Galatians 4:30

30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

Galatians 4:30 Meaning and Commentary

Galatians 4:30

Nevertheless, what saith the Scripture?
&c.] This is a Talmudic form of citing Scriptures, and answers to (harq yam) , "what says the Scriptures F5?" the passage referred to is ( Genesis 21:10 ) and which are the words of Sarah to Abraham; but inasmuch as she spake them under divine inspiration, and they were approved of and confirmed by God, as appears from ( Genesis 21:12 ) they are ascribed to God speaking in the Scripture:

cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman
shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.
There is very little difference in the citation from the original. The apostle omits the word "this" in both clauses, which though very proper to be expressed by Sarah, to point out the person she meant, and as being in a vehement passion, was not absolutely necessary to be retained by the apostle, since by the context there is no difficulty of knowing who is meant by her; though the Alexandrian copy has the word in it: and instead of "with my son, with Isaac", the apostle says, "with the son of the free woman, Sarah"; there speaking of herself, whose character the apostle gives, in opposition to the bondwoman: in like manner a Jewish writer F6 reads and interprets it,

``for the son of this woman shall not be heir (hrybgh Nb Me) , "with the son of the mistress".''

The casting of Hagar and Ishmael out of Abraham's family was a type and emblem of the rejection of the carnal and self-righteous Jews from the Gospel church state; nor ought any carnal persons, any that are after the flesh, unregenerate ones, or that trust to their own righteousness, to be in a Gospel church; as they will also be excluded and thrust out of the kingdom of heaven, into which no unregenerate and unrighteous, or self-righteous persons shall enter. The Jews make this ejection of Hagar and her son to be both out of this world and that which is to come F7. The reason given why the one should not be heir with the other perfectly agrees with the Jewish canons; which was not because he was the son of a concubine, for the sons of concubines might inherit, if they were Israelites, and free, but because he was the son of a bondwoman, for thus they run F8;

``all that are near of kin, though by iniquity, are heirs, as they that are legitimate; how? thus for instance, if a man has a son that is spurious, or a brother that is spurious, lo, these are as the other sons, and the other brethren for inheritance; but if, (hxpv Nm wnb) , "his son is by an handmaid", or by a strange woman, he is no son in any of these matters, (llk vrwy wnyaw) , "and no heir at all":''

and again F9,

``an Israelite that hath a son by an handmaid, or by a Gentile, seeing he is not called his son, he that he has after him by an Israelitish woman, (hkxnl rwkb) , "is the firstborn for inheritance", and takes the double portion.''

The reason assigned for non-inheritance in the text implies that the children of the free woman, the spiritual seed of Abraham, shall inherit the privileges of God's house, the blessings of grace, and eternal glory; they are children of the promise, and heirs according to it; when the children of the bondwoman, self-righteous ones, shall not; for the inheritance is not of the law, neither are they heirs who are of the works of it; nor is it to be enjoyed by mixing the law and Gospel, grace and works, in the business of salvation.


F5 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 9. 2.
F6 R. Abraham Seba, Tzeror, fol. 21. 3.
F7 Pirke Eliezer, c. 30.
F8 Maimon. Hilch. Nechalot, c. 1. sect. 7.
F9 Ib c. 2. sect. 12.

Galatians 4:30 In-Context

28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
The King James Version is in the public domain.