Hebrews 9:17

“For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”

King James Version (KJV)

Other Translations

For a Testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all whilest the Testatour liueth.
- King James Version (1611) - View 1611 Bible Scan

For a covenant is valid {only} when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.
- New American Standard Version (1995)

For a testament is of force where there hath been death: for it doth never avail while he that made it liveth.
- American Standard Version (1901)

For a testament has effect after death; for what power has it while the man who made it is living?
- Basic English Bible

For a testament [is] of force when men are dead, since it is in no way of force while the testator is alive.)
- Darby Bible

For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
- Webster's Bible

And a will is only of force in the case of a deceased person, being never of any avail so long as he who made it lives.
- Weymouth Bible

For a will is in force where there has been death, for it is never in force while he who made it lives.
- World English Bible

For a testament is confermed in deed men; ellis it is not worthe, while he lyueth, that made the testament.
- Wycliffe Bible

for a covenant over dead victims [is] stedfast, since it is no force at all when the covenant-victim liveth,
- Youngs Literal Bible

Bible commentary

Wesley's Notes for Hebrews 9:17


9:17 After he is dead - Neither this, nor after men are dead is a literal translation of the words. It is a very perplexed passage.


People's Bible Notes for Hebrews 9:17


Heb 9:17 For a testament [is] of force after men are dead. As soon as a man dies, his last will and testament comes into force, but has no force whatever while he lives. The application of this is that Christ's testament, the new covenant, came into force when he died. The old covenant was in force to the cross; it was then "nailed to the cross" (Col 2:14), and Christ having died, the New Testament came into force. It has been urged against this view that the making of wills was not a custom of Israel. It was, however the custom of the whole Roman Empire, and Judea was now a Roman province. The Roman customs had made provinces of the empire familiar with the use of wills.

Discussion for Hebrews 9:17

  • Ben Weaver for verse 17
    The phrase "new testament " as used in the Bible, seems to mean God 's covenant, or arrangement with humanity, as set apart from the old one, and has numerous indicators to having begun only after the death of the Mediator, who is obviously Jesus, the Messiah. However, when capitalized, it refers to the man made title of the sacred writings added to the Jewish scriptures, which begin about 33 yrs. before God 's new covenant, or testament could be in effect, and includes the developing stage the life and teaching of Jesus before he performed his redeeming work. This discrepancy can be confusing, since Jesus taught a mixture of the old and the new covenants to people who were still under the law of Moses. I feel we should "rightly divide the word of truth " and apply the new testament principles to Christianity. Legalistic religion has caused many wrong divisions in our Lord 's body of believers.

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