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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 2

Verse 2. For I am jealous over you. This verse expresses the reason why he was disposed to speak of his attainments, and of what he dad done. It was because he loved them, and because he feared that they were in danger of being seduced from the simplicity of the gospel. The phrase, "I am jealous," (zhlw,) means, properly, I ardently love you; I am full of tender attachment to you. The word was usual among the Greeks to denote an ardent affection of any kind, (from zew, to boil, to be fervid or fervent.) The precise meaning is to be determined by the connexion. See Barnes "1 Co 12:31".

The word may denote the jealousy which is felt by an apprehension of departure from fidelity on the part of those whom we love; or it may denote a fervid and glowing attachment. The meaning here probably is, that Paul had a strong attachment to them.

With godly jealousy. Greek, "with the zeal of God," (yeou zhlw) That is, with very great or vehement zeal—in accordance with the Hebrew custom when the name God is used to denote anything signally great, as the phrase "mountains of God," meaning very elevated or lofty mountains. The mention of this ardent attachment suggested what follows. His mind reverted to the tenderness of the marriage relation, and to the possibility that in that relation the affections might be estranged. He makes use of this figure, therefore, to apprize them of the change which he apprehended.

For I have espoused you, etc. The word here used armozw means, properly, to adapt, to fit, to join together. Hence to join in wedlock, to marry. Here it means to marry to another; and the idea is, that Paul had been the agent employed in forming a connexion, similar to the marriage connexion, between them and the Saviour. The allusion here is not certain. It may refer to the custom which prevailed when friends made and procured the marriage for the bridegroom; or it may refer to some custom like that which prevailed among the Lacedemonians, where persons were employed to form the lives and manners of virgins, and prepare them for the duties of the married life. The sense is clear. Paul claims that it was by his instrumentality that they had been united to the Redeemer. Under him they had been brought into a relation to the Saviour, similar to that sustained by the bride to her husband; and he felt all the interest in them which naturally grew out of that fact, and from a desire to present them blameless to the pure Redeemer. The relation of the church to Christ is often represented by marriage. See Eph 5:23-33; Re 19:7; 21:9.

 

To one husband. To the Redeemer.

That I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. The allusion here, according to Doddridge, is to the custom among the Greeks "of having an officer whose business it was to educate and form young women, especially those of rank and figure, designed for marriage, and then to present them to those who were to be their husbands; and if this officer through negligence permitted them to be corrupted between the espousals and the consummation of the marriage, great blame would fall upon him." Such a responsibility Paul felt. So anxious was he for the entire purity of that church which was to constitute "the bride, the Lamb's wife;" so anxious that all who were connected with that church should be presented pure in heaven.

{a} "to one husband" Hos 2:19,20 {b} "chaste virgin" Le 21:13

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