Philemon 1:21

Obedience (upakoh). "Compliance" seems less harsh to us in the light of 2 Corinthians 9 . I write (egrapsa). Epistolary aorist again. Even beyond what I say (kai uper a legw). That can only mean that Paul "knows" (eidw, second perfect active participle of oida) that Philemon will set Onesimus free. He prefers that it come as Philemon's idea and wish rather than as a command from Paul. Paul has been criticized for not denouncing slavery in plain terms. But, when one considers the actual conditions in the Roman empire, he is a wise man who can suggest a better plan than the one pursued here for the ultimate overthrow of slavery.