The severity of the Galatians' defection

In Gal 1:6 Paul uses a word with highly negative connotations to describe the present action of the Galatian believers. The verb μετατίθημι (metatithēmi) can be neutral in meaning; it often is used simply to mean “change, alter.” The middle voice of this verb takes on a particular nuance of “change one’s mind.” 2 Maccabees 7:24 shows the negative sense which this verb takes on in a religious context. In that text Antiochus Epiphanes is torturing seven Jewish brothers, encouraging them to reject their faith by eating pork. He took a particular tact with the youngest: “he promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his ancestors.” In this context the verb could even be translated “apostasize.” Antiochus wanted the son to reject everything about Judaism; the verb μετατίθημι is used to portray that rejection. This negative use is similar to how Paul uses the verb in Gal 1:6, and it shows that the Galatians' defection from the Paul's gospel was serious business with harsh consequences.