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11

Therefore in my anger I swore,

“They shall not enter my rest.”


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11. Wherefore I have sworn in my wrath I see no objection to the relative אשר, asher, being understood in its proper sense and reading — To whom I have sworn. The Greek version, taking it for a mark of similitude, reads, As I have sworn But I think that it may be properly considered as expressing an inference or conclusion; not as if they were then at last deprived of the promised inheritance when they tempted God, but the Psalmist, having spoken, in the name of God, of that obstinacy which they displayed, takes occasion to draw the inference that there was good reason for their being prohibited, with an oath, from entering the land. Proportionally as they multiplied their provocations, it became the more evident that, being incorrigible, they had been justly cut off from God’s rest. 6969     “Satis superque innotuit, quia corrigi nullo modo poterant, non temere fuisse abdicatos a requie Dei.” — Lat. The meaning would be more clear by reading in the pluperfect tense — I had sworn; for God had already shut them out from the promised inheritance, having foreseen their misconduct; before he thus strove with them. I have elsewhere adverted to the explanation which is to be given of the elliptical form in which the oath runs. 7070     See Commentary, Psalm 27:13, and 89:35. “The Hebrews used אם, in the latter clause of an oath, which ran thus: God do so to me, if (אם) I do thus, etc. See the full form in 1 Samuel 3:17; 2 Samuel 3:35; 2 Kings 6:31. The former part of this oath was sometimes omitted, and אם had then the force of a strong negative; see 2 Samuel 11:11; 1 Samuel 14:45, alibi; vide Ges. Heb. Lex. under אם, number 6. So in Psalm 95:11, אם יבאון, contains a strong negative, which the LXX., and Paul after them, (Hebrews 3:11,) have rendered εἰ εἰσελεύσονται, they shall not enter.” — Stuart on Hebrews 3:11. “The expression,” says Dr Owen, “is imperfect, and relates to the oath of God, wherein he sware by himself. As if he had said, ‘Let me not live, or not be God, if they enter,’ which is the greatest and highest asseveration that they should not enter. And the concealment of the engagement is not, as some suppose, from a παθος, causing an abruptness of speech, but from the reverence of the person spoken of. The expression is perfectly and absolutely negative. So Mark 8:12, with Matthew 16:4; 1 Samuel 14:44; 1 Kings 20:10.” — Commentary on Hebrews 3:11. The land of Canaan is called God’s rest in reference to the promise. Abraham and his posterity had been wanderers in it until the full time came for entering upon the possession of it. Egypt had been a temporary asylum, and, as it were, a place of exile. In preparing to plant the Jews, agreeably to his promise, in their rightful patrimony of Canaan, God might very properly call it his rest. The word must be taken, however, in the active sense; this being the great benefit which God bestowed, that the Jews were to dwell there, as in their native soil, and in a quiet habitation. We might stop a moment here to compare what the Apostle states in the third and fourth chapters of his Epistle to the Hebrews, with the passage now before us. That the Apostle follows the Greek version, need occasion no surprise. 7171     See volume 1, page 103, note. Neither is he to be considered as undertaking professedly to treat this passage. He only insists upon the adverb To-day, and upon the word Rest And first, he states that the expression to-day, is not to be confined to the time when the Law was given, but properly applies to the Gospel, when God began to speak more openly. The fuller and more perfect declaration of doctrine demanded the greater share of attention. God has not ceased to speak: he has revealed his Son, and is daily inviting us to come unto him; and, undoubtedly, it is our incumbent duty, under such an opportunity, to obey his voice. The Apostle next reasons from the rest, to an extent which we are not to suppose that the words of the Psalmist themselves warrant. 7272     “Subtilius disputat quam ferant Prophetae verba.” — Lat. He takes it up as a first position, that since there was an implied promise in the punishment here denounced, there must have been some better rest promised to the people of God than the land of Canaan. For, when the Jews had entered the land, God held out to his people the prospect of another rest, which is defined by the Apostle to consist in that renouncing of ourselves, whereby we rest from our own works while God worketh in us. From this, he takes occasion to compare the old Sabbath, or rest, under the Law, which was figurative, with the newness of spiritual life. 7373     “Vetus et legale Sabbathum quod umbratile tantum erat, cum spirituali vitae novitate.” — Lat. When his said that he swore in his wrath, this intimates that he was in a manner freed to inflict this punishment, that the provocation was of no common or slight kind, but that their awful obstinacy inflamed his anger, and drew from him this oath.




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