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Hebrews 4:8 Commentary

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Adam Clarke Commentary

For if Jesus had given them rest - It is truly surprising that our translators should have rendered the Ιησους of the text Jesus, and not Joshua, who is most clearly intended. They must have known that the יהושע Yehoshua of the Hebrew, which we write Joshua, is everywhere rendered Ιησους, Jesus, by the Septuagint; and it is their reading which the apostle follows. It is true the Septuagint generally write Ιησους Ναυη, or Υἱος Ναυη, Jesus Nave, or Jesus, son of Nave, for it is thus they translate נון בן יהושע Yehoshua ben Nun, Joshua the son of Nun; and this is sufficient to distinguish it from Jesus, son of David. But as Joshua, the captain general of Israel, is above intended, the word should have been written Joshua, and not Jesus. One MS., merely to prevent the wrong application of the name, has Ιησους ὁ του Ναυη, Jesus the son of Nave. Theodoret has the same in his comment, and one Syriac version has it in the text. It is Joshua in Coverdale's Testament, 1535; in Tindal's 1548; in that edited by Edmund Becke, 1549; in Richard Cardmarden's, Rouen, 1565; several modern translators, Wesley, Macknight, Wakefield, etc., read Joshua, as does our own in the margin. What a pity it had not been in the text, as all the smaller Bibles have no marginal readings, and many simple people are bewildered with the expression.

The apostle shows that, although Joshua did bring the children of Israel into the promised land, yet this could not be the intended rest, because long after this time the Holy Spirit, by David, speaks of this rest; the apostle, therefore, concludes,

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Clarke, Adam. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “The Adam Clarke Commentary”. https: 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For if Jesus - Margin, “That is, Joshua.” The Syriac renders it, “Joshua the son of Nun.” “Jesus” is the Greek mode of writing “Joshua,” and there can be no doubt that Joshua is here intended. The object is to prove that Joshua did” not” give the people of God such a rest as to make it improper to speak of a “rest” after that time. “If Joshua had given them a complete and final rest; if by his conducting them to the promised land all had been done which had been contemplated by the promise, then it would not have been alluded to again, as it was in the time of David.” Joshua “did” give them a rest in the promised land; but it was not all which was intended, and it did not exclude the promise of another and more important rest.

Then would he not - Then “God” would not have spoken of another time when that rest could be obtained. The “other day” here referred to is that which is mentioned before by the phrase “today,” and refers to the time in which it is spoken of long after Joshua, to wit, in the time of David.

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Barnes, Albert. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Barnes' Notes on the New Testament”. https: 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Hebrews 4:8
If Jesus [Joshua] had given them rest

Disparity between Joshua and Jesus

1. The first is in this difference, that Joshua conquered Canaan not only for the people of Israel, but also for himself, that he might have his part and portion with them for him and his posterity (Joshua 19:49-50). But our Lord Jesus hath purchased that heavenly Canaan only for our sakes, having had the possession of it before His incarnation Himself by the right of inheritance. He had a glory with God before the world was (John 17:5).

2. The second difference is, Joshua did not conquer Canaan by himself alone, but had all the tribes of Israel to assist as his auxiliaries in his conquest; but our Lord Jesus hath by Himself alone purchased that heavenly inheritance. He saith, “I have trodden the winepress alone, and none were with Me” (Isaiah 63:3).

3. The third disparity is, the conquest of Canaan did not cost Joshua bloodshed or death; but our eternal inheritance cost Christ both His bloodshed and death (Hebrews 9:26; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

4. The fourth is, Joshua could not quite expel the Canaanites out of Canaan Joshua 15:63; Joshua 16:10, dec.). But our blessed Jesus hath perfectly subdued Satan, sin, and death to us, that nothing shall eternally harm us John 16:33; 1 John 5:4 : Revelation 12:11). (C. Ness.)


We are told in a certain legend that one day Rabbi Judah and his brethren, the seven pillars of wisdom, sat in the Temple on a feast day, disputing about rest. One said that it was to have attained sufficient wealth, yet without sin. The second, that it was fame and praise of all men. The third, that it was the possession of power to rule the state. The fourth, that it consisted only in a happy home. The fifth, that it must be in the old age of one who is rich, powerful, famous, surrounded by children’s children. The sixth said that all that were vain, unless a man kept all the ritual law of Moses. And Rabbi Judah, the venerable, the tallest of the brothers, said, “Ye have all spoken wisely, but one thing more is necessary: he can only find rest who to all these things addeth this, that he keepeth the tradition of the elders.” There sat in the court a fair-haired boy, playing with his lilies in his lap, and hearing the talk, dropped them with astonishment from his hands and looked up–that boy of twelve, and said, “Nay, nay, fathers, he only loveth rest who loves his brother as himself, and God with his whole heart and soul! He is greater than wealth and fame and power, happier than a happy home, happy without it, better than honoured age, he is a law to himself, and above all tradition.” The doctors were astonished. They said, When Christ cometh, shall He tell us greater things? And they thanked God; for, they said, old men are not always wise; yet God be praised, that out of the mouth of this young suckling has His praise become perfect. (T. Parker.)

Wanting rest

There is a rebelliousness against himself in man–a disgust with himself. “We are weary: give us rest,” said a tribe to one of their missionaries; and that tribe expresses the feeling of every human being.

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Exell, Joseph S. “Commentary on “Hebrews 4:8”. The Biblical Illustrator. https: 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken of another day.

This means that if Joshua had given the people the rest spoken of here, in that he led them into Canaan, then David would not have held it up as something yet unattained such a long time after that. The words “Jesus” and “Joshua” are one word, just as the names “Juan” and “John” are the same; and this clears up the translation of this name as “Jesus” in the KJV in this verse. However, it is plain enough that not our Lord, but the ancient Hebrew captain who succeeded Moses and led the children of Israel into Canaan, is the person meant by the author of Hebrews in this verse. The English Revised Version (1885) is therefore correct. Joshua, due to his name, and the fact that he led Israel into the promised land, is viewed as one of the lesser types of the Master. However, there are more contrasts than similarities between them, as witness the following: (1) Joshua in the conquest of Canaan benefited himself and his posterity (Joshua 18:49,50): Christ's ministry benefited not himself but his followers only. The rest that Jesus made available to his disciples was already his own. (2) Joshua did not ALONE conquer Canaan but was aided extensively by all the Israelites; Christ trod the winepress alone (Isaiah 63:3). (3) The conquest of Canaan did not cost Joshua either wounds or death; but Jesus won the eternal land of promise at the cost of suffering and death (1 Peter 1:18,19). (4) Joshua could not totally expel the old inhabitants of Canaan; but the victory of Christ was complete over death, sin, Satan and the grave.

James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.


Coffman, James Burton. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament”. https: Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For if Jesus had given them rest,…. That is, Joshua; for Hosheah, Joshua, and Jesus, are one and the same name; or Jesus himself, as two of Stephens's copies read; and so Joshua is called Jesus by the Septuagint interpreters on Exodus 17:10 and other places where he is mentioned; and also, by JosephusF8, and PhiloF9 the Jew. The Syriac version, lest any should mistake this for Jesus Christ, adds, “the son of Nun”: who is certainly the person designed, as the apostle's reasoning shows; who was an eminent type of Jesus Christ: there is an agreement in their names, both signify a saviour, Joshua was a temporal saviour, Christ a spiritual one; and in their office they were both servants; and in their qualifications for their office, such as wisdom, courage, faithfulness, and integrity. Joshua was a type of Christ in many actions of his life; in the miracles he wrought, or were wrought for him; in the battles he fought, and the victories he obtained; in saving Rahab and her family; in receiving the Gibeonites, who came submissively to him; and in leading the children of Israel into Canaan's land, which he divided to them by lot: but though he brought them into a land of rest, into the typical rest, where they had rest for a while from their temporal enemies, yet he did not give them the true spiritual rest: had he,

then would he not afterward have spoken of another day; that is, God, in David's time, and by him, would not have so long after appointed another day of rest; meaning, not any particular day of the week, but the whole Gospel dispensation, in the times of the Messiah; wherefore the apostle concludes as follows.

The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario. A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855


Gill, John. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible”. https: 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For if [b]Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

(b) He speaks of Joshua the son of Nun: and as the land of Canaan was a figure of our true rest, so was Joshua a figure of Christ.

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Beza, Theodore. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “The 1599 Geneva Study Bible”. https: 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Answer to the objection which might be made to his reasoning, namely, that those brought into Canaan by Joshua (so “Jesus” here means, as in Acts 7:45) did enter the rest of God. If the rest of God meant Canaan, God would not after their entrance into that land, have spoken (or speak [Alford]) of another (future) day of entering the rest.

These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship. This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.


Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible”. https: 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Joshua (Ιησους — Iēsous). The Greek form is Jesus. Condition of the second class (determined as unfulfilled) with ει — ei and aorist indicative in the condition and αν — an with the imperfect in the conclusion. He would not have spoken (ουκ ελαλει — ouk elalei). Wrong translation, “he would not speak” (be speaking), in the passage in David. Imperfect tense, not aorist.

The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright � Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)


Robertson, A.T. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament”. https: Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

d. But it might be said that under Joshua the people did enter into the promised rest. He therefore shows that Israel's rest in Canaan did not fulfill the divine ideal of the rest.

Jesus ( Ἰησοῦς )

Rend. Joshua, and see on Matthew 1:21.

After this ( μετὰ ταῦτα )

After the entrance into Canaan under Joshua.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament”. https: Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes (Wesley Study Bible)

The rest - All the rest which God had promised.

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Wesley, John. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible”. https: 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Jesus; Joshua, who led the children of Israel into the land of Canaan.–Then would he not; that is, the Holy Spirit, speaking in David, as it is expressed above.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Abbott's Illustrated New Testament”. https: 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

8. For if Jesus had given them rest, or, had obtained rest for them, etc. He meant not to deny but that David understood by rest the land of Canaan, into which Joshua conducted the people; but he denies this to be the final rest to which the faithful aspire, and which we have also in common with the faithful of that age; for it is certain that they looked higher than to that land; nay, the land of Canaan was not otherwise so much valued except for this reason, because it was an image and a symbol of the spiritual inheritance. When, therefore, they obtained possession of it, they ought not to have rested as though they had attained to the summit of their wishes, but on the contrary to meditate on what was spiritual as by it suggested. They to whom David addressed the Psalm were in possession of that land, but they were reminded of the duty of seeking a better rest.

We then see how the land of Canaan was a rest; it was indeed but evanescent, beyond which it was the duty of the faithful to advance. In this sense the Apostle denies that that rest was given by Joshua; for the people under his guidance entered the promised land for this end, that they might with greater alacrity advance forward towards heaven.

And we may hence easily learn the difference between us and them; for though the same end is designed for both, yet they had, as added to them, external types to guide them; not so have we, nor have we indeed any need of them, for the naked truth itself is set before our eyes. Though our salvation is as yet in hope, yet as to the truth, it leads directly to heaven; nor does Christ extend his hand to us, that he may conduct us by the circuitous course of types and figures, but that he may withdraw us from the world and raise us up to heaven. Now that the Apostle separates the shadow from the substance, he did so for this reason, — because he had to do with the Jews, who were too much attached to external things.

He draws the conclusion, that there is a sabbathizing reserved for Gods people, that is, a spiritual rest; to which God daily invites us.

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Calvin, John. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Calvin's Commentary on the Bible”. https: 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

Ver. 8. For if Jesus, &c.] That is, Joshua, who bad his name changed when he was sent as a spy into Canaan, Numbers 13:16, from Oshea to Joshua, from Let God save, to God shall save. Under the law (which brings us, as it were, into a briery wilderness) we may desire, wish, and pray, that there were a Saviour, but under the gospel we are sure of salvation. Our Jesus is Jehovah our Righteousness.

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Trapp, John. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Hebrews 4:8. Justification of the πάλιν τινὰ ὁρίζει ἡμέραν, Hebrews 4:7. If Joshua had already introduced into the rest of God, God would not still have spoken in the time after Joshua of a term (period) of entrance into the same.

αὐτούς] sc. τοὺς πρότερον εὐαγγελισθέντας, Hebrews 4:6.

καταπαύειν] here (in accordance with the classic usage) transitive, as Exodus 33:14, Deuteronomy 3:20; Deuteronomy 5:33, al.: to lead into the rest.

ἐλάλει] sc. ὁ θεός.

μετὰ ταῦτα] belongs not to ἄλλης ἡμέρας (Hofmann, al.), but to ἐλάλει, and corresponds to the μετὰ τοσοῦτον χρόνον, Hebrews 4:7.

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Meyer, Heinrich. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https: 1832.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

8.] Confirmation of the above, as against an exception that might be taken, that notwithstanding the exclusion of many by unbelief, those who entered the promised land with Joshua did enter into that rest of God. For if Joshua ( ἰησοῦς is the constant Greek form of the name יְהוֹשׁוּעַ, or as in the later books, Chron., Ezra, and Nehemiah, יֵשׁוּעַ . It does not appear that any parallel between the typical and the great final Deliverer is intended: but it could hardly fail to be suggested to the readers. Our translators, in retaining the word “Jesus” here, have introduced into the mind of the ordinary English reader utter confusion. It was done in violation of their instructions, which prescribed that all proper names should be rendered as they were commonly used) had given them rest (led them into this rest of which we are treating: for the usage of καταπαύω, see above, on Hebrews 4:4; and compare reff.), He (God: the subject of ὁρίζει and λέγων above) would not speak (not “have spoken,” as E. V. Compare Thuc. iii. 55, εἰ δʼ ἀποστῆναι ἀθηναίων οὐκ ἠθελήσαμεν (if we had not consented &c.) ὑμῶν κελευσάντων, οὐκ ἠδικοῦμεν (we should be doing no wrong),—and John 15:24, εἰ τὰ ἔργα μὴ ἐποίησα ἐν αὐτοῖς, ἃ οὐδεὶς ἄλλος ἐποίησεν, ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ εἴχοσαν, “If I had not done &c.,—they would not have sin”) after this of another day.

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Alford, Henry. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https: 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Hebrews 4:8. ἰησοῦς) Joshua.— οὐκ ἂν) There is a similar mode of reasoning, ch. Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 8:4; Hebrews 8:7, Hebrews 11:15.— περὶ ἄλλης ἡμέρας, of another day) By observing which an access would be opened also to another rest.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https: 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

This is the improvement of the former instance, Hebrews 4:7. If Joshua, by bringing Israel into Canaan, had given rest to all believers, then God would not by David have spoken of another day and state of rest to come. Joshua was a type of Jesus bringing believers into the true rest of the heavenly Canaan, as he did Israel into a literal one, Acts 7:45.

For if Jesus had given them rest; if that of Canaan was the full and perfect rest of believers, which was given them by him.

Then would he not afterward have spoken of another day; then God himself would not have spoken by David of a better and heavenly rest promised believers in the gospel; of which spiritual and eternal one, both God’s seventh-day sabbath, and the rest of Canaan, were but fainter shadows and types. The expostulation is vehemently denying it.

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Poole, Matthew, “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Jesus; Joshua; Jesus being the same in Greek as Joshua in Hebrew, meaning Saviour.

Afterward; in the days of David.

Another day; or time when the rest spoken of could, by believing, be obtained.

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Edwards, Justin. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Family Bible New Testament”. https: American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

8. Ἰησοῦς, i.e. Joshua. The needless adoption of the Greek form of the name (“Jesus”) by the A.V. is here most unfortunately perplexing to uninstructed readers, as also in Acts 7:45.

κατέπαυσεν. He did, indeed, give them a rest and, in some sense (Deuteronomy 12:9), the rest partially and primarily intended (Joshua 23:1); but only a dim shadow of the true and final rest offered by Christ (Matthew 11:28; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Revelation 14:13).

οὐκ ἂν … ἐλάλει. “He would not have been speaking.” The “He” is here Jehovah. The phrases applied to Scripture by the writer always imply his sense of its living power and ideal continuity. The words are as though they had just been uttered (“He hath said,” Hebrews 4:4) or were still being uttered (as here, and throughout). There is a similar mode of argument in Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 8:4; Hebrews 8:7, Hebrews 11:15.

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“Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges”. https: 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

8. And what rest is this? It is plain that this is not the rest which Joshua won for the survivors of the desert; for if Joshua (Jesus is here the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, who is really here meant, see note on Matthew 1:1) had given it, this another day would not have been spoken of five hundred years later than Joshua. A permanent rest of faith for all the faithful, other than the literal Canaan rest, is, therefore, a valid conclusion, stated next verse.

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Whedon, Daniel. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Whedon's Commentary on the Bible”. https: 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The prospect of rest for the Israelites, specifically the possession of the Promised Land and full blessing in it, did not end when Joshua defeated the Canaanites. Each succeeding generation had to continue to trust and obey God to assure its own rest in the land.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable”. https: 2012.

Hebrews 4:8. Clearly, therefore, the Psalm speaks of a Divine rest into which men are bidden to enter, different from the rest of Canaan, and long subsequent to it.

For if Joshua (here and in Acts 7:45, Jesus, the Greek form of Joshua, quite misleads) had given them rest—had led them into the rest of which we are speaking—He (i.e God, who further defines ‘the day’ in David, and describes the rest as still unentered) would not have gone on speaking after that of another day (or of another day after that, i.e still future).

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Schaff, Philip. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament”. https: 1879-90.

John Owen Exposition of Hebrews (Long!)

In this verse the apostle gives a further confirmation unto his argument by a particular application of it unto the especial matter in hand. Herewithal he removeth or preventeth an objection that might probably be raised against one part of his discourse. And the preventing of such objections as whereunto what we affirm and teach is at first view liable, is as needful as the raising of objections which possibly would never come to the minds of our hearers or readers is needless and foolish.

εἰ γάρ, “for if;” αὐτούς, that is, the people of old, those of whom he hath treated, particularly the new generation that entered Canaan.

κατέπαυσεν. The apostle in this chapter useth this word both in a neutral and active signification. Hebrews 4:4, κατέπαυσεν ὁ θεός, “God rested;” here, “caused them to rest,” “given them rest.” Beza, “in requiem collocasset;” Arias, “requiem praestitisset.” The word properly, and usually in other authors, signifies “finem imponere,” “cessare facere;” “to put an end,” or “to make to cease,” as rest puts an end to labor. So the word is used, Hebrews 4:10, κατέπαυσεν ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων, “Hath ceased from his works.” ᾿ιησοῦς, “Jesus,” — that is, Joshua; and by so calling him, the apostle also declares what was the true Hebrew name of Jesus Christ, which the Greeks express by “Jesus.” His name was originally הוֹשֵׁעַ, “Hoshea;” the same with that of Hosea the prophet, Hosea 1:1. Then when he went to espy out the land his name was changed by Moses into יְהוֹשֻׁעַ “Jehoshuah,” Numbers 13:16. It is true, in the writing over the story of those times he is called Jehoshua before, as Exodus 17:9; but it is most probable that Moses now, by divine direction, changed his name, when he went to view that land whither he was to conduct the people, and writing the story of these things afterwards, he used the name whereby he was then called. Some of those who had most imbibed the Chaldee dialect or tongue during the captivity changed this name into יֵשׁוּעַ, “Jeshua,” Ezra 2:2, Nehemiah 3:19; though the prophets Haggai and Zechariah retain the name of Jehoshua, Haggai 1:1; Haggai 2:2; Haggai 2:4, Zechariah 3:1. Now all these names are from the same root, and of the same signification. From הוֹשִׁיעַin Hiphil (for in Kal the verb is not found), is יֵשֵׁע, “Jesha,” “salus,” — ”health,” “help,” “salvation.” Thence are הוֹשֶׁעַ, “Hoshea;” יְחוֹשֻׁעַ, “Jehoshua;” and יֵשׁוּעַ, “Jeshua;” — “that is, σωτήρ, “salvator,” “sospitator,” “liberator;” though Cicero affirms that the Greek word cannot be expressed by any one proper Latin word. “Salvator” is coined for that purpose, — “a savior.” Now, as persons on great occasions had their names as to their signification wholly changed, as when in the Old Testament Jacob was called Israel, and Solomon, Jedidiah; and in the New Testament Simon was called Peter, and Saul was called Paul; and divers had double names occasionally given them, as Esther and Hadassah, Daniel and Belteshazzar: so God was pleased sometimes to change one letter in a name (not without a mystical signification): so the name of Abram was changed into Abraham, by the interposition of one letter of the name of God; and that of Sarai into Sarah, by an addition of the same, Genesis 17:5; Genesis 17:15 : so here the name of Hoshea is changed into Jehoshua, by the addition of one of the letters of the name of God, increasing the signification; and this name was given him as he was a type of Christ, and the typical savior or deliverer of the people.

The name of יֵשׁוּעַ, “Jeshua,” from the Chaldee dialect, prevailed at length in common use, being of the same signification with the other, namely, “a savior,” “one that sayeth.” Hence, when they came to converse with the Greeks, came the name of ᾿ιησοῦς, or “Jesus.” For the Greeks called Hoshea, Ausis, and Nun his father, Naue, greatly corrupting the original names. But Hoshea and Jehoshua and Jeshua they called Jesus. In יֵשׁוּעַ, “Jeshua,” they rejected the guttural ע as not knowing its right pronunciation, whereon יֵשׁוּ, “Jesu,” remained; and then in their accustomed way they added the terminative sigma, and so framed ᾿ιησοῦς, — as of מָשִּׂיחַ, “Messiach,” by the rejection of ח and the supplement of ς, they made ΄εσσίας, “Messias.” Hence the name Jeshua being in common use for and of the same signification with Jehoshua, and that in the Greek pronunciation being turned into Jesus, that was the name whereby the Lord Christ was called: Matthew 1:21, καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ᾿ιησοῦν αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν·— “Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins.” It is plain that the reason of the name is taken from its signification of saving, — “he shall save,” be their savior; so that all the attempts that some have made to derive it from other words are vain and frivolous. And so also are theirs who would deduce the Greek name ᾿ιησοῦς from ἰάω, ἰάσω, “to heal:” for ᾿ιησοῦς is of no signification at all in the Greek tongue, it being only their man. ner of pronunciation of יֵשׁוּעַ, “Jeshua,” which is “a savior;” which name was given to the Lord Christ because of the work he had to do. So also was it to this Jesus the son of Nun. The wickedness of the perfidious Jews in writing his name יֵשׁוּ, and the horrible abuse they make thereof, are known to the learned, and there is no need to acquaint others with them.

οὐκ ἃν περὶ ἄλλης ἡμέρας, “concerning another day.” The apostle having described the rest he discourseth of by the especial day of rest that was in the several estates of the church peculiarly to be observed, now by a synecdoche expresseth the whole rest itself and all the concernments of it by the name of a “day.”

᾿ελάλει, “he would not have spoken;” that is, either God absolutely, or the Holy Ghost, whose immediate work the inspiration of the psalmist was, whose words these are.

΄ετὰ ταῦτα, “after these things;” the things which befell the people in the wilderness, and what they afterwards attained under the conduct of Joshua.

Hebrews 4:8. — For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not after these things have spoken concerning another day.

The confirmation of his principal assertion from the words of David, concerning the rest prepared and proposed in the gospel unto believers, is that which our apostle still insists on, as was declared. Hereon was his whole exhortation of the Hebrews founded, and hereinto was it resolved. And on the same truth depended all the reasonings and motives whereby he enforced his exhortation. This, therefore, was fully to be established and clearly vindicated. And that which, last of all, remained to his purpose was the removal of an objection which, among the Jews, it was evidently liable and obnoxious unto. And this he doth by the due stating of the time when those words were spoken which he had pleaded in evidence of his assertion. The objection laid down by way of anticipation is plain in the words; and it is this: ‘Although the people which came out of Egypt entered not into the rest of God that was promised, by reason of their unbelief and disobedience, as you have proved, yet the next generation, under the conduct of Joshua, went into and enjoyed the rest which they were excluded from. This, therefore, was the rest intended; which we being in the enjoyment of, what ground have you to propose another rest unto us?’This is the force of the objection. And two things are comprised in the apostle’s answer unto it: — First, A denial of the supposition on which the objection is founded. This is done virtually in the manner of the proposal of the objection itself: “For if Jesus had given them rest;” — that is, whatever be pretended and pleaded, he did not do so; that is, not that full and ultimate rest which in all these things God aimed at. Secondly, He gives the reason of this his denial; which is this, that five hundred years after, God in David, and by him, proposeth another rest, or another day of rest, and invites the people unto an entrance, after they were so long fully possessed of all that Joshua conducted them into; and whereas there was no new rest for the people to enter into in the days of David, and the psalm wherein these words are recorded is acknowledged to be prophetical of the days of the Messiah, it unavoidably follows that there is yet a rest and a day of rest remaining for the people of God, which he lays down as his conclusion in the verse ensuing.

This interpretation of the words perfectly satisfieth the argument in hand; but yet I judge there is more in them than a mere answer unto the objection mentioned, though expositors look no farther. And this is, that the apostle also designs to teach the Hebrews that all those things which were spoken about the rest of God in the land of Canaan, and in Mosaical institutions, had not the reality or substance of the things themselves in them, Hebrews 10:1; so that absolutely neither did God rest nor were the people to look for rest in them. They had no other end nor use, but only to teach them to look out after and to prepare for that rest which was promised from of old; so that Joshua did not give them real rest, but only that which was a typical instruction for that season in what was to come. And therefore in David the same matter is carried still on, and direction is still given to look out after the rest to come. And we may learn hence, principally, that, —

Obs. 1. There is no true rest for the souls of men but only in Jesus Christ by the gospel.

Notwithstanding all that was done to and for the Israelites by Joshua, yet he gave them not rest, he brought them not into the full and complete rest of God; “God having provided some better things for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” And the reasons hereof are: —

First, because God himself resteth not in any thing else, and in his rest alone it is that we can find rest. It is in vain for us to seek for rest in that wherein God resteth not. We have seen that at the beginning, when he had created man, he entered into his rest, in that satisfaction which he took in the effects of his own power, wisdom, and goodness, Exodus 31:17. He provided likewise rest in himself for man, and gave him a day as a pledge of his entrance into it, Genesis 2:2. In this condition trouble and disquietment entered into the whole creation, by the sin and apostasy of Adam. God no more rested in the works of his hands, but cursed the earth, Genesis 3:17-18, made the whole creation subject to vanity, Romans 8:20, and revealed his wrath from heaven against the ungodliness of men, Romans 1:18. And hereof he hath in all ages since given signal instances; as in the flood of waters wherewith he drowned the old world, and the fire from heaven wherewith he consumed Sodom and Gomorrah. And of the same kind are those severe judgments by pestilences, famines, earthquakes, inundations, eruptions of subterraneous vapours, conflagrations, and the like; all testifying the indignation of God against the works of his own hands, because of the sin of man, to whom he had given them for a possession, and put them in subjection. For God had decreed from eternity to permit a disturbance by sin in the first order of things, that he might gather all things unto a head, with durable rest and peace, in Jesus Christ, Isaiah 42:1; Ephesians 1:10. Man hath also utterly lost his rest in that first rest of God; and though he several ways seeks after it, yet, like the unclean spirit cast out of his habitation, he can find none. Some seek it in the world, the pleasures and profits of it; some in the satisfaction of their sensual lusts; some in themselves, their own goodness and righteousness; some in superstition and vain ways of religious worship, invented by themselves, — some of them horrid and dreadful, Micah 6:6-7 : all in vain. Man hath lost his rest by falling off from God; and nothing will afford him the least quietness but what brings him to him again, which none of these ways will do. It is in and by Christ alone that our lost rest may be recovered. For, —

Secondly, Other things will not give rest to the souls of men. A higher instance hereof we cannot have than in these Israelites. They had been for sundry ages in bondage unto cruel oppressors, who ruled over them with unparalleled severity and rage. Such, besides their hard and continual labor in the furnace, was that of their having their tender infants, the comfort of their lives and hope of the continuance of their name and race on the earth, taken from the womb and cruelly murdered. This they were now delivered from, and all their enemies subdued under them, until they set their feet upon the necks of kings. Who would not now think that this would give them rest? And so it did, outward rest and peace, until it was said that God gave them “rest on every hand.” And many yet in the like condition of bondage with themselves, shut up in the hands of hard and cruel rulers, are apt to think that a deliverance from that condition would give them perfect rest and satisfaction. But yet the Holy Ghost tells us that this did not give them rest; not that rest wherein they might ultimately acquiesce. Besides, whereas neither they nor their forefathers, for four hundred and thirty years, had ever had either house, or land, or possession, but wandered up and down in those places wherein they were strangers, and had not one loot’s breadth that they might call their own, but only a cave or two to bury them in when they were dead, they had now a whole plentiful country given unto them to inhabit and possess, a fruitful country, “a land flowing with milk and honey;” and therein cities which they had not walled, houses which they had not built, vineyards which they did not plant, with all sorts of riches and substance unspeakable. This might add unto their former satisfaction, especially being suddenly given, and flowing in upon them. And where there is wealth in abundance, and absolute liberty, what can be desired more, to give men rest? But yet it did not so. Yet further; whereas before they lived in a loose, scattered condition, without law or rule of their own, or amongst them, God had now gathered them into a firm, well- compacted political body, and given them a great and righteous law for the rule and instrument of their government, which all nations did admire, Deuteronomy 4:5-6. This, as it gave them glory and honor in the world, so it was a means of securing that wealth and liberty which they enjoyed. And where these three things are, there a people may be supposed to be at perfect rest; for liberty, wealth, and rule make up a state of rest in this world. But it was not so with them. Joshua gave them not rest. More than all this; God had established his glorious worship amongst them, intrusted them with his oracles and ordinances, and that whole system of religious honor which he would then accept in the world, Romans 9:4, All these things, with other mercies innumerable, they were made partakers of by and under the conduct of Joshua. And yet it is here plainly affirmed and proved that he did not give them rest; that is, the ultimate and chiefest rest which God had provided for his church and people in this world. Why, what was wanting hereunto? what was yet behind? That the apostle declares in this place. The promise was not yet fulfilled, the Messiah was not yet come, nor had finished his work, nor were the glorious liberty and rest of the gospel as yet exhibited and given unto them. It were easy to demon-strafe how all these things singly and jointly do come short of true rest; for notwithstanding all these, and in particular the highest of them, namely, the law and ordinances of worship, they had not spiritual liberty, rest, and peace, but were kept in a bondage frame of spirit, and laid up all their hopes and expectations in that which was not yet granted to them. So our apostle tells us that “the law made nothing perfect,” and that their sacrifices could never completely pacify their consciences, and therefore were continually renewed, with a remembrance of sin. It is Christ, then, alone, as declared in the gospel, in whom God doth rest, and in whom our souls may find rest. The reasons hereof may be taken from that description which we have given before of this gospel rest which the apostle insisteth on.

It is surely, therefore, our wisdom, in our inquest after rest, — which, whether we take notice of it or no, is the main design of our lives, in all that we project or execute, — not to take up in any thing beneath him or without him. All those things, the enjoyments of the world, the righteousness of the law, the outward ordinances of divine worship, say openly and plainly unto us, that rest is not in them. If all these in conjunction had been satisfactory to that end, then had Joshua given the people rest, and there had been no mention of another day. Yea, whatever, lawfully used, they may have of rest in them, it is no rest in comparison of that which is to be obtained in Christ Jesus. Hence he invites us unto him under this very notion, of giving “rest unto our souls,” Matthew 11:28. And here, in him, there is no want, no defect, no disappointment, no fadingness, nothing that hinders those other things from giving complete rest unto men. He that rests in the world, or rests in himself, or rests in his own righteousness, or rests even in God’s ordinances, will never come to rest until he be deprived of all expectation from them and confidence in them. Obs. 2. The gospel church-state is a state of spiritual rest in Christ. This, for the substance of it, hath been handled at large before. I mention it now only for two ends: first, to show what we ought to look after in this gospel church-state, and under the enjoyment of gospel privileges; and then, secondly, to discover a little how men deceive themselves in this matter.

First, This is that which distinguisheth our present church-state from that of theirs under the old testament: Joshua gave them all other things, only he gave them not rest, the rest of God; this is now the portion of them that believe; this all the children of the church are to look after. What is it, then, that men do seek after, or join themselves to the church of Christ upon the account of? What do they look for in, the worship, in the ordinances, in the ways of the church? If it be any thing but only to enter into the rest of God through Christ, they do but deceive themselves; whatever they take up in short hereof, they frustrate the whole counsel of God towards themselves in the gospel.

Secondly, How many pretend to an interest in this gospel church-state, who plainly, openly, and visibly seek after their rest in other things, —

many in their own duties, most in their lusts and the pleasures of the world! Where is the privilege of such persons as these above that of the Israelites under the conduct of Joshua? Can they say, that although in and under all the enjoyments before mentioned they obtained not rest, yet the Lord Christ hath given rest unto their souls in the gospel? Alas! they have no rest at all; and that which they do pursue is such as the gospel hath no concernment in. Did Christ come, think you, to give you rest in your lusts, in your sins, in your pleasures? God forbid; he came to give you rest from these firings in himself; which alone is the rest preached unto you.

Obs. 3. It is a great mercy and privilege to have a day of and worship given unto us.

The apostle doth not say here, that ‘after these things he speaks of another rest,’but of “another day;” for from the foundation of the world we were taught our rest in God by a day of rest given unto us. When by sin we forfeited our interest in that rest of God, he might justly have deprived all the world of the knowledge of the day of rest first appointed. And indeed, whilst he left his law standing, as a testimony of his holiness and a rule of his future judgment, but did not by any outward means press it on the consciences and practices of men, all knowledge of a day of rest was lost from amongst mankind, some few excepted, whom God took into his especial care. For to what purpose should they look after a day of rest, who had utterly lost all desires after and all interest in the rest of God itself? But when God would revive in men a hope and expectation of returning unto rest in and with himself, he recalls to their remembrance the day of rest which was at first appointed; but as he then led men into rest only typically, and in order to the representation of a future rest to be brought in, so he renewed unto them the remembrance of the day of rest typically also, that it might be a sign between him and them. But now, the rest of God being again established, he hath appointed unto us “another day,” as it is in the text, — a day of rest for the ends which have been often mentioned. And this is a great mercy and privilege; for, —

1. It is a pledge of our rest in God, which is the life, happiness, and blessedness of our souls. It is given us to this end and purpose that so it might be; which was the end of a day of rest from the foundation of the world, as hath been declared.

2. It is a pledge of the recovery of this rest for us, and that it is not absolutely the same rest in God whereunto we were made, but another rest, a better and more sure. And therefore it is “another day” that is given unto us, and not the same day as of old. God kept the people under the law in an intermediate estate, between the duties of the old covenant and the promises of the new. This kept them to the precise day of the old covenant; for although virtually they were made partakers of that rest of God which is in Jesus Christ, yet the foundation and cause of it being not as yet laid and wrought, they were to content themselves with pledges of it as a thing to come, such as were their sacrifices and ordinances of worship, with the old day typically renewed. But to have another day, which could not be established but with respect to the works of Christ already wrought, and so to be a pledge of what was done before, this they could not have. This God hath reserved for us; and the day we now have being another day, is a pledge of rest already wrought out, and actually prepared.

3. It is given us as a means of entering into the rest of God. For hereon hath God ordained that the solemn declaration of his mind and will concerning his rest, and our entrance into it, should be made unto us. Hereon do we celebrate all that solemn worship of God whereby we express our faith concerning our rest in him, and by which, as means appointed for that end, we are admitted into that rest, and carried on gradually towards its full and eternal enjoyment. And these things the apostle further confirms.

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Owen, John. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “John Owen Exposition of Hebrews”. https: 1862.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Jesus = Joshua. Compare Acts 7:45.

had given . . . rest = caused . . . to rest. Greek. katapauo, as Hebrews 4:4. the heart.

afterward = after (Greek. meta) these things.

spoken. Greek. laleo. App-121.7.

another. App-124.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes”. https: 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

Answer to the possible objection to his reasoning-namely, that those brought into Canaan by Joshua (so “Jesus,” Acts 7:45) did enter the rest of God. If the rest of God meant Canaan, God would not, after their entrance into that land, have spoken of another (future) day of entering the rest.

Therefore - because God 'speaks of another day' (note, Hebrews 4:8).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged”. https: 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

If. [Note that Joshua and Jesus are different forms of the same Hebrew name.] “If God's promise had been completely made to come true by Joshua leading the people into Canaan, there would be no reference to another day! Yet David speaks of another day!”

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Ice, Rhoderick D. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “The Bible Study New Testament”. https: College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(8) For, had the promise been fulfilled in Joshua’s conquest, the Psalm (God in the Psalm) would not be speaking of another day, saying “To-day” (Hebrews 4:7). (In one other place in the New Testament the Greek form of the name of Joshua is preserved. See the Note on Acts 7:45.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers”. https: 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

  Jesus, that is, Joshua
      Acts 7:45 
      11:13-15; Deuteronomy 12:9; 25:19; Joshua 1:15; 22:4; 23:1; Psalms 78:55; 105:44

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Torrey, R. A. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge”. https:

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The Greek word for Jesus is also defined “Joshua” in the lexicon, and should be so translated in this verse. Joshua led the few faithful ones across the Jordan into the Canaan rest, but God had already determined upon another rest, seeing so many of the candidates for the rest in Canaan had proved unworthy. In justice to the fathful ones at that time, they were permitted to be led by Joshua into the land of Canaan, but that circumstance was not to be regarded as the final arragement of the Lord for a better rest. That is why our verse states that Jesus (Joshua) did not give them rest, meaning he did not give them the third and final rest. This truth is further indicated by the Lord”s statement afterwards that there was to be another day.

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Zerr, E.M. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https: 1952.

Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans

For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not afterward have spoken of another day, long after the rest had been obtained.

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Haldane, Robert. “Commentary on Hebrews 4:8”. “Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans and Hebrews”. https: 1835.

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