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[a]Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of expiation. Now is not the time to speak of these in detail.(A)

With these arrangements for worship, the priests, in performing their service,[b] go into the outer tabernacle repeatedly,(B) but the high priest alone goes into the inner one once a year, not without blood[c] that he offers for himself and for the sins of the people.(C)

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Footnotes

  1. 9:5 The place of expiation: the gold “mercy seat” (Greek hilastērion, as in Rom 3:25), where the blood of the sacrificial animals was sprinkled on the Day of Atonement (Lv 16:14–15). This rite achieved “expiation” or atonement for the sins of the preceding year.
  2. 9:6 In performing their service: the priestly services that had to be performed regularly in the Holy Place or outer tabernacle included burning incense on the incense altar twice each day (Ex 30:7), replacing the loaves on the table of the bread of offering once each week (Lv 24:8), and constantly caring for the lamps on the lampstand (Ex 27:21).
  3. 9:7 Not without blood: blood was essential to Old Testament sacrifice because it was believed that life was located in the blood. Hence blood was especially sacred, and its outpouring functioned as a meaningful symbol of cleansing from sin and reconciliation with God. Unlike Hebrews, the Old Testament never says that the blood is “offered.” The author is perhaps retrojecting into his description of Mosaic ritual a concept that belongs to the New Testament antitype, as Paul does when he speaks of the Israelites’ passage through the sea as a “baptism” (1 Cor 10:2).

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