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Song of Solomon
Hebrews 11:20 MEANING
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Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Concerning things to come.
--It is probable, though not certain, that the word "even" should be inserted before "concerning"; on these words, then, the emphasis will rest. Not having regard to things present only, or things almost at hand, but looking far into the future, through the divine revelation which opened to him the meaning of the promises received by Abraham, he gave to each son the blessing designed by God (
). Isaac's confidence in the divine guidance of his words is especially seen in
of the chapter.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even
concerning things to come.
Here the word
(omitted in the Textus Receptus) gives force to what is meant; words uttered by the patriarchs in the spirit of prophecy being now adduced as further evidence of their faith. To those inspired by this spirit even the distant future is realized as present; and faith is not only a condition of such prophetic visions being granted to them, but is also evinced by their trusting the visions as Divine revelations, and speaking with confidence accordingly. The prophet seems as though able himself to control the future by giving or withholding blessing (cf.
); but it is really that his mind and will are at one with the mind and will of God: a Divine voice speaks within him, and through faith he is receptive of it and gives it utterance. Thus it was that even the future characters, and changing relations to each other, of the yet unborn races of Israel and Edom are represented as having been foreshadowed in the blessings of that dying patriarch.
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau,.... The history of this is in
. The former of these was a good man, and, though the youngest son, he is set before, and was blessed before the eldest; and the latter was a wicked man, and yet had a blessing; for temporal blessings are enjoyed in common: and this blessing was prophetic, it was concerning things to come. Jacob's blessing was plenty of temporal things, and under which may be signified the dews of divine grace, the fatness of God's house, the bread of life, and wine of divine love, which true Israelites partake of; also dominion over his brother, and government over nations, which had their accomplishment in his posterity; and may be expressive of the spiritual reign of the saints, and their dominion, by grace; and of the kingdom that shall hereafter be put to their hands; and of the extensiveness of Christ's kingdom in the latter day, who was to spring front him. Esau's blessings were merely temporal ones, and respected things future, which were fulfilled in his posterity; and these several blessings Isaac pronounced upon them by faith, believing they would be bestowed upon them; and so his faith answered to the account of faith in
. It may be asked, how Isaac can be said to have blessed Jacob by faith, when he was deceived by him? It is certain he took him to be Esau, when he blessed him, wherefore it was not the design of Isaac, though it was the will of God that he should bless him,
, but yet notwithstanding this, Isaac might do it in faith, believing that the person he blessed would be blessed, though he was mistaken in him; and which he confirmed when he did know him,
to which the apostle may have respect; and besides, he blessed him after this,
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