Hebrews 8:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 8:9, NIV: It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

Hebrews 8:9, ESV: not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.

Hebrews 8:9, KJV: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

Hebrews 8:9, NASB: NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO BRING THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE ABOUT THEM, SAYS THE LORD.

Hebrews 8:9, NLT: This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the LORD.

Hebrews 8:9, CSB: not like the covenantthat I made with their ancestorson the day I took them by the handto lead them out of the land of Egypt.I showed no concern for them, says the Lord,because they did not continue in my covenant.

What does Hebrews 8:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This passage comes from Jeremiah 31:31–34, where that Old Testament prophet records God's promise to create a "new covenant" with the people of Israel. The language of this passage is extremely clear: God's intent is to provide something new, something different from the existing Levitical priesthood. This quotation is used to support the main assertion of the author of Hebrews: that God has always intended for salvation to come through Christ, and not through the Old Testament Law.

This passage repeats the idea that this promised covenant is something new. This is not the same arrangement which God made with the "fathers" of Israel, meaning the people who left Egypt during the Exodus. As earlier verses pointed out, if God is planning to make something new in the future, it necessarily means that God does not consider the "old" system to be perfect. And, in fact, it is not. This quotation from Jeremiah explains how the new covenant, fulfilled in Christ, is superior.

One of the flaws noted in the old covenant—the primary flaw, in fact—is the lack of obedience from God's people. Even though Scripture indicates that the new covenant is superior, all of the drawbacks of the old covenant are rooted in human flaws (Hebrews 8:8; Romans 3:20). Priesthood is inherited (Hebrews 7:20), priests die (Hebrews 7:23), priests sin (Hebrews 7:27). Here, the fact that the people disobey and defy the covenant is mentioned. This, for Israel, came with the very consequences promised them by God (Deuteronomy 30:15–19). The new covenant is superior, primarily, because it is grounded in the work of Jesus Christ, rather than in fallible human efforts (Galatians 2:16).