Hebrews 11:11

11 By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised.

Hebrews 11:11 Meaning and Commentary

Hebrews 11:11

Through faith also Sarah herself
Some copies add "being barren"; and so read the Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions; which is a circumstance which makes her faith appear the greater: but it is a question whether the apostle speaks of the faith of Sarah, or of Abraham; some think he speaks of Abraham's faith; and that it was through his faith that Sarah conceived; and observe, that the last clause may be rendered, "because he judged him faithful" and the rather, because the apostle, both before and after, is speaking of Abraham's faith, ( Hebrews 11:8-10 Hebrews 11:17 ) . And in ( Hebrews 11:12 ) mention is made only of one, even of Abraham; and in ( Romans 4:17 ) only notice is taken of Abraham's faith, respecting this matter; nor is Sarah's faith observed in the history of it, but her diffidence: but why may not Sarah be joined with Abraham, in this commendation, as well as Isaac and Jacob? and though, at first, she distrusted, yet she afterwards feared, and believed: other women are mentioned in this catalogue of believers; and they share in the same grace and privileges as men: and Sarah, being a believer, as well as Abraham,

received strength to conceive seed:
sometimes "strength" itself signifies seed, as in ( Proverbs 31:3 ) and so to receive strength is to receive seed; which the female does from the male; hence that saying of the Jews F20, the male does not receive strength from another, but the female (xk tlbqm) "receiveth strength" from another; but here it is to be understood of receiving power from God to retain seed, received from men, and conceive by it; which Sarah, in her circumstances, without the interposition of the almighty power, could never have done. The nymph Anobret is so called, in imitation of this conception of Sarah's; or as she is called in the Phoenician language, (trbne Nx) , which signifies "conceiving by grace": as this conception must be entirely ascribed to the power and grace of God:

and was delivered of a child when she was past age;
of bearing and bringing forth children, being ninety years of age, ( Genesis 17:17 ) . Now though the conception, bearing, and bringing forth of children are things natural, ordinary, and common, yet here was a particular promise respecting this matter; and there were great difficulties in nature attending it, and such as to reason were insuperable; but these were got over, through the power and grace of God, and which is ascribed to faith in the faithfulness of a promising God:

because she judged him faithful who had promised;
that she should have a son at the time of life; (See Gill on Hebrews 10:23).


F20 Caphtor, fol. 21. 2.

Hebrews 11:11 In-Context

9 By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
10 For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, "as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore."
13 All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth,

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Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or [By faith Sarah herself, though barren, received power to conceive, even when she was too old, because she considered him faithful who had promised.]