|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-6 Christ is to be considered as the Apostle of our profession, the Messenger sent by God to men, the great Revealer of that faith which we profess to hold, and of that hope which we profess to have. As Christ, the Messiah, anointed for the office both of Apostle and High Priest. As Jesus, our Saviour, our Healer, the great Physician of souls. Consider him thus. Consider what he is in himself, what he is to us, and what he will be to us hereafter and for ever. Close and serious thoughts of Christ bring us to know more of him. The Jews had a high opinion of the faithfulness of Moses, yet his faithfulness was but a type of Christ's. Christ was the Master of this house, of his church, his people, as well as their Maker. Moses was a faithful servant; Christ, as the eternal Son of God, is rightful Owner and Sovereign Ruler of the Church. There must not only be setting out well in the ways of Christ, but stedfastness and perseverance therein to the end. Every meditation on his person and his salvation, will suggest more wisdom, new motives to love, confidence, and obedience.
Verse 3. - For of more glory than Moses hath this man (so A.V., for οὕτος, supplying "man," though it is to be observed that the humanity of the person spoken of is not expressed in the original) been counted worthy (ἠξίωται: cf. Luke 7:7; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 10:24; 2 Thessalonians 1:11), by so much as more honor than the house hath he that built (or, established) it. Here the account of Christ's superiority to Moses begins. On the several expressions used we remark:
(1) The initiatory γὰρ connects the sentence logically with κατανοήσατε in ver. 1, and thus retains its usual sense of "for."
(2) The form of comparison in the Greek, πλείονος παρὰ, is the same as in Hebrews 1:4, where the account of Christ's superiority to angels began (on which see supra).
(3) The "glory" (δόξα) here assigned to Christ is the" glory and honor" spoken of above as attained by him in consequence of his human obedience (cf. Hebrews 2:9, "because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor"). This, rather than "the glory he had with the Father before the world was" (John 17:5), is suggested by the word ἠξίωται, as well as by the drift of the preceding chapters. We may suppose also a reference, in contrast, to the transitory "glory" on the countenance of Moses (ἡ καταργουμένη), which is contrasted (2 Corinthians 3.) with the ὑπερβαλλούση δόξα in Christ. We observe, further, that in the latter part of the verse τιμή is substituted for δόξα, as more suitable to the mundane comparison of a house and its builder.
(4) Κατασκευάζειν may include the idea of fitting up and furnishing a house as well as building it. But what is the drift of the intended argument? It is usual, with the Fathers generally, to suppose that Christ (οὕτος) is intended to be denoted as the Builder or Establisher of the house in which Hoses was a servant, and that the argument is that he, as such, is necessarily greater than the servant, who was but a part of the house, or household, thus established. Οϊκος, it is to be observed, may include in its meaning the familia, as well as the house itself, as κατασκευάζειν may include the idea of constituting the whole establishment (cf. infra, "whose house we are"). Among moderns, Hofmann and Delitzsch deny this identification of ὁ κατασκευάσας with οὕτος: against which there are the following reasons:
(1) The SON has not been represented so far in the Epistle as the originator of the economy of redemption. Notwithstanding distinct intimations of his eternal proexistent Deity (as in Hebrews 1:1, 2, 10), it has been as the Messiah, the Apostle and High Priest, manifested in time, and passing through humanity to glory, that he has been regarded in the preceding argument. Nor is there any proof here adduced of his being the Builder of the "house," so as to justify the conclusion on this ground of his glory being greater than that of Moses.
(2) The word ἠξίωται ("has been counted worthy of") suggests (as has been already remarked) refer once to the glory won by him, "on account of the suffering of death," rather than to his pristine glory as the Divine Builder.
(3) Elsewhere in the New Testament, when the Church is referred to under the figure of a house, it is spoken of as God's building (cf. Hebrews 10:21; 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:22; 1 Peter 4:17; 1 Peter 2:5). It is never spoken of as Christ's.
(4) The wording of ver. 3 does not necessitate the identification of ὁ κατασκευάσας with οὕτος. Καθ ὅσον means "so far as;" it implies only that the glory of Christ is greater than that of Moses, in proportion as the honor of the builder is greater than that of the house.
(5) The identification increases the difficulty of understanding the relevance to the argument of ver. 4, of which more will be said presently. Taking, then, ὁ κατασκευάσας to denote God the Father, we may state the argument thus: God is the Builder, or Founder, of his own house. Christ has been already shown to be his SON, associated with him in dignity and power, and, as such, Lord over his Father's house. Moses, on the other hand, as appears from Numbers 12:7, was but a servant in God's house. As, then, the Founder is to the house, so is the Son and Lord to a servant in it; the Son partaking of the glory of the Founder; the servant only of that of the house in which he serves. According to this view of the argument, the premises have been established, and the conclusion follows; the relation of Christ to the Builder of the house has been set forth in the preceding chapter, and may be now assumed; that of Moses is sufficiently shown by the quotation from the Pentateuch. Thus also vers. 5 and 6 are found to carry out naturally the idea here introduced, instead of unexpectedly starting a different one.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses,.... Moses was counted worthy of glory and honour, and had it given him, both by God and by men; by God, as appears from the work he called him to, to deliver his people Israel, to reveal his mind and will to them, and to rule and govern them; and from the favours he showed him, as the miracles he did by him, the near converse he admitted him to, and the view he gave him of his glory, which he made to pass before him, and his regard to him at his death and burial, as well as the testimony he gave of him; and he was counted worthy of honour by men, and who gave it him, as Pharaoh and his people, and the Israelites. The Jews give very great commendations of him; they call him a father in the law, a father in wisdom, and a father in prophecy (u); and say, that he is the father, master, head, and prince of all the prophets (w); yea, the great prophet expected in the last days, they say, will be but next to Moses, their master (x): they observe, that there were more miracles wrought by, and for him, than were wrought by, and for all the prophets that have been since the world began (y); so that he not only exceeded them in the excellency and sublimity of prophecy, but in the multitude of miracles; but Christ is worthy of more glory than Moses, and has it given him by God, angels, and men: he is a greater Saviour than Moses; Moses was but a temporal saviour, but he is the author of spiritual and eternal salvation: he is a greater prophet than Moses, being the only begotten Son of God, who lay in the bosom of the Father, and has declared him, his mind and will, his Gospel, grace, and truth, as Moses never did: he is a greater King than he, being made higher than the kings of the earth: he did more miracles than Moses, and had a greater testimony from God than he had, as that he was his beloved Son, and to be heard; he was also raised, from the dead, and is set down at the right hand of God, and is appointed Judge of all; he is ministered to, and worshipped by angels, is believed on by men, who ascribe the whole glory of their salvation to him.
Inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house; this "house", or "temple", as the Arabic version renders it, is the church, of which Christ is the builder; though not to the exclusion of the Father and the Spirit, who are coefficient builders with him, nor of ministers of the Gospel as instruments, nor of believers in a private capacity, who build up one another; but he has the chief concern in the building, which lies in the conversion of souls, and in the edification of them, and is carried on by his Spirit in the ministry of the word and ordinances, and from hence he has a glory; see Zechariah 6:12 a greater glory than Moses, seeing he was but a part of this house, at most but a pillar in it; but Christ is the builder, foundation, and cornerstone.
(u) T. Bab. Megilia, fol. 12. 1.((w) Shemot Rabba, sect. 21. fol. 106. 3. Maimon. Yesode Hattorah, c. 7. sect. 6. Obede Cochabim, c. 1. sect. 3. & in Misn Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 18. 3.((x) Maimon. Teshubah, c. 9. sect. 2.((y) Menasseh ben Israel, Conciliat. in Deut. qu. 11.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. For—assigning the reason why they should "consider" attentively "Christ" (Heb 3:1), highly as they regard Moses who resembled Him in faithfulness (Heb 3:2).
was—Greek, "has been."
counted worthy of more glory—by God, when He exalted Him to His own right hand. The Hebrew Christians admitted the fact (Heb 1:13).
builded the house—Greek, "inasmuch as He hath more honor than the house, who prepared it," or "established it" [Alford]. The Greek verb is used purposely instead of "builded," in order to mark that the building meant is not a literal, but a spiritual house: the Church both of the Old Testament and New Testament; and that the building of such a house includes all the preparations of providence and grace needed to furnish it with "living stones" and fitting "servants." Thus, as Christ the Founder and Establisher (in Old Testament as well as the New Testament) is greater than the house so established, including the servants, He is greater also than Moses, who was but a "servant." Moses, as a servant, is a portion of the house, and less than the house; Christ, as the Instrumental Creator of all things, must be God, and so greater than the house of which Moses was but a part. Glory is the result of honor.
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