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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Hebrews 11

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

Now faith is (εστιν δε πιστιςestin de pistis). He has just said that “we are of faith” (Hebrews 10:39), not of apostasy. Now he proceeds in a chapter of great eloquence and passion to illustrate his point by a recital of the heroes of faith whose example should spur them to like loyalty now.

The assurance of things hoped for (ελπιζομενων υποστασιςelpizomenōn hupostasis). υπιστημιHupostasis is a very common word from Aristotle on and comes from υποhuphistēmi (ιστημιhupo under, πραγματων ελεγχος ου βλεπομενωνhistēmi intransitive), what stands under anything (a building, a contract, a promise). See the philosophical use of it in Hebrews 1:3, the sense of assurance (une assurance certaine, Menegoz) in Hebrews 3:14, that steadiness of mind which holds one firm (2 Corinthians 9:4). It is common in the papyri in business documents as the basis or guarantee of transactions. “And as this is the essential meaning in Hebrews 11:1 we venture to suggest the translation ‹Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for‘” (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, etc.).

The proving of things not seen
(ελεγχοςpragmatōn elegchos ou blepomenōn). The only N.T. example of ελεγμονelegchos (except Textus Receptus in 2 Timothy 3:16 for ελεγχωelegmon). Old and common word from elegchō (Matthew 18:15) for “proof” and then for “conviction.” Both uses occur in the papyri and either makes sense here, perhaps “conviction” suiting better though not in the older Greek.


Verse 2

Therein (εν ταυτηιen tautēi). That is, “in faith,” feminine demonstrative referring to πιστιςpistis

The elders (οι πρεσβυτεροιhoi presbuteroi). More nearly like “the fathers,” not the technical sense of elders (officers) usual in the N.T., but more like “the tradition of the elders” (Mark 7:3, Mark 7:5; Matthew 15:2).

Had witness borne to them
(εμαρτυρητησανemarturēthēsan). First aorist passive of μαρτυρεωmartureō (cf. Hebrews 7:8), “were testified to.”


Verse 3

By faith (πιστειpistei). Instrumental case of πιστιςpistis which he now illustrates in a marvellous way. Each example as far as Hebrews 11:31 is formally and with rhetorical skill introduced by πιστειpistei After that only a summary is given.

We understand (νοουμενnooumen). Present active indicative of νοεωnoeō old verb (from νουςnous intellect) as in Matthew 15:17; Romans 1:20. The author appeals to our knowledge of the world in which these heroes lived as an illustration of faith. Recent books by great scientists like Eddington and Jeans confirm the position here taken that a Supreme Mind is behind and before the universe. Science can only stand still in God‘s presence and believe like a little child.

The worlds
(τους αιωναςtous aiōnas). “The ages” as in Hebrews 1:2 (cf. Einstein‘s fourth dimension, time). Accusative case of general reference.

Have been framed
(κατηρτισταιkatērtisthai). Perfect passive infinitive of καταρτιζωkatartizō to mend, to equip, to perfect (Luke 6:40), in indirect discourse after νοουμενnooumen

So that
(εις τοeis to). As a rule εις τοeis to with the infinitive is final, but sometimes as here it expresses result as in Romans 12:3 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1003).

Hath been made
(γεγονεναιgegonenai). Perfect active infinitive of γινομαιginomai

What is seen
(το βλεπομενονto blepomenon). Present passive articular participle (accusative case of general reference) of βλεπωblepō

Of things which do appear
(εκ παινομενωνek phainomenōn). Ablative case with εκek (out of) of the present passive participle. The author denies the eternity of matter, a common theory then and now, and places God before the visible universe as many modern scientists now gladly do.


Verse 4

A more excellent sacrifice (πλειονα τυσιανpleiona thusian). Literally, “more sacrifice” (comparative of πολυςpolus much). For this rather free use of πλειωνpleiōn with the point implied rather than stated see Matthew 6:25; Luke 10:31; Luke 12:23; Hebrews 3:3.

Than Cain (παρα Καινpara Kain). For this use of παραpara after comparative see Hebrews 1:4, Hebrews 1:9. For the incident see Genesis 4:4.

Through which
(δι ηςdi' hēs). The sacrifice (τυσιαthusia).

He had Witness borne to him
(εμαρτυρητηemarturēthē). First aorist passive indicative of μαρτυρεωmartureō as in Hebrews 11:2, “he was witnessed to.”

That he was righteous
(ειναι δικαιοςeinai dikaios). Infinitive in indirect discourse after εμαρτυρητηemarturēthē personal construction of δικαιοςdikaios (predicate nominative after ειναιeinai) agreeing with the subject of εμαρτυρητηemarturēthē (cf. Romans 1:22, ειναι σοποιeinai sophoi).

God bearing witness
(μαρτυρουντος του τεουmarturountos tou theou). Genitive absolute with present active participle of μαρτυρεωmartureō

Through it
(δι αυτηςdi' autēs). Through his faith (as shown by his sacrifice). Precisely why Abel‘s sacrifice was better than that of Cain apart from his faith is not shown.

Being dead
(αποτανωνapothanōn). Second aorist active participle of αποτνησκωapothnēskō “having died.”

Yet speaketh
(ετι λαλειeti lalei). Cf. Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 12:24. Speaks still through his faith.


Verse 5

Was translated (μετετετηmetetethē). First aorist passive indicative of μετατιτημιmetatithēmi old verb to transpose, to change as in Hebrews 7:12; Acts 7:16.

That he should not see death (του μη ιδειν τανατονtou mē idein thanaton). Here again τουtou with the infinitive usually expresses purpose, but in this case result is the idea as in Matthew 21:23; Romans 1:24; Romans 7:3, etc. (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1002).

He was not found
(ουχ ηυρισκετοouch hēurisketo). Imperfect passive of ευρισκωheuriskō from Genesis 5:24. Was still not found.

Translated
(μετετηκενmetethēken). First aorist active of same verb as μετετετηmetetethē just before.

Translation
(μετατεσεωςmetatheseōs). Substantive from the same verb μετατιτημιmetatithēmi used already in Hebrews 7:12 for change. See also Hebrews 12:27. Our very word “metathesis.”

He hath had witness borne him
(μεμαρτυρηταιmemarturētai). Perfect passive indicative of μαρτυρεωmartureō stands on record still, “he has been testified to.”

That he had been well-pleasing unto God
(ευαρεστηκεναι τωι τεωιeuarestēkenai tōi theōi). Perfect active infinitive of ευαρεστεωeuaresteō late compound from ευαρεστοςeuarestos (well-pleasing), in N.T. only in Hebrews 11:5.; Hebrews 13:16. With dative case τεωιtheōi Quoted here from Genesis 5:22, Genesis 5:24. The word is common of a servant pleasing his master.


Verse 6

Impossible (αδυνατονadunaton). Strong word as in Hebrews 6:4, Hebrews 6:18. See Romans 8:8 for same idea with αρεσαιaresai (αρεσκωareskō Galatians 1:10).

Must believe (πιστευσαι δειpisteusai dei). Moral necessity to have faith (trust, πιστευωpisteuō). This is true in business also (banks, for instance).

That he is
(οτι εστινhoti estin). The very existence of God is a matter of intelligent faith (Romans 1:19.) So that men are left without excuse.

He is a rewarder
(μισταποδοτης γινεταιmisthapodotēs ginetai). Rather, “becomes a rewarder” (present middle indicative of γινομαιginomai not of ειμιeimi). Only N.T. example of μισταποδοτηςmisthapodotēs late and rare double compound (one papyrus example, from μιστοςmisthos (reward) and αποδιδωμιapodidōmi (to pay back) like μισταποδοσιαmisthapodosia (Hebrews 10:35; Hebrews 11:26).

Seek after
(εκζητουσινekzētousin). That seek out God.


Verse 7

Being warned of God (χρηματιστειςchrēmatistheis). First aorist passive participle of χρηματιζωchrēmatizō old word for oracular or divine communications as already in Hebrews 8:5 (cf. Matthew 2:12, Matthew 2:22, etc.).

Moved with godly fear (ευλαβητηeulabēthē). First aorist passive indicative of ευλαβεομαιeulabeomai old verb from ευλαβηςeulabēs (from ευeu and λαβεινlabein to take hold well or carefully), to show oneself ευλαβηςeulabēs to act circumspectly or with reverence, here only in N.T. (save Textus Receptus in Acts 23:10), often in lxx.

An ark
(κιβωτονkibōton). Genesis 6:15; Matthew 24:38. Shaped like a box (cf. Hebrews 9:4).

Through which
(δι ηςdi' hēs). Through his faith as shown in building the ark.

The world
(τον κοσμονton kosmon). Sinful humanity as in Hebrews 11:38.

Heir
(κληρονομοςklēronomos). In 2 Peter 2:5 Noah is called “a preacher of righteousness” as here “heir of righteousness.” He himself believed his message about the flood. Like Enoch he walked with God (Genesis 6:9).


Verse 8

Not knowing whither he went (μη επισταμενος που ερχεταιmē epistamenos pou erchetai). Usual negative μηmē with a participle (present middle from επισταμαιepistamai old and common verb to put the mind on). Present middle indicative (ερχεταιerchetai) preserved in the indirect question after the secondary tense εχηλτενexēlthen (went out) from which επισταμενοςepistamenos gets its time. Abraham is a sublime and graphic example of faith. He did not even know where the land was that he was going to receive “as an inheritance” (εις κληρονομιανeis klēronomian).


Verse 9

Became a sojourner (παρωικησενparōikēsen). First aorist active indicative of παροικεωparoikeō old verb to dwell (οικεωoikeō) beside (παραpara), common in lxx, in N.T. only here and Luke 24:18. Called παροικονparoikon (sojourner) in Acts 7:6.

In the land of promise (εις γην της επαγγελιαςeis gēn tēs epaggelias). Literally, “land of the promise.” The promise made by God to him (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:15; Genesis 17:8).

As in a land not his own
(ως αλλοτριανhōs allotrian). For αλλοτριοςallotrios (belonging to another) see Hebrews 9:25; Hebrews 11:34.

The heirs with him of the same promise
(των συνκληρομενων της επαγγελιας της αυτηςtōn sunklēromenōn tēs epaggelias tēs autēs). Late double compound (συν κληροσ νεμομαιsun class="translit"> klēros class="translit"> nemomai), found in Philo, inscriptions and papyri, in N.T. only here, Romans 8:17; Ephesians 3:6; 1 Peter 3:7. “Co-heirs” with Abraham.


Verse 10

He looked for (εχεδεχετοexedecheto). Imperfect middle of εκδεχομαιekdechomai (see note on Hebrews 10:13) picturesque progressive imperfect, his steady and patient waiting in spite of disappointment.

The foundations (τους τεμελιουςtous themelious). Not just “tents” (σκηναιςskēnais Hebrews 11:9). Abraham set his steady gaze on heaven as his real home, being a mere pilgrim (παροικοςparoikos) on earth.

Builder
(τεχνιτηςtechnitēs). Old word from τεχνηtechnē (craft) or trade (Acts 17:29; Acts 18:3), craftsman, artificer, in N.T. only here and Acts 19:24, Acts 19:38.

Maker
(δημιουργοςdēmiourgos). Old word from δημιοςdēmios (public) and εργονergon a worker for the public, artisan, framer, here only in N.T.


Verse 11

To conceive seed (εις καταβολην σπερματοςeis katabolēn spermatos). For deposit of seed. See Hebrews 4:3 for καταβοληkatabolē

Past age (παρα καιρον ηλικιαςpara kairon hēlikias). Beyond (παραpara with the accusative) the season of age.

Since she counted him faithful who had promised
(επει πιστον ηγησατο τον επαγγειλαμενονepei piston hēgēsato ton epaggeilamenon). Sarah herself (αυτηΣαρραautē -Sarra). Even Sarah, old as she was, believed God who had promised. Hence she received power.


Verse 12

And that as good as dead (και ταυτα νενεκρωμενουkai tauta nenekrōmenou). Accusative of general reference (ταυταtauta), sometimes singular as in 1 Corinthians 6:8. The perfect passive participle from νεκροωnekroō late verb to make dead, to treat as dead (Romans 4:19), here by hyperbole.

By the sea shore (παρα το χειλος της ταλασσηςpara to cheilos tēs thalassēs). “Along the lip of the sea” (from Genesis 22:17), χειλοςcheilos here alone in this sense in the N.T.

Innumerable
(αναριτμητοςanarithmētos). Old compound verbal adjective (alpha privative and αριτμεωarithmeō to number), here alone in N.T.


Verse 13

In faith (κατα πιστινkata pistin). Here a break in the routine πιστειpistei (by faith), “according to faith,” either for literary variety “or to suggest πιστιςpistis as the sphere and standard of their characters” (Moffatt).

These all (ουτοι παντεςhoutoi pantes). Those in Hebrews 11:9-12 (Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob).

Not having the promises
(μη κομισαμενοι τας επαγγελιαςmē komisamenoi tas epaggelias). First aorist middle participle of κομιζωkomizō to obtain, as in Hebrews 10:36; Hebrews 11:39. And yet the author mentions Abraham (Hebrews 6:15) as having obtained the promise. He received the promise of the Messiah, but did not live to see the Messiah come as we have done. It is in this sense that we have “better promises.”

Greeted them
(ασπασαμενοιaspasamenoi). First aorist middle participle of ασπαζομαιaspazomai to salute (Matthew 5:47). Abraham rejoiced to see Christ‘s day in the dim distance (John 8:56).

Strangers
(ζενοιzenoi). Foreigners. “To reside abroad carried with it a certain stigma” (Moffatt). But they “confessed” it (Genesis 23:4; Genesis 47:9).

Pilgrims
(παρεπιδημοιparepidēmoi). Late double compound (παρα επι δημοςpara class="translit"> epi class="translit"> dēmos), a sojourner from another land, in N.T. only here and 1 Peter 1:1; 1 Peter 2:11.


Verse 14

A country of their own (πατριδαpatrida). Land of the fathers (πατηρpatēr), one‘s native land (John 4:44). Cf. our patriotic, patriotism.


Verse 15

Had been mindful (εμνημονευονemnēmoneuon) - would have had (ειχον ανeichon an). Condition of second class (note ανan in conclusion) with the imperfect (not aorist) in both condition and conclusion. So it means: “If they had continued mindful, they would have kept on having” (linear action in both cases in past time).

Opportunity to return (καιρον ανακαμπσαιkairon anakampsai). Old verb ανακαμπτωanakamptō to bend back, to turn back (Matthew 2:12), here first aorist active infinitive. Continual hankering would have found a way. Cf. the Israelites in the wilderness yearning after Egypt.


Verse 16

They desire (ορεγονταιoregontai). Present middle indicative of ορεγωoregō old word for stretching out after, yearning after as in 1 Timothy 3:1.

Their God (τεος αυτωνtheos autōn). Predicate nominative with the epexegetic infinitive επικαλεισταιepikaleisthai (to be called) used with ουκ επαισχυνεταιouk epaischunetai (is not ashamed).


Verse 17

Being tried (πειραζομενοςpeirazomenos). Present passive participle of πειραζωpeirazō The test was still going on.

Offered up (προσενηνοχενprosenēnochen). Perfect active indicative of προσπερωprospherō the verb so often used in this Epistle. The act was already consummated so far as Abraham was concerned when it was interrupted and it stands on record about him. See Gen 22:1-18.

He that had gladly received the promises
(ο τας επαγγελιας αναδεχαμενοςho tas epaggelias anadexamenos). ΑναδεχομαιAnadechomai is old verb to welcome, to entertain, in N.T. only here and Acts 28:7. It seemed the death of his hopes.

Was offering up
(προσεπερενprosepheren). It is the imperfect of an interrupted action like εκαλουνekaloun in Luke 1:59.


Verse 18

To whom it was said (προς ελαλητηpros elalēthē). First aorist passive indicative of λαλεωlaleō (Genesis 21:12). God‘s very words were in the heart of Abraham now about Isaac “his only son” (τον μονογενηton monogenē Cf. Luke 7:12).


Verse 19

Accounting (λογισαμενοςlogisamenos). First aorist middle participle of λογιζομαιlogizomai Abraham had God‘s clear command that contravened God‘s previous promise. This was his solution of his difficult situation.

God is able (δυναται ο τεοςdunatai ho theos). God had given him Isaac in his old age. God can raise him from the dead. It was Abraham‘s duty to obey God.

In a parable
(εν παραβοληιen parabolēi). See note on Hebrews 9:9 for παραβοληparabolē Because of (οτενhothen whence) Abraham‘s superb faith Isaac was spared and so he received him back (εκομισατοekomisato) as almost from the dead. This is the test that Abraham stood of which James speaks (James 2:23).


Verse 20

Even concerning things to come (και περι μελλοντωνkai peri mellontōn). As told in Genesis 27:28-40 when Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau.


Verse 21

Leaning upon the top of his staff (επι το ακρον της ραβδου αυτουepi to akron tēs rabdou autou). From Genesis 47:31, but no word for “leaning.” The quotation is from the lxx, the Hebrew having “the head of the bed,” but the Hebrew word allows either meaning with different vowel points.


Verse 22

When his end was nigh (τελευτωνteleutōn). Present active participle of τελευταωteleutaō to finish or close (Matthew 2:19), “finishing his life.”

Of the departure (περι της εχοδουperi tēs exodou). Late compound for way out, exit as here, metaphorically of death as here (Luke 9:31; 2 Peter 1:15).

Concerning his bones
(περι των οστεων αυτουperi tōn osteōn autou). Uncontracted form as in Matthew 23:27.


Verse 23

Was hid (εκρυβηekrubē). Second aorist passive indicative of κρυπτωkruptō to hide, as in Matthew 5:14.

Three months (τριμηνονtrimēnon). Old adjective used as neuter substantive in accusative case for extent of time, here only in N.T.

A goodly child
(αστειον το παιδιονasteion to paidion). Literally, “the child was goodly” (predicate adjective). Old adjective from αστυastu (city), “of the city” (“citified”), of polished manners, genteel. In N.T. only here and Acts 7:20, about Moses both times. Quoted from Exodus 2:2.

The king‘s commandment
(το διαταγμα του βασιλεωςto diatagma tou basileōs). Late compound for injunction from διατασσωdiatassō only here in the N.T.


Verse 24

When he was grown up (μεγας γενομενοςmegas genomenos). “Having become great” (from Exodus 2:11).

Refused (ηρνεσατοērnesato). First aorist middle indicative of αρνεομαιarneomai to deny, to refuse. He was of age and made his choice not from ignorance.

Son
(υιοςhuios). Predicate nominative with λεγεσταιlegesthai (to be spoken of, present passive infinitive, of λεγωlegō).


Verse 25

Choosing rather (μαλλον ελομενοςmallon helomenos). “Rather having chosen” (second aorist middle of αιρεωhaireō to take for oneself a position).

To be entreated with (συνκακουχεισταιsunkakoucheisthai). Present passive infinitive of the double compound συνκακουχεωsunkakoucheō (from συν κακοσ εχωsun class="normal greek">κακουχεω — kakos class="normal greek">προσκαιρον εχειν αμαρτιας απολαυσιν echō), to treat ill with (associative instrumental case), only known example save one in the papyri (second century a.d.), though Απολαυσιςkakoucheō in Hebrews 11:37; Hebrews 13:3.

To enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season
(απολαυωproskairon echein hamartias apolausin). Literally, “to have temporary pleasure of sin.” ΠροσκαιροςApolausis is old word from προσ καιροςapolauō to enjoy, in N.T. only here and 1 Timothy 6:17. αιωνιοςProskairos (from pros class="translit"> kairos) is a common Koiné word as the antithesis to aiōnios (eternal) as in Matthew 13:21; Mark 4:17; 2 Corinthians 4:18 (only N.T. examples). To have been disloyal to God‘s people would have brought enjoyment to Moses in the Egyptian Court for a short while only.


Verse 26

The reproach of Christ (τον ονειδισμον του Χριστουton oneidismon tou Christou). See Psalm 89:51 for the language where “the Messiah” (“The Anointed One”) is what is meant by του Χριστουtou Christou here rightly applied by the writer to Jesus as the Messiah who had his own shame to bear (Hebrews 12:2; Hebrews 13:12). There is today as then (Hebrews 13:13) a special reproach (ονειδισμοςoneidismos already, Hebrews 10:33) in being a follower of Jesus Christ. Moses took this obloquy as “greater riches” (μειζονα πλουτονmeizona plouton) than “the treasures of Egypt” (των Αιγυπτου τησαυρωνtōn Aiguptou thēsaurōn ablative case after comparative μειζοναmeizona for which see Matthew 6:19.). Moses was laying up treasure in heaven.

For he looked unto the recompense of reward (απεβλεπεν γαρ εις την μισταποδοσιανapeblepen gar eis tēn misthapodosian). In perfect active of αποβλεπωapoblepō “for he was looking away (kept on looking away).” For μισταποδοσιαmisthapodosia see Hebrews 10:35.


Verse 27

Not fearing (μη ποβητειςmē phobētheis). Negative μηmē with first aorist passive participle of ποβεωphobeō here used transitively with the accusative as in Matthew 10:26. Moses did flee from Egypt after slaying the Egyptian (Exodus 2:15), but the author omits that slaughter and ignores it as the dominant motive in the flight of Moses. ΤυμονThumon (wrath) is common in the N.T. (Luke 4:28), though here only in Hebrews.

He endured (εκαρτερησενekarterēsen). First aorist (constative) active indicative of καρτερεωkartereō old word from καρτεροςkarteros strong, here only in N.T. Moses had made his choice before slaying the Egyptian. He stuck to its resolutely.

As seeing him who is invisible
(τον αορατον ως ορωνton aoraton hōs horōn). This is the secret of his choice and of his loyalty to God and to God‘s people. This is the secret of loyalty in any minister today who is the interpreter of God to man (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).


Verse 28

He kept (πεποιηκενpepoiēken). Perfect active indicative of ποιεωpoieō to make, “he has made,” emphasizing the permanent nature of the feast.

The sprinkling of the blood (την προσχυσιν του αιματοςtēn proschusin tou haimatos). Rather, “the pouring of the blood” (προσχυσιςproschusis from προσχεωproscheō to pour upon), only here in the N.T. (earliest known example). An allusion to the command in Exodus 12:7, Exodus 12:22 but in the lxx προσχεωproscheō is the usual term for the act (Exod 24:6; 29:16; Lev 1:5, 11; Deut 16:6).

That the destroyer of the first-born should not touch them
(ινα μη ο ολοτρευων τα πρωτοτοκα τιγηι αυτωνhina mē ho olothreuōn ta prōtotoka thigēi autōn). Negative final clause with ινα μηhina mē and the second aorist active subjunctive of τιγγανωthigganō old verb to touch with genitive, in the N.T. only here, Hebrews 12:20; Colossians 2:21. The articular participle ο ολοτρευωνho olothreuōn is from Exodus 12:23. For πρωτοτοκαprōtotoka see Luke 2:7; Exodus 12:29.


Verse 29

Which assaying to do (ης πιεραν λαβοντεςhēs pieran labontes). Literally, “of which taking trial” (second aorist active participle of λαμβανωlambanō to take). The idiom πειραν λαμβανεινpeiran lambanein occurs in Deuteronomy 28:56, in N.T. only here and Hebrews 11:36, though a classical idiom (Demosthenes, etc.).

Were swallowed up (κατεποτησανkatepothēsan). First aorist passive indicative of καταπινωkatapinō to drink down, to swallow down (Matthew 23:24).


Verse 30

Fell down (επεσανepesan). “Fell,” second aorist active indicative of πιπτωpiptō with first aorist endings as often in the Koiné.

After they had been compassed (κυκλωτενταkuklōthenta). First aorist passive participle of κυκλοωkukloō old verb to encircle (from κυκλοςkuklos circle) as in Acts 14:20. Antecedent action here.


Verse 31

Having received the spies with peace (δεχαμενη τους κατασκοπους μετ ειρηνηςdexamenē tous kataskopous met' eirēnēs). First aorist middle participle of δεχομαιdechomai to welcome (Luke 10:8, Luke 10:10). ΚατασκοποςKataskopos is an old compound (κατασκοπεωkataskopeō Galatians 2:4), used of scout or spy, in lxx, here only in N.T.


Verse 32

And what shall I more say? (Και τι ετι λεγωKai ti eti legō). Deliberative present active subjunctive (same form as indicative, λεγωlegō). It is both a literary and an oratorical idiom here. He feels helpless to go on in the same style as he has done from Abel to Rahab (11:4-31).

Will fail me if I tell about (επιλειπσει με διηγουμενον περιepileipsei me diēgoumenon peri). Literally, “will leave me telling about.” Present middle participle of διηγεομαιdiēgeomai to lead through, carry a discussion through, and masculine (disposing of Priscilla as possible author) with μεme Vivid and picturesque description of the author‘s embarrassment of riches as he contemplates the long list of the heroes of faith during the long years in Palestine. He mentions six names (Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephtha, David, Samuel) and then summarizes the rest under “the prophets” (των προπητωνtōn prophētōn the for-speakers for God) of whom Samuel was the leader.


Verse 33

Through faith (δια πιστεωςdia pisteōs). Change thus from the routine πιστειpistei used so far.

Subdued kingdoms (κατηγωνισαντο βασιλειαςkatēgōnisanto basileias). First aorist middle indicative of καταγωνιζομαιkatagōnizomai Koiné verb to struggle against, to overcome, here alone in the N.T. Used by Josephus of David‘s conquests. The author has here (Hebrews 11:33, Hebrews 11:34), “nine terse clauses” (Moffatt) with no connective (asyndeton) with great rhetorical and oratorical force (sledge-hammer style). For “wrought righteousness” (ηργασαντο δικαιοσυνηνērgasanto dikaiosunēn first aorist middle indicative of εργαζομαιergazomai) see Acts 10:35.

Obtained promises
(επετυχον επαγγελιωνepetuchon epaggeliōn). Second aorist active indicative of επιτυγχανωepitugchanō old verb (already in Hebrews 6:15) with genitive. But they did not see the fulfilment of the Messianic promise (Hebrews 11:39.).

Stopped the mouths of lions
(επραχαν στοματα λεοντωνephraxan stomata leontōn). First aorist active indicative of πρασσωphrassō old verb to fence in, to block up. See Daniel 6:18-23.


Verse 34

Quenched the power of fire (εσβεσαν δυναμιν πυροςesbesan dunamin puros). First aorist active indicative of σβεννυμιsbennumi (Matthew 12:20). See Daniel 3:19-28.

Escaped the edge of the sword (επυγον στοματα μαχαιρηςephugon stomata machairēs). Second aorist active indicative of πευγωpheugō old verb to flee. “Mouths (στοματαstomata) of the sword” (Luke 21:24). See 1 Samuel 18:11; 1 Kings 19:2.

Were made strong
(εδυναμωτησανedunamōthēsan). First aorist passive indicative of δυναμοωdunamoō late verb from δυναμιςdunamis as in Colossians 1:11.

Waxed mighty in war
(εγενητησαν ισχυροι εν πολεμωιegenēthēsan ischuroi en polemōi). “Became strong in battle” (Psalm 18:34.).

Armies of aliens
(παρεμβολας αλλοτριωνparembolas allotriōn). Late compound (παρα εν βαλλωpara class="translit"> en class="translit"> ballō) for encampment (Polybius, Plutarch), barracks (Acts 21:34, Acts 21:37), armies in battle line (Revelation 20:9 and here as in lxx and Polybius). Apparently a reference to the campaigns of Judas Maccabeus.


Verse 35

By a resurrection (εχ αναστασεωςex anastaseōs). Cf. 1 Kings 17:17.; 2Kings 4:8-37.

Were tortured (ετυμπανιστησανetumpanisthēsan). First aorist passive indicative of τυμπανιζωtumpanizō late verb from τυμπανονtumpanon (kettledrum, drumstick), to beat the drum, to beat to death (cf. 2Macc 7 about Eleazar and the Mother and the seven sons), once in lxx (1Sam 21:13).

Not accepting their deliverance
(ου προσδεχαμενοι την απολυτρωσινou prosdexamenoi tēn apolutrōsin). Offered at the price of disloyalty as in 2Macc 6:21-27.

That they might obtain a better resurrection
(ινα κρειττονος αναστασεως τυχωσινhina kreittonos anastaseōs tuchōsin). Purpose clause with ιναhina and the second aorist active subjunctive of τυγχανωtugchanō to obtain with the genitive case. A “better resurrection” than the temporary ones alluded to in this verse by the women.


Verse 36

Of mockings and scourgings (εμπαιγμων και μαστιγωνempaigmōn kai mastigōn). ΕμπαιγμοςEmpaigmos is from εμπαιζωempaizō (Matthew 20:19), late word, in lxx, here alone in N.T. ΜαστιγωνMastigōn (μαστιχmastix a whip, a scourge) is old and common enough (Acts 22:24).


Verse 37

They were stoned (ελιταστησανelithasthēsan). Like Zechariah son of Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 24:20). “A characteristic Jewish punishment” (Vincent). First aorist passive indicative of λιταζωlithazō (John 10:31).

They were sawn asunder (επριστησανepristhēsan). First aorist passive indicative of πριωpriō or πριζωprizō old verb (πριονprion a saw). Cruel Jewish punishment (Amos 1:3) said to have been inflicted on Isaiah.

They were tempted
(επειραστησανepeirasthēsan). First aorist passive indicative of πειραζωpeirazō The MSS. vary greatly in the text here and the order of these two items. This mild word seems an anticlimax after επριστησανepristhēsan One of the seven brothers was fried (2Macc 7:4) and so επρηστεσανeprēsthesan (were burned) from πιμπραωpimpraō (Acts 28:6) has been suggested.

With the sword
(εν πονωι μαχαιρηςen phonōi machairēs). “In (by) slaughter of the sword” (Ionic form of the genitive μαχαιρεςmachaires as in Exodus 17:13; Numbers 21:24). The fate of unpopular prophets (1 Kings 10:10; Jeremiah 26:23).

They went about
(περιηλτονperiēlthon). Constative aorist active indicative of περιερχομαιperierchomai (picturesque compound verb). Here the sufferings of the living.

In sheep skins
(εν μηλωταιςen mēlōtais). Late word from μηλονmēlon (sheep), rough garment of prophets as Elijah (1 Kings 19:13, 1 Kings 19:19), here only in N.T. In Byzantine Greek a monk‘s garb.

In goatskins
(εν αιγειοις δερμασινen aigeiois dermasin). ΔερμαDerma old word from δερωderō to flay (Matthew 21:35), here only in N.T. ΑιγειοςAigeios old adjective (from αιχaix goat), here only in N.T.

Being destitute
(υστερουμενοιhusteroumenoi). Present passive participle of υστερεωhustereō old verb to be left behind, used by Paul of himself (2 Corinthians 11:9).

Afflicted
(τλιβομενοιthlibomenoi). Present passive participle of τλιβωthlibō common verb to oppress.

Evil entreated
(κακουχουμενοιkakouchoumenoi). Present passive participle of κακουχεωkakoucheō late compound verb from obsolete κακουχοςkakouchos (κακοςkakos and εχωechō), in lxx (1Kings 2:26), in N.T. only here and Hebrews 13:3. See συνκακουχεισταιsunkakoucheisthai in Hebrews 11:25.


Verse 38

Of whom the world was not worthy (ων ουκ ην αχιος ο κοσμοςhōn ouk ēn axios ho kosmos). Graphic picture in a short parenthetical relative clause (ωνhōn genitive plural with αχιοςaxios), a phrase to stir the blood of the readers.

Wandering (πλανωμενοιplanōmenoi). Present middle participle of πλαναωplanaō like lost sheep, hunted by wolves.

Caves
(σπηλαιοιςspēlaiois). Old word from σπεοςspeos (cavern) as in Matthew 21:13.

Holes
(οπαιςopais). Old word, perhaps from οπςops (root of οραωhoraō to see), opening, in N.T. only here and James 3:11. Cf. 1 Kings 18:4; 2Macc 5:27; 10:6 (about Judas Maccabeus and others).


Verse 39

These all (ουτοι παντεςhoutoi pantes). The whole list in verses 5-38. Cf. Hebrews 11:13.

Through their faith (δια πιστεωςdia pisteōs). Here rather than πιστειpistei as so often.

Received not the promise
(ουκ εκομισαντο την επαγγελιανouk ekomisanto tēn epaggelian). First aorist middle of κομιζωkomizō The Messianic promise they did not live to see (Hebrews 11:13), though they had individual special promises fulfilled as already shown (Hebrews 11:33).


Verse 40

God having provided (του τεου προβλεπσαμενουtou theou problepsamenou). Genitive absolute with first aorist middle participle of προβλεπωproblepō late compound to foresee, here only in the N.T.

Some better thing (κρειττον τιkreitton ti). “Something better,” “the better promises” of Hebrews 8:6.

That apart from us they should not be made perfect
(ινα μη χωρις ημων τελειωτωσινhina mē chōris hēmōn teleiōthōsin). Negative purpose clause with ινα μηhina mē and the first aorist passive subjunctive of τελειοωteleioō But this glorious and gracious purpose (foresight) of God is not due to any special merit in us. It is simply the fulness of the time in God‘s dispensation of grace of which we are the beneficiaries. But all the same and all the more (noblesse oblige), we should prove worthy of our heritage and of God‘s goodness to us and be loyal to Christ.

 


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Hebrews 11:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/hebrews-11.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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Sunday, December 15th, 2019
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