WAS FOR A
HUMBLED BELOW THE
1. Therefore--Because Christ the Mediator of the new covenant is
above all angels, the mediators of the old covenant.
the more earnest--Greek, "the more abundantly."
heard--spoken by God
and by the Lord
let them slip--literally "flow past them"
Argument a fortiori.
spoken by angels--the Mosaic law spoken by the ministration of
When it is said,
"God spake," it is meant He spake by angels as His mouthpiece, or at
least angels repeating in unison with His voice the words of the
Decalogue; whereas the Gospel was first spoken by the Lord alone.
was steadfast--Greek, "was made steadfast," or
"confirmed": was enforced by penalties on those violating it.
transgression--by doing evil; literally, overstepping its
bounds: a positive violation of it.
disobedience--by neglecting to do good: a negative violation of
3. we--who have received the message of salvation so clearly
delivered to us (compare
so great salvation--embodied in Jesus, whose very name means
"salvation," including not only deliverance from foes and from death,
and the grant of temporal blessings (which the law promised to the
obedient), but also grace of the Spirit, forgiveness of sins, and the
promise of heaven, glory, and eternal life
which--"inasmuch as it is a salvation which
spoken by the Lord--as the instrument of proclaiming it. Not as
the law, spoken by the instrumentality of angels
Both law and Gospel came from God; the difference here referred to lay
in the instrumentality by which each respectively was
Angels recognize Him as "the Lord"
confirmed unto us--not by penalties, as the law was
confirmed, but by spiritual gifts
by them that heard him--(Compare
Though Paul had a special and independent revelation of Christ
(Ga 1:16, 17, 19),
yet he classes himself with those Jews whom he addresses, "unto us";
for like them in many particulars (for example, the agony in
he was dependent for autoptic information on the twelve apostles. So
the discourses of Jesus, for example, the Sermon on the Mount,
and the first proclamation of the Gospel kingdom by the Lord
he could only know by the report of the Twelve: so the saying, "It is
more blessed to give than to receive"
Paul mentions what they had heard, rather than what they had
seen, conformably with what he began with,
Heb 1:1, 2,
"spake . . . spoken." Appropriately also in his Epistles to
Gentiles, he dwells on his independent call to the apostleship of the
Gentiles; in his Epistle to the Hebrews, he appeals to the apostles who
had been long with the Lord (compare
Ac 1:21; 10:41):
so in his sermon to the Jews in Antioch of Pisidia
and "he only appeals to the testimony of these apostles in a general
way, in order that he may bring the Hebrews to the Lord alone"
[BENGEL], not to become partisans of particular
apostles, as Peter, the apostle of the circumcision, and James, the
bishop of Jerusalem. This verse implies that the Hebrews of the
churches of Palestine and Syria (or those of them dispersed in
Asia Minor [BENGEL],
or in Alexandria) were primarily addressed in this Epistle; for of none
so well could it be said, the Gospel was confirmed to them by the
immediate hearers of the Lord: the past tense, "was confirmed," implies
some little time had elapsed since this testification by
4. them--rather, "God also [as well as Christ,
bearing witness to it," &c., joining in attestation of it."
signs and wonders--performed by Christ and His apostles. "Signs"
and miracles, or other facts regarded as proofs of a divine
mission; "wonders" are miracles viewed as prodigies, causing
(Ac 2:22, 33);
"powers" are miracles viewed as evidences of superhuman power.
divers miracles--Greek, "varied (miraculous)
granted to the apostles after the ascension.
gifts, &c.--Greek, "distributions." The gift of the Holy
Spirit was given to Christ without measure
but to us it is distributed in various measures and operations
(Ro 12:3, 6,
&c.; 1Co 12:4-11).
according to his own will--God's free and sovereign will,
assigning one gift of the Spirit to one, another to another
5. For--confirming the assertion,
Heb 2:2, 3,
that the new covenant was spoken by One higher than the mediators of
the old covenant, namely, angels. Translate in the Greek order,
to bring out the proper emphasis, "Not the angels hath He," &c.
the world to come--implying, He has subjected to angels
the existing world, the Old Testament dispensation (then still
partly existing as to its framework),
the political kingdom of the earth
(Da 4:13; 10:13, 20, 21; 12:1),
and the natural elements
(Re 9:11; 16:4).
and even individuals
"The world to come" is the new dispensation brought in by Christ,
beginning in grace here, to be completed in glory hereafter. It is
called "to come," or "about to be," as at the time of its being
subjected to Christ by the divine decree, it was as yet a thing of the
future, and is still so to us, in respect to its full consummation. In
respect to the subjecting of all things to Christ in fulfilment
the realization is still "to come." Regarded from the Old Testament
standpoint, which looks prophetically forward to the New Testament (and
the Jewish priesthood and Old Testament ritual were in force then when
Paul wrote, and continued till their forcible abrogation by the
destruction of Jerusalem), it is "the world to come"; Paul, as
addressing Jews, appropriately calls it so, according to their
conventional way of viewing it. We, like them, still pray, "Thy kingdom
come"; for its manifestation in glory is yet future. "This
world" is used in contrast to express the present fallen condition of
Believers belong not to this present world course, but by faith rise in
spirit to "the world to come," making it a present, though internal.
reality. Still, in the present world, natural and social, angels are
mediately rulers under God in some sense: not so in the coming world:
man in it, and the Son of man, man's Head, are to be supreme. Hence
greater reverence was paid to angels by men in the Old Testament than
is permitted in the New Testament. For man's nature is exalted in
Christ now, so that angels are our "fellow servants"
In their ministrations they stand on a different footing from that on
which they stood towards us in the Old Testament. We are "brethren" of
Christ in a nearness not enjoyed even by angels
(Heb 2:10-12, 16).
6. But--It is not to angels the Gospel kingdom is subject,
BUT . . .
one . . . testified--the usual way of quoting
Scripture to readers familiar with it.
praises Jehovah for exalting MAN, so as to subject
all the works of God on earth to him: this dignity having been lost by
the first Adam, is realized only in Christ the Son of man, the
Representative Man and Head of our redeemed race. Thus Paul proves that
it is to MAN, not to angels, that God has
subjected the "world to come." In
MAN is spoken of in general ("him
. . . him . . . his); then at
first JESUS is introduced as fulfilling, as man,
all the conditions of the prophecy, and passing through death Himself;
and so consequently bringing us men, His "brethren," to "glory and
What, &c.--How insignificant in himself, yet how exalted by
God's grace! (Compare
The Hebrew, "Enosh" and "Ben-Adam," express "man"
and "Son of man" in his weakness: "Son of man" is here used of
any and every child of man: unlike, seemingly, the lord
of creation, such as he was originally
and such as he is designed to be
and such as he actually is by title and shall hereafter more fully be
in the person of, and in union with, Jesus, pre-eminently the Son of
art mindful--as of one absent.
visitest--lookest after him, as one present.
7. a little--not as BENGEL, "a little
than the angels--Hebrew, "than God," "Elohim,"
that is, the abstract qualities of God, such as angels possess
in an inferior form; namely, heavenly, spiritual, incorporeal natures.
Man, in his original creation, was set next beneath them. So the man
Jesus, though Lord of angels, when He emptied Himself of the externals
of His Divinity (see on
Php 2:6, 7),
was in His human nature "a little lower than the angels"; though this
is not the primary reference here, but man in general.
crownedst him with glory and honour--as the appointed kingly
vicegerent of God over this earth
and didst set him over the works of thy hands--omitted in some
of the oldest manuscripts; but read by others and by oldest versions:
"Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands."
For in that--that is, "For in that" God saith in the eighth
Psalm, "He put the all things (so the Greek, the all things
just mentioned) in subjection under him (man), He left nothing
. . . As no limitation occurs in the sacred writing, the "all
things" must include heavenly, as well as earthly things (compare
1Co 3:21, 22).
But now--As things now are, we see not yet the all things
put under man.
9. But--We see not man as yet exercising lordship over
all things, "but rather, Him who was made a little lower than
the angels (compare
we behold (by faith: a different Greek verb from that for
which expresses the impression which our eyes passively receive
from objects around us; whereas, 'we behold,' or 'look at,' implies the
direction and intention of one deliberately
regarding something which he tries to see: so
Heb 3:19; 10:25,
Greek), namely, Jesus, on account of His suffering of death,
crowned," &c. He is already crowned, though unseen by us, save by
faith; hereafter all things shall be subjected to Him visibly and
fully. The ground of His exaltation is "on accoumt of His having
Php 2:8, 9).
that he by the grace of God--
(Tit 2:11; 3:4).
The reading of ORIGEN, "That He without
God" (laying aside His Divinity; or, for every being save
God: or perhaps alluding to His having been temporarily "forsaken,"
as the Sin-bearer, by the Father on the cross), is not supported by the
manuscripts. The "that," &c., is connected with "crowned with glory,"
&c., thus: His exaltation after sufferings is the perfecting or
consummation of His work
for us: without it His death would have been ineffectual; with it, and
from it, flows the result that His tasting of death is available
for (in behalf of, for the good of) every man. He is crowned
as the Head in heaven of our common humanity, presenting His blood as
the all-prevailing plea for us. This coronation above makes His death
applicable for every individual man (observe the
singular; not merely "for all men"),
Heb 4:14; 9:24;
"Taste death" implies His personal experimental undergoing of death:
death of the body, and death (spiritually) of the GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH