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Hebrews 11:32

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Time would fail me - Με διηγουμενον ὁ χρονος . A very usual mode of expression with the best Greek writers, when they wish to intimate that much important intelligence remains to be communicated on the subject already in hand, which must be omitted because of other points which have not yet been handled.

Gedeon - Who by faith in God, with 300 men, destroyed a countless multitude of Midianites and Amalekites, and delivered Israel from oppression and slavery. Judges 6, 7, 8.

Barak - Who overthrew Jabin, king of Canaan, and delivered Israel from servitude. Judges 4.

Samson - Who was appointed by God to deliver Israel from the oppressive yoke of the Philistines; and, by extraordinary assistance, discomfited them on various occasions. Judges 13-16.

Jephthae - Who, under the same guidance, defeated the Ammonites, and delivered Israel. Judges 11, Judges 12:1-15.

David - King of Israel, whose whole life was a life of faith and dependence on God; but whose character will be best seen in those books which contain an account of his reign, and the book of Psalms, to which, and the notes there, the reader must be referred. It is probable he is referred to here for that act of faith and courage which he showed in his combat with Goliah. See 1 Samuel 17.

Samuel - The last of the Israelitish judges, to whom succeeded a race of kings, of whom Saul and David were the two first, and were both anointed by this most eminent man. See his history in the first book of Samuel.

All these are said to have performed their various exploits through faith.

  1. The faith of Gideon consisted in his throwing down the altar of Baal, and cutting down his grove, in obedience to the command of God.
  • The faith of Barak consisted in his believing the revelation made to Deborah, and the command to go against Jabin's numerous army.
  • Samson's faith consisted in his obeying the various impulses produced by the Spirit of God in his own mind.
  • Jephthae's faith consisted particularly in his believing the promise made to Abraham and his posterity, that they should possess the land of Canaan; and in his resolutely fighting against the Ammonites, that they might not deprive the Israelites of the land between Arnon and Jabbok.
  • It may be observed, here, that the apostle does not produce these in chronological order; for Barak lived before Gideon, and Jephthae before Samson, and Samuel before David. He was not producing facts in their chronological order, but instances of the power of God exerted in the behalf of men who had strong confidence in him.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    And what shall I more say? - There are numerous other instances showing the strength of faith which there is not time to mention.

    For the time would fail me to tell - To recount all that they did; all the illustrations of the strength and power of faith evinced in their lives.

    Of Gedeon - The history of Gideon is detailed at length in Judges 15:16; Judges 16:30.

    And of Jephthae - The story of Jephtha is recorded in Judges 11:29-32.

    (It is not likely that Jephtha‘s faith would have found a record here, had it been of no higher kind than this. Peirce admits his unnatural crime, but supposes him to have repented. “It must be owned,” says he, “that if Jephtha had not repented of this very heinous wickedness, he could not have been entitled to salvation. The apostle, therefore, who has assured us of his salvation, must undoubtedly have gone upon the supposition that Jephtha actually repented of it before he died. That he had time to repent is beyond dispute, because he lived near six years after this. For it is expressly said he judged Israel six years, Judges 12:7, and it is as certain he made this vow in the beginning of his government. What evidence the apostle had of Jephtha‘s repentance I cannot say. He might know it by the help of old Jewish histories, or by inspiration.”)

    Even in the great and improper sacrifice of his only daughter which the obvious interpretation of the record respecting him in Judges 11:39, leads us to suppose he made, he did it as an offering to the Lord, and under these mistaken views of duty, he showed by the greatest sacrifice which a man could make - that of an only child that he was disposed to do what he believed was required by religion. A full examination of the case of Jephtha, and of the question whether he really sacrificed his daughter, may be found in Warburton‘s Divine Legation of Moses, book 9, notes, in Bush‘s Notes on Judges 11; and in the Biblical Repository for January 1843. It is not necessary to go into the much litigated inquiry here whether he really put his daughter to death, for whether he did or not, it is equally true that he evinced strong confidence in God. If he did do it, in obedience as he supposed to duty and to the divine command, no higher instance of faith in God as having a right to dispose of all that he had, could be furnished; if he did not, his eminent valour and success in battle show that he relied for strength and victory on the arm of Yahweh. The single reason why the piety of Jephtha has ever been called in question has been the fact that he sacrificed his own daughter. If he did not do that, no one will doubt his claims to an honored rank among those who have evinced faith in God.

    Of David also - Commended justly as an eminent example of a man who had faith in, God, though it cannot be supposed that all that he did was approved.

    And Samuel - In early youth distinguished for his piety, and manifesting it through his life; see 1Sam.

    And of the prophets - They were men who had strong confidence in the truth of what God directed them to foretell, and who were ever ready, depending on him, to make known the most unwelcome truths to their fellow man, even at the peril of their lives.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    After all our searches into the Scriptures, there is more to be learned from them. We should be pleased to think, how great the number of believers was under the Old Testament, and how strong their faith, though the objects of it were not then so fully made known as now. And we should lament that now, in gospel times, when the rule of faith is more clear and perfect, the number of believers should be so small, and their faith so weak. It is the excellence of the grace of faith, that, while it helps men to do great things, like Gideon, it keeps from high and great thoughts of themselves. Faith, like Barak's, has recourse unto God in all dangers and difficulties, and then makes grateful returns to God for all mercies and deliverances. By faith, the servants of God shall overcome even the roaring lion that goeth about seeking whom he may devour. The believer's faith endures to the end, and, in dying, gives him victory over death and all his deadly enemies, like Samson. The grace of God often fixes upon very undeserving and ill-deserving persons, to do great things for them and by them. But the grace of faith, wherever it is, will put men upon acknowledging God in all their ways, as Jephthah. It will make men bold and courageous in a good cause. Few ever met with greater trials, few ever showed more lively faith, than David, and he has left a testimony as to the trials and acts of faith, in the book of Psalms, which has been, and ever will be, of great value to the people of God. Those are likely to grow up to be distinguished for faith, who begin betimes, like Samuel, to exercise it. And faith will enable a man to serve God and his generation, in whatever way he may be employed. The interests and powers of kings and kingdoms, are often opposed to God and his people; but God can easily subdue all that set themselves against him. It is a greater honour and happiness to work righteousness than to work miracles. By faith we have comfort of the promises; and by faith we are prepared to wait for the promises, and in due time to receive them. And though we do not hope to have our dead relatives or friends restored to life in this world, yet faith will support under the loss of them, and direct to the hope of a better resurrection. Shall we be most amazed at the wickedness of human nature, that it is capable of such awful cruelties to fellow-creatures, or at the excellence of Divine grace, that is able to bear up the faithful under such cruelties, and to carry them safely through all? What a difference between God's judgement of a saint, and man's judgment! The world is not worthy of those scorned, persecuted saints, whom their persecutors reckon unworthy to live. They are not worthy of their company, example, counsel, or other benefits. For they know not what a saint is, nor the worth of a saint, nor how to use him; they hate, and drive such away, as they do the offer of Christ and his grace.
    Ellen G. White
    Education, 158

    “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; ... and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 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. Ed 158.1

    “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 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; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. Ed 158.2

    “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:32-40. Ed 158.3

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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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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 40-1

    Our workers are not reaching out as they should. Our leading men are not awake to the work that must be accomplished. When I think of the cities in which so little has been done, in which there are so many thousands to be warned of the soon coming of the Saviour, I feel an intensity of desire to see men and women going forth to the work in the power of the Spirit, filled with Christ's love for perishing souls. 7T 40.1

    Those in our cities—living within the shadow of our doors—have been strangely neglected. Organized effort should now be put forth to give them the message of present truth. A new song is to be put into their mouths. They are to go forth to impart to others now in darkness the light of the third angel's message. 7T 40.2

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    Cross References
    what shall
    the time
    Gedeon
    Gideon
    Barak
    Samson
    Jephthae
    David
    Samuel
    the prophets