Hebrews 12:11
Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) Now no chastening . . .—Better (the reading being slightly changed), All chastening seemeth for the present time to be not joyous, but grievous. The language, so far, would seem to be perfectly general, relating to all chastening, whether human or divine. The following clause may seem to confine our thought to the latter; but, with a lower sense of “righteousness,” the maxim is true of the wise discipline of earthly parents.

The peaceable fruit of righteousness.—Better, peaceful fruit, (fruit) of righteousness, to them that have been trained thereby. The “peaceful” fruit stands in contrast with the unrest and trouble which have preceded during the time of “chastening.” But there is more than rest after conflict, for the object of the conflict is attained; the fruit consists in righteousness. (Comp. Isaiah 32:17; Proverbs 11:30; James 3:17; Philippians 1:11.) It has been sometimes supposed that in the word “trained” the writer returns to the figure of Hebrews 12:4; but this is not probable.

12:1-11 The persevering obedience of faith in Christ, was the race set before the Hebrews, wherein they must either win the crown of glory, or have everlasting misery for their portion; and it is set before us. By the sin that does so easily beset us, understand that sin to which we are most prone, or to which we are most exposed, from habit, age, or circumstances. This is a most important exhortation; for while a man's darling sin, be it what it will, remains unsubdued, it will hinder him from running the Christian race, as it takes from him every motive for running, and gives power to every discouragement. When weary and faint in their minds, let them recollect that the holy Jesus suffered, to save them from eternal misery. By stedfastly looking to Jesus, their thoughts would strengthen holy affections, and keep under their carnal desires. Let us then frequently consider him. What are our little trials to his agonies, or even to our deserts? What are they to the sufferings of many others? There is a proneness in believers to grow weary, and to faint under trials and afflictions; this is from the imperfection of grace and the remains of corruption. Christians should not faint under their trials. Though their enemies and persecutors may be instruments to inflict sufferings, yet they are Divine chastisements; their heavenly Father has his hand in all, and his wise end to answer by all. They must not make light of afflictions, and be without feeling under them, for they are the hand and rod of God, and are his rebukes for sin. They must not despond and sink under trials, nor fret and repine, but bear up with faith and patience. God may let others alone in their sins, but he will correct sin in his own children. In this he acts as becomes a father. Our earthly parents sometimes may chasten us, to gratify their passion, rather than to reform our manners. But the Father of our souls never willingly grieves nor afflicts his children. It is always for our profit. Our whole life here is a state of childhood, and imperfect as to spiritual things; therefore we must submit to the discipline of such a state. When we come to a perfect state, we shall be fully reconciled to all God's chastisement of us now. God's correction is not condemnation; the chastening may be borne with patience, and greatly promote holiness. Let us then learn to consider the afflictions brought on us by the malice of men, as corrections sent by our wise and gracious Father, for our spiritual good.Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous - It does not impart pleasure, nor is this its design. All chastisement is intended to produce pain, and the Christian is as sensitive to pain as others. His religion does not blunt his sensibilities and make him a stoic, but it rather increases his susceptibility to suffering. The Lord Jesus, probably, felt pain, reproach, and contempt more keenly than any other human being ever did; and the Christian feels the loss of a child, or physical suffering, as keenly as anyone. But while religion does not render him insensible to suffering, it does two things:

(1) it enables him to bear the pain without complaining; and,

(2) it turns the affliction into a blessing on his soul. "Nevertheless afterward." In future life. The effect is seen in a pure life, and in a more entire devotedness to God. We are not to look for the proper fruits of affliction while we are suffering, but "afterward."

It yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness - It is a tree that bears good fruit, and we do not expect the fruit to form and ripen at once. It may be long maturing, but it will be rich and mellow when it is ripe. It frequently requires a long time before all the results of affliction appear - as it requires months to form and ripen fruit. Like fruit it may appear at first sour, crabbed, and unpalatable; but it will be at last like the ruddy peach or the golden orange. When those fruits are ripened, they are:

(1) fruits of "righteousness." They make us more holy, more dead to sin and the world, and more alive to God. And they are

(2) "peaceable." They produce peace, calmness, submission in the soul. They make the heart more tranquil in its confidence in God, and more disposed to promote the religion of peace.

The apostle speaks of this as if it were a universal truth in regard to Christians who are afflicted. And it is so. There is no Christian who is not ultimately benefited by trials, and who is not able at some period subsequently to say, "It was good for me that I was afflicted. Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word." When a Christian comes to die, he does not feel that he has had one trial too many, or one which he did not deserve. He can then look back and see the effect of some early trial so severe that he once thought he could hardly endure it, spreading a hallowed influence over his future years, and scattering its golden fruit all along the pathway of life. I have never known a Christian who was not benefited by afflictions; I have seen none who was not able to say that his trials produced some happy effect on his religious character, and on his real happiness in life. If this be so, then no matter how severe our trials, we should submit to them without a complaint. The more severe they are, the more we shall yet be blessed - on earth or in heaven.

11. joyous … grievous—Greek, "matter of joy … matter of grief." The objection that chastening is grievous is here anticipated and answered. It only seems so to those being chastened, whose judgments are confused by the present pain. Its ultimate fruit amply compensates for any temporary pam. The real object of the fathers in chastening is not that they find pleasure in the children's pain. Gratified wishes, our Father knows, would often be our real curses.

fruit of righteousness—righteousness (in practice, springing from faith) is the fruit which chastening, the tree yields (Php 1:11). "Peaceable" (compare Isa 32:17): in contrast to the ordeal of conflict by which it has been won. "Fruit of righteousness to be enjoyed in peace after the conflict" [Tholuck]. As the olive garland, the emblem of peace as well as victory, was put on the victor's brow in the games.

exercised thereby—as athletes exercised in training for a contest. Chastisement is the exercise to give experience, and make the spiritual combatant irresistibly victorious (Ro 5:3). "Oh, happy the servant for whose improvement his Lord is earnest, with whom he deigns to be angry, whom He does not deceive by dissembling admonition" (withholding admonition, and so leading the man to think he needs it not)! [Tertullian, Patience, 11]. Observe the "afterwards"; that is the time often when God works.

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: a further argument to persuade Christians not to despise nor faint under the Lord’s chastenings, is the good issue of them, subjoined to fortify them against the suggestions of flesh and blood, as if they could not be from love, nor for good, because they are smarting and grievous; therefore the Spirit asserts the truth as to both: All these chastenings and rebukes that the Father of spirits inflicts on his children, not one excepted, are, for all the time they are so inflicted, sensed by his children to be as they are; they feel them to have no joy in them, but a great deal of grief, pain, and smart; they are not pleasing of themselves, and God would not have them to be so, but his to feel the smart of his rod, when he corrects them with it.

Nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby; yet have not his children any reason to despond or faint under them; for they are not always to continue, and there accrueth after them a benefit to them, that will make amends for them all the afterward following to eternity: this chastening rendereth and bringeth forth to all the corrected children, who labour to improve the smart, under God’s direction and blessing, a righteous compliance with the whole will of God, and a purging out of all sin, Isaiah 27:9; filling the soul full of joy and peace, and securing to the chastened a confluence of all that good that will abundantly reward them for their sufferings, setting them above them, and making them blessed, Isaiah 32:17 Romans 5:1-5 Jam 1:2-4. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,.... These words anticipate an objection, taken from the grief and sorrow that comes by afflictions; and therefore how should they be for profit and advantage? The apostle answers, by granting that no affliction "seemeth" to be joyous, in outward appearance to flesh and blood, and according to the judgment of carnal sense and reason; in this view of afflictions, it must be owned, they do not appear to be matter, cause, or occasion of joy; though they really are, when viewed by faith, and judged of by sanctified reason; for they are tokens of the love of God and Christ; are evidences of sonship; and work together either for the temporal, or spiritual, or eternal good of the saints: and so likewise indeed "for the present time", either while under them, or in the present state of things, they seem so; but hereafter, either now when they are over; or however in the world to come, when the grace, goodness, wisdom, and power of God in them, in supporting under them, bringing out of them, and the blessed effects, and fruits of them, will be discerned, they will be looked upon with pleasure: but for the present, and when carnal sense and reason prevail, it must be allowed, that they are not matter of joy,

but grievous; or matter, cause, and occasion of grief; they cause pain and grief to the afflicted, and to their friends and relations about them; and especially, they are very grieving, and occasion heaviness, and are grievous to be borne, when soul troubles attend them; when God hides his face, and the soul is filled with a sense of wrath, looking upon the chastening, as being in wrath and hot displeasure; when Satan is let loose, and casts his fiery darts thick and fast; and when the soul has lost its views of interest in the love of God, and in the grace of Christ, and in eternal glory and happiness.

Nevertheless, afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby: who are used unto afflictions; "trained" up and instructed in the school of afflictions, as the word may signify; in which many useful lessons of faith and hope, patience and experience, humility, self-denial; and resignation of will, are learned: and to such afflictions yield "the fruit of peace"; external peace and prosperity sometimes follow upon them; and oftentimes internal peace is enjoyed in them; and they always issue to such in eternal peace and everlasting happiness; and this peace arises from the "righteousness" of Christ, laid hold upon by faith, which produces a true conscience peace, and entitles to that everlasting joy and rest which remains for the people of God. Moreover, the fruit of holiness may be designed, which saints by afflictions are made partakers of, and the peace enjoyed in that; for there is a peace, which though it does not spring from, yet is found in the ways of righteousness; and though this peace may not be had for the present, or while the affliction lasts, yet it is experienced "afterwards"; either after the affliction is over in the present life, or however in eternity, when the saints enter into peace; for the end of such dispensations, and of the persons exercised by them, is peace,

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 12:11. The blessing of every chastening. Comp. Diog. Laert. v. 18 (cited by Wetstein): τῆς παιδείας ἔφη (sc. Aristotle) τὰς μὲν ῥίζας εἶναι πικράς, γλυκεῖς δὲ τοὺς καρπούς.

πᾶσα παιδεία] comprises the human and the divine chastening; yet the author in connection with the second clause (ὕστερον δὲ κ.τ.λ.) has no doubt mainly the latter before his mind.

πρὸς μὲν τὸ παρὸν κ.τ.λ.] seems indeed for the present (so long as it continues) to be no object of joy, but an object of grief; later, however (i.e. when it has been outlived), it yields to those who have been exercised by it (comp. Hebrews 5:14) the peace-fraught fruit of righteousness.

δοκεῖ] characterizes the opinion of man; since the matter is in reality very different.

δικαιοσύνης] Genitive of apposition: peaceful fruit, namely righteousness, i.e. moral purity and perfection. It is called a peaceful fruit because its possession brings with it peace of soul. δικαιοσύνης is not to be understood as a genitivus subjecti (Piscator, Owen, Stuart, Heinrichs, Stein, and others): a peaceful fruit which is yielded by righteousness; for surely παιδεία is mentioned as the subject producing the καρπὸς εἰρηνικός.Hebrews 12:11. πᾶσα δὲ παιδεία.… Another encouragement to endure chastening: if it is allowed to do its work righteousness will result. “Now all chastisement for the present indeed seems matter not of joy but of grief, afterwards however it yields, to those who are disciplined by it, the peaceable fruit of righteousness”. [πᾶσα, as Chrys. says, τουτέστι καὶ ἡ ἀνθρωπίνη καὶ ἡ πνευματική.] πρὸς τὸ παρόν, see Thucyd., ii. 22. οὐ δοκεῖλύπης, Chrys. καλῶς εἶπεν· οὐ δοκεῖ. οὐδὲ γάρ ἐστι λύπης ἡ παιδεία, ἀλλὰ μόνον δοκεῖ, see Bleek. Chastisement is here viewed as an opportunity for cultivating faith and endurance and to those who use the opportunity and are exercised and trained by it, διʼ αὐτῆς γεγυμνασμένοις, it necessarily yields, renders as the harvest due, ἀποδίδωσιν, as its fruit increased righteousness of life. But why “peaceful” εἰρηνικὸν? Probably because the result of the conflict (γεγυμνασμένοις) and victory is peace in God and peace of conscience. It is a peace which can only be attained by those who have used their trials as a discipline and have emerged victorious from the conflict.11. the peaceable fruit of righteousness] The original is expressed in the emphatic and oratorical style of the writer, “but afterwards it yieldeth a peaceful fruit to those who have been exercised by it—(the fruit) of righteousness.” He means that though the sterner aspect of training is never pleasurable for the time it results in righteousness—in moral hardihood and serene self-mastery—to all who have been trained in these gymnasia (γεγυμνασμένοις). See Romans 5:2-5.Hebrews 12:11. Πᾶσα, all) which is applied by both fathers of the flesh and the Father of spirits.—δὲ, but) This is the figure Occupatio.[75]—δοκεῖ, seems) For a feeling of pain and sorrow often prevents a sound judgment.—λύπης, a matter of grief) Those who chasten, seem to have for their object the grief or pain of those who are chastened; but this is not the case: 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 8:8.—εἰρηνικὸνδικαιοσύνης) LXX., καὶ ἔσται τὰ ἔργα τῆς δικαιοσύνης εἰρήνη, Isaiah 32:17. Εἰρηνικὸν, peaceful, Heb. שלם, LXX. εἰρηνικὸς, Genesis 37:4, etc.: an antithesis to δοκεῖ, seems. He who chastens, shows that he has acted faithfully: he who is chastened, acknowledges that, and feels grateful; and hence peace.—γεγυμνασμένοις, to those who are exercised) Such as these have both a lighter burden, and whatever burden they have, they bear it with greater ease. They acquire experience by exercise.—ἈΠΟΔΊΔΩΣΙ) yields, viz. the fruit, which had been formerly kept back.—δικαιοσύνης, of righteousness) This explanation, after the language (the sentence) had kept the reader in suspense, is sweetly added at the end: the peaceable fruit, namely, of righteousness, with which a man being endued, approaches with joy to the Holiness of GOD.

[75] See App. Anticipation and refutation of an objection which may be raised.Verse 11. - Now no chastening seemeth for the present to be joyous, but grievous (literally, not of joy, but of grief): nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them which have been exercised thereby. This is a general statement with respect to all chastening, though the expression of its result at the end of the verse is suggested by the thought of Divine chastening, to which alone it is certainly, and in the full sense of the words, applicable. "Of righteousness" is a genitive of apposition; δικαιοσύνη is the peaceable fruit yielded by παιδεία. And the word here surely denotes actual righteousness in ourselves; not merely justification in what is called the forensic sense: the proper effect of chastening is to make us good, and so at peace with our own conscience and with God. It is by no means thus implied that we can be accepted and so have peace on the ground of our own imperfect righteousness; only that it is in the fruits of faith perfected by discipline that we may "know that we are of the truth, and assure our hearts before him" (cf. James 3:18, "The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace;" also Isaiah 32:17, "And the work of righteousness shall be peace"). No chastening for the present seemeth (πᾶσα μὲν παιδεία πρὸς μὲν τὸ παρὸν οὐ δοκεῖ)

Lit. all chastening - doth not seem. Πᾶσα of all sorts, divine and human. The A.V., by joining οὐ not to πᾶσα all, and rendering no chastisement, weakens the emphasis on the idea every kind of chastisement. Πρὸς μὲν τὸ παρὸν for the present. For the force of πρὸς see on Hebrews 12:10. Not merely during the present, but for the present regarded as the time in which its application is necessary and salutary. Μὲν indicates that the suffering present is to be offset by a fruitful future - but (δὲ) afterward.

To be joyous but grievous (χαρᾶς εἶναι ἀλλὰ λύπης)

Lit. to be of joy but of grief.

It yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness (καρπὸν εἰρηνικὸν ἀποδίδωσιν δικαιοσύνης)

Perhaps with a suggestion of recompense for the long-suffering and waiting, since ἀποδιδόναι often signifies "to give back." The phrase ἀποδιδόναι καρπὸν only here and Revelation 22:2. Καρπὸν fruit with διδόναι to give, Matthew 13:8; Mark 4:8 : with ποιεῖν to make or produce, often in Synoptic Gospels, as Matthew 3:8, Matthew 3:10; Matthew 7:17; Luke 3:8; Luke 6:43, etc.: with φέρειν to bear, always and only in John, John 12:24; John 15:2, John 15:4, John 15:5, John 15:8, John 15:16 : with βλαστάνειν to bring forth, James 5:18. Ἑιρηνικός peaceable, in N.T. Only here and James 3:17, as an epithet of wisdom. Quite often in lxx of men, the heart, especially of words and sacrifices. The phrase καρπός εἰρηνικός peaceable fruit (omit the), N.T.o , olxx. The phrase fruit of righteousness, Philippians 1:11; James 3:18, and lxx, Proverbs 3:9; Proverbs 11:30; Proverbs 13:2; Amos 6:13 : comp. Psalm 1:3; Psalm 57:11. The genitive of righteousness is explicative or appositional; fruit which consists in righteousness or is righteousness.

Unto them which are exercised thereby (τοῖς δἰ αὐτῆς γεγυμνασμένοις)

Who have been subjected to the severe discipline of suffering, and have patiently undergone it. For the verb see on 1 Timothy 4:7. Rend. "it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness." This preserves the Greek order, and puts righteousness in its proper, emphatic position.

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