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The argument of this whole chapter is a continuation of Paul's teaching on the abolition of the Law of Moses and the replacement of the entire system by Christianity. First, he compared the Law to the conditions governing a person not yet come of age, as something sure to be replaced by another arrangement later on (Galatians 4:1-7). Secondly, he pointed out the restrictive and onerous nature of the Law itself, comparing it to slavery or bondage (Galatians 4:8-11). Next, he reminded them of the circumstances of their conversion, their love for him, and warned them against the evil men who were seducing them away from the faith (Galatians 4:12-20); and finally, he appealed to an allegory based upon the life of Abraham, which was climaxed by "Cast out the handmaiden and her son," meaning, in the analogy, "Christianity and Judaism are not compatible, or reconcilable; and it is the Law of Moses that has to go." (Galatians 4:21-31).
But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all; but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed by the father. (Galatians 4:1-2)
It is plain, as Ridderbos suggested, that Paul's language here is not technical. "He is not thinking of a special legal procedure," but using an illustration that would be appropriate in any society. No child of whatever culture is to be trusted with an inheritance until the age of responsibility. The word here rendered "child" really "means babe," as Paul used the same word in 1 Corinthians 3:1 for a child needing a milk diet; but the evident meaning here is simply that of "a minor." As McGarvey noted, "In this paragraph Paul resumes the metaphor of Galatians 3:24ff, but from a slightly different point of view." There it is the pedagogue which is stressed; here it is the child himself.
 Herman N. Ridderbos, The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1953), p. 152.
 R. Alan Cole, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Galatians (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1965), p 112
 J. W. McGarvey, The Standard Bible Commentary, Galatians (Cincinnati, Ohio: The Standard Publishing Company, 1916), p. 271.
So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world.
We ... The word here means all people, Jews and Gentiles alike, the world itself being in bondage to all kinds of rudimentary and imperfect conceptions until Christ came.
Bondage ... Peter himself described the Law of Moses in this same terminology (Acts 15:10); and when one considers the incredible number of rules and regulations which were enforced by it, it becomes clear enough that it was indeed slavery.
Some commentators have expressed surprise that Paul did not restrict the "bondage" to primitive religions, making a distinction between the Mosaic Law and the pagan religions; but, while it is true enough that Judaism was magnificently superior to the pagan systems, there were many particulars in which it rose above them scarcely at all. It was purely legalistic; it subjected every violator to death without mercy, and as MacKnight said:
It prescribed no better sacrifices than the heathen religions ... could not cleanse the conscience of the sinner from the guilt of sin, afforded no assistance to enable men to obey it, and was utterly unable to procure pardon and eternal life for its adherents, being precisely the same (in all these categories) as the heathen religions.
Under the rudiments of the world ... The simple meaning of this place is, "The letters of the alphabet, elementary education in any branch of knowledge." The meaning of "world" is that of the "world of men," not that of the "cosmos" or "universe." The RSV rendition of this is absurd: "We were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe"! As Foy E. Wallace, Jr. said, "Besides its obscurity, not a word of it is in either the Greek or any (previous) English translation of it." Of course, this perversion of the sacred text was done to accommodate some rather wild speculations regarding the religion of the Galatians prior to their acceptance of Christianity.
 James MacKnight, Apostolical Epistles and Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1969), p. 169.
 Raymond T. Stamm, The Interpreter's Bible (New York: Abingdon Press, 1950), Vol. IX, p. 521.
 Foy E. Wallace, Jr., A Review of the New Versions (Fort Worth, Texas: The Foy E. Wallace, Jr., Publications, 1973), p. 443.
But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
The fullness of time ... has the meaning of "At God's appointed time." All of the grand events of God's plan for the redemption of mankind were scheduled in advance, and from the beginning, even the final judgment itself being a planned and scheduled event. "God has appointed a day, etc." (Acts 17:31).
God sent forth his Son ... This is a dogmatic statement of the Incarnation, being a clear reference to the pre-existence of Christ with God before the world was (John 1:1). This clause teaches: (1) the deity of the Son of God, (2) "the going forth of the Son from a place where he was before, and (3) his being invested with divine authority." We agree with Ramsay who said that it was simply "incredible that some unbelievers find here the statement that Christ was only a man."
Born of a woman ... In view of the clear meaning of the preceding clause, it is impossible to accommodate the opinion so often expressed by otherwise reputable and dependable scholars that "this is not a reference to the virgin birth." Since the father of Jesus Christ is clearly set forth as the heavenly Father, pray tell how the Lord could have been born, or entered our earth life, in any other way, except by virgin birth? Are all the commentators ignorant of the fact that if there was cohabitation, in the usual sense, involved in the birth here mentioned it could not have produced one who had previously existed with God before the world was, but would invariably and certainly have produced a brand new individual? To be sure, Paul did not here stress the virgin birth, but there is no way that these words could have been spoken by the blessed apostle unless he truly believed it and so arranged his teaching here as to bear an eloquent witness of it.
Furthermore, it is highly questionable if "born of a woman" is the proper translation of the Greek expression "becoming of a woman." While true enough that Christ was born of a woman, that is not the word Paul used. Huxtable believed a better translation is made to be of a woman, preferring it because "Such a translation would imply a previous state of existence (a thought most certainly in the context), whereas born does not." To say the least, Huxtable's translation more accurately reflects the thought of the whole passage.
Born under the law ... "Made to be under the law" is better in this place also, where the same word is used. There is a genuine sense in which Christ was not "born" under the law, because as the true Temple of God, the Head of the Theocracy, and the divine Son of God, he was intrinsically absolutely above the law, as emphatically indicated in Matthew 17:25-27, where it is recorded that Jesus consented to the payment of the temple tax, not because he owed it, but because he did not wish to cause people to stumble. See in my Commentary on Matthew 17:24ff. In the same manner as indicated there, Christ consented to "be made" under the Mosaic obligations for the purpose of fulfilling them, obligations that did not derive in any sense whatever from his birth, but from his joint-purpose with God even before the Incarnation was begun.
The adoption of sons ... Adam was the "son of God" by creation (Luke 3:38), a status that does not pertain to any of Adam's posterity due to the disastrous behavior of the great progenitor which involved the entire human race in ruin. God's purpose of redemption is that of adopting all of us "Adamites" into the status of sonship with the Father, the same having been the purpose of the Incarnation, the virgin birth, the making of Christ to be under the law, and, in fact, the total family of events clustered around the sacred name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
 H. N. Ridderbos, op. cit., p. 155.
 Wm. R. Ramsay, A Historical Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1965), p. 396.
 Everett F. Harrison, Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p. 709.
 E. Huxtable, The Pulpit Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), Vol. 20, p. 183.
And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. So that thou art no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Some scholars read the first clause, "as proof that ye are sons"; but Sanday believed it is better to retain it as in the English Revised Version (1885), showing that the time of receiving the gift-ordinary of the Holy Spirit is subsequent to achieving the status of sonship and a consequence of it. This is without doubt the true meaning, for it coincides with the promise of the apostle Peter (Acts 2:38) that the reception of the Holy Spirit is to be expected after faith, repentance and baptism into the name of Christ, and as a promise to be fulfilled subsequently to such faith and obedience. That is why Paul also referred to the same gift as "the Holy Spirit of promise" (Ephesians 1:13).
Whereby we cry, Abba, Father ... (KJV) indicates that one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in Christian hearts is the sense of nearness to God, indicated by the prayers addressed to God in such terms of intimacy, "Abba" being the ordinary word used by Hebrew children in addressing their father. However, it is ridiculous to equate this word with the English word "Daddy," which in current usage has lost a lot of the reverential respect which pertained to the Aramaic word, "Abba."
No longer a bond servant, but a son ... The world, at least that portion of it which accepts Christianity, has come of age in Christ. The idols, liturgical externals, pageantry, regalia and all other visible external spectacularism of pagan worship are not merely unnecessary, but destructive of genuine worship and service of Christ.
If a son, then an heir through God ... A Christian is not an heir of Abraham, but an heir with him, by virtue of sonship and union with Christ. The reason Paul stressed God's Fathership of the Lord Jesus Christ in Galatians 4:4 was correctly discerned by Pink who declared that "God must be the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to be the God and Father of his people whom he chose in Christ." The Christian's sonship to God is derived from his unity with Christ, identity with Christ, as being "in Christ," and thus a part of that spiritual body which "is Christ," who is truly and actually the sinless and perfect Son of God.
 William Barclay, The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1954), p. 38.
 William Sanday, Ellicott's Commentary on the Holy Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1959), p. 450.
 Arthur W. Pink, Gleanings from Paul (Chicago: Moody Press, 1967), p. 93.
Howbeit at that time, not knowing God, ye were in bondage to them that by nature are no gods.
This is a reference to the idolatry of the Galatians before they accepted Christ. "Bondage" is an apt term to describe the merciless, unfeeling subjection of the pre-Christian pagan world to the devices of idolatrous priests. True, the same word was used of Judaism, but there was a marked difference, due to the sensuality and immorality which were the stock in trade of the idol worshipers.
No gods ... Paul wrote the Corinthians that, "No idol is anything in the world, and there is no God but one" (1 Corinthians 8:4). See my Commentary on 1Corinthians under that verse.
But now that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again?
To know God, rather to be known by God ... There is a distinction in this that Paul always observed, as in 1 Corinthians 8:3; because, as Leon Morris noted, "The really important thing is not that we know God, but that he knows us!" All true knowledge of God comes from God, and even that conveyed by the blessed Saviour himself came from the Father. See Matthew 16:17, where Peter's confession of Christ as the Son of God was said by Jesus not to have been revealed by "flesh and blood," but by "the Father in heaven."
Weak and beggarly rudiments ... In that Paul declared that the Galatians were again coming into "bondage" to such things, it is clear enough that the RSV translation of Galatians 4:3 is erroneous. Whatever the word means here, it means there; and there cannot be any doubt of what it means here, namely, that they were on the verge of becoming entangled again with observing the regulations, sabbaths, etc., of the Jewish law.
Why were these things called "weak and beggarly"? See MacKnight's lucid comment under Galatians 4:3. They were also beggarly in the sense of being "poor" in contrast to the unsearchable riches of Christ. Dummelow thought that such a defection by the Galatians into Judaism "was a return, not, indeed, into idolatry, but into an imperfect and rudimentary religion." Of course, such a view of Judaism's superiority over paganism is true of it before the First Advent of the Son of God and the Jewish rejection of him; but in this dispensation, such a superiority no longer pertains. As Russell put it:
Jewish laws and ceremonies were but symbols of Christ, through which they were to know God as Father, and be known by him as sons. Turning back to exalt mere forms was idolatry.
 Leon Morris, Tyndale Commentary, 1Corinthians (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1958), p. 93.
 J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 953.
 John William Russell, Compact Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1964), p. 468.
Ye observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain.
Sabbatarians have done their best to eliminate the meaning of this passage, but as Huxtable tells us, the words used here "were used by Josephus for the keeping of sabbath days"; and when read in conjunction with Colossians 2:16 there cannot be any doubt that the sin of the Galatians was simply that of keeping, after the Jewish manner, the sabbaths, festivals and special days of the Old Covenant, which if persisted in, would mean their total loss to Christianity. The whole thesis of this epistle is that "Judaism and Christianity do not mix."
I beseech you, brethren, become as I am, for I also am become as ye are. Ye did me no wrong: but ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you the first time.
Paul has given up all ceremonies of Judaism, the few times he observed any of them after becoming a Christian always having some special purpose in mind, like that of avoiding unnecessary persecution or looking to the purpose of preventing disunity in the church. The statement here shows Paul's utter repugnance for such things. It is in this that he wishes the Galatians to become like himself.
Ye did me no wrong ... As Howard said, "The Galatians would certainly have known what Paul means by this, but it is not clear to modern readers." Perhaps, as Phillips translated this place, we should read it, "I have nothing against you personally."
Because of an infirmity of the flesh ... Endless speculations concerning the illness (that is the way it must be understood) that caused Paul to preach to the Galatians have found no general agreement among scholars; but the most reasonable explanation of it would seem to be that advocated by William M. Ramsay and accepted by Dummelow, Barclay and many others to the effect that when Paul came to Perga in Pamphylia on the first missionary journey (Acts 13:13ff), he did not preach there (at Perga), due to a sudden onset of malaria, taking refuge in the highlands of Pisidian Antioch (and later going to the other cities of the first tour). The question is not really important.
Preached the gospel unto you the first time ... The last two words of this clause are important with regard to the problem of dating Galatians, some scholars reading these words as a declaration that Paul had made "two missionary tours" to the Galatians before writing this epistle, which, if allowed, would make it considerably later than if only one tour is mentioned here. See introduction. Dummelow, Sanday, Huxtable and many others insist that the words imply two tours had been made when this was written; but, as Howard observed, "From a lexical point of view, it is not possible to prove that Paul wished here to differentiate between a later visit and an earlier one." The simple truth is that the words merely mean "formerly" or "on the first occasion" of Paul's seeing them; and William Hendriksen, who accepted the implication of two tours previous to this letter, translated the place "on the former occasion," which certainly allows that Paul's writing this letter was the occasion present, to be distinguished from the other. It seems to this student that all of the arguments about this are futile, because on the first tour, Paul made two visits to every one of the cities of south Galatia, with the lone exception of Derbe, the second visit being the occasion when Paul appointed elders in each of the churches he had established (Acts 14:23). Therefore, if two visits are a mandatory understanding of this verse, one has to look no further than the first missionary journey of Paul to find both of them!
Of course, it is declared that "The explanation that the apostle intended to distinguish his first arrival at the several South Galatian churches from his return in the course of the same journey cannot be accepted!" Such an opinion, however, is unsupported by any hard evidence, being quite arbitrary and unreasonable. Why could not Paul have made such a distinction? Especially in view of the fact that at Perga he did not preach on the first of those two occasions, whereas on the other he did. It is ridiculous to suppose that Paul counted his journeys in exactly the same manner as the latest Sunday school lesson, and the fact of the evangelist Luke having distinguished the two we have cited is more than sufficient authority for our doing the same thing. Scholars get carried away. They neatly classify Paul's labors as Tour I, II and III, then suppose that when Paul is speaking of "journeys" he is using their terminology!
 R. E. Howard, Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1965), Vol. IX, p. 74.
 William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary on Galatians (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1968), p. 170.
; ISBE, p. 1159.
And that which was a temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but ye received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
There is always a temptation to belittle a sick man, especially one seeking to change one's whole manner of life, but the Galatians did not yield to it. It seems that all speculations about how repulsive and repugnant Paul's disease was are merely morbid imagination. He was sick. That is all that is said here,
As an angel of God ... As a matter of fact, some of the Galatians tried to worship him, before they understood his message (Acts 14:11ff).
Where then is that gratulation of yourselves? for I bear you witness, that if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.
Of course, here is the ground of the speculation that Paul's infirmity was temporary blindness, which of course is a possibility; but such an expression as Paul used here is proverbial, and there can be no certainty that any such thing is meant. Ridderbos said, "Galatians 4:15 has nothing to do with Paul's infirmity." Whatever lay behind such a statement, Paul here appealed to the love which the Galatians manifested toward him from the very first time he ever saw them.
So then am I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
In context, the thought is, "Surely one whom you have loved so much cannot become your enemy merely by telling you the truth about people who are now trying to exploit you."
They zealously seek you in no good way: nay, they desire to shut you out, that ye may seek them.
This was spoken with reference to the Judaizers, whose purpose was to control and exploit the Galatians by using them to support Jewish religious enterprises. "They seek you in no good way" is a figure of speech, called litotes, which is "the affirmation of a truth by denying its opposite," the meaning being that the Judaizers were hypocritical, and that their motives in cultivating the Galatians were impure.
But it is good to be zealously sought in a good manner at all times, and not only when I am present with you.
By this, Paul meant that he was not merely jealous of the attention others were giving the Galatians, a thing he was diligent to give himself when present with them, but that in the case of these particular ardent cultivators of their friendship, they were up to no good whatever.
My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you ...
My little children ... This claiming on Paul's part of the Galatians as his spiritual children has also entered into scholarly efforts to determine the date of Galatians and also the identity of the churches to whom it is addressed, the questions, of course, being related to each other. It is said that "The churches of south Galatia had two founders (Paul and Barnabas), and owed allegiance to Barnabas along with Paul." This is true, of course, but Paul had just written to them of Barnabas' being "drawn away" into accepting the position of the Judaizers (Galatians 2:13), and until that had been resolved, it would have been improper for Paul to have associated himself with Barnabas in this appeal. Over and beyond that, it is not true that Barnabas was the co-founder of those churches, his status in all of Galatia being more that of Paul's assistant than that of a co-leader. The dramatic change had come at Paphos. Furthermore, the pagans calling Barnabas, Jupiter, the king of pagan dieties, and Paul only Mercury, the chief speaker, was merely pagan lack of discernment, basing their judgment upon external appearance only. The Jews of south Galatia, who knew the real power of both Paul and Barnabas, as regards the founding of those churches, tried to kill Paul, not Barnabas. It was therefore altogether all right and proper for Paul to have claimed spiritual fatherhood of those churches, even if the defection of Barnabas had been corrected.
Again in travail ... Two things appear in this: (1) there had been an agony of travail (like that of a woman in childbirth) on Paul's part at the founding of those churches, Acts 13 and Acts 14 giving many of the details of his sorrows and bitter sufferings, and (2) he was going through the same deep anxieties again upon their behalf.
Until Christ be formed in you ... The drifting into Judaism had blurred and distorted the image of Christ in their hearts, and Paul wishes it to be perfectly formed.
But I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone; for I am perplexed about you.
This is an inverted manner of Paul's saying that he regretted the necessity of reprimanding in order to correct those whom he loved so much.
Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
THE ALLEGORY OF ISAAC AND ISHMAEL
Desire to be under the law ... There has always been a basic natural appeal in visible, ceremonial, liturgical, external and spectacular religion, as witnessed continually by the churches of all ages in the persistent drifting into those very things. To the Galatians, so soon out of paganism, they were simply hypnotized and seduced into receiving the allegations of the Judaizers. Paul's argument, however, here seems to say, "Do not merely look at it, listen to what it teaches!" There is a lot in religion today that needs to be analyzed in the same way.
The Judaizers were talking about being "sons of Abraham," which in a sense (carnal) they were; and the thunderbolt in the next verse is that "Abraham had two sons; which kind were the Judaizers?"
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the freewoman.
Ishmael was the son of Hagar, Sarah's maid, whom she gave to Abraham, in order to claim a son (by such a device) for herself. Abraham had many sons by concubines, but they were his property, not Sarah's. Isaac was the actual son born to Sarah, born as a result of the promise of God long after the time when either Abraham or Sarah might have expected to have children. Sarah of course was free, the lawful wife of the mighty patriarch. The full account of all this is in Genesis, much of the entire book being given over to the recounting of it. A summary of the allegory Paul was about to give is the following:
The bondwoman, Hagar The freewoman, Sarah
Son of the bondwoman, Ishmael Son of the freewoman, Isaac
Natural birth Supernatural birth by promise
Mount Sinai, the Law Mount Zion, the Law of Christ
The earthly Jerusalem The heavenly Jerusalem
Fruitful Barren (at first)
Small offspring Large offspring
Judaism a bondage Christians freeMONO>LINES>
These analogies will clarify many of the points Paul made in the next few verses.
Howbeit the son by the handmaid is born after the flesh; but the son of the freewoman is born through promise.
Ishmael was born as a result of the selfishness of Sarah and the natural cohabitation of Abraham with her slave girl. God was simply not in the arrangement; but Isaac, the son of promise, was born through the enabling promise of God himself, contrary to all natural expectations.
These two sons, as Paul would promptly point out, typified the two types of "sons of Abraham," as represented after Ishmael in the persons of the unspiritual Sadducees and Pharisees, with Isaac typifying the true spiritual seed of Abraham, as elaborated by Jesus in John 8, and by Paul throughout the book of Romans, where the distinction is often made between the fleshly Israel and the spiritual Israel, which is the church.
Which things contain an allegory: for these women are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar. Now this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia and answereth to the Jerusalem that now is: for she is in bondage with her children.
Hagar is mount Sinai ... Chrysostom stated that "Hagar is the word for mount Sinai, in the language of that country"; but scholars question this on the basis that they do not know where he got his information! As he lived more than a millenium before any of us, it would appear to be a little late to inquire. As Dummelow pointed out, Sinai and Jerusalem mean the same thing, law and bondage; and Hagar typified both."
Bearing children unto bondage ... This was, first of all, true literally, as Jerusalem itself was subjected to Rome at the time of this writing; and it was also true spiritually. As McGarvey said, "The Jews themselves universally recognized the law as a practical bondage (Acts 15:10; Matthew 23:4)."
 E. Huxtable, op. cit., p. 203.
 J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 954.
 J. W. McGarvey, op. cit., p. 278.
But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother.
Abraham was a recognized type of God in the Old Testament, a type recognized by Christ himself in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus; and Sarah herself therefore bore a certain analogy as the holy bride, the church (the unity of God and Christ being pertinent to the analogy). As the sons of Sarah, Christians are upon a much higher level than the sons of the bondwoman.
Which is our mother ... There also seems to be more than a hint here that Paul was rejecting any notion whatever that the Jerusalem church was in any sense "the Mother church" in the earthly sense of that word. The "Mother Church" virus has afflicted all generations of Christians, notwithstanding the truth in evidence here that nothing "on earth" may in any sense be understood as "the Mother Church." It is likely here that one needs to look for the reason for Paul's refusal to deliver the findings of that church in Jerusalem to these very Galatians.
For it is written, Rejoice thou barren that bearest not; Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: For more are the children of the desolate than of her that hath the husband.
This is quoted from Isaiah 54:1, the application being to Sarah and Hagar, as follows: Sarah at first had no child, but when the promise of Isaac was fulfilled, her posterity exceeded that of Hagar; but in the instance of the spiritual fulfillment of this, the numberless "Sons of Sarah" in the church of the living God even more overwhelmingly outnumber those of Hagar.
Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, so also it is now.
Here the reference is to the event of Genesis 21:9ff. The enmity between these two branches of Abraham's family has continued until the present day; and there has also been a corresponding hatred of the secular, carnal, fleshly and unspiritual against the holy teachings of Christ also. Paul intends for the Galatians to see that the Judaizers are actually their enemies, having no good thing for them, at all, in their purposes.
Howbeit what saith the Scripture? Cast out the handmaid and her son: for the son of the handmaid shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman.
This is the dramatic and blunt conclusion Paul enforced by his appeal to this allegory. "When the Judaizers pride themselves on the fact that they are `sons of Abraham,' let it be remembered that Abraham had two sons." In Paul's times, and until now, there are still two classes of "sons of Abraham"; and the significant question is, "Who is a real son of Abraham?" Paul had already given the answer in Galatians 3:26-29. The reason why all natural religious systems are bound to come in conflict with Christianity is that Christianity is supernatural, and the natural systems cannot coexist as parallel paths to the same goal." The law of Moses and the gospel of Christ cannot be blended, and as Wesley said "It is the Law which must go, and the gospel which must enjoy an unshared supremacy."
MacKnight was surely correct in the thought that "In this allegory, Paul prophesied the rejection of secular Israel, the natural seed, from being the church and people of God." Paul never pointed that analogy out, but it is surely there; and "Lightfoot remarked that Paul's confident application of verse 30 is a striking tribute to his prophetic insight." This is true, because when Paul wrote, it was to human eyes far from certain that the old Jewish system would be cast out of its inheritance, an event, however, that was dramatically and violently fulfilled in the total destruction of Jerusalem about twenty years after this letter was written.
 William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 189.
 R. Alan Cole, op. cit., p. 135.
 John Wesley, One Volume New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1972), in loco.
 James MacKnight, op. cit., p. 186.
 F. Roy Coad, A New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969), p. 453.
Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the freewoman.
This was Paul's summary of the allegory just related.
Coffman's Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Galatians 4". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany