Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:II
Christ has the characteristic of a High-Priest primarily by His capacity to sympathize with human weakness.
1For every high priest [being] taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices1 for sins: 2Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way [being able to deal tenderly with the ignorant and erring]; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.3And by reason hereof [on account of it]2 he ought [is obliged], as for the people, so also for himself,3 to offer for4 sins.
[Hebrews 5:1.—Λαμβανόμενος, not taken=who is taken, as if applying to that particular class of high-priests that are taken from among men, in antithesis to Christ; but being taken, as a universal and indispensable attribute of high-priests, viz., that they be taken from among men, and an attribute, therefore, which must be shared by Christ.—ὑπὲρ ἀνθρώπωυ, on behalf of men.
Hebrews 5:2.—μετριοπαθεῖν, not exactly have compassion upon, but, “deal moderately, and hence tenderly with;” Moll, das richtige Mass im Mitleiden einhalten.—τοῖς ἀγνοοῦσιν καὶ πλανωμένοις, on the ignorant and erring, or straying. The (Gr. Art. not repeated; hence both participles belong to the same subject.
Hebrews 5:3.—ὀφείλει, ought, i. e., is bound, is under obligation.—καθώς, according as, marking equality of relations.—K.].
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
HEBREWS 5:1. For every high priest—relating to God—The position of the words forbids our connecting the participle λαμβανόμενος immediately with the subject=every high-priest who is taken (Luth., etc.)—as if the purpose were to contrast with the heavenly, the earthly high-priest; but requires it to be taken predicatively, as expressing the first requisite of every high-priest, viz., that He, as being taken from men, be appointed as religious mediator in behalf of men. Nor is any such contrast of Christ with the human high-priest, expressed as to warrant the interpolated idea of THOL.: “While Christ, through the compassion and sympathy to which His susceptibility to temptation has given rise, becomes (according to 2:17) a faithful high-priest (πιστὸς ἀρχιερεύς), the human high-priest, by that liability to temptation which passes over into actual sin, is moved to indulgence toward his partners in guilt, and a prompt and willing exercise of his mediatorial office.” Of a contrast between the pure sympathy of Christ and the over indulgence of the earthly high-priest, there is not the slightest trace; on the contrary, the sympathy previously ascribed to Christ, was regarded as the most immediate proof of His fitness for the high-priestly office, and as such introduced with a γάρ. Καθίσταται is not middle, but passive, and τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεόν is not an Accusative of the object (Calv.), but (as Hebrews 2:17) a sort of adverbial or absolute Accusative.
HEBREWS 5:2. That he may offer—for sins—Although δῶρα denotes, Gen. 4:4; LeHebrews 5:1:2, 3; bloody sacrifices, and θυσίαι, Gen. 4:3,5; Ex. 2:1; Deut. 5:15, those which are bloodless, still the combination, δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίαι, points here, as Hebrews 8:3; 9:9, to the well-known distinction between offerings made without bloodshed (expressed by δῶρα, gifts), and those which require the shedding of blood (expressed by θυσίαι, sacrifices). The words περὶ ἁμαρτιῶν belong neither to θυσίαι alone (Grot., Beng., etc.), nor to both nouns conjointly, but to the verb προσφέρῃ, indicating that the high-priestly offerings in question—for those of priests in general are not here referred to—in which may be included gifts, may be conceived as expiatory. The author is stating precisely the purpose of the high-priest’s religious ministry and mediation.
As one who can deal gently, etc.—Μετριοπαθεῖν, is a term that past over (DIOG. LAERT. vit. phil., Hebrews 5:31) from the School of the Peripatetics into general use, and which has a double contrast, on the one hand, with the ἀπάθεια, passionlessness, which the Stoics demanded of the wise man, and on the other, with excess of passion (πάθος) in those who were passionately excited. It is commonly understood, in too narrow a sense, of moderation in anger, and of indulgence and gentleness toward the short-coming; for it applies, in general, to the preserving of the proper mean in our emotions, and hence in the case of sufferings denotes stead fastness. This quality was specially necessary for the high-priest; for all crimes, without distinction, could not be equally expiated by sacrifices. On the one hand, therefore, he must not allow himself to be moved by false sympathy to unwarranted offerings, nor, on the other, to be provoked by the constantly recurring demands for intercession and sacrifice, to impatience and hard-heartedness. Wilful and determined transgression of the law demanded even still the infliction of the appointed punishment. For sins that were committed בִּיַד רָמָה, with upraised hand, i.e, in a spirit of haughty violence and insolent defiance of the law of God, the offender was to be cut off from the congregation by death, LeHebrews 5:4:13 ff.; Num. 15:22 ff. Sins, on the other hand, which were committed in error (בִּשְׁגָגָה), so that in the moment of their commission there was but an indistinct consciousness of their nature, admitted expiation by sacrifice. The subject of expiation must then take the victim to be offered from his own possessions, and bring it to the priest who put it to death as a substitute for its owner, after previously ascertaining whether the offence in question fell under the above mentioned category. The expression, τοῖς ἀγνοοῦσι καὶ πλανωμένοις, is, however, by no means to be restricted to men who have committed unwitting and involuntary offences; for, on the great day of Atonement, even sins which were not committed thus in error (בִּשְׁגָגָה), and which admitted in the course of the year no expiatory sacrifice, could, under the condition of repentance, receive expiation. Those persons, therefore, are intended, who, in distinction from the impious mockers at the law, disregarded, in their natural and hereditary sinfulness, the Divine will, and by yielding to temptation, fell into error.
HEBREWS 5:3, 4. Since he himself is compassed with infirmity—offerings for sin.—Ἀσθένεια is here, as at Hebrews 7:28, that native moral weakness with which man is encompassed not so much as by a garment (Lün.), as by light, or by the skin, so that he can in no condition of earthly life be conceived as separated from it. The classical form περίκειμαί τι (found elsewhere in the New Testament only Acts 28:20), expresses admirably this condition, so entirely independent of human will. Ὀφείλει points not exclusively to the legal requisition (Böhm., Hofm.), and not exclusively again to a moral necessity, which lies in the very nature of the case, as springing from the like state of infirmity, (Bl., Lün.). Both are blended in the conception of the author (Del.). For not only does the law take for granted (LeHebrews 5:4:3–12) that the high-priest may also in the course of the year find himself under a necessity of offering sin offerings for himself, but on the great festival of atonement, the high-priest, after accomplishing the customary morning sacrifices, was obliged to lay aside the so-called golden garments, and in simple priest’s clothes, yet of Pelusian linen, descend from the bathing apartment into the inner fore-court, there lay his hands on the bullock that stood as a sin offering between the court of the temple and the altar of burnt offering, and offer intercessory prayers, first for himself and his house, then for the entire priesthood, and finally for all Israel; prayers which Del. in his history of Jewish poetry, p. 184, 185, has given and explained. The first prayer of intercession ran thus: O Jehovah, I and my house have trespassed, have done wickedly, have committed sin before Thee. O, in the name of Jehovah (according to another reading, O Jehovah) expiate, I pray Thee, the trespasses and the evil deeds and the sins where-with I have trespassed, and have sinned against Thee, I and my house, as written in the law of Moses Thy servant; “For on this day will he make an atonement for you, to cleanse you: from all your sins shall ye be clean before Jehovah,” (LeHebrews 5:16:30). It was only as having himself received expiation that the high-priest could make atonement for the priesthood and the congregation according, to the principle: Let an innocent person come and make expiation for the guilty, and not a guilty person come and make expiation for the guiltless. Προσφέρειν stands absolutely as at Luke 5:14; Num. 7:18; comp. REICHE Comm. Crit. III. 35.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The idea of the Priesthood is that of a religious mediation, which, culminating in the High priesthood, concentrates itself in sacrifice, and receives, according to the special character of the religion, its peculiar expression, but reaches in Christianity its adequate realization.
2. Among sacrifices, those which relate to the restoration of that fellowship of man with God, which sin has interrupted, are of the greatest importance; inasmuch as the religious life of the human race in its actual course turns upon, and as it were revolves about, the realization of the atonement, as about its central point in the mutual relations of sin and grace.
3. The institution of the priestly office therefore originates in the necessities of men who are to be reconciled to God. But for this reason again the priests themselves are taken from men, inasmuch as any genuine intercession with God requires that they know, from their own experience, the necessities of sinful men. But from this again it necessarily follows, that they are under obligation to offer expiatory sacrifices, not merely for others, but also for themselves, until the appearance of the sinless High-priest, Jesus Christ.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Our condition summons us primarily; 1, to the humble confession of our sinfulness and weakness; 2, to a, fitting sympathy with the erring and sinful; 3, to the conscientious employment of the appointed means of grace.—True sympathy springs from a perception of our own liability to transgression, and qualifies us for a consoling ministry.—The office which is committed to us does not free us from the sin which cleaves to men generally; but it entrusts to us the means of reconciliation to be impartially applied in the conscientious exercise of our office.
STARKE:—An evangelical teacher, although he walks worthily of the Gospel, must still, in the proper estimate of his own weaknesses, deal with all sinners, in the midst of severity, with tender sympathy and love, by which he will find all the happier entrance into the consciences of his hearers (2 Tim. 2:24).—The priesthood is certainly to be respected, and they who are called to it are to be honored; but they are not to be too highly and sacredly regarded; for they are also encompassed with infirmity, and are obliged, in due order, to pray as well for the forgiveness of their own sins, as of those of others. (2 Cor. 4:7).
RIEGER:—God has, even from ancient times, foreshadowed the blessings and the consolations which we have to enjoy in a high-priest, and in the access to God, which is obtained by means of him. It is a feature of the good and gracious counsel of God, that He takes from the midst of men those whom He deems worthy of this calling and employment. For those who are taken, it is an admonition that, apart from that which their office assigns to them, they are in like circumstances with their brethren; and, for those whom they are to serve in their ministry, it is surely encouragement that to some in their midst, freedom to draw near to God has been thus largely opened.—Such a High-priest taken from among men, had thus no ground of self-complacency to exalt Himself above others; but rather to exercise a sympathizing and gentle spirit toward all, and to be well aware of the two abiding sources of sin, viz: ignorance and error.
HEUBNER:—The need of a priestly office manifests itself in all religions and among all nations. This should make us give attention to the genuine priest.—The office of priest is not instituted for his own sake, but for the sake of others. He is to be a leader of others to God, and his sacred service should be to him a pleasure.—A sympathizing heart, love, is the most indispensable quality of a priest. He is to know men, their weakness, their deficiency, and this should make him sympathizing and attentive; and he should reflect upon his own weakness, in order to become the more patient. Lowliness and self abasement make us sympathizing.
Hebrews 5:1.—The lect. rec. δῶρά τε καί, has the sanction of Sin., A. C. D.*** E. K. L., and all the minusc.
Hebrews 5:3.—Instead of διὰ ταύτην, should be read with Sin. A. B. C* D* 7, 80, δι’ αὐτήν. [This is intrinsically better, as the unemphatic αὐτήν, it, suits better than ταύτην, this, with the incidental and parenthetical character of the verse.—K.].
Hebrews 5:3.—The lect. rec., ἑαυτοῦ, is found in Sin. A. C. D.*** E. K. L., and in nearly all the minusc.
Hebrews 5:3.—Instead of ὑπὲρ ἁμαρτιῶν, περὶ ἁμ. is, after Sin. A. B. C.* D.* 17, 31, 47, 73, 118, approved by Griesb., and received by Lach. and Tisch.
And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.III
He possesses moreover this character by His being called of God to this office, and that as antitype of Melchisedec.
4And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that [in that he]5 is called ofGod, as [just as, καθώσπερ]6 was [also] Aaron7. 5So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to-day haveI begotten thee; 6as he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever afterthe order of Melchisedec; 7Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up [offering up] prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared [and being hearkenedto from his pious reverence]; 8though he were [was] a Son, yet learned he [om. he]obedience by [from] the things which he suffered; 9And being made perfect, he became10the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;8 Called [being saluted προσαγορευθείς] of God a high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
[Hebrews 5:4.—καὶ οὐχ ἑαυτῷ, and not for himself, ἑαυτῷ, emphatic in position.—ἀλλὰ καλούμενος (omitting ὁ), but being called=‘as being called,’ or, “on the ground that he is called.”—καθώσπερ.: ὡς, as καθώς according as; καθώσπερ, precisely, or, just according as.
Hebrews 5:5.—ὁ λαλήσας scil. ἐδόξασεν αὐτόν.
Hebrews 5:7.—δεήσεις τε καὶ ἱκετηρίας, both entreaties and supplications.—προσενέγκας, offering up, or, by offering up; not, “when he had offered up,” nor, “having offered up”—εἰσακουσθείς, being hearkened to.—ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας, from (=on account of) his reverent fear, filial fear: Moll, Frömmigkeit, piety: others, “aus der Gottesfurcht.”—K.].
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
HEBREWS 5:4. And none taketh upon himself—just as also Aaron.—The particle καί carries back λαμβάνει, and connects it with καθίσταται, the principal verb of the period (Hebrews 5:1), and introduces the second leading qualification demanded in the high-priest, viz., the fact of his being Divinely called,—a qualification realized at the very inauguration of the high-priesthood, in the case of Aaron. Böhme, Bleek and Bisping assume without sufficient ground in λαμβάνει a paronomasia with λαμβανόμενος, Hebrews 5:1. The τιμή, honor, restricted by the article, refers not indefinitely to any position of honor whatever, but refers to the special honor here in question, that of the high-priesthood; and Ἀαρών again is not here a collective term for Aaron and his descendants, but Aaron, the individual person, standing as a model and example for all subsequent high-priests, by whom, in common with their head and progenitor, the office was originally held during life, the office alternating between the families of the two sons of Aaron, Eleazer and Ithamar. In a Midrash published by Schöttgen and Wetstein, Moses says to the troop of Korah: “If Aaron, my brother, had taken upon himself the priesthood, ye would be excusable for murmuring against him. But God gave it to him, and he who rebels against Aaron, rebels against God. To which Korah says in reply: ‘Think ye that I claim to take the dignity for myself? I simply demand that it pass to us all in rotation.’ ” Under the Roman dominion, appointments to and removals from the priesthood were made at pleasure, without reference to the descent of the candidate from Aaron. The text, however, gives no warrant to our imagining (with Chrys., Œcum., Theoph., etc.) an allusion by the author to this state of things. Καθώσπερ, precisely according as, entirely as. Λαμβάνειν ἑαυτῷ does not of necessity involve the idea of usurpation (Luke 19:12). But if a Divine call and personal choice of the position are placed in contrast, then the latter is really usurpation—a fact which Hofm. fails to perceive.
HEBREWS 5:5. Thus also Christ glorified not himself, etc.—HOFM. (Schriftb. II., 1, 282; 2 Ed. II., 1, 398) says: “It was no act of self-glorification by which the Royal Mediator of salvation became High-Priest; it was on the path of sorrow and suffering that He attained to that glory in which He is now a High-Priest after the order of Melchisedec.” But this contrast of δοξάζειν and παθεῖν anticipates the subsequent discussion. The same is true if we refer the passage to Christ’s royal dignity, whether we find the allusion to it in ὁ χριστός or in ἐδόξασεν. The δόξα is but an equivalent to the τιμή of Hebrews 5:4 (Bl., etc.), and the term ὁ χριστός is selected because Jesus Christ is regarded here not in His person, but in His character of Messiah, who, as Anointed One, is seated at the right hand of God.
But he who said to him, etc., as also in another passage.—The two citations do not express the same idea; nor is the former adduced to prove that Christ is also a High-Priest (Schlicht., Grot., Steng., Ebr., etc.), but simply to call to mind the relation previously unfolded, that, viz., which the God who has bestowed this priestly dignity on Christ, sustains as Father to this Anointed One. The second citation from Ps. 110:4 proceeds to define the priestly position of Jesus, already repeatedly alluded to in a general way, by its special feature, alleging, viz., that its true type is to be found not in Aaron, but Melchisedec. The essential import of the statement is subsequently unfolded. Τάξις signifies neither order of succession (Schultz), nor rank, but position, quality, mode, or kind, for which Hebrews 7:15 has κατὰ τὴν ὁμοιότητα. “Him whom God, in the words, ‘My Son art Thou,’ declares to be His world-ruling Anointed One, He also, in His words, ‘Thou art a Priest,’ declares to be an eternal Priest—two closely united and kindred utterances of God’s prophetic word in the Psalms” (DEL.).
HEBREWS 5:7. Who in the days of his flesh—suffered.—The ὅς refers back to the subject ὁ χριστός, to which the Aor. ἔμαθε belongs, and of which the contemporaneous circumstances, or the way and manner of learning, are denoted by the Aor. Part. προσενέγκας and εἰσακουσθείς. The phrase, “in the days of His flesh,” i.e, of His human life on earth, is contrasted with His perfected state, mentioned Hebrews 5:9, and belongs to the main verb, ἔμαθεν. To ἔμαθεν answers ἐπαθεν, with an intended assonance. From that which (not in general: “by the fact that”) He suffered (ἀπό with μανθάνω, as Matth. 11:29: παρά, or ἐκ, Matth. 24:32 [Matth. 24:32 has ἀπὸ τῆς συκῆς, which would be the more regular construction with things; παρά with persons, though the usage is by no means invariable—K.]) He learned His (the Art. τήν being specific) obedience. To put in parenthesis the clause, καίπερ—ὑπακοήν, and thus (with Abresch, Dind., Heinr., Steng., etc.) carry the ὄς over to ἐγένετο as its first principal verb, is totally inadmissible. For καίπερ can never be constructed with a finite verb which here would be ἔμαθε [i.e, although, as being a Son, He learned, etc., which would require εἰ καί, or some combination with εἰ]. But neither is the clause, καίπερ ὢν υἱός, to be connected, as by Chrys. and Theoph., with εἰσακουσθείς. For the particle points to some apparent inconsistency between the clause in which it stands (although being a Son) and the main declaration with which it stands connected. Yet no such inconsistency can be found between the relation of Son and the fact of His being hearkened to (rather the reverse), but it does seem inconsistent with the leading thought of the period which points to Jesus Christ’s humiliation and to His possession as Man of the first requisite of a high-priest, mentioned Hebrews 5:1–3 (just as Hebrews 5:5, 6, declare His possession of that second requisite mentioned Hebrews 5:4). The “learning of obedience” is a mark of humanity; and even in this fact of the actual development of Jesus, would the actual state and condition of the Son of God, have disclosed itself But here the question is not of that actual condition, viz., of Christ’s essential likeness to and equality with humanity, by virtue of the incarnation. That matter has been previously disposed of. The question is now of His fitness for being a High-Priest, and this by virtue of His sympathy with the weaknesses of men. The emphasis, therefore, rests not on ἔμαθεν, learned (Del.), but on the whole closely connected phrase, ἔμαθεν ἀφ’ ὦν ἔπαθεν.
HEBREWS 5:7. Offering up supplications—and being hearkened to, etc.—With ἱκετηρία (which at Job 40:20 is also connected with δέησις) ἔλαια or ῥάβδος [or κλάδος], is originally to be supplied, the word thus properly denoting by ellipsis the olive branch, which was borne in the hands of a suppliant who was imploring help or protection [SOPH., Œd. Tyr., l. 3]: whence arose then the signification of earnest entreaty=ἱκεσία, ἱκετεία. It is uncertain whether (Theophil., Bl., De W., Bisp., etc.), we are to assume, in respect to the verbal coloring of these clauses, a reference to Ps. 22 and 116. There certainly is none to the loud praying of the Jewish high-priest on the annual day of atonement (Braun, Böhme, etc.); most probably [I think certainly—K.] reference is here made to the prayer in Gethsemane, and reference in the plural nouns to its successive repetitions. The added clause, “with strong outcry” (μετὰ κραυγῆς ἰσχυρἄς), leads Calv., Schultz, Stein, etc., to regard the language as referring, along with these prayers, to the loud crying of Jesus on the cross; Cajetan, Este., Calov, and Strauss, refer the whole exclusively to this latter, and Klee confines it even to the loud outcry with which Jesus died. These applications of the passage are by no means (with De W.) to be regarded as unsuited to the context,9 they are rather very natural, inasmuch as the struggling of Jesus with that suffering of death which was inseparable from His Messianic office, and which had long been present to His thought, was not limited to His agonizing supplications in Gethsemane; and the two Aorist participles are not to be resolved by after that, viz., after that He had offered, etc., (De W., Hofm.), but in that (viz., in that He offered, or by offering). The words allude, however, preëminently, to the suffering in Gethsemane; and we have here, perhaps, given us, in close accordance with the account of Luke 22:39–46, a scene of evangelical history resting upon tradition, which has also found its way even into the text of some recensions of Luke himself. For according to Epiphanius (Ancor. 31), the mention of tears is found ἐν τῷ κατὰ Λουκᾶν εὐαγγελίῳ ἐν τοῖς ἀδιορθώτοις ἀντιγράφοις. Moreover, Luke 19:41, and Jno. 11:35, show the Lord weeping; while again, on the other hand, the ἀγωνία of Jesus in the garden (Luke 22:44), is not without example in the record of His life, Jno. 12:27. We may imagine that the picture here drawn sustains a relation to the Gospel narrative like that which Hosea 12:5 sustains to the wrestling of Jacob at the Jabbok, Gen. 32:26 (Böhme, Del.). Since elsewhere in our Epistle (9:14; 11:4), as in the classics, προσφέρω is connected with the Dative, it is most natural not to make (with Lün.) πρὸς τὸν δυνάμενον σώζειν αὐτὸν ἐκ θανάτου dependent on the verb, but on δεήσεις τε καὶ ἱκετηρίας. The mere expression σώζειν ἐκ θανάτου admits indifferently of being referred to deliverance from peril of death (Theod., Calv., Bengel, etc.) and to rescuing out of death itself (Œc., Calov, Este., etc.); for which reason Michael., Bl., and others, unite the two. [But most assuredly erroneously. For what our Saviour prayed for, was not to be snatched from death after He had experienced it, but rescued from its impending approach. It was to be saved from “that hour”—to be delivered from “drinking that cup”—to evade the terrible scene whose black shadow was now thrown over His soul, that He prayed, and this was denied Him. Still, as His prayer was made in entire resignation to His Father’s will, He was “hearkened to,” approved and accepted in it, even though a literal compliance with it could not be accorded to Him. He “was hearkened to,” in that an angel was sent to strengthen Him; in that His death was accepted in all its atoning import, and in that He received the full reward of His suffering; that agonizing prayer being only an additional and fuller proof of the depth of His temptations, and the completeness of His resignation.—K.]. We cannot from this decide in regard to the sense of the words Jesus was heard ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας. We are hardly to interpret this of His being freed from fear, (Ambros., Grot., and many, following the Itala exauditus a metu), which Calvin and Schlichting understand, of the object of the fear, viz., death. This interpretation would be allowed, indeed, by the ἀπό, and, moreover, εὐλαβεία has, in fact, the meaning of fear (Wisd. 17:8; 2 Macc. 8:16). It can, as appears from Sirach 4:1, 3, pass over into the signification of a fearful holding back, and of shuddering at the contact and infliction of the κρίμα θανάτου; whence Hofm. understands it of Jesus’ recoiling from death; and Tholuck, after Aretius, explains it of shrinking, shuddering, detrectatio, and reminds us of the εἰ δυνατόν, if it is possible, of the prayer in Gethsemane. But εὐλαβεία means assuredly in general, only thoughtfulness, precaution, foresight, the right taking hold and grasping of a thing. Thus the fundamental idea points not to fear of danger, but to fear of injury, which, in the sphere of religion, is conscientiousness in dealing with our relation to God, and with the duties which spring from it. Thus this word stands at Luke 2:25; Acts 2:5; 8:2; 22:12 (Lachm.); and so our author uses it Hebrews 11:7; 12:28. For this reason we should also prefer the rendering of Luther after the Vulgate, Proverbs sua reverentia; and so with all the Greek interpreters, Bl., Lün., Del., etc. The preposition ἀπό points not to the object, but to the ground of the hearing [i.e, not being hearkened to so as to be delivered from the thing feared: but hearkened to from=in consequence of His filial reverence]; and is used as at Luke 19:3; 23:41; Acts 12:14; 20:9; 22:11.
[I have explained above the force of εἰσακουσθεὶς ἀπό correctly interpreted by the author “being hearkened to from, i.e, in consequence of his pious reverence.” He was hearkened to none the less now than when as at John 11. He said, “I know that thou hearest me always.” His prayer was couched in such a perfect spirit of resignation, that He was heard in it none the less approvingly, notwithstanding that the specific thing prayed for was not, and could not be granted. And it was only the most dreadful suffering and temptation that could have wrung out, even from the human weakness of the Saviour (and even with this all important qualification), the prayer, the granting of which would of course have nullified the entire purpose of the Saviour’s incarnation.—K.].
Hofm. regards the offering of prayers and tears as a sacrificial act, and places it, as standing connected with human weakness, in express parallel with the προσφέρειν περὶ ἑαυτοῦ, which, in the case of the high-priest, must, of necessity, precede his bringing the offerings on behalf of the congregation (of course with the distinction which exists between the weakness of the sinful high-priest, and that of the sinless Saviour). But this idea, which Del. takes unnecessary pains to refute, is expressly contradicted by the passage 7:27.
HEBREWS 5:9. And being perfected, etc.—The ὑπακοὴ πίστεως, Acts 6:7: Rom. 1:5, is the condition of the attainment of salvation, of which Christ, in His ὑπακοή, is the author to them that obey Him. On both sides, alike in Saviour and saved, the moral character of the relation is strongly emphasized, and at the same time, the πᾶσιν, to all, brings out the universality of the design of this salvation, as the term eternal (αἱώνιος), designates its nature, Isa. 45:17; while its realization among men demands, on the one side, the perfection of the life of Christ, and on the other, the imitation of His life. The connecting point of these ideas, lies in the fact that Christ has not otherwise been perfected, and elevated to the participation of Divine glory on the throne of the Heavenly Majesty, than by the voluntary offering of His life, morally perfected amidst temptations and sufferings. Thus He has become not merely a priestly king, but a high-priest after the order of Melchisedek, and as such He is not so much prophetically designated by God in Ps. 110:4 (where we have barely ἱερεύς), but solemnly greeted on His arriving at perfection, as shown by the Aor. Part., προσαγορευθείς, which expresses an act contemporaneous with the ἐγένετο. The author thus says that the prophecy has been fulfilled, and so fulfilled that yet a new feature, that of the High-Priesthood, is to be conceived as jointly included (Hofm.).
[The reader will notice some verbal allusions and contrasts in this passage, not unworthy of attention. Christ prayed to Him who was able to save (σώζειν) Him from a momentary death,—for such a σωτηρία,—yet did not receive it, but passing through it, became the author of an eternal σωτηρία to His people. Again He submitted to this death in ὑπακοή, obedience, to His Father’s will, and thus became πᾶσι τοῖς ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ, to all who obey Him, the author, etc. Thus the saving from physical death which He prayed for, is contrasted with the eternal saving which He bestows on His people; and the obedience which led Him to submit to that death, is paralleled with the obedience which enables them to reap its fruits in eternal salvation.—K.].
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. For the legitimate exercise of an office, personal fitness, is not sufficient; there is demanded for it especially a regular call, which has its origin in God, and in times of disorder and convulsion, receives and finds in God its reëstablishment. The modes of calling may therefore be very various, and it is specially necessary to distinguish the forms, which, in times of great national convulsion, God has instituted for promoting the objects of His kingdom, from those which, in definite social relations and spheres of life, are established by virtue of human laws, on behalf of right and justice, for the attainment of specific ends.
2. That, however, under all circumstances, we are to proceed in accordance with the Scripture, and that, even in unwonted cases, God, as a God of order, proceeds according to recognized laws, and in harmony with His holy revelation, is clear from the example of Jesus Christ, and the relation of His high-priesthood to that of Aaron and Melchisedek. All three are ordained of God for definite periods and circumstances; and the Holy Scripture discloses perfectly their mutual relations, so far as they are important to the history of redemption. The Aaronic priesthood, with its legal, hereditary succession and Levitical character, is expressly designated as simply an intervening and preparatory stage. The union of the priestly and kingly offices in Melchisedec, appearing as an insulated fact, and without the precincts of the covenant people, is stripped of its apparently purely accidental character, and elevated to a type of that which, within the sphere of the covenant people, was, in the person of the Messiah, to stand forth in closest connection with the history of salvation. But Jesus, although Son of God, has still, in no self-willed and arbitrary manner, taken this dignity to Himself, but in the way which had been previously announced, has been placed in it by the Father.
3. True preparation for an office which is to subserve the honor of God and the salvation of men, is acquired not by amplitude of knowledge and of skill, but by learning of obedience, by which the whole person is prepared to be a willing and capable instrument for the Divine counsels. In this way Jesus Himself has been perfected, and for this reason draws all who believe in Him into the fellowship of His conflicts and His victories, of His sufferings and His blessedness.
4. The hardest thing to conceive is that the sufferings of the pious, and among them again those of the Son of God, lie within the sphere of the Divine counsels, and possess a healing and saving power. And the hardest thing to render is obedience, which not only abides by and accomplishes the will of God amidst sufferings, but in the sufferings themselves, shall perceive and prove the Divine will as a will of love, and to evince and maintain the harmony of our personal will with the will of God, by a free reception of the destined and allotted suffering.
5. As principal auxiliaries in this conflict of faith and suffering, we have given to us the certainty of the hearing of prayer, the consoling assurance of our ultimate personal perfection, and the power of communion with Jesus Christ. For Christ is to us, not merely an example and pattern, but to them that obey Him, He is the author of eternal salvation, after having been Himself perfected. His perfection refers, on the one hand, to His office of high-priestly Mediator; for, after that He had become obedient unto the death of the cross (Phil. 2:8), He passed into His state of exaltation in which His merits should retain an everlasting efficacy. But this perfection of His career, dependent on the fulfilment of His calling, presupposes, on the other hand, that complete unfolding of His personal character, which was dependent upon His actual humanity. Faith in the concrete unity of the life of the God-man, requires the application of the idea of development to His entire personality, after the example of Luke 2:52. But faith in His sinlessness excludes every thought of moral deficiency, and of a gradual triumph over it by the process of development. His learning of obedience, denotes not a transition from disobedience to obedience, but the practical power and depth of His personal experience of that which is connected with human life.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Christ is High-priest by virtue of His suffering of death; He is a high-priest forever after the order of Melchisedec, by virtue of His exaltation upon the throne of God,—The priesthood of Christ is partly an office committed to Him, partly a calling obtained and won upon the path of suffering.—In accordance with a divine calling, we are to deem no service, and no sacrifice too heavy, and are in this to take Christ as our pattern and our helper.—The school of suffering, in which we learn obedience, is the longest and severest; but is productive of the richest fruits.—Our way to glory and eternal blessedness, leads through suffering which God ordains after the example, and through the help of Jesus Christ.—No period of life is secure from suffering; no rank and condition form a protection against it; no virtue and no merit are secure against it; but it serves to the children of God as a means of discipline in piety, and aids in time to the perfecting of our life for eternity.—Prayers and tears are an aid to willing obedience.—Only those sufferings which resemble Christ’s conflict of suffering, can comfort, purify and save.
STARKE:—Observe how deeply Christ was humiliated, how zealously He prayed, how obedient He proved Himself. Do thou also learn from Him, this zeal in prayer, this obedience in suffering.—Our prayers and thanksgivings are also offerings, yet not propitiatory; but prayer and thank-offerings, that we may evince our faith and thankfulness of heart.—Jesus, since He was the Son of God, and still took upon Himself sufferings, to which he might undoubtedly have remained superior, proves thus that He suffered not from compulsion, but with the most perfect willingness.—Christ renders those blessed who are obedient to Him. No others become partakers of His salvation.—The offering of the Lord Jesus on the tree of the cross is the grand feature of the atonement made on our behalf, and of all the glory connected therewith.
RIEGER:—If in our human hearts there can be wrought by the Spirit of God groanings which are not to be uttered, oh, then, what prayers must the Eternal Spirit, through whom our great High-priest offered Himself to His God, have called forth in Him: What sanctifying of God, of His name, counsel and will; what justifying of His judgments; what a piercing to the depths of His love; what appeal to His omnipotence; what subjection to His sovereign decree; what submission under all that was outwardly most painful and ignominious, and what a tenacious hold by hope on all that is most glorious, were united, together in this prayer!—For this reason was the suffering of Jesus so mighty to expiate the sins of the whole world, because, in His suffering He so justified, in the prayer of His willing spirit, the judgment of God upon sin, and yet was not to be drawn away from His trust in Him who had placed Him in this office.—Dread, fear, is the sharpest sting in suffering. This the Saviour was unable to escape particularly for the sake of needful sympathizing with us. There He experienced how weak one might be amidst entire willingness of spirit, so long as one is in the flesh; now He knows also what it is “to be heard.”—Jesus had already previously evinced so much willing, joyful obedience in His heroic course from the Father, through the world, to the Father; but now He learned what is the deepest element in all obedience, viz: that in suffering two separate wills come into conflict with each other, of which the one must be subjected to the other; the will of the flesh and the will of the spirit.—Christ now devotes just as much fidelity to the carrying out and perfecting of our salvation, as He did formerly to the obtaining of it.—Weakness of the flesh becomes sinful when it would subdue the willingness of the spirit; but if we cry to God in prayer, so that we are heard and delivered from it, it becomes the appropriate discipline under which we learn and practice obedience.
HAHN:—Christ knows from experience what belongs to a happy emerging from trial and suffering. Now He most sympathizingly pleads our cause with His Father.—The will and calling of the Father are clear from the fact; 1, that the Father Himself, as it were, schooled His Son thereto in the days of His flesh; 2, that the Father Himself perfected Him and made Him the pledge and surety of our salvation.
HEUBNER:—Tears are a sign of strong, fervent, earnest prayer, and prayer a sign of the holy nature of tears.—Christ must be to us a consolation and a source of quickening that we may not withdraw ourselves from the school of God.—Sufferings lead to perfection, and produce the most blessed fruits.—None, least of all the priest, should push himself forward into office.—He who arrogates to himself honor is not worthy of it.—The Divine call ensures an honorable office.—Because God calls, we must serve.—Christ is appointed of God; His dignity, His right, are founded upon God’s ordination.—The Divine Sonship of Christ was the first ground of His priestly dignity. To this God has borne witness in His word.
STEIN:—Called long since by the Father to be High-priest, the Son proves in His human lowliness that he is able worthily to fulfil such a, calling.—He who pushes himself forward prematurely is led by empty honor; an office which is administered in a Christian manner and spirit brings with it true honor.
HEDINGER:—Personally tried, ready to believe, willing to help; all these united thou hast in thy Saviour.
Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.PART SECOND
Exaltation of Christ as the single Priestly King, the antitype of Melchisedec
TRANSITION TO THIS DISCUSSION BY MEANS OF CENSURE, WARNING, CONSOLATION, AND EXHORTATION
The readers are still deficient at the time in the right understanding of this typical relation
11Of whom [concerning which] we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered 12[to be explained], seeing ye are [have become, γεγόνατε] dull of hearing; for when [while] for [on account of] the time ye ought to be teachers, ye [again] have need that one teach you [again om.] which be [what are] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat [solid food]. 13For every one that useth milk is unskilful [inexperienced] in the Word [doctrine] of righteousness, for he is a babe; 14but strong meat [solid food] belongs to those that are of full age [the mature, τελείων], even those [om. even those] who by reason of use [habit, ἕξιν] have their senses exercised [disciplined] to discern [to distinguish] both good and evil.
[Hebrews 5:11.—περὶ οὖ, concerning whom, referring to Christ, not Melchisedek; or, better, concerning which matter, viz.: Christ’s Melchisedek priesthood.—ἡμῖν ὁ λόγος πολὺς καὶ δυσερμηνευτός, our discourse is extended and hard to be clearly expounded or set forth.—γεγόνατε ye have become, not, are. The difference is important, as marking a lapse from a better spiritual state.
Hebrews 5:12.—Ὀφείλοντες εἶναι, being bound, or under obligation to be=while ye ought to be—δια τὸν χρόνον, on account of the time, better than Eng. ver., viz.: “for the time,” which is awkward, if not obscure.—πάλιν χρείαν, ye again have need: the πάλιν clearly belongs to ἔχετε, not to the following διδάσκειν. For τινά or τίνα, viz.: “of some one’s teaching you the first principles,” or “of our teaching you what are the first principles,” see exegetical notes.—Καὶ οὐ στερεᾶς, καὶ is omitted by B.2 C. 17, Vulg., Copt., Orig., and by Sin.
Hebrews 5:13—ἄπειρος λόγου δικ., inexperienced, unskilled in respect of a discourse or doctrine of righteousness, so that he is unable as a νήπιος to enter into and comprehend it.
Hebrews 5:14.—κιὰ τὴν ἔξιν, on account of habit.—γεγυμνασμένα, disciplined, trained, exercised.—αἰσθητήρια, organs of perception, senses.—διάκρισις, discrimination.—K].
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
HEBREWS 5:11. Concerning which we have many things, etc.—The περὶ οὖ is not to be referred merely to Melchisedec (Pesh., Calv., and the majority) or to Christ (Œc., Primas.), but to the preceding declaration that Christ is a High-Priest after the order of Melchisedec; and the οὖ is to be taken, either with Lün. as masc., or with Grot., etc., as neut. Erasm. and Luther translate, we might have, instead of have, contrary to the tenor of the following part of the Epistle. [Alford still refers οὖ to Melchisedec. But there is not the slightest ground for supposing that the author felt any difficulty in making clear any facts concerning Melchisedec, upon whom, indeed, he dwells very briefly, and without any seeming consciousness of any thing specially difficult to understand in the accounts concerning him. The difficulties regarding the person of Melchisedec, are the result of a gratuitous misapprehension of the strong statements of the writer. The really difficult topic is either Christ as High-Priest, or as Melchisedec-Priest, or, taking the pronoun as neuter, the topic of Christ’s Melchisedec priesthood.—K.]. Luther also overlooks the γεγόνατε, ye have become. The dulness or spiritual hardness of hearing of the readers is not designated as a natural trait, but as the result of a retrogradation which has no apology in their history and outward condition. Hence, with respect to the topic about to be treated, the author feels a difficulty in finding proper expression for the clear communication of that which, in its subject matter, is so rich and various.
HEBREWS 5:12–14. For when, on account of the time, ye ought, etc.—Instead of becoming capable of teaching, the readers have become in need of learning; and, indeed, to the extent that they have fallen back to that infantile age which requires milk, and have thus fallen into the danger of losing entirely their power of spiritual discrimination. In vv.13 and 14, the author expands the figurative mode of expression which he had employed at the close of Hebrews 5:12, and at the same time justifies its import. He has the readers in his eye, but the expressions are entirely general. The generality, however, affects only the form. As a matter of fact, the condition of the readers is directly included and characterized. Every one who receives his allotted food in the form of milk, that is, finds himself in the condition of a suckling, is inexperienced, not merely in Christianity (Lün.), or in the specific doctrine of justification by faith (Bl., Thol., Ebr.), or in the doctrine which leads to righteousness (Riehm, De W.), or in righteous, i.e, right-teaching discourse (Del.), so that the capacity of speaking in regard to spiritual things, according to the law and pattern of truth, would be wanting, but in the λόγος δικαιοσύνης of every kind. This has its ground in the nature of a νήπιος (Deut. 4:39; Isa. 7:16; Jonah 4:11). Solid nourishment, on the contrary, corresponds to the nature and the wants of the mature, who possess organs of perception (αἰσθητήρια) for the distinguishing of what is wholesome and what is pernicious, and these, indeed, as disciplined διὰ τὴν ἐξιν. Ἔξις is the habitus, holding, or state acquired by exercise, in its permanent character or result, as skill, readiness, capacity. It is doubtful whether we are to accentuate τίνα or τινά. The latter was preferred among the ancients only by Œc., then by Luth. and Calv.; more recently by Böhme, Bl., Ebr., Lün., Bisp., Alford, etc. But the grammatical construction does not demand this reading; rather the active construction [as of διδάσκειν=that one teach you] apart from the doubtful reading, 1 Thes. 4:9, is frequent also in the classics (Win. p. 303, Madvig. Synt. § 148–50), and the connection rather favors the other form; for the readers are not sunk to such ignorance that somebody would be required to instruct them again, like catechumens, in the very first elements of Christianity; they have rather but an imperfect and dulled apprehension, so that they do not sufficiently distinguish what are essential and incidental matters, what is fundamental, and what is secondary and derived; and they have fallen into danger of forgetting and denying the essential distinction between Christianity and Judaism.
[Alford, ingeniously enough, perhaps, but, I think, with very slight ground of probability, defends τινά, some one, as containing a sort of subtle irony, as if the readers were ignorant of that which any one was competent to explain. Moll argues against this reading on the ground that the readers had not sunk to that degree of ignorance, that they required to be instructed over again like catechumens in the elementary principles of Christianity. Delitzsch regards the τινά, thus accentuated, as simply feeble. This objection need not, indeed, be pressed, and this rendering gives us, perhaps, the easier construction. The other, viz., that preferred by Del., Moll, De Wette, is more difficult, but more forcible: “need of [one’s] teaching you what are the first principles,” etc. In this case we might expect διδάσκεσθαι, being taught, but the harshness of the form would be a sufficient reason for the author’s avoiding it, and preferring the not unallowable active. With this reading, again it is doubtful whether we are to explain τίνα as=ποῖα, of what sort, which it easily may be, or whether, with Moll, we are to regard the writer as declaring that the readers have sunk into a state of incompetency to discern between capital and incidental, between fundamental and secondary truths, and thus render it simply what, which I prefer.—K.].
The λόγΐα are not the words of the Old Testament, or of the prophets (Peirce, Steng., Dav. Schultz, etc.), but the declarations of the Christian revelation, whose fundamental elements constitute the basis of instruction, and at the same time contain its rudimentary principles. The idea of rudiments contained in τὰ στοιχεῖα, is heightened by the addition of τῆς ἀρχῆς (Calv., Lün.).
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. What in our condition as Christians we have learned of Christianity, we are not to keep for ourselves; but we are rather to be ready to communicate Christian knowledge and our evangelical experience, and to regard it as belonging to our calling, not merely to render an account of the ground of the hope which is in us, to him who demands it, but to make known the evangelical truth which aids our Christian life, and, so far as is in us, in every direction remove ignorance in spiritual things, and come to the aid of the weak.
2. Among these things to be communicated, there are found those which, on account of the variety of relation in which they stand, or on account of the depth of the thoughts which they express, are hard to be made clear, and can only with pains be brought within our apprehension. This difficulty is, in certain matters, heightened by the condition of the learners, and that even to the degree that the continuous development of the thoughts is obliged to be interrupted.
3. This state of things, however, does not exempt him who is called to make the communication from the duty of seeking in other ways points of contact by which he may promote their fellowship, and may act directly on those who may lag behind. In the place of doctrinal instruction, comes the anxious practical appeal, which awakens the conscience, discloses the inner ground of their sluggishness, and penetrates to the very roots of their spiritual life. The ethical element in teaching has its own intrinsic efficacy.
4. Among those who are left behind are found, along with those of feeble endowments and of imperfect spiritual development, also those who have gone back. These latter can all the less dispense with special moral and religious culture, in that their backslidings have reference not merely to knowledge, but even in this respect have their ground in a decline of spiritual life, and precisely for this reason generate and diffuse not merely defective views and fragmentary knowledge, but a confused conception and a perilous dimness of vision regarding even the fundamental principles of Christian truth.
5. For this reason there is needed by the teacher the gift of the discerning of spirits (1 Cor. 12:10), wisdom even in withholding instruction, and the art of rightly dividing the word (1 Tim. 1:7; 2 Tim. 2:2). For this he must himself persevere in the practice and discipline of constant learning and prayer (Jas. 1:5); that he may not only use law and Gospel seasonably and in due order, but may also understand how to furnish milk to the children and solid food to the mature (1 Cor. 3:2).
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Failure in fidelity begets failure in our experience in spiritual life; and failure in experience produces failure in the understanding of the word of God.—The important matter is, not how long one has been a Christian, but how earnest he has been in his Christian profession.—Without exercise, there is not the needful progress either in Christian knowledge or in Christian life.—There is but one truth for those of riper age, and for the immature; but there are different modes of communicating and of apprehending it.—Inexperience in the doctrine of righteousness is the worst ignorance: a. on account of its origin; b. on account of its consequences.
STARKE:—In the knowledge of salvation and of Divine things, we must increase daily, each according to his capacity.—The difficulty of some things in Scripture lies not in the things themselves, but properly in the hearer or reader (2 Pet. 3:16).—Preachers must sometimes address their hearers even sternly, in order that they may be aroused in their state of ignorance, and out of their sluggishness.—The peculiarity and duty of men in Christ is that they teach and advance others, not only in respect of knowledge, by words, but also in practice, by their edifying example.—Oh! how many children of God continue like children under age in the very rudiments of spiritual life.—Children, so soon as they are capable of learning, must be brought to the blessed knowledge of the Gospel; the more advanced they are in years, so much the more should they be advanced also in knowledge; otherwise their age becomes a reproach to them.—Search, and inquire: what is still wanting to me? Thou wilt find that thou art still deficient in many things. Go on; make progress during thy life in learning and discipline, 1 Thess. 4:1, 10.—Since disciplined spiritual senses are demanded for the discrimination of good and evil, and these are found only with the regenerate, no unconverted man can make the true spiritual distinction between good and evil, although, according to his literal knowledge, he may speak very fluently regarding it.
RIEGER:—The more spiritual a thing is in its nature, with the more difficulty does it find an entrance, so long as the unspiritual and ungodly nature which has so deeply penetrated our being, still so greatly preponderates.—He who does not cause every thing to take effect with himself for his strengthening and growth in the inner man, but overloads himself in many things merely with fragmentary knowledge, will at last so entangle himself that he will no longer know anything as he ought to know it.—Milk itself may be gradually transformed into stronger food.—The chief confusion arises from the fact that every one so easily exaggerates that which meets his fancy, and is so sluggish toward that which is fitted to introduce him into the true middle path.
HAHN:—Great truths demand also a certain spiritual age and disciplined senses.—If one does not correctly understand a thing, let him first seek the fault in himself, and administer proper self-rebuke.
HEUBNER:—the riches of Christianity are inexhaustible; the progress of the learners frequently falls short of our expectation.—The Bible Christianity gives various spiritual nourishment. In the contemplation of Christian knowledge there are different stages of maturity, different powers and susceptibilities. We must strive for the highest reach of Christian maturity and power.
STEINHOFER:—If we have trodden the paths of conversion, and, from a general knowledge, have known and apprehended the salvation of Jesus for our fainting soul, and have thus been taught to hold Jesus dearer than all things else, then it becomes preëminently important for daily growth in spiritual life, for a more thorough grounding in our fellowship with Jesus, for daily food for the spirit, that we search more closely and more profoundly into the knowledge of Jesus.
FRICKE:—What we have apprehended in faith must be thought through, and lived through, by each one in his own way. Thus we become strong.
Hebrews 5:4.—The Art. ὁ before καλούμενος, is to be erased after Sin. A. B. C.* D. E. K., 23, 37, 44.
Hebrews 5:4.—Instead of καθάπερ, we are to read, with Sin. A. B. D.*, καθώσπερ.
Hebrews 5:4.—The Art. ὁ before Ἀαρών, is to be expunged after Sin. A. B. C. D. E. K. L.
Hebrews 5:9.—According to Sin. A. B. C. D. E., 17, 37, the order of the words is as follows: πᾶσιν τοῖς ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ.
[It seems to me (with De Wette) that a reference of the language to the sufferings and exclamations of Jesus on the cross, would here be inconsistent with the purpose of the writer. He is pointing out how our Lord had learned “obedience by prayers and supplications to Him who was able to save Him from death.” The “obedience” naturally has reference to that which was the object of His crying and supplication, and this is clearly intimated by the expression, “to Him who was able to save Him from death.” The natural implication of this language is, that He prayed to be saved from death. Yet the request was refused Him, and He exercised obedience in submitting resignedly to the will of His Father, and going in obedience to that will to the cross. Thus the prayer of Gethsemane: “If possible, let this cup pass from me,” with the accompanying submission of the whole matter to the will of His Father, and the subsequent obedience in going to the cross, are here clearly portrayed, while “the strong crying,” which is unmentioned in the Gospel, is here added as a natural, and we may add, almost necessary adjunct of the scene; for we could scarcely conceive those agonizing prayers and the bloody sweat, as unaccompanied by the loud outcry here mentioned; and altogether the prayer, the cry, the Sweat, are probably parts of the evangelical tradition regarding that critical scene in the life of our Lord. The death scene on the cross took place when the Son had substantially obeyed; the crisis was over, and Jesus had already accepted His destiny.—K.].