When therefore I have performed this
Meaning when he had dispatched that business, and finished that affair which the Macedonian and Achaian churches had entreated him to engage in, and which he had undertook; namely, to take their collection, and carry it to Jerusalem, and distribute it among the poor saints there; and which he expresses by another phrase,
and have sealed to them this fruit.
The liberality of the Gentile churches is called fruit, as it may be on many accounts; as with respect to the apostle, it was the fruit of his ministry and laborious preaching of the Gospel among them; he had been sowing the seed of the word, and planting churches in these parts; and among other fruits brought forth hereby, as the conversion of sinners, and edification of saints, the exercise of grace, and performance of good works, this of liberality to the poor saints was one: with respect to the persons, the objects of this bounty, it was the fruit of their spiritual things, which the Gentiles, by their means, had been partakers of; and would be as fruit, useful and profitable to them, to relieve their wants, supply them with necessaries, and make their lives more comfortable: and also with respect to the contributors, it was the fruit of the Spirit of God, and his grace in them; it was the fruit of faith, which works by love; and it was the fruit of their love to Christ, and to his saints; and was profitable to them in things temporal, spiritual, and eternal; promises of each being made and performed to such that sow liberally and bountifully. Now the ministration of this to the poor saints at Jerusalem, and on the behalf of the Grecian churches, the apostle calls a "sealing" it to them; and it is thought to be an allusion to the delivery of money sealed up, that it may not be lost, nor made use of for any other purpose than that for which it was designed: whether the apostle carried this collection sealed or not, it matters not; his sense is, that he should deliver it whole and safe unto them, and in such manner as to leave no suspicion that he had converted any part of it to his own use; though the word here used seems to answer to the Hebrew (Mtx) , which, with the Jews, frequently signifies to conclude, "finish", and make an end of anything, as well as to "seal"; the sealing up of letters being the last and finishing part of them. Innumerable instances might be given; take the following one as a proof F4:
``we find in the former prophets, (Nymtwx wyhv) , "that they sealed", or ended their words with words of praise, or with words of consolation Says R. Eliezer, except Jeremiah, (Mtxv) , "who sealed", or finished with words of reproof.''So the word is used in ( Daniel 9:24 ) , and then the apostle's plain meaning is, when I have made an end of this affair, have finished this business of ministering and distributing to the poor saints at Jerusalem,
I will come by you into Spain.
The Ethiopic version reads it, "Lasitania", designing, no doubt, Lusitania, which was formerly a part of Spain, now called Portugal. Whether the apostle ever was there is not certain nor very probable, since when he came to Jerusalem he was apprehended, and after sometime sent a prisoner to Rome, where he suffered; however, it was his intention to go to Spain, and to take Rome in his way thither.
F4 T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 8. 4.