20. Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
20. Porro Deus pacis, qui eduxit ex mortuis Pastorem ovium magnum in sanguine Testamenti aeterni, Dominum nostrum Iesum,
21. Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21. Confirmet (alias, aptet, vel, perficiat) vos in omni opere bono, ut faciatis ejus voluntatem, faciens in vobis quod acceptum sit coram ipso, per Iesum Christum, cui gloria in secula seculorum. Amen.
22. And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.
22. Hortar (alias, obsecro) autem vos fratres, suscipite sermonem exhortationis: etenim brevibus verbis scripsi.
23. Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
23. Scitate (alias, scitis) fratrem Timotheum solutum esse, cum quo, si celerius venerit, videbo vos.
24. Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
24. Salutate omnes qui praesunt vobis et omnes sanctos: salutant vos Itali.
25. Grace be with you all. Amen.
Gratia cum omnibus vobia. Amen.
Written to the Hebrews from Italy, by Timothy.
Ad Hebroeos scripta ab Italia per Timotheum
20. Now the God of peace, etc. To render mutual what he desired them to do, he ends his Epistle with prayer; and he asks of God to confirm, or to fit, or to perfect them in every good work; for such is the meaning of katartisai. We hence conclude, that we are by no means fit to do good until we are made or formed for the purpose by God, and that we shall not continue long in doing good unless he strengthens us; for perseverance is his peculiar gift. Nor is there a doubt but that as no common gifts of the Spirit had already, as it seems, appeared in them, the first impression with which they began, is not what is prayed for, but the polishing, which they were to be made perfect.
That brought again from the dead, etc. This clause was added for the sake of confirmation; for he intimates that God is then only prayed to aright by us, to lead us on to perfection, when we acknowledge his power in the resurrection of Christ, and acknowledge Christ himself as our pastor. He, in short, would have us to look to Christ, in order that we may rightly trust in God for help; for Christ was raised from death for this end, that we might be renewed unto eternal life, by the same power of God; and he is the great pastor of all, in order that we may protect the sheep committed to him by the Father.
Through the blood, etc. I have rendered it, |In the blood;| for as v |in,| is often taken in the sense of with, so I prefer to regard it here. For it seems to me, that the Apostle means, that Christ so arose from the dead, that his death was not yet abolished, but that it retains its efficacy forever, as though he had said, |God raised up his own son, but in such a way that the blood he shed once for all in his death is efficacious after his resurrection for the ratification of the everlasting covenant, and brings forth fruit the same as though it were flowing always.|
21. To do his will, etc. He now gives a definition of good works by laying down God's will as the rule; for he thus intimates, that no works are to be deemed good, but such as are agreeable to the will of God, as Paul also teaches us in Romans 12:2, and in many other places. Let us then remember, that it is the perfection of a good and holy life, when we live in obedience to his will. The clause which next follows is explanatory, working (or doing) in you what is well pleasing in his sight. He had spoken of that will which is made known in the Law; he now shows, that in vain is obtruded on God what he has not commanded; for he values the decrees of his own will far more than all the inventions of the world.
Through Jesus Christ, etc. This may be explained in two ways, -- |Working through Jesus Christ|, or, |Wellpleasing through Jesus Christ.| Both senses are suitable. For we know that the spirit of regeneration and also all graces are bestowed on us through Christ; and then it is certain, that as nothing can proceed from us absolutely perfect, nothing can be acceptable to God without that pardon which we obtain through Christ. Thus it comes, that our works, performed by the odor of Christ's grace, emit a sweet fragrance in God's presence, while otherwise they would have a fetid smell. I am disposed to include both meanings.
To whom be glory, etc. This I refer to Christ. And as he here ascribes to Christ what peculiarly belongs to God alone, he thus bears a clear testimony to his divinity; but still if anyone prefers to explain this of the Father, I do not object; though I embrace the other sense, as being the most obvious.
22. And I beseech you, etc. Some understand this as though he was soliciting them to hear him; but I take another view; for he mentions, as I think, that he had written in a few words, or briefly, in order that he might not appear as though he wished to lessen in any degree the ordinary practice of teaching. Let us hence learn that the Scripture has not been committed to us in order to silence the voice of pastors, and that we are not to be fastidious when the same exhortations often sound in our ears; for the holy Spirit has so regulated the writings which he has dictated to the Prophets and the Apostles, that he detracts nothing from the order instituted by himself; and the order is, that constant exhortations should be heard in the Church from the mouth of pastors. And probably he recommends the word of exhortation for this reason, that though men are by nature anxious to learn, they yet prefer to hear something new rather than to be reminded of things known and often heard before. Besides, as they indulge themselves in sloth, they can ill bear to be stimulated and reproved.
23. Know ye that our brother, etc. Since the termination of the Greek verb ginoskete, will admit of either renderings, we may read, |Ye know,| or, |Know ye;| but I prefer the latter reading, though I do not reject the other. The probability is, that he was informing the Jews on the other side of the sea of what they did not know. Now, if this Timothy was the renowned companion of Paul, which I am inclined to think, it is very probable that either Luke or Clement was the author of this Epistle. Paul, indeed, more usually calls him his son; and then what immediately follows does not apply to Paul; for it appears that the writer was at liberty and at his own disposal; and besides, that he was then anywhere rather than at Rome; nay, it is very probable, that he was going round through various cities, and was then preparing to pass over the sea. Now all these particulars might have been suitable to the circumstances either of Luke or of Clement after the death of Paul.
24. Salute, etc. As he writes his Epistle generally to the Hebrews, it is strange that he bids some, separate from the rest, to be saluted; but he sends this salutation, as I think, more particularly to the rulers, as a mark of honor, that he might conciliate them, and gently lead them to assent to his doctrine. And he adds, --
And all the saints. He either means the faithful from among the Gentiles, and refers to them that both Jews and Gentiles might learn to cultivate unity among themselves; or his object was to intimate, that they who first received the Epistle, were to communicate it to others.
END OF THE COMMENTARIES ON THE EPISTLE
TO THE HEBREWS