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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Hebrews 3

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

1.] Whence (i. e. seeing that we have such a helper: it is connected with the result of ch. 2: not, surely, with ch. Hebrews 1:1, as De W. The fact just announced in Hebrews 2:18, is a reason for κατανοήσατε: see below), hely brethren (Michaelis proposed to put a comma at ἀδελφοί, and treat the two as separate,—brethren (and) saints. But, as Bleek observes, the rhythm seems against this, κλής. ἐπαυρ. μέτοχοι following. And a graver objection may be found in the choice of the words themselves: for there can hardly be a doubt that both are used in reference to the ἁγιαζόμενοι and ἀδελφοί of ch. Hebrews 2:11-12. Not that the ἀδελφοί here are Christ’s brethren: but that the use of the word reminds them of that brotherhood in and because of Christ, of which he has before spoken. Whether the idea of common nationality is here to be introduced, is at least doubtful. I should rather regard it as swallowed up in the great brotherhood in Christ: and Bleek has well remarked, that, had the Writer been addressing believing Jews and Gentiles, or even believing Gentiles only, he would have used the same term of address and without any conscious difference of meaning), partakers (see on μετέχειν, ch. Hebrews 2:14; and reff. here) of a heavenly calling ( κλῆσις, as usual, of the invitation, or summons, of God, calling men to His glory in Christ—and hence of the state which is entered by them in pursuance of that calling: cf. especially Philippians 3:14, τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ. Then also ἐπουρανίου (see reff.)—a calling made from heaven, see ch. Hebrews 12:25; “vocatio quæ de cœlo,” Syr. Or it may mean, the calling which proposes a heavenly reward,—whose inheritance is in heaven. By far the best way is, to join the two meanings together: so Bengel, “per Dominum e cœlo factæ, et eo, unde facta est, perducentis.” In fact the calling being ἐπουράνιος and proceeding from heaven, must of necessity be heavenly in its purport and heavenward in its result; eine vom himmel aus ergangene und gen himmel rufende: ihr Ausgangsort, ihr Inhalt, ihr Ziel—das Alles ist himmlisch. Delitzsch), contemplate (survey, with a view to more closely considering. The word is used of the survey of the spies at Jericho ( λαθόντες γὰρ τὸ πρῶτον ἅπασαν ἐπʼ ἀδείας τὴν πόλιν αὐτῶν κατενόησαν, τῶν τε τειχῶν ὅσα καρτερὰ κ. τ. λ. Jos. Antt. v. 1. 2: cf. also Genesis 42:9, κατάσκοποί ἐστε, κατανοῆσαι τὰ ἴχνη τῆς χώρας ἥκατε, and Numbers 32:8-9); and of fixing the thoughts on any object, see reff. Luke, with whom it is a favourite word. The meaning then of the exhortation here is not, ‘pay attention to’ (“ut sedule attendant ad Christum,” Calv.), ‘be obedient to,’ but as above) the Apostle and High Priest (notice that but one art. covers both ἀπόστ. and ἀρχ., thereby making it certain that both words belong to τῆς ὁμολογίας) of our profession, Jesus ( ἀπόστολον, as superior to the ἄγγελοι, being Himself the angel of the covenant, God’s greatest messenger: the word ἄγγελον being, as Ebrard, avoided, on account of its technical use before, to prevent Christ being confused with the angels in nature. He is ὁ ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ πατρός: see John 20:21. (I may remark, that the circumstance of the Writer using ἀπόστολος without scruple, as designating our Lord, may shew that the ἀπόστολοι as a class were not so distinctly marked as they have since been: a view supported also by some expressions of St. Paul: e. g. 2 Corinthians 8:23.)

Ebrard well remarks, that all the difficulties which Commentators have found in this term vanish, on bearing well in mind the comparison between Christ and the angels in ch. Hebrews 1:2. See an instance of this in the elaborate discussion of its meaning on Hebraistic grounds in the last edition of Tholuck; who, by rendering ἀπόστ., “mediator,” has lost the joint testimony of the two, ἀπόστ. and ἀρχ., to Christ’s mediatorship. Bengel says well on the two,—“ τὸν ἀπόστ., eum qui Dei causam apud nos agit: τὸν ἀρχ., qui causam nostram apud Deum agit. Hic Apostolatus et Pontificatus uno mediatoris vocabulo continentur.” τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμ., of our Christian confession,—i. e. of our faith: so Thl., τουτέστι τῆς πίστεως· οὐ γὰρ τῆς κατὰ νόμον λατρείας ἀρχιερεύς ἐστιν, ἀλλὰ τῆς ἡμετέρας πίστεως. And so Thdrt., Œc., and Erasm., Calv., Beza, Grot., al. Tholuck objects, that thus we get no good sense for ἀπόστολος: but he does not seem to have taken into account the parallel with ch. Hebrews 1:14. Thos. Aquinas, Luther, Camero, Calov., Owen (as an altern.), Wolf, al., and De Wette, and Tholuck, take the words as merely importing “whom we confess.” But although De W. defends this from ch. Hebrews 4:14, it does not seem to agree with the usage there, κρατῶμεν τῆς ὁμολογίας,—nor with ch. Hebrews 10:23,—nor 1 Timothy 6:12-13. To render ὁμολογία by “covenant,” as Camerar., Tittmann, al., is not according to N. T. usage, which always has διαθήκη for this idea. There is a remarkable passage quoted by Wetst., out of Philo de Somn. i. § 38, vol. i. p. 654, containing the expression ὁ μέγας ἀρχιερεὺς τῆς ὁμολογίας: a parallel hardly to be accounted accidental, especially as the ἀρχιερεύς here spoken of is the λόγος (see above,§ 37, p. 653, δύο ἱερὰ θεοῦ, ἓν μὲν ὅδε ὁ κόσμος, ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἀρχιερεύς, ὁ πρωτόγονος αὐτοῦ θεῖος λόγος). But Bleek has argued that, there being nothing in the context, or in the usage of Philo elsewhere, which can justify τῆς ὁμολογίας there, the only inference open to us is, that it has been inserted in Philo’s text from this passage.


Verse 2

2.] First, a point of likeness between our Lord and Moses is brought out, and that by a reference to an O. T. declaration respecting the latter ( μέλλει προϊὼν τὸν κατὰ σάρκα χριστὸν προτιθέναι ΄ωυσέως. ἀλλʼ ἐπειδή, εἰ καὶ πιστοὶ ἦσαν οὗτοι πρὸς οὓς ὁ λόγος, μεγάλας ἔτι δόξας εἶχον περὶ ΄ωυσέως, ἵνα μὴ εὐθέως ἀποφράξωσιν αὐτῶν τὰ ὦτα, οὐκ εὐθέως προτίθησι ΄ωυσέως τὸν χριστόν, ἀλλὰ τέως ἐξισοῖ· εἶτα προϊὼν προτίθησιν Œc.), who is (not, ‘was.’ The present participle may always be contemporary with a previously expressed verb, of any tense, provided that verb be absolutely in construction with the participle, as ἀνέβλεψε τυφλὸς ὤν, “he, being blind, received sight” = he was blind and received sight. But a present participle standing absolutely, or with a present verb, must retain its present force; as τυφλὸς ὢν ἄρτι βλέπω, “I, being a blind man, now see,” = ‘whereas I am (by infirmity, as every one knows, not, “whereas I was,” as in E. V. in loco, John 9:25) blind, now I see.’ And so the present sense must be retained here. Then a question arises: are we to understand it strictly of present time, of Christ now in heaven,—or as in the case cited, of general designation? Clearly, I think, of the latter: Jesus, whose character it is, that He is πιστός. For the strict present would, to say nothing of other objections, not apply to the ἀπόστολον portion of the Lord’s office, but only to the ἀρχιερέα. It, as Lünemann has well expressed it, charakterisirt das Treusein als inhärirende Eigenschaft) faithful (it is questioned, whether or not this word refers back to the πιστὸς ἀρχιερεύς of ch. Hebrews 2:18. The sense is certainly not the same: the faithfulness there being the fidelity wherewith He being like His brethren would, so to speak, reproduce their wants before God,—that here spoken of being His faithfulness to God, over whose house He is set, Hebrews 3:6. Still I cannot help thinking that the word itself is led to by, and takes up that other. That regarded more the sacerdotal, this regards the apostolic office of Christ) to him that made him (so we must render ποιήσαντι, not, “that appointed him.” And so D-lat., “fidelem esse creatori suo,” Ambrose, de Fide iii. 11, vol. ii. (iii. Migne) p. 512 (quoting as above, he adds, “Videtis in quo creatum dicit; in quo assumsit, inquit, semen Abrahæ, corporalem utique generationem asserit”), Vigil-taps(21) (contra Varimadum, i. 4, Migne, Patr. Lat. vol. lxii. p. 366, “fidelem existentem ei qui creavit eum”), Primasius (“qui fidelis est eidem Deo Patri qui fecit eum (so vulg.), juxta quod alibi dicitur: qui factus est ei ex semine David secundum carnem (Romans 1:3).” ibid.), Schulz, Bleek, Lünemann. The ordinary rendering, “who appointed Him” (viz. ἀπόστολον κ. ἀρχιερέα) does not seem to me to be sufficiently substantiated by any of the passages brought in its defence. That ποιεῖν with two accusatives signifies to appoint, to make into, of course no one doubts: cf. Genesis 27:37; Exodus 18:25; John 6:15; Acts 2:36. But our question is not of such constructions: we want to know whether ποιεῖν τινα can ever be filled up with a second accusative out of the context. Two passages are most frequently alleged to prove the affirmative. One is ref. 1 Kings, μάρτυς κύριος ὁ ποιήσας τὸν ΄ωυσῆν καὶ τὸν ἀαρών ( אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֶת־מ״ ), καὶ ὁ ἀναγαγὼν τοὺς πατέρας ὑμῶν ἐξ αἰγύπτου. But here Bleek, against Gesenius and De Wette, holds fast, and I think rightly, to the original sense of עָשָׂה, and renders “who made Moses and Aaron.” The other place, Mark 3:14, ἐποίησε δώδεκα ἵνα ὦσιν μετ ʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἵνα ἀποστέλλῃ αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν, is less still to the point, because there the ἵνα ὦσιν κ. τ. λ. qualifies the verb, and gives the second accusative, q. d. ἐποίησε δώδεκα τοὺς ἐσομένους κ. τ. λ. And the phrase ὁ ποιήσας αὐτόν, for God the Creator, is so common in the LXX, that had our Writer had that other meaning in his view, his readers would have been sure to misunderstand him. Bleek accumulates instances: cf. Isaiah 17:7; Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 51:13; Isaiah 54:5; Hosea 8:14; Job 35:10; Psalms 94:6 (Psalms 95:7); Psalms 149:2; Sirach 7:30; Sirach 10:12; Sirach 39:5, and many other places. He also presses the fact that ὁ ποιῶν in the Hellenistic Greek of Philo is the constant designation of God as the Creator. The word thus taken, is of course to be understood of that constitution of our Lord as our Apostle and High Priest in which He, being human, was made by the Father: not of Him as the eternal Word (as even Bleek and Lünemann, explaining it of His generation before the worlds), which would be irrelevant here, besides being against all Scripture precedent. Even Athanasius himself, though arguing against this unwarranted inference of the Arians from the phrases, seems to have understood it as we have done above: for he says, Contra Arianos ii. (iii.) 8, vol. i. (ii. Migne), p. 376, οὐχ ὅτι ὁ λόγος, ᾗ λόγος ἐστί, πεποίηται, νοεῖν θέμις· ἀλλʼ ὅτι λόγος ὢν δημιουργὸς ὕστερον πεποίηται ἀρχιερεὺς ἐνδυσάμενος σῶμα τὸ γεννητὸν καὶ ποιητόν. And so also the orthodox Latins, Ambrose, Vigil-taps(22), Primasius, explaining “creatio” by “corporalis generatio.” The Greek Fathers, generally, repudiate strongly this view, as was natural, living as they did in the midst of the strife. Chrys. says, τί ποιήσαντι; ἀπόστολον κ. ἀρχιερέα· οὐδὲν ἐνταῦθα περὶ οὐσίας φησίν, οὐδὲ περὶ τῆς θεότητος, ἀλλὰ τέως περὶ ἀξιωμάτων ἀνθρωπίνων. And so Œc. and Thl. Thdrt. even more plainly, ποίησιν δὲ οὐ τὴν δημιουργίαν, ἀλλὰ τὴν χειροτονίαν κέκληκεν. And Epiphan. Hær. lxix. 38. 39, vol. ii. (Migne), p. 761, distinctly denies any reference even to the humanity of Christ as created,— οὐδὲ τὴν αὐτὴν πλάσιν ἐνταῦθα διηγεῖται τοῦ σώματος, οὐδὲ τῆς αὐτοῦ ἐνανθρωπήσεως, οὐ περὶ κτίσεως ὅλως φάσκει, ἀλλὰ μετὰ τὴν ἐνδημίαν τοῦ ἀξιώματος τὸ χάρισμα. See other testimonies from the Fathers in Suicer, ii. p. 788), as also ( καί, to take another instance of faithfulness: thus, with every circumstance of honour, is Moses introduced, before any disparagement of him is entered upon) (was) Moses in all His house (from ref. Num., οὐχ οὕτως ὁ θεράπων μου ΄ωυσῆς ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ μου πιστός ἐστι. 1. It may be well to remark, that the substitution of αὐτοῦ for μου at once indicates to whom αὐτοῦ is to be referred: viz. to God, τῷ ποιήσαντι αὐτόν: see also below on Hebrews 3:6. And so most ancient and modern Commentators. Ebrard would make it both times reflexive—“his house,” i. e. the house to which he belongs: Bleek, both times to refer to Christ, whose house, as a Son, it is: Thl. gives the alternative, οἶκον τὸν λαὸν λέγει, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰώθαμεν λέγειν, ὁ δεῖνα τῆσδε τῆς οἰκίας ἐστίν· αὐτοῦ, δέ, ἤτοι τοῦ θεοῦ, ἢ τοῦ ΄ωυσέως· καὶ γὰρ καὶ τοῦ ΄. ἐλέγετο ὁ λαός, ὡς τὸ ὁ λαός σου ἥμαρτεν. But this last expression had a special reference, and did not represent a general truth. 2. The circumstance of the quotation makes it far more natural to refer ἐν ὅλῳ τ. οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ to Moses directly, and not to Christ, as Ebrard, al., putting a comma at ΄ωυσῆς. 3. The ellipsis is to be filled up by πιστὸς ἦν after τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ, as in the place cited. 4. The signification of ὁ οἶκος αὐτοῦ is well illustrated by 1 Timothy 3:15, πῶς δεῖ ἐν οἴκῳ θεοῦ ἀναστρέφεσθαι, ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐκκλησία θεοῦ ζῶντος. It imports the Church of God: and is one and the same here and in Hebrews 3:6; not two different houses, but the same, in the case of Moses taken at one time only,—in that of Christ, in its whole existence and development).


Verse 3

3.] For (the γάρ is best connected, as commonly, with the κατανοήσατε above: as containing the reason why our attention should be thus fixed on Jesus: for, though He has the quality of faithfulness in God’s house in common with Moses, yet is He far more exalted and glorious than he. Bleek, understanding αὐτοῦ above of Christ, inclines to connect γάρ immediately with it: “it is His house, inasmuch as,” &c. But surely a ratiocination so taken up from a pronoun of at least ambiguous reference, would, without something to emphasize αὐτοῦ as = ἑαυτοῦ, be exceedingly obscure to the reader. Others, as De Wette, would join it to the immediately preceding and render it explicatively: but this seems harsh and incoherent) this person (the transposition in the later MSS. to δόξης οὗτος has probably been made to bring οὗτος παρὰ ΄ωυσῆν together and πλείονος δόξης. But it is characteristic of our Writer to separate words constructed together by an emphatic word) hath been held worthy (the word includes, with the idea of ‘accounting worthy,’ that also of the actual bestowal of the dignity. So Philo, of Moses when a child, De Vit. Mos. i. 5, vol. ii. p. 83, τροφῆς οὖν ἤδη βασιλικῆς κ. θεραπείας ἀξιούμενος. And De Decal. § 21, p. 198, τὴν μέντοι προνομίαν ἧς ἐν τοῖς οὖσιν ἑβδομὰς ἠξίωται: Diod. Sic. xix. 11, τὴν δʼ εὐρυδίκην.… ἔκρινε μείζονος ἀξιῶσαι τιμωρίας: Arrian, Var. Hist. xii. 10, τῶν ἀριστείων ἠξιώθησαν. See more examples in Bleek. The word refers to the honour and glory wherewith God hath crowned Christ, in His exaltation to His right Hand; which is taken for granted without further explanation, as a fact well known to the readers) of more glory (not, “of so much the more:” the construction is as in ch. Hebrews 8:6, διαφορωτέρας τέτυχεν λειτουργίας, ὅσῳ καὶ κρείττονός ἐστιν διαθήκης μεσίτης) than (on παρά after a comparative, see note, ch. Hebrews 1:4), Moses, inasmuch as (this seems to give καθʼ ὅσον very happily, with just the same blending of analogy and inference) he hath more honour than the house (so is this gen. to be rendered, and not ‘in,’ or ‘from the house,’ as D-lat., “quanto majorem honorem habet domus is qui præparavit eam:” and so vulg., Luther, but combining with it the other rendering also (nachdem der eine grossere Ehre am hause hat der es bereitet denn das haus), Wolf, Peirce, al. This, that the Founder of the house had more glory from, or in the house, than Moses, was not true in fact of Christ: for they of the house had rejected Him. Cf. a very similar comparison in Philo, de Plant. Noë, § 16, vol. i. p. 340, ὅσῳ γὰρ ὁ κτησάμενος τὸ κτῆμα τοῦ κτήματος ἀμείνων, κ. τὸ πεποιηκὸς τοῦ γεγονότος, τοσούτῳ βασιλικώτεροι ἐκεῖνοι. The majority of Commentators take it as above: e. g. Chrys, πλείονα τιμὴν ἔχει τῶν ἔργων ὁ τεχνίτης, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦ οἴκου ὁ κατασκευάζων αὐτόν: and Thdrt., ὅση φησὶ ποιήματος πρὸς ποιητὴν διαφορά, τοσαύτη ΄ωυσέως πρὸς τὸν χριστόν. For the argument, see below) who established it (“ κατασκευάζειν οἶκον,” says Bleek, “is not to ‘found a household,’ so that ὁ κατασκευάσας τὸν οἶκον should designate the paterfamilias,—a meaning which can hardly be defended:—but the formula refers beyond doubt primarily to the erection of an actual house. The word is so used, of the preparation of a building,—a house, or temple, or ship, or town, &c.,—and especially in later Greek. So in our Epistle (in St. Paul it never occurs), besides here and Hebrews 3:4,—as in reff. also. 1 Maccabees 15:3, κατεσκεύασα πλοῖα πολεμικά: Jos. Vit. § 12, καθαιρεθῆναι τὸν οἶκον ὑπὸ ἡρώδουκατασκευασθέντα: Herodian, v. 6. 13, κατεσκεύασε δὲ καὶ ἐν τῷ προαστείῳ νεὼν μέγιστόν τε καὶ πολυτελέστατον: ib. § 22, πύργους τε μεγίστους καὶ ὑψηλοτάτους κατασκευάσας: Plut. Numa, p. 67 A, ἐνταῦθα κατασκευάζεται κατάγειος οἶκος οὐ μέγας: Diod. Sic. xi. 62, ἄλλας τριήρεις πολλὰς κατεσκεύασαν, &c. In almost all these places, the verb may be so taken as to include not only the erection of the building, ship, &c., but also the fitting up, providing with proper furniture ( κατασκευή, σκεύη), as indeed it is found more expressly used in Attic writers: e. g. Xen. Hiero ii. 2, μεγαλοπρεπεστάτας οἰκίας καὶ ταύτας κατεσκευασμένας τοῖς πλείστου ἀξίοις: id. Anab. iv. 1. 8, ἦσαν δὲ καὶ χαλκώμασι παμπόλλοις κατεσκευασμέναι αἱ οἰκίαι, and al.; Demosth. p. 1208, ἔτι δὲ σκεύεσιν ἰδίοις τὴν ναῦν κατεσκεύασα: p. 689, οἷς κατεσκευασμένην ὁρᾶτε τὴν πόλιν: ib., ὥστε τινὲς μὲν αὐτῶν πολλῶν δημοσίων οἰκοδομημάτων σεμνοτέρας τὰς ἰδίας κατεσκευάκασιν οἰκίας. And here also we may say, that κατασκευάζειν means more than οἰκοδομεῖν οἶκον, and includes, besides the building of the house, the fitting it up, and providing it with all requisites. So that to this κατασκευή of the house belong servants, male and female; and so here we may say that the οἰκέται, the servants of the house, are included. The sense then is this: just as he who has built and furnished a house,—for himself namely, as master of the house,—stands higher in honour than the house itself and the individual οἰκέται, so does Christ higher than Moses: and Christ is thus represented as he who has prepared the house of God (and therefore as its lord), to whom Moses also belongs, as an individual οἰκέτης. And so Chrys., Œc., &c.” Wetstein and Böhme have proposed a way of taking this verse which is at least specious: viz. to understand ὁ κατασκευάσας not of the Son, but of the Father, and the sentiment to be, inasmuch as he who established the house has more honour than the house, which honour Christ, as His Son, shares. But however suitable this idea may be in the next verse (see below), it is well answered by Bleek, al., that the insertion of it here would be quite alien from the object of the Writer, who is clearly comparing, directly, Moses and Christ: and that besides, a reference to a sentiment lying out of the immediate path of the argument would be introduced not by καθʼ ὅσον, but by πλήν, or ἀλλά (or δέ, as in Hebrews 3:4). I am surprised to find Hofmann and Delitzsch upholding this last-mentioned interpretation as the only right one. Surely the ellipsis of the proposition ‘the honour of the Father belongs to the Son also’ is not for a moment to be assumed. And besides, to suppose οὗτος in this verse, and ὁ κατασκευάσας, not to refer to the same person, would involve a harshness and carelessness of style neither of which belongs to our Writer. See more on next verse).


Verse 4

4.] For (expansion and justification of ὁ κατασκευάσας) every house is established by some one (i. e. it belongs to the idea of a house that some one should have built and fitted it up: arrangement implies an arranger, design a designer): but (contrast as passing from the individual to the general) He which established all things is, God (= God is he which established all things; θεός being the subject, and ὁ τὰ πάντα κατασκ., the predicate. Before treating of the misunderstanding of this verse by the Fathers, and by many of the moderns, let us endeavour to grasp its true meaning. The last verse brings before us Christ as the κατασκευαστής of the house of God. And this He is, in whatever sense οἶκος be taken: whether on the narrower sense which best suits this present comparison, or in the wider sense implied by the faithful centurion in Matthew 8:9, in which all natural powers are His οἰκέται. But He is this not by independent will or agency. διʼ οὗ καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας, is our Writer’s own language of the creation by Christ: and it is in accord with that of St. John, where he says πάντα διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο. He, as the Son, is ὁ κατασκευάσας the house of God—the Church, or the world, or the universe; but, apparently (cf. Hebrews 3:6), the former of these: but it is as one with,—by virtue of his Sonship,—Him who is ὁ πάντα κατασκευάσας, viz. God. And thus the αὐτοῦ, twice repeated in Hebrews 3:5-6, falls into its own place as belonging both times to God: Moses is His servant, part and portion of His household: Christ is His Son, over His household. And by this reference to God as the πρωτοκατασκευαστής, is the expression above, τῷ ποιήσαντι αὐτόν, illustrated and justified. So that this verse is not quasiparenthetic, as almost all the recent expositors make it—e. g. Tholuck, Bleek, Ebrard, Lünemann,—but distinctly part of the argument.

The ancient expositors, almost without exception, take θεός as predicate, and ( τὰ) πάντα κατασκευάσας as a designation of Christ—“now He that founded all things, is (must be) God:” thus making the passage a proof of the deity of Christ. The short-hand writer has apparently here blundered over Chrysostom’s exposition, for it is meagre and confused to the last degree; but Thdrt., Œc., and Thl., so explain it, regarding Hebrews 3:2 as an assertion of Christ’s superiority to Moses quoad His human nature, and this verse as regards His divinity. ὅρα πῶς ἤρξατο μὲν τῆς συγκρίσεως ἀπὸ τῆς σαρκός, ἀνέβη δὲ εἰς τὴν θεότητα, καὶ ἀσυγκρίτως ὑπερέχειν τὸν ποιητὴν τοῦ ποιήματος ἔδειξε. And so also Beza, Estius, Cappellus, a-Lapide, Cameron, Seb. Schmidt, Calmet, Bengel (who however as well as Cappellus, takes as the personal pronoun referring to Christ, and ( τὰ) πάντα κατασκευάσας as in apposition; but He, who &c., is God), al. But, apart from the extreme harshness and forcing of the construction to bring out this meaning, the sentiment itself is entirely irrelevant here. If the Writer was proving Christ to be greater than Moses inasmuch as He is God, the founder of all things, then clearly the mere assertion of this fact would have sufficed for the proof, without entering on another consideration: nay, after such an assertion, all minor considerations would have been not only superfluous, but preposterous. He does however, after this, distinctly go into the consideration of Christ being faithful not as a servant but as a son: so that he cannot be here speaking of His Deity as a ground of superiority).


Verse 5

5.] The argument proceeds, resuming the common ground of Hebrews 3:2; and Moses indeed (inasmuch as δέ following has the effect of bringing out, and thus emphasizing, χριστός, this μέν may almost be treated as a particle of disparagement: cf. Isocr. Panegyr. p. 178, ἡ καλουμένη μὲν ἀρχή, οὖσα δὲ συμφσρά—“which is called indeed … but really is …”) (was) faithful in all His (God’s, cf. above the words of the citation, on Hebrews 3:2) house, as a servant (cf. as above; the word θεράπων (see reff.) is often applied by the LXX to Moses. So also Wisdom of Solomon 10:16; Barnabas, Ep. c. 14, ΄ωυσῆς θεράπων ὢν ἔλαβεν ( τὰς πλάκας), αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ κύριος ἡμῖν ἔδωκεν. θεράπων differs from δοῦλος, in embracing all who are, whether by occasion or by office, subservient to another: thus the Etym. Mag.: θεράποντας οὐχ, ὥσπερ οἱ νεώτεροι, δούλους, ἀλλὰ πάντας τοὺς θεραπευτικῶς ἔχοντας, ὡςδαναοὶ θεράποντες ἄρηος·” καί, τὸν ἐν δευτέρᾳ τάξει φίλον, ὡςπάτροκλος ἀχιλλέως θεράπων.” Wetst., who also cites Apollonius, Ammonius, and Eustathius, to the same effect. This of course would allow the same person to be called by both names, as Moses is in Joshua 1:1-2 F. (not A), and al. Bleek well remarks here, that δοῦλος, had it been used of Moses in the place cited, would have served the Writer’s purpose here just as well for the argument, but not for the words εἰς μαρτ. τῶν λαληθησομένων, which here follow, indicating the nature of his θεραπεία), for testimony of the things which were to be (afterwards) spoken (these words are not to be joined with θεράπων, as Bleek, Lün., al., nor, as Estius, al., with πιστός; but with the whole preceding sentence: the purpose of the faithful service of Moses in God’s house was, εἰς μαρτ. κ. τ. λ. In considering the meaning of the words, surely we must look further than the commonly received shallow interpretation which refers them to the things which Moses himself was to speak to the people by God’s command. For how could his fidelity ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ θεοῦ, comprehending as it does the whole of his official life, be said to be εἰς μαρτύριον τῶν λαληθησομένων by him to the people? It seems to me that neither εἰς μαρτύριον ( ἐν τῇ μαρτυρίᾳ) nor τῶν λαληθησομένων ( τῶν λαληθέντων) will bear such an interpretation. And yet it is acquiesced in by Syr. (“in testimonium eorum quæ loquenda erant in ejus manu”), Chrys. (not perhaps exactly: τί ἐστιν, εἰς μαρτύριον; ἵνα ὦσι, φησί, μάρτυρες, ὅταν ἀναισχυντῶσιν οὗτοι: but this surely will not suit the gen. τῶν λαληθ.), Thdrt. ( ἐκεῖνος μὲν πιστὸς ἐκλήθη, ἵνα δειχθῇ ἀξιόχρεως νομοθέτης. τοῦτο γὰρ εἶπεν, εἰς μαρτ. τῶν λαλ.), Thl. ( ἵνα λαλῇ τὰ τοῦ δεσπότου τοῖς λοιποῖς οἰκέταις, κ. μάρτυς ᾖ τῷ θεῷ ἐν τῇ κρίσει τῶν λαληθέντων), Œc., Primas., Est., Corn.-a-Lap., Grot., Hamm., &c., Stuart, De W., Bleek, Lünem. But, 1. the εἰς with μαρτύριον seems best to express an ulterior purpose of the whole of that which is spoken of in the preceding clause: cf. the same combination in reff. Gospp.:—2. the neut. gen. after μαρτύριον is best understood of that to which the testimony referred, as in Acts 4:33; 1 Corinthians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Timothy 1:8 :—and 3. the future participle requires that the λαληθησόμενα should be referred to a time wholly subsequent to the ministry of Moses. This has been felt by some of the expositors, and curiously evaded: e. g. by Jac. Cappellus, “Rationi consentaneum erat ut statim initio fidelissimus comperiretur Moses, quo fide dignius esset testimonium quod postea perhibiturus erat in monte Sinai.” But unfortunately for this view, the incident from which this divine testimony to Moses is quoted, was long subsequent to the delivery of the law from Sinai. If then we are pointed onward to future time for τὰ λαληθησόμενα, what are they? What, but the matter of the divine ἐλάλησεν ἡμῖν ἐν υἱῷ of our ch. Hebrews 1:1? The whole ministry of Moses was, εἰς μαρτύριον of these λαληθησόμενα. And when Bleek says that the participle would not be put thus absolutely with such a signification, but would be qualified by ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν, or διὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ, or the like, or expressed τῶν μελλόντων λαληθῆναι, we may well answer that the Writer, having in ch. Hebrews 1:1 laid down λαλεῖσθαι as a common term for the revelations of the two dispensations, and again taken it up ch. Hebrews 2:2-3, had no need again to qualify it further than by the future participle. I interpret it then to mean the Gospel, with Calvin (“Moses, dum est ejus doctrinæ præco, quæ pro temporis ratione veteri populo erat prædicanda, simul testimonium Evangelio, cujus nondum matura prædicatio erat, reddidit. Nam certe constat, finem et complementum legis esse hanc perfectionem sapientiæ quæ evangelio continetur. Atque hanc expositionem exigere viaetur futurum participii tempus”), Owen (“ λαληθ. represents things future unto what he did in his whole ministry. This our translation rightly observes, rendering it, ‘the things that should be spoken after.’ And this as well the order of the words as the import of them doth require. In his ministry he was a testimony, or, by what he did in the service of the house he gave testimony: whereunto? to the things that were afterwards to be spoken, viz. in the fulness of time, the appointed season, by the Messiah: i. e. the things of the gospel. And this indeed was the proper end of all that Moses did or ordered in the house of God”), Cameron, Calov., Seb. Schmidt, Limborch, Wolf, Peirce, Wetstein, Cramer, Baumg., al., Ebrard, and, as I have found since writing the above note, Hofmann and Delitzsch): but Christ (scil. πιστός ( ἐστιν), to correspond with the πιστὸν ὄντα, ὡς καὶ κ. τ. λ. above, Hebrews 3:2. Some would supply ἐστιν only, as Erasm. (paraphr.), “At Christus, ut conditor ac filius, administravit suam ipsius domum:” but thus the parallelism would be broken. Then, supplying πιστός, are we to join it with ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκ. αὐτοῦ, as in Matthew 25:21; Matthew 25:23, ἐπὶ ὀλίγα ἦς πιστός, or to insert it before ὡς υἱός, and take it absolutely? Certainly the latter, as shewn by the order of the words in the previous sentence; the ellipsis here being, to judge by that order, between δέ and ὡς, not between υἱός and ἐπί) as a Son over his house ( αὐτοῦ here again of God,—not primarily, though of course by inference, of Christ. The house is God’s throughout: but Christ is of primary authority and glory in it, inasmuch as He is the Son in the house, and actually established the house. This, which I am persuaded is required by the context, is shewn decisively by ch. Hebrews 10:21, ἔχοντεςἱερέα μέγαν ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ. So Chrys. ( ἐκεῖνος μὲν εἰς τὰ πατρῷα ὡς δεσπότης εἰσέρχεται, οὗτος δὲ ὡς δοῦλος), Thdrt. (on the following words: οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ κέκληκε τοὺς πιστεύοντας κατὰ τὴν προφητείαν τὴν λέγουσαν, ἐνοικήσω ἐν αὐτοῖς κ. τ. λ.), D-lat. (but with “in,”—“Christus autem tanquam filius in domo ejus:” vulg. has “in domo sua”), Jerome (Ep. 18, ad Damas. § 5, vol. i. p. 49, “Christus autem ut filius super domum ejus”), Corn.-a-Lap., Schlichting, Peirce, Bengel, Storr, Morus, Abresch, Dindorf, al.: and recently, Stuart (but only as a question between ἑαυτοῦ and αὐτοῦ, and apparently without being aware that αὐτοῦ may have both meanings), and Lünemann. The greater number of Commentators refer it to Christ: many of them writing it αὑτοῦ, to which Bleek well replies, that had the Writer intended the emphatic reflexive pronoun to be understood, writing as he did without accents, he would certainly have used ἑαυ τοῦ, in a matter so easily confused. Of the rest, some, e. g. Ebrard, take αὐτοῦ as referring to Christ: and others, as simply the reflexive pronoun after the generic υἱός: “as a son over his (own) house:” thus Böhme, Bleek, De Wette, al. But thus the parallelism is destroyed, and in fact the identity of the house in the two cases, on which depends the strictness of the comparison between Moses and Christ. Most of the expositors have not felt this: but Ebrard has distinctly maintained that two houses are intended: “In the one house serves Moses for a testimony of the future revelations of God, the οἶκος itself being part of the μαρτύριον: the other οἶκος, the οἶκος of Christ, are we: it is a living house, built of living stones.” But this introduces a complicated comparison, and to my mind infinitely weakens the argument. There is but one house throughout, and that one, the Church of God, in which both are faithful; one as a servant, the other as a son: this house was Israel, this house are we, if we are found faithful in the covenant. So also I am glad to see Delitzsch takes the sentence. Dec. 31, 1858), whose (not (except by inference) Christ’s, as Œc., Jac. Cappellus, Estius, Owen, Bleek, De Wette, Ebrard, al., but, God’s,—as Chrys. ( οἶκος γάρ, φησίν, ἐσόμεθα τοῦ θεοῦἐάνπερ κ. τ. λ.), Thdrt. (see above on αὐτοῦ), Thl. (as Chrys., recognizing, however, Christ also, as the possessor of the house, οἶκον ἔχει καὶ ὁ χριστός, ἡμᾶς), Calvin (“Additur hæc admonitio, tunc eos in Dei familia locum habituros, si Christo pareant”), al., and Delitzsch. Besides the considerations urged above as affecting the question, we have the strong argument from Scripture analogy, cf. besides reff., 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:22; ch. Hebrews 10:21; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 3:12; which alone, especially ch. Hebrews 10:21, would go very far with me to decide the question) house (some, e. g. Bengel who would read ὃς οἶκος, urge the omission of the article here as against οὗ οἶκος: adducing such expressions as οὗ τὸ πτύον, ἧς ὁ ἀδελφός, ὧν τὸ στόμα, ὧν τὰ ὀνόματα, οὗ ἡ πληγή, ὧν τὰ κῶλα, οὗ ἡ φωνή, οὗ ἡ οἰκία. But in every one of these the subject is distributed: whereas here οἶκος and ἡμεῖς are not commensurate, the proposition merely expressing categorical inclusion, and God’s house being far wider than ἡμεῖς. Compare the precisely similar passage, 1 Peter 3:6, ἧς ( σάῤῥας) ἐγενήθητε τέκνα ἀγαθοποιοῦσαι κ. τ. λ.) are we (the Writer and his Hebrew readers: = of whose house we are, even as Moses was), if we hold fast (reff. Bleek objects to the shorter text here, that the Writer has twice besides used this verb, and both times with a tertiary adjectival predicate: see reff. But such a consideration can hardly override critical evidence) the confidence (reff.: not, “free and open confession,” as Grot. (“professio Christianismi aperta”), Hamm., Limborch, al., which would not suit κατάσχωμεν, a purely subjective word) and the (notice the article, which shews that this second noun is not merely explicative of the first, nor To Be Ranked In The Same category with it) matter of boasting (the concrete: not here to be confounded (although the confusion certainly did take place sometimes) with καύχησις, the abstract, as is done by Bleek, De Wette, Tholuck, &c. As παῤῥησία was subjective, our confidence, so is this objective, the object whereon that confidence is founded: see notes on reff. 2 Cor., where the same mistake has been made. And κατάσχωμεν is no objection to this: we may ‘hold fast’ an object of faith, though (see above) we could not ‘hold fast,’ except in a very far-off sense, an outward practice, such as a bold profession) of our hope ( καλῶς εἶπε τῆς ἐλπίδος, ἐπειδὴ πάντα ἦν ἐν ἐλπίσι τὰ ἀγαθά· οὕτω δὲ αὐτὴν δεῖ κατέχειν, ὡς ἤδη καυχᾶσθαι ὡς ἐπὶ γεγενημένοις: Chrys. See reff. and Romans 5:2).


Verse 7

7.] Wherefore (i. e. seeing that they are the house of Christ if they hold fast their confidence and boast of hope. It has been disputed, what verb is to be connected with, διό. Some (as Schlichting, J. Cappellus, Heinrichs, Cramer, Kuinoel, Ebrard, al.) join it immediately with μὴ σκληρύνητε, and regard the Writer as making the Spirit’s words his own: but this labours under the great difficulty that in Hebrews 3:9 the speaker is God Himself, and so an unnatural break is made at the end of Hebrews 3:8 (Delitzsch acknowledges this difficulty, but does not find it insuperable, and adopts the view). Others, as De W. and Tholuck, believe that the construction begun with διό is dropped, and never finished, as in Romans 15:3; Romans 15:21; 1 Corinthians 1:31; 1 Corinthians 2:9; supplying after διό, μὴ σκληρύνητε τὰς καρδ. ὑμ.,—or understanding διό more freely, “wherefore let it be so with you, as” &c. But by far the best way is, with Erasm. (annot.), Calv., Est., Pisc., Grot., Seb. Schmidt, Limborch, Bengel, Peirce, Wetst., Abresch, Böhme, Bleek, Lünem., al., to take the whole citation, including the formula of citation, as a parenthesis, and join διό with βλέπετε, Hebrews 3:12. The length of such parenthesis is no objection to this view: see ch. Hebrews 7:20-22; Hebrews 12:18-24, where the Writer, after similar parentheses, returns back into the previous construction. Nor again is it any objection, that in the midst of the citation, another διό occurs, Hebrews 3:10; for that διό belongs strictly to the citation, and finds both its preparation and its apodosis within its limits. Nor again, that the sentence beginning with βλέπετε, Hebrews 3:12, is more an analysis of the citation than an application of it: had this been so, we should more naturally have expected to find βλέπετε οὖν,—ch. Hebrews 12:25 supporting, instead of impugning (as Tholuck) this last reply to the objection),—even as the Holy Spirit saith (in Psalms 95, Heb. and Eng. This Psalm in the Heb. has no writer’s name: in the LXX it is headed, αἶνος ᾠδῆς τῷ δαυείδ. And it is ascribed to David in ch. Hebrews 4:7 below. The passage is cited as the direct testimony of the Holy Spirit, speaking through David: cf. reff.), To-day, if ye hear his voice (“In the Psalm, according to the Hebrew, the words corresponding to these, הַיּוֹם אִם־בְּקֹלוֹ תִשְׁמָעוּ, the second hemistich of the 7th verse, form an independent sentence, to be taken as a powerful exhortation expressed in the form of a wish, אִם, o si, utinam, as often. The sense from Hebrews 3:6 is,—‘Come let us fall down and bow ourselves, kneel before Jehovah our Creator. For He is our God and we the people of his pasture and the flock of his hand.’ Then this sentence follows: ‘O that ye might this day hearken to His voice!’ הַיּוֹם stands first with strong emphasis, in contrast to the whole past time, during which they had shewn themselves disobedient and rebellious against the divine voice, as e. g. during the journey through the wilderness, alluded to in the following verses: ‘to-day’ therefore means ‘now,’ ‘nunc tandem.’ Then in the following verses, to the end of the Psalm, is introduced, in the oratio directa, that which the divine voice, which they are to hear, addresses to them. And it is probable that the LXX took the words in the sense of the Hebrew: at least their rendering of אִם by ἐάν elsewhere gives no sure ground for supposing the contrary, seeing that they often give ἐάν for אִם as utinam, and that, in places where they would not well have understood it otherwise: e. g. Ps. 138:19. Yet it would be obvious, with such a translation, to take this period not as an independent sentence, but either in close connexion with the preceding period of the 7th ver., as a declaration of the condition of their being His people,—or in reference to the following, as a protasis to which Hebrews 3:8, μὴ σκληρύνητε κ. τ. λ., forms the apodosis. In this last way the Writer of our Epistle appears to have taken the words, from his beginning his citation with them: and yet more clearly from Hebrews 3:15, and ch. Hebrews 4:7.” Bleek: and so De Wette, on the Psalm: and Tholuck and Lünemann: and Calv. as an alternative. σήμερον will thus refer to the day in which the Psalm was used in public worship, whenever that might be. See below), harden not your hearts (Heb. heart. Bleek remarks, that this is the only place (in Heb. and LXX: βαρύνειν τ. κ. of the act of man is found Exodus 8:15; Exodus 8:32; 1 Kings 6:6) where this expression ‘to harden the heart’ is used of man’s own act: elsewhere it is always of God’s act, cf. Exodus 4:21; Exodus 7:3 (Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:19); Exodus 9:12 (Exodus 9:35); Exodus 10:20; Exodus 10:27; Exodus 11:10; Exodus 14:4; Exodus 14:17; Isaiah 63:17, and τὸ πνεῦμά τινος, Deuteronomy 2:30; whereas when the hardening is described as the work of man, the formula σκληρύνειν τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ is used, Deuteronomy 10:16; Nehemiah 9:17; Nehemiah 9:29; 2 Chronicles 30:8 (where however (23) reads τὰς καρδίας); 2 Chronicles 36:13; Jeremiah 7:26 al., or τὸν νῶτον αὐτοῦ, 4 Kings 17:14. For N. T. usage see reff.), as in the provocation (Heb. כִּמְרִיבָה, “as (at) Meribah.” In Exodus 17:1-7 we read that the place where the children of Israel murmured against the Lord for want of water was called Massah and Meribah,— καὶ ἐπωνόμασε τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ τόπου ἐκείνου πειρασμὸς καὶ λοιδόρησις, LXX. But the subsequent account of Numbers 20:1-13, makes it plain that the two names refer to two different events and places: and this is further confirmed by Deuteronomy 33:8, “Thy holy One whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah.” In the Psalm these two are mentioned together, and the LXX as usual translate the names, using here however the uncommon word παραπικρασμός, for λοιδόρησις, which is their word in Exodus 17:7, λοιδορία, Numbers 20:24 (so (24) (25)), and ἀντιλογία in Numbers 20:13 (24 Ald.); Numbers 27:14; Deuteronomy 32:51; Deuteronomy 33:8; Psalms 80:7; Psalms 105:32; the only places where they have preserved the proper name, being in Ezekiel 47:19 ( μαριμώθ), Ezekiel 48:28 ( βαριμώθ). In giving, for the proper names, their meaning and occasion, they have in fact cast light upon the sacred text; though it is rather exegesis than strict translation. The word itself, παραπικρασμός, is supposed by Owen to have found its way into the LXX from this citation: but there is no ground whatever for such a supposition. Though the subst. does not again occur, the verb παραπικραίνω occurs 35 times, and generally of men provoking God to anger. It has also been conjectured by Michaelis, that the LXX may, as they have never rendered Meribah by this word elsewhere, have read מָרָה, Marah, in their Hebrew text here, which they render πικρία in Exodus 15:23; Numbers 33:8-9. This may have been so, but is pure conjecture), in the time of (the κατά, as the Writer takes it, seems, by Hebrews 3:16 below, where only the verb παρεπίκραναν introduces the question, not παρεπ. καὶ ἐπείρασαν,—to be subordinate to the παραπικρασμός, and as so often, to signify ‘during,’ at the time of: so οἱ καθʼ ἡμᾶς, our contemporaries,— κατὰ ἄμασιν βαδιλεύοντα,— κατʼ ἀλέξανδρον: see Bernhardy, p. 241: Blomf., Glossary on Agam. 342. In the Heb. this second clause is distinct from the first, and introduces a fresh instance: see below) the day of the temptation in the wilderness (Heb., כְּיוֹם מַסָּה בַּמִּדְבָּר, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness: viz. that of the second murmuring against Moses and Aaron for want of water: see Numbers 20:1-13 . The place was in the wilderness of Sin, near Kadesh: ib. Numbers 20:1), where (we have the same construction of οὗ after τῆς ἐρήμου in ref. ὅπου, τουτέστιν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ· , οὗ ἐπείρασαν πειρασμοῦ, ἵνα ἢ τὸ οὗ ἄρθρον, ἀλλὰ μὴ τόπου δηλωτικόν. Œc. And in this latter way it is taken by Erasm. Schmid, Francke, Bengel, and Peirce. But the former way seems the more likely, on account of the arrangement of the words: if the latter had been intended, the order would more probably have been τοῦ πειρασμοῦ, οὗ ἐπείρασαν.… ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ. And the usage of οὗ for ὅπου, though not found elsewhere in this Epistle, is not uncommon in the LXX,—cf. Psalms 83:3; Ezekiel 21:16; Esther 4:3; Sirach 23:21,—and is found 24 times in the N. T.) your fathers tempted by way of trial (‘tempted (me) in trying,’ or ‘proving (me).’ It will be seen that the more difficult reading is sustained by the consent of the most ancient MSS., and expressly supported by Clem.-alex(26); who cites the whole passage, and, as is evident by his insertion of διό before προσώχθισα, from our Epistle: and continues, ἡ δὲ δοκιμασία τίς ἐστιν εἰ θέλεις μαθεῖν, τὸ ἅγιόν σοι πνεῦμα ἐξηγήσεται· καὶ εἶδον κ. τ. λ. The idea of such a reading being “an alteration to remove a seeming roughness of style” (Dr. Bloomfield) is simply absurd, the roughness existing not in the received text and LXX, but in the expression ἐπείρασαν ἐν δοκιμασίᾳ. It is very difficult to account for such a reading: and Bleek supposes that it may have existed in the Writer’s copy of the LXX ἐν δοκιμασίᾳ, i. e. θ̅ δοκι΄αϹια, being written for θδοκι΄αϹ̅ α̅; and instances ch. Hebrews 10:5, σῶμα, and ch. Hebrews 12:15, ἐνοχλῇ, as similar cases. For the usage of the word δοκιμασία, see reff.), and saw my works (Heb., נַּם־רָאוּ פָעֳלִי, “moreover they saw my work”—i. e. my penal judgments; so Ewald, and Bleek: and so the word פֹּעַל is used in Psalms 64:10; Isaiah 5:12; Habakkuk 1:5; Habakkuk 3:2; for these penal judgments lasted during the forty years, and it is they which are described in the next sentence. The meaning given by most expositors, “although they saw my works (miracles of deliverance, &c.) for forty years,” is not so likely, seeing that these provocations happened at the beginning of the forty years. But see below) forty years (these words in the Heb. most probably belong, as rendered in our E. V., to what follows: an arrangement rendered impossible here, on account of διό following. But that such arrangement was not unknown to our Writer is plain, from his presently saying, Hebrews 3:17, τίσιν δὲ προσώχθισεν τεσσερἀκοντα ἔτη; It is therefore likely that he did not choose this arrangement without reason. And if we ask what that reason was, we find an answer in the probability that the forty years’ space is taken as representing to the Hebrews their space for repentance; their σήμερον, between the opening of the preaching of the gospel (cf. ch. Hebrews 2:2), and their impending destruction. This idea was recognized by the Jews themselves in their books: e. g. Sanhedr. fol. 99. 1, “R. Eliezer dixit: dies Messiæ sunt 40 anni, sicut dicitur, Quadraginta annos &c., Psalms 95:10;” and then follows a proof of it from this passage in the Psalm: Tanchuma, fol. 79. 4, “Quamdiu durant anni Messiæ? R. Akiba dixit, Quadraginta annos, quemadmodum Israelitæ per tot annos in deserto fuerunt.” “And if,” continues Bleek, “this idea of the days of the Messiah was prevalent, that they were the immediate precursors of the עוֹלָם הַבָּא (the age to come) as the time of the great Sabbath-rest, and the completed glory of the people of God,—this is something very analogous to the acceptation of the period of the forty years which seems to underlie what is said of them in our Epistle.” If so, it is possible that the meaning of καὶ εἶδον τὰ ἔργα μου above may be, that they saw My wonderful works and took no heed to them, and thereby increased their guilt).


Verses 7-19

7–19.] See the summary at the beginning of the chapter. Exhortation, founded on the warning given by the Spirit in Psalms 95, not to allow an evil heart of unbelief to separate them from this their participation in the house of God.


Verse 10

10.] Wherefore (see above: διό is inserted, to mark more strongly the reference of τεσς. ἔτη to the preceding. It is impossible, with διό, to join those words to this sentence and understand διό as = διὰ ταῦτα, Estius, Piscator, Grot., &c. Instead of being so anxious, at the expense of the meaning of words, to put our citations straight to the letter, it is far better to recognize at once the truth, for such it is, which Calvin here so boldly states: “Scimus autem apostolos in citandis testimoniis magis attendere ad summam rei, quam de verbis esse solicitos”) I was offended ( προσοχθίζω and ὀχθίζω are Alexandrine forms peculiar to the LXX. The classical word is ὀχθέω, frequently found in Homer; προσοχθέω is cited in Palm and Rost’s Lexicon from Pisid fragm. (?). The root seems to be ἔχω, from which also we have the cognate word ἄχθος, - ομαι, which, says Passow, differs from ὀχθέω in being always used of a literal and material burden, whereas this is always of a metaphorical and mental one. ἔχθος in all probability is another cognate word similarly derived. The substantive ὄχθη does not seem to be any further connected with ὀχθέω and ὀχθίζω than by derivation from a common root. ὄχθη is that which stands out or protrudes: ὀχθέω, to stand out against to thrust oneself in the way of: “affinis phrasis, adversum incedere, Leviticus 26:24; Leviticus 26:28,” Bengel: hence ὄχθαι ποταμοῖο, the banks of a river: so Eustathius, ὄχθος, παρὰ τὸ ἔχειν ( ἐχέχειν) τοπικὸν ἐπανάστημα: but no nautical metaphor, as “infringing (impinging?) upon the shore, running aground” (Stuart, al., after Suidas, προσώχθικε· προσκέκρουκε, προσκέκοφεν· ἀπὸ τοῦ τὰ ἐπινηχόμενα ταῖς ὄχθαις προσκρούεσθαι), is to be thought of. Hesychius interprets ( προσοχθισμός, πρόσκρουσις, δεινοπάθεια) with this generation (the LXX has ἐκείνῃ, as the rec. here: there is no demonstrative in the original Hebrew, בְּדוֹר . I quite think with Böhme and Bleek, that the change is made by our Writer for a set purpose, viz. to extend the saying, by making γενεά thus import the whole Jewish people, over the then living race, as well as that which provoked God in the wilderness. Cf. Matthew 24:34, and note), and said, They do always err in their heart (Heb., “They are a people of wanderers in heart.” Bleek thinks the ἀεί of the LXX is owing to the taking עַם, people, for עוֹלָם, or עַד, or עוֹד, which last Symmachus has translated ἀεί in Psalms 49:10; Psalms 139:18), but they (in Heb., merely “and they,” and so in the LXX-B, καὶ αὐτοὶ οὐκ ἔγν. Our text agrees with the alex. MS., which marks off the clause more strongly with δέ [so also (27)]. Bengel justifies this: “ הֵם in Hebr. iteratur magna vi. Accentus hic incipiunt hemistichium. Itaque non continetur sub εἶπον dixi, sed sensus hic est: illi me sibi infensum esse sentiebant, αὐτοὶ δέ, iidem tamen nihilo magis vias meas cognoscere voluerunt. Simile antitheton: illi, et ego, cap. Hebrews 8:9, coll. Hebrews 3:10. Sic, at illi, Psalms 106:43; cf. etiam Luke 7:5; Isaiah 53:7 in Hebr.”) knew not (aor., as their ignorance preceded their wandering, and is treated as the antecedent fact to it. The not knowing, where matters of practical religion are concerned, implies the not following) my ways (i. e. the ways which I would have them to walk in, דְּרָכַי : so Genesis 6:12; Exodus 18:20, σημανεῖς αὐτοῖς τὰς ὁδοὺς ἐν αἷς πορεύσονται, and passim. The meaning given to the clause by Stuart, al., “They disapproved of (?) God’s manner of treating them,” is quite beside the purpose, and surely not contained in the words: see on Romans 7:15; 1 Corinthians 8:3), as (this ὡς corresponds to the Heb. אֲשֶׁר, which is often used as a conjunction, with various shades of meaning all derivable from its primitive sense, as ‘quod’ in Latin. In Genesis 11:7, which De W. on the Psalm adduces to justify so dass, it has a telic force: and so the LXX, ἵνα μὴ ἀκούσωσιν ἕκαστος τὴν φωνὴν τοῦ πλησίον . But it seems hardly to bear the ecbatic, “so that:” at least I can find no example. The sense here appears to be ‘according as,’ ‘in conformity with the fact, that:’ such conformity not necessarily implying that the excluding oath was prior to the disobedience, but only that the oath and the disobedience were strict correlatives of one another. As the one, so was the other) I sware (see Numbers 14:21 reff.; Numbers 32:10 ff.: Deuteronomy 1:34 ff.) in my wrath (not, ‘by my wrath,’ though such a rendering would be grammatical (cf. Matthew 5:34; Matthew 23:16; Revelation 10:6; Psalms 62:11); for such a method of swearing on God’s part is never found), If they shall enter (this elliptical form of an oath stands for a strong negative: it is sometimes, when man is the speaker, filled up by “The Lord do so to me and more also, if …” Cf. ref. Mark: 2 Samuel 3:35 al. It is interpreted below, Hebrews 3:18; τίσιν δὲ ὤμοσεν μὴ εἰσελεύσεσθαι κ. τ. λ.) into my rest (in the Psalm, and in the places referred to above, the rest is, primarily, the promised land of Canaan. Œc. says, εἰς τοσοῦτόν φησιν οὐκ ἔγνωσαν τὰς ὁδούς μου, ἕως εἰς τοῦτό με ἤγαγον, ὥστε ὀμόσαι μὴ εἰσελθεῖν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὴν κατάπαυσίν μου, τουτέστι τὴν γῆν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, ἐν ᾗ εἰσελθόντες ἔμελλον ἀπὸ τῶν πολεμίων ἀναπαύεσθαι. In Deuteronomy 12:9-10, the words κατάπαυσις and καταπαύσει ὑμᾶς are used of the promised inheritance of Canaan. But it has been well noticed, that after Joshua had led the people into the land, they never in reality enjoyed entirely the rest which had been promised;—and in consequence, the meaning of that threat of God opened out before them, and it became plain that more was denounced upon the γενεά than one generation merely could exhaust, more also than the mere not entering into Canaan. Hence the prophetic pregnancy of the oath became evident, and its meaning was carried on in this exhortation by the Psalmist, and is here carried on by the sacred Writer of this Epistle, to a further rest which then remained for Israel, and now still remains for the people of God. Bleek notices the use of κληρονομεῖν τὴν γῆν in the Psalms, as a promise of blessings yet future (cf. Ps. 24:13; 36:9, 11, 22, 29), as pointing the same way: and it is interesting to remember that we have our Lord, in the opening of his ministry, taking up the same strain, and saying, μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς, ὅτι αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσιν τὴν γῆν):—


Verse 12

12.] take heed (on the connexion of this with διό above Hebrews 3:7, see note there. βλέπετε is only again found in our Epistle at ch. Hebrews 12:25. This construction with an indicative future (see reff. on ἔσται) is hardly, as Bleek, to be explained by the interrogative force of μή: but falls under a class of constructions with ἵνα, ὅπως, ὡς, μή, in which there is a mingling, in case of μή, of the fear lest it should, and the suspicion that it will; and in case of the other particles, of the purpose that it may, and the anticipation that it will. This logical account of the construction is plainer when a past tense is concerned: as in Thuc. iii. 53, φοβούμεθα μὴ ἀμφοτέρων ἅμα ἡμαρτήκαμεν, “We fear lest (that,—in English idiom) we have missed both at once.” See Hartung, Partikellehre, ii. 140, and Bernhardy, p. 402: and cf. ref. Col.: and the examples in Bleek), brethren, lest (on ποτε not to be pressed as meaning ‘at any time,’ see above on ch. Hebrews 2:1) there shall be (for construction, see above) in any one of you (not the same as ἐν ὑμῖν. Calvin (see also Schlichting in Bleek) remarks well, “Nec tantum in universum præcipit Apostolus ut sibi omnes caveant, sed vult ita de salute cujusque membri esse sollicitos, ne quem omnino ex iis qui semel vocati fuerint, sua negligentia perire sinant. Atque in eo boni pastoris officium facit, qui ita excubare pro totius gregis salute debet, ut nullam ovem negligat”) an evil heart of unbelief (the gen. ἀπιστίας is possessive; an evil heart ( ἀεὶ πλανῶνται τῇ καρδίᾳ) belonging to, characteristic of, unbelief. This is plain, from the consideration that ἀπιστία is, throughout, the leading idea,—cf. Hebrews 3:19, and ch. Hebrews 4:3,—and not the καρδία πονηρά. Bleek, al. make it a gen. of origin, which in sense comes to the same, but is not so simple in grammar: Calv. (“Significat, conjunctam cum pravitate et malitia fore incredulitatem”), De W., al. a genitive of result (?), “which leads to unbelief:” this latter is logically wrong:—Delitzsch, a qualitative genitive in the widest sense: but this would put ἀπιστίας too much in the background. ἀπιστία must be kept to its simple primary meaning, not rendered, as Schulz, and Bretschneider and Wahl in their Lexicons, disobedience; it was not this, but disbelief in the strictest sense, which excluded them, and against which the Hebrews are warned. That it led on to ἀπείθεια, we all know, but this is not before us here), in (the element in which the existence of such an evil heart of unbelief would be shewn) departing (viz. in the sense indicated by the cognate substantive: apostatizing, falling from the faith: see below) from ( ἀποστῆναι is commonly constructed with ἀπό in N. T. and LXX: reff. 1 Tim., and Wisd. are exceptions. The classical writers usually construct it with a genitive only, as in these two last passages: see Demosth. p. 78. 21, and numerous other examples in Reiske’s index: and Bleek) the living God (by using this solemn title of God, he not only warns them from Whom, and at what risk, they would depart, but also identifies the God whom they would leave, with Him who had so often called Himself by this name as the distinctive God of Israel, and as contrasted with the dumb and impotent idols of other nations. And thus he shews them that Israel, and the privileges and responsibilities of Israel, were now transferred to the Christian Church, from which if they fell away, they would be guilty of apostasy from the God of Israel. Compare the three other places (reff.) where the term occurs in our Epistle, and the notes there),—


Verse 13

13.] but ( ἀλλά after a negative sentence loses its stronger force of ‘nevertheless,’ the contrast already lying in the context: and here the preceding exhortation though really a positive one, βλέπετε, passes as a negative one from the sense, as if it were, ‘Let there not be,’ &c.) exhort yourselves (so, in a literal rendering, should the word be given, and not “one another,” though English idiom may require this latter in a version intended for use. I have already dealt with this supposed ἑαυτ. “for ἀλλήλ.” on ref. Col.: and Bleek treats of it at some length here. “In the word ἑαυτούς we have merely this: that the action to which the subject is united, refers to the subject itself, i. e. to ὑμᾶς. Since however this is a plural idea, a multitude consisting of many members,—the words do not express whether an influence is meant which the different members are to exert one upon another, or each one on himself, or each on himself and on others as well: as regards the expression, it is just as general and indefinite as if it were said, ἡ ἐκκλησία παρακαλείτω ἑαυτήν. Still, in the idea of the verb, or otherwise in the context, it may be made clear which of these meanings is intended: and so we find this reflective third person plural frequently used,—whether it imply actually the third person, or the first or second,—where from the context it can only be taken in the second of the above senses, viz. that of an influence to be exerted, in a body consisting of many members, by one member upon another: where, in other words, ἀλλήλων might stand without change of the sense. So in reff.: and in the best Greek writers, e. g. Xen. Mem. iii. 5. 2, εὐμενεστέρουςἑαυτοῖς: § 16, οἵγε ἀντὶ μὲν τοῦ συνεργεῖν ἑαυτοῖς τὰ συμφέροντα, ἐπηρεάζουσιν ἀλλήλοις, καὶ φθονοῦσιν ἑαυτοῖς μᾶλλον ἢ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἀνθρώποις: ib. ii. 7. 12, and De Venat. vi. 12, &c. As regards our passage, this certainly is especially meant, that in the Church one should exhort another: yet not excluding the implication, that each one should himself be exhorted by his exhortation of the Church. In Colossians 3:16, we have the same relation expressed”) day by day (reff.: so Xen. Mem. iv. 2. 12: De Re Equest. Hebrews 3:9 al. generally in the classics καθʼ ἑκάστην, or καθʼ ἡμέραν, elliptically), as long as ( ἄχρις, connected with ἄκρος, as μέχρι with μακρός, properly means ‘to the height of,’ and hence, ‘up to,’ of space,—‘until,’ of time. Hence, by a mixed construction, not unfrequently, as here, ‘as long as,’ i. e. ‘up to the moment of such or such a state enduring in existence:’ see in reff.) the (word) “To-dayis named (i. e. as long as that period endures, which can be called by the name “to-day” as used in the Psalm. That period would be here, the day of grace; the short time (see ch. Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 10:37) before the coming of the Lord. And so Chrys.: τὸ γὰρ σήμερον, φησίν, ἀεί ἐστιν ἕως ἂν συνεστήκῃ ὁ κόσμος:—on the other hand, many Commentators understand, the term of their natural life; so Basil (Ep. 42. 5, vol. iv. p. 130), Thdrt., Thl., Primasius, Erasm., Corn. a-Lapide, al. But the words themselves, τὸ σήμ. καλεῖται, are somewhat ambiguous in meaning. De W. with several others, take σήμερον as indicating the whole passage of which it is the first word, and καλεῖται as = κηρύσσεται: so Bengel, “Dum Psalmus iste auditur et legitur.” But this seems neither so simple nor so applicable: seeing that, ch. Hebrews 4:7, he again calls attention to this σήμερον not as indicating the whole passages, but as πάλιν τινὰ ὁρίζον ἡμέραν), that from among you (emphatic, as contradistinguished from οἱ πατέρες ύμῶν, Hebrews 3:9. This not having been seen, the transposition, as in rec., has taken place) no one be hardened (as they, Hebrews 3:8) by deceit of (arising out of, belonging to) his sin (cf. Romans 7:11, ἡ γὰρ ἁμαρτία.… ἐξηπάτησέν με καὶ.… ἀπέκτεινεν. See also Eph. in reff. ὁρᾷς, says Chrysostom, ὅτι τὴν ἀπιστίαν ἡ ἁμαρτία ποιεῖ. And Œc., ἀπατηθεῖσα διὰ τῆς ἀπιστίας ἣν νῦν ἁμαρτίαν ἐκάλεσεν. In ch. Hebrews 11:25; Hebrews 12:4, ἁμαρτία is similarly used for defection from God).


Verse 14

14.] A reason given for βλέπετε κ. τ. λ., enforcing the caution; since it is only by endurance that we can become partakers of Christ.

For we have become (Bleek remarks, “Our Writer loves the use of this word γέγονα, where he designates a state to which any one has attained, even where it would have been sufficient to have expressed by εἶναι simply the being (das sich befinden) in that state.” See reff. But here it is rather perhaps proleptic, looking on to the fulfilment of the condition to be stated) partakers of Christ (some, e. g. Michaelis, Paulus, Bretschn., De Wette, take these words as τοὺς μετόχους σου ch. Hebrews 1:9, to signify “fellow-partakers with Christ;” but as Bleek remarks, in all the places where our Writer himself uses μέτοχος with a gen. (ch. Hebrews 1:9 being a citation), it ever signifies partaker ‘of,’ and not ‘with,’ that genitive noun. So μετόχους γενηθέντας πνεύματος ἁγίου, ch. Hebrews 6:4; also ch. Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 12:8;—and μετέχειν τινός, ch. Hebrews 2:14; Hebrews 5:13; Hebrews 7:13. So Chrys. ( μετέχομεν αὐτοῦ φησιν κ. τ. λ.), Thl. ( μετέχομεν αὐτοῦ ὡς σῶμα κεφαλῆς), Œc., Primas., Luther, Bengel, Bleek, Lünemann, &c.), if, that is ( περ is originally the same as περί, and is found as an enclitic in Latin as well as in Greek, in ‘paulisper,’ ‘parumper,’ ‘semper,’—bearing the sense of ‘omnino,’ or the German prefixed all, in allda, allwo, also, &c., and in our ‘although.’ See an interesting chapter in Hartung ii. 327–344, and Donaldson’s New Cratylus, p. 231 ff. ἐάνπερ does not occur in St. Paul, nor his usual εἴπερ in this Epistle. We have it in Herod. vi. 57, πατρούχου τε παρθένου πέρι, ἐς τὸν ἱκνέεται ἔχειν, ἢν μή περ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτὴν ἐγγυήση, if, that is … ‘si omnino’ …), we hold fast (see on Hebrews 3:6) the beginning of our confidence (the earlier Commentators, down to Calvin, do not seem to have been aware that ὑπόστασις has in Hellenistic Greek the signification of ‘confidence.’ That it has, is now proved beyond a doubt. Thus Polyb. iv. 54. 10, οἱ δὲ ῥόδιοι, θεωροῦντες τὴν τῶν βὐζαντίων ὑπόστασιν, πραγματικῶς διενοήθησαν πρὸς τὸ καθικέσθαι τῆς προθέσεως: ib. vi. 55. 2, οὐχ οὕτω τὴν δύναμιν, ὡς τὴν ὑπόστασιν αὐτοῦ καὶ τόλμαν καταπεπληγμένων τῶν ἐναντίων: Diodor. Sic. Excerpta de Virt. et Vit. p. 557, ἡ ἐν τοῖς βασάνοις ὑπόστασις τῆς ψυχῆς καὶ τὸ καρτερικὸν τῆς τῶν δεινῶν ὑπομονῆς περὶ μόνον ἐγενήθη τὸν ἀριστογείτονα. See more examples in Bleek and Lünemann. Diod. Sic. also uses ὑποστατικός of one who is of a confident nature (xx. 78), and Polyb. v. 16. 4, ὑποστατικῶς. See also notes on reff. 2 Cor. and Hebrews 11:1, and the reff. in the LXX.

The Greek Fathers mostly give ἀρχὴν τῆς ὑποστάσεως the sense of “our faith:” and Chrys. and Thl. explain how they came by this meaning: τὴν πίστιν λέγει διʼ ἧς ὑπέστημεν. The Latins also, as vulg., “initium substantiæ ejus,” or as Primasius, “fidem Christi per quam subsistimus et renati sumus, quia ipse est fundamentum omnium virtutum.” And thus, or similarly, many of the moderns, even recently Bisping, “the beginning of the subsistence of Christ in us.” Calvin himself gives it “fiduciæ vel subsistentiæ.”

It is somewhat doubtful, whether τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς ὑποστ. is to be understood ‘the beginning of our confidence,’ i. e. our incipient confidence, which has not yet reached its perfection,—or, ‘our former confidence,’ τὴν ὑπόστασιν τὴν ἐξ ἀρχῆς, as 1 Timothy 5:12, τὴν πρώτην πίστιν ἠθέτησαν [cf. also Revelation 2:4]. This latter is taken by very many, as Grot., Wolf, Tholuck, Delitzsch, al.: but the other is far better, inasmuch as it keeps the contrast between ἀρχή and τέλος; ‘if we hold fast this beginning of our confidence firm until the end.’ Otherwise, by making ἀρχὴν τῆς = ἀρχαίαν, the contrast vanishes) firm unto the end (see reff. The end thought of is, not the death of each individual, but the coming of the Lord, which is constantly called by this name),—


Verse 15

15.] The whole connexion and construction of this verse is very difficult. I. α. Chrys., Œc., Thl., Erasm. (annot.), Grot., al. suppose a new sentence to begin, and a parenthetical passage to follow from the end of this verse to ch. Hebrews 4:1, where the sense is taken up again by φοβηθῶμεν οὖν. Besides the contextual objections to this (which see in the connexion below) there are these: 1. that δέ or some such connecting particle would thus be wanted here; 2. that thus the οὖν of ch. Hebrews 4:1 would be very unnatural. β. Semler, Morus, Storr, De W., Bleek, Tholuck, Lünem., Delitzsch, Winer (§ 63. I. 1, edn. 6), al. still regarding it as the beginning of a new sentence, believe the apodosis to follow at τίνες γάρ, the first question: and justify this use of γάρ at the beginning of a question. But here again the omission of δέ ( ἐν δὲ τῷ λέγ.) would be unnatural, besides that such a γάρ in a question does not seem precedented, when that question is in an apodosis with an ellipsis of λέγω or the like. γ. J. Cappellus, Carpzov, Kuinoel, al. beginning also a sentence at ἐν τῷ λ., believe the apodosis to commence at μὴ σκληρύνητε, from which words they conceive that the Writer adopts the words of the Psalm as his own. But thus no good sense is given: ‘Harden not your hearts, because (or while) it is said “To-day &c.” ’ And we should hardly find, in this case, ἐν τῷ παραπικρασμῷ thus standing without further explanation. II. The second class of interpreters are those who join ἐν τῷ λέγ. with the foregoing. And of these, δ. Bengel, Michaelis, al. regard Hebrews 3:14 as a parenthesis, and join ἐν τῷ λέγ. with Hebrews 3:13; “exhort one another,” “as it is said,”—or “while it is said,” or even, “by saying.” This must be confessed to be very flat and feeble. ε. The Peschito (“sicuti dictum est”), Primasius, Erasm. (par.), Luther, Calvin, Beza, Estius, Corn. a-Lap., Calov., Seb. Schmidt, Hammond, Wolf, Paulus, Lachmann (in his punctuation), Ebrard, take ἐν τῷ λέγ. as immediately connected with what preceded. Of these some, as e. g. Thl., Primasius, Luther, Calvin, Estius, al., connect it with ἕως τέλους—“till the end, while or as long as it is said,” &c. Others connect it with the whole of the preceding sentence—“if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence, seeing that it is said,” or “exhorted by what is said,” or “observing what is said.” Ebrard takes the words as a proof that we must hold fast &c. in order to be μέτοχοι χριστοῦ. And I own that this seems to me by far the most natural way, and open to none of the objections which beset the others. I would render then ‘since it is said,’ or in more idiomatic English, for it is said, To-day, if ye hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. Thus the context goes on smoothly, and the purpose of the whole is to shew, as is summed up in Hebrews 3:12, that it is the καρδία πονηρὰ ἀπιστίας which they have above all things to avoid. This argument is now carried forward by taking up the word παραπικρασμῷ, and asking, in a double question, who they were that provoked, and with whom it was that He was offended. But here we are met by a curious phænomenon in Scripture exegesis. It is remarkable that, while all expositors ancient and modern are agreed to take the second τίσιν interrogatively, as indeed the form of the sentence renders necessary, the whole stream of interpreters down to Bengel, and many since, have taken τινες demonstratively, not interrogatively. The sense thus obtained would be as follows: indeed, as in E. V., “For some, when they had heard, did provoke; howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses:”—the exceptions being, Caleb and Joshua, and all under twenty years old, and the women and Levites. But if we come to examine, 1. what contextual sense such a sentence can bear, or even, 2. how our Writer would probably have expressed such a meaning, we shall find reason at once to reject the interpretation. For, 1. the purpose here is clearly not to bring out the exceptions to those who were included in this saying, a process which would have quite defeated the purpose of the exhortation, seeing that the rebellious would be designated merely by τινές, and the exceptions would appear to be by far the greater number: and so every reader might shelter himself under the reflection that he was one of the faithful many, not one of the rebellious τινές. Nor again, 2. would this, as mere matter of fact, have been thus expressed by the Writer. For it obviously was not so. The τινές were the faithful few, not the rebellious many: ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἐν τοῖς πλείοσιν αὺτῶν ηὐδόκησεν ὁ θεός, 1 Corinthians 10:5. As regards the context, the course of thought is in fact just contrary to what this construction would require. The faithful exceptions are overlooked, and the whole of Israel is included in the παραπικρασμός, to make the exhortation fall more forcibly on the readers.


Verse 16

16.] For (on our understanding of the connexion of ἐν τῷ λέγεσθαι (see above) this γάρ is not the elliptic γάρ so often accompanying an interrogation, as on Bleek’s rendering, but the ordinary γάρ, rendering a reason. ‘You need indeed to be careful against unbelief:—for on account of this very unbelief all our fathers were excluded’) WHO, when they had heard (in immediate reference to ἐὰν ἀκούσητε above), provoked (scil. God: see reff. and Ezekiel 20:13 A)? nay, was it not (this ἀλλά, in a question which itself answers a question, is elliptical, and may be explained in two ways: 1. ‘was it not, not a few but’.…: 2. by regarding the ἀλλά as expressing a negation of the uncertainty implied in the question—a ground why the question should not have been asked at all. And this is by far the better account: cf. ref. Luke: τίς δὲἐξ ὑμῶν.… ὃς ἐρεῖἀλλʼ οὐχὶ ἐρεῖ; q. d. ‘what need to ask such a question?’ Xen. Cyr. ii. 2. 21, καὶ τί δεῖ.… ἐμβαλεῖν λόγον περὶ τούτου, ἀλλʼ οὐχὶ προειπεῖν ὅτι οὕτω ποιήσεις; Aristid. Panath. i. p. 169, ἆρʼ ἴσον τὸ κεφάλαιον, ἢ μικρὸν τὸ διάφορον; ἀλλʼ οὐ πᾶν τοὐναντίον;) all who (Bengel and several others would take πάντες οἱ to signify “meri,” “only those who,” a meaning which it cannot by any possibility bear. As above noticed, the exceptions are put out of sight, and that which was true of almost all, asserted generally) came out from Egypt by means of Moses (the construction is somewhat unusual. We should expect with διὰ a passive participle, like ἐξαχθέντες. Lünemann refers to διʼ ὧν ἐπιστεύσατε, 1 Corinthians 3:5)? and (we cannot otherwise express in English this δέ, which simply brings out the very slight contrast of a second and new particular. It is “but” in the E. V.: but that is because they take Hebrews 3:16 in the manner above rejected, as an assertion) with WHOM was He offended forty years (see on Hebrews 3:9-10 for the verb προσώχθισεν, and the consonance, in the connexion of τεσς. ἔτη with it, with that in the Psalm, which was there departed from)? Was it not with those who sinned (some, as Bengel, Griesbach, Lachmann, Knapp, Vater, set the interrogation here, and take ὧν τὰ κῶλα κ. τ. λ. as an affirmative sentence. But it seems unnatural to insert an affirmative clause in the midst of a series of interrogatories, and therefore better to keep the interrogation for the end of the sentence, including that clause in it), whose carcases ( κῶλα any members of the body, but especially the legs: taken also for the legs and arms, i. e. limbs: see example in Wetst. from Galen. The LXX, see reff., use it for פְּגָרִים, corpses: but probably with the meaning that their bodies should fall and perish limb from limb in the wilderness: so Beza: “Hoc vocabulo significatur, illos non tam sic ferente mortalitate vel quovis morbo, sed tabescentibus sensim corporibus in deserto veluti concidisse”) fell in the wilderness (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:5, κατεστρώθησαν γὰρ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ. The words here are exactly those of Numbers 14:29. Again, we must remember, in explaining these words, that the Writer is not bearing in mind at this moment the exceptions, but speaking generally. So Calvin: “Quæritur, an Moses et Aaron ac similes in hoc numero comprehendantur. Respondeo, apostolum de universo magis corpore quam de singulis membris loqui”)? And to whom (not “concerning whom,” as Syr., al.: the dative after verbs of swearing or asserting is common, as expressing those towards whom the act is directed. So that it is not a dativus incommodi, as Lünemann) sware He that they should not enter into His rest (the construction here is somewhat anomalous with regard to the subject of the verb εἰσελεύσεσθαι. Ordinarily, the subject of the verb of swearing is identical with that of the verb expressing the act to which he binds himself. So in Xen. Hel. iii. 4. 6, τισσαφέρνης μὲν ὤμοσε τοῖς πεμφθεῖσι πρὸς αὐτὸν.… ἢ μὴν πράξειν ἀδόλως τὴν εἰρήνην· ἐκεῖνοι δὲ ἀντώμοσαν.… τισσαφέρνει, ἢ μήν, ταῦτα πράττοντος αὐτοῦ, ἐμπεδώσειν τὰς σπονδάς. See other examples in Bleek. But here the persons to whom the oath is directed, are the subject of the future εἰσελεύσεσθαι. We seem to want either a τό before μὴ εἰσελεύς., or an αὐτούς after it. The latter construction is found in ref. Tobit, ὀμώμοκε ῥαγουήλ, μὴ ἐξελθεῖν με), except to those who disobeyed (not, as vulg., “increduli fuerunt:” E. V., “believed not:” and so Luther, Estius, Calov., al.: this was a fact, and was indeed the root of their ἀπείθεια: but ἀπειθής, ἀπειθεῖν, are most commonly used of practical unbelief, i. e. disobedience: even in the passages in the Acts (reff.), where the meaning approximates the nearest to unbelief, it is best understood of ‘contumacia.’ Ref. Deut. seems decisive of the meaning here: see also Deuteronomy 9:7; Deuteronomy 9:23-24; Joshua 1:18 al.)?


Verse 19

19.] And (thus) we see (Grot., al. give it, “ex historia cognoscimus:” but Bleek quotes from Seb. Schmidt, and it seems the correcter view, “ βλέπομεν non de lectione aut cognitione historiæ, sed de convictione animi e disputatione seu doctrina præmissa”) that they were not able to enter in (however much they desired it: they were incapacitated by not fulfilling the condition of inheriting all God’s promises, belief and resulting obedience) on account of unbelief (see above on Hebrews 3:12. This verse forms a kind of ‘quod erat demonstrandum’ (as Ebrard), clenching the argument which has been proceeding since Hebrews 3:12. The Writer now proceeds to make another use of the example on which he has been so long dwelling).

 


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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Hebrews 3:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/hebrews-3.html. 1863-1878.


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Sunday, July 23rd, 2017
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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