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Hebrews 3:16

    Hebrews 3:16 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    For some, when they had heard, did provoke: however, not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    For who, when they heard, did provoke? nay, did not all they that came out of Egypt by Moses?

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Who made him angry when his voice came to them? was it not all those who came out of Egypt with Moses?

    Webster's Revision

    For who, when they heard, did provoke? nay, did not all they that came out of Egypt by Moses?

    World English Bible

    For who, when they heard, rebelled? No, didn't all those who came out of Egypt by Moses?

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    For who, when they heard, did provoke? nay, did not all they that came out of Egypt by Moses?

    Clarke's Commentary on Hebrews 3:16

    For some, when they had heard, did provoke - There is a various reading here, which consists merely in the different placing of an accent, and yet gives the whole passage a different turn: - τινες, from τις, who, if read with the accent on the epsilon, τινὲς, is the plural indefinite, and signifies some, as in our translation; if read with the accent on the iota, τίνες, it has an interrogative meaning; and, according to this, the whole clause, τίνες γαρ ακουσαντες παρεπικραναν; But who were those hearers who did bitterly provoke? αλλ' ου παντες οἱ εξελθοντες εξ Αιγυπτου δια Μωσεως; Were they not all they who came out of the land of Egypt by Moses? Or, the whole clause may be read with one interrogation: But who were those hearers that did bitterly provoke, but all those who came out of Egypt by Moses? This mode of reading is followed by some editions, and by Chrysostom and Theodoret, and by several learned moderns. It is more likely that this is the true reading, as all that follows to the end of the 18th verse is a series of interrogations.

    Should it be said that all did not provoke, for Joshua and Caleb are expressly excepted; I answer, that the term all may be with great propriety used, when out of many hundreds of thousands only two persons were found who continued faithful. To these also we may add the priests and the whole tribe of Levi, who, it is very likely, did not provoke; for, as Dr. Macknight very properly remarks, they were not of the number of those who were to fight their way into Canaan, being entirely devoted to the service of the sanctuary. See Numbers 1:3, Numbers 1:45, and Numbers 1:49. And therefore what remained of them after forty years, no doubt, entered Canaan; for it appears from Numbers 34:17, and Joshua 24:33, that Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was one of those who did take possession of Canaan. Should it be still said our version appears to be most proper, because all did not provoke; it may be answered, that the common reading, τινὲς, some, is too contracted in its meaning to comprehend the hundreds of thousands who did rebel.

    Barnes' Notes on Hebrews 3:16

    For some - Some of the Hebrews who came out of Egypt. The truth was that a large proportion of them rebelled against God, and provoked him to indignation. It is somewhat remarkable that though "all" the Hebrews seem to have joined in the provocation - except a very small number - Paul should have used language which would seem to imply that the number which rebelled was comparatively small. Another version, therefore, has been given to this passage by some of the most eminent critics, consisting merely in a change in the punctuation, by which a different view is given of the whole sentence. According to this, it would be a question, and would mean, "But who were they who when they had heard did provoke? Were they not all indeed who came out of Egypt under Moses? And with whom was He angry for 40 years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?" This version was adopted by Chrysostom, Theodoret, and others of the Fathers; and is adopted by Rosenmuller, Clarke, Stuart, Pyle, and some others. In favor of it, it may be alleged:

    (1) that the Greek will bear it, all the change required being in the punctuation;

    (2) that it avoids the difficulty which exists in the other interpretation of supposing the apostle to imply that but few of them rebelled, when the truth was that it was nearly all;

    (3) it thus accords with the remainder of the exhortation, which consists in a series of questions; and,

    (4) it agrees with the scope and design of the whole.

    The object was not to state that it was not all who came out of Egypt that rebelled, or that the number was small, but that the great body of them rebelled and fell in the wilderness, and that Christians should be admonished by their example. These reasons seem to be so strong as to make it probable that this is the true construction, and the sense then will be, "For who were they that having heard did provoke? Were they not all who came out of Egypt under Moses?"

    When they had heard - Had heard God speaking to them, and giving them his commands.

    Did provoke - Provoked him to anger; or their conduct was such as was suited to produce indignation; see the note on Hebrews 3:8.

    Howbeit - Αλλά Alla. "But." This particle "in a series of questions, and standing at the head of a question, means "but, further." It serves to connect, and give intensity to the interrogation" - Stuart. Paul means to ask with emphasis whether the great mass of those who came out of Egypt did not apostatize? At the same time he means to intimate that there is no security that they who have witnessed - remarkable manifestations of the greatness of God, and who have partaken of extraordinary mercies, will not apostatize and perish. As the Hebrews, who heard God speak from Mount Sinai, revolted and perished, so it is possible that they who witness the mercies of God in redemption, may be in danger of abusing all those mercies, and of perishing. By the example, therefore, of the disobedient Israelites, he would admonish professed Christians of their danger.

    Not all ... - According to the interpretation proposed above, "Were they not all who came out of Egypt?" Or "did not all who came out of Egypt?" The word "all" here is not to be taken in the strict sense, It is often used to denote the great body; a large proportion; or vast multitudes. Thus, it is used in Matthew 3:5, "Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan." So in John 3:26, "The same baptizeth, and all people came to him." So Philippians 2:21, "For all seek their own;" 2 Corinthians 3:2, "Ye are our epistle, known and read of all men." "In fact" there were two exceptions - and but two - of the adults who came out of Egypt - Caleb and Joshua; Numbers 14:30. All the others complained against the Lord, and were prohibited from entering the promised land. Of the great multitudes who came out of Egypt, and who murmured, the exception was so small that the apostle had no scruple in saying in general that they were all rebellious.

    Wesley's Notes on Hebrews 3:16

    3:16 Were they not all that came out of Egypt - An awful consideration! The whole elect people of God (a very few excepted) provoked God presently after their great deliverance, continued to grieve his Spirit for forty years, and perished in their sin!