Hebrews 7:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 7:20, NIV: And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath,

Hebrews 7:20, ESV: And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath,

Hebrews 7:20, KJV: And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:

Hebrews 7:20, NASB: And to the extent that it was not without an oath

Hebrews 7:20, NLT: This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron's descendants became priests without such an oath,

Hebrews 7:20, CSB: None of this happened without an oath. For others became priests without an oath,

What does Hebrews 7:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This passage compares the priesthood of the Old Testament with that of Jesus Christ, who is described as a priest of the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:5–6). The conclusion is that Jesus offers a greater priesthood, and a more complete salvation, because of the superiority of His office. These verses explain specific areas where the Old Testament priesthood is limited and flawed. As such, it is ultimately useless for our ultimate salvation (Hebrews 7:18). Christ, on the other hand, is the Promised One whom the law was meant to teach us about (Galatians 3:19—4:7).

In this verse, the author of Hebrews points out that the Levitical priests took on their roles by inheritance: "without an oath." Priests were priests because they were of the tribe of Levi (Numbers 3:5–10). Jesus, however, has been guaranteed His eternal priesthood by God (Psalm 110:4). This relates to the other weaknesses of the priesthood, shown in the next few verses:namely, that priests can only serve until they die (Hebrews 7:23) and they themselves are sinful (Hebrews 7:27). Jesus, on the other hand, lives forever (Hebrews 7:16) and is without sin (Hebrews 4:15; 7:27).