Verse 13. "He hath made the first old." - That is: He has considered it as antiquated, and as being no longer of any force.
"That which decayeth and waxeth old" - Here is an allusion to the ancient laws, which either had perished from the tables on which they were written through old age, or were fallen into disuse, or were abrogated.
"Is ready to vanish away." - egguv afanismou? Is about to be abolished.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus, speaking of the laws of Numa, which had been written on oak boards, says: av ayanisqhnai sunebh tw cronw? "which had perished through old age." And the word afanizein is used to express the abolition of the law. The apostle, therefore, intimates that the old covenant was just about to be abolished; but he expresses himself cautiously and tenderly, that he might not give unnecessary offense.
WHEN the apostle said, All shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest, under the new covenant, he had copious authority for saying so from the rabbins themselves. In Sohar Chadash, fol. 42, it is said: "In the days of the Messiah knowledge shall be renewed in the world, and the law shall be made plain among all; as it is written, Jer. xxxi. 33, All shall know me, from the least to the greatest." We find the following legend in Midrash Yalcut Simeoni, part 2, fol. xl6: "The holy blessed God shall sit in paradise and explain the law; all the righteous shall sit before him, and the whole heavenly family shall stand on their feet; and the holy blessed God shall sit, and the new law, which be is to give by the Messiah, shall be interpreted." In Sohar Genes., fol. 74, col. 291, we find these remarkable words: "When the days of the Messiah shall approach, even the little children in this world shall find out the hidden things of wisdom; and in that time all things shall be revealed to all men." And in Sohar Levit., fol. 24, col. xc5: "There shall be no time like this till the Messiah comes, and then the knowledge of God shall be found in every part of the world." This day are all these sayings fulfilled in our ears: the word of God is multiplied; many run to and fro, and knowledge is increased; all the nations of the earth are receiving the book of God; and men of every clime, and of every degree-Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites; the dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judea, in Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt, in Libya; strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes; Cretes and Arabians; Americans, Indians, and Chinese-hear, in their own tongues, the wonderful works of God.