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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE HEBREWS - Chapter 11 - Verse 8

Verse 8. By faith Abraham. There is no difficulty in determining that Abraham was influenced by faith in God. The case is even stronger than that of Noah, for it is expressly declared, Ge 15:6, "And he believed, in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." Comp. See Barnes "Ro 4:1, and following. In the illustrations of the power of faith in this chapter, the apostle appeals to two instances m which it was exhibited by Abraham, "the father of the faithful." Each of these required confidence in God of extraordinary strength, and each of them demanded a special and honourable mention. The first was that when he left his own country to go to a distant land of strangers, (Heb 11:8-10;) the other when he showed his readiness to sacrifice his own son in obedience to the will of God, Heb 11:17-19.

When he was called. Ge 12:1: "Now the Lord had said unto Abraham, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee."

Into a Place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed. To Palestine, or the land of Canaan, though that was not indicated at the time.

And he went out not knowing whither he went. Ge 12:4. Abraham at that time took with him Sarai, and Lot the son of his brother, and "the souls that they had gotten in Haran." Terah, the father of Abraham, started on the journey with them, but died in Haran, Ge 11:31,32. The original call was made to Abraham, Ge 12:1; Ac 7:2,3; but he appears to have induced his father and his nephew to accompany him. At this time he had no children, (Ge 11:30,) though it seems probable that Lot had, Ge 12:6. Some, however, understand the expression in Ge 12:6, "and the souls they had gotten in Haran," as referring to the servants or domestics that they had in various ways procured, and to the fact that Abraham and Lot gradually drew around them a train of dependents and followers who were disposed to unite with them, and accompany them wherever they went. The Chaldee Paraphrast understands it of the proselytes which Abraham had made there—"All the souls which he had subdued under the law." When it is said that Abraham "went out not knowing whither he went," it must be understood as meaning that he was ignorant to what country he would in fact be led. If it be supposed that he had some general intimatian of the nature of that country, and of the direction in which it was situate, yet it must be remembered that the knowledge of geography was then exceedingly imperfect; that this was a distant country; that it lay beyond a pathless desert, and that probably no traveller had ever come from that land to apprize him what it was. All this serves to show what was the strength of the faith of Abraham.

{a} "when he was called" Ge 12:1,4

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