Hebrews 3:10
Why I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
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(10) I was grieved with that generation.—Rather, I was angry with this generation. The Hebrew is very strong: “I loathed a (whole) generation.” The first word, “Wherefore,” is not found in the Psalm, but is added to make the connection more distinct.

And they have not known my ways.—Better, yet they took not knowledge of My ways. Although throughout the forty years He had shown to them their disobedience and His displeasure, yet the warning and discipline were fruitless. They gained no knowledge of His ways. It is very important to observe this explicit reference to the close, as well as the beginning of the forty years. (See Hebrews 3:8.)

Hebrews 3:10-11. Wherefore — To speak after the manner of men; I was grieved — Highly displeased; with that generation — With the generality of this people; and said, They do always — Notwithstanding all that I have done for them before their eyes; err in their heart — Are led astray by their stubborn will and vile affections; and they have not known my ways — Have not paid any regard to the clear discoveries of my will and design. They saw indeed God’s works, or the ways of his providence, the ways in which he walked toward them; and the ways of his laws were made known to them, the ways wherein he would have had them to walk toward him; and yet it is said of them that they knew not his ways, because they knew them not to any good purpose; they did not know them spiritually and practically. They were not, properly speaking, ignorant of them, but they disliked them, and would not walk in them. So I sware in my wrath — The matter here referred to is recorded Numbers 14:21, &c., where see the notes. It must be observed, when in Scripture human parts and passions are ascribed to God, it is not because these parts and passions do really exist in God, but that way of speaking is used to give us some idea of his attributes and operations, accommodated to our manner of conceiving things. We are not to suppose that, when God said he sware in his wrath, he felt the passion of wrath as men, when provoked, are wont to do; but that he acted on that occasion as men do who are moved by anger. He declared by an oath his fixed resolution to punish the unbelieving Israelites, by excluding them for ever from his rest in Canaan, because they refused to go into that country when he commanded them; and to show that this punishment was not too severe, God, by the mouth of David, spoke of their tempting him all the forty years they were in the wilderness.3:7-13 Days of temptation are often days of provocation. But to provoke God, when he is letting us see that we entirely depend and live upon him, is a provocation indeed. The hardening of the heart is the spring of all other sins. The sins of others, especially of our relations, should be warnings to us. All sin, especially sin committed by God's professing, privileged people, not only provokes God, but it grieves him. God is loth to destroy any in, or for their sin; he waits long to be gracious to them. But sin, long persisted in, will make God's wrath discover itself in destroying the impenitent; there is no resting under the wrath of God. Take heed: all who would get safe to heaven must look about them; if once we allow ourselves to distrust God, we may soon desert him. Let those that think they stand, take heed lest they fall. Since to-morrow is not ours, we must make the best improvement of this day. And there are none, even the strongest of the flock, who do not need help of other Christians. Neither are there any so low and despised, but the care of their standing in the faith, and of their safety, belongs to all. Sin has so many ways and colours, that we need more eyes than ours own. Sin appears fair, but is vile; it appears pleasant, but is destructive; it promises much, but performs nothing. The deceitfulness of sin hardens the soul; one sin allowed makes way for another; and every act of sin confirms the habit. Let every one beware of sin.Wherefore I was grieved - On the word "grieved," see the notes at Ephesians 4:30. The word here means that he was offended with, or that he was indignant at them.

They do always err in their heart - Their long trial of forty years had been sufficient to show that it was a characteristic of the people that they were disposed to wander from God. Forty years are enough to show what the character is. They had seen his works; they had been called to obey him; they had received his Law; and yet their conduct during that time had shown that they were not disposed to obey him. So of an individual. A man who has lived in sin forty years; who during all that time has rebelled against God, and disregarded all his appeals; who has lived for himself and not for his Maker, has shown what his character is. Longer time is unnecessary; and if God should then cut him down and consign him to hell, he could not be blamed for doing it. A man who during forty years will live in sin, and resist all the appeals of God, shows what is in his heart, and no injustice is done if then he is summoned before God, and he swears that he shall not enter into his rest.

And they have not known my ways - They have been rebellious. They have not been acquainted with the true God; or they have not "approved" my doings. The word "know" is often used in the Scriptures in the sense of "approving," or "loving;" see the notes at Matthew 7:23.

10. grieved—displeased. Compare "walk contrary," Le 26:24, 28.

that generation—"that" implies alienation and estrangement. But the oldest manuscripts read, "this."

said—"grieved," or "displeased," at their first offense. Subsequently when they hardened their heart in unbelief still more, He sware in His wrath (Heb 3:11); an ascending gradation (compare Heb 3:17, 18).

and they have not known—Greek, "But these very persons," &c. They perceived I was displeased with them, yet they, the same persons, did not a whit the more wish to know my ways [Bengel]; compare "but they," Ps 106:43.

not known my ways—not known practically and believingly the ways in which I would have had them go, so as to reach My rest (Ex 18:20).

Wherefore I was grieved with that generation; because they thus tempted and proved him by hardening their hearts in unbelief forty years, God the Redeemer, Isaiah 63:16 1 Corinthians 10:9,

was grieved; which is attributed to him improperly, who is not subject to passions; but as men grown impatient with grievous and oppressive burdens, so he expresseth his dislike, disdain of them, and, resolution to bear no longer, as Amos 2:13. They split on him, as a ship on a sharp point of a rock, so as God hath loss, offence, and trouble by it; and all of them did so carry it to him, the whole age of them but Caleb and Joshua, Psalm 95:10.

And said, They do alway err in their heart; they follow deceit and lying in their doctrine and worship with all their heart, so that it is diffused through their persons, and that seat of truth is made a depth of error, to the stupifying of their hearts even to very madness; and this was their state all their time.

And they have not known my ways; notwithstanding God’s works were among them, and his word, yet they would not know his mind, so as to approve, love, and walk in God’s ways; his law, doctrine, revealed truth, and commands were all cast behind their back, Ezekiel 23:35. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation,.... , "the generation of the wilderness", as the Jews often call them; and which they say was more beloved than any generation (e); and yet they will not allow them a part in the world to come; See Gill on Hebrews 3:11. When God is said to be grieved with them, it is to be considered as an anthropopathy, as speaking after the manner of men, as in Genesis 6:5. The word signifies, that he was wearied by them, and weary of them; that he loathed them, and was displeased with them; it shows the notice God took of their sin; the heinousness of it, his displicency at it, and determination to punish it: the cause of his grief and indignation were their unbelief, ingratitude, and idolatry:

and said, they do alway err in their heart; all sins are errors, or aberrations from the law of God; all men err in this sense: these people erred in their hearts, for there is error in the understanding, and will, and affections, as well as in life and actions; and they may be said to err in their hearts, because their sins not only sprung from the heart, but they were done heartily, or with their hearts, and that continually; which shows the sottishness of this people: their stubbornness and rebellion; their want of integrity, and their constancy in sinning: heart sins, as well as others, are taken notice of by God:

and they have not known my ways; they did not take notice of God's ways of providence towards them; nor did they approve of, and delight in his ways of worship and duty, or in his commands.

(e) T. Hieros. Avoda Zara, fol. 39. 2.

Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway {h} err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

(h) They are brutish and angry.

Hebrews 3:10. Διὸ προσώχθισα τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ] Wherefore I conceived an aversion, or was incensed against this generation.

On διό, see at Hebrews 3:9. The verb προσοχθίζειν is not found at all in the classics, in the N. T. only here and Hebrews 3:17; with the LXX., on the other hand, very frequently.

In γενεά lies neither the subordinate notion of meanness (Heinrichs, Stengel), nor yet the intimation that the men of a certain period belong in point of character and mind to a definite class (Bleek). Each of these subordinate notions τῇ γενεᾷ acquires only by the ταύτῃ which is added.

ἀεί] note of time to πλανῶνται, not to εἶπον (Erasmus).

αὐτοὶ δέ] So the LXX. in the Cod. Alex., whose form of the text the author for the most part reproduces; the Cod. Vatican. has more in accordance with the Hebrew: καὶ αὐτοὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν.Hebrews 3:10. διὸ προσώχθισα, “wherefore I was greatly displeased”. In the psalm the Hebrew verb means “I loathed,” elsewhere in the LXX it translates verbs meaning “I am disgusted with,” “I spue out,” “I abhor,” cf. Leviticus 26:30, [from ὄχθη a bank, as if from a river chafing with its banks; or related to ἄχθος and ἄχθομαι as if “burdened”.]

αὐτοὶ δὲ.… The insertion of αὐτοὶ δὲ shows that this clause is not under εἶπον, but is joined with the preceding προσώχθ. “I was highly displeased,—but yet they did not recognise my ways.”10. I was grieved] Rather, “I was indignant.” The Greek word is derived from the dashing of waves against a bank. It only occurs in the N. T. here and in Hebrews 3:17, but is common in the LXX.

with that generation] The better reading is “with this generation,” and it is at least possible that the writer intentionally altered the expression to make it sound more directly emphatic. The words “this generation” would fall with grave force on ears which had heard the report of our Lord’s great discourse (Matthew 23:36; comp. Matthew 24:34). To the writer of this Epistle the language of Scripture is not regarded as a thing of the past, but as being in a marked degree, present, living, and permanent.

They do alway err in their heart] See Psalm 78:40-41. The word “alway” is not in the original. The Apostles in their quotations are not careful about verbal accuracy. The Hebrew says “they are a people (am) of wanderers in heart,” and Bleek thought that the LXX. read ad and understood it to mean “always.”Hebrews 3:10. Διὸ, wherefore) This particle is not in the Hebrew, nor in the LXX.—προσώχθισα) A word of very frequent occurrence in the LXX., but scarcely to be met with anywhere else. Eustathius has ὄχθος (or ὄχθη, in general a high place; in particular, a bank): παρὰ τὸ ἔχειν, i.e. ἐξέχειν, to be high, to be prominent. It denotes τοπικὸν ἐπανάστημα, a local eminence: thence ὀχθέω and ὀχθίζω, applied to the mind, signifies I am roused,—προσώχθισα, I was displeased with them, so that they should not enter into the land, when they wished too late to do so. The phrase, to walk contrary, Leviticus 26:24; Leviticus 26:28, is closely connected with it.—τῇ γενεᾷ ἐκείνῃ) ἐκείνῃ, with that, has the meaning of removal and alienation;[25] Heb. בְּדו̇ר absolutely, with the same meaning.—ΚΑῚ ΕἾΠΑ, and I said) I declared with my lips the displeasure of my soul. Observe the subsequent gradation: first displeasure with those who sinned made Him say; then anger, more severe than that displeasure, viz. towards those who did not believe, made him swear; comp. Hebrews 3:17-18. The first temptation, Exodus 17, was presently the cause why God was grieved or displeased. The complaint regarding the erring of their heart, then anger (wrath) and the oath followed. So the displeasure and anger, the complaint and the oath, respectively, are the better distinguished.—αὐτοὶ, they) הם in Heb. is repeated with great force. The accents [in the Hebrew] here begin the hemistich of this clause. Therefore it is not included under ΕἾΠΟΝ, I said, but this is the meaning: they perceived that I was displeased with them; αὐτοὶ δὲ, and yet they, the same persons, did not a whit the more wish to know My ways. There is a similar antithesis, they and I, ch. Hebrews 8:9; comp. Hebrews 3:10. So but they, Psalm 106:43; comp. also Luke 7:5; Isaiah 53:7, in the Hebrew.—οὐκ ἔγνωσαν, they have not known) This is the ἈΠΕΊΘΕΙΑ, not to believe; the ἁμαρτία, sin, is described, Hebrews 3:9, ἘΠΕΊΡΑΣΑΝ, they tempted. Concerning both, again, Hebrews 3:12-13, and Hebrews 3:17-18.—τὰς ὁδούς μου, My ways) in which I wished to lead them as My flock into a place of rest.

[25] The margin of both Ed. prefers the reading ταύτῃ, and the Germ. Vers. follows it. Therefore the explanation of the pronoun ἐκείνῃ is at least hypothetical.—E. B.

Ἐκείνῃ is the reading of C. and Rec. Text. But ταύτῃ is read by ABD(Δ) corrected and Vulg.—EDWherefore I was grieved (διὸ προσώχθισα)

The Hebrew omits wherefore. It was inserted because of the transfer of forty years to the preceding clause. The verb προσώχθισα I was grieved, only here and Hebrews 3:17. In lxx for קוֹא, to spue out; גָּעַל, to exclude, reject, abhor; מָאַֽם, to repudiate.

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