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Bible Commentaries
Galatians 4

Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy ScriptureOrchard's Catholic Commentary

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Verses 1-31

IV:1-11 At Christ’s coming the Period of Tutelage gives place to that of Full Worship of God— 3. ’elements of the world’ probably signify those imperfect rules of conduct which held humanity in a kind of slavery—for the Jews their legal observances, for the Gentiles their pagan rites and customs.

4. A very important verse from which we learn of the preexistence of the Son, of his taking flesh from a Woman, cf.Apoc 12:1-2, at a time predetermined by God, and of his further condescension in his submission to the Law, cf.Luke 2:21. ’Fulness of the time’, the time fixed by God for the ending of the minority of the human race, cf.Ephesians 1:10, also Hebrews 1:1. ’born of a woman’: the only direct mention of the Blessed Virgin in in the Pauline writings; the Gk ?e?óµe???, ’made’, is practically synonymous with ?e???µe???, ’born’, and so we render with WV and RV. ’born under the law’: subject to the Mosaic Law.

5. The two-fold object of the divine plan, to redeem the Jews from the Law and to confer divine sonship on all.

6. The Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Jesus, gives the Christian this sonship and the intimate conviction thereof.

7. Sonship gives inheritance of God’s kingdom.

8-10. ’by nature’, i.e. in reality. These verses imply that most of the Galatian converts were Gentiles; nevertheless they have already started to observe the Jewish calendar.

11. He fears lest his work among them may have utterly failed.

12-20 A Digression revealing his Anxiety concerning their Lapse— 12. A plea for unity.

13-14. This ’infirmity’ or weakness of health, though a ’trial’ to them, did not diminish their welcome.

15. sc. What has now become of your rejoicing? Some think this verse hints at St Paul’s having some disease of the eyes.

17. ’They pay court to you for bad motives; and they would hatch you out’ (in order to exploit you, cf. JTS 40 ( 1939) 149-51), so that you in turn may pay court to them’.

18. ’But it is always good to be courted for a good motive’, i.e. by Paul himself.

19. Owing to their lapse he has again to go through the labour of begetting them in Christ. 20. ’Change my voice’, i.e. modify my severe tone, ’because I am perplexed about you’.

21-31 The Allegory of the Two Covenants— On rabbinic exegesis, cf. Bonsirven, Exégèse Rabbinique, 275, 309-10. Paul assumes the existence of the mystical sense (cf. § 40) in Scripture, in which events and figures of the OT are types of the NT. Taking yet another illustration from the history of Abraham, he shows that those who rely on the Law instead of faith in the Promise are to be excluded from the inheritance; cf. Prat, op. cit., I, 221.

22. Cf.Genesis 16:15; Genesis 17:15-21; Genesis 21:2, Genesis 21:9.

23. ’According to the flesh’: on the one side all happened according to nature; but on the other, according to a divine promise, miraculously realized.

24. ’Which things are allegorically interpreted’ as follows.

25. ’(For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia)’: a supplementary confirmation of his interpretation inserted in parenthesis; for Ismael is connected with Arabia through being the ancestor of the chief Arab tribe. Arabia then denoted all the land S. and E. of Palestine. ’She corresponds to that Jerusalem. . . .’

26. i.e. the Church. 27. Cf.Isaiah 54:1, with which the Rabbis connected Isaiah 51:2.28.... children of a promise’. 29. The hostility of the Ismaelites to the Israelites was a commonplace in rabbinic writings, cf. also 1Par 5:10, 19; Ps 82( 83):6-8. 30. Cf.Genesis 21:10.31

Bibliographical Information
Orchard, Bernard, "Commentary on Galatians 4". Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/boc/galatians-4.html. 1951.
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