Hebrews 11:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 11:12, NIV: And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

Hebrews 11:12, ESV: Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

Hebrews 11:12, KJV: Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

Hebrews 11:12, NASB: Therefore even from one man, and one who was as good as dead at that, there were born descendants who were just as the stars of heaven in number, and as the innumerable grains of sand along the seashore.

Hebrews 11:12, NLT: And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead--a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.

Hebrews 11:12, CSB: Therefore, from one man--in fact, from one as good as dead--came offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and as innumerable as the grains of sand along the seashore.

What does Hebrews 11:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The general pattern of biblical faith is to trust our future to God, despite not having perfect knowledge of what will happen next (Hebrews 11:1). This part of the book of Hebrews describes examples from the Old Testament, showing that God rewards those who trust Him, even though they cannot see all of the details in how God plans to make good on His promises (Hebrews 11:2). Among these examples were Abel, Enoch, and Noah, as well as Sarah and Abraham.

Here, the reference to Abraham is especially important. Abraham was promised a son by God, despite being more than seventy years old when God first called him out of his homeland (Genesis 12:1–4). Later, God vowed to give Abraham a natural-born child despite his old age, and his elderly wife's lifelong barrenness (Genesis 17:15–16). Both Abraham and Sarah laughed, at first, in response to this prediction (Genesis 17:17; 18:12). Given that Abraham was already well past the average human lifespan (Psalm 90:10), he was "as good as dead," from a worldly perspective.

And yet, just as He said, God delivered on His word. Abraham, a man a full 100 years old, was blessed with a son of his own (Genesis 21:5). Descendants of that son, Isaac, became the nations of Edom and Israel, a massive and uncountable host of people.