1 Thessalonians 2:15-16
Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:…
The apostle "goes off" upon the word "Jews" to describe the evil deeds of his countrymen.
I. THE EXPLANATION OF THE INDICTMENT. Various views have been offered.
1. That as the persecution of believers in Thessalonica, though from the heathen, was yet directly instigated by the Jews, it was natural that Paul should turn aside to speak of them and their wickedness.
2. That the apostle, at the very time of writing, was himself suffering at their hands (Acts 18:5, 6, 12). His mind, therefore, we can well conceive, was full of thoughts regarding these Jewish misdeeds, and hence he bursts forth into utterances of sorrowful indignation.
3. That the Thessalonians were converts from Polytheism to a monotheistic religion which was a growth out of Judaism, They could, consequently, hardly fail to stumble by seeing Jews everywhere its most violent opponents. Paul may have striven to meet this state of mind, by showing that the opposition of the Jews was in keeping with their whole character and conduct.
II. ITS SUBJECT MATTER.
1. The culminating point in Jewish wickedness is the casting out and murder of their Messiah. In ignorance they did it, it is true. Yet that ignorance was no justification, for the prophets, whose testimony was to Christ, the Jews had also slain. This is the indictment of the Old Testament, and also of Christ (Matthew 23:29-39). Paul's words are but an echo of his Master's.
2. Seeing, then, that such was their past conduct, Paul adds, as naturally following, "and have persecuted us." What had been meted out to God's servants in the past it was to be expected would be extended to the apostles and believers. Under new conditions the Jewish character would again assert itself.
3. Hence he declares "They please not God and are contrary to all men." The more he came in contact with Gentile life, the more he must have observed the intense dislike with which the Jews were everywhere regarded. Despising other nations, they were themselves only loathed by these nations in return; and now that Paul's feelings had broadened into the love of all mankind, he could not but recognize them as showing what Tacitus called "adversus omnes alios hostile odium." The mark of God's anger had been set upon them, and the Divine judgment had been ratified by men. "When God loathes aught, men presently loathe it too."
4. But here it is not the dislike felt by others towards the Jews as the animosity of the Jews towards all others. "Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles," etc. Like their own Pharisees they would neither enter in themselves nor allow others to enter.
5. In thus standing in the way of the Gentiles' salvation they were acting so as "to fill up their own sins alway" with fearful perseverance; alike before Christ had come, when He came, and now that He had gone, they had been filling up the measure of their guilt.
6. And now retribution was approaching. Wrath had already fallen, and was falling upon them; but in a short fourteen years it came upon them to the utmost in the destruction of their city and the dispersion of their race.
(J. Hutchison, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: