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Hebrews 12:17

    Hebrews 12:17 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    For you know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    For ye know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place for a change of mind in his father, though he sought is diligently with tears.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    For you have knowledge that even long after, when he was desiring the blessing for his heritage, he was turned away, though he made his request frequently and with weeping; because the past might not be changed.

    Webster's Revision

    For ye know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place for a change of mind in his father, though he sought is diligently with tears.

    World English Bible

    For you know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for a change of mind though he sought it diligently with tears.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    For ye know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected (for he found no place of repentance), though he sought it diligently with tears.

    Clarke's Commentary on Hebrews 12:17

    When he would have inherited the blessing - When he wished to have the lordship over the whole family conveyed to him, and sought it earnestly with tears, he found no place for a change in his father's mind and counsel, who now perceived that it was the will of God that Jacob should be made lord of all.

    Repentance - Here μετανοια is not to be taken in a theological sense, as implying contrition for sin, but merely change of mind or purpose; nor does the word refer here to Esau at all, but to his father, whom Esau could not, with all his tears and entreaties, persuade to reverse what he had done. I have blessed him, said he, yea, and he must be blessed; I cannot reverse it now. See the whole of this transaction largely considered and explained, See the notes on Genesis 25:29, etc., and see Genesis 27:1 (note), etc. Nothing spoken here by the apostle, nor in the history in Genesis to which he refers, concerns the eternal state of either of the two brothers. The use made of the transaction by the apostle is of great importance: Take heed lest, by apostatizing from the Gospel, ye forfeit all right and title to the heavenly birthright, and never again be able to retrieve it; because they who reject the Gospel reject the only means of salvation.

    Barnes' Notes on Hebrews 12:17

    For ye know how that afterward ... - When he came to his father, and earnestly besought him to reverse the sentence which he had pronounced; see Genesis 27:34-40. The "blessing" here referred to was not that of the birth-right, which he knew he could not regain, but that pronounced by the father Isaac on him whom he regarded as his first-born son. This Jacob obtained by fraud, when Isaac really "meant" to bestow it on Esau. Isaac appears to have been ignorant wholly of the bargain which Jacob and Esau had made in regard to the birth-right, and Jacob and his mother contrived in this way to have that confirmed which Jacob had obtained of Esau by contract. The sanction of the father, it seems, was necessary, before it could be made sure, and Rebecca and Jacob understood that the dying blessing of the aged patriarch would establish it all. It was obtained by dishonesty on the part of Jacob; but so far as Esau was concerned, it was an act of righteous retribution for the little regard he had shown for the honor of his birth.

    For he found no place of repentance - Margin, "Way to change his mind," That is, no place for repentance "in the mind of isaac," or no way to change his mind. It does not mean that Esau earnestly sought to repent and could not, but that when once the blessing had passed the lips of his father, he found it impossible to change it. Isaac firmly declared that he had "pronounced" the blessing, and though it had been obtained by fraud, yet as it was of the nature of a divine prediction, it could not now be changed. He had not indeed intended that it should be thus. He had pronounced a blessing on another which had been designed for him. But still the benediction had been given. The prophetic words had been pronounced. By divine direction the truth had been spoken, and how could it be changed? It was impossible now to reverse the divine purposes in the case, and hence, the "blessing" must stand as it had been spoken. Isaac did, however, all that could be done. He gave a benediction to his son Esau, though of far inferior value to what he had pronounced on the fraudulent Jacob; Genesis 27:39-40.

    Though he sought it carefully with tears - Genesis 27:34. He sought to change the purpose of his father, but could not do it. The meaning and bearing of this passage, as used by the apostle, may be easily understood:

    (1) The decision of God on the human character and destiny will soon be pronounced. That decision will be according to truth, and cannot be changed.

    (2) if we should despise our privileges as Esau did his birth-right, and renounce our religion, it would be impossible to recover what we had lost. There would be no possibility of changing the divine decision in the case, for it would be determined forever. This passage, therefore, should not be alleged to show that a sinner. "cannot repent," or that he cannot find "place for repentance," or assistance to enable him to repent, or that tears and sorrow for sin would be of no avail, for it teaches none of these things; but it should be used to keep us from disregarding our privileges, from turning away from the true religion, from slighting the favors of the gospel, and from neglecting religion until death comes; because when God has once pronounced a sentence excluding us from his favor, no tears, or pleading, or effort of our own can change him. The sentence which he pronounces on the scoffer, the impenitent, the hypocrite, and the apostate, is one that will abide forever without change. This passage, therefore, is in accordance with the doctrine more than once stated before in this Epistle, that if a Christian should really apostatize it would be impossible that he should be saved; see the notes on Hebrews 6:1-6.

    Wesley's Notes on Hebrews 12:17

    12:17 He was rejected - He could not obtain it. For he found no place for repentance - There was no room for any such repentance as would regain what he had lost. Though he sought it - The blessing of the birth - right. Diligently with tears - He sought too late. Let us use the present time.