Galatians 3:19

What then is the law? (ti oun o nomo?). Or, why then the law? A pertinent question if the Abrahamic promise antedates it and holds on afterwards. It was added because of transgressions (twn parabasewn carin proseteqh). First aorist passive of prostiqhmi, old verb to add to. It is only in apparent contradiction to verses 1 Corinthians 15 , because in Paul's mind the law is no part of the covenant, but a thing apart "in no way modifying its provisions" (Burton). Carin is the adverbial accusative of cari which was used as a preposition with the genitive as early as Homer, in favour of, for the sake of. Except in 1 John 3:12 it is post-positive in the N.T. as in ancient Greek. It may be causal ( Luke 7:47 ; 1 John 3:12 ) or telic ( Titus 1:5 Titus 1:11 ; Jude 1:16 ). It is probably also telic here, not in order to create transgressions, but rather "to make transgressions palpable" (Ellicott), "thereby pronouncing them to be from that time forward transgressions of the law" (Rendall). Parabasi, from parabainw, is in this sense a late word (Plutarch on), originally a slight deviation, then a wilful disregarding of known regulations or prohibitions as in Romans 2:23 . Till the seed should come (acri an elqh to sperma). Future time with acri an and aorist subjunctive (usual construction). Christ he means by to sperma as in verse Romans 16 . The promise hath been made (ephggeltai). Probably impersonal perfect passive rather than middle of epaggellomai as in II Macc. 4:27. Ordained through angels (diatagei di aggelwn). Second aorist passive participle of diatassw (see on Matthew 11:1 ). About angels and the giving of the law see on Deuteronomy 33:2 (LXX); Acts 7:38 Acts 7:52 ; Hebrews 2:2 ; Josephus (Ant. XV. 5. 3). By the hand of a mediator (en ceiri mesitou). En ceiri is a manifest Aramaism or Hebraism and only here in the N.T. It is common in the LXX. Mesith, from meso is middle or midst, is a late word (Polybius, Diodorus, Philo, Josephus) and common in the papyri in legal transactions for arbiter, surety, etc. Here of Moses, but also of Christ ( 1 Timothy 2:5 ; Hebrews 8:6 ; Hebrews 9:15 ; Hebrews 12:24 ).