2 Corinthians 3:15
But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
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(15) Even unto this day, when Moses is read . . .—The mention of Moses is decisive as to the meaning of the “Old Testament,” or covenant, in the previous verse. When he, as being read, speaks to the people now, St. Paul reasons, there is still a veil between him and them; but it is, to use modern phrase, subjective and not objective—on their heart, and not over his face. It has been suggested that there may be a reference to the Tallith, or four-cornered veil which was worn by the Jews in their synagogues when they prayed or listened to the Law, as a symbol of reverence, like that of the seraphim in Isaiah 6:2, who covered their faces with their wings. It is, however, doubtful whether the use of the Tallith goes back so far; and even if its antiquity were proved, it has to be remembered that though it covered the head and ears—the symbol, perhaps, of seclusion—it did not cover the face.

3:12-18 It is the duty of the ministers of the gospel to use great plainness, or clearness, of speech. The Old Testament believers had only cloudy and passing glimpses of that glorious Saviour, and unbelievers looked no further than to the outward institution. But the great precepts of the gospel, believe, love, obey, are truths stated as clearly as possible. And the whole doctrine of Christ crucified, is made as plain as human language can make it. Those who lived under the law, had a veil upon their hearts. This veil is taken away by the doctrines of the Bible about Christ. When any person is converted to God, then the veil of ignorance is taken away. The condition of those who enjoy and believe the gospel is happy, for the heart is set at liberty to run the ways of God's commandments. They have light, and with open face they behold the glory of the Lord. Christians should prize and improve these privileges. We should not rest contented without knowing the transforming power of the gospel, by the working of the Spirit, bringing us to seek to be like the temper and tendency of the glorious gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and into union with Him. We behold Christ, as in the glass of his word; and as the reflection from a mirror causes the face to shine, the faces of Christians shine also.But even unto this day - To the time when Paul wrote this Epistle, about 30 years after Christ was put to death. But it is still as true as it was in the time of Paul; and the character and conduct of the Jews now so entirely accords with the description which he gives of them in his time, as to show that he drew from nature, and as to constitute one of the strong incidental proofs that the account in the New Testament is true. Of no other people on earth, probably, would a description be accurate eighteen hundred years after it was made.

When Moses is read - When the five books of Moses are read, as they were regularly and constantly in their synagogues; see the note on Luke 4:16.

The vail is upon their heart - They do not see the true meaning and beauty of their own Scriptures - a description as applicable to the Jews now as it was to those in the time of Paul.

15. the veil is—rather, "a veil lieth upon their heart" (their understanding, affected by the corrupt will, Joh 8:43; 1Co 2:14). The Tallith was worn in the synagogue by every worshipper, and to this veil hanging over the breast there may be an indirect allusion here (see on [2308]1Co 11:4): the apostle making it symbolize the spiritual veil on their heart. The veil, mystically signified by the veil upon Moses’s face, which hindereth them from seeing or discerning the Messiah to be come. But why doth he say,

when Moses, that is, the books of Moses, or rather of the Old Testament, are read? Possibly he thereby hinteth, that it was their duty, when in the synagogues they heard the chapters of the Old Testament read, which contain the types and prophecies of Christ, they ought to have looked through those veils, and have considered Christ as the end of those things; so the law, as a schoolmaster, should have led them to Christ: but it was quite otherwise. When they heard those portions of the Old Testament read, through the veil upon their hearts, they could not see through the veil of those types, prophecies, and ritual performances, but rested in them as things in the performance of which they laid their righteousness. Or, if they before had some little convictions upon their spirits, yet when they again came into the synagogues, and heard the law read, the veil again appeared over their hearts, so as they could not see Christ.

But even unto this day, when Moses is read,.... These words are an explanation of the former, and show that by the Old Testament is designed, more especially, Moses, or the writings of Moses; which were frequently read, and preached upon in the Jewish synagogues; see Acts 13:15 and that by "the veil untaken away", is meant,

the veil upon their heart; that is, the veil of blindness, ignorance of Christ, and the Gospel; of the prophecies of the Old Testament, and even of the law itself, its nature, use, and end; preferring the traditions of their fathers, before the written law of Moses.

But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
2 Corinthians 3:15. Ἀλλʼ] opposite of the μὴ ἀνακαλ., ὅτι ἐν Χ. καταργ., but no longer connected with γάρ, 2 Corinthians 3:14 (Hofmann), since the apostle does not again mean the particular veil (that of Moses) to which the confirmatory clause introduced with γάρ, 2 Corinthians 3:14, referred. It is not disclosed, that, etc.; till to-day, on the contrary, there lies a veil, etc.; till to-day, whenever (ἄν, in whatsoever case) Moses is publicly read, their insight (comp. previously ἐπωρώθη, etc.) is hindered and prevented. The figurative expression does not again represent the veil of Moses, for otherwise τὸ κάλυμμα must necessarily (in opposition to Hofmann) have been used, but generally a veil, and that one placed over (ἐπί with acc.) the heart (here regarded as the centre of the practical intelligence, comp. 2 Corinthians 4:6; Romans 1:21; and see on Ephesians 1:18; Krumm, de not. psych. P. p. 50; Delitzsch, Psychol, p. 248 f.; Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. I. p. 460) of the hearers. The impersonal μὴ ἀνακαλυπτόμ. of 2 Corinthians 3:14 induced the apostle very naturally and with logical suitableness, not to use again in the contrast of 2 Corinthians 3:15, with its emphatic stress laid on the point ἕως σήμερον, that historical image of the veil of Moses, but to express the conception generally of a veil hindering perception (lying on the heart). The same thing, therefore, is expressed in two forms of one figure; the first form gives the figure historically (the veil of Moses on the ἀνάγνωσις τ. παλ. διαθ.); the second form, apart from that historical reference, gives it as moulded by the apostle’s own vivid imagination (a veil upon the heart at the public reading). Fritzsche (comp. Al. Morus in Wolf) assumes that Paul imagines to himself two veils, one on the public reading of the Old Covenant, the other on the hearers’ own hearts, by which he wishes to mark the high degree of their inaptitude for perceiving. But, in order to be understood, and in keeping with a state of things so peculiar, he must have brought this out definitely and emphatically, and have at least written in 2 Corinthians 3:15 : ἈλλʼΜωϋσῆς, καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν αὐτῶν κάλυμμα κεῖται.

ἡνίκα] at the hour when, quando, after Hom. Od. 22:198 frequent in the classic writers, but in the N. T. only here and at 2 Corinthians 3:16. Often used in the Apocrypha and the LXX. also at Exodus 34:34; and perhaps the word was suggested by the recollection of this passage.

On ἀναγινώσκ. Μωϋσ. comp. Acts 15:21.

2 Corinthians 3:15. ἀλλʼ ἕως σήμερον κ.τ.λ.: but unto this day, whensoever Moses (sc., the Law; cf. Acts 15:21) is read, a veil lieth upon their heart. It will be observed that the image has been changed as the application of Exodus 34:29 ff. proceeds: in that history the veil was upon the face of Moses; here it is upon the heart of the people, as God speaks to them through the medium of the Law (see above on 2 Corinthians 3:2 for a similar change in the application of the metaphor suggested by the word ἐπιστολή).

15. the vail is upon their heart] Literally, a veil lieth on their heart. Not upon their head. It was moral, not intellectual blindness which caused their unbelief. See Acts 6:13-14; Acts 7:51; Acts 22:18; Acts 22:21-22. We may remark on the change of figure here (see note on 2 Corinthians 3:13). The veil is no longer upon Moses’ face, but upon the Jewish heart.

2 Corinthians 3:15. Ἀλλʼ ἓως, but until) But is opposed to the phrase is not taken away.—ἡνίκα) This is the only place, in which Paul uses this adverb. It seems to have readily occurred from his recent reading of the LXX., Exodus 34:33.—ἀναγινώσκεται Μωϋσῆς, Moses is read) and that too, studiously, without seeing Christ therein. The antithesis follows, but when it shall have turned to the Lord.

Verse 15. - When Moses is read (Acts 15:21). The veil; rather, a veil; a veil of moral obstinacy, which prevents them from seeing the disappearance of the old covenant, as effectually as the veil on the face of Moses prevented them from seeing (as St. Paul viewed the matter) the disappearance of the transitory lustre on the face of Moses. 2 Corinthians 3:15
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