Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 1 April 2023
Scripture Text: The Scripture text used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. All other Scripture quotations are from the NASB Updated Edition (1995, NASU), unless otherwise indicated. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Quotations marked with the initials "BR" indicate the translation of the commentary author.
Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Important early Jewish sources include the following:
● DSS: the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Jewish manuscripts of Scripture and sectarian documents found in the Qumran caves. Most of the Qumran MSS belong to the last three centuries B.C. and the first century A.D. Online DSS Bible.
● LXX: The abbreviation "LXX" ("70") stands for the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, in use among Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C. Online.
● Josephus: The Works of Flavius Josephus (c. 75–99 A.D.), Jewish historian, trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
● Philo: Works by Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, the Jewish philosopher (20 B.C.─A.D. 50), consisting of 45 monographs. Online.
● MT: The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism. Work on developing a uniform Hebrew Bible began under Rabbi Akiva (2nd c. A.D.), but completed by scholars known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D. The oldest extant manuscripts date from the 9th century. Online.
● SP: The Samaritan Pentateuch is a text of the Torah written in the Samaritan script and used as sacred scripture by the Samaritans. The SP was probably developed in the first century B.C. Extant manuscripts date from the 12th century A.D. There are about 6,000 differences between the MT and SP. Online.
Syntax: Unless otherwise noted the meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009), and the meaning of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB." See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations. The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.
Special Terms: In order to emphasize the Hebrew and Jewish nature of the entire Bible I use the terms Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), ADONAI (for the sacred name YHVH), Torah (Pentateuch, Law), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament).
Please see the Introduction for background information on the letter. This commentary assumes that Paul the apostle wrote the letter in the Hebrew language and Luke translated it into Jewish Greek.
In the final chapter of Hebrews Paul gives twelve commands in a variety of practical exhortations that address charitable works, moral standards, doctrinal purity, congregational health and relationships, relations with non-believing Jews, and future hope. The letter concludes with a prayer request, a benediction and a final appeal.
Call of Love, 13:1-6
Call of Remembrance, 13:7-9
Call of Sacrifice, 13:10-16
Call of Submission, 13:17-18
Call for Divine Empowerment, 13:20-21
Closing Appeal and Benediction, 13:20-25
Call of Love, 13:1-6
1 Let brotherly love continue.
Paul begins the chapter with an exposition on practical application of the second great commandment. Let brotherly love: Grk. ho philadelphia (from a combination of philos, "in a close relationship with another," and adelphos, "of the same womb," "brother"); treating the members of one's group with the kind of affection felt for a brother or sister. As used by Paul (Rom 12:10; 1Th 4:9) and Peter (1Pet 1:22; 2Pet 1:7), the noun denotes affection for fellow-believers, which in turn motivates beneficial actions toward members of the Messianic community.
continue: Grk. menō, pres. imp., to be in a situation for a length of time; abide, continue, remain. The first command of the chapter is to maintain a level of mutual care and consideration that will be a hedge against contention and division. The present tense emphasizes continuing the virtue unchanged and undiminished. Bruce notes that the exhortations that follow in this chapter are forms of brotherly love.
2 Do not be neglectful of hospitality, for through this some have entertained angels unawares.
Reference: Genesis 18:1-8; 19:1-3.
Do not: Grk. mē, adv., a particle of qualified negation that rules out any implications that could be involved with what should (could, would) apply (HELPS). It differs from the negative particle, oú, in that oú is objective, dealing only with facts, while mē is subjective, involving will and thought (DM 265). be neglectful: Grk. epilanthanomai, pres. imp., may mean (1) lack remembrance of something, forget; or (2) disregard intentionally; ignore, neglect, overlook. The second meaning applies here. The second command of the chapter does not imply frequency of action, but recognizes the necessity of action when the circumstances warrant or when there is opportunity.
of hospitality: Grk. philoxenia (from philos, "friend" and xenos, "stranger, guest"), regard for one who comes from outside one's group or on a visit, in keeping with a cultural tradition that the stranger or visitor is to be recognized as a guest and entitled to a friendly and generous reception and treatment. The term signifies the readiness to share hospitality by entertaining in one's home (HELPS). The term xenos occurs in the LXX for a non-Israelite (Ruth 2:10; Eccl 6:2; Isa 18:2; Lam 5:2), guests at a feast (1Sam 9:13), a traveler (2Sam 12:4; Job 31:32), and an unwelcome relative (Ps 69:8).
Some versions insert "to strangers" to clarify the meaning. Among Jews hospitality was considered a personal religious duty as Yeshua noted (Luke 11:5-8). Hospitality was not just sharing a meal and fellowship, but included the provision of lodging since there were no motels in ancient times (Matt 10:11; Luke 19:5; Acts 10:32; 16:15; 21:8). Jewish hospitality in Jerusalem during the time of the major festivals required that if a person had a room available he would give it to any pilgrim who asked to use it without charge, in order that he might have a place to celebrate the feast. The practice was based on the principle that the residents did not really own the city, but it belonged to all the tribes (Yom. 12a; Meg. 26a).
Paul affirms the importance of hospitality in other letters (Rom 12:13; 1Tim 5:10) and extends the practice as an expectation of congregational leaders (1Tim 3:2; Titus 1:8). The practice was especially relevant in apostolic times since congregations met in private homes (Acts 2:46; 5:42; 12:12; 17:4-5; 18:7; 20:20; 21:8; Rom 16:5; 1Cor 16:19; Col 4:15; Phm 1:2). The strangers or visitors could be unbelievers (1Cor 14:23). In fact, hospitality could be viewed as a form of friendship evangelism.
for: Grk. gar, conj., a contraction of ge ("yet") and ara ("then"), and in a broad sense means "certainly it follows that;" for, indeed. through: Grk. dia, prep. used as a prefix to a statement, which may express (1) instrumentality; through, by means of; or (2) causality; on account of, because of. The first usage applies here. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes or follows it; this. The pronoun refers to the mention of "hospitality." some: Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun used to indicate non-specification; a certain one, someone, anyone, anything. The pronoun is often used to distinguish someone in a class or in contrast to others. Use of the pronoun signifies a rare occurrence.
have entertained: Grk. xenizō, pl. aor. part., to receive as a guest, to entertain hospitably. angels: pl. of Grk. aggelos ("ang'-el-os"), one sent, a messenger, whether human or heavenly (BAG). The term is used here to mean a heavenly messenger. Israelites and Jews in Bible times, except for the Sadducees, held a belief in the reality of angels (Acts 23:8). Stern comments that whoever can accept the Bible as God's revealed Word should have no difficulty acknowledging the reality of angels. For a review of the biblical truth regarding angels see my article The Host of Heaven.
unawares: Grk. lanthanō, aor., 3p-pl., to be hidden or concealed; escape notice. Here the verb signifies secretly, unawares, or without knowing (Thayer). Paul alludes to the experience of Abraham who provided hospitality and a meal to three strangers (Gen 18:2-8) that appeared to him as men. The visitors were later revealed to be two angels and ADONAI Himself (Gen 18:1, 22; 19:1), most likely a pre-incarnate visitation of Yeshua. Guthrie notes that Abraham received rich blessing through his hospitable act.
Abraham's nephew Lot also gave hospitality to the two angels without realizing their identity (Gen 19:2-3). The allusion might also include the narrative of the two disciples who entertained the resurrected Yeshua unawares (Luke 24:13-31). Paul does not mean to imply that providing hospitality to an unfamiliar person might in reality be entertaining an angel. Rather as in the case of Abraham the Lord is always an unseen guest and hospitality is an opportunity is share the grace of God with others. Use of the biblical example also implies that hospitality to strangers should not be stingy. Guests are as worthy as angels for a generous reception.
3 Remember the prisoners, as having been bound with them, and those being mistreated, as also yourselves being in the body.
Remember: Grk. mimnēskomai, pres. mid. imp., 2p-pl., to call something to mind that one has noted or thought about in the past; recollect, remember. In the LXX mimnēskomai translates Heb. zakar (SH-2142), remember, recall, call to mind (BDB 269). The third command of the chapter is to actively take thought for charitable action. the prisoners: pl. of Grk. desmios, one who is bound, thus "bound, in bonds, captive or prisoner." The apostles had experienced incarceration as punishment for proclaiming the Messiah (Acts 4:3; 5:17; 12:4; 16:23; 21:33; 28:20; Eph 3:1; 4:1; 6:20). Yeshua identified doing good for prisoners as characteristic of the sheep (Matt 25:35-40).
In this context remembering the prisoners would include remembering them before God, praying for justice and deliverance, as well as encouragement and grace for perseverance. Most important is that remembering motivates practical assistance. In the first century prisons did not provide anything for the comfort and wellbeing of the prisoner. Providing necessities such as clothing and food had to come from family members or friends.
as: Grk. hōs, adv., used here to introduce a pattern or model; as, just as, just like, similar to. having been bound with them: Grk. sundeō, pl. perf. pass. part., to bind together, as of prisoners in chains. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. The scenario implies being imprisoned for persecution of the Messianic movement (cf. Acts 12:3). Identifying with the prisoners would serve the goal of remembrance. Moreover, having such sympathy should motivate providing for the needs of prisoners as disciples cared for Paul when he was imprisoned (cf. Acts 24:23; Php 4:14, 18).
and those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. being mistreated: Grk. kakoucheō, pl. pres. pass. part., to ill-treat, treat evilly, hurt, torment. The verb encompasses a wide range of adverse treatment. In the LXX kakoucheō translates Heb. anah (SH-6031), to be bowed down, afflicted (1Kgs 2:26; 11:39). Paul used the verb previously (Heb 11:37) to describe the experience of faithful Israelites of the past, especially during the Seleucid (2Macc 8:2) and Roman empires.
as: Grk. hōs, adv. also: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive or emphatic – certainly, indeed, in fact, likewise, really, verily (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect.
yourselves: pl. of Grk. autos, an intensive personal pronoun, often used to distinguish a person or thing in contrast to another, or to give him (it) prominence. The pronoun may mean (1) self, (2) he, she, it, or (3) the same. The first meaning applies here. being: Grk. eimi, pl. pres. part., to be or to exist, whether in the past, present or future ("is, was or will be"). in: Grk. en, prep. generally used to mark position, lit. "in" or "within." the body: Grk. sōma, a structured physical unit in contrast to its parts, body of human or animal, whether living or dead, here of a human body. There is no Hebrew equivalent in the Tanakh corresponding to the Greek idea of sōma (DNTT 1:233).
In the LXX sōma is used to translate several Hebrew terms, but the primary use of sōma is of the whole person in the physical sense without reference to personality (e.g., Gen 34:29; 36:5; Lev 14:9; 15:2, 3, 16, 19; 16:4; 19:28 and often). The noun "body" is used in a figurative sense, perhaps hinting at Yeshua's suffering in his body (Rom 7:4; 1Cor 10:16), but also denoting the congregation as the Body of Messiah (1Cor 12:16, 26; Eph 4:12). Disciples who are free of mistreatment must not ignore the plight of believers who endure suffering because of their faith.
4 Let marriage be honored among all, and coitus undefiled, for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
The opening clause of this verse is quite succinct in the Greek, lacking any verbs. However, the use of hortatory commands to begin the three preceding verses and the following verse implies that a similar verb should be supplied for the opening clause here.
Let marriage: Grk. ho gamos can mean marriage, but primarily festivities to celebrate the nuptials of a bride and bridegroom (e.g., Matt 22:2-12; 25:10; Luke 14:8; John 2:1-2). In the LXX gamos occurs only four times and translates Heb. mishteh (SH-4960, a feast, banquet, drink), two of which were marriage celebrations (Gen 29:22; Esth 2:18) (DNTT 2:275). Marriage is the first social relationship created by God and intended to be exclusively heterosexual (Gen 2:24). Marriage is not merely a contract between the spouses, but primarily a covenant between the spouses and God (cf. Prov 2:17; Mal 2:14). For the foundational principles of marriage see my article Marriage By Design.
In the first century Israelite marriage began with a formal proposal, then followed by a betrothal (Heb. erusin). Jewish betrothal is not like the Gentile concept of engagement, which is only a promise of marriage. The betrothal stage was also called kiddushin, "sanctification," and meant that from that point the woman belonged to the man. The word kiddushin comes from the same root word as kadosh ("holy"). Just as kodesh (holy things) are forbidden to all but those for whom they are designated, so too does this woman become forbidden to all men but to the one whom she has now been designated. Betrothal made the woman a legal wife (Matt 1:18; Luke 1:27; 2:5).
During the betrothal period there could be the exchange of gifts and the preparation and presentation of a marriage contract (Heb. Ketubah). Marriage was finalized with sexual consummation (Heb. nisuin). A marriage celebration typically lasted a week, a very old custom (Gen 29:21-27; Jdg 14:12; Kethuboth 4a; Mo'ed Katan 7b), although Tobit records a marriage celebration lasting 14 days (Tobit 8:19-20). Marriage customs varied greatly since the process was controlled by the parents - not priests, rabbis or government. For an explanation of Israelite marriage customs see my web article Marriage in Ancient Israel.
be honored: Grk. timios, adj. (from timē, "honor"), highly valued or esteemed in the eye of the beholder; especially dear, honored, precious, valued. Hegg suggests the adjective means "God-honored." God intended from the beginning that men and women be married (Mark 10:6-8). The fact that both gamos and timios are masculine hints that the exhortation is directed at men and could mean "let what was done in your erusin-nisuin be treated as precious." The appeal echoes the commands to men to "love your wives" (Eph 5:25, 28; Col 3:19). In the Torah God directed that men provide for the needs of their wives (Ex 21:10) and give happiness to their wives (Deut 24:5). A loving husband will honor his wife as a joint heir of the Kingdom (1Pet 3:7).
among: Grk. en, prep. all: Grk. pas, adj., comprehensive in scope, but without statistical emphasis; all, every, the whole. The adjective does not admit to any exceptions and could hint at criticism of the Essenes who on principle did not marry (Philo, Apologia, 11:14; Josephus, Wars, II, 8:2, 13). Hegg observes that to deny the honorable status of marriage is to strike at God’s own work and purpose for mankind. Many Christians have erroneously assumed that Paul advocated remaining unmarried as a way of life (1Cor 7:7-8, 26). Paul's later exhortations prove his true attitude. He likened the relationship between a husband and wife to the mystery of the Messiah and His body (Eph 5:32).
Paul never speaks of being single in such exalted terms. Paul's list of qualifications for congregational leaders also assume that they would be married (1Tim 3:2, 12; Titus 3:6; cf. 1Cor 9:5). He never advocated remaining unmarried as superior to marriage. In fact, Paul called the prohibition of marriage a demonic doctrine (1Tim 4:1-3). It is ironic that the Catholic Church should impose such a standard for its priests as well as the monastic orders of monks and nuns. The belief that celibacy enables an individual to achieve a higher level of holiness than marriage is contrary to God's own actions and His divine revelation in the Scriptures.
and: Grk. kai, conj. coitus: Grk. ho koitē, may mean bed, marriage bed, sexual intercourse, or conception. The great majority of versions translate the noun as "the bed" or "the marriage bed" as a matter of discretion. In this context the noun clearly refers to a man being "one flesh" with his wife (Gen 2:24; Ex 21:10). A husband and wife may not deny each other sex without mutual agreement, even for spiritual reasons (1Cor 7:3-5). A husband must find his sexual satisfaction only in the marriage relationship to the exclusion of others (Prov 5:15-19; SS 2:16; Eph 5:29;1Th 4:4). He must demonstrate that his marriage has no competitors for his devotion and loyalty.
undefiled: Grk. amiantos (from alpha, as a negation, and miainō, "to defile"), adj., free from contamination; unstained, unsoiled, undefiled. The adjective does not occur in the LXX, but the verb miainō does, first in Genesis (34:5, 13, 23) where it translates Heb. tame (SH-2930), to become unclean or defile. In that verse the defilement results from the rape of Dinah, Jacob's daughter. The verbs describing defilement also apply to other aberrant sexual acts prohibited in Leviticus 18, 19, and 20. Directly related to the defilement of marital intimacy is the prohibition of sex during menstruation (Lev 18:19; 20:21).
Thus, the adjective alludes to polluting normal marital relations while engaging in immorality or violating the Torah sexual code. In modern times the pollution of pornography could be added as a serious threat to the sanctity of marital intimacy. Conversely, use of the adjective does not imply an expectation of restricting marital intimacy. A couple may choose to express their love physically in any manner that gives them pleasure, is mutually agreeable and does not violate the Torah sexual code.
for: Grk. gar, conj. The conjunction introduces divine consequences for failing give marriage the honor it deserves and thus supports the interpretation that an imperative verb be assumed in the first clause of the verse (Hegg). fornicators: pl. of Grk. pornos, a masc. noun meaning a man who prostituted his body for hire to another's lust, a male prostitute. The translation of "whoremonger," one who consorts with prostitutes" (BRG, KJV, RGT, YLT) is exactly correct. Most modern versions have "sexually immoral," but some versions translate the plural noun as "fornicators" (ASV, CJB, DRA, JUB, NASU, NKJV, NRSV).
The English term "fornication" is derived from the Latin verb fornicari, to consort with prostitutes. In modern usage "fornication" is defined as "voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons or two persons not married to each other" (Dictionary.com). In common usage "fornication" may mean sex between singles. However, in the Torah consensual sex between a single man and single woman, not related to each other, was not specifically prohibited, but it did create a marriage obligation (Ex 22:16-17; Deut 22:23-27). The marriage expectation was codified in Jewish law (Kiddushin 1:1).
By extension the term pornos as used in Jewish culture meant a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse (Grk. porneia), i.e., aberrant sexual acts prohibited by God (Sirach 23:16-17; Philo, Allegorical Interpretation II, 8). The aberrant sexual acts include bestiality, homosexuality, incest, prostitution and rape. For those who contend that the Torah was canceled along with its sexual prohibitions, Paul's letters affirm the authority of the Torah with strong condemnation of every form of immorality. (See my comment on 1Cor 5:1).
and: Grk. kai, conj. adulterers: pl. of Grk. moichos, a masc. noun meaning a man who is guilty of sexual relations with a woman married to another man. Adultery is a violation of the seventh commandment (Ex 20:14; Deut 5:18), and regarded as a capital crime punishable by death (Lev 20:10). By definition adultery always involved sexual relations between a married woman and a man not her husband (Prov 6:29-32; Hos 4:13-14) and was considered wrong long before the commandment was given to Israel (Gen 12:15-18; 20:3; 26:10). Contrary to some Christian writers Scripture never includes polygamy in the definition of fornication or adultery.
Relevant to these terms is that prohibitions of specific sexual acts in the Torah, while inclusive of women, are primarily directed to men. In reality men are responsible for immorality in the world. Immorality was a serious problem among first century believers, because the Greek and Roman culture accepted prostitution, pedophilia, same-sex relations and sex with female slaves. Sex was easily accessible at pagan temples and brothels. Paul admonished disciples to avoid any man who professed to be a believer but was immoral (1Cor 5:11-13).
God: Grk. ho theos, properly, God, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator and owner of all things (Gen 1:1; John 1:1-3). In the LXX theos primarily translates Heb. Elohim (SH-430), over 2500 times (DNTT 2:67-70). Elohim (SH-430) is the one only and true God of Israel (BDB 42). In Hebrew thought the plural form of Elohim represents fullness, which excludes the possible existence of any other deity (Isa 44:6; 45:5-6; 46:9). Elohim translated by Theos also represents the full triunity of God (Father + Son + Spirit). God is a Person, not a philosophical construct for monotheism.
will judge: Grk. krinō, fut., may mean (1) make a selection between options; (2) subject to scrutiny and evaluation of behavior; or (3) draw a conclusion and present an opinion or decree. The second and third meanings have application here. In the LXX krinō is used to translate three Hebrew words: din, rib and shaphat, generally in a legal context (DNTT 2:363). Under the Torah sexual crimes were punishable by death of both parties, normally by stoning (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22-24). In the New Covenant being a sexually immoral is still a capital crime that bars a person from inclusion in the kingdom of God (1Cor 6:9; Gal 5:19; Eph 5:5) and subjects the offender to eternal damnation (Rev 21:8; 22:15).
5 Let your conduct be without love of money, being content with things being present, for He himself said, "I will never leave you nor ever forsake you."
Let your conduct: Grk. ho tropos may mean (1) mode or procedure in which something takes place; way, manner; or (2) a person's manner of living; character, conduct, way of life. The second meaning applies here. be without love of money: Grk. aphilarguros (from alpha, "not," phileō, "fond of" and arguros, "silver"), not loving money, not greedy. The adjective occurs elsewhere in the Besekh only in the qualification of an overseer (1Tim 3:3). In the same letter Paul declared that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1Tim 6:10). The love of money is not confined to those who are wealthy, since the character defect by nature neglects the importance of relationships.
Some versions translate the adjective as "without covetousness" (BRG, DRA, JUB, KJV, NKJV, YLT), which is misleading. The sin of covetousness is an inordinate or selfish desire to possess something to which the person is not entitled, something that belongs to another person, such as prohibited in the Tenth Commandment, "You shall not covet … anything that belongs to your neighbor" (Ex 20:11; Deut 5:21). The normal word for covetousness is epithumia (Rom 7:7-8). Rather, Paul echoes the teaching of Yeshua, "Be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."
Paul could imply "Don't be like I was," since Luke had characterized the Pharisees as being "lovers of money" (Grk. philarguros) (Luke 16:14). While the Pharisees outwardly were devoted to serving God (Matt 6:1), Yeshua had rebuked them saying, "You cannot serve God and wealth" (Luke 16:13).
being content: Grk. arkeō, pl. pres. pass. part., may mean (1) to be adequate enough to meet a need; be enough, suffice; or (2) experience satisfaction, be satisfied, content. The second meaning applies here. Contentment results from the confidence of God's sovereign care and provision for our needs (Matt 5:45; 6:25, 33-34; 7:11; Php 4:19; 1Pet 5:7). The present participle depicts action concurrent with the actions commanded in the previous verses and has imperative force (Bruce). This manner of using participles is very uncommon in Koine Greek, which indicates that the apostles wrote in Jewish Greek akin to the LXX.
Scholars have long been puzzled over the frequent use of the participle in hortatory instructions of Paul's letters. Davies says that non-biblical Jewish writings used the participle in exactly the same manner, and thus Paul's use of the participle as imperative probably reflects Jewish sources (130f). Stern concurs in this information (428). With the use of the participle Paul appeals to the conscience rather than just commanding the will.
with things: neut. pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a relative pronoun. being present: Grk. pareimi, neut. pl. pres. part., to be present, to be here or there. The verb as used here signifies "what you have at hand, i.e., your possessions" (Danker). The fifth command of the chapter directs an evaluation of what is important in life. Being content with the provision for our basic needs is ideal (cf. Matt 6:31-33; 1Tim 6:6-8), but Yeshua also instructed his disciples to be willing to part with possessions for the good of others and the Kingdom of God (Luke 12:33; 14:33). Conversely, Paul does not imply any form of asceticism and reducing one's lifestyle to "simplicity" as advocated by the Stoics (cf. Php 4:11-13).
for: Grk. gar, conj. He himself: Grk. autos, masc., personal pronoun. In the context the pronoun refers to ADONAI. said: Grk. ereō, perf., inform through utterance, to say or declare (Zodhiates). The perfect tense denotes speech completed. The verb especially emphasizes the oral nature of the divine message. Paul then quotes from Deuteronomy 31:6. The promise given to Israel is repeated several times in Scripture (Deut 31:8; Josh 1:5; 1Kgs 6:13; 1Chr 28:20; Ps 37:28; 94:14; Isa 41:17).
I will never: Grk. ou mē, lit. "not, not." The combination of negative particles strongly contradicts a supposition. In the LXX the double Greek negative translates the single Heb. lo, not. leave: Grk. aniēmi, aor. subj., to cause to be separate, fail to uphold; to desert or abandon. The subjunctive mood is used to stress emphatic negation (DM 172). In the LXX of the verse aniēmi translates Heb. raphah (SH-7503), to let go. Both the LXX and MT have the verbs in the second person, but Paul makes them first person. you: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. The singular pronoun views the nation as a corporate unity.
nor: Grk. oude, conj., properly, moreover not, neither indeed, not even, nor even (HELPS). ever: Grk. ou mē for Heb. lo. forsake: Grk. egkataleipō, aor. subj., to abandon or forsake with the suggestion of being left in dire circumstances or peril. In the LXX of the verse egkataleipō translates Heb. azab (SH-5800), to abandon, forsake, leave. you: Grk. su. Paul's quotation of the Torah passage here rebuts the later heresy of Replacement Theology adopted in Christianity (cf. Rom 11:1-2). The very nature of the New Covenant promised the continuation of Israel's most favored nation status, (cf. Jer 31:35-37; 33:23-26; Heb 8:7-11; 9:15; 10:15-17).
Yeshua restated the promise to his disciples before his crucifixion by saying, "I will not leave you as orphans" (John 14:18). Then after his resurrection when he gave the great commission to his Jewish disciples he promised, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt 28:20).
6 So being confident we may say, "ADONAI is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"
So: Grk. hōs, adv. See verse 3 above. being confident: Grk. tharreō, pres. part., to be of good courage, be encouraged. The verb occurs elsewhere only in Paul's letter to the Corinthian congregation (2Cor 5:6, 8; 7:16; 10:1, 2). we: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. The plural pronoun joins Paul and Luke with his Messianic Jewish readers. may say: Grk. legō, pres. inf., to make a statement or utterance, whether mentally, orally or in writing. The focus of the verb may be declarative, interrogative or imperative; ask, call, declare, say, speak, tell. In the LXX legō translates Heb. amar (SH-559), to say, shew, command or think (Gen 1:28). Paul then quotes from the LXX of Psalm 118:6.
Psalm 118 as the final psalm of the Hallel was sung by Jews to celebrate the Passover. The song likely pictured to those who first sang it the rescue of Israel at the exodus and the eventual journey's end at Mount Zion (Kidner 447). The initial cry ("O give thanks") is addressed to the whole body of the nation of Israel and then to the priests. For the Jews celebrating the Passover the psalm declared the timeless love and timely help of God who delivers His people from their enemies and provides victory. The psalm is also considered Messianic since Yeshua quoted from the psalm identifying himself as the rejected cornerstone (verse 22; Matt 21:42).
ADONAI: Grk. kurios may mean either (1) 'one in control through possession,' and therefore owner or master; or (2) 'one esteemed for authority or high status,' thus lord or master. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX of the quoted verse kurios is used to replace Heb. YHVH (SH-3068). Kurios is not translation of YHVH, but an interpretative substitution that encompassed all that the Hebrew text implied by use of the divine name. In fact, the oldest LXX manuscript fragments have YHVH written in Hebrew characters in the Greek text. See my article The Blessed Name.
is my: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. helper: Grk. boēthos, in the role of one rendering assistance, helper. In Greek literature the term has a military meaning "coming on the run to the battle-cry." In the LXX the noun often occurs in passages depicting deliverance from military threat (Ex 15:2; Deut 33:7, 29; Jdg 5:23; 1Sam 7:12; Ps 18:2; 28:7). The Hebrew text has a construction that means "on my side." The noun occurs only here in the Besekh.
I will not: Grk. ou, adv. fear: Grk. phobeomai (for Heb. yare, "to fear"), fut. pass., to fear. The Greek and Hebrew verbs have two basic meanings that are opposite: (1) to be in a state of apprehension, fearful and (2) to have special respect or reverence for, i.e., deep respect. The first meaning applies here. what: Grk. tís, interrogative pronoun indicating interest in establishing something definite; who, which, what, why.
can man: Grk. anthrōpos, human, man or mankind; i.e., one of the human race. In the LXX of this verse anthrōpos translates Heb. adam (SH-120), which may mean man or mankind (BDB 9). Some versions unnecessarily opt for the gender neutral "anyone" (GNT, ISV, NABRE, NCB, NRSV, NTE). do: Grk. poieō, fut., a verb of physical action, which may mean (1) to produce something material or bring something into existence; or (2) to express by deeds the thoughts of the mind; act, do, perform. The second meaning applies here.
to me: Grk. egō. The question also occurs in Psalm 56:11. The point of the rhetorical question is that even though adversaries can do a lot of harm, there is no adverse action of man that God cannot provide deliverance. In addition, men cannot determine one's eternal destiny (Matt 10:28). The quotation of the psalm summarizes Paul's eloquent discourse on the faithfulness and goodness of God.
"31 What then will we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? What then will we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the One acquitting.34 who is the one condemning? Messiah Yeshua, the One having died, rather now having been resurrected, who is at the right hand of God, and who is interceding for us. 35 What will separate us from the love of the Messiah? Tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written that, "Because of You we are put to death all the day; we were considered as sheep for slaughter." 37 But in all these things we more than conquer through the One having loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Messiah Yeshua our Lord." (Rom 8:31-39 BR)
Call of Remembrance, 13:7-9
7 Remember those leading you, who spoke to you the word of God, of whom, considering the outcome of their way of life, imitate their faithfulness.
Remember: Grk. mnēmoneuō, pres. imp., 2p-pl., to call to mind with focus on thoughtful recollection, and to make mention of. The present tense stresses continual remembrance. The sixth command of the chapter is to recall values, virtues and spiritual achievements. those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. leading: pl. of Grk. hēgeomai, pl. pres. part., to function in a leadership capacity, to lead. The root meaning of the verb is to lead the way or going before as a chief (HELPS). you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person.
The reference to "those leading you" are probably the congregational elders. The Jewish synagogue typically had seven elders: the nasi (President) with two assistants, chazan (pulpit minister), three parnasin (receivers of alms) (Moseley 9). Messianic congregations naturally imitated synagogue organization. The apostles appointed elders over Messianic congregations wherever they were formed (cf. Acts 11:30; 14:23; 15:2, 4, 6, 22; 20:17; 21:18; 1Tim 5:17; Titus 1:5; Jas 5:14; 1Pet 5:1, 5). Elders were chosen to give oversight to the administration and ministries of the congregation. The number of elders was variable depending on the size of the congregation.
who: Grk. hostis, relative pronoun used as a generalizing reference to the subject of a verb or a preceding entity; who, which. spoke: Grk. laleō, aor., 3p-pl., to make an oral statement and to exercise the faculty of speech; assert, proclaim, report, say, speak, talk about, utter. In the LXX laleō translates Heb. verb dabar (SH-1696), to speak, often used of verbal communication from God, first in Genesis 12:4.
to you: Grk. humeis. the word: Grk. ho logos, a vocalized expression of the mind, and communication ranging broadly in extent of content and variety of form; word, discourse, message or teaching. In the LXX logos primarily translates Heb. noun dabar (SH-1697), speech or word, and used widely for a message, speech or saying of men (Gen 29:13) or of God (Ex 4:28) (DNTT 3:1087). of God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 4 above. The expression "word of God" most likely refers to the proclamation of the good news with its attendant teaching on the fulfillment of Messianic promises based on the exposition of Scripture.
The second clause extends the mention of "those leading" to include past leaders, especially their spiritual fathers who convinced them of the good news and then taught them how to be disciples. of whom: Grk. hos, relative pronoun used to give significance to the mention of a person, thing, or piece of information that precedes; who, which, what, that. considering: Grk. anatheōreō, pl. pres. part., give careful consideration to, observe closely. The present tense stresses continued action, i.e. "look at again and again" (BAG 54). Lane suggests that the participle can assume a hortatory function in view of the command to remember.
the outcome: Grk. ho ekbasis, the end of one's life (cf. Wis. 2:17); outcome, result. Thayer explains that the term does not refer merely the end of their physical life, but the manner in which they closed a well-spent life as exhibited by their spirit in dying. of their way of life: Grk. anastrophē, of behavior based on certain principles or perspectives; conduct, mode or way of life. The expression "outcome of their behavior" considers the impact of the leader's life and ministry.
imitate: Grk. mimeomai, pres. mid. imp., 2p-pl., use as a model for exemplary performance or attitude; imitate, emulate. their faithfulness: Grk. ho pistis (from peithō, "be persuaded"), includes two primary facets of meaning: (1) belief evoked by another's reputation for trustworthiness, thus confidence, faith, or trust; and (2) dependability in awareness of obligation to others, thus constancy, faithfulness or fidelity. At the end of Chapter Ten Paul used pistis as the opposite of "shrinking back" (10:39). Thus, pistis is actively pressing straight ahead in fidelity to God.
In the LXX pistis occurs first in Deuteronomy 32:20 to translate Heb. emun (SH-529), faithfulness, trusting (BDB 53). This usage describes a generation that was not faithful to God. Then pistis regularly translates Heb. emunah (SH-530), firmness, steadfastness, or fidelity (BDB 53), mainly of men's faithfulness (1Sam 26:23; 2Kgs 12:15; 22:7; Jer 5:1, 3; 7:28; 9:3; Hos 2:20), but also of God's faithfulness (Ps 33:4; Lam 3:23; Hab 2:4). The LXX usage emphasizes that the intended meaning of pistis is faithfulness and in this context a synonym of anastrophē.
Previously in this letter Paul had exhorted his readers to be "imitators of those who by means of faithfulness and patience are inheriting the promises" (Heb 6:12). Paul also challenged the congregation in Corinth to be imitators of him since he endeavored to imitate Yeshua (1Cor 4:16; 11:1). The verb "imitate" has a very practical meaning as he used it in his letter to the Thessalonica congregation to urge their imitation of his practice of seeking employment while ministering (2Th 3:7-9). In that setting able-bodied men had quit working so Paul decreed that "if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either" (2Th 3:10).
Thus, the seventh command of the chapter is to maintain the ethical standards and values by which the leaders lived, as well as their teachings.
8 Yeshua the Messiah is the same yesterday and today and into the ages.
This verse likely implies "remember also." Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua, the masculine form of the noun yeshu'ah ("salvation"). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua ("Joshua"), which means "YHVH [the LORD] is salvation" (BDB 221). The meaning of his name is explained to Joseph by an angel of the Lord, "You shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21 BR). The English translation of "Jesus" in Christian Bibles originated with the Mace New Testament in 1729 and then adopted by the 1769 revision of the KJV. For more information on the meaning our Lord's name and his Jewish identity see my web article Who is Yeshua?
the Messiah: Grk. Christos (from chriō, "to anoint with olive oil"), the expected fulfiller of the hopes of Israel for an end-time deliverer, the Anointed One or Messiah. Christos is a royal title, not a last name. Jewish translators of the LXX chose Christos to translate Heb. Mashiach (SH-4899), "Anointed One," and in the Tanakh Mashiach is used for the Messiah (Ps 2:2; Dan 9:25-26). Jewish anticipation of the Messiah was grounded in the future hope expressed by the Hebrew prophets of one who would come to deliver and rule as God's anointed king. For a complete review of all that is written in the Tanakh predicting the Messiah see my article The Messiah.
is the same: Grk. ho autos, personal pronoun. See verse 3 above. Here the pronoun signifies that Yeshua is immutable or unchangeable. Various passages in the Tanakh assert the unchangeable nature of ADONAI.
"But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end." (Ps 102:27)
"Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you!" (Isa 46:4)
"For I, ADONAI, do not change; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed" (Mal 3:6 BR).
Hegg comments that not only does this bold statement proclaim Yeshua as one with ADONAI it also necessitates the utter sovereignty and omnipotence of Yeshua. For the only possible way that Yeshua would never change is if He is able to control all things according the council of His own sovereign will.
yesterday: Grk. echthes, adv., the day preceding today, yesterday. In this context the temporal reference extends into the life and ministry of the incarnate Savior and the teachers who proclaimed him. The adverb could also apply to the past generations of Hebrew and Israelite heroes listed in Chapter Eleven, and even into eternity past given the declaration of John 1:1-2.
and: Grk. kai, conj. today: Grk. sēmeron, adv., today, this day, now. Similarly the temporal reference alludes to the lifetime of Paul and the recipients of this letter. As a component in the triune space/matter/time universe, time is always in the present. As long as there is a "today," salvation is available and must be sought (2Cor 6:2). Indeed Paul repeatedly appeals to the exhortation of Psalm 95:7, "Today if you hear his voice" (Heb 3:7, 15; 4:15).
and: Grk. kai. into: Grk. eis, prep. with the root meaning of "in, within," indicating the point reached or entered ("into"), and may express direction, position, relation, cause or purpose (DM 114), here direction with a temporal focus. the ages: pl. of Grk. ho aiōn, properly, an age or era ("time-span"), characterized by a specific quality or type of existence (HELPS). In the LXX aiōn translates Heb. ōlam (SH-5769), "long duration, antiquity or futurity" (BDB 761), first in Genesis 3:22. Olam is also used adverbially to mean "forever, for all time" (Gen 9:12), as well as ancient time (Gen 6:4; 49:26), and indefinite futurity (Deut 15:17).
In the Besekh Yeshua and the apostles generally speak of two specific ages, the present age (Heb. olam hazeh; Matt 28:20) and the age to come (Heb. olam haba; Matt 12:32) in which the Messiah reigns. In Hebrew thought historical time was divided into ages, perhaps coinciding with the great covenants that God made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Israel and David (Eccl 1:10; Rom 16:25; 1Cor 2:7; 10:11; Eph 3:9; Col 1:26; Titus 1:2; Heb 9:26). With the mention of "yesterday" and "today" the plural aiōn refers to future time following the Second Coming, the Messianic Age or millennium, and beyond that time into eternity. Thus, the common translation is "forever."
Stern comments that Yeshua's being the same yesterday, today and forever means that he is still Jewish and will return as a Jew. Yeshua was born a Jew, died a Jew, and was resurrected a Jew. He is a Jew now, serving in heaven as a Jewish high priest (Heb 2:17; 3:1; 4:14; 5:5-8; 6:20; 7:21, 26; 8:1; 9:11). He will return as a Jewish king to occupy the throne of his Jewish ancestor David. His humanity makes him the savior of all, both Jews and non-Jews. But he has not himself been made over into a Gentile.
Moreover, Yeshua did not change into the caricature portrayed in much of Christianity today as the "woke socialist" that canceled the moral standards of the Torah and permitted a sinning religion. He is the Righteous King who demands submission and obedience of his expectations expressed in the New Covenant (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10).
9 Do not be carried away by various and strange teachings, indeed it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, in which those walking have not benefited.
Do not: Grk. mē, adv. The negation could mean to put a stop to what is already taking place (Lane 367). be carried away: Grk. parapherō, pres. pass. part., 2p-pl., to remove from a position; carry away. The ninth command of the chapter is to resist outside influence. Lane adds the word "whenever" to his translation of the verb to emphasize its repetitive force. by various: pl. of Grk. poikilos, adj., with many features, of different colors; manifold, of various kinds. In the LXX the adjective has a neutral use in describing the colored sheep (Gen 30:39-40), a special colored tunic (Gen 37:3), precious stones (1Chr 29:2), and colorful Persian hangings (Esth 1:6).
The adjective also has a negative use in describing a beautiful robe coveted by Achan, resulting in his judgment (Josh 7:21), colorful garments worn and polluted by unfaithful Jerusalem (Ezek 16:10, 13, 18), and the colorful garments worn by the rulers of Tyre whom God judged (Ezek 26:16). Fruchtenbaum suggests that the adjective contrasts with the unity of the message that has been the emphasis of this letter.
and: Grk. kai, conj. strange: pl. of Grk. xenos, adj., relating to what is normally outside one's immediate experience; foreign, novel, strange, unheard of. Use of the adjective is probably intended to be synonymous of poikilos. Taken together the adjectives allude to that which is not supported by the revelation of Scripture. The adjectives could even hint at a pagan source. teachings: pl. of Grk. didachē (from didaskō "to teach"), the act of teaching with content implied. The term could refer to a coherent belief system or religious doctrine. The reference to "strange teachings" is comparable to the modern term "heterodoxy," which means "not in accordance with established or accepted doctrines."
Stern suggests that this clause is evidence that verse 8 warns against seeking ways apart from Yeshua for reaching God (cf. John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Gal 1:9, 1Cor 2:2; 1Tim 2:5). Noteworthy is that Paul does not use the terms "heresy" (1Cor 11:19; Gal 5:20) or "demonic doctrine" (1Tim 4:1), but "various and strange" could certainly qualify as heresy. The prohibition here is comparable to the warning Paul issued to the congregation in Colossae:
"Beware lest there will be one taking you captive through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the principles of the world, and not according to Messiah." (Col 2:8 BR)
The prohibition here is also parallel to the exhortation given to the congregation in Ephesus: "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there [Grk. parapherō] by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming" (Eph 4:14 NIV). Indeed, disciples must judge carefully what is proclaimed and taught in the congregation (1Cor 14:29). Scripture is the plumbline to determine the value and correctness of any teaching (2Tim 3:16).
A verb that summarizes the "various and strange teachings" is heterodidaskaleō, "to teach a different doctrine." This verb is found in two verses of Paul's first letter to Timothy:
"As I counseled you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus, so that you may order certain people who are teaching a different doctrine to stop." (1Tim 1:3 CJB)
"If anyone teaches differently and does not agree to the sound precepts of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah and to the doctrine that is in keeping with godliness, 4 he is swollen with conceit and understands nothing. Instead, he has a morbid desire for controversies and word-battles, out of which come jealousy, dissension, insults, evil suspicions, 5 and constant wrangling among people whose minds no longer function properly and who have been deprived of the truth, so that they imagine that religion is a road to riches." (1Tim 6:3-5 CJB)
Paul refers to extra-biblical teaching that would be a distraction to the congregation and potential source of division. Specifically Paul identified two kinds of teachings popular in Jewish circles of his day: myths and genealogies (cf. 1Tim 1:3-4; 2Tim 4:3-4). Such teachings contribute nothing to spiritual growth in discipleship.
indeed: Grk. gar, conj. See verse 2 above. The conjunction introduces an inference, likely implying "remember that." it is good: Grk. kalos, adj., meeting a high standard, often with a focus on a moral aspect; fine, good. for the heart: Grk. ho kardia, the pumplike organ of blood circulation, used here fig. of selfhood or the combination of character, emotion, intelligence and the will. In this context "heart" likely refers to the psychological-spiritual state of a person. to be strengthened: Grk. bebaioō, pres. pass. inf., to put beyond doubt, confirm, establish, validate.
by grace: Grk. charis, disposition marked by inclination to generosity, frequently unmotivated by the worth of the recipient; thus favor, kindness or grace. In Scripture the concept of "grace" especially denotes God's unilateral gift of favor toward selected individuals, such as Noah (Gen 6:8), Abraham (Gen 18:3), Lot (Gen 19:19), Moses (Ex 33:12-13; 34:9), as well as the nation of Israel (Ex 33:16). The biblical term refers to God freely extending Himself (His favor, grace), reaching or inclining to people because He is disposed to bless and be near them.
The core idea of favor-grace is "extension-towards" (HELPS). In other words, spiritual well-being must be based on assurance of having a right relationship with God through Yeshua, not on any particular pietistic practice. The exhortation continues to note one particular teaching that serves as an example of the description "various and strange."
not: Grk. ou, adv. by foods: pl. of Grk. brōma, that which is prepared for eating and consumed at a meal, food. in: Grk. en, prep. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. walking: Grk. peripateō, pl. pres. part., to engage in pedestrian activity; go about; walk about, walk around, walk. The verb is used here in a figurative sense of a lifestyle commitment. have not: Grk. ou. benefited: Grk. ōpheleō, aor. pass., 3p-pl., to engage in activity that brings about something good above and beyond that which existed earlier; assist, benefit, help, profit.
Stern rightly points out that this cautionary statement has nothing to do with whether Messianic Jews should keep a kosher diet. Indeed, early Jewish believers observed Torah food laws (cf. Acts 10:14). See my article Did Yeshua Cancel Torah Food Laws? The criticism is also not directed at fasting, even though Pharisees went beyond the Torah requirement in relation to fasting (Luke 18:12). Prior to this letter Paul addressed a food controversy three times:
First, he confronted Peter because of hypocrisy of eating with Gentiles but withdrawing when members of the Circumcision Party came to town (Gal 2:11-14).
Second in his letter to the Roman congregation he addressed a food controversy in which "weak" members had adopted a vegetarian diet and "strong" members included meat in their diet (Rom 14:2-3, 14-23).
Third, in his letter to the Colossian congregation he counseled the members not to accept critical judgment regarding what they ate or drank (Col 2:16-19).
The closing clause of this verse implies a teaching concerning food which advocates claimed provided a spiritual benefit, which probably alludes to the insistence on a vegetarian diet. Vegetarianism is a strange teaching given God's provision for including animals as food sources (Gen 9:2-3). For Jews the vegetarian diet could have had a religious basis, even though the Torah does not require or encourage such a diet. Various examples of diet restriction can be cited in Scripture. During the wilderness years Israel subsisted on manna (Ex 16:35). On one occasion Daniel abstained from meat (Dan 1:8) to avoid being defiled by food offered to idols.
Yochanan the Immerser restricted his diet to locusts and wild honey (Matt 3:4), which reflected his overall commitment to a life of simplicity and forsaking the normal pleasures of life to focus totally on his mission for God. Philo reported that a Jewish ascetic group in Egypt, the Therapeutae, were vegetarians, who believed that simplicity in all things was the best expression of living by Torah and pursuing spiritual virtues (On the Contemplative Life, 4:34-39).
Avoidance of meat likely had nothing to do with Torah rules for selection of animals for eating (Leviticus 11). Jewish and proselyte disciples would refrain from meat from animals that had not been slaughtered according to Torah rules (Gen 9:4; Deut 12:23-24), and all disciples, Jew and Gentile, were enjoined by apostolic decree to abstain from meat offered to idols (Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25), although as seen in Corinth disciples did not always abide by that ruling. In Gentile cities it may have been difficult to find meat in a market that had not been offered to an idol.
Call of Sacrifice, 13:10-16
10 We have an altar from which those serving at the tabernacle have no right to eat.
In verses 10–16 Paul returns to the imagery of the tabernacle to stress the priestly ministry of the Messiah, which he introduced in Chapter Eight and Nine. We have: Grk. echō, pres., 1p-pl., to have, hold or possess with a wide range of application. an altar: Grk. thusiastērion, an elevated place or structure at which religious rites are performed or on which sacrifices are offered to God. In the LXX thusiastērion translates Heb. mizbeach (SH-4196), altar, first in Genesis 8:20. The noun is found only in Jewish literature: Philo, On the Life of Moses II. §105; Josephus, Ant. VIII, 4:1; Letter of Aristeas 87; and Testament of Levi 16:1. The term is also used of ancient altars erected by the patriarchs (Gen 8:20; 12:7; 13:4; 22:9; 26:25; 33:20; 35:1; Rom 11:3; Jas 2:21).
Primarily this word for "altar" is used for the altar of burnt offering in the outer court of the tabernacle (Ex 30:28; Matt 5:23) and the altar of incense inside the Holy Place (Ex 30:1; Luke 1:11). The word for "altar" also includes the idea that the offering that was placed on it was the food of God (Lev 3:11, 16; 21:6, 8; 22:7; Num 28:2). Stern notes that this altar is in heaven, the altar where Yeshua the Messiah made the once-for-all sacrifice of himself (Heb 8:2–5; 9:23–24; 10:1–14). Fruchtenbaum suggests that given the flow of argument here Yeshua himself is the altar.
from: Grk. ek, prep. used to denote derivation or separation, here the former; lit. "out of, from within." which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. serving: Grk. latreuō, pl. pres. part., to minister or serve, whether of God or man, often in the context of engaging in worship. The verb as used here envisions the act of offering sacrifices.
at the tabernacle: Grk. ho skēnē, a tent, booth, lodging, or dwelling. In the LXX skēnē translates three Hebrew words: (1) ohel (SH-168), a pointed tent used for personal dwelling (Gen 4:20); (2) sukkah (SH-5521), a matted booth, shed or hut (Gen 33:17); and (3) mishkan (SH-4908), a sacred sanctuary designed for conducting worship rituals; generally for the tabernacle (Ex 25:9), but also the temple (2Chr 29:6) (DNTT 3:811). Considering the mention of "altar" in this verse the Hebrew term mishkan is in view here. See the diagram of the layout of the tabernacle here.
Paul mentions the tabernacle rather than the temple, perhaps because the sacrificial system taking place in Jerusalem began with the tabernacle. He may also have chosen the tabernacle as symbolic of his message here since the tabernacle represented the ideal of God's provision for atonement in ancient Israel. The temple of Paul's day was a corrupt institution. The description of "those serving at the tabernacle" refers to unbelieving priests in Jerusalem.
have: Grk. echō, pres., 3p-pl. no: Grk. ou, adv. right: Grk. exousia, the right to speak or act in a situation without looking or waiting for approval; authority, right, jurisdiction. to eat: Grk. esthiō, aor. inf., to consume food, whether derived from grain, vegetables, fruits or meat of animals. In the LXX esthiō translates Heb. akal, to eat (SH-398; BDB 37), generally literal of eating food, first occurring in Genesis 2:16, but the verb also has figurative uses as here where it depicts partaking of divine food.
Since Yeshua was a sin offering, nonbelievers cannot receive saving grace unless and until they put their trust in his atoning work. Even so it would be correct to say that since Paul provided the instructions for observing the Lord's Table (1Cor 11:23-29), nonbelievers have no right to share in that sacred rite.
11 For the blood of animals from which is brought for a sin offering into the Holy of Holies by the high priest, of those the bodies are burned outside of the camp.
Reference: Exodus 29:14; Leviticus 6:30; 16:27.
For: Grk. gar, conj. the blood: Grk. ho haima, the fluid that circulates in the principal vascular system of human beings and vertebrate animals, blood. of animals: pl. of Grk. zōon denotes a living thing or being that is not human. In the LXX zōon stands for Heb. chay (SH-2416), an animal, a living being, used of a living creature with the capability for breath and locomotion. The word zōon appears first in Genesis 1:21 of animals created on the fifth day of the creation week. Sacrificial animals included the bull, heifer, cow, ram, goat, lamb, turtledove, and pigeon.
from which: pl. of Grk. hos, relative pronoun. is brought: Grk. eispherō, pres. pass., cause to be brought into a place or condition; lead into, bring in. for: Grk. peri, prep. with an orientational aspect relating to being near or having to do with something; in behalf of, about, concerning, for. a sin offering: Grk. hamartia ordinarily refers to a behavioral action that violates a Torah commandment or the result of sinning or the condition of being sinful. Throughout Scripture sin as a behavior is a violation of God's written commandments (Rom 3:20; 5:13; 7:7). The degree of intentionality is not a factor in defining sinful behavior.
In the LXX hamartia primarily translates Heb. chatta'ah (SH-2403; BDB 308), which is used for sin against man or God, guilt of sin, punishment for sin or a sin offering (Gen 18:20; 50:17; Ex 10:17; 29:14). Speaking or writing in Hebrew Paul likely used chatta'ah to mean a sin offering and Luke appropriately translated the noun as hamartia. Several versions recognize that "sin offering" is the intended meaning (CJB, CEV, CSB, NABRE, NCB, NIV). Sin offerings were conducted for priestly ordination (Ex 29:14), national atonement on Yom Kippur (Ex 30:10; Lev 16:29-30) and personal atonement (Lev 4:3, 13-14, 22-24, 27-28).
into: Grk. eis, prep. the Holy of Holies: neut. pl. of Grk. hagios, adj., set apart for dedication to the interests of deity, and used as a descriptor of places and structures set apart to God (Zodhiates). In the LXX hagion translates Heb. qodesh (SH-6944), apartness, sacredness, first in Exodus 3:5 of the holy ground where Moses encountered the burning bush. Here most versions translate the plural term as "holy place" or "Most Holy Place." The neuter plural of the Greek term is frequently used in the LXX of the "Holy of Holies" (e.g., Ex 26:33).
A sin offering required the sacrifice of a bull (Ex 29:14; Lev 4:3), goat (Lev 4:24; 16:5; 23:19) or a lamb (Lev 4:34; 5:6). A poor person could offer a dove or pigeon as a sin offering (Lev 5:7). However, the situation described in this verse refers to the national sin offering in which the blood of a bull or a goat that is brought into the holy place and sprinkled on the mercy seat (Lev 16:14-15).
by: Grk. dia, prep. the high priest: Grk. archiereus (from archē, "chief" and hiereus, "a priest"), a high or chief priest, i.e., a leader among priests. In the LXX archiereus occurs only two times in the canonical books (Lev 4:3; Josh 24:33), but 41 times in the Apocrypha (DNTT 3:35). See my comment on the high priest at 5:1. of those: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. the bodies: pl. of Grk. ho sōma. See verse 3 above. The noun is used here to refer to the animal carcass. are burned: Grk. katakaiō, pres. pass., to burn down or to completely consume or destroy by fire.
outside: Grk. exō, adv. of place, outside, used of a position that is beyond a limit or boundary. of the camp: Grk. ho parembolē, a spatial or structural arrangement for a group, here referring to the encampment of the Israelites in the wilderness. Paul refers to the Torah legislation that the carcass of the national sin offering be taken away from the encampment and burned (Ex 29:14; Lev 16:27). The point of this rule is that while priests were allowed to eat the meat of a regular sin offering (Lev 6:26; 10:17; Ezek 42:13; 44:29), they were forbidden to eat the meat of the national sin offering on Yom Kippur.
In contrast all people are permitted to "eat" of the divine food of the Savior provided for atonement of the whole world. Yeshua declared to unbelieving Jewish leaders,
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever." (John 6:53-58)
Many Christian scholars have historically regarded Yeshua's declaration as pertaining to the institution of the sacrament of the Eucharist, since John does not include a comparable narrative of the Last Supper as found in the Synoptic Narratives. Moreover, the Catholic Church has used this passage to support its heretical doctrine of transubstantiation. These interpretations ignore the content of Yeshua's teaching and attempt to force a post-apostolic and non-Jewish framework on parabolic material.
Yeshua's teaching concerning the "bread of life" could have been heard by Paul or at least reported to him. The parallel account in the Synoptic narratives, which follows the feeding of the five thousand and miraculous walk on the sea, mention that Pharisees and scribes came from Jerusalem and challenged Yeshua concerning eating with unwashed hands (Matt 15:1; Mark 7:1).
12 So also Yeshua, so that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside the gate.
So: Grk. dio (from dia, "through," and hos, "which"), inferential conj., consequently, for this reason, on account of which, therefore, wherefore. also: Grk. kai, conj. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous. See verse 8 above. so that: Grk. hina, conj. used to add an idea that completes an intention expressed; in order that, so that, that. he might sanctify: Grk. hagiazō (from hagios, "holy, "set apart"), aor. subj., may mean when applied to persons (1) to include in the inner circle of what is holy, consecrate, dedicate, sanctify; (2) treat as holy, reverence; or (3) purify internally from all evil (BAG). The first and third meanings have application here.
In the LXX the hagiazō translates Heb. qadash (SH-6942), to set apart, hallow or consecrate, dedicate (BDB 872), first used in Genesis 2:3 of the seventh day. The Hebrew verb is used of persons, such as the firstborn (Ex 13:2), the Israelite people (Ex 19:14) and priests (Ex 28:3, 41). The meaning of the Hebrew and Greek verbs, "set apart," envisions a separation from what causes defilement or uncleanness, such as the vices mentioned in verses 4-5 above, and a separation to being wholly devoted and faithful to God. Bible versions are about evenly divided between translating the verb as "make holy" or "sanctify."
the people: Grk. ho laos (for Heb. am, "people, kinsman"), a group of humans, understood geographically or ethnically, and often in the Besekh the descendants of Jacob associated with the God of Israel. Yeshua declared that he came to provide salvation for his people Israel (Matt 10:6; 15:24; Acts 2:36). through: Grk. dia, prep. his own: Grk. ho idios, adj., belonging to oneself, one's own. blood: Grk. haima. See the previous verse. The mention of blood indicates that the means of sanctification was by atonement (BAG 8). As Yeshua said in his high priestly prayer, "I sanctify myself so that they may be sanctified" (John 17:19).
Stern suggests that the description of verses 11-12 here recalls the declaration in Chapter Nine, which mentions the red heifer.
"13 For if the blood of goats, and bulls, and sprinkling ashes of a red heifer, sanctify those having been defiled for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, will cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God!" (Heb 9:13-14 BR)
Normally animals offered as a sin offering were sacrificed inside the tabernacle. However, the red heifer was sacrificed and burned outside the camp for purification of sin (Num 19:3). Then its ashes were used to remove uncleanness (Num 19:9, 17-19). So because of the sanctifying purpose of the red heifer Yeshua is then our "red heifer." The sacrifice of the red heifer, while not associated with any festival, could be compared to the scapegoat that was sent into the wilderness on Yom Kippur bearing the sins of the people (Lev 16:7-10, 20-22).
suffered: Grk. paschō, aor., to experience something, but often with a negative connotation in association with physical pain or ill treatment; suffer. All that Yeshua suffered was prophesied in the Tanakh. For a complete list of the prophesied sufferings of the Messiah see my comment on Acts 3:18. As used here the verb "suffered" refers primarily to Yeshua's execution on the cross (cf. Luke 22:15; 24:46; Acts 1:3; 3:18; 17:3; 26:23; Heb 2:9). outside: Grk. exō, adv. See the previous verse. the gate: Grk. ho pulē, a large door; an entrance-gate to a city or fortress; a door-gate. The term typically refers to the exit people go out of (HELPS).
Yeshua was crucified outside the wall of Jerusalem. McKee notes that the reason for Yeshua being executed outside the gate was due to the charge of blasphemy (Matt 26:64-65; Mark 14:62-64). The Torah specifies that the execution of a blasphemer was to take place outside the camp (Lev 24:16). In the first century Jerusalem had at least six gates, but the apostolic narratives do not specify the gate through which the Romans took Yeshua to Golgotha (Matt 27:33). Paul's Jewish readers would have known the location. The traditional site for the crucifixion is on the north side of the city. See the map here.
Currently the site for Yeshua's crucifixion is associated with the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The church was erected when Emperor Constantine in 325/326 ordered the pagan temple of Aphrodite then on the spot to be demolished. The fact that this location is within the city walls of Jerusalem may at first seem to disqualify it. However, at the time of Yeshua, this location was outside of the city walls. Hegg notes that it was Herod Agrippa I who expanded the city and its walls in A.D. 40–44, thus locating the site within the city walls. Following the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 135, the new city was rebuilt further to the north, thus making the site appear to be in the middle of the city.
13 Indeed now let us go to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.
Reference: Exodus 33:7.
Indeed now: Grk. toinun, disjunctive particle (from toi, "indeed," and nun, "now"), indeed now; introducing what is "now logically necessary" in light of what is already established (HELPS). To interpret the following exhortation we must remember that Paul applies a reminder of the time of the tabernacle. let us go: Grk. exerchomai, pres. mid. subj., 1p-pl., to move away from a place or position, to go or come out. The tenth command of the chapter calls for a decision to demonstrate loyalty in spite of ill treatment. to: Grk. pros, prep., to, towards, here emphasizing direction toward a goal. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e. Yeshua.
outside: Grk. exō, adv. See verse 11 above. the camp: Grk. ho parembolē. See verse 11 above. Fruchtenbaum, a Messianic Jewish believer, inexplicably interprets the word "camp" here as "the camp of Judaism" with the implication that the Jewish believers need to abandon the religion that rejected the Messiah. However, Yeshua was not rejected by Judaism, but by the Jewish ruling authorities. Paul did not intend his Jewish readers to stop being Jewish, especially given that he asserted his continued commitment as a Pharisee (Acts 23:6; 2Cor 11:22; Php 3:5). Moreover, the tens of thousands of Jewish believers in the first century continued to be Torah observant (Acts 21:20).
Hegg suggests that the verbal command may allude the duties of the priest who went outside of the camp to sacrifice and burn the red heifer, and then returned with its ashes (Num 19:4-9). In this process the priest became unclean and had to wash to be able to come back into the camp. Like the ashes of the red heifer Hegg views the Jewish believers to be a "cleansing mixture" for their generation so that their fellow countrymen could be made clean. In order to fulfill this role they would have to be willing to be viewed as "unclean" by the unbelieving Jewish community.
In my view the verbal command "let us go" actually hints at an inspiration in the life of Moses:
"Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the Tent of Meeting. So it happened, everyone who sought ADONAI would go out to the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp." (Ex 33:7 TLV)
Not long after the golden calf idolatry Moses erected a tent (Heb. ohel) outside the camp in order to meet with God, intercede for the people and receive instructions from ADONAI. During his time at the tent ADONAI would speak to Moses face to face, "just as a man speaks to his friend" (Ex 33:11). The preparation and fabrication of all the component parts of the tabernacle (Heb. mishkan) would have taken several months to complete, so in that interim time Moses' tent of meeting served the spiritual needs of the people.
On the occasion of his crucifixion outside the camp Yeshua provided intercessory ministry, similar to Moses, when he prayed "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34; cf. Ex 32:30-33). Like Moses' tent of meeting the cross became a symbol of reconciliation between God and His people (cf. Eph 2:16; Col 1:20). Conversely, Moses could not provide atonement for the golden calf idolatry (Ex 32:33), but Yeshua provided atonement for all sins and transgressions (Acts 13:38-39).
bearing: Grk. pherō, pl. pres. part., to move from one position to another; to bear, carry (bring) along, especially to a definite or prescribed conclusion (HELPS). Zodhiates gives the meaning as particularly to bear a burden, to endure. The participle clearly has hortatory effect. his: Grk. autos. reproach: Grk. oneidismos, calumny or demeaning faultfinding, undeserved condemnation; an insult aimed to damage or disgrace reputation (HELPS). Paul alludes to the taunts and mockings Yeshua received on the day of his crucifixion from Roman soldiers and Jewish religious leaders (Matt 27:27-31; Luke 23:35-37).
The second command of this verse extends the thought of "let us go" to embrace the rejection Yeshua experienced. The example of Moses still applies since he was criticized by many of the people of Israel and his leadership decisions vilified (Ex 16:2-3; 17:3; Num 12:1; 14:2; 16:41-42; 20:2; 26:9). While on the cross Yeshua suffered verbal abuse by his adversaries (Matt 27:39-43). "Bearing his reproach" means a willingness to tolerate similar treatment. After all, Yeshua had called his disciples to "cross-bearing" (Luke 9:23). We should be like Yeshua who did not revile in return for being reviled (1Pet 2:23).
So disciples must not respond to verbal abuse with negative behavior, but return blessing instead (Rom 12:14; 1Cor 4:12; Eph 4:29). On a previous occasion Paul had testified, "Therefore I am well-pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and difficulties for Messiah; for when I might be weak, then I am strong" (2Cor 12:10 BR). Choosing to follow Yeshua means also choosing to suffer ridicule. Stern comments, "Like Yeshua, we experience the pain of exclusion; but we must stand with him and not seek respect or inclusion on any terms except God's."
14 For here we have not an abiding city, but we seek the one coming.
For: Grk. gar, conj. here: Grk. hōde, adv., in this place, here. The adverb might hint at Paul's immediate location in Rome where he awaited release from confinement (Acts 28:30). Just as likely he meant "here in this world." we have: Grk. echō, pres. See verse 10 above. The first person plural of the verb would mean "we, the Jewish people," but especially "we the Jewish followers of Yeshua." not: Grk. ou, adv. an abiding: Grk. menō, pres. part. See verse 1 above. The verb hints at lasting into eternity. city: Grk. polis, a population center whose size or number of inhabitants could range broadly, a city or town.
In a general sense the lack of an "abiding city" reflected the experience of Jews in the first century and indeed in much of history. Jews were generally confined to enclaves or "ghettos" in the major cities and were often the targets of prejudicial treatment and persecution. Paul no doubt alludes to Jerusalem and the present tense of the verb indicates that Jerusalem existed at the time this letter was written, so its date must be before A.D. 70. In spite of the fact of Messiah's arrival the city was still under the control of unbelievers. The city would not remain because Yeshua had prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt 24:1-2; Luke 21:20; John 4:21).
The first clause has another layer of meaning. Abraham had sought a city whose maker is God (Heb 11:10), which by its nature would be permanent. No city of this earth will last forever, since the Day of God's Wrath will destroy the cities of the earth (Rev 16:18-20). In addition, God's people want a home where righteousness dwells (cf. 2Pet 3:13). Yet no city is currently a righteous sanctuary for Yeshua's followers, since the world and many in Christianity reject the moral and ethical code of God's Word.
but: Grk. alla, conj., adversative particle used adverbially to convey a different viewpoint for consideration; but, on the other hand. we seek: Grk. epizēteō, pres., 1p-pl., may mean (1) try to find something; look for; search for; or (2) show strong interest in; seek, want. The second meaning applies here. the one coming: Grk. ho mellō, pres. part., a future oriented verb with a pending aspect, about to happen, being in the offing, be about to, be going to. Paul repeats the expectation that Yeshua's followers anticipate a heavenly city (Gal 4:26; Php 4:3; Heb 11:10, 16; 12:22).
Stern comments that there is no implication of otherworldliness, in the sense of neglecting the needs of this world; rather, we live simultaneously in both the olam hazeh ("the present world") and the olam haba ("the world to come").
15 Through him then let us offer a sacrifice of praise continually to God, this is the fruit of lips praising his name.
Reference: Leviticus 7:12-13, 15; Psalm 50:14, 23; Hosea 14:2.
Through: Grk. dia, prep. See verse 2 above. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e. Yeshua. The phrase "through him" emphasizes Yeshua's role as mediatorial high priest. then: Grk. oun, an inferential conj., which is used here to indicate a conclusion connected with data immediately preceding, "so, therefore, consequently, then." let us offer: Grk. anapherō (from ana, up," and pherō, "to bring or carry"), pres. subj., 1p-pl., to offer up to God, a technical religious term of offering a sacrifice involving perception of an elevated site for the offering. The verb is used here in a figurative sense of an act of worship. Many versions have "offer up."
a sacrifice: Grk. thusia, an official sacrifice prescribed by ADONAI (cf. Ex 34:15; Lev 8:31; Deut 12:27; 1Cor 10:18) (Zodhiates). In the LXX thusia generally translates two Hebrew terms for sacrificial offerings: zebach (SH-2077) and minchah (SH-4503). The zebach was an animal sacrifice of which the flesh is eaten, and minchah was an offering of any kind, whether of the flock or the field. In this context minchah is probably intended.
of praise: Grk. ainesis, commendation, praise. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. The term occurs often in the LXX, but not at all in secular Greek sources. In the LXX the expression "sacrifice of praise" occurs six times (Lev 7:12-13, 15; Ps 27:6; 50:14, 23), with ainesis translating Heb. todah (SH-8426), thanksgiving or thank-offering. The "thank-offering" was a type of peace offering. Animal sacrifices to atone for sin had been made forever obsolete with the sacrifice of Yeshua, but other sacrifices of field and flock might still be offered.
continually: Grk. diapantos (from diá, "though" and pás, "all"), the compound conveys "throughout the whole time," thus, "always, at all times, continually, constantly" (HELPS). In the LXX diapantos occurs in Torah passages to translate Heb. tamid (SH-8548), "continuity" to denote the perpetual nature of various religious obligations, such as maintaining the bread of the Presence in the Holy Place (Ex 25:30; Lev 24:8; Num 4:7), keeping the lamp burning in the Holy Place (Ex 27:20; 30:8; Lev 6:13; 24:2), and offering various sacrifices (Lev 6:20; 24:2).
Given the nature of the exhortation the phrase would be equivalent to "in everything give thanks" (1Th 5:18), or "in all circumstances of life, whether good or bad." Guthrie comments that the continual nature of the believer's "sacrifice" contrasts sharply with the once-for-all sacrifice of Yeshua. In the Torah animal sacrifices occur at set times of the day or month, but spiritual sacrifices can and should be offered at any time.
to God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 4 above. Given role of Yeshua as mediator "God" refers to "the Father" (Rom 1:7; 1Cor 8:6; Gal 1:1). Yeshua taught his disciples to pray to the Father (Matt 6:6, 9; cf. Matt 26:39, 42). Paul echoed this practice, "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, praying continually for you" (Col 1:3 BR). Lane suggests that the phrase "sacrifice of praise" could recall Hebrews 2:12, where the vow of praise in Psalm 22:22 is assigned to Yeshua. Thus Messiah is the singing High Priest who glorifies the Father in the presence of the congregation. Here Paul summons his readers to join their voices to Yeshua.
Stern suggests that given the historical context with the Jerusalem temple still standing that Paul could be referring to real, physical thank-offerings. This would be consistent not only with the context of verses 10–14, but also with the future hope expressed in the prophecies of Jeremiah 33:10-11 and Malachi 3:1–4. The Jewish understanding was declared later in the Midrash Rabbah:
"In the time to come all sacrifices will be annulled except for the sacrifice of thanksgiving" (Leviticus Rabbah 9:7).
Paul is certainly not admonishing his readers to forsake the Temple and the sacrifices offered there. Following Pentecost the apostles and other followers of Yeshua continued to frequent the Temple (e.g., Acts 2:46; 3:1-3; 5:21, 42). Especially significant is that Paul was requested by the other apostles to assist four men under a Nazirite vow, by paying their fees and obtaining sacrificial animals for the completion of their vows (Acts 21:23-26). While completing this religious service Paul was arrested. He later reported to Governor Felix that he was at the temple to present sacrificial offerings (Acts 24:17).
Hegg, who believes this letter was written after the destruction of the Temple, suggests that the Messianic community was grappling with the question of how they were to continue in obedience to the Torah without a Temple or a functioning priesthood. The answer, given the inability to offer physical sacrifices in the Temple, is with the intentionality of the heart acts of public praise and righteous living would be accepted by God through the mediation of Yeshua, as sacrifices before Him.
Against this interpretation is the lack of any mention by Paul of such a conundrum. Stern comments that although Paul's instruction could be taken literally of physical thank-offerings at the Temple, it is equally likely that he is speaking of metaphorical sacrifice, such as that exhorted by Paul in Romans 12:1. Paul then defines the "sacrifice of praise" as being carried out in two forms.
this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse 2 above. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. Paul then alludes to Hosea 14:2 to identify the first form of spiritual sacrifice. the fruit: Grk. karpos, generally means the edible product of a plant grown for agricultural purposes, but used here in the figurative sense of a natural outcome or benefit. In the LXX karpos stands chiefly for Heb. peri (SH-6529), fruit of plants (Gen 30:2), but in Hosea 14:2 translates Heb. par (SH-6499), a young bull or steer; also the sacrificial victim of a peace offering (Ex 24:5; Num 7:88).
of lips: pl. of Grk. cheilos (for Heb. saphah), lip of the human mouth. Paul engages in word play here since the phrase in Hosea could be translated "the sacrifices [bulls] of our lips." praising: Grk. homologeō (from homou, "together" and legō, "to speak"), pl. pres. part., to express oneself openly and firmly about a matter and may mean (1) to promise or assure; (2) to agree or admit; (3) to confess or admit guilt; (4) declare publicly or (5) to praise (BAG). BAG assigns the fifth meaning here. Thayer concurs saying, "the usage of homologeō here is unknown to secular Greek writers and has the meaning to praise or celebrate."
Mounce has the definition, "from the Hebrew, to accord praise." Zodhiates likewise notes that in this verse with the reference to honoring a person the verb means to give thanks, to praise. The translation of "acknowledge" in some versions (CJB, ESV, GW, NET, NOG, RSV) is too neutral and bland for this context. A number of versions have "confess/confessing," but the context here is not comparable to Romans 10:9-10. Several versions have "giving thanks" (KJV, NASU, NKJV, NLV, TLV) and a few have "praising" (DLNT, MW, NASB).
In the LXX homologeō is used once each to translate Heb. yadah, "to praise" (Job 40:14); nadar, "to make a vow" (Jer 44:25); and shaba, "to swear" (Ezek 16:8) (DNTT 1:344). The verb yadah is closest to the use of homologeō in this context, since yadah means to praise, give glory and confess a transgression, all at the same time (cf. Josh 7:19; 1Kgs 8:33-36; 2Chr 6:24-27).
his: Grk. autos. name: Grk. onoma is used in its central sense of identifying someone with a proper name. In Hebrew literature "name" also carries the extended sense of authority, qualities, powers, attributes or reputation. Praising the name of Yeshua, whether of his attributes or acts, is a sacrifice of praise. It is a sacrifice because it requires a denial of any self-achievement and an admission that our life is dependent on God's mercy and grace.
16 Moreover do not neglect the doing of good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Moreover: Grk. de, conj. used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement or thought, "but;" (2) a transition in presentation of subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) a connecting particle to continue a thought, "and, also," sometimes with emphasis as here, "indeed," "moreover" (Thayer). The translation of "but" in a number of versions is inappropriate since Paul is not introducing a contrast with the previous verse. Some versions omit the conjunction, thereby obscuring the connection of the following exhortation with the previous verse. In fact, Paul now describes the second form of spiritual sacrifices.
do not: Grk. mē, adv. See verse 2 above. neglect: Grk. epilanthanomai, pres. mid. imp., 2p-pl. See verse 2 above. The fact that the literary construction of 2a above and the verse here are identical cannot be accidental since both directives are similar in expected conduct. The twelfth command of the chapter, stated negatively, is a reminder not to disregard the obligations of charity. the doing of good: Grk. ho eupoiia (from eu, "good, well" and poieō, "to do"), doing of good, providing a benefit. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. The noun refers to a broad range of practical actions that benefit the needs of people (e.g., Deut 6:18; 8:16; Matt 19:16, 21; Mark 3:4; 14:6-7; Luke 6:35; Gal 6:9-10; 1Tim 6:18).
and: Grk. kai, conj. sharing: Grk. koinōnia may mean (1) a close association in shared interest or shared community life; (2) practical expression of fellowship through sharing; or (3) a close connection with a focus on sacred things. The second meaning is intended here. The noun occurs 19 times in the Besekh, 14 of which are in Paul's letters. Lane notes that the term has a financial connotation as expressed in Paul's instructions for collection of an offering to benefit the poor in Judea (Rom 15:26–27; 2Cor 8:4; 9:13). Yeshua declared in his Olivet Discourse that when he returns he will judge people on the basis of whether they served the needs of his brethren the Jews (Matt 25:34-41).
It is noteworthy that the only recorded "compassionate ministry" during the apostolic era was for the benefit of Jews, especially followers of Yeshua (cf. Acts 2:45; 6:1-3; 10:2; 11:29-30; 24:17). Paul enunciated the principle clearly: "So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith" (Gal 6:10). Many Christians today are seeking ways to bless the nation of Israel with both labor and finances. I strongly urge Christians to provide financial support to Messianic Jewish congregations and ministries in Israel that serve the needy.
for: Grk. gar, conj. with such: pl. Grk. toioutos, demonstrative pronoun, of this kind or sort, such. The plural form includes both "doing of good" and "sharing." sacrifices: pl. of Grk. thusia. See the previous verse. The actions of "doing good" and "sharing" are considered sacrifices, because they necessarily involve expenditure of money, resources and time to complete the actions. God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 4 above. Some versions make "God" an indirect object ("to God," AMP, ESV, NRSV, RSV), but the noun is in the nominative case, making it the subject of the sentence.
is pleased: Grk. euaresteō, pres. mid., may mean (1) to give pleasure by pleasing someone; or (2) to experience pleasure or take delight in. The second meaning applies here. The verb occurs only in this letter (also 11:5-6). In the LXX euaresteō occurs 14 times, generally to translate Heb. halak, to walk (with God), and is used of Enoch (Gen 5:22, 24), Noah (Gen 6:9), Abraham (Gen 17:1; 24:40; 48:15) and David (Ps 56:13). The LXX usage of the verb stresses the attitude of God toward the men. This is the point of the Greek verb here.
Pleasing God thus provides the motivation for the two types of sacrifice. Paul characterized a financial gift that Epaphroditus conveyed to him from the Philippian congregation as "a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God" (Php 4:18). Paul exhorted the Colossian congregation to, "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col 1:10). Devotion to pleasing God will eventually earn the divine accolade Yeshua reported in the parable of the talents, "well done good and faithful servant" (Matt 25:21, 23).
Call of Submission, 13:17-18
17 Obey and submit to those leading you, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will give an account; so that they might do this with joy and not groaning, indeed this is unprofitable for you.
Reference: Isaiah 62:6; Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 3:17.
Obey: Grk. peithō, pres. pass. imp., 2p-pl., in the passive voice may mean (1) be convinced or persuaded of something; or (2) to comply with, listen to, obey or yield to (BAG; Thayer). The second meaning applies here. and: Grk. kai, conj. submit: Grk. hupeikō, pres. imp., 2p-pl., to yield or submit to one in authority. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. Submission pertains to giving respect to whom it is due by right of position. to those: Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun.
leading: Grk. hēgeomai, pl. pres. mid. part. See verse 7 above. The participle alludes to congregational leaders, including overseers, pastors, prophets, teachers and elders. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. The thirteenth command of the chapter extends the thought of the exhortation in verse 7. Stern comments that many who call themselves believers in the Bible are unwilling to live by this verse of inspired Scripture; possibly because of fear and distrust of authority figures or excessive individualism (read self-centeredness). They are rebellious, undisciplined, and unwilling to be part of a team in order to accomplish the work of the Body of the Messiah.
The instruction here alludes to the fact that human society has layers of authority, all of which are established by God and to which God expects His people to voluntarily subordinate themselves. Rulers have authority over citizens (Rom 13:1; 1Tim 2:2; Titus 3:1). Employers have authority over their employees (Eph 6:5; Col 3:22; Titus 2:9). Pastors have authority over their congregations (Eph 4:11-12; 1Tim 5:17). Husbands have authority over their wives (Eph 5:22-23; Col 3:18; Titus 2:5). Parents have authority over their children (Eph 6:1; Col 3:20; 1Tim 3:4). In all these relationships authority should be exercised within the ethical guidelines established in Scripture.
for: Grk. gar, conj. they: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. are keeping watch: Grk. agrupneō, pres., 3p-pl., to be on the hunt for sleep, i.e., to be sleepless, to lie awake. This concept may have been derived from the mentions in the Tanakh of God appointing watchmen over Israel (Isa 62:6; Jer 6:17; Ezek 3:17). The verbal action is associated with being alert for spiritual dangers and interceding in prayer (Mark 13:33; Luke 21:36; Eph 6:18). Paul uses the noun agrupnia to describe his watching in sleepless nights endured for the sake of the congregations (2Cor 6:5; 11:27).
over: Grk. huper, prep., lit., "over, beyond," but used here with the sense of "on behalf of, for the sake of." your: Grk. humeis. souls: pl. of Grk. psuchē may mean (1) the breath of life; (2) the human soul; (3) the seat of feelings, desires, affections; (4) the self; or (5) the human person. The second meaning is intended here. In the LXX psuchē translates Heb. nephesh (SH-5315), which may mean a soul, living being; first in Genesis 1:20. The use of psuchē probably refers to spiritual well-being. The good spiritual shepherd knows his sheep and serves sacrificially for the good of the sheep (cf. John 10:11, 14).
as: Grk. hōs, adv., used here for comparison. those who will give: Grk. apodidōmi, pl. fut. part., with the basic idea of reciprocity the verb may mean (1) give back, return, or restore; or (2) give or render as due. The second meaning applies here. The future tense stresses a certainty of fulfilling an obligation. an account: Grk. logos, lit. "word." See verse 7 above. Here the noun is used for an answer or explanation in reference to judgment. This accountability is to Yeshua, the great shepherd of the sheep (verse 20 below), which will occur in Messiah's judgment at the Second Coming (cf. Matt 25:31-35).
so that: Grk. hina, conj. they might do: Grk. poieō, pres. subj., 3p-pl. See verse 6 above. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. The pronoun alludes to the responsibility of keeping watch. with: Grk. meta, prep. with a root meaning of "in the midst of" (DM 107), used here as a marker of association. joy: Grk. chara (from chairō, "to rejoice"), joy, delight, gladness, a source of joy. and: Grk. kai. not: Grk. mē, adv. groaning: Grk. stenazō, pl. pres. part., to groan within oneself. The verb denotes feeling which is internal and unexpressed, i.e. to sigh, moan (groan) with frustration (HELPS). Danker adds "with a feeling of being imposed upon."
The verb alludes to the stress experienced by congregational leaders, especially pastors. Congregations have high expectations for their pastors and thus stress is the most serious challenge faced by modern pastors. Stress may occur in relation to church finances, personal relationships, and time management. Pastors are expected to work more than 40-hours per week and most become overly fatigued as a result. See the article Pastor Stress Statistics.
indeed: Grk. gar. this: Grk. houtos. The pronoun refers to depriving the congregational leader of joy in his service. is unprofitable: Grk. alusitelēs, adj., not in one's best interest; detrimental, unprofitable. for you: Grk. humeis. Stern comments that this verse encourages cooperation between leader and those being led for the good of the congregation and the glory of the Lord. Cooperation with pastoral leadership strengthens the congregation against division and spiritual attack by Satan.
18 Pray for us, for we are convinced that we have a clear conscience, desiring to live honorably in all things.
Pray: Grk. proseuchomai, pres. mid. imp., 2p-pl., to petition God for His help or answer with respect to an urgent need. for: Grk. peri, prep. See verse 11 above. us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. The pronoun might only intend Paul himself, given the rest of the verse, but he just as likely wanted prayer for his entire team in Rome, which included Aristarchus, Demas, Epaphras, Luke, Mark and Tychicus (cf. Acts 27:2; Eph 6:21; Col 4:10-14; Phm 1:23).
Communication with God can take a variety of forms, but here the fourteenth command of the chapter appeals for intercessory prayer. Paul was not too proud to request prayer on his behalf as he did so in other letters (Eph 6:18-19; Col 4:3; 1Th 5:25; 2Th 3:1). Paul has no doubt about the efficacy of prayer and in this verse he apparently desires prayer that he will be vindicated of the charges against him. See my graphic presentation Principles of Effective Prayer.
for: Grk. gar, conj. The first person plural of the next two verbs could include Paul's companions. we are convinced: Grk. peithō, pres. mid., 1p-pl., to persuade, and in the middle voice means to be confident, convinced or persuaded (Mounce). that: Grk. hoti, that serves as a link between two sets of data, here introducing a subordinate clause as complementary of the preceding verb. we have: Grk. echō, pres., 1p-pl. See verse 10 above. a clear: Grk. kalos, adj. See verse 9 above. conscience: Grk. suneidēsis, sensitivity to moral or ethical expectations; i.e. conscience which joins moral and spiritual consciousness as part of being created in the divine image (HELPS).
In a practical sense "conscience" corresponds to the Hebrew term "heart" (Heb. levav), which means "mind" or "will" and refers to that human capacity for making moral and ethical decisions. The term suneidēsis occurs 30 times in the Besekh and outside of Hebrews it occurs only in Paul's speeches (Acts 23:1; 24:16), and in his letters. The conscience functions best as an internal awareness of right and wrong when guided by knowledge of God's commandments (Rom 2:15; cf. 1Cor 8:7; Heb 10:2). The declaration here is comparable to a previous statement by Paul,
"For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord" (1Cor 4:4).
desiring: Grk. thelō, pl. pres. part., to have a desire for something or have a purpose for something; will, wish, desire. to live: Grk. anastrephō (from ana, "up," and strephō, "to turn"), pres. mid. inf., lit. "overturn," but here means to behave oneself, conduct oneself, to live. honorably: Grk. kalōs, adv., in an effective manner, often with the focus on meeting expectations; well, becomingly, effectually, honorably, rightly (Mounce). in: Grk. en, prep. all things: neut. pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 4 above. The phrase "in all things" equals "in all circumstances."
For some reason Paul felt it necessary to assure his readers of the integrity of himself and his ministry team, regardless of the slander of adversaries (cf. Rom 3:1-3, 8; 1Cor 4:13; 2Cor 2:12; 6:3; 1Th 2:14-16). Nevertheless, Paul recognizes the danger of spiritual warfare and knows that he and his team need prayer to provide spiritual strength and wisdom to handle trying circumstances.
19 Now, I exhort you to do this more earnestly so that I may be restored to you more quickly.
Now: Grk. de, conj. I exhort you: Grk. parakaleō (from para, "beside," and kaleō, "to call"), pres., may mean (1) call to be at one's side; (2) hearten in time of trouble; or (3) encourage performance; urge, exhort, encourage. The third meaning applies here. to do: Grk. poieō, aor. inf. See verse 6 above. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse 2 above. The pronoun refers to the request for prayer in the previous verse. more earnestly: Grk. perissoterōs, adv., in a greater degree; much more, more abundantly, more earnestly. Paul calls for a "concert of prayer" similar to the intensive prayer that occurred when Peter was imprisoned in Jerusalem (Acts 12:5, 12).
so that: Grk. hina, conj. See verse 12 above. I may be restored: Grk. apokathistēmi, aor. pass. subj., to change back and so effect an improved condition, here of release from Roman custody. Paul's desire is not only to have his innocence and reputation vindicated, but to have the charges against him dismissed and be released. to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. The plural pronoun refers to the Body of Messiah more generally, rather than a specific congregation. more quickly: Grk. tacheōs, adj., swiftly, without unnecessary delay; more quickly, more swiftly. Paul is convinced that specific persistent prayer will result in a divine answer.
Commentators agree that the request to pray for restoration implies being held in custody. For Paul there are three significant periods of incarceration: (1) in Caesarea under Felix and Festus (57-60), (2) in Rome under Nero (60-62), (3) and in Rome again under Nero prior to his martyrdom (67/68). The report in Acts of Paul's first imprisonment does not fit the context of this letter. And, this letter does not have the ring of finality of his life as he wrote in his second letter to Timothy during his final imprisonment under Nero (2Tim 4:6-7).
Thus, some modern commentators who accept Pauline authorship date the letter during Paul's second imprisonment in Rome (Gill, H.M. Morris, L. Morris, Robinson, Tenney). During this time Paul fully expected to be released (cf. Acts 28:30; Php 1:19).
Call for Divine Empowerment, 13:20-21
20 And the God of peace, the One having brought back from death Yeshua, our Lord, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Reference: Isaiah 55:3; 63:11; Ezekiel 37:26; Zechariah 9:11.
Paul follows up his request for prayer by offering his own fervent prayer-wish. In so doing Paul summarizes significant theological truths. This verse and the next is a single sentence in the Greek text. Now: Grk. de, conj. The conjunction firmly connects the following prayer-wish to the preceding unit of discourse (Lane). the God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 4 above. As in verse 15 above "God" refers to "the Father." of peace: Grk. eirēnē, peace, which may denote a state of harmony or a state of well-being. In the LXX eirēnē translates Heb. shalom (SH-7965), peace and friendship in human relations, first in Genesis 15:15.
Shalom has a broad range of meaning, including (1) personal welfare, health and prosperity; (2) security and tranquility in the community; (3) peace from war; and (4) peace with God especially in covenant relation. The expression "God of peace" occurs elsewhere only in the letters of Paul (Rom 15:33; 26:20; 2Cor 13:11; Php 4:9; 1Th 5:23). In fact, the expression was probably coined by Paul since it occurs nowhere in the Tanakh.
the One: Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun and reference to God. having brought back: Grk. anagō (from ana, "back, up" and agō, "to bring, lead"), aor. part., to lead up, to lead or bring into a higher place; to lead or bring up. Bible versions are divided in translating the verb as "brought again" (ASV, KJV, ESV, RSV), "brought back" (CEB, ISV, NCB, NET, NIV, NRSV) and "brought up" (CJB, CSB, LSB, NASB, NKJV, NLT, TLV). The translation "brought again" is nonsensical since the event in view here occurred only one time. Of the other two choices "brought back" seems the superior translation in terms of what was actually accomplished.
from: Grk. ek, prep. See verse 10 above. death: Grk. nekros may be used as (1) a noun, corpse or (2) adj., without life in the physical sense, being dead. The term, of course, applies to Yeshua's body not his spirit. The clause "having brought up from death" refers to Yeshua's resurrection, but some commentators suggest it could also include the ascension (Ellicott, Farrar, Faussett). Although nekros lacks the definite article most versions translate the term as a noun "the dead," meaning the dead in the world below (Thayer). Yet, Paul means "death" as a condition or state, and several versions translate nekros here as "death" (CEV, ERV, GNB, ICB, NMB, WE).
Many Christians believe that Yeshua went to Hades when he died and stayed there until he was resurrected on the third day afterward. However, no Scripture says that Yeshua descended into Hades, which is a place of punishment (Luke 16:23) and the abode of fallen angels (2Pet 2:4). According to Luke's narrative Yeshua's spirit went to heaven the same afternoon of his death (Luke 23:43, 46). The apostles consistently declared that God (the Father) resurrected Yeshua from death (Acts 2:24; 10:40; 13:30; Rom 10:9). Yeshua did not resurrect himself.
Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous. See verse 8 above. our: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. The pronoun refers to the corporate Body of Messiah consisting of the faithful remnant of Jews and the grafted-in Gentiles. Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 6 above. Kurios is the principal title by which disciples and members of the public addressed Yeshua during his earthly ministry. Yeshua is the owner-master of his disciples. However, Paul may have had deity in mind since kurios is often substituted for the sacred name YHVH in the LXX.
the great: Grk. ho megas, adj., large or great in extent and is used of used of size, measure, quantity, time, age, rank or influence. The adjective is used here of rank. shepherd: Grk. ho poimēn, one who watches over sheep, a shepherd. In the LXX poimēn translates the participle of the verb Heb. ra'ah (SH-7462), to pasture, tend, first occurring in Genesis 4:2 of Abel (DNTT 3:564). The term is used both literally in the vocational sense and figuratively of teachers and rulers (e.g., 1Kgs 22:17; Ps 78:72; Jer 2:8; 3:15; 23:1; Ezek 34:2).
of the sheep: Grk. ho probaton, sheep (whether ram, male sheep or ewe), an animal in the care of a shepherd. In the LXX probaton translates Heb. tson (SH-6629), a word for small livestock (sheep, goats, flock) and means primarily the sheep as a useful and gregarious animal (Gen 4:2; 30:38) (DNTT 2:412). Probaton also translates Heb. seh (SH-7716), sheep or lamb (Gen 22:7; Ex 12:3; Isa 53:7). The term "sheep" is used figuratively in Scripture for the people of Israel, whether gathered, protected, straying or victimized (Ps 44:2; 74:1; 78:52; 79:13; 95:7; 100:3; Isa 53:6; Jer 23:1; 50:6; Ezek 34:10-31; Matt 10:6; 15:24).
Bruce points out that Philo depicts God as the supreme Shepherd who entrusts His flock, the universe, to the shepherd care of the Logos, His firstborn Son (On Husbandry §51; On Change of Names §115f). Yeshua referred to himself as the shepherd of his Jewish disciples (John 10:26-27; 21:16-17). So, it is appropriate that the one who is the "great high priest" (Heb 4:14; 10:21) should be the great shepherd.
by: Grk. en, prep. See verse 3 above. The preposition combined with the dative case of the noun following expresses a Hebrew idiom for the price by which the resurrection was accomplished. The preposition could be translated "in virtue of" (Brown, Ellicott, Meyer, Nicoll). the blood: Grk. haima. See verse 11 above. of the everlasting: Grk. aiōnios, adj., relating to time of unending duration or without interruption; eternal, everlasting. In the LXX aiōnios translates Heb. olam, antiquity, futurity, long duration, perpetuity (Gen 9:8).
covenant: Grk. diathēkē (from diatithēmi, "to set out in order"), a formal compact or covenant having complete terms determined by the initiating party, which also are fully affirmed by the one entering the covenant. In the LXX diathēkē translates Heb. b'rit (SH-1285), pact, compact, or covenant (BDB 136). In ancient Semitic culture the term b'rit was used in regard to human agreements (Gen 14:13; 1Sam 3:12; 18:3), but the regular use of b'rit is in regard to covenants unilaterally initiated by God. See my web article The Everlasting Covenants.
Each of the divine covenants set forth specific promises, expectations, duration and a sign or perpetual reminder of the covenant. The term diathēkē translating b'rit refers to a declaration of God's will, an irrevocable disposition made by God of His own gracious choice to secure a religious inheritance to His chosen people (Zodhiates). The participation of the "one chosen" was to accept it or reject it and then upon acceptance to obey its expectations.
The expression "everlasting covenant" occurs only here in the Besekh, but 17 times in the Tanakh and characterizes the covenants God made with named individuals (Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and the nation of Israel (Gen 9:16; 17:7-8, 13, 19; Ex 31:16-17; Num 18:19; 2Sam 23:5). These covenants made the land of Canaan an everlasting possession of the biological descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob (cf. 1Chr 16:17-18; Ps 105:10-11). Most significant is the covenant of the Messianic Kingdom with Israel and Judah ruled over by the Davidic King (Isa 55:3; 61:8; Jer 32:40; Ezek 37:24-28).
The everlasting covenant of the Messianic Kingdom is also referred to as the New Covenant (Jer 31:31-33), which Paul reviews in Hebrews 8:8-13; 9:15-22). The terms of the New Covenant (Heb. B'rit Chadash) were that God would write the Torah on their hearts, that ADONAI will be Israel's God, that Israel will be His people, that all would know God without a teacher, that there would be forgiveness of all sins, including capital crimes, and that all the former promises are "Yes" in Him.
The mention of the "blood of the everlasting covenant," a reference to Yeshua's shedding of blood during his crucifixion, contains an allusion to the declaration of Yeshua in his last Seder, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood" (Luke 22:20). The saying was then incorporated into Paul's instructions for the Lord's Supper (1Cor 11:25). The declaration of this verse is that Yeshua's resurrection was contingent on the efficacy of his atoning blood (Bruce). Only then was the inauguration of the New Covenant possible. Hegg comments that:
"Like the high priest on Yom Kippur who returned alive to the people after entering the Most Holy Place, thus assuring God's acceptance of the offering, so Yeshua’s resurrection was proof positive that the Father had accepted the offering He had made. His victory over death proved His victory over sin, and thus it is through the resurrection that He proves His ultimate Lordship."
21 equip you in everything good in order to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing before Him, through Yeshua the Messiah, to whom be the glory into the ages of the ages. Amen.
equip: Grk. katartizō, aor. opt., to fit out, put in order; complete, equip, prepare. The optative mood of the verb sees what is conceivable and therefore expresses a wish. According to the syntax of the sentence God will perform this desirable action. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. in: Grk. en, prep. everything: Grk. pas, adj. See verse 4 above. good: Grk. agathos, adj., achieving a high standard of excellence in meeting a need or interest, beneficial, useful, helpful or good. in order: Grk. eis, prep. to do: Grk. poieō, aor. inf. See verse 6 above. His: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The pronoun refers back to "God" in the previous verse.
will: Grk. thelēma may mean (1) that which is to be carried out according to wish or purpose, will; or (2) the act of willing, will or desire. The first meaning applies here. Paul repeatedly called members of congregations to be devoted to doing God's moral and ethical will as expressed in the commandments (Rom 12:2; Col 1:10; 1Th 4:3).
working: Grk. poieō, pres. part. in: Grk. en. us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. that which is: Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. pleasing: Grk. euarestos, adj., well-pleasing or gratifying because of being fully acceptable (HELPS). The adjective euarestos is only used by Paul, occurring eight times in his other letters (Rom 12:1-2; 14:18; 2Cor 5:9; Eph 4:10; Php 4:18; Col 3:20; Titus 2:9). before: Grk. enōpion, prep., from a word meaning "facing" with the basic idea of being 'in sight of' or 'in the presence of.' Him: Grk. autos, i.e., God the Father.
through: Grk. dia, prep. See verse 2 above. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous. See verse 8 above. the Messiah: Grk. Christos. See verse 8 above. The phrase "through Yeshua the Messiah" stresses his mediatorial role at the right hand of the Father. to whom: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. be the glory: Grk. ho doxa literally means "what evokes good opinion, i.e. that something has inherent, intrinsic worth" (Thayer). In biblical usage doxa serves as a translation in the LXX of the Hebrew kabôd (SH-3519), splendor or brightness, which conveys the majesty of that which belongs to God, to the Messiah or to angels (DNTT 2:45).
Kabôd (pronounced "kah-vohd") is particularly used to refer to the luminous manifestation of God's person, His glorious revelation of Himself (Ex 24:16-17). Characteristically, kabod is linked with verbs of seeing and stresses the impact that the manifestation of God makes on others. In the Besekh doxa is a continuation of the underlying Hebrew concept (DNTT 2:45). Paul's exclamation of praise sums up God's dwelling in unapproachable light (1Tim 6:16), His absolute holiness, the beauty of His appearance, and the only One worthy of honor.
into: Grk. eis, prep. See verse 8 above. Here the preposition denotes direction and transition of a temporal nature. the ages: pl. of Grk. ho aiōn, properly, an age or era ("time-span"), characterized by a specific quality or type of existence (HELPS). In the LXX aiōn translates Heb. ōlam (SH-5769), "long duration, antiquity or futurity" (BDB 761), first in Genesis 3:22. Olam is also used adverbially to mean "forever, for all time" (Gen 9:12), as well as ancient time (Gen 6:4; 49:26), and indefinite futurity (Deut 15:17).
Time is an integral component of the triune universe that God created (Gen 1:1). The Hebrew term ōlam is generally concerned with the duration of time in relation to something specific, such as a man's life (DNTT 3:827). In the Besekh Yeshua and the apostles generally speak of two specific ages – the present age (Heb. olam hazeh; Matt 28:20, Titus 2:12) and the age to come (Heb. olam haba; Matt 12:32; Heb 6:5), which follows the Second Coming.
of the ages: pl. of Grk. ho aiōn. The phrase "ages of the ages" denote time that will continue without end and echoes the mention of "everlasting" in the previous verse. Most versions translate the phrase as "forever and ever." The phrase also expresses a superlative thought that the age to come will be the greatest age ever known.
Amen: Grk. amēn ("ah-mane") transliterates the Heb. ’amen (SH-543), an adverb meaning "verily" or "truly" (BDB 53). The normal use in Scripture for amēn is as a response to a statement a speaker has just made. The first occurrence of amēn in the Tanakh is Deuteronomy 27:15-26 where it occurs 12 times as a response of the people to the announcement of curses. Only three times in the Tanakh is amēn self-initiated as part of a benediction (Ps 41:14; 72:19; 89:53). Paul closes some of his letters with "amen" (Rom 16:27; 1Cor 16:24; Gal 6:18; Php 4:20).
Another evidence in this chapter of Pauline authorship is that the exact phrase "glory into the ages of the ages, amen" (doxa eis tous aiōnas tōn aiōnōn. amēn) occurs elsewhere only in Galatians 1:5, Philippians 4:20; 1Timothy 1:17, and 2Timothy 4:18.
Closing Appeal and Benediction, 13:20-25
22 Now I urge you, brothers, bear with the word of exhortation, for also I have written to you by a few words.
Now: Grk. de, conj. I urge: Grk. parakaleō, pres. See verse 19 above. Paul expresses a personal appeal. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. brothers: pl. of Grk. adelphos, voc., lit. "of the same womb," a male sibling; brother. In the Besekh the term primarily refers to blood siblings or fellow Israelites who are of the same blood by virtue of descent from Jacob. In the LXX adelphos translates Heb. ach (SH-251), a male sibling (Gen 4:2; 20:5), a near blood relative (Gen 13:8), a member of the same tribe (Num 16:10) or a fellow descendent of Jacob (Ex 2:11; 4:18).
The direct address of "adelphoi" certainly stresses the Jewish constituency of the congregations. Danker suggests that the plural vocative case, which occurs four times in this letter, can serve in the collective sense of "brothers and sisters" given that Paul is addressing the entire constituency of the congregations. A number of versions translate the noun as "brothers and sisters" (e.g., CSB, NASB-20, NIV, NLT, NRSVUE, TLV).
The great majority of versions translate the plural noun as either "brethren" (which can have the neutral meaning of "fellow members") or "brothers." However, the latter address might be more appropriate considering the confrontational nature of this letter. The direct address would include the elders of the congregations as well as prominent male leaders and heads of households. Paul was not shy about addressing women directly (cf. 1Cor 14:34f; 1Tim 2:9-12; 3:11; Titus 2:3-4).
bear with: Grk. anechomai, pres. mid. imp., to put up with when faced with something disagreeable, annoying, or difficult; tolerate, endure, bear with, have patience with or listen to. The fifteenth command of the chapter is to recognize that Paul wrote with "tough love" for their spiritual welfare. the word: Grk ho logos. See verse 7 above. of exhortation: Grk. paraklēsis may mean (1) emboldening for facing or carrying out a responsibility or task, exhortation or encouragement; or (2) heartening in a time of trouble through word or demeanor; consolation or comfort. The first meaning applies here. In the Besekh the term is known only in Luke-Acts (6 times) and the canonical letters of Paul (23 times).
In the Greek Tanakh paraklēsis occurs several times, but only in the sense of comfort or consolation (Job 21:2; Ps 94:19; Isa 57:18; 66:11; Jer 16:7; 31:9; Nah 3:7; Zech 1:13). However, in the Maccabean writings the term is used in the sense of admonition, exhortation and entreaty (1Macc 10:24; 2Macc 7:24; 15:9). The singular "word of exhortation" probably alludes to the letter as a whole.
for: Grk. gar, conj. also: Grk. kai, conj. I have written: Grk. epistellō, aor., to write, to send a message by letter. to you: Grk. humeis. by: Grk. dia, prep. The preposition introduces the manner of writing. a few words: pl. of Grk. brachus, adj., brief, little, or short, and used of time, quantity and a measure. Many versions translate the word with the adverb "briefly," which may obscure the plurality of the adjective. Paul's description of the letter seems an understatement given that the letter has 4,953 words in 303 verses and 13 chapters. Of course, two letters are longer: Romans (7,111 words in 16 chapters) and 1Corinthians (6,829 words in 16 chapters).
Hegg suggests the statement could mean much more could have been written but Paul restrained himself from doing so (cf. Heb 9:5). Stern suggests that Paul's comment may indicate he is summarizing a series of sermons he previously gave orally to some of the congregations. However, Barnes offers a cogent explanation of Paul's description:
"This does not mean that this Epistle is short compared with the others that the author had written, for most of the Epistles of Paul are shorter than this. But it means, that it was brief compared with the importance and difficulty of the subjects of which he had treated. The topics introduced would have allowed a much more extended discussion; but in handling them he had made use of as few words as possible. No one can deny this who considers the sententious manner of this Epistle. As an illustration of this, perhaps we may remark that it is easy to expand the thoughts of this Epistle into ample volumes of exposition, and that in fact it is difficult to give an explanation of it without a commentary that shall greatly surpass in extent the text. None can doubt, also, that the author of this Epistle could have himself greatly expanded the thoughts and the Illustrations if he had chosen. It is with reference to such considerations, probably, that he says that the Epistle was brief."
23 You know our brother Timothy has been released, with whom should he come soon I will see you.
You know: Grk. ginōskō, pres., 2p-pl., to know, here meaning to be in receipt of information. In the LXX ginōskō primarily translates Heb. yada (first in Gen 3:5), which in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, especially knowledge gained by experience. The verb assumes a common knowledge possessed by the readers of this letter. our: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. brother: Grk. adelphos. See the previous verse. The reference adelphon hēmōn ("our brother") occurs elsewhere only in two of Paul's other letters (2Cor 8:22; 1Th 3:2), both in reference to Timothy.
Timothy: Grk. Timotheos (from timaō, honor, and theos, God"), "one who honors God." The name occurs 24 times in the Besekh, first in Acts 16:1. The name of Timothy was much used in the Hellenistic world, including two notable military leaders. Yet, the meaning of the name might reflect the hope of the mother in contrast to the character of the father. Many mothers in Scripture gave names to their sons (Gen 29:33, 35; 30:6, 8, 11, 13, 18, 20, 24; 35:18; 38:4-5; Ex 2:10; Jdg 13:24; 1Sam 1:20; 1Chr 4:9; 7:16).
Timothy was from Lystra, a prominent city in the southern region of Galatia, and the son of a traditional Jewish mother and a Hellenistic Jewish father. Timothy and his mother Eunice had embraced the Messiah during Paul's first journey. After being circumcised Timothy was ordained to ministry by the laying on of hands by Paul and the elders of the congregation (1Tim 4:14; 2Tim 1:6) and from that point became an important member of Paul's ministry team (Acts 16:3). Paul's close relationship to Timothy is evident in his reference to Timothy as his child in the faith (1Cor 4:17; 1Tim 1:2; 2Tim 1:2 ).
has been released: Grk. apoluō, perf. pass. part., to set free from a condition or obligation; release, set free, let go. The verb implies a period of involuntary confinement. The confinement of Timothy is relevant to the dating of this letter. Timothy traveled with Paul during his second and third Diaspora journeys (cf. Acts 17:14-15; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Rom 16:21; 1Cor 4:17; 16:10; 2Cor 1:1, 19; 1Th 1:1; 3:2, 6; 2Th 1:1). Even though Paul suffered episodes of imprisonment during these journeys, there is no mention by Luke of Timothy experiencing the same treatment.
Thus, the mention of Timothy's confinement here probably took place after A.D. 59. Timothy had been in Rome with Paul when he wrote the letters to Philemon (Phm 1:1) and the congregations in Colossae (Col 1:1) and Philippi (Php 1:1). Before his release from custody in Rome Paul had also intended to send Timothy to Philippi on a ministry errand (Php 2:19-23), and its possible that while there he was arrested and held for a time.
with: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 17 above. whom: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. should he come: Grk. erchomai, pres. mid. subj., 'to come or arrive,' with focus on a position from which action or movement takes place. The verb anticipates Timothy returning to Rome. soon: Grk. tacheōs, adj. See verse 19 above. I will see: Grk. horaō, fut. mid., to perceive physically with the eye, or in a fig. sense to experience something or to have extraordinary mental or inward perception; see, perceive, experience. In the LXX horaō translates Heb. ra'ah (SH-7200), to see, with a wide range of meaning, first in Genesis 1:9. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person.
Stern suggests that the verbal clause refers to the freedom to move about. As already mentioned Paul certainly anticipated a successful outcome of his legal case in Rome (Php 1:19). Luke's statement that Paul "stayed two whole years in his own rented lodging" (Acts 28:30), could only have been written after the time period was completed. Since Paul arrived in Rome in late February of A.D. 60, then twenty-four months would conclude in February/March of 62. No explanation is offered for the two year delay but Paul had spent two years in custody in Caesarea because of Governor Felix hoping for a bribe (Acts 24:26f).
The two years of waiting in Rome could have occurred because of congestion of court business, but more likely the lack of a bribe to government bureaucrats. It is a safe inference that according to the angelic prediction to Paul aboard ship (Acts 27:24) his case did come up for hearing and he did indeed "stand before Caesar." With the report of the Judaea governor declaring that Paul had broken no Roman law (cf. Acts 25:18-19, 25-26; 28:18), the trial would have been brief and the case dismissed with prejudice. The declaration "I will see you" reflects that successful verdict.
The qualification about Timothy accompanying Paul probably has to do his planned departure from Rome. There is no evidence that Timothy returned to Rome, since after Paul's release he wrote to Titus without mentioning Timothy. Apparently Timothy returned to Ephesus where he had been appointed to serve as overseer (1Tim 1:3) and remained there until his death.
24 Share my greetings with all those leading you and all the holy ones. Those from Italy greet you.
Share my greetings: Grk. aspazomai, aor. mid. imp., 2p-pl., may mean (1) to address with some form of special recognition or expression of affection; or (2) pay one's respects to. Such greeting often included embracing and kissing (Rom 16:16; 1Cor 16:20; 2Cor 13:12; 1Th 5:26; 1Pet 5:14). Of interest is that Danker, Mounce and Thayer do not identify which meaning should be applied to this verse. The great majority of Bible versions translate the verb simply as "Greet." Paul then mentions two groups as objects of the verb, which creates a conundrum. To whom is he writing that would not be included in the two groups?
BAG explains that the imperative mood of the verb may be translated as "remember me to (someone) (116). Lane confirms that in the second-person form of the verb, the writer indicates that the addressee is to greet others for him. A small number of versions recognize this application and translate the verb as "give our/my greetings" (AMP, AMPC, GNB, TLB, NCB). Relevant to understanding Paul's (or Luke's) choice of verb is that in the LXX aspazomai occurs only in Exodus 18:7 (LXX/MT) where it translates a Hebrew construction meaning "they asked each other about their well-being." Paul wants his readers to be assured of his concern for the welfare of all followers of Yeshua.
with all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 4 above. those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. leading: Grk. hēgeomai, pl. pres. mid. part. See verse 7 above. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. Again, the reference "those leading you" is to the congregational elders. and: Grk. kai, conj. all: pl. of Grk. pas. the holy ones: pl. of Grk. ho hagios, adj., set apart for dedication to God and therefore holy or sacred. In Scripture the term is used of the temple, the holy land, Jerusalem, sacrifices, angels and human persons. The root meaning of the term is "different," and as applied to humans means being different from the world (cf. 1Jn 2:15-16) (HELPS).
In the LXX hagios translates the Heb. adj. qadôsh (SH-6918), "holy, sacred," and its first usage is of Israel set apart as a holy nation (Ex 19:6) (DNTT 2:224). The plural form as a descriptive name for Israelites occurs several times (Ps 16:3; 34:9; 89:5; Dan 7:21-22, 25, 27). In post-Tanakh Jewish literature the plural hagioi is used for the Jerusalem priestly community (1Macc 1:46; 3Macc 2:2, 21; Tobit 12:15) and members of the Hasideans, forerunners of the Pharisees (1Macc 7:17). The community of Qumran also described itself as "the holy ones of His people" (1QM 6:6) (TDSS 153).
The label as used among Israelites and Jews and signified those who are "wholly His," those who fear God and live according to His commandments. Usage of the term in the Besekh continues the essential meaning of complete devotion and separation to God. Paul addressed virtually all his letters to the "holy ones," which would have significant meaning for the Jews in the congregation, but he did not use the term in any elitist sense.
The noun is translated as "saints" in the majority of Christian versions, and is used here of lay persons in the Body of Messiah in contrast to the leaders. (The leaders are presumed to be holy as a qualification for their ministry.) However, as a personal description the label denotes more than being a believer or a "church member" as defined in modern times. Indeed, this is only the second use of the term in this letter and thus could refer to those who have experienced the five levels of grace described in Hebrews 6:4-5. The holy ones exhibit the maturity to which Paul calls his readers.
The historical restriction of "saint" to designate only the apostles and later Christian leaders acclaimed for their ministry and miracles is unfortunate and unnecessary. The true "saints" or holy ones are those who have accepted the truth of the Good News of the Messiah, repented of their sins, put their trust in the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua for their sins, separated themselves to live by God's commandments, and open their hearts to the cleansing and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. The "holy ones" are faithful believers who pray, witness and serve God without being heralded.
Those: pl. of Grk. ho. from: Grk. apo, prep. used generally as a marker of separation or origin, here the latter and referring to local origin; from. Italy: Grk. ho Italia, the boot-shaped peninsula between the two seas (Tyrrhenian and Adriatic) and which extends from the Alps on the north to the Mediterranean Sea on the south. refers A Greek historian, Dionysius of Halicarnassus (first c. BC), said that the country was named for Italus, a legendary king who lived there (Roman Antiquities, Book I). Italy was noted for its ethnic diversity, with so many Greeks occupying the southern part that it was called "Great Greece" by the citizens of Rome (HBD). See the map here.
For many commentators the location reference of Italy signifies the destination of the letter, perhaps Rome itself (so Barclay, Bruce and Guthrie) and "those from Italy" signify compatriots of the readers who were with Paul. Hegg comments that the phrase "those from Italy" can refer either to those presently residing in Italy, or those who had been expelled from Italy [sic]. The latter occurrence mentioned in Acts 18:2 refers to Aquila and Priscilla who left Italy for Corinth after they had been forced to leave Rome.
In A.D. 49/50 Caesar Claudius had expelled a number of Jews from Rome, not the country of Italy. The duration of the ban of Claudius is unclear, but historians generally mark its end with the accession of Nero in 54. When Paul wrote his letter to the congregation in Rome in 57 Aquila and Priscilla had returned there (Rom 16:3). Leon Morris comments that Acts 10:23 has a similar expression for those still living in their homeland and Acts 21:27 for those living away from their homeland. However, Bruce acknowledges the syntax of the phrase could be easily understood to mean that Paul was in Rome (xxxiv). Clarke comments:
"Therefore it is most likely that the writer of this epistle was then in some part of Italy, from which he had not as yet removed after his being released from prison. By they of Italy probably the apostle means the Jew's there who had embraced the Christian faith."
greet: Grk. aspazomai, pres. mid., 3p-pl. you: Grk. humeis. As common in Paul's letters he shares affectionate greetings of concern from fellow disciples located in the area from which he writes. Paul gave the same perspective when he wrote to the Corinthian congregation from Ephesus and said, "the congregations of Asia greet you" (1Cor 16:19). Indeed, Paul customarily extended greetings in his letters from those with him in the city from which he wrote (Rom 16:23; 2Cor 13:13; Php 4:21-22; Col 4:10, 12; Titus 3:15; Phm 1:23).
25 Grace be with all of you.
Grace: Grk. ho charis. See verse 9 above. be with: Grk. meta, prep. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. of you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. The phrase "all of you" alludes to the mention of "leaders" and "holy ones" in the previous verse. This greeting is typical of Paul. The exact phrase ("Grace be with you all") occurs elsewhere only in Titus 3:15, and a shortened form "Grace be with you" occurs in three other letters of Paul (Col 4:18; 1Tim 6:21; 2Tim 4:22). Paul wishes that the recipients of the letter will continue to experience God's favor, which they will do if they heed his exhortations and warnings.
BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.
Barclay: William Barclay, The Letter to the Hebrews. Rev. ed. The Westminster Press, 1976. Daily Bible Study Series.
Barnes: Albert Barnes (1798-1870), Notes on the Whole Bible (1834). Baker Book House, 1949. Online.
BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981.
Bruce: F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1964. (New International Commentary on the New Testament)
Clarke: Adam Clarke (1762–1832), Commentary on the Holy Bible. 6 vols. Online.
Danker: F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, 2009.
Davies: W.D. Davies, Paul and Rabbinic Judaism: Some Rabbinic Elements in Pauline Theology. rev. ed. Harper Torchbooks, 1967.
DM: H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. The Macmillan Co., 1955.
DNTT: Colin Brown, ed., Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 Vols. Zondervan Pub. House, 1975.
DSB: The Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing Co., 1995. [KJV with annotations by Dr. Henry M. Morris.]
Ellicott: Charles John Ellicott (1819–1905), Commentary for English Readers (1878). Online.
Farrar: Frederic W. Farrar (1831-1903), Hebrews, The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge University Press, 1891. Online.
Faussett: A.R. Faussett, The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871) by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown. Online.
Fruchtenbaum: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, "Hebrews," Ariel's Bible Commentary: The Messianic Jewish Epistles. Ariel Ministries, 2005.
Gill: John Gill (1697-1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible. Online.
GNT: The Greek New Testament, eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Bruce M. Metzger, & Allen Wiegren. American Bible Society, 1966. [NA25]
Guthrie: Donald Guthrie, Hebrews. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1983. [Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Vol. 15].
Hegg: Tim Hegg, A Commentary on the Book of Hebrews. Vol. 2. TorahResource, 2016.
HELPS: Gleason L. Archer and Gary Hill, eds., The Discovery Bible New Testament: HELPS Word Studies. Moody Press, 1987, 2011. (Online at BibleHub.com)
HBD: Trent C. Butler, ed., Holman Bible Dictionary. Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1991. Online.
Kidner: Derek Kidner, Psalms 73―150: An Introduction and Commentary. InterVarsity Press, 1975. (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries)
Lane: William L. Lane, Word Biblical Commentary: Hebrews 9-13. Word Books, 1991. Online.
LSJ: Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (1889). rev. by Sir Henry Stuart Jones. Clarendon Press, 1940. Online
McKee: John Kimball McKee, Hebrews for the Practical Messianic. Messianic Apologetics, 2012.
Meyer: Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer (1800-1873), Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (1859). 21 vols. T&T Clark, 1880. Online.
Morris: Leon Morris, Hebrews. Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 12. Software version 2.6. Zondervan Corp, 1989-1999.
Moseley: Ron Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Yeshua and the Original Church. Lederer Books, 1996.
Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary. Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.
Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer (1828-1901), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Harper Brothers, 1889). Hendrickson Publishers, 2003. Online.
Zodhiates: Spiros Zodhiates (1922-2009), ed. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. AMG Publishers, 1992, 1993.
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