And to whom swore he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)That believed not.—Rather, that disobeyed. Every part of the solemn sentences of the Psalm is applied to the reader’s conscience, that the effect of the whole warning may be deepened: the nature of the transgression is thus brought out with the strongest emphasis. Those with whom God was angry had provoked God (Hebrews 3:16), had sinned (Hebrews 3:17), had been disobedient, had refused to believe His word (Hebrews 3:19). The action of the Israelites (Numbers 14) involved at once disobedience to God’s command that they should advance to the conquest of the land, and want of faith in the promise which made victory sure.Hebrews 3:11.
But to them that believed not - That did not confide in God; Deuteronomy 1:32. "Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God." In consequence of this want of faith, God solemnly sware unto them that they should not enter into the promised land; Deuteronomy 1:34-35. "And the Lord heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying, "Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land which I sware to give unto your fathers, save Caleb," etc. The distinct reason, therefore, assigned by Moses why they did not enter the promised land, was a want of faith, and this accords directly with the design of the apostle here. He is exhorting those whom he addressed to beware of an evil heart of unbelief; Hebrews 3:12. He says that it was such a heart that excluded the Hebrews from the promised land. The same thing, says he, must exclude you from heaven - the promised home of the believer; and if that firm confidence in God and his promises which he requires is wanting, you will be excluded from the world of eternal rest.Hebrews 3:11: compare Numbers 14:30. The matter sworn was, that they should be so far from possessing, that they should not so much as enter into the land of promise, Canaan, which was God’s property, as the whole earth is; he promised it to them, could only dispossess their enemies, did give it in possession to their seed, and made it a type of heaven, and of his rest there; he swore this in his severe vindictive justice, so as his sentence was irreversible; which oath stands good against all total and final apostates from him, who have thereby forfeited any title to God’s eternal rest.
Them that believed not; those who were unbelieving under all God’s miracles of mercies and judgments, which they saw, and so became obstinately disobedient to God’s commands, and broke his covenant, Hebrews 8:9 Jeremiah 31:32, and apostatized from him, and so perished in their gainsaying. Psalm 95:11,
but to them that believed not? the Lord; notwithstanding the signs and wonders he showed among them, they would not be persuaded by Moses and Aaron, by Joshua and Caleb, to be still and quiet, to cease murmuring, and submit to the will of God, and believe in him; they were disobedient, stubborn, and rebellious, and would go up, when they were bid not to go up; for which reason God swore in his wrath that they should not enter into the good land. Unbelief is a source of sin, and cause of judgment, being greatly provoking to God.And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Hebrews 3:18. Τίσιν] Dativus incommodi.
μὴ εἰσελεύσεσθαι] On account of the variation of the subject in the tempus finitum and the infinitive, an inaccuracy instead of μὴ εἰσελεύσεσθαι αὐτούς, but excusable since the subject of the infinitive was naturally afforded by the context.
εἰ μή] Observe the mastery of style on the part of the author, appearing even in the variation of the negations: ἀλλʼ οὐ … οὐχὶ … εἰ μή, Hebrews 3:16-18.Hebrews 3:18. τίσι δὲ ὤμοσε.… “And to whom swore He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that obeyed not?” The real cause of their exclusion from the rest prepared for them was their disobedience. Cf. especially the scene recorded in Numbers 14. where Moses declares that as ἀπειθοῦντες Κυρίῳ they were excluded from the land. At the root of their disobedience was unbelief.18. to them that believed not] Rather, “that disobeyed.”
Rend. to them that disobeyed.
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