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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Hebrews 13

Verse 1

Hebrews 13:1 . Ἡ φιλαδελφία , brotherly love ) The parts of this virtue are unfolded in the sequel. Paul uses the same word elsewhere. μενέτω ) continue , although old things have passed away: it does ‘abide’ or continue (the word of Paul ) in itself (as far as concerns itself): 1 Corinthians 13:8 ; 1 Corinthians 13:13 : let it also continue with you (in your case, as far as concerns you).

Verse 2

Hebrews 13:2 . Μὴ ἐπιλανθάνεσθε , do not forget ) although you have been spoiled of your goods. It is easy to forget such a duty, Hebrews 13:16 : so μιμνήσκεσθε , μνημονεύετε , remember , Hebrews 13:3 ; Hebrews 13:7 . ἔλαθον ξενίσαντες , have entertained unawares ) for λαθόντες ἐξένισαν . A Hypallage [90] frequent with the Greeks. Comp. Chrysost. de Sacerd., p. 427. Hereby he obviates the distrust usually felt towards unknown strangers. τινἐς , some ) Abraham, Lot: Genesis 18:2 ; Genesis 19:1 . αγγέλους , angels ) So an unknown guest is often more worthy than he appears, and has angels for his attendants, although they are not seen. Actions are estimated according to what a man does, not merely according to what he thinks he does. Matthew 25:40 ; Matthew 25:45 .

[90] See Append. A transposition of words, whereby we say of one what ought to be said of another. ED.

Verse 3

Hebrews 13:3 . Μιμνήσκεσθε , remember ) in your prayers and in your acts of kindness. ὡς συνδεδεμένους , as bound with them ) on account of the unity of the body under the one head, Christ. ἐν σώματι , in the body ) in the natural body, which is not yet withdrawn from adversities , and the dangers which have befallen them. One man experiences great adversity during the whole period of his life, as Jacob: another in youth, as Joseph: another in manhood, as Job: another, finally, in old age; and this admonition is of especial advantage against such an event.

Verse 4

Hebrews 13:4 . Τίμιος ) viz. ἔστω , comp. Hebrews 13:5 , i.e. let it be honoured . It is an antithesis to whoremongers . He exhorts the unmarried, who are in great danger of falling into fornication, to marry, acknowledging it as something precious [so τίμιος often means], and worthily to use the good which it confers: comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:4 . γάμος ) marriage . ἐν πᾶσι ) in all . There is obviously greater danger of fornication than of adultery; comp. 1 Corinthians 7:2 , ἕκαστος , every one [“To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife”]; and all ought to value marriage highly, so that if a man does not enter into that state himself, he should not prevent others from doing so, 1 Timothy 4:3 . ἡ κοίτη ) the bed , the couch, the state and use of marriage. Marriage the bed whoremongers adulterers: a Chiasmus. ἀμίαντος , undefiled ) Supply again, let be . An antithesis to adulterers . κρινεῖΘεὸς , GOD will judge ) By far the greatest number of whoremongers and adulterers escape the notice of human tribunals. As such intrigues are not made known in the way in which they formerly were, Numbers 5:20-21 , a great number, although their conduct is well known, yet escape civil punishment and ecclesiastical discipline, or are made to feel it very slightly. [ Sometimes, indeed , judges themselves are whoremongers and adulterers, men that are placed in the highest ecclesiastical and political offices: and therefore they know how to take measures for their own impunity; but they also take measures for the impunity of others like themselves, when the case admits of it (or when a case occurs). Very many acts of this sort remain entirely concealed in the world, or are extenuated by various devices, or are upheld by violence . V. g.] God will judge: [ A thing dreadful to be spoken! ch. Hebrews 10:30-31 . V. g.] He most of all punishes them, whom man does not punish. Comp. 2 Samuel 3:39 . The apostle speaks of the judgment as near. [ At that greatest of all days, what deeds, I pray you, will be brought to light! Then indeed execrable crimes will no longer be reckoned as a mark of polished manners. V. g.]

Verse 5

Hebrews 13:5 . Ὁ τρόπος ) daily life . ἀρκούμενοι ) The participle for the imperative: just as the ellipsis ( Heb 13:4 ), for the sake of politeness, of the verb, let be , so there is a similar ellipsis of the verb, be ye (in this verse). τοῖς παροῦσιν , with present things ) the present state . So Paul , speaking of himself, Philippians 4:11 . αὐτός ) He . εἴρηκεν , has said ) What was said to Jacob, to Joshua and the people, and to Solomon, extends also to us. οὐ μή σε ἀνῶ οὐδʼ οὐ μή σε ἐγκαταλίπω ) I will never leave thee nor forsake thee , Genesis 28:15 ; the LXX. omit the first clause, and have only, I will not forsake thee; Deuteronomy 31:6 , He will not fail (leave) thee nor forsake thee: so also Hebrews 13:8 ; Joshua 1:5 , I will not forsake thee nor overlook ( ὑπερόψομαι ) thee; 1 Chronicles 28:20 , He will not fail thee nor forsake thee . It is therefore like a Divine adage. He will neither withdraw His assistance nor His presence .

Verse 6

Hebrews 13:6 . Κύριος ἐμοὶ , κ . τ . λ .) So the LXX., Psalms 118:6 , and so for the most part Psalms 56:5 ; Psalms 56:12 .

Verse 7

Hebrews 13:7 . Ἡγουμένων ) them who have the rule , Hebrews 13:17 ; Hebrews 13:24 . The use of this word is very extensive; it is applied to a prince, to a teacher, etc.; it is presently explained in this passage, who have spoken to you the world of GOD. He therefore intends teachers, who were among the first witnesses and apostles of Christ, or their disciples and companions, who had died a little before, or were now almost at the point of death. ἀναθεώρουντες , looking to, considering ) i.e. when you look to with remembrance. The same grand expression occurs at Acts 17:23 . “Magnam ἀναθεώρησιν res habet,” Cic. ep. to Atticus, lib. xiv. ep. 15; and again, “Quanta est ἀναθεώρησις ,” ep. xvi. τὴν ἔκβασιν , the end ) blessed, wished for. τῆς ἀναστροφῆς , of their conversation ) in the faith, consistent. μιμεῖσθε , imitate ) The imperative. We more easily contemplate and admire the happy death of godly men, than imitate the faith by which they have attained to it. τὴν πίστιν , the faith ) chiefly shown at the end .

Verse 8

Hebrews 13:8 . Ἰησοῦς χριστὸς , Jesus Christ ) A solemn appellation: The sum of the Gospel, which is to be held by faith. Not only the doctrine concerning Christ is intended, but Jesus Christ Himself , of whom the doctrine of faith treats. Those who have gone before us in the path of salvation died in that faith, which is supported by the word of GOD. χθὲς καὶ σήμερον , yesterday and to-day ) χθὲς καὶ σήμερον , yesterday and to-day , occur in their proper (strict) signification, without a figure, in 1 Samuel 20:27 : but the apostle speaks in a larger (nobler) sense. Jesus Christ, who was yesterday, is the same to-day; yesterday , before His sufferings and death; to-day , in glory; comp. ch. Hebrews 1:3 ; Revelation 1:18 . As night comes between yesterday and to-day , and yet night itself is swallowed up by yesterday and to-day , so the suffering did not so interrupt the glory of Jesus Christ which was of yesterday , so to speak, and that glory which is of to-day , that it did not continue to be the same. These expressions have the force of a proverb, yesterday, yesterday and the day before, yesterday and to-day, yesterday and to-morrow: Isaiah 30:33 ; Deuteronomy 4:42 ; 2 Samuel 15:20 ; Sir 38:23 ; and in this general sense of the apostle, yesterday and to-day resemble a proverb, so as to denote any past and present time , which was denoted especially in the discussion brought to this point. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday before He came into the world, before His passion, before His ascension and to-day , in heaven; yesterday and to-day in the former and latter (second) part of this exhortation: yesterday in the time of our earlier and later predecessors, and to-day in our own age. In whatever way it may be understood, Artemonius, p. 347, cannot join together a short yesterday and long ages ( αἰῶνας ). ὁ αὐτὸς ) Some place a comma before it, but improperly. This is the sentiment of the apostle: Jesus Christ is always the same; He who was yesterday , is the SAME TO-DAY, nay, for ever ( to all AGES): [ Always the same Saviour and the same Teacher . V. g.] Also, the true doctrine, delivered to you by your teachers , is always the same , not variable , Hebrews 13:7 ; Hebrews 13:9 . He Himself is always the same: ch. Hebrews 1:12 , Thou art the same: The same in the Old and New Testament; ch. Hebrews 12:2 , note. See also 1 Corinthians 3:11 ; Philippians 3:16 . He is unchangeable, and never dies, although teachers die. καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας ) and for ever , Hebrews 13:20 , ch. Hebrews 7:3 ; Hebrews 7:16 ; Hebrews 7:24-25 .

Verse 9

Hebrews 13:9 . Διδαχαῖς , with doctrines ) So Paul , Ephesians 4:14 . ποικίλαις , various ) which differ from the one faith in the one and the same Jesus Christ. There was variety in the Levitical worship; ch. Hebrews 9:10 . ξέναις , strange ) which differ from the faith of your ministers ( τῶν ἡγουμένων ). The Levitical rites were now also strange to their present faith, Hebrews 13:9-14 ; and the apostle was now forgetful of their oldness (The Old Testament). He does not therefore call them old , but strange . μὴ παραφέρεσθε ) be not carried away [ Neben hin . Not. Crit.] So παρὰ in composition, ch. Hebrews 2:1 . The antithesis, βεβαιοῦσθαι , to be established , 1 Samuel 21:13 (14), ויתהלל , LXX. καὶ παρεφέρετο . Ecclesiastes 1:17 , הללית Theodotion translates παραφοράς . καλὸν γὰρ χάριτι βεβαιοῦσθαι τὴν καρδίαν , for it is good for the heart to be established with grace) A categorical sentence: χάριτι βεβαιούμεθα ( κατὰ ) τὴν καρδίαν , we have the heart established by grace; to which the antithesis corresponds, not with meats; but the modal expression, good, is added from the feeling of the apostle, to give a point to the admonition. So Paul, Romans 6:17 , note. Καλὸν , good, beautiful (becoming), salutary: also pleasant, without strange variety; and profitable. The antithesis, have not profited. χάριτι , with grace) grace, which becomes ours through Christ, who offered His body. βεβαιοῦσθαι ) to be established. Στηριχθηναι , to be supported, is a kindred word, just as the heart, according to the Hebrew phraseology, is supported by bread or the staff of bread; Judges 19:5 ; Isaiah 3:1 ; Psalms 104:15 , etc. That is here denied of meats, and is claimed for grace. οὐ , not) Judaism and Christianity do not agree. βρώμασιν , with meats) An Extenuation, [91] as ch. Hebrews 9:10 . Those meats are also denoted which were eaten in the holy place. The antithesis is, to eat , Hebrews 13:10 . The Jews have their own meat; and we have ours, which is most healthful to us. ἐν οἷς , in which ) Construed with περιπατήσαντες . οὐκ ὠφελήθησαν ) comp. ἀνωφελὲς , ch. Hebrews 7:18 . οἱ περιπατήσαντες , they who have walked ) long and much .

[91] See App. The same as Litotes.

Verse 10

Hebrews 13:10 . Ἔχομεν , we have ) This verse has two clauses: on the first, Heb 13:15-16 depend; on the second, the verses that intervene. Chiasmus. θυσιαστήριον , an altar ) the Cross of Christ , on which His body was sacrificed. ἐξ οὗ ) of (from) which . They are partakers also of this altar who eat the sacrifice offered upon it, not on the other: comp. 1 Corinthians 10:18 . φαγεῖν , to eat ) The meat, the flesh of Christ given for us. It is an antithesis to ceremonial meats. It is chiefly eaten in the Sacred Supper, where His body is set forth as given up for us, and His blood shed for us, in that single sacrifice of the cross. οὐκ , not ) Galatians 5:2 , etc. τῇ σκηνῇ , the tabernacle ) A parabolic Amphibology, such as we find at ch. Hebrews 9:8 , note. For the tabernacle, if we consider the Protasis, expressed at Hebrews 13:11 , denotes the anterior part of the sanctuary; but if we consider the Apodosis, which is found at Hebrews 13:12 , it implies the whole Levitical worship. There is also a point in the fact, that he says, τῇ σκηνῇ , not ἐν τῇ σκηνῇ , “who serve the tabernacle ,” not in the tabernacle . In like manner paul , Romans 7:6 , note.

Verse 11

Hebrews 13:11 . Ὧν γὰρ εἰσφέρεται ) Leviticus 6:23 (30), And no sin-offering, whereof any of the blood εἰσενεχθῇ , is brought into the tabernacle of the testimony , to reconcile Hebrews 9:12-13 . αἷμα · σώματα , blood; bodies ) which were the shadows of the blood and of the body of Christ. ἔξω τῆς παρεμβολῆς ) without the camp , in which were the tabernacle, and the Levitical priests, and as many of them as adhered to that worship. So the LXX., Leviticus 4:12 ; Leviticus 4:21 , etc., Leviticus 16:27 .

Verse 12

Hebrews 13:12 . Ἵνα ἁγιάσῃ ) that He might sanctify , might cleanse from sins, might lead (bring) from the world to GOD. This corresponds to ἅγια , Hebrews 13:11 . ἰδίον , His own ) An antithesis to, of animals . αἵματος , blood ) The mention of the body is implied in the verb, He suffered; and accordingly the 11th verse, respecting the blood of animals and their bodies, has its Apodosis here, in the 12th verse. τὸν λαὸν , the people ) ch. Hebrews 2:17 . ἔξω τῆς πύλης , without the gate ) as if He had been deemed unworthy of the companionship of men; Matthew 27:32 . Comp. Leviticus 24:13 . He suffered without the gate of the city (although the apostle purposely (skilfully) abstains from the use of the word, city ), which city itself was like the camp in the wilderness, and had the temple, as the camp had the tabernacle. ἔπαθε , He suffered ) The type of the passion was the burning of the victims. The passion , properly, is that on the cross, without the gate .

Verse 13

Hebrews 13:13 . Τοίνυν ) The particle, put at the beginning (Isaiah 5:13 ; Isaiah 27:4 ; Isa 33:23 ) in this passage, breathes the deliberate fortitude of believers. So τοιγαροῦν , at the beginning of chap. 12 ἔξω τῆς παρεμβολῆς , without the camp ) Hebrews 13:11 . The camp denotes Judaism. τὸν ὀνειδισμὸν αὐτοῦ , His reproach ) i.e. the cross, ch. Hebrews 12:2 . φέροντες , bearing ) as Simon of Cyrene; Matt. in the passage quoted above.

Verse 14

Hebrews 13:14 . Γὰρ , for ) The reason why he uses the expression, the camp , not the city , Hebrews 13:13 . Faith considers Jerusalem itself as a camp [not a city]. μένουσαν , μέλλουσαν ) A Paranomasia. At the same time not continuing is an allusion to the devastation of Jerusalem, which was then at hand. He does not condescend to name the city, which does not continue. We do not continue here; nor does the city itself continue at all. πόλιν , a city ) ch. Hebrews 11:10 , note. In like manner Paul , Philippians 3:20 . αέλλουσαν , one to come ) ch. Hebrews 2:5 , note.

Verse 15

Hebrews 13:15 . Δἰ αὐτοῦ , by Him ) 1 Peter 2:5 . θυσίαν , the sacrifice ) The Altar is mentioned, Hebrews 13:10 ; now the sacrifices are enumerated: of praise here, of well-doing , Hebrews 13:16 . αἰνέσεως , of praise ) for the salvation made sure. διαπαντὸς , continually ) A continual sacrifice. Nothing of the Mass. Forget not , which follows, Hebrews 13:16 , corresponds to this word, continually . καρπὸν χειλέων , the fruit of the lips ) So the LXX., Hosea 14:3 ; also Isaiah 57:19 : but the Hebrew in the former is פָרִים שְׂפָתֵינוּ , in the latter, נוּב נִיב שְׂפָתַיִם . ὁμολογούντων , confessing) in faith, while they despise all the reproach of the world, Hebrews 13:13 .

Verse 16

Hebrews 13:16 . Εὐποιΐας , doing good ) to the needy. κοινωνίας , communicating ) with the deserving: Galatians 6:6 ; comp. presently after, Hebrews 13:17 . τοιαύταις , with such ) There is a reference also to the preceding verse: with these, such as these , not with the blood of quadrupeds. εὐαρεστεῖται ) The verbs εὐαρεστοῦμαι , δυσαρεστοῦμαι , with the ablative, signify, I am pleased, displeased with this . δυσαρεστούμενος , ill at ease , as men generally are, when they are threatened with some distemper. Diogenes Laertius in Arcesilaus, καί τινος μὴ εὐαρεστουμένου τῇ διατριβῇ αὐτοῦ , when a certain man was not willingly stopping with him .

Verse 17

Hebrews 13:17 . Πείθεσθε , obey ) Evince (have) remembrance towards your deceased teachers, Hebrews 13:7 ; obedience towards them that are still alive. ὑπείκετε , submit ) This is more than to obey. Obey in those things which they command you to do as salutary: submit , even when they seem to demand a little more. Ἵνα , that , depends on this verb. αὐτοὶ , they ) As they are zealously careful, so, when they wish you to be careful, you ought to submit . ὡς λόγον ἀποδώσοντες , as they that are to give an account ) Truly this consideration both causes a man to be watchful, and to avoid any abuse of authority. The soul of Chrysostom was always struck with these words, as he himself confesses at the beginning of the 6th Book de Sacerdotio, on which passage we have made some observations, p. 490. μετὰ χαρᾶς , with joy ) if they see you respond to their vigilance. τοῦτο , this ) This τοῦτο does not refer to they who are to give an account , but to they watch . Disciples ought to obey and submit to their teachers, so that with joy , etc. It would be not a joyous ( μετὰ χαρᾶς ) thing for the teachers themselves to give in their account with sorrow [therefore τοῦτο does not refer to the giving in the account ]: on the contrary, to watch with sorrow , is not hurtful to the teachers, it is “unprofitable” to the hearers. καὶ μὴ , and not ) He is not a good minister who does not either rejoice or grieve , or do both. στενάζοντες , with grief ) The groans of other creatures are heard; how much more of pastors? ἀλυσιτελὲς , unprofitable ) Sorrow, opposed to joy , from which griefs ( groans , implied in στενάζοντες ) are derived, greatly weakens the teachers; and their sighs are not profitable , nay, are very injurious to the disciples.

Verse 18

Hebrews 13:18 . Προσεύχεσθε περὶ ἡμῶν , pray for us ) So Paul is wont, and especially at the conclusion, to ask those to whom he writes: Romans 15:30 . πεποίθαμεν ) we trust , that we ourselves shall be heard and delivered. γὰρ , for ) the force of the Ætiology properly falls on Hebrews 13:19 . ὅτι ) that is, because; for, we trust , is used absolutely, as we are confident , 2 Corinthians 5:8 . Conscience produces confidence: 1 John 3:21 ; 2 Corinthians 1:12 . καλὴν , καλῶς , good, in a good way [ well ]) Conjugates. πᾶσι , in all things ) Neuter: see note on 2 Corinthians 11:6 . θέλοντες , willing ) The conscience follows the will.

Verse 19

Hebrews 13:19 . Περισστέρως , more abundantly [ the rather ]) Construed with ποιῆσαι , to do . παρακαλῶ , I entreat ) Paul for the first time writes something of himself alone, in this passage of this epistle. τάχιον ) the sooner .

Verse 20

Hebrews 13:20 . Ὁ δέ Θεὸς , now the God ) He desired the brethren to pray for him, Hebrews 13:18 ; he now prays for them. τῆς εἰρήνης , of peace ) Paul often calls Him the God of peace , Romans 15:33 . Here the verb καταρτίσαι , join you together in perfect harmony , accords with it, Hebrews 13:21 . ὁ ἀναγαγὼν ἐκ νεκρῶν , who brought again from the dead ) God brought the Shepherd; the Shepherd brings the flock. He brought Him from the depths, and set Him on high, where He may be seen by all. The apostle does not conclude, before he made mention of the resurrection of Christ. τὸν ποιμένα τῶν προβάτων τὸν μέγαν , the great Shepherd of the sheep ) An appropriate appellation. You have, says he, many ministers, Hebrews 13:17 ; but He is the Minister of all. I am absent from you, Hebrews 13:19 ; but GOD is not absent, nor will He be wanting to you. The allusion is to Isaiah 53:11 [ whence a various reading , ἐκ τῆς γῆς for ἐκ νεκρῶν , has started up in this passage . Not. Crit.], and by this allusion, the apostle at the very end of the epistle again and again prefers Christ to Moses, of whom Isaiah is speaking in the passage quoted above. ἐν ) in , significantly. It is construed with ὁ ἀναγαγὼν , who brought again; comp. ch. Hebrews 2:9 , διὰ , for, on account of; likewise John 10:17-18 ; Philippians 2:9 . αἰωνίου , everlasting ) An august epithet. This eternity of the covenant infers the necessity of a resurrection: Acts 13:34 , note, from Isaiah.

Verse 21

Hebrews 13:21 . Καταρτίσαι , fit or join you perfectly together ) 1 Corinthians 1:10 , note [the antithesis of σχίσματα , divisions ]. ποιῆσαι , ποιῶν ) God doing, we will do . [ God fits us for doing; nay, indeed He rather does Himself, 2 Peter 1:3 . V. g.] τὀ θέλημα , the will ) Comp. Isa 53:10 on the resurrection of Christ and progress of the Divine will . διὰ , through ) Construed with ποιῶν , doing, working , Philippians 1:11 . ᾧ , to whom ) viz. to GOD, Hebrews 13:20 ; Romans 16:27 , note; Galatians 1:5 , note. Then, and then only, can glory be given to God, if we subject ourselves to His salutary will. Comp. concerning Christ , 2 Peter 3:18 . δόξα , glory ) They to whom he wrote had not afforded any occasion for a joyful exordium or commencement, in which thanks might be given; Paul therefore uses in this passage the Doxology, as at Galatians 1:5-6 , note.

Verse 22

Hebrews 13:22 . Παρακαλῶ · παρακλήσεως , I exhort: of exhortation ) Conjugates, sweetly used. τοῦ λόγου , the word ) with which your ministers abundantly exhort you face to face. The antithesis is, ἐπέστειλα , I have sent , I have written: comp. Acts 15:27 ; Acts 15:32 . διὰ βραχέων ) in few words , considering that the subject was copious. ἐπέστειλα , I have sent ) namely, this epistle, which abounds in παράκλησις , or exhortation.

Verse 23

Hebrews 13:23 . Γινώσκετε ) know ye , with joy. τὸν ἀδελφὸν , our brother ) So Timothy is called by Paul: see note on 1 Corinthians 4:17 . ἀπολελυμένον , set at liberty ) He had therefore been in prison. ἔρχηται , if he come ) to me. Therefore they had been in different places.

Verse 24

Hebrews 13:24 . Πάντας τοὺς ἡγουμένους ὑμῶν , all them that have the rule over you ) They laboured under dulness of apprehension; but this epistle has solid food for them that are perfect. Therefore if any epistle needed to have been withdrawn from the general multitude, this certainly was that epistle. And yet this epistle too is directed to the general multitude, rather than to the ministers, to whom it was less necessary. [ So the discourse is addressed to women, children, servants, young men , etc., Ephesians 5:22 , etc.; 1 John 2:18 ; 2 John 1:1 : and to all together, 1Pe 3:8 ; 1 Peter 5:5 . Paul gives an injunction to Archippus through the Colossians 4:17 . V. g.] The writings of the apostles were read in the public assembly, as those of the prophets formerly were: how much more ought it so to be left free to every individual to read them in private, as much as is requisite, so that it should not be granted only by a dispensation from the Pope! For it is more profitable often to read, what it is safe once to hear. Paul elsewhere mentions the bishops and deacons: Philippians 1:1 . Here he only names ἡγουμένους , them that rule the ministers: comp. 1Th 5:12 ; 1 Timothy 5:17 . He sends salutations to them all; for those to whom he writes were in many places. πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους , all the saints ) believers, especially Israelites.

Verse 25

Hebrews 13:25 . Ἡ χάρις , grace ) A small clause peculiar to Paul .

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Hebrews 13". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.