That at that time ye were without Christ
Or separate from him: they were chosen in him and were preserved in him, and were redeemed by him before; but they were without any knowledge of him, faith in him, love to him, communion with him, or subjection to him, his Gospel, government, laws, and ordinances; and particularly they were without any promises of him, or prophecies concerning him, which were peculiar to the Jews; hence the Messiah is called (larvyd axyvm) , "the Christ of Israel" F23, and who as he was promised, so he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house, of Israel: hence it follows,
being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel;
both from their civil and church state; the Gentiles might not dwell among them, nor have any dealings with them in things civil, unless they conformed to certain laws; nor might the Jews go into any, nor eat or converse with any, that were uncircumcised; so great an alienation and distance were there between these two people; and much less might they eat the passover and join with them in religious worship; the word for "commonwealth" here used, Harpocratian says F24, is commonly used by Greek writers for a "democracy" though the original constitution of the Israelites was properly a "theocracy":
strangers to the covenants of promise;
to the covenant of circumcision given to Abraham; and to the covenant at Mount Sinai, made with Israel; and to the dispensation of the covenant of grace to that people, sometimes called the first covenant and the old covenant, and which peculiarly belonged to them, ( Romans 9:4 ) one copy reads, "strangers to the promises of the covenant"; which is natural enough; the Vulgate Latin version joins the word "promise" to the next clause, and reads,
having no hope of the promise
of the promised Messiah: "having no hope"; of the Messiah and salvation by him, of the resurrection of the dead, of a future state, and of eternal life; none that is sure and steadfast, that is purifying, and makes not ashamed; or which is a good hope through grace, is the gift of God, the fruit of his love, and the effect of his power; and this is to be in a miserable condition: Philo, the Jew F25, observes, that
``the Chaldeans call a man Enos, as if he only was truly a man that expects good things, and supports himself with good hopes; and adds, hence it is manifest that one without hope is not reckoned a man, but a beast in an human form; since he is destitute of hope, which is the property of the human soul;''and without God in the world;
without the knowledge of God in Christ; without the image of God, which was defaced by sin; without the grace and fear of God; and without communion with him, and the worship of him; and while they were so they were in the world, among the men of it, and were a part of it, not being yet called out of it: the word signifies "atheists": so some of the Gentiles were in "theory", as they all were in practice; and they were by the Jews reckoned no other than "atheists"; it is a common saying with them
``he that dwells without the land (of Israel) is like one (hwla wl Nyav) , "who has no God":''
F23 Targum in Isa. xvi. 1. 5.
F24 Lex. Decem Orator. p. 246.
F25 De Abrahamo, p. 350, 351.
F26 T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 110. 2. Zohar in Exod. fol. 33. 1. Cosri, par. 2. sect. 22. fol. 85. 2. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 129. 4. & 135. 2. & 153. 3. & 168. 3.