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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Galatians 4

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 4

Galatians 4:6. ἡμῶν] Elz. has ὑμῶν, against decisive testimony, after the foregoing ἐστέ.

Galatians 4:7. κληρονόμος] Elz. and Scholz add θεοῦ διὰ χριστοῦ. There are many variations, among which κληρ. διὰ θεοῦ has most external attestation, viz. A B C* א*, Copt. Vulg. Boern. Clem. Bas. Cyr. Didym. Ambr. Ambrosiast. Pel.; so Lachm., Schott, Tisch. The Recepta κληρ. θεοῦ διὰ χριστοῦ is defended by C. F. A. Fritzsche in Fritzschiorum Opusc. p. 148, and Reiche; whilst Rinck, Lucubr. crit. p. 175, and Usteri, hold only κληρ. διὰ χριστοῦ as genuine, following Marian.** Jerome (238, lect. 19, have κληρ. διὰ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ); Griesb. and Rück., however, would read merely κληρονόμος (so 178 alone). Theophyl. Dial. c. Maced., and two min., have from Romans 8:17 κληρ. μὲν θεοῦ, συγκληρ. δὲ χριστοῦ. Amidst this great diversity, the much preponderating attestation of κληρ. διὰ θεοῦ (in favour of which F G also range themselves with κληρ. διὰ θεόν) is decisive; so that the Recepta must be regarded as having arisen from a gloss, and the mere κληρονόμος, which has almost no attestation, as resulting from a clerical omission of διὰ θεοῦ.

Galatians 4:8. φύσει μή] So A B C D* E א, min., vss., Ath. Nyss. Bas. Cyr. Ambr. Jer. Approved by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Tisch. But Elz. Matth. Scholz, Schott, Reiche, have μὴ φύσει. Opposed to this is the decisive weight of the evidence just given, and the internal ground, that in τοῖς μὴ φύσει οὖσι θεοῖς people might easily find the entire non-existence of the heathen gods, which could not but be more satisfactory than our reading, leaving as this does to the gods reality in general, and only denying them actual divinity. The same cause probably induced the omission of φύσει in K, 117, Clar. Germ. codd. Lat. in Ambr. Ir. Victorin. Ambrosiast.

Galatians 4:14. πειρασμόν μου τόν] So Elz. Matth. Scholz, Tisch. Reiche, following D*** K L, many min., and a few vss. and Fathers. But A B C** D* F G א*, 17, 39, 67*, Copt. Vulg. It. Cyr. Jer. Aug. Ambrosiast. Sedul., have τειρασμὸν ὑμῶν. Recommended by Mill. and Griesb., adopted by Lachm. And justly; ὑμῶν not being understood, was either expunged (so C*?, min., Syr. Erp. Arm. Bas. Theophyl.; approved by Winer, Rück., Schott, Fritzsche), or amended by μου τόν. Comp. Wieseler.

Galatians 4:15. τίς οὖν] Grot., Lachm., Rück., Usteri, Ewald, Hofm., read ποῦ οὖν, which is indeed attested by A B C F G א, min., Syr. Arr. Syr. p. (in the margin), Arm. Copt. Vulg. Boern. Dam. Jer. Pel., but by the explanations of Theodore of Mopsuestia ( τὸ οὖν τίς ἐνταῦθα ἀντὶ τοῦ ποῦ μακαρ.), Theodoret, Theophyl., and Oecum., is pretty well shown to be an ancient interpretation.

The ἦν which follows is omitted in A B C L א, min., Aeth. Damasc. Theophyl. Theodoret. ms. Expunged by Lachm. and Scholz, also Tisch. Rightly. According as τίς was understood either correctly as expressing quality, or as equivalent to ποῦ, either ἦν (D E K et al.) or ἐστι (115, Sedul. Jer.), or even νῦν (122, Erp.), was supplied. In Oecum. the reading ἦν is combined with the explanation ποῦ by recourse to the gloss: νῦν γὰρ οὐχ ὁρῶ αὐτόν.

ἄν] before ἐδώκ. is wanting in A B C D* F G א, 17, 47, Dam. Deleted by Lachm. and Tisch.: a grammatical addition.

Galatians 4:17. ἐκκλεῖσαι ὑμᾶς] Elz. has ἐκκλ. ἡμᾶς, which is found only in a very few min., was introduced into the text by Beza,(172) and must be looked upon as an unnecessary conjecture.

Galatians 4:18. τὸ ζηλοῦσθαι] A C and four min., Damasc. have ζηλοῦσθαι merely (so Lachm.), while B א, and three min., Aeth. Vulg. Jer. Ambrosiast., read ζηλοῦσθε. The latter is an ancient error in transcribing, which involved the suppression of the article. The correct form ζηλοῦσθαι was restored, but the article, which seemed superfluous, was not recovered.

Galatians 4:21. ἀκούετε] D E F G, 10, 31, 80, Vulg. It. Sahid. Arm., and Fathers, have ἀναγινώσκετε. An ancient interpretation.

Galatians 4:24. δύο] Elz. has αἱ δύο, against decisive testimony.

Galatians 4:25. ἄγαρ] is wanting in C F G א, 17, 115, Aeth. Arm. Vulg. Goth. Boern. Cyr. Epiph. Damasc. Or. int. Ambrosiast. Jer. Aug. Pel. Sedul. Beda. Deleted by Lachm. and Wieseler, condemned also by Hofmann, who refers ἄγαρ to the Syriac Church, although it is attested by A B D E K L, and most min., Chrys., and others. But instead of γάρ, A B D E, 37, 73, 80, lect. 40, Copt. Cyr. (once), have δέ. The juxtaposition of γὰρ ἄγαρ led to the omission sometimes of the ἄγαρ, and sometimes of the γάρ. After the latter was omitted, in a part of the witnesses the connection that was wanting was restored by δέ; just as in the case of several, mostly more recent authorities, instead of γάρ after δουλεύει, δέ has crept in (so Elz.), because the argument of the apostle was not understood.

συστοιχεῖ δέ] D* F G, Vulg. It. Goth., read συστοιχοῦσα; D*, however, not having the article. A gloss, in order to exhibit the reference to ἄγαρ in Galatians 4:24.

Galatians 4:26. ἡμῶν] Elz. reads πάντων ἡμῶν; Lachm. has bracketed πάντων. But it is wanting in B C* D E F G א, some min., most vss., and many Fathers. Deleted by Tisch.; defended by Reiche. An amplifying addition, involuntarily occasioned by the recollection of Galatians 3:26; Galatians 3:28, and the thought of the multitude of the τέκνα (Galatians 4:27).

Galatians 4:28. ἡμεῖςἐσμέν) Lachm. and Schott, also Tisch., read ὑμεῖς ἐστε, following B D F G, some min., Sahid. Aeth. Ir. Victorin. Ambr. Tychon. Ambrosiast. Justly; the first person was introduced on account of Galatians 4:26; Galatians 4:31.

Galatians 4:30. κληρονομήσῃ] Lachm. reads κληρονομήσει, following B D E א and Theophylact; from the LXX.

Galatians 4:31. ἄρα] A C, 23, 57, Copt. Cyr. Damasc. Jer. Aug., have ἡμεῖς δέ; B D* E א, 67**, Cyr. Marcion, read διό. The latter is (with Lachm. and Tisch.) to be preferred; for ἡμεῖς δὲ ἀδελφοί is evidently a mechanical repetition of Galatians 4:28 (Rec.), and ἄρα is too feebly attested (F G, Theodoret, have ἀρα οὖν).

CONTENTS.

Further discussion of the κληρονόμους εἶναι (Galatians 3:29), as a privilege which could not have been introduced before Christ, while the period of nonage lasted, but was first introduced by means of Christ and Christianity at the time appointed by God, when the earlier servile relation was changed into that of sonship (Galatians 4:1-7). After Paul has expressed his surprise at the apostasy of his readers, and his anxiety lest he may have laboured among them in vain (Galatians 4:8-11), he entreats them to become like to him, and supports this entreaty by a sorrowful remembrance of the abounding love which they had manifested to him on his first visit, but which appeared to have been converted into enmity (Galatians 4:12-16). He warns them against the selfish zeal with which the pseudo-apostles courted them (Galatians 4:17), while at the same time he reproves their fickleness (Galatians 4:18), and expresses the wish that he were now present with them, in order to regain, by an altered mode of speaking to them, their lost confidence (Galatians 4:18-20). Lastly, he refutes the tendency to legalism from the law itself, namely by an allegorical interpretation of the account that Abraham had two sons, one by the bond-woman, and one by the free woman (Galatians 4:21-30), and then lays down the proposition that Christians are children of the free woman, which forms the groundwork of the exhortations and warnings that follow in ch. 5. (Galatians 4:31).


Verse 1

Galatians 4:1. λέγω δέ] Comp. Galatians 3:17, Galatians 5:16; Romans 15:8; 1 Corinthians 1:12 : now I mean, in reference to this κληρονομία brought in through Christ, the idea of which I have now more exactly to illustrate to you as for the first time realized in Christ. This illustration is derived by Paul from a comparison of the pre-Christian period to the period of the non-free, slave-like childhood of the heir-apparent.

ἐφʼ ὅσον χρόνον] As in Romans 7:1; 1 Corinthians 7:39.

κληρονόμος] The article as in μεσίτης, Galatians 3:20 : the heir in any given case. κληρ. is, however, to be conceived here, as in Matthew 21:38, as the heir of the father’s goods, who is so not yet in actual personal possession, but de jure—the heir apparent, whose father is still alive. So Cameron, Neubour (Bibl. Brem. v. p. 40), Wolf, Baumgarten, Semler, Michaelis, and many others, including Winer, Schott, Wieseler, Reithmayr. But Rückert, Studer (in Usteri), Olshausen (undecided), Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Hilgenfeld, Hofmann, following Chrysostom, Theodoret, and most of the older expositors, conceive the heir as one whose father is dead. Incorrectly, on account of Galatians 4:2; for the duration of the guardianship (in which sense ὑπὸ ἐπιτρόπους, Galatians 4:2, must then be understood) could not have been determined by the will of the father,(173) but would have depended on the law (Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 121). Hofmann thinks, indeed, that the point whether the father was bound by a law of majority is not taken into account, but only the fact, that it is the father himself who has made arrangements respecting his heir. But in this view the προθεσμία, as prescribed by the father, would be entirely illusory; the notice would be absurd, because the προθεσμία would be not τοῦ πατρός, but τοῦ νόμου.

νήπιος] still in boyhood. Comp. 1 Corinthians 13:11. “Imberbis juvenis tandem custode remoto gaudet equis,” etc., Virg. Aen. ix. 649. Quite in opposition to the context, Chrysostom and Oecumenius refer it to mental immaturity (Romans 2:20; Hom. Il. v. 406, xvi. 46, et al.).

οὐδὲν διαφέρει δούλου] because he is not sui juris. Comp. Liban. in Chiis, p. 11 D, in Wetstein.

κύριος πάντων ὤν] although he is lord of all, namely de jure, in eventum, as the heir-apparent of all the father’s goods. Consequently neither this nor the preceding point is inconsistent with the hypothesis that the father is still alive (as Hofmann and others have objected). Comp. Luke 16:31.

The κληρονόμος νήπιος represents, not the people of Israel (Wieseler); but, according to the connection with Galatians 3:29 (comp. Galatians 4:3), the Christians as a body, regarded in their earlier pre-Christian condition. In this condition, whether Jewish or Gentile, they were the heir-apparent, according to the idea of the divine predestination (Romans 8:28 ff.; Ephesians 1:11; John 11:52), in virtue of which they were ordained to be the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), the true σπέρμα of Abraham.


Verse 2

Galatians 4:2. ἐπίτροπος means here not guardian ( ὀρφανῶν ἐπίτροπος, Plat. Legg. p. 766 C Dem. 988. 2; Xen. Mem. i. 2. 40; 2 Maccabees 11:1; 2 Maccabees 13:2; 2 Maccabees 14:2; comp. also the rabbinical אפוטרופוס in Schoettgen, Hor. p. 743 f.), as it is explained by all who look upon the father as dead (see, however, on Galatians 4:1), but overseer, governor, and that without any more special definition (Herod. i. 108; Pind. Ol. i. 171; Dem. 819. 17; Xen. Oec. 21. 9; and very frequently in classical authors); it is neither therefore to be taken (as in Matthew 20:8; Luke 8:3) as synonymous with οἰκονόμος (which would give a double designation without ground for it), nor as equivalent to παιδαγωγός (which would be an arbitrary limitation). The term denotes any one, to whose governorship the boy is assigned by the father in the arrangement which has been made of the family affairs; and from this category are then specially singled out the οἰκονόμοι, the superior slaves appointed as managers of the household and property (Luke 16:1), on whom the νήπιος was dependent in respect to money and other outward wants.

ἄχρι τῆς προθεσμίας τοῦ πατρός] Until the appointed time of the father, until the term, which the father has fixed upon for releasing his son from this state of dependence. προθεσμία, tempus praestitutum, does not occur elsewhere in the N.T., but is frequent in classical authors. See Wetstein; also Jacobs, Ach. Tat. p. 440.


Verse 3

Galatians 4:3. ἡμεῖς] embraces Christians generally, the Jewish and Gentile Christians together. In favour of this view we may decisively urge, (1) the sense of στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου (see below); (2) Galatians 4:5, where the first ἵνα applies to the Jewish Christians, but the second, reverting to the first person, applies to Christians generally, because the address to the readers which follows in Galatians 4:6 represents these as a whole, and not merely the Jewish Christians among them, as included in the preceding ἵνα τὴν υἱοθεσίαν ἀπολάβωμεν; lastly, (3) that the οὐκέτι and τότε, said of the Galatians in Galatians 4:7-8, point back to the state of slavery of the ἡμεῖς in Galatians 4:3. Therefore ἡμεῖς is not to be understood as referring either merely to the Jewish Christians (Chrysostom and most expositors, including Grotius, Estius, Morus, Flatt, Usteri, Schott, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Wieseler); or—as Hofmann in consistency with his erroneous reference of Galatians 3:29 to the Gentile readers holds—to “the Old Testament church of God, which has now passed over into the New Testament church;” or to the Jewish Christians pre-eminently (Koppe, Rückert, Matthies, Olshausen); or, lastly, even to the Gentile Christians alone (Augustine).

ὅτε ἦμεν νήπιοι] characterizes, in terms of the prevailing comparison, the pre-Christian condition, which, in relation to the Christian condition of the same persons, was their age of boyhood. Elsewhere Paul has represented the condition of the Christians before the Parousia, in comparison with their state after the Parousia, as a time of boyhood. See 1 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:13.

ὑπὸ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου ἦμεν δεδουλ.] corresponds, as application, to the οὐδὲν διαφέρει δούλουἀλλὰ ὑπὸ ἐπιτρόπους ἐστὶ καὶ οἰκον. The word στοιχεῖον—which denotes primarily a stake or peg standing in a row, then a letter of the alphabet (Plat. Theaet. p. 202 E Xen. Mem. ii. 1. 1; Arist. Poet. ii. 2; Lucian, Jud. voc. 12), then, like ἀρχή, element (see Rudolph on Ocell. p. 402 ff.)—means here at all events element,(174) which signification has developed itself from the idea of a letter, inasmuch as a word is a series of the letters which form it (Walz, Rhetor. VI. p. 110). In itself, however, it might be used either in the physical sense of elementary substances, which Plato (Ruhnk. ad Tim. p. 283) calls also γένη (2 Peter 3:10; 2 Peter 3:12; Wisdom of Solomon 7:17; Wisdom of Solomon 19:18; 4 Maccabees 12:13; Plat. Tim. p. 48 B, 56 B, Polit. p. 278 C Philo, de Opif. m. p. 7, 11, Cherub. p. 162; Clem. Hom. x. 9), as it frequently occurs in Greek authors applied to the so-called four elements (comp. Suidas, s.v.), or in the intellectual sense of rudimenta, first principles (Hebrews 5:12; Plut. de pueror. educ. 16; Isocr. p. 18 A Nicol. ap. Stob. xiv. 7. 31; see Wetstein). In the latter sense the verb στοιχειοῦν was used to signify the instruction given to catechumens; Constitt. ap. vi. 18. 1, vii. 25. 2. Comp. our expression the A, B, C of an art or science.(175) In the physical sense—in which it is used by later Greek authors for designating the stars (Diog. L. vi. 102; Man. iv. 624; Eustath. Od. p. 1671, 53)—it was understood by most of the Fathers: either as by Augustine (de civ. D. iv. 11), who thought of the Gentile adoration of the heavenly bodies and of other nature-worship; or as by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Ambrose, Pelagius, who referred it to the Jewish observance of new moons, feasts, and Sabbaths, which was regulated by the course of the moon and sun. So, combining the Gentile and Jewish cultus, Hilgenfeld, p. 66 (comp. in his Zeitschr. 1858, p. 99; 1866, p. 314), who ascribes to the apostle the heterogeneous idea of “sidereal powers of heaven,” that is, of the stars as powerful animated beings (comp. Baur and Holsten); and Caspari (in the Strassb. Beitr. 1854, p. 206 ff.), in whose view Paul is supposed to have placed Mosaism in the category of star and nature worship; and likewise Reithmayr, although without such extravagances. But because the expression does not apply either merely to the circumstances of the heathen, or merely to those of the Jewish, cultus (see, on the contrary, Galatians 4:8-10),—to the latter of which it is in the physical sense not at all suitable, for the Jewish celebrations of days and the like were by no means a star-worship or other (possibly unconscious) worship of nature, under which man would have been in bondage, but were an imperfect worship of God—and because the context suggests nothing else than the contrast between the imperfect and the perfect religion, as well as also on account of the correlation to νήπιοι, the physical sense of στοιχεῖον is altogether to be rejected.(176) Besides, it would be difficult to perceive why Paul, if he had thought of the stars, should not have written τοῦ οὐρανοῦ instead of τοῦ κόσμου. Hence Jerome (also τινές in Theophylact, and Gennadius in Oecumenius, p. 747 D), Erasmus, Castalio, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, and most of the later expositors, though with various modifications, have correctly adhered to the sense rudimenta disciplinae, which alone corresponds to the notion of the νηπιότης (for the age of childhood does not get beyond first prineiples). The στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου are the elements of non-Christian humanity ( κόσμος; see 1 Corinthians 6:2; 1 Corinthians 11:32, et al.), that is, the elementary things, the immature beginnings of religion, which occupy the minds of those who are still without the pale of Christianity. Not having attained to the perfect religion, the κόσμος has still to do with the religious elementary state, to which it is in bondage, as in the position of a servant. Rudiments of this sort are expressly mentioned in Galatians 4:10; hence we must understand the expression, not in a onesided fashion as the elementary knowledge, the beginnings of religious perception in the non-Christian world (comp. Kienlen, in the Strassb. Beitr. II. p. 133 ff.)—with which neither the idea of the relation as slavery, nor the inclusion of the Jewish and Gentile worships under one category would harmonize—but as the rudimenta ritualia, the ceremonial character of Judaism and heathenism,(177) with which, however, is also combined the corresponding imperfection of religious knowledge. Comp. Colossians 2:8; Colossians 2:20. Against the explanation, “religious elementary things of the world,” the objection has been made, that this idea is not suitable either to Judaism, in so far as the latter was a divine revelation, or even to heathenism, which, according to Paul, is something foreign to religion; see especially Neander. But the latter part of the objection is erroneous (Acts 17:22-23); and the former part is disposed of, when—in the light of the pretensions put forth by the apostle’s opponents, which were chiefly based on the ceremonial side of the law—we take into account the relative character of the idea rudimenta, according to which Judaism, when compared with Christianity as the absolute religion, may, although a divine institution, yet be included under the notion of στοιχεῖα, because destined only for the νήπιοι and serving a transitory propaedeutic purpose. Comp. Baur, Paulus, II. p. 222, ed. 2; Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 289; also Ritschl, altkath. K. p. 73. Most of the older expositors, as also Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette (with many various and mistaken interpretations of κόσμος; see Wolf and Rückert in loc.), have referred the expression merely to Judaism (the law “as a means of training calculated only for the age of childhood,” de Wette, who is followed by Wieseler), whilst Koppe and Schott only allow the analogous nature of ethnicism to be included incidentally; but, besides what has been above remarked on ἡμεῖς, these views are at variance with the idea of τοῦ κόσμου. This idea is, at all events, too wide to suit the law, which was given to the people of Israel only; whether it be taken as applying to mankind generally (de Wette, Wieseler), or to the unbelieving portion of mankind, in contrast to the ἅγιοι in a Christian sense.(178) Certainly it might appear unwise (see especially Wieseler) that Paul should have placed Judaism and heathenism in one category. But, in point of fact, he has to deal with Judaistic seductions occurring in churches chiefly Gentile-Christian: he might therefore, with the view of more effectually warning them and putting them to shame, so designate the condition of bondage to which by these seductions they were induced to revert, as to comprehend it in the same category with the heathen cultus, from the bondage of which they had been not long before liberated by Christianity. According to Hofmann, the στοιχεῖα τ. κόσμου are contrasted with the promise given to Abraham of the κληρονο΄ία κόσ΄ου, Romans 4:13. He supposes that out of the destruction of the material elements of the present world (2 Peter 3:10) the οἰκουμένη μέλλουσα (Hebrews 2:5) will arise, and that this will derive its nature and character from the Spirit, the communication of which is the beginning of the fulfilment of that promise. Israel, however, has been in bondage under the material elements of which the present world is composed, inasmuch as in what it did and what it left undone it was subject to stringent laws, which had reference to the world in its existing materiality; it had to conform itself to the things of this corporeal world, whilst the promise had been made to it that it should be lord of all things. Apart from the erroneous application of ἡμεῖς (see above), every essential point in this interpretation is gratuitously introduced. In particular, the contrast on which it is based—namely, that of the new world of the αἰών which is to come—is utterly foreign not only to the whole context, but even to the words themselves; for, if Paul had had this contrast in view, he must, in order not to leave his readers wholly without a hint of it, have at least added a τούτου (1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Corinthians 3:19; Ephesians 2:2) to τοῦ κόσ΄ου.(179) It is, moreover, incorrect to discover in the στοιχεῖα the opposite of the future world, so far as the latter has its nature from the Spirit. The world of the αἰὼν μέλλων, as the new heaven and the new earth (2 Peter 3:13), must likewise be corporeally material, and must have its στοιχεῖα, although the σχῆμα of the old world will have passed away (comp. on 1 Corinthians 7:31).

ἦμεν δεδουλωμ.] may be taken either together, or separately; the latter is to be preferred, because it corresponds more emphatically to the οὐδὲν διαφέρει δούλου (Galatians 4:1) and the ὑπὸ ἐπιτρόπους ἐστι (in Galatians 4:2): we were enslaved ones.


Verse 4

Galatians 4:4. ὅτε δὲ ἦλθε τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου] corresponds to the ἄχρι τῆς προθεσμ. τοῦ πατρ. (Galatians 4:2). The time appointed by God, which was to elapse until the appearance of Christ ( χρόνος)—consequently the pre-Messianic period—is conceived as a measure which was not yet full, so long as this period had not wholly elapsed (comp. Genesis 29:21; Mark 1:15; Luke 21:24; John 7:8; Joseph. Antt. vi. 4. 1, et al.). Hence τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου is: that moment of time, through which the measure of time just mentioned became full. Comp. on Ephesians 1:10, and Fritzsche ad Rom. II. p. 473.

On what historical conditions Paul conceived that counsel as to the fulness of time to depend (Theophylact: ὅτε πᾶν εἶδος κακίας διεξελθοῦσα φύσις ἀνθρωπίνη ἐδεῖτο θεραπείας. Baur: “when mankind was ripe for it;” de Wette: “conditioned by the need of certain preparations, or by the necessity of the religious development of mankind which had reached a certain point”), cannot, after his view of the destination of the law which intervened between the promise and its fulfilment (Galatians 3:19; Galatians 3:24; Romans 5:20), remain doubtful Theophylact takes in substance the right view. The need had reached its height. Comp. Chrysostom, ad Eph. i. 10: ὅτε μάλιστα ἔμελλον ἀπόλλυσθαι, τότε διεσώθησαν. Without due ground Baur perceives here (see his neut. Theol. p. 173) the idea that Christianity proceeded from a principle inherent in humanity, namely, from the advance of the mind to the freedom of self-consciousness.

ἐξαπέστειλεν] He sent forth from Himself. Galatians 4:6; Acts 7:12; Acts 11:22; Acts 17:14, et al.; Dem. 251. 5; Polyb. iii. 11. 1, iv. 26. 2, iv. 30. 1, and frequently. The expression presupposes the idea of the personal pre-existence of Christ (see Räbiger, Christol. Paul. p. 16; Lechler, apost. Zeit. p. 50 Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 316 ff.), and therewith at the same time His personal divine nature (Romans 8:3; Romans 8:32; Philippians 2:6; 2 Corinthians 8:9); so that in reality the apostle’s idea coincides with the Johannean λόγος ἦν πρὸς τ. θεόν and θεὸς ἦν λόγος, but is not to be reduced to the notion of “the ideal first man” (Hilgenfeld), whose human birth, on account of His pre-existence, is conceived by Paul as not without a certain Docetism.(180) This remark also applies against the view of Beyschlag referring it to the pre-existent prototype of man (Christol. d. N.T. p. 220 ff.), in connection with which the Messianic name of Son is supposed to be carried back from the historical to the pre-historical sphere. This is at variance with the express designation as πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως (Colossians 1:15), which likewise forbids us to say, with Hofmann: “By the very fact, that God has sent Him forth from Himself into the world, He is the Son of God.” According to Colossians 1:15, He is, even before the creation, in the relation of Son to the Father, as begotten by Him,—a relation, therefore, which could not be dependent on the subsequent sending forth, or given for the first time along with the latter.

γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός] so that He was born of a woman; the relation of the aorist participle is the same as in Philippians 2:7 f. The reading γεννώμενον—attested only by min., and otherwise feebly, although recommended by Erasmus, adopted by Matthias, and defended by Rinck—is a correct interpretation (as to the meaning, but not as to the tense; see Phot. Qu. Amphil. 90), which also occurs at Romans 1:3, in Codd. mentioned by Augustine. Who this γυνή was, every reader knew; we must not, however, say with Schott, following many of the older expositors, “de virgine sponsa dicitur” (comp. Augustine, Serm. 16 de temp.; Jerome, and others); but comp. Job 14:1; Matthew 11:11. Nor is anything peculiar to be found in ἐκ (“ex semine matris … non viri et mulieris coitu,” Calvin; comp. Cornelius a Lapide, Estius, Calovius, and others; Theophylact, following Basil, Jerome, and others: ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας αὐτῆς σῶμα λαβόντα); on the contrary, ἐκ is quite the usual preposition to express the being born (John 3:6; Matthew 1:16; 1 Peter 1:22, et al.; 3 Esr. Galatians 4:16; 4 Maccabees 14:14; frequently used also in classical authors with γίγνεσθαι). This very fact, that Christ, although the Son of God, whom God had sent forth from Himself, entered into this life as man (Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 15:21; Acts 17:31) and—just as an ordinary man enters into temporal life—as one born of woman, Paul wishes to bring into prominence as the mode of carrying out the divine counsel. Comp. Romans 8:3; Philippians 2:7. The supernatural generation which preceded the natural birth was not here in question; its mention would even have been at variance with the connection which points to Christ’s humiliation: it is not, however, anywhere else expressly mentioned by the apostle, or certainly indicated as a consequence involved in his system (Weiss). Comp. on Romans 1:3. Nor is it to be inferred from ἐξαπέστειλεν, in connection with the designation of Him who was sent forth as the Son (Hofmann, comp. also his Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 84); because, while it is assumed that as the Son of God He was already, before His incarnation, with God ( λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν), the mode of His incarnation—how He was born κατὰ σάρκα ἐκ σπέρματος δαυΐδ (Romans 1:3; comp. Romans 9:5; 2 Timothy 2:8; Acts 2:30)—is not defined.

γενόμενον ὑπὸ νόμον] Luther: “made under the law;” and so most expositors: legi subjectum. But it is arbitrary to take γενόμ. here in another sense than before;(181) and the vivid emphasis of the twice-used γενόμ. is thus lost. Hence Michaelis, Koppe, Matthies, Schott, de Wette, Lechler, rightly understand γενό΄. as natum. Thus also, in fact, “the beginning of an εἶναι ὑπὸ νό΄ον” (Hofmann) is expressed, and expressed indeed more definitely. Paul desires to represent the birth of the Son of God not merely as an ordinary human birth, but also as an ordinary Jewish birth (comp. Hebrews 2:14-17); and he therefore says: “born of a woman, born under the law,” so that He was subjected to circumcision and to all other ordinances of the law, like any other Jewish child. But God caused His Son to be born as an ordinary man and as an ordinary Israelite, because otherwise He could not have undergone death—either at all, or as One cursed by the law (Galatians 3:13), which did not apply to those who were not Jews (Romans 1:12)—and could not have rendered the curse of the law of none effect as regards those who were its subjects. Comp. Romans 8:3 f.; Hebrews 3:14 f. For this reason, and not merely on account of the contrast to τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ (Schott), Paul has added γενό΄. ἐκ γυν., γεν. ὑπὸ νό΄., as a characteristic description of the humiliation into which God allowed His Son to enter. See the sequel.

With respect, moreover, to the perfect obedience of Christ to the, law, it was a preliminary condition necessary for the redeeming power of His death (because otherwise the curse of the law would have affected Him even on his own account); but it is not that which is imputed for righteousness: on the contrary, this is purely faith in the ἱλαστήριον of His death. See on Galatians 3:13; Romans 4:5; Romans 4:24; Romans 5:6 ff., et al. The doctrine of the Formula Concordiae as to the imputation of the obedientia Christi activa (p. 685) is not borne out by the exegetical proof, of which our passage is alleged to form part; but the atoning death of Christ is the culminating point of His obedience towards God (Romans 5:19; Philippians 2:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21), without the perfection of which He could not have accomplished the atonement; and the form which this obedience assumed in Him, in so far as He was subject to the law, must have been that of legal obedience (comp. Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 130).


Verse 5

Galatians 4:5. The object for which God sent forth His Son, and sent Him indeed γενόμ. ἐκ γυναικ., γενόμ. ὑπὸ νόμον.

τοὺς ὑ̔ πὸ νόμον] The Israelites are thus designated in systematic correspondence to the previous γενόμ. ὑπὸ νόμον. Comp. Galatians 3:25, Galatians 4:21, Galatians 5:18; Romans 6:14.

ἐξαγοράσῃ] Namely, as follows from τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμον, from the dominion of the law, Galatians 4:1-3 (in which its curse, Galatians 3:11, is included), and that through His death, Galatians 3:13. Erasmus well says: “dato pretio assereret in libertatem.”

ἵνα τὴν υἱοθεσ. ἀπολάβ.] The aim of this redemption; for of this negative benefit the υἱοθεσία was the immediate positive consequence. But Paul could not again express himself in the third person, because the υἱοθεσία had been imparted to the Gentiles also, whereas that redemption referred merely to the Jews; but now both, Jews and Gentiles, after having attained the υἱοθεσία no longer ὑπὸ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου ἦσαν δεδουλωμένοι (Galatians 4:3): hence Paul, in the first person of the second sentence of purpose, speaks from the consciousness of the common faith which embraced both the Jewish and the Gentile portions of the Christian body, not merely from the Jewish-Christian consciousness, as Hofmann holds on account of ἐστέ in Galatians 4:6. Comp. the change of persons in Galatians 3:14.

The υἱοθεσία is here, as it always is, adoption (see on Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:15; and Fritzsche, in loc.),—a meaning which is wrongly denied by Usteri, as the signification of the word allows no other interpretation, and the context requires no other. Previously not different from slaves (Galatians 4:1-3), as they were in the state of νηπιότης, believers have now entered into the entirely different legal relation towards God of their being adopted by Him as children. Comp. Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 338 f. The divine begetting (to which Hofmann refers) is a Johannean view; see on John 1:12. In the divine economy of salvation the gracious gift of the υἱοθεσία was needed in order to attain the κληρονομία; while in the human economy, which serves as the figure, the heir-apparent becomes at length heir as a matter of course. Accordingly Paul has not given up (Wieseler) the figure on which Galatians 4:1 ff. was based—a view at variance with the express application in Galatians 4:3, and the uninterrupted continuation of the same in Galatians 4:4; but he has merely had recourse to such a free modification in the application, as was suggested to him by the certainly partial difference between the real circumstances of the case and the figure set forth in Galatians 4:1-2. Comp. Galatians 4:7.

ἀπολάβ.] not: that we might again receive, as is the meaning of ἀπολαμβ. very often in Greek authors (see especially Dem. 78. 3; 162. 17), and in Luke 15:27; for before Christ men never possessed the υἱοθεσία here referred to (although the old theocratic adoption of the Jews was never lost, Romans 9:4): hence Augustine and others are in error when they look back to the sonship that was lost in Adam. Nor must we assume with Chrysostom, Theophylact, Bengel, and others, including Baumgarten-Crusius, Hofmann, and Reithmayr, that, because the υἱοθεσία is promised, it is denoted by ἀπολάβ. as ὀφειλομένη,—a sense which is often conveyed by the context in Greek authors and also in the N.T. (Luke 6:34; Luke 23:41; Romans 1:27; Colossians 3:24; 2 John 1:8), but not here, because it is not the υἱοθεσία expressly, but the κληρονομία (Galatians 3:29, Galatians 4:7), which is the object of the promise. As little can we say, with Rückert and Schott, that the sonship is designated as fruit ( ἀπο = inde) of the work of redemption, or, with Wieseler, as fruit of the death of Jesus apprehended by faith: for while it certainly is so in point of fact, the verb could not lead to it without some more precise indication in the text than that given by the mere ἐξαγορ. On the contrary, ἀπολάβ. simply denotes: to take at the hands of any one, to receive, as Luke 16:25; Plat. Legg. xii p. 956 D, and very frequently in Greek authors.


Verse 6

Galatians 4:6. A confirmation of the reality of this reception of sonship from the experience of the readers; for the ἐστέ, which, after the foregoing more general statement, now comes in with its individual application (comp. Galatians 3:26), does not refer to the Galatians as Gentile Christians only (Hofmann), any more than in Galatians 3:26-29.

ὅτι] is taken by most expositors, following the Vulgate, as quoniam (Luther, Castalio, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Bengel, Semler, Morus, Rosenmüller, Paulus, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Baur, Hilgenfeld, Ewald, and others). And this interpretation (on ὅτι, because, at the beginning of the sentence, comp. 1 Corinthians 12:15; John 20:29; John 15:19) is the most simple, natural, and correct; the emphasis is laid on υἱοί, which is therefore placed at the end: but because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son, etc. He would not have done this, if ye had not (through the υἱοθεσία) been υἱοί; thus the reception of the Spirit is the experimental and practical divine testimony to the sonship. If not sons of God, ye would not be the recipients of the Spirit of His Son. The Spirit is the seal of the sonship, into which they had entered through faith—the divine σημεῖον attesting and confirming it; comp. Romans 8:16. See also Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 340. Others (Theophylact, Ambrose, Pelagius, Koppe, Flatt, Rückert, Schott) take ὅτι as that, and treat it as an abbreviated mode of saying: “But that ye are sons, is certain by this, that God has sent forth,” etc. (comp. Galatians 3:11). This is unnecessarily harsh, and without any similar instance in the N.T.; modes of expression like those in Winer, p. 575 f. [E. T. 774], and Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 205, are different. Wieseler takes it as equivalent to εἰς ἐκεῖνο, ὅτι (see on Mark 16:14; John 2:18; John 9:17; John 11:51; John 16:19; 1 Corinthians 1:26; 2 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 11:10): “as concerns the reality ( ἐστέ is to have the emphasis) of your state as sons.” But this would unnecessarily introduce into the vivid and direct character of these short sentences an element of dialectic reflection, which also appears in Matthias’ view. Hofmann handles this passage with extreme violence, asserting that ὅτι δέ is an elliptical protasis,—the completion of which is to be derived from the apodosis of the preceding period, from ἐξαπέστ. in Galatians 4:4 onward,—that ἐστὲ υἱοί is apodosis, and that the following ἐξαπέστ. κ. τ. λ. is the further result connected with it. In Hofmann’s view, Paul reminds his (Gentile) readers that they are for this reason sons, because God has done that act ἐξαπέστειλεν κ. τ. λ. (Galatians 4:4), and because He has done it in the way and with the design stated in Galatians 4:4 f. This interpretation is at variance with linguistic usage, because the supposed elliptical use of ὅτι δέ does not anywhere occur, and the analogies in the use of εἰ δέ, etc., which Hofmann adduces—some of them, however, only self-invented (as those from the epistles of the apostle, 2 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 7:12)—are heterogeneous. And how abruptly ἐξαπέστ. θεὸς κ. τ. λ. would stand! But, as regards the thought also, the interpretation is unsuitable; for they are sons, etc., not because God has sent Christ, but because they have become believers in Him that was sent (Galatians 3:26; John 1:12); it is not that fact itself, but their faith in it, which is the cause of their sonship and of their reception of the Spirit; comp. Galatians 3:14. To refer the sending of the Spirit to the event of Pentecost (as Hofmann does), by which God caused His Spirit to initiate “a presence of a new kind” in the world, is entirely foreign to the connection; comp., on the contrary, Galatians 3:2, Galatians 5:14.

ἐξαπέστειλεν θεὸς κ. τ. λ.] for it is τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἐκ θεοῦ, 1 Corinthians 2:12. Observe the symmetry with ἐξαπέστ. κ. τ. λ. in Galatians 4:4. The phrase conveys, in point of form, the solemn expression of the objective (Galatians 4:4) and subjective (Galatians 4:5) certainty of salvation, but, in a dogmatic point of view, the like personal relation of the Spirit, whom God has sent forth from Himself as He sent forth Christ.

τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ] So Paul designates the Holy Spirit, because he represents the reception of the Spirit as the proof of sonship; for the Spirit of the Son cannot be given to any, who are of a different nature and are not also υἱοὶ θεοῦ. Comp. Romans 8:9. But the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, inasmuch as He is the divine principle of Christ’s self-communication, by whose dwelling and ruling in the heart Christ Himself (comp. on 2 Corinthians 3:17) dwells and rules livingly, really, and efficaciously (Galatians 2:20) in the children of God. See on Romans 8:9; Romans 8:14. Comp. the Johannean discourses as to the self-revelation and the coming of Christ in the Paraclete.

ἡμῶν] The change of persons arose involuntarily from the apostle’s own lively, experimental consciousness of this blessedness. Comp. Romans 7:4.

κράζον] The strong word expresses the matter as it was: with crying the deep fervour excited by the Spirit broke forth into appeal to the Father. Comp. Romans 8:15; also Psalms 22:3; Psalms 28:1; Psalms 30:8; Baruch 3:1; Baruch 4:20. The Spirit Himself is here represented as crying (it is different in Rom. l.c.), because the Spirit is so completely the active author of the Abba-invocation, that the man who invokes appears only as the organ of the Spirit. Comp. the analogy of the opposite case—the crying of the unclean spirits (Mark 1:26; Mark 9:26).

ἀββᾶ πατήρ] The usual view taken by modern expositors,(182) following Erasmus and Beza, in this passage, as in Romans 8:15 and in Mark 14:36, is, that πατήρ is appended as an explanation of the Aramaic Abba for Greek readers (so Koppe, Flatt, Winer, Rückert, Usteri, Schott); along with which stress is laid on the “childlike sound” of the expression, so foreign to the Greek readers (Hofmann). But see, against this view, on Romans 8:15. No; ἀββᾶ, the address of Christ the Son of God to His Father, which had been heard times without number by the apostles and the first believers, had become so established and sacred in Christian prayer that it had assumed the nature of a proper name, so that the deep and lively emotion of the consciousness of sonship could now superadd the appellative πατήρ; and the use of the two in conjunction had gradually become so habitual (Bengel appropriately remarks, “haec tessera filiorum in Novo Testamento”), that in Mark 14:36, by an hysteron proteron, they are placed even in the mouth of Christ. In opposition to this view, which is adopted by Hilgenfeld and Matthias, it has been objected by Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 140, that πατήρ expresses exactly the same as the Aramaic אַבָּא, and that, if אבא had assumed the nature of a proper name, this name would very often have occurred in the N.T. and afterwards instead of θεός; and people would not have said constantly ἀββᾶ πατήρ, but also ἀββᾶ θεός. But these objections would only avail to confute our view, if it were maintained that ἀββᾶ had become in general a proper name of God (as was יהוה in the O.T. and the other names of God), so that it would have been used at every kind of mention of God. The word is, however, to be regarded merely as a name used in prayer: only he who prayed addressed God by this name; and just because he was aware that this name was an original appellative and expressed the paternal character of God, he added the purely appellative corresponding term πατήρ, and in doing so satisfied the fervour of his feeling of sonship. This remark applies also to Wieseler’s objection, that ἀββᾶ could only have continued to be used as an appellative. It might become a name just as well as, for instance, Adonai, but with the consciousness still remaining of its appellative origin and import. Moreover, that the address in prayer ἀββᾶ πατήρ took its rise among the Greek Jewish-Christians, and first became habitual among them, is clear of itself on account of the Hebrew Abba. It is to be remarked also, that, according to the Rabbins, analogous emotional combinations of a Hebrew and a Greek address, which mean quite the same thing, were in use. See Erub. f. 53. Galatians 2 : מרי כירי (mi domine, mi κύριε). Comp. Schemoth rabb. f. 140. Galatians 2 : קירי מרי אבי. See Schoettgen, Hor. p. 252. Fritzsche’s view is, that the ἀββᾶ of prayer, which had through Christ’s use of it become sacred and habitual, was so frequently explained on the part of the teachers of the Gentile Christians, as of Paul, by the addition of πατήρ, that it had become a habit with these teachers to say, ἀββᾶ πατήρ. But this would be a mechanical explanation which, at least in the case of Paul, is à priori not probable, and can least of all be assumed in a case where the fervid emotion of prayer(183) is exhibited. Paul would have very improperly allowed himself to be ruled by the custom. Wieseler contents himself with the strengthening of the idea by two synonymous expressions, but this still fails to explain why πάτερ, πάτερ (comp. Soph. O. C. 1101), or πάτερ πατὴρ ἡμῶν (comp. κύριε κύριος ἡμῶν, Psalms 8:2), is not said, just as κύριε, κύριε, and the like.

On the nominative with the article, as in apposition to the vocative, see Krüger, § 45. 2. 7.


Verse 7

Galatians 4:7. ὥστε] Inference from Galatians 4:5-6.

οὐκέτι] no longer as in the pre-Christian condition, when thou wast in bondage to the στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου.

εἶ] The language, addressing every reader, not merely the Gentile readers (Hofmann), advances in its individualizing application: Galatians 4:5, ἀπολάβωμεν; Galatians 4:6, ἔστε; Galatians 4:7, εἶ. Comp. Galatians 5:26, Galatians 5:1.

εἰ δὲ υἱὸς, καὶ κληρονόμος] But if thou art a son (and not a slave, who does not inherit from his master), thou art also an heir, as future possessor of the Messianic salvation, and art so (not in any way through the law, but) through God ( διὰ θεοῦ; see the critical notes), who, as a consequence of His adoption of thee as a son, has made thee also His heir. To Him thou art indebted for this ultimate blessing, to be attained by means of sonship. This διὰ θεοῦ cannot also apply to υἱός (Hofmann), so that ἀλλʼ should include all the rest of the verse in one sentence. With εἰ δέ a new sentence begins. Otherwise Paul must have written: ἀλλʼ υἱὸς, υἱὸς δὲ ὢν καὶ κληρονόμος. Rückert unjustly blames the apostle for having, in εἰ δὲ υἱὸς, καὶ κληρ., departed from the right track of his thoughts, because in Galatians 4:1 he had started at once from the idea of κληρονόμος. But in Galatians 4:1 the apostle, in fact, has not started from the Messianic idea of κληρονόμος, but from its lower analogue in civil life. With respect to the legal aspect of the conclusion itself, εἰ δὲ υἱὸς, καὶ κληρ. (comp. Romans 8:17),—in which, by the way, the father is conceived as dividing the inheritance during his lifetime,—the idea is not based on the Jewish law of inheritance,(184) according to which the (legitimately born) sons alone,(185) if there were such,—the first-born among these taking, according to Deuteronomy 21:17, a double portion,—were, as a rule, intestate heirs (see Keil, Archäol. II. § 142; Ewald, Alterth. p. 238 f.; Saalschütz, M. R. p. 820 f.). The apostle’s idea is founded on the intestate succession of the Roman law, with which Paul as a Roman citizen was acquainted, as in fact it was well known in the provinces and applied there as regarded Roman citizens. Comp. also Fritzsche, Tholuck, and van Hengel, on Romans 8:17. According to the Roman law sons and daughters, whether born in marriage or adopted children (and Paul conceives Christians as belonging to the latter class), were intestate heirs. It is evident in itself, and from Galatians 3:28, that υἱός, which Paul used here on account of its correlation with δοῦλος, does not, in the popular mode of expression, exclude the female sex. On the whole of this subject, see C. F. A. Fritzsche, utrum Pauli argumentatio Romans 8:17 et Galatians 4:7, Hebraeo an Romano jure aestimanda sit, in Fritzschior. Opusc. p. 143 ff. To assume a mere allusion to general human laws of succession (Wieseler) is not sufficient; for Paul has very distinctly and clearly conceived and designated the υἱότης of the Christian as a relation of adoption, which presupposes for his conclusion as to the heirship a special legal reference, and not merely the general and vague correlation of the ideas of childship and heirship. The clear precision of his thought vouches for this, and it ought not to be evaded by declaring such a legal question even foolish (Hofmann),—a dogmatical judgment which is all the more precipitate, as the specific Johannean idea of the divine begetting of the children of God (comp. Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 717 ff.) can by no means be found in the Pauline πνεῦμα υἱοθεσίας(186) (see on Romans 8:15). Besides, υἱοθεσία is, and after all remains, nothing else than the quite definite legal idea of adoption, which separates the υἱοί εἰσποιητοί or θετοί (Pollux, iii. 21) from those begotten or γνησιοί.


Verse 8

Galatians 4:8. ἀλλά] Nevertheless, how fearfully at variance is your present retrograde attitude with the fact of this divine deliverance from your previous lost condition! This topic is dealt with down to Galatians 4:11. Observe that ἀλλά introduces the two corresponding relations τότε μέν and νῦν δέ in conjunction.(187)

τότε] then; reminds the readers of the past time, in which they were still δοῦλοι (Galatians 4:7).

οὐκ εἰδότες θεόν] Cause of the ἐδουλεύσατε which follows. In the non-knowledge of God (for οὐκ εἰδότ. forms one idea) lies the fundamental essence of the heathenism, to which the apostle’s readers had mostly belonged. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:5; Acts 17:23; Acts 17:30, et al. As to the relation of the thought to Romans 1:20 f., see on that passage.

ἐδουλεύσατε] The aorist simply designates the state of bondage then existing as now at an end, without looking at its duration or development. See Kühner, II. p. 73 f.

τοῖς φύσει μὴ οὖσι θεοῖς] to the gods, who by nature however are not so! For, in the apostle’s view, the realities which were worshipped by the heathen as gods, were not gods, but demons. See on 1 Corinthians 10:20. In his view, therefore, their nature was not divine, but at the same time not of mere mundane matter (Ewald) (comp. Wisdom of Solomon 13:1 ff.); it was demoniac,—a point which must have been well known to the Galatians from his oral instruction.

The negation denies subjectively, from the apostle’s view. Comp. 2 Chronicles 13:9 : ἐγένετο εἰς ἱερέα τῷ μὴ ὄντι θεῷ.


Verse 9

Galatians 4:9. γνόντες θεόν] After ye have known God through the preaching of the gospel. Olshausen’s opinion, that εἰδότες denotes more the merely external knowledge that God is, while γνόντες signifies the inward essential cognition, is shown to be an arbitrary fancy by passages such as John 7:37; John 8:55; 2 Corinthians 5:16.

μᾶλλον δέ] imo vero, a corrective climax (Romans 8:34; Ephesians 5:11; Jacobs, ad Ach. Tat. II. p. 955; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. iii. 13. 6; Grimm, on Wisdom of Solomon 8:19), in order to give more startling prominence to the following πῶς ἐπιστρέφετε κ. τ. λ., as indicating not a mere falling away from the knowledge of God, but rather a guilty opposition to Him.

γνωσθέντες ὑπὸ θεοῦ] after ye have been known by God. This is the saving knowledge, of which on God’s part men become the objects, when He interests Himself on their behalf to deliver them. Into the experience of having been thus graciously known by God the Galatians were brought by means of the divine work which had taken place in them, anticipating their own volition and endeavour—the work of their calling, enlightenment, and conversion;(188) so that they therefore, when they knew God, became in that very knowledge aware of their being known by God,—the one being implied in the other—through their divinely bestowed admission into the fellowship of Christ.(189) See on 1 Corinthians 8:3; 1 Corinthians 13:12; also Matthew 7:23. Hofmann desires the condition of the acceptance of grace to be mentally supplied; but this is arbitrary in itself, and is also incorrect, because those, who are the objects of God’s gracious knowledge, are already known to Him by means of His πρόγνωσις as the credituri and are ordained by Him to salvation (see on Romans 8:29 f.). But the literal sense cognoscere is not to be altered either into approbare, amare (Grotius and others), or into agnoscere suos (Wetstein, Vater, Winer, Rückert, Usteri, Schott, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others); nor is it to be understood in the sense of Hophal: brought to the knowledge (Beza, Er. Schmidt, Cornelius a Lapide, Wolf, Nösselt, Koppe, Flatt, and others); nor can we, with Olshausen, turn it into the being penetrated with the love wrought by God, which only follows upon the being known by God, 1 Corinthians 8:3. Lastly, there has been introduced, in a way entirely un-Pauline, the idea of the self-recognition of the Divine Spirit in us (Matthies), or of the consciousness of the identity of the human and the divine knowing (Hilgenfeld). On the deliberate change from the active to the passive, γνόντες, γνωσθέντες, comp. Philippians 3:12. Luther, moreover, appropriately remarks, “non ideo cognoscuntur quia cognoscunt, sed contra quia cogniti sunt, ideo cognoscunt.”

πῶς] “interrogatio admirabunda” (Bengel), as in Galatians 2:12.

πάλιν] does not mean backwards (Flatt, Hofmann), as in Homer (see Duncan, Lex. ed. Rost, p. 886; Nägelsbach z. Ilias, p. 34, ed. 3),—a rendering opposed to the usage of the N.T. generally, and here in particular to the πάλιν ἄνωθεν which follows; it means iterum, and refers to the fact that the readers had previously been already in bondage to the στοιχεῖα, namely, most of them as heathen. Now they turn indeed ( ἐπιστρέφετε, present tense, as in i. 6) to the Jewish ordinances; but the heathen and Jewish elements (on the latter, see Hebrews 7:18 f.) are both included in the category of the στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου (see on Galatians 4:3), so that Paul is logically correct in using the πάλιν; and the hypothesis of Nösselt (Opusc. I. p. 293 ff.; comp. Mynster in his kl. theol. Schr. p. 76; Credner, Einl., and Olshausen), that the greater part of the readers had been previously proselytes of the gate, is entirely superfluous, and indeed at variance with the description of the pre-Christian condition of the Galatians given in Galatians 4:8; for according to Galatians 4:8, the great mass of them must have been purely heathen before their conversion, because there is no mention of any intermediate condition between τότε and νῦν. According to Wieseler (comp. also Reithmayr), πάλιν is intended to point back to their conversion to Christ, so that the turning to the στοιχεῖα is designated as a second renewed conversion ( ἐπιστρέφετε), namely, in pejus. This would yield an ironical contrast, but is rendered impossible by the words οἷς πάλιν ἄνωθεν δουλ. θέλετε. Wieseler is driven to adopt so artificial an explanation, because he understands the στοιχεῖα as referring to the law only; and this compels him afterwards to give an incorrect explanation of οἷς.

ἀσθενῆ κ. πτωχά] because they cannot effect and bestow, what God by the sending of His Son has effected and bestowed (Galatians 4:5). Comp. Romans 8:3; Romans 10:12; Hebrews 7:18.

πάλιν ἄνωθεν] for those reverting to Judaism desired to begin again from the commencement the slave-service of the στοιχεῖα, which they had abandoned; ἀρχαῖς προτέραις ἑπόμενοι, Pind. Ol. x. 94. Comp. Wisdom of Solomon 19:6. Not a pleonasm, as πάλιν ἐκ δευτέρου (Matthew 26:42), πάλιν αὖτις (Hom. Il. i. 59), or δεύτερον αὖθις (Hom. Il. i. 513); but the repetition is represented as a new commencement of the matter, as ἐκ νέας αὖθις ἀρχῆς (Plut. solert. anim. p. 959), and πάλιν ἐξ ἀρχῆς (Barnab. Ep. 16). It is just the same in the instances in Wetstein. The οἷς is, however, the simple dative as in Galatians 4:8 and usually with δουλεύειν; it is not equivalent to ἐν οἷς (Wieseler), with δουλ. used absolutely.

θέλετε] ye desire, ye have the wish and the longing for, this servitude! Comp. Galatians 4:21.


Verse 10

Galatians 4:10. Facts which vouch the ἐπιστρέφετε πάλιν κ. τ. λ. just expressed.

The interrogative view, which Griesbach, Koppe, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Hilgenfeld, following Battier (Bibl. Brem. VI. p. 104), take, has been again abandoned by Usteri, Schott, and Wieseler; and Hofmann prefers the sense of sorrowful exclamation. But the continuance of the reproachful interrogative form (Galatians 4:9) corresponds better to the increasing pitch of surprise and amazement, and makes Galatians 4:11 come in with greater weight.

παρατηρεῖσθε] Do ye already so far realize your θέλετε? Ye take care, sedulo vobis observatis, namely, to neglect nothing which is prescribed in the law for certain days and seasons. Comp. Joseph. Antt. iii. 5. Galatians 5 : παρατηρεῖν τὰς ἑβδομάδας; also Dio Cass. liii. 10 (of the observance of a law). The idea superstitiose (Winer, Bretschneider, Olshausen, and others) is not implied in παρα, nor the praeter fidem which Bengel finds in it.

ἡμέρας] Sabbaths, fast and feast days. Comp. Romans 14:5-6

μῆνας] is usually referred to the new moons. But these, the feast-days at the beginning of each month, come under the previous category of ἡμέρας. In keeping with the other points, παρατηρεῖσθαι μῆνας must be the observance of certain months as pre-eminently sacred months. Thus the seventh month (Tisri), as the proper sabbatical month, was specially sacred (see Ewald, Alterth. p. 469 f.; Keil, Archäol. I. p. 368 ff.); and the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months were distinguished by special fasts.

καιρούς] מוֹעֲדִים, Leviticus 23:4. The holy festal seasons, such as those of the Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles, are meant; “quibus hoc aut illud fas erat aut nefas,” Erasmus.

ἐνιαυτούς] applies to the sabbatical years (see, as to these, Ewald, p. 488 ff.; Keil, p. 371 ff.), which occurred every seventh year, but not to the jubilee years, which had, at least after the time of Solomon, fallen into abeyance (Ewald, p. 501). But that the Galatians were at that time in some way actually celebrating a sabbatical year (Wieseler), cannot be certainly inferred from ἐνιαυτ., which has in reality its due warrant as belonging to the consistency and completeness of the theory. On the whole passage, comp. Colossians 2:16, and Philo, de septenar. p. 286.

From our passage, moreover, we see how far, and within what limits, the Galatians had already been led astray.(190) They had not yet adopted circumcision, but were only in danger of being brought to it (Galatians 5:2-3; Galatians 5:12, Galatians 6:12-13). Nothing at all is said in the epistle as to any distinction of meats (comp. Col. l.c), except so far as it was implied in the observance of days, etc. Usteri (comp. Rückert) is of opinion that Paul did not mention circumcision and the distinction of meats, because he desired to represent the present religious attitude of his readers as analogous to their heathen condition. But, according to the comprehensive idea of the στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου, even the mention of circumcision and the distinctions of meats would have been in no way inappropriate to the πάλιν ἄνωθεν. Olshausen quite arbitrarily asserts that the usages mentioned stand by synecdoche for all.


Verse 11

Galatians 4:11. φοβοῦμαι ὑμᾶς, μήπως κ. τ. λ.] not attraction (Winer, Usteri, Olshausen, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler, Buttmann), because, if this had been the case, ὑμεῖς must have been the subject of μήπως κ. τ. λ. (Plat. Legg. x. p. 886 A: φοβοῦμαί γε τοὺς μοχθηροὺςμή πως ὑμῶν καταφρονήσωσιν. Phaedr. p. 232 C, φοβούμενοι τοὺς μὲν οὐσίαν κεκτημένους, μὴ χρήμασιν αὐτοὺς ὑπερβάλωνται. Diod. Sic. iv. 40; Thuc. iv. 1. 1; Xen. Anab. iii. 5. 18, vii. 1. 2; Soph. Trach. 547): see the passages in Winer, p. 581 ff. [E. T. 781 f.]; Krüger, gramm. Unters. III. p. 162 ff.; Kühner, II. p. 611. On the contrary, φοβοῦμαι ὑμᾶς is to be taken by itself, and μήπως κ. τ. λ. as a more precise definition of it: “I am afraid about you, lest perhaps I,” etc. Comp. Plat. Phaedr. p. 239 D: τοιοῦτον σῶμα οἱ φίλοιφοβοῦνται (are apprehensive about it). Soph. O. R. 767: δέδοικʼ ἐμαυτὸν …, μὴ πολλʼ ἄγαν εἰρημένʼ μοι. It is not without cause that Paul has added ὑμᾶς, but in the consciousness that his apprehension had reference not to his own interests (his possibly fruitless labour, taken by itself), but to his readers; they themselves were the object of his anxiety, their deliverance, their salvation. The mode of expression is analogous also in a hostile sense, e.g. Xen. Hell. ii. 3. 18: ἐφοβοῦντο τὸν θηραμένην, μὴ συῤῥυείησαν πρὸς αὐτὸν οἱ πολῖται. Thuc. iv. 8. Galatians 5 : τὴν δὲ νῆσον ταύτην φοβούμενοι, μὴ ἐξ αὐτῆς τὸν πόλεμον σφίσι ποιῶνται.

εἰκῆ] without saving result (Galatians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 15:2), because ye are in the course of falling away from the life of Christian faith, which through my labours was instituted among you.

κεκοπίακα] Perfect indicative; for the thought was before the apostle’s mind, that this case had actually occurred. Hermann, ad Eur. Med. 310, Elmsl.; Winer, p. 469 [E. T. 631]; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaed. p. 84 E.

εἰς ὑμᾶς] for you; εἰς denotes the reference of the toilsome labour which he had undergone to the Galatians. Comp. Romans 16:6

Luther (1524), moreover, aptly remarks on Galatians 4:11 : “Lacrymas Pauli haec verba spirant.”


Verse 12

Galatians 4:12.(191) After this expression of anxiety, now follows the exhortation to return, and with what cordiality of affection! “Subito … ἤθη καὶ πάθη, argumenta conciliantia et moventia admovet,” Bengel.

γίνεσθε ὡς ἐγὼ, ὅτι κἀγὼ ὡς ὑμεῖς] is explained in two ways,—either as a summons to give up Judaistic habits, or as a summons to love. The correct interpretation is: “Become as I, become free from Judaism as I am, for I also have become as you; for I also, when I abandoned Judaism, thereby became as a Gentile (Galatians 2:14; Philippians 3:7 f.), and placed myself on the same footing with you who were then Gentiles, by non-subjection to the Mosaic law. Now render to me the reciprocum, to which love has a claim.” So Koppe, Winer, Usteri, Neander, Fritzsche, de Wette, Hilgenfeld. This interpretation is not only in the highest degree suitable to the thoughtful delicacy of the apostle—who might justly (in opposition to Wieseler’s objection) represent his former secession from Judaism as a service rendered to his readers (as Gentiles), because he had in fact seceded to be a converter of the Gentiles—but is the only explanation in harmony with the words and the context. ἐγενόμην must be supplied in the second clause, and to take it from γίνεσθε is just as allowable as in 1 Corinthians 11:1 (in opposition to Hofmann). Comp. Philippians 2:5; and see generally, Krüger, § lxii. 4. 1; Winer, p. 541 f. [E. T. 728]; Xen. Anab. vii. 7. 13: προερῶν ἅπερ αὐτῷ. As to κἀγώ, comp. on 1 Corinthians 11:1. Following Chrysostom, Theodoret and Theophylact, Erasmus (in his Paraphrase), Vatablus, Semler, and others, also Matthies, interpret: “Become as I, abandon Judaism; for I also was once a zealous adherent of it like you, but have undergone a change.” But as ἐγενόμην is the only supplement which suggests itself in harmony with the context, Paul must have written the ἤμην, which on this view requires to be supplied (as Justin. ad Graec. ii. p. 400. ed. Col. γίνεσθε ὡς ἐγὼ, ὅτι κἀγὼ ἤμην ὡς ὑμεῖς), and this ἤμην would in that case have conveyed the main element of the motive (fui, nec amplius sum). But as Paul has written, the point of the passage lies in his desire that his readers should become like unto him, as he also had become like to the readers. Schott (comp. Rosenmüller and Flatt) correctly supplies ἐγενόμην, but he again supplies ἐγενέσθε with ὑμεῖς: “siquidem ego quoque factus sum, quales vos facti estis, cum Jesu Christo nomen daretis, abjeci studia pristina Judaismi pariter atque vos olim abjecistis.” Incorrectly, because this would presuppose that Paul was speaking to Jewish Christians, and because the motive, thus understood, could only have been of real avail as a motive in the event of Paul having been converted later than the Galatians. Jerome, Erasmus (in his Annotationes), Cornelius a Lapide, Estius, Michaelis, Rückert, interpret: “Become as I, lay aside Judaism, for I also have lovingly accommodated myself to you;” comp. Wieseler: “Because I also, when I brought the gospel to you, from, a loving regard toward you Gentiles put aside Jewish habits” (Galatians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 9:21). So also in substance Olshausen, Ellicott, Reithmayr, and others; similarly also Hofmann.(192) Against this view it may be urged, that, in Paul’s working as an apostle to the Gentiles, his non-Judaistic attitude was a matter of principle, and not a matter of considerate accommodation, and that long before he preached to the Galatians. Besides, the result would be a dissimilar relation between the two members; for Paul cannot require the putting away of Jewish habits as a matter of affectionate consideration, but only as a Christian necessity. The reciprocity of what is to be done under this aspect is the point of the demand. According to Ewald, Paul says, “As Christians, follow ye entirely my example, because I too am a simple Christian and, strictly speaking, not more than you.” But thus the very idea that was most essential (a simple Christian) would not be expressed. Others, including Luther, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Calovius, Wolf, Bengel, Zachariae, and Morus, find the sense: “Love me, as I love you.” But how could the reader discover this in the words, since Paul has not yet said a word as to any deficiency of love to him? Beza and Grotius wrongly appeal to the mode of designating one who is beloved as an alter ego, an idea which ὡς ἐγώ and ὡς ὑμεῖς do not at all convey.

ἀδελφοὶ, δέομαι ὑμῶν] The language of softened and deeply moved love. The words are to be referred not to the sequel (Luther, Zeger, Koppe, and others), in which there is nothing besought, but to the previous summons, with which he beseeches them to comply.

οὐδέν με ἠδικήσατε] suggests a motive for granting his entreaty γίνεσθε ὡς ἐγώ, by recalling their relation to him, as it had stood at the time when he first preached the gospel to them: “How should ye not grant me this entreaty, since ye have done no injury to me (and certainly therefore in this point just asked for, will not vex me by non-compliance); but ye know,” etc. According to Chrysostom, Theophylact, Augustine, Pelagius, Luther, Calvin, Estius, Windischmann, and others, including Winer, the words are intended to give an assurance that the previous severe language had not flowed from displeasure and irritation against his readers. But Paul has in fact already changed, immediately before, to the tone of love; hence such an assurance here would come in too late and inappropriately. Nor would the οὐδέν με ἠδικήσατε, which on account of the connection with Galatians 4:13 evidently applies to the period of his first visit, necessarily exclude a subsequent offence; so that the “igitur non habui, quod vobis irascerer” (Winer), which has been discovered in these words, is not necessarily implied in them. The temporal reference of the οὐδέν με ἠδικήσατε, which is definitely and necessarily given by Galatians 4:13, excludes also the view of Beza, Bengel, Rückert, Ewald, and others, that Paul represents the vexation occasioned to him by the relapse of his readers as having not occurred (“all was forgotten and forgiven,” Ewald), in order to encourage them by this meiosis to a compliance with the γίνεσθε ὡς ἐγώ. Lastly, those interpretations are incorrect, which, in spite of the enclitic με, lay an antithetic emphasis on the latter; as that of Grotius (“me privatim”), that of Rettig in the Stud. u. Krit. 1830, p. 109 (not me, but God and Christ), and that of Schott (nihil mihi nocuistis, vobis tantum). Nor is Hofmann’s view more correct: that Paul, taking occasion by a passage in the (alleged) epistle of his readers, desired only to say to them that the οὐδέν με ἠδικήσ. was not enough; instead of having merely experienced nothing unbecoming from them, he could not but expect more at their hands, for which reason they ought to recall what their attitude to him had been at his first visit to them. In this view what is supposed to form the train of thought is a purely gratuitous importation, with the fiction of a letter written by the Galatians superadded; and the assumed strong contrast to the sequel must have been marked by a μέν after οὐδέν (as to Plat. Rep. p. 398 A, Hartung, Partik. I. p. 163, forms a right judgment), or by ἀλλά instead of δέ, in order to be intelligible.

On ἀδικεῖν with accusative of the person and of the thing, comp. Acts 25:10; Philemon 1:18; Wolf, Lept. p. 343; Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 6. 7.


Verse 13-14

Galatians 4:13-14. Contrast to the preceding οὐδέν με ἠδικ. Comp. Chrysostom: “Ye have done nothing to injure me; but ye doubtless know, that I on account of weakness of the flesh preached the gospel to you the former time, and that ye,” etc.

διʼ ἀσθένειαν τῆς σαρκός] The only correct explanation, because the only one agreeable to linguistic usage, is that adopted by Flatt, Fritzsche, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler, and others, also by Winer, Gramm. p. 373 [E. T. 499], on account of weakness of the flesh:(193) so that it is clear, that on Paul’s first journey through Galatia (Acts 16:6) he was compelled by reason of bodily weakness to make a stay there, which properly did not form a part of his plan; and that during this sojourn, forced on him by necessity, he preached the gospel to the Galatians. How he suffered, and from what cause, whether from natural sickness (comp. 2 Corinthians 12:7),(194) or from ill-treatment which he had previously endured on account of the gospel (comp. Galatians 6:17), we do not know. The mention of an involuntary or rather quite unpremeditated working among the Galatians is not opposed to the apostle’s aim (as Rückert objects), but favourable to it; because the love which received him so heartily and joyfully must have been all the greater, the less it depended on the duty of befitting gratitude for a benefit previously destined for the recipients, and for exertions made expressly on their account. Many others have understood διά as denoting the apostle’s condition:amidst bodily weakness,” which is then referred by some, and indeed most expositors, following Chrysostom and Luther, to persecutions and sufferings, by others to his insignificant appearance (Calvin), by others to sickness (Rückert, Matthies, Olshausen, Ewald; comp. also in Jerome), and by others even to embarrassment and perplexity on account of the strange circumstances (Baumgarten-Crusius). But in this case διά must have been used with the genitive (see Matthiae, p. 1353; Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 138); for expressions such as διὰ δῶμα, διὰ νύκτα, διὰ στό΄α, διʼ αἰθέρα, κ. τ. λ., in which διά denotes stretching through, are merely poetical (see Schaefer, ad Mosch. 4. 91; Bernhardy, p. 236 f.; Kühner, II. p. 282). We should be obliged to think of the occasioning state (as in διὰ τοῦτο, διὰ πολλά, κ. τ. λ.), which would just bring us back to our interpretation. Hence we must reject also the explanation of Grotius: “per varios casus, per mille pericula rerum perrexi, ut vos instituerem.” Others still have gone so far as to refer διʼ ἀσθ. τῆς σαρκός to weakness of the Galatians, to which Paul accommodated himself. So Jerome, Estius, Hug, and Rettig l.c. p. 108 ff.: “I have preached to you on account of the weakness of your flesh,” which is supposed to mean: “I have in my preaching had respect to the infirmity of your flesh.” Utterly mistaken: because Paul must necessarily have added a modal definition to εὐηγγ. (even if it had only been an οὓτως), or must have written κατʼ ἀσθ. instead of διʼ ἀσθ.; moreover, ἐν τῇ σαρκί ΄ου in Galatians 4:14 shows that Paul meant the ἀσθένεια τῆς σαρκός to apply to himself.

τὸ πρότερον] may mean either: earlier, at an earlier time, so that it would be said from the standpoint of the present (Thuc. i. 12. Galatians 2 : τὴν νῦν βοιωτίαν, πρότερον δὲ καδ΄ηΐδα γῆν καλου΄ένην, Isocr. de pace, § 121 and Bremi in loc.), which in relation to the past is the later time (John 6:62; John 7:51; John 9:8; 2 Corinthians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:13; 1 Peter 1:14; Hebrews 10:32; LXX. Deuteronomy 2:12; 1 Chronicles 9:2; 1 Maccabees 11:27); or the former time, so that the same fact (the preaching) took place twice (Hebrews 4:6; Hebrews 7:27). It is interpreted in the former sense by Usteri and Fritzsche, and in the latter by Koppe, Winer, Rückert, Matthies, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Wieseler, Hilgenfeld, Ewald, Hofmann, and others.(195) The latter is the correct view, so that τὸ πρότερον presupposes a second sojourn of the apostle among the Galatians. For if he had preached among them only once, τὸ πρότερον would have been quite an idle, superfluous addition. But Paul adds it just in order to denote quite distinctly his first visit, during which he founded the churches (Acts 16:6): at his second visit (Acts 18:23), the happy experiences which he had enjoyed τὸ πρότερον were not repeated in such full measure; the churches were already tainted by Judaism. Comp. Introd. § 2, 3. Fritzsche, indeed, maintains that Galatians 4:18-19 imply that Paul before the composition of the epistle had only once visited the Galatians; but see on Galatians 4:19.


Verse 14

Galatians 4:14. Still dependent on ὅτι, as is logically required by the contrast to οὐδέν με ἠδικ., which is introduced by οἴδατε δὲ, ὅτι.

τὸν πειρασμὸν ὑμῶν ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου κ. τ. λ.] As to the reading ὑμῶν, see the critical notes. The sense is: that ye were put to the proof as respected my bodily weakness (namely, as to your receiving and accepting my announcements, demands, etc., notwithstanding this my suffering and impotent appearance; see the antithesis, ἀλλʼ ὡς κ. τ. λ.); this proof ye have not rejected with disdain and aversion, but on the contrary have submitted yourselves to it so excellently, that ye received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. The καί is not and yet (Koppe, Winer, Matthies), but the simple and, continuing the address ( οἴδατε, ὅτι κ. τ. λ.).

ἑν τῇ σαρκί μου] is the more precise definition of τὸν πειρασμ. ὑμῶν, specifying wherein the readers had to undergo a trial,—namely, in the fact of Paul’s having then preached to them in such bodily weakness. Comp. Plat. Phil. p. 21 A: ἐν σοὶ πειρώμεθα, upon thee we would make the trial. Hom. Il. xix. 384, πειρήθηἐν ἔντεσι. Comp. also βασανίζεσθαι ἐν, Plat. Pol. vi. p. 503 A. Hence ἐν τῇ σαρκί did not require the connecting article, as it is in reality blended with τὸν πειρασμὸν ὑμῶν so as to form one idea. See on Galatians 3:26. And the definition of the sense of ἐν τῇ σαρκι μου is derived from διʼ ἀσθένειαν τῆς σαρκός in Galatians 4:13. Fritzsche, l.c. p. 245, objects to the sense which is given by the reading ὑμῶν: 1. sententiam ab h. l. abhorrere. But how aptly does the negative assertion, that the Galatians, when they were put to the trial by the apostle’s sickness, did not despise and reject this trial, correspond with the positive idea, that, on the contrary, they have received him as an angel of God! And how suitable are the two ideas together to the previous οὐδέν με ἠδικήσατε! 2. Sententiam verbis parum aptis conceptam esse; expectaras καλῶς ὑπεμείνατε. But this καλῶς ὑπεμείνατε is in fact most exhaustively represented by the negative and positive testimony taken together; the negative testimony expresses the acceptance, and the positive the standing, of the πειρασμός. 3. The sense does not suit the following ἀλλʼἐδέξασθέ με. But even with the adoption of the reading ὑμῶν the rejection of the apostle is in point of fact negatived; hence τὸν πειρασμὸν ὑμῶνἐξεπτύσατε cannot be inappropriate to the ἐδέξασθέ με which follows. Lachmann (comp. Buttmann in Stud. u. Krit. 1860, p. 379) makes καὶ τὸν πειρασμ. ὑμ. ἐν τ. σ. μ. dependent on οἴδατε (placing a colon after ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου), whereby the flow of the discourse is quite unnecessarily broken.

ἐξεπτύσατε] expresses the sense of ἐξουθ. figuratively and by way of climax, adding the idea of detestation. Comp. Revelation 3:16, and the Latin despuere, respuere. So forcible an expression of the negative serves to give the greater prominence to the positive counterpart which follows. In the other Greek writers, besides the simple πτύειν (Soph. Ant. 649. 1217), there occur only καταπτύειν τινός, ἀποπτύειν τινά (4 Maccabees 3:18; Eur. Troad. 668, Hec. 1265; Hes. ἔργ. 724), and διαπτύειν τινά (in Philo also παραπτύειν) in this metaphorical sense (see Kypke, II. p. 280; Ruhnk. Ep. crit. p. 149; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 17); but ἐκπτύειν is always used in the proper sense (Hom. Od. v. 322; Aristoph. Vesp. 792; Anthol. Theodorid. 2; Apoll. Rhod. 478), as also ἐμπτύειν τινί (Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 17). Even in the passage quoted by Kypke, Plut. de fort. vel virt. Alex. I. p. 328, it is used in the proper sense, because ὥσπερ χαλινόν stands beside it. We are bound to acknowledge this deviation from the Greek usage, and it must be considered as caused by ἐξουθ., as in fact Paul is fond of repeating, not without emphasis, compounds presenting the same preposition (Galatians 2:4; Galatians 2:13; Romans 2:18; Romans 11:7, et al.).

ὡς χριστὸν ἰησοῦν] a climax added asyndetically in the excitement of feeling, and presenting to a still greater extent than ὡς ἄγγελ. θεοῦ (Hebrews 1:4; Philippians 2:10; Colossians 1:16) the high reverence and love with which he had been received by them, and that as a divine messenger. Comp. Matthew 10:40; John 13:20. Observe also, that even among the Galatians Paul doubtless preached in the first instance to the Jews (whose loving behaviour towards the apostle was then shared in by the Gentiles also); hence the comparison with an angel and with Christ in our passage is in keeping with the apostle’s historical recollection, and does not render it at all necessary to assume an ὕστερον πρότερον in the representation, which would thus anticipate the already Christian view.

Note.

According to the Recepta τ. πειρ. μου τὸν ἐν τ. σ. μ., or, as the first μου has special evidence against it, according to the reading τὸν πειρ. τὸν ἐν τ. σ. μ., the explanation must be: “My bodily temptation ye have not despised or disdainfully rejected,” that is, “Ye have not on account of my sickness, by which I have been tried of God, rejected me, as the bodily impotence in which it exhibited me to you might have induced you to do.” Taken by itself, this sense, and the mode of expressing it, would be suitable enough (in opposition to Wieseler), even without the hypothesis, based on ἐξεπτ., of some nauseous sickness (in opposition to Fritzsche).


Verse 15

Galatians 4:15. Of what nature, then, was your self-congratulation? A sorrowful question! for the earnestness with which the Galatians had then congratulated themselves on the apostle’s account, contrasting so sadly with their present circumstances, compelled him to infer that that congratulation was nothing but an effervescent, fleeting, and fickle excitement. Hence the reading ποῦ οὖν (see the critical notes) is a gloss in substance correct; comp. Romans 3:27. Others explain it: On what was your self-congratulation grounded? Why did you pronounce yourselves so happy? So Bengel, Koppe, Winer, Matthias, and Schott.(196) In this case qualis would have to be taken in the peculiar sense: how caused, which, however, would require to be distinctly suggested by the context. Others still, as Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Piscator, Calovius, Wolf, and including Baumgarten-Crusius, Hilgenfeld, Reiche, Wieseler, interpret: “How great (comp. Ephesians 1:14) therefore was your congratulation! how very happy you pronounced yourselves!” But then the ὥστε in Galatians 4:16 would be deprived of its logical reference, which, according to our interpretation, is contained in τίς οὖν μακαρ. ὑμ. And the words would, in fact, contain merely a superfluous and feeble exclamation.

The μακαρισμός (comp. Romans 4:6; Romans 4:9), with which ὑμῶν stands as the genitive of the subject (comp. Plat. Rep. p. 590 D), and not as the genitive of the object (Matthias),—for the object is obvious of itself,—refers to the circumstance that they had congratulated themselves, not that they had been congratulated by Paul and others (Jerome, Theodoret, Theophylact, Oecumenius), or even that they (the Galatians) had congratulated the apostle (Estius, Locke, Michaelis). See the sequel. The word, synonymous with εὐδαιμονισμός, is never equivalent to μακαριότης (Erasmus, Luther, Piscator, Homberg, Calovius, comp. Olsh.).

μαρτυρῶ γὰρ ὑμῖν κ. τ. λ.] justification of the expression just used, μακαρισμὸς ὑμῶν.

τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς κ. τ. λ.] A description of the overwhelming love, which was ready for any sacrifice. Such proverbial modes of expression, based upon the high value and indispensableness of the eyes (Proverbs 7:2; Psalms 17:8; Zechariah 2:8; Matthew 18:9; and comp. Vulpius and Doering, ad Catull. i. 3. 5), are current in all languages. Nevertheless, Lomler (in the Annal. d. gesammt. theol. Lit. 1831, p. 276), Rückert, and Schott have explained the passage quite literally: that Paul had some malady of the eyes, and here states that, if it had been possible, the Galatians would have given him their own sound eyes. But considering the currency of the proverbial sense, how arbitrarily is this view hazarded, seeing that nowhere else do we find a trace of any malady of the eyes in the apostle!(197) Rückert and Schott, indeed, found specially on εἰ δυνατόν, and maintain that, to express the meaning of the ordinary view, Paul must have written: “if it had been necessary.” But in any case the idea was a purely imaginary one, and as a matter of fact practically impossible ( ἀδύνατον); if Paul, therefore, had said: “if it had been necessary,” he would at any rate have expressed himself unsuitably. Besides, εἰ δυνατόν expresses the self-sacrificing love in a yet far stronger degree. And, if Paul had not spoken proverbially, the whole assurance would have been so hyperbolical, that he certainly could not have stood sponsor for it with the earnest μαρτυρῶ ὑμῖν.

ἐξορύξ.] the standing word for the extirpation of the eyes. See Judges 16:21; 1 Samuel 11:2; Herod. viii. 116; Joseph. Antt. vi. 5. 1; Wetstein, in loc.

ἐδώκατέ μοι] namely, as property, as a love-pledge of the most joyful self-sacrificing devotedness, not for use (Hofmann, following older expositors),—a view which, if we do not explain it of a disease of the eyes in the apostle’s case, leads to a monstrous idea. Without ἄν (see the critical notes) the matter is expressed as more indubitable, the condition contained in the protasis being rhetorically disregarded. See Hermann, ad Soph. El. 902; de part, ἄν, p. 70 ff.; Bremi, ad Lys. Exc. IV. p. 439 f.; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Symp. p. 198 C Buttmann in the Stud. u. Krit. 1858, p. 490. But Ellendt (Lex. Soph. I. p. 125) well remarks, “Sed cavendum, ne in discrimine utriusque generis, quod pertenue est, constituendo argutemur.”


Verse 16

Galatians 4:16. ὥστε] Accordingly; the actual state of things which, to judge from the cooling down—which that painful question ( τίς οὖν μακαρισμὸς ὑμῶν;) bewails—in the self-sacrificing love depicted in Galatians 4:14-15, must have superseded this love, and must now subsist.(198) The words contain a profoundly melancholy exclamation: “Accordingly, that is my position; I am become your enemy!” etc. So great a change has the relation, previously so rich and happy in confidence and love, experienced by the fact that it is my business to speak the truth to you (mark the present participle ἀληθεύων). This conduct which I pursue towards you, instead of confirming your inclination towards me and confidence in me, has taken them away; I have become your enemy! To place (with Matthias) a note of interrogation after γέγονα, and then to take ἀληθ. ὑ΄ῖν as an exclamation (an enemy, who tells you the truth!), breaks up the passage without adequate ground. Utterly groundless, illogical, and unprecedented (for the ὥστε of an inferential sentence always follows the sentence which governs it) is the inversion forced upon the apostle by Hofmann, who makes out that ὥστε κ. τ. λ. is dependent on ζηλοῦσιν ὑ΄ᾶς: “so that I am now your enemy, if I tell you truth, they court you;” it is the result of these courtings, that, when the apostle agreeably to the truth tells his converts (as in Galatians 1:8 f.) what is to be thought about the teaching of his opponents (?), he thereby comes to stand as their enemy. In this interpretation the special reference of ἀληθεύων ὑμῖν is purely gratuitous. To explain the ὥστε consecutivum with the indicative the simple rule is quite sufficient, that it is used de re facta; and the emphasis of the relation which it introduces lies in its betokening the quality of the preceding, to which the consecutivum refers. Comp. Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 1012: “Rem qualis sit, addita rei consequentis significatione definit.” Hofmann increases the arbitrary character of his artificial exposition by subsequently, in Galatians 4:17, separating οὐ καλῶς from ζηλοῦσιν ὑ΄ᾶς, and looking upon these words as an opinion placed alongside of ὥστε ἐχθρ. ὑ΄. γέγ., respecting this mode of courting. His interpretation thus presents at once a violent combination and a violent separation.

ἐχθρὸς ὑ΄ῶν] The context permits either the passive sense: hated by you (de Wette, Windischmann, and older expositors), or the active: your enemy (Vulgate, Beza, Grotius, and many others; also Rückert, Matthies, Schott, Hilgenfeld, Ewald, Hofmann); the latter, however, so taken that ἐχθρ. ὑμῶν γέγονα is said in accordance with the (altered) opinion of the readers. This active interpretation is to be preferred, because the usage among Greek authors (and throughout in the N.T. also) in respect to the substantive ἐχθρός with the genitive is decisive in its favour (Dem. 439. 19. 1121. 12; Xen. Anab. iii. 2. 5, de venat. 13. 12; Soph. Aj. 554). From the time of Homer, ἐχθρός means hated only with the dative (Xen. Cyrop. v. 4. 50; Dem. 241. 12. 245. 16; Lucian, Sacrif. 1; Herodian. iii. 10. 6), which either stands beside it or is to be mentally supplied (Romans 5:10; Romans 11:28; Colossians 1:21).

γέγονα] To what time does this change (having become), which by the perfect is marked as continuing, refer? It did not occur in consequence of the present epistle (Jerome, Luther, Koppe, Flatt, and others), for the Galatians had not as yet read it; nor at the first visit, for he had then experienced nothing but abundant love. It must therefore have taken place at the second visit (Acts 18:23), when Paul found the Galatian churches already inclined to Judaism, and in conformity with the truth could no longer praise them (for only ἐπαινέτης τοῦ δικαίου ἀληθεύει, Plat. Pol. ix. p. 589 C), but was compelled to blame their aberrations.

ἀληθεύων ὑμῖν] For “veritas odium parit” (Terent. Andr. i. 1. 40), and ὀργίζονται ἅπαντες τοῖς μετὰ παῤῥησίας τʼ ἀληθῆ λέγουσι (Lucian, Abdic. 7). As to ἀληθεύειν, to speak the truth, see on Ephesians 4:15.


Verse 17

Galatians 4:17. The self-seeking conduct of the Judaizing teachers (Galatians 1:7), so entirely opposed to the ἀληθεύων ὑμῖν. The fact that they are not named is quite in keeping with the emotion and irritation of the moment; “nam solemus suppresso nomine de iis loqui, quos nominare piget ac taedet,” Calvin.

ζηλοῦσιν ὑμᾶς] that is, they exert themselves urgently to win you over to their side; they pay their court to you zealously. So, correctly, Erasmus, Castalio, Er. Schmid, Michaelis, and others, including Flatt, Winer, Usteri, Schott, Fritzsche, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Ewald, Wieseler, and Hofmann. For the contrast to the behaviour of the apostle harmonizes well with this sense; which is also accordant with linguistic usage, since ζηλόω with the accusative means to be zealous about a person or thing, and obtains in each case the more precise definition of its import from the context; Dem. 1402. 20. 500. 2; Proverbs 24:1; Wisdom of Solomon 1:12; 1 Corinthians 12:31; and see Wetstein. Next to this interpretation comes that of Calvin, Beza, and others, including Rückert (comp. Vulgate: aemulantur): they are jealous of you (2 Corinthians 11:2; Sirach 9:1). Taking it so, it would not be necessary to conceive of Paul and his opponents under the figure of wooers of the bride (the bridegroom being Christ; see on 2 Corinthians 11:2), of which nothing is suggested by the context; but it may be urged against this explanation, that ἵνα αὐτοὺς ζηλοῦτε is not appropriate in the same sense. This remark also applies to the interpretation of Koppe and Reithmayr, following Ambrose, Jerome, and Theodoret: “they envy you (Acts 7:9), are full of an envious jealousy of your freedom;” and to that of Chrysostom and Theophylact: they vie with you (comp. Borger); ζῆλος μέν ἐστιν ἀγαθὸς ὅταν τις ἀρετὴν μιμῆταί τινος, ζῆλος δὲ οὐ καλὸς, ὅταν τις σπεύδῃ ἐκβαλεῖν τῆς ἀρετῆς τὸν κατορθοῦντα (Theophylact). The factitive explanation: they make you to be zealous (Matthias), is opposed to linguistic usage, which only sanctions παραζηλόω, and not the simple verb, in this sense.

οὐ καλῶς] not in a morally fair, honourable way, as would have been the case, if it had been done for your real good.

ἐκκλεῖσαι] To exclude;(199) they desire to debar you; in this lies the wickedness of their ζῆλος. The question which arises here, and cannot be set aside (as Hofmann thinks): Exclude from what? is answered by the emphatic αὐτούς which follows, namely, from other teachers, who do not belong to their clique.(200) These “other teachers” are naturally those of anti-Judaizing views, and consequently Paul himself and his followers; but the hypothesis that Paul only is referred to (“a me meique communione,” Winer; so also Luther, Calvin, Grotius, Bengel, Kypke, Michaelis, Rückert, Olshausen, Reiche, and others) is the less feasible, as the very idea of ἐκκλεῖσαι in itself most naturally points to a plurality, to an association. Since the αὐτούς which follows applies to the false teachers as teachers, we must not conceive the exclusion (with Borger and Flatt) as from the whole body of Christians, nor (with Schott) as from all Christians thinking differently; comp. Hilgenfeld: “from the Pauline church-union.” It is arbitrarily taken by Chrysostom, Oecumenius, and Theophylact, as exclusion from the state of true knowledge; by Erasmus and Cornelius a Lapide, from Christian freedom; by Luther (1519), a Christo et fiducia ejus; by Matthies, from the kingdom of truth (comp. Ewald: from genuine Christianity); by Wieseler and Reithmayr, from the kingdom of heaven; by Matthias, from salvation by faith. All Interpretations of This nature would have needed some more precise definition. Koppe falls into a peculiar error: “a consuetudine et familiaritate sua arcere vos volunt” (Galatians 2:12).

ἵνα αὐτοὺς ζηλοῦτε] As ἵνα is used here with the present indicative, it cannot mean in order that;(201) but must be the particle of place, ubi (Valckenaer, ad Herod, ix. 27: ἵνα δοκέει κ. τ. λ.). This ubi may, however, mean either: in which position of things ye are zealous for them (my former explanation), as in 1 Corinthians 4:6 (see on that passage, and Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 839); or, in its purely local sense: “they wish to debar you there, where you are zealous for them,”—namely, in the Judaistic circle, in which it is they themselves who are zealously courted by you, whose favour you have to seek, etc. The latter view, as the simplest, is to be preferred. On the usual explanation of ἵνα as a particle of design, recourse is had to the assumption of an abnormal construction of degenerate Greek (Winer, Olshausen, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler, Hofmann, Reithmayr, and others); or of a mistake on the part of the author or of the transcriber (Schott); or, with Fritzsche, to the reading ζηλῶτε (which only 113 and 219** have). But all these makeshifts are quite as arbitrary as the assumption of a faulty formation of mood (Rückert, Matthies). The interpretation of ἵνα as ubi is based not on an “exaggerated philological precision,”(202) but on a linguistic necessity, to which the customary interpretation, yielding certainly a sense appropriate enough in itself, must give way, because the latter absolutely requires the subjunctive mood.


Verse 18

Galatians 4:18. Paul knew that the state of things mentioned in Galatians 4:17 was but too assuredly based upon reality. So long as he had been with them (on the first occasion, and still even during his short second visit), the Galatians had shown zeal in that which was good, viz. in the actual case: zeal for their apostle and his true gospel, as was their duty (consequently what was morally right and good). But after his departure this zeal veered round in favour of the Judaizing teachers and their doctrine. Hence the apostle continues, giving a gentle reproof, and for that reason expressing the first half of the sentence merely in a general form: “Good, however, is the becoming zealous in a good thing always, and not merely during my presence with you;” that is, “It is good when zealous endeavours are continuously applied in a good cause, and not merely,” etc. The chief emphasis rests on this πάντοτε with its antithesis. The special form, in which Paul has clothed his thought, arises from his inclination for deliberately using the same word in a modified shade of meaning (Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 3:17, et al.; comp. Wilke, Rhetor, p. 343 f.). But the very point of this mode of expression requires that ζηλοῦσθαι should not be taken in a sense essentially different from the correct view of it in Galatians 4:17; consequently neither as invidiose tractari (Koppe), nor as to endure envy (Rückert), which, besides, cannot be conveyed by the simple passive. In Usteri’s view, Paul intends to say, “How much was I not the object of your ζῆλος (zeal and interest), when I was with you! But if it should cease again so soon after my departure from you, it must have lost much of its value.” But the very καὶ μὴ μόνον ἐν τῷ παρεῖναί με πρὸς ὑμᾶς plainly shows that Paul did not conceive himself as the object of the ζηλοῦσθαι; in order to be understood, he must have added this με to ζηλοῦσθαι, since there was no previous mention of himself as the object of the ζῆλος. This objection also applies to the view of Reiche, although the latter takes it more distinctly and sharply: “Bonum, honestum et salutare (Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:21), vero est, expeti aliorum studio et amore, modo et consilio honesto, ἐν καλῷ (conf. 2 Corinthians 11:2; θωοῦ ζήλῳ), idque continuo ac semper πάντοτε, nec tantum praesente me inter vos.” But ἐν καλῷ(203) cannot mean “modo et consilio honesto” (this is expressed by καλῶς in Galatians 4:17); it denotes the object of the ζηλοῦσθαι, and that conceived of as the sphere in which the ζηλοῦσθαι takes place. Schott interprets, unsuitably to the καὶ μὴ μόνον κ. τ. λ. which follows: “Laudabile est, quovis tempore appeti vel trahi ad partes alicujus, si agitur de bono et honesto colendo.” So also, in substance, de Wette, with relation to the passive demeanour of the Galatians, and with an extension of the idea of the verb: “It is, however, beautiful to be the object of zealous attention in what is good,” by which are indicated the qualities and advantages on account of which people are admired, loved, and courted.(204) Similarly Ewald: “It is beautiful to be the object of zealous love in what is beautiful,” ζηλοῦσιν and ζηλοῦτε in Galatians 4:17 being understood in a corresponding sense. But this interpretation also does not harmonize with the καὶ ΄ὴ ΄όνον κ. τ. λ. which follows; and hence Ewald changes the idea of ζηλοῦσθαι into that of being worthy of love, and consequently into the sense of ζηλωτὸν εἶναι. Hofmann over-refines and obscures the correct apprehension of the passage, by bringing Galatians 4:18, in consequence of his erroneous reference of ὥστε ἐχθρὸς κ. τ. λ. (see on Galatians 4:16), into connection with this sentence, considering the idea to be: “Just as his person had formerly been the object of their affection, it ought to have remained so, instead of his now being their enemy in consequence of the self-seeking solicitude with which his opponents take pains about them if he speaks to them the truth. For in his case the morally good had been the ground, on account of which he had been the object of their loving exertion,” etc. The earlier expositors,(205) as also Olshausen and Matthias (the latter in keeping with his factitive interpretation of the active), mostly take ζηλοῦσθαι as middle, in sense equivalent to ζηλοῦν, with very different definitions of the meaning,(206) but inconsistently with the usus loquendi.


Verse 19

Galatians 4:19. This verse is not to be attached to the preceding (Bos, Bengel, Knapp, Lachmann, Rückert, Usteri, Schott, Ewald, Hofmann),—a construction which makes this earnest, touching address appear awkward and dissimilar in character to what is previously said,—but the words are to be separated from what precedes by a full stop, and to be joined with what follows, the tender affection of which is quite in harmony with this loving address. Difficulty has been felt as to δέ in Galatians 4:20 (which therefore is omitted in Chrysostom and some min.); but only from inattention to the Greek use of δέ after the address, when the writer turns to a new thought, and does so with a tacit antithesis, which is to be recognised from the context. It is found so not merely with questions (Hom. Il. xv. 244; Plat. Legg. x. p. 890 E Xen. Mem. i. 3. 13, ii. 1. 26; Soph, O. C. 323. 1459), but also in other instances (Herod. 1. 115; Xen. Anab. v. 5. 13, vi. 6. 12). Here the slight antithetic reference lies, as the very repetition of παρεῖναι πρὸς ὑμᾶς indicates, in his glancing back to καὶ μὴ μόνον κ. τ. λ., namely: “Although zeal in a good cause ought not to be restricted merely to my presence with you, I yet would wish to be now present with you,” etc. The δέ of the apodosis, which Wieseler here assumes, is not suitable, because ἤθελον δέ κ. τ. λ. does not stand in any kind of antithesis to τεκν. μου οὓς πάλ. ὠδίνω κ. τ. λ.; and besides, no connected construction would result from it; for the idea: “Because ye are my children … I would wish,” does not correspond with the words. According to Hilgenfeld, that which the address is intended to introduce (viz. to move the readers to return) is wholly suppressed, and is supposed to be thereby the more strikingly suggested. Comp. also Reithmayr. But the affectionate tenor of the wish which follows in Galatians 4:20 harmonizes so fully with the tender address in Galatians 4:19, that that hypothesis, which Calvin also entertained (“hic quasi moerore exanimatus in medio sententiae tractu deficit”), does not seem warranted. Nevertheless Buttmann also, neut. Gr. p. 331, assumes an anacoluthon.

τεκνία μου] The word τεκνία, so frequent in John, is not found elsewhere in Paul’s writings. But Lachmann and Usteri ought not to have adopted (following B F G א*) the reading τέκνα, since it is just in this passage, where Paul compares himself to a mother in childbirth, that the phrase “my little children” finds a more special motive and warrant than in any other passage where he uses τέκνα (1 Corinthians 4:14; 2 Corinthians 6:13 : comp. also 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:1).

οὕς] The well-known constructio κατὰ σύνεσιν. Winer, p. 133 [E. T. 176].

πάλιν ὠδίνω] whom I once more travail with. Paul represents himself, not, as elsewhere (1 Corinthians 4:15; Philemon 1:10), as a father, but in the special emotion of his love, as a mother who is in travail, and whose labour is not brought to an end (by the actual final birth) until nothing further is requisite for the full and mature formation of the τεκνίον. So long as this object is not attained, according to the figurative representation, the ὠδίνειν still continues.(207) Bengel remarks very correctly: “Loquitur ut res fert, nam in partu naturali formatio est ante dolores partus.” The point of comparison is the loving exertion, which perseveres amidst trouble and pain in the effort to bring about the new Christian life. This metaphorical ὠδίνειν had been on the first occasion easy and joyful, Galatians 4:13 ff. (although it had not had the full and lasting result; see afterwards, on ἄχρις οὔ κ. τ. λ.); but on this second occasion it was severe and painful, and on this account the word ὠδίνω is chosen (and not τίκτω or γεννῶ), which, however, is also appropriate to the earlier act of bearing intimated in πάλιν, since the idea of pains is essential to the conception of a birth, however slight and short they may be. The sense, when stripped of figure, is: “My beloved disciples! at whose conversion I am labouring for the second time with painful and loving exertion, until ye shall have become maturely-formed Christians.” This continuous οὓς πάλιν ὠδίνω is to be conceived as begun, so soon as Paul had learned the apostasy of his readers and had commenced to counteract it; so that his operations during his second visit (comp. ἀληθεύων ὑμῖν, Galatians 4:16) are thus also included: hence we cannot, with Fritzsche (l.c. p. 244) and Ulrich (in the Stud. u. Krit. 1836, p. 459), consider Galatians 4:18-19 as intimating that Paul had only once visited Galatia. According to Wieseler, πάλιν ὠδίνω is intended to express the idea of the παλιγγενεσία, Titus 3:5; Paul had regenerated his readers already at their conversion, and here says that he is still continuously occupied in their regeneration, until they should have attained the goal of perfection on the part of the Christian—similarity with Christ. This is incorrect, because πάλιν must necessarily denote a second act of travail on the part of Paul. Paul certainly effected the regeneration of his readers on occasion of the first ὠδίνειν, which is presupposed by πάλιν; but because they had relapsed (Galatians 1:6, Galatians 3:1, Galatians 4:9 f., et al.), he must be for the second time in travail with them, and not merely still continuously (an idea which is not expressed) their regenerator, so that the idea of the πάλιν, the repetition, would be on the part of the readers. Theophylact (comp. Chrysostom) aptly defines the sense of πάλιν ὠδίνω not as that of a continued ἀναγέννησις, but as that of πάλιν ἑτέρας ἀναγεννήσεως. The sense, “whose regeneration I am continuing,” would have been expressed by Paul in some such form as οὒς οὐ παύο΄αι ἀναγεννῶν or οὒς ἔτι καὶ νῦν ἀναγεννῶ.

ἄχρις οὔ ΄ορφωθῇ χριστὸς ἐν ὑ΄ῖν] A shadow is thus thrown on the result of the first conversion (birth), which had undergone so sudden a change (Galatians 1:6). The reiterated labour of birth is not to cease until, etc. This meaning, and along with it the emphasis of the ἄχρις οὗ κ. τ. λ., has been missed by Hofmann, who, instead of referring πάλιν to ὠδίνω only, extends it also to ἄχρις οὔ κ. τ. λ. In connection with the general scope of the passage, however, the stress is on ΄ορφωθῇ: “until Christ shall have been formed, shall have attained His due conformation, in you,” that is, until ye shall have attained to the fully-formed inner life of the Christian. For the state of “Christ having been formed in man” is by no means realized “so soon as a man becomes a Christian” (Hofmann), but, as clearly appears from the notion of the ἄχρις οὗ, is the goal of development which the process of becoming Christian has to reach. When this goal is attained, the Christian is he in whom Christ lives (comp. on Galatians 2:20); as, for instance, on Paul himself the specific form of life of his Master was distinctly stamped. So long, therefore, as the Galatians were not yet developed and morally shaped into this complete inward frame, they were still like to an immature embryo, the internal parts of which have not yet acquired their normal shape, and which cannot therefore as yet come to the birth and so put an end to the ὠδίνειν. In the Christian, Christ is to inhabit the heart (Ephesians 3:17): in him there is to be the νοῦς of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), the πνεῦ΄α of Christ (Romans 8:9), the σπλάγχνα of Christ (Philippians 1:8); and the body and its members are to be the body and members of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 6:15). All this, which is comprehended in the idea χριστὸς ἐν ὑ΄ῖν, is in our passage rendered intelligible by the representation that Christ is to be formed in us, or to become present in the life-form corresponding to His nature. This view is not different in reality, although it is so in the mode of representation, from that of spiritual transformation after the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18); for, according to our passage, Christ Himself is in Christians the subject of the specific development. Bengel moreover, well remarks: “Christus, non Paulus, in Galatis formandus.”

μορφόω] occurs here only in the N.T.; but see LXX. Isaiah 44:13 (ed. Breit.); Symmachus, Psalms 34:1; Arat. Phaen. 375; Lucian, Prom. 3; Plut. de anim. general, p. 1013; Theophr. c. pl. v. 6, 7. See also Jacobs, ad Anthol. VI. p. 345.


Verse 20

Galatians 4:20. As to the connection of thought of the δέ with Galatians 4:18, see on Galatians 4:18.

ἤθελον] namely, if the thing were possible. Comp. Romans 9:3; Acts 25:22. See Stallbaum, ad Plat. Gorg. p. 235; Kühner, II. p. 68; Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 245.

ἄρτι] just now, presently (see on Galatians 1:9), has the emphasis.

ἀλλάξαι τὴν φωνήν μου] The emphasis is on ἀλλάξαι. But in harmony with the context (see Galatians 4:16; Galatians 4:18, and the foregoing ἄρτι), this changing can only refer to the second visit of the apostle to the Galatians, not to the language now employed in his letter, as many expositors think.(208) Erroneously, therefore—and how sharply in opposition to the previous affectionate address!

Ambrosius, Pelagius, Wetstein, Michaelis, Rosenmüller, Rückert, Baumgarten-Crusius, take the sense to be: to assume a stern language of reproof. Hofmann also erroneously holds that Paul means the (in oral expression) more chastened tone of a didactic statement—aiming at the bringing the readers back from their error—after the strongly excited style in which, since the word θαυμάζω in Galatians 1:6, he had urged his readers, as one who had already been almost deprived of the fruit of his labours. As if Paul had not previously, and especially from Galatians 3:6 to Galatians 4:7, written didactically enough; and as if he had not also in the sequel (see immediately, Galatians 4:21, and chap. 5 and 4 down to the abrupt dismissal at the end) urged his readers with excitement enough! The supposition, however, which Hofmann entertains, that Paul has hitherto been answering a letter of the Galatians, and has just at this point come to the end of it, is nothing but a groundless hypothesis, for there is no trace of such a letter to be found in the epistle. No; when Paul was for the second time in Galatia, he had spoken sharply and sternly, and this had made his readers suspect him, as if he had become their enemy (Galatians 4:16): hence he wishes to be now with them, and to speak to them with a voice different from what he had then used, that is, to speak to them in a soft and gentle tone.(209) By this, of course, he means not any deviation in the substance of his teaching from the ἀληθεύειν (Galatians 4:16), but a manner of language betokening tender, mother-like love. A wish of self-denying affection, which is ready and willing, in the service of the cause and for the salvation of the persons concerned, to change form and tone, although retaining φωνὰν ψευδέων ἀγνωστόν (Pind. Ol. vi. 112). The latter was a matter of course in the case of a Paul, willingly though he became all things to all men; comp. on 1 Corinthians 9:22. Many other expositors, as Theodoret, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Grotius, Estius, Koppe, Borger, Winer, Matthies, Schott, de Wette, understand it as: to speak according to the circumstances of each case, with tenderness and affection to one, with severity and censure to another. Comp. Corn. a Lapide: “ut scilicet quasi mater nunc blandirer, nunc gemerem, nunc obsecrarem, nunc objurgarem vos.” But this cannot be expressed by the mere ἀλλάξαι τ. φ., which without addition means nothing more than to change the voice (comp. ἀλλάττειν χώραν, Plat. Parm. p. 139 A εἶδος, Eur. Bacch. 53; χρῶμα, Eur. Phoen. 1252; στολάς, Genesis 35:2), that is, to assume another voice, to let oneself be heard otherwise, not differently. See Artem. ii. 20, iv. 56; Dio Chrysostom, lix. p. 575, in Wetstein. Comp. Romans 1:23; Wisdom of Solomon 4:11; Wisdom of Solomon 12:10; frequently in the LXX. Paul must have added either a more precise definition, such as εἰς πολλοὺς τρόπους, εἰς μορφὰς πλείονας (Lucian, Vit. Auct. 5), or at least some such expression as πρὸς τὴν χρείαν (Acts 28:10), πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον (1 Corinthians 12:7), πρὸς διάκρισιν καλοῦ τε καὶ κακοῦ (Hebrews 5:14). Fritzsche incorrectly interprets it: to adopt some other voice, so that ye may believe that ye are listening to some other teacher, and not to the hated Paul. What a strange, unseemly idea, not at all in keeping with the thoughtful manner of the apostle! According to Wieseler, the sense intended is: to exchange my speaking with you; that is, to enter into mutual discourse with you, in order most surely to learn and to obviate your counter-arguments. But in this view “with you” is a pure interpolation, although it would be essentially requisite to the definition of the sense; and ἀλλάσσειν λόγους, to say nothing of ἀλλ. φωνήν, is never so used. What Wieseler means is expressed by ἀμείβεσθαί τινα λόγοις (Hom. Od. iii. 148, et al.), προσδιαλέγεσθαί τινι (Plat. Theaet. p. 161 B), συζητεῖν τινι, or πρός τινα (Acts 6:9; Luke 22:23), λόγους ἀντιβάλλειν πρός (Luke 24:17), δοῦναί τε καὶ ἀποδέξασθαι λόγον (Plat. Rep. p. 531 E).

ὅτι ἀποροῦμαι ἐν ὑμῖν] justifies the wish of ἀλλάξαι τὴν φων. μου. The usual interpretation is the correct one: I am perplexed about you; ἐν ὑμῖν is to be taken as in the phrase θαῤῥῶ ἐν ὑμῖν, 2 Corinthians 7:16, so that the perplexity is conceived as inherent in the readers, dependent on their condition as its cause (comp. also Galatians 1:24). The perplexity consists in this, that he at the time knows no certain ways and means by which he shall effect their re-conversion (Galatians 4:19); and this instils the wish ( ὅτι) that he could now be present with them, and, in place of the severe tone which at the preceding visit had had no good effect (Galatians 4:16), could try the experiment of an altered and milder tone. The form ἀποροῦμαι is, moreover (comp. ἀπορηθείς, Dem. 830. 2, and ἀπορηθήσεται, Sirach 18:7), to be taken passively (as a middle form with a passive signification), so that the state of the ἀπορεῖν is conceived of as produced on the subject, passively (Schoemann, ad Isaeum, p. 192). Fritzsche, l.c. p. 257, holds the sense to be: “Nam haeretis, quo me loco habeatis, nam sum vobis suspectus.” Thus ἐν ὑμῖν would be among you, and ἀποροῦμαι: I am an object of perplexity, according to the well-known Greek use of the personal passive of intransitive verbs (Bernhardy, p. 341; Kühner, II. p. 34 f.). Comp. Xen. de rep. Lac. xiii. 7: ὥστε τῶν δεομένων γίγνεσθαι οὐδὲν ἀπορεῖται, Plat. Soph. p. 243 B, Legg. vii. p. 799 C. But the sense: “sum vobis suspectus” is interpolated, and there is no ground for deviating from the use of ἀποροῦμαι throughout the N.T. (2 Corinthians 4:8; Luke 24:4; Acts 25:20; John 13:22); as, indeed, the idea “sum vobis suspectus” cannot give any suitable motive for the wish of the ἀλλάξαι τὴν φωνήν, unless we adopt Fritzsche’s erroneous interpretation of ἀλλάξαι. To disconnect (with Hofmann) ἐν ὑμῖν from ἀποροῦμαι, and attach it to ἀλλάξ. τ. φωνήν μου, would yield an addition entirely superfluous after παρεῖναι πρὸς ὑμᾶς, and leave ἀποροῦμαι without any more precise definition of its bearing. And the proposal to attach ὅτι ἀπορ. ἐν ὑμῖν as protasis to the following λέγετέ μοι (Matthias) would have the effect of giving to the λέγ. μοι, which stands forth sternly and peremptorily, an enfeebling background.


Verse 21

Galatians 4:21, without any connecting link, leads most energetically ( λέγετέ μοι: “urget quasi praesens,” Bengel) at once in mediam rem. On the λέγετέ μοι, so earnestly intensifying the question, comp. Bergler, ad Aristoph. Acharn. 318.

οἱ ὑπὸ νόμον κ. τ. λ.] Ye who wish to be under the law. This refers to the Judaistically inclined readers, who, partly Gentiles and partly Jewish Christians, led astray by the false teachers (Galatians 1:7), supposed that in faith they had not enough for salvation, and desired to be subject to the law (Galatians 4:9), towards which they had already made a considerable beginning (Galatians 4:10). Chrysostom aptly remarks: καλῶς εἶπεν· οἱ θέλοντες, οὐ γὰρ τῆς τῶν πραγμάτων ἀκολουθίας, ἀλλὰ τῆς ἐκείνων ἀκαίρου φιλονεικίας τὸ πρᾶγμα ἦν.

τὸν νόμον οὐκ ἀκούετε;] Hear ye not the law? Is it not read in your hearing? Comp. John 12:34; 2 Corinthians 3:14. The public reading of the venerated divine Scriptures of the law and the prophets, after the manner of the synagogues (Romans 2:15; Acts 15:21; Luke 4:16), took place in the assemblies for worship of the Christian churches both of Jewish and of Gentile origin: they contained, in fact, the revelation of God, of which Christianity is the fulfilment, and an acquaintance with them was justly considered as a source of the Christian knowledge of salvation; for its articles of faith (1 Corinthians 15:3 f.) and rules of life (Romans 13:8-10; Romans 15:4) were to be κατὰ τὰς γραφάς. Now the hearing of the law must necessarily have taught the Galatians how much they were in error. Hence this question expressive of astonishment,(210) which is all the stronger and consequently all the more appropriate, the more simply we allow ἀκούετε to retain its primary literal signification. Hence we must neither explain it (with Winer; comp. Matthies) as audisse, i. e. nosse, notum habere (see Heind. ad Plat. Gorg. p. 503 C Ast, ad Plat. Legg. i. p. 9; Spohn, Lectt. Theocr. i. p. 25); nor, with Jerome and many others, including Morus, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Borger, Flatt, Schott, Olshausen, as to understand (comp. on 1 Corinthians 14:2), which Paul conceives as the hearing of the πνεῦμα speaking behind the γράμμα (so Holsten, z. Evang. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 382); nor, with Erasmus, de Wette, Ewald, Wieseler, Hofmann, as ἀκούειν τινος, to give attention, that is, to bestow moral consideration (rather, to have an ear for, as 1 Corinthians 14:2; Matthew 10:14; John 8:47).

νόμος is used here in a twofold sense (comp. Romans 3:19): it means, in the first place, the institute of the law; and secondly, the Pentateuch, according to the division of the Old Test. into Law, Prophets, and Hagiographa. See on Luke 24:44. The repetition of the word gives emphasis.


Verses 21-30

Galatians 4:21-30. Now, at the conclusion of the theoretical portion of his epistle, Paul adds a quite peculiar antinomistic disquisition,—a learned Rabbinico-allegorical argument derived from the law itself,—calculated to annihilate the influence of the pseudo-apostles with their own weapons, and to root them out on their own ground.


Verse 22

Galatians 4:22. γάρ] now gives the explanation of and warrant for that question, by citing the history, narrated in the law, of Ishmael and Isaac, the two sons of the ancestor of the theocratic people. See Genesis 16:15 f., Genesis 21:2 f.

ἐκ τῆς παιδίσκης] by the (well-known) bondswoman, Hagar. See Genesis 16:3. As to the word itself (which might also denote a free maiden), see Wetstein, I. p. 526 f.; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 259 f.

ἐκ τῆς ἐλευθ.] Sarah.


Verse 23

Galatians 4:23 presents the relation of diversity between the two, in contrast to the previously mentioned relation of similarity, according to which they both were sons of Abraham.

κατὰ σάρκα] according to the flesh, so that the birth was the result of a natural carnal intercourse. Differently in Romans 1:3; Romans 9:5

γεγέννηται] is born; the perfect realizes the historically existing relation as present.

διὰ τὴς ἐπαγγελίας] through the (well-known) promise, Genesis 17:16; Genesis 17:19; Genesis 18:10; Romans 9:9. This must not, however, be rationalized (with Grotius, Rosenmüller, and others) into “per eam vim extraordinariam, quam Deus promiserat,” which does violence to the history in Genesis, as above; nor, with Hofmann, to the effect that the promise, with which Abraham had been called, was realized in the procreation itself; but it is to be definitely explained in accordance with the tenor of the words and with Genesis 21:1 : “by virtue of the promise he is born,” so that in his procreation (Matthew 1:2; Luke 3:34) the divine promise made to his parents, which had assured them of the birth of a son, was the procuring cause of the result, which would not have occurred without such an operation of the power of the divine promise (Genesis 18:14), seeing that the two parents were in themselves incapable of the procreation of Isaac; for Sarah was barren, and both were already too old (Genesis 18:11; Romans 4:19). Comp. Chrysostom.


Verse 24

Galatians 4:24. ἅτινα] quippe quae, quae quidem, taking up the recorded facts under the point of view of a special quality.

ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα] are of allegorical import. The word ἀλληγορεῖν, not occurring elsewhere in the N.T., means ἄλλο ἀγορεύειν, so to speak (to set forth, to relate), that another sense is expressed than the words convey; which further meaning lies concealed behind the immediate meaning of what is said. Hesychius: ἀλληγορία ἄλλο τι παρὰ τὸ ἀκουόμενον ὑποδεικνύουσα. Comp. Quinctil. viii. 6; see Plut. Mor. p. 363 D, Athen. ii. p. 69 C Philo, de migr. Abr. p. 420 B Joseph. Antt. prooem. 4. In the passive: to have an allegorical meaning,(211) Schol. Soph. Aj. 186; Porph. Pyth. p. 185; Philo, de Cherub. I. p. 143; and see generally, Wetstein.(212) The understanding of the O.T. history in an allegoric sense was, as is well known, extremely prevalent among the later Jews. Synops. Sohar. p. 25. Galatians 1 : “Quicunque dicit narrationes legis alium non habere sensum, quam illius tantum historiae, istius crepet spiritus.” See generally, Döpke, Hermeneut. I. p. 104 ff.; Gfrörer, Gesch. d. Urchristenth. I. i. p. 68 ff. But on account of the Rabbinical training in which Paul had been brought up (comp. Tholuck in the Stud. u. Krit. 1835, p. 369 ff.; Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 295 f.), and on account of his truthful character, nothing else can be assumed than that he himself was convinced that what he related contained, in addition to its historical sense, the allegorical import set forth by him; so that he did not intend to give a mere argumentum κατʼ ἄνθρωπον, but ascribed to his allegory the cogency of objective proof. Hence he has raised it into the keystone of his whole antinomistic reasoning, and has so earnestly introduced (Galatians 4:21) and carried it out, that we cannot hold (with Schott) that it was intended to be an argumentum secundarium, quod insuper accederet. But in the view of a faith not associated with Rabbinical training, the argument wholly falls to the ground as a real proof (Luther says that it is “too weak to stand the test”);(213) while the thing proved is none the less established independent of the allegory, and is merely illustrated by it. “Nothing can be more preposterous than the endeavours of interpreters to vindicate the argument of the apostle as one objectively true.” Baur, Paulus, II. p. 312, ed. 2.

αὗται] namely, Hagar and Sarah; for see afterwards ἥτις ἐστὶν ἄγαρ. Hence not equivalent to ταῦτα, sc. τὰ ἀλληγορούμενα (Calovius and others), as is assumed, in order not to admit here an εἶναι σημαντικόν.

εἰσι] namely, allegorically, and so far = signify. Comp. Matthew 13:20; Matthew 13:38, et al.

δύο διαθῆκαι] two covenants, not: institutions, declarations of will (Usteri), or generally “arrangements connected with the history of salvation” (Hofmann), any more than in Galatians 3:15. The characteristic of a covenant, that there must be two parties, existed actually in the case of the διαθῆκαι (God and the men, who were subject to the law,

God and the men, who believe in Christ). Comp. 1 Corinthians 11:25

μία μὲν ἀπὸ ὄρους σινᾶ] One proceeding from Mount Sinai, which was instituted on Mount Sinai, and therefore issues from it. Instead of ἀπό, the mere genitive might have been used (Bernhardy, p. 223), but the former is more definite and descriptive. The μέν is without any corresponding δέ (Kühner, II. p. 430), for in none of the cases where δέ subsequently occurs is it correlative to this μέν. In point of fact the contrast anticipated in μία μέν certainly follows in Galatians 4:26, but not in conjunction with μέν; see what is said on Galatians 4:26.

εἰς δουλείαν γεννῶσα] bringing forth unto bondage, that is, placing those who belong to this covenant, by means of their so belonging, in a state of bondage, namely, through subjection to the Mosaic law. See Galatians 4:1 ff. The notion of a mother has caused the retention of the figurative expression γεννῶσα.

ἥτις ἐστὶν ἄγαρ] ἥτις, quippe quae, is neither predicate (Bengel) nor attributive definition (as that διαθήκη, which Hagar is; so Hofmann), as if it were written ἄγαρ οὖσα; but it is the subject, just as ἅτινα and αὗται, and also ἥτις in Galatians 4:26. The name, not as yet expressed, is now emphatically added. The Sinaitic covenant is that which Hagar is in the history referred to—is allegorically identical with Hagar.


Verse 25

Galatians 4:25. The ἥτις ἐστὶν ἄγαρ, just said, has now a reason assigned for it, from the identity of the name “Hagar” with that of Mount Sinai. τὸ γὰρ ἄγαρἀραβίᾳ, however, is not to be placed in a parenthesis, because neither in the construction nor in a logical point of view does any interruption occur; but with συστοιχεῖ δέ a new sentence is to be commenced. “This covenant is the Hagar of that allegorical history—a fact which is confirmed by the similarity of the name of this woman with the Arabian designation of Mount Sinai. Not of a different nature, however,—to indicate now the corresponding relation, according to which no characteristic dissimilarity may exist between this woman and the community belonging to the Sinaitic covenant, because otherwise that ἥτις ἐστὶν ἄγαρ would be destitute of inner truth—not of a different nature, however, but of a similar nature is Hagar with the present Jerusalem, that is, with the Jewish state; because the latter is, as Hagar once was, in slavery together with those who belong to it.” This paraphrase at the same time shows what importance belongs to the position of συστοιχεῖ at the head of the sentence.

τὸ γὰρ ἄγαρ σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστιν ἐν τ. ἀραβ.] That the name Hagar ( τὸ ἄγαρ denotes this; see Ephesians 4:9; Kühner, II. p. 137) accorded with the Arabic name of Sinai, could not but be a fact welcome to the allegorizing Paul in support of his ἥτις ἐστὶν ἄγαρ. Comp. John 9:6.

He now writes σινᾶ ὄρος, and not ὄρος σινᾶ as in Galatians 4:24, because ἄγαρ and σινᾶ are intended to stand in juxtaposition on account of the coincidence of the two names. In Arabic means lapis; and although no further ancient evidence is preserved that the Arabs called Sinai κατʼ ἐξοχήν the stone,(214) yet Chrysostom in his day says that in their native tongue the name Sinai was thus interpreted; and indeed Büsching, Erdbeschr. V. p. 535, quotes the testimony of Harant the traveller that the Arabs still give the name Hadschar to Mount Sinai,—a statement not supported by the evidence of any other travellers. Perhaps it was (and is) merely a provincial name current in the vicinity of the mountain, easily explained from the granitic nature of the peaks (Robinson, I. p. 170 f.), with which also the probable signification of the Hebrew סִינַי, the pointed (see Knobel on Ex. p. 190), harmonizes,(215) and which became known to the apostle, if not through some other channel previously, by means of his sojourn in Arabia (Galatians 1:17). Comp. also Ewald, p. 495; Reiche, p. 63. It is true that the name of Hagar ( הָגָר) does not properly correspond with the word جر ( חגר), but with هجر fugit; but the allegorizing interpretation of names is too little bound to literal strictness not to find the very similarity of the word and the substantial resemblance of sound enough for its purpose, of which we have still stronger and bolder examples in Matthew 2:23, John 9:6. Beza, Calvin, Castalio, Estius, Wolff, and others, interpret, “for Hagar is a type of Mount Sinai in Arabia; ἀραβίᾳ: “hoc est extra limites terrae sanctae, quae symbolum est aeternae haereditatis.” This reference is also discovered by Wieseler, who, with Lachmann, reads only τὸ γ. σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τ. ἀραβ., “for the Sinai mountain lies beyond the Holy Land, and indeed in Arabia, where also the alien Hagar is at home.” In his view, Paul meant to say that, through their alien nature, the Sinaitic διαθήκη and Hagar showed themselves to answer to each other,—namely, as intervenient elements in the history of salvation. But this Paul has not said; the substance of it would have to be read between the lines. How very natural it would have been for him at least to have written, instead of or in addition to ἑν τ. ἀραβ., ἴξω (or μακρὰν ἀπό) τῆς γῆς χαναάν, in order thus at least to give some intimation that the alien character was the point! This also applies against the view of Hofmann (comp. also his Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 70 f.), who likewise follows the reading omitting ἄγαρ, and agrees in substance with Wieseler’s explanation, taking Mount Sinai as contrast to Sion, and Arabia as contrast to the land of promise. Comp. also, in opposition to this exposition, which imports elements wholly gratuitous, Ewald, Jahrb. X. p. 239.">(216) but against this view the neuter τὸ ἄγαρ is decisive.

ἐν ἀραβίᾳ] not in Arabia situm (Schott and older expositors)—for how idle would be this topographical remark(217) in the case of a mountain so universally known!—nor equivalent to ἀραβιστί, so that ἀραβ. would be an adjective and διαλέκτῳ would have to be supplied (Matthias); but: in Arabia the name Hagar signifies the Mount Sinai.(218) So Chrysostom, Theophylact, Luther (“for Agar means in Arabia the Mount Sinai”), Morus, Koppe, Reiche, Reithmayr, and others.

συστοιχεῖ] The subject is, as Theodore of Mopsuestia rightly has it, Hagar, not Mount Sinai (Vulgate, Jerome, Ambrose, Chrysostom and his followers, Thomas, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Estius, Wolf, Bengel, and others; also Hofmann now),—a view which runs entirely counter to the context, according to which the two women are the subjects of the allegorical interpretation, while τὸ γὰρ ἄγαρ σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστιν ἐν τῇ ἀραβ. was merely a collateral remark by way of confirmation. Incorrectly also Studer and Usteri, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius (also Hofmann formerly), Windischmann, Reithmayr, hold that the subject is still μία μὲν ἀπὸ ὄρους σινᾶ, the Sinaitic constitution. In this way there would be brought out no comparison at all between the subject of συστοιχεῖ and the present Jerusalem; and yet such, according to the signification of συστοιχεῖν (see afterwards), there must necessarily be, so that in δουλεύει γάρ κ. τ. λ. lies the tertium comparationis. The Sinaitic διαθήκη is not of a similar nature with the present Jerusalem, but is itself the constitution of it; on that very account, however, according to the allegorical comparison Hagar corresponds to the present Jerusalem. συστοιχεῖν means to stand in the same row (see Polyb. x. 21. 7, and Wetstein); that is, here, to stand in the same category ( συστοιχία, Aristot. Metaph. i. 5, pp. 986, 1004), to be of the same nature and species, σύστοιχον εἶναι (Theophr. c. pl. vi. 4. 2; Arist. Meteor, i. 3; Lucian, q. hist. conscr. 43). Consequently: Hagar belongs to the same category with the present Jerusalem, is of a like nature with it (comp. Polyb. xiii. 8. Galatians 1 : ὅμοια καὶ σύστοιχα), has in common with it the same characteristic relation, in so far namely that, as Hagar was a bond-woman, the present Jerusalem with its children is also in bondage. See below. Thus συστ. expresses the correspondence. But it is incorrect to take it as: she confronts as parallel (Rückert, Winer).(219) This must have been expressed by ἀντιστοιχεῖ (Xen. Symp. 2. 20, Anab. v. 4. 12; comp. ἀντίστοιχος, Eur. Andr. 746, and ἀντιστοιχία, Plut. Mor. p. 474 A). Many of those who regard Sinai as the subject (see above) interpret: “it extends as far as Jerusalem” (Vulgate, Jerome, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, Luther, Wolf, and others). This would have to be more exactly defined with Genebrardus, ad Psalms 133:3, following out the literal meaning of the word συστοιχεῖ: “perpetuo dorso sese versus Sionis montes exporrigit.” But even granting the geographical reality of the description, and setting aside the fact that Sinai is not the subject, Paul must have named, instead of τῇ νῦν ἱερονσ., Mount Zion. Hofmann, in reference to the position of Sinai in Arabia and of Jerusalem in the land of promise, interprets the expression locally indeed, but as indicative of the non-local relation, that the present Jerusalem belongs to the same category with the mountain although Arabian, which has it side by side on the same line in the order of the history of salvation. An artificial consequence of the geographical contrast introduced as regards ἐν ἀραβ., as well as of the erroneous assumption that Mount Sinai is the subject. At the same time a turn is given to the interpretation, as if Paul had written συστοιχεῖ δὲ αὐτῷ νῦν ἱερουσ.

τῇ νῦν ἱερουσαλή΄] does not stand in contrast to the former Salem (Erasmus, Michaelis), but in Paul’s view means the present Jerusalem belonging to the pre-Messianic period, as opposed to ἄνω ἱερουσ. (ver 26), which after the παρουσία will take its place. See on Galatians 4:26. Moreover, the present Jerusalem and its children (“inhabitants;” see Matthew 23:37, Psalms 149:2) represent the Israelitic commonwealth and its members. Comp. Isaiah 40:2.

δουλεύει γὰρ κ. τ. λ.] namely, to the Mosaic law. The bondage to Rome (Pelagius) is not, according to the context, referred to either alone (Castalio, Ewald) or jointly (Bengel). The subject is νῦν ἱερουσ., and not ἄγαρ (Cornelius a Lapide, Grotius, and others). Looking at the usage both of classical authors and the N.T., there is nothing surprising in the change of subject (Stallbaum, ad Plat. Gorg. p. 510 C Winer, p. 586 [E. T. 787 f.]). Lachmann (also Ewald) has incorrectly placed the words δουλεύειαὐτῆς in a parenthesis.

Note.

If the reading of Bengel and Lachmann, τὸ γ. σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τ. ἀραβ., be adopted, the interpretation would simply be: “for the Sinai-Mount is in Arabia;” so that ἐν τῇ ἀραβ. would serve to support the allegorical relation of Hagar to Sinai, seeing that Hagar also was in Arabia and the ancestress of the Arabians. This certainly forms a ground of support much too vague, and not befitting the dialectic acuteness of the apostle. In the case of the Recepta also, ἐν τῇ ἀραβ., taken as a geographical notice, is so superfluous and aimless, that Schott’s uncritical conjecture, treating the words τὸ γ. ἄγ. ὄρ. σ. . ἐν τ. ἀραβ. as a double gloss, is not surprising. Bentley, who is followed by Mill, Proleg. § 1306, even wished to retain nothing of the passage but τὸ δὲ ἄγαρ συστοιχεῖ τῇ νῦν ἱερουσ. κ. τ. λ. Against the interpretation of ἐν τῇʼ αραβ. by Wieseler and Hofmann, see above.


Verse 26

Galatians 4:26. But altogether different from the position of the present Jerusalem is that of the upper Jerusalem, which is free; and this upper Jerusalem is our mother.

δέ] places the ἄνω ἱερουσ. in contrast with the previous τῇ νῦν ἱερουσ. The μία μέν of Galatians 4:24 has been left, in consequence of the digression occasioned by the remarks made in Galatians 4:25, without any correlative to follow it (such as δὲ ἑτέρα),—an omission which is quite in harmony with the rapid movement of Pauline thought. Comp. Romans 7:12, et al.; also Romans 5:12. He leaves it to the reader to form for himself the second part of the allegorical interpretation after the similarity of the first, and only adduces so much of it as is directly suggested by the contrast of the just characterized τῇ νῦν ἱερουσ. He leaves it, therefore, to the reader to supply the following thought: “But the other covenant, which is allegorically represented in this history, is the covenant instituted by Christ, which brings forth to freedom: this is Sarah, who is of the same nature with the upper Jerusalem; for the latter is, as Sarah was, free with its children, and to this upper Jerusalem we Christians as children belong.”

δὲ ἄνω ἱερουσαλήμ] is neither the ancient Jerusalem, the Salem of Melchizedek (Oeder, Michaelis, Paulus), nor Mount Zion, which is called in Josephus ἄνω πόλις (see the passages in Ottii Spicil. ex Josepho, p. 400 f.), as among the Greeks the Acropolis at Athens was also so named (Vitringa, Elsner, Mill, Wolf, Rambach, Moldenhauer, Zachariae). Both interpretations are opposed to the context, and the former to linguistic usage.(220) The contrast between heaven and earth elsewhere conveyed by ἄνω, as used by Paul (Philippians 3:14; Colossians 3:2), is found here also, since νῦν ἱερ. is the earthly Jerusalem. It is true that this contrast would have been more accurately expressed if, instead of τῇ νῦν ἱερουσ., he had written τῇ κάτω ἱερουσ. ( ירושלים של מטה); but in using the νῦν he thought of the future Jerusalem as its contrast (Hebrews 13:14), and afterwards changed his mode of representation, by conceiving the future as the upper: for it is the heavenly Jerusalem, called by the Rabbins ירושלים של מעלה, which, according to Jewish teaching, is the archetype in heaven of the earthly Jerusalem, and on the establishment of the Messiah’s kingdom is let down to earth, in order to be the centre and capital of the Messianic theocracy, just as the earthly Jerusalem was the centre and capital of the ancient theocracy. Comp. Hebrews 11:10; Hebrews 12:22; Hebrews 13:14; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 21:2. See generally Schoettgen, de Hieros. coelest. in his Horae, p. 1205 ff.; Meuschen, N.T. ex Talm. ill. p. 199 ff.; Wetstein, in loc.; Bertholdt, Christol. p. 211 ff.; Ewald, ad Apoc. p. 11, 307. And as previously the present Jerusalem represented the Jewish divine commonwealth, so here the upper Jerusalem represents the Messianic theocracy, which before the παρουσία is the church, and after the παρουσία is the glorious kingdom of the Messiah. With justice, accordingly, the church on earth (not merely the “ecclesia triumphans”) has at all times been deemed included in the heavenly Jerusalem (see Luther, and especially Calovius, in loc.); for the latter is, in relation to the church, its πολίτευμα, which is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). The heavenly completion of the church in Christ ensues at the παρουσία, in which Christ who rules in heaven will manifest in glory the life—hitherto hidden with Him in God (see on Colossians 3:3 f.)—of the community, which is the body and πλήρωμα of Him its Head (Ephesians 1:22 f.). Thus the church on earth is already the theocracy of the heavenly Jerusalem, and has its πολίτευμα in heaven; but this its κληρονομία is, until the παρουσία, only an ideal and veiled, although in hope assured, possession, which at the second coming of the Lord at length attains objective and glorious realization. It is, however, by no means to be asserted that Paul entertained the sensuous Rabbinical conceptions of the heavenly Jerusalem (see Eisenmenger, entdeckt. Judenth. II. p. 839 ff.); for he nowhere presents, or even so much as hints, at them, often as he speaks of the παρουσία and the consequences connected with it. In his view, the heavenly Jerusalem was the national setting for the idea—founded on the exalted Christ as its central point—of the kingdom of the Messiah before and after its glorious realization.

ἐλευθέρα ἐστιν] that is, independent of the Mosaic law (opposite of the δουλεύει in Galatians 4:25), in free, moral self-determination, under the higher life-principle of the Spirit (Romans 8:2; 2 Corinthians 3:17).

ἥτις ἐστὶ μήτηρ ἡμῶν] correlative with the above-mentioned μετὰ τῶν τέκν. αὐτῆς; hence, if Paul had wished to lay the stress upon ἡμῶν (Winer, Matthias), he must have made this evident by the marked position ἥτις ἡμῶν μήτ. . The emphasis lies rather on ἥτις, that is, she who, etc. (comp. on Galatians 4:24), quippe quae libera Hierosol. To this Jerusalem as our πολίτευ΄α we Christians belong, as children to their mother (Philippians 3:20; Ephesians 2:19). In bondage, it would not be our mother. Hofmann interprets differently: “the freedom of this Jerusalem may be seen in her children.” But this would be a correlative retrospective conclusion, since Paul has neither written ὅτι (but ἥτις), nor has he expressed himself participially οὖσα μήτ. ἡμ. μήτηρ without the article is qualitative. That ἡ΄ῶν applies to the Christians generally, including also the Gentile Christians, is obvious of itself from the context, and does not require the addition of πάντων in the Textus receptus, which is defended by Ewald (in opposition to Reiche), to make it evident.


Verse 27

Galatians 4:27. Proof from Scripture(221) that no other than this, the free Jerusalem ( ἥτις), is our mother. This, namely, is according to Paul the subject addressed, the unfruitful one, because Sarah—who, according to the allegory, answers to the heavenly Jerusalem—was, as is well known, barren. The historical sense of the prophecy (Isaiah 54:1, exactly according to the LXX.) is the joyful promise of a great increase to the depressed people of God in its state of freedom after the Babylonian exile. The desolate, uninhabited Jerusalem, which had become like an unfruitful wife, is summoned to rejoice, because it—and in this light, certainly, it is poetically compared with itself as a second person (in opposition to Hofmann)—is to become more populous, more rich in children, than formerly, when it was the husband-possessing spouse (of Jehovah). The fulfilment of this Messianic prophecy

Messianic because pervaded by the idea of the victorious theocracy—is discerned by Paul in the great new people of God, which belongs to the ἄνω ἱερουσαλήμ, to this Sarah in the sense of the fulfilment, as its mother. Before the emergence of the Christian people of God, this heavenly Jerusalem was still unpeopled, childless; it was στεῖρα, οὐ τίκτουσα, οὐκ ὠδίνουσα, ἔρη΄ος (solitaria, that is, in conformity with the contrast: without conjugal intercourse), consequently quite the Sarah of the allegory, before she became the mother of Isaac. But in and with the emergence of the Christian people of God, the ἄνω ἱερουσαλήμ has become a fruitful mother, rejoicing over her wealth of children, richer in children than νῦν ἱερουσαλή΄, this mother of the ancient people of God, which hitherto, like Hagar, had been בְעוּלָה, ἔχουσα τὸν ἄνδρα. This ἀνήρ is God (not the law, as Luther interprets), whose relation to the theocratical commonwealth of the old covenant is conceived as conjugal intercourse. In virtue of this idea, the relation of God to the νῦν ἱερουσαλή΄—the latter regarded as a woman ἔχουσα τὸν ἄνδρα—is the counterpart of the relation of Abraham to the παιδίσκη Hagar, whose descendants came into life κατὰ σάρκα. On the other hand, the relation of God to the ἄνω ἱερουσαλή΄—the latter likewise regarded as a woman, who, however, had hitherto been στεῖρα κ. τ. λ.—is the counterpart of the relation of Abraham to the free Sarah, whose far more numerous descendants were children of promise (Galatians 4:28). Comp. Romans 9:8.

οὐ τίκτουσα] not for the past participle (Grotius and others), but expressing the state of the case as it stands:which does not bear,” the consequence of στεῖρα, sterilis, unfruitful, as Sara was עֲקָרָה. In the same way afterwards, οὐκ ὠδίνουσα.

ῥῆξον] φωνήν is usually supplied. For many instances of ῥήγνυμι φωνήν or αὐδήν (Eur. Suppl. 710), to unchain the voice, that is, to speak aloud, see Wetstein, in loc.; Loesner, Obss. p. 333; Jacobs, ad Anthol. X. p. 385, XI. p. 57, XII. p. 131. Comp. the Latin rumpere vocem (Drakenborch, ad Sil. It. iv. 528). But since the verb alone is never thus used, it is safer to derive the supplement from what has preceded; hence Kypke and Schott correctly supply εὐφροσύνην (rumpe jubilum, begin to rejoice), not because פִּצְחִי רִנָּה stands in the Hebrew (Schott), but because εὐφροσύνην flows from the previous εὐφράνθητι;(222) “rejoice, let it break forth.” The opposite is ῥήγνυμι κλαυθμόν (Plut. Per. 36), ῥήγν. δακρύων νά΄ατα (Soph. Trach. 919).

στεῖρα κ. τ. λ.] applies in the connection of the original text to Jerusalem, and is also here necessarily (see Galatians 4:26)—according to the Messianic fulfilment of the prophecy, in the light of which Paul apprehends the Scriptural saying—to be referred to Jerusalem, but to the ἄνω ἱερουσαλήμ, ἥτις ἐστὶ μήτηρ ἡμῶν, whereas the ἔχουσα τὸν ἄνδρα which is placed in comparison with it is the νῦν ἱερουσαλήμ. See above. Chrysostom and his successors, Bengel and others, consider that the words στεῖρα κ. τ. λ. apply to the Gentile Christians (she who had the husband being the Jewish church); but against this view it may be urged that that ἥτις ἐστὶ μήτηρ ἡμῶν, which refers to all Christians, is to be proved by Galatians 4:27.

πολλὰ ΄ᾶλλον ] not used instead of πλείονα , which would leave the multitude of children entirely undetermined; but it affirms that both had many children,—the solitary one, however, the greater number: for numerous are the children of the solitary one in a higher degree than those of her who possessed the husband. So the LXX. has rightly understood the Hebrew רַבִּים מִבְּנֵי.


Verse 28

Galatians 4:28. It is not till Galatians 4:29 that a new thought is entered on; hence Galatians 4:28 is to be regarded as a remark explaining the fulfilment of the prophetic utterance, which has its actual realization in the case of Christians, and is to be annexed to Galatians 4:27 (by a semicolon). So correctly, in opposition to the usual separation from Galatians 4:27, Hofmann, Ewald, Wieseler.

But the Christians ( ὑμεῖς individualizing; see the critical notes) are the many children of that spiritual Sarah, the heavenly Jerusalem!

κατὰ ἰσαάκ] After the manner of Isaac; comp. 1 Peter 1:15; and see Wetstein and Kypke, also Heindorf, ad Plat. Gorg. p. 225 f.

ἐπαγγελίας τέκνα] ἐπαγγ. is emphatically prefixed: children of Abraham, who are not so by carnal descent like Ishmael, but by promise. So, namely, as Isaac was born to Abraham in virtue of the promise (Galatians 4:23), are Christians by means of divine promise also children of Abraham, in virtue of the fact that they were promised by God to Abraham as τέκνα; without which promise, having reference to them, they would not stand in the relation of sonship to Abraham. Comp. Romans 9:8. We must not on account of Galatians 4:23 explain the expression here, any more than in Romans 9:8 (see in loc.), as liberi promissi (Winer and others).


Verse 29-30

Galatians 4:29-30. Nevertheless, notwithstanding this their higher state of sonship, these spiritual children of Abraham are persecuted by the bodily children of Abraham, as was formerly the case with Isaac and Ishmael; but (Galatians 4:30) how wholly without ultimate success is, and, according to the Scripture, must be, this persecution! This is not a collateral trait (Holsten), but the consolatory practical result in which the allegory terminates—its triumphantly joyful conclusion. Comp. on Galatians 4:31.

τότε] then, namely, at that time when the allegorically-significant history came to pass.

κατὰ σάρκα γεννηθείς] see Galatians 4:23.

ἐδίωκε] persecuted. It is true that in Genesis 21:9 Ishmael is designated only as a mocker (of Isaac).(223) But Paul follows the tradition, which, starting from the basis of that statement, went further. See Beresch. R. liii. 15: “Dixit Ismael Isaaco: eamus et videamus portionem nostram in agro; et tulit Ismael arcum et sagittas, et jaculatus est Isaacum et prae se tulit ac si luderet.” According to Hofmann, Paul in the word διώκειν probably intends a running after Isaac wantonly to annoy him (just as the partisans of the law followed after the believing Gentiles in order to annoy them, Galatians 5:10; Galatians 5:12). Quite unsupported by any historical evidence, and very inappropriate to the ταράσσειν of the Judaists (of which there is no mention here at all); comp. Galatians 1:7.

τὸν κατὰ πνεῦ΄α] him that is born according to the Spirit, that is, him who was born in consequence of the intervening agency of the Holy Spirit (for the divine πνεῦμα, as the principle of the divine promise, is instrumental in the efficacy of the latter). By means of the vis carnis Isaac could not have been born, but only by means of the vis Spiritus divini, which, operative in the divine promise, furnished at his procreation (Romans 4:17 ff.) the capacity of generation and conception. In fact, therefore, τὸν κατὰ πνεῦμα conveys the same idea as τὸν διὰ τῆς ἐπαγγελίας γεννηθέντα, Galatians 4:23. The explanation: per singularem efficacitatem Dei (Schott), compares things which are in their nature different (Luke 1:35), and is not verbally accurate. And Hilgenfeld unnecessarily assumes (comp. Bengel) that the expression is to be explained by a blending together of the ideal reference of the allegory to the Christians, and of its historical basis.

οὕτω καὶ νῦν] So also now the children of Abraham according to the flesh (the Jews) persecute those who are Abraham’s children κατὰ πνεῦ΄α (Christians, ἐπαγγελίας τέκνα, Galatians 4:28). Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:15. This οὓτω καὶ νῦν does not exclude any kind of persecution which the Christians suffered at the hands of the Jews; but that which is intended must have been actual persecutions, such as those to which the Christians as a body were so generally at that time subjected by the Jews, and not the ταράσσειν on the part of the Judaists (Hofmann; see on ἐδίωκε).

ἀλλὰ τί λέγει γραφή;] triumphantly introduces the divine certainty of the want of success, which will attend this διώκειν, to the destruction of the persecutors themselves. Observe how the importance of the utterance is brought out more vividly by the interrogative announcement. Comp. Romans 4:3; Romans 10:8; Romans 11:2; Romans 11:4; Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. p. 186, 347; Blomfield, Gloss. ad Aesch. Pers. 1013. The quotation is from Genesis 21:10, almost exactly following the LXX. Instead of μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ μου ἰσαάκ in the LXX. (which therefore D* E? F G, codd. of the Itala, and some Fathers read also here), Paul has written ΄ετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς ἐλευθέρας, not accidentally, but in order to give prominence to the contrast, which significantly refers back to the chief point of the allegory (comp. Galatians 4:22).

ἔκβαλε κ. τ. λ.] The words of Sarah to Abraham (which, however, in Genesis 21:12 are expressly approved by God and confirmed with a view to fulfilment), requiring the expulsion of Hagar and her son from the house. From this, looking to the scope of the allegory, the Galatians are to infer the exclusion of the non-free Jews, who were now persecuting the free Christians, from the people of God. This exclusion already actually exists even in the present αἰών, in so far as the true Israel which is free from the law (the ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ, Galatians 6:16) has taken the place of the ancient people of God, and will attain its perfect realization at the παρουσία, when none but the free Christian family of God will share in the κληρονο΄ία of eternal Messianic salvation. Comp. Galatians 3:18; Galatians 3:29. According to Hofmann (comp. also his Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 71), the meaning is, that as Abraham separated Ishmael from Isaac, so also the readers are to dismiss from among them, as unentitled to share in their inheritance, those who desired to force upon them their own legalism; the Christian body ought to remain undisturbed by such persons. This weakening of the idea is impossible with a correct conception of διώκειν in Galatians 4:29; the sure divine Nemesis against the persecutors must be meant—the divine ἐκδίκησις (Luke 18:7 f.; comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:8).

οὐ γὰρ ΄ὴ κληρον.] prefixed with great emphasis; the son of the bond-woman shall assuredly not inherit. Comp. Genesis 25:5 f. As to the exclusion, according to the Israelite law, of the children of a concubine from the right of inheritance, see Selden, de success, ad leg. Hebr. p. 28; Saalschütz, M. R. p. 831; Ewald, Alterth. p. 266.


Verse 31

Galatians 4:31 is usually looked upon as the keystone, as the final result of the previous discourse. “Applicat historiam et allegoriam, et summam absolvit brevi conclusione,” Luther, 1519. But so taken, the purport of Galatians 4:31 appears to express far too little, and to be feeble, because it has been already more than once implied in what precedes (see Galatians 4:26; Galatians 4:28). We do not get rid of this incongruity, even if with Rückert we prefer the reading ἡμεῖς δέ, also approved by Hofmann (see the crit. notes), and assume the tacit inference: “consequently the inheritance cannot escape us, expulsion does not affect us.” For, after the whole argument previously developed, any such express application of Galatians 4:30 to Christians would have been entirely superfluous; no reader needed it, in order clearly to discern and deeply to feel the certainty of victory conveyed in Galatians 4:30; hence Galatians 4:31 would be halting and without force. No; Galatians 4:31 begins a new section. Comp. Lachmann, de Wette, Ewald, Hofmann. The allegorical instruction, which from Galatians 4:22 onwards Paul has given, comes to a close forcibly and appropriately with the triumphant language of Scripture in Galatians 4:30; and now Paul will follow it up by the exhortation to stand fast in their Christian liberty (Galatians 5:1). But first of all, as a basis for this exhortation, he prefixes to it the proposition—resulting from the previous instruction—which forms the “pith of the allegory” (Holsten), and exactly as such is fitted to be the theoretical principle placed at the head of the practical course of action to be required in the sequel, Galatians 4:31. This proposition is then followed by τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἡμᾶς χριστὸς ἠλευθέρωσεν, Galatians 5:1, which very forcibly serves as a medium of transition to the direct summons στήκετε οὖν. “Therefore, brethren,—seeing that our position is such as results from this allegory,—we are not children of a bond-woman (like the Jews), but of the free woman; for freedom Christ has made us free: stand therefore fast,” etc.

 


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

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