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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Hebrews 12

Verse 1

Therefore [τοιγαρουν] . An emphatic particle, strongly affirming the facts on which the following exhortation is based.

We also are compassed [και ημεις] . According to this the sense would be, those described in ch. 11 were compassed with a cloud of witnesses, and we also are so compassed. Wrong. The we also should be construed with let us run. "Therefore let us also (as they did) run our appointed race with patience."

Seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses [τοσουτον εχοντες περικειμενον ημιν νεφος μαρτυρων] . Lit. having so great a cloud of witnesses lying around us. Nefov cloud, N. T. o, means a great mass of cloud covering the entire visible space of the heavens, and therefore without definite form, or a single large mass in which definite outlines are not emphasized or distinguished. It thus differs from nefelh, which is a detached and sharply outlined cloud. Nefov is therefore more appropriate to the author 's image, which is that of a vast encompassing and overhanging mass. The use of cloud for a mass of living beings is familiar in poetry. Thus Homer, a cloud of footmen (Il 23:138) : of Trojans (Il 16:66). Themistocles, addressing the Athenians, says of the host of Xerxes, "we have had the fortune to save both ourselves and Greece by repelling so great a cloud of men" (Hdt. 8 109). Spenser, F. Q. 1 1, 23 "A cloud of cumbrous gnattes doe him molest."

Milton, Par 50 1 340 :

"A pitchy cloud of locusts."

Witnesses [μαρτυρων] does not mean spectators, but those who have born witness to the truth, as those enumerated in ch. 11. Yet the idea of spectators is implied, and is really the principal idea. The writer's picture is that of an arena in which the Christians whom he addresses are contending in a race, while the vast host of the heroes of faith who, after having born witness to the truth, have entered into their heavenly rests watches the contest from the encircling tiers of the arena, compassing and overhanging it like a cloud, filled with lively interest and sympathy, and lending heavenly aid. How striking the contrast of this conception with that of Kaulbach's familiar "Battle of the Huns," in which the slain warriors are depicted rising from the field and renewing the fight in the upper air with aggravated fury.

Weight [ογκον] . N. T. o, o LXX Lit. bulk, mass. Often in Class.

Sometimes metaphorically of a person, dignity, importance, pretension : of a writer's style, loftiness, majesty, impressiveness. Rend. "encumbrance," according to the figure of the racer who puts away everything which may hinder his running. So the readers are exhorted to lay aside every worldly hindrance or embarrassment to their Christian career.

And the sin which doth so easily beset [και την ευπεριστατον αμαρτιαν] . Kai adds to the general encumbrance a specific encumbrance or hindrance. Euperistatov N. T. o, o LXX, o Class. From euj readily, deftly, cleverly, and periistasqai to place itself round. Hence, of a sin which readily or easily encircles and entangles the Christian runner, like a long, loose robe clinging to his limbs. Beset is a good rendering, meaning to surround. In earlier English especially of surrounding crowns, etc., with jewels. So Gower, Conf. Amos 1:12 Amos 1:7.

"With golde and riche stones beset." Shakespeare, Two Gent. Ver 5 3 : "The thicket is beset; he cannot 'scape."

The sin may be any evil propensity. The sin of unbelief naturally suggests itself here.

With patience [δι υπομονης] . Upomonh includes both passive endurance and active persistence. See on 2 Peter 1:6, and James 5:7. For this use of dij with, see on ch. Hebrews 9:11.

The race [τον αγωνα] . Instead of a specific word for race [δρομος] , the general term contest is used. For prokeimenon set before, see on ch. Hebrews 6:18.

Verse 2

Looking [αφορωντες] . Only here and Philippians 2:28. In LXX see 4 Macc. 17 10. Looking away from everything which may distract. Comp. Philippians 3:13, Philippians 3:14, and ajpeblepen he had respect, lit. looked away, Hebrews 11:26. Wetstein cites Arrian, Epictet. 2 19, 29 eijv ton Qeon ajforwntev ejn panti mikrw kai megalw looking away unto God in everything small and great.

Jesus. Having presented a long catalogue of witnesses under the old covenant, he now presents Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and the supreme witness. See Revelation 1:5; Revelation 3:14; 1 Timothy 6:13. The author and finisher of our faith [τον της πιστεως αρχηγον και τελειωτην] . The A. V. is misleading, and narrows the scope of the passage. For author, rend. leader or captain, and see on ch. Hebrews 2:10. For finisher, rend. perfecter. For our faith, rend. faith or the faith. Not our Christian faith, but faith absolutely, as exhibited in the whole range of believers from Abel to Christ. Christ cannot be called the author or originator of faith, since the faith here treated existed and worked before Christ. Christ is the leader or captain of faith, in that he is the perfecter of faith. In himself he furnished the perfect development, the supreme example of faith, and in virtue of this he is the leader of the whole believing host in all time. Notice the recurrence of the favorite idea of perfecting. Comp. ch. Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 6:1; Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 7:19, Hebrews 7:28; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:1, Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 11:40. Teleiwthv perfecter, N. T. o, ?LXX, o Class.

For the joy that was set before him [αντι της προκειμενης αυτω χαρας] . Anti in its usual sense, in exchange for. Prokeimenhv lying before, present. The joy was the full, divine beatitude of his preincarnate life in the bosom of the Father; the glory which he had with God before the world was. In exchange for this he accepted the cross and the blame. The contrast is designed between the struggle which, for the present, is alone set before the readers (ver. 1), and the joy which was already present to Christ. The heroic character of his faith appears in his renouncing a joy already in possession in exchange for shame and death. The passage thus falls in with Philippians 2:6-8.

The cross [σταυρον] . Comp. Philippians 2:8. o LXX Originally an upright stake or pale. Stauroun to drive down a stake; to crucify. Comp. the use of xulon wood or tree for the cross, Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39; 1 Peter 2:24. See on Luke 23:31.

The shame [αισχυνης] . Attendant upon a malefactor 's death.

Is set down, etc. See ch : Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 1:13; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12. Notice the tenses : endured, aorist, completed : hath sat down, perfect, he remains seated and reigning.

Verse 3

For consider [αναλογισασθε γαρ] . Gar for introduces the reason for the exhortation to look unto Jesus. Look unto him, for a comparison with him will show you how much more he had to endure than you have. Analogizesqai N. T. o. Comp. 3 Macc. 7 7. It means to reckon up; to consider in the way of comparison.

Contradiction of sinners [υπο των αμαρτωλων αντιλογιαν] .

Contradiction or gainsaying. See on ch. Hebrews 6:16, and comp. ch. Hebrews 7:7. See on gainsaying, Jude 1:11. Of sinners, uJpo by, at the hands of.

Against himself [εις εαυτους] . According to this text we should render "against themselves." Comp. Numbers 16:38. The explanation will then be that Christ endured the gainsaying of sinners, who, in opposing him, were enemies of their own souls. The reading eJautouv however, is doubtful, and both Tischendorf and Weiss read eJauton himself, which I prefer. Lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds [ινα μη καμητε ταις ψυχαις υμων εκλυομενοι] . Rend. "that ye be not weary, fainting in your minds." 'Ekluein is to loosen, hence, to relax, exhaust. So often in LXX See Deuteronomy 20:3; Jude 1:8:15; 1 Samuel 14:28. Comp. Matthew 14:32; Mark 8:3; Galatians 6:9.

Verse 4

Unto blood [μεχρις αιματος] . Your strife against sin has not entailed the shedding of your blood, as did that of many of the O. T. worthies, and of Jesus himself. See ch. Hebrews 11:35, Hebrews 11:37. Of Jesus it is said, Philippians 2:8, " he became obedient to the extent of death [μεχρι θανατου] . Comp. 2 Macc. 13 14.

Striving against sin [προς την αμαρτιαν ανταγωνιζομενοι] . The verb N. T. o. LXX, 4 Macc. 17 14. Sin is personified.

Verse 5

Ye have forgotten [εκλελησθε] . N. T. o. Common in Class., o LXX The simple verb lanqanein means to escape notice; to be unseen or unknown. Middle and passive, to let a thing escape; forget. Some render interrogatively, "have ye forgotten?" Speaketh unto you [υμιν διαλεγεται] . The verb always in the sense of mutual converse or discussion. See Mark 9:34; Acts 17:2; Acts 18:19. Rend. "reasoneth with you."

My son, etc. From Proverbs 3:11, Proverbs 3:12. Comp. Job 5:17.

Despise not [μη ολιγωρει] . N. T. o. LXX only in this passage. Quite often in Class. It means to make little of [ολιγος] .

Chastening [παιδειας] . Mostly in Hebrews See on Ephesians 6:4, and 2 Timothy 3:16.

Verse 6

He chasteneth [παιδευει] . See on Luke 23:16.

Scourgeth [μαστιγοι] . Not very common, but found in all the four Gospels. Hebrews only here. Quite often in LXX

Receiveth [παραδεχεται] . Admits to filial privileges : acknowledges as his own. Of receiving the word of God, Mark 4:20 : of receiving delegates from a body, Acts 14:4 : of adopting or approving customs, Acts 16:21.

Verse 7

If ye endure chastening [εις παιδειαν υπομενετε] . Rend. "it is for chastening that ye endure." A. V. follows the reading of T. R. eij if. Do not faint at affliction. Its purpose is disciplinary. Paideia is here the end or result of discipline. In ver. 5 it is the process.

God dealeth with you as with sons [ως υιοις υμιν προσφερεται ο θεος] . The verb means to bring to : often to bring an offering to the altar, as Matthew 5:23, Matthew 5:24; Matthew 8:4. In the passive voice with the dative, to be born toward one; hence, to attack, assail, deal with, behave toward. See Thucyd. 1 140; Eurip. Cycl. 176; Hdt 7:6. The afflictive dealing of God with you is an evidence that you are sons.

What son is he whom the father, etc. [τις υιος] . Some interpreters render, "who is a son whom the father ?" etc. That is, no one is a son who is without paternal chastening. The A. V. is better. The idea expressed by the other rendering appears in the next verse.

Verse 8

Of which all are partakers [ης μετοχοι γεγονασι παντες] . Rend. "of which all have been made partakers." For metocoi partakers see on ch. Hebrews 3:14. All, that is, all sons of God.

Bastards [νοθοι] . N. T. o. See Wisd. 4 3. They might think that they would not suffer if they were really God 's sons; whereas the reverse is the case. If they did not suffer, they would not be God 's sons.

Verse 9

Furthermore [ειτα] . Everywhere else in N. T. this particle marks a succession of time or incident. See Mark 4:17; Mark 8:25; Luke 8:12; 1 Corinthians 14:5, 1 Corinthians 14:7. Here it introduces a new phase of the subject under discussion.

Fathers of our flesh [τους μεν της σαρκος ημων πατερας] . Up to this point the suffering of Christians has been explained by God 's fatherly relation to them. Now the emphatic point is that their fathers, with whom God is compared, were only earthly, human parents. The phrase paterav thv sarkov N. T. o, but kindred expressions are found Romans 4:1, Romans 9:3; Galatians 4:29; Hebrews 2:14.

Which corrected [παιδευτας] . Lit. "we have had fathers of our flesh as chasteners." Only here and Romans 2:20. In LXX, Sir. 37 19; Hosea 5:2; Hosea 4:0 Macc. 5 34; 9 6.

Shall we not much rather be in subjection [ου πολυ μαλλον υποταγησομεθα] . The comparison is between the respect paid to a fallible, human parent, which may grow out of the natural relation, or may be due to fear, and the complete subjection to the divine Father.

To the Father of spirits [τω πατρι των πνευματων] . Contrasted with fathers of the flesh. Their relation to us is limited; his is universal. They are related to us on the fleshly side; he is the creator of our essential life. Our relation to him is on the side of our eternal being. Comp. John 4:23, John 4:24; Zechariah 12:1; Isaiah 57:16. The phrase N. T. o. Comp. LXX, Numbers 16:22; Numbers 27:16; Revelation 22:6. Clement of Rome styles God the benefactor [ευεργετης] of spirits, the creator and overseer [κτιστης, επισκοπος] of every spirit, and the Lord [δεσποτης] of spirits. Ad Corinth. 59, 64. And live [και ζησομεν] . Have true life; not limited to the future life. Comp. John 5:26; John 6:57; 1 John 5:11; Revelation 11:11; Acts 16:28; Romans 6:11; Romans 14:8; 1 John 4:9, and see on living God, Hebrews 3:12.

Verse 10

Much difficulty and confusion have attached to the interpretation of this verse, growing out of :

(a) the relations of the several clauses;

(b) the meaning of for a few days, and how much is covered by it. The difficulties have been aggravated by the determination of commentators to treat the verse by itself, confining the relation of its clauses within its own limits, attempting to throw them into pairs, in which attempt none of them have succeeded, and entirely overlooking relations to the preceding verse.

For a few days [προς ολιγας ημερας] . This clause is directly related to be in subjection to the father of spirits and live, and points a contrast. On the one hand, subjection to the Father of spirits, the source of all life, has an eternal significance. Subjection to his fatherly discipline means, not only the everlasting life of the future, but present life, eternal in quality, developed even while the discipline is in progress. Subjection to the Father of spirits and life go together. On the other hand, the discipline of the human father is brief in duration, and its significance is confined to the present life. In other words, the offset to for a few days is in ver. 9. To read for a few days into the two latter clauses of the verse which describes the heavenly discipline, and to say that both the chastening of the earthly and of the heavenly father are of brief duration, is to introduce abruptly into a sharp contrast between the two disciplines a point of resemblance. The dominant idea in prov is not mere duration, but duration as related to significance : that is to say, "for a few days" means, during just that space of time in which the chastisement had force and meaning. See, for instances, Luke 8:13; John 5:35; 1 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 7:8. The few days can scarcely refer to the whole lifetime, since, even from the ancient point of view of the continuance of parental authority, parental discipline is not applied throughout the lifetime. It signifies rather the brief period of childhood and youth.

After their own pleasure [κατα το δοκουν αυτοις] . Better, as seemed good to them. The aujtoiv has a slightly emphatic force, as contrasted with a higher intelligence. The thought links itself with paideutav in ver. 9, and is explained by as seemed good to them, and is placed in contrast with subjection to the Father of spirits. The human parents were shortsighted, fallible, sometimes moved by passion rather than by sound judgment, and, therefore, often mistaken in their disciplinary methods. What seemed good to them was not always best for us. No such possibility of error attaches to the Father of spirits.

But he for our profit [ο δε επι το συμφερον] . The contrast is with what is implied in as seemed good to them. The human parent may not have dealt with us to our profit. Sumferein means to bring together : to collect or contribute in order to help : hence, to help or be profitable. Often impersonally, sumferei it is expedient, as Matthew 5:29; Matthew 18:6; John 11:50. The neuter participle, as here, advantage, profit, 1 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Corinthians 2:0 Cor. xii. There is a backward reference to live, ver. 9, the result of subjection to the Father of spirits; and this is expanded and defined in the final clause, namely :

That we might be partakers of his holiness [εις το μεταλαβειν της αγιοτητος αυτου] . Lit. unto the partaking of his holiness. Eiv marks the final purpose of chastening. Holiness is life. Shall we not be subject to the Father of spirits and live ? For, in contrast with the temporary, faultful chastening of the human parent, which, at best, prepares for work and success in time and in worldly things, his chastening results in holiness and eternal life.

Verse 11

No chastening for the present seemeth [πασα μεν παιδεια προς μεν το παρον ου δοκει] . Lit. all chastening - doth not seem. Pasa of all sorts, divine and human. The A. V., by joining ouj not to pasa all, and rendering no chastisement, weakens the emphasis on the idea every kind of chastisement. Prov men to paron for the present. For the force of prov see on ver. 10. Not merely during the present, but for the present regarded as the time in which its application is necessary and salutary. Men indicates that the suffering present is to be offset by a fruitful future - but [δε] afterward.

To be joyous but grievous [χαρας ειναι αλλα λυπης] . Lit. to be of joy but of grief.

It yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness [καρπον ειρηνικον αποδιδωσιν δικαιοσυνης] . Perhaps with a suggestion of recompense for the long - suffering and waiting, since ajpodidonai often signifies "to give back." The phrase ajpodidonai karpon only here and Revelation 22:2. Karpon fruit with didonai to give, Matthew 13:8; Mark 4:8 : with poiein to make or produce, often in Synoptic Gospels, as Matthew 3:8, Matthew 3:10; Matthew 7:17; Luke 3:8; Luke 6:43, etc. : with ferein to bear, always and only in John, John 12:24; John 14:2, John 14:4, John 14:5, John 14:8, John 16:0 with blastanein to bring forth, James 5:18. Eirhnikov peaceable, in N. T. Only here and James 3:17, as an epithet of wisdom. Quite often in LXX of men, the heart, especially of words and sacrifices. The phrase karpov eijrhnikov peaceable fruit (omit the), N. T. o, o LXX The phrase fruit of righteousness, Philippians 1:11; James 3:18, and LXX, Proverbs 3:9; Proverbs 11:30; Proverbs 13:2; Amos 6:13 : comp. Psalms 1:3; Psalms 57:11. The genitive of righteousness is explicative or appositional; fruit which consists in righteousness or is righteousness.

Unto them which are exercised thereby [τοις δι αυτης γεγυμνασμενοις] . Who have been subjected to the severe discipline of suffering, and have patiently undergone it. For the verb see on 1 Timothy 4:7. Rend. "it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness." This preserves the Greek order, and puts righteousness in its proper, emphatic position.

Verse 12

Wherefore [διο] . Because chastening is thus necessary, and serves for wholesome discipline, and issues in holiness..

Lift up [ανορθωσατε] . Found in Luke 13:13; Acts 14:16 [χιτν] . Occasionally in LXX It signifies to set up, make, erect. In O. T. to establish, as a throne (2 Samuel 7:13, 2 Samuel 7:16); a house (2 Samuel 7:26; 1 Chronicles 17:24); to raise up one who is down (Psalms 145:9; Sir. 11 12). In Acts 14:16, to build anew. By medical writers, to straighten; to set dislocated parts of the body. See Luke 13:13. Luke 13:23 Luke 13:8 The translation here should be more general : not lift up, which is inappropriate to paralyzed knees, but set right; brace. As falling in with the thought of this passage, comp. the LXX of Psalms 17:35, which, for the A. V. "thy gentleness hath made me great," gives "thy discipline hath established me or set me up." See also Psalms 19:8.

The hands which hang down [τας παρειμενας χειρας] . Rend. the slackened or weakened hands. Comp. Isaiah 35:3; Sir. 25 23; 2 Samuel 4:1. The verb parienai (only here and Luke 11:42) originally means to let pass, disregard, neglect; thence to relax, loosen. See Clem. Rom. Ad Corinth. 34, who associates it with nwqrov slothful (comp. Hebrews 5:11).

And the feeble knees [και τα παραλελυμενα γονατα] . For feeble rend. palsied. See on Luke 5:18.

Verse 13

Make straight paths for your feet [τροχιας ορθας ποιειτε τοις ποσιν υμων] . After the LXX of Proverbs 4:26. The corresponding Hebrew means to tear, to cut into : hence to cut through as a path; to make firm or plain. Orqov N. T. Only here and Acts 14:10; commonly straight or upright, but also right, safe, happy. Comp. Proverbs 8:6; Proverbs 14:14; Proverbs 21:8. here, not in the sense of straight as distinguished from crooked, but more generally, right, plain, by implication even or smooth. 239 Trocia N. T. o is literally a wheel - track (trocov a wheel). Very rare in profane Greek. Toiv posin uJmwn "for your feet," not with. That is, exert yourselves to make the course clear for yourselves and your fellow Christians, so that there be no stumbling and laming.

That which is lame [το χωλον] . Cwlov lame, halting, only in Synoptic Gospels and Acts. Mostly in the literal sense. Proverbial in Isaiah 33:23. Metaphorically here, and partly Matthew 18:8; Mark 9:45. The verb cwlainein to be lame or to make lame (not in N. T.) is used metaphorically in LXX, Psalms 18:45; 1 Kings 18:21, where the A. V. "how long halt ye between two opinions" is ewv pote ujmeiv cwlaneite ejp' ajmfoteraiv taiv ijgnuaiv how long do ye go lame on both your hams? To cwlon here signifies the lame part or limb.

Be turned out of the way [εκτραπη] . Rend. "be put out of joint." The A. V. is according to the more usual meaning of the verb, which, in N. T., is confined, with this exception, to the Pastoral Epistles. See 1 Timothy 1:6; 1 Timothy 5:15; 2 Timothy 4:4. LXX only Amos 5:8. But it is also used by medical writers in the passive, with the meaning to be wrenched or dislocated. 240 There is nothing strange in the use of this word in a medical sense by our writer, whose work bears the stamp of Alexandria. The Greeks received their knowledge of surgery from the Egyptians, and mural paintings and documents, and even hieroglyphic symbols, prove that that people had attained remarkable proficiency in the science. Herodotus (ch. 3 131) mentions a medical school at Cyrene in Africa, and says that the pupils of that school were regarded as the second best physicians in all Greece. At the time of Galen (163 A. D.) the medical school of Alexandria was the most famous in the world, and Galen himself studied there. Celsus (first half of the first century A. D.), in the 7th book of his treatise De Artibius, treats of surgical operations according to the views of the Alexandrian schools. The commonly accepted rendering of the A. V., besides giving a conception which is very tame, presents two incongruities : the association of going astray with lameness, and of healing with straying. The other rendering gives a lively and consistent image. Make the paths smooth and even, so that the lame limb be not dislocated by stones or pitfalls. Do everything to avoid aggravating the weakness of a fellow - Christian. Rather try to heal it. To cwlon may refer either to an individual or to a section of the church which is weak and vacillating.

Verse 14

Follow peace [ειρηνην διωκετε] . Comp. LXX, Psalms 23:14, and Romans 14:19; 1 Peter 3:11. The verb is used of the pursuit of moral and spiritual ends, Romans 9:30, Romans 9:31; Romans 12:13; 1 Corinthians 14:1; Philippians 3:12, Philippians 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22. Holiness [αγιασμον] . See on Romans 6:19.

Verse 15

Looking diligently [επισκοπουντες] . A. V. gives diligently as the force of ejpi; but ejpi signifies direction rather than intensity. The idea is exercising oversight. Only here and 1 Peter 5:2.

Fail of [υστερων απο] . Rend. "fall back from," implying a previous attainment. The present participle marks something in progress : "lest any one be falling back."

Root of bitterness [ριζα πικριας] . From LXX, Deuteronomy 29:18. A bad man in the church. Riza of a person, 1 Macc. 1 10.

Springing up [ανω φυουσα] . The participle pictures the springing up in progress; the root gradually revealing its pernicious character.

Trouble [ενοχλη] . Only here and Luke 6:18, see note.

Many be defiled (mianqwsin oiJ polloi). Rend. "the many" : the majority of the church. For the verb see on John 18:28.

Verse 16

Fornicator [πορνος] . In the literal sense, as always in N. T. Profane person [βεβηλος] . See on 1 Timothy 1:9.

As Esau. Only the epithet profane is applied to Esau, not fornicator. For one morsel of meat [αντι βρωσεως μιας] . Brwsiv, lit. the act of eating, as 1 Corinthians 8:4, Romans 14:17 : "one eating of meat." Sometimes corrosion, as Matthew 6:19. Sometimes of that which is eaten, John 6:27, John 6:55.

Sold [απεδετο] . The word occurs in the narrative of Genesis 25:31, Genesis 25:33, LXX In N. T. often of discharging an obligation; paying back. To sell, Acts 5:8; Acts 7:9.

His birthright [τα πρωτοτοκια] . N. T. o, o Class. In this form only in the later Greek translations of the O. T. Prwtotokeion, a very few times, almost all in this narrative.

Verse 17

He found no place of repentance [μετανοιας γαρ τοπον ουχ ευρεν] . The phrase place of repentance N. T. o. This does not mean that Esau was rendered incapable of repentance, which is clearly contradicted by what follows; nor that he was not able to persuade Isaac to change his mind and to recall the blessing already bestowed on Jacob and give it to him. This is unnatural, forced, and highly improbable. The words place of repentance mean an opportunity to repair by repenting. He found no way to reverse by repentance what he had done. The penalty could not be reversed in the nature of the case. This is clear from Isaac 's words, Genesis 27:33.

Sought it carefully [εκζητησας] . See on 1 Peter 1:10. Comp. Hebrews 11:6. See also on questionings, 1 Timothy 1:4.

Verse 18

Following this allusion to Esau, and perhaps suggested by it, is a passage setting forth the privileges of the Christian birthright and of Christian citizenship in contrast with those under the old covenant. The mount that might be touched and that burned with fire [ψηλαφωμενω και κεκαυμενω πυρι] . Orei mount is omitted by the best texts, but should be understood. 241 Yhlafan is rare in N. T. and LXX; fairly frequent in Class. Radically, it is akin to yan, to rub, wipe; hence feeling on the surface, as Genesis 27:12, Genesis 27:21, Genesis 27:22, LXX : a touch which communicates only a superficial effect. It need not imply contact with an object at all, but simply the movement of the hands feeling after something. Hence often of the groping of the blind, as Deuteronomy 28:29; Isaiah 59:10; Job 5:14. Appropriate here as indicating mere superficial contact. The present participle that is being touched, means simply that the mountain was something material and tangible. The A. V. which might be touched, although not literally correct, conveys the true sense.

That burned with fire [κεκαυμενω πυρι] . See Exodus 19:18; Deuteronomy 4:11; Deuteronomy 5:4; Deuteronomy 9:15. The participle is passive, set on fire; kindled with fire : not attributive of puri, enkindled fire.

Blackness, darkness, tempest [γνοφω, ζοφω, θυελλη] . Gnofov (N. T. o) and zofov (elsewhere only 2 Peter and Jude) belong to the same family. As distinguished from skotov darkness that conceals, as opposed to light, these words signify half - darkness, gloom, nebulousness; as the darkness of evening or the gathering gloom of death. It is a darkness which does not entirely conceal color. Thus dnofov, the earlier and poetic form of gnofov, is used by Homer of water which appears dark against the underlying rock, or is tinged by mire. Gnofov and skotov appear together, Exodus 10:22; Exodus 14:20; Deuteronomy 4:11; Deuteronomy 5:22. Gnofov alone, Exodus 20:21. Zofov only in the later version of Symmachus. See on John 1:5. Quella N. T. o, from quein to boil or foam. It is a brief, violent, sudden, destructive blast, sometimes working upward and carrying objects into the upper air; hence found with ajeirein to lift and ajnarpazein to snatch up (see Hom. Obadiah 1:20 Obadiah 1:63). It may also come from above and dash down to the ground (Hom. Il. 12 253). Sometimes it indicates the mere force of the wind, as ajnemoio quella (HoObadiah 1:0. Obadiah 1:12 409; Il. 6 346).

Verse 19

Sound of a trumpet [σαλπιγγος ηχω] . See Exodus 19:16, Exodus 19:19; Exodus 20:18. Hcov a noise, almost entirely in Luke and Acts. See Luke 4:37; Acts 2:2; comp. LXX, 1 Samuel 14:19. Of the roar of the waves, Luke 21:25; comp. LXX, Psalms 64:7; Psalms 76:17. A rumor or report, see on Luke 4:37, and comp. LXX, 1 Samuel 4:16; Psalms 9:6. It does not occur in the O. T. narrative of the giving of the law, where we have fwnh voice; see LXX, Exodus 19:13, Exodus 19:16, Exodus 19:19; Exodus 20:18. For fwnh salpiggov voice of a trumpet in N. T., see Revelation 1:10; Revelation 4:1; Revelation 8:13. Salpigx is a war - trumpet.

Voice of words [φωνη ρηματων] . See Exodus 19:19; Deuteronomy 4:12; Deuteronomy 5:22, Deuteronomy 5:24, Deuteronomy 5:26.

Entreated [παρητησαντο] . See on 1 Timothy 4:7.

Be spoken to them any more [προστεθηναι αυτοις] . Lit. be added. See on Luke 3:19; Luke 20:11; Acts 12:3. To them refers to the hearers, not to the things heard. Rend. "that no word more should be spoken unto them." Comp. Exodus 20:19; Deuteronomy 5:25; Deuteronomy 18:16.

Verse 20

That which was commanded [το διαστελλομενον] . See on Mark 7:36; Acts 14:24.

Touch [θιγη] . Elsewhere in N. T. only ch. 11 28 and Colossians 2:21. LXX only Exodus 19:12. It implies a touching or grasping which affects the object (comp. ver. 18 on yhlafan). In Class. often of touching or handling some sacred object which may be desecrated by the one who lays hands on it. See Soph. Philoct. 667; Oed. Tyr. 891, 899. So here, the touch of the mountain was profanation.

Shall be stoned [λιθοβολησεται] . Found in Matthew, Luke, and Acts. In LXX see Exodus 19:13. Comp. ejliqasqhsan, ch. 11 37. The correct text omits or thrust through with a dart.

Verse 21

The sight [το φανταζομενον] . N. T. o. LXX, Wisd. 6 16; Sir. 31 5. Rend. "the appearance" : that which was made to appear.

I exceedingly fear and quake [εκφοβος ειμι και εντρομος] . Lit. I am frightened away (or out) and trembling. Ekfobov only here and Mark 9:6. Comp. LXX, Deuteronomy 9:19. Entromov, only Acts 7:32; Acts 16:29. Rare in LXX

Verse 22

The heavenly Jerusalem. See on Galatians 4:26. The spiritual mountain and city where God dwells and reigns. Comp. Dante Inf 1:128 : "Quivi e la sua cittade, e l'alto seggio." 242 Comp. Psalms 2:6; Psalms 48:2, Psalms 48:3; Psalms 50:2; Psalms 78:68; Psalms 110:2; Isaiah 18:7; Joel 2:32; Micah 4:1, Micah 4:2; Amos 1:2.

To an innumerable company of angels (muriasin ajggelwn). On this whole passage (22 - 24) it is to be observed that it is arranged in a series of clauses connected by kai. Accordingly muriasin to myriads or tens of thousands stands by itself, and panhgurei festal assembly goes with ajggelwn angels. Muriav (see Luke 12:1; Acts 19:19; Revelation 5:11; quite often in LXX) is strictly the number ten thousand. In the plural, an innumerable multitude. So A. V. here. Rend. "to an innumerable multitude," placing a comma after muriasin, and connecting of angels with the next clause. This use of muriasin without a qualifying genitive is justified by numerous examples. See Genesis 24:60; Deuteronomy 32:30; Deuteronomy 33:2; 1 Samuel 18:7, 1 Samuel 18:8; Psalms 90:7; Song of Solomon 5:10; Daniel 7:10; Daniel 11:12; Sir. 47 6; 2 Macc. 8 20; Jude 1:14. Ciliadev thousands is used in the same way. See IsaLXX 22; Daniel 7:10

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 12". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/hebrews-12.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.