Paul recognizes that he cannot acknowledge all of the faithful believers, but he names some of the incredible trials they endured for their faithfulness.
In the previous sections, Paul recounted stories of the early believers from Adam and Eve through Moses. All of the believers who had great faith in God between Joshua and Christ are too many to count and tell of. Paul lists a few specific people and the great acts their faith led to and then gives many examples of trials suffered by those who had faith. Those who have faith must be prepared to suffer in this life.
Paul continues his chronological march through the history of Israel. He lists several judges: Gideon (Judges 6-7), Barak (Judges 4), Samson (Judges 14-16), and Jephthah (Judges 11). He mentions King David (2 Samuel 5), and Samuel the prophet (1 Samuel 3). He mentions many might acts of deliverance, perhaps including the time of the Babylonian captivity, where Daniel exhibited great faith when God shut the mouths of lions (Daniel 6) and quenched the power of fire for Daniel’s three friends (Daniel 3). All of these incredible believers were only able to do incredible things because of their faith in God.
He also recounts the many great victories experienced because of faith. Paul makes clear that in many cases people of faith who were willing to trust God saw deliverance and reward in this life. They did not always have to wait until the next life. However, there is no assurance things will turn out like we hope, as the next section will make clear.
32 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, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
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