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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE HEBREWS - Chapter 11 - Verse 17

Verse 17. By faith Abraham. The apostle had stated one strong instance of the faith of Abraham, and he now refers to one still more remarkable—the strongest illustration of faith, undoubtedly, which has ever been evinced in our world.

When he was tried. The word here used is rendered tempted in Mt 4:1,3; 16:1; 19:3; 22:18,35, and in twenty-two other places in the New Testament; prove, in Joh 6:6; hath gone about, in Ac 24:6; examine, 2 Co 13:6; and tried, in Re 2:2,10; 3:10.

It does not mean here, as it often does, to place inducements before one to lead him to do wrong, but to subject his faith to a trial in order to test its genuineness and strength. The meaning here is, that Abraham was placed in circumstances which showed what was the real strength of his confidence in God.

Offered up Isaac. That is, he showed that he was ready and willing to make the sacrifice, and would have done it if he had not been restrained by the voice of the angel, Ge 22:11,12. So far as the intention of Abraham was concerned, the deed was done, for he had made every preparation for the offering, and was actually about to take the life of his son.

And he that had received the promises offered up his only-begotten son. The promises particularly of a numerous posterity. The fulfilment of those promises depended on him whom he was now about to offer as a sacrifice. If Abraham had been surrounded with children, or if no special promise of a numerous posterity had been made to him, this act would not have been so remarkable. It would, in any case, have been a strong act of faith; it was peculiarly strong in his case, from the circumstances that he had an only son, and that the fulfilment of the promise depended on his life.

{c} "tried" Ge 22:1; Jas 2:21

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