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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 Therefore, holy "brothers," sharing
in a heavenly calling, reflect on Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our
who was faithful to the one who appointed him,
just as Moses was "faithful in (all) his house."
But he is worthy of more "glory" than
Moses, as the founder of a house has more "honor" than the house
Every house is founded by someone, but the
founder of all is God.
Moses was "faithful in all his house"
as a "servant" to testify to what would be spoken,
2 but Christ was faithful as a son placed over
his house. We are his house, if (only) we hold fast to our confidence and pride
in our hope.
3 Therefore, as the holy Spirit says: "Oh,
that today you would hear his voice,
'Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion in
the day of testing in the desert,
where your ancestors tested and tried me and
saw my works
for forty years. Because of this I was provoked
with that generation and I said, "They have always been of erring heart,
and they do not know my ways."
As I swore in my wrath, "They shall not
enter into my rest."'"
Take care, brothers, that none of you may have
an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God.
Encourage yourselves daily while it is still
"today," so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.
We have become partners of Christ if only we
hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end,
for it is said: "Oh, that today you would
hear his voice: 'Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion.'"
Who were those who rebelled when they heard?
Was it not all those who came out of Egypt under Moses?
With whom was he "provoked for forty
years"? Was it not those who had sinned, whose corpses fell in the desert?
And to whom did he "swear that they should
not enter into his rest," if not to those who were disobedient?
And we see that they could not enter for lack
1 [1-6] The author now takes up the
two qualities of Jesus mentioned in ⇒ Hebrews 2:17,
but in inverse order: faithfulness (⇒ Hebrews
3:1-⇒ 4:13) and mercy
(⇒ Hebrews 4:14-⇒ 5:10).
Christians are called holy "brothers" because of their common
relation to him (⇒ Hebrews 2:11), the apostle, a
designation for Jesus used only here in the New Testament (cf
⇒ John 13:16; ⇒ 17:3),
meaning one sent as God's final word to us (⇒ Hebrews
1:2). He is compared with Moses probably because he is seen as
mediator of the new covenant (⇒ Hebrews 9:15) just
as Moses was of the old (⇒ Hebrews 9:19-22,
including his sacrifice). But when the author of Hebrews speaks of Jesus'
sacrifice, he does not consider Moses as the Old Testament antitype, but rather
the high priest on the Day of Atonement (⇒ Hebrews
9:6-15). Moses' faithfulness "in [all] his house" refers
back to ⇒ Numbers 12:7, on which this section is a
midrashic commentary. In ⇒ Hebrews 3:3-6, the author does
not indicate that he thinks of either Moses or Christ as the founder of the
household. His house (⇒ Hebrews 3:2,
5, 6) means God's
house, not that of Moses or Christ; in the case of Christ, compare
⇒ Hebrews 3:6 with ⇒ Hebrews
10:21. The house of ⇒ Hebrews 3:6 is the
Christian community; the author suggests its continuity with Israel by speaking
not of two houses but of only one. ⇒ Hebrews 3:6
brings out the reason why Jesus is superior to Moses: the latter was the
faithful servant laboring in the house founded by God, but Jesus is God's son,
placed over the house.
2  The majority of manuscripts add
"firm to the end," but these words are not found in the three
earliest and best witnesses and are probably an interpolation derived from
⇒ Hebrews 3:14.
3 [⇒ 3:7-⇒ 4:13]
The author appeals for steadfastness of faith in Jesus, basing his warning on
the experience of Israel during the Exodus. In the Old Testament the Exodus had
been invoked as a symbol of the return of Israel from the Babylonian exile
(⇒ Isaiah 42:9;
⇒ 43:16-21; ⇒ 51:9-11).
In the New Testament the redemption was similarly understood as a new exodus,
both in the experience of Jesus himself (⇒ Luke
9:31) and in that of his followers (⇒ 1 Cor
10:1-4). The author cites ⇒ Psalm 95:7-11,
a salutary example of hardness of heart, as a warning against the danger of growing
weary and giving up the journey. To call God living (⇒ Hebrews
3:12) means that he reveals himself in his works (cf
⇒ Joshua 3:10; ⇒ Jeremiah
10:11). The rest (⇒ Hebrews 3:11) into
which Israel was to enter was only a foreshadowing of that rest to which
Christians are called. They are to remember the example of Israel's revolt in
the desert that cost a whole generation the loss of the promised land
(⇒ Hebrews 3:15-19; cf ⇒ Numbers
14:20-29). In ⇒ Hebrews 4:1-11, the symbol
of rest is seen in deeper dimension: because the promise to the ancient Hebrews
foreshadowed that given to Christians, it is good news; and because the
promised land was the place of rest that God provided for his people, it was a
share in his own rest, which he enjoyed after he had finished his creative work
(⇒ Hebrews 3:3-4; cf ⇒ Genesis
2:2). The author attempts to read this meaning of God's rest into
⇒ Psalm 95:7-11 (⇒ Hebrews
3:6-9). The Greek form of the name of Joshua, who led Israel into the
promised land, is Jesus (⇒ Hebrews 3:8). The author
plays upon the name but stresses the superiority of Jesus, who leads his
followers into heavenly rest. ⇒ Hebrews 3:12,
⇒ 13 are meant as a continuation of the warning, for
the word of God brings judgment as well as salvation. Some would capitalize the
word of God and see it as a personal title of Jesus, comparable to that of
⇒ John 1:1-18.
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