And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from where they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They might have had.—Rather, they would have had opportunity to return. All their life long they would have been able to claim again their earlier fatherland, by returning whence they came.
They might have had opportunity to have returned - The journey was not so long or perilous that they could not have retraced their steps. It would have been no more difficult or dangerous for them to do that than it was to make the journey at first. This shows that their remaining as strangers and sojourners in the land of Canaan was voluntary. They preferred it, with all its inconveniences and hardships, to a return to their native land. The same thing is true of all the people of God now. If they choose to return to the world, and to engage again in all its vain pursuits, there is nothing to hinder them. There are "opportunities" enough. There are abundant inducements held out. There are numerous frivolous and worldly friends who would regard it as a matter of joy and triumph to have them return to vanity and folly again. They would welcome them to their society; rejoice to have them participate in their pleasures; and be willing that they should share in the honors and the wealth of the world. And they might do it. There are multitudes of Christians who could grace, as they once did, the ball-room: who could charm the social party by song and wit; who could rise to the highest posts of office, or compete successfully with others in the race for the acquisition of fame. They have seen and tasted enough of the vain pursuits of the world to satisfy them with their vanity; they are convinced of the sinfulness of making these things the great objects of living; their affections are now fixed on higher and nobler objects, and they "choose" not to return to those pursuits again, but to live as strangers and sojourners on the earth - for there is nothing more "voluntary" than religion.Genesis 29:1-31:55. They did willingly leave it, and kept from it, and never looked back there, but looked for a better.
from whence they came out; as Abraham and Sarah did, in person, and their posterity in them:
they might have had opportunity to have returned: for the way from Canaan or Egypt, where they sojourned, was short and easy: and though Abraham sent his servant thither to take a wife for his son Isaac, yet he would not go thither himself, nor suffer his son; nay, made his servant swear that he would not bring him thither, if even the woman should refuse to come; so unmindful was he of that country; so little did he regard it; yea, so much did he despise it: so when men are called by grace, and converted, they come out of a country, this world, which is a land of sin and iniquity, of great folly and ignorance, of darkness, and of the shadow of death; a desert, a mere wilderness; a country where Satan reigns, full of wicked and ungodly men; and which is the land of their nativity, as to their first birth: and they may be said to come out of it, not in a natural and civil sense, but in a spiritual one; and it is the character of a converted man, or one that is come out of the world, and is separated from it, to be unmindful of it; not so as not to consider from whence he came out, as owing to rich grace; nor so as not to lament the iniquities of it; nor so as not to pray for the conversion of the inhabitants of it; but he is unmindful of it, so as to be desirous of the company of the men of it, or to have the affections set upon it, and the heart tickled with the pleasures of it, or so as to desire to return to it, for which there is a great deal of reason: for this country is not worth minding; and there is much in it to set a gracious mind against it; a good man has better things to mind; and it is below, and unworthy of a Christian, to mind the world; and besides, worldly mindedness is attended with bad consequences. Moreover, though the saints have opportunities of returning, yet they do not; they are near it, and the country they are seeking is afar off: many things in it are alluring and ensnaring; a corrupt and deceitful heart often lingers after them, and Satan is not wanting to tempt unto, and by them. And yet they do not return; some that bear the name of Christians, but are not truly such, may wholly return, and never come back more; and true believers may strangely go back again in some instances; but they shall not return finally and totally: for they are held and drawn with the cords of love; they are in the hands of Christ, and are secured in the covenant of grace; they are returned to Christ, in the effectual calling, who will keep them; they are of the household of God, and shall be no more foreigners; should they return in such sense, they would be condemned with the world, which cannot be.And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Hebrews 11:15. Καί] and indeed.
μνημονεύειν] is taken by the majority in the intransitive sense: to be mindful (Hebrews 13:7). More naturally, however, may we understand it, with Bleek, de Wette, Delitzsch, Moll, Kurtz, and others, transitively: to make mention, sc. in the utterances to which the author has respect. Comp. Hebrews 11:22; 1 Thessalonians 1:3.
εἶχον ἄν] they would have had. The imperfect of the continuing possibility.15. to have returned] But they never attempted to return to Mesopotamia, because they were home-sick not for that land but for heaven.Hebrews 11:15. Ἐμνημόνευον, they had remembered) They had forgotten, by faith.—καιρὸν, a time) an opportunity, during so many years.
In N.T. habitually remember. So invariably in lxx. The meaning here is, that if, in their declaration (Hebrews 11:14) that they were seeking a country, they had called to mind the country from which they came out, they could have returned thither, so that it is evident that they did not mean that country.
To have returned (ἀνακάμψαι)
Rend. "to return." Lit. bend their way back again (ἀνα).
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