Hebrews 6:7
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
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(7) For the earth.—Rather, For land which has drunk in. Land which not only receives but also drinks in abundance of rain (Deuteronomy 11:11), in such a climate as is here thought of, must either “bring forth herbage” or be condemned as irretrievably barren.

By whom it is dressed.—Rather, for whom it is also tilled. This clause is added to show that nothing is wanting on the part of the owner or of the tillers of the land.

Receiveth blessing from God.—Receives as a reward a share in the blessing which God pronounces on the fruitful earth, resulting in increased fertility (Genesis 27:27; Genesis 49:25; Deuteronomy 33:13). In the application of the parable, God is the owner of the land, men the tillers; men also are “God’s field” (1Corinthians 3:9), who bring forth fruit unto God,

Hebrews 6:7-8. For the earth which drinketh in the rain, &c. — Thus they to whom the gospel is preached, and who believe and embrace it, bring forth the fruits of repentance, faith, and new obedience, and are accepted and blessed by God with further measures of grace, according to Matthew 13:12; Matthew 25:29, where see the notes. But that which beareth thorns and briers — Only or chiefly; is rejected — No more labour is bestowed upon it; and is nigh unto cursing — As in the blessing mentioned in the former verse, there is an allusion to the primitive blessing, whereby the earth was rendered fruitful, Genesis 1:11; so in the curse, here mentioned, there is an allusion to the curse pronounced on the earth after the fall, Genesis 3:17. Whose end is to be burned — A principal part of the eastern agriculture consists in leading rills of water from ponds, fountains, and brooks to render the fields fruitful. When this is neglected, the land is scorched by the heat and drought of the climate, and so, being burned up, is altogether sterile. Or, he may refer to the custom of husbandmen’s burning up the thorns and briers produced by barren ground. The apostle’s meaning is, that as land, which is unfruitful under every method of culture, will at length be deserted by the husbandmen, and burned up with drought; so those that enjoy the means of grace, and yet bring forth nothing but evil tempers, words, and works, must expect to be deprived of the means they enjoy, and exposed to utter ruin. And the apostle particularly referred in these words to the Jewish nation, the generality of whom rejected the gospel, while many others, who had received it, apostatized from it; and who therefore, in a peculiar sense, were exposed to the divine malediction, as was signified by Christ’s cursing the barren fig-tree, mentioned Mark 11:13; Mark 11:20. The consequence of which was the burning of their city and temple, and the slaughter of many hundreds of thousands of them shortly after this epistle was written, together with the awful state of spiritual barrenness in which the remnant of them have long lain.

6:1-8 Every part of the truth and will of God should be set before all who profess the gospel, and be urged on their hearts and consciences. We should not be always speaking about outward things; these have their places and use, but often take up too much attention and time, which might be better employed. The humbled sinner who pleads guilty, and cries for mercy, can have no ground from this passage to be discouraged, whatever his conscience may accuse him of. Nor does it prove that any one who is made a new creature in Christ, ever becomes a final apostate from him. The apostle is not speaking of the falling away of mere professors, never convinced or influenced by the gospel. Such have nothing to fall away from, but an empty name, or hypocritical profession. Neither is he speaking of partial declinings or backslidings. Nor are such sins meant, as Christians fall into through the strength of temptations, or the power of some worldly or fleshly lust. But the falling away here mentioned, is an open and avowed renouncing of Christ, from enmity of heart against him, his cause, and people, by men approving in their minds the deeds of his murderers, and all this after they have received the knowledge of the truth, and tasted some of its comforts. Of these it is said, that it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance. Not because the blood of Christ is not sufficient to obtain pardon for this sin; but this sin, in its very nature, is opposite to repentance and every thing that leads to it. If those who through mistaken views of this passage, as well as of their own case, fear that there is no mercy for them, would attend to the account given of the nature of this sin, that it is a total and a willing renouncing of Christ, and his cause, and joining with his enemies, it would relieve them from wrong fears. We should ourselves beware, and caution others, of every approach near to a gulf so awful as apostacy; yet in doing this we should keep close to the word of God, and be careful not to wound and terrify the weak, or discourage the fallen and penitent. Believers not only taste of the word of God, but they drink it in. And this fruitful field or garden receives the blessing. But the merely nominal Christian, continuing unfruitful under the means of grace, or producing nothing but deceit and selfishness, was near the awful state above described; and everlasting misery was the end reserved for him. Let us watch with humble caution and prayer as to ourselves.For the earth - The design of the apostle by this comparison is apparent. It is to show the consequences of not making a proper use of all the privileges which Christians have, and the effect which would follow should those privileges fail to be improved. He says, it is like the earth. If that absorbs the rain, and produces an abundant harvest, it receives the divine blessing. If not, it is cursed, or is worthless. The design is to show that "if" Christians should become like the barren earth they would be cast away and lost.

Which drinketh in the rain - A comparison of the earth as if it were "thirsty" - a comparison that is common in all languages.

That cometh oft upon it - The frequent showers that fall. The object is to describe fertile land which is often watered with the rains of heaven. The comparison of "drinking in" the rain is designed to distinguish a mellow soil which receives the rain, from hard or rocky land where it runs off.

And bringeth forth herbs - The word "herbs" we now limit in common discourse to the small vegetables which die every year, and which are used as articles of food, or to such in general as have not ligneous or hard woody stems. The word here means anything which is cultivated in the earth as an article of food, and includes all kinds of grains.

Meet for them - Useful or appropriate to them.

By whom it is dressed - Margin, "for whom." The meaning is, on account of whom it is cultivated. The word "dressed" here means "cultivated:" compare Genesis 2:15.

Receiveth blessing from God - Receives the divine approbation. It is in accordance with his wishes and plans, and he smiles upon it and blesses it. He does not curse it as he does the desolate and barren soil. The language is figurative, and must be used to denote what is an object of the divine favor. God delights in the harvests which the earth brings forth; in the effects of dews and rains and suns in causing beauty and abundance; and on such fields of beauty and plenty he looks down with pleasure. This does not mean, as I suppose, that he renders it more fertile and abundant, for:

(1) it cannot be shown that it is true that God thus rewards the earth for its fertility; and,

(2) such an interpretation would not accord well with the scope of the passage.

The design is to show that a Christian who makes proper use of the means of growing in grace which God bestows upon him, and who does not apostatize, meets with the divine favor and approbation. His course accords with the divine intention and wishes, and he is a man on whom God will smile - as he seems to do on the fertile earth.

7. the earth—rather as Greek (no article), "land."

which drinketh in—Greek, "which has drunk in"; not merely receiving it on the surface. Answering to those who have enjoyed the privilege of Christian experiences, being in some sense renewed by the Holy Ghost; true alike of those who persevere and those who "fall away."

the rain that cometh oft upon it—not merely failing over it, or towards it, but falling and resting upon it so as to cover it (the Greek genitive, not the accusative). The "oft" implies, on God's part, the riches of His abounding grace ("coming" spontaneously, and often); and, on the apostate's part, the wilful perversity whereby he has done continual despite to the oft-repeated motions of the Spirit. Compare "How often," Mt 23:37. The rain of heaven falls both on the elect and the apostates.

bringeth forth—as the natural result of "having drunk in the rain." See above.


meet—fit. Such as the master of the soil wishes. The opposite of "rejected," Heb 6:8.

by whom—rather as Greek, "for (that is, on account of) whom," namely, the lords of the soil; not the laborers, as English Version, namely, God and His Christ (1Co 3:9). The heart of man is the earth; man is the dresser; herbs are brought forth meet, not for the dresser, by whom, but for God, the owner of the soil, for whom it is dressed. The plural is general, the owners whoever they may be; here God.

receiveth—"partaketh of."

blessing—fruitfulness. Contrast God's curse causing unfruitfulness (Ge 3:17, 18); also spiritually (Jer 17:5-8).

from God—Man's use of means is vain unless God bless (1Co 3:6, 7).

For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it: for is narrative here, and not rational, introducing a parabolical illustration of the states and ends of truly regenerate Christians, and unregenerate apostates; as if he said: You have heard the good of true perfect Christians, and the evil of apostates, you need not to be offended at it, or wonder, for it is with them even as with the earth, which is the good ground in Christ’s parable, Matthew 13:8 Luke 8:8, and which he interpreteth to be a good and an honest heart, Luke 8:15, renewed in a sinner by the Holy Ghost, naturally of the same mould with all others, Ezekiel 11:19 36:26,27. As the earth drinks up the showers moistening and fructifying it; Psalm 45:9,10; so this good and honest heart receiveth the spiritual dews and rain descending from heaven on it in the word and ordinances, as Deu 32:2.

And bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed; it bringeth forth all sorts of fruits for those who dress it, according to God’s institution, Genesis 1:11,12 2:5,6. So these good souls bring forth fruit which God relisheth and delighteth in as suitable to his husbandry, Matthew 13:23; compare 2 Peter 1:5-8 2 Corinthians 9:10 Galatians 5:22,23; and such as the great manurer of souls expects from them, 1 Corinthians 3:6,7,9.

Receiveth blessing from God; this good ground is made fruitful by God’s blessing; and the more fruitful it is the more blessing it receiveth, Genesis 27:27. This fruitfulness is not the meritorious cause of this blessing, for that issueth from grace; but it qualifieth these good hearts for it, i.e. the continuance to such souls of the means of grace, and their increase in spiritual comforts, till they reach the perfection of blessing from God in eternal life, Hebrews 6:9.

For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it,.... Here the apostle illustrates what he had before been speaking of, by a simile taken from the earth, to which men in general answer, who are of the earth; earthy and unregenerate men and carnal professors are of earthly minds; they are like the earth when it was rude and without form, and cursed by God; and are as insensible as the earth: but the earth is particularly distinguished into that which is fruitful, and which is unfruitful; and the former is spoken of in this verse, to which true believers in Christ agree; who are the good ground, into which the seed of God's word is received, and brings forth fruit; these are God's tillage or husbandry: and the "rain" that comes upon them may signify either the grace of Christ, which, like rain, is an instance of his sovereignty, and what he alone can give, and not the vanities of the Gentiles; and which he gives to persons undeserving of it; and which refreshes, revives, and makes fruitful: or else Christ himself, Psalm 72:6 whose first coming was like rain much desired, and long expected; and so is his spiritual coming very desirable, delightful, refreshing, and fructifying: or rather his Gospel, Deuteronomy 32:2 which comes from above, and is the means of softening hard hearts, of reviving distressed and disconsolate minds, and of making barren souls fruitful; which is done by coming "oft" upon them, at first conversion, and afterwards, alluding to the former and latter rain; and may refer to the receiving of more grace, even grace for grace, out of Christ's fulness, through the ministration of the word, which is drank in by faith, under the influence of the Spirit of God:

and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed; God the Father, who is the husbandman, and ministers of the Gospel, who arc labourers under him; and where the Gospel comes in power, it brings forth the fruits of the Spirit, the fruits of righteousness, the fruits meet for repentance; and which are to the glory of God the Father, and are answerable to the means be makes use of, the ministry of the word and ordinances; and no man can bring forth fruit without Christ, his Spirit, and grace: and such earth, or those signified by it,

receiveth blessing from God; both antecedent to all this, and which is the cause of fruitfulness; and as consequent upon it, for such receive more grace, even all the blessings of grace, and at last the blessing of glory; and all this being in a way of receiving, shows it to be of gift, and of pure grace.

{3} For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

(3) He lays out the former threatening with a comparison.

Hebrews 6:7-8. Confirmation of the ἀδύνατον κ.τ.λ. on its objective side; since in connection with so great culpability and such ingratitude the divine punishment cannot fail to ensue. This thought is rendered manifest by means of a similitude. The common subject for Hebrews 6:7 and Hebrews 6:8 is not merely γῆ, but γῆ ἡ πιοῦσα τὸν ἐπʼ αὐτῆς ἐρχόμενον πολλάκις ὑετόν taken together. For the intention of the author is to point to the diversity of result arising from equally favourable preliminary conditions. The main point of the similitude, however, lies in Hebrews 6:8, while Hebrews 6:7 serves only by way of preparation, and as a means of bringing out into bolder relief the following opposition.

γῆ γὰρ ἡ πιοῦσαὑετόν] for the field which has drunk in the rain frequently coming down upon it. Figure of the men before described, who ofttimes have experienced God’s gracious benefits, and have received the same into themselves.

The participle aorist πιοῦσα is chosen, while then participles present (τίκτουσα, ἐκφέρουσα) follow, because the fact already historically completed is to be emphasized, from which, then, two different effects are developed for the time present.

A πίνειν, τίκτειν, etc., is ascribed to the γῆ, because this, as in general is very frequently the case, is personified as a part of the life-displaying, assiduously productive nature.

ἐπʼ αὐτῆς] The construction of ἐπί with the genitive, after a verb of motion, is distinguished from the more usual one with the accusative, in this respect, that the former includes in itself at the same time the notion of tarrying. Comp. Winer, Gramm. 7 Aufl. p. 352.

καὶ τίκτουσα] In place of this, merely τίκτουσα or τίκτουσα μέν would have been more correctly written. Καί, however, does not stand in the sense of “also” (Hofmann), but is the ordinary “and.”

Βοτάνη] in the N. T. only here, employed by the LXX. as a rendering of דֶּשֶׁא (Genesis 1:11-12), עֵשֶּׂב (Exodus 9:22; Exodus 10:12; Exodus 10:15), and חָצִיר (Job 8:12), denotes, according to its derivation from βόσκω, originally herbage or pasturage, but then also every kind of vegetation or produce of the field.

εὔθετος] well-placed, fit, profitable. Comp. Luke 9:62; Luke 14:35.

ἐκείνοις] may be referred to εὔθετον (Böhme and the majority), but it also admits of being referred to τίκτουσα (Bleek, Alford, Hofmann).

διʼ οὕς] for whose sake. Grammatically false, the Vulgate, Zeger, and others: a quibus; Calvin: quorum opera; Erasmus, Vatablus, Heinrichs, and others: per quos; Luther: for those who till it; Schulz: for those who labour on it; Wieseler (Comm. üb. d. Br. P. an die Gal., Gött. 1859, p. 111): at whose command and disposal.

καὶ γεωργεῖται] it also (or even) is cultivated, brings into relief the naturalness of the τίκτειν βοτάνην εὔθετον ἐκείνοις, in that the ἐκεῖνοι are the proprietors of the land, to whom the cultivation and produce of the same pertains. Incorrectly Schlichting (as likewise Böhme, Kuinoel, Hofmann): Ait autem “et colitur,” ut ad imbrium irrigationem etiam terrae istius diligentem accedere culturam ostendat. In the application of the figure, the ἐκεῖνοι, διʼ οὓς καὶ γεωργεῖται are God and Christ; not God alone (Schlichting, Grotius, Cramer, de Wette, Tholuck, Alford), since in this way justice is not done to the plural.

μεταλαμβάνει εὐλογίας ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ] receives part in the blessing at the hand of God, namely, in that its fruitfulness is progressively augmented. Comp. Matthew 13:12; John 15:2. Too weak, Grotius, Wittich: it is praised or commended by God.

ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ] from God (as the bestower), is best connected with μεταλαμβάνει, not with εὐλογίας.

Hebrews 6:7-8 present an analogy in nature to the doom of the apostate.

7. For the earth which drinketh in] Rather, “For land which has drunk.” Land of this kind, blessed and fruitful, resembles true and faithful Christians. The expression that the earth “drinks in” the rain is common (Deuteronomy 11:11). Comp. Virg. Ecl. iii. iii, “sat prata biberunt.” For the moral significance of the comparison—namely that there is a point at which God’s husbandry seems to be rendered finally useless,—see Isaiah 5:1-6; Isaiah 5:24.

by whom it is dressed] Rather, “for whose sake (propter quos. Tert.) it is also tilled”—namely for the sake of the owners of the land.

blessing] Genesis 27:27, “a field which the Lord hath blessed.” Psalm 65:10, “Thou blessest the increase of it.”

Hebrews 6:7. Γῆ, the earth) This is figurative.—πιοῦσα, drinking) not merely on the surface.—ἐπʼ αὐτῆς, upon it) This is more significant than if it had been ἐπʼ αὐτὴν, over it; for it denotes the unceasing (continuous) bounty of heaven.—πολλάκις, often) Hence the ἅπαξ, once, is softened, Hebrews 6:4.—ἐρχόμενον, coming) spontaneously.—τίκτουσα, which bringeth forth) by the regular mode of generating. The antithesis is ἐκφέρουσα, that which beareth, without law and order, in the following verse. The LXX. transl. also use ἐκφέρω in a good sense; but here the force of the particle δὲ, but, falls upon ἐκφέρουσα, that which beareth.—εὔθετον, meet) The antithesis is ἀδόκιμος, rejected.—διʼ οὕς) for the sake of whom.—καὶ, also) This particle gives an intensive power to the present tense of the verb γεωργεῖται, is constantly dressed: cultivation, blessing; cursing, burning, are opposed by Chiasmus (i.e. the first to the fourth, the second to the third).—μεταλαμβάνει, is partaker of) The antithesis is, nigh. The Divine blessing on good land is lasting: the Divine curse follows bad land. Concerning both, comp. Jeremiah 17:5; Jeremiah 17:7.—ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ, from God) It is not merely cultivated by men.

Hebrews 6:7The inevitableness of the punishment illustrated by a familiar fact of nature.

The earth (γῆ)

Or the land. Personified. Comp. αὐτομάτη ἡ γῆ the land of itself, Mark 4:28, see note.

Which drinketh in (ἡ πιοῦσα)

Appropriates the heavenly gift of rain, the richness of which is indicated by that cometh oft upon it.

Herbs (βοτάνην)

Grass, fodder. N.T.o.

Meet for them by whom it is dressed (εὔθετον ἐκείνοις δι οὕς καὶ γεωργεῖται)

For εὔθετον, lit. well placed, thence fit or appropriate, see Luke 9:62; Luke 14:35. Γεωργεῖν to till the ground, N.T.o. Rend. tilled. Dress is properly to trim. The natural result of the ground's receiving and absorbing the rains is fruitfulness, which redounds to the benefit of those who cultivate it.

Receiveth blessing from God (μεταλαμβάνει εὐλογίας ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ)

Rend. partaketh of blessing. The blessing is increased fruitfulness. Comp. Matthew 13:12; John 15:2.

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