What does Hebrews 11:23 mean?
ESV: By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
NIV: By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.
NASB: By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
CSB: By faith Moses, after he was born, was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn't fear the king's edict.
NLT: It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.
KJV: By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
Verse Commentary:
This passage in Hebrews gives examples of believers who exemplified godly faith. According to this passage, true "faith" is a forward-looking trust, in the face of the unknown, based on what the believer knows of God. Abraham trusted God even when the future seemed to contradict the Lord's promises (Hebrews 11:17–18). Isaac exhibited faith by passing along God's blessing to his sons, even in his old age (Hebrews 11:20). Jacob (Hebrews 11:21) and Joseph (Hebrews 11:22) both followed suit, looking forward to the future while trusting in God to fulfill all He had promised.

Moses' parents also faced an immediate, dire dilemma. The ruler of Egypt had ordered the entire nation to kill Israelite boy babies (Exodus 1:22). This was after the Israelite midwives themselves refused to follow such an order (Exodus 1:17). Rather than give in to their natural fear of retribution from the Pharaoh, Moses' parents defied man and obeyed God, keeping their son alive (Exodus 2:1–10). Though they could not know, at the time, exactly what would happen, they knew that it was more important to obey God than to live in fear of men.
Verse Context:
Hebrews 11:17–31 makes a subtle shift from the prior verses. Earlier, the writer had given examples of faithful obedience leading to God's blessings. Those cases were mostly general, where a willingness to trust God was weighed against an uncertain future. In this passage, however, we are shown men and women who chose to trust God despite immediate, personal hardships. This, as well, is a crucial aspect of faith, which the writer has already defined as a confident trust in God.
Chapter Summary:
True, godly faith is defined as trust, relying on God when looking to the future, and obeying even when we don't fully understand all details. The great figures of the Old Testament, such as Abraham, Moses, and David, all lived according to this type of faith. Ultimately, that means trusting God's intent to make good on His promises from an eternal perspective. The model of faith presented by those people, in light of the struggles they faced, ought to inspire Christians towards a more confident, purposeful faith.
Chapter Context:
Up to this point, the book of Hebrews has given extensive evidence proving that Jesus Christ, and the new covenant He brought about, is God's ultimate plan for mankind's salvation. Chapter 10 provided an additional warning about the danger of falling away from this truth. Chapter 11 begins by clarifying the meaning of the word ''faith,'' primarily by listing examples of Old Testament figures who exemplify it. The ultimate application of this knowledge should be a motivation to ''hold fast'' to the gospel, despite hardships. That encouragement is a major theme of chapter 12.
Book Summary:
The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God's plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.
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