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Verse 16. But be it so. This is evidently a charge of his enemies; or at least a charge which it might be supposed they would make. Whether they ever in fact made it, or whether the apostle merely anticipates an objection, it is impossible to determine. It is clearly to be regarded as the language of objectors; for,

(1.) it can never be supposed that Paul would state as a serious matter that he had caught them with deceit or fraud.

(2.) He answers it as an objection in the following verse. The meaning is, "We admit that you did not burden us. You did not exact a support from us. But all this was mere trick. You accomplish the same thing in another way. You professed when with us not to seek our property but our souls. But in various ways you contrived to get our money, and to secure your object. You made others the agents for doing this, and sent them among us under various pretexts to gain money from us." It will be remembered that Paul had sent Titus among them to take up the collection for the poor saints in Judea, 2 Co 8:6; and it is not at all improbable that some there had charged Paul with making use of this pretence only to obtain money for his own private use. To guard against this charge was one of the reasons why Paul was so anxious to have some persons appointed by the church to take charge of the contribution. See 1 Co 16:3, See Barnes "2 Co 8:19, also 2 Co 8:20-21.

Being crafty. Being cunning. That is, by sending persons to obtain money on different pretences.

I caught you with guile. I took you by deceit or fraud. That is, making use of fraud in pretending that the money was for poor and afflicted saints, when in reality it was for my own use. It is impossible that Paul should have ever admitted this of himself; and they greatly pervert the passage who suppose that it applies to him, and then plead that it is right to make use of guile in accomplishing their purposes. Paul never carried his measures by dishonesty, nor did he ever justify fraud. See Barnes "Ac 23:6".

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