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Hebrews 11:32

ESV And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—
NIV And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets,
NASB And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,
CSB And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets,
NLT How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.
KJV And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

What does Hebrews 11:32 mean?

Prior verses gave a certain level of detail, pointing to various Old Testament examples. These were given to show how godly faith—which really means trust—was exemplified by the actions of these figures. This trusting obedience not only proved their reliance on God, it also resulted in victory (Hebrews 11:17–31). That sense of victory, driven by obedience, itself inspired by godly faith, is the theme of these next few verses. In this passage, the writer will present a reminder of just how much God has proven His power, through the faithful obedience of His people.

Instead of detail, however, the writer makes this point through volume. Multiple heroes of Israeli history are mentioned here, as are numerous examples of divine intervention, leading up to the ultimate sign of divine victory: resurrection from death (Hebrews 11:35).

While these figures are all linked by their success, they are also notable for imperfections. Scripture describes people as they truly are, and even these heroes of the faith are linked to personal failures. That only serves to further emphasize God's ability to use sinful, error-prone people to complete His will. It should also help to encourage those who have struggled with sin not to give up. They, too, can "hold fast" to their faith, seeing how God was able to give victory even to those who made mistakes.

Gideon started off as a coward, hiding from the enemy (Judges 6:11), and hesitant to believe God's promises (Judges 6:36–40). Eventually, he obeyed God, even in a seemingly-impossible fight (Judges 7:8), and obtained victory for Israel (Judges 7:22–23). Barak was so plagued by doubt and insecurity that he could not fight God's enemies without the overt spiritual support of a woman, Deborah (Judges 4:4–9). In that culture, this would have been seen as unthinkable, even shameful. And yet, by acting on God's promises, he was successful in spite of great opposition (Judges 4:15–16).

It would be fair to say that Samson's personal flaws are not merely part of his story, they are his story (Judges 14—16). Yet it was God who enabled Samson such stunning success against the Philistines (Judges 14:4; 15:14–15), even in his own death (Judges 16:28–30).

Jephthah obtained victory (Judges 11:32–33), due to his faith in God (Judges 11:29), and in spite of his shameful birth (Judges 11:1–2), but proved he lacked common sense by making a rash vow (Judges 11:30–31). The emphasis here, of course, is on his success due to his obedience to God.

David, the greatest of Israel's kings, achieved all of his success as a direct result of honoring and obeying God (Acts 13:22; 1 Samuel 17:37). Even David, however, was linked to sin and error (2 Samuel 11:2–5), some of which led to the destruction of his own family (2 Samuel 12:10–15).

Samuel and the prophets, likewise, are credited with amazing miracles and feats of evangelism. Upcoming verses will summarize a few of these accomplishments.
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