been indispensably necessary. From the form of discourse chosen: τούτων οὕτως κατεσκενασμένων (“in that these objects have been in such wise regulated”), in union with the present tenses εἰσίασιν and προσφέρει, it therefore follows of necessity that the author, although here entering only upon the presentation of the typical significance of the two main divisions of the Mosaic sanctuary, nevertheless thinks of these two main divisions, together with all that appertains to them,—which he has just now enumerated,—as still preserved in being, thus also as still present in the Jewish temple of his day; by which supposition, it is true, he becomes involved in contradiction with the historic reality, inasmuch as alike the ark of the covenant as the vessel of manna and Aaron’s rod were wanting in the second temple. Vid. supra ad Hebrews 9:4. With very little reflection does Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 491, Obs.) object to this conclusion, that “with just the same right one might infer from the present in Hebrews 13:11 that the author supposed the Israelites of his time to be still dwelling in a camp.” The passage Hebrews 13:11 has nothing whatever in common with ours, since it is here a question of the combination of a participle perfect with verbs in the present. That, too, which Delitzsch sets against it, that the τούτων οὕτως κατεσκευασμένων, pointing back to κατεσκευάσθη, Hebrews 9:2, certainly shows that the author has the Mosaic period before his mind, utterly collapses, inasmuch as the participle perfect, and not the participle aorist, has been employed. Phrases, however, like those met with in Delitzsch: that the author was writing for just such readers as would not have given him credit for an ignorance like this, are peremptory decisions, for which the result is already fixed before the investigation, and consequently intimidations of the grammatical conscience.

ἡ πρώτη σκηνή] as Hebrews 9:2, the fore-tent or Holy Place.

διὰ παντός] continually, i.e. day by day. Opposite ἅπαξ τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ, Hebrews 9:7.

οἱ ἱερεῖς] opposite μόνος ὁ ἀρχιερεύς, Hebrews 9:7.

τὰς λατρείας ἐπιτελοῦντες] performing the religious actions. Daily, morning and evening, an offering of incense was presented, and daily were the lamps of the sacred candlestick placed in readiness and kindled. Comp. Exodus 30:7 ff.

Hebrews 9:6-10. Significance of these arrangements.

6. Now when these things were thus ordained] Rather, “since then these things have been thus arranged.”

went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God] Rather, “into the outer tabernacle the priests enter continually in performance of their ministrations.” Their ordinary ministrations were to offer sacrifice, burn incense, and light the lamps, and in the performance of these they certainly entered the Holy Place twice daily, and apparently might do so as often as they saw fit.

Hebrews 9:6. Εἰσίασιν) enter, in the present. So Hebrews 9:7; Hebrews 9:13; Hebrews 9:22; Hebrews 9:25, ch. Hebrews 10:1.

Verse 6. - Now these things being thus ordained (A.V.; rather, arranged or constituted; it is the same word (κατασκευάζω) as was used in ver. 2, "there was a tabernacle made;" also in Hebrews 3:3, 4, of God's "house;" on which see supra), the priests go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services. (Observe that here, where the ministrations are described, present tenses are used; perhaps because these ministrations were still going on when the Epistle was written.) The continual services in the "first tabernacle" were

(1) lighting the lamps every evening, and trimming them every morning (Exodus 27:21; Exodus 30:8; Leviticus 24:3);

(2) renewing the twelve loaves of shewbread every sabbath (Leviticus 24:5, etc.);

(3) burning incense on the golden altar twice daily, when the lamps were trimmed and lighted (Exodus 30:7, 8), at the time of the morning and evening sacrifice, the people meanwhile praying outside (Luke 1:10). Hebrews 9:6The inferiority of the ancient system was proved by the old tabernacle itself: by its division into two parts, both of which were inaccessible to the people.

Always (διὰ παντὸς)

Rend. continually. The phrase is usually found in connection with matters involving relations to God - worship, sacrifice, etc. See Matthew 18:10; Luke 24:53; Acts 2:25; Acts 10:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Hebrews 13:5.

Accomplishing (ἐπιτελοῦντες)

See on Hebrews 8:5, and see on Galatians 3:3. The verb is used of performing religious services by Herodotus. See i. 167; ii. 63, 122; iv. 186.

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