Hebrews 2:14
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
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(14) Forasmuch then . . .—The two members of this verse directly recall the thoughts of Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 2:9. (1) It was the will of God that salvation should be won by the Son for sons; (2) this salvation could only be won by means of death.

The children.—Said with reference to Hebrews 2:13.

Flesh and blood.—Literally, blood and flesh, the familiar order of the words being departed from here and in Ephesians 6:12. This designation of human nature on its material side is found four times in the New Testament, and is extremely common in Jewish writers.

The emphasis of the following statement is note. worthy: “He Himself also in like manner took part of the same things.” His assumption of our nature had for its object suffering and death.

Destroy him.—Rather, bring him to nought; annul his power. The comment on these words will be found in Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 9:26; for it was as the lord of sin, which was the cause (Romans 5:12) and the sting (1Corinthians 15:56) of death, that the devil held dominion over death (or, as the words might mean, wielded the power possessed by death). (Comp. 2Timothy 1:10; 1John 3:8; also Revelation 1:18.) Combined with this is the thought which runs through this chapter—the assimilation of the Redeemer to the redeemed in the conditions of His earthly life. By meeting death Himself, He vanquishes and destroys death for them.

Hebrews 2:14-15. Forasmuch then as the children — Believers, who are Christ’s spiritual seed; are partakers of flesh and blood — Of human nature with all its infirmities; he also took part of the same — See on Php 2:8; that through his own death, he might destroy the tyranny of him that had — By God’s permission; the power of death — The power of bringing death on all mankind by tempting our first parents to sin. Hence he is called a murderer from the beginning, and a liar, and the father of it, John 8:41. It is observable that the power of death, ascribed to the devil, is called κρατος, and not εξουσια, because he had no right to it. It was a power usurped by guile. And all the baneful effects of this power Christ at the resurrection will remove, as far as they relate to the righteous. The word καταργηση, rendered that he might destroy, properly signifies, that he might render ineffectual. “Since the Son of God is said to have partaken of the flesh and blood of the children in the same manner that they themselves partake of these, namely, by being born of a woman; and since he was born into the world in that manner, to render him capable of dying, that through his death in the flesh he might frustrate the malicious contrivance of the devil, who first introduced death into the world; we are thereby taught that he is the seed of the woman, which at the fall was promised to bruise the head of the serpent; and that the serpent who deceived Eve was not a natural serpent, but the devil, who, because he assumed the form of a serpent on that occasion, is called (Revelation 20:2) the great dragon, or serpent; and that old serpent, the devil. See on 2 Corinthians 11:3. The intention of the devil, in seducing our first parents, was to destroy them, and thereby put an end to the human species. This malicious design the Son of God rendered ineffectual, by assuming our nature, and in that nature dying as a sacrifice for sin.” — Macknight. And — By his death making atonement for their sins, and procuring for them pardon and holiness; that is, both justification and sanctification, both a title to heaven and a meetness for it, and also an earnest of it by the Holy Spirit in their hearts, he delivers them — Even all who are made God’s children by faith in him; who — Before they received this deliverance; were all their life-time, through tormenting fear of death, subject to bondage — In a slavish uncomfortable state of mind. And every man fears death, more or less, who is not savingly acquainted with, and united to Christ; who is not justified through faith in his blood, and regenerated by the influence of his Spirit, and therefore is not begotten again to a lively hope of a heavenly inheritance. Death is unwelcome to him if he knows what death is. But he delivers all true believers from this bondage.

2:14-18 The angels fell, and remained without hope or help. Christ never designed to be the Saviour of the fallen angels, therefore he did not take their nature; and the nature of angels could not be an atoning sacrifice for the sin of man. Here is a price paid, enough for all, and suitable to all, for it was in our nature. Here the wonderful love of God appeared, that, when Christ knew what he must suffer in our nature, and how he must die in it, yet he readily took it upon him. And this atonement made way for his people's deliverance from Satan's bondage, and for the pardon of their sins through faith. Let those who dread death, and strive to get the better of their terrors, no longer attempt to outbrave or to stifle them, no longer grow careless or wicked through despair. Let them not expect help from the world, or human devices; but let them seek pardon, peace, grace, and a lively hope of heaven, by faith in Him who died and rose again, that thus they may rise above the fear of death. The remembrance of his own sorrows and temptations, makes Christ mindful of the trials of his people, and ready to help them. He is ready and willing to succour those who are tempted, and seek him. He became man, and was tempted, that he might be every way qualified to succour his people, seeing that he had passed through the same temptations himself, but continued perfectly free from sin. Then let not the afflicted and tempted despond, or give place to Satan, as if temptations made it wrong for them to come to the Lord in prayer. Not soul ever perished under temptation, that cried unto the Lord from real alarm at its danger, with faith and expectation of relief. This is our duty upon our first being surprised by temptations, and would stop their progress, which is our wisdom.Forasmuch then - Since; or because.

As the children - Those who were to become the adopted children of God; or who were to sustain that relation to him.

Are partakers of flesh and blood - Have a human and not an angelic nature. Since they are men, he became a man. There was a fitness or propriety that he should partake of their nature; see the 1 Corinthians 15:50 note; Matthew 16:17 note.

He also himself, ... - He also became a man, or partook of the same nature with them; see the notes at John 1:14.

That through death - By dying. It is implied here:

(1) that the work which he undertook of destroying him that had the power of death, was to be accomplished by "his own dying;" and,

(2) that in order to this, it was necessary that he should be a man. An angel does not die, and therefore he did not take on him the nature of angels; and the Son of God in his divine nature could not die, and therefore he assumed a form in which he could die - that of a man. In that nature the Son of God could taste of death; and thus he could destroy him that had the power of death.

He might destroy - That he might "subdue," or that he might overcome him, and "destroy" his dominion. The word "destroy" here is not used in the sense of "closing life," or of "killing," but in the sense of bringing into subjection, or crushing his power. This is the work which the Lord Jesus came to perform - to destroy the kingdom of Satan in the world, and to set up another kingdom in its place. This was understood by Satan to be his object: see the Matthew 8:29 note; Mark 1:24 note.

That had the power of death - I understand this as meaning that the devil was the cause of death in this world. He was the means of its introduction, and of its long and melancholy reign. This does not "affirm" anything of his power of inflicting death in particular instances - whatever may be true on that point - but that "death" was a part of his dominion; that he introduced it; that he seduced man from God, and led on the train of woes which result in death. He also made it terrible. Instead of being regarded as falling asleep, or being looked on without alarm, it becomes under him the means of terror and distress. What "power" Satan may have in inflicting death in particular instances no one can tell. The Jewish Rabbis speak much of Sammael, "the angel of death" - מלאך המות mal'aak hamuwt - who they supposed had the control of life, and was the great messenger employed in closing it.

The Scriptures, it is believed, are silent on that point. But that Satan was the means of introducing "death into the world, and all our woe," no one can doubt; and over the whole subject, therefore, he may be said to have had power. To "destroy" that dominion: to rescue man; to restore him to life; to place him in a world where death is unknown; to introduce a state of things where "not another one would ever die," was the great purpose for which the Redeemer came. What a noble object! What enterprise in the universe has been so grand and noble as this! Surely an undertaking that contemplates the annihilation of death; that designs to bring this dark dominion to an end, is full of benevolence, and commends itself to every man as worthy of his profound attention and gratitude. What woes are caused by death in this world! They are seen everywhere. The earth is "arched with graves." In almost every dwelling death has been doing his work of misery. The palace cannot exclude him; and he comes unbidden into the cottage. He finds his way to the dwelling of ice in which the Esquimaux and the Greenlander live; to the tent of the Bedouin Arab, and the wandering Tartar; to the wigwam of the Indian, and to the harem of the Turk; to the splendid mansion of the rich, as well as to the abode of the poor. That reign of death has now extended near 6,000 years, and will travel on to future times - meeting each generation, and consigning the young, the vigorous, the lovely, and the pure, to dust. Shall that gloomy reign continue forever? Is there no way to arrest it? Is there no place where death can be excluded? Yes: heaven - and the object of the Redeemer is to bring us there.

14. He who has thus been shown to be the "Captain (Greek, 'Leader') of salvation" to the "many sons," by trusting and suffering like them, must therefore become man like them, in order that His death may be efficacious for them [Alford].

the children—before mentioned (Heb 2:13); those existing in His eternal purpose, though not in actual being.

are partakers of—literally, "have (in His purpose) been partakers" all in common.

flesh and blood—Greek oldest manuscripts have "blood and flesh." The inner and more important element, the blood, as the more immediate vehicle of the soul, stands before the more palpable element, the flesh; also, with reference to Christ's blood-shedding with a view to which He entered into community with our corporeal life. "The life of the flesh is in the blood; it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Le 17:11, 14).

also—Greek, "in a somewhat similar manner"; not altogether in a like manner. For He, unlike them, was conceived and born not in sin (Heb 4:15). But mainly "in like manner"; not in mere semblance of a body, as the Docetæ heretics taught.

took part of—participated in. The forfeited inheritance (according to Jewish law) was ransomed by the nearest of kin; so Jesus became our nearest of kin by His assumed humanity, in order to be our Redeemer.

that through death—which He could not have undergone as God but only by becoming man. Not by Almighty power but by His death (so the Greek) He overcame death. "Jesus suffering death overcame; Satan wielding death succumbed" [Bengel]. As David cut off the head of Goliath with the giant's own sword wherewith the latter was wont to win his victories. Coming to redeem mankind, Christ made Himself a sort of hook to destroy the devil; for in Him there was His humanity to attract the devourer to Him, His divinity to pierce him, apparent weakness to provoke, hidden power to transfix the hungry ravisher. The Latin epigram says, Mors mortis morti mortem nisi morte tu lisset, Æternæ vitæ janua clausa foret. "Had not death by death borne to death the death of Death, the gate of eternal life would have been closed".

destroy—literally, "render powerless"; deprive of all power to hurt His people. "That thou mightest still the enemy and avenger" (Ps 8:2). The same Greek verb is used in 2Ti 1:10, "abolished death." There is no more death for believers. Christ plants in them an undying seed, the germ of heavenly immortality, though believers have to pass through natural death.

power—Satan is "strong" (Mt 12:29).

of death—implying that death itself is a power which, though originally foreign to human nature, now reigns over it (Ro 5:12; 6:9). The power which death has Satan wields. The author of sin is the author of its consequences. Compare "power of the enemy" (Lu 10:19). Satan has acquired over man (by God's law, Ge 2:17; Ro 6:23) the power of death by man's sin, death being the executioner of sin, and man being Satan's "lawful captive." Jesus, by dying, has made the dying His own (Ro 14:9), and has taken the prey from the mighty. Death's power was manifest; he who wielded that power, lurking beneath it, is here expressed, namely, Satan. Wisdom 2:24, "By the envy of the devil, death entered into the world."

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood: the Spirit having proved the children and brethren sanctified by Christ to be men, proceeds to prove, that the Sanctifier of them was of the same nature with themselves; and so confirms what he asserted, Hebrews 2:11, that they were of one: forasmuch as those were chosen, born of God, and given to him, adopted into his sonship and heirship, and by this, as well as by their humanity, derived jointly with his own from Adam, his brethren, kekoinwnhke, these having it in common. The word imports the reality, integrity, unity, and community they all have of the human nature; they are all truly, only, and fully men, and every individual person hath this humanity. These

flesh and blood metonymically set out the whole human nature, though the body only be literally expressed by it, a body subject to many infirmities.

He also himself likewise took part of the same; God the Son himself paraplhsiwv, had the next and nearest correspondent condition with theirs, even the same as to the kind of it, as like as blood is to blood, properly and truly, only freed from our sinful infirmities, as Hebrews 2:17 4:15; this word diminisheth him not, but showeth his identity: metesce,

took part, he became a partner with the children, and took their nature. It is not the same word as before, kekoinwneke, as the Marcionites and Manichees corrupt it, as if he had this nature only in common with them, making him only man. But being God, besides his Divine nature, &c., to it he took the human, even their true and full nature, consisting of a body and a soul, and so united them, that in him they became one person; so that hence results a double union of Christ with man. By his incarnation he is of one nature with all the human race, and so is the Head of them: and by his dying for them all the human race are made salvable, which angels are not; and those who repent and believe on him, are actually sanctified and united to him, as his elect and chosen body, and shall be saved by him.

That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death: by his dying on the cross as testator of God’s covenant, and not by his power as a God, (which was most glorious to himself, but most ignominious to the devil, according to the promise, Genesis 3:15), did he abolish, or bring to nought, and render powerless without any recovery, not by taking away the immortal life and being, but the kratov, the strength and power to kill. For the ezousia, the authority, right, and command, the keys of death, are in Christ’s hand only, and he useth the strength of this execution in it, as to his enemies; when sinners become penitent believers, then his death satisfying God’s justice for their sin, hath executed the power as to death, which the devil had by law against them: 1 Corinthians 15:56,57: The sting of death is sin, that gives him power; and the strength of sin is the law, that, unless satisfied for, takes part with sin; but Christ by dying takes away the law’s enmity, removes sin, as to guilt, stain, and power, and so brings to nought this power.

That is, the devil; the prince himself, set here collectively for all the rest of his evil spirits, Matthew 25:41, who by his lies drew man into sin, and by sin stings him to death; having therefore such power to seduce to sin, he powerfully renders men obnoxious to death: and then, as executioner, having them by the law delivered into his hands, putteth forth his strength to torment and destroy them. Christ by his death doth with price and power redeem them out of his hand, and destroys all his works, takes possession of them, and brings them through death to eternal life.

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood,.... By the children are meant, not the children of this world, or the men of it; nor the children of the flesh, or Abraham's natural seed; nor visible professors of religion; nor the apostles of Christ only; but all the children of God, the children given to Christ; all the sons that are brought to glory: these "are partakers of flesh and blood"; of human nature, which is common to them all, and which is subject to infirmity and mortality; and the sense is, that they are frail mortal men: and this being their state and case,

he also himself took part of the same; Christ became man also, or assumed an human nature like theirs; this shows that he existed before his incarnation, who of himself, and by his own voluntary act, assumed an individual of human nature into union with his divine person, which is expressive of wondrous grace and condescension: Christ's participation of human nature, and the children's, in some things agree, in others they differ; they agree in this, that it is real flesh and blood they both partake of; that Christ's body is not spiritual and heavenly, but natural as theirs is; and that it is a complete, perfect, human nature, and subject to mortality and infirmity like theirs: but then Christ took his nature of a virgin, and is without sin; nor has it any distinct personality, but from the moment of its being subsisted in his divine person: and now the true reason of Christ's assuming such a nature was on account of the children, which discovers great love to them, and shows that it was with a peculiar view to them that he became man; hence they only share the special advantages of his incarnation, sufferings, and death: and his end in doing this was,

that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; the devil is said to have the power of death, not because he can kill and destroy men at pleasure, but because he was the first introducer of sin, which brought death into the world, and so he was a murderer from the beginning; and he still tempts men to sin, and then accuses them of it, and terrifies and affrights them with death; and by divine permission has inflicted it, and will be the executioner of the second death. The apostle here speaks in the language of the Jews, who often call Samael, or Satan, , "the angel of death", in their Targums (k), Talmud (l), and other writings (m); and say, he was the cause of death to all the world; and ascribe much the same things to him, for which the apostle here so styles him: and they moreover say (n), that he will cease in the time to come; that is, in the days of the Messiah: and who being come, has destroyed him, not as to his being, but as to his power; he has bruised his head, destroyed his works, disarmed his principalities and powers, and took the captives out of his hands, and saved those he would have devoured: and this he has done by death; "by his own death", as the Syriac and Arabic versions read; whereby he has abolished death itself, and sin the cause of it, and so Satan, whose empire is supported by it.

(k) Targum Jon. in Genesis 3.6. & in Habakkuk 3.5. (l) T. Bab. Succa, fol. 53. 1. & Avoda Zara, fol. 5. 1. & 20. 2.((m) Zohar in Gen. fol. 27. 1, 2. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 6. 2. & 22. 4. Caphtor, fol 26. 2. & alibi. (n) Baal Hatturim in Numb. iv. 19.

Forasmuch then as the children are {x} partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the {y} power of death, that is, the {z} devil;

(x) Are made of flesh and blood, which is a frail and delicate nature.

(y) The devil is said to have the power of death, because he is the author of sin: and from sin comes death, and because of this he daily urges us to sin.

(z) He speaks of him as of a prince, placing over all his angels.

Hebrews 2:14-15. The author, after the subsidiary remarks, Hebrews 2:11-13, returns to the main thought of Hebrews 2:10, now further to develop the same. To lead Christ through sufferings to perfection, was a provision worthy of God. For it was necessary, if Christ was to be the Redeemer of sinful humanity. In order, however, to be able to take upon Himself sufferings and death, He must become man as other men, and place Himself upon one level with those to be redeemed. Comp. on Hebrews 2:14, Zyro in the Theol. Studd. u. Kritt. 1864, H. 3, p. 516 ff.

οὖν] is the outward sign of that return to the main thought. Logically it belongs not to the protasis, with which it is grammatically connected, but to the main thesis: καὶ αὐτὸς παραπλησίως μετέσχεν κ.τ.λ. An attachment of Hebrews 2:14 to Hebrews 2:13, therefore, is effected only in so far as τὰ παιδία, Hebrews 2:13, has given occasion for the resuming of this word in the first clause of Hebrews 2:14. In a strangely perverted fashion Heinrichs (comp. also Valckenaer): “Quod si homo fuit Christus, infans quoque primo fuerit omnemque in nativitate sua humanam naturam induerit necesse est.”

κεκοινώνηκεν] here, as often in the case of the classics, combined with the genitive; whereas elsewhere in the N. T. the dative is used with κοινωνεῖν (Romans 15:27; 1 Timothy 5:22; 1 Peter 4:13, al.). The persons with whom the communion or the common participation takes place are not the parents (Valckenaer, who supplies γονεῦσι), but the children themselves. One παιδίον with the other, one as well as the other, has part in blood and flesh, or possesses the same. The perfect, however, indicates the constant and definitive character of the order of nature, as this has always prevailed already, and still continues to assert its sway.

αἵματος καὶ σαρκός] The same succession of words, also Ephesians 6:12. Otherwise more ordinarily: σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 1:16; Matthew 16:17; Sir 14:18; Sir 17:31. αἷμα καὶ σάρξ, the two main constituents of the sensuously perceptible outward nature of man.

παραπλησίως] is not: “equally” (Bleek, Bloomfield, Bisping, Delitzsch, Grimm in the Theol. Literaturbl. to the Darmstadt A. K. Z. 1857, No. 29, p. 663; Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 57, 2 Aufl.; Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 313 f.; Maier), or: “likewise” (de Wette),—a signification which is linguistically undemonstrable,—but: in a manner very closely resembling. It expresses the resemblance with the accessory notion of the diversity; in such wise that the author characterizes the human form of Christ’s existence, in all its correspondence with the form of existence of other men, as still different from the latter (Cameron, Owen, Akersloot, Cramer, Böhme, Zyro, Moll, Woerner). And rightly so. For Christ was no ordinary man, but the incarnate Son of God. He was distinguished from His human brethren by His sinlessness (comp. Hebrews 4:15). As therefore Paul, Php 2:7 (and similarly Romans 8:3), speaks of the incarnate Christ not as ἄνθοωπος γενόμενος, but as ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος, even so the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews also here places not ἐξ ἴσου, but παραπλησίως μετέσχεν τῶν αὐτῶν. Comp. also ὅθεν ὤφειλεν κατὰ πάντα τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ὁμοιωθῆναι, Hebrews 2:17.

μετέσχεν] The aorist. For the incarnation and the earthly course of Christ is a fact already belonging to the purely past; now Christ is already the glorified Son of God.

τῶν αὐτῶν] sc. αἵματος καὶ σαρκός. Erroneously, because without taking into account the reference imperatively required by the former clause, Bengel: eadem, quae fratribus accidunt, sanguine et carne laborantibus, ne morte quidem excepta.

διὰ τοῦ θανάτου] by means of death, the enduring of which first became possible by the taking upon Him of flesh and blood. Bengel: διὰ τοῦ θανάτου Paradoxon. Jesus mortem passus vicit; diabolus mortem vibrans succubuit.

The placing of the characteristic τὸν τὸ κράτος ἔχοντα τοῦ θανάτου before τὸν διάβολον is chosen, in order to gain a marked contrast to the preceding διὰ τοῦ θανάτου.

A ruler’s power over death,[50] however, is possessed by the devil, inasmuch as by the enticement of the devil sin came into the world of men, and sin brings about death for man. Comp. Wis 2:24 : φθόνῳ δὲ διαβόλου θάνατος εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον; Romans 5:12.

[50] Over-refinedly does Ebrard take τὸ κράτος absolutely, and τοῦ θανάτου as genitivus subjectivus: “him who holds in his hands the power which death exerts over us.”

Hebrews 2:14-16. This saving brotherhood involved incarnation and death. For, as it has ever been the common lot of the παιδία to live under the conditions imposed by flesh and blood, subject to inevitable dissolution and the shrinkings and weaknesses consequent, He also, this Son of God, Himself (καὶ αὐτὸς) shared with them in their identical nature, thus making Himself liable to death; His intention being that by dying He might render harmless him that used death as a terror, and thus deliver from slavery those who had suffered death to rule their life and lived in perpetual dread. κεκοινώνηκενμετέσχεν perf. and aor.; the one pointing to the common lot which the παιδία have always shared, αἵματος καὶ σαρκός, usually (but not always, Ephesians 6:12) inverted and denoting human nature in its weakness and liability to decay (Galatians 1:16, etc., and especially 1 Corinthians 15:50); the other, expressing the one act of Christ by which He became a sharer with men in this weak condition. He partook, but does not now partake. [Wetstein quotes from Polyaenus that Chabrias enjoined upon his soldiers when about to engage in battle to think of the enemy as ἀνθρώποις αἷμα καὶ σάρκα ἔχουσιν καὶ τῆς αὐτῆς φύσεως ἡμῖν κεκοινωνηκόσι.] This human nature Christ assumed παραπλησίως, which Chrysostom interprets, οὐ φαντασίᾳ οὐδὲ εἰκόνι ἀλλʼ ἀληθείᾳ. It means not merely “in like manner,” but “in absolutely the same manner”; as in Arrian vii. 1, 9, σὺ δὲ ἄνθρωπος ὢν, παραπλήσιος τοῖς ἄλλοις, Herod. 3:104, σχεδὸν παραπλησίως “almost identical”; see also Diod. Sic., ver. 45. τῶν αὐτῶν, i.e., blood and flesh. The purpose of the incarnation is expressed in the words ἵνα διὰ τοῦ f1θανάτουἦσαν δουλίας. He took flesh that He might die, and so destroy not death but him that had the power of death, and deliver, etc. The double object may be considered as one, the defeat of the devil involving the deliverance of those in bondage. The means He used to accomplish this object was His dying (διὰ τ. θανάτου). How the death of Christ had the result here ascribed to it, we are left to conjecture; for nowhere else in the Epistle is the deliverance of man by Christ’s death stated in analogous terms. We must first endeavour to understand the terms here employed. καταργήσῃ: “might render inoperative” (ἄεργον), “bring to nought”. Sometimes “destroy” or “put an end to” as in 1 Corinthians 15:26 ἔσχατος ἐχθρὸς καταργεῖται ὁ θάνατος. τὸν τὸ κράτος ἔχοντα τοῦ θανάτου, “him who has the power of death, that is, the devil,” τὸν διάβολον (διαβάλλω, I set asunder, put at variance) used by LXX to render שֳׂטָן in Job 1:2 and Zach. 3, etc.; Σατάν is used in 1 Kings 11. In N.T. both designations occur frequently. But the significance for our present passage lies in the description “him who has the power of death”. ἔχειν τὸ κράτος is classical, and κράτος with the genitive denotes the realm within which or over which the rule is exercised, as Herod., iii. 142, τῆς Σάμου τ. κράτος. In connection with this universal human experience of death he uses his malign influence, and the striking vision of Zechariah 3 shows us how he does so. He brings sins to remembrance, he appears as the accuser of the brethren, as the counsel for the prosecution. Thus he creates a fear of death, a fear which is one of the most marked features of O.T. experience. Both Schoettgen and Weber produce rabbinical sayings which illustrate the power of a legal religion to produce servility and fear, so that the natural expression of the Jew was, “In this life death will not suffer a man to be glad”. Life, in short, with sin unaccounted for, and with death viewed as the punishment of sin to look forward to, is a δουλεία unworthy of God’s sons. This indeed is expressly stated in Hebrews 2:15. The δουλεία which contradicts the idea of sonship and prevents men from entering upon their destiny of dominion over all things is occasioned by their fear of death (φόβῳ, the dative of cause) as that which implies rejection by God. [Among the races whose conscience was not educated by the law, views of death varied greatly. These will be found in Geddes’ Phaedo, pp. 217, 223; and cf. the opening paragraphs of the third Book of the Republic, as well as pp. 330 and 486 B. Aristotle with his usual straightforward frankness pronounces death φοβερώτατον. On the other hand, many believed τεθνάμεναι βέλτιον ἢ βίοτος; Hegesias was styled ὁ πεισιθάνατος, and by his persuasions and otherwise suicide became popular; and death was no longer reckoned an everlasting ill, but “portum potius paratum nobis et perfugium”. Wholly applicable to the present passage is Spinoza’s “homo liber de nihilo minus quam de morte cogitat”. Cf. Philo, Omn. sap. liber, who quotes Eurip., τίς ἐστι δοῦλος τοῦ θανεῖν ἄφροντις ὤν;] This then was the bondage which characterised the life (διὰ παντὸς τοῦ ζῆν) of those under the old dispensation; the bondage in which they were held (ἔνοχοι = ἐνεχόμενοι, “held” or “bound,” “subject to,” see Thayer, s.v.), and from which Christ delivered τούτους ὅσοι, not as if it were a restricted number who were delivered, but on the contrary to mark that the deliverance was coextensive with the bondage. ἀπαλλάξῃ, used especially of freeing from slavery [exx. from Philo in Carpzov, and cf. Isocrates οὗτος ἀπήλλαξεν αὐτοὺς τοῦ δέους τούτου. In the Phaedo frequently of soul emancipated from the body.] How the Son wrought this deliverance διὰ τοῦ θανάτου can now be answered; and it cannot be better answered than in the words of Robertson Smith: “To break this sway, Jesus takes upon Himself that mortal flesh and blood to whose infirmities the fear of death under the O.T. attaches. But while He passes through all the weakness of fleshly life, and, finally, through death itself, He, unlike all others, proves Himself not only exempt from the fear of death, but victorious over the accuser. To Him, who in His sinlessness experienced every weakness of mortality, without diminution of his unbroken strength of fellowship with God, death is not the dreaded sign of separation from God’s grace (cf. Hebrews 2:7), but a step in his divinely appointed career; not something inflicted on Him against His will, but a means whereby (διὰ with genitive) He consciously and designedly accomplishes His vocation as Saviour. For this victory of Jesus over the devil, or, which is the same thing, the fear of death, must be taken, like every other part of His work, in connection with the idea of His vocation as Head and Leader of His people.” In short, we see now what is meant by His tasting death “for every man,” and how this death guarantees the perfect dominion and glory depicted in Psalms 8. All the humiliation and death are justified by the necessities of the case, he concludes, “For, as I need scarcely say, it is not angels (presumably sinless and spiritual beings, πνεύματα, Hebrews 1:14) He is taking in hand, but He is taking in hand Abraham’s seed (the dying children of a dead father; ‘also dergleichen sterbliche und durch Todesfurcht in Knechtschaft befangene Wesen,’ Bleek). δήπου: frequently in classics, as Plato, Protagoras, 309 C. οὐ γὰρ δήπου ἐνέτυχες, “for I may take it for granted you have not met” (Apol., 21 B). τί ποτε λέγει ὁ θεόςφάσκων ἐμὲ σοφώτατον εἶναι; οὐ γὰρ δήπου ψεύδεταί γε, “for, at any rate, as need hardly be said, he is not saying what is untrue”. ἐπιλαμβάνεται: “lays hold to help” or simply “succours,” with the idea of taking a person up to see him through. Cf. Sir 4:11. ἡ σοφίαἐπιλαμβάνεται τῶν ζητούντων αὐτήν, and the Scholiast on Aesch., Pers., 742, ὅταν σπεύδῃ τις εἰς καλὰ ἢ εἰς κακά, ὁ θεὸς αὐτοῦ ἐπιλαμβάνεται. Castellio was the first to propose the meaning “help” in place of “assume the nature of,” and Beza having urged the latter rendering as being that of the Greek fathers, goes on to say, “quo magis est execranda Castellionis audacia qui ἐπιλαμ. convertit ‘opitulatur,’ non modo falsa, sed etiam inepta interpretatione, etc.”. It has been suggested that θάνατος might be the nominative which would give quite a good sense, but as Christ is the subject both of the foregoing and of the succeeding clause it is more likely that this affirmation also is made of Him. It is certainly remarkable that instead of saying “He lays hold of man to help him,” the writer should give the restricted σπέρματος Ἀβ. Von Soden, who supposes the Epistle is addressed to Gentiles, thinks the writer intends to prepare the way for his introducing the priesthood of Christ, and to exhibit the claim of Christians to the fulfilment of the prophecies made to Abraham (cf. Robertson Smith), but this Weiss brands as “eine leere Ausflucht”. Perhaps we cannot get further than Estius (cited by Bleek): “gentium vocationem tota hac epistola prudenter dissimulat, sive quod illius mentio Hebraeis parum grata esset, sive quod instituto suo non necessaria”. Or, as Bleek says. “es erklârt sich aus dem Zwecke des Briefes”.

14–18. A fuller statement of the moral fitness of Christ’s participation in human sufferings

14. are partakers of flesh and blood] Rather, “have shared (and do share) in blood and flesh,” i.e. are human. They are all inheritors of this common mystery. This is implied by the perfect tense. “Blood and flesh,” as in Ephesians 6:12.

likewise] This word furnished the Fathers with a strong argument against the Docetae who regarded the body of Christ not as real but as purely phantasmal.

took part of the same] Because, as he goes on to intimate, it would otherwise have been impossible for Christ to die. Comp. Php 2:8. The aorist implies the one historic fact of the Incarnation.

he might destroy] Rather, “He may bring to nought,” or “render impotent.” See 2 Timothy 1:10, “Jesus Christ … hath abolished death;” 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; Revelation 1:18. The word occurs 28 times in St Paul, but elsewhere only here and in Luke 13:7, though sometimes found in the LXX.

him that had the power of death] Rather, “him that hath,” i.e. in the present condition of things. But Christ, by assuming our flesh, became “the Death of death,” as in the old epitaph,

“Mors Mortis Morti mortem nisi morte dedisset

Aeternae vitae janua clausa foret;”

which we may render

“Had not the Death of death to Death by death his death-blow given,

For ever closèd were the gate, the gate of life and heaven.”

It is, however, possible that the phrase, “the power of death,” does not imply that the devil can, by God’s permission, inflict death, but that he has “a sovereignty, of which death is the realm.”

that is, the devil] This is the only place in this Epistle in which the name “Devil” occurs. It is nowhere very frequent in the N.T. The English reader is liable to be misled by the rendering “devils” for “demons” in the Gospels. Satan has the power of death, if that be the meaning here, not as lord, but as executioner (comp. Revelation 9:11); his power is only a permissive power (John 8:44; Revelation 12:10; Wis 2:24, “Through envy of the devil came death unto the world).” The manner in which Christ shall thus bring Satan to nought is left untouched, but the best general comments on the fact are in 1 Corinthians 15 and the Apocalypse. Nor does this expression encourage any Manichean or dualistic views; for, however evil may be the will of Satan, he can never exercise his power otherwise than in accordance with the just will of God. The Jews spoke of an Angel of Death, whom they called Sammael, and whom they identified with Satan (Eisenmenger, Entd. Judenth. ii. p. 821

Hebrews 2:14. Ἐπεὶ οὖν τὰ παιδία, forasmuch then as the children) The children here, τὰ παιδία, is not a noun denoting a natural age, but is brought down from Hebrews 2:13. The Messiah here could not be suitably placed in the company of the children according to the flesh; He is speaking of His spiritual sons; οὖν, therefore, is an inference from Hebrews 2:10, etc.—κεκοινώνηκεν αἵματος καὶ σαρκὸς, were partakers of flesh and blood) The past, in respect of the greater part, who had already lived at the time of the testimony given in the psalm. He mentions brethren in the psalm, children in Isaiah: in relation to that time in which David and Isaiah prophesied, many of the brethren and children were then living, and had lived, whom He was to reconcile unto God. These are not excluded but included. Κοινωνέω, with the genitive, Proverbs 1:11, where also, Hebrews 2:18, μετέχω is used with the same meaning: κοινωνήσας ὁδοῦ, Job 34:8. In this passage, however, the change of the words is elegant; so that μετέσχε may express the likeness of one to the rest [here, of Jesus to those whose nature He took part of]; κοινωνεῖν, to the likeness of many among one another. Σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα are sometimes used by metonymy for man, Galatians 1:16; but here they are more properly taken in the abstract, as in 1 Corinthians 15:50 : although in that passage of Paul to the Corinthians σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα include the notion of the oldness of the corrupt nature. Elsewhere, as we have just now seen, σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα, is the expression used (is the order of the words), the principal part, viz. flesh, being put first, which is also sometimes written alone: here αἷμα καὶ σὰρξ (although some have transposed the words) is the order of the words, just as in Ephesians 6:12, πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα. Whether the expressions are used indiscriminately, or αἷμα is put first sometimes for a certain definite reason (which may be sought for in this passage from those who write on Physics), I dare not determine. Although my commentary does not descend to such things, yet it with difficulty avoids the stigma of too curious refinement, in the estimation of those who generously weigh heavenly words.—αὐτὸς) Close after this, there sweetly follows τῶν αὐτῶν.—παραπλησίως, in like manner) παρὰ in παραπλήσιος sometimes, like the Latin sub, diminishes the signification of the compound, just as in πάρεγγυς; but here it is almost the same as presently κατὰ τάντα, in all things, Hebrews 2:17 : ch. Hebrews 4:15. Therefore παραπλησίως, in like manner, serves the purpose of the apostle, as he enters upon this discussion, in the way of reverent caution (εὐλάβειαν), that he may gradually speak what he thinks; comp. Php 2:27, note: and the particle that is less significant[20] is the more convenient on this account, that the expression, without sin, is not yet added in this place. Therefore the reality of the participation remains, which is asserted by Raphelius in his annot. on Herodotus.—τῶν αὐτῶν) This is not a mere relative, as the article shows: ΤᾺ ΑὐΤᾺ, the same things, which happen to the brethren labouring under flesh and blood, without even excepting death.—ἵνα, that) Here the subject is briefly noticed: it is more fully explained, ch. Hebrews 5:7-9. It will be of advantage to compare both passages together, ch. 5 and 2, and seriously meditate upon them, till it be perceived how both terminate in a eulogium on the great High Priest.—διὰ τοῦ θανάτου, through death) A paradox. Jesus suffered and overcame death; the devil, wielding death in his hand, succumbed. Jesus in turn imparts to us life through His flesh and blood; John 6. He assumed our nature, that His body might be delivered up, and His blood poured out. Therefore the delivering up of the body and the pouring out of the blood are the facts which are chiefly had regard to: John 6:51.—καταργήσῃ, might destroy) This is an inference from the verb ὑπέταξας, thou hast subjected, Hebrews 2:8 : comp. 1 Corinthians 15:27 with the preceding, where Paul uses the same synonyms, καταργεῖν, ὙΠΟΤΆΣΣΕΙΝ. So Psalm 8:3, להשבות ΤΟῦ ΚΑΤΑΛῦΣΑΙ, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.—τὸ κράτος, power) great indeed, Matthew 12:26; Matthew 12:29.—ἜΧΟΝΤΑ) having [who had] by a certain law [right], namely, in so far as no injury was thereby done to the captives: comp. צדיק, Isaiah 49:24, where the devil does not seem to be called just, morally, but a mighty tyrant, who had ἐξουσίαν, authority, over the captives; Colossians 1:13; 2 Peter 2:19, at the end: although here it is called power in a restricted sense, not authority. Death was the executioner and minister of the devil as a cruel master, delivering up men to him whom he led away in sin: but Jesus dying made them dying His own, Romans 14:9.—ΤΟῦ ΘΑΝΆΤΟΥ, of death) by sin.—τουτέστι, that is) His power was manifest: who it was that lurked beneath this power as wielding it, escaped the notice of mortal men.

[20] Παραπλησίως, expressing that He took part of flesh and blood in a somewhat similar manner as the children partake of flesh and blood—not in an altogether similar manner for He was without sin.—ED.

Verses 14, 15. - Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of (literally, have been, made partakers of; i.e. so made as to share alike), blood and flesh (this is the order of the words, as in Ephesians 6:12, according to the great preponderance of authority; Delitzsch sees in it a reference to "the blood-shedding for the sake of which the Savior entered into the fellowship of bodily life with us"), he also himself likewise (rather, iv, like manner; i.e. with "the children") took part in the same; that through death he might destroy (καταργήσῃ, equivalent to "bring to nought," "render impotent as though not existing;" the word is frequent with St. Paul) him that had (or, has) the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver (i.e. from bondage) all those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Here the purpose of the Incarnation is set forth as requiring the complete association of the SON with human brethren to which prophecy had pointed. But more is now declared than the prophecies so far quoted have implied; and thus is introduced (by way of anticipation, as is usual in the Epistle) the doctrine of atonement, which is to be dwelt on afterwards. For the object of Christ's becoming one of us is now further said to be that by dying he might effect redemption. The "children" in ver. 14 are the παιδία of the type in Isaiah, fulfilled in the "many sons" to be "sanctified" and brought to glory. (We may observe, by the way, the difference between the words used of their participation in human nature and of Christ's - κεκοίνωκε and μετέσχε: the aorist in the latter case expresses his sharing what was not his before, and so distinctly implies his pre-existence.) For understanding' the account here given of the purpose of the Incarnation, we must remember that death, originally announced (Genesis 2:17) as the penalty of transgression, is regarded in the New Testament (notably by St. Paul) as the sign of the continual dominion of sin over the human race. Thus in Romans 5:12, 15 the mere fact that all men "from Adam to Moses" had died is adduced as sufficient proof that all were under condemnation as sinners. Whatever further idea is implied in the word "death " - such as alienation from God in whom is life eternal, or any "blackness of darkness" thereupon ensuing in the world beyond the grave - of man's subjection or liability to all this his natural death is regarded as the sign. It is to be remembered, too, that "the devil," through whom it was that sin first entered, and death through sin, is revealed to us generally as the representative of evil (ὁ πονηρός), and, as such, the primeval manslayer (ἀνθρωποκτόνος ἀπ ἀρχῆς), with power given him over death, the penalty of sin, as long as man remains in his dominion, unredeemed. Till redemption cast a new light upon the gloom of death, man was all his life long in fear of it; its shadow was upon him from his birth; it loomed ever before him as a passing into darkness, unrelieved by hope. We know well how the hopeless dismalness of death was a commonplace with the classical poets, and how, even now, the natural man shrinks from it as the last great evil. But Christ, human, yet sinless, died for all mankind, and, so dying, wrested from the devil his power over death, and emancipated believers from their state of "bondage" (as to which, see below). On particular expressions in this passage we may remark:

(1) That, "having the power of death," which has been variously interpreted, may be taken in the usual sense of ἔχειν κράτος τινος, viz. "having power, or dominion, over." Satan has had the dominion over death allowed him because of human sin. And it may be observed that elsewhere, not only death, but other woes that flesh is heir to - its precursors and harbingers - are attributed to Satanic agency (cf. John 1:12; John 2:6; Luke 13:16; 1 Corinthians 5:5).

(2) Christ is not here said to have as yet abolished death itself; only to have rendered impotent him that had the power of it; for natural death still "reigns," though to believers it has no "sting." In the end (according to 1 Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:4) death itself will be destroyed. In one passage, indeed, it is spoken of by St. Paul as already abolished (καταργήσαντος μὲν τὸν θάνατον, 2 Timothy 1:10); but this is in the way of anticipation: death is already vanquished and disarmed to believers.

(3) The bondage (δουλεία) spoken of is the condition of unredeemed man, often so designated by St. Paul. See Romans 7. and 8, where man's bondage (felt when conscience is awake) to "the law of sin in the members," and his emancipation from it through faith, are described; and especially Romans 8:15, 16, 17 ("For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear," etc.), as elucidating

(4)The word ἔνοχος, followed this passage by the genitive (δουλείας), expresses here more than "liability to;" it implies present implication, equivalent to "in hold to." The A.V., "subject to," expresses the idea adequately. Hebrews 2:14The children (τὰ παιδία)

Children of men, the subjects of Christ's redemption.

Are partakers of flesh and blood (κεκοινώνηκεν αἵματος καὶ σαρκός)

For κεκοινώνηκεν see on Romans 12:13. For flesh and blood the correct text reads blood and flesh. In rabbinical writers a standing phrase for human nature in contrast with God.

Likewise (παραπλησίως)

Rend. in like manner. N.T.o. Expressing general similarity. He took his place alongside (παρὰ) and near (πλησιός): near by.

Took part (μετέσχεν)

The verb only in Hebrews and Paul. The distinction between it and κεκοινώνηκεν were partakers is correctly stated by Westcott; the latter marking the characteristic sharing of the common fleshly nature as it pertains to the human race at large, and the former signifying the unique fact of the incarnation as a voluntary acceptance of humanity.

He might destroy (καταργήσῃ)

Rend. bring to nought. See on cumbereth, Luke 13:7, and make of none effect, Romans 3:3. The word occurs 27 times in N.T., and is rendered in 17 different ways in A.V.

Him that had the power of death (τὸν τὸ κράτος ἔχοντα τοῦ θανάτου)

Not power over death, but sovereignty or dominion of death, a sovereignty of which death is the realm. Comp. Romans 5:21, "Sin reigned in death."

That is the devil

An explanation has been sought in the Jewish doctrine which identified Satan with Sammal, the angel of death, who, according to the later Jews, tempted Eve. This is fanciful, and has no value, to say nothing of the fact that Michael and not Sammal was the angel of death to the Israelites. The O.T. nowhere identifies Satan with the serpent in Eden. That identification is found in Wisd. 2:24, and is adopted Revelation 12:9. The devil has not power to inflict death, nor is death, as such, done away by the bringing of the devil to nought. The sense of the passage is that Satan's dominion in the region of death is seen in the existence and power of the fear of death as the penalty of sin (comp. through fear of death, Hebrews 2:15). The fear of death as implying rejection by God is distinctly to be seen in O.T. It appears in the utterances of many of the Psalmists. There is a consciousness of the lack of a pledge that God will not, in any special case, rise up against one. Along with this goes the conception of Satan as the accuser, see Zechariah 3:1-10. This idea may possibly give coloring to this passage. Even before death the accuser exercises sway, and keeps God's people in bondage so long as they are oppressed with the fear of death as indicating the lack of full acceptance with God. How strongly this argument would appeal to Hebrew readers of the Epistle is clear from rabbinical theology, which often speaks of the fear of death, and the accuser as a constant companion of man's life. Jesus assumes the mortal flesh and blood which are subject to this bondage. He proves himself to be both exempt from the fear of death and victorious over the accuser. He never lost his sense of oneness with God, so that death was not to him a sign of separation from God's grace. It was a step in his appointed career; a means (διὰ τοῦ θανάτου) whereby he accomplished his vocation as Savior. His human brethren share his exemption from the bondage of the fear of death, and of the accusing power of Satan. "He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life." "Whether we live or die we are the Lord's."

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