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Galatians 4:24 – Two covenants

31-08-2022 - Posted by Hans

Which is allegorizing, for these women are two covenants; one, indeed, from mount Sinai, generating into slavery, which is Hagar.

Hagar and Sarah are two covenants. The verb ’to be’ is not an equal sign here. Where the Greek uses this verb, it usually means representation. “…this (bread) is my body” (Mat.26:26) or “the ten horns are ten kings” (Rev.17:12), etc. In such cases ‘is’ or ’to be’ means: a representation or depiction of. So imagery.

Hagar is a model for the covenant made at Mount Sinai. That covenant was only temporary beforehand, as Paul had previously argued (3:19,23,24). Ishmael was the first son of Abraham, but not the promised son because he was born into a position of slavery. That is what makes Ishmael such a clear type of the first covenant that came into being four hundred and thirty years after the promise to Abraham (3:17). Hadn’t Paul argued earlier that the people were under guardianship from Sinai and in practice no different from a slave (4:1-5)?

The “two covenants” represent “the old covenant” and “the new covenant” respectively. Slavery and freedom. Hagar and Sarah. Ishmael and Isaac. Works and grace. Flesh and Spirit. Law and grace. It’s one or the other…