1 Thessalonians 2:16

Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved,.... Speaking or preaching the Gospel is the ordinary means of saving souls, or of acquainting them with the way of salvation, the necessity of it, and of the application of it to them, and with this end and view it is preached: now though the Jews disbelieved the Gospel, and despised the ministry of it, and disavowed any such use and end of it, yet such was their envy at the Gentiles, and their hatred of them, that could they have believed it to be the means of salvation, they would have forbidden the preaching of it to them, as they now did; and it is certain, that even the believing Jews, through ignorance, did at first disapprove of the ministry of the word to the Gentiles; see Acts 11:1 such was the aversion of that nation to all others, and which perfectly agrees with their general sentiments, which forbid the explanation of the law to the Gentiles; and therefore it need not be wondered at, that they should do all that in them lay to hinder the entrance and spread of the Gospel among them, of which take the following proof {f}:

"whoever has not the holy name sealed and bound in his flesh (i.e. is not circumcised) atyrwad hlm hyl aedwal

ryoa "it is forbidden to make known to him a word of the law", and much less to study in it--and whoever is not circumcised, and they give to him atyrwad ryuz ta, "the least thing in the law", it is as if he destroyed the world, and dealt falsely with the name of God--Hillell and Shammai did not make known to Onkelos a word of the law, until he was circumcised--and the traditions are, that even though a man is circumcised, yet if he does not do the commands of the law, lo, he is as a Gentile in all things, and "it is forbidden to teach him the words of the law":''

nay, it is a rule with the Jews {g}, that

"if a Gentile studies in the law, he is guilty of death:''

and thus were they left in providence, to judicial blindness and hardness of heart,

to fill up their sins alway; the measure of their own and their fathers' iniquities; see Matthew 23:32 a phrase expressive of the abounding of their sins, and of their being under a divine appointment, and of their being limited and restrained by a divine power, and overruled by infinite wisdom, to answer some ends and purposes of God's glory;

for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost: which is to be understood, not of their wrath and fury being come to its highest degree and pitch against the followers of Christ, but of "the wrath of God", as the Vulgate Latin version and Beza's ancient copy express it; and designs not so much "eternal punishment", as the Ethiopic version renders the phrase, or everlasting wrath and damnation on the reprobate part of that people, as temporal ruin and destruction, which was now near at hand, and hung over their heads; and therefore is said to be come to them, and which in a little time fell upon their nation and city, and temple, even to the uttermost, to the last degree; and was, as the Arabic version renders it, "wrath consuming"; or "the consummation, and that determined poured upon the desolate", spoken of in Daniel 9:27 and which, as it is come upon them, will remain "unto the end", as the phrase may also be rendered; unto the end of the world, until the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in, and then God's elect among the Jews shall obtain mercy, and be called, and so all Israel shall be saved, Romans 11:25.

{f} Zohar in Lev. fol. 30. 2, 3.
{g} T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 59. 1. Maimon. Hilchot Melachim, c. 10. sect. 9.