Concluding Exposition: Old and New Sacrifices Contrasted
1 For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship.tn Grk “those who approach.”
2 For otherwise would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers would have been purified once for all and so havetn Grk “the worshipers, having been purified once for all, would have.” no further consciousness of sin?
3 But in those sacrificestn Grk “in them”; the referent (those sacrifices) has been specified in the translation for clarity. there is a reminder of sins year after year.
4 For the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins.tn Grk “for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
5 So when he came into the world, he said,
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me.
6Whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings you took no delight in.
7Then I said, Here I am:tn Grk “behold,” but this construction often means “here is/there is” (cf. BDAG 468 s.v. ἰδού 2). I have come – it is written of me in the scroll of the book – to do your will, O God.’”sn A quotation from Ps 40:6-8 (LXX). The phrase a body you prepared for me (in v. 5) is apparently an interpretive expansion of the HT reading “ears you have dug out for me.”
8 When he says above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings you did not desire nor did you take delight in them”sn Various phrases from the quotation of Ps 40:6 in Heb 10:5-6 are repeated in Heb 10:8. (which are offered according to the law),
9 then he says, “Here I am: I have come to do your will.”tc The majority of mss, especially the later ones (א2 0278vid 1739 Ï lat), have ὁ θεός (Jo qeo", “God”) at this point, while most of the earliest and best witnesses lack such an explicit addressee (so Ì46 א* A C D K P Ψ 33 1175 1881 2464 al). The longer reading is a palpable corruption, apparently motivated in part by the wording of Ps 40:8 (39:9 LXX) and by the word order of this same verse as quoted in Heb 10:7. He does away withtn Or “abolishes.” the first to establish the second.
10 By his willtn Grk “by which will.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation. we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest stands day after daytn Or “daily,” “every day.” serving and offering the same sacrifices again and again – sacrifices that can never take away sins.
12 But when this priesttn Grk “this one.” This pronoun refers to Jesus, but “this priest” was used in the translation to make the contrast between the Jewish priests in v. 11 and Jesus as a priest clearer in English. had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right handsn An allusion to Ps 110:1. of God,
13 where he is now waitingtn Grk “from then on waiting.” until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet.sn An allusion to Ps 110:1.
14 For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy.
15 And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us, for after saying,tn Grk “after having said,” emphasizing the present impact of this utterance.
16This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will puttn Grk “putting…I will inscribe.” my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,”sn A quotation from Jer 31:33.
17 then he says,tn Grk “and.”Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.”sn A quotation from Jer 31:34.
18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Drawing Near to God in Enduring Faith
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters,tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 2:11. since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,
20 by the fresh and living way that he inaugurated for ustn Grk “that he inaugurated for us as a fresh and living way,” referring to the entrance mentioned in v. 19. through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,sn Through his flesh. In a bold shift the writer changes from a spatial phrase (Christ opened the way through the curtain into the inner sanctuary) to an instrumental phrase (he did this through [by means of] his flesh in his sacrifice of himself), associating the two in an allusion to the splitting of the curtain in the temple from top to bottom (Matt 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). Just as the curtain was split, so Christ’s body was broken for us, to give us access into God’s presence.
21 and since we have a great priesttn Grk “and a great priest,” continuing the construction begun in v. 19. over the house of God,
22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings,tn Grk “in assurance of faith.” because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil consciencesn The phrase our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience combines the OT imagery of the sprinkling with blood to give ritual purity with the emphasis on the interior cleansing provided by the new covenant: It is the heart that is cleansed and the conscience made perfect (cf. Heb 8:10; 9:9, 14; 10:2, 16). and our bodies washed in pure water.
23 And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy.
24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works,tn Grk “let us consider one another for provoking of love and good deeds.”
25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the daysn The day refers to that well-known time of Christ’s coming and judgment in the future; see a similar use of “day” in 1 Cor 3:13. drawing near.tn This paragraph (vv. 19-25) is actually a single, skillfully composed sentence in Greek, but it must be broken into shorter segments for English idiom. It begins with several subordinate phrases (since we have confidence and a great priest), has three parallel exhortations as its main verbs (let us draw near, hold, and take thought), and concludes with several subordinate phrases related to the final exhortation (not abandoning but encouraging).
26 For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us,tn Grk “is left,” with “for us” implied by the first half of the verse.
27 but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a furytn Grk “zeal,” recalling God’s jealous protection of his holiness and honor (cf. Exod 20:5).sn An allusion to Zeph 1:18. of fire that will consume God’s enemies.tn Grk “the enemies.”sn An allusion to Isa 26:11.
28 Someone who rejected the law of Moses was put to deathtn Grk “dies.” without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.sn An allusion to Deut 17:6.
29 How much greater punishment do you think that person deserves who has contempt fortn Grk “tramples under foot.” the Son of God, and profanestn Grk “regarded as common.” the blood of the covenant that made him holy,tn Grk “by which he was made holy.” and insults the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,”sn A quotation from Deut 32:35. and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”sn A quotation from Deut 32:36.
31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 But remember the former days when you endured a harsh conflict of suffering after you were enlightened.
33 At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and afflictions, and at other times you came to share with others who were treated in that way.
34 For in fact you shared the sufferings of those in prison,tc Most witnesses, including some important ones (א D2 1881 Ï), read δεσμοῖς μου (desmoi" mou, “my imprisonment”) here, a reading that is probably due to the widespread belief in the early Christian centuries that Paul was the author of Hebrews (cf. Phil 1:7; Col 4:18). It may have been generated by the reading δεσμοῖς without the μου (so Ì46 Ψ 104 pc), the force of which is so ambiguous (lit., “you shared the sufferings with the bonds”) as to be virtually nonsensical. Most likely, δεσμοῖς resulted when a scribe made an error in copying δεσμίοις (desmioi"), a reading which makes excellent sense (“[of] those in prison”) and is strongly supported by early and significant witnesses of the Alexandrian and Western texttypes (A D* H 6 33 81 1739 lat sy co). Thus, δεσμίοις best explains the rise of the other readings on both internal and external grounds and is strongly preferred. and you accepted the confiscation of your belongings with joy, because you knew that you certainlytn Grk “you yourselves.” had a better and lasting possession.
35 So do not throw away your confidence, because ittn Grk “which,” but showing the reason. has great reward.
36 For you need endurance in order to do God’s will and so receive what is promised.tn Grk “the promise,” referring to the thing God promised, not to the pledge itself.
37 For just a little longersn A quotation from Isa 26:20. and he who is coming will arrive and not delay.sn A quotation from Hab 2:3.
38 But my righteous one will live by faith, and if he shrinks back, Itn Grk “my soul.” take no pleasure in him.sn A quotation from Hab 2:4.
39 But we are not among those who shrink back and thus perish, but are among those who have faith and preserve their souls.tn Grk “not…of shrinking back to perdition but of faith to the preservation of the soul.”