corner graphic   Hi,    
Facebook image
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to

Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Hebrews 11



Other Authors

CHAP. 11.]—‘We are of FAITH,’ concluded the last chapter. And now this great word comes before the mind of the Writer for its definition, its exemplification, its triumphs. By this, all the servants of God from the first have been upheld, and stimulated, and carried through their glorious course. By this exemplification the Writer evermore warmed and carried forward breaks out at last into a strain of sublime eloquence, in which he gathers together in one the many noble deeds of faith which time and space would not allow of his specifying severally.

Verse 1

1.] Now Faith is (the rec. text has a comma after πίστις, thus throwing the stress upon ἔστιν, and making it mean either, “Now there is a faith, which is” &c., or “Now faith really exists, being” &c. And the alleged ground for this arrangement is, that the ordinary rendering, “Now faith is,” would require πίστις δέ ἐστιν, or ἡ δὲ πίστις ἐστίν. But this argument is nugatory. ἔστιν at the opening of the sentence does, it is true, often indicate emphatically absolute existence, e. g. ch. Hebrews 4:13; Acts 13:15; 1 Corinthians 8:5; 1 Corinthians 15:44 al. fr. (in Del.); but frequently it is the mere logical copula, with a certain emphasis on it, carrying a strong affirmation or negation of the truth of the subsequent predication. See Delitzsch here, and Winer, § 7. 3. So that our Writer does not say, ‘There is a faith, which is.…,’ nor ‘Faith has a real existence, being.…,’ but he describes that πίστις to which in ch. Hebrews 10:39 he had stated us to belong. And this word ‘describes’ is perhaps more strictly correct than ‘defines:’ for the words which follow are not a definition of that in which faith consists, but of that which faith serves as and secures to us. A definition would approach rather from the side of the subjective phænomena of faith. Yet when speaking broadly and not strictly, we may well call this the definition of faith: and nearly so Thomas Aquinas (in Del.), “Respondeo dicendum, quod licet quidam dicant prædicta Apostoli verba non esse fidei definitionem, quia definitio indicat rei quidditatem et essentiam, tamen, si quis recte consideret, omnia, ex quibus potest fides definiri, in prædicta descriptione tanguntur, licet verba non ordinentur sub forma definitionis.” Delitzsch compares several forms of similar definitions in Philo, e. g. ἔστι δὲ στεναγμὸς σφόδρα καὶ ἐντεταμένη λύπη (Leg. Alleg. iii. 75, vol. i. p. 129): ἔστι δὲ εὐχὴ αἴτησις ἀγαθῶν παρὰ θεοῦ (Quod Deus Immut. 19, p. 285): ἔστι γὰρ φιλοσοφία ἐπιτήδευσις σοφίας, σοφία δὲ ἐπιστήμη θείων κ. ἀνθρωπίνων καὶ τῶν τούτων αἰτιῶν (De Congr. Quær. Erud. Gr. 14, p. 530): and an appositional one of faith itself, De Conf. Ling. 9, p. 409, where it is said to be ἡ ὀχυρωτάτη καὶ βεβαιοτάτη διάθεσις, and, De Migr. Abr. 9, p. 442, he says of faith, ἀρτηθεῖσα γὰρ καὶ ἐκκρεμασθεῖσα ἐλπίδος χρηστῆς, καὶ ἀνενδοίαστα νομίσασα ἤδη παρεῖναι τὰ μὴ παρόντα, διὰ τὴν τοῦ ὑποσχομένου βεβαιοτάτην πίστιν, ἀγαθὸν τέλειον, ἆθλον εὕρηται. It was this passage apparently which led Jerome to make the remark which Grotius quotes in his note on James 2:23, “Quæ si quis recte consideret, inveniet optime concurrere cum eo quod Scriptor ad Hebræos, Philoneum aliquid spirans ut Hieronymo videtur, scripsit, ἔστι δὲ πίστις κ. τ. λ.” Notice that it is of faith in general, all faith, not here of faith in God in particular, that the Writer is speaking: and πίστις is anarthrous, as throughout the chapter) confidence (there has been much difference concerning the meaning of ὑπόστασις. The ancients for the most part understand it here as “substantia” (so vulg.), substance, the real and true essence: faith gives reality to things not yet seen, so that they are treated as veritably present. So e. g. Chrys., ἐπειδὴ γὰρ τὰ ἐν ἐλπίδι ἀνυπόστατα εἶναι δοκεῖ, ἡ πίστις ὑπόστασιν αὐτοῖς χαρίζεται· μᾶλλον δὲ οὐ χαρίζεται ἀλλʼ αὐτό ἐστιν οὐσία αὐτῶν· οἷον ἡ ἀνάστασις οὐ παραγέγονεν οὐδέ ἐστιν ἐν ὑποστάσει, ἀλλʼ ἡ ἐλπὶς ὑφίστησιν αὐτὴν ἐν τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ ψυχῇ: Thdrt., δείκνυσιν ὡς ὑφεστῶτα τὰ μηδέπω γεγενημένα: Œc., πίστις ἐστὶν αὐτὴ ἡ ὑπόστασις καὶ οὐσία τῶν ἐλπιζομένων πραγυάτων· ἐπειδὴ γὰρ τὰ ἐν ἐλπίσιν ἀνυπόστατά ἐστιν ὡς τέως μὴ παρόντα, ἡ πίστις οὐσία τις αὐτῶν καὶ ὑπόστασις γίνεται, εἶναι αὐτὰ καὶ παρεῖναι τρόπον τινὰ παρασκευάζουσα διὰ τοῦ πιστεύειν εἶναι: Thl., οὐσίωσις τῶν μήπω ὄντων καὶ ὑπόστασις τῶν μὴ ὑφεστώτων: Ambr(58) (De Pœnit. ii. 3 (15), vol. ii. p. 419), Aug(59) (In Joann. Tract. lxxix. 1, vol. iii. pt. ii.), Vatablus (“rerum quæ sperantur essentia”), H. Steph. (“illud quod facit ut jam exstent, quæ sperantur”), Schlichting, Bengel, Heinrichs, Bisping, al. Others have rendered it “fundamentum:” so Faber Stap., Erasm. (paraphr.), Calvin, Beza (“illud quo subsistunt”), Clarius, Stein, Sykes, Carpzov, al. On the other hand the majority of modern Commentators have preferred the meaning which ὑπόστασις bears in ch. Hebrews 3:14, where see note: viz. “confidence.” So Luther, Camero, Grotius, Hammond, Wolf, Böhme, Bleek, De Wette, Tholuck, Stuart, Ebrard, Lünemann, Delitzsch, al. And there can be no reasonable doubt, that this is the true rendering here. Thus only do the two descriptions given correspond in nature and quality: and thus only does ὑπόστασις itself answer to what we might expect by ἐλπιζομένων being used and not some word like ἀνυποστάτων. The one being subjective in both these cases of parallel, it is but reasonable that the other should be also. Delitzsch, as usual when any psychological question arises, has gone into this matter at great length, and his note should by all means be read. He compares a very remarkable passage of Dante, Paradiso, xxiv. 52–81) of things hoped for (the old Latin versions were certainly wrong in rendering ἐλπιζομένωνsperantium.” But, granting that it is neuter, a question arises as to the arrangement of the word πραγμάτων, whether it belongs to ἐλπιζομένων or to οὐ βλεπομένων. Chrys., Œc., the vulg., Calvin in his version, Estius, Böhme, al. join it with the former: Thl., Ambrose, Aug(60), Faber Stap., most of the Commentators, and, as Bleek believes, all the editions, with the latter. And for two reasons, this seems to be the right connexion. It preserves the rhythm better, which otherwise would halt, by the second clause being so much shorter than the first,—and it is more likely that πραγμάτων, indicating as it does rather material objective facts than objects of hope, should be joined with the objective οὐ βλεπομένων, than with the subjective ἐλπιζομένων), demonstration (another dispute has arisen, about the meaning of ἔλεγχος. From ἐλέγχειν, to convict, or convince, of persons,—to prove or demonstrate, of things, comes ἔλεγχος, conviction, or proof: Aristot. Rhet. ad Alex. c. 14, ἔλεγχος δέ ἐστιν ὁ μὲν μὴ δυνατὸς ἄλλως ἔχειν ἀλλʼ οὕτως ὡς ἡμεῖς λέγομεν. So the vulg. has rendered “argumentum,”—Aug(61), Prosper., Mutianus, “convictio,”—Calvin, “demonstratio” or “evidentia” (“evidence,” E. V.), Hammond (and similarly Luther), “firma persuasio.” Chrys. says, βαβαί οἵᾳ ἐχρήσατο λέξει εἰπὼν ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων· ἔλεγχος γὰρ λέγεται ἐπὶ τῶν λίαν ἀδήλων (but the reading of the best mss. and of the Benedictine edn. is δήλωνἡ πίστις τοίνυν ἐστὶν ὄψις τῶν ἀδήλων, φησί, καὶ εἰς τὴν αὐτὴν τοῖς ὁρωμένοις φέρει πληροφορίαν τὰ μὴ ὁρώμενα: Œc., ἀπόδειξις τῶν οὐ βλεπομένων· ἀποδείκνυσι δὲ ὁρατὰ τὰ ἀόρατα ἡ πίστις· πῶς; τῷ νῷ καὶ ταῖς ἐλπίσιν ὁρῶσα τὰ μὴ φαινόμενα: Thl., ἔλεγχος, τουτέστι δεῖξις καὶ φανέρωσις ἀδήλων πραγμάτων· ποιεῖ γὰρ ταῦτα βλέπεσθαι τῷ νῷ ἡμῶν ὡς πορόντα. The old Latin version in D renders most strangely, “accusator non videntium.” The modern Commentators are divided: some have taken the subjective sense of conviction,—inward persuasion of the truth of: so Menken, Bleek, De W., Lünem. But, as Tholuck remarks, this sense of the word is hardly borne out by usage. And therefore we seem driven back on the objective meaning as referred to things, viz. proof, or demonstration. This is adopted by Bengel, Böhme, Stier, Ebrard, Hofmann, al. As far as the sense is concerned, both come to the same in the end. It is faith, an act of the mind, which is this demonstration: it is therefore necessarily subjective in its effect,—is the demonstration to him who believes) of matters (see above) not seen (this πράγματα οὐ βλεπόμενα is a much wider designation than ἐλπιζόμενα, embracing the whole realm of the spiritual and invisible, even to the being and essence of God Himself: see below, Hebrews 11:6; and cf. Romans 8:24, where St. Paul’s expressions differ slightly in form from these. There is no ground whatever for saying that our Writer makes faith identical with hope. Faith is the ὑπόστασις of ἐλπιζόμενα: Hope exists independently of it, but derives its reality, and is ripened into confidence, by its means. And faith is the demonstration to us of that which we do not see: cf. the beautiful words of Calvin: “Nobis vita æterna promittitur, sed mortuis: nobis sermo fit de beata resurrectione, interea putredine sumus obvoluti: justi pronuntiamur, et habitat in nobis peccatum: audimus nos esse beatos, interea obruimur infinitis miseriis: promittitur bonorum omnium affluentia, prolixe vero esurimus et sitimus: clamat Deus statim se nobis adfuturum, sed videtur surdus esse ad clamores nostros. Quid fierit, nisi spei inniteremur, ac mens nostra prælucente Dei verbo ac spiritu per medias tenebras supra mundum emergeret?”).

Verse 2

2.] For (q. d. ‘and so high a description of faith is not undeserved, seeing that …’ The γάρ does not bring in any proof of the foregoing description, only shews that faith is noble enough to be dignified with the offices just named) in (not, “by,” merely: but elemental; in the domain, or region, or matter, of: so ἐπαινέσω ὑμᾶς ἐν τούτῳ, 1 Corinthians 11:22; and “vituperari in amicitia,” in Cicero (Del.)) this (not αὐτῇ, “it:” but more graphic and encomiastic: in this it was, that …) the elders (i. e. not merely those who lived before us, but those ancients whom we dignify with the name of elders: cf. Philo de Abrahamo, § 46, vol. ii. p. 39, ὁ γὰρ ἀληθείᾳ πρεσβύτερος, οὐκ ἐν μήκει χρόνου, ἀλλʼ ἐν ἐπαινετῷ βίῳ θεωρεῖται: and Thdrt., τουτέστιν οἱ πάλαι γεγενημένοι, οἱ πρὸ τοῦ νόμου καὶ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ διαλάμψαντες ἅγιοι. Bleek cites Æschin. p. 20. 4, ὁμήρου, ὃν ἐν τοῖς πρεσβυτάτοις καὶ σοφωτάτοις τῶν ποιητῶν εἶναι τάττομεν. So also οἱ πατέρες, see Romans 9:5; Hebrews 1:1) were testified of (so reff. In this absolute usage, it is of course implied, that the testimony was a good one. The usage is principally that of St. Luke, Acts 6:3; Acts 10:22; Acts 16:2; Acts 22:12. There is no need with Bleek and Lünem. to separate the verb from ἐν ταύτῃ, and supply after ‘hac in fide,’ “constituti” or the like: see on the construction above).

Verse 3

3.] The Writer now begins his series of examples of the power of faith. But instead of opening them with the example of our first parents, which he probably passes over as not sufficiently recorded in Scripture, he adduces the great and primary postulate of faith which has regard to a fact contemporaneous indeed with them, and holding this first chronological place in the series: viz. the creation of the world itself. By faith ( πίστει is the instrumental dative, nearly = διὰ πίστεως, with which indeed it is interchanged in Hebrews 11:33) we perceive (see ref. Rom., where the verb is used in the same sense of intellectual perception, τὰ ἀόρατα of God being the νοούμενα. The world itself, and the things therein, καθορᾶται by us: but the fact of its creation by God νοεῖται, with our rational or spiritual faculties) the ages (see note on ch. Hebrews 1:2, where I have maintained that the expression οἱ αἰῶνες includes in it all that exists under the conditions of time and space, together with those conditions of time and space themselves, conditions which do not bind God, and did not exist independently of Him, but are themselves the work of His word. Chrys. here replaces τοὺς αἰῶνας in his paraphrase by τὰ πάντα, the universe. Since writing the note above referred to, I have seen Delitzsch’s commentary, which strongly maintains the mere material sense of οἱ αἰῶνες, but not to me convincingly) to have been framed (so E. V. for κατηρτίσθαι: and we cannot perhaps do better. It is rather however, furnished forth, ‘made to be, and to be what we find them:’ see reff. Ps.) by the word of God (so Philo, in Del., διὰ ῥήματος τοῦ αἰτίου ὁ σύμπας κόσμος ἐδημιουργεῖτο. ῥῆμα differs from λόγος, in being the spoken word, the command, as throughout Genesis 1, whereas λόγος may be, as Del., the inward shaping of the thing willed, as well as its outward manifestation. Cf. Philo de Sacr. Abel et Cain, § 18, vol. i. p. 175, ὁ γὰρ θεὸς λέγων ἅμα ἐποίει μηδὲν μεταξὺ ἀμφοῖν τιθείς. ῥῆμα must not here be taken for the personal word: ch. Hebrews 1:2 is on a different matter), so that (it seems necessary here, with almost all Commentators except Hofmann, Lünem., and Delitzsch, to keep to the ecbatic εἰς τό as against the telic. For even granted that we have on the whole a good sense given by the telic,—that God’s purpose in framing the αἰῶνες was that &c. (which I own I can hardly see), yet there would be two weighty reasons against admitting it here: 1. that it would be unnaturally introduced, because it is not this purpose of God which we apprehend by faith, but the fact which is supposed to testify to this purpose: whereas if we take the telic sense of εἰς τό, we must include the purpose itself in that which we apprehend: 2. that it does violence to γεγονέναι, which on that hypothesis ought to have been some subjective word, not, as it is now, a mere record of past fact. It would be philological labour thrown away to shew that the ecbatic sense of εἰς τό is legitimate. The directive force of εἰς may lie either in the purpose of the worker, or in the tendency of the result. Cf. esp. Luke 5:17) not out of things apparent hath that which is seen (i. e. the visible world) been made (the first and chief difficulty here is in the position of μή, and the conclusion which we are thence to form as to our rendering. Most of the translations (Syr., D-lat., “ut ex non apparentibus,” vulg., “ut ex invisibilibus,” Erasmus, Luther, al.) regard it as belonging to φαινομένων, and render as if it were ἐκ τῶν μὴ φαινομένων (so Scriv.’s a, a secunda manu). And so likewise Chrys. ( ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων τὰ ὄντα ἐποίησεν ὁ θεός), Thdrt. ( ἐξ ὄντων γὰρ δημιουργοῦσιν οἱ ἄνθρωποι, ὁ δὲ τῶν ὅλων θεὸς ἐκ μὴ ὄντων τὰ ὄντα παρήγαγε), Œc., Thl., Faber Stap., Jac. Cappell., Estius, Calov., Heinrichs, Valcknaer, Tholuck, al. And, thus taking the construction, these render in two different ways: 1. take the μὴ φαινόμενα as things unseen, in contrast to the things seen; 2. as things non-existent, as contrasted with things existent. The former of these regard the assertion as meaning that God created the world out of the previously non-apparent Chaos, the “Thohu wa-Bohu” of Genesis 1:3; the latter as referring to the creation out of the ideas in the divine mind, in which (see this ably argued out in Delitzsch’s Biblische Psychologie, pp. 23, 24) all creation præexisted from eternity. As against both these views it is asserted positively by Lünemann, and contended by Bleek and De Wette, that such a transposition of the negative particle is altogether impossible. Delitzsch replies that Chrys. and the Greek interpreters who so transposed it, understood their own language: and argues for the admissibility of the transposition, citing such expressions as ἡγουμένων ἀνδρῶν οὐ τῶν ἀδυνατωτάτων, Thuc. i. 5, and οὺκ ἐπὶ μεγάλοις μεγάλως διεσπουδάζετο, Arrian. Alex. vii. 23. 12, and such opinions as that of Valcknaer here, who calls it “consuetam Græcis transpositionem voculæ negantis,” and Rost, § 135. 1, “If a single idea expressed by a noun is to be emphatically denied, which noun is preceded by an article or a preposition, then the particle of negation is put before the article or the preposition,” And certainly it does seem difficult to deny the existence of such cases, and to say with Bleek, that no examples have been given where a μή or οὐ belonging to a participle or adjective is separated from it by a governing preposition: the only apparently applicable instance, 2 Maccabees 7:28, ὅτι οὐκ ἐξ ὄντων ἐποίησεν αὐτὰ ὁ θεός, being struck away by the Vatican reading being ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων. Still, if we grant the legitimacy of the inversion in cases of emphatic denial, it will remain for us to consider, whether such inversion is to be assumed here. And, I own, it seems to me quite unnecessary. The ultimate sense is in the main the same in either case; but the straightforward construction of the words gives by far the more apposite expressed meaning. In all that we see with our sense, of re-creation and reproduction, τὸ βλεπόμενον ἐκ φαινομένου γέγονεν. The seed becomes the plant: the grub the moth. But that which is above sight, viz. faith, leads us to apprehend, that this has not been so in the first instance: that the visible world has not been made out of apparent materials. On this acceptation of the construction, we need not interpret φαινόμενα otherwise than according to its plain meaning, things apparent: nor does the text stand committed to the before-mentioned præ-existence, or to any Philonian scheme of creation: being simply a negative proposition).

Verse 4

4.] By faith (see above) Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain (not elliptic, for παρὰ τὴν τοῦ κάϊν: but as in reff., ‘than Cain did.’ But how πλείονα θυσίαν? First, there can be no doubt that the adj. must be taken not of quantity, but of quality. So Chrys., τὴν ἐντιμοτέραν λέγει, τὴν λαμπροτέραν, τὴν ἀναγκαιοτέραν: and Thdrt. and Thl., τὴν τιμιωτέραν. But how was it so? Our text answers us, πίστει. The more excellence must be looked for then rather in the disposition with which the sacrifice was offered than in the nature of the sacrifice itself. Gregory the Great (cited by Del.) says well, “Omne quod datur Deo, ex dantis mente pensatur; unde scriptum est, ‘Respexit Deus ad Abel et ad munera ejus, ad Cain autem et ad munera ejus non respexit.’ Neque enim sacrum eloquium dicit, respexit ad munera Abel et ad Cain munera non respexit, sed prius ait quia respexit ad Abel, ac deinde subjunxit, ‘et ad munera ejus.’ Idcirco non Abel ex muneribus, sed ex Abel munera oblata placuerunt.” This beyond doubt is the principal ground of the πλείονα. With regard to the sacrifices themselves; with our present knowledge of type and sacrifice, many reasons might be alleged why that of Abel should be more according to God’s will than that of Cain; but none of those reasons can be safely or decisively applied here. That Abel’s consisted of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof—the first and the best, whereas Cain’s was merely an offering of the fruit of the ground, perfunctory and common-place,—may be a circumstance not without weight in appreciating the term πίστει. That Abel’s was an offering of slain animals, God’s own appointed way, so soon after, of the sinner’s approach to Him, whereas Cain’s was only a gift, as if he could approach God without shedding of blood,—this may also be an important element in the term πίστει. But it would not be safe here to insist on either of these. The difference alleged by Hofmann, Schriftb. ii. 1. 141, that Abel brought the flesh of those beasts whose skin had covered his bodily nakedness,—in faith, as an offering imputing the covering of his soul’s nakedness by God’s grace,—is too far-fetched, and too alien from any subsequent typology of sacrifice, to be entertained for a moment), by means of which (viz. which faith, not, which sacrifice, as Cramer: διʼ ἧς must apply to the same as διʼ αὐτῆς below, and that surely can refer to nothing but the πίστις which is the great leading idea of the chapter) he was testified (see above, Hebrews 11:2) to be righteous (when? by whom? not, by our Saviour, nor by St. John (reff.), though in both places such testimony is borne to him: but as explained in the next clause, at the time of his sacrifice, and by God Himself), God bearing testimony upon (in regard to: the same prep. and case, as in Genesis 4:4, καὶ ἐπεῖδεν ὁ θεὸς ἐπὶ ἀβὲλ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖς δώροις αὐτοῦ) his gifts (of what kind this testimony was, there can be little doubt. Theodotion’s rendering, καὶ ἐνεπύρισεν αὐτὰ ὁ θεός, though wrong as a rendering, is probably right in fact. Cf. Exodus 14:24; 1 Kings 18:24; 1 Kings 18:38. Chrys. refers to this rendering, but erroneously attributes it to the Syr.: Thl. says, λέγεται δὲ ὅτι καὶ πῦρ κατελθὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἀνήλωσε τὴν θυσίαν, καὶ ἐκ τούτου καὶ ὁ κάϊν ἐπέγνω ὅτι προετιμήθη ὁ ἀβέλ. πῶς γὰρ ἂν ἄλλως; διὸ καί τις τῶν μεταθεμένων τὴν ἑβραΐδα εἶς τὴν ἑλλάδα γλῶτταν οὕτως ἔθηκεν, ἐπέβλεπεν ἐπὶ τὰς θυσίας ἀβὲλ ὁ κύριος καὶ ἐνέπρησε. Œc. also mentions the report); and by means of it (his faith, again, not, as Œc., al., his sacrifice: see above) having died (join together, not διʼ αὐτῆς ἀποθανών, as Œc., πρόφασις γὰρ αὐτῷ γέγονεν ἡ θυσία σφαγῆς, but διʼ αὐτῆς λαλεῖ: see below) he yet speaketh (viz. as interpreted by the parallel place, ch. Hebrews 12:24, where it is said of the αἷμα ῥαντισμοῦ, that it κρεῖττον λαλεῖ παρὰ τὸν ἀβέλ,—by means of his blood, of which it is said by God in Genesis 4:10, φωνὴ αἵματος τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου βοᾷ πρός με ἐκ τῆς γῆς. So Th. Aquinas, Galen, Ribera, Jac. Cappell., Grot., Erasm., al., Bleek, De Wette, Lünem., Ebrard, Delitzsch. The interpretation of λαλεῖ (and of λαλεῖται, so that no safe inference can be gathered as to the reading from the fact of this interpretation) has usually been as in Chrys., πῶς ἔτι λαλεῖ; τοῦτο καὶ τοῦ ζῆν σημεῖόν ἐστιν καὶ τοῦ παρὰ πάντων ᾄδεσθαι θαυμάζεσθαι καὶ μακαρίζεσθαι (see also below): Thdrt., τὸ δὲ ἔτι λαλεῖ, ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀοίδιμός ἐστι μέχρι τοῦ παρόντος καὶ πολυθρύλλητος, καὶ παρὰ πάντων εὐφημεῖται τῶν εὐσεβῶν: Œc., λαλεῖ δὲ τῇ φήμῃ, τῇ δόξῃ, τῇ μνήμῃ: Thl., δοξαζόμενος, μνημονευόμενος λαλεῖ, ὡς καὶ ὁ οὐρανὸς λαλεῖ ὁρώμενος μόνον. Probably the change to the passive has been due to this interpretation, that voice seeming more naturally to express it. Some of those who read λαλεῖ, have taken it in the sense of “speaks to us to follow his example.” So Chrys. in the next words to those quoted above: ὁ γὰρ παραινῶν τοῖς ἄλλοις δικαίοις εἶναι, λαλεῖ: Thl., ἡ πίστις αὐτὸν ἐποίησεν ἔτι ζῆν καὶ διδάσκαλον καθίστασθαι πᾶσι, λαλοῦντα μονονουχὶ ΄ιμήσασθέ με κ. τ. λ.: Corn. a-Lapide,—joining however the two,—“Pietas, martyrium et memoria adhuc recens est et celebratur apud omnes fideles eosque ad sui imitationem exhortatur melius quam si Abel mille linguis eos exhortaretur:” Valcknaer, Kuinoel, al. And perhaps Stuart may be partly right, who, recognizing the allusion to Genesis 4:10, says, “The form of expression only in our verse seems to be borrowed from Genesis 4:10; for here it is the faith of Abel which makes him speak after his death; viz. to those who should come after him, exhorting and encouraging them to follow his example.” I say partly right, for however this may be in the background, the cry of his blood is obviously primary in the Writer’s thought, from ch. Hebrews 12:24, where the voice of Abel is contrasted with that of the Christian blood of sprinkling. Calvin and Delitzsch appear to have exactly hit the right point, in saying, “Porro singulare divini erga eum amoris hoc testimonium fuit, quod Deus curam habuit mortui: atque inde patet reputari inter Dei sanctos, quorum mors illi pretiosa est”).

Verse 5

5.] By faith ( πῶς δὲ πίστει μετετέθη; ὅτι τῆς μεταθέσεως ἡ εὐαρέστησις αἰτία, τῆς δὲ εὐαρεστήσεως ἡ πίστις. Chrys.) Enoch was translated, not to see death (cf. LXX, Genesis 5:24, after which this verse is framed: καὶ εὐηρέστησεν ἐνὼχ τῷ θεῷ, καὶ οὐχ εὑρίσκετο ὅτι ( ηὑρ. διότι α) μετέθηκεν αὐτὸν ὁ θεός.

μετετέθη, as in reff., by a sudden disappearance from this earth: οὐχ ηὑρίσκετο, cf. the similar expression of Livy i. 16, in relating the supposed disappearance of Romulus in the storm, “nec deinde in terris Romulus fuit.” This translation was hardly, as Calvin, “mors quædam extraordinaria,” though he means this in no rationalistic sense, as is plain from his accompanying remarks:—but rather a change which passed upon him altogether without death, from corruptibility to incorruptibility, from the natural body to the spiritual. The τοῦ μὴ ἰδεῖν is purpose and purport in one. The construction, after a sentence and in relation to it, is said by Winer, § 44. 4. b, to be chiefly familiar, in the N. T., to St. Luke and St. Paul. See reff.), and was not found (see above), because God translated him. For before his translation a testimony is given to him (the perfect implies the continued existence of the testimony in the text of Scripture) that he hath pleased God (on εὐηρ. and εὐαρ. see Winer, § 12. 3. b. The temporal augment, usual after εὐ- and δυς-, is omitted in the κοινὴ διάλεκτος):

Verse 5-6

5, 6.] The example of Enoch: and axiomatic declaration upon it.

Verse 6

6.] but apart from faith it is impossible (it is a general axiom, not a mere assertion regarding Enoch; if it were, we should expect ἀδύνατον ( ἦν) αὐτῷ) to please (Him, as is evident) at all (this sense of doing a single act well pleasing to God, is given by the aorist: cf. Romans 8:8, οἱ δὲ ἐν σαρκὶ ὄντες θεῷ ἀρέσαι οὐ δύνανται. The aor. expresses simply the verbal idea without reference to time; and therefore when in a negative sentence gives the exclusive meaning ‘at any time,’ ‘at all’): for it behoves him that cometh to God (Luther, al. render, “him that will come:” but it is much more probable that ὁ προσερχόμενος is the habitual, official present—‘the comer to God.’ For the expression, see reff. It is that approach which is elsewhere designated ἐγγίζειν τῷ θ., ch. Hebrews 7:19,—for the purposes of worship or of communion, or of trust, or service generally) to believe (aor., not πιστεύειν, because it is not here the state in which the comer is at his coming, but the state which has originated his coming, of which that coming is the fruit, which is insisted on) that He is (exists: his faith being to him thus a πράγματος ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένου), and becomes (is eventually: ‘evadit’) a renderer of reward (ch. Hebrews 2:2) to them that seek Him out ( ἐκζητέω, more than ζητέω, as ‘exoro’ than ‘oro.’ Thus his faith is also to him an ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις: God’s existence is realized to him by it, and by it his future reward assured).

Verse 7

7.] Example of NOAH. Genesis 6:8 ff. By faith, Noah, having been warned (viz. by God, Genesis 6:13 ff. On the word, see note ch. Hebrews 8:5) concerning the things not yet seen (these words belong to χρηματισθείς, not to εὐλαβηθείς, as Erasm.(vers.) and Grotius. The latter asserts that εὐλαβεῖσθαι περί τινος occurs in Plato; but the passage appears to be Legg. xi. p. 927 C, εὐλαβούμενον περὶ τροφήν τε καὶ παιδείαν ὀρφανῶν, and it is asserted by others that εὐλαβεῖσθαι περί τινος is not found. Still it might surely be legitimate: we have εὐλαβεῖσθαι ἀμφί τινι in Lucian, Gall. 21. But the other arrangement is more rhythmical, and more obvious), taking forethought (see, on ch. Hebrews 5:7, the distinction made by the Stoics, Diog. Laert. vii. 63: φοβηθήσεσθαι μὲν τὸν σοφὸν οὐδαμῶς, ἀλλʼ εὐλαβηθήσεσθαι· εὐλάβειαν εἶναι ἐναντίαν τῷ φόβῳ, οὖσαν εὔλογον ἔκκλισιν. Many interpret it, “fearing God,” understanding θεόν: and most, “fearing,” but the above distinction is important) prepared (so 1 Peter 3:20; the LXX in Genesis 6:15 have ποιεῖν) the ark (not “an ark:” see 1 Pet. l. c. The word κιβωτός had become appropriated to the well-known ark, and so was used anarthrously) for the preservation of his house (cf. Philo de Abr. § 8, vol. ii. p. 8, μόνος δὲ εἷς οἶκος, ὁ τοῦ λεχθέντος ἀνδρὸς δικαίου καὶ θεοφιλοῦς, διασώζεται; by means of which (to what does ἧς refer? to σωτηρίαν, to κιβωτόν, or to πίστει? Certainly not to the former: for thus Noah’s σωτηρία would be the inheriting of the righteousness which is by faith. Possibly, to κιβωτόν (so Chrys., Œc., Thl., Faber Stap., Calvin, Beza, Jac. Cappell., Grot., Carpzov, Cramer, Michaelis, Bisping, al.); for it was by the building of it that he condemned the world in its unbelief, and by it that in some sense, as the manifested result of his faith, he became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. But it must be confessed that this latter part of the interpretation halts considerably. And on this account as well as on account of its inadequacy to the spirit of the passage, I do not hesitate, with Primas., Thomas Aquin., Luther, Cajetan, Justiniani, Wolf, Bengel, and most of the recent Commentators, to prefer πίστει as the antecedent: ‘by which faith,’ as above on διʼ αὐτῆς. Hebrews 11:4. It is true, that πίστει here is somewhat far off; but it is the burden of the chapter, and continually before the Writer’s mind, and it was by his faith, rather than by the results of that faith that he κατέκρινεν κ. τ. λ., and κληρ. ἐγένετο κ. τ. λ.) he condemned ( κατέκρινεν may be either imperfect, he condemned, while building the ark, the unbelieving world around,—or aor., he once for all condemned the unbelieving then, and in them, the world, which lies in unbelief. Better perhaps the latter. On the sense, Limborch says, “Et ille dicitur aliquem damnare, qui suo facto ostendit quid alterum oportuerit facere, et, quia non fecit, illum criminis commissi convincit, ac propterea juste puniri.” See a like use in reff.) the world (reff.), and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith (Noah is the first in Scripture who is called δίκαιος, צַדִּיק, Genesis 6:9, as Philo, πρῶτος οὗτος δίκαιος ἐν ταῖς ἱεραῖς ἀνεῤῥήθη γραφαῖς, Congr. Erud. Grat. § 17, vol. i. p. 532. Elsewhere Philo interprets the name itself of Noah thus: ἑρμηνεύεται γὰρ νῶε ἀνάπαυσις ἢ δίκαιος, Leg. Alleg. iii. 24, p. 102: ὃς ἑβραίων μὲν γλώττῃ καλεῖται νῶε, τῇ δὲ ἑλλήνων ἀνάπαυσις ἢ δίκαιος, De Abr. 5, vol. ii. p. 5. See also Ezekiel 14:14 ; Ezekiel 14:20, where he is named together with Daniel and Job as an example of δικαιοσύνη: and Wisdom of Solomon 10:4; Wisdom of Solomon 10:6; Sirach 44:17; 2 Peter 2:5; where he is called κήρυξ δικαιοσύνης. And this righteousness, which is matter of history in the O. T., our Writer refers to his faith as its measure. So Calvin, “Moses refert illum fuisse justum: causam et radicem hujus justitiæ fidem fuisse, quia ille historice non refert, ex re ipsa apostolus testatur.” This δικαιοσύνη κατὰ πίστιν seems to be altogether in St. Paul’s sense, the righteousness which is by faith, Romans 4:13, though the expression itself is foreign to St. Paul. The κληρονόμος idea is also according to St. Paul. It should be noticed that the whole expression is used, in an Epistle in which righteousness by faith forms no part of the main subject, as one familiar and well known to the readers).

Verse 8

8.] ABRAHAM’S example. By faith Abraham, being called (viz. by God, Genesis 12:1 ff. With the art. (see var. read.), ὁ καλούμενος ἀβραάμ can hardly mean any thing but ‘he that was called, named, Abraham.’ And the sense thus would be very good,—whatever Bleek and Delitzsch have said against it,—when we take into account the meaning of the name Abraham, the father of nations. That this change of name did not take place till 25 years after his removal from Haran, is no objection, but is just what would be the point raised: ‘By faith, he who was (afterwards) called Abraham, father of nations’ &c. Lünemann’s rendering of ὁ καλούμενος, “he that was called by God,” hardly requires refutation. But on the whole, I adhere to the rec. text. The manuscript evidence is strong for the other, but not overwhelming; and the comparison of πίστει χρηματισθεὶς νῶε with πίστει καλούμενος ἀβραάμ gives great support to the rec. In fairness it should be said, as Del. points out, that ( ) καλούμενος, appended to names, is exceedingly common with St. Luke (Luke 1:36; Luke 6:15; Luke 7:11; Luke 8:2; Luke 10:39, &c.), and, as he also remarks, it may appear that Clem.-rom. read and understood this “he that was called Abraham,” for he says, ἀβραὰμ ὁ φίλος προσαγορευθεὶς πιστὸς εὑρέθη ἐν τῷ αὐτὸν ὑπήκοον γενέσθαι τοῖς ῥήμασι τοῦ θεοῦ. Of the Greek Commentators, Thdrt. says, τὸ ὁ καλούμενος ἀβραάμ, διὰ τὴν τοῦ ὀνόματος ἐναλλαγὴν εἴρηκεν: Œc., θεοῦ καλοῦντος ὑπήκουσε, πιστεύσας ὅτι ἐπʼ ἀγαθῷ καλεῖ: Thl., πίστει ὑπήκουσεν ἀβραάμ, κελευόμενος ἀφεῖναι τὴν πατρίδα) obeyed to go out (the infin. is epexegetic, explaining wherein he obeyed. Cf. Revelation 16:9; Colossians 1:22, &c. Winer, § 44. 1) to a (or, ‘the,’ even without τόν, after a preposition) place which he was hereafter to receive for an inheritance (not that he was conscious even of this promise when he went out, for it was made to him afterwards in Canaan, see Genesis 12:7), and went out, not knowing where (whither) he was (is) going (coming. The indic. ἔρχεται is perfectly normal, a matter of fact, not one of possibility only, being in question. Cf. εἶδον ποῦ μένει, ref. John: ἐπίστασθεπῶς μεθʼ ὑμῶν ἐγενόμην, Acts 20:18. But οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ, Matthew 8:20, when the matter is one of mere possibility. See Winer, § 41. 4).

Verses 8-22

8–22.] Thus far the examples have been taken from the antediluvian world. Next, he takes them from the patriarchs of Israel; with whom the promise was ever the object of faith: a land, in which they were strangers: a son, who was not yet born: a people, who were yet to be.

Verse 9

9.] By faith he sojourned ( παροικεῖν in classical Greek signifies to dwell in the neighbourhood of, and is followed by a dative: so Thuc. iii. 93, φοβούμενοι μή σφισι μεγάλῃ ἰσχύϊ παροικῶσιν. Isocrates uses it in the sense of “to dwell alongside of,” with another reference, and an accus.: ἀπὸ κνίδου μέχρι σινώπης ἕλληνες τὴν ἀσίαν παροικοῦσι, p. 74. But the Hellenistic sense is, to dwell as a stranger, to sojourn only. So LXX in reff.: so Philo, Quis Rer. Div. Hær. § 54, vol. i. p. 511, τῷ φιλαρέτῳ κατοικεῖν οὐ δίδωσιν ὁ θεός, ὡς ἐν οἰκείᾳ γῇ, τῷ σώματι, ἀλλὰ παροικεῖν ὡς ἐν ἀλλοδάπῃ μόνον ἐπιτρέπει χώρᾳ. And Confus. Ling. § 17, p. 416, κατῴκησαν ὡς ἐν πατρίδι, οὐχ ὡς ἐπὶ ξένης παρῴκησαν) in (pregnant construction, as often in St. Luke, see Acts 7:4; Acts 8:40; Acts 12:19; Acts 18:21; Luke 11:7; he went into the land and sojourned there) the land ( γῆ is one of those words which very commonly drop the article, especially when in government) of the promise (concerning which the promise, Genesis 12:7, had been given) as a stranger’s (as if it did not belong to him, but to another: see ref. Acts, which is strictly parallel, and cf. γῇ οὐκ ἰδία, Genesis 15:13), dwelling (the aor. part. is contemporary with the aor. before) in tents (cf. Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3; Genesis 18:1 ff. ὅπερ τῶν ξένων ἐστί, τῶν ἄλλοτε εἰς ἄλλο μέρος μεταβαινόντων διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν τι ἵδιον. Thl.) with Isaac and Jacob (Thl., Bengel, Böhme, Kuinoel, Griesb., Lachm., al. join these words with παρῴκησεν above. But they more naturally belong to ἐν σκηναῖς κατοικήσας, which has just preceded: for otherwise we should expect ἐξεδέχοντο in Hebrews 11:10) the heirs with him of the same promise ( τῆς ἐπ. τῆς αὐτῆς, as ποιμένες ἦσαν ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τῇ αὐτῇ, Luke 2:8; the only other place where this arrangement is found. What is implied is, not so much that the promise was renewed to them, as that all three waited for the performance of the same promise, and in this waiting, built themselves no permanent abode):

Verse 10

10.] for (reason of his παροικία in the land of promise as in a strange land) he waited for (the prep. in ἐκ δέχομαι, as in ἐκ ζητέω above, Hebrews 11:6, intensifies the expectation) the city which has the foundations (beyond doubt, the heavenly city, the ἄνω ἱερουσαλήμ, thus contrasted with the frail and moveable tents in which the patriarchs dwelt. Delitzsch shews that the idea was an Old Testament one; and no other interpretation will suit the language here used. The πόλις θεοῦ ζῶντος of ch. Hebrews 12:22, and the μέλλουσα πόλις of ch. Hebrews 13:14, must be here meant also. Of the earthly Jerusalem indeed it is said, ref. Ps., οἱ θεμέλιοι αὐτοῦ ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσι τοῖς ἁγίοις: but it is impossible that the earthly Jerusalem can be meant here. The lives of the dwellers in her rather corresponded to the precarious dwelling in tents than to the abiding in a permanent city: and the true reference of τοὺς θεμελίους ἔχουσα is to be found in ref. Rev., τὸ τεῖχος τῆς πόλεως ἔχων θεμελίους δώδεκα. As having these foundations, it forms a contrast to the tent, placed on the ground, and easily transported. Ebrard objects to this view, that it is unhistoric to say that the patriarchs looked for the heavenly city: but Del. well answers, that it is not the mere historic question, what they knew and expected, with which our Writer is concerned, but the question what it was that their faith, breaking through this knowledge in its yearnings for the future, framed to itself as matter of hope. The expectation of the literal fulfilment of a promise is one thing: the hopes and prospects and surmises built upon the character of that promise, another. The one is mere belief: the other is faith), of which the architect and master-builder is God (very similarly, ch. Hebrews 8:2, ἣν ἔπηξεν ὁ κύριος, οὐκ ἄνθρωπος: cf. also Hebrews 11:16 below. τεχνίτης, so ref. Wisd., οὔτε τοῖς ἔργοις προσσχόντες ἐπέγνωσαν τὸν τεχνίτην. And Philo, Leg. Alleg. i. 7, vol. i. p. 47, οὐ τεχνίτης μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ πατὴρ ὢν τῶν γιγνομένων: De Mut. Nom. § 4, p. 583, ὁ γεννήσας καὶ τεχνιτεύσας πατήρ: ib. (of men), δημιούργημα τοῦ τῶν καλῶν καὶ ἀγαθῶν μόνου τεχνίτου. In Xen. Mem. i. 4. 7, it is said of the world, πάνυ ἔοικε ταῦτα σοφοῦ τινος δημιουργοῦ καὶ φιλοζώου τεχνήματι: and Plato, Tim. § 9, calls God δημιουργὸν τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τεκταινόμενον αὐτόν. See Wetst.).

Verse 11

11.] Example of SARAH, whose faith worked with that of Abraham to produce Isaac. By faith Sarah herself also (the καὶ αὐτή has been very variously interpreted. “Even S. who before was barren,” says Schlichting: and to this view perhaps the gloss στεῖρα, or ἡ στεῖρα, or στεῖρα οὖσα, is owing (see digest): Chrys. says, ἐντρεπτικῶς ἐνταῦθα ἤρξατο, εἴ γε γυναικὸς ὀλιγοψυχότεροι φανεῖεν: and similarly Thl., Œc., al.: Bleek says, “even S. who was once incredulous:” and so De W., Winer, Lünem. But I believe Delitzsch is perfectly right in rejecting all these and falling back on St. Luke’s usage of αὐτός and καὶ αὐτός, which is very frequent, as Winer remarks, § 22. 4, Remark: see Luke 20:42, καὶ αὐτός δαυείδ: Luke 24:15, καὶ αὐτὸς ἰησοῦς: Acts 8:13, ὁ δὲ σίμων καὶ αὐτός: and especially καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἰησοῦς ὡσεὶ ἐτῶν τριάκοντα ἀρχόμενος, Luke 3:23; from which it appears that the words merely indicate transition from one personal subject to another, the new subject being thus thrown out into prominence) received power for ( δύναμις εἰς is an expression of St. Luke’s, Luke 5:17, δύναμις κυρίου ἦν εἰς τὸ ἰᾶσθαι αὐτόν: the preposition indicating the direction in which the power is exercised) the deposition of seed (power, to fructify seed deposed. So Œc., ἐνεδυναμώθη εἰς τὸ ὑποδέξασθαι παιδοποιὸν σπέρμα. I am satisfied that this and no other is the meaning, from the fact that the expression is one so constantly used in this sense, and that the Greek reader would be sure thus to take it. No Greek Father, no ancient version, dreamt of any other meaning. So Chrys., εἰς τὸ κατασχεῖν τὸ σπέρμα, εἰς ὑποδοχὴν δύναμιν ἔλαβεν. Thl., τουτέστιν, ἐνεδυναμώθη εἰς τὸ ὑποδέξασθαι καὶ κρατῆσαι τὸ καταβληθὲν εἰς αὐτὴν σπέρμα τοῦ ἀβραάμ (giving another alt., dependent on the idea τὴν γυναῖκα οἶόν τι σπέρμα ἀφʼ ἑαυτῆς συνεισάγειν and interpreting the καταβολή of herself). Thdrt., ἀπηγόρευσε γὰρ τὸν τόκον οὐ μόνον τὸ γῆρας, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῆς μήτρας ἡ πήρωσις. With regard to the phrase, see numerous examples in Wetst. and Bleek. Galen has, among many other passages, τὸ τοῦ ἄῤῥενος σπέρμα τὸ καταβαλλόμενον εἰς τὰς μήτρας τοῦ θήλεως. But this is objected to by several modern Commentators, Böhme, Stier, Bleek, De Wette, Lünem., who take καταβολή as in καταβολὴ κόσμου, and σπέρμα the seed which should descend from her, her posterity, as in Genesis 12:7 al. freq., and in Hebrews 11:18 and ch. Hebrews 2:16 of our Epistle. Of this meaning instances are not wanting, but all of them derive that sense from the other, and it is hardly possible, though such expressions as καταβολὴ ῥωμύλου (Plut. de Fort. Rom. p. 320), γενῶν ἀρχαὶ καὶ καταβολαί (Plut. Vita Marc. Anton. p. 932) may occur, where the context makes it plain what is meant, that such an one as καταβολὴ σπέρματος should occur, so calculated to mislead, if both words had been intended in an unusual and metaphorical sense), and that (see Hartung, Partikellehre i. 145. His most apposite instances are in Latin: e. g. Plaut. Rud. i. 2. 33, “dabitur opera, atque in negotio:” Terent. Andr. ii. 1. 37, “ego vero, ac lubens”) beyond (in inconsistency with, contrary to the law of) the time of age (proper for the καταβολὴ σπέρματος. So Abraham and Sarah are called ὑπερήλικες in Philo de Abr. § 22, vol. ii. p. 17: ἤδη γὰρ ὑπερήλικες γεγονότες διὰ μακρὸν γῆρας ἀπέγνωσαν παιδὸς σποράν. And Plato, Theæt. p. 149 C, has τοῖς διʼ ἡλικίαν ἀτόκοις προσέταξε), seeing that she esteemed Him faithful who had promised (see ref.).

Verse 12

12.] Wonderful result of this faith of Abraham and Sarah. Wherefore also ( διὸ καί, which occurs again ch. Hebrews 13:12, is frequent in St. Luke and St. Paul, see reff.) from one sprung there (the reading is doubtful, but ἐγεν. ἀπό seems to suit better the father, whereas ἐγενν. ἀπό, ‘these were born from,’ would almost necessarily be said of the mother) and that (there is no foundation for Lünemann’s notion, that the plur. ταῦτα has reference to the two circumstances, the deadness of Abraham and the unbelief of Sarah: ταῦτα in such sentences is perpetually the collective plural, = τοῦτο. Cf. Kühner, Gram. § 667 c, who gives as examples, Plato, Rep. iii. p. 404 B, ὅμηροςἐν ταῖς τῶν ἡρώων ἑστιάσεσιν οὔτε ἰχθύσιν αὐτοὺς ἑστιᾷ, καὶ ταῦτα ἐπὶ θαλάττῃ τῇ ἑλλησπόντῳ ὄντας: Demosth. c. Phorm. Extr., θανάτῳ ζημιώσαντες εἰσαγγελθέντα ἐν τῷ δήμῳ, καὶ ταῦτα πολίτην ὑμέτερον ὄντα, “quamvis civis vester esset”) (from one) deadened (past that vital power which nature requires: see ref. Rom.) even as (it may be asked what is the subject to ἐγενήθησαν? Some supply τέκνα or ἔκγονοι, see Winer, § 64. 3: but it is better to make the whole, καθώς to the end, the virtual subject, latent in καθώς = ὡμοιωμένοι τοῖς ἄστρ. κ. τ. λ.) the stars of the heaven in multitude, and as the sand which is by the lip (margin, cf. παρὰ χεῖλος ἑκατέρου τοῦ ποταμοῦ in ref. Herod. and Polyb. v. 14. 6; iii. 43. 8 al. fr. in index) of the sea which is innumerable (so ran the promises to Abraham, Genesis 13:16, καὶ ποιήσω τὸ σπέρμα σου ὡς τὴν ἄμμον τῆς γῆς: Genesis 15:5, ἀνάβλεψον δὴ εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, καὶ ἀρίθμησον τοὺς ἀστέρας, εἰ δυνήσῃ ἐξαριθμῆσαι αὐτούς· καὶ εἶπεν, οὕτως ἔσται τὸ σπέρμασου: and more fully Genesis 22:17, πληθύνων πληθυνῶ τὸ σπέρμα σου ὡς τοὺς ἀστέρας τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ ὡς τὴν ἄμμον τὴν παρὰ τὸ χεῖλος τῆς θαλάσσης. The comparison with the sand as indicating great number is frequently found in the O. T., e. g. Genesis 41:49; Joshua 11:4; 1 Samuel 13:5; 2 Samuel 17:11; 1 Kings 4:29; Isaiah 10:22. Cf. also Herod. i. 48, οἶδα δʼ ἐγὼ ψάμμου τʼ ἀριθμόν, καὶ μέτρα θαλάσσης, and Pind. Olymp. ii. in fine, ἐπεὶ ψάμμος ἀριθμὸν περιπέφευγεν).

Verse 13

13.] In (according to, consistently with, in the course of: not this time πίστει, because their deaths were not the results of their faith, but merely according to and consistent with it) faith died these all (there is no need to say with Œc., Thl., Primas., al., ἐξῃρημένου τοῦ ἐνώχ: the promises began with Abraham, and it is evident from the end of our verse, and from Hebrews 11:15, that the reference is solely to the patriarchs), not having received (the participial clause conditions and substantiates the κατὰ πίστινἀπέθανον: and for this reason it is μὴ λαβ. and not οὐ: ‘as those who did not receive’ &c.) the promises (plur., because the promise was again and again repeated to the patriarchs, see the citations from Gen. above, and add Genesis 17:5-8; Genesis 26:3-4; Genesis 28:13-14. The ἐπαγγελία, here as so often comprehends τὸ ἐπηγγελμένον), but having seen them from afar ( καὶ πεισθέντες, see var. readd., has come in from a gloss: so Chrys., οὗτοι πεπεισμένοι ἦσαν περὶ αὐτῶν ὡς καὶ ἀσπάσασθαι αὐτάς: Œc., καὶ ἀσπασάμενοι· πεισθέντες), and greeted them (“From afar they saw the promises in the reality of their fulfilment, from afar they greeted them as the wanderer greets his longed-for home even when he only comes in sight of it at a distance, drawing to himself as it were magnetically and embracing with inward love that which is yet afar off. The exclamation, ‘I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord,’ Genesis 49:18, is such an ἀσπασμός, such a greeting of salvation from afar.” Delitzsch. Wetst. quotes Virg. Æn. iii. 522, “Quum procul obscuros colles humilemque viderem Italiam.… Italiam læto socii clamore salutant”), and confessed that they were strangers and sojourners upon the earth (this Abraham did, ref. Gen., to the children of Heth, πάροικος καὶ παρεπίδημος ἐγώ εἰμι μεθʼ ὑμῶν: and Jacob, Genesis 47:9, to Pharaoh, αἱ ἡμέραι τῶν ἐτῶν τῆς ζωῆς μοι ἃς παροικῶ κ. τ. λ. See Psalms 118:19; Ecclesiastes 12:5; Philo de Agricult. § 14, vol. i. p. 310, τῷ ὄντι πᾶσα μὲν ψυχὴ σοφοῦ πατρίδα μὲν οὐρανόν, ξένην δὲ γῆν ἔλαχεν: and Confus. Ling. § 17, p. 416, διὰ τοῦτο οἱ κατὰ ΄ωυσῆν σοφοὶ πάντες εἰσάγονται παροικοῦντες· αἱ γὰρ τούτων ψυχαὶ στέλλονται μὲν ἀποικίαν δή ποτε τὴν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ. In Wetst., several citations are given from the classics where human life is called a παρεπιδημία. The word is found in Ælian (V. H. viii. 4) and Polybius (xxxii. 22. 4), and παρεπιδημέω and - μία often).

Verses 13-16

13–16.] Before the Writer passes on to more examples of faith, he looks back over the patriarchal age, and gathers in one the attributes of their faith.

Verse 14

14.] For (justification of the assertion, that it was κατὰ πίστιν that they ran and finished their course, by the inference from their own confession) they who say such things make manifest (so Acts 23:15; where see examples in Wetst. The word in this sense is pure classical Greek: cf. Plato, Soph. p. 244, ὑμεῖς αὐτὰ ἡμῖν ἐμφανίζετε ἱκανῶς, τί ποτε βούλεσθε σημαίνειν, ὁπόταν ὂν φθέγγησθε; and p. 218, ζητοῦντι καὶ ἐμφανίζοντι τί ποτε ἐστίν) that they seek after (in ἐπι ζητέω, the preposition implies the direction of the wish or yearning) a home (our English word ‘country,’ without some possessive pronoun, does not give the idea strongly enough. Even Bleek, who might have given it, dass sie ein Baterland suchen, has rendered, dass sie nach der Heimath suchen:— οἱ ξένους ἑαυτούς, φησίν, ὀνομάζοντες, δηλοῦσιν ὡς οὐδὲν οἰκεῖον κρίνουσι τῶν παρόντων, ἀλλʼ ἑτέρων ἐπιθυμοῦσι πραγμάτων. Thdrt.).

Verse 15

15.] And if indeed (‘posito,’ that.…: hence the indicative) they were mindful (see below. Bl., De W., Lünem. render it, “had made mention,” as in Hebrews 11:22. And so Del. inclines. But this would necessitate a very harsh ellipsis: If we found them making mention &c., they might have had opportunity to gratify the wish thus expressed) of that (home) from which they went out, they would continually be having opportunity to return ( ἀνακάμπτω is neuter generally, in classical Greek also: cf. Herod. ii. 8, ταύτῃ μὲν λῆγον ἀνακάμπτει εἰς τὰ εἴρηται τὸ ὄρος. The two imperfects in this sentence present some little difficulty. The general rendering of dependent imperfects is as in John 5:46, εἰ ἐπιστεύετε ΄ωυσεῖ, ἐπιστεύετε ἂν ἐμοί, “If ye believed Moses, ye would believe me.” So also in Latin: “Servi.… mei si me isto pacto metuerent, ut te metuunt omnes cives tui, domum meam relinquendam putarem,” Cic. in Cat. i. 7: “If my slaves feared me.… I should think.” But such a rendering here is out of the question, both events being past and gone: we could not say, ‘If they remembered.… they might have opportunity.’ It would therefore seem that the imperfects are here used not so much in their logical temporal places, as on account of the habitual sense which both members of the sentence are meant to convey: ‘If they were, through their lives, mindful &c., they would have through their lives,—they would continually be having, opportunities’ &c.):

Verse 16

16.] but now (as the case now is: the logical νῦν: see 1 Corinthians 13:13 note, and our ch. Hebrews 8:6) they desire ( ὀρέγεσθαί τινος, classical: see many instances in Wetst. on 1 Timothy 3:1) a better (home), that is, a heavenly one (the justification of this assertion, which seems to ascribe N. T. ideas to the O. T. fathers, must be found in such sayings as that of the dying Jacob, Genesis 49:18, which only represent a wide class of their faithful thoughts): wherefore God is not ashamed of them (reff.) to be called (here ἐπαισχύνεσθαι has a double object, αὐτούς and ἐπικαλεῖσθαι. For the latter construction also see reff.) their God (viz. in reff. Exod. Thdrt. (not Chrys. as Bleek) says, ὁ γὰρ τῶν δυνάμεων κύριος καὶ τῶν ἀγγέλων δεσπότης καὶ οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς ποιητής, ἐρωτηθεὶς τί ὄνομά σου, τἄλλα πάντα καταλιπὼν ἔφη ἐγὼ θεὸς ἀβραάμ, καὶ θεὸς ἰσαάκ, καὶ θεὸς ἰακώβ. From the present ἐπαισχύνεται, and especially from the clause which follows, it is probable, as Bleek has well remarked, that the Writer intends not merely to adduce that God did once call Himself their God, but that he is now not ashamed to be so called, they enduring and abiding with Him where He is: in the same sense in which our Lord adduces the same circumstance, Matthew 22:31 ff. and (62). See below): for He prepared for them a city (permanent and eternal, in contrast to the tents in which they wandered. There are two ways of understanding this clause: 1. with Schlichting, Grot., Böhme, De W., Hofmann, Delitzsch, to take the aor. as a pluperfect, “for God had prepared for them a city:” “quia Deus cœlestem illam patriam et regnum suum Abrahamo, Isaaco, et Jacobo destinavit, propterea se Deum illorum summumque patronum jure et merito appellat,” Schlicht.: 2. with Thl., al., and Bleek, τοσοῦτον οὐκ ἐπαισχύνεται αὐτούς, ἀλλʼ οἰκείους ἔχει, ὥστε καὶ τὴν πόλιν, ἣν ἐπεθύμουν, τὴν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ἡτοίμασεν αὐτοῖς. I would adopt a modification of this last. God is not ashamed of them, nor to be called their God: and we find proof of this not only in His thus naming Himself, but in His preparing for them a city: the home for which they yearned: He did not deceive their hopes, but acted as their God by verifying those hopes. Thus, and thus only, does ἡτοίμασεν keep its proper emphasis, and the aor. its proper time: they looked for a city: and God refused not to be called their God, for He prepared for them that city, verified those their hopes. And if we ask for the interpretation of ἡτοίμασεν, I answer, in the preparation of the way of Christ, and bringing in salvation by Him, of which salvation they in their anticipation of faith were partakers, John 8:56, ἀβραὰμἠγαλλιάσατο ἵνα ἴδῃ τὴν ἡμέραν τὴν ἐμήν, καὶ εἶδεν καὶ ἐχάρη).

Verse 17

17.] By faith, Abraham hath offered (perfect, as if the work and its praise were yet enduring: not, “was offering” as commonly taken, “was in purpose to offer,” which would be the imperfect. Bleek quotes from Salvian de Gubernat. Dei i. 8, p. 17, “Immolari sibi Deus filium jussit: pater obtulit, et quantum ad defunctionem cordis pertinet immolavit.” Besides which consideration, the προσφέρειν, the ἀνενέγκαι αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον, did actually take place) Isaac when tempted (cf. καλούμενος, Hebrews 11:8; and ref. Gen.), and (the καί rises into climax: not only Abraham Isaac, but &c.) he that had accepted the promises ( ἀναδεξάμενος, more than ἔχων, ch. Hebrews 7:6; he had as it were with open arms accepted and taken to himself each and all of the promises, the possession of Canaan, the multiplication of his seed, the blessing of all nations in his seed) was offering (now the Writer transforms the time into the purely temporal and strict one—he was in the act of offering—the work was begun) his only begotten (so Aquila, and similarly Symm. ( τὸν μόνον σου) in Genesis 22:2, for בִּנְךָ אֶת־יְחִידְךָ τὸν υἱόν σου τὸν ἀγαπητόν, LXX. And so Philo de Somn. i. § 34, vol. i. p. 650, ἀβραὰμ ἐπὶ τῆς τοῦ ἀγαπητοῦ καὶ μόνου παιδὸς ὁλοκαυτώσεως. Chrys. says, τί οὖν ὁ ἰσμαήλ; πόθεν ἦν; μονογενῆ λέγω, φησίν, ὅσον εἰς τὸν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας λόγον),

Verses 17-31

17–31.] Having spoken thus generally of the faith of the patriarchs, he returns to individual instances, and begins again with Abraham, recounting the severest test to which his faith was put. ἐνταῦθα οὐ τοὺς ἀνθρωπίνους μόνον ὑπερβῆναι ἐχρῆν λογισμούς, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἕτερόν τι πλέον ἐπιδείξασθαι· τὰ γὰρ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐδόκει τοῖς τοῦ θεοῦ μάχεσθαι, καὶ πίστις ἐμάχετο πίστει καὶ πρόσταγμα ἐπαγγελίᾳ κ. τ. λ. Chrys. Cf. Sirach 44:20 ( καὶ ἐν πειρασμῷ εὑρέθη πιστός): Wisdom of Solomon 10:5 ( αὕτητὸν δίκαιονἐπὶ τέκνου σπλάγχνοις ἰσχυρὸν ἐφύλαξεν): 1 Maccabees 2:52; James 2:21.

Verse 18

18.] he to whom ( πρὸς ὅν refers, not to Isaac, as many Commentators and our E. V., “of whom it was said,” but to Abraham, the immediate antecedent in the text, and the immediately resumed subject, after the relative clause, λογισάμενος κ. τ. λ.) it was spoken (by God: but the aor. need not be made into a pluperfect), In Isaac (the ὅτι is found in ref. Gen., and in a causal meaning. The most probable account of its appearing here is, that the Writer takes it from the O. T. text, but uses it as the recitative particle) shall thy seed be called (“Three ways,” says Delitzsch, “of interpreting this are possible, 1. after Isaac shall thy seed be named (Hofm.): 2. in, through, of, Isaac shall seed be called into being to thee (Drechsler): 3. in Isaac shall seed be named to thee, i. e. in or through him shall it come that a seed of Abraham shall be possible (Bleek).” Then he puts aside the first, seeing that only once is the seed of Abraham called Isaac (Amos 7:9), and the second, seeing that קָרָא (though sometimes bearing the meaning, see Isaiah 41:4) never so absolutely signifies “to call into existence” as it must on that interpretation: and prefers the third. In Isaac, through and in descent from him, shall thy seed be called thy seed: only Isaac’s descendants shall be known as Abraham’s seed):

Verse 19

19.] (reason of this paradoxical conduct: because Abraham’s faith was able, in anticipation, to clear the suspicion of God’s faithfulness by the suggestion of His power. He could and would make a way to the keeping of His own promise) reckoning that God is (not, was, see below) able to raise (no supply of “him” is admissible, as mistakenly inserted by many Commentators and even by the E. V. It was not God’s power to raise Isaac, but God’s power, generally, to raise from the dead, that Abraham believed. This, which is so plain from the form of the sentence, is made plainer still by the use of the present ἐγείρειν, not the aor. ἐγεῖραι which would more probably be used if a single case had been in view: see Matthew 16:21; Mark 14:28; Luke 3:8; Luke 9:22. The aor. here (see digest) has probably been a correction arising from the application to Isaac) even from (among) the dead (St. Matt. commonly uses, with ἐγεῖρειν, ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν: St. Luke, John, Paul, ἐκ νεκρῶν), from whence (i. e. from the dead: so Thdr.-mops., Castellio, Beza, Schlichting, Grot., Lamb. Bos, Michaelis, Schulz, Böhme, Bleek, De Wette, Tholuck, Stier, Hofmann, Delitzsch. But most Commentators regard ὅθεν as the illative particle, “whence,” “unde,” as in the other five places where it occurs in this Epistle, ch. Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 8:3; Hebrews 9:18. The whole meaning is discussed below) he also ( καί; besides the λογίσασθαι. It belongs, not to ἐν παραβολῇ alone, but to the whole fact, ἐν παραβολῇ ἐκομίσατο—to the verb with its qualifying adverb) received him back (so κομίζεσθαι often: e. g. Polyb. i. 83. 8; iii. 51. 12, of captives: i. 59. 7, of money expended: iii. 40. 10, of hostages: x. 34. 3, 8, 10, of wife and children ( μάλιστα πεπεισμένος οὕτως τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ τέκνα κομιεῖσθαι): of a fortress or city, ii. 51. 6 al. fr. So Philo de Joseph. § 35, vol. ii. p. 71, κομίσασθαι τὸν ἀδελφὸν ἀνύβριστον: § 38, p. 74, τίς γὰρ ἂν γένοιτο πατρὶ δωρεὰ μείζων ἢ τὸν ἀπογνωσθέντα (Joseph) κομίσασθαι; And Josephus, Antt. i. 13. 4, uses the word of Abraham and Isaac on the very occasion here in question: οἱ δὲ παρʼ ἐλπίδας ἑαυτοὺς κεκομισμένοι. See also reff. and 1 Maccabees 13:37; 2 Maccabees 7:29; 2 Maccabees 10:1. In the face of these examples, Sykes and Schulz assert that the word never has this meaning) in a parable (figuratively: in what sense, see below). This clause has been very variously interpreted. The prevalent understanding of it, since Camerarius and Raphel, has been, “whence (= wherefore) also he received him by means of (in, instrumental) his surrender of him.” And this Lünemann, who has adopted it, calls the simple and only right sense of the words. According to this view παραβολή signifies a giving up to danger, a παραβάλλεσθαι ( τὴν ψυχήν), which latter is an expression often found, e. g. Hom. Il. ι. 322: Thuc. ii. 44. But though there is abundant example of the verb in this sense, there is none of the substantive, nor any thing approaching to one (in Passow indeed we have as a sense of παραβολή, das Dransessen, aufs Spiel sessen, Wagen, Wagniss, Wagstuct: and in Liddell and Scott, “the making a venture;” but it is entirely unsupported by example, either in classic or Hellenistic Greek, and therefore very properly excluded by Palm and Rost). This rendering then must fall to the ground, unless it can be shewn that no other will serve, and thus we are justified in supposing it the only case in which παραβολή occurs in this sense. Near akin to this is the view of Raphel (and Krebs), who says, “Quemadmodum ἐν ἀληθείᾳ pro ἀληθῶς, ἐν τάχει pro ταχέως, aliaque hujusmodi dicuntur: ita etiam ἐν παραβολῇ pro παραβόλως puto accipi posse: quo verbo sæpius utitur Polybius: cujus interpres Casaubonus, licet verterit audacter, et Camerarius in comment. utriusque linguæ periculose, certum tamen est, aliquibus locis etiam insperato verti posse:” cf. παρʼ ἐλπίδας in Josephus, above. Then he attempts to prove this from Polybius and from Pliny, Ep. ix. 26. 4, “Sunt enim maxime mirabilia quæ maxime insperata, maxime periculosa, utque Græci magis exprimunt, παράβολα.” But neither this nor any of the passages from Polyb. proves his point; every one of them having the meaning boldly, not unexpectedly. It seems then that we must abandon all idea of this class of interpretations, and fall back on the usual one, found in our ch. Hebrews 9:9, and every where else in the N. T., of a likeness or figure. In favour of this meaning it may also be asked, Is it in the least probable that our Writer would have put before his readers so common an expression in so uncommon a sense? But, when we have taken the more ordinary meaning, we are by no means set at rest. For, α. Hammond, Lamb. Bos, Alberti, Mill, Sykes, Schulz, Stuart, refer the words to the birth of Isaac,—“from whence,” i. e. ἐκ νενεκρωμένου σώματος, “he had at first received him.” But, 1. this would certainly require the more definite pluperfect, not the quasi-pluperfect of an aorist reaching back beyond λογισάμενος; and, 2. it would be harsh and unnatural that the ἐκ νεκρῶν should refer to the person himself who ἐκομίσατο αὐτόν. β. Corn. a-Lapide regards Isaac himself as the παραβολή, interpreting by the Latin “in parabolam ( εἰς παραβολήν); id est, ut Isaac esset parabola, fabula, proverbium, exemplum memorabile &c.… ut cum Deus per se aut suos nobis aliquid jusserit licet arduum et difficile, exemplum Isaac ob oculos habentes, fidenter et generose nos offeramus,” &c. γ. Bengel, on the other hand, regards Abraham as the παραβολή, “omnis enim posteritas celebrat fidem Abrahæ, offerentis unigenitum.” δ. Others take ἐν παραβολῇ to mean, as a type; either of the Resurrection generally (so Thdrt., ὡς ἐν συμβόλῳ καὶ τύπῳ τῆς ἀναστάσεως· τῇ γὰρ τοῦ πατρὸς ἀναιρεθεὶς προθυμίᾳ, τῇ τοῦ κεκωλυκότος τὴν σφαγὴν ἀνεβίω φωνῇ—but afterwards he refers the figure to the passion of Christ: al.),—or of our Lord’s sufferings (so Chrys., τουτέστιν, ἐν ὑποδείγματι· ἐν τῷ κριῷ, φησί. πῶς; τοῦ γὰρ κριοῦ σφαγισθέντος οὗτος ἐσώθη· ὥστε διὰ τοῦ κριοῦ αὐτὸν ἔλαβεν, ἀντὶ τούτου σφάξας ἐκεῖνον. ταῦτα δὲ τύποι τινὲς ἦσαν· ἐνταῦθα γὰρ ὁ υἱός ἐστι τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ σφαγιαζόμενος: Œc., among many interpretations, Primas., Carpzov, al.). But, undeniable as is the typical reference of the whole occurrence to Christ, His sufferings and Resurrection, it seems exceedingly improbable that our Writer should have intended so much for his readers by ἐν παραβολῇ. We come then, approaching what I believe to be the true meaning, to, ε. that given by Theodore of Mopsuestia: τοῦτο λέγει, ὅτι ἀκολούθως ἔτυχεν τῇ ἑαυτοῦ πίστει· τῇ γὰρ ἀναστάσει πιστεύσας, διὰ συμβόλων τινῶν ἀποθανόντα αὐτὸν ἐκομίσατο. τὸ γὰρ ἐν πολλῇ τοῦ θανάτου προσδοκίᾳ γενόμενον μηδὲν παθεῖν, τοῦ ἀληθῶς ἀναστησομένου σύμβολον ἦν, ὅσον τοῦ θανάτου πρὸς βραχὺ γευσάμενος, ἀνέστη μηδὲν ὑπὸ τοῦ θανάτου παθών· τὸ γοῦν ἐν παραβολῇ ἀντὶ τοῦ ἐν συμβόλοις. So Calvin, “Tametsi vere non resurrexerit Isaac, quodammodo tamen videtur resurrexisse, quum repente et mirabiliter inexspectata Dei gratia eripitur:” Castellio, Beza, Schlichting, Grot., Jac. Cappell., Scaliger, Heinsius, and many others, Bleek, De W., Stier, Hofmann, Delitzsch. The objection to this seems to be that which Del. himself brings against some of its supporters, that it does not go far enough for ἐν παραβολῇ, but by its “quodammodo,” and “similitudine quadam,” weakens it too much. We may with reason ask, What was the παραβολή? if it is meant merely, that though not actually, yet in some sense, Abraham received Isaac from the dead, would not ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν be the more obvious way of expressing this? The true identification of the παραβολή is 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 that death which he had undergone ἐν παραβολῇ, in, under, the figure of the ram. Chrys. himself afterwards, in recapitulating, gives this very interpretation as an alternative: ὅθεν αὐτὸν φησί, καὶ ἐν παραβολῇ ἐκομίσατο· τουτέστιν, ἐν αἰνίγματι· ὥσπερ γὰρ παραβολὴ ἦν ὁ κριὸς τοῦ ἰσαάκ.

Verse 20

20.] By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things future also (the καί belongs, not to πίστει,— πίστει καὶ περὶ μελλ., by faith and that respecting things future,—as Lünem., al. (Syr. joins πίστει περὶ μελλ.), for πίστις περί, though good Greek, is not N. T. language,—but to περὶ μελλ.,—blessed them concerning not only things present, but things future also. Jacob is named before Esau, as the worthier and more important in the theocratic sense; perhaps also as having gained the greater portion of the blessing).

Verse 21

21.] By faith Jacob, when dying (reff.), blessed each of the sons of Joseph (the faith consisted in transposing his hands wittingly, laying the right hand on the head of the younger, Ephraim, who was to become the greater tribe): and he worshipped (this incident is not connected with the other, but took place before it, on another occasion, when Jacob made Joseph swear to him that he would bury him with his fathers, and not in Egypt, Genesis 47:31. Perhaps the Writer inverts the order of the two, to bring the two acts of blessing, that of Isaac and that of Jacob, together. This act of worship was one of faith, inasmuch as it was connected with a command, the point of which was, God’s promise respecting the land of Canaan. And the faith was shewn by the turning of his aged and dying body in a posture of thankful adoration) on the top of his staff (an incalculable quantity of idolatrous non-sense has been written on these words by R.-Cath. Commentators, taking as their starting-point the rendering of the Vulg. “et adoravit fastigium virgæ ejus,” and thence deriving an argument for the worship of images, assuming that there was an image or symbol of power upon Joseph’s staff, to which they apply the words. But first, it must be Jacob’s, not Joseph’s staff, which is intended—“virgæ suæ,” not “ejus,” as Faber Stap. remarked, and Aug(63) notices, qu. 162, in Genesin, vol. iii. pt. i., “Quod habent Latini codices, Et adoravit super caput virgæ ejus, nonnulli codices emendatius habent, Adoravit supra caput virgæ suæ, vel in capite virgæ suæ, sive in cacumine, vel super cacumen (notice, there is nothing here about adoravit fastigium, of which see more below). Fallit eos enim verbum Græcum quod eisdem litteris scribitur sive ejus, sive suæ: sed accentus dispares sunt, et ab eis qui ista noverunt in codicibus non contemnuntur; valent enim ad magnam discretionem. Quamvis et unam plus literam habere posset, si esset suæ, ut non esset αὐτοῦ, sed ἑαυτοῦ.” Then what follows is well worth transcribing: “Ac per hoc merito quæritur, quid sit quod dictum est. Nam facile intelligitur senem qui virgam ferebat eo more quo illa ætas baculum solet, ut se inclinavit ad Deum adorandum, id utique fecisse super cacumen virgœ suæ, quam sic ferebat, ut super eum caput inclinando adoraret Deum. Quid est ergo, Adoravit super cacumen virgæ ejus, id est, filii sui Joseph? An forte tulerat ab eo virgam, quando ei jurabat idem filius, et dum cam tenet, post verba jurantis, nondum illa reddita mox adoravit Deum? Non enim pudebat eum ferre tantisper insigne potestatis filii sui, ubi figura magnæ rei futuræ præsignabatur: quamvis in Hebræo facillima hujus quæstionis absolutio esse dicatur, ubi scriptum perhibent, Et adoravit Israel adcaputlecti, in quo utique senex jacebat, et sic positum habebat, ut in eo sine labore, quando vellet, oraret. Nec ideo tamen quod septuaginta interpretati sunt, nullum vel levem sensum habere putandum est.” The reader will observe that there is nothing here of adoring the staff or the top of the staff. What Jerome thought of such an idea, is plainly seen, Quæst Heb. in Genesin, vol. iii. p. 371: “In hoc loco quidem frustra simulant adorasse Jacob summitatem seeptri Joseph, quod videlicet honorans filium, potestatem ejus adoraverit: cum in Hebræo multo aliter legatur,—et adoravit, inquit, Israel ad caput lectuli: quod scilicet, postquam ei juraverat filius, securus de petitione quam rogaverat adoraverit Deum contra caput lectuli sui. Sanctus quippe et Deo deditus vir, oppressus senectute, sic habebat lectulum positum, ut ipse jacentis habitus absque difficultate ulla ad orationem esset paratus.” The idea itself is found in Chrys., but without the image: τουτέστι, καὶ γέρων ὢν ἤδη προσεκύνει τῷ ἰωσήφ, τὴν παντὸς τοῦ λαοῦ προσκύνησιν δηλῶν τὴν ἐσομένην αὐτῷ. And so Thl., Phot. in Œc., and apparently Thdrt.: so Erasm. (par.), “Longius etiam prospiciebat senis fides, cum exosculans virgam filii Joseph, veneraretur in eo Christum omnibus imperaturum, cujus ille delatus et proditus a fratribus imaginem gesserat.” I will only cite the inference from the above ancient data in Corn. a-Lapide, as most instructive regarding the grounds on which age after age the chief abominations of the church of Rome have been introduced: “Recte ergo ex hac adoratione sceptri Josephi Patres Concilii Niceni II. probant adorationem et cultum imaginum, eumque non in imagine hærere, sed ad prototypum suum referri et transire docent.” The real question with regard to the passage is confined within very narrow limits. The same Hebrew word מטה signifies a staff, or a bed, according as it is pointed מַטֶּה or מִטָּה. And, as there are no points in the ancient Heb. text, it is an open question, which meaning we are to take. The LXX have taken ῥάβδος, though as Jerome notices, in loc., they have rendered the same word κλίνη in Genesis 48:2, two verses after. Our E. V. has taken this latter: “And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.” And so almost all the moderns agree in taking it. Stuart, it is true, has argued at some length for the meaning “staff,” on the ground that the eastern beds have no head properly so called, being merely a carpet or rug spread on the ground. But he has in his mind in thus objecting, a bedstead, not a bed. The head of a bed, be it where or what it may, is that part of it where the person’s head lies: and Delitzsch has made it probable from the Heb. verb, וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ, “se prostravit,” that Jacob turned himself in his bed so as to lay his face to the pillow: cf. Isaiah 38:2 .

If the ‘staff’ is to be taken, then it must be his own, not Joseph’s staff, which is indicated, and the gesture might have had a meaning correspondent to the thought in Genesis 32:10, ἐν τῇ ῥάβδῳ μου διέβην τὸν ἰορδάνην τοῦτον: viz. the recognition of that God who had supported him through life, and declaration of his having done with all human supports. On the whole, see Suicer, vol. ii. p. 858. It is due to the better R.-C. Commentators, such as Estius and Justiniani, to say, that no such inference as that cited above is to be found in them.

Some have expressed surprise that no mention is made of the far more important blessings of the twelve sons of Jacob in Genesis 49; and conjectures have even been made to amend the text: e. g. that of Böhme, ἕκαστον τῶν υἱῶν αὐτοῦ καὶ τῶν υἱῶν ἰωσήφ: but both without reason. Delitzsch says well, “He plucks, so to speak, only the flowers which stand by his way, and leaves the whole meadow-full to his readers”).

Verse 22

22.] By faith, Joseph when dying (the word in ref. Gen.) made mention of (every where else in the N. T. μνημονεύω is, as in the classics, to remember (see on Hebrews 11:15), and is found either with a gen. or with an accus., but not with περί, e. g. Luke 17:32; Acts 20:35; Matthew 16:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:9) the exodus (by this time technically so known, from the title of the second book of Moses: see ref. Ps., and Jos. Antt. v. 1. 20) of the sons of Israel, and commanded concerning his bones (viz. when he said καὶ συνανοίσετε τὰ ὀστᾶ μου ἐντεῦθεν μεθʼ ὑμῶν. Even Joseph, who had attained such eminence and power in Egypt, did not account it his country, but in faith spoke of the promise of God as certain, Genesis 50:24, and realized it so as to enjoin the removal of his own remains when it should come to pass).

Verse 23

23.] Now the writer passes on to Exodus, and its chief example, Moses, who even in his preservation by his parents was the child of faith. By faith Moses when born was hidden three months ( τρίμηνον is probably feminine, see ref. Herod., and cf. τὴν δευτέραν ἕκμηνον, Polyb. xxvii. 6. 2: τὸν χρόνον τὸν τῆς τριμήνου, Æschin. Ctes. p. 63. 34. τὸ τρίμηνον is also in use: Polyb. i. 38. 6; v. 1. 12, and in Plut. and Ptolemy: and we have ὃ ἑξάμηνος, Xen. Hell. ii. 3. 9) by his parents ( οἱ πατέρες is explained by Bengel, al., “Occultatus est Moses a patribus, id est a patre (Amram) et ab avo, non materno, qui erat ipse Levi, sed paterno, qui erat Kohath. Vixit ergo Kohath, nascente Mose. Magnus loci hujus recte explicati usus est in chronologia sacra.” But whatever inferences are deduced from it rest, it is to be feared, on a very slender foundation: for there can be no doubt that οἱ πατέρες does signify parents. In a passage of Parthenius, Erot. 10, cited by Wetst., we have εἰς ἐπιθυμίαν λευκώνης ἐλθών, παρὰ τῶν πατέρων αἰτησάμενος αὐτὴν ἠγάγετο γυναῖκα. See other Greek and Latin examples in Wetst. The instance given by Delitzsch from Plato, Legg. vi. p. 772 end, is not decisive, ἀγαθῶν πατέρων φύντι. In the Hebrew text of Exodus 2:2, it is his mother only who does the whole: but the LXX have the plural as here), because they saw the child was comely (so in Exod. ἀστεῖον, τουτέστιν ὡραῖον, τῇ ὄψει χαρίεν, Thl.: καὶ νῦν ἀστεία εἶ σὺ ἐν τῷ εἴδει σου, Judith 11:23. Thdrt. says, εἰς γὰρ τὸ τοῦ παιδὸς ἀποβλέψαντες εἶδος, θείας αὐτὸ κηδεμονίας ἤλπισαν ἀπολαύσασθαι): and they feared not the command of the king (to destroy all the male children, Exodus 1:22. So Philo, Vita Mos. i. 3, vol. ii. p. 82, γεννηθεὶς ὁ παῖς εὐθὺς ὄψιν ἐνέφῃνεν ἀστειοτέραν ἢ κατʼ ἰδιώτην, ὡς καὶ τῶν τοῦ τυράννου κηρυγμάτων ἐφʼ ὅσον οἷόν τε ἦν τοὺς γονεῖς ἀλογῆσαι. Their faith was, loving trust in God who had given them so fair a child, which led them to perform as far as in them lay, the duties of parents to it, and not the cruel part which the tyrant prescribed. διάταγμα is a word of later Greek: see reff., and Philo de Decal. § 4, p. 183).

Verse 24

24.] By faith Moses, when grown up ( μέγ. γεν., τουτέστιν ἀνδρωθείς, Thl. The expression is from ref. Exod. Schulz and Bretschn. imagine it to mean, having become great, viz. in dignity as a citizen: but the usage is the other way, see reff.), refused (add to reff., Herod. iii. 1, οὐκ εἶχε οὔτε δοῦναι οὔτε ἀρνήσασθαι: Hebrews 6:13, εἶδον γὰρ τοὺς ἰῶνας ἀρνευμένους εἶναι χρηστούς: Eur. Iph. Aul. 972, οὐκ ἠρνούμεθʼ ἂν τὸ κοινὸν αὔξειν) to be called son of a daughter of Pharaoh (perhaps θυγατρός is indefinite; but it is by no means certain: all these nouns of relation are used constantly without the article, when they are undeniably definite. There is no record in the O. T. of this refusal of Moses: but the fact of the adoption was matter of Jewish traditionary belief, see Philo below, and the Rabbinical testimony in Schöttgen: and the refusal is fairly gathered from his whole conduct. It is interesting to read and to compare the inflated account of the same in Philo, Vita Mos. § 7, p. 85 f.: ὁ δὲ ἐπʼ αὐτὸν φθάσας τὸν ὅρον τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης εὐτυχίας, καὶ θυγατριδοῦς μὲν τοῦ τοσούτου βασιλέως νομισθείς, τῆς δὲ παππῴας ἀρχῆς ὅσον οὐδέπω γεγονὼς ἐλπίσι ταῖς ἁπάντων διάδοχος, καὶ τί γὰρ ἄλλʼ ἢ ὁ νέος βασιλεύς προσαγορευόμενος, τὴν συγγενικὴν καὶ προγονικὴν ἐζήλωσε παιδείαν, τὰ μὲν τῶν εἰσποιησαμένων ἀγαθά, καὶ εἰ λαμπρότερα καιροῖς, νόθα εἶναι ὑπολαβών· τὰ δὲ τῶν φύσει γονέων, εἰ καὶ πρὸς ὀλίγον ἀφανέστερα, οἰκεῖα γοῦν καὶ γνήσια),

Verses 24-28

24–28.] The faith of Moses when come to man’s estate.

Verse 25

25.] choosing rather ( μᾶλλον αἱρεῖσθαι with an accus. of a noun or an infin. of a verb, is very common in the best Greek. Wetst. has accumulated two whole columns of examples) to suffer affliction with (reff.) the people of God, than to possess a temporary enjoyment of sin (is ἁμαρτίας gen. objective, of the thing enjoyed (as usually, see examples in Bleek) or gen. subjective, of the thing to which the enjoyment belongs? Delitzsch maintains the latter (so also Bleek), resting on the nature of the contrast: participation of the lot of God’s people being set against the enjoyment of sin: so that the lot of God’s people is parallel with ἁμαρτία, the latter signifying apostasy from God and his people. But surely the antithesis is a false one. It is κακουχία on the one hand, which is opposed to ἔχειν ἀπόλαυσιν ἁμαρτίας on the other: the possession of affliction (with God’s people), to the possession of the enjoyment of sin. Thus we have αἱ τῶν ἀφροδισίων ἀπολαύσεις, Xen. Hier. i. 26: σίτων καὶ ποτῶν ἀπόλαυσις, id. Mem. ii. i. 33 al. And I do not see how the other view accords with the anarthrous ἀπόλαυσιν),

Verse 26

26.] esteeming (the second aor. part. is contemporary, not antecedent, to the first: it comes in with a slightly ratiocinative force—“esteeming, as he did”) the reproach of Christ (what is the ὀνειδισμὸς τοῦ χριστοῦ? Certainly not, with Thl. (so even Lünem.), merely reproach similar to that of Christ: ὥσπερ γὰρ ὕστερον τὸν χριστὸν ὠνείδιζον οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ εὐεργετούμενοι, καὶ τελευταῖον ἐσταύρωσαν· οὕτω καὶ πρότερον ΄ωσῆν οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ εὐεργετούμενοι: nor again does the more usual explanation, τὸ διὰ χριστὸν ὀνειδίζεσθαι (Chrys.), satisfy the genitive here; nor even the modification of it which makes Moses thus choose, from a principle of faith in the Messiah to come. Thdrt. is better, who explains it τὸ ἐν τύπῳ χριστοῦ: but then he generalizes it off into τὸ κατὰ τῆς εὐσεβείας ὑπὸ τῶν ἐναντίων τολμώμενον, as Thl. above. The typical sense is not excluded: but it is included in a higher one. Far better is Bleek, “reproach which Christ had to bear in his own person, and has to bear in his members.” And in this view, we may say, as Del. and Hofm., that all Israel’s reproach was Christ’s reproach: Israel typified Christ; all Israel’s sufferings as the people of God were Christ’s sufferings, not only by anticipation in type, but by that inclusion in Christ which they, His members before the Head was revealed, possessed in common with us. So Estius, “improperium Christi, i. e. populi Dei Christum exspectantis, quatenus injuria membrorum in caput redundat.” Nay Christ was ever present in and among God’s people: and thus De Wette well and finely says here, “The Writer calls the reproach which Moses suffered, the reproach of Christ, as Paul, 2 Corinthians 1:5; Colossians 1:24, calls the sufferings of Christians the sufferings of Christ, i. e. of Christ dwelling, striving, suffering, in his Church as in His body; to which this reproach is referred according to the idea of the unity of the Old and New Testaments, and of the eternal Christ (the Logos) already living and reigning in the former.” And so Tholuck. See the whole well discussed in Delitzsch’s note: and in Bleek. Cf. ch. Hebrews 13:13) greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he looked ( ἀποβλέπειν εἰς is well defined by Bl., “so to look at any thing, as to be by waiting for it, or generally by the regard of it, determined or strengthened in a course of action.” So Demosth. Mid. p. 515, οὐδʼ ἀπέβλεψεν εἰς τὰς οὐσίας τὰς τούτων: Isocr. ad Nicocl., ὅταν μὲν γὰρ ἀποβλέψωσιν εἰς τὰς τιμὰς κ. τοὺς πλούτους κ. τὰς δυναστείας: and often in Plato, e. g. Gorgias, p. 474 D, 503 D: Alcib. (2) 145 A: Legg. iv. 707 C) to the recompense of reward (reff.: viz. the great eternal reward spoken of Hebrews 11:39 f.: not the possession of Canaan merely, as Grot.).

Verse 27

27.] By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king (when? this is much disputed. Was it when he fled after the murder of the Egyptian? or when he left Egypt with the children of Israel, of which Jos. says, Antt. ii. 11. 1, κατέλιπον τὴν αἴγυπτον μηνὶ ξανθικῷ? Against the latter, which is the opinion of Lyra, Calvin, Schlichting, Grot., Calov., Heinr., Böhme, Kuin., Bleek, Ebrard, Bisping, al., it seems a decisive objection, that the Exodus was made not in defiance of the king of Egypt, but with his consent, and at his urgent instance. It is also a lesser objection to it that thus the chronological order is broken, the next particular, the institution of the Passover, having taken place previously to the Exodus. A third objection is, and one not easily got over, that the singular κατέλιπεν cannot well be referred to an event in Israel’s history, but must refer to the personal history of Moses. Otherwise we should expect διέβη below in Hebrews 11:29. Regard being had to these objections, I cannot but think that to understand κατέλιπεν of the Exodus is altogether impossible. It must then refer to the former flight. And this is the view of all the ancient expositors, Greek and Latin: and among the moderns, of Zeger, Jac. Cappell., Heinsius, Calmet, Bengel, Michaelis, Schulz, De Wette, Stengel, Thol., Lünem., Delitzsch, al. But we are here met by a startling difficulty. In Exodus 2:14 we read that on finding that his slaying of the Egyptian was known, ἐφοβήθη ΄ωυσῆς: here we read, μὴ φοβηθεὶς τὸν θυμὸν τοῦ βασιλέως. Were it not for this difficulty, we may safely say that the other interpretation would never have been thought of; but standing as it does, it is no wonder that it has driven Commentators to another resource. Still, if owing to other circumstances in the text it is, as we have seen it to be, necessary to refer it to that first leaving of Egypt, we have no right to set those aside on account of this difficulty: rather should we say that there must be some solution of it, however difficult to find. Those which have been given are certainly not satisfactory. The old ones (Chrys., Thl., Œc., al.) go mainly on this, that he so left Egypt, as intending to return to it, but avoiding the thrusting of himself into danger at the moment. Thdrt. seems to regard μὴ φοβηθείς as a pluperfect aor. part., “when he had set at nought” the king’s anger: τὴν μὲν αἴγυπτον φοβηθεὶς κατέλιπε, θαρσαλέως δὲ τὸν αἰγύπτιον κατηκόντισε, τὴν φυγὴν τοίνυν ἀντὶ τῆς αἰτίας τέθεικε τῆς φυγῆς. Of the moderns, Bengel says, “Timuit, et fugit: non timuit neque respexit, quam in partem rex vel cædem Ægyptii vel fugam Mosis esset accepturus.” De Wette supposes that the Writer did not remember the expression in Exodus: Lünem. makes a distinction between objective and subjective fear, which, in that shape, seems too refined for use here: Delitzsch, while objecting to Lün., yet takes one form of his view, that the flight was occasioned by fear, but the leaving Egypt was done without regard to what might be the anger of the king and court thereupon. In attempting to give a solution of it, I may confess that I see as yet no satisfactory one. It may be that the truth is, that though the fact of his flight was the effect of his fear, the same flight itself, the dereliction of Egypt and reserving himself for further action, shewed that that fear did not possess nor bear him away. But on any solution, the difficulty remains. Had it stood φοβηθείς, instead of μὴ φοβηθείς, the whole would have been plain enough: ‘when he feared the anger of the king’): for he endured as seeing the invisible One (or, ‘the King who is invisible:’ cf. 1 Timothy 1:17. Some, as Bengel, Schulz, al., join τὸν ἀόρατον, as an object, with ἐκαρτέρησε, which is against usage, καρτερέω being never found with a personal object: see reff. and other examples in Bl. So also the vulg., “invisibilem tanquam videns sustinuit.” Ebrard calls it a pregnant construction for τὸν ἀόρατον τιμῶν ἐκαρτέρησε: but this is little better and quite unnecessary. The simple and usual construction is the right one, and that adopted by the Greek expositors: so Thl., ὡσπερεὶ γὰρ ὁρῶν τὸν θεὸν συνόντα αὐτῷ, οὕτως ἐκαρτέρει πάντα. Jos. says of Moses similarly, Antt. iii. 11. 1, ἄπορός τε ὢν τροφῆς ἀπηλλάττετο τῇ καρτερίᾳ καταφρονῶν).

Verse 28

28.] By faith he hath celebrated ( ποιεῖν τὸ πάσχα is ever used simply for to keep the passover, and though Bl. and Lünem. see here a mingling of the ideas of celebrating and instituting, it seems better to keep to universal usage. The perf. is used, on account of the Passover being a still enduring feast) the Passover (not as some interpret πίστει, in faith of the Redeemer to come, which point does not enter into consideration here: but by that faith which was to him the evidence of things unseen, viz. of the promise that the Destroyer should pass over and not hurt them. So Calvin well, “Qui fide celebratum fuisse pascha interpretantur, quia Moses in Christum respexerit, verum quidem dicunt: sed apostolus simpliciter hic fidei meminit, quatenus in solo Dei verbo acquiescit, ubi res ipsa non apparet: ideo intempestivum est subtilius philosophari”) and the affusion of the blood (viz. of the blood of the paschal lamb on the lintel and door-posts: πρόσχυσιν αἵματος ἐκάλεσε τὴν κατὰ τῶν φλιῶν τῶν θυρῶν χρίσιν, Œc. The word προσχέειν is the common rendering by the LXX of the Heb. זָרַק, to sprinkle, and is ordinarily used of those cases where the blood was sprinkled round the altar, e. g. Leviticus 1:5 ; Leviticus 16:32 al. fr. So that the word applies well to this ordinance, where the blood was sprinkled by means of a bunch of hyssop), that he who destroyed the firstborn might not touch them (the ἵνα μή belongs to both the preceding clauses, not to the latter only, as Del., for though it is true that it was the sprinkling of the blood only which caused the destroyer to pass over, yet this sprinkling itself was only a subordinate part of ποιεῖν τὸ πάσχα.

The ὀλεθρεύων τὰ πρ., the destroying angel, see reff. and cf. Sirach 48:21, is the הַמַּשְׁחִית of Exodus 12:23, the πληγὴ τοῦ ἐκτριβῆναι of Exodus 12:13; understood by Asaph, Psalms 78:49, of evil angels. The verb ὀλεθρεύειν is Alexandrine, and with its compound ἐξ ολ- frequently found in the LXX. The neuter πρωτότοκα includes all of both sexes of man and beast: so Exodus 12:12, πᾶν πρωτότοκονἀπὸ ἀνθρώπου ἕως κτήνους: and in ref. Ps. It is hardly necessary to observe, that the connexion of the words is as above, and not ἵνα μὴ ὁ ὀλε θρεύων θίγῃ τὰ πρωτότοκα αὐτῶν. The common construction of θιγγάνω is with the partitive genitive: it is (reff.) of rare use in the Greek Scriptures.

αὐτῶν, of a subject not before expressed, is to be understood out of the context as meaning the Israelites, who sprinkled the blood. It prepares the way for the change into the plur. at the next verse).

Verse 29

29.] By faith, they (see above) crossed (the verb διαβαίνω is used of crossing water, whether in boats, or on a bridge, or swimming or wading: e. g. Herod. i. 75, of the river Halys, κροῖσος, … κατὰ τὰς ἐούσας γεφύρας διεβίβασε τὸν στρατόν: … ἀπορέοντος ὅκως οἱ διαβήσεται τ. ποταμὸν ὁ στρατός: … ἐπεί τε καὶ ἐσχίσθη τάχιστα ὁ ποταμός, ἀμφοτέρῃ διαβατὸς ἐγένετο. Here it is used of a bridge, of crossing, generally, and of a ford. See other examples in Bl.) the red sea (so the LXX always for יַם־סוּף, the sea of (red) weeds) as through dry land (we should rather expect ὡς ξηρὰν γῆν; but the unusual expression is apparently borrowed from the narrative in Exodus (ref.), οἱ δὲ νἱοὶ ἰσραὴλ ἐπορεύθησαν διὰ ξηρᾶς ἐν μέσῳ τῆς θαλάσσης): of which (viz. of the red sea, not, of the dry land, as Böhme, Kuinoel, and Klee. For as Lün. observes, the idea of the sea is necessarily called up again by κατεπόθησαν, shewing that it, and not the dry land, is the leading idea) the Egyptians making experiment (here, πεῖραν λαμβάνειν is in an active sense: in Hebrews 11:36, in a passive. Both are sufficiently common: e. g. for the active, Plato, Protag. p. 342 A, εἰ βούλει λαβεῖν μου πεῖραν ὅπως ἔχω: ib. 348 A: Gorg. 448 A: Polyb. ii. 32. 5, ἔκριναν τῆς τύχης λαβεῖν πεῖραν. See many others in Bleek: and for the other sense, on Hebrews 11:36) were swallowed up (by the sea. The verb is a general one, qualified by the particular mode of καταπίνεσθαι. So in reff. Exod. and Num.: Diod. Sic. i. 32, τῶν δʼ ἀποσχιζομένων μερῶν τὸ μὲν.… ὑπʼ ἄμμου καταπίνεται. And Polyb. ii. 41. 7, using the word of drowning, qualifies it: ἑλίκης, τῆς.… ὑπὸ τῆς θαλάττης καταποθείσης. There is something to be said for the reading κατεποντίσθησαν, though it is weakly supported by mss.,—as being the Alex. reading of the LXX in Exodus 15:4, and found in Chrys. and Thdrt. Bleek inclines to think that our Writer may have had it in his Alexandrine LXX).

Verse 30

30.] A second example of the strength of faith in Israel generally. By faith (of Israel, who obeyed the command of Joshua through all the days, which to the unbeliever would seem irrational. Cf. Chrys., οὐ γὰρ δὴ σαλπίγγων ἠχὴ λίθους οἵα τε καταβάλλειν ἐστί, κἂν μυρία τις ἔτη σαλπίζῃ, ἀλλʼ ἡ πίστις πάντα δύναται), the walls of Jericho (more commonly τῆς ἱεριχώ: but our Writer frequently omits the demonstrative article, see Hebrews 11:17; ch. Hebrews 4:7; Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 9:4) fell (cf. Joshua 6:5; Joshua 6:20. In the former of these it is πεσεῖται τὰ τείχη, in the latter ἔπεσεν ἅπαν τὸ τεῖχος: our Writer uses the plural verb with τείχη: each and every defence fell together), having been compassed about (see the narrative in Joshua 6) during seven days ( ἐπί, of time, with an accusative, gives the whole duration: see reff., and Winer, 49. 1. 2).

Verse 31

31.] The last example is one connected with the taking of Jericho, just mentioned. By faith (shewn in her confession Joshua 2:9, “I know that Jehovah hath given you the land:” and Joshua 2:11, “Jehovah your God, He is God in heaven above and in earth beneath”) Rahab the harlot (not to be softened into “cauponaria,” as Valcknaer, al. Clement of Rome devotes to her a whole chapter of his Epistle to the Corinthians, and has no idea of her other than as an harlot. Calvin says well, “Hoc (epitheton) ad anteactam vitam referri certum est: resipiscentiæ enim testis est fides.” See note, Matthew 1:5) did not perish with them who were disobedient (on the word ἀπειθέω, see note ch. Hebrews 3:18. The inhabitants of Jericho were disobedient to the will of God manifested by the signs and wonders which he had wrought for Israel: as is implied by Rahab’s speech, Joshua 2:9-12), having received (viz. to her house: κατέλυσαν ἐκεῖ, Joshua 2:1) the spies (sent by Joshua to Jericho: ἀπέστειλεν ἰησοῦς δύο νεανίσκους κατασκοπεῦσαι, Joshua 2:1) with peace (reff.: so that they had nothing hostile to fear from her). On the introduction of Rahab in James 2:25, as an example of justification by works, see note there.

Verse 32

32.] And what say I ( λέγω is most probably indicative, not subjunctive: cf. ref.: and see Winer, 41. a. 3: Bernhardy, p. 396. The sense is the same: ‘What am I saying, going to say, more,’ is tantamount to ‘what shall I say more’) yet (more, any further)? for the time ( ὁ χρόνος ὁ τῇ ἐπιστολῇ, φησίν, ἁρμόδιος καὶ οἷον ἡ συμμετρία, Œc.: ποῖος; ἢ ὁ πᾶς· εἴρηται δὲ τοῦτο, ὡς συνηθὲς ἡμῖν λέγειν, ὑπερβολικῶς· , ὁ τῇ ἐπιστολῇ σύμμετρος, Thl. The latter is the more probable) will fail me ( ἐπιλίποι ἄν με would imply, if I undertook it,—the hypothesis affecting the whole clause: the ind. future states the failure of the time as a positive certainty, the hypothesis now lying in the pres. part. διηγούμενον. The phrase is a common one, and the construction regular: cf. Demosth. p. 324. 17, ἐπιλείψει με λέγοντα ἡ ἡμέρα τὰ τῶν προδοτῶν ὀνόματα: Julian, Orat. i. p. 341 B, ἐπιλείψει με τἀκείνου διηγούμενον ὁ χρόνος: Philo de Merc. Meretr. § 3, vol. ii. p. 167, ἐπιλείψει με ἡ ἡμέρα λέγοντα τὰ τῶν κατʼ εἶδος ἀρετῶν ὀνόματα: and many other examples, Greek and Latin, in Wetst. and Bleek) narrating (if I narrate) concerning (so we have in Plato, Euthyd. p. 6 C, πολλὰ περὶ τῶν θείων διηγήσομαι) Gideon (it is almost impossible to determine satisfactorily the arrangement of the copula from the manuscript evidence: and if once we allow subjectivities to creep in, there is no end to the varieties which different men may find suitable. I have left the rec. text, which though against (64) (65), has the great body of manuscripts with it. And thus standing, the names form two groups: 1. γεδεών, βαράκ τε καὶ σάμψων, καὶ ἰεφθάε, … 2. δαυείδ τε καὶ σαμουὴλ καὶ τῶν προφητῶν: the former, the Judges: the latter, the Prophets, David and Samuel at the head of them, the former as a king, the latter as a judge, being exceptional and transitional. The order is not chronological: Gideon, the first mentioned, is posterior in time to Barak, the second; Samson, the third, to Jephthah, the fourth; and David, the first of the second group, posterior to Samuel, the second. The reason for this may be the greater celebrity of Gideon as a champion of the faith than of Barak, and of Samson than of Jephthah: and in the second group, it is natural to put David, for his eminence, first, and besides, Samuel thus becomes the first in the rank of the Prophets properly so called, Acts 3:24. Delitzsch’s arrangement, which makes γεδεὼν βαράκ τε καὶ σάμψων the first group, ἰεφθάε, δαυείδ τε καὶ σαμουὴλ the second, and the Prophets a third, suits indeed the strictly pressing of the τε καί in the two places, which is a trifling matter,—but by placing Jephthah with David, and separating Samuel from the Prophets, breaks up the real and far more important classification. The τε καί is in fact no more than the simple copula in sense, but a little varied: and as De Wette has remarked, Gideon and Barak, David and Jephthah are not more nearly connected by it, than the other names by καί. On Gideon, see Judges 6-8) and Barak (Judges 4:5 Barak was not so strong in faith as he might have been, though he did believe, and go to the fight, and triumph: see Judges 4:8-9) and Samson (Judges 13-16) and Jephthah (Judges 11:1 to Judges 12:7) and David and Samuel and the prophets;

Verses 32-40

32–40.] The Writer breaks off, feeling that such an illustration of faith by examples would be endless, and gathers up those many which remain in one,— ξυλλήβδην τῶν λοιπῶν μνημονεύει, as Thdrt.

Verse 33

33.] who ( οἵ does not strictly identify the antecedents, but more nearly = οἵτινες, ‘quales’ rather which than who: for many of the actions which follow were done by others than those previously mentioned) through faith (these words διὰ πίστεως, apply to the whole sentence as far as ἀλλοτρίων, Hebrews 11:34. διὰ πίστεως instead of πίστει for the first time in the chapter, suits perhaps better the miscellaneous verbs of predication which follow, e. g. ἔσβεσαν δύναμιν πυρός) subdued kingdoms (on the verb, see reff., and examples in Wetst. and Bl.,—Plut. Numa, § 19, ἀπὸ καίσαρος, τοῦ κατηγωνισαμένου πομπήϊον, &c. The acts referred to may be Gideon’s victory over the Midianites (Judges 7), Barak’s over the Canaanites (Judges 9), Samson’s over the Philistines (Judges 14 ff.), Jephthah’s over the Ammonites (Judges 9.), David’s over the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:17-25; 2 Samuel 8:1; 2 Samuel 21:15 ff.), Moabites, Syrians, Edomites (ib. 2 Samuel 8:2 ff.), Ammonites (2 Samuel 10:12, ff.)), wrought righteousness (so Samuel, the righteous judge, 1 Samuel 12:3-4; David, the righteous king, 2 Samuel 8:15; 1 Chronicles 18:14; and indeed in a wide sense all of them, see Jeremiah 23:5; Ezekiel 45:9, τοῦτο κοινὸν τῶν ἁγίων ἁπάντων, as Thdrt.), obtained promises (the words are capable of two senses: 1. got from God spoken promises, as e. g. the Prophets: or 2. obtained the fulfilment of promises. (1) is taken by Chrys. (referring it to the promise to David that his seed should sit on his throne), Thdrt., Primas., Schlicht., Bleek, Ebrard, al. But it seems to me altogether improbable that the Writer should thus illustrate faith by a fact which, though it may have accompanied faith in the recipient, was certainly no fruit or direct triumph of it: and that in the face of such sayings as Joshua 21:45 and 1 Kings 8:56, and of Gideon’s trials of God. The objection which is brought against (2), that it is inconsistent with μὴ λαβόντες τὰς ἐπαγγελίας, Hebrews 11:13, and with οὐκ ἐκομίσαντο τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν, Hebrews 11:39, is very simply answered: it is not said that they ἐπέτυχον τῶν ἐπαγγελιῶν or τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, but anarthrously: they obtained promises, but not the promises which were yet future. And so most Commentators), stopped the mouths of lions (referring principally, it may be, to Daniel, of whom it is said, Daniel 6:22, that God sent his angel and stopped ( וּסֲגַר, ἐνέφραξε Theodotion; LXX freely, ἔσωσέν με ἀπὸ τῶν λ.) the mouths of the lions: where notice also the addition (Hebrews 11:23 Theod.), ὅτι ἐπίστευσεν ἐν τῷ θεῷ αὐτοῦ. But reference may be also to Samson, Judges 14:6, and David, 1 Samuel 17:34; and I may add, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, 2 Samuel 23:20; 1 Chronicles 11:22),

Verse 34

34.] quenched the power of fire (so the three companions of Daniel,—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Daniel 3. Thl. says, οὐκ εἶπε δὲ ἔσβεσαν πῦρ, ἀλλὰ δύναμιν πυρός, ὃ καὶ μεῖζου· ἐξαπτόμενος γὰρ ὅμως δύναμιν τοῦ καίειν οὐκ εἶχε κατʼ αὐτῶν. It is said of them, 1 Maccabees 2:59, that they πιστεύσαντες ἐσώθησαν ἐκ φλογός. Delitzsch reminds us that one of the two martyrs at Brussels, Henry Voes and Joh. Esche, when the flames of the faggots rose round him, said, that it felt to him as if they were strewing roses under him), escaped the edge ( στόματα, plur., because the Writer has various examples in mind) of the sword (e. g. David from Saul, 1 Samuel 18:11; 1 Samuel 19:10; 1 Samuel 19:12; 1 Samuel 21:10; Elijah, 1 Kings 19:1 ff. Elisha, 2 Kings 6:14 ff., 2 Kings 6:31 ff.: Jeremiah, Baruch, Jeremiah 36:26; Ebedmelech, Jeremiah 38:8 ff., compared with Jeremiah 39:18), were made strong out of weakness (so Samson, after his hair grew, Judges 16:28 ff.: David, who ends so many of his plaintive psalms with jubilant thanksgiving: Hezekiah, who after deadly sickness was restored to fifteen years of health, 2 Kings 20; Isaiah 38 [see also ref. Judg., of Gideon]. The ancient expositors refer the words, not so probably, to the strengthening of Israel after the return from the captivity: so Chrys., ἀπὸ ἀσθενείας, τουτέστιν, ἀπὸ αἰχμαλωσίας. τὰ κατὰ τὴν ἐπάνοδον τὴν ἀπὸ βαβυλῶνος ἐνταῦθα αἰνίττεται), were made (see note on ch. Hebrews 4:3) strong in war (Thdrt. says, καὶ οἱ προῤῥηθέντες, καὶ οἱ τοῦ ΄ατταθίου παῖδες, ἰούδας καὶ ἰωνάθης καὶ σίμων. It is not improbable that these later glories of the faith were also before the Writer’s mind: they unquestionably are in the next verse), put to flight (the classical usage: so II. ε. 37, τρῶας δʼ ἔκλιναν δαναοί: Il. ξ. 510: Od. ι. 59) armies ( παρεμβολή, which occurs in ch. 13 (reff.) in its usual sense of a camp, is not unfrequently used in Hellenistic Greek for the army which is in the camp: see reff., and add Ælian, Var. Hist. xiv. 46, οἱ κύνες προπηδῶντες ἐτάραττον τὴν παρεμβολήν) of aliens (see reff. The word is common in the LXX, of Gentiles, aliens from God’s people. The reference of the fact may be general, to many who have preceded: but I should rather regard it as describing the Maccabæan victories. Delitzsch would understand all from ἔφυγον στόματα μαχαίρας, of those times: the escape of Mattathias and his sons into the mountains, the increase and success of the little band that strengthened itself in God, the first victories of Judas Maccabæus over Apollonius, Seron, and others, the formal and victorious war of the Asmonæan heroes with the Syrians and neighbouring people. “That the Writer,” he continues, “should recognize these as illustrious deeds of faith, is no wonder. In our times indeed it is the custom to represent the mighty revival of the Maccabæan period rather as human than divine, rather as patriotic and popular than theocratic and national: but the book of Daniel shews us, in prophetic delineation of that time, the holy people of the Most High, conflicting with the atheistic and antichristian prince of this world, and ascribes to this conflict the highest imaginable importance in reference to the sacred history. Therefore I hold that the clauses from ἔφυγον pass beyond τῶν προφητῶν, and over the book of Daniel to the first of Maccabees, which in the LXX is attached to it: which indeed is generally acknowledged with regard to the two last clauses, and is the more certain because παρεμβολή ( מַחֲנֶה ), both in the sense of a camp, and in that of an army in order of battle, is one of the favourite words in 1 Macc., and ἀλλότριοι (as well as ἀλλόφυλοι) occurs there, as the translation of זָרִים or נָכְרִים: e. g. i. 38; ii. 7: cf. xv. 33.” And perhaps after all, this may be the true view).

Verse 35

35.] Women received (back: so Xen. Cyr. v. 1. 1, ταύτην οὖν ( τὴν γυναῖκα) ἐκέλευσεν ὁ κῦρος διαφυλάττεινἕως ἂν αὐτὸς λάβῃ. See also below) their dead by (out of, by means of, their reception springing out of it as its cause) resurrection (not, the resurrection: see below. The cases alluded to seem to be those of the widow of Zarephath, 1 Kings 17:17 ff., and the Shunamite, 2 Kings 4:17 ff., whose sons were raised, the former by Elijah, the latter by Elisha. The faith must be that of the women themselves, the subject of the sentence, not merely that in the Prophets): but (for the contrast, see below) others were broken on the wheel (the case especially referred to is that of Eleazar, 2 Maccabees 6:18—end; and the τύμπανον seems to have been an instrument like a wheel or drumhead, on which the victim was stretched and scourged to death: cf. reff. Josephus, de Macc. Hebrews 11:9-10 (4 Maccabees 5:32), makes Eleazar say to Antiochus, πρὸς ταῦτα τροχοὺς εὐτρέπιζε κ. τ. λ. And in the deaths of the seven brothers, which are related differently from the account in 2 Maccabees 7, we read of the first (4 Maccabees 9:12), ἀνέβαλον αἰτὸν ἐπὶ τὸν τροχόν, and similarly of several of the others. See Bleek and Wetst. for examples of the word. It occurs in the Schol. to Aristoph. Plut. 476, ὦ τύμπανα καὶ κύφωνες, οὐκ ἀρήξετε, where the Schol. says, τύμπ., ξύλα, ἐφʼ οἷς ἐτυμπάνιζον· ἐχρῶντο γὰρ ταύτῃ τῇ τιμωρίᾳ. And in Aristot. Rhet. ii. 5 al.), not accepting ( οὐ, because the fact of their absolutely refusing is mainly in view) the deliverance (offered to them: see in the deaths of the seven brethren passim, 2 Maccabees 7. Eleazar himself says, 2 Maccabees 6:30, δυνάμενος ἀπολυθῆναι τοῦ θανάτου, σκληρὰς ὑποφέρω κατὰ τὸ σῶμα ἀλγηδόνας), that they might obtain a better resurrection (there can I think be little doubt that Chrys.’s explanation of κρείττονος is right: κρείττονος; … οὐ τοιαύτης, οἵας τὰ παιδία τῶν γυναικῶν. Those sons were raised by a kind of resurrection to a life which should again end in death: but these expected a glorious resurrection to endless life. Cf. 2 Maccabees 7:9, ὁ δὲ τοῦ κόσμου βασιλεὺς ἀποθανόντας ἡμᾶς ὑπὲρ τῶν αὐτοῦ νόμων εἰς αἰώνιον ἀναβίωσιν ζωῆς ἡμᾶς ἀναστήσει: also 2 Maccabees 7:11; 2Ma_7:14; 2Ma_7:20; 2Ma_7:23; 2Ma_7:36. And so Thl., Bengel, Schulz, Böhme, Bleek, De Wette, Stuart, Ebrard, Delitzsch, al. Œc. understands κρείττονος as opposed to the resurrection of the ungodly to judgment, Daniel 12:2; κρείττονοςἢ οἱ λοιποὶ ἄνθρωποι· ἡ μὲν γὰρ ἀνάστασις πᾶσι κοινή, ἀλλʼ οὗτοι ἀναστήσονται, φησίν, εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, καὶ οὗτοι εἰς κόλασιν αἰώνιον. And so Thl. as an altern. Seb. Schmidt, Hammond, Winer, Lünemann, al. strangely regard it as comparing the ἀνάστασις with the mere temporal ἀπολύτρωσις just spoken of: but if so, why not κρείττονος ἀπολυτρώσεως? Hence we may perhaps understand the ἄλλοι δέ, distinguishing these even higher triumphs of faith from these former):

Verse 36

36.] others again (no further contrast need be brought out; ἄλλοι μέν, ἕτεροι δέ, is common enough in recounting various classes) had trial (the passive sense of πεῖραν λαμβάνειν, as we had the active before, Hebrews 11:29, where see examples of that use. The passive signification is found Polyb. xxviii. 9. 7, πολλοὺς ἄν ἐποίησε τῆς αὐτῆς τύχης πεῖραν αὐτῷ λαβεῖν: Diod. Sic. xii. 24, τὴν θυγατέρα ἀπέκτεινεν, ἵνα μὴ τῆς ὕβρεως λάβῃ πεῖραν: Jos. Antt. ii. 5. 1, οὗ ( τοῦ θεοῦ) πεῖραν τῆς προνοίας εὐθὺς ἐλάμβανον. See more in Bleek on Hebrews 11:29) of cruel mockings (so the E. V. well: for the word must mean insult accompanied with cruelty, judging from its use in the place here referred to, viz. 2 Maccabees 7:7, τὸν δεύτερον ἦγον ἐπὶ τὸν ἐμπαιγμόν: and 10, μετὰ δὲ τοῦτον ὁ τρίτος ἐνεπαίζετο. See also 1 Maccabees 9:26) and of scourgings (see reff. 2 Macc.), yea moreover ( ἔτι δέ rises in climax: so out of many examples in Bleek, Xen. Œcon. Hebrews 11:12, ἔτι δὲ ἡ γῆ θέλουσαδιδάσκει, “and moreover the earth of herself teaches,” &c.) of bonds and prison (so Jonathan, 1 Maccabees 13:12. But perhaps he now speaks more generally, e. g. of Hanani, 2 Chronicles 16:10, Micaiah, the son of Imlah, 1 Kings 22:26, and Jeremiah, Jeremiah 32:2-3 al.):

Verse 37

37 b.] they wandered about ( τὸ περιῆλθον διώκεσθαι αὐτοὺς δηλοῖ, ἢ ἀστατεῖν. Thl.) in sheepskins ( μηλωτή, προβάτειος δορά, Etym. Mag. But also, as Hesych., πᾶσα βύρσα, ὅ ἐστι πᾶν δέρμα, μηλωτὴ λέγεται. μῆλον was the name for small kine, whether sheep or goats, and the μηλωτή was the skin of such kine with the hair on. The LXX (reff.) use the word for Elijah’s garment, to whom the allusion seems principally to be. Clem.-rom. ad Cor. 17, p. 241, says, μιμηταὶ γενώμεθα κἀκείνων, οἵτινες ἐν δέρμασιν αἰγείοις καὶ μηλωταῖς περιεπάτησαν, κηρύσσοντες τὴν ἔλευσιν τοῦ χριστοῦ, λέγομεν δὴ ἡλίαν κ. ἐλισσαῖον, ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἰεζεκιήλ, τοὺς προφήτας. Clem.-alex. Strom. iv. 17, § 107, p. 610 P., citing this, inserts after μηλωταῖς,— καὶ τριχῶν καμηλεὶων πλέγμασιν. See more particulars in Suicer, sub voce: and cf. Matthew 7:15) and goats’ skins (this, coming after μηλωταῖς, which may mean the same, has surprised some, and has seemed to them a mere gloss on that word. But it is quoted by Clem. and Orig(67), besides being found in all MSS. and vss. Delitzsch says that “it not only explains the former, but intensifies it: for the (commonly) black goat’s skin shewed, even more than the (commonly) white sheepskin, the deep earnestness of one thrust out from the world, and dead to it.” Perhaps: but it is more probable that the Writer regarded μηλωτή as merely the sheepskin, and mentioned the other because goats were as often kept and their skin as often worn), destitute (reff.), afflicted (reff.), in misery (cf. Hebrews 11:25);

Verse 37-38

37, 38.] Examples of those who, though not put to violent death, lived lives of apparent wretchedness in the endurance of faith.

Verse 38

38.] of whom (viz. those who wandered about as in Hebrews 11:37; for the participial construction is resumed below, and in reference to these same persons. οὗτοι πάντες first occurs in the next verse.

Of course, Carpzov’s reference of ὧν is inadmissible, “quorum indignus malorum erat mundus: id est, tam crudelibus affecti sunt suppliciis, ut illa mundo indigna sint: ut orbem terrarum non deceat, tam horrenda ac φοβερώτατα de eo dici”) the world was not worthy (the world, by casting them out and persecuting them, proved that it was not fit to have them in it: condemned itself, in condemning them. Cf. Calvin, “Quum ita profugi inter feras vagabantur sancti Prophetæ, videri poterant indigni quos terra sustineret. Qui fit enim ut inter homines locum non inveniant? Sed Apostolus in contrariam partem hoc retorquet, nempe quod mundus illis non esset dignus. Nam quocunque veniant servi Dei, ejus benedictionem, quasi fragrantiam boni odoris, secum afferunt. Sic domus Potiphar benedicta fuit in gratiam Josephi, Genesis 39:5, et Sodoma salva futura erat, si in ea inventi fuissent decem justi homines, Genesis 18:32”); wandering in deserts and mountains and caves, and the chinks of the earth (the Holy Land was especially calculated, by its geological formation, and its wildernesses, to afford shelter to persecuted persons: so did it to a hundred of the Lord’s prophets whom Obadiah hid by fifty in a cave ( σπήλαιον), 1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 18:13; to Elijah, ib. 1 Kings 19:9; 1 Kings 19:13; to Mattathias and his sons, who fled to the mountains, 1 Maccabees 2:28 f., and many others in the wilderness: to Judas Maccabæus, who fled with others εἰς τὴν ἔρημον and there lived ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσι like the wild beasts, 2 Maccabees 5:27. Cf. also ib. 2 Maccabees 6:11; 2 Maccabees 10:6. Jos. Antt. xii. 6. 2, of Mattathias, καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν μετὰ τῶν τέκνων εἰς τὴν ἔρημον ἐξώρμησε, καταλιπὼν ἅπασαν τὴν αὐτοῦ κτῆσιν ἐν τῇ κώμῃ. τὸ δὲ αὐτὸ καὶ πολλοὶ ποιήσαντες, μετὰ τέκνων καὶ γυναικῶν ἔφυγον εἰς τὴν ἔρημον καὶ ἐν τοῖς σπηλαίοις διῆγον. But τῆς γῆς must not be taken for “the land,” viz. Palestine, as Böhme: it is general).

Verse 39

39.] And these all (‘these, every one of them.’ πάντες οὗτοι would be ‘all these.’ All, viz. all that have been named or referred to throughout the chapter: not only, as Hammond, al., those ἄλλοι since Hebrews 11:35), borne witness to by their faith (the emphasis is on μαρτυρηθέντες, not on διὰ τῆς πίστεως: and the sense is rather ‘though borne witness to,’ than ‘being’ or ‘because, borne witness to.’ On the word and its import see Hebrews 11:2; Hebrews 11:4-5), did not receive the promise (many promises indeed they did receive, Hebrews 11:33; but not THE PROMISE κατʼ ἐξοχήν, the promise of final salvation, or as it is called ch. Hebrews 9:15, τὴν ἐπαγγ. τῆς αἰωνίου κληρονομίας: the perfection, to which without us they were not to attain. “But,” says Delitzsch, “do we not read ch. Hebrews 6:15, of Abraham, ἐπέτυχεν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας? Certainly, he has obtained the promise, yet not this side the grave, but, as we there maintained, in his life on the other side the grave: the general and actual salvation of the N. T. is, in their heavenly estate, the joy of the patriarchs. And this view is confirmed by looking forward to ch. 12, where the O. T. believers translated into heaven are called the πνεύματα δικαίων τετελειωμένων, or at all events are included in that designation. And another question arises. It is said of the O. T. saints, that they did not obtain the promise: but is it not plain, from ch. Hebrews 10:36, that κομίζεσθαι τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν is for us also a thing future? Doubtless, but with a significant difference. For them, final salvation was a thing purely future: for us, it is a thing present as well as future: present, in that it is once for all brought about by Christ’s offering of Himself,—future, inasmuch as the unfolding of all the fulness of that which we possess, and the taking possession of it, when unfolded in its fulness, is for us yet to come: cf. ch. Hebrews 9:28 with Hebrews 10:14”),

Verse 40

40.] God (Clem.-alex. Strom. iv. § 16, p. 609 P., cites this with τοῦ θεοῦ joined to τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν, and so does the liturgy of Chrysostom in some manuscripts. In that case προβλεψαμένου would be in apposition with θεοῦ. But such a connexion is not likely) having provided (foreseen from far (ref.): προορᾶν, προϊδεῖν, προϊδέσθαι are more usual words) concerning us ( περὶ ἡμῶν has the emphasis, as contrasted with οὗτοι πάντες, us, viz. the Writer and his readers, as belonging to the N. T. church) something better (what is this κρεῖττόν τι? The Fathers generally interpret it of the ultimate state of glorious perfection, which shall only then come in, when all the number of the elect shall be accomplished. So Chrys., ἐννοήσατε.… τί ἐστι, καὶ ὅσον ἐστὶ τὸν ἀβραὰμ καθῆσθαι, καὶ τὸν ἀπόστολον παῦλον, περιμένοντας πότε σὺ τελειωθῇς, ἵνα δυνηθῶσι τότε λαβεῖν τὸν μισθόν. On this view, as Delitzsch says, the κρεῖττόν τι would consist in this, that the history of mankind has not been cut short as it would have been if the ancients had received the promise in this sense, but has been continued for us to partake of our present privileges under the N. T. But, he continues, this eschatological narrow acceptation of the promise, has against it not only what is said of Abraham in ch. Hebrews 6:15, viz. ἐπέτυχεν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, but also the whole spirit of the Epistle, which regards final salvation as brought in with the propitiation of Christ, and τὸ ἔσχατον τῶν ἡμερῶν as begun with His first Advent. The Writer cannot be ignoring this all-inclusive beginning of the N. T. fulfilment of the promises, in attributing to us κρεῖττόν τι than the O. T. believers had. And consequently we must understand by the expression, something better than they had, viz. the enjoyment, here, of the fulfilment of the promise, which they never had here, and only have there since Christ’s descent into Hades and ascension into heaven. It is that κρεῖττόν τι for which the Lord felicitates his disciples, Matthew 13:17, the revelation of the Son of God, ch. Hebrews 1:1, the σωτηρία of ch. Hebrews 2:3), that they should not apart from us be made perfect (the design of God in this provision of something better for us was, that they, the O. T. saints, should not be perfected without us, i. e. independently of the N. T. salvation of which we are partakers,—cut off from Christ’s universal Church of which we are members. But we read, ch. Hebrews 12:23, of them as τετελειωμένοι now. And therefore the Writer implies, as indeed ch. Hebrews 10:14 seems to testify, that the Advent and work of Christ has changed the estate of the O. T. fathers and saints into greater and perfect bliss; an inference which is forced on us by many other places in Scripture. So that their perfection was dependent on our perfection: their and our perfection was all brought in at the same time, when Christ μιᾷ προσφορᾷ ἐτελείωσεν εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς τοὺς ἁγιαζομένους. So that the result with regard to them is, that their spirits, from the time when Christ descended into Hades and ascended up into heaven, enjoy heavenly blessedness, and are waiting, with all who have followed their glorified High Priest within the veil, for the resurrection of their bodies, the Regeneration, the renovation of all things. This thought naturally leads on to the opening verses of the next chapter).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Hebrews 11:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, July 25th, 2017
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology