And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And the servant abideth not.—Better, Now the bondman abideth not . . ., as in the last verse.
The Son abideth ever.—Better, for ever, as in the earlier clause. The Greek words are precisely the same. This contrast between the position of the slave, who is a chattel that may be bought or bartered or sold, and has no affinity with the members of the house, and no permanent right in it; and the son, in whose veins is the master’s blood, and who is heir of all things, is obvious and general; but here, again, the present meaning is special. They claim to be the seed of Abraham. Did they remember the history of Isaac and Ishmael? The son of the freewoman abideth in the house; the son of the bondmaid is cast out. Here, once again, too, we have the pupil of Gamaliel taking up and expanding this thought, showing that it was within the range of current exposition. Read carefully Galatians 4:19-31, remembering that the Epistle belongs to the middle of the half-century which separates the utterance of these words by Christ from their record by St. John.
The Greek word for “abideth” is the word which is rendered “continue” in John 8:31, and the Authorised version further obscures the connection by placing a paragraph division between these verses. If we read again John 8:31-32, noting the close connection between abiding, truth, and freedom; and the next verses, John 8:35-36, noting the connection between abiding, the Son, and freedom, we shall have, it is believed, a simpler clue to the meaning than any of the usual explanations.
Our version misleads by the use of the capital. The word “Son” in this verse, should be read “son.” The clause is the expression of a legal maxim holding good for all servants and for all sons, but here specially applied to the sonship in Abraham’s household. It is not before the next verse that there is the transference of thought to the Son in the household of the Divine Father. In this verse the thought is that if they were really the children of Abraham they would be of Abraham’s spiritual nature, abiding in his home, and inheriting the promises made to him. They had not continued in the spiritual freedom of sons, but had departed from the house and had become, spiritually, bondmen.Hebrews 3:5-6.
Abideth not - Remains not, or has not the legal right to remain. He may at any time be rejected or sold.
In the house - In the family of his master.
For ever - During the whole time of his life.
The Son - The heir. He remains, and cannot be sold or cast off.
But the Son; some think he speaks of himself who was the eternal Son of God, he
abideth ever; but I rather think he speaks of him that is a son by adoption, John 1:12 Romans 8:15,16. So as this text showeth us the remarkable difference betwixt a nominal professor, and one who is a true believer: the one is but as a servant in God’s house, to whom belongeth no inheritance; though while he is in the family, he enjoys some common privileges which a mere stranger hath no right to: the other is a son, and hath a right to the inheritance, and so shall never be cast out of the family, but abideth in it for ever. Exodus 21:6; yet that "for ever" was but until the year of jubilee, whether near or remote, as the Jewish commentators (d) in general explain it; nay, if his master died before that time, he went out free: he was not obliged to serve his son or heirs; and so say the Misnic doctors (e):
"one that is bored is obtained by boring, and he possesses himself (or becomes free) by the year of jubilee, and by the death of his master.''
And to this agrees what Maimonides (f) says;
"he that has served six years, and will not go out, lo, this is bored, and he serves until the year of jubilee, or until his master dies; and although he leaves a son, he that is bored does not serve the son; which may be learned from the letter of the words, "he shall serve him", not his son, "for ever", until the jubilee: from whence it appears, that he that is bored does not possess himself (or is free) but by the jubilee, and by the death of his master.''
And one of their writers (g) observes, that the word rendered, "shall serve him", is by Gematry, and not his son. And among the Romans, good servants were oftentimes made free, and bad ones were turned out, and put into a work house, to grind corn in mills, a sort of bridewell; and such evil servants may more especially be respected, since Christ is speaking of servants of sin:
but the Son abideth ever: the Son of God, the only begotten Son of God the Lord Jesus Christ will always continue as a Son in his own house, as the Lord and proprietor of it; and as an high priest over it, having an unchangeable priesthood; and as he that takes care of it, provides for it, and manages all the affairs thereof, the family in heaven and in earth being named of him. And as he, so all the adopted sons of God shall continue, being pillars in this house, that shall never go out: such are no more servants, nor foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God; and being sons, are heirs and shall never be cast out, as the bondwoman and her son have been: but these being the children of the free, shall for ever enjoy the inheritance they are adopted to; once sons, always so; the relation ever continues; they will ever remain in the family, and being entitled to the heavenly estate, shall ever possess it.And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 8:35-36. But what prospect is there before the slave of sin? Exclusion from the kingdom of the Messiah! This threat Jesus clothes in the general principle of civil life, that a slave has no permanent place in the house; he must allow himself to be sold, exchanged, or cast out. Comp. Genesis 21:10; Galatians 4:30. The application intended to be made of this general principle is this: “The servant of sin does not remain eternally in the theocracy, but is cast out of the midst of the people of God at the establishment of the kingdom of Messiah.” There is nothing to indicate that ὁ δοῦλος is intended to refer to Ishmael as a type of the bastard sons of Abraham, and ὁ υἱός to Isaac as a type of Christ (Ebrard); such a view rather is out of accord with this general expression in its present tense form, which simply marks an universally existing legal relation between the different positions of the slave and the Son of the house.
εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα] for ever, an expression to be understood in harmony with the relation which has been figuratively represented. After αἰῶνα a full stop should be inserted, with Lachmann and Kling, because ἐὰν οὗν, etc., is a consequence deduced simply from ὁ υἱὸς μ. εἰς τ. αἰ., not from what precedes, and because ὁ υἱὸς, etc., begins a new section in the logical progress of the discourse. The course of thought, namely, is this: (1) Whoever commits sin is the bondsman of sin, and is excluded from the Messianic people of God. (2) Quite different from the lot of the bondsman, who must quit the house, is that of the Son (of the Master of the house); hence it is this latter who procures for you actual freedom.
ὁ υἱὸς μένει εἰς τ. αἰῶνα] namely, ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ,—also a general proposition or principle, but with an intentional application of the general expression ὁ υἱός to Christ, who, as the Son of God, retains for ever His position and power in the house of God, i.e. in the theocracy; comp. Hebrews 3:5-6. From this μένει εἰς τ. αἰῶνα it follows (οὖν) that if He frees from the state of a bondsman, a real and not merely an apparent freedom commences, seeing that, on account of the perpetual continuance of His domestic rights in the theocracy, the emancipation effected by Him must have a real and finally valid result. This would not necessarily be the case if He remained merely for a time in the house; for as both His right and ἐξουσία would then lack certainty and permanence, so the freedom He procured would also lack the guarantee of reality. This line of argumentation presupposes, moreover, that the Father does not Himself directly actin the theocracy; He has entrusted to the Son the power and control.
The reference of ὁ δοῦλος to Moses (Euth. Zigabenus, after Chrysostom) is foreign and opposed to the text, see John 8:34. Grotius, however, aptly remarks: “tribuitur hic filio quod modo veritati, quia eam profert filius.”
ὄντως] in reality; every other freedom is mere appearance (comp. John 8:33), not corresponding to its true nature; no other is ἡ παντελὴς καὶ ἀπὸ πασῶν ἀρχῶν ἐλευθερία (Plat. Legg. iii. p. 698 A), which alone is that gained through Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:22; Romans 8:35-36; 2 Corinthians 6:4-5.
 If the man who is morally free be supposed to be the object of the intended application of ὁ υἱός—the man, namely, who “holds not merely an historical relation to God, but one that is essential, because ethically conditioned” (Luthardt, comp. De Wette)—we should have to take the second ὁ υἱός in the sensu eminenti (of Christ). The text, however, especially as ver. 36 is connected with ver. 35 by οἶν, offers no ground for this distinction. Hence, also, it is wrong to apply ὁ υἱός in ver. 35 to those who are liberated by Christ along with Christ (Hengstenberg). These first come under consideration in ver. 36.35. And the servant, &c.] The transition is somewhat abrupt, the mention of ‘bond-servant’ suggesting a fresh thought. Now the bond-servant (not the bond-servant of sin, but any slave) abideth not in the house for ever: the son (not the Son of God, but any son) abideth for ever. “The thought is throughout profound and instructive; and to a Jew, always ready to picture to himself the theocracy or the kingdom of heaven under the form of a household, it would be easily intelligible.” S. p. 157.John 8:35. Δοῦλος) slave, in social standing: slave-like, of illiberal [base] disposition, and so committing sin.—ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ) in the house of the Father.—ὁ ὑιός) The Son, the only-begotten. Comp. ver. following, “If the Son shall make you free,” etc. The article here has a greater force, than in the antithetic words, ὁ δοῦλος.—μένει, abideth) in the house. The allusion is, inasmuch as the question is concerning Abraham, to Genesis 21:10, “Sarah said to Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son—Hagar and Ishmael—for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son—Isaac;” Genesis 25:5, “Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac:” comp. Galatians 4:22, etc., “He who was of the bondwoman, was born after the flesh, but he of the free woman was by promise, which things are an allegory,” etc.Verse 35. - This being the fact as to sin and its servitude, the Lord proceeds to deal with servitude in God's house. Servitude and its spirit are manifested in the house of the Father. The bond slave abideth not in the house forever. So long as he is a bond slave and not emancipated from the fetters of mere race, so long as he is ruled by the servile spirit, there is no perpetuity about his relation to the Father. He can be sold away (Genesis 21:10; Galatians 4:30). An involuntary subject of the Law, who belongs to the theocracy as a slave merely, and because he cannot help himself, and occupies a position which a slave does in the family of sin, has lost all freedom and spontaneity in his service, and will find himself cast out at last. But the son abideth forever. Sonship is the only principle on which continuance in the house can be secured. It has been much debated whether the ὁ υἱός of the thirty-fifth verse goes beyond the idea of sonship, the generic antithesis to the idea of slave. Certainly this seems the primary reference. In the following verse, the Son, in his loftiest functions, and as identifying himself with "the truth" of ver. 32, entirely fulfils the conception of "Sonship" and eternal abiding in the Father's house, and therefore is entrusted with the power of emancipating all slaves, of adopting sons into the Father's royal house. Thus we may suppose that the first use of the term "son," though laying special emphasis on the spirit and conditions of sonship, yet points to him who entirely embodies, enshrines, and has from before all worlds realized the Divine idea of Son - the only begotten Son - in the bosom of the Father.
A slave has no permanent place in the house. He may be sold, exchanged, or cast out. Compare Genesis 21:10; Galatians 4:30. House. See Hebrews 3:6; John 14:2. The elder son in the parable of the prodigal (Luke 15:29), denies his sonship by the words, "These many years do I serve thee (δουλεύω)."
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