Galatians 3:15
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15-18) To take an illustration from purely human relations. A covenant once ratified is binding. It cannot be treated as if it did not exist, neither can fresh clauses be added to it. Now the covenant and promise made to Abraham (by the terms in which it was made) could point to no one but the Messiah. That covenant remained unaffected by the Law, which was four hundred and thirty years subsequent to it in point of date. Law and promise are two totally different and mutually exclusive things. But the covenant with Abraham was given by promise. The Law, therefore, had nothing to do with it.

(15) I speak after the manner of men.—The figure that I am going to use is one taken from the ordinary civil relations between man and man, and therefore, it is left to be inferred, supplies an à fortiori argument in things relating to God, for men may change and break the most solemn engagements; God is absolutely faithful and unchangeable. The phrase translated “I speak after the manner of men” is found in the same, or a very similar form, in Romans 3:5; Romans 6:19; 1Corinthians 9:8, where see the Notes.

Though it be but a man’s covenant.—This is well rendered in the Authorised version. A covenant, even though it is only between two men—though it is regulated by the provisions only of human law—does not admit of alteration or addition after it has once been signed and sealed; much more a covenant which depends on God.

Covenant.—The word thus translated is that which gave its name to the “Old and New Testaments,” where a more correct rendering would be the “Old and New Covenants.” The word has both senses. It meant originally a “disposition” or “settlement,” and hence came, on the one hand, to be confined to a “testamentary disposition,” while, on the other hand, it was taken to mean a settlement arrived at by agreement between two parties. The first sense is that most commonly found in classical writers; the second is used almost entirely in the LXX. and New Testament. The one exception is in Hebrews 9:15-17, where the idea of “covenant” glides into that of “testament,” the argument rather turning upon the double meaning of the word.

Addeth thereto.—Adds new clauses or conditions. Such new clauses could only be added by a second covenant. The reason why the Apostle introduces this point is that the Law might be supposed to restrict the bearings of the promise. It might be thought to add certain new and limiting conditions, without compliance with which the blessings of the promise could not be obtained. This was the position of the Judaising party, against which St. Paul is arguing.

Galatians 3:15. I speak after the manner of men — I illustrate this by a familiar instance, taken from the practice of men: or, I argue on the principles of common equity, according to what is the allowed rule of all human compacts: Though it be but a man’s covenant — That is, the covenant of a man with his fellow-creature: yet if it be confirmed — Legally, by mutual promise, engagement, and seal; no man — No, not the covenanter himself, unless something unforeseen occur, which cannot be the case with God; disannulleth — What was agreed to by it; or addeth thereto — Any new condition, or altereth the terms of it, without the consent of the other stipulating party.

3:15-18 The covenant God made with Abraham, was not done away by the giving the law to Moses. The covenant was made with Abraham and his Seed. It is still in force; Christ abideth for ever in his person, and his spiritual seed, who are his by faith. By this we learn the difference between the promises of the law and those of the gospel. The promises of the law are made to the person of every man; the promises of the gospel are first made to Christ, then by him to those who are by faith ingrafted into Christ. Rightly to divide the word of truth, a great difference must be put between the promise and the law, as to the inward affections, and the whole practice of life. When the promise is mingled with the law, it is made nothing but the law. Let Christ be always before our eyes, as a sure argument for the defence of faith, against dependence on human righteousness.Brethren, I speak after the manner of men - I draw an illustration from what actually occurs among people. The illustration is, that when a contract or agreement is made by people involving obligations and promises, no one can add to it or take from it. It will remain as it was originally made. So with God. He made a solemn promise to Abraham. That promise pertained to his posterity. The blessing was connected with that promise, and it was of the nature of a compact with Abraham. But if so, then this could not be effected by the Law which was four hundred years after, and the Law must have been given to secure some different object from that designed by the promise made to Abraham, Galatians 3:19. But the promise made to Abraham was designed to secure the "inheritance," or the favor of God; and if so, then the same thing could not be secured by the observance of the Law, since there could not be two ways so unlike each other of obtaining the same thing.

God cannot have two ways of justifying and saving people; and if he revealed a mode to Abraham, and that mode was by faith, then it could not be by the observance of the Law which was given so long after. The main design of the argument and the illustration here (Galatians 3:15 ff) is to show that the promise made to Abraham was by no means made void by the giving of the Law. The Law had another design, which did not interfere with the promise made to Abraham. That stood on its own merits, irrespective of the demands and the design of the Law. It is possible, as Rosenmuller suggests, that Paul may have had his eye on an objection to his view. The objection may have been that there were important acts of legislation which succeeded the promise made to Abraham, and that that promise must have been superseded by the giving of the Law. To this he replies that the Mosaic law given at a late period could not take away or nullify a solemn promise made to Abraham, but that it was intended for a different purpose.

Though it be but a man's covenant - A compact or agreement between man and man. Even in such a case no one can add to it or take from it. The argument here is, that such a covenant or agreement must be much less important than a promise made by God. But even that could not be annulled. How much less, therefore, could a covenant made by God be treated as if it were vain. The word "covenant" here (διαθήκη diathēkē) is in the margin rendered "Testament;" that is, will. So Tyndale renders it. Its proper Classical signification is will or testament, though in the Septuagint and in the New Testament it is the word which is used to denote a covenant or compact; see the note at Acts 3:25. Here it is used in the proper sense of the word covenant, or compact; a mutual agreement between man and man. The idea is, that where such a covenant exists; where the faith of a man is solemnly pledged in this manner, no change can be made in the agreement. It is ratified, and firm, and final. "If it be confirmed." By a seal or otherwise.

No man disannulleth ... - It must stand. No one can change it. No new conditions can be annexed; nor can there be any drawing back from its terms. It binds the parties to a faithful fulfillment of all the conditions. This is well understood among people; and the apostle says that the same thing must take place in regard to God.

15. I speak after the manner of men—I take an illustration from a merely human transaction of everyday occurrence.

but a man's covenant—whose purpose it is far less important to maintain.

if it be confirmed—when once it hath been ratified.

no man disannulleth—"none setteth aside," not even the author himself, much less any second party. None does so who acts in common equity. Much less would the righteous God do so. The law is here, by personification, regarded as a second person, distinct from, and subsequent to, the promise of God. The promise is everlasting, and more peculiarly belongs to God. The law is regarded as something extraneous, afterwards introduced, exceptional and temporary (Ga 3:17-19, 21-24).

addeth—None addeth new conditions "making" the covenant "of none effect" (Ga 3:17). So legal Judaism could make no alteration in the fundamental relation between God and man, already established by the promises to Abraham; it could not add as a new condition the observance of the law, in which case the fulfilment of the promise would be attached to a condition impossible for man to perform. The "covenant" here is one of free grace, a promise afterwards carried into effect in the Gospel.

Though it be but a man’s covenant: the word here translated covenant, diayhkh, is ordinarily translated testament; see Matthew 26:28. It signifies in the general, an ordering or disposing of things; more specially, a testament; which is the disposition of the testator’s goods after his death. Now, (saith the apostle), I here argue according to the ordinary methods and doings of men, who have such a respect for a man’s testament, as that,

if it be once confirmed, according to the methods of law and civil sanctions of men, or rather by the death of the testator (for a testament is of no force while the testator liveth, Hebrews 9:17); nor will men alter the will or last testament of a deceased person, though it be not as yet confirmed according to the methods of human laws.

No man disannulleth, or addeth thereto; no man, that is, no just man, will go about to disannul it, or add to it, nor will any just government endure any such violation of it. Hence the apostle argueth both the certainty and unalterableness for the covenant of grace with Abraham, and until the death of Christ it was but a covenant, or a testament not fully confirmed, but yet unalterable, because the covenant of that God who cannot lie, nor repent; but by the death of Christ it became a testament, and a testament ratified and confirmed by the death of the person that was the testator; therefore never to be disannulled, never capable of any additions. Those words, or addeth thereto, are fitly added, because these false teachers, though they might pretend not to disannul God’s covenant, holding still justification by Christ; yet they added thereto, making circumcision, and other legal observances, necessary to justification; whereas by God’s covenant, or testament, confirmed now by the death of Christ, faith in Christ only was necessary.

Brethren,.... Whereas in Galatians 3:1, he calls them "foolish Galatians", which might seem too harsh and severe, therefore, to mitigate and soften their resentments, he styles them brethren; hoping still well of them, and that they were not so far gone, but that they might be recovered; and imputing the blame and fault rather to their leaders and teachers, than to them:

I speak after the manner of men; agreeably to a Talmudic form of speech in use among the Jews, , "the law speaks according to the language of the children of men", or "after the manner of men" (b), when they argue from any Scripture, in which a word is repeated, and the latter word seems to point out something peculiar: but the apostle's meaning is, that the thing he was about to speak of was taken from among men, in common use with them, and what was obvious to the common sense and understanding of men, and might easily be applied and argued from, as it is by him:

though it be but a man's covenant, or testament, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth or addeth thereto; if a covenant made between men, or a man's will and testament, be confirmed, signed, sealed, and witnessed, in a proper manner, no other man can make them void, or take anything from them, or add anything to them, only the parties concerned by their own will and consent; and if this be the case among men, much less can the covenant of God, confirmed by two immutable things, his word and oath, or his will and testament, or any branch of it, be ever disannulled, or be capable of receiving any addition thereunto. The apostle seems to have a particular respect to that branch of the covenant and will of God, which regards the justification of men in his sight by the righteousness of Christ, to which the false teachers were for adding the works of the law.

(b) T. Bab Ceritot, fol. 11. 1. Bava Metzia, fol. 94. 2. Sanhedrin, fol. 90. 2. Maccot, fol. 12. 1. Vid Halicot Olam, tract 4. c. 3. p. 199.

{17} Brethren, I speak {i} after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be {k} confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

(17) He puts forth two general rules before the next argument, which is the seventh in order. The first is, that it is not lawful to break covenants and contracts which are justly made, and are according to law among men, neither may anything be added to them. The other is, that God did so make a covenant with Abraham, that he would gather together his children who consist both of Jews and Gentiles into one body (as appears by that which has been said before). For he did not say, that he would be the God of Abraham and of his seeds (which thing nonetheless should have been said, if he had many and various seeds, such as the Gentiles on the one hand, and the Jews on the other) but that he would be the God of Abraham, and of his seed, as of one.

(i) I will use an example which is common among you, that you may be ashamed that you do not give as much to God's covenant as you do to man's.

(k) Authenticated, as we say.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Galatians 3:15.[132] Ἀδελφοι] Expressive of loving urgency, and conciliating with reference to the instruction which follows. Comp. Romans 10:1. How entirely different was it in Galatians 3:1! Now the tone of feeling is softened.

ΚΑΤᾺ ἌΝΘΡΩΠΟΝ ΛΈΓΩ] not to be placed in a parenthesis (Erasmus, Calvin, and many others), points to what follows—to that which he is just about to say in proof of the immutability of a divine διαθήκη. The analogy to be adduced from a human legal relation is not intended to be excused, but is to be placed in the proper point of view; for the apostle does not wish to adduce it from his higher standpoint as one enlightened by the Spirit, according to the measure of divinely-revealed wisdom, but he wishes thus to accommodate himself to the ordinary way among men (of adducing examples from common life), so as to be perfectly intelligible to his readers (not in order to put them to shame, as Calvin thinks). Comp. ἀνθρωπείως and ἈΝΘΡΩΠΊΝΩς (Dem. 639. 24, 1122. 2; Romans 6:19). See generally on Romans 3:5; 1 Corinthians 9:8; and van Hengel, Annot. p. 211 f.

ὅμως] yet. The logical position would be before οὐδείς. A ΔΙΑΘΉΚΗ, although human, no one yet cancels. Such a transposition of the ὅμως (which here intimates a conclusion à minori) is not unfrequent in classical authors, and again occurs in the case of Paul, 1 Corinthians 14:7. See on this passage. There is therefore all the less reason for writing it ὁμῶς, in like manner (Morus, Rosenmüller, Jatho), which would be unsuitable, since that which is to be illustrated by the comparison only follows (at Galatians 3:17). Rückert (so also Olshausen and Windischmann) takes it in antithetical reference to κατὰ ἄνθρ. λέγω: “I desire to keep only to human relations; nevertheless,” etc. This would be an illogical antithesis. Others, contrary to linguistic usage, make it mean yet even (Grotius, Zachariae, Matthies), or quin imo (Wolf), and the like.

κεκυρωμένην] ratified, made legally valid, Genesis 23:20; 4Ma 7:9; Dem. 485. 13; Plat. Pol. x. p. 620 E; Polyb. v. 49. 6; Andoc. de myst. § 84, p. 11; comp. on 2 Corinthians 2:8.

διαθήκην] not testament (Hebrews 9:16 f.), as the Vulgate, Luther, Erasmus, and many others, including Olshausen, render it, quite in opposition to the context; nor, in general, voluntary ordainment, arrangement (Winer, Matthies, Usteri, Schott, Hofmann: “destination as to anything, which we apply for one’s benefit,” Holsten, following earlier expositors); but in the solemn biblical signification of בְּרִית, covenant (Jerome, Beza, Calvin, Zachariae, Semler, Koppe, Flatt, de Wette, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler, Matthias, Reithmayr, and others; also Ewald: “contract”), as in Galatians 4:24 and all Pauline passages. The emphatic prefixing of ἈΝΘΡΏΠΟΥ points to the majus, the διαθήκη of God; and God had entered into a covenant with Abraham, by giving him the promises (Galatians 3:17. Comp. Genesis 17:7; Exodus 2:24; Leviticus 26:42; Luke 1:72; Acts 3:25; 2Ma 1:2; Sir 44:20; Sir 44:22). The singular (ἈΝΘΡΏΠΟΥ) is not opposed to this view; on the contrary, since ἈΝΘΡΏΠΟΥ ΔΙΑΘΉΚΗ is put as analogue of the ΔΙΑΘΉΚΗ of God (which God has established), there could, in accordance with this latter, be only one contracting party designated: a ratified covenant, which a man has established. The ratification, as likewise follows from the ΔΙΑΘΉΚΗ of God, is not to be considered as an act accomplished by a third party; but the covenant is legally valid by the definitive and formal conclusion of the parties themselves who make the agreement with one another.

οὐδεὶς ἀθετεῖ ἣ ἐπιδιατ.] viz. no third party. Such an interference would indeed be possible in itself, and not inconsistent with the idea of a covenant (as Hofmann objects). But cases of this sort would be exceptional, and, in the general legal axiom expressed by Paul, might well be left unnoticed. On ἈΘΕΤΕῖΝ ΔΙΑΘΉΚ., to do away a covenant, irritum facere, comp. 1Ma 15:27; 2Ma 13:25; Polyb. xv. 1. 9, iii. 29. 2, xv. 8. 9. That οὐδείς is not the same subject as ἀνθρώπου (Holsten[133]), is evident both from the expression in itself, and from the application in Galatians 3:17, where the ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ corresponds to the ἀνθρώπου and the (personified) νόμος, which comes in as a third person, to the οὐδείς.

ἢ ἐπιδιατάσσεται] or adds further stipulations thereto, which were not contained in the covenant. That the ἐπί in the word ἐπιδιατάσσεται (not occurring elsewhere) denotes contra (Schott), is inconsistent with the analogy of ἐπιδιατίθημι, ἐπιδιαγινώσκω, ἐπιδιακρίνω, and so forth (comp. Joseph. Bell. ii. 2. 3, ἀξιῶν τῆς ἐπιδιαθήκης τὴν διαθήκην εἶναι κυριωτέραν, Antt. xvii. 9. 4); in that case ἀντιδιατάσσεται must have been used. Erasmus, Winer, Hauck, and others wish at least to define the nature of the additions referred to as coming into conflict with the will of the author of the διαθήκη or changing it; but this is arbitrary. The words merely, affirm: no one prescribes any addition thereto; this is altogether against the general rule of law, let the additions be what they may.

Chrysostom aptly remarks: μὴ τολμᾶ τις ἀνατρέψαι μετὰ ταῦτα ἐλθὼν ἢ προσθεῖναι τι, τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν· ἢ ἐπιδιατάσσεται.

[132] As to vv. 15–22, see Hauck in Stud. u. Krit. 1862, p. 512 ff.; Matthias, d. Abschn. d. Gal. Br. iii. 15–22, Cassel, 1866. As to vv. 15–29, see Buhl, in the Luther. Zeitschr. 1867, p. 1 ff.

[133] “Yet in the sphere of the human no one cancels his voluntary disposition, which has become legally valid.” Matthies also identifies the subject in οὐδείς with the founder of the διαθήκη.

Galatians 3:15-18. What Paul has previously said concerning justification, not of the law, but of faith, with reference to that promise given to Abraham (Galatians 3:8-14), could only maintain its ground as true before the worshippers of the law, in the event of its being acknowledged that the covenant once entered into with Abraham through that promise was not deprived of validity by the subsequent institution of the law, or subjected to alteration through the entrance of the law. For if this covenant had been done away with or modified by the law, the whole proof previously adduced would come to nothing. Paul therefore now shows that this covenant had not been invalidated or altered through the Mosaic law.

Galatians 3:15-18. GOD’S WORD WAS PLIGHTED TO ABRAHAM THAT HE WOULD BESTOW THE INHERITANCE ON HIS SEED (NOT ON ALL HIS DESCENDANTS, BUT ON ONE PARTICULAR SEED), AND COULD NOT THEREFORE BE SET ASIDE BY SUBSEQUENT STIPULATIONS IN THE LAW.

15. Brethren] Commentators note the softened tone of this address, as compared with the previous severity of rebuke. It is due to the influence on the Apostle’s mind of the thought expressed in Galatians 3:14. Realising the share which the Gentiles enjoyed in Abraham’s blessing and in the promise of the Spirit, his heart is enlarged with tender compassion, and with that love which is the first-fruit of the Spirit (c. Galatians 5:22).

after the manner of men] Lit. ‘according to man’, a familiar mode of expression with St Paul. Romans 3:5 (Romans 6:19); 1 Corinthians 3:3; 1 Corinthians 9:8; 1 Corinthians 15:32; Galatians 1:11. The plur. ‘after the manner of men’, occurs 1 Peter 4:6. In all these passages the sense is “according to an ordinary human standard, as men commonly judge, or speak, or act”.

though it be but a man’s covenant] The word here rendered ‘covenant’ is used in the Sept. and N. T. of any settlement, agreement, or contract between two parties; or of an engagement by which one party makes over certain privileges or property to another for his benefit. This may take effect during the lifetime of the party so covenanting, or after his death. In the latter case it has the sense of a will, or testament. [From the fact that the Vulgate translates it by testamentum, the word testament is used wrongly as its equivalent in A. V., Matthew 25:28 and other passages, and also as the familiar title of the two portions of Holy Scripture.] In every passage of the N. T. (probably not excepting Hebrews 9:15-17, on which see Scholefield’s Hints, pp. 100–104) the word should be rendered ‘covenant’. The mention of ‘inheritance’ (Galatians 3:18) does not affect this statement, for the heirs of this covenant do not succeed on the death of its Author.

if it be confirmed] In the general case, the confirmation of the agreement would be attended by certain formalities, such as the slaying of animals (see Scholefield’s Hints, referred to above), or, as in the particular instance, by an oath. Comp. Hebrews 6:16-17; Luke 1:73.

no man disannulleth … thereto] When once it has been formally ratified, no man cancels it, or supersedes it by making a new one.

addeth thereto] Of course fresh clauses may be added for the advantage of the beneficiary. But no new conditions may be introduced. The force of these words is more apparent as applied to the particular case, than as a general proposition. The condition of obedience as a ground of justification, introduced by the Law, is fatal to the covenant of free promise made to Abraham. We cannot believe that God would have acted in a manner from which men would shrink as inconsistent with rectitude

In this verse St Paul lays down a broad principle of justice, recognised by honourable men in their transactions with one another, and from it he deduces the special inference.

15–29. The Gospel a Covenant of Promise (15–18); to which the Law was at once subordinate and preparatory (Galatians 3:19-29)

15–18. The Gospel a covenant of Promise

The Apostle proceeds to shew the certainty of the blessing, i.e. of justification, to all who believe. It is secured by the promise of God—a promise which is an unconditional covenant, and which is not affected by the conditional covenant (the Law), given long subsequently. Both were from God. But while the latter was of the nature of a contract between God and the people of Israel, and required a mediator and attesting witnesses, the latter is a transaction between God and Christ, who are One, announced to Abraham long before the Law was given, as a promise to him and to his seed.

Galatians 3:15. Ὅμως) yet; although it be only a man’s testament or covenant, from which the comparison is taken.—ἀνθρώπου, of a man) whose purpose it is of far less importance to maintain.—κεκυρωμένην, confirmed) when once all things have been ratified, for example, by the death of the testator, Hebrews 9:16. So καὶ ἐκυρώθη ὁ ἀγρὸς, ויקם, Genesis 23:20.—οὐδεὶς) no man, not even the author himself, unless some unexpected cause either in his own mind or from without should happen (such a cause as cannot occur to God): much less any other person [since he is here indeed speaking of a point of equity (the matter of right), for in point of fact testaments or bequests made by men are sooner or later infringed not without incurring heavy guilt.—V. g.]; and to that other person the law corresponds in the Apodosis. For ὁ νόμος, the law, is here considered also, as a second person distinct from the promise of God, as it were by personification, in the same way that sin and the law are opposed to God, Romans 6:13; Romans 8:3; and Mammon, as if it were a master, is opposed to God, Matthew 6:24 : and the elements of the world are compared with the tutors, and the law is called a schoolmaster, presently after, Galatians 3:24, ch. Galatians 4:2-3. The promise is looked upon as more ancient, and as spoken by God: the law, as more recent, and as distinguished from God the lawgiver; because the promise more peculiarly belongs to God; the law is, as it were, something more extraneous; see Galatians 3:17-18; Galatians 3:21-22.—ἀθετεῖ ἢ ἐπιδιατάσσεται, disannuls or adds to it) in whole or in part: by abolishing, taking away legacies, or adding new charges or conditions. Makes of none effect, Galatians 3:17, corresponds to both words.

Verse 15. - Brethren, I speak after the manner of men (ἀδελφοί κατὰ ἄνθρωπον λέγω). "Brethren." The tone of indignant reproach with which the chapter opened has gradually subsided in the course of the apostle's argument; so that here he appeals to the Galatian Churchmen as "brethren; ' as if to bespeak their candid attention to the consideration he is about to allege. "I speak after the manner of men." I say it as stating a principle commonly recognized in human life, in respect to contracts between man and man (see note on the phrase, Galatians 1:11). In a similar manner, in Hebrews 6:16, 17 the writer refers to human methods of ratifying solemn engagements, in order to illustrate a course of proceeding on another occasion condescendingly adopted by God. Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be (when it hath been) confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto (ὅμως ἀνθρώπου κεκυρωμένην διαθήκην οὐδεὶς ἀθετεῖ η} ἐπιδιατάσσεται). The Authorized Version has thus happily rendered the ὅμως, which is here transposed cut of its logical position, as it is also in 1 Corinthians 14:7, and as ἔτι is in Romans 5:6. The apostle's meaning is that, if even men are constrained by their sense of justice to abide by this rule, much more may the All-righteous One be expected to do so. This a fortiori suggestion (for St. Paul only hints this consideration by introducing the word ὅμως without explicitly developing it) is similar to the afortiori argument more explicitly stated by our Lord with reference to God's justice, in Luke 18:6, 7; and to his fatherliness, in Luke 11:13. "Covenant." The word διαθήκη, properly "disposition," which, in classical Greek, generally means "will," "testament," is used in the Septuagint to render the Hebrew berith, covenant, in which sense it occurs once in Aristophanes, 'Ayes,' 439; and it appears to denote "covenant" in all the thirty-three places in which it is found in the New Testament; for even Hebrews 9:17 can hardly be allowed to be an exception. Bishop Lightfoot observes that the Septuagint translators and the New Testament writers probably preferred διαθήκη to συνθήκη, the ordinary Greek word for "covenant," when speaking of a Divine dispensation, because, like "promise," it better expresses the free grace of God. Perhaps the terms appeared to them more suitable also in this application, because one of the parties to the engagement was no other than the supreme sovereign Disposer of all things. "Confirmed;" ratified; as it were, signed, sealed, and delivered. "No one;" meaning neither of the two covenanting parties. "Addeth thereto;" addeth any fresh condition, such as would clog the action of the previous engagement. The apostle adds this with reference to the supposition that the Law of Moses might have qualified the Abrahamic covenant by limiting its benefits to persons ceremonially clean. Galatians 3:15After the manner of men (κατὰ ἄνθρωπον)

According to human analogy; reasoning as men would reason in ordinary affairs. The phrase is peculiar to Paul. See Romans 3:5; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 1 Corinthians 9:8; 1 Corinthians 15:32; Galatians 1:11. Comp. ἀνθρώπινος as a man, Romans 6:19.

Though it be - yet

The A.V. and Rev. give the correct sense, but the order of the Greek is peculiar. Ὅμως yet properly belongs to οὐδεὶς no man: "Though a man's covenant yet no man disannulleth it." But ὅμως is taken out of its natural place, and put at the beginning of the clause, before ἀνθρώπου, so that the Greek literally reads: "Yet a man's covenant confirmed no one disannulleth, etc." A similar displacement occurs 1 Corinthians 14:7.

Covenant (διαθήκην)

Not testament. See on Matthew 26:28, and see on Hebrews 9:16.

Confirmed (κεκυρωμένην)

Po. See 2 Corinthians 2:8. In lxx, Genesis 23:20; Leviticus 25:30; 4 Macc. 7:9. From κῦρος supreme power. Hence the verb carries the sense of authoritative confirmation, in this case by the contracting parties.

Disannulleth (ἀθετεῖ)

See on bring to nothing, 1 Corinthians 1:19. Rev. maketh void.

Addeth thereto (ἐπιδιατάσσεται)

N.T.o. Adds new specifications or conditions to the original covenant, which is contrary to law. Comp. ἐπιδιαθήκη a second will or codicil, Joseph B. J. 2:2, 3; Ant. 17:9, 4. The doctrine of the Judaisers, while virtually annulling the promise, was apparently only the imposing of new conditions. In either case it was a violation of the covenant.

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