Hebrews 3:16
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?

King James Bible
For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

Darby Bible Translation
(for who was it, who, having heard, provoked? but was it not all who came out of Egypt by Moses?

World English Bible
For who, when they heard, rebelled? No, didn't all those who came out of Egypt by Moses?

Young's Literal Translation
for certain having heard did provoke, but not all who did come out of Egypt through Moses;

Hebrews 3:16 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

For some - Some of the Hebrews who came out of Egypt. The truth was that a large proportion of them rebelled against God, and provoked him to indignation. It is somewhat remarkable that though "all" the Hebrews seem to have joined in the provocation - except a very small number - Paul should have used language which would seem to imply that the number which rebelled was comparatively small. Another version, therefore, has been given to this passage by some of the most eminent critics, consisting merely in a change in the punctuation, by which a different view is given of the whole sentence. According to this, it would be a question, and would mean, "But who were they who when they had heard did provoke? Were they not all indeed who came out of Egypt under Moses? And with whom was He angry for 40 years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?" This version was adopted by Chrysostom, Theodoret, and others of the Fathers; and is adopted by Rosenmuller, Clarke, Stuart, Pyle, and some others. In favor of it, it may be alleged:

(1) that the Greek will bear it, all the change required being in the punctuation;

(2) that it avoids the difficulty which exists in the other interpretation of supposing the apostle to imply that but few of them rebelled, when the truth was that it was nearly all;

(3) it thus accords with the remainder of the exhortation, which consists in a series of questions; and,

(4) it agrees with the scope and design of the whole.

The object was not to state that it was not all who came out of Egypt that rebelled, or that the number was small, but that the great body of them rebelled and fell in the wilderness, and that Christians should be admonished by their example. These reasons seem to be so strong as to make it probable that this is the true construction, and the sense then will be, "For who were they that having heard did provoke? Were they not all who came out of Egypt under Moses?"

When they had heard - Had heard God speaking to them, and giving them his commands.

Did provoke - Provoked him to anger; or their conduct was such as was suited to produce indignation; see the note on Hebrews 3:8.

Howbeit - Αλλά Alla. "But." This particle "in a series of questions, and standing at the head of a question, means "but, further." It serves to connect, and give intensity to the interrogation" - Stuart. Paul means to ask with emphasis whether the great mass of those who came out of Egypt did not apostatize? At the same time he means to intimate that there is no security that they who have witnessed - remarkable manifestations of the greatness of God, and who have partaken of extraordinary mercies, will not apostatize and perish. As the Hebrews, who heard God speak from Mount Sinai, revolted and perished, so it is possible that they who witness the mercies of God in redemption, may be in danger of abusing all those mercies, and of perishing. By the example, therefore, of the disobedient Israelites, he would admonish professed Christians of their danger.

Not all ... - According to the interpretation proposed above, "Were they not all who came out of Egypt?" Or "did not all who came out of Egypt?" The word "all" here is not to be taken in the strict sense, It is often used to denote the great body; a large proportion; or vast multitudes. Thus, it is used in Matthew 3:5, "Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan." So in John 3:26, "The same baptizeth, and all people came to him." So Philippians 2:21, "For all seek their own;" 2 Corinthians 3:2, "Ye are our epistle, known and read of all men." "In fact" there were two exceptions - and but two - of the adults who came out of Egypt - Caleb and Joshua; Numbers 14:30. All the others complained against the Lord, and were prohibited from entering the promised land. Of the great multitudes who came out of Egypt, and who murmured, the exception was so small that the apostle had no scruple in saying in general that they were all rebellious.

Hebrews 3:16 Parallel Commentaries

A Persuasive to Steadfastness
We shall have to show the value of faith while we try to open up the text before us, in which I see, first, a high privilege: "we are made partakers of Christ;" and secondly, by implication, a serious question--the question whether or no we have been made partakers of Christ and, then, in the third place, an unerring test. "We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end." I. First, then, here is A VERY HIGH PRIVILEGE. "We are made partakers of Christ."
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

The Exercise of Mercy Optional with God.
ROMANS ix. 15.--"For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." This is a part of the description which God himself gave to Moses, of His own nature and attributes. The Hebrew legislator had said to Jehovah: "I beseech thee show me thy glory." He desired a clear understanding of the character of that Great Being, under whose guidance he was commissioned to lead the people of Israel into the promised land. God said to
William G.T. Shedd—Sermons to the Natural Man

What to do with Doubt
Many, especially those who are young in the Christian life, are at times troubled with the suggestions of skepticism. There are in the Bible many things which they cannot explain, or even understand, and Satan employs these to shake their faith in the Scriptures as a revelation from God. They ask, "How shall I know the right way? If the Bible is indeed the word of God, how can I be freed from these doubts and perplexities?" God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which
Ellen Gould White—Steps to Christ

Humility is the Root of Charity, and Meekness the Fruit of Both. ...
Humility is the root of charity, and meekness the fruit of both. There is no solid and pure ground of love to others, except the rubbish of self-love be first cast out of the soul; and when that superfluity of naughtiness is cast out, then charity hath a solid and deep foundation: "The end of the command is charity out of a pure heart," 1 Tim. i. 5. It is only such a purified heart, cleansed from that poison and contagion of pride and self-estimation, that can send out such a sweet and wholesome
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Cross References
Numbers 14:2
All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!

Numbers 14:11
The LORD said to Moses, "How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?

Deuteronomy 1:35
'Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers,

Deuteronomy 1:36
except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and to his sons I will give the land on which he has set foot, because he has followed the LORD fully.'

Psalm 78:17
Yet they still continued to sin against Him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert.

Psalm 78:40
How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness And grieved Him in the desert!

Jeremiah 32:29
"The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city will enter and set this city on fire and burn it, with the houses where people have offered incense to Baal on their roofs and poured out drink offerings to other gods to provoke Me to anger.

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