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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

Hebrews 11

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-7

THIRD SECTION

INSPIRITING RETROSPECT OF THE HISTORY OF THE BELIEVING ANCESTORS

I

Edifying examples of faith down to the time of Abraham

Hebrews 11:1-7

1 Now [But] faith is the substance of [confidence in] things hoped for, the evidence2[conviction] of things not seen. For by [in] it the elders obtained a good report 3 Through faith we understand [apprehend intellectually, νοοῦμεν] that the worlds were [have been] framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear [that not from the things which appear may have sprung that which is seen[FN1]]. 4By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God[FN2] testifying of [over] his gifts; and by it he being dead yet [after dying still] speaketh.[FN3] 5By faith Enoch was translated that he should [in order that he might] not see death; and was not found, because God had [om. had] translated him; for before his [the[FN4]] translation he had [hath had] this testimony, that he [has] pleased[FN5] God 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he Isaiah, and that he is [becometh] a rewarder of [to] them that diligently seek him 7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear [pious forethought], prepared an ark to [for] the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

[ Hebrews 11:1.—ἔστιν δέ,—ἔστιν not, as many, “there is faith,” but: “but faith Isaiah,etc.; ἔστιν a copula, but, as very often in the classics, emphatically placed first,—ὑπόστασις, as occasionally in later Greek, confidence, as Hebrews 3:14. Not a rhetorical description, but a simple statement of the nature of faith.

Hebrews 11:2.—ἐμαρτυρήθησαν, were attested, received attestation.

Hebrews 11:3.—νοοῦμεν we perceive with the νοῦς, mind, reason, thus intellectually and rationally ( Romans 1:20)—κατηρτίσθαι, have been (and so stand now) framed. Τοὺς αἰῶνας, the ages, hence the worlds, regarded as existing in time.—ῥήματι θεοῦ, by an uttered word, mandate of God ( Hebrews 1:3).—εἰς τὸ μέ, in order that not, the logical purpose of this intellectual perception: μέ belongs to the whole clause, but grammatically to γεγονέναι—ἐκ φαινομένων, emphatically placed in the clause, thus: in order that not out of things that appear—μὴ ἐκ φαινομένων cannot stand for ἐκ μὴ φαινομ. 6]—μή—γεγονέναι, not—should have sprung, as it would have done, unless discerned to have been framed by the word of God.

Hebrews 11:4.—Μαρτυροῦντος ἐπὶ τοῖς δῶροις, testifying over, on condition of, his gifts: not περὶ τῶν δώρων,—ἀποθανὼν ἔτι, after dying, still, ἔτι, logical, under this state of things, viz., even after he was dead (see Genesis 4:10).

Hebrews 11:5.—τοῦ μὴ ἰδεῖν, in order that he might not see=experience death: the purpose of the translation, including perhaps also (Alf.) “the purport.”—πρὸ τῆς μεταθέσεως previously to the translation—to the record of it, or to its occurrence as recorded.—μεμαρτύρηται, he hath received testimony, he stands attested to in the record.—εὐαρεστηκέναι, to have pleased.

Hebrews 11:7.—εὐλαβηθείς, moved with pious fear or foresight; Alf, taking forethought (see εὐλαβείας, Hebrews 5:7); εἰς σωτηρίαν,for the saving.—K.].

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Hebrews 11:1.—But faith is confidence in things, etc.—The position of ἔστι at the beginning of the clause by no means obliges us to the view last defended by Böhme, which was indicated by the Lect. Rec. up to the time of Griesb. by a comma after πίστις. According to this the following words would be in apposition with πίστις, while the real existence (ἔστι=there Isaiah, there exists) of faith would be asserted with emphasis, for which, however, there is no shadow of an occasion. Rather, the copula is made to precede (and hence as the subst. verb to be accented) in order to call attention to the predicates which characterize the subject (so also Win. since Ed5). We are thus to look for a definition of faith, but a definition corresponding to the connection and object of the section: a definition therefore which does not restrict itself to mere Christian and Gospel faith, but presents religious faith in its broadest and most general aspects. The object of this faith Isaiah, therefore, in a manner entirely general, but still appropriately and exhaustively, designated as τὰ ἐλπιζόμενα and as πράγματα οὐ βλεπόμενα, designations which do not mutually cover each other, but are concentric, and express the essential relation of the objects of faith to the need and condition of the believing subjects, under both their practical and theoretical aspects. Ὑπόστασις and ἔλεγχος express that which, in this relation, faith is as an affection or act of the mind. The former denotes (com. Hebrews 3:14) steadfast confidence (Luth, Grot, and most recent intppr); the latter, conviction, (particularly in the conscience) assurance, (August, Calv, Beng, etc.). The refutation of the rendering of ὑπόστασις as substance ( Hebrews 1:3) as in Vulg, Ambros, August, Chrysos, Thorn. Aqu, Schlicht, Beng, Bisp, etc., or as foundation, as with Erasm, Calv, Stein, V. Gerl, etc., or as representation, as with Castal, Paul, Menk.; and of ἔλεγχος, as proof with Vulg, or as inward persuasion with Bl, De W, Lün, Menk, will be found well worth reading in Thol. and Del. In proof of the correctness of his definition the author adduces the fact that ἐν ταύτῃ, i.e., in point, or in respect of, a faith of such a nature, the ancient fathers have a good report. This meaning of μαρτυρεῖσθαι is frequent in Acts, and occurs, 3 John 1:12; 1 Timothy 5:10. In this latter passage, as here, it is constructed with ἐν, which is neither to be regarded as equivalent to διά in Hebrews 11:4; Hebrews 11:39 (Luth, Calv, Grot, Beng, and others); nor need be separated from the verb=in possession of such a faith (Win, Bl, Lün,), [Moll’s construction Isaiah, I think, unobjectionable; there is no difficulty in making ἐν ταύτῃ directly limit the verb. They gained their attestation in this=in this point, in such a faith they gained a good report.—K.].

Hebrews 11:3. By faith we understand.—νοοῦμεν. We apprehend with the νοῦς, mind, intelligence. This verse would seem, according to Lün, to be out of place, and in relation to Hebrews 11:4, to introduce an inharmonious element into the discussion. This unfavorable judgment springs from the erroneous supposition that Hebrews 11:3 shows merely “the necessity of faith, on our part, in relation to a fact belonging to the past, and recorded in Scripture.” To such a necessity the language has no reference; the passage treats merely of the fact that faith, as an assured conviction of things which are not seen, also evinces itself within us in our rational and spiritual perception of that relation of the creation to the Creator which forms the condition of all history, and all Revelation, while its more full unfolding belongs to the Scripture that commemorates the faith of the fathers.

This faith, resting upon and guided by the Holy Scripture, is the organ within us of that perception of the invisible in and above the visible, and of their reciprocal relation, to which neither the perceptions of sense, nor the deductions of reason of necessity lead. The most natural inference for men would rather be this, that τὸ βλεπόμενον, that which falls under the eye, that which meets our senses, has sprung ἐκ φαινομένων viz., out of that which belongs to the world of phenomena. This idea of the causal relation of the phenomena to the τὸ βλεπόμενον must be set aside, as shown by the μὴ γενονέναι, which declares that the seen has not sprung from the apparent. The μή belongs (with all the best interpreters since Beza) to γεγονέναι, and not to ἐκ φαινομένων With this latter, however, (=ἐκ μὴ φαιν.) it was constructed, after the Peshito, Vulg, Chrys, Theod, by the ancients generally, and recently by Stengel and Ebrard, and taken entirely arbitrarily as=nothing, things nonexistent, while Schlicht, Este, and others, adopting the same construction, conjecture that the author, with his mind on Genesis 1:2, δὲ γῆ ἦν ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος of the Sept, refers to the visible issuing forth of the organized world from formless and blind chaos. With equal erroneousness most interpreters take the clause εἰς τὸ μή as denoting result. It, in fact, implies purpose (Hofm, Lün, Del, Riehm). It makes a recognition of the design of God in that framing and arrangement of the world (κατηρτίσθαι) which has been just before described. God, by the Word (ῥήματι), which gives authoritative expression to His will, has formed the αἰῶνας. These Æons (αἰῶνες) are ( Hebrews 1:2) the invisible, spiritual, and permanent potencies of the phenomenal world, of which, at the opening of the epistle, the author has expressly said that they owe their origin to the Son of God, and of which he here says that they were formed, arranged, or put in order by the creative mandate of God. They form the antithesis required by Del, to the ἐκ φαινομένων, which antithesis Hebrews, supposing it not to be expressed, needlessly and erroneously supplies by ἐκ τῶν νοητῶν, as the intelligible and divine ideas, out of which the world has sprung. The entire confusion which has attended the explanation of this verse, has sprung from erroneously taking αἰῶνας, τὰ φαινόμενα and τό βλεπόμενον as equivalent designations of the world. Calvin unites the two words, writing ἐκφαινομένων as a single word, and takes τὰ βλεπόμενα as=κάτοπτρα, thus rendering “that they might become mirrors of invisible things.” But the construction is harsh and unnatural. [I know no good authority, and no sufficient reason for Moll’s singular explanation of αἰῶνες. The rendering worlds, either as material worlds (Del.), or as the aggregate of all things existing in time and space, seems far more natural, and meets all the necessary conditions of the passage. The antithesis to the τὰ φαινόμενα,—as that out of which the τὸ βλεπόμενον has really sprung,—is not the αἰῶνες as a set of spiritual and invisible potencies (as Moll), nor the τὰ νοητά, as, with fully equal improbability, supposed by Delitzsch, but simply the ῥῆμα θεοῦ, the sovereign mandate of God. Our sensible perceptions, is the author’s idea, would lead us to regard all that we see as having no deeper origin than the things which are palpable to sense, material and sensuous springing out of material; but faith enables us to trace all to the unseen but omnipotent agency of God.—K.].

Hebrews 11:4. And by it Hebrews, being dead, yet speaketh.—Many, following Chrys, take this language as declaring that the history of Abel contains still a sermon challenging our imitation of him, and that though dead, he still speaks in the testimony of Scripture. Philo finds in it a proof of the immortality of the righteous, and also Del. concludes from the cry of the blood of the righteous entering into the ear of God, that after his death he was still an object of divine care, and is thus an unforgotten, undestroyed, living personage. More correctly remarks Calv. with relation to Psalm 116:15 : inde patet reputari inter Dei sanctos, quorum mors illi pretiosa est. For the passage Hebrews 12:24 shows that the author had in mind Genesis 4:10, to wit: the crying of the blood of Abel to God for vengeance. God espoused the cause of Abel on account of his faith, and avenged his murder upon Cain (Riehm). The λαλεῖ is a historical present, and ἔτι stands not as temporal, but serves to bring out the contrast to ἀποθανών: with this latter word Œc. and Beng. erroneously connect δι’ αὐτῆς which the former refers to θυσία as the occasion of his death, while the other supplies πίστεως, taking διά as=ἐν or κατά.

Hebrews 11:6. For he who cometh to God.—The rendering of Luth, Calov, Ramb, Wittich, Schultz, Ebr, “whoever would (or is to) come to God, as Enoch did,” distorts the words of the text, προσερχόμενος τῷ θεῷ, which refer to drawing near to God in religious worship, Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 10:1. So also δεῖ denotes here not so much moral obligation, as intrinsic necessity. It completes the proof that Enoch’s translation was a consequence and reward of his faith.

Hebrews 11:7. Moved with pious foresight.—If εὐλαβηθείς meant “in the fear of God” Luth, a Lap, etc.), τὸν θεόν could scarcely have been omitted. Nor is the meaning of “pious trembling before the divine utterance” (Carpz, Böhme, De W, Hofm.), so appropriate as the reference to the foresight with which Noah, in faith in the received χρηματισμὸς περὶ τῶν μηδέπω βλεπομένων, proceeded to his preparations. To refer the words δι’ ἠς σωτηρίαν (Bald, etc.) is entirely inadmissible: we may refer them to κιβωτόν (Chrys, Calv, Bez, Grot, Bisp, etc.), while yet to refer them to the main subject of the discourse, πίστει (Primas, Thom. Aquin, Luth, Beng, etc.), is more in harmony with the connection. Noah is the first person in the Old Testament who received the epithet “righteous,” Genesis 7:9. It is further repeatedly applied to him, Ezekiel 14:14; Ezekiel 14:20; Sirach 44:17; Wisdom of Solomon 10:4; Wisdom of Solomon 10:6; also 2 Peter 2:5 he is called a “preacher of righteousness.”

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

Faith, by virtue of its nature as faith, excludes uncertainty and doubt, Matthew 14:31; Matthew 21:21; Romans 14:23; James 1:6. On the contrary, it involves in principle the confidence of conviction, and the firmness of assurance. It Isaiah, however, for this reason also, an assurance of itself, Ephesians 3:12; not, indeed, as a formal strictly self-conscious, certainty, and reliableness of conviction, but as a conviction of the reality, truth, and saving power of its object. Such a conviction Isaiah, in its very nature, not an immediate perception, that excludes all formal argument, nor again a logical assumption, resting on satisfactory grounds of reason. It is a union of the soul with the object of faith, generated by moral and religious influences; and this object again is not, of course, something simply regarded as true, but it brings in the act of faith itself, the proof of its reality, and becomes a part of the living contents of the soul; while the soul is thus, in an undoubting and unwavering certainty, assured of the hoped for blessings, and has an inward conviction of the invisible.

2. It is this characteristic of faith which appears from the beginning as the invariable, indispensable, and unreplaceable condition for the attainment and maintenance of the right relation of men with God, and as such can be established by a series of examples from the Old Testament, which, on the one hand, furnish the proof of the assertion, and on the other, can, and should, serve as comforting and stimulating examples ( Sirach 44:21).

3. That in and above the visible, invisible powers and agencies, work and hover, can be ascertained, even outside of the historical sphere of revelation. Nature and reason are so constituted, that the former exhibits herself as an aggregation of phenomena, and the latter is qualified to perceive the noumena, which reveal themselves in the phenomena, and can, hence, attain to the recognition of the existence of God, and to the beholding of his invisible attributes ( Romans 1:19-20). But that the world is not a manifestation of the divine essence, not a shooting and breaking forth of divine thoughts, not the mere materializing of a divine ideal world, but that in its origin and arrangements, as well of that which is invisible, as of that which is visible, in and upon it, it must be regarded as a work of the will of God, who dwells in eternal self-consciousness, this can be known only on the ground of a positive historical revelation. The perception of this relation of the world to God, demands a faith analogous to faith in its other exhibitions.

4. Faith, however, has not to do merely with the, Scripturally announced fact of the creation and appropriate arrangement of the world by the creating word; we also gain by faith the understanding of this fact, and especially that God’s purpose in this fact Isaiah, to make God known as the creator of all things.

5. Those offerings which are expressions of faith, made not merely to fulfil an obligation, but as a result of profound internal conviction, best please God, and receive the testimony of their accordance with the divine will. But faith, as displayed in offerings, has special reference to the divine compassion, whether rendering thanks for benefits received, or yearning after more grace and fresh attestations of favor, or expressing the need of a restoring of that fellowship with God which sin has destroyed, and of representing the fellowship which grace has reëstablished.

6. God remembers the pious not merely after their death, so as to vindicate them and their cause: He has also power to keep them before death, and to prove Himself not merely the avenger, but the deliverer of the believers. The deliverance is complete, when it effects their removal from earth to heaven.

7. Where there is religious approach to God, there at least exists faith in the existence of the invisible God, and faith in the benefits of a diligent seeking of God. This latter can plead great promises of God ( Amos 5:4; Psalm 69:33), and by them faith, the condition of all divine approval, is strengthened and quickened.

8. Faith not only discerns clearly, by means of divine Revelation, still future things, and is certain in respect to their coming, but also in virtue of its nature, involves obedience to the received word, and a full yielding to the arrangements which God has made, and the ordinances which He has enjoined. It is as far removed from an idle waiting for coming events, as from carnal security; and, therefore, while relying most implicitly upon the help of the Lord, fails in no degree in thoughtful foresight and appropriate activity.

9. Faith does not merely, by its confession, utter the judgment of the wicked world; but faith itself constitutes the actual condemnation of the world, which is hindered from using the existing means of deliverance only by its unbelief; while the believer, as a child of God, not only enters into the inheritance secured to him by pious ancestors, but into the inheritance of the righteousness which God imparts, and which, in all respects, corresponds to faith.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Nature and history serve the believer for advancement in faith and for the confirmation of faith.—The faith of man determines not merely the heart of Prayer of Manasseh, but also his condition and his destiny.—Faith in its nature and its effects.—The examples of faith: 1. what they teach us; 2. to what they incite us; 3. with what they comfort us.—God looks not merely at what we do, but also upon what we intend.—God not merely knows His own; He is also mindful of them, and enables them to recognize His approval of them.—God does not merely give Himself to be known; He would also be sought after, and enables every earnest seeker to find Him.—God renders help in time for eternity, yet only to those who make use of the appointed means of aid.—Faith has its labor, its offering, and its burdens; but it has also the approval of God, and the inheritance of righteousness.—Drawing near to God; 1. in its blessing; 2. in its successive stages; 3. in its means.

Starke:—Away with the old and cold proverb; what our eyes see, that we believe (seeing is believing). Faith is trust and not sight.—Believers, as yet, possess not all; the most and the best they must still hope for.—Faith since it has in itself a Divine, persuasive, and convincing power, is as widely distinguished from credulity and illusive fancy as the day from the night, as a living hand from a painted one.—There is but one way to salvation, in the Old Testament as well as in the New, although this way in the New is much easier than in the Old.—Although faith is a spiritual gift of God, which has its seat in the heart, and is invisible, it still remains not unrecognizable; but along with its confession, reveals itself in works as its essential and inseparable fruits.—If a person pleases God by his faith, he pleases Him also by his works; but if, on account of unbelief, the person does not please Him, his works also fail to please Him, however holy they appear in the sight of men.—The remembrance of the righteous remains in blessing ( Proverbs 10:7; Matthew 23:35).—Faith brings man into fellowship with God.—They who hasten after another, and seek not God, have from Him no reward of grace to comfort them.—The godly have, even in this life, material aid from their piety.

Hahn:—In every time faith has its proper exercises and objects.—Believers enjoy the happiness of the Divine testimony alike in their own conscience and in their relation to others.—Faith looks into the whole plan of creation alike in respect to the invisible and the visible.

Heubner:—An age without faith is despicable, valueless.—Just as much as man has of faith, so much is there in him of goodness.—All service of God is sanctified only by faith.—Faith in a God who is asleep, and concerns Himself not about the world, is no religion, and brings no happiness.

Rieger:—The eyes of God look after faith, and, without faith, find nothing well pleasing in man.—The lack of sight must hinder none from steadfast adherence to God.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Hebrews 11:3.—The reading μὴ ἐκ φαινομένων is now established, and the sing, τὸ βλεηόμενον deserves the preference before the plur. of the Rec. after Sin. A. D*. E*. 17.

FN#2 - Hebrews 11:3.—The reading τῷ θεῷ in A. D*. 17 received by Lachm. is evidently an error of the copyist. It is corrected in Sin.

FN#3 - Hebrews 11:4.—Instead of λαλεῖται read λαλεῖ after Sin. A17, 23, 31, 39.

FN#4 - Hebrews 11:5.—Αὐτοῦ of the Rec. after μεταθέσεως, Isaiah, according to A. D*. 17, 67**, 80, to be expunged. In the Sin. it is added by a second hand.

FN#5 - Hebrews 11:5.—We are to write after Sin. A. K. L, 46, 71, 73, εὐαρεστηκέναι: on the other hand, after Sin. A. D. E, 109 ηὑρίσκετο.

FN#6 - I of course do not mean to deny the abstract possibility of this, nor to affirm that there are not Greek constructions very nearly or possibly quite analogous to it. I simply mean to say that there is here no such necessity as would alone justify our resorting to it; while again also most of the cases cited in proof of the usage are hardly satisfactory. Thus, in the passage of Thuc. i5, ἡγουμένων ἀνδρῶν οὐ τῶν ἀδυνατωτάτων, there is not the slightest necessity for assuming a transposition of the οὐ. “Men not the most powerless leading” is identical in meaning and equally natural with “men, to wit, those not most powerless.”—K.]

FN#7 - Hebrews 11:8.—Before καλούμενος, Lachm, after A. D. (E.?), puts the def. article, but omits it before τόπον, after A. D*., and writes with Tisch. after A. D*. K. ἔμελλεν, instead of ἤμελλε, as read, however, by Sin, which omits the art. before both καλ. and τόπ.


Verses 8-12

II

The example of Abraham and Sarah

Hebrews 11:8-12

8By faith Abraham, when[FN7] he was called to go out into a place which he should after [was destined to] receive for an inheritance, obeyed [hearkened, ὑπήκουσεν]; and he went out, not knowing whither he went [cometh]. 9By faith he sojourned in the [a][FN8] land of promise, as in a strange [alien, ὰλλοτρίαν] country, dwelling in tabernacles10[tents] with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a [was looking for the] city which hath foundations, whose builder [architect, designer, τεχνίτης] and maker [framer, fabricator, δημιουργός] is God 11 Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child [om. was delivered, etc.] when she was past age [contrary to her time of life],[FN9] because she judged him faithful who had promised 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead [and that too, having become deadened], so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand[FN10] which is by the sea shore, [the] innumerable.

[ Hebrews 11:8.—καλούμενος, being called, summoned; with Art. , as read by many, “he that is called Abraham;” but much less well.—ὑπήκουσεν ἐξελθεῖν, hearkened, or obeyed, to go out, i.e, so as to go out.—ἔμελλεν λαμβ., was about, was destined to receive; E. V, should after receive.—ποῦ ἔρχεται, where, he cometh, ποῦ, pregnant=whither (ποῖ), he is coming, and where he is going to remain.

Hebrews 11:9.—παρῷκησεν εἰς γῆν, sojourned, dwelt as a stranger (lit, dwelt along side of) in the land; εἰς, again pregnant, “went into the land in order to sojourn in it.” So Matthew 2:23, κατώκησεν εἰς πόλιν, dwelt into, i.e., came into and dwelt in.—ὡς ἀλλοτρίαν, as alien, as belonging to others, though he had himself been promised the future possession of it.

Hebrews 11:10.—ἐξεδέχετο, he was awaiting, looking for, Imperf.—τὴν πόλιν, the city, not, a city. τεχνίτης, artisan, architect; δημιουργός, framer, builder, i.e., of the heavenly Jerusalem, Hebrews 12:22.

Hebrews 11:11.—εἰς καταβολὴν σπέρματος, for the depositing of seed (Alf.); for the founding of a seed, an offspring (Moll); Del, für befruchtenden Samen; Stier, einen Samen zu gründen; De Wette, zur Gründung des Geschlechts.—καὶ παρὰ καιρὸν ἡλικίας, even contrary to the period of her age or time of life (παρά, aside from, in inconsistency with).

Hebrews 11:12.—καὶ ταῦτα νενεκρωμένου, and that too having become dead.—καθώς, according as, equality of measure, not merely ὡς, as, of likeness.—ἡ ἀναρίθμητος, the=which is innumerable, agreeing with ἅμμος, not, as would seem in E. V, referring to the progeny.—K.].

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Hebrews 11:8. When he was called.—The lect. rec. without the article is preferable in respect to sense, since καλούμενος Ἀβραάμ can hardly mean Abraham who was called or summoned, namely, to come forth (Lün.); but, in accordance with usage, could mean only the Song of Solomon -called Abraham, or, he who was called Abraham. But a reference to the change of name would here have nor elevancy, since this change took place not until twenty-five years after Abram’s departure from Haran, the event which is here spoken of.

Hebrews 11:9. Sojourned—Παροικεῖν in the classics is used only of dwelling in the neighborhood, but in Hellenistic use, of sojourning as a foreigner; in connection with εἰς it includes also the idea of coming to sojourn.

[It figures largely in the Gnostic vocabulary, but in a very different sense].

Hebrews 11:11. Also Sarah herself.—The emphatic καὶ αὐτή is referred by Chrys, Beng, etc., to the fact that Sarah was a mere woman; by Schlicht, Schultz, etc., to the fact that she was barren; but by the majority correctly to that of her having been at the outset unbelieving, Romans 4:19.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. Faith gives to obedience, which is its characteristic mark, also power; for it surrenders man entirely into the hands of God, while he sacrifices his individual will with his natural propensities and dearest inclinations, and merges his heart entirely in the pleasure and will of God. The Divine command determines his calling, and in the obedience of faith he goes willingly whither God calls him; in the confidence of faith he leaves it entirely to the Divine disposal to determine time, place, object, and limit of his sojourning and his wandering; and in the hope of faith he confidently waits in his pilgrimage for the final fulfilment of the Divine promise, and anticipates his entrance into the eternal mansions.

2. Faith renders us not merely strong in the conflict with the trials of our earthly pilgrimage, and not merely willing to surrender our temporal possessions for eternal good; it conquers also unbelief and doubt in the bosom of Prayer of Manasseh, and qualifies him to be an instrument of God’s omnipotence and compassion, to which later generations are pointed for their edification and their admonition ( Isaiah 51:1 ff.; Malachi 2:15; Ezekiel 33:24).

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The pilgrimage of Abraham a figure of the character of our earthly life.—To the believer the word of God is sufficient: 1, as a command to set out; 2, as a directory of the way; 3, as nourishment on the journey.—The leadings of God are often dark, and it is not unfrequently difficult for men to follow them; but faith which clings to God’s word and faithfulness, receives light for the one, and power for the other.—Faith triumphs over outward affliction and over inward assaults.—It is not enough to have received a call from God: we must steadfastly abide in this clear to the end.—The first steps are frequently the hardest; but they are the decisive ones.—What we find in God repays abundantly what we sacrifice in our vocation.—As we have to give heed to the word of God, so we have to trust in the power of God.

Starke:—The believer follows, if God calls him from one place to another, although he sees no temporal advantage, Acts 20:22-23.—Believers acknowledge that they are here strangers and pilgrims, and are seeking a genuine habitation.—The impotence of nature yields to the power of faith.—God fulfils abundantly His promises; blessed are all they who put their trust in Him!—Abundance of population is a Divine blessing, and produces no scarcity in the land; the fault of this lies in the sins of men ( Leviticus 26:9; Leviticus 26:26).

Rieger:—The will of God is as an infinitely wide space which has indeed a narrow entrance; but whoever has once forced his way through the entrance, and has entirely offered up his will to God, he henceforth has abundant space in the will of God to move in accordance with His choice.—Waiting expresses exceedingly well the nature and power of faith. For in waiting, certainty of conviction springing from the promise, a loving longing and desire for the promised good, and patience in hope, flow together beautifully into one.—The word of promise Isaiah, to be sure, the only seed for faith; but to prepare the heart properly to preserve this seed often requires many other labors.

Heubner:—Faith produces perseverance under heavy trials.—Faith must, with the believer, decide in regard to the choice of his residence.—God gives to the dead new life.—God is the guardian of holy wedlock.

Footnotes:

FN#8 - Hebrews 11:9.—The art. before γῆν, Isaiah, according to Sin. A. D**. K. L. and many minusc, to be stricken out.

FN#9 - Hebrews 11:11.—Ἔτεκεν of the Rec, after ἡλικίας, Isaiah, according to A. D*., 17, to be expunged. In Sin. it is from the hand of the corrector.

FN#10 - Hebrews 11:12.—Instead of ὡσεὶ ἅμμος, we are to read after Sin. A. D. E. K. L, 23, 37, 46, 47, ὡς ἅμμος, and we retain the words παρὰ τὸ χεῖλος, which are wanting in D*. E.—Instead of ἐγεννήθησαν, write with A. E*. K, 109, 219*., ἐγενήθησαν.


Verses 13-19

III

Renewed glance at the Patriarchs, with special emphasis laid on the act of faith performed by Abraham

Hebrews 11:13-19

13These all died in faith, [as] not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off [from afar], and were persuaded of them [om. and were persuaded of them[FN11]], and embraced [saluted, hailed] them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth 14 For they that say such things declare [show] plainly that they seek a15[their] country. And truly, if they had been mindful of [And if, indeed, they had had in mind] that country [om. country] from whence they came out,[FN12] they might16[would] have had opportunity to have returned [to return]. But now [as it is], they desire [are aspiring after] a better country, that Isaiah, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath [om. hath] prepared for them a city 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried [hath] offered up Isaac: and he that had received18[accepted] the promises offered up his only-begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19Accounting that God was [is] able[FN13] to raise him [om. him] up,[FN14] even from the dead; from whence also he received him [back] in a figure.

[ Hebrews 11:13.—Κατὰ πίστιν, in accordance with faith, emphatic.—μὴ λαβόντες, as not receiving, stating the fact subjectively: οὐ λαβ. would state it objectively, simply as a fact.—πόῤῥωθεν αὐτὰς ἰδόντες, from afar seeing and saluting them, and thus dying, κατὰ πίστιν; πόρ. belongs equally to both Participles.—ἀσπασάμενοι beautifully of saluting in the distance one’s native land or shore; not embracing.

Hebrews 11:14.—Ἐμφανίζουσι, make it plain, point out clearly.—πατρίδα, not χώρα, a region, territory, but a native land, an ancestral home. German, Vaterland. Alf. renders “home.” We might, perhaps, express it by the possessive Pron. “their country.”—ἐπιζητοῦσιν, are seeking after.

Hebrews 11:15.—Καὶ εἰ μέν ἐμνημόνευον—εἶχεν ἄν, and if, indeed, they had had in mind—they would have had. Alf. remarks that the “two imperfects in this sentence present some little difficulty,” as both events “are past and gone,” while the customary construction of such imperfects is with the present time. But while the latter Isaiah, perhaps, the more frequent construction, the Imperfect, in this class of hypothetical propositions, is not unfrequently used equally of past time, provided the action expressed be habitual. Thus Xen. says of Socrates, οὐκ ἂν ἔλεγεν—ἐν μὴ ἐπίστευεν, which might be rendered, “he would not be saying unless he believed,” but which in the connection can only be rendered, “he would not have (habitually) said unless he had (habitually) believed.” The construction is not uncommon enough to create any difficulty. Nor does it seem to me to involve “a harsh ellipsis” to understand ἐμνημόνευον, with Bl, De W, Del, Moll, etc. of mentioning, meaning in their utterances, rather than simply to be mindful of.—ἀνακυμψαι, to return back, to return.

Hebrews 11:16.—νῦν δέ, but as it Isaiah, as the case stands.—ὀρέγονται, they are reaching out after, are aspiring to.

Hebrews 11:17.—Προσενήνοχεν, hath offered up, stands recorded as having offered up, which he did virtually and in intention, “as if the work and its praise were yet enduring,” Alf.—Προσέφερεν, was offering up: proceeding to greater detail, the author makes a more exact statement of the fact by exchanging the present for the past, and then employing not the Aor, which would have implied it as done, but the Imperf, which implies that it was only commenced, not carried through.—ὁ ἀναδεξάμενος, he who had accepted, not, received.

Hebrews 11:18.—Πρὸς ὃν ἐλαλήθη, In respect to whom it was said. So I decidedly prefer to render with the Eng Ver. (of whom), referring the whom to Isaac, rather than with Moll, Alf, and most modern intpp, to render it to whom, and refer the whom to Abraham. That the πρός will equally well bear either rendering, needs no argument (see Hebrews 1:7-8; Hebrews 1:13); and the citation seems to me thus more thoroughly pertinent.

Hebrews 11:19.—Ὅτι ἐκ νεκ. δυνατὸς θεός, that God is (not was) able to raise, etc., a general statement (with Alf.).—For ὅθεν ἐκομίσατο see Exeg. notes.—K.].

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Hebrews 11:13.—Inasmuch as dying is not an effect of faith, but in the case of the Patriarchs took place in a way that bore the impress of faith, we have here κατὰ πίστιν, in accordance with faith, and not, as elsewhere, πίστει, by faith. And as the words are not οὐ, but μὴ λαβόντες, followed by a contrasted ἀλλά (Kühn, II:408), the sense is not, as commonly supposed, “they died in faith, not in sight, inasmuch as they did not receive the blessings promised; and this dying in faith corresponded to their life in faith;” but the meaning Isaiah, as pointed out by Schultz, Win, and Lün, that their dying, occurring as it did, before the anticipated fulfilment of the promises, corresponded to the character of faith; just as already, even in life, their hope was fixed not on the earthly, but, in faith, on the heavenly father-land, and they, pilgrims, were journeying towards it. The whole clause stands in the closest connection, and the emphasis lies on the words introduced by ἀλλά. With this, too, best harmonizes not merely the reason assigned, Hebrews 11:14 ff, for the patriarchal confession of Hebrews 11:13, and for the author’s interpretation of its import, but also the believing act ( Hebrews 11:17) of Abraham in his offering of Isaac. The reference to the ‘promises,’ commencing with Abr, and to the declarations of the Patriarchs, Genesis 23:4; Genesis 47:9, does not allow us, with Primas, Œc, etc., to refer οὗτοι πάντες to all the previously named, from Abel down, Enoch, of course, being in this case excepted.

Hebrews 11:15. Had in mind.—Μνημονεύειν is generally, as at Hebrews 13:7; Luke 17:32; Acts 20:31; Acts 20:35, taken intransitively=be mindful of; here, however, and Hebrews 11:22, 1 Thessalonians 1:3, it is better taken by Bl, De W, Del, etc., as transitive=make mention of, soil, in the declaration just referred to.

Hebrews 11:19. From whence he also received him back in a figure.—In all other passages of our epistle ὅθεν, whence, is taken logically=for which reason. Thus it has generally been taken here, and ἐν παραβολῇ has been explained of Abraham’s taking back Isaac as symbol and type, either of the resurrection generally (Bald, Mich, Böhm, etc.), or of the suffering and resurrection of Christ (Chrys, Prim, Erasm, Ebr, Bisp, etc.), or of both together (Theod.). Luther moreover erroneously renders ἐν παραβ., “zum Vorbilde,” for a type, after the false reading of the Vulg. in parabolam. But so important typical references the author would scarcely have indicated to his readers in so incidental and obscure a manner, if he had had them in his mind. Yet it does not follow from this that we need depart from the customary meaning of παραβολή, parable, (found also in our epistle, Hebrews 9:9), and, with Camerar, Krebs, Raphel, Loesn, go back to a rare signification of the verb παραβάλλεσθαι, deliver up, expose, put to hazard, and, with Thol, translate, “in bold venturing,” or, with Lün, “for which reason he even on the ground, or by means of, his yielding him up, bore him off thence as a spoil.” The term ἐκομίσατο can hardly be alleged in support of this meaning; for this word, though used, indeed, frequently of booty and spoils of conquest, is employed still more frequently of that which one previously possessed and has received back. Precisely in respect to Abraham and Isaac, Josephus (Antt. 1, 13, 4) employs this word, and Philo (II:74, 4) makes use of it to designate the recovery of Joseph by his father. Ὅθεν easily admits of being taken locally, which meaning many able interpreters, following Calv, Bez, Schlicht, Grot, have assigned to it. We must not, however, render by way of comparison, or in some measure, or so to speak, but in a likeness or figure; and we must not, with Schultz and Steng, following Lambert Bos and Alberti, refer the language to the birth of Isaac, whom Abraham had obtained from himself, as νενεκρωμένον, but to the saving of his life. He received him from the dead in a figure in that Isaac resembled a person who had been put to death and Revelation -awakened (Theodore Mops, Calv, etc., more recently Bl, De W, Stier, Hofm, Del.). The explanation of Paulus, by virtue of a substitute, that is in exchange for the substituted ram, is unnatural; and unnatural, also, Bengel’s supplying of ὤν with ἐν παραβολῇ, “Abraham ipse factus parabola.” [Alford takes nearly the view of Paulus; “the true identification of the παραβολή, Isaiah, I am persuaded, to be found in the figure under which Isaac was sacrificed, viz., the ram, as already hinted by Chrysostom. Abraham virtually sacrificed his son; God designated Isaac for the burnt-offering, but provided a ram in his stead. Under the figure of that ram Isaac was slain, being received back by his father in his proper person, risen from the death which he had undergone ἐν παραβολῇ, in and under the figure of the ram. It is an obvious, though perhaps not fatal objection to this explanation that it applies ἐν παραβολῇ, directly to the death of the ram, and only indirectly to the restoration of Isaac, to which the author directly applies it. According to Alford’s explanation, it would seem much more natural for the author to have said that Abraham sacrificed Isaac ἐν παραβολῇ, than that he received him back ἐν παραβολῇ.—K.].

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. If believers know that the fulfilment of God’s promises is still remote, nay, that they will never live to enjoy them personally upon the earth, this knowledge neither shakes their confidence nor troubles their joy. Time and space, uncertainty and doubt, disappear to the eye of faith. The promised blessings, faith views as the only actual and true ones, and rejoices in their future, indeed, but still certain attainment.

2. Even death changes nothing in this relation. The dying of believers bears in itself the character of faith, and on this is impressed most clearly the fact, that believers rejoice over their entrance into the heavenly home, which, during their earthly pilgrimage ( Genesis 47:9), they have known indeed, but only seen and saluted from afar.

3. There are also promises of God which refer to temporal blessings and earthly goods, whose fulfilment can be attained here below, as the increase of posterity, the inheriting of the promised land, victory over hostile nations. But believers have, from early times, regarded these promises and their fulfilment only as parts and stages of the one great promise of salvation which God has destined for His people; which the fathers waited for in faith ( Genesis 49:18), and which is the essential link between the old and new Covenant.

4. The wandering of the patriarchs is not a mere restless roaming, or an aimless change of dwelling-places, but under Divine guidance is a discipline of obedience, a proving of faith, and a type and example for those who seek the abiding home; and for this reason they do not turn their eyes backward to the perishable world, and what they possess, gain, and lose therein; but forward to the promised and enduring good, whose attainment is certain, because God has already prepared it for them, and is no mere transitory good, but has come into a permanent relation to them, so that God is not ashamed to be called their God ( Matthew 22:31 ff.).

5. During our pilgrimage to the heavenly home, trials of our faith do not cease, nay, they may even be heightened to temptations, if there seems to arise between the Divine demands and the Divine promises, and thus, in God Himself, an antagonism, a contradiction, which threatens also to divide and rend asunder the believer. The unity, however, remains preserved on both sides, and in all respects, if the believer on his side turns to nothing but the express and clear Word of God, and confidently leaves it with God, by virtue of His omnipotence, at all times to evince Himself as the true and faithful One.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Strangers on earth, at home in heaven, hence called to a pilgrimage.—The aspirations of believers turn not backwards, but forwards.—What believers have experienced in life, turns to their benefit in death.—The latest trials are not always easiest, but along with experience faith has also increased in power.—God acknowledges those who acknowledge Him, and leads them to the enduring city which they are seeking.—He who in the obedience of faith can give to God what God demands, in him the promises of God will find overwhelmingly their fulfilment.

Starke:—They who acknowledge that their citizenship is in heaven ( Philippians 3:20) will easily forget what is behind, and press forward to that which is before ( Philippians 3:13).—He who has once escaped from the vanity of the world must not allow himself again to be entangled therein; even to look back is dangerous ( Luke 9:62; Luke 17:32).—Where faith is there is also obedience to God.—God takes the will of Prayer of Manasseh, where outward hinderances prevent the execution, for the accomplished deed.—God has free power to bless and exalt one child of a father above another.—Faith must be simple that it may not too nicely quibble and dispute over things that appear unreasonable and impossible, and may assure itself that nothing is lost of all that is offered to God ( Matthew 16:25).—Faith must cling to the truth and omnipotence of God.

Rieger:—Unbelief easily vexes itself in regard to death, as in regard to all the earlier humiliations of the cross; faith adheres to the word, and with this passes, as through all preceding struggles, so also through the humiliation of death.—Faith, through the word, brings near to itself the promised good, approves the entire arrangement of God in this respect, and is not vexed and discouraged by delay.—From the tranquillity of faith springs the willing confession that one is a stranger; but that in all his action and suffering he is led on by the hope of reaching his father-land.—In faith we learn to reconcile things which seem directly hostile to each other, as “dying and behold we live.”—The obedience of Abraham springs not from a capricious self-persuasion, or from the power of a heated imagination; it is the fruit of a reflection and a mature judgment, which comprehends and sums up all good in the ways of God.

Hahn:—The extent of our self-denial bears witness how deeply the sense of heavenly things has its lodgment in the heart.

Heubner:—Never has the pious man completely realized on earth the longing of his heart; he is always hoping for something better.—The crown of all hopes is the city of God, where God in the most glorious manner will dwell among His saints.—Faith makes us strong to offer up that which is dearest to us.

Footnotes:

FN#11 - Hebrews 11:13.—The Rec. καὶ πεισθέντες is to be rejected by the unanimous testimony of MSS. except a few minusc.

FN#12 - Hebrews 11:15.—Instead of ἐξῆλθον read, with Sin. A. D*. E*., 17, 73, 80, ἐξἐβησαν. In the Sin. ἐξῆλθον is added by the correct, as also ἐμνημόνευον instead of μνημονεύουσιν.

FN#13 - Hebrews 11:19.—Instead of δυνατός Lachm. reads δύναται after A. D**.

FN#14 - Hebrews 11:19.—The Rec. ἐγείρειν is sustained by Sin. D. E. K. L. and nearly all the minusc. The Reading ἐγεῖραι [Lachm.] by A, 17, 71.


Verses 20-22

IV

The example of Isaac, Jacob and Joseph

Hebrews 11:20-22

20By faith [also] Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith 21 Jacob, when he was a dying [while when dying], blessed both [each of][FN15] the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff 22 By faith Joseph, when he died [while dying], made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Hebrews 11:20. Also.—The position of καί forbids our regarding the present as the mere appending of a new example of faith from the history of the Patriarchs. Either faith is here designated as of a nature which displays its inward confidence by the utterance of a blessing, and this in relation to a thing in the future; in which case the act of blessing evinces an undoubting faith that the word will be followed by the actual fulfilment (Theodoret, Lün.); or the καί, with its emphasizing force, introduces the blessing as an act of faith that even determines the future (Del.). In both cases περὶ μελλ. is dependent on εὐλογ. To connect it with πίστει (Peshito, Sykes) would yield a construction elsewhere without example in the New Testament, and opposed to the absolute use of πίστει elsewhere throughout the chapter.

Hebrews 11:21. Worshipped, leaning, etc.—In the Heb. text ( Genesis 47:31) it is said, “he bowed himself upon the head of his couch” (Knobel), or, “he turned himself about upon his bed, turning his face to its head” (Hofm, Del.). At all events, he rendered thanks to God in this way, as the aged David did in a similar case, 1 Kings 1:47; while in his discourse with Joseph he had sat upright on his bed. In his weakness, he could neither arise nor prostrate himself. Our author here as elsewhere follows the Sept. with their pointing, הַמַּטֶּה instead of הַמִּטָּח; and has perhaps designedly brought this passage into connection with the act of blessing recounted Genesis 48, in order to express the devout frame of mind in which this blessing was uttered (Thol.). Perhaps, too, we are to take αὐτοῦ in the sense of the reflexive αὑτοῦ, and to refer the term to the pilgrim-staff of Jacob, Genesis 32:10. The reference of this pronoun to Joseph, as well as the supplying of τῷ Ἰωσήφ with προσεκύνησεν (Chrys, Theodor, Theoph, etc.) is discountenanced by the utter absence of any mention of a staff of honor belonging to Joseph (which indeed Thom. Aqu. regards as symbolical of the cross of Christ, and Joseph as type of the Messiah), as well as by the connection of the passage, which points to no marks of homage which Jacob, in fulfilment of Joseph’s dream, may at last have rendered to him. But the rendering of the Vulg. et adoravit fastigium virgæ ejus, followed by Primas, Œc, Erasm, Calv, Bisp, Reuss, etc., who regard it as indicating the direction of his homage, and as acknowledging in act the future greatness of Ephraim, is grammatically inadmissible; for ἐπί τι nowhere occurs as expressing the object of προσκυνεῖν.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. Believers care in the best way not only for their own future, but also for that of their children and remote posterity. Therefore they bless them, and God hears their prayer.

2. The blessings pronounced by believers are not mere utterances of pious wishes, but prophecies of the future, and actions which exercise a determining power upon history. Yet they are not sorcerers’ utterances which could exercise a mastery over the will of God, and magically determine the fate of other men. They originate and exert their influence only on the ground and in the power of a human will brought into contact with the will of God. It is God Himself who fills and guides the blessing, heart, hand and lips.

3. Faith strengthens and influences even the weak and dying, so that they look only to God’s promises, wait in blessing and in prayer clear to the end, desire, after their decease, to be gathered to their fathers and brought into the land of promise, and direct toward this all their arrangements.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

They who die in faith think: 1, of the promises which they have inherited; 2, of the prayers with which they are to finish their course; 3, of the benedictions with which they can influence their posterity.—Faith renders men: 1, equally potent in life and joyful in death; 2, equally bold and humble; 3, equally reflective and forecasting.—The best kind of concern for our posterity.

Starke:—As the Patriarchs with great industry transmitted the promises of Christ to their posterity, so should we be zealous to bring the Gospel of Christ to posterity.—The saints frequently do, under the direction and guidance of God, something in which they indeed have a good purpose, but in respect to which God has determined something still higher.—It matters little at the present time where we are buried, provided only that the soul comes into Abraham’s bosom; for the earth is every where the Lord’s. Psalm 24:1.

Rieger:—By the early setting in order of his house, Jacob admonishes us of his daily dying, and of the renewed confession of his earthly pilgrimage.

Heubner:—Even in age, and amidst the great infirmities of age, Jacob was strong in his faith in the sure purpose and counsel of God.—The desire of Joseph to have his bones buried with his forefathers, indicates faith in a perpetual communion among believers through the power of God.

Footnotes:

FN#15 - Hebrews 11:20.—Read after A. D*., 17, 23, 37, Vulg. It, πίστει καὶ περὶ τῶν μελλόντων.


Verses 23-29

V

The example of Moses

Hebrews 11:23-29

23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of [by] his parents, because they saw he was a proper child [that the child was beautiful]; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment 24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season [to have a transient enjoyment from sin]; 26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt;[FN16] for he had respect [for, he was looking away] unto the recompense of the reward 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing him who is invisible 28 Through faith he kept [he has celebrated] the Passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest [in order that] he that destroyed.[FN17] the first-born should [may not] touch them 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea, as by dry land;[FN18] which the Egyptians assaying to do, were drowned.

[ Hebrews 11:23.—γενηθείς, on being born=when he was born.—εἶδον ἀστεῖον τὸ παιδίον, they saw the child (to be)fair, comely; ἀστεῖον, predicate.

Hebrews 11:24.—μέγας γενόμενος, on becoming large, on being grown up.—θυγατρὸς, of a daughter, without the Art.

Hebrews 11:25.—πρόσκαιρον ἁμαρτίας ἀπόλαυσιν, a temporary enjoyment from sin; ἁμαρτίας being here not the Gen. object, denoting sin as that which is enjoyed, but Gen. subject, denoting sin as conferring the enjoyment, or that from which the enjoyment comes. Here, as at Hebrews 3, the sin of apostasy. So Bl, Del, and Moll. Alf. denies, and makes it the Gen. obj.; but unnecessarily, and with much less force in the train of thought of the Epistle.

Hebrews 11:26.—ἀπέβλεπεν, he was looking away, as ἀφορῶντες, “so as to be waiting for it, or by regard for it determined or strengthened in a course of action” (Bl.), Hebrews 12:2.—μισθαποδοσίαν, the rendering of the reward ( Hebrews 2:2).

Hebrews 11:27.—κατέλιπεν (κατά intensive), abandoned, forsook.—τὸν ἀόρατον—ὁρῶν, seeing the unseen, scil, perhaps βασιλεα; a paronomasia, as Romans 1:20, τὰ ἀόρατα—καθορᾶται.

Hebrews 11:28.—Πεποίηκεν, he has made; either instituted, or, in conformity with the common use of the word in such connections, celebrated. The Perf. indicates it as a thing standing recorded in history as done ( Hebrews 11:17, προσενήνοχεν).—τὴν πρόσχυσιν, not strictly the sprinkling, but the pouring on (Angiessung) of blood.

Hebrews 11:29.—ἧς πεῖραν λαβόντες, of which, scil, either γῆς or θαλάσσης. The former preferred by Kuin, Böhm, Klee, Del.; the latter by Bl, Lün, Alf. Moll does not decide, but apparently inclines to γῆς.—κατεπόθησαν, were drunk up, swallowed up, drowned.—K.].

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Hebrews 11:23. Inasmuch as οἱ πατέρες in Greek sometimes has the same signification as οἱ γονεῖς (examples in Wets. and Del.), and the mother of Moses is expressly mentioned in the original, we must refer the term to Jochebed and Amram, and not (with Beng, Menk, Stier, and others,) put in place of the mother of Moses, her father, Kohath.

Hebrews 11:24. Come to years (become large) μέγας γενόμενος.—Schultz and Bretschn. refer the μέγας to worldly power and honor; but the contrast is between the child and the grown up Prayer of Manasseh, who has reached the period of independent choice and decision.

Hebrews 11:25. To have enjoyment from sin.—The ἁμαρτίας ἀπόλαυσις is not the enjoyment of sin (Theoph. Schlicht, Lün, Alf, etc.), but the enjoyment to which sin opens the way; for this enjoyment, indicated as for a season, stands in the same relation to apostasy from God and from His people (as that ἁμαρτία which we are to shun mentioned, Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:26), as the suffering of affliction bears to fellowship with the covenant people of God.

Hebrews 11:26. The reproach of Christ.—Lün. understands by the ὀνειδισμὸς τοῦ χριστοῦ, the reproach which Christ bore; Ebr. (after the older interpp.), the reproach for the sake of Christ which Moses endured by virtue of his hope in the Messiah; Bl, Del, and others, correctly, the reproach which Christ had to endure in His own person, and has to endure in His members. The author’s warrant for ascribing to Moses a participation in this reproach is found by Hofm. in the typical connection, by virtue of which, the Old Testament people of God bear in themselves the impress of Christ, inasmuch as Christ is He whom the Old Testament history, in advance, represents, and whom the Old Testament Word promises. Stier finds this warrant in the mystical unity of Christ and His church; De W. and Thol, in the pre-existent presence of Christ as the Logos, in the Old Testament Israel ( 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 1:10 ff.); Baumg, (Theol. comm. on the Pent.) citing the authority of Augustine, in that preparation for Christ’s appearance in the flesh which runs through the entire history of Israel. Delitzsch unites the various explanations, and says: “The reproach of Christ Isaiah, to our author, the reproach of the Christ who was present as Logos in His people made one with Him, and there typically announcing His incarnation which was yet to take place.”

Hebrews 11:27. Forsook Egypt.—All the Greek and Latin intpp, except Nich. Lyra, refer this to the flight of Moses to Midian, Exodus 2:15; but since, in that case, the flight was occasioned by fear of the king’s wrath ( Hebrews 11:14), but here, on the contrary, is ascribed to Moses’ fearlessness, very weighty interpreters since Lyra (as Calv, Schlicht, Grot, Calov, Böhme, Bl, etc., and recently Ebr. and Bisp.) have referred it to the Exodus of Moses with the collected people. Justly, however, Zeger, Calmet, Bengel, De Wette, Tholuck, Lönemann, Delitzsch, and others, have adhered to the earlier view. In favor of this is the succession of events here recounted; the expression κατέλιπεν, abandoned, forsook, which, indeed, might possibly be referred to the Exodus, (Joseph, Antt., II:15, 2), but in the present connection points to something personally, and exclusively pertaining to Moses; and finally, the circumstance that the Exodus ( Exodus 12:31) took place with the consent of Pharaoh. Nor is it necessary to the solution of the above mentioned contradiction, to assume, with De Wette, a decided failure of memory on the part of the author, or, with Lün, to distinguish a fear, taken objectively, from fearlessness as a purely subjective emotion. We might ask, with Tholuck, could not the author, without forgetting the fear inspired in Moses by the first rumor of the king’s wrath, wish to express that his faith had nevertheless overcome that fear? or we can say, with Del, that Hebrews, the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, quitted Egypt without consulting the king; that he did this without fearing the heightened wrath which he incurred by this voluntary sundering of his relation to the Egyptian court. Both interpreters appeal in support of their view to the reason stated in the following clause, “he endured, etc.”—[It seems to me that this is a case in which it is equally gratuitous to suppose, with De Wette, a failure in the author’s memory; and, with Alford and others, to feel any serious difficulty in the explanation. Looking at the withdrawal of Moses from Egypt, it seems to me that one might, with nearly equal truth, say that he left “fearing,” or, “not fearing” the wrath of the king; and that which one would be likely to say would depend simply on his point of view and immediate purpose in recurring to the event. That, in his earlier withdrawal, Moses did fear the wrath of the king is certain, and this was the immediate occasion of his flight as such. But, on the other hand, that his entire course at this time, alike in the act which occasioned his flight, and his general choice and state of mind, arose above considerations of fear, and were determined by a practical defiance of the wrath of the king, is equally certain. According, therefore, as the writer had his mind on the one or the other of these facts, the passing fear that dictated the flight, or the higher courage and trust in God which prevented that fear from being controlling, and which, in fact, led him to provoke the wrath of the king, he might use one representation or the other. Here it better suits his purpose to present the spiritual fearlessness which dictated his whole course of conduct, in connection with its ground, viz: his faith in Him who is unseen. I think that βασιλέα is to be understood with τὸν ἀόρατον. The author puts the unseen heavenly King, whom Moses saw with the vision of his faith, over against the seen king, at whom, without this vision, he would have trembled.—K.].

He endured.—It is grammatically unallowable to make (with Luth, Beng, Schultz, Paul, Ebr.) τὸν ἀόρατον dependent on ἐκαρτέρησεν. For the transitive signification of this verb is not to adhere to something, but to endure something, e.g.: hunger and thirst. Here the intransitive signification alone is possible.

Hebrews 11:28. Hath celebrated the Passover.—Since ποιεῖν uniformly appears along with φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα, only of the celebration of the Passover ( Exodus 9; Exodus 12:48; Numbers 9:2; Joshua 5:10; Matthew 26:18), the assumption that here the significations of founding and celebrating are united (Böhm, Bl, Lün.), is not merely uncertain (De W.), but false: “yet the perfect πεποίηκεν may suggest the idea that the Egyptian passover, which stands before us as an accomplished fact, has become the foundation for the celebration of the Passover in subsequent times” (Del.).

Destroyer, etc.—The Heb. הַמַּשְׁחִית=destruction, the Sept. translates by ὀλεθρεύων, and certainly (as Asaph, Psalm 78:49) conceives as an angelic minister of divine justice (comp. 1 Chronicles 21:12; 1 Chronicles 21:15; 2 Chronicles 32:21; Sirach 48:21; 1 Corinthians 10:10). It is grammatically impossible to connect τὰ πρωτότοκα with θίγῃ (Klee, Paul, Ebr.). This verb governs the Gen. (here αὐτῶν and τὰ πρωτότοκα is dependent on ὀλεθρεύων. Of course, in the connection “their first-born,” is readily understood to refer to the first-born of the Israelites, though the latter are not expressly named.

Hebrews 11:29. Of which the Egyptians making trial.—The relative ἧς can be equally well referred to the “dry land” immediately preceding (Böhm, Kuin, Klee, Del.), or to the “Red Sea.” Πεῖράν τινος λαμβάνειν may mean to make trial of something, or, to make an attempt at something, as here and Hebrews 11:36.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. When we believe that God has special purposes regarding a Prayer of Manasseh, we not merely hope for his preservation, but we acquire courage in cöoperating for his deliverance; and we rely on God’s assistance in deeds of daring, and amidst circumstances of peril.

2. Worldly greatness, honor, power, and pleasure, have, indeed, a splendid appearance, and exercise a power of temptation by which many are led astray; but the believer recognizes the perishable and dangerous character of these possessions and enjoyments. He looks to the future, the divine judgments, and the recompense of reward; and allows himself to be influenced neither by the allurements nor by the threats of the world; is seduced neither by the fear nor the favor of Prayer of Manasseh, but remains steadfast in his vocation, having God before his eyes and in his heart.

3. The power to deliver and to destroy, lies not in outward things and events, but, on the one hand, in the favor and in the wrath of God, who employs them as means and instruments; on the other, in the faith and the unbelief of men, who use these means for salvation, or abuse them to their ruin.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Faith looks to the purposes of God regarding the children of men, and to the means of their accomplishment.—The believer fears neither to encounter the wrath of men, nor to endure the reproach of Christ.—That which brings salvation to the believer, brings the unbeliever to destruction.—The believer looks, 1, not upon the outward appearance, but upon the inward form; 2, not upon perishable riches, but upon the eternal possessions; 3, not upon the visible world, but upon the invisible God.

Starke:—The world abuses in many ways the outward form and condition of men; but God frequently employs them as a means or occasion for great good. To many a one they serve as a means of trial.—Governments are in God’s stead, and are to be honored; but when they give ungodly commands, these are to be given to the winds, Acts 5:29.—The friendship of God and the world cannot be enjoyed together ( James 4:4).—The temporal afflictions of the pious are followed by eternal joy; the temporal joy of the ungodly by eternal affliction; consider well to which thou wilt devote thyself.—In sufferings and afflictions we must look to the gracious reward in heaven; this can alleviate and sweeten all ( Psalm 94:19).—To be despised and persecuted for Christ’s sake, is an honor and a token of our attaining to the heavenly glory ( Matthew 5:11-12).—Let the enemy continue to rage; ho cannot overpass the limits which God has fixed. When God chooses to bear with him no longer, He strikes him to the ground ( Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 43:16-17; Isaiah 51:9-10).

Rieger:—O how many of our natural impulses lack that right direction which faith would give to them! how often do we yield ourselves and our children to the disposal of men, and faith should strengthen us to yield them up at the good pleasure of God!—Faith frequently receives guidance and direction from the visible; but it transforms the visible not into food for vanity, but into nourishment for its trust.—One may, even out of the delicate and beautiful, weave subtle snares for his own children, and for the innocence of others.—Faith and foolhardiness are widely separated from each other.—Faith admits the judicious employment of all means of security.

Heubner:—Fellowship with the people of God leads to suffering, but apostasy brings after temporal gain eternal shame.—Faith is the spiritual eye which recognizes the nothingness of earthly treasures, and the value of the heavenly.—Faith at once foregoes and preserves.

Burckhardt (Ohly, 1862, II:2):—The believing spirit of the Christian: 1. In its nature; it regards the reproach of Christ, spurned and contemned Christianity, more highly than, a, earthly life, Hebrews 11:23; b, worldly honor, Hebrews 11:24; c, sinful pleasure, Hebrews 11:25; d, temporal riches, Hebrews 11:26. 2. In its reward: a, it brings out of Egypt, the house of bondage of sin, Hebrews 11:27; b, secures against temporal death by the blood of Christ, Hebrews 11:28; c, goes confidently through death into the heavenly Canaan, Hebrews 11:29.


Verses 30-40

VI

Examples from the conquest of Canaan to the time of the Maccabees

Hebrews 11:30-40

30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down,[FN19] after they were compassed about [for] seven days 31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not [disobeyed], 32when she had received [after receiving] the spies with peace. And what shall I more say [what do I say further]? for the time would [will] fail me to tell [while recounting, διηγούμενον] of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah [of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah];[FN20] of David also, and [both of David and] Samuel, and of the prophets: 33Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword,[FN21] out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight [became mighty in war], turned to flight the armies of the aliens [foreigners]. 35Women received their dead raised to life again [or from a resurrection, ἐξ ἀναστάσεως]: and others were tortured [on the rack], not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover [and still further] of bonds and imprisonment: 37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted [or were burnt][FN22], were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented38[outraged]; Of whom the world was not worthy: they wandered [wandering] in[FN23] deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves [caves and holes] of the earth 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:[FN24] 40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should [might] not be made perfect.

[ Hebrews 11:30.—ἐπὶ ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας, for seven days.

Hebrews 11:31.—τοῖς ἀππειθήσασιν, with them that disobeyed,) not ἀπιστήσασιν, disbelieved.

Hebrews 11:32.—τί ἔτι λέγω, what do I say further, διηγούμενον, recounting narration.

Hebrews 11:34—ἐγενήθησαν ἰσχυροὶ ἐν πολέμῳ, became mighty in war.—ἀλλοτρίων, belonging to other lands, foreigners.

Hebrews 11:35.—ἐξ ἀ̓̓ναστάσεως, from or out if a resurrection.—K].

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Hebrews 11:30. For seven days.—Ἐπί, of duration of time, as Luke 4:25; Acts 13:31; Acts 19:10. Πίστει is not to be connected with κυκλωθέντα (Grot.), and this latter does not mean beleaguered (Schultz and others).

Harlot.—Jac. Cappell. and others, following the Chaldee paraphrase, erroneously translate πόρνη, the hostess; others, with Braun, explain the word, the idolatress. It is taken from the history, Joshua 2:2; Joshua 6:17 ff. Her faith consisted in her strong practical confidence ( James 2:25) in the victory of the Israelites, because their God was the omnipotent God ( Joshua 2:9). His miracles had not remained unknown also to the remaining inhabitants of Jericho ( Joshua 2:10), but they, making but small account of these, attempted to withstand the people of God ( Joshua 6:1).

Hebrews 11:32. Gideon, etc.—The order of succession is not chronological. But the author does not design such an enumeration, and he has scarcely had in mind any particular mode of grouping. Del, indeed, assumes three groups, of which the two first consisted of three persons each, and thinks that the author in the first group names Gideon as the greater hero of faith, before Barak, and in the second names Samuel after David, that he may attach to him the third group, viz., that of the prophets. But what authorizes such a triple division? And what purpose would suggest the introduction of Jephthah, who besides is placed after Samson, into the second group? Rather according to lect. rec., followed by Del, only Barak and Samson are more closely united by τε καί, as also David and Samuel, while between Gideon and Barak there is no connective particle. In like manner there is none between Jephthah and David, but before Jephthah, as before the prophets, is placed the simple καί. Lün. starts from the fact that David and Samuel are in all the MSS. connected by τε καί, and concludes from this that the preceding names were originally arranged in pairs. In that case the chronological objection would disappear, inasmuch as each new pair makes a new stage of historical progress, while in the successive pairs, the naming of the later before the earlier, is justified on rhetorical grounds, as bringing together the names of those who were coincident in time. But this ingenious conjecture rests on a combination of different readings, retaining the Rec. under the two modifications of placing (with D*.) καί before Barak, and (with A, 17, Vulg, Copt, Arm, and many Fathers) striking out τε καί before Samson. The καί before Jephthah is rejected, although found in D. E. K. L, nearly all the minusc, Chrys, Theodoret, Damasc, etc. Lachm. and Tisch, are consistent in striking out all the particles except the unquestionable τε καί before, and καί after Samuel This has also the authority of Sin.

Hebrews 11:33. Who subdued kingdoms.—The οἵ, who, refers not to the prophets, but to all the previously named persons, who, however, are merely adduced as examples, so that we are not to ask, in each individual one of the following statements, what person the author had specially in view. Many of the deeds and sufferings belong to persons who are not even particularly cited, but point us in general to the historical books of the Old Testament, from which the persons named are selected by way of example. The meaning, “obtain by conflict” (Böhme), can scarcely be established for καταγωνίζεσθαι [rather contending down, wrestling down=subduing.—K.].

Wrought righteousness.—Ἐργαζ. δικ. is hardly used in the purely ethical sense (Theodoret, Erasm, Schlicht, Grot, etc.), but refers to the acts and influence connected with the office of Judges, Kings and Prophets, 1 Samuel 12:4; 2 Samuel 8:15; 1 Chronicles 15:14; 2 Chronicles 9:8.

Obtained promises.—Beng, Bl, Ebr, etc., follow Chrys, Primas, Theodoret, in understanding God’s words of promise, and this not mainly His individual, but His Messianic promises. But the common reference of the words to the substance of the promises, better suits the connection; for if the believers failed to live to witness the promised salvation, Hebrews 11:39, yet they at least realized the fulfilment of special assurances. The plur. employed without the article, favors this view.

Stopped the mouths of lions, etc.—We might refer this to Samson and David, but the language points rather to Daniel 6:18-23; as also the following example (by force of faith quenched the force of fire) is drawn from Daniel 3, or 1 Maccabees 2:59. Perhaps the following examples point also to events belonging to the times of the Maccabees, although they have their parallel in the earlier period, e.g., 1 Kings 19.; 2 Kings 6, 20.; Judges 16:28; Psalm 18:30. The word παρεμβολή, signifying not merely an encampment, but an army in battle array, is among the favorite expressions of the First Book of Maccabees (Grimm at 1 Maccabees 3:3). This, however, decides nothing, since the word has the same signification also, Judges 4:16; Judges 7:14, and the discourse immediately returns to 1 Kings17, and to 2 Kings4, by the mention of the women who received back their dead, ἐξ ἀναστάσεως, i.e., either by resurrection (Böhm, Bl, Lün, etc.) or from a resurrection=as raised again to life. These examples from the life of the woman of Sarepta and of the Shunamite, lead, however, again, immediately, to the martyrdom of Eleazer ( 2 Maccabees 6:18 ff.), and of the seven brothers, along with their mother ( 2 Maccabees 7). The τύμπανον is regarded as an engine of torture in the form of a wheel, upon which the tortured person was stretched out like the skin of a kettle-drum, and frequently beaten to death. The better resurrection (κρείττονος ἀναστάσεως) is regarded by Œc. and Theoph. (by the latter hesitatingly) as contrasted with the resurrection of the ungodly to judgment ( Daniel 12:2); by Chrys, Beng, Böhm, Bl, De W, Ebr. and others, on the contrary, as in antithesis with ἐξ ἀναστάσεως, standing at the beginning of the verse; while Gerh, Win, Thol, Lün, etc., more naturally [Alford says “strangely”] place it in contrast with the previously mentioned ἀπολύτρωσις (deliverance) from their tortures, which was proffered them.

Hebrews 11:36. And others experienced mockings and scourgings, etc.—Scourgings (μάστιγες) and mockings (ἐμπαιγμοί) are spoken of, the former at 2 Maccabees 7:1, the latter at id. Hebrews 7:7; Hebrews 7:10. We may presume with certainty, therefore, that these examples of suffering are suggested by the narratives there recorded, although the ἕτεροι δέ, immediately proceeds to introduce other, though kindred examples, among which we may doubtless recognize allusions to the mockeries heaped upon Elisha and Jeremiah. For not only is the stoning immediately mentioned which slew Zachariah, 2 Chronicles 24:20, and the sawing asunder, which according to Jewish tradition, fell to the lot of Isaiah, but previously to these, bonds and imprisonment, which may be referred to Hannai ( 2 Chronicles 16:10), Micah and Jeremiah, which are connected back by ἔτι δέ, with the mockings and scourgings, as if rising upon and transcending them. And the slaying by the edge of the sword, if not referring especially to the prophet Uriah, who was so executed by Jehoiachim ( Jeremiah 26:23), yet certainly must refer to the numerous executions of prophets in the kingdom of Israel ( 1 Kings 19:10).—The goat skins, commonly black, expressed still more than the usually white sheep skins, the feelings and the condition of the prophets, who ( 2 Kings 1:8) are called “hairy men.”

Hebrews 11:39. And all these received not the promise, etc.—This sentence refers not merely to the persons mentioned from Hebrews 11:35 (Schlicht, Storr), but to the whole body collectively (alike named and unnamed) of those whose faith has procured for them the good report which they have in the Old Testament. The participial clause must be resolved by although, not by since; for, in the connection, the sense of the clause cannot be that the ancients did not receive the promise because the faith which, in its nature, appertains to the future and the invisible, did not procure for them their good report. The statement, rather, Isaiah, that, notwithstanding the glory which they derived from their faith, they still did not obtain the promise. The singular τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν shows that the author is speaking not of special and individual promises, and which in fact have not remained unfulfilled, but of the fulfilment of the promise as such, i.e., the Messianic promise, which in the connection is determined still more definitely than the promise of the “eternal inheritance,” Hebrews 9:15, as that whose attainment presupposes the τελείωσις.

Hebrews 11:40. God having provided something better for us.—The reason of the fact just mentioned, is God’s gracious regard for us, which has led Him to adopt such an arrangement, that the actual receiving of the promise is accorded to us, if we abide in the faith, while yet those fathers who are eulogized for their faith, are not excluded, but attain in like manner the τελείωσις, only not without us, as would have been the case if their faith had been immediately rewarded with the promised good, and no interval had come in between the faith and the attainment. Since, then, the τελείωσις still, also, awaits us, and will be attained only at the second coming of Christ, we are, on the one hand, on a level with the fathers; and, notwithstanding our faith, have, like them, to submit to a period of waiting, which also gives ample scope for Christian endurance—while thus their life of faith can furnish us a comforting and stimulating example—and on the other a better thing (κρεῖττόν τι) has been provided for us. The fulfilment of the Messianic promise has, with the appearance of Jesus Christ and His entrance into the heavenly All-holy, become matter of historical fact, so that the prophecy of Jeremiah is fulfilled Hebrews 8:6 ff; Hebrews 10:15 ff. Even Abraham ἐπέτυχεν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, Hebrews 6:15 ff, and the ἔσχατον τῶν ἡμερῶν ( Hebrews 1:1), and the συντέλεια τῶν αἰώνων ( Hebrews 9:26), lies already behind us. We have lived to behold the final revelation of God in Jesus Christ, and hence the Lord pronounces His disciples blessed, and declares them privileged above the prophets and kings of the Old Testament, Matthew 13:17. Thus has something better been imparted to us than to them, comp. Hebrews 2:3 ff. This reference of the κρεῖττον to the nobler boon bestowed on us than was accorded to the ancients, harmonizes better with the language Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 8:6, and with the general scope of the Epistle, than the explanation: “Something better, then, would have fallen to our lot, if they had received the final fulfilment of the promise.” The connecting thought would then be, that in such a case we should not have been born, inasmuch as the end of the world would have arrived, and with it that state of perfection in which is neither marrying nor giving in marriage, Matthew 21:30.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. The greatest and most important victories are not gained by the might of armies, nor even by mere patriotic heroism, but by the power of the Omnipotent God who, beyond their prayers and their comprehension, assists those who, in undoubting faith, adapt themselves to His arrangements, and employ the means which He points out to them.

2. Faith triumphs not merely over visible opponents and adversaries; it gives us victory also over spiritual foes, and makes those who were once sinners, associates and helpers of the servants of God, for which again God, to whom they have given honor, becomes to them a tower and shield, and bestows upon them grace unto salvation.

3. Faith, however, shows its beauty, power, and greatness, not barely in that which it accomplishes, overthrows, and attains, but also in that which it sustains, endures, and sacrifices. And in this, women are not inferior to men, but give them not unfrequently an inspiring example.

4. The life of believers in the world is a perpetual conflict with the world, whose severity evinces itself as clearly in their deportment as in their destinies. But the conflict is lightened by the fact that the inestimable worth of believers always shines forth more conspicuous and triumphant alike in their voluntary privations and sacrifices, and amidst violent oppressions and spoliations, while the world, on the contrary, by its denial, contempt, and rejection of those who, in the sight of God, are more highly esteemed than the whole world, condemns, punishes, and impoverishes itself.

5. The final goal to which God conducts believers, is perfection in Christ; and this embraces the entire person, includes thus the resurrection and glorification of the body, and pre-supposes, therefore, the second coming of Christ. It thus, therefore, equally awaits us as the members of the Old Covenant who fell asleep in faith, with whom we have in common the interval of waiting, trials of our faith, and sufferings for the sake of faith, so that they are, to us, examples and patterns in the various matters with which they have to do. For at the same time with them shall we attain this final and comprehensive perfection, and come to the common enjoyment of the same blessedness. Thus the prerogative which we have enjoyed, in that the first appearance of Christ was not, with us, a matter of expectation, but of realization, binds us to all the greater humility, thankfulness, and fidelity, by how much the more clearly we discern in this arrangement the grace of God, taking thought for our salvation.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The like state of mind, the like goal, and the like destiny of the believers of all ages.—The relation of the believers to the world and to God.—The enemies, conflicts, and victories of faith.—Dishonored in the world, honored with God.—The transformation produced by faith.—The certain fulfilment of the promises of God: 1, in its means; 2, in its conditions; 3, in its stages.

Starke:—He who dwells in heaven must assuredly laugh at those who defiantly trust to walls and ramparts.—In like manner, as at the sound of the trumpet and battle-cry of Israel, the walls of the ungodly city of Jericho fell, thus shall the trumpet voice of the Gospel overthrow the kingdom of anti-christ, Revelation 18:2.—Sin separates from God; but repentance conducts to God ( Isaiah 59:2; Jeremiah 3:1).—Good works must be judged not according to the appearance, but according to their ground and internal character.—The Holy Scripture is so rich in beautiful and memorable histories and examples, that we have no need of the fabulous inventions of the monks, but enough for our right instruction in the word of God.—Oh God! how rich art Thou even in the gifts and treasures which Thou hast deposited in Thy saints!—Faith is stronger than powder and lead, than arrow, sword, and weapon of war. It can overcome even the devil himself, and quench his fiery darts ( Ephesians 6:16).—Rather should we endure a violent death, than apostatize from the true religion.—The host of sacred martyrs is very comforting to all the suffering bearers of the cross; for we are no better than our fathers ( 1 Kings 19:4). O Thou God that hidest Thyself! Thou leavest Thy children here to suffering and oppression, that they may have life and refreshment forever ( Revelation 12:12).—Much distress, trouble and misery upon earth; yet the sufferings of this present time are of no account beside the glory which shall be revealed in us ( Romans 8:18).—O how are we put to shame who live under the New Covenant by the heroes of faith who lived under the Old.—Steadfastness in true religion under great affliction, is a proof of true faith in Christ.

Rieger:—Unbelief is always hatching distrust. “Surely there is no remedy; in great public calamities must all fare alike.” But faith trusts God in all ways.—God, in His economy and arrangement of times, has graciously cared for all. Even to the ancients He has vouchsafed, in their time, sufficient evidence for faith.

Hahn:—The world speedily forgets the deeds of its heroes, however much it may wish to perpetuate them; but God bears testimony to His own. This is genuine, and will remain.—If we can do no very great deed in our time, it is enough if we exercise victorious faith in endurance, as this is the task assigned to our time (ReHebrews Hebrews 11:13).—Even trivial Acts, if they spring from faith, are highly esteemed of God.

Heubner:—Faith overcomes the world.—The richness of the Holy Scripture in instructive examples. The richness of the gifts that God has deposited in the saints.—The hidden value of the righteous is manifest in the sight of God.—The Christian should be exalted above the world, but the world should learn to be worthy of the godly.—How often do innocence and truth have to conceal and withdraw themselves. Hebrews, who shall yet dwell in the eternal mansions, now often wanders without a shelter.—Many pious men fail to live to see the fulfilment of their desires; but their salvation will not fail.—Heaven unites all.

Footnotes:

FN#16 - Hebrews 11:26.—Instead of τῶν ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ read after Sin. D. K. L, 31, 44, 46, τῶς Αἰγύπτου.

FN#17 - Hebrews 11:28.—The more correct orthography is ὀλεθρεύων after A. D. E, instead of ὀλοθρεύων.

FN#18 - Hebrews 11:29.—After ξηρᾶς we are to add γῆς after Sin. A. D*. E, 17, 31, 47.

FN#19 - Hebrews 11:30.—ἔπεσαν is to be read, after Sin. A. D*., 17, 23, 31, instead of ἐπεσε.

FN#20 - Hebrews 11:32.—Moll follows Tisch. and Lachm. in omitting the καί connecting Gideon, Barak, etc., reading Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah.—K.].

FN#21 - Hebrews 11:34.—Instead of μαχαίρας, Lachm. and Tisch, ed7, read μαχαίρης after A. D, as in Hebrews 11:37 after D*. In both cases the reading is supported by Sin. So also the reading ἐδυναμώθησαν, received by Lachm and Tisch. instead of the Rec. ἐνεδυνwhich in Sin. is only from a second hand.

FN#22 - Hebrews 11:37.—Instead of ἐπειράσθησαν=tentati sent (Vulg. Ambros.), Luth. reads1530, ἐπάρθησαν, were pierced through. The majority, following Erasmus, conjecture, inasmuch as πειρᾷνcannot be made=torture, an old error of the copyist, and introduce a word indicating death by fire, best ἐπρήσθησαν. In the Sin. this word follows the one given above [rather in Sin. the word is ἐπρίσηιαν].

FN#23 - Hebrews 11:38.—The reading, ἐπ ἐρημίαις of Sin. A, 71, 73, 118, received by Lachm. and Tisch, ed. VII, appears to be an error of the copyist. The Rec. ἐν ἐρημ. is sustained by D. E. K. L.

FN#24 - Hebrews 11:39.—Lachm. reads the plur, τὰς ἐπαγγελίας, after A80.

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Hebrews 11:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/hebrews-11.html. 1857-84.

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