on Philippians 2 :17
Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service - The metaphor appears to be still carried on. As it was customary for the weather-beaten mariner, when he had gained his port, to offer a sacrifice, θυσια, to God, of some particular animal which he had vowed while in his state of danger, and this was considered to be a religious service, λειτουργια· the apostle, pursuing the idea, states himself to be willing to become the libation, (for so much the word σπενδομαι imports), that was to be poured upon the sacrifice. Parkhurst observes that the apostle compares the faith of the Philippians to the sacrificial victim, and his own blood shed in martyrdom to the libation, i.e. the wine poured out on occasion of the sacrifice. Raphelius observes that Arrian uses the phrase σπενδειν επι τῃ θυσιᾳ for pouring out the libation after the sacrifice. The apostle had guided them safely into port; their faith in the atoning death of Christ was their sacrifice; and he was willing that his blood in martyrdom should be poured out as a libation on that sacrificial offering.
on Philippians 2 :17
Yea, and if I be offered - Margin, "poured forth." The mention of his labors in their behalf, in the previous verse, seems to have suggested to him the sufferings which he was likely yet to endure on their account. He had labored for their salvation. He had exposed himself to peril that they and others might have the gospel. On their account he had suffered much; he had been made a prisoner at Rome; and there was a possibility, if not a probability, that his life might be a forfeit for his labors in their behalf. Yet he says that, even if this should happen, he would not regret it, but it would be a source of joy. The word which is used here - σπένδομαι spendomai - properly means, to pour out, to make a libation; and is commonly used, in the classic writers, in connection with sacrifices. It refers to a drink-offering, where one who was about to offer a sacrifice, or to present a drink-offering to the gods, before he tasted of it himself, poured out apart of it on the altar. Passow. It is used also to denote the fact that, when an animal was about to be slain in sacrifice, wine was poured on it as a solemn act of devoting it to God; compare Numbers 15:5; Numbers 28:7, Numbers 28:14. In like manner, Paul may have regarded himself as a victim prepared for the sacrifice. In the New Testament it is found only in this place, and in 2 Timothy 4:6, where it is rendered, "I am ready to be offered;" compare the notes at that place. It does not here mean that Paul really expected to be a sacrifice, or to make an expiation for sin by his death; but that he might be called to pour out his blood, or to offer up his life as if he were a sacrifice, or an offering to God. We have a similar use of language, when we say that a man sacrifices himself for his friends or his country.
Upon the sacrifice - ἐπὶ τῆ θυσίᾳ epi tē thusia. The word rendered here as "sacrifice," means:
(1) the act of sacrificing;
(2) the victim that is offered; and,
(3) any oblation or offering.
Robinson's Lexicon. Here it must be used in the latter sense, and is connected with "faith" - "the sacrifice of your faith." The reference is probably to the faith, i. e., the religion of the Philippians, regarded as a sacrifice or an offering to God; the worship which they rendered to Him. The idea of Paul is, that if, in order to render that offering what it should be - to make it as complete and acceptable to God as possible - it were necessary for him to die, pouring out his blood, and strength, and life, as wine was poured out to prepare a sacrifice for the altar and make it complete, he would not refuse to do it, but would rejoice in the opportunity. He seems to have regarded them as engaged in making an offering of faith, and as endeavoring to make the offering complete and acceptable; and says that if his death were necessary to make their piety of the highest and most acceptable kind, he was ready to die.
And service - λειτουργία leitourgia - a word taken from an act of worship, or public service, and especially the ministry of those engaged in offering sacrifices; Luke 1:23; Hebrews 8:6. Here it means, the ministering or service which the Philippians rendered to God; the worship which they offered, the essential element of which was faith. Paul was willing to endure anything, even to suffer death in their cause, if it would tend to make their "service" more pure, spiritual, and acceptable to God. The meaning of the whole is:
(1) that the sufferings and dangers which he now experienced were in their cause, and on their behalf; and,
(2) that he was willing to lay down his life, if their piety would be promoted, and their worship be rendered more pure and acceptable to God.
I joy - That is, I am not afraid of death; and if my dying can be the means of promoting your piety, it will be a source of rejoicing; compare the notes at Philippians 1:23.
And rejoice with you all - My joy will be increased in anything that promotes yours. The fruits of my death will reach and benefit you, and it will be a source of mutual congratulation.
on Philippians 2 :17