VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
The concluding statement of ch. 10 suggests the following discussion of the nature of faith and of its fruits as called out by God's revelation from the earliest time.
Substance (upostasiv). See on ch. i. 3 and iii. 14. On the whole, the Rev. assurance gives the true meaning. The definition has a scholastic and philosophic quality, as might be expected from a pupil of the Alexandrian schools. The meaning substance, real being, given by A.V., Vulg., and many earlier interpreters, suggests the true sense, but is philosophically inaccurate. Substance, as used by these translators, is substantial nature; the real nature of a thing which underlies and supports its outward form or properties. In this sense it is very appropriate in ch. i. 3, in describing the nature of the Son as the image or impress of God's essential being: but in this sense it is improperly applied to faith, which is an act of the moral intelligence directed at an object; or a condition which sustains a certain relation to the object. It cannot be said that faith is substantial being. It apprehends reality: it is that to which the unseen objects of hope become real and substantial. Assurance gives the true idea. It is the firm grasp of faith on unseen fact.
Evidence (elegcov). N.T.o . Quite often in LXX for yakach, to reprove, rebuke, punish, blame. See Prov. i. 23; Wisd. ii. 14; Sir. xxi. 12. See especially on the kindred verb ejlegcein, John iii. 20. Rend. conviction. Observe that uJpostasiv and elegcov are not two distinct and independent conceptions, in which case kai would have been added; but they stand in apposition. Elegcov is really included in uJpostasiv, but adds to the simple idea of assurance a suggestion of influences operating to produce conviction which carry the force of demonstration. The word often signifies a process of proof or demonstration. So von Soden: "a being convinced. Therefore not a rash, feebly-grounded hypothesis, a dream of hope, the child of a wish."
Of things (pragmatwn). Pragma is, strictly, a thing done; an accomplished fact. It introduces a wider conception than ejlpizomenwn things hoped for; embracing not only future realities, but all that does not fall under the cognizance of the senses, whether past, present, or future.
The elders obtained a good report (emarturhqhsan oi presbuteroi). The elders for the more common the fathers: the saints of the O.T. dispensation, many of whose names are recorded in this chapter. Emarturhqhsan, lit. were born witness to. God bore witness to them in the victory of their faith over all obstacles, and their characters and deeds as men of faith were recorded in Scripture. For this use of maturein in the passive, see Acts vi. 3; x. 22; xvi. 12; Rom. iii. 21; Heb. vii. 8, 17. Notice that the statement in this verse does not begin the list of examples, which commences with ver. 4, but is closely attached to the definition in ver. 1 as a comprehensive justification of it.
The worlds (touv aiwnav). Lit. the ages. The world or worlds as the product of successive aeons. See on ch. i. 2.
Were framed (kathrtisqai). Put together; adjusted; the parts fitted to each other. See on Gal. vi. 1; Matt. xxi. 16; Luke vi. 40. Of the preparing and fixing in heaven of the sun and moon, LXX, Psalm lxxiii. 16; lxxxviii. 37: of building a wall, 2 Esdr. iv. 12, 13, 16. See also Psalm xxxix. 6. Rend. have been framed. The A.V. gives the impression of one giving his assent to an account of creation; but the perfect tense exhibits the faith of one who is actually contemplating creation itself.
By the word of God (rhmati). Comp. Genesis 1; Psalm xxxiii. 6; cxviii. 5. So that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (eiv to mh ek fainomenwn to blepomenon gegonenai). For things which are seen, rend. that which is seen. For were not made rend. hath not been made. jEiv to followed by the infinitive signifies result, not purpose. We perceive that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that (this being the case) that which is visible has not arisen out of that which is seen. 226 Mh not negatives the remainder of the clause taken as a whole. In other words, the proposition denied is, that which is seen arose out of visible things. By many early interpreters mh was transposed, and construed with fainomenwn alone, signifying "that which is seen has arisen from things which do not appear." These things were explained as chaos, the invisible creative powers of God, etc.
A more excellent sacrifice (pleiona qusian). Greater in value in God's eyes. For pleiwn in this sense, see ch. iii. 3; Matt. vi. 25; Luke xi. 31; xii. 23. In Paul never in this sense. Others explain a more abundant sacrifice, referring to the material character of the offerings. See Genesis iv. 4. But the difference between the offerings of Abel and Cain, considered in themselves, is largely a matter of speculation, and, as Lünemann justly remarks, such an interpretation accentuates unduly a purely external feature. 227 By which he obtained witness (di hv emarturhqh). Lit. was witnessed to, as ver. 2. The pronoun which may refer either to the sacrifice or to faith. Better the latter, as is apparent from ver. 2, and probably from ver. 7, although the relation there is somewhat different.
Righteous (dikaiov). Abel is called righteous by Christ himself. Matt. xxiii. 35. Comp. 1 John iii. 12. See on Rom. i. 17.
God testifying of his gifts (marturountov epi toiv dwroiv autou tou qeou). Defining more specifically the general was witnessed to. God bore witness by his acceptance of the gifts. jEpi marks the fact on which the witness was based.
Yet speaketh (eti lalei). Comp. Gen. iv. 10. Still, although ages have passed since his death. Comp. ch. xii. 24. Not that his voice still cries to God (so Bleek and others), but that by his faith he still speaks to us in the O.T. Scriptures, though dead. Const. eti yet with lalei speaketh; not with being dead, in the logical sense, "even being dead," as Rom. iii. 7.
He had this testimony (memarturhtai). Rev properly preserves the force of the perfect tense, "he hath had witness born to him." The testimony still stands on record.
That he pleased God. Rend. hath pleased. Comp. LXX, Gen. v. 22,
24. Faith was exhibited by Enoch in walking with God (comp. A.V. Gen. v. 22, "walked with God," and LXX, eujaresthse pleased God). Faith creates close personal relation.
Cometh (prosercomenon). See on ch. iv. 16. Must (dei). An essential obligation. In the nature of the case. That he is (oti estin). Faith in God involves belief in his existence although he is unseen.
Is a rewarder (misqapodothv). Note the difference of the verb: not simply exists, but comes to pass as; proves to be, habitually, so that he who approaches God has, through faith, the assurance that his seeking God will result in good to himself. Misqapodothv rewarder, N.T.o . Comp. misqapodosia recompense of reward, ch. ii. 2 (note); x. 35; xi. 26.
Of them that diligently seek him (toiv ejkzhtousin aujton). Lit. unto them that seek him out. Comp. Acts xv. 17; Heb. xii. 17; 1 Pet. i. 10. The verb is used of seeking God, Rom. iii. 11. God's beneficent will and attitude toward the seeker are not always apparent at the first approach. In such cases there is occasion for faith, in the face of delay, that diligent seeking will find its reward. One is reminded of Jesus' lessons on importunity in seeking God, Luke xi. 5-10; xviii. 1-8.
He hides himself so wondrously As though there were no God; He is least seen when all the powers Of ill are most abroad. Or he deserts us at the hour The fight is almost lost, And seems to leave us to ourselves Just when we need him most. It is not so, but so It looks; And we lose courage then; And doubts will come if God hath kept His promises to men." Faber.
Noah. Genesis 6.
Being warned of God (crhmatisqeiv). Of God is not in the text. See on Matt. ii. 12; Luke ii. 26; Acts xi. 26; and comp. Heb. viii. 5.
Of things not seen as yet (peri twn mhdepw blepomenwn). Const. with eujlabhqeiv, and rend. "by faith Noah, being warned, having reverent care concerning things not seen as yet, prepared an ark," etc. Thus crhmatisqeiv warned is taken absolutely. 230 The things not seen were the well-known contents of the revelation to Noah, Gen. vi. 13 ff., as apprehended by Noah's faith.
Moved with fear (eulabhqeiv). N.T.o . Often in Class. and LXX See on eujlabeia godly fear, ch. v. 7. The A.V. gives the impression that Noah acted under the influence of fright. Rev. improves on this a little by rendering godly fear. The true idea is pious care, a reverent circumspection with regard to things enjoined by God, and as yet unseen, yet confidently expected on the strength of God's word.
Prepared (kateskeuasen). Built and equipped. See on ch. iii. 3. An ark (kibwton). Originally, a wooden chest Also of the ark of the covenant in the temple and tabernacle, as ch. ix. 4; Apoc. xi. 19 Of Noah's ark. Matt. xxiv. 38; Luke xvii. 27; 1 Pet. iii. 20 Larvax a chest is found in Class. in the same sense. Every classical scholar will recall the charming fragment of Simonides on Danae and her infant son Perseus exposed in an ark:
JOte larnaki ejn daisalea anesmov breme pnewn k. t. l.
Also of the ark of Deucalion, the mythic Noah.
By the which (di hv). By faith: although some refer it to the ark. He condemned the world (katekrinen ton kosmon). His faith was exhibited in building the ark on the mere strength of God's declaration, while as yet there were no signs of the flood. By his faith thus manifested he announced the condemnation of the world to destruction. World is to be taken as in 2 Pet. ii. 5. It is not used in Heb. in the ethical sense so common in John and Paul - the world as alien from God. The meaning of the statement is not that Noah condemned the conduct of his contemporaries by the contrast presented by his own faith, after the analogy of Matt. xii. 41; Rom. ii. 27.
And became heir (kai-egeneto klhronomov). This is not an independent clause, but is dependent on di' h=v by which. It is connected by kai with the preceding clause, and the two clauses are parallel, describing the lot of Noah and his family. Became heir is practically = became partaker of. The literal sense of heir must not be pressed. Certainly not "inherited the righteousness of Abel and Enoch." But righteousness came to Noah in virtue of his intimate fellowship with God. Of him as of Enoch, it is said that "he walked with God," Gen. vi. 9. Because of this fellowship he was a son of God and an heir of righteousness.
Of the righteousness which is by faith (thv kata pistiv dikaiosunhv). In the O.T. Noah is the first to receive the title of dikaiov righteous, Gen. vi. 9; comp. Ezek. xiv. 14, 20; Sir. xliv. 17. Kata pistin, lit. according to faith, comp Matt. ix. 29; Tit. i. 1, 4. Paul has dikaiosunh and dikaiov from or out of faith (ek pistewv), by faith (dia pistewv), founded on faith (epi th pistei), and of faith (pistewv), none of which are found either in Hebrews or in the Pastorals. Kata pistin signifies according to faith as a standard; but the conception at bottom is not essentially different from Paul's, unless there be imported into his conception the scholastic fiction of imputed righteousness. Paul, in Romans 4 is at pains to show that the Christian conception of righteousness by faith has its parallel in Abraham, and that the doctrine of justification by faith is no new thing. Faith is the ground and the germ of righteousness. Our writer here lays down the absolute and universal standard of righteousness for the men of both dispensations - according to faith. Hence, like Paul, he cites the words of Hab. ii. 4. See ch. x. 38.
When he was called to go out - obeyed (kaloumenov exelqein uphkousen). A.V. is wrong. jExelqein to go out should be construed with uJphkousen obeyed, and kaloumenov being called is to be taken absolutely. Kaloumenov, the present participle, indicates Abraham's immediate obedience to the call: while he was yet being called. Rend. "when he was called obeyed to go out." The infinitive explains the more general obeyed, by specifying that in which his obedience was shown. For the construction, see Acts xv. 10; 1 Thess. i. 9; Heb. v. 5. For the narrative, see Gen. xii. 1-6, and comp. Acts vii. 2-5.
Whither he went (pou ercetai). Note the picturesque continued present tense, "whither he is going," as of Abraham on his journey.
Strange (allotrian). Another (allh) land than his own. So LXX, Gen. xv. 13. Comp. Acts vii. 6.
In tabernacles (en skhnaiv). Or tents, as a migratory people, without a permanent home.
The heirs with him (twn sunklhronomwn). Joint-heirs or fellow-heirs. o LXX, o Class. See Rom. viii. 17; Eph. iii. 6; 1 Pet. iii. 7. The three, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are mentioned because they cover the entire period of the sojourn in Canaan. Faith inspired these to endure patiently their unsettled life, since it assured them of a permanent home in the future.
Builder and maker (tecniths kai dhmiourgov) Tecnithv artificer, architect. Comp. Acts xix. 24 (note), 38; Apoc. xviii. 22, and LXX, 1 Chronicles xxix. 5; Cant. vii. 1; Wisd. viii. 6; xiv. 2; Sir. ix. 17 Dhmiourgov N.T o , originally a workman for the public (dhmov); generally, framer, builder. It is used by Xenophon and Plato of the maker of the world (Xen. Mem. i. iv., 9; Plato, Tim 40 C; Repub. 530 A). It was appropriated by the Neo Platonists as the designation of God. To the Gnostics, the Demiurge was a limited, secondary God, who created the world; since there was no possibility of direct contact between the supreme, incommunicable God and the visible world.
Herself (auth) She who at first doubted.
To conceive seed (eiv katabolhn spermatov). In every other instance in N.T. katabolh means foundation, and appears in the phrase katabolh kosmou foundation of the world. Originally it means throwing down; hence, the depositing of the male seed in the womb. The sentence may be explained either, "received strength as regarded the deposition of seed," to fructify it; or, "received strength for the foundation of a posterity," sperma being rendered in accordance with ch. ii. 16; xi. 18, and katabolh in the sense of foundation, as everywhere else in N.T.
And was delivered of a child when she was past age (kai para kairon hlikiav). Was delivered of a child not in the text. Kai and that. Rend. "received strength," etc., "and that when she was past age."Para kairon hJlikiav, lit. past the season of age. For hJlikia see on stature, Luke xii. 25.
Stars - sand. See Gen. xxii. 17; xxxii. 12.
By the seashore (para to ceilov thv qalasshv). Lit. by the lip of the sea. The phrase N.T.o . Very often in LXX, as Gen. xxii. 17; Exodus xiv. 30: lip of a river, Gen. xli. 17; Exod. vii. 15: of a brook, Deut. ii. 36; iii. 12: of Jordan, 2 Kings ii. 13. So in Class. The vigor thus supernaturally imparted to Abraham does not appear to have exhausted itself in the generation of Isaac; since, according to Gen. xxv. 2, Abraham became by Keturah the father of six sons after the death of Sarah.
Not having received (mh komisamenoi). See on ch. x. 36. They died according to faith, inasmuch as they did not receive. They died under the regimen of faith, and not of sight. For the phrase komizein tav ejpaggeliav to receive the promises, comp. ch. x. 36; xi. 39.
Having seen them afar off (porrwqen autav idontev). By faith; from afar.
Were persuaded of them and embraced them (aspasamenoi). The A.V. completely destroys the beauty of this verse. It reads were persuaded, following T.R. peisqentev, and translates ajspasamenoi embraced, which is a sort of inferential rendering of the original sense to salute or greet. Rend. "having seen them from afar and greeted them": as seamen wave their greeting to a country seen far off on the horizon, on which they cannot land. Lünemann appropriately quotes Virgil, Aen. 3. 522:
"Cum proculi obscuros collis humilemque videmus Italiam. Italiam primus conclamat Achates, Italiam laeto socii clamore salutant."
Confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims (omologhsantev oti xenoi kai parepidhmoi). They admitted and accepted the fact with the resignation of faith, and with the assurance of future rest. Comp. Genesis xxiii. 4; xxiv. 37; xxviii. 4; xlvii. 9; Psalm xxxix. 12; cxix. 19, 54. For parepidhmoi sojourners, see on 1 Pet. i. 1. In the anonymous Epistle to Diognetus, an apologetic letter, probably of the second century, and one of the gems of early Christian literature, occur the following words concerning Christians:
"They inhabit their own country, but as sojourners: they take part in all things as citizens, and endure all things as aliens: every foreign country is theirs, and every country is foreign."
They seek a country (patrida ejpizhtousin). The verb is found in LXX, chiefly in the sense of seeking after God or another deity. See 2 Kings i. 3, 6; iii. 11; viii. 8; xxii. 18; 2 Chron. xviii. 6. Comp. ejpizhtoumenh poliv a city sought after (Zion), Isa. lxii. 12. Patriv is a native country; a fatherland. Only here and in Gospels and Acts. Quite often in LXX.
Is not ashamed (ouk epaiscunetai). Because they have commended themselves to God by their faith, so that he acknowledges them as his own. Comp. ch. ii. 11; Mark viii. 28, 38; Rom. i. 16; 2 Tim. i. 8, 16. To be called their God (Qeov epikaleisqai autwn). Lit. to be surnamed. Comp. Acts iv. 36; x. 5, 18, 32. God was called the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. See Exod. iii. 6.
For he hath prepared for them a city (htoimasin gar autoiv polin). Comp. Matt. xxv. 34; John xiv. 2; Apoc. xxi. 2. City is significant, as showing that the fulfillment of God's promise lies in introducing them into the perfection of social life. Comp. Apoc. iii. 12; xxi. 2, 10; xxii. 19.
He that had received (o anadexamenov). The verb only here and Acts xxviii. 7. It means to accept; to welcome and entertain. So Rev. gladly received. Accounting (logisamenov). See on 1 Pet. v. 12; Rom. iv. 5; viii. 18. From whence (oqen). Rend. wherefore: because of his faith in God's power and truthfulness. #Oqen, though occasionally in a local sense in N.T., as Matt. xii. 44; Luke xi. 24; Acts xiv. 26, is much more common in the logical or causal sense, wherefore, on which account. So in every other instance in Hebrews. In the local sense it would mean from the dead. Also he received him in a figure (auton kai en paravolh ekomisato). Kai marks the receiving as answering to the faith. As Abraham believed in God's power to restore Isaac, so, because of his faith, he also received him. For ejkomisato received see on ch. x. 36. jEn parabolh in a parable. Since the sacrifice did not take place as a literal slaughter, there could not be a literal restoration from death. There was a real offering in Abraham's will, but not a real death of Isaac. Isaac's death took place symbolically, in the sacrifice of the ram: correspondingly, the restoration was only a symbolic restoration from the dead. Some expositors, among whom is Westcott, explain thus: Abraham accounted that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead, from which he received him at birth, in that Isaac sprung from one dead (nenekrwmenou, ver. 12). This is extremely labored and artificial. 232
Concerning things to come (kai peri mellontwn). A.V. Omits kai which gives an emphasis to the following words. Isaac pronounced a blessing, and that concerning things to come; things beyond the lifetime of Jacob and Esau. See Gen. xxvii. 29, 39. The blessing was an act of faith. Isaac's confidence in the power of his blessing to convey the good which it promised was "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen," founded on the promise of Gen. xvii. 5.
Blessed each (ekaston euloghsen). See Gen. xlviii. 17-20. Each son received a separate and distinct blessing, although Joseph had expected only one common blessing for both. Jacob's discernment of faith appeared in this, as in the precedence assigned to the younger son.
And worshipped leaning on the top of his staff (kai prosekunhsen epi to akron thv rabdou autou). From the LXX of Gen. xlvii. 31. It seems to have been loosely included by our writer among the incidents of Jacob's last hours (apoqnhskwn), although it belongs to a different part of the narrative. The promise given by Joseph to remove his father's remains to the family sepulchre may have been regarded as preparatory to the blessing, or introduced in order to emphasize the devotional character of the entire proceeding. The words upon the head of his staff are from the LXX; the Hebrew being "Jacob bowed himself upon the head of the bed." Comp. 1 Kings i. 47. According to its vowel-points the same Hebrew word signifies either staff or bed. The LXX has chosen the former, and renders by rJabdov staff. According to the Hebrew, the meaning is that Jacob, having been sitting during the conversation, lay down when it was finished, probably overcome by weakness, and breathing a prayer as he fell back on his pillow. 233
Made mention of (peri-emnhmoneusen). See on ver. 15. A.V. has remembered in marg. Remembered is appropriate here. Joseph on his death-bed remembered the promise of God to give the land of Canaan to the seed of Abraham (Gen. xii. 7; xiii. 15; xv. 7), and also the prediction to Abraham that his descendants should pass four hundred years in bondage in a strange land, and should afterward be brought out thence, Gen. xv. 13, 14.
The departing of the children of Israel (thv exodou twn uiwn Israhl). Exodov only here, Luke ix. 31 (note) and 2 Pet. i. 15 (note). JOi uiJoi jIsrahl is one of several phrases in N.T. denoting the chosen people. There are also house (oikov) and people (laov) of Israel, and Israel of God, and Israel according to the flesh.
And gave commandment (kai eneteilato). Kai and so; in consequence of his remembering the prophecy of the exodus. The verb indicates a specific injunction (entolh). See on 1 Tim. vi. 14.
Proper (asteion). Only here and Acts vii. 20, on which see note. Rend. "comely."
Commandment (diatagma). N.T.o . Rend. "mandate."
Than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (h proskairon ecein amartiav apolausin). Lit. than to have temporary enjoyment of sin. The emphasis is first on temporary and then on sin. For ajpolausiv enjoyment, see on 1 Tim. vi. 17. Proskairov for a season, temporary, rare in N.T. o LXX. Once in Paul, see 2 Cor. iv. 18.