Hebrews 5

Listen to Hebrews 5
1 For every high priest chosen from among men 1is appointed to act on behalf of men 2in relation to God, 3to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
2 4He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself 5is beset with weakness.
3 Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins 6just as he does for those of the people.
4 And 7no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, 8just as Aaron was.
5 So also Christ 9did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, 10"You are my Son, today I have begotten you";
6 as he says also in another place, 11"You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek."
7 In the days of his flesh, 12Jesus[a] offered up prayers and supplications, 13with loud cries and tears, to him 14who was able to save him from death, and 15he was heard because of his reverence.
8 Although 16he was a son, 17he learned obedience through what he suffered.
9 And 18being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
10 being designated by God a high priest 19after the order of Melchizedek.

Warning Against Apostasy

11 About this we have much to say, and it is 20hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again 21the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need 22milk, not solid food,
13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is 23a child.
14 But solid food is for 24the mature, for those who have their powers 25of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

The office and duty of a high priest abundantly answered in Christ. (1-10) The Christian Hebrews reproved for their little progress in the knowledge of the gospel. (11-14)

Verses 1-10 The High Priest must be a man, a partaker of our nature. This shows that man had sinned. For God would not suffer sinful man to come to him alone. But every one is welcome to God, that comes to him by this High Priest; and as we value acceptance with God, and pardon, we must apply by faith to this our great High Priest Christ Jesus, who can intercede for those that are out of the way of truth, duty, and happiness; one who has tenderness to lead them back from the by-paths of error, sin, and misery. Those only can expect assistance from God, and acceptance with him, and his presence and blessing on them and their services, that are called of God. This is applied to Christ. In the days of his flesh, Christ made himself subject to death: he hungered: he was a tempted, suffering, dying Jesus. Christ set an example, not only to pray, but to be fervent in prayer. How many dry prayers, how few wetted with tears, do we offer up to God! He was strengthened to support the immense weight of suffering laid upon him. There is no real deliverance from death but to be carried through it. He was raised and exalted, and to him was given the power of saving all sinners to the uttermost, who come unto God through him. Christ has left us an example that we should learn humble obedience to the will of God, by all our afflictions. We need affliction, to teach us submission. His obedience in our nature encourages our attempts to obey, and for us to expect support and comfort under all the temptations and sufferings to which we are exposed. Being made perfect for this great work, he is become the Author of eternal salvation to all that obey him. But are we of that number?

Verses 11-14 Dull hearers make the preaching of the gospel difficult, and even those who have some faith may be dull hearers, and slow to believe. Much is looked for from those to whom much is given. To be unskilful, denotes want of experience in the things of the gospel. Christian experience is a spiritual sense, taste, or relish of the goodness, sweetness, and excellence of the truths of the gospel. And no tongue can express the satisfaction which the soul receives, from a sense of Divine goodness, grace, and love to it in Christ.

Cross References 25

  • 1. Hebrews 8:3
  • 2. Hebrews 2:17
  • 3. Hebrews 8:3, 4; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:11; Hebrews 11:4
  • 4. Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 4:15
  • 5. [Hebrews 7:28]
  • 6. Hebrews 7:27; Leviticus 9:7">Leviticus 9:7; Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 9:7">Leviticus 9:7; Leviticus 16:6
  • 7. Numbers 16:5, 40; Numbers 18:7; 2 Chronicles 26:18
  • 8. Exodus 28:1; 1 Chronicles 23:13
  • 9. John 8:54
  • 10. See Hebrews 1:5
  • 11. Hebrews 7:17, 21; Cited from Psalms 110:4
  • 12. Matthew 26:39, 44; Mark 14:36, 39; Luke 22:41, 44
  • 13. Psalms 22:1, 2; [Matthew 27:46, 50; Mark 15:34, 37; Luke 23:46]
  • 14. Mark 14:36
  • 15. Psalms 22:24
  • 16. See Hebrews 1:2
  • 17. Philippians 2:8
  • 18. See Hebrews 2:10
  • 19. ver. 6; Hebrews 6:20
  • 20. [2 Peter 3:16]
  • 21. Hebrews 6:1
  • 22. 1 Corinthians 3:2
  • 23. 1 Corinthians 3:1; [1 Peter 2:2]
  • 24. Ephesians 4:13
  • 25. Genesis 3:22; 1 Kings 3:9; Isaiah 7:15

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


The apostle having made mention of Christ as an high priest, in the preceding chapter, proceeds in this to give an account of an high priest, and applies the character of him to Christ; and shows that he is of another order of priesthood than that of Aaron, even of the order of Melchisedec; of whom he could say many things, but the Hebrews were dull of hearing them; which leads him to blame them for their rudeness, and non-proficience. The description of the high priest is taken from his relation to men, separation from them, and ordination for them; from his oblation of their gifts and sacrifices; from his sympathy with them, and from his call of God, Heb 5:1-4 all which are accommodated to Christ; as his vocation of God, Heb 5:5,6 confirmed by two testimonies out of Ps 2:7, 110:4 his being a man, and having infirmities, though sinless ones, and his sympathy with men, and compassion on them, Heb 5:7 his obedience and sufferings, and the oblation of himself, whereby he became the author of salvation to his people, which is the main thing in his priesthood, Heb 5:8,9 and which was not of the order of Aaron, though in some things there was an agreement with it, but of the order of Melchizedek, Heb 5:10 of whom the apostle could say many surprising things; but these Hebrews were dull of apprehension, and incapable of receiving them, Heb 5:11. And then he proceeds to blame them for their dulness, which he aggravates by the time they had been in the school of Christ, when it might have been expected they would have been teachers of others; by their being yet scholars, and of the lowest class, who had need to be taught the first rudiments of the Christian religion; yea, by their being as babes that stood in need of milk, and could not bear meat, Heb 5:12. And then follows a description both of babes, and of adult persons; such as are unskilful in the word of righteousness are babes, and use milk; but those who exercise their spiritual senses, to discern between good and bad doctrine, are adult, and can digest strong meat, Heb 5:13,14.

Hebrews 5 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.