That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow
Which is to be understood, not of the outward act of bowing the knee upon hearing the name, and the syllables of the mere name Jesus pronounced; for in the bare name there can be nothing which can command such a peculiar respect; it was a name common with the Jews: Joshua is so called in ( Hebrews 4:8 ) ; and the name of Elymas the sorcerer was Barjesus: that is, the son of Jesus, ( Acts 13:6 ) ; Now, how monstrously ridiculous and stupid would it be, for a man, upon hearing these passages, and upon the pronouncing of this word, to bow the knee? Moreover, the words ought not to be rendered at, but "in the name of Jesus"; that is, in and by reason of the power, authority, and dignity of Jesus, as exalted at God's right hand, every creature is to be subject to him: add to this, that there are several creatures included in the following account, who, in a corporeal sense, have not knees to bow with, as angels, the souls of men departed, and devils; and therefore an external corporeal bowing of the knee cannot be meant. The Jews indeed, upon hearing the name Jehovah pronounced by the high priest, in the holy of holies, used to bow: they say F14,
``that the priests, and the people, that stand in the court, when they hear Shemhamphorash (i.e. the name "Jehovah") pronounced by the high priest, (Myerwk wyh) , "bowed", and worshipped, and fell upon their faces, and said, blessed be the name of the glory of his kingdom, for ever and ever:''though it can hardly be thought there is any reference to this here. But inasmuch as this action is a token of reverence, worship; and subjection, it is used for those things themselves; and the sense is, that Christ is exalted as before described, that every creature may give him reverence, worship, and adoration, submit and be subject to him, as all do, and shall, either freely or forcedly. Some really and heartily trust in his name, are baptized in his name, and ascribe honour, and glory, and blessing to him from their whole hearts; and others feignedly, and whether they will or not, are subject to him, and sooner or later shall acknowledge his authority over them: and he shall be owned to be Lord
of [things] in heaven:
the angels there, and the souls of departed saints, with those who are already clothed with their bodies:
and [things] in earth;
both good men, and bad men:
and [things] under the earth;
or "in the abyss", as the Ethiopic version renders it; meaning either the devils in the bottomless pit; or rather the dead bodies of men in the grave, which shall come forth and stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
F14 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 66. 1. Maimon. Yom Haccippurim, c. 2. sect. 7.