Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Hebrews 11:23

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

By faith Moses, etc. - See the notes on Exodus 2:2, and Acts 7:20; (note). We know that Moses was bred up at the Egyptian court, and there was considered to be the son of Pharaoh's daughter; and probably might have succeeded to the throne of Egypt: but, finding that God had visited his people, and given them a promise of spiritual and eternal blessings, he chose rather to take the lot of this people, i.e. God as his portion for ever, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin, which, however gratifying to the animal senses, could only be προσκαιρον, temporary.

After the 23d verse, there is a whole clause added by DE, two copies of the Itala, and some copies of the Vulgate. The clause is the following: Πιστει μεγας γενομενος Μωΰσης ανειλεν τον Αιγυπτιον, κατανοων την ταπεινωσιν των αδελφων αὑτου . By faith Moses, when he was grown up, slew the Egyptian, considering the oppression of his own brethren. This is a remarkable addition, and one of the largest in the whole New Testament. It seems to have been collected from the history of Moses as given in Exodus, and to have been put originally into the margin of some MS., from which it afterwards crept into the text.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

By faith Moses, when he was born - That is, by the faith of his parents. The faith of Moses himself is commended in the following verses. The statement of the apostle here is, that his parents were led to preserve his life by their confidence in God. They believed that he was destined to some great purpose, and that he would be spared, notwithstanding all the probabilities against it, and all the difficulties in the case.

Was hid three months of his parents - By his parents. In Exodus 2:2, it is said that it was done “by his mother.” The truth doubtless was, that the mother was the agent in doing it - since the concealment, probably, could be better effected by one than where two were employed - but that the father also concurred in it is morally certain. The concealment was, at first, probably in their own house. The command seems to have been Exodus 1:22, that the child should be cast into the river as soon as born. This child was concealed in the hope that some way might be found out by which his life might be spared.

Because they saw he was a proper child - A fair, or beautiful child - ἀστεῖον asteionThe word properly means “pertaining to a city” - (from ἄστυ astua city); then urbane, polished, elegant; then fair, beautiful. In Acts 7:20, it is said that he was “fair to God,” (Margin,); that is, exceedingly fair, or very handsome. His extraordinary beauty seems to have been the reason which particularly influenced his parents to attempt to preserve him. It is not impossible that they supposed that his uncommon beauty indicated that he was destined to some important service in life, and that they were on that account the more anxious to save him.

And they were not afraid of the king‘s commandment - Requiring that all male children should be given up to be thrown into the Nile. That is, they were not so alarmed, or did not so dread the king, as to be induced to comply with the command. The strength of the faith of the parents of Moses, appears:

(1)because the command of Pharaoh to destroy all the male children was positive, but they had so much confidence in God as to disregard it.

(2)because there was a strong improbability that their child could be saved. They themselves found it impossible to conceal him longer than three months, and when it was discovered, there was every probability that the law would be enforced and that the child would be put to death. Perhaps there was reason also to apprehend that the parents would be punished for disregarding the authority of the king.

(3)because they probably believed that their child was destined to some important work. They thus committed him to God instead of complying with the command of an earthly monarch, and against strong probabilities in the ease, they believed that it was possible that in some way he might be preserved alive. The remarkable result showed that their faith was not unfounded.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, concerning things to come. Things present are not the best things; no man knoweth love or hatred by having them or wanting them. Jacob lived by faith, and he died by faith, and in faith. Though the grace of faith is of use always through our whole lives, it is especially so when we come to die. Faith has a great work to do at last, to help the believer to die to the Lord, so as to honour him, by patience, hope, and joy. Joseph was tried by temptations to sin, by persecution for keeping his integrity; and he was tried by honours and power in the court of Pharaoh, yet his faith carried him through. It is a great mercy to be free from wicked laws and edicts; but when we are not so, we must use all lawful means for our security. In this faith of Moses' parents there was a mixture of unbelief, but God was pleased to overlook it. Faith gives strength against the sinful, slavish fear of men; it sets God before the soul, shows the vanity of the creature, and that all must give way to the will and power of God. The pleasures of sin are, and will be, but short; they must end either in speedy repentance or in speedy ruin. The pleasures of this world are for the most part the pleasures of sin; they are always so when we cannot enjoy them without deserting God and his people. Suffering is to be chosen rather than sin; there being more evil in the least sin, than there can be in the greatest suffering. God's people are, and always have been, a reproached people. Christ accounts himself reproached in their reproaches; and thus they become greater riches than the treasures of the richest empire in the world. Moses made his choice when ripe for judgment and enjoyment, able to know what he did, and why he did it. It is needful for persons to be seriously religious; to despise the world, when most capable of relishing and enjoying it. Believers may and ought to have respect to the recompence of reward. By faith we may be fully sure of God's providence, and of his gracious and powerful presence with us. Such a sight of God will enable believers to keep on to the end, whatever they may meet in the way. It is not owing to our own righteousness, or best performances, that we are saved from the wrath of God; but to the blood of Christ, and his imputed righteousness. True faith makes sin bitter to the soul, even while it receives the pardon and atonement. All our spiritual privileges on earth, should quicken us in our way to heaven. The Lord will make even Babylon fall before the faith of his people, and when he has some great thing to do for them, he raises up great and strong faith in them. A true believer is desirous, not only to be in covenant with God, but in communion with the people of God; and is willing to fare as they fare. By her works Rahab declared herself to be just. That she was not justified by her works appears plainly; because the work she did was faulty in the manner, and not perfectly good, therefore it could not be answerable to the perfect justice or righteousness of God.
Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 372

Especially does responsibility rest upon the mother. She, by whose lifeblood the child is nourished and its physical frame built up, imparts to it also mental and spiritual influences that tend to the shaping of mind and character. It was Jochebed, the Hebrew mother, who, strong in faith, was “not afraid of the king's commandment” (Hebrews 11:23), of whom was born Moses, the deliverer of Israel. It was Hannah, the woman of prayer and self-sacrifice and heavenly inspiration, who gave birth to Samuel, the heaven-instructed child, the incorruptible judge, the founder of Israel's sacred schools. It was Elizabeth the kinswoman and kindred spirit of Mary of Nazareth, who was the mother of the Saviour's herald. MH 372.1

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 243

The mother succeeded in concealing the child for three months. Then, finding that she could no longer keep him safely, she prepared a little ark of rushes, making it watertight by means of slime and pitch; and laying the babe therein, she placed it among the flags at the river's brink. She dared not remain to guard it, lest the child's life and her own should be forfeited; but his sister, Miriam, lingered near, apparently indifferent, but anxiously watching to see what would become of her little brother. And there were other watchers. The mother's earnest prayers had committed her child to the care of God; and angels, unseen, hovered above his lowly resting place. Angels directed Pharaoh's daughter thither. Her curiosity was excited by the little basket, and as she looked upon the beautiful child within, she read the story at a glance. The tears of the babe awakened her compassion, and her sympathies went out to the unknown mother who had resorted to this means to preserve the life of her precious little one. She determined that he should be saved; she would adopt him as her own. PP 243.1

Miriam had been secretly noting every movement; perceiving that the child was tenderly regarded, she ventured nearer, and at last said, “Shall I go and call thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?” And permission was given. PP 243.2

The sister hastened to her mother with the happy news, and without delay returned with her to the presence of Pharaoh's daughter. “Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages,” said the princess. PP 243.3

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 310.5

Our only safety now is to live a life of faith and good works. Your heavenly Father knows your every trial. He is acquainted with all your infirmities. He will be to you an ever present help in time of need and He will withhold no good thing from them that fear and love Him. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Our compassionate Saviour will never be indifferent to any pain or sorrow or grief His children suffer.... TDG 310.5

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 265.2

[Sydney, N.S.W., Australia] February 4, 1893—Spoke in the Morning, Boarded Ship in the Afternoon—We rode in the cab to the church in Sydney, and I spoke from Hebrews 11 upon faith. The Lord strengthened me by His grace. I felt much strengthened and blessed. The Holy Spirit was upon me. Strength, both physical and spiritual, was given me in large measure.... 3SM 265.2

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