Hebrews 13
Pulpit Commentary
Let brotherly love continue.
Verse 1. - Let brotherly love continue. Φιλαδελφία does not mean general philanthropy, but the peculiar love of Christians to each other as brethren; "a narrower sphere within the wider sphere of ἀγάπη (Delitzsch); cf. 1. Peter 2:17, "Honor all men, love the brotherhood;" and 2 Peter 1:7, where Christians are exhorted to add ἀγάπη to their φιλαδελπία. This grace of φιλαδελφία they had already, and had evinced it by their conduct (cf. Hebrews 6:10, etc.); they are only to take care that it continue; and let them, among other ways, evince it in hospitality (ver. 2), and in sympathy with the afflicted brethren (ver. 3).
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Verse 2. - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers (or, of hospitality): for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Allusions to this duty are frequent in the Epistles; its exercise would be of especial importance, in those days of persecution, towards scattered and destitute brethren as well as towards missionaries, though it by no means appears that it was meant to be confined to "them that are of the household of faith." Possibly some of the wavering Hebrew Christians might be becoming less ready to open their doors to the persecuted from fear of "reproach" in Jewish circles. The allusion of the latter part of the verse is evidently to Abraham and Lot (Genesis 18. and 19.). At any time the visits even of our fellow-men may be to us as visits of angels, as being messengers of God's purposes for good when least expected. And especially to be noted are our Lord's own words, "He that receiveth you receiveth me," etc., and "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40).
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
Verse 3. - Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. The Hebrew readers have been also specially commended for their past sympathy with their imprisoned and despoiled brethren (Hebrews 10:33, etc.), having been themselves also at the same time persecuted. Whether or not sufferers themselves now, they must not be forgetful of those that are "As bound with them" seems best taken as expressing the sympathy of one member with another (cf. Hebrews 10:33, 34 and 1 Corinthians 12:26, "If one member suffer," etc.). "As being yourselves," etc., reminds them that they are still in the flesh, and so not only on this account bound to sympathize, but also liable themselves at any time to the like afflictions. Exhortations to personal purity and to contentedness follow next. Of the need, and prominence in the Epistles, of warnings against impurity see what was said on ἁγιασμόν (Hebrews 12:14). St. Paul is given to couple covetousness 'rod uncleanness together in his warnings, as cognate sins, and alike incompatible with the kingdom of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:10, 11; 1 Corinthians 6:9, etc.; Ephesians 5:3, 5; Colossians 3:5). Greediness, or inordinate desire (πλεονεξία), may be for sensual indulgence or for wealth - the same word is used in both senses; and such πλεονεξία, whatever its object, is fatal to the spiritual life. So here, after a warning against impurity, comes a like one against covetousness.
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
Verse 4. - Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. So in the A.V. the first clause of this verse, which is taken as an assertion, the copula ἔστι, being understood. So it is also taken by Chrysostom and other ancients. If so, it is a declaration, interposed among hortations, of the honorableness of the" estate of matrimony," with the hortatory purpose of suggesting this "remedy against sin "(as in 1 Corinthians 7:9), or as a protest against false asceticism, such as is alluded to in 1 Timothy 4:3, "forbidding to marry." And certainly the expression, τίμιος ὁ γάμος, taken by itself, would most naturally have this meaning. But most modern commentators understand it as an exhortation, supplying ἔστω; and this for the following cogent reasons: it occurs in the midst of a series of exhortations, and is therefore more likely to be one; it is difficult to understand the connected clause, "and the bed undefiled (καὶ ἡ κοίτη ἀμίαντος)," as a statement; and the exactly similar phrase in ver. 5, ἀφιλάργυρος ὁ τρόπος, seems evidently hortatory. Hence we take it to mean "Let marriage be τίμος ἐν πᾶσον." Two questions remain - that of the import of τίμιος, and whether πᾶσιν is masculine or neuter. Τίμιος elsewhere, when applied to persons, means "held in honor" (as in Acts 5:34, of Gamaliel); when applied to things, it means "precious" (as in 1 Corinthians 3:12; Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:12, 16; Revelation 21:19, of precious stones; in 1 Peter 1:19, of the blood of the Lamb; 2 Peter 1:4, of promises; Acts 20:24, of "my own life;" James 5:7, of the fruit of the earth). Bengel explains thus: "Caelibes, quibus periculum scortationis imminet, hortatur ut matrimonium contrahant, tanquam pretiosum quiddam agnoscentes, ejusque bone digne utantur. Conf. 1 Thessalonians 4:4.' And, taking πᾶσιν as masculine, he explains further: "Omnesque debent matrimonium magni facere, ut, si quis eo ipse non utatur, alios tamen non prohibeat." According to this view the first clause is an injunction to all to appreciate marriage, the second warns those that are married against any violation of the bond: "Τίμιος γάμος antitheton ad scortatotes, κοίτη ἀμίαντος ad adulteros" (Bengel). But the more natural, and the usual, meaning of the common expression ἐν πᾶσιν is "in all things," not "among all persons" (cf. Jaffa, ver. 18; also Colossians 1:18; Titus 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Timothy 4:5). If so here, τίμιος ὁ γάμος must be taken rather as an injunction with respect to the sanctity of marriage when contracted: "Let it be held in honor in all respects; in all ways reverently regarded as a holy bond;" the succeeding clause, ἡ κοίτη ἀμίαντος, being a further explication of the same idea (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:4, "That every one of you should know how to possess his own vessel [meaning, probably, as seems to be required by the verb κτᾶσθαι, 'get to himself his own wife] in sanctification and honor (ἐν ἀγιασμῷ καὶ τιμῇ);" where ἐν τιμῇ may express the same ides as τίμιος in the text). 'In the conclusion of the verse "for" (γὰρ) suits the drift of the sentence as above understood, and is considered to be supported better than "but" (δὲ) of the Textus Receptus. Observe, lastly, that, in "God will judge," "God" is emphatic, being placed last. Though the kind of sin spoken of is lightly regarded among men, and may escape detection or punishment now, yet certainly God will judge it (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:6, "God is the Avenger of all such, as we have also forewarned you and testified;" and 1 Corinthians 6:9, where fornicators and adulterers are included among those about whom Christians are not to deceive themselves, as though they would "inherit the kingdom of God").
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Verse 5. - Let your conversation (i.e. manner of life, or disposition) be without covetousness; be content with such things as ye have: for he (αὔτος, emphatic) hath said, I will never (i.e. in no wise) leave thee, neither will I ever forsake thee. The reference seems to be to Deuteronomy 31:6, Κύριος ὁ Θεός σου... οὔτε μή σε ἀνῇ οὔτε μή σε ἐγκαταλίπῃ, the same assurance being repeated in ver. 8. But similar promises occur elsewhere in the Old Testament (see Genesis 28:15; Joshua 1:5; 1 Chronicles 28:20; Isaiah 41:17; "Est igitur instar adagii divini," Bengel).
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Verse 6. - So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me; rather, I will act fear: what shall man do unto me? The quotation is from Psalm 118:6. The memory of their former pastors who had finished their course is next urged upon the readers as an encouragement to perseverance in the life of faith.
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
Verses 7, 8. - Remember your leaders (τῶν ἡγουμένων ὑμῶν, wrongly rendered in the A.V., "them that have the rule over you;" for the reference is to departed chiefs. The word is similarly used by St. Luke (see Luke 22:26; Acts 15:22; also below, ver. 17 and ver. 24). St. Paul, with a like meaning, calls the rulers of the Church οἱ προιστάμενοι: see Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 5:17), who spake to you the Word of God; of whose conversation (i.e. course of life, ἀναστροφῆς), considering the end (or issue, ἔκβασιν), imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is yesterday and today the same, and forever. This allusion to departed leaders shows the comparatively late date of the Epistle. Those who had died as martyrs, and hence, having a peculiar halo round them in the issue of their lives, may be supposed to be especially referred to; such as Stephen the proto-martyr at Jerusalem, James the son of Zebedee, and possibly James the Just, the acknowledged leader of the Jewish Christians. It may be that Peter, the apostle of the circumcision, had also suffered before the writing of the Epistle. This supposition, however, which would involve a date for the Epistle after St. Paul's death also, is by no means necessary. Others, too, may be alluded to of whom we have no record, but whose memory would be fresh in the minds of the readers. But it does not follow that martyrs only are intended. Others also who had died in peace, and whose end had been blessed, might be pointed to as models for the imitation of survivors. Ver. 8 must be taken as a distinct appended sentence, the watchword on which the preceding exhortation is based. Its drift is that, though successive generations pass away, Jesus Christ remains the same - the Savior of the living as well as of the departed, and the Savior of all to the end of time. It may be here observed that, though his eternal Deity is not distinctly expressed - for "yesterday" does not of necessity reach back to past eternity - yet the sentence can hardly be taken as not implying it. For his unchangeableness is contrasted with the changing generations of men, as is that of Jehovah in the Old Testament (e.g. in Psalm 90:2-4), and surely such language would not have been used of any but a Divine Being.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
Verse 9. - Be not carried away (so, according to the best authorities, rather than carried about) by divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, in which they that were occupied (literally, that walked) were not profited. From the exhortation to imitate the faith of the departed leaders, the transition is natural to warnings against being carried away from it by new teachings. The faith, which was their faith, remains unchanged, as Jesus Christ remains unchanged; why, then, these doctrines, new and strange (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:11; Galatians 1:6-10)? What these doctrines were is not shown, except so far as is intimated by the word βρώμασιν ("meats"), which reminds us at once of similar warnings in St. Paul's Epistles (cf. Romans 14:2, 14, 21; Colossians 2:8, 16-723; 1 Timothy 4:3). These passages seem to refer in the first place to purely Jewish distinctions, still held to by Jewish Christians, between dean and unclean or polluted meats; and further to a new kind of asceticism, not found in the Old Testament, but based probably on notions of the impurity of matter, which led to entire abstention from flesh or wine, and also in some (1 Timothy 4:3) from marriage; also, as appears from the passage in Colossians, a false philosophy about angels and the spiritual world. We may perceive in these allusions the germs at least of later Gnostic heresies, such as found (as that of the Ebionites) their first congenial soil in Jewish circles; Oriental theosophy, or neo-Platonic philosophy, being supposed to have been engrafted on Jewish modes of thought. Some, misled by what is said in ver. 10, see in the word βρώμασιν an allusion to those sacrifices of the Law which were eaten by the worshippers, against any fancied obligation to partake in which the readers are supposed to be warned. But the word is never so applied in the Old Testament or the New (see above, Hebrews 9:10; Leviticus 11:34; 1 Macc. 1:16; Romans 14:15, 20, 31; 1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 8:8, 13); nor would such error be likely to be classed among "strange doctrines." The drift of the warning is that the religion of the gospel does not consist in any of these notions or observances, the supposed importance of meats being specially noted, and that to make them its essence is a misconception of its whole meaning, and a departure from the faith: "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17).
We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
Verse 10. - We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. Here there is a plain allusion to the eating of offered sacrifices. If, then, there was no such allusion in the preceding verse, what is the connection of thought? It appears to be this: "Some would teach you that meats are of religious importance. Nay, but what are meats to us who have Christ himself for our spiritual food? This is our peculiar privilege, not shared by the very priests of the old dispensation." Then, in ver. 11, "That this is so is shown by the very symbolism of the Day of Atonement." Then, in ver. 12, "Let us, then, be well content to leave Judaism entirely, and cleave to Christ alone." By "those that serve (λατρεύοντες) the tabernacle" are meant the priests of the Law, whose service is, as in former passages, referred to as still going on. It is evidently implied that we have the right which they have not.
For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
Verses 11, 12. - For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the High Priest for sin (i.e. as sin offerings; for this sense of περὶ ἁμαρτίας, cf. Hebrews 10:6), are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered without the gate. The allusion is to the sin offerings on the Day of Atonement - the bullock for the high priest, and the goat for the people. Of the flesh of some sacrifices of ordinary peace offerings - the people ate, being themselves "partakers of the altar;" that of ordinary sin offerings was partaken of by the priests alone: but the special sin offerings of the great day, which typified complete atonement, and the blood of which alone was taken into the holiest of all, were consumed entirely by fire without the camp, and not even the priests might eat of them (Leviticus 16:27, etc.). This part of the ceremonial, not mentioned in Hebrews 9, completed the symbolism of the Day of Atonement. It not only typified (together with the other goat that was set free) the entire removal of sin from the congregation; it also signified that the Law itself made none, not even the priests, partakers in such complete atonement. Christ fulfilled the first significance of this type by suffering "without the gate;" the Jews, in casting him out from their midst, were the unconscious instruments of his so fulfilling it; he thus bare and took away the sins of all outside the holy city which represented the Israel of God. But further, in him is supplied what under the Law was wanting; for of him, the true Sin Offering, we may all partake: he declared this himself when he spoke of our caring his flesh and drinking his blood - in which words the mention of the blood as well as of the flesh is peculiarly significant; for of the blood, which was "given upon the altar to make atonement for sins" (Leviticus 17:11), none might in any case under the Law partake; but of him we even drink the blood, in token that atonement is completed, and that we are now full partakers in all its benefits. The only seeming discrepancy between the type and the Antitype, as above set forth, is in the order of the different parts of the old ceremonial. The sin offering was slain in the camp before it was burnt outside, whereas Christ fulfilled both these parts of the type by one act upon the cross outside. Again, the blood of the sin offering was taken into the holy of holies before the body was consumed by fire outside, whereas Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary "with his own blood" after he had suffered "without the gate." But the general significance of the symbolism in its several parts is not thus disturbed; it is viewed as a whole, and all parts of it are found to be fulfilled. In saying, "we have an altar," and implying that we eat of it, the writer has surely the Eucharist in view, though it does not follow that θυσιαστήριον means definitely the table on which it is celebrated. He may, as some explain, have especially in his mind the cross on which the sacrifice was once for all completed; or he may have had no definite local image before him, seeing rather (as elsewhere in the Epistle) in spiritual realities and relations the counterparts of the Levitical symbols. But that the Holy Communion is alluded to, even if it were not apparent here, might be concluded from 1 Corinthians 10:14-22, where similar phrases are used with distinct reference to it. There St. Paul is dissuading from participation in heathen sacrificial feasts, as being inconsistent with partaking of the Holy Communion; and he says in this connection, "Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices (ἐσθίοντες τὰς θυσίας) partakers of the altar (κοινωνοὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου)?" It is evident that "partakers of the Lord's table" (ver. 21) are regarded as being thereby partakers of the Christian altar, of which mention is made in the text before us. It may be observed that the use here of the word θυσιαστηρίον may be held to justify - and this without implying any actual repetition of the one accomplished sacrifice - the application of the term "altar" to the table on which the Eucharist is celebrated, as does 1 Corinthians 10:21 the term "the Lord's table." Both terms were so applied from very early times. The holy tables in our churches are altars, in that on them is continually commemorated and pleaded the one sacrifice of the cross, and that from them the spiritual food of the body and blood is given to the faithful.
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
Verse 13. - Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. By a happy turn of thought Christ's having suffered without the gate is viewed as representing his exclusion from the Jewish Church and polity, outside which we are now to follow him, though we with him be reproached by the Jews as outcasts. There may be a tacit reference, such as Bengel sees in the word φέροντες, to our bearing our cross after him.
For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
Verse 14. - For here we have no abiding city, but we seek that which is to come; i.e. not Jerusalem, representing the transitory dispensation of the Law; but the "city of the living God," which is eternal.
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Verse 15. - Through him therefore let us offer the sacrifice (or, a sacrifice) of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips confessing to his Name. Θυσία αἰνέσεως is the designation in the ritual of the Law of the voluntary peace offering, offered by individuals on occasions calling for special thanksgiving (Leviticus 7:12). In the psalms it is used to express generally praise and thanksgiving (see Psalm 1:14, 23; 116:17. Θῦσον τῷ Θεῷ θυσίαν αἰνέσεως καὶ ἀπόδος τῷ ὑψίστῳ τὰς εὐχάς σου, etc.). In virtue of their participation in the true and complete Sin Offering, Christians may fulfill this part of the ancient symbolism, not occasionally, but "continually;" bringing to God, not fruits of the earth, but the "fruit of the lips" (an expression found in Hosea 14:2, where the LXX. has καρπὸν χειλέων ἡμῶν), i.e. continual praise, springing from thankful hearts. In the Eucharist especially (hence so called) such sacrifice is continually offered, over the one atoning Sacrifice which is pleaded and partaken cf. But not in communions only, but ever in their daily lives, such "sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving" is due. But, as the next verse reminds the readers, the "knit of the lips" is not enough; there is a further sacrifice of our own, whereby we must show that we are true partakers of Christ, and truly thankful.
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Verse 16. - But to do good and to communicate forget not (τῆς δὲ εὐποιι'ας καὶ κοινωνίας μὴ ἐπιλανθάνεσθε: where εὐποιι'ας means "doing good to others" (cf. Mark 14:7); while κοινωνίας expresses the sense of Christian fellowship evinced by communicating to others a share of what we have; cf. Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 9:13): for With such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Verse 17. - Obey them that have the rule over you (τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ὑμῶν, as in ver. 7), and submit yourselves (to them): for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it With joy, and not With grief (literally, groaning); for that is (rather, were) unprofitable for you (i.e. their ministry is for your profit; if its result be their giving in their account with groans, its whole purpose will be frustrated). In this allusion to the ἡγουμένοι as in vers. 7 and 24, there is evidence of the existence of a regular order of ministry in the Hebrew Churches, such as many allusions in St. Paul's Epistles show to have formed part of the constitution of the Churches to whom those Epistles were addressed (cf. also Acts 14:23 and Acts 20:17, 28, etc.). The word itself (ἡγουμένοι) which is here used might, indeed, denote any persons who took the lead in the congregations; but the urging of the duty of submission to them, in virtue of their office of watching for souls for which they would have to give account, shows plainly that a special order is here, as elsewhere, referred to. Observe also below, ver. 24, where "all the saints," i.e. what we should call the laity, are mentioned in distinction from the ἡγουμένοι. (For similar injunctions, cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:12 and 1 Timothy 5:17, τοὺς προεσταμένους ὑμῶν and οἱ προεστῶτες πρεσβύτεροι being the words there used.) The special injunction here to obey and submit may have been called for by some deficiency in this respect among the Hebrew Christians. Possibly it was among the people rather than the pastors that there were any signs of wavering between the Church and the synagogue, and that one purpose of the admonition is to strengthen the hands of the former, in whom confidence is placed.
Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
Verse 18. - Pray for us: for we trust (rather, we are persuaded, πειθόμεθα) that we have a good conscience, in all things willing (i.e. desiring) to live honestly. When St. Paul uses the plural ἡμεῖς he usually at least, if not always, includes his colleagues (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Colossians 4:3). So probably the writer here, especially as there is a transition to the singular in the following verse. Whoever he was, he associates himself in sending the Epistle with his fellow-laborers, i.e. with others of what we may call the Pauline circle, who were engaged with him elsewhere. Both this and the request for prayer, and also the assertion of integrity, which seems to imply suspicion of possible mistrust, are quite in St. Paul's way, and confirm the view that, though the author may not have been St. Paul himself, it was at any rate some one who was, or had been, closely connected with him.
But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
Verse 19. - And I beseech you the more abundantly (the Pauline word, περισσοτέρως) to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. The author of the Epistle proceeds here for the first time to speak of himself individually; and what he thus says shows that the Epistle was addressed to some definite circle of Hebrew Christians, and one which he had been among before. What circumstances, whether of imprisonment or other hindrances, were in the way of his revisiting them does not appear. We remark that this verse again reminds us strongly of St. Paul (cf. Philemon 1:22). The possibility may be here noted (see Introduction, p. 12.) that, if the Epistle was composed by one of St. Paul's friends, and sent under his authority, he may have himself dictated this concluding portion (beginning possibly at ver. 17) which is in a more epistolary style than the rest, and contains personal allusions.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Verses 20, 21. - Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through (literally, in) the blood of the eternal covenant, our Lord Jesus, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom (i.e. to God, the subject of the sentence) be glory forever and ever. Amen. It is St. Paul's way also to introduce, in the end of his Epistles, a solemn prayer or benediction, couched in terms suitable to the subjects that have been dwelt on (see e.g. Romans 16:25, etc.). The term, "God of peace," is also usual with him; and it is appropriate here after so many warnings against disturbing the Church's peace; as is, with reference also to what has gone before, "make you perfect" (καταρτίσαι), and what follows. On "the great Shepherd," etc., Bengel says, "Habemus, inquit, antistites multos, ver. 17, sed hic omniam est Antistes. Ego sum absens, ver. 19, sed DEUS non abest, neque deerit." The expression is taken from Isaiah 63:11, "Where is he that brought them out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? (Ποῦ ὁ ἀναβιβάσας ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης τὸν ποιμένα τῶν προβάτων; LXX.)." The reference in Isaiah is to Moses and the Red Sea, the well-known types of Christ and his resurrection, and of ours to a new life, leading to eternal life, through him. He is called "the great Shepherd," as in Hebrews 4:14 the "great High Priest," as being the true fulfillment of the ancient types. "In [i.e. 'in virtue of'] the blood of the covenant" seems to be suggested by Zechariah 9:11, Καὶ σὺ ἐν αἵματι διαθήκης σου ἐξαπέστειλας δεσμίους σου ἐκ λάκκου οὐκ ἔχοντος ὕδωρ: αἰωνίου being added (as αέγαν before) to distinguish the new covenant from the old. The suitableness of the words to the contents of the Epistle is obvious. It is observed that the above is the only distinct allusion in the Epistle to Christ's resurrection, the writer's treatment of his subject having led him to pass at once from the sacrifice to the heavenly intercession. But "non concludit apostolus, autequam menti-onem fecerit resurrectionis Christi" (Bengel).
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.
Verse 22. - But I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words. This and the following verse are in the manner of a postscript, such as is usual with St. Paul. Some little apprehension is implied (cf. ver. 18) of the admonitions not being taken well by all. Though the Epistle is not short as compared with others, yet it has been compressed with as "few words" as the subject would allow (cf. ver. 11). If, however, this concluding portion of the Epistle was written or dictated by St. Paul himself, as suggested under ver. 19, the "few words" may possibly refer to it only.
Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
Verse 23. - Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you. This allusion to Timothy shows that the Epistle, whatever its exact date, was at any rate written in the apostolic age, before his death. Further, though not proving St. Paul's authorship, it supports the conclusion that the writer, if not himself, was one of his associates, Timothy having been peculiarly his disciple and companion. It seems that Timothy had been, as the readers were aware, in prison; and the joyful news is communicated of his release, and of the prospect of his visiting them. This again shows that the Epistle was addressed to a definite circle of readers. It is observable that the word ἀπολύεσθαι, which does not occur in St. Paul's writings, is, like so many expressions throughout the Epistle, one usual with St. Luke (Luke 22:68; Luke 23:16, etc.; Acts 3:13; Acts 4:21; where it expresses release from prison or captivity). He uses it also for dismissal of persons on a mission (Acts 13:3; Acts 15:30); and hence one view is that Timothy's having already set out to visit the Church addressed is all that is here meant. But the other meaning of the word is more likely.
Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
Verse 24. - Salute all them that have the rule over you (τοὺς ἡγουμένους, as before), and all the saints. They of Italy salute you. The fact that no names are here mentioned, as is usual with St. Paul in sending salutations to Churches he was personally well acquainted with, leads us to infer that there had been no such close association, at any rate recently, between the writer and the readers in this case; or else that a circle of Churches in some locality is addressed. Nothing certain can be concluded as to the writer's whereabouts at the time of writing from the expression, "they of Italy (οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰταλίας)," though it seems to favor the idea, rather than otherwise, that he was in Italy at the time, possibly at Rome. For the phrase means simply "natives of Italy" (cf. Acts 10:23; Acts 10:38; Acts 12:1; Acts 17:13; Acts 21:27; Acts 18:13; all these being, we observe, expressions of St. Luke's); it by no means implies that they had left Italy. In fact, as Delitzsch observes, "if the author was then in Italy, and at the same time was not a native of Italy, he could not have selected a more appropriate designation for the Italian Christians." The Epistle is concluded by St. Paul's accustomed words, which, with some variations, seem to have been appended to all his letters as his authenticating autograph (see 2 Thessalonians 3, etc.) -
Grace be with you all. Amen.
Verse 25. - Grace be with you all. Amen.

The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010 by BibleSoft, inc., Used by permission

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