Hebrews 11:17
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
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(17) The patriarchs displayed their faith in the attitude of their whole life, and in their death. This has been the thought of the preceding verses; the writer now passes to the lessons taught by particular actions and events.

Tried.Genesis 22:1 : “God did tempt Abraham.” The following word is in the Greek “hath offered up Isaac,” and several other examples of a similar peculiarity will present themselves in this chapter. As in former cases (Hebrews 4:9; Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 10:9) the reference is to the permanent record of Scripture, in which the fact related is ever present. Abraham stands before us there as having offered his son. It will be seen that the offering is spoken of as if consummated. As regards faith the sacrifice was indeed complete; the perfect surrender of will had been made, and the hand was stretched out for the deed.

And he that had received the promises offered up.—Rather, and he that had welcomed (gladly accepted) the promises was offering up. From the figurative accomplishment of the deed the writer passes to the historical narrative; hence we read, “he . . . was (in the act of) offering.” This clause and Hebrews 11:18 set forth the greatness of the sacrifice (compare Genesis 22:2, in the literal rendering, “Take now thy son, thine only one, whom thou lovest, Isaac”); Hebrews 11:19 explains the operation of his faith.

Hebrews 11:17-18. By faith — Namely, by believing that God would perform his promise of giving him a numerous issue, notwithstanding that the command here referred to seemed to contradict and preclude the performance of it; Abraham, when he was tried — When God made that glorious trial of him, recorded Genesis 22:9-10; offered up Isaac

“In this trial of Abraham’s faith, there was the highest wisdom. For God, to whom all his creatures belong, and who may justly take away the life of any of them by whatever means or instruments he thinks fit, ordered Abraham with his own hands to sacrifice his only son Isaac, in whom all the promises were to be fulfilled, that the greatness of Abraham’s understanding, faith, and piety, becoming conspicuous, future generations might know with what propriety God made him the pattern of the justification of mankind, and the father of all believers, for the purpose of their receiving the promises in him. The sacrifice of Isaac was commanded also for the purpose of being a type of the sacrifice of Christ.” Isaac, indeed, was not sacrificed: but Abraham, in the full resolution of obeying God’s command, proceeded so far as to show that if he had not been hindered by God himself, he would actually have obeyed it. For he bound Isaac, laid him on the altar, stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son, Genesis 22:10. Now, though Abraham was restrained from killing Isaac, his firm purpose to offer him was considered by God as equivalent to the actual offering of him, Genesis 22:16 : Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son. But if Abraham, at God’s command, was willing himself to slay his only son, how much more willing should we be to part with our beloved children and friends when God himself takes them from us by death? And he that had received the promises — That his seed should be as the stars, and should inherit Canaan, and that all the nations of the earth should be blessed in his seed; offered up his only-begotten — Isaac is so called, because Abraham had no other son by Sarah, his legitimate wife; of whom it was expressly said, (Genesis 21:12,) In Isaac shall thy seed be called — From him shall the blessed seed spring; and in him all the promises which I have made to thy seed shall be fulfilled. Observe here, reader, “1st, Faith must be tried; and of all graces it is most suited to trial: 2d, God proportions trials, for the most part, to the strength of faith: 3d, Great trials, in believers, are an evidence of great faith, though not understood, either by themselves or others, before such trials: 4th, Trials are the only touchstone of faith, without which men must want the best evidence of its sincerity and efficacy, and the best way of testifying it to others. Wherefore, 5th, We ought not to be afraid of trials, because of the admirable advantages of faith by them. See James 1:2; James 1:4; 1 Peter 1:6-7. And 6th, Let them be jealous over themselves who have had no special instances of the trial of their faith: 7th, True faith, being tried, will in the issue be victorious.” — Owen.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?By faith Abraham - The apostle had stated one strong instance of the faith of Abraham, and he now refers to one still more remarkable - the strongest illustration of faith, undoubtedly, which has ever been evinced in our world.

When he was tried - The word used here is rendered "tempted," in Matthew 4:1, Matthew 4:3; Matthew 16:1; Matthew 19:3; Matthew 22:18, Matthew 22:35, and in twenty-two other places in the New Testament; "prove," in John 6:6; "hath gone about," in Acts 24:6; "examine," 2 Corinthians 13:5; and "tried," in Revelation 2:2, Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:10. It does not mean here, as it often does, to place inducements before one to lead him to do wrong, but to subject his faith to a "trial" in order to test its genuineness and strength. The meaning here is, that Abraham was placed in circumstances which showed what was the real strength of his confidence in God.

Offered up Isaac - That is, he showed that he was ready and willing to make the sacrifice, and would have done it if he had not been restrained by the voice of the angel; Genesis 22:11-12. So far as the intention of Abraham was concerned, the deed was done, for he had made every preparation for the offering, and was actually about to take the life of his son.

And he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son - The promises particularly of a numerous posterity. The fulfillment of those promises depended on him whom he was now about to offer as a sacrifice. If Abraham had been surrounded with children, or if no special promise of a numerous posterity had been made to him, this act would not have been so remarkable. It would in any case have been a strong act of faith; it "was especially" strong in his ease from the circumstances that he had an only son, and that the fulfillment of the promise depended on his life.

17. offered up—literally, "hath offered up," as if the work and its praise were yet enduring [Alford]. As far as His intention was concerned, he did sacrifice Isaac; and in actual fact "he offered him," as far as the presentation of him on the altar as an offering to God is concerned.

tried—Greek, "tempted," as in Ge 22:1. Put to the proof of his faith. Not that God "tempts" to sin, but God "tempts" in the sense of proving or trying (Jas 1:13-15).

and—and so.

he that had received—rather as Greek, "accepted," that is, welcomed and embraced by faith, not merely "had the promises," as in Heb 7:6. This added to the difficulty in the way of his faith, that it was in Isaac's posterity the promises were to be fulfilled; how then could they be fulfilled if Isaac were sacrificed?

offered up—rather as Greek, "was offering up"; he was in the act of offering.

his only-begotten son—Compare Ge 22:2, "Take now thy son, thine only son." Eusebius [The Preparation of the Gospel, 1.10, and 4.16], has preserved a fragment of a Greek translation of Sanchoniatho, which mentions a mystical sacrifice of the Phœnicians, wherein a prince in royal robes was the offerer, and his only son was to be the victim: this evidently was a tradition derived from Abraham's offering, and handed down through Esau or Edom, Isaac's son. Isaac was Abraham's "only-begotten son" in respect of Sarah and the promises: he sent away his other sons, by other wives (Ge 25:6). Abraham is a type of the Father not sparing His only-begotten Son to fulfil the divine purpose of love. God nowhere in the Mosaic law allowed human sacrifices, though He claimed the first-born of Israel as His.

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; by the same excellent faith Abraham alone, and by himself considered, being tried by God, in a rare way, to give proof of the truth of his faith in and love to him above all, was to take his only son, his darling, and to offer him for a whole burnt offering on Mount Moriah, to himself, Genesis 22:2. Which command of God was not unjust, he having absolute sovereignty and dominion over all persons and their lives, having power to kill, and to make alive, Deu 32:39. This son of his he offered up as God commanded; for in his heart he had fully parted with him to God, and proceeded so far in execution, as, if God had not dispensed with it, it had been actually done, he would have killed him and burnt him to ashes on the altar, Genesis 22:3,6-13.

And he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son: this mighty faith enabled him to do this, though he was his only begotten son by promise, and in the church’s line, concerning whom he had received so many promises, and in whom only they were to be fulfilled, as that a numerous seed should descend from him, who should inherit Canaan, and through whom Christ was to descend into the world, in whom himself and all nations were to be blessed. Yet faith silenceth reason and natural affection, assureth him God could fulfil his promises by him though he should offer him, as he raised him from a dead body and womb at first, and gave him to him: so he obeyeth God’s word, and offereth him. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, .... Or tempted; that is, by God, Genesis 22:1. This temptation or trial respects the command given by God to Abraham, to offer up his son Isaac; which lays no foundation for a charge against God, either of sin or cruelty; for God's will is the rule of justice and goodness, and whatever he requires is just and good; and though his creatures are bound by the laws he prescribes them, he himself is not: besides, he is the Lord of life, the giver and preserver of it; and he has a right to dispose of it, and to take it away, when, and by what means, and instruments, he thinks fit; to which may be added, that the secret will of God was not that Isaac should die, but a command was given to Abraham to offer him up, for the trial of his faith and love; this was a temptation of probation, not of seduction, or to sin, as are the temptations of Satan; for God tempts no man with sin. The Jews speak (x) of ten temptations, with which Abraham was tried, and in all which he stood; and say, that this of the binding of Isaac was the tenth and last.

Offered up Isaac; he showed great readiness to do it; as soon as he had the command given him, he travelled three days' journey in order to it; took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on his son; took fire, and a knife in his hand, with the one to burn the wood, with the other to slay his son; he built an altar, laid the wood in order on it; and bound his son, and laid him on that; and took the knife, and stretched forth his hand to slay him, and fully intended to do it, had he not been prevented: and all this he did by faith; he believed the equity, justice, and wisdom of the divine command; he was fully assured of the truth and faithfulness of God in his promises, however contrary this might seem thereunto; and he was strongly persuaded of the power of accomplishing them in some way or another. This was great faith, and it was greatly tried, as follows:

and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son; he had a promise made him that he should have a son, and that a numerous issue should spring from him, which should inherit the land of Canaan; yea, that the Messiah himself should be of his seed: and he had received these promises; given credit to them, and firmly believed them, and fully expected the performance of them; as he had reason to do, since the first was fulfilled, the son was born; and yet now he is called to offer him up, on whom his expectation was placed; everything was trying; it was an human creature he was called to offer, whose blood is not to be shed by man; a child of his own, a part of himself; a son, an own son; an only begotten son; a son whom he loved; an Isaac, a son of joy; a son of promise; and his heir, the son of his old age, and who was now a grown up person. The Jews are divided about the age of Isaac at his binding: Josephus (y) says he was twenty five years of age; others say twenty six (z); some say (a) thirty six: but the more prevailing opinion is (b), that he was thirty seven years of age; only Aben (c) Ezra makes him to be about thirteen; rejecting the more commonly received account, as well as that he was but five years old, that being an age unfit to carry wood. Some Christian writers have thought he might be about three and thirty years of age, the age of Christ when he suffered, of whom he was a type.

(x) Targum in Cant. vii. 8. Pirke Eliezer, c. 26. & c. 31. Maimon. Jarchi & Bartenora in Misn. Abot, c. 5. sect. 3.((y) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 13. sect. 2.((z) Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 6. 1.((a) Targum Jon. in Genesis 22.1.((b) Zohar in Gen. fol. 68. 2. & 74. 4. & 76. 2. Targ. Hieros. in Exodus 12.42. Pirke Eliezer, c. 31, Juchasin, fol. 9. 1. Prefat. Echa Rabbati, fol. 40. 2. Seder Olam Rabba, c. 1. p. 3. Shalshelet Hakabala, fol. 3. 1. (c) In Genesis 22.4.

By faith Abraham, when he was {k} tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the {l} promises offered up his only begotten son,

(k) Tried by the Lord.

(l) Although the promises of life were made in that only begotten son Isaac, yet he appointed him to die; and so against hope he believed in hope.

Hebrews 11:17-19. The author returns once more specially to Abraham, in that he further, by way of addition, dwells on the most distinguished act of faith on the part of this patriarch, that he had not refused at God’s behest to offer his only son as a sacrifice; comp. Genesis 22:1 ff.

προσενήνοχεν] not: “he was on the point of offering,” against which stands the perfect. It can only signify: he offered (made an offering of). The author could thus express himself, since the offering was really intended by Abraham, although it afterwards came, it is true, to a bloodless issue. Comp. Jam 2:21 : Ἀβραὰμἀνενέγκας Ἰσαὰκ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον.

πειραζόμενος] when he was tempted, i.e. was put to the test by God with regard to his faith. Comp. Genesis 22:1. πειραζόμενος belongs still to προσενήνοχεν, not, as Hofmann quite unnaturally requires, to προσέφερεν.

καὶ τὸν μονογενῆσπέρμα, Hebrews 11:18] Unfolding of the greatness of the act. It was (1) his only son whom he gave up, (2) the son whose life was necessary, if the promises given to Abraham were to receive their fulfilment.

καί] and of a truth.

τὸν μονογενῆ] No respect is had to Ishmael, since he was not of equal birth, and stood outside of all relation to the divine promises.

προσέφερεν] here the imperfect; since the author now presents to himself, as though he were a spectator, the act of the offering itself.

ὁ τὰς ἐπαγγελίας ἀναδεξάμενος] he who had believingly embraced the promises. With Schulz, Heinrichs, Bengel, Ebrard, Bisping, and others, to find indicated by ἀναδεξάμενος the mere having received, contradicts the ordinary use of the word, instead of which λαβών must have been placed.Hebrews 11:17. Πίστει προσενήνοχεν Ἀβραὰμ.… “By faith Abraham when tried offered up Isaac, yea he who had accepted the promises, to whom it had been said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called, offered his only son.” The perfect προσενήνοχεν, Blass (Gram., 200) says “can only be understood as referring to the abiding example offered to us”. Similarly Alford, Westcott, Weiss, etc. Surely it is better to have regard to Burton’s statement, “The Perfect Indicative is sometimes used in the N.T. of a simple past fact where it is scarcely possible to suppose that the thought of existing result was in the writer’s mind”. And in Jebb’s Appendix to Vincent and Dickson’s Gram. of Mod. Greek (p. 327, 8) it is demonstrated that “later Greek shows some clear traces of a tendency to use the Perfect as an Aorist”. τὸν is probably here intended not merely to indicate the case of the indeclinable Ἰσαὰκ (Vaughan), cf. Hebrews 11:18; Hebrews 11:20, but to call attention to the importance of Isaac; and this is further accomplished in the succeeding clause which brings out the full significance of the sacrifice. It was his only son whom Abraham was offering (προσέφερε imperfect in its proper sense of an unfinished transaction) and therefore the sole link between himself and the fulfilment of the promises to which he had given hospitable entertainment (ἀναδεξάμενος, 2Ma 6:19). “The sole link,” because, irrespective of any other children Abraham had had or might have, it had been said to him (πρὸς ὃν, denoting Abraham not Isaac), In Isaac shall a seed be named to thee (Genesis 21:12); that is to say, it is Isaac and his descendants who shall be known as Abraham’s seed. Others are proud to count themselves the descendants of Abraham but the true “seed” (κληθήσεταί σοι σπέρμα, cf. Galatians 3:16; Galatians 3:29) to whom along with Abraham the promises were given was the race that sprang from Isaac, the heir of the promise. No trial (πειραζόμενος as in Genesis 22:1, ὁ Θεὸς ἐπείρασε τὸν Ἀβραὰμ and cf. Genesis 22:12) could have been more severe. After long waiting the heir had at last been given, and now after his hope had for several years rooted itself in this one life, he is required to sacrifice that life and so break his whole connection with the future. No greater test of his trust in God was possible. He conquered because he reckoned (λογισάμενος “expresses the formation of an opinion by calculation or reasoning, as in Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 10:7” (Vaughan).), that even from the dead God is able to raise up—a belief in God’s power to do this universally, see John 5:21. This belief enabled him to deliver his only son to death. “Whence (ὅθεν, i.e., ἐκ νεκρῶν, although several commentators, even Weiss, render it ‘wherefore’) also he received him back (ἐκομίσατο, for this meaning see Genesis 38:20 and passages in Wetstein) in a figure (ἐν παραβολῇ, not actually, because Isaac had not been dead, but virtually because he had been given up to death. He had passed through the likeness of death, and his restoration to Abraham was a likeness of resurrection. (Whoever wishes to see how a simple expression may be tortured should consult Alford’s long note on this place.)17. By faith Abraham … offered up Isaac] Reverting to Abraham, whose faith (1) in leaving his country, (2) in living as a stranger in Canaan, he has already mentioned, he now adduces the third and greatest instance of his faithful obedience in being ready to offer up Isaac. Both tenses, “hath offered up” (perf.) and “was offering up” (imperf.) are characteristic of the author’s views of Scripture as a permanent record of events which may be still regarded as present to us. St James (James 2:21) uses the aorist.

he that had received the promises] Four verbs are used with reference to “receiving” the promises, ἀναδέχεσθαι (here), λαβεῖν (Hebrews 9:15), ἐπιτυχεῖν (Hebrews 11:33), κομίσασθαι (Hebrews 11:39). The word here used implies a joyous welcome of special promises. The context generally shews with sufficient clearness the sense in which the Patriarchs may be said both to have “received” and “not to have received” the promises. They received and welcomed special promises, and those were fulfilled; and in those they saw the germ of richer blessings which they enjoyed by faith but not in actual fruition.Hebrews 11:17. Προσενήνοχεν, offered) as far as it depended upon him.—τὸν μονογενῆ, only-begotten) in respect of his wife Sarah, and of the promises. Abraham sent away his other sons.—) This word augments the subject, as , ch. Hebrews 7:4.—ἀναδεξάμενος, he who embraced) likewise by faith.Verses 17-19. - By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up (literally, hath offered up, denoting an accomplished act of which the significance continues) Isaac: and he that had received (rather, accepted, implying his own assent and belief) the promises offered up his only begotten son, he to whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God is able to raise up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. The above rendering varies slightly from the A.V. in vers. 18, 19. For, in ver. 18, πρὸς ο{ν is more naturally connected with the immediate antecedent, ὁ ἀναδεξάμενος, than with μονογενῆ: and, in ver. 19, there is no need to supply "him" after ἐγείρειν: the Greek seems obviously to express belief in God's general power to raise from the dead, not his power in that instance only. The offering of Isaac (specially instanced also by St. James, if. 21), stands out as the crowning instance of Abraham's faith. The very son, so king expected, and at length, as it were, supernaturally given, - he in whose single life was bound up all hope of fulfillment of the promise, was to be sacrificed after all, and so seemingly all hope cut off. Yet Abraham is represented as not hesitating for a moment to do in simple faith what seemed God's will, and still not wavering in his hope of a fulfillment somehow. Such faith is here regarded as virtually faith in God's power even to raise the dead. (For a similar view of Abraham's faith as representing "the hope and resurrection of the dead," comp. Romans 4:17, 24.) The expression, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called" (literally, "In Isaac shall be called to thee a seed"), quoted from Genesis 21:12, means, not that the seed should be called after the name of Isaac, but that the seed to be called Abraham's should be in Isaac, i.e. his issue. The concluding phrase, "Whence also he received him in a figure" (literally, "in a parable," ἐν παραβολῇ), has been variously interpreted. Notwithstanding the authority of many modern common-taters, we may certainly reject the view of παραβολῇ carrying here the sense borne by the verb παραβάλλεσθαι, that of venturing or exposing one's self to risk, or that of the adverb παραβόλως, unexpectedly. Even if the noun παραβολή could be shown by any instance to bear such senses, its ordinary use in the New Testament as well as in the LXX. must surely be understood here. It expresses (under the idea of comparison, or setting one thing by the side of another) an illustration, representation, or figure of something. Its use in this sense in the Gospels is familiar to us all; elsewhere in the New Testament it occurs only in this Epistle, Hebrews 9:9, where the "first tabernacle" is spoken of as a παραβολή. Still, the question remains of the exact drift of this expression, ἐν παραβολῇ. It surely is, that, though Isaac did not really die, but only the ram in his stead, yet the transaction represented to Abraham an actual winning of iris son from the dead; he did so win him in the way of an acted parable, which confirmed his faith in God's power to raise the dead as much as if the lad had died. For such use of the preposition ἐν we may compare 1 Corinthians 13:12, βλέπομεν δἰ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, which may mean (notwithstanding the different view of it given doubtfully by the distinguished commentator on the Epistle in the 'Speaker's Commentary'), "We see, not actually, but in the way of an enigmatical representation, as through a mirror." The above seems a mere natural meaning of the phrase, ἐν παραβολῇ, than that of the commentators who interpret it "in such sort as to be a parable or type of something else to crone," viz. of the death and resurrection of Christ. It does not, of course, follow that the transaction was not typical of Christ, or that the writer does net so regard it; we are only considering what his language fit itself implies. Rendered literally, and with retention of the order of the words, the sentence runs: "From whence [i.e. from the dead] him [i.e. Isaac, αὐτόν being slightly emphatic, as is shown by its position in the sentence, equivalent to illum, not eum; and this suitably after the general proposition preceding] he did too in a parable win [ἐκομίσατο, equivalent to sibi acquisivit; cf. ver. 39, οὐκ ἐκομίσαντο τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν]." With regard to what we may call the moral aspect of this peculiar trial of Abraham's faith, a few words may be said, since a difficulty naturally suggests itself on the subject. How, it may be asked, is it consistent with our ideas of Divine righteousness, that even readiness to slay his son should be required of Abraham as a duty? How are we to account for this apparent sanction of the principle of human sacrifices? To the latter question we may reply, in the first place, that the narrative in Genesis, taken as a whole, affords no such sanction, but very much the contrary. All we are told is that the great patriarch, in the course of his religious training, was once divinely led to suppose such a sacrifice to be required of him. The offering of sons was not unusual in the ancient races among where Abraham lived; and, however shocking such a practice might be, and however condemned in later Scripture, it was due, we may say. to the perversion only of a true instinct of humanity - that which suggests the need of some great atonement, and the claim of the Giver of all to our best and dearest, if demanded from us. That Abraham should be even divinely led to suppose for a time that his God required him to express his acknowledgment of this need and this claim by not withholding from him as much as even the heathen were accustomed to offer to their gods, is consistent with God's general way of educating men to a full knowledge of the truth. But the sacrifice was ill the end emphatically forbidden by a voice from heaven; to Abraham thenceforth, and to his seed for ever, it was made dearly known that, though God does require atonement for sin and entire submission to his will, he does not require violence to be done to tender human feeling, or any cruel rites. When he was tried offered up (προσενήνοχεν πειραζόμενος)

The full sense of the statement is missed in A.V. The meaning is that while the trial is yet in progress, Abraham hath already offered up his son, before the trial has come to an issue, by the act of his obedient will, through faith in God. Comp. James 2:21.

He that had received (ὁ ἀναδεξάμενος)

The verb only here and Acts 28:7. It means to accept; to welcome and entertain. So Rev. gladly received.

Accounting (λογισάμενος)

See on 1 Peter 5:12; see on Romans 4:5; see on Romans 8:18.

From whence (ὅθεν)

Rend. wherefore: because of his faith in God's power and truthfulness. Ὃθεν, though occasionally in a local sense in N.T., as Matthew 12:44; Luke 11:24; Acts 14:26, is much more common in the logical or causal sense, wherefore, on which account. So in every other instance in Hebrews. In the local sense it would mean from the dead.

Also he received him in a figure (αὐτὸν καὶ ἐν παρασολῇ ἐκομίσατο)

Καὶ marks the receiving as answering to the faith. As Abraham believed in God's power to restore Isaac, so, because of his faith, he also received him. For ἐκομίσατο received see on Hebrews 10:36. Ἐν παραβολῆ in a parable. Since the sacrifice did not take place as a literal slaughter, there could not be a literal restoration from death. There was a real offering in Abraham's will, but not a real death of Isaac. Isaac's death took place symbolically, in the sacrifice of the ram: correspondingly, the restoration was only a symbolic restoration from the dead. Some expositors, among whom is Westcott, explain thus: Abraham accounted that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead, from which he received him at birth, in that Isaac sprung from one dead (νενεκρωμένου, Hebrews 11:12). This is extremely labored and artificial.

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