Hebrews 5:7
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7, 8) Who in the days of his flesh . . .—It will be observed that, of the two essential conditions mentioned in Hebrews 5:2 and Hebrews 5:4, the latter is first taken up in its application to Christ (Hebrews 5:5-6). This verse and the next correspond to the general thought of Hebrews 5:1-2, so far as it is applicable to “Him who knew no sin.”

The following rendering will, it is believed, best show the meaning of these two important verses, and the connection of the several parts: Who, in the days of His flesh, having with a strong cry and tears offered up prayers and supplications unto Him that was able to save Him out of death, and having been heard for His reverent fear, though He was a son, yet learned obedience by the things which He suffered. The most noticeable change of rendering occurs at the close of the seventh verse; here the interpretation given by all the Greek Fathers, followed in most of our English versions (and in the margin of the Authorised itself), certainly deserves the preference over that which, through the influence of Calvin and Beza, found its way into the Genevan Testament, and hence into the Bishops’ Bible and the translation of 1611. The word rendered “reverent fear” occurs in but one other place in the New Testament (Hebrews 12:28); but the kindred verb and adjective are found in Hebrews 11:7; Luke 2:25; Acts 2:5; Acts 8:2. It properly denotes, not terror, but a cautious foreseeing fear, opposed alike to rashness and to cowardice: the adjective, which is always rendered “devout,” is fully explained in the Notes on Acts 2:5. No word could be more suitable where the relation of the Son of Man to His “God and Father” is expressed and it would be very difficult to find any other word which should be suitable to this relation and yet contain no implication of sin to be acknowledged with humility and shame. The object of the “prayers and supplications” thus heard and answered is implied in the words “unto Him that was able to save Him out of death.” Not “from death:” the Greek words may have that meaning, but it is not their most natural sense, as a comparison of other passages would show. The prayer, we are persuaded, was not that death might be averted, but that there might be granted deliverance out of death. This prayer was answered: His death was the beginning of His glory (Hebrews 2:9). It may indeed be asked, Could such a prayer be offered by One who knew “the glory that should follow” His sufferings? In a matter so far beyond our reasoning it is most reverent to point to the mystery of another prayer (Matthew 26:39) offered by Him who had often taught His disciples that He must be put to death (Matthew 16:21). Mark the striking correspondence between the petition thus understood and St. Peter’s quotation of Psalm 16:10 (Acts 2:24). Some of the expressions in this verse would lead us to believe that the writer’s thought is resting on the Agony in the Garden; but the “strong cry” brings before us the Crucifixion (Matthew 27:46; Matthew 27:50), and the words of Psalm 22:1 lie very near the thought of this verse. It does not seem necessary to decide—we may doubt whether it is possible, and whether both should not be included. The opening words, “in the days of His flesh” (comp. Hebrews 2:14; John 1:14; 1Peter 3:18), would certainly seem to favour this latter view. The word “offered” must not be lightly passed over. Of frequent occurrence in this Epistle, in every case except one (which is not at all in point) it has a sacrificial sense; it seems certain, therefore, that these prayers—a token of His suffering, an example of His reverent fear—are included in the sacrifice which comprised His whole life and death.

Hebrews

GETHSEMANE

Hebrews 5:7WE may take these great and solemn words as a commentary on the gospel narrative of Gethsemane. It is remarkable that there should be here preserved a detail of that agony which is not found in our Gospels. The strong crying and tears find no record in our evangelists, and so it would appear as though the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews was not altogether dependent upon them for his knowledge of Christ’s life. In any case here we have independent witness to the story of Christ’s passion, and a very instructive hint as to the widespread and familiar knowledge of the story of our Lord’s suffering, which existed at the very early date of this Epistle in the churches, so that it could be referred to in this far-off allusive way with the certainty that hearers would distinctly understand what the writer was speaking about. So we get a confirmation of the historical veracity of the narrative that is preserved in our Gospel. But the value of such words as these is their bearing upon far deeper things than that. They point to Gethsemane as showing us Christ, as the companion of our sorrows and supplications, as a pattern of our submissive, devout resignation, and as a lesson for us all how prayer is most truly answered. First, then, take that great thought of my text, the Christ as being our companion in sorrow and in supplication. ‘In the days of His flesh - when He bore what I bear - in the days of His flesh He offered prayer and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death.’ Now I do not dwell at any length upon the additional contribution to the vividness and solemnity of the picture given us in the detail of the text before us, but I want to refer for one moment, and I will do it as reverently as I can, to the unapproachable narrative, and to make this one remark about it, that all the three evangelists who are our source of knowledge of that scene in the garden of Gethsemane employ strange, and all but unexampled, words in order to express the condition of our Saviour’s spirit then. Matthew, for instance, uses a word which, in our Bible, is translated ‘He began to be very heavy.’ Only once besides, as far as I know, is it employed in scripture, and it seems to mean something like ‘On the very verge of despair.’ And then Mark gives us the same singular expression, adding to it another one which is translated, ‘sore amazed.’ It has been suggested that a more adequate rendering would be ‘began to be appalled,’ and another suggestion has been, that it might be adequately rendered with the phrase ‘that He began to be out of Himself.’ Then comes Luke, with his word, which we have translated into English as ‘agony.’ And then there come Christ’s own strange words, ‘My soul is encompassed with sorrow almost up to the point of death.’ That is not a proverb; I take that to be a literal fact that one more pang and the physical frame would have given way. Now, I do not point to these things in any spirit of curious investigation. I feel, I hope, ‘Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.’ And yet I cannot help feeling that there is a tendency nowadays to say too little about the Gospel story of Christ’s sufferings; it is a reaction, no doubt, and prompted by good motives; it is a reaction from the preaching of a former time, when men used these sacred narratives of our Lord’s last days in the coarsest possible manner, and the climax of it is that horrible kind of preaching that Roman Catholic preachers used to indulge in - Passion sermons. And yet I cannot but feel that we are in danger of going to the other extreme and losing much by not sufficiently dwelling on the facts.

Then there is another point.. What is the meaning of that-what is the explanation of all the passion, and paroxysm of agony, and fear. and bloody sweat, and horror-stricken appeal? Is it not a very, very unheroic picture that? Is it not strangely unlike the spirit in which many men and women, who drew all courage from Christ, have gone to their death? Is not the servant above his master here, if you will think of a Latimer at the stake, or of many a poor unknown martyr that went to his death as to his bed, and set that side by side with the shrinking of Christ? Well, dear brethren, I know the attempt to explain the flood of sorrow, of dread, and horror of great darkness that wrapt the soul of Jesus Christ in these last moments, on psychological principles, and say it is a pure and lofty end, shrinking from death; but it seems to me the only explanation of it all is the good old one:

‘The Lord hath made to meet upon Him the iniquity of us all.’

And so with the weight of the sins and the sorrows of the world, He began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

And then, passing on, let me deal with the matter from another point of view, and remind you that, whatsoever there may be all His own and beyond that reach of common humanity, experienced in the solemn and awful hour, yet it is also the revelation of a companionship that never fails us in all our struggles, tears, and prayers. Oh, how different that makes our passage through the lonely experience of our human life! There are times in every life when all human affection and all human voices fail in the presence of a great sorrow, and when you feel that you must tread this path alone. Although loving hands are stretched out to me through the darkness, and have grasped my own and helped me to stand, yet nothing will still the aching of the solitary heart except the thought of a Christ who has suffered it all already, and who, in the days of His flesh, offered up, with strong crying and tears, His prayer unto Him that was able to save. You remember the old Roman story - grand in its heroic simplicity - of the husband and the wife resolved to escape from the miseries of a tyrant-ridden world by suicide - which to them was less criminal than it is to us - and the wife first of all struck the dagger into her own heart, and drawing it out, embrued with her own blood, hands it to her husband, with the dying words ‘Paetus! it is not painful.’ The sharp edge that strikes into your heart, brethren, has cut into Christ’s first, and the blade tinctured with His blood inflicts only healing wounds upon us. He is our priest because He has gone before us on every road of sorrow and loss, and is ready to sustain us when it comes to our turn to tread it.

And so turn for a moment to the other conception that is here, viz., that the same solemn scene shows us Christ as being, not only our companion in sorrow and supplication, but our pattern of submissive reverence. The language of my text needs just one word of explanation in order to show where this lies. You observe it reads, ‘And was heard in that He feared.’ Now, these last words, ‘in that He feared,’ have always received two varying expositions, and, I suppose, always will receive them. The text fairly allows one or the other. They may either mean, ‘He was heard or delivered from the thing He dreaded’ - which you know is not true - or they may mean that He was heard by reason of His reverence and submission, or, if we may use such a word - a word that is not Scriptural and very modern - was heard because of His piety. And I suppose the latter was distinctly the meaning in the writer’s mind. Christ’s prayer was, ‘If it be possible,’ and His second prayer was, ‘If this cup may not pass from Me Thy will be done.’ He felt the reluctance of the flesh to enter upon the path of suffering, the perfectly natural human shrinking from all that lay before Him. But that shrinking never made His purpose falter, nor made Him lose His son-like dependence upon the Father’s will and submission to the Father’s will. And so there come out of that, large lessons that I can only just touch for a moment.

And the first of them is this: let us learn and be thankful for the teaching, that resignation, submission to all the burdens and pains and struggles and sorrows which life brings to us, does not demand the suppression of the natural emotions and affections of the flesh. Christ recoiled from the cup, but Christ’s submission was perfect. And so for us there are two ways. Inclination and duty will often draw us two different ways. Tastes and weaknesses will often suggest one thing, and the high sense of the path we ought to travel upon will suggest another. But the inclination must never be allowed to mount up into the region of the will and to make our purpose falter, or make us abandon that which we feel will be the rough path-Then there will be no sin in the fact that the flesh shrinks, as shrink it must, from the thing which duty demands we should do. Christ, the example of a perfect resignation, is an example of a will that mastered flesh. That is full of encouragement and strength to us in our time of need and conflict.

And then there is the other side of the same thought Not only does there often come into our life the struggle of duty and inclination, but there comes into our life sometimes the other straggle between submission and sorrow. In like manner there is no sin in the tear, there is no sin in the strong crying. It is meet that when His hand is laid heavy upon my heart, my heart should feel the pressure; it is meet that I should take into my consciousness and into my feeling the pain; and then it is meet that if I cannot do anything more - and I don’t think we can - I should at least try through my tears to say, ‘Not my will, but Thine’; and if I cannot do anything more, at least, ‘I was dumb, I opened not my mouth because Thou didst it.’

And the last point I touch upon is this, that according to the teaching of this commentary upon that solemn scene, our Lord in it sets before us the lesson of what the true answer to prayer is. ‘He prayed unto Him that was able to save Him from death,’ and says my text: ‘He was heard.’ Was He? How was He heard? He was heard in this. There appeared unto Him an angel from heaven strengthening Him. He was heard in this because His prayer was not ‘Let this cup pass,’ but His prayer was, ‘Thy will be done,’ and God’s will was done.

And so there comes out the true heart of all true prayer, ‘Thy will be done.’ And the true answer that We get is, not the lifting away of the burden, but the breathing into our hearts strength to bear it, so that it ceases to be a burden. Let us make our prayers not petulant wishes to get our own way, but lowly efforts to enter into God’s way and make His will ours, so shall come to us peace and strength, and a power adequate to Our need. The cup will be sweetened, and our lips made willing to drink it. Christ was heard, and Christ was crucified.

Learn the lesson that if, in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, we make. our requests known unto God, whatsoever other answer may be sent, or not sent, the real and highest answer will surely’ be sent, and the peace of God, which passeth understanding, shall keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.Hebrews 5:7. Who, &c. — The sum of the things treated of in the 7th and following chapters, is contained in this paragraph, from Hebrews 5:7-10, and in this sum is admirably comprised the process of his passion with its inmost causes, in the very terms used by the evangelists. Who in the days of his flesh — Those two days in particular wherein his sufferings were at the height; when he had offered up prayers and supplications thrice; with strong crying and tears — In the garden; to him (his heavenly Father) that was able to save him from death — Which yet he endured in obedience to his Father’s will. The reader will easily understand what is here said concerning the fear and sorrow, the strong crying and tears of the Son of God, if he remember that He, who was perfect God, and possessed of all possible perfections as the eternal Word of the Father, was also perfect man, “of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting:” in other words, that in his mysterious person, the perfect human nature, consisting of soul and body, was indeed united indissolubly to the divine, but was not while he was on earth, (and is not even now,) absorbed by it. The union was such as gave an infinite dignity to the person of the Redeemer, and infinite merit to his sufferings, but not such as made him incapable of suffering, or rendered his sufferings of no efficacy, which would have been the case if they had not been felt. Only let this be kept in remembrance, and Christ’s humiliation and sorrow will not be a stone of stumbling to us, or rock of offence, any more than his exaltation and glory. And was heard in that he feared — To be heard, signifies, in Scripture, to be accepted in our requests, or to be answered in them. There is no doubt but the Father heard the Son always in the former sense, John 11:42 : but how far was he heard in the latter, so as to be delivered from what he prayed against? In answer to this it must be observed, the prayers of Christ on this occasion were, 1st, Conditional; namely, that the cup might pass from him if it were agreeable to his Father’s will; Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me, Luke 22:42. He could not have been man, and not have had an extreme aversion to the sufferings that were coming upon him in that hour and power of darkness: when it is certain that Satan and his angels, who had departed from him for a season, (Luke 4:13,) were again permitted to oppress his soul with inexpressible horror. Nothing, in fact, is suffering, or can be penal to us, but what is grievous to our nature. But the mind of Christ, amidst these assaults of hell, and the view given him of the sufferings which awaited him, was so supported and fortified, as to come to a perfect acquiescence in his Father’s will, saying, Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done. But, 2d, His prayers were also absolute, and were absolutely heard. He had conceived a deep and dreadful apprehension of death, upon its being presented to him as attended with the wrath and curse of God, due to those sins of mankind, for which he was to make atonement. And he well knew how unable the human nature was to undergo it, (so as to remove that wrath and curse, and make way for the justification of such as should believe in him,) if not mightily supported and carried through the trial by the power of God. And while his faith and trust in God were terribly assaulted by the temptations of Satan suggesting fear, dread, and terrible apprehensions of the divine displeasure due to our sins, it was his duty, and a part of the obedience he owed to his heavenly Father, to pray that he might be supported and delivered, απο της ευλαβειας, in that he particularly feared — Or rather; from his fear, namely, the fear of that weight of infinite justice and wrath, which our sins had provoked; or, the being bruised and put to grief by the hand of God himself. Compared with this, every thing else was as nothing. And yet so greatly did he thirst to be obedient even unto this dreadful death, and to lay down his life for his sheep, under this dreadful load of anguish and sorrow, that he vehemently longed to be baptized with this baptism, Luke 12:50. The consideration of its being the will of God that he should thus suffer, first tempered his fear, and afterward swallowed it up. And he was heard — Not so that the cup should pass away, but so that he was enabled to drink it without any fear. Thus the prophet represents him as saying, The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back: I gave my back to the smiters, &c., for the Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded; therefore have I set my face like a flint, I know that I shall not be ashamed, &c, Isaiah 50:5-8. Add to this, that he was actually delivered from the power of death itself by a glorious resurrection, of which the prophet intimates his having an assured expectation, representing him as adding, He is near that justifieth me; namely, that acquits me from the charge of being an imposter and blasphemer, by raising me from the dead, exalting me to his own right hand, and investing me with all power in heaven and on earth, and especially by authorizing me to confer the Holy Ghost in his extraordinary gifts upon my disciples, and thereby to give demonstration of my being the true Messiah. In this sense the apostle seems to have understood the passage when he said, that he, who was put to death in the flesh; namely, as a blasphemer; was justified in, or by, the Spirit, conferred by him after his ascension.5:1-10 The High Priest must be a man, a partaker of our nature. This shows that man had sinned. For God would not suffer sinful man to come to him alone. But every one is welcome to God, that comes to him by this High Priest; and as we value acceptance with God, and pardon, we must apply by faith to this our great High Priest Christ Jesus, who can intercede for those that are out of the way of truth, duty, and happiness; one who has tenderness to lead them back from the by-paths of error, sin, and misery. Those only can expect assistance from God, and acceptance with him, and his presence and blessing on them and their services, that are called of God. This is applied to Christ. In the days of his flesh, Christ made himself subject to death: he hungered: he was a tempted, suffering, dying Jesus. Christ set an example, not only to pray, but to be fervent in prayer. How many dry prayers, how few wetted with tears, do we offer up to God! He was strengthened to support the immense weight of suffering laid upon him. There is no real deliverance from death but to be carried through it. He was raised and exalted, and to him was given the power of saving all sinners to the uttermost, who come unto God through him. Christ has left us an example that we should learn humble obedience to the will of God, by all our afflictions. We need affliction, to teach us submission. His obedience in our nature encourages our attempts to obey, and for us to expect support and comfort under all the temptations and sufferings to which we are exposed. Being made perfect for this great work, he is become the Author of eternal salvation to all that obey him. But are we of that number?Who - That is, the Lord Jesus - for so the connection demands. The object of this verse and the two following is, to show that the Lord Jesus had that qualification for the office of priest to which he had referred in Hebrews 5:2. It was one important qualification for that office that he who sustained it should be able to show compassion, to aid those that were out of the way, and to sympathize with sufferers; in other words, they were themselves encompassed with infirmity, and thus were able to succour those who were subjected to trials. The apostle shows now that the Lord Jesus had those qualifications, as far as it was possible for one to have them who had no sin. In the days of his flesh he suffered intensely; he prayed with fervor; he placed himself in a situation where he learned subjection and obedience by his trials; and in all this he went far beyond what had been evinced by the priests under the ancient dispensation.

In the days of his flesh - When he appeared on earth as a man. Flesh is used to denote human nature, and especially human nature as susceptible of suffering. The Son of God still is united to human nature, but it is human nature glorified, for in his case, as in all others, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," 1 Corinthians 15:50. He has now a glorified body Philippians 3:21, such as the redeemed will have in the future world; compare Revelation 1:13-17. The phrase "days of his flesh," means the "time" when he was incarnate, or when he lived on earth in human form. The particular time here referred to, evidently, was the agony in the garden of Gethsemane.

Prayers and supplications - These words are often used to denote the same thing. If there is a difference, the former - δεήσεις deēseis - means petitions which arise "from a sense of need" - from δέομαι deomai - "to want, to need;" the latter refers usually to supplication "for protection," and is applicable to one who under a sense of guilt flees to an altar with the symbols of supplication in his hand. Suppliants in such cases often carried an olive-branch as an emblem of the peace which they sought. A fact is mentioned by Livy respecting the Locrians that may illustrate this passage. "Ten delegates from the Locrians, squalid and covered with rags, came into the hall where the consuls were sitting, extending the badges of suppliants - olive-branches - according to the custom of the Greeks; and prostrated themselves on the ground before the tribunal, with a lamentable cry;" Lib. xxix. 100:16. The particular idea in the word used here - ἱκετηρία hiketēria - is petition for "protection, help," or "shelter" (Passow), and this idea accords well with the design of the passage. The Lord Jesus prayed as one who had "need," and as one who desired "protection, shelter," or "help." The words here, therefore, do not mean the same thing, and are not merely intensive, but they refer to distinct purposes which the Redeemer had in his prayers. He was about to die, and as a man needed the divine help; he was, probably, tempted in that dark hour (see the note, John 12:31), and he fled to God for "protection."

With strong crying - This word does not mean "weeping," as the word "crying" does familiarly with us. It rather means an outcry, the voice of wailing and lamentation. It is the cry for help of one who is deeply distressed, or in danger; and refers here to the "earnest petition" of the Saviour when in the agony of Gethsemane or when on the cross. It is the "intensity of the voice" which is referred to when it is raised by an agony of suffering; compare Luke 22:44, "He prayed more earnestly;" Matthew 27:46, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice - My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" see also Matthew 26:38-39; Matthew 27:50.

And tears - Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus John 11:35, and over Jerusalem; Luke 19:41. It is not expressly stated by the Evangelists that he "wept" in the garden of Gethsemane, but there is no reason to doubt that he did. In such an intense agony as to cause a bloody sweat, there is every probability that it would be accompanied with tears. We may remark then:

(1) That there is nothing "dishonorable" in tears and that man should not be ashamed on proper occasions to weep. The fact that the Son of God wept is a full demonstration that it is not disgraceful to weep. God has so made us as to express sympathy for others by tears. Religion does not make the heart insensible and hard as stoical philosophy does; it makes it tender and susceptible to impression.

(2) it is not "improper" to weep. The Son of God wept - and if he poured forth tears it cannot be wrong for us. Besides, it is a great law of our nature that in suffering we should find relief by tears. God would not have so made us if it had been wrong.

(3) the fact that the Son of God thus wept should be allowed deeply to effect our hearts.

"He wept that we might weep;

Each sin demands a tear."

He wept that he might redeem us we should weep that our sins were so great as to demand such bitter woes for our salvation. That we had sinned; that our sins caused him such anguish; that he endured for us this bitter conflict, should make us weep. Tear should answer to tear, and sigh respond to sigh, and groan to groan, when we contemplate the sorrows of the Son of God in accomplishing our redemption. That man must have a hard heart who has never had an emotion when he has reflected that the Son of God wept, and bled, and died for him.

Unto him that was able - To God. He alone was able then to save. In such a conflict man could not aid, and the help of angels, ready as they were to assist him, could not sustain him. We may derive aid from man in trial; we may be comforted by sympathy and counsel; but there are sorrows where God only can uphold the sufferer. That God was "able" to uphold him in his severe conflict, the Redeemer could not doubt; nor need "we" doubt it in reference to ourselves when deep sorrows come over our souls.

To save him from death - It would seem from this, that what constituted the agony of the Redeemer was the dread of death, and that he prayed that he might be saved from that. This might be, so far as the language is concerned, either the dread of death on the spot by the intensity of his sufferings and by the power of the tempter, or it might be the dread of the approaching death on the cross. As the Redeemer, however, knew that he was to die on the cross, it can hardly be supposed that he apprehended death in the garden of Gethsemane. What he prayed for was, that, if it were possible, he might be spared from a death so painful as he apprehended; Matthew 26:39. Feeling that God had "power" to save him from that mode of dying, the burden of his petition was, that, if human redemption could be accomplished without such sufferings, it might please his Father to remove that cup from him.

And was heard - In John 11:42, the Saviour says," I know that thou hearest me always." In the garden of Gethsemane, he was heard. His prayer was not disregarded, though it was not" literally" answered. The cup of death was not taken away; but his prayer was not disregarded. What answer was given; what assurance or support was imparted to his soul, we are not informed. The case, however, shows us:

continued...

7. in the days of his flesh—(Heb 2:14; 10:20). Heb 5:7-10 state summarily the subject about to be handled more fully in the seventh and eighth chapters.

when he had offered—rather, "in that He offered." His crying and tears were part of the experimental lesson of obedience which He submitted to learn from the Father (when God was qualifying Him for the high priesthood). "Who" is to be construed with "learned obedience" (or rather as Greek, "His obedience"; "the obedience" which we all know about). This all shows that "Christ glorified not Himself to be made an High Priest" (Heb 5:5), but was appointed thereto by the Father.

prayers and supplications—Greek, "both prayers and supplications." In Gethsemane, where He prayed thrice, and on the cross, where He cried, My God, my God … probably repeating inwardly all the twenty-second Psalm. "Prayers" refer to the mind: "supplications" also to the body (namely, the suppliant attitude) (Mt 26:39) [Bengel].

with strong crying and tears—The "tears" are an additional fact here communicated to us by the inspired apostle, not recorded in the Gospels, though implied. Mt 26:37, "sorrowful and very heavy." Mr 14:33; Lu 22:44, "in an agony He prayed more earnestly … His sweat … great drops of blood falling down to the ground." Ps 22:1 ("roaring … cry"), Ps 22:2, 19, 21, 24; 69:3, 10, "I wept."

able to save him from death—Mr 14:36, "All things are possible unto Thee" (Joh 12:27). His cry showed His entire participation of man's infirmity: His reference of His wish to the will of God, His sinless faith and obedience.

heard in that he feared—There is no intimation in the twenty-second Psalm, or the Gospels that Christ prayed to be saved from the mere act of dying. What He feared was the hiding of the Father's countenance. His holy filial love must rightly have shrunk from this strange and bitterest of trials without the imputation of impatience. To have been passively content at the approach of such a cloud would have been, not faith, but sin. The cup of death He prayed to be freed from was, not corporal, but spiritual death, that is, the (temporary) separation of His human soul from the light of God's countenance. His prayer was "heard" in His Father's strengthening Him so as to hold fast His unwavering faith under the trial (My God, my God, was still His filial cry under it, still claiming God as His, though God hid His face), and soon removing it in answer to His cry during the darkness on the cross, "My God, my God," &c. But see below a further explanation of how He was heard. The Greek literally, is, "Was heard from His fear," that is, so as to be saved from His fear. Compare Ps 22:21, which well accords with this, "Save me from the lion's mouth (His prayer): thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns." Or what better accords with the strict meaning of the Greek noun, "in consequence of His REVERENTIAL FEAR," that is, in that He shrank from the horrors of separation from the bright presence of the Father, yet was reverentially cautious by no thought or word of impatience to give way to a shadow of distrust or want of perfect filial love. In the same sense Heb 12:28 uses the noun, and Heb 11:7 the verb. Alford somewhat similarly translates, "By reason of His reverent submission." I prefer "reverent fear." The word in derivation means the cautious handling of some precious, yet delicate vessel, which with ruder handling might easily be broken [Trench]. This fully agrees with Jesus' spirit, "If it be possible … nevertheless not My will, but Thy will be done"; and with the context, Heb 5:5, "Glorified not Himself to be made an High Priest," implying reverent fear: wherein it appears He had the requisite for the office specified Heb 5:4, "No man taketh this honor unto himself." Alford well says, What is true in the Christian's life, that what we ask from God, though He may not grant in the form we wish, yet He grants in His own, and that a better form, does not hold good in Christ's case; for Christ's real prayer, "not My will, but Thine be done," in consistency with His reverent fear towards the Father, was granted in the very form in which it was expressed, not in another.

Here Christ is paralleled in his nature, work, and compassions, to his types, and is set above them.

Who in the days of his flesh: he was taken out of men, as his type was, Hebrews 5:1. He was made flesh, and dwelt among us in the human nature, John 1:14. He had his days numbered, and his time set for his being and ministry beneath, doing and suffering the will of God here in a state of humiliation, frailty, and mortality; which infirmities attending his flesh, are now put off for ever, Hebrews 2:14.

When he had offered up prayers and supplications: he performed his service and offering to God, as his types, for the men for whom he was ordained, such as he delighted in; his prayers represented his inward desires to God for what he needed, and was necessary in our behalf to be obtained, a sacrifice fit to be offered by him, Hebrews 13:15; compare 1 Peter 2:5. Ikethriav, a word but this once used in the New Testament; its root signifieth an olive branch, which petitioners carried in their hands; an emblem of the vehement desire of such supplicants of a peaceful answer or return to their prayers. These of Christ were the most fervent supplications, flowing from a deeply afflicted soul in a prostrate body, when he was preparing for the offering up his soul a sacrifice for sin, when he was in the garden, Luke 22:40,46, in his agony, and when actually offering it on the cross, Matthew 27:46. These were the prayers of God-man, the gospel High Priest.

With strong crying and tears, put up by him unto God the Father, who is essentially good and powerful, willing and able to hear and answer his supplications, the fountain of all mercy, blessing, and help, who could deliver him from, and save him in, the greatest dangers, so as none of those which encompassed him should hurt him, no, not death; for he was delivered from the evils which were far more dreadful to him than death itself, and which were to exercise him both before and at the hour of death. Those deadly temptations which he underwent in his agony and on the cross, and from which he chargeth the disciples to pray, that both he and they might be kept, Matthew 26:37,38. Those deadly stings in his soul, Matthew 26:41 Mark 14:38 Luke 22:40,46; such conflicts as his Father supported him under, carried him through, and gave him the victory over all that curse and power that might do him or his mystical body hurt. It was this death of deaths that did terrify him. As for the other, he cheerfully underwent it, resigned his spirit to his Father, trusted his body in his treasury, and was so far from being swallowed up by it, that he was gloriously risen from it.

Unto him, that was able to save him from death; evident in his agony, in the mighty groans that his soul poured out then when he prayed more earnestly, Luke 22:44; that which made him sweat through his flesh congealed clots of blood, squeezed by his agony out of his body, which made him weep and cry loudly; his voice as well as his soul was stretched out in prayer: the like was exercised by him in his conflict on the cross, Matthew 27:46. How bitter was his passion to him! How fervent, importunate, and loud his prayers! How did it break through the cloud wherewith God covered his face then! Psalm 22:1-31, represents in prophecy what was now fulfilled, Mark 15:34,37 Lu 23:46; It was in making satisfaction to the justice of God for us that these were exercised, to show his inward compassions to us, and to secure sustentation for us in our sufferings by temptations, Hebrews 2:17,18 4:15,16.

And was heard in that he feared; the efficacy of these mighty prayers and supplications is evident by their reaching God’s ear, and procuring his help for him. He was helped, delivered, saved; so the Septuagint use this word in the Old Testament, putting hearing for helping and saving, as in Psalm 55:16-18 2 Chronicles 18:31: apo thv eulabeiav, this is the right acceptation strictly read; for as a thing is truly apprehended, it stirreth up fear. This word hath in Scripture use two senses:

1. From the thing feared, by a metonymy, fear being put for that which works it, which was not here death simply, for that he suffered, but what he was more afraid of than death, viz. from the fear of being by his temptations hurried into diffidence of his Father, impatience in his agony, or despair at the eclipse in his death, which the devil designed. As to this his Father did hear, answer, and help him; in his agony sent his angel to strengthen him, Luke 22:43; and which he derfected for him at the end of his passion, when he breathed out his soul triumphantly into his Father’s hands, Matthew 27:46,50 Mr 15:37,39 Joh 19:28-30. Or,

2. From the fear, that godly fear and care in him not to displease God in any thing he did or suffered; this was a proper cause of his acceptance, and his prayer being heard, and his deliverance, which is becoming the Mediator. This is a truth, and may be admitted; but it seemeth especially to refer to the former by his prevalency, against which by prayer he defeated the devil, was made feelingly sensible of his temptations, showed himself compassed with infirmities, though not with sinful ones, and as our High Priest was rendered pitiful and compassionate to us under our temptations, so as to intercede for us above, as he did pray for himself on earth, and to procure for us succour under and deliverance from them. Who in the days of his flesh,.... Or "of his humanity", as the Arabic version renders it; or "when he was clothed with flesh", as the Syriac version; in the time of his humiliation, when he was attended with the sinless infirmities of the flesh, or human nature; it may take in the whole course of his life on earth, especially the latter part of it: it is not to be concluded from hence, that he has not flesh now, or is not in the flesh; for it is certain that he had flesh after his resurrection; only now he is free from all the infirmities of the flesh, the pains, and sorrows, and griefs of it, which he endured when here on earth:

when he had offered up prayers and supplications; as he often did in many parts of his life, particularly in the garden, and upon the cross, when he offered up himself: and as the days of Christ's flesh were filled up with prayers and supplications, so should ours be also: the word for "supplications" signifies branches of olive trees, covered with wool (d); which such as sued for peace carried in their hands, and so came to signify supplications for peace: the manner in which these were offered up by Christ was

with strong crying and tears; with a most vehement outcry, with a loud voice, as when on the cross; and though there is no mention of his tears at that time, or when in the garden, no doubt but he shed them: all that Christ did, and said, are not written; some things were received by tradition, and by inspiration; Christ wept at other times, and why not at these? and there are some circumstances in his prayers which intimate as much, Matthew 26:38 which shows the weight of sin, of sorrow, and of punishment, that lay upon him, and the weakness of the human nature, considered in itself: and it may be observed to our comfort, that as Christ's crying and tears were confined to the days of his flesh, or to the time of his life here on earth, so shall ours be also. Mention is made of , "strong prayers" (e), in Jewish writings. The person to whom Christ offered his prayers is described in the following words,

unto him that was able to save him from death; from a corporeal death, as he could, but that it was otherwise determined; or rather to raise him from the dead, to deliver him from the state of the dead, from the power of death, and the grave, as he did; and so the Syriac version renders it, "to quicken him from death"; to restore him from death to life:

and was heard in that he feared; or "by fear"; by God, who was the object of his fear, and who is called the fear of Isaac, Genesis 31:42 he was always heard by him, and so he was in the garden, and on the cross; and was carried through his sufferings, and was delivered from the fear of death, and was saved from the dominion and power of it, being raised from the dead by his Father: or "he was heard because of his fear", or "reverence"; either because of the dignity and reverence of his person, in which he was had by God; or because of his reverence of his Father.

(d) Harpocration. Lex. p. 152. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. sect. 5. c. 3.((e) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 37. 4.

{4} Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to {h} save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

(4) The other part of the second comparison: Christ being exceedingly afflicted and exceedingly merciful did not pray because of his sins, for he had none, but for his fear, and obtained his request, and offered himself for all who are his.

(h) To deliver him from death.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 5:7. Ὅς] refers back to the last main idea, thus to ὁ Χριστός, Hebrews 5:5. The tempus finitum belonging thereto is ἔμαθεν, Hebrews 5:8, in that Hebrews 5:7-10 form a single period, resolving itself into two co-ordinate statements (ὃς ἔμαθενκαὶ ἐγένετο). To connect the ὄς first with ἐγένετο, Hebrews 5:9 (so Abresch, Dindorf, Heinrichs, Stengel, and others), is impossible, since Hebrews 5:8 cannot be taken as a parenthesis.

ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ] in the days of His flesh, i.e. during the time of His earthly life. Theodoret: Ἡμέρας δὲ σαρκὸς τὸν τῆς θνητότητος ἔφη καιρόν, τουτέστιν ἡνίκα θνητὸν εἶχε τὸ σῶμα. On the whole expression, comp. Hebrews 2:14; on αἱ ἡμέραι, in the more general sense of ὁ χρόνος, Hebrews 10:32, Hebrews 12:10. False, because opposed to the current linguistic use of σάρξ (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 10:3; Php 1:22; Php 1:24; 1 Peter 4:2, al.), and because ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ obtains its opposition in τελειωθείς, Hebrews 5:9,—whereby, in general, the period of Christ’s life of humiliation is contrasted with the period of His life of exaltation,

Schlichting: what is specially meant is “tempus infirmitatis Christi, et praesertim illud, quo infirmitas ejus maxime apparuit … dies illi, quibus Christus est passus.” The note of time: ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ, however, is to be construed with the main verb ἔμαθεν, not with the participles προσενέγκας καὶ εἰσακουσθείς, which latter form a simply parenthetic clause.

As the occasion of this parenthetic clause δεήσειςεὐλαβείας,—in connection with which we have neither, with Theophylact, Peirce, Böhme, Bleek, de Wette, Bisping, Maier, Kurtz, and others, to derive the colouring of the linguistic expression from the author’s having respect to certain utterances of the Psalms (as Psalm 22:25 [24], ibid. Psalm 5:3 [2], Psalm 116:1 ff.), nor with Braun, Akersloot, Böhme, al., to suppose a reference to the loud praying of the Jewish high priest on the great day of atonement; neither is there an underlying comparison, as Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 399 f. 2 Aufl.) strangely supposes, of the supplication of Jesus, which He before (!) the learning of obedience offered for Himself as a sacrifice on account of weakness (!), with the sin-offering which, according to Hebrews 5:3, the Levitical high priest had on this day to present for himself before he could yet offer on behalf of the people,—the author has present to his mind, according to the prevailing and, beyond doubt, correct view, the prayer of Christ in Gethsemane, as this was made known to him by oral or written tradition. Comp. Matthew 26:36 ff.; Mark 14:32 ff.; Luke 22:39 ff. It is true we do not read in our Gospels that Christ at that time prayed to God μετὰ δακρύων. But, considering the great emotion of mind on the part of the Saviour, which is also described in the account given by our evangelists (comp. in particular, Matthew 26:37 : ἤρξατο λυπείσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν; Mark 14:33 : ἤρξατο ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν; Luke 22:44 : καὶ γενόμενος ἐν ἀγωνίᾳ ἐκτενέστερον προσηύχετο ἐγένετο δὲ ὁ ἱδρῶς αὐτοῦ ὡσεὶ θρόμβοι αἵματος καταβαίνοντες ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν), that fact has nothing improbable about it; comp. also Luke 19:41; John 11:35. On account of the addition μετὰ κραυγῆς ἰσχυρᾶς, others will have us understand the loud crying of Christ upon the cross (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34), either, as Calvin, Cornelius a Lapide, Piscator, Owen, Limborch, Schulz, Stein, Stuart, Delitzsch, besides the prayer in Gethsemane, or, as Cajetan, Estius, Calov, Hammond, Kurtz, exclusively, or even, as Klee, the last cry, with which He departed (Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46). The supposition of such references we cannot, with de Wette (comp. also Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 70 f. 2 Aufl.), characterize as “entirely-unsuitable.” For de Wette’s objection, that the author “manifestly regarded the prayer as the preparation and condition of the ἔμαθε,” that it must “thus precede the suffering,” does not apply, since προσενέγκας is not to be resolved into “after,” but into “in that,” or “inasmuch as.” Not as “preparation and condition of the ἔμαθε” is the prayer looked upon by the author, but rather is the historic fact of the fervent prayer of Christ mentioned by him as an evidence that Christ in reality submitted Himself to God, even in the severest sufferings. For that which Hofmann (l.c. p. 67) objects hereto, that the author, if he had meant this, would have written: μαθὼν ἀφʼ ὧν ἔπαθεν τὴν ὑπακοὴν δεήσεις τε καὶ ἱκετηρίας προσήνεγκεν, is devoid of sense; because, by means of such a transposition, that which is merely a secondary statement would be made the main statement. Yet the supposing of such references is not necessary, since also the plural δεήσεις τε καὶ ἱκετηρίας, to which appeal has been made, is sufficiently explained by the repetitions of the prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.

To ἱκετηρία, which conjoined with δέησις further occurs LXX. Job 40:22 [27], as also with the classic writers, ἐλαία or ῥάβδος (not κλάδος) is originally to be supplemented, inasmuch as it denotes the olive branch which the supplicant pleading for protection bore in his hand. Later it acquired like signification with ἱκετεία or ἱκεσία. It implies thus the prostrate or urgent entreaty of one seeking refuge. As an intensifying of δέησις it is rightly placed after this.

πρὸς τὸν δυνάμενον σώζειν αὐτὸν ἐκ θανάτου] is most naturally referred to προσενέγκας (so Calvin, Abresch, al.). To the connecting with δεήσεις τε καὶ ἱκετηρίας (Böhme, Bleek, de Wette, Delitzsch, Alford, Maier, Moll) we are forced neither by the position before μετὰ κραυγῆς ἰσχυρᾶς, nor by the fact of the combination of προσφέρειν with the dative being chosen elsewhere in the epistle (Hebrews 9:14, Hebrews 11:4), as it is also the more usual one with classical writers, since likewise the conjoining with πρός is nothing out of the way. Comp. e.g. Polyb. iv. 51. 2 : προσενεγκάμενοι πρὸς τὸν Ἀχαιὸν (equivalent to τῷ Ἀχαιῷ) τὴν χάριν ταύτην. In the characteristic of God as the One who was able to deliver Christ from death, there lies, at the same time, the indication of that which Christ implored of God. σώζειν ἐκ θανάτου, however, may denote one of two things, either: to save from death, in such wise that it needs not to be undergone, thus to preserve from death, or: to save out of the death to which one is exposed, so that one does not remain the prey of death, but is restored to life. In favour of the former interpretation seems to plead the fact that Christ, according to the account in the Gospels, in reality prayed that He might be spared the suffering of death. Nevertheless what decides against this, and in favour of the second, is the consideration, in the first place, that Christ in reality still suffered death, and then the addition in our verse that the prayer of Christ was answered. And then, finally, we have to take into account the fact that, according to our Gospels also, Christ does not pray absolutely to be preserved from death, but makes this His wish dependent upon the will of the Father, thus entirely subordinates Himself to the Father.

καὶ εἰσακουσθεὶς ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας] and being heard by reason of His piety, or fear of God. In this sense is εὐλάβεια (cf. Hebrews 12:28) rightly taken by Chrysostom, Photius, Oecumenius, Theophylact, the Vulgate (Proverbs sua reverentia), Vigil. Taps., Primasius, Lyra, Luther, Castellio, Camerarius, Estius, Casaubon, Calov, Seb. Schmidt, Calmet, Rambach; Heinrichs, Schulz, Bleek, Bisping, Delitzsch, Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 327), Alford, Reuss, Maier, Moll, Kurtz, and others.[72] ἈΠΌ, as an indication of the occasioning cause, is also of very frequent occurrence elsewhere; cf. Matthew 28:4; Luke 19:3; Luke 24:41; John 21:6; Acts 12:14; Acts 20:9; Acts 22:11; Kühner, Gramm. II. p. 270. Christ, however, was heard in His prayer, inasmuch as He was raised out of death, exalted to the right hand of God, and made partaker of the divine glory. To be rejected is the explanation of the word preferred by Ambrose, Calvin, Beza, Cameron, Scaliger, Schlichting, Grotius, Owen, Hammond, Limborch, “Wolf, Bengel, Wetstein, Whitby, Carpzov, Abresch, Böhme, Kuinoel, Paulus, Klee, Stuart, Stein, Ebrard, Bloomfield, Grimm (Theol. Literaturbl. to the Darmstadt A. K.-Z. 1857, No. 29, p. 665), Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 69, 2 Aufl.), and many others, according to which a pregnancy of meaning is assumed for the same, and εὐλάβεια is interpreted in the sense of “metus:” “heard (and delivered) from the fear.” There is then found expressed in it either the thought (and this is the common acceptation) that Christ was delivered from His agony of soul by the strengthening on the part of the angel, Luke 22:437. Who] i.e. the Christ.

of his flesh] The word “flesh” is here used for His Humanity regarded on the side of its weakness and humiliation. Comp. Hebrews 2:14.

when he had offered up] Lit. “having offered up.”

prayers and supplications] The idiosyncrasy of the writer, and perhaps his Alexandrian training, which familiarised him with the style of Philo, made him fond of these sonorous amplifications or full expressions. The word rendered “prayers” (deçseis) is rather “supplications,” i.e. “special prayers” for the supply of needs; the word rendered “entreaties” (which is joined with it in Job 41:3, comp. 2 Mace. Hebrews 9:18) properly meant olive-boughs (ἱκετηρίαι) held forth to entreat protection. Thus the first word refers to the suppliant, the second implies an approach (ἱκετηρίαι) to God. The “supplications and entreaties “referred to are doubtless those in the Agony at Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46), though there may be a reference to the Cross, and some have even supposed that there is an allusion to Psalms 22, 116. See Mark 14:36; John 12:27; Matthew 26:38-42.

with strong crying and tears] Though these are not directly mentioned in the scene at Gethsemane they are implied. See John 11:35; John 12:27; Matthew 26:39; Matthew 26:42; Matthew 26:44; Matthew 26:53; Mark 14:36; Luke 19:41.

and was heard] Rather, “and being heard” or “hearkened to,” Luke 22:43; John 12:28 (comp. Psalm 22:21; Psalm 22:24).

in that he feared] Rather, “from his godly fear,” or “because of his reverential awe.” The phrase has been explained in different ways. The old Latin (Vetus Itala) renders “exauditus a metu,” and some Latin Fathers and later interpreters explain it to mean “having been freed from the fear of death.” The Greek might perhaps be made to bear this sense, though the mild word used for “fear” is not in favour of it; but the rendering given above, meaning that His prayer was heard because of His awful submission (Proverbs suâ reverentiâ, Vulg.) is the sense in which the words are taken by all the Greek Fathers. The word rendered “from” (apo) may certainly mean “because of” as in Luke 19:3, “He could not because of (apo) the crowd;” Luke 24:41, “disbelieving because of (apo) their joy” (comp. John 21:6; Acts 22:11, &c). The word rendered “feared” is eulabeia, which means “reverent fear,” or “reasonable shrinking” as opposed to terror and cowardice. The Stoics said that the wise man could thus cautiously shrink (eulabeisthai) but never actually be afraid (phobeisthai). Other attempts to explain away the passage arise from the Apollinarian tendency to deny Christ’s perfect manhood: but He was “perfectly man “as well as “truly God.” He was not indeed “saved from death,” because He had only prayed that “the cup might pass from Him” if such were His Father’s will (Hebrews 10:7); but He was saved out of (ἐκ) death” by being raised on the third day, so that “He saw no corruption.” For the word eulabeia, “piety” or “reverent awe” see Hebrews 12:28.Hebrews 5:7. Ὃς, who) namely Christ, the Son of God, the Priest. This is not said, but who, with great significancy in the relative pronoun; for the subsequent discourse corresponds to the names given in Hebrews 5:5-6. A summary of those things, which are to be discussed in ch. 7. and the following chapters, is contained in Hebrews 5:7-10, and introduced with a remarkable anticipatory caution[30] and preparation, Hebrews 5:11-12. And there is most exquisitely comprehended in this summary the onward progress of His passion, with its most secret (inmost) causes, from Gethsemane even to Golgotha, and the expressions used here are the same as those used by the evangelists: comp. also Psalm 22:3; Psalm 22:20, etc., Psalm 22:25, Psalm 69:4; Psalm 69:11, Psalm 109:22.—ἘΝ ΤᾶΙς ἩΜΈΡΑΙς Τῆς ΣΑΡΚῸς ΑὐΤΟῦ, in the days of His flesh) in those days, the two especially, during which He suffered those things, and in order to suffer them, He assumed flesh like to that, which was sinful and mortal: ch. Hebrews 2:14, Hebrews 10:20; Matthew 26:41, at the end: when by reason of weakness He seemed to be a mere man, John 19:5.—δεήσεις τε καὶ ἰκετηρίας, both prayers and also supplications) plural; for in Gethsemane He prayed thrice. The particle τε, both, indicates that the words are not mere synonyms in this passage: prayers refer to the mind; supplications, also to the body, as the origin of the word, ἱκετέυω, I supplicate shows, in Eustathius. Regarding both see Matthew 26:39.—πρὸς τὸν δυνάμενον σώζειν αὐτὸν ἐκ θανάτου, to Him that was able to save Him from death) Abba Father, says He, all things are POSSIBLE to Thee; let this cup pass from Me. Mark 14:36 : comp. John 12:27. This possibility of all things to God is opposed to the weakness of Christ’s flesh.—σώζειν, to save) σώζειν, and presently ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑς, are conjugates, to save, salvation.—ἐκ) Presently; afterwards ἈΠῸ. The two words, in other respects, equivalent, agree here with the difference of the subject: out of death, from terror. He, however, in obedience to the will of the Father underwent the death, out of (ἐκ) which the Father might have delivered Him, so that He should not have died: He was altogether delivered from (ἀπὸ) its horror, in that He was heard.—ΜΕΤᾺ ΚΡΑΥΓῆς ἸΣΧΥΡᾶς ΚΑῚ ΔΑΚΡΎΩΝ, with strong crying and tears) On the cross, He is said to have cried, not to have shed tears. Both of these particulars, as the series of the events shows, refer to Gethsemane. κράζειι and ΚΡΑΥΓῊ in the LXX. correspond to the verbs זעק, and צעק, and שוע, and denote a cry from the depths of the soul, or vehement desire; ἘΚΤΕΝΈΣΤΕΡΟΝ, more earnestly, Luke 22:44; with a most willing spirit, Matthew 26:41, whatever may be the words uttered; these occur very often in the Psalms, as אמר, to speak, to say, signifies also thought. Indeed, the cry of the mind, while the lips are closed, is more suitable to tears and sorrow; and yet there is no doubt, that Jesus added to His prayers in Gethsemane an incitement by uttering at intervals short cries, as well as to His supplications by tears (observe the Chiasmus) which were drawn forth not only from the eyes, but from the whole face and body, during that extreme heat [agony]. See Luke as quoted above: comp. with Revelation 7:17; Revelation 7:16. ΚΑῦΜΑ, ΔΆΚΡΥΟΝ, heat, tears. The sweat and blood of Christ were poured out like water. During the whole of His passion He alternately cried and was silent. Matthew 26:37, etc.; Psalm 22:2-3; Psalm 22:15; Psalm 69:2, etc., Psalm 109:21, etc., where silence is an intimation of a wounded heart.—ΚΑῚ ΕἸΣΑΚΟΥΣΘΕῚς, and being heard) הושיע LXX. εἰσακούειν, Psalm 55:17; עזד in like manner, 2 Chronicles 18:31 : therefore in this passage σώζειν and εἰσακούειν, to save, and to hearken to, are very nearly the same. The agony and its issue are here referred to, ἤρξατο λυπεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν, He began to be sorrowful and very heavy.—ἝΩς ΘΑΝΆΤΟΥ, unto death, Matthew 26:37-38.—ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι, Mark 14:33 : Luke 22:44 mentions the agony and sweat. When the cup was presented, there was also presented to the soul of the Saviour the horrible image of death, which was joined with sorrow, ignominy, and cursing, and was of a lingering nature, and He was moved to pray for the removal of the cup. But the purity of filial affection in the Saviour with the exercise of holy reason and moderation instantly softened that horror, and subsequently absorbed it completely, as the serenity of His mind returned. And He was heard, not that He should not drink the cup, but that He should now drink it without any horror; whence also He was strengthened by an angel. The fear was a something more horrible than death itself; when the feeling of horror was taken away before the coming of His enemies, He lays it down as a fixed principle, that the cup which he had wished conditionally not to drink, now cannot but be drunk. John 18:11.—ἈΠῸ) An abbreviated expression, ΕἸΣΑΚΟΥΣΘΕῚς ἈΠῸ, as ἘῤῬΑΝΤΙΣΜΈΝΟΙ ἈΠῸ, ch. Hebrews 10:22. So Psalms 118 (117):5, אגני במדחב ἘΠΉΚΟΥΣΈ ΜΟΥ ΕἸς ΠΛΑΤΥΣΜΌΝ.—ἈΠῸ Τῆς ΕὐΛΑΒΕΊΑς [not as Eng. Ver. in that He feared] from horror). The Greek word here has singular elegance and denotes something wore subtle than if one were to say fear. No Latin word more suitable than horror occurs to us. Comp. ΕὐΛΑΒΗΘΕῚς, ch. Hebrews 11:7. He had lately used ΘΑΝΆΤΟΥ, without the article; now he has Τῆς ΕὐΛΑΒΕΊΑς with the article, of which the relative power indicates that the signification of ΕὐΛΑΒΕΊΑς is included in the mention made of death, which was horrible in its assault.

[30] See Append. on προθεραπέια.Verses 7, 8. - Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up (rather, when he offered up) prayers and supplications to him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. Here (according to the view taken above of the chiastic structure of the passage) we have the account of how Christ fulfilled the human requirements of a High Priest, referred to in vers. 2, 3. This main intention of vers. 7, 8 must be kept in mind for a proper understanding of them. Christ is in them regarded, not as executing his priestly office, but as being prepared and consecrated for it. His eternal priesthood is conceived as entered on after the human experience which is the subject of these verses (cf. καὶ τελειώθεις ἐγένετο (ver. 9), and what was said under ver. 5). With regard to the participial aorists, προσενέγκας αἰσακουσθείς, it is a misapprehension of their proper force to regard them as denoting a time previous to that of ἔμαθεν in ver. 8; as if the meaning were - having in Gethsemane "offered," etc., and "been heard," he afterwards "learnt obedience" on the cross. All they express is that in offering, etc., and being heard, he learned obedience. The idea of subsequent time does not come in till ver. 9; "and being perfected," after thus learning obedience, "he became," etc. Thus the only question with regard to time in vers. 7, 8 is whether they have reference to the agony in the garden only, or both to the agony and the cross. That they refer mainly, if not exclusively, to the agony is evident from the expressions used, corresponding so closely with the Gospel history. The view presented is, as in the Gospels, of some intense inward struggle, outwardly manifested, and expressing itself in repeated prayers (observe the plural, δεήσεις καὶ ἱκετηρίας) aloud for deliverance. It is true that the Gospels, as we have them now, do not mention tears; but these too are quite in keeping with the bloody sweat specified by St. Luke, and Epiphanius states that the original copies of Luke 22:43, 44 contained the verb ἔκλαυσε. Some interpreters would identify the κραυγή ἰσχυρά of ver. 7 with the "loud voice (φωνή μεγάλη)" from the cross (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34; Luke 23:46). But there is nothing to suggest this; the "strong crying and tears" evidently denote the manner of the "prayers and supplications;" and the thrice-repeated prayer in the garden recorded by the evangelists may be well conceived to have been thus loudly uttered, so as to be heard by the three disciples, a stone's cast distant, before sleep overcame them. "In cruce clamasse dicitur; lachrymasse non dicitur. Utrum horum respicit locum Gethsemane" (Bengel). What, then, as seen in the light of these verses, was the meaning of the "prayer and supplications" in the garden of Gethsemane? The expression, τὸν δυνάμενον σώζειν αὐτὸν ἐκ θανάτου, corresponding with πάντα δυνατά σοι of Mark 14:36, confirms the view that the "cup" which he prayed might pass from him, was the death before him, and that the purport of his prayer was, not to be raised from death after undergoing it, but to be saved from undergoing it. Such is the ordinary meaning of σώζειν ἐκ θανάτου in reference to one still alive (cf. Psalm 33:19; James 5:20). It does not indeed positively follow that, because he prayed to One who was able in this sense to save him, his prayer was that he might be in this sense saved. It is, however, the natural inference. But, if so, two difficulties present themselves.

(1) How was such a prayer consistent with his distinct knowledge that death must be undergone, and his late strong rebuke to Peter for venturing to dissuade him from it?

(2) How can he be said to have been heard (εἰσακουσθείς), since he was not saved from death in the sense intended? To the first of these questions the answer is that the prayer expressed, not the deliberate desire of his Divine will, but only the inevitable shrinking of the human will from such an ordeal as was before him. As man, he experienced this shrinking to the full, and as man he craved deliverance, though with entire submission to the will of the Father. His human will did not oppose itself to the Divine will: it conformed itself in the end entirely to it; but this according to the necessary conditions of humanity, through the power of prayer. Had it not been so with him, his participation in human nature would have been incomplete; he would not have been such as to be "touched with a feeling of our infirmities, being in all things tempted like as we are;" nor would he have stood forth for ever as the great Example to mankind. St. John, who so deeply enters into and interprets the mind of Christ, records an utterance before the agony which anticipates its meaning (John 12): "The hour is come" (ver. 23); and then (ver. 27), "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour [cf. σώζειν ἐκ θανάτου]; but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy Name." The "hour" was that of the drinking of the cup (cf. Mark 14:35, "And prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him"). "Father, save me from this hour" was the human craving of the agony; but still, "Father, glorify thy Name" was the essence of the prayer; and perfect submission to the Divine will was the outcome of it, after this troubling of his human soul. The mystery surrounding the whole subject of the Divine and human in Christ remains still. What was said with regard to it about the temptation in the wilderness (Hebrews 4:15) is applicable also here. If it be further asked how it was that Christ, in his humanity, so shrank from the "cup" before him, seeing that mere men have been found to face death calmly in its most appalling forms, the answer may be found in the consideration of what this cup implied. It was more than physical death, more than physical pain, more than any sorrow that falls to the lot of man. Such expressions as Ἤρξατο λυπεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν... περίλυπος ἐστὶν ἡ ψυχή μου ἕως θανάτου (Matthew 26:37, 38); Ἤρξατο ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν (Mark 14:33); Γενόμενος ἐν ἀγωυίᾳ ἐκτενεστερον προσηύχετο (Luke 22:44); the bloody sweat, and the cry of "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" - convey in themselves the impression of a mysterious ordeal, beyond what we can fathom, undergone by the atoning Savior in that "hour" of the "power of darkness." Of the second difficulty mentioned above, as to how Christ was "heard," not having been saved "from death" in the apparent sense of his prayer, the solution may be that the prayer, conditioned as it was by εἰ δυνατὸν, was most truly answered by the angel sent to strengthen him, and the power thenceforth given him to "endure the cross, despising the shame." "Mortem ex qua Pater cum liberare posset, ne moreretur, tamen subiit, voluntati Patris obediens: ab horrore plane liberatus est per exauditionem Exauditus est, non ut ne biberet calicem, sed ut jam sine ullo horrore biberet: unde etiam per angelum corroboratus est" (Bengel). The example to us thus becomes the more apparent. For we, too, praying legitimately for release from excessive trial, may have our prayer best answered by grace given to endure the trial, and by "a happy issue" out of it; as was the case with Christ. For his bitter passion was made the path to eternal glory; and thus in the Resurrection too his prayer was answered. The exact meaning of εἰσακουσθεὶς ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας is not easy to determine. It is taken by a large proportion of commentators to mean "deliverance from his fear;" εἰσακουσθεὶς ἀπὸ being supposed to be a constructio praegnans in the sense of "heard so as to be delivered," and εὐλαβεία to denote the dread experienced in Gethsemane. So the old Italian Versions, and Ambrose, "exauditus a metu;" so Bengel, "ab hrr-rore liberatus per exauditlonem." This interpretation is upheld by Beza, Grotius, Tholuck, Hofmann, Ebrard, and many others; some of whom, less tenably (as Calvin, Hammond, Jackson), understand εὐλαβεία as meaning, not the fear felt, but the thing feted: "ab eo quod timebat" (Calvin). The objections to this view are

(1) the doubtfulness of the constructio praegnans (the instances adduced - ἐπήκουσέ μου εἰς πλατυσμόν, Psalm 118:5; ἐρραντισμένοι... ἀπὸ συνειδήσεας πονηρᾶς, Hebrews 10:22 - are not parallel); and

(2) the sense assigned to εὐλαβεία, since εὐλαβεῖσθαι and its derivatives, when used to express fear, denote usually, not a shrinking, but a wary or cautious fear, and commonly carry with them (in this Epistle and St. Luke especially) the idea of piety. Thus in Hebrews 11:7, of Noah, εὐλαβηθεὶς κατεσκεύασε κιβωτὸν: Hebrews 12:28, μετ αἰδοῦς καὶ εὐλαβεαίς: and in Luke 2:25; Acts 2:5; Acts 8:2; Acts 22:12, εὐλαβής is synonymous with εὐσεβής. The rendering hence preferred by many, having the authority of Chrysostom, and among moderns of Lunemann, Bleek, Delitzsch, Alford, and others, is that of the Vulgate, "exauditus pro sua reverentia." So Vigilius, "propter timorem;" the A.V.," heard in that he feared," or, as in the margin, "heard for his piety;" and in the recent revision, "for his godly fear;" which is the A.V.'s rendering of εὐλαβεία in Hebrews 12:28. The objection to the use of ἀπὸ to express the cause of his being heard is met by reference to the frequent usage of St. Luke, whose language most resembles that of our Epistle. Thus: ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου (Luke 19:3); ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς (Luke 24:41 and Acts 12:14); ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕπνου (Acts 20:9); ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης (Acts 22:11). The phrase, thus understood, brings out the more markedly the thoroughly human conditions to which Christ was subjected. It was not in right of his sonship that he was heard. He won his hearing by his human piety; though he was SON, and as such knew that his Father heard him always (John 11:42), he learnt humanly his lesson of obedience. In the expression, καίπερ ὤν υἱὸς, Son is surely meant in the peculiar sense in which it has all along been applied to Christ, expressing more than that his relation to God was that of any son to a father, and thus we perceive the full force of καίπερ. It is true that it was not till after the Resurrection that he attained his exalted position as SON (see under Hebrews 1:5 and Hebrews 5:5); but still he was all along the Son, in virtue of his origin as well as of his destiny. Cf. ἐλάλησεν ἡμῖν ἐν υἱῷ (Hebrews 1:9). Ων υἱὸς does not indeed, in itself, express that he was the Second Person of the Trinity (this application of the word υἱὸς being nowhere found in the Epistle); but it implies that, even in his state of humiliation, he was more than man; for there would be nothing very extraordinary, so as to justify καίπερ, in the case of an ordinary son learning obedience to his father through suffering. Recurring now to the question raised under ver. 3, whether the high priest's obligation to offer in the first place for himself had any counterpart in the case of Christ, we may perceive such a counterpart in the agony, as above regarded. For, although for himself Christ needed no atonement, yet the "prayers and supplications" were offered in his own behalf, being due to his own entire participation in the conditions of humanity; the whole "agony and bloody sweat" were part of his own preparation and consecration for executing the office of a High Priest for others, and, like the Aaronic priest's offering for himself, they were the sign and evidence of his being one μετριοπαθεῖν δυνάμενος. Thus (χωρὶς ἀμαρτίας being all along understood) they answered truly to the preparatory part of Aaron's original consecration (Leviticus 8:14 - 9:15), or to the high priest's own offering, before his offering for the people and entering behind the veil, on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 14:6). It may be (though not necessarily so) that the word προσενέγκας in ver. 7, corresponding with προσφέρειν in ver. 3, is intended to suggest this analogy. He is now to show that Christ was under training for the priesthood, and describes the process of training.

Who (ὃς)

Nominative to ἔμαθεν learned, Hebrews 5:8, to which all the participles are preparatory.

In the days of his flesh (ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ)

During his mortal life.

When he had offered up prayers and supplications (δεὴσεις τε καὶ ἱκετηρίας προσενέγκας)

Δεήσεις special, definite requests: ἱκετηρίας, N.T.o , is properly an adjective, pertaining to or fit for suppliants, with ῥάβδους staves or ἐλαίας olive-branches understood. The olive-branch bound round with wool was held forth by a suppliant in token of his character as such. The phrase προσφέρειν δεήσεις N.T.o.

Unto him that was able to save him from death (πρὸς τὸν δυνάμενον σώζειν αὐτὸν ἐκ θανάτου)

Const. with prayers and supplications, not with offered. To save him from death may mean to deliver him from the fear of death, from the anguish of death, or from remaining a prey to death. In either case, the statement connects itself with the thought of Christ's real humanity. He was under the pressure of a sore human need which required divine help, thus showing that he was like unto his brethren. He appealed to one who could answer his prayer. The purport of the prayer is not stated. It is at least suggested by Matthew 26:39.

And was heard in that he feared (καὶ εἰσακουσεὶς ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας)

Rend. was heard on account of his godly fear. Ἐυλάβεια only here and Hebrews 12:28. The verb εὐλαβεῖσθαι to act cautiously, beware, fear, only Hebrews 11:7. The image in the word is that of a cautious taking hold (λαμβάνειν) and careful and respectful handling: hence piety of a devout and circumspect character, as that of Christ, who in his prayer took account of all things, not only his own desire, but his Father's will. Ευλάβεια is ascribed to Christ as a human trait, see Hebrews 12:28. He was heard, for his prayer was answered, whatever it may have been. God was able to save him from death altogether. He did not do this. He was able to sustain him under the anguish of death, and to give him strength to suffer the Father's will: he was also able to deliver him from death by resurrection: both these he did. It is not impossible that both these may be combined in the statement he was heard.

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