Hebrews 11:12
Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
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(12) The stars of the sky.—Better, the stars of the heaven. (See Genesis 15:5; Genesis 22:17.)

And as the sand.—“And as the sand by the seashore, which is innumerable” (Genesis 22:17). With the first words of the verse compare Romans 4:19.

11:8-19 We are often called to leave worldly connexions, interests, and comforts. If heirs of Abraham's faith, we shall obey and go forth, though not knowing what may befall us; and we shall be found in the way of duty, looking for the performance of God's promises. The trial of Abraham's faith was, that he simply and fully obeyed the call of God. Sarah received the promise as the promise of God; being convinced of that, she truly judged that he both could and would perform it. Many, who have a part in the promises, do not soon receive the things promised. Faith can lay hold of blessings at a great distance; can make them present; can love them and rejoice in them, though strangers; as saints, whose home is heaven; as pilgrims, travelling toward their home. By faith, they overcome the terrors of death, and bid a cheerful farewell to this world, and to all the comforts and crosses of it. And those once truly and savingly called out of a sinful state, have no mind to return into it. All true believers desire the heavenly inheritance; and the stronger faith is, the more fervent those desires will be. Notwithstanding their meanness by nature, their vileness by sin, and the poverty of their outward condition, God is not ashamed to be called the God of all true believers; such is his mercy, such is his love to them. Let them never be ashamed of being called his people, nor of any of those who are truly so, how much soever despised in the world. Above all, let them take care that they are not a shame and reproach to their God. The greatest trial and act of faith upon record is, Abraham's offering up Isaac, Ge 22:2. There, every word shows a trial. It is our duty to reason down our doubts and fears, by looking, as Abraham did, to the Almighty power of God. The best way to enjoy our comforts is, to give them up to God; he will then again give them as shall be the best for us. Let us look how far our faith has caused the like obedience, when we have been called to lesser acts of self-denial, or to make smaller sacrifices to our duty. Have we given up what was called for, fully believing that the Lord would make up all our losses, and even bless us by the most afflicting dispensations?Therefore sprang there even of one - From a single individual. What is observed here by the apostle as worthy of remark, is, that the whole Jewish people sprang from one man, and that, as the reward of his strong faith he was made the father and founder of a nation.

And him as good as dead - So far as the subject under discussion is concerned, To human appearance there was no more probability, that he would have a son at that period of life, than that the dead would have.

So many as the stars in the sky ... - An innumerable multitude. This was agreeable to the promise; Genesis 15:5; Genesis 22:17. The phrases used here are often employed to denote a vast multitude, as nothing appears more numerous than the stars of heaven, or than the sands that lie on the shores of the ocean. The strength of faith in this case was, that there was simple confidence in God in the fulfillment of a promise where all human probabilities were against it. This is, therefore, an illustration of the nature of faith. It does not depend on human reasoning; on analogy; on philosophical probabilities; on the foreseen operation of natural laws; but on the mere assurance of God - no matter what may be the difficulties to human view, or the improbabilities against it.

12. as good as dead—literally, "deadened"; no longer having, as in youth, energetic vital powers.

stars … sand—(Ge 22:17).

Because of this faith of Abraham and Sarah, and the fruit of it in conceiving and bringing forth Isaac, was laid the foundation of a numerous seed by God’s promise; from Abraham, a hundred, and Sarah, ninety years old, and barren, and both dead as to procreation, Romans 4:19, there were begotten a vast and unbounded seed, as the stars in the firmament, or the sand on the sea shore; and amongst them the teeming blessing, the one eminent Seed of Abraham, the Messiah, in whom all nations were to be blessed. Within four hundred years from the birth of Isaac, this seed increased to above six hundred thousand fighting men, besides women and children, and after increased to a stupendous greatness, according to the promise, Genesis 13:16 15:5 Exodus 12:47 1 Chronicles 21:5,6.

That is, Abraham: the Arabic version has here a strange interpolation;

"this faith Isaac and Rebecca conceived in mind, and so there were born of one, Esau and Jacob.''

And him as good as dead; being an hundred years of age; See Gill on Romans 4:19. The Ethiopic version reads, "the bodies of both were like a dead carcass"; both of Abraham and Sarah:

so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable; as was promised to Abraham, Genesis 15:5 which has been fulfilled, Isaiah 10:22 and will still have a further fulfilment, Hosea 1:10.

Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as {f} dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

(f) As unlikely to bear children, as if he had been dead.

Hebrews 11:12. The wondrous result of the faith displayed by Sarah.

ἐγενήθησαν] sc. through Sarah as mother and ancestress, γίνεσθαι, of being born, usual also elsewhere in classic (Xen. Cyr. 1:2. 1, al.) and Hellenistic Greek (Romans 1:3; Galatians 4:4, al.).

ἀφʼ ἑνός] from one, namely Abraham. Wrongly does Carpzov apprehend ἑνός as a neuter, in that he will have it supplemented by σπέρματος or αἵματος. Just as wrongly Zeger: “vel ab uno Abrahae et Sarae corpore (juxta illud: Erunt duo in carne una).” Comp. already Theodoret: Ἀφʼ ἑνὸς τοῦ Ἀβραάμ· εἰ δὲ καὶ ἀμφοτέρους ἕνα νοήσαιμεν, οὐχ ἁμαρτησόμεθα· ἔσονται γάρ, φησίν, οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν.

καὶ ταῦτα] and that too, and more than that. According to Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 153, equivalent to καὶ τοῦτο. But the plural is, no doubt, placed because the author has in his mind, besides the νενεκρωμένον εἶναι of Abraham, also that remarked in Hebrews 11:11 with regard to Sarah (her former unbelief and her advanced age).

νενεκρωμένου] has reference to the dead power of generation, as Romans 4:19.

Of one were born even as the stars of heaven in regard to number, i.e. of one were descendants born innumerable in multitude as the stars of heaven. A supplementing of ἔκγονοι or ἄνθρωποι (so still Bleek) is, moreover, unnecessary. The comparison of the multitude of descendants to the stars of heaven, and the countless sand upon the sea-shore, is based upon the use of the same figures in the words of the promise given to Abraham; comp. Genesis 13:16; Genesis 15:5; Genesis 22:17; Genesis 26:4; Genesis 32:12; Exodus 32:13; Deuteronomy 1:10.

χεῖλος] for shore occurs also with the classics, and that in prose equally (Herod. 2:94; Polyb. 3:14. 6, and frequently) as with the poets (Hom. Il. xii. 52). Comp. also Plin. xxxi. 2 : Herba in labris fontis virens; Caes. de hello Gall. vii. 72: ut ejus (fossae) solum tantundem pateret, quantum summa labra distabant.

12. as the stars … as the sand] Genesis 22:17; Deuteronomy 1:10.

Hebrews 11:12. Ἀφʼ ἑνὸς, from one) from Abraham, by Sarah.—ἐγεννήθησαν) sprung, namely, sons.

Hebrews 11:12As good as dead (νενεκρωμένου)

Comp. Romans 4:19. As good as is an addition of A.V. The Greek reads and that a dead man. Comp. νέκρωσιν deadness applied to Sarah, Romans 4:19.

Stars - sand

See Genesis 22:17; Genesis 32:12.

By the seashore (παρὰ τὸ χεῖλος τῆς θαλάσσης)

Lit. by the lip of the sea. The phrase N.T.o. Very often in lxx, as Genesis 22:17; Exodus 14:30; lip of a river, Genesis 41:17; Exodus 7:15; of a brook, Deuteronomy 2:36; Deuteronomy 3:12; of Jordan, 2 Kings 2:13. So in Class. The vigor thus supernaturally imparted to Abraham does not appear to have exhausted itself in the generation of Isaac; since, according to Genesis 25:2, Abraham became by Keturah the father of six sons after the death of Sarah.

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