The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible2 Corinthians 11:22
Are they Hebrews? so am I…
The nation of the Jews were
called Hebrews, not from Abraham, as some have F23 thought, through
ignorance of the Hebrew language, which will by no means
admit of such a derivation and etymology of the name; wherefore the
Jewish writers never make mention of this opinion as among any of
them; had they took their name from Abram or Abraham, they would
rather have been called Abramires or Abrahamites, and not Hebrews;
besides, Abraham himself is called an Hebrew, (Genesis 14:13) and to be so
called from himself, and not denominated from some other person or
thing, can never be imagined, it would be most absurd and
ridiculous; to which may be added, that the apostle in this verse
makes mention of being the seed of Abraham, as a distinct character
from that of Hebrews: others have been of opinion that the name is
derived from (rbe) , "Habar", which signifies, "to pass over"; and was
occasioned by one or other of the following events; either from
Abraham's passing over the river Euphrates, when he came out of
Mesopotamia into the land of Canaan, and so was called Abram, (yrbeh)
"Hahibri, the passer over", or the Hebrew F24, and so his posterity
were called after him; or from the posterity of Canaan, who, after
the confusion at Babel, settled in that part of Asia which lies
between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean sea, and from them
called the land of Canaan; and who were called by the Chaldeans,
from whom they separated, and by the neighbouring nations, Hebrews,
or passers over, because they passed over the river Jordan; and so
Abraham passing over the river Euphrates to them, and learning their
language, and continuing there, he was called an Hebrew also, and
his posterity after him F25; or from Arphaxad, or Heber, passing
over the river Tigris or Euphrates, and settling in the land of
Canaan F26; but it is not likely that a nation should take its name
from such an event: others think it a more probable opinion that
Abraham was so called, and hence his posterity after him, from the
name which the Canaanites gave to Mesopotamia, from whence he came;
calling it Heber Hannahar, or the country beyond the river: just as
we call foreigners Transmarines, or people beyond sea; and of this
opinion were some of the Jewish writers F1; but not Mesopotamia,
but Canaan, is called the land of the Hebrews, (Genesis 40:15) . The more
commonly received opinion with the F2 Jews is, and which is most
likely, that they are so called from Heber, the father of Peleg, in
whose days the confusion of languages was made, and what is now
called the Hebrew language being the first and original one, was
retained in him and in his family; hence Shem is said to be the
father of all the children of Heber, (Genesis 10:21) that is, the Hebrews,
as the same people are called the children of Israel from Israel,
and the children of Judah from Judah, and sometimes they go by the
name of Heber, as in (Numbers 24:24) when as the Assyrians are called
Ashur, from whom they have their name, so the Hebrews are called
Heber, from whom they take their denomination: and it should be
observed, that this is not only a national but a religious name, and
those people were called so, because they were of the faith as well
as the descendants of Heber; so Shem was the father of others, but
in a peculiar manner the father of the children of Heber, because
the religion he professed was continued with them; and so Abraham is
particularly called the Hebrew, not only because he descended from
Heber, but was of the same, religion; and so his posterity, not in
the line of Ishmael, but of Isaac, are so called; and not as
descending from Isaac in the line of Esau, but of Jacob; and hence
it was not lawful for the Egyptians to eat bread with the Hebrews,
not because they were of another nation, but because of another
religion, (Genesis 43:32) . It seems that these false apostles were Jews,
since it is not denied by the apostle, but granted; they were some
such like false brethren as those who came from Judea to Antioch,
and disturbed the church there, (Acts 15:1) and whereas they boasted of
their being Hebrews, the descendants of the ancient patriarch Heber
in the line of Abraham; the apostle was able to match them in this,
and asserts himself to be an Hebrew too, which he could do with the
strictest truth, for he was an Hebrew of the Hebrews, he was an
Hebrew by father and mother's side:
are they Israelites? so am I.
The Jews were called Israelites from
Israel, a name which was given to Jacob their ancestor, upon his
wrestling with an angel, and prevailing over him; and was accounted
an honourable one, or title of honour; for the people of Israel were
they whom God chose for a peculiar people to himself above all
others, brought them out of Egypt, fed them in the wilderness, and
led them through it, and settled them in the land of Canaan, and
bestowed upon them special and peculiar privileges; see (Romans 9:4,5) .
The Jews are very extravagant in the praise of Israelites; they not
only make them the favourites of God, beloved of him, because called
children, and had the law given them F3, and extol them above all
mankind; (See Gill on 3:9) but they even make them equal to the
ministering angels, and say they are pure from sin as they,
especially on the day of atonement F4, yea, more excellent than
they F5: in this also the apostle could answer them, for he was of
the stock of Israel, and of the tribe of Benjamin, a son of Jacob,
or Israel; and was an Israelite indeed, as Nathanael, for all are
not Israel that are of Israel:
are they the seed of Abraham? so am I:
of this the Jews mightily
boasted; see (John 8:33) they reckon themselves, even the poorest
among them, as the nobles and princes of the earth F6; and even
other people have been fond of being reckoned of the stock of
Abraham, as particularly the Lacedemonians,
``Areus king of the Lacedemonians to Onias the high priest,
greeting: It is found in writing, that the Lacedemonians
and Jews are brethren, and that they are of the stock of
Abraham:'' (1 Maccabees 12:20,21)
The Jews make a merciful disposition to men to be a sign and evidence
of being of the seed of Abraham F7; but in a spiritual sense, an
interest in Christ, and faith in him, denominate men to be truly
Abraham's seed, and heirs of the promise: this is to be understood
here in a natural sense, and of being of Abraham's seed in the line of
Jacob, for otherwise the Ishmaelites and Idumeans were of the seed
of Abraham; but they were his seed in that line in which the
promised seed, the Messiah, was to come; though this was of no
avail, without having the same faith Abraham had, and believing
truly in Christ, as his spiritual seed do, whether they be Jews or
Gentiles; however, the apostle was equal to them in this respect; he
was of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, and above them in
another, in that he was of Abraham's spiritual seed by faith in
F23 Artapanus apud Euseb. praepar. l. 9. c. 18. p. 420. Ambrosius sive
Hilarius in Phil. iii. 5. & alii.
F24 Hicronymus in Ezek. c. 7. fol. 183. B. Theodoret. in Gen. Qu. 60.
F26 Ar. Montan. Canaan, c. 9. Vid. Sigonium de Repub. Heb. l. 1. c. 1.
F1 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 42. fol. 37. 3. Vid. Jarchium in Gen. x. 21.
& xiv. 13. & Aben Ezram in Exod. xxi. 2.
F2 Joseph. Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 4. Targ. Jon. in Gen. x. 21.
Sepher Cosri, par. 1. sect. 49. fol. 24. 2. R. Nehemiah in Bereshit
Rabba, ut supra, Aben Ezra in Gen. x. 21. & xxxix. 14. & in Exod.
i. 16. Kimchi in rad. (rbe) .
F3 Pirke Abot, c. 3. sect. 14.
F4 Pirke Eliezer, c. 48.
F5 lb. c. 47.
F6 Misn. Bava Kama, c. 8. sect. 6.
F7 T. Bab. Betza, fol. 32. 2.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:22". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=2co&chapter=011&verse=022>. 1999.