Whom I have sent again: you therefore receive him, that is, my own bowels:
Of course "mine own bowels" is simply the Hebrew way of saying "mine own heart." We think the one phrase graceful and sentimental, and the other coarse. A Jew did not think so, and it might be difficult to say why he should. It is a mere question of difference in localising certain emotions. Onesimus was a piece of Paul's very heart, part of himself; the unprofitable slave had wound himself round his affections, and become so dear that to part with him was like cutting his heart out of his bosom. Perhaps some of the virtues, which the servile condition helps to develop in undue proportion, such as docility, light heartedness, serviceableness, had made him a soothing and helpful companion. What a plea that would be with one who loved Paul as well as Philemon did!
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: