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Bible Commentaries

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
Hebrews 12



Other Authors
Verse 1

Cloud of witnesses; that is, the persons mentioned in the last chapter, who by their conduct bore witness so firmly for God. The word witness, as used in the New Testament, usually signifies, not a spectator, but one who bears testimony,--referring very frequently to a testimony borne by the life and conversation, as in Revelation 1:5.--Every weight; every obstruction to progress.

Verse 2

Despising the shame; disregarding the shame.

Verse 3

Contradiction of sinners; opposition of sinners.

Verse 4

Resisted unto blood. It would seem that this language must be understood figuratively, that is, as designed to express the last extremity of spiritual contest with temptation; for the injunction is to resistance, and resistance was in no sense a duty in respect to outward persecutions. Our Savior's language, "If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off," may be considered somewhat analogous. Besides, what is said in Hebrews 10:32,33, seems to imply that the persons addressed in this Epistle had been exposed to the extreme of outward persecution.

Verse 5

My son, &c. This passage, including Hebrews 12:5,6, is quoted from Hebrews 12:5,6; Proverbs 3:12, through the Septuagint.

Verse 8

Bastards; pretended sons.

Verse 10

After their own pleasure; that is, arbitrarily, or from caprice.

Verse 12

Hebrews 12:12; Isaiah 35:3.

Verse 13

Perhaps from Hebrews 12:13; Proverbs 4:26. The idea is, Adhere firmly to the strict rules of duty; if any deviation is allowed, it may prove a fatal snare to human frailty.

Verse 15

Lest any man fail, &c.; lest he apostatize, and lose the grace of God.--Any root of bitterness; any source of bitterness, that is, of sin and suffering.

Verse 16

Fornicator; in a spiritual sense, one who forsakes God, whom he had once chosen, and devotes himself again to his idols; thus, like Esau, selling his birthright for pottage.

Verse 17

Hebrews 12:17; Genesis 27:35-40.

Verse 18

That might be touched. It would seem that this must contain an allusion to the prohibition recorded in Hebrews 12:18; Exodus 19:12,13, where bounds were directed to be placed about Mount Sinai, which the people were forbidden to transcend;--a prohibition which added much to the effect produced by the other circumstances here alluded to, in investing the scene which accompanied the giving of the law on Sinai with its extraordinary terrors.

Verse 24

That speaketh better things, &c. It speaks mercy and pardon. The blood of Abel cried for vengeance.

Verse 26

Then shook the earth; at Sinai. The quotation is from Hebrews 12:26; Haggai 2:6.

Verse 27

There is an obscurity in respect to some of the expressions of this verse. The general idea is, that, while the Jewish system was temporary and mutable, the dispensation by Christ is fixed and final, and shall never be moved.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Hebrews 12:4". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

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Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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