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EPISTLE OF PAUL TO PHILEMON - Chapter 1 - Verse 9

Verse 9. Yet for love's sake. For the love which you bear me, and for the common cause.

I rather beseech thee. Rather than command thee.

Being such an one as Paul the aged. presbuthv—an old man. We have no means of ascertaining the exact age of Paul at this time, and I do not recollect that he ever alludes to his age, though he often does to his infirmities, in any place except here. Doddridge supposes that at the time when Stephen was stoned, when he is called "a young man," (neaniav, Ac 7:58,) he was twenty-four years of age, in which case he would now have been about fifty-three. Chrysostom supposes that he may have been about thirty-five years old at the time of his conversion, which would have made him about sixty-three at this time. The difficulty of determining, with any degree of accuracy, the age of the apostle at this time, arises from the indefinite nature of the word used by Luke, Ac 7:58, and rendered a young man. That word, like the corresponding word, neaniskov, neaniskos, was applied to when in the rigour of manhood up to the age of forty years, Robinson Lex. Phavorinus says a man is called neaniskov, neaniskos, a young man, till he is twenty-eight; and presbuthv, presbytes, from forty-nine till he is fifty-six. Varro says that a man is young (juvenis) till he is forty-five, and aged at sixty. Whitby. These periods of time, however, are very indefinite; but it will accord well with the usual meaning of the words to suppose that Paul was in the neighbourhood of thirty when he was converted, and that he was now not far from sixty. We are to remember, also, that the constitution of Paul may have been much broken by his labours, his perils, and his trials. Not advanced probably to the usual limit of human life, he may have had all the characteristics of a very aged man. Comp. the Note of Benson. The argument here is that we feel that it is proper, as far as we can, to grant the request of an old man. Paul thus felt that it was reasonable to suppose that Philemon would not refuse to gratify the wishes of an aged servant of Christ, who had spent the rigour of his life in the service of their common Master. It should be a very strong case when we refuse to gratify the wishes of an aged Christian in anything, especially if he has rendered important services to the church and the world.

And now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. In the cause of Jesus Christ; or a prisoner for endeavouring to make him known to the world. Comp. See Barnes "Eph 3:1"

See Barnes "Eph 4:1"; See Barnes "Eph 6:20".

See Barnes "Col 4:10".

The argument here is, that it might be presumed that Philemon would not refuse the request of one who was suffering in prison on account of their common religion. For such a prisoner we should be ready to do all that we can to mitigate the sorrows of his confinement, and to make his condition comfortable.

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