Romans 1:26
For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Romans 1:26-27. For this cause — To punish them for their inexcusable neglect, or contempt rather, of the ever-blessed God; and for all their idolatries and impieties; God gave them up unto vile affections — Abandoned them to the most infamous passions, to which the heathen Romans were enslaved to the last degree, and none more than the emperors themselves. For even their women — From whom the strictest modesty might reasonably be expected; did change the natural use of their bodies into that which is against nature — Prostituting and abusing them in the most abominable manner. Likewise also the men burned in their lust one toward another — “How just the apostle’s reflections are, and how pertinently he has placed this most abominable abuse of human nature at the head of the vices into which the heathen world were fallen, will be seen, if we observe that Cicero, the greatest philosopher in Rome, a little before the gospel was preached, in his book concerning the nature of the gods, (where may be found a thousand idle sentiments upon that subject,) introduces, without any mark of disapprobation, Cotta, a man of the first rank and genius, freely and familiarly owning, to other Romans of the same quality, this worse than beastly vice, as practised by himself; and quoting the authority of ancient philosophers in vindication of it. See lib. 1. sec. 28. Nay, and do we not even find the most elegant and correct, both of the Greek and Latin poets, avowing this vice, and even celebrating the objects of their abominable affection? Indeed, it is well known that this most detestable vice was long and generally practised, by all sorts of men, philosophers and others. Whence we may conclude that the apostle has done justice to the Gentile world in the other instances of their corruption.” — Dodd. Receiving in themselves that recompense of their error — Their idolatry; which was meet — Being punished with that unnatural lust, which was as horrible a dishonour to their bodies as their idolatry was to God, and with various bodily infirmities, disorders, and sufferings consequent on such abominable practices, rendering their lives most miserable on earth, and bringing them to an untimely grave, and an eternal hell. The reader will observe, “the apostle is not speaking simply of the Greeks committing the uncleanness which he mentions, but of their lawgivers authorizing these vices by their public institutions of religion, by their avowed doctrine, and by their own practice. With respect to fornication, the heathen actually made it a part of the worship of their deities. At Corinth, for example, as Strabo informs us, lib. 8. p. 581, there was a temple of Venus, where more than a thousand courtesans (the gift of pious persons of both sexes) prostituted themselves in honour of the goddess; and that thus the city was crowded, and became wealthy. In the court of the temple of Venus, at Cnidus, there were tents placed under the trees for the same lewd purposes. Lucian., Dial. Amores. With respect to sodomy, it is not so commonly known that it was practised by the heathen as a part of their religious worship; yet, in the history which is given of Josiah’s endeavours to destroy idolatry, there is direct evidence of it, 2 Kings 23:7. That the Greek philosophers of the greatest reputation were guilty not only of fornication, but even of sodomy, is affirmed by ancient authors of good reputation. With the latter crime, Tertullian and Nazianzen have charged Socrates himself, in passages of their writings quoted by Estius. The same charge Athenæus, a heathen writer, hath brought against him, Deipnosophist, lib. 13.; not to speak of Lucian, who, in many passages of his writings, hath directly accused him of that vice. When, therefore, the statesmen, the philosophers, and the priests, notwithstanding they enjoyed the light of nature, improved by science, thus avowedly addicted themselves to the most abominable uncleannesses; nay, when the gods whom they worshipped were supposed by them to be guilty of the same enormities; when their temples were brothels, their pictures invitations to sin, their sacred groves places of prostitution, and their sacrifices a horrid mixture of superstition and cruelty; there was certainly the greatest need of the gospel revelation, to make mankind sensible of their brutality, and to bring them to a more holy practice. That some, professing Christianity, are guilty of the crimes of which we have been speaking, is true. But it is equally true, that their religion does not, like the religion of the heathen, encourage them in their crimes; but deters them, by denouncing, in the most direct terms, the heaviest wrath of God against all who are guilty of them. Besides, the gospel, by its divine light, hath led the nations to correct their civil laws; so that in every Christian country these enormities are prohibited, and when discovered are punished with the greatest severity. The gospel, therefore, hath made us far more knowing, and, I may add, more virtuous, than the most enlightened and most polished of the heathen nations were formerly.” — Macknight.1:26-32 In the horrid depravity of the heathen, the truth of our Lord's words was shown: Light was come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil; for he that doeth evil hateth the light. The truth was not to their taste. And we all know how soon a man will contrive, against the strongest evidence, to reason himself out of the belief of what he dislikes. But a man cannot be brought to greater slavery than to be given up to his own lusts. As the Gentiles did not like to keep God in their knowledge, they committed crimes wholly against reason and their own welfare. The nature of man, whether pagan or Christian, is still the same; and the charges of the apostle apply more or less to the state and character of men at all times, till they are brought to full submission to the faith of Christ, and renewed by Divine power. There never yet was a man, who had not reason to lament his strong corruptions, and his secret dislike to the will of God. Therefore this chapter is a call to self-examination, the end of which should be, a deep conviction of sin, and of the necessity of deliverance from a state of condemnation.For this cause - On account of what had just been specified; to wit, that they did not glorify him as God, that they were unthankful, that they became polytheists and idolaters. In the previous verses he had stated their speculative belief. He now proceeds to show its practical influences on their conduct.

Vile affections - Disgraceful passions or desires. That is, to those which are immediately specified. The great object of the apostle here, it will be remembered, is to shew the state of the pagan world, and to prove that they had need of some other way of justification than the law of nature. For this purpose, it was necessary for him to enter into a detail of their sins. The sins which he proceeds to specify are the most indelicate, vile, and degrading which can be charged on man. But this is not the fault of the apostle. If they existed, it was necessary for him to charge them on the pagan world. His argument would not be complete without it. The shame is not in specifying them, but in their existence; not in the apostle, but in those who practiced them, and imposed on him the necessity of accusing them of these enormous offences. It may be further remarked, that the mere fact of his charging them with these sins is strong presumptive proof of their being practiced. If they did not exist, it would be easy for them to deny it, and put him to the proof of it. No man would venture charges like these without evidence; and the presumption is, that these things were known and practiced without shame. But this is not all. There is still abundant proof on record in the writings of the pagan themselves, that these crimes were known and extensively practiced.

For even their women ... - Evidence of the shameful and disgraceful fact here charged on the women is abundant in the Greek and Roman writers. Proof may be seen, which it would not be proper to specify, in the lexicons, under the words τριζὰς ὄλισβον trizas olisbon, and ἑταιρίστης hetairistēs. See also Seneca, epis. 95; Martial, epis. i. 90. Tholuck on the State of the pagan World, in the Biblical Repository, vol. ii.; Lucian, Dial. Meretric. v.; and Tertullian de Pallio.

26, 27. For this cause God gave them up—(See on [2181]Ro 1:24).

for even their women—that sex whose priceless jewel and fairest ornament is modesty, and which, when that is once lost, not only becomes more shameless than the other sex, but lives henceforth only to drag the other sex down to its level.

did change, &c.—The practices here referred to, though too abundantly attested by classic authors, cannot be further illustrated, without trenching on things which "ought not to be named among us as become the saints." But observe how vice is here seen consuming and exhausting itself. When the passions, scourged by violent and continued indulgence in natural vices, became impotent to yield the craved enjoyment, resort was had to artificial stimulants by the practice of unnatural and monstrous vices. How early these were in full career, in the history of the world, the case of Sodom affectingly shows; and because of such abominations, centuries after that, the land of Canaan "spued out" its old inhabitants. Long before this chapter was penned, the Lesbians and others throughout refined Greece had been luxuriating in such debasements; and as for the Romans, Tacitus, speaking of the emperor Tiberius, tells us that new words had then to be coined to express the newly invented stimulants to jaded passion. No wonder that, thus sick and dying as was this poor humanity of ours under the highest earthly culture, its many-voiced cry for the balm in Gilead, and the Physician there, "Come over and help us," pierced the hearts of the missionaries of the Cross, and made them "not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ!"

For this cause; i.e. for their idolatry and uncleanness both, for now their idolatry is aggravated by the uncleanness accompanying it.

Vile affections; Gr. affections of dishonour, i.e. the most dishonourable and shameful affections; for as we are exhorted, 1 Thessalonians 4:4,5, to possess our vessels in honour, that is, to withhold our body from uncleanness; so they that give up themselves to uncleanness, dishonour themselves and their own bodies; see 1 Corinthians 6:18: if they, as this scripture tells us, that commit fornication dishonour their own bodies; then much more do they that practise the unnatural uncleanness hereafter mentioned.

For even their women, &c.; i.e gunaikev andrizontai, so Clem. Alexandr. Ad praeposteros et sodomiticos concubitus sese maribus prostituerunt. See Paraeus: a filthy practice not to be named, Ephesians 5:3. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections,.... Because of their idolatrous practices, God left them to very dishonourable actions, sodomitical ones, both among the men and women:

for even the women did change the natural use into that which is against nature; either by prostituting themselves to, and complying with the "sodomitical" embraces of men, in a way that is against nature (h); or by making use of such ways and methods with themselves, or other women, to gratify their lusts, which were never designed by nature for such an use: of these vicious women, and their practices, Seneca (i) speaks, when he says,

"libidine veto nec maribus quidem cedunt, pati natae; Dii illas Deoeque, male perdant; adeo perversum commentae, genus impudicitiae, viros ineunt:''

also Clemens Alexandrinus (k) has respect to such, saying,

"gunaikev andrizontai para fusin, gamou men ai te kai .'

and such there were among the Jews, whom they call (l), and whom the priests were forbidden to marry.

(h) Vid. R. Sol Jarchi in Genesis 24.16. (i) Epist. 95. (k) Paedagog. l. 3. p. 226. (l) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 65. 2. Piske Tosaph. ib. artic. 266. Yevamot, fol. 76. 1. & Piske Tosaph. ib. art. 141. Maimonides in Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 7. sect. 4. & Hilchot Issure Bia, c. 21. sect. 8, 9.

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 1:26-27. Διὰ τοῦτο] Beginning an independent, sentence (against Hofmann, see on Romans 1:25), refers to the description οἵτινες.… κτίσαντα contained in Romans 1:25. The giving up is set forth once more (comp Romans 1:24, διό) as the punishment of apostasy, and now indeed with such increasing force of delineation, that out of the category which is kept quite general in Romans 1:24 unnatural sensual abominations are specially adduced.

εἰς πάθη ἀτιμίας] Genitive of quality. Comp on πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης in Romans 1:4, and Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. 21. Parallel to the passions of a disgraceful character is εἰς ἀκαθαρσίαν in Romans 1:24; comp Colossians 3:5; but the stronger expression here selected prepares the way for the following description of a peculiarly abominable form of vice. Still the unnatural element is not implied in πάθη ἀτιμίας itself (Hofmann: they are a dishonouring, not merely of the body, but of “humanity”), since morally dishonouring passions are the agents, not only in the case of unnatural, but also in that of natural unchastity.

Respecting τὲ γάρ, namque, for.… indeed (Romans 7:7; 2 Corinthians 10:8), see Hermann, a[511] Soph. Trach. 1015; Hartung, I. p. 115; Klotz, a[512] Devar. p. 749 ff.

The expressions θήλειαι and ἄρσενες, their females and their males, not γυναῖκες and ἄνδρες, are chosen because the predominant point of view is simply that of sex; Reiche thinks: out of contempt, because the words would also be used of beasts; but in fact, such unnatural things are foreign to the very beasts. Besides, the words are used even of the gods (Homer, Il. viii. 7, and frequently).

τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν] of their sex, not: of the male, which is unsuitable to the vice indicated. Regarding χρῆσις in the sense of sexual use, see Wetstein and Kypke, also Coray, a[513] Heliodor. Aeg., p. 31.

How very prevalent among the Gentiles (it was found also among the Jews, see Schoettgen, Hor. in loc[514]) was the so-called Lesbian vice, λεσβιάζειν (Lucian, D.Mer. 5. 2), women with women abusing their sex (tribades, in Tertullian frictrices), see Salmasius, foen. Trapez. p. 143 f., 152 f.; and the commentators on Ael. V. H. iii. 12. Comp the ἑταιρίστριαι in Plat. Symp. p. 191 E, and the ασέλγεια τριβακή in Luc. Amor. 28; and see Ruhnken, a[516] Tim. p. 124, and generally Rosenbaum, Gesch. d. Lustseuche im Alterth. ed. 2, 1845.

That ὁμοίως δὲ καί after the preceding τέ makes the latter an anakoluthon, is commonly assumed, but altogether without foundation, because in τὲ γάρ the τέ does not necessarily require any correlative. See Klotz l.c[517] If it were put correlatively, we should have in ὁμοίως δὲ καί the other corresponding member really present (as is actually the case, e.g. in Plat. Symp. p. 186 E), which however would in that case inappropriately stand out with greater emphasis and weight than the former[518] (Stallbaum, a[519] Plat. Polit. p. 270 D, Rep. p. 367 C; Dissen, a[520] Pind. Ol. viii. 56; Klausen, a[521] Aesch. Choeph. p. 199). The reading τέ (instead of δέ) in Elz., as well as the entire omission of the particle (C, min[522], Origen, Jerome), is a too hasty emendation.

ἐξεκαύθησαν] Stronger than the simple form. Comp Alciphr. iii. 67; ἐξεκαύθην εἰς ἔρωτα. Such a state is the πυροῦσθαι in 1 Corinthians 7:9. Moreover, Paul represents here not the heat that precedes the act of unchastity, but that which is kindled in the act itself (κατεργαζόμενοι.… ἀπολαμβάνοντες).

ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσι] whilst they, males on males, performed the (known, from Romans 1:26) unseemliness. On the emphatic juxtaposition of ἄρσ. ἐν ἄρσ. comp generally Lobeck, a[525] Aj. 522, and in particular Porphyr. de abstin. iv. 20; and Wetstein in loc[526] On κατεργαζεσθαι, which is used both of evil (Romans 2:9, Romans 7:9, Romans 15:17 f.) and good (Romans 5:3, Romans 15:18; Php 2:12), but which, as distinguished from ἐργάζεσθαι, always expresses the bringing to pass, the accomplishment, comp especially Romans 2:9, and van Hengel thereon; 1 Corinthians 5:3; 2 Corinthians 7:10, and the critical remarks thereon. On ἀσχημ. see Genesis 34:7.

τὴν ἀντιμισθίαν κ.τ.λ[528]] The aberration, which Paul means, see in Romans 1:21-23; Romans 1:28; it is the aberration from God to idols, not that implied in the sexual perversion of the divine order (Hofmann), which perversion, on the contrary, is brought by διό in Romans 1:24, and by ΔΙΆ ΤΟῦΤΟ in Romans 1:26, under the point of view of penal retribution for the πλάνη. By the recompense for the πλάνη Paul does not at all mean that the men “have that done to them by their fellows, which they themselves do to theirs” (Hofmann), but rather, in harmony with the connection of cause and effect, the abominable unnatural lusts just described, to which God has given up the Gentiles, and thereby, in recompensing godlessness through such wicked excesses (Romans 1:18), revealed His ὀργή. Therefore also ἭΝ ἘΔΕΙ is added, namely, in accordance with the necessity of the holy divine order. See Romans 1:24; Romans 1:26; Romans 1:28. On ἈΝΤΙΜΙΣΘΊΑ comp 2 Corinthians 6:13; Clem. Cor. II. 1. It occurs neither in Greek authors, who have the adjective ἈΝΤΊΜΙΣΘΟς (Aesch. Suppl. 273), nor in the LXX. or Apocrypha.

ἐν ἑαυτοῖς] on themselves mutually (ἐν ἀλλήλοις), as in Romans 1:24. It enhances the sadness of the description. For a number of passages attesting the prevalence of unchastity between man and man, especially of paederastia among the Gentiles, particularly the Greeks (it was forbidden to the Jews in Leviticus 18:22), see Becker, Charikl. I. p. 346 ff.; Hermann, Privatalterth. § 29; Bernhardy, Griech. Lit. ed. 2, p. 50 ff. Moreover, Bengel aptly observes regarding the whole of this unreserved exposure of Gentile unchastity: “In peccatis arguendis saepe scapha debet scapha dici. Pudorem praeposterum ii fere postulant, qui pudicitia carent.… Gravitas et ardor stili judicialis proprietate verborum non violat verecundiam.” Observe, nevertheless, how the Apostle delineates the female dishonour in less concrete traits than the male. He touches the matter in Romans 1:26 briefly and clearly enough, but with delicate avoidance of detailed description.

[511] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[512] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[513] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[514] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[516] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[517] .c. loco citato or laudato.

[518] Hofmann thinks that with ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ κ.τ.λ. the argument ascends to the greater danger for the continuance of the human race. But that is a purely imported thought. The Apostle’s point of view is the moral ἀτιμία, which, in the case of female depravity, comes out most glaringly. And therefore Paul, in order to cast the most tragic light possible on these conditions, puts the brief delineation of female conduct in the foreground, in order then symmetrically to subjoin, with ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ, the male vice as the second part of the filthy category.

[519] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[520] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[521] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[522] in. codices minusculi, manuscripts in cursive writing. Where these are individually quoted, they are marked by the usual Arabic numerals, as 33, 89.

[525] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[526] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[528] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.Romans 1:26 f. With the second παρέδωκεν the Apostle proceeds to a further stage in this judicial abandonment of men, which is at the same time a revelation of the wrath of God from heaven against them. It issues not merely like the first in sensuality, but in sensuality which perverts nature as well as disregards God. The πλάνη, error or going astray (Romans 1:27), is probably still the original one of idolatry; the ignoring or degrading of God is the first fatal step out of the way, which ends in this slough.26. For this cause] Resuming Romans 1:24.

vile affections] Lit. passions of disgrace; stamped with essential degradation. (Far different is the Greek, where (in E. V.) the same word “vile” appears, in Php 3:21 : “the body of humiliation.”) On this and the next verse we must not comment in detail. The hideous vices here plainly named, one of them in particular, frightfully deface some of the very fairest pages of ancient literature. The tremendous condemnations of Scripture have made the like display almost impossible in modern writings; but the human heart is the same. (Jeremiah 17:9.)

It is noteworthy (as an act of tenderness, perhaps,) that the sin of Romans 1:26 is touched more rapidly than that of Romans 1:27. It is also remarkable that in the Greek we have not “women” and “men,” but “females” and “males.”—Bengel’s remark on this passage is excellent: “Often, in exposing sin, we must call a spade a spade (scapha debet scapha dici). They often insist on an excessive delicacy who themselves are void of modesty.” These words apply to many passages of Scripture besides this.Romans 1:26. Πάθη ἀτιμίας, lusts of dishonour) [vile affections—Engl. vers.] See Gerberi lib. unerkannte sünden (unknown sins), T. i., cap. 92; Von der geheimen Unzucht (on secret vices). The writings of the heathen are full of such things.—ἀτιμίας, dishonour). Honour is its opposite, 1 Thessalonians 4:4.—θήλειαι, women) In stigmatizing sins, we must often call a spade a spade. Those generally demand from others a preposterous modesty [in speech], who are without chastity [in acts]. Paul, at the beginning of this epistle, thus writes more plainly to Rome, which he had not yet visited, than on any former occasion anywhere. The dignity and earnestness of the judicial style [which he employs], from the propriety of its language, does not offend modesty.—χρῆσιν, use) supply of themselves; but it is elliptical; the reason is found, 1 Corinthians 11:9; we must use, not enjoy. Herein is seen the gravity of style in the sacred writings.Verse 26. - For this cause God gave them up (παρέδωκε, as before) to vile affections (πάθη ἀτιμίας, i.e. "passions of infamy;" cf. above, τοῦ ἀτιμάζεσθαι). For the use, on the other hand, of the words τιμὴ and τίμιος to denote seemly and honourable indulgence of the sexual affections, cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:4 (Τὸ ἐαυτοῦ σκεῦος κτᾶσθαι ἐν ἁγιασμῶ καὶ τιμῆ) and Hebrews 13:4 (Τίμιος ὁ γάμος ἐν πᾶσι καὶ ἡ κοίτη ἀμίαντος). For their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature. Vile affections (πάθη ἀτιμίας)

Lit., passions of dishonor. Rev., passions. As distinguished from ἐπιθυμίαι lusts, in Romans 1:24, πάθη passions, is the narrower and intenser word. Ἐπιθυμία is the larger word, including the whole world of active lusts and desires, while the meaning of πάθος is passive, being the diseased condition out of which the lusts spring. Ἐπιθυμίαι are evil longings; πάθη ungovernable affections. Thus it appears that the divine punishment was the more severe, in that they were given over to a condition, and not merely to an evil desire. The two words occur together, 1 Thessalonians 4:5.

Women (θήλειαι)

Strictly, females. This, and ἄρσενες males, are used because only the distinction of sex is contemplated.

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