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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Galatians 3

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 3

Galatians 3:1. After ἐβάσκανε Elz. (and Matth.) has τῇ ἀληθείᾳ μἡ πείθεσθαι, against decisive evidence. An explanatory addition from Galatians 5:7.

ἐν ὑμῖν] is wanting in A B C א, min., and several vss. and Fathers, and is omitted by Lachm. But not being required, and not understood, how easily might it be passed over! There was no reason in the text for attaching it as a gloss, least of all to κατʼ ὀφθαλμοὺς προεγρ. (as conjectured by Schott), for these words were in fact perfectly clear by themselves. Justly defended also by Reiche.

Galatians 3:8. ἐνευλογηθήσονται] Elz. gives εὐλογ., against decisive testimony. In Acts 3:25 also, ἐνευλογ. is exchanged in several authorities for the usual simple form.

Galatians 3:10. According to decisive evidence, ὅτι is to be adopted (with Griesb., Lachm., Scholz, and Tisch.) before ἐπικατάρατος.

Galatians 3:12. After αὐτά Elz. has ἄνθρωπος, against decisive testimony. Addition from the LXX., Leviticus 18:5; Romans 10:5.

Galatians 3:13. Instead of γέγρ. γάρ, read, on preponderating testimony, with Lachm. and Tisch., ὅτι γέγραπται approved by Griesb. The former arose from Galatians 3:10.

Galatians 3:17. After θεοῦ, Elz., Scholz, Reiche, have εἰς χριστόν, in opposition to A B C א, min., several vss. and Fathers. Added as a gloss, in order, after Galatians 3:16, to make it evident from Galatians 3:24 what covenant is intended, although this is obvious from the context, and the addition was therefore by no means necessary (as maintained by Ewald and Wieseler). In the sequel, ἔτη is (with Griesb., Lachm., Scholz, Tisch.) to be placed after the number, according to decisive evidence.

Galatians 3:19. προσετέθη] Griesb. and Scholz (following Mill and Bengel) read ἐτέθη. Not sufficiently attested by D* F G and a few min., vss., and Fathers; and the compound verb appeared to conflict with Galatians 3:15.

Instead of ἐπήγγελται, only L and many min., along with some Fathers, read ἐπήγγ. A reading arising from the fact that was not understood.

Galatians 3:21. τοῦ θεοῦ] is wanting only in B, Clar. Germ. Ambrosiast. (bracketed by Lachm.), and is therefore so decisively attested that it cannot be regarded as an explanatory addition. The self-evident meaning and the previous reference without τοῦ θεοῦ (see Galatians 3:16 ff.) led to the omission.

Galatians 3:21. ἂν ἐκ νόμου ἦν] Many variations. F G have merely ἐκ νόμου;(111) D*, Damasc., ἐκ νόμου ἦν; A B C, Cyr., ἐκ νόμου (B, ἐν νόμῳ) ἂν ἦν. In default of internal evidence, the latter is, with Lachm., Tisch., Schott, to be preferred as the best attested (comp. א, ἐκ νόμου ἦν ἄν). The omission of ἄν arose from the ἦν following, just as easily as the omission of ἦν from the following . The Recepta is to be considered as the restoration of the original ἄν in a wrong place.

Galatians 3:23. συγκεκλεισ΄ένοι] A B D* F G א, 31, Clem, (once) Cyr. Damasc. read συγκλειο΄ένοι. Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm., Scholz, Schott. The Recepta, specially defended by Reiche, is an ancient emendation of the not-understood present participle.

Galatians 3:28. εἷς ἐστε ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ] A has low ἐστε χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ; and א, ἐστε ἐν χριστῷ . But εἷς was very easily suppressed by the preceding ὑμεῖς, and then ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ was altered in accordance with the beginning of Galatians 3:29. The reading ἕν instead of εἷς in F G and several vss., also Vulgate, It., and Fathers, is an interpretation.

Galatians 3:29. καί] is wanting in A B C D E א, 89**, and a few vss. and many Fathers, and is expunged by Lachmann, Tisch., and Schott; justly, because it was inserted for the purpose of connection.

CONTENTS.

Paul now begins to unfold to his readers that righteousness comes not from the law, but from faith. With this view, after having expressed censure and surprise, he refers in the first place to their own experience, namely, to their reception of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:1-5). He then passes on to Abraham, who had been justified by faith, and of whom believers were the sons who, in conformity with Scripture, were to enjoy with Abraham the blessing announced to him (Galatians 3:6-9). For those that trust in works of the law are cursed, and by the law can no man be justified (Galatians 3:10-12). It is Christ who by His atoning death has freed us from the curse of the law, in order that this blessing should reach the Gentiles through Christ, and the promised Holy Spirit should be received through faith (Galatians 3:13-14). But the covenant of promise concluded with Abraham, which moreover applied not merely to Abraham, but also to Christ, cannot be abrogated by the law which arose long after (Galatians 3:15-18). This leads the apostle to the question as to the destination of the law, which he briefly answers in Galatians 3:19 positively, and then in Galatians 3:20-23 negatively, to the effect that the law is not opposed to the promises. Before the period of faith, the law had the office of a παιδαγωγός in reference to Christ; but after the appearance of faith this relation came to an end, for faith brought believers to the sonship of God, because by baptism fellowship with Christ was established, and thereupon all distinctions apart from Christ vanished away (Galatians 3:23-28). And this fellowship with Christ includes the being children of Abraham and heirs of the promises.


Verse 1

Galatians 3:1. O irrational Galatians! With this address of severe censure Paul turns again to his readers, after the account of his meeting with Peter; for his reprimand to the latter (Galatians 2:15-21) had indeed so pithily and forcibly presented the intermixture of Judaism with faith as absurd, that the excited apostle, in re-addressing readers who had allowed themselves to be carried away to that same incongruous intermingling, could not have seized on any predicate more suitable or more naturally suggested. The more inappropriate, therefore, is the idea of Jerome (comp. also Erasmus, and Spanheim ad Callim. H. in Del. 184, p. 439), who discovered in this expression a natural weakness of understanding peculiar to the nation. But the testimony borne on the other hand by Themist. Or. 23 (in Wetstein, on Galatians 1:6) to the Galatian readiness to learn, and acuteness of understanding—the consciousness of which would make the reproach all the more keenly felt—is also (notwithstanding Hofmann) to be set aside as irrelevant. Comp. Luke 24:25; Titus 3:3

τίς ὑμᾶς ἐβάσκανε] τίς conveys his astonishment at the great ascendency which the perversion had succeeded in attaining, and by way of emphatic contrast the words τίς ὑμᾶς are placed together: Who hath bewitched you, before whose eyes, etc.? Comp. v. Galatians 5:7.

βασκαίνω (from βάζω, to speak) means here to cast a spell upon (mala lingua nocere, Virg. Ecl. vii. 28), to bewitch by words, to enchant (Bos, Exercitatt. p. 173 f., and Wetstein),—a strong mode of describing the perversion, quite in keeping with the indignant feeling which could hardly conceive it possible. Comp. βασκανία, fascinatio, Plat. Phaed. p. 95 B βάσκανος, Plut. Symp. Galatians 5:7; ἀβάσκαντος, unenchanted. Hence the word is not to be explained, with Chrysostom and his followers: who has envied you, that is, your previous happy condition?—although this signification is of very frequent occurrence, usually indeed with the dative (Kühner, II. p. 247; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 462; Piers. ad Herodian. p. 470 f.), but also with the accusative in Sirach 14:6, Herodian. ii. 4. 11.

οἷς κατʼ ὀφθαλμοὺς ἰησ. χρ. προεγράφη ἐν ὑμῖν ἐσταυρωμένος] This fact, which ought to have guarded the Galatians from being led away to a Judaism opposed to the doctrine of atonement, and which makes their apostasy the more culpable, justifies the question of surprise, of which the words themselves form part; hence the mark of interrogation is to be placed after ἐσταυρ.

κατʼ ὀφθαλμούς] before the eyes. See examples in Wetstein. Comp. κατʼ ὄμματα, Soph. Ant. 756, and on ii. 11.

προεγράφη] is explained by most expositors, either as antea (previously) depictus est (Chrysostom, Luther, Erasmus, Castalio, Beza, Cornelius a Lapide, and others; also Hilgenfeld, Reithmayr), or palam depictus est (most modern expositors, following Calvin; including Winer, Paulus, Rückert, Usteri, Matthies, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Reiche, Ewald, Wieseler, Hofmann, Holsten), with which Hofmann compares the brazen serpent in the wilderness, and Caspari (in the Strassb. Beitr. 1854, p. 211 f.) even mixes up a stigmatization with the marks of Christ’s wounds, which Paul, according to Galatians 6:17, is supposed to have borne on his own body. But these interpretations are opposed not only by the words ἐν ὑμῖν (see below), but also by the usus loquendi. For, however frequent may be the occurrence of γράφειν in the sense of to paint, this signification can by no means be proved as to προγράφειν, not even in Arist. Av. 450 (see Rettig in Stud. u. Krit. 1830, p. 97). The Greek expression for showing how to paint, tracing out, in the sense of a picture given to copy, is ὑπογράφειν. Following Elsner and others, Morus, Flatt, and Schott understand it as palam scriptus est (1 Maccabees 10:36; Lucian, Tim. 51; Plut. Mor. p. 408 D, Demetr. 46, Camill. 11 et al.(112)): “ita Christus vobis est oboculos palam descriptus, quasi in tabula vobis praescriptus,” Morus. This is inconsistent with ἐν ὑμῖν, for these words cannot be joined with ἐσταυρωμένος (see below); and Schott’s interpretation: in animis vestris—so that what was said figuratively by οἷςπροεγρ. is now more exactly defined sermone proprio by ἐν ὑμῖν—makes the ἐν ὑμῖν appear simply as something quite foreign and unsuitable in the connection, by which the figure is marred. In the two other passages where Paul uses προγράφειν (Romans 15:4; Ephesians 3:3) it means to write beforehand, so that πρό has a temporal and not a local signification (comp. Ptol. viii. 25. 15, and see Hermann on our passage); nor is the meaning different in Jude 1:4 (see Huther). And so it is to be taken here.(113) Paul represents his previous preaching of Christ as crucified to the Galatians figuratively as a writing, which he had previously written ( προεγράφη) in their hearts ( ἐν ὑμῖν). Comp. 2 Corinthians 3:2 f. In this view κατʼ ὀφθαλμούς is that trait of the figure, by which the personal oral instruction is characterized: Paul formerly wrote Christ before their eyes in their hearts, when he stood before them and preached the word of the cross, which through his preaching impressed itself on their hearts. By his vivid illustration he recalls the fact to his readers, who had just been so misled by a preaching altogether different (Galatians 1:6). With no greater boldness than in 2 Corinthians 3:2 f., he has moulded the figure according to the circumstances of the case, as he is wont to do in figurative language (comp. Galatians 4:19); but this does not warrant a pressing of the figure to prove traits physically imcompatible (an objection urged by Reiche). Jerome and others, also Hermann, Bretschneider, and Rettig, l.c. p. 98 ff., have indeed correctly kept to the meaning olim scribere (Rettig, however, remarking undecidedly, that it may also mean palam scribere), but have quite inappropriately referred it to the prophecies of the O.T.: “quibus ante oculos praedictio fuit Christi in crucem sublati,” Hermann. Apart from the circumstance that the precise mode of death by crucifixion is not mentioned in the prophetical utterances, this would constitute a ground for surprise on the part of the apostle of a nature much too general, not founded on the personal relation of Paul to his readers, and therefore by no means adequate as a motive; and, in fact, Galatians 3:2-4 carry back their memory to the time, when Paul was at work among them.

ἐν ὑμῖν] is not, with Grotius, Usteri, and others, to be set aside as a Hebrew pleonasm ( אֲשֶׁר בָּכֶם), but is to be understood as in animis vestris (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:2; Soph. Phil. 1309: γράφου φρενῶν ἔσω; Aesch. Prom. 791, Suppl. 991, Choeph. 450), and belongs to προεγράφη; in which case, however, the latter cannot mean either palam pictus or palam scriptus est, because then ἐν ὑ΄ῖν would involve a contradictio in adjecto, and would not be a fitting epexegesis of οἷς (Winer, comp. Schott), for the depicting and the placarding cannot take place otherwise than on something external. To take ἐν ὑμῖν as among you and connect it with προεγρ., would yield not a strengthening of οἷς (as de Wette holds), but an empty addition, from which Reiche and Wieseler also obtain nothing more than a purport obvious of itself.(114) On the other hand, Hofmann hits upon the expedient of dividing the words οἷςἐσταυρ. into two independent sentences: (1) Before whose eyes is Jesus Christ; (2) as the Crucified One, He has been freely and publicly delineated among you. But, apart from the linguistically incorrect view of προεγράφη, this dismemberment would give to the language of the passage a violently abrupt form, which is the more intolerable, as Paul does not dwell further on the asyndetically introduced προεγρ. ἐν ὑμῖν ἐσταυρ. or subjoin to it any more particular statement, but, on the contrary, in Galatians 3:2 brings forward asyndetically a new thought. Instead of introducing it abruptly in a way so liable to misapprehension, he would have subjoined προεγράφη—if it was not intended to belong to οἷς—in some simple form by γάρ or ὅτι or ὅς or ὅσγε. Without any impropriety, he might, on the other hand, figuratively represent that he who preaches Christ to others writes (not placards or depicts) Christ before their eyes in their hearts. Most expositors connect ἐν ὑμῖν with ἐσταυρ., and explain either as propter vos (Koppe), contrary to the use of ἐν with persons (see on Galatians 1:24); or, unsuitably to the figurative idea κατʼ ὀφθαλμοὺς κ. τ. λ., in animis vestris;(115) or (as usually) inter vos: “so clearly, so evidently … just as if crucified among you,” Rückert. But the latter must have been expressed by ὡς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐσταυρ., and would also presuppose that the apostle’s preaching of the cross had embodied a vivid and detailed description of the crucifixion. It was not this however, but the fact itself (as the ἱλαστήριον), which formed the sum and substance of the preaching of the cross; as is certain from the apostle’s letters. Lastly, Luther’s peculiar interpretation, justly rejected by Calovius, but nevertheless again adopted in substance by Matthias,—that ἐν ὑμῖν ἐσταυρ. is a severe censure, “quod Christus (namely, after the rejection of grace) non vivit, sed mortuus in eis est (Hebrews 6:6),” which Paul had laid before them argumentis praedictis,—is as far-fetched, as alien from the usual Pauline mode of expression, and as unsuitable to the context as the view of Cajetanus, that, according to the idea “Christ suffers in His members” (Colossians 1:24), ἐν ὑμ. ἐσταυρ. is equivalent to for the sake of whom ye have suffered so much.

ἐσταυρ.] as the Crucified One, is with great emphasis moved on to the end. Comp. 1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 1:23.


Verse 2

Galatians 3:2. The foolishness of their error is now disclosed to them, by reminding them of their reception of the Holy Spirit. “Vide, quam efficaciter tractat locum ab experientia,” Luther, 1519.

τοῦτο μόνον θέλω μαθεῖν ἀφʼ ὑμῶν] This only—not to speak of other self-confessions, which I might demand of you for your refutation—this only I wish to become aware of from you. Bengel pertinently remarks: “ μόνον, grave argumentum.” To take μαθεῖν (with Luther, Bengel, Paulus) in the narrower sense to learn—the apostle thus representing himself ironically as a scholar—is justified neither by the tone of the context nor by the tenor of the question, which in fact concerns not a doctrine, but simply a piece of information; μανθάνω is well known in the sense of to come to know, cognoscere. See Acts 23:27; Exodus 2:4; 2 Maccabees 7:2; 3 Maccabees 1:1; Xen. Cyr. vi. 1. 31; Hell. ii. 1. 1; Aesch. Agam. 615. Comp. Soph. Oed. Col. 505: τοῦτο βούλομαι μαθεῖν.

ἀφʼ ὑμῶν] is not used instead of παρʼ ὑμῶν (Rückert); for ἀπό also may denote a direct μαθεῖν (comp. especially Colossians 1:7): see on 1 Corinthians 11:23. And this is what Paul means, for he conceives himself speaking with his readers as if they were present.

ἐξ ἔργων νόμου κ. τ. λ.] Was it your fulfilment of works which the law prescribes (comp. on Galatians 2:16), or was it the preaching to you of faith (that is, faith in Christ), which caused your reception of the Spirit? The πνεῦμα is the Holy Spirit (the personal divine principle of the whole Christian nature and life), and the Holy Spirit viewed generally according to His very various modes of operation, by which He makes Himself known in different individuals; not merely in relation to the miraculous gifts, 1 Corinthians 12-14 (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Jerome); for Paul reminds the whole body of his readers of their reception of the Spirit, and it is not till Galatians 3:5 that the δυνάμεις are specially brought forward as a specific form of the operations of the Spirit. Comp. Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 27 f.

The which follows means: or, on the other hand; “duo directe opposita,” Bengel. The ἀκοὴ πίστεως is explained either as the hearing of faith (reception of the gospel preached: Vulgate, Beza, Bengel, Morus, Rückert, Usteri, Schott, Matthias, Reithmayr, and others), or as that which is heard, i.e. the report, the message of faith, which treats of faith, ἀκοή admits of either meaning (for the former, comp. Plat. Theaet. p. 142 D.; Plut. Mor. p. 41 E Soph. El. 30; LXX. 1 Samuel 15:22 : and for the latter, comp. Plat. Phaedr. p. 274 C Dem. 1097. 3; LXX. Isaiah 53:1; John 12:38; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 4:2; Sirach 40:12). But πίστεως is decisive in favour of the latter, for it is never the “doctrina fidei” (see on Galatians 1:23), but always the subjective faith, which however, as here, may be regarded objectively; and hence also adherents of the second interpretation (as Calvin, Grotius, Zachariae, Rosenmüller, and others) are wrong in taking πίστις as system of doctrine. Moreover, ἀκοή, in the sense of preaching (discourse heard), but not in the sense of auditio, is familiar in the N.T. (so even in Romans 10:16, John 12:38, passages which Matthias seeks to explain differently); hence Holsten incorrectly takes πίστεως as the genitive of the subject to ἀκοῆς, so that the πίστις is the ἀκούουσα,—a view opposed also by Romans 10:17. But Hofmann also is incorrect in holding that it should be construed ἐκ πίστεως ἀκοῆς (faith in news announced); against which the antithesis ἐξ ἔργων νόμου is decisive. Through the news concerning faith, which was preached to them, the readers had become believers (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 4:2), and consequently partakers of the Holy Spirit. Lastly, Flatt and Matthies, following a few ancient expositors, have quite arbitrarily and, although not without linguistic precedent in the LXX. (1 Samuel 15:22), without any countenance from the N.T., understood ἀκοῆς as equivalent to ὑπακοῆς (Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26; 1 Peter 1:22). The acceptance of the ἀκοὴ πίστεως which took place on the part of the readers was understood by them as a matter of course, since from this ἀκοή proceeded the reception of the Spirit. They were in fact called through the gospel.


Verse 3

Galatians 3:3. Are ye to such a degree irrational?—pointing to what follows. The interrogative view (in opposition to Hofmann) is in keeping with the fervour of the language, and is logically justified by the indication of the high degree implied in οὕτως. On οὕτως, comp. Soph. Ant. 220, οὐκ ἔστιν οὕτω μῶρος: John 3:16; Galatians 1:6; Hebrews 12:21; and see Voigtländer, ad Luc. D. M. p. 220; Jacob, ad Luc. Alex. p. 28.

ἐναρξάμενοι πνεύματι, νῦν σαρκὶ ἐπιτελεῖσθε;] After ye have begun by means of the Spirit, are ye now brought to completion by means of the flesh? The second part of the sentence is ironical: “After ye have made a beginning in the Christian life by your receiving the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:2), are ye now to be made perfect by your becoming persons whose life is subject to the government of the σάρξ? Do ye lend yourselves to such completion as this?” In the same measure in which the readers went back to the legal standpoint and departed from the life of faith, must they again be emptied of the Holy Spirit which they had received, and consequently be re-converted from πνευματικοί into σαρκικοί (Romans 7:5; Romans 7:14), that is, men who, loosed from the influence of the Holy Spirit, are again under the dominion of the σάρξ which impels to sin (Romans 7:14 ff; Romans 8:7 f., et al.). For the law cannot overcome the σάρξ (Romans 8:3-4; 1 Corinthians 15:56). According to this view, therefore, πνεῦμα and σάρξ(116) designate, not Christianity and Judaism themselves, but the specific agencies of life in Christianity and Judaism (Romans 7:5-6), expressed, indeed, without the article in qualitative contrast as Spirit and flesh, but in the obvious concrete application meaning nothing else than the Holy Spirit and the unspiritual, corporeal and psychical nature of man, which draws him into opposition to God and inclination to sin (see e.g. Romans 4:1; John 3:6).

ἐναρξάμενοι] What it is which they have begun, is obvious from πνεῦμα ἐλάβετε in Galatians 3:2, namely, the state into which they entered through the reception of the Spirit—the Christian life.(117) This reception is “the indisputable sign of the existence and working of true Christianity,” Ewald.

ἐπιτελεῖσθε] is understood by most modern expositors (including Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Hilgenfeld, Ewald, Wieseler, Hofmann) as middle (comp. Luther, Castalio, and others); although Koppe (with whom Rückert agrees) entirely obliterates the literal sense by the assumption, that it is put so only for the sake of the contrast and denotes “tantum id, quod nunc inter Gal. fieri solebat, contrarium pristinae eorum sapientiae,” etc. Winer explains more definitely: “carne finire, h. e. ita ad τὴν σάρκα se applicare, ut in his studiis σαρκικοῖς plane acquiescas;” and Wieseler: “instead of your advancing onward to the goal, ye make the most shameful retrogression;” comp. Hofmann. But ἐπιτελεῖν and ἐπιτελεῖσθαι always denote ending in the sense of completion, of accomplishing and bringing fully to a conclusion (consummare): see especially Philippians 1:6, ἐναρξάμενοςἐπιτελέσει; 1 Samuel 3:12, ἄρξο΄αι καὶ ἐπιτελέσω: Zechariah 4:9; Luke 13:32; Romans 15:28; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:11; Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 9:6. Comp. Thucyd. iv. 90. 4, ὅσα ἦν ὑπόλοιπα ἐπιτελέσαι: Xen. Anab. iv. 3. 13. If, therefore, the word is taken as middle, it must be explained: “After ye have begun (your Christian life) with the Spirit, do ye now bring (that which ye have begun) to completion with the flesh?” Comp. Holsten. But the active to complete is always in the N.T. represented by ἐπιτελεῖν, not by ἐπιτελεῖσθαι in the middle (comp., on the contrary, 1 Peter 5:9), however undoubted is the occurrence of the medial use among Greek authors (Plat. Phil. p. 27 C Xen. Mem. iv. 8. 8; Polyb. i. 40. 16, ii. 58. 10, v. 108. 9). Moreover, the τοσαῦτα ἐπάθετε εἰκῆ which follows (see on Galatians 3:4) makes the subject of ἐπιτελεῖσθε appear as suffering, and thereby indicates the word to be passive, as, following the Vulgate (consummamini), Chrysostom, and Theophylact, many of the older expositors have understood it,(118)—viz., so that the Judaistic operations, which the readers had experience of and allowed to be practised on themselves, are expressed by antiphrasis, and doubtless in reference to their own opinion and that of their teachers, as their Christian completion ( τέλειοι ποιεῖσθε!). Comp. also Matthias, Vomel, Reithmayr. But how cutting and putting to shame this irony is, is felt at once from the contradictory juxtaposition of carne perficimini! Nearest to our view (without, however, bringing forward the ironical character of the words) comes that of Beza, who says that perficimini applies to the teaching of the pseudo-apostles, who ascribed “Christo tantum initia, legi perfectionem justitiae.” Comp. Semler. The present denotes that the Galatians were just occupied in this ἐπιτελεῖσθαι. Comp. Galatians 1:6. The emphatic νῦν (“nunc, cum magis magisque deberetis spirituales fieri relicta carne,” Bengel) should have prevented it from being taken as the Attic future (Studer, Usteri).


Verse 4

Galatians 3:4. After Paul, by the νῦν σαρκὶ ἐπιτελεῖσθε, has reminded his readers of all that they had most foolishly submitted to at the hands of the false apostles, in order to be made, according to their own and their teachers’ fancy, finished Christians, he now discloses to them the uselessness of it in the exclamation (not interrogation), “So much have ye suffered without profit!” What he means by τοσαῦτα ἐπάθετε, is therefore everything with which the false apostles in their Judaistic zeal had molested and burdened the Galatians,—the many exactions, in name of compliance with the law, which these had necessarily to undergo at the hands of their new teachers. Comp. Galatians 1:6 f., Galatians 4:10, Galatians 5:2; Galatians 5:8, Galatians 6:12, Galatians 2:4. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:20. Bengel refers it to the patient endurance of the apostle’s ministry, produced through the Holy Spirit; but this view is not at all suggested by the context, and would not correspond to the sense of πάσχειν (but rather of ἀνέχεσθαι). All the expositors before Schomer (in Wolf) and Homberg, as also Grotius, Calovius, Wolf, Semler, Michaelis, Morus, Rückert, Olshausen, Reithmayr, and others, understand it (following Chrysostom and Augustine) of the sufferings and persecutions on account of Christianity; so that Paul asks, “Have ye suffered so much in vain? Seeing, namely, that ye have fallen away from the faith and hence cannot attain to the glory which tribulation brings in its train” (2 Corinthians 4:17; Romans 8:17). But, apart from the fact that no extraordinary sufferings on the part of the Galatians are either touched upon in the epistle (Galatians 4:29 is quite general in its character) or known to us otherwise, this interpretation is completely foreign to the connection. After Schomer and Homberg, others (including Schoettgen, Raphel, Kypke, Zachariae, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Borger, Flatt, Winer, Usteri, Schott, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler, Hofmann, Matthias) explain it: “So many benefits (by means of the Spirit) have ye experienced in vain?” So also Fritzsche, Diss. I. in 2 Cor. p. 54, and Holsten. Certainly πάσχω, something befalls me, is a vox media (hence Matthies even wishes to understand it of the agreeable and disagreeable together), which, according to the well-known Greek usage, as the passive side of the idea of ποιεῖν, may be employed also of happy experiences (Xen. Anab. v. 5. 9: ἀγαθὸν μέν τι πάσχειν, κακὸν δὲ μηδέν); but, as the latter use of the word always occurs with a qualitative addition either expressed ( εὖ, χάριν, τερπνόν, ἀγαθά, ὀνήσιμα, or the like) or indicated beyond doubt by the immediate context (as Joseph. Antt. iii. 15. Galatians 1 : ὅσα παθόντες ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ πηλίκων εὐεργεσιῶν μεταλαβόντες), it is not to be found at all in the whole of the New Test., the LXX., or the Apocrypha (not even Esther 9:29). Thus the interpretation, even if τοσαῦτα could convey any such qualitative definition of the text, is without precedent in the usage of Scripture. Paul in particular, often as he speaks about the experiences of divine grace, never uses for this purpose πάσχειν, which with him always denotes the experience of suffering. He would have written, as the correlative of the bestowal of grace, ἐλάβετε or ἐδέξασθε (2 Corinthians 6:1). Ewald’s suggestion of powerful and vehement movements of the Spirit is forced, and unwarranted by the text. The very word τοσαῦτα points to the suffering of evil, just as πολλά, μάλα πολλὰ παθεῖν, without κακά or the like, is frequently so used in Greek authors.

εἴγε καὶ εἰκῆ] A hint that the case might be still worse than was expressed in εἰκῆ: if indeed it is only in vain (and not even to the positive jeopardy of your Messianic salvation) that ye have suffered. On καί, compare Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 136; Baeuml. Partik. p. 150. So, in substance, Beza, Grotius, Wolf, Semler, Kypke, Michaelis, Rosenmüller, Paulus, Matthies, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Ewald, Wieseler, Matthias, and others. Chrysostom and his followers discover a mitigation and encouragement to improvement in the words ( εἰ γὰρ βουληθείητέ φησιν ἀνανῆψαι καὶ ἀνακτήσασθαι ἑαυτοὺς, οὐκ εἰκῆ, Chrysostom), as also Ambrose, Luther,(119) Erasmus, Calvin, Clarius, Zeger, Calovius, Cornelius a Lapide, Estius, Zachariae, Morus, and others. In this case καί must be understood as really (Hartung, I. p. 132); but the idea of improvement, whereby the supposed case of the εἰκῆ would be cancelled, is not indicated by aught in the context. Even should the words be taken as merely leaving open the possibility, that matters had not actually already gone so far with the readers (Hofmann), Paul himself would have rendered his very earnest reproach τοσαῦτα ἐπάθ. εἰκῆ both problematical and ambiguous, and would thus have taken the whole pith out of it.

εἴγε] assuming, namely, that ye even only, etc., makes the condition more prominent, and serves to intensify the mere εἰ. Paul fears that more may take place than that which was only expressed by εἰκῆ. This, however, is conveyed by the context, and is independent of the γέ, instead of which πέρ might have been used. See Baeuml. l.c. p. 64 f. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 5:3; Ephesians 3:2. Still more marked prominence would have been given to the condition by εἴπερ γε καί (Plat. Theaet. p. 187 D Herod. vi. 16).


Verse 5

Galatians 3:5. After the logical parenthesis (Galatians 3:3-4), οὖν resumes (Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 22 f.; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 719) what was said in Galatians 3:2, but in an altered tense (the present), in order to annex the example of Abraham as a proof of justification by faith.

ἐπιχορηγῶν and ἐνεργῶν are not to be understood as imperfect participles (Castalio, Bengel, Semler, and others); for, if referring to the reception of the Spirit for the first time corresponding to ἐλάβετε in Galatians 3:2, Paul must have written ἐπιχορηγήσας and ἐνεργήσας. No, he denotes the ἐπιχορηγεῖν κ. τ. λ. as still continuing among the Galatians; it has not yet ceased, although now, of course, in consequence of the active efforts of the Judaizers under which they had suffered, it could not but be less strong and general than previously ( νῦν σαρκὶ ἐπιτελεῖσθε, Galatians 3:3); “nondum ceciderant, sed inclinabantur, ut caderent,” Augustine.

In ἐπιχορηγεῖν the ἐπί is not insuper, but denotes the direction, as in the German ‘darreichen, zukommen lassen’ (2 Corinthians 9:10; Colossians 2:19; 2 Peter 1:5; comp. also Philippians 1:19).

καὶ ἐνεργ.] and—to make mention of a particular χάρισμαwhich, etc.

δυνάμεις] may be miracles (1 Corinthians 12:10), in which case ἐν is among (Winer and others); or miraculous powers (1 Corinthians 12:28), in which case ἐν is within you (Borger, Usteri, Matthies, Schott, Olshausen, Wieseler, and others). The analogy of 1 Corinthians 12:6 (comp. Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 2:2) favours the latter.

ἐξ ἔργων νόμου, ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστ.] sc. ποιεῖ τοῦτο (Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 336), or ἐπιχορηγεῖ ὑμῖν τὸ πνεῦμα κ. ἐνεργεῖ δυνάμεις ἐν ὑμῖν; Is this his operation upon you caused by works of the law or by the news of faith? comes it in consequence of your prosecuting those works, or of such news being communicated to you? by the former way of active merit, or by the latter way of the reception of divine preaching? As to ἀκοὴ πίστεως, here also not (with Hofmann) = πίστις ἀκοῆς, see on Galatians 3:2.


Verse 6

Galatians 3:6. The answer, obvious of itself, to the preceding question is: ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως; and to this, but not directly to that question itself (as Hofmann holds, according to his wrong interpretation of ἀκοῆς πίστεως), Paul subjoins—making use of the words well known to his readers, Genesis 15:6, according to the LXX.—that great religious-historic argument for the righteousness of faith, which is presented in the justification of the progenitor of the theocratic people. Seeing that Paul has just specified the operation of the Spirit caused by the preached news of faith, as that which proves the justifying power of faith, he may with just logic continue: even as Abraham believed God (trusted His Messianic promise; comp. on John 8:56), and it (this faith) was counted to him as righteousness, that is, in the judgment of the gracious God was imputed to him as rectitude.(120) Neither, therefore, is a colon to be placed (with Koppe) after ἀβρ., nor (with Beza and Hilgenfeld) is Galatians 3:6 to be considered as protasis and Galatians 3:7 as apodosis, for Galatians 3:7 is evidently independent, and it would be a very arbitrary course (with Hilgenfeld) to take Galatians 3:6 as an anacoluthon. See, moreover, on Romans 4:3; Hoelemann, de justitiœ ex fide ambabus in V. T. sedibus, Lips. 1867, p. 8 ff. For the reward of Abraham’s justifying faith according to Gen. l.c., see James 2:22 f.; 1 Maccabees 2:52; and Mechilta in Jalkut Sim. I. f. 69. 3, “hoc planum est, Abrahamum neque hunc mundum neque futurum haereditate consequi potuisse, nisi per fidem, qua credidit, q. d. Genesis 15:6.”


Verse 7

Galatians 3:7. Know ye therefore (since Abraham’s faith was counted to him for righteousness) that those who are of faith, etc.

γινώσκετε is taken as indicative by Cyprian, ep. 63 ad Caecil., Jerome, Ambrose, Luther, Erasmus, Beza, Menochius, Piscator, Semler, Rosenmüller, Rückert, Reithmayr, and others. The tone of the passage is more animated by taking it as imperative.(121)

οἱ ἐκ πίστ.] designates believers, according to this their specific peculiarity, under the point of view of origin. It is faith from which their spiritual state of life proceeds. Comp. Romans 2:8; Romans 3:26; Romans 4:14; John 18:37, et al.

οὕτοι] has the emphasis (comp. Romans 8:14; Romans 9:6): these, and no others. The contrast here is usually supposed to be: not the bodily descendants of Abraham. But how foreign to the context is a comparison between the bodily and spiritual children of Abraham! The only interpretation in harmony with the context is: “these, and not those who are ἐξ ἔργων νόμου.” See Galatians 3:8-10. So also, correctly, Rückert and Wieseler.

υἱοὶ ἀβρ.] children of Abraham in the true sense. For the true υἱοί can have no nature different from the essential nature of the father. Comp. John 8:8; John 8:39; Romans 4:11 f.


Verse 8

Galatians 3:8. δέ] marks the transition from the sonship of Abraham pertaining to believers to the participation in his blessing.

προϊδοῦσα] personification. Comp. Galatians 3:22; Romans 4:3; Romans 9:17; John 7:38. The Scripture foresaw and the Scripture announced beforehand, inasmuch as whatever God foresaw and announced beforehand—in reference, namely, to that which is at present taking place—formed an element of Scripture, and was expressed in it. Comp. the frequent λέγει γραφή; likewise Siphra, f. 186. Galatians 2 : Quid vidit ( ראה) scriptura, etc.

ἐκ πίστεως] is the main point of the participial sentence: of faith, not of the works of the law as the causal condition on the side of man.

δικαιοῖ] present, for the time foreseen ( προϊδοῦσα) was the Christian present.

τὰ ἔθνη] the Gentiles (comp. Galatians 3:14), so that the latter have not to subject themselves to the law in order to become righteous.

προευηγγελίσατο] pre-announced the glad tidings. προ refers, as in προϊδοῦσα, to the future realization in Christian times. This promise was a gospel before the gospel. The word does not occur elsewhere in the New Test., in the LXX., or the Apocrypha; but it is found in Philo, de opif m. p. 7 A, de rum. mut. p. 1069 D also Schol. Soph. Trach. 335.

ὅτι ἐνευλογηθήσ. ἐν σοὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη] Genesis 12:3, quoted according to the LXX. with the recitative ὅτι, but so that, instead of πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς, πάντα τὰ ἔθνη is adopted from Genesis 18:18 (comp. also Genesis 22:18); and this not accidentally, but because Paul is dealing with Gentile Christians, whom it was desired to subject to the law. Hence (and see Galatians 3:14) it is not to be explained (with Winer, Matthias, Schott, Baumgarten-Crusius, following earlier expositors) of all nations, both Jews and Gentiles.

The emphasis in this utterance of promise is to be laid, not on πάντα (Schott), but on the prefixed ἐνευλογηθήσονται. For if the Scripture had not foreseen that faith would justify the Gentiles, it would not have promised blessing in Abraham to all the Gentiles; from which it follows (Galatians 3:10) that it is believers who receive this blessing, and not those of the law, on whom indeed the Scripture pronounces not blessing, but curse (Galatians 3:10). The characteristic ἐνευλογ. can only be meant to apply to those who are of faith, and not to those who are of the law. What it is that in Paul’s view is expressed by ἐνευλογεῖσθαι, Genesis 12:3, in its Messianic fulfilment, is evident from the preceding ὅτι ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοῖ τὰ ἔθνη, namely, God’s gracious gift of justification (the opposite of the κατάρα, Galatians 3:10-11), which, because it is promised as blessing, can only be shared by believers, and not by those of the law who are under curse.(122) The correctness of this view is certainly confirmed by Galatians 3:14, where to the reception of the blessing there is annexed, as a further reception, that of the Holy Spirit, so that the bestowal of the Spirit is not included in the idea of the εὐλογία, but this idea is limited in conformity with the context to the justification, with which the whole reception of salvation begins.

ἐν σοί is not: per tuam posteritatem, i.e. Christum (Jerome, Oecumenius, Menochius, Estius, Calovius, Rambach, Morus, Borger, Flatt, Schott; comp. also Bengel), by which interpretation the personal σοί (and how much at variance with Galatians 3:9!) is entirely set aside, as if ἐν τῷ σπέρ΄ατί σου (Galatians 3:16) were used. But it is: in thee; that is, in the fact that thou art blessed (art justified) is involved (as a consequence) the blessedness of all the Gentiles, in so far as all the Gentiles are to attain justification by faith, and it is in the blessing of Abraham, the father of all the faithful (Romans 4.), that the connection between faith and justification is opened and instituted for all future time. Comp. Ellicott. On ἐνευλογεῖσθαι, to be blessed in the person of any one, a word which does not occur in Greek authors, comp. Acts 3:25, Sirach 44:21.


Verse 8-9

Galatians 3:8-9. After having pointed out from the Scripture that none other than believers are sons of Abraham, Paul now shows further according to Scripture that none other than these have a share in Abraham’s blessing, that is, are justified.


Verse 9

Galatians 3:9. ὥστε] The general result from Galatians 3:7-8. If, namely, believers are sons of Abraham (Galatians 3:7), and if the Scripture, in its promise of blessing to Abraham, has had in view faith as the source of divine justification for the Gentiles, believers accordingly are those who are blessed with believing Abraham, ὥστε is used in its common acceptation of the actual consequence, and is therefore not to be explained in the sense of οὕτως νῦν, to which Hofmann’s view comes.

οἱ ἐκ πίστεως] has the whole emphasis, as in Galatians 3:7.

σὺν τῷ πιστῷ ἀβρ.] Paul does not repeat ἐν, but writes σύν, because he looks from the present time of εὐλογοῦνται into the past, in which Abraham stands forth as the blessed one, with whom those who become blessed are now placed on a like footing, σύν is not, however, equivalent to καθώς, a view on behalf of which appeal ought not to be made to Romans 8:32 (Koppe and others); but it expresses fellowship, for believers, inasmuch as they are blessed (justified), share with believing Abraham the same divine benefit which began in his person and is extended to believers as the υἱούς homogeneous with him. The predicate πιστῷ is added to ἀβρ., in order to denote the similarity of the ethical character, which necessarily accompanies the similarity of the result.


Verse 10

Galatians 3:10. Argumentum e contrario for the correctness of the result exhibited in Galatians 3:9.(123) For how entirely different is the position of those who are workers of the law! These, as a whole, according to the Scripture, are under a curse; so that it cannot be supposed that they should become blessed. The extension of the argumentative force of the γάρ to the whole series of propositions, Galatians 3:10-14 (Holsten, Hofmann), so that Galatians 3:10 would only form the introduction to the argument, is the less to be approved, because this γάρ is followed by a second and subordinate γάρ, and then in Galatians 3:11 an argument entirely complete in itself is introduced by δέ. Moreover, by the quotation of Scripture in Galatians 3:10 that which it is intended to prove ( ὅσοι κ. τ. λ.) is proved completely and strikingly.(124)

ὅσοι γὰρ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου εἰσίν] the opposite of the οἱ ἐκ πίστεως in Galatians 3:7 : for all who are of works of the law, that is, those whose characteristic moral condition is produced and regulated by observance of the law (comp. on Romans 2:8), the men of law, οἱ ἐχόμενοι τοῦ νόμου, Oecumenius. Comp. ἐργαζό΄ενος, Romans 4:4.

The quotation is from Deuteronomy 27:26 freely after the LXX.; and the probative force of the passage in reference to ὅσοιὑπὸ κατάραν εἰσί turns on the fact that no one is adequate, either quantitatively or qualitatively, to the ἐ΄΄ένειν ἐν πᾶσι κ. τ. λ.; consequently all who are ἐξ ἔργων νό΄ου are subjected to the curse here ordained. He alone would not be so, who should really render the complete ( ἐν πᾶσι) and constant ( ἐμμένει) obedience to the law, by virtue of which he as a doer of the law would necessarily be pronounced righteous (Romans 2:13), and would have a claim to salvation as ὀφείλη΄α (Romans 4:4); but see Romans 3:9-20; Romans 7:7-25.

ἐπικατάρατος] sc. ἐστι, אָרוּר, κατηρά΄ενος, Matthew 25:41, that is, has incurred the divine ὀργή. Comp. Romans 4:15. The word does not occur in Greek authors, among whom κατάρατος is frequently used. But comp. Wisdom of Solomon 3:13; Wisdom of Solomon 14:8; Tobit 13:12; 4 Maccabees 2:19. The ἀπώλεια, eternal death, the opposite of the ζήσεται in Galatians 3:11, ensues as the final destiny of the ἐπικατάρατος (comp. Matthew 25:41), the consummation and effect of the κατάρα.

ὃς οὐκ ἐ΄΄ένει] What is written in the book of the law is conceived as the normal range of action, which man steps beyond. Comp. Acts 14:22; Hebrews 8:9; 2 Timothy 3:14; Xen. Ages. i. 11; Thuc. iv. 118. 9; Plat. Legg. viii. p. 844 C Polyb. iii. 70. 4; Liban. IV. 271, Reiske; Joseph. Antt. viii. 10. 3, et al. More frequently used by classical authors with the mere dative than with ἐν.

πᾶσι] as well as the previous πᾶς, is found in the Samaritan text and in the LXX., but not in the Hebrew. Jerome, however, groundlessly accuses the Jews of mutilating the text on purpose (to mitigate the severity of the expression).

τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτά] design of the ἐμμένει κ. τ. λ.


Verse 11

f

Galatians 3:11 f. δέ] carrying on the argument. After Paul in Galatians 3:10 has proved the participation of believers in the blessing of Abraham by the argumentum e contrario, that those who are of the law are under curse, it is his object now—in order to complete the doctrinal explanation begun in Galatians 3:6 on the basis of Scripture—to show, on the same basis, the only way of justification, and that (a) negatively: it is not by the way of the law that man becomes righteous (Galatians 3:11-12), and (b) positively: Christ has made us free from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). Observe (in opposition to Wieseler’s objection) that in δικαιοῦται παρὰ τ. θεῷ, the being justified in spite of the curse, and consequently the becoming free from it, is clearly and necessarily implied by the context preceding (Galatians 3:10) and following (Galatians 3:13).

Galatians 3:11-12 contain a complete syllogism; δίκαιος ἐκ πίστ. ζήσεται forming the major proposition, Galatians 3:12 the minor, and ἐν νόμῳ οὐδεὶς δικαιοῦται παρὰ τῷ θεῷ the conclusion. The subtle objections of Hofmann are refuted not only by the combination δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως, but also by the necessary inner correlation of δικαιοσύνη and ζωή, which are put as reciprocal.

The first ὅτι is declaratory, and the second causal: “but that through the law no one …, is evident, because,” etc. Homberg and Flatt take them conversely: “But because through the law no one …, it is evident that,” etc. The circumstance that δῆλον ὅτι must mean it is evident, that (Flatt), comp. 1 Corinthians 15:27, is not to be adduced as favouring the latter view; for in our interpretation also it has this meaning, only ὅτι is made to precede (see Kühner, II. p. 626). Against it, on the other hand, we may urge, that Galatians 3:12 would be quite superfluous and irrelevant to the argument, and also that δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται, as a well-known aphorism, of Scripture, is far more fitly employed to prove than to be itself proved. Far better is the view of Bengel, who likewise is not inclined to separate δῆλον ὅτι: “Quod attinet ad id (the former ὅτι thus being equivalent to εἰς ἐκεῖνο, ὅτι, 2 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 11:10; John 2:18; John 9:17), quod in lege nemo justificetur coram Deo, id sane certum est,” etc. The usual view is, however, more natural(125) and more emphatic. Hofmann, in loc. and Schriftbew. I. p. 615 f., wishes to take Galatians 3:11-12 as protasis to Galatians 3:13-14; according to his view, ὅτι specifies the cause, and δῆλον (or δηλονότι) only introduces the illustration of this cause. But we thus get a long parenthetically involved period, differing from the whole context, in which Paul expresses himself only in short sentences without periodic complication; moreover, the well-known use of δηλονότι as namely (see especially Buttmann, ad Plat. Crit. p. 106; Bast, Palaeogr. p. 804) does not occur elsewhere in the N.T., although the opportunities for its use were very frequent (1 Corinthians 15:27, 1 Timothy 6:7, are wrongly adduced); further, it is à priori very improbable that the two important quotations in Galatians 3:11-12 should be destined merely for incidental illustration (comp. Romans 1:17); and lastly, there would result an awkward thought, as if, namely, Christ had been moved to His work of redemption, in the death on the cross, by the reflection contained in Galatians 3:11-12 (comp., on the contrary, Galatians 4:3-5; Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

ἐν νόμῳ] not: by observance of the law, which would be ἐξ ἔργων νόμου (Erasmus, Koppe, Rosenmüller, and others), but: through the law, in so far, namely, as the law is an institution which does not cancel the curse so pronounced and procure justification; for otherwise faith must have been its principle, which is not the case (see the sequel). The law is consequently, in principle, not the means by the use of which a man can attain to justification. On this ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου (Romans 8:3), comp. Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 68; Neander, II. p. 658 ff.; Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 286 f. χριστός in Galatians 3:13 corresponds to the emphatically prefixed ἐν νόμῳ (what by the law is not done, Christ has effected); therefore ἐν is not to be understood (with Rückert, de Wette, and others) as: in, in the condition of Judaism, or in the sense of the rule (Wieseler), but as: through, by means of.

παρὰ τῷ θεῷ] judice Deo, opposed to the judgment of men. Comp. Romans 2:13; Winer, p. 369 [E. T. 492],

δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται] an aphorism of Scripture well known to the readers, which therefore did not need any formula of quotation (D* E F G, Syr. Erp. It., have γέγραπται γάρ before ὅτι, F G also omitting δῆλον). Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:27; Romans 9:7; and van Hengel in loc. The passage is from Habakkuk 2:4, according to the LXX. ( δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστ. μου ζήσεται, or, according to A.: δὲ δίκ. μου ἐκ π. μ. ζ.), where it is said: The righteous ( צַדִּיק) shall through his fidelity (towards God) become partaker of (theocratic) life-blessedness. The apostle, glancing back from the Messianic fulfilment of this saying—which he had everywhere in view, and experienced most deeply in his own consciousness—to the Messianic destination of it, recognises as its prophetic sense: “He who is righteous through faith (in Christ) shall obtain (Messianic) life.” Comp. on Romans 1:17. In so doing Paul, following the LXX., which very often renders אמונה by πίστις, had the more reason for retaining this word, because the faithful self-surrender to God (to His promise and grace) is the fundamental essence of faith in Christ; and he might join ἐκ πίστεως to δίκαιος, because the life ἐκ πίστεως presupposes no other righteousness than that ἐκ πίστεως. Here also, as in Rom. l.c. (otherwise in Hebrews 10:38), the words δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως are to be connected (Chrysostom, Cajetanus, Pareus, Bengel, Baumgarten, Zachariae, Michaelis, Semler, Morus, Griesbach, Knapp, Rückert, Winer, Gramm. p. 129 [E. T. 170], Hilgenfeld, Reithmayr, Hoelemann, and others), and not ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται (so most of the older expositors, following Jerome and Augustine; also Borger, Winer, Matthies, Schott, de Wette, Wieseler, Ewald, Holsten, Hofmann, Matthias): for Paul desires to point out the cause of the righteousness, and not that of the life of the righteous, although this has the same cause; and in Galatians 3:12, ποιήσας αὐτά stands in contrast not to δίκαιος merely, but to δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως. Compare, besides, Hoelemann, l.c. p. 41 f. Paul, however, did not write ἐκ πίστεως δίκαιος or δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως, because this important saying was well known and sanctioned by usage in the order of the words given by the LXX.; so that he involuntarily abstained from the freedom of dealing elsewhere manifested by him in quoting from Scripture. The grammatical correctness of the junction of ἐκ πίστ. to δίκαιος is evident from the fact that the phrase δικαιοῦσθαι ἐκ πίστ. is used; comp. Galatians 3:8.


Verse 12

Galatians 3:12. Minor proposition; δέ the syllogistic atqui. See on Galatians 3:11.

οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ πίστεως, is not of faith, is not an institution which has faith as the principle of its nature and action. Comp. Galatians 3:10.

ἀλλʼ ποιήσας κ. τ. λ.] but he who shall have done them (namely, the προστάγματα and κρίματα of God, Leviticus 18:5) shall live (shall have life in the Messiah’s kingdom) through them, so that they form, in this way of doing, the channel of obtaining life. Thus in the express words of the law (Leviticus 18:5), likewise presumed to be familiar to his readers, Paul introduces the nature of the law as contrasted with ἐκ πίστεως. Comp. Romans 10:5. After ἀλλʼ, γέγραπται is not (with Schott) to be supplied (comp. also Matthias, who understands even οὐκ ἔστιν as runs not); but, as the form with the apostrophe indicates, Paul has connected ἀλλʼ immediately with ποιήσας αὐτά, leaving it to the reader not only to explain for himself αὐτά and ἐν αὐτοῖς from his acquaintance with the O.T. context of the saying referred to, but also to complete for himself the connection from the first half of the verse: “The law, however, has not faith as its principle; but the doer of the commandments—this is the axiom of the law—shall live by them.” Comp. on Romans 15:3; 1 Corinthians 1:31.


Verse 13

Galatians 3:13. Connection: “Through the law no one becomes righteous (Galatians 3:11-12); Christ has redeemed us from the curse.” See on Galatians 3:11. The asyndeton renders the contrast stronger. Comp. Colossians 3:4. Rückert (comp. also Flatt, Koppe, Schott, Olshausen) reverts to Galatians 3:10, supplying μέν in Galatians 3:10, and δέ in Galatians 3:13. This is incorrect, for χρίστος finds its appropriate antithesis in the words immediately preceding; and, as in general it is a mistake thus to supply μέν and δέ, it is here the more absurd, because ὅσοι in Galatians 3:10 has expressly received in γάρ its reference to what precedes it. Against Hofmann’s interpretation, that Galatians 3:13 is apodosis to Galatians 3:11-12, see on Galatians 3:11.

ἡμᾶς] applies to the Jews; for these were under the curse of the law(126) mentioned in Galatians 3:10, and by faith in Christ made, themselves partakers of the redemption from that curse accomplished by Him, as Paul had himself experienced. Others have understood it as the Jews and Gentiles (Gomarus, Pareus, Estius, Flatt, Winer, Matthies). But against this view it may be urged, that the Gentiles were not under the curse of the Mosaic law (Romans 2:12); that a reference to the natural law as well (Romans 2:14-15) is quite foreign to the context (in opposition to Flatt); that the law, even if it had not been done away by Christ, would yet never have related to the Gentiles (in opposition to Winer), because it was the partition-wall between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:14 f.); and lastly, that afterwards in Galatians 3:14 εἰς τὰ ἔθνη is placed in contrast to the ἡμᾶς, and hence it must not be said, with Matthies, that it so far applies to the Gentiles also, since the latter as Christians could not be under obligation to the law,—which, besides, would amount to a very indirect sort of ransom, entirely different from the sense in which it applied to the Jews.

ἐξηγόρασεν] Comp. Galatians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Ephesians 1:7; 2 Peter 2:1; Matthew 20:28; Revelation 5:9 Diod. Exc. p. 530. 4; 1 Timothy 2:6; Polyb. iii. 42. 2. Those who are under obligation to the law as the record of the direct will of God,(127) are subject to the divine curse expressed therein; but from the bond of this curse, from which they could not otherwise have escaped, Christ has redeemed them, and that by giving up for them His life upon the cross as a λύτρον paid to God the dator et vindex legis,—having by His mors satisfactoria, suffered according to God’s gracious counsel in obedience to the same (Romans 5:19; Philippians 2:8), procured for them the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Romans 3:24; 1 Timothy 2:6 : Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:28), so that the curse of the law which was to have come upon them no longer had any reference to them. This modus of the redemption is here expressed thus: “by His having become curse for us,” namely, by His crucifixion, in which He actually became the One affected by the divine ὀργή. The emphasis rests on the κατάρα, which is therefore placed at the end and is immediately to be vindicated by a quotation from Scripture. This abstract, used instead of the concrete, is purposely chosen to strengthen the conception, and probably indeed with reference to the קִלְלַת אֱלֹהִים, Deuteronomy 21:23; comp. Thilo, ad Protev. Jac. 3, p. 181. But κατάρα is used without the article, because the object is to express that which Christ has become as regards the category of quality

He became curse, entered into the position, and into the de facto relation, of one visited with the divine wrath; it being obvious from the context that it was in reality the divine curse stipulated in the law, the accomplishment of which He suffered in His death, as is moreover expressly attested in the passage of Scripture that follows. Comp. Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 321, d; Kahnis, Dogm. I. p. 518 f., III. p. 382; Delitzsch, Z. Hebr. p. 714. The idea of κατάρα as the curse of God—obvious of itself to every reader—forbids us to explain away (with Hofmann) the “becoming a curse” as signifying, not that God accomplished His curse on Christ, but that God decreed respecting Christ that He should suffer that which men did to Him as fulfilment of the curse of the law, which was not incurred by, and did not apply to, Him. The exact real parallel, 2 Corinthians 5:21, ought to have prevented any such evasive interpretation. And if Paul had not meant the curse of God, which Christ suffered ὑπὲρ ἡ΄ῶν,—as no reader, especially after the passage of Scripture which follows, could understand anything else,—he would have been practising a deception. Christ made sin by God, and so suffering the divine curse—that is just the foolishness of the cross, which is wiser than men (1 Corinthians 1:25). Comp., besides, Rich. Schmidt, Paulin. Christol. p. 81, who, however, regards the contents of our passage and of 2 Corinthians 5:21 under the point of view of the cancelling of sin (sin being viewed as an objective power), and thus comes into contact with Hofmann’s theory.

ὑπὲρ ἡ΄ῶν] That ὑπέρ, as in all passages in which the atoning death is spoken of, does not mean instead of (so here, Bengel, Koppe, Flatt, Rückert, Reithmayr, following earlier expositors; comp. also Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 134f.), see on Romans 5:6. Comp. on Galatians 1:4. The satisfaction which Christ rendered, was rendered for our benefit; that it was vicarious,(128) is implied in the circumstances of the case itself, and not in the preposition. The divine curse of the law must have been realized by all, who did not fully satisfy the law to which they were bound (and this no one could do), being compelled to endure the execution of the divine ὀργή on themselves; but for their deliverance from the bond of this curse Christ intervened with His death, inasmuch as He died as an accursed one, and thereby, as by a purchase-price, dissolved that relation to the law which implied a curse. Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Colossians 2:14. This effect depends certainly on the sinlessness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), without which His surrendered life could not have been a λύτρον (Matthew 20:28), and He Himself, by the shedding of His blood, could not have been a ἱλαστήριον (Romans 3:25), because, with guilt of His own, He would have been amenable to the curse on His own account, and not through taking upon Him the guilt of others (John 1:29); but utterly aloof from and foreign to the N.T. is the idea which Hilgenfeld here suggests, that the curse of the law had lost its validity once for all, because it had for once shown itself as an unrighteous curse. The death of Christ served precisely to show the righteousness of God, which has its expression in the curse of the law. See on Romans 3:25.

ὅτι γέγρ.… ξύλου is not an epexegesis to γενομ. ὑπ. ἡμ. κατ. (Matthias, who writes , τι), but is a parenthesis in which the γενόμενος κατάρα, which had just been said of Christ, is vindicated agreeably to Scripture, by Deuteronomy 21:23, freely quoted from the LXX.(129) Accursed (visited with the wrath of God) is every one who (according to the LXX., in which the article is wanting, every one, if he) is hanged on a tree. The original historical sense of this passage applies to those malefactors who, in order to the aggravation of their punishment, were after their execution publicly hung up on a (probably cross-shaped) stake,(130) but were not allowed to remain hanging over the night, lest such accursed ones should profane the holy land (Deuteronomy 21:23; Numbers 25:4; Joshua 10:26; 2 Samuel 4:12). See Lund, Jüd. Heiligth. ed. Wolf, p. 536; Saalschütz, Mos. R. p. 460 f.; Bähr in the Stud. u. Krit. 1849, p. 924 f. Now, so far as Christ when put to death hung upon a stake (comp. Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39; 1 Peter 2:24), the predicate ἐπικατάρατος applies also to Him; and this furnishes the scriptural proof of the preceding γενόμενος κατάρα.


Verse 14

Galatians 3:14. Divine purpose in Christ’s redeeming us (the Jews) from the curse of the law; in order that the blessing promised to Abraham (justification; see on Galatians 3:8) might be imparted in Christ Jesus to the Gentiles (not: to all peoples, as Olshausen and Baumgarten-Crusius, following the earlier expositors, take τὰ ἔθνη, in opposition to the context). So long, namely, as the curse of the law stood in force and consequently the Jews were still subject to this divine curse, the Gentiles could not be partakers of that blessing; for, according to that promise made to Abraham, it was implied in the preference which in the divine plan of salvation was granted to the Jews (Romans 1:17; Romans 15:8-9; Romans 3:1-2; Romans 9:1-5), that salvation should issue from them and pass over to the Gentiles (comp. Romans 15:27; John 4:22; John 11:52). Hence, when Christ by His atoning death redeemed the Jews from the curse of the divine law, God, in thus arranging His salvation, must necessarily have had the design that the Gentiles, who are expressly named in the promise made to Abraham (Galatians 3:8), should share in the promised justification, and that not in some way through the law, as if they were to be subjected to this, but in Christ Jesus, through whom in fact the Jews had been made free from the curse of the law. The opposite of this liberation of the Jews could not exist in God’s purpose in regard to the Gentiles. Rückert takes a different view of the logical connection (as to which most expositors are silent), in the light of Ephesians 2:14 ff.: “So long as the law continued, an impenetrable wall of partition was set up between the Jewish and the Gentile world; … and just as long it was simply impossible that the blessing should pass over to the Gentiles.” But the context speaks not of the law itself as having been done away, but of the curse of the law, from which Jesus had redeemed the Jews; so that the idea of a partition-wall, formed by the law itself standing between Jew and Gentile, is not presented to the reader. Usteri thus states the connection: “Christ by His vicarious death has redeemed us (Jews) from the curse of the law, in order that (justification henceforth being to be attained through faith) the Gentiles may become partakers in the blessings of Abraham, since now there is required for justification a condition possible for all,—namely, faith.” Comp. Chrysostom, Oecumenius, and Theophylact. But since the point of the possibility of the justification of the Gentiles is not dealt with in the context, this latter expedient is quite as arbitrarily resorted to, as is Schott’s intermingling of the natural law, against the threatenings of which faith alone yields protection (Romans 2:12 ff; Romans 3:9 ff.).

εἰς τὰ ἔθνη] might reach to the Gentiles (Acts 21:17; Acts 25:15), that is, be imparted to them (Revelation 16:2). Comp. on 2 Corinthians 8:13 f. Such was to be the course of the divine way of salvation, from Israel to the Gentiles. Observe, that Paul does not say καὶ εἰς τ. ἔθνη, as if the Gentiles were merely an accessory.

εὐλογία τοῦ ἀβρ.] the blessing already spoken of, which was pre-announced to Abraham (Galatians 3:8), the opposite of the κατάρα; not therefore life (Hofmann), the opposite of which would be θάνατος, but justification—by which is meant the benefit itself (Ephesians 1:3; Romans 15:29), and not the mere promise of it (Schott).

ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ] so that this reception of the blessing depends, and is founded, on Christ (on His redeeming death). The διὰ τῆς πίστεως which follows expresses the matter from the point of view of the subjective medium, whilst ἐν χριστῷ presents the objective state of the case—the two elements corresponding to each other at the close of the two sentences of purpose.

ἵνα τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν κ. τ. λ.] cannot be subordinated to the previous sentence of purpose (Rückert), for it contains no benefit specially accruing to the Gentiles (Paul must have written λάβωσι, which Chrysostom actually read—evidently an alteration arising from misunderstanding). It is parallel to the first sentence of purpose by way of climax: comp. Romans 7:13; 2 Corinthians 9:3; Ephesians 6:19 f. After Paul had expressed the blessed aim which the redeeming death of Christ had in reference to the Gentiles,—namely, that they should become partakers of the εὐλογία of Abraham,—he raises his glance still higher, and sees the reception also of the Holy Spirit (the consequence of justification) as an aim of that redeeming death; but he cannot again express himself in the third person, because, after the justification of the Jews had been spoken of in Galatians 3:13 and the justification of the Gentiles in Galatians 3:14 ( ἵνα εἰς τὰ ἔθνηἰησοῦ), the statement now concerns the justified generally, Jews and Gentiles without distinction: hence the first person, λάβωμεν, is used, the subject of which must be the Christians, and not the Jewish Christians only (Beza, Bengel, Hofmann, and others). This by no means accidental emergence of the first person, after τὰ ἔθνη had been previously spoken of in the third, is incompatible with our taking the reception of the Spirit as part of the εὐλογία (Wieseler), or as essentially identical with it (Hofmann).

τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ πνεῦματος] τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν λαμβάνειν means to become partakers in the realization of the promise (Hebrews 10:36; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4); but τοῦ πνεύματος may be either the genitive of the subject (that which is promised by the Spirit) or of the object (the promised Spirit). The latter interpretation (comp. Acts 2:33; Ephesians 1:13) is the usual and correct one.(131) For if (with Winer) we should explain it, “bona illa, quae a divino Spiritu promissa sunt” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4), then, in conformity with the context, this expression must refer back to Galatians 3:8 ( προϊδοῦσα γραφή κ. τ. λ. προευηγγελίσατο τῷ ἀβρ. κ. τ. λ.); and to this the first person λάβωμεν would not be suitable, as Paul referred that promise given to Abraham in the Scripture (by the Holy Spirit) to the Gentiles. And if τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ πνεύ΄ατος were essentially the same as the εὐλογία τοῦ ἀβρ., it would be entirely devoid of the explanatory character of an epexegesis.

διὰ τ. πίστ.] For faith is the causa apprehendens both of justification and of the reception of the Spirit; comp. Galatians 3:2-5; Galatians 5:5.


Verse 15

Galatians 3:15.(132) ἀδελφοι] Expressive of loving urgency, and conciliating with reference to the instruction which follows. Comp. Romans 10:1. How entirely different was it in Galatians 3:1! Now the tone of feeling is softened.

κατὰ ἄνθρωπον λέγω] not to be placed in a parenthesis (Erasmus, Calvin, and many others), points to what follows—to that which he is just about to say in proof of the immutability of a divine διαθήκη. The analogy to be adduced from a human legal relation is not intended to be excused, but is to be placed in the proper point of view; for the apostle does not wish to adduce it from his higher standpoint as one enlightened by the Spirit, according to the measure of divinely-revealed wisdom, but he wishes thus to accommodate himself to the ordinary way among men (of adducing examples from common life), so as to be perfectly intelligible to his readers (not in order to put them to shame, as Calvin thinks). Comp. ἀνθρωπείως and ἀνθρωπίνως (Dem. 639. 24, 1122. 2; Romans 6:19). See generally on Romans 3:5; 1 Corinthians 9:8; and van Hengel, Annot. p. 211 f.

ὅμως] yet. The logical position would be before οὐδείς. A διαθήκη, although human, no one yet cancels. Such a transposition of the ὅμως (which here intimates a conclusion à minori) is not unfrequent in classical authors, and again occurs in the case of Paul, 1 Corinthians 14:7. See on this passage. There is therefore all the less reason for writing it ὁμῶς, in like manner (Morus, Rosenmüller, Jatho), which would be unsuitable, since that which is to be illustrated by the comparison only follows (at Galatians 3:17). Rückert (so also Olshausen and Windischmann) takes it in antithetical reference to κατὰ ἄνθρ. λέγω: “I desire to keep only to human relations; nevertheless,” etc. This would be an illogical antithesis. Others, contrary to linguistic usage, make it mean yet even (Grotius, Zachariae, Matthies), or quin imo (Wolf), and the like.

κεκυρωμένην] ratified, made legally valid, Genesis 23:20; 4 Maccabees 7:9; Dem. 485. 13; Plat. Pol. x. p. 620 E Polyb. v. 49. 6; Andoc. de myst. § 84, p. 11; comp. on 2 Corinthians 2:8.

διαθήκην] not testament (Hebrews 9:16 f.), as the Vulgate, Luther, Erasmus, and many others, including Olshausen, render it, quite in opposition to the context; nor, in general, voluntary ordainment, arrangement (Winer, Matthies, Usteri, Schott, Hofmann: “destination as to anything, which we apply for one’s benefit,” Holsten, following earlier expositors); but in the solemn biblical signification of בְּרִית, covenant (Jerome, Beza, Calvin, Zachariae, Semler, Koppe, Flatt, de Wette, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler, Matthias, Reithmayr, and others; also Ewald: “contract”), as in Galatians 4:24 and all Pauline passages. The emphatic prefixing of ἀνθρώπου points to the majus, the διαθήκη of God; and God had entered into a covenant with Abraham, by giving him the promises (Galatians 3:17. Comp. Genesis 17:7; Exodus 2:24; Leviticus 26:42; Luke 1:72; Acts 3:25; 2 Maccabees 1:2; Sirach 44:20; Sirach 44:22). The singular ( ἀνθρώπου) is not opposed to this view; on the contrary, since ἀνθρώπου διαθήκη is put as analogue of the διαθήκη of God (which God has established), there could, in accordance with this latter, be only one contracting party designated: a ratified covenant, which a man has established. The ratification, as likewise follows from the διαθήκη of God, is not to be considered as an act accomplished by a third party; but the covenant is legally valid by the definitive and formal conclusion of the parties themselves who make the agreement with one another.

οὐδεὶς ἀθετεῖ ἐπιδιατ.] viz. no third party. Such an interference would indeed be possible in itself, and not inconsistent with the idea of a covenant (as Hofmann objects). But cases of this sort would be exceptional, and, in the general legal axiom expressed by Paul, might well be left unnoticed. On ἀθετεῖν διαθήκ., to do away a covenant, irritum facere, comp. 1 Maccabees 15:27; 2 Maccabees 13:25; Polyb. xv. 1. 9, iii. 29. 2, xv. 8. 9. That οὐδείς is not the same subject as ἀνθρώπου (Holsten(133)), is evident both from the expression in itself, and from the application in Galatians 3:17, where the ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ corresponds to the ἀνθρώπου and the (personified) νόμος, which comes in as a third person, to the οὐδείς.

ἐπιδιατάσσεται] or adds further stipulations thereto, which were not contained in the covenant. That the ἐπί in the word ἐπιδιατάσσεται (not occurring elsewhere) denotes contra (Schott), is inconsistent with the analogy of ἐπιδιατίθημι, ἐπιδιαγινώσκω, ἐπιδιακρίνω, and so forth (comp. Joseph. Bell. ii. 2. 3, ἀξιῶν τῆς ἐπιδιαθήκης τὴν διαθήκην εἶναι κυριωτέραν, Antt. xvii. 9. 4); in that case ἀντιδιατάσσεται must have been used. Erasmus, Winer, Hauck, and others wish at least to define the nature of the additions referred to as coming into conflict with the will of the author of the διαθήκη or changing it; but this is arbitrary. The words merely, affirm: no one prescribes any addition thereto; this is altogether against the general rule of law, let the additions be what they may.

Chrysostom aptly remarks: μὴ τολμᾶ τις ἀνατρέψαι μετὰ ταῦτα ἐλθὼν προσθεῖναι τι, τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν· ἐπιδιατάσσεται.


Verses 15-18

Galatians 3:15-18. What Paul has previously said concerning justification, not of the law, but of faith, with reference to that promise given to Abraham (Galatians 3:8-14), could only maintain its ground as true before the worshippers of the law, in the event of its being acknowledged that the covenant once entered into with Abraham through that promise was not deprived of validity by the subsequent institution of the law, or subjected to alteration through the entrance of the law. For if this covenant had been done away with or modified by the law, the whole proof previously adduced would come to nothing. Paul therefore now shows that this covenant had not been invalidated or altered through the Mosaic law.


Verse 16

Galatians 3:16. This verse is usually considered as minor proposition to Galatians 3:15, so that Galatians 3:15-17 contain a complete syllogism, which is, however, interrupted by the exegetical gloss οὐ λέγει κ. τ. λ., and is then resumed by τοῦτο δὲ λέγω in Galatians 3:17 (see Morus, Koppe, Rückert, Schott, de Wette, Hilgenfeld). But against this view it may be urged, (1) that the minor proposition in Galatians 3:16 must necessarily, in a logical point of view,—as corresponding to the emphatic ὅμως ἀνθρώπου in Galatians 3:15,—bring into prominence the divine character of the promises, and must have been expressed in some such form as θεὸς δὲ τῷ ἀβρ.; and (2) that the explanation as to καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ, so carefully and emphatically brought in (not merely “allusive,” Hilgenfeld), would be here entirely aimless and irrelevant, because it would be devoid of all reference to and influence on the argument. The train of ideas is really as follows (comp. also Wieseler):

After Paul has stated in Galatians 3:15 that even a man’s legally valid covenant is not invalidated or provided with additions by any one, he cannot immediately link on the conclusion intended to be deduced from this, viz. that a valid covenant of God is not annulled by the law coming afterwards; but he must first bring forward the circumstance which, in the case in question, has an essential bearing on this proof,—that the promises under discussion were issued not to Abraham only, but at the same time to his descendants also, that is, to Christ. From this essential circumstance it is, in fact, clear that that covenant was not to be a mere temporary contract, simply made to last up to the time of the law. Accordingly, the purport of Galatians 3:15-17 is this: “Even a man’s covenant legally completed remains uncancelled and without addition (Galatians 3:15). But the circumstance which conditions and renders incontestable the conclusion to be thence deduced is, that the promises were spoken not merely to Abraham, but also to his seed, by which, as is clear from the singular τῷ σπέρματι, is meant Christ (Galatians 3:16). And now—to complete my conclusion drawn from what I have said in Galatians 3:15-16—what I mean is this: A covenant previously made with legal validity by God is not rendered invalid by the law, which came into existence so long afterwards” (Galatians 3:17).

τῷ δὲ ἀβρ. ἐῤῥέθησαν αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι κ. τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ] The emphasis is laid on καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ, the point which is here brought into prominence as the further specific foundation of the proof to be adduced. This element essential to the proof lies in the destination of Christ as the organ of fulfilment; in the case of a promise which had been given not merely to the ancestor himself, but also to Christ, the fulfiller, it was not at all possible to conceive an ἀθέτησις by the law. Comp. also Holsten, z. Ev. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 204. The passage of the O.T. to which Paul refers in καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ, is considered by most expositors, following Tertullian (de carne Christi, 22) and Chrysostom, to be Genesis 22:18 : ἐνευλογηθήσονται ἐν τῷ σπέρματί σου πάντα τὰ ἔθνη τῆς γῆς. But, from the words οὐ λέγει· καὶ τοῖς σπέρμασιν κ. τ. λ. which follow, it is evident that Paul was thinking of a passage in which καὶ τῷ σπέρματί σου is expressly written. Hence (with Estius and Bengel, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler, Hofmann, Reithmayr, Buhl) the passages Genesis 13:15; Genesis 17:8, are rather to be assumed as those referred to,—a view confirmed by the expression κληρονομία in Galatians 3:18.(134) Comp. Romans 4:13.

ἐῤῥέθησαν(135)] they were spoken, that is, given, as some min., Eusebius and Theophylact, actually read ἐδόθησαν. The datives simply state to whom the promises were spoken, not: in reference to whom (so Matthias),—an interpretation which was the less likely to occur to the reader, well acquainted as he was with the fact that the promise was spoken directly to Abraham, who at the same time represented his σπέρμα.

αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι] in the plural: for the promise in question was given on several occasions and under various modifications, even as regards the contents; and indeed Paul himself here refers to a place and form of promise different from that mentioned above in Galatians 3:8. In καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ he finds that Christ is meant; hence he adds the following gloss (Midrasch): οὐ λέγει· καὶ τοῖς σπέρμασιν κ. τ. λ., in which the singular form of the expression is asserted by him to be significant, and the conclusion is thence drawn that only one descendant (not: only one class of descendants, namely the spiritual children of Abraham, as, following Augustine, Cameron and others, Olshausen and Tholuck, d. A. T. im neuen T. p. 65 ff. ed. 6, also Jatho, hold) is intended, namely Christ. That this inference is purely rabbinical (Surenhusius, καταλλ. p. 84 f.; Schoettgen, Hor. p. 736; Döpke, Hermeneut. I. p. 176 ff.), and without objective force as a proof, is evident from the fact that in the original text זֶרַע is written, and this, in every passage in the O.T. where it expresses the idea of progenies, is used in the singular (in 1 Samuel 8:15, זַרְעֵיכֶם are segetes vestrae), whether the posterity consists of many or of one only (Genesis 4:25; 1 Samuel 1:11; Targ. Psalms 18:26, where Isaac is called Abraham’s זרע σου τηρήσει κεφαλήν. But it does not thence follow that this subject was the Messiah, to whom the יְשׁוּפְךָ, correctly understood by the LXX., but wrongly by the Vulgate (conteret), is not suitable. The Messianic reference of the passage lies in the enmity against the serpent here established as the expression of a moral idea, the final victorious issue of which was the subject-matter of the Messianic hope, and was brought about through the work of the Messiah. Comp. Hengstenberg, Christol. I. p. 26 ff.; Ewald, Jahrb. II. p. 160 f.; also Schultz, alttest, Theol. I. p. 466 f.">(136)). Also the later Hebrew and Chaldee usage of the plural form in the sense of progenies (see Geiger in the Zeitschr. d. morgenl. Gesellsch. 1858, p. 307 ff.) does not depend, any more than the Greek use of σπέρματα (Soph. O.C. 606. 1277; O.R. 1246; Aesch. Eum. 909), on the circumstance that, in contradistinction, the singular is to be understood ὡς ἐφʼ ἑνός. Comp, 4 Maccabees 18:1 : τῶν ἀβραμαίων σπερμάτων ἀπόγονοι παῖδες ἰσραηλῖται, πείθεσθε τῷ νόμῳ τούτῳ. The classical use of αἵματα is analogous (comp. on John 1:13). Moreover, the original sense of these promises, and also the τῷ σπέρματι of the LXX., undoubtedly apply to the posterity of Abraham generally: hence it is only in so far as Christ is the theocratic culmination, the goal and crown of this series of descendants, that the promises were spoken to Him; but to discover this reference in the singular καὶ τῷ σπέρματί σου was a mere feat of the rabbinical subtlety, which was still retained by the apostle from his youthful culture as a characteristic element of his national training, without detriment to the Holy Spirit which he had, and to the revelations which had been vouchsafed to him. Every attempt to show that Paul has not here allowed himself any rabbinical interpretation of this sort (see among recent expositors, particularly Philippi in the Mecklenb. Zeitschr. 1855, p. 519 ff.: comp. also Hengstenberg, Christol. I. p. 50 f.; Tholuck, l.c., and Hofmann) is incompatible with the language itself, and conflicts with the express ὅς ἐστι χριστός; which clearly shows that we are not to understand σπερμάτων with ἐπὶ πολλῶν, nor σπέρματος with ἐφʼ ἑνός (Hofmann, Buhl), but that the contrast between many persons and one person is the point expressed. But the truth itself, which the gloss of the apostle is intended to serve, is entirely independent of this gloss, and rests upon the Messianic tenor of the promises in question, not on the singular τῷ σπέρματι.

οὐ λέγει] sc. θεός, which is derived from the historical reference of the previous ἐῤῥέθησαν, so well known to the reader. Comp. Ephesians 4:8; Ephesians 5:14.

ὡς ἐπὶ πολλῶν] as referring to many individuals, in such a manner that He intends and desires to express a plurality of persons. On ἐπί, upon, that is, in reference to, with the genitive along with verbs of speaking, see Heindorf, ad Plat. Charm, p. 62; Bernhardy, p. 248; Ast. Lex. Plat. I. p. 767.

ὅς ἐστι χριστός] which σπέρμα, denoting a single individual, is Christ. The feebly attested reading is a mistaken grammatical alteration; for how often does the gender of the relative correspond by attraction to the predicative substantive! See Kühner, II. p. 505. χριστός is the personal Christ Jesus, not, as some, following Irenaeus (Haer. v. 32. 2) and Augustine (ad iii. 29, Opp. IV. p. 384), have explained it: Christ and His church (Beza, Gomarus, Crell, Drusius, Hammond, Locke, and others; also Tholuck, Olshausen, Philippi l.c., Hofmann), or the church alone (Calvin, Clericus, Bengel, Ernesti, Döderlein, Nösselt, and others). Such a mystical sense of χριστός must necessarily have been suggested by the context (as in 1 Corinthians 12:12); here, however, the very contrast between πολλῶν and ἑνός is decidedly against it. See also Galatians 3:19; Galatians 3:22; Galatians 3:24; Galatians 3:27-28. Galatians 3:29 also is against, and not in favour of, this explanation; because the inference of this verse depends on the very fact that Christ Himself is the σπέρ΄α τοῦ ἀβρ. (see on Galatians 3:29). The whole explanation is a very superfluous device, the mistaken ingenuity of which (especially in the case of Tholuck and Hofmann) appears in striking contrast to the clear literal tenor of the passage.(137) It is not, however, Christ in His pre-human existence, in so far as He according to the Spirit already bore sway in the patriarchs (1 Corinthians 10:1 ff.), who is here referred to, because it is only as the λόγος ἔνσαρκος that He can be the descendant of Abraham (Matthew 1:1; Romans 1:3). Comp. Galatians 3:19.


Verse 17

Galatians 3:17. Result of Galatians 3:15-16, emphatically introduced by τοῦτο δὲ λέγω, but this which follows (see on 1 Corinthians 1:12) I say as the conclusion drawn from what is adduced in Galatians 3:15-16 : A covenant which has been previously made valid (ratified) by God, the law … does not annul. What covenant is here intended, is well known from the connection, namely, the covenant made by God with Abraham, through His giving to him, and to his σπέρμα included along with him, the promises in Genesis 12:3; Genesis 18:18 (Genesis 3:8), Genesis 13:15, Genesis 17:8 (Genesis 3:16). The κύρωσις (comp. on Galatians 3:15) is not any separate act following the institution of the covenant, but was implied in the very promises given: through them the covenant became valid. The προ in προκεκυρ. is correlative with the subsequent μετα, and therefore signifies: previously, ere the law existed.

μετὰ τετρακόσια κ. τ. λ.] cannot be intended to denote a comparatively short time (Koppe), which is not suggested by the context; but its purport is: The law, which came into existence so long a time after, cannot render invalid a covenant, which had been validly instituted so long previously by God and consequently had already subsisted so long. “Magnitudo intervalli auget promissionis auctoritatem,” Bengel. According to Hofmann, the statement of this length of time is intended to imply that the law was something new and different, which could not he held as an element forming part of the promise. But this was obvious of itself from the contrast between promise and law occupying the whole context, and, moreover, would not be dependent on a longer or shorter interval. With regard to the number 430, Paul gets it from Exodus 12:40 (in Genesis 15:13 and Acts 7:6 the round number 400 is used); but in adopting it he does not take into account that this number specifies merely the duration of the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt. Consequently the number here, taken by itself, contains a chronological inaccuracy; but Paul follows the statement of the LXX., which differs from the original text—the text of the LXX. being well known to and current among his readers—without entering further into this point of chronology, which was foreign to his aim. In Exodus 12:40 the LXX. has δὲ κατοίκησις τῶν υἱῶν ἰσρ. ἣν κατῷκησαν ἐν γῇ αἰγ. καὶ ἐν γῇ χαναάν (the words κ. . γ. χ. are wanting in the Hebrew), ἔτη τετρακόσια τριάκοντα. This text of the LXX. was based upon a different reckoning of the time—a reckoning which is found in the Samaritan text and in Joseph. Antt. ii. 15. 3. See Tychsen, Exc. X. p. 148. The interval between God’s promise to Abraham and the migration of Jacob to Egypt—an interval omitted in the 430 years—cannot indeed be exactly determined, but may be reckoned at about 200 years; so that, if Paul had wished to give on his own part a definition of the time, he would not have exceeded bounds with 600 years instead of 430. The attempts to bring the 430 years in our passage into agreement with the 430 years in Exodus 12:40 are frustrated by the unequivocal tenor of both passages.(138)

γεγονώς] is not said ad postponendam legem, (see, on the contrary, John 1:17), as Bengel thinks (“non dicit data, quasi lex fuisset, antequam data sit”); for every law only comes into existence as law with the act of legislation.

On ἀκυροῖ, invalidates, overthrows, comp. Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:13; 3 Esr. 6:32; Diod. Sic. xvi. 24; Dion. H. vi. 78; and ἄκυρον ποιεῖν, in more frequent use among Greek authors.

εἰς τὸ καταργ. τὴν ἐπαγγ.] Aim of the ἀκυροῖ: in order to do away the promise (by which the διαθήκη was completed), to render it ineffective and devoid of result. Comp. Romans 4:14. “Redditur autem inanis, si vis conferendae haereditatis ab ea ad legem transfertur,” Bengel. Observe once more the personification of the law.


Verse 18

Galatians 3:18. “I am right in denying, that through the law the διαθήκη passes out of force and the promise is to cease.” The proof depends on the relation of contrast between law and promise, whereby the working of the one excludes the like working of the other. For if the possession of the Messianic salvation proceeds from the law, which must have been the case if God’s covenant with Abraham had lost its validity by means of the law, then this possession comes no longer from promise,—a case which, although necessary on that supposition, cannot occur, as is evident from the precedent of Abraham, to whom salvation was given by God through promise. The mode of conclusion adopted in Romans 4:14 is similar.

ἐκ νόμου] so that the law is the institution which causes this result (in the way of following its commandments). Comp. on ἐν νόμῳ, Galatians 3:11.

κληρονομία] the possession, נַחֲלָה, refers in the theocratic-historical sense of the O.T. to the land of Canaan and its several portions (Deuteronomy 4:21; Joshua 13:23); but in its N.T. sense, the conception of the κληρονομία is elevated to the idea of its Messianic fulfilment (Matthew 5:5), so that the kingdom of the Messiah and the whole of its fulness of salvation and glory are understood thereby (1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; Acts 20:32, et al.). Comp. on Romans 4:13; Ephesians 1:11. So also here; and Paul uses this word (not σωτηρία, ζωή, or the like) because he has previously (see on Galatians 3:16) referred to passages in which the κληρονομία (that is, according to this Christian idealizing of the O.T. historical sense: the kingdom of the Messiah) is promised.

οὐκέτι] The one relation, if it exists, cancels the other. It is (in opposition to Koppe) the logical (not historical) no longer. Comp. Romans 7:17; Romans 11:6.

διʼ ἐπαγγελίας] by means of promise, so that in his case the possession of the Messianic salvation is the fulfilment (by way of grace) of a promise, and not the possible result (by way of reward) of rendering prescribed services, and the like, which fall under the idea of the νόμος.

κεχάρισται] sc. τὴν κληρονομίαν donavit (Vulgate), bestowed by way of gift (the contrast to ὀφείλημα, Romans 4:4; Romans 4:16), namely, as a future possession to be realized at the time of the παρουσία (Matthew 8:11). On χαρίζεσθαι τινί τι, comp. Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 2:12; Philippians 1:29; Philippians 2:9; Acts 27:24; Xen. Cyrop. 8:6. 22; Polyb. xvi. 24. 9. Without supplying anything, Schott and Matthias render: to Abraham God has, through promise, been gracious. Comp. Holsten: He has bestowed a favour on him. But the supplying of τὴν κληρονομίαν harmonizes best with the immediate context and the logical relation of the two divisions of the verse, the second of which forms the propositio minor, and therefore, like the major, must speak of the κληρονομία.(139) Caspari (in d. Strassb. Beitr. 1854, p. 206 ff.), following classical usage, but not that of the N.T., has wrongly taken κεχάρισται in a passive sense, so that God is conceived as the inheritance. This is in opposition to the context, and also against the view of the N.T. generally, according to which the κληρονομία proceeds from God (Romans 8:17), and is not God Himself, but eternal life (Galatians 3:21; Titus 3:7; Matthew 19:29, et al.), the kingdom of the Messiah (Galatians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:50; James 2:5), and its salvation (Romans 1:16) and dominion (Romans 4:13 f.; Matthew 5:5; 2 Timothy 2:12).


Verse 19

Galatians 3:19.(140) After Paul has shown in Galatians 3:15-18 that the law does not abolish the far earlier covenant of promise, he might very naturally be met by the inquiry, “According to this view, then, what sort of end is left to be served by the law in connection with the history of salvation?” Hence he himself raises this question and answers it.

τί οὖν νόμος] sc. ἐστι: how does it stand therefore (if it is the case that the law does not abolish the covenant of promise) with the law? A general question, in which, to judge from the answer that follows, the apostle had in view the purpose for which God gave the law. On the neuter τί, with a nominative following, comp. 1 Corinthians 3:5 (in the correct reading): τί οὖν ἐστιν ἀπολλώς; and see Stallbaum, ad Gorg. p. 501 E Bernhardy, p. 336 f. Following J. Cappellus, Schott (also Matthies, though undecidedly, Jatho and Wieseler) takes τί for διὰ τί; very unnecessarily, however, and in opposition to the constant use of the τί οὖν so frequently recurring in Paul’s writings (Romans 3:1; Romans 4:1, et al.; comp. Galatians 4:15).

τῶν παραβάσεων χάριν προσετέθη] for the sake of transgressions it was added; that is, in order that the transgressions of the law might be brought out as real, it was, after the covenant of promise was already in existence, superadded to the latter ( παρεισῆλθεν, Romans 5:20). The law namely, because it gives occasion to the potency of sin in man to bring about in him all evil desire (Romans 7:5; Romans 7:8), and nevertheless is too weak as a counter-power to oppose this sinful development (Romans 8:3), is the δύναμις τῆς ἁμαρτίας (1 Corinthians 15:56; and see Romans 7:7 ff.); but sin—which, although existing since Adam (Romans 5:13), is yet increased by that provocation of the law—has only come to assume the definite character of παράβασις in virtue of the existence of the law and its relation thereto (Romans 4:15). The same purpose of the law is expressed in Romans 5:20, but without the stricter definition of sin as παράβασις. Accordingly, τῶν παραβ. χάριν is not (with Wetstein) to be rationalized to this effect: “Lex sine dubio eo consilio lata est, ut servaretur, ὑπακοῆς χάριν; vitio tamen hominum evenit, ut peccata multiplicarentur.” This is in itself correct (comp. Romans 7:12), but is irrelevant here, where the point in question is the position of the law in connection with the divine plan of salvation, the final aim of which is redemption. The real idea of the apostle is, that the emergence of sins—namely, in the penal, wrath-deserving (Romans 4:15), moral form of transgressions—which the law brought about, was designed by God (who must indeed have foreseen this effect) when He gave the law, and designed in fact as a mediate end in reference to the future redemption; for the evil was to become truly great, that it might nevertheless be outdone by grace (Romans 5:20). The result, which the law, according to experience, has on the whole effected, and by which it has proved itself the δύναμις τῆς ἁμαρτίας (comp. also 2 Corinthians 3:6), could not be otherwise than the aim of God. Comp. Ritschl, p. 74 f.; Baur, neutest. Theol. p. 140 f.; Hilgenfeld, Wieseler, Holsten, Hofmann, Reithmayr, Matthias (who, however, assumes the intentional appearance of an ambiguity), Stölting, and others; also Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 75; Lechler, apost. Zeit. p. 110. Luther (1519) strikingly remarks: “Ut remissio propter salutem, ita praevaricatio propter remissionem, ita lex propter transgressionem.” Observe, further, the article before παραβ., which summarily comprehends, as having really that character, the transgressions arising and existing since the giving of the law; comp. Holsten, z. Ev. d. Paul, u. Petr. p. 297. Others(141) consider that by τῶν παραβ. χάριν the recognition of sins is expressed as the aim of the law. So Augustine, Calvin, Beza, Piscator, Calovius, Wolf, Schoettgen, Michaelis, Windischmann, and others; also Winer (“ut manifestam redderet atque ita argueret illam, quam Judaei peccando sibi contrahebant, culpam”). But (1) this idea could not have been expressed by the mere τῶν παραβ. χάριν; for although χάριν is not always exclusively used in its original sense, for the sake of, in favour of, but may also be taken simply as on account of,(142) still, in order to be intelligible, Paul must have written τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τῶν παραβάσεων χάριν as signifying: in order to bring sins to recognition as transgressions. And (2) the point of the recognition of sin was entirely foreign to this passage; for in τῶν παραβ. χάριν Paul desires to call attention to the fact that the law, according to the divine plan, was intended to produce exactly the objective, actual (not merely the subjective) opposite of the δικαιοσύνη (comp. Galatians 3:21-22). On account of this connection also the interpretation of many expositors, ad coercendas transgressiones, is wholly to be rejected, because opposed to the context. So Jerome, Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Erasmus, Grotius, Zachariae, Semler, Morus, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Paulus, Rückert, Olshausen, Neander, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Baur, Ewald (“in order to punish them more strictly”); also Messner, Lehre d. Ap. p. 222, and Hauck, comp. Buhl; several, such as Grotius and Rückert, think that the inclination to Egyptian idolatry is chiefly referred to. This view is decidedly disposed of by the expression παραβάσεων, since παραβάσεις as such could only come into existence with the law (Romans 4:15); previously there were sins, but no transgressions,—a view with which Romans 5:14 does not conflict, because the matter in question there is the transgression of a quite definite, positive command of God. The two last interpretations are combined by Flatt and Schott, as also by Reiche, following older expositors (comp. also Matthies),—a course inconsistent with hermeneutical principles in general, and here in fact involving an amalgamation of two erroneous views.

προσετέθη] it was added, is not inconsistent with what was said in Galatians 3:15, οὐδεὶςἐπιδιατάσσεται, because in the latter general proposition under οὐδείς third persons are thought of. The law, moreover, was not given as ἐπιδιαθήκη (see on Galatians 3:15), but as another institution, which, far from being a novella to the διαθήκη, was only to be a temporary intermediate measure in the divine plan of salvation, to minister to the final fulfilment of the promise. See the sequel, and comp. Romans 5:20; Romans 10:4.

ἄχρις οὔ ἔλθη τὸ σπέρ΄α κ. τ. λ.] terminus ad quem of the merely provisional duration of this added institute. But these words are neither to be connected, in disregard of their position, with διαταγείς (Hofmann), nor to be placed in a parenthesis; for the construction is not interrupted. As to ἄχρις οὔ ἔλθῃ, usque dum venerit, comp. on Romans 11:25. According to the general usage of the N.T. (Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 198), the subjunctive, and not the optative (Matthiae, p. 1158), is used. Paul has not put ἄν, because there was no idea in his mind of any circumstances which could have hindered the event. See Stallbaum, ad Phaed. p. 62 C Hermann, de part. ἄν, p. 110 ff.; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 291 ff. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 11:26.

τὸ σπέρμα ἐπήγγ.] that is, Christ, whose advent, according to Galatians 3:16, necessarily brought with it the fulfilment of the promise. The dative, however, does not stand for εἰς ὅν (Winer, Usteri), but just as in Galatians 3:16 : to whom the promise was made.

ἐπήγγελται] not promiserat (Vulgate, Bengel, Flatt, Hofmann), comp. Romans 4:21, Hebrews 12:26; but promissio facta est (2 Maccabees 4:27), because thus it is not requisite to supply θεός, and the expression corresponds very naturally with ἐῤῥέθησαν αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι in Galatians 3:16. Hence also it is superfluous to supply κληρονο΄ία (Ewald).

διαταγεὶς διʼ ἀγγέλων ἐν χ. ΄εσ.] the mode in which νόμος προσετέθη, or the form of this act: having been ordained through angels, etc. On διατάσσειν νόμον, comp. Hesiod, ἔργ. 274. The simple τάσσειν νό΄ον is more frequently used, as in Plat. Legg. p. 863 D. It means to ordain a law, that is, to issue it for obedience, not to arrange it for publication (Stölting), so that the angels would be described here as the diaskeuastai of the law,—an idea which has no support anywhere, and would run counter to the view of the directly divine origin of the law (Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:16; Deuteronomy 9:10). As to the use of the aorist participle in the language of narration, see Hermann, ad Viger. p. 774; Bernhardy, p. 383. The tradition that the divine promulgation of the law took place amidst the ministry of angels, is first found in the LXX., Deuteronomy 33:2 (not in the original text); then in Hebrews 2:2, Acts 7:38; Acts 7:53, Joseph. Antt. xv. 5. 3, and in the Rabbins, and also in the Samaritan theology. Comp. on Acts 7:53; Delitzsch, on Hebrews 2:2. Because the tradition itself and its antiquity are thus beyond doubt, and there is no warrant for supposing that Paul did not know it or was not likely to adopt it (as, indeed, he adopted other traditional teachings, 1 Corinthians 10:4, 2 Corinthians 12:2), it is a mere mistaken evasion to explain διά as inter or coram (Calovius, Loesner, Morus), which would have ultimately to be referred to the idea “by the mediation of” (as 2 Timothy 2:2). The same remark applies to the view which looks upon the ἀγγέλων even as men, like Moses and Aaron (Zeger, and revived by Cassel, d. Mittler e. exeg. Versuch, 1855); Chrysostom left it optional to understand it either of priests or of angels. As to the monstrous amplifications which this tradition of the agency of the angels underwent at the hands of the later Rabbins, see Eisenmenger, entdecktes Judenth. I. p. 309 f. Paul does not look upon the angels as authors of the law (as held by Schulthess, Voigtländer in Keil and Tzschirner’s Anal. IV. p. 139 ff., and Huth, Commentat. Altenb. 1854),—a point which is certain from the whole view taken in biblical history of the law generally as divine (see the apostle’s own designation of the law as νόμος θεοῦ, Romans 7:22; Romans 7:25), and as γραφή (vers. 10, 13, Galatians 4:21 f., et al.), and here especially is all the more decidedly indicated by the use of the διά (and not ὑπό), for every reader in fact conceived of the angels as ministering spirits of God (comp. LXX. Deuteronomy 33:2 : ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ ἄγγελοι μετʼ αὐτοῦ), who accompanied the Lord appearing in majesty; and consequently no one could attach any other sense to διά than “ministerio angelorum,” which is clear as the meaning in Hebrews 2:2 from διὰ τοῦ κυρίου in Galatians 3:3.

ἐν χειρὶ ΄εσίτου(143)] For Moses received the tables of the law from God, and carried them down to the people. Thus in the legislation he was the middle person between the Giver of the law and its recipients; with the tables in his hand, he was God’s envoy to Israel, acting between the two parties. On account of this historical circumstance (Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:15), ἐν χειρί is to be understood not merely as a vivid mode of designating the mediation ( בְּיַד), but quite literally: comp. Exodus 32:15; Leviticus 26:46. In the N.T. the designation of Moses as μεσίτης forms the basis of the expression in Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24; and on the subject itself, comp. Acts 7:38. This designation does not occur in the O.T. or in the Apocrypha; but by the Rabbins Moses is called mediator סרסור, אמצעי, also שליח. See Schoettgen, Hor. p. 738 f.; Wetstein, p. 224. Comp. Philo, de vita Mos. II. p. 678 f. A and on the matter itself, Deuteronomy 5:5; also Joseph. Antt. iii. 5. 3. The better known and the more celebrated Moses was as mediator of the law (comp. Aboth R. Nath. i. 1, “Legem, quam Deus Israelitis dedit, non nisi per manus Mosis dedit”), the more decidedly must we reject every interpretation in which the ΄εσίτης—not more precisely defined by Paul, but presumed to have its historical reference universally familiar—is not referred to Moses. This applies not only to the view of most of the Fathers (Origen, Athanasius, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact; so also Beza, Lyra, Erasmus, Calvin, Pareus, Calovius, and others), who, following 1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24, take the Mediator to be Christ,(144) but also to Schmieder’s view (nova interpr. Galatians 3:19-20, Numburg. 1826), that an angel is intended—the angel of the law, who, according to Jewish theology, had the special duty of teaching Moses the law. Certainly the Rabbins speak of an angel of the law (he was called Jefifia; see Jalkut Rubeni, f. 107. 3); but this part of their teaching cannot be shown to have existed in the time of the apostles, nor can it find a biblical basis in the passages quoted by Schmieder (Exodus 19:19 f., Exodus 20:18, Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:5-8; Deuteronomy 5:4 f.; also Exodus 33:18-23; Exodus 40:35; Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalms 68:18; Acts 7:53; Malachi 3:1). See also, in opposition to Schmieder,(145) especially Lücke in the Stud. u. Krit. p. 97 f.

The object for which Paul has added διαταγεὶςμεσίτου, is not to convey the impression of an inferior, subordinate position held by the law in comparison with that of the gospel or that of the promise, inasmuch as the former was ordained not directly by God, but through angels and a mediator(146) (Luther, Elsner, Wolf, Estius, Semler, Rosenmüller, Tychsen, Flatt, Rückert, Usteri, de Wette, Baur, Ewald, Hofmann, Reithmayr, Hauck, and others; comp. also Olshausen, and Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 77; Vogel in the Stud. u. Krit. 1865, p. 530), but to enable the reader to realize the glory of the law in the dignity and formal solemnity of its ordination. So Calvin and others, including Winer, Schott, Baumgarten-Crusius, Wieseler, Matthias; comp. Weiss, bibl. Theol p. 284. It may be decisively urged in favour of the latter view, (1) that, if the mention of the angels was intended to suggest a lower relation in comparison with a higher, this higher relation must have been distinctly expressed (as in Hebrews 2:2), or at least must have been quite definitely discoverable from the immediate context (by the addition of a μόνον perhaps, or the like). Regarded in themselves, the appearance of angels and the agency of angels (comp. also Galatians 1:8) are always conceived as something majestic and glorifying,(147) even in respect to Christ (Matthew 24:31; Matthew 25:31; John 1:25; 1 Timothy 3:16, et al.), and especially in respect to the law (LXX. Deuteronomy 33:2; Acts 7:38; Acts 7:53), the bestowal of which was one of the high divine distinctions of Israel (Romans 9:4). Just as little can it be said (2) that ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου is a depreciatory statement, for in fact the gospel also is given ἐν χειρὶ ΄εσίτου; to which argument the objection cannot be made, that the Mediator of the gospel, as the Son of God, is far more exalted than the mediator of the law: for ἐν χειρὶ ΄εσίτου does not state at all what kind of mediator it was who intervened in the promulgation of the law, but leaves the dignity or lowliness of his person entirely out of view, and asserts only that a mediator was employed in the giving of the law; so that in respect of this relation regarded by itself there was no qualitative difference between the law and the gospel: both were mediated, given through the hand of a mediator. By way of comparison and contrast with the gospel, ἐν χειρὶ ἀνθρώπου or some such expression must have been used, whereby the mediation of the law would be characterized as inferior to that of the gospel. Lastly, (3) it by no means formed a part of the plan and object of the apostle to depreciate the law as a less divine institution,—a course which, besides being inconsistent with his recognition of the law elsewhere (Romans 7:12-25), would have been even unwise in dealing with zealots for the law; whereas it was in the highest degree appropriate to acknowledge the high dignity of the law as evinced in the majesty and solemn formality of its promulgation, and then to show that it had by no means cancelled the promises. Thus the glory of the law glorified the covenant of promise, while the apostle’s opponents could not find any antagonism to that law. In opposition to these arguments, the appeal to θεός, Galatians 3:20 (Usteri, Schneckenburger, de Wette), has the less weight, because in προσετέθη and διαταγείς (Galatians 3:19) God in fact is obviously the acting subject, and the promise also was expressed passively by ἐπήγγελται (without θεός). According to Holsten, z. Evang. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 299 ff., Paul intends to express “the pneumatic truth,” that, in the purpose of God, the significance of the law in the economy of salvation was to be that of a mediator, viz. between promise and fulfilment. But if this were so, how wonderfully would Paul have concealed his thoughts! He must have said that this mediatorial position of the law exhibited itself in the form of its bestowal; for this in itself, and apart from any other intimation, could in no way be known to the reader, to whom angelic and mediatorial agency presented themselves only as historically familiar attributes of the majesty and divinity of the law. The law itself would not be placed by these attributes in the category of the μεσίτης. Nor is Stölting’s view more worthy of acceptance, who, in διαταγ. διʼ ἀγγέλων, detects the idea: “in order that the Jews might obtain the blessing of Abraham” (Hebrews 1:14), and explains ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου to mean that the law served as an instrument to the mediator for reconciling discordant parties with one another (and these parties are alleged to have been the Jews and Gentiles). These two ideas, which are only in a very indirect way compatible with the scope of the Pauline teaching as to the relation of the law to the gospel, or with history itself, could not have been found out by the readers, especially after Galatians 3:18, and after τῶν παραβάσ. χάριν, and would have needed a more precise explanation in what reference they were to be taken. In unison with the history of the giving of the law, which was familiar to every reader, the two points could only be understood as reminiscences of the historical circumstances in question; and μεσίτης in particular could not be conceived as a reconciling mediator, but only in the sense conveyed in Acts 7:38.


Verse 20

Galatians 3:20 down to μὴ γένοιτο, Galatians 3:21. “But from the fact that the law was ordained through a mediator, it must not at all be concluded that it is opposed to the promises of God.” The expression just used, ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου, might possibly be turned to the advantage of the law and to the prejudice of the promises, in this way, that it might be said: “Since the idea of a mediator supposes not one subject, to whom his business relates, but more than one, who have to be mutually dealt with, and yet God (who gave the law through a mediator) is one, so that there could not be one God who gave the law and another who gave the promises (for there are not more Gods than one); it might possibly be concluded that, because the law was ordained by God in a different way from the promises,—namely, by the calling in of a mediator acting between the two parties,—the earlier divine mode of justification (that of faith) opened up in the promises was abolished by the law, and instead of it, another and opposite mode of justification (that of the works of the law) was opened up by God.” Paul conceives the possibility of this inference, and therefore brings it forward, not, however, as an objection on the part of opponents, but as his own reflection; hence he expresses the concluding inference, οὖν νόμος κ. τ. λ., in an interrogative form, to which he thereupon replies by the disclaimer, μὴ γένοιτο. The explanation of the words, which in themselves are simple enough, is accordingly as follows: “But the mediator—not to leave unnoticed an inference which might possibly be drawn to the prejudice of the promises from the ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου just said—but the mediator, that is, any mediator, does not belong to a single person, but intervenes between two or more; God, on the other hand, is a single person, and not a plurality. Is it now—when these two propositions are applied in concreto to the law and the promises—is it now to be thence inferred that the law, which was given through a mediator, and in which therefore there took part more subjects than one, in point of fact two (namely, God and Israel), between whom the mediator had to deal, is opposed to the divine promises, in which the same one God, who in the case of the law acted through a mediator and so implied two parties, acted directly? God forbid! From this point of difference in the divine bestowal of the law and the promises, by no means is any such conclusion to be arrived at to the prejudice of the latter, as if now, through the law mediatorially given by the one God, another divine mode of justification were to be made valid.” In this view, Galatians 3:20 contains two loci communes, from the mutual relation of which in reference to the two concreta under discussion (the law and the promises) in Galatians 3:21 a possible inference is supposed to be drawn, and proposed by way of question for a reply. The δέ is in both cases adversative: the first introducing a supposed objection, and the second an incidental point belonging to this objection, the relation of which incidental point to the first proposition strengthens the doubt excited; μεσίτης denotes the mediator absolutely as genus (“quae multa sunt cunctis in unum colligendis,” Hermann, ad Iph. Aul. p. 15, pref.): ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν is predicate, negativing the ἑνὸς εἶναι as regards the mediator, with emphatic stress laid on the prefixed ἑνός (not on the οὐκ, as Hofmann thinks), and ἑνός is masculine,(148) without requiring anything to be supplied: εἷς ἐστιν is predicate, and εἷς, in conformity with the axiom of monotheism here expressed, is used quite in the same purely numerical sense as ἑνός previously. Lastly, in the interrogative inference, Galatians 3:21, νό΄ος is used, as the close annexation by οὖν sufficiently indicates, in precise correlation to ΄εσίτης in Galatians 3:20 (for the law was given through a mediator, Galatians 3:19), and τῶν ἐπαγγελιῶν τοῦ θεοῦ to ἐπήγγελται, Galatians 3:19; but the emphasis in this question of Galatians 3:21 is laid upon κατά, for Paul will not allow it to be inferred from the two propositions expressed in Galatians 3:20 ( ΄ὴ γένοιτο), that the law stood in a relation to the promises which was antagonistic to them and opposed to their further validity as regards justification.

The numerous different interpretations of this passage—and it has had to undergo above 250 of them—have specially multiplied in modern times: for the Fathers of the Church pass but lightly over the words which in themselves are clear, without taking into consideration their difficulties in relation to the general scope of the passage,—mostly applying the δὲ μεσίτης ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν, taken correctly and generally, to Christ,(149) who is the Mediator between God and man, and partly casting side-glances at the opponents of Christ’s divinity (see Chrysostom); although a diversity of interpretation (some referring μεσίτης to Moses, and others to Christ) is expressly mentioned by Oecumenius. Although no special dogmatic interest attached to the passage, nevertheless in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (see Poole’s Synopsis) the variety of interpretations was already such that almost every interpreter of importance (yet, as a rule, without polemical controversy, because the dogmatic element did not come into play) took a way of his own. It became, however, still greater after the middle of the eighteenth century (especially after grammatico-historical exegesis gained ground, but with an abundant intermixture of its philological aberrations), and is even now continually increasing. How often have the most mistaken fancies and the crudest conjectures sought to gain acceptance in connection with our passage, the explanation of which was regarded as a feat of exegetical skill! For a general view of the mass of interpretations, the following works are of service:

Koppe, Exc. VII. p. 128 ff. ed. Galatians 3 : Bonitz, Plurimor. de I. Galatians 3:20 sententiae examinatae novaque ejus interpr. tentata, Lips. 1800; also his Spicileg. observatt. ad Galatians 3:20, Lips. 1802: Anton, Diss. I. Galatians 3:20 critice, historice, et exeg. tract. in Pott’s Sylloge, V. p. 141 ff.: Keil (seven programmes), in his Opusc. I. p. 211 ff.: Winer, Exc. III.: Schott, p. 455 ff.: Wieseler, and de Wette ed. Möller, in loc. It is enough that out of the multitude of various interpretations—omitting the criticism in detail of the earlier views down to Keil(150)—we specify the more recent literature, and adduce the following: 1. Keil, who comes nearest to our view, explains thus (see Opusc. I. p. 365 ff.): “Mediatorem quidem non unius sed duarum certe partium esse, Deum autem, qui Abrahamo beneficii aliquid promiserit, unum modo fuisse; hincque apostolum id a lectoribus suis colligi voluisse, in lege ista Mos. pactum mutuum Deum inter atque populum Israelit. mediatoris opera intercedente initum fuisse, contra vero in promissione rem ab unius tantum (Dei sc., qui solus eam dederit) voluntate pendentem transactam, hincque legi isti nihil plane cum hac rei fuisse, adeoque nec potuisse ea novam illius promissionis implendae conditionem constitui, eoque ipso promissionem hanc omnino tolli.” But (a) to take the second half of the verse not generally, like the first, but historically, as if ἦν was written, is an arbitrary deviation from the parallelism; and (b) the conclusion professedly to be drawn by the reader, hincque legi isti nihil, etc., is quite without warrant, for Paul himself puts as a question in Galatians 3:21 the inference which he conceives may be possibly drawn from Galatians 3:20. 2. Schleiermacher’s explanation is essentially similar (in Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 186 ff.): “The mediator of an agreement does not exist where there is only one person, but always presupposes two persons; these were God and the Jewish nation. But God is One in reference to His promises; that is, God therein acts quite freely, unconditionally, independently, and for Himself alone, as One numerically, because it is no agreement between two, but His free gift ( χάρις). Does the law therefore conflict, etc.?”(151) But in this view (a) the application of Galatians 3:20 to the concreta of the law and the promises, which is in fact not made until Galatians 3:21, is imported into and anticipated in Galatians 3:20. Moreover, (b) εἷς imperceptibly changes from its numerical sense into the idea of aloneness and independence; and (c) the idea of free grace is arbitrarily introduced, and is not expressed by Paul. Nearest to this interpretation of Schleiermacher and Usteri comes Hilgenfeld, whose interpretation,(152) accompanied essentially by the same difficulties, ultimately amounts to the non-Pauline idea, that the position of God as a party in regard to the law is not in harmony with the divine unity (that is, with the divine monarchy). Comp. also Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 77, according to whom Paul negatively “strikes the law to the ground as incompatible with the sole agency of God.” But how could Paul desire to strike to the ground the law, which to him was ἅγιος, ἀγαθός, and πνευματικός (Romans 7:12; Romans 7:14)? No, all he desires to show is, that, notwithstanding the diversity of its divine bestowal from the mode of giving the promise, it is not opposed to the promise. 3. Winer: “Non potest μεσίτης cogitari aut fingi, qui sit ἑνός, unius h. e. unius partis: δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστι, Deus est unus, una (altera) tantummodo pars; ita quaenam est altera? gens Israel. Jam si hoc, sponte efficitur, legem Mos. pertinere etiam ad Judaeos, hosque legi isti observandae adstrictos fuisse.”(153) Thus Galatians 3:20 contains only a parenthetical idea, Paul having in view to re-establish the dignity of the law, which appeared weakened by τῶν παραβ. χάριν προσετέθη: “Lex Mos. data fuit peccatorum gratia; propterea vero non est, quod quis eam tanquam ista ἐπαγγελίᾳ longe inferiorem contemnat; data enim et ipsa est auctoritate divina

διαταγ. διʼ ἀγγέλωνgentique Hebr. tanquam agendi norma proposita ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτ. ὃς οὐκ ἔστιν ἑνός.” It cannot be urged against Winer, that Paul must necessarily have written εἷς (see Winer, Gramm. p. 110 [E. T. 144]). But (a) in the logically exact chain of argument there is no indication at all that Galatians 3:20 is to be taken as a parenthesis. (b) Since μεσίτης is subject, θεός, which likewise is placed at the beginning of the sentence, may not be arbitrarily understood as predicate. (c) It must have been more precisely indicated by Paul, if it were intended that the first ἐστίν should be understood as the copula of a general judgment, and the second as historical (appears in the giving of the law); for every reader, if he had understood the first half of the verse as a general judgment, would naturally understand the second in like manner. (d) It would not occur to any reader to refer εἷς to a suppressed ἕτερος: for ἑνός had just been used absolutely in a numerical sense, in which therefore εἷς at once presents itself; and this the more, because the first sentence, by its negative form, has prepared the way for an antithesis to follow. (e) The idea which δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστιν is supposed to indicate: therefore the law is obligatory on the Israelites, conveys something which is so entirely a matter of course, that it could not be made use of at all as an element of the dignity of the law; for the law was, in fact, given to the Israelites, and even to think of that obligation as non-existent would have been incongruous. And (f) even assuming such a superfluous idea, in what a strangely mysterious way would Paul have intimated it! That which he meant to say, he would wholly without reason have concealed, and have given out as it were a riddle. Apart from the unsuitableness of the idea generally, and from the inappropriate εἷς, he must have said: δὲ ἰσραὴλ εἷς ἐστιν. 4. Schulthess has sought to vindicate his interpretation (proposed in Keil and Tzschirner’s Anal. II. 3, p. 133 ff.) in his Engelwelt, Engelgesetz und Engeldienst, Zürich 1833, and in de G. Hermanno, enodatore ep. P. ad Gal., Zürich 1835, viz.: “Hic mediator (Moses) non est mediator unius, i.e. communis illius Dei, qui olim Abrahamo spopondit, per eum aliquando gentes beatum iri, et qui est unus, s. communis omnium parens, sed est potius mediator angelorum.”(154) But (a) how erroneous it is to assume that the anarthrous ἑνός should denote the universal God of men, and how alien this reference is to the context! (b) How opposed is the διʼ ἀγγέλων to the notion, that Moses was “mediator angelorum”! (c) How at variance is the idea of the law as the work of angels with the conception throughout the Bible (comp. on Galatians 3:19) of the law as the work of God! In how wholly different a way must Paul have spoken of and proved such a paradox, and how frequently would he have reverted to it (especially in the Epistle to the Romans) in his antinomistic discussions! 5. Akin to this, as far as the idea is concerned, is the interpretation of Schmieder (Nova interpr. I. Paul. Galatians 3:19 f., Numb. 1826, and in Tholuck’s literar. Anz. 1830, No. 54): “Quivis minister vel multorum est vel unius: atqui mediator non est unius: ergo est multorum minister. Qui multorum est minister, ad quod genus mediator pertinet, non est unius: atqui Deus (absolute) unus est: ergo cum multorum sit mediator, non est Dei minister.” The connection is supposed to be: “Concedo legem per angelos datam esse a Deo, non humana arte inventam, sed eo ipso, quod per angelos ministros, non per Deum aut Dei filium promulgata est, inferior est evangelio.”(155) This interpretation is objectionable, (a) in a general point of view, because it rests wholly on the erroneous view that μεσίτου in Galatians 3:19 applies not to Moses, but to the angelus mediator; (b) because Paul could not have expressed so peculiar an antinomistic argument more obscurely or more enigmatically than by thus omitting the essential points; (c) because the idea of μεσίτης by no means implies that the ΄εσίτης is the “minister multorum:” he may be commissioned as well by one as by many, as, in fact, Christ was commissioned as a μεσίτης by One, viz. by God. See also, in opposition to Schmieder, Lücke in the Stud. u. Krit. 1828, p. 95 ff.; Winer, Exc. III. p. 171 ff. 6. Steudel, in Bengel’s Archiv I. p. 124 ff., supposes that Galatians 3:19 is an opponent’s question: “To what purpose then serves the law? Was it bestowed merely somehow as an additional gift on account of transgressions (in order to be transgressed), until the seed should come to whom the promise applied? And yet was it made known through angels, and by the ministry of a mediator?” To which Paul answers, “Certainly through the ministry of a mediator; only he was not the mediator of an united seed (of the σπέρματος τῶν πιστεύοντων, Galatians 3:16), but God is one (not another for the Gentiles).” But (a) there is nothing that indicates any such division of the passage into dialogue; and (b) how strange it would be that Paul should have grasped, and furnished a reply to, nothing but the last part of the opponent’s question, ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου, which, moreover, would be only a subordinate part of it! (c) The article must be added to ἑνός, if it is to apply to the σπέρ΄α already spoken of (as assumed also by Jatho); but no supplement whatever to ἑνός is suggested by the context;(156) and if τοῦ ἑνὸς σπέρματος were read, then, according to Galatians 3:16, it would mean not the body of Christians, but Christ Himself.(157) (d) ἑνός and εἷς would be taken in different senses: united and one.(158) 7. Sack (in the Tüb. Zeitschr. 1831, I. p. 106 f.) supposes that Paul avails himself of the idea of a mediator to limit the recognition of the law, which perhaps some Jewish Christians were disposed to assert to an exaggerated extent, and says: “The mediator, however, is not of one kind, but God is One and the same. For us Christians there is certainly another mediator than Moses; but God, the God in both Testaments, is nevertheless One and the same.” But it is obvious that ἑνός ἐστιν cannot mean unius generis est, and it is equally evident that the clause, “for us Christians there is certainly,” etc., is arbitrarily brought in. See also Schneckenburger, Beitr. p. 187 f., and (in opposition to Steudel, Kern, and Sack) Winer, Zeitschr. f. wissensch. Theol. II. 1, p. 31 ff. 8. Hermann: “Interventor non est unius (i. e. interventor ubi est, duos minimum esse oportet, inter quos ille interveniat); Deus autem unus est: ergo apud Deum non cogitari potest interventor; esset enim is, qui intercederet inter Deum et Deum, quod absurdum est.” And the connection is: “Id agebat P. ut ostenderet, legem Mosis, quae nihil neque cum promissione Abrahamo data neque cum praesente effectione promissionis commune haberet, dumtaxat interim valuisse, jam autem non amplius valere. Rationem reddit hanc, quod superaddita sit (ideo προσετέθη dixit), eoque non pertineat ad testamentum, cui non liceat quidquam addi; deinde quod non, sicut testamentum illud, ab ipso Deo condita et data, sed disposita per angelos allataque sit manu interventoris: atqui interventori, quod interventor non sit unius, non esse locum apud Deum, qui unus sit, utpote testator, cujus unius ex voluntate nemine intercedente haereditatem capiat haeres.” But (a) it could not be expected that the reader should derive from Galatians 3:20 the idea that no mediator is conceivable in the case of God on account of His oneness; nor could it be so conceived by Paul himself, for, in fact, with the one God a mediator may certainly have a place,—not, however, “inter Deum et Deum,” into which absurdity no one could fall, unless Paul so expressed it, but inter Deum et homines, in which office the history of the theocracy showed so many mediators and at last Christ Himself. (b) The question in Galatians 3:21 ( οὖν), with the answer expressive of horror, ΄ὴ γένοιτο, presupposes that the subject-matter of this question—consequently an antagonistic relation of the law to the promises—might possibly (although quite unduly) be derived from Galatians 3:20. But according to Hermann, Paul in Galatians 3:19-20 has already proved that an antagonism of the law to the promises does not exist, that the law was no longer valid, and had nothing at all in common with the promises. So, in a logical point of view, the question in Galatians 3:21, οὖν νόμος κ. τ. λ., could not be asked, nor could the answer ΄ὴ γένοιτο be made. (c) It may, besides, be urged against Hermann, that not only is διʼ ἀγγ. ἐν χειρὶ μεσ. regarded as lowering the authority of the law, but a quite undue stress is also laid upon προσετέθη; for in Galatians 3:19 the emphasis lies on τῶν παραβ. χάριν. 9. Matthies (as in substance also Rinck, Lucubr. crit. p. 172 ff., and in the Stud. u. Krit. 1834, p. 309 ff.) interprets: “But the mediator … does not relate to one, for his nature is in fact divided or disunited, since he is placed between two sides or parties opposed to one another; and therefore in connection with him we cannot think of unity, but only of duality, or of the variance subsisting between two parties; but God is One, comprehends in Himself nothing but unity, so that His nature contains no variance or disunion.” Thus also, in the main, de Wette,(159) and among the older expositors Jac. Cappellus. But the simple numerical conception of unity is thus arbitrarily transformed into the philosophical idea, and the contrast of plurality is turned into the contrast of disunion. How could a reader discover in θεὸς εἷς ἐστιν anything else than the popular doctrine of Monotheism? 10. Schott: “Mediator quidem non uni tantum (eidemque immutabili) addictus est homini s. parti, i. e. in quavis causa humana, quae mediatore indiget, duae certe adsunt partes, quibus μεσίτης inserviat, sive res inter duos tantum homines singulos transigatur, sive multitudo sit ingens eorum, qui alterutram vel utramque partem constituant (v. c. populus) … ubi plures imo multi ejusdem foederis participes sunt et fiunt (praesertim ubi maxima est singulorum vicissitudo, dum mortuis succedunt posteri), facile etiam mutatis animorum consiliis atque propositis, foedus mutatur aut tollitur, μεσίτη cujus ope constitutum fuerat haud impediente … proinde ex eo quidem, quod lex Sinaitica ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου promulgata est (Galatians 3:19), non sequitur auctoritatem ei competere perpetuam [his verbis P. corrigere voluit perversam eorum opinionem, qui in defendenda legis auctoritate perpetua valitura ad personam Mosis mediatoris provocarent] … attamen Deus

est unus, qui semper idem manet Deus immutabilis, foedus legislationis Sinaiticae non fuit humanae, sed divinae auctoritatis, neque ab arbitrio hominum, sed a voluntate Dei pendebat immutabilis. His perpendendis quaestio excitabatur (Galatians 3:21), an forte haec legislatio Sinait. auctoritate divina insignis ipso Deo jubente promissionem Abrahamo datam ejusmodi limitibus circumscribere (mutare) voluerit, ut non amplius esset promissio, cujus eventus liberae tantum Dei gratiae adnecteretur.” How much is supplied by the expositor in this interpretation so copiously provided with modifying clauses! But it is decidedly erroneous, on account of the sense of εἷς and ἑνός being changed into the idea of immutabilis (for which Schott should not have appealed to Romans 3:30, Philippians 1:27); and also because the proposition δὲ μεσίτης ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν is limited to causae humanae, and yet the inference is supposed to be therein conveyed that the Sinaitic legislation is not always valid. Paul assuredly could never have thus illogically corrected the zealots for the law, and then in the very same breath have set aside the inference by attamen Deus est unus. 11. Gurlitt (in the Stud. u. Krit. 1837, p. 805 ff.; 1843, p. 715 ff.) refers ἑνός to the Gentile Christians, as one of the two divisions of the σπέρμα ἀβρ.: “The law was given through angels and through a mediator, and God indeed is throughout only One; what proceeds from Him, therefore, demands in every case equal recognition. It must nevertheless be taken into consideration, that the mediator is no mediator of those who were previously Gentiles, and that therefore the law was not destined for the latter by God Himself.” But, apart from the fact that in this view of ἑνός there must have been previous mention of a twofold posterity of Abraham and τοῦ ἑνός must have been here used, and not to mention that the ἑνός and εἷς are not taken as alike in sense, the interpretation must be at once pronounced decidedly wrong, because it depends upon the erroneous view that the σπέρ΄α, Galatians 3:16; Galatians 3:19, means not merely Christ Himself, but also the corpus mysticum of Christ. 12. Olshausen, taking δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστιν as: God is one or a single one, and consequently only one party, explains it thus: “Mediation presupposes a state of separation, and there can be no mediation in the case of one; since God is the one party, there must also have been a second, viz. men, who were separated from God. In the gospel it is otherwise: in Christ, the representative of the Church, all are one; all separations and distinctions are done away in Him” (Galatians 3:28). Thus Paul, in order to call attention to the inferiority of the law to the gospel, gives a cursory, parenthetic explanation as to the idea of a mediator. This is (1) unsuitable to the context; for in Galatians 3:19, διαταγ. διʼ ἀγγέλων ἐν χειρὶ μεσ. has set forth the glory of the giving of the law. (2) The idea: and consequently also only one party, is quite arbitrarily added to δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστιν. (3) In like manner, all the rest which is supposed properly to constitute the sense of the words (“men, who were separated from God;” “in the gospel it is otherwise,” etc.) is the pure invention of the expositor. 13. Matthias,(160) correctly explaining the first half of the verse, sees in δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστιν the minor premiss of an enthymeme, which has to be completed by supplying the major premiss and conclusion: “If God is one of those two parties, the law, although ordained by angels, is nevertheless an ordinance of God; but God is this; and consequently the law, etc., is an ordinance, not of angels, but of God.” Against this interpretation we may urge that the special connection with the point διαταγεὶς διʼ ἀγγέλων is not conveyed by the text; that the explanation of εἷς by alter is contrary to the context; that Galatians 3:21 would be unsuitably subjoined from a logical point of view (see on κατά, Galatians 3:21); and lastly, that the idea of the law being an ordinance of God was one altogether undisputed and not needing any proof. 14. Ewald (comp. also his Jahrb. IV. p. 109) assumes that Paul with this “quick flash of thought” intended to say: “The idea of the mediator necessarily presupposes two different living beings between whom, as being at variance or separated, mediation has to take place; because the mediator of one is not, does not exist at all, is an impossibility. But since God is in strictness only One, and does not consist of two inwardly different Gods or of an earlier and later God, it is evident that Moses as mediator did not mediate between the God of the promise and the God of the law, and thereby mix up the law with the promise and cancel the promise by the later law; but he only mediated (as is well known) between God and the people of that time.” But even this interpretation, the thought of which would probably have been expressed most simply by Paul writing δὲ μεσίτης θεοῦ ἐστιν, δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστιν, is liable to the objections urged above (under 8) against Hermann’s explanation. 15. According to Hofmann (compare also his Schrifitbew. II. 2, p. 55 ff.), the first half of the verse is intended to affirm that, where there is only one to whom something is to be given, there is no room for mediatorship; such an individual recipient may receive it directly. Now, as the promise ran to Abraham’s posterity as an unity, it is evident that the giving of the law, just because it was destined for a plurality of individuals, could be no fulfilment of the promise. The second half of the verse, which with δέ passes on to the divine side of the event, places the unity of God in contradistinction to the plurality of angels; that which comes to men through the latter must be of a different kind from the promised gift, which the One was to give to the One—the one God to the one Christ. Thus on this side also it is clear that the giving of the law was not the fulfilment of the promise, but was only ordained for the time, until Christ should come. But (a) all this artificial interpretation must at once fall to the ground, because it conceives ἑνός to be opposed to a plurality of recipient subjects; for it is not true that the bestowal through a mediator presupposes such a plurality, seeing that it may take place just as well with one as with, many recipients. (b) It is incorrect that the unity of God is placed in contrast with the plurality of angels (which is not even marked, by πολλῶν ἀγγ. or the like): it stands in contrast to the ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν, and it is untrue that the “mediateness of the giving involved its taking place through many”—just as if the mediate giving could not with equal fitness take place through one, as in fact it has very often been given by God through one! (c) Paul’s intention is, not to show that the giving of the law was not the fulfilment of the promise, but, as is clearly evident from Galatians 3:21, to show that the law was not opposed to the promise.—16. Wieseler: “Moses as mediator, however ( δέ being restrictive), has reference not merely to God (but also to men): for a mediator from his nature has not reference to one (but to two parties); but God is one. Consequently the failure of that mediatorial office of Moses was based on the fact, that he as mediator had to do not only with God, but also with men. The fault does not lie with the faithfulness of God, who appointed him as mediator,—an idea which cannot be entertained,—but rather with the action of men,’ etc. Against this interpretation it may be urged, not only that the words εἷς ἐστιν imperceptibly acquire the sense: is only one of the two parties, which Paul would certainly have been able to express otherwise than by the confession of monotheism (Deuteronomy 6:4; James 2:19; Romans 3:30; 1 Corinthians 8:4; 1 Corinthians 8:6, et al.), but also that the idea of a failure on the part of the law-giving, and of the blame due for it, was remote from the apostle’s mind, and would here be unsuitable to the divine purpose expressed in Galatians 3:19. The law became to men the δύναμις τῆς ἁμαρτίας (1 Corinthians 15:56); but this falls to be regarded not as a failure on the part of the law-giving, but as a necessary stage in the development of the divine plan of salvation (Galatians 3:22 ff.; Romans 7). 17. According to Stölting (Beiträge z. Exeg. d. Paul. Br. 1869, p. 86 ff.), ἑνός and εἷς are to be taken in the sense of absolute unity. Galatians 3:20 is supposed to contain a syllogism with a suppressed conclusion: viz., A mediator does not belong to one; but God is one; consequently a mediator does not belong to God. Accordingly God is absolutely excluded from any mediation through the law: the objects of this mediation are on the one hand the Jews, and on the other hand their contrast, the Gentiles; and the law was to unite these two dissociated parts, which it effected by showing that the Jews were in need of redemption, and by making the Gentiles capable of redemption (Romans 3:22 f., 29 f.). The mediator, with the law in his hand, is supposed to have placed himself between Jews and Gentiles, and to have made both equal through the law,—an equalization which does not take place with God, as there is not one God of the Jews and another God of the Gentiles, between whom mediation might occur, but only a single God, who treats Jews and Gentiles with equal justice, being, as He is, a single Person without opponent, an absolute unity. Even this acutely carried out interpretation is not tenable: for (a) the reader finds no indication in the text that ἑνός and εἷς are to be taken in the pregnant sense of absoluteness; and Paul, in order to be understood, must at least have written, in the second half of the verse, something like δὲ θεὸς ὄντως εἷς (or ἁπλῶς εἷς) ἐστιν. Nor (b) is it correct that absolute unity excludes the being an object of mediation; because the absolutely one God has allowed mediation to take place between Himself and man, not only through Christ, but also in the ancient history of salvation, through His ministers (the angels, Moses, and the prophets), (c) There is nothing in the words of the passage to make us think of the Jews and Gentiles as objects of the mediation; since the law is rather to be recognised as the μεσότοιχον (Ephesians 2:14) between the two, which had to be removed by Christ in order to their union. To the national consciousness, not only of the apostle, but also of his readers, God and Israel could alone occur as the parties reconciled with one another through the μεσίτης. (d) It is not correct that the conclusion drawn from Galatians 3:20 is not expressed. It is expressed in Galatians 3:21, and rejected as erroneous.

Lastly, Rückert confines himself to the correct translation of the words, “The mediator does not refer to one (but always to more than one); but God is one;” from which is to be concluded, “Therefore the mediator does not refer to God alone, but also to others.” He, however, at the same time confesses that he does not see any way, in which these propositions and this conclusion are to be connected with the foregoing passage, so as to yield any relevant and lucid thought. While Rückert has thus despaired of an explanation on his own part, he has not questioned the title of the passage to receive an explanation. But this course, to which Michaelis was already inclined,(161) has been actually adopted by Lücke (in the Stud. u. Krit. 1828, p. 83 ff.), who holds Galatians 3:20 to be a gloss, which had originally served, on the one hand, to explain the conclusion of Galatians 3:19 (the mediator was interpreted as applying to Christ, and it was desirable to point out that this mediator belonged not merely to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles), and, on the other, to give a reason for the beginning of Galatians 3:21. But the witnesses in favour of its genuineness(162) are so decisively unanimous, that no other passage can appear better attested. Lücke only makes use of an argumentum a silentio,—namely, that Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen do not cite our verse (Clement of Alexandria has it at least once, in the Theodot. ed. Col. p. 797 A); but little stress can be laid on this, when we consider how lightly in general the Fathers were wont to pass over the words in question, without even discerning in them any special importance or difficulty.


Verse 21

Galatians 3:21. οὖν νόμος κατὰ τῶν ἐπαγγελιῶν;] οὖν, the reference of which is differently explained according to the different interpretations of Galatians 3:20, draws an inference, not from the definition of the object of the law in Galatians 3:19 (Castalio, Luther, Gomarus, Pareus, Estius, Bengel, and others, including Lücke, Olshausen, de Wette, Wieseler, Hofmann, Stölting), but from Galatians 3:20, which is not arbitrarily to be set aside, or to be treated merely as an appendage of Galatians 3:19.(163) The law, namely, which was given through a mediator, and therefore essentially otherwise than the promise, might thereby appear to introduce on the part of God another way of granting the Messianic salvation than the promises, and consequently to be opposed to the latter. See the fuller statement at Galatians 3:20.

κατὰ τῶν ἐπαγγελιῶν] See Galatians 3:8; Galatians 3:16. The κατά is the usual contra, in opposition, to. Matthias incorrectly explains it: “Is it included under the idea of the promises?” Since the simple ἐστί—and not, possibly, τάσσεται (see Lobeck, Phryn. p. 272)—is to be supplied, the expression would be wholly without the sanction of usage. Moreover, looking to the specific difference in the ideas of the two things, Paul could not have asked such a question at all.

εἰ γὰρ ἐδόθη νόμος κ. τ. λ.] ground assigned for the ΄ὴ γένοιτο, and therefore proof that it would be incorrect to conclude from Galatians 3:20 that the law was opposed to the promises. For if it had been opposed to the promises, the law must have been in a position to procure life;(164) and if this were so, then would righteousness actually be from the law,(165) which, according to the Scriptures, cannot be the case (Galatians 3:22).

νόμος] just as in the whole context: the Mosaic law, although without the article, as in ii. 21, iii. 11, 18; Winer, p. 117 [E. T. 152].

δυνάμ. ζωοπ.] The article marks off the definite quality which, in the words εἰ γὰρ ἐδόθη νόμος, is conceived by the lawgiver as belonging to the law (Winer, p. 127 [E. T. 167]; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. ii. 7, 13): as that which is able to give life; and this is the point of this conditional sentence.

ζωοποιῆσαι] “Hoc verbo praesupponitur mors peccatori intentata,” Bengel. The ζωή, however, which the law is not able to furnish, is not the being alive morally (Winer, Rückert, Matthies, Olshausen, Ewald, Wieseler, Hauck, Hofmann, Buhl, and others, following older expositors), but, in harmony with the context, the everlasting Messianic life (see Käuffer, de bibl. ζωῆς αἰωνίου notione, p. 75), as is evident from Galatians 3:18 ( εἰ γὰρ ἐκ νόμου κληρονομία) and from Galatians 3:22. Comp. also 2 Corinthians 3:6. The moral quickening is presupposed in this ζωοποιῆσαι. The law, in itself good and holy, could not subdue the dominion of the principle of sin in man (Romans 8:3), but rather necessarily served to promote this dominion (see on Galatians 3:19), and was therefore unable to bring about the eternal life which was dependent on obedience to the law (Galatians 3:12): given unto life, it was found unto death, Romans 7:10. Paul never uses ζωοποιεῖν of the moral quickening, nor συζωοποιεῖν either (Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:13). The ζεή is the eternal life which is manifested at the Parousia (Colossians 3:3 f.), and therefore in reality the κληρονομία (Galatians 3:18; Galatians 3:29). Comp. ζήσεται, Galatians 3:12, to which our ζωοπ. glances back.

ὄντως ἐκ νόμου ἂν ἦν δικαιοσύνη] then in reality (not merely in Jewish imagination) the law would be that, from which the existence of righteousness would proceed, namely, by its enabling men to offer complete obedience. The argument proceeds ab effectu ( ζωοποιῆσαι) ad causam ( δικαιοσύνη), for, without being righteous before God, man cannot attain eternal life: not as Rückert, Wieseler, Hofmann, and others, in accordance with their view of ζωοπ., are compelled to assume, a causa (the new moral life whereby the law is fulfilled) ad effectum (the δικαιοσύνη which would be acquired by the fulfilment of the law). The relation between ζωοποιῆσαι and δικαιοσύνη is aptly indicated by Oecumenius: οὐκ ἔσωσεν οὐδὲ ἐδικαίωσεν, and by Bengel: “Justitia est vitae fundamentum.”


Verse 22

Galatians 3:22. But the case supposed ( ἐδόθη νόμος δυνάμ. ζωοποιῆσαι) does not exist: for, on the contrary, according to the Scriptures all men have been subjected to the dominion of sin, and the purpose of God therein was, that the promised salvation should not come from the law, but should be bestowed on believers on account of faith in Christ. What sort of position is assigned under these circumstances to the law, is then stated in Galatians 3:23.

συνέκλεισεν γραφὴ κ. τ. λ.] Scripture is personified, as in Galatians 3:8. That which God has done, because it is divinely revealed and attested in Scripture (see Romans 3:9-19) and thereby appears an infallible certainty, is represented as the act of Scripture, which the latter, as in its utterances the professed self-revelation of God, has accomplished. The Scripture—that is, when regarded apart from the personification, God, according to the divine testimony of the Scripture—has brought all into ward under sin, that is, has put the whole of mankind without exception into the relation of bondage, in which sin (comp. Romans 3:9) has them, as it were, under lock and key, so that they cannot escape from this control and attain to moral freedom. On the figurative expression, and on the conception of the matter as a divine measure (not a mere declaration), compare on Romans 11:32. Following Chrysostom ( ἠλέγξεν) and others, Hermann finds the sense: “per legem demum cognitum esse peccatum” (Romans 7:7 f., Galatians 3:19 ff.), which, however, does not correspond with the significance of the carefully-chosen συνέκλεισεν, and is also at variance with γραφή, which is by no means—as, following the Fathers (but not Theodoret), Beza, Calvin, Baumgarten-Crusius and others think—equivalent to νόμος, but denotes the O.T., whilst νόμος in the whole connection is the institute of the law. The bond of guilt which is implied in the dominion of sin is obvious of itself, without any need for explaining ἁμαρτίαν as the guilt of sin.

Moreover, the emphasis is on the prefixed συνέκλεισεν: included, so that freedom, that is, the attainment of δικαιοσύνη, is not to be thought of. συγκλείειν, however, does not denote: to include together, with one another, as Bengel, Usteri, and others hold (not even in Romans 11:32), which is clearly proved by the fact that the word is very often used of the shutting up of one, unaccompanied by others (1 Samuel 24:19; Psalms 31:9; Polyb. xi. 2. 10; 1 Maccabees 11:66; 1 Maccabees 12:7); but συν corresponds to the idea of complete custody, so that the enclosed are entirely and absolutely held in by the barriers in question. Comp. Herod, vii. 129: λίμνη συγκληϊσμένη πάντοθεν, Eur. Hec. 487; Polyb. i. 17. 8, i. 51. 10, iii. 117. 11; also Plat. Tim. p. 71 C, where it is used with ἐμφράττειν; 1 Maccabees 4:31; 1 Maccabees 5:5. Una includere would be συγκατακλείειν, Herod. i. 182; Lucian, Vit. auct. 9, D. mort. xiv. 4.

τὰ πάντα] the collective whole, not: all which man ought to do (Ewald), but like τοὺς πάντας, Romans 11:32. The neuter used of persons, who are thus brought under the point of view of the general category: the totality. See on 1 Corinthians 1:27; Arrian. v. 22. 1. According to Calvin, Beza, Wolf, Bengel, and others (comp. also Hofmann), τὰ πάντα is supposed to refer not merely to men, but also to everything which they are, have, or do. But the figurative συνέκλεισεν, and also the context by τοῖς πιστεύουσι and the personal indications contained in Galatians 3:23 ff., give the preference to our interpretation. Besides, τὰ πάντα, taken of things, would mean all things (Xen. Mem. i. 11; Romans 11:36, et al.), which is here unsuitable. Comp. on the matter itself, Romans 3:9; Romans 3:19

ἵνα ἐπαγγελία κ. τ. λ.] the purpose of God, because that which was previously represented as the action of Scripture was in reality the action of God. Therefore we must not (with Semler, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Winer, Matthias, and others) explain logice: quo appareat dari, etc.

ἐπαγγελία] that which was promised, a sense which the abstract receives through δοθῇ. Comp. Galatians 3:14. That which is meant is the promised gift, already well known from the context, namely, the κληρονομία, Galatians 3:16; Galatians 3:18.

ἐκ πίστεως] not from obedience to the law, which with that subjection under the control of sin was impossible, but so that the divine bestowal proceeds, as regards its subjective cause, from faith in Jesus Christ; comp. Galatians 3:8. The emphasis is on this ἐκ πίστ. . χ., and not on ἐπαγγελία (Hofmann); see Galatians 3:23 ff.

τοῖς πιστεύουσι] is explained by Winer and others as an apparent tautology arising from the importance of this proposition (and therefore emphatic); but without adequate ground (and passages such as Galatians 3:9, Romans 1:17, Philippians 3:9, are not relevant here); the expression, on the contrary, is quite in keeping with the circumstances of the Galatians. That salvation was intended for believers, was not denied; but they held to the opinion that obedience to the law must necessarily be the procuring cause of this salvation. Paul therefore says: in order that, in virtue of faith in Jesus Christ, not in virtue of obedience to the law, salvation should be given to the believers—so that thus the believers have no need of anything further than faith. Comp. Galatians 5:4 f.


Verse 23

Galatians 3:23. δέ] no longer connected with ἀλλά (Hofmann), but leading over to a new portion of the statement (the counterpart to which is to follow in Galatians 3:25),—namely, to the position which the law held under the circumstances expressed in Galatians 3:25. Before the introduction of faith, it was to guard and maintain those who belonged to it in this relation of bondage, so that they should not get rid of it and become free,—a liberation which was reserved for the faith which was to come.

πρὸ τοῦ δὲ ἐλθεῖν] δέ in the third place with the prepositional phrase. See Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 397; Klotz, ad Devar. II. p. 378 f.

Here also πίστις is neither doctrina fidem postulans, the gospel, as most ancient expositors and Schott think, nor the dispensation of faith (Buhl, comp. Rückert), but subjective faith, which is treated objectively. Comp. on Galatians 1:23, Galatians 3:2. As long as there was not yet any belief in Christ, faith was not yet present; but when on the preaching of the gospel men believed in Christ, the faith, which was previously wanting, had come, that is, had now set in, had presented itself,—namely, in the hearts of those who had become believers. On ἐλθεῖν as applied to mental things and states, which set in, comp. Pind. Nem. i. 48 (hopes); Plat. Pol. iii. p. 402 A (understanding); Soph. O. R. 681 ( δόκησις). Comp. also Romans 7:9.

ὑπὸ νόμον ἐφρουρούμεθα συγκλειόμενοι] (see the critical notes): under the law we were held in custody, so that we were placed in ward with a view to the faith about to be revealed. The. subject is: we Jewish Christians (Galatians 3:25); the emphasis is on ὑπὸ νόμον, and afterwards on πίστιν. The law is represented as a ruler, under whose dominion ( ὑπὸ νόμον) those who belonged to it were held in moral captivity, as in a prison; so that they, as persons shut up in the φρουρά under lock and key, were placed beyond the possibility of liberation—which was only to ensue by means of the faith that was to be revealed in the future.(166) The words and the context do not yield more than this: the paedagogic efficacy of the law is not inferred till Galatians 3:24, and is not to be anticipated here. This view is opposed to that of many expositors (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Erasmus, Grotius, Estius, Winer, Rückert, Schott, Ewald, and others), who find already expressed here that paedagogic function, which, however, is understood in the sense of the “usus politicus” of the law (but see on Galatians 3:24): “in severam legis disciplinam, quae ne in omnem libidinem effunderemur cavit, traditi,” Winer. But the whole explanation of the law guarding from sin (to which also Wieseler refers ἐφρουρ.) is opposed to the correct interpretation of τῶν παραβάσεων χάριν (Galatians 3:19), and also to Galatians 3:22. The captivity so forcibly described by Paul is just the sinful bondage under the law, Romans 7:1; 1 Corinthians 15:56. Observe, moreover, in order to a just understanding of the passage, that ὑπὸ νόμον, according to the very position of the words, cannot without proceeding arbitrarily be connected with συγκλ. (so de Wette, Wieseler, and many others, also my own former interpretation),—a connection which is not warranted by the other thought, Galatians 3:22,—but must be joined to ἐφρουρ. (Augustine and many others, also Hofmann, Reithmayr, Buhl); and further, that the present participle συγκλειό΄ενοι (with the εἰς τὴν ΄έλλ. κ. τ. λ. belonging to it) forms the modal definition of ἐφρουρούμεθα, representing the continued operation of the latter, which, constantly appearing in fresh acts, renders liberation impossible. Hofmann (comp. his Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 59) understands συγκλείειν εἰς in the sense of constraining to something; it expresses in his view the constraining power, with which subjection to the law served to keep the people directed towards the faith which was to be revealed in the future.(167) Such an use of the phrase is indubitably found among later Greek authors, and is especially frequent in Polybius (see Raphel, and Schweighäuser, Lex. Polyb. p. 571 f.); but how improbable, and in fact incredible it is, that Paul should have here used this word in a different sense from that in which he used it immediately before in Galatians 3:22, and in the kindred passage, Romans 11:32 (he has it not elsewhere)! This sense could not have occurred to any reader. Besides, the idea of constraint against one’s will, which must be conveyed in συγκλειόμ. εἰς (see Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 545), and which Hofmann obliterates (“the law conferred on the people its distinctive position, and its abiding in this distinctive position was at the same time an abiding directed towards the faith that was to come”), would neither agree with the text (Galatians 3:22; Galatians 3:24) nor harmonize with history (Romans 11; Acts 28:25 ff.).

εἰς τὴν μέλλουσαν πίστιν ἀποκαλυφθῆναι] As εἰς in Galatians 3:24 is evidently to be understood as telic, and as the temporal interpretation usque ad (Erasmus, Grotius, Michaelis, Koppe, Morus, Rosenmüller, Rückert, Usteri, and others) after πρὸ τοῦ ἐλθεῖν τὴν πίστιν, which includes in itself the terminus ad quem, would be very unmeaning, εἰς is to be explained: towards the faith, that is, with the design, that we should pass over into the state of faith. Luther (1519) aptly remarks: “in hoc, ut fide futura liberaremur.” In accordance with the view of Oecumenius, Theophylact, Augustine, Calovius, Raphel, Bengel, Hofmann, εἰς κ. τ. λ. is to be connected with συγκλειόμενοι, because the latter, without this annexation of the telic statement εἰς κ. τ. λ., would not form a characteristic modal definition of ἐφρουρ. This εἰς κ. τ. λ. is, in the history of salvation, the divine aim of that σύγκλεισις, which was to cease on its attainment; Christ is the end of the law. Comp. Galatians 3:22, where ἵνα κ. τ. λ. corresponds with the εἰς κ. τ. λ. here.

μέλλουσαν] is placed first (Paul did not write, εἰς τ. πίστ. τ. μέλλ. ἀποκ.), because with that earlier situation is contrasted the subsequent future state of things which was throughout the object of its aim. Comp. on Romans 8:18. Similarly in 1 Peter 5:1, 2 Maccabees 8:11.

ἀποκαλυφθῆναι] for so long as there was not yet belief in Christ, faith had not yet made its appearance: it was still a (in the counsel of God) hidden element of life, which became revealed as a historical phenomenon, when Christ had come and the gospel—the preaching of faith (Galatians 3:2; Galatians 3:5)—was made known. ἀποκαλ. cannot be understood as the infinitive of design and, according to the reading συγκεκλεισμένοι, as belonging to the latter word (Matthias: “in order to become manifest, as those who were under the ban with a view to the future faith”), because in the religious-historical connection of the text it must signify the final appearance of the blessing of salvation, which hitherto as a μυστήριον had been unknown (Romans 16:25). Besides, Paul would thus have written very far from clearly; he must at least have placed the infinitive before συγκεκλεισ.


Verse 24

Galatians 3:24. Accordingly the law has become our paedagogue unto Christ. As a paedagogue (see on 1 Corinthians 4:15) has his wards in guidance and training for the aim of their future majority, so the law has taken us into a guidance and training, of which Christ was the aim, that is, of which the aim was that we in due time should no longer be under the law, but should belong to Christ. This munus paedagogicum, however, resulting from Galatians 3:23, did not consist in the restriction of sin,(168) or in the circumstance that the law “ab inhonestis minarum asperitate deterreret” (Winer, and most expositors, including de Wette, Baur, Hofmann, Reithmayr, but not Usteri, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler),—views decidedly inconsistent with the aim expressed in Galatians 3:19, and with the tenor of Galatians 3:23, which by no means expresses the idea of preparatory improvement; but it consisted in this, that the law prepared those belonging to it for the future reception of Christian salvation (justification by faith) in such a manner that, by virtue of the principle of sin which it excited, it continually brought about and promoted transgressions (Galatians 3:19; Romans 7:5 ff.), thereby held the people in moral bondage (in the φρουρά, Galatians 3:23), and by producing at the same time the acknowledgment of sin (Romans 3:20) powerfully brought home to the heart (Romans 7:24) the sense of guilt and of the need of redemption from the divine wrath (Romans 4:15),—a redemption which, with our natural moral impotence, was not possible by means of the law itself (Romans 3:19 f., Romans 8:3). Luther appropriately remarks: “Lex enim ad gratiam praeparat, dum peccatum revelat et auget, humilians superbos ad auxilium Christi desiderandum.” See also Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 287 f.; Holsten, z. Evang. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 315 f. Under this paedagogal discipline man finally cries out: ταλαίπωρος ἐγώ, Romans 7:24.

εἰς χριστόν] not usque ad Christum (Castalio, J. Cappellus, Morus, Rosenmüller, Rückert, Matthias), but designating the end aimed at, as is shown by ἵνα ἐκ π. δικ.; comp. Galatians 3:23. Chrysostom and his successors (see Suicer, Thes. II. pp. 421, 544), Erasmus, Zeger, Elsner, and others, refer εἰς to the idea that the law πρὸς τὸν χριστόν, ὅς ἐστιν διδάσκαλος, ἀπήγε, just as the paedagogi had to conduct the boys to the schools and gymnasia (Plat. Lys. p. 208 C Dem. 313. 12; Ael V. H. iii. 21). But this introduces the idea of Christ as a teacher, which is foreign to the passage; He is conceived of as reconciler ( ἵνα ἐκ πίστ. δικ.).

ἵνα ἐκ πίστεως δικαιωθ.] is the divine destination, which the paedagogic function of the law was to fulfil in those who were subject to it. The emphatic ἐκ πίστεως (by faith, not by the law) shows how erroneously the paedagogic efficacy of the law is referred to the restriction of sin.


Verse 25

Galatians 3:25. No longer dependent on the ὥστε in Galatians 3:24. Paul now desires to unfold the beautiful picture of the salvation which had come.

οὐκέτι] This is the breathing afresh of freedom. On the matter itself, comp. Romans 6:14; Romans 10:4; Romans 7:25.

ὑπὸ παιδαγ.] without article: under tutorial power.


Verse 26

Galatians 3:26. The argumentative emphasis is laid first on πάντες, and then, not on υἱοί,—which expositors have been wont to understand in the pregnant sense: sons of full age, free, in contrast to the παισί implied in παιδαγωγός (see, against this view, Wieseler and Matthias),—but on υἱοὶ θεοῦ, because in this θεοῦ the υἱοί actually has its express and full definition, and therefore to supply the defining idea is quite unwarrantable. All of you are sons of God by means of faith;(169) but where all without exception and without distinction are sons of God, and are so through faith, none can be, like Israel before the appearance of faith, under the dominion of the law, because the new state of life, that of faith, is something altogether different,—namely, fellowship with the υἱότης of Christ (Galatians 3:27). To be a son of God through faith, and to be under the old tutorial training, are contradictory relations, one of which excludes the other. The higher, and in fact perfect relation,(170) excludes the lower.

πάντες] Paul now speaks in the second person, because what is said in Galatians 3:26 f. held good, not of the Jewish Christians alone (of whom he previously spoke in the first person), but of all Christians in general as such, consequently of all his readers whom he now singles out for address; whether they may have previously been Jews or Gentiles, now they are sons of God. Hofmann supposes that Paul meant by the second person his Gentile-Christian readers, and wished to employ what he says of them in proof of his assertion respecting those who had been previously subject to the law. In this case he must, in order to be intelligible, have used some such words as καὶ γὰρ ὑμεῖς ἔθνη πάντες κ. τ. λ. According to the expression in the second person used without any limitation, the Galatian Christians must have considered themselves addressed as a whole without distinction,—a view clearly confirmed to them by the ὅσοι (Galatians 3:27), and the ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ ἕλλην comp. with πάντες ὑ΄εῖς (Galatians 3:28). Where, on the other hand, Paul is thinking of the Galatians as Gentile Christians (so far as the majority of them actually were so), this may be simply gathered from the context (Galatians 4:8).

ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ] belongs to πίστεως. According to the construction πιστεύειν ἔν τινι (see Mark 1:15; Ephesians 1:13; LXX. Ps. 77:22, Jeremiah 12:6; Clem. 1 Cor. 22: ἐν χριστῷ πίστις, Ignat. ad Philad. 8: ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ οὐ πιστεύω), πίστις ἐν χριστῷ is fides in Christo reposita, the faith resting in Christ; the words being correctly, in point of grammar, combined so as to form one idea. See Winer, p. 128 [E. T. 169]; Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 63, ad Rom. I. p. 195 f. Comp. Ephesians 1:1; Ephesians 1:15; Colossians 1:4; 1 Timothy 3:13. But Usteri, Schott, Hofmann, Wieseler, Ewald, Matthias, Reithmayr (Estius also pronouncing it allowable), join ἐν χρ. . with υἱοὶ θεοῦ ἐστε, of which it is alleged to be the modal definition; specially explaining the sense, either as “utpote Christo prorsus addicti” (Schott), or of the “inclusion in Christ” (Hofmann), or as assigning the objective ground of the sonship, which has its subjective ground in διὰ τ. πίστ. (Wieseler; comp. Hofmann and Buhl). But all these elements are already obviously involved in διὰ τ. πίστ. itself, so that ἐν χ. ., as parallel to διὰ τ. π., would be simply superfluous and awkward; whereas, connected with διὰ τ. π., it expresses the emphatic and indeed solemn completeness of this idea (comp. Galatians 3:22), in accordance with the great thought of the sentence, coming in all the more forcibly at the end, as previously in the case of ἐλθεῖν (Galatians 3:23) and ἐλθούσης (Galatians 3:25) the πίστις was mentioned without its object, and the latter was left to be understood as a matter of course.


Verse 27

Galatians 3:27. The words just used, υἱοὶ θεοῦ ἐστε, expressing what the readers as a body are through faith in Christ, are now confirmed by the mention of the origin of this relation; and the ground on which the relation is based is, that Christ is the Son of God. Comp. Chrysostom: εἰ χριστος υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, σὺ δὲ αὐτὸν ἐνδέδυσαι, τὸν υἱὸν ἔχων ἐν ἑαυτῷ καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁμοιωθεὶς εἰς μίαν συγγένειαν καὶ μίαν ἰδέαν ἤχθης. Luther, 1519: “Si autem Christum induistis, Christus autem filius Dei, et vos eodem indumento filii Dei estis.”

ὅσοι] corresponding to the emphatic πάντες in Galatians 3:26.

εἰς χριστόν] in relation to Christ (see on Romans 6:3), so that ye who belong to Christ through baptism become partakers in fellowship of life with Him.

χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε] laying aside the figure, according to the connection: Ye have appropriated the same peculiar state of life, that is, the very same specific relation to God, in which Christ stands; consequently, as He is the Son of God, ye have likewise entered into the sonship of God, namely by means of the πνεῦμα υἱοθεσίας received at baptism (Galatians 4:5-7; Romans 8:15; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5). Observe, besides, how baptism necessarily presupposes the μετάνοια (Acts 2:38) and faith (comp. Neander, II. p. 778 f.; Messner, Lehre der Ap. p. 279). The entrance on the state of being included in Christ, as Hofmann from the point of view of εἶναι ἐν χ. explains the expression, is likewise tantamount to the obtaining a share in the sonship of God. The figure, derived from the putting on of a characteristic dress,(171) is familiar both to the Greek authors and the Rabbins (Schoettgen, Hor. p. 572). See on Romans 13:14. In the latter passage the putting on of Christ is enjoined, but it is here represented as having taken place; for in that passage it is conceived under the ethical, but here under the primary dogmatic, point of view. Comp. Luther, 1538. Usteri incorrectly desires to find in the ἐνδύεσθαι χριστόν of our passage, not the entering into the sonship of God, but the putting on of the new man (Colossians 3:9-11), having especial reference to the thought of the universalistic, purely human element, in which all the religious differences which have hitherto separated men from one another are done away. This view is inconsistent with the word actually used ( χριστόν), and with the context ( υἱοὶ θεοῦ, Galatians 3:26). Nevertheless, Wieseler has in substance supported the view of Usteri, objecting to our interpretation that υἱοὶ θεοῦ expresses a sonship of God different from that of Christ, who was begotten of God. It is true that Christians are the sons of God only by adoption ( υἱοθεσία); but just by means of this new relation entered upon in baptism, they have morally and legally entered into the like state of life with the only-begotten Son, and have become, although only His brethren by adoption, still His brethren. Comp. Romans 8:29. This is sufficient to justify the conception of having put on Christ, wherein the metaphysical element of difference subsists, as a matter of course, but is left out of view. On the legal aspect of the relation, comp. Galatians 3:29; Romans 8:17.

Moreover, that the formula ἐν χριστῷ εἶναι is not to be explained from the idea χριστὸν ἐνδύσασθαι, see in Fritzsche, ad. Rom. II. p. 82. Just as little, however, is the converse course to be adopted (Hofmann), because both εἶναι ἔν τινι and ἐνδύσασθαί τινα or τι are frequently used in the N.T. and out of it, without any correlation of the two ideas necessarily existing. The two stand independently side by side, although in point of fact it is correct that whosoever is ἐν χριστῷ has put on Christ through baptism.


Verse 28

Galatians 3:28. After ye have thus put on Christ, the distinctions of your various relations of life apart from Christianity have vanished; from the standpoint of this new condition they have no further validity, any more than if they were not in existence.

ἔνι] is an abbreviated form for ἔνεστι (1 Corinthians 6:5; Colossians 3:11; James 1:17), not the adverbially used preposition (Hom. Od. vii. 96; Schaefer, ad Bos. p. 51; Kühner, II. § 618), as Winer, Usteri, Wieseler, and others assume, with the accent thrown back. Against this view it is decisive, that very frequently ἔνι and ἐν are used together (1 Corinthians 6:5, and frequently in Greek authors, as Xen. Anab. v. 3. 11; Herod, vii. 112), and yet there is no ἐστί added, whereby the ἔνι shows that it stands independently as a compound word = ἔνεστι or ἔνεισι. Comp. Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 591. Translate: there is not, namely, in this state of things when ye have all put on Christ, a Jew, etc. The ὑμεῖς in Galatians 3:28-29 shows that the individualizing form of statement, applying to the readers, is still continued; therefore Hofmann is wrong, although consistent with his erroneous interpretation of the second person in Galatians 3:26 f., in taking ἔνι as general: “in Christ,” or “now since faith has come,” on the ground that ἐν ὑμῖν is not added (which was obvious of itself from the context). As to the idea generally, comp. Colossians 3:11; Romans 10:12; 1 Corinthians 12:13.

ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ] Comp. Matthew 19:4. The relation here is conceived otherwise than in the previous οὐκοὐδὲ, namely: there are not male and female, two sexes; so that the negative is not to be supplied after καὶ (Bornemann, ad Act. xv. 1).

πάντες γὰρ κ. τ. λ.] Proof from the relation cancelling these distinctions, which is now constituted: For ye all are one, ye form a single moral person; so that now those distinctions of individuals outside of Christianity appear as non-existent, completely merged in that higher unity to which ye are all raised in virtue of your fellowship of life with Christ. This is the εἷς καινὸς ἄνθρωπος, Ephesians 2:15. Observe the emphatic πάντες as in Galatians 3:26, and ὅσοι in Galatians 3:27.

ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ] Definition of εἷς ἐστε. They are one, namely, not absolutely, but in the definite sense of their relation as Christians, inasmuch as this unity is causally dependent on Christ, to whom they all belong and live (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:15 f.; Romans 14:8). See Colossians 3:11.


Verse 29

Galatians 3:29. But by your thus belonging to Christ ye are also Abraham’s posterity: for Christ is indeed the σπέρμα ἀβ. (Galatians 3:16), and, since ye have entered into the relation of Christ, ye must consequently have a share in the same state, and must likewise be Abraham’s σπέρμα; with which in conformity to the promise is combined the result, that ye are heirs, that is, that ye, just like heirs who have come into the possession of the property belonging to them, have as your own the salvation of the Messianic kingdom promised to Abraham and his seed (the realization of which is impending).

δέ] drawing a further inference, so that, after the explanation contained in Galatians 3:28, εἰ δὲ ὑμεῖς χριστοῦ in point of fact resumes the χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε of Galatians 3:27. The emphatic ὑμεῖς has as its background of contrast the natural descendants of Abraham, who as such do not belong to Christ and therefore are not Abraham’s σπέρμα.

τοῦ ἀβρ.] correlative to χριστοῦ, and emphatically prefixed. Ye are Abraham’s seed, because Christ is so (Galatians 3:16), whose position has become yours (Galatians 3:27). Comp. Theodoret and Theophylact.

κατʼ ἐπαγγ.] for τῷ ἀβρ. ἐῤῥήθησαν αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ, Galatians 3:16. It is true that this σπέρμα in Galatians 3:16 is Christ: but Christians have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27), and are altogether one in Christ (Galatians 3:28); thus the κατʼ ἐπαγγ. (in conformity with promise) finds its justification. But the emphasis is laid, not on κατʼ ἐπαγγ. as contrasted with κατὰ νόμον (Baumgarten-Crusius, Ewald, Wieseler), or with another order of heirs (Hofmann), or with natural inheritance (Reithmayr), but on κληρονόμοι, which forms the link of connection with the matter that follows in ch. 4, and both here and at Galatians 4:7 constitutes the important key-stone of the argument. This κληρονόμοι is the triumph of the whole, accompanied with the seal of divine certainty by means of κατʼ ἐπαγγ.; the two together forming the final death-blow to the Judaistic opponents, which comes in all the more forcibly without καί (see critical notes). The alleged contrast was obvious of itself long before in the words σπέρμα τοῦ ἀβρ. (comp. Galatians 3:18). The article was no more requisite than in Galatians 3:18.

κληρονόμοι] The connection with the sequel shows, that the sense of heir is intended here. τοῦ ἀβρ. is not, however, to be again supplied to κληρονόμοι, as might be inferred from σπέρμα; but, without supplying a genitive of the person inherited from, we have to think of the κληρονομία of the Messianic salvation. Comp. Romans 8:17. Against the supplying of τοῦ ἀβρ. we may decisively urge not only the sequel, in which nothing whatever is said of any inheriting from Abraham, but also κατʼ ἐπαγγ. For if Paul had wished to express the idea that Christians as the children of Abraham were also the heirs of Abraham, the κατʼ ἐπαγγ. would have been inappropriate; because the promise (Galatians 3:16) had announced the heirship of the Messianic kingdom to Abraham and his seed, but had not announced this heirship in the first instance to Abraham, and then announced to his seed in their turn that they should be Abraham’s heirs.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Galatians 3:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/galatians-3.html. 1832.

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Wednesday, July 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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