Hebrews 12:5
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
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(5) In this cowardly avoidance of trouble and persecution they have been shrinking from that chastening which every son receives from the Lord.

Which speaketh unto you.—Better, which holds converse (or, reasoneth) with you as with sons. The words which follow are taken from Proverbs 3:11-12, and agree with the text of the LXX., except that for “son” we have “my son,” and for “reproveth” (Hebrews 12:6) “chasteneth.” In the original passage Solomon is the speaker, and it is the second verse only that speaks of God’s fatherly love. It may be so here also, but the exhortation of the Scripture seems to be quoted as if spoken directly by God Himself to His sons.

Despise.—Better, think not lightly of. In the next clause the Hebrew (“and loathe not His correction”) denotes rather a spirit that rejects and chafes under divine discipline. As the words are found here, they point to losing heart and hope.

Hebrews 12:5-8. And ye have forgotten, &c. — As if he had said, If you faint it will appear you have forgotten, the exhortation — Wherein God speaks to you with the utmost tenderness; as unto his own dear children, saying, My son, despise not thou — Do not slight or make light of; the chastening of the Lord — Do not impute it to chance or to second causes, but see and revere the hand of God in it; account it a great mercy, and improve it; nor faint, and sink, when thou art rebuked of him — But endure it patiently and fruitfully, avoiding the extremes of proud insensibility and entire dejection. For — All such dispensations spring from love; therefore neither despise them nor faint under them; whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth — Or correcteth for their faults, in order to their amendment; and that he may try, exercise, and thereby increase their faith, hope, love, resignation, patience, meekness, and other graces; and that he may purify them by such fires, as gold and silver are purged in the furnace from their dross. And scourgeth — With seeming severity; every son whom he receiveth — Into his peculiar favour. See note on Proverbs 3:11-12, &c. If ye endure, &c. — If God correct you, and cause you to endure chastening, he dealeth with you as wise and affectionate parents deal with their beloved sons; for what son is he whom the father — Namely, the person who performs the duty of a father; chasteneth not — More or less? There are scarce any children who do not sometimes need correction, and no wise and good parent will always forbear it. But if ye be without chastisement — “If ye pass your lives without experiencing sickness of any kind, or worldly losses, or affliction in your families, or death of children, or injuries from your neighbours, or any of the other troubles to which the children of God are exposed, certainly you are treated by your heavenly Father as bastards, and not as sons.” Ye are not owned by God for his children.

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.And ye have forgotten the exhortation - This exhortation is found in Proverbs 3:11-12. The object of the apostle in introducing it here is, to show that afflictions were designed on the part of God to produce some happy effects in the lives of his people, and that they ought, therefore, to bear them patiently. In the previous verses, he directs them to the example of the Saviour. In this verse and the following, for the same object he directs their attention to the design of trials, showing that they are necessary to our welfare, and that they are in fact proof of the paternal care of God. This verse might be rendered as a question. "And have ye forgotten?" etc. This mode of rendering it will agree somewhat better with the design of the apostle.

Which speaketh, unto you - Which may be regarded as addressed to you; or which involves a principle as applicable to you as to others. He does not mean that when Solomon used the words, he had reference to them particularly, but that he used them with reference to the children of God, and they might therefore be applied to them. in this way we may regard the language of the Scriptures as addressed to us.

As unto children - As if he were addressing children. The language is such as a father uses.

My son - It is possible that in these words Solomon may have intended to address a son literally, giving him paternal counsel; or he may have spoken as the Head of the Jewish people, designing to address all the pious, to whom he sustained, as it were, the relation of a father. Or, it is possible also, that it may be regarded as the language of God himself addressing his children. Whichever supposition is adopted, the sense is substantially the same.

Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord - Literally, "Do not regard it as a small matter, or as a trivial thing - ὀλιγώρει oligōrei. The Greek word used here does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. The word rendered here "chastening" - παιδεία paideia - and also in Hebrews 12:6-8, and in Hebrews 12:9, "corrected" - παιδευτὰς paideutas - does not refer to affliction in general, but that kind of affliction which is designed to correct us for our faults, or which is of the nature of discipline. The verb properly relates to the training up of a child - including instruction, counsel, discipline, and correction (see this use of the verb in Acts 7:22; 2 Timothy 2:25; Titus 2:12), and then especially discipline or correction for faults - to "correct, chastise, chasten;" 1 Corinthians 11:32; 2 Corinthians 6:9; Revelation 3:19. This is the meaning here; and the idea is, not that God will afflict his people in general, but that if they wander away he will correct them for their faults. He will bring calamity upon them as a punishment for their offences, and in order to bring them back to himself. He will not suffer them to wander away unrebuked and unchecked, but will mercifully reclaim them though by great sufferings. Afflictions have many objects, or produce many happy effects. That referred to here is, that they are means of reclaiming the wandering and erring children of God, and are proofs of his paternal care and love; compare 2 Samuel 7:14; 2 Samuel 12:13-14; Psalm 89:31-34; Proverbs 3:11-12. Afflictions, which are always sent by God, should not be regarded as small matters, for these reasons:

(1) The fact that they are sent by God. Whatever he does is of importance, and is worthy of the profound attention of people.

(2) they are sent for some important purpose, and they should be regarded, therefore, with attentive concern.

Men "despise" them when:

(1) they treat them with affected or real unconcern;

(2) when they fail to receive them as divine admonitions, and regard them as without any intelligent design; and,

(3) when they receive them with "expressions" of contempt, and speak of them and of the government of God with scorn.

It should be a matter of deep concern when we are afflicted in any manner, not to treat the matter lightly, but to derive from our trials all the lessons which they are adapted to produce on the mind.

Nor faint ... - Bear up patiently under them. This is the second duty. We are first to study their character and design; and secondly, to bear up under them, however severe they may be, and however long they may be continued. "Avoid the extremes of proud insensibility and entire dejection" - Doddridge.

5. forgotten—"utterly," so the Greek. Compare Heb 12:15-17, in which he implies how utterly some of them had forgotten God's word. His exhortation ought to have more effect on you than the cheers and exhortations of the spectators have on the competitors striving in the games.

which—Greek, "the which," of which the following is a specimen [Alford].

speaketh unto you—as in a dialogue or discourse, so the Greek, implying God's loving condescension (compare Isa 1:18).

despise not—literally, "Do not hold of little account." Betraying a contumacious spirit of unbelief (Heb 3:12), as "faint" implies a broken-down, weak, and desponding spirit. "Chastening" is to be borne with "subjection" (Heb 12:9); "rebuke" (more severe than chastening) is to be borne with endurance (Heb 12:7). "Some in adversity kick against God's will, others despond; neither is to be done by the Christian, who is peculiarly the child of God. To him such adverse things occur only by the decree of God, and that designed in kindness, namely, to remove the defilements adhering to the believer, and to exercise his patience" [Grotius].

And ye have forgotten; eklelhsye, whether rendered interrogatively: have ye forgotten? Or positively: ye have forgotten; either way it carrieth a check upon their forgetfulness of what was of the greatest importance for them to remember in the time of persecutions, and implieth a direction of them to their duty, that they ought to remember the counsel or command given by God to them, how to interpret these persecutions for Christ and the gospel, and how to improve them; and so introduceth a further help to their rnnning of the race of God with patience.

The exhortation; paraklhsewv notes properly consolation, and is here a consolatory exhortation to the management of a duty which would be highly such to them, and a dehortation from an evil which would greatly prejudice them; when it is said to speak, it is a metonymy of the effect for the efficient; the Lord in the exhortation speaking this to them.

Which speaketh unto you as unto children: these words were written by Solomon, from God unto his children in that time; and God speaks no less by him to these Hebrews, who were his children now, as to all others who are such, or should be such, children to him. And whereas it is spoken singularly:

My son, it is to every child of God in Christ Jesus, and so collectively includeth all of them.

Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord: the dehortation is written in Proverbs 3:11, that not one of these children should care little for, or set light by, denying all regardlessness, senselessness of, and incorrigibleness under, such smart correction as a parent gives to a child, either by himself, or by any other to whose care it is committed; but this chastening is from the Lord, the most gracious and tender Father, who can do them no evil, and will profit and benefit them by it. As they come from their persecutors for the sake of Christ, they are injuries; but as ordered by God their Father, they are so many favours to them, preventing sin, preserving in duty, and preparing them for blessedness.

Nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; nor to nauseate his rebukes, or to faint under them; neither to let our faith or hope in our Father fail, nor to sink in our love to him, his way, or truth, or religion; nor to be weary, and give over our course, because of persecutions, but continuing faithful to him to the end, Hebrews 12:14,15 Mt 10:22 Luke 22:28,29.

And ye have forgotten the exhortation,.... Or consolation, the consolatory word or doctrine, in Proverbs 3:11. This, by their conduct, the apostle feared they had forgotten, and therefore puts them in mind of it; or it may be read by way of question, "and have ye forgotten?", &c. do not ye remember? it would be right to call it to mind:

which speaketh unto you as unto children; not as the children of Solomon, but as the children of God, or of Christ, the wisdom of God: here, by a prosopopeia, the word of exhortation is introduced as a person speaking,

my son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord; by which is meant, not vindictive punishment; this would not be speaking to them, nor dealing with them as children, and would be contrary to the love of God towards them; besides, chastisement in this sense has been upon Christ for them, and it would be unjust to lay it on them again; but a fatherly correction is designed, and which is given in love by God, as a Father, and for the instruction of his children, as the word used signifies: and it is called not the chastening of men, but of the Lord; every chastening, or afflictive providence, is appointed by God, and is looked upon by believers, when grace is in exercise, as coming from him; and it is directed, and governed, and limited by him, and is overruled by him for his own glory, and their good: and this is not to be despised, as something nauseous and loathsome, or as not useful and unprofitable, or as insignificant and unworthy of notice, but should be esteemed for the good ends, which are sometimes answered, by it:

nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; God has various ways of rebuking, reproving, and convincing, sometimes by his Spirit, sometimes by his word and ministers, and sometimes by afflictive providences; by these he rebukes his people for their sins, convinces them of them, and brings them to acknowledgment and confession; he makes them hereby sensible of their duty, in which they have been remiss, and brings them to a more constant and fervent discharge of it; he reproves them for, and convinces of their folly in trusting in the creature, or loving it too much, and of every wrong way they have been walking in; and these rebukes are not in a way of wrath, but love, and therefore saints should not faint at them: there are two extremes they are apt to run into, under such a dispensation; either to take no notice, and make light of an affliction, or else to be overwhelmed by it, and sink under it; both are guarded against in this exhortation.

{5} And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

(5) Secondly, because they are testimonies of his fatherly good will towards us, in that they show themselves to be illegitimate, if they cannot abide to be chastened by God.

Hebrews 12:5-6. Καὶ ἐκλέλησθε κ.τ.λ.] And have ye forgotten, etc.? The words are most naturally to be taken, with Calvin, Beza, Piscator, Grotius, Braun, Jos. Hallet, Heinrichs, Böhme, Stuart, Lachmann, Bleek, Bisping, Delitzsch, Ewald, as a question. If we would, as is usually done, take them as an assertory statement (“and ye have forgotten”), the reproach contained in the same would come out more strongly than is consonant with the mild character of the discourse in this section. The verb ἐκλανθάνεσθαι, as presently after ὀλιγωρεῖν, in the N. T. only here.

τῆς παρακλήσεως] the consolation (or else: the animating address).

ἥτις ὑμῖν ὡς υἱοῖς διαλέγεται] which, of a truth, speaks to you as to sons. By virtue of ἥτις (in place of which there is no sufficient ground for writing, with Hofmann, ᾗ τις) the following consolatory utterance (Υἱέπαραδέχεται), adduced from Proverbs 3:11-12,—from which also Philo, de congressu quaer. erudit. gr. p. 449 D (with Mangey, I. p. 544 f.), reasons in a similar manner,—is pre-supposed as one sufficiently familiar to the readers. By διαλέγεται, however, the same is personified; since διαλέγεσθαί τινι denotes conversing with any one (here, as it were, the answering in reply to the complaint breathed forth by the readers).

Υἱέ μου] With the LXX. only: Υἱέ.

μὴ ὀλιγώρει παιδείας κυρίου] despise not chastening from the Lord, i.e. be thankful for it, when the Lord chastens thee.

μηδὲ ἐκλύου ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ ἐλεγχόμενος] nor despond when thou art corrected of Him (by means of sufferings which He imposes upon thee).

Hebrews 12:5-17. The Hebrews are reminded that their sufferings are tokens of God’s fatherly love and care.

5. And ye have forgotten] “Yet ye have utterly forgotten,” or possibly the words may be intended interrogatively “Yet have ye utterly forgotten?”

the exhortation] “the encouragement,” or “strengthening consolation.”

speaketh] “discourseth,” or “reasoneth” (dialegetai).

My son …] The quotation is from Proverbs 3:11-12, and is taken mainly from the LXX. There is a very similar passage in Job 5:17, and Philo, de Congr. quaerend. erudit. gr. (Opp. i. 544).

despise not] “Regard not lightly.”

the chastening] Rather, “the training.”

nor faint …] In the Hebrew it is “and loathe not His correction.”

rebuked] Rather, “tested,” “corrected.”

Hebrews 12:5. Καὶ) And nevertheless already.—ἐκλέλησθε, you have forgotten) You have dismissed from your memory and from your mind. So to remember is used both of the memory and of the mind generally.—τῆς παρακλήσεως, the exhortation) An illustrious testimony to the authority of the books of Solomon. Comp. 1 Peter 3:6; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 Peter 4:18, notes; and ch. Hebrews 5:5; 2 Peter 2:22. This exhortation should have more influence with you, than all the words of exhorters with those who are striving in the world.—ὡς νἱοῖς, as to sons) For it is said, υἱέ μου, my son, most affectionately.—υἱέ μου, my son) Proverbs 3:11-12, LXX. υἱὲ; the rest, as far as ταραδέχεται, in the same words: and they usually translate בני, υἱέ. For thus Solomon frequently calls him, whom in the Proverbs he instructs in the name of GOD.—μὴ ὀλιγώρει[73]) אל תמאם (comp. מאס, Isaiah 8:6), i.e. do not despise with contumacious mind. Υποταγὴ, subjection, is enjoined, Hebrews 12:9, in respect of chastening or discipline (ΠΑΙΔΕΊΑς), which is of a gentler character.—ΜΗΔῈ ἘΚΛΎΟΥ) ואל תקץ (comp. קץ, Isaiah 7:16), do not flee back with a faint or weak mind. ὙΠΟΜΟΝῊ, patience, Hebrews 12:7, is commanded in respect ἐλέγχου, of rebuke, wherewith one is more severely rebuked.

[73] Ὀλιγώρειἐκλύου) two extremes: ὀλιγωρεῖν refers to a contumacious mind: ἐκλύεσθαι, to one that is broken down and weak. The former is called ὄγκος, Hebrews 12:1; the latter ἡ ἁμαρτία, not in general, but ἡ εὐπερίστατος ἁμαρτία in particular, i.e. ἀπιστία, ch. Hebrews 3:12.—Not. Crit.

Verses 5, 6. - And ye have forgotten (or, have ye forgotten?) the exhortation which speaketh unto you (more correctly, discourses, or reasons, with you; i.e. in the way of fatherly remonstrance) as unto children, My son, etc. This verse introduces a further motive for persevering under prolonged trial, viz. our being assured in Holy Writ of its beneficial purpose as discipline. The quotation is from Proverbs 3:11, 12, as it is in the LXX. We observe that the word "faint" (ἐκλύου) is the same as was used in ver. 3. In the seventh and following verses this scriptural admonition is applied and commented on. Hebrews 12:5Ye have forgotten (ἐκλέλησθε)

N.T.o. Common in Class., olxx. The simple verb λανθάνειν means to escape notice; to be unseen or unknown. Middle and passive, to let a thing escape; forget. Some render interrogatively, "have ye forgotten?"

Speaketh unto you (ὑμῖν διαλέγεται)

The verb always in the sense of mutual converse or discussion. See Mark 9:34; Acts 17:2; Acts 18:19. Rend. "reasoneth with you."

My son, etc.

From Proverbs 3:11, Proverbs 3:12. Comp. Job 5:17.

Despise not (μὴ ὀλιγώρει)

N.T.o. lxx only in this passage. Quite often in Class. It means to make little of (ὀλίγος).

Chastening (παιδείας)

Mostly in Hebrews. See on Ephesians 6:4, and see on 2 Timothy 3:16.

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