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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Hebrews 5

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

1.] For (takes up again ch. Hebrews 4:15 with a view to substantiate it: see remarks below) every high priest (in the sense, Levitical high priest, the only class here in question. Delitzsch is however right in maintaining, that it is not right to limit the words to this sense, or to see in them this condition, which indeed is not brought forward, but only exists in the nature of the case, no other high priests being in view), being taken from among men (this participial clause belongs to the predicative portion of the sentence, and indeed carries the chief weight of it, having a slight causal force; ‘inasmuch as he is taken from among men.’ And thus the clause is understood by Chrys., Thl., Primas., and Calv., Schlicht., Grot., Beng., Bl., De W., Lünem., Ebrard, Delitzsch, al. Others, as Luth., Seb. Schm., Wetst., Storr, Kuinoel, al., take it as belonging to the subject, as does the E. V., “Every high priest taken from among men,” and see in it a contrast, as in ch. Hebrews 7:28, between human high priests, and the Son of God. But such contrast here is not only not in, but inconsistent with, the context: which does not bring out as yet any difference between Christ and the Jewish high priests, but rather (see below) treats of the attributes of a high priest from their example. λαμβανόμενος is no technical word, as ‘capi’ in Latin: “Eximie virgines Vestales, sed flamines quoque Diales, item pontifices et augures capi dicebantur,” Aul. Gell. i. 12: for the question here is not of electing or appointing, which comes below in καθίσταται, but simply of taking from among, as in reff.), is appointed (the ordinary classical word: ἰατροὺς κατέστησαν ὀκτώ, Xen. Anab. iii. 4. 30: and the pass., ἔδει βασιλέα καθίστασθαι, id. Ages. iii. 1, see also reff., and numerous examples in Bleek) for (on behalf of, for the benefit of: vicariousness must not be introduced where the context, as here, does not require it: see note on ch. Hebrews 2:9) men (the stress is both times on this genitive and its preposition, ἐξ ἀνθρώπων λαμβανόμενος, ὑπὲρ ἀνθρώπων καθίσταται: the former justifying the latter. This is a powerful additional reason for taking ἐξ ἀνθρ. λαμβ. predicatively: for if it be taken as attached to the subject, “every high priest taken from among men,” with a necessary stress in such case on ‘men,’ the same stress must be laid on ‘men’ in the ὑπὲρ ἀνθρ., with an implication that Christ, with whom on this hypothesis the human high priest is contrasted, was not appointed for men) in matters relating to God (see note on ch. Hebrews 2:17. It is extraordinary how Calvin and Kypke could, in the face of usage and of ch. Hebrews 2:17 and Hebrews 7:28; Hebrews 8:3, have supposed καθίσταται to be active, and τὰ πρ. τ. θ. accus. after it: “Curat Pontifex, vel ordinat, quæ ad Deum pertinent: … constructio melius fluit, et sententia est plenior,” Calv.: “Cultum divinum instituit,” Kypke. So also Stuart in his summary, “that he may superintend or direct the concerns which men have with God;” but not in his commentary. All the instances of an active (dynamic) sense of the middle of καθίστημι adduced by Kypke are in the aorists, which stand on different ground from the present), that he may offer (the technical word: see reff.) both gifts and sacrifices for sins ( δῶρα and θυσίας are both to be taken with ὑπὲρ ἁμαρτιῶν, as the τε shews: not, as Grot., Bengel, al., δῶρα alone, and θυσ. ὑπὲρ ἁμ. together; nor, as Delitzsch, is ὑπέρ to be taken with προσφέρῃ. And the sentence ἵνα προσφ. κ. τ. λ. is not, as Thl., a mere epexegesis of τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεόν, but is intimately connected by the word ἁμαρτιῶν with what follows: see below. ὑπέρ, i. e. to atone for, = εἰς τὸ ἱλάσκεσθαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας τοῦ λαοῦ, ch. Hebrews 2:17; see also reff. No satisfactory distinction can be set up between δῶρα and θυσίας: properly speaking, the former would be any manner of offerings, the latter slain beasts only: but this usage is not observed in Scripture: see reff. Thl. says, κατὰ μὲν τὸν ἀκριβῆ λόγον διαφέρουσι, παρὰ δὲ τῇ γραφῇ ἀδιαφόρως κεῖνται),


Verses 1-18

CHAP. Hebrews 5:1 to Hebrews 10:18.] THE HIGH PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST: and this in several points of view. That which has before been twice by anticipation hinted at, ch. Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 4:14-15, is now taken up and thoroughly discussed. First of all, Hebrews 5:1-10, two necessary qualifications of a high priest are stated, and Christ is proved to have fulfilled both: α. Hebrews 5:1-3, he must be taken from among men, capable, in respect of infirmity, of feeling for men, and, β. Hebrews 5:4-10, he must not have taken the dignity upon himself, but have been appointed by God.


Verse 2

2.] being (one who is) able (this clause is closely bound to the last, and belongs to it, not to the whole sentence. It is in fact a conditioning participial clause to ἵνα προσφέρῃ, and at the same time a retrospective epexegesis of ἐξ ἀνθρώπων λαμβανόμενος) to be compassionate ( μετριοπαθέω is a word apparently invented to serve the view of the Peripatetic school, as opposed to the ἀπάθεια of the Stoics. They held that we ought to rule our passions by reason, and denominated such moderation μετριοπάθεια. The word is not found,—except in a Pythagorean fragment of Archytas in Stobæus, of doubtful authenticity,—before the time of Alexander: Diog. Laert. v. 31 says, ἔφη δὲ (Aristotle) τὸν σοφὸν μὴ εἶναι μὲν ἀπαθῆ, μετριοπαθῆ δέ. See numerous other examples in Bleek. Hence we have the verb and its cognates frequently used of moderating the passion of anger: Plut. de Ira Cohib. p. 453, ἀναστῆσαι κ. σῶσαι κ. φείσασθαι κ. καρτερῆσαι πραότητός ἐστι κ. συγγνώμης καὶ μετριοπαθείας: Appian, Bell. Hisp. p. 529, εἰ μετριοπαθῶς σφίσι χρήσεται, παραδοῦσιν ἑαυτούς: Jos. Antt. xii. 3. 2, οὐεσπατιάνου δʼ ἄν τις καὶ τίτου τὴν μεγαλοφροσύνην εἰκότως ἐκπλαγείη, μετὰ πολέμους κ. τηλικούτους ἀγῶνας, οὓς ἔσχον πρὸς ἡμᾶς, μετριοπαθησάντων. So the Etym. Mag., μετριοπαθεῖν ἐκ μέρους τὰ πάθη καταδέχεσθαι, συγγινώσκειν: Hesych. μετριοπαθής· μικρὰ πάσχων, ἢ συγγινώσκων ἐπιεικῶς. The meaning here therefore must be given according to this analogy, and the dative following explained as one of direction, or perhaps commodi) towards the ignorant and erring (the former mild word, though frequently used of sinners elsewhere without (e. g. Hosea 4:15; Sirach 5:15; Sirach 23:2 al.: Judith 5:20; Esdr. 8:75 (72): cf. 2 Chronicles 16:9; and so Thl. here, ὅρα δέ, ὅτι πᾶν ἁμάρτημα ἄγνοια κ. πλάνη γεννᾷ) as well as with the implication of ignorance (see Ecclesiastes 5:5; Leviticus 4:13; Leviticus 5:18), seems to be here placed, as well as πλανωμένοις, itself at all events a milder term than ἁμαρτάνουσιν, as suitable to the tone of the sentence, in which the feeling of a sinner towards his fellow-sinners is expressed. The sense might be filled up, ‘towards those who (possibly after all) are ignorant and deluded.’ And thus the propriety of the next clause is rendered still greater; both these, ἄγνοια and πλάνη, being the results of ἀσθένεια, with which he himself is encompassed. On the exclusion on the one side from these designations of ‘sinners with a high hand,’ and the inclusion in them, as above, of much more than sins, strictly speaking, of ignorance, see Delitzsch’s note), seeing that he himself also is compassed about with infirmity (on this construction of an acc. with περίκειμαι, compare ref. Acts: so τεῖχος περιβαλέσθαι τὴν πόλιν, Herod. i. 163: Eustath. on Il. τ. p. 1229: ὅρα δὲ καὶ ὅτι τὸ περικεῖσθαι δοτικῇ συνέταξε, λαβὼν αὐτὸ ἀντὶ τοῦ συγκεῖσθαι κ. περιπεπλέχθαι· ἡ μέντοι συνήθεια ἐπὶ τοῦ βαστάζειν κ. φορεῖν τὴν λέξιν τίθησι κ. αἰτιατικῇ συντάσσει, ὡς ἐν τῷ περίκειται τῦφον ἢ πλοῦτον ἢ δυνάστειαν. ἀσθένεια, as in ch. Hebrews 7:28, that moral weakness which makes men capable of sin. It is never predicated of Christ in this sense: nay, by the terms of Hebrews 7:28, He is excluded from it. That ἀσθένεια of the flesh, which He bore on Him, and thereby was capable of suffering and of death, was entirely distinct from this. Some have gone even further here, as Œc.— τὸπερὶ ἁμαρτιῶνεἰπών, σαφῶς ἐδήλωσεν ὅτι ἀσθένειαν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐκάλεσεν).


Verse 3

3.] And on account of it (the infirmity wherewith he himself is encompassed; not fem. for neut., as Bengel, altern.: nor is αὕτη, Matthew 21:42, which he alleges, the slightest justification for such a notion) he must (not meaning, it is his appointed duty according to the law: but, it is necessary for him, a priori, on higher ground than, and before, the ordinance of the law. See on ch. Hebrews 2:17) even as for the people, so also for himself, offer (here only used absolutely in N. T., see Numbers 7:18) for (see on ch. Hebrews 10:6) sins (and accordingly, such was the ordinance of the law: cf. Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 9:7; Leviticus 16:6 al.

Much has been said as to the applicability or otherwise of these considerations to Christ. Some have considered all that has hitherto been said as spoken of human high priests in contradistinction to Him: but it is better to understand it all as spoken of high priests in general: and then, as Ebrard well says, leave it to the Writer himself, Hebrews 5:5 ff., to determine how far these requisites are satisfied in Christ. The progress of the argument itself will shew us, Hebrews 5:8 f., and further on, ch. Hebrews 7:27, in how far Christ is unlike the O. T. high priest).


Verse 4

4.] And (couples to Hebrews 5:1, of which the subsequent verses have been epexegetical) none taketh ( λαμβάνει, not altogether perhaps without an allusion to λαμβανόμενος above, Hebrews 5:1. So in Xiphilinus Galb. p. 187, νομίζων οὐκ εἰληφέναι τὴν ἀρχήν, ἀλλὰ δεδόσθαι αὐτῷ) the office (of the high priesthood: so τιμή, Herod. ii. 59, οὔτε τιμὰς τὰς ἐούσας συνταράξας ( πεισίστρατος), οὔτε θέσμια μεταλλάξας: see other examples in Bleek. Josephus uses it frequently of the high-priestly office: e. g Antt. iii. 8. 1, αὐτὸς ὁ θεὸς ἀαρῶνα τῆς τιμῆς ταύτης ἄξιον ἔκρινε) to himself (dat. commodi: and carrying the stress of the sentence, although the construction of λαμβάνει with both clauses must be somewhat zeugmatic: it must have rather a more active sense in the case where he takes it to himself, than in that where he only receives it, being called by God. This is denied by Delitzsch, but I see not how we can altogether escape it. The construction with ἑαυτῷ in the one case necessarily throws a different tinge over the verb than when it is understood with καλούμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ) but (only when) called by God (with the of the rec. text, it would be, ‘but only he who is called by God’), as indeed was Aaron (see Exodus 28:1; Exodus 29:4; Leviticus 8:1; Numbers 3:10; but especially Numbers 16-18. Schöttgen quotes from the Rabbinical Bammidbar Rabba, § 18, fol. 234, “Moses ad Corachum ejusque socios dixit: Si Aaron frater meus sibimetipsi sacerdotium sumsit ( נטל לעצמו = λαμβάνειν ἑαυτῷ) recte egistis, quod contra ipsum insurrexistis: jam vero Deus id ipsi dedit,” &c.

This divine ordinance of Aaron and his sons to be high priests endured long in the Jewish polity: but long before this time the rule had been disturbed: Jos. Antt. xx. 10. 5, relates, τὴν δὲ βασιλείαν ἡρώδης παρὰ ῥωμαίων ἐγχειρισθείς, οὐκέτι τοὺς ἐκ τοῦ ἀσαμωναίου γένους καθίστησιν ἀρχιερεῖς, ἀλλὰ τισὶν ἀσήμοις, καὶ μόνον ἐξ ἱερέων οὖσι, πλὴν ἑνὸς ἀριστοβούλου, τὴν τιμὴν ἀπένεμε. Some of the early Commentators, e. g. Œc., Thl., Primas., imagine that an allusion to this irregularity is here intended: αἰνίττεται δὲ ἐνταῦθα τοὺς τότε ἀρχιερεῖς τῶν ἰουδαίων, οἳ ἐπεπήδων τῇ τιμῇ, ὠνητὴν ταύτην κτώμενοι καὶ τὸν νόμον διαφθείροντες, Œc. But, though even Bleek imagines such an allusion may have been in the Writer’s mind, it seems I own to me very improbable).


Verses 4-10

4–10.] Second requisite: divine appointment.


Verse 5

5.] Thus Christ also (as well as those others) did not glorify HIMSELF to be made High Priest (i. e. did not raise Himself to the office of High Priest. δοξάζειν is here used in its most general sense, of all those steps of elevation by which the dignity might be attained: see especially ref. John, which is exceedingly useful to the right understanding here. De Wette (so also Hofmann, Schrb. ii. 1. 182. See Delitzsch’s note) is certainly very far wrong, in taking ἐδόξασεν of the ultimate well-known glorification of Christ, properly so called (ch. Hebrews 2:9), for thus confusion is introduced into the members of the parallel, seeing that this sentence, οὐχ ἑαυτὸν ἐδόξασεν γενηθ. ἀρχ., ought to correspond to οὐχ ἑαυτῷ λαμβάνει τὴν τιμήν above. In the construction, the inf. γενηθῆναι contains rather the result than the definite purpose: ‘did not exalt himself so as to be made,’ i. e. ‘did not use that self-exaltation which might make him’), but He (i. e. the Father) who spake to Him, Thou art my son, I have this day begotten thee (see ch. Hebrews 1:5, where this same saying is similarly adduced as spoken by the Heavenly Father to the Son.

It must be carefully observed, that the Writer does not adduce this text as containing a direct proof of Christ’s divine appointment to the High Priesthood: that follows in the next verse: nor again, does it merely assert, without any close connexion (cf. καθὼς καὶ ἐν ἑτέρῳ λέγει), that the same Divine Person appointed Him High Priest, who said to Him “Thou art my Son:” but it asserts, that such divine appointment was wrapped up and already involved in that eternal generation to the Sonship which was declared in these words. So Thl.: δοκεῖ δὲ ἀνάρμοστος εἶναι ἡ ἐκ τοῦ δευτέρου ψαλμοῦ προφητεία πρὸς τὸ προκείμενον· προὔκειτο μὲν γὰρ δήπουθεν ἀποδειχθῆναι ἀρχιερέα τὸν χριστόν, αὕτη δὲ ἡ μαρτυρία τὸ ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς γεννηθῆναι δηλοῖ. μάλιστα μὲν οὖν καὶ τὸ ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ γεγεννῆσθαι προκατασκευή ἐστι τοῦ ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ χειροτονηθῆναι. And similarly Chrys. Then again, we must beware of imagining that ὁ λαλήσας.… γεγέννηκά σε is a mere periphrasis of ὁ πατήρ, as some have done. The true account seems to be this: the word ἐδόξασεν contains in it the whole process of exaltation (through suffering) by which the Lord Jesus has attained the heavenly High Priesthood. This whole process was not his own work, but the Father’s, John 8:54. And in saying this, we involve every step of it, from the very beginning. Of these, unquestionably the first was His eternal generation by the Father. He did not constitute himself the Son of God, in virtue ultimately of which sonship He ἐγενήθη ἀρχιερεύς. And therefore in proving this, the sacred Writer adduces first the declaration of the Father which sets forth this His generation as Son of God, on which all His δοξασθῆναι depended,—and then, when He was completed by sufferings, Hebrews 5:7-10, the direct declaration of his High Priesthood, also by the Father. This class of interpretations has been much impugned, principally by the Socinian interpreters, and those who lean that way. Schlichting, Grot., Hammond, Limborch, Peirce, Storr, De Wette, and even Tholuck, refer the saying to the time of Christ’s exaltation through death: and therein the more directly Socinian of them (e. g. Schlichtg.) see a disproof of the eternal generation of the Son. To take one of the arguments by which even such Commentators as Tholuck support this view; he alleges that it best agrees with the τελείωσις spoken of Hebrews 5:7 ff., in which Christ by obedience became perfect as our High Priest. How fallacious this is, may readily be seen from the words καίπερ ὢν υἱός, which according to this view He was not, in the present sense, till those sufferings were ended. Delitzsch also would understand the words entirely of His triumphant glorified state, beginning with the Resurrection: on the ground that there is no connexion in the proposition that He who designated Him as His Eternal Son, also appointed Him to the High Priesthood. But surely this is not so: see above. On the whole question of the interpretation of the words themselves, as cited from the Psalm, see on ch. Hebrews 1:5, where I have fully discussed it),


Verse 6

6.] even as also he saith in another (place) (see on ref., ἐν τούτῳ), Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek (on the relation of this Psalm to Christ, see generally on ch. Hebrews 1:13. I may add to what was there said, that it is thus declared, that He, in whom all the theocratic promises find their fulfilment, in whom the true Kingdom of God comes and is summed up, was to be, as in Zechariah 6:12 ff., “a priest upon His throne,” and such a priest (i. e. necessarily High Priest, if a King; as indeed the word is given in Hebrews 5:10 and ch. Hebrews 6:20) as should be after the order of Melchisedek. In examining this last predication, we find that κατὰ τὴν τάξιν, according to the ordinary meaning of τάξις, imports, according to the office or order, the rank which Melchisedek held. So Jos. Antt. vii. 11. 6, David appointed Amasa commander, καὶ τὴν τάξιν αὐτῷ ἐφʼ ἧς ἰωάβος ἦν, δίδωσιν: Polyb. ii. 24. 9, ἐφεδρείας ἔχοντες τάξιν: Demosth. 313. 13, οἰκέτου τάξιν, οὐκ ἐλευθέρου παιδός, ἔχων. See many other examples in Bleek. So that κατὰ τὴν τάξιν will be very nearly the same as κατὰ τὴν ὁμοιότητα, ch. Hebrews 7:15; and the Peschito has this latter expression both in the Psalm, and throughout our Epistle. On εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, as indeed on the detailed application of the several expressions to Christ, see on ch. Hebrews 7:20 ff.).


Verse 7

7 ff.] The sufferings of Christ are now adduced, as a portion of his δοξασθῆναι to be made High Priest. They were all in subjection to the will of the Father: they were all parts of his τελείωσις, by virtue of which He is now, in the fullest and most glorious sense, our High Priest. So that these verses are no digression, but stand directly in the course of the argument, as proving the proposition, οὐχ ἑαυτὸν ἐδόξασεν γενηθῆναι ἀρχιερέα. Part of this connexion is recognized by Bleek, but not all. He regards the verses as introduced to shew that Christ was never, not even in his deepest humiliation, severed from the Father, whose Son He was, and who subsequently, at his resurrection, appointed Him to his High Priesthood: thus missing the one link which binds this passage into the argument, viz. that this obedience and these sufferings were all a part of His being glorified for his High Priestly office: a part of that office itself, performed before He was perfected by entrance, through the veil of His flesh by death, into the most holy place. This mistake about the time of commencement of the High Priesthood of Christ has misled several of the Commentators throughout this part of the Epistle.

ὃς ἐν κ. τ. λ.] It will be best to mark at once what I believe to be the connexion of this much-disputed sentence, and then to justify each portion in detail afterwards. Who in the days of his flesh, in that he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him that was able to save him from death, and was heard by reason of his reverent submission, though He was a son, learned, from the things which He suffered, his obedience, and being made perfect, became the cause of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, being addressed by God as High Priest after the order of Melchisedek. That is, being paraphrased,—‘who had a course of glorifying for the High Priest’s office to go through, not of his own choice, but appointed for Him by the Father, as is shewn by that sharp lesson of obedience (not as contrasted with disobedience, but as indicating a glorious degree of perfect obedience, τὴν ὑπακ.), familiar to us all, which He, though God’s own Son, learned during the days of his flesh: when He cried to God with tears for deliverance from death, and was heard on account of His resignation to the Father’s will (“Not my will, but Thine be done”),’ &c. Then as to details: ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ I understand as a general wide date for the incident which is about to be brought in,—as contrasted with His present days of glorification in the Spirit.

προσφέρειν δέησιν is found in Achil. Tat. vii. 1 (Bl.), ὡς δὲ οὐκ ἔπειθεν.… δευτέραν αὐτῷ προσφέρει δέησιν, and Longin. Pastoral. ii. 23: Jos., B. J. iii. 8. 3, has προσφέρει εὐχήν.

ἱκετηρία is properly an adjective used of κλάδος, ῥάβδος, &c. held out by the ἱκέτης. So Philo, Legat. ad Caium, § 36, vol. ii. p. 586, γραφὴ δὲ μηνύσει μου τὴν δέησιν, ἣν ἀνθʼ ἱκετηρίας προτείνω. But it also was used as = ἱκεσία or ἱκετεία: so, joined as here with δέησις, by Isocr. de Pace 46, πολλὰς ἱκετηρίας καὶ δεήσεις: see reff. and more instances in Bleek.

πρὸς τὸν δυνάμ. is to be taken with the substantives δεήσεις τε καὶ ἱκετ., not with the verb προσενέγκας, in which case the words would most probably be placed after μετὰ κραυγ. ἰσχ. κ. δακρ., next the verb.

σώζειν αὐτὸν ἐκ θανάτου is by Estius, Schulz, al. understood to mean, not as generally, to rescue Him from death, but “ut celeriter eriperetur a morte quam erat passurus: quod,” Estius adds, “factum est, quando a morte ad vitam immortalem resurrexit tertia die.” So also more recently Ebrard. But this is not only against the usage of σώζειν ἐκ θανάτου: cf. reff., and the examples given in Bl.: e. g. Od. δ. 755, ἡ γάρ κέν μιν ἔπειτα καὶ ἐκ θανάτοιο σαώσαι: Aristid. Plat. i. p. 90, ( ὁ κυβερνήτης) σώζων ἐκ θανάτου καὶ οὗτος ἀνθρώπους κ. αὐτοὺς κ. χρήματα,—but still more decidedly against the truth of the sacred narrative: “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:” for we must of course assume, that in such a designation of the Father, the contents of the prayer made to Him are also indicated.

The μετὰ δακρύων is not distinctly asserted in the sacred narrative: but is a most obvious inference from what is there: cf. Matthew 26:37 (29). Bl. has noticed that from the juxtaposition of κραυγή and εἰσακουσθείς, it is probable that the Writer may have had before his mind such passages from the Psalms as Psalms 21:2, ὁ θεός μου, κεκράξομαι ἡμέρας πρός σε καὶ οὐκ εἰσακούσῃ: ib. Psa 21:24, καὶ ἐν τῷ κεκραγέναι με πρὸς αὐτὸν εἰσήκουσέ ( ἐπήκ. α) με: Psalms 114:1 (Psalms 116:1). I may remark, that there seems no reason for understanding the κραυγὴ ἰσχυρά and δάκρυα of any other time than the agony at Gethsemane, as some have done. This is adduced as the most illustrious instance of that learning obedience from suffering. Epiphanius reports that this weeping of the Lord in His agony was once related in some texts of St. Luke: see note on Luke 22:43-44.

εἰσακουσθεὶς ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας is rendered in three different ways. 1. “He was heard on account of His pious resignation.” 2. “He was heard, and so delivered, from that which He feared.” 3. “He was heard by Him who was His fear.” Of these, (3) may shortly be discussed. It is cited by Wolf, Curæ in loc., as the view of Albert Ehlers, and is justified by God being called “the Fear of Isaac,” Genesis 31:42; Genesis 31:53. See also Isaiah 8:13. But as Wolf answers, “Si Deum indicare voluisset Apostolus, procul dubio scripsisset, ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ, vel ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ, cum antea τοῦ δυναμένου σώζειν, i. e. Dei facta fuisset mentio.” And usage would be wholly against such a sense of εὐλάβεια. (2) has found a formidable phalanx of supporters. The old Latin versions, “exauditus a metu:” Ambrose on Psalms 61. p. 957, “exauditus ab illo metu:” Calv., Beza, Schlichting, Grot., Gerhard, Erasm. Schmid, Jac. Cappell., Hammond, Limborch, Schöttgen, Wolf, Bengel, Wetst., Storr, Ernesti, Bretschn., Kuinoel, De Wette, Stuart, Tholuck, Ebrard, and many others. Of these, most understand εὐλάβεια of His own fear (abstr.), from which, by strengthening Him, God delivered Him: some, as Calv., Schlicht., Hamm., take it (concr.) of the thing itself which He feared, viz. death: “ex eo quod timebat,” Calv. But neither can this be maintained. Bleek has most elaborately discussed the meanings of εὐλάβεια, and shewn, that however near it may seem to approach in some Greek sentences, to fear, yet it is always the fear of caution or modesty, not of terror: and even could it be thus taken (which Delitzsch, though interpreting the passage as I have done below, yet maintains it may be, on the strength of such examples as Sirach 41:3, μὴ εὐλαβοῦ κρῖμα θανάτου), it would not be agreeable either to the propriety of the passage to express that Christ was delivered from death in such a phrase, when σώζειν ἐκ θανάτου has immediately preceded,—nor to its purpose, to predicate such a deliverance from death of Him at all, seeing that He did actually undergo that death which He feared. This would apply to the concrete acceptation of εὐλάβεια: and the abstract is precluded by the usage of the word. Besides which, the expression εἰσηκούσθη ἀπό would be, if not altogether unprecedented, yet so harsh as to be exceedingly improbable. None of the precedents alleged for it apply. In Psalms 22:22, “Thou hast heard me from among the horns of the unicorns,” the LXX (Psa 21:21) have κ. ἀπὸ κεράτων μονοκερώτων τὴν ταπείνωσίν μου, which is no example: in Job 35:12, ἐκεῖ κεκράξονται καὶ οὐ μὴ εἰσακούσῃ καὶ (om. καί α) ἀπὸ ὕβρεως πονηρῶν, the ἀπό belongs to the former verb κεκράξονται. The only case of a pregnant construction at all similar, seems to be, Ps. 117:5, εἰσήκουσέ μου εἰς πλατυσμὸν ( κύριος): but as Bl. remarks, it surely is no reason, because a translator reproduces a Hebrew pregnancy, that a writer should have a far harsher construction of the same kind attributed to him when there is no such justifying reason. The other instances, from our Epistle, ch. Hebrews 10:22, ῥεραντισμένοιἀπὸ συνειδήσεως πονηρᾶς, Hebrews 6:1, are to no purpose, as the verbs there carry in them the idea of being cleansed, or of turning, from something, and the prep. therefore naturally follows. It remains then to examine (1), against which it is urged by Beza, and even by Tholuck (but not in his last edn.), that ἀπό will not bear the meaning ‘on account of.’ It is surprising that a scholar should ever have made such an objection, in the face of the instances in the reff., to which many more might be added out of the classics from those given by Bleek. The objection which Tholuck still brings, that such an interpretation would require αὐτοῦ after τῆς εὐλαβ., is equally futile, the unusual expression of the art. after a preposition carrying the full force of a possessive. On the other hand it must be urged, that this meaning, ‘He was heard on account of His pious resignation,’ as it is that given by all the Greek expositors, so is the only one which will satisfy the usage of εὐλάβεια. The account of the word, which I take mainly from Bleek, is this: it is derived from εὐλαβής, and that from εὖ and λαμβάνειν, denoting one who lays hold of any thing well, i. e. carefully, so as not to break or injure it; and is used of a man proceeding cautiously in his design, so as to avoid injury to himself or another. As such, it is opposed to θράσος by Demosth. 517. 21, κ. γὰρ ἐκ τούτου φανερὰ πᾶσιν ὑμῖν ἥ τε τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων ὑμῶν εὐλάβεια γενήσεται κ. τὸ τούτου θράσος. Thus again in Plut. Marc. 9, p. 252, τὸ θαῤῥαλέον αὐτοῦ κ. δραστήριον πρὸς τὴν ἐκείνου κεραννύντες κ. ἁρμόττοντες εὐλάβειαν κ. πρόνοιαν. And Polyb. iii. 105. 8, διὰ μὲν τὴν ΄άρκου τόλμαν ἀπόλωλε τὰ ὅλα, διὰ δὲ τὴν εὐλάβειαν τοῦ φαβίου σέσωσται καὶ πρὸ τοῦ καὶ νῦν. And hence the meaning sometimes approaches very near to fear: but, as above observed, always the fear of great caution or great modesty, not that of terror in any case. So Liban. iv. 265 a, μεστός ἐστιν εὐλαβείας κ. δέδοικεν: Jos. Antt. vi. 9. 2, μὴ ταπεινὸν ἔστω φρόνημα μηδʼ εὐλαβές, ὦ βασιλεῦ. And in Antt. xi. 6. 9, Esther is said to have come in to the king μετὰ δέους, but he laid the sceptre on her neck, εὐλαβείας αὐτὴν ἀπολύων. So far is the word from representing the fear of terror, that it is expressly opposed to it: as e. g. by Demosth. 405. 19, τίνα δὲ οὗτοι μὲν ἄτολμον κ. δειλὸν πρὸς τοὺς ὄχλους φασὶν εἶναι, ἐγὼ δὲ εὐλαβῆ; ἐμέ. Diog. Laert. says of Zen(30), τὴν δʼ εὐλάβειαν ( ἐναντίαν φησὶν εἶναι τῷ φόβῳ) οὖσαν εὔλογον ἔκκλισιν· φοβηθήσεσθαι μὲν γὰρ τὸν σοφὸν οὐδαμῶς, εὐλαβηθήσεσθαι δέ. See also in Bleek a remarkable extract from Plutarch, where he mentions εὐλάβεια being used by the Stoics as an euphemism for φόβος. From these meanings the transition was very easy to that cautious reverence with which the pious man approaches a Divine Being. So Plut. Camill., τὴν τοῦ ἀλβίνου πρὸς τὸ θεῖον εὐλάβειαν κ. τιμήν: l, εὐλαβεῖσθαι θεόν: Philo, Quis Rer. Div. Hær. § 6, vol. i. p. 476, εὐλαβείᾳ τὸ θαῤῥοῦν ἀνακέκραται. τὸ μὲν γὰρτί μοι δώσεις (Genesis 15:2);” θάρσος ἐμφαίνει· τὸ δὲὦ δέσποτα,” εὐλάβειαν: cf. also reff., especially ch. Hebrews 12:28, the only other place where it is found in the N. T. And this religious sense certainly suits remarkably well in our passage. No term could more exactly express the reverent submission to His Heavenly Father’s will which is shewn in those words, “Not my will, but thine be done:” none the constant humbling of himself in comparison with the Father, and exalting Him in word and deed, of which our Saviour’s life is full. I have no hesitation therefore in adopting this rendering, and feeling entirely satisfied with it. Besides fulfilling the requisites of philology and of fact, it admirably suits the context here, where the appointment of Christ by the Father to his High Priesthood and the various steps by which that High Priesthood was perfected, are in question. As the ancient schol. says, εἰ καὶ χάριτι, φησί, πατρικῇ ὡς υἱὸς εἰσηκούσθη, ἀλλʼ ἀπὸ τῆς οἰκείας εὐλαβείας, εὐλαβείας γὰρ ἦν τὸ λέγειν πλὴν οὐχ ὡς ἐγὼ θέλω, ἀλλʼ ὡς σύ.

The matter of fact represented by εἰσακουσθείς may require some explanation. He was heard, not in the sense of the cup passing away from Him, which indeed was not the prayer of his εὐλάβεια,—but in strength being ministered to Him to do and to suffer that will of his Father, to fulfil which was the prayer of his εὐλάβεια—“Not my will, but thine be done.” And I have little doubt that the word immediately refers to the “angel from heaven, strengthening Him,” of Luke 22:43. Calvin’s remarks (“Ita sæpe fit, ut hoc vel illud petamus, sed in alium finem: ipse vero Deus quod petieramus, eo modo quo petieramus, non concedens, interea modum invenit, quo nobis succurrat”), however true in the Christian life, do not apply here, because the real prayer of our Lord, as εὐλαβὴς πρὸς τὸν πατέρα, was granted in the very form in which it was expressed, not in another.

καίπερ ὢν υἱός] This clause, according to all analogy of the use of καίπερ with a participle, is to be taken by itself, not with what follows. So καίπερ πολλὰ παθόντα, Od. η. 224; κοίπερ ο στέργων ὅμως, Æsch. Sept. c. Theb. 714: &c. Bleek, who adduces many more examples, doubts whether any authentic instance of the use of καίπερ with a finite verb can be produced (not Revelation 17:8; see text there): see also reff. Thus much being certain, the next question is, to what these words are to be applied. A threefold connexion is mentioned by Photius (in Œc.). The first alternative involves an inversion which would be unnatural in the last degree: ὃς ἐν τ. ἡμ. τῆς σαρκ. αὐτ., καίπερ ὢν υἱός, δεήσεις κ. ἱκ. … προσενέγκας. The second is to take the words with the clause immediately preceding: εἰσηκούσθη, φησί, καίπερ ὢν υἱός, κ. μὴ δεόμενος εἰσακουσθῆναι. And so Thl. (Chrys. in one place, but see also below; Phot. prefers it among the three), al. And this doubtless is possible, both grammatically and contextually. For the καίπερ ὢν υἱός would thus come in as an exceptional clause, not to εἰσακουσθείς, in which light Bleek, Lünem., al. object to it, seeing that his being a Son would be rather the reason why He should than why He should not be heard,—but to the whole clause εἰσακ. ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας,—though He was a Son, yet not this, but his εὐλάβεια, was the ground of his being heard: which gives an undoubted good sense. Not much dissimilar will be the sense given by the other and more general way: viz. to take the words with the following clause, ἔμαθεν ἀφʼ ὧν ἔπαθεν τὴν ὑπακοήν: although He was a Son, He learned his obedience, not from this relation, but from his sufferings. So Chrys. ( τί λέγεις; ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ἀπὸ εὐλαβείας ἠκούετο; καὶ τί περὶ τῶν προφητῶν πλέον ἂν εἴποι τις; ποία δὲ καὶ ἀκολουθία εἰπεῖν εἰσκουσθεὶς ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας, καὶ ἐπαγαγεῖν, καίπερ ὢν υἱὸς ἔμαθεν ἀφʼ ὧν ἔπαθε τὴν ὑπακοήν; but see also above), Ambrose (Ep. 63. vol. iii. p. 1033: “et ex iis quæ passus est, quamvis esset filius Dei, discere videretur obedientiam:” and alibi), and almost all the moderns. And there can be little doubt that this yields the better sense, and points to the deeper truth. Christ was a Son: as a Son, He was ever obedient, and ever in union with his Father’s will; but ὑπακοή, His special obedience, that course of submission by which He became perfected as our High Priest, was gone through in Time, and matter of acquirement for Him, and practice, by suffering.

The expression, ἔμαθεν ἀφʼ ὧν ἔπαθεν, brings to mind a number of Greek sayings founded on the proverb, παθήματα, μαθήματα. So Herod. i. 207, of Crœsus, τὰ δέ μοι παθήματα, ἐόντα ἀχάριστα, μαθήματα γέγονεν: Æschyl. Agam. 177, τὸν πάθει μάθος θέντα, and a very long list of examples in Wetstein and Bleek. The ancients found this assertion startling, attributing too narrow a sense to our Lord’s παθήματα: so Thdrt., τὸ δὲ ἔμαθεν ἀφʼ ὧν ἔπαθε τὴν ὑπακοήν, ἡπερβολικῶς ὁ ἀπόστολος τέθεικε· τὴν γὰρ ὑπακοὴν οὐ μετὰ τὸ πάθος, ἀλλὰ πρὸ τοῦ πάθους ἀπεδείξατο. And Chrys., ὁ μέχρι θανάτου πρὸ τούτου ὑπακούσας ὡς πατρὶ νἱός, πῶς δὲ καὶ ὕστερον ἔμαθεν; This indeed would be a difficulty, were the Writer speaking of the Passion only, in its stricter sense; but he is speaking, I take it, of that continuous course of new obedience entered on by new suffering, of which the prayer in Gethsemane furnishes indeed the most notable instance, but of which also almost every act of His life on earth was an example. Thl. is so scandalized by the whole passage as applied to Christ that he says, εἶδες πῶς διὰ τὴν τῶν ἀκροατῶν ὠφέλειαν οὕτω συγκατέβη παῦλος, ὥστε καὶ ἄτοπά τινα λέγων φαίνεσθαι.

Two mistakes must be avoided: 1. though He was the Son, which I find in Craik’s new translation of the Epistle: cf. ch. Hebrews 3:5-6, ΄ωυσῆς, ὡς θεράπωνχριστὸς, ὡς υἱός: and consider besides, that if we take from the simple predicative force of υἱός, as a well-known relative, we take from the καίπερ ὤν at the same time, by diminishing the general appreciation of the exceptional καίπερ: and, 2. that of Whitby, that ἔμαθεν here means “taught (us).” If such a meaning ever could be admitted, least of all could it, from the context, here, where the subject treated is entirely Christ Himself, in his completion as our High Priest, and not till this is finished does that which He became to others come into question.

τελειωθείς, see note on ch. Hebrews 2:10, perfected, completed, brought to his goal of learning and suffering, through death: the time to which the word would apply is that of the Resurrection, when his triumph began: so our Lord Himself on the way to Emmaus, οὐχὶ ταῦτα ἔδει παθεῖν τὸν χριστόν, καὶ ( τελειωθείς would come in here) εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ; Thdrt., τελείωσιν δὲ τὴν ἀνάστασιν κ. τὴν ἀθανασίαν ἐκάλεσε· τοῦτο γὰρ τῆς οἰκονομίας τὸ πέρας.

ἐγένετο, by means of that course which ended in His τελείωσις. In πᾶσιν τοῖς ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ there is probably an allusion to the ὑπακοή above. As He obeyed the Father, so must we obey Him, if we would be brought to that σωτηρία αἰώνιος into which He has led the way. The expression is strictly parallel with οἱ πιστεύσαντες, ch. Hebrews 4:3, and τοὺς προσερχομένους διʼ αὐτοῦ τῷ θεῷ, ch. Hebrews 7:25. Some have thought that in πᾶσιν, the Writer hints to his Jewish readers, that such salvation was not confined to them alone. But it hardly seems likely that such a by-purpose should lie in the word. This unlikelihood is increased if πᾶσιν (as it must do) begins, instead of closing the clause as in rec. αὐτῷ is of course Christ.

αἴτιος εἶναι τινί τινος is good Greek, and often found: see examples in Bleek, e. g. Xen. Cyr. viii. 5. 2, πολλῶν κ. ἀγαθῶν αἴτιοι ἀλλήλοις ἔσεσθε: Diod. Sic. iv. 82, τοῖς ἄλλοις αἴτιος ἐγένετο τῆς σωτηρίας: and the same expression in Jos. Antt. iii. 3. 1; vii. 1. 1: Philo de Agric. § 22, vol. i. p. 315:De Vita Contempl. § 11, vol. ii. p. 485. See reff. also on σωτηρία αἰώνιος.

The next clause, προσαγορευθεὶς κ. τ. λ., depends closely upon τελειωθείς κ. τ. λ. above, and belongs to the time of Christ’s exaltation, indicated by τελειωθείς: and therefore must not be divided by a colon, as done by Griesbach, Bengel, Matthäi, al., from the foregoing, nor supposed to refer to the whole from Hebrews 5:7. As to the word itself, it refers to the passage of the Psalm above, and carries with it a slight causal force, ‘being,’ or ‘inasmuch as He is, named.’ προσαγορεύω in this connexion has a force of solemnity and formal appellation: so, Xen. Cyr. vii. 2. 4, Crœsus says to Cyrus, χαῖρε ὦ δέσποτα· τοῦτο γὰρ ἡ τύχη καὶ ἔχειν.… δίδωσί σοι, καὶ ἐμοὶ προσαγορεύειν: Diod. Sic. i. 4, γάϊος ἰούλιος καῖσαρ, ὁ διὰ τὰς πράξεις προσαγορευθεὶς θεός. See reff. 2 Macc., and many more examples in Bleek. So that it here implies, not ‘appointed’ or ‘inaugurated,’ but ‘addressed as,’ ‘named,’ it being of course implied that He was both appointed and inaugurated.


Verse 11

11.] Concerning whom (i. e. Melchisedek, as Syr. (which expresses Melchisedek after the relative), Calv., a-Lap., al., Bleek, De W., Tholuck, al.: not as Œc., Prim., al., and Lünem., Christ, of whom such an expression as this would hardly here be used, seeing that the whole Epistle hitherto has been concerning Him: nor is οὗ neuter, as Schlichting, Grot., Storr, Kuinoel, al.: and more recently, Delitzsch ( περὶ τοῦ εἶναι χριστὸν ἀρχ. κατὰ τ. ταξ. ΄.): for the Writer returns to Melchisedek, ch. Hebrews 7:1) our discourse (that which we have to say. The plural pronoun, not with any definite reference to Timothy or other companions of the Writer, nor intended to include the readers, which is here impossible: but as in some other places of the Epistle, see reff., merely indicating the Writer himself, as so frequently in the Epistles of St. Paul) is (not, as Erasm., Luther, a-Lap., al., “would be:” for we may safely say that in that case εἴη or ἂν εἴη would be supplied, as in the passage of Lysias cited below, and Dion. Hal. i. 23, περὶ ὧν πολὺς ἂν εἴη λόγος, εἰ βουλοίμην τὴν ἀκρίβειαν γράφειν) much, and difficult of interpretation to speak (the connexion of δυσερμήνευτος with λέγειν is somewhat dubious. Who is the ἑρμηνευτής? the Writer, so that it should be difficult for him to explain what he has to say to his readers, or the readers, so that it should be difficult for them to understand it for themselves? This latter alternative is taken by Grot. (“quem si eloquerer, ægre intelligeretis”), Jac. Cappel., Peirce, Valcknaer, al. But surely this would be inadmissible as matter of construction, and would require ἐν τῷ λέγειν or ἐν τῷ λέγεσθαι. And in consequence, some who take this view connect λέγειν with λόγος, πολ. ἡμ. ὁ λ. κ. δυσερμ. λέγειν, referring, as Wetst., to Lysias adv. Pancleon. p. 167. 25, ὅσα μὲν οὖν αὐτόθι ἐῤῥήθη, πολὺς ἂν εἴη μοι λόγος διηγεῖσθαι. But, as Bleek has noticed, there is this difference between the passages: that in ours, the adjectives are almost necessarily predicates, whereas in Lysias they are epithets: and, in consequence, here the verb must depend on δυσερμήνευτος. We are driven then to the other alternative, of making the Writer the subject to be supplied: so Chrys. ( ὅταν γάρ τις πρὸς ἀνθρώπους ἔχῃ μὴ παρακολου· θοῦντας, μηδὲ τὰ λεγόμενα νοοῦντας, ἑρμηνεῦσαι καλῶς αὐτοῖς οὐ δύναται), and Thl. ( διὰ τὴν ὑμετέραν οὖν νωθρείαν, φησί, δυσερμήνευτός ἐστιν ὁ λόγος ὁ περὶ τοῦ πῶς ἐστιν ὁ χριστὸς ἀρχιερεὺς κατὰ τὴν τάξιν ΄ελχισεδέκ, καὶ διότι οὐ συνίετε ὑμεῖς, διὰ τοῦτο ἐγὼ καλῶς ἑρμηνεῦσαι οὐ δύναμαι), Erasm. (“sed omnia perdifficile fuerit enarrare vobis, eo quod” &c.), Schlichting (“sermo difficilis ad eloquendum sic ut facile ab audientibus percipi et intelligi queat”), al.: Bleek, De W., Lünem., al. Then the infin. follows, as ὅπως ἂν ὦσιν ( οἱ λόγοι) ὡς πιθανώτατοι λέγειν, Plato, Gorg. p. 479 G σῆμα ταυρόπουν ὁρᾶν, Eur. Iph. Aul. 275: γαλάτειαλευκοτέρα πακτᾶς ποτιδεῖν, Theocr. xi. 20: and as in our phrase ‘beautiful to look upon,’ ‘hard to work upon,’ &c. Bleek (after Storr) and Lünemann have supposed that a kind of zeugma is necessary to connect λόγος with both predicates, πολύς regarding more the discourse itself and the explanation of the subject given by the Writer,— δυσερμήνευτος, the contents of the λόγος, as thus explained. But it does not seem to me that such a supposition is needed: our λόγος, that which we have to say, is both πολύς, abundant in quantity, and δυσερμήνευτος, difficult to state perspicuously to you, in quality. And so also Delitzsch), since (probably renders a reason only for the δυσερμήνευτος λέγειν, not belonging also to πολύς) ye are become (not, “are,” as E. V., Luther (not De W.), al. Chrys. says well, δηλοῦντος ἦν, ὅτι πάλαι ὑγίαινον καὶ ἦσαν ἰσχυροί, τῇ προθυμίᾳ ζέοντες, καὶ ὕστερον αὐτοὺς τοῦτο παθεῖν μαρτυρεῖ) dull ( νωθρός, a lengthened and later form of νωθής. It is found as early as Plato, Theætet. p. 144 B, but more commonly in the later writers, Aristid., Plut., Polyb., al. See Elsn. and Wetst. Bleek thinks the most probable formation of it is from the negative νη and ὠθέω, as νωδός toothless, νώδυνος painless, νώνυμος nameless, νήπιος from ἔπω, = ‘in-fans.’ Thus the two words mean, ‘difficult to move:’ so ὄνος νωθής, II. β. 559: ὄνων νωθρὸν δέμας, Oppian, Halieut. iii. 140. And so likewise as applied to the soul, Plut. Lycurg. 51 e: νωθρᾶς.… κ. πρὸς ἀρετὴν ἀφιλοτίμου ψυχῆς σημεῖον: and to the senses, Heliodor. Hebrews 5:10, ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν οὐκ ᾐσθόμην.… τάχα μέν που καὶ διʼ ἡλικίαν νωθρότερος ὢν τὴν ἀκοήν· νόσος γὰρ ἄλλων τε καὶ ὤτων τὸ γῆρας. See many more examples in Bleek and Wetst.) in your hearing (more usually the accus., as in the last citation: but frequently in the (local or referential) dative, as e. g. 1 Corinthians 14:20, μὴ παιδία γίνεσθε ταϊς φρεσίν, ἀλλὰ τῇ κακίᾳ νηπιάζετε. See examples in Winer, edn. 6, § 31. 6. ἀκοή is used in good Greek writers of the ear, with however this distinction, that it is of the ear with reference to the act of hearing, not merely as a member of the body. Philo draws the distinction, in ref. It is related to οὖς as ὄψις to ὀφθαλμός: cf. Xen. Mem. i. 4. 11, καὶ ὄψιν κ. ἀκοὴν κ. στόμα ἐνεποίησαν: Herod. i. 38, διεφθαρμένος τὴν ἀκοήν: and other examples in Bleek. The plur. here denotes not only the plurality of persons addressed, but also, as in ref. Mark, the double organ of hearing in each person).


Verses 11-20

11–6:20.] Digression, before entering on the comparison of Christ with Melchisedek, complaining of the low state of spiritual attainment of the readers (Hebrews 5:11-14) warning them of the necessity of progress and the peril of falling back (Hebrews 6:1-8): but at the same time encouraging them by God’s faithfulness in bearing in mind their previous labour of love, and in His promises generally, to persevere in faith and patience to the end (Hebrews 6:9-20).


Verse 12

12.] For though (or, ‘when:’ but in the presence of διὰ τὸν χρόνον, which gives the temporal reference, it is perhaps better not to repeat it) ye ought (see on Hebrews 5:3, and ch. Hebrews 2:17) on account of the time (i. e. the length of time during which you have been believers: οὕτω δὲ δείκνυσιν ἐκ πολλοῦ πεπιστευκότας αὐτούς, Œc. Cf. Polyb. ii. 21. 2, οἱ μὲν αὐτόπται γεγονότες τῶν δεινῶν ἐκ τοῦ ζῆν ἐξεχώρησαν διὰ τὸν χρόνον, ἐπεγένοντο δὲ νέοι: Diod. Sic. i. 12, βραχὺ μετατιθείσης διὰ τὸν χρόνον τῆς λέξεως: ib. c. 27, κατέφθαρται διὰ τὸν χρόνον: and other examples in Bleek. So that it is not “jamdudum,” as Luther, al., nor “after so long a time ( διὰ χρόνου),” as Schulz: nor “on account of the present time ( διὰ τὸν καιρόν),” as proposed (not preferred, as Bl.) by Owen, and given by Braun: nor can we understand it, with a-Lapide, “pro longitudine temporis, quo tum in lege Mosi, quum in Christianismo estis eruditi.” On the evidence given by expressions of this kind as to the time of writing the Epistle, and the persons to whom it is addressed, see Prolegg.) to be teachers, ye again have need that some one teach you (it is doubtful whether τινα represent the accus. sing. masc. ( τινά) or the accus. plur. neut. ( τίνα). The latter has been taken by our E. V., after considerable authorities: e. g. the Syr.; the Latin attached to D, “iterum necesse est doceri nos, quæ sint,” &c.; vulg.; Aug(31) Tract. 98 in Joann. (vol. iii. pt. ii.): and indeed most Commentators, including Grot., Wolf, Bengel, Kuin., De Wette, Tholuck, Delitzsch. But the other rendering has also ancient authority for it: Œc. says, πάλιν χρ. ἔχετε τοῦ διδάσκειν ὑμᾶς τινα. τί δὲ διδάσκειν; τὰ στοιχεῖά φησι. And so Luth., Calv. (“ut quis vos doceat elementa”), al., and Lachmann, Bleek, Ebrard, Lünem. And indeed it is the only one which will fit either the context, or the construction strictly considered. The context: for it was not loss of power in them to distinguish between first elements and other portions of Christian doctrine, of which he complains, but ignorance altogether, and slowness of ear to receive divine knowledge: and they wanted some one to begin again with them and teach them the very first elements. And so far from τινά, ‘some one,’ being, as Delitzsch most absurdly says, matt und nichtsfagend, it carries with it the fine keen edge of reproach; q. d. ‘to teach you what all know, and any can teach.’ Then again, had τινα been interrogative, we should have expected διδάσκεσθαι, or some personal pronoun before διδάσκειν. This is perhaps not altogether certain, in the face of οὐ χρείαν ἔχετε γράφειν, 1 Thessalonians 4:9, where I have retained the rec. (as against the correction ἔχομεν, admitted by Lachmann) and defended it as a mixture of two constructions. Still we have no right to assume such an irregularity where the context manifestly admits the common construction. Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:1, οὐ χρείαν ἔχετε ὑμῖν γράφεσθαι: and reff. The acceptation of τοῦ διδάσκειν as a substantival infinitive (of the teaching) is precluded by ὑμᾶς following) the rudiments (or ‘elements:’ see Galatians 4:3 and note, and Ellicott there: the simple parts, out of which a body is compounded: Xen. Mem. ii. 1. 1, βούλει σκοπῶμεν, ἀρξάμενοι ἀπὸ τῆς τροφῆς ὥσπερ ἀπὸ τῶν στοιχείων: Galen, adv. Lycum, δῆλός ἐστι μηδὲ τὰ στοιχεῖα τῆς ἱπποκράτους τέχνης ἐπιστάμενος: which are afterwards called αἱ συλλαβαὶ τῆς τέχνης, and τὰ πρῶτα τῆς τέχνης) of the beginning (so “prima elementa,” Quintil. Instit. i. 1: Hor. Sat. i. 1. 26: “prima pueritiæ elementa,” Justin. Hist. vii. 5. The genitive specifies the elements, that they are not only such, but also belong to the very beginning of divine knowledge) of the oracles ( λόγιον, properly a diminutive from λόγος, is used both in classical and Hellenistic Greek for an oracle, or a divine utterance. Very numerous instances are given in Bleek from both sources: and such will occur at once to every scholar. See Herod. iv. 178: Thucyd. ii. 8: and reff. Here it betokens that Christian doctrine (cf. ch. Hebrews 6:1), which rests entirely on revelations from God: as Schlichting: “doctrinæ Christianæ, quæ nil nisi Dei eloquia et oracula continet”) of God: and ye have become ( καὶ οὐκ εἶπε· χρείαν ἔχετε, ἀλλὰ γεγόνατε χρ. ἔχοντες· τουτέστιν ὑμεῖς ἠθελήσατε, ὑμεῖς ἑαυτοὺς εἰς τοῦτο κατεστήσατε, εἰς ταύτην τὴν χρείαν. Chrys.: and Œc., γεγόνατε ἐκ ῥᾳθυμίας, οὐκ ὄντες τοιοῦτοι: and Thl. even stronger, ἐκ προαιρέσεως τοιοῦτοι γεγονότες) (persons) having need of milk, and not of solid food (see 1 Corinthians 3:2. The similitude is very common with Philo: see extracts in Wetst. and Bleek. Arrian, Epictet. ii. 17, has the contrast as here, οὐ θέλεις ἤδη ὡς τὰ παιδία ἀπογαλακτισθῆναι, κ. ἅπτεσθαι τροφῆς στερεωτέρας. What is the milk in the Writer’s meaning, is plain from ch. Hebrews 6:1, where he enumerates several portions of Christian doctrine as parts of ὁ τῆς ἀρχῆς τοῦ χριστοῦ λόγος. The Fathers for the most part take the στοιχεῖα and the γάλα to mean the doctrine of the incarnation: so Chrys., στοιχεῖα ἀρχῆς τὴν ἀνθρωπότητα φησίν. ὥσπερ γὰρ ἐπὶ τῶν ἔξωθεν γραμμάτων πρῶτον τὰ στοιχεῖα δεῖ μαθεῖν, σὕτω καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν θείων λόγων πρῶτον περὶ τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος δεῖ διδάσκεσθαι: and similarly Thl. and Œc. Primasius more explicitly: “Lac ergo simplicis doctrinæ est incarnatio filii Dei, passio, resurrectio illius, ascensio ad cœlos; solidus vero cibus perfecti sermonis est mysterium Trinitatis, quomodo tres sint in personis et unum in substantia Deitatis.” But nothing of this is found in the context: add to which, that the Writer has actually treated of the præ-existent state of Christ and of His incarnation, ch. Hebrews 1:2. Thl. reckons the explanation about Melchisedek among the στοιχεῖα, not even to understanding which were they equal: and certainly this might be so: but from the form of the contrast drawn, and from ch. Hebrews 6:1, it is much more probable that the Writer regards that explanation as one of the more recondite things, and those enumerated ch. Hebrews 6:1, as the first principles. But it does not thence follow that these στοιχεῖα are of less importance than those deeper mysteries: these are the foundations, without which no building whatever can be raised. This is well expressed by Limborch, as cited by Bleek: “Hæc itaque sublimior doctrina non vocatur solidior cibus quia ad fidem Christianam magis est necessaria quam principia illa religionis: nihil minus: illis enim ignoratis, modo principia religionis Christianæ quis solida fide amplectatur, potest esse Christianus: non autem est Christianus, nisi illa firma fide amplexus fuerit: sed eo solum respectu, quod faciant ad solidiorem doctrinæ Christi confirmationem: sicuti solidus cibus non præcise est necessarius ad vitæ conservationem, sed ad virium majorum quæ ad labores sustinendos requiruntur, acquisitionem. Idque potissimum locum habet in Hebræis, qui multum addicti allegoricis interpretationibus, et de legis suæ divinitate persuasi, valde in fide Christiana confirmari poterant dilucida et distincta applicatione typorum V. T. ad Christum ejusque pontificatum”).

Hebrews 5:13 renders a reason for Hebrews 5:11-12, and especially for δυσερμήνευτος. Having before stated that what he had to say would be hard for him to explain to them, and then that they were become persons needing milk and not solid food, he now proceeds to join these two positions together: For every one who partakes of (in the sense of has for his share, in ordinary feeding: not, partakes of in common with other things, for that adults do: see 1 Corinthians 10:21) milk, is unskilled in ( ἄπειρος, from πεῖρα, trial: opposed to ἔμπειρος, experienced: not to be confounded with another ἄπειρος, from πέρας: Etym. Mag., ἄπειρος, ὁ μὲν ἀμαθής, παρὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν πεῖραν· ὁ δέ, μέγας, παρὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν πέρας. It is of frequent use in the classics in this sense of unskilled: see numerous examples in Bleek: e. g. Plato, Rep. ix. p. 737, ἄπειροι ἀληθείας, and a passage not unlike this in its cast, Herodian v. 5. 1, αὐτὸς γὰρ ἦν νέος τε τὴν ἡλικίαν, πραγμάτων τε κ. παιδείας ἄπειρος) the word of righteousness: for he is an infant (that is, ‘for every partaker of milk, in the metaphorical sense in which I just now used the word, i. e. every one who requires yet to be taught the first principles &c., is devoid of understanding in the word of righteousness, in, that is, the positions and arguments which treat of God’s salvation by Christ: for he is an infant: takes the same rank in spiritual understanding, that an infant does in worldly.’ Thus taken, I can see no difficulty such as Bleek represents in the contextual connexion. There is of course a mingling of the figure and the thing represented, which however is easy enough to any reader to whom both figure and thing are already familiar. But it is necessary to fix more satisfactorily the meaning of the somewhat obscure expression λόγος δικαιοσύνης. Chrys. says, ἐσταῦθά μοι δοκεῖ καὶ βίον αἰνίττεσθαι· ὅπερ καὶ ὁ χριστὸς ἔλεγεν, ἐὰν μὴ περισσεύσῃ ἡ δικαιοσύνη ὑμῶν πλέον κ. τ. λ. τοῦτο καὶ αὐτός φησιν· ἄπειρος λόγου δικαιοσύνης, τουτέστι, τῆς ἄνω φιλοσοφίας ἄπειρος, οὐ δύναται παραδέξασθαι βίον ἄκρον κ. ἠκριβωμένον. Similarly Thl., giving however the alternative that δικαιοσύνη may mean χριστὸς αὐτός. Œc. says, λόγον δέ δικαιοσύνης λέγει τὸν περὶ τῆς θεότητος τοῦ κυρίου. Thdrt., generally, τὰ τελειότερα δόγματα, Primasius, “Alienus est a discretione perfectæ justitiæ, quia nondum potest penetrare arcana mysteriorum, nec scit, ut expedit, discretionem facere inter bonum et malum.” And so a-Lapide, Bretschn., al. Others, as Beza, Pyle, Storr, Tholuck, al., take δικαιοσύνη of the doctrine of justification before God by faith in Christ: or, as Bengel and Cramer, justification and sanctification as well: uprightness of doctrine and practice. Calvin says, “justitiæ nomine perfectionem intelligens, de qua paulo post loquitur” (ch. Hebrews 6:1). Many others take λόγον δικαιοσύνης as = λόγου δικαίου: so Schlichting, Grot., Wahl, Kuinoel, al. Others again have appealed to the Heb. usage of צְדָקָה for ‘truth,’ and understood it “verbum veritatis:” so, with minor differences, Michaelis, Zachariä, Dindorf. Bleek half adopts a hint given by Carpzov, who interprets it of the “doctrina de sacerdotio Jesu Christi Melchisedeciano, quæ dicitur λόγος δικαιοσύνης propterea quod Melchisedecus, vi nominis, βασιλεύς δικαιοσύνης vertitur, vii. 2, eaque appellatio ad Christum sacerdotem applicatur, cujus πρέπον fuit πληρῶσαι πᾶσαν δικαιοσύνην, Matthew 3:15 :” Bleek, however, not accepting the reference in this shape, supposes that δικαιοσύνη is here used as belonging to the whole subject to which Melchisedek, as the βασιλεὺς δικαιοσύνης, also belongs: and that the δικαιοσύνη is that righteousness of which the fulness dwells in Christ, but of which Melchisedek, by his very name, was a type. But to this De Wette justly answers, that it would be very unnatural, to find a reference to an expression which, where it occurs, is not, any more than its cognate βασιλεὺς εἰρήνης, followed up,—and, so far from clearing this passage, itself needs explication. I incline more to Lünemann’s view of the meaning, based as it is on the requirements of the passage, in which the stress is not on λόγον δικαιοσύνης, but on ἄπειρος, and λόγ. δικ. follows as something of course and generally understood. Feeling this, he interprets it of the gospel in general: that λόγος of which the central point is, the righteousness which is of God. And he refers to 2 Corinthians 3:9, ἡ διακονία τῆς δικαιοσύνης, and Hebrews 11:15, διάκονοι δικαιοσύνης. This acceptation would not altogether preclude βασιλεὺς δικαιοσύνης falling under the same general head, and thus would bring the two expressions into union, though without any distinct reference from one to another.

Delitzsch, whose commentary I have seen since writing the above, explains λόγ. δικ. “the capability to speak agreeably to righteousness” (die Fahigkeit, gerechtig-keitsgemäss zu sprechen), and takes the genitive as one of attribute. But I cannot see how the general context justifies this. It is not speaking, but apprehending, which is here surely required of the readers):


Verse 14

14.] but (continuation of and contrast to Hebrews 5:13) solid food belongs to (is the portion of) the grown up (so τέλειος often: e. g. Xen. Cyr. viii. 7. 3, ἐγὼ γὰρ παῖς τε ὢν τὰ ἐν παισὶ νομιζόμενα καλὰ δοκῶ κεκαρπῶσθαι· ἐπεὶ δὲ ἤβησα, τὰ ἐν νεανίσκοις· τέλειός τε ἀνὴρ γενόμενος, τὰ ἐν ἀνδράσι: Polyb. v. 29. 2, ἐλπίσαντες ὡς παιδίῳ νηπίῳ χρήσασθαι τῷ φιλίππῳ, εὗρον αὐτὸν τέλειον ἄνδρα. The spiritual sense is found in reff.: Thl. says, ὁρᾷς νηπιότητα ἑτέραν, ἣν καὶ γέροντες ἔχουσι, τὴν τῶν φρενῶν, καὶ τελειότητα, ἣν καὶ νέους ἔχειν οὐδὲν ἐμποδίζει. Then the qualification of τελείων follows), to those who by virtue of their (long) habit ( ἕξις from ἔχω, as ‘habitus’ from ‘habeo.’ Quintil. lnst. x. 1 init., “Sed hæc eloquendi præcepta, sicut cognitioni sunt necessaria, ita non satis ad vim dicendi valent, nisi illis firma quædam facilitas, quae apud Græcos ἕξις vocatur, acceperit: quam scribendo plus, an legendo, an dicendo, consequamur, solere quæri scio.” Aristot. Rhet. i. 1, οἱ μὲν εἰκῆ ταῦτα δρῶσιν, οἱ δὲ διὰ συνήθειαν ἀπὸ ἕξεως. Observe, on account of this meaning of the word as well as the accus. after διὰ, it is not, “by means of skill acquired in practice,” as Œc. ( τὴν ἕξιν λέγει τὴν τελειότητα, so also Thl., adding, καὶ τὴν παγιότητα τῶν ἐθῶν), Bengel (“ ἕξις notat h. 1. robur facultatis cognoscentis ex maturitate ætatis spiritualis existens”): but, ‘on account of (their) long usage,’ so that ἕξις stands in a causal, not in an instrumental relation to the result. Notice also that διὰ τὴν ἕξιν is not = διʼ ἕξιν, ‘by virtue of habit’ (abstract),—and that, on account of its position, it belongs not to γεγυμνασμένα, but to the whole sentence) have their organs of sense (not, their senses themselves. Wetst. quotes a definition ascribed to Galen, τὸ αἰσθητήριον, τὸ αἴσθησίν τινα ἐμπεπιστευμένον ὄργανον.… ἤτοι ὀφθαλμός, ἢ ῥίς, ἢ γλῶττα, ἃ καὶ ὄργανα αἰσθητικὰ προσαγορεύεται. Here again there manifestly is a mixture of the figure and the thing signified: on account of what follows, we must necessarily understand these αἰσθητήρια of the inner organs of the soul: as Œc., τὰ τῆς ψυχῆς αἰσθητήρια λέγει) exercised (reff.) with a view to (so in ref. 1 Tim., γύμαναζε δὲ σεαυτὸν πρὸς εὐσέβειαν: see also reff. here. πρός most likely belongs to γεγυμνασμένα, not to the whole τῶν.… ἐχόντων, because of the art. τά, which makes γεγυμνασμένα a predicate, not an epithet. See the very similar passage of Galen in reff.) distinction of good and evil (this puts us in mind, as Bleek remarks, of the common O. T. expression in describing childhood: e. g. Deuteronomy 1:39, πᾶν παιδίον νέον, ὅστις οὐκ οἶδεν σήμερον ἀγαθὸν ἢ κακόν: Isaiah 7:16, πρὶν γνῶναι τὸ παιδίον ἀγαθὸν ἢ κακόν. Cf. Sext. Empir. Hyp. Pyrrh. iii. 19, λείπεται δὲ τὸ ἠθικόν, ὅπερ δοκεῖ περὶ τὴν διάκρισιν τῶν τε καλῶν καὶ κακῶν καὶ ἀδιαφόρων καταγίγνεσθαι. The reference here of good and evil is manifestly not to moral qualities, but to excellence and inferiority, wholesomeness and corruptness in doctrine. Chrys. explains it well: νῦν οὐ περὶ βίου ὁ λόγος, ὅταν λέγῃ· πρὸς διάκρ. καλοῦ κ. κακοῦ· τοῦτο γὰρ παντὶ ἀνθρώπῳ δυνατὸν εἰδέναι κ. εὔκολον· ἀλλὰ περὶ δογμάτων ὑγιῶν κ. ὑψηλῶν διεφθαρμένων τε καὶ ταπεινῶν. τὸ παιδίον οὐκ οἶδε τὴν φαύλην κ. τὴν δόκιμον τροφὴν διαιρεῖν· πολλάκις γοῦν καὶ χοῦν ἐνέβαλεν εἰς τὸ στόμα, καὶ τὸ βλαβερὸν ἐδέξατο, καὶ πάντα ἀδιακρίτως ποιεῖ· ἀλλʼ οὐ τὸ τέλειον τοιοῦτον. τοιοῦτοί εἰσιν οἱ πᾶσιν ἁπλῶς προσέχοντες, κ. ἀδιακρίτως τὰς ἀκοὰς ἐκδιδόντες ἀδοκίμοις. καὶ τούτους αἰτιᾶται ὡς ἁπλῶς περιφερομένους, κ. νῦν μὲν τούτοις νῦν δὲ ἐκείνοις διδόντας ἑαυτούς· ὃ καὶ πρὸς τῷ τελει ᾐνίξατο λέγων· διδαχαῖς ποικίλαις κ. ξέναις μὴ παραφέρεσθε. τοῦτό ἐστι πρὸς διάκρισιν καλοῦ τε καὶ κακοῦ· λάρυγξ μὲν γὰρ σῖτα γεύεται, ψυχὴ δὲ δοκιμάζει λογους. But we must beware of the mistake to which Chrys. gives some countenance, and which Œe. and Thl. repeat, that the καλόν represents δόγματα ὑψηλά, and κακόν, and, δόγματα ταπεινά).

 


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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Hebrews 5:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/hebrews-5.html. 1863-1878.


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