Re: Question on Hebrews 11:32

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Apr 05 1998 - 10:56:26 EDT

At 10:22 AM -0500 4/5/98, Robert W. Meyers wrote:
> Although most commentators make an attempt, none are very successful at
> showing why these four apparent "failures," Barak, Samson, Jephthah, and
> Gideon would be included in this spectacular list. At the bottom of the
> list Samson would appear, it seems to me. Of course, Sara's earlier
> mention, in vs 11, would also be included as puzzling.
> Any ideas that I haven't yet read? To which dismal event in Samson's life
> would God attribute praise of his faith? His victories against the
> Philistines were simply a forgone conclusion, it seems to me, having no
> particular connection to his faithfulness or faith: "The Spirit of the
> Lord came upon him. . ." And he is probably best remembered because of his
> demise at the hands of Delilah, resulting from the same selfish "loving
> pleasures rather than God" which appear to characterize everything he
> ever did, on his own.
> And Jephthah is probably best remembered by his foolish ? vow, bearing
> every resemblance to the "abominations of the children of Israel" in
> sacrificing their children to Moloch, "which I did not command them to
> do." But the Author of Hebrews appears to refer to this very event?
> And Barak was specifically told by Deborah God? that he would be
> unworthy of, and receive no honor for the victory, since he refused to do
> it without her with him. In other words, his faith was in Deborah, rather
> than in God? Like the modern charismatic, who parades his faith "in the
> Blood," rather than in Christ. Isn't this the main point we remember of
> Barak?
> Why would such men and women as these be listed, rather than Abigail,
> Job, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Abimelech, the centurions, Joseph, the
> magi, the owner of the donkey the Lord used, the Philippian jailor, etc?
> Surely, there is a Divine reason everyone is missing, here. A reason
> on the order of the marvelous subtle revelations about Abraham's
> thinking when he told the young men that he and Isaac would return to
> them, and the thoughts of Moses' parents when they perceived that
> Moses was a Divine child, etc. A reason in keeping with the beautiful
> statement of Hebrews 11, "they that say such things declare that they seek
> a City," that "they confess that they are strangers and pilgrims in this
> world." How on earth could talk like that be applied to the likes of
> Samson???
> What is that hidden reason for the inclusion of these, of all people?

This is not really a B-Greek question; any answer offered to it would be
speculative, so far as the Greek text of the NT is concerned.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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