Galatians 4:24
Parallel Verses
New International Version
These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.

New Living Translation
These two women serve as an illustration of God's two covenants. The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them.

English Standard Version
Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.

New American Standard Bible
This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar.

King James Bible
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
These things are illustrations, for the women represent the two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery--this is Hagar.

International Standard Version
This is being said as an allegory, for these women represent two covenants. The one woman, Hagar, is from Mount Sinai, and her children are born into slavery.

NET Bible
These things may be treated as an allegory, for these women represent two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai bearing children for slavery; this is Hagar.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But these are illustrations of the two Covenants, the one that is from Mount Sinai begets to bondage, which is Hagar.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I'm going to use these historical events as an illustration. The women illustrate two arrangements. The one woman, Hagar, is the arrangement made on Mount Sinai. Her children are born into slavery.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Which things are an allegory; for these women are the two covenants: the one from the Mount Sinai, which begat unto slavery, which is Hagar.

King James 2000 Bible
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from mount Sinai, which brings forth to bondage, which is Hagar.

American King James Version
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which engenders to bondage, which is Agar.

American Standard Version
Which things contain an allegory: for these women are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Which things are said by an allegory. For these are the two testaments. The one from mount Sina, engendering unto bondage; which is Agar:

Darby Bible Translation
Which things have an allegorical sense; for these are two covenants: one from mount Sinai, gendering to bondage, which is Hagar.

English Revised Version
Which things contain an allegory: for these women are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar.

Webster's Bible Translation
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

Weymouth New Testament
All this is allegorical; for the women represent two Covenants. One has its origin on Mount Sinai, and bears children destined for slavery.

World English Bible
These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar.

Young's Literal Translation
which things are allegorized, for these are the two covenants: one, indeed, from mount Sinai, to servitude bringing forth, which is Hagar;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

4:21-27 The difference between believers who rested in Christ only, and those who trusted in the law, is explained by the histories of Isaac and Ishmael. These things are an allegory, wherein, beside the literal and historical sense of the words, the Spirit of God points out something further. Hagar and Sarah were apt emblems of the two different dispensations of the covenant. The heavenly Jerusalem, the true church from above, represented by Sarah, is in a state of freedom, and is the mother of all believers, who are born of the Holy Spirit. They were by regeneration and true faith, made a part of the true seed of Abraham, according to the promise made to him.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 24. - Which things are an allegory (ἅτινά ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα); which things are written (or, expounded) with a further meaning. The relative ἅτινα, as distinguished from , probably means "which facts, being of this description, are," etc., or, "things, which are of such a sort that they are," etc. (comp. Colossians 2:23 in the Greek). The apostle, perhaps, intimates that the particulars just recited by him belong to a class of objects distinguished among other objects presented to us in the Old Testament by having a further sense than the literal historical one; the literal historical sense, however, by no means being thereby superseded. Comp. 1 Corinthians 10:11, "Now these things happened unto them (τύποι, or τυπικῶς) as figures [or, 'by way of figure ']." The verb ἀλληγορεῖν, is shown by lexicons, Liddell and Scott's and others, to mean, either to speak a thing allegorically or to expound a thing as allegorical. Bishops Ellicott and Lightfoot furnish passages illustrative of both meanings, particularly of the second; and the latter adds the observation that it is possible that the apostle uses the verb here in the sense of being allegorically expounded, "referring to some recognized mode of interpretation." St. Paul did at times refer to authority extrinsical to his own (Ephesians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 11:16; 1 Corinthians 15:11). But whichever of the two possible senses of the verb ἀλληγορεῖσθαι was the one here intended by the apostle, there is no improbability in the supposition that not now for the first time was the narrative of Hagar and Ishmael thus applied: it is quite supposable, for instance, that it had been so applied at Antioch, in the animated discussions in which Paul, Barnabas, and Silas encountered the Judaists in that Church. At all events, it is not merely supposable, but in a high degree probable, that at least some of the historical personages, institutions, and events of the Old Testament Scriptures were wont to be allegorically treated by leaders of Christian thought of the highest authority. We cannot acquiesce in the position adopted by some critics, that such allegorizing is to be relegated to the region of mere Jewish rabbinism, now to be regarded as exploded. And we need not here insist upon the consideration that a rabbinical origin would constitute no valid objection to our acceptance of such allegorizing treatment of Scripture, because that the results of rabbinical exegesis and of rabbinical investigations in theology were in many cases of the highest value - a fact which those who are acquainted, for example, with Professor Reuss's 'Histoire de la Theologie Cbretienne' will not be disposed to question. For we resist the attempt to thrust us back upon the schools of the rabbins, as if it were from them only that St. Paul derived this allegorical method of Scripture exposition. Those schools may have made him acquainted with it, it is true; but altogether independently of rabbinical instruction, the leading teachers of the Church, even before Paul's conversion, "unlearned men," ιδιῶται, as the rabbinists regarded them, had, as we cannot doubt, learnt thus to apply Scripture in the school of Jesus. Christ himself, not only before his passion, but also, and we may believe with greater definiteness and particularity, after his resurrection (Luke 24:27, 45; Acts 1:3), had imparted to his apostles and other disciples some expositions of historical facts of the Old Testament, which must have been of this description, and which would suggest the legitimate application of the same method in other analogous instances. And those men were not only disciples, pupils of Jesus, but were likewise especial, though not the exclusive, organs of the Holy Spirit's teaching in the Church (John 16:12-15; Ephesians 3:5; Ephesians 4:11). Particular allegorical expositions, therefore, received amongst those apostles and prophets of Christ, came clothed with the highest authority, emanating as they well might have done from Christ's own oral teaching, or from an immediate special leading of his Spirit. And, further, we feel ourselves entitled to believe that the supreme Revealer of spiritual truth to mankind might well think fit to appoint, not only words or ceremonial institutions as means of imparting religious instruction or of prophetical indication, but historical incidents as well; not merely so ordering the manner in which his inspired organs framed their narratives of certain occurrences as to make those narratives prophetical, but also in his disposal of human affairs so ordering the occurrences themselves as that they should be prophetical; furnishing (so to speak) tableaux vivants, in which the faith of his servants should read, ff not spiritual facts which were as yet future, at least spiritual facts after they had come to pass, the prophetical adumbration of which, now recognized by them, would serve to confirm their belief in them and their comprehension of them. The fact that Christ repeatedly and most pointedly referred to the strange experiences of Jonah as prophetical of his own passion and resurrection proves to a certainty that events might be predictive as well as utterances of prophets. Our Lord's use of the story of the brazen serpent, of the gift of manna, and of the Passover (Luke 22:16) points in the same direction. We have also apostolical guidance in construing the Passover, the Exodus, the story of Melehiscdec, Abraham's offering up of his son, the yearly Fast of the Atonement, as legitimately subject to similar treatment. Since the old economy with its histories and its ordinances originated from the same Divine Author as the new, it is no unreasonable belief that in the things of preparatory dispensations he had set foreshadowings, and in no scant number, of those great things in the spiritual economy which from "eternal ages" had been his thoughts towards us, and in which the whole progress of human history was to find its consummation. In the apostle's discussion of his subject there are in part distinctly specified, in part merely indicated, a great variety of contrasts; these the reader will find presented by Bengel in his 'Gnomon' in a tabulated form with great distinctness. For these are the two covenants; or, testaments (αῦται γάρ εἰσι δύο [Receptus, εἰσιν αἱ δύο] διαθῆκαι); for these women are two covenants. The Textus Receptus has αἱ δύο διαθῆκαι. but the article is expunged by all recent editors. What the apostle means is this: the circumstance that Abraham had two wives pointed to the fact that there were to be, not one covenant only, but two. He has previously (Galatians 3:15, 17) spoken of "the promise" as a covenant; while also this term was already a familiar designation of the economy which God appointed to the natural "seed of Abraham." Compare also Jeremiah's mention of these two "covenants" (Jeremiah 31:31). For the use of the verb "are," comp. Matthew 13:37-39; Revelation 1:20. A is B, and B is A, in the characteristics which they have in common. The one from the Mount Sinai (μία μὲν ἀπὸ ὄρους Σινᾶ); one from Mount Sinai. The μία δὲ, or, ἡ δευτέρα, which should have followed to make the sequel of the sentence conformable with its commencement, is, in form, wanting, having in the framing of the sentence got lost sight of, through the parenthesis introduced immediately after this clause to illustrate its bearing; for the words ἡ δὲ ἄνω Ἱερουσαλὴμ of ver. 26 only in substance furnish the apodosis to this protasis, being themselves evolved out of what immediately precedes them. The covenant which is our mother is styled, in Ver. 28,"promise." Windischmann proposes for a formally corresponding apodosis something of this sort: Ἡ δὲ δευτέρα ἀπ οὐρανοῦ (or, ἄνωθεν), εἰς ἐλευθερίαν γεννῶσα, ἥτις ἐστὶ Σάῥῤα συστοιχεῖ δὲ τῇ ἄνω Ἱερουσαλήμ η} ἐλευθέρα ἐστὶ μετὰ τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς τούτεστιν ἡμῶν (or, οἵτινές ἐσμεν ἡμεῖς). "From Mount Sinai;" being promulgated from Mount Sinai, it takes its being therefrom. Which gendereth to bondage (εἰς δουλείαν γεννῶσα); bearing children unto bondage Those subject to a covenant are regarded as its offspring; as Acts 3:35, "Ye are the children... of the covenant," etc.: their lives are moulded by its direction; they come under the promises, or the discipline, assured by its terms; in short, they owe to it their spiritual condition. The apostle assumes it to be a manifest fact, having before repeatedly asserted it, that those under the Law are in a condition of servitude. Which is Hagar (ἥτις ἐστὶν Ἄγαρ); which is Hagar. The meaning of ἥτις here is, "which being such in character as it is, is Hagar." This covenant, with its children, being wrapped in an element of slavery, is kindred in character with Hagar and her offspring. It is objected that Ishmael was not, in fact, a slave. But as Hagar does not appear to have been a recognized concubine of Abraham, in the same way as Bilhah and Zilpah were concubines of Jacob, but still continued to be Sarah's handmaid ("thy maid," Genesis 16:6), her child was, of course, born into the same condition. With Sarah's consent, it is true, Abraham might, if he had thought fit, have adopted him as a child of his own; but this does not appear to have been done.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Which things are an allegory,.... Or "are allegorized": so Sarah and Hagar were allegorized by Philo the Jew (p), before they were by the apostle. Sarah he makes to signify virtue, and Hagar the whole circle of arts and sciences, which are, or should be, an handmaid to virtue; but these things respecting Hagar and Sarah, the bondwoman and the free, and their several offspring, are much better allegorized by the apostle here. An allegory is a way of speaking in which one thing is expressed by another, and is a continued metaphor; and the apostle's meaning is, that these things point at some other things; have another meaning in them, a mystical and spiritual one, besides the literal; and which the Jews call

"Midrash", a name they give to the mystical and allegorical sense of Scripture, in which they greatly indulge themselves. An allegory is properly a fictitious way of speaking; but here it designs an accommodation of a real history, and matter of fact, to other cases and things, and seems to intend a type or figure; and the sense to be, that these things which were literally true of Hagar and Sarah, of Ishmael and Isaac, were types and figures of things to come; just as what befell the Israelites were types and figures of things that would be under the Gospel dispensation, 1 Corinthians 10:11.

for these are the two covenants, or "testaments"; that is, these women, Hagar and Sarah, signify, and are figures of the two covenants; not the covenant of works, and the covenant of grace. Hagar was no figure of the covenant of works, that was made and broke before she was born; besides, the covenant she was a figure of was made at Mount Sinai, whereas the covenant of works was made in paradise: moreover, the covenant of works was made with Adam, and all his posterity, but the covenant which Hagar signified was only made with the children of Israel; she represented Jerusalem, that then was with her children. Nor was Sarah a figure of the covenant of grace, for this was made long before she had a being, even from everlasting; but they were figures of the two administrations of one and the same covenant, which were to take place in the world successively; and which following one the other, are by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews called the first and the second, the old and the new covenants. Now these are the covenants or testaments, the old and the new, and the respective people under them, which were prefigured by these two women, and their offspring.

The one from the Mount Sinai; that is, one of these covenants, or one of the administrations of the covenant, one dispensation of it, which is the first, and now called old, because abolished, took its rise from Mount Sinai, was delivered there by God to Moses, in order to be communicated to the people of Israel, who were to be under that form of administration until the coming of the Messiah. And because the whole Mosaic economy was given to Moses on Mount Sinai, it is said to be from thence: hence, in Jewish writings, we read, times without number, of , a rite, custom, constitution, or appointment given to Moses "from Mount Sinai", the same phrase as here. Sinai signifies "bushes", and has its name from the bushes which grew upon if, (q); in one of which the Lord appeared to Moses; for Horeb and Sinai are one and the same mount; one signifies waste and desolate, the other bushy; as one part of the mountain was barren and desert, and the other covered with bushes and brambles; and may fitly represent the condition of such that are under the law.

Which gendereth to bondage; begets and brings persons into a state of bondage, induces on them a spirit of bondage to fear, and causes them to be all their lifetime subject to it; as even such were that were under the first covenant, or under the Old Testament dispensation:

which is Agar; or this is the covenant, the administration of it, which Hagar, the bondwoman, Sarah's servant, represented.

(p) De Cherubim, p. 108, 109. (q) Pirke Eliezer, c. 41.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

24. are an allegory—rather, "are allegorical," that is, have another besides the literal meaning.

these are the two covenants—"these [women] are (that is, mean; omit 'the' with all the oldest manuscripts) two covenants." As among the Jews the bondage of the mother determined that of the child, the children of the free covenant of promise, answering to Sarah, are free; the children of the legal covenant of bondage are not so.

one from—that is, taking his origin from Mount Sinai. Hence, it appears, he is treating of the moral law (Ga 3:19) chiefly (Heb 12:18). Paul was familiar with the district of Sinai in Arabia (Ga 1:17), having gone thither after his conversion. At the gloomy scene of the giving of the Law, he learned to appreciate, by contrast, the grace of the Gospel, and so to cast off all his past legal dependencies.

which gendereth—that is, bringing forth children unto bondage. Compare the phrase (Ac 3:25), "children of the covenant which God made … saying unto Abraham."

Agar—that is, Hagar.

Galatians 4:24 Additional Commentaries
Hagar and Sarah
23But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. 24This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. 25Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 33:2
He said: "The LORD came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes.

1 Corinthians 10:11
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.

Galatians 4:3
So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.

Galatians 4:25
Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.
Treasury of Scripture

Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which engenders to bondage, which is Agar.

an allegory.

Ezekiel 20:49 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Does he not speak parables?

Hosea 11:10 They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion: when he …

Matthew 13:35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, …

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are …

Hebrews 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; …


Galatians 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem …

Luke 22:19,20 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, …

1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that …

the two.

Galatians 3:15-21 Brothers, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's …

Hebrews 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

Hebrews 8:6-13 But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also …

Hebrews 9:15-24 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that …

Hebrews 10:15-18 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he …

Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of …

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, …

covenants. or, testament. Sinai. Gr. Sina. which.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us …

Romans 8:15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but …


Genesis 16:3,4,8,15,16 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram …

Genesis 21:9-13 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born to …

Genesis 25:12 Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar …


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Alphabetical: allegorically and are be bearing bears children covenant covenants figuratively for from Hagar is may Mount One proceeding represent she Sinai slaves speaking taken the These things This to two who women

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