4:21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, do you not understand the law? 1 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the 2 slave woman and the other by the free woman. 4:23 But one, the son by the slave woman, was born by natural descent, 3 while the other, the son by the free woman, was born through the promise. 4:24 These things may be treated as an allegory, 4 for these women represent two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai bearing children for slavery; this is Hagar. 4:25 Now Hagar represents Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 4:26 But the Jerusalem above is free, 5 and she is our mother. 4:27 For it is written:
“Rejoice, O barren woman who does not bear children; 6
break forth and shout, you who have no birth pains,
because the children of the desolate woman are more numerous
than those of the woman who has a husband.” 7
4:28 But you, 8 brothers and sisters, 9 are children of the promise like Isaac. 4:29 But just as at that time the one born by natural descent 10 persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, 11 so it is now. 4:30 But what does the scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the son” 12 of the free woman. 4:31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, 13 we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.
1 tn Or “will you not hear what the law says?” The Greek verb ἀκούω (akouw) means “hear, listen to,” but by figurative extension it can also mean “obey.” It can also refer to the process of comprehension that follows hearing, and that sense fits the context well here.
2 tn Paul’s use of the Greek article here and before the phrase “free woman” presumes that both these characters are well known to the recipients of his letter. This verse is given as an example of the category called “well-known (‘celebrity’ or ‘familiar’) article” by ExSyn 225.
3 tn Grk “born according to the flesh”; BDAG 916 s.v. σάρξ 4 has “Of natural descent τὰ τέκνα τῆς σαρκός children by natural descent Ro 9:8 (opp. τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐπαγγελίας). ὁ μὲν ἐκ τῆς παιδίσκης κατὰ σάρκα γεγέννηται Gal 4:23; cp. vs. 29.”
4 tn Grk “which things are spoken about allegorically.” Paul is not saying the OT account is an allegory, but rather that he is constructing an allegory based on the OT account.
5 sn The meaning of the statement the Jerusalem above is free is that the other woman represents the second covenant (cf. v. 24); she corresponds to the Jerusalem above that is free. Paul’s argument is very condensed at this point.
6 tn The direct object “children” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied for clarity. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
7 tn Grk “because more are the children of the barren one than of the one having a husband.”
sn A quotation from Isa 54:1.
8 tc Most
11 tn Or “the one born by the Spirit’s [power].”