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Hebrews 1:7-9

7. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

7. Et ad angelos quidem dicit, Qui facit angelos suos spiritus et ministros suos flamman ignis.

8. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.

8. Ad Filium vero, Thronus tuus, O Deus, in seculum seculi; virga directionis, virga regni tui:

9. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

9. Dilexisti justitiam et odisti iniquitatem; propterea unxit te Deus tuus oleo laetitiae prae consortibus tuis.


7. And to the angels, etc. To the angels means of the angels. But the passage quoted seems to have been turned to another meaning from what it appears to have; for as David is there describing the manner in which we see the world to be governed, nothing is more certain than the winds are mentioned, which he says are made messengers by the Lord, for he employs them as his runners; so also, when he purifies the air by lightnings, he shows what quick and swift ministers he has to obey his orders. But this has nothing to do with angels. Some have had recourse to an allegory, as though the Apostle explained the plain, and as they say, the literal sense allegorically of angels. But it seems preferable to me to consider this testimony is brought forward for this purpose, that it might by a similitude be applied to angels, and in this way David compares winds to angels, because they perform offices in this world similar to what the angels do in heaven; for the winds are, as it were, visible spirits. And, doubtless, as Moses, describing the creation of the world, mentioned only those things which are subject to our senses, and yet intended that higher things should be understood; so David in describing the world and nature, represented to us on a tablet what ought to be understood respecting the celestial orders. Hence I think that the argument is one of likeness or similarity, when the Apostle transfers to angels what properly applies to the winds. 2222     Many have been the explanations of this sentence; but this is the most suitable to the passage as it occurs in Psalm 104:4, and to the design of the Apostle; it is the one adopted by Doddridge, Stuart, and Bloomfield.
   The meaning would be thus more apparent, — “Who maketh like his angels the winds, and like his ministers the flaming fire,” that is, the winds are subject to him as the angels are, and also the flaming fire as his ministers or attendants. The particle ב is sometimes omitted in Hebrew. — Ed.

8. But to the Son, etc. It must indeed be allowed, that this Psalm was composed as a marriage song for Solomon; for here is celebrated his marriage with the daughter of the king of Egypt; 2323     It is generally admitted to be a kind of epithalamium, but not on the occasion here specified, as there was nothing in that marriage that in any degree correspond with the contents of the Psalm. Such was the opinion of Beza, Dr. Owen, Scott, and Horsley. — Ed. but it cannot yet be denied but that what is here related, is much too high to be applied to Solomon. The Jews, that they may not be forced to own Christ to be called God, make an evasion by saying, it at the throne of God is spoken of, or that the verb “established” is to be understood. So that, according to the first exposition, the word Elohim, God, is to be in construction with throne, “the throne of God;” and that according to the second, it is supposed to be a defective sentence. But these are mere evasions. Whosoever will read the verse, who is of a sound mind and free from the spirit of contention, cannot doubt but that the Messiah is called God. Nor is there any reason to object, that the word Elohim is sometimes given to angels and to judges; for it is never found to be given simply to one person, except to God alone. 2424     The Hebrew will admit of no other construction than that given in our version and by Calvin. The Greek version, the Sept., which the Apostle adopts, seems at first view to be different, as “God” is in the nominative case, ὁ Θεὸς; but the Sept. used in commonly instead of the vocative case. We meet with two instances in the seventh Psalm, verses 1 and 3, and in connection with “Lord,” κύριε in the vocative case. See also Psalm 10:12; 41:1, etc.
   The Vulgate, following literally the Sept., without regarding the preceding peculiarity, has rendered “God” in the nominative, “Deus,” and not “O Deus.” — Ed.

Farther, that I may not contend about a word, whose throne can be said to be established forever, except that of God only? Hence the perpetuity of his kingdom is an evidence of his divinity.

The scepter of Christ’s kingdom is afterwards called the scepter of righteousness; of this there were some, though obscure, lineaments in Solomon; he exhibited them as far as he acted as a just king and zealous for what was right. But righteousness in the kingdom of Christ has a wider meaning; for he by his gospel, which is his spiritual scepter, renews us after the righteousness of God. The same thing must be also understood of his love of righteousness; for he causes it to reign in his own people, because he loves it.

9. Wherefore God has appointed him, etc. This was indeed truly said of Solomon, who was made a king, because God had preferred him to his brethren, who were otherwise his equals, being the sons of the king. But this applies more suitably to Christ, who has adopted us as his joint heirs, though not so in our own right. But he was anointed above us all, as it was beyond measure, while we, each of us, according to a limited portion, as he has divided to each of us. Besides, he was anointed for our sake, in order that we may all draw out of his fatness. Hence he is the Christ, we are Christians proceeding from him, as rivulet from a fountain. But as Christ received this unction when in the flesh, he is said to have been anointed by his God; for it would be inconsistent to suppose him inferior to God, except in his human nature. 2525     He is evidently throughout spoken of in his mediatorial character. To keep this in view will enable us more fully to understand the chapter. It is more agreeable to this passage, to regard “the anointing,” not that of consecration, but that of refreshment to guests according to a prevailing custom, see Luke 7:46. The word “gladness” favors this, and also the previous words of the passage; Christ is addressed as already on his throne, and his administration is referred to; and it is on account of his just administration, that he is said to have been anointed with the perfuming oil of gladness, see Acts 10:38.
   The words, “above thy fellows,” are rendered by Calvin, “above thy partners,” and by Doddridge and Macknight, “above thine associates.” Christ is spoken of as king, and his associates are those in the same office; but he is so much above them that he is the “king of kings;” and yet his superior excellencies are here represented as entitling him to higher honors. — Ed.

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