Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 5

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

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Verses 1-10

Hebrews 5:1-10 . The writer now approaches his main argument, that Christ is our all-sufficient High Priest. But before considering in detail the nature of Christ’ s priestly ministry, he shows that He possesses in a supreme degree the two fundamental attributes of a High Priest. Since the duty of a High Priest is to act as mediator between God and man, he must, in the first place, be Divinely appointed ( Hebrews 5:1), not arrogating the office to himself, but selected by God as His representative. In the second place, he must be taken from among men, and so be capable of a fellow-feeling with erring human nature ( Hebrews 5:2). This second qualification is recognised in the Levitical law which requires him to offer sacrifice for himself as well as for the people ( Hebrews 5:3). The first one— that he should be appointed by God— finds expression in the law that he must be descended from the chosen stock of Aaron ( Hebrews 5:4). It has been shown already that Christ, who shared our human weakness, possesses the one attribute of a High Priest; He also partakes of the other. For He was declared by God Himself to be His Son, so that all presumption on His own part is out of the question; and though not of the stock of Aaron, He belonged to a higher order of priesthood, the true significance of which is presently to be set forth ( Hebrews 5:5 f., the quotations are taken from Psalms 2:7; Psalms 110:4). How little His priesthood had to do with any arrogant claim of His own is evident from His earthly life, and especially from His agony in Gethsemane. In the light of that episode we can see how He was inspired solely by a spirit of absolute obedience. He prayed to God, who was able to deliver Him from death, and His prayer was heard; yet He submitted His will to God’ s will. Although Son of God, He endured the appointed suffering, and so disciplined Himself to full obedience, with the result that He became a perfect High Priest, the mediator of a perfect salvation. His calling was wholly of God, who made Him a unique High Priest, of the order of Melchizedek ( Hebrews 5:7-10).

Hebrews 5:7 . heard for his godly fear: another interpretation is possible, “ He was heard so as to be delivered from His fear”— i.e. God so far granted His prayer as to free Him from the fear of death, though not from death itself. But the translation of the RV is more in keeping with the thought of the passage. He was heard because He put the will of God before His own It seems to be suggested that an escape from death was offered Him in answer to His prayer, but that He refused it and chose the way of obedience.

With the words “ a priest after the order of Melchizedek” the writer at last reaches his main theme; but he pauses before commencing it in order to make room for a solemn admonition ( Hebrews 5:11 to Hebrews 6:20). He asks himself whether his readers will be able to understand the high spiritual doctrine which he proposes to impart to them. In spite of the long period that has elapsed since their conversion they are still backward, in need of instruction in the mere elements of religious truth ( Hebrews 5:12). Those who are still children in regard to things Divine can make nothing of the profounder Christian teaching. It makes its appeal to those whose higher perceptions have been fully awakened by diligent use ( Hebrews 5:14).

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Hebrews 5". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.