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Hebrews 11

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Verse 1

1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Ver. 1. Now faith is the substance ] Having mentioned the life of faith, Hebrews 10:38 , and the end of faith (or the reward of it, 1Pe 1:9 ), the salvation of the soul, Hebrews 10:39 , he now descends to the description of this glorious grace, James 2:1 , and saith that it is the substance or subsistence or basis and foundation of things hoped for. It is the same that our author had called confidence, Hebrews 10:35 . Polybius, speaking of Horatius’ keeping the field against the enemy’s forces, saith, that the enemies more feared his υποστασις (the word here used), his confidence binding upon the victory, than his strength. Faith is the vital artery of the soul (saith one), Habakkuk 2:4 , and by the eye of it, through the perspective glass of the promises, a Christian may see into heaven. Faith doth antedate glory; it doth substantiate things not seen. Faith altereth the tenses, and putteth the future into the present tense, Psalms 60:6 . It is reported of the crystal that the very touching of it quickeneth other stones and puts a lustre and beauty upon them. (Gul. Parisiens.) This is true of faith; it makes evil things present, far off; and good things far off, present.

The evidence of things, &c. ] The index, ελεγχος , or the clear conviction by disputation, or by making syllogisms from the word. Indeed it is the word (to speak properly) that is the convincing evidence of things not seen; but because the word profiteth not further than it is mingled with faith in the heart, therefore that which is due to the word is here ascribed to faith.

Verse 2

2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Ver. 2. The elders obtained, &c. ] Gr. εμαρτυρηθησαν , were attested unto; and are here eternalized in this notable chapter, this little book of martyrs, as one fitly calleth it. Faith honoureth God, and gives him a testimonial, John 3:33 , such as is that Deuteronomy 32:4 . God therefore honoureth faith, according to 1 Samuel 2:30 , and gives it his testimonial, as here in this truly named golden legend.

Verse 3

3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Ver. 3. Through faith we understand ] It is the nature of faith to believe God upon his bare word, and that against sense in things invisible, and against reason in things incredible. Sense corrects imagination, reason corrects sense, but faith corrects both. Aufer argumenta ubi fides quaeritur. Verba philosophorum excludit simplex veritas Piscatorum, saith Ambrose. I believe, and that is enough, though I cannot prove principles and fundamentals of faith.

That the worlds were framed ] Gr. κατηπτισθαι , affabre facta, " were neatly made up."

By the word of God ] By that one word of his, Fiat, Let it be so and so. By the way, take notice, that faith here described is taken in a large sense as it hath not the promises only, but the whole word of God for its object. Look how the Israelites with the same eyes and visual faculty wherewith they beheld the sands and mountains, did look upon the brazen serpent also, but were cured by fastening upon that alone; so by the same faith whereby we are justified, we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, and believe all other truths revealed; and yet faith as it justifieth looks upon Christ alone, not knowing anything here but Christ and him crucified, as is well observed by a learned divine.

Were not made of things, &c. ] Of any pre-existent matter, as Plato held. See Trapp on " Gen 1:1 "

Verse 4

4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Ver. 4. A more excellent sacrifice ] Good actions and good aims make a man good in the sight of God. Cain may offer as well as Abel. Doeg may set his foot as far within the sanctuary as David, the Pharisee as the publican, but with different success.

God testifying of his gifts ] By fire from heaven, or some other visible expression of his gracious acceptation, whereby Abel’s faith was confirmed touching life and salvation in Christ. Paulus Phagius tells us out of the Rabbins, that a face of a lion was seen in the heavenly fire inflaming the sacrifice. (Armor. in Chal. Paraphr.) Which (if it be true) did probably shadow out the "Lion of the tribe of Judah," of whom all the sacrifices were types.

Being dead yet speaketh ] λαλειται , or, is yet spoken of, being registered for the first martyr in the Old Testament, as Stephen was in the New, and as Mr Rogers was here in the Marian persecution.

Verse 5

5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Ver. 5. By faith Enoch was translated ] μετετεθη , or carried from one place to another. He changed his place, but not his company, for he still walked with God, as in earth, so in heaven.

That he should not see death ] The Arabic version addeth, he was translated into paradise, where a plentiful amends was made him for that which he wanted of the days of the years of the lives of his fathers, in the days of their pilgrimage, Genesis 47:9 .

And was not found ] And yet the Lord killed him not, as the Chaldee hath,Genesis 5:24; Genesis 5:24 , but took him up in a whirlwind, say the Hebrew doctors, as Elijah was. He was changed as those shall be that are found alive at Christ’s second coming, 1 Corinthians 15:51 , the soul and body being separated, and in a moment reunited. Subitus erit transitus a natura corruptibili in beatam immortalitatem, saith Calvin there.

That. he pleased God ] ευηοεστηκεναι , he walked with God in all well pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, Colossians 1:10 . Hence that testimony given him by his own conscience that he gave God good content.

Verse 6

6 But without faith it is impossible to please him : for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Ver. 6. But without faith ] That is, without Christ, in whom the Father is well pleased, John 14:6 .

For he that cometh to God ] sc. Forma pauperis, that cometh a begging to him in the sense of his own utter indigence, as Jacob’s sons came to Joseph, and as the Egyptians hard bestead came to him, saying, "We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent," &c., Gen 47:18

Must believe that he is ] Zaleucus, lawgiver of the Locrians, speaketh thus in the poem to his laws, Hoc inculcatum sit, esse Deos, let this he well settled in men’s minds that there is a Deity, and that this Deity will reward the devout. But what an odd conceit was that of the Cretians, to paint their Jupiter without either eyes or ears! And what an uncertainty was she at that prayed, O Deus quisquis es vel in coelo, vel in terra, O God, whoever thou art, for whether thou art, and who thou art, I know not. (Medea.) This uncertainty attending idolatry caused the heathens to close up their petitions with that general Diique Deaeque omnes, Hear, all ye gods and goddesses. (Servius in Geor. lib. 1.) And those mariners, John 1:5 , every man to call upon his god; and lest they might all mistake the true God, they awaken Jonah to call upon his God. Christian petitioners must settle this, that their God is Optimus, Maximus, such in himself, and such toward them, as he stands described in his holy word.

Verse 7

7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Ver. 7. Moved with fear ] Opposed to the security of the old world, who would know nothing till the very day that the flood came,Matthew 24:39; Matthew 24:39 ; Noah trembled at God’s judgments, whilst they hanged in the threatenings; and was no less affected than if himself had been endangered. See the like in Habakkuk, after that he threatened the Chaldeans, Habakkuk 3:16 , and in Daniel, Daniel 4:19 . Noah took things foretold him by God by the right handle, as the word ευλαβηθεις properly signifieth.

By the which he condemned the world ] Of deep and desperate security, that dead lethargy where into sin and Satan had cast them. Their heathen posterity in scorn termed him Prometheus; and feigned him to be chained to Caucasus with a vulture feeding upon his entrails, in regard of his foretelling the flood, and providing an ark to escape it, near the mountain Caucasus.

And became heir ] Heir apparent; he was hereby evidently declared to be such.

Verse 8

8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Ver. 8. When he was called ] A man may follow God dryshod through the Red Sea. He is to be obeyed without sciscitation, with a blind obedience. Abraham winked, as it were, and put his hand into God’s to be led whithersoever he pleased. Magnus est animus, qui se Dee tradidit; pusillus et degener qui obluctatur. (Seneca.) That is a brave man indeed that can wholly resign himself up to God- Quo fata trahunt, retrahuntque, sequamur. (Virgil.)

Verse 9

9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

Ver. 9. He sojourned in the land ] There he had his commoration, but in heaven his conversation, content to dwell in tents till he should fix his station above.

With Isaac and Jacob ] Perhaps together, as near neighbours. When Abraham parted with Lot, he would part with him no further than the right hand is from the left, Genesis 13:9 . There is singular comfort in the society of saints.

Verse 10

10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Ver. 10. Which hath foundations ] Heaven hath a foundation, earth hath none; but is hanged upon nothing, as Job speaketh. Hence things are said to be on earth, but in heaven.

Whose builder and maker ] Gr. Whose cunning artificer and public workman. God hath bestowed a great deal of skill and workmanship upon the third heaven.

Verse 11

11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

Ver. 11. Because she judged him, &c. ] At first she laughed, through unbelief, at the unlikelihood; but afterward she bethought herself, and believed. This latter is recorded, the former pardoned. So Genesis 18:12 , "Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I have waxen old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" Here was never a good word but one, viz. that she called her husband lord, and this is recorded to her eternal commendation,1 Peter 3:6; 1 Peter 3:6 . Isaac then was not a child of nature, but of the mere promise; so are all our graces. We bring forth good things, as Sarah’s dead womb brought forth a child.

Verse 12

12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

Ver. 12. As the stars, &c. ] The seed of Abraham (saith one) are of two sorts. Some are visible members of a Church, yet have earthly hearts, dry and barren as the sand. Others as the stars of heaven, of spiritual hearts, minding things above.

Verse 13

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them , and embraced them , and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Ver. 13. And embraced them ] Gr. Saluted them, kissing Christ in the promises, and interchangeably kissed of him,Song of Solomon 1:1; Song of Solomon 1:1 , being drawn together (as the word signifies) by mutual dear affection, αοπασαμενοι ab α simul et σπαω , traho.

Verse 14

14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

Ver. 14. That they seek a country ] Fugiendure est ad clarissimam patriam; ibi pater, ibi omnia. Away, home to our country, saith one, there is our Father, there is our all, saith Plotin. (ap. Aug. de Civ. De;). To die, is, in Bernard’s language, no more than redoatriasse, to go home again.

Verse 15

15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

Ver. 15. If they had been mindful ] But to that they had no mind at all, because there idolatry too much prevailed, Joshua 24:2 ; Genesis 31:19 , yet not so much as among the Canaanites, Deuteronomy 12:31 .

Verse 16

16 But now they desire a better country , that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Ver. 16. God is not ashamed ] But honoureth them as his confederates, because for his cause they renounced the world. No man ever did or suffered anything for God that complained of a hard bargain.

Verse 17

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son ,

Ver. 17. Abraham when he was tried ] Of ten trials wlfich Abraham passed, this last was the sorest. No son of Abraham can look to escape temptations, when he seeth that bosom in which he desireth to rest so assaulted with difficulties.

Offered up his son Isaac ] Ready he was so to have done, and therefore it is reputed and reckoned as done indeed, 2 Corinthians 8:12 . See Trapp on " 2Co 8:12 "

Verse 18

18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

Ver. 18. Of whom it was said ] This was one of those many promises that Abraham might think were all lost in the loss of his Isaac. Never was gold tried in so hot a fire.

Verse 19

19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Ver. 19. That God was able ] He founded his faith upon God’s fidelity and omnipotency. These are the Jachin and the Boaz, the two main pillars whereupon faith resteth.

Verse 20

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

Ver. 20. By faith Isaac blessed ] Patriarchal benedictions were prophetical; the blessing of godly parents is still very available for the good of their children; and justifying faith is not beneath miraculous in the sphere of its own activity and where it hath warrant of God’s word.

Verse 21

21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

Ver. 21. When he was a dying ] The Spirit’s motions are then many times quickest when natural motions are slowest; most sensible when the body begins to be senseless; most lively when the saints lie dying. The sun shines most amiably toward the descent. The rivers, the nearer they run to the sea, the sooner they are met by the tide. So here.

Verse 22

22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

Ver. 22. Gave commandment concerning ] He died upon the promise, and held possession by his bones, to testify his firm hold of heaven.

Verse 23

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.

Ver. 23. Hid three months of his parents ] That they hid him no longer argued weakness of their faith, which yet is both commended and rewarded.

He was a proper child ] αστειον , fair to God, Acts 7:20 , having a divine beauty and comeliness. Special endowments are a foretoken of special employment. The very heathen in choosing their kings had a special eye to bodily beauty. See 1Sa 10:23 ; 1 Samuel 16:19 ; 1 Samuel 17:42 .

Not afraid of the king’s commandment ] Because unjust and impious. See Trapp on " Act 4:19 "

Verse 24

24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;

Ver. 24. When he was come to years ] Gr. μεγας γενομενος , grown a great one, and so knew what he did, understood himself sufficiently.

Refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s ] And so to succeed in the kingdom (for we read not of any son that Pharaoh had), yea, in the kingdom of Ethiopia too; for being sent on his fosterfather’s quarrel against the king of Ethiopia, histories tell us that he afterwards married thai king’s daughter; for the which he was checked of his brother and sister, Numbers 12:1 . But he could have told them, that for denying the title of son of Pharaoh’s daughter, he was soon after called Pharaoh’s god,Exodus 7:1; Exodus 7:1 ; and what he lost in Ethiopia, was sufficiently made up to him when he became king in Jeshurun. Howsoever, gratius ei fuit nomen pietatis quam potestatis, as Tertullian saith of Augustus, he more prized piety than power.

Verse 25

25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

Ver. 25. Choosing rather to suffer ] The happiest choice that ever the good man made. It was a heavy charge that Elihu laid upon Job, that he had chosen iniquity rather than affliction, Job 36:21 . The Church is said to come from the wilderness (of troubles and miseries), leaning on her beloved,Song of Solomon 8:5; Song of Solomon 8:5 . The good soul will not break the hedge of any commandment to avoid any piece of foul way. Quas non oportet mortes praeeligere? saith Zuinglius. What deaths had we not better choose, what punishment undergo, yea, what hell not suffer, rather than go against our consciences rightly informed by the good word of God?

The pleasures of sin for a season ] Job fitly calleth sparks the sons of fire, being engendered by it upon fuel, as pleasures are by our lusts upon the object. But they are not long lived, they are but as sparks, they die as soon as begotten, they perish with the use, Colossians 2:22 . Good God, saith Lysimachus, for how short pleasure how great a kingdom have I lost! May not the voluptuous epicure say so much better? Oh, what madmen are they that bereave themselves of a room in that city of pearl for a few carnal pleasures in this land of Cabul, or of dirt, as Hiram called the cities that Solomon had given him, 1 Kings 9:13 .

Verse 26

26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

Ver. 26. Esteeming the reproach, &c. ] Reproach is here reckoned as the heaviest part of Christ’s cross. And if we can bear reproach for him, it is an argument we mean to stick to him, as the servant in the law that was content to be bored in the ear would stick to his master.

Than the treasures in Egypt ] Egypt for its power and pride is called Rahab, Psalms 87:4 : famous it was for its learning, 1 Kings 4:30 ; Acts 7:23 ; and is still for its fruitfulness; so that where the Nile overfloweth, they do but throw in the seed, and have four rich harvests in less than four months. Thence Solomon had his chief horses, 2 Chronicles 9:28 , and the harlot her fine linen, Proverbs 7:16 , and yet Moses upon mature deliberation esteemed the reproach of Christ, &c. So did Origen choose rather to be a poor catechist in Alexandria than, denying the faith, to be with his fellow pupil Plotinus in great authority and favour. To profess the truth while we may live upon it, this argues no truth; but to profess it when it must live upon us, upon our honours, profits, pleasures, this is praise worthy, and argues not only truth, but strength of grace, 1 Samuel 14:26 . It argued there was much power in that oath when none dared to touch one drop of that honey; so, to resist strong temptations, argues strong grace.

For he had respect, &c. ] We may safely make any of God’s arguments our encouragements; look through the cross, and see the crown beyond it, and take heart, Quis non patiatur, ut potiatur? Moses cast an eye (when he was on his journey) to cheer him in his way, απεβλεπε , he stole a look from glory; he goes to his cordial, and renews his strength, gets fresh encouragement. Columbus, when his men were weary, and resolved to come back, besought them to go on but three days longer. They did so, and discovered America. Heaven is but a little before us. Hold out, faith and patience.

Verse 27

27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Ver. 27. As seeing him who is invisible ] An elegant kind of contradiction. Let us study Moses’ optics, get a patriarch’s eye, see God, and set him at our right hand, Psalms 16:8 . This will, support our courage, as it did Micaiah’s, who, having seen God, feared not to see two great kings in their majesty.

Verse 28

28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

Ver. 28. Through faith he kept the passover ] It is the work of faith rightly to celebrate a sacrament. Speak therefore to thy faith at the Lord’s supper, as Deborah did to herself, "Awake, awake, Deborah, awake, awake, utter a song."

Verse 29

29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land : which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

Ver. 29. They passed through the Red Sea ] Which threatened to swallow them, but yet preserved them. Faith will eat its way through the Alps of seemingly insuperable difficulties, and find unexpected exits.

As by dry land ] "Israel saw no way to escape here, unless they could have gone up to heaven, which because they could not, saith one, heaven comes down to them, and paves them away through the Red Sea.

Assaying to do were drowned ] Here that holy proverb was exemplified, "The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead," Proverbs 11:8 . See Isaiah 43:3 . God usually infatuateth those whom he intendeth to destroy, as these.

Verse 30

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

Ver. 30. By faith the walls of Jericho ] So do daily the strongholds of hell, 2 Corinthians 10:4 . See Trapp on " 2Co 10:4 " Wherein, albeit the Lord requite our continual endeavours for the subduing of our corruptions during the six days of this life, yet we shall never find it perfectly effected till the very evening of our last day.

Verse 31

31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

Ver. 31. With them that believed not ] To wit, that gave not credit to those common reports of God and his great works, but despised them as light news, and refused to be at the pains of further inquiry.

When she had received the spies ] Whom to secure she told a lie, which was ill done. The apostle commends her faith in God, but not her deceit toward her neighbour, as Hugo well observeth.

Verse 32

32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

Ver. 32. Of Gideon, of Barak, &c. ] Here the names only of various worthies of old time per praeteritionem conglobantur, are artificially wound up together for brevity’ sake. All these were mot alike eminent, and some of them such as, but that we find them here enrolled, we should scarce have taken them for honest men; yet by faith, &c. Christ carries all his, of what size or sort soever, to the haven of heaven, upon his own bottom, as a ship doth all the passengers that are therein to the desired shore.

Verse 33

33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Ver. 33. Wrought righteousness ] Civil and military, spiritualized by faith and heightened to its full worth. The Scripture maketh it a great matter, that Abraham should have a child when he was a hundred years old, whereas Torah his father was 130 when he begat Abraham. But because Abraham had his child by faith, therefore it was a great matter. And so in all things whatsoever that we have, do, or suffer, if they be by faith, they are great things indeed.

Obtained promises ] Faith winds itself into the promises, and makes benefit thereof. A bee can suck honey out of a flower, so cannot a fly do. Faith will extract abundance of comfort in most desperate distresses out of the precious promises, and gather one contrary out of another, honey out of the rock, &c., Deuteronomy 32:37 .

Verse 34

34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Ver. 34. Escaped the edge of the sword ] As David by the force of his faith escaped Saul’s sword, Elijah Ahab’s, Elisha the Syrians’, 2 Kings 6:8-23 , and various of God’s hidden ones at this day have escaped by a strange providence, when studiously sought after as sheep to the slaughter. See the Prefatory Epistle to Mr Shaw’s Sermon.

Out of weakness were made strong ] And here their strength was to sit still, as theirs was, Isaiah 30:7 . They thought their strength had been in the help of Egypt; but the prophet tells them, whatsoever strength they expect from Egypt they shall have it here. Your Egypt "is to sit still" (so the words may be read); by sitting still you shall have an Egypt; whatsoever help you might think to have that way, you shall have it this way.

Verse 35

35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

Ver. 35. Women received ] As the Sareptan Shunammite, widow of Nain, &c. No such midwife as faith; it hath delivered even graves of their dead.

Others were tortured ] Gr. ετυμπανισθησαν , they were tympanized, distended, stretched upon the rack, as a sheep’s pelt is upon a drum head. Others render it, "They were bastonaded or beaten with bars or cudgels to death," as if it were with drum sticks.

Not accepting deliverance ] On base terms; they scorned to flee away for the enjoyment of any rest, except it were with the wings of a dove, covered with silver innoceney. As willing were many of the martyrs to die as to dine. The tormentors were tired in torturing Blandina. And, We are ashamed, O emperor! The Christians laugh at your cruelty, and grow the more resolute, said one of Julian’s nobles. Illud humiliter sublime et sublimiter humile, nisi in Christi Martyribus non videmus, saith Cyprian. This the heathens counted obstinacy (Tertul. in Apelog.); but they knew not the power of the Spirit, nor the private armour of proof that the saints have about their hearts.

That they might obtain a better resurrection ] The resurrection they knew would recruit and rectify them. This held life and soul together. So Daniel 12:3 . These miserable captives, saith Lucian (the atheist of the Christians of this time), have vainly persuaded themselves of a glorious resurrection, and hence their fool hardy forwardness to die. Other of the heathens jeered the Christians, and told them they needed not to care for their lives, since they should rise again. Will you, said they, rediturae parcere vitae, spare your carcases that shall rise.

Verse 36

36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

Ver. 36. Of cruel mockings ] As Jeremiah, Amos, Elisha, "Go up, bald head, go up," so. "To heaven, as they say" (but who will believe it?) "that your master Elijah did." So they mewed at David, mocked at Isaiah, Isaiah 28:10 ; (the sound of the words, as they are in the original, carries a taunt), jeered our Saviour, Luke 16:14 . See these Hebrews upon the stage, as mocking stocks,Hebrews 10:33; Hebrews 10:33 .

Verse 37

37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

Ver. 37. Were tempted ] επειρασθησαν , or (as others read the words) They were burned. One saith that it was almost as great a miracle that Joseph did not burn when his mistress tempted him, as it was for the three children not to burn in the Babylonish fire. Luther was oft tempted to be quiet, with great sums of money and highest preferments. Julian by this means drew many from the faith.

In sheep skins and goat skins ] That might have rustled in silks and velvets, if they would have yielded. Saepe sub attrita latitat sapientia vesta .

Afflicted, tormented ] None out of hell were ever more afflicted than the saints, to the wonder and astonishment of the beholders.

Verse 38

38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

Ver. 38. Of whom the world ] They were fitter to be set as stars in heaven, and be before the Lord in his glory. The world was not worthy of their presence, and yet they were not thought worthy to live in the world.

Verse 39

39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

Ver. 39. Received not the promise ] viz. Of Christ’s incarnation.

Verse 40

40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Ver. 40. Some better thing ] i. e. Christ, that great mystery, as 1 Timothy 3:16 ; that chief of ten thousand, &c.; that gift, John 4:10 ; that benefit, 1 Timothy 6:2 .

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 11". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.