The Berean Expositor
Volume 39 - Page 69 of 234
Index | Zoom
expression to the law given by Moses. Further, the statement of verse nineteen "it was
ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator" is a reference to Sinai as we shall see later.
Again, if the "us" of Gal. 3: 13 refers to all men both Jew and Gentile, it should
have sufficed in verse fourteen to have written:
"Christ hath redeemed US . . . . . that WE might receive the blessing"--but the apostle
does not so speak. He says "Christ hath redeemed US . . . . . that the blessing of Abraham
might come on the Gentiles".
Primarily, the pronoun "us" in verse thirteen refers to the Jew, and only in a secondary
sense does it include the Gentile, and only so if he should be so foolish to put himself
under the law, which is the very heart of the controversy.
To show the utter folly of the Galatian retrogression the Apostle tells them that such is
the condition of those naturally "under the law" namely Israel, that they needed to be
redeemed at such a cost that the mind almost refuses to believe the statement "Christ hath
redeemed us from the curse of the law being made a curse for us". As we shall see when
considering verses fifteen onwards, the law stood in the way of the promise; it was
temporary, and imposed only for a time, whereas the promise was of a permanent
character, and was made four hundred and thirty years before. It was not a covenant that
made demands upon the people, but was conceived in grace, addressed to faith, "to the
end the promise might be sure" as the Apostle reasons in Rom. 4: 16.
The Apostle does not say that Christ became accursed, but that He became A curse,
the abstract for the concrete. This is much more forceful than saying that Christ became
a person who was accursed. For the same reason, it was said that the Saviour "was made
SIN for us Who knew no sin", God having laid upon Him the iniquity of us all and to
emphasize the enormity of human hostility, He said not that man is an enemy, but that
"the carnal mind is enmity against God".
The passage of the law referred to by Paul is found in Deuteronomy:
"And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and
thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt
in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God); that thy land
be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance" (Deut. 21: 22,
Some interpret the words "accursed of God" by "accursed of the judges" for the word
elohim is translated "judges" in Exod. 21: 6; 22: 8, 9. Other interpretations including
"an insult against God" have been put forward, and the omission of the words "of God"
by the Apostle when quoting the O.T. may have been in order to avoid any unnecessary
explanation which would have made no contribution to his main argument.
The word "tree" is in the LXX and in the epistle to the Galatians; the Greek word is
xulon. The Hebrew word used in Deut. 21: is ets which, while primarily meaning a
tree, is also translated "gallows" (Esther 5: 14), "sticks" (Numb. 15: 32), "timber"