Hebrews 12

Cloud of witnesses; that is, the persons mentioned in the last chapter, who by their conduct bore witness so firmly for God. The word witness, as used in the New Testament, usually signifies, not a spectator, but one who bears testimony,—referring very frequently to a testimony borne by the life and conversation, as in Rev. 1:5.—Every weight; every obstruction to progress.

Despising the shame; disregarding the shame.

Contradiction of sinners; opposition of sinners.

Resisted unto blood. It would seem that this language must be understood figuratively, that is, as designed to express the last extremity of spiritual contest with temptation; for the injunction is to resistance, and resistance was in no sense a duty in respect to outward persecutions. Our Savior's language, "If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off," may be considered somewhat analogous. Besides, what is said in 10:32, 33, seems to imply that the persons addressed in this Epistle had been exposed to the extreme of outward persecution.

My son, &c. This passage, including v. 6, is quoted from Prov. 3:12, through the Septuagint.

Bastards; pretended sons.

After their own pleasure; that is, arbitrarily, or from caprice.

Isa. 35:3.

Perhaps from Prov. 4:26. The idea is, Adhere firmly to the strict rules of duty; if any deviation is allowed, it may prove a fatal snare to human frailty.

Lest any man fail, &c.; lest he apostatize, and lose the grace of God.—Any root of bitterness; any source of bitterness, that is, of sin and suffering.

Fornicator; in a spiritual sense, one who forsakes God, whom he had once chosen, and devotes himself again to his idols; thus, like Esau, selling his birthright for pottage.

Gen. 27:35-40.

That might be touched. It would seem that this must contain an allusion to the prohibition recorded in Ex. 19:12, 13, where bounds were directed to be placed about Mount Sinai, which the people were forbidden to transcend;—a prohibition which added much to the effect produced by the other circumstances here alluded to, in investing the scene which accompanied the giving of the law on Sinai with its extraordinary terrors.

That speaketh better things, &c. It speaks mercy and pardon. The blood of Abel cried for vengeance.

Then shook the earth; at Sinai. The quotation is from Hag. 2:6.

There is an obscurity in respect to some of the expressions of this verse. The general idea is, that, while the Jewish system was temporary and mutable, the dispensation by Christ is fixed and final, and shall never be moved.

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