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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Hebrews 3

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 3

Hebrews 3:1. ἰησοῦν] Recepta: χριστὸν ἰησοῦν. Rightly rejected by Griesb. Lachm. Bleek, Scholz, de Wette, Tisch. Alford, al. For against it stands the preponderating authority of A B C* D* M א, 17, 34, al., many VSS. and Greek as well as Latin Fathers, and not less the usus loquendi of the epistle, since χριστὸς ἰησοῦς is found nowhere else therein, ἰησοῦς χριστός only [Hebrews 6:20, with D* E* It.] Hebrews 10:10, Hebrews 13:8 [20, with D* 17, al.], 21; quite commonly, on the other hand, the simple ἰησοῦς (Hebrews 2:9, Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 6:20, Hebrews 7:22, Hebrews 10:19, Hebrews 12:2; Hebrews 12:24, Hebrews 13:12; Hebrews 13:20) or the simple χριστός (Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:14, Hebrews 5:5, Hebrews 6:1, Hebrews 9:11; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 9:24; Hebrews 9:28, Hebrews 11:26).

Hebrews 3:2. ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ] Instead thereof, Tisch. 1 and 2 reads merely ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ. But for the deletion of ὅλῳ the authority of B, Sahid. Erp. Ambr. does not suffice. ὅλῳ is defended not only by A C D E K L M א, Vulg. al., but also by the consideration that it forms a constituent part of the passage Numbers 12:7, to which the writer has respect, and the complete formula ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ is, on account of its repetition in Hebrews 3:5, already presupposed for Hebrews 3:2.

Hebrews 3:3. οὗτος δόξης] Elz. Matthaei, Bloomfield: δόξης οὗτος. Against A B C D E א, 37, 47, al., It. Chrys. Transposition for bringing into marked relief the opposition οὗτος παρὰ ΄ωϋσῆν.

Hebrews 3:4. In place of the Recepta τὰ πάντα, Lachm. Bleek, de Wette, Tisch. read only πάντα. To be preferred, not merely on account of the strong attestation by A B C* D* E* K M א, al. mult., Chrys. ms., but also because the notion of the universe, which τὰ πάντα would contain, does not suit the connection.

Hebrews 3:6. In place of ἐάνπερ, Lachm. (this editor, however, only in the edit. stereot.; in the larger edition he adds περ in brackets) and Tisch. have adopted, after B D* E* M א* 17, the mere ἐάν. The author, however, is fond of the fuller ἐάνπερ (comp. Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 6:3), and here it has preponderating testimonies (A C D*** E** K L א*** Lucif. Cal.) in its favour.

μέχρι τέλους βεβαίαν κατάσχωμεν] Instead of this, Tisch. 2 and 7 reads merely κατάσχωμεν. But, for the omission of the words μέχρι τέλους βεβαίαν (already condemned by Mill, Prolegg. 1208, and more recently by Delitzsch and Alford), the authority of B, Aeth. Lucif. Ambr. does not suffice; and as a gloss from Hebrews 3:14 they can hardly be regarded, inasmuch as, with regard to the object the author has in view, they are just as little without significance here as there. See, moreover, the observations of Reiche, p. 19 sq.

Hebrews 3:9. Elz. Matthaei, Scholz, Bloomf. have ἐπείρασάν με οἱ πατέρες ὑμῶν, ἐδοκίμασάν με. Defended also by Reiche. But the only accredited reading is ἐπείρασαν οἱ πατέρες ὑμῶν ἐν δοκιμασίᾳ. Already preferred by Griesbach. Adopted by Lachm. Bleek, de Wette, Tisch. Alford, al. ἐπείρασαν, in place of ἐπείρασάν με, is demanded by A B C D* E* א* 17, It. Copt. Lucif.; ἐν δοκιμασίᾳ in place of ἐδοκίμασάν με, by A B C D* E M א* 73, 137, It. Copt. Lucif. Clem. Al. protrept. c. 9, § 84, Didym.

Hebrews 3:10. Elz. Matthaei, Scholz, Bloomf. Reiche: τῇ γενεᾷ ἐκείνῃ. More correctly, after A B D* M א, 6, 17, al., Vulg. Clem. Did. Bengel, Böhme, Lachm. Bleek, de Wette, Tisch. Alford (recommended also by Griesb.): τῇ γενεᾷ ταὑτῃ. Deviating from the LXX., the author chose ταύτῃ, in order to make the bearing of the passage upon the readers the more palpable.

Hebrews 3:13. The Recepta τὶς ἐξ ὑμῶν (adopted by Tisch. 8) is, with Griesb. Lachm. Bleek, Scholz, Bloomf. Tisch. 1, 2, 7, Alford, al., to be transposed into ἐξ ὑμῶν τις, in accordance with B D E K L, 46, 48, Theodoret, Damasc. al. By means of the transposition, the person of the readers, in opposition to the fathers in the wilderness, comes out more emphatically, and more in accordance with the context.

Hebrews 3:14. Elz. Matthaei, Bloomf.: γεγόναμεν τοῦ χριστοῦ] But the important attestation by A B C D E H M 37, א, al., Vulg. Clar. Germ. Cyr. Damasc. Lucif. Hilar. Hier. Ambr. Vigil. Taps. decides in favour of the order of the words τοῦ χριστοῦ γεγόναμεν; accepted by Griesb. Lachm. Bleek, Scholz, Tisch. Alford, al.


Verse 1

Hebrews 3:1. ὅθεν] refers back to the total characterization of Christ given in chaps. Hebrews 1:2. Wherefore, i.e. seeing that it stands in such wise with Christ, His nature and disposition. As regards its contents, ὅθεν is unfolded by the τὸν ἀπόστολον καὶ ἀρχιερέα τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν immediately following, inasmuch as by these designations the preceding total-characterization of Christ is recapitulated in its two main features (vid. infra). For if the author says: “Therefore regard well Jesus, the ἀπόστολος καὶ ἀρχιερεὺς τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν!” that is only a Greek form of expression for the thought: “Therefore, because Jesus is the ἀπόστολος καὶ ἀρχιερεὺς τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν, regard Him well!”

ἀδελφοὶ ἅγιοι] belongs together. With Michaelis, to separate the two words from each other by a comma, would be permissible only if by the isolation thereof a gradation were obtained. But this is not the case; since then only two relations parallel to each other, namely, on the one side the relation of the readers to the author ( ἀδελφοί), and on the other side their relation to the non-Christian world ( ἅγιοι), would be rendered separately prominent.

ἀδελφοί] designates the readers not as brethren of Christ (so with an unwarranted appeal to Hebrews 2:11-12; Hebrews 2:17, Peirce, Michaelis, Carpzov, Pyle; comp. also Delitzsch, according to whom this is at least also to be thought of), nor does it express the brotherly relation in the national sense, i.e. the descent from the Jewish people common to the author and readers (Chr. Fr. Schmid), but has reference to the spiritual, ideal brotherly relationship, into which author and recipients of the letter have been brought towards each other by the common bond of Christianity.

κλήσεως ἐπουρανίου μέτοχοι] ye who are partakers of a heavenly calling. This second direct address—to which Grotius needlessly supplies “nobiscum”—strengthens the former, and the two forms of address explain the ground of the obligation to the κατανοεῖν, by pointing to the reader’s state of grace. κλῆσις stands actively. It denotes the call or invitation, which God(54) has by Christ given to the readers, to participation in the Messianic kingdom. This calling, however, is termed ἐπουράνιος, either because the blessings, the possession of which it promises, are existent in heaven and of heavenly nature (Grotius, al.), or, what is more probable, because they have come to men from heaven [so Owen], where God their supreme author has His throne, and whence Christ their proclaimer and procurer (Vermittler) was sent forth. It is possible, however, that both references are to be combined: “a calling which proceeds from heaven and leads to heaven.” So Bengel, Tholuck, Stuart, Ebrard, Bisping, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 693; Alford, Maier, Kurtz, and others.

κατανοήσατε] direct your view to Jesus, sc. in order to cleave firmly to Him; regard well what He is and what you have in Him!

τὸν ἀπόστολου καὶ ἀρχιερέα τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν] the Envoy and High Priest of our confession, is comprehended into a unity of idea by the article τὸν only once placed (“Him who is ἀπόστολος and ἀρχιερεύς in one person”), in connection with which τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν is then also most naturally referred in equal degree to both substantives. τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν, however, is not to be resolved into δν ὁμολογοῦμεν (Luther, Cameron, Calov. Wolf, de Wette, Maier, and others; similarly Delitzsch: “who is the subject-matter of our confession;” and Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 427 f.: “who appertains to our confession”), but stands, like πίστις, Galatians 1:23, and ἐλπίς, Colossians 1:5, objectively: of our Christian confession (of our evangelical faith). Comp. Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 10:23; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Timothy 6:12-13. [So Calvin, Piscator, Owen (with hesitation), Stuart.] The opposition is to the pre-Christian or Mosaic confession, without, however, the emphasis, as Kurtz supposes, falling upon ἡμῶν, which is forbidden by the position of the words: The deputed One (sc. of God) for our confession, i.e. sent by God (comp. Galatians 4:4; Matthew 10:40, al.) in order to bring about our confession or Christian faith. The signification “mediator,” which Tholuck attaches to the word ἀπόστολος, after the example of Braun and others, appealing in favour thereof to the authority of Rabbinico-talmudic usage, the latter never has. The notion of mediator follows, alike for ἀπόστολον as also for ἀρχιερέα, only from the context. By ἀπόστολον, namely, is referred back to the main thought of the last and highest divine revelation (the λαλεῖν), contained in Christ, of which the writer has treated Hebrews 1:1 to Hebrews 2:4; by ἀρχιερέα, to the main thought of the reconciliation of sinful humanity to God by Christ, then further treated in the second chapter. Aptly, therefore, does Bengel distinguish ἀπόστολου and ἀρχιερέα as “eum, qui Dei causam apud nos agit” and “qui nostram causam apud Deum agit.”


Verses 1-6

Hebrews 3:1-6. Even above Moses is Christ exalted. By so much higher than Moses does He stand, as the son exercising authority over his own house has precedence over the servant of the house. This new dogmatic consideration, to which the discourse now advances, was indeed already contained implicite as the minus, in the preceding argument as the majus; it must, however, still be separately insisted on, inasmuch as, in addition to the angels as the suprahuman agents (Vermittler) in connection with the founding of the Old Covenant, Moses, as the human agent (Vermittler) in the founding of the same, could not remain unmentioned. Appropriately to the subject, however, the author treats of this new point of comparison only with brevity, blending the same with the exhortation, derived from that which precedes, to cleave firmly unto the end to Christ and the Christian hope; and then, from Hebrews 3:7 forward, further developing this exhortation in detail,—in the form of a parallel instituted between the people of God of the present time, i.e. the Christians, and the people of God of Moses’ time,—in their interest, with even a warning impressiveness.

On Hebrews 3:1-6, comp. Carl Wilh. Otto, der Apostel und Hohepriester unsres Bekenntnisses. An Exegetical Study on Hebrews 3:1-6, Leipz. 1861, 8vo.(53)


Verse 2

Hebrews 3:2. The discourse takes a turn, by virtue of a further alleging of reasons for the κατανοήσατε, to the comparison of Jesus with Moses, in that first of all the relation of parity between the two is brought prominently forward. The O. T. passage which the author here has under consideration is Numbers 12:7, where Moses is designated by God as faithful in all His house.

ὄντα] characterizes the being faithful as an inherent property; the sense of a strict present is not to be asserted for the participle (with Seb. Schmidt and Bleek), according to which we should have to think only of an exalted Christ; rather does πιστὸν ὄντα attach itself as well to the notion ἰησοῦν τὸν ἀπόστολον τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν as to the notion ἰησοῦν τὸν ἀρχιερέα τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν; ὄντα embraces, therefore, equally the time from which Christ, as the incarnate Son of God, had appeared upon earth, and the time from which He, invested with the high-priestly dignity, has returned to the Father, and now continues to fulfil in heaven His high-priestly office.

τῷ ποιήσαντι αὐτόν] Periphrasis of God: Him who created Him. Only this sense of the calling forth into existence can the word ποιεῖν have when placed absolutely; comp. LXX. Isaiah 17:7; Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 51:13; Hosea 8:14; Job 35:10; Psalms 95:6; Psalms 149:2; Sirach 7:30, al. Rightly is this accepted by the early Latin translation of the codd. D E (fidelem esse creatori suo), Ambrose (de fide, 3. 11), Vigilius Tapsensis (contra Varimadum, p. 729), Primasius, Schulz, Bleek, Alford, Kurtz, and Hofmann. Contrary to linguistic usage—for an appeal cannot be made to 1 Samuel 12:6 (where ποιεῖν ( עָשָׂה) has its ordinary signification), and still less to Mark 3:14 (where a nearer defining is given to the verb by means of ἵνα κ. τ. λ.), or to Acts 2:36 (where a double accusative is found)—do Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Vatablus, Clarius [Calvin], Cameron, Piscator, Grotius, Owen, Wolf, Bengel, Böhme, Kuinoel, de Wette, Stengel, Tholuck, Stuart, Ebrard, Bisping, Delitzsch, Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 286 f.), Reuss, Maier, Kluge, Moll, M‘Caul, Woerner, and the majority, interpret τῷ ποιήσαντι either by: who appointed Him thereto (sc. Apostle and High Priest), or ordained Him thereto; or—what amounts to the same thing—explaining the supplementing of a second accusative to ποιήσαντι as unnecessary, by: who set Him forth upon the stage of history. Whether, for the rest, the author referred the notion of having created to the incarnation of Christ, as the above-mentioned early ecclesiastical writers suppose, or to His premundane generation as the First-born (cf. Hebrews 1:5-6), which Bleek rightly regards as at least possible, cannot be determined.(55)

ὡς καὶ ΄ωϋσῆς] sc. πιστὸς ἦν τῷ ποιήσαντι αὐτόν.

ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ] does not belong to πιστὸν ὄντα τῷ ποιήσαντι αὐτόν, in such wise that we have, with Calvin, Paulus, Bleek, Ebrard, and Hofmann, to enclose ὡς καὶ ΄ωϋσῆς within commas, but is to be comprehended with ὡς καὶ ΄ωϋσῆς (de Wette, Kurtz, and the majority). For not only, Numbers 12:7, do the words appended: ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ, stand in special relation to Moses,—so that the author might very well derive from that place the same addition with the same special reference to Moses,—but also the equal reference of ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ to Christ, as to Moses, would be unsuitable to the connection with that which follows, since the author, Hebrews 3:5 and Hebrews 3:6, definitely distinguishes the place occupied by Moses, as the position of a servant ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ, from the place occupied by Christ, as a position of ruler ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον; and in harmony with this distinction, already Hebrews 3:3 characterizes Moses as merely a member of the οἶκος itself; Christ, on the other hand, as the founder of the οἶκος.

αὐτοῦ] refers neither to Christ (Bleek) nor to Moses (Oecumenius and others), but, as is also determined by the form of the expression with the LXX. ( ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ μου), to God.

But the house of God is the people of God, or the kingdom of God; and ἐν denotes the province, in the administration of which the πιστὸν εἶναι was made manifest.


Verse 3

Hebrews 3:3.(56) Continued alleging of reasons for the κατα νοήσατε, Hebrews 3:1, in bringing into more distinct relief the exaltedness of Christ above Moses. Hebrews 3:3 is not, as de Wette supposes, explication or analysis of Hebrews 3:2. For a placing upon a parallel cannot be explained or analysed by a placing superior.

αὔτος] sc. ἰησοῦς.

On παρά after a comparative, see at Hebrews 1:4.

ἠξίωται] has been counted worthy, sc. by God. The verb stands, as ordinarily (comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 10:29), in the real sense, so that it includes the notion of the possession obtained.

The figure in the proposition of comparison, καθʼ ὅσον πλείονα τιμὴν ἔχει τοῦ οἴκου κ. τ. λ., is occasioned by the preceding ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ added in Hebrews 3:2. The words contain a truth of universal validity, the application of which, for the rest, to Christ and Moses, follows of itself. Greater honour than the house (in the wider sense [of household], the family and servants included therein) has he who has prepared it. Thus, also, Christ stands higher in honour and glory than Moses. For founder and establisher of the house of God, or the divine kingdom,—which in its first formations reaches back to the time of the Old Covenant, but by the New Covenant comes to full realization,—is Christ; while Moses is only a part of the οἶκος itself, only a (ministering, cf. Hebrews 3:5) member of this house, or an οἰκέτης in the same. Confusing and full of caprice is the indication of the connection of thought of Hebrews 3:3-6 as given by Delitzsch. See, in opposition to him, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 309.

τοῦ οἴκου] is governed by the comparative πλείονα: more (greater) honour than the house. Mistakenly do Homberg, Wolf, Peirce, Michaelis, Heumann, Semler, Morus, Ernesti, Heinrichs, Paulus, Stengel, and others make it depend upon τιμήν: greater honour of the house, or in the house.

κατασκευάζειν] implies more than οἰκοδο΄εῖν. Not only the erection of the house, but also the arrangement thereof, the providing of it with the necessary furniture and servants, is thereby expressed.


Verse 4

Hebrews 3:4. The author has spoken, Hebrews 3:2, of the house of God, and yet, Hebrews 3:3, has ascribed the founding and preparing of the same to Christ. For the justification of this apparent contradiction does the remark, Hebrews 3:4, serve. Although every house has its special preparer, yet this notwithstanding, it is God who has prepared all things. That special foundership of Christ does not exclude the universal higher foundership of God. The proposition Hebrews 3:4 is incidental to the main argument. It is not, however, to be enclosed in a parenthesis, because αὐτοῦ, Hebrews 3:5, refers back to θεός, Hebrews 3:4.

In the second clause, θεός is subject, and δὲ πάντα κατασκευάσας predicate. Wrongly has θεός been ordinarily taken by others as predicate, and as subject either δὲ πάντα κατασκευάσας or merely δέ, since πάντα κατασκευάσας was taken as a defining adjunct. The second member of the proposition was then referred to Christ, and the statement found therein that Christ is God. So Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Clarius, Beza, Estius, Jac. Cappellus, Cornelius a Lapide, Cameron, Piscator, Owen, Seb. Schmidt, Wittich, Braun, Akersloot, Calmet, Bengel, Cramer, Whitby, Stuart, Baumgarten, and many others; also still Woerner. But with this thought the sequel is not in keeping. For not of Christ’s being God, but of His exalted relation to the house of God as the υἱός, while Moses was only a θεράπων, does the author speak, Hebrews 3:5-6.

πάντα] denotes not the universality of all created things, thought of as a unity, but in general: each and all, that exists.


Verse 5

Hebrews 3:5 as far as αὐτοῦ, Hebrews 3:6. Return to the point of comparison between Christ and Moses, Hebrews 3:2 ( πιστός), and the exaltedness of the former above the latter, Hebrews 3:3 ( υἱός, ἐπίθεράπων, ἐν).

καί] is the more sharply-defining “and indeed;” whereas μέν serves to bring into relief the personal name ΄ωϋσῆς, and finds in χριστὸς δέ, Hebrews 3:6, its emphatic opposition. Hebrews 3:5-6 init. does not, accordingly, contain a second proof for the superiority of Christ to Moses (Calvin, Bengel, Tholuck, Ebrard, Woerner), but is only a more detailed unfolding of the thoughts, Hebrews 3:2 and Hebrews 3:3.

πιστός] sc. ἦν, or else ἐστίν, in connection with which latter mode of supplementing, the thought would be less of the historic fact as such, than of the fact as it still continues present in the O. T. narrative.

αὐτοῦ] refers not to ΄ωϋσῆς (as Ebrard assumes, since he starts with the erroneous presupposition that the author speaks of a twofold οἶκος, and that the design of Hebrews 3:5-6 was just that of rendering clearly apparent the difference of the house entrusted to Moses on the one hand, and that entrusted to Christ on the other), but to θεός, Hebrews 3:4.

ὡς θεράπων] in his capacity as servant, comp. Numbers 12:7. Upon this, as upon the preceding ἐν, rests the emphasis of Hebrews 3:5.

εἰς μαρτύριον] belongs to θεράπων. It is unnaturally referred back by Estius, Seb. Schmidt, Stengel, and others to πιστός

εἰς μαρτύριον τῶν λαληθησομένων] to give testimony to that which should be spoken, or proclaimed to the people. τὰ λαληθησόμενα are not the revelations afterwards to be given in Christ (Erasmus, Calvin, Cameron, Calov, Seb. Schmidt, Owen, Limborch, Wolf, Wetstein, Ebrard, Delitzsch, Alford, Moll, Ewald, M‘Caul, Woerner, and others), which must have been more precisely specified; and still less does the expression indicate: “dicenda a nobis in hac epistola de cerimoniis earumque significatione et usu” (Pareus), but the law to be proclaimed by Moses, at the mandate of God, to the Jewish people is intended.


Verse 6

Hebrews 3:6. χριστὸς δέ ὡς υἱός] Christ, on the other hand, in His capacity as Son, sc. πιστός ἐστιν. Upon this supplement depends ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ (comp. Matthew 25:21; Matthew 25:23); and as υἱός forms an ascent from the preceding θεράπων, so does ἐπί form an ascent from the preceding ἐν. Erasmus, Paraphr.; Vatablus, Piscator, Grotius, Delitzsch, Moll, and others supply to χριστὸς δὲαὐτοῦ simply ἐστίν, whereby, however, the relation of just proportion between Hebrews 3:5 and Hebrews 3:6 is destroyed. The opening words of Hebrews 3:5, moreover,—inasmuch as they attach themselves not only to Hebrews 3:3, but also again to Hebrews 3:2,—manifestly point to the fact that the author will indicate not the mere difference between Christ and Moses, but their difference within the quality common to both. Yet others, as Bleek, de Wette, and Bisping, supply a double πιστός ἐστιν, the first after χριστὸς δέ, the second after αὐτοῦ; since, as the Vulgate, Beza, Estius, Grotius, Owen, Er. Schmid, Calov, Wolf, Carpzov, Cramer, Baumgarten, Gabler, Valckenaer, Böhme, Kuinoel, Klee, Tholuck, and others, they refer αὐτοῦ back to υἱός: Christ, however, is faithful, as a son is faithful over his house. But a satisfactory ground for taking οἶκος αὐτοῦ, Hebrews 3:6, otherwise than the same expression Hebrews 3:5, is not to be found. The house of God, or the divine kingdom, is for Moses and Christ the common sphere of operation; only by the position which the two occupy towards this house, are they distinguished the one from the other.

As αὐτοῦ, Hebrews 3:6, so is the relative οὗ, with which the author prepares the way for a transition to the paraenesis, not to be referred to Christ (Oecumenius, Jac. Cappellus, Piscator, Owen, Whitby, Bleek, de Wette, Bisping, Woerner, al.), but to God (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Calvin, Stengel, Stuart, Delitzsch, Alford, Maier, Moll, Kurtz, Hofmann, and others); although as regards the matter itself even the former reference would not be incorrect, since the house of God, Hebrews 3:2, is likewise characterized as the house of Christ, Hebrews 3:3.

The article before οἶκος was not imperatively required, although the whole Christian community forms a single indivisible house of God, since the notion of the word was one sufficiently well known, and, moreover, adequately defined by that which precedes.

The absolute declaration: οὗ οἶκός ἐσμεν ἡμεῖς, on the import of which 1 Corinthians 3:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 2:20 ff., 1 Timothy 3:15, 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 4:17, is to be compared,(57) and which is taken in a strangely perverted way by Ebrard (p. 137) and Delitzsch as the logical antithesis to εἰς ΄αρτύριον τῶν λαληθησο΄ένων, Hebrews 3:5, the author limits by a condition.

The fuller ἐάνπερ is foreign to the epistles of Paul.

τὴν παῤῥησίαν] not the bold confession (Cornelius a Lapide, Grotius, Hammond, Limborch, Whitby, Heinrichs, and others), to which βεβαίαν κατάσχωμεν would not be fitting, but cheerful confidence as a disposition. Comp. Hebrews 4:16, Hebrews 10:19; Hebrews 10:35. τὴν παῤῥησίαν, to which τῆς ἐλπίδος(58) belongs in like manner as to τὸ καύχημα (against Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 739), is the main idea, whereas καὶ τὸ καύχημα adds only an explicative subsidiary factor. That is manifest from the feminine βεβαίαν (which Stengel wonderfully refers back, in a constructio ad sensum, to ἐλπίδος). Instances of the agreement of the adjective in point of gender with the remoter substantive, in cases where this forms the principal idea, occur also with the classics. Comp. Hom. Il. xv. 344: τάφρῳ καὶ σκολόπεσσιν ἐνιπλήξαντες ὀρυκτῇ; Hesiod. Theogon. 972 f.: ὃς εἶσʼ ἐπὶ γῆν τε, καὶ εὐρέα νῶτα θαλάσσης, πᾶσαν; Xenophon, Anab. 1:5, 6 : δὲ σύγλος δύναται ἑπτὰ ὀβολοὺς καὶ ἡμιοβόλιον ἀττικούς; Thucydides, 8:63: πυθόμενος τὰ περὶ τὴν ναυμαχίαν καὶ τὸν στρομβιχίδην καὶ τὰς ναῦς ἀπεληλυθότα. See Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 431.

The ἐλπίς is the Christians’ hope of the consummation of the kingdom of God, and the glorification of the Christians bound up therewith. Comp. Romans 5:2, also Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 6:18; Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 10:23.

καύχημα, however, is not here either equivalent to καύχησις (Bleek, de Wette, Tholuck, Stengel, Bisping, Maier, and others), any more than 2 Corinthians 5:12; 2 Corinthians 9:3, which have been unwarrantably appealed to (see Meyer ad loc.), but denotes the subject of the boasting. Sense: provided we shall have maintained the Christians’ hope as a cheerful confidence and subject of boasting firm unto the end.

μέχρι τέλους] not: until the death of each individual (Schlichting, Grotius, Kuinoel); not: “until the final decision of the readers in favour of going over to Christianity” (!Ebrard), but as Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 6:11, 1 Corinthians 1:8, al., unto the end of the present order of the world, intervening with the coming again of Christ, and thought of as in the near future (comp. Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 10:37), at which time faith shall pass over into sight, hope into possession.


Verse 7

Hebrews 3:7. διό] Wherefore, i.e. either: because Christ stands higher than Moses (so Carpzov, Zachariae, Böhme, Stuart, Kurtz, and Woerner; comp. already Schlichting), or, which is better: because we are the οἶκος of God, only in the case that we hold fast the παῤῥησία and the καύχημα of the Christian hope unto the end (Hebrews 3:6). The tempus finitum belonging to διό is βλέπετε, Hebrews 3:12 (Erasmus, Annott.; Calvin, Estius, Piscator, Pareus, Grotius, Owen, Seb. Schmidt, Limborch, Bengel, Peirce, Carpzov, Wetstein, Abresch, Zachariae, Böhme, Bleek, Bisping, Alford, Kurtz, Woerner, al.), in such wise that καθὼςκατάπαυσίν μου forms an intervening clause. The length of the intervening clause, at which de Wette takes umbrage, decides nothing against the supposition of such construction, which at all events possesses the advantage of greater regularity and naturalness, since the author, owing to the care which he everywhere bestows upon his diction, in other cases, too, accurately fits in his discourse again to the opening words of the proposition, notwithstanding the occurrence of lengthy intervening clauses. Comp. Hebrews 7:20-22, Hebrews 12:18-24. That, moreover, which de Wette further objects, that in the intervening clause the discourse takes a new departure with διό, Hebrews 3:10, forms no valid counter-argument, since the connectedness of the preceding and following words as part of a Biblical citation follows naturally. In any case, Hebrews 3:10 connects itself with that which precedes, without a new beginning, in a simply relative fashion, if—as we are perfectly justified in doing—we write διʼ instead of διό. When de Wette, finally, discovers a difficulty in the fact that the warning, Hebrews 3:12-13, does not appear in the form of a simple application of the passage of Scripture, but, on the contrary, begins with an analysis of the same, this also is without weight, inasmuch as the correctness of this assumed fact must itself be contested. In addition to this, if the author had conceived of the structure otherwise than has been indicated, he would assuredly have placed βλέπετε οὖν, Hebrews 3:12, instead of the disconnected βλέπετε. For neither is it permissible to appeal (with Tholuck) to the disconnected βλέπετε, Hebrews 12:25, in proof of the opposite, since this passage, on account of the rhetorical character of the description which there immediately precedes, is totally different from ours. Others, as Schlichting, Jac. Cappellus, Wittich, Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Klee, Stein, Stengel, Ebrard, Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Reuss, and Hofmann, connect διό immediately with μὴ σκληρύνητε, in connection with which, however, the direct address of God, coming in Hebrews 3:9 ff., occasions a great harshness; or else, as Tholuck, de Wette, and Maier, who appeal to Romans 15:3; Romans 15:21, 1 Corinthians 1:31; 1 Corinthians 2:9, leave the application μὴ σκληρύνετε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν to be supplied in thought from these words; or, finally, supplement διό in a somewhat free manner: therefore conduct yourselves in accordance with that which the Holy Ghost speaks.

τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον] the Spirit of God in prophecy; comp. Hebrews 9:8, Hebrews 10:15.

σήμερον ἐὰν τῆς φωνῆς αὐτοῦ ἀκούσητε] is in the Hebrew ( הַיּו ̇ם אִם־בְּקֹלֹו תִשְׁמָעוּ) an independent clause, and the expression of a wish: “would that you would only to-day listen to His (God’s) voice!” It is possible that the LXX. also understood the words as a wish, since elsewhere, too (e.g. Psalms 139:19), they render the particle of wishing, אִם, by ἐάν. Differently, however, does the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews take the words (against Hofmann). He regards ἐάν as the protasis, and μὴ σκληρύνητε as the apodosis; comp. Hebrews 3:15; Hebrews 4:7.

In the application σήμερον denotes the time of salvation which has come in with the appearing of Christ upon earth, and φωνὴ αὐτοῦ the voice of God which through Christ sounds forth to the readers by means of the gracious message of the gospel.


Verse 8

Hebrews 3:8. Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation (contumacy), on the day of temptation in the wilderness. In the original, παραπικρασμός and πειρασμός are proper names (“as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the wilderness” [ כִּמְרִיבָה כְּיו ̇ם מַסָּה בַּמִּדְבָּר]), which, however, are understood by the author in the appellative sense (comp. Hebrews 3:16), in that he takes κατὰ τὴν ἡμέραν τοῦ πειρασμοῦ as an epexegetical note of time to ἐν τῷ παραπικρασμῷ. On the history, comp. Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:1-13.

τοῦ πειρασμοῦ] in the active sense: the tempting of God by contumacious behaviour, comp. Hebrews 3:9.


Verse 9

Hebrews 3:9. οὖ] is taken by Erasmus Schmid, Bengel, and Peirce as attraction to πειρασμοῦ instead of , wherewith. But in this case οὗ would have been connected immediately with πειρασμοῦ. It is the local “where;” thus stands, as frequently, in the sense of ὅπου, and refers back to ἐρήμῳ.

οὗ ἐπείρασαν οἱ πατέρες ὑμῶν ἐν δοκιμασίᾳ] where your fathers essayed temptation,(59) on the ground of proving or testing, i.e. where your fathers tempted me and put me to the test. δοκιμασία as πειράζειν here in the bad sense. The former contains an enhancement of the latter. This involves doubt with regard to the inclination of God to render help, that doubt with regard to His power of doing so.

καὶ εἶδον] κ. τ. λ.] and yet saw my works forty years long. This was a fact that aggravated their guilt. In the original, τεσσαράκοντα ἔτη belongs to the following προσώχθισα. To the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews also this original connection was known, as is evident from Hebrews 3:17. If he nevertheless refers τεσσαράκοντα ἔτη to that which precedes, and moreover consolidates this connection by means of the διό ( διʼ ) interpolated only by himself, he must have been guided by a distinct design in doing so. Rightly, therefore, is it assumed (Calov, Wittich, Akersloot, Surenhus, Schöttgen, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Abresch, Böhme, Bleek, de Wette, Delitzseh, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 618; Alford, Reiche, Comm. Crit. p. 22; Maier, Moll, Kurtz, and others) that the author discovered in the forty years during which the Israelites in the wilderness saw the works of God, a typical reference to the about equal space of time during which the Hebrews had now also witnessed the government of God as manifested in Christ, and would make this reference clear to the readers, in order thereby to render the more impressive his exhortation to receptiveness, while there is yet time. The reminder of Akersloot, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Abresch, Bleek, and others, is at the same time worthy of notice, viz. that also in the Talmud and by the Rabbins a duration of forty years is assigned to the Messianic kingdom with reference to Psalms 95. and the forty years of the wilderness. Comp. Sanhedr. fol. 99, 1 : R. Eliezer dixit: dies Messiae sunt quadraginta anni, sicut dicitur: quadraginta annos sqq. (Psalms 95:10); Tanchuma, fol. 79, 4 : Quamdiu durant anni Messiae? R. Akiba dixit: quadraginta annos, quemadmodum Israëlitae per tot annos in deserto fuerunt.


Verse 10

Hebrews 3:10. διὸ προσώχθισα τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ] Wherefore I conceived an aversion, or was incensed against this generation.

On διό, see at Hebrews 3:9. The verb προσοχθίζειν is not found at all in the classics, in the N. T. only here and Hebrews 3:17; with the LXX., on the other hand, very frequently.

In γενεά lies neither the subordinate notion of meanness (Heinrichs, Stengel), nor yet the intimation that the men of a certain period belong in point of character and mind to a definite class (Bleek). Each of these subordinate notions τῇ γενεᾷ acquires only by the ταύτῃ which is added.

ἀεί] note of time to πλανῶνται, not to εἶπον (Erasmus).

αὐτοὶ δέ] So the LXX. in the Cod. Alex., whose form of the text the author for the most part reproduces; the Cod. Vatican. has more in accordance with the Hebrew: καὶ αὐτοὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν.


Verse 11

Hebrews 3:11. ὡς ὤμοσα ἐν τῇ ὀργῇ μου] as accordingly I (as to the sense equivalent to: so that I; see Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 431; in the Hebrew אֲשֶׁר) sware (comp. Numbers 14:21 ff; Numbers 32:10 ff.; Deuteronomy 1:34 ff.) in (not: by) my wrath.

εἰ εἰσελεύσονται εἰς τὴν κατάπαυσίν μου] not enter, shall they, into my rest. εἰ is an exact imitation of the negative Hebrew particle אִם in formulas of swearing, and is to be explained from an aposiopesis of the latter clause. Comp. Mark 8:12; Ewald, Krit. Gramm. p. 661; Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 466; Buttmann, Gramm. des neutest. Sprachgebr. p. 308.

κατάπαυσις] in the sense of the psalmist, the undisturbed possession of the land of Canaan promised by God; comp. Deuteronomy 12:9-10 : οὐ γὰρ ἥκατε ἕως τοῦ νῦν εἰς τὴν κατάπαυσιν καὶ εἰς τὴν κληρονομίαν, ἣν κύριος θεὸς ἡμῶν δίδωσιν ὑμῖν· καὶ διαβήσεσθε τὸν ἰορδάνην καὶ κατοικήσετε ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ἧς κύριος θεὸς ἡμῶν κατακληρονομεῖ ὑμῖν καὶ καταπαύσει ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐχθρῶν ὑμῶν τῶν κύκλῳ καὶ κατοικήσετε μετὰ ἀσφαλείας. Afterwards, because with the possession of the promised land the expected full repose and happiness had as yet by no means come in, the meaning of the promise was sublimated, just as that of the kindred κληρονομεῖν τὴν γῆν, Psalms 37:9, into the everlasting Messianic blessedness This reference obtains, as is evident from the following disquisition, with our author also.


Verse 12-13

Hebrews 3:12-13. Close of the period begun with διό, Hebrews 3:7.

βλέπετε] beware, take heed.

μή ποτε ἔσται] μή after βλέπε, ὅρα, and similar words, with the indicative future (comp. Colossians 2:8), expresses at the same time with the warning, the fear that the warning will be slighted. Comp. Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 468 f.; Hartung, Partikellehre, II. p. 140. The enclitic ποτε appended to the μή, not: at any time (Beza and others), but: haply [Hebrews 2:1; Luke 14:29; Acts 5:39; Matthew 4:6, etc.].

τινι ὑμῶν] different from ἐν ὑμῖν. Calvin: Nec tantum in universum praecipit apostolus, ut sibi omnes caveant, sed vult ita de salute cujusque membri esse sollicitos, ne quem omnino ex iis, qui semel vocati fuerint, sua negligentia perire sinant. Comp. Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:24; Hebrews 12:15.

καρδία πονηρὰ ἀπιστίας] an evil heart of unbelief; comp. Hebrews 4:2-3. Wrongly Schulz and others: of faithlessness or ἀπείθεια, Hebrews 4:6; Hebrews 4:11, Hebrews 3:18; for the latter is only the consequence of the ἀπιστία. ἀπιστίας is either genitive of origin, which proceeds from unbelief (Owen, Bleek, Stengel, and others), or genitive of result, which leads to unbelief, renders inclined to the same (de Wette, Bisping, al.), or genitive of reference to a more precise characterization of πονηρά: a heart evil (on account) of unbelief, which is then equivalent to καρδία πονηρίαν ἀπιστίας ἔχουσα (so Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 183; Ebrard, Alford, Meyer, Moll, and Hofmann). The last acceptation is to be preferred, since thereby ἀπιστίας is more clearly brought out as the main idea (for καρδία πονηρά is only a clothing of the same attaching itself to ἀεὶ πλανῶνται τῇ καρδίᾳ, Hebrews 3:10).

ἐν τῷ ἀποστῆναι ἀπὸ θεοῦ ζῶντος] more precise definition(60) to ἀπιστίας for the declaration of the outward form of appearance, in which the inner unbelief comes forth: in the falling away from the living God, or in such wise that a falling away from the living God takes place. God (not Christ: Gerhard, Dorscheus, Calov, S. Schmid, Schöttgen, Carpzov, al.) is called living, not in opposition to the dead works of the law (Hebrews 9:14, Hebrews 6:1; Bleek), nor in opposition to the idols of the heathen, similarly as 2 Kings 19:16, 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Acts 14:15 (Böhme and others),—both of which must have been suggested by the context,—but because He does not allow His declared will to be slighted with impunity. Comp. Hebrews 10:31. That which is meant is the relapse from Christianity into Judaism. Limborch: Defectio hic intelligitur a religione Christiana; quia enim illa continetur ultima ac perfecta Dei voluntas, hinc sequitur, quod is, qui a religione Christiana deficit, ab ipso Deo deficiat. Ergo quicunque deserta fide Christiana ad Judaismum redeunt, a Deo deficiunt; licet enim Deum non abnegent, qui legis Mosaicae auctor est, tamen, quia Deus nunc non secundum legis praecepta se coli velle testatur, sed juxta evangelium illique credentibus fidem in justitiam imputaturum, etiam, qui illud deserunt, a Deo deficere dicendi sunt. Deus enim multis ac evidentissimis signis ac miraculis se Christum misisse ostendit, et voce e caelo demissa testatus est eum esse suum filium, in quo sibi complacuit jussitque ut eum audiant. Ergo praecepta ejus sunt praecepta Dei, etc.


Verse 13

Hebrews 3:13. ἑαυτούς] tantamount to ἀλλήλους, comp. 1 Corinthians 4:7; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:8, al.; Kühner, II. p. 325.

ἄχρις αὗ] in the inclusive sense: as far as that, i.e. so long as. Cf. 2 Maccabees 14:10 : ἄχρι γὰρ ἰούδας περίεστιν, ἀδύνατον εἰρήνης τυχεῖν τὰ πράγματα. Josephus, Antiq. x. 2. 2 : ηὔχετο μέχρις τῆς αὐτοῦ ζωῆς εἰρήνην ὑπάρξαι; Xenophon, Cyrop. v. 4. 16: καὶ μὲν ἀσσύριος διώξας ἄχρις οὗ ἀσφαλὲς ᾤετο εἶναι, ἀπετράπετο.

ἄχρις οὗ τὸ σήμερον καλεῖται] so long as the to-day, of which mention is made in the passage of the psalm, is named, or: so long as it is still called “to-day,” and it is thus not yet too late to be obedient to the admonition of the psalm. So Luther, Estius, Schlichting, Owen, Carpzov, Stuart, Bleek, Alford, Maier, Kurtz, al. Others, as Heinrichs, Dindorf, Böhme, Kuinoel, Klee, Tholuck, Moll, Hofmann: so long as that to-day of the psalm is called out, i.e. is called out, or proclaimed, to you.

The “to-day” is not the duration of the lifetime of the individuals (Basil, Ep. 42, Opp. iii. p. 130: τὸ σήμερον σημαίνει ὅλον τὸν χρόνον τῆς ζωῆς ἡμῶν; Theodoret, Theophylact, Primasius, Erasmus, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, J. Cappellus, Dorscheus, Valckenaer), but (comp. μέχρι τέλους, Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:14) the continued existence of the earthly world, which, with the Parousia of Christ—thought of as near at hand (Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 10:37)—attains its end.

ἀπάτῃ τῆς ἁμαρτίας] by the deception (the treacherous enticement or alluring) of sin. The ἁμαρτία is here personified, comp. Romans 7:11. What is meant is the allurement exerted by the seductive splendour of the ancient cultus to a relapse into the same, and therewith to an apostasy from Christianity.


Verse 14

Hebrews 3:14. Warning justification of ἵνα μὴ σκληρυνθῇ ἐξ ὑμῶν τις κ. τ. λ., Hebrews 3:13, inasmuch as the fulfilling of a condition is necessary to the attainment of salvation.

μέτοχοι τοῦ χριστοῦ] Participators in (Hebrews 3:1, Hebrews 6:4, Hebrews 12:8) Christ, i.e. in His treasures of blessing and in His glory. Schulz, Delitzsch, Ewald, Hofmann, and others explain: Associates of Christ (Hebrews 1:9), i.e. His brethren (Hebrews 2:11 ff.), or His συγκληρονόμοι (Romans 8:17), inasmuch as “the δόξα, into which Christ, the Anointed One existing in kingly glory, has entered as our ἀρχηγός, is, by virtue of the κλῆσις ἐπουράνιος, not only His, but also ours, although as to its revelation and consummation in hope” (Delitzsch); against which, however, the fact is decisive that ἐάνπερ κ. τ. λ. points to a relation not of equality, but of dependence, and μετόχους τοῦ χριστοῦ εἶναι corresponds to the notion of εἰσέρχεσθαι εἰς τὴν κατάπαυσιν, Hebrews 3:11; Hebrews 3:18. Compare, moreover, against Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 719, note.

γεγόναμεν] we have become. The author does not write ἐσμέν, as Hebrews 3:6, in order to dismiss at once the thought of claim existing from the first, and, on the contrary, to represent the said prerogative as one only acquired (by faith, comp. ἐάνπερ κ. τ. λ.).

ἐάνπερ τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς ὑποστάσεως κ. τ. λ.] if so be that (provided) we preserve the beginning of the confidence firm to the end, comp. Hebrews 3:6, fin. ὑπόστασις does not here denote fundamentum (Erasmus, Paraphr.; Seyffarth, p. 67: prima religionis fundamenta; Schulz: the first [anfänglichen] firm foundation; Stein and others), nor substantia, whether this be taken as reality [Wesen], as Luther (the reality begun), or as that of which a thing consists [Bestand], which constitutes it (Vatablus: illud, per quod primum subsistimus, i.e. fidem firmam; Estius: fidem, per quam in vita hac spirituali subsistimus; Bisping: the beginning of the subsistence [of Christ in us], i.e. faith; Ewald, al.). The expression stands, on the contrary, in the well-ascertained signification: confidence, which notion is here naturally defined by the connection as confidence of faith (not hope, as Whitby and Delitzsch think). Comp. Hebrews 11:1; 2 Corinthians 9:4; 2 Corinthians 11:17; LXX. Psalms 39:8; Ezekiel 19:5; Ruth 1:12. Compare also Polybius, iv. 50. 10 : οἱ δὲ ῥόδιοι, θεωροῦντες τὴν τῶν βυζαντίων ὑπόστασιν, πραγματικῶς διενοήθησαν πρὸς τὸ καθικέσθαι τῆς προθέσεως; vi. 55. 2 : οὐχ οὕτω τὴν δύναμιν, ὡς τὴν ὑπόστασιν αὐτοῦ καὶ τόλμαν καταπεπληγμένων τῶν ἐναντίων; Diodorus Siculus, Excerpta de Virt. et vit. (Opp. ed. Wesselingius, t. ii., Amstelod. 1745, fol.) p. 557: ἐν ταῖς βασάνοις ὑπόστασις τῆς ψυχῆς καὶ τὸ καρτερικὸν τῆς τῶν δεινῶν ὑπομονῆς περὶ μόνον ἐγενήθη τὸν ἀριστογείτονα; Josephus, Antiq. xviii. 1. 6 : τὸ ἀμετάλλακτον αὐτῶν τῆς ὑπὸ τοιούτοις ὑποστάσεως.

τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς ἱποστάσεως] the beginning of the confidence, i.e. not: the first confidence, which now begins to diminish ( τὴν ὑπόστασιν, ἣν ἤρξασθε ἔχειν vel ἣν εἴχετε ἐν ἀρχῇ, Cameron; τὴν ὑπόστασιν τὴν ἐξ ἀρχῆς, Grotius, Wolf, Bloomfield; τὴν πρώτην ὑπόστασιν as τὴν πρώτην πίστιν, 1 Timothy 5:12, and as τὴν ἀγάπην τὴν πρώτην, Revelation 2:4; Abresch, Tholuck, Stuart, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 754; Maier, Kurtz, Hofmann), but the confidence with which we have made a beginning, in such wise that τὴν ἀρχήν corresponds to the following μέχρι τέλους βεβαίαν. Thus, rightly, Bleek, de Wette, Alford.


Verse 15-16

Hebrews 3:15-16. With regard to the construction of Hebrews 3:15 the views of expositors greatly differ. It is assumed—(1) That Hebrews 3:15 forms an independent, complete sentence. It is then supposed that the citation introduced by ἐν τῷ λέγεσθαι embraces only the words σήμερονἀκούσητε, and that afterwards with μὴ σκληρύνητε κ. τ. λ. the author proceeds, it is true, in the following words of that Biblical citation, but appropriates them to himself, and employs them only for the clothing of the admonition to be uttered on his own part. So Flacius Illyricus, Jac. Cappellus, Carpzov, Kuinoel, Winer, Gramm., 5 Aufl. p. 620, and Bloomfield; comp. also Hofmann ad loc. As, however, the same words: μὴ σκληρύνητε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν ὡς ἐν τῷ παραπικρασμῷ, had already been adduced, Hebrews 3:8, in the midst of the Biblical citation, and as a constituent part thereof, it could not possibly occur to the reader here at once to detach them from σήμερονἀκούσητε, and to understand them as words of the author addressed to themselves; and the less so, because Hebrews 3:16 ff. there follows a comment on the passage, in which Hebrews 3:16 glances back to σήμερονπαραπικρασμῷ, Hebrews 3:15 (Hebrews 3:7 f.); Hebrews 3:17 to the προσώχθισα κ. τ. λ., Hebrews 3:10; Hebrews 3:18, finally, to the ὤμοσα κ. τ. λ., Hebrews 3:11, so that the natural explanation can only be, that the author intended to refer back to the whole Scripture citation already previously adduced, Hebrews 3:7-11, but that—inasmuch as he might presuppose it as known from that which precedes—he expressly repeats it only to the point at which the first member of his comment could attach itself. (2) Hebrews 3:15 is connected with that which precedes, in that ἐν τῷ λέγεσθαι κ. τ. λ. is either regarded as epexegesis to μέχρι τέλους, Hebrews 3:14 (Primasius, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, Bisping, Reuss), or is attached to the conditional clause ἐάνπερκατάσχωμεν there occurring (Erasmus Schmid, Wolf), or to all the words of Hebrews 3:14 : μέτοχοικατάσχωμεν (Ebrard, Alford), or, finally, is construed with παρακαλεῖτε, Hebrews 3:13 (Cameron, Peirce, Bengel, Cramer, Baumgarten, Abresch). But in the first case one must expect ἄχρις οὗ λέγεται, or something similar, in place of ἐν τῷ λέγεσθαι. In the other cases Hebrews 3:15 would drag as a feeble addition; in the last, moreover, Hebrews 3:14 would, contrary to all probability, become a parenthesis. (3) Hebrews 3:15 is combined with that which follows. With φοβηθῶμεν οὖν, Hebrews 4:1, it is connected by Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Olearius, Wittich, Valckenaer. Hebrews 3:16-19 must then be regarded as a parenthesis, and οὖν, Hebrews 4:1, as a particle of resumption. But of a resuming of the, as yet, incomplete thought, Hebrews 3:15, in Hebrews 4:1, there is no appearance in the form of discourse in the latter passage, notwithstanding the accuracy of style on the part of our author. On the contrary, from the tenor of Hebrews 4:1, it is indubitable that this verse is represented by virtue of οὖν as a consequence from Hebrews 3:16-19. These verses, therefore, can form no parenthesis. But thus every possibility of connecting Hebrews 3:15 with Hebrews 4:1 falls away.

There remains, therefore, no course open but to take Hebrews 3:15 with the first question of Hebrews 3:16 : τίνες γὰρ ἀκούσαντες παρεπίκραναν; as one whole. This is done by Semler, Morus, Storr, Heinrichs, Dindorf, Böhme, Klee, Bleek, de Wette, Tholuck, Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 532; Delitzsch, Maier, Moll, Kurtz, Ewald, and Woerner. The sense is: “When it is said: ‘to-day,’ etc., (now, I ask:) who then were they who, although they heard (the voice), resisted? was it not all, etc.?” On ἐν τῷ λέγεσθαι, comp. ἐν τῷ λέγειν, Hebrews 8:13.

γάρ serves for the strengthening of the particle of interrogation, but, at the same time, confirms the state of the fact expressed, Hebrews 3:14. See Klotz, ad Devar. p. 245 f. Comp. also Matthew 27:23; John 7:41; Acts 19:25; 1 Corinthians 11:22.

From what has been already observed, it is evident that Hebrews 3:16 contains two questions, of which the second forms the answer to the first. This view of Hebrews 3:16, appearing only rarely in antiquity (in the Peshito, with Chrysostom and Theodoret), and only asserted afresh since the beginning of last century, is now almost universally regarded as the true one. According to the mode of interpretation formerly current, two affirmative statements were recognised in Hebrews 3:16, the first of which was limited by the second. τινές was accordingly written instead of τίνες,(61) and the thought was found expressed that some, it is true, but by no means the totality of the Israelites, proved rebellious. As those who formed an exception to the rebelliousness or unbelief of the τινές, expositors accordingly thought either of Joshua and Caleb only (so Oecumenius, Theophylact, Primasius, Seb. Schmidt, Owen, and others), or else, with reference to Numbers 14:29 ff; Numbers 1:45; Numbers 1:47, at the same time of all the Israelites who, at the numbering, had not attained an age of twenty years, as also the Levites and women (so Cornelius a Lapide, Braun, Carpzov, al.). But, considering the small number of responsible believers, which, in comparison with the enormous total mass of responsible unbelievers (more than six hundred thousand), retires altogether into the background, the latter could not possibly be designated by the mere τινές; nor can appeal be made for the opposite view to 1 Corinthians 10:7-10, since the τινές there several times recurring specializes only the ἐν τοῖς πλείοσιν, Hebrews 3:5, in its different subdivisions. In addition to this, the interrogatory form in the parallel clauses, Hebrews 3:17-18, already presupposes the interrogatory form also for Hebrews 3:16, and, as follows of necessity from the whole subsequent disquisition (comp. Hebrews 4:1-2; Hebrews 4:6; Hebrews 4:8), the thought must be expressed in Hebrews 3:16 that the whole of the Israelites were disobedient in the wilderness, and therefore came short of the promised goal, in connection with which the wholly isolated exceptions are passed over unnoticed as not being taken into account.

ἀλλά] decides the preceding question with the expression of astonishment conveyed in a counter-question: but (can there be a doubt as to the answer?) was it not all of those who came forth out of Egypt?

πάντες οἱ] Erroneously Bengel, Schulz, Kuinoel, and others: only such as, etc.

διὰ ΄ωϋσέως] by Moses, i.e. by his agency and under his guidance. διά is used with considerable freedom, since we should properly expect with it, instead of ἐξελθόντες, a passive notion as ἐξαχθέντες. Comp. διʼ ὧν ἐπιστεύσατε, 1 Corinthians 3:5.


Verses 15-19

Hebrews 3:15-19. Confirmation of the warning statement, Hebrews 3:14. That the blessing-fraught fact ( μέτοχοι τοῦ χριστοῦ γεγόναμεν), declared Hebrews 3:14, is realized singly and solely in the case that the condition stated, of firmness of faith to the end, is fulfilled, is shown by the example of the Fathers. Their unbelief, their ἀπιστία (comp. Hebrews 3:19), was the cause why they did not attain to the goal.


Verse 17-18

Hebrews 3:17-18. Further development of the truth, Hebrews 3:16, by means of recapitulation of the other main points of the Scripture citation. It was just this perverse totality of the Israelites with whom God was wroth on account of their sin forty years long, and against whom, on account of their disobedience, He closed by an oath the entrance into His κατάπαυσις.

Bengel, Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Delitzsch, Moll, Hofmann, and others, place the second note of interrogation, Hebrews 3:17, immediately after ἁμαρτήσασιν, and then take ὧνἐρήμῳ as an assertory statement. But on account of the environment of purely interrogatory clauses, and because the author indicates the result at which he aims only in Hebrews 3:19, it seems more correct, with Luther, Calvin, Beza, Mill, Wetstein, Bleek, de Wette, Tholuck, Alford, Maier, and others, to take the whole clause: οὐχὶἐρήμῳ, together as a single question, in such wise that ὧν κ. τ. λ. forms a prolonged characterization of τοῖς ἁμαρτήσασιν.

τοῖς ἁμαρτήσασιν] those that had sinned, namely, by unbelief and apostasy from God.

ὧν τὰ κῶλα κ. τ. λ.] pictorial description of seizure by a violent death, taken from Numbers 14:29; Numbers 14:32.

κῶλα] limbs (specially hands and feet), with the LXX., translation of the Hebrew פְּגָרִים, thus in general bodies or corpses.

ἔπεσεν] fell down, were stretched out dead, comp. 1 Corinthians 10:8.


Verse 18

Hebrews 3:18. τίσιν] Dativus incommodi.

μὴ εἰσελεύσεσθαι] On account of the variation of the subject in the tempus finitum and the infinitive, an inaccuracy instead of μὴ εἰσελεύσεσθαι αὐτούς, but excusable since the subject of the infinitive was naturally afforded by the context.

εἰ μή] Observe the mastery of style on the part of the author, appearing even in the variation of the negations: ἀλλʼ οὐοὐχὶεἰ μή, Hebrews 3:16-18.


Verse 19

Hebrews 3:19. Closing result from Hebrews 3:15-18.

καὶ βλέπομεν] thus we see then. Grotius (to whom Carpzov and others assent): “Ex historia cognoscimus.” But more correctly Seb. Schmidt (with whom Owen, Bleek, Alford, and others agree): “ βλέπομεν non de lectione aut cognitione historiae, sed de convictione animi e disputatione seu doctrina praemissa.”

διʼ ἀπιστίαν] on account of (their) unbelief. Placed with emphasis at the end.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Hebrews 3:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/hebrews-3.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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