Galatians 4:25
For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
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(25) For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia.—This clause will be, perhaps, best dealt with in an excursus, of which we will at present merely summarise the result by saying that the true (or, rather, most probable) reading appears to be: Now this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; and the sense: “By the word Hagar is meant Mount Sinai in Arabia.” There appears to be sufficient evidence to show that Hagar may be regarded as the Arabic name for Sinai, so that there would be a special reason for identifying Hagar allegorically with the old covenant. For a fuller discussion see Excursus B (p. 467).

Answereth to Jerusalem which now is.—The word for “answereth” is a technical term in philosophy, applied to the parallel columns containing such antithetical pairs as good—evil; one—many; finite—infinite, &c. Here it will be illustrated by the parallel arrangement of the different points of the allegory given above. “Answereth to” will thus mean “stands in the same column with.” Hagar, Sinai, the old covenant, the Jewish nation, or the earthly Jerusalem, all stand upon the same side of the antithesis. They are arranged one above another, or, in other words, they rank in the same line, which is the primitive meaning of the word.

Jerusalem which now is.The present Jerusalemi.e., the Jewish people still subject to the Law. It is opposed to “Jerusalem which is above,” as the pre-Messianic to the Messianic system.

And is in bondage with her children.—The true reading is, for she is in bondage with her children. Jerusalem is, as it were, personified, so that “with her Children” means “all who are dependent upon her”—the Jewish system and all who belong to it.

EXCURSUS B: ON THE PASSAGE (Galatians 4:25),


The words “For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia” present difficulties which seem to need a somewhat longer and more technical discussion than could properly be given to them in the body of the Commentary, and it has seemed the more desirable to devote to them a short excursus, as the view taken is one that, in this instance, diverges from that adopted by more than one of the best authorities, and conspicuously by Dr. Lightfoot.

The first question is one of reading. The words appear in no less than four different forms. Two of these, however, may be set aside at once. For the two that remain the authorities are nearly equally balanced. The simple reading “For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia” has in its favour the Sinaitic MS.; the Codex Ephraem; the Codex Augiensis, in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge; and another Dresden MS., which usually agrees with it, and seems to have been derived from the same copy; a good—perhaps the best—cursive; quotations in Origen and Epiphanius; and the Latin authorities generally. The other reading, “Now this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia,” is supported by the Vatican, Alexandrine, and Claromontane MSS., and by a fourth MS., now at Paris, which bears to the Claromontane a somewhat similar relation to that which the Dresden Codex bears to the Augiensis; a good cursive (somewhat inferior to that on the other side); and the Memphitic version. Balancing these authorities, the preponderance would seem—if we may venture to say so, where Dr. Lightfoot thinks differently—to be with the longer reading last mentioned. It is true that the list on the other side is more copious, and represents a wider diffusion of text; but, taking the two groups together, we believe that the second represents the older and purer form of text, and that its readings will be verified in the greater number of instances. It is indeed just that very group, headed by the Codex Sinaiticus, which comes in to mark the first stage of corruption—one of the very first and earliest forms of corruption, it is true, and one that is most nearly allied to the true text, but still a corruption and deviation from the original.

But if the external evidence bears in this direction, internal evidence would seem to confirm it. No doubt internal evidence is a treacherous and double-edged weapon, and it is very often as easy to turn it to one side as to the other. It has been quoted here in support of the shorter reading, and something, perhaps, is to be said for that view. Still, the simpler and more obvious considerations (which should be chiefly looked to) seem to tell rather decidedly the other way. The longer reading is much the more difficult; but it is one of the chief canons of internal evidence that the more difficult reading is to be preferred. It is also easy to see in the form of the Greek phrase what would induce an ignorant scribe to change, and by changing to simplify it. Or even failing this, there is never anything very forced in the hypothesis of an omission which is always one of the most natural of accidents.

The reading of the Received text (with the slight change of “now” instead of “for”) would seem, then, upon the whole, to be the more probable; and the next question would be, Assuming this reading, what sense is to be placed upon it? There is an Arabic word corresponding very nearly (though not quite) in sound to “Hagar,” with the meaning “stone.” Hence Chrysostom, in his exposition of this Epistle, assumes that St. Paul is playing upon this similarity of sound. He says that Sinai “is so called (or translated) in the native tongue” of the Arabs, and he speaks of the mountain as “bearing the same name with the bondmaid.” This statement of Chrysostom does not appear to have received much independent corroboration, though one traveller (Harant), in the sixteenth century, makes the same assertion. Still, even if Sinai were not called in a special sense “the stone” or “rock,” the identity of the Arabic word for “rock” might possibly have suggested to St. Paul a play on words so very much in his style. “The very word Hagar,” we may imagine him arguing, “itself the name for ‘rock,’ suggests the propriety of the analogy which I am applying. It points to the parallel between the stem and relentless legislation of Sinai and the history of Hagar the bondwoman and her son, who persecuted the child of promise.” The literary methods of the present day are different, and such an explanation will seem far-fetched. It may be thought a conclusive argument against it that, whether St. Paul himself knew the Arabic signification of “Hagar” or not, he could not expect a Celtic people like the Galatians to know it. But even this argument is less conclusive when applied to one who is so fond of following the course of his own thought as St. Paul. And yet it must be admitted that there are too many elements of uncertainly for the explanation to be pressed at all strongly: it must remain a possibility—not more. On the other hand, even if it should break down, it would not necessarily follow that the reading would have to be abandoned—it would only lose something of its point. We should then have simply an assertion where otherwise there would be also an argument. “This Hagar—the Hagar of which I am speaking—stands for Mount Sinai which is in Arabia, the country of Hagar. The scene of the Mosaic legislation was part of the domains of the Ishmaelites, the children of Hagar, so that the two may very well be compared.” This interpretation has the authority of Theodore of Mopsuestia and Theodoret, and it is, perhaps, the safest to fall back upon. At the same time there may be something of the additional point which Chrysostom and those who have followed him in modern times have supposed.

Galatians 4:25-27. For this Agar is mount Sinai — That is, is a type of that mount. The whole of that mountainous ridge in Arabia Petrea, of which Sinai was a part, was called Horeb, probably on account of its excessive dryness. It was called by Moses, the mountain of God, (Exodus 3:1,) because on it God gave the law to the Israelites. Grotius says, Sinai is called Hagar, or Agar, synecdochically, because in that mountain there was a city which bare Hagar’s name. It is by Pliny called Agra, and by Dio, Agara, and its inhabitants were named Hagarenes, Psalm 83:6. Whitby thinks the allusion is taken from the meaning of the word Hagar, which, in the Hebrew, signifies a rock. And answereth — Namely, in the allegory; or resembles, Jerusalem, which now is, and is in bondage — As being in subjection to so many ritual observances, and under a sentence of wrath on the commission of the least wilful offence, and as being also in bondage to the Romans. But Jerusalem, which is above — The church of Christ, so called, because its most perfect state will be in heaven; is free

Ελευθερα εστι, is the free woman, that is, is represented by Sarah; who is the mother of us all — Who believe. The Jerusalem above, the spiritual Jerusalem, or church of Christ, consisting of believers of all nations, with the covenant on which it is formed, is fitly typified by Isaac, and his mother Sarah, the free-woman, because she was constituted by God the mother of all believers, on account of her bringing forth Isaac supernaturally, by virtue of the promise. For it is written, &c. — As if he had said, My interpretation of the things respecting Abraham’s wives and sons is not new; it is alluded to by Isaiah 54:1; Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not — Ye heathen nations, who, like a barren woman, were destitute for many ages of a seed to serve the Lord; break forth, &c., thou that, in former ages, travailest not, for such is now thy happy state, that the desolate, &c. — Ye, that were so long utterly desolate, shall at length bear more children than the Jewish Church, which was of old espoused to God.

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.For this Agar is Mount Sinai - This Hagar well represents the Law given on Mount Sinai. No one can believe that Paul meant to say that Hagar was literally Mount Sinai. A great deal of perplexity has been felt in regard to this passage, and Bentley proposed to cancel it altogether as an interpolation. But there is no good authority for this. Several manuscripts and versions read it, "For this Sinai is a mountain in Arabia;" others, "to this Hagar Jerusalem answereth," etc. Griesbach has placed these readings in the margin, and has marked them as not to be rejected as certainly false, but as worthy of a more attentive examination; as sustained by some plausible arguments, though not in the whole satisfactory. The word Hagar in Arabic is said to signify a rock; and it has been supposed that the name was appropriately given to Mount Sinai, because it was a pile of rocks, and that Paul had allusion to this meaning of the word here. So Chandler, Rosenmuller, and others interpret it. But I cannot find in Castell or Gesenius that the word Hagar in Arabic has this signification; still less is there evidence that the name was ever given to Mount Sinai by the Arabs, or that such a signification was known to Paul. The plainest and most obvious sense of a passage is generally the true sense; and the obvious sense here is, that Hagar was a fair representation of Mount Sinai, and of the Law given there.

In Arabia - Mount Sinai is situated in Arabia Petraea, or the Rocky. Rosenmuller says that this means "in the Arabic language;" but probably in this interpretation he stands alone.

And answereth to Jerusalem - Margin, "Is in the same rank with." The margin is the better translation. The meaning is, it is just like it, or corresponds with it. Jerusalem as it is now (that is, in the days of Paul), is like Mount Sinai. It is subject to laws, and rites, and customs; bound by a state of servitude, and fear, and trembling, such as existed when the Law was given on Mount Sinai. There is no freedom; there are no great and liberal views; there is none of the liberty which the gospel imparts to men. The word συστοιχεῖ sustoichei, "answereth to," means properly to advance in order together; to go together with, as soldiers march along in the same rank; and then to correspond to. It means here that Mount Sinai and Jerusalem as it then was would be suited to march together in the same platoon or rank. In marshalling an army, care is taken to place soldiers of the same height, and size, and skill, and courage, if possible, together. So here it means that they were alike. Both were connected with bondage, like Hagar. On the one, a law was given that led to bondage; and the other was in fact under a miserable servitude of rites and forms.

Which now is - As it exists now; that is, a slave to rites and forms, as it was in fact in the time of Paul.

And is in bondage - To laws and customs. She was under hard and oppressive rites, like slavery. She was also in bondage to sin John 8:33-34; but this does not seem to be the idea here.

With her children - Her inhabitants. She is represented as a mother, and her inhabitants, the Jews, are in the condition of the son of Hagar. On this passage compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 10:4, for a more full illustration of the principles involved here.

25. Translate, "For this word, Hagar, is (imports) Mount Sinai in Arabia (that is, among the Arabians—in the Arabian tongue)." So Chrysostom explains. Haraut, the traveller, says that to this day the Arabians call Sinai, "Hadschar," that is, Hagar, meaning a rock or stone. Hagar twice fled into the desert of Arabia (Ge 16:1-16; 21:9-21): from her the mountain and city took its name, and the people were called Hagarenes. Sinai, with its rugged rocks, far removed from the promised land, was well suited to represent the law which inspires with terror, and the spirit of bondage.

answereth—literally, "stands in the same rank with"; "she corresponds to."

Jerusalem which now is—that is, the Jerusalem of the Jews, having only a present temporary existence, in contrast with the spiritual Jerusalem of the Gospel, which in germ, under the form of the promise, existed ages before, and shall be for ever in ages to come.

and—The oldest manuscripts read, "For she is in bondage." As Hagar was in bondage to her mistress, so Jerusalem that now is, is in bondage to the law, and also to the Romans: her civil state thus being in accordance with her spiritual state [Bengel].

Agar, the bondwoman, fitly represented

Mount Sinai, the mountain in Arabia, from which the law was given: and

Jerusalem which now is answereth to Mount Sinai; for as in Mount Sinai the law was given in a terrible manner, so now Jerusalem is the seat of the scribes and Pharisees, who are the doctors of that law, and rigidly press the observation of it, by which the Jews are kept

in bondage. The apostle speaketh not here of the civil servitude that the Jews were in under the Romans, to whom they were now tributaries, but of that religious servitude in which the scribes and Pharisees kept them to their legal services.

For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia,.... The Arabic version, instead of Arabia, reads "Balca". The Syriac version makes Hagar to be a mountain, reading the words thus, "for Mount Hagar is Sinai, which is in Arabia": and some have been of opinion that Sinai was called Hagar by the Arabians. It is certain, that which may be pronounced Hagar, does signify in the Arabic language a stone or rock; and that one part of Arabia is called Arabia Petraea, from the rockiness of it; the metropolis of which was or "Agara", and the inhabitants Agarenes; and Hagar was the name of the chief city of Bahrein, a province of Arabia (r): and it may be observed, that when Hagar, with her son, was cast out, they dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, Genesis 21:21 which was near to Sinai, as appears from

Numbers 10:12 so that it is possible that this mount might be so called from her, though there is no certainty of it; and near to it, as Grotius observes, was a town called Agra, mentioned by Pliny (s) as in Arabia. However, it is clear, that Sinai was in Arabia, out of the land of promise, where the law was given, and seems to be mentioned by the apostle with this view, that it might be observed, and teach us that the inheritance is not of the law. It is placed by Jerom (t) in the land of Midian; and it is certain it must be near it, if not in it, as is clear from Exodus 3:1. And according to Philo the Jew (u), the Midianites, as formerly called, were a very populous nation of the Arabians: and Madian, or Midian, is by (w) Mahomet spoken of as in Arabia; and it may be observed, that they that are called Midianites in Genesis 37:36 are said to be Ishmaelites,

Genesis 39:1 the name by which the Arabians are commonly called by the Jews. The apostle therefore properly places this mountain in Arabia. But after all, by Agar, I rather think the woman is meant: and that the sense is, that this same Agar signifies Mount Sinai, or is a figure of the law given on that mount.

And answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children; that is, agrees with and resembles the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and of all the cities and towns in Judea; and she, being a bondwoman, represented that state of bondage the Jews were in, when the apostle wrote this, who were in a state of civil, moral, and legal bondage; in civil bondage to the Romans, being tributaries to the empire of Rome, and under the jurisdiction of Caesar; in moral bondage to sin, to Satan, to the world and the lusts of it, whose servants they in general were; and in legal bondage to the ceremonial law, which was a yoke of bondage: they were in bondage under the elements or institutions of it, such as circumcision, a yoke which neither they, nor their forefathers could bear, because it bound them over to keep the whole law; the observance of various days, months, times, and years, and the multitude of sacrifices they were obliged to offer, which yet could not take away sin, nor free their consciences from the load of guilt, but were as an handwriting of ordinances against them; every sacrifice they brought declaring their sin and guilt, and that they deserved to die as the creature did that was sacrificed for them; and besides, this law of commandments, in various instances, the breach of it was punishable with death, through fear of which they were all their life long subject to bondage: they were also in bondage to the moral law, which required perfect obedience of them, but gave them no strength to perform; showed them their sin and misery, but not their remedy; demanded a complete righteousness, but did not point out where it was to be had; it spoke not one word of peace and comfort, but all the reverse; it admitted of no repentance; it accused of sin, pronounced guilty on account of it, cursed, condemned, and threatened with death for it, all which kept them in continual bondage: and whereas the far greater part of that people at that time, the Jerusalem that then was, the Scribes, Pharisees, and generality of the nation, were seeking for justification by the works of the law, this added to their bondage; they obeyed it with mercenary views, and not from love but fear; and their comforts and peace rose and fell according to their obedience; and persons in such a way must needs be under a spiritual bondage.

(r) Castel. Lex. Polyglot. col. 804. (s) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28. (t) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 96. H. (u) De Fortitudine, p. 741. (w) Koran, c. 7. p. 126.

For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and {c} answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and {d} is in bondage with her children.

(c) Look how the case stands between Hagar and her children; even so stands it between Jerusalem and hers.

(d) That is, Sinai.

Galatians 4:25. The ἥτις ἐστὶν Ἄγαρ, just said, has now a reason assigned for it, from the identity of the name “Hagar” with that of Mount Sinai. Τὸ γὰρ ἌγαρἈραβίᾳ, however, is not to be placed in a parenthesis, because neither in the construction nor in a logical point of view does any interruption occur; but with συστοιχεῖ δέ a new sentence is to be commenced. “This covenant is the Hagar of that allegorical history—a fact which is confirmed by the similarity of the name of this woman with the Arabian designation of Mount Sinai. Not of a different nature, however,—to indicate now the corresponding relation, according to which no characteristic dissimilarity may exist between this woman and the community belonging to the Sinaitic covenant, because otherwise that ἥτις ἐστὶν Ἄγαρ would be destitute of inner truth—not of a different nature, however, but of a similar nature is Hagar with the present Jerusalem, that is, with the Jewish state; because the latter is, as Hagar once was, in slavery together with those who belong to it.” This paraphrase at the same time shows what importance belongs to the position of συστοιχεῖ at the head of the sentence.

τὸ γὰρ Ἄγαρ Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστιν ἐν τ. Ἀραβ.] That the name Hagar (τὸ Ἄγαρ denotes this; see Ephesians 4:9; Kühner, II. p. 137) accorded with the Arabic name of Sinai, could not but be a fact welcome to the allegorizing Paul in support of his ἥτις ἐστὶν Ἄγαρ. Comp. John 9:6.

He now writes Σινᾶ ὄρος, and not ὄρος Σινᾶ as in Galatians 4:24, because Ἄγαρ and Σινᾶ are intended to stand in juxtaposition on account of the coincidence of the two names. In Arabic means lapis; and although no further ancient evidence is preserved that the Arabs called Sinai κατʼ ἐξοχήν the stone,[214] yet Chrysostom in his day says that in their native tongue the name Sinai was thus interpreted; and indeed Büsching, Erdbeschr. V. p. 535, quotes the testimony of Harant the traveller that the Arabs still give the name Hadschar to Mount Sinai,—a statement not supported by the evidence of any other travellers. Perhaps it was (and is) merely a provincial name current in the vicinity of the mountain, easily explained from the granitic nature of the peaks (Robinson, I. p. 170 f.), with which also the probable signification of the Hebrew סִינַי, the pointed (see Knobel on Ex. p. 190), harmonizes,[215] and which became known to the apostle, if not through some other channel previously, by means of his sojourn in Arabia (Galatians 1:17). Comp. also Ewald, p. 495; Reiche, p. 63. It is true that the name of Hagar (הָגָר) does not properly correspond with the word جر (חגר), but with هجر fugit; but the allegorizing interpretation of names is too little bound to literal strictness not to find the very similarity of the word and the substantial resemblance of sound enough for its purpose, of which we have still stronger and bolder examples in Matthew 2:23, John 9:6. Beza, Calvin, Castalio, Estius, Wolff, and others, interpret, “for Hagar is a type of Mount Sinai in Arabia;”[216] but against this view the neuter τὸ Ἄγαρ is decisive.

ἘΝ ἈΡΑΒΊᾼ] not in Arabia situm (Schott and older expositors)—for how idle would be this topographical remark[217] in the case of a mountain so universally known!—nor equivalent to ἀραβιστί, so that ἈΡΑΒ. would be an adjective and ΔΙΑΛΈΚΤῼ would have to be supplied (Matthias); but: in Arabia the name Hagar signifies the Mount Sinai.[218] So Chrysostom, Theophylact, Luther (“for Agar means in Arabia the Mount Sinai”), Morus, Koppe, Reiche, Reithmayr, and others.

συστοιχεῖ] The subject is, as Theodore of Mopsuestia rightly has it, Hagar, not Mount Sinai (Vulgate, Jerome, Ambrose, Chrysostom and his followers, Thomas, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Estius, Wolf, Bengel, and others; also Hofmann now),—a view which runs entirely counter to the context, according to which the two women are the subjects of the allegorical interpretation, while τὸ γὰρ Ἄγαρ Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστιν ἐν τῇ Ἀραβ. was merely a collateral remark by way of confirmation. Incorrectly also Studer and Usteri, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius (also Hofmann formerly), Windischmann, Reithmayr, hold that the subject is still μία μὲν ἀπὸ ὄρους Σινᾶ, the Sinaitic constitution. In this way there would be brought out no comparison at all between the subject of συστοιχεῖ and the present Jerusalem; and yet such, according to the signification of συστοιχεῖν (see afterwards), there must necessarily be, so that in δουλεύει γάρ κ.τ.λ. lies the tertium comparationis. The Sinaitic διαθήκη is not of a similar nature with the present Jerusalem, but is itself the constitution of it; on that very account, however, according to the allegorical comparison Hagar corresponds to the present Jerusalem. συστοιχεῖν means to stand in the same row (see Polyb. x. 21. 7, and Wetstein); that is, here, to stand in the same category (συστοιχία, Aristot. Metaph. i. 5, pp. 986, 1004), to be of the same nature and species, σύστοιχον εἶναι (Theophr. c. pl. vi. 4. 2; Arist. Meteor, i. 3; Lucian, q. hist. conscr. 43). Consequently: Hagar belongs to the same category with the present Jerusalem, is of a like nature with it (comp. Polyb. xiii. 8. Galatians 1 : ὅμοια καὶ σύστοιχα), has in common with it the same characteristic relation, in so far namely that, as Hagar was a bond-woman, the present Jerusalem with its children is also in bondage. See below. Thus συστ. expresses the correspondence. But it is incorrect to take it as: she confronts as parallel (Rückert, Winer).[219] This must have been expressed by ἀντιστοιχεῖ (Xen. Symp. 2. 20, Anab. v. 4. 12; comp. ἀντίστοιχος, Eur. Andr. 746, and ἀντιστοιχία, Plut. Mor. p. 474 A). Many of those who regard Sinai as the subject (see above) interpret: “it extends as far as Jerusalem” (Vulgate, Jerome, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, Luther, Wolf, and others). This would have to be more exactly defined with Genebrardus, ad Psalm 133:3, following out the literal meaning of the word συστοιχεῖ: “perpetuo dorso sese versus Sionis montes exporrigit.” But even granting the geographical reality of the description, and setting aside the fact that Sinai is not the subject, Paul must have named, instead of τῇ νῦν Ἱερονσ., Mount Zion. Hofmann, in reference to the position of Sinai in Arabia and of Jerusalem in the land of promise, interprets the expression locally indeed, but as indicative of the non-local relation, that the present Jerusalem belongs to the same category with the mountain although Arabian, which has it side by side on the same line in the order of the history of salvation. An artificial consequence of the geographical contrast introduced as regards ἐν Ἀραβ., as well as of the erroneous assumption that Mount Sinai is the subject. At the same time a turn is given to the interpretation, as if Paul had written ΣΥΣΤΟΙΧΕῖ ΔῈ ΑὐΤῷ Ἡ ΝῦΝ ἹΕΡΟΥΣ.

Τῇ ΝῦΝ ἹΕΡΟΥΣΑΛΉΜ] does not stand in contrast to the former Salem (Erasmus, Michaelis), but in Paul’s view means the present Jerusalem belonging to the pre-Messianic period, as opposed to ἡ ἄνω Ἱερουσ. (ver 26), which after the ΠΑΡΟΥΣΊΑ will take its place. See on Galatians 4:26. Moreover, the present Jerusalem and its children (“inhabitants;” see Matthew 23:37, Psalm 149:2) represent the Israelitic commonwealth and its members. Comp. Isaiah 40:2.

δουλεύει γὰρ κ.τ.λ.] namely, to the Mosaic law. The bondage to Rome (Pelagius) is not, according to the context, referred to either alone (Castalio, Ewald) or jointly (Bengel). The subject is ἡ νῦν Ἱερουσ., and not ἌΓΑΡ (Cornelius a Lapide, Grotius, and others). Looking at the usage both of classical authors and the N.T., there is nothing surprising in the change of subject (Stallbaum, ad Plat. Gorg. p. 510 C; Winer, p. 586 [E. T. 787 f.]). Lachmann (also Ewald) has incorrectly placed the words δουλεύειαὐτῆς in a parenthesis.

[214] We may add that جر occurs elsewhere as a geographical proper name in Arabia Petraea. Thus the Chald. Paraphr. always gives the name חגרא to the wilderness called in the Hebr. שׁוּר. As to the town جر, which is, however, to be pronounced Hidschr and not Hadschr, and, on account of its too remote site, cannot come into consideration here (in opposition to Grotius and others), see Ewald, p. 493 f., and Jahrb. VIII. p. 290.

[215] As to the mineralogical beauty of the mountain, see Fraas, Aus d. Orient geolog. Beobacht. 1867.

[216] At the same time Calvin and others remark on ἐν Ἀραβίᾳ: “hoc est extra limites terrae sanctae, quae symbolum est aeternae haereditatis.” This reference is also discovered by Wieseler, who, with Lachmann, reads only τὸ γ. Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τ. Ἀραβ., “for the Sinai mountain lies beyond the Holy Land, and indeed in Arabia, where also the alien Hagar is at home.” In his view, Paul meant to say that, through their alien nature, the Sinaitic διαθήκη and Hagar showed themselves to answer to each other,—namely, as intervenient elements in the history of salvation. But this Paul has not said; the substance of it would have to be read between the lines. How very natural it would have been for him at least to have written, instead of or in addition to ἑν τ. Ἀραβ., ἴξω (or μακρὰν ἀπό) τῆς γῆς Χαναάν, in order thus at least to give some intimation that the alien character was the point! This also applies against the view of Hofmann (comp. also his Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 70 f.), who likewise follows the reading omitting Ἄγαρ, and agrees in substance with Wieseler’s explanation, taking Mount Sinai as contrast to Sion, and Arabia as contrast to the land of promise. Comp. also, in opposition to this exposition, which imports elements wholly gratuitous, Ewald, Jahrb. X. p. 239.

[217] Which is not (with Bengel) to be brought into an antithetical relation to συστοιχεῖ δέ (the Mount Sinai is indeed situated in Arabia, but corresponds, etc.), as if it were accompanied by a μέν (and with the adoption of Lachmann’s reading); for in this case the allegorical signification of the Hagar would not be based on any ground.

[218] Observe that the apostle does not at all wish to say that Hagar is in the Arabic language generally the name of Sinai; but, on the contrary, by ἐν τῇ Ἀραβίᾳ, he characterizes that name as a name used in the country, provincial. Hofmann unjustly finds in the words according to our reading “absurdity.”

[219] Comp. also Wieseler: “corresponds to it; not, however, at a like, but at a different stage,” whereby the idea of a type is expressed. This view is not to be supported by Polyb. x. 21. 7, where συζυγοῦντας καὶ συστοιχοῦντας διαμένειν means to remain in rank and file (“servare ordines secundum παραστάτας et ἐπιβάτας,” Schweighäuser), so that as well the συζυγοῦντες as the συστοιχοῦντες always form one row with one another.


If the reading of Bengel and Lachmann, τὸ γ. Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τ. Ἀραβ., be adopted, the interpretation would simply be: “for the Sinai-Mount is in Arabia;” so that ἐν τῇ Ἀραβ. would serve to support the allegorical relation of Hagar to Sinai, seeing that Hagar also was in Arabia and the ancestress of the Arabians. This certainly forms a ground of support much too vague, and not befitting the dialectic acuteness of the apostle. In the case of the Recepta also, ἐν τῇ Ἀραβ., taken as a geographical notice, is so superfluous and aimless, that Schott’s uncritical conjecture, treating the words τὸ γ. Ἄγ. ὄρ. Σ. . ἐν τ. Ἀραβ. as a double gloss, is not surprising. Bentley, who is followed by Mill, Proleg. § 1306, even wished to retain nothing of the passage but τὸ δὲ Ἄγαρ συστοιχεῖ τῇ νῦν Ἱερουσ. κ.τ.λ. Against the interpretation of ἐν τῇʼ Αραβ. by Wieseler and Hofmann, see above.

Galatians 4:25. τὸ γὰρ. The variety of readings in the MSS., το Αγαρ, το γαρ Αγαρ, το δε Αγαρ, το γαρ, indicates some primitive error of transcription. It is hardly possible to extract any reasonable sense from the three first: for τὸ Ἅγαρ cannot mean Hagar herself: it denotes the name Hagar, and Stanley’s attempt to connect this name with Sinai proved futile. How then can the statement be understood that the name Hagar is Sinai, or that it answers to Jerusalem? How again can the superfluous description of Sinai as a mountain in Arabia be explained? Moreover, the reading τὸ Ἅγαρ without any connecting particle is intolerable in Greek language, and δέ or γάρ was probably added to correct the solecism. Hence I conclude that Ἅγαρ was probably an error in transcription for the original γάρ, suggested by its occurrence immediately before.

The statement in the text on the contrary, For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia, is full of meaning when it is remembered that Hagar had no connection with Sinai itself, but that she found a home for herself and her children in Arabia.—συστοιχεῖ. The previous clause τὸ γὰρἈραβίᾳ is a parenthesis, ἥτις is therefore the subject of συστοιχεῖ. The Apostle finds in the actual state of Jerusalem and her children the same characteristic feature of slavery as in the covenant of Sinai.

25. The reading, the construction and the meaning of the first clause of this verse are uncertain, and have afforded matter for considerable discussion. The genuineness of the word ‘Hagar’ is doubtful. If it is retained, the sense will be, ‘For (or, as some copies read, ‘now’) this term Hagar is the name by which Mount Sinai is called in Arabia’, it therefore represents Mount Sinai, which is in Arabia, the country to which Hagar fled and which her descendants inhabit. ‘The word Hagar in Arabic means “a rock”, and some authorities tell us that Mount Sinai is so called by the Arabs’. Conybeare and Howson. But it is better to omit it, and the sense will then be, ‘For Mount Sinai is in Arabia’, the country of Ishmael’s descendants, the offspring of the bondwoman. In any case the clause is parenthetical, and the following words refer to Hagar in the preceding verse:—‘and this is Hagar (for Mount Sinai is situated in Arabia—the country of the Ishmaelites) and it (the covenant) corresponds to Jerusalem &c.’

and answereth] ‘belongs to the same row or category, corresponds to’, see note Galatians 4:22.

Jerusalem which now is] Here, from the addition of the phrase ‘with her children’ (comp. Matthew 23:37), it is evident that Jerusalem stands for the whole Jewish people, nationally considered. It is contrasted not, as might have been expected, with ‘Jerusalem which shall be’, but with ‘Jerusalem which is from above’; but the antithesis is not weakened. The Heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:2) is the same as the ‘new Jerusalem’ (Revelation 21:2) of the prophetic vision, which is even now the city and the home of every true believer (Php 3:20). It is in heaven (or above) until the number of God’s elect shall be accomplished, and then it will ‘come down from God out of heaven’, not like a bondwoman and an outcast, but ‘as a bride adorned for her husband’.

and is in bondage] The reference is probably to the legal bondage to which every Jew, as such, was subject. But Jerusalem was at this time literally a conquered city, subject to the Imperial power of Rome.

Galatians 4:25. Τὸ γὰρ Σινᾶ ὄρος, κ.τ.λ., for Sinai is a mountain in Arabia, and [but] answereth to Jerusalem that now is, for it is in bondage with her children) Hagar, Galatians 4:24, and Isaac, Galatians 4:28, are opposed to each other, where we must observe, that Hagar is mentioned by her own name, not so Sarah; and yet Isaac is named, whilst Ishmael is not; inasmuch as the child follows [and is included under] the mother, a bond-maid; but the son of the free woman is distinguished [is taken into account] by his own name. Thus the introduction of Hagar in this section stands on a clear and well-defined footing. In the meantime, the covenant from Mount Sinai, and the promise, are opposed to each other in Galatians 4:24; Galatians 4:28; in like manner, at Galatians 4:25-26, Jerusalem that now is, and Jerusalem above. Some consider these words, Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ Ἀραβίᾳ, which are found in all the copies, as a gloss; but they are wrong. For thus Paul’s argument is weakened, when he brings forward the bondage engendered from Mount Sinai [as answering] to that of Jerusalem, which now is; Galatians 4:24-25. Proper copies, quoted in the Apparatus, and τὸ, the neuter gender of the article, show, that the word Hagar rather was brought from Galatians 4:24 to Galatians 4:25; for Hagar is feminine, but Sinai is neuter.[40] Nor do those words, for she is in bondage with her children, require Hagar to be mentioned: For [with] her is to be referred, as not to Sinai in the neuter, so much the less to Hagar, but to Jerusalem which now is. The former (Hagar) had a son, but the latter (Jerusalem) had sons. These remarks relate to the whole passage; we shall now observe some things on each portion in detail.—Σινᾶ ὄρος, Sinai, a mountain) Galatians 4:24 has from the Mount Sinai; now the order of the words is changed [Sinai going before mount here; but mount before Sinai in Galatians 4:24] (comp. Ephesians 2:1, note). In the former passage, more regard is had to the mountain, inasmuch as it was upon it that the law was given, whatever name it might have [the name Sinai not being taken into account there]; afterwards, it is rather considered as Sinai [the name Sinai being the prominent idea], a mountain in Arabia.—συστοιχεῖ δὲ) δὲ, and yet [but], although it is in Arabia; συστοιχεῖν is used of that which agrees with something else in a comparison. This agreement is evident in itself, for it is one and the same people that received the law on Mount Sinai, and that inhabit the city of Jerusalem; and the people at both periods stand on the same footing.[41] It is to be added, that Sinai and Jerusalem were nearly under the same meridian, and were united with slight interruption almost by the same chain of mountains.—τῇ νῦν, that now is) The antithesis is, that is above.—νῦν, now, refers to time, above to place; the antithesis of either must be supplied from the other in the semiduplex[42] oratio. The Jerusalem which is present [“that now is”], and earthly; the Jerusalem which is above, and eternal. The expression, which is above, is said with the greater propriety on this account, that it alludes to the higher and nobler part of Jerusalem, and rises above Mount Sinai: and the Jerusalem which is above, inasmuch as she is already our mother, could not be suitably spoken of as future [as that which is about to be, in antithesis to the Jerusalem that now is]; not only is she future [“about to be,” as regards the future], but also more ancient [as regards the past], than ἡ νῦν, [the Jerusalem] which now is, inasmuch as the latter has not existed for a long period, nor will it exist in time to come.—δουλεύει, is in bondage) As Hagar was in bondage to her mistress, so Jerusalem, that now is, is in bondage to the law, and also to the Romans,—her civil state thus being in accordance with her spiritual state.

[40] Hence the omission of the wordΑγαρ in this verse, not so much approved of on the margin of the larger Ed., is reckoned among the fixed readings by the margin of the 2d Ed., in which the Germ. Vers. concurs. But the things deserve to be compared which Michaelis has in der Einleitung, T. i. p. m. 646, where he shows that Hagar in the Arabic idiom denotes a rock, and therefore the words τὸ Ἄγαρ Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ Ἀραβίᾳ ought to be thus translated: “The word Hagar signifies in Arabic the Mount Sinai.”—E. B.

[41] “Eadem populi utroque tempore ratio.” What holds good of the people at the one time, holds good of them at the other, as to their status and principles.—ED.

[42] See App. An abbreviated mode of expression, when two members of a sentence stand in such a relation, that each needs to supply some words from the other.—ED.

Lachm. read Τὸ γὰρ Σινᾶ with CGg Vulg., omitting Ἄγαρ; Tiscliend., Τὸ γὰρ Ἄγαρ Σινᾶ, with both Syr. Versions and Rec. Text. B also has Τὸ Ἄγαρ. AD(Δ) Memph. read τὸ δὲ Ἄγαρ.—ED.

Verse 25. - For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia. This clause has been the subject of much conflicting opinion. The reading of the Greek text is itself much debated, and in the original authorities (manuscripts, versions, and Fathers) it appears in a great variety of forms. A detailed discussion of the latter point would be out of place here; and for the premisses from which the critical judgment is to be drawn, the reader is referred to Alford, and to a detached note which Bishop Lightfoot adds in his ' Commentary,' at the end of this fourth chapter. Only the main result needs to be stated. There are two forms of the text, between which the choice lies. One is that of the Textus Receptus, namely, Τὸ γὰρ Ἄγαρ Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ Ἀραβίᾳ," For the word Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia." This is maintained by Meyer, Alford, Ellicott, and San-day. The other, omitting the word Ἄγαρ, runs thus: Τὸ γὰρ Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ Ἀραβία, "For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia." This is accepted by Bentley, Lachmann, Tregelles, Tischendorf (latterly), Bengel, De Wette, Windischmann, Howson, and Lightfoot. In respect to the original authorities, there is not generally thought to exist any great preponderance in the evidence for either the retention or the omission of the word "Hagar." The decision, therefore, depends chiefly upon a comparison of the internal probabilities. In order to this, we must gain as clear a view as we can of the meaning of the above two readings. That of the Textus Receptus, Τὸ γὰρ Ἄγαρ Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ Ἀραβίᾳ, according to Chrysostom, as well as modern critics, means this: "For the word Hagar is [represents] in Arabia Mount Sinai." Chrysostom remarks, "Hagar is the word for Mount Sinai in the language of that country; "and again, "That mountain where the old covenant was delivered, hath a name in common with the bondwoman." Critics make reference to Galatians 1:17, "I went away into Arabia." "It is difficult," says Dean Stanley, 'Sinai and Palestine,' p. 50." to resist the thought that he [St. Paul] too may have stood upon the rocks of Sinai, and heard from Arab lips the often-repeated Ha jar, rock, suggesting the double meaning to which the text alludes." But the Arabic word for "rock" is chajar, differing from Hajar, the Arabic form of the bondwoman's name, by having eheth for its initial letter instead of he. Further, the Arabs would have used the word only as a common noun, "rock," and not as a proper noun, the name of the mountain. St. Paul could not have mistaken the one for the other. There is no evidence at all to substantiate Chrysostom's assertion that the Arabs did name the mountain Hagar; he apparently thought so only because the apostle seemed to him to affirm it. See Lightfoot further on this point. Moreover, the sentence, "The word Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia," is not what St. Paul would have written to express this idea; either, instead of "in Arabia" he would have written "in the language of the country;" or else, "for the Mount Sinai is called Hagar in Arabia." Another objection to this reading is the order in which the words Σινᾶ and ὄρος stand. Elsewhere where the words are conjoined the order is, as in ver. 24, ὄρος Σινᾶ. The passages are these: Exodus 19:18, 20; 24:26; 31:18; 34:2; Nehemiah 9:13; Acts 7:30. The reversal of the order here indicates that Σινᾶ is the subject, and ὄρος belongs to the predicate; that is, that Ἄγαρ must be expunged from the text, and that we adopt the other reading, Τὸ γὰρ Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ Ἀραβίᾳ, "For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia," the well-known land of Hagar and her descendants; Genesis 16:7; Genesis 21:21; Genesis 25:18 (see Mr. Peele's articles on "Hagar" and "Shur" in the 'Dictionary of the Bible'). The article is prefixed to Σινᾶ as having been already just mentioned; as if it were "for this Sina is," etc. The purpose of the clause, however it be read, is plainly to make more colourable the allegorical exposition; it explains why the locality of the giving of the Law has been referred to in the words, "one, from Mount Sinai" - a local specification quite alien to the apostle's usual manner in referring to the old covenant, and only had recourse to here for this particular object. And answereth to (or, is in the same rank with) Jerusalem which now is (συστοιχεῖ δὲ τῇ νῦν Ἱερουσαλήμ); and standeth in the same class (literally, in the same column) with the Jerusalem that now is. The use of the verb συστοιχεῖν the reader will find amply illustrated in Liddell and Scott's 'Lexicon.' In the military language of Greece, illustrated out of Polybius, οἱ συστοιχοῦντες were those standing in the same file or column, one behind another (as οἱ συζυγοῦντες were those standing side by side in the same rank). Hence, as if tabulated on a board, ideas belonging to the same class, both types and antitypes, were conceived of as if placed in a vertical line in column, and so were called συστοιχοῦντες: whilst ideas belonging to a class contrasted with the former, both types and antitypes, were conceived of as placed horizontally opposite to the former in another column; the two sets of contrasted ideas being ἀντίστοιχα to each other. Thus in the present instance we have two columns -

Hagar, slave mother; — Sarah, freewoman.

Ishmael, slave child; — Believers, free children.

Covenant from Sinai; — Promise.

Jerusalem that now is; etc. — Jerusalem that is above; etc. (Compare Erasmus's note in Peele's 'Synopsis.') It is not improbable, as Bishop Lightfoot observes, that St. Paul is alluding to some mode of representation common with Jewish teachers employed to exhibit similar allegories (see Bengel's note above referred to). We may, therefore, conclude that the subject of the verb συστοιχεῖ, whatever it is, is regarded by the apostle as standing in the same category with the now subsisting Jerusalem, especially in the particular respect which he presently insists upon; namely, as being characterized by slavery. For this is the main point of this whole allegorical illustration; that Judaism is slavery and the Christian state liberty. It is not clear whether the subject of this verb, "standeth in the same column with," is "the covenant from Mount Sinai," or "Hagar," or "Sinai." If either of the two former, then the first clause of this verse is a parenthesis. The construction runs the most smoothly by adopting the third view, which takes" Sinai" as the subject. Sinai, that gave forth the covenant which is represented by Hagar, "stands in the same column" with "the Jerusalem that now is;" for Sinai is the starting-place of the covenant which has now its central abode in Jerusalem; the people that was there is now here; and the condition of slavery into which Sinai's covenant brought them marks them now at Jerusalem. And is in bondage with her children (δουλεύει γὰρ [Receptus, δουλεύει δὲ] μετὰ τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς); for she is in bondage with her children. The reading γὰρ is substituted for δὲ by the editors with general consent. That the subject of the verb "is in bondage" is "the Jerusalem that now is," is apparent from the contrasted sentence which next follows, "but the Jerusalem that is above is free." "With her children;" repeatedly did our Lord group Jerusalem with" her children "(Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:35; Luke 19:44), having, however, in view the city itself with its inhabitants; while St. Paul probably regards Jerusalem more in idea, as representing Judaism in its central manifestation; "her children" being consequently these who were living under the Law. The apostle here assumes that this mystical Jerusalem with her children was in bondage, making the fact a ground for identifying her with Hagar. That the fact was so St. Paul knew, both from his own experience and from his observation of others. The religious life of Judaism consisted of a servile obedience to a letter Law of ceremonialism, interpreted by the rabbins with an infinity of hair-splitting rules, the exact observance of which was bound upon the conscience of its votaries as of the essence of true piety. The apostle also probably took account of the slavish spirit which very largely characterized the religious teaching of the ruling doctors of Judaism; their bondage, that is, not only to the letter of the Law, but to the traditions also of men; that spirit which those who heard the teaching of the Lord Jesus felt to be so strongly contrasted by his manner of conceiving and presenting religious truth. "He taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes." But the main point now contemplated by the apostle was bondage to ceremonialism. Galatians 4:25

For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia (τὸ δὲ Ἅγαρ Σινὰ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ Ἁραβίᾳ)

The sentence is not parenthetical. This covenant is the Hagar of that allegorical history which is explained by the resemblance of her name to the Arabic name of Sinai. The Greek order is not ὄρος Σινὰ, as Galatians 4:24, but Σινὰ ὄρος, in order to bring into juxtaposition the two names which are declared to coincide. The evidence, however, for the actual identity of the names is deficient. The proper name Hagar signifies wanderer or fugitive (Arab. hadschar, comp. Hegira, the term for the flight of Mahomet). It has probably been confounded with the Arabic chadschar a stone or rock, which cannot be shown to be an Arabic designation of Sinai. The similarity of the first two gutturals might easily lead to the mistake.

Answereth to (συνστοιχεῖ)

N.T.o. The subject of the verb is Hagar, not Mount Sinai. Lit. stands in the same row or file with. Hence, belongs to the same category. See on elements, Galatians 3:3.

Jerusalem which now is

As contrasted with "the Jerusalem above," Galatians 4:26. The city is taken to represent the whole Jewish race.

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