Galatians 4:23

23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.

Galatians 4:23 in Other Translations

KJV
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
ESV
23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.
NLT
23 The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise.
MSG
23 The son of the slave woman was born by human connivance; the son of the free woman was born by God's promise.
CSB
23 But the one by the slave was born according to the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.

Galatians 4:23 Meaning and Commentary

Galatians 4:23

But he who was of the bondwoman
Ishmael, who was begotten and born of Hagar,

was born after the flesh;
after the common order and course of nature, through the copulation of two persons, the one able to procreate, and the other fit for the conception of children; and was typical of the Jews, the natural descendants of Abraham, who, as such, and upon that account, were not the children of God, nor heirs of the eternal inheritance:

but he of the free woman was by promise;
by a previous promise made by God to Abraham, that he should have a son in his old age, when his body was now dead, and when Sarah his wife, who had always been barren, was now grown old, and past the time of bearing children; so that Isaac was born out of the common order and course of nature; his conception and birth were owing to the promise and power of God, and to his free grace and favour to Abraham. This son of promise was a type of the spiritual seed of Abraham, whether Jews or Gentiles, the children of the promise that are counted for the seed; who are born again of the will, power, and grace of God, and are heirs, according to the promise, both of grace and glory, when they that are of the law, and the works of it, are not. All which is further illustrated in the following verses.

Galatians 4:23 In-Context

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman.
23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.
24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.
25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.

Cross References 2

  • 1. ver 28,29; Romans 9:7,8
  • 2. Genesis 17:16-21; Genesis 18:10-14; Genesis 21:1; Hebrews 11:11