Hebrews 11:37
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated

King James Bible
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;

Darby Bible Translation
They were stoned, were sawn asunder, were tempted, died by the death of the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, evil treated,

World English Bible
They were stoned. They were sawn apart. They were tempted. They were slain with the sword. They went around in sheep skins and in goat skins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated

Young's Literal Translation
they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were tried; in the killing of the sword they died; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins -- being destitute, afflicted, injuriously treated,

Hebrews 11:37 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

They were stoned - A common method of punishment among the Jews; see the notes on Matthew 21:35, Matthew 21:44. Thus, Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, was stoned; see 2 Chronicles 24:21; compare 1 Kings 21:1-14. It is not improbable that this was often resorted to in times of popular tumult, as in the case of Stephen; Acts 7:59; compare John 10:31; Acts 14:5. In the time of the terrible persecutions under Antiochus Epiphanes, and under Manasseh, such instances also probably occurred.

They were sawn asunder - It is commonly supposed that Isaiah was put to death in this manner. For the evidence of this, see introduction to Isaiah, 2. It is known that this mode of punishment, though not common, did exist in ancient times. Among the Romans, the laws of the twelve tables affixed this as the punishment of certain crimes, but this mode of execution was very rare, since Aulius Gellius says that in his time no one remembered to have seen it practiced. It appears, however, from Suetonius that the emperor Caligula often condemned persons of rank to be sawn through the middle. Calmet, writing above a hundred years ago, says, "I am assured that the punishment of the saw is still in use among the Switzers, and that they put it in practice not many years ago upon one of their countrymen, guilty of a great crime, in the plain of Grenelles, near Paris. They put him into a kind of coffin, and sawed him lengthwise, beginning at the head, as a piece of wood is sawn; "Pict. Bib." It was not an unusual mode of punishment to cut a person asunder, and to suspend the different parts of the body to walls and towers, as a warning to the living; see 1 Samuel 31:10, and Morier's Second Journey to Persia, p. 96.

Were tempted - On this expression, which has given much perplexity in critics, see the notes of Prof. Stuart, Bloomfield, and Kuinoel. There is a great variety of reading in the mss. and editions of the New Testament, and many have regarded it as an interpolation. The difficulty which has been felt in reference to it has been, that it is a much milder word than those just used, and that it is hardly probable that the apostle would enumerate this among those which he had just specified, as if to be tempted deserved to be mentioned among sufferings of so severe a nature. But it seems to me there need be no real difficulty in the case. The apostle here, among other sufferings which they were called to endure, may have referred to the temptations which were presented to the martyrs when about to die to abandon their religion and live. It is very possible to conceive that this might have been among the highest aggravations of their sufferings. We know that in later times it was a common practice to offer life to those who were doomed to a horrid death on condition that they would throw incense on the altars of a pagan god, and we may easily suppose that a temptation of that kind, artfully presented in the midst of keen tortures, would greatly aggravate their sufferings. Or suppose when a father was about to be put to death for his religion, his wife and children were placed before him and should plead with him to save his life by abandoning his religion, we can easily imagine that no pain of the rack would cause so keen torture to the soul as their cries and tears would. Amidst the sorrows of martyrs, therefore, it was not improper to say that they were tempted, and to place this among their most aggravated woes. For instances of this nature. see 2 Macc. 6:21, 22; 7:17, 24.

Were slain with the sword - As in the case of the eighty-five priests slain by Doeg 1 Samuel 22:18; and the prophets. of whose slaughter by the sword Elijah complains; 1 Kings 19:10.

They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins - Driven away from their homes, and compelled to clothe themselves in this rude and uncomfortable manner. A dress of this kind, or a dress made of hair, was not uncommon with the prophets, and seems indeed to have been regarded as an appropriate badge of their office; see 2 Kings 1:8; Zechariah 13:4.

Being destitute, afflicted, tormented - The word "tormented" here means tortured. The apostle expresses here in general what in the previous verses he had specified in detail.

Hebrews 11:37 Parallel Commentaries

Library
February 3. "He Went Out, not Knowing Whither He Went" (Heb. xi. 8).
"He went out, not knowing whither He went" (Heb. xi. 8). It is faith without sight. When we can see, it is not faith but reasoning. In crossing the Atlantic we observed this very principle of faith. We saw no path upon the sea nor sign of the shore. And yet day by day we were marking our path upon the chart as exactly as if there had followed us a great chalk line upon the sea; and when we came within twenty miles of land we knew where we were as exactly as if we had seen it all three thousand miles
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Pilgrim's Longings
Now, our position is very similar to theirs. As many of us as have believed in Christ have been called out. The very meaning of a church is, "called out by Christ." We have been separated. I trust we know what it is to have gone without the camp, bearing Christ's reproach. Henceforth, in this world we have no home, no true home for our spirits; our home is beyond the flood; we are looking for it amongst the unseen things; we are strangers and sojourners as all our fathers were, dwellers in this wilderness,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

The Voices of the Dead
"And by it he being dead yet speaketh." Hebrews xi. 4. Much of the communion of this earth is not by speech or actual contact, and the holiest influences fall upon us in silence. A monument or symbol shall convey a meaning which cannot be expressed; and a token of some departed one is more eloquent than words. The mere presence of a good and holy personage will move us to reverence and admiration, though he may say and do but little. So is there an impersonal presence of such an one; and, though
E. H. Chapin—The Crown of Thorns

The Practice of Piety; Directing a Christian How to Walk that He May Please God.
Whoever thou art that lookest into this book, never undertake to read it, unless thou first resolvest to become from thine heart an unfeigned Practitioner of Piety. Yet read it, and that speedily, lest, before thou hast read it over, God, by some unexpected death, cut thee off for thine inveterate impiety. The Practice of Piety consists-- First, In knowing the essence of God, and that in respect of, (I.) The diverse manner of being therein, which are three persons--Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. (II.)
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Cross References
2 Samuel 12:31
He also brought out the people who were in it, and set them under saws, sharp iron instruments, and iron axes, and made them pass through the brickkiln. And thus he did to all the cities of the sons of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.

1 Kings 19:10
He said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."

1 Kings 19:13
When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

1 Kings 19:19
So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.

1 Kings 21:13
Then the two worthless men came in and sat before him; and the worthless men testified against him, even against Naboth, before the people, saying, "Naboth cursed God and the king." So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones.

2 Kings 2:8
Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

2 Kings 2:13
He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan.

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