Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.III
Warning exhortation to give heed to the revelation that has been brought to us through so extraordinary a mediation
1Therefore [For this reason, διὰ τοῦτο] we ought1 [it is necessary, δεῖ] to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard [to the things which were heard, τοῖς ἀκουσθεῖσι], lest at any time [lest haply, lest perchance, μήποτε] we let them slip [flow by or drift away from them]. 2For if the word spoken by [through, διά] angels was [became, proved, ἐγένετο] steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; 3How shall we escape, if we neglect [after neglecting, ἀμελήσαντες] so great [a] salvation; which at the first began to be [was originally] spoken by [through, διά] the Lord, and was confirmed unto [for] us by them that heard4 him; God also [jointly] bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles [acts of power, δυνάμεις], and gifts [distributions] of the Holy Ghost, according to his own [his αὐτοῦ] will?
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
HEBREWS 2:1. For this reason it is necessary.—For the term Gospel (εὐαγγέλιον) our author employs here, after the periphrastic style of Luke (who employs the term εὐαγγέλιον only Acts 15:7; 20:24), the term τὰ ἀκουσθέντα, the things which were heard, as referring not so immediately to the subject-matter of the Gospel, as to that special form of announcement which stands distinguished above all other methods of revelation. The Gospel would demand and deserve attention in whatever manner it might have found utterance in words, and addressed itself to our ears. The transcendent preëminence, however, of the mode of its historical introduction, creates a necessity lying in the very nature of the case, and whose observance is imperatively binding upon us, to direct and yield up to it our persons, Acts 16:14 (προσέχειν ἡμᾶς, with a correspondingly heightened devotion (περισσοτέρως), frequent with Paul, and not, as affirmed by Bleek, unknown to the classics, but found [Del.] DIOD. SIC. XIII. p. 108; ATHEN., V., p. 192 f.). For the διὰ τοῦτο, on this account, so points back to the preceding exhibition of the glory of the Mediator of the New Testament revelation, as to furnish a basis for that warning admonition to fidelity of faith, to which the author’s anxiety for his readers leads him at this early stage of the Epistle. If the required heed and devotion are withheld, then must follow the fearful consequences, which, as shown by the μήποτε, the author would fain avert from his readers.—lest we be swept, or drift by (παραῤῥυῶμεν, Lachm., Tisch., is 2 Aor. Subj. Pass.). Drift by what? Not by the sure harbor of eternal blessedness—which were only properly a consequence—but by that which is heard. Here again, however, it is not to be understood of forgetting the mere words, which would be a meaning quite inadequate to the gravity of the passage; nor of drifting by the salvation contained in the Gospel, which is correct, indeed, as to the substance of the thought, but overlooks the specific demands of the context. It is rather that firm hold or holding-point, proffered in the Gospel, and which conditions our attainment of salvation. This those lose who do not yield themselves up personally to that which is brought to their hearing, and are then carried away from the Gospel, and as it were swept by the salvation which is in it not merely announced, but actually held out and communicated to believers, and are thus without stay or anchor, borne on by the stream, “as a ship before her landing shoots away into destruction.” (Gloss of LUTHER).
HEBREWS 2:2. For if the word which was spoken through angels.—The supposition, which the author shares with his readers, and which he makes the basis of his reasoning, a minori ad majus, is the two-fold one, 1. that the Mosaic law is a word established by Divine authority, and which hence is not only obligatory, but also in earlier history vindicated its validity against every objective transgression (παράβασις), and subjective neglect (παρακοή, refusal to hear), by corresponding retribution; 2. that it was given through the intervention not of the Divine Messiah or Son, but only of angels. This angelic agency, however, finds no mention at Ex. 19. in connection with the legislation of Sinai, and also at Hebr. 12:19, only a Divine φωνὴ ῥημάτων, voice of words is mentioned in distinction from the accompanying natural phenomena. For this reason Dorsch, Calov, Schöttgen, Carpzov and Semler, have referred the passage to such revelations as Gen. 19:26, in which angelic agency is actually mentioned, exclusively of the law; while again D. Heinsius and G. Olearius, seeing that λόγος here must refer to the Mosaic law, have regarded the ἄγγελοι as referring to human messengers. But for the existence of the belief that the law of God was given to Moses by the mediation of angels, we have as testimonies JOSEPH. Antiq. Jud., XV., 5, 3, and CARMINA SAMARIT., Ed. Gesen. III. 8; IV—8, 11, and particularly Acts 7:53, and Gal. 3:19. The tradition itself seems to have its biblical origin in the obscure words of the Song of Moses, Deut. 33:2: “And thou from holy multitudes,” scil. didst come forth, where the LXX. make express mention of angels; as also in Psalm 68 composed in the time of Solomon, in which at Hebrews 2:18 the entrance of Jehovah into Zion in the midst of the myriad chariots of His angels, is compared to His descent upon Sinai. We must guard, however, against restricting this angelic agency to the Angel of the covenant, who acted as Mediator of the most distinguished revelations of God in the Old Testament; for here the word is plural (δἰ ἀγγέλων). The classical ἔνδικος is found elsewhere in the New Testament only at Rom. 3:8. For the simple μισθός wages, or the classical μισθοδοσία, giving of wages, stands here the more full-sounding [indeed more intrinsically emphatic] form μισθαποδοσία rendering, or paying of wages; here the term is used in a bad sense, while at Hebrews 10:35; 11:26, the requital is not that of punishment, but of approving reward.
HEBREWS 2:3. How shall we escape—salvation?—The future ἐκφευξόμεθα stands in reference to the final judgment: we need not, however, (with Heinrichs, Steng., Ebr.) supply anything from Hebrews 2:2; but simply take the expression as at Hebrews 12:25; 1 Thess. 5:3, technically and absolutely. The Aor. Part. ἀμελήσαντες specifies the act which must have preceded and determined the impossibility of escape. This utter and complete impossibility (πῶς) of escape lies in the fact that precisely we (ἡμεῖς), who live in the time of salvation, have to do with a salvation of such transcendent excellence (τηλικαύτης σωτηρίας)=talis tantæque salutis, as that now under consideration.
Which being originally spoken through the Lord, etc.—The clause commencing with ἥτις (quippe quæ) is not designed to show that which grows out of the nature of “so great a salvation,” (Thol.); nor to exhibit the greatness of this salvation in the exalted character of its Mediator (Del.); but to illustrate the sentiment of the entire passage. The contrast between the mediation accomplished by the Lord, and that effected by angels, forms but a part of the Gospel claim to attention. A second contrast is found in the fact that it is not merely commands (Theod. Mops., Lün., Del.)—we must add that it is not merely promises—which constitute the subject matter of the announcement, but salvation itself. Still we are not therefore authorized in saying (Ebr.) that the law was barely a word: the Gospel, on the contrary, is a deliverance, a redemption, an act. The emphasis lies here, not as at Titus 2:11, on the fact that “the grace of God which bringeth salvation” has been manifested in the world, but that the salvation, after having had its proclamation commenced and inaugurated by the intervention of the Lord the Saviour Himself, has, through immediate ear-witnesses, taking a sure place in history, been transmitted to us.
The link between σωτηρία, salvation, and the βεβαιωθῆναι εἰς ἡμᾶς, established for us, is found in the Word of Salvation (Acts 13:26, ὁ λόγος τῆς σωτηρίας ταύτης), whose historical carrying forward and perpetuation was no less marvellous than its origin. Lönemann declines here to find a contrast between a more remote and a more immediate Word of God, on the ground that God himself is the ultimate and supreme author, as well of the Mosaic law as of the Gospel, and that the latter, as having originated διὰ τοῦ κυρίου is, in like manner, an intermediate one; while Ebrard and Delitzsch maintain such a contrast on the ground of the divine nature and equality of the Son. Both are equally wide of the mark. For while διὰ τοῦ κυρίου stands indeed parallel to δἰ ἀγγέλων, the relation of intermediateness expressed equally in both cases by διά, refers in this context not to the intrinsic relation of God Himself to men in His revelation, as being more direct through the Son, more indirect through angels, but contrasts the historical beginnings of the two Testaments, as being inaugurated the one through angels, and the other through the Lord Himself. The author’s eye is directed not to the transcendental, but to the historical mediation, as shown by the participial clause ἀρχὴν λαβοῦσα λαλεῖσθαι διὰ τοῦ κυρίου, which also is no mere objective apposition to ἐβεβαιώθη (Ebr.)—as if the province of the ear-witnesses was to vouch to later readers for the fact that the Gospel had come from the Lord Himself—but declares rather how the σωτηρία has become matter of evangelical proclamation, in which form it has had, through the ministry of those who heard it, its sure transmission to us.
HEBREWS 2:4. God also jointly bearing them witness, etc.—The “confirmation” (βεβαίωσις) implied in the verb is all the more decisive and absolute from the fact that to the testimony of the Apostolic word is added the accompanying and authenticating testimony of God, John 5:31; Mark 16:20. This testimony comes in acts which, as tokens of an invisible and spiritual agency, are called σημεῖα, signs; as elevated above ordinary and natural laws, and thus exciting wonder and astonishment, τέρατα, prodigies, wonders. Their close connection, expressed by τε καί, both, and, corresponds to the Hebrew אוֹתוֹת וּמוֹפְתים, Ex. 7:3. The mentiontion of these in this connection furnishes an irrefragable historical proof for the fact that not merely in Corinth, but also elsewhere within the sphere of Christianity, phenomena had appeared, which could not be regarded as a mere heightening of natural powers, and that the proclamation of the Gospel in Apostolic times was accompanied by miracles. As a special kind of charismata appear the δυνάμεις also at 1 Cor. 12:10, which at once direct attention to the divine agency required and imparted for the working of miracles, and keep their divine purpose alive in the Christian consciousness. The position of the words shows that πνεύματος ἁγίου is not Gen. Subj. (Camero, etc.), but Gen. Obj.: that κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ θέλησιν is to be referred only to μερισμοῖς (De Wette), and neither (with Abresch, Böhme) to the whole clause, nor (with Bleek) to ποικιλοις μερισμοῖς; and that αὐτοῦ belongs not to πν. ἁγίου (Œcumen. Carpz.) but to θεοῦ. God communicates the Holy Spirit to believers, yet to no individual one of these His entire fulness, and the distribution takes place in each special appropriation, according to His will and purpose. The Hellenistic θέλησις, Pollux Hebrews 2:165 calls ιδιωτικόν.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. With the dignity of the New Testament Mediator, and with the greatness of the salvation which is proffered by Him in the Gospel, stand in corresponding relation the heaviness of the responsibility of the hearers of the Gospel, and the certainty of the condemnation of its despisers. “The child owes a deeper debt than the servant.” (STEIN.) “Strictness and rigor of judgment must stand in relation to infinite grace: the higher the grace, the heavier the punishment. Disobedience to Christ is the thrusting away of our own salvation.” (HEUBNER.) The reason lies in the fact that Christ came not to do away with and abolish the law, but to fulfil it, Matt. 5:17. “With heedlessness, disregard and delay commences that which may end in the most fearful plunge into unbelief, disobedience, and their attendant judgment. Heedfulness, on the other hand, is the stepping-stone to faith, obedience, and the bringing forth of fruit in patience. What is more easily neglected, heeded lightly and thrown behind us, than a word which one hears? And yet how is, at the same time, the seed snatched from the heart, from which might grow faith and blessedness! But how frequently also does this word of patience again make its appeal to the heart!” (RIEGER.)
2. The Gospel is not merely in its subject matter, but also in its form, the most perfect revelation of God. Salvation has not merely appeared, and been introduced into the world by means of the person of the Son of God and Lord of all things—exalted as He is infinitely above the angels—but has also, through the Lord Himself actually found utterance, and received, through His holy and truthful lips, its initiatory proclamation upon earth. “The strictness and rigor of the Old Testament are but a shadow beside the severity of the New.” (QUESNEL.)
3. Not merely the establishment of Christianity, but also its maintenance and propagation in the world, are the work of the Lord. They stand not merely under divine supervision and guidance, but under divine agency, in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, take their respective share. But we are called not merely to a participation in the blessedness of salvation, but also to coöperation in this work of God, in aid of its actual extension and carrying forward in the world.
4. Christianity has not merely to do with the knowledge and recognition of the truth, but also preëminently with the procuring of salvation. But how this is to be accomplished is, under the arrangements of God, announced to us in His word. Precisely for this reason the Gospel of God has been supplied with the most efficient powers, and with the strongest testimonies, and demands of us personal devotion, alike in its appropriation to ourselves, and in its propagation.
5. The distribution of the gifts and influences of the Holy Spirit in the Church is made neither accidentally nor arbitrarily, but in accordance with the will of God. So also the authentication of our testimony by accompanying signs. We must, therefore, neither contemn the lesser and more sparing gifts and signs, nor allow the great, splendid and numerous tokens of such Divine coöperation, to minister to envy, self-exaltation and strife; but mindful of their origin and design, strive to be found in their possession and use, thankful, humble, industrious and faithful.
6. Taking into account the character of the recipients of our Epistle, this passage contains an irrefutable testimony to the actual working of miracles on the part of Jesus and the Apostles. In his appeal to this as a well known and unquestioned fact, the author would have rendered but the slenderest service to his cause, had its reality been open to the slightest shadow of doubt and questioning. Facts like these send to a common grave the mythological hypothesis regarding the history of Jesus, the naturalistic explanation of the miracles, the denial of the agency of the Holy Spirit, and the restricting to purely historical factors the explanation of the origin of Christianity.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The obligation resting on us to give earnest heed to the Gospel which has come to us through Divine coöperation. 1. How it is demonstrated: a. by the greatness of the proffered salvation; b. by the excellence of its original Bearer and Proclaimer; c. by our being placed in the Church of Jesus Christ. 2. How it finds a hinderance: a. in the skeptical spirit of our age; b. in the perversity of our own nature; c. in the temptations to apostasy from the Church. 3. How God aids to its performance: a. by the impressiveness of His judgments; b. by confirming the truth and power of the Gospel in history; c. by the imparting of His Spirit in His operations and gifts.—In the Gospel alone we are to find a sure means of resistance to the tide which would sweep us to perdition; for these means are: 1, originated by Christ; 2, confirmed of God; 3, made efficacious to our salvation by the Spirit.—With what have we, as preachers, most to do in the proclamation of the Gospel: 1, to see that we preach Christ as the Mediator of salvation to all believers; 2, that our preaching of salvation be found in harmony with that of the Apostles; 3, that the testimony of God in manifold tokens and proofs accompany and confirm our testimony.—To what are we especially to give heed in the hearing of the Gospel? 1, that we learn from it the counsel of God for our eternal blessedness; 2, that we accept it as, in accordance with the will of God, it has been brought to us by a special economy of salvation; 3, that we supplicate the assistance of God for our personal attainment of the salvation that is proffered to us.—It is the earnest will of the Lord that His Gospel be: 1, reverently heard; 2, conscientiously obeyed; 3, powerfully and efficiently spread abroad.—By what we recognize the true miracles of God in history: 1, they serve as signs which accompany the word of His revelation, and direct our attention to the sovereign sway of God in the world; 2, they present themselves as the witnesses of God’s pleasure in the proclamation of His word; 3, they evince themselves to be effects of Divine power by their connection with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.—We have no other means of escaping the coming destruction than by giving earnest heed to the Gospel: for 1, the Gospel is not an abrogation, but a confirmation of the Law; hence it, a. requires not merely to be heard, but believed and obeyed; and b. prophesies of the coming destruction of its contemners; but 2, the Gospel is not a repetion, but a fulfilment of the law; hence it, a. preaches in a sure way salvation in Christ; and b. is accompanied by God’s actual attestations to its truth and power.
STARKE:—To whom much is given, of him will also much be required. In the New Testament the light of revelation is much clearer and more glorious than it was amidst the promises and the types of the Old Testament. Bethink thyself, thou who livest in the last time, to what this pledges thee, Luke 12:48; 2 Cor. 6:1.—Thou reader of the Holy Scripture, mark well what thou readest, and give heed to the Divine truths which therein are set before thee, since it is God who speaks with thee; for otherwise thy heedlessness will be sorely punished, Matth. 24:15.—The word of the Law has proved steadfast, in respect of the powerful proofs of Divinity, to wit, the numerous signs and wonders, which accompanied the giving of the Law; 2, in respect of the obligation which it involved to faith and obedience to all the words, commands and prohibitions of the Law; 3, in respect of the promises which the Law communicated to him who was obedient in faith, of which promises not one ever fell to the ground; 4, in respect of the threatenings with which the law is throughout enforced and confirmed.—God’s word, alike Law and Gospel, is unconquerable; it may, perhaps, be assailed, but cannot be overpowered, Luke 16:17.—Ah, what blessedness is it that we have the word from the mouth of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ Himself, confirmed by so many signs and wonders! But precisely according to the greatness of this blessedness is the guilt and punishableness of the unbelief which, notwithstanding this great certainty, still doubts, John 5:38.—The Gospel leads us, indeed, also to our duties, which we have to practise toward God, our neighbor, and ourselves; but the Gospel itself consists in pure blessedness, in the recommending and actual proffering of all the treasures which accompany salvation, Acts 13:26.—Although we, perchance, may not have heard the Son of God preach in person, still this will in no way impair our salvation. For even the author of this Epistle (whoever he is), according to his own acknowledgment, had himself not heard the Son of God, but been converted by the Apostles who had heard Him, Luke 10:18.—The Gospel is a doctrine of whose Divine truths we may be convinced even antecedently to, and without miracles; yet God, in accommodation to the weakness of men, has ex abundanti added miracles, partly to awaken the needed attention, partly to strengthen the faith already kindled, John 20:30, 31.—The miracles that have confirmed the Gospel, God has held under His own control in respect of time, place, persons, number, and kind and manner, Ps. 72:18.
BERLENBURGER BIBLE:—God uses means for our sakes, but we must ascend through the means to their author, and observe the hand of God, so that we may be able to conclude that this and that is the work of God, and not of man, Under the testimony of men, God’s procedure and joint testimony are to be recognized, and not to be disjoined from it.—Down to our own day, it is still a characteristic of ordinary conversions, that God, the Lord, who gives richly, does it still in measure, that man may recognize it as grace.
LAURENTIUS:—What in spiritual and Divine things we have experienced, seen, and heard, we must also announce to others, that in the hearts of others the same may also be established.
RAMBACH:—The contemners of the Gospel will be more sorely punished than the transgressors of the law, as they have less excuse for their unbelief.—He who has done evil, seeks to escape judgment, but from the judgment of God there is no escape.—Miracles are 1. no mere matters of accident, but spring from the eternal counsel and purpose of God, to glorify His Son and His Gospel, John 9:3. 2. They are wrought of God’s free will, according as on special occasions it has seemed to Him good. 1 Cor. 12:11.
STEINHOFER:—Attention to the preached word is most powerfully urged upon us by the importance 1. of the person who has spoken to us of such things; 2. of the subject-matter which is thus revealed and tendered to us.—The proofs which formerly confirmed this word, have, in the lapse of time, lost none of their power.—We desire no other Gospel—as, in fact, there is no other—than that which we have heard from Him, and have believed.
PHIL. MATTH. HAHN:—Reasons for attention to the Gospel: 1. The Lord has spoken; 2. the word speaks of pure salvation; 3. it has been sealed by Divine testimony.
RIEGER:—To refuse to give heed to the counsel of God for our salvation in the Gospel, is a heavier crime than to violate His law. In the case of the law, it is a cannot, of the Gospel, a will not.
HEUBNER:—Disobedience to Christ is a thrusting away of our own salvation.
KLUGE:—The nobler the hope, the more earnest the sanctification.
FRICKE:—As a kernel in the shell lies our whole salvation in the words of Christ. They are all fraught with meaning; here is salvation: hear and embrace!—The additions to the word, which salvation furnishes to us, God gives neither according to reckoning, nor according to desert, but according to His will.—What takes place in the kingdom of Christ, will always bear Christ’s impress upon it.
[OWEN:—Diligent attendance unto the word of the Gospel, is indispensably necessary unto perseverance in the profession of it.—The profession of most of the world is a mere non-renunciation of the Gospel in words, while in their hearts and lives they deny the power of it every day.—If the ministration of the Gospel be not looked on as that which is full of glory, it will never be attended unto.—The word heard is not lost without the great sin, as well as the inevitable ruin, of the souls of men.—It is meet that the Gospel should be armed with threatenings as well as promises.—A sceptre in a kingdom, without a sword—a crown without a rod of iron, will quickly be trampled on.—The threatenings of future penalties on the disobedient, are far more clear and express in the Gospel than in the Law].
 Hebrews 2:1.—[δεῖ, not moral necessity, we ought; but logical, we must, it is necessary.—τοῖς ἀκουσθεῖσιν, historically, to the things which were heard when God ἐλάλησεν spoke in his Son.—μήποτε not, lest at any time (as Moll: nicht jemals), but, lest perchance, lest haply as Hebrews 4:1; Matth. 4:6, 6:25. So Del. and De Wette, nicht etwa; so Alf. and Bib. Un. haply. Wordsworth both here and Hebrews 4:1 neglects it in his rendering.—παραῤῥυῶμεν 2 Aor. Subj. Pass. might be rendered figuratively to slip away from, but not possibly “to let slip, as if causative. Here better to flow by, or, aside from, to drift by, or, away from. Alt.: “to flow past or aside,” “deflect from a course,” and hence “be diverted.” Moll, with many others, vorbeigeströmt werden, to be drifted or swept by.
Hebrews 2:2.—διὰ ἀγγέλων not by angels as agents as if ὑπὀ ἀγγ.; but through, by means of angels, as instruments (διά).—ἐγένετὁ, became proved itself; not was, as Eng. Ver.
Hebrews 2:3.—So also διὰ κυρίου, through the Lord, God the Father being conceived as the supreme agent.—διὰ τῶν ἀκουσάντων, through them that heard him, with still the idea of intermediate agency.—αὐτοῦ, his, not the reflexive αὑτοῦ=ἑαυτοῦ, his own, viz., will (θέλησιν).—K.].
For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.IV
The exaltation of Jesus’ above the Angels, is not disparaged by His earthly life, which rather effects the elevation of humanity
5For unto the angels hath he not [For not unto the angels did he] put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak [are speaking]. 6But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is2 [a] man, that thou art mindful of him? or the [a] son of man, that thou visitest him? 7Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands 8 [om. and didst set him over the works of thy hands]3: Thou hast [didst] put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put [in subjection] under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels [but him who has for some little been made lower than the angels, Jesus, we see] for the [on account of his] suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God4 should [might] taste death for every man. 10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing [as one who brought] many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of [from] one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church [congregation] will I sing praise unto thee. 13And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me [that God gave to me].
[Hebrews 2:5.—οὐ γὰρ ἀγγέλοις, for not unto angels=it is not to angels that he subjected, etc. Ἀγγέλοις without the Art., as marking not the individuals, but the class, and emphatic in its position.—ὑπέταξεν, he subjected, Aor.; not, hath subjected.—τήν οἰκουμένην. There are three words commonly rendered, world: 1. Κόσμος properly the world as a harmoniously adjusted and orderly system of things; this is never used in the phrase, the “world to come;” 2. αἰών, age, duration of time, and hence the world as constituting a particular period of time, or age; so commonly ὁ αἰὼν οὗτος, this age, this world, and αἰὼν ὁ μέλλων, the coming or future age or world; 3. ἡ οἰκουμένη (γῆ), the world as a locality and as inhabited; the world in a more concrete character than is expressed by αἰών.
Hebrews 2:6.—τί ἔστιν ἄνθρωπος. De Wette, Del., Alf. render as=ὁ ἄνθρωπος, man, collectively, as Eng. Ver.: Moll and Lün. a man, individually, which accords better with the absence of the article.
Hebrews 2:7.—βραχύ τι, some little, in the Hebr. text, and in the citation, Hebrews 2:7, in relation to man, is “a paululum of degree;” in its application by the author to Jesus, Hebrews 2:9, it becomes a “paululum of time,” Del., contrasting his temporary humiliation with his permanent exaltation.
Hebrews 2:9.—διὰ τὸ πάθημα τοῦ θανάτου, on account of his suffering of death, referring forward to ἐστεφ, crowned. The Eng. ver. “for the suffering,” etc., suggests an erroneous reference, or is at least ambiguous.—For the general construction of Hebrews 2:9 see exegetical notes.—K.].
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
HEBREWS 2:5. For not unto angels did He put in subjection the coming world of which we are speaking.—The γάρ refers not back to Hebrews 1:13 (de W.), nor in form to the preceding exhortation, while, in fact, introducing an entirely new thought, parallel to the preceding, viz., that in the Son humanity is exalted above the angels (Ebr.). Nor does it introduce the ground on which the author has assigned to the revelation made through the Son a so much loftier position (Thol.), but rather the ground for the earnest exhortation to personal devotion to the system of salvation revealed through the Son. Jewish conceptions assigned to the angels a share, not merely in the giving of the Law, but also in the government of the world, and especially in influencing the events of history. It is uncertain whether Ps. 82 has such a reference; but the LXX., in rendering the obscure words, Deut. 32:8 (that God, when He fixed the heritage of the nations and separated the children of men from one another, fixed the limits of the nations according to the number of the sons of Israel), makes the division to take place according to the number of the angels of God. In the following verse it is then said that the people of Israel are the portion of Jehovah Himself. The same idea is found, Sir. 17:17, and with many Rabbins, who, on the ground of the list of nations, Gen. 10., assume for the seventy nations seventy angelic heads and rulers, while Israel, excepted from the number, is the special and privileged people of the Supreme God. At Dan. 10:13, 20; 21:12, however, we find the representation that the Jews also have such an angelic prince, who takes in charge this people as against the guardian angels at other nations; and at Tob. 12:15, the seven archangels are regarded as the angelic protectors of the covenant people; and at Dan. 4:14, the fate announced to Nebuchadnezzar is indicated as the decision of the “Watchers,” and the decree of the “Holy Ones.” From these passages is explained the mode of expression here employed, in regard to which we may also recollect that the LXX. render the designation of the Messiah, Is. 9:6, (אֲבִי־עַד), according to the Cod. Alex, by πατὴρ τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος, Father of the coming age. For it is not a mere absolute futurity which is meant (Theodoret, Œc, Grot., Schulz), but the Messianic world (Calv.). And the order of the words, too, shows that the contrast is not between the future and the preceding world (Camero, Bl.), but, as indicated also by the absence of the Art. with ἀγγ., between angelic existences and man, to which latter class the Messianic King sustains a relation entirely unlike that which he bears to the former.
HEBREWS 2:6. But some one testified in a certain place.—Here is not the commencement of a new section (Heinr.), but the adversative δέ subjoins a contrast to the idea referred to and denied in the preceding clause, and over against that idea presents in a contrast indicated by its Scriptural citation, the real nature of the case. The indefiniteness of the form of citation (πού, somewhere), occurring also with Philo, (Carpz.), and with many Rabbins (Schöttg.), implies not that, as against the inscription which refers the Psalm to David, the author would ascribe it to some unknown person (Grot.), which would imply a critical habit not at this time existing; nor that, quoting from memory, he did not know the precise locality of the passage (Koppe, Schulz),—a supposition negatived partly by the verbal exactness of the citation, partly by the like mode of citing a passage entirely familiar, Hebrews 4:4 (Lün.); nor that, regarding God or the Holy Spirit as the proper Author of the passage, he was indifferent to its human writer (Bl.), in which case τὶς would hardly have been employed; but is probably a usage purely rhetorical (so the majority after Chrys.). For that God Himself is addressed in this well known passage (Ebr.) is a matter on which no stress need be laid, since the author either might have made the Scripture the subject, or employed a passive construction.
What is a man—all things under his feet.—The connection of the words in Ps. 8:5–7 shows that man, as אֱנוֹשׁ, in contrast with heaven and the shining stars which God has ordained, is conceived immediately in his frailty and earthly lowliness, and it is purely arbitrary to introduce here,—whether into the original text, or the conception of our author (Kuin., Heinr., Böhm., Bl., Stein, Lün.),—the idea of the glory and dignity of man. We find rather the preceding words of the Psalm expressing the idea that God is not stumbled, so to speak, by this natural inferiority of man, but displays His own glory in selecting from such an humble sphere His instruments of victory for the confusion of His enemies. After reminding us, Hebrews 2:2, that God, whose majesty is extolled above the heavens, has also a mighty name upon the earth, the Psalmist declares in Hebrews 2:3 that out of the mouth of children and sucklings He has prepared to Himself a power against His adversaries, to subdue the enemy, the seeker of vengeance. On this follows (Hebrews 2:4) the wondering gaze at the heavens, the work of the fingers of God, and then, Hebrews 2:5, the contrasted reference to the twofold nature of man, appearing, on the one hand, frail and impotent, as a mortal dweller on the earth, as a creature of dust, and, on the other, not merely an object of loving care, but an instrument, preferred before all creatures, for the execution of the will of God. The subsequent delineations of the Psalm show that the reference is to that position of sovereignty which, according to the account of creation, man has received by virtue of his possession of the Divine image. Precisely for this reason it is added: “Thou hast made him to fall short but little of Deity.” Elohim without the Art. expresses abstractly the Divine in its super-terrestrial character,—nay, 1 Sam. 28:13; Zech. 12:19, the super-terrestrial in general, such as appertains to spirits. The Psalmist thus says, not that man is made almost equal to Jehovah, but that he has received almost a supra-terrestrial nature and position. Hence the LXX. in place of Elohim put παῤ ἀγγέλους. But the words of the text do not justify Calov, Vitr., Stier, Ebr., in taking not merely the βραχύ τι of the Sept., but even the Heb. מְעַט, not, of degree, but, of time, in the sense, “Thou hast for a season let him fall short of Elohim, i.e, of the intercourse and presence of the world-ruling Deity in His glory, which the angels, as inhabitants of heaven, always enjoy.” Equally unwarranted is the assumption that this glory of man is a glory as yet merely promised by God, and that the hope of the Psalmist looks to its speedy realization. For the “falling short” or “lacking” is not transferred back to the past, nor the ‘crowning’ carried forward to the future; but the two are represented as contemporaneous, and the description refers to man, not after the Fall, but in his primitive and normal condition. Precisely for these reasons can the words be applied to the Messiah, and the application made by our author, Hebrews 2:9, is facilitated by the expression, “Son of Man.” But it finds in this expression, neither its occasion nor its substantial reason, and the nature of the argument rather requires us here to regard the author as applying the parallel terms, ‘man’ and “Son of man,” to mankind in general (Bez., Storr, Ebr., Del.), than to assume in the original a direct reference of these words to Christ (Bl., Lün.), and thus interpolate here the quite differently applied train of thought which is found at 1 Cor. 15:25 ff.5
HEBREWS 2:8. For in subjecting to him all things he has left nothing.—The author proceeds to draw from the words of the Psalmist a conclusion which introduces the proof of the position laid down in Hebrews 2:5. The subject of the verb is not the Psalmist, but God (3:15; 8:13), and αὐτῷ refers not to the Son of man, either as appealing in Christ as a historical person (Calv., Gerh., Calov, Seb. Schmidt, Lün., etc.), or simply as ideally conceived, but to man as such, as immediate object of Ps. 8 (Bez., Grot., Schlicht, Ebr., Del.). But neither is it his purpose to make good and justify the declaration of the Psalmist (Hofm.). This rests on the statement of Gen. 1:28. It is rather to justify the declaration of the author that God has not subjected to angels the future world of which we speak. This is done by an appeal to the infallible word of Scripture that God has subjected every thing to man: this declaration admits no exception. It cannot be objected to the legitimacy of this conclusion, that the Psalmist is speaking of the present, and our author of the future world, and that he is thus unwarranted in including the οἰκουμ. μέλλ. in the category of the “all things.” With partial correctness, Del. remarks, after Hofm.: The world, as collective aggregate of what is created, coincides with the generic term, “all things,” and the present and future world are not two different things, comprehended under the τὰ πάντα, but they are the τὰ πάντα—the all things themselves, only in two distinct and successive forms. Still I would rather lay the emphasis on the fact that in οἰκ. μέλλ. denotes the Messianic world as that in which alone the Divine destination of man to dominion over all things can have its accomplishment. By this, attention is at once directed partly to the present position of the human race, not yet corresponding with its destiny, and partly to that fulfilment of the Divine declaration which, through Jesus the Messianic King, has been already commenced, and is pledged to an absolute completion.
But now we see not as yet all things subjected to him.—The νῦν δέ is not logical,=but as the case stands, in fact, but directs our eyes to the earthly present, which shows the universe as yet not in a condition answering to its destination. By this the certain fulfilment of the divine declaration, is indeed held out in prospect for a more perfect future. But this aspect of the subject the author is not now unfolding. To assume (with Lün), a contrast between that which we now see and that which we shall yet see, disturbs the connection, and is inconsistent with the following verse. The purpose of the author is to prove that the future or Messianic world—the world of redemption—that world which forms the proper subject of communication between him and his readers—is as far as the original world, which began with creation, from being subjected to angelic beings. Hence he institutes a double contrast of that which we now do not see: primarily a contrast with the declaration immediately preceding [viz. the inferential statement that God subjecting to man all things, has left nothing unsubjected to him]; and, secondly, a contrast with that which we now already see [viz., Jesus glorified in advance, and for the sake of, humanity.] Even the δέ in our passage should have awakened a suspicion against the common assumption that we have here an objection to the declaration of the Psalm, or a limitation of our author’s previous position inferentially derived from it. [Νῦν has here, with nearly all interpreters, the temporal signification. While entirely coinciding with the author’s general exposition, which cites the passage from the Psalm in its primary literal acceptation, and then draws out from it, by legitimate reasoning, its proper Messianic application, I yet incline strongly to the logical explanation of νῦν. The closing clause of Hebrews 2:8: “For in subjecting to Him all things, etc.,” is purely logical. It seems more natural that the next should commence with a logical particle, and it is precisely because the author (as Moll maintains above) is not yet contrasting the present with the future; but an actual condition with an ideal condition, that I prefer to take νῦν in the purely logical sense, which is not inconsistent with the not yet, (or possibly not at all) of the οὔπω. I would thus render, “But as it is, in no way,” or, “But as it is, not yet do we see,” etc. Still, if we forbear to press the νῦν, its temporal acceptation harmonizes nearly as well with the reasoning as the logical. I wish to add that the passage, rightly expounded, is a beautiful specimen of the author’s skilful and profound manner of dealing with Scripture; or, perhaps we should rather say, it is a striking example of a commentary by the Spirit of inspiration on a passage which the Spirit had indited.—K.].
HEBREWS 2:9. But him who has been for a little humbled below the angels, Jesus, we behold—honor. The position and import of the word ‘Jesus,’ standing in close connection with the finite verb βλέπομεν, and between the two Perf. Part. ἠλαττ. and ἐστεφ., of which the former has the Art. the latter not, present to us the historical Saviour as the person in whom the language of the Psalm has its fulfilment. The object is not a direct contrast between as yet unexalted humanity, and the already exalted Jesus, nor between the humiliation and exaltation of the Messiah; but simply this, to declare that that Jesus who was once, for a little, humbled below the angels, is well known as a person crowned on account of His suffering of death with glory and honor, and that to Him must be referred the words of the Psalm, because also now, i.e, in the period of redemption and the time of the Messiah, these infallible words of the Psalm can apply to no other “man” and “Son of man” than Jesus. While HOFMANN formerly (Weiss. II. 28) regarded τὸν ἠλαττ. as predicate, I̓ησοῦν as obj. and ἐστεφ. as its apposition, he now more correctly regards (Schriftb. I. 187) τὸν ἠλαττ. as object., Ἰησ. as in apposition with it, and ἐστεφ. as predicate. This construction is, on grammatical grounds, preferable to that adopted by Ebr. and Del., which makes Ἰησ. the proper object of βγέπ., and ἠλαττ. its apposition, placed before it on purely rhetorical grounds.6 True, Lün. goes too far in maintaining that Ἰησ. is wholly unemphatic, and could even be dispensed with. But the emphasis lies certainly on the predicates formed from the words of the Psalm, which describe the two contrasted conditions of the Lord, and hence inclose as it were between them the historical name of His person. The subjection of the world under man we as yet see not; but we see the man really characterized by the Psalm, viz: Jesus, in whose history we at the same time recognize the deeper significance of its words, and learn to give to the words, “lowered a little below the angels” a new and profounder import. The Messianic application of Psalm 8 is made in a different way by Jesus Himself at Matt. 21:16, and again in still another way by Paul 1 Cor. 15:27. In both cases, however, Jesus is regarded as the ‘Lord,’ equal to God; and as such is also the doctrine of our author, we need not, by our anxiety to retain the historical sense of the βραχύ τι, be misled into the rendering of Hofm., “Him who was well-nigh equal to the angels.” The transition of the βραχύ τι of degree into the βραχύ τι of time is all the more easy, from the fact that on the one hand the meaning of the phrase is in clasical Greek more commonly temporal, and that, on the other, the actual state of the case, man’s inferiority to angels, having its ground in his corporeal and mortal nature, is but transient, and limited to his earthly life; while for Jesus, this period of His life, being already completely finished, belongs now to the past. We are, in like manner, to reject Hofmann’s reference of the words: “crowned with glory and honor,” to the furnishing out and endowing of Jesus at His entrance into the world, or to His designation and appointment as Saviour; also his idea that the “suffering of death” refers to that suffering of death to which man, instead of enjoying his destined sovereignty, is subjected, and which, consequently, becomes thus the occasioning cause of the appointment of Jesus as Saviour. For Christ’s appointment as Saviour is indicated in the words, “lowered for some little below the angels,” while His “crowning” is constantly referred in the New Testament to His heavenly reward, obtained after His successful and victorious life-conflict of suffering and of faith; while again, His suffering of death appears as the ground and procuring cause of His glorification, (5:10; Phil. 2:9). Precisely for this reason also we are to refer the διὰ τὸ πάθ τοῦ θαν., not (with Orig., Chrys., Theod., Aug., Bez., Calov, etc.,) to ἡλαττ. but to ἐστεφ. as is also indicated by its position in the sentence.
That by the grace of God, on behalf of every man, he might taste of death.—The clause commencing with ὅπως [in order that=ἴνα] and thence introducing not a mere result (Eras., Kuin., etc.) but purpose, cannot, from the nature of the thought, be connected directly with ἐστεφ. [“crowned in order that”], nor from the structure of the sentence with ἠλαττ., but must be regarded either as a pregnant exponent of πάθημα τοῦ θανάτου, (Thol., Lün.), or as belonging to the entire participial predicative clause—[i.e., “crowned on account,” etc.]—(Del.) and thus assigning the reason why Jesus was exalted, not without the suffering of death, and even on account of it; or, according to my view, as final object of the two-fold declaration respecting Christ’s transfer into His two successive states of humiliation and glorification. With this explanation accords best the reasoning of the following verse; and in the present final clause itself, the author’s main point is not to explain why Jesus has gone through suffering to glory (with which understanding Grot., Carpz., Storr, Bleek, etc., supply, from the preceding πάθημα, an explanatory ὃ ἔπαθεν) but to declare the object to be subserved alike by the incarnation of the First Born, and the exaltation of the Crucified One in the inseparable unity of the theanthropic person Jesus, viz.: the fulfilment of the divine purpose, that Jesus should, by the grace of God, for the benefit of every one, taste of death. There is no reason for laying the entire stress on ὑπὲρ παντός, although the masc. sing is employed with a designed emphasis. The weight of the thought is rather distributed nearly equally between the impressive closing words γεύσηται θανάτου, taste of death, the ὑπὲρ παντός, which declares the universality of the purpose and merit of His death, accomplished by His entrance into glory, and the χάριτι θεοῦ which refers back the whole, for its efficient and originating cause, to the grace of God. (We add, in passing, that the γεύσηται θανάτου taste of death refers neither to brevity of duration—simply “tasting,” (as Chrys., Primas., Braun, etc.,) nor to the bitterness of the death (Calov), nor to its reality (Beza, Bengel), but presupposes Jesus’ personal experience of the suffering of death and his incarnation). Even the reading χωρὶς θεοῦ would not necessarily require more than a secondary stress to be laid upon ὑπὲρ παντός. This would be the most natural, as also would the neuter rendering of παντός (every thing), only in case we take the thought to be that Jesus suffered death for all existences, with the single exception of God (Orig., Theodor., Ebr.), contrary to Hebrews 2:16; or, in order, with the exception of God, to gain and subjugate every thing to Himself (Beng., Chrys., Fr. Schmidt); the thought in this case being parallel to that Eph. 1:10, and the form of expression to 1 Cor. 15:27. Other interpreters take the words χωρὶς θεοῦ as an independent characterization, either of the subject of the clause [Christ separately from God], or of the verb [taste of death apart from God]. The former is advocated by Theod. Mops. and his pupil Nestorius, by Ambros., Fulgent., and Colomesius, (Obb. sacr. 603), who thus made Christ to have died in His humanity, without participation of His divinity: the latter, with a reference to Matt. 27:46, by PAUL., and BAUMGART., (Sach. I. 359, and in the Sermon: “How the sight of Jesus, amidst the woes of life, suffices for our blessedness, Brunsw. 1856). HOFM., who formerly explained thus (Weiss. I. 92): “Jesus has tasted death, χωρὶς θεοῦ, by surrendering to death a life (commencing in time), separated from God,” has abandoned both the interpretation and the reading on which it was based. The dispute regarding its genuineness is ancient. For while Orig. (at John 1:1) declares that he had found the reading χάριτι only ἔν τισι ἀντιγράφοις, JEROME (ad Gal. 1:2) has, in like manner, found absque Deo only in quibusdam exemplaribus.
HEBREWS 2:10. For it became him—perfect through sufferings,—it seems, at first view, more natural to find the stress of the thought in διὰ παθημάτων (Lün., Del.) than in τελειῶσαι (Thol.), by which διὰ παθημάτων is reduced to a mere secondary and incidental place. In the former case, the way so offensive to the Jews, which leads the Messiah to glory through suffering and death, is here justified as entirely worthy of God. In the other case, we should have the thought expressed that it was indispensable that He should be glorified Himself, who became to others the author of salvation. But the connection demands an equal emphasis upon both points, to which also corresponds the two-fold description of God as the Being by whom and for whom are all things. God—not Christ, as (Prim., Hunn., Dorsch., Cram., etc.)—is designated as the final cause (for whom), and the instrumental cause (by or through whom) of all, in order, at the same time, to remind the reader that alike the τελίωσις, perfecting, which is the end, and the παθήματα, sufferings, which are the means, stand respectively in corresponding relation to those respective aspects of God’s being and agency. The perfecting (τελειοῦν) embraces at once the outward and the inward, the formal and the spiritual elements of perfecting, Hebrews 9:9, the bringing the person to the goal by the complete realization and fulfilment of his entire destiny (Thol.), so that the reaching of the highest outward goal is the consequence of internal moral perfection (Camero, de W.). For the perfect (τέλειον) stands in contrast alike with the incipient, the imperfect, and the unrealized (Köstl.). Lün. takes the idea too restrictedly as identical with δόξ. καὶ τιμ. ἐστεφ.
As leading many sons—perfect through sufferings.—We might be inclined to refer the participial clause, “leading many sons,” etc., to Jesus, as in apposition with “Leader of their salvation,” (ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας), but placed emphatically before it as in Hebrews 2:9 (so Primas., Erasm., Este, Ebr., Win.). And to this neither the absence of the Art. before ἀγαγόντα (Böhm., Bl.), nor the expression υἱούς, sons (Lün.), constitutes any objection. For as to the former, the participial clause is only made by the failure of the Art., subordinate to its noun [the Leader, as one who led] instead of being coördinated with it as in case of the employment of the Art. [the Leader who led]; and as to the latter we might say that while those brought to glory are indeed brethren of Christ, yet here they are mentioned not, in their relation to Him, as brethren, but in their relation to God as sons, especially as God is the subject of the entire sentence. But the word ἀρχηγός. (12:2; Acts 3:15; 5:31) needs no explanatory apposition (Lün.). It is an abridged form of ἁρχεγέτης, with which, Philo designates the first Adam, and it denotes him who, at the head of a company, goes in advance of them, and leads them to a like goal; it thus passes over into the sense of author, originator, and becomes=αἴτιος (Bl. II. 1, p. 302). The goal is here ‘salvation’ (σωτηρία), to which ‘glory’ (δόξα) in the participial clause is entirely equivalent. We refer, therefore (with Chrys., Luth., Calov, and most intpp.), this participial clause more fittingly to God, of whom then the same is said, as the expression, “Leader of their salvation,” declares in reference to Christ. He is author of salvation for a great number of children, who are styled ‘many,’ not in the sense of ‘all,’ (Seb. Schmidt), and not in antithesis to all, but in contrast to ‘few,’ and in relation to ‘the One’ (Del.). The irregular Acc. ἀγαγόντα (for Dat. ἀγαγόντι) cannot be urged (as by Carpz., Mich., etc.) against this construction; for the Accus. is the natural case for the subject of the Inf., whence also transitions into it are frequent in spite of a preceding Dat. (KÜHN., Gr. II., 346; BERNH. Synt., 367; BUTTM. Gr. N. Test., 1859, p. 262).
The Aor. Part. (ἀγαγόντα) was formerly commonly taken in the sense of the Pluperf., and was applied, if it was referred to God as subject, to the saints of the Old Test., as Hofm. even still says (II., 1, 39): “The God who has led many sons to glory, a Moses to the prophetic, an Aaron to the high-priestly, a David to the royal dignity, must render this Son, to whom He had given as His distinguishing vocation, the realization of that destiny of humanity which is set forth in Ps. 8, perfect through suffering.” If, on the contrary, the Part. were referred to Christ, then they were applied (as still by WIN. Gr. Ed. 6) to the men already saved through the personal instructions of Jesus. But it is alike inadmissible to weaken the idea of δόξα, glory, hitherto used of Christ’s heavenly glorification, into the lower conception of an earthly, prophetic, priestly, or kingly dignity, and to make the teachings of Jesus, exclusively of His glorious exaltation acquired by sufferings, the cause of salvation. All more recent investigations, however, show that the restricting of the Aor. Part, to the past—a restriction already previously abandoned in reference to the Infin.—is inadmissible. The future signification which many expositors, as even Grotius and Bleek, following Erasmus, give to the participle, is certainly unwarrantable. And to refer it again (with Grot., Limb., Schlicht.), to the eternal purpose and decree of God, though justified by Kuinoel on the ground of an utterly erroneous canon of the earlier Rhetoricians, that the Aor. can be used de conatu, is, of course, to be rejected. “Customary” action may, indeed, be denoted by the Aor., but we are forbidden to assume such a use here, by the fact that we are required by the term ἀρχηγός to restrict the “Sons” spoken of to the New Testament times, excluding those of the Old. [I would add, that there is no such use of the Aor. Participle to denote customary action, as would, in any case, justify the construction here supposed.—K.]. This difficulty is evaded by Tholuck’s assumption, that, here, without respect to relations of time, the Part. expresses the simple way and manner of the perfection, claiming that the Aor. connected with the finite verb, may express that which is contemporaneous with the finite verb, whether mention of this be present or future. To this Lün. objects, that while the Aor. Infin. may be thus used irrespectively of time, this usage does not extend to the Part., and that ἀγαγόντα cannot express the way and manner of the τελειῶσαι—the perfecting—inasmuch as the personal objects of the two verbs are different, ἀγαγόντα having for its object υἱούς, sons, and τελειῶσαι, the Captain, τὸν ἀρχηγόν. The former remark, however, does not touch the examples adduced by Tholuck; and the latter appears to rest on a misapprehension. For the “perfecting” of Jesus, as ‘Leader of salvation,’ has been historically accomplished in His person in no other way and manner than by having had personally His career and course of life in a communion and fellowship of men believing on Him, and transformed by Him into children of God, who, after His manner and type, were led to glory—(a manner and type which Jac., Cappell. and Grot. restrict too exclusively to sufferings). To this also comes substantially the explanation of Lün. himself, viz., that from the stand-point of the writer, the participial clause stands in causal relation to the main proposition, and that the Aor. Part. is justified by the fact that in reality God, from the moment Christ came upon earth as Redeemer, and found faith existing, led to glory, that is, put upon the way to glory, those who had become believers in Him.
[The knot of the difficulty of the Aor. Part. ἀγαγόντι is scarcely yet untied. That it may grammatically be equally well referred either to God, or to the ‘Leader of salvation,’ Christ, seems unquestionable; and in either construction it makes nearly equally good sense, and is liable substantially to the same difficulties. Granting it, however (as with most, I, on the whole, prefer), to be connected with God (to which, as Moll justly remarks, and for the reason which he assigns, the Acc. case of the Part. constitutes no objection), it still remains a question why, and in precisely what sense, the Aor. Part. is used. That, like the Inf., it can be used without specific reference to past time, and that, in a certain sense, it takes its time from its accompanying finite verb, is unquestionable. It usually thus either denotes an act actually, or ideally and logically separable from that expressed by the finite verb, and conceived as logically prior to it, or, as remarked by Thol., expresses its way and manner. Thus to give examples of its several uses:
1. Of its frequent use as applied to past time: “God, after speaking (λαλήσας) to the Fathers, spoke to us,” etc. “Opening (ἀνοίξαντες) their treasures, they presented.” They opened their treasures and presented.
2. Of contemporaneous action actually distinct: “On seeing (ἰδόντες) the star, they rejoiced.” They saw the star before they could rejoice, and yet they rejoiced as soon as they saw the star. Logically, the seeing preceded the rejoicing: chronologically they were simultaneous.
3. A still stronger case of the merely logical separation: “Answering (ἀποκριθείς) he said=he answered and said. The ‘answering’ and ‘saying’ are absolutely and completely one and the same act, but the mind views it under two distinct aspects, and of these the ‘answering’ is logically anterior to the ‘saying.’ So “Jesus crying with a loud voice, said, Father,” etc., here, as in the preceding, the distinction of time is purely logical, the ‘crying’ and ‘saying’ being two aspects of the same act.
4. These latter examples often run into way and manner: “Answering, he said”=“he answered and said,” or nearly=he said in the way of answering. Πιὼν φάρμακον ἀπέθανεν, ‘he drank poison and died,’ or here more exactly, “he died of drinking poison.” Plato does not mean to say (Phæd. I.) “after drinking poison he died,” but “he drank poison and died,” or better, “he died by drinking poison.” Hence the Aor. Part. sometimes denotes almost or quite purely, ‘way and manner.’
5. We may remark, that the Aor. Part. may be employed to denote an idea that is strictly subordinate to that of the accompanying verb, or really coördinate with it, and of equal, or even superior importance. Thus, ‘He directed me coming (ἐλθόντα) to inform him,’ might be either, ‘he directed me after coming, to inform him,’ or ‘to come and inform him;’ and only the connection can show whether the act expressed by the Part. is included in the command, or only presupposed by it. Thus “He commanded him, arising, (ἐγερθέντα) to take the child and flee,” might be either “on or after arising, to take the child and flee,” or to arise and take, etc. The connection only can positively determine.
In view of the above, the natural renderings of the Aor. Part. here would be: 1. (with Hofm.). It became him, etc., “after leading many sons to glory,” which, however, is nearly impossible as to the thought, even after rejecting Hofmann’s absurd reference of it to Christ’s Old Testament predecessors, and referring it, as we might possibly do, to all the righteous whom God had formerly led to glory. One grand objection to this is, that the Old Testament saints had not as yet been led to glory (Hebrews 11:39, 40). Or 2. It became him “by leading many sons to glory,” with Thol. making the Part. express the way and manner. To this, however, Lönemann’s objection is valid, that then the Part. and the verb ought to have the same personal object, as it seems difficult to see how God could perfect Jesus, one being, by leading many sons, other beings, to glory, unless we reply with Moll that the career of our Lord was so intimately blended with the life of His people, that His perfection was really accomplished in the process—not exclusively of suffering—by which they were brought to glory. This answer is ingenious, but hardly satisfactory. Or 3. Taking the Part. not as expressing a subordinate, but a coördinate or principal idea: It became him to lead many sons, etc., and to make: which, however, it must be confessed, hardly seems to be the writer’s idea. To render the Part. as future, being about to lead, or for the purpose of leading (ἄξοντα or ὡς ἄξοντα), or as present while leading (ἄγοντα), is out of the question. It is, indeed, possible to render it ‘as leading’ absolutely,=‘as one who led;’ and this perhaps, all things considered, is the best mode of constructing it. But this is harsh, and I know of no strictly parallel examples in Greek prose. Exceptional constructions in the poets are hardly worth the citing, even if they can be found. Were there even any slight external authority for ἄγοντα or ἄξοντα, on internal grounds I should hardly hesitate to adopt it. The rendering of the Eng. vers., ‘in bringing many sons,’ etc., would naturally require ἐν τῶ ἅγειν, or at the least, the Pres. Part., ἄγοντα.—K.].
HEBREWS 2:11. For both he that sanctifieth and they—are all from one.—Having designated Jesus as the ‘Son of God,’ the author now justifies his application of the same term to those who believe in Him. Not barely the One, but also the others (τε—καί); not merely the Sanctified (Peirce, Beng.), but they together with the Sanctifier, i.e., with Jesus Christ (9:13; 13:12), are from One. “From one” (ἐξ ἑνός) expresses not likeness of nature and character (ejusdem naturæ et conditionis spiritualis, Calv., Camero), but simply community of origin; and this not ex communi massa (J. Cappell, Akersloot); not “from one seed, or blood, or stock,” (ἐξ ἑνός scil. σπέρματος, or αἵματος, or γένους, as Carpz., Abresch, etc.); nor from Adam (Erasm., Bez., Este, etc.), but from God. For the language relates not to that relationship subsequently adverted to Hebrews 2:14, by joint participation in humanity, but to spiritual brotherhood with Christ, a brotherhood founded in that translation from the darkness of a life estranged from God into a union with Him as the perfectly pure and absolute and essential light, which Christ, as the Sanctifier, has wrought for us as the sanctified. This is effected, as is subsequently shown, by the high-priestly work, which Jesus Christ, as eternal Priestly King, accomplishes in heaven. For by ἁγιάζειν our Epistle denotes the accomplishment of the actual commencement of the true fellowship of individuals with God, in the Covenant relation which God Himself has instituted, on the basis of the expiation wrought by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and in virtue of the purification obtained through the blood of Jesus Christ, under the point of view of dedication to a Divine relationship, Hebrews 9:13 f.; 10:10, 14, 29; 13:12. This expression also has its origin in the terminology of the Old Testament, but has within the sphere of New Testament fulfilment and realization, a more than merely nominal and ritual significance. The Pres. Part. may stand without reference to distinction of time, in the sense of substantives (Winer), [that is, any Participle may, with the Article, be employed in the sense of a concrete substantive, as the Infinitive with the Art. is employed in the sense of the abstract (τὸ ἁγιάζεσθαι, the being sanctified: ὁ ἡγιασμένος, he who has been sanctified), while the Pres. tense denotes, according to the nature of the case, that which is going on at the time specified by the principal verb, or that which from time to time or habitually takes place. Thus οἱ ἁγιαζόμενοι may denote “those who are being sanctified, or are in process of sanctification,” or, “those who, from time to time, are sanctified,” i.e., the successive classes of the sanctified.—K.]. It is a characteristic of Christ to exercise this ministry: of us to receive its influence and efficient power. Thus we are ‘from God’ (John 8:47; 1 John 4:6), and the language can be applied to Jesus, as here the subject is the Saviour’s earthly and historical relation to God. Hence we need not find the ‘Father’ in Abraham (Drus., Peirce, Beng.), nor again refer to God as creative (Chrys. and the Fathers), but as spiritual Father (Grot., Limb., etc.). And thus, under this connection, we need not take the words as denoting a properly universal relation (Hofm.) restricted in its application to Christ and Christians by a reference to the O. T. priesthood (Schlicht., Gerh., etc.). They refer directly to Christ and Christians.
For which reason he is not ashamed to call them brethren.—In accordance with the character of the Epistle, the author appeals not to the words of Jesus Himself regarding this his fraternal relation, but regards it as belonging essentially to the fulfilment of the Messiah’s vocation; and hence, as so typified in the O. Test., that alike David the Theocratic Ruler, and Isaiah the prophetic Servant of Jehovah, recognize, feel, and express this their relation in the Church, and embrace in a unity with themselves those who otherwise are subordinated to them, and dependent upon them. In subjoining, therefore, his proof passages, the writer adds: “for which cause he is not ashamed,” an expression which points on the one hand to the distinction between Christ’s Sonship and that of believers (Chrys., Theod.); and on the other, to his sincere and hearty condescension to this fellowship, in proof of which are now given three citations from the Scripture.
HEBREWS 2:12. Saying, I will declare, etc.—The first passage is from Ps. 22:23, according to the LXX, except that ἀπαγγελῶ is substituted for διηγήσομαι. David, amidst the sore distress of his flight from before Saul, reposes in faith, as one whom Samuel had anointed, upon the promise made to him of the throne, and declares, in the midst of affliction, not merely this assurance of deliverance and exaltation, but also his determination to declare on this account to his brethren in the congregation, to the seed of Jacob, to them that fear Jehovah, the name, the grace, the help of the Lord, and summon them to join him in praising God. We need assume neither that Christ speaks in David, nor that the Psalmist has transferred himself into the person of Christ. Nor need we interpose the ideal or abstract righteous person (Heng.) in order to justify the Messianic application of this Psalm. We can conceive it as purely typical (Hofm.), or, regarding the prophecy of history as here united with verbal prophecy, we may regard it as typico-prophetical (Del.).
The second passage is found three times in the form πεποιθὼς ἔσομαι ἐπ’ αὐτῶ—I will put my trust in him,—so that the author has merely reversed the order of the first two words, and prefixed an emphatic ἐγώ. The passage Is. 12:2, cannot possibly be referred to; while that 2 Sam. 22:3 is intrinsically suitable. Still we are not necessarily forced to this from the fact that a καί πάλιν separates it from the third (Is. 8:17) as well as from the first (Ebr.). Rather we may more naturally refer it to Is. 8:17, because the immediately following verse in Isaiah is employed as the third citation, and the separation of the two verses springs not from the author’s wish to accumulate proofs (Lün.), but from the two passages presenting the relation in question under two different aspects (Del.); first, that the speaker associates himself with his brethren in a common attitude of spirit toward God, viz., that of confidential trust, which belongs properly to all the children of God; secondly, that he embraces in one himself and the children that God has given him. Of course these two passages refer but typically to Jesus; but this typical view is entirely legitimate. For Isaiah, whose very name points to the Saviour, not merely prophesies with prophetic words, but has also begotten children who are partly pledges for the salvation of Jehovah, which is to come after affliction and through judgment, and partly, like him, point by their names symbolically to this relation, and by their position prefigure it. It is hence needless to assume (as Bl., Lün.) that the author has been led by the καὶ ἐρεῖ, introduced by the LXX. before Is. 8:17, to suppose that the Messiah is the speaker, in that these words appeared to point to another subject than the prophet, who, in the whole section, has spoken in the first person, and also to another subject than God, since the latter is in the ἐπ’ αὐτῶ named as He in whom the speaker puts his trust.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. Angels may, indeed, sometimes be conceived as guardian spirits of individual men, and as heads of entire nations, and are also designated in Scripture as dominions, principalities, and powers, which in themselves, again, have distinctions of position, of power, and of rank. But a dominion over the world is never ascribed to them, neither over the world of creation, nor over that of redemption. It is, for this reason, folly to invoke them as helpers of our need, or to expect from them any saving intercession.
2. The destination of man to the dominion of the world, has the possibility of its realization in his possession of the divine image. Hence, under the dominion of sin, the actual condition of man cannot correspond to his Divine destination. But on account of man’s susceptibility of redemption, and in reference to his future redemption, the attainment of this destination becomes the goal of history, and is an essential part of the Divine promises.
3. The attainment of this destination of our race, can be reached by individuals only on the ground of redemption, and that, too, in that new world, which, in its hidden ground and germ, is already present; but in its glorified form of manifestation, is still in the future. It is linked completely, and in all respects, with the mediation of Christ as the Redeemer. But those who, through Him, have become children of God, will, by virtue of their birthright, enter into the possession of the promised land (Matth. 5:6), and of the world (Rom. 4:13), and sitting with Him upon the throne of His glory (Matth. 19:28), and on the seat of His Father (ReHebrews 2:3:21, 5:10) will reign with Him as priestly kings (Rom. 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:12), and as His saints will judge the world (1 Cor. 6:2), and the angels (Hebrews 2:3).
4. That which for humanity is still in the future, we see in the person of Jesus Christ already realized. In Him the destiny of man is attained, so that in Him, idea and realization are united. An ancient voice from the synagogue (with DEL., p. 59, from BIESENTHAL’S Rabb. Comm., 1857, p. 1) says: “The mystery of Adam is the mystery of the Messiah; Adam is the anagram of א֯דם, ד֯ור, מ֯שׁיח. And the midrash at Ps. 104:1: “God lent to Moses הוד, and to Joshua הדר in that he purposed yet, in accordance with Ps. 21:6, to lend both to King Messiah.”
5. But precisely for this reason has also the history of Jesus an inestimable value. We have in it no mythological presentation of religious ideas, no symbolical expression of general relations, no moral portraiture of the ideal man, as a postulate of reason and of conscience; but, however wide-reaching may be this history, and flexible and various in its applications, it is yet in its being matter of fact that it has its true significance and importance. For the peculiarity of the Christian faith is not the idea of communion with God, and the idea of a salvation furnished by the theanthropic personalities and arrangements. This is rather a characteristic of all religious faith. The distinguishing feature of the Christian faith is the certainty of the realization of salvation, for eternal ages and for all believers, a realization accomplished in a single historical subject, in Jesus of Nazareth, and by the acts of His life.
6. Although men, by the fact that they live in a body of flesh and blood, hold for the time being a position subordinated to angels, as heavenly spirits, yet it is precisely in this relationship with earthly creatures, above whom men are again, by their spiritual natures, specifically exalted, that there exists the possibility of man’s central position and of his history in his fall and redemption within the sphere of the universe. He is the creaturely, as Christ is the uncreated, head of the creation.
7. The glorification of the body in the future world, whose type and pledge we behold, in the Son of man, crowned with glory and honor at the right hand of the Father, and the participation of the whole thus glorified man, in the glory of the Lord, elevates him completely and forever above the angels. His subordination to these, is but “for a little,” in respect alike of degree and time.
8. Patient endurance in our present position, in which we as yet see not the fulfilment of our destiny, and of the promises relating to it, is rendered difficult to us by our sufferings, but is rendered easy by the participation and example of Christ. Sufferings have been for Him no hinderance, but rather the ground and means of His glorification; hence we are not to be displeased at the sufferings which we ourselves experience, and are to take no offence at the sufferings of Jesus Christ, but in order rightly to understand and profit by them, are to have regard to their cause and their purpose.
9. A remembrance of that crowning of Christ which has been achieved by sufferings, and the declaration of the gracious purpose of God, in the death of Christ, viz., that Christ tasted death for us, should, on the one hand, awaken our consciousness of guilt, on the other, strengthen our faith in the redemption already secured, and our hope of the glorification yet to be attained: for alike Christ’s suffering and His coronation have sprung neither from accident, nor from any natural necessity, nor from caprice, nor from outward compulsion; but have taken place in free love, in willing obedience, according to God’s gracious purpose for the accomplishment of the true end and destination of the world.
10. The final object of the world, is to reflect back the glory of God. It can fulfil this object only under the dominion of man who corresponds with his destination, i.e., who mirrors in himself the glory of God. In the attainment of this, his destination, man has been hindered by sin, but sin does not merely hinder his reaching the goal; it brings him into positive destruction. Thus for the accomplishment of the world’s destiny, a deliverer of the race becomes indispensable, who has been Himself incorporated into it, as a member, yet whose life is of such a nature, that He can work vicariously, and by His own progress through suffering to glory, can become the author, pioneer, and captain of salvation, for the children whom God leads to glory.
11. The birth and introduction of this indispensable Deliverer, is no result of mere natural development or product of the natural course of human affairs, but a work of Divine freedom and love, corresponding to the holy nature of the Eternal and Omnipotent One, who from everlasting to everlasting has, as to Himself and as to all things, absolute knowledge and control, and has Himself placed Himself, not merely in His glory, as the end, for the sake of which, but in His goodness and might as the cause by means of which, all beings are and exist. The means by which we, as redeemed ones are led to glory, correspond, therefore, alike to the ultimate end and the nature of Him who has both ordained the end, and arranged the means.
12. The fellowship which Christ has with those who are led to glory, rests, in its ultimate ground, on their common origin from one and the same Father. They are all children of God, by virtue of their birth from God. But this fellowship includes an essential diversity. Christ is the eternal Son of God, of like nature with the Father, and hence even in His state of humiliation, needs no regeneration of His nature from the corruption of sin, but only, by virtue of His true humanity, was susceptible and participant of perfection in the pathway of suffering. As the proper and peculiar (ἴδιος, Rom. 8:32) Son of the Father He is in Himself ἅγιος (holy). But by virtue of the perfection of His life in the flesh, He, as ἁγιάζων, sanctifier, imparts, by taking away sin and communicating His holy obedience (Hebrews 9:13, 14; 10:10, 14, 29; 13:12) this quality to those who by adoption and regeneration receive the Divine Sonship, and acknowledges expressly the common brotherhood which He has with them preëminently on the spiritual side.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
To what shall we adhere, amidst the contradictions of our earthly life, and amidst the strifes and turmoil of the world? 1. To the word of God, which announces to us the truth; 2. to the grace of God, which works our salvation; 3. to the Son of God, who has become our brother.—Wherewith shall we comfort and sustain ourselves amidst the sufferings of time? 1. With hope of the glory of the future world. 2. With faith in the certainty of our redemption in Christ Jesus. 3. With the love of the children of God.—We shall triumph victoriously over all dangers which threaten us, if we—1, keep in our eye our destination to that dominion over the world which God has given us; 2, tread the path to perfection which God has ordained and pointed out to us; 3, allow ourselves to be led with all the children of God in following Jesus as the Captain of our salvation.—The greatness and power of the wondrous grace of God is most clearly discoverable by us: 1, in the preëminence to which in the creation He destined us above all creatures; 2, in the accomplishment of our redemption by the giving of His Son for us; 3, in leading the redeemed to sanctification, and to a perfected life in glory.—The Sonship which we possess with God is: 1, a work of grace which binds us to grateful acknowledgment of our unworthiness, and the Divine compassion; 2, a state of salvation which summons us to abiding trust in the Lord; 3, a common brotherhood which stimulates to mutual love in our following after Christ.—Why it is needful and good in all cases to put confidence in God the Lord: 1, because He is the God through whom, as the Almighty, all things are: 2, in like manner, the God for whose sake all things are, for the manifestation of His glory; 3, and further, the God who, as the absolutely truthful One, certainly executes the utterances of His lips; 4, who, as the compassionate One, stoops to His creatures in their necessities; 5, and as the Holy, Ever-living, Unchangeable God, in the only fitting way brings His purposes to accomplishment.—The way through suffering to glory is ordained for us of God: 1, on account of our sins, which hinder us in the promised attainment of our destiny: 2, by the grace of God, which will lead many children to glory; 3, after the pattern of Jesus Christ, who, as Captain of our salvation, was made perfect through sufferings.—From temporal sufferings spring eternal joys if they bring us: 1, under the guidance of God; 2, into the following of Christ; 3, into eternal glory.
STARKE:—Everything is subject to Christ, not only in this world, but also in the future. O that in true obedience of faith we may henceforth subject ourselves to Him, that we may not be obliged to bow to His chastisement as Judge!—Of the majesty and glory of Christ we must judge not according to our reason or sense, but solely according to the word of God; otherwise we shall go widely astray, 1 Cor. 2:9.—The character of Christ’s Kingdom is not worldly, but invisible and spiritual. What wonder, then, that we cannot comprehend with our senses the character of His majestic Presence and Dominion? John 18:36; Luke 17:20, 21.—As one portion of the prophecy regarding Christ is already fulfilled, viz., that He should be crowned with glory and honor, we need not doubt that the rest will also be fulfilled, and that all things will be brought perfectly beneath His feet.—The grace, love and compassion of God are the source of our entire salvation; but the love of the Father was also the love of the Son, Gal. 2:20. Observe that the expiatory death of Christ is to be for the benefit of all men, without exception, and is to be applied to them under the condition of faith, 1 Tim. 2:6.—Precious word! The Lord Christ has tasted death for us, that we might live before Him, Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:22.—If God has taken this method with His Son, that He should be exalted by suffering, then must we also, through many tribulations, enter into eternal life, Acts 14:22; Christ is our “breaker,” Mich. 2:13.—Christ, the Captain of thy salvation, has been made perfect by sufferings; why, then, thou cross-shunner, wilt thou not go a like way? 1 Pet. 4:13.—Believers are indeed brethren of Christ, on account of His human nature, but actually to bear the title and that from love is a work of the grace which they do not deserve. For He, the Brother and Head, is of far greater glory than His members.—The haughtiness of man must be put to shame before the condescension of Christ, who acknowledges us as His brethren. How unreasonable in us not to bear the shame of the poverty, or sinfulness, or impurity of our nearest friends, when Christ bears the shame of our sins!—Behold how men are honored even yet above the angels! Holy and glorious as are these latter, they are not brethren of the Son of God. Should it not arouse us to an humble, indeed, but still joyful praise of God, that we not only have Christ our Brother on the throne of the Divine Majesty, but are also ourselves with Him to be raised to the like royal dignity?—Believers are brethren of Jesus and Sons of God. What a consolation! How is it possible that they should ever be sorrowful? Rom. 8:17.—All men are delivered over to Christ for the attainment of salvation; but happy are they who also deliver up themselves in the appropriation of it by the influence of the Holy Spirit, John 6:44.—If Christ the Lord of Heaven and Earth is not ashamed to acknowledge us as His brethren, we also should be mindful with all diligence to maintain brotherly love among ourselves, and to evince it by words and deeds.—The exclamation, “Behold, I,” expresses: 1, that the Messiah exhibits Himself as present, and, as with the finger, points to Himself: Behold, here am I! Is. 40:5, 9; 52:6, 7; 2, that His appearance in the flesh would be wondrous and remarkable, Is. 7:14; 9:5; 1 Tim. 3:16; 3, His readiness and perfect willingness to speak, to do, and to suffer, that which had been laid upon Him, Is. L. 4, 5; Ps. 41:7–9; 4, that it was He to whom the eyes of all Israel were to look, nay, also the heathen, Is. 45:22.—If it is said of Christ that He reposes His confidence in God, He is not regarded in His character as God, but as having become man, and as executing His assumed work of redemption. And this confidence involves in itself: 1, that the Messiah would exhibit Himself in a lowly, poor and unprotected condition; 2, that He would be in much suffering and danger from enemies; 3, that He would not at all times make use of His Divine power, but would surrender His life to the power of His Father; 4, that He would have abiding assurance of the Divine willingness to aid him.—It was in accordance with Divine: 1, love, that it should discover so effectual a means for the restoration of our lost bliss; 2, righteousness, that it should be such a means as should render satisfaction to righteousness itself; 3, wisdom, that the love and righteousness of God should, through this means, unitedly and in equal measure, distinguish themselves; 4, truth, in order that that which God in the Old Testament had promised at so great cost, and had prefigured in so many types, should be fulfilled, and the Head should stand, in respect to suffering, in close communion with the members; 5, honor, that this might thereby be most gloriously promoted.—God has done every thing which He has done for the manifestation and glorifying of His name, and this with the most entire propriety; otherwise He who possesses perfectly in Himself all glory, would have, as it were, denied Himself. Thus must the honor of God be placed as the object in all things, Ps. 115:1; Eph. 1:5, 6.—Believers under the Old Testament were equally with those in the New Testament, brethren of the Lord Jesus, Matth. 12:50.
BERLENBURGER BIBLE:—Future things we must hold fast by means of the past and present. But men spring away from them and submit to no struggle. While they grasp after that which glitters, and despise the unostentatious, they wage absolutely no conflict. Many would have only glory, and would only become Lords with their Messiah; therefore they have utterly lost Christ. They would have a king in Christ, but not a bleeding priest.—What to our corrupt eyes appears abominable, is “becoming” in the eyes of God. This becomingness we should always study; all other decorum, all that otherwise belongs to well being, or is reckoned as such, our art may well let pass.—Since we have lost our case by evil doing, it must be recovered by suffering. For this leads through ways of righteousness, and yet from the impulse of love. Hence comes it that such an arrangement “became him.”—We cannot come directly to holiness without expiation, but we all have equal right to both.—It is true that our humanity and Divinity constitute a pair totally unlike, yet this miserable unlikeness has awakened the compassion of God to undertake such a work on our behalf.—Had it depended on our judgment, nothing would have been accomplished in the work of redemption.—It is perhaps easily told how many elements faith has; but the thing itself costs a struggle; man, however, would gladly triumph before the victory.
LAURENTIUS:—Divine truths in the Holy Scripture must also be experienced.—Christ’s state of humiliation lasted only for a little time.—To Christ in His human nature, all things are subjected.—Whom God makes righteous, He also makes glorious. Believers have one and the same Father with Christ.
RAMBACH:—Believers need no visible Head, but stand immediately under Christ, Hebrews 12:9.—Christ was humbled a short time below the angels: 1, in that sometimes the service of the angels was withdrawn from Him, as otherwise they are required to worship and serve Him; 2, in that He was exposed to the assaults of wicked angels; 3, in that He subjected Himself to the law which was given by angels.—In the sufferings of Christ were disclosed the grace and righteousness of God. His grace toward us, in laying our sin and punishment upon His Son; His righteousness in Christ as the surety, Rom. 3:25.—Had Christ been a mere man, he had had absolutely no cause to be ashamed of His fellow-creatures, even though He had been elevated to the highest honor, as also Joseph was not ashamed to acknowledge his brethren, Gen. 45:4; in like manner, Moses, Acts 7:22.
STEINHOFER:—It is the mystery of the Divine good pleasure, that a man from our midst should be Lord on the throne of majesty, and have dominion over all things. Here none can ask, “Why doest thou so?” Here none can inquire, Why is it so determined? Why has it been so arranged, and accomplished, in Christ Jesus? But, instead, we readily bow ourselves to the earth and adore. I mean that we honor the counsel of eternity; we are astonished at the riches of grace; it is our profoundest pleasure that such is the good pleasure of God; we kiss the Son; we rejoice in this our Lord.—The lowliness and condescension of our Redeemer, the great Son of God, puts us to shame, as often as we behold Him in this form; it inspires in us pangs of love, it melts our hearts like wax before Him.—The simple look of faith toward Jesus, best learns the great mystery of the eternal purpose of God for our salvation. With this we look upon His cross, we look upon His crown. Faith grasps both together.—The grounds and causes of this entire procedure, viz., that the Captain of salvation should be made perfect by death, are God’s perceptions of Divine fitness and propriety.—God takes His children out of the number of the most miserable sinners.—Blessedness and glory are the two things we are to receive from our Saviour and Lord.—Jesus legitimates among His people even the name of brother, so that all worldly titles of honor readily yield to it.—It belongs to the office and work of Jesus, which is His highest joy and the delight of His heart, 1. that He gathers into a community the children of God, who have been ordained and presented to him by His Father; 2. that in His Church He announces and reveals the name of His Father; 3. that He conducts and brings His people to glory.—The way of faith has been tried by the Son of God Himself, inasmuch as Jesus is a noble and thoroughly experienced Prince and Leader on the way of faith; but the power of God is required that one maintain faith to the end.
HAHN:—If we can say with joy, Jesus is my Lord! then we have a pass which we can and may exhibit in the whole realm of creation.—The path of suffering trod by Jesus, makes our own pleasant to us, and should repress our excessive murmuring against suffering.—From Jesus we are to learn the true spirit of suffering, and in like manner the value of suffering in the eyes of God, and with this, bethink ourselves of the brevity of suffering. We should have perpetually before our eyes, 1. the Divine sense of propriety and fitness; 2. the career Christ entered upon wholly for us; 3. the way of faith which Christ makes so honorable to us.
HILLER:—The Church is a community that treads a difficult way, but on this way is led by God; yet can enter upon it no otherwise than by blood, and by faith in one that was crucified.—The Church is a people that is forever preserved and saved by God.
RIEGER:—From the love of the Father all further revelation of the kingdom of Christ, and hope therein, is to be derived.—Of all which the result has confirmed, we can say, We see! though we may not have it directly before our eyes.—As the Saviour, under suffering, solaced Himself by this, “It takes place according as it has been decreed and written;” as He, under the heaviest assaults of terror, subjected His most pressing demand, “Is it possible?” to the, “As thou wilt!” so still more, we, in reflection on His suffering, are to rest ourselves, in this good pleasure of God, in these Divine proprieties which are founded in the prerogatives of God’s majesty, and have an influence upon His entire kingdom.—The chief power by which the Lord Jesus endured under suffering, and looked forward to His perfection, was trust. His official burden, the weight of sin that was laid upon Him, the judgment of God, might press Him as they would; His confidence He never cast away.
HEUBNER:—The dignity of man was first brought to light by Revelation: it flows from Religion. Insignificant man becomes great by the grace of God. Toward no being has God so proved His grace as toward man, since for him He has given His Son.—Christianity knows no perfection except in union with God, and participation in His blessedness.—Christ has secured for God eternal praise, since the highest praise comes from ransomed souls.—The redemption which was completely brought about and inaugurated by the death of Christ, could become universally known and rendered efficacious, only by His exaltation. In this was demonstrated and confirmed the complete validity of His redemption.
STIER:—It was not the wrath of God, it was not condemnation that Jesus tasted, but death; and death, too, not on account of the wrath of God, but from the grace of God. Of short duration was the mockery and the shame that attended Jesus’ suffering of death on our behalf; but eternal are the praise and the honor with which He is crowned.—Although Christ died for all, yet are not all saved by Him, but only the many sons who let Him draw and lead them.
STEINMEYER:—The fraternal relation sustained by the Lord to His believing ones: 1. how we have to unite this with His supreme and all-transcending dignity; 2. what an expression it should find in Christian life.
HEDINGER:—Believers are indeed brethren of Christ, on account of His human nature; but actually to bear the title is a work of that grace of which they are undeserving.
BAUMGARTEN (1856):—How looking to Jesus suffices for our happiness amidst the unhappiness of life.
FRICKE:—Suffering and victory are so little antagonistic to each other that the same being who has suffered is styled the “Captain of salvation.”
[OWEN:—The Lord Christ: 1. our head; 2. our only head, a. of vital influence, b. of rule and government; 3. our immediate head.—If men forget the true God, and then lift up their eyes unto, or fall into the contemplation of the heavenly bodies, such is their glory, majesty, and excellency, that they will be driven and hurried unto the adoration and worship of them.—The assumption of our nature into personal union with the Son of God, was an act of mere free, sovereign, unconceivable grace.—God is more glorified in the humiliation and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the salvation of mankind thereby, than in any of, or all the works of the first creation.—No love or grace will suit our condition but that which is incomprehensible. We find ourselves by experience to stand in need of more grace, goodness, love, and mercy, than we can look into, search to the bottom of, or fully understand.—Jesus Christ as Mediator of the New Covenant hath absolute and supreme authority given unto Him over all the works of God in heaven and on earth.—There is a double act of God’s predestination; the first is His designation of some unto grace, to be sons, Eph. 1:5; the other His appointment of those sons unto glory; both to be wrought and accomplished by Christ, the Captain of their salvation.—In bringing the elect unto glory, all the sovereign acts of power, wisdom, love and grace exerted therein, are peculiarly assigned unto the Father, as all ministerial acts are unto the Son as Mediator; so that there is no reason why He may not be said, by the way of eminency, to be the ἀγωγεύς, the leader or bringer of His sons unto glory.—As the obedience of Christ, which is our pattern, did incomparably exceed whatever we can attain unto; so the sufferings of Christ, which are our example, did incomparably exceed all that we shall be called unto.—Christ is gone before us through death, and is become the “first fruits of them that sleep.” And had Christ passed into heaven before He died, as did Enoch and Elijah, we had wanted the greatest evidence of our future immortality.—The Lord Jesus, being consecrated and perfected through sufferings, hath consecrated the way of suffering, for all that followed Him to pass through unto glory.—No end of the mediation of Christ is accomplished in them who are not sanctified and made holy.—A living head and dead members, a beautiful head and rotten members—how uncomely would it be! Such a monstrous body Christ will never own.—There is no one thing required of the sons of God that an unsanctified person can do: no one thing promised them that he can enjoy].
Hebrews 2:6.—The reading τίς ἐστιν (LACH. Ed. Stereot. and Bl.) is not sufficiently supported.
Hebrews 2:7.—The lect. rec. Καὶ κατέστησας αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὰ ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν σου, deemed spurious by Mill, bracketed by Lachman, cancelled since Griesbach, is a gloss from the LXX. The author has omitted it in citation as unnecessary to his purpose. It is found, however, in the original text of Cod. Sin.
Hebrews 2:9.—The reading χωρὶς θεοῦ, without, or apart from God (instead of χάριτι θεοῦ), preferred by Orig. and Theod. Mops., known by Jerome, made use of by Ambr., Fulgent. and Vigil. Thaps., strongly insisted on by the Nestorians, defended by Beng., Ebr., etc., is found only in Cod. 53 (Griesb.) of the 9 or 10 Cent., and Cod. 67 of the 11 or 12 Cent., and in the latter only on the margin. [For χωρὶς θεοῦ, which Theod. Mops. and Ebr., find eminently in place, no natural and appropriate meaning can here be found; while χάριτι θεοῦ, which Ebr. denounces as flat and uncalled for, is eminently to the writer’s purpose, as commending the arrangement which involved the crucifixion of the Messiah, as one called for and originated by the grace of God. It would seem probable that χωρὶς θεοῦ may have originally been placed on the margin opposite Hebrews 2:8, limiting the expression, “he left nothing unsubjected to him”—‘except God,’ after 1 Cor. 15:27, and that a subsequent copyist, misled by the resemblance of χωρὶς θεοῦ to χάριτι θεοῦ, substituted it in the text. At all events its history is curious, but the internal evidence is decisively against it.—K.].
[By a failure to recognize this, the course of thought must be inextricably entangled. By referring the ‘him’ already in Hebrews 2:8 to Jesus, we are obliged, in order to extract any sense out of the passage, to make a false distinction between Jesus’ being already “crowned with glory and honor,” as but a first step in his elevation, and an ultimate and more complete glorification. Such a distinction, we scarcely need say, is not in the author’s mind at all. “Crowned with glory and honor” is repeated in Hebrews 2:9 as the exponent and representative of all the dignity and dominion expressed in the preceding verses; and the contrast is not between Jesus now partially exalted in token of His future complete exaltation, and that future complete exaltation, but between man, as such, not yet in himself exalted to his true original destination, and Jesus, the representative Man, thus exalted in Himself, and as the Leader of the destinies of humanity. Thus by taking ‘man’ and ‘him,’ through Hebrews 2:7, 8, in their natural sense, and then, when it appears that in this sense the language of the Psalm is not fully borne out, applying them to the God-Man, we make the connection and the reasoning perfect.—K.].
[Hofmann’s first construction would be: But Jesus, having been, on account of His suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, we behold as one who has been for a little humbled below the angels, i. e.=we behold this being to have been for a little, etc. The latter, and unquestionably more correct construction is: ‘But Him who has been for a little humbled below the angels, viz., Jesus, we behold on account of His suffering of death [to have been and to be now] crowned with glory and honor,’ and thus fulfilling in His own person that language of the Psalm, which in humanity proper is not fulfilled. This construction is equally natural, elegant and suited to the context.—K.].
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;V
The incarnation renders the Son of God susceptible of suffering and death, and thus fitted to become a high-priest with God, for the redemption of mankind
14Forasmuch then as the children are [joint] partakers of flesh and blood [of blood and flesh]7, he also himself likewise [in a similar manner, παραπλησίως] took part of [in] the same; that through death8 he might destroy [bring to naught, render impotent, καταργήση] him that had [hath] the power of death, that is, the devil; 15And deliver them, who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16For verily he took not on him the nature of angels [For it is not assuredly (οὐ γὰρ δή που) angels whom he rescueth (ἐπιλαμβάνεται)]; but he took on him [he rescueth] 17 the seed of Abraham. Wherefore [whence, ὅθεν] in all things it behooved him to be made like [to be assimilated, δμοιωθῆναι] unto his brethren, that he might be [become γένηται] a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, [in order] to make reconciliation [propitiation] for the sins of the people. 18For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted [or, hath suffered by being himself tempted], he is able to succor them that are tempted.
[Hebrews 2:14—ἐπεὶ οὖν, since, inasmuch, then.—κεκοινώκηκεν, have participated, and still participate, the perfect marking the permanent condition, in contrast with the Aor. μετέσχεν, took part in, participated in, as a historical act.—παραπλησίως, similarly, in like manner.—τὸν τὸ κράτος ἕχοντα, the one having=him who was having, who had, or, him who is having, who has. It is better here to take the participle as describing a general and abiding attribute of the devil, him who has, etc., the Potentate of Death.
Hebrews 2:15.—τούτους ὅσοι. Eng. ver., them that. This rendering does not quite adequately represent the original, which is=these, these persons, as many as, describing mortals who, as a class, are victims of death.—τοῦ ζῆν=τοῦ βίου, but used here, doubtless, in sharper antithesis to θάνατος.—ἔνοχοι δουλείας, held under, obnoxious to, bondage. Matth. 5:22, ἔνοχος τῆ κρίσει, held under, obnoxious, liable to the judgment, scarcely adequately rendered by in danger of. Matth. 26:66, ἔνοχος τοῦ θανάτου, liable to death; Eng. ver. guilty of death.
Hebrews 2:16.—οὐ γὰρ δήπου, for not you see doubtless, πού, I suppose, perhaps, softening δή—ἀγγέλων without art, as a class, and emphatic in its position before the verb=for not, indeed, is it angels whom he rescues, etc.—ἐπιλαμβάνεται, not as Eng. ver., “to take on him the nature,” but “to lay hold upon for succor, to rescue.” The former; once the prevailing rendering but it is now generally rejected. See Moll’s note. Ἐπί has reference not to the subject of the verb, but to its object, “to lay hold upon.”
Hebrews 2:17.—ὁμοιόω, to make like, to assimilate; ὁμοιωθῆναι, to be made like, to be assimilated.—ἴνα γένηται, that he might (strictly, may) become, not be, as so often in Eng. ver.
Hebrews 2:18.—May be very variously rendered, as “for being himself tempted in that wherein he hath suffered;” or, “being tempted in that wherein he hath himself suffered,” etc. Moll renders, “For in how far he hath suffered as one that was himself tempted.” The rendering of the Eng. ver. is, perhaps, as good as any. See note below.—K.].
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
HEBREWS 2:14. Since, therefore, the children have common share in flesh and blood.—Share, i.e., not with their ancestors (Volkmar), but with one another. The children (παιδία) are those mentioned in the verse preceding, who possess not merely a common spiritual nature from a like divine source, but, as real men, have a common earthly nature, which, as is customary, is designated by its two leading sensuous constituents—flesh and blood; the blood, however, being first mentioned with a half latent reference, probably, to the subsequently-mentioned atoning death of the Redeemer. The connectives, ἐπεὶ οὖν, however, show that the link of connection is by no means the mere word “children” (Hofm.); while, on the other hand, there is no ground for Lönemann’s assertion, springing from the false idea that Hebrews 2:11–13 are merely incidental, and that Hebrews 2:14 returns to the main thought in Hebrews 2:10—that οὖν, while grammatically belonging to the protasis, “since the children,” etc., belongs, logically, to the apodosis, “he himself took part,” etc. The clause with ἐπεί, rather, keeping before our eye the constant principle of natural relationship (partaker of flesh and blood) carries us over from the typical relation, by no means incidentally touched, to the relation which exists in Christ; the οὖν, showing that the thought is regarded as inferential, inasmuch as it is a fact (the author would say), that the “children”—not children generally, but the children in question—are not ideal forms, but actual men, it follows that the incarnation of the Son of God, which renders Him susceptible of suffering, is the appropriate and essential means for attaining the divine purpose of transferring, by means of redemption, men, become subjects of bondage, into a true filial relation to God.
2. He also himself, in like manner, took part in the same.—The aor., μετέσχεν, points to the assuming of human nature as a thing belonging absolutely to the past, while the perf. κεκοινώνηκεν indicates the permanent condition springing from the act of κοινωνεῖν (here having its regular classical construction with the Gen.) Παραπλησίως is certainly not a weakened ὁμοίως; for the author says, Hebrews 2:17, κατὰ πάντα (Hofm., Del.); and he holds to no mere analogy of the life of Jesus to a real human life, or a general similarity in some individual points, generating a quasi kindred relation. His object is rather to assert the true and complete humanity of the Son of God. But the adv. is not, therefore, with de Wette, to be rendered “in like manner,” nor with Bleek, “in equal measure;” but expresses at once the actual approximation, and yet the never-to-be-forgotten or overleaped distinction of Jesus Christ, from all other men, as at Rom. 8:3; Phil. 2:7. Ὁ λόγος οἱονεὶ σὰρξ γίνεται. ORIG. c. Cels., IV., 15.
That by means of death he might destroy him, etc.—The doing away of death in the kingdom of the Messiah, is matter of prophecy, Is. 25:8; Hos. 13:14; Dan. 12:2, 3. Κράτος τοῦ θανάτου is not the power of putting to death, which belongs to God alone. Nor is κράτος to be taken absolutely, nor τοῦ θανάτου as Gen. Subj. (Ebr.) with the too artificial and far-fetched thought that the phrase refers to the tyrannical dominion of death (1 Cor. 15:5, 6), which, by means of original sin, the devil has obtained and perpetually exercises, Wis. 2:24; Rom. 5:12. “He holds this dominion not as a Lord, but as an executioner” (QUENSTÄDT). The expression may, perhaps, with Thol., be explained from the author’s blending the idea of Death and of Hades, both together personified as Rulers (ReHebrews 2:1:8, 6; 8:20, 14), and representing the devil at the same time as Lord of Hades, of whose keys the Redeemer has obtained possession (ReHebrews 2:1:18). At all events the “devil” is not here identical with the angel of death (who is not in Jewish Angelology confounded with Sammael), but he is the murderer of men, ἀνθρωποκτόνος, from the beginning (John 8:44), whose dominion stands in essential and causative connection with all death (Del.). “The will of Satan is always unjust, his power never! for his will he has from himself, his power from God.” (GREG. MAGN at Job I. 11). Καταργεῖν with the classics=to render impotent, is employed by Paul for the complete putting down of hostile powers (1 Cor. 15:24), and specially of death (1 Cor. 15:26; 2 Tim. 1:10). The word occurs with Paul twenty-eight times, elsewhere in the New Testament only here and Luke 13:7. It stands Ezra 4:21, 23; 5:5; 6:8, as rendering of the Aramæan בַּטֵּל. Substantial parallels in thought, are found Gen. 3:15; Is. 25:8; 1 Jno. 3:8. Θανάτου is not to be specialized by supplying αὐτοῦ, his death. This would mar the thought which is correctly given by PRIMASIUS: “Arma quæ fuerunt illi quondam fortia adversus mundum, hoc est mors, per earn Christus illum percussit, sicut David, abstracto gladio Goliæ, in eo caput illius amputavit, in quo quondam victor ille solebat fieri.” “It is death itself, and as such, which Jesus has made the means of annihilating the ruler of death. In the person of Jesus there has commenced a life of humanity, which triumphs over the deadly power of Satan, after this power had brought that life (a life of blood and flesh similar to ours), in which Jesus becomes subjected to it, into a death which has rather proved the death of death” (HOFM., Schriftb., II., 1, p. 274).
HEBREWS 2:15. And deliver these who—were subject to bondage.—The discussion proceeds now to designate the subjects of the incarnation and death of Christ. These great acts have reference not to beings exempt from death, but to beings who are held under bondage to the fear of death (Del.). It is mankind, as a class, strikingly characterized by this language, as distinguished from angels or demons, that are the objects of redemption. The limitation is expressed by the prefixed τούτους, these, while the subjoined ὅσοι, as many as, whosoever, intimates that within the sphere of this limitation, the totality of the members of the class are included. Grammatically δουλείας might be constructed with ἀπαλλάξη, and φόβῳ with ἔνοχοι, as by Böhme and Abresch, inasmuch as ἔνοχος may be equally well constructed with the Dat. as with the Gen. But the position of the words is adverse to this construction. [The rendering then would be, “and deliver those as many as, through their whole life, were held under the fear of death, from bondage.” This gives to ἀπαλλάξη such a Gen. as might very naturally follow it, instead of leaving it to stand absolutely; but on the other hand, Alf. following Bleek, remarks that ἔνοχοι with the Gen. has rather the force of a noun the subjects of; with the Dat. that of a participle, liable to, and therefore would here be better conjoined with the δουλείας, “subjects of bondage,” than with the φόβῳ θαν.—On the whole, the ordinary construction seems preferable.—K. ]. “Φόβος and δοῦλος are interchangeable ideas (Rom. 8:15), as fear of death, and consciousness of guilt; when the latter is removed, comes in childlike boldness (παῤῥησία), and the state of bondage has disappeared.” (THOL.).
HEBREWS 2:16. For it is not assuredly angels whom he, etc.—The correct interpretation of ἐπιλαμβ. τινος (=to lay hold of one in order to secure him for oneself, here, to lay hold of in aid, to succor), was, according to Thol., first expressed by Castellio in his translation, 1551, and stigmatized by Beza as execranda audacia. The whole ancient Church, followed by Erasm. and the Reformers, in the 17 cent, the Reformed Moresius and the Luth. Scherzer, Calov, Seb. Schmidt and Chr. Wolf, explained it erroneously of the assumption of human nature; Camero defended the correct rendering in the most thorough manner; the Socinians (except Socinus himself) immediately accepted it; the Catholic Ribera (1606) chose rather to confess that he did not understand Paul than reject the interpretation of so many Fathers, and even Rich. Simon censured the admission of the change into the version of the Port Royal. Ebrard also overlooks the Pres. tense, and the δήπου (=‘I think,’ ‘I should suppose;’ or, ‘surely perhaps,’ ‘surely I suppose,’ HART, Partikellehre, I., p. 285), and thinks (as did formerly Hofm.) that the author appeals to the well-known fact that God entered not with angels into a gracious covenant relation, but with the seed of Abraham. But the train of thought by no means suggests (as που in Hebrews 2:6) any special passage of the Old Testament, although the erroneous nusquam of the Vulgate has been followed by Luther and many early expositors. Nor is the Present to be understood as pointing to an ever ready help of a general character, but to the aid which Christ renders in redemption, and which is as such perpetually existing. Bleek, de Wette and Lün. assume a discrepancy between this passage and Col. 1:20; but with no good reason. For the special and exclusive objects of redemption are men of flesh and blood, not purely spiritual beings; while among them the angels have no need, and the devil is incapable of redemption. The absence of the article shows that not individuals are spoken of, but classes. The expression ‘seed of Abraham,’ however, neither, on the one hand, contradicts Paul’s wider statement of the purpose of the Gospel (although, as de Wette justly remarks, Paul would not have thus expressed himself, and hence the language is not to be explained purely from the nationality of the reader), nor, on the other, as we look at the terms τοῦ λαοῦ, of the people, Hebrews 2:17, and τὸν λαόν, the people, Hebrews 13:12, are we at liberty to take the expression for a designation of mankind in its spiritual relation (as believers are called “the seed of Abraham”) as is maintained by Bengel, Böhme, Klee, Stier, Wieseler. The term rather proceeds upon and suggests the view, so familiar to the Hebrews, that the whole redemptive and religious history of humanity has its central point in the seed of Abraham. “As in the purpose of God respecting the sending of Christ, so in His purpose respecting salvation in Christ, and in respect of their relation to other nations, the Israelites have a certain priority, not to say, superiority. It is only because the moral conditions have remained unfulfilled by them, that salvation has been taken from them. But the compassion of God, which embraces all, will, therefore, yet again extend itself to them.” (KLUGE). Fricke gives too narrow an application of the words, when he explains them of the “Believers of all nations.” To make with Dav. Schulz, death, (ὁ θάνατος) subject of the verb: “for death lays not hold of angels,” makes an entirely different construction, grammatically, indeed, admissible, but logically untenable, since Hebrews 2:17 stands closely connected with Hebrews 2:16, and Christ is the natural subject of Hebrews 2:17, as well as of Hebrews 2:14, 15 (Lün.). To this view, moreover, the term ‘seed of Abraham,’ is in no way adapted. Ebrard rightly remarks that Hebrews 2:17 so repeats the thought already expressed, that at the same time a new perspective opens, viz., a glance at the thought that Christ is not merely the most perfect organ of God’s revelation to man, not merely a messenger of God elevated above all messengers and angels, even above the angel of Jehovah, but that he is at the same time the perfect high-priestly representative of humanity in its relation to God.
HEBREWS 2:17. Whence it behooved him in all things to be assimilated to his brethren.—The un-Pauline ὅθεν (but frequent in our Epistle, and found also in Acts 26:19), deduces from the purpose of Christ’s incarnation given Hebrews 2:16, the obligation which that purpose involved: for ὤφειλεν denotes the obligation springing from the object which was undertaken, as ἔδει would have shown the necessity as matter of purpose and decree (Luke 24:26), and ἔπρεπεν as matter of intrinsic fitness and propriety (Hebrews 2:10). Ὁμοιωθῆναι in a kindred sense, Acts 14:11. The idea of likeness is emphasized by Lönemann.
That he might become a merciful and faithful high-priest in things pertaining to God.—The order of the words seems to favor the rendering of LUTH.: “that he might become compassionate and a faithful high-priest,” etc., favored also by Grot., Böhm., Bl., de W., Stein, Thol., Lün. But the ἵνα γένηται, that he might become, declares assuredly what Jesus, when thus assimilated to humanity, was to become, and in this connection the declaration that He was to become compassionate, might suggest the idea that He previously was not so. [Yet to this it might be replied that γίγνομαι implies frequently, not absolutely to become, but to prove ones-self, as Rom. 3:4.—K.]. True, the author has hitherto emphasized rather the arrangement of God in the work of salvation, than the self-devotion of the Saviour; yet from the preceding it is still clear enough that the incarnation originated in compassion toward men exercised equally on the part of Him who submitted himself to it (Del.). On the contrary, the thought is entirely pertinent that the Incarnate One is, as such, to become a high-priest, in whom the two characteristics essential to this calling, expressing His proper relation alike to man (‘compassionate’) and to God (‘faithful’) come forth into view in the actual conduct and experiences of His life. Bengel followed by Cram., Storr, Ebr., Hofm., Del., remarks, in regard to the inversion of the words, that ἐλεήμων (the compassionate element having received sufficient prominence) recedes into the background, while the faithful high-priest (πιστ. ἀρχιερ.), with its two-fold conception, yet to be unfolded, takes the foreground of the picture. The adverbial phrase τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεόν, in things pertaining to God, belongs not merely to πιστός (Klee), or ἀρχιερεύς (Bl.), but qualifies the entire statement. Nor does πιστός denote reliableness, but, as shown Hebrews 3:2, fidelity in the work He has undertaken. And utterly without ground is the statement of de Wette, that the idea of ἀρχιερεύς comes in abruptly, with nothing preceding to pave the way for it. For the mention of purification from sin (1:3), of sanctification (2:11), of saving mediation (2:16), of the death of Christ as a death on behalf of men (2:9), is a sufficient preparation, apart from the immediately following account of the functions to which he was appointed.
To make expiation for the sins of the people.—In the classics ἱλάσκεσθαί τινα appears only in the sense of propitiating some one, of which propitiation Deity or even men may be objects, but never inanimate things. But neither the LXX. nor the N. T. use the term of any process of rendering Jehovah graciously disposed; but employ it either of the independent gracious determination of God in which the Pass. and Mid. signification run into each other, or, disregarding its reflex middle force, they apply it to one who performs an act, the object of which is sin, and the effect of which is that sin shall cease to awaken God’s wrath toward men. The LXX. construct ἱλάσκεσθαι with the Dat. of the person or thing for which propitiation is sought=propitium fieri; ἐξιλάσκ., on the contrary, frequently with the Acc., or, with περί of the person to be atoned for=expiare. It is true that in regard to man’s relation to man we find ἐξιλάσκεσθαι τὸ πρόσωπόν τινος, Gen. 33:20, and θυμόν, ProHebrews 2:16:4. But no where, not even 2 Sam. 21:3, does God or His wrath appear as object of ἐξιλ., but sin, 1 Sam. 3:14. Expiation interposes between wrath and sin, so that the latter is covered over, Num. 17:11 ff. Christ, then, is a propitiation for our sins (ἱλασμὸς περὶ τ. ἁμ. ἡμῶν, 1 John 2:2; 4:10), and appointed by God as our ἱλαστήριον, Rom. 3:25. As this expiation refers objectively to the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), τοῦ λαοῦ is employed under the point of view before designated. Del. misconceives the reference of the term in explaining: “He officiates now as high-priest amidst a ransomed Church, which, in the O. T., is called the People, i.e., the people of God; and what, as propitiating high-priest, He accomplishes, is designed to prevent the sin still adhering to His Church from marring the loving and gracious relation which has been once for all established.”
HEBREWS 2:18. For in that he himself hath suffered, etc.—The language alludes not to the efficacy of the sufferings of Christ as rendering satisfaction to the Divine law, and thus as the meritorious ground of His Priesthood (Hofm.), but (with Del.), to the moral fitness which these sufferings gave Him for the office. And it is not barely in the circumstance that Christ has suffered, but in the relation of these sufferings to His personal character, as one who has been subjected to actual temptations, that we recognize His capacity to aid all who are from time to time exposed to temptations. (Observe the force of the Present Participle). The rendering, “Wherein,” or, “in the sphere in which” (Luth., Bl., Ebr., and others), restricts His power to the too narrow sphere of like circumstances, of suffering and temptation (Lün.). Ἐν ᾦ is to be resolved into ἐν τούτῳ ο͂τι, in this thing that, on the ground that, in so far as, or, since (BERNH. Synt., p. 211). [It may be doubted if ἐν ῳ ever means strictly and in itself since, or because, but it undoubtedly may have the force of in this that=in the fact that, hence nearly=on the ground that. Thus it may be resolved either into wherein (in the sphere in which), or in that (on the ground that). There is, in fact, here, I think, but little difference; for the rendering “wherein, in the sphere in which,” is in reality only apparently more restricted than the other. Because if the personal suffering of Christ is a necessary condition of His sympathizing succor, then the extent of His temptations and sufferings must be really the measure of His ability to render sympathy and succor; so that to say, “wherein He hath suffered He is able,” and “in that He hath suffered He is able,” amount practically to the same thing. If He could not sympathize and succor only in that He had suffered, then He can sympathize and succor only wherein He has suffered. Aside from this, the passage may be variously rendered. It may be resolved in several different ways, according as we take ἐν ω as in that, or wherein, and according as we connect αὐτός with πέπονθεν, or πειραθείς. The principal are these:—
1. “In that (because) He hath Himself suffered, being tempted, He is able,” etc.
2. “Wherein He hath Himself suffered, being tempted, He is able,” etc.
3. “In that He hath suffered, being Himself tempted.”
4. “Wherein He hath suffered, being Himself tempted.”
5. “Being tempted in that He hath Himself suffered.”
6. “Being tempted wherein He hath Himself suffered.”
7. “Being Himself tempted in that He hath suffered.”
8. “Being Himself tempted wherein He hath suffered.”
Of these the English Ver. and Bib. Union adopt the first; Delitzsch adopts substantially the seventh; Alford, substantially, with Ebrard, the eighth (having been Himself tempted in that which He hath suffered); Moll substantially the third. Fortunately it makes little difference as to the main sense which construction we adopt, and among them all I prefer the first or second as the more obvious and simple, although the construction adopted by Alford is nearly or quite unobjectionable.—K.].
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. “The children of God, allied in their dispositions to the Son of God, have become in need of succor (ἐπιλαμβάνεσθαι), of assistance (βοήθεια). This redemption, however, is the result of no determination formed in time, after the occurrence of the Fall, but an eternal purpose of God simultaneous with His purpose to create man (Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 16:25; 1 Pet. 1:20). The idea of the perfect God-man had thus of necessity to actualize itself, for the salvation of the children of God who were to be led to their goal.—The Redeemer was of necessity to become a member in the diseased organism of humanity, to assume humanity with its susceptibility to suffering, only without sin, 4:15. The end and goal was the overcoming of death” (Thol.).
2. That Divine help which has been bestowed in Christ, and is being continually bestowed, relates, not to the removal of outward sufferings as such, but relates directly to human sufferings in so far as they are either judicial consequences of sin, as wall of that of the race as of that of the person, or in so far as they have a character which tempts to sin. The aid, therefore, rendered to humanity has as well an ethical as a soteriological significance.
3. In order to become for us the true, all-sufficient and actual Saviour, the eternal Son of God has entered not merely into a fellowship with us of internal and spiritual life, but into a participation alike in respect of nature and of race, in our outward and historic life. As, however, He has not, by this entrance into the fraternal relation, impaired His Divinity, there remains to be acknowledged a distinction never to be done away between His and our nature—a distinction having its ultimate ground partly in our creatureliness, partly in our sinfulness. Under the restrictions imposed by this distinction, human nature has, in its full extent, been made historically His nature, and an actual nearness to God, in a living and personal form, has been thereby imparted to the race.
4. The actual human nature of Jesus Christ renders possible His susceptibility of suffering and death, and this again conditions that perfect carrying out of His high-priestly calling, which is the means of accomplishing that salvation, for the sake of which the eternal Son of God has become man. “On account of the love which He bare to us, Jesus Christ our Lord has shed His blood for us according to the will of God, and given His flesh for our flesh, and His soul for our soul” (Clem. Rom. 1 Cor. 49).
5. Death and sin spring from one common root. Both involve in their essence a separation, a rupture, so to speak, in contravention of the Divine purpose, and have their origin in a sundering of the creature’s fellowship with God. But death is the revelation or laying bare of this state of things in the form of punishment, and as a consequence of God’s previously threatened judgment. Sin, on the contrary, is the voluntary and willing movement of man in the relation of estrangement from God. Precisely for this reason can the fear of death be predicated of sinners, and the power of death be predicated of Satan; and from both of these Christ alone is able to redeem us, in that He identifies Himself with humanity in its nature, its sufferings, its temptations, yet without sin, and offers up His holy life as an expiation for sin. It is at the same time clear from this how God, as Creator and Judge of the world, can directly and positively take part in the death of man, but not in his sinfulness; while the devil is at the same time the author of sin, and the tempter and the murderer of man.
6. Death, which, under the influences of sin, is the essential means of our enslavement by Satan, became in Christ the essential means of our deliverance. “The devil, as he who had the power of death, delighted in death; and that in which he delighted, the Lord held out to him. Thus His cross became a snare for the devil” (AUGUSTINE Sermons, 263). “The Scripture has announced this, viz., that one death devoured the other (1 Cor. 15:54): death has been turned into derision. Hallelujah!” (LUTH. Easter Hymn of year 1524). Dominus itaque noster ad humani generis redemptionem veniens velut quemdam de se in necem diaboli hamum fecit. Hujus hami linea illa est per evangelium antiquorum patrum propago memorata—in cujus extremo incarnatus Dominus id est hamus ista ligaretur—Hamus hic raptoris fauces tenuit et se mordentem momordit.—Ibi quippe inerat humanitas, quæ ad se devoratorem adduceret; Ibi divinitas, quæ perforaret; ibi aperta infirmitas, quæ provocaret; ibi occulta virtus quæ raptoris faucem transfigeret” (GREGOR. MAGN. ad Job. 40:19).9
7. The death of the God-man, who despoiled Satan of his power, is neither a merely passive enduring of hostile assaults of man or of Satan, nor a merely active surrendering of Himself to the conflict. It is neither a bare punishment of sin, called forth by the wrath of God, nor an exclusive attestation of Christ’s moral power of will, under the aspects of trust in God, fidelity to His calling, and fulfilment of His obligation. It unites inseparably in itself moral and religious features; presents the active and the passive elements which enter into it, as perfectly and mutually interpenetrating each other, and can be rightly understood only as belonging to a historically developed scheme of salvation. Being in its import a sacrificial death for the expiation of sin, it presupposes the perfecting of the life of the God-man by active obedience; has the reconciliation of the world with God as its consequence; and is in its nature vicarious, or substitutionary, by means of suffering obedience.
8. Deliverance from the fear of death is wrought not by a new doctrine of immortality, which changes our conceptions of the future world, but by our transition into a new relation, in which the sting of death, the wounding, rankling consciousness of guilt is removed, (1 Cor. 15:17, 55). Christ is the Prince of Life (Acts 3:15), who conquers death and Hades, and secures for us both the knowledge and possession of life, (2 Tim. 1:10; John 5:24; 11:25; 14:19), who not only holds in his hands the keys of Death and of Hades, (ReHebrews 2:1:18; 20:14; 21:4); but by His resurrection has begotten believers by a lively hope, (1 Peter 1:3, 4); produces in them the certainty of a glorious resurrection and eternal life, Rom. 5:21; 6:23; and Himself brings this life at His glorious appearing, John 17:10; Col. 3:3; Phil. 3:21, in that His Spirit creates in believers, first a spiritual and then a bodily renovation, Rom. 8:11. “The death of Christ has become, as it were, a root of life, an annihilation of corruption, a doing away of sin, and an end of wrath. We were laden with a curse, and in Adam had been brought under the sentence of death. But since the Word that knew no sin, made Himself to be called a Son of Adam, and the debts incurred by the first transgression have been cancelled by Him, human nature has in Christ been manifestly restored to soundness, and this His sinlessness has delivered the dwellers upon the earth.”—(CYRILL. ALEX.).
9. There is an old controversy whether the author makes the high-priestly office of Christ commence with His return to the Father, (Schlicht., Griesb., Schultz, Bl.) so that, as maintained by the Socinians, His High-priesthood coincides in origin essentially with His sovereignty, and His death on the cross corresponds not to the offering, but only to the slaughtering of the victim; or whether in our epistle Christ’s offering of Himself on the cross is regarded as the proper High-priestly act (WINZER de Sacerdotis officio quod Christo tribuitur, comm. I. 1825, and nearly all recent writers). In favor of the latter view we may urge that the author places the voluntary offering of Jesus Christ, and His entrance with His own blood, into the heavenly sanctuary, regarded as two inseparable parts of the same transaction, on a parallel with the well-known Jewish rite, and that the expiation of the sins of men is referred to the sacrificial death of Christ, 2:14; 7:27; 9:11–14, 26, 28; 10:10; 12:14; 13:12. The unquestionable emphasis laid on the heavenly character of Christ’s high-priesthood, is explained from the author’s design to set forth the higher and unconditioned excellence of the Christian high-priest, in contrast with those who exercised their priestly function on earth, in the typical sanctuary at Jerusalem. The intercession on behalf of men, which is made, in the presence of God by the transcendently exalted Redeemer, is but the continued exercise of a high-priestly office, upon which He had already entered. (Lün.) The scene which transpired with the sin offerings in the outer court on the great day of atonement, finds its perfect counterpart and realization in Christ’s offering of Himself once for all on earth. Between the slaughter of the victim in the outer court, and the sacrifice on the altar of the outer court, took place that act of solemn significance, the carrying of the blood into the Holiest of all; and of this act the antitype and fulfilment takes place exclusively in heaven. (Del.)
10. From that moral decision which, in the grand crisis of life, determines its entire direction, and with this its collective destiny, we are to distinguish partly those moral decisions made upon the basis of this, and running through the whole life, and partly those acts of will which precede and prepare for this capital decision. So also the trials appointed by God, are not to be confounded with the temptations wrought by Satan, although both may concur in the same circumstances, and by this concurrence prove doubly dangerous. Especially do sufferings bear this two-fold character.
11. In all these relations Jesus hag been assimilated to us, and in the most various situations and forms, has subjected Himself, according to the will of God, to personal and actual temptations, only with the distinguishing trait that sin has neither potentially nor actually shown itself in Him, and hence there were to be overcome in His person no conditions of corruption, and no proper lustful impulses (Jas. 1:14). Precisely for this reason has He become a second Adam, the founder, in the old race of sinners, of a new race of children of God.
12. The existence and the agency of the devil are, according to the tenor of the doctrine of this epistle, as well as of Scripture elsewhere, to be recognized as real, and his agency is to be conceived as consisting in temptation to sin, and in bringing sinners into bondage to death, in the Biblical sense of this word—a sense in which are united natural, spiritual and eternal death. But this agency of the devil, Christ victoriously encounters, a succorer of those who are tempted, and a deliverer from the deadly dominion of the devil. The means of achieving this result are found in His temptations and His sufferings, by which He Himself was perfected for glory.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Christ became man 1. as to nature and quality in real assumption of our flesh and blood; 2. as to purpose, in order to become susceptible to suffering, temptation and death; 3. as to final object, in order to ransom us from the power of sin, of death, and of the devil.—The death of Jesus Christ is to be regarded 1. as the proof of His true humanity, and of His divine love; 2. as the end of His sufferings; 3. as the culminating point of His temptations; 4. as the instrument of His victory; 5. as the means of our redemption.—Our redemption is a work of God’s grace for our salvation; for it is 1. a breaking of the power a. of sin, b. of death, c. of the devil; 2. a redemption by the sinless yielding up of the Son of God into the fellowship a. of our nature, b. of our temptations, c. of our sufferings; 3. a deliverance into the fellowship, a. of divine sonship, b. of triumph over the world, c. of a perfected and glorified life.—The expiation of the sins of the people reminds us; 1. of the prevailing, a. bodily, b. spiritual corruption of our race; 2. of our pressing, a. universal, and b. personal indebtedness of guilt; 3. of God’s righteous, a. present, b. future retribution; 4. of the ever ready succor of Jesus Christ as the a. compassionate, b. faithful high-priest with God; 5. of that fellowship a. with God, b. with the children of God, which binds us to the imitation of Jesus.—Wherein, amidst all our lowliness, consists the preëminence of our race above the angels? 1. we are fallen, but not necessarily lost; 2. we can suffer, but by triumphing over sin, have precisely herein fellowship with Christ; 3. we must die, but are able in death to attain to a higher stage of life.—Whither are we to look in sufferings and temptations?—1. To the peril which threatens us, a. in the heaviness of the assault, by the union of sufferings and temptations; b. on account of the origin of our temptations, in
the agency of the devil; c. in respect of the consequences of our succumbing, by which we are more ignominiously enslaved; 2. to the weakness which cleaves to us, and a. brings to light our connection with sin, b. makes us sensible of our natural helplessness, c. awakens, intensifies and guides our healthful longing after the deliverer; 3. to the succor which we can obtain in Christ, a. as the Son of God, who has become like to us men, b. who has suffered as one that was tempted, c. but by death has wrested his dominion from the devil.—In Christ Jesus is imparted to us genuine divine help: since 1. His incarnation shows that the purpose of God to render us His children, God Himself adheres to; 2. His struggle with temptation shows the possibility of a victory over sin; 3. His suffering of death, as the compassionate and faithful high priest, effects, on our behalf, the expiation of our sins, and the overthrow of the dominion of the devil.—Our Christian obligation demands, 1. that we do not fear death and the devil; 2. that we avoid sin; 3. that we take Christ as our helper in our temporal and spiritual needs.—To the greatness of our misery corresponds the greatness of our guilt, and also the greatness of the divine compassion and faithfulness in Christ.—Suffering presses heavily; more heavily temptation; most heavily guilt: but Christ assists us to bear suffering, to overcome temptation, to obliterate and wipe out guilt.—Our text places in contrast before us the worst enemy and the best friend; the greatest weakness and the mightiest strength; the bitterest misery, and the surest, nearest and sweetest aid.—Christ has become, in all respects, like us, and yet remained exalted infinitely above us, whether we look 1. at His person, or 2, at His walk, or 3, at His final withdrawal from His temporal life.
STARKE:—The devil has dominion and power over men in respect of natural, spiritual and eternal death. For after having plunged the human race by sin into spiritual death, he naturally so rules over it by sin, that by spiritual death he holds it captive, and by the natural death which thence results, leads it on to death eternal.—The power of death is ever-during fear, terror, distress, trembling and quivering before the stern judgment of God, by which the soul of man is tormented, so that it ever dies, and yet never dies, because it is immortal. This power the devil possesses; that is, he tortures and afflicts the conscience with hellish fear and terror, trembling and dismay. Satan is appointed by God as His executioner, His jailor, or, if one may so say, an executor of the curse of the law, who is authorized to demand man for deserved punishment, and to proceed against him before the court, by virtue of the claim of the law, so that God cannot, without infringing upon His righteousness, reject his demand, which is the demand of the law itself (Is. 49:24; Matth. 12:29; ReHebrews 2:12:10).—Christ is the sweet antidote to the bitterness of death.—No hero is naturally so bold that he is not terrified at death. But believers in Christ are such valiant heroes, that even death they do not fear nor even taste (John 8:51).—The law does right in disclosing to thee thy sins; but when it would condemn thee, then against law, sin, and death, appears thy Saviour, and says: I am also of flesh and blood, and they are my brethren and sisters; for what they have done I have paid the reckoning. Law, wilt thou condemn them? condemn me. Sin, wilt thou pierce and slay? pierce thou me. Death, wilt thou swallow up and devour? devour thou me. The condition of servitude is set over against that of Sonship, and is connected with a torturing fear of death, since we find ourselves so controlled by sin, and the dominion of Satan, that our own powers can never emancipate us (John 8:34); and this servitude is far heavier than that servitude of the Old Testament under the law and Levitical ordinances, which was rather analogous to a state of minority and pupilage (Gal. 4:1–6). But the redemption wrought through Christ offers a freedom of such a nature, that we emerge by it out of all bondage and slavish fear, into true Sonship, and serve God with willing and joyful spirit, in all truth and purity. For as, by the work of regeneration, it brings to the soul spiritual life, so natural death loses its terror, and is converted into a blessing, Luke 1:74, 75; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 5:1; 1 John 4:18.—The fallen angels have no redemption to hope for, Matth. 25:41, 46.—The qualities of a true high-priest are compassion and fidelity; both these Christ must possess from His likeness to us. 1. Compassion is, indeed, a Divine attribute which existed in the Son of God before He became man. But as He has taken upon Himself our nature, He has Himself an actual personal perception and sense of our wretchedness. No one knows the spirit of the poor and sick like Him who has Himself been sick and poor. 2. From compassion springs fidelity. From this arises the fact that Christ has not merely been once our high-priest and pattern, but that He is still so daily, Hebrews 7:25.—As all kinds of suffering and distress are called temptations, 2 Cor. 10:13, and in like manner the sufferings of Christ, Luke 22:28, we can also say that Christ has been tempted of God, yet not for evil but for good, viz., 1, in order to promote the honor of God and the salvation of men; 2, to reveal the immaculate holiness and transcendent power of Christ, that he might be the hero who should bear, without sinking under it, the wrath of God; 3, to open to him, by means of this suffering, the way to glory.—The sufferings of Christ were not only real, but meritorious, and were endured for our sake. Hence they come in our place, primarily in such a way, that they are reckoned to us for righteousness; and secondarily in such a way, that in our temptations, whether from without or from within, our high-priest comes to our aid with His instruction and His strengthening power. Temptations have been to Christ a source of great suffering; since although He had no sin and could not sin, yet it was, therefore, all the deeper sorrow to Him that sin was imputed to Him. This marked Christ’s deepest humiliation.—Console thyself, thou devout bearer of the Cross, thou who art pressed and borne down by many a need; thy brother Jesus has also tasted all this; He knows how it weighs thee down; He can help thee, He will assuredly refresh thee, 2 Cor. 4:10; 1 Pet. 4:13.—After we have completely eliminated all imperfection, and all painful emotions from the compassionate sympathy of Christ in heaven, this tender human sympathy still appears in no wise incompatible with His glorified condition. And we must also know that the joy of His human nature in heaven cannot now be so great and perfect, because His mystical body is here as yet still surrounded with sorrows, and encompassed with infirmities, as it will be when, after the resurrection of the dead, all this shall have forever ceased.
SPENER:—Since all the power of Satan consists in sin, by which he deals with us as slaves, according to his will, redemption from this is a grand and precious feature of our blessedness, 1 John 3:8; ReHebrews 2:5:5; Col. 2:15.—Children of God are already blessed in life, because delivered from the fear of death. They think of death with tranquil heart, and overcome in faith the fear that naturally cleaves to others, Luke 2:29; 2 Cor. 5:8; Gen. 46:30.—The redemption of Christ attaches not to those who still continue under reigning sin and the power of Satan, and cannot belong to them until, by true conversion and translation into the kingdom of light, they allow themselves to be delivered from the snares of the devil, Col. 1:1–13.
BERLENBURGER BIBLE:—The incarnation of Christ is historically, indeed, well known to all, but in its secret mystery to but exceedingly few, both in respect of knowledge and practice.—The kingdom of death had to be overthrown in a rightful and legitimate way, by the payment of all its just demands.—The devil, through our sin, gained, a dominion by conquest; not a legitimate and rightful sway, but a usurpation with our consent. He acquired by sin, a double prerogative, that of condemning and of ruling; both are taken from him—That terror of conscience, which springs from sin, is man’s living hell upon earth, so long as he does not take deliverance from it by grace and the spirit of divine gladness. Though a man may have had the beginnings of true repentance, he is still, by no means, exempt from fear. For then, indeed, he first feels a genuine shrinking from the wrath of God. He trembles at all God’s righteous utterances and words, and finds no true refuge and deliverance from it, so long as he fails to exercise living faith.—This fruit of sin and of the apostasy is very deeply rooted, and has pervaded our entire human nature, so that to deal with it and eradicate it, is no light and easy matter. Even believing Christians have to strive daily that they may hold this enemy under the victory of faith, although he has once already been brought under its power.—Christ takes upon Himself not the seed of an evil and malignant nature, but the seed of promise.
LAURENTIUS:—To refrain from evil through fear of punishment, marks the slavish, not the filial spirit.—Only believers, the posterity of Abraham, are actually partakers of the redemption of Christ.
RAMBACH:—The devil is here described in respect, 1, of his name, as accuser and calumniator; 2, of his power; 3, of his overthrow.—O wondrous change! We were first created after the likeness of Christ, and now he is born after our likeness.—Christ can succor those that are tempted, since He, 1, has received the right and authority; 2, possesses the power to do so.
STEINHOFER:—There is a wondrous war waged on the cross, and an unanticipated victory in the death of this Just and Holy One.—Compassion toward sinners, and indifference toward sin, cannot possibly coexist.—Atonement is the mighty word wherewith we would honor Jesus in His office, and continually enjoy alike His compassion and His fidelity.
HAHN:—By the compassion of Jesus we must arm ourselves against impatience, since He exacts not too much from us, and we can repose confidence in Him; and His fidelity gives us consolation, and strengthens us against all unbelief.—Jesus is faithful: for He refused not to bear the worst that might befall Him; He awaited all, and shrank from nothing; He became not weary. It is only through this faithfulness that we reach the appointed goal.
RIEGER:—Every step in the ministry of Jesus was freely accepted by Him in the spirit of love; as, indeed, when about to be delivered into the hands of sinners, He said: Thinkest thou not that I could pray to my Father? But the command received from His Father, and His desire to leave nothing unaccomplished, lays upon Him the necessity to become in all things like unto His brethren.—Blessed is he to whom the Spirit of Christ so interprets this “in all things,” and so applies it to every thing, that now, in all which he has daily to do and suffer, he enjoys this light upon his way. For thy sake the Saviour has once for all placed Himself in like circumstances.
HEUBNER:—So far is the suffering of Christ from impairing His dignity and power as a Saviour, that it is in fact only through this that He becomes a genuine Saviour.—God is indeed in Himself already compassionate, Ex. 34:6, but this compassion is revealed with entire clearness, and certainty only in the incarnation of the Son.
STIER:—The death of Christ has its significance as a suffering of death; and His suffering again only in the fact that He was tempted in that which He suffered.—In Christ’s mediatorial office, concur all these varied and opposite elements: the power of the devil, the just claim and righteousness of God, and the exigency of man.
[OWEN:—Death is penal; and its being common unto all, hinders not, but that it is the punishment of every one.—According unto the means that men have to come unto the knowledge of the righteousness of God, are or ought to be their apprehensions of the evil that is in death. When bondage is complete, it lies in a tendency to future and greater evils. Such is the bondage of condemned malefactors reserved for the day of execution; such is the bondage of Satan, who is kept in chains of darkness for the judgment of the great day.—The Lord Christ out of His inexpressible love, willingly submitted Himself unto every condition of the children to be saved by Him, and to every thing in every condition of them, sin only excepted.—The first and principal end of the Lord Christ’s assuming human nature, was not to reign in it, but to suffer and die in it.—He saw the work that was prepared unto Him—how He was to be exposed unto miseries, afflictions and persecutions, and at length to make His soul an offering for sin—yet because it was all for the salvation of the children, He was contented with it and delighted in it.—All the power of Satan in the world over any of the sons of men, is founded in sin, and the guilt of death attending it. Death entered by sin; the guilt of sin brought it in.—If the guilt of death be not removed from any, the power of the devil extends unto them. A power it is, indeed, that is regulated. Were it sovereign or absolute, He would continually devour. But it is limited unto times, seasons, and degrees, by the will of God, the Judge of all.—The death of Christ, through the wise and righteous disposal of God, is victorious, all-conquering and prevalent.—Satan laid his claim unto the person of Christ, but coming to put it in execution, he met with that great and hidden power in Him which He knew not, and was utterly conquered.—Satan will fly at the sign of the cross rightly made.—The Lord Christ suffered under all His temptations, sinned in none.—Tempted sufferers not only wanted one to undertake for them, but to undertake for them with care, pity and tenderness.—Temptations cast souls into danger.—The great duty of tempted souls is to cry out unto the Lord Christ for help and relief. He is “faithful;” He is “merciful,” and that which is the effect of them both, He is “able”].
Hebrews 2:14.—Instead of the common σαρκός καὶ αἵματος, flesh and blood, we are to read here, according to A. B. C. D. E. Uffenbach, Itala, Vulg. αἵματος καὶ σαρκός, as at Eph. 6:12.
Hebrews 2:14.—The Cod. Clarom. reads ἵνα διὰ τοῦ θανάτου θάνατον καταρηγήση, τὸν τὸ κράτος κτλ. [But the θάνατον is an evident interpolation, probably the result of carelessness in copying.—K.].
[“And thus our Lord coming for the redemption of the human race, made, as it were, a sort of book of Himself for the, destruction of the devil. The line of this book is the succession of Ancient Fathers recorded in the Gospel …. at whose extremity this book, an incarnate God, should be fastened.…. This book held the jaws of the spoiler and consumed him who was consuming itself. Because there was a humanity which should attract to itself the devourer; there a Divinity which should pierce him; there was an open infirmity which might challenge his approach; there a concealed power which should transfix the jaws of the spoiler”].