By W. Robertson Smith.
Verses 11-13: "For both the sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one [that is, have one father, even God]; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing praise unto Thee: ' and, again: ' I will put my trust in Him; ' and, again, 'Behold, I and the children which God hath given me.'"
In Verse 11 the present participles "sanctifier" and "sanctified" are sometimes taken to denote that the sanctification of believers is still going on (Riehm). It seems, however, safer to understand the form as used in a timeless substantive sense. The meaning of the verse is plain. One of the points of Verse 10 is that the saved are themselves sons of God, according to our Lord's own teaching and the universal Christian prayer, "Our Father."1 This fact is the starting-point for the doctrine of Christ's identification-with his people in suffering. For, says the Apostle, if we are sons, we are sprung from the same father with Christ; we possess that oneness with Him which belongs to brethren: and that we are indeed his brethren He Himself acknowledges in more than one passage of Scripture. This thought is so clear that it is hard to conceive how Bleek and others have come to invert the argument, and say that Verses 11-13 are designed to justify the name of sons, by shewing that we are admittedly brethren of Christ. Can we suppose that. any Christians ignored the sonship which they daily expressed in the Lord's prayer? But they might very well fail to draw from this sonship a proper inference as to the nature of our brotherhood with Christ.
The Old Testament citations need not long delay us. The first is from Psalm xxii. 22; and that Jesus might be viewed as the speaker was, of course, sufficiently proved by the fact that He used words from this Psalm upon the cross. The other citations are from Isaiah viii. 17, 18.. Since our Author splits this into two citations, the first has been often sought in a different part of the Old Testament—in 2 Sam. xxii. 3, or Isa. xii. 2. But it seems unreasonable to seek two passages where one is enough; and the words "I will put my trust in Him," are hardly, when taken by themselves, an independent proof of what the Apostle aims at. On the other hand, the citation being one, it was worth while to divide it, in order to shew that it contains two distinct points. In the second part Christ-for it is assumed that the Messiah speaks, and this view was facilitated by the Septuagint insertion of καὶ ἐρεῖ at the beginning of Verse 17-associates Himself with the children given Him by God, i.e., according to the context here, with God's children his brethren; and further, according to the first part of the citation, He associates Himself with them in an act of faith. Now faith, which according to our Epistle (xi. 1), involves hope of a goal not yet attained, and the apprehension of things as yet invisible, is a virtue which Jesus exercised only in the days of his flesh, when, for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, despising shame. It is in this sense that Jesus, in Chapter xii. Verse 2, is said to be the author and perfecter of faith, i.e., since faith is an activity, the first to begin and carry through to completeness that life of faith which is our example in the struggle set before us (xii. 1, 2). In this connection the expression found in Isaiah viii. has a real value for the Author's argument. "Unless He were man," says Calvin, " and liable to human necessities, He would have no need for such trust. Since, then, He depends on the aid of God, his condition has community with ours."
We have still to ask why, in Verse 11, the Apostle introduces, for Jesus and his saved ones, the new relative terms sanctifier and sanctified. That the usual dogmatic definition of sanctification, as the change in a man from the vileness of sin to the purity of the divine image, does not coincide with the thought in our passage, is plain. Sanctification is a notion which the New Testament borrows and develops from the Old. In the Old Testament the idea of holiness belongs properly to the sphere of worship, and hiqdîsh or qiddesh is to separate from profane uses and consecrate to God. in a religious ceremony, or for a religious liturgical service. It is as worshippers of God, not as moral agents, that the Old Testament people are holy. The notion of holiness is ĉsthetic, not ethical; and thus it is that, while righteousness in the Old Testament as in the New is entirely free from anything ceremonial, holiness, as an ĉsthetic notion, calling for a visible manifestation, is expressed in a whole system of ceremonial ordinances. In the New Testament the predicate "holy," ἄγιοσ, is transferred from the fleshly Israel to the New Testament Church. But Christians are called ἄγιοι, not in acknowledgment of their moral purity, but because they take the place of the Old Testament people as the worshipping people of God, called and consecrated to do religious service to Him. Thus the term ἄγιοι, "saints," is strictly co-ordinate with the word ἐκκλησία, "church," corresponding to qahal, which is the technical Old Testament term for the congregation of Israel summoned before God for the exercise of a religious function. The development of the notion of holiness in the New Testament, and the elimination from it of all ceremonial elements, depend simply on the spiritualization of the notion of worship and religious service before God. Acts of worship are no longer limited in time and place, and are no longer carried out in the presentation before God of representative material offerings. The holy persons, or priests, of the New Testament are themselves, at the same time, a living sacrifice, acceptable to God (Rom. xii. 1; xv. 16); and their whole life is brought under the notion of worship, insomuch as they have continual access to God in the Spirit (Eph. ii. 18), an access realized in the constant exercise of prayer and thanksgiving (1 Thess. v. 17, 18; Phil. iv. 6), so that every action receives a direct reference to God, and therefore falls to be done as a holy action.
It will be found that these general remarks on the New Testament idea of holiness are fully borne out in our Epistle. The most instructive passage is Chapter ix. Verses 13, 14, where, in an argument from the less to the greater, we read: "If the blood of goats and bullocks, etc. sanctify in point of purity of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ who, through the eternal spirit, offered Himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works, to serve (as worshippers, λατρεύειν) the living God."
Here we are not to treat sanctify and cleanse on the one hand, and the prepositional clauses on the other, as parallel elements in the comparison; for the clause with πρὸς (" in point of purity of the flesh ") is not telic like the clause with εἰς ("to serve the living God"). Accordingly, ἁγιάζειν answers not simply to καθαρίζειν, but to καθαρίζειν εἰς τὸ λατρεύειν κ.τ.λ. Sanctification is the purification of the worshipper for his religious service (λάτρεια, compare x. 2) and the sanctification of the New Testament is the cleansing of the conscience from dead works by the blood of Christ, which gives us confident access to the heavenly sanctuary (x. 19-22). The same thought, viz., that by the sacrifice, or through the blood, of Christ we are sanctified, appears in Chapters x. 10, 14, 29; xiii. 12, and still in a connection which shews that the sanctified are thought of as worshippers (compare x. 10 sq. with x. 2 and xiii. 12 with xiii. 10, 15).
As yet, however, we have gained only a formal conception of sanctification. We are sanctified by the sacrifice of Christ when we are brought to stand acceptably before God, not as justified sinners before a judge but as worshippers. The material side of the notion of holiness must depend on the nature of the worship which the sanctified perform with acceptance. The most general utterance on this point is in Chapter xii. Verse 28, where the Apostle exhorts his readers to exercise thankfulness (χάριν ἔχειν as Luke xvii. 9, etc.) through which we may worship God acceptably, with godly fear and awe. This determines the attitude of the worshipper; the substance of his service is given in Chapter xiii. Verses 15, 16. It is, according to Old Testament analogy, a sacrifice offered through a high priest. Further, the sacrifices with which God is well pleased are the continual sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips confessing his name, together with good deeds (εὐποιία) and exercises of charity (κοινωνία). The latter appear at Chapter vi. Verse 10 as the display of love to God. It is, then, in the continual exercise of thanksgiving and of loving obedience-especially in good deeds done to our neighbour in the spirit of love to God, that the practical exercise of the Christian's sanctification appears. Now when it is said that, in one sacrifice, Jesus Christ has perfected in perpetuity them that are sanctified (x. 14), it is certainly to be understood that the Christian's prayer and obedience are ever acceptable to God in virtue of the one sacrifice. But it is none the less true that our Christian service, as above described, is a moral service, the Godward aspect in fact of our whole moral vocation. From this point of view, the holiness, which is in fact our habitual nearness to God in such services, appears as a task, and as a growing holiness. Moral nearness to God is. likeness to God or participation in his holiness (xii. 10) which is wrought in the Christian by God's fatherly discipline and chastisement. Or again, in Chapter xii. Verse 14, sanctification is a thing to be pursued, without which none can see the Lord; that is the Lord Jesus, when, at his second coming, He shall appear to them that wait for Him unto salvation (ix. 28). And the way of this sanctification lies in the pursuit of peace with all men-that is, in accordance with the Biblical sense of the word peace, in the maintenance, in their full integrity, of the moral relations towards those around us which are given to us in our several vocations.
When we remember that the sanctification, thus connected with the pursuit of peace, is accomplished in that participation in God's own holiness which is the end of his fatherly training, we cannot fail to see in the conceptions of our Author the development of the beatitude in which our Lord attaches the name of sons of God to those who work peace (peacemakers in the sense of James iii. 18). By this combination the Apostle's doctrine of sanctification is completely filled up and rounded off. For we now see that the life of every Christian has a manward side—the pursuit of peace with all men, and a Godward side—the pursuit of holiness. These two pursuits are not two parts of the Christian life, but two sides of the same work. They are so in virtue of the work of Christ, by which we are sanctified. In that work his people receive such access to God at the throne of grace as secures them his mercy and seasonable help in every time of need (iv. 16); so that the whole life of the Christian assumes a direct and assured relation to God, whereby it becomes an acceptable religious service, full of thanksgiving, and guided by pious fear and reverence. The relation to God thus constituted is one of sonship, in which all chastening dispensations are seen to have as their end the full realization, in actual participation in the divine holiness, of that consecration to God which is accomplished m the sacrifice of Christ.
When, therefore, in Chapter ii. Verse 11, the Apostle introduces into his argument that relation of believers to Christ which is expressed by the words sanctifier and sanctified, he does so in order to indicate the direct Godward aspect of that work which had previously been described more vaguely as salvation and bringing to glory.
Verses 14, 15: "Since then the children have blood and flesh in common [or more exactly 'have received a common share of blood and flesh '] he also in like manner [παραπλησίως does not necessarily mean in an identical manner, but from Verse 17 that appears to be the meaning here] partook of the same [i.e. during the days of his flesh, Chapter v. Verse 7] that through death he might bring to nought [literally render ἄεργος, deprive of his power and sphere of action] him that held the empire of death, that is the devil, and set those free as many as through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to [held under] bondage."
I. Here we have to consider, in the first place, Jesus's share in blood and flesh. In spite of the inversion this can be nothing else than the usual "flesh and blood" which, in the received text, has displaced the true reading. The inversion may be explained from the fact that oneness of blood is the common expression for the natural unity of mankind. Flesh and blood is not an Old Testament expression, but occurs in Ecclesiasticus xiv. 8; xvii. 26 , in a connection where the Old Testament writers are accustomed to use " flesh " by itself, to denote the frail and perishing physical nature of man. In the Rabbinical writers, "flesh and blood " is a standing phrase for human nature in contrast to God. So in Matthew xvi. 17, Galatians i. 16, the expression simply means "man." In Ephesians vi. 12 a wrestling with flesh and blood (in the Palrestra) is contrasted with the Christian's conflict with spiritual powers; and, finally, in 1 Corinthians xv. 50, it is said that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor doth corruption inherit incorruption. Flesh and blood, then, are what make a man less than a purely spiritual being-that in him which is corruptible and liable to death. Accordingly the expression, though a metonymy, like flesh in the Old Testament, never becomes a metaphor like the Pauline σάρξ; the physical flesh and blood are always the basis of the conception. Christ had to assume flesh and blood, that He might undergo death. But, in his glorified state, He no longer partakes of these, as the aorist μέτεσχεν shews. The days of his flesh (v. 7) are the period of his earthly struggles and suffering; and in his sacrifice his blood is shed and his flesh rent (ix. 12; x. 20). Plainly, then, our Author shares the opinion of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians xv., that flesh and blood have no place in the resurrection state, that the resurrection body is spiritual. This doctrine St. Paul uses to separate the Christian faith in a full personal immortality-which implies a bodily organism-from all idle questions or speculations as to the continuity of our present physical life with the life to come. That corruption cannot inherit incorruption means that the doctrine of the resurrection does not interfere with any physical law of decay, and so cannot be subverted by any physical argument, while at the same time the resurrection life is freed from all physical weakness.2
II. Verse 15, with the second half of Verse 14, presents a very difficult chain of thought, which has been interpreted in the most various ways. The difficulty is mainly due to the fact that the argument, which is very briefly set forth in the words before us, is not taken up again, at least not in anything like the same form, in subsequent parts of the Epistle. The very notions which the argument links together are mentioned here for the first and last time. There is no other allusion in the book to διάβολος, ϕόβος θανάτου. τὸ κράτος τοῦ θανάτου. δουλεία or ἀπαλλαγή. The Writer either throws out in this verse an entirely independent view of the work of Christ; or, what is more probable, presents the elements which elsewhere make up his view of the Atonement in a peculiar form to which he does not recur.
Let us begin by inquiring into the place here assigned to the devil. He holds the empire of death. Some commentators seek the explanation of this sovereignty in the Jewish doctrine that identifies Satan with Sammael the angel of death. It was Sammael, say the later Jews, who tempted Eve, and he is represented as the accuser who in the day of expiation seeks but cannot find any sin in Israel; for if he then found sin in them, they would be delivered into his hand, like all other nations. In this mythological conception, which is further paganised by the precept to offer bribes to Sammael on the day of expiation to " blind his eyes," there is not much to help us here. For, apart from the fact that the whole conception belongs to the lowest manifestations of Jewish thought, it is Michael, not Sammael, who is the angel of death to the Israelites. But, further, according to the usus loquendi, τὸ κράτος τοῦ θανάτου does not mean power to inflict death, but a sovereignty of which death is the realm, just as κράτος τῆς θαλάσσης means naval supremacy and the like. Thus the expression is strictly parallel with Romans v. 21, "Sin reigned in death," which means that the sovereignty of sin extended throughout the whole province covered by death. And this sovereignty of sin may also be viewed as a sovereignty of the devil, because sin and death entered the world by him at the Fall. It is true that the Old Testament nowhere identifies the Satan with the serpent in Eden. But the identification is given in the Apocryphal book of Wisdom ii. 24, and is adopted in Revelation xii. 9, where the old serpent is a name of the devil.
The thought, then, that whatever authority the devil possesses is an empire in the province of death has clear enough Biblical analogies. Still this line of illustration does not fully explain our passage. Of what nature is the empire here spoken of, and what are the limits of its exercise? It is not the mere existence of physical death3 that is an exertion of the might of the devil. There is not a particle of Biblical support for the view that the devil inflicts death. Nor does the bringing to nought of the devil do away with death as such. After Christ's work, as much as before it, "it is appointed unto men once to die" (ix. 27). The destruction of the empire of the devil delivers men, not from death, but from a bondage due to the fear of death. The empire of Satan in the realm of death displays itself in the existence of a fear of death, and in the lack of freedom which this fear brings with it. Now what is the fear of death? What is meant is, of course, not the mere natural shrinking which Jesus Himself experienced, but that fear of death which is a factor in man's spiritual state-that fear of death which is so fully explained in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament death—physical death—is identified with separation from God and his grace. The identification is not absolute: even in the Old Testament death is sometimes conceived as coming under circumstances which render it only the natural and inevitable close of a life that has been fully crowned by God's blessing. But, in general, the fear of death which runs through the whole life of the Old Testament believer is the fear that God will reject his person, and visit upon him his sins. This fear was not always present to the minds of the Old Testament people; but it was never vanquished and wholly laid aside. At any moment a series of providential dispensations, such as fell on Job, might awake it in all its keenness, as we see it in the utterances of Hezekiah and of many Psalmists.
Now the lack which is felt by the whole Old Testament of any objective and sure pledge that God will not in any special case remember sins against an individual, has an objective expression in the doctrine of the Satan, that is, of the malicious adversary, who, in Job and Zechariah iii., appears in God's court as the public accuser, whose business it is to call the sins of God's people to mind-for the Old Testament looks only in the future for a state of things in which God will no more remember his people's sins (Jer. xxxi. 34). It is in this sense that the devil appears here. Within the limits of mortality the accuser exercises sway, and prevents even God's people from enjoying liberty so long as the fear of death, as a sign of the lack of full acceptance before God, continues to press on their minds. Jesus abolishes this fear, and reduces the office of the accuser to nullity, inasmuch as his saving death inaugurates the new dispensation in which God remembers his people's sins no more. (Compare Chap. viii. 12 sq.) How strongly this argument would appeal to the Hebrew readers of the Epistle is clear from the Rabbinical theology, which often speaks of the fear of death and the accuser as a constant companion of man's life. In every dangerous crisis of life, on a lonely journey, or on the high seas, the Jew seemed to see the accuser pleading for his death. " In this life," says the Midrash Tanchuma, "death never suffers man to be glad."4
We have not yet, however, fully developed the argument of the verse. To bring out the whole meaning, let us state it once more. As the Author never again mentions the devil, it is plain that the relation of the atonement to the devil is quite a secondary point in his theory. In fact, as we have just seen, the key to our verse lies not in the notion of a Satanic empire, but in the Old Testament fear of death. It is not said that Satan has any legitimate authority over man, which has to be bought up, as the Patristic theory of the Atonement suggests. But the want . of freedom, involved in the fact that fear of death, as of something implying rejection by God, runs through the whole life of the Old Testament dispensation, may be represented as a bondage to the accusing power that brings sins into remembrance before God. As far as the religious fear of death extends, this accusing power extends its dreaded sway.5
To break this sway, Jesus takes upon Himself that mortal flesh and blood to whose infirmities the fear of death under the Old Testament attaches. But, while He passes through all the weakness of fleshly life, and, finally through death itself, He, unlike all others, proves Himself not only exempt from the fear of death, but victorious over the accuser. To Him who in his sinlessness experienced every weakness of mortality, without diminution of his unbroken strength of fellowship with God, death is not the dreaded sign of separation from God's grace (comp. v. 7) but a step in his divinely appointed career; not something inflicted on Him against his will, but a means whereby (διὰ with genitive) He consciously and designedly accomplishes his vocation as Saviour. For this victory of Jesus over the devil, or, which is the same thing, the fear of death, must be taken, like every other part of his work, in connection with the idea of his vocation as Head and Leader of his people. It is no mere private or personal victory. It is the abolition of the fear of death, the negation of the accusing power of the devil, for his brethren as well as for Himself; for it was only for their sakes, in their interest, and to carry them with Him, that He assumed flesh and blood and passed through death. His victorious death did not simply prove that death is not necessarily a thing of dread. Nay, it actually and in fact deprived death of its terror, giving it an altogether new significance in the organism of the moral world. If the devil stands as our accuser, Jesus appears before God as our representative; and the fear of death which rises up in our hearts whenever we connect death and the subsequent judgment (ix. 27) with an accusing rehearsal of our sin before God, is rendered impossible when we remember that, even in death, we are only following Him who shared our life and shared our death in order that, with and in Him, we might appear acceptably before God. To those who are Christ's, death means what it meant to Him, and nothing more. It is the gate. of glory, not the mark of God's wrath. For, as St. Paul puts it, in death and life alike we are the Lord's (Romans xiv. 7, 8).
The connection of this argument with Verses 17 and 18 requires to be determined with some care. Let us begin by reading these verses.
Verses 16, 17; "For, as you know (δήπου introduces propositions which neither speaker nor hearer will think of questioning), it is not angels that he takes hold of (i.e., succours), but he takes hold of the seed of Abraham. Wherefore it behoved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things looking, to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people."
Now let us look at the connection of these sentences with Verse 15. It is usually stated in a way involving a degree of logical looseness not at all probable. The Apostle, we are told, argues: " Those who are to be helped are not pure spirits, but men; and so, to help them, Jesus must become man." Now, in the first place, this would be a mere resumption of what has been said in Verses 14, 15. And it would be a resumption in unclear form of what was there said very precisely. For, instead of saying that the saved are men, the Apostle says here that they are descendants of Abraham; and instead of giving to his inference the definite shape, that Christ also behoved to become man, he gives the vaguer thesis, "It behoved him to become like his brethren." It is worth while, before accepting so limping a view, to ask whether the looseness of logic and expression lies with the Apostle or with the commentators.
In the argument of Verse 15 the Writer has ascribed to Jesus a function which bears a close analogy to a familiar Old Testament office. If Jesus delivers his people from the fear of death, by destroying the accusing power of sin, and so enables them to appear with Him before God in an acceptable way, He clearly does the work of a high priest. It is not to be forgotten that, under the Old Testament, the fear of death was specially connected with the approach of an impure worshipper before God, and that, according to Numbers xviii. 5, it was the special charge of the priesthood_ so to discharge the service of the tabernacle that there might be no outbreak of Divine wrath on the children of Israel. The fear of death expressed by the people after the judgment on Korab (Num. xvii. 13), "Every one that draweth near to the tabernacle of Jehovah shall die," was, in fact, met and removed by the ordinance of the earthly priesthood; although the deeper fear of death, which runs through the whole life of the Old Testament, remained untaken away. He, then, who removes that fear finds his Old Testament type, or, as our Apostle would say, his antitype, in the priesthood which accomplished, in external ceremonial matters, that which He does for his people in a spiritual sense. And even the idea that Jesus encounters and .defeats the accuser, Satan, has its. parallel in what is said of the high priest Joshua in Zechariah iii. The filthy garments of Joshua are there to be understood in contrast with the pure high-priestly robes that he receives on his acquittal. As the latter symbolize a representative, not a personal, holiness of the priest, so the former must symbolize not the private shortcomings of Joshua merely, but also the sins of the people in whose name he approaches God. So we find that the highest privilege consequent on his acquittal is free access to God as priest; that is, access to God in the people's name, (Zech. iii. 7): "I will give thee free passage among these who stand (before me)." Joshua, indeed, is no saviour. It is not he that defeats the accuser, but divine grace that accepts him and puts Satan to shame. Yet, with this difference, the parallel is obvious.
In order, then, to complete the thought of Verse 15, and to pass at once to the notion of the high priesthood of Christ in such a way as to offer a new confirmation of the accuracy of the whole line of his argument, it is only necessary for the Apostle to point to the fact, that the society which receives the benefit of Christ's death is in fact the same society which, under the Old Testament, looked to the high priest for access to God. Hence, in Verse 16, he continues: This is undoubtedly a just view of the Saviour's work. For, as you know, it is not angels who receive his help, but the seed of Abraham, that is, the church of God under its Old Testament name (Ps. cv. 6; Isa. xli. 8). Now the kind of help which the Church needs in things looking to God is well known from the ordinances of the old dispensation. He who stands for, them before God, relieving them of the fear of death in their approach to God, must be a high priest; and, in order to be a merciful and faithful high priest, Jesus, like all high priests, required to be a brother Israelite, like in all things to his brethren whom He represents before God.
This, I think, is the true view of the connection; and, according to it, Verses 14, 15, and Verses 16, 17, offer two parallel and mutually illustrative, but not identical arguments. Each states a fact as to those who were to benefit by the work of the Saviour, with an object (introduced by ἴνα) which it was his aim to realize; and from these two points taken together draws an inference as to the necessity of the incarnation and the passion of Jesus.
So far the general structure of the argument. The details of Verse 17 with Verse 18 will occupy another paper.
W. Robertson Smith
1) See Art. Christ and the Angels, Vol. ii. pp. 418 et seq.
2) A different usage of the word σάρξ, in the phrase " flesh and bones," is found in most MSS. of Luke xxiv. 39. But the reading σάρκας καὶ ὀστέα preferred by Tischendorf (Ed. VIII.), means "fleshy and bony mass," which, of course, is consistent with the elimination of all corruptible and mutable elements. In Acts ii. 31, Luke gives to Peter's no doubt Aramaic speech a form dependent on the LXX. rendering of Psalm xvi.; and, apart from this, it is plain that the homiletic use of an Old Testament passage ought not to guide our way of speaking of the resurrection, when we have St. Paul's carefully framed usus on the other side. Even in Acts ii. 30 there is no κατὰ σαρκὰ. in the true text. So, too, we know that in many early forms of the creed "the resurrection of the dead" stands in place of " the resurrection of the flesh." Caspari, however, seems to have proved that in the creed the one form is as old as the other.
3) θάνατος in our Epistle is simply physical death, and here no one can propose to give it a further sense, as Jesus Himself underwent it.
4) See citations in detail in Weber's Altsynagogale Theologie, p. 321.
5) According to the unusual but very precise phrase τούτους ὄσοι, the deliverance wrought by Jesus is as wide as the previous bondage. All who laboured under the fear of death are set free by Christ's work. But that fear is not the physical shrinking common to all men, but the fear felt by those who have a sense of sin, i.e., by God's people under the old dispensation. The question of the extent of the Atonement as discussed in modern theology thus lies quite outside of the Apostle's argument. In fact, as the next verse shews, the whole reasoning applies only to the seed of Abraham.