Romans 5:13
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) So much we can see; so much is simple matter of history, that sin was in the world from Adam downwards. But here comes the difficulty. Sin there was, but why guilt? And why death, the punishment of guilt? The pre-Mosaic man sinned indeed, but could not rightly be condemned for his sin until there was a law to tell him plainly the distinction between right and wrong.

It will be observed that the law of nature (Romans 1:19-20; Romans 2:14-15) is here left out of consideration. In the places mentioned, St. Paul speaks of the law of nature only as applicable to his contemporaries or to comparatively recent times. He does not throw back its operation into the primitive ages of the world; neither does he pronounce upon the degree of responsibility which men, as moral agents, then incurred. This would fall in with the doctrine that the consciousness of right and wrong was gradually formed. It is not, indeed, to be said that St. Paul exactly anticipated the teachings of the inductive school of moralists, but there is much in their system, or at any rate in the results to which they seem to be coming, that appears to fall into easy and harmonious relations with the teaching of the Apostle.

5:12-14 The design of what follows is plain. It is to exalt our views respecting the blessings Christ has procured for us, by comparing them with the evil which followed upon the fall of our first father; and by showing that these blessings not only extend to the removal of these evils, but far beyond. Adam sinning, his nature became guilty and corrupted, and so came to his children. Thus in him all have sinned. And death is by sin; for death is the wages of sin. Then entered all that misery which is the due desert of sin; temporal, spiritual, eternal death. If Adam had not sinned, he had not died; but a sentence of death was passed, as upon a criminal; it passed through all men, as an infectious disease that none escape. In proof of our union with Adam, and our part in his first transgression, observe, that sin prevailed in the world, for many ages before the giving of the law by Moses. And death reigned in that long time, not only over adults who wilfully sinned, but also over multitudes of infants, which shows that they had fallen in Adam under condemnation, and that the sin of Adam extended to all his posterity. He was a figure or type of Him that was to come as Surety of a new covenant, for all who are related to Him.For until the law ... - This verse, with the following verses to the 17th, is usually regarded as a parenthesis. The Law here evidently means the Law given by Moses. "Until the commencement of that administration, or state of things under the law." To see the reason why he referred to this period between Adam and the Law, we should recall the design of the apostle, which is, to show the exceeding grace of God in the gospel, abounding, and superabounding, as a complete remedy for all the evils introduced by sin. For this purpose he introduces three leading conditions, or states, where people sinned, and where the effects of sin were seen; in regard to each and all of which the grace of the gospel superabounded. The first was that of Adam, with its attendant train of ills Romans 5:12, which ills were all met by the death of Christ, Romans 5:15-18. The second period or condition was that long interval in which men had only the light of nature, that period occurring between Adam and Moses. This was a fair representation of the condition of the world without revelation, and without law, Romans 5:13-14. Sin then reigned - reigned everywhere where there was no law. But the grace of the gospel abounded over the evils of this state of man. The third was under the Law, Romans 5:20. The Law entered, and sin was increased, and its evils abounded. But the gospel of Christ abounded even over this, and grace triumphantly reigned. So that the plan of justification met all the evils of sin, and was adapted to remove them; sin and its consequences as flowing from Adam; sin and its consequences when there was no written revelation; and sin and its consequences under the light and terrors of the Law.

Sin was in the world - People sinned. They did what was evil.

But sin is not imputed - Is not charged against people, or they are not held guilty of it where there is no law. This is a self-evident proposition, for sin is a violation of law; and if there is no law, there can be no wrong. Assuming this as a self-evident proposition, the connection is, that there must have been a law of some kind; a "law written on their hearts," since sin was in the world, and people could not be charged with sin, or treated as sinners, unless there was some law. The passage here states a great and important principle, that people will not be held to be guilty unless there is a law which binds them of which they are apprized, and which they voluntarily transgress; see the note at Romans 4:15. This verse, therefore, meets an objection that might be started from what had been said in Romans 4:15. The apostle had affirmed that "where no law is there is no transgression." He here stated that all were sinners. It might be objected, that as during this long period of time they had no law, they could not be stoners. To meet this, he says that people were then in fact sinners, and were treated as such, which showed that there must have been a law.

13, 14. For until the law sin was in the world—that is during all the period from Adam "until the law" of Moses was given, God continued to treat men as sinners.

but sin is not imputed where there is no law—"There must therefore have been a law during that period, because sin was then imputed"; as is now to be shown.

For until the law sin was in the world: q.d. It appears that all have sinned, because sin was always in the world, not only after the law was given by Moses, but also before, even from the beginning of the world till that time.

But sin is not imputed when there is no law: q.d. It appears there was a law before the law of Moses, for if there had been no law all that while, then sin would not have been imputed to men, so as to make them liable to punishment or death; but sin was imputed or charged upon men before the law of Moses, and death passed upon all. Therefore there must have been a law, by the transgression of which men were sinners, before that time. And that was either the law of nature, or the positive law which God gave to Adam, the transgression whereof is imputed to all, as we shall see, Romans 5:19. Some think the apostle doth here obviate a cavil: q.d. Let no man think that sin began to have its being together with the law, for there was sin before there was any written law to forbid it. The same acts that were forbidden afterwards by the law, were before committed, and were really sinful in the sight of God. But sin was not so well known, nor so strictly charged upon the sinner, as it is since the law was given. It was not imputed comparatively, though absolutely it was, as may appear by many instances, as the drowning of the world, the destruction of Sodom, &c. For until the law, sin was in the world,.... This is a proof of sin's having entered into the world, by one man's transgression of the positive law of God, which forbid him the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; since it was in the world before the law of Moses was given: the sin of Adam and the guilt of that were in the world before, and came upon all men to condemnation; the general corruption of nature appeared before; and actual sins, and transgressions of all sorts were committed before; as by the immediate posterity of Adam, by the men of the old world, by the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, by the patriarchs and their posterity, by the Egyptians, Canaanites, and others. They were all guilty of sin, corrupted by it, and under the dominion of it, except such as were released from it by the grace of God: now when sin is said to be until this time, the meaning is not that it existed and continued until the law of Moses took place, and then ceased; for that law did not, and could not take away sin, it rather increased it, at least it became more known by it; but that it was in being before it, and had influence and power over the sons of men, so as to subject them to death:

but sin is not imputed when there is no law. This looks like an objection, that if there was no law before Moses's time, then there was no sin, nor could any action of man be known or accounted by them as sinful, or be imputed to them to condemnation; or rather it is a concession, allowing that where there is no law, sin is not imputed; but there was a law before that law of Moses, which law was transgressed, and the sin or transgression of it was imputed to men to condemnation and death, as appears from what follows.

{11} (For until {o} the law sin was in the world: but sin is not {p} imputed when there is no law.

(11) That this is so, that both guiltiness and death began not after the giving and transgressing of law of Moses, is evident in that men died before that law was given: for in that they died, sin, which is the cause of death, existed then: and in such a way, that it was also imputed: because of this it follows that there was then some law, the breach of which was the cause of death.

(o) Even from Adam to Moses.

(p) Where there is no law made, no man is punished as faulty and guilty.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 5:13 f. Demonstration, that the death of all has its ground in the sin of Adam, and the causal connection of that sin with death. This argument, conducted with great conciseness, sets out from the undoubted historical certainty (it is already sufficiently attested in Genesis 4-6) that during the entire period prior to the law (ἄχρι νόμου = ἀπὸ Ἀδὰμ μέχρι Μωϋσέως, Romans 5:14) there was sin in humanity; then further argues that the death of individuals, which yet has affected those also who have not like Adam sinned against a positive command, cannot be derived from that sin prior to the law, because in the non-existence of law there is no imputation; and allows it to be thence inferred that consequently the death of all has been caused (ἐφʼ ᾧ πάντες ἥμαρτον) by the sin of Adam (not by their individual sins). Paul however leaves this inference to the reader himself; he does not expressly declare it, but instead of doing so he says, returning to the comparison begun in Romans 5:12 : ὄς ἐστι τύπος τοῦ μέλλοντος, for in that death-working operation of Adam’s sin for all lay, in fact, the very ground of the typical relation to Christ. Chrysostom aptly says: εἰ γὰρ ἐξ ἁμαρτίας ὁ θάνατος τὴν ῥίζαν ἔσχε, νόμου δὲ οὐκ ὄντος ἡ ἁμαρτία οὐκ ἐλλογεῖται, πῶς ὁ θάνατος ἐκράτει; ὅθεν δῆλον ὄτι οὐκ αὐτὴ ἡ ἁμαρτία ἡ τῆς τοῦ νόμου παραβάσεως, ἀλλʼ ἐκείνη τῆς τοῦ Ἀδὰμ παρακοῆς, αὕτη ἦν ἡ πάντα λυμαινομένη. Καὶ τίς ἡ τούτου ἀπόδειξις; τὸ καὶ πρὸ τοῦ νόμου πάντας ἀποθνήσκειν· ἐβασίλευσε γὰρ κ.τ.λ[1275] Compare Oecumenius.

ἌΧΡΙ ΝΌΜΟΥ] i.e. in the period previous to the giving of the law, comp Romans 5:14; consequently not during the period of the law, ἝΩς Ὁ ΝΌΜΟς ἘΚΡΆΤΕΙ,[1277] Theodoret; comp Origen, Chrysostom, and Theodore of Mopsuestia.

ἐλλογεῖται] preserved nowhere else except in Boeckh, Inscript. I. p. 850 A, 35, and Philemon 1:18 (text rec[1279]), but undoubtedly meaning: is put to account (consequently equivalent to λογίζεται, Romans 4:4), namely, here, according to the context, for punishment, and that on the part of God; for in the whole connection the subject spoken of is the divine dealings in consequence of the fall. Hence we are neither to understand ab judice (Fritzsche), nor: by the person sinning; so Augustine, Ambrosiaster, Luther (“then one does not regard the sin”) Melancthon (“non accusatur in nobis ipsis”) Calvin, Beza and others, including Usteri, Rückert, J. Müller, Lipsius, Mangold, and Stölting (“there the sinner recognises not his sin as guilt”), whereby a thought quite irrevelant to the argument is introduced.

μὴ ὄντος νόμου] without the existence of the law; νόμος, as previously ἄχρι νόμου, meaning the Mosaic law, and not any law generally (Theodore of Mopsuestia, and many others, including Hofmann), as ἁμαρτία already points to the divine law. Comp Romans 4:15. The proposition itself: “Sin is not imputed, if the law is absent,” is set down as something universally conceded, as an axiom; therefore with repetition of the subject (in opposition to Hofmann, who on account of this repetition separates ἁμαρτία δέ κ.τ.λ[1281] from the first half of the verse and attaches it to what follows), and with the verb in the present. The proposition itself, inserted as an intervening link in the argument with the metabatic δέ, without requiring a preceding ΜΈΝ, which Hofmann is wrong in missing (see Dietzsch and Kühner, II. 2, p. 814), has its truth as well as its more precise application in the fact, that in the absence of law the action, which in and by itself is unlawful, is no transgression of the law (Romans 4:15), and cannot therefore be brought into account as such. That Paul regarded the matter in this light, and had not, as Hofmann thinks, sinning generally, “as it was one and the same thing in the case of all,” in view apart from the sins of individuals, is plain also from καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς μὴ ἁμαρτ. ἐπὶ τῷ ὁμοιώματι τῆς παραβάσ. Ἀδάμ, in Romans 5:14. His thought is: If the death of men after Adam had been caused by their own sin, then in the case of all those, who have died during the period from Adam till the law, the sin which they have committed must have been already reckoned to them as transgression of the law, just as Adam’s sin was the transgression of the positive divine command, and as such brought upon him death; but this is inconceivable, because the law was not in existence. In this Paul leaves out of consideration the Noachian commands (Genesis 9), as well as other declarations of God as to His will given before the law, and likewise individual punitive judgments, such as in the case of Sodom, just because he has only the strict idea of real and formal legislation before his mind, and this suggests to him simply the great epochs of the Paradisaic and Sinaitic legislations. A view, which does not subvert the truth of his demonstration, because mankind in general were without law from Adam until Moses, the natural law, because not given positively, remaining out of the account; it makes the act at variance with it appear as sin (ἉΜΑΡΤΊΑ), but not as ΠΑΡΆΒΑΣΙς ΝΌΜΟΥ, which as such ἘΛΛΟΓΕῖΤΑΙ.

Romans 5:14. ἈΛΛʼ] at, yet, although sin is not put to account in the absence of the law. It introduces an apparently contradictory phenomenon, confronting the ἁμαρτία οὐκ ἐλλογεῖται Κ.Τ.Λ[1282]; one, however, which just proves that men have died, not through their own special sin, but through the sin of Adam, which was put to their account. ἐβασίλευσεν] prefixed with emphasis: death has not perchance been powerless, no, it has reigned, i.e. has exercised its power which deprives of life (comp Romans 5:17-21). Hofmann (comp also Holsten, Aberle, and Dietzsch) finds in the emphatic ἐβασ. the absolute and abiding dominion, which death has exercised independently of the imputation of sins (ἀλλὰ being taken as the simple but), “just as a king, one by virtue of his personal position once and for all entitled to do so, exercises dominion over those who, in virtue of their belonging to his domain, are from the outset subject to him.” But no reader could educe this qualitative definite sense of the βασιλεύειν, with the highly essential characteristic elements ascribed to it, from the mere verb itself; nor could it be gathered from the position of the word at the head of the sentence; on the contrary, it must unquestionably have been expressed (by ἐτυράννευσεν possibly, or τυραννικῶς ἐβασίλευσεν) seeing that the subsequent καί (even over those, etc.) does not indicate a mode of the power of the (personified) death, but only appends the fact of its dominion being without exception.

μέχρι Μωῢσ.] equivalent to ἄχρι νόμου in Romans 5:13. A distinction of sense between μέχρι and ἄχρι is (contrary to the opinion of Tittmann, Synon. p. 33 f.) purely fanciful. See Fritzsche, p. 308 ff. and van Hengel in loc[1285]

καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς μὴ ἁμαρτήσαντας κ.τ.λ[1286]] even over those[1287] who have not sinned like Adam, that is, have not like him transgressed a positive divine command. Even these it did not spare. It is erroneous with Chrysostom (but not Theodoret and Theophylact) to connect ἘΠῚ Τᾯ ὉΜΟΙΏΜΑΤΙ Κ.Τ.Λ[1288] with ἐβασίλ. So Finckh again does, following Castalio and Bengel: “quia illorum eadem atque Adami transgredientis ratio fuit.… i.e. propter reatum ab Adamo contractum.” Erroneous for this reason, that Paul, apart from the little children or those otherwise incapable of having sin imputed, whom however he must have indicated more precisely, could not conceive at all (Romans 3:23) of persons who had not sinned (μὴ ἁμαρτήσαντες without any modal addition more precisely defining it), and a limitation mentally supplied (sine lege peccarunt, Bengel) is purely fanciful. The καί, even, refers to the fact that in the period extending from Adam till Moses, excluding the latter, positively given divine commands were certainly transgressed by individuals to whom they were given, but it was not these merely who died (as must have been the case, had death been brought on by their own particular sins); it was also those,[1289] who etc. Their sin was not ἐπὶ τῷ ὁμοιώμ. τῆς παραβ. Ἀδάμ (ἐπί used of the form, in which anything occurs, see Bernhardy, p. 250); they did not sin in such a way, that their action was of like shape with the transgression of Adam, “quia non habebant ut ille revelatam certo oraculo Dei voluntatem,” Calvin. For other definitions of the sense see Fritzsche, p. 316, and Reiche, Commentar. crit. I. p. 45 ff. Reiche himself explains it of those who have transgressed no command expressly threatening death. So also Tholuck. But this peculiar limitation is not suggested by the context, in which, on the contrary, it is merely the previous μὴ ὄντος νόμου which supplies a standard for determining the sense of the similarity. According to Hofmann καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς down to Ἀδάμ is meant to be one and the same with the previous ἀπὸ Αδὰμ μέχρι Μωϋσέως, inasmuch as a transgression similar to that of Adam could only then have occurred, “when God placed a people in the same position in which Adam found himself, when he received a divine command on the observance or transgression of which his life or death depended. This misconception, springing from the erroneous interpretation of ἐφʼ ᾧ πάντες ἥμαρτον, is already excluded by καί,[1290] as well as, pursuant to the tenor of thought, by the fact that in the pre-legal period in question all those, who transgressed a command divinely given to them by way of revelation, sinned like Adam. Their sin had thereby the same moral form as the act of Adam; but not only had they to die, but also (καί) those who had not been in that condition of sinning. Death reigned over the latter also.

The genitive with ὁμοιώμ. is not that of the subject (Hofmann), but of the object, as in Romans 1:23, Romans 6:5, Romans 8:3; the sins meant are not so conceived of, that the παράβασις of Adam is homogeneously repeated in them, but so that they are, as to their specific nature, of similar fashion with it, and consequently belong to the same ethical category. They have morally just the same character. As to ὁμοιώμα see on Romans 1:23.

ὅς ἐστι τύπος τοῦ μέλλοντος] who—to educe now from Romans 5:13-14 the result introduced in Romans 5:12, and so to return to the comparison there begun—is type of the future (Adam). Theophylact correctly paraphrases: ὡς γὰρ ὁ παλαιὸς Ἀδὰμ πάντας ὑποδίκους ἐποίησε τῷ οἰκείῳ πταίσματι (by bringing upon them death), καίτοι μὴ πταίσαντας, οὕτως ὁ Χριστὸς ἐδικαίωσε πάντας, καίτοι μὴ δικαιώσεως ἄξια ποιήσαντας. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:45. Koppe, following Bengel, takes μέλλ. as neuter (of that, which should one day take place), and ὅς for . This agreement of the relative with the following substantive would perhaps be grammatically tenable (Hermann, a[1291] Viger. p. 708; Heind. a[1292] Phaedr. p. 279), but seeing that Ἀδάμ immediately precedes it, and that the idea of Christ being ὁ ἔσχατος Ἀδάμ is a Pauline idea (1 Cor. l.c[1293]), it is quite unjustifiable to depart from the reference of the ὅς to Adam; and equally so to deny to the μέλλων its supplement from the immediately preceding Ἀδάμ, and to take it as “the man of the future” (Hofmann), which would nevertheless yield in substance the same meaning.

τύπος] type, so that the μέλλων is the anti-type (1 Peter 3:21). The type is always something historical (a person, thing, saying), which is destined, in accordance with the divine plan, to prefigure something corresponding to it in the future,—in the connected scheme of sacred historical teleology, which is to be discerned from the standpoint of the antitype. Typical historical parallels between Adam and the Messiah (so that the latter is even expressly termed the last Adam) are found also in Rabbinical authors (e.g. Neve Schalom f. 160, 2 : “Quemadmodum homo primus fuit primus in peccato, sic Messias erit ultimus ad auferendum peccatum penitus;” Neve Schalom 9, 9 : Adamus postremus est Messias”), and are based in them on the doctrine of the ἀποκατάστασις πάντων. Compare the passages in Eisenmenger, entdeckt. Judenth. II. p. 819, 823 ff. Paul based this typology of his on the atoning work of Christ and its results, as the whole discussion shows; hence in his present view Christ as the μέλλων Ἀδάμ is not still to come, but is already historical. Comp Chrysostom; also Theodore of Mopsuestia: ὥσπερ διʼ ἐκείνου (Adam) τῶν χειρόνων ἡ πάροδος ἐγένετο, οὕτω διὰ τούτου τῆς τῶν κρειττόνων ἀπολαύσεως τὴν ἀφορμὴν ἐδεξάμεθα. For this reason however ὁ μέλλων may not, with Fritzsche and de Wette, be referred to the last coming of Christ; but must be dated from the time of Adam, in so far, namely, as in looking back to the historical appearance of Adam, Christ, as its antitype, is the future Adam (comp ὁ ἐρχόμενος).

[1275] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1277] As is well known, Peyrerius (Praeadamitae s. exercitat. exeg. in Romans 5:12-14, Amst. 1655) referred the νόμου here to the law given to Adam in Paradise; and found thus a proof for his Preadamites.

[1279] ec. Textus receptus, or lectio recepta (Elzevir).

[1281] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1282] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1285] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1286] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1287] βασιλεύειν with ἐπί is a Hebraism (צל). Compare Luke 1:33; Luke 19:14; 1 Samuel 8:9; 1 Samuel 8:11; 1Ma 1:16.

[1288] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1289] Consequently the two classes, formed by Paul, are not to be so distinguished that the one shall embrace men before Noah, and the other the Noachian race (van Hengel). Both classes are included in the whole period from Adam till Moses.

[1290] Which necessarily assumes a class of sinners in the pre-legal period, whose sin was homogeneous with that of Adam. This also, in opposition to Mangold, p. 121, and Dietzsch, p. 98; according to whose and Hofmann’s definition of the sense, Paul ought either to have omitted the καί altogether, or to have inserted it before ἀπὸ Ἀδάμ.

[1291] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1292] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1293] .c. loco citato or laudato.

REMARK 1. Those who refer ἐφʼ ᾧ πάντες ἥμαρτον to the proper sins of individuals, or even to the principle of the ἁμαρτία dwelling in them, ought not to find, as Baumgarten-Crusius, Umbreit, and Baur still do, the proof for the πάντες ἥμαρτον in Romans 5:13 f.; for how in the connection of the passage could any proof for the universality of sin be still required? Certainly just as little as in particular for the fact, that, with death already existing in the world (Dietzsch), all individuals have sinned. Consistently with that reference of the ἐφʼ ᾧ π. ἥμαρτον there must rather have been read from Romans 5:13 f. the proof for this, that the death of all results from the proper sins of all. But how variously has this demonstration been evolved! Either: although sin has not until Moses been imputable according to positive law, yet each one has brought death upon himself by his sin (Romans 5:14), which proves the relative imputation thereof. So de Wette. Or: although sin, which even from Adam till Moses was not lacking, be not imputed by a human judge in the absence of positive law, yet the reign of death (Romans 5:14) shows that God has imputed the pre-Mosaic sins. So Fritzsche. Or: in order to show “in Adamo causam quaerendam esse, cur hominum peccata mors secuta sit,” Paul declares that death has reigned over all from Adam till Moses, whether they sinned like Adam or differently. So van Hengel; comp also Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 264. Or: not even in the period from Adam till Moses was sin absent; but the clear proof to the contrary is the dominion of death in this period. So Baur, and with a substantially similar view of the mode of inference ab effectu ad causam,[1297] Rothe also. But however it may be turned, the probative element has first of all to be read into the passage; and even then the alleged proof (Romans 5:14) would only be a reasoning backwards from the historical phenomenon in Romans 5:14 to the cause asserted by ἐφʼ ᾧ π. ἥμαρτ., and consequently a mere clumsy argument in a circle, which again assumes the assertion to be proved—id quod erat demonstrandum—in the phenomenon brought forward in Romans 5:14 : and moreover utterly breaks down through the proposition that sin is not imputed in the absence of law. Ewald, in his former view (Jahrb. II.) rightly deduces from Romans 5:14; consequently it only appears the more certain, that death propagated itself to them only by means of Adam’s,” but attributes to this inference, consistently with his view of ἐφʼ ᾧ π. ἥμ., the sense: “that they all sinned unto death just in the same way as, and because, Adam had sinned unto it.” In his later view (Sendschr. d. Ap. P.) he supposes that in connection with ἐφʼ ᾧ πάντες ἥμαρτον the possible doubt may have arisen, whether it was so certain that death had come upon those oldest men from Adam till Moses in consequence of their sins? which doubt Paul properly answers in Romans 5:13 f. These two verses are rather obscure, but must be intended (γὰρ) to prove what has been asserted in Romans 5:12. ἄχρι γὰρ νόμου = ἀπὸ Ἀδὰμ μέχρι Μωυσέως, Romans 5:14, the law meant being the Mosaic. The sin which was in the world before the law is not the guilt of Adam’s fall imputed to the race as fallen in him, but the actual sin which individuals had committed. Now if law has no existence, sin is not imputed. Cf. Romans 4:15. The natural inference would seem to be that the sins committed during this period could not be punished. But what was the case? The very opposite of this. Death reigned all through this period. This unrestrained tyranny of death (observe the emphatic position of ἐβασίλευσεν) over persons whose sins cannot be imputed to them, seems at variance with the explanation just adopted of πάντες ἥμαρτον. Indeed Meyer and others use it to refute that explanation. The reign of death, apart from imputable individual sin, implies, they argue, a corresponding objective reign of sin, apart from individual acts: in other words, justifies the interpretation of ἐφʼ ᾧ πάντες ἥμαρτον according to which all men sinned in Adam’s sin, and so (and only so) became subject to death. But the empirical meaning of ἥμαρτον is decidedly to be preferred, and we must rather fill out the argument thus: “all sinned. For there was sin in the world before Moses; and though sin is not imputed where there is no law, and though therefore no particular penalty—death or another—could be expected for the sins here in question, yet all that time death reigned, for in the act of Adam sin and death had been inseparably and for ever conjoined.” καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς μὴ ἁμαρτήσαντας ἐπὶ τῷ ὁμοιώματι κ.τ.λ.—even over those who did not sin after the likeness of Adam’s transgression. For ἐπὶ, cf. Winer, p. 492. This describes not some, but all of those who lived during the period from Adam to Moses. None of them had like Adam violated an express prohibition sanctioned by the death penalty. Yet they all died, for they all sinned, and in their first father sin and death had been indissolubly united. And this Adam is τύπος τοῦ μέλλοντος sc. Ἀδάμ. In the coming Adam and his relations to the race there will be something on the same pattern as this. 1 Corinthians 10:6; 1 Corinthians 10:11, Hebrews 9:14, 1 Corinthians 15:22; 1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Corinthians 15:49. Parallels of this sort between Adam and the Messiah are common in Rabbinical writings: e.g., Schöttgen quotes Neve Schalom, f. 160–2. “Quemadmodum homo primus fuit unus in peccato, sic Messias erit postremus, ad auferendum peccatum penitus;” and 9, 9 has “Adamus postremus est Messias”. Cf. Delitzsch: Brief an die Römer, p. 82 f. The extent to which the thoughts of this passage on sin and death, and on the consequences of Adam’s sin to his descendants, can be traced in Jewish writers, is not quite clear. As a rule (see above on Romans 5:12) they admit the dependence of death on sin, though Schöttgen quotes a Rabbi Samuel ben David as saying, “Etiamsi Adamus primus non peccasset, tamen mors fuisset”. On the unity and solidarity of the race in sin and its consequences, they are not perfectly explicit. Weber (Die Lehren des Talmud, p. 217) gives the following summary: “There is an inherited guilt, but not an inherited sin; the fall of Adam has brought death upon the whole race, not however sinfulness in the sense of a necessity to commit sin; sin is the result of each individual’s decision; it is, as far as experience goes, universal, yet in itself even after the Fall not absolutely necessary”. This seems to agree very closely with the Apostle’s teaching as interpreted above. It is the appeal to experience in Paul (πάντες ἥμαρτον), crossing with a transcendent view of the unity of the race in Adam, which gives rise to all the difficulties of interpretation; but without this appeal to experience (which many like Bengel, Meyer and Gifford reject) the whole passage would hang in the air, unreal. There must be something which involves the individual in Adam’s fate; that something comes into view in πάντες ἥμαρτον, and there only; and without it our interest dies. A sin which we commit in Adam (and which never becomes ours otherwise) is a mere fancy to which one has nothing serious to say.13. for until the law] This and the following verses are not a parenthesis: see on Romans 5:12.—“Until” here practically = “before.” The period “from Adam to Moses” is in view, the Law of Moses being taken as the first elaborate statute-giving of God for man. “Laws” existed long before Moses; e.g. those of Marriage, of the sanctity of Life, and of the Sabbath. But the Mosaic Law covered the field of duty in a way unknown before; so as to suggest the question whether human beings, in the previous ages, in some instances, had not satisfied the claims of then-known duty, and so escaped death. But no: in those ages, as in the Mosaic, “death reigned;” therefore there was sin; therefore there was broken law; and that law, in numberless cases, (viz. infantine,) must have been broken only “in Adam;” for it was unknown to the persons in question.

law … law] Both these words in the Gr. are without the article. In spite of some difficulty, we must interpret the first of the Mosaic Law, and the second of Law in some other sense; here probably in the sense of the declared Will of God in general, against which, in a particular case, Adam sinned, and we “in him.”

is not imputed] So as to bring penalty. Therefore, had there been in no sense a (broken) law in the primeval age, there would have been no death. But death was universal.Romans 5:13. Ἄχρι, until) Sin was in the world, not only after the law was given by Moses, but also during the whole period before the law from Adam down to Moses, during which latter period sinners sinned without the law, ch. Romans 2:12, for the condition of all before Moses, and of the Gentiles subsequently [after Moses’ time], was equal; but this sin was not, properly speaking, the cause of death: because there is no imputation of sin without the law, and consequently there is no death; comp. Romans 5:20. The sin committed by Adam, entailing evil on all, is called the sin (ἡ ἁμαρτία) twice in the preceding verse; now, in this verse, sin in general is called ἀμαρτία without the article.—οὐκ ἐλλογε͂ιται, is not imputed) The apostle is not speaking here of men’s negligence, which disregards sin in the absence of a law, but of the Divine judgment, because sin is not usually taken into any account, not even into the Divine account, in the absence of the law.—Comp. ἐλλόγει, impute, or put it to my account, Philemon 1:18, note. Sin therefore does not denote notorious crimes, such as those, for which the inhabitants of Sodom were punished before the time of Moses, but the common evil. Chrysostom on this passage shows exceedingly well, what Paul intended to prove by this argument, ὅτι οὐκ ἀυτὴ ἡ ἁμαρτία τῆς τοῦ νόμου παραβάσεως, ἀλλʼ ἐκείνη ἡ τῆς τοῦ Αδὰμ παρακοῆς, ἀυτὴ ἦν ἡ πάντα λυμαινομένη, καὶ τίς ἡ τούτου ἀπόδειξις; τὸ καὶ πρὸ τοῦ νόμου πάντας ἀποθνήσκειν, “that it was not the very [actual] sin of transgressing the law, but that of the disobedience of Adam—this was the sin that brought universal destruction, and what is the proof of this? The fact that all died before the giving of the law.”Verses 13, 14. - For until Law (i.e. all through the time previous to the revelation of law) sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression. Though νόμος, where it first occurs in ver. 13, refers definitely, as appears from the context, to the Law of Moses, yet it is without the article, as denoting the principle of law, of which the Mosaic code was the embodiment; and it has therefore, in accordance with the rule laid down in this translation, been rendered as above. The purport of these two verses, connected by γὰρ with πάντες η{μαρτον of ver. 12, is to prove that the primeval sin did really infect and implicate the whole race of mankind. It might be supposed that those only would be implicated who had themselves transgressed, as Adam did, a known command; it being an acknowledged principle of Divine justice that only sin against law of which the sinner is conscious is imputed to him for con-detonation (cf. Romans 4:15; also John 9:41). Nay. but the universal dominion of death, the doom of sin, over all alike, whether or not they had themselves so sinned, was proof that sin was all along dominant in the world, infecting all. The Mosaic Law is spoken of as the distinct revelation of Divine Law to man; and therefore attention is first drawn to the fact that before that revelation, no less than after it, death had reigned over all. But is it thus implied that until the Law from Mount Sinai men had been without any kind of law, for transgressing which they were responsible? Not so. That Law is indeed regarded as the first definite enunciation of law under evident Divine sanction, after which, to those that were under it, sin became indubitably and exceeding sinful; but that men are conceived as having sinned previously against law of some kind, appears from the phrase, "Even over those (καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς) who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression," i.e. consciously against a known command. This surely implies that some had so sinned; and thus the essential point of the argument is that even over those who had not so sinned (such as the unenlightened and invincibly ignorant, or persons dying in infancy) death had equally reigned. Who is the figure of him that was to come. This is added so as to bring round the thought to the main subject of the chapter, viz. the reconciliation of all mankind through Christ, to which the scriptural account of the condemnation of all mankind through Adam had, at ver. 12, been adduced as analogous. Who refers to Adam, who has just been for the first time named; he that was to come is Christ, who is called, in 1 Corinthians 15:45, "the last Adam." Adam was a type (τύπος) of Christ in that both represented entire humanity; one as the representative and author of fallen, the other of restored, humanity - the transgression of the one and the obedience of the other alike affecting all (see vers 18, 19). But there is a difference between the two cases; and this is pointed out in vers. 15, 16, 17, which follow. Until the law

In the period between Adam and Moses.

Is not imputed (οὐκ ἐλλογεῖται)

Put to account so as to bring penalty. From λόγος an account or reckoning. Only here and Plm 1:18.

Figure (τύπος)

See on 1 Peter 5:3.

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