Hebrews 9:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 9:5, NIV: Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

Hebrews 9:5, ESV: Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Hebrews 9:5, KJV: And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

Hebrews 9:5, NASB: and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the atoning cover; but about these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Hebrews 9:5, NLT: Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark's cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now.

Hebrews 9:5, CSB: The cherubim of glory were above the ark overshadowing the mercy seat. It is not possible to speak about these things in detail right now.

What does Hebrews 9:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse makes a point often lost when interpreting verses 1 through 4. The purpose of this section is to summarize the main components used in the old covenant's sacrificial system. Later, these will be explained as symbols of the ministry of Jesus Christ. The writer is not seeking to give a deep, detailed explanation of exactly where each of these items is located. Rather, given more pressing concerns, the writer "cannot now speak in detail." Earlier verses listed temple artifacts such as the ark of the covenant, Aaron's staff, a container of manna, and so forth. These first five verses focus on such objects, while the next five focus on actions.

The last items mentioned here are the cherubim of the ark of the covenant. The ark was a wooden box, overlaid in gold, containing the tablets on which God had written the Law (Exodus 25:10–16). The cherubim mentioned here were small golden statues of angels with their wings swept forward, "overshadowing" the top of the ark (Exodus 25:17–22). This was the place where blood would be sprinkled as part of Israel's sacrifices for sin. Symbolically, this represents how the blood of a sacrifice is "seen" by God, rather than the broken and limited law written on the stone tablets.