Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 10

Psalm 40 and the Septuagint

Hebrews 10:5

Most English Bibles say that Christ spoke the words in Hebrews 10:5-7. That seems right, but the name ‘Christ’ does not actually appear in the original language (Greek) for verse 5. It is clear from John 6:38 that this passage describes Christ’s attitudes well. He came to this earth to obey God the Father completely.

However, the original author of this passage was David. You can read his original words in Psalm 40:6-8. Those words are slightly different from the words in the Book of Hebrews. Psalm 40:6 contains the strange words, ‘You have pierced (made holes in) my ears.’ But Hebrews 10:5 says, ‘You have prepared a body for me.’

The reason for the difference is that the author of Hebrews took his words from the ancient Greek translation. That translation is called the Septuagint. David’s original words refer to the ancient law in Deuteronomy 15:12-17. Usually, a slave became a free man after 6 years’ work. But sometimes a slave loved his master so much that he wanted to serve him for life. Then the master carried out a ceremony when he made a hole in the slave’s ear, like the hole for an ear-ring. It showed that the slave would always listen to his master’s commands. And he would obey them.

The Septuagint’s words may mean, ‘You have prepared my body.’ In other words, ‘you have marked my body.’ Masters in many countries did not follow the above law. But they made a mark on the bodies of their permanent slaves. So the meaning is the same.

So Hebrews 10:5 means this. It was not gifts that God wanted. He wanted someone who would obey him completely. Such a person would obey God because he loved God. His love was like the slave’s love for his master in the ancient law.

And we have seen that this was Christ’s choice. It was his delight to obey God completely. And that pleased God the Father much (Mark 1:11).

Next part: Reasons why God should answer a prayer (Hebrews 10:6-7)


Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 450 page course book.


© 2014, Keith Simons.