|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:12-18 The apostle desires that they would be of one mind with him respecting the law of Moses, as well as united with him in love. In reproving others, we should take care to convince them that our reproofs are from sincere regard to the honour of God and religion and their welfare. The apostle reminds the Galatians of the difficulty under which he laboured when he first came among them. But he notices, that he was a welcome messenger to them. Yet how very uncertain are the favour and respect of men! Let us labour to be accepted of God. You once thought yourselves happy in receiving the gospel; have you now reason to think otherwise? Christians must not forbear speaking the truth, for fear of offending others. The false teachers who drew the Galatians from the truth of the gospel were designing men. They pretended affection, but they were not sincere and upright. An excellent rule is given. It is good to be zealous always in a good thing; not for a time only, or now and then, but always. Happy would it be for the church of Christ, if this zeal was better maintained.
Verse 14. - And my temptation which was in my flesh (καὶ τὸν πειρασμὸν ὑμῶν [Receptus, πειρασμόν μου τὸν] ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου) i and that which was a temptation for you in my flesh. "In my flesh;" that is, in my bodily appearance. Instead of ὑμῶν, the Textus Receptus gives μου τόν: but ὑμῶν is the reading of the best manuscripts, and, as the more difficult one, was the one most likely to be tampered with; it is accordingly accepted by recent editors with great unanimity. "My trial "would add to the sentence a tinge of pathetic self-commiseration. "Your trial" brings out the sentiment how greatly his affliction would be likely to indispose his hearers to listen to his message; it "tested" very severely the sincerity and depth of their religious sensibility. Ye despised not, nor rejected (οὐκ ἐξουθενήσατε οὐδὲ ἐξεπτύσατε); ye scorned not, nor loathed. The disfigurement on the apostle's person, whatever it was, did not detain their attention; they did not, at least not long, occupy themselves with indulging their feelings of ridicule or disgust; their sense of it got to be soon absorbed in their admiration of the apostle's character and in their delight in the heavenly message which he brought to them. The verb ἐξουθενέω, in the New Testament found only in St. Luke and St. Paul, means always, not merely "to despise," but to express contempt for a thing, "to scout" (comp. Luke 18:9; Luke 23:11; Acts 4:11; Romans 14:3, 10; 1 Corinthians 1:28; 1 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 10:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:20). Grotius observes of ἐξεπτύσατε that it is a figurative expression drawn from our spitting out of our mouth what greatly offends our taste; quoting Catullus ('Carm.' 50, 'Ad Lic.'): "Precesque nostras, Oramus, ne despuas." Critics have remarked that ἐκπτύειν, which is not found elsewhere used thus metaphorically as ἀποπτύειν is, is probably so applied here by the apostle to produce a kind of alliteration after ἐξουθενήσατε: as if it were "Non reprobastis, nec respuistis." But received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus (ἀλλ ὡς ἄγγελον Θεοῦ ἐδέξασθέ με ὡς Ξριστὸν Ἰησοῦν); but as an angel of God received ye me, as Christ Jesus. Their first feeling of aversation from his personal appearance gave place to emotions of delight in his message of which he seemed as it were the embodiment, and of reverential love and gratitude to himself. His manifest absorption in the glad tidings he brought, and in love to his Lord, irradiating his whole being with his unbounded benevolence and gladsomeness as the messenger of peace (Ephesians 2:17), was recognized by them with a response of unspeakable enthusiasm. A faint parallel is afforded by 1 Thessalonians 2:18.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And my temptation which was in my flesh,.... The same with the infirmity of his flesh, and which was a trial of his faith and patience, and every other grace, as the afflictions of the saints be. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, and the Vulgate Latin version read, "your temptation in my flesh"; that which was a trial of them, whether they would receive him or not. This
ye despised not; nor the apostle on the account of it, nor his ministry; they thought never the worse of him, nor of the Gospel he preached, because of this:
nor rejected; him, nor the counsel of God declared by him,
but received me; as they did, into their cities and places of worship, into their houses, and into their hearts and affections: and that
as an angel of God; with all that reverence and respect, that high esteem, veneration, and affection, as if one of the celestial inhabitants had been sent down from heaven to bring them the good tidings of the Gospel: or "as a messenger of God", as the phrase may be rendered: as one that had his mission and commission from God, which was not at all disputed by them: but they looked upon him under that character, and regarded him as such,
even as Christ Jesus; as his ambassador, as representing him, as being in his stead; yea, if he had been personally present as man among them, they could not have shown greater respect to him as such, than they did to the apostle; for as for any religious worship and adoration, that they did not offer to him; and had they, he would have addressed them in like manner he did the inhabitants of Lystra, Acts 14:14. Now since they showed him so much respect, notwithstanding all his infirmities, temptations, and afflictions, when he first preached the Gospel; what should hinder that they should not pay the same regard to him now, by abiding in his doctrine and following his example, since he was the same man in his principles and practices now as then?
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. my temptation—The oldest manuscripts read, "your temptation." My infirmity, which was, or might have been, a "temptation," or trial, to you, ye despised not, that is, ye were not tempted by it to despise me and my message. Perhaps, however, it is better to punctuate and explain as Lachmann, connecting it with Ga 4:13, "And (ye know) your temptation (that is, the temptation to which ye were exposed through the infirmity) which was in my flesh. Ye despised not (through natural pride), nor rejected (through spiritual pride), but received me," &c. "Temptation does not mean here, as we now use the word, tendency to an evil habit, but BODILY TRIAL."
as an angel of God—as a heaven-inspired and sent messenger from God: angel means "messenger" (Mal 2:7). Compare the phrase, 2Sa 19:27, a Hebrew and Oriental one for a person to be received with the highest respect (Zec 12:8). An angel is free from the flesh, infirmity, and temptation.
as Christ—being Christ's representative (Mt 10:40). Christ is Lord of angels.
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