In Heb. 7:27, it is written,

27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. NKJV, 1982

ΚΖʹ ὃς οὐκ ἔχει καθ᾽ ἡμέραν ἀνάγκην ὥσπερ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς πρότερον ὑπὲρ τῶν ἰδίων ἁμαρτιῶν θυσίας ἀναφέρειν ἔπειτα τῶν τοῦ λαοῦ τοῦτο γὰρ ἐποίησεν ἐφάπαξ ἑαυτὸν ἀνενέγκας TR, 1550

In this verse, the author writes that, while the Lord Jesus Christ does not, the High Priest does have a need (ἔχει...ἀνάγκην) to offer sacrifices “daily” (καθ᾽ ἡμέραν), first for his own sins, then for the people’s.

However, the High Priest never offered sacrifices daily for his own sins and then for those of the people.

Franz Delitzsch wrote,1

That presentation, however, first of a sin-offering for himself and his house, and then of another sin-offering for the whole congregation, was performed by the Levitical high priest only once a year (κατʼ ἐνιαυτόν, 9:25); whereas here the sacred writer appears to affirm this of the high priests, as being a part of their daily service (καθʼ ἡμέραν),—a difficulty which has from the first severely exercised the ingenuity of interpreters.

Those offerings—for his owns sins and for those of the people—only occurred one day of the year during the Day of Atonement. Thus, rather than «καθ᾽ ἡμέραν», we may have expected the author to write «κατ᾽ ἐνιαυτόν»—“yearly” (or, “annually”).

So, the question is, to which sacrifices offered daily by the High Priest for his own sins and for those of the people does the author refer?


Delitzsch, Franz. Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews. Trans. Kingsbury, Thomas L. Vol. 2. Edinburgh: Clark, 1872.


1 p. 6


4 Answers 4


38 Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. 39 The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: 40 And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering. 41 And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

42 This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. 43 And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. 44 And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office. 45 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.
-- Exodus 29:38-46 (KJV)

  • תָּמִֽיד appears twice in this passage, the first in verse 38: לַיּ֖וֹם תָּמִֽיד = "day by day continually"; and the second in verse 42: תָּמִיד֙ לְדֹרֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם = "continual ... throughout your generations". It is pretty clear that this is what the writer of Hebrews was referring to in Hebrews 7:27.

  • This perpetual daily sacrifice is again mentioned in Numbers 28:1-8, with many mentions of, "beside the continual burnt offering" in regard to other particular offerings (Numbers 28:10,15,23,24,31; 29:6,11,16,19,22,25,28,31,34,38).

  • This perpetual daily offering is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 16:40 in reference to David bringing the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem.

  • In Daniel chapter 8, the prophet speaks of the "Transgression of Desolation" when the daily sacrifice is taken away.

Additional Comments

A number of comments have noted that this answer does not address the suggestion by the writer of Hebrews that the high priest was a participant in the sacrifice.

The point of the daily sacrifice was clearly the maintenance of the holiness of the Tabernacle of the congregation, the altar, those who ministered there, the high priest and the priests, and the children of Israel. This was a DAILY need because God said, "I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. And there I will meet with the children of Israel ..."

There can be little doubt that this perpetual daily sacrifice is what the writer of Hebrews was referring to, since there is nothing else that could possibly fit what he describes. So, each and every reader of Hebrews 7:27 is faced with the same dilemma as those who read Matthew 12:40, i.e. the LETTER of the Law vs. the SPIRIT of the Law. Some will decide one way, some will decide the other, and some won't give a fig.

God says concerning the daily sacrifice, "... and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.". So, the presence of the glory of the LORD was the evidence that He was at home in the Tabernacle. If the daily sacrifice ceased, then the presence of the glory of the LORD would cease also.

Who bore the responsibility for ensuring that the daily sacrifice did not cease? Surely, the high priest. So, securing the ongoing holiness of the Tabernacle of the congregation, the altar, those who ministered there, the high priest and the priests, and the children of Israel, AND the ongoing presence of the glory of the LORD, rested with high priest.

In this way, bearing the weighty responsibility that the daily sacrifices did not cease, the high priest offered up daily for his own sins and the sins of the people.

For those who are still puzzled, let me make it plainer: if you instruct someone to do something, and you take steps to ensure that he does it, then you are doing it.

  • You are not reading it @SimplyaChristian, verses 42-44 -- specifically "And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office" I'm pretty sure Aaron was the high priest. This was to be a daily happening.
    – enegue
    Dec 16, 2016 at 4:03
  • And, again, “These verses say nothing about sacrifices being for the sins of the High Priest and for those of the people.” Where is the part about the sins?
    – user862
    Dec 16, 2016 at 4:22
  • 2
    (-1) While this answer nicely sets out some background for the daily round of sacrifices (which is well known and attested, and not the problematic part of OP's question), it sheds no light whatsoever on the conundrum which is central to the question, and on which Delitzsch is aptly quoted. viz., the high priestly invovlement in such activity. I'm afraid enegue has not at a stroke solved the "difficulty which has from the first severely exercised the ingenuity of interpreters". // Signed, yrs most sincerely, A. Twerp.
    – Dɑvïd
    Dec 16, 2016 at 14:19
  • 2
    @enegue I appreciate your effort to clarify, and follow your reasoning. Your answer still strikes me as rhetorically constructed and baseless. That is, posing a series of rhetorical questions, accompanied by surmise, and in the absence of any evidence, does not add up to a convincing case. You gave it a good shot. There is a reason why Delitzsch wrote what he did.
    – Dɑvïd
    Dec 16, 2016 at 21:03
  • 2
    @Dɑvïd There is a reason why I have written what I have written. It's all about sharing perspectives, so that nothing that can be said, is left unsaid.
    – enegue
    Dec 16, 2016 at 21:09

It seems to be that the need behind offering the sacrifice was something that existed daily, although, as you point out, the actual sacrifice only took place once per year. One commentary states:

The word "daily" (kath-hemeran) does not mean that the high priests of the Old Law offered sacrifice every day; they did not, for it was on the Day of Atonement that they sacrificed first for themselves, being sinful men, and then for the people (see Leviticus 16). The emphasis seems to be on the need, which indeed was daily. However, the Son of God's intercession, which He makes because His one complete and all-sufficient sacrifice, is continuous or daily.

(Archbishop) Dmitry Royster, The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary (St. Vladimir Seminary Press, 2003), p.116.


I wonder if what is in view here is more along the lines of what has been termed "Federal Headship". Just as the first Adam plunged everyone in him into sin and death and the second Adam (Christ) lifts everyone in him unto righteousness and life;

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive - 1 Corinthians 15:22

and just as Levi paid tithes in Abraham to Melchizedek before Levi was even born:

One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him. - Hebrews 7:9-10

Too, when a priest sinned it caused all of the people to incur guilt because they represented the people to God.

if it is the anointed priest who sins, thus bringing guilt on the people, then he shall offer for the sin that he has committed a bull from the herd without blemish to the LORD for a sin offering. - Leviticus 4:3

Perhaps the priests, in offering the daily sacrifices already considered in earlier answers as well as those brought to them by and offered on behalf of individuals (including the priests themselves) to atone for their sins as detailed in Leviticus chapter 4, can be considered as represented in total by the term High Priest; under whose authority they all operated.

Thus the reference to "those High Priests" in Hebrews 7:27 would be including the entire priesthood as operating in the High Priest just as we are to operate as a kingdom of priests in Christ our Great High Priest.


Short answer

The author is contrasting the need that the priests have for daily preparation for liturgy by a daily ritual of purification...:

Exo 29:38-44 NLT - 38 "These are the sacrifices you are to offer regularly on the altar. Each day, offer two lambs that are a year old, 39 one in the morning and the other in the evening. 40 With one of them, offer two quarts of choice flour mixed with one quart of pure oil of pressed olives; also, offer one quart of wine as a liquid offering. 41 Offer the other lamb in the evening, along with the same offerings of flour and wine as in the morning. It will be a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the LORD. 42 "These burnt offerings are to be made each day from generation to generation. Offer them in the LORD's presence at the Tabernacle entrance; there I will meet with you and speak with you. 43 I will meet the people of Israel there, in the place made holy by my glorious presence. 44 Yes, I will consecrate the Tabernacle and the altar, and I will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests.

...with Jesus having secured permanent forgiveness of sins by his blood, which ratified the new covenant:

RSV Hebrews 1:3

He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

The fact that he "sat down" indicates that the purification had been accomplished and further sacrifices were not needed, because the new covenant had been ratified with the Hebrews and it provided forgiveness of transgressions.

Heb 9:7-28 NLT - 7 But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use. 9 This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. 10 For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies--physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. 11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 12 With his own blood--not the blood of goats and calves--he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. 13 Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people's bodies from ceremonial impurity. 14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. 15 That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant. 16 Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead. 17 The will goes into effect only after the person's death. While the person who made it is still alive, the will cannot be put into effect. 18 That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal. 19 For after Moses had read each of God's commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God's law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. 20 Then he said, "This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you." 21 And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. 22 In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. 23 That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals. 24 For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. 25 And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. 26 If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. 27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.

So the priests were prepared daily to serve God by bloody sacrifices that were ineffectual but Christ's one death, ratifying a new covenant, effected permanent forgiveness of the sins committed under the old, passing away covenant, for the houses of Israel and Judah (Jer 31).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.