NAS Hebrews 8:7-13 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. 8 For finding fault with them, He says, “Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, When I will effect a new covenant With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9 Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers On the day when I took them by the hand To lead them out of the land of Egypt; For they did not continue in My covenant, And I did not care for them, says the Lord. 10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, And I will write them upon their hearts. And I will be their God, And they shall be My people 11 “And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ For all shall know Me, From the least to the greatest of them. 12 “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.” 13 When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
“THE NEW COVENANT WAS INSTITUTED BECAUSE GOD FOUND FAULT WITH ISRAEL, AND HENCE HE PROPHECIES THAT A NEW COVENANT WILL BE INSTITUTED WITH ISRAEL AND JUDAH.
(The following is admittedly heavy stuff, even for second-year Hebrew students, but I am going to go through it for my own benefit and some of you who might want to look at it for your own reasons.)
“THE TEXTUAL EVIDENCE IS DISPUTED HERE, AND IF WE ACCEPTED THE VARIANT IN THE MOST RECENT AND RELIABLE TEXT (NA28) THE FAULT IS WITH THE MOSAIC COVENANT RATHER THAN THE PEOPLE…
17 tc † Several witnesses (א* A D* I K P Ψ 33 81 326 365 1505 2464 al latt co Cyr) have αὐτούς (autous) here, “[in finding fault with] them, [he says],” alluding to Israel’s failings mentioned in v. 9b. (The verb μέμφομαι [memphomai, “to find fault with”] can take an accusative or dative direct object.) The reading behind the text above (αὐτοίς, autois), supported by î46 א2 B D2 0278 1739 1881 Û, is perhaps a harder reading theologically, and is more ambiguous in meaning. If αὐτοίς goes with μεμφόμενος (memphomenos, here translated “showing its fault”), the clause could be translated “in finding fault with them” or “in showing [its] faults to them.” If αὐτοίς goes with the following λέγει (legei, “he says”), the clause is best translated, “in finding/showing [its] faults, he says to them.” The accusative pronoun suffers no such ambiguity, for it must be the object of μεμφόμενος rather than λέγει. Although a decision is difficult, the dative form of the pronoun best explains the rise of the other reading and is thus more likely to be original. – (NET Bible)
“THE NET TRANSLATION REFLECTS THE VARIANT SO THAT IN THE PHRASE ‘SHOWING ITS FAULT,’ THE ‘ITS’ IS THE OLD COVENANT. SUCH A TRANSLATION FITS WELL IN THE CONTEXT SINCE THE INFERIORITY OF THE OLD COVENANT IS BEING EMPHASISIZED.
“THE TEXTUAL EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, SUPPORTS THE MORE DIFFICULT SO THAT THE FAULT IS FOUND ‘WITH THEM,’ I.E. THE PEOPLE IN CONTEXT, HOWEVER, A WEDGE SHOULD NOT BE DRIVEN BETWEEN THE SIN OF THE PEOPLE AND THE DEFECTIVENESS OF THE COVENANT. BY STRESSING THE DISOBEDIENCE OF ISRAEL, THE AUTHOR CALLS ATTENTION TO THEIR MORAL RESPONSIBILITY, TO THEIR REFUSALTO DO THE WILL OF GOD.
“STILL THE CONTEXT ALSO DRAWS ATTENTION TO THE WEAKNESS OF THE OLD COVENANT, FOR THE COVENANT DIDN’T PROVIDE THE RESOURCES TO RENEW THE PEOPLE
“AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE AUTHOR FINDS FAULT WITH BOTH THE PEOPLE AND THE OLD COVENANT, THOUGH IN THIS PHASE HE CONCENTRATES UPON THE SIN OF THE PEOPLE.” – Schneider
– Professor Thomas A. Rohm