The Meaning of Hebrews 3:17 Explained

Hebrews 3:17

KJV: But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

YLT: but with whom was He grieved forty years? was it not with those who did sin, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?

Darby: And with whom was he wroth forty years? Was it not with those who had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

ASV: And with whom was he displeased forty years? was it not with them that sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?

KJV Reverse Interlinear

But  with whom  was he grieved  forty  years?  [was it] not  with them that had sinned,  whose  carcases  fell  in  the wilderness? 

What does Hebrews 3:17 Mean?

Study Notes

Sin, Summary: The literal meanings of the Heb. and (Greek - ἀλεκτοροφωνία sin," "sinner," etc)., disclose the true nature of sin in its manifold manifestations. Sin is transgression, an overstepping of the law, the divine boundary between good and evil Psalms 51:1 ; Luke 15:29 , iniquity, an act inherently wrong, whether expressly forbidden or not; error, a departure from right; Psalms 51:9 ; Romans 3:23 , missing the mark, a failure to meet the divine standard; trespass, the intrusion of self-will into the sphere of divine authority Ephesians 2:1 , lawlessness, or spiritual anarchy 1 Timothy 1:9 , unbelief, or an insult to the divine veracity John 16:9 .
Sin originated with Satan Isaiah 14:12-14 , entered the world through Adam Romans 5:12 , was, and is, universal, Christ alone excepted; Romans 3:23 ; 1 Peter 2:22 , incurs the penalties of spiritual and physical death; Genesis 2:17 ; Genesis 3:19 ; Ezekiel 18:4 ; Ezekiel 18:20 ; Romans 6:23 and has no remedy but in the sacrificial death of Christ; Hebrews 9:26 ; Acts 4:12 availed of by faith Acts 13:38 ; Acts 13:39 . Sin may be summarized as threefold: An act, the violation of, or want of obedience to the revealed will of God; a state, absence of righteousness; a nature, enmity toward God.

Context Summary

Hebrews 3:12-19 - "harden Not Your Hearts"
There is a peril lest familiarity with God's words should beget indifference to them. The path may be trodden hard by the sower's feet. That story of the Wilderness wanderings is for all time. Still men disbelieve and disobey; still they doubt that God is able; still they err in their hearts and therefore fail to understand with their heads; still they wander to and fro, with weary souls and restless feet. But if they who failed to believe in words given by Moses were wrapped around by the winding sheets of sand, what will not be the fate of those who refuse the words of Christ!
How wonderful it is that by just trusting we may be partners with our Lord of His rest, life, glory and resources, Hebrews 3:14! But we must listen to the inner voice, soft and low speaking in the Horeb of our hearts, 1 Kings 19:12. Obey it, and you will enter into the rest of God; refuse it, and you will be as certainly excluded from the divine rest as they from Canaan. [source]

Chapter Summary: Hebrews 3

1  Christ is more worthy than Moses;
7  therefore if we believe not in him, we shall be more worthy punishment than hardhearted Israel

Greek Commentary for Hebrews 3:17

With them that sinned [τοις αμαρτησασιν]
Dative masculine plural after προσωχτισεν — prosōchthisen (cf. Hebrews 3:10) of the articular first aorist active participle of αμαρτανω — hamartanō Carcases Old word for members of the body like the feet, in lxx a dead body (Num 14:29), here only in N.T. [source]
d The interrogation still continued. “With whom was he displeased forty years? Was it not with them?” etc. [source]
Carcasses [τὰ κῶλα]
N.T.olxx for פֶּֽגֶר, a corpse. Κῶλον properly a limb. The idea of dismemberment underlies the use of the word. Comp. Numbers 14:29(lxx), and 1 Corinthians 10:5, of the rebellious Israelites, who κατεστρώθησαν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ werestrewn down along in the wilderness. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Hebrews 3:17

Hebrews 3:10 Wherefore I was grieved [διὸ προσώχθισα]
The Hebrew omits wherefore. It was inserted because of the transfer of forty years to the preceding clause. The verb προσώχθισα Iwas grieved, only here and Hebrews 3:17. In lxx for קוֹא, to spue out; גָּעַל, to exclude, reject, abhor; מָאַֽם, to repudiate. [source]
Hebrews 1:5 To which [τίνι]
Note the author's characteristic use of the question to express denial. Comp. Hebrews 1:14; Hebrews 2:3; Hebrews 3:17; Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 12:7. First quotation from Psalm 2:7. The Psalm is addressed as a congratulatory ode to a king of Judah, declaring his coming triumph over the surrounding nations, and calling on them to render homage to the God of Israel. The king is called Son of Jahveh, and is said to be “begotten” on the day on which he is publicly recognized as king. Words of the same Psalm are quoted Acts 4:25, and these words Acts 13:33. [source]
Hebrews 3:10 And saw [και ειδον]
“And yet saw.” Wherefore Not in the lxx, but it makes clear the argument in the Psalm. I was displeased First aorist active of προσοχτιζω — prosochthizō late compound for extreme anger and disgust. In N.T. only here and Hebrews 3:17. Err Present middle indicative of πλαναω — planaō to wander astray, common verb. They did not know In spite of God‘s works (εργα — erga) and loving patience the Israelites failed to understand God‘s ways with them. Are we any better? They “cared not to take my road” (Moffatt). [source]
Hebrews 3:16 Who [Τινες]
Clearly interrogative, not indefinite (some). Did provoke First aorist active indicative of παραπικρινω — parapikrinō apparently coined by the lxx like παραπικρασμος — parapikrasmos (Hebrews 3:15) to which it points, exasperating the anger of God. Nay, did not all “A favourite device of the diatribe style” (Moffatt), answering one rhetorical question with another (Luke 17:8) as in Hebrews 3:17, Hebrews 3:18, There was a faithful minority mentioned by Paul (1 Corinthians 10:7.). [source]

What do the individual words in Hebrews 3:17 mean?

With whom now was He indignant forty years [if] not with those having sinned whose - bodies fell in the wilderness
τίσιν δὲ προσώχθισεν τεσσεράκοντα ἔτη οὐχὶ τοῖς ἁμαρτήσασιν ὧν τὰ κῶλα ἔπεσεν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ

τίσιν  With  whom 
Parse: Interrogative / Indefinite Pronoun, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: τίς  
Sense: who, which, what.
δὲ  now 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
προσώχθισεν  was  He  indignant 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: προσοχθίζω  
Sense: to be wroth or displeased with.
τεσσεράκοντα  forty 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: τεσσαράκοντα 
Sense: forty.
ἔτη  years 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: ἔτος  
Sense: year.
οὐχὶ  [if]  not 
Parse: IntPrtcl
Root: οὐχί  
Sense: not, by no means, not at all.
τοῖς  with  those 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Plural
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἁμαρτήσασιν  having  sinned 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: ἁμαρτάνω  
Sense: to be without a share in.
ὧν  whose 
Parse: Personal / Relative Pronoun, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ὅς 
Sense: who, which, what, that.
τὰ  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Neuter Plural
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
κῶλα  bodies 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: κῶλον  
Sense: a member of a body, particularly the more external and prominent members esp.
ἔπεσεν  fell 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: πίπτω 
Sense: to descend from a higher place to a lower.
ἐρήμῳ  wilderness 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: ἔρημος  
Sense: solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabited.