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the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 10

Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical CommentaryAlford's Greek Testament Commentary

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Verse 1

1 .] For ( γάρ connects with the whole passage ch. Hebrews 9:24-28 ; hitherto has been shewn the impossibility of Christ’s offering being repeated as were those of the law: now is to be shewn its absolute perfection as compared with those of the law) the law, having (as it has; the participle has a ratiocinative force, which passes on upon what follows) a shadow (or, ‘the shadow,’ which in sense would be much the same. The putting forward of the word to the beginning of the sentence would render it anarthrous. I prefer, however, ‘a shadow,’ because of the meaning of σκιάν , presently to be treated of: see below) of the good things to come (viz. the same good things of which, in ch. Hebrews 9:11 , Christ is said to be the High Priest, which belong to the μέλλων αἰών of ch. Hebrews 6:5 , whose δυνάμεις are working in the present dispensation, and to the completion of the οἰκουμένη μέλλουσα of ch. Hebrews 2:5 ; the good things which are still future to us as they were to those under the law, but are now made sure to us in and by Christ), not the very image of the things (every representation of μελλόντων ἀγαθῶν must be an εἰκών , whether it be in words, or in types, or in any other method of representation. The full description and entire revelation of the things thus designated will be αὐτὴ ἡ εἰκὼν τῶν πραγμάτων : which we possess in the gospel covenant: the very setting forth and form of the heavenly realities themselves. So that the gen. πραγμάτων is the ‘genitivus substantiæ,’ as in Colossians 3:10 , τὸν ἀνακαινούμενον … κατ ʼ εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος αὐτόν , and Romans 8:29 , συμμόρφους τῆς εἰκόνος τοῦ υἱοῦ , ὁ κτίσας in the one and ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ in the other, being and furnishing the εἰκών . But the law had no such εἰκών constructed out of the heavenly realities themselves, “ipsas res, certa sua forma et effigie præditas,” as Stier: it had merely σκιάν , merely a rough sketch or outline: so Chrys., not however to my mind entirely apprehending the identity of the εἰκών with the πράγματα which furnish it, σκιὰν … τουτέστιν οὐκ αὐτὴν τὴν ἀλήθειαν . ἕως μὲν γὰρ ἂν ὡς ἐν γραφῇ περιάγῃ τις τὰ χρώματα , σκιά τις ἐστίν · ὅταν δὲ τὸ ἄνθος ἐπαλείψῃ τις καὶ ἐπιχρίσῃ τὰ χρώματα , τότε εἰκὼν γίνεται . See also Thdrt. and Œc.), year by year with the same sacrifices (most Commentators assume some inversion of arrangement in constructing the words κατ ʼ ἐνιαυτόν : some (Calvin, Erasm. Schmid, Wolf, Heinrichs, Bleek, De Wette, Stuart, al.) joining them with αἷς προσφέρουσιν , others (Lünem., al.) with ταῖς αὐταῖς θυσίαις , others (Carpzov, al.) with τοὺς προσερχομένους . But there is no need to disturb the plain order of the sentence, in which κατ ʼ ἐνιαυτόν belongs to all that follows, viz. to the verb, οὐδέποτε δύναται , with its instrumental clause, ταῖς αὐταῖς θυσίαις αἷς κ . τ . λ . And so Ebrard, Hofmann, and Delitzsch. “This,” says Del., “is more accordant with the sense of the Writer: for he does not say, that the law by means of the offerings which were always the same year by year never was able to perfect, &c., but that the law, year by year, by the repetition of the same offerings, testified its inability to perfect, &c., viz. on the day of atonement, on which the same expiatory offerings were always repeated, being necessary, not withstanding the many offerings brought throughout the year, and after which the same round of offerings again began anew.” It will be evident that ταῖς αὐταῖς θυσίαις must refer, not to the daily offering, but to those of propitiation on the great day of atonement) which they (the ministering priests, not οἱ προσερχόμενοι , as Hofmann ii. 1. 314, which would be against all the terminology of the Epistle, in which προσφέρειν is without exception confined to priests. We have the same distinction as regards the προσερχόμενοι in ch. Heb 7:25 ) offer continually (Hofmann would join this with what follows, alleging that εἰς τὸ διηνεκές does not mean continu ally but continu ously . And so Lachmann punctuates. But against such a construction I conceive it to be decisive, that thus αἷς προσφέρουσιν would be in the last degree flat and unmeaning, and that the verb δύναται would have two qualifying adverbial predicates, εἰς τὸ διηνεκές and οὐδέποτε . I do not imagine that any one accustomed to the style of our Epistle would tolerate such a sentence. And with regard to εἰς τὸ διηνεκές , granting the meaning to be continuously , why may not that meaning be applicable here? Hofmann says that it is not applicable to a continually repeated act, but only to a continuously enduring agency. But why should not the offering of these sacrifices be looked upon as continuous, being unbroken from year to year? When I say, ‘The celebration of the day of atonement continued unbroken till the destruction of Jerusalem,’ I use the same method of expression, and might express my meaning in Greek by διηνεκὴς ἦν , ἕως ) never (not even at any time) is able to perfect (see on ref., where I have entered into the meanings of τελειοῦν in our Epistle) those who draw near (to God, by means of them. Tholuck well remarks that this threefold κατ ʼ ἐνιαυτόν , ταῖς αὐταῖς θυσίαις , εἰς τὸ διηνεκές , graphically sets forth the ever recurring cycle of the yearly sacrifices for sin).

Verses 1-10

1 10 .] See above.

Verses 1-18

13 10:18 .] Enlargement upon, and substantiation of , αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος : on which then follows, Hebrews 10:19 ff., the third or directly hortatory part of the Epistle. “For the blood of His self-offering purifies inwardly unto the living service of the living God ( Heb 9:13-14 ): His redeeming death is the inaugurating act of a new covenant and of the heavenly sanctuary ( Heb 9:15-23 ): His entrance into the antitypical holiest place is the conclusion of his all-sufficing atonement for sin ( Heb 9:24-26 ), after which only remains His reappearance to complete the realization of Redemption ( Heb 9:27-28 ). In distinction from the legal offerings which were constantly repeated, He has, by his offering of Himself, performed the actual will of God which willed salvation (ch. Heb 10:1-10 ): our Sanctification is now for ever accomplished, and the exalted Saviour reigns in expectation of ultimate victory ( Heb 10:11-14 ): and the promised new covenant has come in, resting on an eternal forgiveness of sins which requires no further offering ( Heb 10:15-18 ).” Delitzsch.

Verse 2

2 .] For (if it were so, if the law were able to perfect the worshippers) would they ( αἱ αὐταὶ θυσίαι ) not have ceased being offered, on account of the worshippers (the servers in the service of the tabernacle, used here in a wide sense, including priests and people) having no longer any conscience of sins (for construction, see reff.: = guilt of sin on the conscience, consciousness of the guilt of sin), if once (for all) purified?

That this sentence is to be read ἐπεὶ οὐκ ἄν , and as a question, is pretty universally agreed.

Some, as Thdrt. (apparently: διὰ τοῦτο τέλος ἐκεῖνα λαμβάνει ), D-lat. (“nam nec cessassent offerri”), Beza (edd. 1, 2, “alioqui non desiissent offerri”), Whitby, Valcknaer, read οὐκ , and yet no question; understanding, “for then they would not have ceased to be offered,” viz. on the coming in of the N. T. dispensation. But this is surely hardly worth refutation. The rec. not reading οὐκ , might indeed be well thus rendered, “for in that case they would have ceased to be offered.” But then ἀλλά comes in awkwardly, which, when as here without any emphasis, more naturally follows a negative sentence. The taking our verse interrogatively is as old as Œc.: ἐπεὶ οὐκ ἂν ἐπαύσαντο κατ ʼ ἐρώτησιν ἀνάγνωθι . So also Thl.

Verse 3

3 .] Which cessation is far from being the case, as is the having no more conscience of sin: But (on the contrary: ἀλλά opposes the whole question of Hebrews 10:2 , in both its clauses) in them (the sacrifices: not in the fact of their being offered, but in the course of their being offered on the day of atonement, see below) there is a recollection (‘recalling to mind;’ the usual meaning of ἀνάμνησις : better than “public mention,” as vulg., “commemoratio,” Calv., Bengel, al.: so also Schlichting, Grot., Jac. Cappell., al., thinking on the solemn confession of the sins of Israel made by the high priest, Leviticus 16:20 f. But the other is simpler, and suits the context better. Where sins are continually called to mind, there clearly the conscience is not clear from them. Several passages occur in Philo closely resembling this: e. g. De Plant. Noë, 25, vol. i. p. 345, βωμοῖς γὰρ ἀπύροις περὶ οὓς ἀρεταὶ χορεύουσι γέγηθεν ὁ θεός , ἀλλ ʼ οὐ πολλῷ πυρὶ φλέγουσιν , ὅπερ αἱ τῶν ἀνιέρων ἄθυτοι θυσίαι συνανέφλεξαν , ὑπομιμνήσκουσαι τὰς ἑκάστων ἀγνοίας τε καὶ διαμαρτίας . καὶ γὰρ εἶπέ που Μωυσῆς (Numbers 5:15 , θυσία μνημοσύνου ἀναμιμνήσκουσα ἁμαρτίαν ) θυσίαν ἀναμιμνήσκουσαν ἁμαρτίαν : De Victim. 7, vol. ii. p. 244, εὔηθες γάρ , τὰς θυσίας μὴ λήθην ἁμαρτημάτων , ἀλλ ʼ ὑπόμνησιν αὐτῶν κατασκευάζειν : and Vita Mos. iii. 10, p. 151, εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἀγνώμων καὶ ἄδικος , ἄθυτοι θυσίαι , καὶ ἀνίεροι ἱερουργίαι , καὶ εὐχαὶ παλίμφημοι , παντελῆ φθοραὶ ἐνδεχόμεναι . καὶ γὰρ ὁπότε γίνεσθαι δοκοῦσιν , οὐ λύσιν ἁμαρτημάτων , ἀλλ ʼ ὑπόμνησιν ἀργάζονται ) of sins year by year:

Verse 4

4 .] And that on account of inherent defect in the sacrifices themselves: for it is impossible, that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sin (the Writer by no means denies the typical virtue of the O. T. sacrifices, but asserts that which the schoolmen explained by saying that they wrought remission of sin not ‘propria virtute,’ but ‘per accidens,’ viz. by means of the grace of the true Propitiation which was to come, and of faith directed to it. And thus only is it said, Leviticus 17:11 , that the blood upon the altar makes an atonement for the soul: it was shed, as Ebrard well observes, not as the instrument of complete vicarious propitiation, but as an exhibition of the postulate of vicarious propitiation).

Verse 5

5 .] Wherefore (seeing that the animal sacrifices of the O. T. had no power to take away sin, and that for that end a nobler sacrifice was wanting) coming into the world he saith (first, on the citation from Psalms 40:0 . That Psalm, which is inscribed “A Psalm of David,” seems to be a general retrospect, in some time of trouble, of God’s former mercies to him, and of his own course of loving obedience as distinguished from mere expression of outward thankfulness by sacrifice and offering. Thus understood, there will be no difficulty in the direct application of its words to Him, of whose sufferings and of whose obedience all human experiences in suffering and obeying are but a faint resemblance. I have entered on this subject in speaking of the Messianic citation in ch. 2, and need not lay down again the principles there contended for, further than to say, that the more any son of man approaches, in position, or office, or individual spiritual experience, the incarnate Son of God, the more directly may his holy breathings in the power of Christ’s Spirit be taken as the utterances of Christ Himself. And of all men, the prophet-king of Israel thus resembled and out-shadowed Him the most. The Psalm itself seems to belong to the time of David’s persecution by Saul; and the sentiment of this portion of it is, as Delitzsch observes, an echo of Samuel’s saying to Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22 , “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?”

Next, what is εἰσερχόμενος εἰς τὸν κόσμον ? It expresses, I believe, the whole time during which the Lord, being ripened in human resolution, was in intent devoting himself to the doing of his Father’s will: the time of which that youthful question “Wist ye not that I must be ἐν τοῖς τοῦ πατρός μου ?” was one of the opening announcements. See also Isaiah 7:16 . To refer these words thus to his maturing purpose, seems far better than to understand them as Erasmus, “veluti mundum ingressurus,” from the O. T. point of time: or as Grot., with whom are Bleek and De W., “cum e vita privata egrediens nomine Dei agere cœpit cum populo,” for that would more naturally require εἰσελθών , besides being liable to the objection, that it is not of Christ’s declaration before the world, but of his purpose as regards the Father, that our text treats: or as Lünem., “in intent to enter into the world,” by becoming man: or “ nascendo ,” as Böhme, and similarly Hofmann: for thus it could hardly be said, σῶμα κατηρτίσω μοι ), Sacrifice (of slain animals) and offering (of any kind: see reff.) thou wouldest not (similar declarations are found frequently in the O. T., and mostly in the Prophets: see Psalms 50:7-15 ; Psalms 51:16 f.: Isaiah 1:11 ; Jeremiah 6:20 ; Jeremiah 7:21-23 ; Hosea 6:6 ; Amos 5:21 ff.: Mic 6:6-8 ), but a body didst thou prepare for me ( אָזְנַיִם כָּרִיתָ לִּי , “ mine ears hast thou opened ,” “fodisti,” “concavas reddidisti,” i. e. to hear and obey Thee. The idea of there being any allusion to the custom of boring through the ear of a slave who voluntarily remained subject to his master, Exo 21:6 and Deuteronomy 15:17 , seems to be a mistake. Neither the verb כָּרָה , nor the plural substantive אָזְנַיִם , will bear it without forcing: in Exod. l. c., the subst. is singular, and the verb is רָצַע . See Bleek, vol. ii. p. 633, note. The difficulty is, how such a clause can be rendered by σῶμα κατηρτίσω μοι , as it is in the LXX. Some (e. g. Bleek, Lünem., after Usher de LXX Int. Vers. p. 85 sq., Semler, Michaelis, Ernesti, al.) have supposed a misreading , owing to the last letter of the foregoing word ἠθέλησαΣ preceding ΩΤΙΑ , the ΤΙ being mistaken for M. The reading ὠτία is now found only in one ms. of the LXX (Holmes, 39), ὦτα in two (Holmes, 142, 156): it is the rendering of Theodotion, of the Quinta and Sexta in Origen, of Jerome (“aures autem perfecisti mihi”), of Eusebius (comm. in loc. Bleek, ii. p. 631, note, τὰ ὦτά μου καὶ τὴν ὑπακοὴν τῶν σῶν λογίων κατηρτίσω ), of the Psalterium San-Germanense (in Sabatier: “aures perfecisti mihi”), and Irenæus (Interp. iv. 17. 1, p. 248), which two last Delitzsch suspects, but apparently without ground, of being corrections from the vulgate. Over against this hypothesis, of the present LXX text having sprung from a misreading, we may set the idea that the LXX have chosen this expression σῶμα κατηρτίσω μοι by which to render the Hebrew , as being more inteligible to the reader. This is the hypothesis adopted by Delitzsch, and that which was maintained with slight variation by Jac. Cappellus (“quia rem, ut alias sæpe, spectarunt magis quam verba”), Wolf (whose note gives all the literature of the passage at his own time. His view is that the σῶμα of our Lord was the μορφὴ δούλου , and thus answers to the “perfossio auris”), Carpzov, Tholuck, Ebrard, al. Others again suppose that the Writer of this Epistle has altered the expression to suit better the prophetical purpose. So an old Scholiast in the Lond. edn. of the LXX, 1653: τὸ ὠτία δὲ κατηρτίσω μοι ὁ μακάριος Παῦλος εἰς τὸ σῶμα μεταβαλὼν εἴρηκεν , οὐκ ἀγνοῶν τὸ Ἑβραϊκόν , ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὸν οἰκεῖον σκοπὸν τούτῳ χρησάμενος . I would leave the difficulty an unsolved one, not being satisfied by either of the above views, and having no other to propound. As Christian believers, our course is plain. How the word σῶμα came into the LXX, we cannot say: but being there, it is now sanctioned for us by the citation here: not as the, or even a proper rendering of the Hebrew, but as a prophetic utterance, equivalent to and representing that other):

Verses 5-10

5 10 .] Christ’s voluntary self-offering shewn to be the perfect fulfilment of the will of God .

Verse 6

6 .] whole burnt-offerings ( ὁλοκαύτωμα , a subst. from the Alexandrine form ὁλοκαυτόω (- τέω . in Xenoph. Cyr. viii. 3. 11: Anab. vii. 8. 3 al.), is the ordinary LXX rendering for the Heb. עוֹלָה , an offering of a whole animal to be burnt on the altar. See Winer, Realw. art. Brandopfer) and ( sacrifices ) for sin (in the LXX also we have the same ellipsis: see reff.) thou didst not approve (it is probable that our Writer had εὐδοκήσας in his ms. of the LXX. He repeats it again below; and Cyr.-alex., even where he expressly cites the Psalm, has it. Possibly it may have come in here from the similarity to Psalms 50:16 (18), ὁλοκαυτώματα οὐκ εὐδοκήσεις : it is also possible, as Bl. suggests, that our Writer may have used the word, as a stronger one than ᾔτησας or ἐζήτησας , with reference to that well-known passage. The construction of εὐδοκέω with an accus. is not unfrequent in the LXX and Hellenistic Greek: see reff. εὐδοκεῖν τινι or ἔν τινι is more usual: Polyb. uses both):

Verse 7

7 .] then I said (viz. when Thou hadst prepared a body for me), Behold, I am come, in the volume of the book it is written concerning me, to do, O God, thy will (the connexion and construction are somewhat differently given from those in the LXX. There it stands, τότε εἶπον Ἰδοὺ ἥκω , ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ , τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου , ὁ θεός μου , ἠβουλήθην , καὶ τὸν νόμον σου ἐν μέσῳ τῆς καρδίας μου : where τοῦ ποιῆσαι depends on ἠβουλήθην . And so in the Hebrew: see E. V. As our text stands, τοῦ ποιῆσαι depends on ἥκω , and ἐν κεφ . τ . βιβ . γέγρ . περὶ ἐμοῦ is parenthetical: see Hebrews 10:9 . κεφαλίς is the LXX rendering of מְנִלָּה , a roll, or volume, as also in reff. Suid., κεφαλὶς βιβλίου , ὅπερ τινὲς εἵλημά φασι . κεφαλίς appears to have got this meaning from signifying the heads or knobs which terminated the cylinder on which the mss. were rolled, and which were called in Latin umbilici . On ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου , Thl. says, θέλημα δὲ τοῦ θεοῦ πατρὸς τὸ τὸν υἱὸν ὑπὲρ τοῦ κόσμου τυθῆναι κ . δικαιωθῆναι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους οὐκ ἐν θυσίαις ἀλλ ʼ ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ : and Chrys., τοῦ ἐμαυτόν φησιν ἐκδοῦναι , τοῦτο τοῦ θεοῦ θέλημα ).

Verse 8

8 .] The Writer now proceeds to expound the prophecy; and in so doing, cites it again, but in a freer form, and one accommodated to the explanation which he gives. Saying (as he does) above (the present participle is used, not εἰπών , because it is not the temporal sequence of the sayings, so much as their logical coherence, that is in the Writer’s thoughts. Similarly we say, “Holding as I do that, &c., I have ever maintained, &c.” The speaker is our Lord: cf. above, Hebrews 10:5 , εἰσερχόμενος εἰς τὸν κόσμον λέγει ), that (mere particle of recitation: cf. reff.) sacrifices and offerings, and whole burnt-offerings, and sacrifices concerning sin thou wouldest not, nor yet didst approve (observe that the two distinct clauses of the previous citation are now combined, for the sake of throwing into contrast the rejection of legal sacrifices and the acceptable self-sacrifice of the Son of God), of such sort as ( αἵτινες does not, like the simple relative αἵ , identify, but classifies, the antecedent) are (habitually) offered according to (in pursuance of the commands of) the (whether the article is or is not retained, the English rendering will be the same; the νόμος according to which they were offered being not any general one, but the particular ordinance of Moses. If we say ‘according to law,’ we mean the same, but transfer ourselves to the standing-point of a Jew, with whom ‘the law’ was ‘law’) law ,

Verse 9

9 .] then (more logical than chronological; but used probably in allusion to that τότε above, in the passage itself), hath he said, Behold I am come to do thy will. He (Christ again) taketh away (for ἀναιρεῖν , ‘tollere,’ see reff. and add Xen. Cyr. i. 1. 1, ὅσαι μοναρχίαι ὅσαι τε ὀλιγαρχίαι ἀνῄρηνται ἤδη ὑπὸ δήμων : Demosth. p. 246. 4, τὰ τῶν προγόνων καλὰ κ . δίκαια ἀναιρεῖν ) the first, that he may set up (establish, see reff.) the second ( ποῖόν ἐστι τὸ πρῶτον ; αἱ θυσίαι . ποῖον τὸ δεύτερον ; τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός . Thl. It is a mistake to understand with Peirce, θέλημα after πρῶτον and δεύτερον : the contrast is between that which God wills not, and that which He wills. This is very plain both on other grounds, and on account of the ἐν ᾧ θελήματι in the next verse).

Verse 10

10 .] In (the course of, the fulfilment of: not properly “by,” which belongs more to the διὰ below) which will (viz. the will and purpose of God towards us by Christ: the will which He came to fulfil. There is no real difference, or alternative to be chosen, as Ebrard maintains, between the will of God to redeem us by the sufferings and death of Christ, and the will of God as fulfilled by Christ’s obedience: the one includes the other: the latter was the condition of the former. Justiniani inclines to understand ἐν ᾧ θελήματι of the will of Christ , as expressed above: and so Calvin (quoting 1 Thessalonians 4:3 , “Hæc voluntas est Christi , sanctificatio vestra”), Schöttgen, and Carpzov. But clearly this cannot be so) we have been sanctified (see on the word ἁγιάζω , and on the use of the present and past passive participles of it, note on ch. Hebrews 2:11 . Here the perfect part. is used, inasmuch as it is the finished work of Christ in its potentiality, not the process of it on us, which is spoken of: see Hebrews 10:14 , τετελείωκεν εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς τοὺς ἁγιαζομένους : which final completion is here indicated by the perfect part.) through the offering of the body (the reading αἵματος would, besides losing the reference to the σῶμα κατηρτίσω μοι , introduce an inaccuracy into the typology. It is by the Blood of Christ that we are reconciled to God, but by the offering of His Body that we are made holy. The one concerns our acceptance as acquitted from sin; the other our perfection in holiness by union with Him and participation in His Spirit. Thus we distinguish the two in the Communion Service: “that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His Body, and our souls washed through His most precious Blood”) of Jesus Christ, once for all (it may seem doubtful to which ἐφάπαξ belongs, whether to τῆς προσφορᾶς , or to ἡγιασμένοι ἐσμέν . For the former, may be said, that the once-for-all-ness of the offering of Christ is often insisted on by our Writer, cf. ch. Hebrews 7:27 ; Hebrews 9:12 ; Hebrews 9:26 ; Hebrews 9:28 ; Hebrews 9:12 ; Hebrews 9:14 . Against it, that thus we should seem to require the article τῆς before ἐφάπαξ . But this last is not needed, and no argument can be founded on its absence. Rather should we argue from the context, and say that the assertion is not mainly of our being sanctified once for all, though that does come in in Heb 10:14 as a consequence of the μία προσφορά , but of our sanctification having taken place by means of a final efficacious sacrifice, which does not, as those legal ones did, need repeating. I should therefore be disposed to join ἐφάπαξ with προσφορᾶς , with Syr., Œc., Thl. ( διὰ τῆς προσφορᾶς τοῦ σώματς τοῦ χριστοῦ τῆς ἐφάπαξ γενομένης ), Schlichting, Jac. Cappell., Limborch, Stein, al., and against Bleek, Lünem., Hofm., Delitzsch, and most of the best Commentators).

Verse 11

11 .] And ( καί introduces a new particular of contrast: ‘and besides’) every high priest (much has of late been said by Delitzsch against the reading ἀρχιερεύς , as bringing in an inaccuracy which our Writer could not be guilty of, seeing that the high priests did not officiate in the daily sacrifice. But all such arguments are worthless against preponderating evidence, and rather tend the other way, viz. to shew how natural it was to alter ἀρχιερεύς to ἱερεύς , on account of this very difficulty. So that on the “procliviori præstat ardua” principle as well, we are bound I conceive to retain ἀρχιερεύς . And with regard to the alleged inaccuracy, I really think that if closely viewed, it will prove rather to be a fine and deep touch of truth. The High-priesthood of our Lord is to be compared with that of the Jewish legal high priests. On the one side is Jesus, alone in the glory of his office and virtue of his sacrifice; on the other is the Jewish high-priesthood, not one man but many, by reason of death; represented in all its acts, personal or delegated, by its holder for the time, by πᾶς ἀρχιερεύς , offering not one, but many sacrifices. This ἀρχιερεύς is the representative of the whole priesthood. Whether he ministered in the daily service of the temple himself or not, it is he who embodies the acts and sufferings of Israel in his own person. How Delitzsch can say that such an idea is foreign alike to the Bible and the Jewish mind, I am at a loss to understand, considering the liberation at the death of the high priest, not to insist on the ceremonies themselves at the day of atonement, when he was clearly the centre and representative of the priesthood, and indeed of all Israel. In treating of the Head of so compact a system as the Jewish priesthood it is clearly allowable, if any where, to bring in the principle, “qui facit per alterum, facit per se.” See ch. Hebrews 7:27 , where the very same καθ ʼ ἡμέραν is predicated of the ἀρχιερεύς ) standeth (see reff. No priest nor other person might sit in the inner court of the temple, except the king. There is perhaps more than a fortuitous contrast to ἐκάθισεν below. So Œc. and Thl., aft. Chrys.: ἄρα τὸ ἑστάναι σημεῖόν ἐστι τοῦ λειτουργεῖν , τὸ δὲ καθῆσθαι , ὥσπερ ὁ χριστὸς ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ πατρός , σημεῖόν ἐστι τοῦ λειτουργεῖσθαι οἷα θεὸν ὄντα . The vulgate rendering, “ præsto est ,” is clearly wrong) day by day ministering (see note, ch. Heb 8:2 ), and ( καί brings out that in the λειτουργία , which the Writer wishes most to emphasize) often offering the same sacrifices, the which (i. e. of a sort which, such as) can never take away (lit. ‘strip off all round:’ so of a ring, Genesis 41:42 ; Esther 3:10 ; Jos. Antt. xix. 2. 3: Ælian V. H. i. 21: Herod. iii. 41: of clothes from the body, Genesis 38:14 ; Deuteronomy 21:13 ; Jonah 3:6 ; 2Ma 4:38 . See reff.: and many more examples in Bleek. And such a word is peculiarly fitting to express the removal of that of which it is said, ch. Hebrews 5:2 , αὐτὸς περίκειται ἀσθένειαν , and which is called, ch. Hebrews 12:1 , ἡ εὐπερίστατος ἁμαρτία . The sacrifice might bring sense of partial forgiveness: but it could never denude the offerer of sinfulness strip off and take away his guilt) sins:

Verses 11-14

11 14 .] See summary at Hebrews 10:1 .

Verse 12

12 .] but He (‘this (man),’ or, (priest): but such rendering should be avoided if possible, as should all renderings which import a new generic idea into the text, as always causing confusion: cf. for a notable example, 1Co 2:11 end in E. V.) having offered one sacrifice for sins (on the punctuation, see below) for ever ( εἰς τὸ διηνεκές may be joined either with the preceding or with the following words. If with the preceding, as Thl. ( θυσίαν … εἰς τὸ δ . ἀρκοῦσαν ἡμῖν , and so Œc.), Luther, Castellio, Beza b, Chr. F. Schmid, Bengel, Böhme, Stein, al., we observe the usage of the Epistle, which is to place εἰς τὸ διηνεκές after that which it qualifies (reff.): we have μία θυσία εἰς τὸ διηνεκές opposed to τὰς αὐτὰς θυσίας πολλάκις ; and we keep the propriety of the sense, according to what follows, τὸ λοιπὸν ἐκδεχόμενος ἕως κ . τ . λ ., and according to 1 Corinthians 15:28 , where we are expressly told, that the session of our triumphant Saviour will have its end as such. If we join the words with the following, as Syr., D-lat., Faber Stap., Erasm., Calvin, Schlichting, Grot., Wolf, al., Schulz, De Wette, Bleek, Lünem., Ebrard, Hofmann, Delitzsch, al., we more thoroughly satisfy the construction, in which εἰς τὸ διηνεκές seems to refer better to an enduring state than to a past act, or at all events not to this last without a harsh ellipsis, “ having offered one sacrifice (the virtue of which will endure) for ever :” we preserve the contrast between ἕστηκεν καθ ʼ ἡμέραν and εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς ἐκάθισεν : we preserve also the balance between the clauses ending προσφέρων θυσίας , and προσενέγκας θυσίαν : and we are in full accordance with the ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα so often insisted on. And to this latter arrangement I incline, not however laying it down as certain. The objection taken above, as to the change in the nature of Christ’s session at the end, when all things shall have been put under His feet, may be met by saying that such change, being obviously included in His ultimate state of reception into God’s presence in heaven, does not here count as a change, where the question is of renewal of sacrifice, with regard to which that session is eternal) sat down on the right hand of God ,

Verse 13

13 .] henceforth waiting (this sense of ἐκδέχομαι is said to belong exclusively to later Greek: but not altogether accurately, cf. Soph. Phil. 123, κεῖνον ἐνθάδ ʼ ἐκδέχου . It is, however, much more frequent in the later classics. We have ἐκδέχ . ἕως ἄν in Dion. Hal. vi. 67) until his enemies be placed as footstool of his feet (the ἕως construction is adopted for the sake of preserving the words of Psalms 110:1 .

I cannot see how Bleek and Lünem. can find any real discrepancy between this passage and 1 Corinthians 15:23-26 . If this seems to date the subjection of all to Christ before the second advent, and that places it after the same event, we may well say, that the second advent is not here taken into account by the Writer, whose object is the contrast between the suffering and triumphant Christ, as it is by St. Paul, who is specially giving an account of the resurrection which is so inseparably bound up with that παρουσία . The second advent is no break in Christ’s waiting till his enemies be subdued to him, but it is the last step but one of that subjection; the last of all being the subjection of Himself, and his mystical body with him, to Him that did put all things under him. For among the enemies are His own elect, who were enemies: and they are not thoroughly subject to Him, till He with them is subject to the Father, the mediatorial veil being withdrawn, and the One God being all in all).

Verse 14

14 .] And He need not renew his sacrifice: For by one offering (we might read also μία γὰρ προσφορά , nominative: and Bengel prefers this, from the fact that in Heb 10:11 the sacrifices are the subject, αἵτινες οὐδέποτε δύνανται κ . τ . λ . But here more probably Christ is the subject throughout, and therefore the dative is better: there being no relative to connect with θυσίαν , as there) He hath perfected for ever them who are being sanctified (“The Writer says not τοὺς τελειωμένους , but τοὺς ἁγιαζομένους . Sanctification, i. e. the imputed and implanted purification from sins (for both these are alike contained in the idea), is the way whereby the objective perfection already provided in the self-sacrifice of Christ gradually renders itself subjective in men.” Delitzsch).

Verse 15

15 .] Moreover the Holy Spirit also testifies to us (Christians in general: and ἡμῖν is the dat. commodi, μαρτυρεῖ being used absolutely testifies the fact which I am maintaining. Raphel, Wolf, al. regard ἡμῖν as signifying merely the Writer, and take the dat. as in Polyb. xviii. 11. 8, μαρτυρεῖ δὲ τοῖς ἡμετέροις λόγοις … τὸ τέλος τοῦ πολέμου : but the other is far better): for after having said (then the citation proceeds much as in ch. Hebrews 8:10 ff. with some differences, noticed below. On the common points, see notes there),

Verses 15-18

15 18 .] See summary at Hebrews 10:1 . The prophetic word testifies the same, making absolute and final forgiveness of sins a characteristic of the new covenant.

Verse 16

16 .] This is the covenant which I will make with them (in ch. Hebrews 8:10 , τῷ οἴκῳ Ἰσραήλ . Here the prophecy is taken out of its national limits and universalized) after those days, saith the Lord: giving my laws into their hearts (ch. Hebrews 8:10 , εἰς τὴν διάνοιαν ), and on their mind ( ἐπὶ καρδίας , ch. Heb 8:10 ) will I in scribe them :

Verse 17

17 .] Now comes the apodosis of the μετὰ γὰρ τὸ εἰρηκέναι , then, καὶ ἔσομαι αὐτοῖς εἰς θεὸν κ . τ . λ ., and καὶ οὐ μὴ διδάξωσιν κ . τ . λ ., ch. Hebrews 8:10-11 , being omitted (see below), he further says: and their sins and their transgressions will I remember no more (it has been generally held since Beza and Camerarius, that the apodosis is introduced by λέγει κύριος , all that follows belonging to it. The reason for this, alleged by the later Commentators, is, the harshness of understanding ὕστερον λέγει , or the like, inserted in some unimportant mss. at the beginning of Hebrews 10:17 , as inconsistent with the concinnity of our Writer’s style. But as against this objection, may fairly be alleged the still greater harshness of breaking διαθήσομαι from its qualifying διδούς , and the improbability that the words λέγει κύριος , which occur in the passage cited, should be taken by the Writer as his own. But still more cogent reasons for making the apodosis begin at Heb 10:17 are, 1. that there the εἰρημένον ends, not at λέγει κύριος : there a hiatus in the citation occurs, and the Writer first passes on to that which is said after: 2. that Heb 10:17 itself carries the whole burden of the citation with it. This is the object of the citation, to prove that there needs no more sacrifice for sins. And the previous portion of it is adduced to shew that this, τῶν ἁμαρτ . αὐτ . κ . τῶν ἀνομ . αὐτ . οὐ μὴ μνησθήσομαι ἔτι , does form an integral part of the prophecy of the introduction of the new and spiritual covenant. So that both construction and sense are troubled by the modern idea of breaking at λέγει κύριος . With regard to any supposed harshness in the ellipsis at Hebrews 10:17 , I may remark that our Writer frequently uses καί in a kindred sense, as adducing new quotations: see ch. Hebrews 1:5 ; Heb 2:13 bis; Hebrews 4:5 ; Hebrews 10:30 . The break at Heb 10:17 is adopted by several cursive mss. (see Scholz), by Primasius, Clarius, Zeger, Schlichting, Estius, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Limborch, Carpzov, Heinrichs, Stuart, al.: the other, at λέγει κύριος , by Beza, Camer., al., and almost all the recent Commentators).

Verse 18

18 .] But (or, ‘now:’ it is the ‘but’ of the demonstration, referring to a well-known axiomatic fact as contrasting with the contrary hypothesis) where there is remission of these, there is no longer offering concerning sin .

“Here ends the finale ( Heb 10:1-18 ) of the great tripartite arrangement (Hebrews 7:1-25 ; Heb 7:26 to Hebrews 9:12 ; Heb 9:13 to Heb 10:18 ) of the middle portion of the Epistle. ‘Christ a High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek,’ this was its great theme, now brought to a conclusion. That the Priesthood of Christ, as Melchisedekite, is as high above the Levitical as God’s heaven is above the earth, that Christ, with His One High-priestly self-sacrifice, has accomplished that which the Levitical priesthood with its sacrifices was unable to accomplish, that henceforth, both our present possession of salvation, and our future completion of salvation, are as certain to us as that He is with God, ruling as a priest and reigning as a king, once more to appear, no more as a bearer of our sins, but in glory as a Judge; these are the three great fundamental thoughts, now brought to their full development. What it is, to be a High Priest after the order of Melchisedek and not of Aaron, is set forth, ch. Hebrews 7:1-25 . That Christ however as High Priest is Aaron’s antitype, ruling in the true holy place by virtue of His self-sacrifice here on earth, and Mediator of a better covenant, whose essential character the old covenant only shadowed forth and typified, we learn, Heb 7:26 to Hebrews 9:12 . And that the self-sacrifice of Christ, offered through the eternal Spirit, is of everlasting power, as contrasted with the unavailing cycle of legal offerings, is established in the third part, Heb 9:13 to Hebrews 10:18 ; the second half of this portion, Hebrews 10:1-18 , being devoted to a reiterated and conclusive treatment of the main position of the whole, the High-priesthood of Christ, grounded on His offering of Himself, its Kingly character, its eternal accomplishment of its end, confirmed by Psalms 40:0 , Psalms 110:0 , Jeremiah 31:0 ” Delitzsch.

Verse 19

19 .] Having ( ἔχοντες is placed first as carrying the emphasis: ‘possessing, as we do …’) therefore (as above proved: οὖν collects and infers), brethren (see on ch. Heb 3:1 ), confidence (see on ch. Heb 3:6 παῤῥησία here as well as there is not justification, right ( ἐξουσίαν Hesych.) to enter, but purely subjective, confidence , boldness) as regards the (our, see below) entering into the holy places (for construction, see reff. καὶ γὰρ ἐπειδὴ ἀφέθησαν ἡμῖν τὰ ἁμαρτήματα , παῤῥησίαν ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸ εἰσέρχεσθαι εἰς τὰ ἅγια , τουτέστιν εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν . Thl. ἡ εἴσοδος is our entering, not Christ’s entering, as Heinrichs and Dindorf: see ch. Hebrews 4:16 , προσερχώμεθα μετὰ παῤῥησίας τῷ θρόνῳ τῆς χάριτος ) in the blood of Jesus (the ἐν introduces that wherein the confidence is grounded: cf. ref., ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν παῤῥησίαν καὶ [ τὴν ] προσαγωγήν . He having once entered in with His blood as our High Priest, and thereby all atonement and propitiation having been for ever accomplished, it is in that blood that our boldness to enter in is grounded. To understand ἐν , with Bleek and Stier, as in ch. Hebrews 9:25 , εἰσέρχεται εἰς τὰ ἅγια … ἐν αἵματι ἀλλοτρίῳ , is in fact to make us, as priests, renew Christ’s offering of Himself. “We enter,” says Stier, “with the blood of Jesus, even with the same, wherewith He entered before us:” which is very like a contradiction in terms, and is at all events inaccurate theology. We do not take the blood of Christ with us into the presence of God: it is there already once for all, and our confidence of access is therein grounded, that it is there. See note on ch. Heb 12:24 ),

Verses 19-39

19 13:25 .] THE THIRD GREAT DIVISION OF THE EPISTLE: OUR DUTY IN THE INTERVAL OF WAITING BETWEEN THE BEGINNING AND ACCOMPLISHMENT OF OUR SALVATION. And herein, Hebrews 10:19-39 , exhortation to enter boldly into the holiest place, Hebrews 10:19-22 : to hold fast our profession, Hebrews 10:23 : to stir up one another, Hebrews 10:24-25 : in consideration of the fearful punishment which awaits the rejecters of Christ, Hebrews 10:26-31 : and in remembrance of the previous sufferings which they underwent when first converted, Hebrews 10:32-34 . Finally, exhortation not to cast away confidence, for the time until His coming is short, and during that time, faith is the life of the soul.

There has been no exhortation, properly speaking, since ch. Hebrews 7:1 , i. e. during the great doctrinal argument of the Epistle. Before that, argument and exhortation were rapidly alternated. But so exquisite is the skill of arrangement and development, that the very exhortation with which he closed the former portion of the Epistle where first he began to prepare the way for his great argument, ch. Hebrews 4:14-16 , is now resumed, deepened indeed and expanded by the intervening demonstration, but in spirit and substance the same: προσερχώμεθα μετ ʼ ἀληθινῆς καρδίας ἐν πληροφρίᾳ πίστεως here, answering to προσερχώμεθα μετὰ παῤῥησίας τῷ θρόνῳ τῆς χάριτος there, and κατέχωμεν τὴν ὁμολογίαν here to κρατῶμεν τῆς ὁμολογίας there.

Verse 20

20 .] which (entrance: so Œc. (below), Thl. (below), and most Commentators. Some, as Est., Erasm., Calv., Beza, refer the relative to αἵματι , making it attracted into the fem. by ὁδόν . Some again, as Seb. Schmidt, Hammond, al., and D-lat., refer it to παῤῥησίαν . The vulg., “quam initiavit nobis viam novam,” will bear either) He initiated (first opened: better than E. V., “consecrated,” which seems as if it existed before: so Œc., ἢν εἴσοδον τῶν ἁγίων νῦν νεωστὶ ἔτεμε : and Thl., ἥντινα εἴσοδον τῶν ἁγίων αὐτὸς ἡμῖν ὁδὸν ἐνεκαίνισε , τουτέστι νέαν ὁδὸν ἐποίησεν , αὐτὸς ταύτης ἀρξάμενος , καὶ αὐτὸς ταύτην βαδίσας πρῶτος . On the word, see note, ch. Heb 9:18 ) for us (as) a way ( ὁδόν is predicative, ‘to be a way’) recent ( ὡς τότε πρῶτον φανεῖσαν , Thdrt.: cf. Romans 16:25-26 , μυστηρίου χρόνοις αἰωνίοις σεσιγημένου , φανερωθέντος δὲ νῦν κ . τ . λ ., and ch. Hebrews 9:26 . “On the use of πρόσφατος , see esp. Wetst. h.l. and Lobeck on Phryn. p. 374 f. The original meaning is ‘slain before,’ from πρό and σφάζω or σφάττω ; and thus, just before, recently, slain or killed : so Il. ω . 757. According to usage, it means ‘fresh,’ recens , in contrast to παλαιός , old or antiquated: and is used not only of recently slain meat (Hippocr.), or a fresh corpse, νεκρὸς πρόσφατος (Herod. ii. 89, 121), but also ἰχθύς , αἷμα , πόμα , σταφυλή (Dioscorid. Hebrews 10:12 ; Num 6:3 ), ἄλφιτον , φῦκος , ἄνθος , ἔλαιον , ἕλκος , χιών (Polyb. iii. 55. 1), μάρτυρες (Aristot. Rhet. i. 15), νίκη (Plutarch), ἀτύχημα (Polyb. i. 21. 9), εὐεργεσίαι (id. ii. 46. 1), δίκαι (Æschyl. Choeph. 800), ὀργή (Lys. p. 151. 5: Jos. Antt. i. 18. 3), φθόνος (Plut. Themistocl. p. 124 a), Demosth. p. 551. 15, ἕκαστος , ἄν τι συμβῇ , πρόσφατος κρίνεται (see also reff.): and Ecclesiastes 1:9 , οὐκ ἔστι πᾶν πρόσφατον ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον .” Bleek. Others, as Passow, derive the word from πρό , and φένω . But πρόσφατος has not, as Ebrard would make it, the meaning of “ever fresh:” only that of new , ‘of late origin.’ “None before Him trod this way: no believer under the O. T. dared or could, though under a dispensation of preparatory grace, approach God so freely and openly, so fearlessly and joyfully, so closely and intimately, as we now, who come to the Father by the blood of Jesus, His Son.” Stier) and living (as contrasted with the mere dead ceremony of entrance into the earthly holy place. This entrance is a real, living and working entrance; the animated substance of what is imported, not the dead shadow. And so Lünemann and Delitzsch: and very nearly, Ebrard and Stier. Most Commentators make ζῶσαν = ζωοποιοῦσαν , producing, or leading to life: so Faber Stap., Schlichting, Grot., Peirce, Wetst., Böhme, Kuinoel, De Wette, Olshausen. Others, as Bl., interpret it, “everlasting:” and so Chrys., οὐκ εἶπε ζωῆς , ἀλλὰ ζῶσαν αὐτὴν ἐκάλεσε , τὴν μένουσαν οὕτω δηλῶν : Œc., εἰς ζωὴν ὄντως φέρει , ὅτι καὶ αὐτὴ ζῇ καὶ διαιωνίζει . πρόσφατον εἰπών , ἵνα μή τις εἴπῃ · οὐκοῦν εἰ πρόσφατος , καὶ παυθήσεται · γηράσκουσα γὰρ καὶ παλαιουμένη καὶ αὐτή , ὥσπερ καὶ ἡ τῆς παλαιᾶς διαθήκης καταλυθήσεται · οὐ μὲν οὖν , φησίν , ἀλλὰ πρόσφατος οὖσα ἀεὶ νεάζονσα καὶ ζῶσα ἔσται , οὐδέποτε ἐπιδεχομένη θάνατον καὶ κατάλυσιν ) through ( διὰ here in its primary local meaning, ‘through,’ not in its derived instrumental one. But no οὖσαν or ἄγουσαν need be supplied, as Bleek: διὰ follows directly upon ἐνεκαίνισεν ) the veil, that is, his flesh (on καταπέτασμα , see note, ch. Hebrews 6:19 . The Flesh of Christ is here spoken of as the veil hung before the holiest place; that weak human mortal flesh was the state through which He had to pass before He could enter the holiest in heaven for us, and when He put off that flesh, the actual veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom, Matthew 27:51 . And so in the main, the great body of interpreters: the Greek Commentators however, not quite accurately: e. g. Chrys., ἡ γὰρ σὰρξ αὕτη ἔτεμε πρώτη τὴν ὁδὸν αὐτῷ ἐκείνην , ἣν καὶ ἐγκαινίσαι λέγει , τῷ καὶ αὐτὸς ἀξιῶσαι διὰ ταύτης βαδίσαι · καταπέτασμα δὲ εἰκότως ἐκάλεσε τὴν σάρκα · ὅτε γὰρ ᾐρέθη εἰς ὕψος , τότε ἐφάνη τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς . And similarly Thl. and Œc., the latter however giving an alternative, καὶ ὅτι ἔκρυπτεν ἐν ἑαυτῇ τὴν θεότητα · καὶ τοῦτο γὰρ ἴδιον καταπετάσματος . Thdrt. understands it of the body of the Lord partaken in the Holy Communion: no less strangely than erroneously: for it is not the Body , but the Flesh of Christ which is the veil: and what our Writer means by that expression is evident from ch. Hebrews 5:7 , where ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ points to the time of His suffering Humanity),

Verse 21

21 .] and (‘having:’ τὸ ἔχοντες ἀπὸ κοινοῦ , Œc.) a great Priest (i. e. a great High Priest; but here his Priesthood, not his High-priesthood, is more brought into prominence. Do not suppose that μέγας ἱερεύς imports ‘High Priest,’ as ὁ ἱερεὺς ὁ μέγας in the LXX and Philo: our Writer always uses ἀρχιερεύς for it, and in ch. Hebrews 4:14 , calls our Lord ἀρχιερέα μέγαν . He is ἱερεὺς μέγας , because He is a Priest on his throne, a “sacerdos regius et rex sacerdotalis,” as Delitzsch quotes from Seb. Schmidt) over the house of God (this substitution of the preposition of motion for that of rest, is indicative of a later phase of a language, and requires the supplying of τεταγμένον , or some similar word, to make it good Greek: so Ξενοκλέα ἔταξεν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἱππεῖς , Xen. Cyr. iv. 5. 19. The οἶκος θεοῦ here need not be more limited in meaning than in the similar passage ch. Hebrews 3:2 ; οἶκον δὲ θεοῦ τοὺς πιστοὺς προσηγόρευσεν , Thdrt., Œc., Estius, al. But it is alleged that the expression here must mean the heaven: Thl. having mentioned the other, says, ἤ , ὅπερ οἶμαι μᾶλλον , τὸν οὐρανόν · ἐκεῖνον γὰρ καὶ ἅγια καλεῖ , καὶ ἐν ἐκείνῳ λειτουργεῖν τὸν ἱερέα λέγει , ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἐντυγχάνοντα : and so many Commentators. But Delitzsch well observes that the one meaning, the narrower, need not exclude the other, the wider. It is hardly probable, to begin with, that our Writer should in two places describe Christ as set ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ , in meanings entirely different from each other. Clearly, the heavenly sanctuary is regarded by him as also including the earthly, the Church above as the home of the Church below: see ch. Hebrews 12:22 ff.),

Verse 22

22 .] let us approach ( προσέρχεσθαι , see ref., = ἐγγίζειν τῷ θεῷ ch. Hebrews 7:19 , and is a word belonging to worship. So that the participial clauses which follow are best regarded as both belonging to προσερχώμεθα , since they also describe requisite preparations for worship: see this further treated below, on Heb 10:23 ) with a true heart ( χωρὶς ὑποκρίσεως , Chrys. So Hezekiah pleads, Isaiah 38:3 , ἐπορεύθην ἐνώπιόν σου μετὰ ἀληθείας ἐν καρδίᾳ ἀληθινῇ ) in full assurance ( πληροφορία , subjective, as in ch. Hebrews 6:11 ; see note there) of faith (with no doubt as to the certainty of our access to God by the blood of Jesus), having our hearts sprinkled from (pregnant construction for ‘sprinkled, and by that sprinkling cleansed from’) an evil conscience (a conscience polluted with the guilt of sin: for “if a man’s practice be bad, his conscience, in so far as it is the consciousness of that practice, is πονηρά :” see Delitzsch, Biblische Psychologie, p. 163) and having our body washed with pure water (both these clauses refer to the legal purifications of the Levitical priests, which took place by means of blood and water. At their first dedication, Aaron and his sons were sprinkled with blood, their bodies and their clothes, Exodus 29:21 ; Leviticus 8:30 . And so are we to be as God’s priests, having access to Him, sprinkled with blood, not outwardly with that of the ram of consecration, but inwardly with that of the Lamb of God: the first could only produce καθαρότητα τῆς σαρκός (ch. Heb 9:13 ), but the second, pureness of heart and conscience in God’s sight. The washing with water also ( Exo 29:4 ) was to be part of the cleansing of Aaron and his sons: nor only so, but as often as they entered the holy place or approached the altar, they were to wash their hands and feet in the brazen laver, Exodus 30:20 ; Exodus 40:30-32 ; and the high priest, on the day of atonement, λούσεται ὕδατι πᾶν τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ , Leviticus 16:4 . There can be no reasonable doubt that this clause refers directly to Christian baptism. The λουτρὸν τοῦ ὕδατος of Ephesians 5:26 , and the λουτρὸν παλιγγενεσίας , Titus 3:5 , are analogous expressions: and the express mention of σῶμα here, as distinguished from καρδίας before, stamps this interpretation with certainty. This distinction makes it impossible, with Calvin, Limborch, Owen, Bengel, Ebrard, and the old Socinians, Schlichting, al., to spiritualize away the meaning into “Christi spiritus et doctrina, seu spiritualis illa aqua, qua suos perfundit Christus, ipsius etiam sanguine non excluso” (Schlichting); for σῶμα confines the reference to an outward act. And so Thl. ( τῷ τοῦ βαπτίσματος ·.… τοῦ σώματος ἕνεκα παραλαμβάνεται τὸ ὕδωρ · διττῶν γὰρ ὄντων ἡμῶν , διττὴ καὶ ἡ κάθαρσις ), Thdrt., Œc., al. Böhme, Kuin., Thol., De W., Bleek, Lünem., Delitzsch, and the majority of Commentators. Still in maintaining the externality of the words, as referring, and referring solely, to Baptism, we must remember, that Baptism itself is not a mere external rite, but at every mention of it carries the thought further, viz. to that spiritual washing of which it is itself symbolical and sacramental. Notice here that the word is τὸ σῶμα , and not τὴν σάρκα , as ch. Hebrews 9:13 ; our whole natural life, and not the mere outside surface: that in which our soul dwells and works, the seat of the emotions and desires: this also must be purified in those who would approach God in Christ. So that I would understand with Delitzsch (whose note here by all means see), that the sprinkling the heart from an evil conscience is, so to speak, intra-sacramental, a spiritual application of the purifying Blood, beyond sacramental rites, and the washing the body with pure water is purely sacramental, the effect of baptism taken in its whole blessed meaning and fulfilment as regards our natural existence. The end of his note is very beautiful: “As priests we are sprinkled, as priests we are bathed: sprinkled so that our hearts are freed from an evil conscience, and thus from self-condemnation, sprinkled with Christ’s Blood, to be sprinkled with which and to be certain of and joyful in justification before God is one and the same thing, washed in Holy Baptism, whose pure water penetrates with its saving power not only into the depths of our self-conscious life, but also into the very foundation of our corporeity, and thus sanctifies us not only in the flesh, but in the body and in the spirit: so bringing us, in our whole personal existence, through the Blood speaking in the Sanctuary, through the Water welling forth out of the Sanctuary, into so real a connexion, so close an union with the Sanctuary itself, that we are at all times privileged to enter into the Sanctuary, and to use, in faith, the new and living way.” On the further details of the passage see Hofmann, Weissagung u. Erfüllung, ii. 234: Schriftbeweis, ii. 2. 161. The perfect participles shew that a state is spoken of introduced by one act the effect of which is abiding):

Verse 23

23 .] (First we must treat of the punctuation and connexion. I have stated above the ground for attaching καὶ λελουμένοι κ . τ . λ . to the foregoing, with Syr., Primas., Faber Stap., Luther, E. V., Estius, Seb. Schmidt, Cramer, Michaelis (paraphr.), Wolf, Baumgarten, Storr, Kuin., De Wette, Bleek, Delitzsch, not to κατέχωμεν with Erasm., Beza, Erasm. Schmid, Bengel, Peirce (and Michaelis as Peirce), Griesb., Knapp, Heinrichs, Schulz, Böhme, Lachmann, Tholuck, Tischdf. (edn. 2), Ebrard, Lünemann. Besides, 1. the ground there alleged, it may be further urged, 2. that the λελουμένοι has no imaginable connexion with κατέχωμεν κ . τ . λ ., whereas it continues to describe the condition in which we are to approach God: and, 3. that by joining this participial clause with what follows, the rhythm of the sentence (agst. Lünem.) is entirely broken up. Then, thus much being determined, our next question is, what stop to set after καθαρῷ . Bleek prefers a period, Delitzsch a comma only. I believe a colon, as after ἐπαγγειλάμενος , would best give the form of the sentence, in which the three verbs, προσερχώμεθα … κατέχωμεν … καὶ κατανοῶμεν , are correlative) let us hold fast (= κρατῶμεν , ch. Hebrews 4:14 ; let us hold with full and conscious possession: see ch. Hebrews 3:6 ; Heb 3:14 ) the confession (see on ch. Hebrews 4:14 ; subjective, but in a pregnant sense, that which we confess, held in our confession of it) of our hope (see ch. Hebrews 3:6 ; and bear in mind that ἐλπίς is used also for the object of hope subjectivized: our hope (subj.), as including that on which it is fixed) so that it may be without wavering (“Valcknaer compares ἔχειν ἀκλινῆ τὸν λογισμόν , 4Ma 6:7 ” Del. The adjective predicates that which the confession becomes by being held fast: = βεβαίαν , ch. Hebrews 3:14 . The word itself is late Greek, found in Ælian, V. H. xii. 64: Lucian, Encom. Demosth. 33: Philo, al): for He is faithful that promised (viz. God, see reff.: and ch. Hebrews 6:13 ; Hebrews 11:11 ; Hebrews 12:26 , as referring to Him the title ὁ ἐπαγγειλάμενος . Thl. interprets it, ὁ χριστὸς ὁ εἰπών , ὅτι Ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγώ , καὶ ὁ διάκονος ὁ ἐμὸς ἔσται , and similarly Œc., al., but not so accurately):

Verse 24

24 .] and (“How beautifully does this chain of exhortations of our Writer fall into a triple division, according to St. Paul’s trias of the Christian life, 1 Corinthians 13:13 ; 1Th 1:3 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:8 ; Colossians 1:4 f. Next to an exhortation to approach God in full assurance of faith , follows one to hold fast the confession of hope , and now comes one to emulate one another in love .” Delitzsch. On the connexion, see above: we are still dependent on ἔχοντες οὖν above) let us consider one another (all of us have all in continual remembrance, bearing one another’s characters and wants and weaknesses in mind. This is far better than the merely one -sided explanation given by Chrys., Thl. ( τουτέστιν , ἐπισκοπῶμεν εἴ τις ἐνάρετος , ἵνα τοῦτον μιμώμεθα · οὐχ ἵνα φθονῶμεν , ἀλλ ʼ ἵνα παροξυνώμεθα μᾶλλον εἰς τὸ τὰ αὐτὰ ἐκείνῳ καλὰ ἔργα ποιεῖν ), Thdrt., Primas., Michaelis, Bleek (who endeavours to unite both views): κατανοεῖν has already been noticed, ch. Heb 3:1 ) with a view to provocation (usually we have παροξυσμός in a bad sense, as our word provocation : so in reff. The verb is sometimes used in the classics in a good sense: e. g. Xen. Mem. iii. 3. 13, φιλοτιμίᾳ , ἥπερ μάλιστα παροξύνει πρὸς τὰ καλὰ καὶ ἔντιμα : Œcon. 13. 9, αἱ φιλότιμοι τῶν φύσεων καὶ τῷ ἐπαίνῳ παροξύνονται : Thuc. vi. 88, παρελθὼν δὲ ὁ Ἀλκιβιάδης παρώξυνέ τε τοὺς Λακεδ . κ . ἐξώρμησε , λέγων τοιάδε . And thus the subst. must be taken here: “provocatio amoris et bonorum operum, cui,” says Bengel, “contraria provocatio odii”) of (tending to produce: or we may say that it is a παροξυσμὸς ἀγάπης , the love itself being thereby excited) love and good works;

Verse 25

25 .] not deserting the assembling together of ourselves (the word ἐπισυναγωγή , as its verb ἐπισυνάγειν , belongs to late Greek: Bleek gives examples from Polyb., Plut., Phædrus. The LXX use the verb many times, of gathering in a hostile sense (Micah 4:11 ; Zechariah 12:3 ; Zechariah 14:2 ; Ps. 30:14 [53] [54] : 1Ma 3:58 ; 1Ma 5:9 ) and of God gathering His people together (Ps. 101:23 A ( συναγ . [55] [56] ); Psa 105:47; Psalms 146:2 ; 2Ma 1:27 ; 2Ma 2:18 ). And so in N. T. (Matthew 23:37 ; Matthew 24:31 ; Mark 13:27 ; Luk 13:34 ). In the only place (ref.) where the substantive occurs, it is of our gathering together to Christ at His coming, just as the verb in the above-cited places of the Gospels. Here, the question is whether it is to be understood of the congregation of the faithful generally, the Church, as the word congregation has come from the act of assembling to signify the body thus assembled, or of the single acts of assembling and gathering together of the various assemblies of Christians at various times. The former is held by Primasius (“congregationem fidelium”), Calvin, Justiniani (“Ego malim de tota ecclesia hæc verba Pauli intelligere, ut hortetur Hebræos ad retinendam fidem, utque a cœtu fidelium non recedant”), Jac. Cappell., Böhme, Bretschneider, al. But the other is held by most Commentators, and seems far more appropriate here. Thus Chrys. ( οἶδεν ἀπὸ τῆς συνουσίας κ . τῆς ἐπισυναγωγῆς πολλὴν οὖσαν τὴν ἰσχύν ), Œc. ( τὸ γὰρ ἀεὶ συνῆχθαι ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό , ἀγάπης ἐστὶ γεννητικόν ), Thl. (similarly), Beza, Camero, Schlichting, Limborch, Schöttgen, Wolf, al., and Tholuck, De Wette, Ebrard, Lünem., Hofm., Delitzsch, al. Del. suggests that our Writer may have used ἐπισυναγωγή , not συναγωγή , to avoid the Judaistic sound of this latter. Otherwise the use would be accountable enough, ἐπισυναγωγή being a συναγ . ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό , and thus pointing more at the several places where the assemblies were held), as is the habit with some (this καθὼς ἔθος τισίν pretty plainly shews that not formal apostasies, but habits of negligence, are in the Writer’s view. How far these might in time lead to the other, is a thought which no doubt lies in the background when he says κατανοῶμεν ἀλλήλους , and παρακαλοῦντες : and is more directly suggested by the awful cautions which follow. Grot., al. compare Ignatius, ad Polycarp. 4, p. 721, πυκνότερον συναγωγαὶ γενέσθωσαν : and Ad Eph. 13, p. 656, σπουδάζετε οὖν πυκνότερον συνέρχεσθαι εἰς εὐχαριστίαν θεοῦ κ . εἰς δόξαν · ὅταν γὰρ πυκνῶς ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ γίνεσθε , καθαιροῦνται αἱ δυνάμεις τοῦ σατανᾶ , κ . λύεται ὁ ὄλεθρος αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ὁμονοίᾳ ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως ), but exhorting (supply not τὴν ἐπισυναγωγήν , as Œc. ( τίνα ; τὴν ἐπισυναγωγὴν ἑαυτῶν , τουτέστιν , ἀλλήλους · ἀπὸ κοινοῦ γὰρ τὴν ἐπισυναγωγὴν ληπτέον ), Hofmann, al., but ἑαυτούς , out of the ἑαυτῶν just preceding. See ch. Hebrews 3:13 , ἀλλὰ παρακαλεῖτε ἑαυτοὺς καθ ʼ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν . An alternative in Œc. supplies τοὺς ἀσθενεστέρους : but it is an unnecessary limitation: all would need it); and so much the more (this τοσούτῳ μᾶλλον is better taken as belonging to the two preceding participial clauses only, to which it is syntactically attached, than as belonging to the whole from κατέχωμεν ), as (= ὅσῳ μᾶλλον , ‘the more;’ must be joined with βλέπετε , not with ἐγγίζονσαν , ‘the nearer ye see’) ye see (this βλέπετε , in the second person, is unexpected in the midst of the ‘oratio communicativa.’ It appeals at once to the watchfulness and discernment of the readers as regards the signs of the times. That Day indeed, in its great final sense, is always near, always ready to break forth upon the Church: but these Hebrews lived actually close upon one of those great types and foretastes of it, the destruction of the Holy City the bloody and fiery dawn, as Delitzsch finely calls it, of the Great Day) the day (this shortest of all designations of the day of the Lord’s coming is found only in reff. “It is the Day of days, the ending-day of all days, the settling-day of all days, the Day of the promotion of Time into Eternity, the Day which for the Church breaks through and breaks off the night of this present world.” Delitzsch) approaching .

[53] The MS. referred to by this symbol is that commonly called the Alexandrine, or CODEX ALEXANDRINUS. It once belonged to Cyrillus Lucaris, patriarch of Alexandria and then of Constantinople, who in the year 1628 presented it to our King Charles I. It is now in the British Museum. It is on parchment in four volumes, of which three contain the Old, and one the New Testament, with the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. This fourth volume is exhibited open in a glass case. It will be seen by the letters in the inner margin of this edition, that the first 24 chapters of Matthew are wanting in it, its first leaf commencing ὁ νυμφίος , ch. Matthew 25:6 : as also the leaves containing ἵνα , John 6:50 , to καὶ σύ , John 8:52 . It is generally agreed that it was written at Alexandria; it does not, however, in the Gospels , represent that commonly known as the Alexandrine text, but approaches much more nearly to the Constantinopolitan, or generally received text. The New Testament, according to its text, was edited, in uncial types cast to imitate those of the MS., by Woide, London, 1786, the Old Testament by Baber, London, 1819: and its N.T. text has now been edited in common type by Mr. B. H. Cowper, London, 1861. The date of this MS. has been variously assigned, but it is now pretty generally agreed to be the fifth century .

[54] The CODEX SINAITICUS. Procured by Tischendorf, in 1859, from the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai. The Codex Frederico-Augustanus (now at Leipsic), obtained in 1844 from the same monastery, is a portion of the same copy of the Greek Bible, the 148 leaves of which, containing the entire New Testament, the Ep. of Barnabas, parts of Hermas, and 199 more leaves of the Septuagint, have now been edited by the discoverer. A magnificent edition prepared at the expense of the Emperor of Russia appeared in January, 1863, and a smaller edition containing the N.T. &c., has been published by Dr. Tischendorf. The MS. has four columns on a page, and has been altered by several different correctors, one or more of whom Tischendorf considers to have lived in the sixth century. The work of the original scribe has been examined, not only by Tischendorf, but by Tregelles and other competent judges, and is by them assigned to the fourth century . The internal character of the text agrees with the external, as the student may judge for himself from the readings given in the digest. The principal correctors as distinguished by Tischendorf are: A, of the same age with the MS. itself, probably the corrector who revised the book, before it left the hands of the scribe, denoted therefore by us א -corr 1 ; B (cited as א 2 ), who in the first page of Matt. began inserting breathings, accents, &c., but did not carry out his design, and touched only a few later passages; C a (cited as א 3a ) has corrected very largely throughout the book. Wherever in our digest a reading is cited as found in א 1 , it is to be understood, if no further statement is given, that C a altered it to that which is found in our text; C b (cited as א 3b ) lived about the same time as C a , i.e. some centuries later than the original scribe. These are all that we need notice here 6 .

[55] The CODEX VATICANUS, No. 1209 in the Vatican Library at Rome; and proved, by the old catalogues, to have been there from the foundation of the library in the 16th century. It was apparently, from internal evidence, copied in Egypt. It is on vellum, and contains the Old and New Testaments. In the latter, it is deficient from Heb 9:14 to the end of the Epistle; it does not contain the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon; nor the Apocalypse. An edition of this celebrated codex, undertaken as long ago as 1828 by Cardinal Angelo Mai, has since his death been published at Rome. The defects of this edition are such, that it can hardly be ranked higher in usefulness than a tolerably complete collation, entirely untrustworthy in those places where it differs from former collations in representing the MS. as agreeing with the received text. An 8vo edition of the N.T. portion, newly revised by Vercellone, was published at Rome in 1859 (referred to as ‘Verc’): and of course superseded the English reprint of the 1st edition. Even in this 2nd edition there were imperfections which rendered it necessary to have recourse to the MS. itself, and to the partial collations made in former times. These are (1) that of Bartolocci (under the name of Giulio de St. Anastasia), once librarian at the Vatican, made in 1669, and preserved in manuscript in the Imperial Library (MSS. Gr. Suppl. 53) at Paris (referred to as ‘Blc’); (2) that of Birch (‘Bch’), published in various readings to the Acts and Epistles, Copenhagen, 1798, Apocalypse, 1800, Gospels, 1801; (3) that made for the great Bentley (‘Btly’), by the Abbate Mico, published in Ford’s Appendix to Woide’s edition of the Codex Alexandrinus, 1799 (it was made on the margin of a copy of Cephalæus’ Greek Testament, Argentorati, 1524, still amongst Bentley’s books in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge); (4) notes of alterations by the original scribe and other correctors. These notes were procured for Bentley by the Abbé de Stosch, and were till lately supposed to be lost. They were made by the Abbate Rulotta (‘Rl’), and are preserved amongst Bentley’s papers in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge (B. 17. 20) 1 . The Codex has been occasionally consulted for the verification of certain readings by Tregelles, Tischendorf, and others. A list of readings examined at Rome by the present editor (Feb. 1861), and by the Rev. E. C. Cure, Fellow of Merton College, Oxford (April 1862), will be found at the end of these prolegomena. A description, with an engraving from a photograph of a portion of a page, is given in Burgon’s “Letters from Rome,” London 1861. This most important MS. was probably written in the fourth century (Hug, Tischendorf, al.).

[56] The CODEX SINAITICUS. Procured by Tischendorf, in 1859, from the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai. The Codex Frederico-Augustanus (now at Leipsic), obtained in 1844 from the same monastery, is a portion of the same copy of the Greek Bible, the 148 leaves of which, containing the entire New Testament, the Ep. of Barnabas, parts of Hermas, and 199 more leaves of the Septuagint, have now been edited by the discoverer. A magnificent edition prepared at the expense of the Emperor of Russia appeared in January, 1863, and a smaller edition containing the N.T. &c., has been published by Dr. Tischendorf. The MS. has four columns on a page, and has been altered by several different correctors, one or more of whom Tischendorf considers to have lived in the sixth century. The work of the original scribe has been examined, not only by Tischendorf, but by Tregelles and other competent judges, and is by them assigned to the fourth century . The internal character of the text agrees with the external, as the student may judge for himself from the readings given in the digest. The principal correctors as distinguished by Tischendorf are: A, of the same age with the MS. itself, probably the corrector who revised the book, before it left the hands of the scribe, denoted therefore by us א -corr 1 ; B (cited as א 2 ), who in the first page of Matt. began inserting breathings, accents, &c., but did not carry out his design, and touched only a few later passages; C a (cited as א 3a ) has corrected very largely throughout the book. Wherever in our digest a reading is cited as found in א 1 , it is to be understood, if no further statement is given, that C a altered it to that which is found in our text; C b (cited as א 3b ) lived about the same time as C a , i.e. some centuries later than the original scribe. These are all that we need notice here 6 .

Verse 26

26 .] For if we willingly sin (contrast to ἀκουσίως ἁμαρτάνειν , in reff. and the ἑκουσίως ἁμαρτάνοντες to the ἀγνοοῦντες κ . πλανώμενοι , ch. Hebrews 5:2 . The sin meant by ἁμαρτάνειν is sufficiently defined by the connexion ( γάρ ) with the preceding exhortations, and by the description of one who has so sinned in Hebrews 10:29 . Neglect of assembling together, and loss of mutual exhortation and stimulus, would naturally result in (as it would be prompted by an inclination that way at first) the ἀποστῆναι ἀπὸ θεοῦ of ch. Hebrews 3:12 ; the παραπεσεῖν of ch. Hebrews 6:6 . It is the sin of apostasy from Christ back to the state which preceded the reception of Christ, viz. Judaism. This is the ground-sin of all other sins. Notice the present, not the aor. part. ‘If we be found wilfully sinning,’ not ‘if we have wilfully sinned,’ at that Day. It is not of an act or of any number of acts of sin, that the Writer is speaking, which might be repented of and blotted out: but of a state of sin, in which a man is found when that day shall come) after the receiving (having received) the knowledge (“It is usually said that γνῶσις is the weaker word, ἐπίγνωσις the stronger: or, the former the more general, the latter the more special: or, the former the more quiescent, the latter the more active: the truth in all these is, that when ἐπίγνωσις is used, there is the assumption of an actual direction of the spirit to a definite object and of a real grasping of the same: so that we may speak of a false γνῶσις , but not of a false ἐπίγνωσις . And the Writer, by the use of this word, gives us to understand that he means by it not only a shallow historical notion about the Truth, but a living believing knowledge of it, which has laid hold of a man and fused him into union with itself.” Delitzsch. It is most important here to keep this cardinal point distinctly in mind: that the ἑκουσίως ἁμαρτάνοντες are not mere professors of religion, but real converts, or else Heb 10:29 becomes unintelligible) of the truth (the truth of God, as so often in St. Paul and St. John), there is no longer left remaining (see on ch. Heb 4:6 ) a sacrifice for sins (for there is but One true sacrifice for sins: if a man, having availed himself of that One, then deliberately casts it behind him, there is no second left for him. It will be observed that one thing is not, and need not be, specified in the text. That he has exhausted the virtue of the one sacrifice, is not said: but in proportion to his willing rejection of it, has it ceased to operate for him. He has in fact, as Del. observes, shut the door of repentance behind him, by the very fact of his being in an abiding state of willing sin. And this is still more forcibly brought out when, which Del. does not notice, the scene of action is transferred to the great day of the Lord’s coming, and he is found in that impenitent state irreparably. This verse has been misunderstood, 1. by the Fathers, who apply it to the Novatian controversy, and make it assert the impossibility of a second baptism: so e. g. Thl., οὐ τὴν μετάνοιαν ἀναιρῶν λέγει ταῦτα , ὥς τινες παρενόησαν , ἀλλὰ δείκνυσιν , ὅτι οὐκ ἔστι δεύτερον βάπτισμα · διὸ οὐδὲ δεύτερος θάνατος τοῦ χριστοῦ . θυσίαν γὰρ τοῦτον καλεῖ , ὡς καὶ ἐν τοῖς κάτοπιν . μιᾷ γὰρ θυσίᾳ τετελείωκεν εἰς τὸ διηνεκές · τὸ γὰρ βάπτισμα ἡμῶν τὸν θάνατον εἰκονίζει τοῦ χριστοῦ . ὥσπερ οὖν ἐκεῖνος εἷς οὕτω καὶ τοῦτο ἕν . And similarly Chrys., Œc., and Augustine, Inchoat. Exposit. Ep. ad Rom. 19, vol. iii. pt. ii., Revelation 2:0 . By Theodore of Mopsuestia and others, who interpret it only of those in a state of impenitence, understanding that on penitence they will again come under the cleansing influence of the blood of Christ: οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐπὶ τοῦ παρόντος βίου τὴν μετάνοιαν ἀναιρεῖ , ἀλλὰ τὸ μὴ εἶναι τότε συγχώρησιν λαβεῖν τὸν ἐπὶ τοῦ πταίειν ἐνταῦθα μεμενηκότα , καὶ μηδεμίαν ἐπὶ τὸ πταίειν δεξάμενον αἴσθησιν , ἀλογίᾳ τινὶ μετὰ πολλῆς ἡδονῆς ἐπιτελοῦντα ἁμάρτημα );

Verses 26-31

26 31 .] Caution , arising from the mention of that day, which will be not a day of grace, but a day of judgment, of the fearful peril of falling away from Christ . The passage finds a close parallel in ch. Hebrews 6:4 ff., and much of what was there said will apply here.

Verse 27

27 .] but (there is left remaining: ἀπολείπεται is common to both clauses) a certain (this attaching of τις to an adjective is an elegance belonging to the more polished style of our Writer, and often found in the classics: e. g. ἐπίπονόν τινα βίον , Diod. Sic. Hebrews 10:39 ; ὅτι μικρόν τι μέρος εἴη στρατηγικῆς τὰ τακτικά , Xen. Cyr. i. 6. 14: καὶ Κύρῳ δὲ μεγάλην τινὰ δοκῶ ἡμᾶς χάριν ὀφείλειν , ibid. vi. 4. 7: see also ref. Acts, and cf. Winer, § 25. 2. c . Bernhardy’s account of the usage, Syntax, p. 442. seems to be the true one, that it has the power of a doubled adjectival sense, and generalizes the quality predicated, indicating some one of that kind, it may be any one . This is exemplified where numerals, or the like of numerals are joined with τις , e. g. πᾶς τις , ἕκαστός τις , οὐδείς τις , τισὶν οὐ πολλοῖς (Thuc. vi. 94), τινὲς δύο νῆες (id. viii. 100), ἑκατόν τι (Arr. Ind. 7), ταύτας τινὰς τρεῖς (Plato, Rep. x. p. 601 D), as Cicero, “tres aliqui.” So here, some one φοβερὰ ἐκδοχή out of all that might befall various men and dispositions. The indefiniteness makes the declaration more awful) fearful (objective, ‘tremendus,’ not ‘timidus,’ surchtbar , not surchtsam : fearful to think of, frightful. No figure of hypallage must be thought of, as if φοβερὰ ἐκδοχὴ κρίσεως = ἐκδοχὴ κρίσεως φοβερᾶς , as Jac. Cappellus, Heinrichs, al., and Wolf, alt.) reception (i. e. meed, doom : not, as I believe universally interpreted without remark, expectation . ἐκδοχή appears never to have this sense, and this is the only place where it occurs in the N. T. Its meanings are, 1. reception , principally by succession from another: e. g. Æschin. παραπρεσβ . p. 32. 18, οὐκ ὤκνουν κατ ʼ αὐτοῦ λέγειν Φιλίππου , ἐπιτιμῶν ὅτι τὴν ἐκδοχὴν ἐποιήσατο πρὸς τὴν πόλιν τοῦ πολέμου : Æschyl. Agam. 299, ἤγειρεν ἄλλην ἐκδοχὴν πόμπου πυρός : Eur. Hippol. 866, νεοχμὸν ἐκδοχαῖς ἐπεισφέρει κακόν : 2. peculiar to later Greek, and principally found in Polybius, interpretation , acceptation, e. g. of the sense of a sentence: so καθάπερ ἐποιοῦντο τὴν ἐκδοχὴν οἱ Καρχηδόνιοι , Polyb. iii. 29. 4: ἐξ ὧν ἀνάγκη ποιεῖσθαι τὴν ἐκδοχὴν ὅτι κ . τ . λ ., “quibus ex rebus intelligi debet” &c., id. xii. 18.7. And so Origen, comm. in Joann. tom. Hebrews 10:4 , vol. iv. p. 98, διὰ τὴν πρόχειρον αὐτῆς ( τῆς γραφῆς ) ἐκδοχήν . But of the subjective sense, derived from the later meaning of ἐκδέχομαι , I find no hint or example, except the mere assertion in our N. T. lexicons, that it has that meaning in this place. From what follows, it is much better to take it objectively; all which ἀπολείπεται is, the reception of the doom of judgment, and the πυρὸς ζῆλος , &c.) of judgment (i. e. by the context , unfavourable judgment), and fervour of fire (the stress is on πυρός , and πῦρ is personified. It is the fire of God’s presence, identified with Himself, exactly as in ch. Hebrews 12:29 , ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν πῦρ καταναλίσκον : and it is the zeal, the fervour, the excandescence of this consuming fire, which awaits the apostate from Christ. τὸ πῦρ ἐκεῖνο , καθάπερ τις ὑπὸ ζήλου κεντούμενος , ὃν ἂν ἐπιλάβηται , οὐκ ἀφίησιν , ἀλλὰ τρώγει καὶ δαπανᾷ . Chrys. ὅρα , says Thl., πῶς οἷον ἐψύχωσε τὸ πῦρ ) which shall (in μέλλοντος the Writer tranfers himself again to the present time: q. d. the fire which is destined to …) devour ( οὐκ εἶπε φαγεῖν μόνον ἀλλ ʼ ἐσθίειν , ἀϊδίως δηλαδή . Thl. The same expression is found in Il. ψ . 182, τοὺς ἅμα σοι πάντας πῦρ ἐσθίει ) the adversaries (some have supposed the sense of secret enemies to be conveyed by ὑπεναντίους . But as Bl. remarks, the word is good Greek, and is constantly found, without any such further sense, representing merely an enemy , e. g. Xen. Cyr. i. 6. 38, where ἐξαπατᾶν τοὺς πολεμίους and ἐξαπατᾶν τοὺς ὑπεναντίους are used as synonymous: Herod. iii. 80, where τὸ ὑπεναντίον τούτου is simply ‘the opposite of this:’ see Lexx. The ὑπό is simply what may be called the ‘subjectio rei secundariæ:’ the prime agent is ever supposed to be highest, and his accidents come up from beneath: thus ὑπέρχεταί μοί τι , cf. ἵνα σφι γένεα ὑπογίνηται , Herod. iii. 159, &c. It is probable that the Writer has throughout this clause had in his mind ref. Isa., ζῆλος λήψεται λαὸν ἀπαίδευτον , καὶ νῦν πῦρ τοὺς ὑπεναντίους ἔδεται ).

Verse 28

28 .] Any one having set at nought the (not, ‘ a ;’ see ch. Hebrews 7:18-19 , both for ἀθετεῖν , and for the difference between νόμος and ἐντολή ) law of Moses (we must not take this as a general assertion, as true of whoever in any way broke the Mosaic law: but as an alleging of a well-known fact, that in certain cases a breaker of that law was subject to the penalty following. The form of the sentence might be changed thus, ‘If Moses’ law could attach to violations of it the inexorable doom of death,’ &c. For the logical purpose of the ‘a minori ad majus,’ the greater punishment includes the less. The reference is especially to Deuteronomy 17:2-7 , where the punishment of death is attached to the same sin as is here in question, viz. apostasy: ἐὰν εὑρεθῇ .… ἀνὴρ ἢ γυνὴ ὃς ποιήσει τὸ πονηρὸν ἐναντίον κυρίου τ . θεοῦ σου , παρελθεῖν τὴν διαθήκην αὐτοῦ , καὶ ἐλθόντες ( ἀπελθόντες Α ) λατρεύσωσιν θεοῖς ἑτέροις κ . τ . λ .) dies (the normal present) without benefit of ( χωρίς , apart from: not implying that no one felt compassion for him, but that such compassion, be it what it might, could not affect his doom) mercies (the merciful feelings of any who might be interested for him. οἰκτιρμός , see on ref. Rom., says Bleek, is a purely Alexandrine word, and in the LXX and N. T. is generally in the plural, answering to the Hebrew רַחֲמִים , bowels. χωρὶς οἰκτιρμῶν , φησί , ὥστε οὐδεμία συγγνώμη οὐδὲ ἔλεος ἐκεῖ . Chrys.) before two or three witnesses ( ἐπί , as in ch. Hebrews 9:17 , ‘in the case of;’ his death is an event contingent on, added to, the fact of two or three witnesses appearing. As to the sense, cf. Thl., τουτέστιν , ἐὰν ὁμολογηθῇ ὑπὸ δύο ἢ τρίων μαρτύρων ὅτι παρέβη τὸν νόμον . The allusion is to Deut. as above, where it is said, ἐπὶ δυσὶν μάρτυσιν ἢ ἐπὶ τρισὶν μάρτυσιν ἀποθανεῖται ):

Verses 28-29

28, 29 .] Argument ‘a minori,’ to shew how grievous will be the punishment of the apostate from Christ . There is a very similar inference in ch. Hebrews 2:2-3 ; Hebrews 12:25 .

Verse 29

29 .] of how much worse punishment (though τιμωρία does not elsewhere occur in the N. T., we have the verb, Acts 22:5 ; Act 26:11 ), think ye ( δοκεῖτε stands separate from the construction, and forms an appeal to the judgment of the readers themselves), shall he be found worthy (viz. by God. The participle is in the aor., as pointing to the single fact of the doom, not to a continued estimate), who trampled under foot (aor. part. as spoken at that day, and looking back upon this life. τί δέ ἐστι καταπατήσας ; τουτέστι καταφρονήσας · ὥσπερ γὰρ τῶν καταπατουμένων οὐδένα λόγον ἔχομεν , οὕτω καὶ τοῦ χριστοῦ μηδένα λόγον ἔχοντες οὕτως ἐπὶ τὸ ἁμαρτάνειν ἐρχόμεθα . Thl. See reff., and cf. John 13:18 . Stier remarks, “Some of us remember the cry, ‘Ecrasez I’infame!’ ”) the Son of God (the higher title of the Mediator of the new covenant is used, to heighten the enormity of the crime), and accounted common the blood of the covenant (the αἷμα τῆς διαθήκης , being the τίμιον αἷμα of Christ Himself, far above all blood of sprinkling under the old covenant. Even that ( Lev 16:19 ) had hallowing power: how much more this. But the apostate κοινὸν ἡγήσατο this blood accounted it mere ordinary blood of a common man, and if so, consented to its shedding, for then Christ deserved to die as a blasphemer. And this, of that holy Blood, by which we have access to God! So that we have quite enough for the solemn sense, by rendering κοινόν common , without going to the further meaning, unclean . Chrys. gives both meanings: κοινόν , τί ἐστι ; τὸ ἀκάθαρτον , ἢ τὸ μηδὲν πλέον ἔχον τῶν λοιπῶν : Œc., κοινόν , τὸ μηδὲν τῶν ἄλλων διαφέρον , οἷον λέγουσιν οἱ φάσκοντες αὐτὸν ψιλὸν ἄνθρωπον · οὗτοι γὰρ οὐδὲν τοῦ ἡμετέρου διαλλάττον εἰς τιμὴν λέγουσιν αὐτό : Beza compares 1 Corinthians 11:29 , μὴ διακρίνων τὸ σῶμα : and Bretschneider quotes Justin Mart. Apol. i. 66, p. 83, οὐ γὰρ ὡς κοινὸν ἄρτον οὐδὲ κοινὸν πόμα ταῦτα λαμβάνομεν . Cf. Acts 10:28 , ἐμοὶ ὁ θεὸς ἔδειξεν μηδένα κοινὸν ἢ ἀκάθαρτον λέγειν ἄνθρωπον , where the two are distinguished. Syr. has “hath counted the blood of the covenant of him by which (whom?) he hath been sanctified as that of every man.” The reader will recall our Lord’s own τὸ αἷμα τὸ τῆς κ . διαθήκης , cf. ref. Matt. [57] Mark. See also our ch. Heb 13:20 ) in which (as sprinkled with which; as his element and condition of sanctification) he was sanctified (see Lev 16:19 LXX, and our ch. Heb 13:12 and Hebrews 9:13 . He had advanced so far in the reality of the spiritual life, that this blood had been really applied to his heart by faith, and its hallowing and purifying effects were visible in his life: which makes the contrast the more terrible. And Delitzsch finely remarks, as against the assertors of mere shallow supralapsarianism, that without former experience of grace, without a life of faith far more than superficial, so irrecoverable a fall into the abyss is not possible. It is worthy of remark how Calvin evades the deep truth contained in the words ἐν ᾧ ἡγιάσθη : “Valde indignum est sanguinem Christi, qui sanctificationis nostræ materia est , profanare: hoc vero faciunt, qui desciscunt a fide:” thus making ἡγιάσθη into ἁγιαζόμεθα . Lightfoot’s idea, that Christ is the subject of ἡγιάσθη , is hardly worth refutation (Hor. Hebr. in 1Co 11:29 ): as neither is that of Claudius, in Wolf, that διαθήκη is the subject), and insulted ( ἐνυβρίζω , in prose, belongs to later Greek: but is found in the poets, e. g. Eur. Electr. 68, ἐν τοῖς ἐμοῖς οὐκ ἐνυβρίσας κακοῖς : Aristoph. Thesm. 719, τάχ ʼ οὐ χαίρων ἴσως ἐνυβρίσεις : Soph. Philoct. 342, with an accus. as here, πρᾶγμ ʼ ὅτῳ σ ʼ ἐνύβρισαν . In prose it is found in Ælian, Polybius, Herodian, Josephus, principally with a dative of the object) the Spirit of grace (for τὸ πν . τῆς χάριτος , see ref. No two things can be more opposed, as Del. remarks, than ὕβρις and χάρις . And this remark guides us to the answer to the question whether χάριτος here is a gen. objective or subjective: whether it is the πνεῦμα which belongs to χάρις , so that it is the gift of the divine χάρις (so Grot., Schlicht., De W., Bleek, Lünem., and most of the moderns), or χάρις which belongs to πνεῦμα , so that it is the gift of and the character of the πνεῦμα . The latter is adopted by Calv., Estius, a-Lapide, Justiniani (altern., but prefers it. He gives the alternative very neatly put by Pseudo-Anselm: “Spiritui sancto gratis dato, vel gratiam danti”), Beza, Owen, al., Böhme, Von Gerlach, Delitzsch, al., and is much the more probable, both on account of the prophecy which is referred to, ἐκχεῶ … πνεῦμα χάριτος κ . οἰκτιρμοῦ , and on account of ἐνυβρίσας , which is most naturally referred to a Person as its object. Chrys. strikingly says, ὁ τὴν εὐεργεσίαν μὴ παραδεχόμενος , ὕβρισε τὸν εὐεργετήσαντα . ἐποίησέ σε υἱόν · σὺ δὲ θέλεις γενέσθαι δοῦλος ; ἦλθε κατασκηνῶσαι πρός σε · σὺ δὲ ἐπεισάγεις σαυτῷ πονηροὺς λογισμούς . He does not hold with any definiteness that apostasy is here meant, but applies the whole text homiletically to wilful sin of any kind. Thl., in reproducing Chrys.’s sentence, puts τὸν διάβολον for πονηροὺς λογισμούς )?

[57] When, in the Gospels, and in the Evangelic statement, 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 , the sign (║) occurs in a reference, it is signified that the word occurs in the parallel place in the other Gospels, which will always be found indicated at the head of the note on the paragraph. When the sign (║) is qualified , thus, ‘║ Mk.,’ or ‘║ Mt. Mk.,’ &c., it is signified that the word occurs in the parallel place in that Gospel or Gospels, but not in the other or others .

Verse 30

30 .] For we know Him who said, To me belongeth vengeance, I will repay, saith the Lord (the citation is from Deuteronomy 32:35 , and is given not in agreement with the Hebrew text ( לִי נָקָם וְשַׁלֵּם , “To me (belongeth) vengeance and recompense”) nor with the LXX ( ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ἐκδικήσεως (i. e. ליום נ , as is read in the Samaritan Pent.) ἀνταποδώσω , so also Philo, Leg. Alleg. iii. § 34, vol. i. p. 108), but, remarkably enough, in verbal accordance with St. Paul’s citation of the same text, Romans 12:19 , even to the adding of the words λέγει κύριος , which are neither in the Heb. nor the LXX. Two solutions of this are possible: 1. that the expression had become a common saying in the Church; 2. that our Writer takes it from St. Paul’s citation. A third alternative is of course open; that it is St. Paul himself, who quotes here as there. For a solution, see Prolegg. on the authorship of this Epistle) : and again, The Lord will judge His people (no doubt quoted primarily from the passage where it primarily occurs, in ref. Deut. The κρινεῖ there expresses another function of the judge from that which is adduced here. There, He will judge for rescue and for defence: here, for punishment and for condemnation. But the office of Judge , generally asserted by κρινεῖ , involves all that belongs to a judge: and if there it induces the comforting of those whom He εἶδεν παραλελυμένους , κ . ἐκλελοιπότας ἐν ἐπαγωγῇ , κ . παρειμένους , here the same general office of judgment also induces the punishment of the wilful sinner and apostate).

Verses 30-31

30, 31 .] And this ἐκδοχὴ κρίσεως and πυρὸς ζῆλος are certainties, testified to by God Himself.

Verse 31

31 .] Axiomatic conclusion of these solemn warnings . It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (yet in reff. Kings, 1 Chron., David says, ἐμπεσοῦμαι δὴ εἰς χεῖρας κυρίου , ὅτι πολλοὶ οἱ οἰκτιρμοὶ αὐτοῦ σφόδρα , εἰς δὲ χεῖρας ἀνθρώπου οὐ μὴ ἐμπέσω : and in ref. Sir. we have ἐμπεσούμεθα εἰς χεῖρας κυρίου , καὶ οὐκ εἰς χεῖρας ἀνθρώπων · ὡς γὰρ ἡ μεγαλωσύνη αὐτοῦ , οὕτω καὶ τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ . But the two sentiments are easily set at one. For the faithful, in their chastisement, it is a blessed thing to fall into God’s hands: for the unfaithful, in their doom, a dreadful one. On ζῶν , as a characteristic of θεός , see on ch. Hebrews 3:12 . Here, the idea of life and energy, attached to the name of God, brings vividly out the ζῆλος with which He will consume His adversaries).

Verse 32

32 .] But (in contrast to these fearful things which have been spoken of) call ever to mind ( ἀναμιμνήσκεσθε , stronger than the simple verb call over in your minds, one by one: this meaning seems legitimate when a plural follows: and present , as implying a constant habit. The verb may be indicative, but is from the whole cast of the sentence, much more likely imperative) the former days (the accus. after ἀναμιμνήσκομαι is as good Greek as the gen.), in which when (first) enlightened (see on φωτίζω , note, ch. Heb 6:4 ), ye underwent (scil. with fortitude: which though not implied in the word, signifying mere endurance, yet often is in the context: cf. Xen. Hiero 7. 4 (Bl.), ὥστε ἐμοὶ μὲν εἰκότως δοκεῖτε ταῦτα ὑπομένειν , ἃ φέρετε ἐν τυραννίδι , ἐπείπερ τιμᾶσθε διαφερόντως τῶν ἄλλων ἀνθρώπων ) much (‘multum magnumque:’ πολύς when used with words whose sense admits intensifying, strengthens, as well as repeats, the idea) contest ( ἄθλησις tells its own meaning, from ἆθλος , ἀθλέω , as ‘certamen,’ a struggle or contest: and in this sense it occurs in reff.) of sufferings (the gen. may be either subjective, implying that your contest consisted of sufferings; or objective, that it was waged with sufferings, as the foe to be contended against: the former perhaps is the more probable from what follows: cf. συνεπαθήσατε , Heb 10:34 ),

Verses 32-34

32 34 .] As in ch. Hebrews 6:9-12 , so here, the Writer turns from solemn exhortation and warning to encouragement arising from the conduct of his readers in the past . This their firmness did not look likely to end in apostasy: and accordingly by the memory of it he now cheers and invigorates them. φησὶν οὖν ὅτι μὴ ἄλλους τινὰς μιμήσασθε , ἀλλ ʼ αὐτοὶ ἑαυτούς . ὅρα δὲ πνευματικὴν σοφίαν · πρότερον κατασείσας αὐτῶν τὰς ψυχὰς διὰ τοῦ τῆς γεέννης ἀναμνῆσαι , νῦν μαλάττει δι ʼ ἐγκωμίων , οὐ κολακεύων , ἀλλὰ δι ʼ αὐτῶν τούτων προτρεπόμενος · ἀξιοπιστότερος γὰρ ὁ συμβουλεύων τινὶ ἑαυτὸν μιμήσασθαι καὶ ἃ προειργάσατο ἔργα . Thl.: and Thdrt., κεράννυσι τῶν εἰρημένων τὸ αὐστηρὸν τῇ μνήμῃ τῶν ἤδη κατωρθωμένων . οὐδὲν γὰρ οὕτως εἰς προθυμίαν διεγείρει ὡς τῶν οἰκείων κατορθωμάτων μνήμη .

Verse 33

33 .] (the nature of these sufferings is now specified) partly (see reff.) being made a spectacle (the theatre being the place where conspicuous punishments were inflicted, on account of the multitudes there assembling. See Acts 19:29 . The word θεατρίζω may therefore be literally taken, if (see Prolegg. § ii. and § iii. 3) the Epistle was written to Rome, after the Neronian persecution . See reff., and cf. 1 Corinthians 4:9 , θέατρον ἐγενήθημεν τῷ κόσμῳ . Thl. says, θεατριζόμενοι , τουτέστιν ὥσπερ ἐπὶ θέατρον παραδειγματιζόμενοι , καὶ ταῦτα τυχὸν παρὰ εὐτελῶν καὶ εὐδαιμόνων . And Chrys., οὐχ ἁπλῶς εἶπεν , ὀνειδισμοῖς , ἀλλὰ … μετ ʼ ἐπιτάσεως πολλῆς θεατριζόμενοί φησιν · ὅταν μὲν γάρ τις ὀνειδίζηται καθ ʼ ἑαυτόν , λυπηρὸν μέν , πολλῷ δὲ πλέον , ὅταν ἐπὶ πάντων ) in reproaches ( ὀνειδισμός is a word of later Greek. The dat. is one of manner in which) and tribulations; partly also (see above), having become (there is something of purpose in γενηθέντες , almost a middle sense, ‘having made yourselves.’ It is a fine encomium on their Christian sympathy and love) partakers with them who were thus living (viz. ἐν ὀνειδισμοῖς τε κ . θλίψεσιν : so Œc. and Thl. Some would give ἀναστρεφομένων an ethical sense: “who walk,” have their Christian walk and conduct, “in this way,” viz. as he exhorts them to endure, manfully and firmly. So Kypke, Kuinoel, al. But I prefer the other as more in accord with N. T. usage: cf. reff.).

Verse 34

34 .] Illustration , in reverse order, of the two particulars mentioned in Hebrews 10:33 . For ye both (better than ‘also,’ seeing that this sentence is not additional to, but illustrative of the last in both its members) sympathized with (see on συμπαθέω , ch. Heb 4:15 ) them who were in bonds (first as to the reading. The mere diplomatic evidence is given in the var. read. Estius appears to be right when he says, “Porro facillimum fuit, Græca mutari unius literulæ ablatione, ut scriberetur δεσμοῖς pro δεσμίοις , cui lectioni deinde addiderunt pronomen μοῦ , eo quod Paulus alibi sæpe vinculorum suorum mentionem faciat.” It is not easy on the other hand to explain how δεσμίοις should ever have been substituted for δεσμοῖς μου . The idea that συμπαθῆσαι requires a person and not a thing as its object, which is supposed by some to have caused the alteration to δεσμίοις , is not likely to have influenced a Greek copyist, seeing that it is wholly unfounded in Greek. We have συμπαθεῖν ταῖς ἀσθενείαις , ch. Hebrews 4:15 ; συμπ . καὶ ταῖς μικραῖς ἀτυχίαις , Isocr. p. 64 B, and δεσμοί are, after all, the state of the captive person. δεσμίοις is held to be the original by Grot., Beng., Wetst., Griesb., Scholz, Knapp, Lachm., Tischendorf, and is rejected, out of critical editors, only by Matthæi and Rink, who read δεσμοῖς μου , and Mill and Nösselt, who omit μου . Of commentators, the rec. is defended by Wolf, Carpzov, Michaelis, al. A full account is given of all the testimonies each way by Bleek: see also Delitzsch’s note), and ye took ( προσδέχομαι not only of expectation, but of reception: so in ref., οὐ προσδεξάμενοι τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν . So Chrys. and Thl. here, τὸ προσεδέξασθε τὴν ἑκούσιον αὐτῶν ὑπομονὴν δηλοῖ ) with joy the plundering of your goods (so reff.: in Luke 8:3 , we have τὰ ὑπάρχοντά τινι . Bleek quotes ἁρπαγὰς ὑπαρχόντων from Polyb. iv. 17. 4), knowing that ye have for yourselves ( ἑαυτοῖς dat. commodi) a better possession (reff.: a word of St. Luke’s) and abiding ( τί ἐστι μένουσαν ; βεβαίαν , οὐχ οὕτως ἀπολλυμένην ὥσπερ ταύτην [cf. Mat 6:20 ]).

Verse 35

35 .] Cast not away therefore (it is better to keep the active, intentional sense of ἀποβάλλω , to cast away , than to take the accidental and involuntary sense, ‘lose not,’ with the vulg., “nolite amittere.” This latter sense is common enough, e. g. Herod. viii. 65, τὸν ναυτικὸν στρατὸν κινδυνεύσει βασιλεὺς ἀποβαλέειν : see many more examples in Bleek: and Dio Chrys. (in Wetst.) xxxiv. p. 425, ἐὰν γὰρ ἀλόγως ἐνίοτε ἐγκαλεῖν δόξητε καί τις ὑμῶν περιγένηται , … δέδοικα μὴ τελέως ἀποβάλητε τὴν παῤῥησίαν . But seeing that we have such expressions as κατέχειν τὴν παῤῥησίαν , ch. Hebrews 3:6 , it is more probable that the other meaning is intended. So in ref. Mark: so Ælian, Var. Hist. x. 13, τὴν ἀσπίδα ἀπέβαλλεν , &c.) your confidence (on the subjective sense of παῤῥησία , see ch. Hebrews 3:6 , note), the which ( ἥτις , not ἥ . The simple relative would predicate what follows of the one preceding individual antecedent only, whereas ἥτις predicates it of a whole class of which that antecedent is one. The Latin ‘ quippe quæ ’ expresses it well: ‘being of such sort, as …’) hath ( present , although the reward is future: hath, set down over against it: possesses in reversion) great recompense of reward (see on μισθαποδοσία , ch. Hebrews 2:2 , note; also reff.).

Verses 35-39

35 39 .] Hortatory conclusion , enforced by ( Heb 10:36 ) the need of endurance, which itself is recommended by the assurance of the speedy coming of the Lord, and the knowledge that we are not of the number of the backsliders, but of those who live by that faith by which our hope is substantiated.

Verse 36

36 .] For (justification of the foregoing μὴ ἀποβάλητε κ . τ . λ .) of endurance ( ὑπομονῆς is placed first, carrying the main emphasis. “Paulatim,” says Bengel, “Apostolus ab hoc versu ad 38 prophetam inducit.” For in Habakkuk 2:2-3 , the whole passage runs thus: ἐὰν ὑστερήσῃ , ὑπόμεινον αὐτόν · ὅτι ἐρχόμενος ἥξει καὶ οὐ μὴ χρονίσῃ . ἐὰν ὑποστείληται , οὐκ εὐδοκεῖ ἡ ψυχή μου ἐν αὐτῷ · ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεώς μου ( μου ἐκ πίστεως Α ) ζήσεται ) ye have need, that ye may do the will of God and receive the promise (the aor. part., preceding an aor. verb, is often contemporary with it in time, and so requires to be rendered in English by a synchronous tense, as in the case of ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπε , he answered and said. And thus it certainly ought to be taken here. No endurance or patience would be wanted, when they had done the will of God, to receive the promise; because such interval as should elapse between their ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ in this sense, and κομίσασθαι τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν , would be not here, but in the intermediate state. But that which they really do want ὑπομονή for is that they may δοκιμάζειν τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον , and thus receive the promise: see ch. Hebrews 13:21 . ἐπαγγελία , as in reff., not the word of promise, but the substance of the promise, the promise in its fulfilment. κομίζεσθαι , reff., of gathering a reward, or a prize from a contest, see Eur. Hipp. 432, δόξαν ἐσθλὴν κομίζεται : Thuc. iii. 58, σώφρονα ἀντὶ αἰσχρᾶς κομίσασθαι χάριν ).

Verse 37

37 .] For yet a little little while (this expression is not in Habakkuk, but is found in ref. Isa., ἀποκρύβηθι μικρὸν ὅσον ὅσον , ἕως ἂν παρέλθῃ ἡ ὀργὴ κυρίου , to which the Writer probably alludes. μικρόν is the accus. neut.: some (Lün., Del.) say, an independent nominative, referring to John 14:19 ; John 16:16 ; but neither of those places determines the case. ὅσον is often joined to adjectives and nouns, &c., which denote size, to give a certain definiteness to the idea: so μικρὸν ὅσον , Lucian Hermot. 60; ὀλίγον ὅσον , ib. p. 62: and among other places in Wetst. and Loesner, we have the ὅσον repeated in ref.: in Arrian, Indic. 29, ὀλίγοι δὲ αὐτῶν σπείρουσιν ὅσον ὅσον τῆς γῆς : cf. Hermann on Viger, p. 726: Winer, § 36. 3, note. It gives the sense of very small, “aliquantillum” as Hermann expresses it: τὸ δὲ ὅσον ὅσον τὸ πάνυ μικρὸν δηλοῖ , Thl.), He that is coming (the solemn prophetical ὁ ἐρχόμενος , ‘He that is to come:’ see reff. There is no art. in the LXX, and ἐρχόμενος refers to the vision, or as αὐτόν and ἐρχόμενος in the masc. after ὅρασις , both are naturally referred to some one indicated by the ὅρασις ; and ἐρχόμενος ἥξει , “coming it will come,” is paraphrased into ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἥξει , ‘He that is coming shall come.’ So Bengel: “Apostolus, articulo addito, verba prophetæ eleganter flectit ad Christum”) shall come, and shall not tarry .

Verses 37-38

37 38 .] Encouragement to this endurance, by the fact of the time being short, and at the same time further proof of the necessity of it by God’s renunciation of him that draws back: all from the same prophecy of Habakkuk.

Verse 38

38 .] Continuation of the paraphrase : the two clauses of Hab 2:4 being transposed. In the original it runs as in E. V.: “Behold his soul (which) is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith:” or, an ambiguity extending to all three places where the saying is quoted, here, and reff. Rom., Gal., “The just by his faith, shall live.” But the other is more probable: see, on all points regarding the Hebrew text, Delitzsch’s note. The transposition is apparently made on purpose, to prevent ὑποστείληται being understood to refer to ἐρχόμενος as its subject. But my just man (there is much controversy about μου , whether to insert it, and where to insert it. On the whole I agree with Bleek, that the position after δίκαιος , which is found in the LXX-A, was most probably that adopted by our Writer. This, being different from many copies of the LXX, would naturally be altered: and St. Paul’s citations not having μου , it would naturally be omitted from our copies here. Delitzsch’s reason for omitting it, that because our Writer quotes as St. Paul in Hebrews 10:30 , he probably does here also, is in fact a depriving of that fact of all its real interest. Placed as in our text, μου will point out that man who is just before God, who belongs to God’s people) shall live by faith: and (this καί has no place in the LXX, the first clause, here put last, being there asyndetous) if he (i. e. the δίκαιος , as Delitzsch very properly insists: not τις understood, nor ἄνθρωπος taken out of δίκαιος , but, in the true spirit of this whole cautionary passage, the very man himself who was justified, and partakes of the Christian life, by faith. The possibility of such a fall is, as he observes, among the principal things taught us by this Epistle) draw back (cf. ref. Gal., note. The middle and passive of ὑποστέλλω have usually an accus. of the object of fear: so Dinarchus contra Demosth. p. 11, τῆς ἐξ ἀρείου πάγου βουλῆς οὔτε τὴν Δημοσθένους οὔτε Δημάδου δύναμιν ὑποστειλαμένης : Demosth. p. 630, μηδὲν ὑποστελλόμενον μηδ ʼ αἰσχυνόμενον . But sometimes it is absolute, as here: so Eur. Orest. 606, ἐπεὶ θρασύνῃ κοὐχ ὑποστέλλῃ λόγῳ . See several more instances in Kypke), my soul ( τίνος ἡ ψυχή ; τοῦ θεοῦ , κατὰ τὸ ἰδίωμα τῆς γραφῆς , ὡς τό , τὰς ἑορτὰς ὑμῶν μισεῖ ἡ ψυχή μου ( Isa 1:14 ), ἢ τοῦ χριστοῦ . The former reference is doubtless right, not the latter, nor that given by Calvin, “Perinde accipiendum est, ac si ex suo sensu Apostolus proferret hanc sententiam”) hath not pleasure in him (for construction see reff.).

Verse 39

39 .] Here again he returns from that which is threatening in appearance to that which is encouraging and reassuring. But we (emphatic; bringing with it, in its mention, all that we are as Christians and that God has made us: you and I, κλήσεως ἐπουρανίου μέτοχοι , ch. Heb 3:1 ) are not of backsliding (there is no ellipsis after ἐσμέν , as υἱοί , or τέκνα : the gen. of category is common enough: see Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 165, who gives many examples. ὑποστολή takes up ὑποστείληται above. The word is found in Josephus, in several places: Kypke quotes οὐδεμίαν ὑποστολὴν ποιοῦνται κακοηθείας , and λάθρα τὰ πολλὰ καὶ μεθ ʼ ὑποστολῆς ἐκακούργησε : but both his references, as well as those given by Bleek, are wrong. He also quotes from Plutarch, Moral. p. 501, ὅτε μάλιστα δεῖται ὑπομονῆς κ . σιωπῆς κ . ὑποστολῆς ὁ ἄνθρωπος ) unto (as its result: so Rom 6:19 bis, εἰς τὴν ἀνομίαν , εἰς ἁγιασμόν ) destruction (in St. Paul’s sense: see reff.: the verb ἀπόλλυμαι is equally foreign to this Epistle, only occurring in the citation, ch. Heb 1:11 ), but of faith unto (the) preservation of (the) soul (see on περιποίησις , note, 1 Thessalonians 5:9 . But Delitzsch is right when he warns us against interpreting περιποίησιν ψυχῆς simply by περιπ . ζωῆς or σωτηρίας . “The soul ( ψυχή ) is the subject of life and salvation. Faith saves the soul, by linking it to God, the living One. The unbelieving man loses his soul: for not being God’s, neither is he his own: all that his personality has in itself and round itself, is fallen under wrath and the powers of wrath”).

Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Hebrews 10". Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hac/hebrews-10.html. 1863-1878.
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