32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:
33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;
34 for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.
35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
37 “ For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”
39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
recall (v.32) — habitually
The writer appeals to their faith in past afflictions to encourage the Jews to be faithful in their current afflictions.
spectacle (v.33) = lit. “to bring upon the stage” — exposed by shame or by shameful treatment. The Greek is theatrizo from which we get “theater.”
reproaches (v.33) = contemptuous defamation
tribulations (v.33) = pressure — what weighs down the spirit
companions (v.33) — they suffered from seeing others persecuted and from helping them (financially?)
me in my chains (v.34) — probably should be “them that were in bonds”
goods (v.34) = possessions — they lost their possessions
knowing (v.34) — from experience
in heaven (v.34) — not in the best manuscripts (perhaps added by a translator who was trying to make this apply to Christians and not just believing Jews)
confidence (v.35) = freedom in speaking, cheerful courage
patience (v.36) = lit. “to remain under” — so, remain under persecution and don’t seek to escape it by returning to Judaism.
receive (v.36) = receive and carry away for use and enjoyment
Verse 37 is a quote from Habakkuk 2:3 — He refers to Christ
He who is coming (v.37) = lit. “the Coming One” (Revelation 1:8)
a little while (v.37) = lit. “for yet a little — a very little — while”
draws back (v.38) — with the sense of a deliberate action
we (v.39) — emphatic
perdition (v.39) — not “loss of being” but “loss of well-being”
saving (v.39) = obtaining, gaining, possessing
Terrible sufferings are in store for those who find themselves in Daniel’s seventieth week, the time of Jacob’s trouble. Unable to buy or see (Revelation 13:17), these people endure a great flight of afflictions just as Christ had forewarned in Matthew chapters 24 and 25.
The Hebrew Tribulation epistle of James is replete with similar warnings (James 1:11; 2:5-6, 15-17; 5:1-3).
Their afflictions were so severe that one of their leaders was stoned to death (Acts 7:60), the twelve tribes were scattered (Acts 8:1) and there was little doubt but that the the times prophesied by Joel (Acts 2:16-17) were taking place. — M.A.D. about Hebrews, by Terence D. McLean, page 149.