Hebrews 9:13

13 For if 1the blood of goats and bulls and 2the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,

Hebrews 9:13 Meaning and Commentary

Hebrews 9:13

For if the blood of bulls and of goats
Shed either on the day of atonement, or at any other time: the former of thee, Pausanias F25 relates, was drank by certain priestesses among the Grecians, whereby they were tried, whether they spoke truth or no if not, they were immediately punished; and the latter, he says F26, will dissolve an adamant stone; but neither of them can purge from sin:

and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean;
the apostle refers to the red heifer, ( Numbers 19:1-22 ) which being burnt, its ashes were gathered up and put into a vessel, and water poured upon them, which was sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop on unclean persons; the ashes and the water mixed together made the water of separation, or of sprinkling; for so it is called by the Septuagint, (udwr) (rantismou) , "the water of sprinkling", and in the Targum in a following citation: this was the purification for sin, though it only

sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh;
the body, or only in an external and typical way, but did not really sanctify the heart, or purify and cleanse the soul from sin. The Jews say, that the waters of purification for sin were not waters of purification for sin, without the ashes F1; and to this the Targumist, on ( Ezekiel 36:25 ) and on ( Zechariah 13:1 ) refers, paraphrasing both texts thus;

``I will forgive their sins as they are cleansed with the water of sprinkling, and with the ashes of the heifer, which is a purification for sin.''


F25 Achaica, sive l. 7. p. 450.
F26 Arcadica, sive l. 8. p. 485.
F1 Misn. Temura, c. 1. sect. 5. Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.

Hebrews 9:13 In-Context

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;
12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Leviticus 16:15; Hebrews 9:19; Hebrews 10:4
  • 2. Numbers 19:9, 17

Footnotes 1

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