The curse of the tree (Gal. 3:13)

“Christ redeemed us

From the curse of the law,

By becoming a curse for us.

It is written.

‘Cursed be everyone

Who hangs on a tree.’”

Χριστὸς ἡμᾶς ἐξηγόρασεν ἐκ τῆς κατάρας τοῦ νόμου γενόμενος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν κατάρα, ὅτι γέγραπται Ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὁ κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλου,

Paul said that Christ (Χριστὸς) redeemed us (ἡμᾶς ἐξηγόρασεν) from the curse (ἐκ τῆς κατάρας) of the law (τοῦ νόμου), by becoming a curse for us (γενόμενος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν κατάρα).  It is written (ὅτι γέγραπται).  “Cursed (Ἐπικατάρατος) be everyone who hangs (πᾶς ὁ κρεμάμενος) on a tree (πᾶς ὁ κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλου).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἐξηγόρασεν, that means to buy up, ransom, to rescue from loss, or redeem.  Paul indicated that Jesus Christ had redeemed or ransomed them from the curse of the law, as he became a curse on the cross.  Paul then cited a reference to Deuteronomy, chapter 21:22-23.  “When someone is convicted of a crime punishable by death and is executed, you hang him on a tree.  His body must not remain all night upon the tree.  You shall bury him the same day.  Anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse.”  Hanging was worse than being stoned to death.  Therefore, it had to come to an end quickly.  It brought God’s curse.  They had to bury the person the same day because they were under God’s curse.  Thus, Paul made this comparison explicit between hanging on a tree and the Roman crucifixion that Jesus Christ suffered.  The cross and the tree became synonymous for the early Christians.  Do you seeing hanging and crucifixion as the same?

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