Philippians 4:22
All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) of Cæsar’s household.—The “household of Cæsar” included a multitude of persons of all ages and ranks and occupations. Dr. Lightfoot, in a very interesting excursus on this verse, remarking that these Christians of Cæsar’s household are alluded to as if well known to the Philippians, has examined the various names mentioned in Romans 16. (three years before this time), and finds many of them identical with names actually found in sepulchral inscriptions, as belonging to members of the “domus Augusta,” or imperial household. These were earlier converts; but, wherever St. Paul’s prison was, he can hardly have failed to gain through the prætorians some communication with the household of the emperor, whose body-guard they were; and the allusion here seems to show that for some reason these Christians of Caesar’s household were in an especial familiarity of intercourse with him. Probably, therefore, he had added from that household new converts to Christ; and he mentions this here, as he had before spoken of his bonds being made manifest in the “prætorium” (Philippians 1:13), in order to show the Philippians that his very imprisonment had given special opportunity for the spread of the gospel.

4:20-23 The apostle ends with praises to God. We should look upon God, under all our weakness and fears, not as an enemy, but as a Father, disposed to pity us and help us. We must give glory to God as a Father. God's grace and favour, which reconciled souls enjoy, with the whole of the graces in us, which flow from it, are all purchased for us by Christ's merit, and applied by his pleading for us; and therefore are justly called the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.All the saints salute you - All in Rome, where this Epistle was written. No individuals are specified, perhaps because none of the Christians at Rome wore personally known to the church at Philippi. They would, however, feel a deep interest in a church which had thus the confidence and affection of Paul. There is reason to believe that the bonds of affection among the churches then were much stronger than they are now. There was a generous warmth in the newness of the Christian affection - the first ardor of love; and the common trials to which they were exposed would serve to bind them closely together.

Chiefly they that are of Caesar's household - That is, of Nero, who was at that time the reigning emperor. The name Caesar was given to all the emperors after the time of Julius Caesar, as the name Pharaoh was the common name of the kings of Egypt. The phrase used here - "the household of Caesar" - may refer to the relatives of the emperor; and it is certainly possible that some of them may have been converted to Christianity. But it does not of necessity refer to those related to him, but may be applied to his domestics, or to some of the officers of the court that were more particularly employed around his person; and as it is more probable that some of them would be converted than his own relatives, it is more safe to suppose that they were intended; see the notes at Philippians 1:13.

22. they that are of Cæsar's household—the slaves and dependents of Nero who had been probably converted through Paul's teaching while he was a prisoner in the Prætorian barrack attached to the palace. Philippi was a Roman "colony," hence there might arise a tie between the citizens of the mother city and those of the colony; especially between those of both cities who were Christians, converted as many of them were by the same apostle, and under like circumstances, he having been imprisoned at Philippi, as he now is at Rome. The rest of the Christians at Rome do the same; more especially they of Nero the emperor’s own family and court, his domestics, Philippians 1:13. It seems there were some there truly pious and Christian: but however some conceit, there is no real evidence that Seneca was of that number; he being not a courtier, but a senator, who left no real token (we know of) that he was a Christian. All the saints salute you,.... The members of the church at Rome,

chiefly they that are of Caesar's household; for by means of the apostle's bonds, which were made manifest in the emperor's palace, Christ was made known to some there likewise; though Nero, the then reigning emperor, was a very wicked prince, and his court a very debauched one, yet the grace of God reached some there: who these were cannot be said; as for the conjecture that Seneca the philosopher, Nero's master, was one of them, it is without foundation; the eight letters of his to the Apostle Paul, and the six letters of the apostle to him, are spurious, though of ancient date, being made mention of by Austin and Jerom (g): a like groundless conjecture is that, that Lucan the poet, Seneca's brother's son, was another; for there is nothing in his writings, or in any account of him, any more than in the former, that shows him to be a Christian. Torpes, a man in great favour and dignity in Nero's court, and Evellius his counsellor, who both suffered martyrdom under him, according to the Roman martyrology, are also mentioned,

(g) Vid. Fabricii Bibliothec. Latin, p. 69.

All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of {p} Caesar's household.

(p) Those who belong to the emperor Nero.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Php 4:22. μάλιστα. If by this time, as is probable (see Introduction), Paul had been removed from his lodging to one of the state prisons near the palace, it is plain that Christians of the Imperial household would have special opportunities of close intercourse with him.—οἱ ἐκ τῆς Κ. οἰκίας. See esp[73]. SH[74]., Romans, pp. 418–423, as supplementary to Lightfoot’s important discussion; and also, Riggenbach, Neue Jahrb. f. deutsche Th., 1892, pp. 498–525, Mommsen, Handbuch d. röm. Alterth., ii., 2 (ed. 3), pp. 833–839. SH[75]. point out that a number of the names mentioned for salutation in Romans 16. occur in the Corpus of Latin Inscriptions as members of the Imperial household, which seems to have been one of the chief centres of the Christian community at Rome. In the first century A.D. most of the Emperor’s household servants came from the East. Under Claudius and Nero they were people of real importance. And we find, from history, that Christian slaves had great influence over their masters. See Friedländer, Sittengeschichte Roms, i., pp. 70 ff., 74, 110–112.

[73] especially.

[74] . Sanday and Headlam (Romans).

[75] . Sanday and Headlam (Romans).22. chiefly] More exactly, but chiefly. There was something marked and emphatic about this message.

they of Cesar’s household] “Probably slaves and freedmen attached to the palace” (Lightfoot). It has been sometimes assumed that these persons, on the other hand, were members of the imperial family, and this has been used either to prove the remarkable advance of the Gospel in the highest Roman society during St Paul’s first captivity, and incidentally to evidence a late date in that captivity for the Epistle, or to support a theory of the spuriousness of the Epistle. Bp Lightfoot, in an “additional note,” or rather essay (Philippians, pp. 171–178), has shewn with great fulness of proof that the “household of Cæsar” was a term embracing a vast number of persons, not only in Rome but in the provinces, all of whom were either actual or former slaves of the Emperor, filling every possible description of office more or less domestic. The Bishop illustrates his statements from the very numerous burial inscriptions of members of the “Household” found within the last 170 years near Rome, most of them of the period of the Julian and Claudian Emperors. And the names of persons in these inscriptions afford a curiously large number of coincidences with the list in Romans 16; among them being Amplias, Urbanus, Apelles, Tryphæna, Tryphosa, Patrobas, Philologus. And it appears by the way to be very probable that both Aristobulus’ and Narcissus’ “households” (Romans 16:10-11) were in fact the slave-establishments of the son of Herod the Great, and of the favourite of Claudius, respectively, transferred to the possession of the Emperor. Bp Lightfoot infers from this whole evidence the great probability that the “saints” greeted in Romans 16 were, on the whole, the same “saints” who send greeting here from Rome. Various as no doubt were their occupations, and their native lands, the members of the Household of Cæsar as such must have had an esprit de corps, and, for their rank in society, a prestige, which made it humanly speaking likely that a powerful influence, like that of the Gospel, if felt among them at all, would be felt widely, and that they would be in the way to make a distinctive expression of their faith and love, when occasion offered.

The view thus given of the saints here mentioned, their associations and functions, not only in the age of Nero but in the precincts of his court, and probably for many of them within the chambers of his palace, gives a noble view in passing of the power of grace to triumph over circumstances, and to transfigure life where it seems most impossible.

A certain parallel to the Household of Cæsar appears in the vast Maison du Roy of the later French monarchy. But the Maison was for the noblesse alone.Verse 22. - All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household. All the Christians at Rome, not only St. Paul's personal friends and companions. It is not clear why he lays a special stress on those belonging to Nero's household. The reason given by Chrysostom seems somewhat fanciful: "If those who dwelt in palaces despised all things for the sake of the King of heaven, much more should the Philippians do so." Some of them may have been known to the Philippian Christians. The term familia or domus Caesaris included all ranks, from the highest official to the lowest freedman or slave. It is probable that those alluded to here belonged to the humbler classes. But at any rate St. Paul's words prove that his preaching had penetrated into that abyss of all infamy, the palace of Nero. (For the Christianity of Seneca, and the supposed correspondence between him and St. Paul see Bishop Lightfoot's dissertation on 'St. Paul and Seneca.' See also his detached note on 'Caesar's Household.') Of Caesar's household

Probably the slaves and freedmen attached to the palace.

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