Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 2

The wine-press

Hebrews 2:5-8

In Hebrews chapter 1, the author has shown us that Jesus is God. Here in chapter 2, the author explains that Jesus became a man. He has always been God, but he became a man. This was necessary in order to save men, women and children from the power of the devil (Hebrews 2:14).

In order to prove this, the writer uses Psalm 8:4-6.

Psalm 8 has an unusual word in its ancient title. That word is GITTITH. Many Bibles do not translate that word. People are not sure whether they have the correct meaning. But we do know one meaning of the word. It means a wine-press.

One of the last tasks in Israelís agricultural year was to make juice from the fruit called grapes. People put the grapes into a large container called a wine-press. And then they marched on the grapes with their bare feet, so that the juice flowed!

It was hard work; but at the same time, it was also a very happy occasion. And something extraordinary happened to poor people as they carried out this work. It was as if they became kings and queens for a day.

Poor people could not often pause from their hard work. But after this task, they would all go to Jerusalem for a sacred holiday that lasted for 8 days! Sweet drinks were expensive before people began to manufacture sugar. But fresh grape juice was the sweetest drink that was available. And on this day, there was plenty, even for the poorest people! Beautiful smells filled the air in palaces. But on this day, the beautiful smell from the fruit was everywhere! Purple was the favourite colour of kings. Poor people could not afford purple clothes. But on this day, the grapes made their legs purple!

Psalm 8 says that God has appointed man (in other words, men and women) to rule the world. It refers to Genesis 1:26 Ė God has given authority to man over the birds, fishes, and animals. And Psalm 8 expresses the opinion that this is extraordinary. Man had a less important rank than the angels (Godís special servants). God has created things like the moon and the stars, which seem much more wonderful than man. But God cares so much about man that he has given authority to man.

The author of Hebrews says that this cannot mean the present world. Men and women are more like slaves than rulers now (Hebrews 2:15)! But God will create a new earth (Revelation 21:1). And then the hopes of the people who worked in the wine-press will become reality.

As they worked there, perhaps they would remember Godís promise to bring an end of their troubles (Genesis 3:15). God would defeat their enemies. He would even defeat the last enemy, death (Hebrews 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15:25-27). The Bible uses this word-picture in Isaiah 63:1-6 and Revelation 14:19-20.

In the end, as we shall see, the Ďmaní in Psalm 8 really means Jesus. But God has promised that his people will share his authority (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 3:21). So even the poorest and most humble men and women will receive the new earth as their permanent possession (Matthew 5:5; Luke 6:20).

Next part: The perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 2:9)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.