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2. Warning to Pay Attention

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

5For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

9. But we see Jesus, etc. As the meaning of the words, βραχύ τι “a little” is ambiguous, 3636     There is no doubt but that the expression is capable of being understood as “little” in degree, or as “little” in time; but in the Psalm the former is evidently the meaning, and there is no reason for a different meaning here: Christ, in becoming man, assumed a nature inferior to that of angels. Many of the fathers, indeed, and some moderns, have thought that time is what is intended “for a little while;” but this is not true, for Christ continues in the nature which has assumed, though it be now refined and perfected. The inferiority of nature is admitted, but that inferiority is as it were compensated by a superiority of honor and glory. Our version is the Vulgate, which Doddridge has also adopted, and also Stuart and Bloomfield. — Ed. he looks to the thing itself, as exhibited in the person of Christ, rather then to the exact meaning of the words, as I have already said; and he presents to our meditation the glory after the resurrection, which David extends to all the gifts by which man is adorned by God’s bounty; but in this embellishment, which leaves the literal sense entire, there is nothing unsuitable or improper.

For the suffering of death, etc. It is the same as though it was said that Christ, having passed through death, was exalted into the glory which he has obtained, according to what Paul teaches us in Philippians 2:8-10; not that Christ obtained anything for himself individually, as sophists say, who have devised the notion that he first earned eternal life for himself and then for us; for the way or means, so to speak, of obtaining glory, is only indicated here. Besides, Christ is crowned with glory for this end, that every knee should bow to him. (Philippians 2:10.) We may therefore reason from the final cause that all things are delivered into his hand.

That he by the grace of God, 3737     See Appendix H. etc. He refers to the cause and the fruit of Christ’s death, lest he should be thought to detract anything from his dignity. For when we hear that so much good has been obtained for us, there is no place left for contempt, for admiration of the divine goodness fills the whole mind. By saying for every man, he means not only that he might be ample to others, as Chrysostom says, who brings the example of a physician tasting first a bitter draught, that the patient might not refuse to drink it; but he means that Christ died for us, and that by taking upon him what was due to us, he redeemed us from the curse of death. And it is added, that this was done through the grace of God, for the cause of redemption was the infinite love of God towards us, through which it was that he spared not even his own Son. What Chrysostom says of tasting of death, as though he touched it with his lips, because Christ emerged from death a conqueror, I will not refute nor condemn, though I know not whether the Apostle meant to speak in a manner so refined. 3838     There is no doubt but that is a fanciful refinement. To taste food, according to the language of Scripture, is to eat it. See Acts 10:11; 20:11; 23:14. To taste death is to die, to undergo death, and nothing else. See Matthew 16:28; Luke 9:27. Stuart observes that the word for taste in Hebrew is taken in the same sense, and also in classic Greek authors. “For every man,” ὑπὲρ πάντος, that is “man,” mentioned in verse 6; and the “man” there means all the faithful, to whom God in Noah restored the dominion lost in Adam; but this dominion was not renewed to man as a fallen being, but as made righteous by faith. — Ed.


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