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Hebrews 5

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

OUR HIGH PRIEST The Office of High Priest

1) "For every high priest," (pas gar archiereus) "Because every (each, all) high priest," This continues the thought of the previous chapter, Hebrews 4:15-16, concerning earthly high priests, especially of the Levitical order, Hebrews 4:14.

2) "Taken from among men," (eks anthropon lambanomenos) "Who is taken from among the masses of men," selected, ordained or consecrated for priestly service, taken from among men, fitted to feel human sympathy, Luke 22:28,

3) "Is ordained of men," (hupes anthropon kathistatai) "Is (exists as) having been appointed of men," of the will, actions, and choice of men, Hebrews 8:3. These ordinations are for Divine service of personal relationship between God and men.

4) "In things pertaining to God," (ta pros ton theon) "With regard to (Things of) God," services God has appointed or set in order, Hebrews 2:7; Hebrews 8:4.

5) "That he may offer," (hina prosphere) "In order that he (the high priest) may offer," that he may bear in his official services on behalf of the people, the true sacrifice, as an holy, sinless, High Priest, Hebrews 9:9.

6) "Both gifts and sacrifices," (dora te kai thusias)"Both gifts and (as well as) sacrifices," Hebrews 10:10-12. Gifts were inanimate things, sacrifices were living animals, Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 9:7; Leviticus 16:6; Leviticus 6:14-15.

7) "For sins," (huper hamartion) "on behalf of sins," To make atonement for or acknowledgment of sins, Hebrews 11:4; But Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice and all that he had for man, Galatians 1:4; Galatians 2:20; Titus 2:14; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Corinthians 3:22; 1 Corinthians 3:21.

Verse 2

1) "Who can have compassion on the ignorant," (metriopathein duamenostois agnoousin) "Who is able to feel (to empathize) for those who are ignorant," who do not know, grasp, or comprehend, or reasonably bear with the ignorant, Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 4:15. There was even a Levitical sin offering of ignorance, verifying that no man knows all or is omniscient, Leviticus 4:1-2; Leviticus 4:13; Leviticus 4:22; Leviticus 4:27.

2) "And on them that are out of the way," (kai planomenois) "Even upon those being led astray;” The quality of care, concern, and compassion must be in every witness of Jesus Christ, even as it existed in him, Matthew 9:26; Mark 1:41; 1 Peter 3:8; 1 John 3:17; Judges 1:22. It is because of our Lord’s compassion we are not consumed every day, La 3:22.

3) "For that he himself also is compassed with infirmity," (epei kai autos perikeitai astheneian) "Since he is also encircled, compassed, or beset (with) weakness, sickness, or infirmity," For even high priests appointed (ordained) by men, from among men, existed as mortals still, Isaiah 53:3; Every high priest (as ministers of the day) was compassed by infirmities of the flesh, weakness, sickness, sin, and death, which required confession and a sacrifice for their sins before offering prayers and sacrifices f or others; But our Lord had no such sin, yet he became sin for us and experienced every human frailty in the body of his flesh that he might enter into empathy, a feeling of compassion for all men, 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26-27; Leviticus 4:3-12.

Verse 3

1) "And by reason hereof he ought," (kai di’ auten opheilei) "And because of it," his weakness, infirmity, imperfections, "he ought," is obligated. Even the best of men, godly men, are in a robe of sinful nature and tempted by covert sins, not visible to men, sins of imagination, thoughts, that are evil, self-pity or selfishness at times, Genesis 6:5; Ecclesiastes 7:20.

2) "As for the people," (kathos peri tou laou) "Just as concerning the people," The high priest or the ordained minister did not or does not lose his old, sinful nature when he is ordained. Tho sanctified to special services he still had and has a need to pray for, and confess his own sins; John the Apostle included himself in such, 1 John 1:8-10.

3) "So also for himself," (houtos kai peri heauton) "Likewise (in like manner also) concerning himself;” Let it be remembered that our Lord included the twelve apostles in his model prayer to pray, "forgive us our trespasses," or breach of moral and ethical conduct, in thought or in deed, Matthew 6:12; Matthew 18:21-22; Luke 11:2-4.

4) "To offer for sins," (prospherein peri hamartion) "To offer (gifts and sacrifices) concerning sins," sins that he had committed, of evil thoughts, idle words, wrong attitudes, of selfishness, envy, malice, etc. 1 Kings 8:46; 1 John 1:8-9.

Note that the Levitical priest was repeatedly instructed to offer prayers and sacrifices for the people, Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 9:7; Leviticus 16:6; Leviticus 16:15-17.

Verse 4

1) "And no man taketh this honor unto himself," (kai ouch heautin tis lambanei ten timen) "And no one takes or receives this honor (position of honor) to himself," None imposes himself into this office or position of honor, just because he wants to be there, for reasons of pride, prestige, etc. Uzziah imposed himself into the priesthood and was struck with leprosy for it the rest of his life, 2 Chronicles 26:16-21; John 3:27. Only the called of God are to take upon themselves positions of Divine service.

2) "But he that is called of God," (alla kaloumenous hupo tou theou) "But he who has been called by (the undergirding support of) God," God called Israel to be his witnessing agency from Moses to Christ, then called, sanctified the tribe of Levi to oversee holy things, and the Aaronic family line for priests, Exodus 20:1; Korah attempted to take over the priesthood and he and 250 who followed him were slain, Numbers 16:24-35; Numbers 16:40.

3) "As was Aaron," (kathosper kai Aaron) "Even just as Aaron was," Exodus 28:1-3; Numbers 16:5; Numbers 16:36-40; 1 Chronicles 23:13.

Like Aaron and Moses the man of God, the shepherd of his flock, must have a quality of humility and compassion like that of their Lord, Matthew 9:36, set forth in the following story:


The following beautiful tradition about, Moses is handed down to posterity: - He led the flock of his father-in-law. One day while he was contemplating his flock in the desert, he saw a lamb leave the herd, and run further and further away, The tender shepherd not only followed it with his eyes, but went after it. The lamb quickened his step, hopped over hill, sprang over ditches, hastening through valley and plain; the shepherd unweariedly followed its track. At last the lamb stopped by a spring at which it eagerly quenched its thirst. Moses hastened to the spot, looked sadly at the drinking lamb, and said: "It was thirst, then, my poor beast, which tormented thee, and drove thee from me, and I didn’t understand; now thou art faint and weary from the long, hard way, thy powers are exhausted; how then couldest thou return to thy comrades?" After the lamb had quenched his thirst and seemed undecided what course to take, Moses lifted it to his shoulder, and, bending under the heavy burden, strode back to the flock. Then he heard the voice of God calling to him, saying: "Thou hast a tender heart for My creatures, thou art a kind, gentle shepherd to the flocks of man - thou art now called to feed the flocks of God."

-Jewish Messenger.

Verse 5

Christ an High Priest After the Order of Melchisedec

1) "So also Christ glorified not himself," (houtos kai Christos ouch heauton edoksasen) "So even Christ glorified not himself," John 8:54. He received the honor of the priesthood from the Father to offer as a priest the sacrifice of himself for our sins at Calvary. He was a priest while on earth, but became an high priest to offer his own blood when he entered heaven, Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 7:23-28.

2) "To be made an high priest," (ginethenai archierea) "To become an high priest," Then he was raised by the Spirit of God to intercede for his children, for others as an High Priest, in heaven, Romans 8:11; Hebrews 9:24-28.

3) "But he that said unto him," (all’ ho lalesas pros auton) "But the one speaking (who spoke) to him," God the Father, who spoke to him as follows, and the one whom he came to glorify, and did glorify: John 17:1; John 17:4-8; John 17:22; John 17:24.

4) "Thou art my Son," (huios mou ei su) "The Son of me (my) Son thou art," Psalms 2:7; Acts 13:30-37. As The Son (only begotten Son of God) he became first a priest on earth to offer the sacrifice of himself for our sins, then as an High Priest to offer his own blood for our sins in heaven, Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 1:3.

5) "Today have I begotten thee," (ego semeron gegenneka se) "I (just) today have begotten thee," He is the first begotten from the dead, now in glory interceding for us as High Priest, because he lived and died offering himself as the sinless, only begotten Son and sacrifice of God, as a lowly priest at Calvary, John 10:18; 1 Corinthians 15:23-28.

Verse 6

1) "As he saith also in another place," (kathos kai en hetero legei) "As he also says in another (psalm)." As God spoke in another place in old testament prophecy about his Son as a priest, Psalms 110:4.

2) "Thou art a priest forever," (su hiereus eis ton aiona) "Thou (art, dost exist) a priest into the ages," forever a priest, Hebrews 6:20; Zechariah 6:12-13.

3) "After the order of Melchisedec," (kata ten taksin Melchisedec) "according to the order, rank, or setting, of Melchisedec," Hebrews 7:17; Hebrews 7:21. This means that, like Melchisedec, he had neither father or mother of a family line of the normal priesthood; Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:3; Hebrews 7:10-17.


Four comparisons and contrasts between the Priest and High Priest as they relate to Jesus Christ are:

I. They did not minister in the same place,

a) as a priest Christ ministered on earth,

b) as an High Priest he ministers in heaven.

II. They did not perform the same work, a) the work of the priest was to offer many sacrifices to God, Christ as a Priest offered himself. b) The work of the High Priest was to carry blood of sacrifices into the holy place on behalf of the people. Christ carried his own blood into heaven to intercede, to advocate with the Father for us.

Ill. They did not appear in the same kind of dress, the priest was simple, a) Christ wore as Priest the dress of human flesh. b) The dress of the High Priest was much more colorful, glorious. Jesus Christ in his resurrected High Priesthood is in Resplendent glory:

IV. The priests’ office was that of a sub-officer The High Priest was the supreme Judge of the land and President of the Sanhedrin. Christ as High Priest, like Melchisedec, is both an High Priest and King.

Verse 7

1)"Who in the days of his flesh," (hos en tais hermerais tes sarkos autou) "Who in the days (period of time that he lived) of his flesh," the final test of his flesh while bearing our sins in his body on the tree, 1 Peter 2:24; John 12:27-28.

2) "When he had offered up prayers and supplications," (prosenegkkas deeseis te kai hiketerias) "Having offered both petitions and entreaties," prayers and supplications to the Father regarding his suffering alone, Matthew 26:39; Matthew 26:42; Matthew 26:44; Mark 14:36; Mark 14:39; John 17:1. These were the burdens of his heart in Gethsemane and on the cross.

3) "With strong crying and tears," (meta krauges ischuras kai dakruon) "in association or along with strong crying and tears;” Described in prophecy by David, Psalms 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:34; Mark 15:37. He cried as one forsaken, then gave up the Spirit.

4) "Unto him that was able to save from death," (pros ton dunamenon sozein auton ek thanatou) "To the one being (who existed) able to save or deliver him out of death," the grasp of death, even God the Father with legions of angels, Matthew 26:53; 2 Kings 6:17; Daniel 7:10; Mark 14:36.

5) "And was heard in that he feared," (kai eisakoustheis apo tes evlabeiasj "And he (was) being heard for his devoutness," as the importuning one of – Luke 11:8; and as Cornelius was, Acts 10:1-4; Acts 10:7.

Verse 8

1) "Though he were a Son," (kaiper on huios) "Though being (existing as) an heir-Son," A Son over his own house, the church he established among men, Hebrews 3:6; Mark 13:34-37; 1 Timothy 3:15.

2) "Yet learned he obedience," (emathen hupakoen) "He (still) learned obedience;” What it was to be in obedience or absolute submission in the flesh to his Father’s will, John 12:27-28; Philippians 2:5-8.

3) "By the things which he suffered," (aph’ hon epathen ten) "From (the experience of) the things which he suffered," as a man while he obeyed God, as Isaac did Abraham, when he offered him as a sacrifice at Mount Moriah, Genesis 22:8-14; Isaiah 53:1-6; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 Peter 2:24.

Verse 9

1) "And being made perfect," (kai teleiotheis) "And being or existing perfected," perfect in nature and character of his being, thru suffering. It was thru his obedience to the Father’s will in suffering in death that he was made to be our redemptive Sacrifice, made perfect, when he was made sin for us, see? Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 3:5.

2) "He became the author of eternal salvation," (egeneto aitios soterias aroniou) "He became (of his own will or accord) the cause (author) of eternal salvation." There is a salvation, a deliverance, relating to time and physical experiences only that is not eternal - such as a salvation from drowning, a salvation from starvation, or being saved from a burning building. But the Salvation Jesus brought to, and wrought for, and offered to mankind is eternal salvation of the soul from hell, Isaiah 55:9; Isaiah 55:11-12.

3) "Unto all them that obey him," (posin tois hupakouousin auto) "To or toward (offered to) all those obeying him," giving heed to him, especially to those who

1) obey by hearing, Luke 14:35; ;

2) who obey by repenting of their sins, Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 7:10; and

3) Who obey by believing or trusting in Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Thru his word and Holy Spirit every sinner is called to obey in these three matters, at which point of belief or faith one is saved, Ephesians 2:8-9; becomes a child of God, Galatians 3:26; John 1:11-12; Is said to have a pure heart, Acts 15:9; and receive peace with God, Romans 5:1. Our Lord warned that the one who did not obey to the point of believing could not come to heaven where he was, John 8:24. After salvation a child of God should obey God’s call to service daily until death, Luke 9:23; Revelation 2:10.

Verse 10

1) "Called of God," (prosagorreutheis hupo tou theou) "Being or having been designated by (from) God," named or authorized of God as an High Priest.

2) "An high priest," (archiereus) "An high priest," a priest of high order or rank, like, yet above that of Melchisedec, as High Priest and King to intercede in heaven, not on earth as Melchisedec and the Levitical high priests did, Hebrews 5:6; Psalms 110:4.

3), "After the order of Melchisedec," (kata ten taksin Melchisedek) "According to the order, rank, or status of Melchisedec," Hebrews 6:20. Yet our Lord as an High Priest excelled Melchisedec. For though Melchisedec combined both the office of High Priest and King which no Jewish Priest ever did, and though the lineage of Melchisedec was unrecorded and that of the Jewish Priesthood was meticulously recorded, the Priesthood of Jesus Christ was Superior to that of Melchisedec, his genealogy was carefully preserved, yet he was made an High Priest without a father or mother in priestly lineage - As a priest on earth he offered himself for us, as an High Priest in heaven he offers his blood daily atoning, interceding for our sins, Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24-28; 1 John 2:1-2.

An Appeal and Warning

Verse 11

1) "Of whom we have many things to say," (peri hou polus hemin ho logos) "Concerning whom we have much (considerable) to say," to say of or about Melchisedec, Hebrews 6:20; Hebrews 7:1-28.

2) "And hard to be uttered," (kai dusermeneutos legein) "And (what we have to say) is hard to interpret," for those who knew so little about Biblical matters, though they had been professors for a long time, perhaps members of the church at Jerusalem, Hebrews 5:12-14; Many listen today, but do not understand when the word of God is preached and taught. This is why it must be repeated, again and again, 2 Peter 3:16.

3) "Seeing ye are dull of hearing," (epei nothroi gegonate tais akoais) "Since you all have become dull in your hearings, graspings, or comprehensions," not dumb, but dull, slow, and hard to understand, John 16:12; Matthew 13:14-15; Romans 8:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:15. A general knowledge of the Bible, as a whole, is so important for one to understand so many of its revealed matters in context, 2 Timothy 2:15.

Dullness of hearing may be caused by

1. Lack of devotion,

2. carelessness about Divine matters,

3. a mind of worldliness,

4. a neglect of prayers, and

5. a lack of reading and Bible study. All these slow the pace of one’s understanding and doing the will of God. Matthew 13:19; Acts 17:11; Acts 17:22.

Verse 12

1) "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers," (kai gar opheilontes einai didaskaloi dai ton chronon) "For indeed or because, based on chronological time, you all ought to be (exist as) teachers." On account of the time elapsed and availability of the word to them since their conversion and profession.

2) "Ye have need that one teach you again," (palin chreion echete tou didaskein humas tina) "You all (instead) have or hold a need (for) someone to teach you," even reinstruct you, give your lesson over.

3) "Which be the first principles of the oracles of God," (ta stoicheia tes arches ton logion tou theou) "The rudiments of the (very) beginning of the words(oracles) of God;” It appears that Paul chided or reproved these brethren for not even knowing matters like the ten commandments, the 23rd Psalm, or the beatitudes, Romans 3:2; Galatians 4:9.

4) "And are become such as have need of milk," (kai gegonate chreian echontes galaktos) "You all have become (of your own neglectful choosing) (in) need of having milk," baby food, food for the weak or the immature; such was their laziness, carelessness, neglect, and slothfulness regarding the word, Ecclesiastes 10:10; 1 Corinthians 11-3.

5) "And not of strong meat," (ou stereas trophes) "Not of solid (more sustaining) food," The writer resorts to "baby talk" to the "baby minds" of these dull minded, don’t-care-attitude brethren who had been saved so long, but studied or understood so little of the Word of Truth; The meat, strong doctrine of the word is available for every child of God who would mature, grow up in Divine matters, Hebrews 5:14.

Verse 13

1) "For everyone that useth milk," (pas gar ho metechon galaktos) "For the one who continually, progressively, is partaking of milk (only)," just drinks from the bottle only, limits himself to milk for his food; This is the pious person who claims to be interested in lost souls only, not realizing that the saving of a life of daily obedient service and great church truths are also important to the glory of God in the church, Ephesians 3:21; Ephesians 5:17-19; Hebrews 6:1-3.

2) "Is unskillful in the word of righteousness," (apeiros logou dikaiosunes) "is or exists (as long as he does it) without experience, unskillful (in a knowledge) of the word of righteousness," and a capacity to even honor God as he should, 1 Peter 3:15. To be ready to meet heresy to witness for Jesus Christ concerning separated and holy living and church service and stewardship that honors God, one must study earnestly, 2 Timothy 2:15; John 5:39; 2 Timothy 3:15-16.

3) "For he is a babe," (nepios gar estin) "Because he is, exists as, a spiritual infant, Romans 15:1. A willing dumbbell, an unlearned person, in matters of Divine righteousness, by rebellious, obstinate, selfish and covetous choice, he remains. There be so many who have been saved for 10, 20, 30, and 40 years who lived willingly and selfishly as Bible "dumbbells," in almost total ignorance of the Holy Bible and its message, as a whole, which is meat to those who will study prayerfully, daily, and seeking from it more than just a few drops of milk, Hebrews 4:12; Psalms 119:105; Psalms 119:130.

Infants that refuse all food but milk never mature physically or mentally, emotionally as responsible people. The same is true concerning children of God. Each overgrown babe that takes milk only in manhood years becomes an obstacle, a burden to the family or church, Let Christian growth and maturity be the goal of each of us, 1 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Corinthians 14:20; Ephesians 4:14-15; Take milk of the word as a babe, but don’t stay on it forever, 1 Peter 2:2.

Verse 14

1) "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age," (teleion de estin he sterea trophe) "But solid (sustaining) food exists as food of mature people,” those who have received the gospel, been saved, become members of the Lord’s church and made a commitment of life to follow Jesus Christ; The Book offers them the help, strength, guidance needed, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

2) "Even those who be reason," (ton dia ten eksin ta) "That is even of those who because of their state or condition of present being," children of God who made a wise choice in coming to and receiving the Lord, Isaiah 1:18; John 6:37; As a new workman, craftsman, must be trained in the manner, and when, to use his tools, so must the maturing child of God, 1 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 3:15.

3) "Of use have their senses exercised," (aistheteria gegumnasemena echonton) "Who have exercised their faculties, capacity of learning," those emotionally, mentally, and spiritually capable of learning and open to Divine service, 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:2; Acts 17:11; 2 Peter 3:18.

4) "To discern both good and evil," (pros diakrisin kalou te kai kakou) "To definitively recognize both the good and the evil," things about them, what they see and hear based on what the word of God teaches, see? A well rounded knowledge of the word gives a basis of Divine truth that is the seed bed of Divine discernment or applied wisdom from on high. The Holy Spirit works in harmony with the word of God in giving comprehension, 1 Corinthians 2:14-15; Isaiah 7:15; Philippians 1:9-10.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Hebrews 5". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.