1 Corinthians 5:7
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
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(7) Purge out therefore the old leaven.—It is not the offending man who is here spoken of, but it is the spirit in the Church which tolerated the evil, and which is to be purged out of their midst that they may become actually (a new lump) as they are by profession (unleavened).

Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.—Better, Christ our passover is slain; “for us” is not in the best MSS. The word translated “sacrifice” is generally used in the New Testament in the sense simply of “slaying” or “killing” (Matthew 22:4; John 10:10; Acts 10:1; Acts 10:13; Acts 11:7); and in the similar expressions regarding our Lord (Revelation 5:6; Revelation 5:12) the word is “wounded.”

5:1-8 The apostle notices a flagrant abuse, winked at by the Corinthians. Party spirit, and a false notion of Christian liberty, seem to have saved the offender from censure. Grievous indeed is it that crimes should sometimes be committed by professors of the gospel, of which even heathens would be ashamed. Spiritual pride and false doctrines tend to bring in, and to spread such scandals. How dreadful the effects of sin! The devil reigns where Christ does not. And a man is in his kingdom, and under his power, when not in Christ. The bad example of a man of influence is very mischievous; it spreads far and wide. Corrupt principles and examples, if not corrected, would hurt the whole church. Believers must have new hearts, and lead new lives. Their common conversation and religious deeds must be holy. So far is the sacrifice of Christ our Passover for us, from rendering personal and public holiness unnecessary, that it furnishes powerful reasons and motives for it. Without holiness we can neither live by faith in him, nor join in his ordinances with comfort and profit.Purge out therefore ... - Put away; free yourselves from.

The old leaven - The apostle here takes occasion, from the mention of leaven, to exhort the Corinthians to put away vice and sin. The figure is derived from the custom of the Jews in putting away leaven at the celebration of the passover. By the OLD leaven he means vice and sin; and also here the person who had committed the sin in their church. As the Jews, at the celebration of the passover, gave all diligence in removing leaven from their houses - searching every part of their dwellings with candles, that they might remove every particle of leavened bread from their habitations - so the apostle exhorts them to use all diligence to search out and remove all sin.

That ye may be a new lump - That you may be like a new mass of flour, or dough, before the leaven is put into it. That you may be pure, and free from the corrupting principle.

As ye are unleavened - That is, as ye are bound by your Christian profession to be unleavened, or to be pure. Your very profession implies this, and you ought, therefore, to remove all impurity, and to become holy. Let there be no impurity, and no mixture inconsistent with that holiness which the gospel teaches and requires. The apostle here does not refer merely to the case of the incestuous person, but he takes occasion to exhort them to put away all sin. Not only to remove this occasion of offence, but to remove all impurity, that they might become entirely and only holy. The doctrine is, that Christians are by their profession holy, and that therefore they ought to give all diligence to remove everything that is impure.

For even Christ ... - As the Jews, when their paschal lamb was slain, gave great diligence to put away all leaven from their dwellings, so we Christians, since our passover is slain, ought to give the like diligence to remove all that is impure and corrupting from our hearts - There can be no doubt here that the paschal lamb was a type of the Messiah; and as little that the leaven was understood to be emblematic of impurity and sin, and that their being required to put it away was intended to be an emblematic action designed to denote that all sin was to be removed and forsaken.

Our passover - Our "paschal lamb," for so the word πάσχα pascha usually signifies. The sense is, "We Christians have a paschal lamb; and that lamb is the Messiah. And as the Jews, when their paschal lamb was slain, were required to put away all leaven from their dwellings, so we, when our paschal lamb is slain, should put away all sin from our hearts and from our churches." This passage proves that Paul meant to teach that Christ had "taken the place" of the paschal lamb - that that lamb was designed to adumbrate or typify him - and that consequently when he was offered, the paschal offering was designed to cease. Christ is often in the Scriptures compared to a lamb. See Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:6, Revelation 5:12.

Is sacrificed for us - Margin, Or "slain" (ἐτυθη etuthē). The word θύω thuō may mean simply to slay or kill; but it is also used often in the sense of making a sacrifice as an expiation for sin; Acts 14:13, Acts 14:18; 1 Corinthians 10:20; compare Genesis 31:54; Genesis 45:1; Exodus 3:18; Exodus 5:3, Exodus 5:8,Exodus 5:17; Exodus 8:8, Exodus 8:25-29; Exodus 13:15; Exodus 20:24; 2 Chronicles 15:16, where it is used as the translation of the word זבח zaabach, "to sacrifice." It is used as the translation of this word no less than 98 times in the Old Testament, and perhaps always in the sense of a "sacrifice," or bloody offering. It is also used as the translation of the Hebrew word טבח Taabach, and שׁחט shaachat, to slay, to kill, etc. in Exodus 12:21; 1 Kings 11:19; 2 Kings 25:7; 2 Chronicles 29:22, etc.; in all in eleven places in the Old Testament. It is used in a similar sense in the New Testament, in Matthew 22:4; Luke 15:23, Luke 15:27, Luke 15:30; John 10:10; Acts 10:13; Acts 11:7. It occurs no where else in the New Testament than in the places which have been specified - The true sense of the word here is, therefore, to be found in the doctrine respecting the passover. That that was intended to be a sacrifice for sin is proved by the nature of the offering, and by the account which is everywhere given of it in the Old Testament. The paschal lamb was slain as a sacrifice. It was slain in the temple; its blood was poured out as an offering; it was sprinkled and offered by the priests in the same way as other sacrifices; see Exodus 23:18; Exodus 34:25; 2 Chronicles 30:15-16. And if so, then this passage means that Christ was offered "as a sacrifice for sin" - in accordance with the numerous passages of the New Testament, which speak of his death in this manner (see the note at Romans 3:25); and that his offering was designed to take the place of the paschal sacrifice, under the ancient economy.

For us - For us who are Christians. He died in our stead; and as the Jews, when celebrating their paschal feast, put away all leaven, so we, as Christians, should put away all evil from our hearts, since that sacrifice has now been made once for all.

7. old leaven—The remnant of the "old" (Eph 4:22-24) heathenish and natural corruption. The image is taken from the extreme care of the Jews in searching every corner of their houses, and "purging out" every particle of leaven from the time of killing the lamb before the Passover (De 16:3, 4). So Christians are continually to search and purify their hearts (Ps 139:23, 24).

as ye are unleavened—normally, and as far as your Christian calling is concerned: free from the leaven of sin and death (1Co 6:11). Paul often grounds exhortations on the assumption of Christian professors' normal state as realized (Ro 6:3, 4) [Alford]. Regarding the Corinthian Church as the Passover "unleavened lump" or mass, he entreats them to correspond in fact with this their normal state. "For Christ our Passover (Ex 12:5-11, 21-23; Joh 1:29) has been (English Version, "is") sacrificed for us"; that is, as the Jews began the days of unleavened bread with the slaying of the Passover lamb, so, Christ our Passover having been already slain, let there be no leaven of evil in you who are the "unleavened lump." Doubtless he alludes to the Passover which had been two or three weeks before kept by the Jewish Christians (1Co 16:8): the Gentile Christians probably also refraining from leavened bread at the love-feasts. Thus the Jewish Passover naturally gave place to our Christian Easter. The time however, of keeping feast (metaphorical; that is, leading the Christian life of joy in Christ's finished work, compare Pr 15:15) among us Christians, corresponding to the Jewish Passover, is not limited, as the latter, to one season, but is ALL our time; for the transcendent benefits of the once-for-all completed sacrifice of our Passover Lamb extends to all the time of our lives and of this Christian dispensation; in no part of our time is the leaven of evil to be admitted.

For even—an additional reason, besides that in 1Co 5:6, and a more cogent one for purging out every leaven of evil; namely, that Christ has been already sacrificed, whereas the old leaven is yet unremoved, which ought to have been long ago purged out.

Purge out therefore the old leaven: if the article thn in this place be emphatical (as some think) it ought to have been translated this old leaven, that is, the incestuous person, whose communion with you influenceth your whole communion, which is defiled by it, through your church’s neglect of their duty with reference to him. If the article be not to be taken emphatically, these words may be understood as spoken to every individual member of this church, and is no more than put off the old man; the lusts and corruptions of our hearts, as well as false doctrine, being compared to leaven, which influence our whole man, as leaven doth the whole mass of meal. The first seemeth to be most proper to this place, if we consider what went before, and that the apostle is speaking to the whole church, and had been before speaking of an act to be done by them not singly, but when they should be gathered together in a church assembly; these he commands to purge out the old leaven, that is, this incestuous person.

That ye may be a new lump; that they might be truly a Christian church, reformed from such things as no way agreed with the doctrine and profession of the gospel.

As ye are unleavened; as you are or should be unleavened, like the Jews, who at the passover kept the feast of unleavened bread, when for seven days together they might have no leavened bread in any of their houses, Leviticus 23:6.

For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; for though the feast of the Jewish passover be ceased, and you be tied to none of those Levitical observations, yet you are under as high an obligation; for Christ, who is the true paschal Lamb, is slain or sacrificed for us, and your old man should be crucified with him, and you no longer serve sin.

Purge out therefore the old leaven,.... Meaning either the incestuous person, whose crime might well be compared to sour "leaven", and be called old because of his long continuance in it; whom the apostle would have removed from them; this is properly the act of excommunication, which that church was to perform, as a quite distinct thing from what the apostle himself determined to do. The allusion is to the strict search the Jews made (g), just before their passover after leaven, to purge their houses of it, that none of it might remain when their feast began; which they made by the light of a lamp, on the night of the fourteenth of the month Nisan, in every secret place, hole, and corner of the house: or this may be an exhortation to the church in general with respect to themselves, as well as this man, to relinquish their old course of sinning, to "put off concerning the former conversation the old man", Ephesians 4:22 the same with the old leaven here; it being usual with the Jews (h) to call the vitiosity and corruption of nature , "leaven in the lump"; of which say (i),

"the evil imagination of a man, as leaven the lump, enters into his bowels little, little, (very little at first,) but afterwards it increases in him, until his whole body is mixed with it.''

That ye may be a new lump; that they might appear to be what they professed to be, new men, new creatures in Christ, by their walking in newness of life; and by removing that wicked person, they would be as the apostles were, when Judas was gone from them, all clean through the word of Christ:

as ye are unleavened; at least professed to be. They were without the leaven of sin; not without the being of sin in their hearts, nor without the commission of it, more or less, in their lives; but were justified from it by the righteousness of Christ, and had the new creature formed in their souls, or that which was born of God in them, that sinned not. The apostle compares the true believers of this church to the unleavened bread eaten at the passover, for the grace of their hearts, and the simplicity of their lives; as he does the incestuous man to the old leaven, that was to be searched for, and cast out at the feast:

for even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. This is observed, to show the pertinency of the similes of leaven and unleavened, the apostle had made use of; and to make some further improvement of them, for the use, comfort, and instruction of this church; saying, that Christ is "our passover", the Christians' passover; the Jewish passover was a type of Christ; wherefore Moses kept it by faith, in the faith of the Messiah that was to come; see Hebrews 11:28 as it was instituted in commemoration of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, so likewise to prefigure Christ, and the redemption of his people by him. The Jews have a saying (k),

"that in the month Nisan they were redeemed, and in the month Nisan they will be redeemed;''

which was the month in which the passover was kept; and for the confirmation of which, they mention the following texts, Micah 7:15. There is an agreement between the passover, and Christ, in the sacrifice itself, and the qualities of it; it was a "lamb", as Christ is the "Lamb" of God, of his appointing and providing, and fitly so called, for his innocence and harmlessness, his meekness, humility, and patience; it was a lamb "without blemish", as Christ is, without spot and blemish, without the spot of original sin, or blemish of any actual transgression: it was a male, as Christ is the son or man, the head of the body, and the "firstborn" among many brethren; it was a male of the first year; in which it might prefigure Christ in the flower of his age, arrived at man's estate, and having had experience of a variety of sorrows and afflictions. There is also some likeness between them in the separation and slaying of it. The passover lamb was to be "taken out from the sheep, or from the goats"; as Christ's human nature was chosen out from among the people, and, in God's eternal counsel and covenant, separated from the rest of the individuals of human nature, and taken into a federal union with the Son of God, and preordained before the foundation of the world, to be the Lamb slain; it was also wonderfully formed by the Holy Ghost in the virgin's womb, and separated and preserved from the infection of sin; and in his life and conversation here on earth, he was separated from sinners, from being like them, and is now made higher than the heavens. This lamb was kept up from the "tenth" of the month, to the "fourteenth", before it was killed; which might typify preservation of Christ, in his infancy, from the malice of Herod, and, in his riper years, from the designs of the Jews upon him, until his time was come; and it is to be observed, that there was much such a space of time between his entrance into Jerusalem, and his sufferings and death; see John 12:11. The lamb was "slain", so the Prince of life was killed; and "between the two evenings", as Christ was in the end of the world, in the last days, in the decline of time, of the age of the world, and even of the time of the day, about the "ninth" hour, or three o'clock in the afternoon, the time between the two evenings; the first evening beginning at noon as soon as the sun began to decline, the other upon the setting of it. There is likewise a comparison of these together to be observed, in the dressing and eating of it. The passover lamb was not to be eaten "raw nor sodden"; so Christ is to be eaten not in a carnal, but in a spiritual way, by faith; it was to be "roast with fire", denoting the painful sufferings of Christ on the cross, and the fire of divine wrath that fell upon him; it was to be eaten "whole", as a whole Christ is to be received by faith, in his person, and in all his offices, grace, and righteousness; not a "bone" of it was to be "broken", which was fulfilled in Christ, John 19:36 it was to be eaten "with unleavened bread", which is spiritualized by the apostle in the next verse; and also with "bitter herbs", expressive of the hard bondage and severe afflictions, with which the lives of the Israelites were made bitter in Egypt; and significative of the persecutions and trials that such must expect, who live godly and by faith in Christ Jesus: it was eaten only by Israelites, and such as became proselytes, as Christ, only by true believers; and if the household was too little, they were to join with their "neighbours"; which might typify the calling and bringing in of the Gentiles, when the middle wall of partition was broken down, Christ, his flesh and blood being common to both. The first passover was eaten in haste, with their loins girt, their shoes on, and staves in their hands, ready to depart from Egypt to Canaan's land; denoting the readiness of believers to every good work; having their feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; their loins girt about with truth, their lights burning, and they like men waiting for their Lord's coming; hasting unto the day of the Lord, being earnestly, desirous of being absent from the body, that they might be present with him: in a word, the receiving of the blood of the passover lamb into a bason, sprinkling it on the lintel, and two side posts of the doors of the houses, in which they ate it, which the Lord seeing passed over those houses, when he passed through Egypt to destroy the firstborn, whence it has its name of the passover, were very significative of the blood of sprinkling, even the blood of Christ upon the hearts and consciences of believers; whereby they are secured from avenging justice, from the curse and condemnation of the law, and from wrath to come, and shall never be hurt of the second death. Thus Christ is our antitypical passover, who was sacrificed, whose body and soul were offered as an offering and sacrifice unto God for us, that he might be proper food for our faith; and also in our room and stead, to make satisfaction to divine justice for all our sins and transgressions.

(g) Misn Pesachim, c. 1. sect. 1. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Chametz Umetzah, c. 2. sect. 3, 4. (h) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 7. 4. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 17. 1. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 29. 4. Caphtor, fol. 38. 2. & 41. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 73. 2. 84. 4. 86. 1. 87. 3. 95. 3, 4. & 119. 4. Baal Hattarim in Lev. ii. 11. (i) Zohar in Exod. fol. 71. 3.((k) T. Bab. Roshhashana, fol. 11. 1, 2. Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Exod. fol. 49. 3.

{8} Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new {e} lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our {f} passover is sacrificed for us:

(8) By alluding to the ceremony of the passover, he exhorts them to cast out that unclean person from among them. In times past, he says, it was not lawful for those who celebrated the passover to eat unleavened bread, insomuch that he was held as unclean and unworthy to eat the passover, whoever had but tasted of leaven. Now our whole life must be as it were the feast of unleavened bread, in which all they that are partakers of that immaculate lamb which is slain, must cast out both of themselves, and also out of their houses and congregations, all impurity.

(e) By lump he means the whole body of the Church, every member of which must be unleavened bread, that is, be renewed in spirit, by plucking away the old corruption.

(f) The Lamb of our passover.

1 Corinthians 5:7. Ἐκκαθάρατε τὴν παλ. ζύμ.] From what has been already said, the meaning apart from the figure cannot, it is plain, be: Exclude from your communion the incestuous person (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Cornelius a Lapide, Zeger, Estius, Michaelis) and other notorious offenders (Rosenmüller), but: Empty your church of the sinful habits, which still remain among you from your pre-Christian condition (as a residuum of the unregenerate παλαιὸς ἄνθρωπος, Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9). Comp Theodoret, Calvin, de Wette, Osiander, Ewald, Maier, Neander, Hofmann. Flatt, Pott, and Rückert join the two ideas together; but this is unwarranted and against the unity of sense of the passage. Respecting τὴν παλαιάν, comp Ignatius, Magnes. 10 : τὴν κακὴν ζύμην τὴν παλαιωθείσαν καὶ ἐνοξίσασαν.

The expression ἐκκαθάρ. (comp Plato, Euth. p. 3 A; LXX. Deuteronomy 26:13) is selected in view of the custom, based on Exodus 12:15 ff; Exodus 13:7, and very strictly observed among the Jews, of removing all leaven from the houses on the day before the Passover (see as to this, Schoettgen, Hor. p. 598; Lund, Jüd. Heiligth., ed. Wolf, p. 1111 f.), which was meant to be a sign of the moral purification of the house (Ewald, Alterth. p. 475 f.).

νέον φύραμα] a fresh kneaded mass, i.e. figure apart: a morally new church, freshly restored after the separation from it of all immoral fermenting elements, its members being νέοι ἄνθρωποι through Christ (Colossians 3:9-10). As respects the difference between νέος and καινός, see on Colossians 3:10.

καθώς ἐστε ἄζυμοι] in accordance with your unleavened character, i.e. in keeping with the ethical nature of the position of a Christian, which, as such, is separated from sin. For this ἄζυμον εἶναι is the essential characteristic in the Christian,—who is, it is taken for granted, reconciled to God, born again, spiritually dead and risen again with Christ (Romans 6:2 ff.), and who as a new κτίσις of God (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10) in the καινότης πνεύματος (Romans 7:6) is free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2), and constantly developing the powers of a divine life towards perfect holiness (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14 ff.), being alive unto God as His child in whom Christ lives (Galatians 2:19-20)—and sin in such an one (the being leavened) is abnormal. Hence Christians are—according to this higher mode of regarding the position of a Christian

ἄζυμοι. There is as little warrant for rendering ἐστέ here by esse debetis (Flatt, Pott, Billroth, following Chrysostom, Theophylact, al[807]) as in Luke 9:55. Rosenmüller holds that ἄζυμ. has here its proper meaning: as ye now “vivitis festos dies azymorum.” But ἄζυμος, in fact, does not mean qui abstinet fermento (as Grotius would make out, likening it to ἄσιτος, ἄοινος), but non fermentatus (comp מַצוֹת). Plato, Tim. p. 74 D; Athen. iii. p. 109 B; Genesis 19:3; Ezekiel 29:2, al[809] Moreover, Paul could not address these words in that proper meaning to the church as a whole, even if the Jewish-Christians among them still kept the Jewish Passover.

καὶ γὰρ τὸ πάσχα κ.τ.λ[810]] The motive for ἘΚΚΑΘΆΡΑΤΕ Κ.Τ.Λ[811] The emphasis is on τὸ πάσχα,[812] and καὶ γάρ does not mean simply for, etenim, but for also (Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 137 f.; Stallbaum, a[813] Plat. Gorg. p. 467 B), the “also” introducing the objective relation of things corresponding to the exhortation which had just been given. The paschal lamb slain, and the leaven not purged out—what a contradiction that is! Paul designates Christ as the Christians’ paschal lamb which had been slain (Deuteronomy 16:6; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7), because He is the antitype of the Passover lamb under the law, inasmuch, namely, as His blood was shed, not by any means merely “as the beginning of redemption which made it possible” (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, II. 1, p. 323), but, according to the whole N. T., as the atonement for believers, and that, too, on the very same day (the day before the feast of the Passover, see on John 18:28) on which, from the earliest times, the blood of the paschal lambs had been shed as an expiation for each family (see Ewald, Alterth. p. 466 f.; Keil, § lxxxviii. 11). Comp also John 19:36. In connection with this verse it has been justly remarked (comp on John 18:28, and Lücke in the Gött. gel. Anz. 1834, p. 2020), that Paul could not with propriety have given this title to Christ, if he had followed the Synoptical account of the day of Jesus’ death. Comp Introd. to John, § 2. In point of fact, had he followed the tradition of the Synoptists, that death-day, as being the 15th Nisan, would, by the mode of conception necessarily arising from his Jewish nationality, have hindered his calling Christ antitypically the slain Paschal lamb. For a Passover lamb slain on the first day of the feast would have been, to a Jewish mind moulded according to the ancient and venerated appointment of the divine law, a “contradictio in adjecto;”[817] even supposing that the point of the comparison—which, in accordance with the invariable Pauline mode of regarding the death of Jesus (comp also on John 1:29), must of necessity be His being slain as a ἱλαστήριον, Romans 3:25—were the new divine polity of the holy people, to which the death of Jesus stands, it is said, just in the same relation as the slaying of the paschal lamb in Egypt to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt (as Hofmann objects). Wieseler, in his chronol. Synopse, p. 374 f. (comp also his Beitr. z. Würdigung d. Ev. p. 266), urges as an argument on the other side, that in 1 Corinthians 10:16, τὸ ποτήριον τῆς εὐλογίας, as a technical phrase for the cup in the Lord’s Supper, shows that this cup was identified with that of the Passo1Co 5:Assuredly! but it shows also, in necessary connection therewith, that Christ slain on the 14th Nisan was the Paschal Lamb of believers. The Supper, therefore, which brought them into fellowship with the body and blood of Christ, could not but present itself to the Christian consciousness as the paschal meal, corresponding to the eating of the paschal lamb, and so, too, the cup in the Supper as the antitype of the paschal cup. Consequently chap. 1 Corinthians 10:16, taken in connection with the passage before us, speaks for and not against the account in John. It is, however, from the view held by the primitive church respecting the Supper as the antitype of the paschal meal, that the origin of the Synoptical tradition is to be historically understood. See on John 18:28.

[807] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[809] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[810] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[811] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[812] Theodoret renders wrongly, for it is against the order of the words (as if it were καὶ γὰρ ἡμῶν τ. π.): ἔχομεν καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀμνὸν τὴν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἱερουργίαν καταδεξάμενον; comp. Luther and Neander. Erasmus translates correctly: “Nam et pascha nostrum.”

[813] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[817] This passage, too, therefore goes to establish the position that John’s narrative, and not the Synoptic, is the historically correct one as regards the day of the death of Jesus. Observe how the Rabbinical tradition also agrees with this. See Gemara Bab. in Sanhedr. vi. 2 : “Traditio est, vespera Paschatis suspensum fuisse Jesum.” It is well known that the 14th Nisan (the Preparation-day) was called ערב פסח, vespera Paschatis. The fabulous circumstances linked with the death of Jesus itself in the passage of the Talmud referred to, do not affect the simple statement as to the time when it took place.

1 Corinthians 5:7. ἐκκαθάρατε, “Cleanse out”—the aor[837] implying a summary, and ἐκ- a complete removal (see parls.; for simple καθαίρω, John 15:2), leaving the Church “clean”: an allusion to the pre-Paschal removal of leaven (Exodus 12:15 ff; Exodus 13:7). For τ. παλαιὰν ζύμην, cf. Ignatius, ad Magn., 10, τ. κακὴν ζύμην τ. παλαιωιθεῖσαν κ. ἐνοξίσασαν, applying, however, to Judaism what here relates to Gentile vice. The “old leaven” (denoting not persons—the incestuous and his like—but influences: see

7. Purge out therefore the old leaven] Reference is here made to the Jewish custom of searching for leaven, which is mentioned in the Talmud, and which probably existed in the Apostles’ time. Because Scripture speaks of ‘searching Jerusalem with candles,’ Zephaniah 1:12, they used to carry out this custom of searching for leaven with great strictness, taking a candle and “prying into every mousehole and cranny,” as St Chrysostom says, so as to collect even the smallest crumb of leavened bread, which was to be placed in a box, or some place where a mouse could not get at it. This ceremony, as Lightfoot tells us (Temple Service, ch. xii. sec. 1) was prefaced by the prayer, “Blessed be Thou, O Lord our God, the King everlasting, Who hast sanctified us by Thy commandments, and hast enjoined the putting away of leaven.” The custom exists among the Jews to this day. The scrupulous care in removing the smallest particle of the bitter substance adds force to St Paul’s injunction. Not the slightest trace of bitterness and vice and wickedness was to be left among Christians, since they kept continual feast upon the Flesh and Blood of the Paschal Lamb, even Jesus Christ. See the discourse in St John 6, itself delivered before a Passover.

that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened] as ye are (called to be) unleavened, i.e. purged free from ‘vice and wickedness’ (1 Corinthians 5:8), “so be also in fact.” See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 1:2, and Romans 6:3-4. The Christian community was to be a ‘new lump,’ because it was placed among men as a new society—a society, the object and aim of which was to keep itself free from the defilements of the rest of the world. The word translated lump signifies properly a mass of dough, from a verb signifying to mix, knead.

Christ our passover] Meyer here remarks that St Paul regards Christ as having been slain on the day of the Paschal Feast. We may add that he also explains how the Last Supper was called by Christ a Passover (St Luke 22:15). For in truth it was a real Passover, though not the Passover of the old, but of the new Law, a standing witness to the fact that Christ has become our continual food (cf. Aquinas, Lauda Sion, cited by Dean Stanley, “Novum Pascha novæ legis”). Christ was the Passover, (1) because He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), of which the Paschal Lamb was a type (cf. St John 19:36); (2) because His Blood, sprinkled on the soul, delivers us from the destroying angel; (3) because we feed on His Flesh and Blood (St John 6:51-57), and are thereby nourished for our escape from the ‘land of Egypt, the house of bondage.’ This is why we are to purge out the old leaven, because Christ, the Paschal Lamb, has been slain, and we are bidden to keep perpetual feast on Him. It is not improbable (see ch. 1 Corinthians 16:8) that this Epistle was written about the time of the Passover. On this point consult Paley, Horae Paulinae in loc.

is sacrificed] Literally, was sacrificed, i.e. once for all. Cf. Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:25-26; Hebrews 10:10. The more literal translation of the passage is, for our Passover was sacrificed, even Christ.

1 Corinthians 5:7. Τὴν παλαιὰν, the old) leaven of heathenism and natural corruption.—ἵνα ἦτε νέον φύραμα, that you may be a new lump) the whole of you, evil being taken away.—καθὼς, even as) The third clause of this verse depends rather on the first, than on the second.—ἄζυμοι, unleavened) individuals among you, in consequence of conversion, 1 Corinthians 6:11.—τὸ πάσχα, the passover) The epistle was written about the time of the passover, 1 Corinthians 16:8.—ἡμῶν, [our or] of us) Christians. The Jewish passover was a type of the Christian and new passover.—ἐτύθη) was sacrificed. Paul speaks in the past time; he was much more likely to speak in the present, as his scope so required, if he had acknowledged the sacrifice of the Mass. Hesychius: ἐτύθη, ἐσφάγη.

Verse 7. - Purge out therefore. The word "therefore" is absent from the best manuscripts, and the abruptness is more emphatic without it. No doubt the metaphor was suggested by the fact that St. Paul was writing about the time of the Passover (Acts 16:8). The most essential requisite of the Jewish regulations, with which his whole training had made him so familiar, was the absolute putting away, and even destruction, of every trace of leaven, which was diligently sought for the day before the Passover began. The putting away of leaven was a type of sanctification. The old leaven. "Old" as belonging to their unregenerate and unconverted condition; a remnant of the day when they had been Gentiles and Jews who had not known Christ. The least willing tolerance of the taint would cause it to work throughout the whole society. As ye are unleavened. Leaven is the type of evil in its secret and corrupting workings. Ideally, Christians can only be addressed as "unleavened," i.e. as "purged from their own old sins" (2 Peter 1:9); and it is the method of Scripture (indeed, it is the only possible method) to address Christians as being Christians indeed, and therefore in their ideal rather than their actual character. Some have taken these words to mean, "You are actually keeping the Passover, and therefore have no leaven among you;" but

(1) the words cannot bear this meaning; nor

(2) was St. Paul likely to appeal so prominently to a Jewish ordinance; and

(3) he is thinking of the Christian Easter, and only borrowing a casual illustration from the Jewish Passover. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; rather, in the true reading, for our passover also was sacrificed - even Christ. As Christians, the Gentile Corinthians certainly did not keep the Jewish Passover; but St. Paul reminds them that they too had a Passover - that for them, too a Paschal Victim had been offered, whose sacrificial blood had been shed for their redemption (John 1:29; John 19:36; 1 Peter 1:19). (Comp. Hebrews 13:10, "We have an altar.") 1 Corinthians 5:7Leaven

Not the sinful man, but evil of every kind, in accordance with the more general statement of the leavening, power of evil in 1 Corinthians 5:6. The apostle's metaphor is shaped by the commands concerning the removal of leaven at the passover: Exodus 12:19; Exodus 13:7. Compare Ignatius; "Dispense, therefore, with the evil leaven that has grown old (παλαιωθεῖσαν) and that has gone sour (ἐνοξίσασαν), and be changed into new leaven which is Jesus Christ" (Epistle to Magnesians, 10).

New (νέον)

See on Matthew 26:29.

Passover (τὸ πάσχα)

The Paschal lamb, as Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7.

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