Romans 16:11 MEANING

Romans 16:11
(11) My kinsman.--See the Note on Romans 16:7.

Them that be of the household of Narcissus.--A phrase similar to that which is translated, "Them which are of Aristobulus' household," above. Narcissus, too, is an historical name. There had been a famous Narcissus, a freed-man and favourite of Claudius, who had been put to death three or four years before this Epistle was written. His household would naturally pass into the hands of the emperor, though still keeping his name. In the case of Aristobulus, the transference would be effected by bequest, in that of Narcissus by confiscation. Many instances of both methods occur in the history and records of the time.

The interpretation here given, and the identification of Aristobulus and Narcissus with the historical bearers of those names, is some way short of certain, but may be said to have some degree of probability.

Verse 11. - Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them of the household of Narcissus that are in the Lord. This Narcissus may possibly have been the powerful freedman of Claudius, mentioned by Tacitus, 'Ann.,' 11:29, seq.; 12:57; and by Suetonius, 'Claud.,' 28. The fact that he appears from 'Ann.,' 13:1, to have been put to death on the accession of Nero, A.D. 54, is not inconsistent with the supposition. For his human chattels would be likely to pass into the possession of Nero, and so become part of Caeasar's household, and might still be called by their late master's name. This may also have been the case with the household of Aristobulus above referred to. It is observable that, at a later period, the apostle, writing from Rome to the Philippians, sends special greetings from them "that are of Caesar's household" (Philippians 4:23).

16:1-16 Paul recommends Phebe to the Christians at Rome. It becomes Christians to help one another in their affairs, especially strangers; we know not what help we may need ourselves. Paul asks help for one that had been helpful to many; he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Though the care of all the churches came upon him daily, yet he could remember many persons, and send salutations to each, with particular characters of them, and express concern for them. Lest any should feel themselves hurt, as if Paul had forgotten them, he sends his remembrances to the rest, as brethren and saints, though not named. He adds, in the close, a general salutation to them all, in the name of the churches of Christ.Salute Herodion my kinsman,.... According to the flesh, being of the same nation, a Jew; or of the same tribe, the tribe of Benjamin; or of the same family, and nearly allied in blood to him: though the name is of Attic, or Parthic original, and seems to be a derivative of Herod; this man is reckoned among the seventy disciples, and said to be bishop of Tarsus: See Gill on Luke 10:1.

Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord; some have thought, that this Narcissus is the same man that Suetonius (q) and other writers speak of (r), who was secretary to Claudius Caesar; a very great favourite of his, who amassed a great deal of wealth under him, and was raised to great honour and dignity by him: he himself is not saluted, either because he was not at home, which might be the case, if, as Ambrose, or rather Hilary the deacon on the text says, he was a presbyter and abroad, performing his office in foreign parts; or because he was dead, or rather not a believer: if he was the same with Claudius's favourite, he was dead before this time, being miserably put to death by Agrippina (s), the wife of Claudius; and seems to have died a wicked man, and justly punished for his being the cause of the destruction of others, through his calumnies: nor are all of his household saluted, not being all converted persons; it being frequently the method of divine grace to take some of a family, and not all, and bring them to Zion; only those that were "in the Lord", on his heart, and in his hands, secretly represented by him, and united to him, and who were openly in him, being called by his grace, and brought to believe in him, and live upon him.

(q) In Vita Claud sect. 28. (r) Tacitus, Dio, &c. (s) Tacit. Hist. l. 13.

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