Hebrews 4:2
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
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(2) For unto us was.—Rather, for we have had glad tidings preached unto us, even as they had. The object of these words is to support Hebrews 4:1, “a promise being left.” How fitly the good news of the promise might, alike in their case and in ours, be designated by the same word as the “gospel,” will afterwards appear.

The word preached.—Literally, the word of hearing, i.e., the word which was heard (1Thessalonians 2:13). But this does not mean the word heard by them. As in Isaiah 53:1 (where the same word is found in the Greek version) the meaning is “our message,” “that which we have heard from God,” so here the words signify what was heard by those who declared the promise to the people, especially the message which Moses received from God.

Not being mixed with faith.—A change of reading in the Greek, which rests on the strongest authority, compels us to connect these words, not with the message, but with the people: “since they had not been united (literally, mingled) by faith with them that heard.” That the word of Moses and those associated with him in declaring God’s promise (perhaps Aaron, Joshua, Caleb) might benefit the people, speakers and hearers must be united by the bond of faith. Here the margin of the Authorised version preserves the true text, following the Vulgate and the earliest of the printed Greek Testaments (the Complutensian).

4:1-10 The privileges we have under the gospel, are greater than any had under the law of Moses, though the same gospel for substance was preached under both Testaments. There have been in all ages many unprofitable hearers; and unbelief is at the root of all unfruitfulness under the word. Faith in the hearer is the life of the word. But it is a painful consequence of partial neglect, and of a loose and wavering profession, that they often cause men to seem to come short. Let us then give diligence, that we may have a clear entrance into the kingdom of God. As God finished his work, and then rested from it, so he will cause those who believe, to finish their work, and then to enjoy their rest. It is evident, that there is a more spiritual and excellent sabbath remaining for the people of God, than that of the seventh day, or that into which Joshua led the Jews. This rest is, a rest of grace, and comfort, and holiness, in the gospel state. And a rest in glory, where the people of God shall enjoy the end of their faith, and the object of all their desires. The rest, or sabbatism, which is the subject of the apostle's reasoning, and as to which he concludes that it remains to be enjoyed, is undoubtedly the heavenly rest, which remains to the people of God, and is opposed to a state of labour and trouble in this world. It is the rest they shall obtain when the Lord Jesus shall appear from heaven. But those who do not believe, shall never enter into this spiritual rest, either of grace here or glory hereafter. God has always declared man's rest to be in him, and his love to be the only real happiness of the soul; and faith in his promises, through his Son, to be the only way of entering that rest.For unto us was the gospel preached as well as unto them - This translation by no means conveys the sense of the original. According to this it would seem that the "gospel," as we understand it, or the whole plan of salvation, was communicated to "them," as well as to "us." But this is by no means the idea. The discussion has reference only to "the promise of rest," and the assertion of the apostle is that this "good news" of a promise of rest is made to us as really as it was made to "them." "Rest" was promised to them in the land of Canaan - an emblem of the eternal rest of the people of God. That was unquestioned, and Paul took it for granted. His object now is, to show that a promise of "rest" is as really made to us as it was to them, and that there is the same danger of failing to secure it as there was then. It was important for him to show that there was such a promise made to the people of God in his time, and as he was discoursing of those who were Hebrews, he of course made his appeal to the Old Testament. The literal translation would be, "For we are evangelized - ἐσμεν εὐηγγελισμένοι esmen euēngelismenoi - as well as they." The word "evangelize" means to communicate good news, or glad tidings; and the idea here is, that the good news, or glad tidings of "rest" is announced to us as really as it was to them. This the apostle proves in the following verses.

But the word preached - Margin, "Of hearing." The word "preach" we also use now in a technical sense as denoting a formal proclamation of the gospel by the ministers of religion. But this is not the idea here. It means, simply, the word which "they heard;" and refers particularly to the promise of "rest" which was made to them. That message was communicated to them by Moses.

Did not profit them - They derived no advantage from it. They rejected and despised it, and were, therefore, excluded from the promised land. It exerted no influence over their hearts and lives, and they lived and died as though no such promise had been made. Thus, many persons live and die now. The offer of salvation is made to them. They are invited to come and be saved. They are assured that God is willing to save them, and that the Redeemer stands with open arms to welcome them to heaven. They are trained up under the gospel; are led early in life to the sanctuary; are in the habit of attending on the preaching of the gospel all their days, but still what they hear exerts no saving influence on their hearts. At the close of life all that could be truly said of them is, that they have not been "profited;" it has been no real advantage to them in regard to their final destiny that they have enjoyed so many privileges.

Not being mixed with faith in them that heard it - Margin, "Or, because they were not united by faith to." There are some various readings on this text, and one of these has given occasion to the version in the margin. Many mss. instead of the common reading - συγκεκερασμένος sugkekerasmenos - by which the word "mixed" would be united to ὁ λόγος ho logos - "the word," have another reading - sugkekrame&noujsungkekramenous - according to which the word "mixed" would refer to "them," and would mean that they who heard the Word and rejected it were not "mixed," or united with those who believed it. The former reading makes the best sense, and is the best sustained; and the idea is, that the message which was preached was not received into the heart by faith. They were destitute of faith, and the message did not profit them. The word "mixed" is supposed by many of the best critics to refer to the process by which "food" is made nutritive, by being properly "mixed" with the saliva and the gastric juice, and thus converted into chyme, and chyle, and then changed into blood.

If suitably "mixed" in this manner, it contributes to the life and health of the physical frame; if not, it is the means of disease and death. So it is supposed the apostle meant to say of the message which God sends to man. If properly received; if mixed or united with faith, it becomes the means of spiritual support and life. If not, it furnishes no aliment to the soul, and will be of no advantage. As food when properly digested incorporates itself with the body, and gives it support, so those critics suppose it to be of the Word of God, that it incorporates itself with the internal and spiritual man, and gives it support and life. It may be doubted, however, whether the apostle had any such allusion as this, and whether it is not rather a refinement of the critics than of Paul. The word used here properly denotes a mixing or mingling together, like water and wine, 2 Macc. 15:39; a uniting together in proper proportions and order, as of the body, 1 Corinthians 12:24; and it may refer here merely to a proper "union" of faith with the word, in order that it might be profitable. The idea is, that merely to "hear" the message of life with the outward ear will be of no advantage. It must be "believed," or it will be of no benefit. The message is sent to mankind at large. God declares his readiness to save all. But this message is of no advantage to multitudes - for such reasons as these.

(1) Many do not attend to it at all. They do not even "listen" respectfully to it. Multitudes go not near the place where the gospel is proclaimed; and many, when there, and when they "seem" to attend, have their minds and hearts on other things.

(2) many do not "believe" it. They have doubts about the whole subject of religion, or about the particular doctrines of the gospel - and while they do not believe it, how can they be benefitted by it? How can a man be profited by the records of "history" if he does not believe them? How can one be benefited by the truths of "science" if he does not believe them? And if a man was assured that by going to a certain place he might close a bargain that would be a great advantage to him, of what use would this information be to him if he did not believe a word of it? So of the knowledge of salvation; the facts of the history recorded in the Bible; the offer of eternal life.

(3) men do not allow the message of life to influence their conduct, and of course it is of no advantage to them. Of what use can it be if they steadily resist all the influence which it would have, and ought to have, on their lives? They live as though it were ascertained that there is no truth in the Bible; no reason for being influenced by the offered hope of eternal life, or alarmed by the threatened danger of eternal death. Resolved to pursue a course of life that is at variance with the commands of God, they cannot be profited by the message of salvation. Having no faith which influences and controls the heart, they are not in the least benefited by the offer of heaven. When they die, their condition is in no wise made better by the fact that they were trained up in a pious family; that they were instructed in the Sunday School; that they had the Bible in their dwellings, and that they sat regularly under a preached gospel. For any "advantage" to be derived from all this in the future world, they might as well have never heard the message of life. Nay it would have been better for them. The only effect of these privileges is to harden them in guilt, and to sink them deeper in hell; see the notes, 2 Corinthians 2:16.

2. gospel preached … unto them—in type: the earthly Canaan, wherein they failed to realize perfect rest, suggesting to them that they should look beyond to the heavenly land of rest, to which faith is the avenue, and from which unbelief excludes, as it did from the earthly Canaan.

the word preached—literally, "the word of hearing": the word heard by them.

not being mixed with faith in them that heard—So the Syriac and the Old Latin Versions, older than any of our manuscripts, and Lucifer, read, "As the world did not unite with the hearers in faith." The word heard being the food which, as the bread of life, must pass into flesh and blood through man's appropriating it to himself in faith. Hearing alone is of as little value as undigested food in a bad stomach [Tholuck]. The whole of oldest extant manuscript authority supports a different reading, "unmingled as they were (Greek accusative case agreeing with 'them') in faith with its hearers," that is, with its believing, obedient hearers, as Caleb and Joshua. So "hear" is used for "obey" in the context, Heb 4:7, "To-day, if ye will hear His voice." The disobedient, instead of being blended in "the same body," separated themselves as Korah: a tacit reproof to like separatists from the Christian assembling together (Heb 10:25; Jude 19).

For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: the reason enforcing the former counsel is, their having mutually the same means, the one as the other, and if they fear not, may be guilty of the same sin; for the Hebrews and the whole church were evangelized by the outward publishing to them, and their professed reception of, the glad tidings of salvation by God the Son incarnate, who was to lead them in the way to God’s eternal rest; which if they had been truly evangelized and transformed by, they could never have been shut out of God’s rest; the same gospel being preached to both their forefathers and them, though more gloriously revealed to the latter, 2 Corinthians 3:10,11. For the gospel was preached to Abraham and to his offspring, that in his eminent Seed, the Lord Jesus Christ all nations should be blessed, Genesis 22:18; compare John 8:56. He was the Angel of the covenant that was Lord of God’s hosts, and was to lead them into the literal and heavenly Canaan, Exodus 23:20 Joshua 5:13-15 Isaiah 11:10. So that none entered into either of God’s rests but by him alone, who so testifieth by himself, John 5:39,46, and by his Spirit, Acts 15:11.

But the word preached did not profit them: the gospel was so preached to them, that they did or might hear it, Romans 10:14,15; compare Psalm 92:4 Isaiah 52:7; yet did it not prove effectual to many of those Hebrews, to bring them either into the literal or heavenly Canaan, but they came short of God’s rest in both; they not performing what he required, he by an irreversible sentence excluded them: see Hebrews 3:17,19.

Not being mixed with faith in them that heard it; sugkekramenov a metaphor taking from mixing things in the stomach, as meat and drink, without the concoction of which there can be no nourishing the body; setting forth the sin of these Hebrews, who never received nor mixed this gospel which they heard with a sincere faith in their souls, so as, being digested thereby, it might be united with it. Thus that which was the mighty power and wisdom of God to salvation to those who believed, was a word of condemnation and eternal death to unbelievers, 1 Corinthians 1:18 1 Peter 2:2,3.

For unto us was the Gospel preached,.... The Gospel is the good news and glad tidings of salvation by Christ; and this may be said to be preached, when men preach not themselves, nor read lectures of morality, nor mix law and Gospel together, nor make justification and salvation to be by works, nor set persons to make their peace with God, or get an interest in Christ; but when they preach Christ and salvation alone by him; and so it was preached to the Hebrews, and that more fully, and with more clearness, power, and success than formerly; and which is a privilege and blessing; and is sometimes blessed for the conviction of sinners, for regeneration, for the implanting of faith, and the comfort of believers. The words may be rendered, we were evangelized; as such may be said to be, who have a spirit of liberty, in opposition to a spirit of bondage; who live by faith on Christ alone; who derive their peace and comfort, not from their works, but from him; whose repentance and obedience are influenced by the love of God; and who desire to perform all duties aright, and depend on none: now though this was true of the apostle and others, yet is not the sense here, because of what follows,

as well as unto them, or "even as they"; for though the Gospel was preached to the Israelites in the wilderness, in the ministry of Moses, and by types and sacrifices; yet they were not evangelized by it, or cast into a Gospel mould, or brought into a Gospel spirit: however, it was preached unto them; which shows the antiquity of it; the sameness of the method of salvation in all ages; the necessity of salvation by Christ, and the unity of Christ's church under different dispensations:

but the word preached did not profit them; that is, the Gospel, which is here called the word of hearing, as it may be rendered; because it is and may be heard; and there is a necessity of hearing, in order to faith in Christ: the word signifies a rumour, or report: the Gospel is a report of Christ, his person and offices; of his great love to sinners, and of what he has done for them; but though it is a word of hearing, a report made, and the word preached, yet to some it is unprofitable; it has no good effect upon them; yea, it is the savour of death unto death to them, and the aggravation of condemnation; and the reason of the inefficacy and unprofitableness of the word to the Israelites was, its

not being mixed with faith in them that heard it; the Gospel is as food, and faith is the hand that receives it, and takes it, and tastes of it, and eats it, and concocts and digests it; and when this is the case, it is profitable and nourishing; but when it is otherwise, it is not. The Alexandrian copy, the Complutensian edition, and five of Beza's ancient copies, and as many of Stephens's, with others, read, "they were not mixed" referring it not to the word, but to persons; and so read the Arabic and Ethiopic versions: and the sense is, that the generality of the Israelites did not join themselves in faith, in believing in God, to Caleb and Joshua; who hearkened to the Lord, and received and obeyed his word; and so the word became useless to them: there ought to be an union or conjunction of the saints, and the bond of this union is love; and the thing in which they unite is faith, believing in Christ, and the doctrine of faith, which is but one; and though the word may be profitable to others who are not in the communion of the saints; yet forsaking the assembly of the saints, and not constantly attending with them, or not mixing with them continually in public worship, is one reason of the unprofitable hearing of the word when it is preached to them.

{1} For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being {a} mixed with faith in them that heard it.

(1) By these words His voice he shows that David meant the preaching of Christ, who was then also preached, for Moses and the prophets honoured no one else.

(a) He compares the preaching of the gospel to drink, which being drunk, that is to say, heard, profits nothing, unless it is mixed with faith.

Hebrews 4:2 corroborates in its first half the καταλειπομένης, Hebrews 4:1, while the second half shows the danger of the ὑστερηκέναι in the example of others. The emphasis in the first half lies upon ἐσμὲν εὐηγγελισμένοι. The sense is not: for we, too, like them, have promise (to express this the addition of ἡμεῖς after καὶ γάρ would have been called for), but: for promise (sc. of entering into the κατάπαυσις, cf. Hebrews 4:1; Hebrews 4:3) have we indeed, even as they (the fathers), sc. had it.

Most arbitrarily is the meaning of this and the following verse apprehended by Ebrard. According to Ebrard, Hebrews 4:2 ff. proclaims as the reason why the Jews did not attain the promised κατάπαυσις, not their “subjective unbelief,” but “the objective imperfection of the Old Testament revelation.” With the second half of Hebrews 4:2, namely, a gradation (!) is supposed to begin, and the progress of thought to be as follows: “The word which we have received is even infinitely better than the word which the Israelites received through Moses. For, first, the word spoken by Moses was unable to bring the people to faith—it remained external to them; it set forth a promise, it is true, and also attached a condition, but it communicated no strength to fulfil this condition (Hebrews 4:2-5, comp. Hebrews 4:12-13); but, secondly, the promise there given was not even in its purport the true one; there, earthly rest was promised; here, spiritual and everlasting rest (Hebrews 4:6-10).” That the context affords no warrant for the bringing out of such a meaning is self-evident. For neither does the author here distinguish such twofold word of promise, nor a twofold κατάπαυσις, nor can λόγοςμὴ συγκεκραμένος signify a word which “could not prove binding.”

Erroneous, too, is the view of the connection on the part of Delitzsch, to whom Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 798 ff.) accedes in all essential particulars. According to Riehm, the (as yet unproved) presupposition is first provisionally expressed in the parenthesis, Hebrews 4:1, in a simply assertory manner, viz. that there is still in existence a promise of entering into the rest of God, a promise of which the fulfilment is yet outstanding, and this presupposition is then repeated, Hebrews 4:2, in other expressions of a more general bearing, no doubt, but essentially in the same way of simple assertion. Upon this, however, the author now wishes to furnish proof that such presupposition is fully warranted. Accordingly, Hebrews 4:3, he formulates that presupposition in the most definite manner, inasmuch as in the opening words of Hebrews 4:3, εἰσερχόμεθαπιστεύσαντες, he lays down the theme which is to be proved in the sequel. This proof is afforded in the following way: the rest of God has existed long; nevertheless, in the oath of God, mentioned in the words of the psalm, a rest of God is spoken of as yet future, and of a truth it is one and the same rest of God which, according to Genesis 2:2—in so far as God enjoys it alone—has existed from the beginning of the world, and, according to the word of the psalm,—in so far as the people of God are to participate therein,—is one yet approaching. Although thus the long present rest of God was the aim and end of the creative activity of God, yet it is not the final aim which God has proposed to Himself. On the contrary, it is clearly apparent, from a comparison of the word of God pronounced upon the Israelites in the time of Moses, a word confirmed by an oath, with the account of the rest of God on the seventh day, that, according to the gracious designs of God, the rest, which He has enjoyed alone from the foundation of the world, should eventually become a rest of God which He enjoys in communion with His people. It is therefore indubitably certain, that even after the completion of the work of creation and the ensuing of the rest of God, there is still something outstanding [unfulfilled], an ἀπολειπόμενον, and this consists in the fact that some, received by God into communion with Himself, are made partakers of that repose of God. This view is a mistaken one, because—(1) As regards the assumed proof, the assertion that in the oath of God, spoken of in the words of the psalm, mention is made of a yet future rest of God, is entirely untrue. Not of a particular form of the rest of God, which is still future, is the discourse, but only the fact is represented as future that it is shared on the part of men who enter into it. For a rest of God which has already existed long is not opposed to a rest of God which is still future, nor is the rest of God, mentioned. Genesis 2., distinguished as of another kind than that mentioned in the psalm. On the contrary, the rest of God, or—what is identical therewith—the Sabbath-rest of God, has existed in fact and without change from the time of the completion of the works of creation, and this same rest of God it is, the participation in which was once promised to the Israelites on the condition of faith, and now upon the same condition is promised to the Christians; it is a question therefore only of the Christians taking warning from the example of the fathers, and not, like them, losing the promised blessing through unbelief. (2) That the author was desirous of still proving the καταλείπεσθαι ἐπαγγελίαν, cannot at all be supposed. For this was a fact which, as self-evident from that which precedes, stood in no need of a demonstration; it is therefore expressed not only Hebrews 4:1, but also Hebrews 4:6, in a mere subsidiary clause, consequently in the form of logical subordination; and even Hebrews 4:9, in which it is introduced in an apparently independent form, decides nothing against our explanation, because Hebrews 4:9, while forming a certain conclusion to that which precedes, yet contains only the logical substructure for the exhortation attaching itself afresh at Hebrews 4:11. That at which the author alone aimed, in connection with Hebrews 4:2 ff., was therefore the impressive confirmation of the paraenesis, Hebrews 4:1; and just this paraenetic main tendency of our section likewise fails of attaining due recognition in connection with the explanation of Delitzsch and Riehm. But when Delitzsch thinks he can support his view, that the καταλειπομένης ἐπαγγελίας, Hebrews 4:1, is first proved in the sequel, by declaring the otherwise to be accepted “thought that the promise of entering into God’s rest has remained without its fulfilment in the generation of the wilderness, and thus is still valid,” to be “entirely false,” and exclaims: “What logic that would be! The generation of the wilderness perished indeed, but the younger generation entered into Canaan, came to Shiloh (the place in the heart of the land, which has its name from the rest, Joshua 18:1), and had now its own fixed land of habitation, whither Jehovah had brought and planted it, and where He fenced it in (2 Samuel 7:10);” such conclusion would be justified only if the author had not understood the promise given to the fathers in the time of Moses, of entering into God’s κατάπαυσις, at the same time in a higher sense, but had regarded it as fulfilled by the occupation of Canaan under Joshua; such, however, according to the distinct statement of Hebrews 4:8, is not the case.

καί] after καθάπερ, the ordinary καί after particles of comparison. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 409.

ὁ λόγος τῆς ἀκοῆς] Periphrasis of the notion ἐπαγγελία, Hebrews 4:1 : the word of that which is heard (ἀκοή in the passive sense, as Romans 10:16; Galatians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; John 12:38), i.e. the word of promise which was heard by them, or proclaimed to them. This periphrasis is chosen in order already at this stage to point out that it was by the fault of the fathers themselves that the word of promise became for them an unprofitable word, one which did not receive its fulfilment. It remained for them a word heard only externally, whereas, if it was to profit them, they must manifest receptiveness for the same, must believingly and confidingly appropriate the same. This culpability on the part of the fathers themselves is brought into direct relief by the participial clause μὴ συγκεκραμένος τῇ πίστει τοῖς ἀκούσασιν, containing the indication of cause to οὐκ ὠφέλησεν, wherein τῇ πίστει forms an emphatic opposition to the preceding τῆς ἀκοῆς. The sense is: because it was not for the hearers mingled with faith; the dative τοῖς ἀκούσασιν denoting the subject, in relation to which the μὴ συγκ. τῇ πίστει took place. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 206. Thus interpret Erasmus, translation, Calvin, Castellio, Gerhard, Owen, Calov, Limborch, Bengel, Kypke, Storr, Stuart, Reiche, Comm. Crit. p. 30; Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 696, note; Maier, and others.[63] But that the fault of this not being mingled was not in the word but in the men, was naturally understood from the connection. συγκεκραμένος is not to be connected with τοῖς ἀκούσασιν, so that τῇ πίστει would have to be taken as the dativus instrumentalis: “because it did not, by means of faith, mingle with them that heard it, become fully incorporated with them” (Schlichting, Jac. Cappellus, Dorscheus, S. Schmidt, Wolf, Rambach, Michaelis, Carpzov, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Valckenaer, Klee, Paulus, Stein, Delitzsch, Moll, Kurtz, Hofmann, Woerner). For manifestly the centres of thought for the adversative clause lie in τῆς ἀκοῆς and τῇ πίστει, while τοῖς ἀκούσασιν only takes up again the indication of the persons, already known to us from the ἐκείνους, although now as characterizing these persons in attaching itself to τῆς ἀκοῆς.

τοῖς ἀκούσασιν, however, not the mere demonstrative pronoun, is put by the author in order thus once more to place hearing and believing in suggestive contrast. Further, the author did not write μὴ συγκεκραμένος τῇ πίστει τῶν ἀκουσάντων, because he would thereby have conveyed the impression that the Israelites in the wilderness possessed indeed πίστις, but the word of promise which was heard did not blend into a unity with the same; whereas by means of μὴ συγκεκραμένος τῇ πίστει τοῖς ἀκούσασιν he denies altogether the presence of πίστις in them.

[63] Heinsius, Semler, Kuinoel, al., take τοῖς ἀκούσασιν as equivalent to ὑπὸ τῶν ἀκουσάντων, which is open to no grammatical objection (cf. Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 206), and makes no alteration in the sense.

2. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them] We should have expected rather “For unto them, as well as unto us,” if this had been the right translation. The better version however is “For indeed we too, just as they, have had a Gospel preached unto us.” The “Gospel” in this instance means the glad tidings of a future rest.

the word preached] Lit. “the word of hearing.” The function of the hearer is no less necessary than that of the preacher, if the spoken word is to be profitable.

not being mixed with faith in them that heard it] There is an extraordinary diversity in the MS. readings here. The best supported seems to be “because they were not united (lit. ‘tempered together’) by faith with them that heard (i.e. effectually listened to) it.” This would mean that the good news of rest produced no benefit to the rebellious Israelites, because they were not blended with Caleb and Joshua in their faith. They heard, but only with the ears, not with the heart. But there is probably some ancient corruption of the text. Perhaps instead of “with them that heard,” the true reading may have been “with the things heard.” The reading of our A. V. gives an excellent sense, if it were but well supported. The verb “to mingle” or “temper” occurs in 1 Corinthians 12:24.

Hebrews 4:2. Γὰρ, for) This refers to φοβηθῶμεν, let us fear.—εὐηγγελισμένοι, to us was the Gospel preached [we have had the Gospel preached to us]) We should think that this expression is spoken especially to us, who are called Evangelical: Hebrews 4:6.—κᾀκεῖνοι [as well as they], as well as to them) The promise of the land of Canaan had been proclaimed to those men of old, Hebrews 4:6.—οὐκ ὠφέλησεν, did not profit) There is less said here than is intended (Meiosis). On the contrary [so far was it from profiting them], the unbelievers incurred the greatest guilt and punishment. Supply, nor will it be profitable to us without faith.—μὴ συγκεκραμένος, not being mixed with) The word is entirely mixed with and insinuated into the believing soul; and when it is thus mingled, it makes its way wonderfully, as a health-giving draught, and something more powerful even than that, Hebrews 4:12-13.—τῇ πίστει) with faith, the dative.—τοῖς ἀκούσασιν) So far as concerns them that heard it. Comp. Romans 4:12, note. To these are opposed οἱ πιστεύσαντες, those who believed, in the following verse.

Verse 2. - For truly we have had good tidings (or, a gospel) preached unto us, even as also they: but the word of hearing did not profit them, not being mingled by faith with those that heard it. The meaning and purpose of the first part of this verse is plain, as is also the general intention of the second; viz. to account parenthetically for the gospel to the Israelites under Moses having failed of its purpose, and at the same time to renew the warning of their example with respect to the gospel now preached to Christians. But the passage is still one of singular difficulty, on account both of the various readings of it, and of the peculiarity of the language used whatever reading be adopted. With respect to the various readings, the main and indeed only important question is between

(1) συγκεκραμένος agreeing with λόγος ἀκοῆς, and

(2) συγκεκραμένους, agreeing with ἐκείνους. The variation between συγκεκραμ and συγκεκερασμ, being only different forms of the participle, does not affect the meaning. Then the readings τῶν ἀκουσάντων and τοῖς, ἀκούσθεισιν for τοῖς ἀκούσασι rest on such slight authority, and are so likely to have been substitutions (the latter to make the reading συγκεκραμένους intelligible), that they need not be considered.

(1) The reading of the Textus Receptus, following the Vulgate, is μὴ συγκεκραμένος τῇ πίστει τοῖς ἀλούσασιν. But

(2)the great preponderance of ancient authority (including that of all the uncial manuscripts except א) supports συγκεκραμένους or συγκεκερασμένους The latter, then, must be accepted as the true reading, if authority alone is to be our guide. But then comes the difficulty of making any sense of it. The only way of doing so is to understand τοῖς ἀκούσασιν ("those who heard") in the sense of "those who hearkened;" the sense of the passage being "The word of hearing did not profit them, because they were not united by faith with those who not only heard, but hearkened and obeyed." Most of the Fathers, reading συγκεκραμένους, take τοῖς ἀκούσασιν to refer in this sense to Caleb and Joshua. But, if what has been said above be true as to these exceptions to the general unbelief not having been in the writer's mind, such an allusion is highly improbable. Some (Alford, e.g.) take τοῖς ἀκούσασιν with no historical reference, but as denoting hearkeners generally. Alford, however, though adopting this as the best solution of an acknowledged difficulty, confesses himself not satisfied with it, as well he may. A very serious objection to either view, even apart from the strangeness of the whole expression if such be its meaning, is that, though the verb ἀκούειν is certainly used elsewhere in the sense thus assigned to it, the whole context here suggests different one. Cf. supra (Hebrews 3:16), τινὲς γὰρ ἀκούσαντες παρεπίκραναν: and especially ὁ λόγος τῆς ἀκοῆς immediately preceding. Ἀκοῆς, denoting hearing only, seems to have suggested the use of the participle ἀκούσασιν, to which it would therefore be most unnatural to assign a different meaning. If, then, all devices for making sense of the best supported text prove unsatisfactory, and if the Textus Receptus gives an intelligible meaning, we might surely be justified in adopting the latter, however ill supported. Internal evidence (though great caution should be used in our estimate of it) need not yield entirely to external, nor common sense to authority, in the determination of true readings. But in this case the argument from internal probability has now been strengthened by the discovery of the reading συγκεκερασμένος in the Sinaitic Codex (א). This, then, being adopted, though the expression be peculiar, the meaning is no longer obscure, whether we take τῇ πίστει or τοῖς ἀκούσασιν as governed by συγκεκραμένος. It may be either that "the word of hearing did not profit them because it was not mingled with their faith to those that heard;" or "because it was not mingled by faith with those that heard it." In the latter case the idea is that of the necessity of the spoken word entering the heart, and being (so to speak) assimilated by the hearers through the instrumentality of faith, in order to profit them. Hebrews 4:2For unto us was the gospel preached (καὶ γὰρ ἐσμεν εὐηγγελισμένοι)

Lit. we have had good tidings proclaimed to us. The translation of the A.V. is unfortunate, since it conveys the technical and conventional idea of preaching the gospel, which is entirely out of place here. The reference is to the special announcement of the rest of God; the glad tidings that God has provided a rest for his people. This announcement was made to the fathers, and signified to them the promise of the rest in Canaan. It has been proclaimed to us, and to us is the announcement of the heavenly rest. The emphasis is on the entire statement, "we have had the good tidings proclaimed to us," rather than on we as contrasted with they.

The word preached (ὁ λόγος τῆς ἀκοῆς)

Lit. the word of the message. See on 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

Not being mixed with faith in them that heard it (μὴ συνκεκερασμένους τῇ πίστει τοῖς ἀκούσασιν)

Rend. because not incorporated by faith in them that heard. A body of obedient hearers with whom the erring Israelites were not incorporated would be an idea foreign to the discussion. Moreover, in Hebrews 3:16, the writer has declared that there were practically no believing hearers. He says that although the good tidings were announced to them, they did not profit them. The word did not profit them because it (the word) was not assimilated by faith in those that heard. They did not make the promise of rest their own. Their history was marked by continual renewals and rejections of the promise.

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