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ver. 2.0.17.07.21
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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Hebrews 2

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-18

προσ εβραιουσ

——————

Hebrews 1:1 to Hebrews 2:18.] AFTER MANIFOLD REVELATIONS IN FORMER TIMES, GOD HAS NOW REVEALED HIMSELF TO US IN HIS SON (Hebrews 1:1-4), WHO IS GREATER THAN THE ANGELS, THE DISPENSERS OF THE LAW (Hebrews 1:4-14; inference, Hebrews 2:1-4), THOUGH FOR A TIME HE WAS MADE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS, AND SUBJECTED TO SUFFERINGS, IN ORDER TO BE, AS OUR HIGH PRIEST, OUR RECONCILER TO GOD (Hebrews 2:5-18). And herein (Hebrews 1:1-4), introduction and statement of position.

We may notice, 1. The opening of this Epistle without any address, or mention of the Author. Various reasons have been assigned for this, and inferences drawn from it (see Prolegg.). Some have said that the matter to be treated was so weighty, that the Writer merged altogether his own personality, and trusted to the weight of his subject to gain him a hearing. But, as Ebrard remarks, this would not account for entire omission of the name of the man and his standing. He therefore imagines that another shorter letter of a more private nature must have accompanied this. But we may reply, that this idea derives no countenance from the phænomena of the Epistle itself, containing as it does at the end private notices which might well have been dispensed with, if such a commendatory Epistle had accompanied it. We must therefore deal with this circumstance without any such hypothesis to help us. On the supposition of the Pauline authorship, some account may be given of it,—viz. that the name of the Apostle was concealed, from the nature of the relations between himself, and those to whom he was writing (see this hypothesis examined in the Prolegomena). And on the idea of Pauline superintendence, it would obviously admit of the same solution. 2. The carefully balanced and rhetorical style in which the Epistle begins, characteristic indeed of its whole diction (see Prolegg.), but especially marking this first period (Hebrews 1:1-4). The clauses are joined by close grammatical and rhetorical dependence: there is no anacoluthon, no carelessness of construction, but all is most carefully and skilfully disposed.


Verse 1

1.] On this account (viz. because Christ, the mediator of the New Covenant, is far above all the angels, who were the mediators of the former Covenant) it behoves us ( ταύτην τὴν διαφορὰν ἐπισταμένους, Thdrt.: δεῖ, of moral necessity arising from the previous premises: so Matthew 18:33; Matthew 25:27; 2 Timothy 2:6 al. There is no stress on ἡμᾶς according to the reading of the text) to give heed ( προσέχειν usually in the classics is transitive, with τὸν νοῦν following: so e. g. Aristoph. Nub. 566, ὦ σοφώτατοι θεαταί, δεῦρο τὸν νοῦν προσέχετε, and Plut. 113, 151, al. In Demosth. both usages are found: e. g. p. 21. 26, εἴ τις ὑμῖν προσέξει τὸν νοῦν:—p. 132. 9, προσέχουσιν ἅπαντες, οὐχ οἷς εἴπομέν ποτε ἢ νῦν ἂν εἴποιμεν, ἀλλʼ οἷς ποιοῦμεν. And later, intrans. usage prevailed: see reff.) more abundantly (some as Grot. (“eo magis par est”), Kuin., al. would join περισσοτέρως with δεῖ: but if so intended, it would certainly have been before that verb. We must not understand after the comparative, τοῦ νόμου, “than we did to the law,” as Chrys., al.; or the aim of the Writer to be, to shew the superiority of the gospel over the law, as Thdrt.: but the adverb intimates how much our attention ought to be increased and intensified by our apprehension of the dignity of Him whose record the gospel is, and who is its Mediator) to the things heard (by us) ( ἀκουσθεῖσιν is better taken neuter than masc., “the persons whom we have heard.” Bleek remarks, after Böhme, the difference between the tone of exhortation here and in St. Paul, e. g. Galatians 1:6 ff.: but perhaps the remark is hardly just to the Pauline hypothesis: for difference of circumstances should be taken into consideration. Even the same person would not exhort in the same tone, converts to whom he stood in such different relations as St. Paul did to the Galatians and the Jewish converts. A similar criticism will apply to Bleek’s second remark, that the Writer here classes himself absolutely with his readers who had heard the gospel from others. There may have been reasons for his descending to the level of those whom he was addressing. But see below on Hebrews 2:3, and on the authorship, the Prolegomena), lest haply (the ποτε is not to be pressed as meaning ‘at any time:’ it simply generalizes and renders indefinite the μή,—‘ne forte,’ dass nicht etwa) we be diverted ( παραρυῶμεν is the 2nd aor. subj. passive ( ἐρύην) from παραρέω, not the pres. subj. active from παραρυέω, which latter verb is not in use. The orthography with one ρ only is characteristic of the Alexandrine Greek: which usually wrote double consonants single. (See Sturz. de Dial. Maced.) The verb signifies to flow by: so Xen. Cyr. iv. 5. 2, πιεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ παραῤῥέοντος ποταμοῦ: ref. Isa. ὡς ἰτέα ἐπὶ παραῤῥέον ὕδωρ. Bleek gives an example from Artemidorus viii. 27, where dreams of running water are interpreted to signify change and instability, διὰ τὸ μὴ μένειν τὸ ὕδωρ ἀλλὰ παραῤῥεῖν. Aristotle, de Part. Animal. iii. 3, uses this same passive form to indicate that which we familiarly call food going the wrong way in course of swallowing: ἐὰν γάρ τι παρεισρυῇ ξηρὸν ἢ ὑγρὸν εἰς τὴν ἀρτηρίαν, πνιγμοὺς καὶ πόνους κ. βηχὰς ἰσχυροὺς ἐμποιεῖ·— συμβαίνει γὰρ φανερῶς τὰ λεχθέντα πᾶσιν οἷς ἂν παραῤῥυῇ τι τῆς τροφῆς: see also numerous instances of the same or a similar meaning, from Galen, in Wetst. Plut. Amator, p. 754 A, says of fear lest a ring should fall off, ὡς μὴ παραῤῥυῇ δεδιώς. Elsner quotes similar Latin usages, among which notice Cicero pro Balbo, c. i., “Oratio quæ non prætervecta aures vestras, sed in animis omnium penitus insederit.” The meaning of the verb παραῤῥεῖν seems then to be clear—to flow past, or away, or aside, to fall off, deflect from a course. But it is to one part of that verb that our attention is here directed,—the 2 aor. passive: and it may be noticed that whereas in the above examples that which flows away or flows aside is said παραῤῥεῖν, that which is carried away or aside by floating on it, or which is caused to fall off or away, is said παραῤῥυῆναι: cf. also υἱέ, μὴ παραρυῇς in ref. Prov. And so must the word be taken here. We, going onward in time, living our lives in one or another direction, are exhorted προσέχειν τοῖς ἀκουσθεῖσι, ‘to adhere to the things we have heard’ (see above), and that, μή ποτε παραρυῶμεν, ‘that we do not at any time float past them,’ be not carried away beside them, led astray from the course on which they would take us. Two mistakes respecting the word are to be avoided: 1. that of Bos, Valcknaer, al., and the E. V., “ne quando præterfluere ea sinamus:” “lest at any time we should let them slip.” From what has been above said of the tense and voice, it will be clear that such cannot be the meaning. 2. Still worse is that of those who, misled by the vulgate “pereffluamus,” have thought of a comparison with a sieve, or leaking vessel. So Est. (preferring however the other, the “ne defluamus” of Aug(16)), Calv. (“Attenta mens similis est vasi bene obstructo: vaga autem et ignava, perforato”), Owen, al.: and I find it reproduced in Tait’s commentary on the Hebrews: “lest.… we should run out as leaking vessels.” The meaning is as untenable, as the simile (after προσέχειν) is irrelevant. And, as Kuin. and Bleek remark, the passage of Terence cited in justification, Eun. i. 2. 25, “Plenus rimarum sum, hac atque illac perfluo,” has reference not to forgetfulness, but to indiscreet loquacity. The Greek expositors, whose authority in matters of Greek verbal usage is considerable, all explain it as above:—so Chrys., τουτεστι, μὴ ἀπολώμεθα, μὴ ἐκπέσωμεν. καὶ δείκνυσιν ἐνταῦθα τὸ χαλεπὸν τῆς ἐκπτώσεως, ὅτι δύσκολον τὸ παραῤῥυὲν πάλιν ἐπανελθεῖν, καθότι ἐκ ῥᾳθυμίας τοῦτο συνέβη. ἔλαβε δὲ τὴν λέξιν ἀπὸ τῶν παροιμιῶν· “ υἱὲγάρ, φησί, “ μὴ παραῤῥυῇς:” Thdrt., μή τινα ὄλισθον ὑπομείνωμεν: Œc., τουτέστιν, ἐκπέσωμεν τοῦ καθήκοντος καὶ τῆς ἐπὶ σωτηρίαν ὁδοῦ: Hesych., ἐξολισθαμεν: Suidas, παραπέσωμεν. So also all the more accurate of the moderns) (from them) (such is the most natural object to supply after παρά: turned aside from and floated away from the course on which the προσέχειν to them would have carried us).


Verses 1-4

1–4.] Practical inference from the proved superiority of the Son of God to the angels.


Verse 2

2.] For (introduces an argument (Hebrews 2:2-4) a minori ad majus. The law was introduced by the mere subordinate messengers of God, but was enforced with strict precision: how much more shall they be punished who reject that Gospel, which was brought in by the Son of God Himself, and continues to be confirmed to us by God’s present power) if the word which was spoken by means of angels (i. e. the law of Moses: not as mentioned by way of alternative in Chrys., Œc., Thl., and adopted by Calv., al., all commands in the O. T. delivered by angels (excluding the law: or as Chrys., including it). For this would more naturally be οἱ.… λόγοι: and besides, in similar exhortations in our Epistle, the law and the gospel are so prominently set against one another, that there can be little doubt the same is the case here: see ch. Hebrews 3:1 ff., Hebrews 3:7 ff.; Hebrews 4:2; Hebrews 4:11; Hebrews 10:28-29; Hebrews 12:18-25. This will become even plainer still, when we enter on the consideration of διʼ ἀγγέλων λαληθείς. These words seem to point especially at the law, which was διαταγεὶς διʼ ἀγγέλων, Galatians 3:19, where see note: cf. also Acts 7:53, and Deuteronomy 33:2, κύριος ἐκ σινὰ ἥκει καὶ.… κατέσπευσεν ἐξ ὄρους φαρὰν σὺν μυριάσι καδής· ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ ἄγγελοι μετʼ αὐτοῦ: on which see Ebrard’s note: and Psalms 68:17, E. V. The co-operation of angels in the giving of the law at Sinai was not merely a Rabbinical notion, but is implied in both the Old and New Testaments. There can consequently be little doubt that the Writer, in mentioning ὁ διʼ ἀγγέλων λαληθεὶς λόγος, had reference to the law of Moses, and not to the scattered messages which were, at different times in O. T. history, delivered by angels. And so Origen, in Matt. tom. xvii. cap. 2, vol. iii. p. 767: Thdrt., δείκνυσιν ὅσον ὑπέρκειται τῶν νομικῶν διατάξεων ἡ τῶν εὐαγγελικῶν διδασκαλία. τῇ γὰρ θέσει τοῦ νόμου ἄγγελοι διηκόνουν κ. τ. λ. It has been sometimes supposed that the ἄγγελοι spoken of here are not angels, but merely human messengers. Chrys. says, τινὲς μὲν οὖν τὸν ΄ωυσέα φασὶν αἰνίττεσθαι· ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἔχει λόγον· ἀγγέλους γὰρ ενταῦθα πολλούς φησι. And Olearius, Analys Ep. ad Hebr. § v., says, “Per ἀγγέλους hic maxime intelligi existimem προφήτας, doctores et Sacerdotes: qui sunt ἄγγελοι θεοῦ, et ita passim vocantur.” But this latter point wants proof. The difficulty as to whether God Himself, or an angel, is to be understood as giving the law in Exodus, raised by Cameron (see also Schlichting in Bleek), hardly seems legitimately to arise here, where the words are διʼ ἀγγέλων λαληθείς, and the angels may manifestly be considered as the inferior agents, acting and speaking in God’s name. Bl. remarks that the Writer would hardly have used this argument of depreciating contrast, had he regarded the law as given either to Moses or to the people by the direct ministry of the Son of God Himself) was made (“factus est” vulg., “constitutus est” Grot., “became,” on being thus spoken by angels. The aorists point, hardly, as Lünemann, to the legal dispensation being past and gone by, but, since the same tenses are presently used of the gospel, to two historic periods compared with one another,—the giving of the law, and the promulgation of the gospel) binding (see reff.: firm, ratified: “stedfast,” as E. V.: as applied to commands,—imperative,—not to be violated with impunity. Bleek quotes from Philo, Vit. Mos. ii. § 3, vol. ii. p. 136, τὰ δὲ τούτου μόνου ( ΄ωυσέως νόμιμα) βέβαια, ἀσάλευτα, ἀκράδαντα, καθάπερ σφραγῖσι φύσεως αὐτῆς σεσημασμένα), and every transgression (overstepping of its ordinances, or more properly, walking alongside of, and therefore not in, the path which it marked out. See above on παραρυῶμεν, an allusion to which the prepositions in παραβ. and παρακ. seem to contain. Cf. Romans 4:15 and note there. The substantive does not occur in this sense in the classics, and only once in the Canonical LXX, ref. Ps.: but the verb is found in Plato, Crito, p. 52 D, 53 A, and Legg. 714 D, and Demosth. p. 624. 1, παραβὰς τοὺς ὅρκους κ. τὰς συνθήκας: and in the LXX passim) and disobedience (“ παρακούειν imports etymologically, ‘to hear beside:’ and hence the Greeks use it principally in two senses: 1. to hear any thing by stealth, to overhear, as Aristoph. Ran. 749, καὶ παρακούων δεσποτῶν ὅταν ( ἅττʼ ἄν, Bekker) λαλῶσι: and, 2. to hear any thing inaccurately, to mis-hear, as Plato, Theætet. p. 195 A, παρορῶσί τε κ. παρακούουσι κ. παρανοοῦσι πλεῖστα. From this last meaning of the word comes the Hellenistic usage, in which it betokens a more intentional mis-hearing, a reluctance to hear (ein nicht-horen-wollen), and hence includes also the idea of non-compliance, of disobedience. So Isaiah 65:12, ἐκάλεσα ὑμᾶς κ. οὐχ ὑπηκούσατε, ἐλάλησα κ. παρηκούσατε: Esther 3:8, τῶν δὲ νόμων τοῦ βασιλέως παρακούουσι. See also Matthew 18:17, ἐὰν δὲ περακούσῃ αὐτῶν, εἰπὲ τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ. ἐὰν δὲ καὶ τῆς ἐκκλησίας παρακούσῃ κ. τ. λ. So also in Josephus. Accordingly, παρακοή in the N. T., where it occurs thrice only (see reff.: never in the LXX), is used of practical mis-hearing, not listening to, a teaching, or law, or person. The relation of these two words to one another in point of sense seems accordingly to be, that παράβασις denotes the outward act of transgression of the law, the practical withstanding of its precepts,—while παρακοή occurs when we fulfil not, and have no mind to fulfil, the precepts of the law: the former expresses, viewed ab externo, more something positive, the latter something negative, while at the same time it regards more the disposition of the man. Still, the distinction, as regards the moral region here treated of, is not of such a kind that each παράβασις may not also be treated as a παρακοή, and each παρακοή include or induce a παράβασις.” Bleek) received just ( ἔνδικος, found twice only (reff.) in N. T. and not at all in LXX, is a good classic word: see lexx.) recompense of reward (used only in this Epistle, and every where else in a good sense: cf. also μισθαποδότης, ch. Hebrews 11:6. The classical writers use μισθοδοσία (Thuc. viii.83: Xen. Anab. ii. 5. 22: Polyb. i. 69. 3: Diod. Sic. xvi. 73) and μισθοδότης (Xen. Anab. i. 3. 9: Plato, Rep. v. p. 463 B: Æschin. p. 85. 10: Theocr. xiv. 59). In the passage of Diod. Sic., μισθαποδοσία is a various reading.

To what does the Writer refer? To the single instances of punishment which overtook the offenders against the law, or as Grot. suggests, to the general punishment of the whole people’s unbelief, as in ch. Hebrews 3:8; Hebrews 4:11; Hebrews 12:21, and see 1 Corinthians 10:6 ff.? I should be disposed to think, to the former: such penalties as are denounced in Deuteronomy 32:35, and indeed attached to very many of the Mosaic enactments: as Owen: “The law was so established, that the transgression of it, so as to disannul the terms and conditions of it, had by divine constitution the punishment of death temporal, or excision, appointed unto it”),


Verse 3

3.] how shall we (emphatic: including Christians in general, all who have received the message of salvation in the manner specified below) escape ( φεύγω and its compounds belong to that class of verbs which take the future middle, not using the active form of that tense. See a list of such in Krüger, Gr. Sprachlehre, § 39. 12. We may here either supply an object after the verb, such as ἔνδικον μισθαποδοσίαν, as in ref. Rom., 2 Maccabees 7:35, οὔπω γὰρ τὴν τοῦ.… θεοῦ κρίσιν ἐκπέφευγας, and ib. 2 Maccabees 6:26,—or take ἐκφ. absolutely, as in the two last reff. and Sirach 6:13, οὐκ ἐκφεύξεται ἐν ἁρπάγμασιν ἁμαρτωλός. The latter seems best, inasmuch as τὴν ἔνδ. μισθ. does not fulfil the perfectly general motive of the hypothesis, and we are hardly justified in inserting any other object, such as τὸ κρῖμα τοῦ θεοῦ in ref. Rom. The forensic sense of ἐκφεύγειν, to be acquitted, founded on that of φεύγειν, to be accused, maintained here by Wolf, appears to be merely imaginary, the forensic word being ἀπο φεύγειν, not ἐκ φ. So Thom. Mag.: φεύγω, τὸ κατηγοροῦμαι. κ. φυγή, ἡ κατηγορία. ἀποφεύγω δέ, ὅταν νικήσας ἀπολυθῇ τις τῆς κατηγορίας. In the passage of Aristophanes which he quotes to support his view, Vesp. 993, ἐκπέφευγας, ὦ λάβης,—the word, occurring as it does in the midst of the forensic use of ἀποφεύγειν (cf. v. 985, 997), may very well be only in its ordinary meaning, ‘thou hast escaped’) if we have neglected (the anarthrous participial construction implies a logical, i. e. here a hypothetical condition: the aor., that that condition will have been fulfilled at the date to which the fut. ἐκφ. refers) so great ( καλῶς δὲ καὶ τὸ τηλικαύτης προσέθηκεν. οὐ γὰρ ἐκ πολεμίων, φησίν, ἡμᾶς διασώσει νῦν, οὐδὲ τὴν γῆν κ. τὰ ἐν τῇ γῇ ἀγαθὰ παρέξει, ἀλλὰ θανάτου κατάλυσις ἔσται, ἀλλὰ διαβόλου ἀπώλεια, ἀλλʼ οὐρανῶν βασιλεία, ἀλλὰ ζωὴ αἰώνιος. Chrys.: and Theod.-mops. even more to the point,— ἐκεῖνο νομίμων δόσις ἦν μόνον, ἐνταῦθα δὲ κ. χάρις πνεύματος κ. λύσις ἁμαρτημάτων κ. βασιλείας οὐρανῶν ἐπαγγελία κ. ἀθανασίας ὑπόσχεσις· ὅθεν κ. δικαίως τηλικαύτης εἶπεν. τηλικαύτης might belong to ἥτις below, as Thol., assuming ἥτις = ὥστε, and referring to Matthiæ, Gr. Gr. § 479, obs. 1. The instances there given of relatives after οὕτως, ὧδε, τηλικοῦτος, τοιοῦτος, amply justify such a construction, e. g. Isocr. Epist. p. 408 D, χρὴ ἐπιθυμεῖν δόξης.… τηλικαύτης τὸ μέγεθος, ἣν μόνος ἂν σὺ τῶν νῦν ὄντων κτήσασθαι δυνηθείης: Xen. An. ii. 5. 12, τίς οὕτω μαίνεται, ὅστις οὔ σοι βούλεται φίλος εἶναι; But it seems better here, and more befitting the majesty of the thing spoken of, to take τηλικαύτης absolutely, leaving the greatness and exalted nature of the salvation to be filled up, as Bleek says, in the consciousness of the readers. Still of course the ἥτις introduces, both by the sense and by its own proper meaning (ut quæ), an epexegesis of that which was enwrapped in τηλικαύτης) salvation ( σωτηρία as in ch. Hebrews 1:14; no need, as many Commentators, to supply λόγου before it), the which (= ‘seeing that it,’ in a direct construction) having begun ( ἀρχὴν λαβοῦσα = ἀρξαμένη. The phrase is found in the classics: e. g. Eur. Iph. in Aul. 1111, τίνʼ ἂν λάβοιμι τῶν ἐμῶν ἀρχὴν κακῶν; Ælian, Var. H. ii. 28, πόθεν δὲ τὴν ἀρχὴν ἔλαβεν ὅδε ὁ νόμος, ἐρῶ: Polyb. iv. 28. 3, τὰ κατὰ τὴν ἰταλίαντὰς μὲν ἀρχὰς τῶν πολέμων τούτων ἰδίας εἰλήφει: see more instances in Bleek, Raphel, and the same usage of λαβεῖν in Plato, Rep. p. 497 E, λαβέτω τέλος ἡ ἀπόδειξις τούτου φανεροῦ γενομένου: Thuc. i. 91, ὅτι τειχίζεταί τε κ. ἤδη ὕψος λαμβάνει. Cf. Palm and Rost’s Lex. in λαμβάνω) to be spoken (the construction is a mixed one; the inf. after the substantive would naturally have the art., τοῦ λαλεῖσθαι, but it is put without it as if ἀρξαμένη had preceded) by means of (He was the instrument in this case, as the angels in the other; but both, law and gospel, came at first hand not from the mediators, but from God. See Ebrard’s mistaken antithesis treated below) the Lord ( διὰ τ. κυρίου is to be joined with the whole ἀρχ. λαβ. λαλ., not with λαλεῖσθαι alone. τοῦ κυρίου, as Bl. remarks, has here an especial emphasis setting forth the majesty and sovereignty of Christ: αὐτὸς ὁ τῶν ἀγγέλων δεσπότης πρῶτος τὴν σωτήριον διδασκαλίαν προσήνεγκε, Thdrt. See reff.), was confirmed (see ref. Mark, where the word is used exactly in the same sense and reference. It seems to be used to correspond to ἐγένετο βέβαιος above, signifying a ratification of the gospel somewhat correspondent to that there predicated of the law: as also λαλεῖσθαι here answers to λαληθείς there. Thl. explains it, διεπορθμεύθη εἰς ἡμᾶς βεβαίως κ. πιστῶς) unto us (not = the simple dative, which would be a dat. commodi, but implying the transmission and its direction; see reff.: nor, as Wolf, Wahl, al., to be rendered “usque ad,” a meaning of εἰς only to be assumed when defined by some indication of time or space in the context. Nor again must it be confounded with the idiom ἐβεβαιώθη ἐν ὑμῖν, “among you,” 1 Corinthians 1:6. The construction is a pregnant one) by those who heard (it? or Him? In the sense, the difference will be but little: in either case, those pointed at will be as Thdrt. οἱ τῆς ἀποστολικῆς ἀπολαύσαντες χάριτος: the αὐτόπται κ. ὑπηρέται τοῦ λόγου of Luke 1:2. From the usage, however, of the Writer himself, I prefer understanding ‘it:’ cf. ch. Hebrews 3:16; Hebrews 4:2; Hebrews 12:19) it (Ebrard (with whom Delitzsch partly agrees) arranges this whole sentence strangely, and I cannot doubt, wrongly, thus: “was confirmed to us by those who heard it, as having been from the beginning spoken by the Lord:” and brings out a contrast between the law, which was given through a mediator, and the gospel, which came direct from the Lord Himself. But thus all the parallel, and with it the true contrast, is destroyed. Both law and gospel, proceeding from God, were λαληθέντα to men: the former by angels, the latter by the Lord. Both were βεβαιωθέντα—the former absolutely, as exemplified by the penalties which followed its neglect, the latter relatively to us, as matter of evidence requiring our hearty reception; delivered by eye and ear witnesses, and further witnessed to by God Himself. And in proportion as the Mediator of the new covenant is more worthy than were the mediators of the old covenant, will our punishment be greater if we neglect it. So there can be no doubt that the Writer meant to convey the sense against which Ebrard protests, and that the beginning of the promulgation of the gospel by the Lord, and the handing down of it by those who were its first hearers, are alleged by him as two separate and co-ordinate circumstances. On the evidence furnished by this verse as to the Writer of the Epistle, see Prolegg. § i. parr. 130 ff.), God also bearing witness to it (nothing can be further from the truth than what Kuinoel, al., maintain, “ συνεπιμαρτυρεῖν pro simplici μαρτυρεῖν positum esse.” In his own rendering of the word, the force of both prepositions is to be traced: “Deo simul confirmante.” μαρτυρεῖν is simply to bear witness: ἐπιμαρτυρεῖν to attest, to bear witness to: συνεπιμαρτυρεῖν to join in, attesting, or bearing witness to. The double compound is not uncommon in the later Greek writers: e. g. Aristot. de Mundo, v. 22, συνεπιμαρτυρεῖ ὁ βίος ἅπας: Polyb. xxvi. 9. 4, παρόντων δὲ τῶν θεττάλων, κ. συνεπιμαρτυρούντων τοῖς δαρδανίοις. See examples from Sextus Empir., Galen, Philo, &c., in Bleek. On the sense, Chrys. remarks: πῶς οὖν ἐβεβαιώθη; τί οὖν εἰ οἱ ἀκούσαντες ἔπλασάν φησιν; τοῦτο τοίνυν ἀναίρων καὶ δεικνὺς οὐκ ἀνθρωπίνην τὴν χάριν, ἐπήγαγεσυνεπιμ. τ. θεοῦ·” οὐκ ἂν γάρ, εἰ ἔπλασαν, ὁ θεὸς αὐτοῖς ἐμαρτύρησε· μαρτυροῦσι μὲν κἀκεῖνοι, μαρτυρεῖ δὲ καὶ ὁ θεός. οὐχ ἁπλῶς ἐπιστεύσαμεν ἐκείνοις, ἀλλὰ διὰ σημείων καὶ τεράτων, ὥστε οὐκ ἐκείνοις πιστεύομεν, ἀλλʼ αὐτῷ τῷ θεῷ) with signs and wonders (Bleek remarks that these words are very commonly joined together, and cites numerous instances from the later classics, the LXX, and the N. T. His remarks are: “As regards the relation of the two expressions to each other in their combination here, as divine confirmations of human testimony, it is this: σημεῖον is a more general and wider idea than τέρας. Every τέρας, religiously considered, is also a σημεῖον, but not always vice versa. τέρας always includes the idea of something marvellous, something extraordinary in itself, betokens something which by its very occurrence raises astonishment, and cannot be explained from the known laws of nature. On the other hand a σημεῖον is each and every thing whereby a person, or a saying and assertion, is witnessed to as true, and made manifest: and thus it may be something, which, considered in and of itself, would appear an ordinary matter, causing no astonishment, but which gets its character of striking and supernatural from the connexion into which it is brought with something else, e. g. from a heavenly messenger having previously referred to some event which he could not have foreseen by mere natural knowledge. But it may also be a τέρας, properly so called. Still, it is natural to suppose that the biblical writers, using so often as they do the words together, did not on every occasion bear in mind the distinction, but under the former word thought also of events which of themselves would be extraordinary and marvellous appearances”) and various (this adj. belongs only to δυνάμεσιν, not also, as Bleek, to the following clause, in which the μερισμοῖς of itself includes the idea of variety) miraculous powers (so δυνάμεις are used in reff.; and in Acts 2:22; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:9, we find them joined with σημεῖα κ. τέρατα as here; and with σημεῖα only, in Acts 8:13. See also 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:28 f. In some of these places it is taken for the miraculous acts themselves which followed on the exercise of the powers: and so perhaps it may be here: but I prefer the other rendering on account of the near connexion with the following clause, which if we break by joining it to the foregoing, we destroy the grouping in couples, and also violate the proper construction of the σημείοις τε καὶ τέρασιν) and distributions (the rare word μερισμός (see reff.) is in strict analogy with the usage of the verb: e. g. Romans 12:3, ἑκάστῳ ὡς ὁ θεὸς ἐμέρισεν μέτρον πίστεως: 1 Corinthians 7:17, ἑκάστῳ ὡς ἐμέρισεν ὁ κύριοςπεριπατείτω: 2 Corinthians 10:13, κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τοῦ κανόνος οὗ ἐμέρισεν ἡμῖν ὁ θεὸς μέτρου. But both, in their simple classical meaning, merely signify division, as in ch. Hebrews 4:12, and not distribution, which is a later sense, found in Polyb. xi. 28. 9, Diog. Laert., Herodian, &c. See Palm and Rost’s Lexicon) of the Holy Spirit (is this a genitive of the object distributed, or of the subject distributing? The latter is held by Camerar., al., and κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ θέλησιν also referred to the will of the Holy Spirit. And so St. Paul certainly speaks, 1 Corinthians 12:11, πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἐνεργεῖ τὸ ἓν καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα, διαιροῦν ἰδίᾳ ἑκάστῳ καθὼς βούλεται. But it does not thence follow that such is the sense here: and it seems much more natural to refer the pron. αὐτοῦ to God, the primary subject of the sentence. Otherwise we should have expected ἐκείνου. Still, it may be said that the reference of this genitive is independent of that of the pronoun αὐτοῦ, and that the clause πνεύματος ἁγίου μερισμοῖς should be considered on its own ground. But thus considered, if it be once granted that αὐτοῦ refers to God, we should have, on the supposition of the subjective genitive, an awkwardly complicated sense, hardly consistent with the assertion of absolute sovereignty so prominently made in the following clause. I take then the genitive with most Commentators, as objective, and the Holy Spirit as that which is distributed according to God’s will, to each man according to his measure and kind. The declaration in John 3:34, of Him whom God sent, οὐ γὰρ ἐκ μέτρου δίδωσιν τὸ πνεῦμα, speaks of the same giving, but of its unmeasured fulness, as imparted to our glorious Head, not of its fragmentary distribution to us the imperfect and limited members), according to His (God’s: see above) will ( θέλησις is a rarer word (reff.) than θέλημα, both being Alexandrine forms. Pollux says of it, v. 165, βούλησις, ἐπιθυμία, ὄρεξις, ἔρως· ἡ δὲ θέλησις ἰδιωτικόν. It is best to refer this clause, not to the whole sentence preceding, with Böhme, nor to the two clauses, ποικ. δυν., κ. πν. ἁγ. μερ., as Bleek, Lünem., but to the last of these only, agreeably to 1 Corinthians 12:11, and to the free and sovereign agency implied in μερισμοῖς. See on the whole sense, Acts 5:32)?


Verse 5

5.] The proposition stated. For (the connexion is with the sentence immediately preceding, i. e. with Hebrews 2:2-4. That former λόγος was spoken by angels: it carried its punishment for neglect of it: much more shall this σωτηρία, spoken by … &c., confirmed by … &c. FOR this whole state of things, induced by the proclamation of that salvation, is not subjected to angels, but to Christ, the Son of God. Then the fact that it is to MAN, and to Him AS MAN, that it is subjected, is brought in, and a new subject thus grafted on the old one of His superiority to the angels. See Bleek and Ebrard) not to angels ( ἀγγέλοις stands in the place of emphasis, as contrasted with ἄνθρωπος below) did He subject (aor.: at the date of His arrangement and laying out of the same. The subjection of this present natural world to the holy angels, as its administrators, is in several places attested in Scripture, and was a very general matter of belief among the Jews. In Deuteronomy 32:8, we read in the LXX, ὅτε διεμέριζεν ὁ ὕψιστος ἔθνη, ὡς διέσπειρεν υἱοὺς ἀδάμ, ἔστησεν ὅρια ἐθνῶν κατὰ ἀριθμὸν ἀγγέλων θεοῦ. There, it is true, the Heb. text has, as E. V., “according to the number of the children (more properly, the sons, in the stricter sense) of Israel.” Origen, on Numbers, Hom. xxviii. 4, vol. ii. p. 385, says, “Secundum numerum angelorum ejus, vel ut in aliis exemplaribus legimus, secundum numerum filiorum Israel:” but perhaps, as Bleek suggests, it was not Origen that was pointing to a various reading in the Heb. text, but only his translator that was noticing that the Latin versions differed from the LXX. But the doctrine rests on passages about which there can be no such doubt. See Daniel 10:13; Daniel 10:20-21; Daniel 12:1, for this committal of kingdoms to the superintendence of angels: Revelation 9:11; Revelation 16:5 al., for the same as regards the natural elements: Matthew 18:10, as regards the guardianship of individuals: Revelation 1:20 &c., for that of churches (for so, and not of chief bishops, is the name to be understood: see note there). See also Daniel 4:13. In the apocryphal and Rabbinical writings we find the same idea asserted, and indeed carried out into minute details. So in Sirach 17:17, ἑκάστῳ ἔθνει κατέστησεν ἡγούμενον, κ. μερὶς κυρίου ἰσραήλ ἐστιν. The Rabbinical authorities may be found in Bleek and Eisenmenger. See also a very elaborate article—“Engel”—by Böhme in Herzog’s Encyclopädie: and testimonies to the view of the early church from Eusebius (Demonstr. Evang. iv. 2, vol. iv. p. 146), Justin Martyr (Apol. ii. 5, p. 92), Irenæus (iii. 12. 11, p. 197), Athenagoras (Legat. 24, p. 302), and Clement of Alexandria (Strom. vii. 2, p. 831 P) in Whitby’s note. The idea then of subjection of the world to angels was one with which the readers of this Epistle were familiar) the world to come (the reference of this expression has been variously given by expositors. 1. Many imagine it to refer to the world which is, strictly speaking, to come, as distinguished from this present world. So Thdrt. ( οἰκουμ. μέλλ. τὸν μέλλοντα βίον ἐκάλεσεν), Œc. ( μέλλ. οἰκ. φησὶ τὸν ἐσόμενον κόσμον, περὶ οὗ φησὶν ὁ ἅπας λόγος ἡμῖν· αὐτὸς γὰρ κριτὴς ὁ χριστὸς ἐκείνης καθεδεῖται οἰκουμένης, οἱ δὲ ἄγγελοιώς λειτουργοὶ κ. δοῦλοι παρίστανται), Cajetan, Estius, a-Lapide, al. This meaning, as Bl. remarks, will hardly tally with the γάρ, nor with περὶ ἧς λαλοῦμεν: though it might be said that the future life, being the completion of the state of salvation by Christ, might very well here be spoken of as the subject of the present discourse. 2. Some have supposed a direct allusion to ch. Hebrews 1:6. So Thl. ( περὶ ἧς λαλοῦμεν, τουτέστι περὶ ἧς ἀνωτέρω εἴπομεν ὅτι ὅταν εἰσαγάγῃ τὸν πρωτότοκον εἰς τὴν οἰκουμένην), Schlichting, Grot. (“ λαλοῦμεν, id est ἐλαλήσαμεν … Respicitur enim id quod præcessit Hebrews 1:6”), Böhme, al. But certainly in this case the verb would have been past; and besides, the addition of the epithet μέλλουσαν sufficiently distinguishes it from the mere οἰκουμένη, the inhabited world, in the other place. 3. Others again have thought of the heaven, which is to us future, because we are not yet admitted to its joys. So Cameron (“Mundus ecclesiæ desertum est, οἰκουμένη ecclesiæ est in cœlo, sicut Israelitarum in terra Canaan”), Calov., Limborch, Grot. (“In regione illa superætherea sunt quidem angeli, sed non illi imperant ut Christus. Vocat hanc οἰκ. μέλλ., non quia jam non exstat; sed quia nobis ea non plene nota est, nec adhuc contigit”), al. But this again would not agree with the γάρ and λαλοῦμεν. 4. The most probable account to be given is that the phrase represents the Heb. הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא (see note on ch. Hebrews 1:1), and imports the whole new order of things brought in by Christ,—taking its rise in His life on earth, and having its completion in his reign in glory. So Calvin (“Nunc apparet non vocari orbem futurum duntaxat qualem e resurrectione speramus, sed qui cœpit ab exordio regni Christi: complementum vero suum habebit in ultima redemptione”), Beza, Cappellus (adding a remark, “Sed nec contemnendum discrimen illud quod videmus inter veteris et novi testamenti sæcula, sub vetere Abraham, Josue, Daniel coram angelis procumbentes non reprehenduntur: sub novo Johannes idem bis faciens bis reprehenditur, Revelation 19 et 22”). Chrys. and Thl. are commonly quoted for this view even by Bleek: but if I understand Chrys., he means, as Thl. certainly does, that the οἰκουμένη here is identical with that in ch. Hebrews 1:6, and that the Writer calls it μέλλουσαν, because at the time of the divine decree here spoken of, it was not yet created: μέλλουσαν δὲ αὐτὴν φησί, διότι ὁ μὲν υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ἧν ἀεί, αὕτη δὲ ἔμελλε γίνεσθαι, μὴ οὖσα πρότερον δηλαδή. ὅσον οὖν πρὸς τὴν ἀΐδιον ὕπαρξιν τοῦ υἱοῦ, μέλλουσα ἦν ἡ οἰκουμένη. And nearly so Chrys., but not so plainly.

This last-mentioned view is by far the best, agreeing as it does with the connexion, for he has been speaking of the gospel above,—with the usus loquendi,—with the whole subject of the Epistle.

The word μέλλουσαν has by some been supposed to be used “ex prospectu veteris Test prophetico in Novum Test.,” as Bengel, who again says, “Futurus dicitur, non quin jam sit, sed quia olim prædictus.” And so Bleek (as an additional reason why the word was used, besides that the completion of the state is yet to come), al. I should be disposed, standing as the expression does here without emphasis, to regard μέλλουσαν rather as a well-known and well-understood designation of the latter dispensation, here technically adjoined, than as requiring minute explanation in this place. All reference to the future need not be excluded: we Christians are so eminently “prisoners of hope,” that the very mention of such a designation would naturally awaken a thought of the glories to come: but this reference must not be pressed as having any prominence. With this latter view agrees in the main that of Delitzsch, which I have seen since this note was first written. He concurs with Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erf. ii. 23, in requiring a more concrete sense for the words, and understands them to point to the new world of Redemption, as distinguished from the old world of Creation, which by reason of sin is subject to death and decay. So that μέλλουσα is not used from the O. T. standing-point, but from the N. T. also, and points to the times of the Messiah in their ideal perfection which shall one day be realized), of which we are speaking (which forms the subject of our present argument: viz. that urged in Hebrews 2:1-4. The sense is strictly present; not past (see Grot. above), nor future (“enallage temporis; de quo in sequenti testimonio loquemur,” as Vatablus). Bleek has here some excellent remarks: “As regards the whole thought, the non-subjection of the new order of the world to angels, it respects partly what is already present, partly what we have yet to wait for. Certainly, here and there in the N. T. history angels are mentioned: but they come in only as transitory appearances, to announce or to execute some matter which is specially entrusted to them: they never appear as essential agents in the introduction of the kingdom of God, either in general, or in particular: they do not descend on earth as preaching repentance, or preparing men to be received into God’s kingdom. This is done by men, first and chiefly by Him who is Son of Man κατʼ ἐξοχήν, and after Him by the disciples whom He prepared for the work. Even the miraculous conversion of Paul is brought about not by angels, but by the appearing of the Lord Himself. Our author has indeed in ch. Hebrews 1:14, designated the angels as fellow-workers in the salvation of men: but only in a serving capacity, never as working or imparting salvation by independent agency, as does the Son of Man in the first place, and then in a certain degree his disciples also. So that we cannot speak with any truth of a subjection of this new order of things to the angels. Rather, even by what we see at present, does it appear to be subjected to the Redeemer Himself. And this will ever more and more be the case; for,—according to the prophetic declaration of the Psalm,—the whole world shall be put under His feet (Hebrews 2:8). Thus, by reminding them of the will of God declared in the holy Scriptures, does the Writer meet at the same time the objections of those of his readers and countrymen, to whom perhaps this withdrawal of the agency of the angels with the introduction and growing realization of the new order of things might appear an important defect”).


Verses 5-18

5–18.] The dogmatic argument now proceeds. The new world is subjected, by the testimony of the Scriptures, not to angels, but to Christ: who however, though Lord of all, was made inferior to the angels, that He might die for, and suffer with, being made like, the children of men.


Verse 6

6.] But (“ δέ introduces a contrast to a preceding negative sentence frequently in our Epistle: cf. ch. Hebrews 4:13; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 10:27; Hebrews 12:13. It makes a more sharply marked contrast than ἀλλά, as our aber or vielmehr as compared with sondern.” Bleek. Cf. Thuc. i. 125, ἐνιαυτὸς μὲν οὐ διετρίβη, ἔλασσον δέ: ib. 5, οὐκ ἔχοντός πω αἰσχύνην τούτου τοῦ ἔργου, φέροντος δέ τι καὶ δόξης μᾶλλον: id. iv. 86, οὐκ ἐπὶ κακῷ, ἐπʼ ἐλευθερώσει δὲ τῶν ἑλλήνων παρελήλυθα: Herod. ix. 8, οὔκω ἀποτετείχιστο, ἐργάζοντο δέ: and see many other examples in Hartung, Partikellehre, i. 171. δέ then here introduces the positive in contradistinction to the negative sentence preceding. An ellipsis follows it, to be supplied in the thought, ‘it is far otherwise, for’.…) one somewhere (no inference can be drawn from this indefinite manner of citation, either that the Writer was quoting from memory, as Koppe, Schulz, al., or that he did not know who was the author of the Psalm, as Grot. Rather may we say, that it shews he was writing for readers familiar with the Scriptures, and from whom it might well be expected that they would recognize the citation without further specification. He certainly is not quoting from memory, seeing that the words agree exactly with the LXX: and Psalms 8 both in the Heb. and LXX has a superscription indicating that it was written by David. Chrys. says, τοῦτο δὲ αὐτὸ οἶμαι τὸ κρύπτειν κ. μὴ τιθέναι τὸν εἰρηκότα τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἀλλʼ ὡς περιφερομένην κ. κατάδηλον οὖσαν εἰσάγειν, δεικνύοντός ἐστιν αὐτοὺς σφόδρα ἐμπείρους εἶναι τῶν γραφῶν. And Thl., οὐ λέγει τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ εἰπόντος ἅτε πρὸς ἐπιστήμονας τῶν γραφῶν διαλεγόμενος. Bleek quotes numerous instances of the same formula citandi from Philo, as applied both to Scripture writers and profane authors. Thus De Ebrietate, § 14, vol. i. p. 365 end, εἶπε γάρ πού τις, viz. Abraham, in Genesis 20:12; De Opif. Mund. § 5, p. 5, ὅπερ καὶ τῶν ἀρχαίων εἶπέ τις, viz. Plato: al. And our Writer has again, ch. Hebrews 4:4, εἴρηκε γάρ που περὶ τῆς ἑβδόμης οὕτως, viz. Genesis 2:2. In all such cases the indefiniteness is designed and rhetorical. We can hardly infer, with Bleek and De Wette, that the Writer meant to express his feeling that the O. T. books had no human authors, but God Himself: for in this case, as Lünemann remarks, the personal τις would hardly have been used, but a passive construction adopted instead) testified (the word διαμαρτυρέω has in Attic law the technical sense of appearing as a witness previously to the admission of a cause into court, for the plaintiff or defendant, to substantiate or oppugn its admissibility: so Harpocration, πρὸ τοῦ εἰσαχθῆναι τὴν δίκην εἰς τὸ δικαστήριον, ἐξῆν τῷ βουλομένῳ διαμαρτυρῆσαι ὡς εἰσαγώγιμός ἐστιν ἡ δίκη, ἢ οὐκ εἰσαγώγιμος. Hence the deponent middle, διαμαρτύρομαι, is to call in, or invoke witnesses to the justice of one’s cause or truth of one’s assertion. And thus it acquires its less proper senses of conjuring, earnestly beseeching, on the one hand: and affirming, positively asserting, either absolutely, as here, or with an accusative of reference, on the other. Both these two are found in the N. T. See reff.: the former occurs chiefly in the pastoral Epistles, the latter in reff. Acts, 1 Thess., Jer.), saying (this seems the proper place for a few remarks on the sense of the citation which follows, and on the connexion of thought in the rest of the chapter. The general import of the eighth Psalm may be described as being, to praise Jehovah for His glory and majesty, and His merciful dealing with and exaltation of mankind. All exegesis which loses sight of this general import, and attempts to force the Psalm into a direct and exclusive prophecy of the personal Messiah, goes to conceal its true prophetic sense, and to obscure the force and beauty of its reference to Him. This has been done by Bleek and others, who have made ‘the Son of Man’ a direct title here of Christ. It is MAN who in the Psalm is spoken of, in the common and most general sense: the care taken by God of him, the lordship given to him, the subjection of God’s works to him. This high dignity he lost, but this high dignity he has regained, and possesses potentially in all its fulness and glory, restored and for ever secured to him. How? and by whom? By one of his own race, the MAN Christ Jesus. Whatever high and glorious things can be said of man, belong de proprio jure to Him only, propriâ personâ to Him only, but derivatively to us His brethren and members. And this is the great key to the interpretation of all such sayings as these: whatever belongs to man by the constitution of his nature, belongs κατʼ ἐξοχήν to that MAN, who is the constituted HEAD of man’s nature, the second Adam, who has more than recovered all that the first Adam lost. To those who clearly apprehend and firmly hold this fundamental doctrine of Christianity, the interpretation of ancient prophecy, and the N. T. application of O. T. sayings to Christ, become a far simpler matter than they ever can be to others. And so here, it is to MAN, not to angels, that the ‘world to come’ is subjected. This is the argument: and, as far as the end of Hebrews 2:8, it is carried on with reference to man, properly so called. There is here as yet no personal reference to our Lord, who is first introduced, and that in his lower personal human Name, at Hebrews 2:9. This has been missed, and thus confusion introduced into the argument, by the majority of Commentators. To hold that our Lord is from the first intended by ἄνθρωπος and υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου here, is to disturb altogether the logical sequence, which runs thus: ‘It is not to angels that He has subjected the latter dispensation, but to man. Still, we do not see man in possession of this sovereignty. No; but we do see Jesus, whose humiliation fulfilled the conditions of manhood, crowned with glory and honour, and thus constituted the Head of our race, so that His death and sufferings were our deliverance and our perfecting. And for this to be so, the Sanctifier and the sanctified must be all of one race.’ And the rest of the chapter is spent in laying forth with inimitable beauty and tenderness the necessity and effect of Jesus being thus made like us. The whole process of this second chapter stands without parallel for tender persuasiveness amidst the strictest logical coherence. And yet both of these are concealed and spoiled, unless we take these words of the Psalm, and the argument founded on them, of man generally, and then, and not till then, of Jesus, as man like ourselves. And so Clem.-alex. (Strom. iv. 3, pp. 566 f. P), Chrys., Thl., Thdrt. ( τὸ δὲτί ἐστιν ἄνθρωποςεἴρηται μὲν περὶ τῆς κοινῆς φύσεως, ἁρμόττει δὲ τῇ ἐξ ἡμῶν ἀπαρχῇ, ὡς οἰκειουμένῃ τὰ πάσης τῆς φύσεως. See also on the Psalm): so Pellicanus, Calvin, Piscator, Schlichting, Grot., Jansen., Bengel, and almost all the moderns, including Delitzsch. The principal upholders of the other view are Beza (in part), Calov., Seb.-Schmidt, and the Lutheran Commentators, and recently Bleek), What is man (some, e. g. Kuinoel, have understood this to mean, “How great, how noble, is man; who even amongst the immensity of all these heavenly works of God, yet is remembered and visited of Him!” but against this are the words here used in the Heb.: אֱנוֹשׁ in the first member of the parallel, and בֶּן־אָדָם in the second, both betokening man on his lower side, of weakness and inferiority. There can be little doubt that the ordinary view is right—not ‘quantus est homo,’ but ‘quantulus est homo.’ This agrees far better also with the wonder expressed at God’s thinking of and visiting him, below), that thou art mindful of him (i. e. objectively,—as shewn by Thy care of him), or (in the Heb. י ; is here doubtless substituted for it by the LXX, to indicate that the second member of the parallelism does not point to another subject additional to the first. Bleek is hardly right, when he says, that the has here a meaning somewhat modified from καί, as bringing out more definitely ‘the Son of Man,’ the Messiah, who follows. For (see above), the thought of Him is as yet in the background,—nay, carefully kept back; and the reference as yet to man generally) the son of man (proceeding on the same view as that given above, it would be irrelevant here to enter on an enquiry as to the application of this title to our Lord, by others and by Himself,—inasmuch as it is not here appropriated to Him, but used of any and every son of Adam. It is true, our thoughts at once recur to Him on reading the words—but, if we are following the train of thought, only as their ulterior, not as their immediate reference), that Thou visitest (reff.: the common word by which the LXX express the Heb. פָּקַד, and almost always in a good sense (see exceptions, Jeremiah 5:9 ; Jeremiah 5:29 al., in Trommius). The good sense is never departed from in the N. T. It is often found in the classics: e. g. in Ajax’s celebrated speech, Soph. Aj. 854, ὦ θάνατε θάνατε, νῦν μʼ ἐπίσκεψαι μολών: Eur. Heracl. 869, ὦ ζεῦ, χρόνῳ μὲν τἄμʼ ἐπεσκέψω κακά. It is very commonly used of a physician or other visiting the sick; so Xen. Cyr. v. 4. 10, ὡς ἐπισκέψαιτο τὸν γαδάταν πῶς ἔχοι ἐκ τοῦ τραύματος: Mem. iii. 11. 10. See Palm and Rost’s Lex.) him?


Verse 7

7.] Thou madest him a little lower than the angels (Heb., וַתִּחַסְּרֵהוּ מְעִט מֵאֱלֹהִים : which is literally, “Thou lettest him be little inferior to God.” “ חָסֵר in Kal betokens ‘to be without,’ ‘to fall short of,’ and has, like all other verbs of abounding and wanting, the thing wanted in the accusative: see Gesen. § 135. 3. b. The causative Pihel, ‘to make or let want,’ takes consequently a double accusative, of the person (here ־הוּ ) and of the thing (here מְעִט): see Gesen. § 136. 1. מִן is usually taken comparative, ‘in comparison of God:’ according to Hupfeld, it is properly partitive, ‘of God:’ of the attributes which constitute the essence of God.” De Wette: and thus also Calvin: “Tot decoribus ornatos esse dicit ut eorum conditio divina et cœlesti gloria non longe sit inferior.” But when De W. goes on, in treating of מְעַט, to say that some understand it, with the LXX, of time, and refers to Hebrews 2:6-7 to confirm this, I must venture to doubt, though I find the same very generally assumed (e. g. by Calvin,—“Videtur apostolus verba trahere in diversum sensum quam intellexerit David. Nam βραχύ τι videtur ad tempus referre ut sit paulisper, et imminutionem intelligit quum exinanitus fuit Christus, et gloriam ad resurrectionis diem restringit, quum David generaliter extendat ad totam hominis vitam.” And then he defends this method of quotation on the ground of there being “nihil incommodi si allusiones in verbis quærat ad ornandam præsentem causam.” Similarly Schlichting, Grotius, Hammond, Limborch, and most of the moderns: and, maintaining the sense of time in the Psalm also, Beza, Gerhard, Calov., Peirce, Michaelis, al.), whether this is so certain after all. The expression βραχύ τι is used both in the classics and in Hellenistic Greek, just as much of space and quantity, as of time; as the following examples (besides reff.) will shew, gathered from Wetst., Bleek, and from various indices: Hippocrat. de Natur. Hominum i., τὸ μὲν ὅλον βιβλίον σχεδὸν εἰς χʹ στίχους ἢ βραχύ τι ἧττον ἐκτεταμένον: Thucyd. i. 63, βραχὺ μέν τι προῆλθον ὡς βοηθήσοντες: 2 Kings 16:1, καὶ δαυεὶδ παρῆλθε βραχύ τι ἀπὸ τῆς ῥώς: Galen, de Usu Part. xiv., ἐπειδὴ ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ διαπλάσει βραχύ τι πλημμεληθῇ: id. de Facult. Med. Simpl. v., ὑπερβάλλουσιν βραχύ τι ῥητίνῃ κ. πίττᾳ: ib. vi., φαίνεται μὲν γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ βραχύ τι τὸ δριμύ, πλεῖστον δὲ τὸ πικρόν. Also Plato, Legg. x. p. 906 B, βραχύ δέ τι καὶ τῆς ἄν τις τῶν τοιούτων ἐνοικοῦν ἡμῖν σαφὲς ἴδοι. It is used of time in Luke 22:58; Acts 5:34; Acts 27:28; Isaiah 57:17. This being the case, I do not see why it should be at once set down that the LXX or our Writer necessarily referred it to time, either here or in Hebrews 2:9; see below. So also Kuinoel, Heinrichs, Wahl, and Bretschneider. The only point remaining for discussion is ἀγγέλους, the LXX rendering of אֱלֹהִים, and the meaning understood also by the Chaldee paraphrast. The best Hebrew scholars seem to agree that it represents, not the personal God, but the abstract qualities of Godhead, in which all that is divine, or immediately connected with the Deity, is included. This, as Hupfeld himself confesses, the angels may well be, in so far as they may be called אֱלֹהִים, or בְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים . If so, then the rendering of the LXX and our text is, though not exhaustive of the original, yet by no means an inaccurate one. The angelic nature, being the lowest of that which is divine and heavenly, marks well the terminus just beneath which man is set. And it must be remarked, that the stress of the argument here is not on this mention of the angels, but on the assertion of the sovereignty of man. The verb ἐλαττοῦν is in frequent classical use: see Palm and Rost’s Lex.: and notice the parallel from Philo in reff.): thou crownedst him with glory and honour (I must remind the reader of what has been said before; that the quotation is adduced here not of the Messiah but of man, and that on this the whole subsequent argument depends. With this view vanish the difficulties which have been raised about the original and the here-intended meaning of this clause. It is, in fact, a further setting forth of the preceding one. Man, who was left not far behind the divine attributes themselves, was also invested with kingly majesty on earth, put into the place of God Himself in sovereignty over the world. That this has only been realized in the man Jesus Christ is not brought out till below, and forms the central point of the argument. Hupfeld remarks, that כָּבוֹד וְהָדָר, here rendered δόξῃ κ . τιμῇ, is a common expression for the divine majesty, and thence for the kingly, as a reflection of the divine: and the crowning represents the kingly majesty, with which man is adorned as with a kingly crown: Calv., “Decoratum esse honoris insignibus quæ non longe a divino fulgore absint”):


Verse 8

8.] thou didst put (the Heb. is perfect: on which Hupfeld remarks, “The imperf. is at first continued from the foregoing verses, but in the concluding sentence all is finished with the perfect שַׁתָּה, and treated as a standing arrangement and permanent ordering of things: ‘all things hast thou put under his feet.’ ” So that our E. V., though imperfectly representing the Greek, is true to the original Heb.) all things under his feet (these words form in the Heb. and LXX the second member of a parallelism, the first of which, καὶ κατέστησας αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὰ ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν σου, is found indeed in our rec. text, but (see var. readd.) must be omitted on critical principles. The probable cause why the Writer omitted it, has been discussed by Bleek. He thinks that it was unnecessary to the argumentation, the latter clause expressing more definitely the same thing. This he gathers, believing the whole to apply to our Saviour: but the same will hold good on our understanding of the passage also.

The words themselves are plain. Universal dominion is bestowed on man by his constitution as he came from God. That that bestowal has never yet been realized, is the next step of the argument: the Redeemer being at present kept out of sight, but by and by to be introduced as the real fulfiller of this high destiny of man, and on that account, incarnate in man’s nature. It is, as Ebrard remarks, astonishing that a thorough Commentator like Bleek should have so entirely misread and misunderstood the logical connexion of so clear a passage: while he himself confesses, that it looks as if the Person were first introduced in Hebrews 2:9, to whom Hebrews 2:6-7, have been pointing: and yet denies that in Hebrews 2:6 f. ἄνθρωπος can mean ‘mankind.’ Besides all other objections, on Bleek’s view, the question τί ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος κ. τ. λ. loses all appropriate meaning. The connexion was first laid out by Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erfüll. ii. 23 ff.: Schriftbeweis i. 185–188; ii. 1. 38 ff., and is adopted by Ebrard and Delitzsch).

For (Bleek thinks that the γάρ rather repeats the former γάρ, Hebrews 2:5, than has any logical force of its own here. This peculiar use of γάρ, he says, is characteristic of our Epistle: see ch. Hebrews 4:2-3; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 7:12-13; see his vol. i. p. 330. Hofmann however protests strongly against this view (Weissag. ii. 26, &c. as above), holding the γάρ to be ratiocinative, and justificative of the Psalm, as referring back to Genesis 1:28 to substantiate the ὑπέταξας. But, as Delitzsch remarks, this would be but to prove idem per idem; for the ύπέταξας itself necessarily refers back to Genesis 1:28. He therefore prefers Bleek’s view, which is also that of Tholuck, De Wette, and Winer,—that γάρ grounds, or rather begins to ground, that already asserted in Hebrews 2:5) in that he (viz. God: not the writer of the Psalm, as Heinrichs: unless indeed we are to understand ὑποτάξαι to mean εἰπεῖν ὅτι ὑποτέτακται, as St. Paul expresses it 1 Corinthians 15:27; but the other is much simpler, more analogous to usage, and more in the sense of the Psalm, which is a direct address to God) put all things (the universe: not πάντα, as before, merely, but τὰ πάντα) under him (Man, again: not, Christ: see above, and remarks at the end of the verse) He left (aor. as in E. V.; not perfect, which would be ἀφεῖκεν) nothing (“Nec cœlestia videtur excepisse nec terrestria,” Primasius: and so Estius, al. Possibly: and in the application itself, certainly: but we can hardly say that such was his thought here. The idea that angels are especially here intended, has arisen from that misconception of the connexion, which I have been throughout endeavouring to meet) unsubjected (see reff. where, as in υἱοὶ ἀνυπότακτοι, Symm. 1 Kings 2:12, it is in the sense of rebellious. The word belongs to later Greek: we have, Arrian, Epictet. ii. 10, ταύτῃ (to the will of man) τὰ ἄλλα ὑποτεταγμένα, αὐτὴ δʼ ἀδούλωτον κ. ἀνυπότακτον: Porphyr. Oneirocrit. 196, ἀνυπότακτος ἔσται πᾶσιν: Philo, Quis Rer. Div. Hær. § 1, vol. i. p. 473. ἀνυποτάκτῳ φορᾷ χρῆσθαι: and in Polyb. several times, ἀνυπότακτος διήγησις, “narratio quæ non habet notitiam antecedentem in animo discentis cui ceu fundamento et basi innitatur.” Casaubon) to him: but (contrast bringing out the exception) now (‘ut nunc est:’ in the present condition of things: not strictly temporal, but as the νῦν, ch. Hebrews 11:16, and the νυνί, ch. Hebrews 9:26) we see not yet (cf. on the whole, 1 Corinthians 15:24-27) all things ( τὰ π., again) put under him (the αὐτῷ in all three places referring to MAN: man has not yet attained his sovereignty. That the summing up of manhood in Christ is in the Writer’s mind, is evident throughout, and that he wishes it to be before his readers’ minds also; but the gradual introduction of the humiliation and exaltation of Christ in His humanity is marred by making all this apply personally to Him. Manhood, as such, is exalted to glory and honour, and waiting for its primæval prerogative to be fully assured, but it is IN CHRIST, and in Him alone, that this is true: and in Him it is true, inasmuch as He, being of our flesh and blood, and having been Himself made perfect by sufferings, and calling us His brethren, can lead us up through sufferings into glory, freed from guilt by His sacrifice for our sins).

9] We do not see man, &c.: but ( δέ, strong contrast again: ‘but rather’—see on Hebrews 2:6) him who is made (better than ‘was,’ or ‘hath been, made;’ His humanity in its abstract position being in view) a little (not necessarily, here either, of time (as Delitzsch here, though not above): nor are we at liberty to assume such a rendering: though of course it is difficult to say, when the same phrase has two analogous meanings both applicable, as this, how far the one may have accompanied the other in the Writer’s mind) lower than (the) angels, we behold (notice the difference between the half-involuntary όρῶμεν above, the impression which our eyes receive from things around us,—and the direction and intention of the contemplating eye (here, of faith: cf. ch. Hebrews 3:19; Hebrews 10:25) in βλέπομεν), (namely) Jesus (Lünemann is quite right against Ebrard here. The latter would take the words thus: “But we behold Jesus (object) τὸν βρ. τι παρʼ ἀγγ. ἠλαττ. (adjectival attribute to ἰησοῦν), ὲστεφανωμένον (predicate).” But this would be to throw ἰησοῦν into a position of emphasis: and would have been expressed ἰησοῦν δὲ τὸν κ. τ. λ., or, τὸν δὲ βρ. τ. π. ἀγ. ἠλ. ἰησοῦν βλέπομεν. As it is, ἰησοῦν, standing as it does behind the verb, is, as Lünem. well remarks, altogether unemphasized, and is merely an explicative addition, to make it clear who is intended by τὸν βρ. τι παρʼ ἀγγ. ἠλαττωμένον. So that this latter clause is the object, διὰ to ἐστεφ. (see below) the predicate, and ἰησοῦν an appositional elucidation of the object. So Hofmann now, Schriftb. i. 187. Formerly he took it as Ebrard; Weissag. u. Erfüll. ii. 28. Delitzsch takes ἰησοῦν as the object and τὸν ἠλαττωμ. κ. τ. λ. as the appositional clause. But I prefer as above: see more below), on account of his suffering of death (it has been much doubted whether these words belong, 1. to the foregoing clause, βραχύ τι παρ. ὰγγ. ἠλαττ., or, 2. to the following, δόξῃ κ. τιμῇ ἐστεφανωμένον. The former connexion is assumed without remark by the ancient Commentators: so Origen in Joann. tom. ii. 6 (vol. iv. p. 62), ἀγγέλων ἐλάττονα διὰ τὸ πάθημα τοῦ θανάτου: Augustine, contra Maximin. ii. 25, vol. viii. (misquoted in Bleek), “Eum autem modico minus quam angelos minoratum vidimus Jesum propter passionem mortis. Non ergo propter naturam hominis, sed propter passionem mortis:” Chrys., Thdrt. (see below), (not Thl. as Bleek: see below), Beza, Schlichting, Justiniani, a-Lapide, Cameron (but interpreting it “per illud tempus quo passus est mortem”), Calov., Limborch, Owen, Michaelis, Baumgarten, Semler, Dindorf, Wakefield. And these interpret the words two ways: α. on account of the suffering of death, i. e. because He has suffered death ( οὐ τῇ φύσει τῆς θεότητος τῶν ἀγγέλων ἠλάττωται, ἀλλὰ τῷ πάθει τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος, Thdrt.),—thus making βραχύ τι refer to the time of His sufferings and death, or as Chrys. ( τὸ βραχὺ αὐτῷ ἂν ἁρμόσειετῷ τρεῖς ἡμέρας γενομένῳ ἐν τῷ ᾅδῃ μόνας), al., to the three days of His being in the grave: β. for the sake of the suffering of death, = εἰς τὸ πάσχειν τ. θ. So Aug(17) above, and most of the foregoing list.

But, 2. the latter connexion, with the following clause, is adopted by Theophylact (as Thl. has been said by Bleek to maintain the other connexion, I give his note entire: σπουδάζει δεῖξαι τὰ ῥηθέντα τῷ χριστῷ προσαρμόζοντα, καὶ φησὶν ὅτι εἰ καὶ τὰ πάντα ὑπέταξεν οὔπω δοκεῖ ἁρμόζειν αὐτῷ, καίτοι ἐδείξαμεν ὅτι πάντως καὶ τοῦτο ἐκβήσεται. ἀλλʼ οὖν τὸ βραχύ τι ἠλαττῶσθαι παρʼ ἀλλέλους, τούτῳ· ἁρμόζει ἢ ἡμῖν. καὶ γὰρ ὁ μὲν τρεῖς ἡμέρας γεγονὼς ἐν τῷ ᾅδῃ ὡς ἄνθρωπος, βραχὺ ἠλάττωται τῶν ἀγγέλων, ἅτε μηδʼ ὅλως θανάτῳ ὑπαγομένων ἐκείνων· ἡμεῖς δὲ ἐπὶ πολὺ φθειρόμενοι, οὐ βραχὺ ἀλλὰ πάμπολυ αὐτῶν ἠλαττώμεθα. καὶ τὸ δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφανῶσθαι διὰ τὸ πάθος, ἐκείνῳ μᾶλλον ἁρμόζει ἢ ἡμῖν. πάθημα δὲ θανάτου εἰπών, τὸν ἀληθῆ θάνατον ἐδήλωσεν. οὐ φαντασία γὰρ θανάτου, ἀλλὰ πάθημα ἦν ἔνεργον. ἀνέμνησε δὲ τοῦ σταυροῦ κ. τοῦ θανάτου, ἵνα πείσῃ αὐτοὺς γενναίως φέρειν τὰς φλίψεις, εἰς τὸν διδάσκαλον ἀφορῶντας. ἀλλὰ καὶ δόξα, φησί, καὶ τιμὴ ὁ σταυρὸς αὐτῷ γέγονεν· οὐκοῦν καὶ ὑμῖν αἱ θλίψεις κ. τὰ πάθη· τί οὖν ἀποπηδᾶτε τῶν στεφανούντων; ἐκεῖνος ὑπὲρ σοῦ τοῦ δούλου ἔπαθε· σὺ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἀνέχῃ θλιβῆναι τοῦ δεσπότου; Here, although he partially adopts the notion of βραχύ τι referring to the three days, it is evident both from the words which I have noted by different type, and by the application which he makes to ourselves, that he joins διὰ τὸ πάθ. τ. θ. with δόξῃ κ. τιμῇ ἐστεφανωμένον, not with the preceding clause), Luther, Calvin, Estius, Grot., Seb.-Schmidt, Bengel, Wetst., Schulz, Böhme, Kuinoel, Bleek, Tholuck, Ebrard, Lünemann, Delitzsch, al.

The question must be determined by the arrangement of the words, and by the requirements of the context. And both these seem to require the latter, not the former connexion. The words διὰ τὸ πάθ. τ. θ. are emphatic; they are taken up again in the next sentence by διὰ παθημάτων τελειῶσαι (which words themselves are a witness that suffering and exaltation, not suffering and degradation, are here connected). But emphatic they could not be in the former connexion, coming as they would only as an explicatory clause, after βραχύ τι παρʼ ἀγγ. ἠλαττωμένον. Again, the former connexion hardly satisfies the διὰ with an accusative; certainly not if the sense α., because He has suffered death, be taken; and if the other, β., we should have expected rather εἰς τὸ πάθημα τοῦ θ., or εἰς τὸ παθεῖν τὸν θ. Whereas the latter connexion entirely satisfies the context, the sufferings of Christ being treated of as necessary to His being our perfect Redeemer: entirely also fulfils the requirements of διὰ with an accusative; wherein, which is no small consideration in its favour, it is in strict analogy with the construction in ref. Phil., γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου, θανάτου δὲ σταυροῦ. διὸ καὶ ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ὑπερύψωσεν κ. τ. λ. And this connexion will be made even clearer by what will be said on the next clause, ὅπως κ. τ. λ.), crowned with glory and honour (viz. at His exaltation, when God exalted Him to His right Hand: not, as some (e. g. Hofmann, ubi supra; see also Schriftbeweis i. 271, um des Todes willen ist Iesus mit der Berufsherrlichkeit und Berufsehre gekront), at His incarnation, or His establishment as Saviour of the world: see above, Hebrews 2:7): in order that (how is this ὅπως logically constructed? In answering the question, we may at once dismiss all impossible senses of ὅπως, invented to escape the difficulty: such as the supposed ecbatic sense, “so that” (Erasm. (paraphr.), Valck., Kuinoel, &c.), “postquam mortem gustavit,” Schleusner; &c. &c. ὅπως has no such ecbatic sense any where: and its temporal sense is altogether unexampled with the subjunctive mood. It can have here none but its constant telic sense: ‘in order that.’ And as to its dependence we must have recourse to no inversions of construction, but take it simply as we find it, however difficult. It depends then on the last clause, which clause it will be best to take in its entirety, διὰ τὸ πάθημα τοῦ θανάτου δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφανωμένον. The full connexion we cannot enter into, till the three other questions arising out of our clause are disposed of: χάριτι θεοῦ ὑπὲρ παντός—and γεύσηται θανάτου) by the grace of God (here comes into question the very important various reading χωρὶς θεοῦ, the authorities for which see in the digest. That it does not owe its origin to the Nestorians, whatever use they may have made of it, is evident from Origen reading and expounding it. In his time it was the prevalent reading, the present ἐν χάριτι θεοῦ being found only ἔν τισιν ἀντιγράφοις. Theodoret here, and on Ephesians 1:10 (see below), knew of no other reading: nor did Ambrose, nor Fulgentius. Jerome on Galatians 3:10 says, “Quia Christus gratia Dei, sive ut in quibusdam exemplaribus legitur, absque Deo, pro omnibus mortuus est.” In the Greek Church, the Nestorians mostly held fast to the old reading, as favouring their views. It may be well to cite Theophylact on this point: οἱ δὲ νεστοριανοὶ παραποιοῦντες τὴν γραφήν φασι· “ χωρὶς θεοῦ ὑπὲρ παντὸς γεύσηται θανάτου,” ἵνα συστήσωσιν ὅτι ἐσταυρωμένῳ τῷ χριστῷ οὐ συνῆν ἡ θεότης, ἅτε μὴ καθʼ ὑπόστασιν αὐτῷ ἡνωμένη, ἀλλὰ κατὰ σχέσιν. πρὸς οὓς ὀρθόδοξός τις χλευάζων τὴν ἀνοησίαν αὐτῶν εἶπεν· ὅτι ἐχέτω, ὥς φατε, ἡ γραφή, καὶ οὕτως ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἐστι τὸ λεγόμενον· χωρὶς γὰρ θεοῦ ὑπὲρ παντὸς ἄλλου ἀπέθανεν ὁ κύριος, καὶ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀλλέλων αὐτῶν, ἵνα λύσῃ τὴν πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἐχθρὰν αὐτῶν καὶ χαρὰν αὐτοῖς περιποιήσηται. And similarly Œcumenius. In our copies of the Peschito this reading is not now found, but the passage runs “Nam ipse Deus per gratiam suam pro omni homine gustavit mortem” (“For He Aloha in his grace for every man hath tasted death,” Etheridge’s version): but (see digest) in certain mss., we have a combination of the readings, “Ipse enim excepto Deo per gratiam suam pro omni homine gustavit mortem,” [but this combination appears to be due to Editors only, and not to mss.] Bleek adduces, from the 8th century, Anastatius Abbas, a writer of Palestine: “Absque Deo: sola enim divina natura non egebat.” In modern times, the reading has been defended by Camerarius, Colomesius, Bengel, Ch. Fr. Schmid, Paulus, and more recently Ebrard and Baumgarten. Hofmann once defended it, Weissag. u. Erfüll. i. 92; but has now given it up;—Entstehungsgeschichte, u.s.w. p. 338. By those who have adopted it, it has been interpreted three different ways: 1. as Origen ( ὑπὲρ πάντων χωρὶς θεοῦ), Thdrt. ( πάντα γὰρ ὅσα κτιστὴν ἔχει τὴν φύσιν, ταύτης ἐδεῖτο τῆς θεραπείας· τοῦτο γὰρ εἶπεν· ὅπως χωρὶς θεοῦ ὑπὲρ παντὸς γεύσηται θανάτου. μόνη φησὶν ἡ θεία φύσις ἀνενδεής, τἄλλα δὲ πάντα τοῦ τῆς ἐνανθρωπήσεως ἐδεῖτο φαρμάκου), Thl. and Œc. (hypothetically, see above), and Ebrard; and in a modification, Bengel and Schmid (“Omne, præter Deum, Christo subjectum est,’ Beng.: in accordance with 1 Corinthians 15:27). 2. as Ambrose, Fulgentius, and the Nestorians, and Colomesius (“Ut divinitate tantisper deposita, ut homo mortem subiret pro omnibus”). 3. as Paulus and Baumgarten,—“forsaken of God,” as witnessed by the cry on the cross. In considering the probability of this reading, as to, α. external evidence, and, β. internal probability, it must, α. be confessed, that such instances as this, where an important reading, prevalent in the early ages, is found only in two or three of our present mss., tend considerably to shake the trustworthiness of mere manuscript evidence as to the original text of the N. T., and to enhance the testimony of those sources which are anterior to any of our present MSS., viz. the earlier Fathers. In treating of ( β), we must deal with each of the assigned meanings separately. Of (1) it may be said, that however true in fact,—the thought that Jesus died for every rational being ( παντὸς λογικοῦ as Origen), or for every thing (neut.), except God, is quite alien from the present context, where the sovereignty of MAN in the new world is the subject—of man, in and through the Son of man, Jesus Christ: cf. the πολλοὺς υἱούς, Hebrews 2:10, τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς μου, Hebrews 2:12; &c. &c. And as to (2), it is even more alien from the context, as it also is from the N. T. Christology. We have no analogical expression whereby to justify it, nor any safeguard against such a view being carried out at once into the bi-personality of the Nestorians. It is hardly to be imagined that the Writer here, with no end in view at all requiring such a severance of the two natures in Christ, should thus gratuitously have introduced a sentiment of the most novel and startling character. And with regard to (3) it may well be said, that we have no right to press the exclamation of our Redeemer in His agony to so bare and strong a dogmatic fact as that He really was χωρὶς θεοῦ on the cross. We no where find Himself so speaking, nor His Apostles: nay the Writer of our Epistle would be the first to testify against such an understanding of his words: cf. ch. Hebrews 5:7, and indeed our next verse here. So that it does not seem possible to assign to the words χωρὶς θεοῦ a meaning in accordance with the demands of the context, and the analogy of Scripture. This indeed would be no argument against a reading universally and unobjectionably attested by external authorities; but where no such attestation exists, may well be brought in to guide us to a decision. If so then, and we reject χωρὶς θεοῦ, how are we to understand the rec. reading, χάριτι θεοῦ? At all events we have strong Scripture analogy for such an expression. In Galatians 2:21, the Apostle’s confession of faith in the Son of God, he says, οὐκ ἀθετῶ τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ· εί γὰρ διὰ νόμου δικαιοσύνη, ἄρα χριστὸς δωρεὰν ἀπέθανεν. And in Romans 5:8, we read, συνίστησιν δὲ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ὰγάπην εἰς ἡμᾶς ( ὁ θεός), ὅτι ἔτι ἁμαρτωλῶν ὄντων ἡμῶν χριστὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ὰπέθανεν. And in Titus 2:11, ἐπεφάνη γὰρ ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ σωτήριος πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις. So that, in point of meaning, no difficulty need be found in the words. It was by the love and grace, the χρηστότης and φιλανθρωπία of the Father, that all Redemption was effected, and above all that one sacrifice which was the crowning act of Redemption. Bleek’s account of the origin of the reading χωρίς in a mistake of a scribe, copying an illegible χάριτι, and Origen’s possessing this copy or one made from it, and the further progress of the reading being due to his mention of it,—is perhaps a shade more probable than that mentioned in the digest,—but at the same time far from satisfactory.

I may mention, as a curious instance of the helplessness of those who read Scripture in a version only, that (see Bleek) Primasius and Thom. Aquinas, in the sentence “Ut gratia dei pro omnibus gustaret mortem,” take “gratia dei” as nominative, and interpret it as a title of Christ) He might for ( ὑπέρ, ‘on behalf of,’ ‘for the benefit of:’ where this ordinary meaning of ὑπέρ suffices, that of vicariousness must not be introduced. Sometimes, as e. g. 2 Corinthians 5:15, it is necessary. But here clearly not, the whole argument proceeding not on the vicariousness of Christ’s sacrifice, but on the benefits which we derive from His personal suffering for us in humanity; not on His substitution for us, but on His community with us) every man (is παντός neuter or masculine? and if the latter, to what to be referred? Origen (apparently, see above), Thdrt., Œc., Thl. (above), take it as neuter, and apply it either to all nature, or to all reasonable beings. The latter see discussed below. The former can hardly be here meant: for of such a doctrine, however true, there is no hint (see above on the reading χωρὶς θεοῦ, β. 1). Then taking παντός masculine, are we to understand it “for every one, angels included?” So Ebrard: but where do we find any such usage of πᾶς, absolutely put as here? And where in this chapter again is any room for the position, that Christ suffered death for angels? In the logical course of the argument, we have done with them, and are now treating of man, and of Him who was made man to be our High Priest and advocate. And therefore of none other than man can this word παντός be here meant, in accordance indeed with its universal usage elsewhere. If it be asked, why παντός rather than πάντων, we may safely say, that the singular brings out, far more strongly than the plural would, the applicability of Christ’s death to each individual man: and we may say that this again testifies to the sense ‘every man,’ as there would be no such reason for individualizing other rational beings, as there is for shewing that the whole nature of man, to which this promise of sovereignty is given, is penetrated by the efficacy of Christ’s death) taste of death (reff. and so γεύεσθαι frequently in the classics with other substantives, e. g. μόχθων Soph. Trach. 1103, πόνων Pind. Nem. v. 596, πένθους Eurip. Alcest. 1069, τῶν κακῶν Hecub. 379, ὀϊστοῦ, ἀκωκῆς δουρός Homer, τῆς ἀρχῆς, τῆς ἐλευθερίης Herod. iv. 147; vi. 5,—but never with θανάτου. So that Bleek infers it has come into the N. T. diction from the Heb. phrase, which is not uncommonly found in the Rabbinical writings. Some have seen in the phrase an allusion to the shortness and transitoriness of the Lord’s death: so Chrys., καὶ κυρίως εἶπεν, ὑπὲρ παντὸς γεύσηται θανάτου, καὶ οὐκ εἶπεν, ἀποθάνῃ. ὥσπερ γὰρ ὄντως γευσάμενος, οὕτω μικρὸν ἐν αὐτῷ ποιήσας διάστημα, εὐθέως ἀνέστη: then, comparing Christ to a physician who first tastes his medicines to encourage the sick man to take them, adds, οὕτω καὶ ὁ χριστός, ἐπειδὴ πάντες ἄνθρωποι τὸν θάνατον ἐδεδοίκεσαν, πείθων αὐτοὺς κατατολμᾶν τοῦ θανάτου, καὶ αὐτὸς ἀπεγεύσατο αὐτοῦ, οὐκ ἔχων ἀνάγκην. And so Thl. and Œc., καλῶς δὲ τὸ γεύσηται· οὐ γὰρ ἐνέμεινε τῷ θανάτῳ, ἀλλὰ μόνον αὐτὸν τρόπον τινὰ ἀπεγεύσατο. And so many other Commentators, among whom Beza and Bengel find also the verity of His Death indicated in the words. But it is well answered (not by Calvin, as Bleek; for he says, “Quod Chrysostomus gustare mortem exponit, quasi summis labris delibare, eo quod Christus victor e morte emerserit, non refello neque improbo, quanquam nescio an adeo subtiliter loqui voluerit apostolus”), that in none of the places where the phrase appears, either in the N. T. or in the Rabbinical writings, does any such meaning appear to be conveyed. Nor again can we, as Bleek himself, understand the implication to be that Christ underwent all the bitterness of death. But, as θανάτου has been just before mentioned, I cannot help regarding its position here behind the verb as throwing that verb into some little prominence, as θανάτου itself is this second time in a place of insignificance. Thus viewed, the phrase falls into exact accord with the general argument of the passage, that it became Christ, in order to be the great and merciful High Priest of humanity, to be perfected through human sufferings: and it forms in fact the first mention of this idea, and prepares the way for γάρ which follows. I would say then, that γεύσηται must be regarded as slightly emphatic, and as implying the personal undergoing of death and entering into its suffering. And I doubt much, whether it will not be found that in the other passages where the phrase occurs, this personal suffering of death, though not boldly prominent, is yet within view, and agreeable to the context.

And now, having considered the three points, χάριτι θεοῦ ὑπὲρ παντός—and γεύσηται θανάτου,—we return again to the question of the connexion of the ὅπως, with which this clause begins. We before stated that, avoiding all tortuous and artificial arrangements, we find it dependent on the former clause διὰ.… ἐστεφανωμένον. This exaltation, being the τελείωσις (see Hebrews 2:10) of Christ, was arrived at διὰ παθημάτων, and διὰ τὸ πάθημα τοῦ θανάτου—both by means of and on account of, His suffering of death. And this exaltation has made Him the divine Head of our humanity—the channel of grace, and the ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας ἡμῶν. Without His exaltation, his death would not have been effectual. Unless he had been crowned with glory and honour, received to the right hand of the Father, and set in expectation of all things being put under his feet, His death could not have been, for every man, the expiation to him of his own individual sin. On the triumphant issue of His sufferings, their efficacy depends. And this I believe is what the sacred Writer meant to express. His glory was the consequence of His suffering of death;—arrived at through His suffering: but the applicability of His death to every man is the consequence of His constitution in Heaven as the great High Priest, in virtue of his blood carried into the holy place,—and the triumphant Head of our common humanity: which common humanity of Him and ourselves now becomes the subject of further elucidation).


Verse 10

10.] For (the connexion with the foregoing, see above. The γάρ renders a reason why the result just introduced by the ὅπως should have been one which the χάρις θεοῦ contemplated) it became (as matter not only of decorum, but of sequence from the data,—‘was suitable to,’ ‘decebat:’ not as matter of absolute necessity, which was not the question here. “The expression here glances at those who found in a suffering and crucified Messiah something unsuitable to the Godhead; and expresses not merely a negative, that it was not unsuitable, not unworthy of God,—but at the same time the positive, that it was altogether correspondent to and worthy of His Being and His Wisdom and His Love, to take this course: that it is so shaped, that he who knows the being and attributes of God, might have expected it. And thus it is indirectly implied, that it was also the most suitable, and that any other way would have been less correspondent to the being and purpose of God. In this sense we have πρέπει τῷ θεῷ and similar formulæ often in Philo: e. g. Leg. Allegor. i. 15, vol. i. p. 53, τί οὖν λεκτέον; ὅτι πρέπει τῷ θεῷ φυτεύειν κ. οἰκοδομεῖν ἐν ψυχῇ τὰς ἀρετάς: De Incorrupt. Mundi, § 13, vol. ii. p. 500, ἐμπρεπὲς δὲ θεῷ τὰ ἄμορφα μορφοῦν κ. τοῖς αἰσχίστοις περιτιθέναι θαυμαστὰ κάλλη. And so elsewhere also ἁρμόττει τ. θεῷ, πρεπῶδές ἐστιν, cf. Carpzov here.” Bleek; who has some excellent remarks on the lingering of the offence of the cross among these Jewish Christians, who, although their ideas of the glory and kingly triumph of the Messiah had been in a measure satisfied by the resurrection and exaltation of Christ, and their hopes awakened by the promise of future glory at His second coming,—yet, in the procrastination of this great event, felt their souls languishing, and the old stumbling-block of Christ’s sufferings recurring to their minds. To set forth then the way of suffering and the cross as one worthy of God’s high purpose, would be a natural course for the argument of the Writer to take) Him, for whom (cf. εἰς αὐτόν in reff.) are all things (not only, “all those things which contribute to man’s salvation,” as Grot., al., but ‘the sum total of things,’ ‘the universe,’ as in the parallel passages. All created things are for God (see below), for His purpose and for His glory) and by whom (by whose will, and fiat, and agency, cf. ἐξ οὗ in ref. Rom., which perhaps would have been the expression here, had not the Writer preferred using the διὰ in its two senses: see below) are all things (WHO is intended? From the sequel of the sentence there can be no doubt that it is God the Father. For the subject of this clause is there said τελειῶσαι Christ: and this could be predicated of none but the Father Himself. That these expressions are found frequently used of the Son, need be no objection: whatever is thus said of Him as the End, and the Worker, in creation, may à fortiori be said of the Father who sent Him and of whose will He is the expression. As to the reason of this periphrasis here, Calvin well says: “Poterat uno verbo Deum appellare; sed admonere voluit pro optimo id habendum, quod statuit ipse cujus et voluntas et gloria rectus est omnium finis.” And not only this: in introducing the πρέπον of Christ’s sufferings by such a description of God, he reminds his readers that those sufferings also were διʼ αὐτόν—contributing to His end and His glory—and διʼ αὐτοῦ, brought about and carried through by His agency and superintendence. The words are referred to Christ by Theodoret (reading ἔπρεπε γὰρ αὐτόν), Primasius, al., taking τελειῶσαι neuter: Cramer refers this clause to Christ, and πολλ. υἱ. εἰς δόξ. ἀγ. to the Father: Chr. Fr. Schmid refers αὐτῷ to the Father, and διʼ ὅν &c. to Christ: Paulus refers αὐτῷ διʼ ὃν τὰ π. to the Father, and then begins the reference to Christ with διʼ οὗ τ. π. None of these require a serious answer), bringing (a grave question arises: does this clause, πολ. υἱ. εἰς δ. ἀγ., belong to the subject of the preceding, αὐτῷ, διʼ ὃν τ. π. κ. διʼ οὗ τ. π., or to the object of the following, τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τ. σωτ. αὐτῶν? The latter is held by the Commentators mentioned above, who refer the former clause to Christ, and by Erasm. (paraphr.), Estius, Justiniani, Schöttg., Bengel, Pyle, and several others; recently also by Ebrard. It is argued that as τὸν δὲ βραχύ τι παρʼ ἀγγέλους ἠγαττωμένον, above, Hebrews 2:9, was in apposition with ἰησοῦν following, so is πολλοὺς υἱοὺς εἰς σωτηρίαν ἀγαγόντα with τὸν ἀρχηγὸν κ. τ. λ. here. At first sight, it forms an objection to this view, that the art. is expressed with ἠλαττωμένον, and not with ἀγαγόντα. And this objection is urged by Bleek. But as Lünemann has pointed out, it is not a valid one. Had the art. been expressed, then τὸν πολλ. υἱ. εἰς δ. ἀγαγόντα and τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτ. αὐτῶν would be co-ordinate clauses in apposition, the latter being slightly emphasized. Whereas with the art. omitted, the former clause is subordinate to the latter—‘the Captain of their salvation, while bringing many sons to glory.’ The arrangement would indeed be exceedingly harsh, but not grammatically inadmissible. There are, however, serious objections to it. It would be contrary to all Scripture analogy, to represent us as sons, in relation to Christ. Nay, in the very next verses, the argument goes on to substantiate the community of our nature with Him by the fact of our being His brethren. And besides, on this hypothesis the sentence would contain little more than a tautology: πολλ. υἱ. εἰς δόξ. ἀγ., and τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τ. σωτηρίας αὐτῶν, being in fact mere assertions of the same thing. So that there can hardly be a doubt that the true application of the clause is to God the Father, the subject of the preceding. And so Chrys., Thl., Œc., Erasm. (annot.), Luth., Calv., Schlichting, Grot., Limb., and many others, and recently Bleek, Lünemann, and Delitzsch. The accusative ἀγαγόντα, after αὐτῷ, will not surprise any Greek scholar: cf. Herod. i. 37, τὰ κάλλισταἡμῖν ἦν, ἔς τε πολέμους κ. ἐς ἄγρας φοιτέοντας εὐδοκιμέειν: vi. 109, ἐν σοὶἔστι ἢ καταδουλῶσαι ἀθήνας, ἢ ἐλευθέρας ποιήσαντα μνημόσυνα λιπέσθαι … Thuc. ii. 39, περιγίγνεται ἡμῖν τοῖς τε μέλλουσιν ἀλγεινοῖς μὴ προκάμπτειν, καὶ ἐς αὐτὰ ἐλθοῦσαι μὴ ἀτολμοτέρους τῶν ἀεὶ μοχθούτων φαίνεσθαι. See many other examples in Matthiæ, § 536, obs. The most frequent in the N. T. are found in St. Luke, whose style approximates the closest to that of this Epistle: e. g. Luke 1:74; Acts (Acts 11:12 v. r.) Acts 15:22; Acts 25:27. The aor. part. ἀγαγόντα is by many taken as an absolute past: so D-lat., “multis filiis in gloriam adductis:” the vulg., “qui multos filios in gloriam adduxerat,” and similarly Luther, Estius, al., and recently Hofmann, Schriftb. ii. 1. 39, referring the expression chiefly, or entirely, to the O. T. saints. These however can hardly be meant; for they cannot be said in any adequate sense to have been led to glory, or to have had Christ for the ἀρχηγός of their salvation. And surely it would be most unnatural to refer the part. to those saints only who had entered into glory since the completion of Christ’s work, but before this Epistle was written. Bleek maintains that the aor. part., with an infinitive, may have sometimes a future sense, and would render, “intending to bring,” &c., da er viele Sohne zur Herrlichkeit fuhren wollte; and he cites for this Bernhardy, p. 383 f.: who however only notices the use of the aor. with verbs of waiting, hoping, expecting, and says that in such cases it has eine entschiedene Richtung zum Futurum. The fact seems to be that it has in all such cases reference to the completion of the action (being a futurus exactus): τὸ κατθανεῖν is to have died,—Anglicè, idiomatically, to die, but the act of death is regarded in both phrases as completed. And similar is the use of the aor. here. In Christ’s being τετελειωμένος, the bringing many sons to glory is completed. Had it been ἄγοντα, we must have rendered, as indeed the E. V. has erroneously rendered now, “in bringing:” so that the Father’s τελειῶσαι of Christ was only a step in the process of leading many sons to glory. But now it is the whole process. We cannot give in idiomatic English this delicate shade of meaning correctly: the nearest representation of it would perhaps be,—‘it became Him.…, bringing, as He did, many sons to glory, to’ &c. Various other renderings are “adducere decreverat,” so Grot., al., and Kuinoel: that it signifies only the manner, without any temporal reference; so, after a long discussion, Tholuck (last edn.): that it is simply present; so Beza, “Ipsa sententia ostendit actum præsentem, non præteritum.” But we need not have recourse to any elaborate and refined interpretations, where the simple force of the tense will serve) many (see reff. Not identical with πάντας, but as there, an indefinite expression, indicating great number, but no more. “ πολλούς,” says Delitzsch, “not in contrast to all, but in contrast to few, and in relation to One”) sons (probably in the closer sense; not merely sons by creation, but sons by adoption. This seems necessitated by the next verse) to glory (the expression is not common in this meaning in our Epistle: and is perhaps chosen on account of δόξῃ in Hebrews 2:9. It is, that supreme bliss and majesty which rightly belongs to God only—of which His divine Son is (ch. Hebrews 1:3) the ἀπαύγασμα, and of which believers in Christ are here in their degree partakers, and shall be fully so hereafter. It is the crowning positive result of the negative σωτηρία), to make perfect ( τελειοῦσθαι is used often in our Epistle (reff.), and in various references. It is said of the Redeemer Himself, here, and in ch. Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 7:28,—of His people, who τελειοῦνται through Him, Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 11:14; Hebrews 11:40; Hebrews 12:23; and indeed Hebrews 12:2;—with a general reference, Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 7:19; see also τέλειος, ch. Hebrews 5:14; Hebrews 9:11,—and τελειότης, ch. Hebrews 6:1. From all this it is evident, that some meaning must be looked for wide enough to include all these senses of the word itself and its cognates. And such a sense is found in the ordinary rendering of the word,—to ‘accomplish,’ or ‘make complete,’ or ‘perfect.’ This accomplishment, completion, or perfecting of Christ was, the bringing Him to that glory which was His proposed and destined end: so Thl., τελείωσιν ἐνταῦθα νοεῖ τὴν δόξαν ἣν ἐδοξάσθη. Estius, “Consummaret, i. e. ad consummatam gloriam perduceret:” and it answers to the δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφανωμένον of Hebrews 2:9; and to the δοξασθῆναι of St. John: and fits exactly the requirements of the other passages in our Epistle where our Lord is spoken of. Nor is such meaning at all misplaced in those passages where we are spoken of: seeing that it is a relative term, and our τελειωθῆναι is the being brought, each one of us, to the full height of our measure of perfection, in union with and participation of Christ’s glory. Some Commentators, from the LXX usage of τελειοῦν τὰς χεῖρας for מִלֵּא אֶת־יַד, in Exodus 29:9 ; Exodus 29:33; Leviticus 8:33; Leviticus 16:32 (Leviticus 21:10 Grabe on the authority of Codd. Ambros.-marg., Coisl.): Numbers 3:3, spoken of the consecration of a priest, and of τελείωσις for מִלֻּאִים in reference to the same, and especially for the offering offered on the occasion, in Exodus 29:22 ff.: Leviticus 7:27; Leviticus 8:21 ff., Leviticus 8:33 ( ἕως ἡμέρα πληρωθῇ, ἡμέρα τελειώσεως ὑμῶν· ἑπτὰ γὰρ ἡμέρας τελειώσει τὰς χεῖρας ὑμῶν),—have imagined that the meaning here and elsewhere in our Epistle is ‘to consecrate:’ and understand the word of the setting apart or consecration of Christ to the high-priestly office. So Calvin (the first, as Bleek thinks, who propounded the view), Beza (in his earlier edd.), a-Lapide, Le Clerc, Schöttg., Peirce, Whitby, al. But Bleek replies well, that such a meaning will not suit the other passages in our Epistle, e. g. ch. Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 7:19; and that in the LXX itself τελειοῦν τινα is never simply used for consecrating any one (but see Leviticus 21:10, (18) (19) Ald. &c.). He also notices the idea of Michaelis, al., that the word in this sense came from the Greek mysteries, and pronounces it to be without proof. Certainly, no such meaning is noticed in the best Lexicons. The word occurs in the sense of ‘ad scopum perducere’ in Herod. iii. 86, ἐπιγενόμενα δὲ ταῦτα τῷ δαρείῳ ἐτελέωσέ μιν, ὥσπερ ἐκ συνθέτου τευ γενόμενα) the Leader [Author] ( ἀρχηγός is illustrated very copiously by Bleek. In its literal sense it is often found in the LXX (see Trommius). Then we have the sense of the progenitor of a race: τεῦκρος μὲν ὁ τοῦ γένους ἡμῶν ἀρχηγός, Isocr., Nicocl.: see other examples in Bleek. Then that of one who precedes others by his example, they following him. So Herodian vii. 1. 23, ἀρχηγὸς τῆς ἀποστάσεως: 1 Maccabees 10:47, ὅτι αὐτὸς ἐγένετο αὐτοῖς ἀρχηγὸς λόγων εἰρηνικῶν: Polyb. ii. 40. 2, ἀρχηγὸντῆς ὅλης ἐπιβολῆς. So ch. Hebrews 12:2, τὸν τῆς πίστεως ἀρχηγὸν κ. τελειωτήν, [where the idea of Author and Completer is so closely allied to that in our verse, that the word Author should have been kept here also.] Hence comes easily the idea of origination; and so it frequently occurs in Greek writers, especially later ones, of the person from whom any thing, whether good or bad, first proceeds, in which others have a share: and sometimes so that it very nearly = αἴτιος. So Xen. Hell. iii. 3. 5, τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τοῦ πράγματος; Isocr. Panegyr. 16, ἀρχηγὸς ἀγαθῶν; and more examples in Bleek. Hence the usage here, and in Acts 3:15, where Christ is called ὁ ἀρχηγὸς τῆς ζωῆς, is easily explained: on Him our salvation depends; He was its originator: as Chrys., τουτέστι τὸν αἴτιον τῆς σωτηρίας· ὁρᾷς ὅσον τὸ μέσον· καὶ οὗτος υἱός, καὶ ἡμεῖς υἱοί· ἀλλʼ ὁ μὲν σώζει, ἡμεῖς δὲ σωζόμεθα. εἶδες πῶς ἡμᾶς καὶ συνάγει καὶ διΐστησι· πολλούς φησιν υἱοὺς εἰς δὸξαν ἀγαγόντα· ἐνταῦθα συνήγαγε· τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας αὐτῶν· καὶ πάλιν διέστησε. Principally from Bleek’s note) of their salvation, through sufferings (i. e. His sufferings were the appointed access to and the appointed elements of, His glory: see more particularly below, on ch. Hebrews 5:8-9. Chrys., al., give a beautiful general application: δεικνὺς ὅτι ὁ παθὼν ὑπέρ τινος, οὐκ ἐκεῖνον ὠφελεῖ μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτὸς λαμπρότερος γίνεται καὶ τελειότερος).


Verses 11-13

11–13.] The connexion with the foregoing cannot be made plain, till we have discussed the meaning of ἐξ ἑνός below. It may suffice to say, that the assertion, and the quotations, are subordinate to the πολλοὺς υἱούς in Hebrews 2:10.

For both the Sanctifier and (notice the τεκαί, which bind closely together in one category) the sanctified (both the participles are in their official substantival sense, as ὁ πειράζων, and the like. The imperfection of our passive in English prevents our accurately expressing a present passive participle: ‘they that are being sanctified’ is perhaps, though we are obliged sometimes to use it, hardly allowable English. The word ἁγιάζω (see reff.) signifies in LXX and N. T. usage the selecting out and adopting for God’s service. It is not here, as Bleek infers, = σώζω, but as every where, when used in allusion to Christ’s work on His people, involves that transforming and consecrating process, of which His Spirit is the actual agent. Hence, believers are ordinarily not ἡγιασμένοι, but ἁγιαζόμενοι, as here: the difference being, as may be traced in reff., that where their present state is spoken of, the participle is present: where God’s purpose respecting them, and Christ’s finished work, the perfect. Sanctification is glory working in embryo: glory is sanctification come to the birth and manifested.

It is disputed whether the reference of these words is to be considered as general, applying to every case of sanctifier and sanctified, as, e. g., the priest and the people under the old law (so Schlichting, Schöttgen, al.), the firstfruits and the remaining harvest (so Cappellus): or is to be restricted to Christ and His people alone. Certainly the latter seems to be required by the context, and most of all by the assumption of the subject in the next clause tacitly as contained in ὁ ἁγιάζων. The ground on which Christ is our Sanctifier has also been variously alleged. Grotius leaves the connexion very loose, when he says, “Christus nos sanctos facit doctrina sua et exemplo. Ille ex Spiritu sancto conceptus est, et nos per Spiritum sanctum novam adipiscimur naturam; ita communem habemus originem.” But this obviously does not reach the depth of the following argument, see especially Hebrews 2:17; and we must believe that there is a reference to the expiatory death of Christ: see also ch. Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:14, and more in the note there) (are) of one ( ἑνός, as will be seen by the usage in reff., must be taken as masculine; not with Carpzov, Abresch, al., supplied by σπέρματος or αἵματος, nor understood “ex communi massa,” with Cappellus, al.,—“ex una natura,” Calv.,—nor “puritatem conditionis spiritalis,” as Cameron, similarly Corn.-a-lapide. And if masculine, what are we to supply? Erasm. (par.), Beza, Estius (as an altern.), Hofmann, al. say, Adam: Bengel (whose note is well worth consulting), Peirce, al., Abraham. But it seems far better and simpler here, on account of the πολλοὺς υἱούς above, and as satisfying fully the force of ἐκ, to understand God to be meant. So all the patristic Commentators, and almost all the recent ones, including Delitzsch: most of them however giving it the very wide sense of ref. 1 Cor. ἡμῖν εἱς θεὸς ὁ πατήρ, ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα, which is referred to here by Chrys.,—(and so Thdrt., καὶ τοῦτο κατὰ τὸ ἀνθρώπινον λέγεται, κτιστὴ γὰρ ἡ ληφθεῖσα φύσις· εἷς δέ γε καὶ ἡμῶν καὶ αὐτῆς ποιητής). But this can hardly be. For the argument in this particular place is not to shew by what means, viz. by becoming man, Christ made men into sons,—but, that sonship of Himself and them towards the Father having been predicated, to justify the use of the common term. And thus we are driven to a sense of υἱοί commensurate with ἁγιαζόμενοι, by which word the Writer takes it up again. So that it is not here the mere physical unity of all men with Christ which is treated, but the further and higher spiritual unity of the ἁγιάζων and the ἁγιαζόμενοι, as evinced by his speaking of them. The same is plain from Hebrews 2:14 below: see there. So that it is the higher Sonship of God, common to the Lord and those whom the Father by Him is leading to glory, which must be understood. See John 8:47; 1 John 3:10; 1 John 4:6; 1 John 5:19; 3 John 1:11.

Note, that the point brought out here is not that the holiness of our Lord’s human nature, and our holiness, are both of one, viz. the Father (John 10:36): which, however true, would be introducing a matter not belonging to the argument here), all (of them) (after the τε καί, πάντες forms a sort of pleonastic repetition; but comes with considerable force. On account of the τε καί, it is quite impossible, with Bengel, al., to confine the πάντες to the ἁγιαζόμενοι only: and his argument,—“utrosque, dicturus, si sanctificantem τῷ πάντες, omnes, includeret,”—goes for nothing: the ἁγιαζόμενοι being not set over against the ἁγιάζων as a second class, but thought of in their multitudinous distinctness as individuals. The connexion with Hebrews 2:10 will now be plain: ‘ πολλοὺς υἱούς was the right expression to use of those who are brought to glory, for they are of the same divine stock—have the same heavenly Father as their ἀρχηγός, the one proper Son of God.’ And this will be now illustrated by His own words: on which account (reff. especially 2 Tim., Tit.: viz. because they are all of one) He (Christ: see above) is not ashamed (see ref. ὁρᾷς πῶς πάλιν δείκνυσι τὴν ὑπεροχήν; τῷ γὰρ εἰπεῖν οὐκ ἐπαισχύνεται, δείκνυσιν οὐ τῆς τοῦ πράγματος φύσεως, ἀλλὰ τῆς φιλοστοργίας τοῦ μὴ ἐπαισχυνομένου τὸ πᾶν ὄν, καὶ τῆς ταπεινοφροσύνης τῆς πολλῆς, Chrys.) to call them ( τοὺς ἁγιαζομένους) brethren (the Commentators quote from Philo de Septenario, § 8, vol. ii. p. 284, τοὺς μὲν (scil. τοὺς ὁμοεθνεῖς) καλέσας εὐθυβόλως ἀδελφούς, ἵνα μηδεὶς φθονῇ τῶν ἰδίων ὡς ἂν ἐκ φύσεως συγκληρονόμοις ἀδελφοῖς), saying, I will declare (LXX, διηγήσομαι) thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the assembly will I sing of thee (it will be sufficient to refer, respecting the general sense and prophetic import of Psalms 22, to what has been before said, on Psalms 8 (above, Hebrews 2:6), and on similar citations elsewhere. The Psalm was originally the expression of a suffering saint, in all probability David, communing with his God: laying forth to Him his anguish, and finally triumphing in confidence of His gracious help and deliverance. But by the mouth of such servants of God did the prophetic Spirit speak forth His intimations respecting the Redeemer to come. No word prompted by the Holy Ghost had reference to the utterer only. All Israel was a type: all spiritual Israel set forth the second Man, the quickening spirit: all the groanings of God’s suffering people prefigured, and found their fullest meaning in, His groans, who was the chief in suffering. The maxim cannot be too firmly held, nor too widely applied, that all the O. T. utterances of the Spirit anticipate Christ, just as all His N. T. utterances set forth and expand Christ: that Christ is every where involved in the O. T., as He is every where evolved in the N. T. And this Psalm holds an illustrious place among those which thus point onward to Christ. Its opening cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” was uttered by the Lord Himself in His last agony. The most minute particulars detailed in it are by the Evangelists adduced as exemplified in the history of His Passion: see e. g. (Matthew 27:35 rec.) John 19:24. And, as Bleek well observes, the particulars chosen out of that history by St. Matthew seem to have been selected with an especial view to the illustration and fulfilment of this Psalm. Ebrard, in his note here, insists on the authorship of the Psalm by David, and on its date, as belonging to the time of his persecution by Saul. Then he maintains the exact parallelism of the circumstances with those of the second and greater David, and refers the ἀδελφούς here to the countrymen of David, who were hereafter to be his subjects. I have no positive objection to this view. Subordinately to the deeper and wider one, it might be applicable in individual instances: but that other seems to me both safer and nearer the truth. See especially on the Psalm, Delitzsch, h. l.

The particular verse here chosen, the 22nd, forms the transition-point from the suffering to the triumphant portion of the Psalm: and consequently the resolution expressed in it by the Messiah has reference to His triumphant state, in which he is still not ashamed to call his people brethren. It is characteristic of the object of this Epistle with reference to its intended readers, that whereas the Writer might have cited two instances as matters of fact, in which our Lord did call His disciples brethren after His resurrection (see John 20:17; Matthew 28:10), yet he has not done so, but has preferred to establish his point by O. T. citations).


Verse 13

13.] And again, I will put my trust in Him (there is considerable dispute as to the original place from which this citation comes. Most Commentators, and recently Bleek and Delitzsch, have believed it to be taken from Isaiah 8:17, where the words occur in the LXX, immediately preceding the next citation. The only objection to this view is, that it would be hardly likely in this case that the words καὶ πάλιν would have occurred, but the two citations would have proceeded as one. And hence the words have been sought in other places: e. g. in Psalms 18:3 (Psalms 17:2, LXX), where however the LXX have ἐλπιῶ ἐπʼ αὐτόν: so Calv., Beza, Limborch, al.:—Isaiah 42:1,—so Schöttgen; where however, besides the LXX being different ( ἀντιλήψομαι αὐτοῦ), the words are spoken in a totally different reference. The same words are found in the LXX in 2 Sam. (2 Kings) 2 Samuel 22:3 ( πεποιθὼς ἔσομαι ἐπʼ αὐτῷ); and Isaiah 12:2, where however the Alexandrine recension, with which our Writer mostly agrees, has ἐν αὐτῷ. There is no objection to the first of these passages being the origin of our citation; and the alleged non-Messianic character of the Psalm will weigh very light with those who view the Psalms as above set forth.

Still, regarding the above-stated objection as of no weight,—owing to the diversity of the two cited clauses, the one expressive of personal trust in God, the other declaratory respecting a relation to others (cf. also ch. Hebrews 10:30, which is a nearly though not exactly similar case),—I prefer, as the more natural, the opinion which derives both texts from the same place of Isaiah. On the sense then see below): and again, Behold I and the children which God gave me (Isaiah 8:18. Considerable difficulty has been made by the Commentators in applying these citations to Christ. I own that the question seems to me to be admirably stated by Theodoret on Psalms 22, μᾶλλον γὰρ πιστευτέον τοῖς ἱεροῖς ἀποστόλοις κ. αὐτῷ τῷ σωτῆρι χρωμένῳ σαφῶς τῷ τοῦ ψαλμοῦ προοιμίῳ ἢ τοῖς παρερμηνεύειν ἐπιχειροῦσιν. But this does not preclude our entering on an attempt in each case to give a distinct account of the rationale of the application. In the passage of Isaiah (Hebrews 2:11-18), the Prophet is especially blaming the people of Judah under Ahaz, for having called in the help of the Assyrian king against Pekah king of Israel, and Rezin king of Syria. And in these verses (Hebrews 2:17 f.) the Prophet expresses his own determination, in spite of the reliance of the people on the confederacy, to wait for the Lord, and to remain, he and the children whom God had given him, for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of Hosts, which dwelleth in Zion. Then, from Isaiah 8:18 to Isaiah 9:7, is set forth the prospect of future deliverance to Judah coming from their God, ending with the glorious anticipation of the great future Deliverer. This confident speech of the Prophet our Writer adopts at once as the words of the greatest of all Prophets—thereby assuming the prophetic office of Christ. Thus the matter illustrated (for there is no demonstration here; this verse is a consequence of the last, of διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν) is, that as the Prophet Isaiah withstood the human dependence of his age, and stood forth, he and the children whom God had given him, and who were begotten in pursuance of the divine command, as a sign to Israel,—so the great Prophet himself fulfilled the same office and had the same hopes, and bore the same relation to those among whom He prophesied, praising God with them, leading them in confidence on God, and speaking of them as one family and stock with Himself. So that our passage forms a notable instance of the prophetic office of Christ being taken as the antitype of the official words and acts of all the Prophets, just as His kingly office fulfils and takes up all that is said and done by the theocratic Kings, and His priestly office accomplishes all the types and ordinances of the O. T. Priesthood. There is one difference between Christ and the Prophet, which Ebrard, fully as he enters into the general argument, has missed, owing to his applying πολλοὺς υἱοὺς.… ἀγαγόντα, above, to Christ. The παιδία are not the children of Christ (Chrys., Thdrt., vulg.: “pueri mei,” al.), as they were of Isaiah, but the children of God. John 17:6, σοὶ ἦσαν, καὶ ἐμοὶ αὐτοὺς ἔδωκας, seems decisive for this. They are God’s children, and God has given them to Him. So also Schlichting, Grot., Kuin., Bleek, De W., Lünem., al. See on next verse: and Delitzsch’s note here. He agrees in the main with the above, but would restrict the reference to Christ of prophetic words and acts, to those occasions when the Prophets were put eminently forward as signs, as Isaiah in this case. But is not the very fact of being commissioned as a prophet, such a putting forward? Cf. Hofmann’s remarks in the Weissagung u. Erfüllung, ii. p. 110).


Verse 14

14.] The connexion and line of argument is this: in Hebrews 2:5 it was shewn, that not to angels, but to MAN, is the new order of things subjected: in Hebrews 2:6-8, that this domination was predicated of man in the O. T.: in Hebrews 2:9, that the only case of its fulfilment has been that of Jesus, who has been crowned with glory and honour on account of His suffering death. Then, Hebrews 2:10-11 a, it is shewn that the becoming way for the Redeemer to this crown of glory, the purpose of winning which was to bring many sons of God to it, was, being perfected through sufferings, seeing that He must share with those whom He is to sanctify, in dependence on a common Father. Then Hebrews 2:11 b, 12, 13 have furnished illustrations confirmatory of this, from His own sayings in the Scripture. And now we are come to the proof, that He who was thus to be the Leader of the salvation of these many sons, by trusting like them, and suffering like them, must Himself BECOME MAN like them, in order for that His death to have any efficacy towards his purpose. Since then (by ἐπεί, an inference is drawn from the words immediately preceding: by οὖν, the thought is cast back to the argument of which the citations had been an interruption: q. d. and by this very expression in our last citation, τὰ παιδία, we may substantiate that which our argument is seeking to prove) the children (before mentioned: “Articulus est ἀναφορικός: illi pueri, de quibus versu præcedente dictum.” Gerhard, in Bleek:—not τά generic, and τὰ παιδία, little children, as Valcknaer and Heinrichs, and recently Hofmann, Schriftb. ii. 1. 40, which introduces a thought quite irrelevant: cf. Hofmann: Er von der Menschwerdung Christi sagen wollte, dass er in derselben ein kind wie andere kinder, mit Fleisch und Blut, geworden ist) are partakers of (lit. “have been constituted partakers of,’—in the order established in nature, and enduring still. The κοινωνία is not with their elders, as Valcknaer (see above), but with one another. This absolute use of κοινωνεῖν is not often found: we have it in Xen. Mem. ii. 6. 22, 23, δύνανται πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες ἀλύπως σίτου κ. ποτοῦ κοινωνεῖν .… δύνανται δὲ καὶ χρημάτων οὐ μόνον τοῦ πλεονεκτεῖν ἀπεχόμενοι νομίμως κοινωνεῖν.… and Œcon. vi. 3, ἡδύ γʼ οὖν ἐστιν .… ὥσπερ καὶ χρημάτων κοινωνήσαντας ἀναμφιλόγως διελθεῖν, οὕτω καὶ λόγους κοινωνοῦντας περὶ ὧν ἂν διαλεγώμεθα συνομολογοῦντας διεξιέναι. The verb itself is generally found in the N. T. with a dative of the thing shared: in the classics, as here, with a genitive. See many examples in Bleek) blood and flesh (this order, instead of the more usual one, σαρκ. κ. αἵμ., occurs in ref. Eph., and Polyænus, Stratagem. iii. 11. 1: ἐπειδὰν μέλλωμεν μάχεσθαι, μήτοι νομίζωμεν ὡς πολεμίοις συμβάλλοντες, ἀλλὰ ἀνθρώποις αἷμα κ. σάρκα ἔχουσι, κ. τῆς αὐτῆς φύσεως ἡμῖν κεκοινωνηκόσιν. Bleek however suspects that this expression itself, belonging as it does to the time of the Antonines, may be derived from biblical or Jewish usage. It is found frequently in the later Jewish writers. “It betokens,” says Bleek, “the whole sensuous corporeal nature of man, which he has in common with the brutes, and whereby he is the object of sensuous perception and corporeal impressions: whereby also he is subjected to the laws of the infirmity, decay, and transitoriness of material things, in contrast to purely spiritual and incorporeal beings.” Delitzsch remarks on the order, that it differs from σὰρξ κ. αἷμα in setting forth first the inner and more important element, the blood, as the more immediate and principal vehicle of the soul, … before the more visible and palpable element, the flesh: doubtless with reference to the shedding of Blood, with a view to which the Saviour entered into community with our corporeal life), He himself also in like manner (similarly: the original idea of παραπλήσιος being that of lying close together all along: not exactly = ἴσος, for the two are not unfrequently found in conjunction, as ὁρῶντες στρατὸν ἴσον καὶ (where we should say, ‘or’) παραπλήσιον τῷ προτέρῳ ἐπεληλυθότα: Thuc. vii. 42, nor = ὁμοῖος: cf. Herod. iii. 101, χρῶμα φορέουσι ὁμοῖον πάντες καὶ παραπλήσιον αἰθίοψι: cf. also Thuc. i. 143, τὰ μὲν πελοποννησίων ἔμοιγε τοιαῦτα καὶ παραπλήσια δοκεῖ εἶναι: but expressing a general similitude, a likeness in the main; and so not to be pressed here, to extend to entire identity, nor on the other hand to imply, of purpose, partial diversity; but to be taken in its wide and open sense—that He Himself also partook in the main, in like manner with us, of our nature. The ancient expositors dwell justly on the word as against the Docetæ, who held that our Lord’s was only an apparent body. So Chrys., and more explicitly Thl.: οὐκ εἶπε γὰρ μόνον ὅτι μετέσχε σαρκὸς κ. αἵματος ὥσπερ τὰ παιδία, τουτέστιν οἱ λοιποὶ ἄνθρωποι· καίτοι εἰ καὶ τοῦτο εἶπεν, ἱκανὸν ἦν παραστῆσαι ὅτι ἀληθῶς ἐσαρκώθη· ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ παραπλησίως προσέθηκε, ἵνα τὴν ἀπαράλλακτον πρὸς ἡμᾶς καὶ ἀληθινὴν σάρκωσιν παραστήσῃ. And Thdrt.: σφόδρα δὲ ἀναγκαίως καὶ τὸ παραπλησίως τέθεικεν, ἵνα τὴν τῆς φαντασίας διελέγξῃ συκοφαντίαν) participated in (the E. V., “took part,” is good, but it should be followed by ‘in,’ not “of,” which makes it ambiguous. Bleek remarks that κοινωνέω and μετέχω are almost convertible; and instances Lycurg. cont. Leocrat. p. 187 (154, Bekker), ἐξ ἴσου τῶν κινδύνων μετασχόντες, οὐχ ὁμοίως τῆς τύχης ἐκοινώνησαν: see also Xen. Anab. vii. 6. 28. So that minute distinction of meaning is hardly to be sought for. Notice the aorist, referring to the one act of the Incarnation) the same things (viz. blood and flesh: not τῶν παιδίων, nor as Bengel, “the same things which happen to his brethren, not even death excepted”), that by means of his death ( διὰ τοῦ θανάτου αὐτοῦ ὃν ἀνεδέξατο, ὡς σαρκὸς κ. αἵματος δηλαδὴ μετασχών: Thl. “Paradoxon: Jesus mortem passus vicit: diabolus mortem vibrans succubuit:” Bengel. “Death itself, as Death, is that which Jesus used as the instrument of annihilating the prince of Death:” Hofm. Schriftb. ii. 1. 274, whose further remarks there see, and Delitzsch’s comments on them, Hebr.-brf. p. 85. The latter quotes from Primasius, “Arma quæ fuerunt illi quondam fortia adversum mundum, hoc est, mors, per eam Christus illum percussit, sicut David, abstracto gladio Goliæ, in eo caput illius amputavit, in quo quondam victor ille solebat fieri.” “Dominus itaque noster”—so Gregory the Great on Job 40:19, “ad humani generis redemtionem veniens velut quemdam de se in necem diaboli hamum fecit … Ibi quippe inerat humanitas, quæ ad se devoratorem adduceret, ibi divinitas quæ perforaret: ibi aperta infirmitas, quæ provocaret, ibi occulta virtus, quæ raptoris famem transfigeret.” Cf. the remarkable reading in D: and the old Latin epigram, “Mors mortis morti mortem nisi morte tulisset, Æternæ vitæ januaclausa foret”) He might destroy (bring to nought: see reff. The word is found, besides here, once in Luke (Hebrews 13:7), and twenty-five times in Paul) him that hath the power of death (the pres. part. is better taken of the office, q. d. ‘the holder of the power,’—than of past time, “him that had the power,” as E. V. The phrase τὸ κράτος ἔχειν has been abundantly illustrated by Bleek. Among his examples followed by a genitive, as here, are Herod. iii. 142, τῆς δὲ σάμου ΄αιάνδριος.… εἶχε τὸ κράτος: Aristoph. Thesmoph. 871, δωμάτων ἔχει κράτος: Jos. Antt. i. 19. 1, οἷς ἐγὼ τὸ ταύτης κράτος τῆς γῆς δίδωμι. It is evident that the gen. τοῦ θανάτου must be similarly taken here, and not, as Schlichting, al., as = “mortiferum” merely. The reason why this clause comes first, and not τὸν διάβολον, is probably, as Chrys. suggests, to exhibit the paradox mentioned above: τὸ θαυμαστὸν δείκνυσιν, ὅτι διʼ οὗ ἐκράτησεν ὁ διάβολος, διὰ τούτου ἡττήθη, καὶ ὅπερ ἰσχυρὸν ἦν αὐτῷ ὅπλον κατὰ τῆς οἰκουμένης, ὁ θάνατος, τούτῳ αὐτὸν ἔπληξεν ὁ χριστός. Thl. mentions some who thought that by τὸ κράτος τοῦ θανάτου was meant sin: and Œc. gives this interpretation. But it is hardly worthy of serious consideration), that is, the devil (cf. Wisdom of Solomon 2:24, φθόνῳ δὲ διαβόλου θάνατος εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον: and see Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2. So in the Rabbinical writings, Samael, the chief of the evil spirits, was called the angel of death: and it is said (Debarim Rabb. fin.), “Samael causa fuit mortis toti mundo:” and (Sohar, fol. xxvii. 3), “Filii serpentis antiqui qui occidit Adamum et omnes ab eo descendentes.” τὸν διάβολον ὃς ἐκράτει τοῦ θανάτου· πῶς; διὰ τῆς ἁμαρτίας. ἐπειδὴ γὰρ ἁμαρτάνειν ἐποίει τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἐκ τῆς πρώτης ἐκείνης παρακοῆς, αὐτὸς ἦν ὁ τὸν θάνατον δημιουργήσας, ὥσπερ τινὶ στρατιώτῃ αὐτῷ κ. ὅπλῳ ἰσχυρῷ χρώμενος κατὰ τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης φύσεως. Thl.: cf. Romans 5:12; John 8:44. Ebrard would make τοῦ θανάτου the subjective genitive,—“the power, which death has over us,” and ἔχοντα to signify “wielding.” But this seems far-fetched and unnecessary.

The Death of Christ brought to nought the agency of the devil in death, because, that Death of His being not the penalty of His own sin, but the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world, all those who by faith are united to Him can now look on death no longer as the penalty of sin, but only as the passage for them, as it was for Him, to a new and glorious life of triumph and blessedness. But for those who are not united to Him, death, retaining its character of a punishment for sin, retains also therewith all its manifold terrors. Delitzsch, in treating of ‘Him that has the power of death,’ quotes an important remark of Gregory the Great, on Job 1:11, “Satanæ voluntas semper iniqua est, sed nunquam potestas injusta, quia a semet ipso voluntatem habet, sed a Domino potestatem”), and might deliver (the construction is somewhat doubtful. The more obvious way of taking the sentence would be, to join δουλείας with ἀπαλλάξῃ—‘might free from bondage,’ ἀπαλλάττω usually governing a genitive of the thing from which the deliverance is effected: see many examples in Bleek, from which the following may be selected as containing δουλείας: Jos. Antt. xiii. 13. 3, τῆς ὑπὸ τοῖς ἐχθροῖς αὐτοὺς δουλείαςἀπαλλάττειν: Isocr. Plataic. 9, δουλείας ἀπηλλάγησαν. And this would also suit the ordinary construction of ἔνοχος with a dative: see reff., and examples from the classics in Bleek. Still, it is hardly natural to suppose that δουλείας, standing so far as it would thus from its verb, in a position of so little emphasis, and without any designating article or pronoun, can belong to ἀπαλλάξῃ. We are thus brought to the ordinary construction, viz. the taking ἀπαλλάξῃ absolute, and joining δουλείας with ἔνοχοι. And this latter is by no means an unusual construction, as the reff. will shew. Bleek divides the imports of a gen. after ἔνοχος into three: 1. the punishment incurred: so reff. Matt., Mark, Demosth. p. 1229. 11, ἔνοχοι δεσμοῦ γεγόνασι: 2. the guilt incurred: so 2 Maccabees 13:6, τὸν ἱεροσυλίας ἔνοχον ὄντα: Lysias in Alcib. p. 140, ὡς οὐδεὶς ἔνοχος ἔσται λειποταξίου οὐδὲ δειλίας: &c.: 3. the person or thing wherein the guilt is incurred: so reff. 1 Cor., James, Isa. So that the construction with the genitive seems to embrace a wider range of meaning than that with the dative, and to put ἔνοχος rather in the place of a substantive, ‘the subject of,’ to be interpreted by the context: whereas with a dative it rather stands in a participial connexion, = ἐνεχόμενος (cf. Galatians 5:1, μὴ πάλιν ζυγῷ δουλείας ἐνέχεσθε): ‘entangled in,’ ‘liable to.’ Thus we shall here have ἔνοχοι δουλείας = those in a state of slavery; as (Bl.) in Sir. prol., οἱ φιλομαθεῖς καὶ τούτων ἔνοχοι γενόμενοι, those who are occupied with such things) those ( τούτους is not, as Bengel, Kuinoel, al., to be referred to the preceding, whether υἱούς, Hebrews 2:10, or παιδία, Hebrews 2:14, but to the ὅσοι, which it designates and brings out. See below) who all (this use of ὅσος after a demonstrative pronoun is not very common. It does not in such a case imply the existence of others who do not fulfil the thing predicated, but rather takes, so to speak, the full measure of those indicated, being almost = ‘who, every one of them’.… Thus we have it after πᾶς in Æsch. Prom. 975 f., ἁπλῷ λόγῳ τοὺς πάντας ἐχθαίρω θεούς, ὅσοι παθόντες εὖ κακοῦσί μʼ ἐκδίκως. In fact it answers, as a relative of quantity, to ὅστις as a relative of quality. These persons whom Christ died to free, were all subject to this bondage induced by the fear of death. And these in fact were, all mankind; to whom the potential benefit of Christ’s death extends) by fear of death (so Philo, Quod Omnis Probus Liber, § 17, vol. ii. p. 462, οἰόμεθα τοὺς μὲν ἀσκητὰς τῆς ἐν σώμασιν εὐτονίας ἐπιβεβηκέναι φόβῳ θανάτου: see also ref. Sir. The obj. gen. after φόβος, as θεοῦ, ἀνδρῶν, &c. is common enough) were through all their lifetime (= διὰ πάσης τῆς ζωῆς. This substantival use of τὸ ζῆν is found in Æschin. dial. iii. 4, ὥσπερ εἰς ἕτερον ζῆν ἐπιθανούμενος: Ignat. ad Trall. 9, οὗ χωρὶς τὸ ἀληθινὸν ζῆν οὐκ ἔχομεν: id. ad Ephesians 3, καὶ γὰρ ἰησοῦς χριστὸς τὸ ἀδιάκριτον ἡμῶν ζῆν. Bl. But the use with an adjective seems to want other examples. We have something approaching to it in the “Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter” of Persius) subjects of (on the construction of ἔνοχος with a genitive, see above. It is here not merely ‘subject to,’ so that they might or might not be involved in it, but their actual implication is inferred) bondage (Wetst. &c. quote Philo, Quod Omnis Probus Liber, § 3, vol. ii. p. 448, ἐπαινεῖται παρά τισιν ὁ τρίμετρον ἐκεῖνο ποιήσαςτίς ἐστι δοῦλος; τοῦ θανεῖν ἄφροντις ὤν; (the line is from Euripides, and is cited also by Plutarch. Bl.) ὡς μάλα συνιδὼν τὸ ἀκόλουθον· ὑπέλαβε γάρ, ὅτι οὐδὲν οὕτω δουλοῦσθαι πέφυκε διάνοιαν, ὡς τὸ ἐπὶ θανάτῳ δέος ἕνεκα τοῦ πρὸς τὸ ζῆν ἱμέρου. See also many passages to the same effect in Raphel and Wetstein. Calvin’s note is well worth transcribing: “Hic locus optime exprimit quam misera sit eorum vita qui mortem horrent; ut necesse est omnibus sentiri horribilem, qui eam extra Christum considerant: nam tum in ea nihil apparet nisi maledictio. Unde enim mors, nisi ex ira Dei adversus peccatum? Hinc ista servitus per totam vitam, hoc est, perpetua anxietas qua constringuntur infelices animæ. Nam semper ex peccati conscientia Dei judicium observatur. Ab hoc metu nos Christus liberavit, qui maledictionem nostram subeundo sustulit, quod in morte formidabile erat. Tametsi enim nunc quoque morte defungimur: vivendo tamen et moriendo tranquilli sumus et securi, ubi Christum habemus nobis præeuntem. Quod si quis animum pacare non potest mortis contemptu, is sciat parum se adhuc profecisse in Christi fide. Nam ut nimia trepidatio ex ignorantia gratiæ Christi nascitur, ita certum est infidelitatis signum. Mors hic non separationem modo animæ a corpore significat, sed pœnam quæ ab irato Deo nobis infligitur, ut æternum exitium comprehendat. Ubi enim coram Deo reatus, protinus etiam inferi se ostendunt.”


Verse 16

16.] Epexegetic of Hebrews 2:15, by pointing out a fact well known to us all (see on δήπου below), that it was to help a race subject to death, that Christ came). For, as we well know ( δήπου is a word of pure classical usage, see Xen., Plut., al. in Bleek: not found except here in the N. T. nor in the LXX. Its force will be reached by combining that of the two simple particles. δή, with an assertion, gives decision and confidence: που universalizes this decision and confidence: implies the success of an universal appeal for the truth of what is said. See Hartung, ii. 285: Klotz, Devar. p. 427 ff., where the various uses are fully gone into. Bengel compares πρόδηλον γάρ, ch. Hebrews 7:14), it is not angels that He helpeth, but it is the seed of Abraham that He helpeth (I have rendered thus, to preserve the emphasis on the two contrasted words, ἀγγέλων and σπέρματος ἀβρ. ἐπιλαμβάνω, to receive in addition, ‘insuper accipere,’ also to take hold of or upon,—is found in the N. T. and the LXX, in the middle form ἐπιλαμβάνομαι only; and thus signifies, with the dynamic force of personal agency, to lay hold upon, to seize. It usually, after the analogy of λαμβάνομαι itself, has a gen. case: occasionally, e. g. Acts 9:27; Acts 16:19; Acts 18:17, an accusative. When a person is the object, it may be used in a bad sense, to seize hold of, in order to overpower or lead away, e. g. ἐπειδάν σου ἐπιλαβόμενος ἄγῃ ( ὁ δικαστής), Plato, Gorg. p. 527 A: Luke 23:26 al.: as (more usually) in a good sense, to take by the hand, in order to help or lead, e. g. ἐπιλαμβάνεσθαι τῆς χειρός, Xen. Rep. Ath(20) i. 18: Matthew 14:31; Mark 8:23; Luke 14:4; see also Jeremiah 31:32 in our ch. Hebrews 8:9. From this latter meaning is easily derived that of helping, adopting for protection: e. g. ref. Sir., ἡ σοφία υἱοὺς ἑαυτῇ ἀνύψωσε κ. ἐπιλαμβάνεται τῶν ζητούντων αὐτήν: the Schol. on Æsch. Per. 742 ( ἀλλʼ ὅταν σπεύδῃ τις, αὐτὸς χὡ θεὸς ξυνάπτεται),— ὅταν σπεύδῃ τις εἰς καλὰ ἢ εἰς κακά, ὁ θεὸς αὐτοῦ ἐπιλαμβάνεται. And thus is the word best explained here: as referring back to the ἀπαλλάξαι just spoken of, and exactly answering to the βοηθῆσαι below in Hebrews 2:18. This help is not by Him rendered to angels: He is not the Captain of their salvation. And herein there is no contradiction to Colossians 1:20; for the reconciliation which Christ has effected even for the things in the heavens, is not delivering them from fear of death, or bringing them through sufferings to glory, whatever mystery it may involve beyond our power of conception.

σπέρματος ἀβραάμ next comes under consideration. And we must here, as ever, render, and understand, according to the simple sense of the words used, regarding the circumstances under which they were used. Accordingly, we must not here understand mankind, as some have done: nor again with others, can we suppose the spiritual seed of Abraham to be meant (Galatians 3:7; Galatians 3:29; Romans 4:11 f., 16),—because, as Bleek well remarks, the present context speaks not of that into which Christ has made those redeemed by Him, but of that out of which He has helped them. The seed of Abraham then means, the Jewish race, among whom Christ was born in the flesh, and whom He did come primarily to help: and the peculiarity of the expression must be explained with Estius, “Gentium vocationem tota hac epistola prudenter dissimulat, sive quod illius mentio Hebræis parum grata esset, sive quod institute suo non necessaria:” and with Grotius, “Hebræis scribens satis habet de iis loqui: de gentibus aliter loquendi locus.”

I must not omit to mention, that the above manner of interpreting this verse, now generally acquiesced in, was not that of the ancient expositors. By them it was generally supposed that ἐπιλαμβάνεται referred to our Lord’s taking upon Him of our nature: and they for the most part make it into a past tense, and render as E. V.,—“He took not upon him the nature of angels, but He took upon him the seed of Abraham,” so Chrys. ( οὐκ ἀγγέλων φύσιν ἀνεδέξατο, ἀλλʼ ἀνθρώπων), Thl. ( οὐ τῆς τῶν ἀγγέλων φύσεως ἐδράξατο οὐδὲ ταύτην ἐφύρεσεν), Thdrt. ( εἰ γὰρ ἀλλέλων ἀνείληφε φύσιν, κρείττων ἂν ἐγεγόνει θανάτου. ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἀνθρώπειον ἦν ὃ ἀνέλαβε κ. τ. λ.), Ambros. (de Fide iii. 11, vol. ii. (iii. Migne) p. 512, al.), Primasins, the Syr. (“Non ex angelis sumsit sed ex semine Abrahami sumsit”): and so also Erasm., Luth., Calv., Beza, Owen, Calov., Wolf, and many others. On this I will give the substance of Bleek’s remarks: “This interpretation has been favoured both by the preceding and following context, and also by the circumstance that in the Greek Church the words λαμβάνειν and ἀναλαμβάνειν are in use as representing the union of the two natures in Christ, the divine being the λαβοῦσα or ἀναλαβοῦσα, and the human the ληφθεῖσα or ἀναληφθεῖσα. But supposing that ἐπιλαμβάνειν might be similarly used, certainly the middle ἐπιλαμβάνεσθαι with a genitive cannot; and even independently of this, the formula ‘to take on him the seed of Abraham, or the angels,’ would be a most unnatural way of expressing ‘to take the nature of either of these.’ And the ancients themselves seem to have felt, that this formula of itself could not hear such a meaning. They assume accordingly that the Writer represents man and his nature, through sinfulness, alienated and flying from God and the divine nature, and the Son of God pursuing, overtaking, and drawing it into union with Himself. So Chrys., Œc., Thl.; so the Schol. in Matth.: οὐκ εἶπεν ἀνέλαβεν, ἀλλʼ ἐπιλαμβάνεται, ἵνα δείξῃ ὅτι φεύγουσαν τὴν φύσιν ἡμῶν κ. μακρυνθεῖσαν ἐδίωξε καὶ φθάσας ἐπελάβετο αὐτῆς κ. περιεπλάκη ἑνώσας ἑαυτῷ κ. στήσας αὐτὴν τῆς ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ φυγῆς: so also Primasins, Erasmus-not., Justiniani, a-Lapide, and Hammond.” It needs little to shew how far-fetched and forced this interpretation of the words is, if it is intended to give the sense of assuming the nature of man. Nor would the present of the verb suit this sense: which present some explain as if it represented the testimony of Scripture, i. e. the prophetic or official present, as ὁ ἐρχόμενος, ‘No where do we find it in Scripture that Christ has taken, or is to take,’ &c. So Erasm., Calvin, Seb. Schmidt, Hammond, Wolf. But such sense altogether would be irrelevant in the context. Seeing that it has been in the preceding period maintained, that Christ was flesh and blood like those whom He is to sanctify,—we should not surely have γάρ introducing the same thought again, but this verse must somehow express why that other happened. Again, had that former thought been here expressed a second time, the following one could not have been joined to it by an ὅθεν: for the sense would be this: He was to take on Him human nature: therefore must He in all things be made like His brethren, = as they take on them human nature. And even were we, with Œc. and Thl., to lay an emphasis on κατὰ πάντα, thus—seeing that He was to take human nature on Him at all, He must also in every thing become like other men,—we might admit such a sense, if succeeded by, ‘and therefore must He die,’ or the like: but that which here follows, ἵνα ἐλεήμων γένηται κ. τ. λ., would be wholly out of place. The first who detected the error of this rendering was Castellio († 1563), who translates the word “opitulatur,” which Beza calls “execrunda audacia.” Then the R.-Cath. expositors Ribera and Estius took up the true rendering, which was defended more at length and thoroughly by Camero (whose note see in the Critici Sacri) and Schlichting; and so adopted without further remark by Grotius. The conflict against this latter expositor and the Socinians (who all thus explain the word), induced many other Commentators, especially Lutherans, to hold fast obstinately to the old interpretations: see above. But this pertinacity, from the palpable untenableness of the sense, could not prevail widely nor long. The right view is taken by Witlich, Braun, Akersloot, Limborch, Calmet, Bengel, Peirce, Cramer, Michaelis, Ernesti (who however is wrong in saying it was the interpretation of the Greek Fathers), Storr, and the moderns almost without exception. Of these latter, Schulz has ventured to doubt the correctness of it, and to propose a new view—viz. that Death, or the Angel of Death, is the subject of the sentence; “for on angels truly he taketh not hold, but on the seed of Abraham he taketh hold.” And this sense is doubtless both allowable and admissible in the context; but it is most improbable that the subject in this verse should be a different one from that in the foregoing, seeing that the same person, the Son of God, is also the subject, without fresh mention, in Hebrews 2:17, which is so intimately connected with this).


Verse 17

17.] Because then He had this work to do for the seed of Abraham (sons of men, in the wider reference),—viz. to deliver them from fear of death, He must be made like them in all things, that He may be a merciful and faithful High Priest. Then Hebrews 2:18 gives the reason of this necessity. Whence ( ὅθεν is a favourite inferential particle with our Writer. It never occurs in the Epistles of Paul. On ref. Acts, see Prolegg. to Acts, § ii. 17 δ. It is = διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν, Hebrews 2:11) it behoved Him (not = ἔδει, used of the eternal purpose of God (Luke 24:26):—but implying a moral necessity in the carrying out of His mediatorial work. Compare ch. Hebrews 5:3, and especially ib. Hebrews 5:12, ὀφείλοντες εἶναι διδάσκαλοι διὰ τὸν χρόνον) in all things (i. e. all things wherewith the present argument is concerned: all things which constitute real humanity, and introduce to its sufferings and temptations and sympathies. The exception, χωρις ἁμαρτίας, brought out in ch. Hebrews 4:15, is not in view here. τί ἐστι κατὰ πάντα; ἐτεχθη φησίν, ἐτράφη, ηὐξήθη, ἔπαθε πὰντα ἅπερ ἔχρην, τέλος ἀπέθανε. Chrys.) to be like (not, ‘made like:’ see reff., and compare Matthew 6:8; Matthew 7:26 al. The aor. expresses that this resemblance was brought about by a definite act, other than His former state: an important distinction, which however we must rather lose in the English than introduce an irrelevant idea by the word ‘made’) to his brethren (the children of Israel, as above: but obviously also, his brethren in the flesh—all mankind), that He might become ( γένηται, not simply , because the High Priesthood of Christ in all its fulness, and especially in its work of mercy and compassion and succour, was not inaugurated, till He entered into the heavenly place: see ch. Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 6:19-20; Hebrews 7:26; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 8:4. His being in all things like his brethren, sufferings and death included, was necessary for Him, in order to his becoming, through those sufferings and death, our High Priest. It was not the death (though that was of previous necessity, and therefore is often spoken of as involving the whole), but the bringing the blood into the holy place, in which the work of sacerdotal expiation consisted: see Leviticus 4:13-20, and passim: and below, on εἰς τὸ ἱλάσκ. κ. τ. λ.) a merciful (Luther, Grot., Böhme, Bleek, De W., Tholuck, take ἐλεήμων (formed as τλήμων, αἰδήμων, νοήμων) alone, and not as an epithet to ἀρχιερεύς, and Bl. maintains that grammar requires such a rendering, on account of the order of the words and the interposition of the verb γένηται. On the other hand, Bengel, Cramer, Storr, Ebrard, Hofmann, Delitzsch, take ἐλεήμων with ἀρχ., and Ebrard asserts that, had it been otherwise, πιστός would have followed ἀρχιερεύς. There does not seem to me to be much weight in either argument: and the words might be rendered either way, were it not for the scope and object of our epistle, which is rather to bring out the facts and accessories of Christ’s High Priesthood, and all His attributes as subordinate to it, than to place them, abstractedly, by the side of it, as would be the case if ἐλεήμων were to be taken independently here. Cf. ch. Hebrews 7:26, where many attributes of the Lord’s High Priesthood are accumulated. And especially here, where the first mention of ἀρχιερεύς occurs, would it be unnatural to find a mere attribute contemplated abstractedly and made co-ordinate with the office on which the Writer has so much to say hereafter. I therefore adopt the latter view, joining ἐλεήμων with ἀρχιερεύς. Bengel, with his usual fine tact, accounts for the inversion of the words thus: “De tribus momentis unum, ἐλεήμων, misericors, ante γένηται, fieret, ponitur, quia ex ante dictis deducitur. Reliqua duo commode innectuntur, quia cum primo illo postmodum tractanda veniunt.” Calvin has a beautiful note here: “In sacerdote, cujus partes sunt iram Dei placare, opitulari miseris, erigere lapsos, sublevare laborantes, misericordia inprimis requiritur, quam in nobis generat communis sensus. Rarum enim est ut tangantur aliorum ærumnis qui perpetuo beati fuerunt. Certe hoc Virgilianum ex quotidiana hominum consuetudine sumptum est: ‘Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco.’ Non quod experimentis necesse habuerit Filius Dei formari ad misericordiæ affectum, sed quia non aliter persuaderi nobis posset, ipsum esse clementem et propensum ad nos juvandos, nisi exercitatus fuisset in nostris miseriis; hoc enim ut alia nobis datum est. Itaque quoties nos urgent quævis malorum genera, mox succurrat nihil nobis accidere quod non in se expertus sit Filius Dei ut nobis condolescat: nec dubitemus ipsum nobis perinde adesse ac si nobiscum angeretur”) and faithful (true to His office, not only (Delitzsch) as regards God (ch. Hebrews 3:5-6), but as regards men also; to be trusted without fail: see ref., and cf. μαντεῖα πιστά, Soph. Trach. 77: also Philo, Quis Rer. Div. Hæres, § 18, vol. i. p. 486, ἀπιστῆσαι γενέσει τῇ πάντα ἐξ ἑαυτῆς ἀπίστῳ, μόνῳ δὲ πιστεῦσαι θεῷ τῷ καὶ πρὸς ἀλήθειαν μόνῳ πιστῷ, μεγάλης κ. ὀλυμπίου διανοίας ἔργον ἐστίν: and De Sacr. Abel et Cain, § 28, vol. i. p. 181, τοῦπιστευθῆναι χάριν ἀπιστούμενοι καταφεύγομεν ἐφʼ ὅρκον ἄνθρωποι· ὁ δὲ θεὸς καὶ λέγων πιστός ἐστιν) High Priest (this is the first mention of the sacerdotal office of Christ, of which so much is afterwards said in the Epistle, and which recurs again so soon, ch. Hebrews 3:1; see note on γένηται above, and that on εἰς τὸ ἱλάσκ. below) in matters relating to God (so in reff., and in many other examples in Bleek, Elsner, and Kypke: e. g. Xen. Rep. Lac. xiii. 11, βασιλεῖ οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἔργον καταλείπεταιἢ ἱερεῖ μὲν τὰ πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς εἶναι, στρατηγῷ δὲ τὰ πρὸς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους: Soph. Philoct. 1441, εὐσεβεῖν τὰ πρὸς θεούς: &c. The words must not be referred to πιστός, but to ἀρχιερεύς, as in the example from Xenophon; or rather to the whole idea, ἐλεήμων καὶ πιστὸς ἀρχιερεύς), to expiate the sins (from ἵλαος, propitious, comes ἱλάσκεσθαι, properly used passively of the person to be rendered propitious, see ref. Luke , 2 (4) 2 Kings 5:18. The expression here and in ref. Ps. is not a strict one: but is thus to be accounted for: God ἱλάσκεται (pass.), is rendered propitious to the sinner, who has forfeited His favour and incurred His wrath. But (see Delitzsch’s long and able note here) we never find in Scripture, O. T. or N. T., any such expression as ἱλάσθη ὁ πατὴρ περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν διὰ τὸν θάνατον τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ, or as χριστὸς ἱλάσατο (or ἐξιλάσατο) τὸν θεὸν (or τὴν ὀργὴν τοῦ θεοῦ) διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ: never κατηλλάγη (or ἀποκατηλλάγη) ὁ θεός. “As the O. T. no where says, that sacrifice propitiated God’s wrath, lest it should be thought that sacrifice was an act, by which, as such, man influenced God to shew him grace,—so also the N. T. never says that the sacrifice of Christ propitiated God’s wrath, lest it may be thought that it was an act anticipatory of God’s gracious purpose,—which obtained, and so to speak, forced from God previously reluctant, without His own concurrence, grace instead of wrath.” Del. To understand this rightly, is all-important to any right holding of the doctrine of the Atonement. This then is not said: but the sinner is (improperly, as far as the use of the word is concerned) said on his part, ἱλάσκεσθαι, to be brought into God’s favour; and if the sinner, then that on account of which he is a sinner, viz. his sin. The word here is middle, used of Him who, by His propitiation, brings the sinner into God’s favour, = makes propitiation for, expiates, the sin. The Death of Christ being the necessary opening and condition of this propitiation,—the propitiation being once for all consummated by the sacrifice of His death, and all sin by that sacrifice expiated, we must of necessity determine (against the Socinian view of Christ’s High Priesthood, which will again and again come before us in this commentary) that His High Priesthood was, strictly speaking, begun, as its one chief work in substance was accomplished, here below, during his time of suffering. That it is still continued in heaven, and indeed finds its highest and noblest employ there, is no reason against this view. The high priest had accomplished his sacrifice, before he went within the veil to sprinkle the blood: though it was that sprinkling of the blood (see on γένηται above) by which the atonement was actually made, as it is by the Spirit’s application of Christ’s atoning blood to the heart of each individual sinner that he is brought into reconciliation with God) of the people (again, the Jewish people, cf. ref. Matt. διὰ τί δὲ οὐκ εἰπε, τὰς ἁμαρτίας τῆς οἰκουμένης, ἀλλά, τοῦ λαοῦ; ὅτι τέως περὶ τῶν ἰονδαίων ἦν ὁ λόγος τῷ κυρίῳ, καὶ διὰ τούτους ἦλθε προηγουμένως, ἵνα τούτων σωθέντων καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι σωθῶσιν, εἰ καὶ τοὐναντίον γέγονε. Theophyl.).


Verse 18

18.] Explanation, how the κατὰ πάντα τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ὁμοιωθῆναι has answered the end, ἵνα ἐλεήμων γένηται κ. τ. λ. For He Himself having been tempted in that which He hath suffered, He is able to succour them that are (now) tempted (the construction is much doubted. The ordinary rendering is to take ἐν ᾧ as equivalent to ‘forasmuch as,’ “in that,” E. V., and to justify it by the Hebrew בַּאֲשֶׁר . But it is doubtful whether ἐν ᾧ has ever this meaning absolutely. It seems only to approach to it through ‘quatenus,’ ‘in as far as,’ which is an extension of its strict meaning, ‘in that particular in which,’ ‘wherein.’ And this slightly extended meaning is preferable in all the places usually cited to justify that other: e. g. Romans 8:3; ch. Hebrews 6:17; Plato, Rep. v. p. 455 ( ἔλεγες τὸν μὲν εὐφυῆ πρός τι εἶναι, τὸν δὲ ἀφυῆ, ἐν ᾧ ὁ μὲν ῥᾳδίως τι μανθάνοι, ὁ δὲ χαλεπῶς). And in places where there is no need even to strain the expression so far as this, it is far better to retain its literal rendering, ‘in the thing in which,’ ‘wherein.’ See Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 211: Fritzsche on Romans 8:3, who though he protests against quoniam in this place, seems too lenient to it in other passages.

But the difficulty by no means ends with taking ‘wherein’ for ἐν ᾧ. The first clause or protasis is open to several logical arrangements and consequent renderings. 1. ἐν ᾦ γὰρ πειρασθεὶς αὐτὸς πέπονθεν, δύναται τοῖς ( ἐν αὐτῷ) πειρ. βοηθ., “for He is able to help those who are tried by the same temptations in which His own sufferings consisted:” 2. ἐν ᾧ γὰρ πέπονθεν αὐτὸς πειρασθεὶς δυν. &c. as before, “for having been Himself tempted in that which He suffered,” &c.: 3. with the same arrangement of the Greek words, “for in that which He suffered when He himself was tempted, He is able to succour those who are tempted (in the same):” 4. resolving the participial construction, “for in that in which He himself was tempted and hath suffered He is able,” &c.

Of these I much prefer (2); because, α. it keeps together the prominent members of the logical comparison, πειρασθείς and πειραζομένους, giving ἐν ᾧ πέπονθεν as a qualification of πειρασθείς, and thus explaining wherein His temptation consisted. Nor, β. is it at all open to Lünemann’s objection, that it limits the power of Christ to help, to those things merely in which He himself has suffered and been tempted: stating as it does generally the fact πειρασθείς, and then specifying in what, viz. ἐν ᾧ πέπονθεν. It also, γ. corresponds exactly in construction with the similar sentence ch. Hebrews 5:8, ἔμαθεν ἀφʼ ὧν ἔπαθεν τὴν ὑπακοήν, in supplying an object after πέπονθεν. And, δ. it seems more natural that an object should be required after the perfect, than that it should be used absolutely. After ‘He hath suffered,’ we enquire, ‘What?’ after ‘He suffered,’—‘When?’

Of recent Commentators, Bleek takes nearly as above, after Chr. F. Schmid; and so Delitzsch in loc. (only maintaining that ἐν ᾧ is ἐν τούτῳ ὅτι, “in that He hath suffered,” not ἐν τούτῳ ᾧ, “in that which He hath suffered:” so Hofmann also): Ebrard prefers (4): Luther, Casaubon, Valcknaer, Fritzsche, al., take (3): (1) is mentioned by Bleek, but I am not aware that it has met with any fautor. It may be necessary to guard readers against the citation, in Dr. Bloomfield’s note, of Ebrard as if he rendered ἐν ᾧ “forasmuch as” or “in that.” His rendering is, “Quibus in rebus tentatus ipse (est et) passus est, iis tentatos potest adjuvare.”

On the sense, see Calvin’s note above. Christ’s whole sufferings were a πειρασμός in the sense here intended: see ch. Hebrews 4:15; James 1:2.

The δύναται βοηθῆσαι here is not to be understood of the power to which the Lord has been exalted through death and suffering to be a Prince and a Saviour,—which is not here in question: but of the power of sympathy which He has acquired by personal experience of our sufferings. As God, He knows what is in us: but as man, He feels it also. And by this, wonderful as it may seem, He has acquired a fresh power, that of sympathy with us, and, in consequence, of helping us. See my sermon on this text, in Quebec Chapel Sermons, vol. iii. p. 84. And this is the general view of expositors, both ancient and modern. Chrys. says, ὃ δὲ λέγει τοῦτό ἐστι· διʼ αὐτῆς τῆς πείρας ὧν ἐπάθομεν ἦλθε· νῦν οὐκ ἀγνοεῖ τὰ πάθη τὰ ἡμέτερα· οὐ γὰρ ὡς θεὸς μόνον οἶδεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἔγνω διὰ τῆς πείρας ἧς ἐπειράσθη· ἔπαθε πολλά, οἶδε συμπάσχειν. And the Schol. in ms. 113, cited in Bleek, τουτέστι, προθυμότερον ὀρέξει χεῖρα τοῖς πειραζομένοις (so far Œc. also) συγκαταβάσεως δὲ ὁ λόγος πρὸς τὸ νηπιῶδες τῶν ἀκουόντων).

CHAP. Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 4:16.] THE SON OF GOD GREATER ALSO THAN MOSES: AND INFERENCES THEREFROM. The Writer has arrived through the reasonings of ch. Hebrews 1:2, at the mention of the High Priesthood of Jesus. He might at once have passed thence to the superiority of His High Priesthood to that of the imperfect priests on earth. But one point yet remains, without which the gospel would not have its entire comparison with the law. The law was given by angels in the hand of a mediator. Moses was that mediator. Moses was above all others the Prophet by whom God had spoken to the Fathers in times past. Christ therefore must be compared with Moses, and shewn to be greater than he. This being done, he returns again to his central idea, the High Priesthood of Christ (ch. Hebrews 4:14); and from thenceforward treats of and unfolds it. Ebrard gives the detailed connexion well: “The angel of the covenant came in the name of God before the people of Israel; Moses in the name of Israel before God: the High Priest came in the name of God before Israel (with the name יהוה on his forehead), and in the name of Israel (with the names of the twelve tribes on his breast) before God (Exodus 28:9-29; Exodus 28:36-43). Now the N. T. Messiah is above the angels, according to ch. Hebrews 1:2; α. because in Himself as Son of God He is higher than they, and β. because in Him all humanity is exalted above the angels to lordship in the οἰκουμένη μέλλουσα, and that by this means, because the Messiah is not only מלאך, but also ἀρχιερεύς,—not only messenger of God to men, but also the propitiatory sacerdotal representative of men before God. Now exactly parallel with this runs our second part. The fundamental thesis, ch. Hebrews 3:3, πλείονος γὰρ οὗτος δόξης παρὰ ΄ωυσῆν ἠξίωται , is plainly analogous in form with the fundamental thesis of the first part, Hebrews 1:4, τοσούτῳ κρείττων γενόμενος τῶν ἀγγέλων. The N. T. Messiah is above Moses, because He, α. of Himself, as Son of the house (Hebrews 3:6), is above him who was only the servant of the house (cf. with Hebrews 3:5, θεράπων,Hebrews 1:14, λειτουργικὰ πνεύματα), and, β. because the work, of bringing Israel into rest, which was not finished by Moses, is now finished by Him (Hebrews 4:1 ff.). And this work Christ has finished, by being not, as Moses, a mere leader and lawgiver, but at the same time a propitiatory representative, an ἀρχιερεύς (ch. Hebrews 5:11 ff.). So far does the parallelism of the two portions reach even into details, that as the two divisions of the former part are separated by a hortatory passage, so are those of this part also:—

“I. The Son and the angels,

II. The Son and Moses

α. The Son of God of Himself higher than the λειτουργικὰ πνεύματα of God, Hebrews 1:5-14.

α. The Son of the house of Israel higher than the θεράπων of the house, Hebrews 3:1-6.

(Hortatory passage, Hebrews 2:1-4.)

(Hortatory passage, Hebrews 3:7-19.)

β. In Him manhood is exalted above the angels, Hebrews 2:5-16.

β. In Him Israel has entered into rest, Hebrews 4:1-13.

For He was also High Priest, Hebrews 2:17-18.

Thus He is also our High Priest, Hebrews 4:14-16.” Comm. pp. 123 f.

Ebrard has perhaps not enough noticed the prevalence of the hortatory mood not only in the interposed passage, Hebrews 3:7-19, but all through the section: cf. Hebrews 4:1; Hebrews 4:11; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 4:16.

 


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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Hebrews 2:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/hebrews-2.html. 1863-1878.


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Friday, July 21st, 2017
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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