2:1 [in light of the truths revealed in chapter one…] We [indicates the writer was addressing Christians] must pay more careful attention [Gr. prosechein = consider your ways and act on what you know; we must not have a casual attitude toward Christian truth and sound doctrine], therefore, to what we have heard [the gospel; the Christian message (including the life, ministry, death, resurrection of Jesus); sound doctrine], so that we do not drift away [sound doctrine is best antidote to false doctrine and philosophies that can lead believers astray (cf. Col. 2:8), lead to complacency, or stunt spiritual growth].
2:2 For if [because] the message spoken by angels [Jews believed God mediated the Ten Commandments to Moses on Sinai through angels (Deut. 33:2; Acts 7:38,53; Gal. 3:19)] was binding [had weight of God’s authority behind it], and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment [Israelites disciplined for violation and disobedience of OT revelation],
2:3 how [in light of the surpassing nature of the message of salvation brought to us by God’s Son] shall we escape [to avoid a serious or unwanted outcome] if we ignore [neglect or disregard] such a great salvation [refers to sanctification or growth toward spiritual maturity; answer: we cannot escape]? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord [cf. Lk. 19:9; Jn. 4:22], was confirmed to us by those who heard him [eyewitnesses; cf. Jn. 15:27].
2:4 God also testified to it by [note the following ways in which God authenticated His message…] signs [point to something of greater importance], wonders [awe-inspiring acts that cause people to take notice] and various miracles [or “deeds of power”], and gifts [Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12–14; Eph. 4] of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will [1 Cor. 12:11].
2:5 It is not to angels [means “messengers”; referred to as “servants” (Heb. 1:7) and “ministering spirits” (Heb. 1:14)] that he [God] has subjected the world to come [the Messianic kingdom initiated by Christ and which He will inherit at His second coming (cf. Heb. 1:2)], about which we are speaking.
2:6 But there is a place where someone has testified [cf. Ps. 8:4]: “What is man that you are mindful [from Heb. “zakar” which has the basic meaning of “remember”; cf. Ps. 139:17-18 re: God’s constant thoughts about us] of him, [note parallel statement used to emphasize the first statement…] the son of man [means same as “man” in first part of verse; Jesus used the term Son of man to refer to Himself (Jn. 1:51] that you care [from Heb. “paqad” which means “look after”] for him?
2:7 You made him [these words remind us that man is neither an accident nor a product of evolution] a little lower than [but higher than the rest of creation] the angels [Heb. “Elohim” can be translated gods, angels, or heavenly angels]; you crowned him with glory and honor
2:8 and put everything under his [some Bible students see this as reference to Adam and humanity, others to Jesus] feet? In putting everything under him [Jesus, the Son of man], God left nothing that is not subject to him [God gave Jesus dominion over everything (see Eph. 1:20-23)]. Yet at present [these hopeful words speak of a future day when we will see the fulfillment of God’s purposes] we do not see everything subject to him.
2:9 But we see [by faith] Jesus [first use of this name in this book], who was made a little lower [some old manuscripts read “for a short time” instead of “a little lower”] than the angels [a reference to Jesus’ incarnation], now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, [the purpose of the incarnation…] so that by the grace [unmerited favor] of God he might taste [or experience] death [cf. Phil. 2:8-9] for everyone.
2:10 In bringing many sons to glory [this happens through a right relationship with Jesus], it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author [“one who goes first so others may follow”; Gr. “archegos” can be translated “captain” (KJV), “author” (NASB, NIV), “source” (HCSB), “leader” (NEB), and “pioneer” (REB, NRSV); This noun “is difficult to translate satisfactorily” and signifies one who is both the source or initiator and the leader … one who first takes action and then brings those on whose behalf he has acted to the intended goal.” (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes)] of their salvation perfect [or complete; in the sense of fulfilling God’s purpose] through suffering [essential to the completion of His mission].
2:11 Both the one [Jesus] who makes men holy [to sanctify; to set apart for God’s purposes] and those [Christians; those who have placed their faith in Christ alone for salvation] who are made holy are of the same family [“have the same Father” (NLT)]. So Jesus is not ashamed [cf. Lk. 9:26] to call them brothers.
2:12 He says [cf. Ps. 22:22], “I will declare your name to my brothers [fulfilled after the resurrection (Jn. 20–21)]; in the presence of the congregation [Gr. ekklesia] I will sing your praises.”
2:13 [cf. Isa. 8:17] And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says [cf. Isa. 8:18], “Here am I, and the children [His spiritual brothers (Heb. 2:11,12) and congregation or God’s people (Heb. 2:12)] God has given [cf. Jn. 10:28-29] me.”
2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity [by becoming flesh and blood (but Jesus did not share our sinful nature); cf. Jn. 1:14] so that by his death [Jesus could pay the penalty for our sins because He was innocent of any sin; Christ destroyed death’s power by dying] he might destroy [to render impotent; to nullify; to make ineffective] him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—
2:15 and free [to deliver or to release] those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death [the fear of death has no power over those who have placed their faith in Christ for salvation].
2:16 For surely it is not angels [are not the objects of God’s redemptive love and grace] he helps, but Abraham’s descendants [people; human beings; the Jews (Matt. 15:24; Rom. 1:16) and every individual who trusts Him for salvation (Gal. 3:29)].
2:17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers [like human beings; like us] in every way [except for our sinful nature], in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest [represents others before God] in service to God [cf. Heb. 7–8], and that he might make atonement [propitiation: an offering that turns away God’s wrath; Jesus is the propitiation (or atoning sacrifice) for our sin] for the sins of the people [cf. Heb. 9–10].
2:18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted [yet never sinned], he is able to help those [believers] who are being tempted.