Vincent's Word Studies
Let brotherly love continue.
Let brotherly love continue (φιλαδελφία μενέτω)
Φιλαδελφία in Paul, Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9. As a proper name, Revelation 1:11; Revelation 3:7. It is not necessary to suppose that the admonition implies signs of estrangement among those addressed. Comp. Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 6:10; Hebrews 10:24; Hebrews 12:12-15.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers (τῆς φιλοξενίας μὴ ἐπιλανθάνεσθε)
Lit. be not forgetful of hospitality. Φιλοξενία only here and Romans 12:13. olxx. Φιλόξενος hospitable, 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; 1 Peter 4:9. The rendering of Rev. to show love unto strangers, is affected. On the injunction comp. Romans 12:13; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; 1 Peter 4:9, and see Clem. Rom. Ad Corinth. x., xi., xii. The virtue of hospitality is not distinctively Christian. It appears with the very beginnings of history, largely as the result of nomadic conditions. It was peculiarly an Oriental virtue. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, commendatory judgment is awarded to him who has fed the hungry and clothed the naked. The O.T. abounds in illustrations, and the practice of hospitality among the Arabs and Bedoueen is familiar through the writings of travelers in the East. Great stress was laid on the duty by the Greeks, as appears constantly in Homer and elsewhere. Hospitality was regarded as a religious duty. The stranger was held to be under the special protection of Zeus, who was called ξένιος, the God of the stranger. The Romans regarded any violation of the rites of hospitality as impiety. Cicero says: "It seems to me eminently becoming that the homes of distinguished men should be open to distinguished guests, and that it is an honor to the Republic that foreigners should not lack this kind of liberality in our city" (De Off. ii.18).
Have entertained angels unawares (ἔλαθόν τινες ξεσίσαντες ἀγγέλους)
The Greek idiom is, "were not apparent as entertaining angels." The verb ἔλαθον were concealed represents the adverb unawares. For similar instances see Mark 14:8; Acts 12:16; Aristoph. Wasps, 517; Hdt. i. 44; Hom. Il. xiii. 273. Ξενίζειν to receive as a guest, mostly in Acts. In lxx only in the apocryphal books. In later Greek, to surprise with a novelty; passive, to be surprised or shocked. So 1 Peter 4:4, 1 Peter 4:12; comp. 2 Ep. of Clem. of Rome (so called), xvii.: To be a stranger or to be strange, once in N.T., Acts 17:20. Ξενισμός amazement, perplexity, not in N.T. lxx, Proverbs 15:17. Comp. Ignatius, Ephesians 19.The allusion to the unconscious entertainment of angels is probably to Genesis 18, 19, but the idea was familiar in Greek literature. The Greeks thought that any stranger might be a God in disguise. See Hom. Od. i. 96 ff.; iii.-329-370; xvii. 485. Comp. also the beautiful story of Baucis and Philemon as related by Ovid (Metam. viii. 626-724). The thought appears in our Lord's words, Matthew 25:34-46.
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
Them that are in bonds (τῶν δεσμίων)
See on Hebrews 10:34.
As bound with them (ὡς συνδεδεμένοι)
N.T.o. As if you were fellow-prisoners. Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:14-26; 2 Corinthians 11:29. Public intercession for prisoners has formed a part of the service of the church from the earliest times. See the prayer at the close of Clem. Rom Ad 1 Corinthians 59.It also occurs in the daily morning service of the synagogue.
Which suffer adversity (κακουχουμένων)
Rend. are evil entreated. See on Hebrews 11:37.
As being yourselves also in the body (ὡς καὶ αὐτοὶ ὄντες ἐν σώματι)
As subject like them to bodily sufferings. Not in the body - the church, which would require the article. The expression ἐν σώματι in the sense of being still alive, only in 2 Corinthians 12:2.
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
Marriage is honorable in all (τίμιος ὁ γάμος ἐν πᾶσιν)
Γάμος everywhere else in N.T. a wedding or wedding feast, often in the plural, as Matthew 22:2, Matthew 22:3, Matthew 22:4; Luke 12:36. Τίμιος honorable or held in honor. Often in N.T. precious, of gold, stones, etc., as 1 Corinthians 3:12; Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:12; of life, Acts 20:24; the fruits of the earth, James 5:7; the blood of Christ, 1 Peter 1:19; the divine promises, 2 Peter 1:4. Rend. "let marriage be had in honor." The statement is hortatory, as suiting the character of the entire context, and especially the γὰρ for; "for whoremongers," etc. Ἑν πᾶσιν in all respects," as 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 4:5; Titus 2:9; Colossians 1:18; Philippians 4:12. If as A.V., the more natural expression would be παρὰ πᾶσιν as Matthew 19:26; Acts 26:8; Romans 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:6; James 1:27. Ἑν πᾶσιν in all things appears in this chapter, Hebrews 13:18. There are many points in which marriage is to be honored besides the avoidance of illicit connections. See on 1 Thessalonians 4:6.
God will judge (κρινεῖ ὁ θεός)
Note the emphatic position of ὁ θεός. He will judge and condemn infractions of the marriage-bond, however social sentiment may condone them.
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.
Let your conversation be without covetousness (ἀφιλάργυρος ὁ τρόπος)
Τρόπος originally turn or direction. Hence ways manner, fashion; way or manner of life. In this sense N.T.o. Elsewhere often in the phrase ὅν τρόπον or καθ' ὅν τρόπον in or according to the way in which. See Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34; Acts 1:11; Acts 15:11; Acts 27:25. The meaning here is character or moral disposition. Ἁφιλάργυρος without covetousness, only here and 1 Timothy 3:3, see note.
Be content with such things as ye have (ἀρκούμενοι τοῖς παροῦσιν)
Lit. being contented with the things which are at hand. For ἀρκεῖν to suffice, see Luke 3:14; John 6:7; 1 Timothy 6:8. On the compounds αὐτάρκης self-sufficient and αὐτάρκεια self-sufficiency, see on 2 Corinthians 9:8; see on Philippians 4:11.
For he hath said (αὐτὸς γὰρ εἴρηκεν)
I will never leave nor forsake thee (οὐ μή σε ἀνῶ οὐδ' οὐ μή σε ἐγκαταλίπω)
Comp. Genesis 28:15; Joshua 1:5; Deuteronomy 31:6. None of these, however, give the saying in the form in which it appears here. This appears to be a combination or general adaptation of those passages. For "never," rend. "by no means" or "in no wise." Ἀνῶ from ἀνίημι. In Acts 16:26; Acts 27:40, to loosen: Ephesians 6:9, to give up or forbear. Somewhat in this last sense here: "I will in no wise give thee up, or let thee go." I will not relax my hold on thee. For ἐγκαταλίπω forsake, see on 2 Timothy 4:10.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
So that we may boldly say (ὥστε θαρροῦντας ἡμᾶς λέγειν)
Lit. so that, being of good courage, we say. Θαρρεῖν to be confident or bold, only here in Hebrews. Elsewhere only in Paul. The kindred form θαρσεῖν is used in N.T. only in the imperative θάρσει or θαρσεῖτε take courage. See Matthew 9:2; Mark 6:50; John 16:33; Acts 23:11.
The Lord is my helper, etc.
From lxx, Psalm 107:6 with slight alteration. Here, what shall man do unto me is an independent clause. lxx inserts and: "my helper and I will not fear," and connects the last clause with "fear": "I will not fear what man will do."
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.
Remember them which have the rule over you (μνημονεύετε τῶν ἡγουμένων ὑμῶν)
Remember, with a view to observing their admonitions. For τῶν ἡγουμένων those who lead or rule, see on 1 Thessalonians 5:13. Used of both civil and ecclesiastical rulers. Clement of Rome, among a great variety of names for church functionaries, has both ἡγούμενοι and προηγούμενοι (see Ad Corinth. i, xxi). Comp. Acts 15:22. In lxx frequently, of various forms of authority, and in later Greek of bishops and abbots. For "which have the rule," rend. "which had," etc.
Who have spoken (οἵτινες ἐλάλησαν)
Rend. "imitate." See on Hebrews 6:12.
The end of their conversation (τὴν ἔκβασιν τῆς ἀναστροφῆς)
Ἔκβασις only here and 1 Corinthians 10:13 (note). It means outcome or issue. See Wisd. 8:8. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, way out. Comp. Wisd. 2:17. Ἁναστροφή is life in intercourse with men. See on 1 Peter 1:15. Conversation, in the older sense of that word, is a good rendering, as it is also a nearly literal rendering of the Greek word. The reference is to the end of their life; what kind of an end they made; possibly, but not necessarily, with an allusion to cases of martyrdom. What, now, was the subject of these teachers' faith which is commended to imitation? It is stated in the next verse.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Jesus Christ the same (Ἱησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ αὐτός)
The A.V. is slipshod, leaving the sentence without connection, or in apparent apposition with the end of their conversation. In translation this is commonly corrected by inserting is: "Jesus Christ is the same," etc. But even thus the real point of the statement is missed. No doubt the old teachers believed in the unchangeableness of Jesus Christ; but that fact is not represented as the subject of their faith, which would be irrelevant and somewhat flat. The emphatic point of the statement is Christ. They lived and died in the faith that Jesus is The Christ - the Messiah. The readers were tempted to surrender this faith and to return to Judaism which denied Jesus's messiahship (comp. Hebrews 10:29). Hence the writer says, "hold fast and imitate their faith in Jesus as the Christ. He is ever the same. He must be to you, today, what he was to them, yesterday, and will be forever to the heavenly hosts - Christ. Rend. therefore "Jesus is Christ." Observe that our writer rarely uses the formula Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 10:10 it occurs in a passage in which the messianic mission of Jesus is emphasized (see Hebrews 10:5, Hebrews 10:9), and in Hebrews 13:21, in a liturgical formula. The temptation to forsake Jesus as Messiah is treated in the next verse.
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.
Be not carried about (μὴ παραφέρεσθε)
A.V. follows T.R. περιφέρεσθε. Rend. "carried away." The present tense indicates a present and active danger.
With divers and strange doctrines (διδαχαῖς ποικίλαις καὶ ξέναις)
For "doctrines" rend. "teachings." These teachings represent various phases of one radical error - the denial of Jesus's messiahship and of his messianic economy as superseding Judaism and all other means of salvation. Among them the writer's mind would naturally turn to the prescriptions concerning clean and unclean meats and sacrificial festivals. See next clause. These teachings were various as contrasted with the one teaching of the gospel; they were strange as they differed from that teaching. Comp. Galatians 1:6-9. For ποικίλαις see on 2 Timothy 3:16.
That the heart be established (βεβαιοῦσθαι τὴν καρδίαν)
There is an emphasis on heart as well as on grace. These strange teachings all emphasized externalism, in contrast with Christianity, which insisted upon the purification of the heart and conscience. The contrast is strongly stated in Hebrews 9:9, Hebrews 9:14, and the Epistle constantly directs the readers to the heart as the true point of contact with God, and the source of all departures from him. See Hebrews 3:8, Hebrews 3:10, Hebrews 3:12, Hebrews 3:15; Hebrews 4:7, Hebrews 4:12; Hebrews 8:10; especially Hebrews 10:22. Hence, the writer says, "it is good that the solid basis of your assurance before God be in the heart, purged from an evil conscience, so that you can draw near to God with a firmly-established confidence, with a true heart, in full assurance of faith": Hebrews 10:22; comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Timothy 2:22.
With grace, not with meats (χάριτι οὐ βρώμασιν)
The heart is the proper seat of the work of grace. Free grace is the motive-power of Christ's sacrifice (2 Corinthians 8:9; Galatians 1:15); it is behind the blood of the new covenant, and is the energetic principle of its saving operation. See Romans 5:2, Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 2:5, Ephesians 2:7, Ephesians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 10:29. With meats stands for the whole system of ceremonial observances, in contrast with grace, working on the heart. See Hebrews 9:10. This ceremonial system yielded no permanent benefit to those who lived under it. See Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:9, Hebrews 9:13, Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:1, Hebrews 10:2, Hebrews 10:4.
Which have not profited them that have been occupied therein (ἐν οἶς οὐκ ὠφελήθησαν οἱ περιπατοῦντες)
Lit. in the which they who walked were not profited. Περιπατεῖν to walk about is often used to express habitual practice or general conduct of life. See Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 10:3; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:7; Colossians 4:5.
We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
Those who persist in adhering to the Jewish economy can have no part in the blessing of the new covenant. The two are mutually exclusive. The statement is cast in the mould of the Jewish sacrificial ritual, and in the figure of eating a sacrificial meal.
We have an altar (ἔχομεν θυσιαστήριον)
It is a mistake to try to find in the Christian economy some specific object answering to altar - either the cross, or the eucharistic table, or Christ himself. Rather the ideas of approach to God, - sacrifice, atonement, pardon and acceptance, salvation, - are gathered up and generally represented in the figure of an altar, even as the Jewish altar was the point at which all these ideas converged. The application in this broader and more general sense is illustrated by Ignatius: "If one be not within the altar (ἐντὸς τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου the sacred precinct), he lacketh the bread of God.... Whosoever, therefore, cometh not to the congregation (ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ), he doth thereby show his pride, and hath separated himself," Eph. v. Ignatius here uses the word, not of a literal altar, but of the church. Comp. Trall. vii. Again: "Hasten to come together as to one temple, even God; to one altar, even to one Jesus Christ," Magn. vii.
Of which - to eat (εξ οὗ - φαγεῖν)
The foundation of the figure is the sacrifice of the peace or thank-offering, in which the worshippers partook of the sacrifice. See Leviticus 7:29-35; Deuteronomy 12:6; Deuteronomy 27:7. The peace-offerings were either public or private. The two lambs offered every year at Pentecost (Leviticus 23:19) were a public offering, and their flesh was eaten only by the officiating priests, and within the holy place. The other public peace-offerings, after the priests had received their share, were eaten by the offerers themselves. Jehovah thus condescended to be the guest of his worshippers. The large scale on which such festivals were sometimes celebrated is illustrated in 1 Kings 8:63. In private peace-offerings, the breast of the victim belonged to the Lord, who gave it to the priests (Leviticus 7:30), and the right shoulder was given directly to the priests by Israel (Leviticus 7:32). After the ritual of waving, the entrails were consumed, and the rest was eaten by the priest or the worshippers and their invited guests, among whom were specially included the poor and the Levites.
See on John 1:12.
Which serve the tabernacle (οἱ τῇ σκηνῇ λατρεύοντες)
This does not mean the priests only, but the worshippers also. Σκηνή tabernacle is used figuratively for the whole ceremonial economy. A reference to the priests alone is entirely foreign to the context, and to the whole drift of the discussion which contrasts the privileges of Christians at large (we) with those of Israel at large. The writer is speaking in the present tense, of institutions in operation in his own time, to which tabernacle, in any other than a figurative sense, would be inappropriate. Moreover, λατρεύειν to serve is used throughout the N.T., with the single exception of Hebrews 8:5, of the service of the worshipper and not of the priest.
For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
The statement that the adherents of the old economy are excluded from the privileges of the new is justified by an illustrative argument drawn from the ceremonies of the Great Day of Atonement. See Leviticus 16, and comp. Hebrews 9:7. Of the victims offered on that occasion neither people nor priest were allowed to eat. The blood of the bullock and of one of the goats was carried into the sanctuary and sprinkled upon the mercy-seat, and afterward on the horns of the great altar outside; and the bodies of the slain animals were burned in a clean place outside of the camp or city.
Lit. living creatures. The victims for the Day of Atonement were a bullock and two young goats for sin-offerings, and two rams for burnt-offerings. Only one goat, chosen by lot, was slain; the other served as the scape-goat. Ζῶον animal is not used elsewhere of a sacrificial victim, either in N.T. or lxx. The word in N.T. mostly in Revelation. See on Revelation 1:16; see on Revelation 4:6.
Without the camp (ἔξω τῆς παρεμβολῆς)
Burning without the camp was also required in the case of victims offered at the consecration of the priests, Exodus 29:14; at the sin-offering for the priest, Leviticus 4:11, Leviticus 4:12; and at the sin-offering for the congregation, Leviticus 4:21. For παρεμβολή camp, see on Acts 21:34.
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
That he might sanctify the people (ἵνα ἁγιάσῃ τὸν λαόν)
Ἁγιάζειν to sanctify had a peculiar significance to Jews. It meant to set them apart as holy. Hence, the Israelites were called ἅγιοι, as separated from other nations and consecrated to God. Our writer extends the application of the word to Christians. For Christ's work he claims the same efficacy which the Jew claimed for the special call of God to Israel, and for the operation of the Jewish sacrificial system. The office of his atoning work is to sanctify; to make for himself a holy nation (ἔθνος ἅγιον), a people "prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17); a true Israel of God. Ὁ λαός the people, or λαός my people, occurs constantly in O.T. as a designation of Israel, and also in N.T. See, in this epistle, Hebrews 5:3; Hebrews 7:5, Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:7, Hebrews 9:19. The N.T. extends the title to all who, under the new dispensation, occupy the position of Israel. See 1 Peter 2:10; Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:10; Hebrews 4:9; Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:30; Hebrews 11:25.
With his own blood (διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος)
Without the gate (ἔξω τῆς πύλης)
Gate is substituted for camp (Hebrews 13:11), as more appropriate to a city.
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
Bearing his reproach (τὸν ὀνειδισμὸν αὐτοῦ φέροντες)
The reproach of exclusion from the Jewish commonwealth.
For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
For here have we no continuing city (οὐ γὰρ ἔχομεν ὧδε μένουσαν πόλιν)
Here, on earth. Continuing city. Let us go forth without the gate to Jesus; for the system which has its center in Jerusalem, the Holy City, is no more ours. We are excluded from its religious fellowship by embracing the faith of him who suffered without the gate. The city itself is not abiding. As a holy city, it is the center and representative of a system of shadows and figures (Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 9:9, Hebrews 9:23, Hebrews 9:24; Hebrews 10:1), which is to be shaken and removed, even as is the city itself (Hebrews 12:27); Hebrews 8:13; Hebrews 9:10; Hebrews 10:9, Hebrews 10:18. If the epistle had been written after the destruction of Jerusalem a reference to that event could hardly have been avoided here.
One to come (τὴν μέλλουσαν)
The course of thought in Hebrews 13:9-14 is as follows: Be not carried away with divers and strange teachings, for example, those concerning meats and drinks and sacrificial feasts. It is good that the heart be established, rather than that the body should be ceremonially pure; and that the heart be established by the grace of God in Christ, which alone can give inward peace, a pure conscience, an established rest and security - rather than by the consciousness of having partaken of meats ceremonially clean: for those whose religious life was under the regimen of this ceremonial system derived no permanent profit from it. Not only so, the two systems exclude each other. You cannot hold by the Levitical system and enjoy the blessings of Christian salvation. It is the sacrifice of Christ through which you become partakers of grace. It is impossible to obtain grace through meats; for meats represent the economy which denies Christ; and, by seeking establishment through meats, you exclude yourselves from the economy which is the only vehicle of grace.
Accordingly, we have an altar and a sacrifice from which the votary of Leviticalism is excluded. By the Levitical law it was forbidden to eat the flesh of the victim offered on the Great Day of Atonement; so that, if the Levitical law still holds for you, you cannot partake of the Christian's atoning victim. The law under which you are prohibits you. According to that law, there is nothing to eat of in an atoning sacrifice, since the body of the victim is burned. Neither priest nor people have anything more to do with it, and, therefore, it is carried outside of the camp or city, outside of the region of O.T. covenant-fellowship. Similarly, so long as you hold by Judaism, participation in Christ's atoning sacrifice is impossible for you. It is outside your religious sphere, like the body of the victim outside the gate. You cannot eat of our altar.
The blood of the Levitical victim was carried into the holy of holies and remained there. If you seek the benefit of that blood, it must be within the camp, at the Levitical tabernacle or temple. And you cannot have the benefit of Christ's blood, for that compels you to go outside the gate, where he suffered. According to the O.T. law, you could partake of the benefit of the blood, but you could not eat of the body. Christ's sacrifice gives you both body and blood as spiritual food; but these you must seek outside of Judaism. Thus, by means of the O.T. ritual itself, it is shown that the Jewish and the Christian systems exclude each other. Christ must be sought outside of the Jewish pale.
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.
By him therefore (δἰ αὐτοῦ)
Rend. "through him." Omit therefore. A.V. follows T.R. οὖν. Through Jesus, and not through the Jewish ritual.
Let us offer (ἀναφέρωμεν)
The sacrifice of praise (θυσίαν αἰνέσεως)
The Levitical term for a thank-offering. See lxx, Leviticus 7:2, Leviticus 7:3, Leviticus 7:5; 2 Chronicles 29:31; 2 Chronicles 33:16; Psalm 50:14, Psalm 50:23; Psalm 106:22; Psalm 115:8. Ἄινεσις praise, N.T.o. Often in lxx, oClass. For "the sacrifice" rend. "a sacrifice." The sacrifice of thanksgiving is to take the place of the animal sacrifice. For the emphasis on thanksgiving in N.T. see Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 1:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:18. The Rabbins had a saying, "in the future time all sacrifices shall cease; but praises shall not cease." Philo says: "They offer the best sacrifice who glorify with hymns the savior and benefactor, God."
That is the fruit of our lips (τουτέστιν καρπὸν χειλέων)
Giving thanks to his name (ὁμολογούντων τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ)
The phrase N.T.o , olxx. Rend. "of lips which make confession to his name."
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
But to do good and to communicate forget (τῆς δὲ εὐποιΐ̀ας καὶ κοινωνίας μὴ ἐπιλανθάνεσθε)
Lit. but be not forgetful of doing good and communicating. Ἑυποιΐ̀α beneficence, N.T.o, olxx, oClass. For κοινωνία communication, of alms, etc., see on Luke 5:10; see on Acts 2:42. See also Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:13. Comp. the verb κοινωνεῖν to impart, Romans 12:13; Romans 15:27; Philippians 4:15.
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.
They watch (ἀγρυπνοῦσιν)
With grief (στενάζοντες)
N.T.o, olxx. From ἀ not, and λυσιτελής paying for expenses. Hence, what does not pay; unprofitable.
I may be restored to you (ἀποκατασταθῶ ὑμῖν)
Not implying imprisonment, but enforced absence through sickness or other cause.
Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
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,
The God of peace
Not an O.T. phrase, and found only in Paul and Hebrews. See Romans 15:33; Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 14:33; Philippians 4:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:16. The phrase signifies God who is the author and giver of peace.
Who brought again from the dead (ὁ ἀναγαγὼν ἐκ νεκρῶν)
The only direct reference in the epistle to the resurrection of Christ. Hebrews 6:2 refers to the resurrection of the dead generally. Ἁνάγειν of raising the dead, only Romans 10:7. Rend. "brought up," and comp. Wisd. 16:13. Ἁνά in this compound, never in N.T. in the sense of again. See on Luke 8:22; see on Acts 12:4; see on Acts 16:34; see on Acts 27:3. The verb often as a nautical term, to bring a vessel up from the land to the deep water; to put to sea.
That great shepherd of the sheep (τὸν ποιμένα τῶν προβάτων τὸν μέγαν)
Through the blood of the everlasting covenant (ἐν αἵματι διαθήκης αἰωνίου)
Rend. "in the blood of an eternal covenant." See Zechariah 9:11. The phrase eternal covenant N.T.o. Common in lxx; see Genesis 9:16; Genesis 17:19; Leviticus 24:8; 2 Samuel 23:5; Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 16:60. Const. with the great shepherd of the sheep. It may be granted that the raising of Christ from the dead, viewed as the consummation of the plan of salvation, was in the sphere of the blood of the covenant; nevertheless, the covenant is nowhere in the N.T. associated with the resurrection, but frequently with death, especially in this epistle. See Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20; Hebrews 9:15, Hebrews 9:16, Hebrews 9:17, Hebrews 9:20. The connection of the blood of the covenant with Christ's pastoral office gives a thoroughly scriptural sense, and one which exactly fits into the context. Christ becomes the great shepherd solely through the blood of the covenant. Comp. Acts 20:28. Through this is brought about the new relation of the church with God described in Hebrews 8:10 ff. This tallies perfectly with the conception of "the God of peace"; and the great Shepherd will assert the power of the eternal covenant of reconciliation and peace by perfecting his flock in every good work to do his will, working in them that which is well pleasing in his sight. With this agree Jeremiah 50:5, Jeremiah 50:19; Ezekiel 34:25, and the entire chapter, see especially Ezekiel 34:12-15, Ezekiel 34:23, Ezekiel 34:31. In these verses the Shepherd of the Covenant appears as guiding, tending his flock, and leading them into fair and safe pastures. Comp. Isaiah 63:11-14, and Revelation 7:17, see note on ποιμανεῖ shall shepherd. Ἑν αἵματι "in the blood," is in virtue of, or in the power of the blood.
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.
Suffer the word of exhortation (ἀνέχεσθε τοῦ λόγου τῆς παρακλήσεως)
For "suffer," rend. "bear with." See Acts 18:14; 2 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Timothy 4:3. Do not become impatient at my counsels in this letter. The word of exhortation refers to the entire epistle which he regards as hortatory rather than didactic or consolatory. The phrase only in Acts 13:15.
I have written a letter unto you (ἐπέστειλα ὑμῖν)
A.V. supplies a letter. Rend. "I have written unto you." The verb only here, Acts 15:20; Acts 21:25. Lit. to send, not letters only. Sometimes with ἐπιστολαὶ or ἐπιστολὰς letters added, as Nehemiah 6:19; 1 Macc. 12:7. In N.T. always of sending a letter.
In a few words (διὰ βραχέων)
Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
Our brother Timothy (τὸν ἀδελφὸν ἡμῶν Τιμόθεον)
Paul's habit, when using ὁ ἀδελφός brother with a proper name, is to put the proper name first. See Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 1 Corinthians 16:12; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 2:13; Philippians 2:25.
Set at liberty (ἀπολελυμένον)
Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
They of Italy (οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς Ἱταλίας)
This may mean, "those who are in Italy send greeting from Italy"; or, "those of Italy (Italian Christians with the writer at the time) send greeting' from the place at which the letter is being written. See Introduction. The phrase affords no reliable indication as to the residence of the persons addressed.
Grace be with you all. Amen.