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1: For every high priest being taken from among men - Is,
till he is taken, of the same rank with them. And is appointed
- That is, is wont to be appointed. In things pertaining to God
- To bring God near to men, and men to God. That he may offer both
gifts - Out of things inanimate, and animal sacrifices.
2: Who can have compassion - In proportion to the offence:
so the Greek word signifies. On the ignorant - Them that are in
error. And the wandering - Them that are in sin. Seeing
himself also is compassed with infirmity - Even with sinful
infirmity; and so needs the compassion which he shows to others.
4: The apostle begins here to treat of the priesthood of
Christ. The sum of what he observes concerning it is,
Whatever is excellent in the Levitical priesthood is in Christ,
and in a more eminent manner; and whatever is wanting in
those priests is in him. And no one taketh this honour - The
priesthood. To himself, but he that is called of God, as was
Aaron - And his posterity, who were all of them called at one
and the same time. But it is observable, Aaron did not
preach at all; preaching being no part of the priestly office.
5: So also Christ glorified not himself to be an high
priest - That is, did not take this honour to himself, but
received it from him who said, Thou art my Son, this day have
I begotten thee - Not, indeed, at the same time; for his
generation was from eternity.(Ps 2:7).
6: (Ps 110:4).
7: The sum of the things treated of in the seventh and
following chapters is contained, (Heb 5:7-10); and in this sum
is admirably comprised the process of his passion, with its
inmost causes, in the very terms used by the evangelists.
Who in the days of his flesh - Those two days, in particular,
wherein his sufferings were at the height. Having offered up
prayers and supplications - Thrice. With strong crying and
tears - In the garden. To him that was able to save him from
death - Which yet he endured, in obedience to the will of his
Father. And being heard in that which he particularly feared
- When the cup was offered him first, there was set before him that
horrible image of a painful, shameful, accursed death, which moved
him to pray conditionally against it: for, if he had desired it,
his heavenly Father would have sent him more than twelve legions of
angels to have delivered him. But what he most exceedingly feared
was the weight of infinite justice; the being "bruised" and "put to
grief" by the hand of God himself. Compared with this, everything
else was a mere nothing; and yet, so greatly did he ever thirst to
be obedient to the righteous will of his Father, and to "lay down"
even "his life for the sheep," that he vehemently longed to be
baptized with this baptism, (Lu 12:50). Indeed, his human nature
needed the support of Omnipotence; and for this he sent up strong
crying and tears: but, throughout his whole life, he showed that
it was not the sufferings he was to undergo, but the dishonour that
sin had done to so holy a God, that grieved his spotless soul. The
consideration of its being the will of God tempered his fear, and
afterwards swallowed it up; and he was heard not so that the cup
should pass away, but so that he drank it without any fear.
8: Though he were a Son - This is interposed. lest any
should be offended at all these instances of human weakness.
In the garden, how frequently did he call God his Father!(Mt 26:39), &c. And hence it most evidently appears that his
being the Son of God did not arise merely from his resurrection.
Yet learned he - The word learned, premised to the word
suffered, elegantly shows how willingly he learned. He
learned obedience, when be began to suffer; when he applied
himself to drink that cup: obedience in suffering and dying.
9: And being perfected - By sufferings,(Heb 2:10); brought through all to glory.
He became the author - The procuring and efficient cause.
Of eternal salvation to all that obey him - By doing and
suffering his whole will.
10: Called - The Greek word here properly signifies
surnamed. His name is, "the Son of God." The Holy Ghost
seems to have concealed who Melchisedec was, on purpose
that he might be the more eminent type of Christ. This only
we know, - that he was a priest, and king of Salem, or Jerusalem.
11: Concerning whom - The apostle here begins an
important digression, wherein he reproves, admonishes, and
exhorts the Hebrews. We - Preachers of the gospel. Have
many things to say, and hard to be explained - Though not so
much from the subject - matter, as from your slothfulness in
considering, and dulness in apprehending, the things of God.
12: Ye have need that one teach you again which are
the first principles of religion. Accordingly these are
enumerated in the first verse of the ensuing chapter.
And have need of milk - The first and plainest doctrines.
13: Every one that useth milk - That neither desires, nor
can digest, anything else: otherwise strong men use milk; but
not milk chiefly, and much less that only. Is unexperienced
in the word of righteousness - The sublimer truths of the gospel.
Such are all who desire and can digest nothing but the doctrine
of justification and imputed righteousness.
14: But strong meat - These sublimer truths relating to
"perfection," (Heb 6:1).
Belong to them of full age, who by habit - Habit here signifies
strength of spiritual understanding, arising from maturity of
spiritual age. By, or in consequence of, this habit they
exercise themselves in these things with ease, readiness,
cheerfulness, and profit.