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Bible Commentaries

Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Hebrews 1



A B K א have merely Πρὸς Ἑβραίους . Simplest and probably earliest superscription.


Hebrews 1:1 . ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου ] Elz.: ἐπʼ ἐσχάτων . Against A B D E K L M א , most min., Vulg. Copt, al., and many Fathers. The plural ἐσχάτων arose from the τῶν immediately following.

Hebrews 1:2 . In place of καὶ τοὺς αἰῶνας ἐποίησεν of the Recepta, A B D* D*** E M א , 17, 37, al., Vulg. It. Copt. Syr. al., Patres Gr. et Lat. m. have καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας . Already recommended by Griesb. Rightly adopted by Lachm. Tisch. and Alford. In addition to the strong attestation, this position of the words is favoured by the internal ground that in this order the emphasis falls, as was required, upon ἐποίησεν , instead of falling upon τοὺς αἰῶνας .

Hebrews 1:3 . Before καθαρισμόν , Elz. Wetst. Griesb. Matth. Scholz, Bloomf. Tisch. 7, Reiche (Commentarius Criticus in N. T., t. III. p. 6 sq.), with D***, almost all min. Syr. utr. (Aeth.?) Ath. p. 362, Chrys. in text, et comm. dis., Oec. Theoph. Aug. (?) add διʼ ἑαυτοῦ . But διʼ ἑαυτοῦ , instead of which διʼ αὐτοῦ (according to Theodoret’s express observation to be read as διʼ αὐτοῦ ) is found with D* 137, Copt. Clar. Germ. Cyr. (semel) Didym. Theodoret, in t. et comm. Euthal. Damasc. in textu, is wanting in A B D** א , 17, 46* 47, 80, Vulg. Arm. Cyr. (saepe) Cyr. Hieros. pseudo-Athanas. (ed. Bened. ii. 337), Damasc. (comm.) Sedul. Cassiod. Bede. Already suspected by Mill (Prolegg. 991). Rightly deleted as a gloss by Bleek, de Wette, Lachm. Tisch. 1, 2, and 8, and Alford. For although the addition διʼ ἐαυτοῦ (by Himself, i.e. by the offering of Himself, inasmuch as He was at the same time High Priest and Victim) is in perfect keeping with the after deductions of the epistle, it is nevertheless not indispensable; and though it is conceivable that διʼ ἐαυτοῦ was taken up into the preceding αὐτοῦ , yet it is, on the other hand, hardly credible, seeing the endeavour of the author after linguistic euphony, that he should have placed the words αὐτοῦ , διʼ ἑαυτοῦ ( αὑτοῦ ) in immediate juxtaposition the one with the other.

Instead of ποιησάμενος τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν , Bengel, Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. 1 and 8, Alford read: τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος . In favour of the latter decides the preponderant attestation on the part of A B D E M א , 37, 46, al., Vulg. It. Cyr. Cyr. Hieros. Athan. Did. ps.-Athan. Dam. (comm.).

τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ] Elz. Matth. Scholz: τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν . But ἡμῶν is wanting in A B D* E* M א *, 67** al., Vulg. It. Copt. Syr. Aeth. Cyr. utr. Nyss. Didym. Damasc. Aug. Sedul. Cassiod. al. Already suspected by Mill (Prolegg. 496) and Griesb. Rightly rejected by Lachm., Bleek, de Wette, Tisch. Reiche, Alford. It was added as a dogmatic precaution, in order to guard against a referring of the words also to the own ἁμαρτίαι (of the subject.

Hebrews 1:8 . ῥάβδος εὐθύτητοςῥάβδος τῆς βασιλείας σου ] Instead of that, Lachm. in the edit, stereot. (as likewise Tisch. 8) read: καὶ (A B D* E* M א , 17, Aeth. Clar. Germ. Vulg. ms. Cyr.) ἡ (A B M א , Cyr.) ῥάβδος τῆς (A B M א ** Cyr.) εὐθύτητος ῥάβδος (A B M א ** Cyr.) τῆς βασιλείας σου . In the later larger edition, vol. II., on the other hand, he has adopted καὶ ῥάβδος τῆς εὐθύτητος ῥάβδος τῆς βασιλείας σου . The καί at the beginning is, as also Bleek and Alford decide, to be looked upon as original, but in other respects the Recepta is to be retained, inasmuch as the ἡ before the first ῥάβδος (in the first edition of Lachmann) would be a variation from the text presented by the LXX., such as could hardly be ascribed to the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, considering the closeness with which he follows that translation in other cases, and the purity in other respects of his Greek expression.

Hebrews 1:9 . ἀνομίαν ] A א , 13, 23, al., Cyr. Chron. Alex. Eus. Chrys. ms. ἀδικίαν ; preferred by Bleek, since it is also found in the Cod. Alex. of the LXX. Adopted also by Tisch. 8. But ἀνομίαν might easily be changed into ἀδικιαν , since the latter formed a more direct opposite to the preceding δικαιοσύνην .

Hebrews 1:12 . ἐλίξεις ] Beza, Bengel, Tisch. 8 : ἀλλάξεις . Only insufficiently supported by D* א * 43, Vulg. (not Harl.*) It. Tert.

αὐτούς ] Lachm.: αὐτούς , ὡς ἱμάτιον , after A B D* E א , Aeth. Arm. Clar. Germ. Spite of the strong authority, an apparent gloss, explanatory of ὡσεὶ περιβόλαιον .

Verse 1

Hebrews 1:1 . Πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως κ . τ . λ .] After God had spoken oftentimes and in manifold ways of old time to the fathers in the prophets. The twofold expression πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως (comp. Maximus Tyrius, Dissert . vii. 2, xvii. 7) is by no means merely rhetorical amplification of one and the same idea (Chrysostom: τουτέστι διαφόρως , Michaelis, Abresch, Dindorf, Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Reiche, Tholuck, [28] and others). Τὸ πολυμερές is that which is divided into many parts ( τὸ εἰς πολλὰ μεριζόμενον , Hesychius). Πολυμερῶς therefore presents the λαλεῖν of former ages from the point of view of something which was accomplished in a multiplicity of successive acts, whereas πολυτρόπως brings out the manifold character of the modality in which, in connection with those acts, the λαλεῖν was accomplished. Common thus to both expressions is, indeed, the notion of changeful diversity; but the former marks the changeful diversity of the times in which, and the persons through whom, God revealed Himself; the latter, the changeful diversity of the divine revelations as regards contents and form. For not only was the substance and extent of the single revelations disproportioned, but also the modes of their communication varied, inasmuch as God spoke to the recipients of His revelations sometimes by means of visions and dreams, sometimes mouth to mouth (comp. Numbers 12:6 ff.), sometimes immediately, sometimes by the intervention of an angel, sometimes under the veil of symbols and types, sometimes without these. [29] By the very choice of πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως our author indicates the imperfection of the O. T. revelations. No single one of them contained the full truth, for otherwise there would have been no need of a succession of many revelations, of which the one supplemented the other. And just so was the continual change in the modes of communicating these revelations a sign of imperfection, inasmuch as only a perfect form of communication corresponds to the perfect truth.

As, moreover, on the one hand, by means of the adverbs the imperfection of the O. T. revelation is indicated in contrast with the perfection of the N. T. revelation; so, on the other hand, by means of the identity of the subject ὁ θεός in λαλήσας and ἐλάλησεν , the inner connection between the revelations of the O. T. and that of the N. T. is brought into relief, and in this way attention is tacitly drawn to the fact that the former was the divinely appointed preliminary stage and preparation for the latter.

πάλαι ] of old , in long bygone times. For Malachi was looked upon as the last of the O. T. prophets, and since his appearing already from four to five centuries had elapsed. Delitzsch: πάλαι is not so much antiquitus as antehac , since the contrast is not between ancient and recent or new , but between past and present . Wrongly; for the opposition of a “ prius ” and “ post ” has certainly been already expressed by λαλήσας and ἐλάλησεν , whereas πάλαι still finds its special, and indeed very significant opposition in ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων , and must accordingly be explained after the analogy of this.

λαλεῖν ] particularly in our epistle of very frequent use, to indicate divine revelations. Comp. Hebrews 2:2-3 , Hebrews 3:5 , Hebrews 7:14 , Hebrews 9:19 , Hebrews 11:18 , Hebrews 12:24-25 .

τοῖς πατράσιν ] to the fathers (forced, and needlessly; Kurtz: τοῖς πατράσιν , and equally so afterwards ἡμῖν , is dativus commodi ), i.e. to the forefathers of the Jewish people. Comp. Romans 9:5 . The expression in its absolute use characterizes author and recipients as born Jews.

προφῆται ] is to be taken in the widest sense, in such wise that all holy men of the O. T. history who received revelations from God are comprehended under it. For unquestionably the aim of the discussion now begun, that of expressing the pre-eminence of the revelation contained in Christ over each and all of the O. T. revelations, demands this. But thus must Moses also, and very specially, be reckoned as belonging to the προφῆται , since Moses held the first rank in the series of development of the pre-Christian revelations; as, accordingly, Hebrews 3:2 ff., the superiority of Christ even over Moses is expressly asserted. Nor does the wider acceptation of προφῆται encounter any difficulties on the ground of Biblical usage. Comp. e.g. Genesis 20:7 , where Abraham is spoken of as a προφήτης ( נָבִיא ); Deuteronomy 34:10 , where it is said of Moses: καὶ οὐκ ἀνέστη ἔτι προφήτης ἐν Ἰσραὴλ ὡς Μωϋσῆς . Philo, too ( de nom. mut . p. 1064 A, ed. Mangey, I. p. 597), calls Moses the ἈΡΧΙΠΡΟΦΉΤΗς .

By virtue of this wider acceptation of ΠΡΟΦῆΤΑΙ in itself, the opinion of Er. Schmid and Stein, that ἘΝ ΤΟῖς ΠΡΟΦΉΤΑΙς signifies: “in the prophetic Scriptures,” becomes an impossibility; quite apart from the consideration that this interpretation is also sufficiently refuted by the antithesis ἘΝ ΥἹῷ . But just as little is ἘΝ ΤΟῖς ΠΡΟΦΉΤΑΙς to be made equivalent to ΔΙᾺ ΤῶΝ ΠΡΟΦΗΤῶΝ , as is done by Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Primasius, Luther, Calvin, Grotius, and the majority, also Böhme, Reiche, Tholuck, Stengel, Ebrard, Bisping, Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Maier, and M‘Caul. For the linguistic character of the Epistle to the Hebrews affords no warrant for the supposition of such a Hebraism in the interchange of prepositions. Nor is this proved by Hebrews 9:25 , to which Tholuck appeals in following the precedent of Fritzsche (Jen. Literaturzeit. 1843, p. 59). Ἐν is of more extensive significance than ΔΙΆ . While the latter would signify the mere medium, the mere instrument, ἘΝ implies that God, in revealing Himself to the fathers by the prophets, was present in the latter, was indwelling in them, in such wise that the prophets were only the outward organs of speech for the God who spoke in them. Comp. 2 Corinthians 13:3 ; Matthew 10:20 .

ἘΠʼ ἘΣΧΆΤΟΥ ΤῶΝ ἩΜΕΡῶΝ ΤΟΎΤΩΝ ] Antithesis to ΠΆΛΑΙ . Wrongly does Delitzsch, with the approval of Meier (comp. also Schneckenburger in the Theol. Stud. u. Krit. 1861, H. 3, p. 557), take τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων as apposition to ἙΠʼ ἘΣΧΆΤΟΥ : “at the period’s close, which these days form,” for which, on account of the article before ἩΜΕΡῶΝ , the placing of ἘΠῚ ΤΟῦ ἘΣΧΆΤΟΥ would at least have been required, while he then still more arbitrarily finds in ἜΣΧΑΤΟΝ ΤῶΝ ἩΜΕΡῶΝ “the expression indicative of one idea, equivalent to אַתֲרִית הַיָּמִים ,” and makes ΤΟΎΤΩΝ belong logically to the whole idea! The ἩΜΈΡΑΙ ΑὟΤΑΙ are identical with that which is elsewhere called ΑἸῺΝ ΟὟΤΟς , in opposition to ΑἸῺΝ ΜΈΛΛΩΝ . The demonstrative ΤΟΎΤΩΝ refers to the fact that these ἩΜΈΡΑΙ are the period of time in which the author equally as his readers lives, and of an ἜΣΧΑΤΟΝ of these ἩΜΈΡΑΙ he speaks, because like all N. T. writers the author of the Second Epistle of Peter (Hebrews 3:4 ff.) excepted he regards the return of Christ, for the transforming of the present order of the world and the accomplishment of the Messianic kingdom, as near at hand; comp. Hebrews 10:37 , Hebrews 9:26 .

ἩΜῖΝ ] to us , namely, who belong to the age just mentioned, the ἔσχατον τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων . Antithesis to τοῖς πατράσιν .

ἐν υἱῷ ] anarthrous, as Hebrews 7:28 ; not because υἱός has acquired the nature of a nomen proprium (Böhme, Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 272), but for the indication of the essential property: in one (to wit, Christ) who is not merely prophet who is more than that, namely, Son .

[28] The last-named expositor would otherwise expect an antithetical ἀπλῶς (!) or ἐφάπαξ at the close of the verse.

[29] Erroneously does Grimm (Theol. Literaturbl. to the Darmstadt A. K. Z . 1857, No. 29, p. 661) raise against the above explanation, according to which πολυτρόπως has respect not only to the purport, but also at the same time to the form of the divine revelations, the objection that the properly understood ἐν τοῖς προφ . (see below) does not accord therewith, inasmuch as revelations “mouth to mouth,” or by the intervention of angels, would not have been a speaking of God in the prophets, but to ( πρός ) the same. For what is spoken of (ver. 1) is not the relation of God to the prophets in itself alone, but the relation of God to the fathers through the medium of the prophets. The fact, however, that the prophets, as men in whom God was present, brought to the knowledge of the fathers the revelations received, is independent of the way and manner in which those revelations were previously communicated to themselves by God. Since, moreover, the prophets as recipients of revelation in the first rank are distinguished from the fathers as recipients of revelation in the second rank, and only an interweaving of the relation of God to both takes place, we cannot assume either, with Riehm ( Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr . p. 90), who in other respects rightly explains πολυτρόπως , that the form of the communication of the word of God to the prophets is to be taken into account only so far as a duly proportioned form corresponded to it, even as in the prophetic word the revelation of God became known to the fathers.

Verses 1-4

Hebrews 1:1-4 . Without beginning with the ordinary salutation, with the omission even of any kind of preface, the author proceeds at once to place the revelation of God in Christ in contrast with the revelations of God under the Old Covenant, inasmuch as he characterizes the revelations under the Old Covenant as imperfect, while he shows the perfection of this new revelation by a description of the incomparable dignity of its Mediator. With Hebrews 1:1-3 the author strikes the keynote for all that which he is subsequently to disclose to the readers. The utterances of these three verses afford the theme of his whole epistle. For the later dogmatic disquisitions are only the more full unfolding of the same; and for the later paraeneses they form the motive and fundamental consideration. To Hebrews 1:4 , however, which combines grammatically with that which precedes into the unity of a well-ordered, rhetorically vigorous and majestic period,

Hebrews 1:1-3 stand related as the universal to the particular, since that which was before expressed in a more general way is in Hebrews 1:4 brought into relief on a special side, which finds in the sequel its detailed development, in such wise that then Hebrews 1:4 in turn forms, as regards its contents, the theme for the first section of the epistle (Hebrews 1:4 to Hebrews 2:18 ).

On Hebrews 1:1-3 comp. L. J. Uhland, Dissert. Theol. ad Hebr . i. 1 3, Pars I., II., Tubing. 1777, 4.

G. M. Amthor, Commentatio exegetico-dogmatica in tres priores versus epistolae ad Hebraeos scriptae (Coburg), 1828, 8. (J. G. Reiche), In locum epist. ad Hebr . i. 1 3 observationes , Gotting. (Weihnachts-programm) 1829, 4.

Verse 2

Hebrews 1:2 . As far as τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ , Hebrews 1:3 . The dignity of the Son as the premundane Logos.

Τιθέναι with double accusative, in the sense of ποιεῖν τινά τι , is no Hebraism ( &#שׂוּם שִׁית ), but is very frequent with the classics. Comp. e.g. Herodian, Hist. v. 7. 10 : Ἐφʼ οἷς Ἀντωνῖνος πάνυ ἤσχαλλε καὶ μετεγίγνωσκε , θέμενος αὐτὸν υἱὸν καὶ κοινωνὸν τῆς ἀρχῆς ; Xenophon, Cyrop. iv. 6. 3 : ὥσπερ ἄν εὐδαίμονα πατέρα παῖς τιμῶν τιθείη ; Aelian, Var. Hist. xiii. 6; Homer, Odyss. ix. 404, al. Comp. also Elsner ad loc.; Kühner, II. p. 226.

Ἔθηκεν , however, has reference not so much to the time when Christ, having completed the work of redemption, has returned to the Father in heaven (so the Greek expositors; and in like manner Primasius, Erasmus (Paraphr.), Calvin, Cameron, Corn. a Lapide, Grotius, Schlichting, Calov, Hammond, Braun, Limborch, Storr, Ebrard, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 295 ff.; [30] Maier, Moll, and others), but relates to the appointment made in the eternal decree of God before all time; thus has reference to Christ as the premundane Logos. This application is required in order to a due proportion with the declarations immediately following, and to the logical development of the well thought-out periods, in which the discourse reaches the exaltation of the incarnate Redeemer only with ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς , Hebrews 1:3 . The idea of the pre-existence of Christ or the Son of God as the eternal Logos with its nearer definitions, as this comes forth here and in that which immediately follows, is the same as is met with also in Paul’s writings. Comp. Colossians 1:15 ff.; Philippians 2:6 ; 1 Corinthians 8:6 ; 1 Corinthians 10:4 ; 1Co 15:47 ; 2 Corinthians 4:4 ; 2 Corinthians 8:9 . Yet, in the shaping of this idea on the part of the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, not only the teaching of Paul, but likewise the Logos-speculations of Philo, with whose writings the Epistle to the Hebrews has manifold points in common, have not been without influence.

κληρονόμον πάντων ] heir, i.e. (future) Possessor and Lord of all things , namely, of the world. Chrysostom: Τῷ δὲ τοῦ κληρονόμου ὀνόματι κέχρηται , δύο δηλῶν , καὶ τὸ τῆς υἱότητος γνήσιον , καὶ τὸ τῆς κυριότητος ἀναπόσπαστον . Comp. Galatians 4:7 ; Romans 8:17 .

διʼ οὗ ] by whom . Grammatically unwarranted, Grotius: propter quern ( διʼ ὅυ ). Comp. also Hebrews 2:10 .

καὶ ἐποίησεν ] The emphasis falls upon the word ἐποίησεν , on that account preposed, while τοὺς αἰῶνας only takes up again under a varying form a notion already expressed in that which precedes, and καί indicates no heightening of the expression ( even , or more than this ; Wolf and others), but is intended to bring out the accordance between the statement in the second relative clause and that in the first; so that the fact that by the Son the αἰῶνες were created is made to follow as something quite natural, from the fact that He was by God constituted κληρονόμος πάντων (by whom He also created, etc.). Wrongly does Riehm ( Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr . p. 298 f.) invert the relation of the two members indicated by καί , in finding out the sense: “the installation of the Son in the office of the world’s dominion is in entire accordance with the fact that by the Son the world was created; in other words, from the relation of the Son to God and the world, revealed in the latter fact, His installation in the office of the world’s dominion presents nothing extraordinary, but rather appears something which we could not at all expect to be otherwise.” [So in substance Owen, who seeks to combine the two meanings of τιθέναι .] Had this been meant, then δι ̓ οὗ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας , ὃν καὶ ἔθηκεν κληρονόμον πάντων must have been written. For the καί of the second clause accentuates the fact that what follows is in accord with that which precedes, not that what precedes is in accord with that which follows. Comp. Philippians 3:20 , where by means of καί the fact that we expect the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven as a deliverer is represented as something quite natural, since our πολίτευμα is in heaven; but not conversely is the fact that our πολίτευμα is in heaven deduced from the presupposition of our expecting Christ from thence.

τοὺς αἰῶνας ] does not here denote the ages; either in such wise that the totality of the periods of time from the creation of the world to its close is meant (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Thomas Aquinas, Daniel Heinsius), for this thought would be too abstract; or in such wise that the two main periods in the world’s history the pre-Messianic and the Messianic are to be understood thereby (Paulus, Stein), for in connection with the absolute τοὺς αἰῶνας no one could have thought of this special division into two parts. Nor must we either apprehend τοὺς αἰῶνας of the Aeons in the sense of the Gnostics (Amelius in Wolf, Fabricius, Cod. Apocryph. N. T . I. p. 710); for at the time when our author wrote this notion of the word did not yet exist. τοὺς αἰῶνας is to be understood of the worlds , of the totality of all things existing in time (and space), so that it is identical with the preceding πάντων and the following τὰ πάντα of Hebrews 1:3 . ὁ αἰών , it is true, has always with the classics the strict notion of duration of time; but, as in the case of the Hebrew עו ̇ לָם , this notion might easily pass over into the wider notion of that which forms the visible contents of time, thus into that of the complex of all created things. This interpretation is confirmed by the reading of Hebrews 11:3 , where αἰῶνες cannot possibly be used in any other sense.

As parallel passages to this second relative clause of Hebrews 1:2 , expressing the thought of a creation of the universe by the premundane Son of God, comp. in Paul’s writings, Colossians 1:16 ; 1 Corinthians 8:6 ; in those of John, John 1:3 ; John 1:10 . Philo, too, supposes the world was created by the Logos, as the earliest or first-born Son of God. Comp. de Cherubim , p. 129 (ed. Mangey, I. p. 162): ἼΔΕ ΤῊΝ ΜΕΓΊΣΤΗΝ ΟἸΚΊΑΝ ΠΌΛΙΝ , ΤΌΝΔΕ ΤῸΝ ΚΌΣΜΟΝ · ΕὙΡΉΣΕΙς ΓᾺΡ ΑἼΤΙΟΝ ΜῈΝ ΑὐΤΟῦ ΤῸΝ ΘΕΌΝ , ὙΦ ̓ ΟὟ ΓΈΓΟΝΕΝ , ὝΛΗΝ ΔῈ ΤᾺ ΤΈΣΣΑΡΑ ΣΤΟΙΧΕῖΑ , ἘΞ ὯΝ ΣΥΝΕΚΡΆΘΗ , ὌΡΓΑΝΟΝ ΔῈ ΛΌΓΟΝ ΘΕΟῦ , ΔΙ ̓ ΟὟ ΚΑΤΕΣΚΕΥΆΣΘΗ , Τῆς ΔῈ ΚΑΤΑΣΚΕΥῆς [ ΑἸΤΊΑΝ ΤῊΝ ἈΓΑΘΌΤΗΤΑ ΤΟῦ ΔΗΜΙΟΥΡΓΟῦ .

De Monarch . lib. ii. p. 823 B (ed. Mangey, II. p. 225): λόγος δέ ἐστιν εἰκὼν θεοῦ , δι ̓ οὗ σύμπαςκόσμος ἐδημιουργεῖτο .

Legg. allegor . lib. iii. p. 79 A (ed. Mangey, I. p. 106): ΣΚΙᾺ ΘΕΟῦ ΔῈ ΛΌΓΟς ΑὐΤΟῦ ἘΣΤΙΝ , ΚΑΘΆΠΕΡ ὈΡΓΆΝῼ ΠΡΟΣΧΡΗΣΆΜΕΝΟς ἘΚΟΣΜΟΠΟΊΕΙ .

[30] According to Riehm, the author first (ver. 2) glanced at the final point of the power of the Redeemer, and then at the beginning thereof, and after this (ver. 3) described the way to that final point with respect to the beginning. But however delicate and acute this conception of the subject, it is too greatly refined and artificial. In point of simplicity and naturalness it falls short of the view that at vv. 2, 3 the various phases of the life of Christ are described in their historic succession, so that only in connection with the intermediate member

ὢνφέρων τε κ . τ . λ ., ver. 3 ( see on the verse ) there resounds throughout, in addition to the main reference to an earlier condition of the life of Christ, at the same time the subordinate reference to a later condition of His life. That which Riehm urges in support of his own view, and in refutation of the opposite one, is easily disposed of. When he thinks, in the first place, that only by his apprehension the whole structure of the period becomes thoroughly clear, this is already shown to be inaccurate by the fact that the simple is always more clear than the complex. For even if it be admitted in some respects that a new division of thought begins with the ὅς , ver. 3, which specially brings into relief the subject, whereas before ὁ θεός was the subject, yet nothing is to be inferred from this, because the character of the relative statements, ver. 2, is not changed thereby, inasmuch as the reference to God assuredly appears in the third relative clause, namely, in κεκληρονόμηκεν , ver. 4. When Riehm further contends that in his explanation ver. 2 agrees much better with that which precedes, inasmuch as by the υἱός , ver. 1, the historic Christ is confessedly to be understood, but now an inexplicable leap in the thought would arise, if the author had first ascribed to the historic Christ a number of predicates, which were appropriate to Him only as the premundane Logos, and should only afterwards speak of His present glory, this contention is already sufficiently refuted by the wholly parallel procedure of the Apostle Paul, Philippians 2:5 ff., who likewise takes his departure from the historic Christ, and then, in the same order which Riehm calls an “inexplicable leap in the thought,” attaches thereto further statements with regard to the person of the Redeemer. Moreover, in our passage the order of succession censured as an “inexplicable leap in the thought” is perfectly justified, because υἱός , ver. 1, is the total expression, which, as such, includes in itself all the stadia in the life of Christ; and thus from it one might proceed with equal justice immediately to the premundane Christ as to the exalted Christ. If Riehm further supposes that in connection with the appointment as heir, ver. 2, we cannot think of a destination made in the eternal decree of God, then the analogous declaration of Scripture: πατέρα πολλῶν ἐθνῶν τέθεικά σε , Romans 4:17 , already proves the opposite; and if he finds the expression κληρονόμος appropriate only to the incarnate Son, inasmuch as the name could hardly otherwise occur in connection with τιθέναι than in reference to a possession which the κληρονόμος once had not, there underlies this objection only this amount of truth, namely, that the expression κληρονόμος no doubt includes in itself a reference pointing to the future; but that which it is designed to express by the first relative clause is assuredly also only the thought that Christ was in the ideal sense before all time appointed or made something, which in the real sense He could only be in the full extent at the end of all time. When, finally, Riehm believes that ὃν ἔθηκεν κληρονόμον πάντων , ver. 2, must be understood of the dominion of the exalted Christ, for the reason that the passage Hebrews 1:8-9 , bearing upon the dominion of the exalted Christ, is supposed to refer back to those words, this is altogether erroneous, since a special referring back on the part of Hebrews 1:8-9 to the opening proposition of ver. 2 is not by any means to be admitted. See below, the analysis of contents of vv. 5 14.

Verses 2-4

Hebrews 1:2-4 . The author unfolds the idea of superiority contained in υἱῷ , Hebrews 1:1 , in sketching a brief portraiture in full of the Son of God, and setting vividly before the readers the incomparable dignity of this Son, as manifested in each single one of the various periods of His life.

Verse 3

Hebrews 1:3 . Continued description of the dignity of the Son. The main declaration of the verse, ὃς ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς , is established on the grounds presented in the preceding participles ὢνφέρων τεποιησάμενος . The grounding, however, is a twofold one, inasmuch as the participles present still relate to Christ as the Λόγος ἄσαρκος , and describe His nature and sway, while the participle aorist has as its contents the redeeming act of the Λόγος ἔνσαρκος . Of the two present participles, the first corresponds to the former half of the proposition, Hebrews 1:2 , and the second to the latter half.

ἀπαύγασμα ] not: quum esset, but: quum sit ἀπαύγ ., or as ἀπαύγασμα . For the εἶναι ἀπαύγασμα κ . τ . λ . and φέρειν τὰ πάντα κ . τ . λ ., which was appropriate to the Son of God in His prehuman form of existence, has, after the exaltation or ascension has taken place, become again appropriate to Him. [31]

ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ ] an Alexandrian word, occurring Wis 7:26 , and frequently with Philo, but only here in the N. T. It is explained either (1) as a beaming forth or radiance, i.e. as a ray which flows forth from the light, e.g. , of the sun. So Bleek, Bisping, Delitzsch, Maier, Kurtz, and Hofmann, after the example of Clarius, Jac. Cappellus, Gomar., Schlichting, Gerhard, Calov, Owen, Rambach, Peirce, Calmet, Heumann, Böhme, Reiche. Or (2) as image, reflected radiance, i.e. as a likeness formed by reflex rays, reflection . So Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Wittich, Limborch, Stein, Grimm (Theol. Literaturbl. to the Darmstadt A. Kirch.-Z . 1857, No. 29, p. 661, and in his Lexic. N. T . p. 36), Nickel (Reuter’s Repert . 1857, Oct., p. 17), Moll, and others; so substantially also Riehm ( Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr . p. 279). In favour of the former interpretation it may be advanced that Hesychius paraphrases ἀπαύγασμα by ἩΛΊΟΥ ΦΈΓΓΟς ; and in Lexic. Cyrilli ms. Brem . are found the words: ἀπαύγασμα ἀκτὶς ἡλίου , ἡ πρώτη τοῦ ἡλιακοῦ φωτὸς ἀποβολή , as accordingly also Chrysostom and Theophylact explain ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ by Φῶς ἘΚ ΦΩΤΌς , the latter with the addition ΤῸ ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ ἘΚ ΤΟῦ ἩΛΊΟΥ ΚΑῚ ΟὐΧ ὝΣΤΕΡΟΝ ΑὐΤΟῦ ; and Theodoret observes: ΤῸ ΓᾺΡ ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ ΚΑῚ ἘΚ ΤΟῦ ΠΥΡΌς ἘΣΤΙ ΚΑῚ ΣῪΝ Τῷ ΠΥΡΊ ἘΣΤΙ · ΚΑῚ ΑἼΤΙΟΝ ΜῈΝ ἜΧΕΙ ΤῸ ΠῦΡ , ἈΧΏΡΙΣΤΟΝ ΔΈ ἘΣΤΙ ΤΟῦ ΠΥΡΌς · ἘΞ ΟὟ ΓᾺΡ ΤῸ ΠῦΡ , ἘΞ ἘΚΕΊΝΟΥ ΚΑῚ ΤῸ ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ . But without reason does Bleek claim, in favour of this first interpretation, also the usage of Philo and Wis 7:26 . For in the passage of Philo, de Speciall. legg . § 11 (ed. Mangey, II. p. 356), which Bleek regards as “particularly clear” ( Τὸ δʼ ἐμφυσώμενον [Genesis 2:7 ] ΔῆΛΟΝ Ὡς ΑἸΘΈΡΙΟΝ ἮΝ ΠΝΕῦΜΑ ΚΑῚ ΕἸ ΔΉ ΤΙ ΑἸΘΕΡΊΟΥ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΟς ΚΡΕῖΤΤΟΝ , ἍΤΕ Τῆς ΜΑΚΑΡΊΑς ΚΑῚ ΤΡΙΣΜΑΚΑΡΊΑς ΦΎΣΕΩς ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ ), there is found no ground of deciding either for or against this acceptation of the word. The other two passages of Philo, however, which are cited by Bleek, tell less in favour of it than against it. For in the former of these ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ is explained by ἘΚΜΑΓΕῖΟΝ [ impression ] and ἀπόσπασμα [ shred ] as synonyms, in the latter by μίμημα [ copy ]. ( De Opific. Mundi , p. 33 D, in Mangey, I. p. 35: πᾶς ἄνθρωπος κατὰ μὲν τὴν διάνοιαν ᾠκείωται θείῳ λόγῳ , τῆς μακαρίας φύσεως ἐκμαγεῖονἀπόσπασμαἀπαύγασμα γεγονώς , κατὰ δὲ τὴν τοῦ σώματος κατασκευὴν ἅπαντι τῷ κόσμῳ .

De plantat. Noë , p. 221 C, Mang. I. p. 337: Τὸ δὲ ἁγίασμα οἷον ἁγίων ἀπαύγασμα , μίμημα ἀρχετύπου · ἐπεὶ τὰ αἰσθήσει καλὰ καὶ νοήσει καλῶν εἰκόνες .) Finally, there are found also, Wis 7:26 , as kindred expressions, besides ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ , the words ἜΣΟΠΤΡΟΝ and ΕἸΚΏΝ . ( ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ ΓΆΡ ἘΣΤΙ ΦΩΤῸς ἈΪΔΊΟΥ ΚΑῚ ἜΣΟΠΤΡΟΝ ἈΚΗΛΊΔΩΤΟΝ Τῆς ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ ἘΝΕΡΓΕΊΑς ΚΑῚ ΕἸΚῺΝ Τῆς ἈΓΑΘΌΤΗΤΟς ΑὐΤΟῦ . ) The decision is afforded by the form of the word itself. Inasmuch as not ἈΠΑΥΓΑΣΜΌς , but ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ is written, an active notion, such as would be required by Bleek’s acceptation, cannot be expressed by it, but only a passive one. Not the ray itself, but the result thereof must be intended. For as ἀπήχημα denotes that which is produced by the ἈΠΗΧΕῖΝ , the resonance or echo, and ἈΠΟΣΚΊΑΣΜΑ that which is produced by the ἈΠΟΣΚΙΆΖΕΙΝ , the shadow cast by an object, so does ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ denote that which is produced by the ἈΠΑΥΓΆΖΕΙΝ . ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ is therefore to be rendered by reflected radiance , and a threefold idea is contained in the word (1) the notion of independent existence, (2) the notion of descent or derivation, (3) the notion of resemblance.

τῆς δόξης ] of His (the divine) glory or majesty. For the following αὐτοῦ belongs equally to Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς as to Τῆς ὙΠΟΣΤΆΣΕΩς .

ΚΑῚ ΧΑΡΑΚΤῊΡ Τῆς ὙΠΟΣΤΆΣΕΩς ΑὐΤΟῦ ] and as impress of His essential being , so that the essential being of the Father is printed forth in the Son, the Son is the perfect image and counterpart of the Father. Comp. Philo, de plantat. Noë , p. 217 A (ed. Mangey, I. p. 332), where the rational soul ( ἡ λογικὴ ψυχή ) is called a coin which stands the test, ΟὐΣΙΩΘΩΕῖΣΑ ΚΑῚ ΤΥΠΩΘΕῖΣΑ ΣΦΡΑΓΊΔΙ ΘΕΟῦ , Ἧς ΧΑΡΑΚΤΉΡ ἘΣΤΙΝ ἈΐΔΙΟς ΛΌΓΟς . In the N. T. the word ΧΑΡΑΚΤΉΡ is found only in this place. To interpret ὙΠΌΣΤΑΣΙς , however, in the sense of ΠΡΌΣΩΠΟΝ , or “Person” (Thomas Aquinas, Cajetan, Calvin [in the exposition], Beza, Piscator, Cornelius a Lapide, Gerhard, Dorscheus, Calov, Sebastian Schmidt, Bellarmin, Braun, Brochmann, Wolf, Suicer), is permitted only by later usage, not by that of the apostolic age. For the rest, that which is affirmed by the characteristic ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς ΚΑῚ ΧΑΡΑΚΤῊΡ Τῆς ὙΠΟΣΤΆΣΕΩς ΑὐΤΟῦ , the Apostle Paul expresses, Colossians 1:15 , by ΕἸΚῺΝ ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ ΤΟῦ ἈΟΡΆΤΟΥ , and, Philippians 2:6 (comp. 2 Corinthians 4:4 ), by ἘΝ ΜΟΡΦῇ ΘΕΟῦ ὙΠΆΡΧΩΝ .

ΦΈΡΩΝ ΤΕ ΤᾺ ΠΆΝΤΑ Τῷ ῬΉΜΑΤΙ Τῆς ΔΥΝΆΜΕΩς ΑὐΤΟῦ ] and as He who upholds the whole creation by the word of His power . Comp. Colossians 1:17 : καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν ; Philo, de Cherub . p. 114 (ed. Mang. I. p. 145): ὁ πηδαλιοῦχος καὶ κυβερνήτης τοῦ παντὸς λόγος θεῖος .

τὰ πάντα is not to be limited, with the Socinians, to the kingdom of grace, but is identical with ΠΆΝΤΩΝ ; and ΤΟῪς ΑἸῶΝΑς , Hebrews 1:2 , thus denotes the complex of all created things. On ΦΈΡΕΙΝ in the signification: to uphold anything , so that its continued existence is assured, comp. Plutarch, Lucull . 6 : φέρειν τὴν πόλιν ; Valerius Maximus, xi. 8. 5 : Humeris gestare salutem patriae; Cicero, pro Flacco , c. 38: Quam (rempublicam) vos universam in hoc judicio vestris humeris, vestris inquam humeris, judices sustinetis; Seneca, Ep . 31: Deus ille maximus potentissimusque ipse vehit omnia; Herm. Past. iii. 9. 14: Nomen Filii Dei magnum et immensum est et totus ab eo sustentatur orbis.

τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ ] more emphatic than if Τῷ ῬΉΜΑΤΙ ΑὐΤΟῦ Τῷ ΔΥΝΑΤῷ were written, to which Wolf, Kuinoel, Stengel, Tholuck, Bloomfield would, without reason, make the words equivalent. Oecumenius: ῬῆΜΑ ΔῈ ΕἾΠΕ ΔΕΙΚΝῪς ΠΆΝΤΑ ΕὐΚΌΛΩς ΑὐΤῸΝ ἌΓΕΙΝ ΚΑῚ ΦΈΡΕΙΝ . Theophylact: ΤΗΛΙΚΟῦΤΟΥ ὌΓΚΟΝ Τῆς ΚΤΊΣΕΩς ΤῸΝ ὙΠΈΡΜΕΓΑΝ Ὡς ΟὐΔῈΝ ΑὐΤῸς ΔΙΑΒΑΣΤΆΖΕΙ ΚΑῚ ΛΌΓῼ ΜΌΝῼ ΠΆΝΤΑ ΔΥΝΑΜΈΝῼ .

Not the gospel , however, is meant by ῥῆμα τῆς δυνάμεως ; but as by the word of Omnipotence the world was created (comp. Hebrews 11:3 ), so is it also by the word of Omnipotence upheld or preserved.

ΑὐΤΟῦ ] goes back to Ὅς , thus to the Son, not to God (Grotius, Peirce, Reiche, Paulus).

ΚΑΘΑΡΙΣΜῸΝ ΤῶΝ ἉΜΑΡΤΙῶΝ ΠΟΙΗΣΆΜΕΝΟς ] after He had accomplished a cleansing from the sins . Progress of the discourse to the dignity of the Son as the eternal Logos incarnate , or the Redeemer in His historic appearing on earth. The nearer defining of the sense conveyed by the declaration: καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος , with regard to the grammatical expression of which LXX. of Job 7:21 , 2 Peter 1:9 , may be compared, was naturally presented to the readers. As the object on which the ΚΑΘΑΡΙΣΜΌς was wrought was understood as something self-evident, the world of mankind , which until then was under the defiling stain of sins, without possessing the power for its own deliverance; as the means, however, by which the καθαρισμός was accomplished, the atoning death of Christ. [Owen compares the lustrations , i.e. purifications by sacrifice, and cites Lucian’s ῥίψομεν μὲν αὐτὸν τοῦ κρημνοῦ καθαρισμὸν τοῦ στρατοῦ ἐσόμενον , “We shall cast him down headlong for an expiation of the army.”] To conceive of the ἉΜΑΡΤΊΑΙ themselves as a direct object to ΚΑΘΑΡΙΣΜΌΝ , to which Bleek and Winer, Gramm . 5th ed. p. 214 (differently, 6th ed. p. 168, 7th ed. p. 176), were inclined, and in favour of which Delitzsch and Alford (comp. also Hofmann ad loc .) pronounce themselves with decision, in such wise that these are thought of as the disease of the human race, which is healed or put away by Christ, is not at all warranted by the isolated and less accurate form of expression: ἐκαθαρίσθη αὐτοῦλέπρα , Matthew 8:3 . Nor is it requisite to supply ἈΠΌ before ΤῶΝ ἉΜΑΡΤΙῶΝ , and assume a pregnancy of expression, since ΚΑΘΑΡΌς and its derived words are not only connected by ἈΠΌ , but likewise, with equal propriety, by the bare genitive. See Kühner, II. p. 163.

ἘΚΆΘΙΣΕΝ ἘΝ ΔΕΞΙᾷ Τῆς ΜΕΓΑΛΩΣΎΝΗς ἘΝ ὙΨΗΛΟῖς ] sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high . Culminating point of the description. Characteristic of the dignity of the Son after the completed work of redemption , in the period of His return to the Father, which followed the period of His self-abasement. The sitting at the right hand of God is a well-known figure, derived from Psalms 110:1 , in order to designate supreme honour and dominion over the world (Romans 8:34 , al .).

ἐν ὑψηλοῖς ] Comp. Psalms 93:4 ; Psalms 113:5 ; tantamount to ἘΝ ΤΟῖς ΟὐΡΑΝΟῖς , Hebrews 8:1 ; or ἘΝ ΤΟῖς ἘΠΟΥΡΑΝΊΟΙς , Ephesians 1:20 ; or ἘΝ ὙΨΊΣΤΟΙς , Luke 2:14 ; Luke 19:38 , al . The addition belongs not to μεγαλωσύνης (Beza, Böhme, Bleek, Ebrard, Alford), since otherwise the article would be repeated, but to ἘΚΆΘΙΣΕΝ . The plural ἘΝ ὙΨΗΛΟῖς is explained from the supposition of several heavens, in the highest of which the throne of the Divine Majesty was placed.

[31] Hofmann ( Schriftbew . I. p. 159 f., 2d ed.; comp. also his remarks in the Commentary, p. 64 ff.) believes that the ὢν ἀπαύγασμα κ . τ . λ . and the φέρων τὰ πάντα κ . τ . λ . must be referred exclusively to the exalted Christ, but on untenable grounds. For from the consideration that φέρων τε τὰ πάντα “forms the most unambiguous contrast to the condition of Christ’s life in the flesh,” nothing is to be argued in favour of this view; because this contrast is equally to be supposed, when we understand these words alike of the premundane as of the exalted Christ. The further assertion, however, that in the case of a referring of ὢν ἀπαύγασμα κ . τ . λ . to that which Christ is apart from His humanity, the declaration ver. 3 must have been connected by means of ὅς ἐστιν instead of ὤν , is lacking in all grammatical support. For, so far as concerns the sense, there is no difference whatever between ὅς ἐστιν and ὤν ; only regard for rhetorical euphony and the due rounding off of the periods determined the author upon expressing himself as he did.

Verse 4

Hebrews 1:4 . The author has first, Hebrews 1:1-3 , instituted a parallel between the mediators of the Old Testament revelations in general or in pleno , and the Mediator of the Christian revelation. But among the revelations of God under the Old Covenant, none attained in point of glory to the Mosaic; inasmuch as this was given not only through the medium of a man enlightened by the Spirit of God, i.e. by one of the προφῆται , mentioned Hebrews 1:1 , but, according to the universal Jewish belief ( vid. ad ii. 2), was given by the instrumentality not only of Moses, but also of angels. As, therefore, the author has maintained the superiority of Christ, as the Son of God, over the προφῆται , so is he now naturally further led to show the superiority of Christ over the angels also. This is done in the declaration, Hebrews 1:4 , which in a grammatical sense is closely connected with that which precedes, and serves for the completing of the description of Christ’s characteristic qualifications; at the same time, however, logically regarded, affords the theme for the following disquisition, which constitutes the first section of the epistle (Hebrews 1:5 to Hebrews 2:18 ).

The supposition of Tholuck, that the addition of Hebrews 1:4 “has an independent object,” i.e. is occasioned by polemic reference to the opinion spread abroad among the Jews, in addition to other conceptions with regard to the person of the Messiah, that He was an intermediate spirit or angel, [32] is entirely erroneous. It finds no countenance whatever in the reasoning of the author, and is opposed to the whole scope of the epistle, that of showing in detail the inferiority of the Old Covenant as compared with the New, and of influencing in a corresponding manner the conduct of the readers.

The oratorical formula of comparison: τοσούτῳὅσῳ , which recurs Hebrews 7:20-22 , Hebrews 8:6 , Hebrews 10:25 , is found likewise with Philo, but never with Paul.

ΚΡΕΊΤΤΩΝ ] better , or more excellent, namely, in power, dignity, and exaltedness; comp. Hebrews 7:19 ; Hebrews 7:22 , Hebrews 8:6 , Hebrews 9:23 , Hebrews 10:34 , Hebrews 11:16 ; Hebrews 11:35 ; Hebrews 11:40 , Hebrews 12:24 .

γενόμενος ] marks the having begun to be in time, whereas ὤν , Hebrews 1:3 , expressed the timeless eternal existence. ΚΡΕΊΤΤΩΝ ΤῶΝ ἈΓΓΈΛΩΝ did Christ become just at that time when, having accomplished the work of redemption, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. The ΓΕΝΌΜΕΝΟς thus closely attaches itself to the ἘΚΆΘΙΣΕΝ , Hebrews 1:3 , and is more fully explained by the fact that Christ, by virtue of His incarnation, and so long as He dwelt on earth, was made lower than the angels; comp. Hebrews 2:7 ; Hebrews 2:9 .

The comparative ΔΙΑΦΟΡΏΤΕΡΟΝ , found in the N. T. only here and Hebrews 8:6 , serves, since even the positive ΔΙΆΦΟΡΟΝ would have sufficed for the indication of the superiority, for the more emphatic accentuating of the signification of the word. The opinion of Hofmann, that the comparative is chosen because the name ἌΓΓΕΛΟς is in itself an ὌΝΟΜΑ ΔΙΆΦΟΡΟΝ , when the author contrasts the spirits of God with men living in the flesh, is quite remote from the idea of the passage.

ΠΑΡΆ ] after a comparative is very common in our epistle; cf. Hebrews 3:3 , Hebrews 9:23 , Hebrews 11:4 , Hebrews 12:24 . Comp. also Luke 3:13 ; Luke 3:0 Esdr. 4:35; Thucyd. i. 4:23: ἩΛΊΟΥ ΤΕ ἘΚΛΕΊΨΕΙς , ΑἻ ΠΥΚΝΌΤΕΡΑΙ ΠΑΡᾺ ΤᾺ ἘΚ ΤΟῦ ΠΡῚΝ ΧΡΌΝΟΥ ΜΝΗΜΟΝΕΥΌΜΕΝΑ ΞΥΝΈΒΗΣΑΝ ; Herod. 7. 103; Winer, Gramm. , 7 Aufl. p. 225. With Paul it never occurs. Similar is ὑπέρ with the accusative, Hebrews 4:12 ; Luke 16:8 .

ὌΝΟΜΑ ] must not, with Beza, Calov, Wittich, Storr, Valckenaer, Zachariae, Heinrichs, be altered into the notion of “dignity.” For this ὌΝΟΜΑ never signifies in itself, and its substitution would in our passage, in relation to ΚΡΕΊΤΤΩΝ ΓΕΝΌΜΕΝΟς , bring about only a tautology. The name of pre-eminence above the angels, which Christ has obtained as an inheritance, is the name ΥἹΌς , Son of God, comp. Hebrews 1:5 and Hebrews 1:1 , while the angels by their name are characterized only as messengers and servants of God. Contrary to the context, Delitzsch says: the name ΥἹΌς suffices not to express the thought in connection with ὌΝΟΜΑ . The supra-angelic name, to which the author refers, lies beyond the notionally separating and sundering language of men. It is the heavenly total-name of the Exalted One, His שֵׁם הַמְּפֹרָשׁ , nomen explicitum , which in this world has entered into no human heart, and can be uttered by no human tongue, the ὄνομαοὐδεὶς οἶδεν εἰ μὴ αὐτός , Revelation 19:12 . The following words of Scripture are, he supposes, only upward pointing signs, which call forth in us some foreboding as to how glorious He is. But this is opposed to the connection. For even though it be true, as advanced by Delitzsch in support of his view, that in the following O. T. passages there occur also, in addition to υἱός , the wider appellations θεός and κύριος ; yet, on the other hand, not merely ἐν υἱῷ , Hebrews 1:1 , as likewise Hebrews 1:5 with its proof-giving γάρ , but also the antithesis πρὸς μὲν τοὺς ἀγγέλους and πρὸς δὲ τὸν υἱόν , Hebrews 1:7-8 , shows that υἱός is the main conception, to which the words of address: ὁ θεός and κύριε , Hebrews 1:8 ; Hebrews 1:10 , stand in the relation of subordination, inasmuch as they are already contained in this very idea of Son.

The perfect κεκληρονίμηκεν , however, not the aorist ἐκληρονόμησεν , is employed by the author; because Christ did not first obtain this name at the time of the καθίζειν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλ ., Hebrews 1:3 , but had already as pre-existing Logos obtained it as an abiding portion and possession. We have not, in connection with κεκληρονόμηκεν , to think “quite in general of the O. T. time, in which the future Messiah received in the Word of God the name of Son,” as is asserted by Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 274), whose statement is endorsed by E. Woerner. [33] For this view is contradicted by the διʼ οὗ καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας , Hebrews 1:2 , in its relation to ἐν υἱῷ , Hebrews 1:1 , according to which Christ already existed as the Son before all time. The declarations of Hebrews 1:5 , which Riehm has urged in favour of the construction put by him on our passage, have only the object of affording vouchers for a condition of things already existing.

The difficulty raised, for the rest, that the name of Son is here insisted on as a distinguishing characteristic of Christ, while, nevertheless, in single passages of the O. T. (Job 1:6 ; Job 2:1 ; Job 38:7 ; Genesis 6:2 ; Genesis 6:4 ; Psalms 29:1 ; Psalms 89:7 ; Daniel 3:25 ), angels too are called sons of God, is already disposed of by the reflection that this is not the characteristic name for the angels as such. There is no need, therefore, of the justification of the author made by Bleek, that this writer, since he was not at home in the Hebrew text of the O. T., but only in the Alexandrine version thereof, which latter freely renders the majority of those passages by ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ , may easily have overlooked, or perhaps have otherwise interpreted, those passages in which the literal translation is found in the LXX. (Psalms 29:1 ; Psalms 89:7 [Genesis 6:2 ; Genesis 6:4 ?]).

[32] That the defective view with regard to Christ, which saw in Him only an angel, must have called for rectification, has likewise been thought probable by Schneckenburger, who sought further to confirm this probability. Comp. the “Observations on the Epistle to the Hebrews,” contributed by Riehm from Schneckenburger’s remains, in the Theol. Stud. u. Krit . 1861, H. 3, p. 544 ff.

[33] Der Brief St. Pauli an die Hebräer , Ludwigsb. 1876.

Verse 5

Hebrews 1:5 . Τίνι γὰρ εἶπέν ποτε τῶν ἀγγέλων ] For to which of the angels has He ever said, i.e. to none of the angels has He ever said.

The position of the words serves to put a strong accentuation at the same time upon τίνι and upon τῶν ἀγγέλων .

The subject in εἶπεν is ὁ θεός , as is evident alike from the passage itself which is cited, and from our context; inasmuch as both in that which precedes (Hebrews 1:1-4 ) ὁ θεός was expressly mentioned as the subject of the main proposition, and in that which follows (Hebrews 1:6 ) the subject of εἰσαγάγτὸν πρωτότοκον can only be God.

ποτέ ] is particle of time, at any time, unquam . Wrongly taken by Ch. F. Schmid, Kuinoel, and others as a mere strengthening particle, in the sense of the German doch or the Latin tandem . For then ποτέ must have been placed immediately after τίνι .

The citation υἱὸςσε is from Psalms 2:7 , in verbal accordance with the LXX. In its historic sense the psalm relates to an Israelite king (probably Solomon), who, just now solemnly anointed in Zion as theocratic king, in the lofty feeling of his unity with Jehovah, warns the subjugated nations, who are meditating revolt and defection, of the fruitlessness of their undertaking. The author, however, sees Christ in the person addressed, even as a referring of this psalm to the Messiah was quite usual among the Jews of that period, and in the N. T. the Messianic interpretation thereof is further met with, besides Hebrews 1:5 , in Acts 13:33 .

υἱός μου ] my Son, i.e. in the sense of the psalm, the king of my theocracy, my representative, the object of my fatherly love and protection The author, on the other hand, takes υἱός in the sense unfolded, Hebrews 1:2-3 .

ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε ] I have this day begotten thee, i.e. in the historic sense of the original: I have, by the anointing accomplished this day, installed thee as the theocratic prince. In the sense of the author, γεγέννηκα denotes the fact of having become the Son. The question is now, how he conceived of the σήμερον . It is referred either to the moment in which Christ was manifested to be the Son of God, i.e. to the moment of the Resurrection or the Ascension (Hilary, in Psalmum ; Ambrose, de Sacram . 3. 1; Calvin, Cameron, Grotius, Schlichting, Limborch, Jac. Cappellus, Owen, Calmet, Peirce, Storr, Bloomfield, Bisping, Maier; comp. Delitzsch, who would have the words interpreted of “the entrance of the Son into the kingly life of supra-terrestrial glory in God, of which the resurrection is the initial point”), or to the moment of the Incarnation (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Eusebius, in Psalmum, alii ; Piscator, Böhme, Kuinoel, Hofmann, Schriftbew . I. p. 123 f. of the 2d ed.; Woerner), or, finally, to the period before the creation of the world, thus to eternity (Origen in Joh. , t. i. c. 32; Athanasius, de decret. Nicen. Synod . § 13; Basil, contra Eunom . 2. 24; Augustine, in Psalmum [Arnobius of Gaul, in Psalmum ]; Primasius, Theophylact, Thomas Aquinas, Cornelius a Lapide, Estius, Calov, Wittich, Braun, Carpzov, Bleek [but with wavering; more decidedly in the lectures edited by Windrath [34] ], Stein, Alford, Kurtz, and the majority). That the author, as Bleek I., de Wette, and Riehm ( Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr . p. 287 f.) deem possible, attached no definite notion to the σήμερον , as being without significance for his demonstration, is an unexegetical supposition. Exclusively correct, because alone in harmony with the context, is the referring of the σήμερον to eternity ; since, according to Hebrews 1:2 , God created the world by Christ as the Son, thus Christ must already have existed as Son before the foundation of the world. With Philo, too, occurs the same interpretation of σήμερον , as signifying eternity. Comp. De Profugis , p. 458 E (with Mangey, I. p. 554): σήμερον δʼ ἐστὶνἀπέρατος καὶ ἀδιεξίτητος αἰών · μηνῶν γὰρ καὶ ἐνιαυτῶν καὶ συνόλως χρόνων περίοδοι δόγματα ἀνθρώπων εἰσὶν ἀριθμὸν ἐκτετιμηκότων , τὸ δʼ ἀψευδὲς ὄνομα αἰῶνοςσήμερον .

καὶ πάλιν ] and further , serves, as frequently ( e.g. Hebrews 2:13 , Hebrews 10:30 ; Romans 15:11-12 ; 1 Corinthians 3:20 ; Philo, ed. Mangey, I. p. 88, 490, al .), for the introduction of a new passage of Scripture. The καὶ πάλιν κ . τ . λ . is not, however, to be taken as an assertory declaration, so that merely εἶπεν would have to be supplied (in accordance with which Lachmann punctuates); but the question is continued in such wise that the proposition is to be completed by καὶ ( τίνι εἶπέν ποτε τῶν ἀγγέλων ) πάλιν .

This second citation is derived from 2 Samuel 7:14 , in verbal accordance with the LXX. Comp. also 1 Chronicles 17:0 (18):13. αὐτῷ and αὐτός refer in the historic sense to Solomon. To David, who designs building a temple to Jehovah, the divine direction comes by Nathan to desist from his purpose. Not David, but his seed, who shall ascend the throne after him, is to build a temple to Jehovah; to him will Jehovah for ever establish the throne of his kingdom; to him will Jehovah be a father, and he shall be to Him a son, and, if he transgress, Jehovah will chasten him with the rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men. Even this latter addition (which, for the rest, is not found in the parallel passage, 1 Chronicles 17:13 (1 Chronicles 18:13 ) makes it impossible to refer the words to the Messiah, as, moreover, the reference to Solomon is rendered certain even from the O. T. itself by the following passages: 1 Kings 5:19 (5), 1 Kings 8:17 ff.; 2 Chronicles 6:9-10 ; as also 1 Chronicles 22:9 (1 Chronicles 23:9 ff)., 1 Chronicles 28:2 (1 Chronicles 29:2 ) ff.

εἶναι εἰς ] Formed after the Hebrew הָיָה לְ Comp. Hebrews 8:10 , al .

[34] Der Hebräerbr., erklärt von Dr. Fr. Bleek, Elberf. 1868.

Verses 5-14

Hebrews 1:5-14 follow the scriptural proof for Hebrews 1:4 , and that in such form that in the first place, Hebrews 1:5 , the διαφορώτερον παρʼ αὐτοὺς κεκληρονόμηκεν ὄνομα is confirmed, and then, Hebrews 1:6-14 , the κρείττων γενόμενος τῶν ἀγγέλων .

Verse 6

Hebrews 1:6 . Ὅταν , with the conjunctive aorist, takes the place of the Latin futurum exactum . See Winer, Gramm. , 7 Aufl. p. 289. Ὅταν εἰσαγάγῃ cannot consequently mean, as was still assumed by Bleek I., and recently by Reuss: [35] “when He brings in,” but only: “when He shall have brought in.” To take πάλιν , however, with the Peshito, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Jac. Cappellus, Schlichting, Grotius, Limborch, Hammond, Bengel, Wolf, Carpzov, Cramer, Valckenaer, Schulz, Kuinoel, Bleek, Stengel, Ebrard, Bloomfield, Reuss, alii , as Hebrews 1:5 , i.e. merely as the formula for linking on a new citation, is forbidden by the position of the words. It must then have been written: πάλιν δέ , ὅταν εἰσαγάγῃ … λέγει . The possibility of an inversion of the ΠΆΛΙΝ is defended, it is true, by Bleek, after the precedent of Carpzov, on the authority of two passages in Philo ( Legg. Allegor . iii. p. 66; ed. Mangey, p. 93). But neither of these presents a case analogous to the one before us, nor does an inversion of the πάλιν at all take place in them. For in both ΠΆΛΙΝ has the signification in turn , or on the other hand , inasmuch as in the former two classes of persons ( ὁ δὲ νοῦν τὸν ἴδιον ἀπολείπων and ΔἙ ΠΆΛΙΝ ἈΠΟΔΙΔΡΆΣΚΩΝ ΘΕΌΝ ), in the latter two classes of ΔΌΞΑΙ or opinions ( ΜῈΝ ΤῸΝ ἘΠῚ ΜΈΡΟΥς , ΤῸΝ ΓΕΝΝΗΤῸΝ ΚΑῚ ΘΝΗΤῸΝ ἈΠΟΛΙΠΟῦΣΑ and ΔῈ ΠΆΛΙΝ ΘΕῸΝ ἈΠΟΔΟΚΙΜΆΖΟΥΣΑ ), are compared together by way of contrast, in such wise that in both ΠΆΛΙΝ only serves for bringing the ΔΈ into stronger relief, and in both has occupied its legitimate place. By virtue of its position, ΠΆΛΙΝ , in our passage, can be construed only with ΕἸΣΑΓΆΓῌ , in such wise that a bringing again of the First-born into the world, which is an event still belonging to the future, is spoken of. In the former member of Hebrews 1:6 the reference can accordingly be neither to the time of the Incarnation of the Son (Chrysostom, Primasius, Calvin, Owen, Calov, Bengel, Storr, Kuinoel [Stuart: or beginning of His ministry], Bleek II. alii ); nor to the time of the Resurrection and Exaltation to heaven (Schlichting, Grotius, Hammond, Wittich, Braun, Wetstein, Rambach, Peirce, Whitby, and others); nor, as Bleek I. supposed, to a moment yet preceding the Incarnation of Christ, in which the Father had, by a solemn act as it were, conducted forth and presented the Son to the beings created by Him, as the First-born, as their Creator and Ruler, who was to uphold and guide all things, [36] which in any case would be an entirely singular thought in the N. T., but simply and alone to the coming again of Christ to judgment, and the accomplishment of the Messianic kingdom. So, rightly, Gregory Nyssen, contra Eunom. Orat . iii. p. 541; Cornelius a Lapide, Cameron [Mede: for the inauguration of His millennial kingdom], Gerhard, Calmet, Camerarius, Estius, Gomar, Böhme, de Wette, Tholuck, Bisping, Hofmann ( Schriftbew . I. p. 172, 2d ed.), Delitzsch, Riehm ( Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr . p. 306, 617), Alford, Conybeare, Maier, Moll, Kurtz, Ewald, M‘Caul, Woerner. The objection brought by Bleek and Ebrard against this interpretation of the former member, required as it is by the exigencies of the grammar, viz. that the discourse could not turn on the bringing again of the First-born into the world, unless an earlier bringing in of the same into the world, or at least a former being of the Son ἐν τῇ οἰκουμένῃ had been explicitly spoken of, is invalidated by Hebrews 1:1 ; Hebrews 1:3 , where certainly the discourse was already of the historic appearing of the Son on earth, and thus of a first bringing in of the same into the world. The additional objection of Bleek, however, that the author would hardly have limited the scope of a divine summons to the angels to do homage to the First-born to a time even in his day future, is set aside by the consideration that, according to Hebrews 2:9 , Christ was during His earthly life humbled to a condition beneath the angels, and only the Parousia itself is the epoch at which His majesty will be unfolded in full glory.

ΤῸΝ ΠΡΩΤΌΤΟΚΟΝ ] in the N. T. only here without more precisely defining addition; comp. however, Psalms 89:28 (27). That the expression must not be regarded as equivalent to ΜΟΝΟΓΕΝΉς , as is done by Primasius, Oecumenius ( ΤῸ ΔῈ ΠΡΩΤΌΤΟΚΟΝ ΟὐΚ ἘΠῚ ΔΕΥΤΈΡΟΥ ΛΈΓΕΙ ἈΛΛʼ ἘΠῚ ἙΝῸς ΚΑῚ ΜΌΝΟΥ ΤΟῦ ΓΕΝΝΗΘΈΝΤΟς ἘΚ ΤΟῦ ΠΑΤΡΌς ), Clarius, and even now by Stengel, is self-evident. But neither is it identical with the ΠΡΩΤΌΤΟΚΟς ΠΆΣΗς ΚΤΊΣΕΩς , Colossians 1:15 , in such wise that the temporal priority of Christ, as the eternal Logos, over all creatures, and the notion of His precedence over all creatures, necessarily resulting therefrom, should be contained in the word (Bleek, Grimm in the Theol. Literaturbl. to the Darmstadt A. K.-Z. , No. 29, p. 662; Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr . p. 292 f.; Kurtz, Ewald, and others). For this interpretation is excluded by the absoluteness of the expression in our passage. Rather is Christ called the First-born with respect to Christians, who are His brethren (Hebrews 2:11 f.), and therefore likewise υἱοί of God (Hebrews 2:10 ). Comp. also Romans 8:29 .

As, for the rest, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews terms Christ the First-born Son of God; so does Philo also term the Logos the First-born Son. Comp. de Agricultura , p. 195 B (ed. Mangey, I. p. 308): τὸν ὀρθὸν αὑτοῦ λόγον , πρωτόγονον υἱύν . De Confus. Ling . p. 329 (ed. Mang. I. p. 415): τοῦτον μὲν γὰρ πρεσβύτατον υἱὸντῶν ὄντων ἀνέτειλε πατήρ , ὅν ἐτέρωθι πρωτόγονον ὠνόμασεν , al .

οἰκουμένη ] the world , not in the widest sense (equivalent to οἱ αἰῶνες , Bleek; or to ΟἸΚΟΥΜΈΝΗ ΜΈΛΛΟΥΣΑ , Böhme); but, since the former member has reference to the Parousia, the habitable earth .

λέγει ] sc . ὁ θεός , not ΓΡΑΦΉ (Grotius, Clericus, Böhme, and others). The present is chosen, because the utterance of God, which shall infallibly be made in the future, stands already noted down in the Scripture.

The citation is not derived from Psalms 97:7 , but from Deuteronomy 32:43 . For, in the former passage, the LXX. have a reading divergent from that of our text, in the words: καὶ προσκυνήσατε αὐτῷ πάντες [ οἱ ] ἄγγελοι αὐτοῦ , whereas in the Codex Vaticanus of Deuteronomy 32:43 , the words occur as in our text; while the ΚΑΊ , taken up by the author into his citation, manifestly points seeing that it is without any importance for his reasoning to the verbatim reproduction of an O. T. utterance. Now, it is true our author follows in other cases a form of the Sept. text which bears affinity less to that contained in the Codex Vaticanus than to that in the Codex Alexandrinus, and the latter displays the variation from the Cod. Vat. Deuteronomy 32:43 , in so far as ΥἹΟῚ ΘΕΟῦ is found therein in place of ἌΓΓΕΛΟΙ ΘΕΟῦ . But the Song of Moses, of which Deuteronomy 32:43 forms the conclusion, is communicated anew, in many MSS. of the LXX., and so also in the Codex Alexandrinus, in a second recension, having its place after the Psalms; and in this second recension the Codex Alexandrinus, too, reads ἌΓΓΕΛΟΙ ΘΕΟῦ , only the article ΟἹ has been interpolated between ΠΆΝΤΕς and ἌΓΓΕΛΟΙ . It is probable, therefore, that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews did not take the citation direct from Deuteronomy 32:43 , but mediately, i.e. from that second recension of the hymn.

It remains to be said that the words of the citation are wanting in the Hebrew; they are found only in the LXX.

προσκυνεῖν ] with the dative only in the case of later classic authors, whereas the earlier combine the accusative with this verb. Comp. Lobeck, ad Phryn . p. 463; Bernhardy, Syntax , p. 113, 266. The N. T. has both constructions, as besides them the Hebraizing turns προσκυνεῖν ἐνώπιον , or ἜΜΠΡΟΣΘΈΝ ΤΙΝΟς , or ΤῶΝ ΠΟΔῶΝ ΤΙΝΟς . See the Lexicons.

ΑὐΤῷ ] That this pronoun of the third person was to be referred to the Messiah naturally suggested itself, inasmuch as Jehovah is the subject speaking immediately before in the Song.

[35] Comp. Reuss, L’épître aux Hébreux. Essai d’une traduction accompagnée d’un commentaire (Nouvelle Revue de Théologie, vol. v. 4e, 5e, et 6e livraison, Strasb. et Paris 1860, p. 199).

[36] In like manner Reuss, l.c. p. 201: “Il est plus naturel de songer au moment, où le monde nouvellement créé était sommé de reconnaître le Fils comme créateur. A ce moment, les anges seuls étaient les êtres formant pour ainsi dire l’Eglise du Verbe (comme Hebrews 12:22 ), et qui pouvaient recevoir l’ordre de Dieu d’adorer le Fils.”

Verse 7

Hebrews 1:7 . Πρός ] with regard to , as Luke 20:19 ; Acts 12:21 ; Romans 10:21 , and frequently. Comp. Matthiae, p. 1181; Winer, Gramm. , 7 Aufl. p. 378.

μέν ] corresponds to the δέ of Hebrews 1:8 , thus places Hebrews 1:7 in express opposition to Hebrews 1:8 .

λέγει ] namely, God, in the Scripture.

The citation is from Psalms 104:4 , according to the LXX. (Cod. Alex., whereas Cod. Vatican, has πῦρ φλέγον instead of πυρὸς φλόγα ). The psalm praises Jehovah as the Creator and Sustainer of all nature. In the Hebrew the words cited read: עֹשֶׂה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת מְשָׁרְתָיו אֵשׁ לֹהֵט , and, having respect to their connection with what precedes and that which follows, no doubt can obtain on the point that they are to be rendered, what is objected thereto by Hofmann (Schriftbew. I. p. 325 f., 2 Aufl.), Delitzsch, and Alford is untenable, “God makes winds His messengers, and flames of fire (lightnings) His servants,” in such wise that the thought is expressed: as the whole of nature, so are also winds and lightnings servants of God the Lord. [37] Otherwise have the LXX. apprehended the sense of the words, as is shown by the addition of the article before ἀγγέλους and λειτουργούς , and they are followed by our author. [So the Targum also.] They have taken τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ and τοὺς λειτουργοὺς αὐτοῦ as the objects, ̔ νεύματα and πυρὸς φλόγα , on the other hand, as the predicates to ποιῶν , thus have found the meaning of the words: “He makes His angels winds, and His servants a flame of fire.” If we now observe the scope of the thought of those declarations of Scripture concerning the Son which follow, Hebrews 1:8-12 , placed as they are in antithetical relation to the one before us, it is evident that the author must have discovered the inferiority of the angels compared with the Son, as attested in Scripture, in a twofold respect (1) that the angels are servants, whereas the Son is ruler; (2) that the angels are mutable and perishable, whereas the Son abides the same for ever.

The conception of such a subjection on the part of the angels, that they must submit even to be changed into elements, is, moreover, not uncommon among the Rabbins. Comp. e.g. Shemoth rabba , sec. 25, fol. 123. 3 : “aliquando ipsos (angelos) facit ventos, q. d. qui facis angelos tuos ventos, aliquando ignem, q. d. ministros tuos flammam ignis.” Jalkut Simeoni , part II. fol. 11. 3 : “Angelus dixit ad Manoah: nescio ad cujus imaginem ego factus sim; nam Deus singulis horis nos immutat; cur ergo nomen meum interrogas? Nonnunquam facit nosi ignem, alias ventum, interdum viros, alias denique angelos.” See in general, Schöttgen and Wetstein ad loc .

πνεύματα ] not: spirits (Luther, Erasmus, Paraphrase ; Clarius, Piscator, Owen, Seb. Schmidt, Brochmann, Bengel, Böhme), but: winds .

λειτουργούς ] only another name for ἀγγέλους .

[37] Comp., as to the thought, Xenophon, Memorabilia , iv. 3. 14, where quite similarly lightning and winds ( κεραυνός and ἄνεμοι ) are called ὑπηρέται τῶν θεῶν .

Verses 7-12

Hebrews 1:7-12 . Contrastful comparison of a declaration of Scripture characterizing the angels, and two declarations characterizing the Son.

Verses 8-9

Hebrews 1:8-9 derived from Psalms 45:7-8 (6, 7). The psalm is an epithalamium , a wedding-song. But even by Rabbins like Aben Esra, Kimchi, and others, it is Messianically interpreted.

Hebrews 1:8 . The nominative ὁ θεός is taken by our author in the sense of the vocative (comp. e.g. Colossians 3:18 ff.; Luke 8:54 ; Winer, Gramm. , 7 Aufl. p. 172; Kühner, II. p. 155), thus as an apostrophe to the Messiah. [38] In the Hebrew words: כִּסְאֲךָ אֱלֹהִים עו ̇ &#לָם וָעֶד אֱלֹהִים is not vocative, but to be translated either after the analogy of Leviticus 26:42 ( וְזָכַרְתִּי אֶת־בְּרִיתִי יַעֲקו ̇ ב , I will remember my Jacob’s-covenant, i.e. the covenant made by me with Jacob), with Bleek, de Wette, and Kurtz: “thy throne of God,” i.e. “thy divine throne;” or, with Ewald ( ad loc . and Gramm . § 547): “thy throne is (throne) of God or divine.” The Greek ὁ θεός , too, it has been thought by Grimm (Theol. Literaturbl. to the Darmstadt Allg. Kirch.-Zeit . 1857, No. 29, p. 662) and Ewald (das Sendschr. an d. Hebr. p. 55), ought not to be explained in the sense of a vocative. According to Grimm, the words are to be taken in the acceptation: “Thy throne, i.e. the foundation of Thy throne, is God;” according to Ewald, they say that “the throne of the Messiah for everlasting ages is God Himself, so that where He reigns, there God Himself is virtually ever present.” But the argument urged by Grimm in favour of this construction that, since Philo, as frequently also the Christian Alexandrians, makes a sharp distinction between ὁ θεός (with the article) as a designation of God, and θεός (without an article) as designation of the Logos, it is hardly to be regarded as probable that a man of Alexandrian culture, like our author, would have called Christ as to His divine nature ΘΕΌς would have had weight only if that designation, in place of being met with in a citation, had occurred in our author’s own discourse.

ΕἸς ΤῸΝ ΑἸῶΝΑ ΤΟῦ ΑἸῶΝΟς ] sc . ἐστίν . So LXX., Cod. Alex.; Cod. Vatican.: εἰς αἰῶνα αἰῶνος . The same (merely Hellenistic) formula, strengthening the simple εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα (Hebrews 5:6 , and often), also Tob. 2:18; Psalms 83:18 , al . In independent discourse the author uses in place thereof ΕἸς ΤῸ ΔΙΗΝΕΚΈς . Comp. Hebrews 7:3 , Hebrews 10:1 , Hebrews 12:14 .

ῬΆΒΔΟς ΕὐΘΎΤΗΤΟς ] a sceptre of uprightness, i.e. of righteousness. εὐθύτης , in the N. T. only here; but comp. LXX. Psalms 9:9 ; Psalms 67:5 ; Psalms 96:10 ; Psalms 98:9 . Comp. also Aeschylus, Persae , ver. 1:726 f. (according to the division in Hartung’s edition, Leipzig 1853):

[38] Against the peculiar opinion of Hofmann ( Schriftbew . I. p. 168 f. 2 Aufl.), that, vv. 8, 9, it is not Christ who is addressed; that, on the contrary, the author of the epistle leaves it to the reader “to take the words: ὁ θρόνος σουθεός , as an address to Jehovah, or with a right understanding of the connection כִּסְאֲךָ אֱלֹהִים as an address to the king, the anointed of Jehovah,” see Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 286, Remark.


ταγεῖν , ἔχοντα σκῆπτρον εὐθυντήριον .

Verse 9

Hebrews 1:9 . Ἠγάπησας δικαιοσύνην κ . τ . λ .] Thou lovedst righteousness and hatedst wrong . In the Hebrew the corresponding verbs have a present signification: thou lovest justice and hatest wrong. Our author, however, refers the aorists of the LXX. to the historic life of the Son of God upon earth.

διὰ τοῦτο ] therefore, i.e. as a reward for the ἀγαπᾶν δικαιοσύνην καὶ μισεῖν ἀνομίαν . Comp. διό , Philippians 2:9 . Erroneously Augustine ( in Ps .), Thomas Aquinas, Gerhard, Dorscheus, Brochmann, Schöttgen, and others: for this cause , that thou mightest love righteousness, etc.

ἔχρισέν σε , ὁ θεός , ὁ θεός σου ἔλαιον κ . τ . λ .] O God, Thy God hath Thee anointed with oil of gladness above Thy companions . Here, too, the author takes ὁ θεός as an apostrophe, [39] whereas in the Hebrew אֱלֹהִים is the subject to משָׁחֲךָ , and is taken up again into the discourse, and more nearly defined by אֱלֹהֶיךָ . The anointing with the oil of joy in the psalm is a figurative designation of the blessing and abundance given by God. Our author, however, understands it of the anointing to be king, as a figure of the divine glory with which the Son, after His life upon earth and His exaltation to heaven, has been crowned. Comp. also Acts 4:27 ; Acts 2:36 . The sense of the author is departed from when the Fathers and earlier expositors interpret the expression of the anointing of the Son with the Holy Ghost.

On the double accusative combined with ἜΧΡΙΣΕΝ (Revelation 3:18 ), see Winer, Gramm. , 7 Aufl. p. 212. As an analogon, comp. also Aristophanes, Acharn . 114: ἽΝΑ ΜΉ ΣΕ ΒΆΨΩ ΒΆΜΜΑ ΣΑΡΔΙΝΙΑΚΌΝ .

ΠΑΡᾺ ΤΟῪς ΜΕΤΌΧΟΥς ΣΟΥ ] refers in the original to the contemporary kings, the rulers of other lands. But what our author understood by it in the application is obscure. Kuinoel, Ebrard, Delitzsch, and Moll suppose the author, like the Psalmist, to intend the other kings; Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 306), all earthly and heavenly princes; Wittich, Braun, Cramer, the kings, high priests, and prophets of the O. T., inasmuch as they were anointed as types of Christ; Klee, all the creatures; Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Bengel, and Bisping, men in general; Theodoret, Calvin, Beza, Cameron, Piscator, Schlichting, Maier, Kurtz, the Christians specially [Owen hesitates between all believers and prophets and apostles ]; Bleek, Olshausen, Alford, and Ewald finally, after the precedent of Peirce and others, the angels , “as beings which do not indeed appear as sitting at the right hand of God, but yet as existing in immediate proximity to the divine throne.” The last supposition is the most probable. It is true de Wette regards it as the least conceivable, because the author has “placed the angels in no other position than deeply below Christ,” and Ebrard even thinks the author must have been “beside himself” if he had referred the words to the angels. But (1) it is a question throughout the whole section of a comparison of Christ with the angels; the renewed indication of this point of comparison also in Hebrews 1:9 cannot therefore in itself be found unsuitable. (2) If shortly before (Hebrews 1:7 ) the angels are placed deeply below Christ, so it will be admitted their inferiority is likewise expressly intimated by means of παρά in our passage. (3) The angels were, in the conception of the author, the next in rank after Christ; for they are exalted above men. To whom, therefore, could the author more fittingly apply the designation μέτοχοι than precisely to them? The objection of Delitzsch, finally, that after all angels are not anointed ones, would be of weight only if the author were obliged of necessity to think of the μέτοχοι too as anointed; he finds, on the contrary, in the anointing only of the Son, a fact expressed, from which the exaltedness of the same above His companions, i.e. of those who of all others stand nearest to Him in dignity, is necessarily deduced. For ΠΑΡΆ is used here not in the sense of the quantity arising from the notion of comparison, but denotes the part accruing to one to the exclusion of others.

[39] On account of ver. 8 this construction is more natural than the supposition of Grimm, l.c. p. 602; Alford, and Ewald (to which Delitzsch also leaves the choice open), that we have to explain in accordance with the Hebrew: “God, even Thy God.”

Verses 10-12

Hebrews 1:10-12 . A second citation co-ordinate with the Scripture testimony adduced, Hebrews 1:8-9 derived from Psalms 102:26-28 (25 27) according to the LXX. The psalm is a lamentation, belonging probably to the first century after the Captivity. The words of address refer in the original to God. The author, however, mainly indeed misled [40] by the κύριε in the LXX., which was the ordinary appellation of Christ in apostolic time, takes the utterance as an address to Christ, the Son of God. This interpretation must the more have appeared to him unquestionable, inasmuch as the scope of the utterance fully harmonized with his own conception of the Son of God as the premundane Logos. Comp. Hebrews 1:2-3 . When, for the rest, Hofmann ( Schriftbew . I. p. 169 f., 2 Aufl.) supposes that the author found no address whatever to Christ designed in the κύριε of the psalm, but only meant to say in the words of Scripture what was true of Jesus according to his own belief and that presupposed in the readers, this is a freak of fancy without anything to justify it, and even opposed to the context (comp. πρὸς δὲ τὸν υἱόν , Hebrews 1:8 ). For the author can have been concerned only about this very object of proving the higher attestation given to his assertion by the Scriptures.

Καί ] not a constituent part of the citation, but a brief formula of connecting, when a further passage of Scripture is linked to that which precedes, comp. Acts 1:20 .

σὺ κατʼ ἀρχάς , κύριε , τὴν γῆν ἐθεμελίωσας ] LXX. Cod. Alex.: κατʼ ἀρχὰς , σύ , κύριε , τὴν γῆν ἐθεμελίωσας ; Cod. Vatic.: κατʼ ἀρχὰς , τὴν γῆν σύ , κύριε , ἐθεμελίωσας . It is probable the author changed the position of the words in order to make σύ the more emphatic.

κατʼ ἀρχάς ] in the beginning . With the LXX. elsewhere only Psalms 119:152 , instead of the more usual ἐν ἀρχῇ or ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς , but frequently met with in Philo and the classics (see Raphel, Wetstein, and Munthe ad loc .). In the Hebrew stands the more general לְפָּנִים , “formerly,” or “of old.”

[40] According to Delitzsch, indeed, it would be “a poor look-out” if that were “true.” But when, following in Hofmann’s steps, he objects against it that “we may already see from Hebrews 8:8 ff., Hebrews 12:6 ff., that the author is far from everywhere understanding Christ to be intended by the O. T. κύριος ,” these passages naturally prove nothing, since the usual practice is never the constant and invariable practice. When Delitzsch further adds: “such perversity originating in ignorance is not to be laid to the charge of an author who shows so deep an insight into the innermost core of the O. T.,” that is a prejudiced verdict, arising from subjectivity and dogmatic partiality, to the establishing of which it would have been necessary first of all to bring forward the proof that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews in reality possessed an accurate knowledge not only of the Greet text of the LXX., but also of the original text of the O. T., a proof which even Delitzsch has not been able to afford.

Verse 11

Hebrews 1:11 . Αὐτοί ] refers back not to earth and heaven, Hebrews 1:10 , taken together (Kuinoel, Stuart, Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Kurtz), but, as is evident from the following πάντες , and in particular from ἑλίξεις , Hebrews 1:12 , only to οἱ οὐρανοί .

ἀπολοῦνται ] shall perish . Comp. Isaiah 34:4 ; Isaiah 51:6 ; Isaiah 65:17 ; 2 Peter 3:13 ; Revelation 20:11 ; Revelation 21:1 .

σὺ δὲ διαμένεις ] but Thou abidest for evermore (throughout all duration of time, διά ). On account of the environment of futures, and because the future is used here in the Hebrew, Bleek, after the example of Luther, Cornelius a Lapide, Peirce, Bengel, Wetstein, alii , accentuates: διαμενεῖς . So also the Vulgate (permanebis). Hardly in the sense of the author. For, since he employed only the LXX., not the Hebrew original, he surely took σὺ δὲ διαμ . as a parallel member to σὺ δὲαὐτὸς εἶ , Hebrews 1:12 , consequently also construed the former as a present .

ὡς ἱμάτιον παλαιωθήσονται ] will grow old like a garment , which by long use is worn out and laid aside, to be replaced by a new and better one. Comp. Isaiah 50:9 ; Isaiah 51:6 ; Sir 14:17 .

Verse 12

Hebrews 1:12 . Καὶ ὡσεὶ περιβόλαιον ἑλίξεις αὐτοὺς καὶ ἀλλαγήσονται ] and as a cloak (something flung about one) wilt Thou roll them up, and they shall become changed . In the original: As the vesture dost Thou change them, and they are changed. This sense of the original is rendered by the LXX. according to the reading of the Cod. Vat.: καὶ ὡσεὶ περιβόλαιον ἀλλάξεις αὐτοὺς καὶ ἀλλαγήσονται ; whereas the Cod. Alex. presents ἑλίξεις ; and this is also most probably the reading followed by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews in our passage.

οὐκ ἐκλείψουσιν ] will know no end .

Verse 13

Hebrews 1:13 . Further citation from Psalms 110:1 , according to the LXX. The psalm was looked upon universally in the time of Christ (comp. Matthew 22:44 ff.; Mark 12:35 ff.; Luke 20:41 ff.), and also in later times by many Rabbins (see Wetstein on Matthew 22:44 ), as a prophecy relating to the Messiah; inasmuch as on the ground of the superscription לְדָוִד David himself was regarded as the author of it, and in connection with this view the reference to the Messiah was easily proved on the ground of the words at the beginning: “to my Lord speaketh Jehovah,” according to which David acknowledges, in addition to his God, also a Lord over him. The superscription לְדָוִד , nevertheless, indicates not the writer, but the subject of the psalm. It is in its historic sense an oracle pronounced to David, when the latter was preparing for war against his powerful foes. See Ewald on the Psalm.

πρὸς τίνα δέ ] δέ he in the third place, as often occurs after prepositional combinations. Comp. Klotz, ad Devar. p. 378 f.; Hartung, Partikellehre, I. p. 190 f.; Ellendt, Lexic. Soph. I. p. 397; Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 519.

The sitting at the right hand, figure of the highest honour and dominion, see on Hebrews 1:3 .

ὑποπόδιον τῶν ποδῶν σου ] the footstool of Thy feet. There lies in the expression an allusion to the custom of the victor of placing his foot upon the neck of the vanquished, in token of the complete subjection of the latter; comp. Joshua 10:24 .

ὑποπόδιον ] first used in the Greek of a later age. Comp. Sturz, de dial. Alex. et Maced. p. 199.

Verse 14

Hebrews 1:14 . Confirmation of the πρὸς τίνα δὲ τῶν ἀγγέλων εἴρηκέν ποτε , showing the inconceivableness of such a thing by a reference to the nature of the angels, and with this the termination of the present train of thought.

The emphasis rests upon πάντες and λειτουργικά : are not all (alike, whether they belong to a lower or higher class of angels) ministering spirits [spirits in waiting ]? πνεύματα here in a different sense from Hebrews 1:7 .

εἰς διακονίαν ] for service, sc . which they render to God , not to the men who shall inherit the σωτηρία ; otherwise, in place of διὰ τοὺς μέλλοντας , the dative τοῖς μέλλουσι κληρονομεῖν σωτηρίαν (1 Corinthians 16:15 ) or the genitive τῶν μελλόντων κ . τ . λ . would have been placed.

The participle present ἀποστελλόμενα brings out the permanent, habitual character of the action expressed by the verb.

διὰ τοὺς κ . τ . λ .] for the sake of those who shall inherit (everlasting) salvation (this is intended by σωτηρίαν , although without the article, see Winer, Gramm. , 7 Aufl. p. 114; not: deliverance from peril , as Michaelis, Schleusner, Böhme, Kuinoel assume), i.e. in order, by means of the offices in which they are employed by God, to bring it in for the same.

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Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Hebrews 1". Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.