Hebrews 13:3
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
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(3) As bound with them.—Either (1) “As if ye yourselves were in bonds” (see Hebrews 10:33-34; 1Corinthians 12:26)—by true fellow-feeling make yourselves sharers in their lot; or, (2) “mindful that ye too are in bonds”—like them ye are Christ’s prisoners, and their bonds are but one of the tokens of that service in which all Christians are bound. (Comp. 1Corinthians 7:22.)

As being yourselves also in the body.—“Mindful that you, like them, still dwell in a body liable to pain, and may therefore suffer ill-treatment in the cause of Christ.”

Hebrews 13:3. Remember — In your prayers and by your help; them that are in bonds — Thrown into prison for the sake of Christ, as if you yourselves were bound with them — Seeing ye are members one of another; and them which suffer adversity Των κακουχουμενων, who are ill-treated, or afflicted with evil; as being yourselves also in the body — And consequently liable to similar sufferings.

13:1-6 The design of Christ in giving himself for us, is, that he may purchase to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; and true religion is the strongest bond of friendship. Here are earnest exhortations to several Christian duties, especially contentment. The sin opposed to this grace and duty is covetousness, an over-eager desire for the wealth of this world, with envy of those who have more than ourselves. Having treasures in heaven, we may be content with mean things here. Those who cannot be so, would not be content though God raised their condition. Adam was in paradise, yet not contented; some angels in heaven were not contented; but the apostle Paul, though abased and empty, had learned in every state, in any state, to be content. Christians have reason to be contented with their present lot. This promise contains the sum and substance of all the promises; I will never, no, never leave thee, no, never forsake thee. In the original there are no less than five negatives put together, to confirm the promise: the true believer shall have the gracious presence of God with him, in life, at death, and for ever. Men can do nothing against God, and God can make all that men do against his people, to turn to their good.Remember them that are in bonds - All who are "bound;" whether prisoners of war; captives in dungeons; those detained in custody for trial; those who are imprisoned for righteousness' sake, or those held in slavery. The word used here will include all instances where "bonds, shackles, chains were ever used." Perhaps there is an immediate allusion to their fellow-Christians who were suffering imprisonment on account of their religion, of whom there were doubtless many at that time, but the "principle" will apply to every case of those who are imprisoned or oppressed. The word "remember" implies more than that we are merely to "think" of them; compare Exodus 20:8; Ecclesiastes 12:1. It means that we are to remember them "with appropriate sympathy;" or as we should wish others to remember us if we were in their circumstances. That is, we are

(1) to feel deep compassion for them;

(2) we are to remember them in our prayers;

(3) we are to remember them, as far as practicable, with aid for their relief.

Christianity teaches us to sympathize with all the oppressed, the suffering, and the sad; and there are more of this class than we commonly suppose, and they have stronger claims on our sympathy than we commonly realize. In America there are not far from ten thousand confined in prison - the father separated from his children; the husband from his wife; the brother from his sister; and all cut off from the living world. Their fare is coarse, and their couches hard, and the ties which bound them to the living world are rudely snapped asunder. Many of them are in solitary dungeons; all of them are sad and melancholy men. True, they are there for crime; but they are men - they are our brothers. They have still the feelings of our common humanity, and many of them feel their separation from wife, and children, and home, as keenly as we would.

That God who has mercifully made our lot different from theirs, has commanded us to sympathize with them - and we should sympathize all the more when we remember that but for his restraining grace we should have been in the same condition. There are in this land of "liberty" also nearly three millions who are held in the hard bondage of slavery. There is the father, the mother, the child, the brother, the sister. They are held as property; liable to be sold; having no right to the avails of their own labor; exposed to the danger of having the tenderest ties sundered at the will of their master; shut out from the privilege of reading the Word of God; fed on coarse fare; living in wretched hovels; and often subjected to the painful inflictions of the lash at the caprice of a passionate driver. Wives and daughters are made the victims of degrading sensuality without the power of resistance or redress; the security of home is unknown; and they are dependent on the will of another man whether they shall or shall not worship their Creator. We should remember them, and sympathize with them as if they were our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, or sons and daughters.

Though of different colour, yet the same blood flows in their veins as in ours Acts 17:26; they are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. By nature they have the same right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" which we and our children have, and to deprive them of that right is as unjust as it would be to deprive us and ours of it. They have a claim on our sympathy, for they are our brethren. They need it, for they are poor and helpless. They should have it, for the same God who has kept us from that hard lot has commanded us to remember them. That kind remembrance of them should be shown in every practicable way. By prayer; by plans contemplating their freedom; by efforts to send them the gospel; by diffusing abroad the principles of liberty and of the rights of man, by using our influence to arouse the public mind in their behalf, we should endeavor to relieve those who are in bonds, and to hasten the time when "the oppressed shall go free." On this subject, see the notes on Isaiah 58:6.

As bound with them - There is great force and beauty in this expression. Religion teaches us to identify ourselves with all who are oppressed, and to feel what they suffer as if we endured it ourselves. Infidelity and atheism are cold and distant. They stand aloof from the oppressed and the sad. But Christianity unites all hearts in one; binds us to all the race, and reveals to us in the case of each one oppressed and injured, a brother.

And them which suffer adversity - The word used here refers properly to those who are maltreated, or who are injured by others. It does not properly refer to those who merely experience calamity.

As being ourselves also in the body - As being yourselves exposed to persecution and suffering, and liable to be injured. That is, do to them as you would wish them to do to you if you were the sufferer. When we see an oppressed and injured man, we should remember that it is possible that we may be in the same circumstances, and that then we shall need and desire the sympathy of others.

3. Remember—in prayers and acts of kindness.

bound with them—by virtue of the unity of the members in the body under one Head, Christ (1Co 12:26).

suffer adversity—Greek, "are in evil state."

being yourselves also in the body—and so liable to the adversities incident to the natural body, which ought to dispose you the more to sympathize with them, not knowing how soon your own turn of suffering may come. "One experiences adversity almost his whole life, as Jacob; another in youth, as Joseph; another in manhood, as Job; another in old age" [Bengel].

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them: a further duty of the subjects of Christ’s kingdom, is sympathy with their Christian brethren, to remember to pray for, visit, and minister all necessary refreshment to those in bonds, fettered, manacled, and imprisoned for Christ’s sake and the gospel; being straitened for them, and partaking of their bonds, bearing them with them, and seeking their deliverance out of them by all just means, Matthew 25:36 Ephesians 6:19,20 Col 4:18 2 Timothy 1:16-18.

And them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body; be mindful of those suffering any evil for Christ’s sake and the gospel, persecuted, oppressed, or afflicted, who have not deserved any of this from man, so as to carry it suitably to them in these conditions, Hebrews 11:36-38; so feelingly, as if we were the persons in their conditions; carefully, knowing we are in bodies capable and liable to the same, and are ignorant how soon it may be our own case; conscientiously, as knowing we are members in the same body of Christ with them, and of them in particular, 1 Corinthians 12:25-27.

Remember them that are in bonds,.... Not for criminal actions, or for debt, though such should be remembered, and pity showed them, especially the latter; but such as are in bonds for the sake of Christ, and the Gospel. This has been often the lot of God's people, who should be remembered, by praying for them, sending comfortable letters to them, personally visiting them, and relieving them under their distresses:

as bound with them; as if it were so, as if in the same condition, and circumstances; by sympathizing with them; by considering themselves liable to the same bonds; by dealing with them as it would be desirable to be dealt with in the same case: and

them which suffer adversity; outward afflictions of body, distress for want of temporal mercies, food and raiment, and persecution by enemies; or spiritual adversity, as the prevailings of corruptions, and particularly unbelief, the hidings of God's face, and the temptations of Satan.

As being yourselves also in the body; as if in their bodies, enduring the same things; or as being afflicted in the body with diseases, necessities, and persecutions; or as being in the body, the church, of which these afflicted ones are a part, and therefore should have a fellow feeling with them; or rather as being in this world, in the flesh, or in a body and state subject to the like adversities, temporal and spiritual.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as {a} being yourselves also in the body.

(a) Be so touched, as if their misery were yours.

Hebrews 13:3. Exhortation to have a care for the prisoners and distressed.

Μιμνήσκεσθε τῶν δεσμίων] Be mindful (sc. in order to aid them with ministering love) of the prisoners.

ὡς συνδεδεμένοι] as fellow-prisoners, i.e. with as much devotion to them as though the captivity had fallen upon yourselves. For the Christians are members of the same body; as in the prosperity, so also are they to share in the sufferings one of the other. Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:26. Böhme (in like manner Heinrichs too) explains: “quippe ejus naturae et conditionis homines, qui ipsi quoque pro captivis sint, nimirum in ecclesia pressa degentes.” Upon this interpretation, it is true, the twofold ὡς retains its full significance; but in order to represent the readers as “in ecclesia pressa degentes,” an addition to συνδεδεμένοι could not have been dispensed with.

τῶν κακουχουμένων] of those who suffer evil treatment. τῶν κακουχουμένων is the genus, under which the foregoing τῶν δεσμίων are ranged as a particular species.

ὡς καὶ αὐτοὶ ὄντες ἐν σώματι] as sojourning yourselves in a body, thus likewise still subjected to the earthly order of the world, and not secured against the like ill-treatment. According to Calvin and others, the sense is: since ye indeed are members of the same body (to wit, the church),—which, however, must have been indicated by ὡς καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν τῷ σώματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ ὄντες. According to Beza: as though in your own person ye were κακουχούμενοι,—a sense which can only with violence be put upon the words.

Hebrews 13:3. μιμνήσκεσθε (Hebrews 2:6) τῶν δεσμίων (Hebrews 10:34), “Be mindful of those in bonds” (Matthew 25:36). This also they had already done (Hebrews 10:34). The motive now urged is contained in the words ὡς συνδεδεμένοι, “as having been bound with them,” as fellow-prisoners. The ὡς ἐν σώματι of the next clause might invite the interpretation, “for we also are bound as well as they,” and colour might be given to this by the Epistle to Diognetus, chap. 6. χριστιανοὶ κατέχονται μὲν ὡς ἐν φρουρᾷ τῷ κόσμῳ; but more likely the expression is merely a strong way of saying that all the members of Christ’s body suffer with each, 1 Corinthians 12:26. τῶν κακουχουμένων, “the maltreated,” cf. Hebrews 11:37; you must be mindful of these “as being yourselves also in the body,” i.e., not emancipated spirits, and therefore liable to similar ill-usage and capable of sympathy. [A striking illustration of the manner in which the early Christians obeyed these admonitions may be found in the Apology of Aristides: ξένον ἐὰν ἴδωσιν, ὑπὸ στέγην εἰσάγουσι καὶ χαίρουσιν ἐπʼ αὐτῷ ὡς ἐπὶ ἀδελφῷ ἀληθινῷ· οὐ γὰρ κατὰ σάρκα ἀδελφοὺς ἑαυτοὺς καλοῦσιν, ἀλλὰ κατὰ ψυχήν. The Syriac Apology adds “If they hear that any of their number is imprisoned or oppressed for the name of their Messiah, all of them provide for his needs”. Accordingly in the Martyrdom of Perpetua we read that two deacons were appointed to visit her and relieve the severity of her imprisonment.] It is interesting to find that Philo claims for Moses a φιλαδεφία towards strangers, enjoining sympathy, ὡς ἐν διαιρετοῖς μέρεσιν ἕν ζῶον, as being all one living creature though in diverse parts; and in De Spec. Legg. 30 he has ὡς ἐν τοῖς ἑτέρων σώμασιν αὐτοὶ κακούμενοι. Westcott gives from early Christian documents a collection of interesting prayers for those suffering imprisonment.

3. Remember them that are in bonds] Comp. Colossians 4:18.

as bound with them] Lit., “as having been bound with them.” In the perfectness of sympathy their bonds are your bonds (1 Corinthians 12:26), for you and they alike are Christ’s Slaves (1 Corinthians 7:22) and Christ’s Captives (2 Corinthians 2:14 in the Greek). Lucian’s tract (referred to in the previous note) dwells on the effusive kindness of Christians to their brethren who were imprisoned as confessors.

as being yourselves also in the body] And therefore as being yourselves liable to similar maltreatment. “In the body” does not mean “in the body of the Church,” but “human beings, born to suffer.” You must therefore “weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15). The expressions of the verse (κακουχουμένων, ὡς καὶ αὐτοὶ ὄντες ἐν σώματι read like a reminiscence of Philo (De Spec. Legg. § 30) who says ὡς ἐν τοῖς ἑτέρων σώμασιν αὐτοὶ κακούμενοι “as being yourselves also afflicted in the bodies of others;” but if so the reminiscence is only verbal, and the application more simple. Incidentally the verse shews how much the Christians of that day were called upon to endure.

Hebrews 13:3. Μιμνήσκεσθε, remember) in your prayers and in your acts of kindness.—ὡς συνδεδεμένους, as bound with them) on account of the unity of the body under the one head, Christ.—ἐν σώματι, in the body) in the natural body, which is not yet withdrawn from adversities, and the dangers which have befallen them. One man experiences great adversity during the whole period of his life, as Jacob: another in youth, as Joseph: another in manhood, as Job: another, finally, in old age; and this admonition is of especial advantage against such an event.

Verse 3. - Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. The Hebrew readers have been also specially commended for their past sympathy with their imprisoned and despoiled brethren (Hebrews 10:33, etc.), having been themselves also at the same time persecuted. Whether or not sufferers themselves now, they must not be forgetful of those that are "As bound with them" seems best taken as expressing the sympathy of one member with another (cf. Hebrews 10:33, 34 and 1 Corinthians 12:26, "If one member suffer," etc.). "As being yourselves," etc., reminds them that they are still in the flesh, and so not only on this account bound to sympathize, but also liable themselves at any time to the like afflictions. Exhortations to personal purity and to contentedness follow next. Of the need, and prominence in the Epistles, of warnings against impurity see what was said on ἁγιασμόν (Hebrews 12:14). St. Paul is given to couple covetousness 'rod uncleanness together in his warnings, as cognate sins, and alike incompatible with the kingdom of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:10, 11; 1 Corinthians 6:9, etc.; Ephesians 5:3, 5; Colossians 3:5). Greediness, or inordinate desire (πλεονεξία), may be for sensual indulgence or for wealth - the same word is used in both senses; and such πλεονεξία, whatever its object, is fatal to the spiritual life. So here, after a warning against impurity, comes a like one against covetousness. Hebrews 13:3Them that are in bonds (τῶν δεσμίων)

See on Hebrews 10:34.

As bound with them (ὡς συνδεδεμένοι)

N.T.o. As if you were fellow-prisoners. Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:14-26; 2 Corinthians 11:29. Public intercession for prisoners has formed a part of the service of the church from the earliest times. See the prayer at the close of Clem. Rom Ad 1 Corinthians 59.It also occurs in the daily morning service of the synagogue.

Which suffer adversity (κακουχουμένων)

Rend. are evil entreated. See on Hebrews 11:37.

As being yourselves also in the body (ὡς καὶ αὐτοὶ ὄντες ἐν σώματι)

As subject like them to bodily sufferings. Not in the body - the church, which would require the article. The expression ἐν σώματι in the sense of being still alive, only in 2 Corinthians 12:2.

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