The Apostle's Frank Acceptance of Pecuniary Responsibility for Onesimus
Philemon 1:18, 19
If he has wronged you, or owes you ought, put that on my account;

The injured master might plead that it was enough for him to forbear punishing his unfaithful servant, but the injuries he had received put it out of his power to replace him in his household.

I. THERE IS HERE AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE WRONG DONE BY THE NOW PENITENT SLAVE. "If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee aught, put that to mine account." It is evident that Onesimus had frankly confessed his misdeeds to the apostle.

1. Mark the mild language in which the apostle describes them. He does not say that Onesimus robbed his master, as he did not wish either to hurt the feelings of the slave or to irritate the feelings of the master; but simply speaks of a wrong done, of a possible debt incurred. If a sinner is penitent, why should his old sins or follies be thrown in his teeth?

2. Restitution in case of civil injury is a first flying. It is one of the most practical proofs of repentance.

II. THERE IS A RESPONSIBILITY ASSUMED FOR THE DEBT OF ONESIMUS. "Put that to mine account: I Paul write it with mine own hand, I will repay it." The apostle here puts his name, as it were, at the foot of the bond.

1. It was an act of self-sacrificing consideration for Onesimus, as if the apostle would remove every possible obstacle to the restoration of the penitent slave to his Colossian home.

2. Yet it is so put as to imply that Philemon would hardly exact the debt.

III. THERE IS THE STATEMENT OF A MUCH LARGER COUNTER-CLAIM. "Not to say to thee that thou owest to me even thine own self besides."

1. It was a true claim. The apostle had been the instrument of Philemon's conversion.

2. It was an overpowering claim. The blessing that accrues to a man from his conversion cannot be weighed in the balance against all a man's property.

3. There ought to be mercy in the exaction of debts. This is implied in the nature of the apostle's appeal. Onesimus was utterly unable to make restitution, and, if the apostle became his surety, it was with an implied wish that Philemon would take a liberal view of his duty in the matter. - T.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;

WEB: But if he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, put that to my account.

Taking the Slave's Debt
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