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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Hebrews 11

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 11

Hebrews 11:3. μὴ ἐκ φαινομένων] Instead thereof there is read in the Peshito: ex illis, quae non cernuntur; in the Vulgate: ex invisibilibus; in Lat. D E: ex non apparentibus. These translations, however, are a mere interpretative gloss, from which the actual existence of an early reading: ἐκ μὴ φαινομένων, cannot at all be inferred.

The preference to the Recepta: τὰ βλεπόμενα, is merited by the reading τὸ βλεπόμενον, commended to attention by Griesbach, adopted by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. and Alford, approved also by de Wette, Tholuck, Delitzsch, and others. To be preferred partly on account of the better attestation by means of A D* E* א, 17, It. Copt. Clem. Didym. Ath. Cyr. al., partly because a mutation from the singular into the plural was more naturally suggested than the opposite.

Hebrews 11:4. Elz.: μαρτυροῦντος ἐπὶ τοῖς δώροις αὐτοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ. Instead of this, A D* א* 17 have: μαρτυροῦντος ἐπὶ τοῖς δώροις αὐτοῦ τῷ θεῷ. Adopted by Lachm. But the thought: “in that Abel, in regard to his offerings, gave testimony to God,” would be unintelligible, and, moreover, incorrectly and unhappily expressed. Besides, since μαρτυροῦντος κ. τ. λ. is the unmistakable nearer definition to ἐμαρτυρήθη, the context naturally points to God as the subject in μαρτυροῦντος. Beyond doubt, therefore, τῷ θεῷ arose only from the eye of the copyist wandering to the τῷ θεῷ at the beginning of the verse.

In place of the Recepta λαλεῖται, Griesbach (who, however, attaches equal value to the Recepta), Bleek, Scholz, Tisch. Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Alford, Reiche rightly read λαλεῖ. In favour of this is decisive, on the one hand, the important authority of A א, 17, 23, 31, 39, al. mult., Syr. utr. Arabb. Copt. Armen. Slav. rec. Vulg. Clem. Orig. Athan. Nyss. Chrys. (in comment.) Epiphan. Austerius Damasc. Chron. alex. Theodoret (in textu), Photius ms. Oecum. Theophyl., on the other hand, the usus loquendi. For neither in taking λαλεῖται in the middle sense, with Beza, Er. Schmid, Wolf, Carpzov, Baumgarten, nor yet in the passive: praedicatur, laudatur, in omnium ore est, with Jos. Scaliger, Lud. de Dieu, Wetstein, Heinrichs, Stengel, should we be warranted on linguistic grounds; quite apart from the fact that, in the latter acceptation, the statement would be a very trivial one.

Hebrews 11:5. Elz.: εὑρίσκετο. Better attested, however (by A D E א, 109, Epiphan.), is the form ηὑρίσκετο, which is found likewise in the LXX. Genesis 5:24, in the Cod. Alex. Rightly adopted by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. and Alford.

In place of the Recepta: τῆς μεταθέσεως αὐτοῦ, we have to write, with Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. de Wette, Delitzsch, Alford, and others, after A D* א* 17, 67** 80, Vulg. It. Copt., merely: τῆς μεταθέσεως, and in place of the received form εὐηρεστηκέναι, with Lachm. Tisch. 1, 2, and 7, Delitzsch, and Alford, the form better attested (by A K L, 46, 71, 73, al., Theophyl.): εὐαρεστηκέναι.

Hebrews 11:8. Elz.: καλούμενος. But A D (E?) Vulg. It. Arm. Theodoret, Jer. Bed. Have καλούμενος. Approved by Mill. Rightly placed in the text by Lachm. and Tisch. 1.

The article τόν, inserted in the Recepta before τόπον, we have, with Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. 1, 7, and 8, and Alford, after A D* א*, to delete; and, after A D* K, many min. Chrys. Damasc. Theophyl., with Lachm. Tisch. 1, 2, and 7, and Alford, to write ἔμελλεν in place of the Recepta ἤμελλε.

Hebrews 11:9. καὶ παρῷκησεν, which D* E, together with their Latin translation, furnish in place of the Recepta: πίστει παρῷκησεν, is a later corruption, inasmuch as in Hebrews 11:9 a fresh evidence is given of the πίστις of Abraham.

εἰς γῆν] Elz.: εἰς τὴν γῆν. But the article is wanting in A D** K L א, very many cursives, with Damasc. and Oecum. It is suspected by Griesbach, rightly rejected by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. Alford.

Hebrews 11:11. καὶ παρὰ καιρὸν ἠλικίας] Elz.: καὶ παρὰ καιρὸν ἡλικίας ἔτεκεν. But ἔτεκεν is a later gloss, which is condemned by A D* א* 17, Vulg. It. Copt. Sah. Aeth. utr. Chrys. (codd.). It was already regarded as spurious by Beza, Grotius, Mill (Prolegg. 1355), Bengel; and is rightly deleted by Griesbach, Knapp, Lachm. Scholz, Bleek, Tisch. Alford, and others.

Hebrews 11:12. In place of the Recepta ἐγεννήθησαν, Lachm. Bleek, Delitzsch, and Alford read ἐγενήθησαν, which, on account of the stronger attestation by A D* K, 109, 219* al. (Vulg. It.: orti sunt), is to be preferred.

ὡς ἄμμος] So already the Editt. Complut. and Steph. 2, then Bengel, Griesbach, Matthaei, Knapp, Lachm. Scholz, Bleek, Tisch. Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Alford, and others. Elz.: ὡσεὶ ἄμμος. Against A D (* and ** and ***)(104) E K L א, 23, 37, 46, 47, al. mult., Chrys. (codd.) Damasc. Oecum. Theophyl.

παρὰ τὸ χεῖλος] is wanting in D* E, in their Latin translation, and in Aeth. utr. The origin of the omission is to be traced back to a mere error in writing, to which the resemblance of sound of the closing letters in ἄ΄΄ος and χεῖλος gave occasion.

Hebrews 11:13. In place of the Recepta μὴ λαβόντες, Lachm. reads μὴ προσδεξάμενοι. But the Recepta is supported by the considerable authority of D E K L א*** almost all the cursives, Theodoret, and others; while the reading of Lachm., probably arising from Hebrews 11:35, has only the testimony of A in its favour, and is devoid of meaning. For προσδεξά΄ενοι could, in accordance with the usage prevailing elsewhere, only signify either the subjective having expected (having awaited), or the subjective having admitted. But neither of these, meanings would be compatible with the statement of Hebrews 11:13, which would be suitably expressed only if προσδεξά΄ενοι could be explained of the objective having received, what is never denoted by this verb. The reading μὴ κομισάμενοι in א* some cursives (17, 23* 39, al.), and, with Chrys. (in comment.) Damasc. Theophyl. (adopted by Tisch. 8), was only called forth by the similar turn Hebrews 10:36, Hebrews 11:39.

ἰδόντες] Elz.: ἰδόντες καὶ πεισθέντες. But the addition καὶ πεισθέντες has almost all the witnesses (also א) against it. It is found in only two or three cursives, and is an explanatory gloss to ἀσπασά΄ενοι. Comp. Chrysostom: οὓτω πεπεισ΄ένοι ἦσαν περὶ αὐτῶν ὡς καὶ ἀσπάσασθαι αὐτάς; Oecumenius: καὶ ἀσπασά΄ενοι· πεισθέντες.

Hebrews 11:15. ἐξέβησαν] Elz. Griesbach (who, however, has placed ἐξέβησαν on the inner margin), Matthaei, Knapp, Scholz, Bloomfield: ἐξῆλθον. Against A D* E* א* 17, 73, 80, Athan. (ed. Bened.; edd. al.: ἐξεβλήθησαν) Chron. alex. Damasc.

Hebrews 11:16. νῦν δέ] Elz. Matt. Bloomfield: νυνὶ δέ. Against decisive witnesses (A D E א, 44, 48, al. perm., Athan. Chrys. Theodoret, Oecum.).

Hebrews 11:19. The Recepta ἐγείρειν has the support of D E K L א, almost all min. Orig. Chrys. Theodoret, Damasc. al.; Lachm. and Tisch. 1 read, after A ( εγειρε), 17, 71, Cyr. Chron. alex.: ἐγεῖραι.

Elz.: δυνατός; A D**: δύναται. Adopted by Lachm. into the text.

Hebrews 11:20. In place of the Recepta πίστει, Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. 1, 2, 7, Alford have adopted πίστει καί, after A D* 17, 23, 37, al., Vulg. It. Chrys. (but not in all MSS. and editt.) Theodoret, Damasc. Sedul. Bede. Rightly. καί might appear superfluous, and on that account was more likely to be omitted than added.

Hebrews 11:23. Instead of the Recepta διάταγμα, Lachm. reads δόγμα. But this reading is founded only in a conjectural manner upon A, inasmuch as all the letters of the word except the δ have been torn away from the Codex. Apart from this, δόγμα is found only in one cursive MS. of the twelfth century (Cod. 34). It is probably a gloss from Luke 2:1.

At the close of Hebrews 11:23, D* E (as also their Latin translation, as well as three codd. of the Vulgate) further add the Words: πιστι μεγας γενομενος μωυσης ανιλεν τον αιγυπτιον κατανοων την ταπινωσιν των αδελφων αυτου, as to the spuriousness of which, although Zeger and Mill (Prolegg. 496) held them to be genuine, no doubt can exist, even on account of the ΄έγας γενό΄ενος, Hebrews 11:24. They are a complementary addition in conformity to Acts 7:23 ff.

Hebrews 11:26. τῶν αἰγύπτου] Elz.: τῶν ἐν αἰγύπτῳ. Against D E K L א (also against the later supplementer of B), 31, 44, 46, al. plur., Syr. utr. Copt, al., Clem. Euseb. al. Rejected by Griesbach, Matthaei, Knapp, Scholz, Bleek, Tisch. de Wette, Delitzsch, Alford, al. The τῶν ἐν αἰγύπτου, adopted by Lachm., after A and some cursives (3, 71), owes its origin to an uncompleted correction.

Hebrews 11:28. Instead of the Recepta ὀλοθρεύων, A D E, Damasc. have the more correct ( ὄλεθρος) form ὀλεθρεύων, which is rightly preferred by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. 1, 2, 7, and Alford.

Hebrews 11:29. Elz. has merely ὡς διὰ ξηρᾶς. But, with Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. Delitzsch, and Alford, we have to add γῆς, after A D* E א, 17, 31, 47, al., Chrys. Theodoret (cod.), and probably all the versions. Since γῆς was no necessary addition, it could easily get omitted.

Hebrews 11:30. Recepta: ἔπεσε. But, after A D* א, 17, 23, 31, al., Chrys. ms., ἔπεσαν (in favour of which, also, ἔπεσον in 37, and Chrys. ms., testifies) is to be looked upon as the original reading. Adopted by Lachm. Bleek, Tisch. Alford. Approved by Delitzsch.

Hebrews 11:32. Elz.: ἐπιλείψει γάρ ΄ε. With Lachm. Tisch. 7 and 8, and Alford, after A D* א, we have to transpose into: ἐπιλείψει ΄ε γάρ.

In that which follows, the Recepta reads: περὶ γεδεών, βαράκ τε καὶ σαμψὼν καὶ ἰεφθάε, δαυΐδ τε καί σαμουήλ.

Instead thereof, Lachm. reads (and so also Tisch. 1 and 8), as it also stands in the Codex Sinaiticus: περὶ γεδεὼν βαρὰκ σα΄ψὼν ἰεφθάε, δαυίδ τε καί σα΄ουήλ. On internal grounds neither of these forms of the text commends itself. For, in the case of both, the persons here further mentioned would have been enumerated, in contradiction with the mode of proceeding hitherto observed, without regard to the chronology; inasmuch as, historically, Barak was to have been mentioned before Gideon, Jephthah before Samson, Samuel before David. And yet the regularity with which each time the second name designates a person earlier in a chronological respect, points to an order of succession chosen with design. Observe, further, that in the last member, δαυΐδ τε καὶ σα΄ουήλ, there is nowhere found a variation with regard to the particles. There can thus hardly be room for doubt that the foregoing names also were originally arranged in groups of two. It appears, accordingly, the better course to retain the Recepta, with the two modifications,—that, with D*, καὶ βαράκ is read in place of the mere βαράκ; and then, with A, 17, Vulg. Copt. Arm. Clem. Cyr. Al. Epiphan. Ambr. Bede, the mere σαμψών is read instead of τε καὶ σαμψών. (The καί before ἰεφθάε is supported by D E K L, almost all cursives, Syr. al., Chrys. Theodoret, Damasc. al.) Thus arises the text: περὶ γεδεὼν καὶ βαράκ, σαμψὼν καὶ ιεφθάε, δαυΐδ τε καὶ σαμουήλ, and the sense is: “of Gideon as well as of Barak, of Samson not less than of Jephthah, of David even as of Samuel.” In connection with this form of the text, the otherwise very strange breach in the chronological order disappears, since the discourse advances historically with the addition of each new double member; while, in the double members themselves, the mention of the later person before the earlier is justified by the mention on each occasion of those who are in point of time contemporaries, as also from the consideration of rhetorical effect.

Hebrews 11:34. After A D* א, Lachm. has adopted μαχαίρης (and so also Tisch. 7 and 8) instead of the Recepta ΄αχαίρας, and, after A D* א*: ἐδυνα΄ώθησαν (so also Tisch. 8), in place of the Recepta: ἑνεδυναμώθησαν.

Hebrews 11:35. γυναῖκες] Lachm. has, after A D* א*: γυναῖκας, what, however, rests upon a mere error in transcribing, and is to be rejected as meaningless.

Hebrews 11:37. μαχαίρας] D* א, Lachm. Tisch. 7 and Hebrews 8 : μαχαίρης.

Hebrews 11:38. The Recepta ἐν ἐρη΄ίαις is attested by D E K L, min. Clem. Orig. (twice) Chrys. Theodoret, Damasc. al. Lachm. and Tisch. 7 and 8 read, with A א, 71, 73, 118, Orig. (once) Socrat.: ἐπὶ ἐρημίαις, which, however, can have arisen only from an error of the copyist.

Hebrews 11:39. Elz.: τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν. A, 80, Arab. Polygl. Lachm.: τὰς ἐπαγγελίας.


Verse 1

Hebrews 11:1. The definition. This is no scholastic, exhaustive one, but brings out only that element as the essence of the πίστις, with which the author was here alone concerned; inasmuch as, according to Hebrews 10:35 ff., just the inner certainty of conviction with regard to the Christian hope, and the stedfast continuance in the same dependent thereon, was that which was lacking to the readers. The words: ἔστιν δὲ πίστις ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις, are to be taken together as a single statement, and πραγμάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων forms an apposition to ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις: “faith, however, is a firm confidence in regard to that which is hoped for, a being convinced of things which are invisible.” πίστις is accordingly subject; ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις, as well as πραγμάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων, predicate; and ἔστιν (which, standing at the beginning, is to be accentuated as the verbum substantivum, see Kühner, I. p. 72) emphatically preposed copula, with the design of attaching to the presupposition, expressed Hebrews 10:39, of πίστις as a quality present in the readers, the statement as to the nature and essence of this πίστις. Quite similar is the use of ἔστιν in the beginning of the proposition, 1 Timothy 6:6 : ἔστιν δὲ πορισμὸς μέγας εὐσέβεια μετὰ αὐταρκείας, and Luke 8:11 : ἔστιν δὲ αὕτη παραβολή. Grammatically admissible indeed, but to be rejected—because in that case a thought would be expressed which is not suggested by the connection, and, moreover, a truth in regard to which no contradiction whatever was to be expected on the part of the readers—is it when Böhme (as formerly also Winer, Gramm., 3 and 4 Aufl.; otherwise 5 Aufl. p. 70, 6 Aufl. p. 56, 7 Aufl. p. 58 f.) will have ἔστιν taken as a verb substantive, and ὑπόστασις, as likewise ἔλεγχος, taken as apposition to πίστις: “there is, however, a faith, a confidence,” etc.

πίστις] without an article, since the author will define the notion of πίστις in general, not exclusively the notion of specifically Christian faith.

ὑπόστασις] is by many explained as “reality” (entity, Wesenheit), and placed on a par with οὐσία, substantia, essentia, and the like, which, however, is already proved to be inadmissible from the fact that the notion of “reality” cannot be immediately applied, but, in order to become fitting, must first be changed into that of an “endowing with reality,” in such wise that one can then make out the sense: faith clothes things which are not yet at all present with a substance or real existence, as though they were already present. This mode of interpretation was followed by Chrysostom ( ἐπειδὴ γὰρ τὰ ἐν ἐλπίδι ἀνυπόστατα εἶναι δοκεῖ, πίστις ὑπόστασιν αὐτοῖς χαρίζεται· μᾶλλον δέ, οὐ χαρίζεται ἀλλʼ αὐτό ἐστιν οὐσία αὐτῶν· οἷον ἀνάστασις οὐ παραγέγονεν οὐδέ ἐστιν ἐν ὑποστάσει, ἀλλʼ ἐλπὶς ὑφίστησιν αὐτὴν ἐν τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ ψυχῇ), Theodoret ( δείκνυσιν ὡς ὑφεστῶτα τὰ μηδὲπω γεγενημένα), Oecumenius ( πίστις ἐστὶν αὐτὴ ὑπόστασις καὶ οὐσία τῶν ἐλπιζομένων πραγμάτων· ἐπειδὴ γὰρ τὰ ἐν ἐλπίσιν ἀνυπόστατά ἐστιν ὡς τέως μὴ παρόντα, πίστις οὐσία τις αὐτῶν καὶ ὑπόστασις γίνεται, εἶναι αὐτὰ καὶ παρεῖναι τρόπον τινὰ παρασκευάζουσα διὰ τοῦ πιστεύειν εἶναι), Theophylact ( οὐσίωσις τῶν μήπω ὄντων καὶ ὑπόστασις τὠν μὴ ὑφεστώτων), by the Vulgate (substantia), by Ambrose, Augustine, Vatablus (rerum, quae sperantur, essentia), H. Stephanus (illud, quod facit, ut jam exstent, quae sperantur), Schlichting, Bengel, Heinrichs, Bisping, and others.

But likewise ὑπόστασις is not to be interpreted either by “fundamentum,” with Faber Stapulensis, Clarius, Schulz, Stein, Stengel, Woerner, and others, nor by “placing before one,” with Castellio (dicitur eorum, quae sperantur, subjectio, quod absentia nobis subjiciat ac proponat, efficiatque ut praesentia esse videantur, nec secus eis assentiamur, quam si cerneremus) and Paulus. for neither of the two affords in itself, without further amplification, a satisfactory, precise notion, quite apart from the fact that the last-mentioned signification can hardly be supported by the testimony of linguistic usage.

The alone correct course is consequently, with Luther, Cameron, Grotius, Wolf, Huët, Böhme, Bleek, de Wette, Tholuck, Ebrard, Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 702, Alford, Maier, Moll, and others, to take ὑπόστασις, as at Hebrews 3:14 (vid. ad loc.), as inner confidence,

ἐλπιζομένων] gen. objecti: of that (or: with regard to that) which is still hoped for, has not yet appeared in an actual form. The main emphasis in the predicate rests upon ἐλπιζομένων, as also upon the concluding words, corresponding in apposition thereto, οὐ βλεπομένων.

πραγμάτων] belongs to οὐ βλεπομένων. The conjoining with ἐλπιζομένων (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Estius, Böhme, Woerner, and others) deprives the two halves of the proposition of their rhythmical symmetry.

πραγμάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων] a being convinced (in mind or heart) of things which are invisible, i.e. a firm inner persuasion of the existence of unseen things, even as though they were manifest to one’s eyes. ἔλεγχος here expresses not the active notion of the convincing or assuring (Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 703; Moll, Hofmann), but, corresponding to the notion of the forementioned ὑπόστασις, indicates the result of the ἐλίγχειν (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:24), as λόγος that produced by the λέγειν, τύπος that effected by the τύπτειν, etc. To be rejected as unsuitable are the explanations: Proof, argumentum (Vulgate, Ambrose, Schlichting, Wolf, Heinrichs, and others); indicium (Erasmus); demonstratio (Calvin, H. Stephanus, Jac. Cappellus, Bengel, Alford, al.); apprehensio (Clarius); “a certain assurance, guarantee” (Stein), and many others. οὐ βλεπόμενα, however, on account of the objective negation, combines together into the unity of notion “invisible,” and is a more general characterization than ἐλπιζόμενα. While the latter is restricted to that which is purely future, the former comprehends at the same time that which is already present, and denotes in general the supra-sensuous and heavenly.

Calvin: Nobis vita aeterna 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 fieret, nisi spei inniteremur, ac mens nostra praelucente Dei verbo ac Spiritu per medias tenebras supra mundum emergeret?


Verses 1-40

Hebrews 11:1-40.(105) The author defines the nature of the πίστις which he requires of the readers, and then presents to them in chronological succession examples thereof from the days of old.


Verse 2

Hebrews 11:2. Justification of the characteristics mentioned, Hebrews 11:1, as those that are essential to the faith. Just this quality of faith was it by which the Old Testament saints were distinguished, and on that account became objects of the divine satisfaction and the divine favour.

ἐν ταύτῃ] not equivalent to διὰ ταύτης (Luther, Vatablus, Calvin, Schlichting, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Bengel, Böhme, and the majority; comp. Hebrews 11:4; Hebrews 11:39), or: ob eam (Wolf and others), or: touching faith, in point of faith (de Wette, Tholuck, Moll); but: in possession of a faith so constituted (Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 362, Obs.; Bleek, Bloomfield, Kurtz).

μαρτυρεῖσθαι] to obtain a testimony, and that according to the connection, a good, commendatory testimony, whether by words or deeds. Oecumenius: ἐμαρτυρήθησαν ὑπὸ θεοῦ εὐηρεστηκέναι αὐτῷ.

οἱ πρεσβύτεροι] the ancients (Schulz: the early ancestors), i.e. the forefathers under the Old Covenant; with the accessory idea of venerableness. A like name of honour, as elsewhere (Hebrews 1:1, al.) οἱ πατέρες.


Verse 3

Hebrews 11:3. The author is on the point of proving out the truth of Hebrews 11:2, in a series of historic instances from the Holy Scriptures of the O. T., when the thought forces itself upon him that the very first section of that sacred book of Scripture relates a fact of which the reality can only be recognised by means of faith. He first of all, therefore, calls attention to this fact, before proceeding, in Hebrews 11:4, to the designed enumeration of those historic examples. Certainly not very aptly, since Hebrews 11:3 cannot, as Hebrews 11:4 ff., serve in proof of the assertion, Hebrews 11:2, but, on the contrary, introduces into the examination something heterogeneous in relation to Hebrews 11:4 ff. For Hebrews 11:3 shows only the necessity for πίστις on our part in regard to a fact belonging to the past and recorded in Scripture; Hebrews 11:4 ff. there are placed before our eyes as models historic persons in whom the virtue of πίστις, so constituted as the author demands it of his readers, was livingly present. This judgment, that Hebrews 11:3 forms a heterogeneous insertion, is pronounced, indeed, by Delitzsch, to whom Kluge and Moll have acceded, an “unfair one.” But the counter observation of Delitzsch: “the author had already at Hebrews 11:2, in connection with οἱ πρεσβύτεροι, and particularly in connection with ἐμαρτυρήθησαν, the O. T. Scripture before his mind; so that the statement, although sounding thus personal, is equivalent to the proposition that the O. T. Scripture concedes no recognition to any mode of life which lies not within the province of faith,” labours under the defect of logical deliquescence; it is a mere rationalizing of the words of Hebrews 11:2, simply and clearly preposed as the theme for that which follows.

πίστει] Dat. instrumentalis: by virtue of faith.

νοοῦμεν] we discern. νοεῖν is the inner perception, accomplished by means of the νοῦς. Comp. Romans 1:20.

κατηρτίσθαι] has been prepared (comp. LXX. Psalms 73:16. Ps. 88:38). More expressive than if πεποιῆσθαι had been written. It represents the having been created at the same time as a having been placed in a completed or perfect condition [Hebrews 13:21].

τοὺς αἰῶνας] the world; see at Hebrews 1:2.

ῥήματι θεοῦ] by the word (or authoritative command) of God. Reference to the repeated: “And God said,” Genesis 1 Comp. 2 Peter 3:5; LXX. Psalms 38:6; Psalms 148:5. Philo, de sacrif. Abel, et Cain. p. 140 D (with Mangey, I. p. 175): γὰρ θεὸς λέγων ἅμα ἐποίει, μηδὲν μεταξὺ ἀμφοῖν τιθείς. The supposition of Bleek (comp. also Ewald, p. 123), that the author here too thought of the word of God as a personified property, has nothing in its favour, since the expression is sufficiently explained without it. Nor does the διʼ οὗ καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας, Hebrews 1:2, compel us to adopt this supposition. For above the special mode of mediately effecting the creation of the world there indicated, stands the higher authorship of God, to which the writer here points in general by the expression ῥήματι θεοῦ.

εἰς τὸ μὴ ἐκ φαινομένων τὸ βλεπόμενον γεγονέναι] not: so that, etc. (so still Böhme, Stuart, Bleek, de Wette, Alford, Conybeare, Kurtz, Ewald, M‘Caul, Woerner, and the majority of recent expositors), εἰς τό with the infinitive preserves here, too, its ordinary telic signification, in that it introduces the purpose of God with regard to the ῥήματι καταρτίζειν τοὺς αἰῶνας. The sense is: that in accordance with the decree of God, the fact should he averted, that from φαινόμενα the βλεπόμενον should have sprung; consequently that the human race should from the beginning be directed to the necessity for πίστις.

μή] belongs to the whole object-clause. So rightly Beza, Piscator, Seb. Schmidt, Er. Schmid, Bengel, Storr, Schulz, Huët, Böhme, Stuart, Bleek, Stein, de Wette, Bloomfield, Bisping, Riehm [Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 58), Alford, Maier, Kluge, Moll, Kurtz, M‘Caul, and Hofmann; while the Peshito, Vulgate, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, and almost all later expositors, including also Stengel and Ebrard (Delitzsch is undecided), comprehend μή with ἐκ φαινομένων, and then interpret this in the sense of ἐκ μὴ φαινομένων.(106) The latter, in favour of which the supposed parallels which have been adduced prove nothing, is by reason of the position of the words (to say nothing of the fact that οὐ must have been written in place of μή; for neither 2 Corinthians 4:18, as Delitzsch supposes, nor Romans 4:17, as Maier supposes, decides against this rule. See Meyer ad loc.) a grammatical impossibility.

τὸ βλεπόμενον] that which is seen, or the outward, visible world. The singular represents the same as one complex whole, τὸ βλεπόμενον resumes under another form only the foregoing τοὺς αἰῶνας, whereas the emphasis in the negative final clause rests upon the ἐκ φαινομένων, which is on that account preposed.

φαινόμενα] are things which appear in outward manifestation, and are perceived by the senses. The expression indicates the domain of the corporal, the material, and there underlies it the conception that the universe did not spring forth by the power of nature from earthly germs or substances, but was created by the mere word of God’s omnipotence. In this is contained, it is true, the conception of the creating of the world from nothing. [Cf. 2 Maccabees 7:28.] The opinion of Estius, Schlichting, Limborch, Michaelis, Baumgarten, and others, that the author, with a reference to Genesis 1:2 (specially after the translation of the LXX.: δὲ γῆ ἦν ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος), thought of a visible arising of the worlds out of the invisible chaos already existing, has for its presupposition the erroneous transposal of the μὴ ἐκ into ἐκ μή, and fails to maintain itself in presence of the fact that the γεγονέναι ἐκ φαινομένων, as antithesis to the foregoing κατηρτίσθαι ῥήματι θεοῦ, must receive from this latter its nearer defining of signification. Quite untenable is consequently also the opinion of Delitzsch, who, with the assent of Kluge and Kurtz, supplements ἀλλʼ ἐκ νοητῶν as opposition to μὴ ἐκ φαινομένων, and in connection with the μὴ φαινόμενα—or if μή is combined with the verb, in connection with the tacitly assumed opposite of the φαινόμενα—imagines the author to have thought, in harmony with the Philonian doctrine, of the divine ideas, out of which the world is supposed to have sprung, in that they were called forth by means of the divine word from their seclusion within the Godhead into the outer phenomenal reality. See against this also Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 59, Obs.


Verse 4

Hebrews 11:4. The example of Abel. Comp. Genesis 4:3 ff.

πίστει] belongs to the whole statement: πλείοναθεῷ. The conjoining of the same merely with πλείονα (Bisping) has against it the analogy of the following instances, and would weaken the force of the emphatically preposed πίστει. The dative, however, indicates, as Romans 11:20 and frequently, the cause or occasion. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 202 f. By reason of his faith (or because he had faith) Abel offered to God a greater sacrifice than Cain; i.e. the faith of Abel, which was wanting to Cain, was the cause that in the estimation of God Abel’s sacrifice had greater value than that of Cain.

πλείονα θυσίαν] a greater sacrifice, namely, in a qualitative respect, thus a better, more excellent one. Comp. Hebrews 3:3; Matthew 6:25; Matthew 12:41-42, al. The quantitative acceptation (Valla: plus hostiarum; Erasmus, Clarius: copiosiorem hostiam; Zeger: abundantiorem) finds no point of support in the narrative of Genesis, and would unsuitably accentuate a purely external feature.

παρὰ κάϊν] is by Grotius and others made equivalent to παρὰ τὴν τοῦ κάϊν, which is admissible, it is true, but not at all necessary. On παρά after the comparative, see at Hebrews 1:4.

διʼ ἧς ἐμαρτυρήθη εἶναι δίκαιος] By it he obtained the testimony that he was righteous.

διʼ ἧς] sc. πίστεως, not θυσίας (Cramer). For the πίστις is the main idea in the whole description, and διʼ ἧς ἐμαρτυρήθη manifestly glances back at ἐνταύτῃ ἐμαρτυρήθησαν, Hebrews 11:2.

ἐμαρτυρήθη] Of whom? Not of Christ, by virtue of the declaration Matthew 23:35 (Primasius, Faber Stapulensis, Justinian), but of God; as, accordingly, the author himself adds, more nearly defining the ἐμαρτυρήθη: μαρτυροῦντος ἐπὶ τοῖς δώροις αὐτοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ] in that, namely, God gave testimony in respect of his offerings. What is meant is the testimony given in the fact that God looked with satisfaction upon Abel and his sacrifice (comp. LXX. Genesis 4:4 : καὶ ἐπεῖδεν θεὸς ἐπὶ ἄβελ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖς δώροις αὐτοῦ), thus, in point of fact, recognised him as a δίκαιος (comp. Matthew 23:35 : ἄβελ τοῦ δικαίου, and 1 John 3:12).

καὶ διʼ αὐτῆς ἀποθανὼν ἔτι λαλεῖ] and by virtue of the same (namely: his faith, not: his sacrifice) he yet speaks after his death.

ἀποθανών] is a purely parenthetic member: although he has died, and forms with ἔτι λαλεῖ an oxymoron. Hardly is it in accordance with the intention of the author to comprehend in one ἀποθανών and διʼ αὐτῆς. In addition to the ordinary one, this explanation also is proposed by Oecumenius, in referring the pronoun back to the θυσία by which the violent death of Abel was occasioned; it is followed by Bengel, with the difference that he supplements διʼ αὐτῆς by πίστεως, and will have διά taken in the sense of κατά or ἐν.

ἔτι] is not the temporal: still, adhuc (Theodoret: μέχρι τοῦ παρόντος), so that λαλεῖ would signify: he speaks to us of himself and his faith or piety (Theodoret: τὸ δὲ ἔτι λαλεῖ ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀοίδιμός ἐστι μέχρι τοῦ παρόντος καὶ πολυθρύλλητος καὶ παρὰ πάντων εὐφημεῖται τῶν εὐσεβῶν; Heinsius, Bengel: loquitur de se et sui similibus contra Cainos, al.), or: he summons posterity to the imitation of his faith (Chrysostom: γὰρ παραινῶν τοῖς ἄλλοις δικαίοις εἶναι, λαλεῖ; Cornelius a Lapide, Valckenaer, Kuinoel, Paulus, Klee, Bloomfield, and others). Rather is ἔτι employed, as Romans 3:7 and frequently, in the logical sense, and serves for the emphasizing of the contrast: “even being dead,” or: “notwithstanding he is dead, he nevertheless speaks,” while λαλεῖ is to be regarded as the more vividly descriptive pracsens historicum (Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 250), and is to be referred to the thought that the shed blood of Abel called to God for vengeance, and God, listening to this cry, was concerned about the slain Abel, as though he were still living. For manifestly, as appears also from the parallel Hebrews 12:24, there is an allusion in λαλεῖ to the words, Genesis 4:10 : φωνὴ αἵματος τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου βοᾷ πρός με ἐκ τῆς γῆς.


Verse 5-6

Hebrews 11:5-6. The example of Enoch. Comp. Genesis 5:21-24.

πρίστει ἐνὼχ μετετέθη] By reason of his faith Enoch was caught away; i.e. even during his lifetime was, like Elijah (2 Kings 2.), caught up to God in heaven. Comp. Sirach 44:16 : ἐνὼχ εὐηρέστησε κυρίῳ καὶ μετετέθη ὑπόδειγμα μετανοίας ταῖς γενεαῖς; ibid. Sirach 49:14 : οὐδὲ εἷς ἐκτίσθη οἷος ἐνὼς τοιοῦτος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, καὶ γὰρ αὐτὸς ἀνελήφθη ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς; Joseph. Antiq. i. 3.Hebrews 4 : ἀνεχώρησε πρὸς τὸ θεῖον.

τοῦ μὴ ἰδεῖν θάνατον] not consecutively [so that], de Wette, Bisping, al., but indication of the design of God: that he should not see or undergo death (comp. Luke 2:26).

καὶ οὐχ ηὑρίσκετο, διότι μετέθηκεν αὐτὸν θεός] derived verbally from the LXX. of Genesis 5:24, as given in the text of the Cod. Alex.

πρὸ γὰργίνεται, Hebrews 11:6] It is related in the Scripture concerning Enoch that he was acceptable to God. But this presupposes that he had faith. For to obtain God’s approbation without the possession of faith is impossible. Chrysostom: πῶς δὲ πίστει μετετέθη ἐνώχ; ὅτι τῆς μεταθέσεως εὐαρέστησις αἰτία, τῆς δὲ εὐαρεστήσεως πίστις.

πρὸ τῆς μεταθέσεως] may be equally well conjoined with μεμαρτύρηται (Piscator, Owen, Huët, Bleek, de Wette, Conybeare, Delitzsch, Kurtz, Hofmann, al.), or with εὐαρεστηκέναι (Schlichting, Bengel, Maier, and others). In the former case the sense is: before mention is made in the Scripture of his rapture, the testimony is borne to him in the same, that he pleased God.

εὐαρεστηκέναι] By εὐηρέστησεν the LXX. translate the Hebrew וַיִתְהַלֵּךְ אֶת־הָאֱלֹהִים: and he walked with God, i.e. in communion with God, as His most devout worshipper.

Hebrews 11:6 is a truth of wholly universal application, so that only ἐστίν is to be supplemented to ἀδύνατον. With Er. Schmid, Limborch, Wetstein, and Schulz, to regard the first hemistich of the verse: χωρὶς δὲ πίστεως ἀδύνατον εὐαρεστῆσαι, as a special statement respecting Enoch, is grammatically inadmissible, since in that case χωρὶς δὲ πίστεως ἀδύνατον ἦν αὐτὸν εὐαρεστῆσαι or χωρὶς δὲ πίστεως ἀδύνατον αὐτὸν εὐαρεστηκέναι must have been written.

εὐαρεστῆσαι] sc. τῷ θεῷ, naturally understood from that which precedes and follows. The infin. aorist expresses, as in the case of the immediately succeeding πιστεῦσαι, the pure verbal notion, without regard to the relation of time. See Kühner, II. p. 80.

προσερχόμενος τῷ θεῷ] is he who approaches God, sc. to worship Him; comp. Hebrews 7:25, Hebrews 10:1. Wrongly; Luther, Calov, Wittich, Rambach, Schulz, Ebrard (transl.): he who (as Enoch) will come (or is to come) to God.

ὅτι ἔστιν] that he is, or exists. Arbitrarily importing, Jac. Cappellus: “Series sermonis suadet, ut suppleamus ὅτι ἐστὶν αὐτοῦ θεός, i. e. qui accedit ad Deum, credere debet eum esse suum Deum.” But also the complementing the verb by: “that He exists as one to whom man can draw near with confidence, as the truly living, personal, almighty, all-wise, all-beneficent One” (Bleek), is an unjustifiable act of reading into the text. The expression contains only the idea of existence.

καί] still dependent upon ὅτι.

μισθαποδότης] recompenser, sc. for the piety manifested in the ἐκζητεῖν αὐτόν (Romans 3:11; Acts 15:17).


Verse 7

Hebrews 11:7. The example of Noah. Comp. Genesis 6:8 ff.

πίστει] is conjoined by Schulz, Stengel, and others with χρηματισθείς. But χρηματισθείς forms only a subsidiary element for the making up of the historic situation, whereas that by which Noah proved himself a model of faith is specified by εὐλαβηθεὶς κακεσκεύασεν. πίστει is therefore, as is also done by most, to be combined with this last.

χρηματισθεὶς περὶ τῶν μηδέπω βλεπομένων] belongs together (against Grotius and Hofmann, who unnaturally construe περὶ τῶν μηδέπω βλεπ. with εὐλαβηθείς): instructed by an utterance of God concerning that which was as yet invisible. The choice of the expression was conditioned by the definition of πίστις, laid down Hebrews 11:1, and the subjective negation μηδέπω means: concerning the well-known ( τῶν) events, before these were yet to be seen, or their occurrence was to be conjectured. By τὰ μηδὲπω βλεπόμενα, however, is meant not only the impending flood, but also, from the use of the plural, the determined destruction of the whole corrupt race of men. With strange inversion of the sense, even “ipsa κιβωτός construenda” is reckoned by Böhme as belonging to that “qualem ante nunquam vidisse Noachum facile credi potest.” For the ark was surely something which was made by Noah himself at the command of God, whereas by τὰ μηδέπω βλεπόμενα can be only meant that which, independent of human activity, rested in the hands of divine omnipotence alone.

εὐλαβηθείς] in devout precaution, in that he reposed unconditional belief in the word of God, and on that very account took the enjoined measure of preparation in order to remain in safety under the impending destruction. Vatablus, Cornelius a Lapide, Schulz, and others explain: in the fear of God. But the τὸν θεόν therein to be supplemented (comp. Sirach 7:29; Proverbs 2:8; Proverbs 30:5; Nahum 1:7) could hardly have been omitted.

διʼ ἧς] refers not to σωτηρίαν (Hunnius, Balduin, Pareus), nor yet to κιβωτόν (Chrysostom: ἔδειξεν αὐτοὺς ἀξίους ὄντας κολάσεως, οἵ γε οὐδὲ διὰ τῆς κατασκευῆς ἐσωφρονίζοντο; Oecumenius, Theophylact, Faber Stapulensis, Calvin, Beza, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Carpzov, Cramer, Michaelis, Bisping, al.), but to πίστει (Primasius, Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Cajetan, Wolf, Bengel, and almost all modern expositors), as the foregoing main idea; and καὶ τῆςκληρονόμος is the second member of the relative clause, not, however, as Bisping and Delitzsch think, parallel to the κατεσκεύασεν.

κόσμος] denotes the unbelieving sinful world of men. This Noah condemned (too weak the rendering of Heinrichs: put to shame) by his faith, namely, by the act, in that he set forth the culpability of its conduct by the contrast of his own conduct. Comp. κατακρίνειν, Matthew 12:41-42, Luke 11:31-32, and κρίνειν, Romans 2:27.

καὶ τῆς κατὰ πίστιν δικαιοσύνης ἐγένετο κληρονόμος] Allusion to the fact that Noah is the first who in the O. T. is expressly called צַדִּיק or δίκαιος (Genesis 6:9). Comp. Ezekiel 14:14; Ezekiel 14:20; Sirach 44:17; 2 Peter 2:5. Philo also, de congressu quaerendae eruditionis gratia, p. 437 B (with Mangey, I. p. 532), lays special stress upon this particular: πρῶτος δʼ οὖτος δίκαιος ἐν ταῖς ἱεραῖς ἀνεῤῥήθη γραφαῖς.

κατὰ πίστιν δικαιοσύνη] is the righteousness obtained in accordance with faith, or by the way of faith. Since the notion of πίστις is different with the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews from that of Paul, the righteousness of faith here spoken of cannot, as is still done by Böhme, Bleek, Delitzsch, Afford, and others, be regarded as identical with the righteousness of faith in the Pauline sense. Yet Bleek is perfectly right in saying that the notion: righteousness of faith, “here appears as one already formed, and is presupposed as one well known, a fact very easy to be explained from the relation in which the author of the epistle stood to Paul.”

κληρονόμον γίνεσθαι] denotes no more than to obtain as a possession. We have not, with Justinian, Bengel, Huët, and many, to press the form of expression; as though the δικαιοσύνη were thought of as an actual inheritance, which Noah had received as coming down from the fathers, Abel, who in Hebrews 11:4 had been called δίκαιος, and Enoch.


Verse 8

Hebrews 11:8. A proof of believing confidence in God it was that Abraham at God’s command wandered forth without knowing whither. Comp. Genesis 12:1; Genesis 12:4; also Acts 7:2-3.

καλούμενος] is not: “he who is called Abraham, whereas, namely, he formerly bore the name of Abram” (Theodoret, Clarius, Zeger, Bisping, Ewald, al.), which would be a very tame addition. It signifies: “Abraham, who was thereto (sc. to the ἑξελθεῖν) called or summoned by God.” That this sense could have been expressed only by καλούμενος without the article (Bleek, Delitzsch, Reiche, Comm. Crit. p. 108; Maier, Moll, Kurtz), can hardly be maintained. The only difference between the two modes of expression is, that with the article the καλεῖσθαι is merely stated as an historic fact; without the article, on the other hand, is at the same time represented as a cause of the ὑπακούειν. The participle present, moreover (not κληθεἰς), is chosen in order to accentuate the immediate sequence of the καλεῖσθαι and the ὑπακούειν.

εἰς τὁπον ὃν κ. τ. λ.] namely, to Canaan.

ποῦ] inexactly used, instead of ποῖ. Comp. Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 439.

On the indicative ἔρχεται, see Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 279 f.; Buttmann, Gramm. des neutest. Sprachgebr. p. 218.


Verses 8-10

Hebrews 11:8-10. The example of Abraham.


Verse 9

Hebrews 11:9. A proof of a believing confidence in God was it further that Abraham dwelt as a stranger in the land which was promised him as a possession.

παροικεῖν] in classic Greek of dwelling beside or in the neighbourhood; in Hellenistic, however, ordinarily as here: to dwell as a stranger in a land, without rights of citizenship or possession. Even in Genesis the sojourning of Abraham and his sons in the promised land of Canaan is designated as a παροικεῖν, and they themselves are characterized as πάροικοι in the same; comp. Genesis 17:8; Genesis 20:1; Genesis 21:23; Genesis 21:34; Genesis 23:4; Genesis 24:37; Genesis 26:3; Genesis 28:4, al.

εἰς] receives into the idea of a permanent dwelling that of a previous migration. Familiar breviloquence. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 386.

ὡς ἀλλοτρίαν] Comp. Acts 7:5-6.

ἐν σκηναῖς κατοικήσας] Theophylact: ὅπερ τῶν ξένων ἐστί, τῶν ἄλλοτε εἰς ἄλλο μέρος μεταβαινόντων διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν τι ἴδιον. Comp. Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3; Genesis 18:1 ff; Genesis 26:25, al.

μετὰ ἰσαὰκ καὶ ἰακὼβ κ. τ. λ.] which Theophylact, Bengel, Böhme, Kuinoel, Tischendorf, and others refer to παρῴκησεν, belongs, as is shown by the singular ἐξεδέχετο with which the author continues at Hebrews 11:10, to κατοικήσας.

Isaac and Jacob, however, are called heirs with him of the same promise, because the promise was given to Abraham not for himself alone, but at the same time for his seed; comp. Genesis 13:15; Genesis 17:8.


Verse 10

Hebrews 11:10. Inner motive for the πίστει παρῴκησεν, Hebrews 11:9. His believing expectation was directed not so much to earthly possession, as to the possession of that which was higher and heavenly. His true home he thought not to find upon earth, but only in heaven.

τὴν τοὺς θεμελίους ἔχουσαν πόλιν] the city which has the foundations, firm and enduring city. The opposite to the tents, which form only a temporary lodging, and may be easily broken up and carried away. What is meant is not the earthly Jerusalem (Grotius, Clericus, Dindorf), to which the author, considering the excessive attachment of his readers to the earthly city of God and the earthly sanctuary, could only have alluded most unsuitably, but the archetype of the same: the heavenly city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, of which the possession for the Christians also is as yet something future, since they will obtain a dwelling therein only at the epoch of the consummation of the Messianic kingdom. The idea of a heavenly Jerusalem was already current among the Jews; its descent to earth was expected on the arising of the Messiah. See Schöttgen, de Hieros. coelesti, in his Hor. Hebr. p. 1205 ff.; Wetstein, N. T. II. p. 229 ff.; Ewald, Comm. in Apocal. pp. 11, 307. From the Jews this conception passed over to the Christians, in so far as that which the Jews expected at the first arising of the Messiah was placed by the latter in the time of the return of Christ. Comp. further Hebrews 10:13-16, Hebrews 12:22, Hebrews 13:14; Galatians 4:26; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 21:2 ff., Revelation 21:10 ff.

ἧς τεχνίτης καὶ δημιουργὸς θεός] of which the designer and artificer (creator) is God. δημιουργός in the N. T. only here, as in the O. T. only 2 Maccabees 4:1.


Verse 11

Hebrews 11:11. καὶ αὐτὴ σάῤῥα] even Sarah herself, sc. although she had before been unbelieving. At first, namely, when she had received the divine promise that she should yet bear a son, she had, in consideration of her great age, laughed thereat, and thus manifested unbelief; presently afterwards, however, she was afraid, and denied her laughter, had thus passed over from unbelief to belief. Comp. Genesis 18:12; Genesis 18:15. Erroneously is the enhancing καὶ αὐτή interpreted by Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Bengel, Böhme, Stein, Tholuck (the last-named, however, undecided): even Sarah also, the wife, or: although she was only a woman; Kurtz: “Sarah herself and no other,” namely, not Hagar. Just as false the interpretation of Schlichting, Schulz, and others: even Sarah herself, although she was barren. To the last mode of supplementing points also the gloss στεῖρα, or στεῖρα οὖσα, or στεῖρα, which is found, with Theophylact, in some cursives, translations (including Vulg.), and early editions. Quite wrongly will Delitzsch, followed therein by Alford and Hofmann, have no gradation whatever recognised in καὶ αὐτὴ σάῤῥα, in that he supposes καὶ αὑτή to serve only for extending a like statement to a second subject, and consequently placing the first mother of the chosen race side by side with the first father thereof. If the author had wished to express nothing more, he would have written merely καὶ σάῤῥα. For αὐτός or αὐτή is in the N. T. never used in the nominative for the unaccented he or she. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 141, Obs.

εἰς καταβολὴν σπέρματος] for the founding of a posterity. καταβολή is employed, therefore, in the same sense as in the expression καταβολὴ κόσμου, Hebrews 4:3, Hebrews 9:26, and σπέρμα, as Hebrews 11:18; Hebrews 2:16, and frequently. The words cannot denote: she received power to conceive seed, as is interpreted by Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact (who, however, is undecided), the Peshito, Vulgate, Erasmus, Vatablus, Calvin, Beza, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, Er. Schmid, Grotius, L. Bos, Wolf, Bengel, Carpzov, Schulz, Heinrichs, Huët, Stengel, Bloomfield, Bisping, Delitzsch, Alford, Kurtz, and others. For this must have been expressed by εἰς ὑποδοχὴν ( σύλληψιν) σπέρματος.(107) Constrained and unnatural, however, is also the explanation, first mentioned by Theophylact, and subsequently adopted by Drusius, Jac. Cappellus, Schlichting, Heinsius, Wittich, Rambach, and others: she received power for the bringing forth of seed.

καὶ παρὰ καιρὸν ἠλικίας] and that contrary to the favourable period of life, i.e. since the δύναμιν λαμβάνειν, on account of the youthful freshness being already lost, was opposed to all probability. Incorrect, because in that case the full signification of καιρός (opportunitas) is not brought out, Delitzsch: “in contradiction with the time of life, namely, the ninetieth year, in which she was.”

ἐπεὶ πιστὸν ἡγήσατο τὸν ἐπαγγειλάμενον] comp. Hebrews 10:23.


Verse 11-12

Hebrews 11:11-12. The example of Sarah.


Verse 12

Hebrews 11:12. The wondrous result of the faith displayed by Sarah.

ἐγενήθησαν] sc. through Sarah as mother and ancestress, γίνεσθαι, of being born, usual also elsewhere in classic (Xen. Cyr. 1:2. 1, al.) and Hellenistic Greek (Romans 1:3; Galatians 4:4, al.).

ἀφʼ ἑνός] from one, namely Abraham. Wrongly does Carpzov apprehend ἑνός as a neuter, in that he will have it supplemented by σπέρματος or αἵματος. Just as wrongly Zeger: “vel ab uno Abrahae et Sarae corpore (juxta illud: Erunt duo in carne una).” Comp. already Theodoret: ἀφʼ ἑνὸς τοῦ ἀβραάμ· εἰ δὲ καὶ ἀμφοτέρους ἕνα νοήσαιμεν, οὐχ ἁμαρτησόμεθα· ἔσονται γάρ, φησίν, οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν.

καὶ ταῦτα] and that too, and more than that. According to Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 153, equivalent to καὶ τοῦτο. But the plural is, no doubt, placed because the author has in his mind, besides the νενεκρωμένον εἶναι of Abraham, also that remarked in Hebrews 11:11 with regard to Sarah (her former unbelief and her advanced age).

νενεκρωμένου] has reference to the dead power of generation, as Romans 4:19.

Of one were born even as the stars of heaven in regard to number, i.e. of one were descendants born innumerable in multitude as the stars of heaven. A supplementing of ἔκγονοι or ἄνθρωποι (so still Bleek) is, moreover, unnecessary. The comparison of the multitude of descendants to the stars of heaven, and the countless sand upon the sea-shore, is based upon the use of the same figures in the words of the promise given to Abraham; comp. Genesis 13:16; Genesis 15:5; Genesis 22:17; Genesis 26:4; Genesis 32:12; Exodus 32:13; Deuteronomy 1:10.

χεῖλος] for shore occurs also with the classics, and that in prose equally (Herod. 2:94; Polyb. 3:14. 6, and frequently) as with the poets (Hom. Il. xii. 52). Comp. also Plin. xxxi. 2 : Herba in labris fontis virens; Caes. de hello Gall. vii. 72: ut ejus (fossae) solum tantundem pateret, quantum summa labra distabant.


Verse 13

Hebrews 11:13. κατὰ πίστιν] is ordinarily (by Bleek, too, in the larger commentary) conjoined exclusively with ἀπέθανον. According to this, the dying conformably to faith, in distinction from the faith already manifested during life, would become the main idea of the verse, and the participial clauses would be made to contain the proof for the κατὰ πίστιν ἀποθανεῖν. The sense would be: “they died in faith (not in sight), since they had not received the promises, but only saw them from afar,” etc. (Bleek). Against this apprehension of the words, however, decides the subjective negation μή before λαβόντες, instead of which (particularly in the case of the opposition following with ἀλλά, see Kühner, II. 408) the objective negation οὐ must have been placed. We have therefore, with Schulz, Winer (Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 376), Moll, Bleek, Vorles. p. 434, Kurtz, Ewald, to refer κατὰ πίστιν to ἀπέθανον in close comprehension of the latter with the participles. The sense is: In accordance with faith these all died without having received the promises, but as those who, etc.; i.e., it was conformable to the nature of faith that they, without having attained to the possession of the promised blessings themselves, beheld them only from afar and greeted them, and witnessed the confession that they are strangers and pilgrims upon earth.

οὗτοι πάντες] is referred by Oecumenius, Theophylact, Primasius, Ribera, Justinian, Drusius, and Bloomfield to all the before-mentioned persons, from Abel onwards, with the single exception of Enoch. Nevertheless, as is evident from the contents of the following verse, only those among them can have been thought of to whom promises were given, thus Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob. Comp. specially Hebrews 11:15.

μὴ λαβόντες] see at Hebrews 6:15.

τὰς ἐπαγγελίας] in the objective sense, as τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν, Hebrews 9:15.

πόῤῥωθεν] belongs equally to ἀσπασάμενοι as to ἰδόντες.

ἀσπάζεσθαι] joyfully greet or welcome, as the traveller the longed-for journey’s end. Comp. Virg. Aen. iii. 522 sqq.:

Quum procul obscuros colles humilemque videmus

Italiam.… Italiam laeto socii clamore salutant.

καὶ ὁμολογήσαντες, ὅτι ξένοι καὶ παρεπίδημοί εἰσιν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς] Reference to the utterances of the patriarchs in the Book of Genesis, particularly Genesis 23:4, where Abraham says to the children of Heth: πάροικος καὶ παρεπίδημος ἐγώ εἰμι μεθʼ ὑμῶν, and Genesis 47:9, where Jacob, in addressing Pharaoh, describes his own life in general as a pilgrimage: αἱ ἡμέραι τῶν ἐτῶν τῆς ζωῆς μου, ἃς παροικῶ, ἑκατὸν τριάκοντα ἔτη. Comp. LXX. Psalms 39:13; Psalms 118:19; 1 Peter 2:11; Philo, de Agricult. p. 196 E (with Mangey, I. p. 310): παροικεῖν οὐ κατοικεῖν ἤλθομεν· τῷ γὰρ ὄντι πᾶσα μὲν ψυχὴ σοφοῦ πατρίδα μὲν οὐρανόν, ξένην δὲ γῆν ἔλαχεν; De Confus. Ling. p. 331 C (I. p. 416): διὰ τοῦτο οἱ κατὰ ΄ωϋσῆν σοφοὶ πάντες εἰσάγονται παροικοῦντες· αὑ γὰρ τούτων ψυχαὶ στέλλονται μὲν ἀποικίαν δή ποτε τὴν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ.


Verses 13-16

Hebrews 11:13-16. General observations with regard to the fore-mentioned patriarchs.


Verse 14

Hebrews 11:14 ff. That the patriarchs are ξένοι καὶ παρεπίδημοι, they have themselves confessed; that they were so ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, the author has added by way of more nearly defining. The legitimacy of this exposition of their words he now proves (Hebrews 11:14ἐπουρανίου, Hebrews 11:16). By those utterances the patriarchs declare that they have not already a country, they are only seeking it. If, now, they had set their hearts upon an earthly country, they would certainly have had time and opportunity enough to have returned to that which they had left, but this they did not; they must thus have longed for a heavenly country.

ἐμφανίζουσιν] Theodoret: δηλοῦσιν. Oecumenius and Theophylact: δεικνύουσιν.

ἐπιζητεῖν] ardently to seek or desire something.


Verse 15

Hebrews 11:15. καί] and indeed.

μνημονεύειν] is taken by the majority in the intransitive sense: to be mindful (Hebrews 13:7). More naturally, however, may we understand it, with Bleek, de Wette, Delitzsch, Moll, Kurtz, and others, transitively: to make mention, sc. in the utterances to which the author has respect. Comp. Hebrews 11:22; 1 Thessalonians 1:3.

εἶχον ἄν] they would have had. The imperfect of the continuing possibility.


Verse 16

Hebrews 11:16. νῦν δέ] the logical: but now. Comp. Hebrews 8:6.

ὀρέγεσθαί τινος] elsewhere in the N. T. only 1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Timothy 6:10.

διό] wherefore, sc. on account of their seeking after the heavenly country.

θεὸς ἐπικαλεῖσθαι αὐτῶν] Epexegesis to αὐτούς: God is not ashamed of them, namely, to be called their God. Reference to Exodus 3:6 : καὶ εἶπεν· ἐγώ εἰμι θεὸς τοῦ πατρός σου, θεὸς ἀβραὰμ καὶ θεὸς ἰσαὰκ καὶ θεὸς ἰακώβ. Comp. ibid. Hebrews 11:15-16.

The οὐκ ἐπαισχύνεται κ. τ. λ. presupposes the idea of an intimate communion of God with the patriarchs. Comp. also Matthew 22:31 f.; Mark 12:26 f.; Luke 20:37 f. The fact instanced in proof of this communion is added in the concluding words: ἡτοίμασεν γὰρ αὐτοῖς πόλιν] for He has prepared for them a city. By the πόλις is again meant, as Hebrews 11:10, the heavenly Jerusalem. ἡτοίμασεν, however, may equally well signify: He has prepared it for them, that they may one day possess the same as a dwelling (Schlichting, Grotius, Owen, Calov, Böhme, de Wette, Delitzsch, Hofmann), as: He has already conferred it upon them as a possession (so Braun and Bleek).


Verses 17-19

Hebrews 11:17-19. The author returns once more specially to Abraham, in that he further, by way of addition, dwells on the most distinguished act of faith on the part of this patriarch, that he had not refused at God’s behest to offer his only son as a sacrifice; comp. Genesis 22:1 ff.

προσενήνοχεν] not: “he was on the point of offering,” against which stands the perfect. It can only signify: he offered (made an offering of). The author could thus express himself, since the offering was really intended by Abraham, although it afterwards came, it is true, to a bloodless issue. Comp. James 2:21 : ἀβραὰμἀνενέγκας ἰσαὰκ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον.

πειραζόμενος] when he was tempted, i.e. was put to the test by God with regard to his faith. Comp. Genesis 22:1. πειραζόμενος belongs still to προσενήνοχεν, not, as Hofmann quite unnaturally requires, to προσέφερεν.

καὶ τὸν μονογενῆσπέρμα, Hebrews 11:18] Unfolding of the greatness of the act. It was (1) his only son whom he gave up, (2) the son whose life was necessary, if the promises given to Abraham were to receive their fulfilment.

καί] and of a truth.

τὸν μονογενῆ] No respect is had to Ishmael, since he was not of equal birth, and stood outside of all relation to the divine promises.

προσέφερεν] here the imperfect; since the author now presents to himself, as though he were a spectator, the act of the offering itself.

τὰς ἐπαγγελίας ἀναδεξάμενος] he who had believingly embraced the promises. With Schulz, Heinrichs, Bengel, Ebrard, Bisping, and others, to find indicated by ἀναδεξάμενος the mere having received, contradicts the ordinary use of the word, instead of which λαβών must have been placed.


Verse 18

Hebrews 11:18. πρὸς ὅν] not: “of whom” (more accurately: “in relation to whom,” comp. Hebrews 1:7), in such wise that it should be referred to Isaac (Faber Stapulensis, Luther, Jac. Cappellus, Limborch, Wolf, Bengel, Carpzov, Michaelis, Chr. Fr. Schmid, and others), but: to whom, sc. Abraham.

ὅτι ἐν ἰσαὰκ κληθήσεταί σοι σπέρμα] In Isaac shall a seed be named (called) to thee, i.e. through Isaac shall the posterity, whose forefather thou shalt be called, be founded. The emphasis falls upon ἐν ἰσαάκ, and the citation is from Genesis 21:12. ὅτι, however, which has there causal significance, the author takes as a recitative.


Verse 19

Hebrews 11:19 contains in its first half the motive ground of Abraham for such believing action. Abraham trusted in the omnipotence of God, by virtue of which he is able, even in presence of the actual sacrifice of Isaac, to realize the promises given to him.

λογισάμενος ὅτι κ. τ. λ.] since he judged that God is able to raise even from the dead. The proposition introduced with ὅτι contains a universal truth. It is erroneous to supplement αὐτόν to ἐγείρειν (Jac. Cappellus, Huët, Kuinoel, Stein, Bloomfield, al.), yet more erroneous to supplement σπέρμα (Schulz, Stengel).

ὅθεν κ. τ. λ.] Declaration of the divine reward for such believing action and such believing confidence. ὅθεν means, as everywhere else in our epistle (Hebrews 2:17, Hebrews 3:1, Hebrews 7:25, Hebrews 8:3, Hebrews 9:18): on which account, wherefore; παραβολή, however, denotes, conformably to the well-known use of παραβάλλεσθαι (Hom. Il. ix. 322; Thuc. ii. 44, al. See the lexicons), the imperilling, and forms with the ἐκομίσατο an oxymoron. The sense is: on which account he bore him away, even on the ground of (or: by means of) the giving up. Abraham obtained Isaac as a reward, received him back again as a possession, by the very act of setting his life at stake, giving up to the death of a sacrifice. This is the simple and only correct sense of the variously explained words.

With this exposition earlier interpretations agree in part, though by no means entirely, so far as ὅθεν and ἐκομίσατο are concerned, but all different in regard to ἐν παραβολῇ. Instead of the causal signification, “on which account,” Calvin, Castellio, Beza, Schlichting, Grotius, Lamb. Bos, Alberti, Wolf, Michaelis, Schulz, Huët, Böhme, Bleek, de Wette, Stengel, Delitzsch, Alford, Maier, Kluge, Moll, Ewald, Hofmann, and others have asserted for ὅθεν the local signification “whence, sc. from the dead.” In connection with this, L. Bos, Alberti, Schulz, and Stengel [as also Whitby] understand ἐκομίσατο of the birth of Isaac; while Calvin, Bleek, and the majority rightly understand it of the deliverance of Isaac’s life in consequence of the prevention of the sacrifice. The former explain: whence he indeed had received him, inasmuch as Isaac’s parents at the time of his conception and birth were virtually dead. The latter: as he accordingly also received him from the dead. But against the first acceptation decides the fact that in such case, because an event conceived of as possible in the future is placed in definite parallel with a past event, the pluperfect must necessarily have been used in place of the aorist ἐκομίσατο; and then, even apart from this, since all the emphasis would fall upon ἐκομίσατο, the order of the words must have been otherwise, namely as follows: ὅθεν ἐν παραβολῆ καὶ ἐκομίσατο αὐτόν. But also the last-named interpretation is forbidden by the order of the words. For καί must, in connection therewith, be referred, as is also expressly required by Schlichting, Böhme, and others, to the whole clause, whereas from its position it can only form a gradation of ἐν παραβολῇ; thus ὅθεν καὶ αὐτὸν ἐν παραβολῇ ἐκομίσατο must have been written.

Finally, as regards ἐν παραβολῇ, the signification “in similitudine,” or “in a resemblance,” is attached thereto by Theodore of Mopsuestia,(108) Calvin, Castellio, Beza, Schlichting, Grotius, Jac. Cappellus (figurate), Scaliger, Er. Schmid, Wittich, Limborch, Zachariae, Dindorf, Koppe (in Heinrichs), Huët, Bleek, de Wette, Stengel, Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Maier, Kluge, Moll, Kurtz, Ewald, M‘Caul, Hofmann, Woerner, and others. The sense is, according to Bleek: “as accordingly he received him from thence in a resemblance; so that Isaac was indeed not really delivered out of death, but yet his deliverance was a kind of restoration from the dead, since Abraham already regarded him as the prey of death.” But this “in a resemblance” is, strictly taken, nothing else than “in a manner,” with which it is also exactly identified by Stengel and others; for the expression, however, of the notion “in a manner,” the author would hardly have chosen the altogether unusual, and therefore unintelligible, formula ἐν παραβολῇ; much more natural would it have been for him to employ instead thereof, as at Hebrews 7:9, the familiar ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν. Moreover, since that addition could only be designed to exert a softening effect upon the ὅθεν, (SC. ἐκ νεκρῶν), it must also have followed immediately after this word. The author would thus have written ὅθεν, ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν, αὐτὸν καὶ ἐκομίσατο.

Yet more untenable is the exposition akin to that just mentioned: as a type (Luther: zum Vorbilde), sc. in regard to the resurrection in general (Hunnius, Balduin, Michaelis, Böhme, al.), or specially in regard to the sacrificed and risen Christ (Primasius, Erasmus, Clarius, Vatablus, Zeger, Calov, Carpzov, Cramer, Ebrard, Bisping, Reuss), or in regard to both alike (Theodoret: τουτέστιν ὡς ἐν συμβόλῳ καὶ τύπῳ τῆς ἀναστάσεως.

ἐν αὐτῷ δὲ προεγράφη καὶ τοῦ σωτηρίου πάθους τύπος). For the express indication of that which was typically represented by this event could not have been wanting.

Equally far wrong, because far-fetched and unnatural, is the supplementing of ὤν to ἐν παραβολῇ on the part of Bengel (“Abraham … ipse factus est parabola.… Omnis enim posteritas celebrat fidem Abrahae, offerentis unigenitum”), and the explanation of Paulus: “against an equalization,” i.e. in return for the ram presented as a substitute (comp. already Chrysostom: τουτέστιν ἐν ὑποδείγματι· ἐν τῷ κριῷ φησινὡς ἐμ αἰνίγματι· ὥσπερ γὰρ παραβολὴ ἦν κριὸς τοῦ ἰσαάκ).

To the interpretation of ἐν παραβολῇ, above regarded as correct, several expositors approach, to the extent of likewise thinking that we must make the usage with regard to the verb παραβάλλεσθαι our guide in determining the signification of παραβολή. They deviate, however, essentially from the above interpretation, in that they take ἐν παραβολῇ adverbially, in the sense of παραβόλως; consequently refer the expression, which above was equally referred to subject and object, to the subject, and that without any advantage to the peculiarity of thought. So Camerarius, who, besides other possibilities of apprehension, suggests also this: in that he exposed himself to danger, namely, that of losing his son; Loesner, Krebs, Heinrichs: in summo discrimine, παρʼ ἐλπίδα, παραδόξως; Raphel: praeter spem praeterque opinionem; Tholuck: in bold venture.


Verse 20

Hebrews 11:20. The example of Isaac. Comp. Genesis 27

πίστει καί] καί is the more nearly defining: and in truth, and in sooth. A faith was manifested in the imparting of the blessing, by the very circumstance that this benediction extended with inner confidence to facts as yet belonging to the future.(109) Comp. Theodoret: οὐ γὰρ ἂν τὰς οὐχ ὁρω΄ένας ἔδωκεν εὐλογίας, εἰ ΄ὴ τοῖς λόγοις ἀκολουθήσειν τὸ ἔργον ἐπίστευσεν.

περὶ ΄ελλόντων] concerning things as yet future, i.e. concerning the future lot of his two sons, and the pre-eminence of the younger son over the elder.

Jacob, the younger son, is here first mentioned, since he was first blessed by Isaac, and was altogether of greater significance for the history of the people.


Verse 21

Hebrews 11:21. The conduct of Jacob, Genesis 48, analogous to the fact adduced Hebrews 11:20. Here, too, the blessing related to the future, and in like manner as Hebrews 11:20, to the pre-eminence of the younger son (Ephraim) over the elder (Manasseh).

ἀποθνήσκων] when he was dying. Reference to Genesis 47:31 : ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποθνήσκω.

καὶ προσεκύνησεν ἐπὶ τὸ ἄκρον τῆς ῥάβδου αὐτοῦ] and he worshipped (bowing) upon the top of his staff, i.e. in that from weakness he supported himself with his face resting upon the top of his staff. Addition from LXX. Genesis 47:31 (inexactly referred to this place), for the bringing out of the solemn, devotional frame of Jacob in uttering this benediction [the same spirit being breathed in Genesis 49:18]. In the Hebrew the words read: וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ יִשׂרָאֵל עַל־רֹאשׁ הַמִּטָּה (i.e. according to Tuch: “and Israel leaned back upon the head of the bed;” but, more correctly, according to Knobel: “and Israel bowed himself upon the head of the couch, inasmuch as he had before, during his conversation with Joseph, been sitting upright upon his couch (comp. Genesis 48:2), but now leaned forward to the upper end thereof, and blessed God for the granting of the last wish”). The LXX., however, read the vowels הַמַּטֶּה, and their translation was followed by our author in this passage as elsewhere. Strangely does Hofmann perceive in the subordinate particular καὶ προσεκύνησεν κ. τ. λ., a “second thing” adduced as proving the faith of Jacob. The first is, according to him, Jacob’s last testament, the second his departure from life (!).

The supposition that τῷ ἰωσήφ is to be supplemented to προσεκύνησεν (so Chrysostom: τουτέστι καὶ γέρων ὢν ἤδη προσεκύνει τῷ ἰωσήφ, τὴν παντὸς τοῦ λαοῦ προσκύνησιν δηλῶν τὴν ἐσομένην αὐτῷ; Theodoret, Photius in Oecumenius, Theophylact, and others), is, equally with the view akin thereto, that αὐτοῦ is to be referred to ἰωσήφ, and ἐπὶ τὸ ἄκρον τῆς ῥάβδου αὐτοῦ is to be regarded as the object to προσεκύνησεν (so the Vulgate: et adoravit fastigium virgae ejus; Primasius: virgae ejus i. e. virgae Jos.; Oecumenius: τοσοῦτονἐπίστευσε τοῖς ἐσομένοις, ὅτι καὶ προσεκύνησε τῇ ῥάβδῳ, δοκῶν ὁρᾶν τὰ ἐσόμενα; Clarius, Bisping, Reuss: “Jacob, after having received the oath of Joseph, bowed (s’inclina) towards the head of the latter’s staff, in token of submission, that is to say, in order solemnly to acknowledge Joseph as head of the family. The staff is the symbol of power;” and others), to be rejected as untenable. The first-named has against it the fact, that in that which precedes, the discourse is not of Joseph himself, but of his sons; the latter, that the making of ἐπί τι a note of object to προσκυνεῖν is opposed to all the usage of the language.


Verse 22

Hebrews 11:22. The example of Joseph. Comp. Genesis 1:24-25. Firm faith, that the promise already given to Abraham (Genesis 15:13-16) should be fulfilled, was it that Joseph, when he was near to death, gave direction as to that which should be done with his bones at the time of the accomplishment of that promise.

τελευτῶν] the same as ἀποθνήσκων, Hebrews 11:21; the choice of the expression was called forth by Genesis 1:26 : καὶ ἐτελεύτησεν ἰωσήφ.

περί] in connection with μνημονεύειν, which as at Hebrews 11:15 signifies to make mention, stands instead of the bare genitive, after the analogy of μνᾶσθαι περί τινος. See Kühner, II. p. 186, Obs. 1.

ἔξοδος τῶν υἱῶν ἰσραήλ] the (future) departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt.

ἐμνημόνευσεν καὶἐνετείλατο] Form of parallel arrangement; while, as regards the matter itself, the second member as an accessory point is subordinated to the first member as the main point.


Verse 23

Hebrews 11:23 he points to the faith manifested by the relatives of Moses at the time of his birth. Comp. Exodus 2:2. The special beauty of the new-born child awakened in them the belief(110) that God had chosen him for great things and would be able to preserve his life, and in this belief they hid the child in opposition to the commandment of the Egyptian king.

ὑπὸ τῶν πατέρων] i.e. by his parents. For this elsewhere unusual employment of πατέρες, Wetstein aptly directs the reader to Parthenius, Erot. 10 : κυάνιππος εἰς ἐπιθυμίαν λευκώνης ἐλθών, παρὰ τῶν πατέρων αἰτησάμενος αὐτὴν ἠγάγετο γυναῖκα, as well as to the Latin patres, Stat. Theb. vi. 464: Incertique patrum thalami. Bengel understands πατέρες of the still living ancestors of Moses (“a patribus, id est a patre [Amram] et ab avo … paterno, qui erat Kahath”), and he is followed by Chr. Fr. Schmid, Böhme (yet with wavering), and others; while Stein, who expressly rejects both explanations, wonderfully supposes “the mother,” together with “a few concurring friends, who as it were took the place of parents,” to be intended. In the Hebrew, Exodus 2:2, the κρύπτειν is predicated only of the mother; the LXX., however, with whom the author agrees, have: ἰδόντες δὲ αὐτὸ ἀστεῖον, ἐσκέπασαν αὐτὸ ΄ῆνας τρεῖς

ἀστεῖον] fair and graceful in form. Theophylact: ὡραῖον, τῇ ὄψει χαρίεν. In the Hebrew stands טוֹב.

καὶ οὐκ ἐφοβήθησαν τὸ διάταγ΄α τοῦ βασιλέως] might, on account of the plural οὐκ ἐφοβήθησαν, be considered, together with εἶδον, in opposition to the passive ἑκρύβη, as still dependent upon διότι. But more logically exact is the taking of the words, as also is mostly done, as a parallel to ἐκρύβη). For much more natural does it appear that the author wished to represent that κρύπτειν as an act from the accomplishment of which fear did not deter, than that he should think of fearlessness as the motive cause of that action.

τὸ διάταγ΄α τοῦ βασιλέως] the command of Pharaoh, to drown all new-born male children of the Israelites. Comp. Exodus 1:22.


Verses 23-29

Hebrews 11:23-29 the author passes over from the patriarchs to Moses, dwelling upon a series of facts in the history of the latter which bear a typical character. First—


Verses 24-26

Hebrews 11:24-26. Progress from the child Moses to the adult Moses. μἑγας γενόμενος, namely, corresponds (comp. Exodus 2:11) to the γεννηθείς, Hebrews 11:23, and μέγας is to be understood not of worldly power and honour (Schulz, Bretschneider), but of being grown up. Comp. Hebrews 8:11; LXX. Genesis 38:11; Genesis 38:14; Hom. Od. ii. 314, xviii. 217, xix. 532.

ἠρνήσατο λέγεσθαι] refused or disdained to be called.

θυγατρός] not τῆς θυγατρός is placed (as Exodus 2:5 ff.), since the author combines θυγατρός with φαραώ into one single (more general) notion: of a Pharaoh’s daughter, i.e. of an Egyptian royal princess.


Verse 25

Hebrews 11:25. Justificatory explanation of the ἠρνήσατο, Hebrews 11:24 : in that he preferred to suffer evil treatment with the people of God, in place of possessing a temporary sinful enjoyment.

μᾶλλον αἱρεῖσθαι ] in Holy Scripture a ἅπαξ λεγόμενον; in profane literature, on the other hand, of very frequent occurrence. Instances in Wetstein.

The compound συγκακουχεῖσθαι only here; the simple form κακουχεῖσθαι alone (Hebrews 11:37; Hebrews 13:3) is found elsewhere.

τῷ λαῷ τοῦ θεοῦ] see at Hebrews 4:9.

πρόσκαιρον ἀπόλαυσιν] an enjoyment only temporary, of brief duration, sc. of the earthly joys of life. Contrast to the enjoyment of everlasting blessedness.

ἁμαρτίας] not genit. objecti (Theophylact, Schlichting, Stengel, al.), but genit. auct.: Enjoyment, such as (the committing of) sin affords. By ἁμαρτία is meant apostasy from God, by the abandoning of the communion with the people of God.


Verse 26

Hebrews 11:26. Indication of cause for Hebrews 11:25, in such wise that ἡγησάμενος, Hebrews 11:26, is subordinated to the μᾶλλον ἑλόμενος, Hebrews 11:25.

τὸν ὀνειδισμὸν τοῦ χριστοῦ] the reproach of Christ. That signifies not: the reproach for Christ’s sake, which he endured, namely, by virtue of the hope in the Messiah (Castellio, Wolf, Carpzov, Böhme, Kuinoel, Bloomfield, and others). For by the mere genitive this notion cannot be expressed. The sense is: the reproach, as Christ bore it, inasmuch, namely, as the reproach, which Moses took upon him to endure in fellowship with his oppressed people at the hand of the Egyptians, was in its nature homogeneous with the reproach which Christ afterwards had to endure at the hands of unbelievers, to the extent that in the one case as in the other the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom was the end and aim of the enduring. Comp. τὸν ὀνειδισμὸν αὐτοῦ φέροντες, Hebrews 13:13, and τὰ παθήματα τοῦ χριστοῦ, 2 Corinthians 1:5; as also τὰ ὑστερήματα τῶν θλίψεων τοῦ χριστοῦ, Colossians 1:24.

ἀπέβλεπεν γὰρ εἰς τὴν μισθαποδοσίαν] for he looked stedfastly to the bestowal of the reward. The determining ground for his action.

ἀποβλέπειν in the N. T. only here.

μισθαποδοσία is the promised heavenly reward, the everlasting salvation; comp. Hebrews 11:39-40. Unsuitably does Grotius limit the expression to the promised possession of the land of Canaan.


Verse 27

Hebrews 11:27 is referred either to the flight of Moses to Midian (Exodus 2:15), or to the departure of the whole people out of Egypt. The former supposition is favoured by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Zeger, Jac. Cappellus, Heinsius, Calmet, Bengel, Michaelis, Schulz, de Wette, Stengel, Tholuck, Bouman (Chartae theolog. lib. II. Traj. ad Rhen. 1857, p. 157 sq.), Delitzsch, Nickel (in Reuter’s Repertor. 1858, März, p. 207), Conybeare, Alford, Maier, Kluge, Moll, Ewald; the latter by Nicholas de Lyra, Calvin, Piscator, Schlichting, Grotius, Owen, Calov, Braun, Baumgarten, Carpzov, Rosenmüller, Heinrichs, Huët, Böhme, Stuart, Kuinoel, Paulus, Klee, Bleek, Stein, Bloomfield, Ebraid, Bisping, Kurtz, Hofmann, Woerner, and others. Only the opinion first mentioned is the correct one. Against it, indeed, the objection appears to be not without weight, that Exodus 2:14 a φοβηθῆναι of Moses is spoken of, whereas here, by means of μὴ φοβηθεὶς κ. τ. λ., the opposite is asserted. But the contradiction is only an apparent one. For in the account of Exodus a fear on the part of Moses is mentioned only in the objective relation, whereas the fearlessness, which the author of our epistle intends, belongs purely to the subjective domain. Moses was alarmed that, contrary to his expectation, the slaying of the Egyptian had already become known, and apprehended as a consequence being exposed to the vengeance of the king, if the latter should obtain possession of him. On this very account also he took steps for the saving of his life, in that he withdrew by flight from the territory of Pharaoh. With this fact, however, it was perfectly reconcilable that in the consciousness of being chosen to be the deliverer of his people, and in the confidence in God, in whose hand alone he stood, he felt himself inwardly, or in his frame of mind, raised above all fear at the wrath of an earthly king. There is therefore no need of the concession (de Wette), that the author of the epistle, when he wrote down his μὴ φοβηθείς, did not remember the words ἐφοβήθη δὲ ΄ωϋσῆς, Exodus 2:14. But just as little is it permissible, with Delitzsch, to press the expression κατέλιπεν, chosen by the author, and to assert that καταλιπεῖν expresses the repairing hence without fear, whereas φυγεῖν would denote the repairing hence from fear. The author might also have written without difference of signification—what is denied by Delitzsch

πίστει ἔφυγεν εἰς γῆν ΄αδιάμ, μὴ φοβηθεὶς τὸν θυμὸν τοῦ βασιλέως.

The referring, on the other hand, of the statement, Hebrews 11:27, to the leading forth of the whole people, is shown to be entirely inadmissible—(1) from the consideration that, in the chronological order which the author pursues in the enumeration of his models of faith, the departure of Israel from Egypt could not have been mentioned before the fact on which he dwells in Hebrews 11:28, but only after the same; (2) that to the departure of the people out of Egypt the expression κατέλιπεν (sc. ΄ωϊσῆς) αἴγυπτον is unsuitable; (3) finally, that according to Exodus 12:31 that departure was commanded by Pharaoh himself; in connection with the departure, therefore, any fear whatever at the wrath of the king could not arise.

τὸν γὰρ ἀόρατον ὡς ὁρῶν ἐκαρτέρησεν] for having the invisible (God) as it were before his eyes, he was strong and courageous. τὸν ἀόρατον ὡς ὁρῶν belongs together, and τὸν ἀόρατον stands absolutely, without, what is thought most probable by Böhme, as also Delitzsch and Hofmann, our having to supplement βασιλία to the same. Contrary to linguistic usage, Luther, Bengel, Schulz, Paulus, Stengel (wavering), Ebrard combine τὸν ἀόρατον with ἐκαρτέρησεν: he held firmly to the invisible one as though seeing Him; according to Ebrard, καρτερεῖν τινα signifies: “to comport oneself stedfastly in regard to some one” (!), and the expression of our passage is supposed to acquire a pregnancy in the sense of τὸν ἀόρατον τιμῶν ἐκαρτέρησεν(!). καρτερεῖν τι can only denote: stedfastly to bear or undergo something; καρτερεῖν τινα, however, cannot be used in Greek.


Verse 28

Hebrews 11:28. Comp. Exodus 12

πίστει] in believing confidence, sc. in the word of God, at whose command he acted, that the blood of the paschal lambs would become the means of delivering the Israelites.

πεποίηκεν τὸ πάσχα] he ordained the Passover. In the perfect there lies the characterization of the regulation then adopted as something still continuing in force even to the present. With the notion of the meet ordering of the Passover blends consequently the idea of the institution thereof; although it is true only τὸ πάσχα, not likewise the addition καὶ τὴν πρόσχυσιν τοῦ αἵματος, is suitable thereto.

καὶ τὴν πρόσχυσιν τοῦ αἵματος] and the affusion of the blood. What is intended is the sprinkling or anointing of the door-posts and lintels of the Israelite houses with the blood of the slain paschal lambs, enjoined by Moses at the command of God, Exodus 12:7; Exodus 12:22 f.

πρόσχυσις] in Holy Scripture only here.

ἵνα μὴ ὀλοθρεύων τὰ πρωτότοκα θίγῃ αὐτῶν] that the slayer of the first-born might not touch them. By ὀλοθρεύων, the destroyer, the LXX. at Exodus 12:23 have translated the Hebrew הַמַּשְׁחִית, the destruction, thinking in connection therewith of an angel of destruction sent forth by God. Comp. 1 Chronicles 21:12; 1 Chronicles 21:15 ( ἄγγελος κυρίου ἐξολοθρεύων); 2 Chronicles 32:21; Sirach 48:21; 1 Corinthians 10:10 ( ὀλοθρευτής).

τὰ πρωτότοκα] Exodus 12:12 : πᾶν πρωτότοκονἀπὸ ἀνθρώπου ἕως κτήνους. Comp. ibid. Hebrews 11:29. We have to construe τὰ πρωτότοκα with ὀλοθρεύων, not, as Klee, Paulus, Ebrard, and Hofmann will, with θίγῃ, since the combination of θιγγάνειν with an accusative is not usual.

αὐτῶν] namely the Israelites. This reference of the αὐτῶν was self-evident from the connection, although the Israelites are not previously mentioned. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 138 f.


Verse 29

Hebrews 11:29. Comp. Exodus 14:22 ff.

πίστει] Oecumenius: ἐπίστευσαν γὰρ διαβήσεσθαι καὶ διέβησαν· τοσοῦτον οἶδεν πίστις καὶ τὰ ἀδύνατα δυνατὰ ποιεῖν.

διέβησαν] namely, the Israelites under Moses.

ὡς διὰ ξηρᾶς γῆς] as through dry, firm land. The less usual διά with the genitive, alternating with the ordinary accusative in connection with διαβαίνειν, was probably occasioned by the reading of the LXX. Exodus 14:29 ( οἱ δὲ υἱοὶ ἰσραὴλ ἐπορεύθησαν διὰ ξηρᾶς ἐν μέσῳ τῆς θαλάσσης).

ἧς πεῖραν λαβόντες οἱ αἰγύπτιοι κατεπόθησαν] in the essaying of which the Egyptians were drowned.

ἧς refers back to τὴν ἐρυθρὰν θάλασσαν, not, as Böhme, Kuinoel, Klee, Stein, Stengel, Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Kurtz suppose, to ξηρᾶς γῆς. For the former is the main thought, of which the readers are reminded anew by κατεπόθησαν, whereas ὡς διὰ ξηρᾶς contains only a subsidiary feature, attached by way of comparison.

πεῖραν λαμβάνειν τινός stands here in the active sense. Otherwise Hebrews 11:36.

καταπίνεσθαι, however (comp. Exodus 15:4), is a more general expression for the more definite καταποντίζεσθαι, which latter ( κατεποντίσθησαν) is found also in our passage, in some cursives, as likewise with Chrysostom and Theodoret.


Verse 30

Hebrews 11:30. The example of faith afforded by the Israelite people in connection with the siege of Jericho, Joshua 6.

πίστει] on the ground of faith, which, namely, the people displayed. Wrongly Grotius, who supposes πίστει is to be construed with κυκλωθέντα.

ἔπεσαν] On the plural of the verb with the neuter plur., see Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 479.

κυκλωθέντα] after they (daily with the ark of the covenant, heralded by trumpet blast) had been encircled (incorrectly Schulz, and others: beleaguered).

ἐπὶ ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας] for seven days, seven days long. Comp. Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 381.


Verse 31

Hebrews 11:31. The example of the Gentile woman Rahab, Joshua 2; Joshua 6:17; Joshua 6:22 ff. Her conduct had proceeded from the recognition that the God of the Israelites is a God in heaven and upon earth, and from the confidence thereon based, that this God would lead them to victory. Comp. Joshua 2:9 ff.

ῥαὰβ πόρνη] Comp. James 2:25; Clem. Rom. ad Cor. c. 12. The epithet πόρνη is to be left in its literal sense. To interpret it, with Jac. Cappellus, Valckenaer, Heinrichs, and others, after the precedent of the Chaldee paraphrase and the Arabian version, by the hostess, or, with Hofmann, the harlots’ hostess, or, with Braun and others, the heathen woman, or finally, with Koppe (in Heinrichs) and others, the idolatress, is arbitrary. The designation of Rahab as πόρνη is an historic characterization, in accordance with Joshua 2:2; Joshua 6:17 ff., and without any ground of offence. For it has already been rightly observed by Calvin: “hoc (epitheton) ad anteactam vitam referri certum est; resipiscentiae enim testis est fides.” Comp. further, Matthew 21:31-32.

τοῖς ἀπειθήσασιν] the inhabitants of Jericho. They had shown themselves disobedient, because they had resisted the people of God (Joshua 6:1), although not to them either had the mighty deeds of this God remained unknown (Joshua 2:10).

δεξαμένη τοὺς κατασκόπους μετʼ εἰρήνης] seeing she had received the spies with peace, i.e. without practising acts of hostility towards them, to which she might have been incited by reason of their nationality.


Verse 32

Hebrews 11:32. καὶ τί ἔτι λέγω;] And to what end do I still speak? i.e. what need is there yet, after that which has already been mentioned, of a further description in detail? and what end can it serve, since, considering the abundance of the historic material, an exhaustive presentation is surely impossible?

λέγω] is indicative. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 267.

ἐπιλείπειν] only here in the N. T.

ἐπιλείψει με γὰρ διηγούμενου χρόνος περὶ γεδεὼν κ. τ. λ.] for the time will not suffice me for relating of Gideon, etc. Comp. Demosth. de Corona, ed. Reisk. p. 324: ἐπιλείψει με λέγοντα ἡμέρα τὰ τῶν προδοτῶν ὀνόματα; Julian. Orat. 1, p. 341 B: ἐπιλείψει με τἀκείνον διηγούμενον χρόνος. Parallel is also the Latin: deficit me dies, tempus, e.g. Liv. 28:41: Dies me deficiat, si … numerare velim; Cic. pro Rosc. Amer. c. 32, init.: tempus, hercule, te citius, quam oratio deficeret. Further instances (also from Philo) see in Wetstein and Bleek.

χρόνος] Oecumenius: χρόνος τῇ ἐπιστολῇ, φησίν, ἁρμόδιος καὶ οἷον συμμετρία; Theophylact: ποῖος; πᾶς· εἴρηται δὲ τοῦτο, ὡς σύνηθες ἡμῖν λέγειν, ὑπερβολικῶς· τῇ· ἐπιστολῇ σύμμετρος.

περὶ γεδεὼν καὶ βαρὰκ κ. τ. λ.] of Gideon, as well as of Barak, etc. That here too, in connection with the correct text, the regard to chronology is not lost sight of, see in the critical remark.

On Gideon, comp. Judges 6-8; on Barak, Judges 4, 5; on Samson, Judges 13-14; on Jephthah, Judges 11:1 to Judges 12:7.

The last double member is yet enlarged by the addition καὶ τῶν προφητῶν to σαμουήλ, because Samuel opened the series of the prophets; cf. Acts 3:24.


Verses 32-40

Hebrews 11:32-40. On account of the multitude of models of faith which are still to be found in the O. T., the author must abandon the attempt of presenting them singly to the readers. He relinquishes, therefore, the previous description in detail, and briefly sums up that to which he could further call attention. He mentions first, at Hebrews 11:32, another series of heroes of the faith; and then portrays in general rubrics their deeds of faith, and that in such form that Hebrews 11:33ἄλλοι, Hebrews 11:35, deeds of victorious faith are brought into relief, and thence to the end of Hebrews 11:38 deeds of suffering faith.


Verse 33

Hebrews 11:33. οἳ διὰ πίστεως κατηγωνίσαντο βασιλείας] who by virtue of faith subdued kingdoms. The διὰ πίστεως with emphasis placed at the head dominates the whole description following, so that it continues equally to sound forth in connection with all the finite verbs as far as περιῆλθον, Hebrews 11:37.

οἵ, however, connects in a lax manner that which follows with that which precedes, in so far as, Hebrews 11:33-34, respect is had, in part at least, to yet other persons besides those mentioned Hebrews 11:32. As regards the subject-matter, therefore, there would have been more accurately written in place of the mere οἵ: “who with others like-minded.”

καταγωνίζεσθαι further, in the N. T. a ἅπαξ λεγόμενον, signifies to get the better of or overpower. With Böhme to attach to the same the signification: “to acquire by fighting” (“certamine sibi paraverunt regna; quod nostra lingua succinctius ita dixeris: sie haben sich Herrscherwürden erkämpft”), is opposed to the usus loquendi.

The statement itself for the rest is true, as of David, who vanquished the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:17-25; 2 Samuel 8:1; 2 Samuel 21:15 ff.), Moabites, Syrians, Edomites (2 Samuel 8:2 ff.), and Ammonites (2 Samuel 10; 2 Samuel 12:26 ff.), so also of the four judges, mentioned Hebrews 11:32, inasmuch as Gideon smote the Midianites (Judges 7), Barak the Canaanites (Judges 4), Samson the Philistines (Judges 14 ff.), Jephthah the Ammonites (Judges 9).

εἰργάσαντο δικαιοσύνην] wrought righteousness and justice, namely, for their subjects, in virtue of their quality as judges or kings. Comp. ποιεῖν κρίμα καὶ δικαιοσύνην, 2 Samuel 8:15; 1 Chronicles 18:14; 2 Chronicles 9:8, al. Too generally Erasmus, Schlichting, Grotius, Schulz, Stein, and others (comp. already Theodoret: τοῦτο κοινὸν τῶν ἁγίων ἁπάντων): they did that which was morally good or pious.

ἐπέτυχον ἐπαγγελιῶν] obtained promises, i.e. either: came into the possession of blessings which God had promised them (Piscator, Owen, Huët, Böhme, Stuart, de Wette, Delitzsch, Alford, Maier, Moll, Hofmann, Woerner, and the majority), or: received words of promise on the part of God (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Primasius, Schlichting [Whitby?], Bleek, Ebrard, Kurtz, al.). Either interpretation is admissible. Yet in the first case, that no contradiction with Hebrews 11:39 (comp. also Hebrews 11:13) may arise, only, what the absence of the article before ἐπαγγελιῶν also permits, blessings and successes of earthly nature could be meant. In the first case, one may think of Judges 7:7 and the like, while in the second case the words are specially to be referred to the Messianic promises given to David and the prophets.

ἔφραξαν στόματα λεόντων] closed the jaws of lions. Comp. with regard to Daniel, Daniel 6:22 (1 Maccabees 2:60); with regard to Samson, Judges 14:6; with regard to David, 1 Samuel 17:34 ff.


Verse 34

Hebrews 11:34. ἔσβεσαν δύναμιν πυρός] Quenched the violence of fire (fire’s violence). Theophylact: οὐκ εἶπε δὲ ἔσβεσαν πῦρ ἀλλὰ δύναμιν πυρός, καὶ μεῖζον· ἐξαπτόμενον γὰρ ὅλως δύναμιν τοῦ καίειν οὐκ εἶχε κατʼ αὐτῶν. To be compared is the statement with regard to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the three companions of Daniel, Daniel 3. Comp. 1 Maccabees 2:59 : ἀνανίας, ἀζαρίας, ΄ισαὴλ πιστεύσαντες ἐσώθησαν ἐκ φλογός.

ἔφυγον στόματα μαχαίρας] escaped the sword-points; e.g. David, comp. 1 Samuel 18:11; 1 Samuel 19:10; 1 Samuel 19:12; 1 Samuel 21:10; Elijah, comp. 1 Kings 19:1 ff.; Elisha, comp. 2 Kings 6:14 ff., 2 Kings 6:31 ff.

ἐνεδυναμώθησαν ἀπὸ ἀσθενείας] out of weakness were made strong. These words Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, and Theophylact refer to the strengthening of the whole people by liberation from the Babylonian captivity; Oecumenius, Theophylact, Calvin, Schlichting, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Owen, Heinrichs, Huët, Böhme, Stuart, Stein, Tholuck, Ebrard, and the majority, partly exclusively, partly, among other things, to the recovery of Hezekiah (2 Kings 20.; Isaiah 38.); certainly more correct, however, Bengel, Chr. Fr. Schmid, Storr, Bleek, de Wette, Hofmann, to the reinvigoration of the weakened Samson (Judges 16:28 ff.).

ἐγενήθησαν ἰσχυροὶ ἐν πολέμῳ] waxed valiant in battle. Theodoret καὶ οἱ προῤῥηθέντες καὶ οἱ τοῦ ΄ατταθίου παῖδες ἰούδας καὶ ἰωνάθης καὶ σίμων. That the author was thinking of the Maccabees also, in particular, in addition to the judges and David, is certainly very probable.

παρεμβολὰς ἔκλιναν ἀλλοτρίων] Made armies of aliens flinch or give way. Theodoret: τὸ αὐτὸ διαφόρως εἴρηκεν.

παρεμβολή, as מַחֲנֶח, in the signification of army; likewise Judges 4:16; Judges 7:14; 1 Maccabees 5:28; 1 Maccabees 5:45, and frequently. With the Greeks this signification of the word is rare; comp., however, Aelian, Var. Hist. 14:46: ἡνίκα δὲ ἔδει συμμίξαι, ἐνταῦθα οἱ μὲν κύνες προπηδῶντες ἐτάραττον τὴν παρεμβολήν.

κλίνειν, in the sense indicated, is found in Holy Scripture only here.


Verse 35

Hebrews 11:35. ἔλαβον γυναῖκες ἐξ ἀναστάσεως τοὺς νεκροὺς αὐτῶν] Women received back their dead (their sons) through resurrection. Those meant are the widow of Sarepta (1 Kings 17:17 ff.), whose son was awakened out of death by Elijah, and the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:18 ff.), whose son was raised by Elisha. Far-fetched is the supposition of Biesenthal (in Guericke’s Zeitschr. f. die ges. luther. Theol. u. Kirche, 1866, H. 4, p. 616 ff.): reference is made to the tradition, preserved to us in the rabbinical and talmudic literature, of the cessation of the dying away of the male population in the wilderness on the 15th Ab.

Syntactically Hebrews 11:35 begins a new proposition (against Böhme, who, as unnaturally as possible, makes the statement ἔλαβοναὐτῶν still dependent on οἵ, Hebrews 11:33, and regards γυναῖκες as apposition to οἵ).

With ἄλλοι δέ, to the close of Hebrews 11:38, the discourse passes over to examples of a suffering faith, which remained still unrewarded upon earth.

ἄλλοι δὲ ἐτυμπανίσθησαν] Others, on the other hand, were stretched on the rack. Allusion to the martyr-death of Eleazar (2 Maccabees 6:18 ff.), and of the seven Maccabean brothers, together with their mother (2 Maccabees 7.). τυμπανίζεσθαι means: to be stretched out upon the τύμπανον (comp. 2 Maccabees 6:19; 2 Maccabees 6:28), an instrument of torture (probably wheel-shaped, Josephus, de Macc. c. 5, 9, 10 : τροχός),—to be stretched out like the skin of a kettledrum, in order then to be tortured to death by blows (comp. 2 Maccabees 6:30).

οὐ προσδεξάμενοι] not accepting, i.e. since the expression, by reason of the objective negation οὐ, blends into a single notion: disdaining.

τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν] the deliverance, namely the earthly one, which they could have gained by the renouncing of their faith. Comp. 2 Maccabees 6:21 ff; 2 Maccabees 7:27 ff.

ἵνα κρείττονος ἀναστάσεως τύχωσιν] that they might become partakers of a better resurrection. Motive for the contemning of earthly deliverance. Comp. 2 Maccabees 7:9; 2 Maccabees 7:11; 2 Maccabees 7:14; 2 Maccabees 7:20; 2 Maccabees 7:23; 2 Maccabees 7:29; 2 Maccabees 7:36, as also 2 Maccabees 6:26. κρείττονος stands not in opposition to the resurrection of the ungodly unto judgment, Daniel 12:2 (Oecumenius: κρείττονος οἱ λοιποὶ ἄνθρωποι· μὲν γὰρ ἀνάστασις πᾶσι κοινή, ἀλλʼ οὗτοι ἀναστήσονται, φησίν, εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, καὶ οὗτοι εἰς κόλασιν αἰώνιον. Comp. Theophylact), neither does it form any antithesis to ἐξ ἀναστάσεως in the beginning of the verse (Chrysostom: οὐ τοιαύτης, οἵας τὰ παιδία τῶν γυναικῶν; Theophylact, who does not, however, decide; Bengel, Schulz, Böhme, Bleek, Stein, de Wette, Stengel, Ebrard, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 617, Obs.; Alford, Maier, Kurtz, and others), which is too remote; but corresponds to the ἀπολύτρωσιν immediately preceding. A much higher possession was the resurrection to the eternal, blessed life, than the temporal deliverance from death; which latter could be regarded, likewise, as a sort of resurrection, but truly only as a lower and valueless one.


Verse 36

Hebrews 11:36. Others endured mockings and scourges, yea, moreover, bonds and prison. ἕτεροι, in accordance with its verbal signification, introduces a heterogeneous class of heroes of the faith, i.e. a particular species of the ἄλλοι, mentioned as the genus Hebrews 11:35. As regards the subject itself, indeed, inexact, since, Hebrews 11:35, with ἄλλοι δὲ ἐτυμπανίσθησαν κ. τ. λ. reference was made not merely to 2 Maccabees 6., but—as the addition ἵνα κρείττονος ἀναστάσεως τύχωσιν clearly shows—at the same time to 2 Maccabees 7; the mention, however, of the scourging along with the mocking seems to admit of explanation only from the author’s referring to 2 Maccabees 6:30 ( μαστιγούμενος) and Hebrews 7:1 ( μάστιξι καὶ νευραῖς αἰκιζομένους), as indeed the enduring of public mockery is expressly mentioned (in addition to 1 Maccabees 9:26) at 2 Maccabees 7:7 ( τὸν δεύτερον ἦγον ἐπὶ τὸν ἐμπαιγμόν), and again 2 Maccabees 7:10 ( μετὰ δὲ τοῦτον τρίτος ἐνεπαίζετο). On the other hand, however, it seems evident that it was the intention of the writer at Hebrews 11:36 in reality to draw attention to a dissimilar class of men; from the fact, even apart from the choice of the expression ἕτεροι, that in the case of the previous ἄλλοι δὲ ἐτυμπανίσθησαν κ. τ. λ. we are constrained to think of a death by martyrdom, while at Hebrews 11:36 the enhancing ἔτι δέ forbids our thinking of the martyr’s death, since, according to this, bonds and dungeon were a more severe trial than mocking and scourging. We must therefore suppose that the author designed further to refer to those, as forming a special category, who, without suffering actual death, were exposed to other kinds of tortures and miseries; that he still derived, however, the main colours for this new picture from the historic figure which but just now had been present to his mind in connection with the ἐτυμπανίσθησαν κ. τ. λ.

The enhancing ἔτι δέ is to be explained from the fact that ἐμπαιγμοὶ καὶ μάστιγες denotes the more transient suffering, in point of time more brief; δεσμοὶ καὶ φυλακή, on the other hand, the longer enduring sufferings.

πεῖραν λαμβάνειν] here in the passive sense: to have experience of something. Otherwise Hebrews 11:29.

δεσμῶν καὶ φυλακῆς] Comp. 1 Maccabees 13:12; 1 Kings 22:27; Jeremiah 37, 38., al.


Verse 37

Hebrews 11:37. ἐλιθάσθησαν] They were stoned. To be referred to Zechariah, son of Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 24:20-22; comp. Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51), and probably also to Jeremiah, of whom at least later tradition reports death by stoning. Comp. Tertull. Scorpiac. 8; Hieronym. adv. Jovinian. 2:37; Pseudo-Epiphan. (Opp. ii. p. 239), al. Less suitably do Oecumenius, Theophylact, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, and others think also of Naboth, 1 Kings 21

ἐπρίσθησαν] were sawn asunder. Death by sawing asunder (comp. 2 Samuel 12:31; 1 Chronicles 20:3) was, according to early tradition, that suffered by Isaiah at the hands of Manasseh, king of Judah. See Ascens. Jes. vat. v. 11–14; Justin Martyr, Dial. c. Tryph. 120; Tertull. de Patient. 14, Scorpiac. 8; Origen, Epist. ad African.; Lactant. Institt. iv. 11, al.; Tr. Jevamoth, f. 49. 2; Sanhedrin, f. 103. 2.

ἐπειράσθησαν] were tempted. This general statement has about it something strange and inconvenient, inasmuch as it occurs in the midst of the mention of different kinds of violent death. Some, therefore, have been in favour of entirely deleting ἐπειράσθησαν (Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Marloratus, Grotius, Hammond, Whitby, Calmet, Storr, Valckenaer, Schulz, Böhme, Kuinoel, Klee, Delitzsch, Maier, al.), in doing which, however, we are not justified by external evidence;(111) while others have thought that ἐπειράσθησαν is a corruption, in itself early, of the original text, which latter must be restored by conjecture. It has been conjectured by Beza, edd. 3, 4, 5, that we have to read ἐπυρώθησαν; Gataker, Miscell. 44, Colomesius, Observ. 5, Moll, and Hofmann: ἐπρήσθησαν; Fr. Junius, Parall. lib. 3., and Piscator: ἐπυράσθησαν; Sykes and Ebrard: ἐπυρίσθησαν, they were burned.(112) Further, Luther (transl.), Beza, edd. 1 and 2, Knatchbull, Fischer, Proluss. de vitiis Lexic. N. T. p. 538; Ewald, p. 171, read ἐπάρθησαν (?), from πείρω, they were pierced, transfixed; Wakefield, Silv. crit. 2:62: ἐπειράθησαν, from περάω (?), they were spitted, impaled; Tanaq. Faber, Epp. crit., Hebrews 2:14, and J. M. Gesner in Carpzov: ἐπηρώθησαν, they were mutilated; Alberti: ἐσπειράσθησαν or ἐσπειράθησαν, from σπεῖρα (?), they were broken on the wheel; Steph. le Moyne in Gronov. Ant. Gr. vii. p. 301: ἐπράθησαν, they were sold. Others yet other conjectures; see Wetstein, Griesbach, and Scholz ad loc. Bleek, too, assumes an error in the text, in that he holds a word which signifies “to be consumed, to perish by fire,” as ἐπρήσθησαν, which is found with Cyrill. Hieros., and in Codd. 110, 111 for ἐπρίσθησαν, or ἐπυρίσθησαν, or even one of the forms more commonly employed for the expressing of this idea,

ἐνεπρήσθησαν and ἐνεπυρίσθησαν,—to be the original reading, and then supposes the author perhaps to have thought once more of martyrs under the tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes, 2 Maccabees 6:11; 2 Maccabees 7:4 f.; Daniel 11:33, al. Comp. also Philo, ad Flacc. p. 990 A (with Mangey, II. p. 542): κατελύθησάν τινες (sc. Alexandrine Jews, by Flaccus) καὶ ζῶντες οἱ μὲν ἐνεπρήσθησαν οἱ δὲ διὰ μέσης κατεσύρησαν ἀγορᾶς, ἕως ὅλα τὰ σώματα αὐτῶν ἐδαπανήθη. Similarly Reiche, Commentar. Crit. p. 111 sqq., who leaves open the choice between ἐπρήσθησαν and ἐπυρώθησαν.

If ἐπειράσθησαν is genuine, it must have been added by the author for the sake of the paronomasia with ἐπρίσθησαν, and be referred to the enticements and temptations to escape a violent death by means of apostasy (comp. e.g. 2 Maccabees 7:24).

ἐν φόνῳ μαχαίρας ἀπέθανον] died by slaughter of the sword. Comp. 1 Kings 19:10 : τοὺς προφήτας σου ἀπέκτειναν ἐν ῥομφαίᾳ; Jeremiah 26:23 : καὶ ἐπάταξεν αὐτὸν ἐν ΄αχαίρᾳ (namely, the prophet Urijah). For the expression ἐν φόνῳ ΄αχαίρας, comp. LXX. Exodus 17:13; Numbers 21:24; Deuteronomy 13:15; Deuteronomy 20:13.

περιῆλθον τῆς γῆς, Hebrews 11:38, now further emphasizes the fact that the whole life of the last-named class of the heroes of faith was one of want and distress.

περιῆλθον ἐν μηλωταῖς, ἐν αἰγείοις δέρμασιν] refers specially to single prophets. Comp. Zechariah 13:4, also Clemens Romanus, ad Corinth. 17: μιμηταὶ γενώμεθα κἀκείνων, οἵτινες ἐν δέρμασιν αἰγείοις καὶ μηλωταῖς περιεπάτησαν, κηρύσσοντες τὴς ἔλευσιν τοῦ χριστοῦ· λέγομεν δὲ ἠλίαν καὶ ἐλισσαῖον, ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἰεζεκιὴλ τοὺς προφήτας

περιῆλθον] they went hither and thither, without being in possession of a fixed dwelling-place. Theophylact: τὸ δὲ περιῆλθον τὸ διώκεσθαι αὐτοὺς δηλοῖ καὶ ἀστατεῖν.

ἐν] in, i.e. clothed with.

ἐν μηλωταῖς, ἐν αἰγείοις δέρμασιν] in sheep-skins, in goat fells. The latter, as designation of a yet rougher clothing, is an ascent from the former, and on that account placed last. μηλωτή, the hide of smaller cattle in general, and specially of sheep. A ΄ηλωτή is mentioned as the garment of Elijah, which, on his being caught up to heaven, he left behind to Elisha, 1 Kings 19:13; 1 Kings 19:19; 2 Kings 8:13-14.

ὑστερού΄ενοι, θλιβό΄ενοι, κακουχού΄ενοι] in want (sc. of that which is necessary for the sustenance of life), affliction, evil-treatment (comp. Hebrews 11:25).


Verse 38

Hebrews 11:38. ὧν οὐκ ἦν ἄξιος κόσμος] Men, to possess whom the (corrupt) world (Hebrews 11:7) was not worthy. Theophylact: οὐκ ἔχετε, φησίν, εἰπεῖν ὅτι ἁμαρτωλοὶ ὄντες τοιαῦτα ἔπασχον, ἀλλὰ τοιοῦτοι, οἷοι καὶ τοῦ κόσμου αὐτοῦ τιμιώτεροι εἶναι. Calvin: Quum ita profugi inter feras vagabantur sancti prophetae, 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.

ὧν] goes back to the subject in περιῆλθον, Hebrews 11:37. In a forced manner Böhme (as also Kuinoel, Klee, and Stein): it points to that which follows, and the sense is: oberravisse illos in desertis tales, quibus vulgus hominum, ut esse soleat, pravum ac impium, haud dignum fuerit, quocum illi eodem loco versarentur. Not less unnaturally does Hofmann look upon ὧν οὐκ ἦν ἄξιος κόσμος as only a following definition of subject to περιῆλθον, in that he begins a new section of the discourse with περιῆλθον. To a yet greater extent, finally, has Carpzov missed the true interpretation, when, taking ὧν as a neuter, he supplies κακῶν ( ὑστερήσεων, θλίψεων)), and gives as the sense: 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.

ἐν ἐρημίαις πλανώμενοι κ. τ. λ.] wandering in deserts and upon mountains, and in caves and the clefts [clifts] of the earth. Comp. 1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 18:13; 1 Kings 19:4; 1 Kings 19:8-9; 1 Kings 19:13; 1 Maccabees 2:28-29; 2 Maccabees 5:27; 2 Maccabees 6:11; 2 Maccabees 10:6.


Verse 39-40

Hebrews 11:39-40. General remark in closing.

καὶ οὗτοι πάντες] And these all. Refers back to the totality of the persons named, from Hebrews 11:4 (not merely, as Schlichting, Hammond, and Storr suppose, to those mentioned from ἄλλοι δέ, Hebrews 11:35).

μαρτυρηθέντες διὰ τῆς πίστεως] although by virtue of their faith they received a (glorious) testimony (in Scripture).

οὐκ ἐκομίσαντο τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν] did not bear away the promise (wrongly Ebrard: the aorist stands “pro plusquamperf.”), i.e. attained not, so long as they lived, to the possession of that which was promised, namely, the Messianic blessedness.


Verse 40

Hebrews 11:40. The ground for the οὐκ ἐκομίσαντο τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν lay in the decree of God, that those believers should not apart from us attain to the consummation.

τοῦ θεοῦ περὶ ἡμῶν κρεῖττόν τι προβλεψαμένον] God having, with regard to us, foreseen (predetermined) something better.

προβλέπειν] in the N. T. only here.

On account of the emphatically preposed περὶ ἡμῶν, which forms the contrast to οὗτοι πάντες, Hebrews 11:39, κρεῖττόν τι cannot be placed absolutely: “Something better than would otherwise have been our portion” (Schlichting, Seb. Schmidt, Huët). With this thought, moreover, ἵνα μὴ χωρὶς ἡμῶν τελειωθῶσιν would not have been in keeping, since, instead thereof, ἵνα σὺν αὐτοῖς τελειωθῶμεν must have been written. The sense can only be: in regard to us something better than in regard to them. In regard to us something better, inasmuch as when they lived the appearing of the Redeemer as yet belonged to the distant future, and was an object of longing desire (Matthew 13:16 f.; Luke 10:23 f.); but now Christ has in reality appeared, has accomplished the redemption, and presently after a brief interval will return, to bring to full realization the Messianic kingdom with all its blessings of salvation. Comp. Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 10:36 f.

ἵνα μὴ χωρὶς ἡμῶν τελειωθῶσιν] Declaration of the divine design: that they not without us should attain to the consummation. Without us, i.e. without our having entered into the joint participation in the consummation, they would have attained to the consummation, if Christ had already appeared in their time, and so they had already attained during their lifetime to the possession of the promised Messianic bliss. For then we should not have been born at all; since, according to the declaration of the Lord (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:35 f.), in the consummated kingdom of God a marrying and being given in marriage will no longer take place.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Hebrews 11:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/hebrews-11.html. 1832.

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Saturday, December 14th, 2019
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