Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, , at sacred-texts.com
The arrangement of the verse is much disputed. Rend. "The law, with the same sacrifices which they continually renew year by year, can never make the comers thereunto perfect."
A shadow (σκιὰν)
The emphasis is on this thought. The legal system was a shadow. Σκιὰ is a rude outline, an adumbration, contrasted with εἰκὼν, the archetypal or ideal pattern. Σκιὰ does not accurately exhibit the figure itself. Comp. Heb 8:5.
Of good things to come (τῶν μελλόντων ἀγαθῶν)
From the point of view of the law.
The very image of the things (αὐτὴν τὴν εἰκόνα τῶν πραγμάτων)
For εἰκὼν image, see on Rev 13:14; see on Phi 2:7. Πραγμάτων things expresses a little more distinctly than μελλόντων the idea of facts and realities.
Δύναται might be expected with ὁ νόμος the law as the subject. If δύναται, the plural, is retained, the clause the law - image of the things must be taken absolutely, the construction of the sentence breaking off suddenly, and the subject being changed from the law to the priests: "The priests can never," etc. It is better to read δύναται in the singular, with Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, and Weiss.
Continually (εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς)
See on Heb 7:3, and comp. Heb 10:12, Heb 10:14. Const. with offer.
To be offered (προσφερόμεναι)
The present participle brings out more forcibly the continuous repetition: "Ceased being offered."
A remembrance of sins (ἀνάμνησις ἁμαρτιῶν)
Each successive sacrifice was a fresh reminder of sins to be atoned for; so far were the sacrifices from satisfying the conscience of the worshipper. Ἀνάμνησις, lit. a calling to mind. Comp. Heb 10:17, and see lxx, Num 5:15.
Confirming the assertion of Heb 10:4 by a citation, Psa 40:7-9, the theme of which is that deliverance from sin is not obtained by animal sacrifices, but by fulfilling God's will. The quotation does not agree with either the Hebrew or the lxx, and the Hebrew and lxx do not agree. The writer supposes the words to be spoken by Messiah when he enters the world as Savior. The obedience to the divine will, which the Psalmist contrasts with sacrifices, our writer makes to consist in Christ's offering once for all. According to him, the course of thought in the Psalm is as follows: "Thou, O God, desirest not the sacrifice of beasts, but thou hast prepared my body as a single sacrifice, and so I come to do thy will, as was predicted of me, by the sacrifice of myself." Christ did not yield to God's will as authoritative constraint. The constraint lay in his own eternal spirit. His sacrifice was no less his own will than God's will.
Sacrifice and offering (θυσίαν καὶ προσφορὰν)
The animal-offering and the meal-offering.
Burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin (ὁλοκαυτώματα καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτίας)
The burnt-offering and the sin-offering.
In the volume of the book (ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου)
Κεφαλίς, N.T.o , is a diminutive, meaning little head. Lat. capitellum or capitulum. The extremity or end, as the capital of a column. See Exo 26:32, Exo 26:37. Sometimes the column itself, as Exo 40:18; Num 3:36. Said to be used of the tips or knobs of the rollers around which parchments were rolled, but no instances are cited. A roll of parchment, a book-roll, Eze 2:9. Meaning here the Scriptures of the O.T. for Hebrew מְגִלָּה. Κεφαλίς is found in lxx with βιβλίου book, only Eze 2:9; Psa 39:7. For, βιβλίον book, see on Ti2 4:13.
Above when he said (ἀνώτερον λέγων)
Lit. saying above. Introducing a partial repetition of the quotation.
He taketh away the first that he may establish the second
Removes that which God does not will, the animal sacrifice, that he may establish that which God does will, the offering of an obedient will.
By the which will (ἐν ᾧ θελήματι)
The will of God as fulfilled in Christ.
We are sanctified (ἡγιασμένοι)
Lit. we are having been sanctified; that is, in a sanctified state, as having become partakers of the spirit of Christ. This is the work of the eternal spirit, whose will is the very will of God. It draws men into its own sphere, and makes them partakers of its holiness (Heb 12:10).
Once for all (ἐφάπαξ)
Const. with are sanctified. The sanctification of the Levitical offerings was only temporary, and had to be repeated. Christ's one offering "perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Heb 10:14). This thought is elaborated in Heb 10:11-14.
Every priest (πᾶς)
Suggesting many priests. Comp. Heb 7:23.
Servile attitude, contrasted with that of the exalted Savior, Heb 1:3.
Daily - often - the same
The wearisome round of daily offerings, always the same, contrasted with the one offering, once for all.
Take away (περιελεῖν)
Only here in connection with sin. See on Co2 3:16. The verb literally means to strip off all round. See Gen 41:42 (of a ring): Gen 38:14; Deu 21:13 (of clothes). Comp. εὐπερίστατος, Heb 12:1, see note, and περίκειται ἀσθένειαν is compassed about with weakness, Heb 5:2. See also clothed with shame, and with cursing, Psa 35:26; Psa 109:18.
Forever (εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς)
Const. with offered. The reason appears in Heb 10:14. It is according to the usage of the epistle to place this phrase after that which it qualifies. Thus one sacrifice forever is contrasted with the same sacrifices often. This agrees also with what follows. He offered one sacrifice forever, and then sat down, awaiting its eternal result.
He hath perfected forever (τετελείωκεν εἰς τὸ διηνεκές)
Note the continued emphasis upon the τελείωσιςperfection. Comp. Heb 7:11, Heb 7:19; Heb 9:9; Heb 10:1; Heb 12:2. No more sacrifices are needed. The reign of the Great High Priest is not to be interrupted by the duty of sacrifice.
Repetition of the passage already cited from Jeremiah in Heb 8:10-12. The nerve of the citation is Heb 10:17.
There is no more offering for sin. Forgiveness of sin is the characteristic of the new covenant. In Jeremiah complete pardon of sins is promised. If the pardon is complete, there is left no place for the Levitical sacrifices under the new covenant. At this point the doctrinal portion of the epistle ends.
To enter into the holiest (εἰς τὴν εἴσοδον τῶν ἁγίων)
Lit. for the entering of the holiest. The phrase παρρησία εἰς boldness unto, N.T.o. Παρρησία with περὶ concerning, Joh 16:25; with πρὸςwith reference to, Co2 7:4; Jo1 3:21; Jo1 5:14. Ἔισοδος in N.T. habitually of the act of entering.
By the blood (ἐν τῷ αἵματι)
Lit. "in the blood": in the power or virtue of.
By a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us (ἣν ἐνεκαίνισεν ἡμῖν ὁδὸν πρόσφατον καὶ ζῶσαν)
The A.V. is wrong. Ἣν which is to be construed with εἴσοδον entrance. Thus: "having boldness for the entrance which he has inaugurated (or opened) for us - a way new and living." For ἐνεκαίνισεν see on Heb 9:18. The way must be opened, for every other way is closed. Ἐνκαινίζειν in lxx of the inauguration of a house, kingdom, temple, altar. See Deu 20:5; Sa1 11:14; Kg1 8:63; Ch2 15:8. Πρόσφατον new, N.T.o. In lxx, see Num 6:3; Deu 32:17; Psa 80:9; Ecc 1:9. The derivation appears to be πρὸς near to, and φατός slain (from πέμφαμαι, the perfect of φένειν to kill). According to this the original sense would be newly-slain; and the word was used of one so recently dead as to retain the appearance of life: also, generally, of things which have not lost their character or appearance by the lapse of time; of fishes, fruits, oil, etc., which are fresh; of anger which has not had time to cool. Later the meaning was weakened into new. Note that the contrast is not between a new and an old way, but between a new way and no way. So long as the old division of the tabernacle existed, the way into the holiest was not opened, Heb 9:8. Ζῶσαν living. A living way seems a strange expression, but comp. Peter's living stones, Pe1 2:5. Christ styles himself both way and life. The bold figure answers to the fact. The new way is through a life to life.
Through the veil (διὰ τοῦ καταπετάσματος)
The veil of the holy of holies is rent. Christ's work does not stop short of the believer's complete access to God himself.
That is to say his flesh (τοῦτ' ἔστιν τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ)
Const. with veil: the veil which consisted in his flesh. His flesh was the state through which he had to pass before he entered heaven for us. See Heb 2:9-18; Heb 5:7-9; Heb 10:5. When he put off that state, the veil of the temple was rent. He passed through humanity to glory as the forerunner of his people, Heb 6:20.
A high priest (ἱερέα μέγαν)
Lit. a great priest. Comp. Lev 21:10, lxx. Not merely = ἀρχιερεὺς high priest, but emphasizing Christ's superior greatness as high priest.
House of God (οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ)
In the Gospels always of the temple. Not found in Paul. Once in the Pastorals, of the church, Ti1 3:15, and so Pe1 4:17. Here the whole Christian family. Comp. Co1 3:16, Co1 3:17; Co2 6:16; Eph 2:22.
Let us draw near (προσερχώμεθα)
See on Heb 4:16.
With a true heart (μετὰ ἀληθινῆς καρδίας)
A right and genuine inward attitude toward God. For the phrase comp. lxx, Isa 38:3. N.T.o. For ἀληθινῆς see on Joh 1:9, and comp. Heb 8:2; Heb 9:24. A true heart is required to enter the true sanctuary. The phrase means more than in sincerity. Sincerity is included, but with it all that enters into a right attitude toward God as revealed in our Great High Priest, - gladness, freedom, enthusiasm, bold appropriation of all the privileges of sonship.
In full assurance of faith (ἐν πληροφορίᾳ πίστεως)
Full conviction engendered by faith. See on Heb 6:11. Faith is the basis of all right relation to God.
Sprinkled from an evil conscience (ῥεραντισμένοι - ἀπὸ συνειδήσεως πονηρᾶς)
This qualification for a right approach to God is stated typologically. As the priests were sprinkled with the sacrificial blood and washed with water before ministering, so do you who have now the privilege and standing of priests in approaching God, draw near, priestlike, as sharers in an economy which purges the conscience (Heb 9:14), having your consciences purged. Your own hearts must experience the effects of the great sacrifice of Christ, - pardon, moral renewal, deliverance from a legal spirit. On the priesthood of believers see Pe1 2:5, Pe1 2:9; Exo 19:6; Isa 61:6. This idea is dominated in our epistle by that of Christ's priesthood; but it is not excluded, and is implied throughout. See Heb 13:15. For sprinkled, see on Pe1 1:2.
Bodies washed (λελουσμένοι τὸ σῶμα)
Also typological. Most, expositors refer to baptism. The most significant passage in that direction is Pe1 3:21; comp. Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5. It may be, though I doubt if the idea is emphasized. I incline, with Dr. Bruce, to think that it indicates generally the thoroughness of the cleansing process undergone by one who surrenders himself, soul, body, and spirit, to God.
Profession of our faith (τὴν ὁμολογίαν τῆς ἐλπίδος)
Rend. "confession of our hope." Faith does not appear among Ms. readings. It is an innovation of the translators. Hope is the rendering of Tyndale, Coverdale, the Great Bible, the Geneva, the Bishops', and Rheims. On confession see on Co2 9:13, and comp. notes on Ti1 6:12, Ti1 6:13. The phrase confession of hope N.T.o. They are steadfastly to confess their hope in God's promise and salvation. Comp. Heb 3:6; Heb 6:11, Heb 6:18; Heb 7:19. Hope is here = the object of hope.
Without wavering (ἀκλινῆ)
Let us consider one another (κατανοῶμεν ἀλλήλους)
Take careful note of each other's spiritual welfare. For the verb see on Jam 1:23. It denotes attentive, continuous care. Comp. Heb 3:1.
To provoke (εἰς παροξυσμὸν)
Lit. with a view to incitement. Only here and Act 15:39. From παροξύνειν to sharpen. Hence to stimulate. In Act 15:39, the result of provocation; irritation or contention. Here the act of incitement. Twice in lxx, Deuteronomy 29:28 (Deu 29:27); Jeremiah 39:3, 7 (Jer 32:3, Jer 32:7); for the Hebrew קֶצֶף anger, wrath, altercation. The Hebrew derivation is from קָצַֽף a splinter. The new economy demands mutual care on the part of the members of the Christian community. Comp. Co1 12:25. They must stir up each other's religious affections and ministries.
The assembling of ourselves together (ἐπισυναφωγὴν ἑαυτῶν)
Επισυναγωγή only here and Th2 2:1, see note. The act of assembling, although some explain assembly. The antithesis is, "not forsaking assembling, but exhorting in assembly." Lnemann aptly says that the idea of apostasy which would be conveyed by the rendering assembly or congregation is excluded by ἔθος habit or custom, which implies an often recurring act on the part of the same persons.
As the manner of some is (καθὼς ἔθος τισίν)
For manner rend. custom. Lit. as is custom unto some. Ἔθος mostly in Luke and Acts. Comp. Luk 1:9; Joh 19:40.
Ye see the day approaching (βλέπετε ἐγγίζουσαν τὴν ἡμέραν)
The day of Christ's second coming, bringing with it the judgment of Israel. He could say "ye see," because they were familiar with Christ's prophecy concerning the destruction of the temple; and they would see this crisis approaching in the disturbances which heralded the Jewish war.
We sin willfully (ἑκουσίως ἁμαρτανόντων ἡμῶν)
Ἑκουσίως willfully, only here and Pe1 5:2. Comp. Plm 1:14, κατ' ἑκούσιον of free will. See lxx, Num 15:3. The willful sin is the abandonment of Christianity for Judaism.
The knowledge (ἐπίγνωσιν)
Only here in Hebrews. Very common in Paul. For the word, and the phrase knowledge of the truth, see on Ti1 2:4. The truth is the revelation through Christ.
There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins (οὐκέτι περὶ ἁμαρτιῶν ἀπολείπεται θυσία)
Of course not. For the Levitical sacrifices are abolished. It is Christ's sacrifice or none.
But a certain fearful looking for (φοβερὰ δέ τις ἐκδοχὴ)
Rend. "a kind of fearful expectation." Ἐκδοχὴ N.T.o, olxx.
Fiery indignation (πυρὸς ζῆλος)
For ζῆλος see on Jam 3:14. The radical idea of the word is ferment of spirit (ζεῖν to boil; see Act 18:25; Rom 12:11). This idea takes on different aspects in ζῆλος, as indignation, Act 5:17; zeal, Joh 2:17; Rom 10:2; Co2 7:7; Co2 11:2; Phi 3:6; envy, Rom 13:13; Co1 3:3; Gal 5:20. In the last sense often with ἔπις strife. The phrase fiery indignation, lit. indignation of fire (N.T.o) is an adaptation from Isa 26:11.
The adversaries (τοὺς ὑπεναντίους)
Only here and Col 2:14. Often in lxx.
He that despised (ἀφετήσας τις)
Lit. one that despised; any transgressor. The verb only here in Hebrews. The kindred noun ἀθέτησις only in Hebrews. See Heb 7:18; Heb 9:26.
Lit. dieth. According to the ordinance as it now stands in the law.
Without mercy (χωρὶς οἰκτιρμῶν)
The phrase N.T.o. For the noun see on Co2 1:3.
Under two or three witnesses (ἐπὶ δυσὶν ἢ τρισὶν μάρτυσιν)
As in lxx, Deu 17:6. Ἐπὶ with dative signifying on condition of two or three witnesses testifying. Comp. Ti1 5:17, where the same phrase occurs with the genitive, before, in the presence of. Comp. also Deu 19:15.
Of how much (πόσῳ)
Not qualifying χείρονος sorer, but the whole clause: "by how much think ye shall he be thought worthy of sorer punishment."
N.T.o. Occasionally in lxx, frequent in Class. Originally assistance; assistance to one who has been wronged; punishment. With no sense of chastisement. It is purely retributive.
Trodden under foot (καταπατήσας)
Only here in Hebrews. oP. Frequent in lxx for spoiling, defeating, treating contemptuously. The strong term is purposely selected in order to convey the sense of the fearful outrage involved in forsaking Christ and returning to Judaism.
Hath counted an unholy thing (κοινὸν ἡγησάμενος)
Ἡγεῖσθαι to count or deem means a conscious judgment resting on a deliberate weighing of the facts. See Rom 12:10; Phi 2:3. Here it implies a deliberate, contemptuous rejection of the gifts of the new covenant. The fundamental idea of κοινὸς is shared by all, public. Thus Act 2:44; Act 4:32; Tit 1:4; Jde 1:3. Out of this grows the idea of not sacred; not set apart for particular uses by purification, and so (ceremonially) unclean or defiled, as Mar 7:2, Mar 7:5; Act 10:14, Act 10:28; Act 11:8. In these cases it is not implied that the thing is defiled or filthy in itself, but only unclean through the absence of that which would set it apart. Comp. Rom 14:14. Here the word admits of two explanations: (1) that Christ's blood was counted common, having no more sacred character or specific worth than the blood of any ordinary person; (2) that in refusing to regard Christ's blood as that of an atoner and redeemer, it was implied that his blood was unclean as being that of a transgressor. The former seems preferable. There was no specific virtue in Christ's blood as blood; but a peculiar and unique virtue attached to it as the offering of his eternal spirit (Heb 9:14), as the blood shed in ratification of a sacred covenant established by God, and as having sanctifying virtue. This view is further justified by the combination of blood and spirit, as sources of sanctification allied in the writer's mind.
Hath done despite unto the spirit of grace (καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς χάριτος ἐνυβρίσας)
Ἐνυβρίζειν to insult, N.T.o. The simple verb ὑβρίζειν in Matthew, Luke, Acts, and Pastorals. It will be observed that the work of the Holy Spirit does not receive in this epistle the emphasis which marks it in some other portions of the N.T.
We know him that hath said (οἴδαμεν γὰρ τὸν εἰπόντα)
The retribution (τιμωρία) is certain, because assured by the word of God in Scripture.
An unfortunate translation, since it conveys the idea of vindictiveness which does not reside in the Greek word. It is the full meting out of justice to all parties. The quotation is an adaptation of the lxx of Deu 32:35. The second citation is literally from lxx of Deu 32:36.
To fall, etc.
Comp. lxx, Sa2 24:14; Sir. 2:18.
Of the living God
The living God, revealed in the living Christ, will not suffer his sacrificial gift and his covenant to be slighted and insulted with impunity. See on Heb 3:12.
After ye were illuminated (φωτισθέντες)
See on Heb 6:4.
A great fight (πολλὴν ἄθλησιν)
Ἄθλησις N.T.o, olxx. See on ἀλθῆ strive, Ti2 2:5. See Introduction, on the allusions in the epistle to persecution.
Whilst ye were made a gazing-stock (θεατριζόμενοι)
N.T.o. olxx, oClass. Lit. exhibited in the theater. Comp. Co1 4:9.
Whilst ye became companions (κοινωνοὶ γενηθέντες)
Rend. by becoming partakers. More than companionship is implied. For κοινωνοὶ see on Luk 5:10. The noun and its kindred verb in N.T. almost exclusively of ethical and spiritual relations, as Ti1 5:22; Pe1 4:13; Jo2 1:11; Co1 10:18; Co2 1:7; Plm 1:17. Even when applied to pecuniary contributions they imply Christian fellowship as the basis of the liberality. See on Rom 12:13; see on Rom 15:27; see on Phi 4:15.
Of them that were so used (τῶν οὕτως ἀναστρφομένων)
Rend. "of them that fared thus." Others render "who conducted themselves thus"; endured their persecutions, so bravely. But the οὕτως can refer only to made a gazing-stock.
For ye had compassion of me in my bonds (καὶ γὰρ τοῖς δεσμίοις συνεπαθήσατε)
Entirely wrong, following T.R. τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου. Rend. "ye had compassion on the prisoners." So Vulg. vinctis compassi estis. The corrupt reading has furnished one of the stock arguments for the Pauline authorship of the Epistle.
Took joyfully (μετὰ χαρᾶς προσεδέξασθε)
The verb primarily to receive to one's self, accept, as here. Comp. Luk 15:2; Phi 2:29. Mostly, in N.T. however, to wait for, expect, as Mar 15:43; Luk 2:25, Luk 2:38; Act 23:21.
Only here Mat 23:25; Luk 11:39. Allied with ἁρπάζειν to snatch away.
Of your goods (τῶν ὑπαρχόντων ὑμῶν)
The verb ὑπάρχεινmeans originally to begin, or begin to be; hence of anything that has begun to be, to come forth, be there; then simply to be. Accordingly the phrase ὑπάρχει μοὶ τι means there is something to me, I have something. See Act 3:6; Act 4:37; Act 28:7. Hence τὰ ὑπάρχοντα things which are to one; possessions, goods. See Mat 19:21; Mat 24:27; Luk 8:3; Act 4:32.
Knowing in yourselves that ye have, etc. (γινώσκοντες ἔχειν ἑαυτοὺς)
Rend. "knowing that ye yourselves have a better," etc. The A.V. follows T.R. ἐν ἑαυτοῖς. Ye yourselves in contrast with your spoilers.
Only here and Act 2:45. Occasionally in lxx. Rend. possession.
Confidence (τὴν παρρησίαν)
Rend. boldness. The boldness and courage which you manifested under persecution.
Ye might receive the promise (κομίσησθε τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν)
Comp. Heb 11:13, Heb 11:39, and see on Pe1 1:8. The verb implies, not mere obtaining, but receiving and carrying away for use and enjoyment.
A little while (μικρὸν ὅσον ὅσον)
Strictly, a very little while. The phrase N.T.o. It is not part of the quotation, but is taken from Isa 26:20, the only instance. See Aristoph. Wasps, 213.
He that shall come will come (ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἥξει)
Rend. "he that cometh will come." In the Hebrew (Hab 2:3) the subject of the sentence is the vision of the extermination of the Chaldees. "The vision - will surely come." As rendered in the lxx, either Jehovah or Messiah must be the subject. The passage was referred to Messiah by the later Jewish theologians, and is so taken by our writer, as is shown by the article before ἐρχόμενος. Comp. Mat 11:3; Mat 21:9; Joh 11:27. Similarly he refers ἥξει shall come to the final coming of Messiah to judge the world.
Now the just shall live by faith (ὁ δὲ δίκαιός (μου) ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται)
Cited by Paul, Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11. In the original prophecy the just man is contrasted with the haughty Chaldaean invaders, who are puffed up and not upright. Through his steadfast obedience to God he shall be kept alive in the time of confusion and destruction.
But if any man draw back (καὶ ἐὰν ὑποοτείληται)
Omit if any man. Rend. "and if he draw back," that is, the just man. The possibility of the lapse of even the just is assumed. See on Heb 6:4-6. The verb only here, Act 20:20, Act 20:27; Gal 2:12. See on Act 20:20. Rare in lxx.
Shall have no pleasure (οὐκ εὐδοκεῖ)
Rend. "hath no pleasure." "If he draw back - in him," not in the Hebrew, which reads, "behold, puffed up within him is his soul, it is not upright." The clauses of the lxx are transposed here.
But we are not of them who draw back (ἡμεῖς δὲ οὐκ ἐσμὲν ὑποστολῆς)
Lit. we are not of shrinking back. Ὑποστολὴ N.T.o, olxx, oClass. Ἒιναι with genitive marks the quality or peculiarity of a person or thing. Comp. Heb 12:11 χαρᾶς εἶναι to be of joy, joyful. We do not partake of drawing back, which is characteristic of recreants.
Unto perdition (εἰς ἀπώλειαν)
Or destruction. Drawing back makes for and terminates in (εἰς) destruction.
Of them that believe (πίστεως)
Rend. of faith. The phrase εἶναι πίστεως to be of faith, N.T.o.
See on Th1 5:9.