Better Than The Blood Of Abel? Some Remarks On Abel In Hebrews 12:24 -- By: Kyu Seop Kim

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 67:1 (NA 2016)
Article: Better Than The Blood Of Abel? Some Remarks On Abel In Hebrews 12:24
Author: Kyu Seop Kim


Better Than The Blood Of Abel?
Some Remarks On Abel In Hebrews 12:24

Kyu Seop Kim

(kyuseopkim77@gmail.com)

Summary

The sudden mention of Abel in Hebrews 12:24 has elicited a multiplicity of interpretations, but despite its significance, the meaning of ‘Abel’ (τὸν Ἅβελ) has not attracted the careful attention that it deserves. This study argues that τὸν Ἅβελ in Hebrews 12:24 refers to Abel as an example who speaks to us through his right observation of the cult. Accordingly, Hebrews 12:24b means that Christ’s cult is superior to the Jewish ritual. This interpretation fits exactly with the adjacent context contrasting Sinai and Zion symbols.

1. Introduction

The sudden mention of Abel in Hebrews 12:24 has elicited a multiplicity of interpretations, but despite its significance, this topic has not attracted the careful attention that it deserves. Traditionally, scholars assert that ‘Abel’ (τὸν Ἅβελ) in Hebrews 12:24 refers to ‘the blood of Abel’.1 Most Bible translators also read ‘than Abel’ (παρὰ τὸν

Ἅβελ) as ‘than the blood of Abel’.2 However, the following questions have yet to be resolved: why does the motif of Abel (or his blood) appear unexpectedly appear within the context of the contrasting symbolism of Sinai and Zion in Hebrews 12:18–24, and why is Abel (or his blood) contrasted with Christ (or Christ’s blood) in Hebrews 12:24?

2. Previous Explanations

As a traditional solution, many interpreters believe that ‘speaking’ (λαλοῦντι) in Hebrews 12:24 evokes the ‘crying out’ (βοᾷ) of Abel’s blood in Genesis 4:10 (LXX). In this vein, some exegetes argue that the blood of Abel ‘cried out vengeance’, but the blood of Jesus communicates grace.3 Grässer claims that the blood of Abel ‘cried out’ to God ‘from the ground’, but tha...

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