Hebrews 11:13-22



“All these people” refer to Abraham, Sarah, Isaac.

They all died before they received the land and before they became a great nation.

Remember Hebrews 6:15 refers to the promise of the birth of Isaac and not to the promise of the land and the nation.


When did they admit they were aliens and strangers? 

·        In Genesis 23:4 when Abraham bought the Cave of Machpelah from Ephron the Hittite to bury Sarah

·        http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/machpelah.html

·        Please visit this site: http://www.holylandphotos.org/browse.asp?s=1,2,6,15,86&img=ICHJHB10

·        http://www.bibleplaces.com/hebron.htm

 Photo by Carl Rasmussen

Ma'arat HaMachpelah, The Cave of Machpelah in Hebron –

The building over the tomb is truly amazing in its dimensions, complexity and antiquity. Huge walls built by Herod the Great 2,000 years ago surround it, while the interior is a combination of medieval architecture, Arabesque décor from later centuries, and synagogues founded after the reestablishment of the Jewish community here following the 1967 Six Day War.  In one corner of the largest hall, with its house-like tomb markers for Isaac and Rebecca, a cupola stands over a small opening into the actual Cave of Machpelah. Another, smaller room contains the tombs of Abraham and Sarah, and across an open courtyard are those of Jacob and Leah. (This information is from http://www.goisrael.com/Tourism_Eng/Tourist+Information/Jewish+Themes/Jewish_Sites/The+Cave+of+Machpelah+jew.htm



“Homeland” is “patrida” and means literally “fatherland” and refers to the land you originated from and where you belong.


If Abraham had understood the full meaning of the Promised Land as being the land of Canaan then why when he bought his very first possession of that land did he identify himself as an alien and stranger?  Because Abraham was not looking for the Promised Land but something more.



If Abraham considered the land of the Chaldeans as his “patrida” (homeland) he could have turned around and went back to Ur.



The point of all these verse is to establish the fact that Abraham lived and died in faith without receiving the promise.  It was not Ur.  It was not Canaan.  It was a city that is yet to be manifest.



Abraham’s faith was more than a simple statement or passive tenet of belief.

Abraham’s faith affected the way he lived and acted in his life here in time.

For example, Abraham offered his son on an altar.

But more, it was the son through which God said the promises would come.


Genesis 22


“Tested” is the word “peirazomenos” means to try, to examine, to test.


as a sacrifice” is “prosphero” in the perfect tense meaning “has offered up” and refers to the completed action that has lingering effects or leaves an ongoing result of condition.  This speaks of:

1.     The act being done in Abraham’s fully committed mind

2.     The complete results of Abraham’s actions

3.     The continued record of Abraham’s faith and actions.


about to sacrifice” is the same word “prosphero” but in the aorist tense conveys the point of action meaning the action is viewed as one-time action in the time it occurred.  It could be translated “was offering”.


one and only” is the translation of the word “monogenes”.  It means unique, only one of the kind”.  It can also mean generally “only” but in this case Isaac is clearly not Abraham’s “only” son when you consider Ishmael and Keturah’s sons.  Monogenes” is the same word used in John 3:16.





“Abraham reasoned”

  • reasoned is aorist of “logidzomai” and means to consider, to reckon.  The verb means to calculate on the basis of solid evidence.  This is more than a strong inner opinion but an inward conviction.
  • Abraham’s conviction led him to calculate that the promises and plans of God were more sure than Abraham’s own actions.
  • Conclusion:  If I offer him, God will raise him. (This is seen in Abraham’s statement in Gen. 22:5)


Was this the kind of faith Jesus was expecting in Luke 8:22-25.  What should the disciples have done? –

    1. Calm the storm themselves?
    2. Continue to helplessly bail out the water?
    3. Believed that their ship could not sink?
    4. Accepted death as part of the trip to the other side of the lake?


The references to Isaac, Jacob and Joseph are focused on their vision of “Things yet to Come.”


11:20 - Isaac

blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future


Nothing is said about Isaac being bound on the altar.

Nothing is said about Isaac being deceived by Jacob.


Isaac had received the promise of God through Abraham and God had confirmed it after Abraham’s death in Genesis 26:2-6


Isaac blessed Jacob and then confirmed that blessing in Gen. 27:33

Jacob also spoke to Esau about his future.  Esau would not have the rich produce of the land but will live as a predator by maintaining his existence by war and plunder.  Yet, Esau will never conquer his brother Jacob.  Esau (Edom) will first revolt against Jacob (Israel) during the days of Solomon (1 KIings 11:14-22)and will finally separate in the days of Jehoram (2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Chr. 21:8-20)


11:21 - Jacob

when he was dying

  1. blessed each of Joseph’s sons
    1. Genesis 48
  2. worshipped as he leaned on the top of his staff” (Genesis 47:31)
    1. The Masoretic text says “Israel bowed down at the head of his bed (mittah”).”
    2. The Septuagint says, “Israel worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff (matteh”).”


11:22 – Joseph

when his end was near” (Genesis 50:24)

  1. spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt
    1. Joseph had lived in Egypt from the age of 17 until he died at the age of 110.
  2. gave instructions about his bones

a.     Like Jacob, Joseph wanted to be buried in the Promised Land.

b.     Exodus 13:19

c.     Joshua 24:32


Much could be said of Joseph’s faith and character but the focus here remains on the continuation of the promise that was not received.