For such an high priest became us
Is suitable to us, answers to our cases and necessities, is every way such an one as is wanted:
[who] is holy;
by nature, originally and underivatively, perfectly and completely, internally as well as externally; he was typified by the high priest, who had holiness to the Lord written on his forehead, and far exceeds any of the priests in holiness; and such an one becomes us, for had he not been holy he could not have entered into the holy place for us, or have appeared there on our account, or have been our sanctification; so Philo the Jew speaks of the true priest as being not man, but the divine Word, and as free from all sin voluntary and involuntary F24
without any vitiosity in his nature, without guile in his mouth, or malice in his heart; doing no injury to any man's person or property: the character chiefly regards the innocence and holiness of his life and conversation; and in which he exceeded the priests under the law; and is a suitable one for us, for hereby he was fit to be made sin, and to take it away:
with the sin of Adam, with which all mankind are defiled; with the blood of slain beasts, with which the priests under the law were sprinkled; with the filthy conversation of the wicked, which affects good men: hence he was more excellent than the priests under the law; and one that becomes us, since his blood is the blood of a lamb, without spot and blemish: the high priests under the law, according to the Jews F25, were to excel their brethren in knowledge, beauty, and riches; but the distinguishing character of our high priest is purity and holiness:
separate from sinners;
not but that he took the nature of sinners, though not a sinful nature; and he was often in the company of sinners, when on earth, and was reckoned among them, and as one of them; but he was separated from them in Adam; he was not among the individuals of human nature that sinned in him; and he was brought into the world in a different manner from them, not descending from Adam by ordinary generation; and he had no communion with them in sin; nor did he encourage them to it in the days of his flesh; and now he is removed far from them; and herein he exceeds the priests under the law, and is suitable to us: the Syriac and Ethiopic versions read, "separate from sins"; the allusion seems to be, to the separating of the high priest from his own house to one of the courts of the temple seven days before the day of atonement F26, and so before the burning of the heifers F1:
and made higher than the heavens;
than the visible heavens, the airy and starry heavens, and than the angels in heaven; and so preferable to the high priests, and exceedingly agreeable to us, ( Hebrews 4:14 ) the allusion may be to the carrying of the high priest on the day of atonement to an upper chamber in the temple, called the chamber of Abtines F2: this may be understood either of Christ's exaltation in heaven, where angels are subject to him, and his priesthood is completed; or of his excelling the angels in the holiness of his nature, which agrees with the other characters in the text, and stands opposed to the infirmities of the priests.
F24 De Profugis, p. 466, 467. & de Victimis, p. 843.
F25 Maimon, & Bartenora in Misn, Yoma, c, 1. sect. 3.
F26 Misn. Yoma, c. 1. sect. 1.
F1 Misn. Parah, c. 3. sect. 1.
F2 Misn. Yoma, c. 1. sect. 5.