Hebrews 11:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 11:21, NIV: By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

Hebrews 11:21, ESV: By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

Hebrews 11:21, KJV: By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

Hebrews 11:21, NASB: By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

Hebrews 11:21, NLT: It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.

Hebrews 11:21, CSB: By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and he worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

What does Hebrews 11:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Faith, according to this passage, means trusting God to work in unseen ways, even when we do not completely understand what is happening (Hebrews 11:1–3). This includes remembering that God's perspective is eternal, and so we can look beyond our own earthly lives as part of that faith (Hebrews 11:13–14). Abraham exhibited this faith when given a confusing and challenging command from God (Hebrews 11:17–19; Genesis 22:1–14). Isaac demonstrated godly faith by passing along God's promises and blessings to his children (Hebrews 11:20).

Jacob, for his part, continued this pattern of trusting God by looking to the future. In hindsight, modern readers know that God did, in fact, fulfill those promises. The children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob became a massive throng of people, and those people took possession of the Promised Land (Joshua 1:1–4). But, nearing death, Jacob had not yet seen those promises come true. His faith is exemplified in continuing to pass down the blessings, just as his fathers had (Genesis 48:21).

The expression regarding Jacob's staff seems to imply both his extreme age, and nearness to death, as well as his humility in worshipping God despite his doubts.