Let not a widow be taken into the number
That is, of widows, to be maintained by the church; though some choose to understand these words of the number of such who were made deaconesses, and had the care of the poor widows of the church committed to them; and so the Arabic version renders it, "if a widow be chosen a deaconess"; but the former sense is best, for it appears from ( 1 Timothy 5:1 1 Timothy 5:6 ) that the apostle is still speaking of widows to be relieved: now such were not to be taken under the church's care for relief, under threescore years old: for under this age it might be supposed they would marry, and so not be desolate, but would have husbands to provide for them; or they might be capable of labour, and so of taking care of themselves. The age of sixty years was by the Jews F24 reckoned (hnqz) , "old age", but not under.
Having been the wife of one man;
that is, at one time; for second marriages are not hereby condemned, for this would be to condemn what the apostle elsewhere allows, ( Romans 7:2 Romans 7:3 ) . Nor is the sense only, that she should be one who never had more husbands than one at once; for this was not usual for women to have more husbands than one, even where polygamy obtained, or where men had more wives than one: this rather therefore is to be understood of one who had never put away her husband, and married another, which was sometimes done among the Jews; see ( Mark 10:12 ) , and this being a scandalous practice, the apostle was willing to put a mark of infamy upon it, and exclude such persons who had been guilty of it from the number of widows relieved by the church.