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And above the ark[a] were the cherubim[b] of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Now is not the time to speak of these things in detail. So with these things prepared like this, the priests enter continually into the outer tent[c] as they perform their duties. But only the high priest enters once a year into the inner tent,[d] and not without blood that he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.[e]

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  1. Hebrews 9:5 tn Grk “above it”; in the translation the referent (the ark) has been specified for clarity.
  2. Hebrews 9:5 sn The cherubim (pl.) were an order of angels mentioned repeatedly in the OT but only here in the NT. They were associated with God’s presence, glory, and holiness. Their images that sat on top of the ark of the covenant are described in Exod 25:18-20.
  3. Hebrews 9:6 tn Grk “the first tent.”
  4. Hebrews 9:7 tn Grk “the second tent.”
  5. Hebrews 9:7 tn Or perhaps “the unintentional sins of the people”; Grk “the ignorances of the people.” Cf. BDAG 13 s.v. ἀγνόημα, “sin committed in ignorance/unintentionally.” This term seems to be simply a synonym for “sins” (cf. Heb 5:2) and does not pick up the distinction made in Num 15:22-31 between unwitting sin and “high-handed” sin. The Day of Atonement ritual in Lev 16 covered all the sins of the people, not just the unwitting ones.

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