Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 40: Corinthians, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
2 Corinthians 11:1-6
1. Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.
1. Utinam tolerassetis me paulisper in insipientia mea: imo etiam sufferte me. 792
2. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
2. Nam zelotypus sum erga vos Dei zelo: adiunxi enim vos uni viro, ad exhibendam virginem castam Christo.
3. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
3. Sed metuo, ne qua fiat, ut quemadmodum serpens Evam decepit versutia sua: ita corrumpantur sensus vestri a simplicitate, quae est in Christo.
4. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him
4. Nam si is qui venit, (vel, si quis veniens,) alium Iesum praedicat, quem non praedicavimus; aut si alium Spiritum accipitis, quem non accepitis: aut Evangelium aliud, quod non accepistis, recte sustinuissetis.
5. For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.
5. Arbitror enim me nihilo inferiorem fuisse eximiis Apostolis.
6. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.
6. Caeterum licet imperitus sim sermone, non tamen scientia: verum ubique manifesti fuimus in omnibus erga vos.
1. Would that ye did bear with me. As he saw that the ears of the Corinthians were still in part pre-engaged, 793 he has recourse to another contrivance, for he turns to express a wish, as persons do when they do not venture openly to entreat. 794 Immediately afterwards, however, as if gathering confidence, he nevertheless entreats the Corinthians to bear with his folly. He gives the name of folly to that splendid proclamation of his praises, which afterwards follows. Not as if he were a fool in glorying; for he was constrained to it by necessity, and besides, he restrained himself in such a manner, that no one could justly regard him as going beyond bounds; but as it is an unseemly thing to herald one’s own praises, and a thing that is foreign to the inclinations of a modest man, he speaks by way of concession.
What I have rendered in the imperative — bear with me, Chrysostom interprets as an affirmation, and certainly the Greek word is ambiguous, and either sense suits sufficiently well. As, however, the reasons that the Apostle subjoins are designed to induce the Corinthians to bear with him, and as we will find him afterwards expostulating with them again on the ground of their not conceding anything to him, I have followed the Old Interpreter. 795 By saying, Would that, etc., he had seemed to be distrustful; now, as if correcting that hesitation, he openly and freely commands.
2. For I am jealous Mark why it is that he acts the fool, for jealousy hurries a man as it were headlong. “Do not demand that I should show the equable temper 796 of a man that is at ease, and not excited by any emotion, for that vehemence of vehemence of jealousy, with which I am inflamed towards you, does not suffer me to be at ease.” As, however, there are two kinds of jealousy — the one springs from self love, and of a wicked and perverse nature, while the other is cherished by us on God’s account, 797 he intimates of what sort his zeal is. For many are zealous — for themselves, not for God. That on the other hand, is the only pious and right zeal, that has an eye to God, that he may not be defrauded of the honors that of right belong to him.
For I have united you to one man. That his zeal was of such a nature, he proves from the design of his preaching, for its tendency was to join them to Christ in marriage, and retain them in connection with him. 798 Here, however, he gives us in his own person a lively picture of a good minister; for One alone is the Bridegroom of the Church — the Son of God. All ministers are the friends of the Bridegroom, as the Baptist declares respecting himself. (Joh 3:29.) Hence all ought to be concerned, that the fidelity of this sacred marriage remain unimpaired and inviolable. This they cannot do, unless they are actuated by the dispositions of the Bridegroom, so that every one of them may be as much concerned for the purity of the Church, as a husband is for the chastity of his wife. Away then with coldness and indolence in this matter, for one that is cold 799 will never be qualified for this office. Let them, however, in the mean time, take care, not to pursue their own interest rather than that of Christ, that they may not intrude themselves into his place, lest while they give themselves out as his paranymphs, 800 they turn out to be in reality adulterers, by alluring the bride to love themselves.
To present you as a chaste virgin. We are married to Christ, on no other condition than that we bring virginity as our dowry, and preserve it entire, so as to be free from all corruption. Hence it is the duty of ministers of the gospel to purify our souls, that they may be chaste virgins to Christ; otherwise they accomplish nothing. Now we may understand it as meaning, that they individually present themselves as chaste virgins to Christ, or that the minister presents the whole of the people, and brings them forward into Christ’s presence. I approve rather of the second interpretation. Hence I have given a different rendering from Erasmus. 801
3. But I fear He begins to explain, what is the nature of that virginity of which he has made mention — our cleaving to Christ alone, sincerely, with our whole heart. God, indeed, everywhere requires from us, that we be joined with him in body and in spirit, and he warns us that he is a jealous God, (Ex 20:5,) to avenge with the utmost severity the wrong done to him, in the event of any one’s drawing back from him. This connection, however, is accomplished in Christ, as Paul teaches in Ephesians, (Eph. 5:25, 27.) He points out, however, at present the means of it — when we remain in the pure simplicity of the gospel, for, as in contracting marriages among men, there are written contracts 802 drawn out, so the spiritual connection between us and the Son of God is confirmed by the gospel, as a kind of written contract. 803 Let us maintain the fidelity, love, and obedience, that have been there promised by us; he will be faithful to us on his part.
Now Paul says that he is concerned, that the minds of the Corinthians may not be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ Paul, it is true, says in Greek εἰς Χριστόν, which Erasmus renders towards Christ, 804 but the Old Interpreter has come nearer, in my opinion, to Paul’s intention, 805 because by the simplicity that is in Christ is meant, that which keeps us in the unadulterated and pure doctrine of the gospel, and admits of no foreign admixtures 806 By this he intimates that men’s minds are adulterated, 807 whenever they turn aside, even in the least degree, to the one side or to the other, from the pure doctrine of Christ. Nor is it without good reason, for who would not condemn a matron as guilty of unchastity, so soon as she lends an ear to a seducer? So in like manner we, when we admit wicked and false teachers, who are Satan’s vile agents, show but too clearly, that we do not maintain conjugal fidelity towards Christ. We must also take notice of the term simplicity, for Paul’s fear was not, lest the Corinthians should all at once openly draw back altogether from Christ, but lest, by turning aside, by little and little, from the simplicity which they had learned, so as to go after profane and foreign contrivances, they should at length become adulterated.
He brings forward a comparison as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty For if false teachers have a show of wisdom, if they have any power of eloquence for persuading, if they plausibly insinuate themselves into the minds of their hearers, and instill their poison by fawning artifices, it was in a similar way that Satan also beguiled Eve, as he did not openly declare himself to be an enemy, but crept in privily under a specious pretext.
4. For if he that cometh. He now reproves the Corinthians for the excessive readiness, which they showed to receive the false apostles. For while they were towards Paul himself excessively morose and irritable, 808 so that on any, even the least occasion, they were offended if he gave them even the slightest reproof, there was, on the other hand, nothing that they did not bear with, on the part of the false Apostles. They willingly endured their pride, haughtiness, and unreasonableness. An absurd reverence of this nature he condemns, because in the mean time they showed no discrimination or judgment. “How is it that they take 809 so much liberty with you, and you submit patiently to their control? Had they brought you another Christ, or another gospel, or another Spirit, different from what you received through my hands, I would assuredly approve of your regard for them, for they would be deserving of such honor. But as they have conferred upon you nothing, that I had not given you previously, what sort of gratitude do you show in all but adoring those, to whom you are indebted for nothing, while you despise me, through whom God has bestowed upon you so many and so distinguished benefits?” Such is the reverence that is shown even at this day by Papists towards their pretended Bishops. For while they are oppressed by their excessively harsh tyranny, 810 they submit to it without difficulty; but, at the same time, do not hesitate to treat Christ himself with contempt. 811
The expressions — another Christ, and another gospel, are made use of here in a different sense from what they bear in Ga 1:8. For another is used there in opposition to what is true and genuine, and hence it means false and counterfeit. Here, on the other hand, he means to say — “If the gospel had come to you through their ministry, and not through mine.”
5. For I reckon that I am. He now convicts them of ingratitude, by removing the only thing that could serve as an excuse for them, for he shows that he is on a level, even with the chief of the Apostles. The Corinthians, therefore, were ungrateful 812 in not esteeming him more highly, after having found him, by experience, to be such; while, on the other hand, the authority that was justly due to him, they transferred to persons of no value. For the sake of modesty, however, he says that he reckons so, while the thing was known and manifest to all. His meaning, however, is, that God had honored his Apostleship with no less distinguished marks of favor, than that of John or Peter. Now the man that despises the gifts of God, which he himself recognizes, cannot clear himself from the charge of being spiteful and ungrateful. Hence, wherever you see the gifts of God, you must there reverence God himself: 813 I mean, that every one is worthy of honor, in so far as he is distinguished by graces received from God, and especially if any advantage has redounded to thee from them.
6. But though I am rude There was one thing 814 in which he might appear, at first view, to be inferior — that he was devoid of eloquence. This judgment, 815 therefore, he anticipates and corrects, while he acknowledges himself, indeed, to be rude and unpolished in speech, while at the same time he maintains that he has knowledge By speech here he means, elegance of expression; and by knowledge he means, the very substance of doctrine. For as man has both a soul and a body, so also in doctrine, there is the thing itself that is taught, and the ornament of expression with which it is clothed. Paul, therefore, maintains that he understands, what should be taught, and what is necessary to be known, though he is not an eloquent orator, so as to know how to set off his doctrine by a polished and eloquent manner of expression.
It is asked, however, whether elegance of speech 816 is not also necessary for Apostles; for how will they otherwise be prepared for teaching? Knowledge might perhaps suffice for others, but how could a teacher be dumb? I answer, that, while Paul acknowledges himself to be rude in speech, it is not as though he were a mere infant, but as meaning, that he was not distinguished by such splendid eloquence as others, to whom he yields the palm as to this, retaining for himself what was the principal thing — the reality itself, 817 while he leaves them talkativeness without gravity. If, however, any one should inquire, why it is that the Lord, who made men’s tongues, (Ex 4:11,) did not also endow so eminent an apostle with eloquence, that nothing might be wanting to him, I answer, that he was furnished with a sufficiency for supplying the want of eloquence. For we see and feel, what majesty there is in his writings, what elevation appears in them, what a weight of meaning is couched under them, what power is discovered in them. In fine, they are thunderbolts, not mere words. Does not the efficacy of the Spirit appear more clearly in a naked rusticity of words, (so to speak,) than under the disguise of elegance and ornament? Of this matter, however, we have treated more largely in the former Epistle. 818 In short, he admits, as far as words are concerned, what his adversaries allege by way of objection, while he denies in reality what they hold forth. Let us also learn, from his example, to prefer deeds to words, and, to use a barbarous but common proverb — “Teneant alii quid nominis, nos autem quid rei;” — “Let others know something of the name, but let us know something of the reality.” 819 If eloquence is superadded, let it be regarded by us as something over and above; and farther, let it not be made use of for disguising doctrine, or adulterating it, but for unfolding it in its genuine simplicity.
But everywhere. As there was something magnificent in placing himself on a level with the chief Apostles, that this may not be ascribed to arrogance, he makes the Corinthians judges, provided they judge from what they have themselves experienced; for they had known sufficiently well, from many proofs, that he did not boast needlessly, or without good reason. He means, therefore, that he needs not make use of words, inasmuch as reality and experience afford clear evidence of every thing that he was about to say 820
2 Corinthians 11:7-12
7. Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
7. Num illud peccavi, quod me ipsum humiliaverim, 821 ut vos exaltaremini: quod gratuito Evangelium Dei praedicaverim vobis?
8. I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
8. Caeteras Ecclesias depraedatus sum accepto ab illis stipendio, quo vobis inservirem.
9. And 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
9. Et quum apud vos essem et egerem, non onerosus fui cuiquam; 822 nam quod mihi deerat, suppleverunt fratres, qui venerant ex Macedonia; et in omnibus sic me servavi, ne cui essem onerosus, atque ita servabo.
10. As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
10. Est veritas Christi in me, quod haec gloriatio non interrumpetur contra me in regionibus Achaiae.
11. Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth.
11. Quapropter? An quod non diligam vos? Deus novit.
12. But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.
12. Verum quod facio, idem et faciam: ut amputem occasionem iis qui cupiunt occasionem, ut in quo gloriantur, reperiantur, quemadmodum et nos.
7. Have I committed an offense? His humility was cast up to him by way of reproach, while it was an excellence that was deserving of no ordinary commendation. Humility here means — voluntary abasement; for in conducting himself modestly, as if he had nothing in him that was particularly excellent, so that many looked upon him as one of the common people, he had done that for the advantage of the Corinthians. For the man was inflamed with so great a desire, 823 and so great an anxiety for their salvation, that he made a regard to himself a secondary consideration. Hence he says, that he had of his own accord made a surrender of his own greatness, that they might become great through his abasement. For his design was, that he might promote their salvation. He now indirectly charges them with ingratitude, in imputing to him as a fault so pious a disposition — not indeed for the purpose of reproaching him, but with the view of restoring them so much the better to a sound mind. And certainly, he wounded them more severely by speaking ironically, than if he had spoken in a simple way, and without a figure. He might have said, “What is this? Am I despised by you, because I have lowered myself for your advantage?” The questioning, however, which he makes use of, was more forcible for putting them to shame.
Because I preached freely This is a part of his abasement. For he had given up his own right, as though his condition had been inferior to that of others; but such was the unreasonableness of some of them, that they esteemed him the less on that account, as if he had been undeserving of remuneration. The reason, why he had given his services to the Corinthians gratuitously, is immediately subjoined — for he did not act in this manner everywhere, but, as we have seen in the former Epistle, 824 there was a danger of his furnishing the false Apostles with a handle against him.
8. I robbed other churches He has intentionally, in my opinion, made use of an offensive term, that he might the more forcibly express the unreasonableness of the matter — in respect of his being despised by the Corinthians. “I have,” says he, “procured pay for myself from the spoils of others, that I might serve you. While I have thus spared you, how unreasonable it is to make me so poor a return!” It is, however, a metaphor, that is taken from what is customary among soldiers; for as conquerors take spoils from the nations that they have conquered, so every thing that Paul took from the Churches that he had gained to Christ was, in a manner, the spoils of his victories, though, at the same time, he never would have taken it from persons against their will, but what they contributed gratuitously was, in a manner, due by right of spiritual warfare. 825
Observe, however, that he says that he had been in want, for he would never have been a burden to them, had he not been constrained by necessity. He, nevertheless, in the mean time, labored with his hands, as we have seen before, (1Co 4:12,) but, as the labor of his hands was not sufficient for sustaining life, something additional was contributed by the Macedonians. Accordingly he does not say, that his living had been furnished to him by the Macedonians, 826 but merely that they had supplied what was wanting. We have spoken elsewhere of the Apostle’s holy prudence and diligence in providing against dangers. Here we must take notice of the pious zeal of the Macedonians, who did not hesitate to contribute of their substance for his pay, that the gospel might be proclaimed to others, and those, too, that were wealthier than themselves. Ah! how few Macedonians are there in the present day, and on the other hand how many Corinthians you may find everywhere!
10. The truth of Christ is in me. Lest any one should suspect, that Paul’s words were designed to induce the Corinthians to be more liberal to him in future, and endeavor to make amends for their error in the past, he affirms with an oath, that he would take nothing from them, or from others in Achaia, though it were offered to him. For this manner of expression — the truth of Christ is in me, is in the form of oath. Let me not be thought to have the truth of Christ in me if I do not retain this glorying among the inhabitants of Achaia. Now Corinth was in Achaia. 827
11. Is it because I love you not? Those that we love, we treat with greater familiarity. Lest the Corinthians, therefore, should take it amiss, that he refused their liberality, while he allowed himself to be assisted by the Macedonians, and even declared with an oath that he would do so still, he anticipates that suspicion also. And by the figure termed anthypophora, 828 he asks, as it were in their name, whether this is a token of a malevolent mind? He does not return a direct answer to the question, but the indirect answer that he returns has much more weight, inasmuch as he calls God to be a witness of his good disposition towards them. You see here, that in the course of three verses 829 there are two oaths, but they are lawful and holy, because they have a good design in view, and a legitimate reason is involved. Hence to condemn indiscriminately all oaths is to act the part of fanatics, who make no distinction between white and black. 830
12. But what I do. He again explains the reason of his intention. 831 The false Apostles, with the view of alluring to themselves ignorant persons, took no pay. Their serving gratuitously was a show of uncommon zeal. 832 If Paul had availed himself of his right, he would have given them occasion to raise their crest, as if they had been greatly superior to him. Paul, accordingly, that he might give them no occasion of doing injury, did himself, also, preach the Gospel, free of charge, and this is what he adds — that he is desirous to cut off occasion from those that desire occasion For the false Apostles were desirous to insinuate themselves by this artifice, and to detract, in proportion to this, from Paul’s credit, if they were superior to him in any respect. He says, that he will not give them this advantage. “They will be found,” says he, “on a level with us in that glorying which they would wish to have for themselves exclusively.” This, however, is a useful admonition in connection with cutting off occasion from the wicked, as often as they desire one. For this is the only way to overcome them — not in the way of furnishing them with arms through our imprudence. 833
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
13. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
13. Saiquidem istiusmodi pseudoapostoli; operarii dolosi sunt, qui transformant se in Apostolos Christi.
14. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
14. Neque id mirum; quondoquidem ipse Satanas transfiguratur in Angelum lucis.
15. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
15. Non magnum igitur, si et ministri illius transformant se, perinde acsi essent ministri iustitiae: quorum finis erit secundum opera ipsorum.
13. For such are false Apostles While he has already taken away from them what they chiefly desired, yet, not contented with having put himself on a level with them with respect to that in which they were desirous to excel, he leaves them nothing for which they deserve any commendation. It was apparently a laudable thing to despise money, but he says, that they make use of a pretense for the purpose of deceiving, exactly as if a harlot were to borrow the apparel of a decent matron. For it was necessary to pull off the mask, which obscured the glory of God.
They are deceitful workers, says he, that is — they do not discover their wickedness at first view, but artfully insinuate themselves under some fair pretext. 834 Hence they require to be carefully and thoroughly sifted, lest we should receive persons as servants of Christ, as soon as any appearance of excellence is discovered. Nor does Paul in malice and envy put an unfavorable construction upon what might be looked upon as an excellence, but, constrained by their dishonesty, he unfolds to view the evil that lay hid, because there was a dangerous profanation of virtue in pretending to burn with greater zeal than all the servants of Christ.
14. And no marvel It is an argument from the greater to the less. “If Satan, who is the basest of all beings, nay, the head and chief of all wicked persons, transforms himself, what will his ministers do?” We have experience of both every day, for when Satan tempts us to evil, he does not profess to be what he really is. For he would lose his object, if we were made aware of his being a mortal enemy, and opposer of our salvation. Hence he always makes use of some cloak for the purpose of insnaring us, and does not immediately show his horns, (as the common expression is,) but rather makes it his endeavor to appear as an angel Even when he tempts us to gross crimes, he makes use, nevertheless, of some pretext that he may draw us, when we are off our guard, into his nets. What then, if he attacks us under the appearance of good, nay, under the very title of God? His life-guards imitate, as I have said, the same artifice. These are golden preambles — “Vicar of Christ” — “Successor of Peter” — “Servant of God’s servants,” but let the masks be pulled off, and who and what will the Pope be discovered to be? Scarcely will Satan himself, his master, surpass so accomplished a scholar in any kind of abomination. It is a well known saying as to Babylon, that she gives poison to drink in a golden cup. (Jer 51:7.) Hence we must be on our guard against masks.
Should any one now ask, “Shall we then regard all with suspicion?” I answer, that the Apostle did not by any means intend this; for there are marks of discrimination, which it were the part of stupidity, not of prudence, to overlook. He was simply desirous to arouse our attention, that we may not straightway judge of the lion from the skin 835 For if we are not hasty in forming a judgment, the Lord will order it so that the ears of the animal will be discovered ere long. Farther, he was desirous in like manner to admonish us, in forming an estimate of Christ’s servants, not to regard masks, but to seek after what is of more importance. Ministers of righteousness is a Hebraism for faithful and upright persons. 836
15. Whose end shall be. He adds this for the consolation of the pious. For it is the statement of a courageous man, who despises the foolish judgments of men, and patiently waits for the day of the Lord. In the mean time, he shows a singular boldness of conscience, which does not dread the judgment of God.
2 Corinthians 11:16-21
16. I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.
16. Iterum dico, ne quis me putet insipientem esse: alioqui iam etiam ut insipientem accipite me, ut paululum quiddam et ego glorier.
17. That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
17. Quod dico, non dico secundum Dominum, sed velut per insipientiam: in hac audacia gloriationis.
18. Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.
18. Quandoquidem multi gloriantur secundum carnem, et ego gloriabor.
19. For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
19. Libenter enim suffertis insipientes: quum sitis ipsi sapientes.
20. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.
20. Suffertis enim, si quis vos in servitutem adigit, si quis exedit, si quis accipit, si quis attollit sese, si quis vos in faciem caedit.
21. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.
21. Iuxta contumeliam loquor, perinde quasi nos infirmi fuerimus: imo in quocunque audet aliquis, per insipientiam loquor, ego quoque audeo.
16. I say again The Apostle has a twofold design. He has it partly in view to expose the disgusting vanity of the false Apostles, inasmuch as they were such extravagant trumpeters of their own praises; and farther, to expostulate with the Corinthians, because they shut him up to the necessity of glorying, contrary to the inclinations of his own mind. “I say again,” says he. For he had abundantly shown previously, that there was no reason, why he should be despised. He had also shown at the same time, that he was very unlike others, and therefore ought not to have his grounds of glorying estimated according to the rule of their measure. Thus he again shows, for what purpose he had hitherto gloried — that he might clear his apostleship from contempt; for if the Corinthians had done their duty, he would not have said one word as to this matter.
Otherwise now as a fool “If I am reckoned by you a fool, allow me at least to make use of my right and liberty — that is, to speak foolishly after the manner of fools.” Thus he reproves the false Apostles, who, while they were exceedingly silly in this respect, were not merely borne with by the Corinthians, but were received with great applause. He afterwards explains what kind of folly it is — the publishing of his own praises. While they did so without end and without measure, he intimates that it was a thing to which he was unaccustomed; for he says, for a little while For I take this clause as referring to time, so that the meaning is, that Paul did not wish to continue it long, but assumed, as it were, for the moment, the person of another, and immediately thereafter laid it aside, as we are accustomed to pass over lightly those things that are foreign to our object, while fools occupy themselves constantly (ἐν παρέργοις) 837 in matters of inferior moment.
17. What I speak, I speak not after the Lord His disposition, it is true, had an eye to God, but the outward appearance 838 might seem unsuitable to a servant of the Lord. At the same time, the things that Paul confesses respecting himself, he, on the other hand, condemns in the false Apostles. 839 For it was not his intention to praise himself, but simply to contrast himself with them, with the view of humbling them. 840 Hence he transfers to his own person what belonged to them, that he may thus open the eyes of the Corinthians. What I have rendered boldness, is in the Greek ὑπόστασις, as to the meaning of which term we have spoken in the ninth chapter. (2Co 9:4.) Subject-matter 841 or substance, unquestionably, would not be at all suitable here. 842
18. Since many glory. The meaning is — Should any one say to me, by way of objection, that what I do is faulty, what then as to others? Are not they my leaders? Am I alone, or am I the first, in glorying according to the flesh? Why should that be reckoned praiseworthy in them, that is imputed to me as a fault?” So far then is Paul from ambition in recounting his own praises, that he is contented to be blamed on that account, provided he exposes the vanity of the false apostles.
To glory after the flesh, is to boast one’s self, rather in what has a tendency towards show, than in a good conscience. For the term flesh, here, has a reference to the world — when we seek after praise from outward masks, which have a showy appearance before the world, and are regarded as excellent. In place of this term he had a little before made use of the expression — in appearance. (2Co 10:7.)
19. For ye bear with fools willingly. He calls them wise — in my opinion, ironically. He was despised by them, which could not have been, had they not been puffed up with the greatest arrogance 843 He says, therefore — “Since you are so wise, act the part of wise men in bearing with me, whom you treat with contempt, as you would a fool.” Hence I infer, that this discourse is not addressed to all indiscriminately, but some particular persons are reproved, who conducted themselves in an unkind manner. 844
20. For ye bear with it, if any one. There are three ways in which this may be understood. He may be understood as reproving the Corinthians in irony, because they could not endure any thing, as is usually the case with effeminate persons; or he charges them with indolence, because they had given themselves up to the false Apostles in a disgraceful bondage; or he repeats, as it were, in the person of another, what was spitefully affirmed respecting himself, 845 as if he claimed for himself a tyrannical authority over them. The second meaning is approved by Chrysostom, Ambrose, and Augustine, and hence it is commonly received; and, indeed, it corresponds best with the context, although the third is not less in accordance with my views. For we see, how he was calumniated from time to time by the malevolent, as if he domineered tyrannically, while he was very far from doing so. As, however, the other meaning is more generally received, I have no objection, that it should be held as the true one.
Now this statement will correspond with the preceding one in this way: “You bear with every thing from others, if they oppress you, if they demand what belongs to you, if they treat you disdainfully. Why then will you not bear with me, as they are in no respect superior to me?” For as to his saying that he is not weak, he means that he had been endowed by God with such excellent graces, that he ought not to be looked upon as of the common order. For the word weak has a more extensive signification, as we shall see again ere long.
It has been the invariable custom, and will be so to the end, to resist contumaciously 846 the servants of God, to get enraged on the least occasion, 847 to grumble and murmur incessantly, to complain of even a moderate strictness, 848 to hold all discipline in abhorrence; while, on the other hand, they put themselves under servile subjection to false apostles, impostors, or mere worthless pretenders, give them liberty to do any thing whatever, and patiently submit to and endure, whatever burden they may choose to impose upon them. Thus, at the present day, you will scarcely find one in thirty, who will put his neck willingly under Christ’s yoke, while all have endured with patience a tyranny so severe as that of the Pope. Those very persons are all at once in an uproar, 849 in opposition to the fatherly and truly salutary reproofs of their pastors, who, on the other hand, had formerly swallowed down quietly every kind of insult, even the most atrocious, from the monks. 850 Are not those worthy of Antichrist’s torturing rack, rather than of Christ’s mild sway, who have ears so tender and backward to listen to the truth? But thus it has been from the beginning.
21. Nay, in whatsoever. Paul had asked, why the Corinthians showed more respect to others than to him, while he had not been by any means weak, that is, contemptible. He now confirms this, because, if a comparison had been entered upon, he would not have been inferior to any one in any department of honor.
2 Corinthians 11:22-29
22. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
22. Hebraei sunt? Ego quoque. Israelitae sunt? Ego quoque: semen Abrahae sunt? Ego quoque.
23. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool,) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
23. Ministri Christi sunt? Desipiens loquor, plus ego; in laboribus abundantius, in plagis supra modum, in carceribus copiosius, in mortibus saepe.
24. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
24. A Iudaeis quinquies quadraginta plagas accepi una minus.
25. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
25. Ter virgis caesus sum, semel lapidatus sum, ter naufragium feci, noctes et dies egi in profundo.
26. In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
26. In itineribus saepe, periculis fluminum, periculis latronum, periculis ex genere, periculis ex Gentibus, periculis in urbe, periculis in deserto, periculis in mari, periculis in falsis fratribus:
27. In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
27. In labore et molestia, in vigiliis saepe, in fame et siti, in ieiuniis saepe, in frigore et nuditate:
28. Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
28. Praeter ea quae extrinsecus accidunt, quotidiana mea moles, 851 sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum.
29. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
29. Quis infirmatur, et ego non infirmor? Quis offenditur, et ego non uror?
22. He now, by enumerating particular instances, lets them see more distinctly, that he would not by any means be found inferior, if matters came to a contest. And in the first place, he makes mention of the glory of his descent, of which his rivals chiefly vaunted. “If,” says he, “they boast of illustrious descent, I shall be on a level with them, for I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham.” This is a silly and empty boast, and yet Paul makes use of three terms to express it; nay more, he specifies, as it were, three different marks of excellence. By this repetition, in my opinion, he indirectly reproves their folly, inasmuch as they placed the sum-total 852 of their excellence in a thing that was so trivial, 853 and this boasting was incessantly in their mouth, so as to be absolutely disgusting, as vain men are accustomed to pour forth empty bravadoes as to a mere nothing.
As to the term Hebrews, it appears from Ge 11:15, that it denotes descent, and is derived from Heber; and farther, it is probable, that Abraham himself is so called in Ge 14:13, in no other sense than this — that he was descended from that ancestor. 854 Not altogether without some appearance of truth is the conjecture of those, who explain the term to mean those dwelling beyond the river. 855 We do not read, it is true, that any one was called so before Abraham, who had passed over the river, when he quitted his native country, and afterwards the appellation came to be a customary one among his posterity, as appears from the history of Joseph. The termination, however, shows that it is expressive of descent, and the passage, that I have quoted, abundantly confirms it. 856
23. Are they ministers of Christ? Now when he is treating of matters truly praiseworthy, he is no longer satisfied with being on an equality with them, but exalts himself above them. For their carnal glories he has previously been scattering like smoke by a breath of wind, 857 by placing in opposition to them those which he had of a similar kind; but as they had nothing of solid worth, he on good grounds separates himself from their society, when he has occasion to glory in good earnest. For to be a servant of Christ is a thing that is much more honorable and illustrious, than to be the first-born among all the first-born of Abraham’s posterity. Again, however, with the view of providing against calumnies, he premises that he speaks as a fool “Imagine this,” says he, “to be foolish boasting: it is, nevertheless, true.”
In labors. By these things he proves that he is a more eminent servant of Christ, and then truly we have a proof that may be relied upon, when deeds instead of words are brought forward. He uses the term labors here in the plural number, and afterwards labor What difference there is between the former and the latter I do not see, unless perhaps it be, that he speaks here in a more general way, including those things that he afterwards enumerates in detail. In the same way we may also understand the term deaths to mean any kind of perils that in a manner threatened present death, instances of which he afterwards specifies. “I have given proof of myself in deaths often, in labors oftener still.” He had made use of the term deaths in the same sense in the first chapter. (2Co 1:10.)
24. From the Jews. It is certain that the Jews had at that time been deprived of jurisdiction, but as this was a kind of moderate punishment (as they termed it) it is probable that it was allowed them. Now the law of God was to this effect, that those who did not deserve capital punishment should be beaten in the presence of a judge, (Deut. 25:2, 3,) provided not more than forty stripes were inflicted, lest the body should be disfigured or mutilated by cruelty. Now it is probable, that in process of time it became customary to stop at the thirty-ninth lash, 858 lest perhaps they should on any occasion, from undue warmth, exceed the number prescribed by God. Many such precautions, 859 prescribed by the Rabbins, 860 are to be found among the Jews, which make some restriction upon the permission that the Lord had given. Hence, perhaps, in process of time, (as things generally deteriorate,) they came to think, that all criminals should be beaten with stripes to that number, though the Lord did not prescribe, how far severity should go, but where it was to stop; unless perhaps you prefer to receive what is stated by others, that they exercised greater cruelty upon Paul. This is not at all improbable, for if they had been accustomed ordinarily to practice this severity upon all, he might have said that he was beaten according to custom. Hence the statement of the number is expressive of extreme severity.
25. Thrice was I beaten with rods Hence it appears, that the Apostle suffered many things, of which no mention is made by Luke; for he makes mention of only one stoning, 861 one scourging, and one shipwreck. We have not, however, a complete narrative, nor is there mention made in it of every particular that occurred, but only of the principal things.
By perils from the nation he means those that befell him from his own nation, in consequence of the hatred, that was kindled against him among all the Jews. On the other hand, he had the Gentiles as his adversaries; and in the third place snares were laid for him by false brethren. Thus it happened, that
for Christ’s name’s sake he was hated by all.
By fastings I understand those that are voluntary, as he has spoken previously of hunger and want. Such were the tokens by which he showed himself, and on good grounds, to be an eminent servant of Christ. For how may we better distinguish Christ’s servants than by proofs so numerous, so various, and so important? On the other hand, while those effeminate boasters 862 had done nothing for Christ, and had suffered nothing for him, they, nevertheless, impudently vaunted.
It is asked, however, whether any one can be a servant of Christ, that has not been tried with so many evils, perils, and vexations? I answer, that all these things are not indispensably requisite on the part of all; 863 but where these things are seen, there is, undoubtedly, a greater and more illustrious testimony afforded. That man, therefore, who will be signalized by so many marks of distinction, will not despise those that are less illustrious, and less thoroughly tried, nor will he on that account be elated with pride; but still, whenever there is occasion for it, he will be prepared, after Paul’s example, to exult with a holy triumph, in opposition to pretenders 864 and worthless persons, provided he has an eye to Christ, not to himself — for nothing but pride or ambition could corrupt and tarnish all these praises. For the main thing is — that we serve Christ with a pure conscience. All other things are, as it were, additional.
28. Besides those things that are without “Besides those things,” says he, “which come upon me from all sides, and are as it were extraordinary, what estimate must be formed of that ordinary burden that constantly presses upon me — the care that I have of all the Churches.” The care of all the Churches he appropriately calls his ordinary burden. For I have taken the liberty of rendering ἐπισύστασιν in this way, as it sometimes means — whatever presses upon us. 865
Whoever is concerned in good earnest as to the Church of God, stirs up himself and bears a heavy burden, which presses upon his shoulders. What a picture we have here of a complete minister, embracing in his anxieties and aims not one Church merely, or ten, or thirty, but all of them together, so that he instructs some, confirms others, exhorts others, gives counsel to some, and applies a remedy to the diseases of others! Now from Paul’s words we may infer, that no one can have a heartfelt concern for the Churches, without being harassed with many difficulties; for the government of the Church is no pleasant occupation, in which we may exercise ourselves agreeably and with delight of heart, 866 but a hard and severe warfare, as has been previously mentioned, (2Co 10:4,) — Satan from time to time giving us as much trouble as he can, and leaving no stone unturned to annoy us.
29. Who is weak. How many there are that allow all offenses to pass by unheeded — who either despise the infirmities of brethren, or trample them under foot! This, however, arises from their having no concern for the Church. For concern, undoubtedly, produces συμπάθειαν (sympathy,) 867 which leads the Minister of Christ to participate in the feelings of all, 868 and put himself in the place of all, that he may suit himself to all.
2 Corinthians 11:30-33
30. If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
30. Si gloriari oportet, in iis quae infirmitatis meae sunt gloriabor.
31. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
31. Deus et Pater Domini nostri Iesu Christi novit, qui est benedictus in saecula, quod non mentiar.
32. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me;
32. Damasci Aretas, regius gentis praefectus, custodiebat urbem Damascenorum, volens me apprehendere. (Acts 9:24, Acts 25:0.)
33. And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
33. Et per fenestram demissus fui in sporta per muros, atque effugi manus eius.
30. If he must glory. Here we have the conclusion, drawn from all that has gone before — that Paul is more inclined to boast of those things that are connected with his infirmity, that is, those things which might, in the view of the world, bring him contempt, rather than glory, as, for example, hunger, thirst, imprisonments, stonings, stripes, and the like — those things, in truth, that we are usually as much ashamed of, as of things that incur great dishonor. 869
31. The God and Father As he was about to relate a singular feat, 870 which, at the same time, was not well known, he confirms it by making use of an oath. Observe, however, what is the form of a pious oath, 871 — when, for the purpose of declaring the truth, we reverently call God as our witness. Now this persecution was, as it were, Paul’s first apprenticeship, 872 as appears from Luke, (Ac 9:23-25); but if, while yet a raw recruit, he was exercised in such beginnings, what shall we think of him, when a veteran soldier? As, however, flight gives no evidence of a valiant spirit, it may be asked, why it is that he makes mention of his flight? I answer, that the gates of the royal city having been closed, clearly showed with what rage the wicked were inflamed against him; and it was on no light grounds that they had been led to entertain such a feeling, 873 for if Paul had not fought for Christ with a new and unusual activity, the wicked would never have been thrown into such a commotion. His singular perseverance, however, shone forth chiefly in this — that, after escaping from so severe a persecution, he did not cease to stir up the whole world against him, by prosecuting fearlessly the Lord’s work.
It may be, however, that he proceeds to mock those ambitious men, who, while they had never had experience of any thing but applauses, favors, honorable salutations, and agreeable lodgings, wished to be held in the highest esteem. For, in opposition to this, he relates, that he was shut in, so that he could with difficulty save his life by a miserable and ignominious flight.
Some, however, ask, whether it was lawful for Paul to leap over the walls, inasmuch as it was a capital crime to do so? I answer, in the first place, that it is not certain, whether that punishment was sanctioned by law in the East; and farther, that even if it was so, Paul, nevertheless, was guilty of no crime, because he did not do this as an enemy, or for sport, but from necessity. For the law would not punish a man, that would throw himself down from the walls to save his life from the flames; and what difference is there between a fire, and a fierce attack from robbers? We must always, in connection with laws, have an eye to reason and equity. 874 This consideration will exempt Paul entirely from blame.
“Mesme aussi supportez moy, ou, et certes vous me supportez;” — “Even so bear with me, or, and certainly you do bear with me.”
“Des propos des faux apostres;” — “By the speeches of the false apostles.”
“Ceux ausquels ilsont affaire;” — “Those with whom they have to do.”
The rendering of the Vulgate is as follows: “Sed supportate me.” (“But bare with me.”) Wiclif (1380) reads: “But also supporte ye me.” Tyndale (1534) also renders in the imperative, as follows: “Yee, and I pray you forbeare me.” — Ed.
“Vne equalite et moderation;” — “An evenness and moderation.”
“De laquelle nous sommes esmeus pour l’amour de nostre Dieu;” — “By which we are influenced out of love to our God.”
“Et les faire perseuerer en saincte conionction auec luy;” — “And to lead them to persevere in holy connection with him.”
“Quiconque est froid et lasche;” — “Whoever is cold and indolent.”
“Paranymphos;” — “Friends of the bridegroom.” The reader will find the office and duties of paranymph detailed at considerable length by Dr. Adam Clarke, when commenting on Joh 3:29 — Ed.
The rendering of Erasmus, as stated by Beza, (who, like Calvin, disapproves of it,) is “ut exhiberctis;” — “that ye may present.” — Ed.
Tabuloe — Juvenal makes use of this term in the same sense: “Signatae tabuloe;” — “The marriage contract is signed.” — (Juv. 2 119.) See also Juv. 9:75. — Ed.
“Est conferme et establi par l’Euangile, comme par vn instrument authentique;” — “Is confirmed and established by the gospel, as by an authentic instrument.”
Beza, while, like Calvin, he views the expression εἰς τὸν Χριστόν, as meaning “in Christ,” makes mention of the rendering of Erasmus, adding a note of explanation, “Quoe erat erga Christum, nempe quia pure ac simpliciter illi obtemperabatis;” — “Which was towards Christ; that is, inasmuch as you obeyed him in purity and simplicity.” Cranmer (1539) renders as follows: “Euen so youre wyttes shuld be corrupte from the singlenes that ye had toward Christ. — Ed.
The rendering of the Vulgate is the same as that adopted by Calvin, “A simplicitate quae est in Christo;” — “From the simplicity which is in Christ.” — Ed.
“Corruptions et desguisemens venans d’ailleurs:” — “Corruptions and disguises springing from some other sources.”
“S’abbastardissent, corrompent, et debauchent;” — “Are adulterated, corrupted, and debauched.”
“Trop chagrins, difficiles, mal-aises a contenter, et faciles a estre irritez;” — “Excessively fretful, hard to please, not easily satisfied, and very readily provoked.”
“Entreprenent et vsurpent;” — “Assume and usurp.”
“Leur dure et insupportable tyrannie;” — “Their harsh and intolerable tyranny.”
“Mais de Christ, il ne leur en chaut, et ne font point de conscience de l’auoir en mespris;” — “But as for Christ, they do not care for him, and they make no scruple to hold him in contempt.”
“Monstroyent bien en cela leur ingratitude;” — “Showed clearly in this their ingratitude.”
“En quelque lieu que nous apperceuerons les dons de Dieu, il faut que la il soit honore de nous, et que nous luy portions reuerence;” — “Wherever we recognise the gifts of God, he must there be honored by us, and we must give him reverence.”
“Il n’y auoit que ceci seul;” — “There was only this one thing.”
“Ce fol iugement;” — “This foolish judgment.”
“La faculte de bien parler et auec grace;” — “The power of speaking well and gracefully.”
“La substance de la chose;” — “The substance of the thing.”
See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1, pp. 75-77.
“Et afin que i’vse d’vn prouerbe des Latins barbare, commun toutesfois — ‘Que les autres scachent les mots, mais que nous ayons bonne cognoissance de la chose;’” — “And to use a proverb of the Latins, barbarous, indeed, but common — ‘Let others know the words, but let us have a good acquaintance with the reality.’” Tymme, in his translation of Calvin on the Corinthians, (1573,) renders this proverb as follows: “Let other haue the shell, so we may haue the kernell.” — Ed.
“Monstrent audoigttout ce qu’il en pourroit dire;” — “Show with the finger every thing that he might be prepared to say as to it.”
“En ce que ie me suis humilie moy mesme, ou, abbaisse;” — “Because I have humbled or abased myself.”
“Je n’ay foulle personne, ou, ne suis point deuenu lasche en besongne au dommage de quelqu’vn;” — “I was not burdensome to any one, or, I did not become remiss in labor to the hurt of any one.”
“Car ce sainct Apostre estoit tellement embrasse du desir.” — “For this holy Apostle was to such a degree inflamed with desire.”
“See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1, p. 288.
“The word ἐσύλησα, rendered in our authorized version robbed, is derived from σύλη, spoils, and comes originally from the Hebrew verb שלל (shalal), which is frequently employed to denote spoiling, or making booty. (See Isa 10:6; Eze 29:19.) — “The word ἐσύλησα,” says Barnes, “means properly, ‘I spoiled, plundered, robbed,’ but the idea of Paul here is, that he, as it were, robbed them, because he did not render an equivalent for what they gave him. They supported him, when he was labouring for another people. A conqueror who plunders a country gives no equivalent for what he takes. In this sense only could Paul say, that he had plundered the Church at Philippi. His general principle was, that ’the labourer was worthy of his hire;’ and that a man was to receive his support from the people for whom he labored, (See 1Co 9:7-14,) but this rule he had not observed in this case.” — Ed.
“Il ne dit pas que les Macedoniens luy eussent donne tout ce qui luy estoit necessaire;” — “He does not say that the Macedonians had given him every thing that was necessary.”
“See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1, p. 37.
“Pour repoudre & l’objection;” — “With the view of replying to the objection.” — See Calvin on the Corinthians, volume 1.
“Ces trois lignes;” — “These three lines.”
“An oath is to be used, when other means are deficient; and more particularly, we are then only to swear, when the honor of God is concerned, or Religion and Christianity is falsely accused; and these are public grounds. To which we may add the good of the Commonwealth: or we are to swear upon a particular occasion to clear ourselves from false accusations and crimes charged upon us, if otherwise our innocency cannot appear; or in the behalf of others, when they shall suffer either in name, life, or estate, and we are required thereunto by the Magistrate, that so justice may proceed.” — Burgesse on 2 Corinthians 1. — See Calvin’s Harmony, volume 1. — Ed.
“C’estoit vne fausse monstre de quelque zele excellent, de seruir sans rien prendre;” — “It was a false show of eminent zeal, to serve without taking any thing.”
“De la resolution qu’il a prinse en cest endroit;” — “Of the resolution that he had taken as to this matter.”
“Par nostre imprudence et inconsideration;” — “By our imprudence and inconsideration.”
“S’insinuent finement sans qu’on y prene garde;” — “They artfully insinuate themselves, unless one be on his guard against them.”
“Comme porte le prouerbe des Latins;” — “As the proverb in use among the Latins runs.”
Beza takes the same view of this expression: “Nec enim illi dicuntur sese transfigurare in Satanam, sed in ministros propos et integros, quibus opponuntur δόλιοι. Hoc enim declarat epitheton justitiae ex Hebraeorum idiotismo;” — “For they are not said to transform themselves into Satan, but into ministers, who are honest and upright, as contrasted with those who are (δόλιοι) deceitful. For this is the import of the epithet, of righteousness, according to the Hebrew idiom.” Another instance of the same Hebrew idiom is noticed by Calvin in p. 196. — Ed.
The term παρέργον denotes — a matter of mere secondary importance. Thus Thucydides (6:58) says, ὁς οὐκ ἐκ παρέργου τὸν πόλεμον ἐποιεῖτο — who did not make the war a secondary consideration. — Ed.
“La facon exterieure en laquelle il procede;” — “The outward manner in which he goes to work.”
“C’est plustos afin de lea condemner es faux-Apostres;” — “It is rather with the view of condemning them in the false Apostles.”
“Afin de leur abbaisser le coquet:” — “With the view of bringing down their talk.”
Calvin refers here to the rendering of Erasmus, and of the Vulgate. The term employed by Erasmus is argumenturm (subject-matter.) In accordance with this, Cranmer’s version (1539) reads, “in this matter of boastinge.” The Vulgate makes use of the term substantia, (substance.) Wiclif (1380) reads, “in this substance of glorie” The Rheims version (1582), “in this substance of glorying.” — Ed.
“Certes il ne conueniendroit pas bien yci de traduire matiere ou substance, combien que le mot signifie quelque fois cela;” — “Certainly it would not be suitable here to render it subject-matter or substance, though the word sometimes bears that meaning.”
“D’vne merueilleuse arrogance;” — “With an amazing arrogance.”
“Enuers luy;” — “Towards him.”
“Ce que malicieusement on disoit de luy pour le rendre odieux;” — “What they said of him maliciously, with the view of making him odious.”
“De resister et contredire opiniastrement;” — “To resist and contradict obstinately.”
“Se corroucer aigrement contr’ eux a la moindre occasion;” — “To be fiercely enraged against them on the least occasion.”
“Se plaindre de leur seuerite, en disant qu’elle est excessiue;” — “To complain of their strictness, by saying that it is excessive.”
“Ils tempestent et grincent les dents;” — “They storm and gnash their teeth.”
“Toutes sortes d injures et outrages horribles que les moines leur faisoyent;” — “All sorts of horrible injuries and insults that the monks could inflict upon them.”
“La pesanteur ordinaire des affaires que i’ay; ou, il y a ce qui m’assiege de tour en tour;” — “The ordinary burden of affairs which I have; or, there is that which besieges me from day to day.”
“Proram et puppim;” — “The prow and stern.”
“Vne chose si vaine, et de si petite consequence;” — “A thing so empty, and of so small importance.”
“Qu’il estoit descendu d’Heber de pere en fils;” — “That he was descended from Heber, from father to son.”
“Vray est que la coniecture de ceux qui disent qu’ils sont ainsi appelez comme habitants outre la riuiere, n’est pas du tout sans eouleur;” — “It is true, that the conjecture of those who say that they are so called, as dwelling beyond the river, is not without some appearance of truth.”
“The word Hebrew signified properly one who was from beyond, (עכרי from עכר to pass, to pass over,) hence applied to Abraham, because he had come from a foreign land; and the word denoted properly a foreigner — a man from the land or country beyond (עכר) the Euphrates. The name Israelite denoted properly one descended from Israel or Jacob, and the difference between them was, that the name Israelite, being a patronymic derived from one of the founders of their nation, was in use among themselves; the name Hebrew was applied by the Canaanite to them, as having come from beyond the river, and was the current name among foreign tribes and nations.” — Barnes. — Ed.
“Car quant a leurs gloires charnelles, qui n’estoyent que choses vaines, iusques yci il les a fait esuanoir comme en soufflant dessus.” — “For as to theft carnal glories, which were but vain things, he has hitherto made them vanish by, as it were, blowing upon them.”
The custom of excepting one stripe from the forty is made mention of by Josephus: πληγὰς μίας λειπούσης τεσσαράκοντα, “forty stripes save one.” (Joseph. Antiq. lib. 4. cap. 8. sect. 21.) It is noticed by Wolfius, that the Jews in modern times make use of the same number of stripes — thirty-nine — in punishing offenders, there being evidence of this from what is stated by Uriel Acosta, who, in his Life, subjoined by Limborch to his Conversation with a learned Jew, declares that he had in punishment of his departure from the Jews, received stripes up to that number. — Ed.
“Plusieurs semblables pouruoyances et remedes inuentez par los Rabbins:” — “Many similar provisions and remedies, invented by the Rabbins.”
“The Mishna gives this as a rule, (MISH. Maccoth. fol. 22:10,) ‘How often shall he, the culprit, be smitten? Ans. אלכעין חסר אחד, forty stripes, wanting one, i.e., with the number which is nighest to forty.’ They also thought it right to stop under forty, lest the person who counted should make a mistake, and the criminal get more than forty stripes, which would be injustice, as the law required only forty.” — Dr. A. Clarke. “As the whip was formed of three cords, and every stroke was allowed to count for three stripes, the number of strokes never exceeded thirteen, which made thirty-nine stripes.” — Bloomfield. — Ed.
“Once was I stoned.” Paley remarks in his “Horae Paulinae,” that this clause, “when confronted with the history,” (contained in the Acts of the Apostles,) “furnishes the nearest approach to a contradiction, without a contradiction being actually incurred, of any that he remembers to have met with.” While the narrative contained in the Acts of the Apostles gives an account of only one instance in which Paul was actually stoned, (Ac 14:19,) there was, previously to that, “an assault” made upon Paul and Barnabas at Iconium, “both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews, with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, but they were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe.” (Acts 14:5, 6.) “Now had the ‘assault,’” says Paley, “been completed; had the history related that a stone was thrown, as it relates that preparations were made both by Jews and Gentiles to stone Paul and his companions; or even had the account of this transaction stopped, without going on to inform us that Paul and his companions were aware of their danger and fled, a contradiction between the history and the Apostle would have ensued. Truth is necessarily consistent; but it is scarcely possible that independent accounts, not having truth to guide them, should thus advance to the very brink of contradiction without falling into it.” — Ed.
“Thrasones.” — See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1, p. 98, n. 1.
“Il n’est pas necessairement requis que tous vniversellement endurent toutes telles fascheries;” — “It is not indispensably requisite that all universally endure all such vexations.”
“Des mercenaires;”. — “Hirelings.”
The word (ἐπισύστασις) is translated or rather paraphrased by Beza as follows: “Agmen illud in me consurgens;” — “That troop which rises up together against me.” He adds by way of explanation: “Certum est enim ἐπισύστασιν dici multitudinem quae adversus aliquem coierit, idque non semel, sed repetitis vicibus. Quia igitur multiplices erant curae, quarum tanquam agmine magis ac magis veluti obruebatur, Apostolus usus est translatitie hoc vocabulo, admodum significanter;” — “For it is certain that ἐπισύστασιν denotes a multitude that has come together against any one, and that not once merely, but in repeated instances. As, therefore, there were manifold cares, by which rushing upon him like a troop, more and more, he was in a manner overwhelmed, the Apostle, by way of metaphor, made use of this term very significantly.” Raphelius considers the term to be synonymous with an expression made use of by Cicero: “concursus occupationum;” — “a crowding together of engagements.” — (Cic. Fam. 7:33.) — Ed.
“Car le gouernement de l’Eglise n’est pas vne occupation ioyeuse pour nous exercer tout doucement, et par manicrc de passe-temps et exercice gracieux pour recreer nos esprits;” — “For the government of the Church is not a pleasant occupation for exercising ourselves quite agreeably, and by way of pass-time, and an agreeable exercise for refreshing our minds.”
See Calvin’s Harmony, vol. 2, p. 232.
“Prend en soy les afflictions de tous;” — “Take upon himself the afflictions of all.”
“De toutes lesquelles nous n’avons point de honte coustumierement, que si nous estions vileinement diffamez;” — “Of all which we feel ordinarily as much ashamed, as if we had been shockingly defamed.”
“Vn acte singulier de vray champion de guerre;” — “A singular feat of a true champion of war.”
“De iurement sainete et lieitc;” — “Of a holy and lawful oath.”
Calvin, when commenting on the passage referred to, (Ac 9:23-25,) makes use of a similar expression: “Hoc tiroeinio ad erueem ferendam mature assuefaetus fuit;” — “By this apprenticeship he was early inured to the endurance of the cross.” — Ed.
“Et qu’ils n’auoyent point conceu telle fureur pour vne chose leger et de petite consequence;” — “And that they had not conceived such a rage for a slight matter, and one of small consequence.”
Calvin seems to have here in his eye a passage expressly alluded to by him, when commenting on Ac 9:23-25, from the writings of Cicero, to the following effect: “Etiamsi peregrinum lex arceat a muri accessu, minime tamen peccat, qui murum conscendit servandae urbis causa, quia leges semper ad aequitatem flectendae sunt;” — “Although the law forbids a foreigner to approach the wall, no offense is committed by the man, who scales the wall with a view to the defense of the city; for the laws must always be made to bend towards equity.” — Ed.