That’s a really excellent question Jeff!
But I’d have to be honest and say no. However, as I read it, Paul was willing to make that bargain for ALL of his kinsmen! So it wasn’t like it was his life swapped for ONE other person, but for the whole tribe! So it seems Paul’s getting far more “bang for his buck” (do the Brits use an expression like that?) by dealing for an entire large group than for one (sorry Jeff ) measly sinner. Now tell you what. You up the ante and include ALL of your atheist colleagues and friends and you got a deal!!!
More seriously though, it seems a rhetorical tool for Paul to say this doesn’t it? For he has certainly read the OT which says the soul who sins will die. the son shall not be punished for his fathers crime/sin. and so on… easy to make a promise that there is no chance you’ll have to honor. But the sentiment is very genuine and I think reveals the depth of Pauls genuine compassion and devotion to his fellow man.
Recently, I got into an argument (or maybe just disagreement) with the folks at a hospital I work at who are wearing, beneath their name tags, a red heart shaped badge that says I CARE FOR YOU JUST LIKE I CARE FOR MY ______ (FILL IN THE BLANK) – so people write in things like their Mom, or their kids, or their husband/wife whatever. To me this is showy and hollow talk from a fevered PR person. If you would care for me just like you’d care for your own MOTHER then that means you don’t love your mom NEARLY enough!!! Now sure – I understand that you will TRY to act that way, and that’s a sweet sentiment yes; but it’s false modesty and compassion to assert that you WILL do so.
Anyway, maybe I was being a bit too harsh…