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Verse 22. Are they Hebrews? This proves that the persons who had made the difficulty in Corinth were those who were of Hebrew extraction, though it may be that they had been born in Greece, and had been educated in the Grecian philosophy and art of rhetoric. It is also clear that they prided themselves on being Jews—on having a connexion with the people and land from whence the religion which the Corinthian church now professed had emanated. Indications are apparent everywhere in the New Testament of the superiority which the Jewish converts to Christianity claimed over those converted from among the heathen. Their boast would probably be that they were the descendants of the patriarchs; that the land of the prophets was theirs; that they spake the language in which the oracles of God were given; that the true religion had proceeded from them, etc.

So am I. I have as high claims as any of them to distinction on this head. Paul had all their advantages of birth. He was an Israelite; of the honoured tribe of Benjamin; a Pharisee; circumcised at the usual time, Php 3:5 and educated in the best manner at the feet of one of their most eminent teachers, Ac 22:3.

Are they Israelites? Another name, signifying substantially the same thing. The only difference is, that the word "Hebrew" signified, properly, one who was from beyond (

HEBREW, from

HEBREW, to pass, to pass over—hence applied to Abraham, because he had come from a foreign land; and the word denoted, properly, a foreigner—a man from the land or country beyond,

HEBREW) the Euphrates. The name Israelite denoted, properly, one descended from Israel or Jacob; and the difference between them was, that the name Israelite, being a patronymic derived from one of the founders of their nation, was in use among themselves; the name Hebrew was applied by the Canaanite to them as having come from beyond the river, and was the current name among foreign tribes and nations. See Gesenius' Lexicon on the word (

HEBREW) Hebrew. Paul, in the passage before us, means to say that he had as good a claim to the honour of being a native-born descendant of Israel as could be urged by any of them.

Are they the seed of Abraham? Do they boast that they are descended from Abraham. This, with all the Jews, was regarded as a distinguished honour, (see Mt 3:9; Joh 8:39;) and no doubt the false teachers in Corinth boasted of it as eminently qualifying them to engage in the work of the ministry.

So am I. Paul had the same qualification. He was a Jew also by birth. He was of the tribe of Benjamin, Php 3:5.

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