This chapter opens with exhortations that we as Christians are to follow. “let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained to them, those who are mistreated since you yourselves are in the body also”.
The first exhortation is, “let brotherly love continue”. Peter states in I Peter 2:17, “love the brotherhood”. Writer here is not implying that the Hebrews love had grown cold, but that they are to continue to love one another as they were now doing.
There are two reasons why this exhortation should continue. Peter states in II Peter 1:7, it is one of the seven graces that keeps us in the Kingdom, add to, “godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love”. The second reason given, for showing brotherly kindness, it would strengthen the Hebrews, they would care and be concerned about one another, assisting the weak, giving aid to the fallen, exhorting the faithful.
Second exhortation in verse 2, “be not forgetful to entertain strangers”. To entertain strangers is another way of saying, “given to hospitality” as Paul states in Romans 12:13. Kindness toward strangers, the Hebrew writing is here telling them, is not to be neglected. This should nothing new to the Hebrew Christians. The OT Scriptures was plain about this. Lev. 19:33, 34, “if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself. For you were strangers
in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God”. Peter states in I Peter 4:9, “be hospitable to one another without grumbling”. The latter part of verse 2 tells us we may not know who we are entertaining. Read Matthew 10:42, also Genesis chapters 18, 19 concerning Abraham and Lot.
Third exhortation in verse 3, “remember the prisoners as if chained with them”. Some versions may use the word “bonds” in place of prisoners. The Hebrew’s were not to forget their brethren who were in bonds that is imprisoned for their faith. Writer tells them, “remember them, as if chained with them”. They were to identify themselves with those in prison. They should be sympathetic toward them, put forth as effort to relieve the afflicted. It should cause them to earnestly pray for the release of their imprisoned brethren. “Those who were mistreated” has reference to those who were ill-treated or injured for Christ’s sake.
Writer closes out this verse by saying, “since you yourselves are in the body also”. These Hebrew’s were also in the kingdom and subject to persecution. They were sympathetic toward those who were suffering, doing for the afflicted what they would have the ill-treated ones do for them should their positions be reversed.
- CL Bruner