Ephesians 5:29
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
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(29) His own fleshi.e., as above (Ephesians 5:28), his own body. There are two parts of the natural care for our own bodies; first, “to nourish” (properly, to rear them up from childhood, as in Ephesians 6:4), and then “to cherish” (literally, to keep them warm), to provide all they need for health, and comfort, and life. In all that corresponds to both, the husband is to show love to the wife, not only as a self, but as a weaker self, for whom he is bound to think and to act. It may be noted in passing that the very comparison accords with the Christian idea of the body as a part of the true self, redeemed to be a temple of God; and is utterly incongruous with the Gnostic conceptions (already beginning at Colossæ, probably not unknown in other Asiatic churches) of all matter as the source of evil, and of the body as that for which the spirit should not deign to care.

(29, 30) Even as the Lord the church: for we . . .—Again St. Paul escapes from the type to rest on the Antitype (see Ephesians 5:32). The idea of the natural rearing and cherishing the body suggests the thought of the tender care of Christ, in which He “rears up” His Church from weak infancy to full maturity in heaven, and all the while “cherishes it (comp. 1Thessalonians 2:7, spoken of His servants) as a nurse cherisheth her children,” “carrying it in His bosom” (Isaiah 40:11), comforting and cheering its childlike weakness. Hence he goes back again to speak with great and special emphasis of our unity with Him.

Of his flesh, and of his bones.—Literally, made out of His flesh and bones—parts, that is, of His glorified body, having “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). The expression is unique, suggested, of course, by Genesis 2:23, “This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh,” but designed to bring out in a startling emphasis the true meaning of the familiar phrase, “the members of His body.” We are grafted into Him. What we grow to be is, so to speak, the product of His divine substance, proceeding from the indwelling life which gradually forms the organised limbs.

5:22-33 The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the Lord, which includes honouring and obeying them, from a principle of love to them. The duty of husbands is to love their wives. The love of Christ to the church is an example, which is sincere, pure, and constant, notwithstanding her failures. Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify it in this world, and glorify it in the next, that he might bestow on all his members a principle of holiness, and deliver them from the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin, by those influences of the Holy Spirit, of which baptismal water was the outward sign. The church and believers will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are sanctified now, shall be glorified hereafter. The words of Adam, mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but they have also a hidden sense in them, relating to the union between Christ and his church. It was a kind of type, as having resemblance. There will be failures and defects on both sides, in the present state of human nature, yet this does not alter the relation. All the duties of marriage are included in unity and love. And while we adore and rejoice in the condescending love of Christ, let husbands and wives learn hence their duties to each other. Thus the worst evils would be prevented, and many painful effects would be avoided.For no man ever yet hated his own flesh - This is urged as an argument why a man should love his wife and show kindness to her. As no man disregards the happiness of his own body, or himself, so he should show equal care to promote the happiness of his wife. A sentiment similar to this is found in the classic writers. Thus, Curtius (lib. vii.) says, "Corporibus nostris quoe utique non odimus" - "We do not hate those things that pertain to our own bodies." So Seneca (Epis. 14), "Fateor insitam nobis esse corporis nostri charitatem" - "I confess that there is implanted in us the love of our own body." The word nourisheth here means properly to bring up, as e. g., children. The sense here is, that he provides for it, and guards it from exposure and want. The word "cherisheth" - θάλπει thalpei - means properly to "warm;" and may mean here that he defends it from cold by clothing - and the two expressions denote that he provides food and raiment for the body. So he is to do for his wife; and in like manner the Lord Jesus regards the church, and ministers to its spiritual necessities. But this should not be spiritualized too far. The "general" idea is all that we want - that Christ has a tender concern for the needs of the church, as a man has for his own body, and that the husband should show a similar regard for his wife. 29. For—Supply, and we all love ourselves: "For no man," &c.

his own flesh—(Eph 5:31, end).

nourisheth—Greek, "nourisheth it up," namely, to maturity. "Nourisheth," refers to food and internal sustenance; "cherisheth," to clothing and external fostering.

even as—Translate, "even as also."

the Lord—The oldest manuscripts read, "Christ." Ex 21:10 prescribes three duties to the husband. The two former (food and raiment) are here alluded to in a spiritual sense, by "nourisheth and cherisheth"; the third "duty of marriage" is not added in consonance with the holy propriety of Scripture language: its antitype is, "know the Lord" (Ho 2:19, 20) [Bengel].

No man; none in his right senses; or no man hates his flesh absolutely, but the diseases or miseries of it.

His own flesh; his body.

Nourisheth and cherisheth it; feeds and clothes it, and supplies it with things necessary for it.

Even as the Lord the church, which he furnisheth with all things needful to salvation.

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh,.... This is unnatural, contrary to the first principles of nature; see Isaiah 58:7; which the (u) Jews understand of one that is near akin, and there is none nearer than a wife:

but nourisheth and cherisheth it; feeds and clothes it:

even as the Lord the church; who never hated her, but nourishes and cherishes her: Christ never hated his church and people; for his love is not only a love of benevolence, but of complacency and delight: there is a difference between anger and hatred, Christ may be angry with them, but not hate them; and there is a difference between persons and actions, Christ may hate their actions, but not their persons; and there is a difference between desert and fact, they may be deserving of his wrath and hatred, but are not the objects of it in fact; and there is a difference between what is real, and what is imaginary, they may imagine themselves to be hated by him, when they are not; and there is a difference between hatred, and a non-discovery of love, Christ may not manifest his love, and yet not hate; as he never does his own people, for his love is everlasting and unchangeable: and he "nourishes" them, as a father his child, as a shepherd his flock, and as an husband his wife; he feeds them with that which is nourishing, and with himself the bread of life, with his covenant and promises, with the Gospel and the doctrines of it, and with his love and grace; and by his Spirit, ministers, word, and ordinances: and he "cherishes" them, he grants them near and intimate communion with himself, than which nothing is more desirable by them, or joyful to them; nor is there anything that more revives and encourages faith, hope, and love; he clothes them suitable to their dignity and character, as his spouse and bride; and with which they are well contented, and in which they look exceeding comely in his sight: these phrases are expressive of the whole care Christ takes of his church, in furnishing her with everything pertaining to life and godliness; for her comfort and happiness in this world, and that to come: instead of the Lord, the Alexandrian copy, and some others, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions read, Christ; and the Arabic version reads, "as the Lord loves the church".

(u) Jarchi in loc. & R. Sol. Urbin. in Ohel Moed, fol. 85. 1.

For no man ever yet hated his {p} own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

(p) His own body.

Ephesians 5:29. Γάρ] assigns the reason of what immediately precedes, and that so, that this statement of the reason is intended to impel to the exercise of the self-love involved in the love to the wife. The connection of the thoughts, namely, is this: “He who loves his own wife, loves himself; for, if he did not love her, he would hate his own flesh, which is so repugnant to nature that no one has ever yet done it, but rather every one does the opposite, as also Christ—and that gives to this natural relation the highest consecration—acts with regard to the church, because this constitutes the members of His body.”

ποτέ] ever, not, as Mayerhoff would take it (Koloss. p. 144): formerly, in the heathen state, the contrast to which is supposed to be: but possibly now, under the influence of an asceticism directed against marriage—a view, which the present tenses that follow ought to have precluded.

τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα] σάρξ is here indifferent (comp. Hahn, Theol. d. N.T. I. p. 425) without the conception of what is sinful.[282] Paul might have written σῶμα instead (Curtius, vii. Ephesians 1 : “corporibus nostris, quae utique non odimus;” Seneca, Ep. 14: “fateor insitam nobis esse corporis nostri caritatem”), but chose σάρκα, because the idea of the μία σάρξ, which is realized in the married state, is already (see Ephesians 5:21) present to his mind.

ἀλλʼ] sc. ἕκαστος. See Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 366 D; ad Symp. p. 192 E.

ἐκτρέφει] enutrit. The compound form denotes the development that is brought about by the nourishing; comp. Ephesians 6:4. See the passages in Wetstein.

θάλπει] makes it warm, fovet (Vulgate); Goth: “varmeith.” It is thus to be taken in its proper signification. Hom. Odyss. xxi. 179, 184, 246; Xen. Cyr. v. 1. 11; Soph. Phil. 38; also Theocr. xiv. 38; Deuteronomy 22:6; Job 39:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:8. Bengel aptly says: “id spectat amictum.” The usual interpretation is: “he fosters it,” Luther. Without support from linguistic usage.

It is, we may add, self-evident that οὐδεὶςαὐτήν expresses a proposition of experience, the correctness of which holds as a general rule, and is not set aside by exceptional cases. The crucifying of the flesh, however, in Galatians 5:24, has regard to the sinful σάρξ.

καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χρ. τὴν ἐκκλησ.] sc. ἐκτρέφει καὶ θάλπει, which is here, of course, to be interpreted metaphorically of the loving operation of Christ for the salvation of His church, whose collective prosperity He carefully promotes. To bring out by interpretation specially two elements (Grotius: “nutrit eam verbo et Spiritu, vestit virtutibus”) is arbitrary. According to Kahnis (Abendm. p. 143 f.), Christ nourishes the church as His body by the communication of His body in the Supper. But apart from the fact that θάλπει does not suit this, there is no mention at all of the Lord’s Supper in the whole connection. Comp. on παραστ., Ephesians 5:27, and see on Ephesians 5:30 ff. The καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χρ. τὴν ἐκκλ. is the sacred refrain of the whole Christian ethics of marriage; comp. Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 5:25.

[282] See also Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde, I. p. 54.

Ephesians 5:29. οὐδεὶς γάρ ποτε τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα ἐμίσησεν: for no one ever hated his own flesh. The γάρ gives a reason for the preceding statement, looking to the thought, however, rather than to the form of the statement. The thought is the oneness of husband and wife, the position of the wife as part of the husband’s self; and the connection is this—“he should love her even as Christ loved the Church, for the wife, I say, is as the body in that natural relationship in which the husband is the head, so that in loving her he loves himself; and this is the reason in nature why he should love her, for according to this to hate his wife is to hate his own flesh, which is contrary to nature and a thing never seen”. σάρξ has here its non-ethical sense, practically = σῶμα (as in Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:8; 1 Corinthians 6:16, etc.).—ἀλλʼ ἐκτρέφει καὶ θάλπει αὐτήν: but nourisheth and cherisheth it. The form ἀλλά is preferred again by LTTr WRV. The ἐκ- in the comp. ἐκτρέφει may point to the careful, continued nourishing from one stage to another, nourishing up to maturity. Ell. takes it to express “the evolution and development produced by the τρέφειν” (so, too, Mey., etc.). As θάλπειν means primarily to warm, some give it the literal sense here, supposing it to look to the covering and protection of the body as ἐκτρέφει looks to its nourishment—“fovet” spectat amictum, says Bengel, ut “nutrit” victum; and so Mey. But the secondary sense seems more appropriate here, especially in view of the following affirmation regarding Christ, and as it is in 1 Thessalonians 2:7.—καθὼς καὶ ὁ Κύριος [Χριστὸς] τὴν ἐκκλησίαν: even as the Lord [Christ] also the Church. For the Κύριος of the TR (with [671]3[672] [673], etc.) read with the best critics Χριστός, which is given in [674] [675] [676] [677]1[678], 17, and most Versions and Fathers. That is, “even as Christ also nourisheth and cherisheth the Church”—a broad statement of Christ’s loving care for His Church, into which no reference to the Lord’s Supper (which is nowhere in view here) as the means by which the nourishing is effected can be dragged (as, e.g., by Kahnis, etc.).

[671] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[672] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[673] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

[674] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[675] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[676] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[677] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[678] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.

29. no man ever] under normal conditions. True, in a distorted mental state a man may “hate his own flesh.” And in obedience to the will of God a man may so act as to be said to hate it; to choose that it should suffer rather than that God’s will should not be done (see, for such a use of “hate”, Luke 14:26). But under normal conditions it is not only man’s instinct but his duty to protect and nourish that mysterious work of God, his body, connected by God’s will in a thousand ways with the action of his spirit. “Self-love,” whether in the direction of flesh or of spirit, acts sinfully only when it acts outside God as the supreme and all-embracing Reason and Good.

the Lord] Read, with full documentary evidence, Christ.

Ephesians 5:29. Οὐδεὶς) no man, unless indeed he revolts from nature and from himself.—τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα, his own flesh) Ephesians 5:31, at the end.—ἐκτρέφει) very much nourishes it, within.—θάλπει) cherishes it, without. The same word occurs in Deuteronomy 22:6; Job 39:14; 1 Kings 1:2; 1 Kings 1:4. This has respect to clothing, as nourishes has to food.—τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, the Church) Nourishes and cherishes to be supplied.

Verse 29. - For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the Church. To hate one's wife is as irrational as to hate one's own flesh, and as, on the other hand, men constantly nourish and cherish their flesh, protecting it from hurt, seeking to heal it when hurt, and generally to promote its welfare and comfort, so ought husbands to act towards their wives. In this aspect of the case, too, the sharp eye of the apostle finds an analogy between the relation of the wife to the husband and that of the Church to Christ, expanded in the next verso. Ephesians 5:29Flesh

Instead of body, with reference to Genesis 2:23.

Cherisheth (θάλπει)

Only here and 1 Thessalonians 2:7. Originally, to warm.

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