2 Corinthians 11:22-29
22. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
22. Hebraei sunt? Ego quoque. Israelitae sunt? Ego quoque: semen Abrahae sunt? Ego quoque.
23. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool,) I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
23. Ministri Christi sunt? Desipiens loquor, plus ego; in laboribus abundantius, in plagis supra modum, in carceribus copiosius, in mortibus saepe.
24. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
24. A Iudaeis quinquies quadraginta plagas accepi una minus.
25. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
25. Ter virgis caesus sum, semel lapidatus sum, ter naufragium feci, noctes et dies egi in profundo.
26. In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
26. In itineribus saepe, periculis fluminum, periculis latronum, periculis ex genere, periculis ex Gentibus, periculis in urbe, periculis in deserto, periculis in mari, periculis in falsis fratribus:
27. In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
27. In labore et molestia, in vigiliis saepe, in fame et siti, in ieiuniis saepe, in frigore et nuditate:
28. Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the Churches.
28. Praeter ea quae extrinsecus accidunt, quotidiana mea moles, 1 sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum.
29. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
29. Quis infirmatur, et ego non infirmor? Quis offenditur, et ego non uror?
22. He now, by enumerating particular instances, lets them see more distinctly, that he would not by any means be found inferior, if matters came to a contest. And in the first place, he makes mention of the glory of his descent, of which his rivals chiefly vaunted. "If," says he, "they boast of illustrious descent, I shall be on a level with them, for I also am an Israelite, of the
As to the term Hebrews, it appears from Genesis 11:15, that it denotes descent, and is derived from Heber; and farther, it is probable, that Abraham himself is so called in Genesis 14:13, in no other sense than this -- that he was descended from that ancestor. 4 Not altogether without some appearance of truth is the conjecture of those, who explain the term to mean
23. Are they ministers of Christ? Now when he is treating of matters truly praiseworthy, he is no longer satisfied with being on an equality with them, but exalts himself above them. For their carnal glories he has previously been scattering like smoke by a breath of wind, 7 by placing in opposition to them those which he had of a similar kind; but as they had nothing of solid worth, he on good grounds separates himself from their society, when he has occasion to glory in good earnest. For to be a servant of Christ is a thing that is much more honorable and illustrious, than to be the first-born among all the first-born of Abraham's posterity. Again, however, with the view of providing against calumnies, he premises that he speaks as a fool. "Imagine this," says he, "to be foolish boasting: it is, nevertheless, true."
In labors. By these things he proves that he is a more eminent servant of Christ, and then truly we have a proof that may be relied upon, when deeds instead of words are brought forward. He uses the term labors here in the plural number, and afterwards labor. What difference there is between the former and the latter I do not see, unless perhaps it be, that he speaks here in a more general way, including those things that he afterwards enumerates in detail. In the same way we may also understand the term deaths to mean any kind of perils that in a manner threatened present death, instances of which he afterwards specifies. "I have given proof of myself in deaths often, in labors oftener still." He had made use of the term deaths in the same sense in the first chapter. (2 Corinthians 1:10.)
25. Thrice was I beaten with rods. Hence it appears, that the Apostle suffered many things, of which no mention is made by Luke; for he makes mention of only one stoning, 11 one scourging, and one shipwreck. We have not, however, a complete narrative, nor is there mention made in it of every particular that occurred, but only of the principal things.
for Christ's name's sake he was hated by all.
By fastings I understand those that are voluntary, as he has spoken previously of hunger and want. Such were the tokens by which he showed himself, and on good grounds, to be an eminent servant of Christ. For how may we better distinguish Christ's servants than by proofs so numerous, so various, and so important? On the other hand, while those effeminate boasters 12 had done nothing for Christ, and had suffered nothing for him, they, nevertheless, impudently vaunted.
It is asked, however, whether any one can be a servant of Christ, that has not. been tried with so many evils, perils, and vexations? I answer, that all these things are not indispensably requisite on the part of all; 13 but where these things are seen, there is, undoubtedly, a greater and more illustrious testimony afforded. That man, therefore, who will be signalized by so many marks of distinction, will not despise those that are less illustrious, and less thoroughly tried, nor will he on that account be elated with pride; but still, whenever there is occasion for it, he will be prepared, after Paul's example, to exult with a holy triumph, in opposition to pretenders 14 and worthless persons, provided he has an eye to Christ, not to himself -- for nothing but pride or ambition could corrupt and tarnish all these praises. For the main thing is -- that we serve Christ with a pure conscience. All other things are, as it were, additional.
28. Besides those things that are without. "Besides those things," says he, "which come upon me from all sides, and are as it were extraordinary, what estimate must be formed of that ordinary burden that constantly presses upon me -- the care that I have of all the Churches." The care of all the Churches he appropriately calls his ordinary burden. For I have taken the liberty of rendering
Whoever is concerned in good earnest as to the Church of God, stirs up himself and bears a heavy burden, which presses upon his shoulders. What a picture we have here of a complete minister, embracing in his anxieties and aims not one Church merely, or ten, or thirty, but all of them together, so that he instructs some, confirms others, exhorts others, gives counsel to some, and applies a remedy to the diseases Of others! Now from Paul's words we may infer, that no one can have a heartfelt concern for the Churches, without being harassed with many difficulties; for the government of the Church is no pleasant occupation, in which we may exercise ourselves agreeably and with delight of heart, 16 but a hard and severe warfare, as has been previously mentioned, (2 Corinthians 10: 4,) -- Satan from time to time giving us as much trouble as he can, and leaving no stone unturned to annoy us.
29. Who is weak. How many there are that allow all offenses to pass by unheeded -- who either despise the infirmities of brethren, or trample them under foot! This, however, arises from their having no concern for the Church. For concern, undoubtedly, produces
1 "La pesanteur ordinaire des affaires que i'ay; ou, il y a ce qui m'assiege de tour en tour;" -- "The ordinary burden of affairs which I have; or, there is that which besieges me from day to day."
2 "Proram et puppim;" -- "The prow and stern."
3 "Vne chose si vaine, et de si petite consequence;" -- "A thing so empty, and of so small importance."
4 "Qu'il estoit descendu d'Heber de pere en fils;" -- "That he was descended from Heber, from father to son."
5 "Vray est que la coniecture de ceux qui disent qu'ils sont ainsi appelez comme habitants outre la riuiere, n'est pas du tout sans eouleur;" -- "It is true, that the conjecture of those who say that they are so called, as dwelling beyond the river, is not without some appearance of truth."
6 "The word Hebrew signified properly one who was from beyond, (
7 "Car quant a leurs gloires charnelles, qui n'estoyent que choses vaines, iusques yci il les a fait esuanoir comme en soufflant dessus." "For as to theft carnal glories, which were but vain things, he has hitherto made them vanish by, as it were, blowing upon them."
8 The custom of excepting one stripe from the forty is made mention of by Josephus:
9 "Plusieurs semblables pouruoyances et remedes inuentez par los Rab-bins:" -- "Many similar provisions and remedies, invented by the Rab-bins."
10 "The Mishna gives this as a rule, (MISH. Maccoth. fol. 22:10,) 'How often shall he, the culprit, be smitten? 'Ans.
11 "Once was I stoned." Paley remarks in his "Horae Paulinae," that this clause, "when confronted with the history," (contained in the Acts of the Apostles,) "furnishes the nearest approach to a contradiction, without a contradiction being actually incurred, of any that he remembers to have met with." While the narrative contained in the Acts of the Apostles gives an account of only one instance in which Paul was actually stoned, (Acts 14:19,) there was, previously to that, "an assault" made upon Paul and Barnabas at Iconium, "both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews, with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, but they were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe." (Acts 14:5, 6.) "Now had the ' assault,'" says Paley, "been completed; had the history related that a stone was thrown, as it relates that preparations were made both by Jews and Gentiles to stone Paul and his companions; or even had the account of this transaction stopped, without going on to inform us that Paul and his companions were aware of their danger and fled, a contradiction between the history and the Apostle would have ensued. Truth is necessarily consistent; but it is scarcely possible that independent accounts, not having truth to guide them, should thus advance to the very brink of contradiction without falling into it." -- Ed.
13 "I1 n'est pas necessairement requis que tous vniversellement endurent toutes telles fascheries;" -- "It is not indispensably requisite that all universally endure all such vexations."
14 "Des mercenaires;". -- "Hirelings."
15 The word (
16 "Car le gouernement de l'Eglise n'est pas vne occupation ioyeuse pour nous exercer tout doucement, et par manicrc de passe-temps et exercice gracieux pour recreer nos esprits;" -- "For the government of the Church is not a pleasant occupation for exercising ourselves quite agreeably, and by way of pass-time, and an agreeable exercise for refreshing our minds."
18 "Prend en soy les afflictions de tous;" -- "Take upon himself the afflictions of all."