Why Titus was not Compelled to be Circumcised (Gal. 2:3)
Many who teach that circumcision is not for today will cite Galatians 2:3 saying that Titus was not compelled to be circumcised, but what does that really mean?
Even Titus that was with me, who was an Aramean,
was not compelled to be circumcised.
(Gal. 2:3 HRV)
“compelled” = The Aramaic word here is IT’ENAS literally “to be forced” from a root meaning “to act violently”.
The text is telling us not that Titus was not circumcised, but that he had done so voluntarily and not been circumcised by force as the Maccabeans had done:
Then Mattathias and his friends went round about, and pulled down the altars:
And what children soever they found within the coast of Israel uncircumcised, those they circumcised by force.
In fact a comparison with Acts 15-16 will show that at this same time Timothy was also circumcised voluntarily and not by force.
Paul advocated the Pharisaic teaching of Antigones of Soko (who lived in the Maccabean era):
Antigones of Soko received [Torah] from Simeon the Righteous.
He used to say, “Be not like servants who serve their master
for the sake of wages, but be like servants who serve their
master with no thought of a wage – and let the fear
of Heaven be upon you.”
Paul did not want people to be circumcised by compulsion, either by the offer of a reward or the threat of a punishment, but from their own heart, out of the fear (respect) of YHWH, not trying to earn anything. This was at odds with hie Essene opponent who was compelling circumcisions as a method of earning salvation.
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