Rejoice! (Gal. 4:27)

“It is written.

‘Rejoice!

You childless one!

You who bear

No children!

Burst into song!

Shout!

You who endure

No birth pangs!

The children

Of the desolate woman

Are more numerous

Than the children

Of the one who is married

With a husband.’”

γέγραπται γάρ Εὐφράνθητι, στεῖρα ἡ οὐ τίκτουσα, ῥῆξον καὶ βόησον, ἡ οὐκ ὠδίνουσα· ὅτι πολλὰ τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐρήμου μᾶλλον ἢ τῆς ἐχούσης τὸν ἄνδρα.

Paul said, “It is written (γέγραπται γάρ).  ‘Rejoice (Εὐφράνθητι)!  You childless one (στεῖρα)!  You who bear no children (ἡ οὐ τίκτουσα)!  Burst into song (ῥῆξον)!  Shout (καὶ βόησον)!  You who endure no birth pangs (ἡ οὐκ ὠδίνουσα)!  The children of the desolate woman are more numerous (ὅτι πολλὰ τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐρήμου μᾶλλον) than the children of the one who is married with a husband (ἢ τῆς ἐχούσης τὸν ἄνδρα).’”  Only this Galatian letter used the word ὠδίνουσα, that means birth pangs, to travail, to be in labor.  Paul then used an exact citation from the first verse of Deutero-Isaiah, chapter 54:1-3 about Sarah and the birth of Isaac.  “‘Sing!  O barren one!  You who did not bear!  Burst into song!  Shout!  You who have not been in labor!  The children of the desolate woman will be more than the children of her that is married.’  Says Yahweh.  ‘Enlarge the site place of your tent!  Let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out!  Do not hold back!  Lengthen your cords!  Strengthen your stakes!  You will spread out to the right.  You will spread out to the left.  Your descendants will possess the nations.  They will settle the desolate towns.’”  Jerusalem was the barren city that had no children because of the Exile.  Now they were to sing and shout because the barren one was about to have many children, even more that the married women.  They were now going to enlarge the place for their tents.  Their land would be stretched out so that they would need more cords and stakes for their tents.  They were about to spread out to the right and the left.  Their descendants would possess many nations and repopulate many desolate towns.  Paul thus indicated that the new Jerusalem would give birth to a number of children from all the nations of the world.  Do you consider many children a blessing?

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