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Hebrews 7:11 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Now if there was perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it hath the people received the law), what further need [was there] that another priest should arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be reckoned after the order of Aaron?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need [was there] for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law) what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— If indeed then perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, for the people had their law given to them in connexion with *it*, what need [was there] still that a different priest should arise according to the order of Melchisedec, and not be named after the order of Aaron?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— If indeed, therefore, there had been, a perfecting through means of the Levitical priesthood,—for, the people, thereon, have had based a code of laws, what further need, according to the rank of Melchizedek, for a different priest to be raised up, and, not according to the rank of Aaron, to be designated?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— If indeed, then, perfection were through the Levitical priesthood—for the people under it had received law—what further need, according to the order of Melchisedek, for another priest to arise, and not to be called according to the order of Aaron?
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— If then perfection was by the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchisedech: and not be called according to the order of Aaron?
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— If therefore perfection were by the Leuiticall Priesthood (for vnder it the people receiued the Law) what further neede was there, that another Priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not bee called after the order of Aaron?
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— If, therefore, Perfection were to be through the priesthood of the Levoyee, by which the law has been put upon the people, why was there another Priest required, who should arise in the resemblance of Malki-Zedek? For he had said, In the likeness of Aharun he shall be.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— If, therefore, perfection had been by means of the priesthood of the Levites, in which the law was enjoined on the people; why was another priest required, who should stand up after the likeness of Melchisedec? For it should have said, He shall be after the likeness of Aaron.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
If 1487
{1487} Prime
A primary particle of conditionality; if, whether, that, etc.
{3303} Prime
A primary particle; properly indicative of affirmation or concession (in fact); usually followed by a contrasted clause with G1161 (this one, the former, etc.
therefore 3767
{3767} Prime
Apparently a primary word; (adverbially) certainly, or (conjugationally) accordingly.
perfection 5050
{5050} Prime
From G5448; (the act) completion, that is, (of prophecy) verification, or (of expiation) absolution.
were 2258
{2258} Prime
Imperfect of G1510; I (thou, etc.) was (wast or were).
<5713> Grammar
Tense - Imperfect (See G5775)
Voice - No Voice Stated (See G5799)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 532
by 1223
{1223} Prime
A primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through (in very wide applications, local, causal or occasional). In composition it retains the same general import.
the x3588
(3588) Complement

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
Levitical 3020
{3020} Prime
From G3019; Levitic, that is, relating to the Levites.
priesthood, 2420
{2420} Prime
From G2413; sacredness, that is, (by implication) the priestly office.
(for 1063
{1063} Prime
A primary particle; properly assigning a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification; often with other particles).
under 1909
{1909} Prime
A primary preposition properly meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the genitive case], that is, over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the dative case) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the accusative case) towards, upon, etc.
it 846
{0846} Prime
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
the x3588
(3588) Complement

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
people 2992
{2992} Prime
Apparently a primary word; a people (in general; thus differing from G1218, which denotes one's own populace).
received the law,) 3549
{3549} Prime
From G3550; to legislate, that is, (passively) to have (the Mosaic) enactments injoined, be sanctioned (by them).
<5718> Grammar
Tense - Pluperfect (See G5779)
Voice - Passive (See G5786)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 7
what 5101
{5101} Prime
Probably emphatic of G5100; an interrogitive pronoun, who, which or what (in direct or indirect questions).
further 2089
{2089} Prime
Perhaps akin to G2094; 'yet', still (of time or degree).
need 5532
{5532} Prime
From the base of G5530 or G5534; employment, that is, an affair; also (by implication) occasion, demand, requirement or destitution.
[was there] that another 2087
{2087} Prime
Of uncertain affinity; (an-, the) other or different.
priest 2409
{2409} Prime
From G2413; a priest (literally or figuratively).
should rise 450
{0450} Prime
From G0303 and G2476; to stand up (literally or figuratively, transitively or intransitively).
<5733> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Middle (See G5785)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 30
after 2596
{2596} Prime
A primary particle; (preposition) down (in place or time), in varied relations (according to the case [genitive, dative or accusative] with which it is joined).
the x3588
(3588) Complement

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
order 5010
{5010} Prime
From G5021; regular arrangement, that is, (in time) fixed succession (of rank or character), official dignity.
of Melchisedec, 3198
{3198} Prime
Of Hebrew origin [H4442]; Melchisedek (that is, Malkitsedek), a patriarch.
and 2532
{2532} Prime
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
not 3756
{3756} Prime
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
be called 3004
{3004} Prime
A primary verb; properly to 'lay' forth, that is, (figuratively) relate (in words [usually of systematic or set discourse; whereas G2036 and G5346 generally refer to an individual expression or speech respectively; while G4483 is properly to break silence merely, and G2980 means an extended or random harangue]); by implication to mean.
<5745> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Passive (See G5786)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 105
after 2596
{2596} Prime
A primary particle; (preposition) down (in place or time), in varied relations (according to the case [genitive, dative or accusative] with which it is joined).
the x3588
(3588) Complement

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
order 5010
{5010} Prime
From G5021; regular arrangement, that is, (in time) fixed succession (of rank or character), official dignity.
of Aaron? 2
{0002} Prime
Of Hebrew origin [H0175]; Aaron, the brother of Moses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Hebrews 7:11

_ _ perfection — absolute: “the bringing of man to his highest state, namely, that of salvation and sanctification.”

_ _ under it — The reading in the oldest manuscripts is, “Upon it (that is, on the ground of it as the basis, the priest having to administer the law, Malachi 2:7 : it being presupposed) the people (Hebrews 9:19, ‘all the people’) have received the law (the Greek is perfect, not aorist tense; implying the people were still observing the law).”

_ _ what further need — (Hebrews 8:7). For God does nothing needless.

_ _ another — rather as Greek, “that a different priest (one of a different order) should arise (anew, Hebrews 7:15).

_ _ not be calledGreek, “not be said (to be) after the order of Aaron,” that is, that, when spoken of in the Psalms 110:4, “He is not said to be (as we should expect, if the Aaronic priesthood was perfect) after the order of Aaron.”

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Hebrews 7:11-28

_ _ Observe the necessity there was of raising up another priest, after the order of Melchisedec and not after the order of Aaron, by whom that perfection should come which could not come by the Levitical priesthood, which therefore must be changed, and the whole economy with it, Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 7:12, etc. Here,

_ _ I. It is asserted that perfection could not come by the Levitical priesthood and the law. They could not put those who came to them into the perfect enjoyment of the good things they pointed out to them; they could only show them the way.

_ _ II. That therefore another priest must be raised up, after the order of Melchisedec, by whom, and his law of faith, perfection might come to all who obey him; and, blessed be God, that we may have perfect holiness and perfect happiness by Christ in the covenant of grace, according to the gospel, for we are complete in him.

_ _ III. It is asserted that the priesthood being changed there must of necessity be a change of the law; there being so near a relation between the priesthood and the law, the dispensation could not be the same under another priesthood; a new priesthood must be under a new regulation, managed in another way, and by rules proper to its nature and order.

_ _ IV. It is not only asserted, but proved, that the priesthood and law are changed, Hebrews 7:13, Hebrews 7:14. The priesthood and law by which perfection could not come are abolished, and a priest has arisen, and a dispensation is now set up, by which true believers may be made perfect. Now that there is such a change is obvious.

_ _ 1. There is a change in the tribe of which the priesthood comes. Before, it was the tribe of Levi; but our great high priest sprang out of Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning the priesthood, Hebrews 7:14. This change of the family shows a real change of the law of the priesthood.

_ _ 2. There is a change in the form and order of making the priests. Before, in the Levitical priesthood, they were made after the law of a carnal commandment; but our great high priest was made after the power of an endless life. The former law appointed that the office should descend, upon the death of the father, to his eldest son, according to the order of carnal or natural generation; for none of the high priests under the law were without father or mother, or without descent: they had not life and immortality in themselves. They had both beginning of days and end of life; and so the carnal commandment, or law of primogeniture, directed their succession, as it did in matters of civil right and inheritance. But the law by which Christ was constituted a priest, after the order of Melchisedec, was the power of an endless life. The life and immortality which he had in himself were his right and title to the priesthood, not his descent from former priests. This makes a great difference in the priesthood, and in the economy too, and gives the preference infinitely to Christ and the gospel. The very law which constituted the Levitical priesthood supposed the priests to be weak, frail, dying, creatures, not able to preserve their own natural lives, but who must be content and glad to survive in their posterity after the flesh; much less could they, by any power or authority they had, convey spiritual life and blessedness to those who came to them. But the high priest of our profession holds his office by that innate power of endless life which he has in himself, not only to preserve himself alive, but to communicate spiritual and eternal life to all those who duly rely upon his sacrifice and intercession. Some thing the law of the carnal commandment refers to the external rites of consecration, and the carnal offerings that were made; but the power of an endless life to the spiritual living sacrifices proper to the gospel, and the spiritual and eternal privileges purchased by Christ, who was consecrated by the eternal Spirit of life that he received without measure.

_ _ 3. There is a change in the efficacy of the priesthood. The former was weak and unprofitable, made nothing perfect; the latter brought in a better hope, by which we draw near to God, Hebrews 7:18, Hebrews 7:19. The Levitical priesthood brought nothing to perfection: it could not justify men's persons from guilt; it could not sanctify them from inward pollution; it could not cleanse the consciences of the worshippers from dead works; all it could do was to lead them to the antitype. But the priesthood of Christ carries in it, and brings along with it, a better hope; it shows us the true foundation of all the hope we have towards God for pardon and salvation; it more clearly discovers the great objects of our hope; and so it tends to work in us a more strong and lively hope of acceptance with God. By this hope we are encouraged to draw nigh unto God, to enter into a covenant-union with him, to live a life of converse and communion with him. We may now draw near with a true heart, and with the full assurance of faith, having our minds sprinkled from an evil conscience. The former priesthood rather kept men at a distance, and under a spirit of bondage.

_ _ 4. There is a change in God's way of acting in this priesthood. He has taken an oath to Christ, which he never did to any of the order of Aaron. God never gave them any such assurance of their continuance, never engaged himself by oath or promise that theirs should be an everlasting priesthood, and therefore gave them no reason to expect the perpetuity of it, but rather to look upon it as a temporary law. But Christ was made a priest with the oath of God: The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec, Hebrews 7:21. Here God has upon oath declared the immutability, excellency, efficacy, and eternity, of the priesthood of Christ.

_ _ 5. There is a change in that covenant of which the priesthood was a security and the priest a surety; that is, a change in the dispensation of that covenant. The gospel dispensation is more full, free, perspicuous, spiritual, and efficacious, than that of the law. Christ is in this gospel covenant a surety for us to God and for God to us, to see that the articles be performed on both parts He, as surety, has united the divine and human nature together in his own person, and therein given assurance of reconciliation; and he has, as surety, united God and man together in the bond of the everlasting covenant. He pleads with men to keep their covenant with god, and he pleads with God that he will fulfil his promises to men, which he is always ready to do in a way suitable to his majesty and glory, that is, through a Mediator.

_ _ 6. There is a remarkable change in the number of the priests under these different orders. In that of Aaron there was a multitude of priests, of high priests, not at once, but successively; but in this of Christ there is but one and the same. The reason is plain, The Levitical priests were many, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death. Their office, how high and honourable soever, could not secure them from dying; and, as one died, another must succeed, and after a while must give place to a third, till the number had become very great. But this our high priest continues for ever, and his priesthood is aparabatonan unchangeable one, that does not pass from one to another, as the former did; it is always in the same hand. There can be no vacancy in this priesthood, no hour nor moment in which the people are without a priest to negotiate their spiritual concerns in heaven. Such a vacancy might be very dangerous and prejudicial to them; but this is their safety and happiness, that this ever-living high priest is able to save to the utmost — in all times, in all cases, in every juncture — all who come to God by him, Hebrews 7:25. So that here is a manifest alteration much for the better.

_ _ 7. There is a remarkable difference in the moral qualifications of the priests. Those who were of the order of Aaron were not only mortal men, but sinful men, who had their sinful as well as natural infirmities; they needed to offer up sacrifices first for their own sins and then for the people. But our high priest, who was consecrated by the word of the oath, needed only to offer up once for the people, never at all for himself; for he has not only an immutable consecration to his office, but an immutable sanctity in his person. He is such a high priest as became us, holy, harmless, and undefiled, etc., Hebrews 7:26-28. Here observe, (1.) Our case, as sinners, needed a high priest to make satisfaction and intercession for us. (2.) No priest could be suitable or sufficient for our reconciliation to God but one who was perfectly righteous in his own person; he must be righteous in himself, or he could not be a propitiation for our sin, or our advocate with the Father. (3.) The Lord Jesus was exactly such a high priest as we wanted, for he has a personal holiness, absolutely perfect. Observe the description we have of the personal holiness of Christ expressed in various terms, all of which some learned divines consider as relating to his perfect purity. [1.] He is holy, perfectly free from all the habits or principles of sin, not having the least disposition to it in his nature; no sin dwells in him, though it does in the best of Christians, not the least sinful inclination [2.] He is harmless, perfectly free from all actual transgression, has done no violence, nor is there any deceit in his mouth, never did the least wrong to God or man. [3.] He is undefiled, he was never accessory to other men's sins. It is a difficult thing to keep ourselves pure, so as not to partake in the guilt of other men's sins, by contributing in some way towards them, or not doing what we ought to prevent them. Christ was undefiled; though he took upon him the guilt of our sins, yet he never involved himself in the fact and fault of them. [4.] He is separate from sinners, not only in his present state (having entered as our high priest into the holiest of all, into which nothing defiled can enter), but in his personal purity: he has no such union with sinners, either natural or federal, as can devolve upon him original sin. This comes upon us by virtue of our natural and federal union with the first Adam, we descending from him in the ordinary way. But Christ was, by his ineffable conception in the virgin, separate from sinners; though he took a true human nature, yet the miraculous way in which it was conceived set him upon a separate footing from all the rest of mankind. [5.] He is made higher than the heavens. Most expositors understand this concerning his state of exaltation in heaven, at the right hand of God, to perfect the design of his priesthood. But Dr. Goodwin thinks this may be very justly referred to the personal holiness of Christ, which is greater and more perfect than the holiness of the hosts of heaven, that is, the holy angels themselves, who, though they are free from sin, yet are not in themselves free from all possibility of sinning. And therefore we read, God putteth no trust in his holy ones, and he chargeth his angels with folly (Job 4:18), that is, with weakness and peccability. They may be angels one hour and devils another, as many of them were; and that the holy angels shall not now fall does not proceed from an indefectibility of nature, but from the election of God; they are elect angels. It is very probable that this explanation of the words, made higher than the heavens, may be thought too much strained, and that it ought to be understood of the dignity of Christ's state, and not the perfect holiness of his person; and the rather because it is said he was made higher genomenos; but it is well known that this word is used in a neutral sense, as where it is said, genesth ho Theos althsLet God be true. The other characters in the verse plainly belong to the personal perfection of Christ in holiness, as opposed to the sinful infirmities of the Levitical priests; and it seems congruous to think this must do so too, if it may be fairly taken in such a sense; and it appears yet more probable, since the validity and prevalency of Christ's priesthood in Hebrews 7:27 are placed in the impartiality and disinterestedness of it. He needed not to offer up for himself: it was a disinterested mediation; he mediated for that mercy for others which he did not need for himself; had he needed it himself, he had been a party, and could not have been a Mediator — a criminal, and could not have been an advocate for sinners. Now, to render his mediation the more impartial and disinterested, it seems requisite not only that he had no present need of that favour for himself which he mediated for in behalf of others, but that he never could stand in need of it. Though he needed it not today, yet if he knew he might be in such circumstances as to need it tomorrow, or at any future time, he must have been thought to have had some eye upon his own interest, and therefore could not act with impartial regard and pure zeal for the honour of God on one hand, and tender pure compassion for poor sinners on the other. I pretend not here to follow the notes of our late excellent expositor, into whose labours we have entered, but have taken the liberty to vindicate this notion of the learned Dr. Goodwin from the exceptions that I know have been made to it; and I have the rather done it because, if it will hold good, it gives us further evidence how necessary it was that the Mediator should be God, since no mere creature is of himself possessed of that impeccability which will set him above all possible need of favour and mercy for himself.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Hebrews 7:11

The apostle now demonstrates that the Levitical priesthood must yield to the priesthood of Christ, because Melchisedec, after whose order he is a priest, Is opposed to Aaron, Hebrews 7:11-14. Hath no end of life, Hebrews 7:15-19, but "remaineth a priest continually." If now perfection were by the Levitical priesthood — If this perfectly answered all God's designs and man's wants For under it the people received the law — Whence some might infer, that perfection was by that priesthood. What farther need was there, that another priest — Of a new order, should be set up? From this single consideration it is plain, that both the priesthood and the law, which were inseparably connected, were now to give way to a better priesthood and more excellent dispensation.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Hebrews 7:11

(5) If therefore (d) perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

(5) The third treatise of this Epistle, in which after he has proved Christ to be a King, Prophet and a Priest, he now handles distinctly the condition and excellency of all these offices, showing that all these were shadows, but in Christ they are true and perfect. He begins with the priesthood that the former treatise ended with, that by this means all the parts of the debate may better hold together. First of all he proves that the Levitical priesthood was imperfect because another priest is promised later according to an other order, that is, of another rule and fashion.

(d) If the priesthood of Levi could have made any man perfect.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Τελειωσις [Strong's G5050], completion, or fulfilment of the plan and purpose of God.
Hebrews 7:18-19 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. ... For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope [did]; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Hebrews 8:7 For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
Hebrews 8:10-13 For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: ... In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 10:1-4 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, [and] not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. ... For [it is] not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Galatians 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Galatians 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Colossians 2:10-17 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: ... Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.


Hebrews 7:26-28 For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; ... For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, [maketh] the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.


Hebrews 7:15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
Hebrews 7:17 For he testifieth, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Hebrews 7:21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
Hebrews 5:6 As he saith also in another [place], Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Hebrews 5:10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
Hebrews 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, [even] Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
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