[B-Greek] Hebrews 8:13 "decayeth and waxeth old"

Ben and Jo Crick ben.crick at argonet.co.uk
Mon Jun 23 18:13:53 EDT 2003

On Mon 23 Jun 2003 (12:28:32), schmuel at escape.com wrote:
> Would any of you like to comment on the Greek of Hebrews 8:13,
> and translating to English.
> Hebrews 8:13
> In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old.
> Now that which *decayeth and waxeth old* is ready to vanish away.
> It has been claimed that the Greek actually says 
>      "waxes old and ripens"
> although I have no idea where 'ripens' is supposed to come from, 
> that seems to not be the usage in any translations.
> And Is there a sense of "obsolete" and/or "decay" in the Greek. ?

 Dear Steven,

 Just so we are all looking at the same thing, here is the Greek with
 a literal translation:

 In [the] saying "New"  he-has-made-old the First [Covenant]:

 so what-is-becoming-old and obsolete is-near-to disappearance.

 The writer quotes a lengthy chunk from Jeremiah 31:31-34 (38:31-34 in LXX)
 (Hebrews 8:8b-12) and identifies the "New" Covenant with the Christian Gospel.
 In so doing, by calling the new Covenant "New", God is consigning the first
 [Mosaic] Covenant to obsolescence (observes the writer). Presumably this was
 penned before 70 CE. The Mosaic sacrifices continued to be offered for one
 more generation, until they were suddenly violently terminated at Passover in
 70 CE.

 This chimes in with Jesus' own words in the Sermon on the Mount, that he
 had come [not to destroy the Law but] to fulfil it (Matthew 5:17-18). Having
 fulfilled it as "the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world"
 (John 1:29), there is no longer any need for repeated animal sacrifices.
 The writer to the Hebrews makes this point at some length in Hebrews 7:27,
 9:7, 9:28, and 10:2. Hebrews 8:13 is embedded among these verses. Chapter 8:1
 introduces a summary of what the writer has been saying in chapters 1 thru 7.

 The verb GHRASKW means to become elderly and feeble; geriatric (our word
 Geriatric comes from GHR and IATREIA, elderly-man and healing). Of things and
 institutions it means to become obsolescent and outdated.

 The view from here.

 Revd Ben Crick BA CF, and Mrs Joanna (Goodwin) Crick
 <ben.crick at argonet.co.uk>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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