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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Hebrews 1

Verse 1


Both stages of the revelation were given by God.

At sundry times ( πολυμερῶς )

Rend. in many parts. N.T.oolxx, but πολυμερής Wisd. 7:22. In the first stage of his revelation, God spake, not at once, giving a complete revelation of his being and will; but in many separate revelations, each of which set forth only a portion of the truth. The truth as a whole never comes to light in the O.T. It appears fragmentarily, in successive acts, as the periods of the Patriarchs, Moses, the Kingdom, etc. One prophet has one, another element of the truth to proclaim.

In divers manners ( πολυτροπῶς )

Rend. in many ways. N.T.olxx, 4Macc. 3:21. This refers to the difference of the various revelations in contents and form. Not the different ways in which God imparted his revelations to the prophets, but the different ways in which he spoke by the prophets to the fathers: in one way through Moses, in another through Elijah, in others through Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc. At the founding of the Old Testament kingdom of God, the character of the revelation was elementary. Later it was of a character to appeal to a more matured spiritual sense, a deeper understanding and a higher conception of the law. The revelation differed according to the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of the covenant-people. Comp. Ephesians 3:10, the many-tinted wisdom of God, which is associated with this passage by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. i. 4,27). “Fitly, therefore, did the apostle call the wisdom of God many-tinted, as showing its power to benefit us in many parts and in many ways.”

Spake ( λαλήσας )

See on Matthew 28:18. Often in the Epistle of the announcement of the divine will by men, as Hebrews 7:14; Hebrews 9:19; by angels, as Hebrews 2:2; by God himself or Christ, as Hebrews 2:3; Hebrews 5:5; Hebrews 12:25. In Paul, almost always of men: once of Christ, 2 Corinthians 13:3; once of the Law, personified, Romans 3:9.

In time past ( πάλαι )

Better, of old. The time of the Old Testament revelation. It indicates a revelation, not only given, but completed in the past.

Unto the fathers ( τοῖς πατράσιν )

Thus absolutely, John 7:22; Romans 9:5; Romans 15:8. More commonly with your or our.

By the prophets ( ἐν τοῖς προφήταις )

Rend. “in the prophets,” which does not mean in the collection of prophetic writings, as John 6:45; Acts 13:40, but rather in the prophets themselves as the vessels of divine inspiration. God spake in them and from them. Thus Philo; “The prophet is an interpreter, echoing from within ( ἔνδοθεν ) the sayings of God” (De Praemiis et Poenis, § 9)

Verse 2

In these last times ( ἐπ ' ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων )

Lit. at the last of these days. The exact phrase only here; but comp 1 Peter 1:20and Judges 1:18. lxx, ἐπ ' ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν atthe last of the days, Numbers 24:14; Deuteronomy 4:30; Jeremiah 23:20; Jeremiah 25:18; Daniel 10:14. The writer conceives the history of the world in its relation to divine revelation as falling into two great periods. The first he calls αἱ ἡμέραι αὗται thesedays (Hebrews 1:2), and ὀ καιρὸς ὁ ἐνεστηκώς thepresent season (Hebrews 9:9). The second he describes as καιρὸς διορθώσεως theseason of reformation (Hebrews 9:10), which is ὀ καιρὸς ὁ μέλλων theseason to come: comp. ἡ οἰκουμένη ἡ μέλλουσα theworld to come (Hebrews 2:5); μέλλων αἰών theage to come (Hebrews 6:5); πόλις ἡ μέλλουσα thecity to come (Hebrews 12:14). The first period is the period of the old covenant; the second that of the new covenant. The second period does not begin with Christ's first appearing. His appearing and public ministry are at the end of the first period but still within it. The dividing-point between the two periods is the συντέλεια τοῦ αἰῶνος theconsummation of the age, mentioned in Hebrews 9:26. This does not mean the same thing as at the last of these days (Hebrews 1:2), which is the end of the first period denoted by these days, but the conclusion of the first and the beginning of the second period, at which Christ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. This is the end of the καιρὸς ἐνεστηκώς thepresent season: this is the limit of the validity of the old sacrificial offerings: this is the inauguration of the time of reformation. The phrase ἐπ ' ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων therefore signifies, in the last days of the first period, when Christ was speaking on earth, and before his crucifixion, which marked the beginning of the second period, the better age of the new covenant.

Hath spoken unto us ( ἐλάλησεν ἡμῖν )

Rend. spake, referring to the time of Christ's teaching in the flesh. To us God spake as to the fathers of old.

By his son ( ἐν υἱῷ )

Lit. in a son. Note the absence of the article. Attention is directed, not to Christ's divine personality, but to his filial relation. While the former revelation was given through a definite class, the prophets, the new revelation is given through one who is a son as distinguished from a prophet. He belongs to another category. The revelation was a son-revelation. See Hebrews 2:10-18. Christ's high priesthood is the central fact of the epistle, and his sonship is bound up with his priesthood. See Hebrews 5:5. For a similar use of υἱός sonwithout the article, applied to Christ, see Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 5:8; Hebrews 7:28.

Whom he hath appointed heir of all things ( ὃν ἔθηκεν κληρονόμον πάντων )

For ἔθηκεν appointedsee on John 15:16. For κληρονόμος heirsee on inheritance, 1 Peter 1:4; and comp. on Christ as heir, Mark 12:1-12. God eternally predestined the Son to be the possessor and sovereign of all things. Comp. Psalm 89:28. Heirship goes with sonship. See Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7. Christ attained the messianic lordship through incarnation. Something was acquired as the result of his incarnation which he did not possess before it, and could not have possessed without it. Equality with God was his birthright, but out of his human life, death, and resurrection came a type of sovereignty which could pertain to him only through his triumph over human sin in the flesh (see Hebrews 1:3), through his identification with men as their brother. Messianic lordship could not pertain to his preincarnate state: it is a matter of function, not of inherent power and majesty. He was essentially Son of God; he must become Son of man.

By whom also he made the worlds ( δι ' οὗ καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας )

Διὰ commonly expresses secondary agency, but, in some instances, it is used of God's direct agency. See 1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 4:7. Christ is here represented as a mediate agency in creation. The phrase is, clearly, colored by the Alexandrian conception, but differs from it in that Christ is not represented as a mere instrument, a passive tool, but rather as a cooperating agent. “Every being, to reach existence, must have passed through the thought and will of the Logos” (Godet); yet “the Son can do nothing of himself but what he seeth the Father doing” (John 5:19). With this passage Colossians 1:16should be studied. There it is said that all things, collectively ( τὰ πάντα ), were created in him ( ἐν αὐτῷ ) and through him ( δι ' αὐτοῦ as here). The former expression enlarges and completes the latter. Δι ' αὐτοῦ represents Christ as the mediate instrument. Ἐν αὐτῷ indicates that “all the laws and purposes which guide the creation and government of the universe reside in him, the Eternal Word, as their meeting-point.” Comp. John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6. For τοῦς αἰῶνας theworlds, see additional note on 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Rend. for by whom also he made, by whom he also made. The emphasis is on made, not on worlds: on the fact of creation, not on what was created. In the writer's thought heirship goes with creation. Christ is heir of what he made, and because he made it. As πάντων, in the preceding clause, regards all things taken singly, αἰῶνας regards them in cycles. Ἀιῶνας does not mean times, as if representing the Son as the creator of all time and times, but creation unfolded in time through successive aeons. All that, in successive periods of time, has come to pass, has come to pass through him. Comp. 1 Corinthians 10:11; Ephesians 3:21; Hebrews 9:26; 1 Timothy 1:17; lxx, Ecclesiastes href="/desk/?q=ec+3:11&sr=1">Ecclesiastes 3:11. See also Clement of Rome, Ad Corinth. xxxv, ὁ δημιουργὸς καὶ πατὴρ τῶν αἰώνων theCreator and Father of the ages. Besides this expression, the writer speaks of the world as κόσμος (Hebrews 4:3; Hebrews 10:5); ἡ οἰκουμένη (Hebrews 1:6), and τὰ πάντα (Hebrews 1:3).

Verse 3

Being ( ὢν )

Representing absolute being. See on John 1:1. Christ's absolute being is exhibited in two aspects, which follow:

The brightness of his glory ( ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ )

Of God's glory. For brightness rend. effulgence. Ἀπαύγασμα , N.T.olxx, only Wisd. 7:26. oClass. It is an Alexandrian word, and occurs in Philo. Interpretation is divided between effulgence and reflection. Effulgence or outraying accords better with the thought of the passage; for the writer is treating of the preincarnate Son; and, as Alford justly remarks, “the Son of God is, in this his essential majesty, the expression and the sole expression of the divine light; not, as in his incarnation, its reflection.” The consensus of the Greek fathers to this effect is of great weight. The meaning then is, that the Son is the outraying of the divine glory, exhibiting in himself the glory and majesty of the divine Being. “God lets his glory issue from himself, so that there arises thereby a light-being like himself” (Weiss). Δόξα gloryis the expression of the divine attributes collectively. It is the unfolded fullness of the divine perfections, differing from μορφὴ θεοῦ formof God (Philippians 2:6), in that μορφὴ is the immediate, proper, personal investiture of the divine essence. Δόξα isattached to deity. μορφὴ is identified with the inmost being of deity Δόξα is used of various visible displays of divine light and splendor, as Exodus 24:17; Deuteronomy 5:24; Exodus 40:34; Numbers 14:10; Numbers 16:19, Numbers 16:42; Ezekiel 10:4; Ezekiel 43:4, Ezekiel 43:5; Ezekiel 1:28, Ezekiel 3:23; Leviticus 9:23, etc. We come nearer to the sense of the word in this passage in the story of Moses's vision of the divine glory, Exodus 33:18-23; Exodus 34:5, Exodus 34:7.

The express image of his person ( χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ )

Rend the very image (or impress ) of his substance The primary sense of ὑπόστασις substanceis something which stands underneath; foundation, ground of hope or confidence, and so assurance itself. In a philosophical sense, substantial nature; the real nature of anything which underlies and supports its outward form and properties. In N.T., 2 Corinthians 9:4; 2 Corinthians 11:17, Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 11:1, signifying in every instance ground of confidence or confidence In lxx, it represents fifteen different words, and, in some cases, it is hard to understand its meaning notably 1 Samuel 13:21. In Rth 1:12, Psalm 37:8, Ezekiel 19:5, it means ground of hope: in Judges 6:4, Wisd. 16:21, sustenance in Psalm 38:5; Psalm 136:15, the substance or material of the human frame: in 1 Samuel 13:23; Ezekiel 26:11, an outpost or garrison: in Deuteronomy 11:6; Job 22:20, possessions. The theological sense, person, is later than the apostolic age. Here, substantial nature, essence. Χαρακτὴρ from χαράσσειν toengrave or inscribe, originally a graving-tool; also the die on which a device is cut. It seems to have lost that meaning, and always signifies the impression made by the die or graver. Hence, mark, stamp, as the image on a coin (so often) which indicates its nature and value, or the device impressed by a signet. N.T.olxx, Leviticus 13:28; Acts href="/desk/?q=ac+17:29&sr=1">Acts 17:29; Revelation 13:16, Revelation 13:17. Here the essential being of God is conceived as setting its distinctive stamp upon Christ, coming into definite and characteristic expression in his person, so that the Son bears the exact impress of the divine nature and character.

And upholding all things ( φέρων τε τὰ πάντα )

Rend. maintaining. Upholding conveys too much the idea of the passive support of a burden. “The Son is not an Atlas, sustaining the dead weight of the world” (quoted by Westcott). Neither is the sense that of ruling or guiding, as Philo (De Cherub. § 11), who describes the divine word as “the steersman and pilot of the all.” It implies sustaining, but also movement. It deals with a burden, not as a dead weight, but as in continual movement; as Weiss puts it, “with the all in all its changes and transformations throughout the aeons.” It is concerned, not only with sustaining the weight of the universe, but also with maintaining its coherence and carrying on its development. What is said of God, Colossians 1:17, is here said or implied of Christ: τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν allthings (collectively, the universe) consist or maintain their coherence in him. So the Logos is called by Philo the bond ( δεσμὸς ) of the universe; but the maintenance of the coherence implies the guidance and propulsion of all the parts to a definite end. All things ( τὰ πάντα ) collectively considered; the universe; all things in their unity. See Hebrews 2:10; Romans 8:32; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:16.

By the word of his power ( τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ )

The phrase N.T.obut comp Luke 1:37, and see note. The word is that in which the Son's power manifests itself. Ἀυτοῦ hisrefers to Christ. Nothing in the context suggests any other reference. The world was called into being by the word of God (Hebrews 11:3), and is maintained by him who is “the very image of God's substance.”

When he had by himself purged our sins ( καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος )

Omit by himself; yet a similar thought is implied in the middle voice, ποιησάμενος , which indicates that the work of purification was done by Christ personally, and was not something which he caused to be done by some other agent. Purged, lit. having made purification. The phrase N.T.olxx, Job 7:21. Καθαρισμός purificationoccurs in Mark, Luke John, 2nd Peter, oP., and only here in Hebrews. The verb καθαρίζειν topurify is not often used in N.T of cleansing from sin. See 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 John 1:7, 1 John 1:9. Of cleansing the conscience, Hebrews 9:14. Of cleansing meats and vessels, Matthew 23:25, Matthew 23:26, Mark 7:19, Acts 10:15; Acts 11:9. Of cleansing the heart, Acts 15:9. The meaning here is cleansing of sins. In the phrase “to cleanse from sin,” always with ἀπὸ fromIn carrying on all things toward their destined end of conformity to the divine archetype, the Son must confront and deal with the fact of sin, which had thrown the world into disorder, and drawn it out of God's order. In the thought of making purification of sins is already foreshadowed the work of Christ as high priest, which plays so prominent a part in the epistle.

Sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high ( ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς )

Comp. Psalm 110:1, Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2; Ephesians 1:20; Revelation 3:21. The verb denotes a solemn, formal act; the assumption of a position of dignity and authority The reference is to Christ's ascension. In his exalted state he will still be bearing on all things toward their consummation, still dealing with sin as the great high priest in the heavenly sanctuary. This is elaborated later. See Hebrews 8:1-13; Hebrews 9:12ff. Μεγαλωσύνη majestyonly here, Hebrews 8:1; Judges 1:25. Quite often in lxx. There is suggested, not a contrast with his humiliation, but his resumption of his original dignity, described in the former part of this verse. Ἐν ὑψηλοῖς , lit. in the high places. Const. with sat down, not with majesty. The phrase N.T.olxx, Psalm 92:4; Psalm 112:5. Ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις inthe highest (places ), in the Gospels, and only in doxologies. See Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:10; Luke 2:14. Ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις inthe heavenly (places ), only in Ephesians. See Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12.

Verse 4

d The detailed development of the argument is now introduced. The point is to show the superiority of the agent of the new dispensation to the agents of the old - the angels and Moses. Christ's superiority to the angels is first discussed.

Being made so much better than the angels ( τοσούτῳ κρείττων γενόμενος τῶν ἀγγέλων )

The informal and abrupt introduction of this topic goes to show that the writer was addressing Jewish Christians, who were familiar with the prominent part ascribed to angels in the O.T. economy, especially in the giving of the law. See on Galatians 3:9. For being made, rend. having become; which is to be taken in close connection with sat down, etc., and in contrast with ὢν being Hebrews 1:3. It is not denied that the Son was essentially and eternally superior to the angels; but his glorification was conditioned upon his fulfillment of the requirements of his human state, and it is this that is emphasized. After having passed through the experience described in Philippians 2:6-8, he sat down on the right hand of the divine majesty as messianic sovereign, and so became or proved to be what in reality he was from eternity, superior to the angels. Τοσούτῳ - ὅσῳ somuch - as. Never used by Paul. Κρείττων bettersuperior, rare in Paul, and always neuter and adverbial. In Hebrews thirteen times. See also 1 Peter 3:17; 2 Peter 2:21. Often in lxx. It does not indicate here moral excellence, but dignity and power. He became superior to the angels, resuming his preincarnate dignity, as he had been, for a brief period, less or lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:7). The superiority of Messiah to the angels was affirmed in rabbinical writings.

He hath by inheritance obtained ( κεκληρονόμηκεν )

More neatly, as Rev., hath inherited, as a son. See Hebrews 1:2, and comp. Romans 8:17. For the verb, see on Acts 13:19, and see on 1 Peter 1:4.

More excellent ( διαφορώτερον )

Διάφορος only once outside of Hebrews, Romans 12:6. The comparative only in Hebrews. In the sense of more excellent, only in later writers. Its earlier sense is different. The idea of difference is that which radically distinguishes it from κρείττων betterHere it presents the comparative of a comparative conception. The Son's name differs from that of the angels, and is more different for good.

Than they ( παρ ' αὐτοὺς )

Lit. beside or in comparison with them. Παρα , indicating comparison, occurs a few times in Luke, as Luke 3:13; Luke 13:2; Luke 18:4. In Hebrews always to mark comparison, except Hebrews 11:11, Hebrews 11:12.

Verse 5

d The writer proceeds to establish the superiority of the Son to the angels by O.T. testimony. It is a mode of argument which does not appeal strongly to us. Dr. Bruce suggests that there are evidences that the writer himself developed it perfunctorily and without much interest in it. The seven following quotations are intended to show the surpassing excellence of Christ's name as set forth in Scripture. The quotations present difficulty in that they appear, in great part, to be used in a sense and with an application different from those which they originally had. All that can be said is, that the writer takes these passages as messianic, and applies them accordingly; and that we must distinguish between the doctrine and the method of argumentation peculiar to the time and people. Certain passages in Paul are open to the same objection, as Galatians 3:16; Galatians 4:22-25.

To which ( τίνι )

Note the author's characteristic use of the question to express denial. Comp. Hebrews 1:14; Hebrews 2:3; Hebrews 3:17; Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 12:7.

First quotation from Psalm 2:7. The Psalm is addressed as a congratulatory ode to a king of Judah, declaring his coming triumph over the surrounding nations, and calling on them to render homage to the God of Israel. The king is called Son of Jahveh, and is said to be “begotten” on the day on which he is publicly recognized as king. Words of the same Psalm are quoted Acts 4:25, and these words Acts 13:33.

Thou art my Son

Note the emphatic position of υἱός sonSee on Hebrews 1:4. In the O.T. son is applied to angels collectively, but never individually. See Psalm 29:1; Psalm 89:6. Similarly, son is applied to the chosen nation, Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:1, but to no individual of the nation.

Have I begotten ( γεγέννηκα )

Recognized thee publicly as sovereign; established thee in an official sonship-relation. This official installation appears to have its N.T. counterpart in the resurrection of Christ. In Acts 13:33, this is distinctly asserted; and in Romans 1:4, Paul says that Christ was “powerfully declared” to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. Comp. Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5.

Second quotation, 2 Samuel 7:14. The reference is to Solomon. David proposes to build a temple. Nathan tells him that this shall be done by Solomon, whom Jahveh will adopt as his son. In 2 Corinthians 6:18, Paul applies the passage to followers of the Messiah, understanding the original as referring to all the spiritual children of David.

A father - a son ( εἰς πατέρα - εἰς υἱόν )

Lit. for or as a father - son. This usage of εἰς mostly in O.T. citations or established formulas. See Matthew 19:5; Luke 2:34; Acts 19:27; 1 Corinthians 4:3.

Verse 6

d Third quotation, marking the relation of angels to the Son.

And again, when he bringeth in, etc. ( ὅταν δὲ πάλιν εἰσαγάγῃ )

Const. again with bringeth in. “When he a second time bringeth the first-begotten into the world.” Referring to the second coming of Christ. Others explain again as introducing a new citation as in Hebrews 1:5; but this would require the reading πάλιν δὲ ὅταν andagain, when. In Hebrews, πάλιν , when joined to a verb, always means a second time. See Hebrews 5:12; Hebrews 6:1, Hebrews 6:2. It will be observed that in this verse, and in Hebrews 5:7, Hebrews 5:8, God is conceived as spoken of rather than as speaking; the subject of λέγει saithbeing indefinite. This mode of introducing citations differs from that of Paul. The author's conception of the inspiration of Scripture leads him to regard all utterances of Scripture, without regard to their connection, as distinct utterances of God, or the Holy Spirit, or the Son of God; whereas, by Paul, they are designated either as utterances of Scripture in general, or of individual writers. Very common in this Epistle are the expressions, “God saith, said, spake, testifieth,” or the like. See Hebrews 2:11, Hebrews 2:13; Hebrews 3:7; Hebrews 4:4, Hebrews 4:7; Hebrews 7:21; Hebrews 10:5, Hebrews 10:8, Hebrews 10:15, Hebrews 10:30. Comp. with these Romans 1:17; Romans 2:24; Romans 4:17; Romans 7:7; Romans 9:13; Romans 10:5, Romans 10:16, Romans 10:20, Romans 10:21; Romans 11:2. Ὅταν εἰσαγάγῃ wheneverhe shall have brought. The event is conceived as occurring at an indefinite time in the future, but is viewed as complete. Comp. John 16:4; Acts 24:22. This use of ὅταν with the aorist subjunctive never describes an event or series of events as completed in the past.

The first-begotten ( τὸν πρωτότοκον )

Mostly in Paul and Hebrews. Comp. Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15, Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5. Μονογενής only-begotten(John 1:14, John 1:18; John 3:16, John 3:18; 1 John 4:9, never by Paul) describes the unique relation of the Son to the Father in his divine nature: πρωτότοκος first-begottendescribes the relation of the risen Christ in his glorified humanity to man. The comparison implied in the word is not limited to angels. He is the first-born in relation to the creation, the dead, the new manhood, etc. See Colossians 1:15, Colossians 1:18. The rabbinical writers applied the title first-born even to God. Philo (De Confus. Ling. § 14) speaks of the Logos as πρωτόγονος or πρεσβύτατος thefirst-born or eldest son.

And let all the angels of God worship him ( καὶ προσκυνησάτωσαν αὐτῷ πάντες ἄγγελοι θεοῦ )

Προσκυνεῖν toworship mostly in the Gospels, Acts, and Apocrypha. In Paul only 1 Corinthians 14:25. Very often in lxx. Originally, to kiss the hand to: thence, to do homage to. Not necessarily of an act of religious reverence (see Matthew 9:18; Matthew 20:20), but often in N.T. in that sense. Usually translated worship, whether a religious sense is intended or not: see on Acts 10:25. The quotation is not found in the Hebrew of the O.T., but is cited literally from lxx, Deuteronomy 32:43. It appears substantially in Psalm 96:7. For the writer of Hebrews the lxx was Scripture, and is quoted throughout without regard to its correspondence with the Hebrew.

Verse 7

d Fourth quotation, Psalm 103:4, varies slightly from lxx in substituting a flame of fire for flaming fire.

Who maketh his angels spirits ( ὁ ποιῶν τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ πνεύματα )

For spirits rend. winds This meaning is supported by the context of the Psalm, and by John 3:8. Πνεῦμα often in this sense in Class. In lxx, 1 Kings 18:45; 1 Kings 19:11; 2 Kings 3:17; Job 1:19. Of breath in N.T., 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 11:11. In Hebrew, spirit and wind are synonymous. The thought is according to the rabbinical idea of the variableness of the angelic nature. Angels were supposed to live only as they ministered. Thus it was said: “God does with his angels whatever he will. When he wishes he makes them sitting: sometimes he makes them standing: sometimes he makes them winds, sometimes fire.” “The subjection of the angels is such that they must submit even to be changed into elements.” “The angel said to Manoah, 'I know not to the image of what I am made; for God changes us each hour: wherefore then dost thou ask my name? Sometimes he makes us fire, sometimes wind.”' The emphasis, therefore, is not on the fact that the angels are merely servants, but that their being is such that they are only what God makes them according to the needs of their service, and are, therefore, changeable, in contrast with the Son, who is ruler and unchangeable. There would be no pertinency in the statement that God makes his angels spirits, which goes without saying. The Rabbis conceived the angels as perishable. One of them is cited as saying, “Day by day the angels of service are created out of the fire. stream, and sing a song, and disappear, as is said in Lamentations 3:23, 'they are new every morning.'” For λειτουργοὺς ministerssee on ministration, Luke 1:23, and see on ministered, Acts 13:2.

Verse 8

d Fifth quotation, Psalm 45:7, Psalm 45:8. A nuptial ode addressed to an Israelitish king. The general sense is that the Messiah's kingdom is eternal and righteously administered.

Thy throne, O God ( ὁ θρόνος σου ὁ θεὸς )

I retain the vocative, although the translation of the Hebrew is doubtful. The following renderings have been proposed: “thy throne (which is a throne) of God”: “thy throne is (a throne) of God”: “God is thy throne.” Some suspect that the Hebrew text is defective.

Forever and ever ( εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος )

Lit. unto the aeon of the aeon. See additional note on 2 Thessalonians 1:9.

A sceptre of righteousness ( ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς εὐθύτητος )

Rend. the sceptre. The phrase N.T.oolxx. Ἐυθύτης , lit. straightness, N.T.oIt occurs in lxx.

Verse 9

Iniquity ( ἀνομίαν )

Lit. lawlessness.

Hath anointed ( ἔχρισεν )

See on Christ, Matthew 1:1. The ideas of the royal and the festive unction are combined. The thought includes the royal anointing and the fullness of blessing and festivity which attend the enthronement.

Oil of gladness ( ἔλαιον ἀγαλλιάσεως )

The phrase N.T.oolxx. Ἀγαλλίασις exultantjoy. Comp. Luke 1:44; Acts 2:46, and the verb ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι , Matthew 5:12; Luke 10:21, etc. The noun only here in Hebrews, and the verb does not occur.

Fellows ( μετόχους )

With exception of Luke 5:7, only in Hebrews. Lit. partakers. In the Psalm it is applied to other kings: here to angels.

Verse 10

d Sixth quotation (Hebrews 1:10-12), exhibiting the superior dignity of the Son as creator in contrast with the creature. Psalm 102:26-28. The Psalm declares the eternity of Jahveh.

And - in the beginning ( καὶ - κατ ' ἀρχάς )

And connects what follows with unto the Son he saith, etc., Hebrews 1:8. Κατ ' ἀρχὰς inthe beginning, N.T.oOften in Class., lxx only Psalm 119:152. The more usual formula is ἐν ἀρχῇ or ἀπ ' ἀρχῆς .

Hast laid the foundation ( ἐθεμελίωσας )

Only here in Hebrews. In Paul, Ephesians 3:18; Colossians 1:23.

Verse 11

They ( αὐτοὶ )

The heavens: not heaven and earth.

Remainest ( διαμένεις )

Note the present tense: not shalt remain. Permanency is the characteristic of God in the absolute and eternal present.

Verse 12

Vesture ( περιβόλαιον )

Only here and 1 Corinthians 11:5. From περιβάλλειν tothrow around: a wrapper, mantle.

Shalt thou fold them up ( ἑλίξεις αὐτούς )

Rather, roll them up. A scribal error for ἀλλάξεις shaltchange. After these words the lxx repeats ὡς ἱμάτιον asa garment from Hebrews 1:11.

Shall not fail ( οὐκ ἐκλείψουσιν )

Shall not be ended. With this exception the verb only in Luke's Gospel. See Luke 16:9; Luke 22:32; Luke 23:45. Very frequent in lxx.

Verse 13

d Seventh quotation, Hebrews href="/desk/?q=heb+1:3&sr=1">Hebrews 1:3, which marked the act of assuming the place.

On my right hand ( ἐκ δεξιῶν μοῦ )

Lit. “from my right hand.” The usual formula is ἐν δεξίᾳ . The genitive indicates moving from the right hand and taking the seat. The meaning is, “be associated with me in my royal dignity.” Comp. Daniel 7:13, Daniel 7:14, and the combination of the Psalm and Daniel in Christ's words, Mark 14:62. Comp. also Matthew 24:30; Acts 2:34; 1 Corinthians 15:25; 1 Peter 3:22.

Verse 14

Ministering spirits ( λειτουργικὰ πνεύματα )

Summing up the function of the angels as compared with Christ. Christ's is the highest dignity. He is co-ruler with God. The angels are servants appointed for service to God for the sake of ( διὰ ) the heirs of redemption. Λειτουργικὰ ministeringN.T.oSee on ministers, Hebrews 1:7.

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.