Who through faith subdued kingdoms - As Joshua, who subdued the seven Canaanitish nations; and David, who subdued the Moabites, Syrians, Ammonites, and Edomites. 2 Samuel 8, etc.
Wrought righteousness - Did a great variety of works indicative of that faith in God without which it is impossible to do any thing that is good.
Obtained promises - This is supposed to refer to Joshua and Caleb, who, through their faith in God, obtained the promised land, while all the rest of the Israelites were excluded; to Phineas also, who, for his act of zealous faith in slaying Zimri and Cosbi, got the promise of an everlasting priesthood; and to David, who, for his faith and obedience, obtained the kingdom of Israel, and had the promise that from his seed the Messiah should spring.
Stopped the mouths of lions - Daniel, who, though cast into a den of lions for his fidelity to God, was preserved among them unhurt, and finally came to great honor.
Who through faith subdued kingdoms - That is, those specified in the previous verses, and others like them. The meaning is, that some of them subdued kingdoms, others obtained promises, etc. Thus, Joshua subdued the nations of Canaan; Gideon the Midianites; Jephtha the Ammonites; David the Philistines, Amalekites, Jebusites, Edomites, etc.
Wrought righteousness - Carried the laws of justice into execution, particularly on guilty nations. They executed the great purposes of God in punishing the wicked, and in cutting off his foes.
Obtained promises - Or obtained “promised blessings” (Bloomfield, Stuart); that is, they obtained as a result of their faith, promises of blessings on their posterity in future times.
Stopped the mouths of lions - As Samson, Judges 14:6; David, 1 Samuel 17:34 ff; and particularly Daniel; Daniel 6:7, following To be able to subdue and render harmless the king of the forest - the animal most dreaded in early times - was regarded as an eminent achievement.
“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 158.3Read in context »
But before you can expect this help, you must do what you can on your part. Watch and pray. Let your prayers be fervent. Let this be the language of your heart, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Have a set time, a special season for prayer at least three times a day. Morning, noon, and at night Daniel prayed to his God, notwithstanding the king's decree, and the fearful den of lions. He was not ashamed or afraid to pray, but with his windows opened he prayed three times a day. Did God forget His faithful servant when he was cast into the lions’ den? O, No. He was with him there all night. He closed the mouths of these hungry lions, and they could not hurt the praying man of God (Youth's Instructor, October 1, 1855). LHU 368.6Read in context »
While the world is progressing in wickedness, none of us need flatter ourselves that we shall have no difficulties. But it is these very difficulties that bring us into the audience chamber of the Most High. We may seek counsel of One who is infinite in wisdom. COL 172.1
The Lord says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble.” Psalm 50:15. He invites us to present to Him our perplexities and necessities, and our need of divine help. He bids us be instant in prayer. As soon as difficulties arise, we are to offer to Him our sincere, earnest petitions. By our importunate prayers we give evidence of our strong confidence in God. The sense of our need leads us to pray earnestly, and our heavenly Father is moved by our supplications. COL 172.2
Often those who suffer reproach or persecution for their faith are tempted to think themselves forsaken by God. In the eyes of men they are in the minority. To all appearance their enemies triumph over them. But let them not violate their conscience. He who has suffered in their behalf, and has borne their sorrows and afflictions, has not forsaken them. COL 172.3Read in context »