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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Hebrews 2

 

 

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Verse 1

Hebrews 2:1. δεῖ) Elsewhere he uses the verb ὀφείλειν, to owe; here δεῖ, it behoves. The former implies obligation; the latter urgent danger, Hebrews 2:3. Now the discourse is verging towards exhortation, point by point corresponding to the preceding chapter, concerning Christ the prophet, the king, the priest: concerning Him as the prophet, for it is said, He hath spoken, Hebrews 2:2 : concerning Him as king, for it is said, Thy throne, Hebrews 2:8 : concerning Him as priest, for it is said, He hath made purification, Hebrews 2:3. And so ch. 2, concerning Him as prophet, presently in Hebrews 2:1, etc.: concerning Him as king, Thou hast crowned, Hebrews 2:7 : concerning Him as priest, everywhere. The exhortation begins in the first person; then becomes stronger in the second, ch. Hebrews 3:1.— περισσοτέρως, the more abundantly) The comparative in the strict sense; comp. the following verses: it is construed with δεῖ, it behoves.— προσέχειν, to attend, to give heed) by obedience; comp. Hebrews 2:2, note.— τοῖς ἀκουσθεῖσι, to the things which we have heard) The reference is to ch. Hebrews 1:1, at the end: and comp. below Hebrews 2:3, ch. Hebrews 5:11. The part (office) of speaking and hearing is, therefore, superior to that of writing and reading.— μήποτε παραῤῥυῶμεν) 2d Aorist pass. with an act. signification, from ῥεύω, I flow, and I pour out: lest at any time, he says, we should [let them slip, Engl. Vers.] flow past (them); i.e. allow them to flow away with extreme levity of mind; comp. Genesis 49:4. The apostle had respect to the LXX., Proverbs 3:21, υἱὲ, μὴ παραῤῥυῆς, do not flow or slip by them, my son, let them not depart from thine eyes; where also, Proverbs 2:20, we read, νέφη ἐῤῥύη δρόσῳ, the clouds dropped with dew, in an active sense; and so everywhere. Zosimus, 50:2: ῥωμαίων ἀρχὴ ὑπεῤῥύη κατὰ βραχὺ, the empire of the Romans gradually failed. Greg.: ἵνα μὴ ἐξίτηλα τῷ χρονῷ γένηται τὰ καλὰ καὶ μὴ παραῤῥυῇ, that what is beautiful should not be effaced by time and should not slip away. This word frequently occurs in a metaphorical sense. Hesychius: παραῤῥυῶμεν, ἐξολισθῶμεν. The punishment of the slothful is expressed by a similar word, ἐτάκησαν, they wasted away, or were consumed, Wisdom of Solomon 1:16. The word stands: the slothful man slips away.


Verse 2

Hebrews 2:2. δἰ ἀγγέλων, by angels) διὰ, by, is taken in the strict sense, as in the following verse, comparing the words of Paul, Galatians 3:19. Otherwise the apostle’s argument from angels to the Lord would not hold good, Hebrews 2:5. GOD therefore spoke by angels, Exodus 20:1, [in such a way, however, as that it was the very sound of GOD’S voice, Hebrews 12:26.—V. g.] In the New Testament God spoke by the Lord.— ἐγένετο βέβαιος, was made stedfast) its authority being established by the penalties incurred on the part of those who were guilty of its violation.— πᾶσα, every) without respect of persons.— παράβασις καὶ παρακοὴ) παράβασις, transgression, by doing evil: παρακοὴ, disobedience, by neglecting to do good. The Metonymy of the abstract for the concrete, viz. for the transgressor and disobedient, who properly receive the recompense of reward. The antithesis in the concrete is, we neglecting [if we neglect], Hebrews 2:3; the antithesis to which in the abstract is, Hebrews 2:1, προσέχειν τοῖς ἀκουσθεῖσι, to give heed to those things which have been heard. δεῖ has the accusative with the infinitive. Thence the sentiment: We (the subject) ought to give heed to those things which are heard (the predicate). This predicate has the antithesis in the abstract.— ἔλαβεν, received) not only in the sanction, but in the execution.


Verse 3

Hebrews 2:3. πῶς ἡμεῖς ἐκφευξόμεθα) how shall we escape the just and severe retribution? So Hebrews 12:25, They did not escape; (therefore) we shall not escape.— σωτηρίας) salvation, in the world to come, joined with glory, Hebrews 2:5; Hebrews 2:10, notes. The term salvation, which is repeated in the tenth verse, is akin to the name Jesus, which resounds in the gospel of salvation.— ἀρχήν, beginning) Formerly there had not been preached so great a salvation, and by so august an interpreter [exponent or mediator of it].— λαλεῖσθαι, to be spoken) from His baptism up to His ascension, Acts 1:2.— διὰ τοῦ κυρίου, by the Lord) A majestic appellation; comp. ch. Hebrews 3:4, and the following verses; Psalms 110:1. He does not say here, by our Lord; for he intimates that He is also Lord of the angels, whom the angels themselves call Lord: Luke 2:11; Matthew 28:6. [Whatever is mentioned, ch. 1, and afterwards, Hebrews 2:7-10, is included in this appellation.—V. g.] The antithesis is, by angels, Hebrews 2:2. Comp. Hebrews 2:5, and the following,— ὑπὸ τῶν ἀκουσάντων) by those who had heard it face to face from the Lord Himself. They also had been eye-witnesses and ministers, Luke 1:2 : but the apostle mentions their having heard Him here, agreeably to what he began with, Hebrews 2:1-2. The apostle has regard not only to the evangelical history in general, but even to particular heads of it, for example, that concerning the supplication in the garden, etc., ch. Hebrews 5:7, note. Paul, writing to the churches of the Gentiles generally, speaks much of his calling, and of the fruits of his labour; but here, when he writes to the brethren of the circumcision, he most especially appeals to the apostles who had been long with the Lord; comp. Acts 1:21; Acts 10:41; Acts 13:31, note; and he only appeals to the testimony of those apostles in a general way, in order that he may bring the Hebrews to the Lord alone.— εἰς ἡμᾶς, to us) This denotes that age then present.— ἐβεβαιώθη, has been confirmed) not by penalties, but by spiritual gifts. This word corresponds to βέβαιος, firm, stedfast, Hebrews 2:2.


Verse 4

Hebrews 2:4. συνεπιμαρτυροῦντος) A double compound. It is the office of Christ to testify, it belongs to God to superadd testimony: and He did so, both when Christ was walking upon the earth, by signs and wonders, and when He was taken up into heaven, by divers miracles, Acts 2:22; Acts 2:33. The whole of that testimony refers to the Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 2:36; Acts 10:36; Acts 10:42; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:11. If any one should be inclined to refer the divers miracles also to Christ, whilst He was still upon the earth, I have no objection. The parallelism mentioned in the following note, if I am not mistaken, has led me [to refer the divers miracles to the apostles after the ascension].— ποικίλαις, by various or divers) The parallel is μερισμοῖς, divisions, distributions [Engl. Vers., gifts]; comp. 1 Corinthians 12:11.— κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ θέλησιν, according to His will) most freely, most abundantly, most mercifully, not according to the will (caprice) of them who receive them. Whence it is evident that the gift is quite supernatural, αὐτοῦ, of God Himself. רצק, LXX., θέλησις .


Verse 5

Hebrews 2:5. οὐ γὰρ ἀγγέλοις, for not to angels) The Ætiology [assigning of a reason; Append.], referring to Hebrews 2:3, where the terms salvation and Lord are skilfully introduced, serves the purpose of beginning a new paragraph. The greater the salvation, and the more glorious the Lord, that are despised, the more aggravated is the offence of them who despise them. God subjected both angels and all things, not to the angels, of whom nothing was written to that effect [implying any such intention], but to man, or the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. The angels had more to do in the Old Testament; but in the New Testament, when human nature was exalted by Christ, the angels are our fellow-servants. I ventured to say, more to do; and it may be also supposed from the antithesis, that greater reverence was due to the angels in the Old Testament than in the New Testament, where they are now our fellow-servants. And from this very circumstance, that they are our fellow-servants, we understand that they are not inactive under the New Testament, but merely that they act under a different relation from that under which they acted under the Old Testament. As in this passage angels are opposed to the Lord, so Hebrews 2:16, they are opposed to the brethren [Hebrews 2:11-12]. The apostle couples believers alone with Christ alone.— ὑπέταξε, subjected) This verb is now brought forward at once from the eighth verse. God subjected; for the language refers to ch. Hebrews 1:1.— τὴν οἰκουμένην τὴν μέλλουσαν, the world to come) There is but one earth, οἰκουμένη, belonging to all times, ch. Hebrews 1:6. Therefore the expression, the world to come, is used as we say to-morrow’s sun, although there is but the one sun of all days. הבא in Hebrew is expressed by μέλλουσα in Greek. The world is one (and the same world), under grace and under glory; the epithet, to come, is added to it, not because it is not already existing, but because it was formerly predicted. The newness which was introduced by Christ in the New Testament is considered of so much importance in Scripture, that there arises from it a twofold division (dichotomia), viz. between the times of the Old and those of the New Testament, with one and the same eternity depending upon them. These latter taken together are called οἰχουμένη μέλλουσα, the world to come. They are ever and anon μέλλοντα, about to come, when regarded from the Old Testament point of view, which prophetically looks forward to the New Testament; but in the New Testament they are present Good things, obtained by Christ; which commence while the world to come is in the course of being subjected to Him, at the time when first He was crowned with glory and honour. Concerning this expression of Paul, comp. note at Romans 3:30. Although, even in reference to the time of this epistle, it is to come, μέλλουσα, in its own way, viz. at the time when all things shall be made subject to Christ, even including death, 1 Corinthians 15:24-25. Consider the not yet, Hebrews 2:8, and the actual description of “the world to come,” ch. Hebrews 12:26, etc. The noun, world, is of very wide meaning. See the psalm which is presently quoted. πατὴρ τοῦ ΄ελλοντοσ αἰῶνος, Pater futuri seculi, Isaiah 9:6, in the Greek and Latin versions; the Father of the world to come; in our translation, “the everlasting Father.”— περὶ ἧς λαλοῦμεν, of which we speak) We speak, we teachers, ch. Hebrews 5:11, note. By this clause the force of a proposition is obtained for [is imparted to] this short verse. And the proposition is, all things shall be subjected to Jesus Christ.


Verse 6

Hebrews 2:6. διεμαρτύρατο δέ που τὶς, but one in a certain place testified) one, viz. a witness. David did not here speak of himself; wherefore it was not necessary to introduce his name. Nor should we stop short with the intermediate messengers, but should look to the word of GOD, when it has testified once for all. David testified in Psalms 8, to which this chapter often refers, even from the tenth verse, as we shall see. δὲ, but, forms an antithesis between the angels and Him to whom the psalm testifies that all things are subjected.— τί ὲστινποδῶν αὐτοῦ) So altogether the LXX., Psalms 8:5-7. That clause, and Thou hast set Him over the works of Thy hands, the apostle does not assume, at least in his reasoning, but deduces the “all things” from what goes before and follows in the psalm. There are mentioned in that clause the works of GOD’S hands, i.e. heaven, the moon and stars. (The sun is wanting, either because, as the slavery and deliverance of his seed was shown to Abraham in the night time, Genesis 15:12; so the humiliation and exaltation of the Messiah were shown to David and sung by him during the night; as also the word of the Lord seems to have come to Job by night, Job 38:7; Job 38:31-32; or because Messiah, when forsaken on the cross, saw the moon and stars after that the sun was darkened.) But the authority of Christ continues beyond the duration of these.— τί ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος) what is man with respect to the works of GOD, the heaven, etc.; but what is man with respect to God Himself? The expression is thus more humble than if he had said: Who am I? A man, ἄνθρωπος, without the article, as one of many, אנוש, a man, παθητὸς, subject to sufferings and death.— ὅτι μιμνήσκῃ αὐτοῦ, that Thou art mindful of him) Such is the description of the Messiah’s condition, in which He might seem to have passed away from the remembrance and care of God. Whence, with wonderful humilty, He is astonished Himself at this very thing, the remembrance of Him: how much more at so great glory prepared for Him? It could not be otherwise, Acts 2:24; but He prays as if it could scarcely be so.— , or) בן אדם, the son of man, in this passage, conveys the notion of something more insignificant than אדם, man.— υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου) בן אדם, comp. Psalms 49:3.(10) Again without the article.— ἐπισκέπτῃ αὐτὸν, takest account of him, visitest him) An increase in the force of the expression; for remembrance refers even to the absent; ἐπισκέπτεσθαι, to visit or look after, denotes the care of one present.


Verse 7

Hebrews 2:7. βραχύ τι, a very short time) The same word occurs at Luke 22:58.— παρʼ ἀγγέλους) In Psalms 8:6, the Hebrew ותחסרהו מעט מאלהים has this meaning: Thou hast made the Son of Man to be a little less than God, that is, than Himself. The beautiful paraphrase of Christopher Corner is as follows: Christ having become man, humbled Himself under the cross, and abased Himself BELOW GOD, when the Divine nature remaining quiescent, and not exerting its power, God Himself and the Lord of Glory was crucified and put to death.—Expos. Psalm, p. 24. This is the force of Mem prefixed, 2 Chronicles 15:16; Isaiah 52:14. See Nold. Concord. on this particle, § 21. Mem following מחסר itself, Ecclesiastes 4:8. This mode of expression we find in another of Paul’s phrases: μὴ ὢν ἶσα θεῷ and κενώσας ἑαυτὸν; Philippians 2:6-7, note. But Paul retains the interpretation of the LXX interpreters as suited to his purpose; for the homonymy(11) of the Hebrew word אלהים signifies an invisible nature, and therefore, whether angelic or divine, superior to the human nature; and He, who was made lower than the angels, was certainly made lower than GOD: but He as it were anew supplies the appellation, GOD, in ch. Hebrews 3:4. For so the apostle is accustomed to use appropriately to his purpose the words of the LXX interpreters, and to bring before the reader anew the force of the Hebrew words, when they are more to his purpose; ch. Hebrews 10:8, Hebrews 12:6, notes.


Verse 8

Hebrews 2:8. (13) πάντα ὑπέταξας) See 1 Corinthians 15:27, and what goes before with the annot.— γὰρ, for) The apostle shows the reason why he quoted this passage, namely, because we are taught in it that it was Jesus to whom all things were subjected, and therefore the world to come, Hebrews 2:5. Often γὰρ, for, is useful for the Ætiology of [assigning a reason for] what is said; ch. Hebrews 7:14, Hebrews 9:24; and so Paul, Romans 3:28.— αὐτῷ, αὐτῷ) under Him, under Him, the man of whom he is speaking, the Son of Man. This is explained in the middle of Hebrews 2:9, concerning Jesus, the application to Him having been most suitably put off till that place.— τὰ πάντα) τὰ in the second and third place has the force of a relative to the πάντα, all things, which precedes. The same force of the article may be found at John 19:5; John 19:7; Galatians 5:13; Galatians 6:14.— οὐδὲν, nothing) not even angels; Hebrews 2:5, ch. Hebrews 1:6.— ἀφῆκεν, left) in the language of the psalm, to which the events partly correspond, partly will correspond.— νῦν δὲ οὔπω, but now not yet) νῦν, now, serves the purpose of an Anthypophora;(14) for the time is denoted in οὒπω, not yet, and the latter is construed with ὁρῶμεν, we see, in antithesis to the present βλέπομεν, we perceive.(15) More things are already subjected to Christ than we see; and all things will be entirely subjected to Him at the proper time, and we shall behold it; Ephesians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 15:27-28. But why not yet all things? Because both His body, the Church, is in distress, and He Himself is not acknowledged, at least is not seen. The verb βλέπω, I look, I perceive, denotes something more definite; ὁράω, I see, something more extensive and more august.


Verse 9

Hebrews 2:9. δὲ, but) The antithesis is between that in the psalm, which we do not yet see, and that which we already perceive fulfilled in Jesus. But what do we perceive? We perceive, as regards Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, that He, on account of the suffering of death, has been crowned with glory and honour. In this paragraph, ἠλαττωμένον ( διὰἐστεφανωμένον) ὅπως, κ. τ. λ., is a Chiasmus, such as Paul has, Galatians 4:4-5 : and in the present clause, διὰ, κ. τ. λ. (which clause requires no point before δόξῃ), that for (on account of) which Jesus was crowned, namely, the suffering of death, is mentioned according to the natural order of the subject, and not without emphasis, before the actual crowning. The apostle takes away from the Jews the offensive scandal (stumbling-block) of the cross: and so refutes the argument, which might be drawn from the sufferings of Christ against His glory, and that glory the source of glory to us also, as that he even inverts it [turns it into an argument for, instead of against Christ]. He shows that the suffering of death is so far from obstructing the glory and honour of the Messiah, that it rather confirms them to us. Whence he infers, that the fact of Jesus being “made lower than the angels,” which was only for a little, did not refer to the circumstance that He should continue under the power of death, but that, after He had once suffered death to the utmost, He should have everything made subject to Him. It is Jesus to whom the humbling and crowning, as described in the psalm, apply. It is therefore the same Person, to whom also the power over all appropriately belongs, which (power) follows close after, in the gradation of the psalm.— βραχύ τι, for some little time [a little]) Some hours on the cross, days of suffering, years of toils, how little are they all, when compared with eternity!— παρʼ ἀγγέλους, than the angels) who are incapable of suffering and dying.— ἠλαττωμένον) made lower, less, a worm: comp. Luke 22:43. The participle implies, that Jesus of Himself, and for His own sake, might have entered upon glory without suffering; but the good of His brethren was likewise to be regarded.— βλέπομεν, we perceive) The act of looking, saith he, speaks (of itself). The same word occurs, ch. Hebrews 3:19, Hebrews 10:25. The fact and the issue agree with the faith of the previous testimony; Hebrews 2:6, at the beginning.— τὸ πάθημα τοῦ θανάτου, the suffering of death) The suffering of death is the main feature [in His sufferings, and so is put for all the rest]: ch. Hebrews 5:7.— δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ, with glory and honour) becoming the Son of God. [Glory presupposes death; honour, suffering.—V. g.]— ἐστεφανωμένον, crowned) after death.— ὅπως, that) This ought to be connected with being made lower, and therefore denotes the end (the final cause).— χάριτι θεοῦ, by the grace of God) Some formerly read χωρὶς(16) θεοῦ, except God. Both readings give a good sense; let us look at each. The clause with χωρὶς, except, stands thus: Christ tasted death for every one except God. This sentence is to be explained by its members. I.) πάντος, as the πάντα, occurring five times in Hebrews 2:8; Hebrews 2:10, is neuter, which is acknowledged by Orig. Theod. Ambros., quoted in Estius; for in the masculine it is wont to be plural, ὑπὲρ πάντων, 2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Timothy 2:6 : and the plural, πάντων and πᾶσι, is generally masc., sometimes neuter; but παντὸς, παντὶ, put without a substantive or a participle, are always neut. [but Engl. Vers. “for every man”]. See above, at 2 Corinthians 11:6; Mark 9:49. The apostle shows the glory of Christ from the eighth Psalm, and especially from the clause, Thou hast put כל, everything, under His feet; and he supplies the emphasis of the singular number (He put everything), which is contained in that significant syllable כל, and was omitted by the LXX. transl., when he says, and only in this place, which is the leading strength (sinew) of his argument, παντός . For παντός, neut., without the article, is good Greek, since it is used by Hesiod, πλέον ἥ΄ισυ παντος, the half (obtained by fair means) is more than the whole (obtained unfairly). This πᾶν, this all, to which οὐδὲν, nothing, likewise in the neuter, is opposed, Hebrews 2:8, and in which all, in the masc., are included, John 3:35-36, chiefly comprehends angels, than whom Christ had been made a little (or for a little) lower; and thus the Protasis and Apodosis correspond to each other, We do not yet see all things subject to Him, but yet that for which He tasted death is ALL ( πᾶν), ‘Omne.’ II.) To taste death, implies the reality, and yet in this place also the shortness, of death; as Chrysostom, Sedulius, Haymo, Flacius, on this passage, acknowledge. III.) Hence we at length gather the meaning of ὑπὲρ, for all ( παντὸς, omni); Germ, um alles, not für alle: ὑπὲρ denotes here the thing to be obtained, as in John 11:4; 2 Corinthians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 12:8; 2 Corinthians 12:19; 2 Thessalonians 1:5. He tasted death for all (omni), that He might claim all (‘omne’) for Himself, that He might obtain power over all things: or in other words, for this, that what was written might be fulfilled to Him, Thou hast put ALL (OMNE) under His feet. IV.) That All has a very manifest and proper exception. Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:27, treating of the same psalm, the same verse, and the same word, כל, all, adds, it is manifest that He is excepted, who put all things under Him. The same exception therefore is made in this place, χωρὶς θεοῦ ὑπὲρ παντός, all, but God, is subject to Christ: χωρὶς is used to express an exception. So Epiphanius, διὰ παντὸς, χωρὶς πεντηκοστῆς, at all times except Pentecost: hæres. lxxv. Thomas Magister writes, τὸ πλὴν καὶ τὸ ἐκτὸς, τὸ χωρίς δηλοῦσι; χωρὶς is explained by πλὴν and ἐκτὸς, except. Theodoritus acknowledges that χωρὶς in this passage expresses an exception; and the parallelism of the psalm shows us what the exception is. And the exception itself very significantly, and yet, lest the discourse should he interrupted, very briefly, points out the vast extent of the things subject to Christ, which are absolutely all but God; and the exception is properly put before the subject, from which the exception is made. The same clause, if χάριτι, by grace, be retained, will be thus explained: that by the grace of GOD He might taste death for everything. By the grace of GOD in regard to us, Galatians 2:21; Romans 5:8, and to Jesus Himself. His enemies thought that Jesus suffered and died in consequence of the wrath of GOD, Psalms 22:8-9; Psalms 69:27; Isaiah 53:4; John 19:7. But it was altogether by the grace of God, that He suffered and died, of which grace the gift is honour and glory: Philippians 2:9, ἐχαρίσατο, “God hath given Him,” etc.; Luke 2:40; Luke 2:52; Romans 5:15. And this noun, χάριτι, expresses the same idea as the verbs, ΄ι΄νήσκῃ, ἐπισκέπτῃ, rememberest (“art mindful”), visitest, Hebrews 2:6, from that eighth Psalm. In this interpretation, ὑπὲρ παντὸς might be equivalent to for all (men), Germ. für alle, so far as the preposition is concerned, but the neuter, παντός, is an objection [therefore it must be for everything: in order that everything may be subject to Him]. We now inquire which reading is genuine. I am not ignorant that χάριτι is more favourably received than χωρὶς, and I would be disposed, without any trouble, to dismiss the latter and adopt the former. But when the question concerns the word of GOD, even one little word of GOD, we ought to settle nothing merely to gain time. The over-officiousness of the transcribers, which seeks after all things plain, more easily changed χωρὶς into χάριτι, than χάριτι into χωρὶς; and yet χωρὶς remains in ancient, numerous, and important documents. The list is given in App. Crit. To them may be added the book of the Abbot Anastasius against the Jews, who flourished in Palestine in the eighth century, directly exhibiting this reading. Nor will any one, I hope, call in question this reading, nor the interpretation which has been here proposed by us; yet it is open to the reader to consider the matter more fully. La Croze, lib. 3., de Christianismo Indico, c. iii, § 64, shows the consistency (unanimous agreement) of the Syriac copies in joining both readings.— γεύσηται, might taste) The reality of death is implied in this phrase, as everywhere else; and here, as we have said, at the same time the shortness ( τὸ βραχὺ) of its duration, for denoting which the gen. θανάτου is well fitted; comp. ch. Hebrews 6:4, note. To taste a part of death is one thing; a part or the shortness of the time, in which the whole of death is tasted, is another.(17), Matthew 16:28 does not present any objection to the signification of shortness of duration; for there the expression is negative, as in Luke 14:24. Moreover, Psalms 34 :(8) 9, gives weight to this view, γεύσασθε καὶ ἴδετε, i.e. Only taste and you will see; otherwise taste would not be put before sight.


Verse 10

Hebrews 2:10. ἔπρεπε, it became) So Psalms 8:2 (1), הודך, LXX., μεγαλοπρέπειά σου, “Thy becoming—magnificence (to which it became here alludes) is set above the heavens.” Moreover (for the rest) in the whole of this verse 10, the proposition, which in verses 8, 9, was clothed in the words of the same psalm, is now set forth in words more nearly accommodated to the purpose of the apostle; but with this difference, that Hebrews 2:8-9, treat more expressly of glory, (taken) from what goes before, Hebrews 2:7; whereas Hebrews 2:10 treats more expressly of His sufferings, thereby preparing us for the transition to what follows. The predicate of the proposition is, It became Him, on account of whom all things, and by whom all things exist: The subject follows, to make perfect, or consummate, through sufferings the Captain of their salvation, who thereby brings many sons to glory.(18) ἀγαγόντα might be resolved into ἵνα ἀγαγὼν τελειώσῃ. But this is the construction, ἀγαγόντα τὸν ἀρχηγὸν, that the first Leader or Captain of salvation may be also the One bringing unto glory. ἀρχηγὸς is compounded of ἀρχὴ and ἄγω; and ἀρχὴ looks forward in the text to τελειῶσαι (comp. ch. Hebrews 12:2), but ἄγω looks back to ἀγαγόντα. Therefore the proposition comprehends a number of important sentiments, which may thus be unfolded:—

1. Jesus is the Captain of salvation.

2. It was necessary to procure salvation by suffering.

3. He was perfected (consummated) by suffering.

4. The glory of the sons was united with that consummation.

5. The sons are many.

6. This whole plan was highly becoming God, though unbelief considers it a disgrace.

7. It became God, that Jesus should suffer and save the sons; because for Him are all things.

8. It became God, that Jesus should be made perfect (consummated), and sons brought to glory; for by Him are all things.

We set down four of these points, marked by as many letters, at the same time observing the order of the text:—

A.

B.

The glory of the sons:

The Captain suffering.

C.

D.

The salvation of the sons:

The consummation of the Captain.

These points are referred to God, for whom and by whom all things exist, i.e. to whom are to be attributed the beginnings and ends of all things. B and C refer to the beginnings of things, D and A to the ends of things. But the same four points are transposed in the text by Chiasmus, so that the discourse proceeds in most beautiful order from the end, A, to those intermediate, which are included in B C D.— αὐτῷ) Him, God the Father, who is mentioned in Hebrews 2:9, and is to be understood in Hebrews 2:5.— διʼ ὃν· διʼ οὗ, for whom: by whom) Paul generally accumulates prepositions by a nice and elegant discrimination.— πολλοὺς, many) as many as possible, whence ἐκκλησία, the general assembly, in Hebrews 2:12.— υἱοὺς, sons) In the style of writing usual in the Old Testament, they are called παιδία, children; comp. Hebrews 2:13-14, note: in the style of the New Testament they are νἱοὶ, sons, whose condition is opposed to slavery or bondage, Hebrews 2:15; as with Paul, Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6. Jesus Himself is the Son; He makes us sons of God, He considers us as His own offspring: ילדים, παιδία (soboles), offspring, are synonymous. Comp. Psalms 22:31; Isaiah 53:10.— εἰς δόξαν, unto glory) This glory consists in this very circumstance, that they are sons, and are treated as sons; Romans 8:21. Examine John 17:10; John 17:22, and that whole prayer; and comp. Hebrews 2:7 of this second chapter. Glory and holiness, bringing unto glory and sanctification, have a very closely connected meaning; Hebrews 2:11.— τῆς σωτηρίας αὐτῶν, of their salvation) This word presupposes destruction; and that we might be delivered from it, Christ must suffer. δόξα, glory, follows salvation, in the style of Paul,(19), 2 Timothy 2:10, note.— τελειῶσαι, to make perfect, to consummate) Bringing to the end of troubles, and to the goal full of glory, ch. Hebrews 5:9, is included in this word. A metaphor derived from the contests in the public games. For τελειοῦσθαι, τέλειος, τελειότης, τελείωσις, τελειωτὴς, regarding Christ and Christians, are frequent in this epistle. This perfecting by sufferings includes two points: I. The glory of Christ, inasmuch as all things are subjected to Him, now that He has been made perfect. II. His previous sufferings. He presently afterwards treats directly of His sufferings, Hebrews 2:11-18, although he has slightly referred to them in the preceding part of the chapter. He has put the discussion concerning Glory in this very passage first, for the purpose of sharpening (giving the more point to) his exhortation, and meeting beforehand the scandal attached to His suffering and death. But he has interwoven a fuller consideration of both points with the following discussion respecting the Priesthood, which is brought forward at Hebrews 2:17. And indeed, as regards His Sufferings, the fact is evident (openly stated): but he describes the Glory (by implication), while he mentions, at convenient places, that Jesus was consummated or made perfect, that He is in heaven, that He is made higher than the heavens, that He sits at the right hand of God, that He will be seen a second time, that His enemies will be made His footstool: in this verse, and ch. Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 5:9, Hebrews 7:26; Hebrews 7:28, Hebrews 8:1-2, Hebrews 9:24; Hebrews 9:28, Hebrews 10:12-13, Hebrews 12:2.


Verse 11

Hebrews 2:11. γὰρ, for) The closest relationship was the reason why it was becoming that Jesus should not be made perfect (consummated) without us.— ἁγιάζων, He that sanctifieth) Christ, ch. Hebrews 13:12. Christ is called He that sanctifieth, on account of that whole benefit, viz. that He by Himself makes us holy, i.e. divine [belonging to God].— οἱ ἁγιαζόμενοι, they who are sanctified) the people, ch. Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 10:29. To sanctify, to bring to God, to be sanctified, to be brought to GOD, to draw near, to have access, are synonymous. He who sanctifies was begotten by the Father, and appointed the Sanctifier; they who are sanctified, are those created by God and appointed to receive sanctification; comp. ἔδωκεν, “The children whom God hath given me,” Hebrews 2:13. This is the origin of His brotherhood (with us), and of His communion with flesh and blood (Hebrews 2:14).— ἐξ ἑνὸς, of one) that εἷς, one, is Abraham, as Malachi 2:15; Isaiah 51:2; Ezekiel 33:24. All men are of one, Adam; all the descendants of Abraham are of one, Abraham. In this whole passage, Paul, writing to the descendants of Abraham, accommodates his discourse to them apart, Hebrews 2:16-17, Hebrews 8:12; as also in Psalms 22, which is here quoted, ver. 12, the writer is speaking of Israel, ver. 22, etc., but of the Gentiles, ver. 25–31; and the whole of the subsequent discussion respecting the priesthood and sacrifices is chiefly suited to the comprehension of the Hebrews. Wherefore, this epistle will at some time contribute much to the salvation of Israel. If this one meant God, the angels should be included, who are put away at Hebrews 2:16.— πάντες, all) This is construed with ἁγιαζομένοι, who are sanctified; for he says πάντες, all; he would have said both, if he intended to include Him that sanctifies in the πάντες, all.— οὐκ ἐπαισχύνεται) He is not ashamed, whereas, but for this cause (that they are of Abraham, who is considered not as a sinner, as in need of salvation, but as the common ancestor, as he who had received the promise), there might have been many things for which he might be ashamed [to call them brethren]; for, far from being holy, we had been exceedingly guilty, Hebrews 2:14-15 : yet He is not ashamed; nay, He accounts it a glorious thing to Himself, because of the holiness and glory unto which He has brought us. It becomes God to have such sons restored to Him. Christ is not ashamed of such brethren; comp. “God is not ashamed,” ch. Hebrews 11:16, note.— καλεῖν) to call, to declare by calling.


Verse 12

Hebrews 2:12. λέγων, saying) Here three things are quoted from the Old Testament, by which the preceding discourse of the apostle is admirably confirmed, by Chiasmus, in retrograde order. For

the apostle mentions

Christ says, in the words of the Old Testament,

Hebrews 2:12, Sons.

Hebrews 2:13, at the end, I and the children.

Ibid., The perfecting, or consummation by sufferings.

Hebrews 2:13, at the beginning, I will put My trust.

Hebrews 2:11, The relationship of Him who sanctifies, and of those who are sanctified.

Hebrews 2:12, Unto My brethren.

And again, Hebrews 2:14-17, in inverted order, the children, and the successful work of Christ, and brethren, are mentioned. The two chains of quotations, ch. 1 on the Glory of Christ, ch. 2 on Redemption, most sweetly correspond to one another.— ἀπαγγελῶὑμνήσω σε) Psalms 22:23, LXX., διηγήσομαι: as to the rest, the words are the same. Messiah declares the name of the good Lord, which was unknown to His brethren, that the brethren may also praise Him. Ps. already quoted, ver. 24.— ὑμνήσω, I will sing) as the leader of the choir: comp. Psalms 8:3.


Verse 13

Hebrews 2:13. ἐγὼ ἔσομαι πεποιθὼς ἐπʼ αὐτῷ, I will put my trust in Him) LXX. καὶ πεποιθὼς ἔσομαι ἐπʼ αὐτῷ, in Isaiah immediately before the place from ch. 8, which will be afterwards quoted: πεποιθὼς ἔσομαι ἐπʼ αὐτῷ, 2 Samuel 22:3, which the Church imitates, Isaiah 12:2. The filial confidence of the Messiah is indicated, fleeing from His sufferings to the Father [and by no means disappointed: comp. Hebrews 2:10, at the end.—V. g.], ch. Hebrews 5:7 : comp. 2 Samuel 22:4, etc. A small portion is quoted; the whole passage is intended by the apostle. Our Theologians rightly blame the Schoolmen, who are of opinion, that the atonement of Christ was not simply and in itself condign or meritorious. See Calov. Matæol. pass. in Dedic. But yet the most fragrant part of this atonement is the exceedingly pure confidence by which solely He was supported in His approach to the Father; Psalms 22:10; Matthew 27:43. For He did not show His merits, but rather confessed the sins that were laid upon Him, Psalms 69:6. As He therefore by Himself confidently (by faith) trusted in the Father, so we confidently (by faith) put our trust in Christ, and through Christ in the Father. The argument is very important against the merit of men’s works. But Christ exhibited this confidence not for Himself, for He and the Father are one, but for His own people, Hebrews 2:16. Every instance of present assistance gave assurance of assistance for the future (comp. Philippians 1:6), until He obtained a complete victory over death and the devil.— ἰδοὺ θεός) Isaiah 8:18, LXX., in the same words. He calls them παιδία ילדים, children, sons, using an expression well becoming the First-begotten, who intimates that the same are both His brethren and His inferiors (juniors); and He presents all these, to be glorified alike with Himself, before God, who has given them to Him to be saved.


Verse 14

Hebrews 2:14. ἐπεὶ οὖν τὰ παιδία, forasmuch then as the children) The children here, τὰ παιδία, is not a noun denoting a natural age, but is brought down from Hebrews 2:13. The Messiah here could not be suitably placed in the company of the children according to the flesh; He is speaking of His spiritual sons; οὖν, therefore, is an inference from Hebrews 2:10, etc.— κεκοινώνηκεν αἵματος καὶ σαρκὸς, were partakers of flesh and blood) The past, in respect of the greater part, who had already lived at the time of the testimony given in the psalm. He mentions brethren in the psalm, children in Isaiah: in relation to that time in which David and Isaiah prophesied, many of the brethren and children were then living, and had lived, whom He was to reconcile unto God. These are not excluded but included. κοινωνέω, with the genitive, Proverbs 1:11, where also, Hebrews 2:18, μετέχω is used with the same meaning: κοινωνήσας ὁδοῦ, Job 34:8. In this passage, however, the change of the words is elegant; so that μετέσχε may express the likeness of one to the rest [here, of Jesus to those whose nature He took part of]; κοινωνεῖν, to the likeness of many among one another. σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα are sometimes used by metonymy for man, Galatians 1:16; but here they are more properly taken in the abstract, as in 1 Corinthians 15:50 : although in that passage of Paul to the Corinthians σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα include the notion of the oldness of the corrupt nature. Elsewhere, as we have just now seen, σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα, is the expression used (is the order of the words), the principal part, viz. flesh, being put first, which is also sometimes written alone: here αἷμα καὶ σὰρξ (although some have transposed the words) is the order of the words, just as in Ephesians 6:12, πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα. Whether the expressions are used indiscriminately, or αἷμα is put first sometimes for a certain definite reason (which may be sought for in this passage from those who write on Physics), I dare not determine. Although my commentary does not descend to such things, yet it with difficulty avoids the stigma of too curious refinement, in the estimation of those who generously weigh heavenly words.— αὐτὸς) Close after this, there sweetly follows τῶν αὐτῶν.— παραπλησίως, in like manner) παρὰ in παραπλήσιος sometimes, like the Latin sub, diminishes the signification of the compound, just as in πάρεγγυς; but here it is almost the same as presently κατὰ τάντα, in all things, Hebrews 2:17 : ch. Hebrews 4:15. Therefore παραπλησίως, in like manner, serves the purpose of the apostle, as he enters upon this discussion, in the way of reverent caution ( εὐλάβειαν), that he may gradually speak what he thinks; comp. Philippians 2:27, note: and the particle that is less significant(20) is the more convenient on this account, that the expression, without sin, is not yet added in this place. Therefore the reality of the participation remains, which is asserted by Raphelius in his annot. on Herodotus.— τῶν αὐτῶν) This is not a mere relative, as the article shows: τὰ αὐτὰ, the same things, which happen to the brethren labouring under flesh and blood, without even excepting death.— ἵνα, that) Here the subject is briefly noticed: it is more fully explained, ch. Hebrews 5:7-9. It will be of advantage to compare both passages together, ch. 5 and 2, and seriously meditate upon them, till it be perceived how both terminate in a eulogium on the great High Priest.— διὰ τοῦ θανάτου, through death) A paradox. Jesus suffered and overcame death; the devil, wielding death in his hand, succumbed. Jesus in turn imparts to us life through His flesh and blood; John 6. He assumed our nature, that His body might be delivered up, and His blood poured out. Therefore the delivering up of the body and the pouring out of the blood are the facts which are chiefly had regard to: John 6:51.— καταργήσῃ, might destroy) This is an inference from the verb ὑπέταξας, thou hast subjected, Hebrews 2:8 : comp. 1 Corinthians 15:27 with the preceding, where Paul uses the same synonyms, καταργεῖν, ὑποτάσσειν. So Psalms 8:3, להשבות τοῦ καταλῦσαι, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.— τὸ κράτος, power) great indeed, Matthew 12:26; Matthew 12:29.— ἔχοντα) having [who had] by a certain law [right], namely, in so far as no injury was thereby done to the captives: comp. צדיק, Isaiah 49:24, where the devil does not seem to be called just, morally, but a mighty tyrant, who had ἐξουσίαν, authority, over the captives; Colossians 1:13 ; 2 Peter 2:19, at the end: although here it is called power in a restricted sense, not authority. Death was the executioner and minister of the devil as a cruel master, delivering up men to him whom he led away in sin: but Jesus dying made them dying His own, Romans 14:9.— τοῦ θανάτου, of death) by sin.— τουτέστι, that is) His power was manifest: who it was that lurked beneath this power as wielding it, escaped the notice of mortal men.


Verse 15

Hebrews 2:15. ἀπαλλάξῃ) might deliver from the devil, who had the power of death.— τούτους, these) A demonstrative with relation to what precedes.— φόβῳ, through fear) even before they experienced the power itself, for that followed; concerning fear, comp. ch. Hebrews 12:19-20; Exodus 19:21-22; 2 Samuel 6:9.— θανάτου, of death) Sudden deaths were inflicted, in the time of Moses and afterwards, even on unwary transgressors.— διὰ παντὸς, through all) This is an antithesis to for a little, Hebrews 2:9. There are many ages, and these coming one after another, of the brethren.— τοῦ ζῇν, life) That kind of life was not life.— δουλείας, to bondage) The antithesis is, sons unto glory. Paul brings out the same antithesis, Romans 8:15-16. Politicians define liberty to be τὸ ζῇν ὡς βούλεταί τις, living as we choose; slavery to be τὸ ζῇν μὴ ὡς βόυλεται, to live not as we choose.


Verse 16

Hebrews 2:16. δήπου) [you will grant, we may suppose]. A particle expressive of courtesy, and implying some degree of conjecture, στοχασμὸν; but by the οὐκ being added, promoting βεβαίωσιν, confirmation [Hebrews 2:3, assurance]. The whole verse has a wonderful power of explanation; comp. πρόδηλον, ch. Hebrews 7:14. Not angels, therefore us; there is no third party.— ἀγγέλων, of angels) without the article. That is, they are not angels without flesh and blood, of whom He lays hold.— ἐπιλαμβάνεται) Christ lays hold of, or takes, in the words quoted; about to bring assistance, about to deliver, Hebrews 2:15; Hebrews 2:10-11. The same word occurs, ch. Hebrews 8:9; Matthew 14:31. If the apostle were speaking of the very incarnation of the Son of GOD, there would be in the antithesis the singular number ἀγγέλου, an angel, or the angelic nature; as it is, since ἀγγέλων occurs in the plural, σπέρματος, seed, is taken as a collective noun.(21)σπέρ΄ατος ἀβραὰ΄, seed of Abraham) So he calls the whole human race, but by Synecdoche, because the reference is to Genesis; and there the promise is found which was given to Abraham, and which belonged especially to his descendants: and Christ was born of the race of Abraham. It is to be added to these observations, that the apostle is writing here to the descendants of Abraham, and it was not suitable to say, σπέρματος ἀδὰμ, of the seed of Adam, because the first and second Adam are opposed. And yet the Gentiles are not excluded; for “the seed of Abraham” is not opposed to them, but to “the angels;” and all believers are the seed of Abraham. [See Hebrews 2:12, respecting “the great congregation;” comp. Psalms 22:23; Psalms 22:26; Psalms 22:28.—V. g.] I think the omission of the article before σπέρματος corresponds to the construct state of the Hebrew. The omission of the article would not so much include the Gentiles, as exclude the carnal Jews.


Verse 17

Hebrews 2:17. ὅθεν) The particle ὅθεν occurs six times in this epistle, but never in the epistles to which the apostle has affixed his name; and yet it occurs in Paul’s speech, Acts 26:19.— ὤφειλε, it behoved Him) A grand expression, ch. Hebrews 5:3. It behoved Him from the relationship of consanguinity, and because He had undertaken it in the Old Testament, Hebrews 2:12-13. He now exhibits greater confidence in the tone of his speaking; comp. Hebrews 2:11, He is not ashamed.— κατὰ πάντα, in all things) in all sufferings and temptations.— τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς, to His brethren) Hebrews 2:11.— ὁμοιωθῆναι, to be made like) This is a recapitulation of those things which precede. The sum of those which follow is immediately added.— ἵνα, that) The apostle thrice glances at the High Priesthood, till he comes to its full discussion, ch. 7. He touches upon it in three successive steps. I. He ought to be made like to His brethren, THAT He might BECOME a merciful and faithful High Priest, in the passage before us. II. HE WAS CALLED a High Priest at the time when He was made perfect; ch. Hebrews 5:10. III. He was MADE High Priest when He entered into that which is within the veil; ch. Hebrews 6:20; and when this entrance was made once for all, He always, as a Priest for us, presents Himself before the face of God; ch. Hebrews 9:24.— ἐλεήμων, merciful) This word, as well as πιστὸς, faithful, is construed with ἀρχιερεὺς, high priest; ch. Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 5:2. He was made merciful to the people labouring under sins: πιστὸς, faithful, so far as GOD is concerned. There is a Chiasmus here.(22) We have the Priest and the High Priest, who has the right of drawing near and of bringing men to God. The word faithful is treated of, ch. Hebrews 3:2, with the addition of the practical application: the word ἐλεήμων, merciful, ch. Hebrews 4:14, etc., with the practical application also added: the word ἀρχιερεὺς, High Priest, is treated of, ch. Hebrews 5:4-5, Hebrews 7:1-2, with the practical application added, ch. Hebrews 10:19. The proposition or statement of many things at Romans 1:16 (where see the note), very much resembles this. Of these three points, one, ἐλεήμων, merciful, is put before γένηται, that He might become, because it is deduced from what was previously said. The other two are properly connected together, because they come to be treated of afterwards along with the first. But the word merciful, and, conjointly with it, faithful High Priest, elegantly have in this proposition a rather absolute signification, because again (in turn) the subsequent discussion contemplates faithfulness without the priesthood in the case of Moses, and mercy with the priesthood in the case of Aaron. First, Jesus is merciful. No one can suppose that Jesus had more mercy before He suffered, and that now He has more severity. Only let us now flee (escape) from the wrath of the Lamb, which is even yet to come.— ἀρχιερεὺς) High Priest. The Latin Pontifex was so called from the fact, that he built a bridge at Rome, or sacrificed on a bridge; and the pontifex, ἱερεὺς, was either alone or with others; but the ἀρχιερεὺς, high priest (pontifex maximus), was exalted above the others, over whom he presided. In the Evangelists and Acts, where the Jewish high priests are frequently mentioned, the term pontiff (pontifex), used by the Vulgate and other translations, will not, I think, offend any one; but in this epistle, in which Christ is the principal subject, I do not know whether that term may be as well suited to the style of Paul as to the institutions of Numa. At least Seb. Schmidius uses it with reluctance, and occasionally substitutes for it chief priest (princeps sacerdos); but a single word is better, especially when other epithets are added, as here merciful and faithful; for we cannot conveniently say, ch. Hebrews 4:14, a great chief (greatest) pontiff (pontificem maximum magnum). High priest (archisacerdos) is the most convenient term which the learned have long used, and which sounds as well as archigubernus, in the writings of Jabolenus, archiflamen, archipræsul, archipontifex, and various other terms, which Vossius stigmatizes in his work, De vitiis Latini Sermonis, p. 371, and some other writers. With respect to the subject now before us, this glorious title of High Priest occurs presently again, ch. Hebrews 3:1. But nowhere, except in the 110th Psalm, and Zechariah 6:13, and in this epistle, is Christ expressly called a Priest; and it is only in this epistle that the priesthood of Christ is professedly discussed. Whence it is evident, how extraordinary in its character, and how necessary, is this book of the New Testament. However, in all these passages, which are even of the Old Testament, there is added the mention of the kingdom, which is oftener spoken of elsewhere without the priesthood. Nay, on the Cross, on which this Priest offered His sacrifice, He had the title (inscription) of King. The priesthood, as well as the kingdom, is appropriate (belongs fittingly) to this First-begotten.— τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεὸν, towards God) So ch. Hebrews 5:1.— εἰς τὸ ἱλάσκεσθαι) to make atonement or reconciliation.— τὰς ἁμαρτίας, the sins) which bring death and the fear of it.— τοῦ λαοῦ, of the people) the people, whom he called the seed of Abraham, Hebrews 2:16. He Himself knew no sin. He made atonement for the sins of the people, Isaiah 53:8.


Verse 18

Hebrews 2:18. ἐν , in that) This is like an adverb; Romans 2:1.— δύναται, He is able) This ability of mind (viz. His power to sympathize) is treated of, ch. Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 5:2.— βοηθῆσαι, to succour) Hence Paul infers the βοήθειαν, help, ch. Hebrews 4:16.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Hebrews 2:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/hebrews-2.html. 1897.


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