Hebrews 4:7
Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
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(7) Again, he limiteth.—Better, He again marketh out (or, defineth). The next step taken (see the last Note) is to point out that, long after the occupation of Canaan, the Psalmist—God speaking in the Psalm—says “To-day,” in pleading with Israel. The implied meaning is as if He said, “Harden not your hearts today, lest I swear unto you also, Ye shall not enter into My rest.”

In David.—Probably this is equivalent to saying, In the Book of Psalms. In the LXX., however, Psalms 95 is ascribed to David.

After so long a time.—The period intervening between the divine sentence on the rebels in the wilderness (Numbers 14) and the time of the Psalmist.

As it is said.—The best MSS. read, as it hath been before said.

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.Again, he limiteth - He designates, or definitely mentions. The word rendered "limiteth" - ὁρίζει horizei - means to "bound," to set a boundary - as of a field or farm; and then to determine or fix definitely, to designate, appoint. Here it means, that he specifies particularly, or mentions expressly.

A certain day - A particular time; he mentions today particularly. That is, in the time of David, he uses the word "today," as if time was "then" an offer of rest, and as if it were then possible to enter into it. The object of the additional thought was to show that the offer of rest was not confined to the Israelites to whom it was first made; that David regarded it as existing in his day; and that man might even then be invited to come and partake of the rest that was promised. "Nearly five hundred years after the time when the Israelites were going to the promised land, and when the offer of rest was made to them, we hear David speaking of "rest" still; rest which Was offered in his time, and which might then be lost by hardening the heart. It could not be, therefore, that the offer of rest pertained merely to the promised land. It must be something in advance of that. It must be something existing in the time of David. It must be an offer of heaven." A Jew might feel the force of this argument more than we do; still it is conclusive to prove the point under consideration, that there was a rest spoken of long after the offer of the promised land, and that all the promises could not have pertained to that.

Saying in David - In a Psalm composed by David, or rather perhaps, saying "by" David; that is, God spake by him.

Today - Now - that is, even in the time of David.

After so long a time - That is, so long after the first promise was made; to wit, about 500 years. These are the words of Paul calling attention to the fact that so long a time after the entrance into the promised land there was still a speaking of "today," as if even then they were called to partake of the rest.

As it is said - To quote it exactly; or to bring the express authority of the Scriptures. It is expressly said even after that long time, "today - or now, if you will hear his voice." All this is to prove that even in that time there was an offer of rest.

7. Again—Anew the promise recurs. Translate as the Greek order is, "He limited a certain day, 'To-day.'" Here Paul interrupts the quotation by, "In (the Psalm of) David saying after so long a time (after five hundred years' possession of Canaan)," and resumes it by, "as it has been said before (so the Greek oldest manuscript, before, namely, Heb 3:7, 15), To-day if ye hear His voice," &c. [Alford]. Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David: this is a further proof, that David did not mean or intend the rest of the Jews in Canaan, in the Psalm 95:1-11, from the determined time of it; as if the Spirit had said: Besides what I have proved, take another argument; Again I argue. God by the prophet setteth out, and severeth from all other time, a certain stated day, from which the rest spoken of is cleared, and of it testifieth by him, Psalm 95:7,8.

To-day, after so long a time; after four hundred years past of Israel’s rest in Canaan, which was a long time, doth David say of to-day, a time present, then and further to be extended, even the gospel day, in David’s time, and after it; not in Joshua’s, for that was past long before.

As it is said, To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; ye ought to-day to hear, receive, and believe the gospel of God’s rest, and not by unbelief to turn your hearts from the voice of God in the gospel.

Again he limiteth a certain day,.... Since the seventh day of the creation was a day of rest which God entered into, and not man; and since the land of Canaan was a typical rest, which the unbelieving Israelites did not enter into, because of unbelief; and yet there must be persons, and there must be a time for them to enter into the true rest which God has left a promise of; therefore he has limited, fixed, and appointed a certain day, the Gospel dispensation, for believers to enter into it:

saying in David; or by David, who was the penman of the 95th psalm, as may be learned from hence; and this is agreeably to, and confirms a rule which the Jews give, that those psalms which are without a title were written by David (g); the Spirit of God spake in him and by him, and plainly pointed out another day of rest from the above mentioned:

today, after so long a time; as two thousand five hundred years from the first seventh day to the time of Moses, and five hundred years from the times of Moses and Joshua, to his:

as it is said; the Alexandrian copy reads, "as it is before said", or, "above said", as the Vulgate Latin, and Syriac versions; that is, in Psalm 95:7 before cited, Hebrews 3:7

today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; See Gill on Hebrews 3:7, Hebrews 3:8.

(g) Aben Ezra & Kimchi Praefat. in Tillim.

Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Hebrews 4:7. The apodosis. We have not to construe in such wise that the first σήμερον shall be taken as apposition to ἡμέραν: “He marks out, therefore, again a definite day (fixes anew a term), namely, ‘a to-day,’ in that—as was before observed

He says in David, so long time after, ‘To-day, etc.’ ” (Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Jac. Cappellus, Carpzov, Schulz, Klee, Bleek, de Wette, Bisping, Maier, M‘Caul, Moll). Nor yet so that the first σήμερον is connected with λέγων: “He fixes, therefore, again a day, in that, after so long a time, He says in David ‘to-day;’ even as it says: ‘To-day, if ye, etc’ ” (Zeger, Schlichting, Heinrichs, Stengel). On the contrary, the first σήμερον already begins the citation; is then, however,—on account of the words parenthetically introduced by the author: ἐν Δαυῒδπροείρηται,—resumed in the second σήμερον.

ἐν Δαυΐδ] not: apud Davidem, i.e. in the Book of Psalms (Dindorf, Schulz, Böhme, Bleek, Ebrard, Alford, Woerner, al.; with comparison of Romans 11:2; Romans 9:25), but: in the person of David, as the instrument of which God made use for speaking. The ninety-fifth psalm, although not Davidic, was ascribed to David in the superscription of the LXX., whom our author follows.

μετὰ τοσοῦτον χρόνον] from the time of Joshua (Hebrews 4:8).

καθὼς προείρηται] Reference to Hebrews 3:7 f., 15.

7. again he limiteth a certain day …] There is no reason whatever for the parenthesis in the A. V., of which the reading, rendering, and punctuation are here alike infelicitous to an extent which destroys for ordinary readers the meaning of the passage. It should be rendered (putting only a comma at the end of Hebrews 4:6), “Again, he fixes a day, To-day, saying in David, so long afterwards, even as has been said before, To-day if ye will hear,” &c. In the stress laid upon the word “to-day” we find a resemblance to Philo, who defines “to-day” as “the infinite and interminable aeon,” and says “Till to-day, that is for ever” (Leg. Allegg. iii. 8; De Profug. 11). The argument is that “David” (a general name for the “Psalmist”) had, nearly five centuries after the time of Moses, and three millenniums after the Creation, still spoken of God’s rest as an offer open to mankind. If we regard this as a mere verbal argument, turning on the attribution of deep mystic senses to the words “rest” and “to-day,” and on the trains of inference which are made to depend on these words, we must remember that such a method of dealing with Scripture phraseology was at this period universally current among the Jews. But if we stop at this point all sorts of difficulties arise; for if the “rest” referred to in Psalms 95 was primarily the land of Canaan (as in Deuteronomy 1:34-36; Deuteronomy 12:9, &c.), the oath of God, “they shall not enter into my rest” only applied to the generation of the wandering, and He had said “Your little ones … them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised,” Numbers 14:31. If, on the other hand, “the rest” meant heaven, it would be against all Scripture analogy to assume that all the Israelites who died in the wilderness were excluded from future happiness. And there are many other difficulties which will at once suggest themselves. The better and simpler way of looking at this, and similar trains of reasoning, is to regard them as particular modes of expressing blessed and eternal truths, and to look on the Scripture language applied to them in the light rather of illustration than of Scriptural proof. Quite apart from this Alexandrian method of finding recondite and mystic senses in the history and language of the Bible, we see the deep and glorious truths that God’s offer of “Rest” in the highest sense—of participation in His own rest—is left open to His people in the eternal today of merciful opportunity. The Scripture illustration must be regarded as quite subordinate to the essential truth, and not the essential truth made to depend on the Scripture phraseology. When God says “They shall not enter my rest,” the writer—reading as it were between the lines with the eyes of Christian enlightenment—reads the promise “but others shall enter into my rest,” which was most true.

saying in David] A common abbreviated form of quotation like “saying in Elijah” for “in the part of Scripture about Elijah” (Romans 9:2). The quotation may mean no more than “in the Book of Psalms.” The 95th Psalm is indeed attributed to David in the LXX; but the superscriptions of the LXX, like those of our A. V., are wholly without authority, and are in some instances entirely erroneous. The date of the Psalm is more probably the close of the Exile. We may here notice the fondness of the writer for the Psalms, of which he quotes no less than eleven in this Epistle (Psalms 2, 8, 22, 40, 45, 95, 102, 104, 105, 118, 135).

Hebrews 4:7. Πάλιν, again) Who would have thought that there is a sermon so important and so solemn in the 95th Psalm? Let us highly value the words of GOD; comp. ch. Hebrews 10:8, note.—ὁρίζει, He limits) viz. GOD.—ἡμέραν, a day) This is deduced from the quotation, σήμερον, to-day, which is presently brought forward. See how beautifully he lays stress on the word, יום, a day, and single words in the same manner often, ch. Hebrews 2:8; Hebrews 2:11-12, Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 7:21, Hebrews 8:13, Hebrews 10:9, Hebrews 12:5; Hebrews 12:27 : the day, viz. that of striving for the heavenly rest: Hebrews 4:8.—ἐν, in) So ch. Hebrews 1:1.—τοσοῦτον χρόνον) so long a time, more than four hundred years from Moses and Joshua to David, who sung this psalm.—καθὼς προείρηται, as it was before said) The apostle refers his hearers to the whole text, as repeated above from the psalm.

Hebrews 4:7Again he limiteth a certain day (πάλιν τινὰ ὁρίζει ἡμέραν)

For limiteth rend. defineth. For the verb see on declared, Romans 1:4. The meaning is, he gives another opportunity of securing the rest, and calls the period in which the opportunity is offered today.

In David

The date of the composition of Psalm 95:1-11 is uncertain. In lxx (94) it is called a Psalm of David. In the words in David the writer may adopt the lxx title, or may mean simply in the Psalms. In the Hebrew the Psalm has no inscription.

After so long a time (μετὰ τοσοῦτον χρόνον)

The time between Joshua and David. After this long interval he renews the promise in the Psalm.

As it is said (καθῶς προείρηται)

Rend. as it hath been before said; referring to the citations, Hebrews 3:7, Hebrews 3:8, Hebrews 3:15.

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