Galatians 4
Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
Galatians 4:1. Λέγω δὲ, Now I say) He explains what he said, Galatians 3:24, concerning the schoolmaster.—ὁ κληρονόμος, the heir) This term is brought from ch. Galatians 3:29.—νήπιος) a child, under age.—οὐδὲν διαφέρει δούλου, differs nothing from a servant) Because he is not at his own disposal, regarding deeds and contracts.—πάντων, of all) Those things which relate to the inheritance.

But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Galatians 4:2. Ἐπιτρόπους) tutors of an heir.—οἰκονόμους) curators of goods. [Engl. Ver. not so well, governors].

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Galatians 4:3. Ὑπὸ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου, under the elements of the world)—Στοιχεῖον, an element) A certain first principle, from which other things arise and are constituted; in the universe, 2 Peter 3:10, see note: and in letters (learning), Hebrews 5:12 (comp. στοιχείωσις, respecting the child in the womb, 2Ma 7:22): thence by Metonymy, elements of the world in this passage, likewise weak and beggarly elements, presently, Galatians 4:9, i.e. principles of living, which depend on times marked out by the motion of the elements, i.e. of the sun and moon; likewise principles which refer to meat, drink, and other sublunary matters, all these being only material and external objects, Galatians 3:28.—Comp. Colossians 2:8; Colossians 2:16; Colossians 2:20, etc. They are called tutors in the concrete, elements in the abstract. The Son of God, sent down from heaven, and the Spirit of the Son of God, Galatians 4:6, are opposed to these worldly things.—δεδουλωμένοι, reduced to slavery [in bondage]) This answers to, He differs nothing from a slave [servant], Galatians 4:1.

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Galatians 4:4. Τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, the fulness of the time) This has reference to as long as, and to the time appointed, Galatians 4:1 [“as long as he is”]; 2, [“until the time appointed”]: for the Church also has its own ages.—ἐξαπέστειλεν, sent forth) Out of heaven, from Himself, as He had promised. The same verb is repeated, Galatians 4:6, concerning the Holy Spirit. [The infinite love of the Father!—V. g.] Comp. Isaiah 48:16, where Castellio and others give this interpretation: The Lord Jehovah sent me and His Spirit. Before this visitation men did not seem to be so much the object of God’s care; Hebrews 8:9 : afterwards a new appearance of things was presented.—τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ, His (own) Son) The Author of liberty, αὐτοῦ, in a reciprocal sense, His own. What that means is evident from the train of thought in this passage, for we have received first adoption, then the Spirit of adoption. Therefore Christ Himself is not the Son of God, merely because He was sent and anointed by the Father.

To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Galatians 4:5. Ἵνα τοὺς, κ.τ.λ.—ἵνα τὴν, that—that) An Anaphora.[33] The first that is to be referred to made under the law: therefore the second has respect to born of a woman. There is a Chiasmus very much resembling this, at Ephesians 3:16; Ephesians 5:25-26, which see with the annot. Christ, in the similitude of our condition, made our condition good; in the similitude of our nature, He made us the sons of God: γενόμενον is repeated, giving force to the meaning, He might have been born of a woman (γενέσθαι ἐκ γυναικὸς), and yet not have been made under the law (γενέσθαι ὑπὸ νόμον); but yet He was born of a woman (ἐγένετο ὲκ γυναικὸς), that He might be made under the law. The first γενόμενον, made, with the addition of ἐκ γυναικὸς, of a woman, takes (adopts) the meaning, being born.—ἐξαγοράσῃ, might redeem) from slavery to liberty.—τὴν υἱοθεσίαν, the adoption) the dignity of sons, a privilege in which those who are of age delight, along with the actual enjoyment [usufructu] of the inheritance.—ἀπολάβωμεν) we might receive; ἀπὸ shows the suitableness[34] of the thing, which has been long ago predestined by God.

[33] Append. The frequent repetition of the same words to mark beginnings.—ED.

[34] Ἀπὸ in the compound expresses often something appropriate or due.—ED.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Galatians 4:6. Ὅτι, because) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the consequence of the condition of sons [their status as sons], the latter does not follow the former.—ἐστε) you are; even you of the Gentiles.—υἱοὶ sons) who are of age, living with the Father on terms of free-born liberty.—Ἀββᾶ ὁ Πατήρ, Abba Father) The Hebrew noun is here delightfully used; comp, Mark 14:36; and the union of the Hebrew and Greek idiom is consonant with the one mixed cry [in prayer] of the Hebrews and Greeks [made one in Christ]. The Hebrew says, Abba, the Greek says, Father, both, Abba, Father; comp. Revelation 1:8.[35] So peace, peace, is redoubled, in like manner, for the Jews and Greeks, Isaiah 57:19. Individuals also no less [than the whole Church] redouble their call upon the name of the Father. This is a pledge of sonship in the New Testament; comp. Matthew 6:9, note.

[35] “I am Alpha and Omega (Greek), the Beginning and Ending” (expressed in Hebrew, א and ת). The Greek and Hebrew are often so conjoined. Or rather it is vers. 7 to which Beng. refers, ναί (Greek), ἀμήν (Hebrew).—ED.

Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Galatians 4:7. Εἶυἱὸς, thou art—a son) Paul passes with a sweet effect from the plural to the singular, as in ch. Galatians 6:1; and there is at the same time expressed in this passage the fatherly answer of God towards [in relation to] individuals who cry out, Abba, Father, in the spirit.—δοῦλος, a servant) in the manner of inferiors.—κληρονόμος) an heir in reality.[36]

[36] Θεοῦ, of God) See App., p. 11, on this passage, where the great variety renders it probable that Θεοῦ was inserted from Romans 8:17.—Not. Crit. Yet the margin of the 2d Ed. gives less countenance to the omission, and the Germ. Vers. expresses the words of God, as if they were not doubtful.—E. B.

ABC corrected later, g Vulg. Memph., read διὰ Θεοῦ. G reads διὰ Θεόν. Rec. Text reads Θεοῦ, διὰ Χριστοῦ, with D(Δ)f.

Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
Galatians 4:8. Τότε, then) when we were children [Galatians 4:1].—οὐκ εἰδότες Θεὸν, not knowing God) The very wretched state of the Gentiles.—ἐδουλεύσατε, ye did service) being under a different bondage from that of the Jews, Galatians 4:3. You worshipped gods not true with a worship not true. You had not been accustomed to the Mosaic worship; and therefore it is more a matter of wonder, that you now desire [affect] it. You attained to the truth without those elements, and now at length [for the first time] you follow them.—τοῖς μὴ φύσει οὖσι θεοῖς) So the LXX., τῷ μὴ ὄντι θεῷ, 2 Chronicles 13:9.

But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Galatians 4:9. Γνόντες Θεὸν, knowing God) The true God, who is a Spirit. When you know Him, and yet follow eagerly after those elements, it is the same thing as if a master should wish to return to learn the alphabet [his A B C D child’s book].—μᾶλλον, rather) it is the gift of God. He acknowledged and declared you to be His sons; comp. Exodus 33:12; Exodus 33:17. What belongs to God, is of the chief consequence as concerns our salvation, rather than what belongs to ourselves; comp. Php 3:12.—πῶς, how?) An interrogation expressing much wonder; Galatians 1:6, I marvel.—πάλιν, again) as we have formerly been in bondage.—ἀσθενῆ καὶ πτωχὰ, weak and beggarly) Weakness opposed to filial boldness, beggarliness, to the abundance connected with the inheritance.—οἷς, to which) to elements, not to God.—πάλιν ἄνωθεν (back) again afresh) You wish to be in bondage again: now to elements, as formerly to idols; and afresh, you are in bondage to the same elements anew, by which Israel had been formerly enslaved; comp. the word again, Romans 8:15, note.—δουλεύειν, to be in bondage) in a manner unworthy of freemen.—θέλετε, you wish) See Galatians 4:21, and Mark 12:38, note. [It is not every kind of readiness in wishing or desiring, that is good, Colossians 2:18; Colossians 2:23.—V. g.]

Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Galatians 4:10. Ἡμέρας) days: Romans 14:5, i.e. Sabbaths, Colossians 2:16, note. The time of the Sabbath was held the most sacred of all. Therefore the order of gradation is to be observed, comp. 1 Chronicles 23:31; 2 Chronicles 31:3 : σάββατα, νουμηνίας, ἑορτὰς, Sabbaths, new moons, feast days, in an affirmative sentence; but in a prohibition, the order is inverted, as in the passage quoted from Colossians above.—παρατηρεῖσθε) you observe, as if there were anything beside[37] faith.—καὶ καιροὺς, and times) longer than months, shorter than a year, i.e. feasts מעדים, which the LXX. frequently translate καιροὺς.—ἐνιαυτοὺς, years) anniversary solemnities, for example, the commencement of the year with the month Tisri; for it cannot be said that the sabbatical years, which had been fixed for the land of Canaan, were observed by the Galatians, although this epistle was written about the time of the sabbatical year, which ended (Dion. era) A.D. 48; see Ord. Temp. (arrangement of dates), p. 281, 423 [Ed. ii. p. 242, 364].

[37] The παρὰ in the compound verb is evidently understood by Beng. in this sense, as often παρὰ is used elsewhere, sc. of something added incidentally, besides what is really essential. So ὁ νόμος παρεισῆλθεν, the law entered stealthily, and as something superadded incidentally, Romans 5:20.—ED.

I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Galatians 4:11. Ὑμᾶς you) I do not fear this for my own sake, but for yours.—εἰς ὑμᾶς) on you; an emphatic expression.

Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.
Galatians 4:12. Γίνεσθε, be ye) He suddenly lays aside τοὺς λόγους, the arguments suited for instruction, and has recourse to ἤθη καὶ πάθη, arguments that are calculated to conciliate and move, Galatians 4:11-20 : of which whoever has not the ready command (and no carnal man has it), is not a perfect teacher. It is in this respect especially that the tenderest affection of the apostle humbly bent itself to the Galatians.—ὡς ἐγὼ, as I) Brotherly (referring to ‘Brethren’) harmony of minds has the effect of causing the things which are taught to be the more readily received; 2 Corinthians 6:13. He says therefore, “Join yourselves with me in my feeling towards Christ.” The particle ὡς, as, denotes the closest union, 1 Kings 22:4.—κᾳγὼ, I also) viz. am.—ὡς ὑμεῖς, as you) I consider your loss as my own.—δέομαι ὑμῶν) I beseech you, that you may think as I do.—οὐδέν με ἠδικήσατε, ye have injured me in nothing) He who offends another, or thinks that he is offended, stands aloof from him; but this is not your case. Some will say, Had they not offended Paul, by rendering his labour among them almost vain? Galatians 4:11. Paul answers: I have pardoned this, I do not recall it to my mind. There is at the same time a Meiosis [or Litotes, less expressed than is intended to be understood], i.e. you have embraced me with the kindest affection, Galatians 4:14-15.

Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.
Galatians 4:13. Δἰ ἀσθενείαν) διὰ, on account of, by reason of infirmity. Infirmity had not been the cause of his preaching: but yet it proved an advantage [an assistance], owing to which Paul preached more effectively; 2 Corinthians 12:9; though it might have seemed that the Galatians would have been the more easily disposed to reject him on account of it.

And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
Galatians 4:14. Τὸν πειρασμόν μου, my temptation) i.e. me with [i.e. notwithstanding] my temptation. Holy men, even apostles, in former times did not conceal their temptations, as men do now, not even in public.—ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου, in my flesh) He mentions Paul in the flesh, 2 Corinthians 12:7.—οὐκ ἐξουθενήσατε, ye did not despise) through natural pride.—οὐδὲ ἐξεπτύσατε, nor rejected) through spiritual pride, with still greater contempt. There is a distinction—(1.) In respect to the object, the temptation in the flesh; and these temptations might have seemed worthy of contempt in a twofold way. (2.) In relation to the antithesis, which is twofold:

α) you did not despise [ἐξουθενήσατε] me, but—as an angel: who might be greatly esteemed from the place which he occupies in creation, for he has a most excellent nature, on account of which even carnal man cannot but magnify the angels:

β) nor rejected [ἐξεπτύσατε], but—as Christ: this is more from a spiritual point of view [His spiritual relation to us].—ἄγγελον, an angel) The flesh, infirmity, even temptation, are unknown to angels; wherefore to receive one as an angel, is to receive him with great veneration.—Χριστὸν, Christ) who is greater than the angels.

Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.
Galatians 4:15. Μακαρισμὸς) Μακαρισμὸς is an expression derived from μακαρίζω [I congratulate]. You were thankful for [You congratulated yourselves on account of] the Gospel, and for me its messenger: what cause was there for this thankfulness [congratulation of yourselves], if you now treat me with disdain?[38]—ὀφθαλμοὺς, eyes) very dear.

[38] ἐδώκατέ μοι, you would have given me) You would thus testify a grateful mind, on the ground that you obtained so great blessedness through me. That spontaneous affection is not to be looked for on the part of any mere mercenary.—V. g.

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
Galatians 4:16. Ἐχθρὸς, an enemy) He, who speaks the truth, is a friend, and truth ought not to produce hatred against him in your minds.—ἀληθεύων, speaking the truth) preaching the pure [unmixed] truth, even apart from my former temptation.

They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.
Galatians 4:17. Ζηλοῦσιν, they zealously affect) They zealously solicit [cajole] you. He does not name his rivals.—οὐ καλῶς, not well) not [being] in Christ, although they seem to do what is good [well]. The antithesis is, ἐν καλῷ, in a good thing, Galatians 4:18. Neithe the cause in their case, he says, nor the manner is good.—ἐκκεῖσαι ὑμᾶς) exclude you from us, from me. They think, that we shall be excluded from you; but they would not exclude us from you, but you from us: ἐκκλεῖσαι, I am disposed to think, is not used in the sense, in which the Latins say that chickens are hatched (excludi, thrust forth from the shell).

But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
Galatians 4:18. Καλὸν δὲ, but it is good) He advises them not to allow themselves to be excluded.—τὸ ζηλοῦσθαι) After the active he uses the middle. It is the duty of Paul in the name of Christ ζηλοῦν, 2 Corinthians 11:2 : it is the part of the Church, as the bride, ζηλοῦσθαι, to respond to the ardent love [of the Bridegroom and of His minister], to kindle zeal by zeal (see Chrys.), to be zealous for one another [zelare inter se, to love zealously among themselves]; τὸ makes an emphatic addition [Epitasis. See Append.]—ἐν καλῷ, in a good thing) when the matter in hand is good. ἐν τῷ παρεῖναι, when I am present, answers to this; and so also πάντοτε, always, corresponds to it. The latter is the time in general, while the expression, when I am present, is the time in particular, and that too modified so as at the same time to comprehend the ground of that zeal on their part, viz. that they had been able to exult, as they had done, at the presence of Paul: the ἐν καλῷ is in consonance with ἐν τῷ παρεῖναι, and may be taken with always for one idea, Whensoever any good thing is presented in your way, and not merely when I am present.—ἐν τῷ παρεῖναί με, when I am present) They had formerly shown towards Paul, when present, great earnestness [zeal] of love, and had in turn sharpened the zeal of Paul, Galatians 4:15.

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
Galatians 4:19. Τεκνία μου, my little children) A father should be ζηλωτὸς, i.e. affectionately and zealously honoured by his children. This closely agrees with [Galatians 4:17, they zealously affect] you, as δὲ, but, which occurs in the following verse [Galatians 4:18] shows. Paul addresses the Galatians, not as a rival, but as a father, comp. 1 Corinthians 4:15, with authority and the tenderest sympathy towards his little children—children that were weak and alienated from him. The pathetic style often accumulates figurative expressions. Here, however, the figure, derived from the mother prevails. In the note on ζηλοῦσθαι, conjugal affection (ζῆλος) was assumed from the parallelism. Even in spiritual things, love sometimes descends, rather than ascends; 2 Corinthians 12:15.—πάλιν, again) as formerly; Galatians 4:13.—ὠδίνω, I travail) with the utmost affection (zeal); 2 Corinthians 11:2; accompanied with crying [referring to φωνήν, voice], Galatians 4:20. [When Paul wrote these very words, he exerted himself to the utmost, straining every nerve.—V. g.] He speaks according to the exigencies of the case, for in the natural birth, formation precedes the pains of labour.—ἄχρις οὗ, until) We must not cease to strive. Always is the correlative, Galatians 4:18.—μορφωθῇ, be formed) that you may live nothing but Christ, and think nothing but Christ, Galatians 2:20, and His sufferings, death, life, Php 3:10-11. This is the highest beauty. This form is opposed στοιχειώσει to worldly formation [the στοιχεῖα of the world, Galatians 4:9].—Χριστὸς, Christ) He does not say here Jesus, but Christ; and this too by metonymy of the concrete for the abstract. Christ, not Paul, was to be formed in the Galatians.—ἐν ὑμῖν, in you) Colossians 1:27.

I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
Galatians 4:20. Δὲ, but [indeed]) although my presence is not the one and only cause which ought to kindle your zeal.—παρεῖναι, to be present) Galatians 4:18.—ἄρτι) Now it would be more necessary than formerly; comp. again, Galatians 4:19.—ἀλλάξαι) [to change] to accommodate the varying tones of the voice to the various feelings. They usually do so, who have zeal [are zealously affectionate in entreaties] whilst striving to recover the affections, that have been alienated from them. He writes mildly, Galatians 4:12; Galatians 4:19, but he would wish to speak still more mildly.—τὴν φωνήν μου, my voice) The voice may be rendered more flexible than writing, according as the case demands. The art of speaking occupies the first place, that of writing is only vicarious and subsidiary; 2 John Galatians 4:12; 3 John Galatians 4:13-14.—ἀποροῦμαι, I stand in doubt) I do not find the way of coming in and going out among you. Paul aimed at the greatest ease in speaking to the Galatians. He accommodated his discourse as much as possible to the dulness of the Galatians, with a view to convince them. The doctrine of inspiration is not endangered by this fact; see 1 Corinthians 7:25, note.

Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
Galatians 4:21. Λέγετέ μοι, tell me) He urges them, as if he were present, tell me.—οὐκ ἀκουέτε; do ye not hear?) when it is publicly read. You therefore act, as if you heard nothing of Abraham written in the law. He has recourse to an allegory only by the force of extreme necessity. This is, as it were, a sacred anchor, Galatians 4:20.

For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
Galatians 4:22. Γέγραπται, it is written) Genesis 21—Ἀβραὰμ, Abraham) whose sons you wish to be.

But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
Galatians 4:24. Ἀλληγορούμενα) is compounded of ἄλλος and ἀγορέω, to say; so that an allegory is, when one thing is said, another more excellent is signified, for example, in mythology; see Eustathius, or at least the index to his work. This scheme will assist the comparison:—



Hagar, the Bond-maid:

The Son of the Bond-maid:

Isaac, the son of the Free Woman.

allegorically, the two covenants.

She who has a husband:

Those who are from Mount Sinai:

Those who are of the promise.

The Mountain (that is now):

She who is upwards (that shall be afterwards).

Jerusalem, which now is:

Jerusalem, which is above.

The Flesh:

The Spirit.


The Mother: brings forth slaves.

The Offspring, abundant at first:

more abundant afterwards.


suffers persecution.

is cast out:

rejoices in the inheritance.

But the language of Paul is of the most extensive application, so that his discourse may comprehend the doctrine both of the Law and the Gospel, and the Old and New Dispensations; and not only all these things together in the abstract, but also the people belonging to each doctrine and dispensation, as if they were two families, with their respective mothers, in the concrete. Hence that declaration, Agar is the covenant from Mount Sinai, to which we is opposed, Galatians 4:28. Hence, by parity of reasoning, the quick passing from the one to the other in the allegory.—μία μὲν, the one indeed) But (δὲ), in Galatians 4:26, corresponds to this indeed (μὲν); and there follows at Galatians 4:28, express mention of the promise, as an antithesis to Sinai or the law; and the same term, promise, swallows up the expression, the other covenant, which would seem to be required in the Apodosis.—Σινᾶ, Sinai) Therefore Paul chiefly treats of the moral law; comp. Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 12:18, etc.—εἰς δουλείαν γεννῶσα, which gendereth to bondage) For she has children, and those too at first numerous.—ἥτις, which) The predicate. Hagar is the subject,[39] if the enunciation be considered within the context; on the other hand, without the context, it is the predicate, as is the case in the allegorical discourse, Matthew 13:37-38.brings forth free-born children.The Desolate.The Free Woman.

[39] Beng. thus translates it, “Which Hagar is,” not “Which is Hagar.”—ED.

For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
Galatians 4:25. Τὸ γὰρ Σινᾶ ὄρος, κ.τ.λ., for Sinai is a mountain in Arabia, and [but] answereth to Jerusalem that now is, for it is in bondage with her children) Hagar, Galatians 4:24, and Isaac, Galatians 4:28, are opposed to each other, where we must observe, that Hagar is mentioned by her own name, not so Sarah; and yet Isaac is named, whilst Ishmael is not; inasmuch as the child follows [and is included under] the mother, a bond-maid; but the son of the free woman is distinguished [is taken into account] by his own name. Thus the introduction of Hagar in this section stands on a clear and well-defined footing. In the meantime, the covenant from Mount Sinai, and the promise, are opposed to each other in Galatians 4:24; Galatians 4:28; in like manner, at Galatians 4:25-26, Jerusalem that now is, and Jerusalem above. Some consider these words, Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ Ἀραβίᾳ, which are found in all the copies, as a gloss; but they are wrong. For thus Paul’s argument is weakened, when he brings forward the bondage engendered from Mount Sinai [as answering] to that of Jerusalem, which now is; Galatians 4:24-25. Proper copies, quoted in the Apparatus, and τὸ, the neuter gender of the article, show, that the word Hagar rather was brought from Galatians 4:24 to Galatians 4:25; for Hagar is feminine, but Sinai is neuter.[40] Nor do those words, for she is in bondage with her children, require Hagar to be mentioned: For [with] her is to be referred, as not to Sinai in the neuter, so much the less to Hagar, but to Jerusalem which now is. The former (Hagar) had a son, but the latter (Jerusalem) had sons. These remarks relate to the whole passage; we shall now observe some things on each portion in detail.—Σινᾶ ὄρος, Sinai, a mountain) Galatians 4:24 has from the Mount Sinai; now the order of the words is changed [Sinai going before mount here; but mount before Sinai in Galatians 4:24] (comp. Ephesians 2:1, note). In the former passage, more regard is had to the mountain, inasmuch as it was upon it that the law was given, whatever name it might have [the name Sinai not being taken into account there]; afterwards, it is rather considered as Sinai [the name Sinai being the prominent idea], a mountain in Arabia.—συστοιχεῖ δὲ) δὲ, and yet [but], although it is in Arabia; συστοιχεῖν is used of that which agrees with something else in a comparison. This agreement is evident in itself, for it is one and the same people that received the law on Mount Sinai, and that inhabit the city of Jerusalem; and the people at both periods stand on the same footing.[41] It is to be added, that Sinai and Jerusalem were nearly under the same meridian, and were united with slight interruption almost by the same chain of mountains.—τῇ νῦν, that now is) The antithesis is, that is above.—νῦν, now, refers to time, above to place; the antithesis of either must be supplied from the other in the semiduplex[42] oratio. The Jerusalem which is present [“that now is”], and earthly; the Jerusalem which is above, and eternal. The expression, which is above, is said with the greater propriety on this account, that it alludes to the higher and nobler part of Jerusalem, and rises above Mount Sinai: and the Jerusalem which is above, inasmuch as she is already our mother, could not be suitably spoken of as future [as that which is about to be, in antithesis to the Jerusalem that now is]; not only is she future [“about to be,” as regards the future], but also more ancient [as regards the past], than ἡ νῦν, [the Jerusalem] which now is, inasmuch as the latter has not existed for a long period, nor will it exist in time to come.—δουλεύει, is in bondage) As Hagar was in bondage to her mistress, so Jerusalem, that now is, is in bondage to the law, and also to the Romans,—her civil state thus being in accordance with her spiritual state.

[40] Hence the omission of the wordΑγαρ in this verse, not so much approved of on the margin of the larger Ed., is reckoned among the fixed readings by the margin of the 2d Ed., in which the Germ. Vers. concurs. But the things deserve to be compared which Michaelis has in der Einleitung, T. i. p. m. 646, where he shows that Hagar in the Arabic idiom denotes a rock, and therefore the words τὸ Ἄγαρ Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ Ἀραβίᾳ ought to be thus translated: “The word Hagar signifies in Arabic the Mount Sinai.”—E. B.

[41] “Eadem populi utroque tempore ratio.” What holds good of the people at the one time, holds good of them at the other, as to their status and principles.—ED.

[42] See App. An abbreviated mode of expression, when two members of a sentence stand in such a relation, that each needs to supply some words from the other.—ED.

Lachm. read Τὸ γὰρ Σινᾶ with CGg Vulg., omitting Ἄγαρ; Tiscliend., Τὸ γὰρ Ἄγαρ Σινᾶ, with both Syr. Versions and Rec. Text. B also has Τὸ Ἄγαρ. AD(Δ) Memph. read τὸ δὲ Ἄγαρ.—ED.

But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Galatians 4:26. Ἡ δὲ ἄνω, but she who is above) Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 21—ἐλευθέρα, free) as Sarah was.—ἥτις, who) Jerusalem.—μήτηρ, mother) The ancients said of their own Rome: Rome is our common father-land.—πάντων, of all) as many as there are of us. To this refer the many [children] in the following verse.

For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
Galatians 4:27. Γέγραπται, it is written) Isaiah 54:1εὐφράνθητι, rejoice) with singing.—στεῖρα, barren) Sion, Jerusalem above.—ῥῆξον, break forth) into crying.—καὶ βόησον, and shout) for joy.—τῆς ἐρήμου, of the desolate) i.e. The New Testament Church, collected for the most part from the Gentiles, who had not [answering to τῆς ἐρήμου, the desolate] the promise; and as this New Testament Church was made up of those who heretofore were seen to have had no such aims, it is called “not bearing,” “not travailing,”—τῆς ἐχούσης, than she who hath) the Jewish Church.

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
Galatians 4:28. Κατὰ Ἰσαὰκ, [as] after the similitude of Isaac).—ἐπαγγελίας, of the promise) Galatians 4:23.—ἐσμὲν) we are, and ought to wish to be so, Galatians 4:31.

But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
Galatians 4:29. Ἐδίωκε, persecuted) wantonly, Genesis 21:9. Persecution is the work of carnal, not of spiritual men. [Take care lest you esteem it of little importance, whatever is done against the children of the free woman.—V. g.]—τὸν κατὰ πνεῦμα) viz. γεννηθέντα, him who was born after the Spirit. Paul, having the Apodosis in his mind, so frames his discourse respecting Ishmael and Isaac as to apply it to carnal men and believers. Where the Spirit is, there is liberty.

Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
Galatians 4:30. Ἡ γραφὴ, the Scripture) Sarah [said], concerning Isaac [literally]; the Scripture [saith so] by allegory.—ἔκβαλε, cast out) from the house and the inheritance.—τὴν παιδίσκην καὶ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς, the bond-maid and her son) The servile condition of itself deserves expulsion; but persecution [on the part of the bondservant] against spiritual sons furnishes a handle for putting the punishment in execution.—οὐ γὰρ μὴ κληρονομήσῃ, for he shall not be heir) Sarah looks to the Divine appointment regarding Isaac as the one and only heir, although Ishmael also had been circumcised.

So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Galatians 4:31.[43] Τῆς ἐλευθέρας, of the free) In the liberty follows. An Anadiplosis.[44]

[43] Οὐκ ἐσμὲν, we are not, i.e. we neither ought nor wish to be.—V. g.

[44] See App. The repetition of the same word in the end of the preceding and in the beginning of the following member. Here the τῆς ἐλευθέρας at the end of this ver., and the conjugate word Τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ at the beginning of ch. Galatians 5:1, constitutes the Anadiplosis.—ED.


Gnomon of the New Testament by Johann Bengel

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

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