1: We have such an high priest - Having finished his
description of the type in Melchisedec, the apostle begins
to treat directly of the excellency of Christ's priesthood,
beyond the Levitical. Who is set down - Having finished his
oblation. At the right hand of the Majesty - Of God.
2: A minister - Who represents his own sacrifice, as the high
priest did the blood of those sacrifices once a year.
Of the sanctuary - Heaven, typified by the holy of holies.
And of the true tabernacle - Perhaps his human nature, of
which the old tabernacle was a type. Which the Lord hath
fixed - Forever. Not man - As Moses fixed the tabernacle.
4: But if he were on earth - If his priesthood
terminated here. He could not be a priest - At all,
consistently with the Jewish institutions. There being
other priests - To whom alone this office is allotted.
5: Who serve - The temple, which was not yet destroyed.
After the pattern and shadow of heavenly things - Of spiritual,
evangelical worship, and of everlasting glory. The pattern
- Somewhat like the strokes pencilled out upon a piece of
fine linen, which exhibit the figures of leaves and flowers,
but have not yet received their splendid colours and curious
shades. And shadow - Or shadowy representation, which gives
you some dim and imperfect idea of the body, but not the fine
features, not the distinguishing air; none of those living
graces which adorn the real person. Yet both the pattern
and shadow lead our minds to something nobler than themselves:
the pattern, to that holiness and glory which complete it; the
shadow, to that which occasions it.(Ex 25:40).
6: And now he hath obtained a more excellent
ministry - His priesthood as much excels theirs, as the
promises of the gospel (whereof he is a surety) excels
those of the law. These better promises are specified,(Heb 8:10,11): those in the law were mostly temporal promises.
7: For if the first had been faultless - If that dispensation
had answered all God's designs and man's wants, if it had not
been weak and unprofitable unable to make anything perfect,
no place would have been for a second.
8: But there is; for finding fault with them - Who were
under the old covenant he saith, I make a new covenant with
the house of Israel - With all the Israel of God, in all ages
and nations. It is new in many respects, though not as to
the substance of it:
Being ratified by the death of Christ.
Freed from those burdensome rites and ceremonies.
Containing a more full and clear account of spiritual religion.
9: When I took them by the hand - With the care and tenderness
of a parent. And just while this was fresh in their memory,
they obeyed; but presently after they shook off the yoke.
They continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not - So
that covenant was soon broken in pieces.
10: This is the covenant I will make after those days
- After the Mosaic dispensation is abolished. I will put my
laws in their minds - I will open their eyes, and enlighten
their understanding, to see the true, full, spiritual meaning
thereof. And write them on their hearts - So that they shall
inwardly experience whatever I have commanded. And I will be
to them a God - Their all - sufficient portion, and exceeding
great reward. And they shall be to me a people - My treasure,
my beloved, loving, and obedient children.
11: And they who are under this covenant (though in
other respects they will have need to teach each other to
their lives' end, yet) shall not need to teach every one
his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know
me - All real Christians. From the least to the greatest - In
this order the saving knowledge of God ever did and ever
will proceed; not first to the greatest, and then to the least.
But "the Lord shall save the tents," the poorest, "of Judah
first, that the glory of the house of David," the royal seed,
"and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem," the nobles
and the rich citizens, "do not magnify themselves," (Zec 12:7).
12: For I will justify them, which is the root of all
true knowledge of God. This, therefore, is God's method.
First, a sinner is pardoned: then he knows God, as
gracious and merciful then God's laws are written on his
heart: he is God's, and God is his.
13: In saying, A new covenant, he hath antiquated
the first - Hath shown that it is disannulled, and out of
date. Now that which is antiquated is ready to vanish away
- As it did quickly after, when the temple was destroyed.