By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The land of promise—More correctly, according to the true reading, a land of the promise: into a land which the promise (Genesis 12:7) made his own he came as a sojourner, and sojourned in it as in a land belonging to others, making his settled abode there in tents. The words of which this is a paraphrase are very expressive, especially those of the last clause. Abraham there “made his home once for all, well aware that it was to be his home—expecting no change in this respect all his life long—in tents,” movable, shifting abodes—here to-day, there to-morrow—with (as did also in their turn) “Isaac and Jacob,” the “heirs with him of the same promise.” (Dr. Vaughan.)
THE CITY AND THE TENT
Hebrews 11:9-10THE purpose of the great muster-roll of the ancient heroes of Judaism in this chapter is mainly to establish the fact that there has never been but one way to God. However diverse the degrees of knowledge and the externals, the essence of religion has always been the same. So the writer of this Epistle, to the great astonishment, no doubt, of some of the Hebrews to whom it was addressed, puts out his hand, and claims, as Christians before Christ, all the worthies of whom they were nationally so proud. He is speaking here about the three patriarchs. Whether he conceives them to have all lived on the earth at one time or no, does not trouble us at all ‘By faith,’ says he, ‘Abraham sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise,’ because, ‘he looked for the city which hath the foundations, whom builder’ - or rather Architect - ‘and maker’ - or rather Builder - ‘is God.’
Now, of course, the writer gives a considerable extension of the meaning to the word ‘faith’; and in his use one aspect of it is prominent, though by no means exclusively so - viz., the aspect which looks to the unseen and the future, rather than that which grasps the personal Christ. But this is no essential difference from the ordinary New Testament usage; it is only a variation in point of view, and in the prominence given to an element always present in faith. What he says here, then, is substantially this - that in these patriarched lives we get a picturesque embodiment of the essential substance of all true Christian living, and that mainly in regard of two points, the great object which should fill mind and heart, and the consequent detachment from transitory things which should be cultivated.
‘He looked for a city,’ and so he was contented to dwell in a movable tent. That is an emblem containing the essence of what our lives ought to be, if we are truly to be Christian. Let us, then, deal with these two inseparable and indispensable characteristics of the life of faith.
I. Faith will behold the Unseen City, and the vision will steadfastly fill mind and heart.
As I have remarked, the conception of faith presented in the Epistle is slightly different from that found in other parts of the New Testament. It is but slightly different, for, whether we say that the object of our faith is the Christ, ‘Whom having not seen we love; in whom, though now we see Him not, yet believing we rejoice,’ or whether we say that it is the whole realm and order of things beyond the grave and above the skies where He is and which He has made our native land, makes in reality very little difference. We come at last to the thought of personal reliance on Him by whose word and by whose resurrection and ascension only we apprehend, and by whose grace and power and love only we shall ever possess that unseen futurity. So we may fairly say that whilst, no doubt, it is true that the living Christ Himself - and no heaven apart from Him, nor any future apart from Him, nor any thing of His, apart from Him, though it be a cross, but the living Christ Himself is the true object of faith, yet that conception of its object includes the view of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the ‘city which has the foundations,’ should, because it is all clustered round Him who is its King, Be the object that fills our minds and hearts.
I am not going to discuss the details of what this writer supposes to have been the animating principle and aim of that ancient patriarch’s life. It matters nothing at all for the power of his example whether we suppose that Abraham looked forward to the realisation of this unseen ideal city in this life or no, for the effect of it upon him would be exactly the same whichever of the two alternatives may have been the case. It matters nothing as to whether Abraham believed in the realisation in that land over which he wandered, of the perfect order of things, or whether he had caught some glimpse, which is very unlikely, of it as reserved for a future beyond the grave. In either case, he lived for and by an unseen and future condition of things. It is beautiful to notice how the writer here, in his picturesque and simple words, puts many blessed ideas as to that future. We may, perhaps, make these a little more clear, but I am afraid we shall make them much more weak, by taking them out of the metaphorical form.
‘The City’ - then there is only one. ‘The City’ - then the object of our hope, ought to be, and is, if we understand it aright, a perfect society, in which the ‘sojourners and pilgrims,’ like the patriarch, and his little band of children and attendants, who wandered lonely up and down the world, will all be gathered together at last; and, instead of the solitude of the march, and the undefended weakness of the frail encampment, there will be the conjoined gladness and security of an innumerable multitude. ‘The City’ is the perfection of society, and all of us who live in the world, alone after all communion, and separated from each other by the awful mystery of personal being, and by many another film beside, may hope to understand, as we never shall do here, what the meaning of the little word ‘together’ is when we get there. ‘He looked for the city.’
‘The city which hath the foundations’ - then the object of faith is a stable thing, which knows no fluctuations, feels no changes, fears no assault, can never be subjected to violence, nor ever crumple into dust. ‘The city which’ hath the foundations’ - here and now we have to build, if we build at all, more or less like the foolish man in the Master’s parable, upon sand. It is the condition of our earthly life. We have to accept, and to make the best of it. But, oh! those who have learned most the agony of change and the misery of uncertainty are those who have been best disciplined to grasp at and lay up in their hearts the large consolation and encouragement hived in that designation, ‘the city which hath the foundations.’
The city, ‘whose Architect’ - for the word rendered ‘Builder’ should be so translated - ‘is God.’ It is the accomplishment of His plan, which, in modern language, is called the realisation of His ideal. I like the old- fashioned Biblical language better - ‘the city whose Architect is God.’ He planned, and, of course, there follows upon that ‘whose Maker or actual Builder is’ - the same as the Planner. Architects put their drawings into the hands of rude workmen, and no completed work of man’s hands corresponds to the fair vision that dawned on its designer when it took definite shape in His mind.
That is another of the laws of our earthly life which we have to make the best of - that we design grand buildings when we begin, and, when we have finished our lives, and look back upon what we have built, it is a mean and incomplete structure at the best. But God’s working drawings get built; His plans are all wrought out in an adequate material; and everything that was in the divine mind once exists in outward fact in that perfect future.
So, inasmuch as the city is a state of perfect society, of stability, is planned by God, and brought about by Him at last, it is to be possessed by us on condition of fellowship with Him. Does it not seem to you to be infinitely unimportant whether this old patriarch thought that what he was looking for was to be builded upon the hills and plains of Canaan or not? That he had the vision is the thing. Where it was to be accomplished was of small moment. We do not know where the vision is to be accomplished any more than Abraham did. We do not know whether here, on this old earth, renovated by some cosmic change, or whether in some region in space, though beyond the stars, perfected spirits shall dwell, and it does not matter. That we should have the vision is the main thing. The where, the when, the how of its fulfilment are of no manner of practical importance, and people who busy themselves about such questions, and think that therefore they are cultivating the spirit that my text suggests, make a woful mistake.
But let me press on you, dear brethren, this one simple thought, that the average type of Christian life and experience to-day is wofully lacking in that clear vision of the future. Partly it comes, I suppose, from certain peculiarities in the trend of thought and way of looking at things that are fashionable in this generation. We hear so much about Christianity as a social system, and about what it is going to do in this world, which perhaps it was necessary should be stated very emphatically, in order to counterpoise the too great silence upon such subjects in past times, that preaching about the future life strikes a hearer as unfamiliar, and probably some Of my audience have been feeling as if I were carrying them into misty regions far away from, and little related to, the realities of life. But, dear brethren, from my heart I believe that one very operative cause of the undeniable feebleness of Christian life, which is so largely manifested round us - and it is for each of us to say whether we participate in it - is due to this, that, somehow or other, there has come in the mind of great masses of Christian people a fading away of that blessed vision of the city, for which we ought to live. You scarcely hear sermons nowadays about the blessedness of a future life. What you hear about it is, how well for this life it is to be a Christian man.
No doubt godliness ‘hath promise of the life that now is,’ and that side of the gospel cannot be too emphatically set forth. But it may be disproportionately presented, as I venture to think that, on the whole, it is being presented now. Therefore there is the more need for consciously endeavouring to cultivate the habit of looking beyond the mists Of the present to the gleaming battlements and spires of the city. Let us polish the glasses of our telescopes, and use them not only for distances on earth’s low levels, but to bring the stars nearer. So shall we realise more of the present good and power of faith, when it is allowed its widest and noblest range.
II. Faith consequently leads to willing detachment from the present order of offerings.
‘He dwelt in tabernacles,’ that is, he lived a nomad life in his tents. He and his son and grandson - three generations of long livers - proved the depth, solidity, and practical power of their faith in the promise of the city by the remarkable persistence of their refusal to be absorbed in the settled population of the land. Recent discoveries have shown us, and discoveries still to be made, I have no doubt, will show still more, what a highly organised and developed civilisation prevailed in Canaan when these wanderers from the East came into it, with their black camels’-hair tents. They were almost as much out of place, and as noticeably unique, by such a life in Canaan then, as gypsies are in England, and the reason why they would not go into Hebron, or any other of the populous cities which were closely studded in the land, was that ‘they looked for the City.’ It was better for them to dwell in tents than in houses.
The clear vision of that great future impresses on us the transiency of the present. We shall know that what we live in is but as a tent that is soon to be struck, even while some of our fellow-lodgers may fancy it to be a house that will last for ever.
The illusion of the permanence of this fleeting show creeps over us all, in spite of our better knowledge, and has to be fought against. The world, though it seems to be at rest, is going faster than any of the objects in it which are known to be in motion. We are deceived by the universality of the movement of which all things partake, and to us it seems rest. If there comes friction, and now and then a collision, we find out how fast we are going. And then there come misery, and melancholy, and lamentations about the brevity of life, and the awfulness of change, and all these other commonplaces that are the stock-in-trade of poetasters, but which cut with such surprise and agony into our own hearts when we experience them. But, brethren, to be convinced of the transiency of life, by reason of the clearness of the vision of the permanence of the heavens, is blessedness and not misery, and is the only way by which a man can bear to say to himself, ‘My days are as a hand-breadth,’ and not fling down his tools and fall into sadness, from feeling that life is as futile as frail. To recognise that nothing continues in one stay, and to see nothing else that is permanent, is the greatest misery that is laid upon man But to feel, ‘Thou art from everlasting to everlasting, and Thy kingdom endureth through all generations and I belong to it,’ makes us regard with equanimity, and sometimes with solemn satisfaction, the passing away of all the transient,’that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.’ ‘He looked for a city’; so, ‘he dwelt in tents.’
There is another side to that thought. The clear vision of that permanent future will detach us from the perishable present.
Now many difficult questions arise as to how far Christians should hold aloof from the order of things in which they dwell: and to a very large extent the application of the principle in detail must be left to each man for himself, in the presence of God. But this I am quite sure of, that in this generation the average Christian has a great deal more need to be warned against too great intermingling with than against too great separation from the present world. Abraham sets us an example beautifully comprehensive. He held cordial relations with the people amongst whom he dwelt. He was honoured by them as a prince; he was recognised by them as a servant of God. They knew his bravery. He did not scruple to draw the sword, and to fight in defence, not only of his kinsmen but of his heathen neighbours in Sodom. And yet nothing would induce him to come down from his tent, beneath the terebinth tree of Mamre, in the-uplands. Everybody knew that his name was Abraham the Hebrew - the man from the other side. He carried out that name in his life.
Now, I am not going to lay down hard and fast rules - conventional regulations are the ruin of principles. But let us ask ourselves, ‘Would anybody call me "the man from the other side," the man who belongs to another set of things altogether than this?’ We have to work in the world; to trade in the world; to try to influence the world; to draw many of our enjoyments from it, in common with those who have no other enjoyments than those drawn from it. Of course, there is a great tract of ground common to the men of faith and the men of sense, and I am not urging false aloofness from any occupation, interest, duty, or enjoyment. But what I say is that, if we have the vision of the city clear before us, there will be no need to tell us not to make our home in Hebron or in Sodom.
Lot went down there when he had his choice - and he got what he wanted, pasturage for his cattle. But he also got what he did not want, destruction, and he lost what he did not care to keep, his share in the city. Abraham stayed on the heights, and up there he kept God, and a good conscience. Probably he did not make so much money as Lot did. Very likely Lot’s flocks and herds were larger than his uncle’s. But the one man from his height, through the clear air, could see far away the sparkling of the turrets of the city; and the other, down in the hot, steaming plains of Sodom, could see nothing but Sodom and the mountains behind it, Better to live on the heights with Abraham and God than down below with Lot, and wealth, and subterranean brimstone, and naphtha fires ready to burst forth. ‘He looked for the city,’ ‘he dwelt in tents.’Hebrews 11:9-10. By faith, &c. — Believing that Canaan was promised to him and his seed only as a type of a better country, he acquired no possessions therein except a burying-place, and built no houses there; but sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country — Αλλοτιαν, a country belonging to others, dwelling in tents, as a sojourner; with Isaac and Jacob — Who by the same manner of living showed the same faith. Jacob was born fifteen years before the death of Abraham, as is evident from the account of the lives of the patriarchs given in Genesis. Isaac and Jacob are said to be heirs with Abraham of the same promise, because they all had the same interest therein; and Isaac did not receive this inheritance from Abraham, nor Jacob from Isaac, but all of them from God. In saying that Abraham dwelt in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the apostle does not mean that they all three dwelt together in one family, and one place, while they were in Canaan; for Abraham and Isaac had separate habitations when Jacob was born. But he means that, while in Canaan, they all dwelt in tents; and by applying this observation to the two latter, as well as to Abraham, the apostle praises their faith likewise. For, since Canaan belonged to them as joint heirs with their father, by dwelling there in tents as sojourners, they showed that they also knew the true meaning of the promise, and looked for a better country than Canaan. For he looked for — He expected at length to be led on to; a city which hath foundations — Whereas a tent hath none. Grotius thinks Abraham hoped that his posterity should have, in the land of promise, a city that God would prepare for them, in a special manner, namely, Jerusalem. But such an interpretation Isaiah , 1 st, Expressly contrary to the exposition given by the apostle himself of this expression, Hebrews 11:16 : 2d, It is not suitable to God’s dealing with Abraham, and to the nature and effects of the holy patriarch’s faith, that he should have nothing to encourage him in his pilgrimage but a hope that, after many generations, his posterity should have a city to dwell in, in the land of Canaan, wherein the condition of most of them was not better than his in tents: 3d, To suppose that this was only an earthly city, not to be possessed by his posterity until eight hundred years afterward, and that but for a limited time, is utterly to overthrow his faith, the nature of the covenant of God with him, and his being an example to gospel believers, as he is here proposed to be. This city, therefore, which Abraham looked for, is that heavenly city, that everlasting mansion, which God hath prepared for all true believers with himself after this life; it being the place of their everlasting abode, rest, and refreshment, and that with the expectation of which Abraham and the following patriarchs comforted and supported themselves amidst all the toil and labour of their pilgrimage. Whose builder and maker is God — Of which God is the sole contriver, former, and finisher. “The word τεχνιτης, translated builder, denotes one who constructs any house or machine; an architect. But the other word, δημιουργος, signifies one who forms a people by institutions and laws. The apostle joins this term to the other to show that God is both the Founder and the Ruler of that great community of which the spiritual seed of Abraham is to make a part. From God’s being both the Founder and Ruler of the city which the seed of Abraham are to possess, it may justly be inferred that the glory, security, privileges, and pleasures of their state are such, that in comparison of them, the advantages or security found in any city or commonwealth on earth are nothing, and but of a moment’s duration.” — Macknight.Genesis 23:7-20. In all respects he lived there as if he had no special right in the soil; as if he never expected to own it; as if he were in a country wholly owned by others. He exercised no privileges which might not have been exercised by any foreigner, and which was not regarded as a right of common - that of feeding his cattle in any unoccupied part of the land; and he would have had no power of ejecting any other persons excepting what anyone might have enjoyed by the pre-occupancy of the pasture-grounds. To all intents and purposes he was a stranger. Yet he seems to have lived in the confident and quiet expectation that that land would at some period come into the possession of his posterity. It was a strong instance of faith that he should cherish this belief for so long a time, when he was a stranger there; when he gained no right in the soil except in the small piece that was purchased as a burial-place for his wife, and when he saw old age coming on and still the whole land in the possession of others.
Dwelling in tabernacles - In tents - the common mode of living in countries where the principal occupation is that of keeping flocks and herds. His dwelling thus in moveable tents looked little like its being his permanent possession.
With Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise - That is, the same thing occurred in regard to them, which had to Abraham. "They" also lived in tents. They acquired no fixed property, and no title to the land except to the small portion purchased as a burial-place. Yet they were heirs of the same promise as Abraham, that the land would be theirs. Though it was still owned by others, and filled with its native inhabitants, yet they adhered to the belief that it would come into the possession of their families. In their moveable habitations; in their migrations from place to place, they seem never to have doubted that the fixed habitation of their posterity was to be there, and that all that had been promised would be certainly fulfilled.
in—Greek, "into," that is, he went into it and sojourned there.
as in a strange country—a country not belonging to him, but to others (so the Greek), Ac 7:5, 6.
dwelling in tabernacles—tents: as strangers and sojourners do: moving from place to place, as having no fixed possession of their own. In contrast to the abiding "city" (Heb 11:10).
with—Their kind of dwelling being the same is a proof that their faith was the same. They all alike were content to wait for their good things hereafter (Lu 16:25). Jacob was fifteen years old at the death of Abraham.
heirs with him of the same promise—Isaac did not inherit it from Abraham, nor Jacob from Isaac, but they all inherited it from God directly as "fellow heirs." In Heb 6:12, 15, 17, "the promise" means the thing promised as a thing in part already attained; but in this chapter "the promise" is of something still future. However, see on Heb 6:12.By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country; by the same Divine faith he passed from tent to tent, moving it from place to place, as God ordered; so as he rather sojourned than dwelt in any. His journal is legible in Moses’s history, moving from Charran to Shechem, from thence to Beth-el, and then more southward, and thence to Egypt; see Genesis 12:1-20: so that he sojourned in Canaan, and the adjoining countries, which God had covenanted to give for an inheritance to him and his seed, Genesis 15:18-21; yet by faith he would stay God’s time for it, but lived in it as a stranger, not having in possession one foot of ground, but what he bought for a burying place, Genesis 25:9,10 Ac 7:5.
Dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: here he, with his son Isaac, and grandson, and their seed, coheirs with him of Canaan, built no houses, but lived in tents, which they might pitch or remove at God’s pleasure, and as he called them, as who were strangers to this country, and to the inhabitants of it, with whom they were to have no spiritual society, as travelling to a better; being in this world, but neither citizens nor inhabitants of it, but as denizens of a more excellent one, Genesis 26:3 Genesis 28:13,14.
as in a strange country; which was not his native place, and not his own, but another's; see Acts 7:5 and an idolatrous one; here he sojourned by faith, believing that as it was promised, it would be given to him, and his seed: so all God's people are sojourners in this world, strangers and pilgrims in it; this is not their dwelling place; they do not belong to it, but to another; their stay in it is but for a while; and, while they are in it, do not look upon themselves at home, but are looking out for another, and better country; they are unknown to the men of the world, and the men of the world are strangers to them; though they have a civil conversation with them, they separate from them, both as to profaneness and superstition, and live by faith, in the expectation of the heavenly country, as Abraham also did:
dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; the same promised land, the same promised blessings, and the same promised seed, the Messiah; see Genesis 12:3 with these Abraham dwelt, for he lived until Isaac was seventy five years of age, and Jacob fifteen; he was an hundred years old when Isaac was born, Genesis 21:5 and he lived one hundred and seventy five years, Genesis 25:7 and Isaac was sixty years old when Jacob was born, Genesis 25:26 and Abraham dwelt with them in tabernacles, or tents, which they pitched at pleasure, and moved from place to place. So true believers, as they are Abraham's seed, they are heirs with him, according to the promise; and are heirs together of the grace of life; and dwell in earthly tabernacles, in houses of clay, which are erected for a while, and then taken down.By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Hebrews 11:9. A proof of a believing confidence in God was it further that Abraham dwelt as a stranger in the land which was promised him as a possession.
παροικεῖν] in classic Greek of dwelling beside or in the neighbourhood; in Hellenistic, however, ordinarily as here: to dwell as a stranger in a land, without rights of citizenship or possession. Even in Genesis the sojourning of Abraham and his sons in the promised land of Canaan is designated as a παροικεῖν, and they themselves are characterized as πάροικοι in the same; comp. Genesis 17:8; Genesis 20:1; Genesis 21:23; Genesis 21:34; Genesis 23:4; Genesis 24:37; Genesis 26:3; Genesis 28:4, al.
εἰς] receives into the idea of a permanent dwelling that of a previous migration. Familiar breviloquence. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 386.
ὡς ἀλλοτρίαν] Comp. Acts 7:5-6.
ἐν σκηναῖς κατοικήσας] Theophylact: ὅπερ τῶν ξένων ἐστί, τῶν ἄλλοτε εἰς ἄλλο μέρος μεταβαινόντων διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν τι ἴδιον. Comp. Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3; Genesis 18:1 ff; Genesis 26:25, al.
μετὰ Ἰσαὰκ καὶ Ἰακὼβ κ.τ.λ.] which Theophylact, Bengel, Böhme, Kuinoel, Tischendorf, and others refer to παρῴκησεν, belongs, as is shown by the singular ἐξεδέχετο with which the author continues at Hebrews 11:10, to κατοικήσας.
Isaac and Jacob, however, are called heirs with him of the same promise, because the promise was given to Abraham not for himself alone, but at the same time for his seed; comp. Genesis 13:15; Genesis 17:8.9. as in a strange country] “I am a stranger and a sojourner with you” (Genesis 23:3). The patriarchs are constantly called paroikoi, “dwellers beside,” “sojourners” (Genesis 17:8; Genesis 20:1, &c).
dwelling in tabernacles] i.e. in tents (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3, &c).Hebrews 11:9. Παρῴκησεν) He went to dwell as a stranger in, Hebrews 11:13, note.—τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, of the promise) It had been promised immediately, Genesis 12:7.—ἐν σκηναῖς, in tabernacles) Genesis 12:8 : πάροικοι, strangers (new-comers, sojourners) use tents. The antithesis is πόλις, a city, Hebrews 11:10.—μετὰ, with) The same mode of living, a proof of the same faith. It is construed with παρῴκησεν, was a stranger.—καὶ Ἰακὼβ, and Jacob) He was fifteen years old at the death of Abraham.—τῶν συγκληρονόμων, joint-heirs) In no other place are sons called joint-heirs with their parents, but merely heirs. Isaac did not acknowledge himself indebted for the inheritance to Abraham, nor Jacob to Isaac, but they received it severally from God Himself. This expression, the heirs of the promise, and ἐπέτυχε ΤΗΣ ἐπαγγελίας, he obtained THE promise, Hebrews 6:17, Hebrews 12:15, are said of the very thing promised; but both phrases in this chap. Hebrews 11:9; Hebrews 11:33, the joint-heirs of the promise, and ἐπέτυχον ἐπαγγελιῶν (without the article τῶν), obtained promises, and in like manner, Hebrews 11:17, ὁ τὰς ἐπυγγελίας ἀναδεξάμενος, he who received the promises, are said of the promise of something future: and believers are said to receive, to obtain, λαμβάνειν, κομιζεσθαι, the very thing promised, especially in this same chapter, Hebrews 11:13; Hebrews 11:39. The difference of expressions is suitable to the different scope of ch. 6 and 9; for in ch. 6 the condition itself of men in former times is commended, and proposed as an example; but in ch. 11 the condition of New Testament believers is celebrated above the other (viz. that of Old Testament believers).Verses 9, 10. - By faith he sojourned in (rather, went to sojourn in) the land of promise, as in a strange country (literally, as one belonging to others; i.e. not his own; "As in an alien land" (Wickliffe); cf. Genesis 23:4, "I am a stranger and sojourner with you"), dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations (literally, the foundations) whose Builder and Maker is God. Of course, here, "with Isaac and Jacob" means "as did also Isaac and Jacob." The three successive patriarchs are presented in Scripture as representing the period of nomadic life in the land of promise, not yet possessed; alike supported by faith in the Divine word; and hence they are ever grouped together (cf. Genesis 28:13; Genesis 32:9; Genesis 48:15; 1:24; Exodus 3:6; Deuteronomy 9:5; 1 Kings 18:36, etc.; also Matthew 22:32; Luke 13:28). The meaning of their history to us, and the object of their common hope, are further set forth in vers. 13-17, and will be under them considered. In the mean time an instance of Abraham's faith, peculiar to himself, is adduced.
The verb lit. to dwell beside or among. Πάροικος, a foreigner dwelling in a state without rights of citizenship. In Class. only in the sense of neighbor. See on Luke 24:18. The verb of rest with the preposition of motion (only here) signifies that he went into the land and dwelt there. Usually with ἐν in, but sometimes with the simple accusative, as Luke 24:18; Genesis 17:8; Exodus 6:4.
Land of promise (γῆν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας)
In tabernacles (ἐν σκηναῖς)
Or tents, as a migratory people, without a permanent home.
The heirs with him (τῶν συνκληρονόμων)
Joint-heirs or fellow-heirs. olxx, oClass. See Romans 8:17; Ephesians 3:6; 1 Peter 3:7. The three, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are mentioned because they cover the entire period of the sojourn in Canaan. Faith inspired these to endure patiently their unsettled life, since it assured them of a permanent home in the future.
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