And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death…
Perhaps a consideration of the legal ideas of the time when the. Epistle to the Hebrews was written may help to explain this difficult passage. The idea of a will was derived by the Jews from the Romans, and they probably associated with it the various ideas which had grown up around the Roman will. Let us see what these were. The origin of the ordinary form of a Roman will, was the old testament per ms et libram, by which the father of the family (generally when on his death bed) sold his whole family and estate to some friend in whom he had confidence (called the heres), on trust to carry out his wishes (an obligation which apparently was not originally legally enforceable, though afterwards it was recognised by law). This form was still kept up, though probably at the time when the Epistle was written, the familiae emptor was not generally the same person as the heres. Still the familiae emptor represented the heres, and served to keep the theoretical nature of the transaction before all parties concerned, and the heres was looked upon not merely as a distributor of goods, but as the purchaser and master of the family. It is therefore suggested that the argument is somewhat as follows. By the first διαθήκη the Hebrews were purchased and became the bondsmen of the Law (an idea already rendered familiar to them by Exodus 15:16 and Psalm 74:2); but by a new διαθήκη our Lord purchased them with His blood (Acts 20:28), as the heres or familiae emptor purchased the inheritance, and having thus purchased the inheritance of the Law, became the new master of the bondsmen of the Law, and the mediator, or executor, of a new dispensation. But inasmuch as the right of the heres can only come into operation after the death of the testator (the Law), it is evident that, if the new dispensation has begun, the Law is dead and is no longer their master. In fact, the line of argument seems similar to that in Romans 7:1-4.
(H. S. Keating.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
WEB: For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.