Galatians 4:2

2 but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father.

Galatians 4:2 Meaning and Commentary

Galatians 4:2

But is under tutors and governors
The word rendered "tutors", is adopted by the Jewish Targumists and Rabbins into their language; and by the former is used F24 for any ruler and governor, civil or domestic; and by the latter, for such as are guardians of infants, fatherless children, and such as are under age, as it is here used; and who were either appointed by the will of the deceased, or by the sanhedrim, of whom they say F25, (Nnymqwm al ynnqydl apwrjwpa) , "we do not appoint a tutor or guardian for a bearded person"; that is, an adult person, one that is grown up to man's estate; but (aqwnyl apwrjwpa hyl Nnymqwm) , "we appoint a guardian for an infant"; and they had not used to appoint women or servants, or such as were minors themselves, or any of the common people; but men of substance, integrity, and wisdom F26; a fatherless child had two tutors F1; the power that guardians so appointed had, is at large described by Maimonides F2. Governors were such as acted under the tutors or guardians, and were employed by them for the improvement of their estates and minds, as stewards, schoolmasters until the time appointed of the father; by his last will and testament, which might be sooner or later, as he pleased; but if he died intestate, the time of minority, and so the duration of tutors and guardians, were according to the laws of the nation; which with the Romans was until a man was twenty five years of age; and with the Jews, for a male, was until he was thirteen years of age and one day; and for a female, until she was twelve years of age and one day, if the signs of ripeness of age appeared; but if they did not, the time was protracted until they were twenty, and even sometimes till they were thirty five years of age, before the matter was determined F3.


F24 Targum Jon. ben Uzziel in Gen. xxxix. 4. & xli 34, 35. & xliii 15. Targum in Esther i. 8. & 2. 3.
F25 T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 39. 1, 2.
F26 Maimon. Hilch. Necabot, c. 10. sect. 6.
F1 Bartenora in Misn. Pesachim, c. 8. sect. 1.
F2 Hilch. Nechalot, c. 11.
F3 Ib. Hilch. Ishot, c. 2. sect. 1, 2.

Galatians 4:2 In-Context

1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate;
2 but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father.
3 So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe.
4 But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.