As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For thy sake we are killed.—The quotation is taken from Psalm 44:22, which was apparently written at some period of great national distress, at what precise period the data do not enable us to say, but probably not earlier than Josiah. The sufferings of God’s people at all times are typical of each other. There is the further reason for the application in the text that the Psalm does not lay stress upon the guilt of the people, but regards their sufferings as undergone in the cause of the theocracy. At the same time, the tone of the Psalmist wants the exulting and triumphant confidence of the Apostle.Psalm 44:22. This passage the apostle quotes not as having originally reference to Christians, but as "aptly descriptive" of their condition. The condition of saints in the time of the psalmist was similar to that of Christians in the time of Paul. The same language would express both.
For thy sake - In thy cause; or on account of attachment to time.
We are killed - We are subject to, or exposed to death. We endure sufferings equivalent to dying; compare 1 Corinthians 4:9, "God hath set forth us the apostles last, "as it were appointed to death."
All the day long - Continually; constantly. There is no intermission to our danger, and to our exposure to death.
We are accounted - We are reckoned; we are regarded, or dealt with. That is, our enemies judge that we ought to die, and deem us the appropriate subjects of slaughter, with as little concern or remorse as the lives of sheep are taken.Psalm 44:22. The argument seems to be this: The saints of old have endured all manner of sufferings, and yet were not separated from the love of God; therefore such sufferings cannot separate them now.
For thy sake; not for our sins’ sake, but for Christ’s, or for righteousness’ sake, Matthew 5:10 10:18,39 1 Peter 3:14.
We are killed: how could they say this? Killing takes away all complaining, and makes the parties so dealt with incapable of saying how it is with them. This expression notes the danger and desperateness of their condition. It is usual in Scripture to set forth an eminent danger under the notion of death: see 1 Corinthians 15:31 2 Corinthians 1:10 4:11.
All the day long; i.e. continually, without ceasing: see Psalm 38:6,12 71:24 73:14 Proverbs 23:17 Romans 10:21.
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter; i.e. we are designed for destruction. Our enemies make account they can destroy us, as men do sheep, that they have by them in the slaughter-house. They reckon they have us at command, and can cut us off when they list. Or rather thus, they make no reckoning of our destruction; they make no more of killing us, than butchers do of killing sheep: our death is very cheap in their account, Psalm 44:11,12. Here let me insert a tragical story of the Christians of Calabria, that suffered persecution, A.D. 1560. They were all shut up in one house together, as in a sheepfold: an executioner comes in, and among them takes one, and blindfolds him with a muffler about his eyes, and so leadeth him forth to a larger place, where he commandeth him to kneel down; which being done, he cutteth his throat, and so leaveth him half dead; and taking his butcher’s knife and muffler, all of gore blood, he cometh again to the rest, and so leading them one after another, he despatcheth them, to the number of eighty-eight, no otherwise than a butcher doth his sheep. Fox’s Acts and Monuments. Psalm 44:22; and the meaning is, that for the sake of God, and his pure worship, Old Testament saints were frequently put to death, or exposed to the persecutions of men, which often issued in death; as New Testament saints have been, for the sake of Christ and his Gospel, even
all the day long; that is, they were liable to death all the day long; or every day, one or other of them was put to death:
we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter; they were reckoned as fit for nothing else, and were continually exposed unto it; were used as sheep are, as if they were made for no other use and service, but to be slaughtered; hence they are called, "the flock of slaughter", Zechariah 11:7; and as this expresses the brutality of their persecutors, so their harmlessness, meekness, humility, and patience in sufferings, being under them like lambs or sheep. This testimony is produced, to show that suffering death has been the common lot of the saints in all ages: and is designed to animate the people of God under the Gospel dispensation, to suffer with cheerfulness; the allusion may be to the lambs and sheep daily slain for sacrifice; either to the lambs of the sacrifice slain morning and evening; or to others that were slain in any part of the day from morning to night, for other sacrifices, in the court of the tabernacle and temple.As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Romans 8:36. The marks of parenthesis are to be expunged, because the construction is unbroken, and ἀλλʼ ἐν τούτ. πᾶσιν in Romans 8:37 refers to Romans 8:35 and Romans 8:36. On the accumulation of designations that follows, comp. 2 Corinthians 6:4 f.; and on the so frequently repeated ἥ, Xen. Mem. i. 1. 7, Soph. O. C. 251. By way of scriptural proof for the most extreme element mentioned, for ἡ μάχαιρα, Paul quotes a passage, in accordance with which even the slaying sword has here its place already prophetically indicated beforehand. In Ps. 43:24 (quoted exactly from the LXX.), where the historical meaning refers to the daily massacres of Jews in the time of the Psalmist (in an age after the exile, but not so late as the Maccabean), he recognises a type of the analogous fate awaiting the Christian people of God, as their sacred-historic destiny. Κατάλληλος τοῖς προκειμένοις ἡ μαρτυρία· ἐκ προσώπου γὰρ ἀνδρῶν εἴρηται τὸν αὐτὸν ἐσχηκότων σκοπόν, Theodoret. Therein lies the justification of this typical view. But since our passage specially mentions only the being put to death and the slaying, we have no right to make the reference which Paul gives to them extend, with Hofmann, to the treatment in general which the Christians should have to experience, instead of leaving it limited to μάχαιρα.
ὅτι] for. A part of the quotation, without relevant reference to the connection in our passage.
ἕνεκεν σοῦ] There is no reason whatever for departing, with Köllner (comp. Hofmann), from the reference of the original text to God, and referring σοῦ to Christ. For, in the first place, the probative point of the quotation does not lie in ἕνεκεν σοῦ (but in θανατ. and ἐλογ. ὡς πρόβ. σφ.); and in the second place, the very massacres of the Christians took place on account of God, because they continued faithful to Him in Christ, while the denial of Christ would have been a denial of God, who had sent Him. Hence martyrdom was regarded as a δοξάζειν θανάτῳ τὸν Θεόν (John 21:19).
ὅλην τὴν ἡμ.] Not quotidie (Castalio, Grotius, and Glöckler); Paul follows the LXX., who thus translate כָּל־הַיּוֹם. It means: the whole day (comp. Romans 10:21; Isaiah 62:6; Exodus 10:13; 1 Samuel 19:24; 1Ma 5:50) are we murdered, so that at every time of the day murder is committed upon us (now on this one, now on that one of us); it ceases not the livelong day. And this is the consequence of the fact, that we have been counted (aorist) as sheep for the slaughter, reckoned like sheep destined for slaughter.36. As it is written] In Psalms 44 (LXX. 43):22. The Gr. is verbatim from the LXX. The quotation refers specially to the last previous word, “sword.”—By thus quoting the Psalm of the O. T. confessors and martyrs as divinely meant also for N. T. saints, St Paul indicates (as so often) the continuity of the believing Church of all time.Romans 8:36. Καθὼς, as) He gives the reason, why he enumerates in the preceding verse so many trials.—ὅτι—σφαγῆς) So the LXX., Psalm 44:23. Both the church of the Old Testament, and much more that of the New Testament, might have so spoken; and the latter may still so speak.—ἓνεκα σοῦ, for thy sake) It is a good thing thus [i.e. for Christ’s sake] to suffer: the sorrows, in which the world abounds, and which are braved for other reasons, are vain.—θανατούμεθα, we are killed) The first class of the blessed [departed saints] is for the most part filled up with those, who met a violent death, Matthew 23:34-35; Hebrews 11:37; Revelation 6:11; Revelation 20:4.—ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν) all the day. So the LXX., in many passages, כל היום, a proverbial expression; the whole day, all the day: Matthew 20:6. Ps. quoted above, Romans 8:16; Romans 8:9.—ἐλογίσθημεν, we are accounted) by our enemies, as also by ourselves.
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