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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE HEBREWS - Chapter 4 - Verse 13

Verse 13. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight. There is no being who is not wholly known to God. All his thoughts, feelings, plans, are distinctly understood. Of the truth of this there can be no doubt. The design of the remark here is, to guard those to whom the apostle was writing from self-deception —since they could conceal nothing from God.

All things are naked. Exposed; uncovered. There is nothing that can be concealed from God, Ps 139:11,12.

"The veil of night is no disguise,

No screen from thy all-searching eyes;

Thy hands can seize thy foes as soon

Through midnight shades as blazing noon."

 

And opened tetrachlismena. The word here used — trachlizw — properly means,

(1.) to lay bare the neck, or to bend it back so as to expose the throat to being cut.

(2.) To expose; to lay open in any way. Why the word is used here has been a matter of inquiry. Some have supposed that the phrase is derived from offering sacrifice, and from the fact that the priest carefully examined the victim, to see whether it was sound, before it was offered. But this is manifestly a forced exposition. Others have supposed that it is derived from the custom of bending back the head of a criminal, so as to look full in his face, and recognise him, so as not to be mistaken; but this is equally forced and unnatural. This opinion was first proposed by Erasmus, and has been adopted by Clarke and others, Bloomfield, following, as he says, the interpretation of Chrysostom, Grotius, (though this is not the sentiment of Grotius,) Beza, Alting, Hammond, and others, supposes the allusion to be to the custom of cutting the animal down the back-bone through the spinal marrow, and thus of laying it open entirely. This sense would well suit the connexion. Grotius supposes that it means to strip off the skin by dividing it at the neck, and then removing it. This view is also adopted substantially by Doddridge. These explanations are forced, and imply a departure, more or less, from the proper meaning of the Greek word. The most simple and obvious meaning is usually the best in explaining the Bible. The word which the apostle employs relates to the neck; trachlov —-and not to the spinal marrow, or the skin. The proper meaning of the verb is, to bend the neck back, so as to expose it in front when an animal is slain. Passow. Then it means, to make bare; to remove everything like covering; to expose a thing entirely—as the naked neck is for the knife. The allusion here is undoubtedly to the sword which Paul had referred to in the previous verse, as dividing the soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow; and the meaning is, that in the hand of God, who held that sword, everything was exposed. We are, in relation to that, like an animal whose neck is bent back, and laid bare, and ready for the slaughter. Nothing hinders God from striking; there is nothing that can prevent that sword from penetrating the heart any more than, when the neck of the animal is bent back and laid bare, there is anything that can hinder the sacrificing priest from thrusting the knife into the throat of the victim. If this be the true interpretation, then what an affecting view does it give of the power of God, and of the exposedness of man to destruction! All is bare, naked, open. There is no concealment; no hinderance; no power of resistance. In a moment God can strike, and his dreadful sentence shall fall on the sinner like the knife on the exposed throat of the victim. What emotions should the sinner have who feels that he is exposed each moment to the sentence of eternal justice —to the sword of God—as the animal with bent-back neck is exposed to the knife! And what solemn feeling should all have who remember that all is naked and open before God! Were we transparent, so that the World could see all we are, who would dare go abroad? Who would wish the world to read all his thoughts and feelings for a single day? Who would wish his best friends to look in upon his naked soul, as we can look into a room through a window? Oh, what blushes and confusion; what a hanging down of the head, and what an effort to escape from the gaze of men would there be, if every one knew that all his secret feelings were seen by every person whom he met! Social enjoyment would end; and the now gay and blithe multitudes in the streets would become processions of downcast and blushing convicts. And yet all these are known to God. He reads every thought; sees every feeling; looks through the whole soul. How careful should we be to keep our heart pure; how anxious that there should be nothing in the soul that we are not willing to have known!

With whom we have to do. Literally, with whom is our account. Our account; our reckoning is to be with him before whom all is naked and open. We cannot, therefore, impose on him. We cannot pass off hypocrisy for sincerity. He will judge us according to truth, not according to appearances; and his sentence, therefore, will be just. A man who is to be tried by one who knows all about him, should be a pure and holy man.

{b} "naked" Pr 15:11

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