Hebrews 11:7
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
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(7) Being warned of God.—(See Hebrews 8:5.)

Moved with fear.—The marginal rendering “being wary” (or better, taking forethought) is preferred by some, and agrees very well with the proper meaning of the word; but it is more probable that the writer-has in view that devout godly fear which the words akin to this regularly denote in the New Testament. (See the Notes on Hebrews 5:7; Hebrews 12:28.) Noah’s obedience to the divine warning was an evidence at once of his fear of God and of the faith which gave substance and present reality to “the things not seen as yet.”

By the which.—As before (Hebrews 11:4), the words “through which” are slightly ambiguous, for they may relate either to the ark or to the faith. The latter reference is more probable. His faith, shown in the building of the ark, exposed the unbelief of “the world,” which would not listen to his warnings, and thereby incurred the divine condemnation. Our Lord uses “condemn” in the same sense in Matthew 12:41-42. By the same faith Noah “became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Noah is the first to receive in Scripture the name “righteous” (Genesis 6:9). See also Ezekiel 14:14; Ezekiel 14:20; and 2Peter 2:5, “Noah, a preacher of righteousness.” This righteousness is looked on as an inheritance, received by all who manifest the faith. In this place the righteousness is connected with faith, as in the writings of St. Paul, but with a change of figure. It is not looked on as arising out of faith (Romans 10:6), or as resting on the condition of faith (Philippians 3:9), or as obtained by means of faith (Romans 3:22), but as corresponding with faith, or answering to it. There is no important difference of thought, but the idea of a continuous inheritance answering to continuous faith is very strikingly presented here.



Hebrews 11:7THE creed of these Old Testament saints was a very short one, and very different from ours. Their faith was the very same. It is the great object of the writer of this Epistle, in this magnificent catalogue of the heroes of the faith, the muster roll of God’s great army, to establish the principle that from the Beginning there has only been one kind of religion, only one way to God and that, however rudimentary and brief the articles of belief in those early days, the faculty by which these far-away believers lay hold on them, and its practical issues, were identical in them and in us, And that is a principle well worth getting into our minds, that the scope of the creed has nothing to do with the essence of the faith.

So we may look at this instance and discern in it. beneath all superficial differences, the underlying identities, and take this dim, half-intelligible figure of Noah, as he stands almost on the horizon of history, as being an example for us, in very vivid fashion, of the true object of faith, its operation in a two-fold fashion, and its vindication.

I. Look first at Noah’s faith in regard to its object.

If we think of the incident brought before us in these words, we shall see how the confidence with which Noah laid hold of a dim future, about which he knew nothing, except Because God had spoken to him, was, at bottom, identical with that great attitude of the soul which we call faith, as it is exercised towards Jesus Christ.

No doubt in this Epistle to the Hebrews, the aspect of faith by which it lays hold of the future and the unseen, is the one on which the writer’s mind is mainly fixed. But notice, that whilst the near object, so to speak, to which Noah stretched out his hands, and of which he laid hold, was that coming catastrophe, with its certainties of destruction and of deliverance; there was only one reason why he knew anything about that, and there was only one reason why he knew or believed anything about it, and that was because he believed Him who had told him. So, at bottom, God who had revealed the unseen future to him was the object of his faith. He trusted the Person, therefore he believed in that Person’s word, and therefore he had the assured realisation of things not seen as yet; and the future, so dim and uncertain to unaided eyes, became to him as certain as the past, and expectation as reliable as memory. His faith grasped the invisible things to come, only because it grasped the Invisible Person, who was, is, and is to come, and who lifted for him the curtain and showed him the things that should be. So is it with our faith; whether it lays hold upon a past sacrifice on Calvary, or upon a present Christ dwelling in our hearts, or whether it becomes telescopic, and stretches forward into the future, and brings the distant near, all its various aspects are but aspects of one thing, and that is personal trust in the personal Christ who speaks to us. What he says is a matter of secondary importance in this respect. The contents of God’s revelation vary; the act by which man accepts them is always the same.

So the great question for us all is - do we trust God? Do we believe Him, and therefore accept His words, not only with the assent of the understanding, which of all idle things is the idlest, but do-we believe Him, revealing, commanding, promising, threatening, with the trust and affiance of our whole hearts? Then, and then only, can we look with quiet certainty into the dim future, which else is all full of rolling clouds, that sometimes shape themselves to our imaginations into the likeness of stable things, but alas! change and melt while we gaze. Only then can we front the solemn future, and say: ‘I do not expect only, I know what is there.’ My brother, if our faith is worth calling faith at all, it rests so absolutely and confidingly upon God, that His bare word becomes to us the infallible source of certitude with regard to all the shifting hours of time, and to the steadfast day of an eternity, whose change is blessed growth to an un-reached and undeclining noon.

And what was the future that loomed before this man? The coming of a destruction as certain as God, and the coming of a deliverance as complete as His love could make it. Never mind although Noah’s outlook related but to a temporary catastrophe, and ours has reference to an eternal condition of things. That is a difference of no real moment. We have what Noah had, a definite, divine utterance, as the source of all our knowledge of what is coming. Both are alike in having two sides, one dark and menacing with a certain destruction, the other radiant and lustrous with as certain a deliverance. And now the question for each of us is, do I so believe God that that future is to me what it was to this man - far more real than these fleeing illusions that lie nearer me?

When Noah walked the earth and saw his contemporaries busy with buying and selling, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, how fantastic and unreal their work must have seemed to him, when behind them he saw blazing a vision, which he alone of all that multitude believed.

Do not let us fancy that we have faith if these near trifles are to us the great realities, and the distance is dim, and unsubstantial, and doubtful, hidden in mist and forgotten. The years that stretched between the divine utterance and its fulfilment were to this man as nothing, and for him the unseen was the reality, and the seen was the shadowy and phantasmal. And that is what faith worth calling the name will always do for men. Ask yourselves the question if your dim apprehension of that future, in either of its aspects, is anything so vivid as the certitude which blazed ever before the eye of this man. One of our old English writers says, ‘If the felicities of another world were as closely apprehended as the joys of this, it were martyrdom to live.’ That may be an exaggeration, but surely, surely there is something wrong in men who call themselves believers in God and His word, to whom the things seen and temporal are all or nearly all important, and the trifles an inch from their eyes are big enough to shut out heaven and all its stars.

II. Still further, notice Noah’s faith in its practical effects.

If faith has any reality in us at all, it works. If it has no effect it has no existence. The writer points out two operations of this confidence in God which, through belief in His word, leads to a realisation of a remote and unseen future. The effects are two-fold; First on Noah’s disposition, faith produced appropriate emotion, excited by the belief in the coming deluge; he was ‘moved with fear.’ Then, secondly, through emotion, faith influenced conduct - he ‘prepared an ark.’ This is the order in which faith ever works.

If real and strong, it will first affect emotion. By ‘fear’ here we are not merely to understand, though possibly it is not to be excluded, a dread of personal consequences, but much rather the sweet and lofty emotion which is described in another part of this same book by the same word: ‘Let us serve Him with reverence and with godly fear.’ It is the fear of pious regard, of religious awe, of reverence which has love blended inseparably with it, and is not merely a tremulous apprehension of some mischief coming to me. Noah had no need for that serf-regarding ‘fear,’ inasmuch as one half of his knowledge of the future was the knowledge of his own absolute safety. But reverence, the dread of going against his Father’s will, lowly submission, and all analogous and kindred sentiments, are expressed by the word.

Such holy and blessed emotion, which has no torment, is the sure result of real faith. Unless a man’s faith is warm enough to melt his heart, it is worth very little. A faith unaccompanied by emotion is, I was going to say worse, at any rate it is quite as bad, as a faith which is all wasted in emotion. It is not a good thing when all the steam roars out through an escape pipe; it is perhaps a worse thing when there is no steam in the boiler to escape. It is easy for people that have not any religion to scoff at what they suppose to be the fanatical excess of emotion which some forms of religious belief develop, I, for my part, would rather have the extremest emotion than a dead cold orthodoxy, that believes everything and feels nothing. There is some hope in the one; the other is only fit to be buried. Do not be afraid of feeling which is the child of faith. Be very much more afraid of a religion that leaves your heart beating just exactly at the same rate that it did before you took the truth into it. I am very, very sure that there is no road, between a man’s faith and his practice, except through his heart, and that, as the Apostle has it in a somewhat different form of speech, meaning, however, the same thing that I am now insisting upon, ‘faith worketh by love.’ Love is the path through which creed travels outward to conduct.

So we come to the second and more remote effect of faith. Emotion will lead to action. ‘Moved with fear he prepared an ark.’ If emotion be the child of faith, conduct is the child of emotion. Noah’s faith, then, led him to a line of action that separated him from the men around him; and it led him to a protracted labour in preparation for a remote end, for the coming of which he had no guarantee except what he believed to be God’s word. Commentators calculate that there were a hundred and twenty years between the time of the divine command and the Flood. Think of how this man, for all that long while, set himself to his task, and how many clever speeches would be made, proving that he was a fool, and how many witty gibes would come showering around his head like hail. But he kept steadily on, on a line of conduct which made him singular, and which had regard only to that result a hundred and twenty years off.

Now, is that what you and I are doing? Does our faith so shape our lives that whatever we are about, there is still regard to that far-off future? If you meet a man in the street, hurrying somewhere to welcome a friend expected to arrive from a far-off land, and you detain him in conversation, as you speak he is impatient, keeps looking over your shoulder down the road to see if there is any sign of his coming. That is how we should be acting here - doing our work and sticking to our tasks, but ever letting expectation and desire carry us onwards to that great future, which has already set out from the throne in Eternity, and is speeding towards us even now. Let that future, dear brethren, stand so clear before each of us, that it shall shape our whole work in the present. We shall mould all our lives with reference to it, if we are wise. For what we make our present, that will our future be. The smaller ends for which men live, and the nearer futures which they struggle towards, lose no jot of their worth by being regarded as but means to that far greater end. Rather, time is only redeemed from triviality, when it is seen to be the preparation for eternity, and earth is never so fair and good as when we discern and use it as the vestibule of heaven Never mind being singular. He is the wise man whose vision reaches as far as his existence, and whose earthly life has for the end of its effort, to please Christ and be found in Him.

III. And so, lastly, let me point to Noah’s faith, in regard to its vindication.

‘He condemned the world.’ ‘The world’ thought him wasting life foolishly. No doubt there were plenty of witty and wise things said about him.

‘Prudent, far-sighted, practical men’ would say, ‘How fanatical! What a misuse of energies and opportunities’; and so forth. And then, one morning, the rain began, and continued, and for forty days it did not stop, and they began to think that perhaps, after all, there was some method in his madness. Noah got into his ark, and still it rained, and I wonder what the wits and’ practical men,’ that had treated the whole thing as moonshine and folly, thought about it all then, with the water up to their knees. How their gibes and jests would die in their throats when it reached their lips! And so, my dear friends, the faith of the poor, ignorant old woman that up in her garret lives to serve Jesus Christ, and to win an eternal crown, will get its vindication some day, and it will be found out then which was the

‘practical’ man and the wise man, and all the witty speeches and smart sayings will seem very foolish, even to their authors, when the light of that future shines on them. And the old word will come true once more, that the man who lives for the present, and for anything bounded by Time, will have to ‘leave it in the midst of his days,’ and ‘at his latter end shall be a fool,’ whilst the ‘foolish’ man who lived for the future, when the future has come to the present, and the present has dwindled away into the past, and sunk beneath the horizon, shall be proved to be wise, and shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever.Hebrews 11:7. By faith Noah — The third person mentioned in Scripture, to whom testimony was particularly given that he was righteous; and therefore, the apostle brings him forward as a third example of the power and efficacy of faith, declaring also wherein his faith wrought and was effectual. Being warned of God Χρηματισθεις, literally, being admonished by a divine oracle, or by a particular and express revelation; of which see Genesis 6:13; of things not seen as yet — That is, not only as being future, but of such a nature that no one had ever seen or heard of any thing like them, namely, the dissolution of the world by a flood, and the destruction of all its inhabitants; yet this discovery Noah received with faith, a discovery which had two parts; the first, a declaration of the purpose of God to destroy the whole world; the second, a direction respecting the steps which Noah was to take for the preservation of his family from the impending ruin. Accordingly it had a two-fold effect on Noah; producing, 1st, Fear from the threatening; 2d, Obedience in building the ark, according to the direction. The application of this example of Noah to these Hebrews was highly proper and reasonable; for they stood now on their trial, whether they would be influenced by faith or unbelief; for here they might see, as in a glass, what would be the effect of the one and the other. Moved with fear Ευλαβηθεις, a religious, reverential, and awful fear; prepared an ark — Doubtless amidst many insults of profane and wicked men, the preparing of such a vessel, or any thing like it, being a new thing on the earth, and not to be effected without immense labour and cost; to the saving Εις σωτηριαν, for the salvation; of his house — We have here an instance in which salvation signifies a temporal deliverance. By the which Δι ης, by which faith, or by which ark, for the relative may agree with either; he condemned the world — Who neither believed nor feared. Persons are said, in other places of Scripture, to condemn those against whom they furnish matter of accusation and condemnation. See Titus 3:11. It appears, from 2 Peter 2:5, that during the time in which the ark was building, Noah was a preacher of righteousness to the people of that generation, calling them to repentance, and warning them of approaching destruction, if they remained impenitent; and that on the ground of the revelation which God had made to him, with which he doubtless acquainted them. But all the time of warning, being carnally secure, and unmoved by his threatenings, they continued to be unbelieving, impenitent, and disobedient, even to the last hour, Matthew 24:38-39; for which cause they were not only destroyed temporally, but shut up in the everlasting prison, 1 Peter 3:19-20. And became heir — A partaker of; the righteousness which is by faith — And entitled to the rewards thereof in a future and eternal world, of which his temporal deliverance, though so amazing, was only an emblem. “The faith of Noah is proposed for our imitation, to assure us that they who believe and obey God shall be safe in the midst of a fallen world, while the wicked shall be condemned and destroyed.”

The apostle has now passed through the first period of Scripture records from the beginning of the world to the flood; and therein hath considered the examples of all, concerning whom it is testified in particular that they pleased God; and he hath shown, that they all pleased him, and were righteous, by faith; and that their faith was effectual to preserve them in that state of divine favour, by enabling them to persevere in the practice of all the duties required of them, notwithstanding the difficulties and oppositions they met with. Hereby he confirms his doctrine respecting the necessity and efficacy of faith, and proves to these Hebrews, that if they did not persevere in their profession, it was because of their unbelief, seeing that true faith would certainly render them steadfast in their adherence to it, whatever difficulties they should have to encounter. Hence he proceeds to the next period, (extending from the renovation of the world in the family of Noah to the giving of the law,) to manifest that in every state of the church the way of pleasing God was one and the same; as also that faith still retained its efficacy under all economical alterations. The person whom, in this period, he first speaks of as having a testimony in the Scripture of being righteous, is Abraham; on whose example, by reason of the eminence of his person, the relation of the Hebrews to him, (deriving from him, under God, all their privileges, temporal and spiritual,) the efficacy of his faith with the various successful exercises of it, he dwells at large from hence to the end of Hebrews 11:18.11:4-7 Here follow some illustrious examples of faith from the Old Testament. Abel brought a sacrifice of atonement from the firstlings of the flock, acknowledging himself a sinner who deserved to die, and only hoping for mercy through the great Sacrifice. Cain's proud rage and enmity against the accepted worshipper of God, led to the awful effects the same principles have produced in every age; the cruel persecution, and even murder of believers. By faith Abel, being dead, yet speaketh; he left an instructive and speaking example. Enoch was translated, or removed, that he should not see death; God took him into heaven, as Christ will do the saints who shall be alive at his second coming. We cannot come to God, unless we believe that he is what he has revealed himself to be in the Scripture. Those who would find God, must seek him with all their heart. Noah's faith influenced his practice; it moved him to prepare an ark. His faith condemned the unbelief of others; and his obedience condemned their contempt and rebellion. Good examples either convert sinners or condemn them. This shows how believers, being warned of God to flee from the wrath to come, are moved with fear, take refuge in Christ, and become heirs of the righteousness of faith.By faith Noah - It is less difficult to see that Noah must have been influenced "by faith" than that Abel and Enoch were. Everything which Noah did in reference to the threatened deluge, was done in virtue of simple faith or belief of what God said. It was not because he could show from the course of events that things were tending to such a catastrophe; or because such an event had occurred before, rendering it probable that it would be likely to occur again; or because this was the common belief of men, and it was easy to fall into this himself. It was simply because God had informed him of it, and he put unwavering reliance on the truth of the divine declaration.

Being warned of God - Genesis 6:13." The Greek word used here means divinely admonished; compare Hebrews 8:5.

Of things not seen as yet - Of the flood which was yet future. The meaning is, that there were no visible signs of it; there was nothing which could be a basis of calculation that it would occur. This admonition was given an hundered and twenty years before the deluge, and of course long before there could have been any natural indications that it would occur.

Moved with fear - Margin, "Being wary." The Greek word - εὐλαβηθεὶς eulabētheis - occurs only here and in Acts 23:10, "The chief captain fearing lest Paul," etc. The noun occurs in Hebrews 5:7, "And was heard in that he feared," (see the note on that place), and in Hebrews 12:28, "With reverence and godly fear." The verb properly means, "to act with caution, to be circumspect," and then "to fear, to be afraid." So far as the "word" is concerned, it might mean here that Noah was influenced by the dread of what was coming, or it may mean that he was influenced by proper caution and reverence for God. The latter meaning agrees better with the scope of the remarks of Paul, and is probably the true sense. His reverence and respect for God induced him to act under the belief that what he had said was true, and that the calamity which he had predicted would certainly come upon the world.

Prepared an ark to the saving of his house - In order that his family might be saved. Genesis 6:14-22. The salvation here referred to was preservation from the flood.

By the which - By which faith.

He condemned the world - That is, the wicked world around him. The meaning is, that by his confidence in God, and his preparation for the flood, he showed the wisdom of his own course and the folly of theirs. We have the same phrase now in common use where one who sets a good example is said to "condemn others." He shows the guilt and folly of their lives by the contrast between his conduct; and theirs. The wickedness of the sinner is condemned not only by preaching, and by the admonitions and threatenings of the Law of God, but by the conduct of every good man. The language of such a life is as plain a rebuke of the sinner as the most fearful denunciations of divine wrath.

And became heir of the righteousness which is by faith - The phrase "heir of righteousness" here means properly that he acquired, gained, or became possessed of that righteousness. It does not refer so much to the "mode" by which it was done as if it were by inheritance, as to the "fact" that he obtained it. The word "heir" is used in this general sense in Romans 4:13-14; Titus 3:7; Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 6:17. Noah was not the "heir" to that righteousness by "inheriting" it from his ancestors, but in virtue of it he was regarded as among the heirs or sons of God, and as being a possessor of that righteousness which is connected with faith. The phrase "righteousness which is by faith" refers to the fact that he was regarded and treated as a righteous man. notes on Romans 1:17. It is observable here that it is not said that Noah had specific faith in Christ, or that his being made heir of the righteousness of faith depended on that, but it was in connection with his believing what God said respecting the deluge.

It was "faith or confidence" in God which was the ground of his justification, in accordance with the general doctrine of the Scriptures that it is only by faith that man can be saved, though the specific mode of faith was not what is required now under the gospel. In the early ages of the world, when few truths were revealed, a cordial belief of any of those truths showed that there was real confidence in God, or that the "principle" of faith was in the heart; in the fuller revelation which we enjoy, we are not only to believe those truths, but specifically to believe in him who has made the great atonement for sin, and by whose merits all have been saved who have entered heaven. The same faith or confidence in God which led Noah to believe what God said about the deluge would have led him to believe what he has said about the Redeemer; and the same confidence in Godwhich led him to commit himself to his safe keeping in an ark on the world of waters, would have led him to commit his soul to the safe keeping of the Redeemer, the true ark of safety. As the "principle" of faith, therefore, existed in the heart of Noah, it was proper that he should become, with others, an "heir of the righteousness which is by faith."

(If this righteousness which is by faith be the same with that in Romans 1:17; Romans 3:21; and of this there can be no doubt - if it be the same with what forms the ground of the sinner's justification in every age, namely, the glorious righteousness which Christ has worked out in his active and passive obedience - then clearly there is no way of getting possession of this, but by faith in Jesus, And, without doubt, by "this" faith, Noah was saved. It is absurd to suppose that the doctrine of salvation by the Redeemer was unknown to him. Was not the ark itself a type and pledge of this salvation? 1 Peter 3:21. Was Noah ignorant of the promise concerning the Messiah? Dr. Owen can scarce speak with patience of the view that excludes Christ as the specific object of Noah's faith," That in this faith of the patriarchs no respect was had unto Christ and his righteousness, is such a putid figment, is so destructive of the first promises, and of all true faith in the church of old, is so inconsistent with, and contrary to the design of the apostle, and is so utterly destructive of the whole force of his argument, that it deserves no consideration." The idea indeed seems to derogate from the glory of Christ as the alone object of faith and salvation in every age; see also Scott. Bloomfield, McLean.)

In regard to the circumstances which show the strength of his faith, we may make the following remarks:

(1) It pertained to a very distant future event. It looked forward to what was to happen after a lapse of an hundred and twenty years. This was known to Noah Genesis 6:3, and at this long period before it occurred, he was to begin to build an ark to save himself and family; to act as though this would be undoubtedly true. This is a much longer period than man now is required to exercise faith before that is realized which is the object of belief. Rare is it that three score years intervene between the time when a man first believes in God and when he enters into heaven; much more frequently it is but a few months or days; not an instance now occurs in which the period is lengthened out to 120 years.

(2) there was no outward "evidence" that what Noah believed would occur. There were no appearances in nature which indicated that there would be such a flood of waters after more than a century had passed away. There were no breakings up of the fountains of the deep; no marks of the far distant storm gathering on the sky which could be the basis of the calculation. The "word of God" was the only ground of evidence; the only thing to which he could refer gainsayers and revilers. It is so now. There are no visible signs of the coming of the Saviour to judge the world. Yet the true believer feels and acts as if it were so - resting on the sure word of God.

(3) the course of things was much against the truth of what Noah believed. No such event had ever occurred. There is no evidence that there had ever been a storm of rain half sufficient to drown the world; or that there had ever been the breaking up of the deep, or that there had been ever a partial deluge. For sixteen hundred years the course of nature had been uniform, and all the force of this uniformity would be felt and urged when it should be alleged that this was to be disturbed and to give place to an entire new order of events. Compare 2 Peter 3:4. The same thing is now felt in regard to the objects of the Christian faith. The course of events is uniform. The laws of nature are regular and steady. The dead do not leave their graves. Seasons succeed each other in regular succession; people are born, live, and die, as in former times; fire does not wrap the earth in flames; the elements do not melt with fervent heat; seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter follow each other, and "all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." How many probabilities are there now, therefore, as there were in the time of Noah, against what is the object of faith!


7. warned of God—The same Greek, Heb 8:5, "admonished of God."

moved with fear—not mere slavish fear, but as in Heb 5:7; see on [2585]Heb 5:7; Greek, "reverential fear": opposed to the world's sneering disbelief of the revelation, and self-deceiving security. Join "by faith" with "prepared an ark" (1Pe 3:20).

by the which—faith.

condemned the world—For since he believed and was saved, so might they have believed and been saved, so that their condemnation by God is by his case shown to be just.

righteousness which is by faith—Greek, "according to faith." A Pauline thought. Noah is first called "righteous" in Ge 6:9. Christ calls Abel so, Mt 23:35. Compare as to Noah's righteousness, Eze 14:14, 20; 2Pe 2:5, "a preacher of righteousness." Paul here makes faith the principle and ground of his righteousness.

heir—the consequence of sonship which flows from faith.

By faith Noah, being warned of God; by the same Divine faith Noah, the last example of it in the old world, and the father of the new world, being warned by an immediate revelation from God, Genesis 6:13,21, largely rehearsed by Moses: so that God’s word is the ground or foundation of Divine faith in all ages of the world.

Of things not seen as yet; of things not yet seen, but only by faith in God’s revelation: which things were the perishing of the world by a deluge of waters above one hundred years after; and that himself and family, with some creatures, should be saved from that deluge, to repeople the world, and to replenish the air and earth; none of which things did fall under Noah’s sense then.

Moved with fear; eulabhyeiv imports in it a right reception of God’s revelation, which made him afraid, and careful not to offend God; and a godly carriage to him who had revealed the imminent danger of the sinful world, and his own deliverance from it: see Hebrews 5:7.

Prepared an ark to the saving of his house; hereon he obeyeth God’s precept, and prepared and perfected the vessel, both for matter and form, according to God’s word; so as to be ready against the time of the deluge, for the preservation of himself and family by it, Genesis 6:14-16,22; compare 1 Peter 3:20. By virtue of this ark, that water which drowned the world saved them. So that flood was a full type of the water of baptism: his ark, of Christ our ark; his family, of Christ’s small family in comparison of the world; their salvation from water, of the eternal salvation of these from the deluge of fire, 2 Peter 3:6,7,11,14. The same Divine faith in Noah and in Christians, maketh them to obey God’s precept, retire to aunt enter God’s ark, and so enjoy his salvation.

By the which he condemned the world; by this faith discovered in his work about the ark, he testified against the sinful world of mankind for their unbelief and disobedience, who for one hundred and twenty years together, being by Noah’s preaching and building the ark called to repentance, 2 Peter 2:5, and to prevent the judgment God threatened on them; and so condemned them virtually by his word and doctrine, judicially by declaring God’s sentence on them: see Matthew 12:41,42Jo 12:48.

And became heir of the righteousness which is by faith; by this faith he received the promise of righteousness, which made him an heir of it, and of that eternal life and salvation for which it fitted him, as well as to which it entitled him; and by it he sent out all the fruits of righteousness that are to the praise and glory of God, Romans 5:1 John 1:12. By faith Noah, being warned of God,.... In the Greek text, Noah is called "Noe", and so the Septuagint interpreters of the Old Testament call him; but Josephus calls him "Noeos": or "having received an oracle from God"; in which he was admonished, how to make an ark, as Moses was, in like manner, how to make a tabernacle, Hebrews 8:5. This oracle or warning is extant, in Genesis 6:13 and it was

of things not seen as yet; as the universal deluge; the building of an ark or ship, which was the first that ever was in the world; the entrance of all creatures into it; their preservation in it, and the destruction of all without it: and this divine warning, or oracle, concerning things of such a nature, delivered to Noah, and received by him, shows that he was a favourite of God; that his faith rested in the word of God; and that it agreed with the apostle's definition of faith, Hebrews 11:1,

moved with fear; not with a fear of his own damnation; nor with a distrust of the salvation of himself and his family in the ark; but with an awful sense of the judgments of God upon the wicked; and with reverence of God, from whom he received the oracle; and with a religious fear, with which he worshipped God, and which he discovered by a regard to his word and ordinances; and which fear does not arise from nature, but from grace; and is increased by the discoveries of divine love; and is consistent with faith, goes along with it, and is a fruit of it: hence he

prepared an ark for the saving of his house. Immediately, and without delay, he set about the building of the ark, and made it exactly according to the pattern which was given him; and his end in it was to secure his family, himself and his wife, his three sons and their wives, from the flood, which he believed would shortly come upon the world, according to the word of God; and in this his faith was seen: and from hence it may be observed, that, though God can save without means, yet, generally speaking, it is his will to save by them; and that as God saved Noah and his family in the waters, so he can, and does, save his people in afflictions; and also, that true faith is attended with obedience:

by the which he condemned the world: the inhabitants of the world, the world of the ungodly: as a preacher, he declared they would be condemned, in case of impenitence and unbelief; and his words heard, and his actions seen by them, were aggravations of their condemnation; for by his works, as well as by his words, he reproved, and condemned them; by building the ark, as he declared his own faith, so he condemned their unbelief; See Gill on Matthew 12:41.

and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith: not of the law, but of the righteousness of Christ, and of eternal life through that; for he was not only heir of this world, as Abraham, but of that which is to come; and not through works of righteousness done by him, but through the righteousness of Christ received by faith, or through faith in Christ, the antitype of the ark.

{6} By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

(6) Noah.

Hebrews 11:7. The example of Noah. Comp. Genesis 6:8 ff.

Πίστει] is conjoined by Schulz, Stengel, and others with χρηματισθείς. But χρηματισθείς forms only a subsidiary element for the making up of the historic situation, whereas that by which Noah proved himself a model of faith is specified by εὐλαβηθεὶς κακεσκεύασεν. πίστει is therefore, as is also done by most, to be combined with this last.

χρηματισθεὶς περὶ τῶν μηδέπω βλεπομένων] belongs together (against Grotius and Hofmann, who unnaturally construe περὶ τῶν μηδέπω βλεπ. with εὐλαβηθείς): instructed by an utterance of God concerning that which was as yet invisible. The choice of the expression was conditioned by the definition of πίστις, laid down Hebrews 11:1, and the subjective negation μηδέπω means: concerning the well-known (τῶν) events, before these were yet to be seen, or their occurrence was to be conjectured. By τὰ μηδὲπω βλεπόμενα, however, is meant not only the impending flood, but also, from the use of the plural, the determined destruction of the whole corrupt race of men. With strange inversion of the sense, even “ipsa κιβωτός construenda” is reckoned by Böhme as belonging to that “qualem ante nunquam vidisse Noachum facile credi potest.” For the ark was surely something which was made by Noah himself at the command of God, whereas by τὰ μηδέπω βλεπόμενα can be only meant that which, independent of human activity, rested in the hands of divine omnipotence alone.

εὐλαβηθείς] in devout precaution, in that he reposed unconditional belief in the word of God, and on that very account took the enjoined measure of preparation in order to remain in safety under the impending destruction. Vatablus, Cornelius a Lapide, Schulz, and others explain: in the fear of God. But the τὸν θεόν therein to be supplemented (comp. Sir 7:29; Proverbs 2:8; Proverbs 30:5; Nahum 1:7) could hardly have been omitted.

διʼ ἧς] refers not to σωτηρίαν (Hunnius, Balduin, Pareus), nor yet to κιβωτόν (Chrysostom: ἔδειξεν αὐτοὺς ἀξίους ὄντας κολάσεως, οἵ γε οὐδὲ διὰ τῆς κατασκευῆς ἐσωφρονίζοντο; Oecumenius, Theophylact, Faber Stapulensis, Calvin, Beza, Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Carpzov, Cramer, Michaelis, Bisping, al.), but to πίστει (Primasius, Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Cajetan, Wolf, Bengel, and almost all modern expositors), as the foregoing main idea; and καὶ τῆςκληρονόμος is the second member of the relative clause, not, however, as Bisping and Delitzsch think, parallel to the κατεσκεύασεν.

ὁ κόσμος] denotes the unbelieving sinful world of men. This Noah condemned (too weak the rendering of Heinrichs: put to shame) by his faith, namely, by the act, in that he set forth the culpability of its conduct by the contrast of his own conduct. Comp. κατακρίνειν, Matthew 12:41-42, Luke 11:31-32, and κρίνειν, Romans 2:27.

καὶ τῆς κατὰ πίστιν δικαιοσύνης ἐγένετο κληρονόμος] Allusion to the fact that Noah is the first who in the O. T. is expressly called צַדִּיק or δίκαιος (Genesis 6:9). Comp. Ezekiel 14:14; Ezekiel 14:20; Sir 44:17; 2 Peter 2:5. Philo also, de congressu quaerendae eruditionis gratia, p. 437 B (with Mangey, I. p. 532), lays special stress upon this particular: πρῶτος δʼ οὖτος δίκαιος ἐν ταῖς ἱεραῖς ἀνεῤῥήθη γραφαῖς.

ἡ κατὰ πίστιν δικαιοσύνη] is the righteousness obtained in accordance with faith, or by the way of faith. Since the notion of πίστις is different with the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews from that of Paul, the righteousness of faith here spoken of cannot, as is still done by Böhme, Bleek, Delitzsch, Afford, and others, be regarded as identical with the righteousness of faith in the Pauline sense. Yet Bleek is perfectly right in saying that the notion: righteousness of faith, “here appears as one already formed, and is presupposed as one well known, a fact very easy to be explained from the relation in which the author of the epistle stood to Paul.”

κληρονόμον γίνεσθαι] denotes no more than to obtain as a possession. We have not, with Justinian, Bengel, Huët, and many, to press the form of expression; as though the δικαιοσύνη were thought of as an actual inheritance, which Noah had received as coming down from the fathers, Abel, who in Hebrews 11:4 had been called δίκαιος, and Enoch.Hebrews 11:7. Πίστει χρηματισθεὶς Νῶε.… “By faith Noah, on being divinely warned of things not as yet seen, with reverential heed prepared an ark to save his household.” Both here and in Matthew 2:12; Matthew 2:22 χρηματ. is translated “warned of God,” although “divinely instructed” as in Hebrews 8:5 is admissible in all the passages. πίστει must be construed with εὐλαβηθεὶς κατεσκεύασεν and these words must be kept together, although some join εὐλαβηθεὶς with the preceding words. τῶν μηδέπω βλεπ, i.e., the flood; cf. Genesis 6:14. εὐλαβηθεὶς here used in preference to φοβηθεὶς because it is not a timorous dread of the catastrophe that is signified, but a commendable caution springing from regard to God’s word. In obedience to this feeling he prepared an ark [κιβωτὸν used of the ark of the covenant in Hebrews 9:4, and of Noah’s ship in Genesis 6:15, because it was shaped like a box with a roof. In Wis 10:4 it is spoken of as “worthless timber,” to magnify the salvation accomplished by its means. διʼ εὐτελοῦς ξὐλου τὸν δίκαιον (Σοφία) κυβερνήσασα and in Wis 14:7 it is ξύλον διʼ οὗ γίνεται δικαιοσύνη.] This ark he built for the saving of his family; as in Genesis 7:1 God says to Noah, εἴσελθε σὺ καὶ πᾶς ὁ οἶκός σου. By this faith [διʼ ἧς] and its manifestation in preparing the ark, “he condemned the world”; of which the most obvious meaning is that Noah’s faith threw into relief the unbelief of those about him. Cf. Matthew 12:41. But to this, Weiss objects that in Hebrews κόσμος is not used to denote the world of men. He therefore concludes that what is meant is that Noah by building the ark for his own rescue showed that he considered the world doomed, thus passing judgment upon it. Certainly the former meaning is the more natural and the objection of Weiss has little weight. A second result of his faith was that “he entered into possession of the righteousness which faith carries with it”. The original significance of κληρονόμος is here, as often elsewhere, left behind. It means little more than “owner”. But no doubt underneath the word there lies the idea, familiar to the Jewish mind, that spiritual blessings are a heritage bestowed by God. ἡ κατὰ f1πίστιν δικαιοσύνη is rendered by Winer (p. 502) “the righteousness which is in consequence of faith” and he instructively compares Matthew 19:3, ἀπολῦσαι τὴν γυναῖκα κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν, and Acts 3:17, κατʼ ἄγνοιαν ἐπράξατε. The first statement in the history of Noah (Genesis 6:10) is, Νῶε ἄνθρωπος δίκαιος, τέλειος ὢν ἐν τῆ γενεᾷ αὐτοῦ, τῷ θεῷ εὐηρέστησε Νῶε. Cf. Wis 10:4. In Genesis the warning of God is communicated to Noah because he was already righteous; in Hebrews a somewhat different aspect is presented, Noah “became” righteous by building the ark in faith. He was one of those who διὰ πίστεως ἠργάσατο δικαιοσύνην, Hebrews 11:33.

From Hebrews 11:8 to Hebrews 11:22 the faith of the patriarchs is exhibited, cf. Sir 44:19.7. warned of God] The same word is used as in Hebrews 8:5, Hebrews 12:25.

moved with fear] Influenced by godly caution and reverence; the same kind of fear as that implied in Hebrews 5:7.

condemned the world] His example was in condemning contrast with the unbelief of the world (Matthew 12:41; Luke 11:31).

of the righteousness which is by faith] Rather, “which is according to faith” (comp. Ezekiel 14:14). Noah is called “righteous” in Genesis 6:9, and Philo observes that he is the first to receive this title, and erroneously says that the name Noah means “righteous” as well as “rest.” St Paul does not use the phrase “the righteousness according to faith,” though he has “the righteousness of faith” (Romans 4:13). “Faith” however in this writer never becomes the same as mystic oneness with Christ, but means general belief in the unseen; and “righteousness” is not “justification,” but faith manifested by obedience. Throughout this chapter righteousness is the human condition which faith produces (Hebrews 11:33), not the divine gift which faith receives. Hence he says that Noah “became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith,” i.e. he entered on the inheritance of righteousness which faith had brought him. In 2 Peter 2:5 Noah is called “a preacher of righteousness;” and in Wis 10:4 “the righteous man.”Hebrews 11:7. Χρηματισθεὶς, being warned by God) A prophetical revelation does not take away faith, Hebrews 11:20, etc.—περὶ) of the deluge, that was to come; construed with the foregoing participle.—εὐλαβηθεὶς, moved with fear) The same participle occurs, Acts 23:10. On the other hand, the world, not believing, did not fear, and did not use any means of repentance or escape. It despised and laughed in security.—κιβωτὸν, an ark) The omission of the article is agreeable to that extraordinary building.—διʼ ἧς) by which, viz. faith, Hebrews 11:4.—κατέκρινε) condemned, by a remarkable testimony.—τὸν κόσμον, the world) which was very unlike Noah.—τῆς κατὰ πίστιν δικαιοσύνης, of the righteousness which is according to faith) So Paul, Romans 1:17 : κατὰ is used in the same way, Titus 1:1. Noah איש צדיק, ἄνθρωπος δίκαιος, a righteous man, Genesis 6:9; δικαιοσύνης κήρυξ, a preacher of righteousness, 2 Peter 2:5.—κληρονόμος, heir) in the succession of the patriarchs, of whom there was always some one at the head of them who believed the promise, and from whom they were sprung. The word is appropriate here, and therefore of frequent occurrence, Hebrews 11:8-9, in the same way as ἐπαγγελία, the promise, Hebrews 11:9; Hebrews 11:11; Hebrews 11:13; Hebrews 11:17; Hebrews 11:33; Hebrews 11:39.Verse 7. - By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear (εὐλαβηθεὶς), prepared an ark to the saving of his house; through which (i.e. faith) he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith (κατὰ πίστιν). The "things not seen as yet" were the divinely predicted events of the Deluge. The word εὐλαβηθεὶς (translated as above in the A.V.) is taken by many commentators as implying godly fear, a sentiment of piety, with reference to the previous χρηματισθεὶς, since the noun εὐλαβεία seems to have this special sense in Hebrews 12:28, μετὰ αἰδοῦς καὶ εὐλαβείας (see what was said under ver. 7, where the word occurred); so too the adjective, εὐλαβὴς, Luke 2:25; Acts 2:5; Acts 8:2. Hence the emendation, "moved with godly fear," in the recent "Revised Version." But, inasmuch as the verb εὐλαβείσθαι has in the New Testament, as elsewhere, only its original import of caution or circumspection, there is no need to suppose here a further meaning (cf. Acts 23:10, the only other passage in the New Testament where the verb occurs). Ebrard, taking only prudent forethought to be expressed, enlarges on the lesson thus conveyed to the effect that he who acts on simple faith, regardless of the world's opinion or of ridicule, is the one who is truly prudent. And we may add that such prudence legitimately comes in as a motive in the religious life. The antecedent of "which" (δἰ ῆς), though the ancients generally understand κιβωτὸν, is taken as above by most moderns; the reason being, not only that faith (see in ver. 4) is the ruling idea of the whole passage, but also that it suits better the expressed results, especially the second, "became heir," etc. For to say that he became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith through the ark, as being the evidence of his faith, or as being the means of his preservation, is less intelligible than to say that through faith he became so. The sense in which Noah "condemned the world" is illustrated by Matthew 12:41, 42, "The men of Nineveh," etc., "The queen of the South," etc. (cf. Romans 2:27). His becoming "heir," etc., rests on the view of the fulfillment of primeval promise being transmitted as an inheritance to the faithful. Noah, as he appears in Genesis, was eminently heir in this sense, as alone in his day appropriating it and as transmitting it to his seed. In like manner Abraham, who is next mentioned, was the prominent heir among the subsequent patriarchs (cf. Romans 4:13). The idea running through the whole Old Testament is that, in the midst of a sinful world, an inheritance of salvation was transmitted through a chosen seed, till the Christ should come as the "Heir of all things," the perfected Head and Representative of all redeemed humanity. The word δικαιοσύνη as that of which Noah was heir, may have been suggested with reference to him by his being the first who is called δίκαιος in Genesis 6:9, and by this being his usual designation (Ezekiel 14:14, 20; Ecclus. 44:17; Wisd. 10:4, 6, Sir. 44:17; cf. 2 Peter 2:5, κήρυξ δικαιοσύνης). The whole phrase, τῆς κατὰ πίστιν δικαιοσύνης, may be taken to imply the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith, which may be supposed to have been familiar to the readers of this Epistle, having been already fully enunciated by St. Paul, and dwelt on by him as especially exemplified in Abraham. St. Paul, indeed, does not use this exact phrase, but δικαιοσύνης πίστεως (Romans 4:11, 13); ἐκ πίστεως (Romans 10:6); ἐπὶ τῆ πίστει (Philippians 3:9); but still the meaning may be the same. The correspondence is an instance of Pauline thought in this Epistle, while the difference of phrase affords a presumption, though by no means in itself conclusive, against Pauline authorship. Noah

Genesis 6.

Being warned of God (χρηματισθεὶς)

Of God is not in the text. See on Matthew 2:12; see on Luke 2:26; see on Acts 11:26; and comp. Hebrews 8:5.

Of things not seen as yet (περὶ τῶν μηδέπω βλεπομένων)

Const. with εὐλαβηθεὶς, and rend. "by faith Noah, being warned, having reverent care concerning things not seen as yet, prepared an ark," etc. Thus χρηματισθεὶς warned is taken absolutely. The things not seen were the well-known contents of the revelation to Noah, Genesis 6:13 ff., as apprehended by Noah's faith.

Moved with fear (εὐλαβηθεὶς)

N.T.o. Often in Class. and lxx. See on εὐλάβεια godly fear, Hebrews 5:7. The A.V. gives the impression that Noah acted under the influence of fright. Rev. improves on this a little by rendering godly fear. The true idea is pious care, a reverent circumspection with regard to things enjoined by God, and as yet unseen, yet confidently expected on the strength of God's word.

Prepared (κατεσκεύασεν)

Built and equipped. See on Hebrews 3:3.

An ark (κιβωτὸν)

Originally, a wooden chest Also of the ark of the covenant in the temple and tabernacle, as Hebrews 9:4; Revelation 11:19. Of Noah's ark, Matthew 24:38; Luke 17:27; 1 Peter 3:20 Λάρσαξ a chest is found in Class. in the same sense. Every classical scholar will recall the charming fragment of Simonides on Danae and her infant son Perseus exposed in an ark:

Ὁτε λάρνακι ἐν δαισαλέᾳ ἄνεσμος

βρέμε πνέων κ. τ. λ.


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