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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY - Chapter 5 - Verse 13

Verse 13. And withal. In addition to the prospect that they may marry again, there are other disadvantages which might follow from such an arrangement, and other evils to be feared, which it is desirable to avoid.

They learn to be idle. That is, if supported by the church, and if without the settled principles which might be expected in those more aged and experienced, it may be feared that they will give themselves up to an indolent life. There would be a security in the age and established habits of those more advanced in life, which there could not be in their case. The apostle does not mean that widows are naturally disposed to be idle, but that in the situation referred to, there would be danger of it.

Wandering about from house to house. A natural consequence of supposing that they had nothing to do, and a practice not only profitless, but always attended with mischief.

Tattlers also. Literally, overflowing; then overflowing with talk—praters, triflers. They would learn all the news; become acquainted with the secrets of families; and of course indulge in much idle and improper conversation. Our word gossippers would accurately express the meaning here. The noun does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. The verb occurs in 3 Jo 10; rendered, prating against.

And busybodies. See Barnes "2 Th 3:11".

The word means, probably, working all round, over-doing, and then an intermeddler. Persons who have nothing to do of their own, commonly find employment by interesting themselves in the affairs of their neighbours. No one likes to be wholly idle; and if any one is not found doing what he ought to do, he will commonly be found engaged in doing what he ought not.

Speaking things which they ought not. Revealing the concerns of their neighbours; disclosing secrets; magnifying trifles, so as to exalt themselves into importance, as if they were intrusted with the secrets of others; inventing stories and tales of gossip, that they may magnify and maintain their own consequence in the community. No persons are commonly more dangerous to the peace of a neighbourhood, than those who have nothing to do.

{a} "not only idle" 2 Th 3:11

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