Colossians 3:19
Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) Be not bitter.—Properly, grow not bitter, suffer not yourselves to be exasperated. The word is used metaphorically only in this passage, literally in Revelation 8:11; Revelation 10:9-10.

3:18-25 The epistles most taken up in displaying the glory of the Divine grace, and magnifying the Lord Jesus, are the most particular in pressing the duties of the Christian life. We must never separate the privileges and duties of the gospel. Submission is the duty of wives. But it is submission, not to a severe lord or stern tyrant, but to her own husband, who is engaged to affectionate duty. And husbands must love their wives with tender and faithful affection. Dutiful children are the most likely to prosper. And parents must be tender, as well as children obedient. Servants are to do their duty, and obey their masters' commands, in all things consistent with duty to God their heavenly Master. They must be both just and diligent; without selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise. Those who fear God, will be just and faithful when from under their master's eye, because they know they are under the eye of God. And do all with diligence, not idly and slothfully; cheerfully, not discontented at the providence of God which put them in that relation. And for servants' encouragement, let them know, that in serving their masters according to the command of Christ, they serve Christ, and he will give them a glorious reward at last. But, on the other hand, he who doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done. God will punish the unjust, as well as reward the faithful servant; and the same if masters wrong their servants. For the righteous Judge of the earth will deal justly between master and servant. Both will stand upon a level at his tribunal. How happy would true religion make the world, if it every where prevailed, influenced every state of things, and every relation of life! But the profession of those persons who are regardless of duties, and give just cause for complaint to those they are connected with, deceives themselves, as well as brings reproach on the gospel.Husbands, love your wives ... - Notes, Ephesians 4:25-29. 19. (Eph 5:22-33.)

be not bitter—ill-tempered and provoking. Many who are polite abroad, are rude and bitter at home because they are not afraid to be so there.

The husband’s duty is love, which the apostle doth ever inculcate from the most obliging considerations when he speaks of this relation; see Matthew 19:6 1 Corinthians 7:3, with Ephesians 5:25,33; to sweeten on the one hand the subjection of the wife, and to temper on the other hand the authority of the husband.

And be not bitter against them; who, that upon his authority he may not grow insolent, the apostle forbids him frowardness with his wife, thereby requiring a conversation with her full of sweetness and amity: wrath and bitterness is to be laid aside towards all others, Colossians 3:8, with Ephesians 4:31, much more towards his own wife, in whom he is to joy and delight, Proverbs 5:15,18,19 1 Peter 3:7.

Husbands, love your wives,.... See Gill on Ephesians 5:25.

and be not bitter against them; turning love into hatred of their persons; ruling with rigour, and in a tyrannical manner; behaving towards them in a morose, churlish, and ill natured way; giving them either bitter words, or blows, and denying them their affection, care, provision, protection, and assistance, but using them as servants, or worse. All which is barbarous, brutish, and unchristian, and utterly unbecoming the Gospel.

{11} Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

(11) He requires of husbands that they love their wives, and treat them gently.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Colossians 3:19. Comp. Ephesians 5:25 ff., where this love is admirably characterized according to its specifically Christian nature.

πικραίνεσθε] become not embittered, description of a spitefully cross tone and treatment. Plat Legg. v. p. 731 D; Dem. 1464. 18: μήτε πικραίνεσθαι μήτε μνησικακεῖν. Philo, Vit. Mos. II. p. 135. Comp. πικρῶς διακεῖσθαι πρός τινα, Polyb. iv. 14. 1; LXX. Exodus 16:20; Ruth 1:20; Ruth 3 Esdr. 4:31; ἐμπικραίνεσθαί τινι, Herod. v. 62.

Colossians 3:19. μὴ πικραίνεσθε: i.e., do not be harsh or irritable. Bengel defines πικρία as “odium amori mixtum,” which is acute, but “odium” is too strong.

19. Husbands] Cp. Ephesians 5:25-33; 1 Peter 3:7.

love] A word deepened and hallowed indefinitely by the Gospel, in reference to matrimonial truth and tenderness. See our note on Ephesians 5:25.

be not bitter] with the wretched irritability of a supposed absolute superiority and authority. “The husband’s primacy is not for dominion but for guidance, with sweetness, wisdom and peace” (Quesnel).—To be “bitter,” in the sense of angry, is a phrase of O.T. Greek. See the LXX. in e.g. Jeremiah 44 :(Heb. 37)15 (where A. V. reads “they were wroth”); Habakkuk 1:6.—Cp. Ephesians 4:31.

Colossians 3:19. Μὴ πικραἰνεσθε, be not bitter) Πικρία, hateful conduct (offensive behaviour) mixed with love. Many, who are polite to all abroad, notwithstanding without scruple treat their wives and children at home with covert bitterness, because they do not fear them; and when this feeling is vanquished, it affords a specimen of great softening of natural ruggedness of temper.

Verse 19. - Ye husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them (Ephesians 5:25-31; 1 Peter 3:7). "Love" is ἀγαπάω, the word which expresses the highest spiritual affection - "even as Christ loved the Church" (Ephesians 5:25). Here, first and most of all, the "new commandment" of John 13:34 applies. St. Paul only uses the verb πικραίνω ("to make bitter") here, but he has the noun πικρία ("bitterness") in a wider application in Ephesians 4:31. It denotes "exasperation," prompting to hasty severity. Bengel defines it as "odium amori mixtum" - hatred infused into love. Colossians 3:19Be not bitter (μὴ πικραίνεσθε)

Lit., be not embittered. Used only here by Paul. Elsewhere only in Revelation. The compounds παραπικραίνω to exasperate, and παραπικρασμός provocation, occur only in Hebrews 3:16; Hebrews 3:8, Hebrews 3:15. Compare Ephesians 4:31.

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