The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Hebrews 7

Heb 7:1

Vv 1-14: The enigma of Melchizedek and his priestly order. In order to make the argument about Christ's high priesthood as convincing as it can be, the author begins by establishing the great importance of Melchizedek, who resembles the Son of God in many respects and hence serves as a type of Christ. His superiority to Abraham and Levi is then made plain. This in turn leads to a discussion of the significance of his priestly order, which in recent history had found a new and definitive representative in fulfillment of the expectation in Psa 110:4.

THIS MELCHIZEDEK WAS KING OF SALEM AND PRIEST OF GOD MOST HIGH. HE MET ABRAHAM RETURNING FROM THE DEFEAT OF THE KINGS AND BLESSED HIM: The identification of Melchizedek given here, as well as the brief description of his encounter with Abraham, is drawn from Gen 14:18-20. (The author's language is heavily dependent on the LXX version of this passage.) Melchizedek appears in the Genesis narrative as an extraordinary person, indeed, but not more than a human king and priest. "God most high" is "El Elyon". The Salem, of which Melchizedek was king, was Canaanite Jerusalem (cp Psa 76:2).

The combination King-Priest is prophesied elsewhere in the OT: see Zec 6:12,13; cp Rev 5:9,10. Another example of a priesthood regarded as legitimate, although not of the Levitical line, is found in Jethro, the Midianite priest who became the father–in–law of Moses (Exo 2:16; 18:12).

For suggested identification of Melchizedek with Shem, see Ber 65:124. However, any attempt to guess the historical identity of Melchizedek would be counterproductive to this extent: the uncertainty of his identity is in fact crucial to the argument here in Heb 7 -- if he were known for sure, it would only serve to undermine the arguing points.

Heb 7:2

FIRST, HIS NAME MEANS "KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS"; THEN ALSO, "KING OF SALEM" MEANS "KING OF PEACE": Is there a significance in the order itself: ie, first righteousness, and then peace? See Isa 32:17; Rom 5:1. Christ is first our "righteousness" (Rom 5:21; Jer 23:6; Zec 9:9), and THEN our "peace" (Rom 5:1; Eph 2:14; Col 1:19,20; Isa 9:6).

Heb 7:3

WITHOUT FATHER OR MOTHER, WITHOUT GENEALOGY, WITHOUT BEGINNING OF DAYS OR END OF LIFE, LIKE THE SON OF GOD HE REMAINS A PRIEST FOREVER: "It is the literal reading of verse 3 that has led some to the conclusion that Melchizedek was actually an appearance of the pre–incarnate Christ. What actually is being pointed out by the author, however, is the surprising silence of Scripture about the lineage and the birth and death of Melchizedek. In a rabbinic way, the silence is seen to be significant rather than simply fortuitous, especially for a person of such great status, who was both a king and a priest. Because there is no record of Melchizedek's death, nor therefore of the termination of his priesthood (or of any succession to it), the conclusion can be drawn that 'he remains a priest forever'. As far as what Scripture says and does not say about Melchizedek, then, it is evident that he is like the Son of God, who also is without beginning of days [in that the Eternal Father was HIS father!] or end of life and whose priesthood therefore is eternally valid (cp v 17 with its quotation of Psa 110:4)" (NIBC).

WITHOUT FATHER OR MOTHER, WITHOUT GENEALOGY: That is, "without ancestry or genealogy". Not descended from Levi (Lev 21:13,14). No recorded genealogy (ct examples, Neh 7:63-65; Ezra 2:62). Esther had no father or mother (Est 2:7), that is, none alive.

WITHOUT BEGINNING OF DAYS OR END OF LIFE: This may not refer to the actual life of Melchizedek, but rather to his term of office -- which had no recorded beginning or end. This would be unlike the Levitical priests, whose term of office generally spanned from 30 to 50 years of age (see Num 4:47).

Heb 7:4

JUST THINK HOW GREAT HE WAS: EVEN THE PATRIARCH ABRAHAM GAVE HIM A TENTH OF THE PLUNDER!: The magnitude of the event already mentioned in v 1 is now stressed. Even a man as great as Abraham tithed to Melchizedek.

Heb 7:5

NOW THE LAW REQUIRES THE DESCENDANTS OF LEVI WHO BECOME PRIESTS TO COLLECT A TENTH FROM THE PEOPLE -- THAT IS, THEIR BROTHERS -- EVEN THOUGH THEIR BROTHERS ARE DESCENDED FROM ABRAHAM: The author now proceeds to acknowledge the practice of tithing among the descendants of Abraham. The Levitical priesthood, not having an inheritance in the land, received according to the law a tenth from the people -- that is, their brothers. This was in payment for their service (Num 18:21), and was done because the Law required it (in contrast to Abraham's tithing -- which was done voluntarily). Tithing thus involved those who are descended from (lit, "from the loins of") Abraham both on the receiving and giving end of the transaction.

Heb 7:6

THIS MAN, HOWEVER, DID NOT TRACE HIS DESCENT FROM LEVI, YET HE COLLECTED A TENTH FROM ABRAHAM AND BLESSED HIM WHO HAD THE PROMISES: Therefore his right to receive a tithe from Abraham depended not on the law but on his own superior worth (cp v 7). His priesthood accordingly is of an exceptional character. Thus Melchizedek received the tithe from and blessed (the word is drawn from Gen 14:19) the very one who was the recipient of the promises and from whom eventually would come the Levitical priesthood itself (cp v 10). The remarkable significance of this is brought out in the verses that follow.

Heb 7:7

AND WITHOUT DOUBT THE LESSER PERSON IS BLESSED BY THE GREATER: The KJV has "without all contradiction", ie "dispute". The admittedly great Abraham is thus subordinate to Melchizedek.

"Blessing" here sig blessing by God's authority: the priests bless in God's name (1Ch 23:13).

Heb 7:8

IN THE ONE CASE, THE TENTH IS COLLECTED BY MEN WHO DIE; BUT IN THE OTHER CASE, BY HIM WHO IS DECLARED TO BE LIVING: Furthermore, the Levitical priesthood is inferior to Melchizedek's because "in the one case" (of the priests; lit, "here"), we have mortal recipients of the tithe. But "in the other case" (as for Melchizedek; lit, "there"), the recipient is declared to be "living". It is important, however, to note that this is an inference based on what Scripture does not say (ie, its failure simply to record Melchizedek's death) rather than on what Scripture actually says (cp v 3n).

HIM WHO IS... LIVING: The reference, however, finds its parallel in the references to Christ in vv 16,24, where the reference to endless life is literally true.

Heb 7:9

Vv 9,10: ONE MIGHT EVEN SAY THAT LEVI, WHO COLLECTS THE TENTH, PAID THE TENTH THROUGH ABRAHAM, BECAUSE WHEN MELCHIZEDEK MET ABRAHAM, LEVI WAS STILL IN THE BODY OF HIS ANCESTOR: Since Levi was an eventual descendant of Abraham, he was in the loins of his father when Abraham was met by Melchizedek (the words again allude to Gen 14) and gave him a tithe. Therefore Levi may also be said to have tithed to Melchizedek through Abraham, and it is implied that Levi and his descendants are thus also subordinate to Melchizedek.

Heb 7:11

IF PERFECTION COULD HAVE BEEN ATTAINED THROUGH THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD (FOR ON THE BASIS OF IT THE LAW WAS GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE), WHY WAS THERE STILL NEED FOR ANOTHER PRIEST TO COME?: This suggest the inability of that system to arrive at the goal of full salvation (and thus, there is the first hint of the Law's decline and nullification). Had the Levitical system been sufficient to the task, what need, the author asks, is there to speak of another priest to arise, one of the order of Melchizedek, and not Aaron? That is, if the Levitical system were self–sufficient, why then does Psa 110:4 speak of the one at the right hand of God, who waits for his enemies to become a footstool for his feet, as one who is "a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek"? Psa 110:4 thus confirms the inadequacy of the Aaronic priesthood.

The parenthetical comment concerning the law being given to the people on the basis of the Levitical priesthood cannot be taken literally, since that priesthood did not precede the Mosaic law. What seems to be meant is that the priestly system is basic to the entire superstructure of the law. The two are inextricably related, as can be seen from the argument that now follows.

PERFECTION: In this context, sig "nearness to God" (v 19), ie "salvation".

PRIESTHOOD... LAW: Notice the intimate connection between these two features -- all thru Hebrews.

ANOTHER: Gr "heteron" = a different sort of... -- ie, not from the tribe of Levi (v 13).

Heb 7:12

FOR WHEN THERE IS A CHANGE OF THE PRIESTHOOD, THERE MUST ALSO BE A CHANGE OF THE LAW: "This change in priesthood has important consequences for the law: there "is of necessity") a change of the law. Thus for all our author's stress on the continuity between the old and the new and on the nature of Christianity as the fulfillment of the promises to Israel, he also is forced to acknowledge substantial discontinuity between the old and the new. It would have taken great courage on the author's part to say something so problematic and so contrary to the disposition of his Jewish readers, not to mention the Jewish critics of Christianity who apparently exercised some influence over them. In the immediate context the change of the law involves a man from the tribe of Judah -- and not Levi -- becoming a priest. The implications are wider, however, as will be seen below (see vv 18,19, and Heb 8:7,13). But despite his insistence upon the necessity of a change in the law, the author's basic perspective remains: Christianity stands in continuity with the past as the fulfillment of what God promised he would do" (NIBC).

Notice the progression: "change" here becomes "disannul" in v 18! "Change" is essentially abrogation (cp Heb 8:7,13).

CHANGE OF THE PRIESTHOOD... CHANGE OF THE LAW: Which, as noted above, were intimately related to one another. The priests taught the Law to the people (Mal 2:7); they interpreted the legal code (Deu 17:8-11).

Heb 7:13

Vv 13,14: It was plain that he of whom these things are said (Jesus, the Son of David) belonged to a different tribe (the tribe of Judah) and thus, according to the law itself, could not qualify to be a priest. Yet he is the one referred to in Psa 110:4, the priest of the order of Melchizedek. No precedent exists for this turn of events. The Levitical priesthood is now replaced by another order altogether. ("Moses" here, of course, refers to the Pentateuch.)

Heb 7:14

DESCENDED: From the verb that means literally "to rise" (anatello), and hence "to spring from." It is probably used deliberately to allude to Num 24:17 where the same verb refers to the star of Jacob who is to rise in fulfillment of God's promises (cp Mal 4:2). In other passages, the Messiah is spoken of a "branch", ie that which sprang out of some "soil" (Jer 23:5; Isa 11:1; Zec 3:8; 6:12).

Heb 7:15

Vv 15-28: The legitimacy and superiority of Christ's priesthood. Extending the argument of the preceding section, the author now explores ways in which the priesthood of Christ, resembling that of Melchizedek, is superior to the Levitical priesthood set forth in the law of Moses.

V 15: What follows from this point on will help explain the groundwork laid in the earlier verses of Heb 7.

ANOTHER: Gr "heteros" suggests in the context one of a unique kind, despite his similarity to Melchizedek.

Heb 7:16

ONE WHO HAS BECOME A PRIEST NOT ON THE BASIS OF A REGULATION AS TO HIS ANCESTRY BUT ON THE BASIS OF THE POWER OF AN INDESTRUCTIBLE LIFE: This priest "has become and remains" a priest (this is the sense of the Greek perfect tense) not on the basis of a regulation (lit, "the law of a fleshly commandment") -- ie, a law concerned with external matters such as bodily descent -- but on the basis of "an indestructible life". The reference to "power" in this context may be an allusion to the resurrection. The power ("dynamis") of an indestructible life (cp Acts 2:24) is such that it is self–validating. The power of God is regularly linked in the NT with the resurrection of Christ (cp 1Co 6:14; 2Co 13:4; Rom 1:4).

Heb 7:17

FOR IT IS DECLARED: "YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER, IN THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK": The point of the argument rests on the unique identity of the Son (cp Psa 110:1) -- whose life continues forever, and in whom alone, therefore, the promise of Psa 110:4 ("a priest forever") can be understood to be fulfilled literally. Jesus is made, by God, the priest of Psa 110:4 because he is the person described in Psa 110:1. He who presently sits at the right hand of God alone can be the priest appointed forever. The anti–type is TRULY without beginning and without end, just as the type is APPARENTLY without beginning or end. The authority of Christ's priesthood depends on his identity as the Son of God. On the quotation of Psa 110:4, cp the earlier use of this verse in Heb 5:6; 6:20.

Heb 7:18

THE FORMER REGULATION IS SET ASIDE: Mosaic legislation concerning the Levitical priesthood is now set aside (lit, "a setting aside occurs"). The word used for "setting aside" ("atheteasis") means "to declare invalid" and is used in the papyri for official, legal annulment (cp the verb form of the same root in Gal 3:15). (The KJV has "disannulling"; JBP has "cancellation"; Diag has "abrogation".) The author's courage to say that the law concerning the Levitical priesthood is set aside is especially notable given a reference such as in Exo 40:15 to "a priesthood that will continue for all generations to come" (cp Jer 33:18). Only the author's perception of the fulfillment and the corresponding newness brought by Christ can account for this.

BECAUSE IT WAS WEAK AND USELESS: This stern note of discontinuity with the law of Moses (anticipated in Heb 7:12; cp Heb 8:13) is justified by noting that the law was weak and useless.

WEAK: "Weakness" is twice ascribed to the Levitical priests in Hebrews (Heb 5:2; 7:28). The description of the commandment as weak or ineffective finds a parallel in Paul (Rom 8:3: "what the law could not do"; cp Rom 5:6; Gal 4:9).

USELESS: This word is stronger still: it is used in the LXX of Isa 44:10 to describe idols (cp RSV, "profitable for nothing"). The Greek word for useless ("anoepheles") occurs elsewhere in the NT only in Tit 3:9, where it describes futile controversies. The author's point apparently is that although the law had a proper role to play before the fulfillment brought by the Christ, once that fulfillment has been realized, the law is outmoded and hence useless. It should be noted, however, that it is the law concerning the Levitical priesthood and ritual that is particularly in view (cp Heb 10:9b). The author does not at this time draw further implications, as to the rest of the Law.

It should be noted, however, that the Law -- as a whole -- is described by Paul as "holy, just, and good" in Rom 7:12; it is man and his weakness who renders the Law powerless, or useless.

Heb 7:19

FOR THE LAW MADE NOTHING PERFECT: That is, it was unable to bring anything to God's intended purpose of redemption (cp Heb 5:9).

Whereas in the preceding verse the word "commandment" ("entole") is used, now the author uses the broader word, law ("nomos").

AND A BETTER HOPE IS INTRODUCED, BY WHICH WE DRAW NEAR TO GOD: Again the author stresses the importance of arriving at the intended goal (using the verb "teleioo"), but this time negatively by pointing out the inadequacy of the law (cp Heb 7:11). See Heb 2:10n (and cp Heb 5:9). The positive use of the same verb can be seen below in v 28. One of the author's favorite words to describe Christianity is the word "better" (Heb 1:4n). Here it modifies "hope", a prominent word in this letter (Heb 3:6; 6:11,18; 10:23). As in Heb 6:18, here the word refers to a present rather than a future reality. Or, to put it another way, our confidence concerning the future (because it rests on the finished work of Christ) is such that it transforms the present: cp 1Ti 1:1; Col 1:27.

WE DRAW NEAR TO GOD: "We" = both Jew and Gentile -- who draw near to God in Christ (Eph 2:11-22). Cp v 25 here: "come to".

Heb 7:20

Vv 20-22: All ETERNAL promises had an oath: cp Heb 6:13-20; Gen 22:16-18; 26:3,4; Psa 89:3,4; Isa 62:8; Mic 7:20; Num 14:21; Luk 1:73; Acts 2:30. Note the oath for Melchizedek (Psa 110:4).

AND IT WAS NOT WITHOUT AN OATH! OTHERS BECAME PRIESTS WITHOUT AN OATH: The appeal to God's oath is reminiscent of the argument concerning the covenant made with Abraham in Heb 6:13-17. The point again is that something already fixed becomes doubly sure, since to God's word is added an oath (cp v 28). In the case of the Levitical priesthood (the "others"), however, there was no such vow.

Heb 7:21

Vv 21,22: The oath in Psa 110:4 makes the writer's case. This confirms the superiority of the priesthood of Jesus to that of the Levites. Thus a better promise (one confirmed with an oath) implies a better covenant -- indeed, what will later be identified as the "new covenant" (cp Heb 8:8; 9:15). And Jesus is the ground or basis of the security of that covenant (cp Heb 9:15; 12:24, where Jesus is described as "the mediator of a new covenant").

Heb 7:22

GUARANTEE: "Pledge" (Diag). The person bound over to satisfy the debt: Christ became the pledge (by his death) to satisfy the righteousness of God (Rom 3:26).

A BETTER COVENANT: This is the first occurrence of the word "covenant" ("diatheke"), which will become very important in the next few chapters (see Heb 8:6,8–10; 9:15-20; 10:16,29; 12:24; 13:20). The word occurs far more often in Hebrews (seventeen times) than in any other NT book. Like Paul, the author can use "diatheke" in the legal sense of "testament" (Heb 9:16; cp Gal 3:15-29). The primary sense of the word, however, is religious, referring to the arrangement whereby God's saving purpose becomes a reality. There was an old arrangement or covenant (at Sinai) whereby Israel experienced redemption. From our author's perspective, this has now given way to a new state of affairs to which, indeed, it pointed. The "new covenant" (as it will be called in Heb 9:15; 12:24) is contrasted with the old (note esp Jer 31:31–34, quoted in Heb 8) and of course depends absolutely on the saving work of Christ in fulfillment of the promises (cp Heb 8:6; 9:15; 10:29; 13:20).

Heb 7:23

Vv 23,24: The mortal Levitical priests were unable to remain perpetually in office. It was necessary to have many... priests in order that the work might continue. In contrast, Jesus continues forever (cp Heb 13:8), and therefore has a permanent priesthood.

Josephus provides the graphic statistic that there were 83 high priests from Aaron to the destruction of the temple in AD 70 (Ant 20:227).

Heb 7:25

THEREFORE HE IS ABLE TO SAVE COMPLETELY THOSE WHO COME TO GOD THROUGH HIM, BECAUSE HE ALWAYS LIVES TO INTERCEDE FOR THEM: "Completely" is "for all time" in RSV. By its very nature, what Jesus offers is an "eternal salvation" (cp Heb 5:9; 9:12; 10:14; 13:20) and a perfect or "complete" salvation, unlike the temporary and the incomplete work of the Levitical priests. The priestly work of Christ depends directly on "the power of an indestructible life" (Heb 7:16), and it is that same kind of permanence that determines the character of the salvation experienced by its recipients. They are sustained by the continual intercession of Jesus on their behalf. On this point the author is in agreement with Paul (Rom 8:34; cp John 14:16; 1Jo 2:1).

"The verb 'be able' ('dynamai') and the negative 'be unable' occur often in Hebrews, especially in explicating the contrast between the new and the old. The new is always able to do what the old could not do. In the present instance the object is to save, and although not made explicit, a contrast with the old is implied. The phrase translated 'completely' by NIV ('eis to panteles') may be taken to mean 'forever' in that the situation spoken of is permanent, or it may be understood to connote totality.. The idea of permanence is of course implied in that Jesus always lives ('pantote', only occurrence in Hebrews) to intercede. The fact of this intercession again points to the sufficiency of the salvation... Jesus intercedes as a throned Priest-King, asking what He will from a Father who always hears and grants His request... The language 'come to God' has overtones of the temple worship (cp Heb 11:6)" (NIBC).

During the Civil War, there was a young Union soldier who had lost his father and older brother in the war. He went to Washington, DC, to see if he could get an exemption from military service so that he could go back home and help his mother and sister with the spring planting. When he approached the White House and asked to see the president, he was turned away.

Totally disheartened, the soldier sat down on a park bench nearby. A little boy approached him and said, "You look unhappy, soldier. What's wrong?"

After the soldier shared his story, the little boy took him by the hand. He led him through the back door of the White House, past the guards, and into the president's office itself. President Lincoln looked up and asked, "What can I do for you, Tad?"

Tad said, "Daddy, this soldier needs to talk to you" -- and the soldier was not turned away.

When Jesus completed the work of salvation, He opened up the way so that we could have access to God. Those who have placed their trust in Christ may come directly to the Heavenly Father with their petitions. And the Son sits on the Father's right hand and says, "Daddy, this is someone who needs to talk to You." He is the only intercessor we need.

Heb 7:26

HOLY, BLAMELESS, PURE, SET APART FROM SINNERS: We are forgiven and shall be saved for Christ' sake, but HE required no forgiveness... Christ was undefiled in mind, absolutely pure, and therefore he required no cleansing as pertaining to the conscience at baptism, for there never was a moment in his life when God was displeased with him; he always did and said what pleased the Father. He only required cleansing in nature -- which was done after resurrection.

We must be careful that the means by which all believers are commanded to remember the Lord's death until He returns, does not become instead a ritual, with efficacy in the object itself, by which we establish our "purity" in a negative sense. "Negative holiness" can save no man. Neither can the proximity of one whom we consider a "sinner", even one so close as to partake of the same cup, endanger our "fellowship" with that one who was ever and always the friend of "sinners", who touched lepers and lunatics, harlots and dead bodies -- yet in the best sense was still "holy, harmless, and undefiled" (Heb 7:26).

BLAMELESS, PURE: The words "blameless" ("akakos") and "pure" ("amiantos", lit, "undefiled") remind us of the total innocence of the sacrificial victim (cp the next verse).

SET APART FROM SINNERS: Heb 4:15; 2Co 5:21; 1Pe 2:22; John 8:46.

EXALTED ABOVE THE HEAVENS: Cp Heb 4:14; 8:1; Eph 4:10.

Heb 7:27

UNLIKE THE OTHER HIGH PRIESTS, HE DOES NOT NEED TO OFFER SACRIFICES DAY AFTER DAY: This contrasts with the necessarily repetitive sacrifices of the Levitical priests, which for our author represents a self–confessed inadequacy (cp Heb 5:3; 10:11).

It may be objected that the HiPr only offered sacrifice once each year, on the Day of Atonement. However, all the other priests who offered sacrifices, on every other day of the year, may be considered as the HiPr's representatives, offering in his stead.

FIRST FOR HIS OWN SINS, AND THEN FOR THE SINS OF THE PEOPLE: Aaron was directed to do this (Lev 16:6-11, etc; cp Heb 9:5,7).

Did Christ need to offer "for his own sins", after the analogy of the Levitical High priest? No, in the sense that he never had any personal sins to offer for. But yes, in the sense that his own nature (his "sinful" or sin-prone flesh) required cleansing -- and this was accomplished in his own sacrificial death. In this latter sense, Christ was part of the "for all" for whom he had to offer (see Heb 9:12n).

The simple and obvious meaning of this verse is that Christ offered once for his own sins and for the people's. This conclusion is sometimes evaded by objecting to the expression "his own sins", inasmuch as Christ was free from personal transgression. But by an examination of the ordinance referred to we find that the high priest offered "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions" (Lev 16:16, RV).

So "sins" in Heb 7:27 includes uncleanness as well as actual transgression; it includes the whole "sin constitution". It is only by considering these two aspects of sin as inseparable parts of one whole that we can understand how Christ, by destroying the body of sin on the cross, could cover our transgressions.

Our sins are not something separate from our nature, they are a development of it. There are not "two kinds of sin", one moral and real, and the other only shadowy and metonymical. Rather, there are two aspects of sin: the "root" in our flesh and the "branch" in our actions. And the two aspects are intimately and absolutely connected to one another. In us sin is too strong for us and becomes manifest in our actions. In Christ sin was controlled and overcome, and never became manifest in action. But in both cases it is the same battle with the same adversary.

HE SACRIFICED FOR THEIR SINS ONCE FOR ALL WHEN HE OFFERED HIMSELF: This shocking fact -- that this high priest offers HIMSELF in sacrifice -- here mentioned directly for the first time (but cp Heb 2:9,14; 5:8), becomes a central argument in Heb 9:11–28. The definitive, once–and–for–all, character of the work of Christ is of course a hallmark of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The argument about the "once for all" character of Christ's sacrifice is repeatedly stressed by the author in the next two chapters, using two almost identical words ("ephapax": here, Heb 9:12; 10:10; "hapax": 9:26, 28). The completeness and finality of this one act are bound up with who it is that sacrifices and is sacrificed, and the fact that this is the consummation of God's provision of salvation. The contrast with the repetitive futility of the Levitical priesthood is immediately evident and telling.

Heb 7:28

This verse serves as a summary of the argument thus far by again contrasting what is true according to the law with the greater truth found in the one to whom the Melchizedek passage in Psa 110:4 points. The author's observation that this oath confirmed word came AFTER the law reflects a Jewish conclusion that new revelation is more authoritative than the older revelation (although by no means is this conclusion always accepted!). The notion of having "been made perfect" is again best understood as the state of having accomplished God's saving purposes (cp Heb 5:9) and being raised to God's right hand.

MEN WHO ARE WEAK: Cp Heb 5:2. By contrast, Jesus is able to "feel sympathy for our weaknesses" because of his humanity. Yet he did not know the weakness that stems from imperfection and sin.

THE SON: Substituted here in place of "priest" (from Psa 110), as a reminder of the previous quotation of Psa 2:7 (cp Heb 1:5).

MADE PERFECT: Not "consecrated", as KJV.

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