Hebrews 5:1-4

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

2 He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness.

3 Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins.

4 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.

taken from among men (v.1) — they had human natures

appointed for men (v.1) — on behalf of men, in their interests

for sins (v.1) = concerning — the sacrifice of Christ was concerning sin, but it was offered on the behalf of sinners

compassion (v.2) = a measrued, balanced feeling — to moderate one’s feelings to avoid excesses of enthusiasm or impassivity — patience with other’s weakness without harshness or weepy sentiment — moderation, in contrast with “sympathize” in Hebrews 4:15, which refers to Christ as high priest

ignorant (v.2) — not innocent ignorance, but the lack of knowledge which could, and should, have been known

going astray (v.2) = wandering — departing from the will of God due to yielding to temptation

subject to (v.2) = lying around, surrounding, encircling

weakness (v.2) — the tendency to, and effects of sin

because of this (v.3) — consciousness of sin in others and in himself and an obligation to offer sacrifices for it

required (v.3) — obligation imposed — a moral obligation because of his appointment and his own sin

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 Levitical law as a means of educating the moral perception, also in order to show that sin an ddefilement might exist unsuspected, that God saw evil where men did not, and that His test of purity was stricter than theirs. — Hebrews in the Greek New Testament, by Kenneth S. Wuest, page 97

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