Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.XIV.—HIS OWN BOASTRAST IN CONTRAST WITH THAT OF OPPONENTS. REASONABLE DEMANDS UPON THEIR FORBEARANCE .SEVERE DESCRIPTION OF HIS OPPONENTS. PREEMINENCE OF THE APOSTLE
1WOULD to God [Would that] ye could bear1 with me a little in my folly [a little 2folly in me]:2 and indeed [ye do] bear with me. For [me; for] I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may presentyou as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so3 your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity4 that is in Christ. 4For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached [a Jesus whom we preached not], or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received [received not, λαμβάνετε], or another gospel, which ye 5have not accepted [accepted not, ἐλάβετε], ye might well bear with him5 For6 I suppose I was not a whit [in any respect] behind the very chiefest [these super-eminent,] 6ὑπερλίαν apostles. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have7been thoroughly [in every respect] made manifest7 among you in all things. Have [among all with respect to you. Or have, ὴ́] I committed an offence in abasing myself 8that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. 9And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. 10As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasing [this boasting shall not 11be closed against me, ή καύχησις αὕτη οὐ φργήσεται] in the regions of Achaia. Where fore? because I love you not? God knoweth. 12But what I do, that will I [also] do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, 13they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the [om. the] apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel;8 for Satan himself is transformed [transforms himself, μετασχματίξεται] into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed [and become] as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 16I say again, Let no man think me a fool [foolish, ἅφρονα]; if otherwise [but if it cannot be so, εἰ δὲ μ́ͅγε], yet as a fool receive me, that I [too, κὰγὼ] may boast myself a little.9 17That which I speak, I speak it not after [the manner of, κατὰ] the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. 18Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. 19For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. 20For ye suffer [it patiently], if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you [insnares you, λαμβάνει], if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. 21I speak as concerning reproach [By way of disparagement, I speak] as though we had been [were] weak.10 Howbeit [but], whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. 22Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites?so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. 23Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool [as though beside myself, παραφρονῶν]), I am more; in [by, ἐν] labours more abundant, in [by] stripes above measure, in [by] prisons more frequent,11 in [by]deaths oft. 24Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night 26and a day have I been in the deep; In [by] journeyings often, in [by] perils of waters [rivers], in [by] perils of robbers, in [by] perils by [from] mine own countrymen, in [by] perils by [from] the heathen, in [by] perils in the city, in [by] perils in 27the wilderness, in [by] perils in the sea, in [by] perils among false brethren; In [by] weariness12 and painfulness; in [by] watchings often, in [by] hunger and thirst, in [by] fastings often, in [by] cold and nakedness. 28Beside those things that are without [Beside other things which take place, χωρὶς τῶν παρεκτὸς], that which cometh13 upon me14 daily [day by day], the care of all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 31The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which [God, the Father of the Lord Jesus,15 who] is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. 32In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king, kept [guarded, ἐφρούρει] the city of the Damascenes with a garrison [om. with a garrison, desirous16] to apprehend me: 33And through a window [a small opening, διὰ θυριχδος] in a basket was I let down by [through, διὰ] the wall, and escaped his hands.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
2 CO 11:1–4. Would that ye could bear a little folly from me. Nay, indeed, ye do bear with me; for I am jealous of you with a godly jealousy.—The Apostle now felt compelled, in order to recover the respect he had once enjoyed in Corinth, and to destroy those influences which were utterly inconsistent with it, to maintain that his position in the Church was not only equal but far superior to that of those who disparaged him. This commendation of himself, to which he stooped in condescension to them and as a matter of duty to himself and the cause of truth he ironically calls a “folly‚” because it seemed to give undue importance to that which was insignificant and connected only with outward appearances. He therefore entreats them to bear with him, although he might seem for a while to contradict the principle he had just laid down.—Ὄφελον 1 Cor. 4:8. [The word a shortened form of the Imperfect for ὥφελον (which some MSS. have instead), and in the later Greek it was used as an interjection like εἵθε, to express a wish. Its tense implies an incomplete action still in its course and not yet come to its perfection (WEBSTER, p. 88, WINER, § 42, n. 2). It is connected with verbs in the Indicative, here with the Imperfect]. ̓Ανεί χεσθε is the Hellenistic, and ἠνεχεσθε the classical form.—The imperfect (not equivalent to the pluperfect) is an expressed, and implies that he could hardly expect its realization.—If we read (with de Wette, Fritzsche) τῇ ἀφροσύνῃ, μου would have to be governed by ἀνεί χεαθε, a construction common in the New Testament, though unusual in the classic writers. Μικρόν has the sense of: a little, and the dative τῇ ἀφροσύνῃ signifies: in respect to foolishness. But according to the best supported reading μου is not dependent upon ἀνείχεσθε but upon μικρόν, before which it is placed that it may become emphatic [my small degree of folly]. Such an emphasis makes insertion of an “also” unnecessary. In μου μικρόν τι there is probably a slight reference to the great folly of those boastful opponents which they had already endured, [ἄφρων is one who does not rightly use his powers. Hence Bengel says that it is a milder word than μωρία which implies a folly of a perverse or wicked kind. The fault of the ἅφρων (ἀφροσύνη) is imprudence or rashness (Mark 7:22)].—The doubt which after all is apparent in ἀνείχεσθε (that ye could or would bear) supplies an occasion for the expression of confidence when he adds, “but indeed ye do bear with me.” The object of ἀλλὰ is to correct the impression, which the wish he had just expressed might have produced‚ as if there were any doubt on the point: I need have no such desire, for you are already doing this very thing. Καί has an intensive force: even in fact. Καί is not in the Imperative [but in the Indicative: but you are in fact bearing‚ etc.‚] for as a request it would be feeble‚ and as a command unsuitable to the spirit of the context.—In 2 Co 11:2 a reason is given for the expectation he had just expressed in 2 Co 11:1. They had good reasons for the ἀνέχεσθε‚ inasmuch as the folly alluded to‚ had its origin not in a regard for his own interest or in pride‚ but in a Divine zeal for their welfare and for Christ’s honor. (BENGEL: (amantes videntur amentes‚ lovers usually seem out of their wits]; comp. 2 Co 5:13). The word ζηλοῦν refers here to the jealously of love‚ the object of which is in the accusative (γυναῖκα‚ Numb. 5:14: Eccles. 9:1). He was jealous of the Church in behalf of Christ (to whom he‚ as the one who had made the match, had espoused it)‚ lest it should prove unfaithful‚ and be drawn off by seducing teachers from the simple dependence on Christ which his gospel had awakended in their hearts. He calls this feeling a zeal of God (θεοῦ ζήλῳ)‚ which signifies here‚ not as in Rom. 10:2‚ a zeal in behalf of God (gen. obj.)‚ for the feeling was properly in behalf of Christ; not merly one which came from or was produced by God; and still less qualitatively‚ a very great or holy zeal; but such a zeal as God has (gen. subj.). This zeal was felt by God‚ inasmuch as He was exceedingly desirous that the bride‚ whom He had provided for the Son‚ who acts in His name‚ should remain constant in her attachment; and it was of course felt also by those ministers through whose in strumentality this Divine work had been accomplished. With respect to this zeal of God (among men, jealousy) as the Husband of His people‚ comp. Isa. 54:5; 62:5; Jer. 3:1. etc.: Ezek. 16:8‚ etc.; 23:1 etc.; Hos. 2:19.—The reason for his use of this expression he now proceeds to give when he adds (2 Co 11:2)—For I have espoused you to one Husband‚ that I might present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.—The word ἀρμόζειν when applied to the conjugal relation signifies‚ to betroth‚ to marry.—The middle voice in other places signifies‚ to betroth one’s self; but among the more recent writers it has the same meaning as the active‚ and especially denotes the act of him who was instrumental in forming the engagement and who among the Jews always continued the medium of intercourse between the contracting parties. Comp. John 3:29 [and “Chrysostom’s epithet on the Apostle: νυμφαγωγὸς τῆς οἰκουμένης (Stanley)]‚ (not the guardian who had the charge of the education of the maiden‚ as if ἀρμόζειν were equivalent to præparare, ornare; nor the father who made the contract for her);—The word to one husband‚ are emphathic‚ in contrast with their dependence upon their party leaders. The design which the espousal was intended to accomplish was to present to Christ a chaste virgin. He here gives the name of the one husband. The idea of virginal purity is especially prominent in the epithet chaste, on which the emphasis must be placed. The presentation refers to the period of the second advent (parousia), when the union of the Church with Christ will be completely realized (the marriage Supper of the Lamb). It is one part of this exclusive devotion of the Bride to her Lord, that she should remain chaste (ἁγνότμς). [The ancient Fathers had much to say of the virgin purity of the Church, and of the duty of each Christian as a part of Christ’s betrothed Church to maintain “virginitas mentis,” which Augustine defines to be “integra fides, solida spes, sincera charitas.” Such views were striking in distinction from the spiritual polygamy and pollutions of heathenism and ancient heresy. Comp. Wordsworth]. In contrast with this endeavor on the part of the Apostle, he now mentions the danger which had awakened his fears:—but I fear lest, peradventure, as the serpent completely beguiled Eve by his many arts, so your minds might be led away from the simplicity which is in Christ (2 Co 11:3). Νοήματα occurred also in 2 Co 3:14; 10:5, and here signifies the mind itself, especially those faculties by which we think and will; for in the present case the reference is evidently to an impurity both in the intellect and in the will—a departure from the pure Gospel and a disturbance of their entire surrender of themselves to Christ. Beck (Seelenl. 52f.) makes it the corruption of all the spiritual powers of the soul, inasmuch as the thoughts and purposes are drawn away from the simplicity of truth by deluding the understanding with sophistries and the heart with vain hopes. The words φθαρῇ ἀπό are a constructio prægnans, and signify, to be led astray, i.e., to be brought off from any thing. The verb φθείρεσθαι is significant, for it was not unfrequently appropriated to the destruction of virginal chastity (vitiare). In the present instance this spiritual chastity is called a simplicity in respect to Christ (εἰς χριστόν) because it implied a simple dependence upon Christ. He illustrates this by a comparison with the temptation of Eve by the Serpent; in which the points of comparison are: 1, the feminine character of the Church (παρθένος), and 2, the influence of Satan in both instances. He presumes that his readers were well acquainted with, and believed in, the seductive influence of Satan through the Serpent upon the woman, Gen. 3; comp. John 8:44; Rev. 12:9, 14–17; 20:2; 1 John 3:8. [Wordsworth finds in 2 Co 11:3 “a clear assertion of the reality of the appearance of Satan in the form of a Serpent to Eve in Paradise,” and we may add that we have the Apostle’s sanction to the historical nature and accuracy of the history in Gen. 3:1ff. In ἐξαπατάω, which the Apostle uses both here and in 1 Tim. 2:14, the ἐκ strengthens the idea of the deception. He thus expresses the thorough deception which passed upon the woman‚ and which he feared might take place among the Corinthians. Comp. Ellicott on 1 Tim. 2:14]. But those who had seduced the Corinthian Church are expressly called the ministers of Satan in 2 Co 11:15. ΙΙανουργία suggests the various arts of deception and the false shows made use of by the Judaistic teachers, when they substituted their doctrine of the law for the pure Gospel Paul had preached. (Whether a Gnostic element was mingled with their instructions, and whether rhetorical and dialectic arts were employed in enforcing them, may be left undecided.—For if indeed he who is coming were preaching another Jesus whom we preached not, or ye were receiving another Spirit which ye accepted not, ye might well bear with him (2 Co 11:4). This verse presents more than common difficulties, especially with reference to its connection with what precedes and what follows it. Some contend that the Apostle is here ironically giving the reasons for the solicitude he had expressed in 2 Co 11:3. “For if my opponents teach and work among you things which are entirely new, you might well be pleased with them.” The idea expressed in plain terms would then be: “ye would, in fact, have reason to be much displeased with such novelties.” By his ironical reproach he would thus show what reason he had for anxiety on account of their complaisance toward those false Apostles. His reason for reproving them for such a complaisance he presents in 2 Co 11:5. Thus Meyer. In like manner‚ Osiander‚ though he explains καλῶς to mean: “you endure them finely; you find much delight in them, imagining perhaps that you will acquire some honor from them;” and he makes the Apostle give in 2 Co 11:5 the reason for the ironical reproach in 2 Co 11:4, by directly denying there the hypothesis on which they had claimed superiority over him, viz., because they had first preached the true Jesus and brought among the Corinthians the true Spirit and the true Gospel: “If, therefore, my opponents could claim superiority over me on this account, you might well be pleased with them. But such a claim is an empty assumption; for,” etc. On this interpretation, καλῶς has a more appropriate meaning, and the connection with the preceding context is more obvious, but the idea of denying what had been supposed in 2 Co 11:4, has something artificial in it. If no such irony is allowed in 2 Co 11:4, its connection with 2 Co 11:5, is still more difficult: “if he who presents himself preaches another‚ i.e., a better Jesus, etc.‚ you may very properly be pleased with him; but this is not so. ” In this case the connection with 2 Co 11:3 is not plain, unless we add yet further: “such an endurance is not well and I have good reason for my solicitude.” The reason for his implied assertion that this was not so, would then be given more fully in 2 Co 11:5.—In καλῶς ἀνείχεσθε we have an apparent reference to the ἀνέχεσθε of 2 Co 11:1. In the first place he tells them what reason they had for bearing with him: (2 Co 11:2, ζηλῶ γὰρ—his reason for this he then gives further: ἡρμοσάμην—φοβοῦμαι δὲ.)—Now he says that after seeing how they had acted toward others, he surely had reason to expect such a forbearance from them. If the man who had come to them (among them) was preaching another Jesus, altogether different from the one he had preached, etc., they might well find the greatest delight in him, i.e., they might find the utmost conceivable pleasure in his adversaries. But if this were so, he surely had reason to expect that they would tolerate him and a little folly on his part; since he was in no respect inferior to these super-eminent Apostles (2 Co 11:5). In this case we only need to retain a constant recollection of what had been said in the leading sentence (2 Co 11:1)‚ to gain a consistent connection for the whole passage. No actual occurrence would be introduced by εἰ, but only a supposable though extreme case: an alteration of the fundamental principles of Christianity. In the apodosis or conclusion, he introduces a sentence of a different construction (ἀνεχεσθε), but one which not unfrequently is found in classic writers. In such an apodosis the ἄν falls away, if the object is to imply that there was something surer and necessary, unless some circumstances to prevent it should take place, or if nothing is spoken of except what must have taken place according to the supposition (PASSOW, ἄν, D. 1.). [WINER, § 43. 2.] Had he said in the protasis: ἐκήρυσσεν, etc., he would have implied that the whole supposition was an impossibility, and this is an assertion which he does not wish to make. The idea is: in the case supposed, you would indeed have been well pleased. He thus intimates that such a case was not an actual reality.—The present tense in the protasis does not compel us to take ἀνείχεδθε as a simple præterite: “you made yourselves well pleased,” thus expressing a real displeasure or only a compulsory satisfaction; nor as a question (“have you reason to be pleased with him?”) [The leading verbs in the conditional clauses (κηρύσσωι λαμβάυετε) were each in the present, and we should naturally have expected that in the conclusion (apodosis) the verb would have been in the present also: (ἀνεχεσθε, ye bear with him). But instead of this the Apostle designedly softens the expression by saying (ἀνείςεσθε): “ye might well bear with him.” In this way he avoids saying directly that they had actually borne with the assumptions of their false teachers.] Ὁ ἐρχόμενος in this connection does not signify that he who comes first must of course be the best, but simply that he who comes makes his appearance; the presence of his opponents is conceived of as the coming forward of a single person (Meyer). [Wordsworth: “ὁ ἐρς is, he who cometh, i.e., he who is not sent with a regular ordination and mission. This is the true character of an unauthorized teacher. This one sends himself, in contrast with the Apostle who is sent by another, viz. by Christ.”] Ἂλλον as applied to Jesus, is a mere denial of identity and the meaning therefore is: if he so preaches that the Jesus preached does not seem the same as the one before preached. (Not: χριστόν, for then he would imply that same other one than Jesus was the true Messiah.)—Ἕτερον on the other hand, as applied to the gospel, signifies something different in nature or kind, comp. Acts 4:12, Gal. 1:6, 7—Ἐδέζασθε has not the same meaning with ἐλάβετε (to receive), but it signifies to accept, and refers to the time when they were converted. [Bengel says that this change of verbs was because “man is passive in receiving the Spirit but active in accepting the gospel.”]—As in the relative sentence the emphasis lies upon the negation, there is no ὑμεῖς.—In the words ά̀λλον, and ἕτερον it is implied that the subjects compared are entirely different from one another, and not that the thing spoken of was more excellent in the estimation of the Apostle’s opponents. By ἕτερον πνεῦμα we are also not to understand the spirit produced in the heart by the preaching of the law, viz., the spirit of fear (Rom. 8:15), or the spirit of the world (1 Cor. 2:12)‚ or more definitely‚ the earthly spirit of a party; and by ἕτερον εὐαγγ. (scil. λαμβάνετε), those institutions or instructions which came wholly from men, etc.—[He had given two reasons for bearing with him‚ viz.‚ the jealousy which he, as the friend of Christ (the paranymph) might reasonably be expected to feel for them‚ and their easy toleration of those who were preaching something like another gospel; and] he now proceeds in 2 Co 11:5 to show that if they could take such extreme pleasure in his opponents, they had some good reason for enduring him (comp. above)‚ since he was in no respect inferior to them. He now specifies some particulars.
2 CO 11:5, 6. For I think that in no respect have I been behind these very superior apostles—The word λογίζομαι denotes the result of careful reflection and probably has in this place still a delicate ironical tinge (Osiander).—In the negative μγδὲν ὑστεργκέναι (the perfect reaching forward into the present) there is a modest reserve‚ inasmuch as he really had reason to boast of a positive superiority. But the μγδὲν forbids a limitation of the expression to anything of a partial nature. The words ἱπερλίαν ἅπόστολοι, however‚ both in this place and in 2 Co 12:11, must apply to his opponents, previously designated by ἐρχόμενος and afterwards more particularly characterized in 2 Co 11:13–15. According to Neander the Apostle intended by this compound word (ὑπελίαν) to designate the extravagant importance which was attributed to or assumed by these false teachers, comp. 2 Co 11:13. The whole connection is inconsistent with the interpretation prevalent in the ancient church‚ which applied the phrase to the principal Apostles‚ Peter‚ James and John (Gal. 2:9)‚ and which the Protestants very generally accepted in their controversy with the Romanists on the subject of Peter’s primacy. Even if the expression contained nothing but praise rather than a bitter reproach, it would be entirely out of place in the argument.—But though I be perhaps rude in speech‚ I am not so in knowledge; but in every respect in regard to you we have been thoroughly made manifest among all men (2 Co 11:6).—The Apostle here introduces a detailed explanation of what he had said in 2 Co 11:5‚ with a concession that in one respect there might be an exception to what he had just said‚ inasmuch as his opponents might pride themselves on a kind of eloquence gained in the schools. This concession‚ however‚ he would not extend beyond the manner of discourse subordinate to that which ought to be the main point with an Apostle, viz., the γνῶσις‚ the knowledge or perception of Divine truth (2 Co 10:5; 2:14). The word ι̇διώτης, 1 Cor. 14:16, signifies a beginner‚ a bungler‚ an uneducated one who has no skill for the work in hand. [It does not deny any amount of education or skill on other or general matters. It signifies rather a man not professionally acquainted with that which he undertakes (Alford). Such a one might possibly perform the part assigned him even better than those who were trained to it‚ but he would do it in ways not taught in the regular schools. Paul was in reality a powerful speaker (Acts 19:12; 22:1; 24:10; 26:2; 17:22)‚ but he did not speak in the methods usually practised by professional orators. WEBSTER’S Synn. p. 215, and TRENCH, Synn. 2d Part, p. 152]. The occasion for such a reproach may be seen (comp. 2 Co 10:10) in 1 Cor. 1:17; 2:1, 4. The Apostle was an impressive but not an artificial orator. When he says, we have been thoroughly made manifest, etc., he passes as he often does in this epistle and in his other writings (e.g. 2 Co 5:11; 10:11; 1 Thess. 3:4, 5) from the use of the singular to that of the plural (φανερωθέντὲς); from the individual to the collective or collegial form of expression. If φανερώσαντες be adopted as the true reading αὐτήν (γνῶσιν) must be understood. [The recent addition of the authority of the Sinaiticus to that which before was so strong in favor of this reading almost compels us to adopt it. Alford accepts of it and renders the clause thus: But in every matter we made things manifest, i.e., he made the things of the Gospel (not as our author suggests, his knowledge itself) known among all men].—The connection with 2 Co 11:7 will not permit us to refer φανερωθέντες to γνῶσιν for what is there presupposed as well as what is implied in ἐνπαντί (in the sense of: in every respect, not: at all times) requires a more general assertion. We see no need of supplying: “as an Apostle and an upright man‚” or anything of a similar kind to define more particularly what he meant by φανερωθέτες; for the specification of what he intended was very obvious. In every respect, so far as you are concerned‚ we have been quite manifest among (with) all men; i.e. what we are to you‚ and what advantage you have derived from us is well known to every one (Meyer). [The phrase εἰς ὑμῖν cannot mean among you, as in the A. V., for that would have required ἐν ὑμῖν (Hodge)].—The second ἀλλ’ introduces not a second conclusion or apodosis, but something contrasted with οὐ τῇ γνώσωι‚ and it is called for by the transition to a more general assertion which includes the possession of the γνῶσις.—Mistaking this‚ some have connected it with 2 Co 11:5‚ in such a way as to include εἰ—γνώσει in a parenthesis. This is not only unnecessary‚ but it deprives what is asserted in the parenthesis of all appropriate signification. After φανερωθέτες‚ we may supply ἐσμέν from the context‚ so that the general meaning will be: “not however with respect to knowledge, for in every respect are we manifest; or, we are plainly known,” etc.—Ἐν πᾶσιν after ἐν παντί is in the masculine and not in the neuter: [i.e. in all things among all men].—From the ἐν παντί he now proceeds to select and give special prominence and vividness to one point‚ viz., the unselfishness of his whole life while he was at Corinth, 2 Co 11:7ff. [It would have been natural for him now to have gone on to speak of his knowledge‚ by means of Divine revelations‚ etc.‚ but the use of φανερωθέτες had suggested to him one of the charges made against him at Corinth, and he now proceeds immediately to answer this, leaving his “boast” of knowledge in spiritual things to be pursued afterwards (chap. 12). This charge was that he had taken no money from the Corinthians but had supported himself by his own labors; and from this his enemies had insinuated: 1, that if he had been a real Apostle he would have claimed a support as his right; 2, that it indicated a want of confidence in his brethren there; and 3, that he was now making his former disinterestedness a cover for large collections under Titus, ostensibly for the poor, but really for himself. The first two of these objections‚ as they bore on his affection and open dealing with the Corinthians‚ he answers immediately‚ but the third he does not notice till further on‚ 2 Co 12:15–18. See Stanley].
2 CO 11:7–12. Or have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted‚ because I preached unto you the gospel of God without charge?—[The particle ἢ is not rendered in our Eng. versions‚ and yet it is expressive as marking a transition to a new objection by his oppenents (Hodge)]. The Corinthians would necessarily understand the Apostle‚ when he asserted that he had been made manifest among them‚ as in every respect maintaining that he had behaved himself honorably among them. This induces him to raise the question given in 2 Co 11:7. As the object of this question is to ward off from himself a very foul reproach‚ it implies a very painful and bitter reproof. His opponents probably represented his gratuitous labors and his earning of his own support by his daily toil‚ as a letting down of his apostolic dignity, not merely a defect and a violation of decency, but as an ἁμαρτία [a transgression of established law]‚ as a refusal of the dignity and position which God had assigned him, and perhaps also as a contempt for the Corinthians themselves by scorning to receive any thing from them. The relation of the following sentences to the principal proposition and to one another has been variously explained. The two sentences, ταπεινῶν ἐμαυτόν‚ etc., and ὅτι—ὑμῖν‚ may be coördinated [so as to be two forms of expressing the same thought] and may be thus regarded as a misrepresentation: 1, of the Apostle’s humility; and 2, of his disinterestedness. On the other hand‚ the first sentence may be taken as the essential part of his offence‚ and the second as an epexegesis of the first. Or‚ finally, ὅτι—ὑμῖν may be regarded as the proper substance of the objection, and ταπεινῶν, etc., as describing‚ in a parenthesis‚ or in a transposed or hyperbatic sentence‚ the character of the act of preaching the Gospel without support (as if he had said: because humbling myself‚ I preached the Gospel without charge). The correct way undoubtedly is to make the one sentence subordinate to and not coördinate with the other; and then the best‚ and probably the easiest‚ way is to take the participial sentence as a parenthesis [Have I committed an offence in abasing myself, because I preached‚ etc.]. It is, however‚ not to be resolved into: while I was abasing myself (Meyer). By the words abasing myself that ye might be exalted‚ which he brings forward to the earlier part of the sentence‚ he shows how he thought his gratuitous preaching might be and ought to be regarded. His opponents looked upon it as an act of self-degradation‚ whereas it deserved to be esteemed an act of affectionate self-renunciation‚ an abstaining from the assertion of an acknowledged right (1 Cor. 9:4)‚ and a supporting himself by the work of his own hands (Acts 18:3)‚ to which he submitted for their good (ἵνα ὑμεῖς ὑψωθῆτε). The exaltation at which he aimed was not merely that of general prosperity‚ but a spiritual elevation from the depths of a sinful corruption to the heights of a Christian salvation. In the words‚ preaching the Gospel without charge‚ we have a refined contrast between what is gratuitous and what is of the utmost possible cost and value (τοῦ θεοῦ is here the gen. auctoris). [MEYER: “observe the collocation of the words δωρ.τ.τ. θεοῦ εὐαγγ.: the Divine or most precious Gospel for nothing.”]—I spoiled other churches‚ receiving wages from them‚ that I might minister to you (2 Co 11:8). The idea contained in δωρεὰν he here more fully carries out; and he places in contrast with the Corinthian Church some churches (the Macedonian‚ comp. 2 Co 11:9)‚ on whom he had made demands‚ in order that he might serve them (officially‚ εὐαγγελιζόμενος). Ἐσύλησα is a strong expression and calculated to awaken shame in the hearts of those to whom he wrote‚ inasmuch as it implies that others in straitened circumstances had been reduced to want in order to do them a favor (comp. 8:2). The word is more particularly explained when he comes to say ὀψώνιον λαβών (1 Cor. 9:7), which signifies wages for service performed for a livelihood. This he received while he was doing service for the Corinthians; it was contributed, not for the poor‚ like that mentioned in 2 Co 8:4; 9:1‚ but for the promotion of their spiritual welfare. [CHRYSOSTOM: “he did not say took‚ but robbed‚ i.e.‚ I stripped them bare and made them poor. And‚ what is surely greater‚ it was not for superfluities‚ but for the supply of his necessities; for when he says wages he means necessary subsistence. And‚ what is more grievous yet‚ to do you service”]. He first speaks of what was needful during his journey to Corinth‚ and while establishing himself there. Immediately afterwards he speaks of his condition while residing there.—And when I was present with you and was in want, I was chargeable to no man (2 Co 11:9 a). When I also suffered want (καὶ ὑστερηθείς)‚ when I became destitute (ὑστερεῖσθαι in Luke 15:14, καὶ concessive), when, particularly, what I had brought with me was exhausted‚ and what I could earn was not sufficient. Καταναρκᾶν τινος (I was chargeable lo no one) occurs also in 2 Co 12:13, 14). [WORDSWORTH: “The metaphor is from the fish‚ νάρκη, or torpedo‚ which attaches itself to other creatures and produces torpor in that to which it attaches itself, and then endeavors to derive nourishment from it. ‘I was not‚’ says Paul‚ ‘like a torpedo to any among you’ ”]. According to Hesychius, the word has the sense of βαρύνειν, properly to grow torpid‚ and so to press down upon any one. Jerome speaks of it as a Cilician expression‚ meaning gravare; in this place to be a burden to any one by relying upon him for support. Others regard it as meaning here: to be inactive in my duties. Οὐδενός in the sense of: to no one’s disadvantage [i.e.‚ not enough to injure any one]‚ would not be appropriate in this passage (comp. 2 Co 11:9), nor in 2 Co 12:13, 14.—For that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied. (2 Co 11:9 b.)—This was the way in which he avoided being burdensome. The words need not be regarded as a parenthesis [as in Alford and Stanley]. ΙΙροσαναπληροῦν ὑστέρημά occurs also in 2 Co 9:12. As in all this connection no allusion is made to the Apostle’s supporting himself by his own earnings‚ we may reasonably doubt whether the πρὸς in this compound verb contains any hint‚ of the kind‚ as if it implied an addition to what he earned. We rather understand by it an addition to the small amount which he perhaps yet possessed‚ or that which was necessary to complete what he lacked. The brethren here mentioned were possibly Silas and Timotheus‚ who we know actually came to him from Macedonia (Acts 18:5)‚ and may have brought with them additional means for his support. The Corinthians knew very well whom he meant. Phil. 4:15 has no reference to this transaction. It is very likely that he had some reference to such means of support when he goes on—in every thing I have kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so will I keep myself. (2 Co 11:9 c.)—That is‚ he had always kept from being burdensome to them in any way‚ and he now announces that this would be his principle of action for the future (καὶ τερήσω). This was said that they might not think he was reminding them of these things in order to induce them afterwards to contribute to his support‚ or to establish some claim upon them for another time. This assurance he further confirms by a solemn affirmation—As the truth of Christ is in me‚ this boasting shall not be closed against me in the regions of Achaia (2 Co 11:10). A similar expression is found in chapter 1:18 and Rom. 9:1. He pledges the truth of Christ which dwelt within him and which was pure truthfulness‚ in opposition to all hypocrisy or falsehood, as the security or warrant for what he was asserting, viz. that this boast (about keeping himself free in future‚ καὶ τηρήσω, should never be suppressed; i.e.‚ that he would always so conduct himself that no one would be able to contradict him when he confidently maintained that his life had been and should be unselfish. [Alford (with whom Dr. Hodge agrees) maintains that there is no oath or even solemn affirmation here‚ but that the expression is exactly analogous to that in Rom. 9:1‚ and signifies: “the truth of Christ is in me, that, etc.; i.e.‚ I speak according to that truth of which Christ Himself was our example, when I say that‚” etc.]. The metaphor in φραγήσεται is essentially neither that of a road hedged in‚ nor of a stream dammed up‚ but a φράσσειν στόηα‚ i.e.‚ a stopping of the mouth, inasmuch as καύχησισ is talking in a loud tone (comp. Rom. 3:19; Heb. 11:33; Ps. 107:42; Job. 5:16; 2 Macc. 14:36). The καύχηαις personified. Its mouth shall not be stopped‚ it shall never be put to silence. Εἰς ἐμέ is here simply, in respect to me, not adversatively, as if he had meant, for my injury or in spite of me. In ἐμέ also may be perceived a silent contrast to those with whom it would be very different. “The truth of Christ is in me‚” contains nearly the same idea with that which asserted that the life of Christ was in him, and other expressions of a like nature Gal. 2:20; 1 Cor. 2:16; Rom. 8:9–12) Olshausen’s interpretation: “as truly as I am a Christian‚” is not in accordance with the spirit of the words. Rückert’s explanation, on the other hand: “This assertion, that my boasting shall never be taken from me, is the truth of Christ in me, i.e.‚ is as surely true as if Christ Himself asserted it,” is rather forced. Instead of saying ἐν ὑμῖν‚ he more solemnly and beautifully says, in the regions of Achaia (ἑν τοῖς κλῖμαςιν τῆς ̓Αχαιας. METER). Κλίματα means a district or a region of country‚ and it occurs also in Rom. 15:23; Gal. 1:21. It was very possible for Paul’s readers to explain this assertion so as to make it an indication of his aversion to them and estrangement from them‚ inasmuch as love usually receives with readiness what is offered by a beloved one‚ and even what is done from a different motive. He guards against such a construction when he subjoins—Wherefore? Because I love you not? God knoweth (2 Co 11:11).—He calls God to witness that his resolution to receive nothing from them, sprung not from any defect of love toward them. He then proceeds (in 2 Co 11:12a). to explain positively the object he had in view, and the reasons which moved him in this whole affair.—But what I thus am doing‚ I will also continue to do‚ that I may cut off the occasion from those who desire an occasion.—He refers once more to this matter in ὅ δὲ ποιῶ, καὶ ποιήσω‚ which is not a single proposition, corresponding to ἐτήρησα and τηρήσω in 2 Co 11:9‚ for in that case διὰ τοῦτο ποιῶ or ποιῶ και ποιήσω would have to be understood. The assurance refers to his future course‚ and this makes it necessary that καὶ ποιήσω should be the concluding proposition of the sentence (MEYER). A τοῦτο before it can very well be dispensed with. He thus testifies that he had had his eye upon his opponents in this affair‚ and that his object had been that no one should be able to allege that he thus showed that he had no affection for the Church. This he expresses in a final sentence: that I may cut off the occasion‚ etc. By ἀφορμήν he designates the particular matter with respect to which his adversaries wished to assail him; the occasion for making an attack upon him. According to the context this must refer to his disinterestedness. When he took nothing from the Corinthian Church‚ his object had been to deprive his opponents of all power to disparage him for his want of this disinterestedness. In τὴν ἀφορμήν the article implies‚ this precise occasion. The last ἀφορμήν‚ without the article‚ signifies‚ any occasion in general.—that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we (2 Co 11:12 b).—Some connect this second final sentence with the first‚ and regard ἐν ὦ καυχῶνται as a parenthesis‚ referring to εὑρεθῶσι καθὼς καὶ ἡμεῖς. [This goes on the supposition that they themselves took money of the Corinthians‚ and desired that the Apostles should do so “in order that (in this matter on which they boasted) we might be found even as they”]. In opposition to this it must be recollected‚ that they pretended to be superior to Paul. It may‚ however‚ be said that his opponents regarded the reception of money as an apostolic prerogative‚ and hence that this was the object of their καυ χᾶσθαι (1 Cor. 9:7ff.) [:“from those who desire occasion that in this apostolic right of which they boast‚ they might be found even as we,” i.e., they desired that we should receive money as an apostolic right‚ that thus they and we might stand before the people on the same level of apostolical authority in the matter of receiving a maintenance (STANLEY). But in whatever way this second final clause is made dependent upon the first‚ and thus expressive of the desires of Paul’s antagonist]‚ the whole passage assumes an ironical tinge‚ and implies that‚ although they would willingly allow him to participate in their boast, it was only that they might thus conceal their own shame, and deprive him of his just fame (OLSHAUSEN). But such a view of the passage is justified neither by what is said in 1 Cor. 9:7ff. (where no allusion is made to any such assertions of his opponents)‚ nor by our context. In such a case also the words‚ ought to have been εὑρεθῶμων—αὐτοί. The correct construction would seem to be to coördinate the second final sentence with the first [i.e.‚ regard both as expressive of the Apostle’s design in keeping himself as he was]‚ and yet this seems to imply that these opponents actually received nothing from the people, and prided themselves upon that fact‚ and endeavored to make it a ground for triumphing over the Apostle. Paul‚ in this case‚ says that he had given such a direction to his conduct that in this respect they should be found like himself‚ i.e.‚ that they should have no reason for preference to himself. Such an explanation, however, is opposed to what is contained in 2 Co 11:20, 1 Cor. 9:12‚ and to our context (2 Co 11:13), even if we pass over the necessity of giving to καθὼς the strange meaning of‚ no better than. Besides‚ how could he urge upon their consideration his own gratuitous services among them‚ if his opponents were in the same position. [Alford proposes another interpretation. He finds the clue to it in 2 Co 11:18ff., where he thinks this καυχῶνται is again taken up and described as being κατὰ σάρκα‚ and the καθὼς καὶ ἡμεῖς is taken up by ̔Εβραῖοί εἰσιν;κἁγώ‚ etc. From this he thinks it manifest that the meaning of the present clause is: that in the matters of which they boast they may be found even as we‚ i.e.‚ that we may be on a fair and equal footing. This, he thinks‚ affords a natural connection with the next verse, since the Apostle implies by the γαρ there that this would end in their discomfiture; for realities they had none‚ no weapons but misrepresentation‚ they being false apostles‚ etc. The objection to this is, that before and after this verse the Apostle is not speaking of general apostolic claims‚ but only of the specific point—that he had received no support from the Corinthians, and that he had declined to receive it that he might cut off occasion‚ etc.]. The correct presumption is‚ that they boasted of their own disinterestedness without reason‚ and that Paul was determined by a course of actual disinterestedness‚ not only to cut off all occasion for imputing to him mercenary motives‚ but to compel them to assume a position in actual practice like his own (MEYER). The sordid spirit which is ascribed to them in 2 Co 11:13 shows that they had no good ground for boasting of their disinterestedness‚ and we need not‚ therefore‚ with do Wette‚ assume that the point on which they made their boast was their performances as apostles, for such a claim would have been too vague (comp. Meyer). He now shows (in 2 Co 11:13–15) by his representation of their true character, that he had had good reasons for such precautions with respect to them.
2 CO 11:13–15. For such persons are false apostles‚ deceitful workers transforming themselves into Apostles of Christ.—In a very arbitrary manner some who interpret ἵνα—καθὼς καὶ ἡμε͂ις in 2 Co 11:12 to mean “no better than we‚” interpolate in this place the thought: “but rather worse, for” etc. (Rückert.). The same must be said of the interpolation of the sentence: I doubt not that they employ such artifices (as pretending that they receive no remuneration), for” etc. (Billroth). Probably also the connection with ἵνα εὑρεθῶσι which Meyer proposes: “not without reason do I make it my object that they may be found even as we in those things on which they make their boast; for the part these persons are acting is that of falsehood and deceit‚” is rather too intimate.—The words ὁι τοιοῦτοι (such persons) form the subject‚ and ψευδαπόστολοι (false apostles) the predicate of the sentence. It is only in this way that they receive their proper force as a discovery of the true character of these teachers‚ and they thus form a harmonious whole with the remaining predicates. If ψευδαπ. be taken as the subject of the sentence‚ the object of οἱ τοιῦτοι would be‚ what the course of the argument does not call for‚ to distinguish them from other false apostles, and the subject would be brought into too close contact with the predicates (Osiander). By such persons the Apostle intended the same as those who in 2 Co 11:12‚ are said to desire occasion and to boast. The false apostles were such as wished to be regarded as apostles‚ as men who had been commissioned perhaps as Paul was, by Christ Himself, and who therefore assumed the name and claimed to be called apostles. Whether they claimed to have seen Christ‚ or only to have been the true founders of the church at Corinth, is uncertain. In either case their claim was without foundation and contrary to actual facts‚ since they were obviously contending for their own interests and not for Christ’s cause (comp. Osiander).—The second designation, deceitful workers, (not workers of deceit‚ or such as busied themselves with deceit), has reference to their influence upon the people‚ leading them astray by deceptive arts, having no care for the welfare of their hearers but pursuing their own selfish ends, and organizing parties in opposition to the Apostle, and to the true interests of the congregation (perhaps also corrupting the doctrines of the gospel, comp. 2 Co 2:17, 4:2). ̓Εργάται κακοί occurs in Phil. 3:2‚ and the opposite ἑργάτην ἀνεπαίχυντον in 2 Tim. 2:15.—[The middle part. ματασ χηματιζόμενοι, signifies, changing for themselves their form into (as far as to) Apostles of Christ. Rev. 2:2.] In saying that these pretended apostles did this, he intimates that their proper form was a very different one‚ and rather that of messengers of Satan, comp. 2 Co 11:14–15, (Osiander says: emissaries of men and of human factions—in opposition to the context)‚ and of course that their representation of themselves as the messengers of Christ was a mere pretence assumed for the occasion.—W. F. Besser says: They disguised themselves a. in respect to doctrine‚ inasmuch as they retained many words and names which belonged to Christianity, but which were only like empty husks wrapped around some seeds which belonged not there; b. in respect to conduct‚ inasmuch as they outwardly imitated the works which Christ’s Apostles wrought, but they were destitute of that benevolence which constituted the perfection of a Christian’s doings (2 Co 5:12).—And no marvel; for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel‚ of light. (2 Co 11:14a).—The Apostle finds it altogether natural (οὐ θαῦμα) that they should thus disguise themselves‚ inasmuch as it was a matter of notoriety that their Master was wont to assume a garb altogether opposed to his proper character. [Milton has made use of the hint here given in Par. Lost. B. III. 2 Co 11:634–44.] The relative αὐτος is in contrast with οἱ διάκοονοι αὐτοιῦ of 2 Co 11:15.—Good angels are called angels of light‚ because their purity is a participation in God’s light (1 John 1:5). This light has sometimes become perceptible to men‚ when such angels have made their appearance on earth (Matt. 28:3, Acts 12:7‚ et. al.). Satan, on the other hand is a dark power (comp. Eph. 6:12, Acts 26:18). We have no reason to maintain that the Apostle had his eye at this time upon any particular event like the temptation of the first man or of Christ; much less that he was thinking (like the later Rabbins and others) of magical appearances of angels in radiant forms. The only explanation which is probable is that which refers it to certain moral and spiritual influences of a seductive character‚ under some splendid semblance of truth and goodness.—It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also should transform themselves‚ so as to seem to be ministers of righteousness (2 Co 11:15).—In this way‚ he draws a conclusion from the greater to the less: if such is the conduct of the prince of darkness‚ it is no great matter (μέγα 1 Cor. 9:11)‚ and therefore‚ nothing remarkable or extraordinary (therefore οὐ θαῦμα 2 Co 11:14)‚ if his ministers undertake to do a similar thing. His ministers are those who prove to be his agents by their efforts to corrupt the work of God‚ and to disturb the churches.—Μετασχηματίζονται ὡς is equivalent to: ωἰς τὸ ἐ͂ιναι ὡς. Righteousness represents in this passage a power in opposition to Satan‚ and his dark and unholy influence (comp. 2 Co 6:7‚ 14).—Whose end shall be according to their works (2 Co 11:15 b).—He thus finally‚ refers solemnly to the doom which such sinners must ultimately meet‚ inasmuch as the end of such servants of Satan must be according to their works, comp. Phil. 3:19‚ Rom. 6:21, 1 Pet. 4:17. The saintly form they have here assumed will hereafter be removed and they will suffer the doom of those hypocrites who‚ under a fair exterior‚ are opposed to every good cause and are in harmony only with Satan’s designs.
2 CO 11:16–20. I say again let no man think me foolish, but if it cannot be so, yet as a foolish man receive me that I may boast myself a little (ver 16).—The Apostle here commences a more extended comparison with his opponents. In the first place lie demands that they would not regard what he was saying upon this subject as foolish (ἅφρονα); but in case they could not grant this request he entreats them to extend to his foolish boasting that indulgence which they had learned so willingly to yield to the more extravagant demands his opponents had made upon it. The πάλιν (again) in connection with what immediately follows‚ awakens some surprise‚ and hence some have been disposed to refer it entirely to his request to be received as a fool (ὡςἅφρονα ὃὲξασθέ)‚ camp. 2 Co 11:1. But there is no necessity for passing over such an interval‚ inasmuch as the word has reference to both these expressions. It must have been evident from the whole tenor of his discourse that he had spoken in 2 Co 11:1 quite ironically of his ἀφροσύνη, and of course that he really did not regard his boasting as a folly.—[Εἰ μη signifies by an ellipse of εστι: if it be not; and thence by the addition of δε it takes a force adversative to the preceding context: ‘but if otherwise’ (JELF § 860, 5. c). The μή indicates that the whole is in the mind, μή τις implying a wish‚ and a will‚ and εἰ μή an opposition in the mind alone]. Εἰ σὲ μήγε (Matth. 6:1) even in the classic writers sometimes follows a negative proposition‚ where it is intended that a positive wish is not to be gratified. The idea here is: I desire that no one should think me a fool, but if this wish is not complied with then‚ etc. The γε makes the negation more striking and is equivalent to‚ even if not‚ truly if not. Κᾃν (also in Mark 6:56; Acts. 5:15) is an elliptical mode of expression‚ equivalent to‚ receive me‚ even though you receive me as a fool; provided you extend to me the forbearance usually allowed to a fool. In δέξασθέ he refers back to ἁνέχεσθαι in 2 Co 11:1‚ as if he would say‚ receive me, give me a hearing; and his object is to obtain from them what is needful for that which he immediately afterwards declares that he intended to do‚ viz., that I also may boast myself a little. The phrase I also (κᾴγὼ) has reference to the boasting of his opponents, comp. 2 Co 11:12 and 18.—But under a clear conviction of what became an Apostle of Christ‚ he wished them to understand that this boasting in which he put himself on a level with his opponents‚ was not a style of address to which he had been led by the Lord (Christ) or by the Divine Spirit. It was not a way conformed to our Lord’s pattern‚ in His spirit (Matth. 11:39; Luke 17:10)‚ or as His servant might be expected to do‚ but it was an expression of Paul’s own feelings as a man.—What I am speaking, I am speaking not after the Lord, but as if in foolishness (2 Co 11:17).—In ὅ λαλῶ he has in mind; in this confidence of boasting; what he had already arranged in thought‚ and what he had already begun to express in some introductory words. [Stanley draws attention to Paul’s use of o ὁ λάλῶ, ‘my language‚’ ‘my general strain‚’ in distinction from ὅ φημί or λέγω ‘my words.’ In classical usage λαλῶ appears to have had the sense of a continuous flow of talk, comp. Lat.‚ lallo.‚ Germ.‚ lallen‚ and Eng. lull. EUPOL. Bern. 8; λαλεῖν ἅριστος ἀδυνατώτατος λέγειν. PLUT. 2. 909 A.: λαλοῦσι μὲν οὗτοι, φραζονσι δὲ οὕ . The word is in the future present because the Apostle was already thrown forward into the discussion (Osiander)]. With respect to κατὰ κύριον comp. κατὰ in 2 Co 7:9; Rom. 15:5‚ and analogous expressions in 1 Cor. 7:10‚ 25, 40; comp. Bengel‚ Meyer‚ Osiander.17—Ὡς ἐν ἀφροσύνη‚ as if in folly‚ as one who is in a foolish state of mind.—The concluding words; in this confidence of boasting. (ἑν ταύτη τῇ ὑποστάσει τῆς καυχήσεως)‚—must be joined with the λαλῶ which must be supplied to ἀλλ̓ ὡς ἐν ἀφροσύνῃ‚ but I speak as if in folly‚ in the confidence of boasting. Meyer connects them with οὐ κατὰ—ἀφροούνη, I speak this not according to the Lord but as a fool with this confidence‚ etc. Such a construction seems rather constrained and harsh. Υπόστασις, has here the same meaning as in 2 Co 9:4, i.e. confidence not matter‚ object (in this matter‚ etc.‚) still less circumstance (since we have come to boasting). [STANLEY: “The whole phrase” refers to the boasting not of himself but of his opponents‚ or at least of himself and his opponents conjointly; and it is intended to limit the justification of his boasting to this particular occasion].—Inasmuch as many boast after the flesh I will boast also (2 Co 11:18).—He here more fully develops what he meant by the κάγὼ of 2 Co 11:16‚ and puts himself in direct contrast with his opponents, whose boasting according to the flesh he implies had led him to these self-laudations. According to the flesh‚ is in contrast with according to the Lord(κατὰ κύριον) in 2 Co 11:17‚ and corresponds with as if in foolishness (ὡς ἐν ἀφροσύύνη). It designates here either (1) the object of these self-commendations (external advantages) such as are in other places (esp. Phil. 3:3‚ etc.‚) declared to be ἑν σαρκί; or (2) the objective rule according to which one judges; or finally (3) the subjective turn or determination of the mind under the influence of such sensual and selfish motives as pride‚ vanity‚ etc. Our explanation of the phrase will depend upon the answer to the question whether in the succeeding clause the Apostle carried forward the same idea, as seems to be intimated by the καγὼ and by the connection with 2 Co 11:17 and 19. The third method, however, seems unsuitable‚ if we are obliged to conclude that‚ the Apostle was determined by sinful and selfish motives. The best way is probably to unite the third and the first in such a way that the self-commendation intended was one which sprung from his higher spiritual nature‚ and yet took the direction of the flesh‚ because it was concerned with such external advantages‚ as genealogical descent (2 Co 11:22)‚ and individual position (2 Co 11:23). Paul had done and experienced many things which might incline him to speak of such things (2 Co 11:24‚ etc.). Such carnal boastings are here represented, though perhaps in an ironical manner, and confessed to be‚ on the part of the Apostle‚ foolishness (ἁφροσύνη) [As κατὰ τ. σάρκα (the article much strengthens the expression and makes it mean according‚ to their flesh) cannot be made to signify‚ in carnal things, and as it can be made to mean nothing but‚ according to unsanctified human nature (as opposed to κατὰ κύριον of the preceding verse)‚ we see not how we can adopt any interpretation which makes Paul declare his determination‚ καυχᾶσθαι κ. τ. σάρκα. It would not be possible to make it consistent with Paul’s‚ character or a Christian spirit. Nor does the language strictly require it. HODGE: “There is no necessity of supplying κατὰ σάρκα after the last clause. What Paul says is‚ ‘As many boast from unworthy motives‚ I also will boast.’ If they did it from bad motives (κατὰ σάρκα)‚ he might well do it from good ones”].—For ye who are wise suffer fools with pleasure (2 Co 11:20). He here tells them what it was that strengthened or at least encouraged him in this purpose. It was their toleration of such persons, and, in fact, their pleasure in fools. [People usually tolerate the chatter of fools, as they do the petulance of children]. The reason for this he assigns in a sudden turn of his discourse, ironically reminding them that they must be wise men (comp. 1 Cor. 4:10). Ὄντες is not here by way of concession‚ in order that the force of the reproach might be increased and their guilt aggravated; but its object is to suggest the reason for their indulgence, though in a way to inflict a severe reproof in connection with the irony. As intelligent people can have no pleasure in the vaunting talk of fools, they should not by their indulgence encourage others in their folly.—For ye suffer it, if one brings you into bondage‚ if one devours you, if one enslaves you, if one exalts himself, if one smites you in the face (2 Co 11:20). He here illustrates further what he had said by reminding them of the extraordinary degree to which they had carried their indulgence‚ when they had taken pleasure in even the most unworthy treatment, yea, abuse of themselves (how much more, therefore, might he expect them to endure his ἁφροσύνη). In the first place, he recalls to their recollection the complete subversion of their freedom under the arrogant exercise of power which these false Apostles had put forth among them (εἴ τις καταδουλοῖ). In this we must understand not so much the imposition of the yoke of the law and the loss of evangelical freedom, as a tyrannical assertion of authority, a sacerdotal guardianship of their consciences, and a requirement of a blind obedience. In the next place‚ he reminds them of the selfish, avaricious practices to which they had submitted: εἰ τις κατεσθίει if a man consumes you‚ and wrests from you all you have, comp. Ps. 53:5; Matth. 23:13. The word has the sense of devorare (not, to destroy by grief, nor, to disturb the Church by breaking it up into parties). There is no necessity of introducing here the idea of an inordinate fondness for luxurious food and good living, in order to distinguish κατεσθίει from λαμβάνει‚ for this latter word means not simply to take (as when one receives a present or reward, or secretly conveys something away; for this would require something like ὑμῖν after it, and as a feebler expression would not be needed after the preceding verb), but to catch, as in 2 Co 12:16, by craft‚ by sly contrivances to get one in his power (as in hunting), by such means as would readily be supplied by ambition or avarice. [HODGE: “Our version, by supplying: of you, alters the sense and makes this clause express less than the preceding; devouring is a stronger expression for rapacity than taking of you. As after κατεσθίει of the preceding clause, ὑμᾶς must be supplied after λαμβάνει: ‘if any take you,’ i.e., capture you or ensnare you”]. He closes this account by mentioning some insolent (ἑπαίρεται) and disgraceful treatment they had received. Whether by ἐπαίρεται (sc. ὑμῖν) we are to understand the assertion of some advantage which these Jews pretended to have over the Gentile Christians (Osiander), must be considered uncertain, Εἰςπρόσωπον δέρειν indicates that their rule over the Church was characterized by violence, intimidation, and even insolence. [The ancient interpreters agree that this expression refers not to a literal blow with the fist, but only to those abusive reproaches which one heaps upon another to his face (Jerome: “Si quis etiam præsentes objurgat”). The immediately following words were supposed to call for this modification of meaning (Theodoret). The highest possible insolence is implied; for in Oriental countries such a blow was intended for the utmost contempt (1 Kings 22:24; Matth. 5:39; Acts 23:2). Stanley suggests that ecclesiastical rulers must sometimes have resorted even to corporeal buffetting, since even the Apostle found it needful to forbid such a thing (1 Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7), and the Council of Braga (A. D. 675) orders “that no bishop at his will and pleasure shall strike his clergy.” WORDSWORTH: perhaps fanatically, with a pretence of Divine enthusiasm and prophetic zeal, comp. 1 Kings 22:24; Neh. 13:25; Isa. 58:4]. EWALD: “e.g., by the reproach, as among the Galatians, that those who had been converted and instructed by Paul were not, in fact, Christians.”
2 CO 11:21–27. I say it with shame, that we have been weak. (2 Co 11:21 a)—The Apostle here passes on to his commendation of himself; and he here compares his own preëminent endowments and sufferings with the pretentions of the boastful false apostles. He first draws attention to the fact that when he was in Corinth he had been weak in comparison with these powerful men (comp. 1 Cor. 2:2). This is said in words of forcible irony (κατὰ ἀτιμίαν λέγω): I confess it with shame, for if it were true, it must be a deep dishonor, and much disgraces me (κατὰ with an abstract noun, I say it with shame, i.e., as though it were a circumlocution for an adverb). [WINER, Gram. § 58, WEBSTER, p. 169]. In strong contrast with this ironical concession respecting his earlier weakness, we have immediately after it an assertion of his right to be as bold as any one in his claims. By means of the ὡς before ὅτι he implies that what he had just conceded as a shameful thing, was a circumstance conceived of only in the mind as in 2 Thess. 2:2 (Meyer). In the sentence λέγω—ἡμεῖς, we have the same change of persons as in 2 Co 11:6. Osiander: he puts himself and his companions in direct contrast with their whole company. In this way we obtain a good and consistent meaning in accordance with the signification of the words and the connection. This, however, would not be the case if we regarded κατὰ ατιμίαν λέγω as referring to the preceding verse: I say this to your shame (because ye are pleased with such things); or I say this with reference to the disgraceful manner in which you have been treated, for both of these remarks would be entirely foreign to his discourse. We may add that on this construction not only would the ironical character of the whole passage be interrupted, but the words ought to have been: κατὰτὴν ἀτιμίαν ὑμῶν Without some such more particular definition, it would be most naturally referred to the subject of λέγω and of ἠσθενήσαμεν, especially as the latter verb includes within itself the notion of an ἁτιμία. Moreover there would be a harshness in taking ὡς ὅτι in the sense of ὡσανεί, as if we had been weak. The indefiniteness of the phrase κατὰ ἁτιμἱαν is opposed to an explanation of the words, which should make them signify: To your shame I say that we were not as strong as they were, and that we never attained as much respect among you; and also to that advocated by Rückert: on this point, indeed, I must concede to your disgrace, that I was weak.—But in whatsoever respect any one is bold (I speak it foolishly) I am bold also (2 Co 11:21 b)—He here begins his boasting in the proper sense. The idea is: I confess it with shame, that I have been weak in comparison with them, but now when the occasion calls for boldness (boasting), I put myself on a level with any of them in every respect. Τολμᾷν occurs in 2 Co 10:2, and πεποιθέναι in Phil. 3:3.—̓Εν ἀφροσύνῃ λέγω is an ironical concession (Meyer) to what he knew would be the judgment of his opponents respecting these claims (comp. μὴ τις, etc., in 2 Co 11:16), or (Osiander) an expression of his feeling of humiliation on account of this self-commendation, with an implied reproach of his opponents for compelling him thus to speak. The first point on which he would match his opponents in this self-commendation, is brought forward in 2 Co 11:22, and had reference to genealogical descent.—Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.—This was a matter of especial boast with those Judaizing teachers, in whose eyes Christianity was nothing but a continued Judaism, which should give to the Jewish people a decided preference above all nations, comp. Phil. 3:5. The three following sentences should probably be read, in accordance with the ardent feelings of the Apostle at this time, interrogatively, and we may notice in them an ascending climax. The first honorable appellation, ̔Εβροαῖοι, may be looked upon as the designation by which foreign nations usually distinguished the ancient and venerable nationality which derived its name either from Eber, Abraham’s ancestor (Gen. 11:16), or from its migration from the other side of the Euphrates.18 Some, however, have contended that this name designated a Palestinian in distinction from a Hellenistic Jew; and they explain the κᾀγώ by attempting to show that Paul was born at Giscala in Galilee (according to Jerome, but in opposition to Acts 22:3) or by supposing that his parents resided there before his birth, or that they removed to Jerusalem at an early period, and gave him there a purely Hebrew education. The first explanation is certainly to be preferred, since even if the facts on which the opinion is based were completely proved, the Apostle would hardly say of himself, without any further explanation, that he was no Hellenist, but a Hebrew, and hence a Jew of the purest stamp. The second appellation, Ἰσραηλῖται, designates a higher position, inasmuch as it indicates a participation in the honor of the sacred and important name of Israel, or a membership of the theocratic nation. Finally, σπέρμα ̓Αβραάμ designates the highest external distinction, inasmuch as it signifies a participation in the exalted promises given to that ancestor.—Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I am more (2 Co 11:23 α).—The second point on which his opponents prided themselves, was, that they were ministers of Christ. To the question whether they were such ministers, he does not return a directly negative answer, but he declares that on this important matter he was superior to them, and he proceeds to produce a catalogue of sufferings and conflicts, in the endurance of which he was far in advance of them. The words παραφρονῶν λαλῶ (I speak as one quite beside himself), which are placed before ὑπὲρ ἐγώ, are much stronger than those he had used in 2 Co 11:21, and yet they are of a similar import. They may be supposed to express an opinion which he anticipated his opponents would form respecting what he was saying (Meyer), or [more probably, Alford] as the protest which his own humble consciousness of unworthiness urged him to make against these high self-commendations (Osiander). In the latter case the reference is, not to what he had just, said, as if it were a sign of madness to call such people by the name of Christ’s ministers (Rückert), but to the words, I am more (ὑπὲρ ἐγώ), and the further development of the idea which he was about to make, and in which he felt that there was a more than common boasting. The ὑπὲρ may refer to the idea contained in διάκονοι Xρστοῦ, as if he would have said, ‘I am more than that; if they are such servants, I am more.’ This would be a withdrawal of the apparent concession that they were such servants, and would be inconsistent with what he had said in 10:13–15 (Meyer). The words may also be referred to his opponents, and be made equivalent to ὑπὲρ αὐτοὺς: I am such a minister in a higher degree than they are. The latter seems the simpler construction, and more correspondent with the particulars afterwards mentioned and the spirit (not ironical) which pervades the passage. We must also remember that he had not intended to decide whether they were in fact servants of Christ, and the sense would therefore seem to be: granted that they are such servants, I am more, etc. (ὑπέρ is used as an adverb only here). And yet he proceeds to mention (in 2 Co 11:23 b) as the reason for his preëminence, no illustrious achievements or wonderful results he had accomplished, but difficulties, troubles, conflicts, perils.—By labors more abundant, by stripes above measure, by imprisonments more abundant, by deaths frequently.—The word ἐν introduces us to the state in which he actually was, and in consequence of which he should be reckoned a servant of Christ in a much more eminent sense than they. The adverbs, περισστέρως, etc., should be construed as adjectives belonging to the nouns with which they are connected, though they are placed after those nouns (comp. Phil. 1:26; Gal. 1:13). In opposition to the construction which explains them as adverbs [qualifying ὑπὲρ ἐγὼ εἰμι, which is to be understood before each member of the sentence], we have πολλάκις, before which we could not continue to understand the phrase. I am more than they a servant of Christ. Even if we might supply there some such phrase as: “I have been, or I have experienced the fortune of, a servant of Christ;” or I have been found by actual experience to be one, the relation of the several expressions to ὑπὲρ ἐ̓γώ would be destroyed, and yet would be required again in 2 Co 11:26. Κόποι are the labors he had performed as an Apostle, while preaching the Gospel, saving souls and contending for the truth (comp. Acts 20:19–20, 31). In such labors he well knew that he had far surpassed his opponents, even though he might concede that they were not deficient in an active zeal from impure motives. It was not perhaps easy to say anything of the stripes and imprisonments they had suffered, unless possibly their fanatical proceedings had involved them at some time in such sufferings. Ὑπερβαλλόντως, more exceeding, an interruption of the use of the comparative, as in the next clause by πολλάκις. Φυλακαῖς, Clemens Rom. in his first Ep. ad. Cor. chap. 5. says that Paul suffered bonds seven times. By θανάτοις is signified every kind of peril of death. Comp. 2 Co 4:11, and 1 Cor. 15:31. To show in what way he had experienced these stripes and deadly perils, he here introduces a parenthetical passage (2 Co 11:24–25).—Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes, save one.—In the first place he mentions the abuse he had endured from his own countrymen, the Jews. IIεντάκις–ἕλαβον. These five times were the repetitions of this kind of punishment at different times. This must have been the scourging which was inflicted for minor offences in the synagogues, and which was never to exceed forty stripes (Deut. 20:3). [The manner in which this punishment was inflicted is thus described in the Mishna: The hands of the criminal are bound to a post, his clothes are then removed till at least his breast and shoulders are bare. With a scourge made of leather in four strands he is then scourged in a stooping posture, one-third of the stripes on his breast, another third on the right shoulder, and another third on the left shoulder (CLARKE). Paul doubtless remembered, under these inflictions, how he had subjected Christians to the same treatment when he was himself a persecutor. Acts 22:19]. The probability is (though others explain the reason otherwise) that the number of these blows was limited to thirty-nine, lest by any wrong numbering the precept should be violated. IIαρά designates an approximation toward an extreme point; until to, until upon (Passow, παρά 3:1. c.) This whipping was so terrible that many died under its infliction, and it is therefore numbered among the θανάτοις.—Thrice was I beaten with rods.—̓Εῤῥαβδίσθην signifies, a Roman kind of punishment by scourging with rods (slender staves), Acts 16:22. But although in the previous case he had designated the authors of his punishment by the phrase ὑπὸ ̓Ιουδαίων and had placed this designation by way of emphasis at the commencement of the sentence as if it were especially grievous to him (perhaps also as peculiarly disgraceful to his Judaizing countrymen), he here says nothing expressly of the persons by whom the punishment was inflicted. Indeed no specification was necessary.—Once was I stoned; thrice I suffered shipwreck; a night and a day have I spent in the deep. (2 Co 11:25).—On ἐλιθάσθην consult Acts 14:19.—With respect to the three shipwrecks nothing is said in the Acts (that mentioned in Acts 27. was at a later period).—The νυχθήμερον (24 hours) ἐν τῷ βυθῷ πεποίηκα must have been the consequence of some shipwreck. Not that he had been preserved that length of time in some wonderful manner under the water, but that he had been driven about upon some board or piece of timber or wreck in the midst of the sea, and probably been overwhelmed by the waves. Βυθός here signifies, not a pit or a deep prison, but the depth of the sea, as in Ps. 107:24, et. al.—Ποιε͂ιν here signifies to pass away time, as in Acts 15:33 et. al. The perfect indicates a lively representation of the past in the mind of the writer [WINER, § 41, 4. p. 214].—In 2 Co 11:26, 27 he resumes his proof that he was a servant of Christ in a higher sense than his opponents, and mentions first his frequent journeys and the manifold dangers through which they led him, and then the hardships and privations of all kinds he had been obliged to encounter.—By journeyings often, by perils of rivers, by perils of robbers, (2 Co 11:26).—̓Εν is not to be supplied in these several clauses, for the dat. instrum. is here made use of. [HODGE: “Our translators have throughout this passage supplied the preposition in. But as ἐν in the preceding verse is used instrumentally, so here we have the instrumental dative, by journeyings, by perils, etc. It was by voluntarily exposing himself to these dangers, and by the endurance of these sufferings that the Apostle proved his superior claim to be regarded as a devoted minister of Christ.”] After the parenthesis of 2 Co 11:24, 25, there is a return to the former construction (2 Co 11:23). Rivers (ποταμῶν) perils which proceeded from streams of various kinds (according to the classical usage of language). He had in his mind those inundations and difficult fordings, etc., [common, especially on the road frequently travelled by Paul, between Jerusalem and Antioch, comp. Alford]—Robbers (ληστῶν) were very common in those regions which were the scene of most of his journeys.—By perils from my own countrymen by perils from the heathen. (2 Co 11:26 b).—The words ἐκ γένους, from the Jews who not only themselves laid snares for him, but at Corinth and in other places stirred up the Gentiles (ἐξ ἐθνῶν) against him; γένος μου otherwise in Gal. 1:14.—He now proceeds to mention the scenes in which these perils had been encountered.—By perils in the city, by perils in the wilderness, by perils in the sea, by perils among false brethren. (2 Co 11:26 c).—The words ἐν πόλει are contrasted with ἐν ερήμῳ, as we sometimes say: city and country. He had before his eye such cities as Jerusalem, Damascus (2 Co 11:32, 33) Thessalonica, Philippi and Ephesus.—In desert, uninhabited countries (ἐρήμῳ) he was in danger from robbers, from wild beasts, from losing his way, etc.—The words ἐν θαλάσση are closely connected with ἐν ερήμῳ for the perils of the sea were not merely those extreme cases mentioned in 2 Co 11:25.—He finally notices that which was the most painful of all, among false brethren, (ἐν ψευδαδέλφοις, comp. Gal. 2:4). He has reference to those hostile Judaizers, whose fanatical hatred impelled them so far as to threaten the life of the Apostle to the Gentiles, and thus made it evident that the name of brethren had no proper application to them. (Others think that these were not really Christians, but only such as pretended to be, that they might more easily lay their hands upon him and remove him out of the way!).—After this enumeration of various kinds of peril, he now proceeds to mention first his hardships:—By labor and weariness, by frequent watchings, by hunger and thirst, by frequent fastings, by cold and nakedness.(2 Co 11:27).—The word μόχθῳ is an advance in signification upon κόπῳ. Very probably he had in mind here the manual labor he went through when he was at Corinth, and which not unlikely consumed some of his nights (1 Thess. 2:9, 2 Thess. 3:8), and so gave occasion for watchings (ἀγρυπνίαι) in immediate connection with his official duties.—The word νηστείαις in distinction from λιμῷ καί δίψει must signify voluntary fastings, comp. 2 Co 6:5, 1 Cor. 9:27. On hunger, thirst, nakedness, consult 1 Cor. 4:11.—We thus have before us on the one hand such voluntary self-denials as were required for his official duties that he might have time to devote himself more unreservedly to prayer and intercession; and on the other the want of those absolute necessities of life which could not always be obtained during the hasty journeys which his work and his safety sometimes required. The thirst (διψος) also could not always be avoided in seasons of extreme heat in desert lands.
2 CO 11:28–30. Besides the things not enumerated, the business which comes upon me day by day the anxiety for all the churches.—The Apostle now turns from a particular recital of the various perils, pains, etc., which he had been obliged to endure, to those more general burdens and cares which came upon him every day in his official duty. Τα παρεκτός signifies the things besides, i.e., those which take place beside (not, what are to be met with from without, outside of the church, or, what occurs out of the regular order; for both these expressions would be inconsistent with the usages of demonstrative discourse). He had reference to further details, in addition to those he had just given, but which he was about to leave unmentioned. Xωρὶς therefore has the sense of: without, irrespective of.—It would seem an unnecessary harshness to regard the following nominatives as in irregular apposition with τῶν παρεκτός so that the sense would be: all that I have thus mentioned come upon me only in the regular course of things, in addition to, or irrespective of, that which is beyond that course, viz., the daily matters of attention, etc. The same may be said of the attempt to connect χωρὶς τῶν παρεκτός with that which precedes, according to which ἡ ἐπίστασις would be a very abrupt commencement of a new sentence. Nothing need be understood but ἐστἰν in the sense of: takes place. If the reading, ἡ ἐπισύστασίς μου, which has considerable authority in its favor, be adopted, the meaning of the words must be either: an insurrection, a collecting together in troops against me (comp. Acts 24:12); in which case the fact mentioned would belong rather to the κινδύνοις and certainly could not be a daily occurrence; or the burden which came upon him in consequence of the perverted doctrines and disorderly practices of those around him (Bengel). The idea of a concourse, a great crowd of people or even of importunities every day, is not altogether sustained by the meaning of the word (even in Numb. 26:9, ἐπισυστάντες has the hostile sense of rising in opposition to one).—̓Επίστασις which is sustained by better authority gives us a signification which is appropriate to the context, for we may take it either in the sense of delay (hinderance), that which causes me delay every day; or in the sense of attention, having the care of something, an intense straining of the thoughts to determine what is to be done or how a thing is to be arranged. The latter sense seems most consistent with what follows. If we adopt the reading μοι, sustained by B. F. G. [and Sin.] instead of μου, it will not be difficult to bring it into agreement with the ἐστιν which we have supplied, in the sense of, takes place for me. With this also may be closely connected the immediately following sentence, the care of all the churches; though in that case we must not make that the subject of ἡ ἐπίστασιςμου (μοι) etc. [my daily care is anxiety etc.] (Meyer). By all the churches are probably to be understood those which had been founded by the Apostle and his school or which had come under his influence, i.e. those beyond the limits of Palestine. The care he exercised over them, was for the preservation of Christian usages and order, in doctrine and practice.—The trouble which this involved, he describes (2 Co 11:29), with reference to the particular department of his pastoral work (comp. Acts 20:18,19, 31);—Who is weak and I am not weak? Who is offended and I do not burn?—̓Ασθενεῖ refers here not to physical infirmities but to moral imperfections, defects of judgment and of faith, intellectual and moral weakness.—A climax is reached in σκανδαλίζεσθαι (1 Cor. 8:13), which signifies, to be perplexed or led astray. Οὐκ ἀσθενῶ does not imply that he condescended to enter into all the infirmities and prejudices of his brethren (like 1 Cor. 9:22), but that ho so sincerely sympathized with others, that he made their weakness his own, and to a great extent became one with those who were feeble. [CHRYSOSTOM: “He says not, ‘And I share not in his sorrow,’ but ‘I am thrown into the tumult and agitation which I should have if I were under the same trouble or infirmity.’ ”] This is the reason that no ἐγώ expressed before ἀσθενῶ, although it is subsequently used, because he feels himself not so intimately connected with those who were offended (σκανδαλιζόμενος). [He so identified himself with those who were weak, that he spoke as one with them, as though he were himself the church throughout the world; but when he came to speak of those who had been stumbled or led astray he separates himself from them in their wanderings, but is fired with indignation for their sake and speaks for them]. Thus Osiander; but otherwise Meyer, who observes that the negation in the former case had reference to the verb itself, ‘who is feeble without occasioning a weakness also in me?’ whereas in the latter the negation had reference rather to the person: “who is stumbled, and I do not burn?” [He sympathized with the weak, he glowed with the strong]. ΙΙυροῦσθαι has a different meaning here from that which it had in 1 Cor. 7:9, for the idea here is either that he was violently displeased with the one who had misled his brother, or (more probably) that he was deeply and acutely pained for the brother who had been offended and misled. Of course it would have been inappropriate for him to have written σκανδαλίζομαι, and we should altogether miss the Apostle’s thought if we took πυροῦσθαι in the sense it bears in 1 Cor. 7:9 (in relation to incontinence). But very feeble and quite aside from the sense of the passage would it be to explain the verse so as to make it signify: who suffers if I do not suffer ? i.e. I suffer more than any other one (this would call for an ἐγώ also before ἀσθενῶ).—If I must boast, I will boast of the things which concern my infirmities (2 Co 11:30).—He here finally draws a conclusion from what he had been saying, with respect to the nature of the boasting to which his opponents had driven him (δεῖ); and he reminds his readers how unlike it was to that of his opponents, inasmuch as it referred entirely to matters connected with his infirmity, and it made him appear rather like a feeble man subject to ordinary passions (sufferings and afflictions of every kind).—He was about to mention some additional particulars of a similar kind, as matters of which he might boast (καυ χήσομαι).—In ἀσθενείας he has no allusion to ἁσθενῶ in 2 Co 11:29, since the word there indicated merely a feeling which identified him with others, and καυ χήσομαι shows that he had reference here to that which was to follow, [not exclusively, however, for he had already been boasting of such things, and was now only continuing the recital. Such futures in a narrative or in an argument often signify the purposed continuance of an action].
2 CO 11:31–38.—God, the Father of the Lord Jesus, who is blessed forever-more, knoweth that I lie not.—The affirmation here given is rendered peculiarly solemn by the unusually full and Christian designation it gives to God (comp. 2 Co 1:3) and the ascription of praise it contains (ὥν—αἰῶνας). It must not be connected with the enumeration commenced in 2 Co 11:23, for 2 Co 11:30 stands between the two sections. We should rather refer it to the purpose which he had announced in 2 Co 11:30, inasmuch as it might seem incredible to many that he would boast of his suffering condition rather than of his achievements, his manifestations of power, and the results of his actions. The main fact mentioned in the two next verses appears of too small importance to call for such an asseveration. It seems only a poor evasion of the difficulty to suggest that the fact was not generally known and that it could not then be proved without great difficulty; or that it seemed hardly credible that the Jews would be guilty of such an atrocity; or finally that his escape must have seemed very wonderful, and hence that the Apostle might feel called upon to make the assertion especially solemn. We must either conclude that he here commenced a historical account of his personal sufferings, which was immediately interrupted and never completed (Meyer), or we must connect it with 2 Co 12:7, 8, where he begins again to speak of his ἀσθένεια (Osiander, who is inclined to make it refer to both the preceding and the following verses). What he mentions in 2 Co 11:32, 33, took place when he first commenced his work, and it had therefore made a deep impression upon his mind as his first deliverance from imminent danger. It does not seem likely that this circumstance is mentioned merely to authenticate what he had said in 2 Co 11:23, etc., because it came first in the order of his deliverances, nor as a supplementary account of a persecution which had come upon him out of the ordinary course of what he had been recounting, and separated, far back in the very commencement of his course. According to Osiander, this incident was mentioned with so much prominence because in time and character it was closely connected with 2 Co 12:2. Ewald suggests that there can be no doubt that Paul throughout this whole picture had his eye especially upon those calamities and afflictions which had their origin in the hatred of those Jews and Jewish Christians from among whom his Corinthian opponents had arisen, and that this will explain why he could not refrain from heightening the colors of that picture by this account of a special danger into which that deadly hatred had brought him soon after his conversion.—In Damascus, the governor under Aretas the king guarded the city of the Damascenes that he might apprehend me (2 Co 11:32). We have here either a pleonasm or an anacoluthon. Perhaps he had intended at first to write ἐφρούρει τὰς πύλας (comp. Acts 9:24), and afterwards did not notice that he had already written ἐν Δαμασκῷ. [BARNES: “Our translation implies that there was a body of men stationed (a garrison), in order to guard the city. The true idea is that there were men (perhaps a guard of hostile Jews gathered for this purpose only) to keep watch of the gates, lest he should escape them.” The word ἐφρούρει signifies to sentinel, to keep guard over. Wordsworth thinks that the phrase “the city of the Damascenes” implies that the city was not altogether subject to Aretas, but had some independent jurisdiction left at the same time that Aretas had an Ethnarch there. It may have been nominally free, but under the protection of a superior power.” As the Jews in some cities had a special ruler under the title of Ethnarch, it has been suggested by some that this governor was in a special sense over them]. The Ethnarch (ἐθνάρχης) was the same as a prefect or governor, though this precise title was used but little, and only in the Septuagint and among the Byzantines. Aretas was a king of Arabia Petræa, and the father-in-law of Herod Antipas. After the death of Tiberias, he must have taken advantage of the circumstances of the moment for gaining power in the city of Damascus. The incident here related took place during the period of this brief ascendancy there. What is here ascribed to the governor is in Acts 9:24 ascribed to the Jews; but this apparent discrepancy is explained by the supposition that the governor acted under the instigation and possibly through the instrumentality of the numerous and influential Jews who are known to have resided there. Comp. Meyer, Osiander, Winer, Zeller (Aretas). On 2 Co 11:33 comp. Acts 9:25.—And through a window I was let down in a basket through the wall, and escaped his hands, (2 Co 11:33).—The word θυρίς [is a diminutive form of θύρα], and signifies, probably, a small opening overhead in the wall of the city, perhaps in the house of some Christian. [He-sychius tells us that σαργάνη was defined by some to be a rope twisted of rushes; by others, any thing woven together of rushes; but Suidas makes it the same thing as σπυρίς in Acts 9:25, i.e., a basket. From this incident Paul was ridiculed by infidels of a later period, as ὁ ἀπόστολος σαργανοφόητος. He was, however, so far from being ashamed of it, that he gloried in it. In Acts and in our passage the phrase is διὰ τοῦ τείχους, which our English A. V. translates “by the wall,” but which should probably be, “through the wall,” as more consistent with the radical meaning of the preposition. As the aperture, however, was probably from some such building as is even now seen overhanging the walls of Damascus (see a representation of such a house in Conybeare and Howson, Vol. 1, p. 100), either expression may be consistent with the actual fact. Smith’s Diet. Art. Window; also Stanley. Comp. Josh. 2:15, and 1 Sam. 19:12. On the chronological relations of this incident see Alford on Acts 9:25].
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
A minister of Christ should meet the spirit of sect and of faction with all the resistance of which he is capable. For by that spirit Satan often succeeds in drawing the Church away from her Bridegroom, and in causing her to prove unfaithful. Gradually he brings her under the tyranny of men, who assume to be ministers of Christ while they are in truth the servants of Satan, arrogate to themselves every kind of power, and by every art and outrage enslave the souls of men. Their object is by such means to make God’s people dependent entirely upon them, and to get complete possession of all persons and property in the Church, under the pretence that “it is needful for the good cause and for the salvation of souls.” A hierarchy which has usurped the name of the Catholic Church, or any other name which promised to serve its corrupt purpose, whether of prophets, messengers of Christ, men of the Spirit or restorers of the true Church, has been practising such arts in every age, but always openly or covertly depreciating the system of faith and order which the true Prophets and Apostles once established, and now, as the great apostasy draws near, threatening to become more insolent. Every true servant of Christ is sacredly bound, for his Master’s sake, to contend against such practices by every means within his reach, that the purity of the Church may be secured or maintained, that her dependence upon her only Head may be sincere, and that her devotion to Christ may be unreserved and pure. While he freely rebukes wickedness and calls it by its true names, he must denounce with severity, and, if advisable, with gentle or keen irony, the weaknesses and follies of those who have allowed themselves to be led astray. In extreme cases he must cheerfully endure for the cause of his Lord all those sacrifices, self-denials, sufferings and conflicts which that Lord Himself endured. Though he thus humbles himself in the presence of a meek and lowly Master, and feels that he can never do too much, he should not hesitate to make use of what he has done and suffered to confound those who assume the credit of what others have done, or by fancied or pretended merits seek to obtain influence at the expense of more deserving persons. In such circumstances he must bring to notice things which he would rather have concealed, and make his own virtues the means of saving those who have been wickedly seduced from the way of truth. In this way the esteem in which Christ’s ministers are held may be used to preserve these weaker brethren from becoming the slaves of Satan’s ministers.
[2. Our Lord’s relation to the Church is not only most endearing, but most permanent and secure. Whatever his relations to angels and other beings may be, his connection with his church is like that of a monarch with his queen. Until her number and her graces are completed, she remains only espoused and in a state of preparation. God’s ministers are now, as it were, filling His place, as His ambassadors, proxies, or paranymphs (Isa. 62:4. 5), but it is only to bring her into a true conjugal relation to him (comp. a sermon of Pres. Edwards on “The Church’s Marriage;” Works, vol. vi. p. 192). But when this preparation is completed, “Christ will invite His Spouse to enter with Him into the palace of His glory, prepared for her from the foundation of the world, and will lead her in with Him; and this glorious Bridegroom and Bride shall ascend together, with all their shining ornaments, into the heaven of heavens, the whole multitude of angels waiting upon them: and this Son and daughter of God shall, in their united glory and joy, present themselves together before the Father; and they both shall, in that relation and union together, receive the Father’s blessing: and shall thenceforward rejoice together in consummate, uninterrupted, immutable and everlasting glory, in the love and embraces of each other, and joint enjoyment of the love of the Father.” EDWARDS: vol. VI. p. 205.
3. “Our religion has cost much suffering. We have here a detail of extraordinary trials and sorrows in establishing it. It has always advanced, amidst sufferings, persecutions and martyrdoms. How many such men as Brainard and Martyn have sacrificed their lives to extend it round the world. All that we enjoy is the fruit of such toils and sacrifices, and we have not one Christian privilege which has not cost the life of many a martyr.”
4. “We may infer the sincerity of such men and the truth of the cause in which they are engaged. They had nothing to gain by such sufferings, if they did not believe the facts on which their religion was founded. And as they could not be mistaken with respect to such palpable facts, their religion must be true.” BARNES, abridged].
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
2 Co 11:1 HEDINGER:—The commendation of ourselves solely for the honor of God, to confound blasphemers or to defend truth and innocence, is in fact wisdom, although envious and uninformed persons may not so regard it or so represent it. When we see one boast of his person and of his merits from a spirit of pride, covetousness, or selfishness, and another only of his office, of the grace which has been shown to an unworthy sinner, or of what he has done entirely through grace, we cannot but see that the latter is a very different act from the former; for Satan has obtained no small advantage when he has deprived a Christian of his credit.—HEDINGER:—Never be grieved, if your doings and your zeal are evil spoken of. Know you not that most men carry a pope within themselves, i.e., wilfulness, prejudice, passions? What hope can there be before such judges? Pray carnestly that God would rule in your heart, and keep you from all corrupt affections and views, and then go forward (1 Thess. 2:4).
2 Co 11:2. As the high-priest under the Old Testament was forbidden to marry any one but a chaste virgin (Levit. 21:13), so Jesus will have only those who are pure and who will not play the harlot with the world (2 Co 7:1; 1 Pet. 1:22; Eph. 5:26–27). True ministers are Christ’s paranymphs, to bring men to Christ, and to confirm them in spiritual wedlock,
2 Co 11:3. When we see men turn away from God’s Word, wrest it from its true meaning, or disbelieve its promises or its threatenings, we may be sure that Satan is at work among them, and corrupting them (Luke 8:12).
2 Co 11:4. We to such as teach their fellowmen to come to God by any other way than that of faith in Christ, for they are preaching a new and a false gospel.
2 Co 11:5. HEDINGER:—When God’s honor and the welfare of your neighbor is suffering, do not hesitate to check the vile devil, and defy him, however lofty his pretentions.
2 Co 11:17. Better be poor and unknown than to harm the church and its work. The more humble, the more likely to be sincere!
2 Co 11:8. Churches should assist one another, as members of the same great body.
2 Co 11:9. Preachers should be ashamed to beg, but not to be poor.
2 Co 11:11. One of the best marks of a spiritual shepherd, is a fatherly love to his people. “God knoweth,” is a real oath, and we need not be afraid to use it in attestation of the truth, ‘but only when the cause is important, and nearly connected with God’s honor.
2 Co 11:12. How many sins would never be committed, if we were more careful to remove all occasions for sin.
2 Co 11:13–15. HEDINGER:—Satan can put on the face of an angel, and hypocrites can prate smoothly of righteousness. To speak, to teach, and to preach fluently are no great things; but to work faithfully and zealously, and to have a right spirit, are of the utmost importance. Try the spirits! (1 Jno. 4:1). Trust nothing to mere appearances, though angelic. Be satisfied with nothing but God’s own Word, for that contains all you need for salvation. The damnation of heretics and of factions never slumbers (2 Pet. 2:3).
2 Co 11:16. Preachers have the best of reasons for defending the honor of their office and their personal character against all who vilify them, for in this way good men are much aided, and bad men are effectually thwarted.
2 Co 11:19. HEDINGER:—We often bear more from those who deceive and seduce us, than from those who are faithful to us, and it is in this way that God punishes us for our sins (Amos 5:13).
2 Co 11:20. People are often obliged to yield to the devil a thousand fold, what they have withheld from Christ and His faithful ministers (Hos. 2:8).
2 Co 11:21. If those who preach the Gospel, faithfully perform their duties, they will often be obliged to speak unwelcome truth, and expose errors, that those who oppose themselves may be put to shame.
2 Co 11:22. It is a great mercy, for which we cannot be too thankful, to belong to a good family.
2 Co 11:23. The highest glory of a minister and of every Christian, is to suffer and to be afflicted much for righteousness’ sake (Rom. 5:3).
2 Co 11:25. Let us never cast away our confidence in God!
2 Co 11:26. You can never get away from perils; therefore, fear God and pray! God’s best servants must not unfrequently experience severe trials from their own countrymen, and even from those of kindred faith.
2 Co 11:27. The more neglected a congregation has been, the severer the labor it will need for its spiritual cultivation. But let the servant of God be faithful, and the Lord will be his portion and his reward. The cares of a faithful minister will doubtless give him many a sleepless night; but groaning and weeping before the Lord will at last restore him to rest and sleep.
2 Co 11:28. God’s true servants have frequently not an hour which is not occupied with preaching, instructing, counselling, visiting, comforting, praying, studying, etc.
2 Co 11:29. Those who have themselves acquired strength, skill, and experience, should sympathize with and strengthen those who are still weak in faith and practice. An earnest minister will have his righteous indignation and holy zeal enkindled when his people are made to stumble before his eyes.
2 Co 11:30. HEDINGER:—We should never boast of our sins, but if we have endured afflictions, and experienced Divine consolations, let these be our glory.
2 Co 11:31. A solemn affirmation or an oath, is in truth a prayer. If, therefore, it is right to pray, it is right to take an oath, if the honor of God, the good of our neighbor, and the cause of truth and righteousness demand it.
2 Co 11:32, 33. Even in extreme perils, and when every way and opening seems closed against us, God knows how to deliver us. But we should never rely upon extraordinary methods, as long as a way of escape, however singular, is possible to our own efforts.
2 Co 11:1. God has such a zeal for souls, that He will have them entirely to Himself. Christ has purchased them with His own blood and now He sends His servants to bring them to Him.
2 Co 11:3. There is no better preservative of our virginal simplicity and innocence, than a perpetual consciousness of our great perils. The devil, having crept like a serpent, into the inmost soul and poisoned it with corrupt imaginations, throws out from that central point, over every object some deceitful excitement to evil. He always has free access to our minds as long as our wills and inclinations are not in subjection to Christ. He can corrupt us only by turning us from our simplicity with respect to Christ; i. e., from looking with a steady eye upon Him alone, as to our true and only Husband. This is that genuine chastity of the soul which depends upon Him alone, and allows nothing in the world to rival Him.
2 Co 11:12. It is no small part of our religion to guard against the assaults of the devil.
2 Co 11:13. Honesty and simplicity are characteristics of a genuine laborer. Those who fear no danger never try the spirits, for they have never proved their own selves.
2 Co 11:14. Had not Satan succeeded in concealing his own wickedness under forms of a self-imposed devotion and a worship adorned with every thing to flatter the human heart, he would never have kept the people for so long a time in fancied security and false peace. The light of God he has often withheld from the people under the pretence of some good intention or of communicating some higher knowledge.
2 Co 11:15. When godless men preach, and are heard and tolerated perhaps with delight, the devil has none to hinder him, and he comes as an angel of light and in the name of Christ, to destroy souls by the thousand.—No man can be a minister of Christ who is not himself a righteous man and who does not utter with his life what he speaks with his lips.
2 Co 11:19. Cunning men love most those who are like themselves.—Men are so blind that they would rather have bondage and a galling yoke of their fellowmen, than the sweet liberty of Christ. Those who enslave them to some human system, acquire more importance, authority and power than those who commend the easy yoke of Jesus.
2 Co 11:23. God brings out how much His saints endure, that men may see the difference between such sufferings, and those of which many boast, no small part of which were brought upon themselves by their own fault, and others were only imaginary.
2 Co 11:25. In Jesus Christ shame has been made honorable, pain awakens joy, and toils refresh us.
2 Co 11:26. The more an instrument is used in God’s hands, the more polished it becomes, and when it needs repair He sharpens it by sufferings.—(Spiritual hints:) 2 Co 11:26. Perils of murderers: the world, the flesh, and the devil, who endeavor to rob us of grace; in the city: from intercourse with every kind of men; in the wilderness: temptations of solitude.
2 Co 11:27. Troubles, for the sake of wisdom; hunger and thirst after God and his righteousness; fastings (Mark 2:20), want of comfort; cold, the warmth of the Divine presence gone; nakedness, (within).
2 Co 11:28: It is a vain excuse when any allege that they cannot give themselves to prayer because they have so much to do.
2 Co 11:29. It should grieve me to hear of another’s distress, and in his afflictions I should be afflicted.—When God is dishonored by prevailing wickedness and sins, it should be a fire in our hearts to consume us.
2 Co 11:30. The world is so much given to lying, that even an Apostle feared he would not be believed, unless he called God for a witness.
2 CO 11:3. We may see in the fall of our first parents, as in a glass, how much our souls are in danger of being seduced by lies. Without a direct intention to do wrong, one may be so utterly crazed that in the first place his understanding and then his heart is taken as it were by storm, his entire dependence upon Christ, and the supply of his fruitful energy from Christ is interrupted, and he imagines that he can make more rapid progress in some other way than by a simple dependence upon Christ.
2 Co 11:4. We always make a very different thing from the gospel when we attempt lo improve what Christ has given us.
2 Co 11:7ff. The gospel of the heavenly kingdom can never be preached without a heavenly mind and a low estimate of earthly things.
2 Co 11:10, 11. The heart can be judged only by Him who searches the heart.
2 Co 11:12ff. The world never gives a good name to those who zealously oppose prevailing errors. The only virtue it sees in a minister is a moderation which is generally nothing but lukewarmness which is loathsome to our ascended Lord! But even if no one acknowledges the propriety of his course, he will consider it an honor that he cannot endure them that are evil, and that he is allowed to expose deceitful workers and to show that they are liars.
2 Co 11:16ff. It is very difficult for a Christian to understand how he is bound by the spirit of Christ to esteem others better than himself, when he finds that he is abused by deceitful and arrogant persons, for this very lowliness of spirit, and is obliged to separate himself from them.
2 Co 11:30. The mental elevation of a Christian has its origin not like that of the Stoics in self-confidence but in the consciousness of human infirmity.—EWALD: A Christian is more inclined to glory in his infirmities than in his strength.—W. HOFACKER: 2 Co 11:23–30. The picture here given of the Apostle’s life, is full of instruction, for the direction of our own hearts and lives: 1. In our own calm and peaceful times for the church of Christ, we should thankfully remember, the hard struggles, the bloody conflicts and the faithful constancy which others had to maintain, to secure for us this costly possession. 2. What an amount of painful privation and distressing experience was brought within the narrow limits and the feeble capacity of a single life. In such a light how pitiable and contemptible do we appear in our effeminate horror at suffering and our perpetual recoil from every cross. 3. The disciple of Christ can accomplish great and glorious things, if he will only make good use of his day of grace, and be thoroughly what he professes to be;
Very appropriately our motto might be: No rest for the flesh! 4. In the outer man the Apostle was feeble and frail, and yet through this very weakness Christ’s power was wonderfully glorified; on the same principle Christ now dispenses His Spirit and His gifts.
2 CO 11:1. It is indeed foolish to boast. No wise and humble man will condescend to it, but from necessity, for the cause of God and for the welfare of others.
2 Co 11:2. The holy zeal a pastor feels for his people, has its source in a pure love to God and not in personal vanity, etc.—None but the pure, deserve the bridal honor, and the figure of a “virgin,” beautifully expresses the idea of a soul which loves none but Christ.
2 Co 11:3. Men listen with far greater pleasure to those corrupters who befool them and flatter their selfish passions, than to those who honestly tell them the truth. The simplicity which is in Christ, is that disposition which desires and believes in nothing but what Christ teaches and which gives no heed to any professed improvements upon this.
2 Co 11:4. Let no one wrest from thee a pure Christianity, for what better system can you have in its place?
2 Co 11:6. Fine words are not wisdom and are never enough to make a preacher. We must have something deeper for that.
2 Co 11:7. There is no surer way to mortify the pride of some persons than to make sacrifices in their behalf.
2 Co 11:13. Christianity has suffered more from unworthy professors, erroneous teachers, and hypocrites, than from open enemies. But by the side of every teacher of the truth, we shall always find some teacher of falsehood under the semblance of truth.
2 Co 11:14. If the evil spirit presented himself to men in his true form, they would be struck with horror. He therefore assumes some brilliant form that he may be received as an angel of light. His vilest ministers put on the face of saints, base pleasures assume the mask of love, eclipses of faith take the name of enlightenment, and an antipathy to the atonement puts on the semblance of a regard for strict morality. God permits the evil spirit in this manner to conceal his real form that his children may be trained to watchfulness and conflict.—Those who propagate error are Satan’s real though often unconscious ministers.
2 Co 11:15. Satan’s servants make use of the same tricks as their master; and as in the end their mask must be torn from them and they must be judged by God Himself, we may be sure that their punishment will be terrible.
2 Co 11:19. An honest and profound love feels its keenest torture when it sees its objects unconscious of their own corruption.
2 Co 11:20. False preachers leave to others the hard part of their work and then claim the credit and the benefit of its performance. They flatter and amuse men with the pretence of a better Christianity, and then wish to rule over and make a gain of God’s people. But their object is the fleece and not the flock. And yet many are greatly pleased with just such preachers, because their selfish passions are gratified, and they are displeased with those who are in earnest and present the truth with earnestness. Accordingly those who mislead and deceive men find ready listeners while genuine preachers lose their power and influence, and true friends are easily mistaken and sacrificed for false.
2 Co 11:22. Those who esteem all things but loss for Christ, may yet when circumstances call for it, without inconsistency make use of every advantage of birth or fortune.
2 Co 11:23. In the performance of our duties there are various degrees with respect to the amount of service, the abundance of the labors, and the completeness of the performance. Some are satisfied when they do what is customary, indispensably necessary, or essential to their office; while others do that which is extraordinary. There are both phlegmatic and sanguine temperaments; and yet there can be in the sight of God no works of supererogation (Luke 17:10). It is one of the best marks of a faithful minister to be always in earnest and attentive to his duties.
W. F. BESSER:
2 Co 11:2. The church consists of not many brides, but she is herself the only bride of Christ. The churches to which the Spirit spoke (Rev. 2:7), wore the Bride which, immediately after the Spirit, said, Come (Rev. 22:17)! Individual Christians and individual churches are allowed to remain together in the bridal chamber where Christ graciously dwells by the dispensation of his word and sacraments; and there they are all organized as distinct members into one great body, to be nourished and cherished by him as a wife by her husband and head (Eph. 5:29). Every division, whether among Christians of the same congregation, or among different congregations, is a division in this great body (1 Cor. 12:25) and impairs the bridal purity of the virgin to be presented to Christ.
2 Co 11:13. Those who wickedly resolve to see nothing in the world but black, shall have their reward in seeking nothing but black. The slanderous disposition of the enemies of truth, is a sure sign that their damnation slumbers not.
2 Co 11:14. Tertullian called Satan “God’s ape.” All the mysterious names which the god of this world (Eph. 2:2) has written upon his forehead, such, as enlightenment, progress, freedom, equality, education, etc., are only new forms of the old serpent’s words.
2 Co 11:15. The only security against wandering into unrighteousness and a godless life, is a faithful adherence to the righteousness which is by faith in Christ Jesus.—The voice of the Spirit, through our Epistle, speaks not to the Corinthian Church alone but to every church and to every age of Christendom. It is a perpetual call upon the Brido to be ever on her guard against the plausible insinuations of the old serpent, lest her mind should be corrupted from the simplicity into which Christ has called us by His Gospel. Oh happy he who yields himself unreservedly to Christ and follows Him with all the heart!
2 Co 11:20. In every instance where men have been led away from the church and from Christ its head, God has visited upon the apostate people the evils which are mentioned in this passage. In every age, just as in Corinth, false teachers endeavor to alienate the people from God’s true ministers, by accusing these, of crimes which are calculated to destroy their influence. But no sooner do they succeed in making their dupes completely dependent upon them, than they are themselves guilty of the very crimes which they had falsely charged upon others.
2 Co 11:23–27. Drones are seldom seen where the working bees are collecting honey.
[Paul’s personal vindication of himself. Introduction: apology for pursuing the subject, 2 Co 11:1–4. 1. His love for them, and his jealousy—he had brought them to Christ, 2 Co 11:2, and he had grounds for apprehension, 2 Co 11:3. 2. He had no reason to expect they would gain by the change, 2 Co 11:4. I. His claim, 2 Co 11:5, 6. 1. Equality with the best, 2 Co 11:5. 2. Especially in knowledge of Divine things, 2 Co 11:6 a. 3. In those practical proofs which demonstrated his Apostleship, 2 Co 11:6 b. II. His proofs, 2 Co 11:7–33. Not in great dignities and shining qualities, 2 Co 11:7, but in, 1. His disinterested love to the Church, 2 Co 11:7–21, (1) he had given up his rights to a support, (and to supply their defect, had (a) exhausted himself, Acts 18:3, and (b) robbed others, 2 Co 11:8; (2) he had been actuated by a sincere love to them, not by indifference nor pride, 2 Co 11:11, 12, and (3) his course was in favorable contrast with that of his opponents, 2 Co 11:13–22 (for notwithstanding their outward show, they were no better (much less) than he, 2 Co 11:12, and they were as bad as they accused him of being, 2 Co 11:20, 21). 2. His relations to the covenant people of God, 2 Co 11:22. 3. His conduct as a minister of Christ, 2 Co 11:23–33; here he was superior to them, not in things of which men usually boast, but in labors, 2 Co 11:23, in sufferings, 2 Co 11:23–27, in cares, 2 Co 11:28, in zeal for those in peril, 2 Co 11:29, and in the humble use of means for his deliverance, 2 Co 11:31–33],
2 Co 11:1.—The best attested reading is τι ἁφροσύνης. Several MSS. have τι τῆς ἁφροςύνης [and this was the reading which our A. V. adopted], to which some [Ital. Vulg.. and Lat. Fathers) add μου. The var. τῇ αφροσύνη [which Stephens adopted from some less important MSS., and Chrys. Theodt.], and ἁφροσύνην are probably corrections with the view of restoring the regular construction.
2 Co 11:1.—The Rec. ἡνείχεσθε is but feebly sustained [only a few cursives of no great authority, one MS. of Theophyl.]. The var. ἁνεχέσθε [which is a little better sustained, i.e., by B. (Birch) K., a number of cursives, Theodt., and one MS. of Chrys.] originated in the same word near the close of the verse. [Cod. Sin. gives ἁνἅσχέσθε instead of ἀνεχ. as a var.lect.].
2 Co 11:3.—Οὕτως before φδθαρῇ is probably not genuine; it is wanting in the best authorities. [B. D. (1st hand), F. G. Sin. Copt. Arm. and some Greek Fathers, Tisch. Bloomf. and Words. with the Rec. retain it, but Griesb. Lachm. Alf. Stanley and Meyer omit it].
2 Co 11:3.—καὶ τῆς ἁγνότητος is a gloss which is to be accounted for by ἁγνήν in 2 Co 11:2; it was placed either before or after τῆς ἁπλότ. [It is inserted by B. F. G. Sin. (3d hand brackets it) and several versions. Alford suggests that it would naturally arise from its ending being so similar to that of ἁπλότ., while Tisch. and Bloomf. reject it as a gloss to explain ἁπλότ. Epiphan, p. 275 adds: καὶ ἀγνειάς Xριστοῦ καὶ δικαιοσύνης, which, perhaps, confirms the conjecture of a gloss].
2 Co 11:4.—Lachm. has ἀνέχεσθε, but on inferior authority. It appears to be a correction [on account of the apparent necessity of the present tense in the apodosis to correspond with the pres. of the potasis; but comp. 2 Co 11:1. and Exeg. obss.].
2 Co 11:5.—Lachm. has δέ instead of γὰρ, but on the sole authority of a reading in B., which appears to have originated in an attempt to lighten the severity of the expression.
2 Co 11:6.—Lachm. and Tisch. have φανερώσαντες; it probably originated in the attempt to explain φανερωθέντες by φανερώσαντες ἑαυτούς, which words some copies actually have, [and they were regarded as especially appropriate to τὴνγνῶσιν, of which, however, the reading involves a very harsh ellipse]. The var. φανερωθείς, found in some copies, is also in favor of the Receptus. [Lachmann’s reading, however, is sustained by B. F. G. and the later Sin., though the 3d hand has φανερωθέντες. Alford thinks it much more likely that the harsh φανερώσαντες should have been changed into the easy φανερωθέντες, than that the contrary should have occurred, especially as the latter word could so naturally be suggested by 2 Co 5:11. It probably became φαν. εαυτους and then φανερωθέντες].
2 Co 11:14.—Rec. has θαυμαστόν, but it has less authority than θαῦμα, and it is probably a gloss.
2 Co 11:16.—Rec. has μικρόν τι κἀγὼ; but Kayto κἀγὼ μικρόν τι is much better sustained.
2 Co 11:21.—Lachm. has ἠσθενήκαμεν, but it has the authority of only Β. and 80. [also more recently of Sinait. and a Vat. MS. of a recent date].
2 Co 11:23.—Lachm has ἐν φυλ. περ. before ἐν πληγ. ὑπερβ. on the authority of B. D. (1st hand) E., the Vulg. Goth. and Ethiop. Versions, and many Latin Fathers. Sinait. has ἑν πληγ. περισσοτέρως ἐν φυλακαῖς ὑπερβαλλόντως; the 3d hand, however, agrees with the Receptus].
2 Co 11:27.—Rec. has ἐν before κόπῳ, but in opposition to the best authorities, and conformed apparently to the following.
2 Co 11:28.—Rec. has ἐπισύστασις; Lachm. and Meyer, with some excellent authorities [with B. D. F. Sin., et. al., and 4 cursives], have ἐπίστασις. The former was probably derived from Acts 24:12, [and yet the same variation of reading is found there. The two words are often used in the same sense, but ἐπισύστ. can be taken only in a hostile sense, which the connection certainly seems to require, [so Chrysost.: οἱ θόρυβοι, αἱ ταραχαί, αί πολιορκίαι τῶν δήμων καὶ τῶν πόλεων ἔφοδοι: the tumults, the disturbances, the assaults of mobs, the onsets of cities. So also the Greek expositors generally. This word, too, as Tisch. suggests, seems much less likely to have been changed for ἐπίστ. than the contrary].
2 Co 11:28.—Instead of μοι some MSS. have μου (Rec.); but it was probably an emendation.
2 Co 11:31.—The ἡμῶν after κυρίον, and χριστοῦ after Ἰησοῦ are probably both additions to the original. [B. F. Sin. smit both; and others omit one of them].
2 Co 11:32.—After πιάσαι με, some MSS. add θέλων. It is probably an exeget. addition [and yet Sin., et al., and some Greek Fathers have it, while B. the Vulg. Syr. and Arm. versions, and a few of the Lat. writers omit it, and some MSS. and versions place it before πιάσ με].
[As the phrase κατὰ κύριον in our passage has been generally brought into discussions respecting the Apostle’s inspiration, we should carefully notice its meaning. Literally it signifies, “according to the Lord.” Of course, here as every where else in Paul’s own writing, the Lord means the Lord Jesus. But was it, (1) according to the example of the Lord who was lowly and never boasted; or (2) according to the Lord’s command or direction (for sometimes; as in 1 Cor. 7:6, 10, 12, Paul refused to lay a Divine command on his brethren and only gave them human advice which they were at liberty to follow or decline); or (3) according to the Lord’s inspiring Spirit? Evidently it was not the last, for Paul claimed always to be under the Spirit’s influence, and the preposition would not have been κατά with an accus., but ἐν, ἐκ or ἀπό (Winer § 51. 5. k. 3). The analogy of 1 Cor. 7:6ff., would favor the second method. In this case it would be no denial of his general θεοπνευστία, but rather an assertion of it; for his present exception would prove the general rule. Indeed we are under no necessity of supposing an exception in this particular instance, for even the inspiring Spirit might direct Paul to leave men unlettered by authority in matters of social expediency as in marrying or boasting. But the contrast implied by ἀλλὰ between the matter here spoken of in ἀφροσὺνη and κατὰ τὴν σάρκα, shows almost conclusively that the Apostle was here speaking of something κατὰ κύριον which was not according to a boastful manner. So Chrysostom; who thinks that Paul here condemns boasting in form and in general as not after the Lord, and yet goes on to boast because the good intention which led him to do so made it right in the present case. We are led therefore by the preposition here used and the connection to adopt the first method of interpretation mentioned above. Comp. Hodge, Stanley, and especially Lee on Inspiration, Lee. VI. pp. 297–8.
[Robinson’s Heb. Lex., Kitto’s Encyc., and Smith’s Dict. of the Bible. Art. Hebrew. The name עִבְּרִי is now generally regarded not as a Patronymic, bnt as an appellative noun from עֵבֶר, one from the other side (Gen. 14:13 Sept., περάτης=transitor). It seems to have been originally a Cis-Euphratian word applied to Trans-Euphratian immigrants, but afterwards used by the Israelites themselves as the name best known to foreigners. There is no evidence that the Israelites attached any special value to their descent from Eber, which, indeed, they shared with a number of Oriental nations (Gen. 10:21, probably means simply: “the Father of the nations beyond the river.”)]