Hebrews 11:29-40

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017





In chapter 11 the fifth major section of Hebrews, which began in 10:19, is continued.


In this section Christ is shown to have provided a better way of life, the life of faith.


In 10:19-25 believers have been called upon to hold fast their confession.


Furthermore, in 10:26-39 an alternative has been given to those who are wavering: it’s either Christ, or it’s judgment.


In chapter 11 some Old Testament examples of faith are cited.


We have already seen –

      I.         A definition of faith – 11:1

      II.  That the elders demonstrated the existence of their faith by their actions – 11:2

      III. That by faith we understand that God created the worlds out of nothing – 11:3

      IV.      That Abel demonstrated his faith by coming to God on God’s terms – 11:4

      V.  That Enoch demonstrated his faith by pleasing God – 11:5

      VI.      That pleasing God requires faith – 11:6

      VII.     And that Noah demonstrated his faith by building an ark – 11:7


We have also seen that Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses’ Parents, and Moses demonstrated their faith.

As we move on, we see that –



Hebrews 11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.


By faith is because of faith, because of belief, or because of trust.


They refers to the Israelites.


Passed through the Red Sea is went through the Red Sea or crossed the Red Sea.


As by dry land is as through dry land or as by means of dried up land and indicates that the Israelites passed through the Red Sea as if they were on dry ground. As a matter of fact, they were walking on the bottom of the sea. Hence, it was dry ground.


Which refers to the act of passing through the Red Sea by means of dry ground.


The Egyptians refers to the armies of Pharaoh that were pursuing after the Israelites.


Assaying to do is when they attempted, because they attempted, or they attempted.


Were drowned is were swallowed up.


Of course, the result of their being swallowed up by the Red Sea is that they were drowned in the waters of the Red Sea.


Hebrews 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.


By faith is because of faith.


The walls of Jericho fell down refers to the destruction of the city of Jericho.


It was the walls which surrounded and protected Jericho which fell down.


After they were compassed about seven days indicates that it was on the seventh day that these walls fell down.


After they were compassed suggests after they were circled.


The Israelites had marched around the city of Jericho once each day for six days, and on the seventh day they marched around Jericho seven times.


After they had finished the seventh march around the city, the priests blew their trumpets and the people shouted; and the walls fell down.

We also see that –



Hebrews 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.


By faith is because of faith.


It was because of faith that the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.


Rahab the harlot or prostitute had hidden the spies and by her action had demonstrated that she had saving faith.


As a result, she perished not, i.e. her life was spared when Jericho fell.


Because of her belief, she will also not perish in eternal hell with those who did not believe.


Them that believed not is literally the ones who were disobedient or the ones who disobeyed.


The supreme act of disobedience is to disbelieve or reject the gospel.


When she had received the spies with peace indicates what Rahab had done.


When she had received may be understood in the sense of after she had received or because she had received.


The spies are the two Israelite spies who spied out Jericho.


Rahab had enough sense to believe the reports that God was with Israel and that Jericho would fall.


With peace tells the manner in which Rahab received the spies and suggests peaceably.

Finally, we see that –



Hebrews 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets.


Verse 32 indicates that the writer could go on and on with his examples of persons in the Old Testament who exercised faith in God.


And what shall I say more? is and what shall I say yet? or and what shall I say still?


For the time would fail me to tell of more heroes of the faith.


To tell of is to relate, to recount, or to describe.


There is only so much space, and to continue to add examples of faith is not necessary. The writer has more than made his point.


He then sights men such as Gedeon or Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae or Jephthah, David, and Samuel as well as the rest of the prophets.


Gedion (Gideon) had his army of 32,000 men reduced to 300 in order to defeat the Midianites.


Barak defeated the Canaanites, and Jephthah defeated the Ammonites.


He could have mentioned similar things regarding these individuals in this verse like he mentioned in the previous verse.


One finds the inclusion of Samson rather interesting. He is listed in this verse as a hero of faith even though much of what is recorded of his life in the Bible is in apparent disobedience to what God intended for him. I can only wonder how much more Samson might have done for the Lord had he avoided the sins mentioned of him in Judges. There is a good lesson in this verse for all believers.


Hebrews 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.


These additional heroes of faith are described in verse 33 as who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.


Who refers to Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets mentioned in verse 32.


Through faith indicates by means of faith or because of faith.


Subdued kingdoms means conquered kingdoms, defeated kingdoms, or overcame kingdoms.


Wrought righteousness is carried out righteousness (or uprightness), accomplished righteousness (or uprightness), or did righteousness (or uprightness).


Obtained promises is attained to promises or reached promises.


God promised them some things, and they obtained them.


Stopped the mouths of lions is closed lions’ mouths or shut lions’ mouths. One is reminded of Daniel in the lions’ den.


Hebrews 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.


Verse 34 continues the description of what these other heroes of faith did.


They quenched the violence of fire.


Quenched means extinguished or put out.


The violence is the power, the might, the strength, or the force.


Of fire suggests belonging to fire or produced by fire.


One is reminded of Shadrach (Hananiah), Meshach (Mishael), and Abed-nego (Azariah) in Daniel 3 .


Escaped the edge of the sword is escaped the mouth of the sword or escaped the mouth of the saber.


Out of weakness were made strong is became strong from weakness and indicates that they were weak and that they moved away from that weakness to a place of strength.


Waxed valiant is became (or came to be) strong, became (or came to be) powerful, or became (or came to be) mighty.


In fight is in battle, in an armed conflict, or in war.


Turned to flight is caused to fall; and what they turned to flight or caused to fall is the armies of the aliens, i.e. the armies set in battle array, the battle lines of those hostile, or the battle lines of the enemies.


Hebrews 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.


Verse 35 continues some general statements regarding these Old Testament heroes of faith.


Women (or wives) received their dead raised to life again is literally women received their dead by means of resurrection.


And others suggests others of the same sort.


Were tortured is were tortured with a tympanon, which would indicate that they were beaten to death. Eventually the term came to mean simply tortured or tormented.


Not accepting deliverance is not receiving deliverance, not taking up deliverance, or not welcoming deliverance; and when used with a negative as it is in this verse, it is refusing to accept deliverance or rejecting deliverance.


Deliverance is release.


That they might obtain a better resurrection is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that they might obtain a better resurrection is they might gain (i.e. find, attain, or experience) a better resurrection.


Hebrews 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment.


And may indicate a continuation of the thought.


However, it may instead indicate a mild contrast and be understood in the sense of but.


Others is others of a different sort.


Had trial of is experienced.


Cruel mockings means scorn, mocking, or derisive torture of an especially painful kind.


And scourgings is and of whips (or lashes). Not only did they experience cruel mockings, but they also experienced scourgings or whippings.


Yea, moreover is emphatic and indicates that there was something additional that they experienced.


Of bonds and imprisonment indicates that they had trial of bonds (or fetters) and of imprisonment or that they experienced bonds (or fetters) and imprisonment.


In other words, they were put into bonds or fetters; and they were cast into prison.


All of these things happened to them because of their faith.


Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented.


They were stoned means that they were murdered by stoning.


They were sawn asunder means that they were sawn in two. Isaiah was reportedly sawn in two.


They were tempted means they were tried, they were put to the test, or they were tested.


They were slain with the sword is literally they died by means of murder with the sword.


They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins.


They wandered about means they went around, they went about, or they went from place to place.


They did not have the means to afford anything other than sheepskins and goatskins.


Being destitute means they were lacking, they were going without, or they were coming short and suggests of the very necessities of life.


They were afflicted means they were oppressed.


They were also tormented which means that they were maltreated.


Hebrews 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.


Of whom probably has reference to all those who experienced the various difficulties mentioned in verses 35-37.


The world is the world system or the cosmos, and it was not worthy of these people who endured such things. The world did not deserve people of this quality.


They wandered about means that they went around, they went about, or they went from place to place.


In deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth indicates where they were wandering about.


In deserts implies in uninhabited regions.


In mountains is in hilly country.


In dens and caves of the earth indicates that they lived in holes in the ground.


In dens is in caves; whereas, in caves is in openings in the ground or in holes in the ground.


Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.


And these all . . . received not the promise.


God had promised Abraham that he would inherit the land, but neither he nor his heirs had received it yet.


These likely refers to all these people mentioned in chapter 11 and is not to be limited to the last few mentioned.


Having obtained is understood in the sense of although they obtained.


What they had obtained was a good report which means that they were testified about.


The way that they obtained a good report was through faith, and it means they were all well-spoken of, approved, or praised for their faith.


Their faith demonstrated itself in the way they acted; yet, they had not yet received the promise that God had made.


Hebrews 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.


God is God the Father.


Having provided some better thing for us is understood in the sense of because God has provided something better for us.


Having provided is having selected.


In His omniscience the sovereign God foresaw a situation which would arise, and He did something so that this situation would not occur.


For us is concerning us, and what God provided for us is that they without us should not be made perfect.


God is going to bring all to perfection at the same time.


Rather than make the previous group mentioned in Hebrews 11 perfect before He makes believers in the church age perfect, He is going to bring perfection for the Old Testament saints as well as for the New Testament saints at the same time.