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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Ephesians 5

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 5

Ephesians 5:2. ἡμαςἡμῶν] Tisch.: ὑμᾶςὑμῶν. But the witnesses for this are of unequal value and not strong enough, specially as the pronoun of the second person naturally presented itself from the context.

Ephesians 5:4 καὶ αἰσχρ. καί] A D* E* F G, min. Sahid. Vulg. It. and Fathers of some importance: αἰσχρ. . Approved by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Rück., and rightly so; the Recepta appears to be an old alteration in accordance with Ephesians 5:3, where also it is only at the third vice that comes in. א* has καὶ αἰσχρ. , as also Syr. p.

τὰ οὐκ ἀνήκοντα] A B א, 31, 67, 73, Clem. Antioch. Ephr. Cyr.: οὐκ ἀνῆκεν. So Lachm. and Rück.; commended also by Griesb. An interpretation, probably occasioned by the fact that the following ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εὐχαρ. was regarded as the contrast to τὰ οὐκ ἀνήκοντα.

Ephesians 5:5. ἴστε] Elz.: ἐστέ, in opposition to far preponderant evidence. Defended, it is true, by Matth. (“pluribus Graecis in mentem venire poterat ἴστε”), but evidently a mechanical miswriting or alteration; rejected also by Reiche.

ὅς ἐστιν εἰδωλολάτρης] Lachm., following only B א, 67** lect. 40, Cyr. Jer., has ἐστιν εἰδωλολατρης, which Mill and Griesb. recommended. F G, Vulg. It. Goth. Victorinus, Cyprian, Ambrosiaster have ἐστιν εἰδωλολατρεία. By the latter the original ὅς ἐστιν εἰδωλολάτρης, which seemed to require an explanation, that it might not be misunderstood, was explained, and subsequently εἰδωλολάτρης was restored, whereby the reading of Lachm. arose.

Ephesians 5:9. φωτός] Elz. Matth.: πνεύματος, in opposition to decisive witnesses. Gloss from Galatians 5:25.

Ephesians 5:17. συνίεντες] A B א, min. Chrys. ms. Damasc. Jer.: συνίετε. So Lachm. and Rück. Harless, however, has συνιόντες, after D* F G. The latter, though doubtless to be accented συνιόντες (see on Romans 3:11), is as the less common form to be preferred; the imperative is a gloss from the context, supported by no version.

Ephesians 5:19. πνευματικαῖς] is wanting only in B, Clar. Germ. Ambrosiast., and is bracketed by Lachm. It might have been introduced from Colossians 3:16; but the evidence for its omission is too weak, and the omission might easily be occasioned by the homoeoteleuton.

ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ] Lachm. and Rück.: ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις, after important witnesses (not B). But the plural would in itself very naturally occur to the copyists, and still more from the comparison of Colossians 3:16.

Ephesians 5:21. χριστοῦ] Elz.: θεοῦ, in opposition to decisive witnesses, among which D E F G, codd. of It. ἰησοῦ, some before, some after the χρ. Mill already rightly judges that φόβος θεοῦ was the more current conception, whereby θεοῦ (K: κυρίου) was brought in; φόβος χριστοῦ does not occur elsewhere.

Ephesians 5:22. After ἀνδράσιν, Elz. Scholz have ὑποτάσσεσθε, and Lachm. ὑποτασσέσθωσαν. The latter in accordance with A א, min. Copt. Vulg. Goth. Clem, (once) Basil, Damasc. Ambrosiast. Pelag. D E F G, lect. 19, It. Syr. have the Recepta, but before τοῖς ἰδίοις. These diversities only confirm the probability that the verb was originally wanting, as also B, codd. Gr. in Jer. Clem, (once) have no verb. The verb, deleted by Tisch. and rejected by Reiche, is an expedient to help the construction.

Ephesians 5:23. ἀνήρ (Elz.: ἀνήρ) and αὐτός (Elz.: καὶ αὐτός ἐστι) rest on decisive critical evidence; although Reiche again defends the Recepta, which is a smoothing of the text.

Ephesians 5:24. ἰδίοις] is, following B D* E* F G א, min. codd. It., with Lachm. Tisch., to be deleted as an addition from Ephesians 5:22.

Ephesians 5:25. ἑαυτῶν] is wanting in A B א, min. Clem. Orig. Cyr., Chrys. Deleted by Lachm. Tisch. and Rück. But if anything were added to γυναῖκας, it would be most natural to add ἰδίας from Ephesians 5:22. The ὑμῶν read in F G (Vulg. It. etc.: vestras) is an explanation of ἑαυτῶν, and tells in favour of this, the dropping out of which is to be explained from its superfluousness.

Ephesians 5:27. αὐτός] Elz.: αὐτήν, in opposition to far preponderating testimony; altered from a failure to understand the emphatic αὐτός.

Ephesians 5:28. Lachm. has rightly adopted, on decisive authority, οὕτως καὶ οἱ ἄνδρες ὀφείλουσιν. B has the order οὕτως ὀφ. καὶ οἱ ἄνδρος.

Ephesians 5:29. Instead of χριστός, Elz. has κύριος, in opposition to decisive evidence.

Ephesians 5:30. ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὀστ. αὐτοῦ] is wanting in A B א* 17, 67** al., Copt. Aeth. Method. and perhaps Ambrosiast. Deleted by Lachm., suspected also by Mill and Griesb., defended by Reiche. The omission has arisen either from mere accident, by passing in the process of copying from the first αὐτοῦ immediately to the third, or more probably through design, from want of perceiving the suitableness of the words in the context, and judging their meaning inappropriate. If they had been added from the LXX. Genesis 2:23, we should have found written ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ.

Ephesians 5:31. τὸν πατ. αὐτοῦ κ. τ. μητ.] Lachm. and Tisch. on preponderant testimony have merely πατέρα καὶ μητέρα. Rightly; the Recepta is from the LXX.

πρὸς τὴν γυν.] Lachm. and Rück.: τῇ γυναικί, in accordance doubtless with many and considerable witnesses (not B), but an alteration in conformity with the LXX. (according to A, Ald.) and Matthew 19:5.

CONTENTS.

Exhortation to the imitation of God, to love, as Christ through His sacrificial death has loved us (Ephesians 5:1-2). Warning against unchastity, avarice, and other vices, inasmuch as they exclude from the Messianic kingdom (Ephesians 5:3-5). The readers are not to let themselves be deceived by empty words, and not to hold fellowship with the vicious; for, as those who from being dark have become Christianly enlightened, they are under obligation to walk accordingly, and to have no fellowship with the works of darkness, but rather to rebuke them, which is a course as necessary as it is salutary (Ephesians 5:6-14). They are therefore to be careful in their walk as wise (Ephesians 5:15-17), and not to become drunken, but to become full of the Holy Spirit, which fulness must express itself by alternate utterance in psalms and hymns, by singing praise in the silence of the heart, and by continual Christian thanksgiving towards God (Ephesians 5:18-20). Subject the one to the other in the fear of Christ, the wives are to render to their husbands true Christian subjection (Ephesians 5:21-24), and the men to their wives true Christian love (Ephesians 5:25-33), in connection with which, however, the wife owes reverence to the husband (Ephesians 5:33).


Verse 1-2

Ephesians 5:1-2. If Paul has just said καθὼς καὶ θεὸς ἐχαρίσατο ὑμῖν, he now, on the ground of these words ( οὖν), sums up under one head the duty of love expressed in detail, Ephesians 4:32, and that as imitation of God by a loving walk, such as stands in appropriate relation to the love shown to us by Christ, which serves as pattern for our conduct. With this is expressed the specific character and degree of the love required as an imitation of God (John 13:34; John 15:13). Accordingly, Ephesians 5:1 corresponds to the καθὼς καὶ θεὸς ἐν χρ. ἐχαρίσατο as a whole, and Ephesians 5:2 to the ἐν χριστῷ in particular; γίνεσθε οὖν at the same time corresponds emphatically to the γίνεσθε δέ of Ephesians 4:32, introducing in another form—flowing from the last words of Ephesians 5:32—the same thing as was introduced by γίνεσθε δέ.

ὡς τέκνα ἀγαπ.] in accordance with your relation to God as His beloved children. ἀγαπητά denotes neither amabiles (Zanchius), nor good, excellent children, nor is it to be said with Vater: “ut solent liberi, qui tunc diliguntur;” but, what a love has God shown to us by the υἱοθεσία (1 John 3:1; Romans 5:8; Romans 5:5, al.)! Now, to be God’s beloved child, and not to become like the loving Father, how contradictory were this! See Romans 6:1 ff.; 1 John 4:7 ff.; Matthew 5:45. Yet the expression “imitators of God” is found with Paul only here.

καί] annexes wherein this imitation of God must consist, namely, therein, that love is the element in which their life-walk takes place—love, such as also Christ has displayed towards us.

καὶ παρέδωκεν κ. τ. λ.] Practical proof of the ἠγάπησεν. Comp. Ephesians 5:25; Romans 5:8 f.; Galatians 2:20. Paul, might have written παρέστησεν, but wrote παρέδωκ., because he thought of the matter as a self-surrender. The notion of sacrifice does not lie in the verb, but in the attributes (in opposition to Hofmann’s objection). We may add that with παρέδ. we have not to supply εἰς θάνατον (Grotius, Harless, and others), but τῷ θεῷ (which Bengel, Hofmann, and others with less simplicity attach to προσφ. κ. θυσίαν) belongs to it, to the connecting of which with εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας (Luther, Koppe, Meier, Harless) the order of the words is opposed (comp. Exodus 29:18; Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 1:13; Leviticus 1:17; Leviticus 23:13; Leviticus 23:18; Genesis 8:21), since the emphatic prefixing of τῷ θεῷ, if it belonged to εἰς ὀσμ. εὐωδ., would be quite without reason, inasmuch as there is not any kind of contrast (for instance, to human satisfaction) in the case.

ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν] for our behalf, in order to reconcile us to God. The idea of substitution is not expressed in the preposition,(252) but lies in the conception of a sacrifice, under which the N.T. represents the death of Christ,(253) and that, indeed, as expiatory sacrifice. See on Romans 5:6; Galatians 3:13.

προσφορὰν κ. θυσίαν] as an offering and a sacrifice. The latter ( זֶבַח) is a more precise definition of the former; for προσφορά is everything in general which is brought as an offering, whether it be bloody or unbloody ( מִנְחָה). Comp. Sirach 14:11. Of the sacrifice of Christ, also Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:14. Harless explains the joining of the two substantives to the effect that Christ, as He was a sacrifice for others ( θυσίαν), also presented himself as an offering ( προσφοράν). But, apart from the fact that thus Paul must logically have written θυσίαν κ. προσφοράν (as in Psalms 40:7; Hebrews 10:5), both words, in fact, state in what character Christ presented Himself to God, both express the objective relation, while the subjective relation of Christ is conveyed in παρέδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν. Comp. 1 Peter 1:18.

εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας] so that it became for Him an odour of fragrance, figurative designation of its acceptableness to God (Philippians 4:18), after the Hebrew רֵיחַ־נִיחֹחַ (Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 1:13; Leviticus 1:17; Leviticus 2:12; Leviticus 3:5), which was the original real, anthropopathic basis of the idea of the acceptableness of a sacrifice to God. See Genesis 8:21; Ewald, Alterth. p. 31. The underlying notion of the burning of that which was offered did not of course come into account in the case of the ἱλαστήριον of Jesus, but the thought of the expression is in the sacrificial designation of the atoning deed independent of its origin. εὐωδίας, the sacrifice of Christ would not have been propitiatory.">(254) Comp. on the expression itself the Homeric κνίσσης ἡδὺς ἀϋτμή, Od. xii. 369.

The question whether Christ is here in reality presented as an expiatory sacrifice, or merely as one who in His self-surrender well-pleasing to God has left us a pattern (so Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 113; Rückert), has been raised by the Socinians (see Catech. Racov. 484, ed. Oeder, p. 1006), who denied the former (see also Calovius, Bibl. ill. p. 716 f.), is decided not merely by ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, but by the view prevailing throughout the N.T., and specially with Paul, of the death of Jesus as the ἱλαστήριον, Romans 3:25 (comp. also Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:28; 1 Peter 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:6), which also is contained here in θυσίαν (comp. Lechler, apost. und nachapost. Zeitalter, p. 11; Ebrard, Lehre von der stellvertret. Genugth. p. 68 ff.; Philippi, Dogm. IV. 2, p. 294 ff.). Certainly the main point in the connection of our passage is the love displayed by Christ, but the practical proof of this love is represented as that which it just really was, namely, as expiatory sacrifice; in opposition to which the addition εἰς ὀσμ. εὐωδ., which in the O. T., save in Leviticus 4:31 (see, with regard to this passage, Oehler in Herzog’s Encykl. X. p. 648), is not used of expiatory sacrifices, is not to be urged, inasmuch as—even apart from Lev. l.c.

Christ offered up Himself, consequently His expiatory sacrifice was at the same time a voluntary offering.


Verse 3

Ephesians 5:3. δέ] leading over to another portion of the exhortation.

ἀκαθαρσία and πλεονεξία, quite as at Ephesians 4:19, the two main vices of heathendom. The latter thus is here neither insatiability in lust, as Heinsius (controverted by Salmasius, de foen. Trap. p. 121 ff.), Estius, Locke, Baumgarten, Michaelis, Zachariae, and others would take it, nor “imprimis de prostibulis, quae sunt vulgato corpore, ut quaestum lucrentur,” Koppe, Stolz, but: avarice.

] is not equivalent to καί (Salmasius, Schleusner), nor yet explicative (Heinsius), but disjunctive, separating another vice from the correlative πορνεία καὶ πᾶσα ἀκαθαρσία (comp. Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 275 f.); neither fornication and every kind of uncleanness, nor avarice, nor shamelessness (Ephesians 5:4), etc.

μηδὲ ὀνομαζέσθω ἐν ὑμῖν] not once be named, etc.; ἱκανῶς τὸ μυσαρὸν τῶν εἰρημένων ὑπέδειξε, καὶ αὐτὰς αὐτῶν προσηγορίας τῆς μνήμης ἐξορίσαι κελεύσας, Theodoret. Comp. Ephesians 5:12. Dio Chrys. p. 360 B: στάσιν δὲ οὐδὲ ὀνομάζειν ἄξιον παρʼ ὑμῖν. Herod, i. 138: ἅσσα δέ σφι ποιέειν οὐκ ἔξεστι, ταῦτα οὐδὲ λέγειν ἔξεστι. Dem. 1259, 17: καὶ ὀνομάζειν ὀκνήσαιμʼ ἄν.

καθὼς πρέπει ἁγίοις] namely, that these vices should not once be mentioned among them. So αἰσχρὰ ὀνόματα (Plat. Rep. p. 344 B, and Stallbaum in loc.) are they!


Verse 4

Ephesians 5:4. αἰσχρότης] abomination, disgraceful conduct, Plat. Gorg. p. 525 A. Most expositors, including Rückert, Meier, Holzhausen, Olshausen (not Matthies and Harless), limit it to disgraceful utterances, but without warrant of linguistic usage (this would be αἰσχρολογία, see Colossians 3:8; Xen. de rep. Lac. v. 6; Aristot. de rep. vii. 17; Polyb. viii. 13. 8, xii. 13. 3); or in the context, in which it is only the following elements that contain the unchristian speaking.

μωρολογία] is the carrying on of insipid, foolish talk. Antig. de Mirab. 126: μωρολωγίας καὶ ἀδολεσχίας, Arist. H. A. i. 11; Plut. Mor. 504 A.

εὐτραπελία] signifies properly ready versatility (from τρέπω and εὖ), urbanity; then specially a witty, jesting manner; and in a bad sense, as here, the witticism of frivolity, scurrilitas. See in general, Wetstein ad loc.; Dissen, ad Pind. p. 180; Krüger on Thuc. ii. 41. 1.

τὰ οὐκ ἀνήκοντα] as that which is unseemly. Comp. Winer, pp. 221, 338 f. [E. T. 610]. It refers only to μωρολογία and εὐτραπελία, since for αἰσχρότης such a characteristic description would be entirely superfluous, and ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εὐχαριστία points back merely to those peccata oris.

ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εὐχαριστία] From the preceding μηδὲ ὀνομαζέσθω ἐν ὑμῖν we have here to supply ἔστω or γινέσθω ἐν ὑμῖν, which is contained therein, in accordance with a well-known brachylogy, Kühner, II. p. 604. εὐχαριστία is, according to standing usage (comp. also Loesner, Obss. p. 345 f.), not gracefulness of speech, as Jerome, Calvin,(255) Salmasius, Cajetanus, Hammond, Semler, Michaelis, Wahl, Meier, and others would take it, which would be εὔχαρι, but giving of thanks, in which case there results a contrast far more in keeping with the Christian character and the profoundly vivid piety of the apostle (comp. Colossians 2:7; Colossians 3:15; Colossians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Gratitude towards God (for the salvation in Christ), expressing itself in their discourse, is to supersede among Christians the two faults before mentioned, and to sanctify their oral intercourse. “Linguae abusui opponitur sanctus et tamen laetus usus,” Bengel. Morus erroneously refers it to thanksgiving towards others;the language of courtesy.”


Verse 5

Ephesians 5:5. Paul returns to the vices mentioned Ephesians 5:3, and assigns the reason for their prohibition.

ἴστε γινώσκοντες] indicative; Paul appeals to the consciousness of the readers, which, considering their familiarity with the principle laid down, was at all events more natural to him, and more in keeping with the destination as a motive ( γάρ), than the imperative sense (Vulgate, Valla, Castalio, Vatablus, Erasmus Schmid, Estius, Grotius, Wolf, Bengel, Koppe, Rückert, Matthies, Olshausen, Bleek, and others). The participle, however, is not here to be explained from the well-known Hebrew and Greek mode of connecting the finite verb with its participle (Winer, p. 317 f. [E. T. 446]), inasmuch as γινώσκ. is another verb; but it denotes the way and manner of the knowing.(256)

πᾶς οὐκ ἔχει] See on Ephesians 4:29, and Winer, p. 155 [E. T. 209].

ἐστιν εἰδωλολάτρης] applies to the covetous man, whom Paul declares in a metaphorical sense to be an idolater, inasmuch as such an one has made money and property his god, and has fallen away from the service of the true God (comp. Matthew 6:24). Comp. Philippians 3:19; Colossians 3:5; and the passages from Philo and the Rabbins, which express the same mode of regarding covetousness and other vices, in Wetstein, and Schöttgen, Horae, p. 779. Doubtless πορνεία and ἀκαθαρσία are also subtle idolatry; but only with regard to avarice does Paul, here and at Colossians 3:5, bring it into special relief, in order with thoroughly deterrent force to make this felt κατʼ ἐξοχήν as antichristian (comp. 1 Timothy 6:10). For Paul, in particular, whose all-sacrificing self-denial (2 Corinthians 6:10; 2 Corinthians 11:27) stood so sharply contrasted with that self-seeking passion, such a peculiar branding of πλεονεξία was very natural. Zachariae, Koppe,(257) Meier, Harless, as also Fritzsche (de conformat. N.T. critica Lachm. I. 1841, p. 46), refer ὅς ἐστιν εἰδωλ. to all three subjects. Unnecessary deviation from that which after the singular of the relative must most naturally suggest itself to the reader, and opposed to the parallel Colossians 3:5, where ἥτις ἐστὶν εἰδωλολατρεία has its reference merely to the πλεονεξία assured by the use of the article τὴν πλεονεξίαν, and it is only afterwards that the comprehension of the before-named vices by means of the neuter plural διʼ comes in.

οὐκ ἔχει κληρονο΄ίαν] Comp. on Ephesians 1:11. By means of the present tense the certain future relation is realized at present. See Bernhardy, p. 371.

ἐν τῇ βασιλ. τοῦ χριστοῦ κ. θεοῦ for the Messianic kingdom belongs to Christ and God, since Christ and God shall have the government of this kingdom. Christ opens it at His Parousia, and rules it under the supreme dominion of God (1 Corinthians 15:27) until the final consummation, whereupon He yields it up to God as the sole ruler (1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Corinthians 15:28). But, after Beza, Zanchius, Glass, Bengel (comp. also Calovius), Rückert and Harless have explained it, on the ground of the non-repetition of the article: “of Him, who is Christ and God,” so that Christ is here spoken of as God.(258) Incorrectly, since θεός had no need of an article (see Winer, p. 110 f. [E. T. 151]; comp. βασιλεία θεοῦ, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 5:21), and Christ, in accordance with the strict monotheism of the apostle (comp. Ephesians 4:6), could not be called by him θεός in the absolute sense, and never has at all been called by him θεός. See on Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:2. Comp. Beyschlag, Christol. d. N.T. p. 203 f. The designation of the kingdom as βασιλεία of Christ and of God is climactic (comp. on Galatians 1:1), and renders the warning element more solemn and more powerful to deter, through the contrast with the supreme holiness of the kingdom.(259)

On the proposition itself, comp. Galatians 5:21.


Verse 6

Ephesians 5:6. Let no one deceive you with empty words! In those against whom the warning is here given, Grotius sees partly heathen philosophers, partly Jews, which last “omnibus Judaizantibus, quomodocunque vixissent, partem fore dicebant in seculo altera;” Olshausen (comp. Bleek) thinks of frivolous Christians of antinomian sentiments, who would in future emerge; Meier, of teachers of Gentile tendencies. In accordance with the context ( ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας, συμμέτοχοι αὐτῶν, ἦτε γάρ ποτε σκότος) we have to understand Gentiles who have remained unbelieving, who in their intercourse with the Christians sought to palliate those Gentile vices, to give them out as matters of indifference, to represent abstaining from the same as groundless rigour, and thereby to entice back the Christians to the Gentile life. Their discourses were κένοι, inasmuch as the corresponding contents, i.e. the truth, was wanting to them. Comp. Colossians 2:8; LXX. Exodus 5:9, al.; Plat. Lach. p. 196 B Dem. 821, 11; Hom. Od. xxii. 249, and the passages in Kypke, II. p. 299 f.; also κενολογία, empty talk, Plut. Mor. p. 1069 C κενολογεῖν, Isaiah 8:19.

διὰ ταῦτα γὰρ κ. τ. λ.] for certainly very serious consequences follow these vices: on account of these vices ( διὰ ταῦτα emphatically prefixed) comes (down) the wrath of God upon the disobedient, for this vicious conduct piles up the load of guilt one day to receive punishment (Romans 2:5), from which they could be liberated only by means of faith in Christ, the despising of whom leaves them to abide under the wrath of God and to encounter the judicial execution of it. To refer ταῦτα to the deceiving with empty words (Chrysostom places both explanations side by side; comp. Theophylact and Oecumenius), has against it not so much the plural—since ταῦτα often also in classical writers denotes (see Winer, p. 146 [E. T. 201]) one notion or thought (according to the aggregate of its several marks)—as rather the unsuitability of the sense in itself and to the following μὴ οὖν γίνεσθε κ. τ. λ. as well as to the parallel Colossians 3:6.

ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ] Not the punishment of the present life is meant (Calvin, Meier, and others; Matthies combines present and future), since the ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ is the opposite of the βασιλεία, Ephesians 5:5; but the wrath of God in the day of judgment, which future, as in Ephesians 5:5, is realized as present. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:10.

The υἱοὶ τῆς ἀπειθ. are here those refusing faith to the gospel, and thereby disobedient to God. It is otherwise Ephesians 2:2. Comp. Romans 11:30; Romans 15:31.


Verse 7

Ephesians 5:7. οὖν] since on account of these sins, etc.

συμμέτοχοι αὐτῶν] αὐτῶν can, in keeping with the context, only be referred to the υἱοὺς τῆς ἀπειθ., whose co-partners the Christians become, if they practise the same sins, whereby they fall from the state of reconciliation (Romans 11:22; 2 Peter 3:17) and incur the divine ὀργή (Ephesians 5:5). Koppe’s interpretation: “ejusdem cum iis fortunae compotem fieri,” is an importation at variance with the context (see Ephesians 5:8-11).

As to συμμέτοχος, see on Ephesians 3:6.


Verse 8

Ephesians 5:8. Reason assigned for the exhortation just given: For your former state of darkness (with which those vices were in keeping) is past; now, on the other hand, ye are Christianly enlightened; as befits such, let your walk be.

ἦτε] prefixed with significant stress, has the force of a ground assigned as praeterite, just as at Romans 6:17. Rückert incorrectly holds that Paul has omitted μέν, which is at variance with good composition. The non-use of μέν has its logical ground, and that in the fact, that the clause is not conceived in relation to that which thereupon confronts it by δέ Just so in classical writers, where μέν seems to be wanting. See Krüger, Anab. iii. 4. 41; Bornemann, ad Cyrop. iii. 2. 12, Goth.; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 356 f.; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 388.

σκότος] Abstractum pro concreto, to make the designation the stronger (Kühner, II. p. 25 f.): dark, by which the opposite of the possession of divine truth is denoted.

νῦν δὲ κ. τ. λ.] now on the other hand, since your conversion, how entirely different is it with you, how entirely different must your walk be! Light in the Lord are ye, i.e. furnished with divine truth in your fellowship with Christ, in whom, as the source and giver of light (Ephesians 5:14), ye live and move. Comp. Ephesians 1:18.

ὡς τέκνα φωτός] as children of light, i.e. as enlightened ones. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:5; Luke 16:8; John 12:36. As such they are now to show themselves in their walk. Without οὖν the exhortation comes in with the greater energy. Comp. Stallbaum, ad Plat. Gorg. p. 510 C Dissen, ad Pind. Exc. II. p. 276.


Verse 9

Ephesians 5:9. Parenthetic incitement to the observance of the preceding summons, by holding forth the glorious fruit which the Christian illumination bears; δοκιμάζοντες is then (Ephesians 5:10) accompanying definition to περιπατεῖτε, and the μὴ συγκοινωνεῖτε, Ephesians 5:11, continues the imperative form of address. For taking the participle of Ephesians 5:10 as grammatically incorrect in the sense of the imperative (Bleek, following Koppe) there is absolutely no ground.

γάρ] for, not the merely explanatory namely, which introduces into the whole paraenetic chain of the discourse something feeble and alien.

καρπὸς τοῦ φωτός] indicates in a figurative manner the aggregate of the moral effects ( καρπός collective, as in Matthew 3:8; Philippians 1:11) which the Christian enlightenment has as its result. Comp. on Galatians 5:22.(260)

ἐν πάσῃ ἀγαθωσύνῃ] sc. ἐστί, so that every kind of probity ( ἀγαθωσ., see on Romans 15:14; Galatians 5:22), etc., is thought of as that, in which the fruit is contained (consists). Comp. Matthiae, p. 1342.

δικαιοσύνῃ] moral rectitude, Romans 6:13; Romans 14:17. See on Philippians 1:11.(261)

ἀληθείᾳ] moral truth, opposed to hypocrisy as ethical ψεῦδος, 1 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:18; Philippians 4:8; John 3:21. The general nature of these three words, which together embrace the whole of Christian morality, and that under the three different points of view “good, right, true,” forbids the assumption of more special contrasts, as e.g. in Chrysostom: ἀγαθωσ. is opposed to wrath, δικαιοσ. to seduction and deceit, ἀληθ. to lying. Others present the matter otherwise; see Theophylact, Erasmus, Grotius.


Verse 10

Ephesians 5:10. δοκιμάζοντες] after the parenthesis in Ephesians 5:9, a modal definition of the walk called for in Ephesians 5:8, which is to be prosecuted under a searching consideration of what is well-pleasing to Christ ( τῷ κυρίῳ), as to which subjectively the Christian conscience (Romans 14:23) and objectively the gospel of Christ (Ephesians 4:20; Romans 1:16; Philippians 1:27) give the decision. Comp. Ephesians 5:15; Romans 12:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:21.


Verse 11

Ephesians 5:11. συγκοινωνεῖτε] have not fellowship with (the disobedient) in the works of darkness (comp. Ephesians 5:7; and as regards the dative, see on Philippians 4:14), i.e. in those works, which are wrought in consequence of spiritual darkness—of the ethical frame of mind opposed to divine truth. Comp. Romans 13:12. They are the ἔργα πονηρά (Colossians 1:21), the ἔργα τῆς σαρκός (Galatians 5:21), the νεκρὰ ἔργα (Hebrews 6:1), the ἔργα ἀσεβείας (Jude 1:15).

τοῖς ἀκάρποις] the non-fruitful ones, inasmuch, namely, as they draw no blessing after them. The perdition which they have as result (Romans 6:21; Romans 8:13; Galatians 6:8; Ephesians 4:22, al.) is conceived as negation of blessedness (comp. Ephesians 5:5). Comp. ἔργα νεκρά, Hebrews 6:1; Hebrews 9:14.

μᾶλλον δὲ καί] but rather even, imo adeo. See on Galatians 4:9; Romans 8:34. Bengel well remarks: “non satis abstinere est.”

ἐλέγχετε] reprove them (these works), which is done when they are not passed over in silence and indulgently excused, but are held up with censure to the doer, and have their immorality discovered and brought home, in order to produce amendment. This chastening reproof is an oral one, since the context does not intimate anything else; not one de facto (“sancta nimirum et honesta vita,” Beza; comp. Erasmus, Cameron, Zanchius), not “dictis et factis” (Bengel; comp. Theophylact, Photius, Calovius, Holzhausen, Olshausen, and others). Comp. on John 3:20; John 16:8; 1 Corinthians 14:24.


Verse 12

assigns the reason for the demand just expressed, ἐλέγχετε, by pointing to what quite specially needed the ἐλέγχειν,—by pointing to the secret vicious acts of the unbelievers, which are so horrible, that one must feel ashamed even but to mention them

Ephesians 5:12 assigns the reason for the demand just expressed, ἐλέγχετε, by pointing to what quite specially needed the ἐλέγχειν,—by pointing to the secret vicious acts of the unbelievers, which are so horrible, that one must feel ashamed even but to mention them. Thus, consequently, the ἐλέγχετε has its ground assigned as concerns its great necessity.

κρυφῇ] not elsewhere in the N.T. (but see Deuteronomy 28:57; Wisdom of Solomon 18:9; 3 Maccabees 4:12; Xen. Symp. v. 8; Pind. Ol. i. 75; Soph. Trach. 686, Antig. 85; to be written with Iota subscriptum, Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 992; Lipsius, Gramm. Unters. p. 6 f.), in the protasis has the emphasis,—hence it is prefixed,—and denotes that which takes place in secret, in the darkness of seclusion. More special references, such as to the horrible excesses in connection with the heathen mysteries (Elsner, Wolf, Michaelis, Holzhausen), or even to the “familiam Simonis Magi, quae erat infandarum libidinum magistra” (Estius), have just as little warrant in the context as the weakening of the meaning of the word by Morus, who understands thereby the mores domesticos of the Gentiles. According to Koppe (flagitia quaevis), Meier, Harless, and Olshausen, the κρυφῇ γινόμενα are not meant to be specially the secret deeds of vice, but the ἔργα τοῦ σκότους in general, which are so designated in accordance with the view conditioned by σκότος (see Harless). But against this may be urged, first, the fact that σκότος (here in the ethical sense) and κρυφῇ are quite different notions, inasmuch as manifest vice also is an ἔργον τοῦ σκότους, whereas only the peccata occulta take place κρυφῇ; secondly, the emphasis, which the prefixing of κρυφῇ demands for this word, and which, if κρυφῇ denoted nothing special, would be entirely lost, so that Paul might have written merely τὰ γὰρ γινόμενα ὑπʼ αὐτῶν; thirdly, the contrast of the following φανεροῦται, which presupposes in the ἐλέγχειν something which had been done secretly (comp. Heliodorus, viii. p. 397: τῆς δίκης ὀφθαλμὸς ἐλέγχων καὶ τὰ ἀμήνυτα κρύφια καὶ ἀθέμιτα φωτίζων); and lastly, that it would in fact be quite an exaggerated assertion to say of the sins of the Gentiles generally, that it is a shame even to mention them.

ὑπʼ αὐτῶν] by the υἱοὶ τῆς ἀπειθείας.

καὶ λέγειν] even only (see Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 136) to say, what they in secret do, one must be ashamed. Comp. Plat. Rep. p. 465 C: ὀκνῶ καὶ λέγειν, Dem. 1262, 11: πολλὴν αἰσχύνην ἔχει καὶ λέγειν, and the passages in Wetstein. The tacit contrast is the ποιεῖν of the doers. Compare the μηδέ of Ephesians 5:3.

REMARK.

The relation, by way of ground, of Ephesians 5:12 to what precedes has been very variously apprehended, and with various definitions of the sense itself. Calvin, anticipating, holds that the intention is to state what is accomplished by the ἔλεγξις; thereby light is brought into their secret things, “ut sua turpitudine pudefiant,” comparing 1 Corinthians 14:24. Of this there is mention only in the sequel. Entirely at variance with the words is the view of Grotius (comp. Calovius): “nam nisi id fiat, audebunt etiam clam turpiora.” Bengel (comp. already in Oecumenius) finds in Ephesians 5:12 the cause adduced, “cur indefinite loquatur Ephesians 5:11 de operibus tenebrarum, cum fructum lucis Ephesians 5:9 definite descripserit.” Imported, and opposed to the emphatic κρυφῇ. While, moreover, Koppe translates γάρ by doubtless [zwar], Rückert wishes at least to supply a doubtless. “Doubtless their secret sins are not of such kind that they can be mentioned with honour, yet it belongs to you, as children of the light, to convince them of the wickedness of their actings.” But the supplying of μέν is pure invention. See on Ephesians 5:8. Quite mistaken also is the explanation of Meier: “Yes, reprove them severely and openly to the face; for the merely unconcerned speaking and telling of such deeds of shame secretly committed is likewise disgraceful, unworthy, and mean.” This Paul would at least have expressed thus: τὸ γὰρ λέγειν μόνον (antithesis to τὸ ἐλέγχειν) τά κρυφῇ ὑπʼ αὐτῶν γινόμενα αἰσχρ. ἐστι. Impossible, likewise, is Holzhausen’s interpretation: “The sins committed in the darkness of the heathen mysteries the Christians are not to disclose; they are not even to utter the names thereof, they are too abominable.” Apart from the consideration how singular such a precept must appear face to face with the decidedly moral character of the apostle, apart also from the fact that the mysteries are purely imported (see above), such a view should have been precluded as well by the γάρ in itself (since, in fact, no counterpart of κρυφῇ precedes), as by the succeeding τὰ δὲ πάντα, which, according to Holzhausen, is meant to signify the vices, “which can endure your light.” Following Anselm, Piscator, Vorstius, Zanchius, Flatt, Harless finally discovers in Ephesians 5:12 the assigning of a reason not for the ἐλέγχετε, which is held to follow only with Ephesians 5:13, but for μὴ συγκοινωνεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς ἀκάρπ. τοῦ σκότους: “for even but to mention their secret deeds is a shame, to say nothing of doing them.” But against this the right apprehension of the emphatic κρυφῇ (see above) is decisive; moreover, the exhortation μὴ συγκοινωνεῖτε κ. τ. λ., has already, in what precedes, such repeated and such specifically Christian grounds assigned for it (Ephesians 5:3-5; Ephesians 5:8, as also further τοῖς ἀκάρποις, Ephesians 5:11), that the reader, after a new thought has been introduced with μᾶλλον, could not at all expect a second ground to be assigned for the previous one, least of all such a general one—containing no essentially Christian ground—as would be afforded by Ephesians 5:12, but rather would expect a ground to be assigned for the new thought μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐλέγχετε which had just been introduced.


Verse 13

Ephesians 5:13. The assigning of grounds for that precept, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐλέγχετε, is continued,—being attached by means of the contradistinguishing δέ,—inasmuch as there is pointed out the salutary action of the Christian light which is brought to bear by means of the required ἐλέγχειν upon all those secret deeds of shame: But everything (all those secret sins), when it is reproved, when you carry that ἐλέγχετε into effect upon it, is by the light ( ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτός has the emphasis) made manifest, is laid bare in its real moral character, unveiled and brought into distinctness before the moral consciousness by the light of Christian truth which is at work in your ἐλέγχεν; by the light, I say, it is made manifest, for—in order to ἐλέγχειν prove by a general proposition that this cannot come otherwise than from the light—all that which is made manifest, which is brought forth from concealment and is laid open in its true nature, is light, has ceased thereby to have the nature of darkness, and is now of the essence of light. This demonstrative proposition is based upon the inference: “Quod est in effectu ( φῶς ἐστι), id debet esse in causa ( ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτός).” If thus there is warrant for the general πᾶν τὸ φανερούμ. φῶς ἐστι, so must there also be warrant for what was previously said in the Christian sense, ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτὸς φανεροῦται. From this simple explanation of the words it becomes at once clear that we have not, with most expositors (including Baumgarten-Crusius and de Wette), to attach ὑπὸ τοῦ φ. to ἐλεγχόμενα, but to φανεροῦται (Castalio, Zanchius, Zeger, Erasmus Schmid, Estius, Bengel, Meier, Harless, Olshausen, Schenkel, Bleek), to which it is emphatically prefixed; and further, that φανερούμενον is not to be taken as middle, in which case again various explanations have been brought out, namely, either: “Lux enim illud est, quod omnia facit manifesta” (Beza; so Calvin, Grotius, Calovius, and others, as also Bleek, who in place of φανερούμενον conjectures: φανεροῦν τό), or: “Omne enim illud, quod manifesta facit alia, lux est” (Erasmus Schmid; so also Cajetanus, Estius, Michaelis, and others), or: “Quilibet autem [ γάρ!], qui alios docet, est lux, … eo ipso declarat, se esse verum Christianum,” Kuinoel in Velthusen, etc., Commentatt. III. p. 173 ff., or: “he who does not refuse to be made manifest, becomes an enlightened one,” Bengel,—against which interpretations not only the immediately preceding passive φανεροῦται is decisive, but also linguistic usage, in accordance with which φανεροῦμαι is always passive.(262) And if we adhere to the view of φανερούμ. as passive, we must exclude every explanation, in which a quid pro quo is perpetrated or something is imported, or γάρ is either neglected or incorrectly taken. We have therefore to set aside—(1) the explanation given by Eisner and Wolf, that Paul says: “hominum scelera in tenebris patrata, a fidelibus, qui lux sunt, improbata, non modo protrahi in lucem, verum etiam homines, illis sceleribus inquinatos, rubore suffundi increpitos convictosque, et ipsos quoque φῶς fieri hac ratione, emendatis vitiis tenebrisque in novae vitae lucem conversis;” (2) that of Zachariae: “Everything which is sharply tested according to the light of the doctrine of Christ and holds its ground, one has no need to keep secret; … all, however, which one can perform openly and before every one’s eyes … is itself light, and strikes every one as good and praiseworthy;” (3) that of Storr: “Quisquis ea, quae monitus est a luce, audit, is patefit, emergit e tenebris; quisquis autem patefactus est, is luce collustratus est;” (4) that of Koppe (comp. Cramer): “for what is itself enlightened, must he also a light for others;” (5) that of Rückert, who would refer γάρ to a conclusion tacitly drawn from what precedes (“ye are light, consequently it is also your business ἐλέγχειν τὰ ἐκείνων ἔργα”): “for all that is made manifest, that is, or by that very fact becomes, light,” from which again the suppressed conclusion is to be drawn: consequently it may be hoped that those also will become light, when they are convinced of the reprobate character of their action; (6) that of Meier and Olshausen: “for all that is enlightened by the light, is itself light” (Olshausen), which according to Meier is equivalent to: “becomes itself transparent and pure as light,” according to Olshausen: “becomes changed into the nature of light.” (7) Nearest to our interpretation comes that of Harless, followed in part by Schenkel. Harless, however, finds expressed from τὰ δὲ πάντα onward the necessity of the ἐλέγχειν, which is rather implied in Ephesians 5:12, to which in Ephesians 5:13 the salutariness of the ἐλέγχειν attaches itself; he explains φανερούμ., moreover, as if it were praeterite, and does not retain πᾶν γὰρ τὸ φανερούμ. κ. τ. λ. in its generality as locus communis, inasmuch as he takes φῶς ἐστιν: is no longer a secret work of darkness, but is light.

According to Baur, p. 435, the proposition πᾶν τὸ φανερ. φῶς ἐστι belongs to the Gnostic theory of light (“all development takes place only through that which in itself already exists becoming manifest for the consciousness”), and has been introduced into its present connection out of this quite different sphere of ideas. But the state of the case is exactly the converse; the Valentinians laid hold of this utterance of the apostle as supporting their doctrine, and expressly cited it ( τοῦτο δὲ παῦλος λέγει κ. τ. λ., in Iren. i. 8. 5), and consequently took it away from the connection in which he used it so as to favour their own theory.

φανερούμ. were really to be translated as active, the simplest rendering, and the one most in keeping with the context, would be: for it is the light making everything manifest.


Verse 14

Ephesians 5:14. This necessity and salutariness of the ἔλεγξις, which Paul has just set forth in Ephesians 5:12-13 (not of the mere subsidiary thought, πᾶν γὰρ κ. τ. λ.), he now further confirms by a word of God out of the Scripture.

διό] wherefore,—because the ἐγέγχετε is so highly necessary as I have shown in Ephesians 5:12, and of such salutary effect as is seen from Ephesians 5:13,—wherefore he saith: Up, thou sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee. This call of God to the υἱοὶ τῆς ἀπειθείας to awake out of the sleep and death of sin confirms the necessity of the ἔλεγξις, and this promise: “Christ shall shine upon thee,” confirms the salutary influence of the light, under which they are placed by the ἐλέγχειν. Beza refers back διό to Ephesians 5:8, which is erroneous for this reason, if there were no other, that the citation addresses the as yet unconverted. According to Rückert (comp. Erasmus, Paraphr.), the design is to give support to the hope expressed in Ephesians 5:13, namely, that the sinner, earnestly reproved and convicted, may possibly be brought over from darkness into light. But see on Ephesians 5:13. With the correct interpretation of πᾶν γὰρ κ. τ. λ., the expositions are untenable, which are given by Meier: “on that account, because only what is enlightened by the light of truth can be improved;” and by Olshausen: “because the action of the light upon the darkness cannot fail of its effect.” Harless indicates the connection only with the words of Plutarch (tom. xiv. p. 364, ed. Hutt.): χαίρειν χρὴ τοῖς ἐλέγχουσιν· … ἡμᾶς γὰρ λυποῦντες διεγείρουσιν. Inexact, and—inasmuch as with Plutarch χαίρειν and λυποῦντες stand in emphatic correlation, and λυποῦντες thus is essential—inappropriate.

λέγει] introduces, with the supplying of θεός (as Ephesians 4:8), a passage of Scripture, of which the Hebrew words would run: עוּרָה יָשֵׁן וְהָקִיצָה מִן־הַמֵּתִים וְהֵאִיר לְךָ מָשִׁיחַ. But what passage is that? Already Jerome says: “Nunquam hoc scriptum reperi.” Most expositors answer: Isaiah 60:1. So Thomas, Cajetanus, Calvin, Piscator, Estius, Calovius, Surenhusius, Wolf, Wetstein, Bengel,(263) and others, including Harless and Olshausen; while others at the same time bring in Isaiah 26:19 (Beza, Calixtus, Clericus, Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others), as also Isaiah 52:1 (Schenkel) and Isaiah 9:1 (Baumgarten, Holzhausen). But all these passages are so essentially different from ours, that we cannot with unbiassed judgment discover the latter in any of them, and should have to hold our citation—if it is assumed to contain Old Testament words—as a mingling of Old Testament reminiscences, nothing similar to which is met with, even apart from the fact that this citation bears in itself the living impress of unity and originality; hence the less is there room to get out of the difficulty by means of Bengel’s expedient: “apostolus expressius loquitur ex luce N.T.” Doubtless Harless says that the apostle was here concerned not about the word, but about the matter in general, and that he cites the word of pre-announcement with the modification which it has itself undergone through fulfilment, and adduces by way of analogy Romans 10:6 ff. But in opposition to this may be urged, first generally, that such a modification of Isaiah 60:1 would have been not a mere modification, but would have quite done away with the identity of the passage; secondly, in particular, that the passage Isaiah 60:1, specially according to the LXX. ( φωτίζου, φωτίζου ἰηρουσαλὴμ, ἥκει γάρ σου τὸ φῶς, καὶ δόξα κυρίου ἐπὶ σὲ ἀνατέταλκεν), needed no change whatever in order to serve for the intended Scriptural confirmation, for which, moreover, various other passages from the O. T. would have stood at the command of the apostle, without needing any change; and lastly, that Romans 10:6 is not analogous, because there the identity with Deuteronomy 30:12-14 is unmistakeably evident in the words themselves, and the additions concerning Christ are not there given as constituent parts of the Scripture utterance, but expressly indicated as elucidations of the apostle (by means of τοῦτʼ ἔστι). Quite baseless is the view of de Wette, that the author is quoting, as at Ephesians 4:8 (where, indeed, the citation is quite undoubted), an O. T. passage in an application which, by frequency of use, has become so familiar to him that he is no longer precisely conscious of the distinction between text and application. Others, including Morus, have discovered here a quotation from an apocryphal book, under which character Epiphanius names the prophecy of Elias, Georgius Syncellus an apocryphal authority of Jeremiah, and Godex G on the margin, the book (“Secretum”) of Enoch. See, in general, Fabricius, Cod. Pseudepigr. V. T. pp. 1074, 1105; Apocr. N.T. I. p. 524. That, however, Paul wittingly cited an apocryphal book,(264) is to be decisively rejected, inasmuch as this is never done by him, but, on the contrary, the formula of citation always means canonical passages. Hence, also, we have not, with Heumann (Poicile, II. p. 390), Michaelis, Storr, Stolz, Flatt, to guess at an early hymn of the Church as the source.(265) Others have found therein a saying of Christ, like Oeder in Syntagm. Obss. sacr. p. 697 ff., in opposition to which may be urged, not indeed the following χριστός, which Jesus might doubtless have said of Himself, but rather the fact that the subject χριστός to λέγει could not be at all divined, as indeed Paul has never adduced sayings of Christ in his Epistles. This also in opposition to the opinion mentioned in Jerome (comp. also Bugenhagen and Calixtus), that Paul here, after the manner of the prophets (comp. the prophetic: thus saith the Lord), “ προσωποποιΐαν Spiritus sancti figuraverit.” Grotius (comp. Koppe) regards even τὸ φῶς as subject: “Lux illa, i.e. homo luce perfusus, dicit alteri.” As if previously the φῶς were homo luce perfusus! and as if every reader could not but have recognised a citation as well in διὸ λέγει as in the character of the saying itself! Erroneously Bornemann also, Schol. in Luc. p. xlviii. f., holds that λέγει is to be taken impersonaliter; in this respect it is said, one may say, so that no passage of Scripture is cited, but perhaps allusion is made to Mark 5:41. This impersonal use is found only with φησί. See the instances cited by Bornemann, and Bernhardy, p. 419. In view of all these opinions, my conclusion, as at 1 Corinthians 2:9, is to this effect: From διὸ λέγει it is evident that Paul desired to adduce a passage of canonical Scripture, but—as the passage is not canonical—in virtue of a lapsus memoriae he adduces an apocryphal saying, which, citing from memory, he held as canonical. From what Apocryphal writing the passage is drawn, we do not know.

ἔγειρε] up! Comp. ἄγε, ἔπειγε. See, in opposition to the form of the Recepta ἔγειραι (so also Lachmann), Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 55 f.

καθεύδων] and then ἐκ νεκρῶν form a climactic twofold description of the state of man under the dominion of sin, in which state the true spiritual life, the moral vital activity, is suppressed and gone, as is the physical life in the sleeping (comp. Romans 13:11) and in the dead respectively. Comp. Isaiah 59:10. How often with the classical writers, too, the expression dead is employed for the expression of moral insensibility, see on Matthew 8:22; Luke 15:14; Musgrave, ad Oed. R. 45; Bornemann, in Luc. p. 97. On καθεύδων, comp. Sohar. Levit. f. 33, c. 130: “Quotiescunque lex occurrit, toties omnia hominum genera excitat, verum omnes somno sepulti jacent in peccatis, nihil intelligunt neque attendunt.”

ἀνάστα] On the form, see Winer, p. 73 [E. T. 94]; Matthiae, p. 484.

ἐπιφαύσει] from ἐπιφαύσκω, see Winer, p. 82 [E. T. 110]; Job 25:5; Job 31:26. The readings ἐπιψαύσει σοι χρ. and ἐπιψαύσεις τοῦ χρ. are ancient (see Chrysostom and Jerome ad loc.), and are not to be explained merely from an accidental interchange in copying, but are connected with the preposterous fiction that the words were addressed to Adam buried under the cross of Christ, whom Christ would touch with His body and blood, thereby causing him to become alive and to rise. See Jerome. The words themselves: Christ shall shine upon thee, signify not: He will be gracious to thee (so, at variance with the context, Bretschneider), but: He will by the gracious operation of His Spirit annul in thee the ethical darkness ( λύων τὴν νύκτα τῆς ἁμαρτίας, Gregory of Nazianzus), and impart to thee the divine ἀλήθεια, of which He is the possessor and bearer (Christ, the light of the world). Observe, moreover, that the arising is not an act of one’s own, independent of God and anticipating His gracious operation, but that it takes place just through God’s effectual awakening call. On this effectual calling then ensues the Christian enlightening.


Verse 15

Ephesians 5:15. οὖν] is, after the digression begun with μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐλέγχετε of Ephesians 5:11, resumptive, as at Ephesians 4:17. Look then to it—now to return to my exhortations with regard to the Christian walk, Ephesians 5:8-10how ye, etc. Calvin, whom Harless follows, states the connection thus: “Si aliorum discutere tenebras fideles debent fulgure suo, quanto minus caecutire debent in proprio vitae instituto.” This would be correct, if Paul had written βλέπετε οὖν αὐτοί, or βλέπετε οὖν, πῶς αὐτοί.

βλέπετε] is the simple: look to, take heed to (1 Corinthians 16:10; Philippians 3:2; Colossians 4:17), not: “utimini luce vestra ad videndum,” Estius (comp. Erasmus), which is forbidden by πῶς.

πῶς ἀκριβῶς περιπατεῖτε] πῶς not equivalent to ἵνα (Koppe), and περιπατεῖτε not for the subjunctive (Grotius), but: look to it, in what manner ye carry out the observance of an exact walk in strict accord with duty (comp. ἀκριβοδίκαιος, Arist. Eth. Nic. v. 10. 8). Comp. C. F. A. Fritzsche, in Fritzschior. Opusc. p. 208 f.; Winer, p. 269 [E. T. 376].

μὴ ὡς ἄσοφοι, κ. τ. λ.] Epexegesis of the ἀκριβῶς just mentioned, negative and positive: presenting yourselves in your walk not as unwise, but as wise. We have thus to supply neither περιπατοῦντες (Harless) nor anything else; but, like ἀκριβῶς, its more precise definition μὴ ὡς ἄσοφοι κ. τ. λ. is dependent on περιπατεῖτε. With regard to μή, referring to βλέπετε, see Winer, p. 421 [E. T. 595]; and for the emphatic parallelismus antithcticus, comp. Nägelsbach, Anm. z. Ilias, ed. 3, p. 80 f.; Bremi, ad Dem. de Chers. p. 108, 73; Winer, p. 537 f. [E. T. 762].


Verse 16

Ephesians 5:16. Accompanying modal definition to the preceding ὡς σόφοι: ementes vobis (middle) opportunitatem, i.e. in that you make your own the right point of time for such walk, do not let it pass by unused. In this figurative conception the doing of that for which the point of time is fitted, is thought of as the purchase-price, by which the καιρός becomes ours. Comp. Colossians 4:5; LXX. Daniel 2:8; Antonin. vi. 26: κερδαντέον τὸ παρόν, Plut. Philop. 15: καιρὸν ἁρπάζειν. The opposite is καιρὸν παρίεναι, Thucyd. iv. 27. Galatians 6:10 is parallel as to substance. Classical writers say καιρ. πρίασθαι, Dem. 120. 26, 187. 22, but in the proper sense of buying for money. Others have thought of the sacrifice of all earthly things and of all lusts as the purchase-price (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius; comp. also Augustine, Flacius, Zanchius, Estius, Rückert, and others); but this is imported, since the context yields nothing else than the fulfilment of duty meant by the ἀκριβῶς περιπατεῖν; hence we have not, with Harless, to interpret it of the right moment “for letting the light of correction break in upon the darkness of sin” (comp. Michaelis and Rosenmüller), which would be to revert, at variance with the context, to the topic of the ἔλεγξις already ended. Luther(266) incorrectly renders: “Suit yourselves to the time.” That would be δουλεύειν τῷ καιρῷ, Romans 12:11. Similarly also Grotius (comp. Hammond): “quovis labore ac verborum honestis obsequiis vitate pericula et diem de die ducite.” Comp. Bengel, who compares Amos 5:13, and understands the prudent letting the evil day pass over “quiescendo vel certe modice agendo,” whereby the better time is purchased, in order to make the more use thereof. In opposition to Grotius and Bengel, it may be urged that this alleged mode of the ἐξαγοράζειν τὸν καιρόν is not mentioned by Paul, but imported by the expositor, and that the counsel of such a trimming behaviour is hardly compatible with the moral decision of the apostle, and with his expectation of the approaching end of the αἰὼς οὗτος. We may add that the compound ἐξαγορ. is not here to be understood as redeem (Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5), as e.g. Bengel would take it (from the power of evil men), and Calvin (from the devil), seeing that the context does not suggest such reference; but the ἐκ in the composition is intensive, and denotes what is entire, utter, as also in Plut. Crass. 2; Polyb. iii. 42. 2; Daniel 2:8.

ὅτι αἱ ἡμέραι πονηραί εἰσι] supplies a motive for the ἐξαγ. τ. καιρ., for the days, the present times, are evil, for moral corruption is now in vogue. So much the more must it intimately concern you as Christians (for how exalted is their task above the wickedness of the present time! Philippians 2:15; Philippians 3:20) τὸν καιρὸν ἐξαγοράζεσθαι. Beza, Flacius, Grotius, Hammond, Rosenmüller, and others refer πονηραί to the misfortune of the time (Genesis 47:9; Psalms 49:6 (5)); but the context opposes the moral bearing of the Christian to the immoral condition of the time. According to de Wette’s here very unfounded scepticism, the writer is indistinct and hesitating, because he is bringing Colossians 4:5. into another connection.


Verse 17

Ephesians 5:17. διὰ τοῦτο] Because ye ought so to walk as is said in Ephesians 5:15-16, of which ye as ἄφρονες (whose walk, in fact, cannot be wise) would be incapable. Others: because the times are evil (Menochius, Zanchius, Estius, et al., including Rückert, Matthies, and de Wette). But the ὅτι αἱ ἡμ. πον. εἰσι was only a subsidiary thought subservient to the ἀγοράζ. τ. καιρ., and affords no suitable reason for the following exhortations.

μὴ γίνεσθε] not: be not, but become not.

ἄφρονες] devoid of intelligence, imprudentes, i.e. “qui mente non recte utuntur” (Tittmann, Synon. p. 143), namely, for the moral understanding of the will of Christ, as here the contrast teaches. Comp. on φρόνησις, Ephesians 1:8. The ἄσοφοι of Ephesians 5:15 is a higher notion than ἄφρονες, which latter denotes the want of practical understanding, the opposite of φρόνιμος (Plat. Gorg. p. 498 B Xen. Mem. ii. 3. 1; comp. Romans 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:36; Luke 11:40; Luke 12:20). Every ἄφρων is also ἄσοφος, but the ἄσοφος may yet be φρόνιμος (Luke 16:8), namely, for immoral ends and means, which here the context excludes. See also the following contrast.

συνίοντες] understanding, more than γινώσκοντες. Comp. Grotius, and see on Colossians 1:9.

τὸ θέλ. τοῦ κυρ.] of Christ. Comp. Acts 21:14; 1 Corinthians 4:19.


Verse 18

Ephesians 5:18. καί] and in particular, to mention a single vice, which would belong to ἀφροσύνη.

μὴ μεθύσκ. οἴνῳ] become not drunken through wine, which stands opposed to the allowable use of wine, without our having on that account to seek here a reference to Montanism (Schwegler). To conclude, however, from Ephesians 5:19 that excess at the Agapae is meant (1 Corinthians 11:21), as Koppe and Holzhausen maintain (comp. also de Wette), is quite arbitrary; inasmuch as neither in the preceding nor following context is there any mention made of the Agapae, and this special abuse, the traces of which in the N.T. are, moreover, only to be found in Corinth, would have called for a special censure.

ἐν ἐστιν ἀσωτία] deterring remark. ἐν does not apply to οἴνῳ alone, as Schoettgen holds (whose Rabbinical passages therefore, as Bammidb. rabba, f. 206, Ephesians 3 : “ubicunque est vinum, ibi est immunditia,” are not to the point here), but to the μεθύσκεσθαι οἴνῳ: wherein is contained debauchery, dissolute behaviour. A vivid description of the grosser and more refined ἀσωτία may be seen in Cicero, de Fin. ii. 8. On the word itself (in its literal sense unsaveableness), see Tittmann, Synon. p. 152; Lobeck, Paralip. I. p. 559. A more precise limitation of the sense (Jerome understands lascivious excess, as also Hammond, who thinks of the Bacchanalia) is without warrant in the text.

ἀλλὰ πληροῦσθε ἐν πνεύματι] but become full by the Spirit. The imperative passive finds its explanation in the possibility of resistance to the Holy Spirit and of the opposite fleshly endeavour; and ἐν is instrumental, as at Ephesians 1:23; Philippians 4:19. The contrast lies not in οἶνος and πνεῦμα (Grotius, Harless, Olshausen, and others), because otherwise the text must have run μὴ οἴνῳ μεθύσκ., ἀλλʼ ἐν πνεύματι πληρ., but in the two states—that of intoxication and that of inspiration. This opposition is only in appearance strange (in opposition to de Wette), and has its sufficient ground in the excitement of the person inspired and its utterances (comp. Acts 2:13).


Verse 19

Ephesians 5:19. Accompanying definition to the just required “being filled by the Spirit,” as that with which this λαλεῖν ἑαυτοῖς ψαλμοῖς κ. τ. λ. is to be simultaneously combined as its immediate expression: so that ye speak to one another through psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. What a contrast with the preceding ἐν ἐστιν ἀσωτία! Comp. Colossians 3:16.

λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς] not meditantes vobiscum (Morus, Michaelis), but it denotes the reciprocal speaking ( ἑαυτοῖς, in the sense of ἀλλήλοις, as Ephesians 4:32, to each other), the oral interchange of thoughts and feelings, which—just because the condition is that of being filled by the Spirit—does not make use of the conversational language of ordinary life, or even of drunken passion, but of psalms, etc., as the means of mutual communication (dativus instrumentalis; Luther incorrectly renders: about psalms(267)). That, however, the apostle is here speaking of actual worship in the narrower sense (Olshausen), is assumed in opposition to the context, since the contrast μὴ μεθύσκ. οἴνῳ, ἀλλὰ πληρ. ἐν πν. does not characterize the λαλεῖν ἑαυτοῖς as taking place in worship, although in itself it is not denied that in worship too the inspired antiphonal singing took place. See 1 Corinthians 14:15; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Niceph. Call. xiii. 8: τὴν τῶν ἀντιφώνων συνήθειαν ἄνωθεν ἀποστόλων ἐκκλησία παρέλαβε.(268) The distinction between ψαλ΄ός and ὓ΄νος consists in this, that by ψαλ΄. Paul denotes a religious song in general bearing the character of the O. T. psalms, but by ὕμν. specially a song of praise (Plat. Legg. viii. p. 700 B, opposed to θρῆνος), and that, in accordance with the context, addressed to Christ (Ephesians 5:19) and God (Ephesians 5:20). Properly ψαλ΄ός (which originally means the making the cithara sound) is a song in general, and that indeed as sung to a stringed instrument (see Spanheim, ad Callim. p. 55); but in the N.T. the character of the psalm is determined by the psalms of the O. T., so called κατʼ ἐξοχήν (1 Corinthians 14:15; 1 Corinthians 14:26; James 5:13). According to Harless, the two words are not different as regards their contents, but ψαλ΄οῖς is the expression of the spiritual song for the Jewish-Christians, ὕμνοις for the Gentile-Christians. An external distinction in itself improbable, and very arbitrary, since the special signification of ὕμνος, song of praise, is thoroughly established, and ψαλμός also was a word very current in Greek, which—as well in itself as more especially with regard to its sense established in Christian usage in accordance with the conception of the O. T. psalms—could not but be equally intelligible for the Gentile-Christians as for the Jewish-Christians. See also Rudelb. in the Zeitschr. f. Luth. Theol. 1855, 4, p. 634 f. According to Olshausen, ψαλμοί are here the psalms of the O. T., which had passed over from the synagogue into the use of the church. But worship is not spoken of here; and that the Christians, filled by the Spirit, improvised psalms, is clear from 1 Corinthians 14:15; 1 Corinthians 14:26. Such Christian psalms and hymns are meant, as the Spirit gave them to be uttered (Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46; Acts 19:6),—phenomena doubtless, which, like the operations of the Spirit generally in the first age of the church, are withdrawn from our special cognizance.

καὶ ᾠδαῖς πνευμ.] Inasmuch as ᾠδή may be any song, even secular, πνευ΄ατικαῖς is here added, so that by ᾠδαῖς πνευ΄. is denoted the whole genus, of which the ψαλμοί and ὓ΄νοι were species. πνευματικαῖς defines the songs as proceeding from the Holy Spirit, as θεοπνεύστους. Pind. Ol. iii. 18: θεύμοροι νίσσοντʼ ἐπʼ ἀνθρώπους ἀοιδαί. It is to be observed, moreover, that Paul does not require a constant λαλεῖν ἑαυτοῖς ψαλμοῖς κ. τ. λ. on the part of his readers, but, in contradistinction to the heathen ἀσωτία in drunkenness, as that which is to take place among the Christians instead of drunken revelry with its dissolute doings.

The cumulation ψαλμ. κ. ὕμν. κ. ᾠδ. πν. belongs to the animated and urgent style of discourse. See Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. xxviii. f. Comp. also Lobeck, Paralip. I. p. 60 f.

ᾄδοντες καὶ ψάλλοντες ἐν τῇ καρδ. ὑμ. τῷ κυρίῳ] co-ordinate with the preceding λαλοῦντες κ. τ. λ., containing another singing of praise, namely, that which goes on in the silence of the heart. The point of difference lies in ἐν ταῖς καρδ. ὑμ., as contradistinguished from the preceding ἑαυτοῖς. Usually this second participial clause is regarded as subordinate to the previous one; it is held to affirm that that reciprocal singing of praise must take place not merely with the mouth, but also in the heart ( τῇ καρδίᾳ ψάλλει μὴ μόνον τὴν γλῶτταν κινῶν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸν νοῦν εἰς τὴν τῶν λεγομένων κατανόησιν διεγείρων, Theodoret). But how could it have occurred to Paul here to enter such a protest against mere lip-praise, when he, in fact, represents the psalm-singing, etc., as the utterance of the being filled by the Spirit, and makes express mention of πνευ΄ατικαῖς ᾠδαῖς, in which case, at any rate, the thought of a mere singing with the mouth was of itself excluded. The right view is found substantially in Rückert (who, nevertheless, already here imports an “always”), Harless, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Schenkel.

τῷ κυρίῳ] to Christ, Ephesians 5:20.


Verse 20

Ephesians 5:20. A third modal definition to the πληροῦσθε ἐν πνεύματι, likewise co-ordinate with the two preceding ones, bringing into prominence—after the general singing of praise, etc., of Ephesians 5:19, which is to take place as well audibly as in the heart—further, and in particular, the thanksgiving, which the readers have always for all things to render to God.

πάντοτε] This always is not to be pressed; see on 1 Corinthians 1:4; in accordance with Colossians 3:17, at all action in word and work. Observe, however, that πάντοτε is only introduced at this point; for not the ᾄδειν and ψάλλειν, but certainly, amidst the constant consciousness of the divine manifestations of grace, thanksgiving also, like prayer in general, may and ought to belong to the constant activity of the Christian life. Comp. Ephesians 4:18; Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17. For the emphatic juxtaposition πάντοτε ὑπὲρ πάντων, comp. 2 Corinthians 9:8, and see Lobeck, Paralip. I. p. 56. This πάντων is not masculine (Theodoret), but neuter, and relates, in accordance with the context, to all Christian blessings. To understand it of all that happens to us, even including sufferings, as is done by Chrysostom,(269) Jerome, Erasmus, and many, including Meier, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, and de Wette, is foreign to the connection, yet doubtless the Christian παράκλησις and joy in suffering belong thereto.

ἐν ὀνό΄. τοῦ κυρίου κ. τ. λ.] not ad honorem Christi (Flatt), but: so that what is embraced in the name Jesus Christ (“per quem omnia nobis obtingunt,” Bengel) is the element, in which your grateful consciousness moves in the act of thanksgiving. Comp. Colossians 3:17; John 14:13. As regards subject matter, ἐν χριστῷ (Ephesians 3:21) would be different, and διὰ χριστοῦ (Romans 7:25) similar.

τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί] See on Ephesians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:24. The referring of πατρί to Christ, the Son (Erasmus, Estius, Harless, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others), is more in keeping with the connection ( ἐν ὀνόματι κ. τ. λ.) than the rendering: our Father (Zanchius, Rückert, Matthies, and others).


Verse 21

Ephesians 5:21 f.(270) The words ὑποτασσ. ἀλλήλ. ἐν φόβῳ χρ. still belong to Ephesians 5:20 (so Lachmann, Tischendorf, Bleek), parallel to the εὐχαριστοῦντες κ. τ. λ., adding to this relation towards God the mutual relation towards one another. Then begins with αἱ γυναῖκες a new section, into the first precept of which we have to take over the verb from the ὑποτασσό΄ενοι just used, namely, ὑποτάσσεσθε (Elzevir) or ὑποτασσέσθωσαν (Lachmann). Calvin, Zanchius, Koppe, Flatt, Meier, Matthies, and others (comp. also Reiche, Comm. crit. p. 183), incorrectly hold that the participle is to be taken imperatively; in that case an ἐστέ to be supplied in thought must, as in Romans 12:9, have been suggested by the context. Olshausen quite arbitrarily proposes that we supply mentally: “are all believers.” If the new section was to begin with ὑποτασσ., then ὑποτασσ. ἀλλ. ἐν φ. χρ. would have to be regarded as an absolutely prefixed general attribute, to which the special one afterwards to be adduced would be subordinate (“inasmuch as ye subject yourselves in the fear of Christ, the wives ought,” etc.). It would not militate against this view, that in the sequel only the ὑπόταξις of the wives follows, while the ὑπακοή of the children and servants, in chap. 6, can no longer be brought into connection with our ὑποτασσόμενοι. For often with the classical writers also, after the prefixing of such absolute nominatives, which have reference to the whole collectively, the discourse passes only over to one part (not to several); see particularly Nägelsbach, z. Ilias, ed. 3, p. 385 f. But against it may be urged the consideration that αἱ γυναῖκες has no special verb; such a verb, and one correlative as to notion with ὑποτασσ., could not but be associated with it.

On the thought ὑποτάσσεσθαι ἀλλήλοις, comp. 1 Peter 5:5; Clem. Cor. 1:38.

ἐν φόβῳ χριστοῦ] is the fundamental disposition, in which the ὑποτάσσεσθαι ἀλλήλοις is to take place. And Christ is to be feared as the judge. Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 10:22.

τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν] to their own husbands. Without being misunderstood, Paul might have written merely τοῖς ἀνδράσιν, but ἰδίοις serves to make the obligation of the ὑποτάσσεσθαι τοῖς ἀνδράσιν palpable in its natural necessity; for what a wife is she, who refuses obedience to her own husband! So also Stobaeus, S. 22: θεανῶἐρωτηθεῖσα, τί πρῶτον εἴη γυναικί, τὸ τῷ ἰδίῳ, ἔφη, ἀρέσκειν ἀνδρί. Throughout the N.T. ἴδιος never stands in place of the mere possessive pronoun, but has always, as also with the Greeks, an emphasis to be derived from the connection, even at Matthew 12:5; Matthew 15:14 (see in loc.); 1 Peter 3:1; and Titus 2:5 (where the relation is as in our passage). This in opposition to Winer, p. 139 [E. T. 192], and at the same time in opposition to Harless and Olshausen, who (comp. also Dorville, ad Charit. p. 452) see in ἴδιος ἀνήρ nothing more than a designation which has become usual for the husband. From the very context, in itself ἀνήρ is husband (Hom. Od. xix. 294; Matthew 1:16). That which, on the other hand, Bengel finds in ἰδίοις: “etiamsi alibi meliora viderentur habere consilia,” is imported.

ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ] By this is not meant the husbands (Thomas Aquinas, Semler), which must have been τοῖς κυρίοις, but Christ, and ὡς expresses the mode of view in which the wives are to regard their obedience towards the husbands, namely, as rendered to the Lord; comp. Ephesians 6:6-7. For the husband (see what follows) stands in relation to the wife not otherwise than as Christ to the church; in the conjugal relation the husband is the one who represents Christ to the wife, in so far as he is head of the wife, as Christ is the Head of the church. To find in ὡς the mere relation, of resemblance (“uxoris erga maritum officia similia quodammodo sunt officiis Christianorum erga Christum,” Koppe) is erroneous on account of what follows; the passage must have run in the form ὡς ἐκκλησία τῷ κυρίῳ, which Erasmus has imported into his paraphrase: “non aliter, quam ecclesia subdita est Domino Jesu.” We may add that the view of Michaelis—that here and Colossians 3:18 the teachings as to marriage are directed against errors of the Essenes (comp. 1 Timothy 4:3)—is the more to be regarded as a fiction, inasmuch as Paul is speaking not of the propriety of marriage, but of the duties of the married life.


Verse 23-24

Ephesians 5:23-24. ὅτι ἀνὴρἐκκλησίας] Reason assigned for the ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ just demanded. For the husband is in the marriage relation the same as Christ is in relation to the church; the former, like the latter, is the head.

ἀνήρ] a husband is head of his wife; hence ἀνήρ is without, and γυναικός with the article.

ὡς καί] as also with Christ the relation of being Head exists, namely, in regard to the church.

αὐτὸς σωτὴρ τοῦ σώματος] is usually taken as apposition to χριστός,(271) according to which αὐτός would take up the subject again with special emphasis (Schaefer, Melet. p. 84; Bernhardy, p. 283): “He, the Saviour of the body,” He who makes His body, i.e. the church, of which He is the Head, partaker of the Messianic σωτηρία (“merito et efficacia,” Calovius). But while there is not here apparent from the connection any purpose, bearing on the matter in hand, for such an emphatic description,(272) there may be urged against it the following ἀλλά, which, if it is not placed in combination with αὐτὸς σωτ. τ. σώ΄., admits of no logical explanation. Usually, it is true, this ἀλλά is taken syllogistically (so Beza, Grotius, and others, including Matthies, Olshausen, de Wette). But the syllogistic ἀλλά, and that in the Greek writers combined with ΄ήν, is employed for the introduction of the propositio minor (Apollon. Alex. in Beck, Anecd. II. p. 518, 839; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 384; Fritzsche, ad Rom. v. 14; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 63); whereas here we should have the conclusio, and we should thus have to take ἀλλά, in accordance with its usage as breaking off (“argumentorum enarrationem aut aliam cogitationem abrumpit et ad rem ipsam, quae sit agenda, vocat,” Klotz, l.c. p. 5; comp. Hermann, ad Viger. p. 812; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 78), for ὥστε, against which, however, militates the fact that the sentence assigning a reason, ὅτι ἀνήρ κ. τ. λ., has already fulfilled its destined object (Ephesians 5:22), so that it could not occur to any reader to seek in the adversative ἀλλά an inference from this reason-assigning clause. If Paul had wished again to infer, from Ephesians 5:23, that which is proved by this verse, he would have written οὖν or the metabatic δέ. Besides this, however, Ephesians 5:24, as an inference from Ephesians 5:23, would contain a very superfluous prolixity of the discourse, inasmuch as the contents of Ephesians 5:24 was already so fully given by the thought of Ephesians 5:23 attached to what precedes by means of ὅτι, that we could not but see here a real logical pleonasm, such as we are not accustomed to meet with in the writings of the concise and sententious Paul. According to Winer, p. 400 [E. T. 565], Ephesians 5:24 is meant to continue and conclude the argument, so that Ephesians 5:23 proves the ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ from the position of Christ and the husband, while Ephesians 5:24 proves it from the demand implied in this position, and hence ἀλλά amounts ultimately to the sense: “but then, which is the main thing.” But even in this way only a continuing δέ, autem, and not the adversative ἀλλά, at, would be quite in accordance with the thought. When, moreover, it is assumed, with Rückert, Harless, Bleek, that ἀλλά, after the intermediate thought αὐτὸς σωτ. τ. σ., is used as breaking off and leading back to the theme (see Hartung, l.c. II. p. 37), it is self-evident that the brief clause αὐτὸς σωτ. τ. σ.—introduced, moreover, only as apposition—has not at all interrupted the development, and consequently has not given occasion for such a leading back to the theme.(273) Hofmann finally takes ἀλλά as repelling a possible objection, and to this effect: “But even where the husband is not this (namely, one who makes happy, as like Christ he ought to be) to his wife, that subordination nevertheless remains,” etc. But in this way the very thought, upon which everything is held to turn, is purely read into the passage. In view of all that has been said, I (and Schenkel agrees with me in this) cannot take αὐτὸς σωτ. τ. σ. as apposition, but only as an independent proposition, and I understand ἀλλά in its ordinary adversative sense, namely, thus: “He for His person, He and no other, is the Saviour of the body; but this relation, which belongs exclusively to Himself, does not take away the obligation of obedience on the part of the wives towards their husbands, nay, rather, as the church obeys Christ, so must also the wives obey their husbands in every respect.” The right view was already perceived by Calvin, when on account of the adversative ἀλλά he proposed the explanation:(274) “Habet quidem id peculiare Christus, quod est servator ecclesiae, nihilominus sciant mulieres, sibi maritos praeesse, Christi exemplo, utcunque pari gratia non polleant.” Comp. also Bengel, who aptly remarks: “Vir autem non est servator uxoris; in eo Christus excellit; hinc sed sequitur.” … What Hofmann objects is quite irrelevant; for the thought, that Christ is Saviour of the body, is not superfluous, but has its significant bearing in the contrast which follows; and Paul had not to write ἡμῶν instead of τοῦ σώματος with a view to clearness, since Christ was, in fact, just designated as κεφαλή; consequently nothing was now more natural and clear than the designation of believers by τοῦ σώματος, the correlative of κεφαλή. The objection of Reiche, that αὐτός comes in asyndetically, can have no weight in the case of Paul especially, and of his brief and terse moral precepts (see immediately Ephesians 5:28, and comp. in particular Romans 12:9 ff.).

αἱ γυναῖκες] sc. ὑποτασσέσθωσαν. See Ephesians 5:22.

ἐν παντί] in which case it is presupposed that the commanding on the part of the husbands is in keeping with their position as representing Christ towards the wife. ὡς εὐσεβέσι νομοθετῶν προστέθεικε τὸ ἐν παντί, Theodoret.


Verse 25

Ephesians 5:25. If the duty of the wives was ὑποτάσσεσθαι τοῖς ἀνδράσιν ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ, that of the husband is: ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας, καθὼς καὶ χριστὸς κ. τ. λ., a love, therefore, which is ready to undergo even death out of affection for the wife. “Si omnia rhetorum argumenta in unum conjicias, non tam persuaseris conjugibus dilectionem mutuam, quam hic Paulus,” Bugenhagen.

καὶ ἑαυτὸν παρέδ. κ. τ. λ.] A practical proof of the ἠγάπησε. Comp. Ephesians 5:2. What giving up is meant (namely, that unto death) is obvious of itself here, where no definition is added to παρέδ.; Galatians 2:20; Romans 4:25.


Verse 26

Ephesians 5:26. Aim, which Christ had in view in giving up Himself for the church, and therewith continued statement of the pattern of love given by Him.

ἵνα αὐτ. ἁγ. κ. τ. λ.] “in order to sanctify it, after having cleansed it through the bath of water, by means of the word.” In His sacrificial death, namely, Christ’s intention with regard to His future church had this aim, that, after having by baptism brought about for its members the forgiveness of their pre-Christian sins, He would make it partaker of Christian-moral holiness by means of the gospel. That cleansing is the negative side of that, which Christ contemplated with regard to His church in His death, and this sanctification by means of the gospel constantly influencing the baptized is the positive side; the former the antecedens, the latter the consequens; and both are caused by the atoning death, which is the causa meritoria of the forgiveness of sins brought about by means of baptism, and the contents of the gospel as the word of the cross. The sanctifying influence of the latter is the efficacy of the Holy Spirit, who works by means of the gospel (Ephesians 6:17); but the Holy Spirit is subject to Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18), and Christ also communicates Himself in the Spirit to men’s hearts (Romans 8:9 f.); hence it is said with justice that Christ sanctifies the church through the word (comp. also Ephesians 2:21), in which case it is self-evident to the Christian consciousness that the operative principle therein is the Spirit operating by means of the word. The Vulgate translates καθαρ. mundans, and Zanchius says: “modum exprimit, quo eam sanctificet.” So, too, Harless, who holds ἁγιάσῃ and καθαρίσας not to be different notions, but the latter to be a more precise definition of the former, which signifies purum reddere a culpa peccati. The aorist participle would not be opposed to this view, because it could express that which is coincident in point of time with ἁγιάσῃ (see on Ephesians 1:9); but it is opposed by the fact that ἐν ῥήματι cannot be joined to καθαρίσας (see below), but sanctification by the word must of necessity be something other than the cleansing by baptism, as also at 1 Corinthians 6:11 (comp. Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16), the cleansing by means of baptism ( ἀπελούσασθε) precedes the sanctification ( ἡγίασθητε).(275) Comp. Titus 3:5-7. Hofmann, II. 2, p. 135, would, in opposition to the simple and clear course of the representation, combine καθαρίσας κ. τ. λ. with the following ἵνα παραστήσῃ, but for the invalid reason that afterwards τὴν ἐκκλησίαν is repeated, and not the mere αὐτήν used. As if Paul might not have used the mere αὐτήν even with this combination! And how often do all writers repeat the noun with emphasis (so here), or for the sake of perspicuity, instead of using the pronoun! Comp. on Ephesians 4:16.

τῷ λουτρῷ τοῦ ὓδατος] (genitive materiae) denotes the well-known bath of water κατʼ ἐξοχήν, which is administered by baptism. We have thus here not simply an allusion to baptism (Grotius, Homberg), but a designation of the same (comp. Titus 3:5; 1 Corinthians 6:11), and an allusion to the bath of the bride before the wedding day; see on Ephesians 5:27.

ἐν ῥήματι] belongs to ἁγιάσῃ (comp. John 17:17), but is not placed immediately after it, because the two verbal definitions ἁγιάσῃ and καθαρίσας, and again the two instrumental definitions τῷ λουτρῷ τοῦ ὓδατος and ἐν ῥή΄ατι, are intended to stand together, whereby the structure of the discourse is arranged of set purpose conformably to the sense and with emphatic distinctness. ῥῆ΄α is the gospel, τὸ ῥῆμα τῆς πίστεως, Romans 10:8, comp. 17, Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 6:5, and here stands without an article, because it, denoting the word κατʼ ἐξοχήν, could be treated like a proper noun, such as νόμος, χάρις, and the like. The connecting of ἐν ῥή΄. with ἁγιάσῃ is followed also by Jerome, Castalio, Calovius, Morus, Rosenmüller, Winer, p. 125 [E. T. 172], Rückert, Bisping, Bleek.(276) Others, however, join it to τῷ λουτρῷ τοῦ ὕδατος (Luther: “by the water-bath in the word”), in which case they understand by ῥῆμα either the baptismal formula (Chrysostom: ἐν ῥήματι ποίῳ; ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος; comp. Theodoret, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Ambrosiaster, Menochius, Calovius, Flatt, de Wette, and others), or the divine precept (“lavationem … nitentem divino mandato,” Storr), or the divine promise (“qua vis et usus signi explicatur,” Calvin; comp. Michaelis, Knapp, Tychsen), or “lavacro invocatione divini nominis efficaci” (Erasmus), or the gospel (Augustine, Estius, Flatt, Holzhausen, and others), or the divine power and efficacy in the word of truth, so that ἐν ῥήματι is equivalent to ἐν πνεύματι (! Olshausen). But all these explanations break down in presence of the fact, that we should need to read τῷ λουτρῷ τοῦ ὕδατος τῷ, or τοῦ ἐν ῥήμ., since neither τὸ λουτρόν nor τὸ ὕδωρ admits of being joined into unity of idea with ἐν ῥήματι (such as αἱ ἐντολαὶ ἐν δόγμασι, Ephesians 2:15, or πίστις ἐν χρ., or the like); as well as of the fact, that the special interpretations of ῥῆμα, except that of gospel, are purely invented. Others have combined ἐν ῥήμ. with καθαρίσας (Syriac, which inserts καί before ἐν ῥήμ.; Bengel, Baumgarten, Matthies, Harless, Baumgarten-Crusius, Hofmann; perhaps also Beza and Calvin; Meier is quite indistinct), in which case likewise ἐν ῥήμ. has been explained by some of the words of the institution and their promise (Baumgarten), by others of the gospel (Syriac, Bengel: “in verbo est vis mundifica, et haec exseritur per lavacrum,” comp. Matthies and Baumgarten-Crusius, as also Schenkel), while Harless translates: “by way of utterance, by way of promise,” which can refer only to the promise given with the institution; and Hofmann: with a word, which is alleged to mean: so that Me uttered His effective will, that it should become clean. But it is altogether arbitrary, since καθαρίσας already has a modal definition, to attach ἐν ῥήματι thereto in addition, and on the other hand to leave ἁγιάσῃ isolated, although ἐν ῥήμ. can very suitably as regards sense be attached to ἁγιάσῃ; further, that which cleanses, i.e. that which not merely symbolically represents the cleansing (Schenkel), but does away with the pre-Christian guilt of sin, is baptism,(277) comp. also 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16, and not the ῥῆμα, whether we understand thereby the gospel or the words of the institution; lastly, the sense by “way of promise” Paul would have known how to express otherwise than in so indefinite and enigmatic a manner, such as, possibly, by κατʼ ἐπαγγελίαν, Galatians 3:29; as, indeed, also the sense understood by Hofmann could not have been more indistinctly conveyed than by the bare ἐν ῥήματι.(278) Grotius combines ἐν ῥή΄ατι with καθαρ., but supplies ὡς before ἐν τῷ λουτρῷ: “verbo suo quasi balneo.” As if one could simply thus supply ὡς! Lastly, Koppe is quite wrong in holding that ἐν ῥή΄ατι ἵνα is in accordance with the Hebrew על דבר אשר nothing more than the bare ἵνα. Not even the LXX. have translated thus barbarously!


Verse 27

Ephesians 5:27. Aim of the ἁγιάσῃ ἐν ῥήματι, and so final aim of the ἑαυτὸν παρέδωκεν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς, to be realized at the Parousia. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 11:2. παραστήσῃ is already rightly referred to the time of the consummatio saeculi by Augustine, Jerome, Primasius, Thomas, Beza, Estius, Calovius, and others, including Flatt, Rückert, de Wette, Schenkel, Bleek; while the Greek Fathers, Lyra, Cajetanus, Bucer, Wolf, Bengel, and others, including Harless and Hofmann, p. 136, think of an act of Christ in the αἰὼν οὗτος, and many others do not at all declare their views with regard to the time. But if ἵνα παραστ. κ. τ. λ. is not to apply to the time of the Parousia, it must either be taken as the design of the καθαρίσας (Bengel), or as a parallel to ἵνα αὐτὴν ἁγιάσῃ (Harless). The former is not admissible, because ἐν ῥήματι, which itself belongs to ἁγιάσῃ (see on Ephesians 5:26), stands between; nor yet is the latter, because ἁγιάσῃ does not denote the same thing with καθαρίσας (see on Ephesians 5:26), but the making holy through the word; and this making holy cannot from its nature be parallel to the momentary act of presenting of the church as a glorious and spotless one, but can only be antecedent, so that this presentation must be the final result of the sanctifying which has already taken place through the word.

παραστήσῃ] might set forth, present, coram sisteret, namely, as His bride. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:2. The view of Harless, that the church is conceived of not as bride, but as spotless offering (on παραστ. comp. Romans 12:1), is opposed to the context, and incorrect also on account of ἑαυτῷ, by which, in fact, there would result the conception that Christ presents the offering to Himself. No, the union of Christ with His church at the Parousia, in order to confer upon it Messianic blessedness, is conceived of by Paul (as also by Christ Himself, Matthew 25:1 ff., comp. Revelation 19:7 ff.; see also John 3:29) under the figure of the bringing home of a bride, wherein Christ appears as the bridegroom and sets forth the bride, i.e. His church, as a spotless virgin (the bodily purity is a representa of the ethical) before Himself, after He has already in the αἰὼν οὗτος cleansed it by the bath of baptism (i.e. blotted out the pre-Christian guilt of the church) and sanctified it through His word. To deny the reference of καθαρίσας κ. τ. λ. and of Ephesians 5:27 to the circumstances of a wedding, and particularly the allusion to the bath to be taken by the bride before the wedding-day (Harless, Baumgarten-Crusius, Hofmann, and others), is an over-refinement of taste at variance with the context.(279)

The presentation in our passage was referred by Kahnis (Abendm. p. 144) to the Lord’s Supper, an application which is warranted neither by the context nor by the analogy of 2 Corinthians 11:2 and Matthew 25

αὐτὸς ἑαυτῷ] so that what takes place is not therefore as in the case of the bringing home of actual brides by others, but Christ Himself, as He gave Himself to sanctify it, etc., presents the church as bride to Himself at His Parousia, and indeed as ἔνδοξον, in glorious beauty (Luke 7:25; Isaiah 22:18, al.), which is with emphasis placed before τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, and subsequently receives by means of ΄ὴ ἔχουσαν κ. τ. λ. a detached, more precise negative definition specially to be brought into prominence. With regard to αὐτὸς ἑαυτῷ, comp. 2 Corinthians 1:9; Xen. Mem. iii. 5. 11; Thucyd. vi. 40. 3; Krüger, § 51. 2. 12.

σπῖλον] maculam, comp. 2 Peter 2:13, a word of the later age of Greek, instead of the Attic κηλίς. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 28. In the figure is meant a corporeal blemish, but in the reality a moral defilement. The same is the case with ῥυτίδα, rugam, which occurs only here in the N.T., but often in the classical writers, not in the LXX. or Apocrypha. Special distinctions as to what is intended by the two figures are arbitrary. So e.g. Estius (after Augustine): σπῖλ. signifies deformitas operis, and ῥυτ. duplicitas intentionis; Grotius: the former applies to the carere vitiis, the latter to the vegetos semper esse for good (because wrinkles are characteristic of age).

τι τῶν τοιούτων which belongs to the category of such things, of that which disfigures, like spots and wrinkles.

ἀλλʼ ἵνα κ. τ. λ.] change of the construction, instead of ἀλλʼ οὖσαν κ. τ. λ., as if ἵνα ΄ὴ ἔχῃ κ. τ. λ. had been said before. Versatility of the Greek mode of thought and expression. See, in general, Matthiae, p. 1527 f.; Winer, p. 509 [E. T. 722]; Buttmann, neutest. Gr. p. 208 [E. T. 241].

ἁγία] the thing signified in place of the figure, which would be more congruously expressed by ἁγνή (2 Corinthians 11:2).

ἄ΄ω΄ος] Ephesians 1:4. Comp. Song of Solomon 4:7. Grotius, at variance with the context, holds that Paul had in the case of both expressions thought of: “quales victimae esse debebant in V. T.”


Verse 28

Ephesians 5:28. οὕτως] To refer this, with Meier and Baumgarten-Crusius, as also de Wette is disposed to do, to the following ὡς (Estius likewise would have it so understood, unless οὕτως καὶ οἱ ἄνδρες ὀφείλουσιν be read; which, however, is really to be read, see the critical remarks), might, doubtless, be admissible in itself (see on 1 Corinthians 4:1), but is here quite out of place; because οὕτως would then have an undue emphasis, and the declaration would stand without any inner connection with that which precedes. It relates to what is said from καθὼς καὶ χριστός, Ephesians 5:25 onwards to Ephesians 5:27, and is equivalent to: in accordance with this relation, in keeping with this holy love of Christ for the church. Comp. Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 39; Herm. ad Viger. p. 793. We may add that Zanchius, who is followed by Estius and Harless,(280) is in error in saying, “digressus non nihil ad mysterium, nunc ad institutum redit.” There was no digression in what precedes, but a delineation of the love of Christ serving as an example for the husbands.

ὡς τὰ ἑαυτῶν σώματα] not: like their own bodies,(281) but: as their own bodies. For Christ loved the church not like His body, but as His body, which the church is and He its head, Ephesians 5:23. So is also the husband head of the wife, and he is to love the wife as his body—which conception, however, does not present the Gnostic notion of the πλῆρωμα. (Baur), but, on the contrary, comp. 1 Corinthians 11:3. Schoettgen, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Meier, and others make ὡς τὰ ἑαυτ. σώματα mean nothing more than: like themselves; but this is in itself quite arbitrary and without support from linguistic usage, and also utterly inappropriate to the example of Christ, since we certainly cannot say of Christ that He loved the church like Himself! In the Rabbinical passages, too, as Sanhedr. f. 76, Ephesians 2 : “qui uxorem amat ut corpus suum,” etc., this ut corpus suum is to be taken literally, and that in accordance with the mode of regarding man and wife as one flesh. We may add that Paul does not by means of ὡς τ. ἑαυτ. σώμ. pass over into another figure, or even to another view of the subject (Rückert), but already, in the preceding description of the love of Christ to the church, his conception has been that Christ loves the church, His bride, as His body, which conception he now first, in the application, definitely indicates, and in Ephesians 5:29-31 more particularly elucidates.

ἀγαπῶν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα ἑαυτὸν ἀγαπᾷ] From the duty of loving their own wives ὡς τὰ ἑαυτῶν σώματα, results—inasmuch as in fact according to this the wife belongs essentially to the proper self of the husband as such—the proposition of conjugal ethics, that the love of one’s own wife is love of oneself. This proposition Paul lays down, in order to treat it more in detail, Ephesians 5:29-32, and finally repeat it in the form of a direct precept in Ephesians 5:33.


Verse 29

Ephesians 5:29. γάρ] assigns the reason of what immediately precedes, and that so, that this statement of the reason is intended to impel to the exercise of the self-love involved in the love to the wife. The connection of the thoughts, namely, is this: “He who loves his own wife, loves himself; for, if he did not love her, he would hate his own flesh, which is so repugnant to nature that no one has ever yet done it, but rather every one does the opposite, as also Christ—and that gives to this natural relation the highest consecration—acts with regard to the church, because this constitutes the members of His body.”

ποτέ] ever, not, as Mayerhoff would take it (Koloss. p. 144): formerly, in the heathen state, the contrast to which is supposed to be: but possibly now, under the influence of an asceticism directed against marriage—a view, which the present tenses that follow ought to have precluded.

τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα] σάρξ is here indifferent (comp. Hahn, Theol. d. N.T. I. p. 425) without the conception of what is sinful.(282) Paul might have written σῶμα instead (Curtius, vii. Ephesians 1 : “corporibus nostris, quae utique non odimus;” Seneca, Ep. 14: “fateor insitam nobis esse corporis nostri caritatem”), but chose σάρκα, because the idea of the μία σάρξ, which is realized in the married state, is already (see Ephesians 5:21) present to his mind.

ἀλλʼ] sc. ἕκαστος. See Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 366 D ad Symp. p. 192 E.

ἐκτρέφει] enutrit. The compound form denotes the development that is brought about by the nourishing; comp. Ephesians 6:4. See the passages in Wetstein.

θάλπει] makes it warm, fovet (Vulgate); Goth: “varmeith.” It is thus to be taken in its proper signification. Hom. Odyss. xxi. 179, 184, 246; Xen. Cyr. v. 1. 11; Soph. Phil. 38; also Theocr. xiv. 38; Deuteronomy 22:6; Job 39:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:8. Bengel aptly says: “id spectat amictum.” The usual interpretation is: “he fosters it,” Luther. Without support from linguistic usage.

It is, we may add, self-evident that οὐδεὶςαὐτήν expresses a proposition of experience, the correctness of which holds as a general rule, and is not set aside by exceptional cases. The crucifying of the flesh, however, in Galatians 5:24, has regard to the sinful σάρξ.

καθὼς καὶ χρ. τὴν ἐκκλησ.] sc. ἐκτρέφει καὶ θάλπει, which is here, of course, to be interpreted metaphorically of the loving operation of Christ for the salvation of His church, whose collective prosperity He carefully promotes. To bring out by interpretation specially two elements (Grotius: “nutrit eam verbo et Spiritu, vestit virtutibus”) is arbitrary. According to Kahnis (Abendm. p. 143 f.), Christ nourishes the church as His body by the communication of His body in the Supper. But apart from the fact that θάλπει does not suit this, there is no mention at all of the Lord’s Supper in the whole connection. Comp. on παραστ., Ephesians 5:27, and see on Ephesians 5:30 ff. The καθὼς καὶ χρ. τὴν ἐκκλ. is the sacred refrain of the whole Christian ethics of marriage; comp. Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 5:25.


Verse 30

Ephesians 5:30. Reason why Christ ἐκτρέφει καὶ θάλπει the church: because we are members of His body. μέλη is prefixed with emphasis; for we are not an accidens, but integral parts of His body. Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:27.

ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ κ. ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων αὐτοῦ] More precise definition of the μέλη τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ just said, in order to express this relation as strongly as possible: (proceeding) from His flesh and from His bones. This form of expression is a reminiscence of Genesis 2:23,(283) where Adam expresses the origin of Eve out of his bones and out of his flesh,(284)—to which origin the derivative relation of Christians to Christ is analogous, of course not physically, but in the spiritual, mystical sense, inasmuch as the Christian existence as such—the specific being and spiritual nature of Christians—proceeds from Christ, has in Christ its principle of origination, as in a physical manner Eve proceeded from Adam. The at any rate non-literal expressions are not intended to bear minuter interpretation. They do not affirm that believers are produced and taken out of Christ’s glorified body (Gess, Person Christi, p. 274 ff.; comp. Bisping), which is already forbidden by the expression “flesh and bones.” Rather is the same thing intended—only brought, in accordance with the connection, into the definite sensuously genetic form of presentation suggested by Gen. l.c.—which elsewhere is denoted by καινὴ κτίσις (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15), as well as by ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγὼ, ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ χριστός (Galatians 2:20), by χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε (Galatians 3:27), by the relation of the ἓν πνεῦμα εἶναι to Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17), and in general by the expressions setting forth the Christian παλιγγενεσία.(285) Comp. the κοινωνὸν γίνεσθαι θείας φύσεως, 2 Peter 1:4. With various modifications it has been explained of the spiritual origination from Christ already by Chrysostom (who understood the regeneration by baptism), Ambrosiaster, Theodoret, Oecumenius ( ἐξ αὐτοῦ δὲ, καθὸ ἀπαρχὴ ἡμῶν ἐστι τῆς δευτέρας πλάσεως, ὥσπερ ἐκ τοῦ ἀδὰμ διὰ τὴν πρώτην), Theophylact, Erasmus, Beza, Vorstius (“spirituali tantum ratione ex ipso Christo quasi procreatos esse”), Calvin (“qui spiritus sui virtute nos in corpus suum inserit, ut vitam ex eo hauriamus”), Calovius, Bengel, Matthies, de Wette (who, however, in the second edition, regards the words as spurious), Hofmann, Reiche, and others; while, withal, Koppe (so also Meier) thought only arctissimam quamlibet conjunctionem to be denoted, whereby justice is not done to the genetic signification of the ἐκ. Others explained it: in so far as we have the same human nature as He. So Irenaeus, Jerome, Augustine, Thomas, Michaelis; comp. also Stolz and Rosenmüller. Decidedly erroneous, partly because Paul could not in this sense say: “we are of Christ’s flesh and bone,” but only the converse: “Christ is of our flesh and bone” (Romans 1:3; Romans 9:5; John 1:14); partly because the element of having like nature with Christ would apply not merely to Christians, but to men as such generally. Others refer it to the crucifixion of Christ: “ex carne ejus et ossibus crucifixis, i.e. ex passione ejus predicata et credita ortum habuit ecclesia,” Grotius. Comp. already Cajetanus, as also Zanchius, Zachariae, Schenkel, having reference to John 6:51 f., John 14:18 ff. But the crucifixis is purely imported, and could the less be guessed here, inasmuch as from the words the history of Adam and Eve inevitably came to be recalled; and there is nothing to remind us (in opposition to Schenkel) of the “martyr-stake of the cross,” upon which Christ “gave up” His flesh and bones “and suffered them to be broken” (? see John 19:33; John 19:36). Others, finally, have explained it of the real communion with the body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. So recently,(286) in addition to Kahnis and Thomasius, III. 2, p. 73, also Harless and Olshausen, the latter of whom says: “it is the self-communication of His divine-human nature, by which Christ makes us to be His flesh and bone; He gives His people His flesh to eat and His blood to drink.” But not even the semblance of a plea for explaining it of the Supper lies in the words; since Paul has not written καὶ ἐκ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ, which would have been specific in the case of the Supper, but καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων αὐτοῦ! Rückert has renounced any attempt at explanation, and doubts whether Paul himself thought of anything definite in the words. A very needless despair of exegesis!


Verse 31

Ephesians 5:31. Not a citation from Genesis 2:24, but (comp. Ephesians 6:2) Paul makes these words of Scripture, which as such were well known to the readers, his own, while the deviations from the LXX. are unimportant and make no difference to the sense. What, however, is spoken, Gen. l.c., of the union of husband and wife, Paul applies by typical interpretation to the coming (future: καταλείψει κ. τ. λ.) union of Christ with the church (see Ephesians 5:32), a union which shall take place at the Parousia, up to which time the church is the bride of Christ, and at which it is then nuptially joined with Him (see on Ephesians 5:27),—and so the apostle expresses this antitype of the conjugal union in the hallowed words of Scripture, in which the type, the marriage union in the proper sense, is expressed. We have accordingly to explain it thus: For this reason, because we are Christ’s members, of His flesh and of His bone, shall a man (i.e. antitypically, Christ, at the Parousia) leave father and mother (i.e., according to the mystic interpretation of the apostle: He will leave His seat at the right hand of God) and be united with his wife (with the church), and (and then) the two (the man and the wife, i.e. Christ who has descended and the church) shall be one flesh (form one ethical person, as married persons by virtue of bodily union become a physical unity). Those expositors who, in keeping with the original sense of Gen. l.c., take the words of actual marriage (so most expositors, including Matthies, Meier, Schenkel, Bleek, Rückert(287)), have against them as well the ἀντὶ τούτου, which cannot be referred without arbitrariness to anything else than what immediately precedes, as also the future expression, which (as also in Gen. l.c.) must denote something yet to come; and not less the statement of Paul himself, Ephesians 5:32, according to which ἄνθρωπος must be interpreted of Christ, and τὴν γυναῖκα of the church, not merely perhaps (Reiche) is to be so interpreted. Hofmann likewise, II. 2, p. 139, understands it of real marriage, and sees all difficulties vanish if we more closely connect Ephesians 5:32 with Ephesians 5:31, so that τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο sums up the Old Testament passage itself and makes this the subject, and then the sense is: “That, as the passage affirms, the marriage communion is the most intimate of all communions for this reason, because the wife proceeds from the husband—this mystery, which was foreign to the Gentiles, is great. It is a highly significant mystery of the order laid down by the creation, a most important revelation of the divine counsel in this domain, which the apostle interprets as applying to Christ and the church, because marriage in this respect has its higher counterpart in the domain of redemption, but without excluding its validity also for the married as regards their relation regulated by the creation.” This view is incorrect, for the very reason that to make τὸ μυστήριον be said in reference to the Gentiles is quite foreign to, and remote from, the connection; because, further, Paul must have written ἐγὼ δὲ νῦν λέγω; because λέγω does not mean “I say of it,” but “I say it,” i.e. I interpret it; because ἀντὶ τούτου would remain entirely out of connection with that which precedes, and thus the passage of Scripture would make its appearance quite abruptly; because, if the reader was to understand the whole passage of Scripture as the subject, summed up in τὸ ΄υστήρ. τοῦτο, of what follows, the apostle must have indicated this, in order to be intelligible, by something like τὸ δὲ ἀντὶ τούτου κ. τ. λ., ΄υστήριον ΄έγα ἐστίν; and because, finally, the validity of the fundamental law of marriage, Ephesians 5:31, for married persons is so entirely self-evident, that a quite unsuitable thought (“but without excluding,” etc.) is attributed to the πλήν of Ephesians 5:33.

Those, further, who explain it of Christ and the church, as Hunnius, Balduin, Grotius, Bengel, Michaelis, and others, are mistaken in believing the connection with Christ already existing in the present αἰών as that which is meant; inasmuch as in the καταλείψει τὸν πατ. κ. τ. ΄ητ. they think of the incarnation (“etiam Christus patrem quasi reliquit,” Bengel), or generally of the fact that “Christus nihil tam carum habuit, quod non nostri causa abdicaverit” (Grotius), or even of the separation of Christ from His nation (Michaelis) or from the synagogue (Bisping); while Harless and Olshausen pass over καταλείψει τὸν πατέρα κ. τ. λ. without more precise explanation, as unessential to the connection and aim, and regard only καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δ. εἰς σ. ΄. as the main point, explaining it of the Lord’s Supper.(288) But the whole reference to the already present connection with Christ is incorrect, because this connection was just before expressed in the present form by μέλη ἐσμὲν κ. τ. λ., but now upon this present relation is based the setting in of a future one ( καταλείψει κ. τ. λ.; observe the future forms), and that by ἀντὶ τούτου, quite as in Genesis 2:24 by means of ἕνεκεν τούτου the future relation of marriage is deduced from the then existing relation of Adam and Eve. These expositors, besides, overlook the fact that in the αἰὼν οὗτος Christ is not yet husband, but until the Parousia still bridegroom of the church (Ephesians 5:27), which He only at the Parousia presents to Himself as a purified and sanctified bride for nuptial union. Moreover, the setting aside of the whole portion καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατ. κ. τ. λ., on the part of Harless and Olshausen, is a purely arbitrary proceeding.

ἀντὶ τούτου] See Winer, p. 326 [E. T. 456]. It is distinguished from the ἕνεκεν τούτου in the LXX. only by its placing the cause and the fact thereby conditioned in comparison with each other according to the conception of requital (for this). Comp. ἀνθʼ ὧν, and see Matthiae, p. 1327; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 170. The reference of ἀντὶ τούτου, with regard to which many are entirely silent, can be found only in Ephesians 5:30 : because our relation to Christ is this. See above. Other references, as those of Estius: “quia mulier formata est ex ossibus et came viri,” and Holzhausen: “because the man, in loving his wife, loves himself” (comp. Meier and Matthies), are forced just because of their taking Ephesians 5:31 not according to its mystic reference, but of real marriage.

ἄνθρωπος] a human being, i.e. according to the context, a man (without on that account ἄνθρωπος standing for ἀνήρ, see Fritzsche, ad Matt. p. 593), by which, however, according to the mystical interpretation of the apostle, Christ is antitypically to be understood.

καὶ τὴν μητέρα] is doubtless taken up along with the rest as a constituent part of the words of Adam, but is not destined for a special exposition in the typical reference of the passage to Christ, since καταλείψει τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ can, in accordance with that typical reference, only apply to the descending of Christ from the right hand of God, which will ensue at the Parousia. Then the σύνθρονος of the Father comes down to earth, to wed Himself (Matthew 25:1) to the church, the bride, 2 Corinthians 11:2.


Verse 32

Ephesians 5:32. For the understanding of Ephesians 5:31 in the sense of the apostle an exegetical gloss was necessary, which is here given: This mystery is great, is important and exalted in its contents, but I say it, adduce it (namely, this mystery, by which is meant just the declaration of Genesis 2:24), in reference to Christ and the church.

τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο] So Paul terms those Old Testament words just employed by him, in so far as they have a hidden meaning not recognised without divine enlightenment. With the Rabbins, too, the formula mysterium magnum (Jalkut. Rub. f. 59, Ephesians 4 : דא רזא יקירא) is very common. See Schoettgen, Horae, p. 783 f.

ἐγὼ δέ] ἐγώ, which Holzhausen even declares to be superfluous, has emphasis: I, however ( δέ metabatic), opposed to the possible interpretations which might be given to the mysterious utterance.(289)

εἰς χριστὸν καὶ εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν] so that we have thus under ἄνθρωπος to understand Christ, and under γυνὴ αὐτοῦ the church. This has been rightly discerned already by the Fathers (see Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Jerome), only they should not have thought of the coming of Christ in the flesh (in connection with which Jerome interpreted τὴν μητέρα of the heavenly Jerusalem; comp. Estius), but of the Parousia. See on Ephesians 5:31. Lastly, it is worthy of notice simply under a historical point of view, that Roman Catholics (but not Erasmus, Cajetanus, or Estius), on the ground of the Vulgate, which translates ΄υστήριον by sacramentum, proved from our passage(290) that marriage is a sacrament. It is not this that is conveyed in the passage, as indeed in general marriage “non habet a Christo institutionem sacramentalem, non formam, non materiam, non finem sacramentalem” (Calovius, and see the Apol. Conf. Aug. p. 202), but it is rather the sacredly ideal and deeply moral character, which is for ever assured to marriage by this typical significance in the Christian view. We may add that monogamy is presupposed as self-evident, but does not form the set purpose of the passage, which would be purely imported (in opposition to Schwegler, p. 387).


Verse 33

Ephesians 5:33. πλήν] is usually explained to the effect, that it leads back to the proper theme after the digression of Ephesians 5:30-32, or merely Ephesians 5:32 (Olshausen). “Paulus prae nobilitate digressionis quasi oblitus propositae rei nunc ad rem revertitur,” Bengel. A digression, however, has certainly not taken place, but Ephesians 5:30-31 essentially belong to the description of the love of Christ to the church, and Ephesians 5:32 was a brief gloss pertaining to the right understanding of Ephesians 5:31, and not a digression. And πλήν is used by way doubtless of breaking off (Luke 19:27, al.), but not of resuming. So also here: Yet—not further to enter upon the subject of this μυστήριονye also ought (as Christ the church), each one individually, in such manner ( οὕτως, i.e. in keeping with the ideal of Christ contained in this μυστήριον) to love his own wife as himself. With καί the persons appealed to, and with οὕτως the mode of what they are to do, are placed in a parallel with Christ.

οἱ καθʼ ἕνα] ye one by one, vos singuli, man by man. See Matthiae, p. 1357. The following verb, however, has taken its regimen from ἕκαστος, not from the proper subject ἡμεῖς, as often also in classical writers. See Matthiae, p. 765; Stallbaum, ad Gorg. p. 503 E Bornemann, ad Cyrop. iii. 1. 8.

The twofold designation οἱ καθʼ ἕνα ἕκαστος strengthens the conception, that each one without exception, etc.

ὡς ἑαυτόν] as himself, so that the love issues from, and is determined by, the point of view: ἀγαπῶν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα ἑαυτὸν ἀγαπᾷ, Ephesians 5:28.

δὲ γυνὴ ἵνα φοβῆται τὸν ἄνδρα] δὲ γυνή is with emphasis absolutely (Winer, p. 506 [E. T. 722]) prefixed, not yet dependent on the notion of volo (see on 2 Corinthians 8:7) to be supplied in thought before ἵνα. Hence: but the wife—she ought to fear her husband. In this brief stern closing utterance, the apostle, while stating the obligation of the husband to love the wife ὡς ἑαυτόν, yet secures as concerns the wife the relation of subordination, namely, the duty of reverence for the husband—a duty, which is not done away with by that obligation on the part of the husband. “Optime cohaerebit concordia, si utrimque constabunt officia,” Erasmus, Paraphr. Rightly, we may add, in accordance with the context Oecumenius defines the notion of φοβῆται: ὡς πρέπει γυναῖκα φοβεῖσθαι, μὴ δουλοπρεπῶς. See Ephesians 5:22-24.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Ephesians 5:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/ephesians-5.html. 1832.


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Friday, September 22nd, 2017
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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