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Human Brotherhood and Divine Appointment
The High Priesthood of Christ. The argument now resolves itself into a discussion of Christ’s priesthood in comparison with the Levitical priesthood, which is developed as the dominant theme of the Epistle. Christ’s qualifications as our High Priest are noted. First, we have His resemblance to Aaron briefly stated so as to show that He was at least as true a priest. Christ fulfilled the two requisite conditions that were seen in the case of Aaron, viz. human brotherhood, essential to the representative character of priesthood (Hebrews 5:1-3), and divine appointment, essential to its authority, as evidenced by Psalms 110 (Hebrews 5:4-6). In His humanity, too, Jesus suffered grievously, but by teaching Him obedience that awful suffering perfected Him as a priest, so that He became the author of eternal salvation to those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:7-10).
1-3. First qualification—human brotherhood.
1. Gifts and sacrifices] The former are the vegetable, the latter the animal, sacrifices. Together they describe all kinds of offerings.
2. Have compassion] RV ’bear gently.’ The word means to be moderate in the passions, to have well-balanced emotions. Ignorant.. out of the way] RV ’ignorant and erring.’ For high-handed sins against the covenant no atonement was provided in the Law: see Leviticus 5:14. Numbers 15:30, and see on Numbers 10:26.
3. See Leviticus 16:6, Leviticus 16:11. In this respect Christ might not seem to resemble the Levitical priest. Yet as He took our sin upon Him, there is a sense in which He offered sacrifice for Himself with us.
4-6. The second qualification—divine appointment.
6. This is developed in Hebrews 7 : see notes there.
7-10. The way in which Christ was perfected as a priest, the way of suffering and obedience.
7. Days of his flesh] The expression denotes, of course, His earthly life, but with the implied suggestion of humiliation and weakness.
Prayers and supplications] The reference is clearly to the Agony in Gethsemane. To save him from death] lit. ’out of death.’ If Jesus prayed to be saved from death, it could not be said that His petition was granted. He prayed to be saved ’out of death,’ and the answer to His prayer consisted in His victory over death—His resurrection. In that he feared] RV ’for his godly fear,’ lit. ’from His fear.’ The statement that Christ ’was heard from His fear’ is taken by some as a pregnant construction equivalent to ’was heard and delivered from His fear (of death).’ But this sense of the word rendered ’fear’ is unusual; it means reverence or piety; and if the interpretation of the prayer given above is accepted, Christ showed His godly fear in His submission, expressed in the words, ’Not My will, but Thine be done.’
8. Learned he obedience] The phrase does not imply any previous unwillingness to obey; but His obedience grew deeper and deeper, till it reached perfection on the Cross: cp. Luke 2:40; Philippians 2:8.
9. Being made perfect] see on Hebrews 2:10. Eternal salvation] as distinguished from the temporary deliverance from the results of sin effected by the Levitical Law: cp. Hebrews 9:12.
11-14. The author recognises the difficulty of his subject, and breaks off to deplore the inattention and childish ignorance of his readers. But he feels that not to advance is to be in danger of going back, and therefore, while encouraging diligent progress, he points out the dreadful condition to which apostasy reduces men (Hebrews 6:1-12), and sets before them God’s promise to Abraham, confirmed by oath, to persuade them to constancy (Hebrews 6:13-20).
12. For the time] i.e. considering the length of time they had been Christians: cp. Hebrews 10:32
Oracles of God] not, as commonly, the revelation contained in the OT., but the doctrines of the Christian faith. The ’first principles’ are probably those enumerated in Hebrews 6:1, Hebrews 6:2.
Strong meat] RV ’solid food’: cp. 1 Corinthians 3:1, 1 Corinthians 3:2.
13. Unskilful in] RV ’without experience of.’ It is uncertain what precisely is meant by the word of righteousness. It may mean correct or rational discourse in general, or Christian truth in particular, or, since the same Gk. word means ’word’ and ’reason,’ something like ’the reason of the hope that is in’ Christians may be implied.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 5". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26