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    1. obey--stronger than the expression as to wives, "submitting," or "being subject" (Eph 5:21). Obedience is more unreasoning and implicit; submission is the willing subjection of an inferior in point of order to one who has a right to command.
    - in the Lord--Both parents and children being Christians "in the Lord," expresses the element in which the obedience is to take place, and the motive to obedience. In Col 3:20, it is, "Children, obey your parents in all things." This clause, "in the Lord," would suggest the due limitation of the obedience required (Ac 5:29; compare on the other hand, the abuse, Mr 7:11-13).
    - right--Even by natural law we should render obedience to them from whom we have derived life.

    2. Here the authority of revealed law is added to that of natural law.
    - which is . . . promise--The "promise" is not made the main motive to obedience, but an incidental one. The main motive is, because it is God's will (De 5:16, "Honor thy father and mother, as the Lord thy God hath COMMANDED thee"); and that it is so peculiarly, is shown by His accompanying it "with a promise."
    - first--in the decalogue with a special promise. The promise in the second commandment is a general one. Their duty is more expressly prescribed to children than to parents; for love descends rather than ascends [BENGEL]. This verse proves the law in the Old Testament is not abolished.

    3. long on the earth--In Ex 20:12, "long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee," which Paul adapts to Gospel times, by taking away the local and limited reference peculiar to the Jews in Canaan. The godly are equally blessed in every land, as the Jews were in the land which God gave them. This promise is always fulfilled, either literally, or by the substitution of a higher blessing, namely, one spiritual and eternal (Job 5:26; Pr 10:27). The substance and essence of the law are eternally in force: its accidents alone (applying to Israel of old) are abolished (Ro 6:15).

    4. fathers--including mothers; the fathers are specified as being the fountains of domestic authority. Fathers are more prone to passion in relation to their children than mothers, whose fault is rather over-indulgence.
    - provoke not--irritate not, by vexatious commands, unreasonable blame, and uncertain temper [ALFORD]. Col 3:21, "lest they be discouraged."
    - nurture--Greek, "discipline," namely, training by chastening in act where needed (Job 5:17; Heb 12:7).
    - admonition--training by words (De 6:7; "catechise," Pr 22:6, Margin), whether of encouragement, or remonstrance, or reproof, according as is required [TRENCH]. Contrast 1Sa 3:13, Margin.
    - of the Lord--such as the Lord approves, and by His Spirit dictates.

    5. Servants--literally, "slaves."
    - masters according to the flesh--in contrast to your true and heavenly Master (Eph 6:4). A consolatory him that the mastership to which they were subject, was but for a time [CHRYSOSTOM]; and that their real liberty was still their own (1Co 7:22).
    - fear and trembling--not slavish terror, but (See on 1Co 2:3; 2Co 7:15) an anxious eagerness to do your duty, and a fear of displeasing, as great as is produced in the ordinary slave by "threatenings" (Eph 6:9).
    - singleness--without double-mindedness, or "eye service" (Eph 6:6), which seeks to please outwardly, without the sincere desire to make the master's interest at all times the first consideration (1Ch 29:17; Mt 6:22, 23; Lu 11:34). "Simplicity."

    6. (Col 3:22). Seeking to please their masters only so long as these have their eyes on them: as Gehazi was a very different man in his master's presence from what he was in his absence (2Ki 5:1-18).
    - men-pleasers--not Christ-pleasers (compare Ga 1:10; 1Th 2:4).
    - doing the will of God--the unseen but ever present Master: the best guarantee for your serving faithfully your earthly master alike when present and when absent.
    - from the heart--literally, soul (Ps 111:1; Ro 13:5).

    7. good will--expressing his feeling towards his master; as "doing the will of God from the heart" expresses the source of that feeling (Col 3:23). "Good will" is stated by XENOPHON [Economics] to be the principal virtue of a slave towards his master: a real regard to his master's interest as if his own, a good will which not even a master's severity can extinguish.

    8. any man doeth--Greek, "any man shall have done," that is, shall be found at the Lord's coming to have done.
    - the same--in full payment, in heaven's currency.
    - shall . . . receive-- (2Co 5:10; Col 3:25; but all of grace, Lu 17:10).
    - bond or free-- (1Co 7:22; 12:13; Ga 3:28; Col 3:11). Christ does not regard such distinctions in His present dealings of grace, or in His future judgment. The slave that has acted faithfully for the Lord's sake to his master, though the latter may not repay his faithfulness, shall have the Lord for his Paymaster. So the freeman who has done good for the Lord's sake, though man may not pay him, has the Lord for his Debtor (Pr 19:17).

    9. the same things--Mutatis mutandis. Show the same regard to God's will, and to your servants' well-being, in your relation to them, as they ought to have in their relation to you. Love regulates the duties both of servants and masters, as one and the same light attempers various colors. Equality of nature and faith is superior to distinctions of rank [BENGEL]. Christianity makes all men brothers: compare Le 25:42, 43; De 15:12; Jer 34:14 as to how the Hebrews were bound to treat their brethren in service; much more ought Christians to act with love.
    - threatening--Greek, "the threatening" which masters commonly use. "Masters" in the Greek, is not so strong a term as "despots": it implies authority, but not absolute domination.
    - your Master also--The oldest manuscripts read, "the Master both of them and you": "their Master and yours." This more forcibly brings out the equality of slaves and masters in the sight of God. SENECA [Thyestes, 607], says, "Whatever an inferior dreads from you, this a superior Master threatens yourselves with: every authority here is under a higher above." As you treat your servants, so will He treat you.
    - neither . . . respect of persons--He will not, in judging, acquit thee because thou art a master, or condemn him because he is a servant (Ac 10:34; Ro 2:11; Ga 2:6; Col 3:25; 1Pe 1:17). Derived from De 10:17; 2Ch 19:7.

    10. my brethren--Some of the oldest manuscripts omit these words. Some with Vulgate retain them. The phrase occurs nowhere else in the Epistle (see, however, Eph 6:23); if genuine, it is appropriate here in the close of the Epistle, where he is urging his fellow soldiers to the good fight in the Christian armor. Most of the oldest manuscripts for "finally," read, "henceforward," or "from henceforth" (Ga 6:17).
    - be strong--Greek, "be strengthened."
    - in the power of his might--Christ's might: as in Eph 1:19, it is the Father's might.

    11. the whole armour--the armor of light (Ro 13:12); on the right hand and left (2Co 6:7). The panoply offensive and defensive. An image readily suggested by the Roman armory, Paul being now in Rome. Repeated emphatically, Eph 6:13. In Ro 13:14 it is, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ"; in putting on Him, and the new man in Him, we put on "the whole armor of God." No opening at the head, the feet, the heart, the belly, the eye, the ear, or the tongue, is to be given to Satan. Believers have once for all overcome him; but on the ground of this fundamental victory gained over him, they are ever again to fight against and overcome him, even as they who once die with Christ have continually to mortify their members upon earth (Ro 6:2-14; Col 3:3, 5).
    - of God--furnished by God; not our own, else it would not stand (Ps 35:1-3). Spiritual, therefore, and mighty through God, not carnal (2Co 10:4).
    - wiles--literally, "schemes sought out" for deceiving (compare 2Co 11:14).
    - the devil--the ruling chief of the foes (Eph 6:12) organized into a kingdom of darkness (Mt 12:26), opposed to the kingdom of light.

    12. Greek, "For our wrestling ('the wrestling' in which we are engaged) is not against flesh," &c. Flesh and blood foes are Satan's mere tools, the real foe lurking behind them is Satan himself, with whom our conflict is. "Wrestling" implies that it is a hand-to-hand and foot-to-foot struggle for the mastery: to wrestle successfully with Satan, we must wrestle with GOD in irresistible prayer like Jacob (Ge 32:24-29; Ho 12:4). Translate, "The principalities . . . the powers" (Eph 1:21; Col 1:16; see on Eph 3:10). The same grades of powers are specified in the case of the demons here, as in that of angels there (compare Ro 8:38; 1Co 15:24; Col 2:15). The Ephesians had practiced sorcery (Ac 19:19), so that he appropriately treats of evil spirits in addressing them. The more clearly any book of Scripture, as this, treats of the economy of the kingdom of light, the more clearly does it set forth the kingdom of darkness. Hence, nowhere does the satanic kingdom come more clearly into view than in the Gospels which treat of Christ, the true Light.
    - rulers of the darkness of this world--Greek, "age" or "course of the world." But the oldest manuscripts omit "of world." Translate, "Against the world rulers of this (present) darkness" (Eph 2:2; 5:8; Lu 22:53; Col 1:13). On Satan and his demons being "world rulers," compare Joh 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Lu 4:6; 2Co 4:4; 1Jo 5:19, Greek, "lieth in the wicked one." Though they be "world rulers," they are not the ruler of the universe; and their usurped rule of the world is soon to cease, when He shall "come whose right it is" (Eze 21:27). Two cases prove Satan not to be a mere subjective fancy: (1) Christ's temptation; (2) the entrance of demons into the swine (for these are incapable of such fancies). Satan tries to parody, or imitate in a perverted way, God's working (2Co 11:13, 14). So when God became incarnate, Satan, by his demons, took forcible possession of human bodies. Thus the demoniacally possessed were not peculiarly wicked, but miserable, and so fit subjects for Jesus' pity. Paul makes no mention of demoniacal possession, so that in the time he wrote, it seems to have ceased; it probably was restricted to the period of the Lord's incarnation, and of the foundation of His Church.
    - spiritual wickedness--rather as Greek, "The spiritual hosts of wickedness." As three of the clauses describe the power, so this fourth, the wickedness of our spiritual foes (Mt 12:45).
    - in high places--Greek, "heavenly places": in Eph 2:2, "the air," see on Eph 2:2. The alteration of expression to "in heavenly places," is in order to mark the higher range of their powers than ours, they having been, up to the ascension (Re 12:5, 9, 10), dwellers "in the heavenly places" (Job 1:7), and being now in the regions of the air which are called the heavens. M


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