Verse 9. Knowing this. That is, "If any one knows, or admits this, he has the proper view of the design of the law." The apostle does not refer particularly to himself as knowing or conceding this, for then he would have used the plural form of the participle, (see the Greek;) but he means that any one, who had just views of the law, would see that that which he proceeds to specify was its real purpose.

The law is not made for a righteous man.—There has been great variety in the interpretation of this passage. Some suppose that the law here refers to the ceremonial laws of Moses, (Clarke, Rosenmuller, Abbot;) others to the denunciatory part of the law, (Doddridge and Bloomfield;) and others that it means that the chief purpose of the law was to restrain the wicked. It seems clear, however, that the apostle does not refer merely to the ceremonial law, for he specifies that which condemns the unholy and profane; the murderers of fathers and mothers; liars and perjured persons. It was not the ceremonial law which condemned these things, but the moral law. It cannot be supposed, moreover, that the apostle meant, to say that the law was not binding on a righteous man, or that he was under no obligation to obey it—for he everywhere teaches that the moral law is obligatory on all mankind. To suppose also that a righteous man is released from the obligation to obey the law, that is, to do right, is an absurdity. Nor does he seem to mean, as Macknight supposes, that the law was not given for the purpose of justifying a righteous man—for this was originally one of its designs. Had man always obeyed it, he would have been justified by it. The meaning seems to be, that the purpose of the law was not to fetter and perplex those who were righteous, and who aimed to do their duty and to please God, It was not intended to produce a spirit of servitude and bondage. As the Jews interpreted it, it did this, and this interpretation appears to have been adopted by the teachers at Ephesus, to whom Paul refers. The whole tendency of their teaching was to bring the soul into a state of bondage, and to make religion a condition of servitude. Paul teaches, on the other hand, that religion was a condition of freedom, and that the main purpose of the law was not to fetter the minds of the righteous by numberless observances and minute regulations, but that it was to restrain the wicked from sin. This is the case with all law. No good man feels himself fettered and manacled by wholesome laws, nor does he feel that the purpose of law is to reduce him to a state of servitude. It is only the wicked who have this feeling—and in this sense the law is made for a man who intends to do wrong.

For the lawless. To bind and restrain them. The word here used means, properly, those who have no law, and then those who are transgressors—the wicked. It is rendered transgressors in Mr 15:28; Lu 22:37; and wicked, Ac 2:23; 2 Th 2:8.

And disobedient. Those who are insubordinate, lawless, refractory. The word properly means those who are under no subjection or authority. It occurs in the New Testament only here, and Tit 1:6,10, where it is rendered unruly, and Heb 2:8, where it is translated not put under; that is, under Christ.

For the ungodly. Those who have no religion; who do not worship or honour God. The Greek word occurs in the following places, in all of which it is rendered ungodly, Ro 4:5; 5:6; 1 Ti 1:9; 1 Pe 4:18; 2 Pe 2:5; 3:7; Jude 1:4,15.

The meaning is, that the law is against all who do not worship or honour God.

And for sinners. The word used here is the common word to denote sinners. It is general, and includes sins of all kinds.

For unholy. "Those who are regardless of duty to God or man." Robinson, Lex. The word occurs in the New Testament only here, and in 2 Ti 3:2. It has particular reference to those who fail of their duty towards God, and means those who have no piety; who are irreligious.

And profane. This does not necessarily mean that they were profane in the sense that they blasphemed the name of God, or were profane swearers—though the word would include that—but it means properly those who are impious, or who are scoffers. See Barnes "Heb 12:16".

The word occurs only in the following places, in all of which it is rendered profane, 1 Ti 1:9; 4:7; 6:20; 2 Ti 2:16; Heb 12:16.

A man who treats religion with contempt, mockery, or scorn, would correspond with the meaning of the word.

For murderers of fathers. The Greek properly means a smiter of a father, (Robinson,) though here it undoubtedly means a parricide. This was expressly forbidden by the law of Moses, and was a crime punishable by death, Ex 21:15. It is said to have been a crime which the Roman law did not contemplate as possible, and hence that there was no enactment against it. It is, indeed, a crime of the highest order; but facts have shown that if the Romans supposed it would never be committed, they did not judge aright of human nature. There is no sin which man will not commit if unrestrained, and there is in fact no conceivable form of crime of which he has not been guilty.

Murderers of mothers. A still more atrocious and monstrous crime, if possible, than the former. We can conceive nothing superior to this in atrocity, and yet it has been committed. Nero caused his mother to be murdered, and the annals of crime disclose the names of not a few who have imbrued their own hands in the blood of those who bare them. This was also expressly forbidden by the law of Moses, Ex 21:15.

For manslayers. This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means a homicide—a murderer. The crime is expressly forbidden by the law, Ex 20:13; Ge 9:6.

{f} "the law" Ga 5:23



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