5. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
5. Quapropter egrediens in mundum dicit, Sacrificium et oblationem noluisti, corpus autem aptasti mihi;
6. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
6. Holocausta et victimas pro peccato non probasti;
7. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
7. Tunc dixi, Ecce adsum; in capite libri scriptum est de me, ut faciam, O Deus, voluntatem tuam.
8. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
8. Quum prius dixesset, sacrificium et oblationem, holocausta et victimas pro peccato noluisti, neque comprobasti quae secundum legem offeruntur;
9. Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
9. Tunc dixit, Ecce adsum ut faciam, O Deus, voluntatem tuam, tollit prius ut secundum statuat:
10. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all
10. In qua voluntate sanctificati sumus per oblationem corporis Iesu Christi semel.
5. Wherefore, when he cometh, etc. This entering into the world was the manifestation of Christ in the flesh; for when he put on man's nature that he might be a Redeemer to the world and appeared to men, he is said to have then come into the world, as elsewhere he is said to have descended from heaven. (John 6:41.) And yet the fortieth Psalm, which he quotes, seems to be improperly applied to Christ, for what is found there by no means suits his character, such as, |My iniquities have laid hold on me,| except we consider that Christ willingly took on himself the sins of his members. The whole of what is said, no doubt, rightly accords with David; but as it is well known that David was a type of Christ, there is nothing unreasonable in transferring to Christ what David declared respecting himself, and especially when mention is made of abolishing the ceremonies of the Law, as the case is in this passage. Yet all do not consider that the words have this meaning, for they think that sacrifices are not here expressly repudiated, but that the superstitious notion which had generally prevailed, that the whole worship of God consisted in them, is what is condemned; and if it be so, it may be said that this testimony has little to do with the present question. It behaves us, then, to examine this passage more minutely, that it may appear evident whether the apostle has fitly adduced it.
Everywhere in the Prophets sentences of this kind occur, that sacrifices do not please God, that they are not required by him, that he sets no value on them; nay, on the contrary, that they are an abomination to him. But then the blame was not in the sacrifices themselves, but what was adventitious to them was referred to; for as hypocrites, while obstinate in their impiety, still sought to pacify God with sacrifices, they were in this manner reproved. The Prophets, then, rejected sacrifices, not as they were instituted by God, but as they were vitiated by wicked men, and profaned through unclean consciences. But here the reason is different, for he is not condemning sacrifices offered in hypocrisy, or otherwise not rightly performed through the depravity and wickedness of men; but he denies that they are required of the faithful and sincere worshippers of God; for he speaks of himself who offered them with a clean heart and pure hands, and yet he says that they did not please God.
Were any one to except and say that they were not accepted on their own account or for their own worthiness, but for the sake of something else, I should still say that unsuitable to this place is an argument of this kind; for then would men be called back to spiritual worship, when ascribing too much to external ceremonies; then the Holy Spirit would be considered as declaring that ceremonies are nothing with God, when by men's error they are too highly exalted.
David, being under the Law, ought not surely to have neglected the rite of sacrificing. He ought, I allow, to have worshipped God with sincerity of heart; but it was not lawful for him to omit what God had commanded, and he had the command to sacrifice in common with all the rest. We hence conclude that he looked farther than to his own age, when he said, Sacrifice thou wouldest not. It was, indeed, in some respects true, even in David's time, that God regarded not sacrifices; but as they were yet all held under the yoke of the schoolmaster, David could not perform the worship of God in a complete manner, unless when clothed, so to speak, in a form of this kind. We must, then, necessarily come to the kingdom of Christ, in order that the truth of God's unwillingness to receive sacrifice may fully appear. There is a similar passage in Psalm 16:10, |Thou wilt not suffer thine holy one to see corruption;| for though God delivered David for a time from corruption, yet this was not fully accomplished except in Christ.
There is no small importance in this, that when he professes that he would do the will of God, he assigns no place to sacrifices; for we hence conclude that without them there may be a perfect obedience to God, which could not be true were not the Law annulled. I do not, however, deny but that David in this place, as well as in Psalm 51:16, so extenuated external sacrifices as to prefer to them that which is the main thing; but there is no doubt but that in both places he cast his eyes on the kingdom of Christ. And thus the Apostle is a witness, that Christ is justly introduced as the speaker in this Psalm, in which not even the lowest place among God's commandments is allowed to sacrifices, which God had yet strictly required under the Law.
But a body hast thou prepared me, etc. The words of David are different, |An ear hast thou bored for me,| a phrase which some think has been borrowed from an ancient rite or custom of the Law, (Exodus 21:6;) for if any one set no value on the liberty granted at the jubilee, and wished to be under perpetual servitude, his ear was bored with an awl. The meaning, as they thinks was this, |Thou shalt have me, O Lord, as a servant forever.| I, however, take another view, regarding it as intimating docility and obedience; for we are deaf until God opens our ears, that is, until he corrects the stubbornness that cleaves to us. There is at the same time an implied contrast between the promiscuous and vulgar mass, (to whom the sacrifices were like phantoms without any power,) and David, to whom God had discovered their spiritual and legitimate use and application.
But the Apostle followed the Greek translators when he said, |A body hast thou prepared;| for in quoting these words the Apostles were not so scrupulous, provided they perverted not Scripture to their own purpose. We must always have a regard to the end for which they quote passages, for they are very careful as to the main object, so as not to turn Scripture to another meaning; but as to words and other things, which bear not on the subject in hand, they use great freedom.
7. In the volume or chapter of the book, etc. Volume is properly the meaning of the Hebrew word; for we know that books were formerly rolled up in the form of a cylinder. There is also nothing unreasonable in understanding book as meaning the Law, which prescribes to all God's children the rule of a holy life; though it seems to me a more suitable view to consider him as saying, that he deemed himself to be in the catalogue of those who render themselves obedient to God. The Law, indeed, bids us all to obey God; but David means, that he was numbered among those who are called to obey God; and then he testifies that he obeyed his vocation, by adding, I come to do thy will; and this peculiarly belongs to Christ. For though all the saints aspire after the righteousness of God, yet it is Christ alone who was fully competent to do God's will.
This passage, however, ought to stimulate us all to render prompt obedience to God; for Christ is a pattern of perfect obedience for this end, that all who are his may contend with one another in imitating him, that they may together respond to the call of God, and that their life may exemplify this saying, Lo, I come. To the same purpose is what follows, It is written, that is, that we should do the will of God, according to what is said elsewhere, that the end of our election is, to be holy and unblamable in his sight. (Colossians 1:22.)
9. He taketh away, etc. See now why and for what purpose this passage was quoted, even that we may know that the full and perfect righteousness under the kingdom of Christ stands in no need of the sacrifices of the Law; for when they are removed, the will of God is set up as a perfect rule. It hence follows, that the sacrifices of beasts were to be removed by the priesthood of Christ, as they had nothing in common with it. For there was no reason, as we have said, for him to reject the sacrifices on account of an accidental blame; for he is not dealing with hypocrites, nor does he condemn the superstition of perverted worship; but he denies that the usual sacrifices are required of a pious man rightly instructed, and he testifies that without sacrifices God is fully and perfectly obeyed.
10. By the which will, etc. After having accommodated to his subject David's testimony, he now takes the occasion to turn some of the words to his own purpose, but more for the sake of ornament than of explanation. David professed, not so much in his own person as in that of Christ, that he was ready to do the will of God. This is to be extended to all the members of Christ; for Paul's doctrine is general, when he says, |This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that every one of you abstain from uncleanness|. (1 Thessalonians 4:3.) But as it was a supereminent example of obedience in Christ to offer himself to the death of the cross, and as it was for this especially that he put on the form of a servant, the Apostle says, that Christ by offering himself fulfilled the command of his Father, and that we have been thus sanctified. When he adds, through the offering of the body, etc., he alludes to that part of the Psalm, where he says, |A body hast thou prepared for me,| at least as it is found in Greek. He thus intimates that Christ found in himself what could appease God, so that he had no need of external aids. For if the Levitical priests had a fit body, the sacrifices of beasts would have been superfluous. But Christ alone was sufficient, and was by himself capable of performing whatever God required.