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Chapter 10

10:1 For [gar]. Correct text, not [de]. Paul appeals to the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness in confirmation of his statement concerning himself in 9:26f. and as a powerful warning to the Corinthians who may be tempted to flirt with the idolatrous practices of their neighbours. It is a real, not an imaginary peril. All under the cloud [pantes hupo tēn nephelēn]. They all marched under the pillar of cloud by day (Ex 13:21; 14:19) which covered the host (Nu 14:14; Ps 95:39). This mystic cloud was the symbol of the presence of the Lord with the people.

10:2 Were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea [pantes eis ton Mōusēn ebaptisanto en tēi nephelēi kai en tēi thalassēi]. The picture is plain enough. The mystic cloud covered the people while the sea rose in walls on each side of them as they marched across. B K L P read [ebaptisanto] (causative first aorist middle, got themselves baptized) while Aleph A C D have [ebaptisthēsan] (first aorist passive, were baptized). The immersion was complete for all of them in the sea around them and the cloud over them. Moses was their leader then as Christ is now and so Paul uses [eis] concerning the relation of the Israelites to Moses as he does of our baptism in relation to Christ (Ga 3:27).

10:3 The same spiritual meat [to auto pneumatikon brōma]. Westcott and Hort needlessly bracket to [auto]. [Brōma] is food, not just flesh. The reference is to the manna (Ex 16:13ff.) which is termed “spiritual” by reason of its supernatural character. Jesus called himself the true bread from heaven (Joh 6:35) which the manna typified.

10:4 For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them [epinon ek pneumatikēs akolouthousēs petras]. Change to the imperfect [epinon] shows their continual access to the supernatural source of supply. The Israelites were blessed by the water from the rock that Moses smote at Rephidim (Ex 17:6) and at Kadesh (Nu 20:11) and by the well of Beer (Nu 21:16). The rabbis had a legend that the water actually followed the Israelites for forty years, in one form a fragment of rock fifteen feet high that followed the people and gushed out water. Baur and some other scholars think that Paul adopts this “Rabbinical legend that the water-bearing Rephidim rock journeyed onwards with the Israelites” (Findlay). That is hard to believe, though it is quite possible that Paul alludes to this fancy and gives it a spiritual turn as a type of Christ in allegorical fashion. Paul knew the views of the rabbis and made use of allegory on occasion (Ga 4:24). And the rock was Christ [hē petra de ēn ho Christos]. He definitely states here in symbolic form the preexistence of Christ. But surely “we must not disgrace Paul by making him say that the pre-incarnate Christ followed the march of Israel in the shape of a lump of rock” (Hofmann). He does mean that Christ was the source of the water which saved the Israelites from perishing (Robertson and Plummer) as he is the source of supply for us today.

10:5 With most of them [en tois pleiosin autōn]. “A mournful understatement,” for only two (Caleb and Joshua) actually reached the Promised Land (Nu 14:30-32). All the rest were rejected or [adokimoi] (9:27). Were overthrown [katestrōthēsan]. First aorist passive indicative of [katastrōnnumi], old compound verb, to stretch or spread down as of a couch, to lay low (Euripides), as if by a hurricane. Powerful picture of the desolation wrought by the years of disobedience and wanderings in the desert by this verb quoted from Nu 14:16.

10:6 Were our examples [tupoi hēmōn egenēthēsan]. More exactly, examples for us (objective genitive [hēmōn], not subjective genitive, of us). The word [tupoi] (our types) comes from [tuptō], to strike, and meant originally the mark of a blow as the print of the nails (Joh 20:25), then a figure formed by a blow like images of the gods (Ac 7:43), then an example to be imitated (1Pe 5:3; 1Ti 4:12; 1Th 1:7; 2Th 3:9), or to be avoided as here, and finally a type in a doctrinal sense (Ro 5:14; Heb 9:24). To the intent we should not lust after [eis to mē einai hēmas epithumētas]. Purpose expressed by [eis] with the articular infinitive [to einai] and the accusative of general reference with [epithumētas] (lusters) in the predicate.

10:7 Neither be ye idolaters [mēde eidōlolatrai ginesthe]. Literally, stop becoming idolaters, implying that some of them had already begun to be. The word [eidōlolatrēs] seems to be a Christian formation to describe the Christian view. Eating [ta eidōlothuta] might become a stepping-stone to idolatry in some instances. Drink [pein]. Short form for [piein], sometimes even [pin] occurs (Robertson, Grammar, p. 204). To play [paizein]. This old verb to play like a child occurs nowhere else in the N.T., but is common in the LXX and it is quoted here from Ex 32:6. In idolatrous festivals like that witnessed by Moses when he saw the people singing and dancing around the golden calf (Ex 32:18f.).

10:8 Neither let us commit fornication [mēde porneuōmen]. More exactly, And let us cease practicing fornication as some were already doing (1Co 6:11; 7:2). The connection between idolatry and fornication was very close (see Jowett, Epistles of Paul, II, p. 70) and see about Baal-Peor (Nu 25:1-9). It was terribly true of Corinth where prostitution was part of the worship of Aphrodite. In one day [miāi hēmerāi]. An item that adds to horror of the plague in Nu 25:9 where the total number is 24,000 instead of 23,000 as here for one day.

10:9 Neither let us tempt the Lord [mēde ekpeirazōmen ton Kurion]. So the best MSS. instead of Christ. This compound occurs in LXX and in N.T. always about Christ (here and Mt 4:7; Lu 4:12; 10:25). Let us cease sorely [ek-] tempting the Lord by such conduct. And perished by the serpents [kai hupo tōn opheōn apōllunto]. Vivid imperfect middle (cf. aorist middle [apōlonto] in verse 10), were perishing day by day. The story is told in Nu 21:6. The use of [hupo] for agent with the intransitive middle of [apollumi] is regular. Note the Ionic uncontracted genitive plural [opheōn] rather than [ophōn].

10:10 Neither murmur ye [mēde gogguzete]. Implying that some of them were murmuring. For this late picturesque onomatopoetic verb see on Mt 20:11. The reference seems to be to Nu 16:41f. after the punishment of Korah. By the destroyer [hupo tou olothreutou]. This word, from [olothreuō] (late verb from [olethros], destruction) occurs only here, so far as known. The reference is to the destroying angel of Ex 12:23 [ho olothreuōn].

10:11 Now these things happened unto them [tauta de sunebainon ekeinois]. Imperfect tense because they happened from time to time. By way of example [tupikōs]. Adverb in sense of [tupoi] in verse 6. Only instance of the adverb except in ecclesiastical writers after this time, but adjective [tupikos] occurs in a late papyrus. For our admonition [pros nouthesian hēmōn]. Objective genitive [hēmōn] again. [Nouthesia] is late word from [noutheteō] (see on Ac 20:31; 1Th 5:12,14) for earlier [nouthetēsis] and [nouthetia]. The ends of the ages have come [ta telē tōn aiōnōn katēntēken]. Cf. Heb 9:26 [hē sunteleia tōn aiōnōn], the consummation of the ages (also Mt 13:40). The plural seems to point out how one stage succeeds another in the drama of human history. [Katēntēken] is perfect active indicative of [katantaō], late verb, to come down to (see on Ac 16:1). Does Paul refer to the second coming of Christ as in 7:26? In a sense the ends of the ages like a curtain have come down to all of us.

10:12 Lest he fall [mē pesēi]. Negative purpose with [] and second aorist active subjunctive of [piptō].

10:13 Hath taken [eilēphen]. Perfect active indicative of [lambanō]. But such as man can bear [ei mē anthrōpinos]. Except a human one. Old adjective meaning falling to the lot of man. Above that ye are able [huper ho dunasthe]. Ellipsis, but plain. There is comfort in that God is faithful, trustworthy [pistos]. The way of escape [tēn ekbasin]. “The way out” is always there right along with [sun] the temptation. This old word only here in N.T. and Heb 13:7 about death. It is cowardly to yield to temptation and distrustful of God.

10:14 Wherefore [dioper]. Powerfully Paul applies the example of the Israelites to the perilous state of the Corinthians about idolatry. See on verse 7 for word [eidōlolatreia].

10:15 As to wise men [hōs phronimois]. No sarcasm as in 2Co 11:19, but plea that they make proper use of the mind [phren] given them.

10:16 The cup of blessing [to potērion tēs eulogias]. The cup over which we pronounce a blessing as by Christ at the institution of the ordinance. A communion of the blood of Christ [koinōnia tou haimatos tou Christou]. Literally, a participation in (objective genitive) the blood of Christ. The word [koinōnia] is an old one from [koinōnos], partner, and so here and Php 2:1; 3:10. It can mean also fellowship (Ga 2:9) or contribution (2Co 8:4; Php 1:5). It is, of course, a spiritual participation in the blood of Christ which is symbolized by the cup. Same meaning for [koinōnia] in reference to “the body of Christ.” The bread which we break [ton arton hon klōmen]. The loaf. Inverse attraction of the antecedent [arton] to the case (accusative) of the relative [hon] according to classic idiom (Robertson, Grammar, p. 488). [Artos] probably from [arō], to join or fit (flour mixed with water and baked). The mention of the cup here before the bread does not mean that this order was observed for see the regular order of bread and then cup in 11:24-27.

10:17 One bread [heis artos]. One loaf. Who are many [hoi polloi]. The many. We all [hoi pantes]. We the all, the whole number, [hoi pantes] being in apposition with the subject we [hēmeis] unexpressed). Partake [metechomen]. Have a part with or in, share in. See on 9:12; Heb 2:14; 5:13 (partaking of milk). Of the one bread [tou henos artou]. Of the one loaf, the article [tou] referring to one loaf already mentioned. One body [hen sōma]. Here the mystical spiritual body of Christ as in 12:12f., the spiritual kingdom or church of which Christ is head (Col 1:18; Eph 5:23).

10:18 After the flesh [kata sarka]. The literal Israel, the Jewish people, not the spiritual Israel [Israēl kata pneuma] composed of both Jews and Gentiles, the true children of faith (Ro 2:28; 9:8; Gal 3:7). Communion with the altar [koinōnoi tou thusiastēriou]. Same idea in [koinōnoi] participators in, partners in, sharers in (with objective genitive). The word [thusiastērion] is from late verb [thusiazō], to offer sacrifice, and that from [thusia], sacrifice, and that from [thuō], common verb to slay, to sacrifice (verse 20). The Israelites who offer sacrifices have a spiritual participation in the altar.

10:19 A thing sacrificed to idols [eidōlothuton]. See on Ac 15:29; 1Co 8:1, 4. Idol [eidōlon]. Image of a god. See on Ac 7:41; 15:20; 1Co 8:4, 7.

10:20 But I say that [all’ hoti]. The verb [phēmi] (I say) must be repeated from verse 19 before [hoti]. To demons, and not to God [daimoniois kai ou theōi]. Referring to LXX text of De 32:17. It is probable that by [ou theōi] Paul means “to a no-god” as also in De 32:21 [ep’ ouk ethnei] (by a no-people). This is Paul’s reply to the heathen who claimed that they worshipped the gods represented by the images and not the mere wood or stone or metal idols. The word [daimonia] is an adjective [daimonios] from [daimōn], an inferior deity, and with same idea originally, once in this sense in N.T. (Ac 17:18). Elsewhere in N.T. it has the notion of evil spirits as here, those spiritual forces of wickedness (Eph 6:12) that are under the control of Satan. The word [daimonia], so common in the Gospels, occurs in Paul’s writings only here and 1Ti 4:1. Demonology is a deep and dark subject here pictured by Paul as the explanation of heathenism which is a departure from God (Ro 1:19-23) and a substitute for the worship of God. It is a terrible indictment which is justified by the licentious worship associated with paganism then and now.

10:21 Ye cannot [ou dunasthe]. Morally impossible to drink the Lord’s cup and the cup of demons, to partake of the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Of the table of the Lord [trapezēs Kuriou]. No articles, but definite idea. [Trapeza] is from [tetra] (four) and [peza] (a foot), four-footed. Here table means, as often, what is on the table. See Lu 22:30 where Jesus says “at my table” [epi tēs trapezēs mou], referring to the spiritual feast hereafter. Here the reference is plainly to the Lord’s Supper [Kuriakon deipnon], 1Co 11:20). See allusions in O.T. to use of the table in heathen idol feasts (Isa 65:11; Jer 7:18; Eze 16:18f.; 23:41). The altar of burnt-offering is called the table of the Lord in Mal 1:7 (Vincent).

10:22 Provoke to jealousy [parazēloumen]. The very word used in De 32:21 of the insolence of the old Israelites. Quoted in Ro 10:19. Such double-dealing now will do this very thing. Stronger than he [ischuroteroi autou]. Comparative adjective followed by the ablative.

10:23 See on 6:12 for lawful [exestin] and expedient [sumpherei]. Edify not [ouk oikodomei]. Build up. Explanation of expedient [sumpherei].

10:24 Let no man seek his own [mēdeis to heautou zēteitō]. This is Paul’s rule for social relations (1Co 13:5; Ga 6:2; Ro 14:7; 15:2; Php 2:1ff.) and is the way to do what is expedient and what builds up. His neighbour’s good [to tou heterou]. Literally, “the affair of the other man.” Cf. [ton heteron] in Ro 13:8 for this idea of [heteros] like [ho plēsion] (the nigh man, the neighbour) in Ro 15:2. This is loving your neighbour as yourself by preferring your neighbour’s welfare to your own (Php 2:4).

10:25 In the shambles [en makellōi]. Only here in N.T. A transliterated Latin word macellum, possibly akin to [maceria] and the Hebrew word for enclosure, though occurring in Ionic and Laconian and more frequent in the Latin. It occurs in Dio Cassius and Plutarch and in the papyri and inscriptions for “the provision market.”; Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, p. 276) says: “In the Macellum at Pompeii we can imagine to ourselves the poor Christians buying their modest pound of meat in the Corinthian Macellum (1Co 10:25), with the same life-like reality with which the Diocletian maximum tariff called up the picture of the Galilean woman purchasing her five sparrows.” Asking no questions for conscience sake [mēden anakrinontes dia tēn suneidēsin]. As to whether a particular piece of meat had been offered to idols before put in the market. Only a part was consumed in the sacrifices to heathen gods. The rest was sold in the market. Do not be over-scrupulous. Paul here champions liberty in the matter as he had done in 8:4.

10:26 This verse gives the reason for Paul’s advice. It is a quotation from Ps 24:1 and was a common form of grace before meals. Fulness [plērōma]. Old word from [plēroō], to fill, here that with which a thing is filled, whatever fills the earth.

10:27 Biddeth you [kalei humas]. To a general banquet, but not to a temple feast (8:10) which is prohibited. If a pagan invites Christians to their homes to a banquet, one is to act like a gentleman.

10:28 But if any man say unto you [ean de tis humin eipēi]. Condition of third class. Suppose at such a banquet a “weak” brother makes the point to you: “This hath been offered in sacrifice” [touto hierothuton estin]. [Hierothuton], late word in Plutarch, rare in inscriptions and papyri, only here in N.T. Eat not [mē esthiete]. Present imperative with [] prohibiting the habit of eating then. Pertinent illustration to the point of doing what is expedient and edifying. That shewed it [ton mēnusanta]. First aorist active articular participle (accusative case because of [dia] from [mēnuō], old verb, to point out, to disclose. See Lu 20:37.

10:29 For why is my liberty judged by another conscience? [hina ti gar hē eleutheria mou krinetai hupo allēs suneidēseōs;]. Supply [genētai] (deliberative subjunctive) after [ti]. Paul deftly puts himself in the place of the strong brother at such a banquet who is expected to conform his conscience to that of the weak brother who makes the point about a particular piece of meat. It is an abridgment of one’s personal liberty in the interest of the weak brother. Two individualities clash. The only reason is love which builds up (8:2 and all of chapter 1Co 13). There is this eternal collision between the forces of progress and reaction. If they work together, they must consider the welfare of each other.

10:30 Paul carries on the supposed objective to his principle of love. Why incur the risk of being evil spoken of [blasphēmoumai] for the sake of maintaining one’s liberty? Is it worth it? See Ro 14:6 where Paul justifies the conscience of one who eats the meat and of one who does not. Saying grace over food that one should not eat seems inconsistent. We have this very word blaspheme in English.

10:31 To the glory of God [eis doxan theou]. This is the ruling motive in the Christian’s life, not just having his own way about whims and preferences.

10:32 Give no occasion of stumbling [aproskopoi]. Late word and in papyri, only three times in N.T. (here; Php 1:10; Ac 24:16). See on Acts 24:16. Here in active sense, not tripping others by being a stumbling-block, as in Sirach 32:21, but passive in Ac 24:16.

10:33 Mine own profit [to emoutou sumpheron]. Old word from [sumpherō], to bear together, and explains use of verb in verse 23. That they may be saved [hina sōthōsin]. First aorist passive subjunctive of [sōzō], to save, with [hina] purpose clause with same high motive as in 9:22. This is the ruling passion of Paul in his dealings with men.

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