Amplified: So even the [old] first covenant (God’s will) was not inaugurated and ratified and put in force without the shedding of blood. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: That is why even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. (Westminster Press)
NLT: That is why blood was required under the first covenant as a proof of death. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: And indeed we find that even the first agreement of God's will was not put into force without the shedding of blood. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: From whence it follows that neither was the first testament inaugurated without blood. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: whence not even the first apart from blood hath been initiated,
THEREFORE EVEN THE FIRST COVENANT WAS NOT INAUGURATED WITHOUT BLOOD: hothen oude e prote choris haimatos egkekainistai (3SRPI): (Heb 8:7, 8, 9; Exodus 12:22; 24:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) (He 9:14,22)
The writer of Hebrews digresses to discuss the need for Christ death by referring to the Old Testament event in which Moses consecrated the Old Covenant, under which his Hebrew readers had been reared, with the blood of sacrifice (Ex. 24:4, 5, 6, 7, 8). Today we ratify agreements with a signature but God has ratified His agreement with blood, the OT blood of animals being a "shadow" of the "substance" of the precious blood of Christ in the NT.
Therefore (3606)(hothen) - (Pause and ponder every occurrence of this useful term of conclusion, "therefore") Or for which reason. What reason? Reflecting the principle that a covenant must be ratified by death (blood speaks of death). "It was not… an option which God happened to prefer" (EBC).
Vincent explains it this way - Thus: a testament is of force after men are dead. It has no force so long as the testator is alive. Wherefore, the first covenant was ratified by slaying victims and sprinkling their blood.
Andrew Murray - The writer returns here to the idea of the covenant in He 9:15 (note). He had there said that a death was needed for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, ere Christ, as Mediator of the new, could put the heirs in possession of the promise. In confirmation of this necessity, he reminds us how even the first covenant was not dedicated without blood. (Hebrews 9 Commentary from his book Holiest of All)
Newell explains it this way "Therefore opening this verse connects it directly with what is said in verses 16 and 17. Verse 18 ff. is an illustration of the ratification of a covenant, not the announcement of a will or testament." (Hebrews Commentary 498 pp - online)
Spurgeon - Aversion and shrinking crosses most minds at the thought of blood. One feels sickened and saddened. The sight of murdered Abel must have been terrible indeed to Adam and Eve, unused as they were to gaze on blood. If it would be so to them after the fall, what would the sight have been to them had they remained pure and perfect beings? In proportion to purity will be the shock to the mind in the presence of death and blood. Cruel men might gloat over a battlefield, but to most of us the sight of a single violent death would be horrible to the last degree. Manhood, until it is brutalized, has the greatest possible aversion to the sight of blood; it is as though God had selected as the token of atonement that which would show to us His antipathy to sin. He would move us to aversion toward evil from a sight of its painful and deadly consequences. He as good as tells us that while a thing is stained with evil He will sooner destroy it than have it in His sight. Man, the masterpiece of the divine creation, shall sooner be slain and his life flow out on the ground than be allowed to wallow in iniquity. It was intended that even while we are being pardoned we should feel horror at having been defiled with sin. But this aversion must not be used sinfully, as some have used it. I have heard of persons saying, when I preach of the blood of Christ, “I could not bear to hear so much about blood! It quite disgusted me.” I want you to feel shocked because your sin requires such an awful cleansing, but you must not be shocked at the great sacrifice itself.
Not - oude is literally "but not" is a strong negation.
The first - There is no Greek word for covenant in this sentence, but clearly in the context he is referring to the first or Old Covenant of Law.
Inaugurated (1457) (egkainizo from en = en or at + kainizo = to make new from kainos = that which is new kind unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of, not previously present) means to renew, to make new, to cause to go into effect, with the root word kainos giving the implication of something being newly established or not previously present. Egkainizo is used in the Septuagint to mean renew (the kingdom - 1Sa 11:14) and dedicate (the house of the Lord - 1Ki 8:63) To consecrate, to innovate, to initiate, to dedicate. To bring in as new. The idea of egkainizo is to introduce something new with the concepts of inauguration and dedication closely related. To renew qualitatively or make qualitatively new or initiate its qualitatively different effect or to innovate or begin its operation. In other words now "under the new (kainos) covenant the blood of Christ dedicates, or consecrates, all things for the believer, and renders them acceptable to God." (Vine)
The writer uses the perfect tense to describe what stands written in Scripture which is a feature that characterizes the writer of Hebrews.
The only other NT use of this word is in Hebrews 10:20…
To inaugurate in Webster's means to bring about the beginning of. It is from a word borrowed from the ceremonies used by the Romans when they were received into the college of augurs. Kings and emperors are inaugurated by coronation; a prelate, by consecration; and the president of a college by such ceremonies and forms as give weight and authority to the transaction. The old covenant was officially commenced or formally initiated by the blood of animals, which necessitates the death of the animal. So in essence what the writer is saying is that the Old Covenant was inaugurated by a death, albeit non-human. In the Old Covenant ritual this death of an animal was but a foreshadowing of the future death of the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God that would alone take away (the idea inherent in "forgive" is to take away) the sins of the world and inaugurate the New Covenant in His blood…
Egkainizo - 9 verse in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Dt 20:5; 1Sa 11:14; 1Kgs 8:63; 2Chr 7:5; 15:8; Ps 51:10; Isa 16:11; 41:1; 45:16
Without blood - Apart from the shedding of blood. Why blood? Andrew Murray writes
Spurgeon - Blood was seen on all sides under the law, it was vital to its teachings. The blood of Jesus is the very life of the gospel; a ministry without the blood of Jesus in it is dead and worthless. It is not possible that any sin should ever be forgiven to any man without shedding of blood. This has been known from the very first. As soon as man had sinned, God taught him that he needed a sacrifice. Adam and Eve, after they had sinned, tried to clothe themselves with fig leaves, but that was not a sufficient covering. God must kill some animals, shedding their blood, and in their skins our first parents must be clothed. When Cain and Abel had grown up, the only sacrifice that God could accept was the slain lamb. To Cain and his sacrifice of the fruits of the earth, God had no respect. Job is, perhaps, the earliest of the patriarchs, but he offered sacrifice for his children lest they should have offended God while they were feasting. He did not think, nor did any of those ancient men who feared God think, of finding acceptance with Him, and remission of sin, without shedding blood. This belief has been almost universally held; there is scarcely to be found a tribe of men who have not believed in this. Wherever explorers go, they find that, wherever there is any conception of God, there is a sacrifice in some form or other.
Murray (Holiest of All) explains the efficacy blood of the Lamb of God…
God had made earlier allusion to blood writing in the Passover where the blood from a slain spotless lamb provided life for those marked by this blood …
Spurgeon commenting on Hebrews 9:18-22 says that "There is no truth more plain than this in the whole of the Old Testament; and it must have within it a very weighty lesson to our souls. There are some who cannot endure the doctrine of a substitutionary atonement. Let them beware lest they be casting away the very soul and essence of the gospel. It is evident that the sacrifice of Christ was intended to give ease to the conscience, for we read that the blood of bulls and of goats could not do that. I fail to see how any doctrine of atonement except the doctrine of the vicarious sacrifice of Christ can give ease to the guilty conscience. Christ in my stead suffering the penalty of my sin—that pacifies my conscience, but nothing else does: "Without shedding of blood is no remission."
Hebrews 9:19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: laletheises (APPFSG) gar pases entoles kata ton nomon upo Mouseos panti to lao, labon (AAPMSN) to aima ton moschon [kai ton tragon] meta udatos kai eriou kokkinou kai ussopou auto te to biblion kai panta ton laon errantisen 3SAAI
Amplified: For when every command of the Law had been read out by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of slain calves and goats, together with water and scarlet wool and with a bunch of hyssop, and sprinkled both the Book (the roll of the Law and covenant) itself and all the people, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: For, after every commandment which the law lays down had been announced by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, together with water and scarlet and hyssop, and sprinkled the book itself and all the people. (Westminster Press)
NLT: For after Moses had given the people all of God's laws, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God's laws and all the people, using branches of hyssop bushes and scarlet wool. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: For when Moses had told the people every command of the Law he took calves' and goats' blood with water and scarlet wool, and sprinkled both the book and all the people with a sprig of hyssop, (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: For after every commandment was spoken by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: for every command having been spoken, according to law, by Moses, to all the people, having taken the blood of the calves and goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, he both the book itself and all the people did sprinkle,
FOR WHEN EVERY COMMANDMENT HAD BEEN SPOKEN BY MOSES TO ALL THE PEOPLE ACCORDING TO THE LAW HE TOOK THE BLOOD OF THE CALVES AND THE GOATS WITH WATER AND SCARLET WOOL AND HYSSOP AND SPRINKLED BOTH THE BOOK ITSELF AND ALL THE PEOPLE: laletheises (APPFSG) gar pases entoles kata ton nomon upo Mouseos panti to lao, labon (AAPMSN) to aima ton moschon [kai ton tragon] meta hudatos kai eriou kokkinou kai hussopou auto te to biblion kai panta ton laon errantisen (3SAAI): (He 9:12; 10:4; Exodus 24:5,6,8, 9, 10, 11; Leviticus 1:2,3,10; 3:6; 16:14, 15, 16, 17, 18) (Lev 14:4, 5, 6,49, 50, 51, 52; Nu 19:6; Matthew 27:28; Mark 15:17,20; John 19:2,5) (Exodus 12:22; Numbers 19:18; Psalms 51:7) (He 12:24; Exodus 24:8; Isaiah 52:15; Ezekiel 36:25; 1Pe 1:2)
For - Here this term of explanation explains (provides "proof" if you will) that the statement regarding the first covenant (Heb 9:18) is correct
For when the commandment had been spoken - See Exodus 24:5-11. Old Testament allusions such as this one substantiate once again that the writer is specifically addressing Jewish readers who would be familiar with the OT rituals.
Goats (see note) - This animal is not specifically mentioned in Exodus 24, but were mentioned in discussion of burnt offerings (Lev 1:10; 4:23).
Barnes - This passage has given great perplexity to commentators from the fact that Moses, in his account of the transactions connected with the ratification of the covenant with the people, Exodus 24:3 mentions only a part of the circumstances here referred to. He says nothing of the blood of calves and of goats; nothing of water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop; nothing of sprinkling the book, the tabernacle, or the vessels of the ministry. It has been made a question, therefore, whence Paul obtained a knowledge of these circumstances? Since the account is not contained in the Old Testament, it must have been either by tradition or by direct inspiration.
Water and scarlet (Scarlet) wool and hyssop - This phrase is not found in Exodus 24, but those items are used in the ceremony of the red heifer (Numbers 19:6,7 where the word "scarlet" appears without the word "wool") (see note Hebrews 9:13)
Barnes commenting on scarlet wool writes "The word here used denotes crimson, or deep scarlet. The colour was obtained from a small insect which was found adhering to the shoots of a species of oak in Spain and in Western Asia, of about the size of a pea. It was regarded as the most valuable of the colours for dyeing, and was very expensive. Why the wool used by Moses was of this colour is not known unless it be because it was the most expensive of colours, and thus accorded with everything employed in the construction of the tabernacle and its utensils. Wool appears to have been used in order to absorb and retain the blood.
As noted above (Hebrews 9:18) in the quotation from Exodus 12:22, hyssop (see note on hyssop) was used at the Passover for marking the doorposts and lintel.
Barnes comments that hyssop refers to "a bunch of hyssop intermingled with the wool, or so connected with it as to constitute a convenient instrument for sprinkling. Comp. Leviticus 14:51. Hyssop is a low shrub, regarded as one of the smallest of the plants, and here put in contrast with the cedar of Lebanon. It sprung out of the rocks or walls, 1 Kings 4:33, and was used for purposes of purification.
Sprinkled both the book - Moses does not record the sprinkling of the book itself, but it is implied. The consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood is the only other occasion in the OT when any persons were sprinkled with blood (Ex 29:21; Lev 8:30; cf. note 1 Peter 1:2).
Spurgeon - Oh, how delightful this Bible looks to me when I see the blood of Christ sprinkled upon it! Every leaf would have flashed with Sinai’s lightnings, and every verse would have rolled with the thunders of Horeb, if it had not been for Calvary’s cross. But now, as you look, you see on every page your Savior’s precious blood. He loved you, and gave Himself for you, and now you who are sprinkled with that blood, and have by faith rested in Him, can take that precious Book and find it to be green pastures and still waters to your souls.
And all the people - Spurgeon comments "The drops fell upon them all. As Moses took the basin and scattered the blood over the whole crowd, it fell upon all who were assembled at the door of the tabernacle. Have you had a sprinkling with the precious blood? If you have, you shall live forever. But if you have not, the wrath of God abides on you. Do you ask how you can have the blood of Christ sprinkled on you? It cannot be done literally, but faith does it. Faith is the bunch of hyssop that we dip into the basin, and it sprinkles man’s conscience from bad works. It is by the sprinkling of the blood, then, that we are saved. We must have the blood of Christ upon us in one way or the other. If we do not have it upon us to save us, we shall have it upon us to destroy us. “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matt 27:25) said the Jews to Pilate in their madness, and the siege of Jerusalem was the answer to the cry. Worse than the siege of Jerusalem was to the Jews shall be the death of those who have contempt for the Spirit of grace and despise the blood of Jesus. But happy shall they be who, giving up every other confidence, come to the blood of the covenant and put their trust there, for it shall not deceive them.
Blood was also sprinkled on the Day of Atonement…
Amplified: Saying these words: This is the blood that seals and ratifies the agreement (the testament, the covenant) which God commanded [me to deliver to] you. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: And as he did so, he said: “This is the blood of the covenant whose conditions God commanded you to observe.” (Westminster Press)
NLT: Then he said, "This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you." (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: saying, This is the blood of the testament which God enjoined to you. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: saying, 'This is the blood of the covenant that God enjoined unto you,'
SAYING THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU: legon: (PAPMSN) touto to haima tes diatheke es eneteilato (3SAMI) pros humas ho theos: (Heb 13:20; Zechariah 9:11; Matthew 26:28) (Deuteronomy 29:12; Joshua 9:6)
These are the words that Moses spoke to the Hebrews as he sprinkled the book and the people with blood. The law as read aloud, affirmed by the people, and then ratified by the sprinkling of the blood. The people swore to do their part, while God swore to do His part and thus the Old Covenant was inaugurated. The point to note is that the blood was an essential component of the Old Covenant.
The blood of the covenant - Here the Old Covenant but a clear foreshadowing of the blood of the New Covenant. Virtually the same words were utilized in the inaugural ceremonies for both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
Commanded (1781) (entellomai from en = in, upon + téllo = accomplish, charge, command) means to give charge or commandments, to order.
Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
Spurgeon's Morning and Evening - There is a strange power about the very name of blood, and the sight of it is always affecting. A kind heart cannot bear to see a sparrow bleed, and unless familiarized by use, turns away with horror at the slaughter of a beast. As to the blood of men, it is a consecrated thing: it is murder to shed it in wrath, it is a dreadful crime to squander it in war. Is this solemnity occasioned by the fact that the blood is the life, and the pouring of it forth the token of death? We think so. When we rise to contemplate the blood of the Son of God, our awe is yet more increased, and we shudder as we think of the guilt of sin, and the terrible penalty which the Sin-bearer endured. Blood, always precious, is priceless when it streams from Immanuel's side. The blood of Jesus seals the covenant of grace, and makes it for ever sure. Covenants of old were made by sacrifice, and the everlasting covenant was ratified in the same manner. Oh, the delight of being saved upon the sure foundation of divine engagements which cannot be dishonoured! Salvation by the works of the law is a frail and broken vessel whose shipwreck is sure; but the covenant vessel fears no storms, for the blood ensures the whole. The blood of Jesus made his testament valid. Wills are of no power unless the testators die. In this light the soldier's spear is a blessed aid to faith, since it proved our Lord to be really dead. Doubts upon that matter there can be none, and we may boldly appropriate the legacies which he has left for his people. Happy they who see their title to heavenly blessings assured to them by a dying Saviour. But has this blood no voice to us? Does it not bid us sanctify ourselves unto him by whom we have been redeemed? Does it not call us to newness of life, and incite us to entire consecration to the Lord? O that the power of the blood might be known, and felt in us this night!
Charles Haddon Spurgeon's Sermon on Hebrews 9:19-20..