Hebrews 7:23

And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

And they truly were many priests,.... There were many common priests at a time; and though there was but one high priest at a time, yet there were many of them in a line of succession from Aaron down to the apostle's time. The Jews say {u}, that under the first temple eighteen high priests ministered, and under the second temple more than three hundred: this shows the imperfection of this priesthood, since it was in many hands; no one continuing and being sufficient to execute it; but Christ is the one and only high priest; there is no other, nor is there any need of any other: the reason why there were so many under the law was,

because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death; death has a power to forbid a long continuance in this world, and no man does continue long here: death puts a stop to men's works, and to the exercise of their several callings; no office, even the most sacred, exempts from it; no, not the office of high priests: these were but men, sinful men, and so died; and their discontinuance by reason of death shows the imperfection of their priesthood: there was another reason besides this which the apostle gives, why the high priests were so many, and especially about this time; and that is, the office was bought for money, and men that would give most were put into it: hence there were frequent changes; the Jews themselves say, they changed every twelve months {w}.

{u} T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 9. 1. Piske Tosephot Zebachim, Art. 72.
{w} T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 8. 2.