As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.
I only wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.
Why don't these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves!
My desire is that they who give you trouble might even be cut off themselves.
I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!
I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!
|NET © [draft] ITL
|NET © Notes
1 tn Grk “the ones who are upsetting you.” The same verb is used in Acts 21:38 to refer to a person who incited a revolt. Paul could be alluding indirectly to the fact that his opponents are inciting the Galatians to rebel against his teaching with regard to circumcision and the law.
2 tn Grk “would even.”
3 tn Or “make eunuchs of themselves”; Grk “cut themselves off.” This statement is rhetorical hyperbole on Paul’s part. It does strongly suggest, however, that Paul’s adversaries in this case (“those agitators”) were men. Some interpreters (notably Erasmus and the Reformers) have attempted to soften the meaning to a figurative “separate themselves” (meaning the opponents would withdraw from fellowship) but such an understanding dramatically weakens the rhetorical force of Paul’s argument. Although it has been argued that such an act of emasculation would be unthinkable for Paul, it must be noted that Paul’s statement is one of biting sarcasm, obviously not meant to be taken literally. See further G. Stählin, TDNT 3:853-55.