Thursday, 14 July 2016

Hebrews 10:1-6 - On Psalm 39

The first half of Hebrews 10 is essentially an exposition of Psalm 39.

The explicit quotes from it start in verse 6 of the chapter (with verse 7 of the psalm), but the whole of the psalm is relevant to the argument being made here, so is worth reading through so you recognise verses when they are cited.

 Psalm 39
Vulgate
Douay-Rheims
In finem. Psalmus ipsi David.
Unto the end, a psalm for David himself.
1 Exspéctans exspectávi Dóminum, * et inténdit mihi.
With expectation I have waited for the Lord, and he was attentive to me.
2  Et exaudívit preces meas: * et edúxit me de lacu misériæ, et de luto fæcis.
3 And he heard my prayers, and brought me out of the pit of misery and the mire of dregs.
3  Et státuit super petram pedes meos: * et diréxit gressus meos.
And he set my feet upon a rock, and directed my steps.
4  Et immísit in os meum cánticum novum * carmen Deo nostro.
4 And he put a new canticle into my mouth, a song to our God.
5  Vidébunt multi, et timébunt: * et sperábunt in Dómino.
Many shall see, and shall fear: and they shall hope in the Lord.
6  Beátus vir, cujus est nomen Dómini spes ejus * et non respéxit in vanitátes et insánias falsas.
5 Blessed is the man whose trust is in the name of the Lord; and who has not had regard to vanities, and lying follies.
7  Multa fecísti tu, Dómine, Deus meus, mirabília tua: * et cogitatiónibus tuis non est qui símilis sit tibi.
6 You have multiplied your wonderful works, O Lord my God: and in your thoughts there is no one like to you.
8  Annuntiávi et locútus sum: * multiplicáti sunt super númerum.
I have declared and I have spoken they are multiplied above number.
9  Sacrifícium et oblatiónem noluísti: * aures autem perfecísti mihi.
 7 Sacrifice and oblation you did not desire; but you have pierced ears for me.
10  Holocáustum et pro peccáto non postulásti: * tunc dixi: Ecce vénio.
Burnt offering and sin offering you did not require: 8 Then said I, Behold I come.
11  In cápite libri scriptum est de me ut fácerem voluntátem tuam: * Deus meus, vólui, et legem tuam in médio cordis mei.
In the head of the book it is written of me 9 that I should do your will: O my God, I have desired it, and your law in the midst of my heart.
12  Annuntiávi justítiam tuam in ecclésia magna, * ecce lábia mea non prohibébo: Dómine, tu scisti.
10 I have declared your justice in a great church, lo, I will not restrain my lips: O Lord, you know it.
13  Justítiam tuam non abscóndi in corde meo: * veritátem tuam et salutáre tuum dixi.
11 I have not hid your justice within my heart: I have declared your truth and your salvation.
14  Non abscóndi misericórdiam tuam et veritátem tuam * a concílio multo.
I have not concealed your mercy and your truth from a great council.
15  Tu autem, Dómine, ne longe fácias miseratiónes tuas a me: * misericórdia tua et véritas tua semper suscepérunt me.
12 Withhold Withhold not, O Lord, your tender mercies from me: your mercy and your truth have always upheld me.
16  Quóniam circumdedérunt me mala, quorum non est númerus: * comprehendérunt me iniquitátes meæ, et non pótui ut vidérem.
13 For evils without number have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I was not able to see.
17  multiplicátæ sunt super capíllos cápitis mei: * et cor meum derelíquit me.
They are multiplied above the hairs of my head: and my heart has forsaken me.
18  compláceat tibi, Dómine, ut éruas me: * dómine, ad adjuvándum me réspice.
14 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me. Look down, O Lord, to help me.
19 confundántur et revereántur simul, qui quærunt ánimam meam, * ut áuferant eam.
15 Let them be confounded and ashamed together, that seek after my soul to take it away.
20  convertántur retrórsum et revereántur: * qui volunt mihi mala.
15 Let them be confounded and ashamed together, that seek after my soul to take it away.
21  ferant conféstim confusiónem suam: * qui dicunt mihi: euge, euge.
16 Let them immediately bear their confusion, that say to me: 'T is well, 't is well.
22  exsúltent et læténtur super te omnes quæréntes te: * et dicant semper: magnificétur Dóminus : qui díligunt salutáre tuum.
17 Let all that seek you rejoice and be glad in you: and let such as love your salvation say always: The Lord be magnified.
23  ego autem mendícus sum, et pauper: * Dóminus sollícitus est mei.
18 But I am a beggar and poor: the Lord is careful for me.
24  adjútor meus et protéctor meus tu es: * Deus meus, ne tardáveris.
You are my helper and my protector: O my God, be not slack.

Hebrews 10: 1-4
For the law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things; by the selfsame sacrifices which they offer continually every year, can never make the comers thereunto perfect: For then they would have ceased to be offered: because the worshippers once cleansed should have no conscience of sin any longer: But in them there is made a commemoration of sins every year. For it is impossible that with the blood of oxen and goats sin should be taken away. 
Umbram enim habens lex futurorum bonorum, non ipsam imaginem rerum: per singulos annos, eisdem ipsis hostiis quas offerunt indesinenter, numquam potest accedentes perfectos facere: alioquin cessassent offerri: ideo quod nullam haberent ultra conscientiam peccati, cultores semel mundati: sed in ipsis commemoratio peccatorum per singulos annos fit. Impossibile enim est sanguine taurorum et hircorum auferri peccata. 
Aquinas:

Shadow and reality: ...the New Law, as far as future goods are concerned, represents more explicitly than the Old: first, because express mention and a promise of good things to come are found in the words of the New Testament, but not in the Old, which mentions only carnal goods; secondly, because the power of the New Testament consists in charity, which is the fulfillment of the Law. And although this charity is imperfect by reason of the faith in which it inheres, it is, nevertheless, similar to the charity of heaven. Hence, the New Law is called the law of love. Hence, it is called an image, because it has an expressed likeness to the goods to come. But the Old Law represented it by carnal things; hence it is called a shadow: ‘Which are a shadow of things to come’.

Why do we keep offering the Mass if we do not need to repeat the sacrifices, as in the Old Testament:
I answer that we do not offer something different from what Christ offered for us, namely, His blood; hence, it is not a distinct oblation, but a commemoration of that sacrifice which Christ offered: ‘Do this in commemoration of me’. The second thing he prefaced is that in the Old Testament a commemoration was made of his own sins and those of the people every year. Therefore, they were abolished. Hence, he says, in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. This is true, for mention was made of sins in general, namely, that he was conscious of sin; but special mention is made in the New: ‘Confess, therefore, your sins one to another’.

Hebrews 10:5-6
Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith: Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldest not: but a body thou hast fitted to me:Holocausts for sin did not please thee.
Ideo ingrediens mundum dicit: Hostiam et oblationem noluisti: corpus autem aptasti mihi: holocautomata pro peccato non tibi placuerunt. 
The one true sacrifice: Hence, he says, sacrifice and offerings you did not desire, and then adds: but a body you have prepared for me, i.e., fit for immolation; and this for two reasons. First, because it was most pure, to wipe away all sin: ‘It shall be a lamb without blemish’; secondly, because it would suffer and be immolated: ‘God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh’. But that body is a true sacrifice and a true oblation: ‘He has delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness’ .

A spiritual offering: In burnt offerings and sin offerings thou hast taken no pleasure. It is a greater thing to please than to will, because those things please which something causes us to will; but sometimes we will certain things not for their own sake but for something else. Therefore, because holocausts were more fitting, but he says that they were not pleasing, then much less the others.

Why did God institute the Old Testament sacrifices then?  ...the statement that the Lord did not want them can be understood in two ways: In one way, so that He does not want them at the time when, the truth coming, the shadow could cease; hence, a person would sin by offering them now. In another way, so that He does not want them for the sins of those who offer them: ‘Your hands are full of blood’ . The third answer toward which the Apostle is tending is that they were never pleasing to God of themselves, nor were they accepted. But they are said to be accepted for two reasons: first, because they were a figure of Christ Whose passion was accepted by God, for He was not pleased with the killing of animals but in faith in His passion: ‘For all things happened to them in figure’. Secondly, to restrain them from idolatry by means of those sacrifices..

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