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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Hebrews 13

 

 

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Verse 1

1 Let brotherly love continue.

Ver. 1. Let brotherly love continue] It shall continue in heaven; pity therefore but it should on earth. No such heaven upon earth, next unto communion with God, as the communion of saints.


Verse 2

2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Ver. 2. Have entertained angels] As Abraham and Lot, who pursued hospitality, as the apostle speaketh, Romans 12:13, and had such guests as they hoped not for. The Galatians received St Paul as an angel; so did Cornelius entertain Peter. Every child of God is an earthly angel; and by entertaining them, angels also (which are their guardians) are entertained. The philosopher told his friends when they came into his little low cottage, εντευθεν ουκ απεισι θεοι, the gods are here with me. God and his angels are the place where the saints are.


Verse 3

3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

Ver. 3. Remember them that, &c.] Learn hence, saith one, that it is no new thing for the world to put bonds on them, who seek to bring them out of bondage. It is very probable that Micaiah was that disguised prophet, who brought to Ahab the fearful message of displeasure and death for dismissing Benhadad, for which he ever after hated him, and held him in prison.

As being yourselves also in the body] Not the body of Christ, or the Church, as Calvin senseth it, but in the body of flesh and frailty, subject to like afflictions; so Erasmus, Beza, Pareus, and others. Now such as these must be remembered, so Hebrews 13:7; Hebrews 13:16. Hence this chapter is called by a divine, the Chapter of Remembrances, or the Remembrancer’s Chapter.


Verse 4

4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Ver. 4. Marriage is honourable] And yet say the Rhemists, upon 1 Corinthians 7:9, marriage of priests is the worst sort of incontinency. Is not this to play the Antichrist

And the bed undefiled] Admonemus in ipso etiam matrimonio quandam esse scortationis speciem, siquis pure Dei done pure et sanete non utatur, ad eum finem cuius causa est institutum, saith Beza. The marriage bed, though lawful, may be defiled by excess, &c., and a man may be an adulterer of his own wife.

God will judge] The Anabaptists of Germany inferred from hence that therefore men ought not to punish adulterers; for God reserved them to his own judgment. (Joh. Manl. loc. com.) Two of them, Monetarius and Hetserus, were notorious whoremongers; being a pair of such preachers, as Zedekiah and Ahab were, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire, because they committed adultery with their neighbours’ wives and spake lies in God’s name, &c., Jeremiah 29:22-23. But what a bold man was Latimer, bishop of Worcester, who presented to Henry VIII, for a new year’s gift, a New Testament with a napkin, having this posie about it, "Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."


Verse 5

5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Ver. 5. Let your conversation] Gr. προπος, your turnings and windings in the world for a livelihood. Do your business not out of a desire to get silver, αφιλαργυρος, but to humble yourselves by just labour.

Be content with such things] Not to be content is to be covetous. If men cannot bring their means to their mind, let them bring their mind to their means. (Clem. Alex.) A little will serve to bear our charges till we come home to heaven. Bonus paucis indiget. {See Trapp on "1 Timothy 6:6"} {See Trapp on "1 Timothy 6:7"} {See Trapp on "1 Timothy 6:8"} The contented man sits and sings,

Hoc alii cupiant: liceat mihi, paupere cultu

Securo, chara coniuge posse frui.

For he hath said] Five times in Scripture is this precious promise renewed; that we may press and oppress it, till we have expressed the sweetness out of it, Isaiah 66:11.

I will not forsake thee] Gr. ουδε ου μη, I will not not not forsake thee. Leave us God may to our thinking, but forsake us he will not. Only we must put this and other promises in suit, by praying them over. God loves to be bound by his own words, to be sued by his own bond. Now all this is nothing to the wicked, who are strangers to the promises. These God will bring into the briers, and there leave them, Ezekiel 22:20; Ezekiel 29:5. His own he will never leave nor forsake; or if he does, as sometimes he seems, yet he will not forsake them utterly, Psalms 119:8; no, that he will not. The Greek here hath five negatives, and may thus be rendered, "I will not not leave thee; neither will I not not forsake thee." God may desert his people, but not disinherit them; forsake them in regard of vision, not of union; change his dispensation, not his disposition.


Verse 6

6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Ver. 6. So that we may boldly say] Having such a promise to build and found our faith upon, we may well proceed to this holy gloriation against all opposition.


Verse 7

7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Ver. 7. Them which have the rule] Gr. ηγουμενοι, your captains, your guides (so ministers are called), your chieftains and champions, that bear the brunt of the battle, the heat of the day, and upon whom, as upon his white horses, the Lord Christ rideth about conquering and to conquer, Revelation 6:2.

Considering the end] Gr. αναθεωρουντες, reconsidering, perusing it over and over, and passing into the likeness of so holy a pattern.


Verse 8

8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Ver. 8. Jesus Christ, the same] This was the sum of their sermons, and is the substance of their and your faith; which therefore you must stick to, standing fast in the street which is called Straight, Acts 9:11, and not whirred about with various and strange doctrines.


Verse 9

9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

Ver. 9. Be not carried about] πεοιφερομενοι. Error is a precipice, a vortex, or whirlpool, which first turns men round, and then sucks them in. Islebius Agricola, that first Antinomian, did many times promise amendment; and yet afterwards not only fell to his error again, but turned Papist, fell into the other extreme. So hard a thing it is to get poison out when once swallowed down. {See Trapp on "Ephesians 4:14"}

With divers and strange doctrines] That agree neither with themselves nor with the truth.

That the heart be established] Ballasted as a ship, balanced as the bee with a little stone taken up by her, when she hath far to fly in a high wind, Ne leve alarum remigium praecipitent flabra ventorum, as Ambrose observeth, lest the bigger blast should dash her to the ground.

Not with meats] As if they were holy, or helpful to salvation. By meats understand all the legal ceremonies, opposed here to the gospel, that doctrine of grace.


Verse 10

10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

Ver. 10. We have an altar] That is, a sacrifice, even Christ our passover, whose flesh is meat indeed, John 6:35; John 6:53, but to believers only, not to those that pertinaciously plead for ceremonies and services of the law, Galatians 5:4. Hic edere, est credere.


Verse 11

11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.

Ver. 11. Are burnt without the camp] And so the priests had no part of the sin offering; to show that they have no part in Christ that adhere to the Levitical services. See Leviticus 16:27.


Verse 12

12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

Ver. 12. Without the gate] See how punctually the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New. Hardly could those before Christ divine what this meant, till he had suffered it, and the apostle had opened it. Event is the best key to types and prophecies.


Verse 13

13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

Ver. 13. Bearing his reproach] The reproach of saints is the reproach of Christ, and their sufferings his, Colossians 1:24; Nehemiah 4:3-5. God is more provoked than Nehemiah. He that saith, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay," repays ofttimes, when we have forgiven, when we have forgotten; and calls to reckoning after our discharges.


Verse 14

14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

Ver. 14. For here we have none] Improve this argument for the working our hearts off from the things of this world; the beauty of all which is but as a fair picture drawn upon the ice, that melts away with it.

But we seek one to come] And here we must all turn seekers. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God," &c., Matthew 6:33. {See Trapp on "Matthew 6:33"}


Verse 15

15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Ver. 15. The fruit of our lips] Covering God’s altar with the calves of our lips, Hosea 14:2. This shall please, the Lord better than an ox or bullock, that hath horns and hoofs, Psalms 69:31. This also is the seeker’s sacrifice, Psalms 69:32.


Verse 16

16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Ver. 16. Forget not] We very easily forget what we care not to remember. The richer, the harder usually.

For with such sacrifices] How improvident are we that will not offer a sacrifice of alms when God sets up an altar before us.


Verse 17

17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Ver. 17. That have the rule over you] Gr. That are your leaders or captains. But now, as once in Alcibiades’ army, most will be leaders, few learners. {See Trapp on "Hebrews 13:7"}

And submit yourselves] Obey their doctrine, submit to their discipline.

As they that must give an account] These are fulmina, non verba, as Erasmus saith of a like place, Ezekiel 3:18; not words, but thunderbolts. Chrysostom (though he usually preached every day, and so excellently that it grew to a proverb, Better the sun shine not than that Chrysostom preach not, yet he) was exceedingly affected and affrighted with this dreadful passage: being ready to say with Job, "What shall I do, when God riseth up? and when he calleth to reckoning, what shall I answer?" Job 31:14.


Verse 18

18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

Ver. 18. Willing to live honestly] Tantum velis, et Deus tibi praeoccurret. David could wish well to the keeping of God’s commandments, Psalms 119:4-5, and affect that which yet he could not effect.


Verse 19

19 But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Ver. 19. That I may be restored] Prayer reigns over all impediments. See this excellently set forth by Mr Harris in his Peter’s Enlargemeat.


Verse 20

20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

Ver. 20. Now the God of peace] He that would reap prayers must sow them. What could the Hebrews do less than pray for him that prayed so heartily for them?

Our Lord Jesus] Here is his kingly office. God hath made him both Lord and Christ, Acts 2:36.

That great Shepherd] That feedeth his people daily and daintily with divine doctrine. Here is his prophetical office.

Through the blood] Here is his priestly office. And here we must begin, if we will reckon them right.


Verse 21

21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Ver. 21. In every good work, &c.] Works materially good may never prove so formally and eventually; as when they are but external, partial, coactive, inconstant, &c.


Verse 22

22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.

Ver. 22. Suffer the word] Sharp though it be, and to the flesh tiresome, yet suffer it. Better it is that the vine should bleed than die. But many are like the nettle, touch it never so gently, it will sting you. Tange montes et fumigabunt. Offer to wake men out of their sleep, and they will brawl in that case with their best friends; yea, though it be with them here, as once it was with those that had the sweating sickness, if they slept they died. Few are now-a-days of Vespasian’s mind, of whom Quintilian reporteth that he was patientissimus veri, very patient of truth, though never so tart. Or of Gerson’s temper, who delighted in nothing more than a friendly reproof. This is now become as stronger physic, not fit for every complexion and state, &c.


Verse 23

23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

Ver. 23. Know ye that our brother] Good news should be spread abroad, and are a fit matter for Christian epistles, as one well observeth from these words.


Verse 24

24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

Ver. 24. Salute all them] This Epistle then was first read to the people, who are required to deliver the apostle’s comments to their ministers. The Papists debar the people, not of the Scriptures only, but of all books of the reformed religion; and for a terror not to retain such books prohibited, I have seen (saith Sir Edwin Sands) in their printed instructions for confession, the hearing or reading of books forbidden set in rank among the sins against the first commandment.

They of Italy salute you] Few saints there now; the Italians hold integrity for little better than silliness; they blaspheme oftener than swear, they murder more than revile or slander. And yet even in Italy there are fully four thousand professed Protestants. But their paucity and obscurity (saith mine author) shall enclose them in a cipher.


Verse 25

25 Grace be with you all. Amen. <<Written to the Hebrews from Italy, by Timothy.>>

Ver. 25. Grace be with you] {See Trapp on "Philemon 1:25"}

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 13:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/hebrews-13.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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