Hebrews 9:16
New International Version
In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it,

New Living Translation
Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead.

English Standard Version
For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.

Berean Study Bible
In the case of a will, it is necessary to establish the death of the one who made it,

Berean Literal Bible
For where there is a will, it is necessary to establish the death of the one having made it.

New American Standard Bible
For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.

King James Bible
For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

Christian Standard Bible
Where a will exists, the death of the one who made it must be established.

Contemporary English Version
In fact, making an agreement of this kind is like writing a will. This is because the one who makes the will must die before it is of any use.

Good News Translation
In the case of a will it is necessary to prove that the person who made it has died,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Where a will exists, the death of the one who made it must be established.

International Standard Version
For where there is a will, the death of the one who made it must be established.

NET Bible
For where there is a will, the death of the one who made it must be proven.

New Heart English Bible
For where a last will and testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him who made it.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For where there is a testament, it shows the death of him who made it;

GOD'S WORD® Translation
In order for a will to take effect, it must be shown that the one who made it has died.

New American Standard 1977
For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For where a testament is, there must also of necessity intervene the death of the testator.

King James 2000 Bible
For where a will is, there must also of necessity be the death of the maker.

American King James Version
For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

American Standard Version
For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him that made it.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For where there is a testament, the death of the testator must of necessity come in.

Darby Bible Translation
(For where [there is] a testament, the death of the testator must needs come in.

English Revised Version
For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him that made it.

Webster's Bible Translation
For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

Weymouth New Testament
For where there is a legal 'will,' there must also be a death brought forward in evidence--the death of him who made it.

World English Bible
For where a last will and testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him who made it.

Young's Literal Translation
for where a covenant is, the death of the covenant-victim to come in is necessary,
Study Bible
Redemption through His Blood
15Therefore Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that He has died to redeem them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16In the case of a will, it is necessary to establish the death of the one who made it, 17because a will does not take effect until the one who made it has died; it cannot be executed while he is still alive.…
Cross References
Hebrews 9:15
Therefore Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that He has died to redeem them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

Hebrews 9:17
because a will does not take effect until the one who made it has died; it cannot be executed while he is still alive.

Treasury of Scripture

For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

be.

Hebrews 9:16
For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.







Lexicon
In the case of
Ὅπου (Hopou)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 3699: Where, whither, in what place. From hos and pou; what(-ever) where, i.e. At whichever spot.

[a] will,
διαθήκη (diathēkē)
Noun - Nominative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 1242: From diatithemai; properly, a disposition, i.e. a contract.

[it is] necessary
ἀνάγκη (anankē)
Noun - Nominative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 318: From ana and the base of agkale; constraint; by implication, distress.

to establish
φέρεσθαι (pheresthai)
Verb - Present Infinitive Middle or Passive
Strong's Greek 5342: To carry, bear, bring; I conduct, lead; perhaps: I make publicly known. A primary verb.

[the] death
θάνατον (thanaton)
Noun - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2288: Death, physical or spiritual. From thnesko; death.

of the [one who]
τοῦ (tou)
Article - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

made [it],
διαθεμένου (diathemenou)
Verb - Aorist Participle Middle - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 1303: (a) I appoint, make (of a covenant), (b) I make (a will). Middle voice from dia and tithemi; to put apart, i.e. dispose.
(16) Testament.--As has been already pointed out, the greatest difference of opinion has existed in regard to the meaning of the Greek word diath?k? in this passage. (See Note on Hebrews 7:22.) It will be seen at once that the interpretation of this verse and the next entirely depends on that one question. If "testament" is the correct meaning of the Greek word, the general sense of the verses is well given in the Authorised version. A few commentators even agree with that version in carrying back the idea of testament into Hebrews 9:15, although in the other two places in which the word is joined with "Mediator" (Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 12:24) they adhere to the ordinary rendering, "covenant." By most, however, it is held that a new thought is introduced in the present verse. The writer, it is urged, having spoken of a promise of an inheritance, (Hebrews 9:15), and a promise that cannot be made valid unless death take place, avails himself of the illustration which a second (and very common) meaning of the leading word affords; and though a covenant has hitherto been in his thoughts, he adds interest and force to his argument by calling up the analogy of a testament or will. It is further urged that this procedure will not seem unnatural if we reflect that the diath?k? between God and man is never exactly expressed by covenant, since it is not of the nature of a mutual compact between equals. (See Hebrews 7:22.) The position is chiefly defended by two arguments:--(1) Hebrews 9:16, being a general maxim, gives no intelligible sense in regard to a covenant, but is easy and natural as applied to a will. (2) A Greek word used in Hebrews 9:17, where the literal translation is "over (the) dead," cannot be used of sacrifices of slain animals, but of men only. This, we believe, is a fair statement of the case on the one side; and it may be fully acknowledged that, if Hebrews 9:16-17 stood alone, and if they were written of Gentile rather than Jewish usage, the case would be very strong. As it is, we are compelled to believe that the difficulties which this interpretation brings with it are beyond comparison more serious than those which it removes. (1) There is no doubt that in the overwhelming majority of New Testament passages the meaning covenant must be assigned. By many high authorities these verses are considered to contain the only exception. (2) In the LXX. the word is extremely common, both for the covenants of God and for compacts between man and man. (See Note on Hebrews 7:22). (3) The application of diath?k? in this Epistle rests on the basis of the Old Testament usage, the key passage being Jeremiah 31:31-34, quoted at length in Hebrews 8. With that quotation this passage is linked by the association of diath?k? with Mediator in Hebrews 9:15 and Hebrews 8:6, and with "the first" in Hebrews 9:15 and in Hebrews 8:13; Hebrews 9:1. (4) In the verses which follow this passage the meaning covenant must certainly return, as a comparison of Hebrews 9:20 with the verse of Exodus which it quotes (Exodus 24:8) will show. (5) It is true that the idea of "death" has appeared in Hebrews 9:15, but it is the death of a sin-offering; and there is no natural or easy transition of thought from an expiatory death to the death of a testator. And yet the words which introduce Hebrews 9:16; Hebrews 9:18 ("For" and "Wherefore") show that we are following the course of an argument. (6) Though to us Hebrews 9:16 may present a very familiar thought, we must not forget that to Jews dispositions by will were almost altogether unknown. Were it granted that a writer might for illustration avail himself of a second meaning which a word he is using might happen to bear, this liberty would only be taken if by that means familiar associations could be reached, and the argument or exhortation could be thus urged home. In an Epistle steeped in Jewish thought such a transition as that suggested would be inexplicable. There are other considerations of some weight which might be added; but these seem sufficient to prove that, even if the difficulties of interpretation should prove serious, we must not seek to remove them by wavering in our rendering of diath?k? in these verses. We believe, therefore, that the true translation of Hebrews 9:16-17, must be the following:--For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be brought in the death of the covenanter. For a covenant is of force when there hath been death (literally, over the dead); for hath it ever any strength while the covenanter liveth? In Hebrews 9:15 we have seen the two-fold reference of the death of Jesus, to the past and to the future. As High Priest He has offered Himself as a sin-offering to cleanse the conscience from dead works; the same offering is also looked on as a ransom redeeming from the penalty of past transgressions; and, still by means of His death, He has, as Mediator, established a new covenant. We are reminded at once of the words of Jesus Himself, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood" (1Corinthians 11:25). It is this very thought which the writer proceeds to develop: a covenant cannot be established without death--cannot exist at all. That amongst Jews and Greeks and Romans alike covenants were confirmed by sacrifice we need not pause to prove; of this usage we have the earliest example in Genesis 15. In such sacrifices, again, there is "brought in," or assumed the death of him who makes the covenant. There will not, perhaps, be much difficulty in accepting this as a maxim. The conflict of opinion really begins when we ask in what manner this is assumed. The usual answer is, that the death of victims is emblematic of the punishment which the contracting parties imprecated on themselves if they should break their compact. It may have been so amongst the Greeks and Romans, though this is doubtful.[11] Amongst the Jews, however, the analogy of their general sacrificial system, in which the victim represented the offerer, renders such an explanation very improbable. As to the precise idea implied in this representation, it is not easy to speak with certainty. It has been defined in two opposite ways. In the death of the victim each contracting party may be supposed to die either as to the future, in respect of any power of altering the compact (the covenant shall be as safe from violation through change of intention as if the covenanter were removed by death); or as to the past, to the former state of enmity each is now dead. It is not necessary for our argument to decide such a question as this. The only material points are, that a covenant must be established over sacrifices, and that in such a sacrifice "the death of him that made the covenant" must in some manner be "brought in" or assumed. There remains only the application to the particular covenant here spoken of. If this be taken as made between God and man, the sacrificial death of Jesus in man's stead ratified the covenant for ever, the former state of separation being brought to an end in "the reconciliation" of the gospel. The peculiar character of Hebrews 9:15, however (see above), seems rather to suggest that, as Jesus is set forth as High Priest and sacrifice, so He is both the Author of the covenant and the sacrifice which gives to it validity. In this case we see represented in His sacrifice the death of each "covenanter." (The transition from "Mediator" to Giver of the covenant is not greater than that which the other interpretation requires--a transition from a mediator of a testament to a testator.) There are minor points relating to details in the Greek which cannot be dealt with here. Of the two arguments quoted above, the former has, we hope, been fully met; though (it may be said in passing) it would be easier to give up Hebrews 9:16 as a general maxim, and to regard it as applying only to a covenant between God and sinful man, than to divorce the whole passage from the context by changing "covenant" into "will." One point of interest must not be omitted. There are coincidences of expression with Psalm 1:5 which make it very probable that that Psalm, memorable in the development of the teaching of the Old Testament, was distinctly in the writer's mind. This comparison is also of use in the explanation of some expressions in the original of these two verses.

[11] See Mr. Wratislaw's very interesting note in his "Notes and Dissertations," pp. 155, 156. The whole subject is very carefully treated in an admirable pamphlet by Professor Forbes, of Aberdeen.

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.
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Alphabetical: a be case covenant death For In is it made must necessary necessity of one prove the there to where who will

NT Letters: Hebrews 9:16 For where a last will and testament (Heb. He. Hb) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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