Pulpit CommentaryVerse 25. - For he that doeth wrong shall receive again that he did wrong; and there is no respect of persons (Ephesians 6:8, 9; Philippians 1:28; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7; 1 Peter 1:17; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6). "For" is replaced by "but" in the same inferior copies which insert it in the last sentence. Here we have the ether side of the recompense promised in ver. 24 a, to which the explanatory "for" points back. The impartial justice which avenges every wrong guarantees the reward of the faithful servant of Christ. So the Old Testament saints rightly argued (Psalm 37:9-11; Psalm 58:10, 11; Psalm 64:7-10) that the punishment of the evil doer affords hope to the righteous man. This warning is quite general in its terms, and applies alike to the unfaithful servant and to the unjust master (comp. Ephesians 6:8). At the judgment seat of Christ there will be no favouritism: all ranks and orders of men will stand on precisely the same footing (Colossians 3:11). The word ἀδικέω, twice employed here, denotes a legal wrong or injury (1 Corinthians 6:7, 8); e.g. the conduct of Onesimus towards Philemon (ver. 18). The verb "receive" (κομίζομαι, carry off, gain; Ephesians 6:8; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 5:4; Matthew 25:27) looks more to the receiver, whereas ἀπολήμψεσθε ἀπό (ver. 24) points to the giver. Προσωπολημψία (literally, accepting of the face) is a pure Hebraism, found in St. James twice, and four times in St. Paul. The apostle turns from the slave to address his master. Ch. 4:1. - Ye lords, show just dealing and fairness to your servants [bondmen] (Ephesians 6:8, 9; Matthew 18:23-35; Luke 6:31). The verb "show" (παρέχεσθε, afford, render) is middle in voice, and, as in Luke 7:4 and Titus 2:7, implies spontaneity - "show on your part," "of yourselves." Τὸ δίκαιον ("the just"), a concrete expression, denotes the justice of the master's dealing (comp. τὸ χρηστόν in Romans 2:4, "the kind dealing of God"). Τὴν ἰσότητα gives the principle by which he is to be guided, that of equity, fairness (so Alford, Ellicott, Lightfoot). "Equity is the mother of Justice" (Philo, 'On the Creation of Magistrates,' § 14; see other illustrations in Lightfoot). Meyer contends for the stricter sense, "equality" (2 Corinthians 8:13, 14) - i.e. of Church status and brotherhood (Philemon 1:16; Colossians 3:11). But the context suggests no such special reference; it deals with the family and social relationship of master and servant "Equity" is a well-established sense of the Greek word. The law of equity bearing on all human relations Christ has laid down in Luke 6:31. Here is the germinal principle of the abolition of slavery. Moral equity, as realized by the Christian consciousness, was sure in course of time to bring about legal equality. Knowing that ye also have a Lord in heaven (Colossians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 7:22; Philippians 2:11; Romans 14:9; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16). (On "knowing," see ver. 24 a.) "Ye also," for Christ is "both their Lord and yours" (Ephesians 6:9, Revised Text). The lordship of Christ dominates the whole Epistle (Colossians 1:15, 18; Colossians 2:6, 10, 19, etc.). The assertion that the proud master who deemed his fellow man his chattel is himself a mere slave of Christ, sets Christ's authority in a vivid and striking light. This consideration makes the Christian master apprehensive as to his treatment of his dependents. He is "in heaven" (Colossians 3:1; Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 6:9; Ephesians 4:10; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Acts 3:21; John 3:13; John 8:23; Hebrews 9:24), the seat of Divine authority and glory, whence he shall soon return to judgment (comp. Psalm 76:8; Romans 1:18). Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary3:18-25 The epistles most taken up in displaying the glory of the Divine grace, and magnifying the Lord Jesus, are the most particular in pressing the duties of the Christian life. We must never separate the privileges and duties of the gospel. Submission is the duty of wives. But it is submission, not to a severe lord or stern tyrant, but to her own husband, who is engaged to affectionate duty. And husbands must love their wives with tender and faithful affection. Dutiful children are the most likely to prosper. And parents must be tender, as well as children obedient. Servants are to do their duty, and obey their masters' commands, in all things consistent with duty to God their heavenly Master. They must be both just and diligent; without selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise. Those who fear God, will be just and faithful when from under their master's eye, because they know they are under the eye of God. And do all with diligence, not idly and slothfully; cheerfully, not discontented at the providence of God which put them in that relation. And for servants' encouragement, let them know, that in serving their masters according to the command of Christ, they serve Christ, and he will give them a glorious reward at last. But, on the other hand, he who doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done. God will punish the unjust, as well as reward the faithful servant; and the same if masters wrong their servants. For the righteous Judge of the earth will deal justly between master and servant. Both will stand upon a level at his tribunal. How happy would true religion make the world, if it every where prevailed, influenced every state of things, and every relation of life! But the profession of those persons who are regardless of duties, and give just cause for complaint to those they are connected with, deceives themselves, as well as brings reproach on the gospel.Gill's Exposition of the Entire BibleBut he that doth wrong,.... Which may be understood, both of servants that do wrong to their masters through sloth and idleness, neglecting their business, embezzling their masters' goods, and defrauding them of their substance; and of masters that injure their servants by withholding from them proper food, and raiment; by cheating them of their wages, either giving them none at all, or too little, or detaining them too long, and by giving them bad language, and hard blows, and such like severe usage: shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; either in this world, or in the other; God will avenge all such injuries, sooner or later; so that these words may be considered either as said with a view to deter servants from evil practices, or to comfort them under the maltreatment they may meet with from cruel masters: and there is no respect of persons. The Vulgate Latin and Arabic Versions add, "with God"; which undoubtedly is the sense; he regards not the rich more than the poor; he makes no difference between bond and free, the servant and the master; he will not take the part of the one, because he is a master, nor neglect, the other, because he is a servant, but will do that which is just and right with regard to them both; See Gill on Ephesians 6:9.
shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; either in this world, or in the other; God will avenge all such injuries, sooner or later; so that these words may be considered either as said with a view to deter servants from evil practices, or to comfort them under the maltreatment they may meet with from cruel masters:
and there is no respect of persons. The Vulgate Latin and Arabic Versions add, "with God"; which undoubtedly is the sense; he regards not the rich more than the poor; he makes no difference between bond and free, the servant and the master; he will not take the part of the one, because he is a master, nor neglect, the other, because he is a servant, but will do that which is just and right with regard to them both; See Gill on Ephesians 6:9.