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  • VINCENT'S NEW TESTAMENT WORD STUDIES - HEBREWS 3

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    CHAPTER III

    1. The leading ideas of the preceding section are echoed in this verse: brethren, of whom Christ made himself the brother: holy, in virtue of the work of the sanctifier.

    Wherefore (oqen). Drawing a conclusion from ch. ii. 9-18.

    Holy brethren (adelfoi agioi). The phrase N.T.o . jAdelfoi brethren, in address, is not found in the Gospels. In Acts mostly andrev ajdelfoi brother men. In Paul, ajd. ajgaphtoi brethren beloved, or ajd. ajgap. kai ejpipoqhtoi brethren beloved and longed for (once, Philip. iv. 1), ajd. hjgaphmenoi ujpo tou qeou and tou kuriou brethren beloved of God or of the Lord, and ajd. mou my brethren. In James mostly ajd. mou. In Hebrews, except here, ajdelfoi simply. Holy brethren (see ch. ii. 11) are worshippers of God, taking the place of God's O.T. people, as called and consecrated to ethical and spiritual service according to the Christian ideal. Partakers of a heavenly calling (klhsewv epouraniou metocoi). Metocoi partakers only in Hebrews except Luke v. 7. See on metescen took part, ch. ii. 14. The phrase heavenly calling N.T.o . Comp. thv avw klhsewv the upward calling, Philip. iii. 14. The expression points to the lordship of the world to be (ch. ii. 5); and the world to be is the abiding world, the place of realities as contrasted with types and shadows. The calling comes from that world and is to that world. See ch. xiii. 14. Consider (katanohsate). 179 Attentively, thoughtfully (kata). See on Jas. i. 23. The writer's habit is to use the communicative we or us identifying himself with his readers.

    The apostle and high priest (ton apostolon kai arcierea). In calling Jesus apostle, the writer is thinking of Moses as one sent by God to lead Israel to Canaan. Comp. LXX, where ajpostellein to send is often used of Moses. See Exodus 3-7. Often of Jesus, as Luke x. 16; John iii. 17; v. 36; vi. 29.

    Of our profession (thv omologiav hmwn). Rend. confession for profession. The apostle and high priest whom we confess. Comp. 1 Timothy vi. 12.

    2. Who was faithful (piston onta). Rend. "is faithful." A general designation of inherent character. He is faithful as he ever was. To him that appointed him (tw poihsanti auton). Constituted him apostle and high priest. Some render created, referring to Christ's humanity or to his eternal generation. So the Old Latin, creatori suo; but this does not suit the context. Poiein often in Class. in the sense of institute, as sacrifices, funerals, assemblies, etc., and in the middle voice of adoption as a son. See 1 Sam. xii. 6; Mark iii. 14; Acts ii. 36. As also Moses (wv kai Mwushv). The highest example of human fidelity known to the readers.

    In all his house (en olw tw oikw autou). Const. with was faithful. Jesus was faithful even as Moses was faithful.

    The subject of the high-priesthood of Christ, introduced in this verse, is not carried out in detail by showing the superiority of Jesus to earthly high priests. This is reserved for chs. 5-7. Instead, the writer proceeds to show that Christ is superior to Moses, as he has already shown his superiority to angels. He will thus have shown Christ's superiority to both the agencies by which the old covenant was mediated. The subject is a delicate one to treat for Jewish readers to whom Moses was the object of the deepest veneration; but the treatment displays tact by placing Moses in the foreground beside Christ as an example of fidelity to his commission. Justice is thus done to the familiar historical record, and to God's own testimony, Num. xii. 7. The general sense of the comparison is that Moses was as faithful as any servant in a house can be, while Christ was not a servant in the house, but a son, and displayed his fidelity in that capacity.

    3. Was counted worthy (hxiwtai). Used both of reward which is due (1 Timothy v. 17) and of punishment (Heb. x. 29).

    Of more glory (pleionov doxhv). Comp. ch. ii. 8, 9.

    Inasmuch as (kaq oson). Rend. by so much as. The argument is based on the general principle that the founder of a house is entitled to more honor than the house and its individual servants. There is an apparent confusion in the working out, since both God and Christ appear as builders, and Moses figures both as the house and as a servant in the house. The point of the whole, however, is that Moses was a part of the O.T. system - a servant in the house; while Christ, as one with God who established all things, was the founder and establisher of both the Old and the New Testament economies.

    4. He that built all things is God (o panta kataskeuasav qeov). The verb includes not only erection, but furnishing with the entire equipment. See ch. ix. 2; 1 Pet. ii. 10. The verb o P. The application of built or established to Christ (ver. 3) is guarded against possible misapprehension. Christ is the establisher, but not by any independent will or agency. As the Son he is he that built, but it is as one with God who built all things. The special foundership of Christ does not contradict or exclude the general foundership of God.

    5. And Moses. Kai and introduces the further development of the thought of vers. 2, 3 - fidelity, and the corresponding honor. It is not a second proof of the superiority of Christ to Moses. See Num. xii. 7. A servant (qerapwn). N.T.o . Comp. Apoc. xv. 3. Often in LXX, mostly as translation of 'eber, servant, slave, bondman. Also, when coupled with the name of a deity, a worshipper, devotee. Sometimes applied to angels or prophets. Of Moses, qerapwn kuriou servant of the Lord, Wisd. x. 16. In Class. and N.T. the word emphasizes the performance of a present service, without reference to the condition of the doer, whether bond or free. An ethical character attaches to it, as to the kindred verb qerapeuein: service of an affectionate, hearty character, performed with care and fidelity. Hence the relation of the qerapwn is of a nobler and freer character than that of the doulov or bondservant. The verb is used of a physician's tendance of the sick. Xenophon (Mem. iv. 3, 9) uses it of the gods taking care of men, and, on the other hand, of men's worshipping the gods (ii. 1. 28). See Eurip. Iph. Taur. 1105; and on heal, Matt. viii. 7; Luke x. 15, and on is worshipped, Acts xvii. 25. For a testimony of those things which were to be spoken (eiv marturion twn lalhqhsomenwn). jEiv for, with the whole preceding clause. Moses' faithful service in God's house was for a testimony, etc. The things which were to be spoken are the revelations afterward to be given in Christ. Others, however, explain of the things which Moses himself was afterward to speak to the people by God's command, referring to Num. xii. 8. According to this explanation, the fidelity hitherto exhibited by Moses ought to command respect for all that he might say in future. But (1) in the present connection that thought is insignificant.

    (2) It would be an exaggeration to speak of Moses's fidelity to God throughout his whole official career as a witness of the things which he was to speak to the people by God's command.

    (3) The future participle requires a reference to a time subsequent to Moses's ministry. The meaning is that Moses, in his entire ministry, was but a testimony to what was to be spoken in the future by another and a greater than he. Comp. Deuteronomy xviii. 15, explained of Christ in Acts iii. 22, 23.

    6. But Christ. Replacing the human name Jesus, and being the official name which marks his position over the house.

    As a son (wv uiov). The fidelity of Moses and the fidelity of Christ are exhibited in different spheres: of Moses in that of servant; of Christ in that of son.

    Over his own house (epi ton oikon autou). Comp. ch. x. 21, and notice ejpi over his house, and ejn in all his house, of Moses. For "his own house" rend. "his house," referring to God. Reference to Christ would destroy the parallel. It is said by some that the matter of respective positions is irrelevant: that the main point is fidelity, and that therefore it does not matter whether Moses was a son or a servant, provided he was faithful. But the writer evidently feels that Christ's position as a son enhanced his fidelity. Comp. ch. v. 8. The implication is that Christ's position involved peculiar difficulties and temptations.

    Whose house (ou). God's house. The church is nowhere called the house of Christ.

    We (hmeiv). Even as was the house in which Moses served. The Christian community is thus emphatically designated as the house of God, implying the transitoriness of the Mosaic system. Comp. 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17; 2 Corinthians vi. 16; Eph. ii. 22; 1 Peter 4. 17.

    Hold fast (katasxwmen). The verb is used in N.T. as here, 1 Thessalonians v. 21; Philemon 13; of restraining or preventing, Luke iv. 42; of holding back or holding down with an evil purpose, Rom. i. 18; 2 Thessalonians ii. 7; of holding one's course toward, bearing down for, Acts xxvii. 40.

    The confidence and the rejoicing of the hope (thn parrhsian kai to kauchma thv elpidov). The combination confidence and rejoicing N.T.o . Rejoicing or boasting of hope N.T.o , but comp. 1 Thess. ii. 19. For parrhsia confidence see on 1 Tim. iii. 13. The entire group of words, kauchma ground of glorying, kauchsiv act of glorying, and kaucasqai to glory, is peculiarly Pauline. Outside of the Pauline letters kaucasqai occurs only Jas. i. 9; iv. 16; kauchsiv only Jas. iv. 16; and kauchma only here. The thought here is that the condition of being and continuing the house of God is the holding fast of the hope in Christ (ejlpidov of the object of hope) and in the consummation of God's kingdom in him; making these the ground of boasting, exultantly confessing and proclaiming this hope. There must be, not only confidence, but joyful confidence. Comp. Rom. v. 3; Eph. iii. 12, 13; Philip. iii. 3. Firm unto the end (mecri telouv bebaian). Textually, there is some doubt about these words. Westcott and Hort bracket them. Tischendorf retains, and Weiss rejects them. The latter part of this verse marks the transition to the lesson of the wilderness-life of the exodus; the writer fearing that the fate of the exodus-generation may be repeated in the experience of his readers. We are God's house if we steadfastly hold fast our Christian hope, and do not lose our faith as Israel did in the wilderness. The exhortation to faith is thrown into the form of warning against unbelief. Faith is the condition of realizing the divine promise. The section is introduced by a citation from Psalm xcv. 7, 8.

    7. Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith (dio kaqwv legei to pneuma to agion). See on ch. i. 6. The formula the Spirit the holy (Spirit) is common in the N.T. with the exception of the Catholic Epistles, where it does not occur. The construction of the passage is as follows: Dio wherefore is connected with blepete take heed, ver. 12. The point is the writer's warning, not the warning of the citation. The whole citation including the introductory formula, down to rest, ver. 11, is parenthetical. Today if ye will hear his voice (shmeron ean thv fwnhv autou akoushte). The Hebrew reads, O that you would hear his voice today. Today is prophetically interpreted by the writer as referring to the Christian present, the time of salvation inaugurated by the appearance of Christ.

    8. Harden not (mh sklhrunhte). In N.T. mostly in this epistle. Comp. Acts xix. 9; Rom. ix. 18, see note. The group of kindred words consists of sklhrov hard (see on Matthew 25;24; Jude 14); sklyrothv hardness (Rom. ii. 5); sklhrunein to harden (Acts xix. 9; Rom. ix. 18); and the compounds sklhrokardia hardness of heart (Matt. xix. 8; Mark x. 5), and sklhrotrachlov stiff-necked (Acts 7;5). All occur in LXX, with the addition of sklhrwv hardly, painfully (not in N.T.). In the provocation (en tw parapikrasmw). Only here and ver. 15. In LXX only Psalm xciv. 8. The verb parapikraineinto provoke, only in ver. 16. Often in LXX. The simple verb pikrainein to make bitter, Col. iii. 19; Apoc. viii. 11; x. 9, 10. From pikrov bitter, pungent: hence to stir up to bitterness, to irritate. Comp. LXX Ezek. ii. 4. In the day (kata thn hJmeran). Kata in a temporal sense, as Acts xii. 1; xix. 23; xxvii. 27. Comp. kat' ajrcav in the beginning, ch. i. 10. Of temptation (tou peirasmou). Rend. "of the temptation," referring to a definite event, the murmuring against Moses at Rephidim on account of the lack of water, Exod. xvii. 1-7. In that passage the LXX gives for the two proper names Massah and Meribah, peirasmov temptation, which is correct, and loidorhsiv railing or reviling, which is loose, since Meribah signifies strife. 181 In Psalm 94, LXX renders Meribah parapikrasmov provocation, which is inexact, and Massah peirasmov temptation, which is correct.

    9. When (ou). Rend. where. See ou= after erhmov wilderness, Deut. viii. 15.

    Tempted me, proved me (epeirasan en dokimasia). Lit. tried (me) in proving. The text differs from LXX, which reads ejpeirasan, ejdokimasan tempted, proved, as A.V. The phrase here means tempted by putting to the test. Comp. ejkpeirazein to tempt or try with a view to seeing how far one can go. See on 1 Cor. x. 9.

    And saw my works (kai eidon ta erga mou). Some construe my works with both verbs: tried and saw my works: but it is better to supply me after ejpeirasan tempted, to take works with saw only, and to give kaithe force of and yet (see on Luke xviii. 7). "They tempted and yet saw my works;" although they saw my works. The Hebrew is "tried me, proved me, yea saw my works."

    Forty years. In LXX this is connected with saw my works. In the Hebrew forty years begins the next clause.

    10. Wherefore I was grieved (dio proswcqisa). The Hebrew omits wherefore. It was inserted because of the transfer of forty years to the preceding clause. The verb proswcqisa I was grieved, only here and ver.

    17. In LXX for qo, to spue out; gaal, to exclude, reject, abhor; ma'as, to repudiate.

    11. So I swear (wv). Rend. "according as I swear": the wJv correlating the oath and the disobedience.

    They shall not enter into my rest (ei eleusontai eiv thn katapausin mou). Lit. if they shall enter, etc. A common Hebraistic formula in oaths. Where God is speaking, as here, the ellipsis is "may I not be Jehovah if they shall enter." Where man is speaking, "so may God punish me if"; or "God do so to me and more if." Comp. Mark viii. 12; LXX, Gen. xiv. 23; Deut. i. 35; 1 Kings i. 51; ii. 8. Sometimes the ellipsis is filled out, as 1 Sam. iii. 17; 2 Sam. iii. 35. Katapausin rest, only in Hebrews, and Acts vii. 49. The verb katapauein to lay to rest also only in Acts and Hebrews. In Class. the verb sometimes means to kill or to depose from power. In the original citation the reference is to Canaan. Paul uses klhronomia inheritance in a similar sense.

    12. Note how the following exhortation is colored by the O.T. citation: evil heart; the today; be hardened; take heed (blepete). See to it. Often in warnings or admonitions: sometimes with ajpo from, with genitive of that against which the warning is given, as Mark viii. 15; xii. 38; but so only in the Gospels. In construction connect with dio ver. 7; therefore beware. Lest there be (mhpote estai). The indicative with mh lest shows that with the fear that the event may occur, there is blended a suspicion that it will occur.

    In any of you (en tini umwn). They are appealed to individually. An evil head of unbelief (kardia ponhra apistiav). The hole phrase N.T.o . Neither do the combinations evil heart or heart of unbelief occur elsewhere. In LXX, among nearly a thousand instances of kardia heart, kardia ponhra evil heart appears only five times, and in three of the five in apocryphal books. See Sir. ix. 1; Bar. i. 22; ii. 8. In LXX proper, Jer. xvi. 12; xviii. 12. jApistiav of unbelief, specifies that in which the more general ponhra evil consists. An evil-heart is an unbelieving heart. In departing from the living God (en tw aposthnai apo qeou zwntov). The characteristic of unbelief. Faith is personal union with God. Unbelief separates from God. The phrase living God is common to both Testaments. For the bearing of the words upon the question of the Gentile destination of the Epistle, see Introduction.

    13. While it is called today (arciv ou to shmeron kaleitai). Lit. so long as the today is being named. The article points to the former expression - the "today" of ver. 7. It is the day of grace, while salvation through Christ is still attainable.

    Through the deceitfulness of sin (apath thv amariav). jApath is rather a trick, stratagem, deceit, than the quality of deceitfulness. The warning is against being hardened by a trick which their sin may play them. Note the article, the or his sin - the sin of departing from the living God. The particular deceit in this case would be the illusion of faithfulness to the past.

    14. We are made partakers of Christ (metocoi gar tou Cristou gegonamen). Rend. we are become fellows with Christ. For fellows see Luke v. 7; Heb. i. 9. It marks even a closer relation than "brethren." See Luke xxii. 30; Rom. viii. 17; Apoc. iii. 21.

    Beginning of our confidence (thn archn thv upostasewv). The believing confidence with which we began our Christian life. For uJpostasiv confidence see on ch. i. 3. The Greek fathers render substance; that in virtue of which we are believers.

    Unto the end (mecri telouv). Better, the consummation. It is more than mere termination. It is the point into which the whole life of faith finally gathers itself up. See Rom. vi. 21; 2 Cor. xi. 15; Philip. iii. 19; Heb. vi. 8; 1 Pet. i. 9.

    15. While it is said (en tw legesqai). The formula by which the writer reverts to the previous citation. Connect with if we hold fast. The exhortation of ver. 12 answered to Psalm 95; so the condition of fulfillment in ver. 14 is declared to rest on the same Scripture. Only on the ground of what is said in that Psalm does the holding fast come to pass. Rend. therefore, "We are fellows of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end, seeing it is said," etc.

    16. For some, when they had heard, did provoke (tinev gar akousantev parepikranan). Rend. who, when they heard, did provoke? The interrogative tinev calls special attention to those who provoked God. The writer would say, "My warning against apostasy is not superfluous or irrelevant: for, consider: who were they that provoked God? They were those who had fairly begun their journey to Canaan, as you have begun your Christian course. They provoked God, so may you. Howbeit not all (all ou pantev). Wrong. The interrogation should be continued. Who were they? But (all) why do I ask? Were they not all who came out of Egypt by Moses? They were so numerous that they practically constituted the whole generation of the exodus. So far from its being true that a good ending necessarily follows a good beginning, a whole generation of God's chosen people failed to reach the Land of Promise because they provoked God.

    17. The interrogation still continued. "With whom was he displeased forty years? Was it not with them?" etc.

    Carcasses (ta kwla). N.T.o . LXX for peger, a corpse. Kwlon properly a limb. The idea of dismemberment underlies the use of the word. Comp. Num. xiv. 29 (LXX), and 1 Cor. x. 5, of the rebellious Israelites, who katestrwqhsan ejn th ejrhmw were strewn down along in the wilderness.

    18. To them that believed not (toiv apeiqhsasin). Rend. to them that disobeyed.

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