Jerusalem above (Gal. 4:26)

“But the other woman


To the Jerusalem above.

She is free.

She is our mother.”

ἡ δὲ ἄνω Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἐλευθέρα ἐστίν, ἥτις ἐστὶν μήτηρ ἡμῶν·

Paul said, “But the other woman corresponds to the Jerusalem above (ἡ δὲ ἄνω Ἱερουσαλὴμ).  She is free (ἐλευθέρα ἐστίν).  She is our mother (ἥτις ἐστὶν μήτηρ ἡμῶν).”  This is the first reference to a heavenly Jerusalem.  It is not that the heavenly Jerusalem complements or completes the early human made Jerusalem.  They are actually adversarial, because the heavenly Jerusalem comes from God, not like the earthly Jerusalem made by humans.  Thus, the eternal Jerusalem will be for the descendants of the free woman, while the earthly Jerusalem will be left for the descendants of the slave woman.  We have this other free woman of the heavenly Jerusalem as our mother.  Sarah, the free woman, the wife of Abraham is our mother as Abraham is our father, but in a heavenly Jerusalem.  Do you believe that you have a heavenly mother?

Slave children (Gal. 4:25)

“Now Hagar

Is Mount Sinai

In Arabia.

She corresponds

To the present Jerusalem.

She is in slavery

With her children.”

τὸ δὲ Ἄγαρ Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ Ἀραβίᾳ· συνστοιχεῖ δὲ τῇ νῦν Ἱερουσαλήμ, δουλεύει γὰρ μετὰ τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς.

Paul said, “Now Hagar (τὸ δὲ Ἄγαρ) is Mount Sinai (Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν) in Arabia (ἐν τῇ Ἀραβίᾳ).  She corresponds (συνστοιχεῖ) to the present Jerusalem (δὲ τῇ νῦν Ἱερουσαλήμ).  She is in slavery (δουλεύει) with her children (γὰρ μετὰ τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς).”  This is a unique word συνστοιχεῖ of Galatians that means to stand in the same rank, or correspond to.  Paul explained his allegory.  Paul linked Hagar with Mount Sinai in Arabia, because the descendants of Hagar and Ishmael, lived in Arabia, the desert place, they were called Arabs.  These Arabs were the children of slavery.  Then Paul made a big step.  He turned to his contemporary city of Jerusalem.  He maintained that Hagar corresponded to the temple city of Jerusalem.  They were in slavery with their children.  In fact, there were no Arabs in Jerusalem.  The Jewish people in Jerusalem were the new slaves.  Who are the contemporary slaves in your society?

Hagar (Gal. 4:24)

“Now this is an allegory.

These women

Are two covenants.

One woman,

In fact,

Is Hagar,

From Mount Sinai,

Bearing children

For slavery.”

ἅτινά ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα· αὗται γάρ εἰσιν δύο διαθῆκαι, μία μὲν ἀπὸ ὄρους Σινᾶ, εἰς δουλείαν γεννῶσα, ἥτις ἐστὶν Ἄγαρ,

Paul said, “Now this is an allegory (ἅτινά ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα).  These women are two covenants (αὗται γάρ εἰσιν δύο διαθῆκαι).  One woman, in fact, is Hagar (ἥτις ἐστὶν Ἄγαρ), from Mount Sinai (μία μὲν ἀπὸ ὄρους Σινᾶ), bearing children for slavery (εἰς δουλείαν γεννῶσα).”  This is a unique word ἀλληγορούμενα, of Galatians that means to speak allegorically.  Paul was the only biblical writer to use this term of “allegory” and only here in this letter.  The story has a moral element in it.  There were two women involved with Abraham.  Paul here hones in on Hagar and her son Ishmael. Paul said that Hagar was linked with Mount Sinai, where Moses will later get the Ten Commandments.  She and her child and their descendants were the children of slavery.  Paul was drawing a contrast between the son of Hagar and the son of Sarah.  First, he explained the role of Hagar, whose descendants would be born into slavery.  Do you know anyone born into slavery?

The slave woman and the free women (Gal. 4:23)


The child of the slave,

Was born

According to the flesh.

The other,

The child of the free woman,

Was born

Through the promise.”

ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἐκ τῆς παιδίσκης κατὰ σάρκα γεγέννηται, ὁ δὲ ἐκ τῆς ἐλευθέρας διὰ τῆς ἐπαγγελίας.

Paul said, “One, the child of the slave (ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἐκ τῆς παιδίσκης) was born according to the flesh (κατὰ σάρκα γεγέννηται).  The other, the child of the free woman (ὁ δὲ ἐκ τῆς ἐλευθέρας) was born through the promise (διὰ τῆς ἐπαγγελίας).”  Paul explained the difference between the two children of Abraham from Hagar and Sarah.  The child Ishmael of Hagar, the female servant slave of Sarah, was born according to natural reproduction, the human fleshy body.  However, the child Isaac of Sarah, the free woman, came through the promise.  The birth of Isaac was miraculous because Sarah was barren and old as well.  In Genesis, chapter 17:15-19, Yahweh told Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.  I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her.  I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations.  Kings of peoples shall come from her…your wife Sarah shall bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.”  Sarah would be blessed and give Abraham a son.  God promised to send a son to Sarah in her old age.  Thus, Isaac played an important role as the descendant of Abraham.  Does it matter who your mother is?

The two sons of Abraham (Gal. 4:22)

“It is written

That Abraham

Had two sons,

One by a slave woman

And one by a free woman.”

γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι Ἀβραὰμ δύο υἱοὺς ἔσχεν, ἕνα ἐκ τῆς παιδίσκης καὶ ἕνα ἐκ τῆς ἐλευθέρας.

Paul said, “It is written (γέγραπται γὰρ) that Abraham (ὅτι Ἀβραὰμ) had two sons (δύο υἱοὺς ἔσχεν), one by a slave woman (ἕνα ἐκ τῆς παιδίσκης) and one by a free woman (καὶ ἕνα ἐκ τῆς ἐλευθέρας).”  Paul cited two separate incidents in Genesis.  The first was the story of the slave Hagar and the second was the story of Sarah his wife.  Genesis, chapter 16:1-15, says, “Sarah, Abram’s wife, bore him no children.  She had an Egyptian slave girl whose name was Hagar.  Sarah said to Abram, ‘You see that Yahweh has prevented me from bearing children.  Go in to my slave girl.  It may be that I shall obtain children by her.’  Abram listened to the voice of Sarah.  So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarah, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her slave girl, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife.  He went in to Hagar, and she conceived.  When she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.”  Genesis, chapter 21:1-3, says, “Yahweh dealt with Sarah as he had said, and Yahweh did for Sarah as he had promised.  Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him.  Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son, whom Sarah bore him.”  Thus, this was not a direct citation by Paul, but a summary of a couple of chapters in Genesis about the two sons of Abraham by two different women.  Do you know anyone who has two sons from two different women?

Subject to the law (Gal. 4:21)

“Tell me!

Do you desire

To be subject

To the law?

Will you not listen

To the law?”

Λέγετέ μοι, οἱ ὑπὸ νόμον θέλοντες εἶναι, τὸν νόμον οὐκ ἀκούετε;

Paul said, “Tell me (Λέγετέ μοι)!  Do you desire (θέλοντες εἶναι) to be subject to the law (οἱ ὑπὸ νόμον)?  Will you not listen (οὐκ ἀκούετε) to the law (τὸν νόμον)?”  Paul was very concerned.  Once again, he asked a question that he knew the answer to.  Did the Galatians want to be subject to and listen to the Jewish Torah?  Did they really want to follow the law of Moses?  Paul knew the answer.  Surely, they did not.  Thus, he was going to give a Jewish response about Abraham.  Do you like to follow laws?

I am perplexed (Gal. 4:20)

“I wish

That I was present

With you now.

I could change

My tone.

I am perplexed

About you.”

ἤθελον δὲ παρεῖναι πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἄρτι καὶ ἀλλάξαι τὴν φωνήν μου, ὅτι ἀποροῦμαι ἐν ὑμῖν.

Paul said, “I wish (ἤθελον) that I was present with you now (δὲ παρεῖναι πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἄρτι).  I could change my tone (καὶ ἀλλάξαι τὴν φωνήν μου).  I am perplexed about you (ὅτι ἀποροῦμαι ἐν ὑμῖν).”  Paul wished that he was present with them.  Perhaps, he could then change his tone.  Paul was very worried about them and perplexed about what was happening in Galatia with all those Judaizers trying to make them follow the Jewish Torah.  Have you ever been perplexed?

Childbirth pain (Gal. 4:19)

“My little children!

I am again

In childbirth pain

Until Christ

Is formed in you”

τέκνα μου, οὓς πάλιν ὠδίνω μέχρις οὗ μορφωθῇ Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν·

Paul said, “My little children (τέκνα μου)!  I am again in childbirth pain (οὓς πάλιν ὠδίνω μέχρις) until Christ is formed (οὗ μορφωθῇ Χριστὸς) in you (ἐν ὑμῖν).”  Only this Galatian letter used the word ὠδίνω, that means birth pangs, to travail, to be in labor, and the word μορφωθῇ, that means to form, fashion, shape, or mold.  Paul described the Galatians as his little children.  Paul was like a pregnant mother about to give birth to a child again.  This birth would be the formation of Christ in them.  He was in labor pains, hoping that they would not turn back into the slavery of sin. They were at a very precarious moment.  The possibility of death or infant mortality was very high.  Would they be born and formed into Christ or die?  There was no sure answer.  What was going to happen to these Galatians?  Have you ever been worried about child birth?

Good purposes (Gal. 4:18)

“It is good

To be made much of

For a good purpose

At all times,

And not only

When I am present with you.”

καλὸν δὲ ζηλοῦσθαι ἐν καλῷ πάντοτε, καὶ μὴ μόνον ἐν τῷ παρεῖναί με πρὸς ὑμᾶς,

Paul said, “It is good to be made much of or zealous (καλὸν δὲ ζηλοῦσθαι) for a good purpose at all times (ἐν καλῷ πάντοτε), and not only when I am present (καὶ μὴ μόνον ἐν τῷ παρεῖναί με) with you (πρὸς ὑμᾶς).”  Paul was not complaining about the Judaizers concern for them, if it was for a good purpose.  Paul too was concerned about the Galatians.  He wanted them to know that he was zealous for them, even if he was not there present.  His absence should not be seen as neglect.  Have you ever felt neglected?

Exclusion (Gal. 4:17)

“They make much of you,

But for no good purpose.

They want to exclude you,

So that you may make much of them.”

ζηλοῦσιν ὑμᾶς οὐ καλῶς, ἀλλὰ ἐκκλεῖσαι ὑμᾶς θέλουσιν, ἵνα αὐτοὺς ζηλοῦτε.

Paul said, “They are zealous or make much of you (ζηλοῦσιν ὑμᾶς), but for no good purpose (οὐ καλῶς).  They want to exclude you (ἀλλὰ ἐκκλεῖσαι ὑμᾶς θέλουσιν), so that you may be zealous or make much of them (ἵνα αὐτοὺς ζηλοῦτε).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἐκκλεῖσα, that means to shut out, exclude, or separate.  Now Paul turned to his real enemies, the Judaizers, who were pushing the importance of the Torah observance for these gentile Christians.  Thus, those not following the Mosaic law would be excluded.  Paul insisted that they did not have a good purpose.  They were only trying to exclude the gentile Christians from the Jewish Christians.  They were trying to be their spiritual leaders through the use of the Jewish Torah.  Have you ever been excluded from anything?