1 God, who at sundry times - The creation was revealed
in the time of Adam; the last judgment, in the time of Enoch: and so at
various times, and in various degrees, more explicit knowledge was given.
In divers manners - In visions, in dreams, and by revelations of various
kinds. Both these are opposed to the one entire and perfect revelation
which he has made to us by Jesus Christ. The very number of the prophets
showed that they prophesied only "in part." Of old - There were no prophets
for a large tract of time before Christ came, that the great Prophet might
be the more earnestly expected. Spake - A part is put for the whole; implying
every kind of divine communication. By the prophets - The mention of whom
is a virtual declaration that the apostle received the whole Old Testament,
and was not about to advance any doctrine in contradiction to it. Hath
in these last times - Intimating that no other revelation is to be expected.
Spoken - All things, and in the most perfect manner. By his Son - Alone.
The Son spake by the apostles. The majesty of the Son of God is proposed,
by the very name of Son, verse 1, and by three glorious predicates, - "whom
he hath appointed," "by whom he made," who "sat down;" whereby he is described
from the beginning to the consummation of all things, Heb 1:2,3.
to angels, Heb 1:4. The proof of this proposition immediately follows:
the name of Son being proved, Heb 1:5; his being "heir of all things,"
Heb 1:6 - 9; his making the worlds, Heb 1:10 - 12 his sitting at God's
right hand, Heb 1:13, &c.
2 Whom he hath appointed heir of all things - After the name of
Son, his inheritance is mentioned. God appointed him the heir long before
he made the worlds, Eph 3:11; Prov 8:22, &c. The Son is the firstborn,
born before all things: the heir is a term relating to the creation which
followed, Heb 1:6. By whom he also made the worlds - Therefore the Son
was before all worlds. His glory reaches from everlasting to everlasting,
though God spake by him to us only "in these last days."
3 Who sat down - The third of these glorious predicates, with
which three other particulars are interwoven, which are mentioned likewise,
and in the same order, Col 1:15,17,20. Who, being - The glory which he
received in his exaltation at the right hand of the Father no angel was
capable of; but the Son alone, who likewise enjoyed it long before. The
brightness of his glory - Glory is the nature of God revealed in its brightness.
The express image - Or stamp. Whatever the Father is, is exhibited in the
Son, as a seal in the stamp on wax. Of his person - Or substance. The word
denotes the unchangeable perpetuity of divine life and power. And sustaining
all things - Visible and invisible, in being. By the word of his power
- That is, by his powerful word. When he had by himself - Without any Mosaic
rites or ceremonies. Purged our sins - In order to which it was necessary
he should for a time divest himself of his glory. In this chapter St. Paul
describes his glory chiefly as he is the Son of God; afterwards, Heb 2:6,
&c., the glory of the man Christ Jesus. He speaks, indeed, briefly
of the former before his humiliation, but copiously after his exaltation;
as from hence the glory he had from eternity began to be evidently seen.
Both his purging our sins, and sitting on the right hand of God, are largely
treated of in the seven following chapters. Sat down - The priests stood
while they ministered: sitting, therefore, denotes the consummation of
his sacrifice. This word, sat down, contains the scope, the theme, and
the sum, of the epistle.
4 This verse has two clauses, the latter of which is treated of,
Heb 1:5; the former, Heb 1:13. Such transpositions are also found in the
other epistles of St. Paul, but in none so frequently as in this. The Jewish
doctors were peculiarly fond of this figure, and used it much in all their
writings. The apostle therefore, becoming all things to all men, here follows
the same method. All the inspired writers were readier in all the figures
of speech than the most experienced orators. Being - By his exaltation,
after he had been lower than them, Heb 2:9. So much higher than the angels
- It was extremely proper to observe this, because the Jews gloried in
their law, as it was delivered by the ministration of angels. How much
more may we glory in the gospel, which was given, not by the ministry of
angels, but of the very Son of God! As he hath by inheritance a more excellent
name - Because he is the Son of God, he inherits that name, in right whereof
he inherits all things His inheriting that name is more ancient than all
worlds; his inheriting all things, as ancient as all things. Than they
- This denotes an immense pre - eminence. The angels do not inherit all
things, but are themselves a portion of the Son's inheritance, whom they
worship as their Lord.
5 Thou art my Son - God of God, Light of Light. This day have
I begotten thee - I have begotten thee from eternity, which, by its unalter
able permanency of duration, is one continued, unsuccessive day. I will
be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son - I will own myself to
be his Father, and him to be my Son, by eminent tokens of my peculiar love
The former clause relates to his natural Sonship, by an eternal, inconceivable
generation; the other, to his Father's acknowledgment and treatment of
him as his incarnate Son. Indeed this promise related immediately to Solomon,
but in a far higher sense to the Messiah. Psa 2:7; 2Sam 7:14
6 And again - That is, in another scripture. He - God. Saith,
when he bringeth in his first - begotten - This appellation includes that
of Son, together with the rights of primogeniture, which the first - begotten
Son of God enjoys, in a manner not communicable to any creature. Into the
world - Namely, at his incarnation. He saith, Let all the angels of God
worship him - So much higher was he, when in his lowest estate, than the
highest angel. Psa 97:7.
7 Who maketh his angels - This implies, they are only creatures,
whereas the Son is eternal, Heb 1:8; and the Creator himself, Heb 1:10.
Spirits and a flame of fire - Which intimates not only their office, but
also their nature; which is excellent indeed, the metaphor being taken
from the most swift, subtle, and efficacious things on earth; but nevertheless
infinitely below the majesty of the Son. Psa 104:4.
8 O God - God, in the singular number, is never in scripture used
absolutely of any but the supreme God. Thy reign, of which the sceptre
is the ensign, is full of justice and equity. Psa 45:6,7.
9 Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity - Thou art
infinitely pure and holy. Therefore God - Who, as thou art Mediator, is
thy God. Hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness - With the Holy Ghost,
the fountain of joy. Above thy fellows - Above all the children of men.
10 Thou - The same to whom the discourse is addressed in the preceding
verse. Psa 102:25,26
12 As a mantle - With all ease. They shall be changed - Into new
heavens and a new earth. But thou art eternally the same.