Do Catholics interpret these verses as literal or figurative?


Well-known member
It's not in contradiction with scripture; it only is if you think that establishing a covenant is a one-step process. However, covenants are always multi-step, involving a law (rights and obligations), sets of promises, a sacrifice, etc. The Mosaic covenant in Exodus, for instance, takes place over several chapters (Exodus 19-24).

Notice, also, in v.16 above you quoted, what is "established" is the death of the sacrifice, not the covenant. And I agree with all that: a covenant takes effect once the sacrifice has been killed and it needs to be established that the sacrifice has been killed.

Another way of looking at this might be like marriage. Some people argue that marriage is only effected at consummation. However, that doesn't mean that the vows, exchange of rings, kiss at the altar, etc. were not part of establishing the marriage covenant.
you're always looking for an alternative to what God's word says.