In Romans ix. 3, Paul says:
“I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen, according to the flesh, who are Israelites”.
This is one of the most difficult passages in the New Testament, as it now stands in the English Version.
An Israelite who admits the claims of Jesus to the Messiahship has proposed the following solution of the difficulty:
Read the second and third verses, omitting the words, ” I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ “; then, afterwards replace them where they belong, and read them as in a parenthesis, with “I did wish” instead of “I could wish”.
Euchomen, the original word, translated “could wish” in the Common Version, is the imperfect middle, and is rendered by “I was wishing”, “I wished”, or ” I did wish”.
This accords with what we have said above. Paul imprecated a wish upon himself — a past action — while he was in an unconverted state — another thing in the past; but when enlightened, neither all Israelites, “nor any other created thing”, could induce him to wish himself accursed again.
Dr. John Thomas.