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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Hebrews 2

 

 

Verse 1

3. The guilt of disobeying the word of the Son proportioned to the dignity of his nature, Hebrews 2:1-4.

1. Therefore—In view of the great fact unfolded in the last entire chapter, that the Son, who now speaks, is lord of angels, creator of worlds, the eternal through all ages of the changing temporals. The importance of the things… heard is proportionate to the eternal Speaker.

Let them slip— Rather, lest we slip past them, in carelessness and inattention. The Greek verb really signifies to flow or glide by, as a stream of water. It is really a neuter verb, and yet is here used in the subjunctive passive, so as to read literally, lest we be flowed (or glided) past them. Similar is the Septuagint phrase in Proverbs 3:2, rendered freely, “My son, let them not depart from thine eyes.”


Verse 2

2. Word spoken by angels—By word, here, must undoubtedly be centrally meant the Law as given at Sinai, yet so as to include the various angelic messages delivered by angels and recorded in the Old Testament, which were truly subordinate additions. That the Law is centrally meant, is clear from the fact that the entire comparison is between the giving the old Law and the giving the new Gospel, showing the superiority of the latter.

Spoken by angels—But we are told very explicitly (Exodus 20:1; Exodus 20:19; Exodus 20:22, and Deuteronomy 5:4) that it was God himself who spoke at Sinai.

This difficulty, which affects the very foundations of the argument of this epistle, has been met in various ways. In our note on Acts 7:53, we have understood angels to be the real designation, idiomatically plural, for the one Angel of the covenant, by whom the word of the Sinaitic Law was truly spoken. The inferiority of the old dispensation would then consist in its transient Angel-form mediatorship instead of the permanent and personal form of the incarnate Son.

A full review of the mind of the Jewish Church, especially the Alexandrian, however, seems to reveal the fact that the audiences addressed by Stephen and by this epistle truly believed that, notwithstanding the very explicit words of Exodus 20:1, asserting that God himself was the speaker, yet God spoke through an angelic medium. Whitby on this passage quotes the remarkable words of Philo, that God spoke at Sinai, κελευσας ηχην αορατον εν αερι δημιουργηθηναι, by commanding an invisible sound to be formed in the air. Hence, while Philo and his contemporaries would still affirm that God spoke by himself alone, he would none the less affirm that the divine speech was shaped into vocal articulation and conveyed to man by angels. This, as Whitby well says, “supposes God the Father to be the supreme Author both of the Law and the Gospel; asserting only that his ambassadors and ministers in the one were much inferior to his Ambassador and great Prophet by whom the other was revealed.”

The mind of the Jewish Church underwent a great enlargement in regard to the nature of God during its residence in Babylon. From the vast plains and clear skies of that great East, where astronomy was born, new impressions were conceived of the greatness of immensity; and, consequently, grander conceptions of the omnipresence of God. The Jewish mind was thereby educated to read into the conception of Jehovah a more realized absolute Infinity. It realized more fully the vastness of the omnipresence truly expressed in the inspired words of their old revelation. It thereby never again inclined to relapse into its old idolatries. And, true to its old monotheism, it equally rejected the mythologies and idolatries of Babylon. Hence, when it was asked how so immense a Being could commune with man, it would be answered, through angels. But when it was asked how could the Infinite commune with even an angelic finite, there came the distinct conception of a God essential and a God manifest, yet both one. God manifestive was the Logos, the Word. St. John, in the commencement of his gospel, assumes to define the true conception of the Word. The author of this epistle still further elaborates the conception, maintaining that the Word or Son is superior to angels, and is divine; and that, therefore, the period inaugurated by his incarnation is a higher dispensation than that of its predecessor.

The following paragraph, by Delitzsch, shows how, under such experiences, the highest minds of the Jewish Church, in possession of the divine Oracles, were led towards the truths to be realized in the New Dispensation:— “Though possibly disturbing to some minds, it must not be concealed that Philo also regards the Logos in some places as a Mediator, Paraclete, or Heavenly Intercessor. For example, in 2:155, 25, (vit. mos., Hebrews 3:14,) in explaining the priest’s breastplate, ( λογιον,) he says: ‘It was necessary that one who was to serve as priest to the Father of the world should have as this Paraclete, [Advocate or Intercessor,] the all perfected Son, [that is, the Logos symbolized in the λογιον,] so as to obtain both forgiveness of sins and a supply (in abundant measure) of all good.’ Again, 2:501, 44, [Quis, rer. div. her., § 42,] speaking of the cloud which stood between Israel and the Egyptians, (Exodus 14:19,) he thus applies it to the Logos: ‘The all producing Father vouchsafed to this Logos, as leader of the angelic host, and eldest of all existences, that He should stand as the boundary between created things and the Creator. And he (the Logos) is himself an intercessor for mortality in its longings after the incorruptible, and an ambassador from the Lord of all to that which is His subject.’

In this way the Logos exhibits Himself as [Mediator] μεσιτης, (so He is frequently styled by Philo,) or, as the personal covenant, (i, 960, 12, De Somn., 2:36,) and interposer, συναγωγος, between God and man, (i, 144, 3, Lib. de Cherub, § 9.) Surely in all this we must recognise dawnings of New Testament light.”


Verse 3

3. How shall we—Both Christians and all who hear the word spoken.

Escape—Namely, the recompense suited in severity to the new conditions.

So great salvation—Its greatness being here measured by the greatness of the Mediator who brings it, the clearness by which it is attested, the price (Hebrews 2:9) which it cost, and the glory to which it brings.

At the first—At the commencement of the new revelation.

Confirmed unto us… heard him—That Paul never heard the living Christ at the first, we have recognised in our note to Acts 9:1. So that this statement perfectly accords with Paul’s authorship of the epistle. Lunemann and others, indeed, argue that Paul always claims that he derived his Gospel not from men, but from Christ, and so could not have written these words or this epistle. But, certainly, Paul does not ever claim that he was a personal hearer of the teachings of Jesus, or an eye-witness of his miracles. How he acquired his knowledge of the facts of Christ’s history we have discussed in our note, Acts 9:23. It is the doctrinal interpretation of those facts which he claimed to have obtained by revelation. We have shown in our notes on Acts 8:1-4, that the Pentecostal Church was dispersed, and succeeded by a later body of believers. The Hebrews, to whom this epistle was written, assuming them to be Jerusalemite and Palestinian Jews, received their knowledge of Christ’s history from living testimony, as did Paul. Compare our notes on Luke 1:1-3. Nevertheless the we and us here do not literally or necessarily include the apostle; but may be simply used from delicacy, as a modest identification of himself with his hearers. The first person plural is used six times in 1-3, where it is clear that Paul does not mean himself. Stuart has abundantly shown this self-identification with his readers to be Paul’s custom, both in this epistle and elsewhere, adducing a mass of instances, as follows: “See Hebrews 2:1; Hebrews 2:3; Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 4:1-2; Hebrews 4:11; Hebrews 4:13; Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 6:1-3; Hebrews 6:18-19; Hebrews 10:22-26; Hebrews 10:39; Hebrews 11:40; Hebrews 12:1; Hebrews 12:9-10; Hebrews 12:28; Hebrews 13:10; Hebrews 13:13; Hebrews 13:15. He also uses we or ye indifferently for the persons whom he addresses; for example: Hebrews 4:1, let us fear… lest any of you, etc.; we, in Hebrews 12:1-2; ye, in Hebrews 12:3-8; we, in Hebrews 12:9-10; ye, in Hebrews 12:17-18; Hebrews 12:22; Hebrews 12:25; we, in Hebrews 13:14; Hebrews 13:18, and often in the same way elsewhere, the address being still most manifestly made to the very same persons. He often employs, also, the first person plural to designate merely himself; as for example, in Hebrews 2:5; Hebrews 6:9; Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 13:18. This, in like manner, he interchanges with the first person singular; for example, Hebrews 13:18; compare Hebrews 13:19; Hebrews 13:22-23. The same use of the first person plural runs through all the Pauline epistles; for example, we and I for the writer himself, Galatians 1:8 : comp. Hebrews 1:9-14, Galatians 2:5; comp. Hebrews 2:1-4; Hebrews 2:6-7, and so very often elsewhere. So we and you for the persons addressed, Galatians 3:1-29; Galatians 4:3-20; Galatians 4:26-31, and elsewhere.” The passage, with the entire class of facts, is, therefore, not a disproof, but rather a proof, of the Pauline origin of this epistle; as it shows a full conformity with the apostle’s habit of using the pronouns. See our note on 1 Corinthians 15:51.


Verse 4

4. Not angels, but Jesus, Lord of this dispensation, Hebrews 2:5-8.

4. Bearing… witness—While the Lord was main speaker, God corroborated the divinity of his person and the truth of his announcements with signs and wonders. Signs implies their significance as proofs; wonders their startling supernaturalism; miracles their divine power, as dealings of omnipotence.

Gifts—Rather, distributions, distributive impartations.

Will—And according with his divine wisdom. The apostles could not work miracles at their own will.


Verse 5

5. For—Illustration. All this danger of offending a divine dignity is true, for Christ is lord of our dispensation. The development of thought is this: Hebrews 2:5 declares that angels rule not this dispensation: Hebrews 2:6-8 quote the psalmist’s description of man, (as in his first paradisaic state,) made ideal ruler of the lower creation: Hebrews 2:8 declares how complete that supremacy was, nothing being excepted; but it adds that now, (since the fall,) that subjection is annulled: Hebrews 2:9 descries that supremacy potentially restored in one, namely, Jesus, who is divinely so exalted as that he may be a glorious atoning sufferer for every man. It is this glorious divine Sufferer who, identifying himself with man by being man, restores the primitive exaltation of man. Beautifully does our author meet those who would revolt from Christ on account of the suffering of the cross, by showing that it was a suffering glorified by the divinity of the Sufferer.

Unto the angels—Not only was the Law given through angels, but the entire old dispensation was rife with angelic over-rulings, either of subordinate angels or transient phenomena of the Angel-Jehovah, who thus anticipated in shadow his incarnation. That angelic guidance led Israel from Egypt.

Moses declares, (Numbers 20:16 :) “When we cried unto the Lord, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt.” And God says, (Exodus 23:20 :) “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” And Exodus 23:23 : “Mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites… and I will cut them off.” And so the last of the prophets, Malachi, (Malachi 3:1,) predicts the incarnate Lord himself under the title “Messenger (or Angel) of the Covenant.” It was not until the time of the Captivity that Israel came fully to form the conception, as we learn from Daniel, that even secular nations were overruled by angels. Daniel 10:13; Daniel 10:20; Daniel 12:1. Against Michael, the prince of the people of God, there stood a “prince of Persia” and “of Grecia.” The Jewish doctors then read the same idea into Deuteronomy 32:8, which the Seventy translates, “When the Almighty divided the nations, he set the borders of them according to the number of the angels of God.” This, Rabbi Menahem paraphrases, “He placed seventy angels over the seventy nations.” See our note preceding Luke 10:1. But under our present dispensation angels are in the background. Even popular imagination, when, at the present day, it sees supernatural phenomena, never sees them in an angelic form.

World—Not aeon, the time-world, nor cosmos, the frame-world, but oikomene, the inhabited world, or territory; and so the world more or less completely of human population and territory. Matthew 24:14; Luke 2:1; Luke 4:5; Luke 21:26; Acts 11:28; Acts 17:6; Acts 17:31; Acts 19:27; Acts 24:5; Romans 10:18; Revelation 3:10; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 16:14.

World to come—Buxtorf says: “By ‘world to come,’ some Jews understand the world which is to be after the destruction of this inferior world, and after the resurrection of dead men, when their souls will again be united with their bodies. Others, by ‘world to come,’ understand the days of the Messiah, in which, that is, the Messiah shall come, whom they still expect, and that he will reign temporally in this world.” In the New Testament, when speaking from a Christian standpoint, the world to come would signify the world beyond the judgment-day, as in Matthew 12:32 : but speaking from the Jewish standpoint, as here, the phrase signifies the days of the Messiah, the incoming period between the first and second advent. So in the Septuagint of Isaiah 9:6, Christ is called ο πατηρ μελλοντος αιωνος, the Father of the age or time-world to come, (English translation, “the everlasting Father.”) See notes on 1 Corinthians 10:11; Ephesians 1:10.

Whereof we speak—Which is the subject of Hebrews 2:1-4.


Verse 6

6. But one—The indefiniteness of the quotation compliments his readers, by presupposing that they know all about the books quoted. The division into chapters and verses for easy reference did not exist in the apostle’s day.

One—You know who.

In a certain place—You know where. This was a customary style of quotation with Philo and the Rabbies. The quotation is from Psalm viii, and is David’s pensive words on contemplating the glory of the heavens above, and the insignificant magnitude of man below. Modern astronomy reads a deeper meaning into the words than David’s science knew. It is, indeed, a wonderful thing that so minute a body as man should be distinguished above the vast globes that swim through immensity. But an immortal, intelligent being is of more value than an infinite number of globes of dead matter. They might just as well be nonexistent, leaving pure space alone, except as they may serve the welfare of an intelligent being.

Man… son of man—An expressive parallelism. Jesus assumed to himself the epithet son of man as expressive of his humiliation. We see no direct reference by the psalmist to Christ.

Visitest—As a physician does a patient, or as a patron does his favourite.


Verse 7

7. Little lower than the angels—Unfallen man belonged to a high order, but the angels were a grade above him.

Set… hands—A reference to the Genesis history, in which primeval man is exhibited as lord of the lower creation.


Verse 8

8. Left nothing—The supremacy was complete, leaving no exception, and no rebellion such as sin afterwards produced, and as exists in the now of the following sentence.

But now—Since the fall, and before the renovation.

Not yet—As will be in the renewal.


Verse 9

5. That lordship assumed that he might suffer for and with our humanity, Hebrews 2:9-18.

9. We see not yet a full subjection; the psalmist’s ideal description is but imperfectly realized; but we do see the dawn of a better state. We see one Jesus, who, like man, is below the angels, yet crowned with divinity, that he might be the suffering redeemer for every other man. The order of the Greek words is nearly as follows: One, however, a little somewhat lower than angels we do see, (namely,) Jesus, for the sake of the suffering of death, with glory and honour crowned, in order that by grace of God he, in behalf of every man, might taste of death. Alford says here that Jesus is unemphatic, being a mere supply to tell us who is meant by the previous descriptive phrase. On the contrary, the previous descriptive phrase holds the mind in suspense to fall with emphasis on the word Jesus, an emphasis destroyed by our translators’ reversing the order. See note on Hebrews 2:14. Jesus, the Saviour’s most purely human name, is used because pure humanity, in its earthly state, is being described, in whose line Jesus is presented. The human Jesus is thence the basis of the crowned, which follows; a crowning in view, and with purpose of, his atoning death. He is crowned with glory and honour in a higher sense than primeval man, (Hebrews 2:7,) by being divinized. In primeval man the blessed Spirit dwelt in elevating power; in the divine man “dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Jesus’s being crowned, as man, with divinity, that is, glory and honour, was in order to render the efficacy of his death extensive to every man. He was human, that he might die; he was divine, that he might redeem.

By the grace of God—It was by grace of the Father both to him and to us, that the man Jesus was crowned with divinity that he might efficiently atone.

Taste death—Experience death; the experience being expressed by one of our experiential senses. The term taste for experience is frequently used by ancient writers, as taste of labour, taste of bitter grief, taste of liberty. It here suggests, though it does not expressly include, the ideas of the brevity, the reality, and the bitterness of death. Compare Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27; John 8:52.

For every man—The Greek might be read as neuter, for all, that is, humanity, or the race. But later commentators, as Lunemann, agree that it truly means every man, in order to emphasize the fact that Christ’s death not merely embraces the collective race, but expressly comes in contact upon every individual of the race.


Verse 10

10. It became him—It was suitable to the wisdom and goodness of God, who saw that the sufferings of one Son were the truest method and condition for bringing many sons unto glory. This becomingness of the suffering Messiah, our author adduces to convince and console those wavering Hebrews who desired a glorious, but disliked a crucified, Saviour.

For whom… by whom… all—The author of our salvation is the author and proprietor of all. No method but that which became him— which was worthy of his dignity as God of the universe—could be adopted.

Many sons—Who might be all the race, every man, if every man would consent. The divine idea, the brotherhood of Christ, extends to every man. The failure is not upon the part of God, but of man. Note on Ephesians 1:10.

Captain—Rendered in Acts 3:15, prince. The word signifies doubly an author or originator, and a military leader. It here includes both, and especially the latter, as presenting the image of Christ leading many unto glory.

Perfect—Fitted and completed perfectly as the great leader of salvation.

Through sufferings—So far from being a ground of misgiving, O ye tremulous Hebrews, the sufferings of our Captain are requisite in order to his perfect fitness and success in his divine enterprise. And let all sufferers know, throughout this suffering world, that as he was glorified through suffering, so our sufferings are glorified through him. Happy for us if our sufferings make us perfect as brethren of the Son. For this is the true mission of sorrow—to solidify our virtues by trial, to deepen our characters by solemn experiences.


Verse 11

11. For—Reason for this becomingness of Jesus sufferings; based upon the need of his identification with his brethren.

They who are sanctified—Are being sanctified; the present tense of the Greek participle implying a now continuous process, carried on unto the final glorification. Hence Christians are all, more or less perfectly, “saints.” According to Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:14, this is wrought through the efficacy of Christ’s death. But the Greek word for sanctify, here, should not therefore be rendered (as by Stuart and others) expiate.

All of one—The English, here, would suggest race, or nature, to be added; but the Greek word for one is masculine, and requires father, or God. This brings us to the same essential meaning as lineage, or race. Jesus is a true man, in order that as man brought sin and death, so a man should bring holiness and life. And still more, by being man he is brother with us, enabled by his humanity to sympathize with us, and by his divinity to so rise as that we may be raised as one with him to the heights of glory.

Not ashamed—For it is by a most wonderful and divine condescension that the divine Son becomes with us a human son.

Brethren—Thereby we become brother to the God-man.


Verse 12

12. SayingPsalms 22:22, where see note. The I refers to the Messiah, this being held by the Jewish Church as a Messianic psalm.

My brethren—Those whose nature he had assumed, and renewed by redemption.


Verse 13

13. And againIsaiah 8:17. The words in our English version are, “I will wait upon the Lord;” but in the Septuagint Greek they are as here quoted verbatim. The I is here applied to Christ. The passage can hardly be considered as Messianic in Isaiah. Words applied by the prophet to himself as a man, are here as a man applied to Christ. The same words, I will put my trust in him, are found in the Greek of the Septuagint of 2 Samuel 22:3, with which similar words in Psalms 18:3 closely correspond. But the reference here is, doubtless, to Isaiah’s words.

And again—Quoted from Isaiah’s next verse. Both quotations imply that the same Christ trusted, like his brethren, in God, and that he presented the children of God, by God to him given, before the God who had given them. They were not Christ’s children, but God’s, and Christ’s brethren.


Verse 14

14. Forasmuch then—This inference reverts back to close of Hebrews 2:11, in support of which 12 and 13 are citations. This verse reasserts the main thought, which beautifully interprets, to the dubious Christian Jew, the glory of the condescension of the eternal Son, the divine Logos, in assuming our nature that he might be capable of death.

Flesh and blood—Note, 1 Corinthians 15:50. The true reading is, blood and flesh, in which the blood, as the more immediate residence of the life and soul, is mentioned first. Both blood and flesh mean the bodily nature as impregnated with sensitivity and susceptibility to impressions, shared by both man and lower animals, whereby it becomes the basis of soul and spirit in man. This assumption of a sensitive body was in order that he might be capable of human death, and might, through death, destroy the author of death.

Destroy—The Greek word is used, as Alford says, twenty-five times by St. Paul. It often signifies, to put out of existence, (as Romans 6:6, 1 Corinthians 15:24,) and hence this might be a favourite text with those who believe in the annihilation of the devil. But it also signifies to ruin, to bring to naught, to despoil, as Luke 13:7, Romans 3:3, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, where see note. The Apocryphal Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs uses the word in the phrase, “He shall destroy Belial and those serving him.”

Had the power of death—Christ (Revelation 1:18) has the “keys of hell and of death,” that is, to deliver and bring forth to a resurrection; Satan has the power, through sin, of introducing death. Hence he was a murderer from the beginning. The rabbies carried this idea so far as to teach that Samael was the angel of death, inflicting it whenever a man dies. The antithesis, through death… destroy… death, strikingly expresses the work of the dying Redeemer. And not until this antithesis is completed are we brought in the sentence, with closing emphasis, to the name of the murderer—the devil. See note on Hebrews 2:9.


Verse 15

15. The destruction of the destroyer is a final act. Revelation 20:10.

But there is an earlier process of deliverance in progress. It is a deliverance even now from that bondage caused by the fear of death. But for sin and Satan men would have passed through the immortalizing “change,” (see note on 1 Corinthians 15:51,) like Enoch and Elijah, without pain or fear. But death is now the king of terrors. To the atheist and the skeptic death is an endless night; to the heathen a land of shadows; to the sinner a vista of woe. It is Christ who in death has conquered death, and has opened to the believer’s faith the blessed vision of life and immortality.

Hence the saints of God have found their death beds scenes of joy and triumph, and have left many a precious testimony of their deliverance from fear.


Verse 16

16. Took not on him—This verb signifies primitively to grasp, to take hold of; generally with some degree of force or earnestness. This taking is for the purpose of aid, or to possess and appropriate. Hence a difference of opinion between commentators; some of whom render it as in our translation, and others (as Alford) translate it simply “helpeth.” The word truly includes both ideas, namely, to forcibly grasp, to seize, and a purpose thereby to aid, to rescue, to redeem. Our author did not mean simply to help, otherwise he would have used the ordinary Greek verb for to help; but he means to help by grasping forcibly the seed of Abraham. And the very word seed implies a lineage genetically assumed. The previous Hebrews 2:14-15, affirm Christ’s partaking our nature to deliver us from fear of death; this verse confirms that thought by specifying his omitting angels and redemptively assuming manhood; and Hebrews 2:17 urges the perfect fitness of that assumption.

Seed of Abraham—A touching fact for these Hebrews, sons of Abraham, whose special lineage Christ assumed. He was their Abrahamic brother, and they were of the Messianic family of man. Why shrink from that suffering cross, which was truly glorious to the Sufferer and honouring to a Hebrew?


Verse 17

17. Wherefore—Deduction from the preceding. If, to redeem us, he assumed our nature, he must complete his brotherhood with us by suffering like unto us.

In all things—Birth, pain, and death included.

Might be— Rather, might become.

Merciful—The statement quoted from Calvin by Alford, with approval, must not be for a moment accepted: “Not that the Son of God needed to be formed by experience to a feeling of mercy, but because we could not otherwise be persuaded that he was clement, and inclined to render us aid.” The plain doctrine is not merely that such a fact took place to give us assurance of mercy, (though that was one point to be received,) but that such an assemblage of elements was formed into the divine-human Jesus, that a genuine human sympathy might truly exist. It was not to be a mere assuring show, but a most beneficent reality. There was not merely a divine mind forming anthropomorphic conceptions, but a human mind feeling human sympathies.

High priest—This very central term in this epistle is now, for the first time, arrived at; the preparation for its introduction was commenced at Hebrews 2:15. Hebrews 2:14 affirms the necessity of Christ’s death, in order to become the conqueror of death; this affirms the necessity of his human suffering, that he might sympathize with us sufferers.

Faithful—Embracing the double meaning of fidelity and of reliability. Christ is true to his mission, and is trustworthy for its completion.

Make reconciliation for—The Greek word signifies, to make propitious. The Greek adjective of the same verb ‘ ιλαρος, hilaros, (from which comes our English word hilarity,) is equivalent to our adjective propitious; and the word, in its various forms, was customarily applied by the Greeks to their gods when induced by expiation to be gracious: hence, in its biblical use, the verb means such a satisfaction sacrificially made to justice, as that God may deal with us in mercy. Anger can be ascribed to God only as a sense of justice and of subjective purpose against sin. When the demands of justice are obviated, we may behold that purpose of justice obviated, and the face of God beaming upon us in unobstructed benefaction. The objective of the verb is sins, and the meaning is, that Christ’s death so reaches and affects our sins as that God may be propitious to us.

Of the people—The Old Testament phrase for the Israelite people, enlarged to a world-wide sense.


Verse 18

18. For—To illustrate the word sufferings by the particular case of temptation.

Being tempted—An historical confirmation of Matthew 4:1-11.

He is able—We are connected to the man Jesus by a pure and beautiful human sympathy. Abstract theism, presenting a pure infinite, fails to awaken our human affections until deity is to us humanized. But in Jesus we find a divine brother. And, through Jesus, infinite righteousness is able to deal with us, not by the rule of the infinitely perfect law, but according to the measure of human weakness. Under the Old Testament the psalmist could say, “As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” In Jesus we find one who has suffered as we, and been tempted like us, and with a human sympathy for us can bring a divine succour to us.

On this chapter we note:—1. Pure theism, as in Judaism, (whether philonean, rabbinical, or modern,) as in Mohammedanism and in modern deism, is cold and barren, (throwing God to an infinite distance upward,) destitute of that element of tenderness embodied in the divine Jesus, and so beautifully portrayed in the closing part of this chapter. There is added, also, especially in Mohammedanism, a fierceness, a fanaticism, which is adverse to a genial civilization, and holds its subjects in a dreary semi-barbarism. Just so far, too, as the incarnation is rejected from a professed Christianity, the piety tends towards a cold morality, and the religion to become a mere philosophy. 2. Yet while we deeply recognise the tender sympathy of the blessed Jesus, neither thought nor language should forget a most profound reverence. We must not assume his interference in our trifling secular affairs, nor speak of him in fondling or amatory language. It is as our sympathizing Saviour from temptation, sin, and death, that we are ever reverently to contemplate him.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Hebrews 2:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/hebrews-2.html. 1874-1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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