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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY - Chapter 4 - Verse 14

Verse 14. Alexander the coppersmith. Or, rather, the brazier o calkeuv. The word is used, however, to denote a worker in any kind of metals. This is, probably, the same person who is mentioned in 1 Ti 1:20, and, perhaps, the same as the one mentioned in Ac 19:33. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:20".

 

Did me much evil. In what way this was done, is not mentioned. If this is the same person who is referred to in 1 Ti 1:20, it is probable that it was not evil to Paul personally, so much as embarrassment to the cause of religion which he advocated. Comp. 2 Ti 2:17,18.

The Lord reward him according to his works. Comp. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:20".

This need not be regarded as an expression of private feeling; still less should it be understood as expressing a desire of revenge. It is the language of one who wished that God would treat him exactly as he ought to be treated, and might be in accordance with the highest benevolence of any heart. It is the aim of every just government that every one should be treated exactly as he deserves; and every good citizen should desire and pray that exact justice may be done to all. It is the business of a police officer to ferret out the guilty, to bring them to trial, to secure a just sentence; and any police officer might pray, with the utmost propriety, that God would assist him in his endeavours, and enable him to perform his duty. This might be done with no malevolent feeling toward any human being, but with the purest love of country, and the most earnest desire for the welfare of all. If such a police officer, or if a judge, or a juryman, were heard thus to pray, who would dare to accuse him of having a vindictive spirit, or a malevolent heart? And why should Paul be so charged, when his prayer amounts to no more than this? For it remains yet to be proved, that he refers to any private wrong which Alexander had done him, or that he was actuated by any other desire than that the sacred interests of truth should be guarded, and equal justice done to all. Why is it wrong to desire or to pray that universal justice may be done, and that every man may be treated as, under all the circumstances of the case, he ought to be treated? On the subject of the "Imprecations in the Scriptures," the reader may consult an article in the Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 1, pp. 97— 110. It should be added, here, that some manuscripts, instead of apodwh, "may the Lord reward," read it in the future— apodwsei, "will reward." See Wetstein. The future is also found in the Vulgate, Coptic, and in Augustine, Theodoret, and Chrysostom. Augustine says, (on the Sermon on the Mount,) "He does not say, may he reward, (reddat;) but, he will reward, (redder,) which is a verb of prophecy, not of imprecation." The authority, however, is not sufficient to justify a change in the present reading. These variations have, do doubtless, arisen from a belief, that the common reading expresses a sentiment inconsistent with the true spirit of a Christian, and a desire to find a better. But there is no reason for desiring a change in the text.

{b} "Lord reward him" Ps 28:4

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