Hebrews 5:7
Parallel Verses
New International Version
During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

King James Bible
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

Darby Bible Translation
Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up both supplications and entreaties to him who was able to save him out of death, with strong crying and tears; (and having been heard because of his piety;)

World English Bible
He, in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear,

Young's Literal Translation
who in the days of his flesh both prayers and supplications unto Him who was able to save him from death -- with strong crying and tears -- having offered up, and having been heard in respect to that which he feared,

Hebrews 5:7 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Who in the days of his flesh - The time of his incarnation, during which he took all the infirmities of human nature upon him, and was afflicted in his body and human soul just as other men are, irregular and sinful passions excepted.

Offered up prayers and supplications - This is one of the most difficult places in this epistle, if not in the whole of the New Testament. The labors of learned men upon it have been prodigious; and even in their sayings it is hard to find the meaning.

I shall take a general view of this and the two following verses, and then examine the particular expressions.

It is probable that the apostle refers to something in the agony of our Lord, which the evangelists have not distinctly marked.

The Redeemer of the world appears here as simply man; but he is the representative of the whole human race. He must make expiation for sin by suffering, and he can suffer only as man. Suffering was as necessary as death; for man, because he has sinned, must suffer, and because he has broken the law, should die. Jesus took upon himself the nature of man, subject to all the trials and distresses of human nature. He is now making atonement; and he begins with sufferings, as sufferings commence with human life; and he terminates with death, as that is the end of human existence in this world. Though he was the Son of God, conceived and born without sin, or any thing that could render him liable to suffering or death, and only suffered and died through infinite condescension; yet, to constitute him a complete Savior, he must submit to whatever the law required; and therefore he is stated to have learned Obedience by the things which he suffered, Hebrews 5:8, that is, subjection to all the requisitions of the law; and being made perfect, that is, having finished the whole by dying, he, by these means, became the author of eternal salvation to all them who obey him, Hebrews 5:9; to them who, according to his own command, repent and believe the Gospel, and, under the influence of his Spirit, walk in holiness of life. "But he appears to be under the most dreadful apprehension of death; for he offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, Hebrews 5:7." I shall consider this first in the common point of view, and refer to the subsequent notes. This fear of death was in Christ a widely different thing from what it is in men; they fear death because of what lies beyond the grave; they have sinned, and they are afraid to meet their Judge. Jesus could have no fear on these grounds: he was now suffering for man, and he felt as their expiatory victim; and God only can tell, and perhaps neither men nor angels can conceive, how great the suffering and agony must be which, in the sight of infinite Justice, was requisite to make this atonement. Death, temporal and eternal, was the portion of man; and now Christ is to destroy death by agonizing and dying! The tortures and torments necessary to effect this destruction Jesus Christ alone could feel, Jesus Christ alone could sustain, Jesus Christ alone can comprehend. We are referred to them in this most solemn verse; but the apostle himself only drops hints, he does not attempt to explain them: he prayed; he supplicated with strong crying and tears; and he was heard in reference to that which he feared. His prayers, as our Mediator, were answered; and his sufferings and death were complete and effectual as our sacrifice. This is the glorious sum of what the apostle here states; and it is enough. We may hear it with awful respect; and adore him with silence whose grief had nothing common in it to that of other men, and is not to be estimated according to the measures of human miseries. It was: -

A weight of wo, more than whole worlds could bear.

I shall now make some remarks on particular expressions, and endeavor to show that the words may be understood with a shade of difference from the common acceptation.

Prayers and supplications, etc. - There may be an allusion here to the manner in which the Jews speak of prayer, etc. "Rabbi Yehudah said: All human things depend on repentance and the prayers which men make to the holy blessed God; especially if tears be poured out with the prayers. There is no gate which tears will not pass through." Sohar, Exod., fol. 5.

"There are three degrees of prayer, each surpassing the other in sublimity; prayer, crying, and tears: prayer is made in silence; crying, with a loud voice; but tears surpass all." Synops. Sohar, p. 33.

The apostle shows that Christ made every species of prayer, and those especially by which they allowed a man must be successful with his Maker.

The word ἱκετηριας, which we translate supplications, exists in no other part of the New Testament. Ἱκετης signifies a supplicant, from ἱκομαι, I come or approach; it is used in this connection by the purest Greek writers. Nearly the same words are found in Isocrates, De Pace: Ἱκετηριας πολλας και δεησεις ποιουμενοι. Making many supplications and prayers. Ἱκετηρια, says Suidas, καλειται ελαιας κλαδος, στεμματι εστεμμενος· - εστιν, ἡν οἱ δεομενοι κατατιθενται που, η μετα χειρας εχουσις· "Hiketeria is a branch of olive, rolled round with wool - is what suppliants were accustomed to deposite in some place, or to carry in their hands." And ἱκετης , hiketes, he defines to be, ὁ δουλοπρεπως παρακαλων, και δεομενος περι τινος ὁτουουν· "He who, in the most humble and servile manner, entreats and begs any thing from another." In reference to this custom the Latins used the phrase velamenta pratendere, "to hold forth these covered branches," when they made supplication; and Herodian calls them ἱκετηριας θαλλους, "branches of supplication." Livy mentions the custom frequently; see lib. xxv. cap. 25: lib. xxix. c. 16; lib. xxxv. c. 34; lib. xxxvi. c. 20. The place in lib. xxix. c. 16, is much to the point, and shows us the full force of the word, and nature of the custom. "Decem legati Locrensium, obsiti squalore et sordibus, in comitio sedentibus consulibus velamenta supplicium, ramos oleae (ut Graecis mos est), porrigentes, ante tribunal cum flebili vociferatione humi procubuerunt." "Ten delegates from the Locrians, squalid and covered with rags, came into the hall where the consuls were sitting, holding out in their hands olive branches covered with wool, according to the custom of the Greeks; and prostrated themselves on the ground before the tribunal, with weeping and loud lamentation." This is a remarkable case, and may well illustrate our Lord's situation and conduct. The Locrians, pillaged, oppressed, and ruined by the consul, Q. Plemmius, send their delegates to the Roman government to implore protection and redress they, the better to represent their situation, and that of their oppressed fellow citizens, take the hiketeria, or olive branch wrapped round with wool, and present themselves before the consuls in open court, and with wailing and loud outcries make known their situation. The senate heard, arrested Plemmius, loaded him with chains, and he expired in a dungeon. Jesus Christ, the representative of and delegate from the whole human race, oppressed and ruined by Satan and sin, with the hiketeria, or ensign of a most distressed suppliant, presents himself before the throne of God, with strong crying and tears, and prays against death and his ravages, in behalf of those whose representative he was; and he was heard in that he feared - the evils were removed, and the oppressor cast down. Satan was bound, he was spoiled of his dominion, and is reserved in chains of darkness to the judgment of the great day.

Every scholar will see that the words of the Roman historian answer exactly to those of the apostle; and the allusion in both is to the same custom. I do not approve of allegorizing or spiritualizing; but the allusion and similarity of the expressions led me to make this application. Many others would make more of this circumstance, as the allusion in the text is so pointed to this custom. Should it appear to any of my readers that I should, after the example of great names, have gone into this house of Rimmon, and bowed myself there, they will pardon their servant in this thing.

To save him from death - I have already observed that Jesus Christ was the representative of the human race; and have made some observations on the peculiarity of his sufferings, following the common acceptation of the words in the text, which things are true, howsoever the text may be interpreted. But here we may consider the pronoun αυτον, him, as implying the collective body of mankind; the children who were partakers of flesh and blood, Hebrews 2:14; the seed of Abraham, Hebrews 2:16, who through fear of death were all their life subject to bondage. So he made supplication with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save Them from death; for I consider the τουτους, them, of Hebrews 2:15, the same or implying the same thing as αυτον, him, in this verse; and, thus understood, all the difficulty vanishes away. On this interpretation I shall give a paraphrase of the whole verse: Jesus Christ, in the days of his flesh, (for he was incarnated that he might redeem the seed of Abraham, the fallen race of man), and in his expiatory sufferings, when representing the whole human race, offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, to him who was able to save Them from death: the intercession was prevalent, the passion and sacrifice were accepted, the sting of death was extracted, and Satan was dethroned.

If it should be objected that this interpretation occasions a very unnatural change of person in these verses, I may reply that the change made by my construction is not greater than that made between Hebrews 5:6 and Hebrews 5:7; in the first of which the apostle speaks of Melchisedec, who at the conclusion of the verse appears to be antecedent to the relative who in Hebrews 5:7; and yet, from the nature of the subject, we must understand Christ to be meant. And I consider, Hebrews 5:8, Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered, as belonging, not only to Christ considered in his human nature, but also to him in his collective capacity; i.e., belonging to all the sons and daughters of God, who, by means of suffering and various chastisements, learn submission, obedience and righteousness; and this very subject the apostle treats in considerable detail in Hebrews 12:2-11 (note), to which the reader will do well to refer.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Hebrews 2:14 For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same...

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory...

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh...

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels...

1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist...

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh...


Psalm 22:1-21 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring...

Psalm 69:1 Save me, O God; for the waters are come in to my soul.

Psalm 88:1 O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before you:

Matthew 26:28-44 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins...

Mark 14:32-39 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he said to his disciples, Sit you here, while I shall pray...

Leviticus 2:2 And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and he shall take out of there his handful of the flour thereof...

Leviticus 4:4-14 And he shall bring the bullock to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD...

John 17:1 These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son...


Matthew 27:46,50 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God...

Mark 15:34,37 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted...


Isaiah 53:3,11 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him...

John 11:35 Jesus wept.


Matthew 26:52,53 Then said Jesus to him, Put up again your sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword...

Mark 14:36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what you will.


Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep...

Psalm 18:19,20 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me...

Psalm 22:21,24 Save me from the lion's mouth: for you have heard me from the horns of the unicorns...

Psalm 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined to me, and heard my cry...

Psalm 69:13-16 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of your mercy hear me...

Isaiah 49:8 Thus said the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you: and I will preserve you...

John 11:42 And I knew that you hear me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that you have sent me.

John 17:4,5 I have glorified you on the earth: I have finished the work which you gave me to do...

in that he feared. or, for his piety.

Hebrews 12:28 Why we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Matthew 26:37,38 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy...

Mark 14:33,34 And he takes with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy...

Luke 22:42-44 Saying, Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done...

John 12:27,28 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I to this hour...

The Lesson of Life
Fifth Sunday in Lent. Chester Training College, 1870. Windsor Castle, 1871. Hebrews v. 7, 8. "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered." This is the lesson of life. This is God's way of educating us, of making us men and women worthy of the name of men and women, worthy
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

Our Compassionate High Priest
"Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity."--Hebrews 5:2 The high priest looked Godward, and therefore he had need to be holy; for he had to deal with things pertaining to God. But at the same time he looked manward; it was for men that he was ordained, that, through him, they might deal with God; and therefore he had need to be tender. It was necessary that he should be one who could have sympathy with men;
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

The Impossibility of Renewal.
"Of Whom we have many things to say, and hard of interpretation, seeing ye are become dull of hearing. For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But solid food is for full-grown men, even those who by reason of
Thomas Charles Edwards—The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews

I am first to give you some directions for bringing your people to submit to this course of catechizing and instruction.
I am first to give you some directions for bringing your people to submit to this course of catechizing and instruction. 1. The chief means of all is this, for a minister so to conduct himself in the general course of his life and ministry, as to convince his people of his ability, sincerity, and unfeigned love to them. For if they take him to be ignorant, they will despise his teaching, and think themselves as wise as he; and if they think him self-seeking, or hypocritical, and one that doth not
Richard Baxter—The Reformed Pastor

Cross References
Psalm 22:24
For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

Matthew 26:39
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Matthew 26:42
He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."

Matthew 27:46
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").

Matthew 27:50
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

Mark 14:36
"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

Mark 14:39
Once more he went away and prayed the same thing.

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