Colossians 4:11
And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellow workers to the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort to me.
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(11) Jesus, which is called Justus.—The surname “Justus” is found in Acts 1:23; Acts 18:7; we learn from tradition that by it, or by its equivalent, St. James, “the Lord’s brother,” was known. In this case it is curious that one who bore our Lord’s name should also have been known by a surname which was His peculiar title, “the Just One.” (See Acts 22:14; and comp. Luke 23:47.) Of this Justus there is no other notice, not even in the Epistle to Philemon, in which all the other names recur.

Who are of the circumcision. These only . . .—The juxtaposition of the two notices seems to indicate—what is in itself likely—that the brethren who held aloof from St. Paul in “strife and envy,” and whose conduct produced that sense of isolation of which he speaks so pathetically in Philippians 2:20, were “of the circumcision.” Out of them, only Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus were true fellow-workers, and as such “a comfort” to the Apostolic labourer.

4:10-18 Paul had differed with Barnabas, on the account of this Mark, yet he is not only reconciled, but recommends him to the churches; an example of a truly Christian and forgiving spirit. If men have been guilty of a fault, it must not always be remembered against them. We must forget as well as forgive. The apostle had comfort in the communion of saints and ministers. One is his fellow-servant, another his fellow-prisoner, and all his fellow-workers, working out their own salvation, and endeavouring to promote the salvation of others. The effectual, fervent prayer is the prevailing prayer, and availeth much. The smiles, flatteries, or frowns of the world, the spirit of error, or the working of self-love, leads many to a way of preaching and living which comes far short of fulfilling their ministry. But those who preach the same doctrine as Paul, and follow his example, may expect the Divine favour and blessing.And Jesus, who is called Justus - The name Jesus was probably that which he bore among the Jews. Justus is a Roman name, and was probably that by which he was known among the Romans. It was not uncommon thus to assume another name when one went among a foreign people; compare the notes at Acts 13:9.

Who are of the circumcision - Jews, or Jewish Christians. Nothing more is known of Justus.

These only are my fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God - The word "only" here, probably refers to the fact that they only of all the Jews who were at Rome assisted Paul in his work. Epaphras and Luke were also with him at Rome, and doubtless aided him.

Which have been a comfort unto me - The more so because they were Jews. The other Jews in Rome stood aloof, and doubtless endeavored to augment the trials of the apostle; compare Acts 28:23-29.

11. Justus—that is, righteous; a common name among the Jews; Hebrew, "tzadik" (Ac 1:23).

of the circumcision—This implies that Epaphras, Luke, and Demas (Col 4:12, 14) were not of the circumcision. This agrees with Luke's Gentile name (the same as Lucanus), and the Gentile aspect of his Gospel.

These only, &c.—namely, of the Jews. For the Jewish teachers were generally opposed to the apostle of the Gentiles (Php 1:15). Epaphras, &c., were also fellow laborers, but Gentiles.

unto—that is, in promoting the Gospel kingdom.

which have been—Greek, "which have been made," or "have become," that is, inasmuch as they have become a comfort to me. The Greek implies comfort in forensic dangers; a different Greek word expresses comfort in domestic affliction [Bengel].

And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision; a third person of those who had been Jews mentioned in this salutation, is Jesus, surnamed Justus, (probably from his just conversation), whether the same with him mentioned in Luke’s history of the Acts, Acts 28:7, is not evident. The Greeks use Jesus for the Hebrew Joshua, Hebrews 4:8, it being common with them to more than one. However, the Christians, since the resurrection of Christ, out of reverence to their Lord and Master, (who is God as well as man), have forborne to call their children by the name of Jesus.

These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God; these three alone, i.e. of the Jews, (as for Timothy, his father was a Greek or Gentile, Acts 16:1,3, and others were Gentiles, Acts 28:28), were assistant to hint at Rome (where it seems Peter was not) in expounding and preaching the gospel, enlarging the kingdom of grace in converting of souls, Matthew 4:23 Mark 4:11.

Which have been a comfort unto me; the carrying on of which work did administer matter of great consolation to him in his bonds. And Jesus, which is called Justus,.... The former of these names is the same with Joshua, and was very frequent with the Jews, and the later a surname that was sometimes given to men remarkable for holiness and righteousness: so Joseph, called Barsabas, is surnamed Justus, Acts 1:23 and James, the brother of our Lord, was called by the Jews James the Just (m): whether this man was not the same with Justus of Corinth, whose house joined to the synagogue, and into which Paul entered, Acts 18:7 is not certain, but is likely: who are of the circumcision; were Jews, were circumcised persons, though not now sticklers for circumcision, and the rest of the ceremonies, as appears by what follows: this is to be understood of all the above persons, that sent their salutations to this church; though some confine it to Marcus, Barnabas's sister's son, and to Jesus, called Justus:

these only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God; who assisted him in preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God, and in promoting the honour and interest of Christ. These were the only persons of the Jewish nation that were then at Rome under that character; from whence it appears that Peter was not there at that time: the apostle adds,

which have been a comfort unto me; under his afflictions and sufferings, by visiting him, conferring with him, praying for him, communicating to him, and labouring in the Gospel in his room and stead.

(m) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 1.

And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These {f} only are my fellowworkers unto the {g} kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.

(f) Hence, Peter was not at that time in Rome.

(g) In the Gospel.

Colossians 4:11. Of this Jesus nothing further is known.

οἱ ὄντες ἐκ περιτ. is to be attached, with Lachmann (comp. also Steiger, Huther, Bleek), to what follows, so that a full stop is not to be inserted (as is usually done) after περιτ. Otherwise οἱ ὄντες ἐκ περιτ. would be purposeless, and the following οὗτοι μόνοι κ.τ.λ. too general to be true, and in fact at variance with the subsequent mention of Epaphras and Luke (Colossians 4:12-14). It is accordingly to be explained: Of those, who are from the circumcision, these alone (simply these three, and no others) are such fellow-labourers for the kingdom of the Messiah, as have become a comfort to me. The Jewish-Christian teachers, consequently, worked even at Caesarea to a great extent in an anti-Pauline sense. Comp. the complaint from Rome, Php 1:15; Php 1:17. The nominative οἱ ὄντες ἐκ περιτ. puts the generic subject at the head; but as something is to be affirmed not of the genus, but of a special part of it, that general subject remains without being followed out, and by means of the μετάβασις εἰς μέρος the special subject is introduced with οὗτοι, so that the verb (here the εἰσί to be supplied) now attaches itself to the latter. A phenomenon of partitive apposition, which is current also in classical authors. See Kühner, II. 1, p. 246; Nägelsbach and Faesi on Hom Il. iii. 211. Comp. Matthiae, p. 1307. Hence there is the less reason for breaking up the passage, which runs on simply, after the fashion adopted by Hofmann, who treats ἐκ περιτομῆς οὗτοι μόνοι as inserted parenthetically between οἱ ὄντες and συνεργοί. The complimentary affirmation is to be referred to all the three previously named, without arbitrary exclusion of Aristarchus (in opposition to Hofmann). At any rate, Caesarea was a city so important for the Christian mission, that many teachers, Jewish-Christian and Gentile-Christian, must have frequented it, especially while Paul was a prisoner there; and consequently the notice in the passage before us need not point us to Rome as the place of writing.

παρηγορία] consolation, comfort, only here in the N. T.; more frequently in Plutarch; see Kypke. Μέγιστον ἐγκώμιον τὸ τῷ ἀποστόλῳ γενέσθαι θυμηδίας πρόξενον, Theodoret Bengel imposes an arbitrary limitation: “in forensi periculo.”Colossians 4:11. Ἰησοῦς: otherwise unknown to us. Zahn has well pointed out that the mention of this name, in addition to those mentioned in Philemon, creates difficulties for the impugners of the authenticity. If Philemon was authentic why should an imitator venture to add an unknown person, and especially to give him the name Jesus, that so soon became sacred among Christians? If not authentic, why should he not have copied himself?—οἱ ὄντες ἐκ περιτομῆς: to be taken with the following words, in spite of the awkwardness of the construction. What is meant is that these are the only ones of the circumcision who have been a help to him. If a stop is placed at περ., we get the sense that these who have just been mentioned are his only fellow-workers, which is not true. Aristarchus is probably not included, for he went as one of the deputation sent by the Gentile Christians with the collection for the Church at Jerusalem.—οὗτοι μόνοι: for the attitude of Jewish Christians in Rome towards Paul cf. Php 1:15-17; Php 2:19-24. This is more natural in a letter from Rome than from Cæsarea.—βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ. The phrase is intentionally chosen; the Jews were devoted to the kingdom; Paul should have found in the Jewish Christians his best helpers.—ἐγενήθησαν: the aorist seems to point to some special incident.11. And Jesus] The Grecized form of Jehoshua (later, Jêshua), “Jehovah’s Help”; a very common Jewish proper name. In the N.T., besides the countless places where it is the name of our Blessed Lord, and this place, it occurs Acts 7:45; Hebrews 4:8; (of Joshua); and (according to well-supported readings) Luke 3:29, where A. V. has “Jose”; and (perhaps) Matthew 27:16; “Jesus Barabbas.”

Legend gives Jesus Justus a bishopric, that of Eleutheropolis, in Judea.

called Justus] A Latin name, like Marcus and Paulus; see note on Colossians 4:10.

Lightfoot (see his note in full) shews that this name, “Righteous,” was in common use among Jews and proselytes, as “denoting obedience to the law.” We find it Acts 1:23; Acts 18:7. The third bishop of Jerusalem, according to Eusebius (History, 111. 35) was “a Jew, named Justus”; and the eleventh (ibid. iv. 5) bore the same name. The name occurs, slightly modified (Youstî, Youstâ), in the Rabbinical writings. The feminine, Justa, is the name of the Syrophenician in the Clementine Homilies, a Judaizing book of cent. 3, where she appears as a proselytess.

Called:—implies that Jesus Justus was better known by his Latin than by his Hebrew name.

who] Aristarchus, Marcus, Jesus.

are of the circumcision] For the phrase cp. Acts 10:45; Acts 11:2; Romans 4:12; Galatians 2:12; Titus 1:10. It appears to mean converts to Christianity of Jewish birth (or proselytism). In Acts 11, Gal., Tit., cited above, “the men of circumcision,” shew a more or less partizan-like spirit towards the freedom of the Gospel. But this does not prove that the phrase bore necessarily a party colour, only that exclusives, Judaizers, would naturally appear, if anywhere, among the Hebrew Christians.

These only] Probably he means, these only of all “the men of the circumcision” at Rome, while the large majority were acting as in Php 1:15-16. Alford takes the whole passage to be practically one statement, in loose grammatical connexion, as if it ran “Of the men of the circumcision these alone are &c.”—We must not press the word “only” too far; he probably speaks here of leaders, not of the mass.—Cp. Php 2:20; 2 Timothy 4:16.

my fellowworkers] Cp. for the word in similar connexion, Romans 16:3; Romans 16:9; Romans 16:21; 2 Corinthians 8:23; Php 2:25; Php 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:2 (perhaps); Philemon 1:24. He loves the thought of partnership in his work for his Lord, see e.g. Php 1:7.—The word “my” is not in the Greek, but it is evidently implied.

unto the kingdom of God] See above Colossians 1:13, and note; and our notes on Ephesians 5:5. The phrase here means, in effect, “so as to promote the reign of God, in Christ, over man and in him, here and hereafter.”

which have been] The Greek might almost be paraphrased, “proving,” or “as they have proved.” He means that their cooperation largely consisted in their proving “a comfort,” instead of acting in opposition.—“Have been:—more exactly, “were,” or “did prove.” But the English perfect well represents the Greek aorist here. See note on Colossians 4:8.

a comfort] The Greek noun, parêgoria, occurs here only in the Greek Bible; the cognate verb occurs Job 16:2, in the Greek version of Symmachus. The English word, in its common use, exactly renders it. The Latin Versions have solatium; Wyclif, “solace.”—His heart, often wounded by Judaistic opposition, was specially consoled by the loving loyalty of these Jewish Christian friends.Colossians 4:11. Οἱ ὄντες, who are) namely, Aristarchus, Marcus, Jesus.—μόνοι, alone) of the circumcision.—παρηγορία) The propriety of the word should be observed; what παραμυθία is in domestic sorrow, παρηγορία is in forensic danger.[32]

[32] Inasmuch as Παραμυθία comes from μύθος, word of advice: Παρηγορία, from ἀγόρα, the forum, ἀγορεύω.—ED.Verse 11. - And Jesus, called Justus - the only name of this list wanting in Philemon. Nor is this person mentioned elsewhere. "Jesus" ("Joshua," Acts 7:45; Hebrews 4:8) was a common Jewish name. "Justus" ("just," "righteous") was frequently adopted by individual Jews, or conferred on them, as a Gentile (Latin) surname (comp. Acts 1:23; Acts 18:7); it implied devotion to the Law, and was the equivalent of the Hebrew Zadok (see Lightfoot). Its Greek equivalent, δίκαιος, is the standing epithet of James, the brother of the Lord, and the head of the Church at Jerusalem; and is emphatically applied to Christ himself (Acts 3:14; Acts 7:52; Acts 22:14; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 2:1). Who are of the circumcision, - these only (my) fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, (men) who have been a comfort to me (Philemon 1:1, 24; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; Romans 16:3, 9, 21; 2 Corinthians 8:23; Philippians 2:25; Philippians 4:3). Aristarchus, therefore, was a Jew, as well as Mark and Jesus Justus. "These only," etc., must be read as in close apposition to the previous clause. This statement accords with the apostle's complaint in Philippians 1:15-17; Philippians 2:19-24; but the still stronger language of the latter passages seems to point to a later time when he was yet more solitary, having lost Tychicus and Mark, and perhaps Aristarchus also, and when he had a more definite prospect of release. The title "fellow worker" he frequently confers on his associates (see references). In Philemon 1:24 it is applied, to Luke and Demas also. "The kingdom of God" was, in Colossians 1:13, "the kingdom of his Son;" as in Ephesians 5:5 it is "the kingdom of Christ and God." On his arrival at Rome, St. Paul is described as "testifying, and preaching the kingdom of God" (Acts 28:23, 31: comp. Acts 8:12; Acts 14:22; Acts 19:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:5). On the force of οἵτινες ("men who," "such as"), see Colossians 2:23; and for ἐγενήθησαν ("proved," "became in point of fact"), comp. Colossians 3:15. Παρηγορία ξομφορτ, a word found only here in the Greek Testament, is a medical term (compare "paregoric"), implying "soothing relief." Jesus Justus

Not mentioned elsewhere. The only one of these names not mentioned in the salutations of the Epistle to Philemon.

Have been a comfort (ἐγενήθησαν παρηγορία)

Παρηγορία comfort, only here in the New Testament. Properly, an address, an exhortation: an exhortation for the purpose of encouraging: hence a comfort. Plutarch, in his "Life of Cimon," uses it with πένθους grief; a comfort, for grief; and in his "Life of Pericles," of consolation for a dead son. Aretaeus, a medical writer, of the assuaging of a paroxysm. This word, and the kindred adjectives παρηγορικός and παρηγορητικός soothing, are common in medical writings. So Galen, of soothing fictions, pretenses to quiet the diseased. Have been is, more strictly, have proved.

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