The Letter to the Hebrews
Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Ridgefield,
Chapter 11 is the "faith chapter" of the Bible.[ 1 ] It is sometimes called the "Hall
of Faith." First of all, faith is explained. Then the readers are taken back to the
very creation to understand that "The worlds were framed by the word of God."
This is followed by the pre-flood history of man, Cain and Abel, Enoch and Noah.
Five verses describe the faith of Abraham and Sarah down to Joseph. The faith of
Moses and his parents are featured. Other patriarchs and faithful people are
honored in the last section.
HEBREWS 11 OUTLINE
1. What faith is (Heb 11:1-3).
2. Faith before the flood (Heb 11:4-7).
3. Abraham and Sarah's faith (Heb 11:8-12).
4. The home of the faithful, the city of God
5. The faith of other patriarchs (Heb 11:20-22).
6. The faith of Moses (Heb 11:23-28).
7. The faith of Israelites from Egypt to Canaan
8. Other faithful people (Heb 11:32-39).
9. Relationship of Christ to faith (Heb 11:40).
WHAT IS FAITH?
11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not
Now faith.[ 2 ] The faith, belief and firm conviction of the patriarchs prefigures
the faith of Christians. They had a strong confidence in the future that God
promised. So do Christians. Through the patriarchs Christ came. For the ancient
men and women of faith many things were "not seen." Life and immortality had
not then been brought to light through the gospel (2Ti 1:10). They could not see
the fulfillment of OT types. Christ had not been designated the Son of God with
power by the resurrection from the dead (Ro 1:4). They were unaware of the
persecution to be endured by NT saints. They did not know of the faith-inspiring
conversion of Saul of Tarsus. But they had the promises of the "things hoped
for!" Yes, many OT men and women had a giant faith that saw them through
trials, the like of which our little problems and hurdles are dwarfs. And what did
their faith consist of? God spoke. They heard. They believed. They obeyed His
word as the truth by which to live and die.
1. A firm conviction producing a full acknowledgement
of God's revelation or truth.
a. Rejecting what is false (2Th 2:11).
b. Believing the truth (2Th 2:12).
2. A personal surrender to Christ.
a. But as many as received Him, to them He gave
the right to become children of God, to those
who believe in His name (Joh 1:12).
3. Conduct inspired by such surrender.
a. For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Co 5:7).
(Adapted from Vine 401)
Is the substance [is assurance, the foundation, the substantiating].[ 3 ]
According to Arndt and Ginrich, HUPOSTASEI may have been mistranslated here
in most versions. They also question the rendering "confidence" or "confident
boasting" in 2 Corinthians 9:4; 10:17; Hebrews 3:14. They say it should be
"situation, condition" or "frame of mind." HUPOSTASIS assurance, substance,
hypostasis has been used before by the writer of Hebrews. Christ was said to be
the image of God's HUPOSTASEOS or essential nature (Heb 1:3). In a more
difficult passage, Christians are told to hold fast to their HUPOSTASEOS, their
essential nature, condition of heart, state of confidence and assurance=salvation
firm unto the end (Heb 3:14; see footnote 3).
Faith in things hoped for is as real as if they are actually achieved and
accomplished. True, they must still become realized or fulfilled but faith gives
them substance. For the believer faith brings ideas and hopes into actuality.
Things God wants Christians to believe will eventually become reality for them.
A strong faith regards future events as already happening. We walk by faith (2Co
5:7) and we add the Christian graces to it (2Pe 1:5-11).
For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our
confidence steadfast to the end (Heb 3:14).
Of things hoped for.[ 4 ] The Holy Spirit does not use the word hope in the sense
of wishful thinking but as absolute and certain expectation. The remainder of
chapter 11 discusses the patriarchs whose faith "was fixed upon a future and
unseen good."[ 5 ] Their faith is a type of our faith (see notes on Heb 12:1, 2).
The evidence [a, the conviction].[ 6 ] It is beyond man's capabilities to travel into
the glories of heaven and then return to earth to share the first-hand experience.
But the sure word of God describes heaven. Christians believe it. The more they
study the Bible the more certain they are of its truth in everything. Because of
implicit trust in God's word, they have not the slightest doubt about "things not
seen." Spiritual, "unseen" truths are strongly held because one simply takes God
at His word. It is this kind of belief in God's commands that motivated men and
women to endure torture and death rather than commit sin or even pretend to do
so (see note on verse 35).
THINGS NOT SEEN
1. Hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one
still hope for what he sees? (Ro 8:24).
2. The things which are seen are temporary, but the
things which are not seen are eternal (2Co 4:18).
3. For we walk by faith, not by sight (2Co 5:7).
4. Noah divinely warned of things not yet seen
5. Moses endured, as seeing Him who is unseen
Of things not seen [of things not seen].[ 7 ] Things unseen include all God's
blessings both past, present and future that are invisible to man. The OT saints
had such a strong trust in God's promises that, to them, the unseen future was
real. For example, Abraham believed God's promise so strongly that he postulated
God would fulfill it by a literal resurrection of Isaac (see note on verse 19).
Moses believed in God so implicitly that, at age eighty, he led a million
murmuring Israelite slaves out into a wilderness where he served as their leader
for forty years. Most likely he had not even seen the promised land until, near
death, God allowed him to view it from Mount Nebo (De 34:1, 2; see note on Heb
11:27; chart THINGS NOT SEEN, FAITH OF THE ELDERS and FAITH IN
THE UNSEEN at verse 6).
GOOD TESTIMONY TO ELDERS
11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
For by it [for therein, in this, for in the power of this].[ 8 ] "It" refers to faith
The elders [the men of old].[ 9 ] God's approval of the obedience of the men and
women of old provides the evidence mentioned in verse 1. Several of the OT
faithful were heroes to the early Jewish Christians.
Obtained a good testimony [had witness borne to them, gained, received,
have obtained, testimony, a good report, approval, divine approval].[ 10 ] God
gave His stamp of approval to OT men and women of faith (see note on verse 39).
He does the same today. "The Lord knows those who are His" (2Ti 2:19).
1. Translated (Heb 11:5).
2. More excellent sacrifice (Heb 11:4).
3. Heir of righteousness (Heb 11:7).
4. A city, a city with foundations (Heb 11:10, 16).
5. Reward (Heb 11:26).
6. Better resurrection (Heb 11:35).
7. Something better (Heb 11:40).
BY FAITH WE UNDERSTAND CREATION
11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of
God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are
By faith we understand [through faith we apprehend].[ 11 ] Faith has a rational
basis. It helps to understand the unseen. For example, people are able to perceive
something about the creation which, at present, is scientifically non-repeatable.
That the worlds [that the world].[ 12 ] Although the Greek word for "worlds"
primarily indicates "ages" or successive periods of time, in this verse we
understand it to denote the physical universe with its characteristic dimension of
space-time (see Ge 1:1; Joh 1:1-3). Although "worlds" primarily means "ages,"
to some students, the plural suggests that there are other planets with life or that
there are other dimensions of reality. My own view is that the present verse
describes the earth and heavens.
FALSE CREATION THEORIES
1. God made all things out of water or chaos (Thales).
2. There were three eternal things: God, matter and
3. Nothing can be made out of nothing (Aristotle).
4. All elements were made from hydrogen.
5. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed.
Were framed [have been, was, created, prepared].[ 13 ] The perfect tense
suggests that things created now exist. They have been fitted, adjusted and
The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world and all its
fullness, You have founded them (Ps 89:11; compare Ac 17:24).
Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work
of Your hands (Ps 102:25).
For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens, who is God, who
formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it
in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the LORD, and there is no
other" (Isa 45:18).
The Greek perfect tense suggests that the present state of the universe is resultant
from what God set in order at creation. There was no whimsy or caprice with
God. The universe was not created haphazardly or without purpose. As Albert
Einstein said, "The Lord God does not throw dice."
By the word of God [by the word of God].[ 14 ] The word of God here is not
LOGOS as in John 1, but RHEEMATI order, command. The power of God's
word in creation is beyond comprehension. He spoke and things were created.
He said, "Let there be light" and there was light (Ge 1:3).
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them
by the breath of His mouth (Ps 33:6).
For He spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast (Ps 33:9).
The awesome magnitude of power in God's word at creation is available in the
gospel which is the power of God for salvation (Ro 1:16).
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has
shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ (2Co 4:6).
So that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible
[so that what, that which, is seen, things seen, hath not been, was not, made,
should not take its origin, from, out of, things, which appear, do appear].[ 15 ]
Is the Holy Spirit hinting at the mass-energy relationship known as E=mc2?[ 16 ]
The material universe did not exist from the eternal past. It had a beginning. At
the creation, matter came to be as a result of God's mighty invisible energy.[ 17 ]
One has to become an atheist in order to believe strictly in an evolutionary
universe without a beginning.
BY FAITH ABEL OFFERED
11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,
through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his
gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
WALKING BY FAITH
1. Not relying merely on what "seems right"
2. Not influenced in religion by the majority (Mt 7:14).
3. Not guided by human traditions (Mk 7:9).
4. Directed by God's word (Ro 10:17).
5. Not by our desires and pleasures: For even Christ did
not please Himself (Ro 15:3).
6. Not by sight (2Co 5:7).
7. Not guided by the flesh, feelings and emotions
8. Not by customs and views of ancestors (1Pe 1:18).
(Adapted from Coffman 259)
By faith Abel offered to God [by faith Abel offered unto God].[ 18 ] Abel,
second son of Adam and Eve, was "a keeper of sheep" (Ge 4:2). He offered to
God "of the firstborn of his flock" which was acceptable (Ge 4:4). His sacrifice
was offered "by faith." Inasmuch as faith comes from hearing the word of God
we may infer that God had communicated with him (see Ro 10:17). He knew
God's will and heeded it. He believed God and obeyed Him (see Ro 4:3; compare
Jas 2:20-26). His deeds were righteous (1Jo 3:12). Jesus called him "righteous
Abel" (Mt 23:35). For this very reason, he was murdered by Cain, his elder
brother (Ge 4:8).
AN ACCEPTABLE OFFERING
1. Must be by faith.
2. Must be that which God specifies.
3. Must be done with right disposition.
A more excellent sacrifice than Cain [a better sacrifice than Cain did].[ 19 ]
We know that Abel's bloody sacrifice was acceptable.[ 20 ] Later, it was revealed
that "Without shedding of blood there is no remission" (Heb 9:22; compare Le
17:11). The old-time preachers may have been right when they said Cain's
offering was rejected because God required a bloody sacrifice. However, I have
found no firm evidence that the offerings of Cain[ 21 ] and Abel[ 22 ] were sin
It may be that Cain's offering was rejected because he offered that which was not
authorized.[ 23 ] Yet, under Moses, offerings from "the fruit of the ground" were
acceptable (see Ex 29:41; 30:9; 40:29; Le 2:1-16; 5:13; 6:14-23; 7:9, 10, 37; 9:4,
17; 10:12; 14:10, 20, 21, 31; 23:13-18, 37, etc.). Perhaps Cain's attitude was
bad from the very beginning of his worship. At least, it was wrong when he
became angry and murdered Abel. He may have disobeyed one or more of God's
instructions not even related to the type of sacrifice.[ 24 ]
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer
of the upright is His delight (Pr 15:8).
We know that Cain did not offer "by faith." That was enough to cause his
worship to be rejected.
REQUIREMENTS FOR AN ACTION
TO BE BY FAITH
1. Must be according to the word of God (Ro 10:17).
2. One must hear the word [in the sense of
3. One must believe the word.
3. One must obey it.
Through which he obtained witness [by which he received, he had, testimony
borne to him, approval].[ 25 ] Abel obtained testimony when God testified about
his gifts (see note below on God testifying of his gifts).
That he was righteous [as righteous, of being righteous].[ 26 ] Testimony that
Abel was righteous was given by Christ when He said,
That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the
blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom
you murdered between the temple and the altar (Mt 23:35).
God testifying of his gifts [God bearing witness, bearing testimony to, in
respect of, by accepting, his gifts].[ 27 ] God revealed His acceptance of Abel's
gifts. "And the LORD respected Abel and his offering" (Ge 4:4). God may have
given immediate testimony of Abel's offering. Jewish tradition says fire came
down from God and consumed it (compare 1Ki 18:38).
And through it [but through his faith, and by it].[ 28 ] The word "faith" has
been appropriately supplied by some translators because of a comparison with
verses 1 and 2. Others have proposed that it would be proper to supply "offering"
He being dead [he died, having died].[ 29 ] Abel's blood cries from the ground
(Ge 4:10). He speaks to us through the Scriptures. His faith and righteousness
as well as his murder are revealed to us. Did his blood cry for vengeance
(compare Ro 12:9; Re 6:10)? God said to Cain:
What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me
from the ground (Ge 4:10).
The Hebrew writer exalts the blood of Christ far above that of Abel.
To Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling
that speaks better things than that of Abel (Heb 12:24).
Still speaks [yet speaketh, he is still speaking, he yet speaks].[ 30 ] By
metonymy, his blood speaks. It continues to speak. What he says now comes to
us only through the Scriptures.
SPEAKING AFTER DEATH (A)
1. Good example.
2. Needlepoint wall-hangings with Bible messages.
3. Notes on the flyleaf of Bible.
4. Contributions for mission work.
5. Contributions for Christian education.
SPEAKING AFTER DEATH (B)
1. Writing articles or books.
2. Donating good books.
3. Video or audio tapes of Scriptural teaching.
4. Tapes giving advice to children or grandchildren.
5. Letters to be opened after the funeral.
We all shall die unless Christ comes first (1Th 4:16, 17; Heb 9:27). It behooves
us to leave behind something that will "speak" for us (see charts SPEAKING
AFTER DEATH A and B).
BY FAITH ENOCH PLEASED GOD
11:5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was
not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this
testimony, that he pleased God.
By faith Enoch was taken away [by faith Enoch was taken up, was
translated].[ 31 ] Brief information is given about Enoch's translation in Genesis.
And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him (Ge 5:24).
So that he did not see death [that, so that, he should not see death].[ 32 ] One
blessing of being translated is not having to "see death." This figure of speech,
used of Enoch means that he would not die.[ 33 ] It may be possible that he was
changed just like the saints will be at the coming of Christ. It is entirely proper
to say that those alive then will be translated (see 1Co 15:51, 52; 1Th 4:15-17).
It may be that the Hebrew writer mentioned Enoch's translation for the purpose
of increasing the hope of his readers that, if still alive when Christ returns, they
too would be translated. If not, then upon their resurrection, they would, in their
body, be "admitted into heaven."[ 34 ]
And was not found because God had taken him [and he was not found
because God had translated him].[ 35 ] An extensive search may have been made
for Enoch as it was for Elijah (2Ki 2:17), but whether or not the countryside was
combed for him is immaterial. His body was never found.[ 36 ] It was missing.
This is significant.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of
God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption (1Co 15:50).
Yet somehow the disappearance of Enoch's body must be accounted for.
Coffman put it this way.
Nevertheless, from the fact of the redeemed having bodies, related to the
body that dies (for that body shall be raised), and from the fact of the
disappearance of the bodies of Elijah and Enoch, and from the further fact
of our Lord's resurrection in the glorified body that was slain--from all these
considerations comes the substantial conviction that men's earthly bodies,
purified and changed in the resurrection, shall be their eternal possession in
that upper and better world.[ 37 ]
ENOCH PLEASED GOD
1. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God
three hundred years, and had sons and daughters
2. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for
God took him (Ge 5:24).
3. By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not
see death, "and was not found, because God had
taken him"; for before he was taken he had this
testimony, that he pleased God (Heb 11:5).
WALKING WITH GOD=PLEASING HIM (A)
1. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations.
Noah walked with God (Ge 6:9).
2. The LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am
Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless
3. The LORD, before whom I [Abraham] walk, will send
His angel with you and prosper your way
WALKING WITH GOD=PLEASING HIM (B)
1. God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac
walked (Ge 48:15).
2. Have You not kept my feet from falling, that I may
walk before God in the light of the living?
3. I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living
4. And what does the LORD require of you but to do
justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your
God? (Mic 6:8).
SEEKING THE LORD [TO SERVE HIM] (A)
1. But from there you will seek the LORD your God,
and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your
heart and with all your soul (De 4:29).
2. The LORD looks down from heaven upon the
children of men, to see if there are any who
understand, who seek God (Ps 14:2; 52:3; Ro 3:11).
3. I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered
me from all my fears (Ps 34:4).
SEEKING THE LORD [TO SERVE HIM] (B)
1. The humble shall see this and be glad; and you who
seek God, your hearts shall live (Ps 69:32).
2. I called on the LORD in distress; the LORD answered
me and set me in a broad place (Ps 118:5).
3. So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even
all the Gentiles who are called by My name
For before he was taken [that before, now before, his translation, his being
taken up].[ 38 ] During his earthly lifetime, God revealed to Enoch that he was
pleasing to Him. Afterward he, like Elijah, was "taken" from his contemporaries
or "taken up" from the earth (2Ki 2:10).
He had this testimony [he has, hath had, the testimony, the witness, witness
borne to him, he was attested].[ 39 ] The witness borne to Enoch is recorded in
Scripture (see chart ENOCH PLEASED GOD). All are programmed to die (Heb
9:27). In a manner like the translation of Enoch and Elijah the saints of God will
be received "to glory" (Ps 73:24).
WALKING WITH GOD=PLEASING HIM (A)
1. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations.
Noah walked with God (Ge 6:9).
2. To Abram: I am Almighty God; walk before Me and
be blameless (Ge 17:1).
3. The LORD, before whom I walk, will send His angel
with you and prosper your way (Ge 24:40).
4. And he blessed Joseph, and said: "God, before
whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the
God who has fed me all my life long to this day"
WALKING WITH GOD=PLEASING HIM (B)
1. For You have delivered my soul from death. Have
You not kept my feet from falling, that I may walk
before God in the light of the living? (Ps 56:13).
2. I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living
3. And what does the LORD require of you but to do
justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your
God? (Mic 6:8).
That he pleased God [that he was, had been, well-pleasing to, unto, as
having pleased, God].[ 40 ] Christians who walk by faith are pleasing to God (see
note on 2Co 5:7; charts WALKING WITH GOD=PLEASING GOD A and B).
It is impossible to please Him without faith (Heb 11:6). Faith in Him involves
faith in Christ (Joh 14:1). We have peace with Him through our Lord Jesus Christ
(Ro 5:1). Faith in Him implies faith in His word. Hence to be pleasing to Him,
one must have faith in God and have faith in His word.
FAITH ESSENTIAL TO PLEASE GOD
11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to
God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently
But without faith [without, and without, faith].[ 41 ] The kind of faith implied
here is an active, obedient faith that takes God at His word. Every example of
faith in this chapter is of that variety.
FAITH ESSENTIAL IN OT (A)
1. Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Hear me, O Judah and
you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD
your God, and you shall be established; believe
His prophets, and you shall prosper (2Ch 20:20).
2. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land,
and feed on His faithfulness (Ps 37:3).
3. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him,
and He shall bring it to pass (Ps 37:5).
4. You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; he is
their help and their shield (Ps 115:11).
FAITH ESSENTIAL IN OT (B)
1. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not
on your own understanding (Pr 3:5).
2. Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the
voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and
has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD
and rely upon his God (Isa 50:10).
3. Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but
the just shall live by his faith (Hab 2:4).
It is impossible [it is not possible].[ 42 ]
To please Him [to be well-pleasing unto him].[ 43 ] No matter when or where
a person does anything that action will not be pleasing to God if he does not have
WHY FAITH IS NECESSARY
1. God created all things (Ge 1:1; Joh 1:1-3; Col 1:16).
2. He did so "according to the counsel of His will"
3. Whatever is in harmony with His will is right.
4. Whatever is not in harmony with His will is wrong.
5. An action from a motive other than the will of God
is not by faith and displeases God.
6. To do anything by faith, one must hear and
understand the will of God (Ro 10:17).
7. There is no true obedience without faith.
(Adapted from Milligan 305, 306)
For he who comes to God [for he that cometh, draws near, for whoever
would draw near, to God].[ 44 ] In the context of Hebrews, coming to God implies
the seeking of forgiveness of sins and the fellowship with Him resulting from that
Must believe that He is [must believe that he exists].[ 45 ] Note how the Holy
Spirit makes faith and belief equivalent: Without faith . . . must believe.
FAITH IN THE UNSEEN
1. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have
believed (Joh 20:29).
2. He is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15).
3. Belief in God who is unseen (Heb 11:6).
4. By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not
yet seen (Heb 11:7).
5. By faith [Moses] forsook Egypt . . . for he endured
as seeing Him who is invisible (Heb 11:27).
And that He is a rewarder [and that he rewards].[ 46 ] He who comes to God
must accept the fact that God is the moral governor of the universe. The fact that
God is a rewarder implies that He not only exists but is morally active. The idea
of reward and punishment is taught in Scripture (see 1Co 9:17; 2Jo 8; Re 22:12;
chart GOD IS A REWARDER).
GOD IS A REWARDER
1. Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your
exceedingly great reward (Ge 15:1).
2. In keeping them [God's judgments] there is great
reward (Ps 19:11).
3. Behold, His reward is with Him (Isa 62:11).
4. Your work shall be rewarded, says the LORD
5. Your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward
you openly (Mt 6:4).
Of those who diligently seek Him [of them, that, seek, earnestly seek, after
him, seek him out].[ 47 ] Although no special word for "diligently" is in the Greek
text the idea is implied. The NKJV does well to carry it. A half-hearted seeking
for God is not really sufficient. One must put forth effort and diligently seek him
(see chart SEEKING THE LORD [TO SERVE HIM] (A and B; SEEKING
BY FAITH NOAH PREPARED AN ARK
1. Because of his persistence he will rise and give him
as many as he needs (Lu 11:8).
2. A widow came, saying, "Get justice for me from my
adversary" (Lu 18:3).
3. So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord
4. Esau found no place for repentance, though he
sought it diligently with tears (Heb 12:17).
5. Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and
searched carefully (1Pe 1:10).
11:7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with
godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he
condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according
By faith Noah.[ 48 ] Noah was warned by God about the flood some 120 years
before it occurred (see Ge 6:3, 13, 14).
Being divinely warned [being warned of God, by God, oracularly warned].[ 49 ]
Inherent in the NT usage of the Greek word CHREEMATISTHEIS being warned
is the divine element, that is, being divinely warned. The warning Noah received
was of divine origin. Marvin Vincent is right in saying that the words "of God"
are not in the text. However, every time the Greek term is used in the NT, the
context implies that the warning is from God (see Mt 2:12, 22; Ac 10:22; Heb
8:5; 12:25). Many translators understanding this have wisely supplied "by God"
or "divinely" (see charts DIVINE WARNINGS A and B; note on
CHREEMATISAI CHRISTIANOUS were called Christians at Ac 11:26).
DIVINE WARNINGS (A)
1. To Lot: Escape for your life! (Ge 19:17).
2. Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a
trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the
house of Jacob their sins (Isa 58:1).
3. When I say to the wicked, "You shall surely die,"
and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn
the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life,
that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but
his blood I will require at your hand (Eze 3:18; 33:9).
4. Wise men being divinely warned in a dream that
they should not return to Herod (Mt 2:12).
DIVINE WARNINGS (B)
1. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are
unruly (1Th 5:14).
2. Much more shall we not escape if we turn away
from Him who speaks from heaven (Heb 12:25).
3. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the
house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will
be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of
God? (1Pe 4:17).
Of things not yet seen [concerning events not seen as yet, as yet unseen].[ 50 ]
God said to Noah:
The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence
through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth (Ge 6:13).
He said further:
And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from
under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the
earth shall die (Ge 6:17).
If Noah had been disposed to disbelieve, he could have used several excuses for
not building an ark. He had never even seen a flood. He probably had never seen
rain.[ 51 ] "Sixteen hundred years" of "quiet" history argued against catastrophism.
He felt pressured by "wise" scoffers who ridiculed the idea of a coming flood.
1. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD
2. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations.
Noah walked with God (Ge 6:9).
3. Days of Noah foreshadowed the coming of Christ
(Mt 24:37-39; Lu 17:26, 27).
4. Salvation in the ark a type of baptism (1Pe 3:19-21).
5. Destruction of the ancient ungodly world in the flood
a type of future judgment (2Pe 2:5).
Moved with godly fear [took heed, moved by fear].[ 52 ] In Hebrews 5:7, we
noted that Christ was heard because of His piety, godly fear or reverent
submission (compare Heb 12:28). Noah was warned by God and he was
motivated, in part, by a healthy fear of Him. He reverenced His word and
carefully obeyed it.
Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did (Ge
Prepared [and constructed].[ 53 ] Noah did exactly what God told him to do.
He built the ark of gopher wood with rooms and three decks, one door and one
window. He covered it inside and out with pitch. It size was 300 x 50 x 30
cubits (Ge 6:14-16). It had a capacity of more than 15,000 gross tons.[ 54 ]
An ark.[ 55 ] Jesus believed the story of Noah and the ark. He said:
But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man
be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also
will the coming of the Son of Man be (Mt 24:37-39; compare Lu 17:27).
Peter states that salvation by baptism is the antitype of the salvation of the flood
For the saving of his household [to the saving of his house]. Notice that Noah
had to do something in order to be saved from the water of the flood. Suppose he
had argued like some modern theologians that God would take care of everything.
To do any work on the ark would deny the "all-sufficiency of God."
By which [through which, by this, by the which].[ 56 ] God puts Noah in the
same class as Daniel and Job when He gives His evaluation of him through
"Even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live," says the Lord
GOD, "they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only
themselves by their righteousness" (Eze 14:20).
THE CHURCH, ARK OF SAFETY (A)
1. The ark and the church were built according to
2. One door to each and God closes it (Re 3:7).
3. Both clean and unclean in the ark; both wheat and
tares in same field (Mt 13:26).
4. Safety only in ark. Salvation only in church
(Ac 20:28; Eph 5:23-26).
THE CHURCH, ARK OF SAFETY (B)
1. Faithful in the ark delivered from ruin of ancient
world. Christians to be delivered from final
destruction of world (1Th 4:16, 17).
2. The ark had one window. The church has one
source of spiritual light, the word of God.
3. God providentially guided the ark to its destination.
Christ promised his disciples to be with them
"always, even to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20).
(Adapted from Coffman 265)
He condemned the world.[ 57 ] Noah did not condemn it by shutting the door of
the ark. God did that (Ge 7:16). He condemned the world by his tireless
preaching (2Pe 2:5). He condemned it by example and implication. The righteous
were saved in the ark. The unrighteous were condemned to perish outside in the
flood. On the judgment day, the men of Nineveh shall condemn the generation
that rejected Christ (Mt 12:41). Similarly, the physically uncircumcised Law
keeper will condemn the circumcised transgressor (Ro 2:27).
And became heir [and became an heir].[ 58 ] The Greek word "heir" suggests
simply becoming a recipient. Noah received righteousness. That is, his sins were
forgiven ultimately and finally through Christ.
Of the righteousness which is according to faith [of the righteousness which
is by, which comes by, faith].[ 59 ] Although God "respected" or had "regard for"
Abel's sacrifices (Ge 4:4) and Enoch "walked with God" (Ge 5:24), Noah is the
first man called "just" or "righteous" by Moses (Ge 7:1). Much later, Peter called
Abraham's nephew "righteous Lot" (2Pe 2:7).
This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his
generations. Noah walked with God (Ge 6:9)
Later on, Ezekiel again speaks of Noah's righteousness (Eze 14:14). His
righteousness was according to faith. For man, there is no other kind (Ro 1:17).
Faith works, acts and obeys (see Ga 5:6; Jas 2:17-26).
NOAH, TYPE OF CHRISTIANS (A)
1. Delivered from an old into a new world
(see Col 1:12, 13; charts NOAH, TYPE OF
CHRISIANS A and B).
2. Deliverance contingent upon faith plus obedience.
3. Accomplished through water [baptism].
4. The same water that saved Noah destroyed the
disobedient. Baptism is the line of demarkation
between the saved and the unsaved (Mk 16:16).
(Adapted from Coffman 264)
NOAH, TYPE OF CHRISTIANS (B)
1. Noah's "water" experience passed him from an old
way of life to a new one. Baptism moves one from
old ways into "newness of life" (Ro 6:4).
2. After passing through the flood, Noah lived under a
new covenant [the rainbow] (Ge 9:13). Christians
live under the new covenant of Christ.
3. After the flood, Noah built the first known altar.
After baptism, Christians worship in a new way.
4. After Noah was delivered into a new, cleansed
world, he still sinned (Ge 9:21). Christians, though
redeemed, are still subject to temptation and sin.
(Adapted from Coffman 264)
BY FAITH ABRAHAM OBEYED BY GOING
11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place
which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing
where he was going.
1. And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to
him for righteousness (Ge 15:6; Ro 4:3; Ga 3:6).
2. God made an oath-promise to him (Ge 22:16, 17;
3. Because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My
charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My
laws (Ge 26:5).
4. You found his heart faithful before You (Ne 9:8).
5. He did not waver at the promise of God through
unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory
to God (Ro 4:20).
6. By faith Abraham obeyed (Heb 11:8).
By faith Abraham.[ 60 ] There is more involved here than the change of a name
from Abram[ 61 ] to Abraham (see Ge 17:5). This great man trusted in the unseen
future that God had promised. He continued to obey because of that trust. He is
an inspiration for people today just as he was for the Hebrew Christians, some of
whom were "chips off the old block" or "off the old rock" (implied in the
following quotation). The people needed such a hero of faith as Abraham to
Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the LORD:
look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from
which you were dug. 2 Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who
bore you; for I called him alone, and blessed him and increased him (Isa
Obeyed.[ 62 ] Abraham was seventy years old when he received the call.[ 63 ] Five
years later he left Haran after his father Terah died (Ge 11:32).
So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with
him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran
Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And
from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which
you now dwell (Ac 7:4).
A command from God to Abraham was enough. He was to receive land but at
that early date, apparently, he had no detailed promise of it (but see Ge 12:7).
When he was called [being called].[ 64 ] Abraham was called from Ur (Ac 7:1-4;
Ge 11:31) and Haran (Ge 12:1-4).
1. He received the call of God.
2. To leave comforts of home, friends and relatives.
3. The land designated was unknown to him.
4. He obeyed anyway, "not knowing where he was
To go out [to go].[ 65 ]
To the place which he would receive [into, unto, a place he was, which he
was, to receive, should after receive].[ 66 ] Abraham was commanded to go to the
place God would show him (Ge 12:1-3). Later on, he would be told that he would
receive it as an inheritance.
As an inheritance [for an inheritance].[ 67 ] The present verse describes a later
appearance than that of Genesis 12:1-3. Abram, Sarai and others departed from
Haran and journeyed into Canaan. The land promise was then given to Abraham
as first recorded in Genesis 12:7. The promise that the land would be given to
"you and your descendants" was renewed in Genesis 13 after Lot had pitched his
tent toward Sodom. It was repeated at least twice more in Genesis 15 and 17.
And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: "Lift your
eyes now and look from the place where you are-- northward, southward,
eastward, and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I give to you and
your descendants forever" (Ge 13:14, 15).
On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your
descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great
river, the River Euphrates" (Ge 15:18).
Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are
a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will
be their God (Ge 17:8).
And he went out [and he went, and went out].[ 68 ] Abraham started off toward
Canaan. Each step he took toward the promised land was a step of obedience.
At age 75, he left Haran for Canaan as a nomad. He moved about as a migrant.
He was an alien, a foreigner with nothing more than a temporary home. The
privileges of citizenship or permanent residency were not his.
Not knowing.[ 69 ] God told Abraham to go forth from his country and relatives
"to land that I will show you" (Ge 12:1). Evidently, he had never seen the land
of Palestine before. He did not even know where he was going. God would
"show" it to him.
Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will
give this land." And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared
to him (Ge 12:7).
Where he was going [not knowing whither he went, where he was to go].[ 70 ]
The Greek present tense allows us to picture Abraham on his way. See the
caravan as it journeys from Ur toward Canaan.
AS IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY
11:9, 10 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same
promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder
and maker is God.
By faith he dwelt [by faith he became a sojourner, he sojourned, in faith he
lived as a stranger].[ 71 ] Abraham understood that, in the fourth generation, when
the iniquity of the Amorites was complete, the land would be given to his
descendants (Ge 15:16).
In the land of promise [in the promised land].[ 72 ] Apparently, God had
appeared to Abraham before he dwelt in Haran but the promised land was only
known to him as the land God would show him. Later, God specified it as all he
could see to the north, south, east and west. He was told to arise and walk about
the land through its length and breadth. Boundaries were from the river of Egypt
as far as the river Euphrates (Ge 15:18).
Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will
give this land." And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared
to him (Ge 12:7).
As in a foreign country [as, as in a, land not his own, a foreign land, a
strange country].[ 73 ] Abraham lived as a cattleman and shepherd in the hill
country for fifteen or more years.[ 74 ] He moved southward (Ge 20:1), where he
lived in several localities, including Gerar and Beersheba. He had to buy a burial
place for Sarah (Ge 23:8-20) where he himself was buried 35 years after her death
Dwelling in tents [living in, having dwelt in, tabernacles].[ 75 ] So far as we
know, neither Abraham, Isaac nor Jacob ever built a "permanent" home in
Canaan. There is something "heavenward" about dwelling in tents. Abraham was
rich. He could have built a mansion. Instead, he patiently lived out the remainder
of his 175 years in tents. The reason was that he looked for the only city that has
permanent foundations, heaven itself. Contrast his attitude to that of Lot, who
became a resident in a solid house inside the wicked city of Sodom. But neither
his house nor the city he chose to live in was permanent.
With Isaac and Jacob.[ 76 ] Abraham, Isaac and Jacob "settled down" in Canaan
to a rather unsettled life.[ 77 ] Because of their faith, they lived as migrants.
Abraham looked for a future heavenly inheritance (see verse 10).
The heirs with him [heirs with him, fellow-heirs].[ 78 ] Abraham had passed
through Canaan as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. The Lord
appeared to him and said, "To your descendants I will give this land" (Ge 12:7).
Some may consider that being an heir to property is a jamor accomplishment. Not
so with the patriarchs. By faith, they were heirs to more than the land. They
looked heavenward for their true and lasting inheritance.
Of the same promise.[ 79 ] The patriarchs understood about eternity. They
believed the promise to Abraham somehow related to heaven (see following note).
The Holy Spirit designates Christians as "heirs according to the promise" (Ga
3:29; compare Ga 4:28). He ties that promise to "the hope set before us" that
"enters the Presence behind the veil." We, like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, look
forward to heaven (Heb 6:17-19; 1Jo 2:25).
PROMISED CITY, HEAVENLY JERUSALEM
1. The Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of
us all (Ga 4:26).
2. Have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the
living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22).
3. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek
the one to come (Heb 13:14).
4. The city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which
comes down out of heaven from My God (Re 3:12).
5. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as
a bride adorned for her husband (Re 21:2).
[11:10] For he waited for the city which has foundations [for he looked, was
looking, looked forward to, a city with, which hath the, foundations].[ 80 ]
Abraham did not go to Canaan looking for a city to live in. He had his goal set
on something more substantial. We may infer that God had informed him about
heaven. Just as the true rest of God was not the earthly Canaan into which the
first Joshua led the people of Israel (Heb 4:8), so Abraham did not concentrate on
the earthly phase of his promise. He kept his eyes fixed on the well-established
city of God to be revealed in the future (Heb 13:14).[ 81 ]
The heavenly abode is the only permanent city in the whole universe (see Ga
4:28; Heb 12:22). It has sure foundations. It cannot be shaken (Heb 12:28).
Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the
names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Re 21:14; compare Eph 2:20).
1. Treasure in heaven (Mt 6:19).
2. Names written there (Lu 10:20).
3. Christ has gone to heaven (Joh 14:3).
4. Citizenship in heaven (Php 3:20).
5. Hope of heaven both sure and steadfast (Heb 6:19).
Whose builder [whose architect, the artificer].[ 82 ] Would you like to travel to
the great cities of the world, both ancient and modern? There is nothing truly
wonderful, good and righteous in any of them. All of these adjectives better
describe heaven. The architect of the heavenly city is God Himself (see note on
verse 16). There is something magnificent about the fact that He planned it.
And maker is God [and builder is God, of which God is and constructor].[ 83 ]
God not only planned the heavenly home, He executed His plan. He is its maker
and builder. There is something about this phrase that speaks of fellowship with
him who will enjoy eternal happiness. Whatever God builds is true, holy and
dependable. We can rest assured that the heavenly home will be "just right" for
BY FAITH SARAH CONCEIVED
11:11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she
bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who
By faith Sarah [through faith even, also, Sara].[ 84 ] Although there are some
textual variations in the Greek manuscripts, the NIV, I think incorrectly, renders
this, "By faith Abraham, even though he was past age." He was 100 years old but
was not the text speaking of Sarah? The full verse quoted from the NIV follows:
By faith Abraham, even though he was past age-- and Sarah herself was
barren-- was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful
who had made the promise (Heb 11:11 NIV).
Herself.[ 85 ] God promised that Sarai (Sarah) would give birth to Abraham's son.
Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed,[ 86 ] and said in his heart, "Shall
a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah,
who is ninety years old, bear a child?" (Ge 17:17).
At first Sarah, laughed with incredulity. The promise of a son was first made
to Abraham. When it was renewed, Sarah laughed again.
Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old,
shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" (Ge 18:12).[ 87 ]
Very shortly, however, "by faith" she received the ability to conceive.
Was barren.[ 88 ] The words "was barren" or "could not have children" are
carried by the NIV and TEV in spite of almost overwhelming evidence that the
words are from a textual "gloss" or addition.[ 89 ] The translators are not accused
of introducing false doctrine. Paul speaks of "the deadness" of Sarah's womb (Ro
4:19). The Greek in the present verse does not justify the translation of the NIV
and the TEV. Sarah was ninety (Ge 17:17) and "past the age of childbearing" (Ge
18:11). Her ability to conceive at that age was miraculous.[ 90 ] She was barren.[ 91 ]
In prophecy, she was alluded to by Isaiah.
"Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry
aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of
the desolate than the children of the married woman," says the LORD (Isa
54:1; compare Ga 4:27).
Also received strength to conceive seed [received power to conceive, for the
conception of seed].[ 92 ] The Greek seems to indicate the depositing of the seed
in the womb rather than the conceiving of it. Among suggested solutions to the
problem is this rendering by F. F. Bruce:
By faith he [Abraham] also, together with Sarah, received power to beget
a child when he was past age, since he counted him faithful who had
promised.[ 93 ]
And she bore a child [and was delivered of a child]. Because "bore" or "was
delivered" is not in some manuscripts, it is omitted from some versions.[ 94 ]
However, there is little doubt that Sarah bore a child. The baby was "born of one
man" (verse 12). Sarah also had a part in it.
When she was past the age [even when she was past the age, and that beyond
a seasonable age].[ 95 ] The Holy Spirit implies that since Sarah was ninety, she
was a bit past child-bearing age.
Because she judged Him faithful [since she considered, counted, him
faithful]. Sarah was not an unbeliever. Although she laughed when the
announcement of a future birth was made to her, she "judged Him faithful" who
Who had promised [who promised]. It was God who made the promise of a
son to both Abraham and Sarah (Ge 17:15-22).
FROM ONE MAN WERE BORN MANY
11:12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many
as the stars of the sky in multitude-- innumerable as the sand which is by the
Therefore [wherefore also].[ 96 ] Most everyone have need of patience. Sarah
patiently waited for the fulfillment of God's promise. In another context, we read,
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and
it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it
will not tarry (Hab 2:3).
From one man [there sprang, sprang there even, there were, there have
been, of one].[ 97 ] Abraham waited for God's promise. "Who, contrary to hope,
in hope believed" (Ro 4:18). Isaac and many millions more descended from him.
And him as good as dead [and that of one become dead].[ 98 ] The phrase "as
good as" is thought by some to have been inserted here from Romans:
And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, EDE
already NENEKROOMENON[ 99 ] dead (since he was about a hundred years
old), and the NEKROOSIN deadness of Sarah's womb (Ro 4:19).
Were born as many [born, so many, so many as, were born descendants as
many].[ 100 ] through Isaac, Abraham became the progenitor of the nation of Israel,
both spiritually and physically. Many other tribes came to be through the
offspring of Ishmael and his Egyptian wife.[ 101 ]
DESCENDANTS OF ABRAHAM
1. Certain Moslems trace lineage through Hagar and
2. Jews claim Isaac as their ancestor.
3. Christians are Abraham's descendants in Christ, the
promised "seed" by faith and baptism into Him
As the stars of the sky in multitude [as the stars, descendants even as the
stars of heaven, of the heaven, in multitude]. God promised Abraham:
Blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your
descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the
seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies (Ge
Many years later, after the golden-calf incident in the wilderness, in prayer,
Moses reminded God saying,
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore
by Your own self, and said to them, "I will multiply your descendants as the
stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your
descendants, and they shall inherit it forever" (Ex 32:13)
Innumerable as the sand [and as the sand, innumerable, and as countless as
the sand, the countless sand, the innumerable grains of sand].[ 102 ] Jacob was
afraid of Esau. In prayer, like Moses, he reminded God of his promise, saying,
For You said, "I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as
the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude" (Ge 32:12;
compare Isa 10:22; Ro 9:27).
Which is by the seashore [by, which is along, the sea shore
innumerable].[ 103 ]
ALL DIED IN FAITH AS PILGRIMS
11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having
seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that
they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
These all died in faith [all these died in faith].[ 104 ] "These all" included
Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob. These all lived as strangers and exiles. The
NIV tells us they "were still living by faith when they died." The Greek has no
corresponding words for "were still living." The NIV translators, however, did
not want anyone to miss the point that when they died they "were still living!" Do
you suppose they were afraid some of us might think that they were already dead
when they died? To give the translators the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they
were only sincerely trying to emphasize the life-long faithfulness of those who
They died in faith because they had lived in faith. They died believing in the
same promises God gave to them. They died with the expectation of entering into
the heavenly country (compare Re 14:13).
Not having received the promises [not having received what was promised,
without having obtained the promises].[ 105 ]
Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say,
"And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is
Christ (Ga 3:16).
Did Abraham receive the promises or did he not? The solution to the seeming
difficulty is an understanding of language. The word "promises" is used in the
present verse as metonymy of the effect for the cause denoting "the things
promised." Abraham received the literal promises but did not receive their
fulfillment. None of the patriarchs named actually received, in the sense of
complete fulfillment and enjoyment, what was promised by the time they died (see
chart THE PROMISES; compare Heb 11:39).
During the lifetime of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the promises were not
significantly fulfilled. While in Canaan, their progeny were not very numerous.
They did not own land. The world was not yet extensively blessed by them. But
there was another aspect to the promises. In addition to the physical, earthly side,
there was the spiritual fulfillment. Abraham was father of two nations, one
physical and the other spiritual. In a small sense, the world was blessed by the
literal Jewish nation but in a very large sense it has been and is blessed by Christ
and the church, Abraham's spiritual seed.
1. Numerous offspring (Ge 13:16; 15:3-5; 17:2, 4;
2. Through Abraham and his seed all nations should be
blessed (Ge 12:3; 22:18).
3. To Abraham and his seed an everlasting inheritance
(Ge 12:7; 13:15; 15:18-21; 17:8).
4. That God would be the God of Abraham and his
seed (Ge 17:1-8).
But having seen them afar off [but having seen it, but they saw them, from
afar, from afar off, in the distance].
Were assured of them [and were persuaded of them, and welcomed]. The
words "were assured of them" may have been an interpolation.[ 106 ] Several
versions do not carry them.
Embraced them [and greeted, and embraced, them].[ 107 ] These OT heroes
believed strongly in God's promises. However, in many cases, during their
earthly lifetime they did not receive the fulfillment of them. As it were, they
looked, as through a telescope, into the distant hereafter and saluted or welcomed,
hailed or "embraced" their future realization.
And confessed [and professed, having confessed, acknowledged].[ 108 ] The
fact that the names "strangers, foreigners and pilgrims" were applied to these great
men by themselves is significant. They understood the transient nature of their
earthly sojourn and the eternal reliability and stability of their heavenly hope (see
chart PATRIARCHS WERE FOREIGNERS).
PATRIARCHS WERE FOREIGNERS
1. Abraham had to buy a burial site for Sarah
(Ge 23:4, 14-17).
2. Abraham's servant admitted he lived in the land of
the Canaanites (Ge 24:37).
3. To Jacob it was "the land in which you are a
stranger" (Ge 28:4; compare (Ge 47:9).
4. Even David said, "I am a stranger with You, a
sojourner, as all my fathers were (Ps 39:12;
compare 119:19, 54).
That they were strangers.[ 109 ] (see chart STRANGERS ON EARTH A and B).
In Israel, however, these "strangers" in Canaan had the covenants of promise.
They were later called the "commonwealth of Israel" (Eph 2:12).
STRANGERS ON EARTH (A)
1. Abraham to sons of Heth: I am a foreigner and a
sojourner among you (Ge 23:4).
2. Five of Joseph's brothers to Pharaoh: We have come
to dwell in the land (Ge 47:4).
3. Jacob added: The days of the years of my pilgrimage
are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil have
been the days of the years of my life (Ge 47:9).
4. God to Jews in Canaan: The land shall not be sold
permanently, for the land is Mine; for you
are strangers and sojourners with Me (Le 25:23).
STRANGERS ON EARTH (B)
1. On the day before Solomon was made king "the
second time," David prayed, "For we are aliens and
pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our
days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope"
2. He sang, "For I am a stranger with You, a sojourner,
as all my fathers were" (Ps 39:12).
3. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims,
abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul (1Pe 2:11).
And pilgrims on the earth [and exiles, sojourners, on the earth].[ 110 ] The
patriarchs were pilgrims,[ 111 ] "those who cross the field." Peter addressed his
readers as: "The pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia,
and Bithynia" (1Pe 1:1; compare 1:17; 2:11; Eph 1:19). In a sense, all Christians
are transients, pilgrims or passers through. They give more attention to the Lord
than to their possessions and property. Paul said:
So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body
we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight (2Co
Christians sing about the earth not being their permanent home.
This world is not my home, I'm just a passing thru.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.
SEEKING A HOMELAND
11:14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a
For those who say such things [for they, people, that say such things, who
speak thus]. People who make the profession like, "We are pilgrims," especially
when dying, imply that they are looking for a better place to live (heaven).
Declare plainly [make it manifest, clear, shew clearly]. [ 112 ] By their manner
of life, the patriarchs indicated that they were sojourners. They also acknowledged
it with their words.
That they seek a homeland [that they are seeking after a country of their
own, a country, their country].[ 113 ] The sojourner-patriarchs implied not only
that they were looking for a country, but one that was their own, a homeland.
Even when in Canaan, they declared the same thing. Three interpretations are
possible. (1) They were thinking of the country from whence they came. (2)
They were desiring Caanan as their homeland. (3) They had heaven in view. The
latter interpretation is the correct one (see verses 15, 16).
OPPORTUNITY TO RETURN
11:15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had
come out, they would have had opportunity to return.
And truly [and, and indeed]. The Holy Spirit reasons from information stated
in the present verse. He eliminates the possibility that the patriarchs were longing
to return to Ur of the Chaldees, their former country.
If they had called to mind [if they had been mindful, thinking,
remembering]. [ 114 ] Abraham left an idolatrous homeland.[ 115 ] He lived out his
life as a wanderer without a desire to return. Christians have renounced the world
for a heavenly citizenship. They should never look back (see Lu 9:62; compare
1Ki 19:20, 21).
That country from which they had come out [that, of that land, from
whence, they came out, went out, had gone out, had come from]. Abraham
left Ur for Canaan. Jacob and his sons left Canaan for Egypt. The Jews left
Egypt to sojourn in the wilderness. After the Israelites entered Canaan and dwelt
in cities, they were still sojourners (see chart STRANGERS ON EARTH A and
B).[ 116 ]
They would have had opportunity to return [they had had, might have had,
an opportunity to have returned].[ 117 ] Abraham did not want to return to Ur.
If he had done so, I think, he would have renounced not only his belief in God's
promises but his complete trust God. He certainly did not want Isaac to go back
there to live. He said to his servant, "Beware that you do not take my son back
there!" (Ge 24:6). It is true that Jacob went back to seek a wife. He served
fourteen years for two young women (Ge 29:15-30). After a time[ 118 ] the Lord
said to him, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be
with you" (Ge 31:3). Even if they did dwell in tents, Canaan was the land of his
To the readers of the Hebrew letter there is an implication that if they desired
they could return somewhere. They could have gone back into Judaism or into the
world. That is always an option, but it is a bad, mad and sad bargain. Do not
even consider it, please.
PATRIARCHS' DESIRE FOR A HEAVENLY COUNTRY
11:16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore
God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for
But now they desire [but, but as it is, they seek, were reaching out for].[ 119 ]
The direction of the patriarch's desire was not toward their old country, but toward
a new and better one (heaven).
A better [a better country].[ 120 ] The word "country" is supplied from verse 14.
The better country was not Chaldea from whence Abraham came. Neither was it
Canaan, which was a type of heaven.
That is, a heavenly country [that is, an heavenly, a heavenly one].[ 121 ] God's
people long for heaven. He unashamedly has prepared a city for them.
Therefore God is not ashamed [wherefore God is not ashamed of them].[ 122 ]
The Holy Spirit is gently leading the hearts of the readers to a longing for heaven.
Does He hint that God would be ashamed of them if they returned to Judaism?
God is not ashamed of those Christians who are not ashamed to confess Him (Mt
10:33; Mk 8:38; Lu 9:26; 12:9; 2Ti 2:12).
1. For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this
adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of
Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the
glory of His Father with the holy angels (Mk 8:38).
2. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ (Ro 1:16).
3. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our
Lord, nor of me His prisoner (2Ti 1:8).
4. The Lord grant mercy to the household of
Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not
ashamed of my chain (2Ti 1:16).
5. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being
sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not
ashamed to call them brethren (Heb 2:11).
To be called their God.[ 123 ] At the burning bush God called Himself "the God
of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Ex 3:6; compare Mt 22:31,
32; Mk 12:26; Lu 20:37). He again acknowledged Himself to be "The LORD
God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob" (Ex 3:15). Once more, "The LORD God of their fathers, the God of
Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Ex 4:5). Moses and Aaron
called Him "the God of the Hebrews" (Ex 5:3; 7:16; 9:1, 13; 10:3). This was in
accordance with God's instructions (see Ex 3:13, 18). To Moses, He said:
And God spoke to Moses and said to him: "I am the LORD. 3 I appeared
to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty,[ 124 ] but by My name,
LORD,[ 125 ] I was not known to them (Ex 6:2, 3).
THINGS DIVINELY PREPARED (A)
1. But to sit on My right hand and on My left is not
Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is
prepared by My Father (Mt 20:23).
2. The kingdom prepared for you (Mt 25:34).
3. Eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels
THINGS DIVINELY PREPARED (B)
1. Simeon's prayer about salvation in Christ: "Which
You have prepared before the face of all peoples"
2. I go to prepare a place for you (Joh 14:2).
3. Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered
into the heart of man the things which God has
prepared for those who love Him (1Co 2:9).
4. He has prepared a city for them (Heb 11:16).
For He has prepared a city for them [for he hath prepared for them a
city][ 126 ] (see notes on Heb 6:15; 11:10; charts THINGS DIVINELY PREPARED
A and B). Perhaps a word about hermeneutics would be appropriate here. The
preparation of the city is spoken of as if it had already happened. Yet, Jesus said
he was going to prepare a place (Joh 14:2; compare Mt 8:11; Lu 13:28, 29). It
is often the case as prophets describe a future event that they state it as having
already occurred. They use the past tense in the sense that a future event is so
definite that, to God and the faithful, it is as absolutely certain as if it had already
come to pass. An example of this may be seen in Hosea 11:1.
ISAAC A TYPE OF CHRIST (A)
1. Birth was promised (Jesus was prophesied).
2. Miraculous birth (Jesus born of virgin).
3. "Only begotten" (Heb 11:17; Joh 3:16).
4. Consented to be sacrificed (see Ga 1:4).
5. Isaac carried wood (Jesus bore the cross).
6. Both offered on Mount Moriah (see Clarke 1.138).
ISAAC A TYPE OF CHRIST (B)
1. In the prime of life.
2. Three days and three nights from the command to
sacrifice Isaac until he was offered.
3. Received back from "death" (resurrection).
4. Isaac, a model of affection for Rebekah (Christ's love
for the church.
5. Descendants became a great nation (great church
BY FAITH ABRAHAM OFFERED ISAAC
11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he
who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom
it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," 19 concluding that God was
able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in
a figurative sense.
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac [by faith Abraham,
being tried, when, when he was, tried, offered up Isaac as a sacrifice].[ 127 ]
Faith comes from hearing God's word (Ro 10:17). Abraham believed God what
God had told him (Ro 4:3). In order to test Abraham, God told him to offer
Isaac. He believed that God would restore Isaac to life (Heb 11:19).
Now it came to pass after these things that God tested[ 128 ] Abraham, and
said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am" (Ge 22:1).
1. Commanded to leave his home in Ur.
2. Commanded to go to an unknown, foreign land.
3. A long wait for Isaac's birth.
4. Commanded to send Ishmael and Hagar away.
5. Commanded to offer Isaac.
The Greek perfect tense for "offered" denotes the present state resultant upon a
past action.[ 129 ] Abraham was tested by the command to offer Isaac. Did he
actually offer him up? Yes, he did, although he did not kill him. He was not "un-offered" when the angel stopped the slaying. James uses the occasion of
Abraham's testing to show how works of faith were a factor in his being justified
(see Jas 2:22-24)
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he ANENENKAS[ 130 ]
offered Isaac his son on the altar? (Jas 2:21).
And he who had received the promises [yea, he that, and he that, even he
who, had gladly received, received to himself, the promises].[ 131 ] The Greek
ANADEXAMENOS received is rich in meaning. It implies that Abraham had
received, accepted, welcomed and gladly entertained the promises. He accepted
them with responsibility. His excellent attitude toward God's promises made the
offering of Isaac exceptional, singular and special.
EVENTS IN ISAAC'S LIFE
1. Circumcised (Ge 21:4)
2. Weaned (Ge 21:8)
3. Offered (Ge 22:1-13)
4. Married (Ge 25:20)
5. Fathered twins (Ge 25:26)
6. His father died (Ge 25:7-9)
7. Isaac died (Ge 35:28)
Offered up [offered, was offering up, was ready to offer up].[ 132 ] The NEB
translators tried to capture the meaning of the imperfect tense by saying that
Abraham "was on the point of offering his only son." Williams renders it, "was
starting to offer as a sacrifice his only son." In service to God, Abraham was
preparing to give up what was, to him, most treasured and cherished. He valued
one thing more--the word of God!
His only begotten son [his only son].[ 133 ] Isaac was the only one accepted by
God to be heir. Isaac, age 25,[ 134 ] was unusual and exceptional. Both Hebrews
11:17 and Josephus[ 135 ] call him "only begotten son." Coffman wrote that Isaac
was "called here his `only begotten son' (which he was, as far as children by his
legitimate wife were concerned)."[ 136 ] He was unique, beloved and only.
Through him alone were the promises to be fulfilled.
[11:18] Of whom it was said [to, as to, even he to, whom, it had been
said].[ 137 ] Lest I be over-critical, let it be known that I am satisfied with the
rendering of the NIV here: "even though God had said to him."
In Isaac your seed shall be called [through Isaac, that in Isaac, shall thy
seed, shall your descendants, be named]. Before offering Isaac, Abraham had
been troubled about his sons. Was he afraid Ishmael would harm, or possibly kill,
Isaac? He had to send Hagar and Ishmael away.
But God said to Abraham, "Do not let it be displeasing in your sight
because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said
to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called" (Ge 21:12;
compare Ro 10:7).
Abraham had some thinking to do. If he had been like Cain, he might have
considered making some other offering not by faith. Why not offer the fruit of the
ground instead? Why not offer Ishmael or some other young man? He did not
think very long. He knew that when God's ways seem to contradict, obedience
to His plain commands is always the best course. Abraham would do nothing less.
He would obey God.
ABRAHAM CONSIDERED GOD WOULD RAISE THE DEAD
[11:19] Concluding [accounting, he considered, counting, accounted].[ 138 ]
There was plenty of time to reflect during the forty-two mile trek from Beersheba
to Mount Moriah. What kind of turmoil was in Abraham's heart of hearts when
he prepared to offer his own son? We can only imagine what his emotions were
like. The Scriptures do not describe it. Insofar as they are concerned, because
of his faith, there might have been perfect calm.
Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off
Did Abraham also see far into the distant future, by the eye of faith, another
sacrifice on a hill outside of the city of Jerusalem (see Joh 8:56)?
That God was able [that God is able]. Abraham knew of God's power in
creation, in the flood, in scattering the peoples from Babel, in the destruction of
Sodom and making alive Sarah's womb. He considered that such a powerful
Being should be able to enliven a corpse. To him, as long as there was at least
one reasonable explanation there was no contradiction in what God had said. He
came up with a "reasonable" answer. He prepared to leave with Isaac.
And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad
and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you" (Ge
Note the plural "we." Abraham had concluded, howbeit erroneously, that, after
he had slain Isaac, God would immediately raise him[ 139 ] and both he and Isaac
would return! That is, they would both return after they both worshipped God.
To raise him up, even from the dead [to raise up, to raise men, to raise him,
even to raise him, even from among the dead]. Without ever witnessing such
a thing, Abraham believed that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead. He
believed that God, who could enliven the "deadness of Sarah's womb" and give
a baby to parents "as good as dead," could enliven (raise) Isaac after he was slain.
(As it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations") in the
presence of Him whom he believed-- God, who gives life to the dead and
calls those things which do not exist as though they did (Ro 4:17).
However, Abraham's faith had not always been so strong. At least twice, he had
insisted that Sarah present herself to others as his unmarried sister so that his own
life would be spared (see Ge 12:12, 13; 20:2, 5, 10-13). God's patience with him
is an encouragement to those of us who are, at times, somewhat weak in the faith.
From which [whence, from whence, hence].[ 140 ]
He also received him [he, also he, received him, he did, he did also, receive
him back].[ 141 ] The present infinitive[ 142 ] implies Abraham's continuous faith that
God could raise the dead.[ 143 ]
In a figurative sense [in a figure, figuratively speaking].[ 144 ] Abraham
intended to sacrifice his son, literally. When the angel stopped the slaughter, Isaac
was, as far as Abraham's thoughts were concerned, received back from the dead.
A ram caught in the thicket was placed on the altar in his stead. The receiving
back Isaac from "the dead" foreshadows the resurrection of Christ. The slaying
of the ram looked toward His death in our place. Jesus said,
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad
In addition to foreseeing the blessings of Christ in the promises of God, did
Abraham see, in the sacrifice of Isaac, a prefigurement of the future death and
resurrection of the Son of God?
BY FAITH ISAAC BLESSED JACOB AND ESAU
11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau [by faith Isaac invoked on Jacob and
Esau blessings].[ 145 ]
Concerning things to come [even concerning things to be, future].[ 146 ] Isaac
blessed both of his sons by faith. Jacob was dressed with kid skins on his hands
and neck. Isaac blessed him anyway, saying, in part:
Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your
brethren, and let your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone
who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you! (Ge 27:29).
After Esau came in and discovered the deception, Isaac blessed him also:
Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: "Behold, your dwelling
shall be of the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above.
40 By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; and it
shall come to pass, When you become restless, that you shall break his yoke
from your neck" (Ge 27:39, 40).
ESAU TO SERVE JACOB
(Heb 11:20; Ge 27:26-40)
1. Kings reigned in land of Edom before a king reigned
over Israel (Ge 36:31).
2. While Israel was in Egyptian bondage Edom was a
3. Saul conquered Edomites (1Sa 14:47; 2Sa 8:14;
compare 1Ki 11:14; 2Ki 14:7, 22; 2Ch 28:7).
4. Judas Maccabaeus frequently defeated Edomites
(1Mac 5; 2Mac 10).
5. Hyrcanus completely conquered Edomites, had them
circumcised and incorporated into Jewish nation
(Josephus, Antiquities 13.9.1).
6. Under Antipater and Herod, established Idumean
JACOB BLESSED EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH
11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph,
and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
By faith Jacob when he was dying [by faith Jacob, when dying, when he was
a dying].[ 147 ]
Blessed each of the sons of Joseph [blessed both the sons of Joseph].[ 148 ]
Jacob, "knowingly" or "wittingly" laid his right hand on younger Ephraim's head,
saying to Joseph, "I know, my son, I know" (Ge 48:14, 19). He blessed the two
sons, placing the younger Ephraim before Manasseh (Ge 48:20).
And worshiped [in worship].[ 149 ] Jacob was dying with his mind focused on
the future that was promised by God. He worshipped. He made Joseph promise
to carry his remains out of Egypt where he had lived seventeen years.
Then he said, "Swear to me." And he swore to him. So Israel bowed
himself on the head of the bed (Ge 47:31).
Leaning on the top of his staff [on, leaning upon, bowing over, the head of
his staff].[ 150 ] Some versions say that Jacob boweed upon the head of his bed.
The difference in translations is due to the erroneous work of those preparing the
Masoretic text.[ 151 ] The Holy Spirit inspired the Hebrew writer correctly (see 1Co
2:13). Joseph worshiped leaning on the top of his staff. Jacob chose to count
(adopt) Joseph's two sons as his own. In this way, Ephraim and Manasseh became
patriarchs along with Jacob's other sons (Ge 48:5). He called upon "the angel
who has redeemed me from all evil" to bless them (Ge 48:16).
THE EXODUS FORESEEN BY JOSEPH
11:22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of
the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.
By faith Joseph when he was dying [by faith Joseph when dying, when he
died, when his end was nigh, at the end, at the end of his life].[ 152 ] Joseph was
the third generation from Abraham. He expected the exodus from Egypt to occur
during the lifetime of his sons, which it did. In his old age, Jacob became
sick[ 153 ] (Ge 48:1).
Made mention of [called to mind].[ 154 ] Just before Joseph breathed his last,
he remembered the land promise made to Abraham (see Ge 12:7; 13:15; 15:7).
Specifically, he must have recalled what God had said to his great-grandfather
But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the
Amorites is not yet complete (Ge 15:16; see chart JOSEPH
[SOME OR ALL OF THESE]
1. The promise of "this land" to Abraham's
descendants (Ge 12:7).
2. The promise to Abraham and his descendants of "all
the land which you see" (Ge 13:15).
3. Abraham's descendants to be enslaved 400 years
(Ge 15:13, 14).
4. But in the fourth generation they shall return here
5. The promise of land "To your descendants I have
given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great
river, the River Euphrates" (Ge 15:18).
The departure of the children of Israel [the exodus, the departing, the going
forth, of the Israelites, the sons of Israel]. [ 155 ] Jacob also trusted the promises
God made to Abraham. Jacob had the promised exodus in mind when he said to
Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you and bring you back to the
land of your fathers (Ge 48:21).
GOD'S CHOSEN PEOPLE
1. People of Israel (Ac 13:24).
2. Israel according to the flesh (1Co 10:18).
3. Israel of God (Ga 6:16).
4. Commonwealth of Israel (Eph 2:12).
5. Stock of Israel (Php 3:5).
6. House of Israel (Heb 8:8, 10).
7. Children of Israel (Heb 11:22).
And gave instructions concerning his bones [and gave commandment,
directions, relating to his burial].[ 156 ] While dying in Egypt, Jacob asked to be
buried with his fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the
cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of
Canaan" (Ge 49:29, 30).
Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, "God will
surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here." 26
Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him,
and he was put in a coffin in Egypt (Ge 50:25, 26).
FIVE ACTS OF FAITH
1. Moses' parents hid him (Heb 11:23).
2. He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's
daughter (Heb 11:24, 25).
3. He left Egypt (Heb 11:27).
4. He kept the Passover (Heb 11:28).
5. Passed through the Red Sea (Heb 11:29).
FAITH OF MOSES' PARENTS
11:23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his
parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid
of the king's command.
By faith Moses when he was born [by faith Moses being born, after he was
born, when Moses was born]. The concise story of Moses' birth is beautifully
told in Exodus 2:1-3.
Was hidden three months by his parents [was hid for three months of his
parents].[ 157 ]
Because they saw he was a beautiful child [for they saw he was a goodly, a
proper child, the child, that the child was, beautiful].[ 158 ] Little Moses was
stunningly handsome. He was "exceeding fair" (Ac 7:20 ASV), "lovely" (NASB,
NAU), "beautiful" (RSV), "very beautiful" (TEV).
So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a
beautiful child, she hid him three months (Ex 2:2).
At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was
brought up in his father's house for three months (Ac 7:20).
According to Josephus:
Now Moses's understanding became superior to his age, nay, far beyond
that standard; and when he was taught, he discovered greater quickness of
apprehension than was usual at his age, and his actions at that time promised
greater, when he should come to the age of a man. God did also give him
that tallness, when he was but three years old, as was wonderful. And as
for his beauty, there was nobody so unpolite as, when they saw Moses, they
were not greatly surprised at the beauty of his countenance; nay, it happened
frequently, that those that met him as he was carried along the road, were
obliged to turn again upon seeing the child; that they left what they were
about, and stood still a great while to look on him; for the beauty of the
child was so remarkable and natural to him on many accounts, that it
detained the spectators, and made them stay longer to look upon him.[ 159 ]
And they were not afraid [and they did not fear].[ 160 ] Faith, like love, stills
fear (1Jo 4:18).
Of the king's command [of the king's commandment, edict, the injunction
of the king].[ 161 ] King Pharaoh had commanded the Hebrew midwives[ 162 ] to put
the boy babies to death. He had decreed that all the males be killed at birth by the
midwives (Ex 1:16). After that plan failed, an order was given to the Egyptian
people that also failed, at least in the case of Moses.
So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, "Every son who is born you
shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive" (Ex 1:22).
BY FAITH MOSES CHOSE TO ENDURE ILL-TREATMENT
11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son
of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people
of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach
of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the
By faith Moses when he became of age [by faith Moses, when he was grown,
grown up, come to years, had become great].[ 163 ] Pharaoh's daughter
Thermuthis[ 164 ] took baby Moses for her own child.
And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he
became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, "Because I drew
him out of the water" (Ex 2:10). Now it came about in those days, when
Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their
hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren
(Ex 2:10, 11).
When Moses slew the Egyption he was then approaching age forty (Ac 7:23).
1. Moses refused royal adoption to be called the
son of Pharaoh's daughter (Heb 11:24).
2. David refused Saul's royal armor (1Sa 17:39).
3. Daniel refused the king's royal meat and wine
4. Jesus refused popular efforts to make him an earthly
king (Joh 6:15).
(Adapted from Coffman 288)
Refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter [refused to be known as
son of Pharaoh's daughter]. Josephus[ 165 ] recounts the tale of infant Moses
being brought before the king by Thermuthis (or Tharmuth).[ 166 ] When Pharaoh's
crown was placed upon his head, he threw it down and trampled it under foot.
This story of the infant Moses is not what the Hebrew writer alludes to. His
refusal came when he had grown up. Becoming of age was probably age forty.
Moses did not have to make a formal announcement that he refused to be called
the son of Pharaoh's daughter. When he chose his own people against the
Egyptians and slew an Egyptian to protect a Hebrew slave, that was sufficient (see
Ex 2:11, 12; Ac 7:24). James Burton Coffman pointed out several royal refusals
in the Bible (see chart ROYAL REFUSALS). Like Jesus, any crown the world
might offer, Christians should prefer the "incorruptible" crown (1Co 9:25), the
crown "of righteousness" (2Ti 4:8), the crown "of glory" (1Pe 5:4), and the crown
"of life" (Re 2:10).[ 167 ]
Sometimes Christians are ridiculed because they say no to temptation when, in
reality, it takes more strength to refuse than to go along with the crowd (see chart
1. Refusal to be fashioned according to the world
2. Refusal to be enamored by the wisdom of the world
3. Refusal to become spotted by the world (Jas 1:27).
4. Refusal to become a friend of the world (Jas 4:4).
5. Refusal to look upon the world as other than evil
(Adapted from Coffman 289)
[11:25] Choosing rather to suffer affliction with [choosing rather to share ill-treatment along with].[ 168 ] Notice that Moses made both a negative choice (he
refused) as well as a positive one (he chose rather). Every person has the power
of choice to refuse evil and do good. He must deny self and dedicate himself to
God (see Ex 32:26; De 30:19; Jos 24:15; Ru 1:16; 1Ki 3:9; 18:21; Ps 119:30,
173; Mi 4:5; Lu 10:42). If he does not, he chooses the broad road of sin that
leads to destruction.
The people of God. The Egyptians were idolaters. The Israelites, the people
of God were down-trodden slaves who desired to worship the true God and no
other (see chart PEOPLE OF GOD). God was not ashamed to be called the God
of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (see note on verse 16). He was the God of Moses
and the Israelites as well. They were His people.
PEOPLE OF GOD
1. A special treasure to Me above all people
(Ex 19:5; De 7:6).
2. He will set you high above all nations which He
has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and
that you may be a holy people to the LORD your
God, just as He has spoken (De 26:19).
3. But He made His own people go forth like sheep,
and guided them in the wilderness like a flock
4. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture
Than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin [than to have the pleasure, of the
pleasures, the fleeting pleasures, the temporary pleasure of sin, for a
season].[ 169 ] Pleasures of sin are temporary (see chart SHORT-LIVED
PLEASURES OF SIN). Sin is fun. Some people find pleasure by committing
murder or stealing. Illicit sex and gluttony may bring about gratification. Alcohol
and illegal drugs provide temporary escape from life's problems. Involvement in
covetousness, entertainment and ease offer diversion to some.
SHORT-LIVED PLEASURES OF SIN
1. He who loves pleasure will be a poor man
2. Therefore hear this now, you who are given to
pleasures, who dwell securely . . . these two
things shall come to you in a moment, in one day:
the loss of children, and widowhood (Isa 47:8, 9).
3. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many
goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat,
drink, and be merry." But God said to him, "Fool!
This night your soul will be required of you; then
whose will those things be which you have
provided? (Lu 12:19, 20).
[11:26] Esteeming the reproach of Christ [considering, accounting, he
considered, abuse suffered for the Christ].[ 170 ] Reproach followed Christ
everywhere He went.
For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "The reproaches
of those who reproached You fell on Me" (Ro 15:3; Ps 69:9).
Moses, like Jesus, endured criticism and disgrace from both the Israelites and the
Egyptians. There he sided with a depressed minority with no "civil rights."
David too suffered reproach.
Remember, Lord, the reproach of Your servants-- how I bear in my bosom
the reproach of all the many peoples, 51 With which Your enemies have
reproached, O LORD, with which they have reproached the footsteps of
Your anointed (Ps 89:50, 51).
In a passage with initial reference to the Israelites, Isaiah looked ahead toward
In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved
them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and
carried them all the days of old (Isa 63:9).
Before obeying the gospel, as Paul persecuted the church, he was persecuting
Christ (see notes on Ac 9:4; Ga 1:13, 23). When one suffers with the Lord's
people, he suffers with Christ. The fellowship of Christ's sufferings extends to
modern sufferers. It also reaches backward to Moses and others.
REPROACH OF CHRIST (A)
1. The same kind of reproach that Christ suffered.
2. Reproach suffered for faith in Christ.
3. The reproach that fell on Moses as the type of
4. The reproach Christ had to bear in His own person
and in the person of every believer.
5. Sufferings of Christ ours in abundance (2Co 1:5).
(Adapted from Coffman 290).
REPROACH OF CHRIST (B)
1. Carrying in the body the dying of Jesus; death for
Jesus' sake (2Co 4:10, 11; 2Co 11:23-27).
2. Fellowship of His sufferings; conformed to His death
3. On behalf of His body, the church (Col 1:24;
compare 1Pe 4:14).
4. His prisoner, suffering for gospel (2Ti 1:8;
5. Outside camp, bearing His reproach (Heb 13:13).
Greater riches [greater wealth]. (see chart RICHES IN CHRIST).
RICHES IN CHRIST
1. Heavenly inheritance (Ro 8:17).
2. All spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3).
3. Redemption through blood of Christ "according to
the riches of His grace" (Eph 1:7).
4. Riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints
5. Unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph 3:8).
6. Rich in faith, heirs of the kingdom (Jas 2:5).
7. Fellowship (1Jo 1:7).
Than the treasures in Egypt [than the treasures of Egypt]. Since the wealth
of Christ is not taken as literal wealth, probably the treasures of Egypt figuratively
encompass power, recognition as well as riches and pleasure.
For he looked [for he had respect, was looking].[ 171 ] To Christians who may
be tempted to turn away from Christ, the example of Moses reassures and inspires
hope. He Moses was not looking for temporary pleasures, riches or power. He
was looking heavenward. Christians, likewise, should keep looking toward
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things
above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden
with Christ in God (Col 3:1-3).
Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward (Heb
To the reward [unto, for, the recompense, recompense of reward].[ 172 ] The
reward for Christians consists of "the promise" or "what was promised" (Heb
10:36). "Now the just shall live by faith" (Heb 10:38). It is "to the saving of the
soul" (Heb 10:39). The reward is unseen things "hoped for" (Heb 11:1). God is
"a rewarder of those who diligently seek him" (Heb 11:6). "He has prepared a
city for them" (Heb 11:16).MOSES LEFT EGYPT
11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he
endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
By faith he forsook Egypt [by faith he left Egypt].[ 173 ] By faith Moses fled
after he slew an Egyptian (Ex 2:15). It has become necessary for saints in various
ages of the world to forsake home, relatives or a comfortable position. Jesus
encourages those who make such sacrifices.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother
or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a
hundredfold, and inherit eternal life (Mt 19:29).
Peter, James and John "APHENTES[ 174 ] PANTA left everything and followed"
Jesus (Lu 5:11; compare Mt 4:20, 22; Mk 1:18, 20). Matthew "KATALIPOON
PANTA left all, rose up and followed Him" (Lu 5:28).
Not fearing the wrath of the king [not being afraid of the anger of the
king].[ 175 ] Moses' parents believed in God. They were not afraid of the king's
commandment (verse 23). Moses likewise trusted God. Yet he was not
foolhardy. After all, Pharaoh had tried to kill him (Ex 2:15). Josephus has him
fleeing Egypt across little-travelled fields and deserts. He evaded the watchmen
on the roads. He did not leave Egypt permanently. When he returned to liberate
the Israelite slaves, he and Aaron marched right in before Pharaoh[ 176 ] with the
word of the Lord who demanded, "Let My people go!" (Ex 5:1).
For he endured [for he persevered, endured patiently].[ 177 ]. When Moses
was fleeing Egypt, he pressed on with little or no food and water.[ 178 ] The same
resolute determination characterized him when he led the Israelites out of Egypt
and throughout the wilderness wandering. He persevered throughout his life
because his eyes were fixed on heaven.
As seeing Him who is invisible [as seeing him who is unseen].[ 179 ] Some may
trust only what they can see, taste, touch and feel. Moses paid more attention to
the invisible King of kings than to the visible ruler of Egypt.[ 180 ] He was
confident that God's plan would succeed and that Pharaoh's would be defeated.
Like him, our faith must be in Him who is unseen.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation (Col
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be
honor and glory forever and ever. Amen (1Ti 1:17).
MOSES KEPT THE PASSOVER
11:28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who
destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
By faith he kept the Passover [through faith he celebrated the passover].[ 181 ]
It was "the LORD'S Passover" (Ex 12:11). Moses instituted it. He kept it
himself. The Greek perfect tense implies present state resultant from past action.
It was to be kept until its fulfillment in Christ. Apparently it was still being kept
by the Jews when the book of Hebrews was being written.
And the sprinkling of blood [and the sprinkling of, and sprinkled, the
blood].[ 182 ] The reference here is to the blood sprinkled on the lintel and door-posts to protect the firstborn from death (Ex 12:7, 22). This was the beginning
of several other sprinklings of blood. After the tabernacle was erected, Moses
sprinkled blood of young bulls on the altar (Ex 24:6). Blood of a slain ram was
sprinkled around on the altar (Ex 29:16). Aaron and his sons were to sprinkle the
blood of a young bull around on the altar (Le 1:5); the same with blood of sheep
or goats (Le 1:11; compare Le 3:2, 8, 13).
Lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them [that, so that, the
Destroyer of, the one destroying, he that destroyed, the firstborn should not,
might not, touch them].[ 183 ] With reference to the Passover in Egypt, the
sprinkling of blood was for the purpose of preventing the destroyer from slaying
the first-born of the children of Israel.
ISRAELITES PASSED THROUGH THE SEA
11:29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the
Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.
By faith they passed through [by faith the people crossed]. [ 184 ] The children
of Israel left Rameses for Succoth, then Etham, then Pihahiroth and then to the
shore of the Red Sea (Ex 13:20; 14:2). They were uneasy with Pharaoh's army
approaching (Ex 14:9, 10). Moses' faith was shown by his speech to the
And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the
salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the
Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The
LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace" (Ex 14:13, 14).
The LORD responded to Moses, urging them all to action:
And the LORD said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children
of Israel to go forward" (Ex 14:15).
So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground,
and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left (Ex
This they did by faith! Their obedience resulted from their belief.
Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the
people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses
Robert Milligan saw in this event a contrast between faith and infidelity.
Here we have a very striking and impressive illustration of the power and
saving efficacy of faith, on the one hand; and also of the ruinous effects of
infidelity on the other. It was their belief in God and in His word that saved
the Israelites, and it was the unbelief and persistent disobedience of the
Egyptians that brought on their ruin.[ 185 ]
The Red Sea.[ 186 ] Moses called the Red Sea "the sea" (Ex 14:2, 9, 16, 21, 26,
27, 28; 15:4, 8, 10, 19; compare Ps 78:53). Miriam, likewise called it "the sea"
(Ex 15:21). In his song of deliverance, Moses said, "And the choicest of his
officers are drowned in the Red Sea" (Ex 15:4; compare Ex 15:22).
As by dry land [as if on, as by, as through, dry ground].[ 187 ] The waters
were dried up where the Israelites crossed the Red Sea.
Are You not the One who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep;
that made the depths of the sea a road for the redeemed to cross over? (Isa
Whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so [while, which, of which, but, the
Egyptians assaying to do, when they attempted to do the same, in attempting,
having made trial].[ 188 ] "Assaying" (KJV) is used in the archaic sense of trying
Were drowned [were swallowed up].[ 189 ] The Egyptians chased after the
Israelites "into the midst of the sea" (Ex 14:23).
Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the
army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of
them remained (Ex 14:28).
They were "drowned," literally, "sunk" (Ex 15:4). "The sea overwhelmed their
enemies" (Ps 78:53). "The waters covered their enemies; there was not one of
them left" (Ps 106:11).
WALLS OF JERICHO
11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down [by faith the walls of Jericho fell].[ 190 ]
Before the conquest of Jericho, strange things happened. The Israelites conducted
a massive circumcision with flint knives. They waited around camp until they
were healed (Jos 5:2, 3, 8). Manna ceased on the day after the Israelites had eaten
some of the produce of the land (Jos 5:12). A man was seen standing opposite
Joshua with his sword drawn. Joshua went to him and asked:
"Are You for us or for our adversaries?" 14 So He said, "No, but as
Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." And Joshua fell
on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, "What does my
Lord say to His servant?" (Jos 5:13, 14).
I would that more Christians had the same kind of trust in God's instructions that
Joshua had. They need to ask, "What does the Lord have to say to His servants?"
The Lord's servant gave Joshua instructions of how to take the city of Jericho.
The people were to march around it thirteen times,[ 191 ] after which the walls fell
It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and
when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with
a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people
shall go up every man straight before him (Jos 6:5).
So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened
when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted
with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into
the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city (Jos 6:20).
Everyone who followed God's instructions in taking Jericho did so by faith, by
obedient faith. The city of Jericho was taken without using ordinary armaments,
war machines or battle techniques. Neither are weapons of the Christian of the
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling
down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that
exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into
captivity to the obedience of Christ (2Co 10:4, 5).
In April 1993, this writer personally stood on the mound of ancient Jericho with
J. Curtis Manor, who had made at least eight trips to Palestine. He pointed out
to me the charred ruins in the depth of the dig that he believed to be remains of
the destroyed city of Joshua's time. He related to me work done by John Garstang
from 1930 to 1936. Garstang reported that he had found "city D" (Joshua's
Jericho) and itemized his evidence carefully. Later (1952-1957), Kathleen Kenyon
spent time at Jericho. Mr. Manor tended to agree with Professor Garstang and did
not seem at all surprised that Miss Kenyon would attempt to debunk all of the
Professor's conclusions.[ 192 ]
After they were encircled for seven days [having been encircled, after they
had been compassed about, seven days].[ 193 ] The story of their seven day march
is told in Joshua 6:11-15. The walls fell down just as the Lord had promised.
They fell because of the obedient faith of Joshua and the Israelites.
RAHAB THE HARLOT
11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not
believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
By faith the harlot Rahab [by faith Rahab the harlot].[ 194 ] Joshua had sent
only two spies on a mission to spy out the land of Canaan (Jos 2:1).[ 195 ] They
lodged in the house of Rahab.[ 196 ] She hid the men on her roof top under the
stalks of flax she had drying there.
Did not perish with those who did not believe [perished not with, along with,
them that were disobedient, that believed not, the unbelieving].[ 197 ] Joshua's
Now the city shall be doomed by the LORD to destruction, it and all who
are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in
the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent (Jos 6:17; see also
Jericho was destroyed because of their disobedience to God's will. For the same
reason Babylon, Nineveh, Tyre and Jerusalem were destroyed.
Rahab, in a sense, became a prophetess because the scarlet cord hanging from
her window prefigured the blood of Christ. Rahab was evangelistic in that she
invited her family and relatives into her house. Do you suppose that during the
seven-day march she was she jittery? When the walls began to crumble on day
seven, did she consider escaping from her house? So far as the inspired record is
concerned, she had no fears whatsoever. She acted by faith and was spared the
destruction of the wicked city of Jericho.
Rahab said to the spies:
I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has
fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because
of you. 10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the
Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two
kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and
Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we heard these things,
our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone
because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and
on earth beneath (Jos 2:9-11).
Rahab was saved because of her faith in the God of Israel, but not without
obedience. The spies promised her safety if she would not betray them (Jos 2:14).
As a sign, she was to tie a scarlet cord in her window.
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works[ 198 ] when she
received the messengers and sent them out another way? (Jas 2:25).
Rahab was a Gentile. She later married Salmon, a Jewish prince, whom some
think may have been one of the spies. They named their baby Boaz. Their names
appear in the lineage of our Lord. "
Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse
(Mt 1:5; compare Ru 4:20, 21; 1Ch 2:11; Lu 3:32).
Boaz married Ruth and together they became the great-grandparents of King
David. Yes, she had been a harlot but was forgiven for that. Jesus once said,
Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of
God before you (Mt 21:31).
When she had received the spies [having received, after she had received,
because she had given welcome to, the spies].[ 199 ] Rahab was not coerced into
taking the spies into her home. She did so deliberately.
With peace [friendly, in peace].[ 200 ] To her credit, Rahab felt no animosity
toward the foreigners representing the enemy who came to her city as spies.
THE FAITH OF JUDGES, SAMUEL AND DAVID
11:32-34 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of
Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and
the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness,
obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of
fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong,
became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
And what more shall I say? [and what more do I say, shall I more say?].
Verse 32 marks a time for thinking. The question sounds like that of an orator or
an experienced writer. It probably was not intended for effect but to indicate to
readers that the information given so far was complete enough to convince anyone
except the most obstinate rebels. The reader had enough material to contemplate.
Sufficient reasons had been given for them to remain faithful and not return to
Judaism or to the world. In spite of that, the Holy Spirit adds a little more
information to reach even more of them.
For the time would fail me to tell [for time will fail me telling, if I tell].[ 201 ]
The time allotted by the Holy Spirit for the writing of this type of exhortation was
drawing to a close.
Of Gideon. The writer does not place these men in chronological or alphabetical
order. Some may be out of sequence because of prominence. Included are King
David "and the prophets" along with a list of four judges beginning with
Gideon[ 202 ] whose other name was Jerubbaal,[ 203 ] given because he tore down the
altar of Baal (Jg 6:28-32). He asked God for two signs that had to do with dew
on wool fleece. First, he asked for dew to be on the fleece only. After that
happened, in order to be doubly sure, he asked for dew to be on everything but
the fleece. When that occurred, he was sure God was with him (Jg 6:36-40). At
the spring of Harod,[ 204 ] with cool, clear water gushing from it, God trimmed
down the size of his army from 32,000 to 300 by the "water test" (Jg 7:1-7).
With God on their side, 300 remaining men with trumpets, pitchers and torches
defeated the Midianites (Jg 7:19-22).
And Barak [Barak, and of Barak].[ 205 ] Was what Barak did logical? Why did
he refuse to go to battle unless Deborah[ 206 ] the prophetess was with him (Jg 4:4,
8)? How could this be considered to be faith? His faith was demonstrated in that
he realized he could not successfully fight without God on his side--and Deborah
was a prophetess of God. She told him that he would not be glorified in battle (Jg
4:9). Even with knowledge that the Lord would deliver Sisera into the hands of a
woman, he fought anyway in order to glorify God. He mustered 10,000 troops
but Sisera had 900 chariots of iron[ 207 ] (Jg 4:13). Barak and his men camped on
the slopes of Mount Tabor, a difficult position for chariots to attack. During the
ensuing battle, a rainstorm helped Israel by softening the earth so the chariot
wheels mired down.[ 208 ] Sisera fled his chariot on foot. He stopped for rest and
water in Jael's tent. She gave him milk and the tired soldier went right to sleep.
With a hammer she drove a large tent peg through his temples so that he died (Jg
And Samson [Samson, and of Samson].[ 209 ] Samson's colorful life is presented
with a backdrop of recognition of the Lord as sovereign and himself as God's
instrument (see Jg 14:4).
And Jephthah [Jephthah, and of Jephthae].[ 210 ] Jephthah was a valiant
warrior but he was the son of a harlot (Jg 11:1, 14-27, 29; 12:7).
Also of David [David, of David, of David also].[ 211 ] David was a man after
God's own heart (1Sa 13:14; Ps 89:20; Ac 7:45, 46). When he worked as a
shepherd he was selected to replace King Saul. God said to Samuel:
Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have
refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the
outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1Sa 16:7).
In one of the very few recorded sermons of Paul, he said:
And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to
whom also He gave testimony and said, "I have found David the son of
Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will" (Ac 13:22).
David was a sinner but he never worshipped idols. When he committed a sin,
as soon as he saw his error, he repented quickly and willingly. One example of
David's prompt repentance is when Nathan had pointed out David's sin concerning
Bathsheba and Uriah. He confessed,
"I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD
also has put away your sin; you shall not die (2Sa 12:13; compare Ps 32,
Another example is when heart smote him after he had numbered Israel. He fell
into the hand of the Lord, saying, "for His mercies are great" (2Sa 24:10-14).
Contrast this attitude to that of most oriental despots.
David trusted God. He worshipped Him sincerely in good times. He called
upon Him in times of trouble (see Ps 18:6-17). He loved God's word (Ps 119:47,
97, 113, 127, 159). God gave him promises much like He did to did Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob, plus additional information about the kingdom. God said to him:
And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you.
Your throne shall be established forever (2Sa 7:16).
David recalled this when he asked:
Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me
this far? 19 And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord GOD;
and You have also spoken of Your servant's house for a great while to
come. Is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? (2Sa 7:18, 19).
And Samuel [also of Samuel].[ 212 ] Samuel was judge, prophet, priest and
biblical writer (1Sa 10:25; 1Ch 29:29). He has been called "God's emergency
man."[ 213 ] He was a man of prayer (1Sa 7:8; 12:19). He was honest. Once he
called upon the people to attest his integrity (1Sa 12:3, 4).
OT NON-WRITING PROPHETS
1. TWENTY-SIX MEN: Aaron (Ex 7:1); Abraham (Ge
20:7); Ahijah (1Ki 11:29); Balaam (Nu 22:5); Eldad
(Nu 11:26); Elijah (1Ki 18:36); Elisha (1Ki 19:16);
Enoch (Jude 14); Gad (1Sa 22:5; 2Sa 24:11);
Hanani (2Ch 16:7-10); Heman (1Ch 25:5); Iddo
(2Ch 13:22); Igdaliah (Jer 35:4); Isaac (Ge 27:27-
29, 39, 40); Jacob (Ge 48:3, 4, 15, 16, 20-22;
49:1-27); Jeduthun (2Ch 35:15); Jehu (1Ki 16:7);
Medad (Nu 11:16); Micaiah (1Ki 22:8); Nathan (2Sa
7:2); Oded (2Ch 28:9); Saul (1Sa 10:11, 12);
Shemaiah (2Ch 12:5); Zadok (2Sa 15:27); the man
of God who came to Eli (1Sa 2:27); the man of God
who came to the king of Israel (1Ki 20:28).
2. FOUR WOMEN: Miriam (Ex 15:20); Deborah (Jg
4:4); Huldah (2Ki 22:14; 2Ch 34:22); Mrs. Isaiah
NT NON-WRITING PROPHETS
1. MORE THAN SEVEN MEN: Agabus (Ac 11:27;
21:10); Barnabas (Ac 13:1); John the baptizer (Lu
7:28); Lucius and Manaen (Ac 13:1); Simeon [Niger]
(Ac 13:1); Zacharias (Lu 1:67); various prophets at
Corinth (1Co 12:28; 14:29).
2. FIVE WOMEN: Anna (Lu 2:36); Philip's
four daughters (Ac 21:9).
And the prophets [and of the prophets]. Prophets were God's spokesmen.[ 214 ]
Elijah and Elisha come first come to mind. Then Isaiah, Jeremiah Ezekiel and
Daniel, plus all the minor prophets, minor only because they wrote shorter books.
Enoch was probably one of the earliest writing prophets (see Jude 14).[ 215 ]
VALIANT DEEDS BY FAITH
[11:33] Who through faith [who by faith].[ 216 ] The mighty deeds of faith
listed in these verses are general enough to have applied to all those listed above,
except when one comes to shutting the mouths of lions and quenching the power
of fire. One need not seek to find an application in detail of all of the deeds of
each hero of faith.
Subdued kingdoms [conquered, overcame, kingdoms].[ 217 ] Sihon, the
Amorite king east of Jordan was head of one kingdom that was subdued. He had
driven out the Moabites. He refused to allow passage of the Israelites under
Moses through his land. He went out in battle against them and was killed (Nu
21:21-24; De 2:32). Then, there was gigantic Og,[ 218 ] king of Bashan (De 31:4;
Jos 2:10; 13:21; 1Ki 4:19). He was defeated by Moses and the Israelites in battle
at Edrei (De 3:1-3).
1. Gideon (Jg 7).
2. Barak (Jg 4).
3. Samson (Jg 14-16).
4. Jephthah (Jg 11).
5. David (2Sa 5-11).
6. Samuel (1Sa 7:7-14).
Worked righteousness [wrought righteousness, enforced justice].[ 219 ] An
example of an act of righteousness performed by faith is that of Phinehas. When
the children of Israel were at Shittim, the Israelite men began to commit idolatry
with the daughters of Moab. God was angry (Nu 25:3, 4). He commanded Moses
to publicly execute the guilty Israelites. Then one of the sons of Israel came into
the camp with a Midianite woman in plain sight. When Phinehas saw it, he took
a spear and went right into the tent where they were. He thrust his spear through
both the man and woman. "So the plague was stopped among the children of
Israel" (Nu 25:8). "And that was accounted to him for righteousness to all
generations forevermore" (Ps 106:31; see note on Ro 4:3).
ACTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
1. You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have
you taken anything from any man's hand
2. So David reigned over all Israel; and David
administered judgment and justice to all his people
(2Sa 8:15; 1Ch 18:14; compare Isa 9:7).
3. Therefore He made you [Solomon] king, to do justice
and righteousness (1Ki 10:9).
4. He has dispersed abroad, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever; his horn will
be exalted with honor (Ps 112:9).
Obtained promises [received promises].[ 220 ] The context must show whether
the promises per se are meant or their fulfillment. Many promises given the
patriarchs were obtained or fulfilled in Christ. Paul recounts the promises given
to Abraham and establishes their fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say,
"And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is
Christ (Ga 3:16).
Moses foretold the Christ when he wrote:
The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst,
from your brethren. Him you shall hear (Ge 18:15).
He then quoted the words of the LORD Himself.
I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and
will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I
command Him (De 18:18).
Peter, in the NT, applies the above prophecy to Christ (see Ac 3:20-23). Paul
pointed out that David also prefigured Christ.
From this man's seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a
Savior-- Jesus (Ac 13:23).
Stopped the mouths of lions [stopped lions' mouths].[ 221 ] The psalmist wrote
of the one who trusts in Jehovah:
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent
you shall trample underfoot (Ps 91:13; compare Jg 14:6; 1Sa 17:34; 1Ch
But, no doubt, the Hebrew writer refers specifically to Daniel who said,
My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they have not
hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have
done no wrong before you (Da 6:22).
[11:34] Quenched the violence of fire [quenched the power of fire, raging
fire].[ 222 ] Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had been cast into the fiery furnace
and Nebuchadnezzar was amazed:
"Look!" he answered, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the
fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of
God" (Da 3:25).
He concluded that God had "sent His Angel and delivered His servants who put
their trust in Him" (Da 3:28).
Escaped the edge of the sword.[ 223 ] Elijah escaped Jezebel (1Ki 19:2). Elisha
was delivered from Johoram (2Ki 6:31). Ezra and his company were delivered
from their enemies (Ezr 8:31). Jeremiah was delivered from Jehoiakim (Jer
26:24). Jeremiah, along with Baruch, his amanuensis, escaped by hiding (Jer
36:19, 26). Others that were not delivered suffered terrible deaths (Heb 11:37).
Out of weakness [from weakness].[ 224 ] The weakness of man is seen in Daniel
when thrown to the lions, when Jonah was thrown overboard and in Peter when
he used his sword to defend Christ. Even Jesus was weak at the crucifixion. All
these received strength from the Lord.
Were made strong [won strength]. Gideon was least in his father's house but
was strengthened to defeat the Midianites. Jephthah, the son of a harlot, became
the deliverer of Israel. Samson called to the Lord and said:
O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once,
O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my
two eyes! (Jg 16:28).
It was then that he grasped the two middle pillars of the house so that the house
fell upon him and the lords of the Philistines and the people in it (see chart FROM
WEAKNESS MADE STRONG A and B).
OUT OF WEAKNESS MADE STRONG (A)
1. Gideon said, "O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel?
Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am
the youngest in my father's house" (Jg 6:15).
2. Esther risked her life by approaching King Ahasuerus
(Es 4:16; 7:3, 4).
3. From the mouth of infants and nursing babes Thou
hast established strength, because of Thine
adversaries (Ps 8:2).
OUT OF WEAKNESS MADE STRONG (B)
1. God has chosen the weak things of the world to put
to shame the things which are mighty (1Co 1:27).
2. My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is
made perfect in weakness (2Co 12:9).
3. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with
Him by the power of God toward you (2Co 13:4).
4. Out of weakness were made strong (Heb 11:34).
Became valiant in battle [waxed mighty in war, in fight]. An example of
saving Israel by few is that of Gideon and his 300 (Jg 7:4, 7; see note on Heb
11:32). Then there was Jonathan who advised the young man with him, "For
nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few" (1Sa 14:6). Before
slaying Goliath, David said to him:
Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword
and spear; for the battle is the LORD'S, and He will give you into our
hands (1Sa 17:47).
Turned to flight the armies of the aliens [turned to flight armies of aliens,
put foreign armies to flight, made the armies of strangers give way].[ 225 ]
Moses, in enumerating the blessings of obedience, said, "
Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten
thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you (Le
In the song of Moses, we have these courageous words:
How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless
their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had surrendered them? (De
In Joshua's farewell address, he said:
One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who
fights for you, as He has promised you (Jos 23:10).
When the Moabites with the Ammonites and some of the Meunites came to make
war against Jehoshaphat, Jahaziel said to the assembly:
Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King
Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: "Do not be afraid nor dismayed
because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's" (2Ch
20:15; compare Jg 4:15; 1Mac 3:3, 15, 17).
WOMEN RECEIVED BACK THEIR DEAD
1. Elijah raised the widow of Zarephath's son
2. Elisha raised the Shunammite's son (2Ki 4:33-36).
3. Jesus raised son of widow of Nain (Lu 7:14, 15).
4. Jesus raised Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha
(Joh 11:43, 44).
5. Peter raised Tabitha [Dorcas] (Ac 9:40, 41).
6. Paul raised Eutychus (Ac 20:9-12).
SOME RAISED, OTHERS TORTURED
11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were
tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better
Women received their dead [women received their dead again] (see chart
WOMEN RECEIVED BACK THEIR DEAD).
Raised to life again [raised, by, by a, resurrection].[ 226 ] When Elijah raised
the widow of Zarephath's son to life, it was not by her faith. Listen to her
So she said to Elijah, "What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have
you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?" (1Ki
Notice the faith shown by Elijah:
And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the
LORD and said, "O LORD my God, I pray, let this child's soul come back
to him" (1Ki 17:21; compare 2Ki 4:32-37).
MOCKINGS AND SCOURGINGS
11:36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and
And others were tortured [some were tortured, but others endured
torture].[ 227 ] Eleazar, age ninety, one of the foremost scribes, was forced to open
his mouth to eat pork. He spat out the meat and went forward of his own accord
to the TOMPANON, an instrument to which those who were to be tortured by
scourging were bound. His friends urged him to eat some lawful meat and pretend
it was pork. He refused. When about to die under the blows, he groaned and,
according to an uninspired record, he said:
The Lord in his holy knowledge knows full well that, although I could have
escaped death, I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this
scourging, but also suffering it with joy in my soul because of my devotion
to him" (2Mac 6:30).
Apparently, Antiochus[ 228 ] wanted to destroy the Jewish religion in order to
institute Gentile ways. He forbade the Jews to offer the daily sacrifices. He built
an idol altar upon God's altar and offered swine on it. He commanded the Jews
not to circumcise their sons.
But the best men, and those of the noblest souls, did not regard him, but did
pay a greater respect to the customs of their country than concern as to the
punishment which he threatened to the disobedient; on which account they
every day underwent great miseries and bitter torments; for they were
whipped with rods, and their bodies were torn to pieces, and were crucified,
while they were still alive, and breathed. They also strangled those women
and their sons whom they had circumcised, as the king had appointed,
hanging their sons about their necks as they were upon the crosses.[ 229 ]
Not accepting deliverance [not having accepted. refusing to accept, release,
their deliverance].[ 230 ] This seems to allude to the mother of the seven brothers
and her youngest son who were arrested and tortured with whips in order to force
them to eat pork. One brother spoke,
What do you expect to achieve by questioning us? We are ready to die
rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors (2Mac 7:2).
Antiochus ordered the young man's tongue cut out, and his hands and feet cut
off. Then the king commanded him, maimed but still breathing, to be fried alive.
Likewise five of his brothers were tortured and killed. Finally, the youngest son
was promised happiness and a high office if he would only abandon his ancestral
customs. After he refused, he was tortured more than the others and killed (2Mac
That they might obtain [that they might gain, get].[ 231 ] Notice how the Holy
Spirit ties together what these faithful people did and their obtaining a better
resurrection. They did not accept deliverance in order that they might attain it.
The false doctrine of faith alone is not taught here.
A better resurrection [rise again to a better life].[ 232 ] Many Jews believed in
a future resurrection. To them, a better resurrection would be superior to that of
the Shunammite's son and the son of the widow of Zarephath, because these died
again. They hoped for a resurrection better than the wicked whom some of the
Jews thought would not be raised at all (but see Da 12:2, 3; Joh 5:28, 29). The
better resurrection is that of the saints of God who shall be raised to dwell
eternally with the Lord.
[11:36] Still others had trial of mockings [others, and others, underwent
trial, received trial, of mocking, of cruel mockings, suffered mocking].[ 233 ]
There are many OT examples of mockings of the faithful (see chart CRUEL
MOCKINGS). During the terror of Antiochus Epiphanes, the second of seven
brothers[ 234 ] had the skin and hair torn off his head. Then they asked him, "Will
you eat pork rather than have your body tortured limb by limb?" Answering in
the language of his forefathers, he said, "Never!" Then he was carried over to the
large pan and fried alive as was his first brother (2Mac 7:7, 8).[ 235 ]
CRUEL MOCKINGS (A)
1. Samson was brought out to amuse the Philistines
2. Young lads came out and mocked Elisha, saying "Go
up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!" Two
female bears came out of the woods and tore
up forty-two of them (2Ki 2:23, 24).
3. When Hezekiah sent couriers from city to city
inviting people to the Passover, "they laughed them
to scorn, and mocked them" (2Ch 30:10).
CRUEL MOCKINGS (B)
1. In the days of Zedekiah, the Lord sent again and
again to warn the evil rulers and wicked priests,
"But they mocked the messengers of God, despised
His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the
wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till
there was no remedy" (2Ch 36:16).
2. After the captivity, when the walls of Jerusalem
were being rebuilt, Sanballat became furious
and very angry "and mocked the Jews" (Ne 4:1).
1. Joseph falsely imprisoned (Ge 39:20).
2. Moses (Heb 11:25, 26).
3. Micaiah was imprisoned on bread and water until the
king returned [the king died] (1Ki 22:27, 37).
4. Asa was angry and imprisoned Hanani the seer
5. Jeremiah was beaten, put into stocks, lowered into
the mire in a cistern (Jer 20:2; 38:6).
6. John the baptizer imprisoned, killed (Mt 14:10).
7. Peter, John, Paul beaten (Ac 5:40; 16:22).
And scourgings [and scourging].[ 236 ] The prophet Isaiah foretold the flogging
But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our
iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes
we are healed (Isa 53:5; compare Joh 19:1).
Peter, in retrospect, said:
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having
died to sins, might live for righteousness-- by whose stripes you were healed
At Philippi, Paul and Silas were beaten with rods.
And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison,
commanding the jailer to keep them securely (Ac 16:23).
But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi,
as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God
in much conflict (1Th 2:2).
Paul, in looking back over his ministry, spoke of "stripes" or "beatings." He
was beaten times without number, often in danger of death (2Co 6:5; 11:24).
Yes, and of chains [yea, moreover of bonds, and even, and in addition,
chains].[ 237 ] David wrote of the blessings of God upon the righteous, saying, in
part, "He brings out those bound[ 238 ] into prosperity" (Ps 68:6). There are several
instances of the righteous being bound in chains. Jeremiah, in speaking of the
persecution he suffered, said, "He has made my chain heavy" (Lam 3:7; compare
Jer 40:1, 4). Paul was bound with two chains in Jerusalem (Ac 21:33). In
custody at Rome, he said, "Because of the hope of Israel I am bound with this
chain" (Ac 28:20; compare Eph 6:20; 2Ti 1:16).
And imprisonment.[ 239 ] We have several OT examples of unjust imprisonment.
Joseph was jailed on the false charge made by Potiphar's wife (Ge 39:20).
Micaiah the prophet imprisoned by the king of Israel (1Ki 22:27). Asa, king of
Judah, in his anger, put the prophet Hanani in prison because of his warning (2Ch
16:10). Jeremiah was beaten and jailed on the false charge of going over to the
Chaldeans (Jer 37:14, 15). Again, he was imprisoned in a cistern in the court of
the guardhouse for prophesying that Jerusalem would be given over to the king of
Babylon (Jer 38:3, 6; compare Lam 3:53).
Imprisonment was used as a means of persecution in NT times as well. John the
baptizer was arrested and bound because he taught that it was not lawful for Herod
to have his brother Philip's wife (Mk 6:17, 18). Because of jealousy, the high
priest with his Sadducee associates, imprisoned the apostles (Ac 5:18). Herod
arrested Peter because he knew it pleased the Jews (Ac 12:3, 4). After Paul and
Silas were beaten at Philippi, they were put in stocks in the inner prison (Ac
16:23). After Paul was arrested in Jerusalem, he was moved to a prison in
Caesarea and left bound in Herod's Praetorium (Ac 23:35; compare 2Co 11:23).
Before his conversion, he himself, had locked up many Christians, both men and
women, by the authority of the chief priests and voted to have several killed (Ac
PERSECUTED AND DESTITUTE
11:37, 38 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain
with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being
destitute, afflicted, tormented-- 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They
wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
They were stoned.[ 240 ] The Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of
Jehoida, the priest. He said to the people:
Thus says God: "Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD,
so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He also
has forsaken you" (2Ch 24:20).
The people conspired against Zechariah and at the command of the king stoned
him to death in the court of the house of the Lord (2Ch 24:21).
Jesus told of God's messengers whom the Jews stoned (Mt 23:37; Lu 13:34).
Tradition says that Jeremiah met his death at Daphne in Egypt by being stoned by
the Jews. Upon more than one occasion the Jews tried to stone Christ (Joh 10:31).
Stephen was stoned (Ac 7:59; Ac 5:26). The apostle Paul was stoned and left for
dead (Ac 14:19).
They were sawn in two [were sawn asunder, sawed in two].[ 241 ] According
to tradition, Isaiah was sawn asunder with a wooden saw under the reign of the
evil Manasseh. Another account says he was sawn into between two boards.
David used a horrible punishment on certain ones of his enemies (2Sa 12:31; 1Ch
20:3). It may have been alluded to when Amos said, "They have threshed Gilead
with implements of iron" (Am 1:3). Persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes
included similar inhuman executions. Josephus wrote of Manasseh:
He barbarously slew all the righteous men that were among the Hebrews;
nor would he spare the prophets, for he every day slew some of them, till
Jerusalem was overflown with blood.[ 242 ]
Were tempted [tempted].[ 243 ] "Were tempted" is lacking in certain Greek
manuscripts. The NEB, NIV, RSV and others do not translate it at all. Along
with persecution, many of the prophets and righteous men and women were
offered rewards for doing wrong. During the days of Antiochus Epiphanes when
idolatry was being forced upon the Jews, his officers came to the city of Modein
to organize the sacrifices. Mattathias, who was not willing to go along with the
evil practices, led a group apart. According to an uninspired history, the officers
said to him:
Come now, be the first to obey the king's command, as all the Gentiles and
the men of Judah and those who are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you
and your sons shall be numbered among the King's Friends,[ 244 ] and shall
be enriched with silver and gold and many gifts" (1Mac 2:18).
The youngest of the seven brothers was promised to be made "rich and happy"
if he would abandon his ancestral customs (2Mac 7:24); see note And others had
trial of mockings at Heb 11:36)).
Were slain with the sword [they were killed, put to death, died by the death,
of the sword].[ 245 ] Although Elijah escaped death by Jezebel's sword at Horeb
(compare verse 34), he complained that other prophets were not so fortunate.[ 246 ]
I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of
Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your
prophet with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life (1Ki
Uriah [Urijah], whose prophecies were similar to those of Jeremiah, was brought
from Egypt where King Jehoiakim slew him with a sword (Jer 26:20, 23). His
body was cast into the burial place of the common people.
They wandered about in sheepskins [they went about in skins of sheep].[ 247 ]
The mantle of Elijah is thought to have been sheepskin[ 248 ] or, possibly, "hair
cloth" (1Ki 19:13, 9; compare 2Ki 1:8; 2:8, 13; see note below And
goatskins).[ 249 ] When fleeing from Jezebel, he "went about." First, he ran for
his life[ 250 ] about one hundred miles to Beersheba (1Ki 19:3). He left his servant
there and went a day's journey into the wilderness (1Ki 19:4). There the angel
gave him water and fed him a cake baked on hot stones. Then he went on the
strength of that food forty days and forty nights. He travelled about 250 miles to
Horeb, the mountain of God (1Ki 19:8). From thence, about 400 miles to the
wilderness of Damascus (1Ki 19:15).
And goatskins [in goatskins, and goats].[ 251 ] The word "goatskins" does not
appear in Scripture as a specific garment for God's people. Inasmuch as the
present verse is the only one mentioning goatskins in particular, some have thought
the term meant "sackcloth" made of goats' hair. At times, sackcloth was a
garment worn by Job, Isaiah, Daniel and others:
I have sewn sackcloth over my skin, and laid my head in the dust (Job
At the same time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, "Go,
and remove the sackcloth from your body, and take your sandals off your
feet." And he did so, walking naked and barefoot (Isa 20:2).
Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and
supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes (Da 9:3).
Zechariah spoke of false prophets who would "not wear a robe of coarse hair to
deceive" (Zec 13:4). This hints that true prophets of God often worn such robes.
1. Gideon said, "My family is the least in Manasseh"
2. The widow of Zarephath had no bread, only a
handful of flour and a little oil (1Ki 17:12).
3. A creditor came to take the prophet's widow's two
children to be slaves (2Ki 4:1).
4. The poor widow who put into the treasury two
copper coins (Lu 21:2, 3).
5. Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold"
Being destitute [destitute].[ 252 ] Prosperity does not automatically come with
righteousness. Neither does poverty demonstrate that one is unfaithful (see chart
DESTITUTE SAINTS). Jesus did not travel first class.
Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has
nowhere to lay His head (Mt 8:20; compare 2Co 8:9).
Paul described himself "as having nothing, and yet possessing all things" (2Co
6:10). Christ assured the church at Smyrna, "I know your works, tribulation, and
poverty (but you are rich)."
Afflicted.[ 253 ] Some of the righteous were distressed by rulers or others who
were antagonistic to their messages. A classic example is found in 1 Maccabees.
Then Mattathias went through the city [of Jerusalem] shouting, `Let
everyone who is zealous for the law and who stands by the covenant follow
after me!' Thereupon he fled to the mountains with his sons, leaving behind
in the city all their possessions. Many who sought to live according to
righteousness and religious custom went out into the desert to settle there,
they and their sons, their wives and their cattle, because misfortunes pressed
so hard on them (1Mac 2:27-30).
On the Sabbath day, the soldiers hurried out after them and killed a thousand of
them because, on that day, they would not resist (1Mac 2:34-38). In spite of it
being the Sabbath, Mattathias and others defended themselves and survived.
Tormented [evil treated, ill-treated, mistreated].[ 254 ] Daniel wrote about
terrible suffering of God's people.
And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many
days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering (Da
Moses suffered ill-treatment (see Heb 11:25). So did many other OT and NT
saints (see note on Heb 13:3).
[11:38] Of whom the world was not worthy.[ 255 ] Some destitute saints who
were too good for this world lived in caves. Others wandered in mountains and
deserts. If the society had given them its very best advantages and dwellings, it
still would not have been worthy of these fine people.
They wandered [wandering].[ 256 ] These wandering saints were homeless, but
not of their own choosing. The Greek passive voice indicates they were made to
In deserts and mountains [over deserts and in, on, mountains]. Under the
reign of the wicked Antiochus:
Israel was driven into hiding, wherever places of refuge could be found
Many who sought to live according to righteousness and religious custom
went out into the desert to settle there (1Mac 2:29; compare 2Mac 5:27).
In dens and caves of the earth [in caves, and in dens, and caverns, holes, the
holes, in the ground].[ 257 ] Much of Palestine is limestone country with numerous
caves and holes. Some of them are quite large. Many are almost undetectable
from the surface but are accessible by descending a hole near a rock or by sliding
under a bush. Wanderers found the holes and caves to be tolerable dwelling
places, especially if they needed to hide from persecutors. In some rural areas of
Israel, it is a good idea to stay on a path. People have been known to accidentally
fall into a cave.
GOD'S APPROVAL THROUGH FAITH
11:39, 40 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did
not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that
they should not be made perfect apart from us.
And all these [and, and even though, these all].[ 258 ] The words "all these" are
comforting. The Lord does not forget the labor of love of the least of His
righteous ones (Heb 6:10; see note on Lu 22:31; compare Am 9:9).[ 259 ]
Having obtained a good testimony [received, having had, a good report,
witness, witness borne to them, though well attested].[ 260 ] God's approval is
worth all the world. Some of the righteous have testimony of their faithfulness
recorded on the pages of the Bible. Others, written only in the Lamb's book of
life. All will be revealed on the judgment day.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not
need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2Ti 2:15).
Through faith [through, by, their, the, faith].[ 261 ] I have seen salmon heading
upstream in the Columbia river toward their spawning grounds. Some of them had
lampreys attached to their sides, sucking the very life out of them. Yet they
pressed on with mighty energy up the "fish ladder" and onward in order to fulfill
God's purpose in propagating their species. Christians must press on by faith.
They must continue fighting the good fight in order to, by faith, fulfill God's
purpose for their lives, not only the propagating of the species [converting souls],
but attaining the promise of eternal life.
RECEIVING WHAT WAS PROMISED (A)
1. Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I
will also confess before My Father who is in heaven
2. Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been
faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over
many things. Enter into the joy of your lord
3. I will raise him up at the last day (Joh 6:40, 44, 54).
RECEIVING WHAT WAS PROMISED (B)
1. Who will transform our lowly body that it may be
conformed to His glorious body (Php 3:21).
2. The city which has foundations, whose builder and
maker is God (Heb 11:10).
3. I will confess his name before My Father and before
His angels (Re 3:5).
4. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as
a bride adorned for her husband (Re 21:2).
Did not receive the promise [received not, they did not receive, what was
promised].[ 262 ] At first glance, one might say, "What a disappointment!" Yet,
from verse 33, we learn that they "obtained promises." Upon close examination,
we perceive that the greatest blessing of all was yet to be given them through
[11:40] God having provided [since God had foreseen, God foreseeing].[ 263 ]
The Greek aorist participle indicates that even in the days when the OT saints,
were being persecuted and killed, God had already provided the plan to save them
eternally. "He has prepared a city for them" (Heb 11:16; compare Joh 14:2).
Something better for us [some better thing concerning us].[ 264 ] The gospel
plan is better. It has a better covenant, better promises and a better hope of a
better resurrection. One would be foolish to return to a system that cannot offer
salvation by Jesus Christ.
That they should not be made perfect apart from us [that, so that, they, that
they, without us, would not be completed].[ 265 ] It has been previously noted
that "made perfect" in Hebrews refers to forgiveness, salvation from sin (see notes
on Heb 2:10; 7:11; 9:9). God, in His wisdom, delayed the actual crucifixion of
Christ until "the fullness of time" (Lu 22:53; Joh 2:24; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27;
13:1; 17:1; Ga 4:4). The OT saints were not recipients of absolute forgiveness
until the blood of Jesus was shed. Christians are redeemed by it (1Pe 1:18, 19).
Faithful OT men and women are saved by it but not apart from the salvation that
Christians enjoy through the merit of the blood of Christ.
[ 1 ]The basic text in this chapter is the NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Alternate phrases in brackets are from ASV, Darby, ESB, KJV, RSV and occasionally another version.
Greek transliteration tends to follow the BibleSoft method.
[ 2 ]DE PISTIS, now faith (Marshall 882; Lenski 373); without the article, indicating that it is treated
in its abstract conception . . . as seeing him who is invisible (Vincent 4.509); the main elements in faith
in its relation to the invisible God, as distinct from faith in man, are especially brought out in the use
of this noun and corresponding verb, PISTEUOO; they are (1) a firm conviction, producing a full
acknowledgement of God's revelation or truth, for example, 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12; (2) a personal
surrender to Him, John 1:12; (3) a conduct inspired by such surrender, 2 Corinthians 5:7. Prominence
is given to one or other of these elements according to the context. All this stands in contrast to belief
in its purely natural exercise, which consists of an opinion held in good faith without necessary
reference to its proof. The object of Abraham's faith was not God's promise [that was the occasion
of its exercise'; his faith rested on God Himself, Romans 4:17, 20, 21 (Vine 401).
[ 3 ]ESTIN HUPOSTASIS, is [the] reality (Marshall 882); ESTIN is third person singular, present
active indicative of EIMI (Han 404); the sense "confidence," "assurance" must be eliminated, since
examples of it cannot be found [according to Dorrie and Koster]. It cannot, therefore, play a role in
Hebrews 11:1, where it has enjoyed much favor since Luther [also Tyndale, RSV; not KJV]. Among
the meanings that can be authenticated the one that seems to fit best here is realization=in faith things
hoped for become realized, or things hoped for become reality (Arndt 847); assurance . . . substance
as the substantial nature; the real nature of a thing which underlies and supports its outward form or
properties . . . is improperly applied to faith, which is an act of the moral intelligence directed at an
object; or a condition which sustains a certain relation to the object (Vincent 4.510); literally, a standing
under, support [HUPO under, HISTEEMI to stand]; hence, an "assurance." It here may signify a title-deed, as giving a guarantee, or reality (Vine 77); confidence, firm trust, assurance (Thayer 645); from
HUPOSTASIS, standing under, a substructure, basis. Faith is the foundation on which our hope rests
(Littrell); is firm confidence (Lenski 373); is the assurance (Williams).
[ 4 ]ELPIZOMENOON, of things being hoped (Marshall 882); ELPIZOMENOON is the present
passive participle, genitive plural masculine or neuter of ELPIZOO (Han 404); what we hope for (Arndt
252); full of confidence; things hoped for (Thayer 205); possibly with dative of the object on which the
hope rests, hopefully to trust in (Westcott-Hort margin); in things hoped for (Lenski 373); of the things
we hope for (Lenski 499).
[ 5 ]Howson 875.
[ 6 ]ELENCHOS, [the] proof (Marshall 882); conviction. ELENCHOS is really included in
HUPOSTASIS assurance, but adds to the simple idea of assurance a suggestion of influences operating
to produce conviction which carry the force of demonstration (Vincent 4.510); proof, proving . . .
hence perhaps inner conviction . . . a proving of [or conviction about] unseen things (Arndt 249); a
proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested . . . that by which invisible things are proved [and we
are convinced of their reality] (Thayer 202); conviction (Lenski 373); the proof (Williams).
[ 7 ]PRAGMATOON OU BLEPOMENOON, of things not being seen (Marshall 882);
BLEPOMENOON is the present passive participle, genitive plural masculine or neuter of BLEPOO
(Han 404); things (Vine 1138); not only future realities, but all that does not fall under the cognisance
of the senses, whether past, present or future (Vincent 4.510, 511); generally, things, matter, affairs
. . . about anything at all (Arndt 697); regarding things not seen (Lenski 373); of the reality of the
things we cannot see (Williams).
[ 8 ]EN TAUTEE GAR, this For (Marshall 882); literally, for in this, render therein (Vincent 4.511);
for in connection with this [faith] (Lenski 377); for by it (Williams).
[ 9 ]HOI PRESBUTEROI, the elders (Marshall 882); the elders for the more common the fathers:
the saints of the OT dispensation, many of whose names are recorded in this chapter (Vincent 4.511);
the forefathers in Israel (Vine 350); the ancients (Lenski 377); the men of old (Williams).
[ 10 ]EMARTUREETHEESAN, obtained witness (Marshall 882); third person plural, first aorist
passive indicative of MARTUREOO (Han 404); literally, were borne witness to (Vincent 4.511) well
testified of, have a good report, "obtained a good report" (Vine 954); were approved [of God] (Lenski
377); won God's approval (Williams).
[ 11 ]PISTEI NOOUMEN, by faith we understand (Marshall 882; Williams); NOOUMEN is first
person plural, present active indicative of NOEOO (Han 404); NOOEIN signifies to perceive with the
NOUS or reflective intelligence; the inward perception and apprehension of the visible creation as the
work of God, which follows the sight of the phenomena of nature (Vincent 4.512); perceive with the
mind, as distinct from perception by feeling (Vine 1180); perceive with the mind, understand (Thayer
426); by means of faith we understand (Lenski 378).
[ 12 ]TOUS AIOONAS, the ages (Marshall 882); literally, the ages (Vincent 4.512); literally, "the
ages [have been prepared]", indicates all that the successive periods contain (Vine 1246); by metonymy,
of the container for the contained, HOI AIOONES denotes the worlds, the universe, that is, the
aggregate of things contained in time (Thayer 19); the world(s) as a spatial concept, created by God
through His Son [Heb 1:2]; through God's word [Heb 11:3] (Arndt 28); the universe, "the worlds"
(Conybeare and Howson 875); here, as in Hebrews 1:2, the "worlds" are the AIOONES (literally
"ages"); in both places the universe of space and time is meant (Bruce 280); the aeons (Lenski 378);
that the worlds (Williams).
[ 13 ]KATEERTISTHAI, to have been adjusted (Marshall 882); the perfect passive infinitive of
KATARTIZOO (Han 404); put together, adjusted; the parts fitted to each other; render have been
framed; the perfect tense [present state resultant from a past action] exhibits the faith of one who is
actually contemplating creation itself (Vincent 4.512); fitted, rendered complete, "have been framed,"
of the worlds or ages (Vine 459); prepared, made, created (Arndt 417); have been framed (Lenski 378);
were created, beautifully coordinated, and now exist [Greek verb means to create and co-ordinate in
symmetry; perfect means the result, so they now exist (Williams).
[ 14 ]RHEEMATI THEOU, by a word of God (Marshall 882); of a statement, command, instruction
(Vine 1242); command[ment], order, direction (Arndt 735); by means of God's uttered word (Lenski
378); at God's command (Williams).
[ 15 ]EIS TO MEE EK PHAINOMENOON TO BLEPOMENON GEGONENAI, so as not out of
things appearing the thing being seen to have become (Marshall 882); PHAINOMENOON is the present
middle participle, genitive plural masculine or neuter of PHAINOO; BLEPOMENON is the present
passive participle, accusative singular neuter of BLEPOO; GEGONENAI is the second perfect active
infinitive of GINOMAI (Han 404); that which is seen hath not been made. EIS TO followed by the
infinitive signifies result, not purpose. In other words, the proposition denied is, that which is seen
arose out of visible things (Vincent 4.512, 513); of things physical in general [that] shine, [are] brought
forth to light, become evident, appear (Vine 56); the things that are seen (Thayer 103); so that what
is seen has come to be not [as derived] out of things that appear (Lenski 378); so the things that we see
did not develop out of mere matter [things that appear] (Williams).
[ 16 ]In this equation, E stands for energy; m for mass and c2 for the velocity of light multiplied by
itself. This equation was apparently confirmed by the making and exploding of the first atomic bomb
and later by the hydrogen bomb.
[ 17 ]According to the Greek Septuagint, "the earth was AORATOS invisible [A negative, HORAOO
to see] and unfurnished" (Bruce 281).
[ 18 ]PISTEI ABEL PROSEENENKEN TOO THEOO, by faith Abel offered to God (Marshall 882;
Lenski 382; Williams); PROSEENENKEN is third person singular, first aorist active indicative of
PROSPHEROO (Han 404); primarily, brought to [PROS to, PHEROO to bring], also denotes offered,
of offerings previous to the law (Vine 802); brought, offered, presented (Arndt 719).
[ 19 ]PLEIONA THUSIAN PARA KAIN, a greater [?better] sacrifice than Cain (Marshall 882);
comparative of POLUS [much, many], greater Arndt 689); greater in value in God's eyes (Vincent
4.513); comparative of POLUS, more, longer, greater (Arndt 689); a superior sacrifice than Cain
(Lenski 382); a sacrifice more acceptable to God than Cain did (Williams); sacrifice from PLEION
(comparative of POLUS), more, higher, greater; more excellent; of higher value.
[ 20 ]According to Josephus (Antiquities 1.2.1), "Abel brought milk, and the first-fruits of his flocks."
[ 21 ]From Hebrew "a spear," although the author of Genesis derives Cain's name from "to produce,
beget, acquire" (Thayer 317).
[ 22 ]Abel may mean "breath, vanity" so called because of his short and sudden death (Thayer 1); or
"shepherd, herdman" and "son" (Zondervan 3).
[ 23 ]After Adam and Eve sinned, they covered themselves with "the fruit of the ground," that is, fig
leaves (Ge 3:7). Later, the Lord made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them (Ge
3:21). Some have imagined in this an allusion to animal sacrifices for sins. In addition, the phrase "sin
is couching at the door" has been taken as the offering for sin, that is, an animal. However, the
Hebrew ROBES is couching is cognate with Akkadian RABISU, the name of a demon. Was sin
depicted as a demon ready to pounce upon Cain?
[ 24 ]Josephus (Antiquities 1.2.1) wrote, "But Cain was not only very wicked in other respects, but
was wholly intent upon getting; and he first contrived to plough the ground."
[ 25 ]DI HES EMARTUREETHEE, through which he obtained witness (Marshall 882);
EMARTUREETHEE is third person singular, first aorist passive indicative of MARTUREOO (Han
404); literally, was witnessed to. The pronoun which may refer either to the sacrifice or to faith
(Vincent 4.513); had witness borne to him, obtained a good report, obtained witness (Vine 798, 1132);
by means of which testimony was given to him (Lenski 382); for by it he was approved (Williams).
[ 26 ]EINAI DIKAIOS, to be righteous (Marshall 882); EINAI is the present active infinitive of EIMI
(Han 404); righteous, with emphasis on the religious aspect: not violating the sovereignty of God, and
keeping his laws . . . of Abel (Arndt 195); that he was righteous (Lenski 382); that he was an upright
[ 27 ]MARTUROUNTOS EPI TOIS DOOROIS AUTOU TOU THEOU, witnessing over the gifts of
him God (Marshall 882); MARTUROUNTOS is the present active participle, genitive singular
masculine of MARTUREOO (Han 404); defining more specifically the general was witnessed to. EPI
marks the fact on which the witness was based (Vincent 4.514); well spoken of, approved (Arndt 493);
God giving him testimony on the basis of his gifts (Lenski 382); since God approved him for the
offering he made (Williams).
[ 28 ]KAI DI' AUTEES, and through it (Marshall 882); and by means of it (Lenski 382); and by it
[ 29 ]APOTHANOON, having died (Marshall 882); the second aorist active participle, nominative
singular, masculine of APOTHNEESKOO (Han 404); though having died (Lenski 382); though dead
[ 30 ]ETI LALEI, still he speaks (Marshall 882); LALEI is third person singular, present active
indicative of LALEOO (Han 404); gives forth sounds or tones which form a kind of speech (Arndt
463); still, although ages have passed since his death (Vincent 4.514); he still continues to speak
(Lenski 382); he still continues to speak (Williams).
[ 31 ]PISTEI 'ENOOCH METETETHEE, By faith Enoch was removed (Marshall 882);
METETETHEE is third person singular, first aorist passive indicative of METATITHEEMI (Han 404);
in Hebrew, Enoch means initiated or initiating (Thayer 220); was taken up, translated (Arndt 513); by
means of faith Enoch was translated (Lenski 385); by faith Enoch was transplanted from earth [last
phrase implied in verb] (Williams).
[ 32 ]TOU ME IDEIN THANATON, not to see death (Marshall 882); IDEIN is the second aorist
active infinitive of HORAOO (Han 404); he was translated so that he did not see death (Vincent 4.514);
so as not to see death (Lenski 385); so that he did not experience dying (Williams).
[ 33 ]See the same usage in Psalm 89:48; Luke 2:26; John 8:51; note also on "Might taste death" at
[ 34 ]Macknight 561.
[ 35 ]KAI OUCH HEEURISKETO DIOTI METETHEEKEN AUTON HO THEOS, and was not
found because removed him God (Marshall 882); HEEURISKETO is third person singular, imperfect
passive indicative of EURISKOO; METETHEEKEN is third person singular, first aorist active
indicative of METATITHEEMI (Han 404, 405); for had translated render translated (Vincent 4.514);
[was not] found with or without previous search, in the passive voice, of Enoch's disappearance; was
taken up, translated (Vine 430, 513); and was not being found because God translated him (Lenski
385); and he could not be found, because God had transplanted him from earth (Williams).
[ 36 ]"Now he, when he had lived three hundred and sixty-five years, departed and went to God;
whence it is that they have not written down his death" (Josephus, Antiquities, 1.3.4.).
[ 37 ]Coffman 260.
[ 38 ]PRO GAR TEES METATHESEOOS, For before the [his] removal (Marshall 882); for before
his translation (Lenski 385); for before he was transplanted from earth (Williams); translation, taking
up; see note above on And was not found because God had taken him.
[ 39 ]MEMARTUREETAI, he has obtained witness (Thayer 882); third person singular, perfect
passive indicative of MARTUREOO (Han 405); perfect tense [present state resultant from a past
action], he hath had witness borne to him, for it is the testimony of Scripture. (Vincent 4.514); for he
has received the testimony (Lenski 385); evidence was given him (Williams).
[ 40 ]EURESTEEKENAI TOO THEOO, to have been well-pleasing to God (Marshall 882);
EURESTEEKENAI is the perfect active infinitive of EUARESTEOO (Han 405); render hath pleased
(Vincent 4.515); well-pleasing to God (Lenski 385); that he pleased God (Williams).
[ 41 ]CHOORIS DE PISTEOOS, without but faith (Marshall 882); without possessing, apart from the
presence of (Arndt 890); now without faith (Lenski 385); but without faith (Williams).
[ 42 ]ADUNATON, [it is] impossible (Marshall 882; Lenski 385; Williams); impossible (Arndt 19).
[ 43 ]EUARESTEESAI, to be well-pleasing [to God] (Marshall 882); the first aorist active infinitive
of EUARESTEOO (Han 405); aorist tense gives the sense of at all, stating the verbal idea without time,
as a universal proposition (Vincent 4.515); to be well-pleasing (Lenski 385); to please Him (Williams).
[ 44 ]GAR DEI DON PROSERCHOMENON [TOO] THEOO, for the [one] approaching to God
(Marshall 882); DEI is third person singular, present active impersonal of DEI; PROSERCHOMENON
is the present middle participle, accusative singular masculine of PROSERCHOMAI (Han 405); of
coming to, approaching a deity (Arndt 713); for he who comes to God (Lenski 385); for anyone who
approaches God (Williams).
[ 45 ]PISTEUSAI DEI HOTI ESTIN, to believe it behooves that he is (Marshall 882); PISTEUSAI
is the first aorist active infinitive of PISTEUOO; DEI is third person singular, present active impersonal
of DEI (Han 405); must, an essential obligation, in the nature of the case. HOTI ESTIN, that he is
(Vincent 4.515); it is necessary that he believe that he exists (Lenski 385); must believe that there is
a God (Williams).
[ 46 ]MISTHAPODOTEES GINETAI, a rewarder becomes (Marshall 883); GINETAI is third person
singular, present middle indicative of GINOMAI (Han 405); not simply exists, but comes to pass as;
proves to be, habitually, so that he who approaches God has, through faith, the assurance that his
seeking God will result in good to himself (Vincent 4.515); rewarder, literally, one who pays wages
. . . he proves himself a rewarder of those who seek him (Arndt 523); and becomes a giver of due pay
(Lenski 385); and that He gives rewards (Williams).
[ 47 ]KAI TOIS EKZEETOUSIN AUTON, and to the [ones] seeking out him (Marshall 883);
EKZEETOUSIN is the present active participle, dative plural masculine of EKZEETEOO (Han 405);
literally, unto them that seek him out (Vincent 4.515); seek the Lord to serve him (Arndt 240); seek
out [EK] or after, search for (Vine 1012); seek out, search for, seek the Lord to serve him (Arndt 240);
seek out, search for, seek the favor of God, worship him (Thayer 195); to those seeking after him
(Lenski 385); to all who earnestly [in compound verb] try to find Him (Williams).
[ 48 ]PISTEI NOOE, by faith Noah (Marshall 883; Williams); In Hebrew, Noah means rest (Thayer
[ 49 ]CHREEMATISTHEIS, having been warned [by God, this must be understood, as the word
always (or at least generally) has reference to a divine communication] (Marshall 883);
CHREEMATISTHEIS is the first aorist passive participle, nominative singular masculine of
CHREEMATIZOO (Han 405); of God is not in the text (Vincent 4.516); came to signify the giving of
a Divine admonition or instruction or warning (Vine 23); from CHREEMATIZOO a divine
communication; to be divinely warned; receive a revelation or warning from God (Mt 2:12, 22; Lu
2:16; Ac 10:22; 11:26; Ro 7:3; Heb 8:5; 11:7; 12:25). In Acts 11:26, in fulfillment of the OT promise
(Isa 62:1, 2), God called his people by a new name "Christian" (Littrell); having received divine
communication (Lenski 387); on being divinely warned (Williams).
[ 50 ]PERI TOON MEEDEPOO BLEPOMENOON, concerning the things not yet being seen
(Marshall 883); BLEPOMENOON is the present passive participle, genitive plural masculine or neuter
of BLEPOO (Han 405); construct with EULABEELTHEIS [reverence, fear], and render "by faith
Noah, being warned, having reverent care concerning things not seen as yet, prepared an ark," etc.
(Vincent 4.516); concerning things not yet seen (Lenski 387); about things not seen as yet (Williams).
[ 51 ]Implied by Genesis 2:6.
[ 52 ]EULABEETHEIS, being devout (Marshall 883); first aorist passive participle, nominative
singular masculine of EULABEOMAI (Han 405); pious care, a reverent circumspection with regard
to things enjoined by God, and as yet unseen, yet confidently expected on the strength of God's word
(Vincent 4.516); signifies to act with the reverence produced by holy fear (Vine 416); filled with godly
fear (Lenski 387); in reverence (Williams).
[ 53 ]KATESKEUASEN, prepared (Marshall 883; Williams); is third person singular, first aorist
active indicative of KATASKEUAZOO (Han 405); prepared, made ready [KATA used intensively,
SKEUEE equipment] (Vine 877); built and equipped (Vincent 4.516); constructed (Lenski 387).
[ 54 ]The formula for calculating a vessel's gross tonnage is: 100 cubic feet = 1 ton (The
Encyclopedia Americana, 1957 edition, Volume 24, article: "Ships"). Assuming Noah's cubit to have
been the common measure of l.5 feet, the ark would have had a volume of 450 x 75 x 45 = 1,518,750
cubic feet. Dividing by 100 gives the gross tonnage of 15,187 tons (Manor 30).
[ 55 ]KIBOOTON, an ark (Marshall 883; Williams; Lenski 387); originally, a wooden chest (Vincent
4.516); a wooden box, a chest, used of Noah's vessel (Vine 66).
[ 56 ]DI HEES, through which (Marshall 883); by faith: although some refer it to the ark (Vincent
4.517); by means of which [faith] (Lenski 387); there is no word for "faith" in the Greek text.
[ 57 ]KATEKRINEN TON KOSMON, he condemned the world (Marshall 883); KATEKRINEN is
third person singular, first aorist active indicative of KATAKRINOO (Han 405); he announced the
condemnation of the world to destruction (Vincent 4.517); and by his faith condemned the world
[ 58 ]KAI EGENETO KLEERONOMOS, and became heir (Marshall 883; Lenski 387); EGENETO
is third person singular, second aorist middle indicative of GINOMAI (Han 405); one who receives
something other than by merit, as Noah (Vine 542); dependent on DI HEES by which. Became heir
is practically=became partaker of. The literal sense of heir must not be pressed (Vincent 4.517); he
[Noah] became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith (Arndt 435); the idea of inheritance
having disappeared, one who has acquired or obtained the portion allotted him: with genitive of the
thing (Thayer 349); and became possessor (Williams).
[ 59 ]KAI TEES KATA PISTIN DIKAIOSUNEES, and of the according to faith righteousness
(Marshall 883); literally, according to faith, according to faith as a standard (Vincent 4.518); literally,
the down from faith (Littrell); of the righteousness of faith (Lenski 387); of the righteousness that results
from faith [so Winer, Gram] (Williams).
[ 60 ]PISTEI ABRAAM, by faith Abraham (Marshall 883; Lenski 390; Williams); present participle
indicates Abraham's immediate obedience to the call (Vincent 4.518).
[ 61 ]Abram means father of height, exalted father, or father of a multitude (Thayer 2). He was called
the "friend of God" (2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8; Jas 2:23).
[ 62 ]HUPEEKOUSEN, obeyed (Marshall 883; Williams); third person singular, first aorist active
indicative of HUPAKOUOO (Han 405); became obedient (Lenski 390).
[ 63 ]Abraham's age is computed as follows. From the call of Abraham to the giving of the law was
430 years (Ex 12:40, 41; Ga 3:17). From the birth of Isaac to the Exodus was 400 years. Thus thirty
years elapsed from the call of Abraham to the birth of Isaac. When Isaac was born, Abraham was one
hundred years old (Ge 21:5). Subtracting the thirty years, we conclude he was seventy when called.
He died at age one hundred seventy-five. Since he was seventy when called, and entered Canaan at
age seventy-five, he must have sojourned in Haran for five years.
[ 64 ]KALOUMENOUS, being called (Marshall 883; Lenski 390); while he was yet being called
(Vincent 4.518); the present passive participle, nominative singular masculine of KALEOO (Han 405);
on being called (Williams).
[ 65 ]EXELTHEIN, to go forth (Marshall 883); second aorist active infinitive of EXERCHOMAI (Han
405); should be construed with HUPEEKOUSEN obeyed; obeyed to go out. The infinitive explains the
more general obeyed, by specifying that in which his obedience was shown (Vincent 4.518); used of
a people quitting the land which they had previously inhabited (Thayer 223); to go out (Lenski 390);
in starting off (Williams).
[ 66 ]EIS TOPON HON EEMELLEN LAMBANEIN, to a place which he was about to receive
(Marshall 883); LAMBANEIN is the present active infinitive of LAMBANOO (Han 405); he was about
to [receive] (Thayer 396); into a place which he was to receive (Lenski 390); for a country which he
was to receive (Williams).
[ 67 ]EIS KLEERONOMIAN, for an inheritance (Marshall 883; Lenski 390); [KLEEROS a lot,
NEMOMAI to possess] (Vine 588); as his own (Williams).
[ 68 ]KAI EXEELTHEN, and went forth (Marshall 883); EXEELTHEN is third person singular,
second aorist active indicative of EXERCHOMAI (Han 405); of a people quitting the land which they
had previously inhabited (Thayer 223); and he went out (Lenski 390); and he did it (Williams).
[ 69 ]MEE EPISTAMENOS, not understanding (Marshall 883); EPISTAMENOS is the present
passive participle, nominative singular masculine of EPISTAMAI (Han 405); [not] knowing, knowing
of, understanding (Vine 629); not knowing (Lenski 390); in spite of the fact that he did not know
[ 70 ]POU ERCHETAI, where he goes [went] (Marshall 883); ERCHETAI is third person singular,
present middle indicative of ERCHOMAI (Han 405); note the picturesque continued present tense,
"whither he is going," as of Abraham on his journey (Vincent 4.518); where he was going (Lenski 390;
[ 71 ]PISTEI PAROOKEESEN, by faith he sojourned (Marshall 883); PAROOKEESEN is third
person singular, first aorist active indicative of PAROIKEOO (Han 405); the verb, literally, to dwell
beside or among. PAROIKOS, a foreigner dwelling in a state without rights of citizenship. The verb
of rest with the preposition of motion [only here] signifies that he went into the land and dwelt there
(Vincent 4.519); denotes to dwell beside, among or by [PARA beside, OIKEOO to dwell], aorist tense,
he became a sojourner (Vine 1058); by means of faith he lived (Lenski 390); by faith he made his
temporary home (Williams).
[ 72 ]EIS GEEN TEES EPANGELIAS, in a land of promise (Marshall 883); the promised land (Arndt
281); in the land of the promise (Lenski 390); in the land that God had promised him (Williams).
[ 73 ]HOOS ALLOTRIAN, as a foreigner (Marshall 883); as if it were foreign (Arndt 40); as an
outsider (Lenski 390); although a land inhabited by others (Williams).
[ 74 ]In all, Abraham sojourned in and around Canaan for one hundred years.
[ 75 ]EN SKEENAIS KATOIKEESAS, in tents dwelling (Marshall 883); KATOIKEESAS is the first
aorist active participle, nominative singular masculine of KATOIKEOO (Han 405); [KATA down,
OIKEOO to dwell], properly signifies to settle down in a dwelling, to dwell fixedly in a place (Vine
337); tents, as a migratory people, without a permanent home (Vincent 4.519); as not his own (Lenski
390); living merely in tents (Williams); in all, Abraham sojourned in and around Canaan for 100 years
(see Ge 25:7).
[ 76 ]META 'ISAAK KAI 'IAKOOB, with Isaac and Jacob (Marshall 883; Williams); the three,
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are mentioned because they cover the entire period of the sojourn in Canaan
(Vincent 4.519); together with Isaac and Jacob (Lenski 390).
[ 77 ]According to chronological calculations, Jacob and Esau were teenagers (age 15) when Abraham
died (see Ge 21:5; 25:7, 26).
[ 78 ]TOON SUNKLEERONOMOON, the co-heirs (Marshall 883); joint-heirs or fellow-heirs
(Vincent 4.519); inheriting together (Arndt 774); those who obtain something assigned to themselves
with others, joint participants (Thayer 593); the fellow-heirs (Lenski 390); who were to share with him
[ 79 ]TEES EPANGELIAS TEES AUTEES, of the promise same (Marshall 883); of the same promise
(Lenski 390); the same promise (Williams).
[ 80 ]EXEDECHETO GAR TEEN TOUS THEMELIOUS ECHOUSAN POLIN, for he expected the
foundations having city (Marshall 883); EXEDECHETO is third person singular, imperfect middle
indicative EKDECHOMAI; ECHOUSAN is the present active participle, accusative singular feminine
of ECHOO (Han 405); the city, the foundations (Vincent 4.519); THEMELIOUS is properly an
adjective denoting belonging to a foundation [connected with TITHEEMI to place]. It is used as a noun
(Vine 458); laid down as a foundation, belonging to a foundation (Thayer 286); the foundations of the
heavenly city built by God (Arndt 355); looking for [from EKDECHOMAI to receive from another,
to expect] (Littrell); for he kept awaiting the city which has the foundations (Lenski 391); for he was
confidently looking forward to that city with the solid foundations (Williams).
[ 81 ]Bruce 297.
[ 82 ]HEES TECHNITEES, of which artificer (Marshall 883); an artificer, craftsman, of God the
framer of the higher and eternal course of things (Thayer 621); artificer, architect (Vincent 4.520); of
which God is architect (Lenski 391); whose architect (Williams).
[ 83 ]KAI DEEMIOURGOS HO THEOS, and maker God [is] (Marshall 883); originally, a workman
for the public [DEMOS]; generally, framer, builder (Vincent 4.520); the author of any work, an artisan,
framer, builder (Thayer 132); and erector (Lenski 391); and builder is God (Williams); according to
some estimates, heaven is about 1,500 miles square.
[ 84 ]PISTEI. . . KAI SARRA, by faith also Sara (Marshall 883); by means of faith also with Sarah
(Lenski 393); by faith Sarah (Williams).
[ 85 ]AUTEE, [her]self (Marshall 883); she who at first doubted (Vincent 4.520).
[ 86 ]Abraham's laughter may have been an expression of happiness. The Scriptures are not critical
of it. Sarah, on the other hand, seems to have doubted the promise. Later, however, at the birth of
Isaac, she spoke of the "laughter of happiness," saying, "God has made laughter for me; everyone who
hears will laugh with me" (Ge 21:6).
[ 87 ]Abraham was 100 years of age and Sarah herself was 90 (Ge 17:17).
[ 88 ]STEIRA, barren, incapable of bearing children (Arndt 766); see notes on Ro 4:19-22).
[ 89 ]One reason for thinking these words to be a textual addition is their variation in the manuscripts
and versions. Bruce calls these schlimmebesserungen ["false improvements"]. For example, P46 D*
Psi with the Latin and Syriac versions had STIRA ["barren"], 69 1739 and the Coptic versions add
HEE STEIRA ["she who was barren"], P 1912 and some other authorities add STEIRA OUSA ["being
barren"] (Bruce 293).
[ 90 ]There may be a question as to how Abraham was "as good as dead" (Heb 11:12). Was it
because of his own or because of Sarah's sterility? He later married his concubine Keturah and had
six sons by her (Ge 25:1; 1Ch 1:32).
[ 91 ]Rebecca was barren also but, in answer to prayer, conceived (Ge 25:21).
[ 92 ]KAI DUNAMIN EIS KATABOLEEN SPERMATOS, also power for conception of seed
received (Marshall 883); KATABOLEE foundation; received strength, originally, throwing down;
hence, the depositing of the male seed in the womb (Vincent 4.520); literally, "for the deposition of
seed" (Bruce 301); ability for projecting seed (Lenski 393); received strength to become pregnant
[ 93 ]Bruce 302.
[ 94 ]"And she bore a child" is not carried in the ASV, NASB, NAU, NIV, RSV and others; not in
the text (Vincent 4.521); and actually gave birth to a child (Williams).
[ 95 ]KAI PARA KAIRON HEELIKIAS, even beyond time of age (Marshall 883); beyond a certain
stage of life (Vine 34); KAI and that. PARA KAIRON HEELIKIAS, literally, past the season of age
(Vincent 4.521);even contrary to [his] age-period (Lenski 393); although she was past the time of life
for it (Williams).
[ 96 ]DIO KAI, wherefore indeed (Marshall 883); and to be sure therefore, for this reason (Arndt 198,
393); since (Lenski 393); and so (Williams).
[ 97 ]APH' HENOS EGENEETHEESAN, from one there became (Marshall 883);
EGENEETHEESAN is third person plural, first aorist passive indicative of GINOMAI (Han 405); from
one man were born (Arndt 535); wherefore also from one (Lenski 393); there sprang from one man
[ 98 ]KAI TAUTA NENEKROOMENOU, and that too [he] having died (Marshall 883);
NENEKROOMENOU is the perfect passive participle, genitive singular masculine of NEKROOO (Han
405); as good as is an addition of the KJV. The Greek reads and that a dead man (Vincent 4.521);
passive voice, used of Abraham's body as being "as good as dead" (Vine 265); and him as good as
dead (Arndt 535); [one] that had become dead (Lenski 393); and that dead [not actually dead, but as
to any prospects for offspring] as to any prospects for offspring (Williams).
[ 99 ]His worn-out body (Arndt 535).
[ 100 ]EGENEETHEESAN, there became (Marshall 883); third person plural, first aorist passive
indicative of GINOMAI (Han 405); there were begotten (Lenski 393).
[ 101 ]Like, Mohammed, Arabs in general claim Ishmael as their ancestor.
[ 102 ]KAI HOOS HEE AMMOS, and as the sand (Marshall 884); sand or sandy ground, describes
numberlessness, vastness (Vine 931); and as the sand (Lenski 393); and as the sands (Williams).
[ 103 ]HEE PARA TO CHEILOS TEES THALASSEES, by the lip of the sea (Marshall 884);
literally, by the lip of the sea (Vincent 4.521); singular, shorebank of the sea (Arndt 879); of the shore
of the sea unnumbered (Lenski 393); beside the seashore [as numberless] (Williams).
[ 104 ]KATA PISTIN APETHANON HOUTOI PANTES, By way of faith died these all (Marshall
884); APETHANON is third person plural, second aorist active indicative of APOTHNEESKOO (Han
405); by way of faith, these all died; literally, according to faith, according to faith as a standard
(Vincent 4.518); in keeping with faith they all died (Lenski 395); these people all died victoriously as
a result of their faith (Williams); the variation KATA PISTIN is used with dying. PISTEI [by faith,
verses 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11] is used for obedience.
[ 105 ]MEE LABONTES TAS EPANGELIAS, not having obtained the promises (Marshall 884); the
verb implies, not mere obtaining, but receiving and carrying away for use and enjoyment (Vincent
4.508); what was promised (Arndt 280); not having carried off the promises (Lenski 395); although they
did not receive the blessings promised (Williams).
[ 106 ]An interpolation is an addition, perhaps from copying into the text a hand-written marginal note.
[ 107 ]ALLA PORROOTHEN AUTAS IDONTES KAI ASPASAMENOI, but from afar them seeing
and greeting (Marshall 884); IDONTES is the second aorist active participle, nominative plural
masculine of ORAOO; ASPASAMENOI is the first aorist middle participle, nominative plural
masculine of ASPAZOMAI (Han 405); by faith; from afar, embraced is a sort of inferential rendering
of the original sense to salute or greet; render having seen them from afar and greeted them (Vincent
4.521, 522); greeted, welcomed the promises from a distance (Arndt 117, 693); but [only] having seen
them afar off and having saluted them (Lenski 395); that is, because they really saw them in the far-off
future and welcomed them (Williams).
[ 108 ]KAI HOMOLOGEESANTES, and confessing (Marshall 884); HOMOLOGEESANTES is the
first aorist active participle, nominative plural masculine of HOMOLOGEOO (Han 405); admitting that
they were [only] foreigners (Arndt 568); admitted and accepted the fact with the resignation of faith,
and with the assurance of future rest (Vincent 4.522); and having confessed (Lenski 395); and so
[ 109 ]HOTI ZENOI EISIN, that strangers the are (Marshall 884); EISIN is third person plural,
present active indicative of EIMI (Han 405); strangers, foreigners (Vine 1093); that they were strangers
[ 110 ]KAI PAREPIDEEMOI EISIN EPI TEES GEES, and sojourners they are on the earth [?land]
(Marshall 884); EISIN is third person plural, present active indicative of EIMI (Han 405); sojourners
(Vincent 4.522); an adjective signifying "sojourning in a strange place, away from one's own people,"
[PARA from, expressing a contrary condition, EPIDEEMEOO to sojourn, DEEMOS a people], of OT
saints (Vine 855); [on the] inhabited earth (Thayer 114); earth, in contrast to heaven (Arndt 157); and
pilgrims on the earth (Lenski 395).
[ 111 ]The word pilgrim came into wide usage during the crusades, when all across Europe, it was
nothing unusual for settled citizens to see a lonely traveler crossing a clearing or a field on his way to
the Holy Land (Coffman 273).
[ 112 ]EMPHANIZOUSIN, make manifest (Marshall 884); third person plural, present active
indicative of EMPHANIZOO (Han 405); make it manifest (Vincent 4.522); manifest, make manifest
[from EN in, intensive, PHAINOO to shine], used either of physical manifestation [or] make known,
signify, inform. There is perhaps a combination of the two meanings in Hebrews 11:14, that is, to
declare by oral testimony and to manifest by the witness of the life (Vine 57, 708); keep indicating
(Lenski 397); show (Williams).
[ 113 ]PATRIDA EPIZEETOUSIN, a fatherland they seek (Marshall 884); EPIZEETOUSIN is third
person plural, present active indicative of EPIZEETEOO (Han 405); PATRIS is a native country, a
fatherland (Vincent 4.522); primarily signifies one's fatherland, native country, of one's own town
(Vine 239); that they are earnestly seeking a fatherland (Lenski 397); that they are in search of a
country of their own [that is, their fatherland] (Williams).
[ 114 ]KAI EI MEN EKEINEES EMNEEMONEUON, and if on one hand that they remembered
(Marshall 884); EMNEEMONEUON is third person plural, imperfect active indicative of
MNEEMONEUOO (Han 405); remember; if in their declaration [verse 14] that they were seeking a
country, they had called to mind the country from which they came out, they could have returned
thither, so that it is evident that they did not mean that country (Vincent 4.522, 523); and if they were
remembering (Lenski 397); and if they had been cherishing the memory (Williams); see note on verse
22 where EMNEEMONEUSEN may be translated remembered.
[ 115 ]Even Abraham's father Terah was an idolater (Jos 24:2, 14, 15).
[ 116 ]There may be an allusion here to the temptation to return to Judaism.
[ 117 ]EICHON AN KAIRON ANAKAMPSAI, they might have had time [opportunity] to return
(Marshall 884); first aorist active infinitive of ANAKAMPTOO (Han 405); to return, literally, bend
their way back again [ANA] (Vincent 4.523); this is an example of the Greek epexegetic or explanatory
infinitive (Nunn 170); they would have opportunity to return (Lenski 397); they would have had an
opportunity to go back (Williams).
[ 118 ]Jacob was with Laban a total of twenty years (Ge 31:38).
[ 119 ]NUN DE OREGONTAI, now on the other they aspire to (Marshall 884); OREGONTAI is third
person plural, present middle indicative of HOREGOO (Han 405); but as it is (Bruce 305); NUN now
is logical: as the case now stands (Vincent 4.523); OREGONTAI is reach or stretch out, used only in
the middle voice, signifying the mental effort of stretching oneself out for a thing, of longing after it,
with stress upon the object desired (Vine 290); compare EPITHUMOUMEN we desire earnestly,
stressing the inner impulse rather than the object, Heb 6:11); reaching out [from OREGOO stretch out,
to reach forward; figuratively, to desire earnestly, long for (Littrell); NUN now is logical: as the case
now stands (Vincent 523); now, however, they aspire to (Lenski 397); but in reality they were aspiring
[ 120 ]KREITTONOS, a better (Marshall 884); more prominent, higher in rank, preferable, better
(Arndt 449); excellent (Vine 114); a better one (Lenski 397); for a better country (Williams).
[ 121 ]TOUT' ESTIN EPOURANIOU, this is a heavenly (Marshall 884); heavenly, with reference
to heaven, the place where God dwells with the beings and things that pertain to him (Arndt 305); ;that
is, to a heavenly one (Lenski 397); I mean, a heavenly one (Williams).
[ 122 ]DIO OUK EPAISCHUNETAI AUTOUS HO THEOS, wherefore is not ashamed [of] them God
(Marshall 884); EPAISCHUNETAI is third person singular, present middle indicative of
EPAISCHUNOMAI (Han 405); [EPI upon, intensive, AISCHUNOO to have a feeling of fear or
shame], used of Christ in calling those who are sanctified His brethren [Heb 2:11] and of God in His
not being ashamed to be called the God of believers [Heb 11:16] (Vine 69); wherefore God is not
ashamed of them (Lenski 397); this is why God is not ashamed (Williams).
[ 123 ]THEOS EPIKALEISTHAI AUTON, God to be called of them (Marshall 884);
EPIKALEISTHAI is the present passive infinitive of EPIKALEOO (Han 405); literally, to be surnamed
(Vincent 4.523); to be called their God (Lenski 397; Williams).
[ 124 ]Hebrew EL SHADDAI.
[ 125 ]YHWH, Jehovah, Lord.
[ 126 ]HEETOIMASEN GAR AUTOIS POLIN, he prepared for them a city (Marshall 884);
HEETOIMASEN is third person singular, first aorist active indicative of ETOIMAZOO (Han 405);
prepared, made ready, with an object, for example of those things which are ordained by God (Vine
876); for he prepared for them a city (Lenski 397); for He has prepared a city for them (Williams).
[ 127 ]PISTEI PROSENEENOCHEN 'ABRAAM TON 'ISAAK PEIRAZOMENOS, by faith has
offered up Abraham Isaac being tested (Marshall 884); PROSENEENOCHEN is third person singular,
perfect active indicative of PROSPHEROO; PEIRAZOMENOS is the present passive participle,
nominative singular masculine of PEIRAZOO (Han 405); primarily, was bringing [PROS to, PHEROO
to bring], of offerings previous to the Law [of Isaac by Abraham]; God tempted, or tried, Abraham
(Vine 802, 1128); literally, has offered; while the trial is yet in progress, Abraham hath already offered
up his son, before the trial has come to an issue, by the act of his obedient will, through faith in God
(Vincent 4.524); perfect tense, may denote the completeness of the sacrifice so far as Abraham's
resolution was concerned (Bruce 308); by means of faith Abraham, when being tried (Lenski 400); by
faith Abraham, when he was put to the test, offered Isaac as a sacrifice (Williams).
[ 128 ]According to the KJV, "God did tempt Abraham." This He did in the sense of testing him
(compare Jas 1:13). "James 1:13-15 seems to contradict other statements of Scripture in two respects,
saying [a] that `God cannot be tempted with evil,' and [b] that `He Himself tempteth no man.' But God
tempted, or tried, Abraham, Hebrews 11:17, and the Israelites tempted, or tried, God, 1 Corinthians
10:9. Verse 14, however, makes it plain that, whereas in these cases the temptation or trial, came from
without, James refers to temptation, or trial, arising within, from uncontrolled appetites and from evil
passions, compare Mark 7:20-23. But though such temptation does not proceed from God, yet does
God regard His people while they endure it, and by it tests and approves them" (Vine 1128).
[ 129 ]Machen 451.
[ 130 ]ANENENKAS, offering up (Marshall 900); the first aorist active participle, nominative singular
masculine of ANAPHEROO (Han 413); is the first aorist active participle of ANAPHEROO (Thayer
711); was starting to offer as a sacrifice (Williams); to some, the aorist suggests a one-time offering
(compare the aorist tense in Romans 12:1 of "Present your bodies a living sacrifice).
[ 131 ]TAS EPANGELIAS ANADEXAMENOS, the promises having undertaken (Marshall 884); the
first aorist middle participle, nominative singular masculine of ANADECHOMAI (Han 405); accepted,
welcomed and entertained, gladly received (Vincent 4.524); of Abraham's reception of God's promises,
ASV "gladly [ANA up, regarded as intensive] received." Moulton and Milligan point out the frequency
of this verb in the papyri in the legal sense of taking the responsibility of something, becoming security
for, undertaking, and say "The predominance of this meaning suggests its application in Hebrews 11:17.
The statement that Abraham had `undertaken,' `assumed the responsibility of,' the promises would not
perhaps be alien to the thought." The responsibility would surely be that of his faith in receiving the
promises. In Classical Greek it had the meaning of receiving, and it is a little difficult to attach any
other sense to the circumstances,save perhaps that Abraham's faith undertook to exercise the assurance
of the fulfillment of the promises (Vine 928); he who had accepted the promises (Lenski 400); that is,
he who had received the promise (Williams).
[ 132 ]PROSEPHEREN, was offering up (Marshall 884); third person singular, imperfect active
indicative of PROSPHEROO (Han 405); imperfect tense, denoting continued action in past time
(Machen 122); indicating that, so far as outward action was concerned, the sacrifice of Isaac was not
completed by his death (Bruce 308); he was offering (Lenski 400); was starting to offer as a sacrifice
(Williams); inceptive imperfect, denoting the beginning of an action (Dana 190).
[ 133 ]KAI TON MONOGENEE, and the [his] only begotten (Marshall 884); corresponding to
Hebrew YAHID in Genesis 22:2. Septuagint renders YAHID here by AGAPEETOS beloved, while
Symmachus renders by MONOS only. The Hebrew combines the two ideas . . . "the beloved and
only" [Philo] (Bruce 308); only begotten [from MONOGENEES only begotten; only born (Littrell);
even his only-begotten (Lenski 400); his only son (Williams).
[ 134 ]Some estimates of Isaac's age when Abraham was offering him are: age 25 (Josephus,
Antiquities 1.13.2; Smith's Bible Dictionary 4); age 23 (Jubilees 16.12; 17:15); age 37 (Seder `Olam);
age 33 (Clarke 1.138, 140); since Sarah was about 90 years of age when Isaac was born (Ge 21:1), and
127 when she died, and if she died (Ge 23:1) after he was offered (see Ge 22:9, 10), he could not have
been more than 37 when he was offered (Lemons).
[ 135 ]Josephus, Antiquities 1.13.1.
[ 136 ]Coffman 276.
[ 137 ]PROS HON ELALEETHEE, as to whom it was spoken (Marshall 884); ELALEETHEE is third
person singular, first aorist passive indicative of LALEOO (Han 405); "unto," not "of" (KJV). "Unto
whom" is equivalent to "though unto him" (Howson 877); to whom it was said (Lenski 400); of whom
it had been said (Williams).
[ 138 ]LOGISAMENOS, reckoning (Marshall 884); the first aorist middle participle, nominative
singular masculine of LOGIZOMAI (Han 406); primarily signifies reckoned, whether by calculation
or imputation; then, to deliberate, and so to suppose, account (Vine 16); having drawn the conclusion
(Lenski 400); for he considered the fact (Williams).
[ 139 ]"Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed" (Ro 4:18).
[ 140 ]HOTHEN, whence (Marshall 884); wherefore: because of his faith in God's power and
truthfulness (Vincent 4.524); hence (Lenski 400); and so (Williams).
[ 141 ]AUTON KAI EKOMISATO, him indeed he obtained (Marshall 884); EKOMISATO is third
person singular, first aorist middle indicative of KOMIZOO (Han 406); KAI marks the receiving as
answering to the faith. As Abraham believed in God's power to restore Isaac, so, because of his faith,
he also received him (Vincent 4.524); he also brought him away (Lenski 400); he did receive him back
[ 142 ]A few manuscripts have EGEIRAI, the aorist infinitive.
[ 143 ]Bruce 308.
[ 144 ]EN PARABOLEE, in a parable (Marshall 884); in a parable, in a sense. (Vincent 4.524); a
casting or placing side by side [PARA beside, BALLOO to throw], with a view to comparison or
resemblance, a parable . . . the return of Isaac was [parabolically, in the literal sense of the term]
figurative of the resurrection (Vine 426); in the way of a parable (Lenski 400); in a figure (Williams).
[ 145 ]PISTEI EULOGEESEN 'ISAAK TON 'IAKOOB KA TON 'ESAU, By faith blessed Isaac
Jacob and Esau (Marshall 884, 885); EULOGEESEN is third person singular, first aorist active
indicative of EULOGEOO (Han 406); literally spoke well of [EU well, LOGOS a word] (Vine 124);
blessed, that is, called down God's gracious power upon, of paternal blessings by Isaac [Ge 27] and
Jacob [Ge 48] (Arndt 322); by means of faith did Isaac bless Jacob and Esau (Lenski 404); by faith
Isaac put his blessings for the future on Jacob and Esau (Williams).
[ 146 ]KAI PERI MELLONTOON, also concerning coming things (Marshall 885); MELLONTOON
is the present active participle, genitive plural masculine of MELLOO (Han 406); Isaac pronounced a
blessing, KAI and that concerning things to come; things beyond the lifetime of Jacob and Esau
(Vincent 4.525); also concerning things to come (Lenski 404).
[ 147 ]APOTHNESKON, dying (Marshall 885); present active participle, nominative singular
masculine of APOTHNEESKOO (Han 406); when dying (Vincent 4.525); when dying (Lenski 404);
about to die (Williams).
[ 148 ]HEKASTON TOON HUIOON 'IOOSEEPH EULOGEESEN, each blessed (Marshall 885);
EULOGEESEN third person singular, first aorist active indicative of EULOGEOO (Han 406); each son
received a separate and distinct blessing (Vincent 4.525); blessed each of the sons of Joseph (Lenski
404); put his blessing on each of Joseph's sons (Williams).
[ 149 ]KAI PROSEKUNEESEN, and worshipped (Marshall 885; Williams); PROSEKUNEESEN is
third person singular, first aorist active indicative of PROSKUNEOO (Han 406); [from PROS towards,
KUNEOO to kiss], the most frequent word rendered worship (Vine 1247); and bowed to worship
[ 150 ]EPI TO AKRON TEES RHABDOU AUTOU, on the tip of the rod of him (Marshall 865); from
the Septuagint. The Hebrew being, "Jacob bowed himself upon the head of the bed" (Ge 47:31;
compare 1Ki 1:47). According to its vowel-points, the same Hebrew word signifies either staff or bed
(Vincent 4.526); the Hebrew may mean either a bed or a staff, depending simply on points which did
not belong to the original text, but which were attached to it by the [uninspired] Masorites after the
commencement of the Christian era. Thus MATTEH means a rod or staff, and MITTAH means a bed
or couch (Milligan 317); over the top of his staff (Lenski 404); leaning on the top of his staff
[ 151 ]The Masorites who did much work on vowel markings of the Hebrew OT gave is the name
"Masoretic text." It was completed early in the church age.
[ 152 ]PISTEI 'IOOSEEPH TELEUTOON, By faith Joseph dying (Marshall 885); TELEUTOON is
the present active participle, nominative singular masculine of TELEUTAOO (Han 406); the verb
means to finish, or close, with life understood; render when near his end (Vincent 4.526); by means
of faith Joseph, when finishing his life (Lenski 406); by faith Joseph, at the closing of his life
[ 153 ]Jacob was past one hundred thirty years of age (Ge 47:9) when he became ill.
[ 154 ]PERI. . . EMNEEMONEUSEN, concerning . . . remembered (Marshall 885);
EMNEEMONEUSEN is third person singular, first aorist active indicative of MNEEMONEUOO (Han
406); remembered is appropriate here (Vincent 4.526); most usually means to call to mind, remember,
signifies to make mention of in Hebrews 11:22 (Vine 732); see note on verse 15. made mention [from
MNEEMONEOUOO to remember, call to mind, to mention, speak of] (Littrell); remembered regarding
(Lenski 406); made mention (Williams).
[ 155 ]TEES EXODOU TOON HUIOON 'ISRAEEL, the exodus of the sons of Israel (Marshall 885;
Lenski 406); HOI HUIOI 'ISRAEEL [the sons of Israel] is one of several phrases in NT denoting the
chosen people (Vincent 4.527); of the future migration of the Israelites (Williams).
[ 156 ]KAI PERI TOON ASTEOON AUTOU ENETEILATO, and concerning the bones of him gave
orders (Marshall 885; Lenski 406); ENETEILATO is third person singular, first aorist middle indicative
of ENTELLOMAI (Han 406); KAI and so; in consequence of his remembering the prophecy of the
exodus. The verb indicates a specific injunction [ENTOLEE] (Vincent 4.527); and gave orders
concerning his bones (Lenski 406); and gave directions what to do with his body [literally, about his
[ 157 ]HUPO TOON PATEROON AUTOU, by the parents of him (Marshall 885); literally, by his
fathers (Vincent 4.527); by his parents (Lenski 407; Williams).
[ 158 ]DIOTI EIDON ASTEION TO PAIDION, because they saw [to be] fine the child (Marshall
885); EIDON is third person plural, second aorist active indicative of ORAOO (Han 406); ASTEIOS
is connected with ASTU a city, was used primarily of that which befitted the town, town-bred
[corresponding English words are "polite," "polished," connected with POLIS a town; compare
"urbane," from Latin URBS a city]. Among Greek writers it is set in contrast to AGROIKOS rustic
and AISCHROS base, and was used, for example, of clothing. It is found in the NT only of Moses,
Acts 7:20,"[exceeding] fair," literally, "fair [to God]," and Hebrews 11:23; proper, goodly; beautiful
because [he was] elegant (Vine 893); comely (Vincent 4.527); beautiful [from ASTEIOS belonging to
a city, well-bred, polite, polished, elegant, fair, comely] (Littrell); because they saw the child was fair
(Lenski 407); because they saw that he was a beautiful child (Williams).
[ 159 ]Josephus, Antiquities, 2.9.6.
[ 160 ]KAI OUK EPHOBEETHEESAN, and they did not fear (Marshall 885); EPHOBEETHEESAN
is third person plural, first aorist passive indicative of PHOBEOO (Han 406); [did not] fear danger from
something (Thayer 656); and they feared not (Lenski 407); and they were not afraid (Williams).
[ 161 ]TO DIATAGMA TOU BASILEOOS, the decree of the king (Marshall 885); mandate (Vincent
4.527); the mandate of the king (Lenski 407); of the king's decree (Williams).
[ 162 ]Shiphrah and Puah (Ex 1:15).
[ 163 ]MEGAS GENOMENOS, great having become (Marshall 885); GENOMENOS is the second
aorist middle participle, nominative singular masculine of GINOMAI (Han 406); literally, having
become great (Vincent 4.527); of Moses, literally, "had become great, "had grown up" (Vine 512);
having grown up (Lenski 407); when he had grown up (Williams).
[ 164 ]"Thermuthis therefore perceiving him to be so remarkable a child, adopted him for her son,
having no child of her own" (Josephus, Antiquities 2.9.7).
[ 165 ]Josephus, Antiquities 2.9.7.
[ 166 ]It is thought by some that Thermuthis, the Egyptian step-mother of Moses, was daughter of
[ 167 ]Coffman 288, 289.
[ 168 ]MALLON HELOMENOS SUNKAKOUCHEISTHAI, rather choosing to be ill treated with
(Marshall 885); HELOMENOS is the second aorist middle participle, nominative singular masculine
of AIREOO; SUNKAKOUCHEISTHAI is the present middle infinitive of SUNKAKOUCHEOMAI
(Han 406); to endure adversity with [SUN with, KAKOUCHEOO to ill-treat] (Vine 1104); the verb
KAKOUCHEIN to treat ill; render to be evil entreated (Vincent 4.527); rather having chosen to be
basely treated (Lenski 407); because he preferred to suffer hardships (Williams).
[ 169 ] EE PROSKAIRON ECHEIN HAMARTIAS APOLAUSIN, than for a time to have of sin
enjoyment (Marshall 885); ECHEIN is the present active infinitive of ECHOO (Han 406); literally, than
to have temporary enjoyment of sin (Vincent 4.527); lasting only for a time, temporary, transitory;
enjoyment, enjoy the short-lived pleasures of sin (Arndt 94, 715); than to have enjoyment of sin lasting
for a period (Lenski 407); than to have the passing enjoyment that results from sin (Williams).
[ 170 ]HEEGEESAMENOS TOON ONEIDISMON TOU CHRISTOU, deeming [than] the treasures
of Christ (Marshall 885); HEEGEESAMENOS is the first aorist middle participle, nominative singular
masculine of HEEGEOMAI (Han 406); a reproach, defamation (Vine 954); the participle gives the
reason for his choice of affliction instead of sin: since he esteemed (Vincent 4.528); having come to
esteem the reproach of the Christ (Lenski 407); and thought the reproach endured for the Christ
[ 171 ]APEBLEPEN GAR EIS, for he was looking away to (Marshall 885); APEBLEPEN is third
person singular, imperfect active indicative of AMOBLEPOO (Han 406); literally, he looked away from
that which was before his eyes (Howson 877); literally, he looked away [from the treasures of Egypt,
etc.] unto the recompense (Vincent 528); used of keeping one's attention fixed on something, as an
artist keeps his fixed on the object or model that he is reproducing in painting or sculpture (Bruce 321);
for he kept looking away to (Lenski 407); for he kept his eye upon (Williams).
[ 172 ]EIS TEEN MISTHAPODOSIAN, to the recompense (Marshall 885); a recompense, used of
reward (Vine 931, 967); to the due pay-gift (Lenski 407); the reward (Williams); the same word used
in Hebrews 10:35 (see note there).
[ 173 ]PISTEI KATELIPEN 'AIGUPTON, By faith he left Egypt (Marshall 885; Williams);
KATELIPEN is third person singular, second aorist active indicative of KATALEIPOO (Han 406);
forsook, in the sense of abandoning (Vine 456); departed from, left (Thayer 333); left a place when
going away (Arndt 413); by means of faith he left Egypt behind (Lenski 410).
[ 174 ]Left alone, forsook, neglected (Vine 655).
[ 175 ]MEE PHOBEETHEIS TON THUMON TOU BASILEOOS, not fearing the anger of the king
(Marshall 885; Lenski 410); PHOBEETHEIS is the first aorist passive participle, nominative singular
masculine of PHOBEOO (Han 406); [did not] fear danger from something [the wrath of the king]
(Thayer 656); for he was not afraid of the king's anger (Williams).
[ 176 ]The Pharaoh from whom Moses fled had died (Ex 2:23). Another Pharaoh reigned in his stead.
The identity of these kings is disputed (see Zondervan 645).
[ 177 ]GAR EKARTEREESEN, for he endured (Marshall 885); EKARTEREESEN is third person
singular, first aorist active indicative of KARTEREOO (Han 406); was stanch and steadfast (Vincent
4.528); was steadfast, patient, of Moses relation to Egypt (Vine 359); for he was steadfast (Lenski 410);
for he persevered (Williams).
[ 178 ]Joseph, Antiquities 2.11.1, 2.
[ 179 ]TON AORATON HOOS HOROON, the unseen [one] as seeing (Marshall 855); HOROON is
the present active participle, nominative singular masculine of HORAOO (Han 406); literally, unseen
[A negative, HORAOO to see], of God Himself (Vine 599); since he saw, etc. The emphasis is on
invisible, pointing back to the introductory definition of faith (Vincent 4.528); as seeing the Invisible
One (Lenski 410); as though he were actually seeing Him who is unseen (Williams).
[ 180 ]Bruce 323.
[ 181 ]PISTEI PEPOIEEKEN TO PASCHA, by faith he has made the passover (Marshall 885);
PEPOIEEKEN is third person singular, perfect active indicative of POIEOO (Han 406); hath instituted
the passover. The perfect tense indicates the continued significance of the service down to the time of
writing (Vincent 4.528); perfect tense hath established (Conybeare 877); by means of faith he has
attended to the Passover (Lenski 410); by faith he instituted the Passover (Williams).
[ 182 ]KAI TEEN PROSCHUSIN TOU HAIMATOS, and the affusion of the blood (Marshall 885);
affusion [from PROSCHEIN to pour on] (Vincent 4.529); a pouring or sprinkling upon, of the
sprinkling of the blood of the Passover lamb (Vine 1082); and the splashing of the blood (Lenski 410);
and the pouring of blood upon the doorposts [implied] (Williams).
[ 183 ]HINA MEE HO OLOTHREUOON TA PROOTOTOKA THIGEE AUTOON, lest the [one]
destroying the firstborns should touch of them (Marshall 885, 886); OLOTHREUOON is the present
active participle, nominative singular masculine of OLOTHREUOO; THIGEE is third person singular,
second aorist active subjunctive of THINGAUOO (Han 406); that the destroyer of the first-born should
not touch them (Vincent 4.529); THIGE is a lighter term than HAPTOO [to touch, used of the attack
of the Evil One, 1Jo 5:18]; though Hebrews 11:28 approximates to it, in expressing the action of the
Destroyer of the Egyptian firstborn (Vine 1157); in order that the one destroying the first-born should
not touch them (Lenski 410); so that the destroyer of the first-born might not touch them (Williams).
[ 184 ]PISTEI DIEBEESAN, by faith they went through (Marshall 886); DIEBEESAN is third person
plural, second aorist active indicative of DIABAINOO (Han 406); stepped across, crossed over, "passed
through" (Vine 836); by means of faith they walked through (Lenski 411); by faith they crossed
[ 185 ]Milligan 322, 323.
[ 186 ]TEEN 'ERUTHAN THALASSAN, the Red Sea (Marshall 886; Lenski 411; Williams); the Red
Sea, called by the Israelites the sea, and specially, the sea of Suph [sedge, seeds] (Vincent 4.530);
denotes red [the ordinary color] (Vine 935); the sea of Reeds (footnote NASB).
[ 187 ]HOOS DIA XEERAS GEES, as through dry land (Marshall 886; Lenski 411); dry, used
naturally, of dry land (Vine 334); as though it were dry land (Williams).
[ 188 ]HEES PEIRAN LABONTES HOI 'AIGUPTIOI, which trial taking the Egyptians (Marshall
886); LABONTES is the second aorist active participle, nominative plural masculine of LAMBANOO
(Han 406); literally, of which [sea] the Egyptians having taken trial (Vincent 4.530); tried (Vine 1173);
which having undertaken to try, the Egyptians (Lenski 411); while the Egyptians, in attempting it
[ 189 ]KATEPOTHEESAN, were swallowed up (Marshall 886; Lenski 411); third person plural, first
aorist passive indicative of KATAPINOO (Han 406); literally, were drunk down (Vincent 4.530);
literally, were drunk down [PINOO to drink, prefixed by KATA down], signifies to swallow up (Vine
333); were drowned (Williams).
[ 190 ]PISTEI TA TEICHEE 'IERICHOO EPESAN, By faith the walls of Jericho fell (Marshall 886);
EPESAN is third person plural, first aorist active indicative of PIPTOO (Han 406); fell (Vine 403); fell,
fell to pieces, collapsed, went down (Arndt 659); by means of faith the walls of Jericho fell (Lenski
413); by faith the walls of Jericho collapsed (Williams).
[ 191 ]The Israelites were to march around Jericho once each day for six days but on the seventh day
they were to march around it seven times (Jos 6:3, 4).
[ 192 ]See K. M. Kenyon, Digging up Jericho, London 1957, and Archaeology in the Holy Land,
[ 193 ]KUKLOOTHENTA EPI HEPTA HEEMERAS, having been encircled during seven days
(Marshall 886); KUKLOOTHENTA is the first aorist passive participle, nominative plural neuter of
KUKLOOO (Han 406); KUKLOOO signifies to move in a circle, to compass about, as of a city
encompassed by armies (Vine 209); having been circled for seven days (Lenski 413); having been
surrounded each of seven days (Williams).
[ 194 ]PISTEI RHAAB HEE PORNEE, By faith Rahab the prostitute (Marshall 886; Williams); a
prostitute, harlot [from PERNEEMI to sell], of Rahab (Vine 525, 526); Hebrew broad, ample; properly
a woman who sells her body for sexual uses . . . A prostitute, a harlot, one who yields herself to
defilement for the sake of gain; in the NT universally any woman indulging in unlawful sexual
intercourse, whether for gain or for lust (Thayer 532, 560); prostitute, harlot (Arndt 693); by means
of faith Rahab, the harlot (Lenski 414).
[ 195 ]Much earlier, Moses had sent twelve spies into Canaan (see Nu 13:3-16).
[ 196 ]See Josephus, Antiquities 5.1.2.
[ 197 ]OU SUNAPOOLETO TOIS APEITHEESASIN, did not perish with the [ones] disobeying
(Marshall 886); SUNAPOOLETO is third person singular, second aorist middle indicative of
SUNAPOLLUMI; APEITHEESASIN is the first aorist active participle, dative plural masculine of
APEITHEOO (Han 406); in middle voice, denotes [did not] perish together [SUN with, APOLLUMI
to destroy] (Vine 849). them that were disobedient. Simple disbelief is expressed by APISTEIN,
APISTIA: disbelief as it manifests itself in disobedience, by APEITHEIN. APEITHEIN is APISTEIN
on its active side. APEITHEIN here describes the failure to be persuaded that God had given the land
to the Israelites, and the consequent refusal to surrender Jericho (Vincent 4.530, 531); refused to be
persuaded, refused belief, were disobedient (Vine 311); not "them that believed not" (KJV). They had
heard the miracles wrought in favor of the Israelites [Jos 2:10], and yet refused obedience (Howson
877); did not perish with the disobedient ones (Lenski 414); did not perish with those who disobeyed
[ 198 ]Rahab was not justified by the lie she told. That was a sin for which she was later justified
[ 199 ]DEXAMENEE TOUS KATASKOPOUS, having received the spies (Marshall 886; Lenski 414);
DEXAMENEE is the first aorist middle participle, nominative singular feminine of DECHOMAI (Han
406); having received (Vincent 4.531); received by deliberate and ready reception of what is offered,
of Rahab's reception of the spies [KATA down, signifying closely, SKOPEOO to view] (Vine 927,
1083); because she had welcomed the scouts (Williams).
[ 200 ]MET' EIREENEES, with peace (Marshall 886; Lenski 414); without enmity, and did not allow
them to suffer harm from others (Vincent 4.531); friendliness (Vine 841); as friends [literally, with
peace, so as friends] (Williams).
[ 201 ]EPILEIPSEI ME GAR DIEEGOUMENON HO CHRONOS, will fail me for recounting the
time (Marshall 886); EPILEIPSEI is third person singular, future active indicative of EPILEIPOO;
DIEEGOUMENON is the present middle participle, accusative singular masculine of DIEEGEOMAI
(Han 406); literally, the time will fail me telling: if I tell (Vincent 4.531); this form of expression is
often used by classical writers to denote simply that much that might be said on a given subject, has
to be omitted for want of time (R. Milligan 324); the time will fail me recounting (Lenski 414); for
time would fail me to tell (Williams).
[ 202 ]The Hebrew GIDH'ON Gideon means feller or hewer.
[ 203 ]Jerubbaal means contender with Baal or let Baal plead.
[ 204 ]In April of 1993, when, prostrate on my abdomen, I drank from the spring of Harod, the stream
of clear water gushing from under the mountain was some ten or twelve feet wide.
[ 205 ]The Hebrew BARAQ means lightening.
[ 206 ]Deborah, in Hebrew, is DEVORAH bee.
[ 207 ]Josephus (Antiquities 5.5.1) says that the Canaanite King Jabin had no fewer than 3,000
chariots. Sisera served under him.
[ 208 ]"So the battle began; and when they were come to a close fight, there came down from heaven
a great storm, with a vast quantity of rain and hail, and the wind blew the rain in the face of the
Canaanites, and so darkened their eyes, that their arrows and slings were of no advantage to them, nor
would the coldness of the air permit the soldiers to make use of their swords; while this storm did not
so much incommode the Israelites, because it came in their backs (Josephus, Antiquities 5.5.4).
[ 209 ]In Hebrew, Samson is SHIMSHON probably means "sun-like." He was known as the Hebrew
[ 210 ]Jephthah, in Hebrew, is YEPHTAH and means opened or opener.
[ 211 ]David, in Hebrew, is DAWIDH. The name means "beloved," or in the ancient Mari language
[ 212 ]Samuel, in Hebrew, is SHEMU'EL. The name means "name of God" or "his name is El."
[ 213 ]W. W. Fereday, Samuel: God's Emergency Man, Kilmarnock, 1945.
[ 214 ]Compare Exodus 4:15, 16 with 7:1. The first passage reads, "And you [Moses] are to speak
to him [Aaron] and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth,
and I will teach you what you are to do. Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and it shall
come about that he shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be as God to him." Note that Moses was
to "be as God" to Aaron. The second passage: "Then the Lord said to Moses, `See, I make you as
God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet'." Moses was "as" God in telling Aaron
what to say [Aaron was his prophet or spokesman]. Aaron spoke to Pharaoh for Moses.
[ 215 ]Among the pseudopigrapha are the books of 1 and 2 Enoch. To my knowledge, at present, the
only complete book of 1 Enoch is in the Ethiopic language, although some of it is in Greek and
Aramaic (Bruce 287). It may be possible that some portions of these late-appearing books were from
fragment copies of Enoch's original prophecies.
[ 216 ]HOI DIA PISTEOOS, who through faith (Marshall 886; Lenski 414); this formula is now
substituted for the instrumental dative PISTEI by faith (Vincent 4.532); who by their faith (Williams);
in chapter 11, until now the Hebrew writer has mostly used the instrumental dative PISTEI by faith (see
verses 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31; compare KATA PISTIN
according to faith, in faith, verses 7, 13). In the present verse, he uses DIA PISTEOOS through faith..
[ 217 ]KATEEGOONISANTO BASILEIAS, overcame kingdoms (Marshall 886);
KATEEGOONISANTO is third person plural, first aorist middle indicative of KATAGOONIZOMAI
(Han 406); primarily, struggled against [KATA against, AGOON a contest], came to signify conquered
(Vine 1099); the verb signifies fought down; overcame by struggle (Vincent 4.532); overcame (Thayer
331); subdued kingdoms (Lenski 414); conquered kingdoms (Williams).
[ 218 ]Og's bedstead was 9 cubits by 4 cubits [13.5 feet by 6 feet], a king-sized bed by any standard
[ 219 ]EERGASANTO DIKAIOSUNEEN, wrought righteousness (Marshall 886); EERGASANTO
is third person plural, first aorist middle indicative of ERGAZOMAI (Han 406); referring not merely
to their personal virtues, but to the public exercise of these as leaders . . . faith showed itself in the
association of righteousness with power (Vincent 4.532); worked, produced, performed [righteousness]
(Vine 1243); worked righteousness (Lenski 414); administered justice [so Dods, Moffatt and others]
[ 220 ]EPETUCHON EPANGELIOON, obtained promises (Marshall 886; Lenski 414); EPETUCHON
is third person plural, second aorist active indicative of EPITUNCHANOO (Han 406); primarily lit
upon [EPI upon, TUNCHANOO to meet with, light upon], denotes obtained [promises] (Vine 798);
obtain, attain to, reach [promises] (Arndt 304); received new promises (Williams).
[ 221 ]EPHRAXAN STOMATA LEOTOON, stopped mouths of lions (Marshall 886); EPHRAXAN
is third person plural, first aorist active indicative of PHRASSOO (Han 406); locked the mouths of lions
(Lenski 414); shut the mouths of lions (Williams).
[ 222 ]ESBESAN DUNAMIN TUPOS, quenched [the] power of fire (Marshall 886; Lenski 414);
ESBESAN is third person plural, first aorist active indicative of SBENNUMI (Han 406); of quenching
fire or things on fire (Vine 912); the power of fire (Vincent 4.532); stopped the force of fire (Williams).
[ 223 ]EPHUGON STOMATA MACHAIREES, escaped mouths [edges] of [the] sword (Marshall
886); EPHUGON is third person plural, second aorist active indicative of PHEUGOO (Han 406);
literally, mouths of the sword MACHAIREES; the verb means to fence in; block up (Vincent 4.532);
escaped sword's [sic] mouths (Lenski 414); escaped from dying by the sword (Williams).
[ 224 ]APO ASTHENEIAS, from weakness (Marshall 886; Lenski 414); from weakness . . . not
confined to sickness (Vincent 4.533); out of weakness (Williams).
[ 225 ]PAREMBOLAS EKLINAN ALLOTRIOON, armies made to yield of foreigners (Marshall 886);
EKLINAN is third person plural, first aorist active indicative of KLINOO (Han 406); foes or invaders.
Omit both the's in translation (Vincent 4.533); turned to flight the battle lines of aliens (Lenski 414);
put foreign armies to flight (Williams).
[ 226 ]EX ANASTASEOOS, by resurrection (Marshall 886); by a resurrection (Vincent 4.533;
Williams); literally, out of resurrection (Vine 963); as a result of resurrection (Lenski 416).
[ 227 ]ALLOI DE ETUMPANISTHEESAN, but others were beaten to death (Marshall 886); third
person plural, first aorist passive indicative of TUMPANIZOO (Han 406); originally to beat a drum
[TUMPANON]; hence, to beat, to cudgel . . . were beaten to death with clubs, the word being used
to represent cruel torture in general (Vincent 4.533); primarily denotes to beat a drum [TUMPANON
a kettle-drum]; hence, to torture by beating, to beat to death (Vine 1157); the particular form of torture
indicated by the Greek verb is being stretched on the rack and beaten to death" (Bruce 337); but others
were tortured (Lenski 416); others endured tortures (Williams).
[ 228 ]Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) was the eighth ruler of the Seleucid dynasty 175-163 BC. His
outrages against the Jews involved him in the Maccabean war in which his armies were repeatedly
defeated by the brilliant Judas Maccabeus (Zondervan 48).
[ 229 ]Josephus, Antiquities 12.5.4.
[ 230 ]OU PROSDEXAMENOI TEEN APOLUTROOSIN, not accepting deliverance (Marshall 886);
PROSDEXAMENOI is the first aorist middle participle, nominative plural masculine of
PROSDECHOMAI (Han 406); the [TEEN] deliverance offered at the price of denying their faith
(Vincent 4.533); not accepting the ransoming (Lenski 417); because they would not accept release
[ 231 ]HINA TUCHOOSIN, in order that they might obtain (Marshall 886); TUCHOOSIN is third
person plural, second aorist active subjunctive of TONCHANOO (Han 406); meet with, light upon, also
signifies obtain, attain to, reach, get [with regard to things] of "a better resurrection" (Vine 797, 798);
HINA is a final conjunction denoting purpose and end; to the intent that, to the end that, in order that
(Thayer 302); in order to obtain (Lenski 417); that they might rise to (Williams).
[ 232 ]KREITTONOS ANASTASEOOS, a better resurrection (Marshall 886; Lenski 417; Williams);
better than a resurrection like those granted to the women above mentioned, which gave merely a
continuation of life on earth (Vincent 4.533); excellent resurrection of the dead (Vine 114, 962); more
prominent, higher in rank, preferable, better resurrection, in contrast with the resurrections of the past,
because the latter was, after all, followed by death (Arndt 60, 449).
[ 233 ]HETEROI DE EMPAIGMOON, others and of mockings (Marshall 886, 887); cruel is an
insertion of the KJV. Render mockings (Vincent 4.534); the act of the EMPAIKTEES, a mocking
(Vine 750); scorn, mocking, as experienced by the martyrs (Arndt 255); yet others undertook to try
mockings (Lenski 417); still others stood the test of taunts (Williams).
[ 234 ]The Hebrew writer possibly alludes to still "others" than those mentioned in verse 35 who were
mocked but not actually killed.
[ 235 ]The same Greek word used here for "mocking" appears in 2Mac 7:7.
[ 236 ]KAI MASTIGOON, and of scourgings (Marshall 887); of the sufferings of saints in the OT
times (Vine 1000); a whip, scourge (Thayer 392); examine someone by scourging (Arndt 495); and
scourgings (Lenski 417); the word used here for "scourging" [MASTIX], with its derivative verb
MASTIGOO, appears repeatedly in the martyrologies of Eleazar and the seven brothers in both 2 and
4 Maccabees (Bruce 339, 340); and tortures (Williams); see notes on Matthew 20:19; 23:34; John 19:1;
Acts 22:24, 25.
[ 237 ]PEIRAN ELABON, ETI DE DESMOON, trial took, and more of bonds (Marshall 887);
became acquainted with, experience, suffer bonds (Arndt 176, 465); bands or bonds (Thayer 129); even
confinement (Lenski 417); and even chains (Williams).
[ 238 ]Hebrew, those who are bound with chains.
[ 239 ]KAI PHULAKEES, and of prison (Marshall 887); [and] of the place where captives are kept,
a prison, imprisonment (Thayer 659); and prison (Lenski 417); and prisons (Williams).
[ 240 ]ELITHASTHEESAN, they were stoned (Marshall 887; Lenski 417); third person plural, first
aorist passive indicative of LITHAZOO (Han 406); a characteristic Jewish punishment (Vincent 4.534);
they were stoned to death (Williams).
[ 241 ]EPISTHEESAN, they were sawn asunder (Marshall 887; Lenski 417); third person plural, first
aorist passive indicative of PRIZOO (Han 407); first aorist passive of PRIZOO, sawn [in two] as a
method of execution (Arndt 701); sawn asunder (Vine 995); sawn, cut in two with a saw (Thayer 536);
they were sawn in two (Williams).
[ 242 ]Josephus, Antiquities 10.3.1.
[ 243 ]EPEIRASTHEESAN, they were tried (Marshall 887); of the testing of OT saints (Vine 1128);
of painful trials [sent by God] (Arndt 640); of God, to inflict evils upon one in order to prove his
character and the steadfastness of his faith (Thayer 498); a possible reading is, "they were burned"
(Howson 873); they were tortured to death (Williams) .
[ 244 ]In certain Hellenistic courts, orders of nobility were classed as "friends," "chief friends" or
[ 245 ]EN PHONOO MACHAIREES APETHANON, by murder of sword they died (Marshall 887);
APETHANON is first person singular or third person plural second of the violent death (Thayer 61);
they died in murder of [the] sword (Lenski 417); they were killed with the sword (Williams).
[ 246 ]This reminds one of James the brother of John who was killed with sword (Ac 12:2). Peter,
on the other hand, was released (Ac 12:7-11).
[ 247 ]PERIEELTHON EN MEELOTAIS, they went about in sheepskins (Marshall 887);
PERIEELTHON is third person plural, second aorist active indicative of PERIERCHOMAI (Han 407);
they went about in sheepskins and goatskins (Vincent 4.534); PERIERCHOMAI is to go about or
around (Vine 1208); they wandered about in sheep pelts (Lenski 417); they wandered here and there,
with nothing on their bodies but skins of sheep (Williams).
[ 248 ]Hebrew ADDERETH robe. Elijah was described as "a hairy man with a leather girdle bound
about his loins" (2Ki 1:8).
[ 249 ]Clement of Rome portrayed Elijah, Elisha and Ezekiel as going about in sheepskins and
goatskins (see 1Cle 17:1; Bruce 341).
[ 250 ]Elijah was quite a runner. After the contest on Mount Carmel, he outran Ahab's chariot to
Jezreel near Mount Gilboah, over twenty miles away (1Ki 18:46).
[ 251 ]EN AIGEIOIS DERMASIN, in goatskins (Marshall 887; Lenski 417); the adjective AIGEIOS
signifies belonging to a goat [from AIX a goat]; it is used with DERMA a skin (Vine 489); a skin,
hide, leather; of a goat (Thayer 14, 129); of a goat; of the clothing of the prophets; skin, goatskin
(Arndt 21; 175); or goats (Williams).
[ 252 ]HUSTEROUMENOI, being in want (Marshall 887); present middle participle, nominative plural
masculine of HUSTEREOO (Han 407); primarily, to be behind, to be last, hence, to lack, fail of, come
short of (Vine 294); being destitute (Vincent 4.534; Lenski 417); destitute (Williams).
[ 253 ]THLIBOMENOI, being afflicted (Marshall 887; Lenski 417); present passive participle,
nominative plural masculine of THLIBOO (Han 407); sufferings due to the pressure of circumstances
or the antagonism of persons (Vine 30); afflicted (Vincent 4.534); oppressed (Williams).
[ 254 ]KAKOUCHOUMENOI, being ill-treated (Marshall 887); present passive participle, nominative
plural masculine of KAKOUCHEOO (Han 407); [KAKOS evil, ECHOO to have or hold], treated
evilly, in the passive voice (Vine 1104, 1156); evil-entreated (Vincent 4.534); being basely treated
(Lenski 417); mistreated (Williams).
[ 255 ]HOON OUK EEN AXIOS HO KOSMOS, of whom was not worthy the world (Marshall 887);
men of whom the world was not worthy; by the world [KOSMOS] is not meant the corrupt world, as
in John and Paul, but the world considered as an economy which was unworthy of these, because ruled
by sense and not by faith (Vincent 4.534); of weight, [not] worth, worthy, said of persons and their
deeds (Vine 1249); of whom the world was not worthy (Lenski 417); men of whom the world was not
[ 256 ]PLANOOMENOI, wandering (Marshall 887); present passive participle, nominative plural
masculine of THLIBOO (Han 407); passive voice, literally, were made to wander (Vine 1208); literally,
wandering or straying, apart from the homes and the intercourse of men (Vincent 4.535); erring about
(Lenski 417); though wandering (Williams).
[ 257 ]KAI SPEELAIOIS KAI TAIS OPAIS TEES GEES, and caves and the holes of the earth
(Marshall 887; Lenski 417); grottos, caverns, dens and holes, openings, such as fissures in rocks (Vine
168); caves, and holes in the ground (Williams).
[ 258 ]KAI HOUTOI PANTES, and these all (Marshall 887; Lenski 420); though all these people
[ 259 ]The converse is also true. He does not forget the evil, unless, of course, it is forgiven (Am
8:7; compare Jer 31:34).
[ 260 ]MARTUREETHENTES, having obtained witness (Marshall 887); first aorist passive participle,
nominative plural masculine of MARTUREOO (Han 407); having had witness borne to them (Vincent
4.535); had witness borne to (Vine 798); having had their names entered on the record (Bruce 343);
although having received testimony (Lenski 420); won God's approval (Williams).
[ 261 ]DIA TEES PISTEOOS, through the[ir] faith (Marshall 887); by means of their faith (Lenski
420); by their faith (Williams); through the faith; see notes on verses 4, 7, 33.
[ 262 ]OUK EKOMISANTO TEEN EPANGELIAN, obtained not the promise (Marshall 887);
EKOMISANTO is third person plural, first aorist middle indicative of KOMIZOO (Han 407); [did not]
bear, carry for oneself; hence, receive (Vine 929); did not carry off, get [for themselves] receive the
promise [that is, what was promised] (Arndt 442); did not bring off the promise (Lenski 420); yet none
of them received what He had promised (Williams).
[ 263 ]TOU THEOU PROBLEPSAMENOU, God having foreseen (Marshall 887);
PROBLEPSAMENOU is the first aorist middle participle, genitive singular masculine of PROBLEPOO
(Han 407); had foreseen (Vine 899); select or provide something (Arndt 703); since God had in view
(Lenski 420); for God had provided (Williams).
[ 264 ]PERI HEEMOON KREITTON TI concerning us better something (Marshall 887); the better
thing is for us (Vincent 4.535); as pertaining to us something better (Lenski 420); something still better
for us (Williams).
[ 265 ]HINA MEE CHOORIS HEEMOON TELEIOOTHOOSIN, in order that not without us they
should be perfected (Marshall 887); TELEIOOTHOOSIN third person plural, first aorist passive
subjunctive of TELEIOOO (Han 407); apart from, without, separate from [us they should not] be
brought to completeness, [that is] made perfect (Vine 54, 846); that not apart from us should they be
brought to completeness (Lenski 420); that they, apart from us, might not attain perfection (Williams).
Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington,
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The basic text, and all quotations not designated otherwise,
are from the New King James Version, copyrighted ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
All rights reserved. Used by permission. Bracketed alternatives are drawn from various
sources such as the ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV.
Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
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