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9 Yet, for love's sake, I 9 Δια την αγαπης μαλrather beseech thee, being λον παρακαλω, τοιουτος ων such an one as Paul the ως Παυλος πρεσβυτης, νυνι aged, and now also a pri- δε και δεσμιος Ιησου Χριςου. soner of Jesus Christ.

10 I beseech thee for 10 Παρακαλω σε περι του my son Onesimus, whom ELLOV

, εγεννησα I have begotten in my εν τοις δεσμους μου, Ονησιbonds:

μον' 11 Which in time past 11 τον ποτε σοι άχρηςον, was to thee unprofitable,

και εμοι ευχρηbut now profitable to thee

govo and to me;


δε σου

of unspeakable labour and suffering, had done the greatest service to mankind, by communicating to them the knowledge of the gospel.

Ver. 9.-1. Being such an one as Paul the aged. Although at the time of the stoning of Stephen, Saul is said to have been a young man, Acts vii. 58. it does not imply that he was then a mere youth. The witnesses laying their clothes at his feet, and his immediately taking an active part in perse. cuting the disciples, but especially bis receiving a commission for that purpose from the chief priests, are proofs that he possessed both judgment and experience. Wherefore, at the stoning of Stephen, he may have been thirty years old ; at which age he might very properly be called a young mar. See Pref. to 1 Tim. Sect. 2.-Between the death of Stephen and Saul's conversion, some time elapsed. From the time of his conversion to the writing of this letter, he had laboured in the gospel near thirty years : So that, being now sixty years old or more, he was really an aged person.—Benson following Theophylact, says ageobutns in this passage has the signification of a peo 6&utns, an ambassador ; and in support of his opinion he cites some passages from the LXX. and from the Apocrypha.

Ver. 10–1. I beseech thee. There is a beautiful emphasis in the repetition of the words, I beseecb, which he had introduced in the preceding


2. For any son, whom I begat in my bonds, even Onesimus. Onesimus's name, in the end of this sentence, bas a fine effect, by keeping the reader in suspense. This every person of taste must perceive. The apostle would not so much as mention Onesimus's name, till he had prepared Philemon for hearing it ; and when he does mention it, instead of calling him a fugi. tive slave, or even a slave simply, he calls him bis own son ; to shew that he had a tender affection for him, and was much interested in his welfare. And then by telling Philemon, that he had begotten him in his bonds, he in. sinuated, that Onesimus was not discouraged from becoming a Christian by the apostle's bonds. Being therefore a firm believer, he was not unworthy of the pardon the apostle solicited for him. In this beautiful passage, there

9 Yet for love's sake I 9 Yet, instead of using my aurather beseech, being such thority, by that love which thou an one as Paul the aged,' bearest to the saints and to me, I and now also (derpesos) one rather beseech thee, who am such an confined with a chain for one as Paul, thy friend, grown old in Jesus Christ.

the service of the gospel ; and now also confined with a chain for preach

ing Jesus Christ : 10 I beseech i thee for 10 By all these considerations I my son, whom I begat in beseech thee for my son, whom I begat my bonds, Even Onesi. in my bonds, and who on that account mus;2


very dear to me, even Onesimus. 11 Who formerly was to 11 Who, I acknowledge, formerly thee unprofitable, but now was to thee an unprofitable slave, but WILL BE very profitable to now having embraced the gospel, he thee (xan, 209.) even as to will, by his faithful affectionate serme.

vices, be very pirofitable to thee, even as he has been to me since his conversion.

is a groupe of the most affecting arguments closely crowded together. On the one hand, we have Philemon's own reputation for goodness; his friendship to the apostle ; his respect for his character; reverence for his age; compassion for his bonds; and at the same time an insinuation of that obedience which Philemon owed to him as an apostle. On the other hand, we have Onesimus's repentance, and return to virtue ; his profession of the Christian religion, notwithstanding the evils to which it exposed him; and his being the object of his spiritual father's tender affection. In short, every word contains an argument. Philemon therefore must have been exceed. ingly affected by this moving passage.

Ver. 11.-1. Who formerly was to thee unprofitable. The apostle, with adinirable address, gives the softest oame possible to Onesimus's misbehaviour; because he did not choose that Philemon should fix his thoughts on the heinous nature of his slave's offence, lest it might liave inflamed his resentment too much.

2. But now will be very profitable to thee even as to me. To shew the sincerity of Onesimus's repentance, the apostle mentioned the experience which he himself had had of his good disposition, in the many affectionate services which he had received from him during his confinement. After such a proof, Philemon could have no doubt of Onesimus's virtue and fidelity.- Doddridge, Bengelius, and others, think the name Onesimus, which comes from the verb ornpes, signifying to profit, was given to slaves by way of good omen, to express the advantage they were to bring to their masters by their services; and that in this passage there is an allusion to the signi,



12 Whom I have sent Ον ανεπεμψα. Συ again: thou therefore re- δε αυτον, τουτεςι, τα εμα ceive him that is mine own σπλαγχνα, προσλαβου. bowels; 13 Whom I would have

'Ον εγω εβoυλoμην retained with me, that in

προς εμαυτον κατεχειν, ένα thy stead he might have

υπερ σου διακονη μοι εν τοις ministered unto me in the

δεσμους του ευαγγελιου bonds of the gospel.

14 But without thy mind 14 Χωρις δε της σης γνωwould I do nothing; that μης ουδεν ηθελησα ποιησαι, thy benefit should not be ένα μη ως κατα αναγκην το as it were of necessity, but

αγαθον σου η, αλλα κατα willingly.

εκουσιον. 15 For perhaps he there

15 Ταχα γαρ

δια τουτο fore departed for a season, εχωρισθη προς ώραν, that thou shouldest receive

αιωνιον αυτον απεχης" him for ever ;

ώραν, ένα

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very self.

fication of Onesimus's name. See ver. 20. note 1.-But it is of more importance to observe, that the apostle, by mentioning the change wrought on Onesimus by the pains he had taken in converting him, insinuated to Phile.' mon the obligation he lay under to him, for having made his unprofitable slave, a faithful and affectionate servant to him for life.

Ver. 12.–1. That is to say, mine own bowels; one whom I consider as a part of myself.- As Bengelius observes, by laying aside his apostolical authority, St. Paul had brought himself to a level with Philemon. And now to exalt Onesimus, and to display that dignity which a man acquires by becoming a sincere Christian, he calls him not his son simply, but his owe bowels ; or, as it is expressed ver. 17. bis

Ver. 13.-1. That in thy stead, he might have ministered to me in tbese bonds for the gospel. Here the apostle insinuated to Philemon, the obligation he was under to assist him with his personal services, who was his spiritual father : and more especially while he was confined with a chain for preaching the gospel of Christ.

Ver. 14.-1. But without thy mind I would do nothing. From this we learn, that however just our title may be to beneficent actions from others, they must not be forced to perform them. They must do them voluntarily.

2. That thy good deed might not be as by constraint, but as voluntary. If Onešimus had remained with the apostle in Rome, and Philemon had pardoned him at the apostle's intercession, that favour would not have appear. ed so clearly to have been bestowed voluntarily, as when Onesimus returned and put himself in his master's power, and was received again into his


12 ('Or, -61.) Him I 12 Him I have sent back to thee have sent back. Do thou at his own desire. Do thou therefore (ds, 106.) therefore re- . receive him into thy family; that is ceive him, that is to say, to say, Receive one who is mine own mine own bowels ; ? bowels ; my son ; a part of me.

13 Whom I wished to 13 Being so useful to me, I wishdetain with myself, that ed to detain him with myself, that, in (ixie cy) in thy stead he thy stead, he might have performed might have ministered to those offices to me in these bonds for me, in these bonds for the the gospel, which thou thyself would

est' have performed if thou hadst

'been in Rome. 14 But without thy 14 But, whatever title I had to mind I would do nothing, . his service, on account of what thou that thy good deed might owest to me as an apostle of Christ not be as by constraint, but suffering for the gospel, without as voluntary. 2

knowing thy mind whose slave he is, I would do nothing to engage him to stay with me ; that thy good deed in pardoning him might not be as extorted, but as proceeding from thy

own good will. 15 (Taxa yop, 91.) 15 To mitigate thy resentment Perhaps also for this rea- consider, that Perhaps also for this son he was separated for reason he was separated from thee a little while, that thou for a little while, (so te digav sigmightest have him for . nifies, 1 Thess. ii. 17. note 2.) that ever,

thou mightest have him thy slave for life;


family. The apostle, therefore, sent him back to Philemon that his receiving him might be known to have proceeded from his own merciful disposition.

Ver. 15.-1. For this reason exmplo.In, He was separated : A soft expression to denote Onesimus's running away from his master; for it contains an insinuation, that this had happened providentially. See the following note.

2. That thou mightest have him for ever. The word as may be translated for life; which I take to be the apostle's meaning. But Estius thinks it signifies Philemon's having Onesimus as a brother for ever; the relation between Christians as brethren, being to continue in the next world. -The apostle here made the same kind of apology for Onesimus, which Joseph made for his brethren, Gen. xlv. 5. Now therefore be not grieved.For God did send me before you to preserve life. The providence of God, often brings good out of evil. Yet we should not for that reason do evil that VOL. IV.


16 Not now as a servant, 16 Ουκετι ως δουλον αλλ' but above a servant, a bro- υπερ δουλόν, αδελφον αγαther beloved, specially to

πητον, μαλιςα εμοι, πoσω δε me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh μαλλον σοι και εν σαρκι και and in the Lord ?

εν Κυριω; 17 If thou count me

17 Ει ουν εμε εχεις κοι» therefore a partner,receive νωνον, προσλαβου αυτον ως him as myself.

εμε. 18 If he hath wronged

18 Ει δε τι ηδικησε σε η thee, or oweth thee ought, οφειλει, τουτο εμοι ελλoγει. put that on mine account;

19 I Paul have written 19 Εγω Παυλος έγραψα it with mine own hand, I τη εμη χειρι, εγω αποτισω ένα will repay it : albeit I do

μη λεγω σοι ότι και σεαυτον not say to thee how thou

μοι προσοφειλεις. owest unto me even thine own self besides.

20 Yea, brother, let me 20 Ναι, αδελφε, εγω σου have joy of thee in the

οναιμην εν Κυριως αναπαυ

good may come.-By telling Philemon, that he would now have Onesimuh for ever, the apostle intimated to him his firm persuasion, that Onesimus would never any more run away from him.

Ver. 16.-1. Above a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me. That Philemon might not be offended at him for calling his fugitive slave his brother, the apostle acknowledged him for his own brother also ; because, from the time of his conversion, Onesimus had the same father with the apostle, and with all believers. Next, he told Philemon, that he much more ought to acknowledge Onesimus as a brother, because he stood in that relation to him in the flesh, as well as in the Lord. In this passage the apostle teaches us, that love is due to persons in the meanest stations who are eminently virtuous. .

2. Both in the flesh, and in the Lord. By calling Onesimus Philemon's brother in the flesh, the apostle meant that he was of the same nation with Philemon ; or perhaps some way related to him ; as by calling him his bro. ther in the Lord, he meant that he was now of the same religion with Phile.


Ver. 18.-1. If be bath injured thee any thing. This is a soft way of expressing the loss which Philemon bad sustained, by being deprived of his slave's service. See pref. sect. 2. paragr. S.

Ver. 19.-1. I P.sul have written with mine own band, &c. According to Jerome, this implies that Paul wrote the whole letter with his own hand. And some moderns, who are of the same opinion, think he took that trouble 10 shew Philemon his carnestness to have Onesimus pardoned. But, be

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