on Hebrews 9 :1
The first covenant had also ordinances - Our translators have introduced the word covenant, as if διαθηκη had been, if not originally in the text, yet in the apostle's mind. Several MSS., but not of good note, as well as printed editions, with the Coptic version, have σκηνη tabernacle; but this is omitted by ABDE, several others, both the Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, some copies of the Itala, and several of the Greek fathers; it is in all probability a spurious reading, the whole context showing that covenant is that to which the apostle refers, as that was the subject in the preceding chapter, and this is a continuation of the same discourse.
Ordinances - Δικαιωματα· Rites and ceremonies.
A worldly sanctuary - Ἁγιον κοσμικον. It is supposed that the term worldly, here, is opposed to the term heavenly, Hebrews 8:5; and that the whole should be referred to the carnality or secular nature of the tabernacle service. But I think there is nothing plainer than that the apostle is speaking here in praise of this sublimely emblematic service, and hence he proceeds to enumerate the various things contained in the first tabernacle, which added vastly to its splendor and importance; such as the table of the show-bread, the golden candlestick, the golden censer, the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, in which was the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the two tables which God had written with his own finger: hence I am led to believe that κοσμικος is here taken in its proper, natural meaning, and signifies adorned, embellished, splendid; and hence κοσμος, the world: Tota hujus universi machina, coelum et terram complectens et quicquid utroque contineter, κοσμος dicitur, quod nihil ea est mundius, pulchrius, et ornatius. "The whole machine of this universe, comprehending the heavens and the earth, and whatsoever is contained in both, is called κοσμος, because nothing is more beautiful, more fair, and more elegant." So Pliny, Hist. Nat., l. ii. c. 5: Nam quem κοσμον Graeci nomine ornamenti appellaverunt, eum nos a perfecta absolutaque elegantia, Mundum. "That which the Greeks call κοσμος, ornament, we, (the Latins), from its perfect and absolute elegance call mundum, world." See on Genesis 2:1 (note).
The Jews believe that the tabernacle was an epitome of the world; and it is remarkable, when speaking of their city, that they express this sentiment by the same Greek word, in Hebrew letters, which the apostle uses here: so in Bereshith Rabba, s. 19, fol. 19: כל קוזמיקון שלו שם הוא col kozmikon (κοσμικον) shelo sham hu. "All his world is placed there." Philo says much to the same purpose.
If my exposition be not admitted, the next most likely is, that God has a worldly tabernacle as well as a heavenly one; that he as truly dwelt in the Jewish tabernacle as he did in the heaven of heavens; the one being his worldly house, the other his heavenly house.
on Hebrews 9 :1
Then verily - Or, moreover. The object is to describe the tabernacle in which the service of God was celebrated under the former dispensation, and to show that it had a reference to what was future, and was only an imperfect representation of the reality. It was important to show this, as the Jews regarded the ordinances of the tabernacle and of the whole Levitical service as of divine appointment, and of perpetual obligation. The object of Paul is to prove that they were to give place to a more perfect system, and hence, it was necessary to discuss their real nature.
The first covenant - The word "covenant" is not in the Greek, but is not improperly supplied. The meaning is, that the former arrangement or dispensation had religious rites and services connected with it.
Had also ordinances - Margin, "Ceremonies." The Greek word means "laws, precepts, ordinances;" and the idea is, that there were laws regulating the worship of God. The Jewish institutions abounded with such laws.
And a worldly sanctuary - The word "sanctuary" means a holy place, and is applied to a house of worship, or a temple. Here it may refer either to the temple or to the tabernacle. As the temple was constructed after the same form as the tabernacle, and had the same furniture, the description of the apostle may be regarded as applicable to either of them, and it is difficult to determine which he had in his eye. The term "worldly," applied to "sanctuary," here means that it pertained to this world; it was contradistinguished from the heavenly sanctuary not made with hands where Christ was now gone; compare Hebrews 9:11-24. It does not mean that it was "worldly" in the sense in which that word is now used as denoting the opposite of spiritual, serious, religious; but worldly in the sense that it belonged to the earth rather than to heaven; it was made by human hands, not directly by the hands of God.
on Hebrews 9 :1
9:1 The first covenant had ordinances of outward worship, and a worldly - a visible, material sanctuary, or tabernacle. Of this sanctuary he treats, Heb 9:2-5. Of those ordinances, Heb 9:6-10.