1 Peter 3:7
Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Likewise, ye husbands.—The subjection is not to be all one-sided, though the husband’s subjection to the wife will be of a different kind from the wife’s to him. We are hardly to take this as a separate paragraph from the foregoing, but rather as a corollary added to it, to correct a false impression that might otherwise have been conveyed.

Dwell.—Rather, dwelling. The participle is attached to the previous sentences, just as in 1Peter 2:16; 1Peter 2:18; 1Peter 3:1; but St. Peter does not like to say to the husbands “submitting yourselves” (though it is implied in the “likewise”), and conveys the deference which the husbands are to pay under other terms: such as “according to knowledge,” “giving honour.”

With them.—The whole order of the sentences needs re-arrangement as follows: Ye husbands, likewise, dwelling according to knowledge, as with a weaker vessel, with what is female, apportioning honour as to joint heirs also of a grace of life. In order to understand this very hard passage, we must remember what is St. Peter’s object all throughout these instructions, viz., to commend Christianity to jealous watchers without. Here, therefore, we may well suppose that he is thinking chiefly of the case of believing husbands (Jewish) married to unbelieving wives (Jewish also), thus presenting the counter-picture to that of 1Peter 3:1. And the first thing is that they are to “dwell with” these wives, not to divorce them, nor to cease from conjugal cohabitation with them; such harshness would lend very little attractiveness to the Christian religion among the Jewish homes to which the divorced wife would turn. (See 1Corinthians 7:12 et seq.—a passage which must almost have been in St. Peter’s mind.)

According to knowledge.—This phrase, which is like an adverb, such as “scientifically, intelligently,” means that the husband is to study to enter into the whole bearings of the case, to take everything into account. Husband and wife will not get on together smoothly at haphazard, without pains taken to understand the situation. (See 1Thessalonians 4:4; “you should know.”)

Unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel.—Or rather, as we now take it, as with a weaker vessel, with what is female. This explains the saying “according to knowledge.” The thing which the husband is specially to understand and take into account is that he is dealing with a thing less strong than himself. The whole of chivalry is in these words, and St. Peter (next after Christ) may be considered the founder of it. Weakness itself, by being weakness, has a claim upon the strong man’s deference and self-submission. The weakness here ascribed to the female sex is primarily that of the body, as we shall see when we consider the word “vessel,” though it may, perhaps, indicate frailty in other respects as well. If the word “vessel” is to be here a description of a “wife,” as some contend on 1Thessalonians 4:4, in a sense in which it does not equally describe a husband, it is difficult to see with what the vessel is compared and pronounced weaker. “Dwell with the female as with a more delicate vessel or instrument” than what? If we answer “than yourselves,” it becomes clear that the husbands are, by implication, less delicate vessels. And this is the case. In the Note on 1Thessalonians 4:4, it has been shown that the word “vessel” (whether as receptacle or as instrument) is a description of the body, or rather of the self as manifested in the body. The word in itself may be used to describe anything made to be serviceable—machinery, tackle and gear, pots and pans, and, in fact, any kind of apparatus or implement—and here it might be very fairly rendered, “as with a weaker thing or object.” That which is translated “the wife” is really a neuter adjective, and it is a question whether we are to supply with it the noun “vessel”—“with the female [vessel] as with a vessel which is weaker”—or whether it is to stand absolutely, “the female,” as we say “the good,” “the evil”—i.e., “that which is female.” The latter seems, on the whole, simpler and more forcible, as calling closer attention to the fact of weakness being inherent in the sex.

Giving honour.—The word for “giving” implies rendering a portion which is due. And what is here called “honour” is not to be understood only of the wife’s maintenance (as some say), though such is probably the interpretation of the word in 1Timothy 5:17, and comp. Exodus 21:10; nor is the wife only to be honoured by being consulted in affairs of moment and put in charge of the household. The “honour” to be accorded to wives “as to joint heirs of a grace of life” is the same kind of “honour” as St. Paul, in 1Thessalonians 4:4, says must be accorded to oneself. Indeed, from the juxtaposition of three significant words there, we can hardly escape the conclusion that St. Peter was remembering that passage of St. Paul, “that every one of you should know how to obtain possession of the vessel of himself in sanctification and honour.” It is that chaste respect for the wife which is meant in the Prayer Book by the phrase, “With my body I thee worship.” It means that the husband must not dare to take any liberties with his wife. Would the Christian husband be likely to approve his religion to the unbelieving wife if she found that he took a coarse view of the conjugal tie?

And as being heirs together of the grace of life.—There is here a very intricate question of readings, on which it depends whether the “heirs” are to be nominative or dative, the husbands or the wives. The present annotator prefers, on the whole, to follow Tischendorf, and read the dative, “paying respect as to persons who are also joint heirs (i.e., with you) of a grace of life.” Happily, it comes to much the same thing, the only difference being that in the one case deference is paid to the wife on the ground of her possessing a joint dignity with the husband, and in the other case on the ground that the husband does not possess his dignity except conjointly with the wife. That dignity which they conjointly “inherit”—i.e., possess as a gift from God—is called “the grace (or perhaps, a grace) of life.” This is generally interpreted to mean, “the gracious gift of everlasting life.” Undoubtedly, “life” is often used absolutely in the New Testament to mean eternal life—e.g., Matthew 18:8; and it gives a very intelligible sense, that the husband should reverence the wife as being equally with himself an everlasting soul. But this neither gives sufficient force to the conjoint nature of the possession, nor does it take into account the possibility of such a case as, in fact, we suppose to be here intended, viz., of a believing husband and unbelieving wife. Although, in a sense, “the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband” (1Corinthians 7:14), yet not in such a sense as for them to be called conjoint possessors of eternal life. It seems best, therefore, to suppose that the “grace (or dower) of life” which husband and wife hold, not only in common, but conjointly, is life in the natural sense. This “grace,” this mysterious and divine gift—not apart from one another, but conjointly—they are privileged by the Creator’s primeval benediction (Genesis 1:28) to transmit. They have the power (no Archangel has the like) to bring human beings into existence. And in consideration that such is the dignity and the intention of marriage, a man may well be called upon to revere his partner in the great prerogative.

That your prayers be not hinderedi.e., the husbands’ prayers, not necessarily their prayers with their wives. It is easy to feel how the consciousness of having treated a wife with less awe than is indicated by the foregoing words would clog the man’s prayers, whether for himself or for his wife’s conversion—the latter being, probably, what St. Peter chiefly meant. Very likely he had in view what St. Paul writes in 1Corinthians 7:5.

1 Peter 3:7. Likewise, ye husbands — See on Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19; dwell with them — Conduct yourselves toward them, according to knowledge — Wisely and discreetly; suitably to that knowledge of your duty which you have obtained by the gospel: or, knowing they are weak, and therefore to be used with tenderness: yet do not despise them for this, but give them honour — Both in heart and in your behaviour toward them, as those who are called to be joint-heirs of that eternal life which ye and they hope to receive by the free grace of God. “In Scripture, honour is sometimes used for maintenance, because to supply any one with the necessaries and conveniences of life was considered, in ancient times, as doing him honour. Accordingly the Greeks, in reward of eminent services done to the community, decreed maintenance at the public expense to those who had performed these services. By assigning as the reason why honour should be given to the wife, that she is weaker than the husband, in body or person, (as the word σκευος, vessel, here seems to mean,) the apostle hath intimated, not only that he ought to afford her a competent share of the necessaries and conveniences of life, but as much relief from bodily labour as his circumstances will allow: all which is most reasonable, considering the many bodily troubles women are subject to, in the breeding, bearing, and nursing of children.” That your prayers be not hindered — On the one part or the other. All sin hinders prayer, particularly anger. Any thing at which we are angry is never more apt to come into our minds than when we are at prayer. And those who do not forgive, will find no forgiveness from God.3:1-7 The wife must discharge her duty to her own husband, though he obey not the word. We daily see how narrowly evil men watch the ways and lives of professors of religion. Putting on of apparel is not forbidden, but vanity and costliness in ornament. Religious people should take care that all their behaviour answers to their profession. But how few know the right measure and bounds of those two necessaries of life, food and raiment! Unless poverty is our carver, and cuts us short, there is scarcely any one who does not desire something beyond what is good for us. Far more are beholden to the lowliness of their state, than the lowliness of their mind; and many will not be so bounded, but lavish their time and money upon trifles. The apostle directs Christian females to put on something not corruptible, that beautifies the soul, even the graces of God's Holy Spirit. A true Christian's chief care lies in right ordering his own spirit. This will do more to fix the affections, and excite the esteem of a husband, than studied ornaments or fashionable apparel, attended by a froward and quarrelsome temper. Christians ought to do their duty to one another, from a willing mind, and in obedience to the command of God. Wives should be subject to their husbands, not from dread and amazement, but from desire to do well, and please God. The husband's duty to the wife implies giving due respect unto her, and maintaining her authority, protecting her, and placing trust in her. They are heirs together of all the blessings of this life and that which is to come, and should live peaceably one with another. Prayer sweetens their converse. And it is not enough that they pray with the family, but husband and wife together by themselves, and with their children. Those who are acquainted with prayer, find such unspeakable sweetness in it, that they will not be hindered therein. That you may pray much, live holily; and that you may live holily, be much in prayer.Likewise, ye husbands - On the general duty of husbands, see the notes at Ephesians 5:25 ff.

Dwell with them - That is, "Let your manner of living with them be that which is immediately specified."

According to knowledge - In accordance with an intelligent view of the nature of the relation; or, as becomes those who have been instructed in the duties of this relation according to the gospel. The meaning evidently is, that they should seek to obtain just views of what Christianity enjoins in regard to this relation, and that they should allow those intelligent views to control them in all their contact with their wives.

Giving honor unto the wife - It was an important advance made in society when the Christian religion gave such a direction as this, for everywhere among the pagan, and under all false systems of religion, woman has been regarded as worthy of little honor or respect. She has been considered as a slave, or as a mere instrument to gratify the passions of man. It is one of the elementary doctrines of Christianity, however, that woman is to be treated with respect; and one of the first and most marked effects of religion on society is to elevate the wife to a condition in which she will be worthy of esteem. The particular reasons for the honor which husbands are directed to show to their wives, here specified, are two: she is to be treated with special kindness as being more feeble than man, and as having a claim therefore to delicate attention; and she is to be honored as the equal heir of the grace of life. Doddridge, Clarke, and some others, suppose that the word honor here refers to maintenance or support; and that the command is, that the husband is to provide for his wife so that she may not want. But it seems to me that the word is to be understood here in its more usual signification, and that it inculcates a higher duty than that of merely providing for the temporal needs of the wife, and strikes at a deeper evil than a mere neglect of meeting her temporal necessities. The reasons assigned for doing this seem to imply it.

As unto the weaker vessel - It is not uncommon in the Scriptures to compare the body to a vessel, (Compare the notes at 1 Thessalonians 4:4), and thence the comparison is extended to the whole person. This is done either because the body is frail and feeble, like an earthen vessel easily broken; or because it is that in which the soul is lodged; or because, in accordance with a frequent use of the word, (see below,) the body is the instrument by which the soul accomplishes its purposes, or is the helper of the soul. Compare Acts 9:15; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Corinthians 4:7. In the later Hebrew usage it was common to apply the term vessel (Hebrew כלי keliy, Greek σκεύος skeuos) to a wife, as is done here. See Schoettgen, Hor. Heb. p. 827. Expressions similar to this, in regard to the comparative feebleness of woman, occur frequently in the classic writers. See Wetstein in loc. The reasons why the term vessel was given to a wife, are not very apparent.

A not unfrequent sense of the word used here (σκεύος skeuos) in the Greek classics was that of an instrument; a helper; one who was employed by another to accomplish anything, or to aid him (Passow), and it seems probable that this was the reason why the term was given to the wife. Compare Genesis 2:18. The reason here assigned for the honor that was to be shown to the wife is, that she is "the weaker vessel." By this it is not necessarily meant that she is of feebler capacity, or inferior mental endowments, but that she is more tender and delicate; more subject to infirmities and weaknesses; less capable of enduring fatigue and toil; less adapted to the rough and stormy scenes of life. As such, she should be regarded and treated with special kindness and attention. This is a reason, the force of which all can see and appreciate. So we feel toward a sister; so we feel toward a beloved child, if he is of feeble frame and delicate constitution; and so every man should feel in relation to his wife. She may have mental endowments equal to his own; she may have moral qualities in every way superior to his; but the God of nature has made her with a more delicate frame, a more fragile structure, and with a body subject to many infirmities to which the more hardy frame of man is a stranger.

And as being heirs together of the grace of life - The grace that is connected with eternal life; that is, as fellow-Christians. They were equal heirs of the everlasting inheritance, called in the Scripture "life;" and the same "grace" connected with that inheritance had been conferred on both. This passage contains a very important truth in regard to the female sex. Under every other system of religion but the Christian system, woman has been regarded as in every way inferior to man. Christianity teaches that, in respect to her higher interests, the interests of religion, she is every way his equal. She is entitled to all the hopes and promises which religion imparts. She is redeemed as he is. She is addressed in the same language of tender invitation. She has the same privileges and comforts which religion imparts here, and she will be elevated to the same rank and privileges in heaven. This single truth would raise the female sex everywhere from degradation, and check at once half the social evils of the race. Make her the equal of man in the hope of heaven, and at once she rises to her appropriate place. Home is made what it should be, a place of intelligence and pure friendship; and a world of suffering and sadness smiles under the benefactions of Christian woman.

That your prayers be not hindered - It is fairly implied here:

(1) that it was supposed there would be united or family prayer. The apostle is speaking of "dwelling with the wife," and of the right manner of treating her; and it is plainly supposed that united prayer would be one thing that would characterise their living together. He does not direct that there should be prayer. He seems to take it for granted that there would be; and it may be remarked, that where there is true religion in right exercise, there is prayer as a matter of course. The head of a family does not ask whether he must establish family worship; he does it as one of the spontaneous fruits of religion - as a thing concerning which no formal command is necessary. Prayer in the family, as everywhere else, is a privilege; and the true question to be asked on the subject is not whether a man must, but whether he may pray.

(2) it is implied that there might be such a way of living as effectually to hinder prayer; that is, to prevent its being offered aright, and to prevent any answer. This might occur in many ways. If the husband treated the wife unkindly; if he did not show her proper respect and affection; if there were bickerings, and jealousies, and contentions between them, there could be no hope that acceptable prayer would be offered. A spirit of strife; irritability and unevenness of temper; harsh looks and unkind words; a disposition easily to take offence, and an unwillingness to forgive, all these prevent a "return of prayers." Acceptable prayer never can be offered in the tempest of passion, and there can be no doubt that such prayer is often "hindered" by the inequalities of temper, and the bickerings and strifes that exist in families. Yet how desirable is it that husband and wife should so live together that their prayers may not be hindered! How desirable for their own peace and happiness in that relation; how desirable for the welfare of children! In view of the exposition in this verse we may remark:

(a) that Christianity has done much to elevate the female sex. It has taught that woman is an heir of the grace of life as well as man; that, while she is inferior in physical vigor, she is his equal in the most important respect; that she is a fellow-traveler with him to a higher world; and that in every way she is entitled to all the blessings which redemption confers, as much as he is. This single truth has done more than all other things combined to elevate the female sex, and is all that is needful to raise her from her degradation all over the world.

(b) They, therefore, who desire the elevation of the female sex, who see woman ignorant and degraded in the dark parts of the earth, should be the friends of all well-directed efforts to send the gospel to pagan lands. Every husband who has a pure and intelligent wife, and every father who has an accomplished daughter, and every brother who has a virtuous sister, should seek to spread the gospel abroad. To that gospel only he owes it that he has such a wife, daughter, sister; and that gospel, which has given to him such an intelligent female friend, would elevate woman everywhere to the same condition. The obligation which he owes to religion in this respect can be discharged in no better way than by aiding in diffusing that gospel which would make the wife, the daughter, the sister, everywhere what she is in his own dwelling.

(c) Especially is this the duty of the Christian female. She owes her elevation in society to Christianity, and what Christianity has made her, it would make the sunken and debased of her own sex all over the earth; and how can she better show her gratitude than by aiding in any and every way in making that same gospel known in the dark parts of the world?

(d) Christianity makes a happy home. Let the principles reign in any family which are here enjoined by the apostle, and that family will be one of intelligence, contentment, and peace. There is a simple and easy way of being happy in the family relation. It is to allow the spirit of Christ and his gospel to reign there. That done, though there be poverty, and disappointment, and sickness, and cares, and losses, yet there will be peace within, for there will be mutual love, and the cheerful hope of a brighter world. Where that is missing, no outward splendor, no costly furniture or viands, no gilded equipage, no long train of servants, no wine, or music, or dances, can secure happiness in a dwelling. With all these things there may be the most corroding passions; in the mansion where these things are, pale disease, disappointment, and death may come, and there shall be nothing to console and support.

7. dwell—Greek, "dwelling": connected with the verb, 1Pe 2:17, "Honor all."

knowledge—Christian knowledge: appreciating the due relation of the sexes in the design of God, and acting with tenderness and forbearance accordingly: wisely: with wise consideration.

them … giving honour to the wife—translate and punctuate the Greek rather, "dwelling according to knowledge with the female (Greek adjective, qualifying 'vessel'; not as English Version, a noun) as with the weaker vessel (see on [2618]1Th 4:4. Both husband and wife are vessels in God's hand, and of God's making, to fulfil His gracious purposes. Both weak, the woman the weaker. The sense of his own weakness, and that she, like himself, is God's vessel and fabric, ought to lead him to act with tender and wise consideration towards her who is the weaker fabric), giving (literally, 'assigning,' 'apportioning') honor as being also (besides being man and wife) heirs together," &c.; or, as the Vatican manuscript reads, as to those who are also (besides being your wives) fellow heirs." (The reason why the man should give honor to the woman is, because God gives honor to both as fellow heirs; compare the same argument, 1Pe 3:9). He does not take into account the case of an unbelieving wife, as she might yet believe.

grace of life—God's gracious gift of life (1Pe 1:4, 13).

that your prayers be not hindered—by dissensions, which prevent united prayer, on which depends the blessing.

Dwell with them; perform all matrimonial duties to them; by a synecdoche, all the duties of that relation are contained under this one of cohabitation.

According to knowledge; either, according to that knowledge of the Divine will, which by the gospel ye have obtained; or, prudently and wisely, and as becomes those that understand their duty.

Giving honour unto the wife; not despising them because of their weakness, or using them as slaves, but respecting them, caring for them, {as Matthew 15:6 1 Timothy 5:3} using them gently, covering their infirmities.

As unto the weaker vessel; weaker than the husbands, and that both in body and mind, as women usually are. In Scripture any instrument is called a vessel, and the wife is here called so, as being not only an ornament, but a help to the husband and family, Genesis 2:18. This he adds as a reason why the husband should give honour to the wife, viz. her being the weaker vessel; weak vessels must be gently handled; the infirmities of children bespeak their pardon when they offend; and those members of the body which we think less honourable, on them we bestow more abundant honour, 1 Corinthians 12:23. It is a part of that prudence according to which men should dwell with their wives, to have the more regard to them because of their infirmities, (in bearing with them and hiding them), lest they should be discouraged, if they find their weakness makes them contemptible.

And as being heirs together: another reason why husbands should give honour to their wives, viz. because though by nature they are weak and unequal to their husbands, yet they are equal to them in respect of their being called to the same grace and glory, there being neither male nor female in Christ, Galatians 3:28.

Of the grace of life; i.e. eternal life, which is the gift of grace; or, is to be given out of grace.

That your prayers be not hindered; either, that ye be not diverted and hindered from praying; or, that the efficacy of your prayers be not hindered, viz. by those contentions and differences which are like to arise, if you do not dwell with your own wives according to knowledge, and give them the honour that belongs to them. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them,.... "With your wives", as the Syriac and Ethiopic versions read; which not only included dwelling together in the same house, and bedding together in the same bed, but the whole of conjugal conversation, and all the offices and duties incumbent on men in a married state:

according to knowledge; of themselves, and their wives, and the duties belonging to the conjugal state, and the laws of God and man respecting it; and according to their knowledge of the Gospel, and the Christian dispensation, which no ways breaks in upon, but strengthens and encourages to the observance of things belonging to natural religion, and civil life; and according to that superior knowledge of things, which, generally speaking, men have to women; as also wisely, prudently, becoming their characters as men and Christians:

particularly giving honour to the wife; by speaking well of her, and respectfully to her, and by deeds as well as words; not only by clothing her in a decent and becoming manner, suitable to her station; but by providing everything honest and comely for her, food and raiment, a suitable maintenance, all the necessaries, conveniences, and delights of life, that are laudable and proper; in which sense the word honour is used in 1 Timothy 5:3 and this was agreeably to the doctrine of the Jews (q), who say,

"let a man always take care , "of the glory of his wife"; for there is no blessing found in a man's house, but for the sake of his wife, as it is said, Genesis 12:16 "and he entreated Abraham well for her sake": and Rabba used to say to the citizens, , "honour your wives", that ye may be rich.

And indeed this is what they promised in their marriage contract, which runs thus (r):

"be thou unto me for a wife, according to the law of Moses and Israel, and I, by the word of heaven, or God, will worship, "and honour", and nourish, and take care of thee, according to the custom of the Jews, who worship, and "honour", and nourish, and take care of their wives.

As unto the weaker vessel; so in 1 Thessalonians 4:4 the wife is called a vessel; see Gill on 1 Thessalonians 4:4, and here "the weaker"; being so for the most part, both as to strength of body, and endowments of mind; and therefore to be used gently and tenderly, and not be treated with neglect and contempt, or with inhumanity and severity; but as, in every state and condition, the strong are to bear the infirmities of the weak; so a man should bear with, and accommodate himself to the infirmities of his wife, and hide them as much as he can, and not expose them, nor despise her on account of them. It is a saying of the Jews (s),

"if thy wife be short of stature, bow thyself, and whisper to her.

The meaning of the proverb is, that he ought to suit himself to her capacity and weakness:

and as being heirs together of the grace of life; not of a natural life, and the good things of it; though husbands and wives partake of the same kind of life, and have a right unto, and share in the same necessaries of life; so Adam and Eve were partakers of the same life, and sharers of the same benefits; and which is a reason indeed why they ought to live lovingly together: but something more is intended; not the external gifts of the Spirit, which, unless in some few instances, are bestowed on men, and not on women; nor the Gospel, and the ordinances of it, which are the means of grace and life; though men and women, called by grace, have an equal right to them, and enjoy them; see Galatians 3:28 but grace here, and glory hereafter, are here meant. Some copies, as the Alexandrian, and others, read, "heirs together of the manifold grace of life"; God's own people, without any difference as to sex, as men and women, equally share in grace, as it signifies the love and favour of God; which is the same to all the objects, as to the date of it, which is from everlasting, one not being loved before another; and as to the quality of it, which is free, sovereign, special, discriminating and unchangeable, one being loved not with one sort of love, another with another; and as to the quantity of it, it not admitting of more or less; and as to the duration, which is for ever: and so they are heirs of it, as it denotes the blessings of grace; being equally heirs of, and sharers in electing, redeeming, justifying, pardoning, and adopting grace: and as it may intend the internal graces of the Spirit, as faith, hope, and love; which as to their principles are the same in all the saints, though different as to the degree of the exercise of them: and which may be called "the grace of life"; or "living grace", as some copies and the Complutensian edition read, and so the Arabic version, because by it men and women, who were dead in trespasses and sins, are quickened; and in distinction to counterfeit grace, which differs as much from true grace, as the picture of a man from a living man; and because it lives for ever, and never dies, and gives a meetness for eternal life, which it springs up to, issues in, and is inseparably connected with. Moreover, by it may be meant eternal life and salvation, of which the saints, without any difference as to sex, are heirs of: so some copies read, "heirs of manifold grace, and life"; by the former, meaning grace here, and by the latter, glory hereafter; which is a life of vision of God, and uninterrupted communion with him; of perfection and pleasure, and which will last for ever; and may be called

the grace of life, because it is the free gift of God's grace: and agreeably the Syriac version renders it, "the gift of eternal life"; and the Ethiopic version, glorious life: and this is represented as an inheritance, being what belongs only to the children; and which they have not by their own works, as an acquisition of theirs, but by the free grace of their heavenly Father, and as his gift and bequest unto them. Now all the saints, of whatever state, condition, or sex, are equally heirs of this inheritance; for there is but one inheritance, one kingdom, one crown of glory, which all shall enjoy; and whatever disparity there may be, particularly between husband and wife, in their natural relation, there is none in the things of grace, and with regard to the kingdom of glory; and which is an argument why husbands should dwell peaceably and comfortably with their wives, and give all due honour to them, since they are upon a par in spiritual things, there being neither male nor female in Christ Jesus, and because they are now joint heirs of, and shall equally share in eternal life and happiness,

That your prayers be not hindered: as they would be were they not to dwell together; or should not the husband give honour to his wife, and take care of her as he ought to do: hence would arise strifes and quarrels, when they could not cordially, and to edification, join together in prayer; nor would such prayers, put up in wrath, be acceptable unto God, who requires that men should lift up holy hands everywhere, whether in public, or in private, in God's house, or in their own houses, without wrath and doubting. From hence we may observe, that family prayer is a duty incumbent on professors of religion, and great care should be taken that it be not neglected and hindered,

(q) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 59. 1. & Sepher Musar apud Drusium in loc. (r) Apud. Buxtorf. Chald. Gram. p. 389. (s) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 59. 1.

{6} Likewise, ye husbands, {c} dwell with them according to {d} knowledge, {7} giving {e} honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker {f} vessel, {8} and as being heirs together of the {g} grace of life; {9} that your prayers be not hindered.

(6) He also teaches husbands their duties, that is, that the more understanding and wisdom they have, the more wisely and circumspectly they behave themselves.

(c) Do all the duties of wedlock.

(d) The more wisdom the husband has, the more circumspectly he must behave himself in bearing those inconveniences, which through the woman's weakness often cause trouble both to the husband and the wife.

(7) The second argument: because the wife nonetheless is weaker by nature than the man, she is an excellent instrument of the man, made for far more excellent uses: upon which it follows that she is not therefore to be neglected, because she is weak, but on the contrary she ought to be so much more cared for.

(e) Having an honest care for her.

(f) The woman is called a vessel after the manner of the Hebrews, because the husband uses her as his friend and helper, to live faithfully before God.

(8) The third argument: for that they are equal in that which is the most important (that is to say, in the benefit of eternal life) who otherwise are unequal concerning the leadership and conduct at home, and therefore they are not to be despised although they are weak.

(g) Of that gracious and free benefit, by which we have everlasting life given to us.

(9) The fourth argument: All fighting and rebuking must be avoided, because they hinder prayers and the whole service of God, to which both the husband and wife are equally called.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 3:7. οἱ ἄνδρες ὁμοίως] ὁμοίως, with the participle following, refers back, as in 1 Peter 3:1, to ὑποτάγητε πάσῃ ἄνθρ. κτίσει, with which the exhortation begins (Hofmann); though there is no ὑποτασσόμενοι (cf. 1 Peter 2:18, 1 Peter 3:1), there lies something corresponding to it in the fact that the wife on her part possesses a τιμή to be acknowledged by the husband. Pott erroneously renders ὁμοίως by “vicissim, on the other hand;” nor is it, as de Wette thinks probable, to be expanded: “in like manner, ye men also, hear my exhortation.”

συνοικοῦντες] συνοικεῖν (ἅπ. λεγ.) is not a euphemismus de tori conjugalis consuetudine (Hieronym. contra Jovian, lib. l. c. 4; Augustin. in Psalms 146., etc.); the reference is rather to life together at home.

κατὰ γνῶσιν] As γνῶσις is here anarthrous, it is wrong to understand γνῶσις as referring directly to “Christian recognition of the relation of wife to husband” (Brückner, Schott); κατὰ γνῶσιν is rather an adverbial expression, in which γνῶσις is to be understood generally, as Wiesinger correctly remarks: “according to recognition, i.e. so that home life must be regulated by knowledge and understanding” (so also Hofmann). Similar adverbial expressions, formed by a conjunction of κατά with an anarthrous subst., occur frequently both in classical and N. T. Greek. It is evident from the context that κατὰ γνῶσιν has here special reference to the marriage relation; but from this it does not follow that the interpretation: “in a judicious, discerning manner,” or Luther’s: “with reason,” is incorrect (in opposition to Brückner and Schott). De Wette is completely mistaken in rendering γνῶσις by: “that knowledge of men and self, in fact, that inward discernment, which is the condition of all moderation,” as is Bengel also directly by: moderatio.[176]

ὡς ἀσθενεστέρῳ σκεύει τῷ γυναικείῳ] is erroneously connected by Luther and others with ἀπονέμοντες; it belongs, however, to συνοικοῦντες, which requires a nearer definition.

The word σκεῦος is used to designate the wife in 1 Thessalonians 4:4 (see Lünemann in loc.) with reference to the husband; the same meaning, though with various applications, is here attributed to it by many interpreters. Beza: est femina vas i. e. comes et adjutrix viro ad fideliter coram Deo transigendam vitam adjuncta; Bengel: denotat hoc sexum et totum ingenium temperamentumque foemineum. But this view is incorrect, for τῷ γυναικείῳ, sc. σκεύει, is subjoined by way of explanation, and the comparative ἀσθ. shows that the husband also is thought of as σκεῦος. σκεῦος must be taken here in its specific meaning of a utensil (or instrument) serving a particular purpose, and is accordingly to be understood as specially applicable to man, in so far as the latter is used by God for the accomplishment of His will (cf. Acts 9:15). It is inaccurate, nor can it be justified by Romans 9:21 ff., to take the word in the general sense of “creation” (so Wiesinger, and formerly in this commentary). Hofmann understands σκεῦος here as referring both to the husband and the wife, inasmuch as “in a life united in marriage, one part is destined to be and to accomplish something for the other;” but the reference to this mutual relation is purely arbitrary.[177]

ἈΣΘΕΝΕΣΤΈΡῼ] Bengel: Comparativus, etiam vir habet infirmitatem; in like manner Steiger: “the less weak is called upon to assist the more weak” (thus also Fronmüller). This view is, however, incorrect; it is the husband rather as the stronger ΣΚΕῦΟς—there is no reference made here to his weakness—who is here contrasted with the wife as the weaker (de Wette, Wiesinger, Schott, Hofmann). And, because he is such a ΣΚΕῦΟς, it is demanded of him that he live with his wife ΚΑΤᾺ ΓΝῶΣΙΝ; Ὡς here also states the reason: because the wife is a ΣΚ. ἈΣΘΕΝΕΝΈΣΤΕΡΟΝ, it is accordingly incumbent on the man to behave towards her ΚΑΤᾺ ΓΝῶΣΙΝ. Schott erroneously sees in ΚΑΤᾺ ΓΝῶΣΙΝ the determining reason why the man should treat her as a ΣΚ. ἈΣΘ.; but this can the less be maintained, that Κ. ΓΝ. cannot signify: “because he recognises her as such,” but states the manner of the ΣΥΝΟΙΚΕῖΝ.

ἈΣΘΕΝΕΣΤΈΡῼ ΣΚΕΎΕΙ
stands in apposition to Τῷ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΕΊῼ, sc. σκεύει, and is put first by way of emphasis.

ΓΥΝΑΙΚΕῖΟς, ἍΠ. ΛΕΓ., Leviticus 18:22; Deuteronomy 22:5, LXX.; Esther 2:11; Esther 2:17.

ἈΠΟΝΈΜΟΝΤΕς ΤΙΜΉΝ] “in that ye show honour (respect) to them;” ἀπονέμειν in the N. T. ἍΠ. ΛΕΓ.

The participle is not co-ordinate with the foregoing (ΣΥΝΟΙΚΟῦΝΤΕς), but subordinate to it, since it brings prominently forward one of the chief ways in which the preceding exhortation may be carried into effect. The thought here must not be arbitrarily limited to any special relation (e.g. to that of maintenance or of continence, etc.). The husband should, in every relation, show the respect due to his wife.

ὡς καὶ συγκληρονόμοις[-οι] χάριτος ζωῆς] serves as ground of the exhortation; if the reading be: ΣΥΓΚΛΗΡΟΝΌΜΟΙς, the reference is to the wives; if ΣΥΓΚΛΗΡΟΝΌΜΟΙ, to the husbands (in opposition to Pott, who somewhat singularly interprets as equal to ΕἸΣΙ ΓᾺΡ ΣΥΓΚΛΗΡΟΝΌΜΟΙ, sc. αἱγυναῖκες). The dative is more in harmony with the structure of the sentence and the thought, and therefore is to be preferred to the nom. supported by the authorities; although the nom. may be defended on the ground that husbands, as ΣΥΓΚΛ. of their wives, should in turn regard the latter as their ΣΥΓΚΛ. But since this last is really the point of importance, it can hardly be assumed that the apostle would only have hinted at it—without openly giving expression to it.[178]

ΚΑῚ ΣΥΓΚΛΗΡΟΝΌΜΟΙς] de Wette-Brückner explain: “as (those who) also (like yourselves) (are) fellow-heirs (one with another).” The reference here attributed to συν—simply on account of ΚΑΊ—is inappropriate, since it is a thought entirely foreign to the context, that the wives are heirs with each other. If the reading συγκληρονόμοις be adopted, ΣΥΝ applies to the husbands, equivalent to “with you;” καί may stand with reference to the foregoing ἈΣΘΕΝΕΣΤΈΡῼ, adding a second particular to it (Schott); or it may also serve simply to intensify ΣΥΝ, since, strictly speaking, it is redundant.[179] If, however, συγκληρονόμοι be read, καί is to be taken in the latter way, and is not to be explained thus: “by ἀπονέμοντες something further is enjoined, which goes beyond the … κατὰ γνῶσιν” (Hofmann); for συνοικοῦντες κατὰ γνῶσιν stands imperatively, whilst συγκληρονόμοι does not say what the husbands should be, but what they are. With the idea κληρονόμοι, cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:4; the expression συγκληρ., Romans 8:17; Ephesians 3:6; Hebrews 11:9.

χάριτος ζωῆς] ζωῆς states in what the χάρις, of which they are and will be κληρονόμοι, consists. It is erroneous to resolve the expression into χάρις ζῶσα (Erasmus) or χάρις ζωοποιοῦσα (Grotius). Hofmann, assuming συγκληρονόμοι ποικίλης χάριτος ζωῆς to be the true reading, gives an interpretation different from the above: “as such who, with their wives, share a life of manifold grace, i.e. of those divine favours which are experienced in common in every marriage by believers and unbelievers.” In this way, however, justice is done to neither of the ideas, nor is it pointed out what the favours in married life referred to are.[180]

εἰς τὸ μὴ ἐγκόπτεσθαι, (Rec. ἐκκόπτεσθαι) τὰς προσευχὰς ὑμῶν] ἐγκόπτειν, strictly, incidere, then intercidere, from which arises the further meaning impedire (Hes. ἐμποδίζειν, διακωλύειν); ἐκκόπτειν, pr. excidere, whence stirpitus delere; cf. Job 19:10, LXX.: ἐξέκοψε δὲ ὥσπερ δένδρον τὴν ἐλπίδα μου; the idea of the latter word is stronger than that of the former, but the thought in both readings remains substantially the same, since both expressions denote the ceasing of prayer. Wiesinger incorrectly understands the meaning of the term ἐγκόπτ. to be: “prayer in the meantime there still is, but the way is closed to it.” In like manner de Wette, following Bretschneider: ne viam praecludatis precibus vestris, remarks: “Prayer is by sin hindered from mounting up to the throne of God;” and such is in substance Hofmann’s view.[181] This idea would, however, have been more definitely expressed. The apostle does not say that the power and the hearing of prayer are hindered, but that the prayer itself is (this also in opposition to Reiche). In harmony with the connection of this last clause, by τὰς προσευχὰς ὑμῶν is to be understood either the joint prayer of married persons (Weiss, p. 352),[182] or the prayers which those here addressed offer up, as the husbands of their wives (or, further, as heads of households). Depreciation of the wife, in spite of union with respect to the ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΊΑ, necessarily excludes prayer from married life.[183] Schott: “Where the husband does not recognise that the union of natural life in marriage is also union in the state of grace, there can naturally be no expression of the spiritual and Christian fellowship of marriage, no prayer in common.”

[176] Oecumenius understands this exhortation in connection with ver. 6 as having a special application to the household: οἱ ἄνδρεςσυνοικῦντες· τουτέστιν: αἴσθησιν λαμβάνοντες τῆς τοῦ θήλεος κουφότητος καὶ τοῦ εὐπαραφόρου ἐν πᾶσι, καὶ εἰς μικροψυχίαν εὐολίσθου, μακρόθυμοι γίνεσθε πρὸς αὐτὰς, μὴ λόγον ἀπαιτοῦντες πικρῶς τῶν κατὰ τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτῶν εἰς ταμιείαν παρακατεθέτων.

[177] Schott arbitrarily asserts that the creature is here termed σκεῦος, “as a vessel which is destined to receive into itself, as its real contents, the realization of the divine will.” Even though a vessel containing something can be termed a σκεῦος, it does not follow that σκεῦος must be understood as meaning this and nothing else.

[178] In the 2d edition of this Commentary it was said: “Why should not the apostle base his exhortation to the men to honour their wives, by reminding them (the men) that they are called to inherit the χάρις ζωῆς along with their wives?” Reiche says: scilicet quia absurdum(!) esset, sic argumentari; Brückner maintains that meaning to be “altogether inappropriate and foreign to the purpose of the address.” These assertions, however, can by no means be accepted, since the consciousness of being a fellow-heir of salvation with any one may very well lead to a recognition of the τιμή which he possesses. Nor is there anything improbable in the circumstance itself, that the apostle, whilst basing the exhortation: συνοικεῖν κατὰ γνῶσιν, on the position of the women, should ground the ἀπονέμειν τιμήν on the position of the men.—Schott passes too lightly over the whole question.

[179] On the redundance of καί in comparisons, see Winer, p. 390 [E. T. 548]; but this use of it cannot be appealed to, since ὡς here is not a comparative particle. Wiesinger thinks that συν perhaps contains the reference to a community to which man and wife equally belong; but what this was, would have been indicated by the context, as Ephesians 3:6; such, however, is not the case here. To the expression “strictly” Reiche adds a?, without ever thinking that, since the same idea is expressed by καί and συν, one of the two must be redundant, and that “strictly” is only meant to show that καί is in so far not purely redundant, that it serves to strengthen the idea expressed by συν.

[180] There is no warrant for the opinion that the apostle’s exhortation must apply also to such husbands as have unbelieving wives, since a case so special might well have been passed over. If the apostle had wished to make reference to this, he would in some way have alluded to it; cf. ver. 1 ff.

[181] In this interpretation the reference to the coming of prayer to God is a simple importation. Hofmann adds to the interpretation, that “the sighs of the wife bar the road to the husband’s prayers, by accusing him to God before his prayer, thus rendered worthless, reaches Him.” But this is a thought altogether foreign to the context.

[182] Although in ver. 7 it is the husbands who are addressed, still, as the verse treats of their behaviour towards their wives, ὑμῶν can well apply to both.

[183] Hieronymus, Oecumenius, etc., apply the words according to 1 Corinthians 7:3, ad honorem impertiendum uxoribus a viris, qui sit abstinentia a congressu, ut orationi vacare possint (Lorinus), which is connected with the false interpretation of συνοικοῦντες; Nicol. de Lyra says more correctly: cum vir et uxor non sunt bene Concordes, minus possunt orationi vacare. The Scholion in Matthaei, p. 199, is inadequate: ὁ γὰρ περὶ τὴν οἰκίαν θόρυβος τῶν κατὰ Θεὸν ἔργων ἐμπόδιον.1 Peter 3:7. Duty of husbands to their wives. Application of principle πάντας τιμήσατε.—κατὰ γνῶσιν, for the woman is the weaker vessel—the pot—which the stronger—the cauldron—may easily smash (Sir 13:2). ὡς, κ.τ.λ. point with comma after γνῶσιν and τιμήν. σκεύει. The comparison of Creator and creature to potter and clay is found first in Isaiah 29:16, but is latent in the description of the creation (יצר) of Adam from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7 f.). In the prophets it is developed and applied variously (Isaiah 45:9 f., Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 18:6). In Sap. 15:7, there is an elaborate description of the maker of clay images, in which σκεῦος replaces πλάσμα and vessels which serve clean uses are distinguished from the contrary sort. Thence St. Paul adopts the figure and employs it to illustrate the absolute sovereignty of the Creator, as Isaiah had done (see Romans 9:21), distinguishing vessels intended for honour from those intended for dishonour. Lastly 2 Timothy 2:20 exemplifies the particular application of the figure, on which Peter’s use of σκεῦος rests—ἐν μεγάλῃ δὲ οἰκίᾳ (1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 4:17) … κ.τ.λ. The comparative ἀσθενεστέρῳ proves that both husband and wife are vessels and assists to exclude the notion that St. Paul could mean to call a wife the vessel of her husband in 1 Thessalonians 4:4.—ὡςζωῆς, inasmuch as they are also heirs with you of the grace (1 Peter 1:10; 1 Peter 1:13) of life (1 Peter 2:24): the heavenly inheritance is not distributed according to earthly custom, which gave the wife no rights of her own.—εἰςὑμῶν. If the prayers are those of all (1 Peter 3:8) compare 1 Corinthians 7. (τὴν ὀφειλὴν ἀποδιδότωἵνα σχολάσητε τῇ προσευχῇ). Peter teaches that married life need not—if the wife be properly honoured—hinder religious duties, as St. Paul feared (1 Corinthians 7:32 ff.). If ὑμῶν = you husbands (as v.l. συγκληρονόμοι requires) cf. Jam 5:4.7. dwell with them according to knowledge] It is significant that while the Apostle dwells emphatically on the case of Christian women who have unbelieving husbands, his exhortations to men seem to take for granted that their wives were of one mind with them. In the then existing state of society this was, of course, natural enough. The wife might be converted without the husband, but hardly the husband without the wife. The word for “dwell together” (not found elsewhere) is clearly intended to cover all the relations of married life. In those relations men were to act “according to knowledge,” i.e. with a clear perception of all that marriage involved, and of the right relation in which each of the two parties to the contract stood to the other. The wife was not to be treated as a slave or a concubine, nor again as the ruler and mistress of the house, but as a helpmeet in the daily work of life, a sharer in its higher hopes and duties, the mother of children to be brought up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel] The word for “giving,” not found elsewhere in the New Testament, implies an equitable apportionment, that for “wife” is strictly an adjective agreeing with “vessel,” and would therefore be rightly rendered by female. In the term “vessel,” which finds a parallel in 1 Thessalonians 4:4, we have the thought that all, men and women alike, are “instruments” which God has made for His service (comp. 2 Timothy 2:20-21). The husband is bound to think of himself in that light. He must recognise himself as the stronger vessel of the two, and therefore, because noblesse oblige, he must render due honour to the weaker, seeking to strengthen and purify and elevate it.

as being heirs together of the grace of life] The MSS. present various readings, some making the word “heirs” refer to the husbands and some to the wives. As, in either case, stress is laid on their being joint heirs, there is practically no difference. The “life” in which both are thus called to be sharers is, of course, none other than the eternal life which consists in knowing God. (John 17:3.)

that your prayers be not hindered] Some MSS. give a stronger form of the verb, “that your prayers be not cut off (or, stopped).” The more natural interpretation is that which refers the pronoun to both the husband and the wife. Where there was no reciprocated respect, each recognising the high vocation of the other, there could be no union of heart and soul in prayer. Where the husband thought of the wife only as ministering to his comfort or his pleasures, as one whom he might, as both Jewish and Roman law permitted, repudiate at will, there could be no recognition of the fact that she shared his highest hopes. The words clearly include, though they do not dwell on them, the special hindrances to prayer referred to in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.1 Peter 3:7. Ὁμοίως, in like manner) The likeness does not refer to special duties, some of which belong to the wife, and others to the husband; but to the foundation of love: thus, in like manner, ch. 1 Peter 5:5.—γυῶσιν, knowledge) The master shows gentleness, ch. 1 Peter 2:18; the husband γυῶσιν. Γνῶσις, which has regard to the weaker vessel, implies moderation, and produces γνώμην [judgment, kindly judiciousness, friendly advice]; respecting which word, see 1 Corinthians 7:25, note. Therefore it excludes all violence, by which the weaker are struck with terror [1 Peter 3:6], especially that caused by anger. Adam furnished a remarkable example of the dominion exercised by a husband tempered with moderation, who himself gave name to his wife, and gave her the power of naming her children.—ὡς, as) It is twice used here: in the former place it refers to γνώσιν, moderation; in the other, to τιμὴν, honour. The weakness of the vessel requires moderation; the inheritance enjoins honour (which implies more).—ἀσθενεστέρῳ, to the weaker) The comparative: even the man has weakness.—σκεύει, vessel) This denotes the sex and entire disposition and temperament of woman.—τῷ γυναικείῳ) Τὸ γυναικεῖον, absolutely: that is, women.—ἀπονέμοντες τιμὴν, giving honour) This is said in accordance with the command, that women should be in subjection. Comp. ch. 1 Peter 2:17.—τιμὴν, honour) viz. that of a just opinion respecting them, of kindness, and of a chaste conversation. Comp. in honour, 1 Thessalonians 4:4.—συγκληρονόμοι) Others read συγκληρονόμοις:[25] but the apostle is prescribing to husbands their duties towards their wives of whatever character, even towards those who do not believe the word. Comp. 1 Peter 3:1. See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage.—συγκληρονόμοι, joint-heirs) Heirs together with other believers. The reason why the husband ought to show moderation towards the wife, is derived from the weakness of the wife; the reason why the husband ought to give honour to the wife, is derived from the fact, that God also gives honour to the man, as to an heir. The hope of eternal glory makes men noble-minded and mild. There is a similar argument shortly afterwards in 1 Peter 3:9, Bless, inasmuch as ye are called to inherit a blessing. The nominative case, joint-heirs, elegantly corresponds with the word dwelling together with them. Husbands are said to be joint-heirs, not with their wives, but with all the faithful. Comp. συνεκλεκτὴ, elected together with you, ch. 1 Peter 5:13.—ἐγκόπτεσθαι) Some few read ἐγκόπτεσθαι.[26] The Hebrew phrases in Schœttgenius agree with both the Greek words: and indeed עקר with the word ἐκκόπτεσθαι, where barrenness is treated of, through which children fail, who otherwise arise in succession to their parents through prayer: עכב and עכר with the word ἐγκόπτεσθαι, where sins which are a hindrance to prayers are treated of. This therefore is the better reading. For the apostle wishes that the prayers of husbands should not even be hindered or interrupted. But they are interrupted by intemperance and wrath, 1 Corinthians 7:5; and there is no time in which the recollection of injuries occurs to one more, than when engaged in prayer:[27] and to those who do not forgive, our heavenly Father does not forgive, although they pray.—προσευχάς, prayers) by which you gain that inheritance, and seek the salvation of your wives. Comp. note on 1 Timothy 2:8.

[25] Tisch. and Elzev. Rec. Text read συγκληρονόμοις, with Vulg. and Syr. and inferior MSS. The reading of B is doubtful. But the weightiest authorities, AC later Syr. and Stephens’ Rec. Text have συγκληρονόμοι: and so rightly Lachm.—E.

[26] AB read ἐγκόπτεσθαι: so Lachm.: and so Vulg. Memph. “impediantur.” None of the oldest authorities, except both Syr. Versions, support ἐκκόπτεσθαι, which is the reading of Rec. Text and Tisch.—E.

[27] It not seldom happens that, at the time when a quarrel has broken out among friends, neighbours, colleagues, and the learned, so as to take possession of the mind day and night, prayer ceases altogether.—V. g.Verse 7. - Likewise, ye husbands. As wives are exhorted to be in subjection to their own husbands, so husbands also must do their duty to their wives. The construction (participial as in ver. 1) seems, like ver. 1, to look back to 1 Peter 2:13. The relation, indeed, is no longer directly one of subjection, and marriage is an ordinance of God; but Christian husbands must submit themselves to the duties arising out of the marriage tie; and marriage involves a civil contract, though to us Christians it is a holy estate instituted of God, and a parable of the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church. St. Peter, we observe, does not consider the case of a Christian husband with an unbelieving wife; probably that would be very uncommon. Dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel; literally, living together with the feminine as with the weaker vessel. This connection seems best suited to the balance of the sentence, and also to the sense. The apostle bids the husband, first, to give due consideration to his partner on the ground of her comparative weakness; and, secondly, to give her due honor as being an heir, like himself, of the grace of life. The disparity of the sexes was the cause of the degradation of woman among the heathen; Christianity makes it the ground of tender consideration. Christian love should abound in knowledge (Philippians 1:9); it should throw its softening light upon all the relations of life. Man and woman are alike vessels - vessels made by God for his service (comp. Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 18:6, etc.; also 1 Thessalonians 4:4, 5); the woman is the weaker, and must, for that very reason, be treated with gentleness. For "according to knowledge," comp. 2 Peter 1:5. Christians must be thoughtful; they must consider what becomes them in all the relations of life; not act carelessly and at random. And as being heirs together of the grace of life; rather, rendering honor as to those who are also fellow-heirs, or, according to another well-supported reading, rendering honor (to them) as being also fellow-heirs (with them). The sense is not materially affected: husband and wife are joint-heirs of the grace of life, that is, of God's gracious gift of everlasting life. That your prayers be not hindered; or, according to another reading, be not cut off. If husband and wife live together without mutual reverence and affection, there can be no sympathy in united prayer; the promise made by Christ in Matthew 18:19 cannot be realized. Nor can either pray acceptably if they live at variance; jealousies and bickerings are opposed to the spirit of prayer; they hinder the free flow of prayer, and mar its earnestness and devotion. According to knowledge

With an intelligent recognition of the nature of the marriage relation.

The woman (τῷ γυναικείῳ)

Not a noun, however, as would appear from the ordinary rendering, but an adjective, agreeing with σκεύει, vessel, as does also ἀσθενεστέρῳ, weaker. Both are attributes of vessel; the female vessel as weaker. So Rev., in margin.

Vessel (σκεύει)

Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:4. The primary idea of vessel, which is formed from the Latin vasellum, the diminutive of vas, a vase, is that of the receptacle which covers and contains; the case or protecting cover. Hence it is allied, etymologically, with vest, vestment, and wear. It is used in the New Testament (1) in the sense of a cup or dish (Luke 8:16; John 19:29; 2 Timothy 2:20; Revelation 2:27; Revelation 18:12). (2) Of the man, as containing the divine energy, or as a subject of divine mercy or wrath, and hence becoming a divine instrument. Thus Paul is a chosen vessel to bear God's name (Acts 9:15). Vessels of wrath (Romans 9:22); of mercy (Romans 9:23). So of the woman, as God's instrument, along with man, for his service in the family and in society. (3) Collectively, in the plural, of all the implements of any particular economy, as a house, or a ship. Matthew 12:29, goods; Acts 27:17, the tackling or gear of a ship.

Giving (ἀπονέμοντες)

Only here in New Testament. The word means, literally, to portion out, and is appropriate to the husband as controlling what is to be meted out to the wife.

Hindered (ἐγκόπτεσθαι)

So A. V. and Rev., and the best texts, and the majority of commentators. The word means, literally, to knock in; make an incision into; and hence, generally, to hinder or thwart (Galatians 5:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:18). Some, however, read ἐκκόπτεσθαι, to cut off or destroy.

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