Hebrews 11:29
By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
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(29) Which the Egyptians assaying to do.—Literally, Of which the Egyptians making trial were swallowed up (Exodus 14, 15). In the same “trial,” but with the support of the word of God, had consisted Israel’s faith. The word land is not in the ordinary Greek text (and hence stands in italics), but is found in the best MSS. It is with this word that the following clause (“of which . . .”) connects itself.

11:20-31 Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, concerning things to come. Things present are not the best things; no man knoweth love or hatred by having them or wanting them. Jacob lived by faith, and he died by faith, and in faith. Though the grace of faith is of use always through our whole lives, it is especially so when we come to die. Faith has a great work to do at last, to help the believer to die to the Lord, so as to honour him, by patience, hope, and joy. Joseph was tried by temptations to sin, by persecution for keeping his integrity; and he was tried by honours and power in the court of Pharaoh, yet his faith carried him through. It is a great mercy to be free from wicked laws and edicts; but when we are not so, we must use all lawful means for our security. In this faith of Moses' parents there was a mixture of unbelief, but God was pleased to overlook it. Faith gives strength against the sinful, slavish fear of men; it sets God before the soul, shows the vanity of the creature, and that all must give way to the will and power of God. The pleasures of sin are, and will be, but short; they must end either in speedy repentance or in speedy ruin. The pleasures of this world are for the most part the pleasures of sin; they are always so when we cannot enjoy them without deserting God and his people. Suffering is to be chosen rather than sin; there being more evil in the least sin, than there can be in the greatest suffering. God's people are, and always have been, a reproached people. Christ accounts himself reproached in their reproaches; and thus they become greater riches than the treasures of the richest empire in the world. Moses made his choice when ripe for judgment and enjoyment, able to know what he did, and why he did it. It is needful for persons to be seriously religious; to despise the world, when most capable of relishing and enjoying it. Believers may and ought to have respect to the recompence of reward. By faith we may be fully sure of God's providence, and of his gracious and powerful presence with us. Such a sight of God will enable believers to keep on to the end, whatever they may meet in the way. It is not owing to our own righteousness, or best performances, that we are saved from the wrath of God; but to the blood of Christ, and his imputed righteousness. True faith makes sin bitter to the soul, even while it receives the pardon and atonement. All our spiritual privileges on earth, should quicken us in our way to heaven. The Lord will make even Babylon fall before the faith of his people, and when he has some great thing to do for them, he raises up great and strong faith in them. A true believer is desirous, not only to be in covenant with God, but in communion with the people of God; and is willing to fare as they fare. By her works Rahab declared herself to be just. That she was not justified by her works appears plainly; because the work she did was faulty in the manner, and not perfectly good, therefore it could not be answerable to the perfect justice or righteousness of God.By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land - Exodus 14:22, Exodus 14:29. That is, it was only by confidence in God that they were able to do this. It was not by power which they had to remove the waters and to make a passage for themselves; and it was not by the operation of any natural causes. It is not to be supposed that all who passed through the Red sea had saving faith. The assertion of the apostle is, that the passage was made in virtue of strong confidence in God, and that if it had not been for this confidence the passage could not have been made at all. Of this no one can entertain a doubt who reads the history of that remarkable transaction.

Which the Egyptians assaying to do, were drowned - Exodus 14:27-28. Evidently referred to here as showing the effects of not having faith in God, and of what must inevitably have befallen the Israelites if they had had no faith. The destruction of the Egyptians by the return of the waters in accordance with natural laws, showed that the Israelites would have been destroyed in the passage if a divine energy had not been employed to prevent it. On the passage through the Red sea, see Robinson's Biblical Researches, vol. 1, pp. 81-86.

29. they—Moses and Israel.

Red Sea—called so from its red seaweed, or rather from Edom (meaning "red"), whose country adjoined it.

which … assaying to do—Greek, "of which (Red Sea) the Egyptians having made experiment." Rashness and presumption mistaken by many for faith; with similar rash presumption many rush into eternity. The same thing when done by the believer, and when done by the unbeliever, is not the same thing [Bengel]. What was faith in Israel, was presumption in the Egyptians.

were drowned—Greek, "were swallowed up," or "engulfed." They sank in the sands as much as in the waves of the Red Sea. Compare Ex 15:12, "the earth swallowed them."

By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: the same faith enabled Moses eminently, and those other believers, as Aaron, Caleb, Joshua, &c.; for all Israel believed not, 1 Corinthians 10:5, yet for the faithful’s sake were they kept from drowning, after Moses had, at God’s command, (when the Israelites were ready to be fallen on by the Egyptians), lifted up his rod, and stretched his hand over the Red Sea, when God immediately, by an east wind, divided it, made the waters to stand up on each side like walls of crystal, and the bottom of it to be dry; then entered Moses and lsrael into the empty and dry space, and walked through it on dry ground, and not a soul of Israel miscarried, but might see astonishing power and mercy in it, Exodus 14:22.

Which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned: in the mean time the Egyptians, with their king, pursuing Israel for their ruin, find their own; for presumptuously adventuring to pursue them through this miraculous space, guided by sense, and not by faith, and thinking to pass as safe as Israel, when they had no word for it, God troubles them by his angels in their motion, makes them drive heavily; and having brought them into his pit in the midst of the channel, the crystal walls dissolve, and the waters, returning to their fluid nature, quickly overwhelmed and swallowed up all that host, so as not one of these unbelieving, presumptuous, persecuting wretches escaped. God’s great work in this, as to Israel, had a double meaning; literal, their salvation from the Egyptians; mystical, their baptismal initiation into the covenant of God by Moses: though all of them had not faith unfeigned, yet they professed faith in God; and the doctrine Moses brought from him, was accounted sufficient to attain both, 1 Corinthians 10:2. By faith they passed through the Red sea, as by dry land,.... Not through a river, but through the sea, the Red sea, the sea of Suph, or weeds; See Gill on Acts 7:36. Some say they came out on the same side they went in; but it should seem rather, by the phrase here used, that they passed through it, from one side to the other; and that all one as if it had been on dry ground; even Moses, and all the children of Israel: and this they did by faith, believing, that God would make a passage quite through it for them, and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies, who were closely pursuing them:

which the Egyptians assaying to do, were drowned. These were Pharaoh, and his numerous army; who, observing the Israelites march on through the sea, as on dry land, thought they could do the same; and so made an attempt, but were everyone of them drowned; in just retaliation for the cruel edict for drowning the male infants of the Israelites, as soon as they were born.

{12} By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

(12) The Red Sea.

Hebrews 11:29. Comp. Exodus 14:22 ff.

Πίστει] Oecumenius: ἐπίστευσαν γὰρ διαβήσεσθαι καὶ διέβησαν· τοσοῦτον οἶδεν ἡ πίστις καὶ τὰ ἀδύνατα δυνατὰ ποιεῖν.

διέβησαν] namely, the Israelites under Moses.

ὡς διὰ ξηρᾶς γῆς] as through dry, firm land. The less usual διά with the genitive, alternating with the ordinary accusative in connection with διαβαίνειν, was probably occasioned by the reading of the LXX. Exodus 14:29 (οἱ δὲ υἱοὶ Ἰσραὴλ ἐπορεύθησαν διὰ ξηρᾶς ἐν μέσῳ τῆς θαλάσσης).

ἧς πεῖραν λαβόντες οἱ Αἰγύπτιοι κατεπόθησαν] in the essaying of which the Egyptians were drowned.

ἧς refers back to τὴν ἐρυθρὰν θάλασσαν, not, as Böhme, Kuinoel, Klee, Stein, Stengel, Bloomfield, Delitzsch, Kurtz suppose, to ξηρᾶς γῆς. For the former is the main thought, of which the readers are reminded anew by κατεπόθησαν, whereas ὡς διὰ ξηρᾶς contains only a subsidiary feature, attached by way of comparison.

πεῖραν λαμβάνειν τινός stands here in the active sense. Otherwise Hebrews 11:36.

καταπίνεσθαι, however (comp. Exodus 15:4), is a more general expression for the more definite καταποντίζεσθαι, which latter (κατεποντίσθησαν) is found also in our passage, in some cursives, as likewise with Chrysostom and Theodoret.29. they] Moses and the Israelites.

were drowned] Lit., “were swallowed up” (Exodus 14:15-28; Psalm 106:9-12).

which the Egyptians assaying to do] The Greek words must mean “of which sea” (or “of which dry land”) the Egyptians making trial.Hebrews 11:29. Διέβησαν, they passed through) Moses and Israel.—ἐρυθρὰν, red) The Sea of Edom: אדם, red.—πεῖραν λαβόντες, attempting) Rashness is denoted without faith. [By a daring not unlike this many rush into eternity.—V. g.] When two do the same thing, it is not the same thing. So far does the apostle draw his examples out of the writings of Moses, and his Genesis and Exodus: in what follows, examples are derived from the earlier and later prophets.Passed through (διέβησαν)

Only three times in N.T. See Luke 16:26; Acts 16:9. The simple Βαίνην does not occur in N.T.

The Red Sea (τὴν Ἐρυθρὰν θάλασσαν)

Called by the Israelites the sea, Exodus 14:2, Exodus 14:9, Exodus 14:16, Exodus 14:21, Exodus 14:28, etc., and, specially, the sea of Suph (sedge, seeds). In lxx always as here except Judges 11:16, where it is θάλασσα Σὶφ i.e. Suph. By the Greeks the name was at first applied to the whole ocean from the coast of Ethiopia to the island of Taprobana or Ceylon. Afterward, when they learned of the existence of an Indian Ocean, they applied the name merely to the sea below Arabia, and to the Arabian and Persian gulfs.

Which the Egyptians assaying to do (ἧς πεῖραν λαβόντες οἱ Αιγύπτιοι)

The A.V. has assaying, according to the older English usage. Assay is now chiefly used of the testing of precious metals; but in the sense of try it is found in Piers Ploughman, Gower, Chaucer, Shakespeare. Lit. of which (sea) the Egyptians having taken trial. The phrase πεῖραν λαμβάνειν to take trial occurs also in lxx, Deuteronomy 28:56. In N.T. only here and Hebrews 11:36.

Were drowned (κατεπόθησαν)

Lit. were drunk down. See on Matthew 23:24. Comp. lxx, Exodus 15:4, and in N.T. 1 Corinthians 15:54; 2 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Corinthians 5:4.

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