Hebrews 2:14-18

Hebrews 2:14-18
Presentation of the Lord ABC


14 Since, therefore, the childrenA shareB fleshC and blood,D

Notes on verse 14a

A “children” = paidion. From pais (child, youth, servant, slave); perhaps from paio (to strike or sting). This is a child as one who is still being educated or trained. Perhaps one seven years old or younger. Used figuratively for an immature Christian.
B “share” = koinoneo. 8x in NT. From koinonos (partner, companion, partaker, sharer); From koinos (common, shared, unclean, ritually profane); probably from sun (with, together with). This is to contribute, participate, or have a share in. It can also mean to distribute.
C “flesh” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).
D “blood” = haima. This is blood in a literal sense as bloodshed. Figuratively, it can also be used to refer to wine or to kinship (being related).

he himself likewise sharedE the same things, so that through deathF he might destroyG the one who has the powerH of death, that is, the devil,I 

Notes on verse 14b

E “shared” = metecho. 8x in NT. From meta (with, among, behind, beyond) + echo (to have, hold, possess). This is to shar in, participate, belong, eat or drink, be a member.
F “death” = thanatos. This is death, whether literal or spiritual. It can also refer to something that is fatal
G “destroy” = katargeo. From kata kata (down, against, according to, among) + argeo (to delay, linger, be at rest, be idle, do nothing); {from argos (inactive, idle, lazy, thoughtless, useless, unemployed, unprofitable) {from a (not) + ergon (word, task, action, employment)}}. This is making something inactive or bringing it to nothing. So, it could mean making something inoperative or powerless, annulling, or severing. It can also mean to make something ineffective or invalid.
H “power” = kratos. 12x in NT. This is strength, power, or dominion. It is vigor in a literal or figurative sense or power that is exercised.
I “devil” = diabolos. From diaballo (laying a charge against someone, generally with hostility; literally, to thrust through or cast back and forth– used for slandering, accusing, or gossiping; whether or not the sentiment is true, it is spread with negative intention); {from dia (through, across, because of, thoroughly) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop)}. This is a properly a slanderer or someone who accuses falsely – criticizing unfairly with the intent to cause harm or damage character. This can also mean backbiter or malicious gossip. Also, the Slanderer, the Devil.

15 and freeJ those who all their lives were heldK in slaveryL by the fearM of death. 

Notes on verse 15

J “free” = apallasso. 3x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + allasso (to change, transform) {from allos (other, another; another of a similar kind or type)}. This is to remove, release, or depart. It can be to free somebody, to settle a case, to heal a disease, or otherwise release.
K “held” = enochos. Related to “shared” in v14. 10x in NT. From enecho (to hold in, ensnare, be angry at); {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + echo (to have, hold, possess)}. This is bound by, liable to, deserving, guilty, subject, in danger of.
L “slavery” = douleia. 5x in NT. From douleo (to be a slave, be in bondage, to serve, obey, be devoted; it is to be a slave in a literal or figurative sense); from doulos (a servant or for a slave, enslaved; someone who belongs to someone else; could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved)); from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is slavery, bondage, or enslavement in a literal or figurative sense.
M “fear” = phobos. From phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect.

16 For it is clear that he did not come to helpN angels,O but the descendantsP of Abraham.Q 

Notes on verse 16

N “help” = epilambanomai. 19x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + lambano (active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered; emphasizes the choice and action of the individual). This is to take hold of, catch, or seize. It can also mean to help. It focuses on the intentionality and resolve of the one doing the catching.
O “angels” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
P “descendants” = sperma. From speiro (to sow seed, spread, scatter); perhaps from spao (to pull, to draw a sword). This is something sown so it could be seed or offspring and descendants. This is where the word “sperm” comes from.
Q “Abraham” = Abraam. From Hebrew Abraham (exalted father); from the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.

17 Therefore he had toR become likeS his brothersT and sisters in every respect,

Notes on verse 17a

R “had to” = opheilo. Perhaps from the base of ophelos (advantage, gain, profit); from ophello (heaped together, accumulate, increase). This is to be indebted morally or legally – having an obligation one must meet. This term came from the legal world, but was then adopted in reference to morality. In the New Testament it is used for humanity’s ethical responsibility.
S “become like” = homoioo. 15x in NT. From homoios (similar to, resembling, like); from the same as homou (together); from homos (the same). This is to compare, liken, resemble, become similar.
T “brothers” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.

so that he might beU a mercifulV and faithfulW high priestX in the service of God,Y

Notes on verse 17b

U “be” = 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.
V “merciful” = eleemon. 2x in NT – also in the beatitudes “blessed are the merciful” in Matthew 5:7. From eleeo (to have pity on, show mercy to, be compassionate; often used for God’s grace); from eleos (mercy, pity, tender mercy, or compassion; generally understood in action by word or deed). This is to be merciful or compassionate. It is active.
W “faithful” = pistos. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is faithful, trustworthy, reliable, sure, or true. It is a fullness of faith. This is the same root as the word “faith” in Greek.
X “high priest” = archiereus. From archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power) + hiereus (a priest literal or figurative – of any faith); {from hieros (sacred, something sacred, temple, holy, set apart; something consecrated to God or a god)} This is a high or chief priest.
Y “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

to make a sacrifice of atonementZ for the sinsAA of the people.BB 

Notes on verse 17c

Z “make a sacrifice of atonement” = hilaskomai. 2x in NT. From the same as hileos (forgiving, merciful, gracious, cheerful as benevolent; a way to say “far be it”); from hilaos (gracious, benevolent) or from haireomai (to take, choose, or prefer) {probably related to airo (raise, take up, lift, remove)}. This is to make propitiation i.e. a sacrifice of atonement, to be merciful, reconcile, forgive, show favor.
AA “sins” = hamartia. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. 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.
BB “people” = laos. This is the people or crowd – often used for the chosen people. This is where the word “laity” comes from.

18 Because he himself was testedCC by what he suffered,DD he is ableEE to helpFF those who are being tested.

Notes on verse 18

CC “tested” = peirazo. From peira (trial, experiment, attempt, experience, assaying); from the base of peran (over, beyond, across); akin to pera (on the far side); from a derivative or peiro (to pierce). This is to test, try, tempt, or make proof of. It is to test, scrutinize, or assay something. It could also be examine, entice, prove, or discipline.
DD “suffered” = pascho. Akin to penthos (mourning, sorrow). This is to be acted on for good or ill. It is often used for negative treatment. Properly, it means feeling strong emotions – especially suffering. It can also be the ability to feel suffering.
EE “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.
FF “help” = boetheo. 8x in NT. From boethos (helping or helper; one meeting urgent need); perhaps from boe (to cry, shout for aid; mimics the sound of a desperate shout for help with deep emotion); {from boao (cry out, make a distress call, ask for desperately need assistance); from boe (a cry, shout)} + theo (to run). This is running to help someone who has made an urgent call for help – coming to their rescue. Originally, this was used in a military context, but came to apply more generally to assistance in time of intense distress.

Image credit: “Harrowing of Hell Icon” – Anastasis. Photo by Jim Forest, 2017.

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