Concerning the office of high priests taken from among men: wherewith Christ's priesthood is compared, and its privileges set forth: a further account of which is deferred, and for what reason.
1FOR 1every high priest taken from among men is ordained 2for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both 3gifts and sacrifices for sins:
1 Namely, as they, who were lawful priests of the posterity of Aaron, have been. For, Paul wrote this epistle while the temple yet stood, and alludes to the manner of doing, which was then yet sufficiently known.
2 That is, for men’s sake, for their benefit and service, to reconcile men to God, or to procure some benefits from God.
3 By this first kind are understood the offerings which were offered of the fruits and other similar things; by the second the offerings of cattle or beasts, which were slain at the altar, and so offered.
2Who can have 4compassion on the 5ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed 6with infirmity.
4 Or, moderate, that is, in proper measure. The Greek word metriopathein properly signifies to have compassion in measure, or, according to measure, that is, as much as is needful to help him who has need of it.
5 That is, sinners. An Hebrew phrase; by the first is understood the sin which is committed out of ignorance or weakness of the understanding; by the second the sin where into a man falls by reason he deceives or gives way to himself and not without his own will proceeds to sin, although there be error with it, when the understanding is darkened by lust, James 1:14, 15. Against both God ordained sacrifices of reconciliation. See Leviticus 4, 5, and 6, but not for the willful sin against the Holy Spirit. See Heb. 10:26, 27.
6 That is, with sin, as the following verse shows; wherein Christ was unlike to the other High Priests, seeing He indeed was in all things tempted in the like manner, yet without sin. See Heb. 4:15; 7:26, 27.
3And by reason hereof 7he ought, asa for the people, so also 8for himself, to offer for sins.
7 Gr. he is guilty.
a Lev. 9:7; 16:6; Heb. 7:26.
8 See of this in Lev. 4:3; 9:7; 16:6, when he went into the Holy of Holies once a year, and offered first for his own sins, and afterward for the sins of the people, and when he had committed himself any scandalous sins.
4Andb no man taketh 9this honour unto 10himself, but he that is called of God, ascwas Aaron.
b 2 Chron. 26:16.
9 Namely, to become High Priest. He speaks of them who were lawful priests.
10 Namely, without a previous call.
c Exod. 28:1; 1 Chron. 23:13.
5So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but 11he that said unto him, 12Thoud art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
11 That is, God, His Father, namely, has glorified Him hereunto.
12 Some think that by these words is only described the Person of the Father, Who extoled the Son unto the priestly office, and that the proof thereof follows only in the 6th verse following. Others understand that arguments are also contained in this 5th verse, that the Father has lawfully made Him unto an High Priest; first in the words which follow there in the Psalm, Ask of me, etc. forasmuch as this is the proper work of a priest to pray for the people; as also in the word my Son, forasmuch as the firstborn sons, before the institution of the Levitical priesthood, ordinarily administered the priesthood in the families after the death of their fathers. See Gen. 25:31, and especially in the words to day have I begotten thee, whereby the eternal generation of the Son by the Father be especially understood, Heb. 1:5; yet they are also suitably applied by Paul to the manifestation of the same, which was made in time, principally by His resurrection from the dead, Acts 13:33, which is a clear demonstration that He was lawfully made a Mediator by the Father, and consequently also an High Priest.
d Psalm 2:8; Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5.
6As he saith also 13in another place, Thoueart a priest for ever 14after the order of Melchisedec.
13 Namely, in Psalm 110, which Christ Himself also points to the Messiah, Mat. 22:44, 45.
e Psalm 110:4; Heb. 7:17.
14 That is, after the manner and similitude of Melchisedec, as is declared in Heb. 7:15.
7Whof15in the days of his flesh, when he had 16offered up prayers and supplications 17with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he 18feared;
f Mat. 26:39; 27:46, 50; John 17:1.
15 That is, when He had assumed our frail nature, and therein walked and suffered among us; for, although He has our nature in heaven also, yet notwithstanding He has put off the infirmities thereof.
16 That is, proposed to His Father, and having consecrated His life for us into the hands of His Father.
17 The apostle has here respect indeed to the total humiliation of Christ, but principally to the anguish and extreme distress of Christ in the garden, when He has sweat drops of blood, and to His strong crying on the cross, when He cried: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
18 Gr. eulabeias; this word often signifies fear, as may be seen in Acts 23:10, and is the same which Mark in Mark 14:33 calls thambos and ademonian, that is, amazement, and great anguish, which was in Christ’s human nature, from the foresight and foretaste of the hellish torments which Christ would suffer in His soul for us on the cross, nevertheless without sin, considering that He has always continued firm in faith, and in all these things has subjected Himself perfectly to the will of His Father. Out of which fear or terror He is said to have been heard, because by His prayer He was strengthened and assured that by the power of His Divine nature He would overcome all, and so bring the devil and death itself under His feet. Others translate because of his godliness, or, for His godliness’ sake, as this word eulabeia also signifies. But the Greek particle apo, that is, from or out of, cannot well suffer this interpretation.
8Thoughg he were a Son, yet 19learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
g Philip. 2:6.
19 That is, has experienced what it is to submit Himself obediently in such distresses in all things to the will of His Father.
9And being made 20perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them 21that obey him;
20 Or, being sanctified, namely, in His obedience. Or, being offered up, namely, on the cross through the eternal Spirit, as the apostle speaks hereafter in Heb. 9:14. Or, being perfectly consecrated. For, this Greek word teleiotheis has all these significations in it.
21 That is, who believe in Him, and consequently also accompany this faith with the other parts of obedience, as the Scripture everywhere also calls faith obedience, as the ground of all true obedience. See John 3:36.
10Called 22of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
22 Or, surnamed by God, that is, made or ordained by God. For to whom God gives the name, to them He also gives the thing itself.
1123Of whom we have many 24things to say, and hard to be uttered, 25seeing ye are 26dull of hearing.
23 Namely, Melchisedec. Or, of whom, namely, the thing.
24 Gr. logos, that is, word.
25 In these words the apostle gives a reason of that which he had spoken, that the things which he purposed to write were hard to be uttered, namely, not so much in respect of the thing itself, as in respect of their dullness; wherefore he hereby stirs them up to take note.
26 Or, slow in hearing, or, of hearing.
12Forh when 27for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be 28the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of 29milk, and not of strong 30meat.
h 1 Cor. 3:1, 2, 3.
27 Or, in respect of the time, namely, that ye have been exercised in the doctrine of Christ.
28 Gr. the elements, or the alphabet of the beginning, that is, the first grounds and foundations of the christian doctrine, which he shall relate in the following chapter. Otherwise the ceremonies of the Old Testament, into which the Hebrews easily relapsed and always remained caught in them, are also called the first beginnings of the world and the weak elements, Gal. 4:9; Col. 2:8, because by them God had led them as by an alphabet to the spiritual doctrine of salvation, from which the Hebrews must now go forward unto the thing signified thereby, and increase therein more and more.
29 The apostle uses the same similitude also in 1 Cor. 3:2, to cause them to understand their dullness and ignorance in the things of the mysteries of the Gospel, as the following verses declare.
30 Gr. food.
13For every one that useth milk is 31unskilful in the word of righteousness: for 32he is a babe.
31 That is, not sufficiently instructed in the doctrine of the Gospel, in which the true righteousness, which exists in God’s judgment and is required of us, is revealed.
32 Other, for he is a child, namely, in knowledge. See 1 Cor. 14:20; Eph. 4:14.
14But 33strong meat belongeth to them that are of 34full age, even those who 35by reason of use have 36their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
33 That is, even the bare and deepest mysteries and points of doctrine of God’s Word, opposed partly to the first principles of doctrine, partly to the ceremonies, whereunto the Jews, like children, always relapsed.
34 That it, for them who are adults, as 1 Cor. 2:6 and 14:20; Eph. 4:13.
35 That is, by a proficiency which a man gets by much practice in any art or other thing.
36 Or, have exercised senses. The Greek word signifies the instruments by which the senses do their works and are exercised, as eyes, ears, tongues, etc., whereby the internal instruments of the soul are here understood, as reason, understanding, will, etc., which, being enlightened and renewed by the power of the Spirit, must also by the exercise of God’s Word be daily strengthened more and more, to be able to reject what is evil and false, and to be able to embrace that which is good and the truth.