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The apostle had said in the end of the last chapter that those who are Christ's are Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise. The idea suggested by a κληρονόμος who is so not through right, but by promise, dwells in his mind, and he now illustrates some of its peculiarities. These he notices, and then works round again to the conclusion- εἰ δὲ υἱὸς καὶ κληρονόμος “but if a son, an heir also,” through God. The illustration is parallel in some points to that of the previous section.
Galatians 4:1. Λέγω δέ , ἐφ᾿ ὅσον χρόνον ὁ κληρονόμος νήπιός ἐστιν , οὐδὲν διαφέρει δούλου , κύριος πάντων ὤν “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant (bond-servant), though he be lord of all.” This formula introduces a continued explanatory statement: Galatians 4:16; Romans 15:8. Otherwise the apostle writes as at Galatians 3:17, τοῦτο δὲ λέγω ; or as in 1 Corinthians 1:12, λέγω δὲ τοῦτο ; or in 1 Corinthians 7:29, τοῦτο δέ φημι . These cases are analogous, but somewhat different in emphasis. The train of thought which he has been pursuing suggests the following illustration. “Now I say,” carrying out yet another point of illustration, and by a different figure. The sense is not, “my meaning is this;” but a new phase of argument, connected closely, however, with what goes before, is introduced. For the phrase ἐφ᾿ ὅσον χρόνον , see Romans 7:1, 1 Corinthians 7:39; and this period is parallel to that of the paedagogy. The apostle states the simple proposition, and does not use the accusative with the infinitive as in Romans 15:8, or ὅτι as in 1 Corinthians 1:12. Νήπιος is an infant or minor, and this term or ἄνηβος stands opposed to ἔφηβος ( παῖς - ἀνήρ ), one who had attained to his majority. In Athens ἐφηβεία began at the age of eighteen, and two years elapsed before complete emancipation. In Rome infancy ended at the seventh year, puberty began at the fourteenth, but tutelage lasted till the twenty-fifth. In Scottish law pupillarity extends to fourteen in males, and minority to twenty-one. Among the Hebrews the period of nonage was thirteen years and a day for males, and twelve years and a day for females. Selden, de Successionibus, ix., Works, vol. ii. p. 25. It disturbs and enfeebles the analogy to attach to νήπιος any ethical meaning, as if “it implied imperfection of understanding as well as of age” (Bagge after Chrysostom). Doubtless it is because the heir is a child that tutors are appointed over him, and youth implies inability; but the apostle refers simply to the fact of childhood in its legal aspect-not to infancy in any physical sense, as might be suggested by the composition of the word. We must not put more into the figure than is warranted by the apostle's own deductions from it. The phrase ὁ κληρονόμος is like ὁ μεσίτης in Galatians 3:20 “the heir,” any or every heir as the case may be. Winer, § 18, 1; Dionys. Halic. Galatians 4:9, p. 13, vol. ii. ed. Kiessling. “The heir” is not the possessor, but only the expectant possessor. The inheritance is in reserve for him, Matthew 21:38; but he differs nothing from a servant. The genitive δούλου is used as in Matthew 6:26. See on Galatians 2:6. The heir is nothing different from a bond-servant-the idea being that he has no real possession, no power of independent action-even though he be lord of all: κύριος πάντων ὤν “being all the while, or though he be lord of all.” This concessive use of the participle is common. Jelf, § 697, d; Donaldson, § 621. The κυριότης is his de jure, not de facto -the πάντα being his by right even now from his birth and position. It is not in eventum, as Meyer gives it, but now, at the present moment, he is lord of all, though not the actual possessor; yet, though lord of all, he is in dependence and discipline nothing different from a servant who has no right in the inheritance at all.
Galatians 4:2. ᾿Αλλὰ ὑπὸ ἐπιτρόπους ἐστὶ καὶ οἰκονόμους , ἄχρι τῆς προθεσμίας τοῦ πατρός “But is under guardians and stewards, until the term appointed of the father.” The Vulgate has sub tutoribus et actoribus; Augustine, procuratores et actores; Wycliffe, “kepers and tutores,”- actores = to “doers” in old Scottish statute. The ἐπίτροπος literally is one on whom charge is devolved, or he might be the guardian of orphan children- ὀρφανῶν ἐπίτροπος , Plato, Leg. p. 766, C; Plutarch, Lycurgus, § 3, p. 66, Vitae, vol. i. ed. Bekker. He is not to be identified with the παιδαγωγός (Elsner), but the heir is under his charge-he has the control of his person. On the other hand, the οἰκονόμος is entrusted with his property, as indeed the name implies-who provides for him and manages his possessions. Luke 16:1; Genesis 15:2; Xen. Mem. 2.10, 4. The word has been disguised into a rabbinical one. Schoettgen, in loc. et in Luke 8:3; Selden as above. In ordinary New Testament use it means overseer, as in Matthew 20:8, Luke 8:3; Herod. 1.108; Joseph. Antiq. 18.6, 6. But it is here employed in a more restricted meaning as a guardian or legal representative, called in Attic process κύριος . Xen. Mem. 1.2, 40; Ael. Var. Hist. 3.26. Compare what is said of Moses in Hebrews 3:5. Neither the person nor property of the heir are therefore at his own disposal during his minority-the first is under guardians, and the second under stewards. But the period of subjection is limited, yea, defined-
῎Αχρι τῆς προθεσμίας τοῦ πατρός “until the term appointed of the father.” The term προθεσμία , meaning “appointed before”- προ -prearranged, occurs only here in the New Testament. It is used substantively, though ἡμέρας may be supplied. The word is a legal term found often in classical writers, as meaning the time defined for bringing actions or prosecutions (“ Statute of limitations ”), and it also denotes the period allowed to a defendant for paying damages. Sometimes it signifies any time pre-fixed- τῆς προθεσμίας ἐνισταμένης , Joseph. Antiq. 12.4, 7; but here it denotes the period fixed when the tutorship comes to an end. See Wetstein, in loc.
The general meaning of the apostle is quite plain; but some points in the analogy, though they are not essential to the argument, are involved in difficulty. The apostle is not to be supposed to treat the subject with forensic accuracy in minutiae, but only to bring out the general conception, so that his meaning could be easily apprehended. One question is, “Is the father of the heir described supposed to be dead or alive?” Commentators are divided. That the father is supposed to be dead is the opinion of Theodoret, Rückert, De Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Hilgenfeld, Windischmann, and Hofmann. The other opinion, that the father is supposed to be alive, is held by Cameron, Neubour, Wolf, Winer, Schott, Wieseler, Matthies, and Meyer. The question is of little importance in itself, and the settlement of it is not essential to the illustration. It may be argued, on the one hand, that the father is supposed to be dead, because the word ἐπίτροπος so often refers to a guardian of orphans, and the present participle ὤν describes a claim or right scarce compatible with the idea of the father's being alive. There is little force in the opposite argument, urged by Dr. Brown and others, that the supposition of a dead father would not be in harmony with the antitype, the living God of Israel; for the supposed death of the father would only symbolize some change of relation on the part of His children to God. On the other hand, it is in favour of the supposition that the father is alive, that the termination of the minority is said to be fore-appointed by him, whereas were he deceased the interval of minority would be regulated by statute. It may, however, be replied, that the father might fix the period which the law itself had ordained, or that there might be exceptional cases of power granted to a father, or that in Galatia the will of the father was more prominent in such arrangements than in other provinces. To decide either way dogmatically is impossible, though the second view has some probability. The ingenuity of Grotius in saying that the father is supposed to be absent, is parallel to that of Jatho in saying that the child-heir is an adopted child. The apostle simply states a common case-states it as it must have often occurred, and as it was best suited to illustrate his argument, in which the sovereign will of the father has a prominent place. He does not say-and it was not essential to his illustration to say-why the heir was thus placed under tutors and stewards. He merely records the common custom, that the heir for a definite period limited by the father's will, was usually so placed, and the occurrence was no rare or abnormal arrangement. Nor, in speaking of the spiritual truth so pictured out under a form of domestic administration, need we be curious or careful to distinguish the respective spheres of the tutors and trustees, as if the first referred to the Jews and the second to the Gentiles (Baumgarten-Crusius), or to inquire who they were, as if the ἐπίτροπος were the law and the οἰκονόμος the Aaronic priesthood (Windischmann). It is needless to track out points of analogy so minutely, for the apostle himself gives his meaning in the following verse-
Galatians 4:3. Οὕτω καὶ ἡμεῖς , ὅτε ἦμεν νήπιοι “Even so we also, when we were children”-not individually or in our own previous personal lives, but the reference is to the church in its past immature state. Καί is used in the comparison-the heir was for a time νήπιος , and we too are νήπιοι -in pointed parallel. Klotz-Devarius, vol. 2.635; Winer, § 53, 5.
Who are meant by ἡμεῖς has been disputed. The previous illustration as to spiritual relationship to Abraham and the spheres of law and faith leads naturally to the conclusion that the ἡμεῖς are Jewish Christians, especially as the Son of God is declared in the next verse to have been born under law-that is, Jewish law-to redeem them who were under it. Such is the view of Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Grotius, Estius, Usteri, Schott, De Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Wieseler. Others suppose that, while the special reference is to Jewish Christians, Gentiles are not excluded-as Koppe, Rückert, Matthies, Olshausen, and Ellicott. But it is difficult to see on what principle the subordinate reference to the Gentiles at this point is proved. The language is not in its favour, the spirit of the context does not imply it, and the direct address to Gentiles is postponed till Galatians 4:8. The Jewish believers were children while the law was over them, and the Son of God was born under that law to redeem them who were under it. A third party take ἡμεῖς in a general sense-we Christians: so Winer, Borger, Trana, Meyer, Bagge, Ewald, and Webster and Wilkinson. The heir while a minor is under tutors and stewards, and differs nothing from a servant; and we too, as long as we were in nonage, were in a similar condition-
῾Υπὸ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου ἦμεν δεδουλωμένοι “were under the rudiments of the world kept in bondage.” For the “elements” of the Authorized Version, Tyndale and Cranmer have “ordinaunces,” and the Genevan “rudiments.” The heir was in all respects as a δοῦλος ; so we have been and are δεδουλωμένοι -perfect participle. Winer, § 45, 1. He is under tutors and guardians; οὕτως , so we were ἦμεν under ὑπὸ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου . The verb and participle may thus be taken separately- ἐστίν - ἦμεν ; δοῦλος - δεδουλωμένοι . The term στοιχεῖα , elementa, is used in reference to physical elements in 2 Peter 3:10-12, Wis 7:17 ; especially the heavenly bodies- οὐράνια στοιχεῖα (Justin, Apolog. 2.5, p. 294, Op. vol. i. ed. Otto; and the term by itself has probably the same meaning, as it is said they “never rest or keep Sabbath” in Dial. c. Tryph. p. 78, vol. ii. do.). They are defined as “sun, moon, stars, earth, sea, and all in them” in Clement. Hom. 10.9, p. 218, ed. Dressel. The common numeration, τέσσαρα στοιχεῖα , occurs in Hermas, Vis. 3.13, p. 29, Nov. Test. extra Canonem receptum, ed. Hilgenfeld, 1866; Plato, Timaeus, p. 48, B; Theophilus, ad Autol. 1.4, p. 14, ed. Otto. In this sense the word was regarded by many of the fathers (Chrysostom, Theodore Mops., and Pelagius) as referring to new moons, Sabbaths, and festivals ruled by the seasons, etc.; Augustine taking it to describe the Gentile worship of the physical elements-a thought excluded by the ἡμεῖς ; Hilgenfeld, Schneckenburger, and Caspari, regarding the phrase as denoting the adoration of the stars as living powers-a form of nature-worship with which the Mosaic cultus cannot certainly be identified. But the term στοιχεῖα means also in the New Testament rudiments or elementary teaching- primas legis literas (Tertullian)-as in Hebrews 5:12, where it is opposed to τελειότης ; in Colossians 2:8 it has much the same meaning as in this place, for there it is opposed to “traditions of men,” and in Galatians 2:20, where it is viewed as connected with “ordinances.” The noun also denotes letters, alphabetical symbols, what is suited to the tuition of infancy. The genitive τοῦ κόσμου , subjective in meaning, may not have a gross materialistic sense (Hofmann), nor that of humanity (Wieseler), but a sense similar to that of its adjective in the phrase ἅγιον κοσμικόν “a worldly sanctuary,” Hebrews 9:1. The words may thus mean “elementary lessons of outward things” (Conybeare). The Jewish economy was of the world as it was sensuous, made up of types appealing to the senses, and giving only but the first principles of a spiritual system. See under Colossians 2:8; Colossians 2:17. Cremer, sub voce. Bondage and pupillarity appear to be combined in the illustration-the στοιχεῖα are fitted to the νήπιοι , and necessary to them. The child-heir, when he was a child, was taught only faint outlines of spiritual truth suited to his capacity, and taught them to some extent by worldly symbols-the fire, the altar, and the shedding of blood, δικαιώματα σαρκός , Hebrews 9:10 -a state of dependence and subjection compared with the freedom and the fulness of enlightenment and privilege under the gospel, or after the fulness of the time. While the “we” seems to refer so distinctly to Jewish believers as under the law, it may be said, that as in the previous paragraphs the Mosaic law in its want of power to justify represents on this point all law, so this state of bondage under the elements of the world represented also the condition of the Gentile races as somewhat similar in servitude and discipline.
Galatians 4:4. ῞Οτε δὲ ἦλθεν τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου “But when the fulness of the time was come;” δέ introducing the opposite condition. For πλήρωμα , see under Ephesians 1:23. It is the time regarded as having filled up the allotted space, or itself filled up with the inflow of all the periods contained in the προθεσμία of the father. The one clause is parallel to the other. The δουλεία of the heir lasts till the προθεσμία of the father arrives; our spiritual bondage expires with the advent of the fulness of the time-God's set time. The nonage of the church was the duration of the Mosaic covenant. But not till the last moment of its existence, when its time was filled like a reservoir with the last drop, was it set aside, and the ripe or full age of the church commenced- πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρός , Mark 1:15. The fulness of the time was also the fittest time in the world's history. See under Ephesians 1:10.
᾿Εξαπέστειλεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ “God sent forth His Son,” that is, from Himself. Many passages of Scripture assert this truth of the mission of Christ from the Father. The verb is a double compound. He sent forth “His Son,” so named here with a reference to the subsequent υἱοί : through His Son they pass from servants into sons. Christ came not without a commission: the Father sent Him; and He undertook the mission, came in love, did His Father's will, “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” He was with the Father as His Son prior to His mission-His pre-existence at least is clearly implied, but not impersonal, as Baur ( Paulus, p. 628), or only ideal, according to the representation of Philo ( Leg. Allegor. p. 139, Opera, vol. i. ed. Pfeiffer).
Γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός “born of a woman.” The reading γεννώμενον , defended by Rinck, has only a very slender support, and is found in no uncial MS. (Reiche). The preposition ἐκ indicates origin: Matthew 1:18; John 3:6; Winer, § 47. No specialty is expressed in ἐκ γυναικός , for the reference is not to the virgin birth of our Lord. The meaning is not de virgine sponsa (Schott). Nor are Theophylact and OEcumenius justified in regarding the phrase as formally directed against Docetism- ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας αὐτῆς σῶμα λάβοντα .
The clause, while it contains the profound mystery of the miraculous conception, does not give it prominence. It says nothing of the supernatural, save the fact of the divine mission and the incarnation, for it had no immediate connection with the apostle's argument. It is the phrase employed to describe human birth in Hebrew: Job 14:1, Matthew 11:11; as Augustine says, Mulieris nomine non virgineum decus negatur, sed femineus sexus ostenditur. But there is an implied exclusion of human fatherhood, though not a formal expression of it as Calvin maintains; but he adopted the reading factum ex muliere of the Vulgate,- factum being by many of the Latin fathers, as Tertullian ( De Carne Christi xv.), regarded as in contrast with natum, and ex with per. So Estius, Calovius, Perkins. But the phrase “born of a woman” ( ἐκ , not διά ), though not intended for the purpose, furnished a fair argument against Docetism,-the ἐκ implying τὴν κοινωνίαν τῆς φύσεως , as Basil says, De Spiritu Sancto 5.12, p. 13, Opera, tom. iii., Gaume, Paris. While the previous clause assumes His pre-existence, this asserts His genuine humanity. But Hegel's philosophy ventures a transcendental commentary: God sent His Son- Das heisst nicht Anderes als, das Selbst-bewusstseyn hatte sich zu denjenigen Momenten erhoben, welche zum Begriff des Geistes gehören, und zum Bedürfniss, diese Momente auf eine absolute Weise zu fassen. See Mansel's Bampton Lectures, v. Schelling philosophizes away the fulness of the time thus: Die Menschenwerdung Gottes ist also eine Menschenwerdung von Ewigkeit; apparently identifying the incarnation with what divines call the eternal generation.
Γενόμενον ὑπὸ νόμον “born under the law.” 1Ma 10:38 . The phrase is more common with the simple verb of existence-ch. Galatians 3:25, Galatians 4:21, Galatians 5:18. In classic usage a dative is often employed. Rost u. Palm, sub voce. It would be forced to change the meaning of this second γενόμενον , and render it with Scholefield, “made subject to the law;” or with Luther, unter das Gesetz gethan. So also Calvin, Winer, Usteri, Wieseler. For to change the meaning would lose the emphasis involved in the repetition. Christ was not only born a man, but He was born a Jew-one of the seed of Abraham. He was a member of the Hebrew commonwealth by birth, and by the fact of that birth was under the law; so that He was circumcised, presented in the temple by Mary, and baptized by John; and He worshipped in the synagogue, kept the Sabbath, regarded ceremonial distinctions, observed the great feasts, and paid the tax of the half-shekel. The apostle does not mean that after becoming man He did, by a distinct and additional voluntary act, place Himself under the law, but that by His very birth He became subject to the law whose claims upon Him He willingly allowed.
According to promise and prophecy, salvation was to be of the Jews. The woman's Seed was to be specially the Seed of Abraham, through the line of Isaac and Jacob, of the tribe of Judah, and the family of David. He was a “minister of the circumcision,” being sent only “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And the purpose is then described-
Galatians 4:5. ῞Ινα τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμον ἐξαγοράσῃ “In order that He might redeem those under the law.” See under Galatians 3:13. Those under the law are certainly the Jews; and He was born of a woman, born under the law, in order that He might redeem them. As their representative in blood, and in position under the law, He obeyed its precepts and He bore its penalty, so that they were freed from its curse and from its yoke, and became disciples of a more spiritual system, which taught truth in its realities and not in obscure symbols, whose sacrifice was not “the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer,” but “the precious blood of Christ;” which gave them the privilege of kneeling, not toward a mercy-seat of gold, but before the “throne of grace,” and whose High Priest had gone into a holiest place beyond the skies. We enter not into the question of the active and passive obedience so often discussed under reference to this verse, but only say that obedience and suffering were ever combined, so that in obeying He suffered, while His suffering was His last and highest act of obedience: “He became obedient unto death.”
They were no longer under bondage to a law which Christ had obeyed alike in its requirements and penalty. To the bondage of the law, as we may learn from the second verse, the apostle has special allusion. God's own children living under that law differed little from slaves. Spiritual freedom was denied them. Minute prescriptions were given for diet, dress, travel, labour, for home and for field, for farm and orchard, for private piety and public worship, for ceremonial purity and ethical relations, for birth and marriage, for each day and for the Sabbath-day, for trade and for war, for child and for parent, for tax and for tithe. The entire and multifarious code lay a heavy burden upon them,-nothing was left as a matter of choice to them,-almost in nothing were they masters of themselves; so that the national life must have been to a great extent mechanical-a routine of obedience into which they were so solemnly drilled-the service of δοῦλοι . Law cannot save; it has no means of deliverance within itself. Nor could they throw the burden off. They durst not dismiss the tutors and guardians, nor proclaim of their own power that their minority had ceased and that they henceforth assumed the position of men. They had to wait the fore-fixed time of the father. But now from the burden of the law they are delivered, as they had been redeemed from its curse, though certainly the curse was also an element of the burden. See under Galatians 3:10-14.
῞Ινα τὴν υἱοθεσίαν ἀπολάβωμεν “in order that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Romans 8:15; Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:5. The apostle again uses the first person plural, and the use of it may resemble Galatians 3:14. The redemption of those who were under the law was necessary to the adoption both of Jews and Gentiles. So that the second ἵνα is scarcely co-ordinate with the first, but introduces a higher ulterior purpose common in its realization both to Jew and Gentile. Compare Galatians 3:15, Ephesians 5:25. Both clauses are connected with the one finite verb, but the lines of connection are not parallel, the first clause “that He might redeem those under the law”-specially linked with the one nearest to it “born under the law,” and the second with the more remote one “born of a woman.” Jelf, § 904, 3. The blessing is υἱοθεσία , not simply υἱότης -not sonship natural, but sonship conferred. Rückert, Usteri, Schott, and Brown deny this, and refer it to the change by which the heir who had been under tutelage passes to his majority, and is recognised as a son. That is straining the analogy. Hesychius rightly defines the term- ὅταν τὶς θετὸν υἱὸν λαμβάνῃ . Diodor. Sic. 4.39; Herod. 6:57. They had been in bondage; but they were freed from it now, and adopted into the household. By no other process could they enter into the family-they were not of it, but were brought into it. And they are freed from legal burden before they are adopted; nay, their emancipation from servitude is virtually their adoption. Both are gifts-Christ died to redeem them, and they receive the other from God. The idea of receiving “back” or recovering is not in the verb, though Augustine argues, non dixit, accipiamus sed recipiamus, and Jowett paraphrases, “receive back our intended blessing.” The ἀπο - may sometimes signify “again,” Luke 15:27; Liddell and Scott. Adam had a υἱότης before his fall-he was υἱὸς Θεοῦ ; and in this sense our adoption is reinstating us in the family. But the new sonship is so different, that it can scarce be termed a recovery, since it is far more-it is a higher relation than man originally possessed. For it is the image of the second Adam to which we are to be conformed, and the inheritance is in heaven, and no mere paradise restored on earth. Nor, as Meyer remarks, was the υἱοθεσία which belonged to the Jews really lost. Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:9. The nation was still in theocratic covenant with God. Chrysostom gives the verb another meaning-to receive as one's due, for the promise was made of old (Theophylact, Bengel). Such a sense may sometimes be inferred from the context, as in Luke 6:34; in the other passages- Luke 23:41; Romans 1:27; Colossians 3:24 -a distinct term is found which formally conveys this sense. But the idea is here foreign to the train of thought. Nor can the notion of Schott and Rückert be sustained, that ἀπο - means inde, or as the fruit of the redemption; the notion is implied in the context, but not directly expressed by the verb. The verb is used simply as elsewhere- Luke 16:25; Colossians 3:24 “to receive into possession from,” pointing ideally to the source. Through faith, the apostle had said, believers are Abraham's seed, and children according to promise; and how faith confers adoption upon us is told us in these verses. Christ's incarnation and death intervening-the curse and yoke of the law being taken away-by faith in Him he who was a servant is gifted with the position and privileges of a son. See under Galatians 3:26. That sonship is now enjoyed, but its fulness of blessing and fellowship waits the coming of the Lord Jesus. For it is added-
Galatians 4:6. ῞Οτι δέ ἐστε υἱοί . It is difficult to say whether ὅτι be demonstrative or causal-whether it mean “that”-as a proof that, or “because”- quoniam in the Vulgate and Claromontane Latin. The question then is, Is the sending forth of the Spirit of His Son regarded by the apostle as the proof or as the result of sonship? The conjunction will bear either meaning; the causal meaning is the simpler syntax, but the demonstrative meaning is more in unison with the argument. To render “because ye are sons” seems to interfere with the formal conclusion of the following verse- ὥστε “wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son.” He would be taking for granted their sonship before he had proved it as his conclusion-there would be an assumed result, and then a formal conclusion. But with the other rendering, “that,” or “in proof that ye are sons,” the apostle is only adding another argument-forging a last link in the demonstration. Christ was born a man, and born under the law, to redeem such as were under the law, that we from being servants might be adopted as sons; and that this is your position is proved by your possession of His Spirit.
Critics are divided. The causal meaning is held by Luther, Bengel, Olshausen, De Wette, Hilgenfeld, Alford, Windischmann, Lightfoot, Trana, Bisping, and Meyer in his third edition, having maintained the other view in his first and second editions. The demonstrative meaning is held by the Greek fathers, who found no difficulty in the construction, by Ambrosiaster, Koppe, Flatt, Borger, Rückert, Schott, Jatho, Brown, Ellicott, and Wieseler who renders somewhat differently by quod attinet ad id, quod - εἰς ἐκεῖνο ,- ὅτι .
In adopting the demonstrative meaning we admit a breviloquence, which, however, can be well defended. Winer, § 66, 1; Demosthenes, contra Pantaen. p. 110, vol. ii. Opera, ed. Schaefer. In confirmation of the same view the ἐστε speaks, for it has the emphasis and not υἱοί , and the verb is that of actual present state. In such a case, too, one would expect ὑμῶν , which, however, is a correction, probably for this reason, of the better supported ἡμῶν .
“And that ye are sons.” The δέ introduces the statement, not, however, as opposed to what precedes, but as something yet different-a step in advance. The words τοῦ Θεοῦ found in D, F, and in the Latin fathers (Augustine, however, excepted), are an unwarranted exegetical supplement.
᾿Εξαπέστειλεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὰς καρδίας ἡμῶν “God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.” The authorities for the ὑμῶν of the Received Text are D 3 , E, K, L, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Augustine, the Vulgate, Coptic, and Syriac; while ἡμῶν has in its favour A, B, C, D 1 , F, א , with many of the fathers, such as Basil, Tertullian, Jerome, and Hilary. The reading ὑμῶν might have been a conformation to the previous ἐστε . But the change of person is as in Romans 7:4. The appeal is to them directly in the previous ἐστε ; but the apostle at once and now includes himself with them, when he adds a clause descriptive of spiritual experience. The τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ is the Holy Spirit, in no sense “spirit” meaning disposition or temper- sensus christianus -or a filial nature (Gwynne); ὁ Θεὸς ἐξαπέστειλεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ , and similarly ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ . The mission is first of the Son and then of the Spirit on the part of the Father, implying by the parallel language the personality of the Spirit. And He is the Spirit of His Son, who dwelt in Him, as He has secured His gracious influences, and as it is His “things” which the Spirit shows, one of His special functions being to deepen in all the sons their resemblance to the elder brother-the Son of God. Romans 8:9. In the fulness of the time God sent forth His Son, and no doubt in the fulness of the time, too, God sent His Spirit into their hearts-the time fore-appointed for their ingathering and conversion-in that crisis of their history which Himself had set apart, Galatians 3:2. The aorist does not represent the fulness of the Spirit's outflow upon them, but the fact that the Spirit was sent into their hearts when they believed and were adopted. The Spirit of His Son is a token of its adoption to every child, for it is the bond of union with Him who is “the first-born among many brethren.” That Spirit is sent into the “heart,” the central seat or organ of the inner life and power, which the Spirit of God's Son inhabits, and out of which He cries through us, Abba, Father. The ἐστέ υἱοί seems to have suggested the correlative appellation τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ . There is thus triune operation-Father, Son, and Spirit-in providing, securing, and enjoying this adoption. And that Spirit in their hearts is represented as-
Κράζον , ᾿Αββᾶ ὁ πατήρ “crying, Abba, Father.” Mark 14:36. In Romans 8:15 the aspect of thought is, ἐν ᾧ κράζομεν ᾿Αββᾶ , ὁ πατήρ ; and in Galatians 4:26 of the same chapter it is said of the Spirit, ὑπερεντυγχάνει ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν . The Spirit in our hearts cries-no Hebraism meaning “making to cry.” But the Divine Agent Himself, as the Spirit of adoption, is represented as crying. For the impulse is His, the realized sonship is of Him, the deepened sense of want is of His creation, in the heart whence rises the tender and earnest address, Abba, Father. The nominative is used as the vocative. Matthew 11:26; Bernhardy, p. 67; Krüger, § 45, 2, 6, 7. But why the double appellation, first in Aramaic and then in Greek, as in Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15? The childlike lisp in the word Abba, and its easy labial pronunciation, may account for its origin, but not for its use here (Olshausen); nor can Dr. Gill be listened to in his dream that “the word being the same pronounced backwards or forwards, shows that God is the Father of His people in adversity as well as in prosperity.” It is a superficial explanation of the formula to allege, with Beza, Schott, Usteri, and Conybeare, that ὁ πατήρ is merely, like the Abaddon-Apollyon of Revelation 9:11, explanatory of the Aramaic Abba. For why should such a translation be made by Jesus in the garden, where no human ear heard Him, and by Paul when writing to the Romans of the Spirit of adoption? Nor is it more likely that the double appellation is meant to convey what the elder interpreters find in it-to wit, that it was uttered to point out the spiritual brotherhood of all men in all languages. This opinion, so naturally suggested, cannot certainly apply to the individual address of the Saviour in Mark 14:36. But one may say, in the first place, that endeared repetition characterizes a true child, as it clings to the idea of fatherhood, and loves to dwell upon it. In the second place, the use of the Aramaic term must have arisen in the Jewish portion of the church, with whom it seems to have been a common form of tender address. And then, as believing Jews used another tongue in foreign countries, they appear to have felt the ὁ πατήρ to be cold and distant, so that, as to the Lord in His agony, the vernacular term impressed on the ear and heart of childhood instinctively recurred. ῾Ο πατήρ is what the apostle wishes to say; but in a mood of extreme tenderness, speaking of God's children and of their yearning filial prayerfulness and confidence in approaching and naming Him, he prefixes the old familiar term ᾿Αββᾶ . It was no absolute term at first, like some other names, but ever a relative one. So Jesus, realizing His Sonship with unspeakable intenseness, in that awful prayer names His Father ᾿Αββᾶ ὁ πατήρ . The double appellation could only arise among a bilingual people, where certain native words were hallowed, and in moments of strong emotion were used along with their foreign equivalent. And soon the phrase became a species of proper name, so that in heathen countries ᾿Αββᾶ ὁ πατήρ passed into an authorized formula. As this formula commences prayer, so we have a similar concluding one, but in reverse order, ναὶ ᾿Αμήν , Revelation 1:7. Similar expressions are found in the rabbinical books. Schoettgen, vol. i. p. 252. Selden's explanation is, that the use of the name implies the change of a slave to a freeman; but the apostle is proving a different point-that of sonship or adoption. Works, vol. ii. p. 14. Lightfoot affirms that the form אָבִי signifies a master as well as a father, but the form אַבָּא denotes only a natural father ( Hebrew and Talmudic Exercitations on Mark, Works, vol. xi. p. 438). In Chaldee with a single ב it is said to mean a natural father, with a double בּ a father in a spiritual sense. The Syriac renders simply “Father, our Father.”
The apostle now comes to the conclusion or application to which he has been working in the three preceding verses, connected as they are so closely with the illustration which begins the chapter.
Galatians 4:7. ῞Ωστε οὐκέτι εἶ δοῦλος , ἀλλὰ υἱός “Wherefore thou art no longer a slave, but a son.” The first term introduces the statement as a result from what precedes, and it is followed here by the indicative, as often at the commencement of a sentence. Winer, § 41, 5; Klotz-Devarius, ii. p. 771. See under Galatians 2:13. The comparative term οὐκέτι refers back to the δουλεία in Galatians 4:3. The address is narrowed down in this pointed appeal from the first person plural in Galatians 4:5, through the second person plural in Galatians 4:6, to the second person singular. Compare Romans 11:17; Romans 12:20, 1Co 4:7 ; 1 Corinthians 10:29, for a similar form of individualizing appeal.
Εἰ δὲ υἱός , καὶ κληρονόμος “but if a son, also an heir.” The two positions are identical-the one is bound up in the other. The slave is no heir, but he who is a son is also an heir by the fact of his being a son. Romans 8:17, εἰ δὲ τέκνα , καὶ κληρονόμοι . If thou art a son, in addition to such sonship thou art an heir-an heir of the promise made by God to Abraham and his seed. See under Ephesians 1:11. That thou art a son is proved from thy possession of the Spirit; no longer a slave-thou canst say, Abba; and if a son, then also an heir.
The Received Text reads, κληρονόμος Θεοῦ διὰ Χριστοῦ “an heir of God through Christ”-a reading quite in harmony with the context. This reading is found in C 3 , D, K, L, א 3 , the Claromontane which reads et haeres Dei per Christum, and the Gothic version. Chrysostom and Theodoret follow the same reading, and there are other smaller variations. The simpler and shorter reading- διὰ Θεοῦ -is supported by A, B, C 1 , א 1 , the Vulgate which has haeres per Deum, Ambrosiaster, Augustine, Pelagius, with Clement, Basil, Athanasius, Cyril, Didymus among the Greek fathers. F reads διὰ Θεόν , and some MSS. have διὰ ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ . Some versions seem made from a text which read simply Θεοῦ , while others must have read Θεοῦ διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος . This variety of reading shows that emendation has been at work, and that the similar phrase in Romans 8:17 - κληρονόμοι μὲν Θεοῦ συγκληρονόμοι δὲ Χριστοῦ -has suggested the different readings. Some indeed-as Rückert and De Wette, and as Griesbach thinks probable-suppose that all the words after κληρονόμος are spurious additions, as in Galatians 3:29. But the MSS. all declare, with one exception (C at first hand), for some addition. Rinck and Usteri maintain the reading διὰ Χριστοῦ , as if Θεοῦ from Romans 8:17 were first written above Χριστοῦ and then exchanged for it. Lachmann and Tischendorf adopt the shorter reading. It is needless to object with Matthaei that the orthodox wrote διὰ Θεοῦ for διὰ Χριστοῦ , for the reading διὰ Θεοῦ is as old as Clement of Alexandria; nor could the hostility to Arianism suggest such a change. Reiche, Fritzsche, and Hahn defend the Received Text. Fritzsche supposes that the copyists first confounded Θεοῦ with Χριστοῦ per oculorum errorem, then omitted διὰ Χριστοῦ , and then wrote διὰ Θεοῦ -a critical hypothesis not very credible. If we accept διὰ Θεοῦ , the curter reading, all the others can be, by a series of natural emendations, easily accounted for, and by the desire to express the mediation of Christ. But διὰ Θεοῦ is in harmony with the whole passage. The agency of God in the process of adoption has special prominence. The time “appointed of the father” is the express terminus of the δουλεία in the figure. Then it is ἐξαπέστειλεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ , then ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸ πνεῦμα -that Spirit which cries ὁ πατήρ ; and the clear and undeniable conclusion is, we are brought into the position of sons διὰ Θεοῦ -through God's agency. Thus there is no occasion to adopt the view of Windischmann which takes Θεοῦ in its widest sense of God-Father, Son, and Spirit,-the Father sending the Son and the Spirit, the Son redeeming us, and the Spirit completing our sonship. The noun is anarthrous, as it often is after prepositions. Winer, § xix. It would seem, too, that God the Father is directly referred to; for He adopts, sends His Son to provide for it, and His Spirit as the proof of it, so that we become sons, also heirs, “through Him.” No genitive follows κληρονόμος in this clause, but it has Θεοῦ in Romans 8:17; τῆς βασιλείας , James 2:5. The inheritance is also referred to in Galatians 3:18; Galatians 3:29.
The declaration, “if a son, then an heir,” is based on a general law or instinct “The parents lay up for the children.” Perhaps this common practice is enough for the apostle's argument. But if the statement is regarded as a special declaration based on legal enactment, the reference cannot be to the Hebrew law which gave the first-born a double portion and excluded daughters; for there is in Christ neither male nor female, and each one is an heir. The allusion is rather to Roman law, under which all the children inherited equally. Thus Gaius: sui autem et necessarii heredes sunt velut filius filiave.-Sui autem heredes existimantur liberi qui in potestate morientis fuerint, veluti filius, filiave, nepos neptisve ex filio . . . nec interest utrum naturales sint an adoptivi, suorum heredum numero sunt.-Institut. 2.156, Galatians 3:2, ed. Böcking. Sui et necessarii heredes were quite in this position-if children, then heirs. The Athenian law, which, however, made no distinction between real and personal estate, was not so precise: it gave sons an equal right, the son being merely bound to give his sisters a marriage-portion.
The apostle now turns to the Gentile portion of the church, and impresses on them the folly of placing themselves under bondage to the Mosaic law.
Galatians 4:8. ᾿Αλλὰ τότε μὲν , οὐκ εἰδότες Θεόν “Howbeit at that time indeed, not knowing God.” The ἀλλά introduces the statement of their condition, and throws it into striking contrast with the conclusion arrived at in the preceding verse. Sons you are now, but the time was when it was different with you. In the adverb τότε the allusion is not formally to Galatians 4:3 (Winer), but generally to their previous state-to the ἔτι in οὐκέτι . It does not signify vaguely πάλαι , as Koppe and Flatt take it, and the stress is on the μέν “indeed,” “truly.” The οὐκ εἰδότες , as Meyer remarks, forms one conceptus-ignorantes. Winer, § 55, 5; Gayler, p. 287. This ignorance of God was a characterizing fact-no mere opinion of the writer. 1Th 4:5 ; 2 Thessalonians 1:8. See under Ephesians 2:12 - ἄθεοι .
᾿Εδουλεύσατε τοῖς φύσει μὴ οὖσι θεοῖς “ye were in bondage to them which by nature are not gods,” or, “to gods which by nature are not.” The former negative is historic- οὐ ; but this is subjective- μή . The order of the words in the Received Text is τοῖς μὴ φύσει οὖσι θεοῖς , which is found in D 3 , F, G, K, L, some minuscules, and in Chrysostom, Theodoret, and the Philoxenian Syriac. The other arrangement is found in A, B, C, D & sup1, 3;, E, א , and in the Vulgate, Gothic, Coptic, etc. The last order, which is also best substantiated, is the more emphatic-it denies them in the apostle's estimation to be gods in any sense; whereas the other order would say less strongly that they were gods-not so indeed by nature, but converted against their nature into gods by human superstition. By the use of μή the apostle gives in his own judgment a denial of the divinity of those objects of worship (Winer, § 55, 5), 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, called by him δαιμόνια in 1 Corinthians 10:20. The dative φύσει is that of characterization (Madvig, § 40), and means “by nature,” or essentially, in opposition to what is accidental or derived from circumstance. See under Ephesians 2:3. The aorist ἐδουλεύσατε refers simply to the past period of their ignorance. During this period, and confined to that period over and gone, they were servants (Kühner, § 401)-in slavery to gods which in no sense were gods, and had no real right to be so named. Idolatry characterized them. “Gods and lords many” were worshipped and served among them in their state of ignorance, or because of it, as the participle may have a quasi-causal sense. The Galatians probably inherited the “abominable idolatries” of their Gallic ancestors. “ Natio est omnis Gallorum admodum dedita religionibus. ”-Caesar, de Bello Gall. 6.16. Diodorus speaks of the Galatian δεισιδαιμονία , which led them to lavish gold on their gods and temples, though they were fond of money to excess,5:27. The native Phrygian idolatry may have been partially adopted on the Gallic occupation of the province-the worship of Cybele; and there may have been combined with it some elements of Hellenic superstition. Wernsdorff, De Republica Galat. § 32; Pausanias, Descrips. Graec. 7.17, 10, vol. ii. p. 584, ed. Schubart et Walz. The apostle does not enter into particulars, as there may have been variations among the three leading tribes,-the general fact suffices for his purpose. These words cannot be addressed to Jewish believers, as Theodoret seems to imagine. The scholiast quoted in Usteri says that the keeping of times marked by sun and moon is to be in slavery to those heavenly bodies-a species of idolatry.
Galatians 4:9. Νῦν δὲ γνόντες Θεόν , μᾶλλον δὲ γνωσθέντες ὑπὸ Θεοῦ “But now having known God, or rather being known by God.” The νῦν δέ stands in contrast to the τότε μέν . There seems no true ground for making any distinction here between εἰδότες and γνόντες , as is done by Olshausen, as if the former meant rather external knowledge- mehr blos ausserliche Wissen, and the second inner knowledge. There is more truth in Professor Lightfoot's distinction, that the first refers to absolute and the second to relative knowledge-the difference between “to know” and “to come to the knowledge of.” 1 John 2:29. At least the following verses do not warrant Olshausen's distinction, for John 7:27 -especially John 8:55 -would seem to reverse it, where Jesus says of His Father: καὶ οὐκ ἐγνώκατε αὐτόν· ἐγὼ δὲ οἶδα αὐτόν . In 2 Corinthians 5:16, the words εἰ δὲ καὶ ἐγνώκαμεν κατὰ σάρκα Χριστόν do not certainly imply an inner or active knowledge. The Galatians had come to the knowledge of God-of God in Christ, the one living and true God-the only object of genuine worship and trust. And this knowledge had been carried to them by the gospel, and by the preaching of Christ. “No man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal Him.” The apostle, however, at once corrects himself, and adds-
Μᾶλλον δὲ γνωσθέντες ὑπὸ Θεοῦ “but rather were known of God.” Compare for a similar change of voice, Philippians 3:12. In μᾶλλον δέ lies the notion of a climactic correction of the previous clause. Raphelius, in loc.; hic est corrigentis ut saepissime alibi, Stallbaum, Plato, Sym. 173, E; Bornemann, Xen. Cyrop. p. 354. Romans 8:34; Ephesians 5:11. The phrase has been variously understood.
1. The most improbable interpretation is that of Beza, a Lapide, Koppe, and others, who give the participle the sense of the Hophal conjugation in Hebrew- scire facti, “being made to know.” It is forced and unnecessary. Winer, § 39, 3, n. 2.
2. Some, as Grotius, give the simple sense of approbati, which the usage does not warrant.
3. Others, as Borger, Winer, Rückert, Usteri, Schott, and virtually Trana and Ewald, attach the meaning anerkannt seid -acknowledged by. But this direct meaning does not seem proved by any distinct instance in the New Testament. Matthew 25:12; Philippians 3:12; 2 Timothy 2:19. The sense, then, seems to be that of the Greek fathers, that they had not so much known God, as they had been taken into knowledge by God. 1 Corinthians 8:2; 1 Corinthians 13:12 - προσληφθέντες ὑπὸ Θεοῦ (Theophylact). It was not that by any intuition or argument they had arrived at the knowledge of God; but the apostle glorifies the divine agency in their enlightenment, and refers to their condition, rather than their actual knowledge. God knew them ere they knew Him, and His knowing them was the cause of their knowing Him. See many examples from the Old Testament in Webster and Wilkinson. Nostrum cognoscere est cognosci a Deo (Luther). Matthies understands the clause as referring “to the Spirit of God knowing Himself again in them;” but Kimmel justly calls this exegesis ein Hegel'scher dem Paulus fremder Sinn. Jowett's statement is not unlike that of Matthies. Compare for another form of putting the same truth, 1 John 4:10, Isaiah 65:1. Recognition, conversion, and other blessings are implied, though not expressed in the clause. That He did not know them before the gospel came among them argues no defect in His omniscience. The language is warranted by usage. But brought into His knowledge, they saw light in His light. The gospel, he who preached it, and the Spirit who accompanied it, were alike of Him, and given to them. Their privilege thus began with His gracious knowledge of them, not their apprehension of Him. The apostle feels that this is the truer way of stating the case-giving the grace of God the glory, and putting their apostasy in a yet more awful light, it being an ungrateful rebellion against God's kindness, as well as a relapse into what was unsatisfying and obsolete.
And the startling question then comes-
Πῶς ἐπιστρέφετε πάλιν ἐπὶ τὰ ἀσθενῆ καὶ πτωχὰ στοιχεῖα ; “how is it that ye are returning again to the weak and beggarly elements?” In the question begun by πῶς that surprising inconsistency is rebuked. Their going back is something amazing “Who bewitched you?” After your high privilege conferred on you, your emancipation from the servitude of idols, your pure theology, yea, and your being taken into the knowledge of God, how comes it that you, so preciously blessed, are turning, and that without any tempting bribe, or any plausible benefit-turning “to the weak and beggarly elements?” The adverb πάλιν does not mean “back”- retro -as in Homer, but as usually in the New Testament, “again”- iterum. Damm. Lex. Homer. sub voce. Ellicott says that the notion of back is involved in the verb; but ἐπι does not necessarily imply it, for ὀπίσω and εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω are often connected with it. Comp. also Acts 14:15; Act 15:19 , 1 Thessalonians 1:9. The present tense shows the act to be going on-the apostasy to be proceeding. See under Galatians 1:6.
For στοιχεῖα , see under Galatians 4:3.
These elements are stigmatized as ἀσθενῆ “weak,” wholly inadequate to secure justification or provide spiritual deliverance (Romans 8:3); and πτωχά “beggarly,”-an epithet often used in its literal sense as applied to persons, and here signifying that they were endowed with no clusters of spiritual blessing, and were not fraught with “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Hebrews 7:18.
Οἷς πάλιν ἄνωθεν δουλεύειν θέλετε “to which ye are desiring again afresh to be in bondage.” Wis 19:6 . The English version, the Syriac, and Vulgate omit the translation of one of the two adverbs, probably regarding them as synonymous-an opinion adopted by Borger. The emphasis lies on πάλιν ἄνωθεν -once in bondage, and again anew placing themselves under it, as if the first slavery had been forgotten. “Ye desire” to be in it again, and are anew beginning to place yourselves beneath it. Strange to say, of their own accord they were wishing to be in this servitude “afresh.” As their condition struck him-their divine deliverance, their spiritual freedom, and their willing relapse into servitude-he naturally asks πῶς , is it possible? One difficulty lies in πάλιν , if the στοιχεῖα as in Galatians 4:3 be restricted to the Mosaic ritual. Were the Gentiles under στοιχεῖα previously as well as the Jews? There is no sure historical ground for alleging that the persons so addressed had been proselytes (Olshausen, Credner), though in all probability many of the class existed in the churches of Galatia and in all the early churches, as if the meaning were-ye are going again into bondage to the Mosaic ritual, since in some sense they had been in it, and afresh they were recurring to its στοιχεῖα . This notion cannot be sustained, and therefore it is probable that the heathen cultus receives by implication the same name from the apostle as do the Jewish ordinances. While there was not identity, there was such similarity between them that they may be both comprehended under the same epithet, though such a comparison as that of Grotius between castratio and circumcisio is simply absurd. The system into which they were relapsing was of a like character to that under which they had been originally enslaved. For it was ritualistic in a high degree, with its orgies and mutilations. Such a ceremonial institute, hedging in a man with its rigid minutiae, and binding him to the punctilious observance of them, was an intolerable yoke like Judaism. Besides, even in paganism, with all its follies and falsehoods, there were rudiments of truth. The worship of many gods proved the felt need of some god, the altar with its victims implied convictions of sin, and the lustrations betokened the conscious want of purity. Thus under such systems, and not wholly overlaid by them, were some “elements” of religious verities, in harmony with irrepressible spiritual instincts and yearnings, educated by such discipline into an intensity which must in many instances have prepared for the reception of that gospel which meets all wants and satisfies all awakened longings-verifying what Tertullian calls testimonium animae naturaliter christianae. Augustine also gives another aspect of the same opinion. He had said in his treatise De Vera Religione, written by him when a young man (A.D. 390), that Christianity belonged to later times- nostris temporibus; but in his Retractationes, composed towards the close of his life, he explains the assertion, and distinguishes between the res and the nomen, the latter having originated at Antioch; but of the former he uses the following words: nam res ipsa, quae nunc christiana religio nuncupatur, erat apud antiquos, nec defuit ab initio generis humani, quousque ipse Christus veniret in carne, unde vera religio quae jam erat, caepit appellari christiana. Compare Acts 10:34-35. The Retractationes and the De Vera Religione are in the first volume of Augustine's Opera, pp. 20, 1202, Gaume, Paris. Other fathers had similar views. Clement and Origen speak of the dark night of paganism as having had its stars which called to the morning star which stood over Bethlehem; Justin Martyr describes a ray of divine light shining in the soul, and turning toward the divine light as a plant to the sun. “Obey your philosophers,” says Theodoret to the heathen, “for they fore-announced our doctrines.” Graecarum affectionum Curatio, p. 483, vol. iv. Opera, ed. Sirmondi, Lutetiae 1642. Clement also asserts of the Greek philosophy that it led to Christ- ἐπαιδαγώγει . . . εἰς Χριστόν . Strom. 1.5, 28. The apostle himself on Mars' hill, penetrating to the instinctive feeling which underlies idolatry, and recognising that inner necessity under which man must worship, uttered a kindred statement when he virtually identified the God who had the altar wanting a name with the object of his preaching: “What therefore, not knowing it, ye worship, that proclaim I unto you.” Not that the “unknown God” was really Jehovah, but the inscription implied that He was not found in their lists, and was beyond the circuit of their recognition; and taking up this idea of a divinity above and beyond their pantheon, he expanded and applied it. Acts 17:23. See also Pressensé's Religions before Christ: Clark, Edinburgh; Max Müller's Chips from a German Workshop, Preface, and Essays in first volume, London 1867. It may be said, too, the apostle argues that the abrogation of the Mosaic law in the death of Christ was essential to the adoption of the Gentiles-to their becoming the seed of Abraham, or free children; so that the Mosaic institute-this thing of weak and beggarly elements-prior to Christ's death really held Gentiles in bondage, and why should they now relapse into servitude under it? They differed nothing from servants, as truly as the Jews while the Jewish law was in force; how was it, then, that they were desiring to go back to that law, and be in subjection to it over again?
The apostle now adduces a specimen of the bondage into which they were so willing to fall-the ritualistic observance of certain portions of the Jewish sacred kalendar-
Galatians 4:10. ῾Ημέρας παρατηρεῖσθε , καὶ μῆνας , καὶ καιροὺς , καὶ ἐνιαυτούς “Ye are observing days, and months, and seasons, and years.” The force of the middle voice cannot be expressed in English, but it deepens the sense = religious assiduity. Many give this verse an interrogative form, as Koppe, De Wette, Hilgenfeld, Meyer, Bisping, and Trana; as also the editors Griesbach, Knapp, Tischendorf, and Lachmann. But the form of solemn statement is in better harmony with the context. The question had been put already, πῶς -how comes it? It may appear incredible, but alas it is true “Ye are observing days,” etc. And the statement lays foundation for the mournful declaration of the following verse- φοβοῦμαι ὑμᾶς . The compound verb παρατηρεῖν in its original sense is “to watch carefully,” as being παρα , near to, Acts 9:24; next “to watch closely,” Psalms 129:3, and with evil purpose, Mark 3:2, Luke 6:7; and then, as here, “to observe carefully,” to keep in a religious spirit,-not however superstitiously, as Sardinoux, Winer, and Olshausen assert, for the verb is applied to the keeping of the seventh day or Sabbath by Josephus, Antiq. 3.3, 5. The observance may appear superstitious to the onlooker, but the idea is not contained in the verb, nor that of praeter fidem (Bengel, Wessel, Wordsworth). “Days ye are observing,” the moment being on ἡμέρας , as their observance would of course be more characteristic in its frequency. The “days” were the Jewish Sabbath, with other times of religious observance appointed by the law. The “months” were probably the new moons-days indeed, but observed with periodical exactness: Isaiah 66:23. The seventh month had a sacredness attached to it like the seventh day. The καιροί were the seasons of festival, as the passover, pentecost, and feast of tabernacles: Leviticus 23:4; 2 Chronicles 8:13. The ἐνιαυτοί , years, may be the seventh or sabbatic year and the year of jubilee. Compare Jdt 8:6 ; Philo, De Septen. p. 286. The two last terms do not stand for καιροὺς ἐνιαυτοῦ (Borger, Wahl).
The order of the terms is progressive-days, months, seasons, years. The last, supposing it to refer to the sabbatic year, they could not have observed more than once; and to infer from the present tense of the verb that they were then in the act of observing such a year, is in the highest degree precarious. Wieseler so calculates it, that from autumn 54 to autumn 55 there was a sabbatic year, within which period the epistle was written during the apostle's sojourn at Ephesus. Chronologie des Apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 287. But the epistle may have been written from Macedonia two or three years later. Michaelis, from the allusion to a sabbatic year in 1Ma 6:53 , which he places 162 years B.C., finds that the 49th year after Christ was the thirtieth sabbatic year from that period, and therefore he dates this epistle in 49. But he admits his ignorance as to the Jewish mode of calculation, whether they uniformly adhered to the seventh year on its recurrence, or began a new reckoning from the year of jubilee; as in the former case the 56th year would be the sacred year, and in the other it would be the 57th. “Introduction” by Marsh, vol. iv. p. 11. The sabbatic year and that of jubilee applied only to Canaan, its soil and the people on it; and it is not easy to see how it could be kept in other countries where Jews might own no land, nor engage in its cultivation. The reconstitution of society every fiftieth or jubilee year belongs also to the promised land, as really as the sacrifices to the central altar in Jerusalem, and its arrangements could not have been to any extent carried out among foreigners. If the statement in 2 Chronicles 36:21, “Until the land enjoyed her sabbaths, for as long as she remained desolate she kept sabbath to fulfil threescore and ten years,” mean that those years of desolation are a penalty chronologically parallel to a series of neglected sabbatic years, then the neglect must have extended backward 490 years, dating from the time of Solomon. These sabbatic years might be early neglected; for a nation that could subsist without cultivation of the soil for a year must either store up with cautious forethought, or enjoy a signal blessing from the God of the seasons. Such storing was not enjoined, as direct fulness of blessing was promised; but during so many periods of apostasy the promise of temporal abundance would be suspended, and the observance of the sabbatic year fall into desuetude. Leviticus 25:18-22. But the year of jubilee, fraught with so many kind provisions to the slave, the debtor, and the poor, and involving so many changes of social relation to rural property, was more likely to be partially observed, for those to be especially benefited by it would naturally clamour for it. The prophets do not upbraid the nation for neglecting it; Josephus asserts that it was kept; and there is no ground for Michaelis and Winer to question its observance, or for Kranold and Hupfeld to deny it. Diodorus also makes allusion to the strict entail of Jewish property, and the testimony of Jewish tradition is unanimous on the point. Saalschütz, Das Mosaische Recht, xiii.; Keil, Handbuch d. Bib. Archäol. vol. i. p. 374. No such stress can be laid, as Ginsburg does, on Ezekiel 46:17 as to the uniform keeping of the jubilee; for the chapter is an ideal sketch of a re-distribution of the territory, and the re-organization of the national worship. Art. Jubilee, Kitto, Bib. Cyclop. 3d edition.
It is going too far on the part of Bullinger and Olshausen to affirm, that in this verse by synecdoche a part is put for the whole, i.e. the customs mentioned stand for all the customs. Nor can it be, as Rückert says, that only such customs are mentioned as were common to Jews and Gentiles; for, as Olshausen remarks, no relapse to Gentilism is apprehended. The apostle does not certainly speak of two of the Jewish “elements”-distinction of meats and drinks, and circumcision. There is no substantial evidence for saying that, as proselytes, those Galatians had been circumcised already; for it may be, as Meyer observes, that they had not yet relapsed so far as to be circumcised:5:2, 3, 12, Galatians 6:12-13. The accumulation of terms of time, not meant to be exhaustive, may denote generally sacred periods, or it may be “a rhetorical description of those who observed times and seasons” (Alford). Dean Alford adds, “Notice how utterly such a verse is at variance with any and every theory of a Christian Sabbath, cutting at the root, as it does, of ALL obligatory observance of times as such. ” This generalization is far too sweeping; for,
1. It makes assertion on a subject which is not before the mind of the apostle at all. Nothing is further from his thoughts, or his course of rebuke and expostulation, than the Christian Sabbath and its theme-the resurrection of Christ.
2. The apostle is not condemning the obligatory observances “of times as such,” but he is condemning the observance only of the times which the Galatians, in their relapse into Judaism, kept as sacred; for their keeping of such Jewish festivals was the proof and result of their partial apostasy.
3. Nor is it even Jewish festivals as such which he condemns, for both before and after this period he observed some of them himself.
But, first, he condemns the Galatian Gentiles for observing sacred Jewish seasons, which, not being intended for them, had therefore no authority over them. The Gentile keeping of Jewish sabbaths, or of passovers, pentecosts, new moons, and jubilees, was in itself a wrong thing-a perilous blunder then as it would be a wretched anachronism now. And secondly, he condemns the observance of these “times,” because the Galatians regarded such observance as essential to salvation, and as supplementing faith in the atoning work of Christ. These limitations are plainly supplied by the context, and the true theory of a Christian Sabbath, or rather Lord's day, is not in the least involved in the discussion.
The apostle having described their perilous and unsatisfactory condition, adds in sorrowful tone-
Galatians 4:11. Φοβοῦμαι ὑμᾶς , μή πως εἰκῆ κεκοπίακα εἰς ὑμᾶς “I am afraid of you, lest perhaps I have in vain bestowed labour on you.” Winer, in his Commentary and in his Gram. § 66, 5, a, regards this construction as a species of attraction-that in which the principal clause attracts something from the dependent one; and he is followed by Usteri, Wieseler, Hilgenfeld, and Jatho. But the supposition is not necessary. In such cases the object of the one clause is the subject of the other; but the pronoun is object here in both clauses, and the repetition of it intensifies the meaning, or gives distinct emphasis to the declaration. I am afraid of you is a definite idea, and the reason of the φόβος is then stated. The κατά suggested by Turner is not needed, as in such a sense the verb governs the simple accusative-the accusative of equivalent notion. Jelf, § 550, b; Kühner, § 857. Compare Plato, De Leg. x. p. 886, A; Diodor. Sic. 4.10; Soph. OEd. Tyr. 767.
In the perfect κεκοπίακα , and after μή πως , is the idea of enduring labour, and the indicative means that the apprehension expressed by φοβοῦμαι (Winer, § 56) is realized-the fear has become a matter of fact. Gayler, p. 317; Klotz-Devarius, vol. 1.129. See under Galatians 2:2. So Theodoret, but not Chrysostom, who gives it a different turn “the wreck has not happened, but I see the storm travailing with it.” Comp. under Philippians 1:16, Colossians 4:17.
In the phrase εἰς ὑμᾶς the preposition implies direction, Romans 16:6, not in vobis as the Vulgate, nor propter vos even, but in vos, upon you, as having been directed to them. Bernhardy, p. 217. His labours had them for their special aim and object.
It must have been a sad thought to the large-hearted apostle that his toils, anxieties, and prayers were proving themselves so far in vain. Surprised was he at the speedy revolution of sentiment, and indignant also toward the false teachers who had been seducing them. It cannot, however, be inferred from ὑμᾶς after φοβοῦμαι that the apostle is blaming them as if the Judaizers could not have done it without their assistance. However true the sentiment may be, that they were a willing prey to the false teachers, these simple words will not bear it; and the passage in Acts 5:26 adduced by Storr in defence is quite different in structure.
Galatians 4:12. Γίνεσθε ὡς ἐγὼ , ὅτι κᾀγὼ ὡς ὑμεῖς “Become ye as I am, for I also am become as you are.” For somewhat similar phraseology, כָּמוֹנִיכָמוֹכַ , compare 1Ki 22:4 , 2 Kings 3:7. These brief and terse words can only be explained from the context. He has been speaking of their returning to Judaism-to the weak and beggarly elements, and of the anxiety which their dangerous state caused him. As a personal argument and illustration he refers now to himself and the position he sustained toward the same weak and beggarly elements. “Become ye as I am, for I too am become as you,”-become free from Judaism as I, for I also am free from it like you-as if I too were a Gentile. Or, become ye as I- εἰμί or γέγονα being supplied-free from the law, in no sense recognising its obligation upon you,-for I have become as you; a Jew though I be, I am as regards the law quite like you Gentiles; or, Reciprocate my feeling and relation to Judaism: Galatians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 9:20-21;- me imitamini gentiliter viventem, quia et ego gentiliter vivo, as Pelagius gives it. Such generally is the view of Usteri, Winer, Hilgenfeld, Fritzsche, De Wette, Meyer, and Wieseler. The appeal is direct: I am afraid of you, lest my labour upon you be in vain. It will not be in vain if ye will become as I am in reference to the law; for toward that law I have become as you Gentiles to whom that law was not given, and over whom therefore it has, and was meant to have, no jurisdiction.
Another view has been given by the Greek fathers. “Become as I am, for I was once a very zealot for Judaism, as you are.” Thus Chrysostom: τοῦτον εἶχον πάλαι τὸν ζῆλον· σφοδρὰ τὸν νόμον ἐπόθουν . Vatablus, Semler, and Matthies hold this view: “I once thought as you do, but I have changed my opinion; so do ye:” ye will not be the first who renounced the Mosaic law; or, ye can do what I wish you to do, since I have done it. But the words will not bear this interpretation. For, first, the appeal is not to Jews, but to those who had been Gentiles; and secondly, ἤμην , the word to be supplied, in that case must have been written, as the emphasis would be on it: so, as has been remarked, Justin, Orat. ad Graecos, writes, γίνεσθε ὡς ἐγὼ ὅτι κἀγὼ ἤμην ὡς ὑμεῖς , p. 12, vol. i. Opera, ed. Otto. The context would only warrant the supplement of ἐγενόμην , which would not bear the sense assumed. Others, as Jerome, a Lapide, Rückert, and Olshausen, take another view. Thus Olshausen: “I always sought to look at matters from the same point of view as you did; so do ye act now also in the same spirit toward me.” But this is too vague, and puts the two clauses out of unison.
Different is the interpretation of a fourth party, who suppose the words to refer to a reciprocation of love: Love me as I love you. This view is held by Luther, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Cramer, Gwynne, Bagge, and Brown. 1 Kings 22:4. But the Greek phrase γίνεσθε ὡς certainly will not bear such fulness of meaning. It is true, at the same time, that the apostle's under-current of appeal is to his love to them and their former attachment to him. Afraid of them he was, yet he would have them act in love to him, so as to imitate him; and he goes on to refer to that affection which once subsisted between them. This interpretation has been thought by some to derive some countenance from the following clause, as they understand it: “I love you still, I do not feel toward you as an injured man.” But the next clause begins apparently a new declaration, and is indeed a motive for them to become as he was. The apostle adds, however-
᾿Αδελφοί , δέομαι ὑμῶν “Brethren, I beseech you.” These words have been taken to refer to the following statement by Chrysostom and his followers, with Rückert, Koppe, and others. But there is no request contained in the following clauses at all, so that the phrase cannot be a preface to them. The request lies in the previous part of the verse.
The paragraph now commencing extends to the sixteenth verse. It is an appeal to their previous conduct and attachment, and it is adduced as a motive why they should follow the earnest counsel, γίνεσθε ὡς ἐγώ . The succession of aorists shows that the apostle writes of a previous point of time, probably his first visit to them. So that he says generally-
Οὐδέν με ἠδικήσατε “in nothing did ye wrong me;” on the contrary, they did treat him with extreme kindness. But, 1. Beza, Bengel, and Rückert give by a meiosis this turn to the words, that “he forgave the anxiety and sorrow which they had occasioned him;” that “he would forgive and forget all” (Ewald). 2. The clause is not a mitigation of the previous rebuke, or something said in contrast to soothe them (Chrysostom, Estius, Winer). 3. Some, as Ambrosiaster, a Lapide, and Schott, put the emphasis wrongly on μέ , and bring out this contrast: “ye did not wrong me, but ye wronged yourselves.” 4. Grotius and Rettig give it another point: “you have done nothing against me, but against God and Christ.” These four forms of evolved contrast are alike to be rejected. They do not give the aorist its proper past signification which it must have, as is indicated by the following series of verbs in the same tense.
Galatians 4:13. Οἴδατε δέ “But ye know.” So far from doing me any injury, your treatment of me was the very opposite-ye wronged me in nothing; on the other hand, δέ , ye know that. Δέ is wanting in D 1 , F, but found in A, B, C, and it is supported by the Vulgate. The demonstrative ὅτι introduces the series of clauses describing the facts of his first reception, which were matter of knowledge to them. He does not say, Ye remember, as if an act of reminiscence were needed, but, Ye know. And first he says-
῞Οτι δἰ ἀσθένειαν τῆς σαρκὸς εὐαγγελισάμην ὑμῖν τὸ πρότερον “that on account of weakness of my flesh I preached the gospel unto you the first time.” The phrase τὸ πρότερον -Vulgate, jam prius -might point to an early time, or formerly: John 6:62; John 7:51; John 9:8; Sept. Deuteronomy 2:12, Joshua 10:9 (Usteri). But it here refers to the apostle's first visit. Hebrews 4:6; Hebrews 7:27. Had he been once only in Galatia, the phrase would have been superfluous. The article gives emphasis to the expression. Some indeed affirm that Paul paid only one visit to the Galatian province. Thus Grotius interprets against the true construction- nempe cum praesens essem, nam et absens eos docet; but a simple docet falls short of that oral teaching which is expressed by the verb εὐαγγελισάμην . The phrase δἰ ἀσθένειαν τῆς σαρκός , literally rendered, can have only one meaning “on account of infirmity of the flesh,” that is, on account of bodily weakness. Winer, § 49, c. This meaning of σάρξ is found in Acts 2:26; Acts 2:31, Colossians 1:22, and such is the regular sense of διά with the accusative. On account of bodily infirmity the apostle preached during his first visit to Galatia. We cannot explain it. Either, travelling through the country, he was seized with sickness, and being unable to prosecute his journey, he employed his leisure in preaching; or, some malady detaining him longer in the province than he had intended or expected, he devoted what strength he had, or what strength was returning to him, to a hearty and successful proclamation of the good tidings. This strictly grammatical sense given to the clause is in complete harmony with the context, as the exegesis of the following verse will show; and to suppose a change of case is contrary to any real example in the New Testament. It is wrong, therefore, to evade this literal and only admissible meaning by giving the preposition the meaning of “under,” as is done by not a few commentators. Thus Chrysostom: “While I preached to you, I was scourged, I suffered a thousand deaths; yet ye thought no scorn of me.” OEcumenius and Theophylact explain it as μετ᾿ ἀσθενείας , and the Vulgate, per infirmitatem. Luther, too, Olshausen, Matthies, follow this exegesis; and Brown says it is equivalent to ἐν ἀσθενείᾳ . Jowett's explanation is similar, and also that of Turner. In such a case διά would require the genitive, for such a phrase as διὰ νύκτα belongs to poetry. Bernhardy, p. 236. Some dilute the meaning, as Calvin: abjectus et in hominum conspectu nullius pretii; and similarly Rosenmüller, Koppe, and Borger. Others understand the phrase of persecutions. Thus Grotius: per varios casus, per mille pericula rerum perrexi, ut vos instituerem. Jatho, going still beyond this, and taking σάρξ as denoting sinful humanity, gives the weakness of humanity to save itself as the ground of all Paul's preaching. Bengel gets clear of the supposed difficulty by the allegation that sickness was not the cause of the preaching, sed adjumentum cur Paulus efficacius praedicaret. Similarly Schott-that the apostle continuing to preach assidue et alacriter, notwithstanding his sickness, had a great effect on the minds of the Galatians. Semler thinks that the phrase refers to timidity, which kept the apostle from openly withstanding the supporters of Judaism! Baumgarten-Crusius takes the allusion to be to some Befangenheit und Verlegenheit -perplexity and dilemma-occasioned by the antipathy to him of the Jewish element in those communities. Lastly, Jerome propounds this strange explanation: Per infirmitatem autem non suae sed audientium, qui non poterant carnem subjicere verbo Dei. Estius, Hug, and Rettig follow him. But there wants some qualifying particle to bring out such a meaning, and the μοῦ of the following verse seems to decide that the reference is to himself. Gwynne denies that the grammatical sense suits the context, and suggests that it would have fitted the apostle, instead of saying “on account of,” to say “in spite of, my weakness in the flesh.” Peile also calls the proper translation “utterly irreconcilable” with the context, adding, “we would gladly read δἰ ἀσθενείας .” Jowett thus defends his view: “In the interpretation of διά we have to choose between ordinary Greek usage and the sense of the passage;” but how, except through the Greek usage, can the sense of this or any Greek passage be ascertained? Nor have the prepositions such “uncertainty of usage” as he ascribes to Paul. Classical precision may not be uniformly predicated of them, but their generic sense is always preserved even in rhetorical accumulations. The plain meaning then, without resort to grammatical torture, undue dilution, or remote reference, is, that in some way or other unknown to us, but quite known to the Galatians, bodily weakness led the apostle to preach, or to continue to preach, in Galatia at his first visit; and he goes on to say, that in spite of this, he met with a most cordial welcome, and with great success. It is needless to allege that if he had been sick or ill, he could not have preached. For what know we of the real nature of the malady? It might be so severe or of such a character as to prevent him from travelling, but not from preaching. What know we of his bodily infirmities, caught by infection or brought on by persecution?-for “he was in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent,”-or created by numerous causes, for he was “in weariness and painfulness, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” What know we of the maladies and sudden attacks incident to a constitution which had been so tried and enfeebled, and into which had been sent also a thorn in the flesh? (Suicer, sub voce ἀσθένεια .)
Galatians 4:14. Καὶ τὸν πειρασμὸν ὑμῶν ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου οὐκ ἐξουθενήσατε οὐδὲ ἐξεπτύσατε “And your temptation in my flesh ye despised not nor loathed” “abhorred,” Tyndale and the Genevan. The reading of the first part of this clause is involved in difficulty, whether it should be τὸν πειρασμὸν ὑμῶν , or τὸν πειρασμόν μου τόν of the Received Text. The first reading, ὑμῶν , is found in A, B, C 2 , D, F, א 1 , 17, 39, 67 2 (C 2 having ὑμῶν τόν , א 3 τόν ). It is also found in the Coptic and Latin versions, and among the fathers in Jerome, Augustine, Ambrosiaster, Sedulius. Mill in his appendix adopts it, and so does Lachmann. On the other hand, the received reading μου τόν is found in D & sup2, 3;, E, K, L, the great majority of MSS., in the Syriac and Gothic versions, and in Chrysostom, Theodoret, OEcumenius, Basil, etc. It is adopted by Tischendorf, Griesback, Hahn, and Reiche. Diplomatic or uncial authority and that of versions is in favour of ὑμῶν . This pronoun ὑμῶν , in the interpretation of the Greek fathers, would appear to them unintelligible; for they understand the trial of dangers and persecutions, and there was thus a temptation to omit it or change it. Lachmann wrongly places a colon after ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου . The reading with ὑμῶν is the more difficult, and was therefore more liable to be altered. There is no occasion to render καί , et tamen, as Winer does; it simply connects the clauses. The two compound verbs rise in emphasis. The first verb ἐξουθενέω ( οὐθέν being a later form of οὐδέν , Phrynichus, ed. Lobeck, p. 181) is “to set at nought,” “to despise.” The second verb ἐκπτύω means “to spit out,” as in Homer- στόματος δ᾿ ἐξέπτυσεν ἅλμην πικρήν , Obadiah 1:5; Obadiah 1:5.322; and this, as well as the compound with ἐν , is used only in the natural sense. Then it means to spit as if in disgust-to loathe. Some of the other compounds are treated in Phrynichus, ed. Lobeck, p. 17. The simple verb is used in the earlier Greek, Soph. Antig. 649, and ἀποπτύειν would have been the more correct form here; but apparently the preposition of the first verb is repeated in the alliteration. The absolute οὐ is followed by the relative οὐδέ , the second clause not being intended when the first was formed in the mind of the writer. Jelf, § 776, 1, b. The verb describes a feeling excited by what is revolting. See Kypke in loc. The Vulgate has non reprobastis aut respuistis. By πειρασμός the apostle characterizes something which had a distinct tendency to produce those feelings - something in the physical malady or in his appearance under it which subjected the Galatians to the temptation of contemning and loathing him. Either the disease of itself had a tendency to produce this disgust and revulsion, or it may be that there was a temptation to set at nought and nauseate a professed teacher of a new religion so afflicted and disabled, reject his claims, and turn a deaf ear to his teaching. The words ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου define the seat of the πειρασμός , and being without the article, form with it one conception. Winer, § 20, 2. It has also been shown that πειράζειν ἐν occurs, as in Plato, Phil. p. 21, A. The expression is elliptical. “Your trial you did not reject” = that which originated or caused the trial. For nouns in μος , see Lobeck, Phrynichus, p. 511. So far from his weakness in the flesh tempting them to cherish any such feeling toward him, he adds in very graphic phrase-
᾿Αλλ᾿ ὡς ἄγγελον Θεοῦ ἐδέξασθέ με , ὡς Χριστὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν “but ye received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.” The vivid contrast in ἀλλά is, that so far from in any sense contemning him, they honoured him with an eager and intense welcome-they received him as an angel of God. Of course, in both clauses the apostle speaks in accordance with their present knowledge of divine revelation, not according to any knowledge they had possessed before he preached to them, for that would imply that he found them in possession of the gospel on his first visit to them. He therefore speaks of angels and Christ, as they understood them now, since their conversion. They received him as an angel, 1 Samuel 29:9; 2Sa 14:17 ; 2 Samuel 19:27. The angel is the highest and most glorious among creatures, and many appearances and visits of angels are recorded in the Old Testament. They received him not only as a “legate of the skies,” but as Christ Jesus, the Lord of the angels. As you would receive an angel, nay, as you would receive Christ Jesus, did you receive me. Compare Luke 10:16, 2Co 2:10 ; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11. The apostle, in spite of bodily malady, was most enthusiastically welcomed and revered. He says this to their credit, and he affectionately recalls it. How lovingly they greeted him, and how studiously they consulted his welfare, untempted by what might have produced a very opposite result!
Galatians 4:15. Mournfully but sharply does he now turn round and ask-
Τίς οὖν ὁ μακαρισμὸς ὑμῶν ; This reading has D, K, L in its favour, with the majority of MSS. and fathers. Another reading- ποῦ οὖν ὁ μακαρισμός -is found in A, B, C, F, G, א , and in the Vulgate and Syriac versions. The Greek fathers refer to the various reading. Theodoret says, ὁ γὰρ τίς ἀντὶ τοῦ ποῦ τέθηκε , and he and Theodore Mops. and Severianus explain τίς by ποῦ . The particle ποῦ , though well supported, has the aspect of an emendation in that it appears to simplify the question-Where has it all gone to? “Where is the blessedness ye spake of?” With τίς , ἦν must be supplied, as it is written in D, E, K; F (G having η ): “Of what sort or nature was your boasted blessedness?” The adjective refers to quality, as it usually does, not to quantity, though this last sense is given to it by Luther, Beza, Borger, Hilgenfeld, Reiche, Wieseler, and Brown. The question has more point if τίς bear its common significance. The οὖν is simply retrospective, implying here no logical inference. Donaldson, § 548, 31. The noun μακαρισμός -not μακαριότης , blessedness-means pronouncing blessed, as does the allied verb μακαρίζω . Romans 4:6; Romans 4:9; Luke 1:48; James 5:11; Sept. Genesis 30:13; Ast, Lexicon Platon. sub voce. Bengel gives another meaning to τίς : quae causa -what was the ground of this gratulation?-and he is followed by Jatho, Matthies, Schott, and to some extent Alford “worth what?” “of what weight or value?” That the μακαρισμός was by Paul on the Galatians, is on the one hand the opinion of Jerome, who says, vos eo tempore quo evangelium juxta carnem susceperatis- beatos dicerem,-of Theodoret and the Greek fathers. On the other hand, Estius, Locke, and Wordsworth understand that the apostle himself is the object of the congratulation on the part of the Galatians. Locke's paraphrase is, “What benedictions did you then pour out upon me!” and his note is, “The context makes this sense of the words so necessary and visible, that it is to be wondered how any one could overlook it.” If the apostle had meant felicitation upon himself, he would have stated it in some distinct way, but ὑμῶν stands without any addition. They had felicitated themselves on the apostle's ministry among them, even though they knew that it was what might be called an accident of illness which kept him so long in their province, apparently in opposition to his original plan of travel. Amidst their earnest self-congratulations, they forgot not the instrument of the blessedness which they boasted of. They pronounced themselves happy in enjoying such a ministry, and they vied with one another in kindness to the minister; for in proof he says-
Μαρτυρῶ γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι εἰ δυνατὸν τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ὑμῶν ἐξορύξαντες ἐδώκατέ μοι “for I bear you record, that if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and have given them to me.” The verb μαρτυρῶ is here followed by the dative of person in favour of whom the μαρτυρία is given, and also, as frequently, by the demonstrative ὅτι , equivalent to an accusative with the infinitive.
The participle ἐξορύξαντες is often employed in this idiom-perhaps more frequently than other terms. The imperative ἔξελε is used in Matthew 5:29, and ἔκβαλε in Mark 9:47. Compare Judges 16:21; 1 Samuel 11:2; Joseph. Antiq. 6.5, 1; Herod. 8.116. The phrase τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ὑμῶν is not “your own eyes,” as Ellicott remarks, but simply “your eyes.” No emphasis is intended. Compare John 4:35. “Ye would have given them to me.” The ἄν before ἐδώκατε in the Received Text is rejected on the authority of A, B, C, D 1 , F, G, א . The use of ἄν would have indicated hypothetical reality, but without ἄν it is more rhetorically emphatic, and means that the act would have been done if the restriction in εἰ δυνατόν had not intervened. John 9:33; John 15:22. Hermann, de Particula ἄν , Opuscula, vol. iv. cap. xi. p. 57; Jelf, § 858, 1. The phrase εἰ δυνατόν is not to be pressed as meaning an absolute impossibility, but in a popular sense that such a token of love was impracticable- pro evangelico lumine sua lumina tradidissent. What higher expression of self-denied and ardent attachment to himself could the apostle describe? As Alford remarks, “The position of the words τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ὑμῶν strongly supports the idea that the apostle uses the clause proverbially.” And the expression is a common one based on nature, and found in a great variety of authors. Compare Deuteronomy 32:10, Psalms 17:8, Proverbs 7:2, Zechariah 2:8; Callim. in Dian. p. 21, ed. Blomfield; in Latin, Horace, Sat. 2.5, 33; Terence, Adelph. 5.7-5; Catullus, iii. xiv. See Wetstein in loc. The meaning then is, that they would have parted with anything, even the most precious-have endured no common self-torment-in the depth of their professed attachment to him.
But some give the phrase a more literal significance, or rather suppose a more literal reason for the use of the figure. They suppose that the ἀσθένεια was some kind of ophthalmic disorder. The meaning in that case is, the Galatians would have parted with their eyes to him, could the gift have relieved the apostle. Lomler, Rückert, Schott, and others advocate this view, which is favoured also by Conybeare. We would not, however, call it with Schmoller abgeschmackt, nor say with Bisping fast lächerlich ist es; for some form of it may have been mixed up with his malady. But, as has been remarked, the emphasis is neither on ὑμῶν nor μοί . Nor is there any distinct proof in the apostle's language at any time, or in the record of his life, that he was vexed with any eye-illness. See Essay at end of this section.
Galatians 4:16. ῞Ωστε ἐχθρὸς ὑμῶν γέγονα ἀληθεύων ὑμῖν ; “So then, have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” By ὥστε an interrogative inference is made “so then,” or “as matters now are.” Ergo is so used in the Latin versions. Plato, Phaedrus, 231, B; Klotz-Devarius, vol. 2.776. Meyer connects ὥστε directly with τίς οὖν ὁ μακαρισμὸς ὑμῶν , but the connection is better taken with the entire verse or paragraph-not a direct conclusion, as the result of the previous statement. The term ἐχθρός is taken in a passive sense by Estius, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Trana, and Meyer in his second edition. The context agrees with such a sense. Their feeling toward him had been that of extreme kindness and indulgence, and he might ask, Have I, who once was the object of your intense affection, become the object of your hatred? the two states being brought into distinct contrast. The genitive is probably used because ἐχθρός is a virtual substantive-Am I become the hated of you? But we prefer the active sense, with many of the ancient versions, and with Bengel, Beza, Grotius, Rückert, Schott, Hilgenfeld, Meyer, and Ellicott. Such is the prevailing meaning of the word, adjective and substantive, in the New Testament; and it is followed here, as usually, by the genitive of person (Sophocles, Ajax, 500; Demosthenes, de Legat. 439, 19, p. 279, vol. i. Opera, ed. Schaefer), whereas in the passive sense it takes the dative. The perfect γέγονα expresses the change as over, and as resulting in a permanent state-Am I become your enemy? Nor is this meaning out of harmony with the context. There had been mutual ascriptions of blessedness because they enjoyed the labours of such a benefactor. Have I then, from being esteemed and welcomed as your best benefactor, come to be regarded as your enemy? There is no ground for Olshausen's supplement, “and can those be your friends?” as there is no ἐγώ expressed. At a later period, as we have seen, the Judaizers called him ὁ ἐχθρὸς ἄνθρωπος . Clement. Hom. p. 4, ed. Dressel. The participle ἀληθεύων has a causal force “because I tell the truth to you;” the use of the present not confining it to the moment of writing; nor is it “because I have told you the truth,” though the idea of the past is not excluded. The state is expressed in its whole duration. Winer, § 40, 2, c, § 45, 1; Schmalfeld, pp. 91, 92, 405; Acts 19:24; 1 Peter 3:5. The participle probably means simply “speaking the truth”-referring to oral address, and not to upright conduct. Matthias, as his wont is, would alter the punctuation, and connect ἀληθεύων with the next verse.
To what period, then, does the apostle refer? Not (1) to the letter he is writing, as he could not know of its result, though this is the view of Jerome, Luther, Koppe, and others;-nor (2) to his first visit, for they received him then as an angel, nay, as Christ Jesus Himself; nor then could the Judaizing teachers have had any scope for labour. Some time had elapsed before they made their appearance, as is implied in Galatians 3:2-5, and expressly stated in Galatians 5:7: “Ye did run well.” So that (3) the probability is that he refers to what took place on his second visit, when the evil was fermenting which speedily developed into such pernicious results. That the speaking of unwelcome truth creates enmity has passed into a proverb. Terent. Andr. 1.1, 40. While the apostle could go far in the way of accommodation to prejudice, and in matters indifferent, he would on no account sacrifice any element of truth. Whatever on any pretence or to any degree endangered truth met at once from him with vehement and persistent opposition, no matter what hostility, misapprehension, or prejudice his fidelity might create against himself. The truth was Christ's, and he dares not compromise it; himself was Christ's, and in Christ's spirit he “endures all things for the elect's sake.” And as the truth endangered in Galatia was truth alike precious and prominent in the gospel-truth resting on the perfection of Christ's work, and involving the freeness of His salvation-it must be upheld at all hazards. Still the apostle must have keenly felt this revulsion of sentiment toward himself; for his was not an impassible nature, with nerves that never tingled and a surface that no weapon could pierce. On the contrary, with a woman's tenderness, his sympathies were acute, profound, and ever active: “Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” Had the change of feeling toward him been only characteristic caprice, he would have cared less; but it involved a departure from the gospel which he had proclaimed, and which was divine alike in origin, substance, and results.
Note on Paul’s “Infirmity in the Flesh” “The Thorn in the Flesh.”
Galatians 4:13-15. Οἴδατε δὲ ὅτι δἰ ἀσθένειαν τῆς σαρκὸς εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν τὸ πρότερον , Καὶ τὸν πειρασμὸν ὑμῶν ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου οὐκ ἐξουθενήσατε οὐδὲ ἐξεπτύσατε· ἀλλ᾿ ὡς ἄγγελον Θεοῦ ἐδεξασθέ με , ὡς Χριστὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν . Τίς οὖν ἦν ὁ μακαρισμὸς ὑμῶν ; μαρτυρῶ γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι εἰ δυνατὸν τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ὑμῶν ἐξορύξαντες ἐδώκατέ μοι “Ye know how, on account of infirmity of the flesh, I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And your temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor loathed; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. What then was the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes, and have given them to me.”
2 Corinthians 12:7. Καὶ τῇ ὑπερβολῇ τῶν ἀποκαλύψεων ἵνα μὴ ὑπεραίρωμαι , ἐδόθη μοι σκόλοψ τῇ σαρκί , ἄγγελος Σατᾶν ἵνα με κολαφίζῃ , ἵνα μὴ ὑπεραίρωμαι “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”
According to one probable hypothesis, the Epistle to the Galatians and the second Epistle to the Corinthians were written about the same period, and it is a natural conclusion that the reference in the two preceding paragraphs is to the same sharp distressing visitation. But surmises as to the nature of the malady so referred to in both epistles in these strong and significant terms, have been numerous and conflicting. Plainly it was no merely inner disease, the effects or concomitants of which were either not visible, or, if perceptible, affected no one with disgust- ἐξεπτύσατε . But it was an infirmity which could not be concealed, which obtruded itself on all with whom the apostle came into contact, and was so revolting in its nature as to excite nausea in spectators, and tempt them to reject his preaching. The apostle does not disguise its tendency, though he does not unfold its nature or give it any specific name. The Galatians knew it so well that the merest allusion was sufficient for them. Their perfect knowledge of it is thus the cause of our ignorance of it. But there are allusions to some sickness or other peculiar malady in other portions of the second Epistle to the Corinthians so striking and peculiar, that there is every probability of their identity with this ἀσθένεια . Thus 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead; who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver; in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us.” These remarkable words have been referred by many, as Neander and Wieseler, to the tumult at Ephesus, as told in Acts 19:0. The objection, that Paul would have written “in Ephesus,” and not vaguely “in Asia,” if he had alluded to that city, is without real force, though he generally so names it, as in the first epistle, 1 Corinthians 15:32; 1 Corinthians 16:8. But the life of the apostle does not seem to have been in peril at Ephesus; the tumult was stupid and aimless, and did not last long; and if he had been martyred, it would have been in the sudden confusion and excitement. Hours of dreadful anticipation would in that case have been spared him. Nay, so far as the record tells, it could not be said of him, that during the riot he was in anguish or felt himself in danger. But in the verses quoted he speaks of being “weighed down beyond strength, so that we despaired even of life.” These terms certainly are inapplicable to such a sudden or momentary terror as the swift gathering of a mob might produce; they rather describe the result of sore personal sickness, so long, heavy, oppressive, and continuous, that “we utterly despaired even of life.” That sickness was καθ᾿ ὑπερβολήν in itself grievous, and on this account ὑπὲρ δύναμιν , beyond our power of endurance. The visitation so characterized must have a load of unwonted pressure, for the apostle is of all men least prone to exaggerate in personal matters. To “despair even of life,” implies a period of suffering so tedious and heavy that it gradually extinguished all hope of recovery. The expression, to “have the sentence of death in ourselves,” inclines us again to the same view: the malady was felt to be a deadly one; the prospect of restoration to health was so wholly gone, that his trust was not in God for it, but for a blessed resurrection - “in God which raiseth the dead;” and his unexpected recovery was signally due to Him “who rescued us from so great a death.” Such is a probable meaning of the paragraph. In Galatians 4:4 the apostle speaks generally of tribulations, and, viewed in a special aspect, they are called “the sufferings of Christ,” as He still endures them in His members. But in Galatians 4:8 he passes from the general reference to a specific instance, which indeed might be aggravated by surrounding persecution, and by his deepening anxiety for the welfare of the churches “affliction, anguish of heart, and many tears,” 2 Corinthians 2:4. In 2 Corinthians 10:10 the apostle quotes a bitter criticism of his opponents on himself and his writings, in which occurs the phrase, ἡ δὲ παρουσία τοῦ σώματος ἀσθενής -a sentence referring not to stature or physical constitution, but to the impressions of frailty and sickness which his appearance indicated. Nay, he had said to the same church, 1 Corinthians 2:3, “I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling:” the weakness was probably physical weakness, nervous susceptibility increased by his intense anxiety as to the results of his preaching. He could not indeed be what Jowett calls him, “a poor decrepid being afflicted with palsy;” for surely in such a case he could not have done the work which so few could have done, or borne the trials which so few could have faced. One may remark, too, the specialty of emphasis in the phrase, “Luke the beloved physician,” as if he had endeared himself to the apostle, who stood in need so often of his medical sympathy and skill. He might not be unlike what Luther calls him, ein armes dürres Mannlein wie Magister Philippus (Melancthon); for there is throughout his epistles a deep current of allusion to weakness, to mental depression, to nervous apprehension, to hindrances in his labours which distressed him, and a consequent sense of humiliation which always chastened him. These were mortifying drawbacks to his eagerness and success.
Still farther, there is a very strong probability that in the apostle's malady there was some prominent characteristic, to which passing allusions are thus made, and of which a more formal account is given by himself in 2 Corinthians 12:1. Even there the result is dwelt upon, but the nature of the infliction is not clearly described. He had been describing many of his outer sufferings, and the last of them, referred to so solemnly and under an adjuration, must have made an indelible impression on him-the kind of ignominy and humiliation attaching to his undignified mode of escape from Damascus “through a window, in a basket was I let down by the wall.” He almost shrinks from telling the adventure: such is its nature that he is afraid that his sober statement may not be credited, and therefore it is prefaced, “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.” Perhaps, however, these words belong to the previous catalogue of sufferings, or they form a preface to some other statements, which after all have been withheld. He then comes at length to his inner experiences, connected with his highest glory and with his deepest and most trying weaknesses. In these infirmities would he glory, as they were either coincident with or resulted from the noblest privilege which he had enjoyed. He proposes to give them-for he was forced to it-a specimen of his glories and his infirmities, his enjoyments of visions and revelations-those states of spiritual ecstasy in which, with a partial or total cessation of self-consciousness, he was brought into immediate communing with the Master, beheld His glory, and listened to His voice; in which truth in its beauty and power was flashed upon him, and glimpses into the glories and mysteries of the spiritual world were suddenly vouchsafed to him. Both forms of ecstasy combined (for the vision included the revelation) had already been enjoyed by him. The person of Christ was usually the object of the vision, and the disclosure of His will the theme of the revelation. And the amazing incident is told by him as of a third person while he unfolds the exalted and perilous honour, but he resumes the first person when he comes to speak of the resulting infirmity. “I know a man in Christ, fourteen years before, whether in the body I know not, or out of the body I know not, God knoweth,-(I know) such an one snatched up as far as the third heaven. And I know such a man, whether in the body or without the body I cannot tell, God knoweth, that was caught up to paradise, and heard unutterable utterances, which it is not lawful for a man to speak.” This repetition with a difference refers apparently to two raptures; and we may almost infer from the construction, broken and resumed, asserted and repeated, that the remembrance of the indescribable glory, and his untraceable translation into it, produced a momentary maze or mental bewilderment like that which preceded or followed the mysterious ascensions. The “third heaven” is evidently the highest heaven-it was no common honour; and paradise may not be a distinct, loftier, or remoter region, but perhaps a portion of the same glorious abode. Probably, as this name was given to the garden of Eden, the scene of original innocence, it was transferred to that peculiar sphere of the third heaven where human spirits are gathered together in restored purity and felicity, in the immediate presence of God on His throne-that paradise where the Saviour unveils His glory, and admission into which He promised to the penitent thief on the cross. That the apostle saw the divine essence is maintained by Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas; but what he saw he tells not, what he heard could not be disclosed. If we were even allowed to repeat the songs and voices, still language would be wholly inadequate as a vehicle, for words want power to bear on them a description of the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” But how he reached the third heaven he knew not, only it was under a swift and sudden spell-he was snatched away, and by no self-analysis could he unravel the psychological mystery. So contrary was it to all experience, so little was he under the guidance of ordinary consciousness, and of the common influences of space and time, that he could not tell whether he was in the body or out of the body. Yet he speaks of himself as a man caught up, of passing from one region to another, and of hearing words. His whole inner nature was under the influence of the divine charm, in whatever way it was effected, though hearing in the ordinary sense implies organs of sensation. “Of such a one will I glory”-one so strangely honoured as to be for a season among the blessed in their exalted sphere,-of such an one so singled out would he glory, but he would not glory of himself; not denying the identity of “such an one” with himself, but drawing probably this distinction, that in enjoying the translation he was not himself, but in some way beyond himself. Still he would boast of his infirmities, for these were himself, elements of continuous consciousness, struggle, and depression. Nay more, if he did glory, he should not be “a fool;” for in referring to visions and revelations he was only speaking the truth without exaggeration; but he forbears, for this reason, that he does not wish to be judged by such an abnormal standard-this enjoyment of ecstasies which they could not comprehend. He would not be the object of any idolatrous veneration because access had been given to the light inaccessible; but he would be judged by the common criterion-what they saw him to be, what they heard of him, that is, by their own experience of him, in his daily life, and by his work which was ever patent and palpable to them. He would glory in his infirmities; and he adds, “And for this purpose, that through the excessive abundance of the revelations I might not be unduly exalted, there was given unto me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, that he may buffet me, that I might not be unduly exalted.” The language implies that the σκόλοψ τῇ σαρκί was produced by the excess of the revelations, or it was so connected with them in time and circumstance that it was felt to have resulted from their excess- τῇ ὑπερβολῇ ,-they were so many and so grand, that while the spirit might enjoy them, the flesh was so weak that it was worn out by them. This conscious link between the thorn and the revelation was the appointed means of keeping the apostle humble: what he had enjoyed might have elated him, but it had a sting left behind it which ever abased and tortured him. That the visitation had wrought out its purpose is apparent from many allusions, and from this late record of his unprecedented honours, for he does not seem to have told them before. The words imply that there might have been undue elation, but that it was most surely prevented. It may be added that Lucian sneers at the apostle's rapture, calling him ἀναφαλαντίας , ἐπίῤῥινος , ἀεροβατήσας , Philopat. 12, p. 249, Opera, vol. ix. Bipont. The visions are also mocked in the Clementines, 17.19.
The term σκόλοψ occurs only here in the New Testament, and originally signifies a pointed stake, defined by Hesychius ξύλον ὀξύ , for fixing heads on; as in Homer, Il. 18.177, κεφαλὴν . . . πῇξαι ἀνὰ σκολόππεσσι ,-or for impaling a person, Eurip. Bacchae, 983; ἢ σκόλοψι πήξωμεν δέμας , Iph. in Taur. 1431. Lucian calls Jesus τὸν ἐν τῇ Παλαιστίνῃ ἀνασκολοπισθέντα , De Morte Peregrini, 12, p. 279, vol. viii. Bipont. In the Septuagint it seems to be employed to denote a sharp-pointed stake, but one not so large as that a head could be set on it or a body impaled on it-a stake in miniature, virtually a thorn: σκόλοπες ἐν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ὑμῶν , “thorns in your eyes,” Numbers 33:55; similarly Ezekiel 28:24, and in Hosea 2:6, where it represents the Hebrew סִיר , spina. ῎Ακανθαι καὶ σκόλοπες ὀδύνας σημαίνουσι διὰ τὸ ὀξύ , Artemidorus, Oneirocritica, 3.33, p. 280, vol. i. Opera, ed. Reiff. The Syriac renders by שׁפָיוֹאלבֶסרי , “a thorn in my flesh.” It is therefore extreme in Dean Stanley to take the image as that of impaling or crucifying, or at all analogous to the phrase, “I am crucified with Christ.” Impalement would scarcely be a congruous image for physical suffering in one who travelled and laboured like the apostle. The references to crucifixion and its agonies are of a different nature. But he might bear about a sharp-pointed stake in his flesh which no power could extract, and which was producing a rankling festering wound and torture. Now the τῇ σαρκί here appears to be parallel to the ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου of Galatians 4:13 -something which had its origin in those superabundant revelations, which vexed and humiliated the apostle, and was of a nature so visibly painful, and withal so offensive, that it became a trial to spectators and listeners. The thorn was “given him” by God, and was also “an angel of Satan that he may buffet me”-the last clause describing the action not of the thorn, but of the angel of Satan. It is a superficial and unbiblical supposition of Turner, that this clause may have no more real meaning in it than the popular expressions, “St. Vitus' dance” or “St. Anthony's fire,” in which there is not the least idea of supernatural agency. Scripture does not so sport with the awful names and agencies of the fallen spirit-world. “The devil and his angels” is a phrase found in Matthew 25:41. The thorn was employed by this evil spirit as a means of buffeting him. That he might be humble was God's purpose; that he might be humiliated was the purpose of Satan's angel,-that is, brought into contempt, and restrained in his work, his influence lessened, and himself harassed and agonized. May not this help to explain the allusion in 1 Thessalonians 2:18, “We would have come unto you, but Satan hindered us?” This buffeting might produce nervous tremors, apprehensions, and a chronic lowness of spirits. Amid all his enthusiasm and chivalry, he needed frequent comfort and assurance; so that we find the voice saying to him at Corinth, “Be not afraid;” in his confinement in Jerusalem, “Be of good cheer;” and during the voyage to Rome, “Fear not.” Acts 18:9; Acts 23:11; Acts 27:24. Another result in such circumstances might be, that strong craving for human sympathy which is often manifested by him. See Howson, Lectures on St. Paul, p. 72, 2d edition.
It is difficult to say at what period these revelations were given. It was fourteen years before he wrote his second epistle to the Corinthians. The period could not therefore be that of his conversion, as is thought by Damasus, Thomas Aquinas, OEder, Keil, and Reiche, for considerably more than fourteen years must have elapsed since that turning-point in his life. Others identify the rapture with the trance in the temple, and the vision and commission connected with it, which himself describes in Acts 22:17-20, as Spanheim, Lightfoot, Rinck, Schrader, Osiander, Wieseler. If this vision took place at his first visit to Jerusalem three years after his conversion, the dates are more in harmony, though the chronology of the apostle's life is very uncertain. The year of his conversion cannot be definitely fixed, opinions varying from the years 33 to 42 A.D. But if it happened, as there is strong probability for believing, in the end of 37 or in 38, and the 2d Epistle to the Corinthians was written in 57 or 58, then the “three years after” of Galatians 1:18, the date of his first visit to Jerusalem, would be in 40 or 41-more than fourteen years before this allusion in 2 Corinthians 12:2. There are other ways, however, of manipulating these dates: Wieseler, for example, places the conversion in the year 40. Still, though on such a computation the dates might thus be brought to correspond, the two accounts are by no means in unison; for the apostle “utters” what he saw in the temple, and recounts also what he “heard.” Wieseler argues, indeed, that as the description of the rapture follows close on the reference to the escape from Damascus, its date must naturally be assigned to the first visit to Jerusalem: Galatians 1:18. But, as Meyer remarks, the apostle in the beginning of 2 Corinthians 12:0 goes on to tell something distinctly new, and quite different from the incidents of previous rehearsal. Wieseler also labours hard to prove against Ebrard and Meyer, that the ἄῤῥητα ῥήματα are not things impossible, but only unlawful for a man to utter: die nicht gesagt werden dürfen,-quae non licet homini loqui. But ἄῤῥητα ῥήματα is a phrase not to be identified with ἀλάλητοι στεναγμοί , Romans 8:26, for those groanings are often inarticulate suspiria de profundis. Nor does this interpretation much help him; for certainly the apostle felt at liberty to record what was said to him in the temple ecstasy, though it is possible that some other portion of that revelation may come under the category of “unutterable utterances.” At all events, the two accounts do not present any palpable data for their identification; so that the period and place of the “visions and revelations” are unmarked as an epoch in the history of the Acts of the Apostles. He did not so glory in the honour as to be often alluding to it; it had left him a broken and shattered man.
We can only form an inferential judgment as to the nature of this stake in the flesh, and can more easily assert what it was not than define what it really was. But-
I. The reference in Galatians cannot be to the carnal style of his preaching, the first of four interpretations given by Jerome- Quasi parvulis vobis atque lactentibus per infirmitatem carnis vestrae jam pridem evangelizavi . . . apud vos pene balbutiens. This notion is wholly unwarranted by the pointed words.
II. Nor can the thorn be anything external to him, such as persecution, or any form of fierce and malignant opposition on the part of enemies, or of one singled out as ἄγγελος Σατᾶν , like Alexander the coppersmith, or Hymenaeus, or Philetus, who are instanced by Chrysostom. Thus Chrysostom explains “my temptation in the flesh:” “While I preached unto you, I was driven about, I was scourged, I suffered a thousand deaths, yet ye thought no scorn of me.” Similarly Eusebius of Emesa, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, OEcumenius, Theophylact, Ambrosiast.; and also Calvin, Beza, Fritzsche, Schrader, Hammond, Reiche. Augustine, on the verse in Galatians, says, Neque respuistis, ut non susciperetis communionem periculi mei. It was very natural in those days, when the gospel everywhere encountered fanatical opposition and numbered its martyrs by hundreds, to suppose that the eager apostle, so often thwarted and maligned, so often suffering and maltreated, summed up all elements of antagonism into the figure of a thorn in the flesh, and personified them as a messenger of Satan buffeting him. The Canaanites, the ancient and irritating enemies of the chosen, are called “thorns.” But this opinion is baseless. For, 1. His weakness is identified with himself: it clung to him, and he could not part with it; it was a stake in his flesh. But he might occasionally avoid persecution, as when he escaped from Damascus and when he left Ephesus. 2. Such persecution could not load him with a sense of humiliation in presence of others, or produce that loathing to which he refers. 3. These persecutions, whether from Judaizers or other foes, were so bound up with his work, that he could scarcely seek in this special and conclusive form to be delivered from them, Galatians 4:8-10.
III. A third theory refers the thorn to some inner temptation which fretted and distracted him. And,
1. Some describe those trials as temptations to unbelief, the stirring up of remaining sin, or as pangs of sorrow on account of his own past persecuting life. So generally Gerson, Luther, Calvin, Osiander, Calovius. Gerson describes it as consisting de horrendis cogitationibus per solam suggestionem inimici phantasiam turbantis obtingentibus. Luther supposed them to be blasphemous suggestions of the devil, as if they had been a parallel to his past experience and conflicts. Calvin says, more distinctly, Ego sub hoc vocabulo comprehendi arbitror omne genus tentationis quo Paulus exercebatur. Nam caro hic, meo judicio, non corpus, sed partem animae nondum regeneratam significat. Now no statement of such a nature occurs in any other part of the apostle's letters; and though the second descriptive clause, “a messenger of Satan,” may correspond so far with the hypothesis, the first phrase, “thorn in the flesh,” indicates something not in his mind, but acting from without or from his physical organism upon it. And it is called ἀσθένεια - ἀσθένεια σαρκός .
2. Not a few, perhaps led by the stimulus carnis of the Vulgate, take the phrase to mean temptation to incontinence. It is not to be wondered at that such should be the opinion of celibates and of monks who fled from the world and from duty, but felt to their vexation that they could not flee from themselves. There seems to have been an early impulse to this view. Augustine's words tend in that direction- accepit stimulum carnis. Quis nostrum hoc dicere auderet, nisi ille confiteri non erubesceret?-Enarrat. in Psalms 58:0 p. 816, vol. v. Opera, Gaume. Jerome, too, says: Si apostolus . . . ob carnis aculeos et incentiva vitiorum reprimit corpus suum.-Epist. ad Eustoch. p. 91, vol. i. Opera, ed. Vallars. Primasius gives it as an alternative, alii dicunt titillatione carnis stimulatum. Gregory the Great describes the apostle after his rapture thus: Ad semetipsum rediens contra carnis bellum laborat.-Moral. lib. viii. c. 29, p. 832, vol. i. Opera, ed. Migne. In mediaeval times this was the current opinion, as of Salvian, Thomas Aquinas, Bede, Lyra, Bellarmine, and the Catholic Estius, a Lapide, and Bisping. Cardinal Hugo condescended to the time of the temptation, viz. after the apostle's intercourse with the charming Thecla, as related in the legendary Acts. Zeschius de stimulo carnis, in the Sylloge Dissertationum of Hasaeus and Ikenius, vol. 2.895. See Acta Apost. Apocrypha, Tischendorf's edition, p. 40. Thecla's heathen mother complains of her as wholly absorbed in Paul's preaching, and waiting on it “like a cobweb fastened to the window” in which she sat; and it is in this legend, so old that Tertullian refers to it, that the apostle's appearance is described- ἄνδρα μικρὸν τῇ μεγέθει , ψιλὸν τῇ κεφαλῇ , ἀγκύλον ταῖς κνήμαις , εὐεκτικόν , σύνοφρυν , μικρῶς ἐπίρινον , χάριτος πλήρη .- Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, p. 41, ed. Tischendorf. The words of Estius are: Apostolum per carnis stimulum indicare voluisse incentivum libidinis quod in carne patiebatur, adducing in proof 1 Corinthians 9:27 and Romans 7:23, neither of which places refers to sensuality. And a Lapide claims something like infallibility for this opinion, insisting on it as an instance of the vox populi, vox Dei.
The objections to this view are many and convincing. For,
(1.) Such a stimulus could not be said to be given him by God as a special means of humbling him, and in coincidence with superabundant visions and revelations.
(2.) Nor could the apostle have gloried in this temptation, Galatians 4:9.
(3.) Nor would it have exposed him to scorn or aversion; the struggle would have been within, and could not have been described as in this passage of Galatians.
(4.) And lastly, the apostle declares his perfect freedom from all such temptations. “I would,” he affirms, referring to incontinency and to marriage, “I would that all men were even as I.” 1 Corinthians 7:7. “Ah! no, dear Paul,” Luther says, “it was no such trial that afflicted thee.”
IV. The trial and the thorn in the flesh seem to be rightly referred to some painful and acute corporeal malady which could not be concealed, but had a tendency to induce loathing in those with whom he had intercourse, which he felt to be humbling and mortifying to him as a minister of Christ, and which seems to have been connected with the many visions and revelations having a tendency to elate him. Generally, that is the view of Flatt, Billroth, Emmerling, Rückert, Meyer, De Wette, Professor Lightfoot, Alford, Howson, Chandler. Böttger, who regards Galatia as comprising Lystra and Derbe, thinks that the illness was caused by the stoning in the former of those places. But from that stoning there was an immediate recovery, and it could scarcely be the “thorn in the flesh.” See Introduction.
One hypothesis on this point, viz. that feeble or defective utterance is meant, has been suggested by the statement of the apostle, when he says that, in the judgment of his opponents, his “speech was contemptible.” This adverse criticism, however, does not refer to articulation, but to argument; for he “came not with the enticing words of man's wisdom.” Still the words may imply that his oratory had some drawbacks, which made it inferior in power to his epistolary compositions.
Others, again, take the malady to be defective vision, and the opinion is based to a large extent on what he says in the verses prefixed to this Essay: “I bear you record, that if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and have given them to me.” The theory is plausible, but it wholly wants proof, unless some unauthorized additions be made to the inspired statements. For-
1. The translation of the verse on which such stress is laid is wrong: it is not “your own eyes,” but simply your eyes, unemphatic. See on the verse.
2. The mere defect of vision could not of itself induce that contempt and loathing which his trial implies, as in Galatians 4:14.
3. The thorn in the flesh was given him fourteen years before he wrote his second Epistle to the Corinthians; but his conversion, accompanied by the blinding glory of Christ's appearance, to which his ophthalmic weakness has been traced, happened at a considerably earlier period.
4. The arguments adduced to prove that the apostle's eyesight was permanently injured by the light “which shone from heaven above the brightness of the sun” at mid-day are not trustworthy. That he was blinded at the moment is true, but he recovered his sight when there “fell from his eyes as it were scales.” All miracles appear to be perfect healings, and restorations of vision are surely no exceptions. The verb ἀτενίζω , which is referred to in proof, will not bear out this conjecture. For in Acts 23:1 ἀτενίσας characterizes the apostle's act before he began his address, and describes naturally a sweeping and attentive scrutiny, but with no implied defect of vision. In Luke 4:20 the same verb describes the eager gaze of the synagogue of Nazareth upon Jesus about to address them- οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἦσαν ἀτενίζοντες αὐτῷ . In Luke 22:56 it depicts the searching survey of the damsel in the act of detecting Peter as one of the twelve- καὶ ἀτενίσασα αὐτῷ . In Acts 1:10 it paints the long and wondering look of the eleven after their ascending Lord- ὡς ἀτενίζοντες ἦσαν . In Acts 3:4 it marks the fixed vision of Peter on the man whom he was about to heal; in Acts 6:15 it represents the rapt stare of the audience on Stephen, “when his face shone as the face of an angel;” in Acts 7:55, the intense vision of Stephen himself, when he “looked up and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;” and in Acts 10:4, the awestruck look of Cornelius at the angel. See also Acts 14:9. In these examples from Luke-and twice the reference is to Paul, Luke 13:9, Luke 23:1 -the look is one of earnest and strong vision, and therefore the occurrence of the same verb in Luke 23:1 cannot form any ground for the opinion which we are controverting; for in making a virtual apology the apostle does not say, “Pardon me, I did not see,” but “I wist not”-perhaps = I forgot at the moment “that he was the high priest.” The allusion also to the “large letters” in which he wrote the Galatian Epistle, and to the marks of the Lord Jesus which he bore, admit of a different and satisfactory interpretation.
5. Nor can the interpretation of δἰ ἀσθένειαν in the paper referred to be sustained. The writer gives it this sense: “By the infirmity of my flesh I proclaimed to you the good news;” that is, his defective vision was a lasting proof of his conversion and of the truth of Christ's resurrection and glory, and such evidence so adduced they did not despise nor reject. But “reject” is not the rendering of the last verb, and δἰ ἀσθένειαν can only mean “on account of”-certainly not “by means of.” See on the verse.
6. Lastly, if the thorn in the flesh be identified with defective vision produced by the light which blinded him at his conversion, then, as we have said, the proposed identification is contradicted by the apostle's own chronology in 2 Corinthians 12:2.
The hypothesis of some severe physical malady was among the earliest started on the subject. The language of Irenaeus is vague indeed, yet it seems to refer to corporeal ailment; for in illustrating the infirmities of the apostle, he adds, as given in the Latin version, homo, quoniam ipse infirmus et natura mortalis, 5.3,1.
But of the precise form of the malady there are very various opinions. Hypochondriacal melancholy is supposed by some (Bartholinus, Wedel). Haemorrhoids is the conjecture of Bertholdt. Thomas Aquinas gives as one opinion, not his own, morbus Iliacus, seu viscerum dolor. Basil held the opinion that the thorn was some disease; for, treating of the use of medicine, he speaks of it in connection with, or under the same category as, the healing of the impotent man at Bethesda, Job's affliction, and the ulcered beggar Lazarus. Regulae Fusius Tractatae, Opera, vol. 2.564, Gaume, Paris 1839. Gregory of Nazianzus, at the end of his twentieth Oration, solemnly appeals to his departed brother- ὦ θεῖα καὶ ἱερὰ κεφαλή -to arrest some malady in him which he calls by Paul's words, σκόλοπα τῆς σαρκός . His annotator Nicetas describes it as a disease of the kidneys or of the joints- ποδάγρα , adding that some explained Paul's thorn in the same way. Greg. Naz. Opera, ii. p. 785, ed. Paris 1630. Baxter thought the disease may have been stone-his own torment; his tormentor is preserved in the British Museum. An old and prevailing opinion refers it to some affection of the head. This opinion is alluded to by Chrysostom- τινὲς μὲν οὖν κεφαλαλγίαν τινὰ ἔφασαν . Primasius gives as an alternative: Quidam enim dicunt eum frequenti dolore capitis laborasse: ad 2 Corinthians 12:0 Patrolog. vol. lxxviii. p. 581, Migne. Tertullian says: Sed et ipse datum sibi ait sudem . . . per dolorem, ut aiunt, auriculae vel capitis ( De Pud. cap. v.), and his editor Rigalt wonders at the opinion. In another allusion, in a passage where he is discussing the power of Satan, he simply says: In sanctos humiliandos per carnis vexationem. De Fuga in Persecutione, cap. ii. Pelagius, while recording the opinion that persecutions are meant- persecutiones aut dolores -adds: Quidam enim dicunt eum frequenter dolore capitis laborasse: ad 2 Corinthians 12:0 Jerome, too, in giving other conjectures, speaks in general terms: Aut certe suspicari possumus, apostolum eo tempore quo primum venit ad Galatas aegrotasse . . . nam tradunt eum gravissimum capitis dolorem saepe perpessum. This ancient and traditionary notion of some physical ailment is the correct one, though of its special character we are necessarily ignorant. But mere headache, grievous and overpowering, could scarcely have produced such an effect as is implied in the verbs “despised not nor loathed.” Its accompaniments or results might, however, have this tendency. Ewald makes it fallende Sucht, or something similar, and also Ziegler, Holsten, and Professor Lightfoot. This opinion has several points in its favour. If mental excitement, intense or prolonged, produces instant and overpowering effect on the body, how much more the ecstasy which accompanies visions and revelations! An “horror of great darkness” fell upon Abraham when a vision was disclosed to him (Genesis 15:13). The prophet Daniel “fainted, and was sick many days,” after a revelation from the angel Gabriel; and after a “great vision,” he says, “There remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength” “straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.” Daniel 8:27; Daniel 10:8; Daniel 10:17. The beloved disciple who had lain in His bosom says, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.” Revelation 1:17. If communications of the more common kind, like those vouchsafed to Daniel, produced such debility and reaction, what would be the result of such a bewildering rapture into paradise, and the visions which followed it? If his nervous system had been weakened by previous manifestations, might not this last and grandest honour bring on cerebral exhaustion, paralysis, or epileptic seizure, with all those results on eye, feature, tongue, and limb which are so often and so shockingly associated with it? And the infliction was a chronic one, as may be inferred; it was a stake in his flesh, hindering his work as directly as Satan might wish, exposing him to the contemptuous taunts of Jews and Judaists, and to loathing on the part of his friends. This theory appears to suit all the conditions of this mysterious malady. Its paroxysms seem to have recurred at intervals, the first attack being fourteen years before the writing of the second Epistle to the Corinthians-that is, perhaps, about the year 44; another at his first visit to Galatia, probably in 52; and then when he was writing the second Epistle to the Corinthians and this to the Galatians, perhaps about 58, according to the view we have given in the commencement of this paper.
One is amazed at the work which men with a strong will can brace themselves up to do in the midst of extreme suffering and weakness. Chrysostom, King Alfred, William the Third, Pascal, Richard Baxter, Robert Hall, and Robertson of Brighton are examples of “strength made perfect in weakness.”
Galatians 4:17. Ζηλοῦσιν ὑμᾶς οὐ καλῶς “They are paying court to you, not honestly.” I may be reckoned your enemy because I have told you the truth; but these men, who so zealously court you, and profess such intense regard for you, are not actuated by honourable motives,-their purpose is selfish and sinister. Hofmann connects this verse with the preceding one, as if it were the result- ζηλοῦσιν ὑμᾶς . But the connection is unnatural, and ὥστε in such a case would probably be followed by an accusative with the infinite. A. Buttmann, p. 210. The verb, like others in οω , seems to have a factitive sense-to show or display ζῆλος ; but it may be shown in various ways, and from a variety of motives-for one or against one. Matthias translates it eifern machen sie euch -they create zeal in you-a meaning unproved. Followed by an accusative of person or thing, it may mean to desire him or it ardently, to be eager for: 1 Corinthians 12:31, Soph. Ajax, 552; and sometimes in a bad sense it denotes to be jealous or envious of: Acts 7:9, James 4:2, Sept. 2 Samuel 21:2. Calvin, Beza, and others give the meaning, “they are jealous of you;” but the same verb in the next clause cannot bear this signification. Some of the fathers assume the sense of envy or emulation; Chrysostom explaining it thus: “They wish that they may occupy the rank of teachers, and degrade you who now stand higher than they to the position of disciples.” See Plutarch, Mor. p. 831, vol. iv. Opera, ed. Wittenbach. Their obsequious attentions were οὐ καλῶς -in no honourable way, but insincerely, and for their own unworthy ends: James 2:3; and ἔφθιθ᾿ οὐ καλῶς describes the manner of Agamemnon's death, AEschylus, Eumenides, 461. The apostle gives no formal nominative to the verb: who the persons so stigmatized were, all parties knew in the Galatian churches, and he does not condescend even to name them. This wooing of their converts is one of the elements of that witchery referred to in Galatians 3:1. The word “affect” in the Authorized Version, from the Latin affectare, is used in its older sense, as in Shakspeare-
“In brief, sir, study what you most affect;”
And in Blair's Grave -
“While some affect the sun, and some the shade.”
The apostle explains οὐ καλῶς in the next clause, or rather gives one illustration of it-
᾿Αλλὰ ἐκκλεῖσαι ὑμᾶς θέλουσιν “nay, they desire to exclude you.” ᾿Αλλά here has a limiting or corrective power. Kühner, § 322, 6. It introduces a different idea, yet not one directly opposite. Klotz-Devarius, 2:23. Instead of ὑμᾶς , Beza conjectured ἡμᾶς ; but the reading has no support. De Wette, however, advocates it on account of the easy sense which it suggests “they wish to exclude us from all fellowship with you and influence over you.” For the same reason Macknight says, “I suppose it to be the true reading.” Beza suggested it ex ingenio. The Syriac translator seems to have read ἐγκλεῖσαι , as the rendering is למֶחָבָשׁכוּן הוּצוֹבֶין “they wish to include” or “shut you up.”
The reference in ἐκκλεῖσαι has been understood in various ways-they desire to exclude you, from what or whom?
1. Erasmus, followed by a Lapide, supposes the exclusion to be from Christian liberty,-the former giving it as a libertate Christi, and the latter a Christo et christiana libertate. So Estius, and Bagge who explains “from gospel truth and liberty.” Prof. Lightfoot has “from Christ.” This does not tally, however, with the design alleged in the next clause.
2. Wieseler and Ewald suppose the exclusion to be from salvation- aus dem Himmelreiche, from the kingdom of heaven, according to the former,- vom ächten Christenthume according to the latter; and the notion of Borger, Flatt, and Jatho is not dissimilar “from the Christian community.” But though such might be the feared result, it is not alleged. The Judaists made it their distinctive dogma that salvation was to be had through faith in Christ, but only on compliance with the Mosaic law, so that a church of circumcised believers would be to them a true object of desire. The next clause suggests also a separation of persons.
3. Chrysostom, Theophylact, and OEcumenius suppose the exclusion to be “from perfect knowledge, having had imparted to them what is mutilated and spurious.” Thus Theophylact: ἐκβαλλεῖν τῆς τελειοτάτης ἐν Χριστῷ καταστάσεως καὶ γνώσεως .
4. Some take it to mean exclusion from the apostle himself, as Luther, Calvin, Bengel, Olshausen, Winer, Gwynne, and Trana. Reiche has ab apostolo ejusque communione. But with a meaning so definite, pointed, and personal, one would have expected the genitive pronoun to be expressed.
5. Some suppose the exclusion to be from the sounder portion of the church. Hilgenfeld writes: aus dem Paulinischen Gemeindeverbande. Meyer includes the apostle also. This generally seems to be the idea. Their desire was to remove these Galatian converts from the sounder portion of the church, adhering of course to the apostle in person and doctrine, and form them into a separate clique. The emphasis from position lies on the verb, and the αὐτούς of the next clause suggests a personal contrast. The allusion is thus left general; the antithesis to the αὐτούς is only understood “they” as a party naturally stand opposed to the party who hold the Pauline doctrine, and bear no altered relation to the apostle. The idea of compulsion found in the verb by Raphelius, Wolf, and Zachariae, does not belong to it; the examples quoted for the purpose fail to prove it (Meyer). And their design was-
῞Ινα αὐτοὺς ζηλοῦτε “in order that ye may zealously affect them.” They attach themselves to you, that by drawing you off from those who are of sound opinion, ye may attach yourselves to them. The verb must have the same sense in the last clause as in the first. The syntax is somewhat solecistic. The verb ζηλοῦτε , though preceded by ἵνα , is in the present indicative-not the Attic future, as Jatho says; for the instances adduced by him from Thucydides are presents, and not futures. There is no difference worthy of the name among the MSS., though Fritzsche lays stress on MS. 219 2 , which reads ζηλῶτε . So also in 1 Corinthians 4:6 ἵνα is followed by the present indicative. The connection is illogical in thought-design implying something future, possible, etc. Some therefore are disposed to take ἵνα as an adverb; Meyer, followed by Matthias, rendering it ubi, quo in statu, and he rests his interpretation on grammatical necessity. There is no instance, however, of such an adverbial usage in the New Testament, for the passages sometimes adduced will not support the conjecture. Mullach, Grammatik der Griechischen Vulgar-sprache, p. 373. The idiom is English, however: “now is the hour come that”- ἵνα -or “when,” “the Son of man should be glorified;” but ἵνα has its usual telic significance in the original text. Far rather may it be admitted that the construction is one of the negligences of the later Greek, or it may be traced to some peculiarity in the conception of the apostle. Winer, § 41, 5, 1. In both instances found in the New Testament the verbs end in οω . A. Buttmann, p. 202. The usage of ἵνα with the indicative present is found in later Greek, of which Winer has given instances-as from the apocryphal books: Acta Petri et Pauli 15, but Tischendorf's text reads ἀπόληται ; Acta Pauli et Theclae 11, and there too various readings are noted by Tischendorf, Acta Apocrypha, Lipsiae 1851. An additional clause, ζηλοῦτε δὲ τὰ κρείττω χαρίσματα , taken from 1 Corinthians 12:3, is here inserted by D 1 , F, and is found in Victorinus, the Ambrosian Hilary, and in Sedulius.
Chapter Galatians 4:17-31
Aware by what means this alienation of feeling had been produced, he now reverts to those by whose seductive arts and errors it had been occasioned-
Galatians 4:18. Καλὸν δὲ ζηλοῦσθαι ἐν καλῷ πάντοτε “But it is good to be courted fairly at all times.” The reading τὸ ζηλοῦσθαι is found in D, F, G, K, L, and almost all MSS. A, B, C omit τό ; B and א read ζηλοῦσθε (with the Vulgate- aemulamini -and Jerome), which from the Itacism was the same in sound with ζηλοῦσθαι ; ζηλοῦσθαι without τό is the reading of A, C, D, F, K, L, and is preferable. The δέ is, as usual, adversative. The interpretation given of the previous verse rules that of the present one. They display zealous attentions toward you, and desire to form you into a clique that you may display zealous attentions toward them. It is not the mere zealousness I object to. To have zealous attentions shown toward one in a good cause always is a good thing. Such seems the natural order of thought: the words are repeated from the previous verse. Such paronomasia, or rather annominations, are not unfrequent, and are very common in the Old Testament. Winer, § 68, 2; Lobeck, Paralip. p. 501. The previous καλῶς suggests καλόν and ἐν καλῷ… ζηλοῦσιν and ζηλοῦτε suggest ζηλοῦσθαι . This last word is to be taken in a passive sense, for no instance of a middle voice sense has been adduced. The infinitive has more force with the article. Winer, § 44, 2, a. The use of ἐν καλῷ for καλῶς is suggestive: the exchange implies a difference of meaning; and we agree with Meyer, that it refers not to manner, like the adverb, but to sphere “in a good thing.” Nor does this, as Ellicott objects, alter the meaning of the verb from “ ambiri ” to admirari; for surely one may say it is good to be courted in a good way, or to be courted in a good cause, though we do not hold to the sense of the Greek fathers, as if the phrase pointed out that which excited the ζηλοῦν . The reference is not to that which draws forth the ζηλοῦν , but to that in which it operates, implying also the motives of those who feel it. Such seems the most natural construction of the words. The goodness of the ζῆλος depends upon its sphere, the emphasis being on καλόν -good it is to be courted in a good thing, as when the gospel in its simple truth is earnestly urged upon you. The apostle does not object to the mere fact of zealous attention being shown to the Galatians, but first to its way- οὐ καλῶς , that it was dishonourable; and then to the sphere of it, that it was not in a good thing- ἐν καλῷ , for it was pressing on them a subverted gospel, and endangering their soul's salvation. The statement is a general one-a species of maxim; but to the Galatians, as the objects of the verb, the apostle plainly refers. The phrase ἐν καλῷ does not refer to purpose (Reiche), nor is the meaning so vague as bona est ambitio in re bona (Wahl, Schott). Πάντοτε , “always,”-a word refused by purists. Phrynichus, p. 105, says, that instead of it ἑκάστοτε and διαπαντός are to be used; similarly Zonaras, Lex. p. 1526. It is added-
Καὶ μὴ μόνον ἐν τῷ παρεῖναί με πρὸς ὑμᾶς “and not only when I am present along with you.” In πρὸς ὑμᾶς , as in later usage, the idea of direction is almost wholly dropped. John 1:1. The infinitive again has the article, giving it force and vividness. The language plainly implies that the ὑμεῖς are supposed to be the objects of the previous ζηλοῦσθαι , and the meaning is: The being paid court to in a good cause is praiseworthy, not only at all times, but by every one; in my absence from you, in my presence with you: I claim no monopoly of it. I do not wish to have you all to myself. Whoever in my absence shows you zealous attentions, if his zeal be in a good thing, does what I cannot but commend.
But there are other interpretations which cannot be entertained. Locke gives ἐν καλῷ a personal reference “it is good to be well and warmly attached to a good man,” that is, himself the apostle “I am the good man you took me to be.” Estius writes, Ut aemulemini magistros vestros, qualis ego imprimis sum, id enim intelligi vult. He is followed by Chandler, whose words are, “I am still worthy of the same share of your affection, though I am absent from you; therefore it is neither honourable nor decent for you to renounce my friendship,” etc. Macknight's paraphrase is, “Ye should consider that it is comely and commendable for you to be ardently in love with me, a good man, at all times.” But this surely is not the apostle's usual mode of self-reference.
Some again regard the apostle himself as the object of ζηλοῦσθαι (Reiche, Hofmann); and Usteri gives this sense: “How much was I the object of your ζῆλος when I was with you! As it has so soon ceased in my absence, it must have lost much of its worth.” But this takes off the edge of the statement, and its consecutive harmony with the preceding verse; and in such a case, as Meyer says, you would expect με to have been expressed.
Others, as Bengel, take ζηλοῦσθαι in the middle- zelare inter se -to be zealous for one another; but we have no example of such a meaning. Others, taking the word in a passive sense, bring out nearly the same meaning, referring to what is said in Galatians 4:13-15 -their warm reception of the apostle and his doctrine when he was present, and their revolution of feeling as soon as he was absent.
Some adopt the meaning of the middle or active voice. Thus Olshausen generally, but away from the context, “Zeal is good when it arises in a good cause, ζηλοῦσθαι being equivalent to ζηλοῦν ;” Luther, Bonum quidem est imitari et aemulari alios, sed hoc praestate in re bona semper. While Beza makes the apostle the subject of the verb- absens absentes vehementissime conplector,-Morus makes him the object: Laudabile autem est sectari praeceptorem in re bona semper. Koppe thus writes: Optem vero ut hanc istorum hominum erga vos invidiam concitetis semper constanter sequendo doctrinam meam. He is virtually followed by Paulus, Rückert, and Brown who thus renders Koppe's thought: “Ye were once the subject of their envy, and I would God ye were the subject of their envy still. I wish your place in their estimation had been the same in my absence that it was when I was present with you.” But this sense, allowing the verb to have the meaning “to envy,” does not tally with the same interpretation of the previous verse; for, as Meyer hints, they had not been the objects of such envy in the apostle's presence, as the last clause of this verse with such an interpretation would plainly intimate. Lastly, Bagge strangely gives this translation: “It is good to call one's self blessed in the truth at all times.”
The apostle suddenly changes his tone; his mood softens into tenderness, like the mother beginning with rebuke and ending in tears and embraces.
Galatians 4:19. Τεκνία μου “My little children.” B, D 1 , F 1 , א , read τέκνα , a reading which Lachmann adopts, though it is an evident emendation. Τεκνία has in its favour A, C, D, K, L, א 3 , with Chrysostom and Theodoret among the Greek fathers, and also the Vulgate. The apostle is not in the habit of using the diminutive; its use here is therefore on purpose: 1 Corinthians 4:14; 1Co 4:17 ; 2 Corinthians 6:13; 2 Corinthians 12:14; Philippians 2:22. But the Apostle John employs it frequently: John 13:33; 1Jn 2:1 ; 1 John 2:12; 1 John 2:28; 1 John 3:7; 1 John 3:18; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:21; though with the genitive Θεοῦ he uses τέκνα . This clause is joined, or, as one might say, is tacked on, to the previous one by Bengel, Rückert, Usteri, and Schott; and such is the punctuation in the text of Knapp, Scholz, and Lachmann. See Hofmann. But such a connection is exceedingly unsatisfactory, as there is no direct address. The δέ of the following verse (20) has led some to this mode of division, as if it began a new thought.
Οὓς πάλιν ὠδίνω “whom I travail in birth with again.” This change of gender according to the sense is frequent. Matthew 28:19; Romans 9:22; Romans 9:24; Winer, § 24, 3. The verb ὠδίνω is spoken of the mother, not of the father- parturio, Vulgate. It does not mean in utero gestare, as is the opinion of Heinsius, Grotius, Koppe, Rückert; but is “to travail,” to be in the throes of parturition. Revelation 12:2. Compare Numbers 11:2; Psalms 7:14; Son 8:15 ; Isaiah 33:4; Isaiah 26:17-18; Isaiah 53:11; Isaiah 66:7-8; Romans 8:22-23. The image of paternity is the usual one with the apostle: 1 Corinthians 4:15; Philemon 1:10. There does not seem to be any foundation for Wieseler's idea, that in πάλιν the allusion is to παλιγγενεσία ; it is simply to the previous agonies of spiritual birth when he was present with them. At the first he had travailed in birth with them; and now the process, with all its pain and sorrow, was being repeated. The sense of the verb in such a context is not mere sorrow, but also enduring anxiety and toil. No wonder that those who had cost him so much were so dear to him- τεκνία μου -whom he had begotten in the gospel. See Suicer, Thesaur. sub voce.
῎Αχρις οὗ μορφωθῇ Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν “until Christ be formed in you.” The words ἄχρι and μέχρι are distinguished by Tittmann, as if the first had in prominence the idea of ante, the entire previous time, and the second that of usque ad, the end of the time specially regarded-a hypothesis which Fritzsche on Romans 5:14 has overthrown. Klotz-Devarius, ii. p. 224. The passive μορφωθῇ with the stress upon it, not used elsewhere, expresses the complete development of the μορφή -the form of Christ. Sept. Isaiah 44:13. The metaphor is slightly changed, and the phrase does not probably refer to regeneration (it is not till Christ be born in you), but to its fully formed and visible results. The Galatian churches might be regenerate, for they had enjoyed the Spirit: the apostle's anguish and effort were, that perfect spiritual manhood might be developed in them. The figure is therefore so far changed; for they were not as an embryo waiting for birth,-the child is formed ere the pangs of maternal child-bearing are felt. The apostle's maternal pain was not because a full-formed child was to be born, but because his little children were dwarfing and not rising up to manhood-were still τεκνία . See under Ephesians 4:13. These earlier pangs he had felt already when they became his little children; but, now that they were born, he was in labour a second time, πάλιν , that they might come to manhood, and be Christians so fully matured that indwelling truth should be their complete safeguard against seduction and error. It is no argument against giving πάλιν a reference to his first visit that he describes it as joyful; for his spiritual anxiety was none the less deep, and his agony of earnestness none the less intense, till the truth of the gospel should take hold on them and Christ be formed in them-their life. Besides, the mere pain of parturition is not the only point of comparison. The formation of Christ within them is the purpose of his travail of soul. For “Christ” is the one principle of life and holiness,-not Christ contemplated as without, but Christ dwelling within by His Spirit; not speculation about His person or His doctrine, nor the vehement defence of orthodox belief, not the knowledge of His character and work, nor profession of faith in Him with an external submission to the ordinances of His church. Very different-Christ in them, and abiding in them: His light in their minds, His love in their hearts, His law in their conscience, His Spirit their formative impulse and power, His presence filling and assimilating their entire inner nature, and His image in visible shape and symmetry reproducing itself in their lives. Romans 8:29. What Christian pastor would not toil, and pray, and yearn for such a result, to “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus?” Colossians 1:28; Ephesians 4:13. Calvin says well: “If ministers wish to do any good, let them labour to form Christ, not to form themselves in their hearers.” The figure is virtually reproduced in describing the fruits of martyrdom, as Prof. Lightfoot remarks, in the Epistle of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons; but there is this difference, that in that epistle it is the church, the “virgin mother,” who brings forth. Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiastes 5:1, § 53, etc. The notion of a second conversion urged by Boardman cannot be based on this verse: Higher Christian Life, pt. iii. See Waterland, vol. iv. p. 445. Yet Calvin writes, and Gwynne calls him “drowsy and oblivious” for so writing: Semel prius et concepti et editi fuerant, jam secundo procreandi erant post defectionem; but he adds, Non enim abolet priorem partum, sed dicit iterum fovendos utero esse, tanquam immaturos foetus et informes. Augustine says: Formatur Christus in eo, qui formam accipit Christi.
Galatians 4:20. ῎Ηθελον δὲ παρεῖναι πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἄρτι “I could wish indeed to be present with you now.” The δέ is not redundant (Scholefield), but is used after an address, as often after questions, and after a vocative with a personal pronoun. Bernhardy; A. Buttmann, p. 331. There is a subadversative idea in the transition. He had spoken of his being present with them; in his memory a chord is struck; it vibrates for a moment while he calls them little children, for whom he is suffering birth-pangs; and then he gives expression to his feeling, “I could wish, yea, to be present with you.” Hilgenfeld's separation of this verse from the one before it, as if it began a new sentence, is unnatural. His absence stands out in contrast to his ideal presence. The imperfect ἤθελον is rightly rendered “I could wish,”-a wish imperfectly realized, but still felt; for there underlies the idea, “if it were possible,” si possim, or wenn die Sache thunlich wäre. Acts 25:22; Romans 9:3. It is the true sense of the imperfect, the act being unfinished, some obstacle having interposed. Bernhardy, p. 373; Kühner, § 438, 3; Hermann, Sophocles, Ajax, p. 140, Lipsiae 1851. The particle ἄν is not understood (Jowett); for the use of ἄν , as Hermann remarks, would have brought in a different thought altogether “but I will not.” Opuscula, iv. p. 56. See Fritzsche on Romans 9:3. For πρὸς ὑμᾶς , see under Galatians 4:18, and for ἄρτι , see under Galatians 1:9.
Καὶ ἀλλάξαι τὴν φωνήν μου “and to change my voice.” The tense of the verb is altered, and such an alteration is not infrequent. Winer, § 40, 2. Could we lay any stress upon the alteration here, it might point out that the change of voice was the effect of the realized wish to be present with them. Φωνή may refer more to the tone than the contents of speech, for it would still be ἀληθεύων . But of what nature is the change expressed by the verb?
1. The change seems to be in oral address- φωνή , and not in allusion to anything which he was writing, for he could easily change the tone of the epistle. He supposes himself present, and may allude to strong and indignant declarations and warnings made during his second visit. 2. The change is not from milder to sterner words, as is wrongly held by Wetstein, Michaelis, Rosenmüller, Rückert, Baumgarten-Crusius, Webster and Wilkinson, for hard words are not written by him now, but his soul is filled with love and longing- τεκνία μου . 3. According to Hahn, the change is from argument to accommodation and the allegory of the following paragraph. Biblical Repository, vol. i. p. 133. But such an explanation is artificial and unnatural, 4. The change, as Meyer and others think, is to a milder tone than that which he had just been employing. Such appears to be the dictate of his present mood of mind as he pens this sentence. His soul is softened toward them- molliter scribit, sed mollius loqui vellet (Bengel). 5. A variety of changes are supposed to lurk in the word by many expositors, for they imagine the change to be suited to changing circumstances. Such is the view of Theodoret, Luther, Winer, De Wette, Schott, Brown, Estius, and Bisping. Thus Luther: “That he might temper and change his voice, as he saw it needful.” Thus, too, a Lapide: Ut quasi mater nunc blandirer nunc gemerem nunc obsecrarem nunc objurgarem vos. But the simple verb ἀλλάξαι will not bear such a variety of implied meanings, and, as Meyer suggests, such a clause would have been added as πρὸς τὴν χρείαν , Acts 28:10. Fritzsche's notion is untenable in its extravagant emphasis: Vel severius, vel lenius cum iis agere, prout eorum indoles poposcerit. In the two examples of the phrase cited by Wetstein, the first, referring to the croak of the raven, has πολλάκις qualifying the verb, and the second is precise and simple in meaning. Artemidorus, Oneiro. 2.20, p. 173, vol. i. ed. Reiff; Dio Chrysostom, Orat. 59, p. 662, vol. ii., Opera, ed. Emperius, 1854. Lastly, the meaning assigned by Wieseler to the verb cannot be sustained; for, according to him, ἀλλάσσειν means austauschen, to exchange, not simply to change, as if the apostle longed to exchange words or to converse freely with them. It is true that ἀλλάσσειν and μεταλλάσσειν , both followed by ἐν , are used in Romans 1:23; Romans 1:25 in senses not very different, save that the compound is the more emphatic, and the latter in Galatians 4:26 is followed more distinctly by εἰς , though ἀντί is a common classical usage, or a genitive- τί , τινος . In order to bear out the sense given by Wieseler, some supplementary clause with a preposition is therefore indispensable. The passages quoted from the Septuagint will not bear him out, as there is only the accusative here; in Leviticus 27:3; Leviticus 27:33 there is also a dative, καλὸν πονηρῷ ; in Psalms 105:20 the preposition ἐν follows the verb as in Romans; and in Exodus 13:13 there occurs the simple dative. Comp. Jeremiah 2:11; Jeremiah 13:23; Genesis 31:7; Ezra 6:11, etc.
The apostle adds the reason-
῞Οτι ἀποροῦμαι ἐν ὑμῖν “for I am perplexed in you.” Hofmann unnaturally connects ἐν ὑμῖν with the previous clause, and Matthias, with as little reason, joins the whole clause to the following verse, as the ground of the question which it contains. The verb ἀπορέω ( ἄπορος , impassable, as applied to hills or rivers) signifies “to be without means,” to be in difficulty or in perplexity. In the New Testament it is construed with εἰς , referring to a thing, Acts 25:20, and also with περί , Luke 24:4, as well as ἐν . The verb is here passive with a deponent sense. Grammatically, in the purely passive sense it might mean, “I am the object of perplexity,” as the passive of an intransitive verb. Bernhardy, p. 341; Jelf, § 367. The meaning would then be that assigned by Fritzsche, Nam haeretis quo me loco habeatis, nam sum vobis suspectus; and this meaning coalesces with his interpretation of the previous clause. But the usage of the New Testament is different, as may be seen in John 13:22, Act 25:20 , 2 Corinthians 4:8. Genesis 32:7; Sir 18:7 ; also, Thucydides, Galatians 2:20; Xen. Anab. 7.3, 29; Schoemann, Isaeus, p. 192. The phrase ἐν ὑμῖν points to the sphere of his perplexity. Winer, § 48, a; 2 Corinthians 7:16. The doubts of the apostle were not merely what to think of them or of their condition, but how to reclaim them. How to win them back he was at a loss; and therefore he desired if possible to be present with them, and if possible to adopt a milder tone, if so be they could be recovered from incipient apostasy. The ἐν is not propter (Bagge), but has its usual meaning, denoting the sphere in which the emotion of the verb takes place. Such is apparently the spirit of the verse.
Galatians 4:21. Λέγετέ μοι , οἱ ὑπὸ νόμον θέλοντες εἶναι , τὸν νόμον οὐκ ἀκούετε ; “Tell me, ye who desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” The appeal is abrupt- urget quasi praesens (Bengel). The parties addressed are not persons of heathen birth (Flatt, Rückert), nor specially of Jewish birth (Schott, De Wette), but those who had a strong desire to place themselves under the law, in whom the Judaistic teaching had stirred up this untoward impulse, which Chrysostom says came from their ἀκαίρου φιλονεικίας . The phrase, “Do ye not hear the law?” is supposed by Meyer and others to mean, “Do ye not hear the law read?” But the plain meaning of the terms is the best. The verb ἀκούετε is not to be taken as signifying “do ye understand?” (Jerome, Borger, Olshausen, Küttner, and others), nor as denoting, “Do ye not submit to the law?” (Gwynne), which is utterly wrong, or as having any modification of that sense; but it is, “Ye who would submit to the law, give ear to its statements.” The reading ἀναγινώσκετε is an old gloss found in D, F, found also in the Latin version ( legistis) and in several of the fathers, and may have been suggested by the reading of the law in the synagogues, or by a wish to give a more palpable form to the question. The repetition of νόμος is emphatic: in the first clause it is the legal institute; in the second with the article it is the book of the law. Luke 24:44; Romans 3:21. Hofmann needlessly takes the whole verse as one thought “Tell me ( οἵ relative), ye who desiring to be under the law do not hear the law;” but this view does not harmonize with the beginning of the next verse. The apostle now sets before them a striking lesson of the law, so presented and interpreted as to be specially intelligible to them, as being also quite in harmony with their modes of interpretation-
Galatians 4:22. Γέγραπται γὰρ , ὅτι ᾿Αβραὰμ δύο υἱοὺς ἔσχεν· ἕνα ἐκ τῆς παιδίσκης , καὶ ἕνα ἐκ τῆς ἐλευθέρας “For it is written that Abraham had two sons; one by the bond-woman, and one by the free woman.” The γάρ introduces illustrative proof. It tacitly takes for granted a negative reply to the previous question, and thus vindicates the propriety of putting it: Klotz-Devarius, 2.234; or it may mean profecto-doch wohl: Ellendt, Lex. Soph. 1.332. The two mothers Hagar and Sarah are particularized by the article as well known: Genesis 16, 21. Παιδίσκη sometimes, however, means a free-born maiden, as in Ruth 4:12, Xen. Anab. 4.3, 11. But in Genesis 21:10 it represents in the Sept. the Hebrew אָמָה , H563, and in Genesis 16:1 the Hebrew שִׁפְחָה , H9148, and in the New Testament it is used only in the sense of slave. Νεᾶνις was the earlier Greek term. Phrynichus, ed. Lobeck, 239; Cremer's Lex. sub voce ἐλεύθερος .
The apostle refers to some very remarkable points in Abraham's domestic history with which they must all have been well acquainted-
Galatians 4:23. ᾿Αλλ᾿ ὁ μὲν ἐκ τῆς παιδίσκης , κατὰ σάρκα γεγέννηται· ὁ δὲ ἐκ τῆς ἐλευθέρας , διὰ τῆς ἐπαγγελίας “Howbeit he of the bond-maid was born after the flesh, but he of the free woman by the promise.” ᾿Αλλά “howbeit” (though both were sons of the same father)-introduces the difference between the two sons in their birth, probably with the underlying idea of difference, too, in their character and destiny. Κατὰ σάρκα (Romans 9:7-10) means that Ishmael was born in the usual course of nature, and implies that Isaac was not; for he was born “by virtue of the promise,” as is recorded in Genesis 18:10. There was a promise also connected with Ishmael's birth, though that birth in itself implied nothing out of the ordinary course of nature; whereas in Isaac's case there was miracle, when Sarah, “past age,” gave birth to a son in fulfilment of the promise. Genesis 17:15-16; Genesis 18:10-11; Genesis 18:14; Romans 9:9. But for the promise, there would have been no such birth.
Galatians 4:24. ῞Ατινά ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα “which things,” “which class of things,” or “all those things are allegorized”- quae sunt per allegoriam dicta, Vulgate. The meaning of the clause is not, “which things have been allegorized” already-namely, by the prophet Isaiah in the quotation made afterwards from Isaiah 54:1 (Brown after Vitringa, Peirce, and Macknight). For the quotation comes in as part of the illustration, not as an instance or example. A formal reference to an allegory framed by Isaiah, or to one found in his prophecies, would have necessitated a past participle; but the use of the present participle describes the allegory as at the moment under his hand. ῞Ατινα brings together not the persons simply, but in their peculiar relations; not the births merely, but their attendant circumstances. The verb ἄλλο - ἀγορεύειν is to express another sense than the words in themselves convey. Wycliffe renders: “the whiche thingis ben seide bi anothir understondinge.” Suidas thus defines ἀλληγορία : ἡ μεταφορά , ἄλλο λέγον τὸ γράμμα καὶ ἄλλο τὸ νόημα . The verb signifies either to speak in an allegory (Joseph. Ant. Introd. iv.), or to interpret an allegory. Plutarch, Op. Mor. p. 489, D, vol. iv. ed. Wittenbach; Clem. Alex. Strom. 5.11, p. 563. An allegory is not, as it has been sometimes defined, a continued metaphor; for a metaphor asserts one thing to be another, whereas an allegory only implies it. To be allegorized, then, is to be interpreted in another than the literal sense. The simple historical facts are not explained away as if they had been portions of a mere allegory, like the persons and events in Bunyan's Pilgrim; but these facts are invested with a new meaning as portraying great spiritual truths, and such truths they were intended and moulded to symbolize. But to say that a portion of early history is allegorized is very different from affirming that it is an allegory, or without any true historical basis. Luther says that Paul was “a marvellous cunning workman in the handling of allegories,” and he admits that “to use allegories is often a very dangerous thing,”-adding: “Allegories do not strongly persuade in divinity; but, like pictures, they beautify and set out the matter. . . . It is a seemly thing to add an allegory when the foundation is well laid and the matter thoroughly proved.” The allegory used by the apostle here is quite distinct from the τύπος in 1 Corinthians 10:11, where certain historical events are adduced as fraught with example and warning to other men and ages which might fall into parallel temptations. Yet Chrysostom says, “Contrary to usage, he calls a type an allegory;” but adds correctly: καταχρηστικῶς τὸν τύπον ἀλληγορίαν ἐκάλεσεν ; “This history not only declares what appears on the face of it, but announces somewhat further, whence it is called an allegory.”
The allegory is here adduced not as a formal or a prominent proof, but as an illustrative argument in favour of what had been already proved, and one fitted to tell upon those whose modes of interpreting Scripture were in harmony with it. “Ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” Prefaced by this personal appeal, it starts up as a vindication on their own principles, the justness of which would be recognised by the apostle's Judaistic opponents. His early rabbinical education, and some familiarity, too, with the peculiarities of the Alexandrian school of thought and theosophy, may have suggested to him this form of discussion as an argumentum ad hominem; but it would be rash to say that the apostle invented this allegory to suit his purpose. It is not as if he had said, Those things may be turned to good account in a discussion of this nature; but his inspiration being admitted, his meaning is, they were intended to convey those spiritual lessons. Such an allegorical interpretation is therefore warranted, apart from his employment of it in the present instance. It is not wholly the fruit of subjective ingenuity- ein blosses Spiel seiner Phantasie (Baur)-or an accommodation to rabbinical prepossession. The history by itself, indeed, affords no glimpse into such hidden meanings. But Abraham and his household bore a close historical and typical connection with the church of all lands and ages, and God's dealings with them in their various relations foreshadowed His dealings with their successors, as well the children by natural descent and under bondage to the law-Hagar, Ishmael-as those after the Spirit and in the possession of spiritual freedom-believers-blessed in Abraham, along with believing Abraham, and heirs through promise. Faith and not blood is the bond of genetic union; but the natural progeny still hates and persecutes the spiritual seed, as at that time in Galatia. God repeats among the posterity what He did among their ancestors; the earlier divine procedure becomes a picture of the later, and may therefore on this true basis be allegorized. To take out the lasting lessons from the history of Abraham's family, and the divine actings in it and toward it, is to say in the apostle's words, “which things are an allegory.” The migration from Ur is somewhat similarly treated, though not in the same form, in Hebrews 11:14-16. If the outlines of such allegorical treatment were current in the apostle's days,-if it was an acknowledged method of exposition,-then one may conjecture that the favourite allegory among Jewish teachers would be to picture Isaac as the Jewish church, and Ishmael as the Gentiles; but the apostle affirms the reverse, and makes Hagar's child the Jewish representative.
Philo allegorizes those points in Abraham's history which are selected here for the same purpose by the apostle. But a comparison will show that the process and aim of the two writers are widely different. According to various assertions met with in Philo's Treatises, Abram is the soul in its advance toward divine knowledge; the very name, which means “high father,” being suggestive, for the soul reaches higher and higher, through various spheres of study, to the investigation of God Himself. Salvation implies change of abode; therefore Abraham left his native country, kindred, and father's house,-that country being the symbol of the body, his kindred of the outward senses, and his father's house denoting speech. A somewhat different explanation is given in his De Mut. Nom. Abram signifies high father, but Abraham elect-father of sound,-sound being equivalent to speech, father the same as mind, and elect a special quality of the wise man's soul. Sarai, signifying “my princess,” stands for “the virtue which rules over my soul;” but she does not as yet bring forth for Abraham-divine virtue is barren to him for a time. He must first cohabit with Hagar; there must be a preparatory connection with the handmaiden; and she represents the encyclical knowledge of wisdom and logic, grammar and geography, rhetoric and astronomy, all of which are mastered by an initiatory course of mental discipline. Philo describes at length the various elements of this intermediate instruction. Hagar, in her race, name, and social position, is profoundly symbolic; for she is of Egypt, the land of science, her name means emigration, and she is slave to the princess. The same relation that a mistress has to her handmaidens, or a wife to a concubine, Sarah or wisdom has to Hagar or worldly education. Hagar at once bears a son; that son is Ishmael, who represents sophistry. Abraham then returns to Sarah, and she too at length bears a son: her son is Isaac, who typifies wisdom; and this is happiness, for the name Isaac signifies laughter. That is to say, the mind, after previous initiation and discipline, enters profitably on higher prolific study; or when Sarai, “my authority,” is changed into Sarah, “my princess” = generic and imperishable virtue, then will arise happiness or Isaac. Then, too, the rudimentary branches of instruction, which bear the name of Hagar and her sophistical child called Ishmael, will be cast out. “And they shall suffer eternal exile; God Himself confirming their expulsion, when He orders the wise man to obey the word spoken by Sarah.” “It is good to be guided by virtue when it teaches such lessons as this.”- De Cherub. p. 2, vol. ii. Op. ed. Pfeiffer. Thus Philo and Paul have in their allegory little in common, save the selection of the same historical points. In the hands of Philo the incidents become fantastic, unreal, and shadowy-fragments of a dim and blurred outline of spiritual and intellectual elevation and progress. The allegory of Clement is similar to that of Philo. Strom. p. 284, ed. Sylburg. But the apostle's treatment, on the other hand, is distinct and historical, without any tinge of metaphysical mysticism. In a word, the difference between Paul's allegorizing and that of Philo and of the Christian fathers, such as Clement and Origen, is greatly more than Jowett asserts it to be-is greatly more than a difference “of degree.” For there is on the part of the apostle a difference of style and principle in the structure of it, and there is a cautious and exceptional use of it. It never resembles the מדרשׁ of the Jewish doctors, or the dreamy theosophy of the Cabbala. See Maimonides, Moreh Nevochim, 3.43. See Professor Lightfoot's note.
The Old Testament has many historical facts which surely involve spiritual lessons, and pre-intimate them as distinctly, though not so uniformly, as the Aaronic ritual typifies the great facts of redemption, it being ἀντίτυπα , ὑπόδειγμα , σκιά . The prospective connection of the old economy with the new is its great characteristic-the connection of what is outer and material with what is inner and spiritual in nature. But this connection must be of divine arrangement and forecast, otherwise it could not furnish such illustrations as are presented in this paragraph. While this is the case, every one knows that allegorization has been a prevailing vice in biblical exposition-that the discovery of occult meanings, and of typical persons and things, has done vast damage to sound commentary. There is scarcely an event, person, or act, that has not been charged with some hidden sense, often obscure and often ludicrous, the analogy being frequently so faint that one wonders how it could ever have been suggested. Amidst such confusion and absurdity which defy hermeneutical canons and apostolical example, it is surely extreme in Dean Alford to characterize as “a shallow and indolent dictum, that no ancient history is to be considered allegorical but that which inspired persons have treated allegorically.” We may at least be content with the unfoldings of the New Testament; and he who “reads, marks, learns, and inwardly digests” the Scriptures will be under little impulse to handle the word of God so fancifully as to be accused of handling it deceitfully.
The apostle now unfolds the allegory-
Αὗται γάρ εἰσιν δύο διαθῆκαι “for these women are two covenants.” The article αἱ before the last noun is omitted on the preponderant authority of all the uncials, though it occurs in א 1 , but not in א 3 . The αὗται are the two mothers Hagar and Sarah, not Ishmael and Isaac (Jowett), nor is αὗται for ταῦτα (Balduin, Schmoller); and in the allegory they represent two covenants, not revelations (Usteri). The construction is as in Matthew 13:39; Matthew 26:26-28, 1 Corinthians 10:4, Revelation 1:20.
Μία μὲν ἀπὸ ὄρους Σινᾶ , εἰς δουλείαν γεννῶσα , ἥτις ἐστὶν ῎Αγαρ “one indeed from Mount Sinai, bearing children into bondage, which,” or, “and this is Hagar.” The local ἀπό indicates place or origin-this covenant originated or took its rise from Mount Sinai. The particle μέν , solitarium, is followed by no corresponding δέ , as the other point of the comparison is not brought into immediate prominence, but passes away into the general statement. Winer, § 63, 2. For γεννῶσα , see Luke 1:13; Luke 1:57; Xen. De Rep. Lac. 1.3. The last words are “for bondage,” or “into a state of bondage;” the children of the bond-mother according to law inherit her condition. Hofmann connects the words “from Mount Sinai” closely with the participle “bearing children.” The pronoun ἥτις , quippe quaedam, is a contextual reference. The Sinaitic covenant is thus represented by Hagar.
What the apostle says in the following verse has given rise to numerous differences of opinion, and there is also conflict about its various readings. The Received Text has-
Galatians 4:25. Τὸ γὰρ ῎Αγαρ Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ ᾿Αραβίᾳ “For Hagar (not the person, but the name) is Mount Sinai in Arabia”-the neuter τό with the feminine ῎Αγαρ in its abstract form specifying the thing itself in thought or speech. Kühner, vol. ii. § 492; Winer, § 18; Ephesians 4:9. In the Clementine Homilies, 16.18, occurs τὸ Θεός… τὸ δ᾿ ὑμεῖς ὅταν εἴπω τὴν πόλιν λέγω , Dem. Pro Corona, p. 162, vol. i. Op. ed. Schaefer.
But the reading has been disputed. Τὸ δὲ ῎Αγαρ has the authority of A, B, D, E, and of one version, the Memphitic; but γάρ has in its favour C, F, K, L, א , the Vulgate, Syriac, and many of the fathers. The first reading given is found in K, L, the great majority of cursives, both Syriac versions, and in the Greek fathers. On the other hand, the reading τὸ γὰρ Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστίν , omitting ῎Αγαρ , is found in C, F, G, א , the old Latin, the Vulgate, the Greek fathers Origen (according to the Latin version), Epiphanius, Cyril, Damascenus, in Ambrosiaster or the Ambrosian Hilary, in Augustine, Jerome, Pelagius, and, as Prof. Lightfoot says, probably “all the Latin fathers,”- apud omnes Latinos interpretes, says Estius. Beza omitted ῎Αγαρ in his first and second editions, but afterwards inserted it- nolui tamen receptam Graecam lectionem immutare. Now, to account for these variations, it may be said on the one side, that the juxtaposition of γὰρ ῎Αγαρ may have led to them, so that the one or other of the like words was omitted, and δέ inserted, either for the connection, or as suggested by the μέν in the previous verse. So Tischendorf, Meyer, Reiche, Winer, Ewald, Ellicott, and Alford. It may be replied, however, on the other side, that the words τὸ γάρ might be easily turned into τὸ ῎Αγαρ , ῎Αγαρ being found in the immediate context, while δέ or γάρ was inserted for the contextual sequence. With this hypothesis the other variations may also be more easily accounted for. Our reading is adopted by Lachmann, Fritzsche, De Wette, Hofmann, Wieseler, Prof. Lightfoot, and by Bisping and Windischmann who may be supposed to be partial to Latin authority. Bentley adopted the same view, as may be seen in his text, as given in Ellis's Bentleii Critica Sacra, p. 108, London 1862; and in his letter to Mill (p. 45) he supposes that the verse was originally a gloss: ea verba de libri margine in orationem ipsam irrepsisse. Mill was not averse to the same conjecture, as his note indicates, and Kuster adopted the same view. This reading is moreover natural and plausible: “for Sinai is a mountain in Arabia,” not according to the order of the words, “for Mount Sinai is in Arabia.” The moment is on the last words, “in Arabia;” that is, among the descendants of Hagar, or beyond the limits of Canaan in a land of bondmen. The site and origin of the one covenant, which is Hagar bearing children into bondage, is Sinai, and that Sinai is a mountain in the country of Hagar's offspring. The Arabs are named from Hagar ᾿Αγαρηνοί in Psalms 83:7, in parallelism with Ishmaelites; ᾿Αγαραῖοι , 1 Chronicles 5:10; 1 Chronicles 5:19; Bar 3:23 . The Targumist renders Shur (wilderness of Shur) by Hagar- הגרא -Hagra, as in Genesis 16:7. Compare Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, vol. 1.452, 3 d ed., and his Nachtrag über den Namen Hagar-Sinai, in his Die Sendschr. d. Apost. Paulus, p. 493. Strabo, on the authority of Eratosthenes, joins with the ᾿Αγραῖοι the Nabataeans and Chauloteans, 16:4, 2; Pliny, Hist. Nat. 6.32. The clause then is a parenthetical remark suddenly thrown in, to sustain and illustrate the allegory of Hagar the bond-woman representing the covenant made at Sinai,-for indeed that Sinai is a mountain in Arabia, the country of Hagar's descendants.
If the common reading be adopted, there are several difficulties in the way of interpretation: “For this Hagar (the object of allegory, not the person) is Mount Sinai in Arabia.” The meaning of the clause is not, the woman Hagar is a type of Mount Sinai (Calvin, Estius); the neuter article forbids it. Others suppose the meaning to be: Hagar is the name of Mount Sinai in Arabia; or, that mountain is so named by the Arabians- apud Arabes (Meyer); is so named in the Arabian tongue: Matthias, offering to supply διαλέκτῳ . But ἐν τῇ ᾿Αραβίᾳ is taken most simply and naturally as a topographical notation. The apostle is thus supposed to refer to the meaning of the word Hagar, and to say that in the tongue of the natives it is the name of Mount Sinai, or, as Tyndale renders, “for Mount Sinai is called Hagar in Arabia.” There is, however, no distinct proof of this assertion. It may be true, but there is no proper evidence of its truth. The tribes sprung of Hagar might give the great mountain their own name and that of their famous ancestress; but no instance of this has been adduced by any one. A Bohemian traveller named Harant visited the country in 1598, and he says “that the Arabian and Mauritanian heathens call Mount Sinai Agar or Tur.” His work, named Der Christliche Ulysses, published at Nürnberg in 1678, was translated out of Bohemian into German (see Prof. Lightfoot), and the quotation from it is generally taken from Büsching's Erdebeschreibung. Granting that he reports what he heard with his own ears, it is strange that his statement has been confirmed by no succeeding traveller. His authority is rendered suspicious also by some of Prof. Lightfoot's remarks.
It has been alleged, too, that the words Hagar and Sinai are the same in sense, and that the apostle meant to assert by the way this identity of meaning. But granting that Sinai, סִינַי , means “rock” or “rock-fissures,” the Hebrew name הָגָר , hajar, in Arabic-cannot bear such a signification, for it denotes “fugitive” or “wanderer,” or, as Jerome gives it, advena vel conversa. It is true that there is an Arabic word of similar sound, , which means “stone,” but it would be represented in Hebrew by חָגָר , hhagar -the words differing distinctly in the initial consonants. Freytag, sub voce. These consonants are indeed sometimes interchanged, but הָגָר and חָגָר belong to different families of words. It will not do to allege with Meyer that allegory interpretation is easily contented with the mere resemblance of names, as in the case of Nazarene, Matthew 2:23; Siloam, John 9:7; or to allege that yet, with all these objections to the common reading, it may be held that Paul, when he went into Arabia, as he says in Galatians 1:17, may have heard Sinai get the provincial name of Hagar. There was apparently a place of this name not far from Petra, but Petra itself never seems to get the designation of El-hhigr. Hilgenfeld refers for a similar clause to a reference to Ramah in Justin Martyr, Dial. c. Tryph. c. 78.
Συστοιχεῖ δὲ τῇ νῦν ῾Ιερουσαλήμ “and indeed she ranketh with the present Jerusalem.” Tyndale and Cranmer render “bordereth upon;” the Vulgate, conjunctus est; and the Arabic translator gives it as “contiguous to,”-rendering Arabia by El-Belka, which was on the east of the Jordan. Jerome, Chrysostom ( ἅπτεται ), and Theophylact hold this view, which is also adopted by Baumgarten-Crusius; but it is geographically wrong, unless you maintain with some that Sinai belongs to the same mountain range with Sion-a very strange conjecture (Genebrardus, ad Psal. cxxxiii.). The erroneous mons qui conjunctus est of the Vulgate is explained away by Thomas Aquinas, as referring not to spatii continuitas but to similitudo. Wycliffe, however, translates it, “whiche hil is ioyned to it,” that is, to Jerusalem. The nominative is either ῎Αγαρ or διαθήκη , as in the Claromontane Latin quae, but not τὸ ὄρος , as in the Vulgate mons qui (Jerome, Chrysostom, Hofmann). The verb in military phrase signifies “to be of the same file with,” Polybius, 10.23, Op. Tit. 111, p. 39, ed. Schweighaeuser. The corresponding noun is used of alphabetic letters pronounced by the same organ, or metaphysically of things in the same category. The meaning is not “stands parallel to” (Winer, Rückert), but “corresponds to.” The δέ marks something additional or new in the progress of the statement. The Jerusalem “that now is” is not opposed by this epithet to the earlier Salem (Erasmus, Michaelis), but to the Jerusalem of that day, the Jewish metropolis under the law in contrast with the Jerusalem which is from above; though the first is characterized temporally, and the other from its ideal position. The “Jerusalem that now is” is the symbol of the nation, under the bondage of the law-
Δουλεύει γὰρ μετὰ τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς “for she is in bondage with her children.” Matthew 23:37. The reading γάρ has preponderant authority over δέ . The nominative is not Hagar nor διαθήκη (Gwynne), but the “Jerusalem that now is,” as the clause assigns the reason for the correspondence of the ἡ νῦν ῾Ιερουσαλήμ with ῎Αγαρ or διαθήκη . Jerusalem is in bondage with her children, as Hagar the bond-mother with her son Ishmael. It cannot refer to civil bondage to Rome (Bagge). Augustine, on Psalms 119:0 (120), expounds this allegory at some length: the word Kedar in the last clause of Galatians 4:5, inhabitavi cum tabernaculis Cedar, naturally suggested Ishmael and the allegory, p. 1954, Opera, vol. iv. Gaume. The apostle has been describing this very bondage “under the law,” “under paedagogy,” “under tutors and governors,” “in bondage unto the elements of the world.”
Galatians 4:26. ῾Η δὲ ἄνω ῾Ιερουσαλὴμ ἐλευθέρα ἐστίν , ἥτις ἐστὶ μήτηρ [ πάντων b ἡμῶν “But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” The πάντων is doubtful, though received by Lachmann on the authority of A, C 3 , K, L, א 3 ; but is rejected by Tischendorf on the authority of B, C 1 , D, F, א 1 , with the Syriac, Latin, and Coptic versions, and the majority of the fathers. The insertion may have come from the parallel clause, Romans 4:16, πατὴρ πάντων ἡμῶν . The phrase with the addition is found, as Prof. Lightfoot quotes, in Polycarp, § 3, and in Irenaeus,5:35, 2, at least in the Latin translation- mater omnium nostrum, p. 815, Op. vol. i. ed. Stieren. The δέ is opposed to the last clause: “on the contrary.” The epithet ἄνω cannot refer in a temporal sense to the Salem of Melchisedec (Michaelis, Paulus), nor in a local sense to the upper city - the city of David, the Acropolis (Vitringa, Elsner, Zachariae),-for it is the new covenant that Sarah symbolizes, and the νῦν of the previous verse is opposed to it. Nor does it mean the New Testament (Grotius, Rollock), based on the meaning of Jerusalem as signifying “vision of peace.” Nor is it directly the church of the New Testament (Sasbout, a Lapide, Bullinger). It is the heavenly- ἄνω -as opposed to the earthly Jerusalem, the ideal metropolis of Christ's kingdom-the church before the second advent and the kingdom of glory after it-the “heavenly Jerusalem,” Hebrews 12:22; but different in conception and symbol from the new Jerusalem, Revelation 21:2. The phrase is also a rabbinical one, for the Rabbins speak of the Jerusalem שֶׁלמַעֲלָה . But their heavenly Jerusalem was merely the counterpart of the earthly one in everything; as the book Sohar says, “Whatever is on earth is also in heaven,”-one argument being that the pattern of the tabernacle in heaven was shown to Moses, so that the one constructed might be a fac-simile; and the tabernacle is called by the apostle “the pattern of things in heaven.” Schoettgen's Horae Heb. vol. i. p. 1205; Wetstein in loc.; Witsius, Miscellanea Sacra, vol. ii. p. 199. Not that the apostle thought of it as the Rabbins did; it was to him the metropolis in which believers are now enfranchised as citizens, Philippians 3:20, not the triumphant church in heaven (Rosenmüller, Winer), nor what Hofmann calls die in der Person Christi schon himmlisch vollendete Gemeine. And she- ἥτις “is our mother,”-no one of us is excluded; for the Jerusalem is not the visible church with many in it who are not believers, but the invisible or spiritual church, all whose members, whether Jews or Gentiles, are true disciples. The apostle does not develop the contrast with technical fulness. It might have been, δευτέρα δὲ ἀπὸ ὄρους Σιὼν εἰς ἐλευθερίαν γεννῶσα , ἥτις ἐστὶ Σάῤῥα . . . συστοιχεῖ δὲ τῇ ἄνω ῾Ιερουσαλήμ . The parallel is broken in the apostle's haste; he seizes only on the salient points; the doctrine imaged out was of more importance than the formal or rhetorical symmetry of the figure. The apostle, as has been remarked, uses ῾Ιερουσαλήμ , the more sacred name, as in the Apocalypse, but in referring to the earthly capital in Galatians 1:18, Galatians 2:1, he uses ῾Ιεροσόλυμα , the name found also in the fourth Gospel.
Galatians 4:27. Γέγραπται γάρ , Εὐφράνθητι στεῖρα ἡ οὐ τίκτουσα· ῥῆξον καὶ βόησον ἡ οὐκ ὠδίνουσα· ὅτι πολλὰ τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐρήμου μᾶλλον ἢ τῆς ἐχούσης τὸν ἄνδρα “For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: because many are the children of the desolate one more than of her who has an husband,” or “the man.” The quotation is according to the Septuagint from Isaiah 54:1, and the idiomatic variations between it and the Hebrew are of no real importance-the Greek using the article and present participle for the Hebrew praeterite. After ῥῆξον , φωνήν may be understood, or βοήν , or εὐφροσύνην , but such an ellipse is common. The term רִנָּה , H8262, “joyous shouting,” is omitted by the Seventy. The Hebrew idiom רַבִּים מִן is correctly imitated in the Greek πολλὰ τὰ τέκνα . . . μᾶλλον ἤ , and is different from πλείονα ἤ , for both are to have many children, but the children of the desolate are far to outnumber the other; and the past participle בּעוּלָה is paraphrased by τῆς ἐχούσης τὸν ἄνδρα “the man” whom the desolate woman has not. The two women contrasted, in the apostle's use of the quotation, are Sarah, and Hagar who had Abraham- τὸν ἄνδρα -when Sarah gave him up to her, and was the first of the two to have children.
The address of the prophet is to the ancient Israel, not to Jerusalem simply, or because in it no children were born during the Babylonish exile. Her desolate condition is to be succeeded by a blessed prosperity, and by the possession of Gentile countries. Zion in her youth had been espoused by Jehovah to Himself, but the nuptial covenant had been broken and she had been repudiated, and had suffered the reproach of such widowhood, “forsaken and grieved in spirit.” But re-union is promised on the part of the divine Husband under the claim of a Goel or Redeemer, and by a new and significant title, “God of the whole earth.” In a gush of wrath He had hidden His face a moment, but in everlasting kindness would He have mercy on her (compare 51:2). The result is a numerous progeny. What the precise historic reference of the prophecy is, it is needless to inquire. Under its peculiar figure, so common in the prophets, it portrays, after a dark and sterile period, augmented spiritual blessings, and suddenly enlarged numbers to enjoy them, as the next chapter so vividly describes. In the apostle's use of the quotation, and in accordance with the context, Hagar-she that hath τὸν ἄνδρα -is the symbol of the theocratic church with its children in bondage to the law; and Sarah-she that was desolate-is the symbol of the New Testament church, composed both of Jews and Gentiles, or the Jerusalem above which is our mother. Compare Schöttgen in loc. The prophecy is adduced to prove and illustrate this maternal relation. Some of the fathers took a different view of this prophecy. The Roman Clement, Origen, Chrysostom, and many others, suppose her “that bears not, the barren one,” to be the Gentile church as opposed to the Jewish church or synagogue; but this is against the scope and language of the allegory. The Jerusalem that now is is the Jewish dispensation, the children of the bond-maid Hagar; the Jerusalem above, which prior to the advent was sterile and childless-Sarah-is now a fruitful mother, her children greatly more numerous than those of her rival, for all believers like her son Isaac are the seed of Abraham, children of promise.
Galatians 4:28. ῾Υμεῖς δέ , ἀδελφοί , κατὰ ᾿Ισαάκ , ἐπαγγελίας τέκνα ἐστέ “But ye, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.” The Received Text has ἡμεῖς ἐσμέν , and the reading is well supported, having in its favour A, C, D 3 , K, L, א , four MSS., the Syriac, Vulgate, Coptic, and Gothic versions, with several of the Greek fathers and Augustine. The other reading has in its favour B, D, F, four MSS., the Claromontane Latin, Origen, Irenaeus, Ambrose. This difference of reading would seem to show that ἐσμέν , supposed to look back to ἡμῶν in Galatians 4:26, has been probably conformed to Galatians 4:31, whereas the other reading is free from any such suspicion. The δέ is more than transitional; it implies a contrast to the children of her who had the husband. The idiomatic phrase κατὰ ᾿Ισαάκ is, after the example of Isaac, he being the norm or pattern. Winer, § 49; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10; 1 Peter 1:15; Kypke in loc. And being not children κατὰ σάρκα , “ye are children of promise,” as Isaac was, as has been stated in Galatians 4:23. The genitive ἐπαγγελίας denotes the source, and is equivalent in sense to διά , as the context shows. It does not mean liberi promissi (Bloomfield, Brown), nor children possessed of the promise, but distinctly children by means of the promise.
Galatians 4:29. ᾿Αλλ᾿ ὥσπερ τότε ὁ κατὰ σάρκα γεννηθεὶς ἐδίωκε τὸν κατὰ πνεῦμα , οὕτω καὶ νῦν “But as then he who was born after the flesh persecuted him who was born after the Spirit, so it is also now.” The ἀλλά is adversative, warning those who like Isaac are children of promise to anticipate and prepare for persecution. For κατὰ σάρκα , see under Galatians 4:25; κατὰ πνεῦμα is the opposite-the one was born naturally, the other supernaturally, or by promise, realized by the agency of the Holy Spirit. The verb ἐδίωκεν is imperfect-the action in some shape yet ideally continues. Winer, § 40, 3. What the persecution was, it is difficult to decide. The Old Testament implies it, and Jewish legend amplifies it; so that as a fact it was well known at least to one section of the Galatian church. The words in Genesis 21:9 are גר í רה † ֶאתאּבֶּןאּ הָ Ò ָ וַ Ÿ ֵתּרֶא שָׂ ָ . . מְצַ † ֵחק׃ , rendered in the Septuagint- ἰδοῦσα δὲ Σάῤῥα τὸν υἱὸν ῎Αγαρ . . . παίζοντα μετὰ ᾿Ισαὰκ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτῆς . Lightfoot conjectures that the Hebrew verse may have originally ended בּבְנָהּבְּיצְחָק , and that the words implied in the Greek may have dropped out on account of the homoeoteleuton. The Hebrew then is, “And when Sarah saw the son of Hagar laughing.” Sarah's consequent anger implies that he was laughing at, mocking or jeering, her son Isaac. Isaac's own name was laughter, and Ishmael may have turned it into boyish ridicule. He was laughter to his mother in one sense, but to his brother in a very different sense-the one laughed for him, the other at him. For παίζω , Proverbs 26:19, Jeremiah 15:7; Jeremiah 31:4. That the Hebrew word has such a meaning is plain from Genesis 19:14: “Lot seemed as one that mocked;” Genesis 39:14: “He hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us;” and in Galatians 4:17. In 2 Samuel 2:14 a word from the kindred root שָׂחַק , H8471 denotes the “combat” which Joab proposes, and which he grimly calls a “play” or sport. These instances dispose of Jowett's statement, that “the word neither in the Hebrew nor the Seventy admits the sense of mocking.” It was natural that Ishmael, now sixteen years of age, and for many years regarded and no doubt courted as the heir of Abraham's wealth, should regard with peculiar jealousy the younger child who had ousted him; and it was natural for him to make mockery of him, or to laugh at or make himself merry over the idea of one so much younger and feebler becoming the ultimate possessor. Some such sense belongs to the Hebrew term, for it must account for Sarah's displeasure, since it was not without cause; so that, as Kalisch says, “the Septuagint and Vulgate translations are inappropriate.” See Keil and Delitzsch, and Tuch in loc. The traditions took two different shapes-one, that of insolence and blows, as Beresch. R. 53: Tulit Ishmael arcum et sagittas, et jaculatus est Isaacum, et prae se tulit ac se luderet. Beer, Leben Abraham, p. 49, and his authorities, p. 169. Lusio illa illusio erat (Augustine). The other shape was that of merriment, as at the weaning feast. The Book of Jubilees (Ewald, Jahrb. 3.13) represents Ishmael as dancing, pleasing Abraham, and creating jealousy in Sarah. The narrative in Genesis thus sustains of itself the use which the apostle makes of it, especially when set in the light of those national legends with which many of his readers must have been well acquainted. The enmity began early as between the representative Ishmael and Isaac; it was continued between their descendants, Hagarites and Israelites (Psalms 83:7; 1 Chronicles 5:10; 1 Chronicles 5:19); and it was still manifested in the enemies of a free spiritual faith-those after the flesh, Jews and Judaists, Abraham's natural progeny-trusting in carnal ordinances, and persecuting those after the Spirit, who are his spiritual children through faith in Christ. As it was then, οὕτω καὶ νῦν , “so is it now.” 1 Thessalonians 2:15. What the nature of the opposition carried on in Galatia was, we know not. But it is alluded to in Galatians 3:4, Galatians 5:11. The Judaizers were keen and unscrupulous opponents, and must have had at command many weapons of insult, raillery, and persecution. Heidegger, Hist. Patriarcharum, ii. p. 205.
Galatians 4:30. ᾿Αλλὰ τί λέγει ἡ γραφή ; ῎Εκβαλε τὴν παιδίσκην καὶ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς , οὐ γὰρ μὴ κληρονομήσῃ ὁ υἱὸς τῆς παιδίσκης μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς ἐλευθέρας “Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bond-maid and her son, for the son of the bond-maid shall in nowise inherit with the son of the free woman.” This quotation is from the Septuagint, with a necessary alteration. The words in Genesis 21:10 are those of Sarah: τῆς παιδίσκης ταύτης μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ μου ᾿Ισαάκ , as D 1 , F, and some of the fathers read; but her wish became the divine command, and the apostle naturally adapts it as τῆς παιδίσκης μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς ἐλευθέρας . Nothing is said of Sarah as to her jealousy or heartlessness, for it was her premature plot to expedite the promise that led to the birth of Ishmael; and nothing is said of Abraham's natural displeasure at Sarah's request, for those domestic incidents belong not to the allegory, with which alone the apostle is concerned. See Turner, Genesis, p. 283. What saith the Scripture? The ἀλλά introduces a thought in cheering contrast to the previous statement. The significant question leads to a conclusive and definite reply: “Cast out the bond-maid and her son;” their doom was immediate and complete expulsion from the Abrahamic household. There could be no division of the inheritance, no joint heirship. For the son of the bond-maid shall in nowise inherit- οὐ μὴ κληρονομήσῃ , the verb having the emphasis, the future κληρονομήσει being read in B, D, א , as in the Septuagint. As Winer remarks, on account of the various readings, and the use of the subjunctive more than of the future in the New Testament, the rule of Hermann is not to be pressed. Hermann says, Note on Soph. OEdip. Col. 848, that the aorist subjunctive is used aut in re incerti temporis, sed semel vel brevi temporis momento agenda; while the future, ad ea pertinet quae aut diuturniora aliquando eventura indicare volumus, aut non aliquo quocunque, sed remotiore aliquo tempore dicimus futura esse. The application of this canon to the New Testament or the Septuagint has no sure ground. Thiersch, Pent. p. 109. The remark applies to the later Greek also. Gayler, De Part. neg. pp. 433, 440; Baumlein, Griech. Part. p. 308; Winer, § 56, 3. The double negative is intensive, at least in this place, though it had become a familiar unemphatic formula, and it is of frequent occurrence in the Septuagint. An explanation will be found in donaldson, Cratylus, § 394, and Gram. § 544.
The command is precise and unambiguous. Ishmael must be sent away, that Isaac alone may inherit. Ishmael had no title. The case of Jephthah's disinheritance is not wholly analogous, for he was the son of “an harlot,” “a strange woman,” not of a secondary wife. Selden, De Success. cap. iii., Works, vol. ii. p. 11. The two children, so different in temper and social position, could not have lived together; coheritage was divinely prohibited; the purpose of God necessitated separation. The bond-mother and her son must go out into the wilderness. Isaac, the free woman's child, remains at home, and succeeds to the inheritance. The lesson from this portion of the allegory is, that Judaism is in no sense to be combined with Christianity; that they were intended to be kept asunder, and to no extent to be amalgamated; that they are so opposed in genius and working-flesh and spirit, bondage and freedom-that any compromise between them is impossible. The inheritance belongs alone to Abraham's spiritual seed, and cannot be obtained by mere natural descent from the patriarch. And all this on highest authority, that of Scripture, to whose teachings they professed to yield implicit obedience. Not many at this period could acquiesce in this teaching; for Judaism was still tenaciously clung to by myriads who believed, and who could not so fully emancipate themselves from early bias and national prepossession as did the apostle of the Gentiles. See under Galatians 2:1-10.
Galatians 4:31. Διό , ἀδελφοί , οὐκ ἐσμὲν παιδίσκης τέκνα , ἀλλὰ τῆς ἐλευθέρας “Wherefore, brethren, we are children not of a bond-woman, but of the free woman.” The ἄρα of the Received Text is not very strongly supported, and there are other minor variations, apparently emendations suggested by some difficulty felt about διό . According to Meyer, followed by Ellicott, this verse begins a short semi-paragraph, which passes on in the next verse to an exhortation. The common interpretation, on the other hand, is to regard the verse as the conclusion from the previous argument. This appears to be the most natural form of connection. Prof. Lightfoot remarks that the particle is chosen “rather with a view to the obligation involved in the statement, than to the statement itself: Wherefore, let us remember that we are, etc.” The apostle's use of διό is so various that no argument can be based on its occurrence here. Donaldson, Cratylus, § 192. He may refer back to κληρονομήσῃ (Alford), but he rather sums up the whole argument. We are children of promise, he had said, persecuted it is true, but the persecution does not prevent or interrupt our heirship; the bond-woman's child is expelled, the free woman's son inherits alone: we inherit by the same title; “wherefore” our inheritance by such a title is a proof that we are the children not of a bond-woman, but of the free woman. While διό - δἰ ὅ -may begin a new paragraph, but not without connection with what has preceded, it often connects clauses: Romans 4:22, 2Co 4:13 ; 2 Corinthians 5:9; 2 Corinthians 12:10, Philippians 2:9; and it precedes an inference in Matthew 27:8, Luke 1:35, Romans 1:24; Romans 15:7. The article is omitted before παιδίσκης , not perhaps because it is emphatically prefixed to its governing noun (Middleton, Greek Art. p. 50; Winer, § 19, 2, b), but as generalizing the assertion-not of a, or any, bond-woman (compare Galatians 4:11), for this noun has the article throughout the paragraph. The next verse is the practical appeal which, based on the allegory, is suddenly and somewhat sternly addressed to them, and followed up by a series of severe and solemn warnings.
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Eadie, John. "Commentary on Galatians 4". Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13