on Hebrews 2 :17
Wherefore in all things - Because he thus laid hold on man in order to redeem him, it was necessary that he should in all things become like to man, that he might suffer in his stead, and make an atonement in his nature.
That he might be a merciful and faithful high priest - Ἱνα ελεημων γενηται· That he might be merciful - that he might be affected with a feeling of our infirmities, that, partaking of our nature with all its innocent infirmities and afflictions, he might know how to compassionate poor, afflicted, suffering man. And that he might be a faithful high priest in those things which relate to God, whose justice requires the punishment of the transgressors, or a suitable expiation to be made for the sins of the people. The proper meaning of ἱλασκεσθαι τας ἁμαρτιας is to make propitiation or atonement for sins by sacrifice. See the note on Luke 18:13, where it [this word] is particularly explained. Christ is the great High Priest of mankind;
1. He exercises himself in the things pertaining to God, taking heed that God's honor be properly secured, his worship properly regulated, his laws properly enforced, and both his justice and mercy magnified. Again,
2. He exercises himself in things pertaining to Men, that he may make an atonement for them, apply this atonement to them, and liberate them thereby from the curse of a broken law, from the guilt and power of sin, from its inbeing and nature, and from all the evils to which they were exposed through it, and lastly that he might open their way into the holiest by his own blood; and he has mercifully and faithfully accomplished all that he has undertaken.
on Hebrews 2 :17
Wherefore in all things - In respect to his body; his soul; his rank and character. There was a propriety that he should be like them, and should partake of their nature. The meaning is, that there was a fitness that nothing should be wanting in him in reference to the innocent propensities and sympathies of human nature.
It behoved him - It became him; or there was a fitness and propriety in it. The reason why it was proper, the apostle proceeds to state.
Like unto his brethren - Like unto those who sustained to him the relation of brethren; particularly as he undertook to redeem the descendants of Abraham, and as he was a descendant of Abraham himself, there was a propriety that he should be like them. He calls them brethren; and it was proper that he should show that he regarded them as such by assuming their nature.
That he might be a merciful and faithful high priest -
(1) That he might be "merciful;" that is, compassionate. That he might know how to pity us in our infirmities and trials, by having a nature like our own.
(2) that he might be "faithful;" that is, perform with fidelity all the functions pertaining to the office of high priest. The idea is, that it was needful that he should become a man; that he should experience as we do the infirmities and trials of life, and that by being a man, and partaking of all that pertained to man except his sins, he might feel how necessary it was that there should be "fidelity" in the office of high priest. Here was a race of sinners and sufferers. They were exposed to the wrath of God. They were liable to everlasting punishment. The judgment impended over the race, and the day of vengeance hastened on. "All now depended on the great high priest." All their hope Was in his "fidelity" to the great office which he had undertaken. If he were faithful, all would be safe; if he were unfaithful, all would be lost. Hence, the necessity that he should enter fully into the feelings, fears, and dangers of man; that he should become one of the race and be identified with them, so that he might be qualified to perform with faithfulness the great trust committed to him.
High priest - The Jewish high priest was the successor of Aaron, and was at the head of the ministers of religion among the Jews. He was set apart with solemn ceremonies - clad in his sacred vestments - and anointed with oil; Exodus 29:5-9; Leviticus 8:2. He was by his office the general judge of all that pertained to religion, and even of the judicial affairs of the Jewish nation; Deuteronomy 17:8-12; Deuteronomy 19:17; Deuteronomy 21:5; Deuteronomy 33:9-10. He only had the privilege of entering the most holy place once a year, on the great day of expiation, to make atonement for the sins of the whole people; Leviticus 16:2, etc. He was the oracle of truth - so that when clothed in his proper vestments, and having on the Urim and Thummim, he made known the will of God in regard to future events. The Lord Jesus became in the Christian dispensation what the Jewish high priest was in the old; and an important object of this Epistle is to show that he far surpassed the Jewish high priest, and in what respects the Jewish high priest was designed to typify the Redeemer. Paul, therefore, early introduces the subject, and shows that the Lord Jesus came to perform the functions of that sacred office, and that he was eminently endowed for it.
In things pertaining to God - In offering sacrifice; or in services of a religious nature. The great purpose was to offer sacrifice, and make intercession; and the idea is, that Jesus took on himself our nature that he might sympathize with us; that thus he might be faithful to the great trust committed to him - the redemption of the world. Had he been unfaithful, all would have been lost, and the world would have sunk down to wo.
To make reconciliation - By his death as a sacrifice. The word used here - ἱλάσκομαι hilaskomai - occurs but in one other place in the New Testament Luke 18:13, where it is rendered "God be merciful to me a sinner;" that is, reconciled to me. The noun (ἱλασμός hilasmos - "propitiation") is used in 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10. The word here means properly to "appease," to reconcile, to conciliate; and hence, to "propitiate" as to "sins;" that is, to propitiate God in reference to sins, or to render him propitious. The Son of God became a man, that he might so fully enter into the feelings of the people as to be faithful, and that he might be qualified as a high priest to perform the great work of rendering God propitious in regard to sins. How he did this, is fully shown in the subsequent parts of the Epistle.
on Hebrews 2 :17