Hebrews 7:23-28

Hebrews 7:23-28
Ordinary B48


23 Furthermore,A the formerB priestsC were manyD in number,

Notes on verse 23a

A “furthermore” = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
B “former” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
C “priests” = hiereus. From hieros (sacred, something sacred, temple, holy, set apart; something consecrated to God or a god). This is a priest, used for Jewish and Gentile priests.
D “many” = pleion. From polus (much, many, abundant). This is many, more, great, having a greater value, more excellent.

because they were prevented by deathE fromF continuingG in office; 

Notes on verse 23b

E “death” = thanatos. This is death, whether literal or spiritual. It can also refer to something that is fatal.
F “prevented…from” = koluo. Perhaps from the same as kolazo (to punish, particularly to punish slaves so that they are restricted or chastised); from kolos (docked, dwarf). This is to hinder or prevent, restrain, refuse. It can be prevent, whether through words or actions.
G “continuing” = parameno. 4x in NT. From para (by, beside, in the presence of) + meno (to stay, remain, wait, await, continue, abide, endure; to literally stay in a place or to remain in a condition; to continue with hope and expectation). This is to remain beside or near, abide with, or continue. Figuratively, it’s persevere in. It could also be maintaining an ongoing close relationship or partnership.

24 but he holdsH his priesthoodI permanently,J because he continuesK forever.L 

Notes on verse 24

H “holds” = echo. This is to have, hold, possess.
I “priesthood” = hierosune. Related to “priests” in v23. 3x in NT – all Hebrews 7. This is priesthood, the office, or sacredness.
J “permanently” = aparabatos. 1x in NT. From a (not, without) + parabaino (literally to go past; to violate, break, or transgress; intentionally stepping across a boundary that one is aware of; to turn aside or depart); {from para (beside, by, in the presence of) + the same as basis (step, hence foot; a pace); {from baino (to walk, to go)}}. This is unchangeable, not passing away, inviolable.
K “continues” = meno. Related to “continuing” in v23. See note G above.
L “forever” = eis + ho + aion. Literally, “to the age.” Aion is from the same as aei (ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually; on every occasion). This is an age, cycle of time, course, continued duration. It is also used to describe the eternal or forever. This is the word used to discuss the present age or the messianic age.

25 Consequently he is ableM for all timeN to saveO those who approachP GodQ through him,

Notes on verse 25a

M “is able” = dunamai. This is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.
N “for all time” = eis + ho + panteles. Literally, “to the uttermost.” Patneles is 2x in NT. From pas (all, every, every kind of) + telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax); {from tello (to start out with a definite goal in mind)}. This is all, perfect, entire, uttermost.
O “save” = sozo. From sos (safe, rescued, well). This is to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. Properly, this is taking someone from danger to safety. It can be delivering or protecting literally or figuratively. This is the root that “savior” and “salvation” come from in Greek.
P “approach” = proserchomai. From pros (for, at, towards) + erchomai (to come, go). This is to approach, draw near, come up to. It is also used figuratively to mean worship.
Q “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

since he alwaysR livesS to make intercessionT for them.

Notes on verse 25b

R “always” = pantote. Related to “for all time” in v25. From pas (see note N above) + tote (then, whether past or future); {from hote (when); from ho (the)}. This is literally every when. It is always, at all times.
S “lives” = zao. This is to live literally or figuratively. It is used for life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.
T “make intercession” = entugchano. 5x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + tugchano (root means to become ready; to hit, meet, happen, obtain, chance, perhaps; properly, to hit the mark or be spot on; the opposite of the Greek word for sin hamartano, which literally means to miss the mark); {perhaps from tucho (to make ready, bring about)}. This is to encounter, appeal, please, chance upon, confer with, intercede, or petition. It is to meet someone in order to consult with them.

26 For it was fittingU that we should have such a high priest,V holy,W blameless,X undefiled,Y

Notes on verse 26a

U “was fitting” = prepo. 7x in NT. This is fitting, suitable, conspicuous, proper.
V “high priest” = archiereus. Related to “priests” in v23 & “priesthood” in v24. From archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power) + hiereus (see note C above) This is a high or chief priest.
W “holy” = hosios. 8x in NT. This is righteous, pious, holy, devout, or Holy One. This refers to what is worthy or respect or reverence because it corresponds to a higher law, particularly God’s law. It can be contrasted with dikaios (just according to law and statue) & hieros (formally consecrated) & hagios (pure, sacred, free from ritual defilement).
X “blameless” = akakos. 2x in NT. From a (not, without) + kakos (bad, evil, harm, ill; evil that is part of someone’s core character – intrinsic, rotted, worthless, depraved, causing harm; deep inner malice that comes from a rotten character). This is literally one that does not cause harm or pain – one with pure motives. So, it could be innocent, guileless, unsuspecting.
Y “undefiled” = amiantos. 4x in NT. From a (not, without) + miaino (to stain, corrupt, pollute; literally, to stain or dye; figuratively, to defile as sin taints one; to contaminate ritually or morally). This is undefiled, unstained, unsoiled. Figuratively, this means pure.

separatedZ from sinners,AA and exalted aboveBB the heavens.CC 

Notes on verse 26b

Z “separated” = chorizo. 13x in NT. From choris (apart from, separate from); from chora (space, land, region, fields, open area); from chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn). Properly, this is to separate or create space. It can be literal as divide, depart, or withdraw. It can be figurative in reference to divorce.
AA “sinners” = hamartolos. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. This is sinning, sinful, sinner. It referred to missing the mark or falling short. The term was also used in archery for missing the target.
BB “exalted above” = hupselosginomai. Hupselos is 12x in NT– in Matthew’s and Luke’s Temptation story as well as Matthew and Mark’s Transfiguration accounts. From hupsos (height, high position, heaaven, dignity, eminence; elevation, altitude; to be exalted); from hupsi (on high, aloft); from huper (over, above, beyond). This is high, lofty, or exalted. It can be lofty in elevation or in character. Ginomai is the same as “former” in v23. See note B above.
CC “heavens” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.

27 Unlike the other high priests, he hasDD no needEE to offerFF sacrificesGG day after day,

Notes on verse 27a

DD “has” = echo. Same as “holds” in v24. See note H above.
EE “need” = anagke. 18x in NT. From ana (up, again, anew) + agcho (to press tightly, compress) OR related to agkale (the arm, particularly one that is bent to carry a load). This is necessity – something that happens that requires an immediate response. It is generally associated with pain or distress.
FF “offer” = anaphero. 10x in NT. From ana (up, back, among, again, anew) + phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense). This is to carry or lead up as to a goal or particular destination. It can also be used for offering a sacrifice.
GG “sacrifices” = thusia. From thuo (to breathe violently, seethe, rage; properly, to rush as breathing heavy; so smoke as in offering an animal sacrifice by fire; by extension, killing or slaying in general). This is a sacrifice or offering. It can refer to the act of sacrifice or the thig being sacrificed. Also, this is sacrifice in a literal or figurative sense.

firstHH for his ownII sins,JJ and then for those of the people;KK this he didLL once for allMM when he offered himself. 

Notes on verse 27b

HH “first” = proteron. 11x in NT. From proteros (before, first, previously); from pro (before, ahead, earlier than, above). This is formerly, before.
II “own” = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).
JJ “sins” = hamartia. Related to “sinners” in v26. From hamartano (see note AA above). Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.
KK “people” = laos. This is the people or crowd – often used for the chosen people. This is where the word “laity” comes from.
LL “did” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
MM “once for all” = ephapax. Related to “for all time” and “always” in v25. 5x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + hapax (once, once for all); {from a (with – signifying fellowship) + pag-} or {from hapas (all; every part working together as a unit); from hama (at once, together with) + pas (all, every, every kind of) or from a (with) + pas (see note N above)}. This is once for all, at once, one time.

28 For the lawNN, OO appointsPP as high priests those who are subject toQQ weakness,RR

Notes on verse 28a

NN “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.
OO {untranslated} = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
PP “appoints” = kathistemi. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is to appoint, set in order or set in place, constitute, give standing or authority, put in charge, designate.
QQ “are subject to” = echo. Same as “holds” in v24. See note H above.
RR “weakness” = astheneia. From asthenes (without strength, sick, deprivation; weak in a moral or physical sense); {From a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}}. This is weakness, frailty, illness, suffering, or calamity. It is any kind of sickness or injury that includes weakness or diminishes your ability to enjoy or accomplish what you would choose.

but the wordSS of the oath,TT which came later than the law, appoints a SonUU who has been made perfectVV forever.

Notes on verse 28b

SS “word” = logos. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
TT “oath” = horkomosia. 4x in NT – all in Hebrews 7. From horoo (to swear) OR from horkos (oath, vow, boundary); {akin to herkos (fence, enclosure); perhaps akin to horion (boundary, territory); from horos (limit, boundary)} + derivative of omnuo (to swear, make an oath). This is an oath, swearing on an oath.
UU “Son” = Huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
VV “made perfect” = teleioo. Related to “for all time” in v25. From teleios (going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one; reaching an end and so being complete or “perfect”; also full grown or mature); from telos (see note N above).  This is finish, accomplish, bring to an end, complete, reach a goal, finish a race, to consummate. It refers to completing stages or phases to get to an ultimate conclusion. It can also mean consecrate or fulfill.

Image credit: “Elijah ad the Priests of Baal” by René Pfitzner.

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