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Hebrews 9:1-12

Context
The Arrangement and Ritual of the Earthly Sanctuary

9:1 Now the first covenant, 1  in fact, had regulations for worship and its earthly sanctuary. 9:2 For a tent was prepared, the outer one, 2  which contained 3  the lampstand, the table, and the presentation of the loaves; this 4  is called the holy place. 9:3 And after the second curtain there was a tent called the holy of holies. 9:4 It contained the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered entirely with gold. In this ark 5  were the golden urn containing the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 9:5 And above the ark 6  were the cherubim 7  of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Now is not the time to speak of these things in detail. 9:6 So with these things prepared like this, the priests enter continually into the outer tent 8  as they perform their duties. 9:7 But only the high priest enters once a year into the inner tent, 9  and not without blood that he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. 10  9:8 The Holy Spirit is making clear that the way into the holy place had not yet appeared as long as the old tabernacle 11  was standing. 9:9 This was a symbol for the time then present, when gifts and sacrifices were offered that could not perfect the conscience of the worshiper. 9:10 They served only for matters of food and drink 12  and various washings; they are external regulations 13  imposed until the new order came. 14 

Christ’s Service in the Heavenly Sanctuary

9:11 But now Christ has come 15  as the high priest of the good things to come. He passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, 9:12 and he entered once for all into the most holy place not by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood, and so he himself secured 16  eternal redemption.

1 tn Grk “the first” (referring to the covenant described in Heb 8:7, 13). In the translation the referent (covenant) has been specified for clarity.

2 tn Grk “the first,” in order of approach in the ritual.

3 tn Grk “in which [were].”

4 tn Grk “which,” describing the outer tent.

5 tn Grk “in which”; in the translation the referent (the ark) has been specified for clarity.

6 tn Grk “above it”; in the translation the referent (the ark) has been specified for clarity.

7 sn The cherubim (pl.) were an order of angels mentioned repeatedly in the OT but only here in the NT. They were associated with God’s presence, glory, and holiness. Their images that sat on top of the ark of the covenant are described in Exod 25:18-20.

8 tn Grk “the first tent.”

9 tn Grk “the second tent.”

10 tn Or perhaps “the unintentional sins of the people”; Grk “the ignorances of the people.” Cf. BDAG 13 s.v. ἀγνόημα, “sin committed in ignorance/unintentionally.” This term seems to be simply a synonym for “sins” (cf. Heb 5:2) and does not pick up the distinction made in Num 15:22-31 between unwitting sin and “high-handed” sin. The Day of Atonement ritual in Lev 16 covered all the sins of the people, not just the unwitting ones.

11 tn Grk “the first tent.” The literal phrase “the first tent” refers to either (1) the outer chamber of the tabernacle in the wilderness (as in vv. 2, 6) or (2) the entire tabernacle as a symbol of the OT system of approaching God. The second is more likely given the contrast that follows in vv. 11-12.

12 tn Grk “only for foods and drinks.”

13 tc Most witnesses (D1 Ï) have “various washings, and external regulations” (βαπτισμοῖς καὶ δικαιώμασιν, baptismoi" kai dikaiwmasin), with both nouns in the dative. The translation “washings; they are… regulations” renders βαπτισμοῖς, δικαιώματα (baptismoi", dikaiwmata; found in such important mss as Ì46 א* A I P 0278 33 1739 1881 al sa) in which case δικαιώματα is taken as the nominative subject of the participle ἐπικείμενα (epikeimena). It seems far more likely that scribes would conform δικαιώματα to the immediately preceding datives and join it to them by καί than they would to the following nominative participle. Both on external and internal evidence the text is thus secure as reading βαπτισμοῖς, δικαιώματα.

14 tn Grk “until the time of setting things right.”

15 tn Grk “But Christ, when he came,” introducing a sentence that includes all of Heb 9:11-12. The main construction is “Christ, having come…, entered…, having secured…,” and everything else describes his entrance.

16 tn This verb occurs in the Greek middle voice, which here intensifies the role of the subject, Christ, in accomplishing the action: “he alone secured”; “he and no other secured.”



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