The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for August 28th, 2013

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 7:11-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 28, 2013

Luk 7:11 And it came to pass afterwards that he went into a city that is called Naim: and there went with him his disciples and a great multitude.

“And it came to pass afterwards.” Maldonatus holds that the following miracle, which St. Luke alone records—we have no mention of it by the other Evangelists—did not occur immediately after the cure of the Centurion’s servant, recorded in the preceding verses. He thinks, that the occurrences mentioned in chaps. 8, 9, 10 of St. Matthew, took place between the two miracles narrated here. For, he remarks, all the Evangelist says is, that this miracle of the resuscitation of the young man of Naim occurred “afterwards,” and St. Matthew (chap. 11) says, that after directing and instructing His disciples, our Lord proceeded to preach and teach in their cities; in Naim, where this miracle occurred, among the rest. It is, however, commonly held that the word, “afterwards,” in Latin, “deinceps,” means the following day, as the Syriac version has it. And, indeed, the progressive description of still increasing wonders was very natural on the part of St. Luke. It was wonderful, that a man, who was present, should be cured by our Lord at once, of a loathsome leprosy; and that, by a single word; more wonderful still, to cure an absent man, at the point of death; but most wonderful, to raise to life a man, undoubtedly dead, and carried out to be buried. For, some might say that the Centurion’s servant might have naturally recovered, even though our Lord had not interposed. But, in the last miracle, no evasion or denial could be admitted.

“Naim,” in Greek, Nain, was not far from Capharnaun about two miles from Thabor (St. Jerome, in loc. Hebracis). St. Luke is the only Evangelist that records this miracle.

“His disciples.” The ordinary Greek has ικανοι (many of) “His disciples.” The word is not found in the Vulgate version or Vatican MS.

Luk 7:12  And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother: and she was a widow. And a great multitude of the city was with her.

“And a great multitude,” who accompanied Him, owing to His teaching and miracles.

“The gate of the city,” generally a crowded place. “A dead man was carried out,” to be buried. The Jews had their cemeteries outside the towns and villages, for sanitary purposes. “The only son.” The Greek means, “the only-begotten child,” which, naturally, made the grief of his bereaved mother more intense. “And she was a widow,” another circumstance, that made her condition more pitiable, as she lost her only prop and support.

“And a great multitude of the city,” who testified their respect and sympathy, “were with her.” These, together with the crowd who accompanied our Lord, bore ample testimony to the truth of the miracle. Humanly speaking, our Lord’s going to Naim, and meeting the funeral procession, under such circumstances, might seem casual or fortuitous; but, it was all arranged by the over-ruling providence of God, to give His Son an opportunity of performing this great miracle on so public an occasion.

Luk 7:13  Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: Weep not.

Our Lord was moved with compassion at the sad condition of this desolate widow; and, to leave us an example of how we are to treat the afflicted, He consoles her, not only by words—“weep not”—which might afford a cheap and barren sympathy; but, by act.

Luk 7:14  And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise.

He shows His sympathy by act. “He touched the bier, and they that carried it stood still,” and our Lord at once, by the sole exercise of His power, by His word alone, without any prayers, any ceremony, such as were resorted to by Elias, Eliseus, and St. Peter, to show His omnipotence, perfectly restores to life the young man, who was undoubtedly dead.

Luk 7:15  And he that was dead sat up and begun to speak. And he gave him to his mother.

“Rose up and began to speak.” Our Lord, to show that it was pity and compassion for his mother that induced Him to perform the miracle, “gave him to his mother.” The consequence of this wonderful miracle was, that the people were seized with “fear,” a feeling of awe at so wonderful and unusual an event.

Luk 7:16  And there came a fear upon them all: and they glorified God saying: A great prophet is risen up among us: and, God hath visited his people.

“They glorified God,” for having sent so great a Prophet among them, and for having “visited His people,” by sending the great Prophet, promised them of old, by Moses (Deut. 18:15). For a long time, no prophet appeared among them; and now God shows His ancient love for His people, by sending this great Prophet, who wrought more brilliant miracles than ever were performed before. Most likely, they did not regard Him as the Messiah, but only as a great Prophet. Zachary used the words, “visited His people,” in his canticle, but, probably in a higher sense than was meant here; for, he spoke under the influence of inspiration; and he adds, as if referring to the Incarnation of the Son of God, “and wrought the redemption of His people” (Lk 1:68).

The resuscitation of the young man of Naim has also an allegorical and moral meaning. The bereaved widow represents the Church, who bewails over each of her sons, by mortal sin dead to God, as if he were an only child. She weeps over them, and employs the multitude of her children to intercede for them. Jesus touched with compassion for the wailing of this bereaved spouse, at once speaks to their hearts. He employs the power and unction of His heavenly grace, He raises them mercifully to life and restores them to their now rejoicing mother to care them, and save them from wandering any more in the ways of sin and death. The three miracles now recorded, represent three classes of sinners; some not altogether abandoned, or so sunk in sin, as not to be able themselves to approach our Lord by prayer, and obtain remission and cure, as did the leper; others, the entire faculties of whose souls are so utterly benumbed from habits of sin, that, like the paralytic servant of the Centurion, they must employ intercessors; and, a third class so utterly abandoned and insensible, that it will require still greater efforts, still greater miracles of divine grace to rouse and restore them. St. Ambrose says, the three dead persons raised by our Lord to life, represent three classes of sinners—the daughter of Jairus lying dead at home, represents those who grievously sin inwardly; the young man here publicly carried out, those who commit external grievous sins; and Lazarus, three days dead and corrupting, those, who are the slaves of evil habits and are buried in sin.


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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 7:11-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 28, 2013

Luk 7:11  And it came to pass afterwards that he went into a city that is called Nain: and there went with him his disciples and a great multitude.

And it came to pass afterwards that he went into a city that is called Naim. A city of Galilee two miles distant from Mount Tabor, situated on the river Kison, and called Naim, from the Hebrew word which denotes beauty. Thus Naomi says, “Call me not Naomi,” i.e. fair or beautiful, “call me Mara; for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth1:20)—words which the widow of Naim, mourning the loss of her only son, might well make her own. So also Psa 133:1., “Behold how good and how pleasant (Nain) it is for brethren to dwell together in unity,” and therefore how sad and sorrowful for brother to be separated from brother, mother from son, by the hand of death.

The place is specially mentioned for the confirmation of the miracle, and also because “Jesus went about all the cities and villages, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (S. Matt 9:35); and to show the bitterness of the mother’s grief, for the death of her son at Naim was a greater trial to the mother than if they had been living in some country place. Just as it seems more hard for a man to be cut off in youth than in age, in health than in sickness, in prosperity than in adversity, in the spring tide rather than in the winter of life, as it is written (Sir 41:1), “0 Death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions, unto the man that bath nothing to vex him, and that hath prosperity in all things. 0 Death, acceptable is thy sentence unto the needy and unto him whose strength faileth, to whom everything is a care.”

Luk 7:12  And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother: and she was a widow. And a great multitude of the city was with her.

And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out. “Behold,” i.e. by accident, humanly speaking, Christ met the bier; but the meeting was foreseen and fore-ordained of Christ, that He might raise the dead to life. He willed, however, that it should seem accidental and not designed, in order that it might be the more esteemed; for as the proverb runs, “that is of little value which is voluntarily offered for sale.”

A dead man carried out, i.e., without the city. Because, for sanitary and other reasons, the Jews had their burial places outside the walls of their towns and cities.

So the sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathæa, in which the body of Christ lay, was without Jerusalem. So also the valley of Jehoshaphat, the scene of the judgment to come and the general resurrection, is the common burial-place of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with the exception of the kings, for whom David had provided a sepulchre in Zion. 1 Kings 2:10. For similar reasons the Romans, who were forbidden by the twelve tables to bury their dead within the city, used the Campus Martius as a place of sepulture, until Theodoric revoked the law; and there is abundant evidence to show that the Christians also, in the time of the persecution, used the crypts which they had excavated without the city for purposes of interment, but afterward, when peace was given to the Christians, they consecrated burial places within the walls near the temples in which they were wont to worship:

1. That the remembrance of death might be continually presented to the faithful as an incentive to a holy life. Like as the Spartans were commanded by Lycurgus to bury their dead within the city, in order to teach their young men that death was to be honoured and, not to be feared.

2. That by their consecration they might be secure against the wiles of the devils, who are wont to dwell in the tombs and possess the bodies of those departed. S. Luke 8:27.

3. And also that the faithful when on their way to worship might be led to pray that those who lay buried around might be released from purgatory, and counted worthy of a glorious resurrection at the last day, and also that they might be partakers in the holy sacrifices offered in the temples and might benefit by the merits and by the prayers of those Saints who either lie buried, or are in some way especially commemorated therein. Thus Constantine the Great wished to be buried in the porch of the Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople, and Theodosius in the Church of S. Peter at Rome. And so, as most of the churches at Rome show the Christians built altars over the tombs of the martyrs, for reasons which I have given in my comments on the text, “I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain.” Rev 7:9.

The only son, μονογενὴς, i.e. the only child of his mother, and therefore the sole object of her love. For he was to her her hope and her future, the support of her declining years, and the light of her eyes. Hence the mother’s grief was of the bitterest kind, like to that which the prophets tell of: “They shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son,” Zech 12:10. And again, “0 daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentation.” Jer 6:26.

And a great multitude of the city was with her. This widow seems to have been a woman highly esteemed by her fellow-citizens, “out of respect for whom they joined in the funeral procession.”  S. Ambrose. Furthermore, there is generally at the gate of a city a great crowd of people going in and coming out, particularly as formerly the gate was not only the market-place, but also the seat of judgment.  Hence God willed that the miracle should be thus publicly wrought, that many being witnesses of it, many might be led to give praise to Him. Bede.

Luk 7:13  Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: Weep not.

He said to her: weep not. Nay, rather begin to rejoice, for I will restore your son to life again, mourn not as dead one whom thou shalt soon see brought back again to life. Bede. He forbids her to weep for him, who was, about to rise from the dead, S. Ambrose.
Luk 7:14  And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise.

And he came near and touched the bier. An open bier surely, as is common amongst the Jews.

Arise. Elijah, Elisha, and others restored the dead to life by means of prayer to God, but Christ at a word, as Lord of life and death, and therefore very God. He touched the bier, says Cyril, to show that his body was effectual for the salvation of men, for as iron heated in the fire does the work of fire, and kindles the chaff, so the flesh united to the Word gives life to mankind.

Luk 7:15  And he that was dead sat up and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother.

And he that was dead sat up and began to speak. Sat up, raised himself up into a sitting posture, and so returned to life; for to sit up and to begin to speak are sure signs of returning animation.

And he gave him to his mother, i.e. He took him by the hand and placed him on his feet, then led him to his mother. Behold thy son! Take him home with thee, that thou mayest rejoice over him, and that he may render thee true filial obedience.

Luk 7:16  And there came a fear upon them all: and they glorified God saying: A great prophet is risen up among us: and, God hath visited his people.

And their came fear upon them all, i.e. reverence, and a sacred awe, mixed with admiration and joy.

A great prophet. The Messiah, of whose coming all were in anxious expectation.

Allegorically: The widow is the Church who mourns her sons—those who have fallen into mortal sin and forfeited the grace of God—as dead, and seeks by her tears for their restoration; and in answer to her prayers, Christ—1. Causes the bearers to stand still, checks those evil passions which gain the mastery over the young, and breaks their power. 2. Touches the bier, i.e. the wood of the Cross, and by it raises the dead to life. For by virtue of Christ sinners are moved to repentance, and restored to favour with God. Hence, 3. The dead man sits up and begins to speak, begins to lead a new life and give praise unto God, so that those who are witnesses of this marvellous change are filled with admiration and are led to give glory unto God. So S. Ambrose and others.

Of this we have a living example in S. Monica, for she mourned unceasingly for her son, who was dead in trespasses and sins, but recalled by her prayers to such holiness of life that he afterwards became a chief doctor of the Church. S. Augustine, Confessions.

Again, more particularly, the widow is the Church, the son the people of the Gentiles enclosed in the bier of concupiscence, and borne along to hell as to a sepulchre. By touch of the bier, i.e. by the wood of the Cross, Christ gave life to the world.

Figuratively: By the example of the widow we see how a priest or director should act when any of his spiritual children have fallen into mortal sin and are being borne to the grave of everlasting misery. He should follow the bier with weeping and much lamentation, for thus he will receive comfort from the Lord who—(1.) Touching the bier will cause the bearers to stand still, i.e. cause evil lusts and passions to cease; (2.) will recall the dead to life; and (3.) will raise him up to the performance of good works, so as to confess his sins and tell of the loving kindness of God.

Thus at last he is restored to the Church, his mother, whose past sorrow will be eclipsed by her present joy, and thus also many will be led to extol the goodness of God.

Again, the widow represents the soul, her son the understanding, inactive and dead. When such a soul laments her spiritual death, especially if others also join in her mourning, Christ will grant an awakening. The bier is a conscience in a state of false security. The bearers, the evil enticements and flatteries of companions which stand still, i.e. are restrained at the touch of Christ. Bede. Or, as Theophylact interprets it, the widow is the soul which has lost its husband, i.e. the word of life; the son is the understanding; the body, the coffin or bier.

To sum up. We read that Christ on three occasions recalled the dead to life.

1. The daughter of the ruler of the synagogue in the house, i.e. one who sins in thought and intention.

2. The son of the widow at the gate, i.e. one who sins openly, and imparts his guilt to others.

3. Lazarus in the tomb, the habitual sinner who lies as it were buried in sin without hope of recovery or release.

The first, Christ raised to life by secret prayer apart from others; the second by a word; the third by crying with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. Hence different degrees of sin have different remedies, but to rescue the habitual sinner from the death of sin there needs no less than the voice of Christ speaking loudly to the sinner’s heart.

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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 14:1, 7-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 28, 2013

Luk 14:1  And it came to pass, when Jesus went into the house of one of the Pharisees, on the sabbath day, that they watched him. Apparently our Lord and others had been invited to eat there (verse7).

Jesus went into the house of one of the Pharisees. “To do them service,” says Titus Bostrus, “Christ makes Himself their friend, and, as it were, one of their household,” for “although He knew the malice of the Pharisees, yet He became their guest that He might benefit by His words and miracles those who were present, and teach them the lawfulness of healing on the Sabbath, and the respective duties of entertainers and guests.”

Luk 14:7  And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them:

And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited, i.e. He taught, under the similitude of a man seeking the highest place at a feast, that we must beware of every kind of ambition. For sin continues to be sin, although the manner of sinning be changed.

Marking how they chose the first seats at the table. For as teachers of the Law, they considered themselves entitled to the highest honour, and fought for precedence as eagerly as now-a-days ladies of rank and men of small brains.

This is a kind of introduction to the parable, and indicates the occasion on which it was spoken, and the persons against whom it was directed.

Luk 14:8  When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than thou be invited by him:
Luk 14:9  And he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee: Give this man place. And then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place

When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place. For when the master of the house takes your place from you to give it to a more honourable guest, those who sit next in order will not give way to your ambition, and you will begin with shame to go down from the highest to the lowest room. Do not unduly exalt thyself, lest some one, offended by thy insolence, humble it and lay it low.

Luk 14:10  But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee.

Go, sit down in the lowest place. The master of the house usually assigned to each guest his place at the table, a duty formerly discharged by the “ruler of the feast,” regard being had to each one’s age and social standing. Thus Joseph’s brethren “sat before him, the first-born according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth” Gen 43:33. In this verse, Christ makes evident allusion to the saying of Solomon, “Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king,” &c. (Prov 25:6-7). Titus very justly remarks, that “a wise man, however deserving he may be of the highest place, so little affects it, as to give it up to others of his own accord. Wherefore a mind modest and content with its own lot is a great and a glorious gift.”

Then shalt thou have glory. Christ teaches that if we would acquire glory and greatness, we must fly from them and be humble; for men hate the proud and seek to humiliate them, but make much of the modest and meek; the true glory is that which is given, not that which is sought: furthermore, God has decreed by an eternal law that the humble should be exalted, but that the mighty should be put down from their seat. Wherefore, the proud, if they are wise, will humble themselves, that they may have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with them. Knowing that if they seek the most honourable places, they will excite envy, and men will strive, whether rightly or wrongly, to humiliate them.

Hear what the wise man says, “The greater thou art, the more humble thyself, and thou shalt find favour before the Lord.” (Ecclus 3:20.)

This precept of Christ, or rather this wise dogma, was recognised and taught by the Gentile philosophers. So Plutarch introduces Thales thus sharply rebuking the pride of Alexidemus, who, because he was the son of Thrasybulus had rushed from the banqueting hall at seeing others seated above him: “Fearest thou lest thy place at table shall bring thee glory or obscurity after the manner of the stars, which, as the Egyptians say, wax and wane according to the places wherein they rise or set? Thou art not so wise as the man, who, when the leader assigned him the lowest place in a chorus, said, Thou hast done well in having discovered a means of making even a position such as this honourable. For he was of opinion that a man is not distinguished by his position, but rather the position by the man.”

Honour, like the shadow cast by the body, follows him that flee from it, but flees from him that follows it.

Symbolically: Members of religious orders, according to the words of Christ, “sit down in the lowest place.” For they who have kept nothing, but given up all, even their very will, have no lower place to which they can betake themselves. Here they are at rest, for their humility is not limited, like that of other men, to this or that action, but is life-long; for it is a part of their profession which embraces their whole life.

Luk 14:11  Because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled, &c., both by God and man, often in this life, always in the life to come. This verse explains the meaning and scope of the parable. See S. Matt 23:12.

Luk 14:12  And he said to him also that had invited him: When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends nor thy brethren nor thy kinsmen nor thy neighbours who are rich; lest perhaps they also invite thee again, and a recompense be made to thee.

And he said to him also that had invited him, i.e. to the chief Pharisee mentioned in the first verse, whose hospitality Christ recompensed by the spiritual banquet of ghostly counsel and advice. This man, says the Gloss, seems to have invited his guests in order that he in turn might be entertained by them.

When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, &c. Christ counselled this as the more perfect way. He did not command it as of necessity. For it is lawful, nay, meritorious, for us to invite our friends, if it be done out of friendship and kindness. Whence Bede says, “Brethren then, and friends, and the rich are not forbidden, as though it were a crime, to entertain one another, but this, like all the other necessary intercourse among men, is shown to fail in meriting the reward of ever lasting life,” unless, as I have said, such entertainment springs from a higher motive of brotherly love or charity.

Lest perhaps they also invite thee again. Like worldly men are wont to do from gratitude or else avarice, for “to be hospitable to those who will make a return, is,” says S. Ambrose, “but a form of avarice.”

And a recompense be made to thee by man, and this prove worthless and transient. If you regard this alone, you exclude the spiritual recompense from God and deprive yourself of it; if you look for both you will receive both, but both lessened, for the one lessens and as it were interferes with the other; but if you regard the divine alone, and only admit or rather bear with the human recompence because it is offered you, you will receive the divine whole and undiminished.

Luk 14:13  But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind.

“The maimed,” α̉ναπήζους, the cripple, the mutilated, i.e. those wanting in body or mind.  S. Chrysostom assigns the reason. “If ye invite the poor, God will be your debtor. For the humbler the brother is, so much the more does Christ come through him and visit us. For he who entertains a great man does it often from an interested motive or from vainglory. But thou sayest, the poor man is unclean and filthy. Wash him and make him sit with thee at table. If he has dirty garments, give him clean ones. If thou will not receive him in a quiet chamber, at least admit him where thy servants are. If thou art not willing that he should sit at meat with thee, send him a dish from thy table.”

Following this counsel, S. Gregory had often twelve beggars at his table, and therefore was rewarded by receiving Christ Himself in the guise of a poor man.  S. Louis of France also, not content with entertaining 120 beggars at his table daily, and on feast days 200, frequently waited upon them himself, and even washed their feet. In like manner acted S. Louis the Minorite, Bishop of Toulouse, following the example of his uncle S. Louis; S. Hedwig, Duchess of Poland, and her niece S. Elizabeth, the daughter of Andrew king of Hungary, who fed 900 poor every day, receiving a rich reward in divine favour and grace.

Mystically: Origen says, “He who shuns vainglory calls to a spiritual banquet the poor, that is, the ignorant, that he may enrich them; the weak, that is, those with offended consciences, that he may heal them; the lame, that is, those who have wandered from reason, that he may make their paths straight; the blind, that they may discern the truth.”

Luk 14:14  And thou shalt be blessed, because they have not wherewith to make thee recompense: for recompense shall be made thee at the resurrection of the just.

And thou shalt be blessed, for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just, when, says the Interlinear, the entertainers of the poor will enter into blessedness.

The neediness of the guests purifies the intention of the host, who expects no return from them, but acts solely out of love to God. Wherefore God, who considers that what is done to the poor is done unto Him, will grant him a bounteous reward, even the everlasting delights of the heavenly banquet, according to the promise, “and I appoint to you . . . that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.” S. Luke 22:29. Hence S. Chrysostom says, “Let us be troubled not when we receive no return of a kindness, but when we do; for if we have received it, we shall receive nothing more; but if man does not repay us, God, out of love for whom we have acted, will be our recompense.”

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Father Boylan’s Commentary on Hebrews 12:14-24

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 28, 2013

Text in red are my additions.

Heb 12:14  Follow after peace with all, and after holiness — without which no one shall see the Lord, 
Heb 12:15  taking care that no one hold himself far from the grace of God, that no root of bitterness shoot forth and cause trouble, and the many be tainted thereby;
Heb 12:16  that no one be an adulterer or a common fellow like Esau, who gave up his birthright for a single meal. 
Heb 12:17  For ye know that afterwards, when he wished to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for rescinding, though he sought with tears.
Heb 12:18  For ye have not approached unto a mountain which one may touch, and which burns With fire, unto mist and darkness, and storm-wind, 
Heb 12:19  unto the clang of trumpets, and the sound of words — whereat the listeners prayed ‘that no word more be
spoken to them, 

Heb 12:20  for they endured not the command: ‘If even a beast touch ‘the mountain, let it be stoned;’ 
Heb 12:21  and — so dreadful was that which appeared — Moses said: ‘I am full of fear and trouble.’

Peace with all Christians is to be sought. Holiness is the true ideal of the Christian life. Not one of the brethren can be suffered to go astray. Such a one might become a root of bitterness, i.e. a source of infection, for the rest. No one of the brethren must be permitted to turn away from God, for such a one would then become an ‘adulterer’ in the Old Testament sense (one who turns aside from the service of God), and would sell his birthright of Christian nobility for ‘the passing , advantage of escaping the troubles pf the Christian life. A sinner of that kind would become, in the end, like Esau, and would have to share in Esau’s bitter and hopeless regrets.

A βέβηλος (bebēlos in verse 16) is one who thinks only of common, or material, advantages — one
who is unspiritual, godless, worldly The word basically denotes one who steps over a threshold. The word came to be used pejoratively to designate a Jew who dare enter a pagan temple or household, thereby entering the profane. A πορνος (pornos, verse 16) is one who sells himself for money unto evil things. πορνος (pornos) is derived from πέρνημι (pernēmi), to sell or traffic in goods.

Esau found no means of rescinding the affair, i, e., the decree of his own rejection. μετανοιας (mentanoias, verse 17), is not here necessarily ethical conversion. The meaning may be that Esau could not induce his father to chatige his mind. There is no suggestion that God rejected a repentance of Esau.

The Old Testament was giyen in circumstances of dread and fear (cf. Ex 19:16—19; Deut 4:1 ff.; 5:22 ff) Not so the New. On the one side is terror and tumult: on the other rest and peace. The words of the people praying that they might no more have to listen to the actual voice of God are in Deut. 5:22. The saying here attributed to, Moses, is not to be found in Scripture. The author must have derived it from tradition.

Heb 12:22  But ye have approached unto Mt. Sion, and the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to the myriads of angels, a festive throng, 
Heb 12:23  to the community of the first-born who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of the perfect just, 
Heb 12:24  and to the Mediator of the New Testament, and to that Blood of Sprinkling which speaketh better than Abel.

Mt. Sion is thought of as the permanent dwelling of God, and as the source whence comes every blessing for Israel. The writer speaks here, however, of the heavenly Sion — of which Jerusalem is a symbol. The ‘community of the first-born’ –the men of the New testament community — who have the right of primogeniture as compared with the rest of men. Even though they are not yet in heaven their names are inscribed there. ‘Judge’ means here rather one that rescues and rules than one that condemns and punishes. Note that the New Testament is here Called νεας (neos) aud not as usual καινός (kainos): it is a covenant that has taken the place of the Old Testament. The word καινός (kainos) used in passages such as Heb 8:13 tends to emphasize the quality of a thing in comparison to something worn out or obsolete. νεας (neos) tends to emphasize the idea of replacement as primary.  The glory of the New Testament suggested here and in the following verses appears as a motive for not falling away from it. The blood of Christ calls for mercy: that of Abel for vengeance.

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