Hebrews 5:1-3 Commentary

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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
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The Epistle
to the Hebrews

Hebrews 1-10:18
Hebrews 10:19-13:25
Superior Person
of Christ
Hebrews 1:1-4:13
Superior Priest
in Christ
Hebrews 4:14-10:18
Superior Life
In Christ
Hebrews 10:19-13:25
Hebrews 1:1-4:13
Heb 4:14-7:28
Heb 8:1-13
Heb 9:1-10:18



ca. 64-68AD

See ESV Study Bible "Introduction to Hebrews
(See also MacArthur's Introduction to Hebrews)

Borrow Ryrie Study Bible

Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Pas gar archiereus ex anthropon lambanomenos (PPPMSN) huper anthropon kathistatai (3SPPI) ta pros ton theon, hina prosphere (3SPAS) dora te kai thusias huper hamartion,e

Amplified: FOR EVERY high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in things relating to God, to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: Every high priest who is chosen from among men is appointed on men’s behalf to deal with the things which concern God. His task is to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins, (Westminster Press)

KJV: For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

NLT: Now a high priest is a man chosen to represent other human beings in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers their sacrifices for sins. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: Note that when a man is chosen as High Priest he is appointed on men's behalf as their representative in the things of God - he offers gifts to God and makes the necessary sacrifices for sins on behalf of his fellow-men. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: For every high priest, since he is taken from among men, on behalf of men is constituted as such with reference to the things which pertain to God, in order that he may continually be offering both gifts and sacrifices for sins, (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: For every chief priest -- out of men taken -- in behalf of men is set in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins,

FOR EVERY HIGH PRIEST TAKEN FROM AMONG MEN: Pas gar archiereus ex anthropon lambanomenos (PPPMSN):

  • Heb 10:11; Exodus 28:1-14; 29:1-37; Leviticus 8:2
  • Heb 8:3
  • Heb 2:17; Nu 16:46, 47, 48; 18:1, 2, 3
  • Heb 8:3; 9:9; 10:11; 11:4; Leviticus 9:7,15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
  • Hebrews 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

OT PASSAGES QUOTED IN HEBREWS 5 - Click for complete list of OT Quotations/Allusions

He 5:5 <> Ps 2:7

He 5:6 <> Ps 110:4

He 5:10 <> Ps 110:4

KEY WORDS IN HEBREWS 5 - Click for complete list of Key Words in Hebrews

Eternal - He 5:9

Sacrifice - He 5:1, 3

Priest - He 5:1, 5, 6, 10

He 1:1-10:18
He 10:19-13:25
He 1:1-10:18
He 10:19-13:25
He 1:1-10:18
He 10:19-13:25
He 1:1-10:18
He 10:19-13:25

He 1:1-7:28

He 8:1-10:18
of the

He 10:19-13:25


He 1:1-4:13


He 4:14-10:18


He 10:19-13:25


He 1:1-4:13


He 4:14-10:18


He 10:19-13:25

Son of God

He 1:1-2:4

Son of Man

He 2:5-4:13

High Priest

He 4:14-10:18


He 10:19-13:25

This chart is adapted in part from Jensen's Survey of the NT and Wilkinson's Talk Thru the Bible


He 5:1-10

Irving Jensen - The main theme of Hebrews may be stated thus: The knowledge and assurance of how great this High Priest Jesus is should lift the drifting believer from spiritual lethargy to vital Christian maturity. Stated another way: The antidote for backsliding is a growing personal knowledge of Jesus (He 2:1, He 2:3). (Jensen's Survey of the New Testament)

Bruce Wilkinson reminds us of the purpose of this epistle and the importance of this middle section (He 4:14-He 10:18) to unequivocally which unequivocally establishes the greatness of Christ's priesthood…

Many Jewish believers, having stepped out of Judaism into Christianity, wanted to reverse their course in order to escape persecution by their countrymen. The writer of Hebrews exhorts them to “press on” to maturity in Christ (He 6:1). His appeal is based the superiority of Christ over the Judaic system. Christ is better than the angels, for they worship Him. He is better than Moses, for Moses was created by Him. He is better than the Aaronic priesthood, for His sacrifice was once for all time. He is better than the Law, for He mediates a better covenant. In short, there is more to be gained by suffering for Christ than by reverting to Judaism. Pressing on to maturity produces tested faith, self-discipline, and a visible love seen in good works. (Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. 1983. Talk thru the Bible. Page 453. Nashville: T. Nelson)

A W Pink reminds us that "The central design of the Holy Spirit in this Epistle needs to be kept steadily before the mind of the reader: that design was to prove the superiority of Christianity over Judaism. The center and glory of Judaism was the divinely appointed priesthood: what, then, had Christianity to offer at this point? “The unbelieving Jews would be apt to say to their Christian brethren, ‘your new religion is deficient in the very first requisite of a religion—you have no high priest. How are your sins to be pardoned, when you have none to offer expiatory oblations for you? How are your wants to be supplied, when you have none to make intercession for you to God?’ The answer to this cavil is to be found in the apostle’s word ‘We have a High Priest’ Hebrews 4:14,” (Dr. J. Brown). (Hebrews 5:5-7 Christ Superior to Aaron)

Ryrie summarizes chapter 5

The qualifications for high priest are stated in these verses, Aaron serving as the model:

(1) he had to be a man (Hebrews 5:1);

(2) he had to be compassionate (Hebrews 5:2);

(3) he had to be chosen by God (Hebrews 5:4, 5, 6);

(4) he had to learn through suffering (Hebrews 5:7, 8).

Henry Alford summarizes the two necessary qualifications of a high priest fulfilled in Christ as

(1) He 5:1, 2, 3, he must be taken from among men, capable, in respect of infirmity, of feeling for men,

(2) He 5:4-10, he must not have taken the dignity upon himself, but have been appointed by God. (Hebrews 5 Commentary)

Steven Cole

I would guess that if you were honest, many of you would admit to thinking, “Couldn’t we study something more practical? I’m struggling in my marriage! I’m trying to raise kids in this evil world! I’m wrestling with personal problems! And now we’re going to plunge into six chapters dealing with Jesus as our high priest? Can’t you find something more relevant to preach on?”

On this matter, Donald Hagner (Encountering the Book of He-brews [Baker Academic], p. 82) offers a helpful word:

Until one gains an adequate sense of the overwhelming majesty of the thrice-holy God and simultaneously a true sense of one’s sinfulness and unworthiness (as Isaiah did [Is 6:1, 2, 3, 4, 5]), one is not in a position to understand or appreciate the importance of priests and their work. Our failure on these two points probably is what makes the idea of priesthood unfamiliar and without apparent significance or meaning. One of the reasons that the Old Testament is indispensable to under-standing the New Testament is exactly here, since on the one hand, it provides us with a sense of the sovereignty, majesty, and power of God, and on the other hand, it confronts us with the reality of human failures and needs. In the light of these two points, the importance of sacrifices and priests readily emerges.

This is one of the most important spiritual truths that you can learn:

Growth in the Christian life requires

gaining a clearer understanding of

who God is and who you are,

which drives you in desperation

to the cross of Jesus Christ.

This is why Paul gloried in the cross (Gal 6:14-note): he saw God as the one who dwells in unapproachable light, he saw himself as the chief of sinners, and he saw the cross as the place where he found mercy (1Ti 6:16; 1:14, 15, 16).


This is the point that John Calvin makes so eloquently in the opening chapters of The Institutes of the Christian Religion (ed. by John McNeill [Westminster Press]). His opening sentence is:

“Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”

McNeill comments (1:36, footnote 3), "These decisive words set the limits of Calvin’s theology and condition every subsequent statement."

Calvin begins by showing that none of us will seek God until we

first become displeased
with ourselves as sinners

He also argues (1:37) that…

[M]an never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face, and then descends from contemplating him to scrutinize himself. For we always seem to ourselves righteous and upright and wise and holy-this pride in innate in all of us-unless by clear proofs we stand convinced of our own unrighteousness, foulness, folly, and impurity. Moreover, we are not thus convinced if we look merely to ourselves and not also to the Lord, who is the sole standard by which this judgment must be measured.

Thus if you want to know the significance of this central theme of the Book of Hebrews, you must ask God for a clearer understanding of His absolute holiness and majesty, and for a deeper insight into your own sinfulness and uncleanness apart from Christ. This will lead you into a deeper appreciation of what Jesus did for you on the cross as the High Priest who entered the holy place, not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with His own blood (He 9:11, 12, 13, 14). And, you will find that a deeper appreciation of God’s holiness, your own sinfulness, and the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice is one of the most practical doctrines in the Bible, because it humbles your pride. Pride is at the root of every relational conflict and just about any sin that you can name. (Hebrews 5:1-10 The Kind of Priest You Need)

Along that same line of thought regarding the importance of a high view of God (as comes from a study of a "deep doctrinal" book like Hebrews), Puritan writer Thomas Watson advises that…

If you would be preserved from gross, presumptuous sin—get your hearts fired with LOVE to God. Love has great force in it; it is "as strong as death;" it breaks the league between the heart and sin. Two things in God cause love.

[1] His glorious BEAUTY. Moses desired to see some glimpse of it. "Lord, show me your glory.

[2] His astonishing LOVE. What a wonder of love was it, to give his Son out of his bosom—and lay such a jewel to pawn for our redemption! The glories of God's beauty, and the magnitude of his love, like two loadstones, draw our love to God; and if we love him, we shall not sin against him. He who loves his friend, will not by any means displease him.

I have read of four men meeting together, who asked one another what it was that kept them from sinning. The first one said, "the fear of hell." The second said, "the joys of heaven." The third said, "the odiousness of sin." The fourth said, "that which keeps me from sin, is love to God. Shall I sin against so loving a God? Shall I abuse His love?" Love to God is the best curbing-bit to keep from sin. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." John 14:15 (Lords Prayer or listen to the pithy, practical Mp3 by Watson on the phrase "Deliver us from evil")

For (gar) introduces the explanation of the grounds for the encouraging "invitation" of Hebrews 4:16 and in the following chapters the writer proceeds to describe the better priesthood of Jesus (the "for" also further supports the writer's statement in He 4:15 that Jesus is a sinless High Priest, something not true of any Levitical priest). Keep in mind that the Temple was still standing in Jerusalem and no common Jew could enter the "throne of God" (the Holy of holies), except the Jewish High Priest and then only once per year on the Day of Atonement. The invitation in Hebrews 4:16 to draw near with confidence or boldness (the attitude the of the Jewish high priest would have been fear and trepidation on the Day of Atonement) is in the present tense picturing a continual drawing near.

Wuest - Having indicated in Heb 4:14 the identity of the New Testament High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God, having spoken of His fellow-feeling with our infirmities in verse 15, and having exhorted his readers to come to Him in faith to appropriate the salvation which He procured for them by His death on the Cross, the writer now proceeds to explain Him further as a high priest. The Hebrews had not been familiar with the idea of Messiah being High Priest. He had not come from the family of Aaron. His was a priesthood of another order, that of Melchisedec. The Messiah while on earth did not have access to the Jerusalem temple so far as officiating as a priest was concerned. He performed no priestly duties and thus contradicted the whole Jewish conception of the priesthood. The writer feels the need of explaining somewhat further about this new Priest to whom they were to go for salvation. He says that every (Levitical) priest, since he is taken from among men, is constituted a priest on behalf of men. The point is that in order for a priest to officiate on behalf of men, he must be taken from among men. A priest must partake of the nature of the person for whom he officiates. His work is to minister to men in things that involve man’s relation to God. This he does by offering gifts and sacrifices. (Hebrews Commentary online)

Cole adds that "For (He 5:1) points back to He 4:14, 15 to show that our high priest fulfills the requirements of the priesthood. In He 5:1-4, he lists three qualifications for Aaronic priests: their work (He 5:1); their identification with the people (He 5:2, 3); and, their appointment (He 5:4). In He 5:5-10, he shows in reverse order how Jesus fulfills and exceeds these, as a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:1-10 The Kind of Priest You Need)

Remember also that Hebrews is the only book in the New Testament to teach that Jesus is our High Priest.

Marcus Dods - The connection is: Come boldly to the throne of grace; let not sin daunt you, for every high priest is appointed for the very purpose of offering sacrifices for sin (cf. 8:3). This he must do because he is appointed by God for this purpose, and he does it readily and heartily because his own subjection to weakness gives him sympathy. (Hebrews 5 Commentary)

For every high priest - Each Levitical high priest had 3 essential qualifications according to our writer:

(1) He was appointed on men’s behalf to deal with the things concerning God and as such functioned as the link between God and man.

(2) The priest must be one with men and must have gone through men’s experiences so that his sympathy would be with them.

(3) No man appoints himself to the priesthood but his appointment is of God. The priesthood is not a coveted office to be taken but a glorious privilege to which one is called. This latter point is applicable to all believers today, for all have been made priests in Christ Jesus. It follows that their specific ministry to and for God should not be one they chose, but one they received from God.

High priest (749) (archiereus from arche = first in a series, the leader or ruler + hiereus = priest) (Dictionary articles - Easton's; ISBE) refers to the priest that was chief over all the other priests in Israel. This office was established by God through Moses instructions in the Pentateuch. The high priest functioned as the mediator (another article on "Mediator") between Jehovah and Israel performing sacrifices and rituals like other priests, but in addition acting to expiate the sins of the nation on the annual Day of Atonement. (See excellent article on Priest, Priesthood in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)

The irony is that the high priest Caiaphas was residing over the Sanhedrin during trial of Jesus, the trial which would lead to His death and pave the way for His eternal High Priesthood!

Eerdman's Bible Dictionary explains that "The high priest descended from Eleazar, the son of Aaron. The office was normally hereditary and was conferred upon an individual for life (Nu 25:10-13). The candidate was consecrated in a seven-day ceremony which included investiture with the special clothing of his office as well as anointments and sacrifices (Ex 29:1-37; Lev 8:5-35). The high priest was bound to a higher degree of ritual purity than ordinary Levitical priests. He could have no contact with dead bodies, including those of his parents. Nor could he rend his clothing or allow his hair to grow out as signs of mourning. He could not marry a widow, divorced woman, or harlot, but only an Israelite virgin (Lev. 21:10-15). Any sin committed by the high priest brought guilt upon the entire nation and had to be countered by special sacrifice (Lev 4:1-12). Upon a high priest’s death manslayers were released from the cities of refuge (Nu 35:25, 28, 32). (Eerdman's Bible Dictionary)

Archiereus occurs only in the Gospels (Matthew - 25 times, Mark 21 times, Luke 15 times, John 20 times, Acts 22 times and Hebrews - see below). The references to the high priests in the Gospels and Acts refers primarily to their bitter opposition to Jesus Who the writer of Hebrews identifies as our everlasting High Priest.

Clearly archiereus is a key word in the book of Hebrews, and a review of these 17 verses reveals various characteristics (see underlined sections) of Jesus role as the great High Priest (some of the uses of high priest obviously do not refer to Jesus but to the Jewish high priests).

Hebrews 2:17 (note) Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Hebrews 3:1 (note) Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.

Hebrews 4:14 (note) Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

Hebrews 4:15 (note) For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 5:1 (note) For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;

Hebrews 5:5 (note) So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, "Thou art My Son, Today I have begotten Thee";

Hebrews 5:10 (note) being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 6:20 (note) where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 7:26 (note) For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;

Hebrews 7:27 (note) who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

Hebrews 7:28 (note) For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.

Hebrews 8:1 (note) Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,

Hebrews 8:3 (note) For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer.

Hebrews 9:7 (note) but into the second only the high priest enters, once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.

Hebrews 9:11 (note) But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;

Hebrews 9:25 (note) nor was it that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood not his own.

Hebrews 13:11 (note) For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp.

Taken (2983) (lambano) means to take or grasp. It can indicate both benevolent and hostile actions, and have as object either people or things; e.g. take a wife, collect taxes, accept a verdict, take a road, and fig. take courage. It is used with a material subject, as when, for example, fear or terror seizes men.

The point is that the High Priest must be a man, taken from among men, a partaker of our nature.

In the time of the Romans, the office of High Priest had become corrupt and in fact was something that would go to the highest bidder. The term of office was also no longer for life, and thus there were often several persons living at one time who had borne the office and still retained the title of "high priest". It was into this religious morass that the writer explains to this Jewish readers the purity of the new order of the priesthood.

Spurgeon - Notice that the high priests were taken from among men, not from among angels. Hence, our Lord Jesus Christ “is not concerned with angels, but he is concerned with the descendants of Abraham” (Heb 2:16). The Jewish high priests were ordained for men; they acted on behalf of men, and they stood in the place of men. So the Lord Jesus Christ stood in the room, place, and stead of His people, that He might offer to God for them two things—gifts—that is, such offerings as the Jew made when he presented the fine flour, and oil, and other bloodless oblations that were only intended for thanksgiving. Christ offered thanksgiving unto His Father, and that offering was a sweet savor unto God. But besides those gifts, the priests offered sacrifices, and our Lord Jesus Christ did the same, for He was made a sin offering for us, though He Himself knew no sin.

IS APPOINTED ON BEHALF OF MEN: huper anthropon kathistatai (3SPPI):

  • Heb 8:3
  • Heb 2:17; Nu 16:46, 47, 48; 18:1, 2, 3
  • Hebrews 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Appointed (2525) (kathistemi [word study] from kata = down + histemi = stand) means literally to set down and then to assign to someone a position of authority over others. The passive voice indicates the High Priest did not do this himself.

Nu 16:46, 47, 48, 18:1, 2, 3, (same verb Heb 2:7) KJV = "ordained". He appointed by the Law according to Heb 7:28. Heb 5:1, 7:28, 8:3 Present is gnomic = that which is always true.

On behalf of (5228) (huper) means for the sake of = marker of a participant who is benefited by an event or on whose behalf an event takes place. Priests formed a link/bridge between God and man ().

Recall the dramatic OT illustration of the priest Aaron acting on behalf of men when God declared that He was going to consume the entire congregation of Israel instantly (Nu 16:45) because they had grumbled against Moses and Aaron ([Nu 16:41] the context = Korah's rebellion [Nu 16:1, 2, 3]) and his subsequent Divine destruction [Nu 16:30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 25] which seems to have been insufficient warning that God was serious!)…

Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone forth from the Lord, the plague has begun!. Then Aaron took it as Moses had spoken, and ran into the midst of the assembly, for behold, the plague had begun among the people. So he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. He took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was checked. (Numbers 16:46, 47, 48)

Comment: Notice how Aaron "took his stand between the dead and the living", with the result being that the "plague was checked". Is this not but a shadow of our Great High Priest, Christ Jesus, Who has "taken His stand" on Calvary on our behalf, yea, even between "the dead (the unrepentant thief) and the living (the repentant thief"? All mankind stands on the edge of an eternal "plague" of the righteous wrath of a Holy God, and the only Hope is the atoning sacrifice of the Great High Priest Christ Jesus.

Adam Clarke: By the awful transactions recorded in this chapter (Nu 16:1-50), we may see how jealous God is of the sole right of appointing the way and means of salvation. Had any priesthood, and any kind of service, no matter how solemn and sincere, been equally available in the sight of Divine justice and mercy, God would not have resented in so awful a manner the attempts of Korah and his company in their new service. The way of God's own appointment, the agony and death of Christ, is the only way in which souls can be saved. His is the priesthood, and his is the only available sacrifice. All other modes and schemes of salvation are the inventions of men or devils, and will in the end prove ruinous to all those who trust in them. Reader, forget not the Lord who bought thee.


Under the Old Testament "economy", even after the covenants with Abraham (unconditional) and Moses (conditional), God was still unapproachable. In the Garden of Eden, when Adam sinned, God drove Adam and Eve out of paradise and thus began man's tragic punishment of no longer having direct access to the Creator’s presence (Ge 3:10,24). In the wilderness, the people were warned not to come too near Mt. Sinai, (Ex 19:16,21,22,23,24 Ex 20:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26) and God's manifest presence. In the Tabernacle and in the Temple God was "hidden" from man in the Holy of holies behind a veil and could be approached only through the high priest (only the high priest having access once per year and even that requiring the shedding of blood - Lev 16:1-34, 6, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17)

IN THINGS PERTAINING TO GOD IN ORDER TO OFFER BOTH GIFTS AND SACRIFICES FOR SINS: ta pros ton theon hina prosphere (3SPAS) dora te kai thusias huper hamartion:

  • Heb 8:3; 9:9; 10:11; 11:4; Lev 9:7,15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
  • Hebrews 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In things pertaining to God ("things before God") - Marcus Dod says "In all that relates to God the high priest must mediate for men; but he is appointed especially and primarily, gifts and sacrifices."

In order (hina) expresses the purpose of the high priest (to offer). See discussion of terms of purpose or result - so that, in order that, that, as a result.

NAB comment may be correct that "the author is thinking principally of the Day of Atonement rite, as is clear from Hebrews 9:7. This ritual was celebrated to atone for "all the sins of the Israelites" (Lev 16:34).

Steven Cole explains…

The work of the high priest: As a mediator, he offers gifts and sacrifices for sins on behalf of men in things pertaining to God (He 5:1).

If men are not sinners, separated from a holy God, then there is no need for priests. They were appointed (He 5:4 will show that God appointed them) “on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” No Jew was free to enter the Holy of Holies to meet directly with God. Even the high priest could only go in there once a year on the Day of Atonement, and very carefully at that, or God would kill him instantly. Every Jew knew that he desperately needed a mediator between him and God, and the high priest was that God-ordained mediator.

Gifts and sacrifices” probably here is a general description of all of the designated offerings (Philip Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews [Eerdmans], p. 175). The task of making such offerings was reserved for the priests. Israel’s first king, Saul, took it upon himself to offer sacrifices, and for this presumption, God removed the kingdom from Saul’s descendants and gave it to David (1Sa 13:1-14). Later, King Uzziah, who was otherwise a godly king, presumed to take incense and offer it before the Lord. As a result, God struck him instantly with leprosy (2Chr. 26:16-21). The priests alone were designated to make offerings to God on behalf of the people.

Note that these offerings were “for sins.” The entire Jewish sacrificial system, but especially the Day of Atonement, underscored the problem of human sinfulness in the presence of the holy God. Without the appropriate sacrifice, sinners could not approach God or be reconciled to Him. God designed all of this to point ahead to the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who offered Himself as the perfect and final sacrifice for our sins.

This means that you cannot be reconciled to God until you see your great need as a sinner before His holy presence. It is that awareness of your true condition that causes you to cry out, with the publican in Jesus’ story, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner” (Luke 18:13). The gospel is not, “If you’ve got a few problems, try Jesus. He can help you.” The gospel has to do with our fundamental alienation from God because of our sins, and the gracious provision that God has made in His Son. (Hebrews 5:1-10 The Kind of Priest You Need)

Offer (4374) (prosphero from prós = to, toward + phéro = bring) means to carry or bring something into the presence of someone usually implying a transfer of something to that person carry to, bring (to). Thus prosphero describes an offering, whether of gifts, prayers, or sacrifices.

Repeated exactly in Heb 8:3 (offer both gifts & sacrifices). Prosphero occurs 19x/17v in Hebrews out of a total of 47 uses in NT and is never used in the Pauline epistles! Prosphero has its source in the sacrificial vocabulary of the LXX.

Prosphero - 48x in 45v in NAS - Matt 2:11; 4:24; 5:23f; 8:4, 16; 9:2, 32; 12:22; 14:35; 17:16; 18:24; 19:13; 22:19; 25:20; Mark 1:44; 10:13; Luke 5:14; 12:11; 18:15; 23:14, 36; John 16:2; 19:29; Acts 7:42; 8:18; 21:26; Heb 5:1, 3, 7; 8:3f; 9:7, 9, 14, 25, 28; 10:1f, 8, 11f; 11:4, 17; 12:7. NAS = bringing(2), brought(12), deals(1), get(1), make an offering(1), offer(8), offered(12), offering(4), offers(1), present(2), presented(1), presenting(1)

Gifts (1435) (doron from didomi = to give) means that which is given. The "gifts" offered were for thanksgiving, and the sacrifices were for repentance to seek forgiveness. Note that 5 of 18 NT uses of doron are in Hebrews.

Doron is also used to describe the offering box for placing one's gifts or offerings, Luke recording Jesus words regarding a poor widow compared the rich "for they (the rich) all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on." (Lk 21:4)

Doron - 19x in 17v - Matt 2:11; 5:23f; 8:4; 15:5; 23:18f; Mark 7:11; Luke 21:1, 4; Eph 2:8; Heb 5:1; 8:3-4; 9:9; 11:4; Rev 11:10 NAS = gift(1), gifts(8), given(2), offering(8).

Tradition taught there were 13 offering boxes in Temple and receptacles leading down to the boxes were made in the form of trumpets, so that sound of coins falling into boxes was conspicuous.

Sacrifices (2378) (thusia from thuo = to sacrifice) means that which is offered as a sacrifice. Webster's = act of offering to a deity something precious! Ponder that thought!

Lev 6:20-note "This is the offering [LXX = doron] which Aaron and his sons are to present to the LORD on the day when he is anointed… " (Comment: The Septuagint (LXX) of Leviticus uses doron more than 40x's referring to offerings.)

Thusia - 15x in 15v in the NAS - Matt 9:13; 12:7; Mark 12:33; Luke 2:24; 13:1; Acts 7:41f; Rom 12:1; 1 Cor 10:18; Eph 5:2; Phil 2:17; 4:18; Heb 5:1; 7:27; 8:3; 9:9, 23, 26; 10:1, 5, 8, 11f, 26; 11:4; 13:15f; 1 Pet 2:5.

Wuest - The word “gifts” refers to gifts in general, while the word “sacrifices” speaks of blood sacrifices. These are for the sins of the individual. If the priest is to do this efficiently, he must have a genuine compassion for the sinful. This the writer proceeds to bring out in the next verse. Messiah is seen here to be superior to Aaron in that He as High Priest is not taken from among men but from among the members of the Godhead. In I Peter 1:20 we see Him foreordained to be the Lamb slain for sacrifice, and in Hebrews 10:7 He responds to the summons. (Hebrews Commentary online)

Harry Ironside - The high priest was to present his brethren's gifts and sacrifices for sins. Note the distinction between gifts and sacrifices. On the cross our Lord presented the sacrifice for sins. In Heaven now, He offers our gifts of worship and praise. (Hebrews Commentary)

The primary function of the OT priest was to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. Sin disturbs the relationship which should exist between man and God and puts up a barrier between them and the sacrifice was meant to restore that relationship and remove that barrier. As discussed later in Hebrews, the Jewish priestly sacrifices only covered the transgressions of the people but could never make the worshipper perfect in conscience because the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins and provide complete remission and forgiveness. As Harry Ironside alludes to, this efficacious work was carried out by a greater, perfect High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ.


Octavius Winslow Devotional on Hebrews 5:1-2 -- Overlook not the fitness of the Lord Jesus to meet all the infirmities of His people. There are two touching and expressive passages bearing on this point. "Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." Wondrous view of the Incarnate God! That very infirmity, Christian reader, which now bogs you to the earth, by reason of which you can in no wise lift up yourself- your Savior bore. Is it sin? Is it sorrow? Is it sickness? Is it want? It bowed Him to the dust, and brought the crimson drops to His brow. And is this no consolation? Does it not make your infirmity even pleasant, to remember that Jesus once bore it, and in sympathy bears it still? The other passage is - "We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities." Touched with my infirmity! What a thought! I reveal my grief to my friend; I discern the emotions of his soul. I mark the trembling lip, the sympathizing look, the moistened eye-my friend is touched with my sorrow. But what is this sympathy-tender, soothing, grateful as it is-to the sympathy with which the great High Priest in heaven enters into my case, is moved with my grief, is touched with the feeling of my infirmity?

Let us learn more tenderly to sympathize with the infirmities of our brethren. "We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." Oh for more of this primitive Christianity! The infirmity of a Christian brother should by a heartfelt sympathy become in a measure our own. We ought to bear it. The rule of our conduct towards him should be the rule of our conduct towards our own selves. Who would feel bound or disposed to travel from house to house, proclaiming with trumpet tongue, and with evident satisfaction, his own weaknesses, failings, and infirmities? To God we may confess them, but no divine precept enjoins their confession to man. We unveil them to His eye, and He kindly and graciously veils them from all human eyes. Be this our spirit, and our conduct, towards a weak and erring brother. Let us rather part with our right hand than publish his infirmity to others, and thus wound the Head by an unkind and unholy exposure of the faults and frailties of a member of His body; and by so doing cause the enemies of Christ to blaspheme that worthy name by which we are called.

Honor and glorify the Spirit, who thus so graciously and so kindly sympathizes with our infirmities. Pay to Him divine worship, yield to Him divine homage; and let your unreserved obedience to His commands, your jealous regard for His honor, and your faithful hearkening to the gentle accents of His "still, small voice," manifest how deeply sensible you are of His love, His grace, and His faithfulness, in sympathizing with your sorrows, in supplying your need, and in making your burdens and infirmities all and entirely His own.

Nor let us forget that, so condescending is Jesus, He regards Himself as honored by the confidence which reposes our sorrows upon His heart. The infirmity which we bring to His grace, and the sin which we bring to His atonement, and the trials which we bring to His sympathy, unfold Jesus as He is-and so He is glorified. Consequently, the oftener we come, the more welcome we are, and the more precious does Jesus become.

Hebrews 5:2 he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: metriopathein (PAN) dunamenos (PPPMSN) tois agnoousin (PAPMPD) kai planomenois, (PPPMPD) epei kai autos perikeitai (3SPMI) astheneian,

Amplified: He is able to exercise gentleness and forbearance toward the ignorant and erring, since he himself also is liable to moral weakness and physical infirmity (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: in that he himself is able to feel gently to the ignorant and to the wandering because he himself wears the garment of human weakness. (Westminster Press)

KJV: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity

NLT: And because he is human, he is able to deal gently with the people, though they are ignorant and wayward. For he is subject to the same weaknesses they have. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: He must be able to deal sympathetically with the ignorant and foolish because he realises that he is himself prone to human weakness. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: who is able to exercise moderate and tender judgment with respect to those who are ignorant and with respect to those who are being led astray, since also he himself is completely encircled with weakness.

Young's Literal: able to be gentle to those ignorant and going astray, since himself also is compassed with infirmity;

HE CAN DEAL GENTLY WITH THE IGNORANT AND MISGUIDED: metriopathein (PAN) dunamenos (PPPMSN) tois agnoousin (PAPMPD) kai planomenois (PPPMPD):

  • Hebrews 2:18; 4:15
  • Numbers 15:22-29; 1Timothy 1:13
  • Hebrews 12:13; Ex 32:8; Judges 2:17; Isaiah 30:11
  • Hebrews 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

He - the human priest.

Spurgeon - When the people of Israel came to them they saw that they were speaking to persons who knew and understood their weaknesses and sorrows, and not to exalted beings who would look down upon them with serene indifference. They felt that they could approach their priest without the awe that creates a freezing distance, as though a yawning crevasse opened between. And when they spoke to their friend, the minister of God, they felt that they could tell him their trials and troubles, for he had felt the same, and therefore was able to console and comfort them. The Lord Jesus has made all His saints to be priests; we offer no sacrifice of blood, but He has made us kings and priests unto God. And we have to deal with men for God; all of us, I mean, not ministers alone, but all of you who are the Lord’s own people. And it ought to be said of all of you who are kings and priests unto God that you are “able to deal gently with those who are ignorant.” But our text concerns our Lord Jesus Christ; so now let me say that I speak not merely of what ought to be, but of what is true of Him. He is a man, brother to every man. He is a man, the friend of all mankind; yes, the friend of His bitterest foe. And he is ever tender toward all the sorrows and the griefs of men. Then he is also a priest in a sense in which you and I are not, a priest above Aaron and all mere earthly priests, the great High Priest in whom all the types unite, and from whom our priesthood is derived.

Wuest - Because the high priest is taken from among men, he is able to have compassion on his fellow-sinners, since he himself is a sinner. (Hebrews Commentary online)

Can (1410) (dunamai [word study]) describes inherent ability to do or accomplish some task. The one who is taken or appointed to be a high priest is continuously able (present tense) to deal with the ignorance and deception of those for whom he ministers. And yet as we learn later in Hebrews, the animal sacrifices offered by the high priest could never make the worshipper perfect in conscience (He 9:9-note, He 10:1-note), could not remove consciousness of sins (He 10:2-note), could never take away sins (He 10:4-note, He 10:11-note) and in fact served as a constant reminder of sins year after year (He 10:3). The OT animal sacrifices, while conveying a picture of forgiveness (cp "forgive" in Lev 4:20 4:26 4:31 4:35 5:10 5:13 5:16 5:18 6:7 19:22), could never effect true, genuine, complete forgiveness, for that was a divine miracle made possible only by the blood of Jesus (He 10:18). Prior to Jesus' death on the Cross, the Father "passed over" the sins in the OT, and so in a sense provided OT saints "forgiveness on credit" (see He 9:15-note, Ro 3:24-note, Ro 3:25-note). Remember that there was nothing meritorious per se in the blood of animals. What God was always most interested in was the heart attitude of the offerer (cp David's prayer after his sin with Bathsheba in Ps 51:16, 17-note). Stated another way, God always inspects the offerer before he inspects (and receives) the offering! What is your attitude when you give to Him? Grudging? Stingy? Cheerful? Sacrificial?

Marcus Dods - If the priest is cordially to plead with God for the sinner, he must bridle his natural disgust at the loathsomeness of sensuality, his impatience at the frequently recurring fall, his hopeless alienation from the hypocrite and the superficial, his indignation at any confession he hears from the penitent. (Ed: This is a good work for all of us involved in ministry, which is all of us who belong to Christ!) (The Expositor's Greek Testament - online)

Deal gently (3356)(metriopatheo from métrios= moderate + pathos = passion) means to be moderate in passion, and so to be gentle in one's attitude toward another; to treat with mildness or meekness. It means to hold one's emotions in restraint. To pity or feel for. Hebrews 5:2 is the only use of this word in all of Scripture (including the Lxx).

Barclay has an interesting discussion on metriopatheo - The priest must be bound up with men in the bundle of life. In connection with this he used a wonderful word—metriopathein. We have translated it to feel gently; but it is really untranslatable. The Greeks defined a virtue as the mean between two extremes. On either hand there was an extreme into which a man might fall; in between there was the right way. So the Greeks defined metriopatheia (the corresponding noun) as the mean between extravagant grief and utter indifference. It was feeling about men in the right way. W. M. Macgregor defined it as “the mid-course between explosions of anger and lazy indulgence.” Plutarch spoke of that patience which was the child of metriopatheia. He spoke of it as that sympathetic feeling which enable a man to raise up and to save, to spare and to hear. Another Greek blames a man for having no metriopatheia and for therefore refusing to be reconciled with someone who had differed from him. It is a wonderful word. It means the ability to bear with people without getting irritated; it means the ability not to lose one’s temper with people when they are foolish and will not learn and do the same thing over and over again. It describes the attitude to others which does not issue in anger at their fault and which does not condone it, but which to the end of the day spends itself in a gentle yet powerful sympathy which by its very patience directs a man back to the right way. No man can ever deal with his fellow-men unless he has this strong and patient, God-given metriopatheia. (Hebrews 5 Commentary - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

New American Bible note on metriopatheo = Deal patiently: the Greek word metriopathein occurs only here in the Bible; this term was used by the Stoics to designate the golden mean between excess and defect of passion. Here it means rather the ability to sympathize.

Wuest - The Greek word translated “deal gently” is not the one translated “touched with the feeling of” in Heb 4:15, sumpatheo, which we translated “to have a fellow-feeling for.” The word here is metriopatheo. The reader will observe that the words are the same except for the prefixed additions. Sun means “with” and makes the compound word mean “to suffer with” another person. Metri has the same root as metron which means “measure.” The latter is used to designate an instrument for measuring something. Thus, the compound word means literally “to suffer according to a measured limit.” The word was used originally by the Greeks, of the rational regulation of the natural passions, as opposed to the Stoic word apatheia, which involved the crushing out of the passions. Metriopatheo means to be moderate or tender in judgment toward another’s errors. It speaks of a state of feeling toward the ignorant and the erring which is neither too severe nor too tolerant. The high priest must be careful lest he become irritated at sin and ignorance. He must also take care that he does not become weakly indulgent. The high priest must be able to be moderate and tender toward the ignorant. The word is defined by its historical background. In Numbers 15:22–31 we learn that even sins committed through ignorance of God’s commandments must be atoned for (see also Hebrews 9:7). This was required by the Levitical law as a means of educating the moral perception, also in order to show that sin and defilement might exist unsuspected, that God saw evil where men did not, and that His test of purity was stricter than theirs. (Hebrews Commentary online)

Metriopatheo does not indicate that an earthly high priest is to pass over the sin of his fellow man without any regard at all. On the other hand he is not allow himself to be caught up in his passion and pity for the sinner but he is rather to have a controlled feeling of sympathy. This word metriopatheo stands in opposition to the Stoic word apathes which means “indifferent". Metriopatheo conveys a sense of balance between indifference and sentimental indulgence, taking a "middle course" between apathy and anger. The idea is to excuse as far as possible so as to be ready to pardon but when punishment is required, to administer it with gentleness. The high priest is to be merciful toward those for whom he is mediating, not merely showing compassion, but bearing with each person according to his ignorance, weakness, and circumstances.

The high priest should not act indifferently toward sin, but neither should he be harsh with repentant sinners, since he knew from personal experience how prone we are to sin.

Earlier the writer had alluded to this attribute (able to deal gently) of Christ as our great High Priest writing

"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15-note)

Sins of ignorance -- both accidental and sudden passion - as opposed to willful, high-handed sins (Nu 15:30 Lxx = en cheiri huperephanias) , sins of presumption (cp David's prayer Ps 19:13-note). People who sinned "willingly" had no provision in the Levitical system. Later in this letter the writer warns of willful sins…

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, (Heb 10:26-note)

Comment: To an extent every sin we commit is willful (this is especially true of believers who have the Law written in our heart and the indwelling Spirit to cause us to walk in God's statutes!) but as Dod says the willful sins the writer is referring to are those "sins which constitute a renunciation of God and for which there is no sacrifice."

Ignorant (50) (agnoeo from a = without + noeo = to perceive, understand) means to be unaware of and here describes those erring or continually committing faults arising from continual (present tense) want of discernment, knowledge, or insight. The idea is that the result and importance of one's conduct as unperceived by the individual carrying out the conduct.

Peter used agnoeo to describe the false teachers writing that they "like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed (2Pe 2:12-note; Lev 4:13-note; Lev 5:18-note).

Spurgeon - As with the high priest of Israel in the olden time, amongst those who come to our High Priest are many whose fear and distress arise from ignorance. If all the ignorant were to come, we should all come, for we are all ignorant. But there are some who fancy it is otherwise with them. They imagine they know all things, and, professing themselves to be wise, they become fools (Rom 1:22). These do not know their need of the great High Priest. Their folly is proved by their light esteem of Him. But among those who come to our great High Priest in heaven, there are none but those who are ignorant.

Atonement for sins of ignorance was required by the Levitical law in order to "sensitize" the consciences of the children of Israel, and to help them understand that sin and defilement might exist even in the absence of blatant, overt, easily recognized sin. They needed to understand that God's perfect, and perfectly holy, vision sees evil when fallen men with darkened understanding see no apparent evil. They needed to comprehend that God's test of what was truly pure was perfection and was far more strict than their evaluation of what was good or evil! Indeed, as the saint grows in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he or she becomes increasing sensitive to the sinfulness of sin.

Moses alludes to sins of ignorance (or those committed unintentionally) in Numbers writing…

22 'But when you unwittingly (unintentionally) fail and do not observe all these commandments, which the LORD has spoken to Moses,

23 even all that the LORD has commanded you through Moses, from the day when the LORD gave commandment and onward throughout your generations,

24 then it shall be, if it is done unintentionally, without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one bull for a burnt offering, as a soothing aroma to the LORD, with its grain offering, and its libation, according to the ordinance, and one male goat for a sin offering.

25 'Then the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and they shall be forgiven; for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their error.

26 'So all the congregation of the sons of Israel will be forgiven, with the alien who sojourns among them, for it happened to all the people through error.

27 'Also if one person sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one year old female goat for a sin offering.

28 'And the priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that he may be forgiven.

29 'You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them. (Numbers 15:22-29)

Misguided (4105) (planao [word study] from plane which describes "a wandering" and gives us our English word "planet") means literally made to wander and so to be led astray or made to err from the right way, the highway of truth and holiness.

Matthew Henry adds that "Man in this his degenerate state is of a straying nature, thence compared to a lost sheep; this must be sought and brought back, and guided in the right way, Ps 119:176. (See Spurgeon's Note) He is weak, and ready to be imposed upon by the wiles and subtleties of Satan, and of men lying in wait to seduce and mislead."

Spurgeon - Then there were others who tried the high priest far more even than the ignorant did. They were those who erred from the right path, those who went out of the way, and who continued to do so even after many warnings and much earnest exhortation. The true priest must have patience with people of this sort. To be out of the way is, in the case of all men, their natural state. “All of us have wandered about like sheep; we each have turned to his own way” (Isa 53:6). That is where we are all by nature, and our own way is out of the way. Therefore, Christ can have compassion upon all of us who come to Him; for He has learned to deal with those who are out of the way; and such, literally, are we all.

Jesus use of planao gives us a sense of its meaning "What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? (Mt 18:12)

Isaiah wrote that "All of us like sheep have gone astray (Hebrew = ta'ah = wander like a nomad, lose one's direction, here in an ethical sense; Lxx = planao), Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

Note that the verb planao is in the passive voice which indicates an outside force or influence (e.g., the unregenerate heart in unbelievers, the power of sin rendered ineffective but unfortunately still latent in believers) is causing the deception that leads one down the wrong path. The present tense indicates the sad truth that men and women are continually being led astray from God, even to the point that they refuse to believe that in the end they will be judged by Him (cf Re 20:11,12,13,14,15- see notes Re 20:11; 12; 13; 14; 15).

SINCE HE HIMSELF ALSO IS BESET WITH WEAKNESS: epei kai autos perikeitai (3SPMI) astheneian:

  • Hebrews 7:28; Exodus 32:2-5,21-24; Numbers 12:1-9; 20:10, 11, 12; Luke 22:32; 2Corinthians 11:30; 2Corinthians 12:5,9,10; Galatians 4:13
  • Hebrews 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever. (He 7:28-note)

He himself - He might be the high priest but his flesh was as "weak" as the next man (cp Jesus' exhortation to watch and pray because of our flesh - Mt 26:41-note)

Wuest - The high priest is able to be moderate and tender in his judgment toward other’s sins, because he himself is compassed with infirmity. The Greek word translated “is compassed” presents a graphic picture here. The word is perikeimai which means literally “to be lying around.” The high priest has infirmity, sinful tendencies, lying around him. That is, he is completely encircled by sin, since he has a sinful nature which if unrepressed, will control his entire being. The same word is used by the writer in Heb 12:1-note, where he speaks of the encompassing cloud of witnesses. This is denied in the case of Messiah, which fact makes Him better than Aaron. (Hebrews Commentary online)

Spurgeon - It was, in the all-wise providence of God, ordained that the sons of Aaron should be men compassed with infirmity that they might compass others with sympathy. Men admire an iron duke for war, but who could bear an iron priest in the hour of trouble? A brazen wall is good for a defense, but we need a breast of flesh and blood for consolation. Give me for a spiritual comforter and guide, not an infallible pontiff, nor a thrice-crowned spiritual lord, but a brother of my own condition, a friend possessed of a nature like my own. Christ was not compassed with sinful infirmity, but He was compassed with sorrowful infirmity. His were true infirmities or weaknesses; there was no evil about Him, but still He had the infirmity of misery, and He had it even to a greater extent than we have. The high priest of old was a man like those for whom he stood as a representative, and our great High Priest is like unto us, though without sin.

Beset (4029) (perikeimai [word study] from peri = around + keimai = be laid down) literally means to lie around and thus to be located around some object or area and thus to be around, to surround, to encircle and then to hamper.

Perikeimai is in the present tense and thus describes the weakness of the Levitical high priests as one who continually surrounded himself with his weakness (cp the idea of besetting sin - see He 12:1-note ).

Perikeimai is used by Jesus to describe the fate of those who cause one of the little ones to stumble declaring that

it would be better for him if with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea. (Mark 9:42)

Paul uses perikeimai to describe a chain hung around him, binding him…

For this reason therefore (because Paul felt it necessary to appeal to Caesar), I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel (The messianic hope, incarnate in Jesus Christ, the fulfiller of OT promises). (Acts 28:20)

Beset describes a heavy millstone around one's neck or chains around a prisoner. The priest himself has weakness continually lying around him "like a chain".


As an aside Puritan writer Thomas Watson has some interesting points regarding the nature of a "besetting sin"…

Take heed of your besetting sin, that which your nature and constitution most incline to. As in the hive there is a master bee—so in the heart there is a master sin. "I kept myself from my iniquity." Ps 18:23. There is some sin that is a special favorite, the darling sin which lies in the bosom—and this bewitches and draws away the heart. O beware of this!

[1] That sin which a man most nourishes, and to which all other sins are subservient—is the sin which is most tended and waited upon. The Pharisees' darling sin was vainglory, all they did was to feed the sin of pride. When they gave alms they sounded a trumpet, that they might admired by others. Matthew 6:2. If a stranger had asked why this trumpet sounded? The answer was, the Pharisees are going to give alms to the poor. Their lamp of charity was filled with the oil of vainglory. Matthew 23:5. All their works they did to be seen by men. Pride was their bosom sin. Oftentimes covetousness is the darling sin; all other sins are committed to maintain this. Why do men equivocate, oppress, defraud, take bribes—but to uphold covetousness?

[2] The sin which a man hates to be reproved—is the darling sin. Herod could not endure to have his incest spoken against; if John the Baptist meddles with that sin, it shall cost him his head.

[3] That sin which has most power over a man, and most easily leads him captive—is the beloved of the soul. There are some sins which a man can better put off and repulse; but there is one sin which he cannot deny—but is overcome by it: this is the bosom sin. The young man in the gospel had a besetting sin which he could not resist, and that was the love of the world; his silver was dearer to him than his Savior. It is a sad thing a man should be so bewitched by a lust—that he will part with the kingdom of heaven to gratify it!

[4] The sin which men use arguments to defend—is the darling sin. To plead for sin, is to be the devil's attorney. If the sin is covetousness, and we vindicate it; if it is rash anger, and we justify it, saying (as Jonah 4:9), "I do well to be angry," this is the besetting sin.

[5] That sin which most troubles a man, and flies in his face in an hour of sickness and distress—is the beloved sin. When Joseph's brethren were distressed, their sin in selling their brother came to remembrance. Gen 45:3. So, when a man is upon his sick-bed, conscience says, "Do not you remember how you have lived in such a sin, though you have been often warned—yet you would not leave it?" Conscience reads a secret lecture upon the darling sin.

[6] The sin which a man is most unwilling to part with—is the darling sin. Jacob could of all his sons, most hardly part with Benjamin. "Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and you will take Benjamin away." Gen 13:36. So says the sinner, "this and that sin have I parted with; but must Benjamin go? Must I part with this delightful sin? That pierces my heart!" It is the Delilah, the beloved sin. Oh, if sin is such a deadly evil, dare not to indulge any bosom sin, which is the most dangerous of all; and, like a cancer striking to the heart, which is mortal. One darling sin lived in, sets open a gap for Satan to enter. (Lords Prayer or listen to the pithy, practical Mp3 by Watson on the phrase "Deliver us from evil")

Weakness (769) (astheneia [word study] from a = without + sthénos = strength, bodily vigor) means literally without strength or bodily vigor, want of strength, lacking strength. Astheneia was used to refer to bodily diseases or ailments (Lk 5:15, 13:11, 12, Jn 5:5, 11:4, 28:9). Figuratively, astheneia refers to the incapacity to do or experience something, an inability to produce results, a state of weakness or limitation (1Co 15:43; 2Co 11:30; 12:5, 9, 10, 13:4; Ro 8:27; Heb 4:15; 5:2; 7:28; 11:34) Paul's use in 1Co 2:3 conveys the sense of weakness in terms of courage.

Wuest - The word weakness is astheneia, “moral weakness which makes men capable of sinning,” in other words, the totally depraved nature. (Hebrews Commentary online)

Richards - This group of words expresses powerlessness. The weak are without strength, incapacitated in some serious way. (Expository Dictionary)

Figuratively, as used in this verse, astheneia means "impotence" in the spiritual realm as in Ro 8:3 (note). In Ro 6:19 (note) Paul describes the “weakness of your flesh” which refers to resident weakness of flesh due to Sin which is ever present in the believer who must seek to fight it with the Spirit's enablement (by walking in the Spirit = Gal 5:16-note, by putting sin to death = Ro 8:13-note). In another passage Paul writes that "the Spirit also helps our weakness” (Ro 8:26-note).

Hughes comments that "speaking of that weakness which is the consequence not so much of human nature as of human depravity. The weakness which results from the fallenness of man explains the need for the Levitical high priest to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people, and this is a weakness in which Christ did not share, for, as we have already seen (He 4:15), He was without sin, and consequently was under no necessity to offer sacrifice for himself (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews)

In Mt 8:17-note (which is quoted from Isa 53:4) Christ our Great High Priest needed no sacrifice for sins, instead becoming the Sacrifice on the Cross in order to take away our infirmities (astheneías), thus accomplishing something impossible for the Levitical high priests because of the weakness of their flesh.

Marcus Dods - The priests, living for the greater part of the year in their own homes, were known to have their weaknesses like other men, and even the high priests were not exempt from the common passions. Their gorgeous robes alone separated them from sinners, but like a garment infirmity clung around them. “How the very sanctity of his office would force on the attention of one who was not a mere puppet priest the contrast between his official and his personal character, as a subject of solemn reflection” (Bruce). (The Expositor's Greek Testament - online)

Hebrews 5:3 and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: kai di' auten opheilei (3SPAI) kathos peri tou laou houtos kai peri autou prospherein (PAN) peri hamartion.

Amplified: And because of this he is obliged to offer sacrifice for his own sins, as well as for those of the people. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: By reason of this very weakness it is incumbent upon him, just as he makes sacrifice for the people, so to make sacrifice for sins on his own behalf also. (Westminster Press)

KJV: And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

NLT: That is why he has to offer sacrifices, both for their sins and for his own sins. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: This naturally means that the offering which he makes for sin is made on his own personal behalf as well as on behalf of those whom he represents. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: And because of this he is under a moral obligation, just as with reference to the people, thus also concerning his own sins, to be offering. 

Young's Literal: and because of this infirmity he ought, as for the people, so also for himself to offer for sins;

AND BECAUSE OF IT HE IS OBLIGATED TO OFFER SACRIFICES FOR SINS AS FOR THE PEOPLE SO ALSO FOR HIMSELF: kai di auten opheilei (3SPAI) kathos peri tou laou houtos kai peri autou prospherein (PAN) peri hamartion:

Because of it (the weakness of his flesh) - Because of the infirmity which encompassed the earthly Levitical priest (Lev 4:3; 9:7; 16:6 = for himself, for the people = Lv 16:15). The priest had no alternative, but was morally bound because of the fact that he too was a sinner in need of God's great mercy.

Obligated (3784) (opheilo) means to owe something to someone. Figuratively, opheilo describes a sense of indebtedness to someone for something. Opheilo in this passage conveys the sense of necessity, of duty or of being under obligation. The idea is that the Levitical high priest was bound by duty to offer sacrifices for himself and the people because they were are sinners.

Wuest - The word obligated is opheilo which speaks of an obligation that is a necessity imposed either by law and duty, by reason, by the times, or by the nature of the matter under consideration. It is here a moral obligation. It is the moral obligation of the high priest to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people for whom he officiates, since he also is completely encircled with moral weakness (total depravity). (Hebrews Commentary online)

Spurgeon - We know that, being compassed with infirmity and imperfection, the high priests first offered sacrifices on their own account, and then afterwards offered them on behalf of the people. Christ, being pure and holy, needed no sacrifice for Himself; but He did offer a complete, and acceptable, and sufficient sacrifice for us. Do not, therefore, think that He is less sympathetic with us because He had no sins; far from it. Fellowship in sin does not create true sympathy, for sin is a hardening thing. If there are two men who are guilty partners in sin, they never really help each other; they have no true heart of kindness, either of them. But when the time of difficulty comes, each man looks to his own interest. The fact that Christ is free from sin is a circumstance that does not diminish the tenderness of His sympathy with us, but rather increases it. What a comfort this is to us, that we have a High Priest through whom we can come to God who is full of compassion toward us, and who, though He had no sinful infirmity about Him, was subject to the infirmities to which flesh is heir!

To offer (4374)(prosphero from prós = to, toward, denotes motion toward a place + phéro = bring) means to carry or bring something into the presence of someone usually implying a transfer of something to that person carry to. It was used literally of bringing something or someone toward someone or something (e.g., bringing the ill and demon possessed to Jesus - Mt 4:24, 8:16, 9:2, 32, 12:22, 14:35, 17:16; bringing money = Mt 18:24, 22:19, 25:20; bringing children to Jesus - Mt 19:13, Mk 10:13, Lk 18:15). Prosphero refers to the presentation of an offering, whether of gifts (doron), prayers (Jesus in Heb 5:7), or sacrifices (Mt 5:23-24, 8:4). The first NT use is very apropos as the Magi came to worship the infant Jesus, falling prostrate, worshipping and then presenting Him their gifts (Mt 2:11 - what a contrast with men bringing Him sour wine in Jn 19:29! The first "offering" at His birth to Him in a Cradle, the last offering at His death, to Him on a Cross! Oh my!). Prosphero makes up a major component of the sacrificial vocabulary in the Septuagint (Lxx) (>50x in Leviticus alone! See Lxx uses below) Of course the greatest offering in eternity was Christ's offering of Himself as the sacrifice (Heb 9:14, 25, 28, 10:12) In Heb 12:7 prosphero means to behave towards (deal with) someone is a certain way.

The first use of prosphero in the Septuagint (Lxx) is of Cain's offering ("If you do well" in English is translated from the Greek as "If you offer correctly"-Septuagint-NETS - Ge 4:7) Prosphero describes Jacob's deceitful offering of savory food to his almost blind father Isaac (Ge 27:31). In Ge 43:26 prosphero describes the brothers bringing him gifts. In Ex 32:6 (Golden calf "detour") Israel hypocritically "brought peace offerings!" (Lxx translates these as a "sacrifice of salvation" - thusia soterion) In the first of over 50 uses in Leviticus we read "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When any man of you brings (prosphero) an offering (Lxx = doron) - Jesus used this same combination in His Sermon on the Mount - see Mt 5:23-24-note below) to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock." (Leviticus 1:2-note)

Wuest - The word “offer” is the translation of prosphero, which means “to carry toward or to.” It is used often in the LXX of the priest bringing the sacrifice to the altar. (Hebrews Commentary online)

TDNT on prosphero in the Secular Literature. This word has such senses as “to bring to,” “to set before” (middle “to take,” “to enjoy”), “to bring,” “to offer,” and (passive) “to encounter.” B. Jewish Hellenistic Literature. 1. In the LXX prosphero is mostly a sacrificial term for bringing offerings, for presenting at the altar, or for sacrificing. 2. Josephus uses the word both in the general sense “to bring” or “to serve” (food or drink) and in the sacrificial sense “to offer.” 3. Philo uses the term for “to bring” and (middle) “to take” (food and drink).

Prosphero - 47x in 45v - NAS Usage: bringing(2), brought(12), deals(1), get(1), make an offering(1), offer(8), offered(12), offering(4), offers(1), present(2), presented(1), presenting(1). The two books with the most uses are Matthew (15x) and Hebrews (20x, especially Hebrews 9 that speaks of the OT offerings)

Matthew 2:11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 4:24 The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.

Matthew 5:23-note "Therefore if you are presenting your offering (doron) at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,

24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering (doron).

Matthew 8:4 And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering (doron) that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."

16 When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.

Matthew 9:2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, "Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven."

32 As they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him.

Matthew 12:22 Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw.

Matthew 14:35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick;

Matthew 17:16 "I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him."

Matthew 18:24 "When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

Matthew 19:13 Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them.

Matthew 22:19 "Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax." And they brought Him a denarius.

Matthew 25:20 "The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.'

Mark 1:44 and He said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded (see Lev 14:1-32-note), as a testimony to them."

Mark 2:4 Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying.

Mark 10:13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.

Luke 5:14 And He ordered him to tell no one, "But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded (see Lev 14:1-32-note), as a testimony to them."

Luke 18:15 And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them.

Luke 23:14 and said to them, "You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him.

36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine,

John 16:2 "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.

John 19:29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.

Acts 7:42 "But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, 'IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL?

Acts 8:18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money,

Acts 21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them.

Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts (doron) and sacrifices for sins;

3 and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.

7 In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.

Hebrews 8:3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts (doron) and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer.

4 Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts (doron) according to the Law;

Hebrews 9:7 but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.

9 which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts (doron) and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience,

14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.

28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

Hebrews 10:1 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.

2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?

8 After saying above, "SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them" (which are offered according to the Law),

11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;

12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;

Hebrews 12:7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

Prosphero - 127v in the Septuagint (Lxx) - Gen 4:7; 27:31; 43:26; Ex 29:3; 32:6; 34:26; 36:3, 6; Lev 1:2-3, 5, 13-15-note; Lev 2:1, 4, 8, 11-13-note; Lev 3:6, 9-note; Lev 4:23, 32-note; Lev 6:20-note; Lev 7:3, 8-9, 11-13, 18, 29-30, 33, 38-note; Lev 8:6-note; Lev 9:2, 9, 12-13, 15-17-note; "strange fire" = Lev 10:1, 15-note; Lev 12:6-7-note; Lev 14:23; Lev 16:9; Lev 17:4; Lev 21:6, 8, 17, 21; Lev 22:18, 21, 25; Lev 23:14-16, 20, 37; Lev 27:9, 11 Nu 3:4; 5:9, 15, 25; 6:13, 16, 20; 7:2, 10ff, 18f; 9:7, 13; 15:4, 7, 9, 13; 16:35, 38f; 18:15; 26:61; 28:2, 26; 29:8; 31:50; Deut 23:18; Jdg 3:17f; 5:25; 2Sa 17:29; 1Kgs 3:24; 4:20; 2Kgs 16:15; 1Chr 16:1; 2Chr 29:7; Ezra 6:10, 17; 7:17; 8:35; Job 1:5; Ps 72:10; Pr 6:8; 21:27; Jer 14:12; Ezek 43:23f; 44:7, 15, 27; 46:4; Dan 4:1; 7:13; Amos 5:25;

For sins… for the people… for himself - (Lev 16:6-note Heb 7:27-note) Leviticus 16 describes the Day of Atonement and details the offerings for the people and the high priest himself…

For himself = “Then Aaron shall offer the bull for the sin offering which is for himself, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household. (Lev 16:6-note)

For the people = “Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. (Lev 16:15-note).

Sins (266) (hamartia [word study]) literally conveys the sense of missing the mark as when hunting with a bow and arrow (in Homer some hundred times of a warrior hurling his spear but missing his foe). Later hamartia came to mean missing or falling short of any goal, standard, or purpose. From a Biblical perspective hamartia describes the missing of the ultimate purpose and person of our lives, that purpose being to please God Who is also the Person the sinner misses! Hamartia is a deviation from God's truth or His moral rectitude (righteousness). It is a deviation from the strait line, marked off by the "plumb line" of God's perfect, pure Word. As someone has well said ultimately sin is man's declaration of independence of God, of the "apostasy" of the creature from his Creator! Sin is what happens when we err (err is from Latin errare = to wander!) which means to wander from the right way, to deviate from the true course or purpose and so to violate an accepted standard of conduct (Study "way" in Proverbs = Pr 1:15, 31 2:8, 12, 20 1:15 1:31 2:8 2:12 2:20 3:23 4:11 4:14 4:19 5:8 6:23 7:8 7:27 8:2 8:13 8:20 8:22 9:6 10:29 11:5 12:15 12:26 12:28 13:6 13:15 14:8 14:12 15:9 15:10 15:19 16:9 16:17 16:25 16:29 16:31 19:3 20:14 20:24 21:2 21:8 21:16 21:29 22:5 22:6 23:19 25:26 28:10 29:15 29:27 30:19 30:20).

The Puritan John Bunyan minced no words when he defined sin as "the dare of God's justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power and the contempt of His love."

Tozer adds that "The essence of sin is rebellion against divine authority."

For the people so also for himself - The human high priests were conscious of their own failures (including the fact that their conscience was not perfect - He 9:9, He 10:1) and had to offer a satisfactory sacrifice for themselves as well as for the people. And thus the writer of Hebrews is building the case with his Jewish readers for the superiority of our the priesthood of Christ Who needed no offering for Himself.

Steven Cole - The identification of the high priest with the people: He can sympathize with them, since he is a fellow sinner (He 5:2, 3). An effective mediator (another article on "Mediator") truly understands the condition of those he represents. The Jewish high priests could understand the problem of sinners because, before they could go into the Holy of Holies to atone for the sins of the people, they had to offer a sacrifice for their own sins (Lev 16:6; He 7:27; He 9:7). An awareness of their own weaknesses enabled the Levitical priests to “deal gently with the ignorant and misguided.” (Hebrews 5:1-10 The Kind of Priest You Need)

Andrew Murray - The Holiest of All - Comment on Murray's Book by D. A. Carson in his New Testament Commentary Survey says…

At the popular and sometimes devotional level, one may still purchase the much-reprinted book by Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All… Despite (or perhaps because of) the doctrinal bias toward "higher life" tradition, the book remains a collection of marvelously pious and spiritually-minded gems strung out on a string of abysmal exegesis.


Hebrews 5:1-3.

WE know how much the Epistle has already said of the true humanity and sympathy of the Lord Jesus. In Hebrews 2. we read: It became God to perfect Him through suffering; Since the children are sharers of flesh and Mood, He also in like manner partook of the same. It behooved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren. In that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted. And in Hebrews 4. we have just heard, We have not a high priest who is not able to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who hath in all things been tempted like as we are. And yet the truth is counted of such importance, that once again our attention is directed to it. It is not enough that we have a general conviction of its truth, but we need to have it taken up into our heart and life, until every thought of Jesus is interpenetrated by such a feeling of His sympathy, that all sense of weakness shall at once be met by the joyful consciousness that all is well, because Jesus is so very kind, and cares so lovingly for all our feebleness and all our ignorance, Let us listen once again to what the word teaches. Every high priest being taken from among men, is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that He may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. Here we have the work of a high priest, and the first essential requisite for that work. His work is in things pertaining to God: he has charge of all that concerns the access to God, His worship and service, and has, for this, to offer gifts and sacrifices. And the requisite is, he must be a man, because he is to act for men. And that for this great reason that he may be one who can bear gently with the ignorant and erring, for that he himself also is compassed with weakness; and who by reason thereof is bound, as for the people, so also for himself to offer for sins. At the root of the priestly office there is to be the sense of perfect oneness in weakness and need of help. In priestly action this is to manifest itself in sacrificing, as for the people, so for himself. And all this, that the priestly spirit may ever be kept alive for the comfort and confidence of all the needy and weary, he must be one who can bear gently with the ignorant and erring.

Glory be to God for the wondrous picture of what our Lord Jesus is. A priest must be God's representative with men. But he cannot be this, without being himself a man himself encompassed with weaknesses, and so identified with and representing men with God. This was why Jesus was made a little lower than the angels. The high priest is to offer as for the people, so for himself. Offering for himself was to be the bond of union with the people. Even so our blessed Lord Jesus offered (Hebrews 5:7), prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, yea, in all that, offered Himself unto God. And all this, that He might win our hearts and confidence as one who can bear gently with the ignorant and erring. God has indeed done everything to assure us that, with such an High Priest, no ignorance or error need make us afraid of not finding the way to Him and His love. Jesus will care for us---He bears gently with the ignorant and erring.

Have we not, in our faith in the priesthood of Christ, been too much in the habit of looking more at His work than at His heart? Have we not too exclusively put the thought of our sins in the foreground, and not sufficiently realised that our weaknesses, our ignorance and errors--that for these too a special provision has been made in Him who was made like us, and Himself encompassed with weaknesses, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, who can bear gently with the ignorant and erring. Oh, let us take in and avail ourselves to the full of the wondrous message: Jesus could not ascend the throne as Priest, until He had first, in the school of personal experience, learnt to sympathise and to bear gently with the feeblest. And let our weakness and ignorance henceforth, instead of discouraging and keeping us back, be the motive and the plea which lead us to come boldly to Him for help, who and bear gently with the ignorant and erring. In the pursuit of holiness our ignorance is often our greatest source of failure. We cannot fully understand what is taught of the rest of God, and the power of faith, of dwelling within the veil or of Christ dwelling in our heart. Things appear too high for us, utterly beyond our reach. If we but knew to trust Jesus, not only as He who made propitiation for our sins, but as one who has been specially chosen and trained and prepared, and then elevated to the throne of God, to be the Leader of the ignorant and erring, bearing gently with their every weakness! Let us this day afresh accept this Saviour, as God has here revealed Him to us, and rejoice that all our ignorance need not be a barrier in the way to God, because Jesus takes it into His care.

1. Oh the trouble God has taken to win our poor hearts to trust and confidence. Let us accept the revelation, and have our hearts so filled with the sympathy and gentleness of Jesus, that in every perplexity our first thought shall always be the certainty and the blessedness of His compassion and help.

2. How many souls there are who mourn over their sins, and do not think that they making their sins more and stronger by not going with all their ignorance and weakness boldly to Jesus.

3. Do learn the lesson: the whole priesthood of Jesus has but this one object, to lead thee boldly and joyfully to draw near to God, and live in fellowship with Him. With this view trust Jesus as definitely with thy ignorance and weakness as with thy sins.