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Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words
"labor, involving painful effort," is rendered "travail" in 2 Corinthians 11:27 , RV (AV, "painfulness"); in 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8 it stresses the toil involved in the work.
a birth pang, "travail pain," is used illustratively in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 of the calamities which are to come upon men at the beginning of the Day of the Lord; the figure used suggests the inevitableness of the catastrophe. See PAIN , No. 2, SORROW.
akin to A, No. 2, is used negatively in Galatians 4:27 , "(thou) that travailest (not)," quoted from Isaiah 54:1; the Apostle applies the circumstances of Sarah and Hagar (which doubtless Isaiah was recalling) to show that, whereas the promise by grace had temporarily been replaced by the works of the Law (see Galatians 3:17 ), this was now reversed, and, in the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham, the number of those saved by the Gospel would far exceed those who owned allegiance to the Law. Isaiah 54 has primary reference to the future prosperity of Israel restored to God's favor, but frequently the principles underlying events recorded in the OT extend beyond their immediate application.In Galatians 4:19 the Apostle uses it metaphorically of a second travailing on his part regarding the churches of Galatia; his first was for their deliverance from idolatry ( Galatians 4:8 ), now it was for their deliverance from bondage to Judaism. There is no suggestion here of a second regeneration necessitated by defection. There is a hint of reproach, as if he was enquiring whether they had ever heard of a mother experiencing second birth pangs for her children. In Revelation 12:2 the woman is figurative of Israel; the circumstances of her birth pangs are mentioned in Isaiah 66:7 (see also Micah 5:2,3 ). Historically the natural order is reversed. The Man-child, Christ, was brought forth at His first advent; the travail is destined to take place in "the time of Jacob's trouble," the "great tribulation," Matthew 24:21; Revelation 7:14 . The object in Revelation 12:2 in referring to the birth of Christ is to connect Him with His earthly people Israel in their future time of trouble, from which the godly remnant, the nucleus of the restored nation, is to be delivered ( Jeremiah 30:7 ).
"to be in travail together," is used metaphorically in Romans 8:22 , of the whole creation.
"to beget," is rendered "travail" in John 16:21 .
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Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Travail'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ved/t/travail.html. 1940.