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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Hebrews 13

Verse 1

Brotherly love (φιλαδελφια). Late word from φιλαδελφος (1 Peter 3:8). See 1 Thessalonians 4:9. It is always in order in a church.

To show love unto strangers (της φιλοξενιας). Old word for hospitality, from φιλοξενος (1 Timothy 3:2), in N.T. only here and Romans 12:3. In genitive case with επιλανθανεσθε (present middle imperative, cf. Hebrews 6:10).

Have entertained angels unawares (ελαθον ξενισαντες αγγελους). Second aorist active indicative of λανθανω, old verb to escape notice and first aorist active participle of ξενιζω, old verb to entertain a guest (ξενος, stranger), according to a classic idiom seen with λανθανω, τυγχανω, φθανω, by which the chief idea is expressed by the participle (supplementary participle), here meaning, "some escaped notice when entertaining angels." The reference is to Hebrews 13:18; Hebrews 13:19 (Abraham and Sarah did this very thing).

Verse 2

As bound with them (ως συνδεδεμενο). Perfect passive participle of συνδεω, old verb, here only in N.T. For sympathy with prisoners see Hebrews 10:34.

As being yourselves also in the body (ως κα αυτο οντες εν σωματ). And so subject to evil treatment. See Hebrews 11:37 for κακουχεω and Hebrews 11:25 for συνκακουχεω.

Verse 4

Let marriage be (ο γαμος). No verb in the Greek. The copula can be supplied either εστιν (is) or εστω (let be, imperative).

Had in honour (τιμιος). Old adjective from τιμη (honour) as in Acts 5:34. Γαμος elsewhere in the N.T., means the wedding or wedding feast (Matthew 22:29; John 2:1).

Undefiled (αμιαντος). Old compound word (alpha privative and verbal of μιαινω, to defile), already in Hebrews 7:26. Μιαινω την κοιτην is a common expression for adultery.

Fornicators (πορνους). Unmarried and impure.

Adulterers (μοιχους). Impure married persons. God will judge both classes whether men do or not.

Verse 5

Be ye free from the love of money (αφιλαργυρος ο τροπος). No copula, but supply εστο: "Let your manner of life (τροπος, way, Matthew 23:37), be without love of money" (αφιλαργυρος, double compound), once found only in the N.T., here and 1 Timothy 3:3, but now several times--or the adverb αφιλαργυρως --in papyri and inscriptions (Deissmann, Light, etc., pp. 85f.). Alpha privative and φιλος and αργυρος. The N.T. is full of the peril of money on the character as modern life is also.

Content with such things as ye have (αρκουμενο τοις παρουσιν). Present passive participle of αρκεω, to suffice, to be content as in Luke 3:14. Cf. αυταρκης in Philippians 4:11. Here in the nominative plural with no substantive or pronoun (anacoluthon, as in 2 Corinthians 1:7) or the participle used as a principal verb as in Romans 12:16. "Contented with the present things" (τοις παρουσιν, associative instrumental case of τα παροντα, present active neuter plural participle of παρειμ, to be present or on hand).

For himself hath said (αυτος γαρ ειρηκεν). God himself as in Acts 20:33 of Christ. Perfect active indicative as in Hebrews 1:13; Hebrews 4:3; Hebrews 10:9. The quotation is a free paraphrase of Genesis 28:15; Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:5; 1 Chronicles 28:20. Philo (de Confus. Ling. 32) has it in this form, "a popular paraphrase" (Moffatt). Note the five negatives strengthening each other (ου μη with the second aorist active subjunctive ανω from ανιημ, to relate, as in Acts 16:26; ουδ' ου μη with second aorist active subjunctive εγκαταλιπω from εγκαταλειπω, to leave behind, as in Matthew 27:46; 2 Timothy 4:10). A noble promise in times of depression.

Verse 6

So that we say (ωστε ημας λεγειν). The usual construction (the infinitive) with ωστε in the Koine even when the idea is result instead of purpose. The accusative ημας is that of general reference.

With good courage (θαρρουντας). Present active participle of θαρρεω (Ionic and early Attic θαρσεω, Matthew 9:2) as in 2 Corinthians 5:6; 2 Corinthians 5:8. The accusative agreeing with ημας, "being of good courage." The quotation is from Psalms 118:6.

My helper (εμο βοηθος). "Helper to me" (ethical dative εμο). Βοηθος is old adjective (cf. βοηθεω, to help, Hebrews 2:18), often in LXX as substantive, here only in N.T.

I will not fear (ου φοβηθησομα). Volitive first future passive of φοβεομα.

Verse 7

Remember (μνημονευετε). Present active imperative of μνημονευω, old verb to be mindful of (from μνημων, mindful) with genitive (John 15:20) or accusative (Matthew 16:9). "Keep in mind." Cf. Hebrews 11:22.

Them that had the rule over you (των ηγουμενων υμων). Present middle participle of ηγεομα with genitive of the person (υμων) as in verses Hebrews 13:17; Hebrews 13:24. The author reminds them of the founders of their church in addition to the long list of heroes in chapter Hebrews 13:11. See a like exhortation to respect and follow their leaders in 1 Thessalonians 5:12. Few lessons are harder for the average Christian to learn, viz., good following.

The word of God (τον λογον του θεου). The preaching of these early disciples, apostles, and prophets (1 Corinthians 1:17).

And considering the issue of their life (ων αναθεωρουντες την εκβασιν της αναστροφης). No "and" in the Greek, but the relative ων (whose) in the genitive case after αναστροφης, "considering the issue of whose life." Present active participle of αναθεωρεω, late compound, to look up a subject, to investigate, to observe accurately, in N.T. only here and Acts 17:23. Εκβασις is an old word from εκβαινω, to go out (Hebrews 11:15, here only in N.T.), originally way out (1 Corinthians 10:13), but here (only other N.T. example) in sense of end or issue as in several papyri examples (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary).

Imitate their faith (μιμεισθε την πιστιν). Present middle imperative of μιμεομα, old verb (from μιμος, actor, mimic), in N.T. only here, 2 Thessalonians 3:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; 3 John 1:11. Keep on imitating the faith of the leaders.

Verse 8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and forever (Ιησους Χριστος εχθες κα σημερον ο αυτος κα εις τους αιωνας). There is no copula in the Greek. Vincent insists that εστιν be supplied between Ιησους and Χριστος, "Jesus is Christ," but it more naturally comes after Χριστος as the Revised Version has it. The old adverb εχθες is rare in the N.T. (John 4:52; Acts 7:28; Hebrews 13:8). Here it refers to the days of Christ's flesh (Hebrews 2:3; Hebrews 5:7) and to the recent work of the leaders (Hebrews 13:7). "Today" (σημερον, Hebrews 3:15) is the crisis which confronts them. "Forever" (εις τους αιωνας) is eternity as well as the Greek can say it. Jesus Christ is eternally "the same" (Hebrews 1:12) and the revelation of God in him (Hebrews 1:1) is final and never to be superseded or supplemented (Moffatt). Hence the peril of apostasy from the only hope of man.

Verse 9

Be not carried away (μη παραφερεσθε). Prohibition with μη and present passive imperative of παραφερω, old verb to lead along (Jude 1:12), to carry past (Mark 14:36), to lead astray as here.

By divers and strange teachings (διδαχαις ποικιλαις κα ξεναις). For ποικιλος (many coloured) see Hebrews 2:4. Ξενος for guest we have had in Hebrews 11:13, but here as adjective meaning unheard of (1 Peter 4:12) as in older Greek also. The new is not always wrong any more than the old is always right (Matthew 13:52). But the air was already full of new and strange teachings that fascinated many by their very novelty. The warning here is always needed. Cf. Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Timothy 3:16.

That the heart be established by grace (χαριτ βεβαιουσθα την καρδιαν). Present passive infinitive of βεβαιοω (from βαινω) to make stable with the instrumental case χαριτ (by grace) and the accusative of general reference (την καρδιαν). How true it is that in the atmosphere of so many windy theories only the heart is stable that has an experience of God's grace in Christ.

That occupied themselves (ο περιπατουντες). "That walked" in the ritualistic Jewish rules about meats.

Were not profited (ουκ ωφεληθησαν). First aorist passive indicative of ωφελεω, to help. Mere Jewish ceremonialism and ritualism failed to build up the spiritual life. It was sheer folly to give up Christ for Pharisaism or for Moses.

Verse 10

We have an altar (εχομεν θυσιαστηριον). We Christians have a spiritual altar (θυσιαστηριον), not a literal one (Hebrews 7:13). This metaphor is carried out.

Whereof (εξ ου). Our spiritual altar.

The tabernacle (τη σκηνη). Dative case with λατρευοντες (serve), σκηνη being used for "the whole ceremonial economy" (Vincent) of Judaism.

Verse 11

Of those beasts whose blood (ων ζωων το αιμα τουτων). The antecedent (ζωων) of ων is here incorporated and attracted into the case of the relative, "the blood of which beasts" and then τουτων (genitive demonstrative) is added, "of these." Cf. Leviticus 4:12; Leviticus 4:21; Leviticus 16:27 for the Old Testament ritual in such cases. This is the only example in the LXX or N.T. where ζωων (animal) is used of a sacrificial victim. See also Exodus 29:14; Exodus 32:26 for burning without the camp.

Verse 12

Wherefore Jesus also (διο κα Ιησους). The parallel is drawn between the O.T. ritual and the better sacrifice of Jesus already discussed (Hebrews 9:13-10). The purpose of Jesus is shown (ινα αγιαση, ινα and the first aorist active subjunctive of αγιαζω, to sanctify), the means employed (δια του ιδιου αιματος, by his own blood), the place of his suffering (επαθεν, as in Hebrews 5:8) is also given (εξω της πυλης, outside the gate, implied in John 19:17) which phrase corresponds to "outside the camp" of verse Hebrews 13:11.

Verse 13

Let us therefore go forth to him (τοινυν εξερχωμεθα προς αυτον). Inferential particle (τοι, νυν), usually post-positive (Luke 20:25; 1 Corinthians 9:26) only N.T. examples. Present middle volitive subjunctive of εξερχομα. "Let us keep on going out there to him." If a separation has to come between Judaism and Christianity, let us give up Judaism, and go out to Christ "outside the camp" and take our stand with him there on Golgotha, "bearing his reproach (τον ονειδισμον αυτου φεροντες) as Jesus himself endured the Cross despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2) and as Moses accepted "the reproach of the Messiah" (Hebrews 11:26) in his day. The only decent place for the follower of Christ is beside the Cross of Christ with the reproach and the power (Romans 8:1) in it. This is the great passionate plea of the whole Epistle.

Verse 14

An abiding city (μενουσαν πολιν). Jerusalem has lost its charm for followers of Christ. Vincent rightly argues that the Epistle must have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem else a reference to that event could hardly have been avoided here. We are now where Abraham was once (Hebrews 11:10).

Verse 15

Through him (δι' αυτου). That is Jesus. He is our Priest and Sacrifice, the only efficient and sufficient one.

Let us offer up (αναφερωμεν). Present active volitive subjunctive of αναφερω, "let us keep on offering up." Jesus is living and let us go to him.

A sacrifice of praise (θυσιαν αινεσεως). This phrase occurs in Leviticus 7:12; Psalms 54:8. The word αινεσις (from αινεω, to praise), common in LXX, is only here in N.T.

The fruit of lips (καρπον χειλεων). In apposition (τουτ 'εστιν) and explanation of θυσιαν αινεσεως. Cf. Hosea 14:3; Isaiah 57:19.

Which made confession to his name (ομολογουντων τω ονοματ αυτου). This use of ομολογεω with the dative in the sense of praise like εξομολογεω is unique, though the papyri furnish examples in the sense of gratitude (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary).

Verse 16

To do good (της ευποιιας). Genitive case. Late compound from ευποιος (ευποιεω), common in Epictetus, but here only in N.T., a doing good.

To communicate (κοινωνιας). Genitive case. See 2 Corinthians 9:13 for use for contribution, beneficence. Moffatt notes that the three great definitions of worship and religious service in the N.T. (here, Romans 12:1; James 1:27) are all inward and ethical.

Forget not (μη επιλανθανεσθε). Prohibition with μη and the present middle imperative of επιλανθανω (Hebrews 6:10; Hebrews 13:2). Here with the genitive case.

Is well pleased (ευαρεστειτα). Present passive indicative of ευαρεστεω (Hebrews 11:5). With the associative instrumental case θυσιαις (sacrifices).

Verse 17

Obey (πειθεσθε). Present middle imperative of πειθω with dative case.

Submit (υπεικετε). Present active imperative of υπεικω, old compound to yield under, to give up. Here only in N.T.

They watch (αγρυπνουσιν). Present active indicative of αγρυπνεω old verb (from αγρεω, to search, υπνος, sleep), to seek after sleep, to be sleepless, be watchful (Mark 13:33).

As they that shall give account (ως λογον αποδωσοντες). Regular Greek idiom with ως and the future participle. For λογον αποδιδωμ, to render account, see Matthew 12:36. These leaders as good shepherds recognize keenly their responsibility for the welfare of the flock.

And not with grief (κα μη στεναζοντες). "And not groaning" (cf. Romans 8:23).

Unprofitable (αλυσιτελες). Old double compound adjective (alpha privative and λυσιτελης and this from λυω, to pay, and τελος, tax, useful or profitable as Luke 17:2), not profitable, not advantageous, by litotes, hurtful, pernicious. Common rhetorical litotes, here only in N.T.

Verse 18

Honestly (καλως). Nobly, honourably. Apparently the writer is conscious that unworthy motives have been attributed to him. Cf. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Corinthians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 1:17.

Verse 19

That I may be restored to you the sooner (ινα ταχειον αποκατασταθω υμιν). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist passive subjunctive of αποκαθιστημ, an old double compound as in Matthew 12:13. What is meant by ταχειον (John 13:27; John 20:4) we do not know, possibly sickness. See verse Hebrews 13:23 also for ταχειον.

Verse 20

The God of peace (ο θεος της ειρηνης). God is the author and giver of peace, a Pauline phrase (6 times) as in 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

Who brought again from the dead (ο αναγαγων εκ νεκρων). Second aorist active articular participle of αναγω (cf. Romans 10:7), the only direct mention of the resurrection of Jesus in the Epistle, though implied often (Hebrews 1:3, etc.).

That great shepherd of the sheep (τον ποιμενα των προβατων τον μεγαν). This phrase occurs in Isaiah 63:11 except τον μεγαν which the author adds as in Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 10:21. So here, "the shepherd of the sheep the great one."

With the blood of the eternal covenant (εν αιματ διαθηκης αιωνιου). This language is from Zechariah 9:11. The language reminds us of Christ's own words in Mark 14:24 (Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25) about "my blood of the covenant."

Verse 21

Make you perfect (καταρτισα). First aorist active optative of καταρτιζω, to equip, as in Hebrews 10:5. A wish for the future. See 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11; 2 Timothy 3:17.

Working in us (ποιων εν εμιν). "Doing in us." Some MSS. read "in you."

Well-pleasing (ευαρεστον). Compound adjective (ευ, αρεστος). Usually with the dative (Romans 12:2), here with ενωπιον αυτου more like the Hebrew. This is one of the noblest doxologies in the N.T.

Verse 22

Bear with (ανεχεσθε). Present middle imperative (some MSS. have ανεχεσθα, infinitive) of ανεχω with the ablative, "hold yourselves back from" as in Colossians 3:13.

The word of exhortation (του λογου της παρακλησεως). His description of the entire Epistle. It certainly is that, a powerful appeal in fact.

I have written (επεστειλα). First aorist active indicative (epistolary aorist) of επιστελλω, old word to send a letter (επιστολη) as in Acts 15:20.

In few words (δια βραχεων). Common Greek idiom, here only in N.T. (from βραχυς, brief, short). Cf. δι' ολιγων εγραψα in 1 Peter 5:12.

Verse 23

Hath been set at liberty (απολελυμενον). Perfect passive participle of απολυω, to set free, in indirect discourse after γινωσκετε. Possibly from prison if he came to Rome at Paul's request (2 Timothy 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:21).

Shortly (ταχειον). Same comparative as in verse Hebrews 13:19, "sooner" than I expect (?).

Verse 24

They of Italy (ο απο της Ιταλιας). Either those with the author in Italy or those who have come from Italy to the author outside of Italy.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Hebrews 13". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/hebrews-13.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.