And I entreat thee also, true yoke fellow
Not his wife, as some think F4, for he had none, as appears from ( 1 Corinthians 7:7 1 Corinthians 7:8 ) , at the writing of which epistle he was at Ephesus, where he stayed some little time, and then went to Jerusalem; where he was quickly apprehended, and sent a prisoner to Rome, and where he now was as such; and therefore it is not likely that he should marry a wife within this compass of time, and much less that he should have one at Philippi; besides, the word used is of the masculine gender, and designs a man and not a woman: some think it is the proper name of a man, who was called "Syzygus", and so the Arabic interpreter seems to understand it; and by the apostle, true "Syzygus", signifying that as was his name, so was he, really and in truth, a companion and fellow labourer, that drew in the same yoke with him; the Syriac version renders it, "the son of my yoke", and the Ethiopic version, "my brother and my companion": some think this person was the husband or brother of one of the above women; and therefore is entreated to use his interest, and compose the difference between them, or endeavour to reconcile them to the church; and others that it was the jailer, that was converted by the apostle: but it seems most likely to have been one that was under the same yoke of the Gospel, and who had been employed with him in preaching of it, a fellow labourer; such an one as Barnabas, Silas, and Timothy, and might be one of those; or rather Epaphroditus, who was minister in this church, and by whom the apostle sent this letter, and whom he might address and importune in this manner; the word may very well be thought to answer to the Hebrew word (rbx) , often used in Jewish writings, for an associate, a colleague, and a disciple of the wise men, to which the apostle may allude; see ( Philippians 2:25 ) ; help those women;
Euodias and Syntyche. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions read "them", referring to the above women; and the Arabic version reads, "help both"; that is, both those women; not by relieving their temporal wants, which it does not appear they were in; but either by composing their differences, or by assisting them with good counsel and advice; and giving them proper instructions in the doctrines of the Gospel, that they might be brought to think the same things the church did: and the rather such pains should be taken with them, since they were such, says the apostle, which laboured with me in the Gospel;
not in preaching it, for he suffered not a woman to teach in the church, ( 1 Timothy 2:12 ) ; but by professing it, and bearing reproach and persecution for it; and by supporting and encouraging, and spreading it with their worldly substance: with Clement also;
which some think is the same with Clemens Romanus, who was afterwards bishop of Rome, and whose epistle to the Corinthians is still extant; other writings are ascribed to him, but are spurious; however, by his name he seems to be a Roman; and from his being joined with the apostle, as one with whom these women also laboured in the Gospel, he appears to be a preacher of it at Philippi: and [with] other my fellow labourers;
in the work of the ministry, as Timothy, who was with him at Philippi, when he first preached the Gospel there, ( Acts 16:1 Acts 16:12 ) , and some others: whose names [are] in the book of life;
the book of God's eternal purposes and decrees, divine predestination to eternal life; and this being called a "book", and the names of persons being said to be in it, denote the love of God to his elect, his care of them, his value for them, his remembrance of them, and the exact knowledge which he has of them; as well as imply, that his eternal election of them is personal and particular, is well known to him, and is sure and unchangeable; being more so than the writing of Pilate on the cross, who said, what I have written, I have written, ( John 19:22 ) ; and is called the "book of life", because those whose names are written in it, have a spiritual life here, and an eternal one hereafter; to both which they are afore written in this book, or pre-ordained in God's counsels, and certainly and infallibly enjoy it: now the apostle's knowledge of these persons being written in this book, did not arise from any special revelation, as being shown the book of life, and the names of the elect in it, when he was caught up into the third heaven, ( 2 Corinthians 12:2 ) ; nor was his knowledge of this matter peculiar and limited to these persons only, but common to all that he had reason to hope and believe had received the grace of God in truth, and walked worthy of the calling wherewith they were called, ( Ephesians 4:1 ) ; such persons in a judgment of charity, which hopes and believes all things, he concluded were in this book of life; and the same judgment, faith, and hope, ought all believers to form and entertain one of another, nothing appearing contrary to it, in their faith and conversation.
F4 Vid. Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 30.