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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Hebrews 5

 

 

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Verse 1

Hebrews 5:1. πᾶς) Every priest of the house of Levi. An antithesis to Christ; for the apostle is speaking of the Levitical priesthood, Hebrews 5:1-3 : and the Apodosis is not added, because it is included (contained virtually) in the antecedent observations. But in Hebrews 5:4, there is a Protasis in a new part of the comparison with the Apodosis subsequently following it. This is the sum. Whatever is excellent in the Levitical priests, that is in Christ, and indeed in a more eminent degree; whatever is defective in them, that however is also in Christ.— ἐξ ἀνθρώπων λαμβανόμενος, taken from among men) A part of the predicate. Before they were taken, they were evidently of the same condition.— ὑπὲρ, for) from among men, for men, an elegant (neat) expression.— καθίσταται, is ordained) The present; is usually ordained.— τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεὸν, in things pertaining to God) So the LXX., Deuteronomy 31:27.— δῶρα, gifts) referring to things without life.— θυσίας ὑπὲρ ἁμαρτιῶν, sacrifices for sin) consisting of animals.


Verse 2

Hebrews 5:2. ΄ετριοπαθεῖν, To have a feeling of moderation [have compassion]) Hesychius, μετριοπαθὴς μικρὰ πάσχων συγγινώσκων ἐπιεικῶς. τὸ μέτρον, moderation is opposed to severity and rigour, which are shown towards none but the obstinate; ch. Hebrews 10:28.— δυνάμενος, who is able) who does not please Himself; comp. Romans 15:3.— ἀγνοοῦσι καὶ πλανωμένοις, to the ignorant and them that are out of the way [in error]) those that sin through ignorance and error: שגה, LXX., ἀγνοεῖν, to be ignorant. Simple ignorance is merely want of attention and memory; but error (being out of the way) interchanges [confounds] good and evil, truth and falsehood.— ἀσθενείαν, infirmity) which is sinful and to be expiated by sacrifices.


Verse 3

Hebrews 5:3. διὰ ταύτην, on account of this) Supply infirmity: or ταύτην, this, is put for the neuter, as in Matthew 21:42.


Verse 4

Hebrews 5:4. καὶ, and) The apostle here commences a discussion on the actual (very) priesthood of Christ.— τὶς, any) Levitical priest.— τὴν τιμὴν, honour) The priesthood is an honour. Its synonym is δόξα, glory, Hebrews 5:5.— αἀρὼν, Aaron) received it by being called.


Verse 5

Hebrews 5:5. ἀρχιερέα, High Priest) So Christ is often called; and yet at the same time often, and presently at Hebrews 5:6, He is termed a priest (simply). He is a priest absolutely, because He stands alone in that character without an equal. He is High Priest in respect of the Aaronic type, and in respect of us, whom He has made priests by His access to God and guidance of us.— λαλήσας πρὸς αὐτον, He who spoke to Him) יְהֹוָה אָמַר אֵליַ, Psalms 2:7.— ὑιός μου, my Son) The apostle does not mean that the Father conferred the honour of the priesthood on the Son at the time, when the Father said, Thou art my Son; for the generation of the Son is certainly prior to His priesthood: but declares, that the Son, who can do nothing of Himself, and who is always under the authority of the Father and does only what the Father wills, and receives only what the Father gives, has also received from the Father the honour of the priesthood, of which none but the Son Himself was capable. Hence the connection, καθὼς, as, in the following verse. In this manner David had (treated) his sons (as) priests [Engl. Vers., chief rulers], i.e. admitted to terms of closest intimacy. 2 Samuel 8:18, with the Scholia of Michaelis: and the name of Son and Priest, quoted from the Psalms in Hebrews 5:5-6, is presently afterwards repeated Hebrews 5:8, and ch. Hebrews 7:3; Hebrews 7:28.


Verse 6

Hebrews 5:6. ἐν ἑτέρῳ, in another) So Paul also, Acts 13:35.— λέγει, He says) GOD.— σὺ) Psalms 110:4, where the LXX. have it in as many words.— ΄ελχισεδὲκ, Melchisedec) It is of no importance to know in other respects who Melchisedec was, beyond what is mentioned of him; nay, the very silence respecting the other parts of his history contains mysteries. He was certainly a king and priest at that time, and of the human race.


Verse 7

Hebrews 5:7. ὃς, who) namely Christ, the Son of God, the Priest. This is not said, but who, with great significancy in the relative pronoun; for the subsequent discourse corresponds to the names given in Hebrews 5:5-6. A summary of those things, which are to be discussed in ch. 7. and the following chapters, is contained in Hebrews 5:7-10, and introduced with a remarkable anticipatory caution(30) and preparation, Hebrews 5:11-12. And there is most exquisitely comprehended in this summary the onward progress of His passion, with its most secret (inmost) causes, from Gethsemane even to Golgotha, and the expressions used here are the same as those used by the evangelists: comp. also Psalms 22:3; Psalms 22:20, etc., Psalms 22:25, Psalms 69:4; Psalms 69:11, Psalms 109:22.— ἐν τᾶις ἡ΄έραις τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ, in the days of His flesh) in those days, the two especially, during which He suffered those things, and in order to suffer them, He assumed flesh like to that, which was sinful and mortal: ch. Hebrews 2:14, Hebrews 10:20; Matthew 26:41, at the end: when by reason of weakness He seemed to be a mere man, John 19:5.— δεήσεις τε καὶ ἰκετηρίας, both prayers and also supplications) plural; for in Gethsemane He prayed thrice. The particle τε, both, indicates that the words are not mere synonyms in this passage: prayers refer to the mind; supplications, also to the body, as the origin of the word, ἱκετέυω, I supplicate shows, in Eustathius. Regarding both see Matthew 26:39.— πρὸς τὸν δυνάμενον σώζειν αὐτὸν ἐκ θανάτου, to Him that was able to save Him from death) Abba Father, says He, all things are POSSIBLE to Thee; let this cup pass from Me. Mark 14:36 : comp. John 12:27. This possibility of all things to God is opposed to the weakness of Christ’s flesh.— σώζειν, to save) σώζειν, and presently σωτηρίας, are conjugates, to save, salvation.— ἐκ) Presently; afterwards ἀπὸ. The two words, in other respects, equivalent, agree here with the difference of the subject: out of death, from terror. He, however, in obedience to the will of the Father underwent the death, out of ( ἐκ) which the Father might have delivered Him, so that He should not have died: He was altogether delivered from ( ἀπὸ) its horror, in that He was heard.— ΄ετὰ κραυγῆς ἰσχυρᾶς καὶ δακρύων, with strong crying and tears) On the cross, He is said to have cried, not to have shed tears. Both of these particulars, as the series of the events shows, refer to Gethsemane. κράζειι and κραυγὴ in the LXX. correspond to the verbs זעק, and צעק, and שוע, and denote a cry from the depths of the soul, or vehement desire; ἐκτενέστερον, more earnestly, Luke 22:44 ; with a most willing spirit, Matthew 26:41, whatever may be the words uttered; these occur very often in the Psalms, as אמר, to speak, to say, signifies also thought. Indeed, the cry of the mind, while the lips are closed, is more suitable to tears and sorrow; and yet there is no doubt, that Jesus added to His prayers in Gethsemane an incitement by uttering at intervals short cries, as well as to His supplications by tears (observe the Chiasmus) which were drawn forth not only from the eyes, but from the whole face and body, during that extreme heat [agony]. See Luke as quoted above: comp. with Revelation 7:17 ; Revelation 7:16. καῦ΄α, δάκρυον, heat, tears. The sweat and blood of Christ were poured out like water. During the whole of His passion He alternately cried and was silent. Matthew 26:37, etc.; Psalms 22:2-3; Psalms 22:15; Psalms 69:2, etc., Psalms 109:21, etc., where silence is an intimation of a wounded heart.— καὶ εἰσακουσθεὶς, and being heard) הושיע LXX. εἰσακούειν, Psalms 55:17; עזד in like manner, 2 Chronicles 18:31 : therefore in this passage σώζειν and εἰσακούειν, to save, and to hearken to, are very nearly the same. The agony and its issue are here referred to, ἤρξατο λυπεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν, He began to be sorrowful and very heavy.— ἕως θανάτου, unto death, Matthew 26:37-38.— ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι, Mark 14:33 : Luke 22:44 mentions the agony and sweat. When the cup was presented, there was also presented to the soul of the Saviour the horrible image of death, which was joined with sorrow, ignominy, and cursing, and was of a lingering nature, and He was moved to pray for the removal of the cup. But the purity of filial affection in the Saviour with the exercise of holy reason and moderation instantly softened that horror, and subsequently absorbed it completely, as the serenity of His mind returned. And He was heard, not that He should not drink the cup, but that He should now drink it without any horror; whence also He was strengthened by an angel. The fear was a something more horrible than death itself; when the feeling of horror was taken away before the coming of His enemies, He lays it down as a fixed principle, that the cup which he had wished conditionally not to drink, now cannot but be drunk. John 18:11.— ἀπὸ) An abbreviated expression, εἰσακουσθεὶς ἀπὸ, as ἐῤῥαντισ΄ένοι ἀπὸ, ch. Hebrews 10:22. So Psalms 118 (117):5, אגני במדחב ἐπήκουσέ ΄ου εἰς πλατυσ΄όν.— ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας [not as Eng. Ver. in that He feared] from horror). The Greek word here has singular elegance and denotes something wore subtle than if one were to say fear. No Latin word more suitable than horror occurs to us. Comp. εὐλαβηθεὶς, ch. Hebrews 11:7. He had lately used θανάτου, without the article; now he has τῆς εὐλαβείας with the article, of which the relative power indicates that the signification of εὐλαβείας is included in the mention made of death, which was horrible in its assault.


Verse 8

Hebrews 5:8. καίπερ ὢν ὑιὸς, though He was a Son) This paragraph, in the days, etc. has two parts. The first is, in the days—obedience by the things which He suffered; the second, and being made perfect—of eternal. The first part speaks of things very humble; for death and to be in horror, and, although the horror of it be removed, to die, and to learn obedience from such suffering, may appear somewhat servile: wherefore, by this clause, although He was a Son, precaution is taken, that nothing said in that part, before and after, should be a stumbling-block to any. The second part is altogether joyful and glorious, and he insinuates (implies) that we must repeat from Hebrews 5:5, because He was the Son: comp. ch. Hebrews 7:28, at the end. In His agony in Geth-semane He so sweetly, so frequently, appealed to the Father, Matthew 26:39, etc.: and from this fact we have the clearest confirmation of the truth that Jesus was not the Son of God merely because He rose from the dead, and not previously.— ἔμαθεν, He learned) The word learning put before the word suffering, elegantly points to Christ learning with the utmost readiness and willingness. He learned obedience whilst He began to suffer, whilst He set Himself to drink the cup. The word to learn implies a kind of beginning, and the making perfect corresponds to this beginning, of which we shall afterwards speak. There is a pleasant paronomasia(31) in ἔ΄αθεν ἀφʼ ὧν ἔπαθε. He also had experience of the adage, παθή΄ατα ΄αθή΄ατα [sufferings, the means of learning]. Christ alone fortified [secured] the path of obedience in a way consonant to the will of the Father. Obedience may be performed without prayers.(32)ἀφʼ ών) So ΄αθεῖν ἀπὸ, Matthew 24:32.— τὴν ὑπακοὴν, obedience) That kind of humble obedience which is shown in suffering and dying. Philippians 2:8, note. He says to the Father, as Thou wilt.— εἰσακουσθεὶς, and ὑπακοήν, are conjugates. The Father hearkened to the Son, and the Son to the Father. In like manner Christ obeyed the Father;(33) we obey Christ; see the following verse.


Verse 9

Hebrews 5:9. καὶ τελειωθεὶς, and being made perfect) by sufferings, ch. Hebrews 2:10.— τοῖς ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ, to them that obey Him) 2 Corinthians 10:5. We must obey likewise through sufferings and death [as Christ obeyed the Father.—V. g.] and chiefly by faith, ch. Hebrews 11:8.— πᾶσιν, to all) Great power, ch. Hebrews 2:10-11; Hebrews 2:15.— αἴτιος σωτηρίας αἰωνίου, the author of eternal salvation) Dessen habe der liebe Herr Jesu Dank von uns in Ewigkeit. “For which the beloved Lord Jesus may have thanks from us in eternity.” E. Schmidius, piously. Moreover αἴτιος is a word extremely worthy of Him and (comp. 1 Samuel 22:22, αἴτιος ψυχῶν) one by which it is intimated, that Christ, being made perfect, pleads the cause of the brethren, from this circumstance, because it now evidently belongs to Him to accomplish [to make good] their salvation; for He is able: comp. δυνάμενον, who was able, Hebrews 5:7, ch. Hebrews 7:25 : and ought (it behoved Him) to do so, comp. ὤφειλε, He ought, ch. Hebrews 2:17. [Der für Etwas stehet, an der man sich halten kann. He stands for something to which one can cling.—V. g.] We must also observe the epithet, eternal salvation, which is opposed to the shortness of the days of Jesus’ flesh, and flows (is derived) from Hebrews 5:6, for ever. Concerning this salvation, look back to ch. Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 2:14, etc. The eternity of salvation is mentioned, Isaiah 45:17. ἰσραήλ σώζεται ὑπὸ κυρὶου σωτηρίαν αἰώνιον, Israel is saved by the Lord with an eternal salvation.


Verse 10

Hebrews 5:10. προσαγορευθεἱς) called. His name was the Son of God; His surname, His appellation was Priest: προσηγορία, His being called a priest, not only followed the perfecting of Jesus, but also preceded His passion at the period mentioned in Psalms 110:4. The same word occurs 2 Maccabees 14:37, where it is said that Razis was called ( προσαγορευόμενος) the father of the Jews.


Verse 11

Hebrews 5:11. περὶ οὗ, of whom) οὗ, masc., comp. ὅς, who, Hebrews 5:7. He now enters upon that very long anticipatory or precautionary(34) preface or preparation, which consists of rebuke, admonition, exhortation, and consolation. The Rhetoricians call it the securing (Captatio) of the kindly feeling of the reader or hearer. The preparation of the heart [of the hearer by the teacher], to which the doctrine is committed, often requires greater exertion than the teaching of the doctrine itself.— πολὺς) רב, much, i.e. too much:(35) comp. ch. Hebrews 13:22.— ἡ΄ῖν, to us) Paul includes, as usual, Timothy or others: comp. ch. Hebrews 6:1; Hebrews 6:3; Hebrews 6:9; Hebrews 6:11, Hebrews 2:5, Hebrews 13:18.— δυσερμήνευτος, hard to interpret) not from any fault in the writer, but in yourselves.— λέγειν) a correlative to ἀκοαῖς. λέγειν is not redundant, speaking is opposed to writing, as ch. Hebrews 13:22. Hard to be uttered, harder to be written, and yet the more necessary to be written on that account.— νωθροὶ) ch. Hebrews 6:12. The root implies στέρησιν τοῦ θεῖν, the negation of running(36)) verlegen “to loiter” on the road.— γεγόνατε, ye have become) The state of the Jews needed to be noticed, as well in so far as it was good, as also in so far as it was bad, Hebrews 5:12, Hebrews 6:10, Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 10:32-33, Hebrews 12:4-5; Hebrews 12:12.


Verse 12

Hebrews 5:12. διδάσκαλοι, teachers) A term not of office, but of ability in this passage. The antithesis is τοῦ διδάσκειν ὑμᾶς, that one should teach you.— διὰ τὸν χρόνυν) by reason of the length of time. So Arist. l. 7, Polit. c. 9, uses this phrase. The antithesis is διὰ τὴν ἕξιν, by reason of the matured faculty [habitual use], Hebrews 5:14. Time or age is used here either in the abstract for years; or in the concrete for strength. Age either brings vigour with time, or is impeded by it.— πάλιν χρείαν ἔχετε, ye again have need) γεγόνατε χρείαν ἔχοντες, ye have need, follows. The former has respect to the doctrinal articles of the Old Testament, the latter to those of New Testament.— τίνα) You must not only be taught the very elements, but also ( τίνα) what they are. They are therefore enumerated, ch. Hebrews 6:1-2.— στοιχεῖα) elements. A word used by Paul, Galatians 4:9. And this passage to the end of the chapter plainly abounds in expressions peculiar to Paul. Letters, Buchstaben, elements, first (primary), simple. The articles of the Old Testament are to the perfection of the doctrines of the New Testament, as letters are to further learning. But yet letters, Buchstaben, denote by a trope the principles of learning, which are called rudiments. So every kind of learning has its own elements, and the title elements is often given to a system by no means subtle. Comp. the end of the note on 2 Peter 3:10.— τῆς ἀρχῆς, of the beginning) first principles, ch. Hebrews 3:14, where the one phrase illustrates the other: although the one refers to theory, the other to practice. The antithesis, by the introduction of a resemblance from meats, is explained at the beginning of ch. 6, where the same word again occurs.— τῶν λογίων τοῦ θεοῦ, of the oracles of God) Romans 3:2.— γάλακτος, of milk) Milk is here the doctrine brought from the Old Testament; 1 Corinthians 3:2.— καὶ) and so. To this refer γὰρ, for, in the following verse.


Verse 13

Hebrews 5:13. μετέχων, he that partakes) Even strong men feed on milk, but not on milk chiefly, much less on milk alone. Therefore they are intended m this passage, who, in short, either take or seek nothing but milk.— ἄπειρος, unskilful) not expert, without strength and practice.— λόγου δικαιοσύνης, in the word of righteousness) δίκαιον from δίχα: comp. διάκρισιν, discernment, in the following verse. For δικαιοσύνη, righteousness, is such perfection ( תמים, Joshua 24:14, LXX.) as after having put away evil from it, attains to the just (proper) degree of good: γεγυμνασμένα (Hebrews 5:14), exercised, is in consonance with it; comp. Hebrews 12:11, where in like manner exercise and righteousness are joined. Such a word of righteousness is the doctrine of Christ in the New Testament. Righteousness of faith and of life is understood, and each on either side, according as circumstances have arisen.— νήπιος, a babe) The antithesis is τελείων, of them that are perfect: comp. Ephesians 4:13-14.


Verse 14

Hebrews 5:14. τελείων, of them that are perfect) τελειότητα, perfection, ch. Hebrews 6:1, is the conjugate term. τέλειοι καὶ μανθάνοντες are opposed to each other, 1 Chronicles 25:8, מבין עם־תלמיד.— ἔστιν, is [belongeth to]) They who are perfect both desire and take solid meat.— διὰ) by reason of.— τὴν ἕξιν, habitual strength of understanding(37) [‘use’]) The LXX. use this word, Judges 14:9; 1 Samuel 16:7; Daniel 7:15; and also Wisdom of Solomon 13:14. It is said of a whole, in which the parts have themselves and are had in turn, hold and are held in turn; and here it denotes the strength of the faculty of perception (discernment) arising from the maturity of the spiritual age: not habit acquired by practice, διὰ τὴν ἕξιν, because they are possessed of more habitual strength of understanding. Exercise follows habit (habitual faculty); and strength makes a man put his faculty in exercise with alacrity, dexterity, profit, without affectation or the perverse imitation of others.— τὰ αἰσθητήρια) properly the organs of the senses, for example, the tongue, the organ of tasting: comp. αἰσθήσει, in perception, sense, Philippians 1:9, note.

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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Hebrews 5:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/hebrews-5.html. 1897.


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