Galatians 5:12

12 I wish 1those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!

Galatians 5:12 Meaning and Commentary

Galatians 5:12

I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
] These words are a solemn wish of the apostle's with respect to the false teachers, or an imprecation of the judgment of God upon them; that they might be cut off out of the land of the living by the immediate hand of God, that they might do no more mischief to the churches of Christ: this he said not out of hatred to their persons, but from a concern for the glory of God, and the good of his people. The word here used answers to the Hebrew word (xpq) , and which is often made use of by the Jews in solemn imprecations; we read F15 of a righteous man, (wynb ta xpqm) , "that cut off his children": the gloss upon it is,

``he used to say, when he made any imprecation, (ynb ta xpqa) , "may I cut off my children";''

that is, may they die, may they be cut off by the hand of God, and I bury them;

``says R. Tarphon F16, may my children be "cut off", if these books of heretics come into my hands, that I will burn them;''

and says the same Rabbi F17 may I "cut off" my children, or may my children be cut off, if this sentence or constitution is cut off, or should perish. There is another use of this word, which may have a place here, for it sometimes signifies to confute a person, or refute his notion F18.

``It is a tradition of the Rabbius, that after the departure of R. Meir, R. Judah said to his disciples, let not the disciples of R. Meir come in hither, for they are contentious; and not to learn the law do they come, but (twklhb ynxpql) , "to cut me off"; (i.e. as the gloss says, to show how sharp they are that none can stand against them;) to confute and overcome me, by their sentences, or constitutions.''

So the apostle here might wish that the mouths of these false teachers were stopped, their notions refuted, that they might give them no more trouble; to which agrees the Arabic version; "they that trouble you I wish they were dumb"; or that their mouths were stopped, as such vain talkers should be; see ( Titus 1:10 Titus 1:11 ) or the sense of the apostle is, that it was his will and desire that these men should be cut off from the communion of the church; with which views he mentions the proverbial expression in ( Galatians 5:9 ) with which compare ( 1 Corinthians 5:6 1 Corinthians 5:7 ) or that they would cut themselves off, by withdrawing from them, going out from among them, and leaving them as these men sometimes did.


F15 T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 85. 1.
F16 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol, 116. 1.
F17 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 17. 1. Misn. Oholot, c. 16. sect. 1. & Maimon, in Bartenora in ib.
F18 T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 52. 2. Nazir, fol. 49. 2.

Galatians 5:12 In-Context

10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is.
11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed.
12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Cross References 1

  • 1. [ver. 10]; See Galatians 2:4
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