John Bengel Commentary - 1 Corinthians 11:7 - 11:7

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John Bengel Commentary - 1 Corinthians 11:7 - 11:7

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

1Co 11:7-10. Οὐκ ὀφείλει, κ.τ.λ., ought not, etc.) The man has more freedom in regard to his head-dress, especially when he is not engaged in praying or prophesying, than the woman.-κατακαλύπτεσθαι, to cover) verses 7 and 10 have an exact antithesis. Observe, first, he ought not, and she ought: secondly, look at the diagram: The man ought not to be covered; because the man is, A. the image of God, B. and the glory of God: but the woman ought to be covered: C. because she is the glory of the man, D. and on account of the angels. The man, he says, is the image of God; supply, and of Christ from 1Co 11:3 (see 1Co 11:8; comp. 1Co 11:12; ἐκ, of, concerning the man and concerning God; but διὰ, by, concerning the woman): not only on account of his power over the woman itself, but also on account of the causes of that power, viz., because the woman is of the man; but she is of the man, for (γὰρ, 1Co 11:9) she was created for the man. But the man is, in a nearer relation, both of God and under God; and so he represents God. Now because man is the image of God, he is at the same time the glory of God; comp. glory, 2Co 8:23. But the woman is the glory of the man; because the man is the head and lord of the woman. It is not said, the image and glory of the man; but only the glory of the man, as it were suspending the expression. But he proves, that she is the glory of the man, 1Co 11:8-9, as it were in a parenthesis; from which it may also be gathered, why the man is the image and glory of God. Now since the woman is the glory of the man, she might at the same time be called the image of the man; but Paul compensates for this by another expression, and says, for this cause, namely, because the woman is the glory of the man, she ought to be covered because of the angels; for in the diagram which we have just laid down, D is to A, as C to B. The meaning of this gnome-like sentiment[92] [expressed entirely in the same way in the notes to the Germ. Ver.] should be elicited from the very words that are added; let the woman cover herself because of the angels, i.e. because the angels are also covered. As the angels are to God, so the woman is to the man. The face of God is manifested: whereas the angels are covered, Isaiah 6. The face of the man is manifested, [uncovered]; the woman is covered. Nor is the man on that account exalted above the angels; but he is merely considered so far as he represents God in regard to the woman, which cannot be said of the angels. But the woman ought to be covered especially in praying and prophesying; for it belongs to the man, in preference to the woman, to pray and prophesy; when therefore the woman takes upon her those functions, then some open avowal is most necessary on her part, that woman is still properly and willingly inferior to man. Both the outward dress of the body showing humility in the heart, which the angels cannot penetrate, and the external order delight the angels themselves, who also contemplate the order, and look at the conduct of men in the assembly of the Church, 1Co 4:9; Eph 3:10; comp. Ecc 5:6, where LXX. have πρὸ προσώπου Θεοῦ, before the face of God. The conclusion is drawn from angels to the uncreated Angel, as from the less to the greater. Add Psa 138:1. But if not covered, the woman offends the angels by what is unbecoming, Mat 18:10; Mat 18:31. Moreover the woman ought to be the more careful not to offend the angels on this account, that she requires their protection, somewhat more than the man. She needs it more, on account of her own weakness just as children [minors, inferiors] do: comp. note on Greg. Thaum. Paneg. 160; as also demons lay more snares for the woman, 2Pe 2:19. The sentence of the law against the man when seduced and overcome is in proportion to the seduction, and the victory gained over him; but the woman was first overcome; or farther, she is more assailed by those extremely limpure spirits, whom the Greeks, on account of their eagerness to obtain victims, call φιλούλους, lovers of destruction. Comp. Mat 8:31; Mat 12:43. This great superiority of the man over the woman is qualified in 1Co 11:11-12, by way of ἐπιθεραπεία [after-softening of a previous unwelcome truth.-Append.], lest the man should exalt himself, or the woman think herself despised. Jac. Faber Stapulensis says, “Man was immediately made by God, the image and likeness of God, for His glory: but the woman mediately through the man, who was as it were a veil placed between her and God; for the medium is viewed as an interposing object, and a veil. To mark this mystery, when a man turns himself to God, which he mostly does in praying or prophesying, he ought to do so with his head uncovered, having, so to speak, no veil between himself and God, offering thus to God the honour of his creation: but the woman with her head covered acknowledges her creation, and, as it becomes her, offers honour to God, in the second place and through the medium of the glory of the glory of God. The woman is mediate and second, and became immediately the glory of the man, and was made for the sake of the man himself.” The same Stapulensis proceeds, “Both man and the angels were immediately created by God, and therefore man should have no covering, as a symbol of this event, when he is turned to God, any more than the angels; but the woman ought to have it, not only on account of the man, but also on account of the angels; for it would be pride, if she made her creation equal to that of the angels, inasmuch as she has this power [the privilege of creation] by means of the man. For what else is this, that a woman has and ought to have power over her head, but that she has this privilege through the mediation of the man, i.e. through the mediation of her head, who is her husband?” The discreet reader will skilfully qualify these remarks by those made by us above.

[92] See Appendix, under the title Noëma.