Hebrews 11:33 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 11:33, NIV: "who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,"

Hebrews 11:33, ESV: "who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,"

Hebrews 11:33, KJV: "Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,"

Hebrews 11:33, NASB: "who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,"

Hebrews 11:33, NLT: "By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions,"

Hebrews 11:33, CSB: "who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,"

What does Hebrews 11:33 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The prior verse rapidly listed a series of Old Testament heroes who exemplified godly faith. As defined earlier, this "faith" means a forward-looking trust in God, naturally leading to obedience (Hebrews 11:1–3). Each of the figures listed was celebrated for his victory over Israel's enemies, mostly described in the book of Judges. At the same time, these men also suffered from sins and failures, which are also recorded in the Bible. God's interest in these men was not due to their perfection, and their success was not a result of their own flawless lives. Rather, they overcame their enemies through a trust in God, which led them to obey (Hebrews 11:32).

The prior verse ended with a mention of "Samuel and the prophets," referring more or less to the entire line of Old Testament prophets. Just as the former verse rapidly listed the names of Old Testament heroes, verses 33, 34, and 35 summarize the stunning successes gained by these men who lived by faith. The feats named here are meant to include all of the faithful from the Old Testament, not merely the prophets. The accomplishments seem to build, climaxing with a reference to the greatest possible victory: resurrection from death. The text then transitions to describe the kind of hardships these believers endured.

As seen in the lives of heroes already listed in this chapter, those who obediently lived out faith in God were able to achieve military success (Joshua 3:7; 6:20), turn back those who oppressed Israel (Judges 8:28), and see God fulfill His promises (Exodus 13:8–9). Some, like Daniel, even miraculously survived in the presence of lions (Daniel 6:19–23).