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16 At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

 


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16. At my first answer—that is, "defense" in court, at my first public examination. Timothy knew nothing of this, it is plain, till Paul now informs him. But during his former imprisonment at Rome, Timothy was with him (Php 1:1, 7). This must have been, therefore, a second imprisonment. He must have been set free before the persecution in A.D. 64, when the Christians were accused of causing the conflagration in Rome; for, had he been a prisoner then, he certainly would not have been spared. The tradition [Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.251] that he was finally beheaded, accords with his not having been put to death in the persecution, A.D. 64, when burning to death was the mode by which the Christians were executed, but subsequently to it. His "first" trial in his second imprisonment seems to have been on the charge of complicity in the conflagration; his absence from Rome may have been the ground of his acquittal on that charge; his final condemnation was probably on the charge of introducing a new and unlawful religion into Rome.

stood with meGreek, "came forward with me" [Alford] as a friend and advocate.

may it not be laid to their charge—The position of "their," in the Greek, is emphatic. "May it not be laid to THEIR charge," for they were intimidated; their drawing back from me was not from bad disposition so much as from fear; it is sure to be laid to the charge of those who intimidated them. Still Paul, like Stephen, would doubtless have offered the same prayer for his persecutors themselves (Ac 7:60).

17. the Lord—the more because men deserted me.

stood with me—stronger than "came forward with me" (Greek, 2Ti 4:16).

strengthenedGreek, "put strength in me."

by me—"through me"; through my means. One single occasion is often of the greatest moment.

the preaching—"the Gospel proclamation."

might be fully known—might be fully made (see on 2Ti 4:5).

that all the Gentiles—present at my trial, "might hear" the Gospel proclaimed then. Rome was the capital of the Gentile world, so that a proclamation of the truth to the Romans was likely to go forth to the rest of the Gentile world.

I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion—namely, Satan, the roaring, devouring lion (Lu 22:31; 1Pe 5:8). I was prevented falling into his snare (2Ti 2:26; Ps 22:21; 2Pe 2:9); 2Ti 4:18 agrees with this interpretation, "The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work," namely, both from evil and the evil one, as the Greek of the Lord's Prayer expresses it. It was not deliverance from Nero (who was called the lion) which he rejoiced in, for he did not fear death (2Ti 4:6-8), but deliverance from the temptation, through fear, to deny His Lord: so Alford.

18. And the Lord shall, &c.—Hope draws its conclusions from the past to the future [Bengel].

will preserve me—literally, "will save" (Ps 22:21), "will bring me safe to." Jesus is the Lord and the Deliverer (Php 3:20; 1Th 1:10): He saves from evil; He gives good things.

heavenly kingdomGreek, "His kingdom which is a heavenly one."

to whom, &c.—Greek, "to whom be the glory unto the ages of ages." The very hope produces a doxology: how much greater will be the doxology which the actual enjoyment shall produce! [Bengel].