TERROR, BUT THE
1. we also--as well as those recounted in
are compassed about--Greek, "have so great a cloud (a
numberless multitude above us, like a cloud, 'holy and
[CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA]) of
witnesses surrounding us." The image is from a "race," an image common
even in Palestine from the time of the Greco-Macedonian empire, which
introduced such Greek usages as national games. The "witnesses"
answer to the spectators pressing round to see the competitors in their
contest for the prize
Those "witnessed of" (Greek,
Heb 11:5, 39)
become in their turn "witnesses" in a twofold way: (1) attesting by
their own case the faithfulness of God to His people
some of them martyrs in the modern sense; (2) witnessing our
struggle of faith; however, this second sense of "witnesses," though
agreeing with the image here if it is to be pressed, is not
positively, unequivocally, and directly sustained by
Scripture. It gives vividness to the image; as the crowd of spectators
gave additional spirit to the combatants, so the cloud of
witnesses who have themselves been in the same contest, ought to
increase our earnestness, testifying, as they do, to God's
weight--As corporeal unwieldiness was, through a disciplinary
diet, laid aside by candidates for the prize in racing; so carnal and
worldly lusts, and all, whether from without or within, that would
impede the heavenly runner, are the spiritual weight to be laid
aside. "Encumbrance," all superfluous weight; the lust of the
flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, and even harmless
and otherwise useful things which would positively retard us
the blind man casting away his garment to come to Jesus;
Col 3:9, 10).
the sin which doth so easily beset us--Greek, "sin which
easily stands around us"; so LUTHER, "which always
so clings to us": "sinful propensity always surrounding us, ever
present and ready" [WAHL]. It is not primarily
"the sin," &c., but sin in general, with, however,
special reference to "apostasy," against which he had already warned
them, as one to which they might gradually be seduced; the
besetting sin of the Hebrews, UNBELIEF.
with patience--Greek, "in persevering endurance"
On "run" compare
1Co 9:24, 25.
2. Looking unto--literally, "Looking from afar" (see on
fixing the eyes upon Jesus seated on the throne of God.
author--"Prince-leader." The same Greek is translated,
"Captain (of salvation),"
"Prince (of life),"
Going before us as the Originator of our faith, and the Leader whose
matchless example we are to follow always. In this He is distinguished
from all those examples of faith in
On His "faith" compare
Heb 2:13; 3:12.
Believers have ever looked to Him
(Heb 11:26; 13:8).
finisher--Greek, "Perfecter," referring to
of our faith--rather as Greek, "of the faith,"
including both His faith (as exhibited in what follows) and our faith.
He fulfilled the ideal of faith Himself, and so, both as a vicarious
offering and an example, He is the object of our faith.
for the joy . . . set before him--namely, of presently
after sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God;
including besides His own personal joy, the joy of sitting there as a
Prince and Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins. The
coming joy disarmed of its sting the present pain.
cross . . . shame--the great stumbling-block to the
Hebrews. "Despised," that is, disregarded.
3. For--justifying his exhortation, "Looking unto Jesus."
consider--by way of comparison with yourselves, so the
contradiction--unbelief, and every kind of opposition
sinners--Sin assails us. Not sin, but
sinners, contradicted Christ [BENGEL].
be wearied and faint--Greek, "lest ye weary fainting."
Isa 49:4, 5,
as a specimen of Jesus not being wearied out by the
contradiction and strange unbelief of those among whom He
labored, preaching as never man did, and exhibiting miracles
wrought by His inherent power, as none else could do.
4. not yet resisted unto blood--image from pugilism, as
he previously had the image of a race, both being taken from the
great national Greek games. Ye have suffered the loss of goods,
and been a gazing-stock by reproaches and afflictions; ye have
not shed your blood (see on
"The athlete who hath seen his own blood, and who, though cast
down by his opponent, does not let his spirits be cast down, who as
often as he hath fallen hath risen the more determined, goes down to
the encounter with great hope" [SENECA].
against sin--Sin is personified as an adversary; sin,
whether within you, leading you to spare your blood, or in our
adversaries, leading them to shed it, if they cannot through
your faithfulness even unto blood, induce you to apostatize.
5. forgotten--"utterly," so the Greek. Compare
in which he implies how utterly some of them had forgotten God's
word. His exhortation ought to have more effect on you than the
cheers and exhortations of the spectators have on the competitors
striving in the games.
which--Greek, "the which," of which the following is a
speaketh unto you--as in a dialogue or discourse,
so the Greek, implying God's loving condescension (compare
despise not--literally, "Do not hold of little account."
Betraying a contumacious spirit of unbelief
as "faint" implies a broken-down, weak, and desponding spirit.
"Chastening" is to be borne with "subjection"
"rebuke" (more severe than chastening) is to be borne with
"Some in adversity kick against God's will, others despond; neither is
to be done by the Christian, who is peculiarly the child of God. To him
such adverse things occur only by the decree of God, and that designed
in kindness, namely, to remove the defilements adhering to the
believer, and to exercise his patience" [GROTIUS].
and--Greek, "yea and," "and moreover"; bringing out an
scourgeth--which draws forth "blood"
receiveth--accepts. Takes to Himself as a son "in whom He
Heb 12:7, 8
the need of "chastening" or "discipline" is inculcated; in
the duty of those to whom it is administered.
If--The oldest manuscripts read, "With a view to chastening
(that is, since God's chastisement is with a view to your chastening,
that is, disciplinary amelioration) endure patiently"; so
Vulgate. ALFORD translates it as
indicative, not so well, "It is for chastisement that ye are
dealeth with you--"beareth Himself toward you" in the very act
what son is he--"What son is there" even in ordinary life? Much
more God as to His sons
The most eminent of God's saints were the most afflicted. God leads
them by a way they know not
We too much look at each trial by itself, instead of taking it in
connection with the whole plan of our salvation, as if a traveller were
to complain of the steepness and roughness of one turn in the path,
without considering that it led him into green pastures, on the direct
road to the city of habitation. The New Testament alone uses the
Greek term for education (paideia), to express
"discipline" or correction, as of a child by a wise
8. if ye be without--excluded from participation in
chastisement, and wishing to be so.
all--all sons: all the worthies enumerated in the
eleventh chapter: all the witnesses
are--Greek, "have been made."
then are ye bastards--of whom their fathers take no care whether
they are educated or not; whereas every right-minded father is
concerned for the moral well-being of his legitimate son. "Since then
not to be chastised is a mark of bastardy, we ought [not to refuse,
but] rejoice in chastisement, as a mark of our genuine sonship"
9. fathers . . . which corrected us--rather as
Greek, "We had the fathers of our flesh as correctors."
subjection--See the punishment of insubordination,
Father of spirits--contrasted with "the fathers of our flesh."
"Generation by men is carnal, by God is spiritual"
[BENGEL]. As "Father of spirits," He is both the
Originator, and the Providential and Gracious Sustainer, at once of
animal and spiritual life. Compare "and LIVE,"
namely, spiritually; also
"that we might be partakers of His holiness"
God is a spirit Himself, and the Creator of spirits like Himself, in
contrast to men who are flesh, and the progenitors of flesh
Jesus our pattern "learned obedience" experimentally by suffering
and live--and so, thereby live spiritually and eternally.
10. Showing wherein the chastisement of our heavenly Father is
preferable to that of earthly fathers.
for a few days--that is, with a view to our well-being in
the few days of our earthly life: so the Greek.
after their own pleasure--Greek, "according to what
seemed fit to themselves." Their rule of chastening is what may seem
fit to their own often erring judgment, temper, or caprice. The two
defects of human education are: (1) the prevalence in it of a view to
the interests of our short earthly term of days; (2) the
absence in parents of the unerring wisdom of our heavenly Father. "They
err much at one time in severity, at another in indulgence
and do not so much chasten as THINK they chasten"
that we might be partakers of his holiness--becoming holy as He
To become holy like God is tantamount to being educated for
passing eternity with God
So this "partaking of God's holiness" stands in contrast to the "few
days" of this life, with a view to which earthly fathers generally
educate their sons.
11. joyous . . . grievous--Greek, "matter of
joy . . . matter of grief." The objection that chastening is
grievous is here anticipated and answered. It only seems so to those
being chastened, whose judgments are confused by the present pain. Its
ultimate fruit amply compensates for any temporary pam. The real
object of the fathers in chastening is not that they find pleasure in
the children's pain. Gratified wishes, our Father knows, would often
be our real curses.
fruit of righteousness--righteousness (in practice,
springing from faith) is the fruit which chastening, the tree
in contrast to the ordeal of conflict by which it has been won. "Fruit
of righteousness to be enjoyed in peace after the conflict"
[THOLUCK]. As the olive garland, the emblem of
peace as well as victory, was put on the victor's brow in
exercised thereby--as athletes exercised in training for a
contest. Chastisement is the exercise to give
experience, and make the spiritual combatant irresistibly victorious
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