Super ad Philemonem
Commentary on Philemon
33:31 Si est tibi servus fidelis, sit tibi quasi anima tua: quasi fratrem sic eum tracta, quoniam in sanguine animae comparasti illum.
33:31 If you have a faithful servant, let him be to you as your own soul: treat him as a brother: because in the blood of your soul you have gotten him.
1. Ostendit sapiens tria circa dominum et servum, scilicet quid requiratur ex parte servi; item qualis debet esse affectus domini ad servum; item qualis usus servi.
1. The wise man shows three things concerning master and slave, namely, what is required on the side of the servant; what ought to be the feeling of the master towards the servant; and what is the use of the servant.
Ex parte servi requiritur fidelitas, in qua est bonum servi, quia et quod est et omnia sua debet dare domino. Matth. XXIV, 45: fidelis servus et prudens, et cetera. Et dicit si est fidelis, quia fidelitas apud paucos est. Prov. c. XX, 6: virum fidelem quis inveniet?
From the servant fidelity is asked, for in this he is a good servant, because what he is and all that he has he ought to give to the master. Matthew: who do you think is the faithful and prudent servant (Matt 24:45). And he says, if you have a faithful servant, because fidelity is found in few. Proverbs: but who shall find a faithful man? (Prov 20:6).
Talis ergo servus debet haberi a domino, sicut amicus in affectu. Unde dicit sit tibi sicut anima tua. Hoc enim est proprium amicorum, ut eorum anima una sit in nolendo et volendo. Act. IV, 32: multitudinis credentium erat cor unum et anima una. In quo datur intelligi, quod est quidam consensus inter dominum et servum, quia servus fidelis transit in amicum.
The master ought to feel towards his servant as a friend, hence it is said, as your own soul. For this is proper to friends, that they are of one mind in what they will and what they do not will. Now the multitude of the believers were of one heart and one soul (Acts 4:32). By which we are given to understand that there is a consensus of master and servant, when the faithful servant becomes a friend.
Usus eius est, ut tractetur ut frater; nam frater est, et quantum ad generationem naturae, quia eodem auctore. Iob XXXI, 13: si contempsi subire iudicium cum servo meo. Mal. II, 10: numquid non unus Pater omnium nostrum? Numquid non Deus unus? Et quantum ad generationem gratiae, quae est eadem. Gal. III, 27 s.: quicumque enim in Christo baptizati estis, Christum induistis; non est Iudaeus, neque Graecus, non est servus, neque liber, non est masculus, neque foemina, omnes enim vos unum estis in Christo Iesu. Matth. XXIII, 8: omnes vos fratres estis.
As for his use, he should be treated like a brother, for he is a brother, both with respect to generation of nature, because they have the same author: if I have despised to abide judgment with my man-servant (Job 31:13); have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? (Mal 2:10); and with respect to the generation of grace, which is the same for both. For all you who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor freeman; there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:27). And all you are brothers (Matt 23:8).
2. Haec autem verba conveniunt materiae huius epistolae. Sicut enim supra ostendit qualiter spirituales praelati habeant se ad subditos: sic hic qualiter temporales domini ad temporales servos, et quomodo servus fidelis quoad dominum eius.
2. These words are relevant to the matter of this epistle. For as it was shown above how spiritual prelates should relate to their subjects, so here he shows how temporal masters should relate to their temporal servants, and how the faithful servant to his master.
1:1 Paulus vinctus Christi Jesu, et Timotheus frater, Philemoni dilecto, et adjutori nostro, [n. 3]
1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy, a brother: to Philemon, our beloved and fellow laborer, [n. 3]
1:2 et Appiae sorori carissimae, et Archippo commilitoni nostro, et ecclesiae, quae in domo tua est.
1:2 And to Appia, our dearest sister, and to Archippus, our fellow soldier, and to the church which is in your house.
1:3 Gratia vobis, et pax a Deo Patre nostro, et Domino Jesu Christo. [n. 6]
1:3 Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. [n. 6]
1:4 Gratias ago Deo meo, semper memoriam tui faciens in orationibus meis, [n. 7]
1:4 I give thanks to my God, always making a remembrance of you in my prayers. [n. 7]
1:5 audiens caritatem tuam, et fidem, quam habes in Domino Jesu, et in omnes sanctos: [n. 9]
1:5 Hearing of your charity and faith, which you have in the Lord Jesus and towards all the saints: [n. 9]
1:6 ut communicatio fidei tuae evidens fiat in agnitione omnis operis boni, quod est in vobis in Christo Jesu. [n. 10]
1:6 That the communication of your faith may be made evident in the acknowledgment of every good work that is in you in Christ Jesus. [n. 10]
1:7 Gaudium enim magnum habui, et consolationem in caritate tua: quia viscera sanctorum requieverunt per te, frater. [n. 11]
1:7 For I have had great joy and consolation in your charity, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. [n. 11]
1:8 Propter quod multam fiduciam habens in Christo Jesu imperandi tibi quod ad rem pertinet: [n. 13]
1:8 Wherefore, though I have much confidence in Christ Jesus to command you what is to the purpose: [n. 13]
1:9 propter caritatem magis obsecro, cum sis talis, ut Paulus senex, nunc autem et vinctus Jesu Christi: [n. 14]
1:9 For charity’s sake, I rather beseech, since you are such as you are, as Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also of Jesus Christ. [n. 14]
3. Epistolae occasio ex hoc est. Apud enim Colossenses quidam Christianus magnus habuit quemdam servum, qui furtim fugiens Romam, ab Apostolo est baptizatus, pro quo et scribit. Et
3. The occasion of the epistle is this. At Colossae an important Christian had a servant who secretly fled to Rome where he was baptized by the Apostle who now writes on his behalf.
primo ponitur salutatio;
First he gives a greeting,
secundo epistolaris narratio.
followed by the narrative of the epistle.
In salutatione primo ponit personas salutantes;
In the greeting he mentions persons who send their greeting
and then the recipients
tertio bona optata.
and finally the good hoped for.
4. Dicit ergo Paulus, quod est nomen venerandum omnibus fidelibus, qui sunt docti ab eo. Vinctus. II Tim. II, 9: laboro usque ad vincula. Nam tunc vinctus erat Romae. Sed Iesu Christi, ubi ostenditur causa vinculorum. Laudabile enim valde est vinctum esse propter Christum; in hoc enim est beatificandus. Matth. V, 10: beati qui persecutionem patiuntur propter iustitiam, et cetera. I Pet. c. IV, 15: nemo vestrum patiatur quasi homicida, aut fur, aut maledicus, aut alienorum appetitor; si autem ut Christianus, non erubescat, glorificet autem Deum in isto nomine. Act. V, 41: ibant apostoli, et cetera.
4. Therefore he says, Paul, which is a name to be revered by all the faithful who have been taught by him, a prisoner. In which I suffer even to bonds, as a criminal (2 Tim 2:9). For now he is a prisoner in Rome, but of Christ Jesus, to give the reason for his chains. For it is highly praiseworthy to be imprisoned for the sake of Christ; for in this he is blessed. Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice’s sake (Matt 5:10). Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a slanderer, or as one coveting what belongs to others. But if he suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God under this name (2 Pet 4:15). So they departed from the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus (Acts 5:41).
Et Timotheus frater. Fratres sunt quantum ad perfectam fidem. Phil. II, 20: neminem habeo tam unanimem, qui sincera affectione pro vobis sollicitus sit. Ipsi autem Timotheum adiungit, ut facilius impetret, quia impossibile est preces multorum non exaudiri.
And Timothy, a brother. They are brothers with regard to perfect faith. For I have no one so like-minded who is so genuinely solicitous for you (Phil 2:20). He joins Timothy to himself, that he might more easily succeed, because it is impossible that the prayers of many will not be heard.
5. Deinde ponit personas salutatas. Et primo ponitur persona principalis salutata; secundo adiuncta.
5. Then he mentions the persons greeted. And first the principal person greeted, then others.
Item primo ponit maritum et uxorem, qui dominium domus habent, quibus obligatur servus. Philemoni dilecto nostro adiutori, et Appiae sorori charissimae. Dilecto dicit propter bona opera. Io. XIII, 34: hoc est praeceptum meum, ut diligatis invicem. Adiutori, quia subministrabat sanctis. Prov. XVIII, v. 19: frater qui iuvatur a fratre, quasi civitas firma.
First, he mentions the husband and wife whose house it is, to whom the servant is obliged. To Philemon, our beloved and fellow laborer, and to Appia, our dearest sister. He says, beloved, on account of his good works. This is my command, that you love one another (John 13:34). Fellow laborer, because he ministers to the saints. A brother that is helped by his brother is like a strong city (Prov 18:19).
Secundo ponitur persona adiuncta, cum dicit Archippo commilitoni nostro, qui ita erat potens Colossis, quod omnes Christiani erant sub umbra eius. Et ideo inducit totam ecclesiam ibi, cuius erat episcopus, sic scribens, Col. ult.: dicite Archippo: vide ministerium, quod accepisti, et cetera. Et dicit Archippo commilitoni, quia omnes praelati sunt sicut spirituales milites Ecclesiae. II Cor. c. X, 4: arma militiae nostrae non sunt carnalia, et cetera. Et addit et ecclesiae, et cetera. Hos superinducit, ut moveant eum ad exaudiendum.
Then he mentions Archippus, our fellow soldier, who was so powerful at Colossae that all Christians were under his protection. That is why he brings in the whole church there, of which he was the bishop, writing in Colossians, and say to Archippus: look to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it (Col 4:17). And he calls Archippus fellow soldier because all prelates are, as it were, spiritual soldiers of the Church. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (2 Cor 10:4). And to the church which is in your house. He adds this in order to move him to hear plainly.
6. Bona optata exponuntur, ut consuetum est.
6. He sets forth the expected good, as was customary.
7. Deinde cum dicit gratias ago, ponitur epistolaris narratio. Et
7. Then when he says, I give thanks to my God, the narration of the letter begins.
primo ponitur gratiarum actio;
First, he gives thanks;
secundo petitio, ibi propter quod;
then he makes his plea, at wherefore, though I have much confidence;
tertio conclusio, ibi itaque, fratres.
finally, he concludes, at indeed, brother (Phlm 1:20).