Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Your enemy.—“The enemy” was the name by which St. Paul was commonly referred to by the party hostile to him in the next century. It is quite possible that the phrase “your enemy” ought to be placed, as it wore, in inverted commas, and attributed to the Judaising sectaries—”your enemy,” as these false teachers call me.
Because I tell you the truth.—It would seem that something had happened upon St. Paul’s second visit to Galatia (the visit recorded in Acts 18:23) which had caused a change in their feelings towards him. His plain speaking had given offence.
We love to be flattered, and to have our friends flattered; and we shrink with pain from any exposure, or any necessity for repentance. Hence, we become alienated from him who is faithful in reproving us for our faults. Hence, people become offended with their ministers when they reprove them for their sins. Hence, they become offended at the truth. Hence, they resist the influences of the Holy Spirit, whose office it is to bring the truth to the heart, and to reprove men for their sins. There is nothing more difficult than to regard with steady and unwavering affection the man who faithfully tells us the truth at all times, when that truth is painful. Yet he is our best friend. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful," Proverbs 27:6. If I am in danger of falling down a precipice, he shows to me the purest friendship who tells me of it; if I am in danger of breathing the air of the pestilence, and it can be avoided, he shows to me pure kindness who tells me of it. So still more, if I am indulging in a course of conduct that may ruin me, or cherishing error that may endanger my salvation, he shows me the purest friendship who is most faithful in warning me, and apprising me of what must be the termination of my course.
because I tell you the truth; the Gospel so called, because it comes from the God of truth, is concerned with Christ, who is truth itself, and is dictated, revealed, and blessed by the Spirit of truth; and is opposed unto, and is distinct from the law, which is only an image and shadow, and not truth itself: it chiefly respects the great truths of salvation alone by Christ, and justification by his righteousness; and may also regard what he had said concerning the abrogation of the law, blaming them for the observance of it, and calling its institutions weak and beggarly elements; all which he told or spoke publicly, plainly, honestly, fully, and faithfully, boldly, constantly, and with all assurance, consistently, and in pure love to their souls; and yet it brought on him their anger and resentment. Telling the truth in such a manner often brings many enemies to the ministers of Christ; not only the men of the world, profane sinners, but professors of religion, and sometimes such who once loved and admired them.Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Galatians 4:16. Ὥστε] Accordingly; the actual state of things which, to judge from the cooling down—which that painful question (τίς οὖν ὁ μακαρισμὸς ὑμῶν;) bewails—in the self-sacrificing love depicted in Galatians 4:14-15, must have superseded this love, and must now subsist. The words contain a profoundly melancholy exclamation: “Accordingly, that is my position; I am become your enemy!” etc. So great a change has the relation, previously so rich and happy in confidence and love, experienced by the fact that it is my business to speak the truth to you (mark the present participle ἀληθεύων). This conduct which I pursue towards you, instead of confirming your inclination towards me and confidence in me, has taken them away; I have become your enemy! To place (with Matthias) a note of interrogation after γέγονα, and then to take ἈΛΗΘ. ὙΜῖΝ as an exclamation (an enemy, who tells you the truth!), breaks up the passage without adequate ground. Utterly groundless, illogical, and unprecedented (for the ὥστε of an inferential sentence always follows the sentence which governs it) is the inversion forced upon the apostle by Hofmann, who makes out that ὭΣΤΕ Κ.Τ.Λ. is dependent on ΖΗΛΟῦΣΙΝ ὙΜᾶς: “so that I am now your enemy, if I tell you truth, they court you;” it is the result of these courtings, that, when the apostle agreeably to the truth tells his converts (as in Galatians 1:8 f.) what is to be thought about the teaching of his opponents (?), he thereby comes to stand as their enemy. In this interpretation the special reference of ἀληθεύων ὑμῖν is purely gratuitous. To explain the ὭΣΤΕ consecutivum with the indicative the simple rule is quite sufficient, that it is used de re facta; and the emphasis of the relation which it introduces lies in its betokening the quality of the preceding, to which the consecutivum refers. Comp. Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 1012: “Rem qualis sit, addita rei consequentis significatione definit.” Hofmann increases the arbitrary character of his artificial exposition by subsequently, in Galatians 4:17, separating οὐ καλῶς from ΖΗΛΟῦΣΙΝ ὙΜᾶς, and looking upon these words as an opinion placed alongside of ὭΣΤΕ ἘΧΘΡ. ὙΜ. ΓΈΓ., respecting this mode of courting. His interpretation thus presents at once a violent combination and a violent separation.
ἘΧΘΡῸς ὙΜῶΝ] The context permits either the passive sense: hated by you (de Wette, Windischmann, and older expositors), or the active: your enemy (Vulgate, Beza, Grotius, and many others; also Rückert, Matthies, Schott, Hilgenfeld, Ewald, Hofmann); the latter, however, so taken that ἐχθρ. ὑμῶν γέγονα is said in accordance with the (altered) opinion of the readers. This active interpretation is to be preferred, because the usage among Greek authors (and throughout in the N.T. also) in respect to the substantive ἐχθρός with the genitive is decisive in its favour (Dem. 439. 19. 1121. 12; Xen. Anab. iii. 2. 5, de venat. 13. 12; Soph. Aj. 554). From the time of Homer, ἐχθρός means hated only with the dative (Xen. Cyrop. v. 4. 50; Dem. 241. 12. 245. 16; Lucian, Sacrif. 1; Herodian. iii. 10. 6), which either stands beside it or is to be mentally supplied (Romans 5:10; Romans 11:28; Colossians 1:21).
γέγονα] To what time does this change (having become), which by the perfect is marked as continuing, refer? It did not occur in consequence of the present epistle (Jerome, Luther, Koppe, Flatt, and others), for the Galatians had not as yet read it; nor at the first visit, for he had then experienced nothing but abundant love. It must therefore have taken place at the second visit (Acts 18:23), when Paul found the Galatian churches already inclined to Judaism, and in conformity with the truth could no longer praise them (for only ἐπαινέτης τοῦ δικαίου ἀληθεύει, Plat. Pol. ix. p. 589 C), but was compelled to blame their aberrations.
ἀληθεύων ὑμῖν] For “veritas odium parit” (Terent. Andr. i. 1. 40), and ὀργίζονται ἅπαντες τοῖς μετὰ παῤῥησίας τʼ ἀληθῆ λέγουσι (Lucian, Abdic. 7). As to ἀληθεύειν, to speak the truth, see on Ephesians 4:15.
 ὥστε cannot specify a reason, as Wieseler thinks, who, anticipating ver. 17, explains: “For no other reason than because ye pronounced yourselves so happy on my account, am I (according to the representation of the false teachers) become your enemy,” etc. Wieseler therefore takes ὥστε, as if it had been διὰ τοῦτο.Galatians 4:16. ὥστε is often used in the sense of therefore to introduce an imperative or an affirmative conclusion in the Epistles of Paul, but not an interrogation. I can see no reason here for making the clause interrogative: the rendering I am therefore become an enemy to you is quite in harmony with the context, which assumes the existence of some actual estrangement. This estrangement is attributed to plain speaking which had given offence to the disciples. As he had seen no trace of coldness at the time of his recent visit, he must be referring to some language which he had used on that occasion. Circumstances forced him to take up strong ground at that time on the subject of circumcision and to denounce the opposition and intrigues which he had encountered from the Pharisaic party.16. Am I therefore] ‘So that I am become … truth?’ The tone of the sentence is interrogative, rather than the form.
I tell you the truth] The reference is probably to the second visit to Galatia, when the Judaizers had begun to sow seeds of error and discord among St Paul’s converts. He says ‘I tell’, not ‘I told’, because he has made no change in his teaching. Truth is ever one and the same.Galatians 4:16. Ἐχθρὸς, an enemy) He, who speaks the truth, is a friend, and truth ought not to produce hatred against him in your minds.—ἀληθεύων, speaking the truth) preaching the pure [unmixed] truth, even apart from my former temptation.Verse 16. - Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? [ὥστε ἐχθρὸς ὑμῶν γέγονα ἀληθεύων ὑμῖν;]; so then, am I become your enemy, because I deal with you according to truth? This is a wailing remonstrance against an apprehended incipient state of alienation. "So then," ὥστε (see note on ver. 7), occurs repeatedly before an imperative; as 1 Corinthians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 10:12; Philippians 2:12; Philippians 4:1; James 1:19; here only before a question. Its consecutive import here lies in the essential identification between their attachment to St. Paul and their allegiance to the pure gospel. If they forsook the gospel, their heart was gone from him. Naturally also their incipient defection from the truth was accompanied by a jealousy on their part hew he would regard them, and by a preparedness to listen to those who spoke of him, as Judaizers everywhere did, with disparagement and dislike. No doubt the accounts which had just reached him of the symptoms showing themselves among them of defection from the gospel, and which prompted the immediate despatch of this Epistle, had informed him also of symptoms of a commencing aversation from himself. The construction of γέγονα with ἀληθεύων is similar to that of γέγονα ἄφρων with καυχώμενος in the Textus Receptus of 2 Corinthians 12:11, which is perfectly good Greek, even though the word καυχώμενος must be removed from the text as not genuine. The verb "I am become" describes the now produced result of the action expressed by the participle ἀληθεύων, "dealing according to truth" - an action which has been continuous to the present hour and is still going on. If the apostle were referring only to something which had taken place at his second visit, he would have probably used different tenses; either, perhaps, ἐχθρὸς ὑμῶν ἐγευόμην ἀληθεύων - compare φανῃ... κατεργαζομένη in Romans 7:13 (or with a contemporaneous aorist participle, ἀληθεύσας); or, ἐχθρὸς ὑμῶν γέγονα ἀληθεύσας, like εϊναι μοιχαλίδα γενομένην ἀνδρὶ ἑτέρῳ in Romans 7:3. As it stands, "dealing with you according to truth" (ἀλήθεύων ὑμῖν) expresses the apostle's continuous declaration of the gospel, and his never-flinching ins]stance upon the mortal danger of defection from it (see Galatians 1:9, προειρήκαμεν); and "I am become your enemy" points to the result now manifesting itself from this steadfast attitude of his, in consequence of their consciousness of meriting his disapproval. The verb ἀληθεύω occurs only once in the Septuagint - in Genesis 42:16, Αἰ ἀληθεύετε η} οὐ, "Whether there be any truth in you" (Authorized Version and Hebrew); and once besides in the New Testament - in Ephesians 4:15, Ἀληθεύοντες ἐν ἀγάπῃ, where the verb denotes, apparently, not merely being truthful in speech, but the whole habit of addiction both to uprightness and to God's known truth; for we can hardly leave out of our view this latter idea, when we consider how frequently the apostle designates the gospel by the term "the truth" (2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 6:7; 2 Corinthians 13:8; Galatians 3:1; Ephesians 1:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 12, 13; 1 Timothy 2:4). "Enemy" is either one regarded as adopting a hostile position to them, or one viewed with hostile feeling by them, which latter is its sense in Romans 11:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:15. The above exposition of the import of this verse is confirmed by the consideration that the Epistle affords no trace of the apostle's relations with the Galatian converts having been other than mutually friendly at even his second visit to them. This fact is implied in ver. 12, and Galatians 1:9 furnishes no evidence to the contrary; for those warnings may have been uttered in his first visit as well as in his second, without occasioning or being occasioned by any want of mutual confidence. This view of their mutual relations is confirmed likewise by the feelings of indignant astonishment with which evidently the apostle took up his pen to address them in this letter: the tidings which had just reached him had been a painful surprise to him.
Better, so then: seeing that your love for me has waned.
Your enemy (ἐχθρὸς ὑμῶν)
Ἐχθρὸς enemy, in an active sense, as is shown by the next clause. Not passive, an object of hatred, which would have the pronoun in the dative.
Because I tell you the truth (ἀληθεύων ὑμῖν)
Ἀληθεύειν, only here and Ephesians 4:15, means to speak the truth or to deal truly. The present participle refers to the same time as γέγονα I am become, the time of his second visit. The clause is usually construed as interrogative (A.V.). It is rather a direct statement with a slight interrogative suggestion. "So then, I am become your enemy, am I."
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