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Book 2


The thirteenth chapter is a kind of appendix to the Epistle. 

The first twelve chapters form a complete treatise; and now for the first time distinct personal traits appear. A difference of style corresponds with the difference of subject; but the central portion brings back with fresh power some of the main thoughts on which the writer has before insisted.
The chapter falls into three divisions:

(13:1-6) Social Duties
(13:7-17) Religious Duties
(13:18-25) Personal Instructions of the writer
Social Duties   (Heb 13:1 - 6)

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The character of the precepts suggests that the society to which they were addressed consisted of wealthy and influential members.  

The two special illustrations of the practical exhibition of  'love to the brethren' point to:

Services which such persons especially could render
Warnings which follow regard the temptations of a similar class to luxury and love of money

The succession of thought is perfectly natural.  Particular duties spring out of the recognition of the new relation to God and men established in Christ. 

Expressing the  application of the one truth to different spheres:

(verses 1,2) Sympathy
(verses 4,5) Self-Respect and Self-Control
(verse 6) Confidence in spiritual support
Heb 13:1-6
(1)  Let brotherly love continue.
(2)  Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
(3)  Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
(4)  Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
(5)  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
(6)  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(1)  Brotherly love let abide( 2)  of hospitality not be forgetful; for by this unawares some entertained angels( 3)  Be mindful of prisoners, as bound with [them]; those being evil-treated, as also yourselves being in [the] body( 4)  Honorable [let] marriage [be held] in every [way], and the bed [be] undefiled;  fornicators but and adulterers will judge God( 5)  Without love of money [let your] manner of life [be], satisfied with present [circumstances]; he for has said, In no wise thee will I leave, nor in any wise thee will I forsake( 6)  So that we may boldly say, [the] Lord [is] to me a helper, and I will not be afraid: what shall do to me man?


Brotherly love
Love of the brethren.   The relation of Christians one to another in virtue of their common Lord (Heb. 2:11)  led necessarily to the extension of the term for the affection of natural kinsmanship to all the members of the one 'brotherhood'  (brotherhood 1 Pet. 2:17; 5:9). 
Compare 2 Pet. 1:7 (1 Pet. 3:8); Rom. 12:10; 1 Thess. 4:9; 1 Pet. 1:22.

The love of the Jew for his fellow Jew,  his 'brother'  (Deuteronomy 23:19),  was national
The Christian's love for his fellow-Christian is universal

The tie of the common faith is universal,  and in proportion as the ill-will of those without increased,  it became necessary to deepen the feeling of affection within.
The use of  let abide  suggests that the bond had been in danger of being severed. Compare Heb. 6:10; 10:33.

Heb 6:10
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.    NIV

Heb 10:33
Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.      NIV


Of hospitality not be forgetful
The circumstances of the time made private hospitality almost a necessity for travelers.  

In writing to the Corinthians Clement mentions among their former glories, and dwells on the 'hospitality' of Abraham, Lot, Rahab. Comp. 1 Tim. 5:10; 3 John 5; Tit. 1:8 (hospitable). 
Lucian mocks at the liberality of Christians to strangers.

For by this
Compare Gen. 18, 19
The form of the illustration seems to be that we only observe the outside surface of those whom we receive. 
More lies beneath than we can see. Christ indeed comes in the least of those who are welcomed in His name (Matthew 25:40,45; John 13:20).

Where there is true Christian love, there will also be hospitality. 
This was an important ministry in the early church because persecution drove many believers away from their homes.

(3 John 5-8) There were traveling ministers who needed places to stay
(Rom 16:5) Many poor saints could not afford to stay in an inn; and since the churches met in homes it was natural for a visitor to just stay with his host
(Titus 1:8) Pastors are supposed to be lovers of hospitality
(Rom 12:13) All saints (believers) should be "given to hospitality

(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)


Hospitality is the answer to a direct appeal.  We must also seek for those who need our help, and whose circumstances withdraw their claims from our sight.  Such sufferers may owe their distress either to direct persecution,  or to the  'changes and chances of this mortal life'.  In both cases Christians must acknowledge the obligation of fellowship.

As bound with
As bound with them,  rather than  as if your were bound with them
The participle appears to give the reason in this as in the following clause (asbeing…). 
The members of the Christian body are so closely united that all really,  though it may be unconsciously,  shares the suffering of one. This is the ideal,  which each believer must strive to realize.
Compare 2 Cor. 11:29

2 Cor 11:29
Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?    NIV

Love also expresses itself in concern.  It was not unusual for Christians to be arrested and imprisoned for their faith. To identify with these prisoners might be dangerous;  yet Christ's love demanded a ministry to them.  To minister to a Christian prisoner in the name of Christ is to minister to Christ Himself  (Matt 25:36,40).  Those of us fortunate enough to live in a free country are not arrested for our religious beliefs;  but in many parts of the world,  believers suffer for their faith.  How we need to pray for them and share with them as the Lord enables us!

As also yourselves being in body
As being you also in the body and so exposed to the same sufferings.  The former injunction had been enforced by the consideration of the true nature of the Christian body;  this one is enforced by the actual outward circumstances of life.

Acts 12:5
Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.    NIV

The Duty - to remember those that are in bonds and in adversity.

God often orders it so that while some Christians and churches are in adversity others enjoy peace and liberty. All are not called at the same time to resist unto blood.
Those that are themselves at liberty must sympathize with those that are in bonds and adversity, as if they were bound with them in the same chain: they must fell the sufferings of their brethren.

The Reason of the duty

As being yourselves in the body; not only in the body natural, and so liable to the like sufferings, and you should sympathize with them now that others may sympathize with you when your time of trial comes.
As being in the same mystical body,  under the same head,  and if one member suffer all the rest suffer with it, 1 Cor 12:26. 

It would be unnatural in Christians not to bear each other's burdens.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


In every
In all respects,  and in all circumstances,  so as to be guarded not only from graver violations but also from everything which lowers its dignity.

It is questioned whether the sentence contains a precept (Let marriage be…) or a declaration (Marriage is…).
The Syriac version gives the indicative:  Marriage is honorable

From the widest duties of the social life of Christians the epistle passes to the closest. 
Warnings on the sacredness of marriage were the more necessary from the license of divorce among the Jews, which had been sanctioned by the teaching of the school of Hillel. Compare Matthew 19:3 (for every cause).


Divorce  -  In the Old Testament 

Subordinate Position of Woman

"Woman", among the Hebrews, as among most nations of antiquity,  occupied a subordinate position. Though the Hebrew wife and mother were treated with more consideration than her sister in other lands,  even in other Semitic countries,  her position nevertheless was one of inferiority and subjection.

A Property The marriage relation from the standpoint of Hebrew legislation was looked upon very largely as a business affair,  a mere question of property
A Possession A wife, nevertheless, was, indeed, in most homes in Israel, the husband's "most valued possession."

And yet while this is true,  the husband was unconditionally and unreservedly the head of the family in all domestic relations.  His rights and prerogatives were manifest on every side. Nowhere is this more evident than in the matter of divorce. 

According to the laws of Moses

A  husband, under certain circumstances, might divorce his wife
It was certainly very difficult for a wife to put away her husband

Unfortunately a double standard of morality in matters pertaining to the sexes is, at least, as old as Moses 
(see Ex 7-11).

Law of Divorce

Deut 24:1 - 4: The Old Testament law concerning divorce is recorded most fully in Deut 24:1 ff. A perusal of the commentaries will, nevertheless, convince anyone that there are difficulties of interpretation. The careful reader will notice that the renderings of the King James Version and the American Standard Version  differ materially.  The King James Version reads in the second part of verse 1: "then let him write a bill," etc., the American Standard Version has "that he shall write," etc., while the Hebrew original has neither "then" nor "that," but the simple conjunction "and."  There is certainly no command in the words of Moses,  but,  on the other hand,  a clear purpose to render the proceeding more difficult in the case of the husband. Moses' aim was  "to regulate and thus to mitigate an evil which he could not extirpate."   The evident purpose was,  as far as possible,  to favor the wife,   and to protect her against an unceremonious expulsion from her home and children.

Marriage a Legal Contract

As already suggested,  marriage among the Hebrews,  as among most Orientals,  was more a legal contract than the result of love or affection.  It would be,  however,  a great mistake to assume that deep love was not often present,  for at all times the domestic relations of the Hebrew married couple have compared most favorably with those of any other people,  ancient or modern.  In its last analysis it was,  nevertheless,  a business transaction.  The husband or his family had,  as a rule,  to pay a certain dowry to the parents or guardians of the betrothed before the marriage was consummated.  A wife thus acquired could easily be regarded as a piece of property,  which,  without great difficulty,  could be disposed of in case the husband,  for any reason,  were disposed to rid himself of an uncongenial companion and willing to forfeit the mohar which he had paid for his wife.  The advantage was always with the husband,  and yet a wife was not utterly helpless,  for she,  too,  though practically without legal rights,  could make herself so intolerably burdensome and hateful in the home that almost any husband would gladly avail himself of his prerogatives and write her a bill of divorcement.  Thus,  though a wife could not divorce her husband,  she could force him to divorce her.

Divorce Applicable Only to Wives

The following words of Professor Israel Abrahams, Cambridge, England, before "the Divorce Commission" (London, November 21, 1910), are to the point:  "In all such cases where the wife was concerned as the moving party she could only demand that her husband should divorce her. The divorce was always from first to last, in Jewish law, the husband's act." 

The common term used in the Bible for divorce is shilluach  'ishshah,  "the sending away of a wife" (Deut 22:19,29).  We never read of  "the sending away of a husband."  The feminine participle, gerushah,  "the woman thrust out," is the term applied to a divorced woman. The masculine form is not found.

Process and Exceptions

The Mosaic Law apparently,  on the side of the husband,  made it as difficult as possible for him to secure a divorce.  No man could unceremoniously and capriciously dismiss his wife without the semblance of a trial.

In case one became dissatisfied with his wife,

(1) He had to write her a BILL OF DIVORCE drawn up by some constituted legal authority and in due legal form.  In the very nature of the case,  such a tribunal would use moral persuasion to induce an adjustment;  and,  failing in this,  would see to it that the law in the case would be upheld.
(2) Such a bill or decree must be placed in the hand of the divorced wife. 
(3) She must be forced to leave the premises of her former husband. 

Divorce was denied two classes of husbands:

(1) The man who had falsely accused his wife of antenuptial infidelity (Deut 22:13 ff)
(2) A person who had seduced a virgin (Deut 22:28 f).
In addition, a heavy penalty had to be paid to the father of such damsels.

It is probable that a divorced wife who had not contracted a second marriage or had been guilty of adultery might be reunited to her husband.  But in case she had married the second time she was forever barred from returning to her first husband,  even if the second husband had divorced her or had died (Deut 24:3 f).  Such a law would serve as an obstacle to hasty divorces.

Divorces from the earliest times were common among the Hebrews.  All rabbis agree that a separation,  though not desirable,  was quite lawful.  The only source of dispute among them was as to what constituted a valid reason or just cause.

Grounds of Divorce

It is well known that at,  and some time before,  the time of our Savior,  there were two schools among the Jewish rabbis:

Shammai Shammai and his followers maintained that 'erwath dabhar' signified nothing less than unchastity or adultery,  and argued that only this crime justified a man in divorcing his wife. 
Hillel Hillel and his disciples went to the other extreme.  They placed great stress upon the words,  "if she find no favor in his eyes"  immediately proceeding  `erwath dabhar (Deut 24:1),  and contended that divorce should be granted for the flimsiest reason:  such as the spoiling of a dish either by burning or careless seasoning. 

Some of the rabbis boldly taught that a man had a perfect right to dismiss his wife, if he found another woman whom he liked better, or who was more beautiful (Mishnah, GiTTin, 14:10). 

Here are some other specifications taken from the same book:

The following women may be divorced:
She who violates the Law of Moses, e.g. causes her husband to eat food which has not been tithed
She who vows, but does not keep her vows
She who goes out on the street with her hair loose,
or spins in the street,
or converses (flirts) with any man
or is a noisy woman
What is a noisy woman?
It is one who speaks in her own house so loud that the neighbors may hear her.

It would be easy to extend the list, for the Mishna and rabbinic writings are full of such laws.

From what has been said,  it is clear that adultery was not the only valid reason for divorce. 
Besides, the word adultery had a peculiar significance in Jewish law,  which recognized polygamy and concubinage as legitimate.  Thus a Hebrew might have two or more wives or concubines,  and might have intercourse with a slave or bondwoman,  even if married,  without being guilty of the crime of adultery (Lev 19:20),  for adultery,  according to Jewish law,  was possible only when a man dishonored the  "free wife"  of a Hebrew (20:10 ff).

Divorcement, Bill of: 
This expression, found in Deut 24:1,3; Isa 50:1; Jer 3:8 is the translation of the Hebrew cepher kerithuth.
The two words,  literally rendered,  signify a document or book of cutting off, i.e.  a certificate of divorce given by a husband to a wife,  so as to afford her the opportunity or privilege of marrying another man.

The Hebrew term is rendered by the Septuagint  biblion apostasion.   This is also found in the New Testament (Mark 10:4).   Matt 5:31 has "writing of divorcement" in English Versions of the Bible,  but Matt 19:7  the King James Version has  "writing,"  while the Revised Version and the American Standard Revised Version have "bill." The certificate of divorce is called get in the Talmud

There is an entire chapter devoted to the subject in the Mishnah.   It is not positively known when the custom of writing bills of divorcement commenced,  but there are references to such documents in the earliest Hebrew legislation.  The fact that Joseph had in mind the putting away of his espoused wife,  Mary,  without the formality of a bill or at least of a public procedure proves that a decree was not regarded as absolutely necessary  (Matt 1:19).

The following was the usual form of a decree:

On the  (day of the week) -in   (the month) -in  (the year) - from the beginning of the world, 
according to the common computation in the province of (____)
I- the son of (___) -  (by whatever name I may be known), 
of the town of (___) -with entire consent of mind, and without any constraint, have divorced, dismissed and expelled thee - daughter of - (by whatever name thou art called) , of the town (___) who hast been my wife hitherto;  But now I have dismissed thee - the daughter of - by whatever name thou art called, of the town of - so as to be free at thy own disposal, to marry whomsoever thou pleasest, without hindrance from anyone, from this day for ever.  Thou art therefore free for anyone (who would marry thee).  Let this be thy bill of divorce from me, a writing of separation and expulsion, according to the Law of Moses and Israel.
____, The son of -, witness 
____The son of  -, witness 

Spiritual application
The Hebrew prophets regarded Yahweh not only as the father and king of the chosen people, and thus entitled to perfect obedience and loyalty on their part, but they conceived of Him as a husband married to Israel. 
Isaiah, speaking to his nation, says:  "For thy Maker is thy husband; Yahweh of hosts is his name" (Isa 54:5).
Jeremiah makes use of similar language in the following: "Return, O backsliding children, saith Yahweh; for I am a husband unto you" (Jer 3:14). 
It is perfectly natural that New Testament writers should have regarded Christ's relation to His church under the same figure. Paul in 2 Cor says: "I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ" (11:2); see also Matt 9:15; John 3:29; Rev 19:7.
Any unfaithfulness or sin on the part of Israel was regarded as spiritual adultery,  which necessarily broke off the spiritual ties,  and divorced the nation from God (Isa 1:21; Ezek 16:22; Rev 2:22).

Divorce  -  In the New Testament

The Scripture doctrine of divorce is very simple. It is contained in Matt 19:3-12.
We are not called upon to treat of divorce in the Mosaic legislation (Deut 24:1-4).
Jesus passed that upon in the above discussion and by Him ruled out of existence in His system of religion.

After Jesus had spoken as above, the Mosaic permission of divorce became a dead letter. There could not be practice under it among His disciples.  So such Old Testament divorce is now a mere matter of antiquarian curiosity.

It may be of interest in passing to note that the drift of the Mosaic legislation was restrictive of a freedom of divorce that had been practiced before its enactment.  It put in legal proceedings to bar the personal will of one of the parties.  It recognized marriage as a social institution, which should not be disrupted without reference to the rights of society in it.  In this restrictive character  "the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ" (Gal 3:24). 
But here, as in numerous other instances, Christ went behind the enactments to primitive original principles whose recognition would make the law of none effect, because no practice was to be permitted under it. 
Thus the Old Testament is disposed of.

Of course what Jesus said will dominate the New. 
In fact, Jesus is the author in the New Testament who has treated of divorce. We need look nowhere but to this 19th chapter of Matthew for the Scripture doctrine of divorce.
True, we have other reports of what Jesus said (Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18). But in Matt 19 we have the fullest report.

Attention must be called to the fact that, in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:27-32),  Jesus treated of divorce,  and that in every essential particular it agrees with the elaboration in chapter 19.  Jesus there as plainly as in the argument with the Pharisees put Moses' permission of divorce under ban;  as plainly there declared the putting away of one partner to marry another person to be adultery.  This may also be noticed, that the exception to the absolute prohibition is in the text of the Sermon on the Mount.

We have then a summary of the New Testament doctrine of divorce stated by Christ Himself as follows:

"Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery" (Matt 19:9).

This puts Him in line with the ideal of the monogamic, indissoluble family, which pervades the whole of the Old Testament.

It is the hand of an unerring Master that has made fornication a ground for divorce from the bond of matrimony and limited divorce to that single cause.
Excerpts on Divorce - From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft


Without love of money manner of life
Let your character be free from the love of money
Sins of impurity and of covetousness go together. Both are typical examples of (self-seeking, selfishness). Eph. 5:3.

Eph 5:3
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.    NIV

The patristic commentators suggest that the losses of the Hebrews (Heb. 10:32) had checked their liberality and given occasion to the desire of accumulating fresh wealth.

He for has said
For He Himself, God our Father, hath said
The phrase sounds like an echo of the Pythagorean  'the Master said' -- I will in no wise fail thee, nor will I in any wise forsake thee.
The exact source of the quotation is not certain. Similar words occur in several places: Gen. 28:15; Josh. 1:5; Deut. 31:6;  the words had probably been molded to this shape by common use.

Will I leave…will I forsake

Will I leave The idea of  will I leave  is that of loosing hold so as to withdraw the support rendered by the sustaining grasp
Will I forsake The idea of  will I forsake of deserting or leaving alone in the field of contest, or in a position of suffering

The use of the word in Matthew 27:46 is a clue to the true meaning of the passage. It was the Father's good pleasure to leave the Son exposed to the assaults of His enemies 'in their hour' (Luke 22:53).

Matt 27:46
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"-
Which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"   NIV

Luke 22:53
Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour-when darkness reigns."    NIV

Biesenthal most truly points out the fitness of an allusion to the encouragement given to Joshua at such a crisis as the Hebrews were passing through.  The position of Jewish Christians corresponded spiritually with that of their fathers on the verge of Canaan.


So that we may boldly say
There can be no doubt that the last clause should be taken as an independent question.
We Christians -- such is the writer's meaning -- can use with confidence the most joyful expression of thanksgiving used in the Church of old times.   Psalms 118: 6  ' having the Lord for my helper, I will not fear what man can do to me.'   LXX.  Formed an important part of the Jewish Festival services,  and is quoted several times in the New Testament.  The key word is  'the chief corner-stone' (Matt. 21:42; 9).

In the triumph of the Lord through suffering they would see the image of the triumph of His people.

Religious Duties   (Heb 13:7 - 17)

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The mode in which religious duties are presented indicates the presence of a separatist spirit among those who are addressed. They are charged to:

(13:7) Remember the example of their first rulers
(13:8-16) Render complete devotion to Christ, and to men in and through Him 
(13:17) Obey their present rulers
Heb 13:7-17
(7)   Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
(8)   Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
(9)   Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
(10)  We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
(11)  For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
(12)  Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
(13)  Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
(14)  For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
(15)  By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
(16)  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
(17)  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(7)  Remember your leaders, who spoke to you the word of God; of whom, considering the issue of [their] conduct, imitate [their] faith(8)  Jesus Christ yesterday and to day [is] the same, and to the ages(9)  With teachings various and strange be no carried about; for [it is] good [for] with grace to be confirmed the heart not meats; in which not were profited those who walked [therein].  (10)  We have an altar of which to eat they have no authority who the tabernacle serve(11)  for of those whose is brought animals blood [as sacrifices] for sin into the holies by the high priest, of these the bodies are burned outside the camp(12)   Wherefore also Jesus, that he might sanctify by his own blood the people, outside the gate suffered(13)   therefore we should go forth to him outside the camp, his reproach bearing(14)  not for we have here an abiding city, but the coming one we are seeking for(15)   By him therefore we should offer [the] sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, fruit of [the] lips confessing to his name(16)  But of doing good and of communicating be not forgetful, for with such sacrifices is well pleased God(17)  Obey your leaders, and be submissive: for they watch for your souls, as account about to render; that with Joy this they may do, and not groaning, for unprofitable for you [would be] this.

The writer has spoken of the help of God generally. He now appeals to examples in which it had been conspicuously shown before he passes on to enforce religious duties.


Remember your leaders
Remember,  though they have now passed away,  them that had the rule over you.
Scripture everywhere recognizes the living power of a great example. Compare Heb. 6:12.  The word  remember  is used of our relation to Christ  -  2 Timothy 2:8  (remember Jesus Christ raised).

Who spoke
Men that spake to you…  The phrase  the word of God  is used from Luke 5:1 throughout the New Testament both of the revelation in the Old Testament and of the revelation through Christ.

Of whom considering the issue of conduct
And considering with attentive survey again and again the issue of their life
This last scene revealed the character of their  'conversation'  before.  Perhaps the writer had in his mind the words of the persecutors of a righteous man.

The reference here seems to be to some scene of martyrdom in which the triumph of faith was plainly shown. Theodoret refers to Stephen,  James the son of Zebedee,  and James the Just.

Imitate faith
Imitate their faith

The spirit of their lives is proposed for imitation
not the form
The faith by which they were supported
not the specific actions 

13:8-16    The rule and strength of Christian devotion

Having glanced at the former leaders of the Hebrew Church the Apostles goes on to show that:

(13:8,9) Christ Himself is the sum of our religion: which is eternal, spiritual
(13:10-12) He who is our sin-offering is also our continuous support
(13:13-16) He claims our devotion and our service 


The thought of the triumph of faith leads to the thought of Him in whom faith triumphs. 
He is unchangeable, and therefore the victory of the believer is at all times assured.
The absence of a connecting particle places the thought as a reflection following the last sentence after a pause.


Jesus Christ…ages
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to day, yea and forever
The statement is true universally,  but the immediate thought appears to be that as Christ had but just now brought victory to His disciples,  so He would do in the present trials.

The full title  Jesus Christ  occurs again in the Epistle in v. 21; 10:10.  The words  yesterday and to day  express generally  'in the past and in the present'  which expresses the absolute confidence of the Apostle:  'Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to day: yea,  such a confession falls wholly below the truth:  He is the same forever.'

Remember HIM
Remember them
Take heed to yourselves.

In all past times there was no way to the holiest but through the blood of Jesus, either actually shed, or significantly typified. 
Today-he is the lamb newly slain, and continues to appear in the presence of God for us. 
Forever-to the conclusion of time, he will be the way, the truth, and the life, none coming to the Father but through him; and  eis tous aioonas  (throughout the ages). 

(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)


The unchangeableness of Christ calls up in contrast the variety of human doctrines. 
The faith of the Christian is in Christ Himself and not in doctrines about Him.

With teachings various and strange be not carried about
Be not carried away by manifold and strange teachings.   These  'manifold and strange teachings'  seem to have been various adaptations of Jewish thoughts and practices to Christianity.  

Wetstein gives examples of the word being used of objects swept out of their right course by the violence of a strong current.  Compare Heb. 2:1  we should slip away.

These doctrines are characterized as:

manifold’ (Heb. 2:4)  in contrast with the unity of Christian teaching  (Eph. 4:5)
strange’  (1 Pet. 4:12) in contrast with its permanence (compare Col. 2:8).

Col 2:8
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.    NIV

"Be not carried about"  is the translation of  me paraphero,  the present tense indicating that this was a present and an active danger.  It is  "Stop being carried away."    
"Divers and strange doctrines"  refer to the various phases of one radical error;  the denial of the  Messiahship of Jesus, and of His Messianic sacrifice as superseding Judaism.
(Wuest's Word Studies from the  Greek New Testament, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)

For good…meats
For it is good that by grace the heart (compare Heb. 3:8) be established ( will confirm 1 Cor. 1:8; 2 Cor. 1:21; Col. 2:7).   The attractiveness of the novel views,  which endangered the faith of the Hebrews,  lay in their promise of security and progress;  but such promises in the case before the Apostle were obviously vain.  
For no true stability can be gained by outward observances to which judaizing and Jewish teachings lead.   This must come from a spiritual,  divine influence.  

The position of  with grace  throws a strong emphasis upon the idea of  ‘grace.’  Our strength must come from without.  And  ‘grace’  is the free outflow of divine love for the quickening and support of man  (compare Heb. 2:9),  though,  in one sense,  man ‘finds’  it (compare Heb. 4:16).

The opposition with grace…not meats…,  shows that here the  meats  represent something to be enjoyed;  and therefore that the reference is not,  at least in the first instance,  to any ascetical abstention from  ‘meats.’  So that the term  ‘meats’  does not simply point to such as were pure according to the provisions of the Levitical Law.  
It appears to point primarily to  ‘meats’  consecrated by sacrifice,  and then used for food;  though other senses of the word are not necessarily excluded.  No doubt the Passover was present to the writer’s mind,  but with it would be included all the sacrificial feasts,  which were the chief element in the social life of the Jews.
The context seems to justify and to require this sense of  meats,  which is used in the Gospels for  ‘food’  generally (Matthew 14:15; Luke 3:11).   Elsewhere in the Epistles the word is used with reference to ritual or ascetic distinctions of  ‘meats’ (Rom. 14:15; 1 Cor. 6:13; 8:8; 1 Tim. 4:3).  But this usage does not supersede the wider one,  and it is natural that the Apostle should describe the privileges,  which were over-valued by a term,  which set them in a truer light as simply outward things.

There is a somewhat similar contrast of the material and spiritual in  Eph. 5:18.

Eph 5:18
Do not get drunk on wine,  which leads to debauchery.  Instead,  be filled with the Spirit.    NIV

Wuest says:
In the words  "It is a  good thing that the heart be established with grace not with meats,"  the writer points out the fact that the meats  (the system of ceremonial observances),  emphasizes externalism, whereas the New Testament insists upon the purification of the heart and conscience.

In which…those who walked
For they that occupied themselves (walked) therein were not profited,  that is,  they did not gain the end of human effort,  fellowship with God.  There is no thought here of the disciplinary value of the Law.


The strength of the Christian comes from God’s gift, but He uses the natural influences of life for the fulfillment of His purpose.  Provision is made in the Christian society for the enjoyment of the benefits of Christ’s Life and Death in social fellowship.  


We have an altar
The position of  we have  and the absence of the personal pronoun indicate that the statement presents a contrast to some supposed deficiency.  The reply is  ‘We have an altar…’  ‘We have that which furnishes us also with a feast upon a sacrifice.’  The main contention is that the exclusion from the sacrificial services of the Temple is compensated by something,  which answers to them and is of a nobler kind.

Hitherto he has shown that the Christian can dispense with the consolations of the Jewish ritual:  he now prepares to draw the conclusion that if he is a Christian he ought to give them up  (v. 13 Let us go forth…).

From the connection  it seems clear that the  ‘altar’  must correspond with the Temple altar as including both the idea of sacrifice and the idea of food from the sacrifice (1 Cor. 9:13).

1 Cor 9:13
Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple,  and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?    NIV

Primarily there is but one sacrifice for the Christian and one means of support,  the sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross and the participating in Him  (John 6:53).  In this first and highest sense,  into which each secondary sense must be resolved,  the only earthly  altar;  is

The Cross on which Christ offered Himself
Christ is the offering
He is Himself the feast of the believer

The altar is not regarded at any time apart from the victim.  

When the idea of the one act of sacrifice predominates
the image of the Cross rises before us
When the idea of our continuous support predominates
the image of Christ living through death prevails

So it is that as our thoughts pass from the historic scene of the Passion to its abiding fruit, Christ Himself.   Christ crucified is necessarily regarded as  ‘the altar’  from which we draw our sustenance.

John 6:53
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.    NIV

The sacrifice is one - the altar is one. 

From Unger's Bible Dictionary

Among the Jews, as well as among the Romans, crucifixion was considered the most horrible form of death;  to a Jew it would seem the more horrible from the curse  "He who is hanged is accursed of God"  (Deut 21:23). 
Our Lord was condemned to it by the popular cry of the Jews  (Matt 27:23)  on the charge of sedition against Caesar  (Luke 23:21-23).

The Process
Crucifixion was preceded by scourging with thongs,  to which were sometimes added nails,  pieces of bone,  etc.,  to heighten the pain,  often so intense as to cause death.  In our Lord's case,  however,  this infliction seems neither to have been the legal scourging after sentence nor examination by torture (Acts 22:24) but rather a scourging before the sentence to excite pity and procure immunity from further punishment (Luke 23:22; John 19:1). 

The criminal carried his own cross,  or a part of it,  in which case another person was compelled to share the burden (Luke 23:26).  

The place of execution was outside the city (1 Kings 21:13;  Acts 7:58;  Heb 13:12); arriving there,  the condemned was stripped of his clothes,  which became the property of the soldiers (Matt 27:35);  and the cross having been previously erected,  he was drawn up and made fast to it with cords or nails,  although sometimes he was first fastened to the cross and then raised.  

The limbs of the victim were generally three or four feet from the earth.  Before the nailing or binding took place a medicated cup was given out of kindness to confuse the senses and deaden the pangs of the sufferer (Prov 31:6), usually of  "wine mixed with myrrh,"  because myrrh was soporific (sleep-inducing, hypnotic).  The Lord refused it that His senses might be clear (Matt 27:34; Mark 15:23).

If the nailing was the most painful mode in the first instance,  the other was more so in the end,  for the sufferer was left to die of sheer exhaustion,  and when simply bound with thongs,  it might take days to accomplish the process.  Instances are on record of persons surviving for nine days.  Owing to the lingering character of this death our Lord was watched,  according to custom,  by a party of four soldiers (John 19:23),  with their centurion (Matt 27:54),  to prevent His being taken down and resuscitated. 

Fracture of the legs was resorted to by the Jews to hasten death (John 19:31).  This was done to the two thieves crucified with Jesus but not to Him,   for the soldiers found that He was dead already (19:32-34).  Pilate expressly satisfied himself as to the actual death by questioning the centurion (Mark 15:44).  In most cases the body was allowed to rot on the cross by the action of the sun and rain or to be devoured by birds and beasts.  Interment was generally, therefore,  forbidden,  but in consequence of Deut 21:22-23 an exception was made in favor of the Jews (Matt 27:58).
(From The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988. - Biblesoft)

But,  just as in the discourse at Capernaum,  the absolute idea points towards or even passes into the outward form in which it was embodied.  The fact of that Death was visibly set forth,  and the reality of that participation pledged,  in the Eucharist  (the serving of bread and wine in the church showing the Lord’s death).  The  ‘Table’  of the Lord (1 Cor. 10:21),  the Bread and the Wine,  enabled the believer  ‘to show forth Christ’s Death,’  to realize the sacrifice upon the Cross and to appropriate Christ’s  ‘flesh and blood.’  In this sacrament then,  where Christ gives Himself as the support of His faithful and rejoicing people,  the Christian has that which more than fulfils the types of the Jewish ritual.

1 Cor 10:21
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too ; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's Table and the table of demons.    NIV

Of which to eat
Whereof,  as denoting the class of sacrifice and not the particular sacrifice, they have no right to eat…  
The phrase occurs again in the common text of 1 Cor. 9:13.

Who the tabernacle serve
The priests whose office it is to fulfill the duties of the legal ritual  (compare Heb. 8:5),  rather than the whole assembly of Israel  (compare Heb. 10:2).  These,  the most highly privileged of the people of Israel,  who were allowed to eat of sacrifices of which none other could partake  (Lev. 6:26; 7:6; 10:17),  were not allowed to partake of that sacrifice which represented the sacrifice of Christ under the aspect of an atonement for sin. 
The superiority,  which the Christian enjoyed over the Jew,  became most conspicuous when the highest point in each order was reached.  The great sacrifice for sin on the Day of Atonement was wholly consumed.  Though they  ‘who served the tabernacle’  were partakers with the altar,’  even those who were most privileged had no right to eat of this offering without faith in Christ.

Christ who is our sacrifice for sin,  the perfect antitype of that symbol,

is our food also
is our atonement
is our support

He died as the sin offering  ‘outside the gate,’  and He lives to be our life by the communication of Himself.
By His blood He entered into the archetypal Sanctuary and made a way for us,  and He waits to guide us thither. 
Meanwhile  ‘we have become partakers of the Christ’ (compare Heb. 3:14),  and live with the power of His life which in His own appointed way He brings to us.

The Christian enjoys in substance that which the Jew did not enjoy even in shadow. 
If the Christian was now called upon to sacrifice all the consolations of the old ritual,  he had what was far beyond them. 

Briefly the argument is this: 
We Christians have an altar,  from which we draw the material for our feast. 
In respect of this,  our privilege is greater than that of priest or high priest under the Levitical system. 
Our great sin offering,  consumed in one sense outside the gate,  is given to us as our food
The Christian therefore who can partake of Christ,  offered for his sins,  is admitted to a privilege unknown under the old Covenant.

The phrase  the tabernacle serves  is remarkable:  compare Heb. 8:5  representation and shadow serve
The Tabernacle itself - the outward form - is represented as the object of service.
Christians also serve the Antitype of the Tabernacle,  but that is Christ Himself


For of those whose is brought
The proof of the reality of this surpassing privilege of Christians lies in the familiar ordinances in regard to the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement: Lev. 16:27.  
Of these victims only was the blood was brought into the Holy of Holies. 
In two other cases the blood was brought into the Holy place;  and here also the bodies were consumed outside: Lev. 4:11,12  (the sin-offering for a priest); id. 21 (the sin-offering for the congregation).

Lev 16:27
The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and offal are to be burned up.    NIV

Lev 4:10-12
(10)  Then the priest shall burn them on the altar of burnt offering.  (11)  But the hide of the bull and all its flesh, as well as the head and legs, the inner parts and offal--  (12)  that is,  all the rest of the bull -- he must take outside the camp to a place ceremonially clean,  where the ashes are thrown,  and burn it in a wood fire on the ash heap.    NIV

The use of this word is apparently unique.  Elsewhere the victims are spoken of by their special names — ‘bulls and goats.’  In the New Testament the word is used of  ‘irrational animals’  ( 2 Peter 2:12; Jude 10),  and of the four  ‘living creatures’  of Revelation  (Rev. 4:6;   compare Ezekiel 1:5-11 LXX).

Rev 4:6
Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. 
In the center,  around the throne,  were four living creatures,  and they were covered with eyes,  in front and in back.    NIV

Ezekiel 1:5-11
(5)  And in the middle,  a resemblance like that of four living beings.  And this was the appearance of them:  They had a resemblance of a man in them.  ( 6)  And each had four faces,  and each had four wings;  and their legs were straight  ( 7)  and their feet winged,  and sparking like sparkling brass.  And their wings had a quick motion.  ( 8)  And underneath their wings on their four sides was a man’s hand.  ( 9)  And the faces of the four turned not when they went.  They marched forward each having a face on every side.  ( 10)  And with regard to the similitude of their faces,  the four had the face of a man with the face of a lion,  on the right;  and on the left the four had the face of a bullock,  and the four had a face of an eagle.  ( 11)  And the wings of the four were expanded upwards,  each having a pair unfolded adjoining each other and a pair folded on their body.    LXX

Perhaps the word is chosen here to mark the contrast between the sacrifices which were of nature only and the sacrifice of  ‘Jesus,’  who was truly man and yet more than man.

Into the holies
The phrase may describe ‘the Holy of Holies’ (compare Heb. 9:8 note),  so that the reference is to the ceremonial of the Day of Atonement only;  or it may include ‘the Holy place,’  and take account of the victims whose blood was brought there.

The use of the preposition  ‘through’,  where we might have expected  ‘by,’  is of interest.  The High priest is the agent through whom the act of the people is accomplished. Compare Heb. 11:15  by him therefore we should offer.  

Outside the camp
Compare Exodus 29:14  (at the consecration of the priests); 
Lev. 4:11   (sin-offering for the priest); id. 
Lev. 4:1 21 (sin-offering for the congregation); 
Lev 16:27  (sin-offering on the Day of Atonement). See also Lev. 7:17; 9:11.

The life is taken to the presence of God:  that which has been the transitory organ of life is taken beyond the limits of the ordered Society to be wholly removed.

In turning to Christ,  these Hebrews lost the temple and its priesthood and sacrifices;  but they gained in Christ far more than they lost.  Christ rejected the temple and called it  "a den of thieves";  and He rejected the city of Jerusalem by being crucified outside the gate  (John 19:20).  The writer compares Christ's death to the burning of the sacrifices on the day of atonement  (Lev 16:27),  since both suffered "outside the camp."   The readers were being tempted to go back to Judaism.  "No!"  admonishes the writer.  "Instead of going back,  go outside the camp and bear reproach with Christ!"   You may summarize the two-fold message of Hebrews in the phrases:

"within the veil" (fellowship with Christ)
"without the camp" (witness for Christ)

Believers look to no earthly city;  they have a heavenly city awaiting them,  as did the heroes of faith of old (v. 14; Heb 11:10; 12:27).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1992 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. - Biblesoft)


Wherefore also Jesus
Wherefore Jesus also — the Lord truly man — the sin-offering for humanity — in order that He might so fulfill the symbolism of the Law and sanctify the people by His Blood,  suffered without the gate.  Even as the Levitical High-priest entered into the Sanctuary through the blood of the atoning victims while their bodies were burnt without,  Jesus as our High-priest entered through His own Blood into heaven;  and His mortal Body,  laid in the grave,  was glorified,  consumed,  so to speak,  by the divine fire which transfigured it.  In both respects He satisfied completely the thoughts suggested by the type.

That he might sanctify…the people
That He might sanctify the people,  those who are truly Israel (compare Heb. 2:17 note),  through His own blood as contrasted with the blood of victims: Heb. 9:12. 

By His death on the Cross:

Christ not only  ‘made purification of sins’ (1:3),
but He also ‘sanctified’  His people.
In the offering of Himself
He offered them also,  as wholly devoted to God.

His blood became the blood of a New Covenant  (10:29)  by which the privilege of sonship was restored to men in the Son through His offered life (10:10);   and the Covenant sacrifice became the groundwork of a feast (comp. Exod. 24:8,11).

The Fathers  (early Church Fathers) commonly think of the Passion as a  ‘consuming of Christ by the fire of love,’   so that the effect of the Passion is made to answer directly to  are burned.  But the Passion is never to be separated from the Resurrection.  Here indeed the writer of the Epistle,  though he goes on at once to speak of Christ as living,  naturally dwells on the painful condition by which the triumph was prepared,  because he wishes to encourage his readers to endurance in suffering.
But the thought of victory lies behind.  And there are traces in early writers of the truer view,  which sees in the transfiguration of the Risen Lord the correlative to the burning of the victim.

Matt 17:1-3
(1)  After six days Jesus took with him Peter,  James and John the brother of James,  and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  (2)  There he was transfigured before them.  His face shone like the sun,  and his clothes became as white as the light.  (3)  Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah,  talking with Jesus.    NIV

Acts 1:9
After he said this,  he was taken up before their very eyes,  and a cloud hid him from their sight.    NIV

Outside the gate
The fact that the Lord suffered  ‘without the gate’ (Lev. 24:13; Num. 15:35)  is implied in John 19:17,  but it is not expressly stated.
The work of Christ,  so far as it was wrought on earth,  found its consummation outside the limits of the symbolical dwelling-place of the chosen people.  It had a meaning confined within no such boundaries.  The whole earth was the scene of its efficacy.  So also in the New Jerusalem there is no sanctuary (Rev. 21:22).  The whole city is a Temple and God Himself is present there.

When Christ suffered death outside the gate on the cross, one of the things accomplished was the setting aside of the Levitical customs. They are now superfluous. The believer's identification is with Christ outside or without the gate. This means rejection of Judaism on the one hand and rejection by the Jews on the other. For these Hebrew Christians, this was the reproach they were to bear.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

Outside the Camp parembole Fellowship a throwing in beside, battle-array, encampment or barracks
The barracks of the Roman soldiers, which at Jerusalem were in the castle Antonia:
Acts 21:34,37; 22:24; 23:10,16,32.
The camp of the Israelites in the desert  (an enclosure within which their tents were pitched), 
Ex 29:14; 19:17; 32:17;
Used of the sacred congregation or assembly of Israel
Outside the Gate pule  Access a gate,  the leaf or wing of a folding entrance
In figurative discourse equivalent to access or entrance into any state

(from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

Because Jesus, our Sacrifice, was denied fellowship, and died outside the camp,

we can have perfect fellowship with the Father and with the congregation of the righteous.

Because Jesus, our Sacrifice, was denied access, and died outside the gate,

we are granted access to the very presence of the most holy place - the divine presence of God Himself.

Eph 2:13
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  

Eph 2:18-21
(18)  For through him we both (Jew and Gentile believers) have our access in one Spirit unto the Father. 
(19)  So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, 
(20)  being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone; 
(21)  in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord;     ASV


The relation in which the Christian stands to Christ — the perfect sin-offering and the continuous support of the believer — carries with it two consequences. Believers must claim fellowship with Him both in

His external humiliation
His divine glory

Both as the

Victim consumed
Priest who has entered within the veil

Hence follows the fulfillment of two duties, 

(13:13,14) To go out to Christ
(13:15,16) To offer through Him the sacrifice of praise and well-doing


Christ — not a dead victim merely but the living leader — is represented as  ‘outside the camp,’  outside the old limits of Israel, waiting to receive His people, consumed and yet unconsumed. Therefore, the Apostle concludes, even now let us be on our way to Him,  carrying His reproach,  and abandoning not only the  ‘city,’  which men made as the permanent home for God,  but also moving to something better than  ‘the camp,’  in which Israel was organized. 

No Jew could partake of that typical sacrifice which Christ fulfilled: 
and Christians therefore must abandon Judaism to realize the full power of His work. 
In this sense ‘it is expedient’  that they also  ‘should go away,’  in order to realize the fullness of their spiritual heritage.

It is worthy of notice that the first tabernacle, which Moses set up, was ‘outside the camp’ (Exodus 33:7):  ‘and it came to pass that every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation which was without the camp.’  The history is obscure,  but as it stands it is significant in connection with the language of the Epistle.


The word occurs in the same position in Luke 20:25 and in the LXX  in Isaiah 3:10;  see Heb. 12:1; I Thess. 4:8.

Isa. 3:10
Saying, Let us bind the just one, for he is disagreeable to us; let them therefore eat the fruits of their deeds.    LXX

We should go forth
The present expresses vividly the immediate effort.  Compare Heb. 4:16; Matt. 25:6; John 1:47; 6:37.
The words necessarily recall the voice said to have been heard from the Sanctuary before the destruction of the Temple,  (see Josephus B. J. 6 5,3).
Compare also the Lord’s prophecy:  Matthew 24:15.

Matt 24:15
"So when you see standing in the holy place  `the abomination that causes desolation,'  spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand-      NIV

The early Church Fathers commonly understand the phrase of  ‘leaving the world’  and the like.  This may be a legitimate application of the command,  but it is wholly foreign to the original meaning.

His reproach bearing
Carrying His reproach.  The thought is not only of a burden to be supported  
(bear ye  Gal. 6:2,  shall bear Gal. 6:5); 
but also of a burden to be carried to a fresh scene. Compare Heb. 1:3

Outside the camp
Outside the camp,’ and not only ‘outside the gate.’  Christians are now called upon to withdraw from Judaism even in its first and purest shape.  God as a provisional system had designed it,  and its work was done.
The exhortation is one signal application of the Lord’s own command,  Luke 9:23.

Luke 9:23
Then he said to them all:  "If anyone would come after me,  he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.    NIV


Not for we have here
The necessity for the abandonment of the old,  however dear,  lies in the general fact that we have no abiding system,  no unchanging organization,  in the present transitory order  (here on earth).  That which  ‘abides’  belongs to the spiritual and eternal order.  And such and abiding city lies before us.  For we are seeking,  not with a vague search for  ‘one to come,’  but  ‘that, which is to come,’  ‘that which hath the foundations,’  of which the organization and the stability are already clearly realized.


There is another side to our duty to Christ. Our sacrifice, our participation in Him, involves more than suffering for His sake: it is also an expression

(13:15) of thanksgiving, of praise to God
(13:16) of service to man

for Christ has made possible for us this side also of sacrificial service.

By him
Through Him — and through no other — let us offer up a sacrifice of praise
The emphatic position of  by him  brings out the peculiar privilege of the believer.  He has One through Whom he can fulfill the twofold duty of grateful worship: through Whom (Heb. 7:25) as High-priest every sacrifice for God and  for man  must be brought and placed upon the altar of God.  Compare 1 Peter 2:5; 4:11; Rom. 1:8; 16:27; Col. 3:17.

The Jewish teachers gave expression to the thought: R. Pinchas, R. Levi, and R. Jochanan said in the name of R. Menachem of Galilee:  One day all offerings will cease,  only the Thank-offering will not cease:  all prayers will cease,  only the Thanksgiving prayer will not cease (Jer. 33:11).

Jer 33:11
The sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying," Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; his love endures forever." 
For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,' says the LORD.     NIV

Confessing to his name
The revelation of God in Christ  (His Name)  is the source of all thanksgiving (1 Peter 1:13). 
This illuminates, and is illuminated by, every object of joy.


At the same time spiritual sacrifice must find an outward expression. Praise to God is service to men.

But of doing good and of communicating
Syriac and Vulgate:  Compassion and communication to the poor.  That which expresses especially the help of alms follows the general word for kindly service.

For with such sacrifices
The direct reference appears to be to doing good and of communicating,  but  ‘praise’  has been already spoken of as a  ‘sacrifice,’  and is naturally included in the thought.

The obligation to loyal obedience
The section began with a reference to leaders of the Church,  and so it closes. 
The Hebrews have been charged to remember and imitate those who have passed away  (v. 7);  now they are charged to obey and yield themselves to those who are still over them.  This duty rests upon the most solemn nature of the relation in which they stand to them.


Obey…and be submissive
Obedience to express injunctions is crowned by submission to a wish. 
The word  be submissive  is not found elsewhere in the New Testament or LXX.

For they
The emphatic pronoun serves to bring out the personal obligation of the rulers with which the loyal obedience of the ruled corresponded;  for they,  and no other… Comp. James 2:6; 1 Thess. 1:9; Matt. 5:3. 
The image in watch is that of the  ‘watchmen’  in the Old Testament:  Isaiah 62:6; Ezekiel 3:17.

Isaiah 62:6
I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the LORD,
give yourselves no rest.     NIV

Ezek 3:17
Son of man,  I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel;  so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.    NIV

That with joy
That they may do this (i.e. watch)  with joy…  The clause depends on  your leaders  and  be submissive,  the intervening words being parenthetical:   Heb. 12:17

When a servant of God is in the will of God, teaching the Word of God, the people of God should submit and obey.   This does not mean that pastors should be dictators. "Neither [be] lords over God's heritage" (1 Peter 5:3).  Some church members have a flippant attitude toward pastoral authority,  and this is dangerous,  One day every pastor will have to give an account of his ministry to the Lord,  and he wants to be able to do it with joy.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

This threefold mention of rulers is unique to this letter.

(13:7) Remember them
(13:17) Obey them
(13:24) Salute  them

In others, Paul includes the rulers in his exhortations. Here, the address is to the general body of the Church, as distinguished from the rulers, to whom they are charged to yield reverent submission. 
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Personal Instructions   (Heb 13:18 - 25)

Previous Section

The Epistle closes with wide-reaching words of personal solicitude and tenderness. The writer:

(13:18,19) Asks for the prayers of his readers
(13:20,21) Offers a prayer for them
(13:22,23) Shows the closeness of the connection by which they were bound to him
(13:24,25) Completes his salutations with a final blessing
Heb 13:18-25
(18)  Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
(19)  But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
(20)  Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
(21)  Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(22)  And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.
(23)  Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
(24)  Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
(25)  Grace be with you all. Amen.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(18)  Pray for us: for we are persuaded, that a good conscience we have, in all things well wishing to conduct ourselves(19)  But more abundantly I exhort [you] this to do, that more quickly I may be restored to you.   (20)   And the God of peace, who brought again from among [the] dead the Shepherd of the sheep the great [one] in [the power of the ] blood of [the] covenant eternal, our Lord Jesus,  (21)  perfect you in every work good, for to do his will, doing in you that which [is] well pleasing before him, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory to the ages of the ages. Amen.  (22)  But I exhort you, brethren, bear the word of exhortation, for also in few words I wrote to you.  (23)  Know ye the brother Timotheus has been released; with whom, if sooner he should come, I will see you.  (24)  Salute all your leaders, and all the saints. Salute you they from Italy.  (25)  Grace [be] with all you. Amen.  
[the] Hebrews written from Italy, by Timotheus.  


The thought of the duty,  which the Hebrews owed to their own leaders,  leads the writer naturally to think of their wider duties,  of what they owed to him and his fellow-workers.  The same spirit,  which led to willful self-assertion at home,  was likely to cherish distrust towards teachers at a distance who sought to restrain its evil tendencies.  The Apostle therefore asks for the prayers of those to whom he writes.  He awakens their deepest sympathy by thus assuring them that he himself desires what they would beg for him.


Pray for us…I exhort
The passage from the plural to the singular is like  Col. 4:3;  Gal. 1:8;  Rom. 1:1. 
In all these cases the plural appears to denote the Apostle and those who were immediately connected with him. The force of a true plural is evident in 1 Thess. 3:1;  5:25;  2 Thess. 3:1. 
The separate expression of personal feeling in connection with the general statement is easily intelligible.

For we are persuaded
The ground of the Apostle’s request lies in the consciousness of the perfect uprightness of those with whom he identifies himself.  However they might be represented so as to be in danger of losing the affection of some,  he could say upon a candid review that their endeavors were pure.  Such a conviction must underlie the request for efficacious intercession.  The prayers of others will not avail for our neglect of duty.  They help,  when we have done our utmost,  to supply what we have failed to do,  and to correct what we have done amiss.

A good conscience we have
The adjective  a good  seems to retain its characteristic sense of that which commands the respect and admiration of others.  So far the word appeals to the judgment of the readers.

In all things well wishing to conduct ourselves
Since we wish to live honestly’;  or describing the character of that to which the conscience testified:  ‘as wishing to live honestly.’  The latter connection appears to be the more natural and simpler.

In all things
In all respects,  in all things,  in the points which cause misgivings,  as in others.  The word is neuter and not masculine.

Desiring  and not merely  being willing:  compare Heb. 12:17. 
Whatever the issue might be this was the Apostle’s earnest wish.  Compare 1 Thess. 2:18; 2 Tim. 3:12.

1 Thess 2:18 
For we wanted to come to you-certainly I,  Paul,  did,  again and again - but Satan stopped us.     NIV


But more abundantly
The writer enforces the common request by a personal consideration,  And the more exceedingly do I exhort you to do this…  The transition from the plural to the singular,  no less than the order,  points to the connection of   but more  with  I exhort  and not with  to do.

That more quickly I may be restored to you
That I may be restored to you the sooner
The expression does not necessarily imply a state of imprisonment,  which is in fact,  excluded by the language of verse 23,  since the purpose thus declared presupposes,  so far,  freedom of action.  All that the word requires is that the writer should have been kept from the Hebrews (in one sense) against his will.  It may have been by illness. 
By the use of it the writer suggests the idea of service,  which he had rendered and could render to his readers.  He was in some sense required for their completeness;  and by his presence he could remove the causes of present anxiety.

Heb 13:23
I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon,  I will come with him to see you.     NIV


The Apostle has first asked for the prayers of his readers,  and then he anticipates their answer by the outpouring of his own petitions in their behalf.  Compare 1 Thess. 5:23;  1 Pet. 5:10.  

1 Thess 5:23
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.     NIV

1 Peter 5:10
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.    NIV


The aspects,  under which God is described as  ‘the God of peace’  and the author of the exaltation of Christ, correspond with the trials of the Hebrews.  They were in a crisis of conflict within and without.

They were tempted to separate themselves from those who were their true leaders under the presence of unexpected afflictions (compare Heb. 12:11)
They were tempted also to question the power of Christ and the efficacy of the Covenant made through Him.

The title  ‘the God of peace’  is not uncommon in Paul’s Epistles: 
Rom. 15:33;  16:20;  2 Cor. 13:11;  1 Thess. 5:23  compare 1 Cor. 14:33.

It is through God,  as the author and giver of peace,  that man is able to find the harmony,  which he seeks,  in the conflicting elements of his own nature,  in his relations with the world,  in his relations to God Himself.

The thoughts,  which spring from the contemplation of the general character of God,  are deepened by the contemplation of His work for  ‘our Lord Jesus.’  In the Resurrection of Christ we have the decisive revelation of victory over all evil,  in the victory over death.   Christ’s Resurrection is the perfect assurance of the support of those who in any degree fulfill in part that pastoral office which He fulfilled perfectly.

This is the only direct reference to the Resurrection in the Epistle;  just as Heb. 12:2  is the only direct reference to the Cross.  The writer regards the work of Christ in its eternal aspects.

Who brought again from among dead
The usage of the verb  brought again  generally in the New Testament,  as well as the contrast in which it stands in these two passages to show that it must be taken in the sense of  ‘brought up’  and not of  ‘brought again.’  The thought of restoration is made more emphatic by the addition of the thought of the depth of apparent defeat out of which Christ was raised.

The Shepherd
The Shepherd of the sheep, the great Shepherd
The image is common from Homer downwards. 
Philo in commenting on the application of the title of  Shepherd  to God in Psalms 23 says that as Shepherd and King He leads in justice and law the harmonious courses of the heavenly bodies ‘having placed His right Word, His first-born Son, as their leader, to succeed to the care of this sacred flock, as a viceroy of a great king’ (ref. De Agric. & 12; i. 308 M.);  and elsewhere he speaks of  ‘the divine Word’  as a ‘Shepherd-king’ (ref. De mut. Nom. & 20; i. Page 596 M.).

The old commentators saw rightly in the words here a reference to  Isaiah 63:11 (LXX)  ‘though He remembered the days of old. O! where is He who caused the shepherd of His flock to come up out of the sea? Where is He, who put His Holy Spirit in them?’

The work of Moses was a shadow of that of Christ
The leading up of him with his people out of the sea was a shadow of Christ’s ascent from the grave
The covenant with Israel a shadow of the eternal covenant

In blood of covenant eternal
This clause,  based on Zech. 9:11,  goes with all that proceeds.  The raising of Christ was indissolubly united with the establishment of the Covenant made by His blood and effective in virtue of it.  His  ‘blood’  is the vital energy by which He fulfills His work.  So,  when He was brought up from the dead,  the power of His life offered for the world was,  as it were,  the atmosphere,  which surrounded Him as He entered on His triumphant work.

The covenant is described in its character.  The new covenant is  ‘an eternal covenant’: Jeremiah 32;  Isaiah 55; 61.  Compare Heb. 8:8.
The title  ‘the Lord Jesus’  is common in the book of the Acts (1:21; 4:33; [7:59;] 8:16; 11:20; 15:11; 19:13,17; 220:24,35; 21:13).
In other books it is much more rare,  and the fuller title ‘the Lord Jesus Christ’ is generally used.
Here it is natural that the writer of the Epistle should desire to emphasize the simple thoughts of the Lord’s sovereignty and humanity as  ‘the Great Shepherd.’  
For the contrast of Moses and ‘Jesus’ see Heb. 3:1 note. (Book one)


Perfect you in every work good
Make you perfect in every good thing.  Compare 1 Pet. 5:10.  
The word  to make perfect,  includes the thoughts of:

The harmonious combination of different powers  (compare Eph. 4:12;  2 Cor. 13:9)
The supply of that which is defective (1 Thess. 3:10)
The amendment of that which is faulty (Gal. 6:1; compare Mk. 1:19)

For to do
To the end that you do…   Action is the true object of the harmonious perfection of our powers.  And each deed is at once the deed of man and the deed of God.  The work of God makes man’s work possible.  He Himself does,  as the one source of all good,  that which in another sense man does as freely accepting His grace.  And all is wrought in man  ‘through Jesus Christ.’ Comp. Acts 3:16.

To whom glory
The doxology may be addressed to Christ as in  2 Tim. 4:18;  2 Pet. 3:18;  Rev. 1:6. 
The Greek,  however,  admits the reference of the relative to the main subject of the sentence,  the God (cf. 5:7; 2 Thess. 2:9),  and this is the most likely interpretation.

To the ages of the ages
The phrase occurs here only in the Epistle.  It is common in the Revelation  (twelve times,  with the varied phrase in 14:11),  and is found also in  Phil. 4:20;  1 Tim. 1:17;  2 Tim. 4:18;  1 Pet. 4:11.

The language of the Apostle’s prayer has given occasion to an instructive expression of the characteristic differences of Greek and Latin theology in regard to man’s share in good works. The Greek Commentators find in the word the recognition of the free activity of man:  the Latin Commentators see in the prayer itself a testimony to man’s complete dependence upon God.

It is obvious that the two views are capable of being reconciled in that larger view of man’s constitution and destiny, which acknowledges that the fall has not destroyed the image of God in which he was created.  Every act of man,  so far as it is good,  is wrought in fellowship with God.


But I exhort
But I exhort you,  brethren, bear with the word of exhortation
The words come as a postscript after the close of the letter,  when the writer has reviewed what he has said.  As he looks back he feels that the very brevity of his argument on such themes as he has touched upon pleads for consideration.

For also
I ask for patient attention,  for in fact I have written little when I might have extended my arguments to far greater length if I had not feared to weary you.’  This appears to be the natural sense of the words.  It is less likely that the writer wishes to apologize for any obscurity or harshness in what he has written on the ground of his brevity.


Know ye
The order,  no less than the general scope of the verse,  seems to show that the verb is imperative: 
Know ye, that our brother Timothy has been discharged that is discharged from confinement (Acts 16:35),  or more generally  set free from the charge laid against him (Acts 3:13; 26:32). 
It can cause no surprise that the details of this fact are wholly unknown.


A general salutation of this kind is found in most of the Epistles of the New Testament.  
The special salutation of  ‘all that has the rule’  implies that the letter was not addressed officially to the Church,  but to some section of it.  The patristic commentators notice the significance of the clause.


The same greeting is found  Tit. 3:15.  Every Epistle of Paul includes in its final greeting the wish for  ‘grace’ to those who receive it.  Generally  ‘the grace’  is defined as  ‘the grace of our Lord [Jesus Christ]’  (Rom. 1, 2  Cor.,  Gal.,  Phil.  1 2 Thess.,  Philemom.).

It has been already observed in the course of the notes that the writer of the Epistle everywhere assumes that there is a spiritual meaning in the whole record of the Old Testament. 
This deeper sense is recognized in the history:

(Heb. 7:1) Personal
(Heb. 4:1) National
(Heb. 9:8) In the Mosaic ritual
(Heb. 2:13) In the experience of typical characters
(Heb. 2:6) In the the general teaching 
(Heb. 7:3) Every detail in the record is treated as significant; and even the silence of the narrative suggests important thoughts

Generally it may be said that Christ and the Christian dispensation are regarded as the one end to which the Old Testament points and in which it finds its complete accomplishment,  not as though the Gospel were the answer to the riddle of the Law,  but as being the consummation of life of that which was prepared in life.  Those therefore who acknowledged Jesus as the Christ,  when they realized His Nature,  could not fail to see that He had abrogated the outward system of Judaism by fulfilling it.

It follows that the historical truth of the Scriptural records is everywhere guarded,  but the recorded facts are treated as  ‘signs,’  and the believer is led to see in them a fuller meaning as the course of life is unfolded.  The records are not changed,  but gaining deeper insight into nature and history changes men.

The Christian faith is assumed, and on this assumption the Hebrews are taught to recognize in the Old Testament the foreshadowing’s of that growing purpose which the Gospel completes and crowns.  
This being so,  the object of the writer is

not to show that Jesus fulfills the idea of the Christ,  and that the Christian Church fulfills the idea of Israel,
but to mark the relation in which the Gospel stands to the Mosaic system, as part of one divine whole.

Looking back therefore over the course of the divine discipline of humanity,  outlined in the Old Testament,  he indicates how Christ,  Lawgiver and Priest,  fulfilled perfectly the offices which

(Heb. 3) Moses
(Heb. 5) Aaron
(Heb. 7) Melchizedek

held in typical and transitory forms; and yet more than this, how as Man He fulfilled the destiny of fallen man through suffering  (Heb. 2).

Jer 31:31-33
(31)  "The time is coming," declares the LORD,
"When I will make a new covenant
With the house of Israel
And with the house of Judah.
(32) It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
When I took them by the hand
To lead them out of Egypt,
Because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,"
declares the LORD. (33)  "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.    NIV

This  ends  the  study  of  Hebrews          Paul the Learner ...



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