The Berean Expositor
Volume 11 - Page 82 of 161
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#20.  (An interpretation of Heb. 2: 16,
submitted to the reader for prayerful consideration).
pp. 120 - 122
"For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels, but He took on Him the
seed of Abraham."
A.V. margin Gr. Reads:  "He taketh not hold of angels, but of the seed of
Abraham he taketh hold." The R.V. follows the A.V. margin.
A great mass of conflicting opinions will be found in commentaries upon this verse,
some seeking to prove that Christ did not assume angelic form, but human, some seeking
to prove that the passage means that He did not succour or assist angels, but men.
Parkhurst in his lexicon says:--
"The text therefore means that Christ, when He came to redeem us, did not assume a
glorious, awful and angelic appearance, but etc., etc."
This is promptly denied by his Editor who follows with a note:--
"There appears little ground for assigning this sense to epilambanomai. Ernesti says
that the ancient Greek church always interpreted the verb in this place to assist."
Moses Stuart disposes of the A.V. idea of the nature of angels by saying that both
usus loquendi and context is against this meaning:--
"For the apostle had just asserted above that Jesus took on Him a nature human, and it
would be a mere repetition."
Moses Stuart thinks it means "to aid". Dr. Owen proceeds by lengthy argument and
characteristic sub-division to prove the meaning to be "assumo, accipio, to take unto, or
to take upon", and that:--
"The apostle teacheth us by it, that the Lord Christ took to Him, and took on Him, our
human nature of the seed of Abraham."
The idea of "relieving" or "helping" is fitly expressed by antilambanomai (Luke 1: 54;
Acts 20: 35; I Tim. 6: 2), but the writer of Hebrews passes by this word. The reader is
probably no wiser by all this than before, and we have endeavoured to indicate the
exceedingly ambiguous results of past scholarship in elucidating this passage. The A.V.
margin and the R.V. indicate the first and last results of all this endeavour. We shall
therefore be justified in saying, that as there is no agreement among the learned
themselves, we must turn once more to the fountain head. One writer complains that the
other usages of the word "to take hold" do not help him; the reason seems that they do
not help his idea of what it means. Let us examine the word afresh, epilambanomai.
Matt. 14: 31.
"Stretched out His hand and caught him."
Mark 8: 23.
"He took the blind man by the hand."
Luke 9: 47.
"And Jesus . . . . . took a child."
Luke 14: 4.
"He took him, and healed him."