Origens Commentary On The Gospel Of Matthew by Origen
28. The Exchange for One's Life.
But the saying, |What shall a man give in exchange for his own life,| if spoken by way of interrogation, will seem to be able to indicate that an exchange for his own life is given by the man who after his sins has given up his whole substance, that his property may feed the poor, as if he were going by that to obtain salvation; but, if spoken affirmatively, I think, to indicate that there is not anything in man by the giving of which in exchange for his own life which has been overcome by death, he will ransom it out of its hand. A man, therefore, could not give anything as an exchange for his own life, but God gave an exchange for the life of us all, |the precious blood of Christ Jesus,| according as |we were bought with a price,| |having been redeemed, not with corruptible things as silver or gold, but with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot,| even of Christ. And in Isaiah it is said to Israel, |I gave Ethiopia in exchange for thee, and Egypt and Syene for thee; from what time thou hast become honourable before Me thou wast glorified.| For the exchange, for example, of the first-born of Israel was the first-born of the Egyptians, and the exchange for Israel was the Egyptians who died in the last plagues that came upon Egypt, and in the drowning which took place after the plagues. But, from these things, let him who is able inquire whether the exchange of the true Israel given by God, |who redeems Israel from all his transgressions,| is the true Ethiopia, and, so to speak, spiritual Egypt, and Syene of Egypt; and to inquire with more boldness, perhaps Syene is the exchange for Jerusalem, and Egypt for Judæa, and Ethiopia for those who fear, who are different from Israel, and the house of Levi, and the house of Aaron.