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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

2 Corinthians 2

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 2

2 Corinthians 2:1. πάλιν ἐν λύπῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐλθεῖν] Elz.: πάλιν ἐλθεἶν ἐν λύπῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς, in opposition to A B C K L א, min. Theodoret, Damasc., also in opposition to D E F G, 14, 120, al., Syr. Arm. Vulg. It. Chrys. Theophyl. and the Latin Fathers, who have πάλιν ἐν λύπῃ ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς (so Tisch.). The Recepta(135) is evidently a transposition to connect πάλιν with ἐλθεῖν, because it was supposed that Paul had been only once in Corinth.—2 Corinthians 2:2. ἐστιν after τίς is wanting in A B C א, Copt. Syr. Cyr. Dam. Lachm. Tisch. Supplemental addition.—2 Corinthians 2:3 . ὑμῖν] after ἔγρ. is to be struck out as an explanatory addition. So Lachm. and Tisch., who follow A B C* א * 17, Copt. Arm. Damasc. Ambrosiast.—2 Corinthians 2:3. λύπην] D E F G, min. Vulg. It. Syr. p. Pel. Beda: λύπην ἐπὶ λύπην. Amplification, in accordance with 2 Corinthians 2:1.—2 Corinthians 2:7. μᾶλλον] is wanting in A B, Syr. Aug. (deleted by Rückert). In D E F G, Theodoret, it stands only after ὑμᾶς. As it was superfluous, it was sometimes passed over, sometimes transposed.—2 Corinthians 2:9. Instead of εἰ, A and B have . But how easily might εἰ be dropped before εἰς (so in 80), and then be variously replaced (109: ὡς)!—2 Corinthians 2:10. κεχάρισμαι, εἰ τι κεχάρισμαι] So A B C F G א, min. Vulg. It. Damasc. Jer. Ambrosiast. Pacian. Pel. Griesb. Scholz, Lachm. Rück. Tisch. But Elz. has εἰ τι κεχάρισμαι, κεχάρισμαι, defended by Reiche. This reading arose from the Codd., which read (evidently in accordance with the previous ) κεχάρισμαι, εἴ τι κεχάρισμαι (so still D*** E, 31, 37). The repetition of κεχάρισμαι caused the εἴ τι κεχ. to be left out;(136) afterwards it was restored at a wrong place.—2 Corinthians 2:16. Before θανάτου and before ζωῆς there stands ἐκ in A B C א, min. Copt. Aeth. Clem. Or. and other Fathers. Rightly; the ἐκ seemed contrary to the sense, and was therefore omitted. Accepted by Lachm. and Tisch., rejected by Reiche.—2 Corinthians 2:17. οἱ πολλοί] D E F G L, min. and some versions and Fathers have οἱ λοιποί, which Mill favoured, Griesbach recommended, and Reiche defended. But οἱ πολλοί has preponderating evidence; λοιποί was a modifying gloss, and displaced the othe.

κατενώπιον] κατέναντι, as well as the omission of the following article, has preponderating attestation, and hence, with Lachm. and Rück., it is to be preferred.


Verse 1

2 Corinthians 2:1. ἔκρινα δὲ ἐμαυτῷ τοῦτο] δέ is the usual μεταβατικόν, which leads on from the assurance given by Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:23, to the thought that he in his own interest ( ἐμαυτῷ, dativus commodi; for see 2 Corinthians 2:2) was not willing to come again to them ἐν λύπῃ.

The interpretation apud me (Vulgate, Luther, Beza, and many others) would require παρʼ ἐμαυτῷ or ἐν ἐμ. (1 Corinthians 7:37; 1 Corinthians 11:13). Paul, by means of ἐμαυτῷ, gives to the matter an ingenious, affectionate turn, regarding the truth of which, however, there is no doub.

ἔκρινα] I determined, as 1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 7:27. As to the emphatically preparatory τοῦτο with following infinitive accompanied by the article, comp. on Romans 14:13, and Krüger, § li. 7. 4.

πάλιν] belongs to ἐν λύπῃ πρὸς ὑμ. ἐλθεῖν, taken together, so that Paul had once already (namely, on his second arrival) come to the Corinthians ἐν λύπῃ. The connection with ἐλθεῖν merely (Pelagius, Primasius, Theodoret, and the most; also Flatt, Baur, Reiche), a consequence of the error that Paul before our Epistles had been only once in Corinth,(137) is improbable even with the Recepta (the more suitable order of the words would be: τὸ μὴ ἐν λύπῃ πάλιν ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς), but is impossible both with our reading and with that of Tischendorf (see the critical remarks), unless we quite arbitrarily suppose, with Grotius (comp. also Reiche), a trajectio, or, with Baur, I. p. 342, an inaccuracy of epistolary styl.

ἐν λύπῃ] provided with affliction (Bernhardy, p. 109; comp. Romans 15:29), bringing affliction with me, i.e. afflicting you. This explanation (Theodoret, Calvin, Grotius, and others, including Ewald) is, indeed, held by Hofmann to be impossible in itself, but is required by the following εἰ γὰρ ἐγὼ λυπῶ ὑμᾶς. Hence Billroth and Hofmann, following Chrysostom and many others, are wrong in thinking that the apostle’s own sadness is meant; and so also Bengel, Olshausen, Rückert, de Wette, Reiche, Neander, following Ambrosiaster, and others, who think that it is also included. That it is not meant at all, is shown by φειδόμενος, 2 Corinthians 1:23, and by the coupling of what follows with γάρ. Comp. ἐν ῥάβδῳ, 1 Corinthians 4:21. The apparent difficulty, that Paul in our first Epistle makes no mention whatever of the fact and manner of his former visit to Corinth when he caused affliction, is obviated by the consideration that only after our first Epistle was the change of plan used to the apostle’s disadvantage, and that only now was he thereby compelled to mention the earlier arrival which had been made ἐν λύπῃ. Hence this passage is not a proof for the assumption of a journey to Corinth between our two Epistles (see the Introd.).


Verses 1-4

2 Corinthians 2:1-4. Continuation of what was begun in 2 Corinthians 1:23.


Verse 2

2 Corinthians 2:2. As reason for his undertaking not to come to his readers again ἐν λύπῃ, Paul states that he on his own part could not in this case hope to find any joy among them. Comp. 2 Corinthians 2:3. For if I afflict you, who is there also to give me joy, except him who is afflicted by me?i.e., if I on my part ( ἐγώ is emphatic(138)) make you afflicted, then results the contradiction that the very one who is afflicted by me is the one who should give me joy. Against this view Billroth and Rückert object that εἰ μὴἐμοῦ is superfluous, and even in the way. No; it discloses the absurdity of the case conditioned by εἰ ἐγὼ λυπῶ ὑμᾶς. Pelagius, Bengel, and others, including Billroth, render: who yet so much gladdens me as he who lets himself be afflicted by me (which is a sign of amendment)? Comp. Chrysostom, and Theodoret, Erasmus, and others. So also Olshausen, who sees here an indirect warning to take the former censure more to heart. But against this perversion of λυπούμενος in a middle sense, we may decisively urge:—(1) that the sense of 2 Corinthians 2:2 would not stand in any relation to 2 Corinthians 2:1 as furnishing a reason for it; and (2) the οὐχ ἵνα λυπηθῆτε in 2 Corinthians 2:4. Rückert sees in εἰὑμᾶς an aposiopesis; then begins a new question, which contains the reason why he may not afflict them, because it would be unloving, nay, ungrateful, to afflict those who cause him so much joy. Hence the meaning, touchingly expressed, is: “I might not come to you afflicting you; for if I had done so, I should have afflicted those very ones who give me joy: this would have been unloving on my part.” This is all the more arbitrary, since, logically at least, it must have stood in the converse order: καὶ τίς ἐστιν λυπούμενος ἐξ ἐμοῦ εἰ μὴ εὐφραίνων με. Hofmann holds still more arbitrarily and oddly that εἰ γάρ is elliptical protasis, and ἐγὼ λυπῶ ὑμᾶς apodosis: if I come to you again in affliction, I make you afflicted, and who is there then who gladdens me, except him whom affliction coming from me befalls? The well-known omission of the verb in the protasis after εἰ is, in fact, a usage of quite another nature (see Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 213; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 497; Krüger, § lxv. 5. 11). Besides, this subtlety falls with Hofmann’s view of 2 Corinthians 2:1.

καί] also, expresses after the conditional clause the simultaneousness of what is contained in the apodosis, consequently without the interrogative form: there is also no one, etc. See Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 130 f.; Buttmann, neut. Gramm. p. 311 [E. T. 362].

λυπούμενος] does not mean the incestuous person (so, against the entire connection, Beza, Calovius, Cornelius a Lapide, Heumann); but the singular of the participle with the article denotes the one who gives joy, as such, in abstracto. Comp. 1 Peter 3:13, al.; Xen. Cyr. ii. 2. 20, al. Paul might have written τίνες εἰσὶν οἱ κ. τ. λ., but he was not under necessity of doing s.

ἐξ ἐμοῦ] source of the λυπεῖσθαι. See Bernhardy, p. 227; Schoem. ad Is. p. 348; Winer, p. 345 [E. T. 385]. Comp. ἀφʼ ὧν, 2 Corinthians 2:3; but ἐξ is “quiddam penitius,” Bengel.


Verse 3

2 Corinthians 2:3 appends what Paul had done in consequence of the state of things mentioned in 2 Corinthians 2:1 f.: And I have written (not reserved till I could communicate orally) this very thing, i.e. exactly what I have written, in order not, when I shall have come, to have affliction, et.

ἔγραψα] placed first with emphasis, corresponds to the following ἐλθών, and does not at all refer to the present Epistle (Chrysostom and his followers, Grotius, and others, including Olshausen), against which opinion 2 Corinthians 2:4; 2 Corinthians 2:9 are decisive, but to out first Epistle, the contents of which in reference to this point are rendered present by τοῦτο αὐτό; as indeed οὗτος is used often of what is well known, which is pointed to as if it were lying before one (Kühner, II. p. 325). That Paul is thinking of the passages of censure and rebuke in the first Epistle (especially of chap. 5(139)), results from the context, and suffices for its explanation, so that the reference to a lost letter sent along with Titus (Bleek, Neander, Ewald, Klöpper; see Introd. § 1) is not required. With Theodoret, Erasmus, Morus, Flatt, Rückert, Hofmann,(140) to take τοῦτο αὐτό as in 2 Peter 1:5, for this very reason, cannot in itself be objected to (Bernhardy, p. 130; Kühner, § 549, A. 2; Ast, ad Plat. Leg. p. 214; and see on Galatians 2:10 and on Philippians 1:6); but here, where Paul has just written in 2 Corinthians 2:1 τοῦτο as the accusative of the object, and afterwards in 2 Corinthians 2:9 expresses the sense for this reason by εἰς τοῦτο, there is no ground for it in the contex.

ἵνα ΄ὴ κ. τ. λ.] Since his arrival was at that time still impending, and Paul consequently denotes by ἵνα ἔχω a purpose still continuing in the present, the subjunctive ἔχω (or σχῶ, as Lachmann, Rückert, and Tischendorf read, following A B א *, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius) after the preterite ἔγραψα is quite accurate (Matthiae, p. 1180); and Rückert is wrong when he takes ἐλθών hypothetically (if I had come), and refers σχῶ to the past. In that case, Paul could not but have used the optative.

ἀφʼ ὧν] ἀπὸ τούτων, ἀφʼ ὧν. See Bornem. Schol. in Luc. p. 2.

ἀπό, on the part of. χαίρειν does not elsewhere occur with ἀπό, but εὐφραίνεσθαι is similarly joined with ἀπό, Xen. Hier. iv. 6; Judith 12:20.

ἔδει] The imperfect indicates what properly (in the nature of the relation) ought to be, but what, in the case contemplated of the λύπην ἔχω, is not. See Matthiae, p. 1138 f.

πεποιθὼς κ. τ. λ.] subjective reason assigned for the specified purpose of the ἔγραψα: since I cherish the confidence towards you all, etc. Paul therefore says that, in order that he might find no affliction when present among them, he has communicated the matter by letter, because he is convinced that they would find their own joy in his joy (which, in the present instance, could not but be produced by the doing away of the existing evils according to the instructions of his letter).

ἐπί] of the direction of the confidence towards the readers. Comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:4; Matthew 27:43; Psalms 124:1. In classical authors usually with the dative, as 2 Corinthians 1:9.

πάντας ὑ΄ᾶς] This, in spite of the anti-Pauline part of the church, is the language of the love which πάντα πιστεύει, πάντα ἐλπίζει, 1 Corinthians 13:7. “Quodsi Pauli opinioni judicioque non respondeant Corinthii, indigne eum frustrantur,” Calvin.


Verse 4

2 Corinthians 2:4. Reason assigned for the πεποιθὼς κ. τ. λFor if I in writing the Epistle had not had that confidence, the Epistle would not have caused me so much grief and so many tears. In the very contrast of this confidence with the necessity of having to write in such a manner lay the great pai.

ἐκ and διά vividly represent the origin of the letter as a going forth and a pressing through: out of much affliction and anxiety of heart I wrote to you through many tears. And this Paul might say, even if he had not himself held the pe.

θλίψις and συνοχή (anxiety, Luke 21:25 : not so among the Greeks, but see Schleusner, Thes. V. p. 212) do not refer to outward, but to inward suffering, as both are defined by καρδίας. Rückert concludes from the calm tone of the first Epistle that Paul “had from prudent consideration known how to impose such restraint on his state of feeling, that the Epistle might not reflect any faithful picture of it.” But this would have been cunning dissimulation, not in keeping with the apostle’s character. No; it was just his specially tender care for the Corinthians which on the one hand increased his pain that he needed to write such rebukes, and on the other hand did not allow his vehement emotion to emerge in that Epistle; hence we must not say that the quiet character of our first Epistle is not psychologically in keeping with the utterance of this passage. In particular, 5 might have caused the apostle anxiety and tears enough, without our needing to suppose an intermediate letter (see on 2 Corinthians 2:3).

δακρύων] Comp. Acts 20:19; Acts 20:31. Calvin aptly says: “mollitiem testantur, sed magis heroicam, quam fuerit illa ferrea Stoicorum durities.”

οὐχ ἵνα λυπηθῆτε, ἀλλὰ κ. τ. λ.] This added explanation regarding the purpose of his letter, to him so painful, is intended also to corroborate the πεποιθὼς κ. τ. λ., of which he has given assuranc.

τὴν ἀγάπην] placed first for emphasi.

περισσοτ.] ( εἰς) τοὺς ἄλλους μαθητάς, Theophylact, who, following Chrysostom, also directs attention to the winning tenderness of the words ( καταγλυκαίνει δὲ τὸν λόγον βουλόμενος ἐπισπάσασθαι αὐτούς). Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:12. The love of the apostle for his churches has along with its universality its various degrees, just as the love of a father for his children. The Philippians also were specially dear to him.


Verse 5

2 Corinthians 2:5. “To cause grief among you was not my intention (2 Corinthians 2:4); he, however, who has (really) caused grief has not grieved me.” In other words: “I did not wish to grieve you; one of you, however, has with his afflicting influence, not affected me, but,” etc. Olshausen connects 2 Corinthians 2:5 with 2 Corinthians 2:3 : “if, however, any one formerly has awakened grief.” But how arbitrary it is to leap over the natural reference to the immediately preceding λυπηθῆτε! And if the “formerly” made the contrast, it must have been somehow expressed.

In the hypothetical εἰ, as in the indefinite τις, there lies a delicate, tender forbearanc.

οὐκ ἐμὲ λελύπηκεν, ἀλλʼ] Paul does not say οὐ μόνον, ἀλλὰ καί, because as concerns the relation of the matter to himself he wishes absolutely to deny that he is the injured party. He could do this, because he did not belong to the church, and he wishes to leave wholly out of view his position as apostle and founder of the church in the interest of love and pardon. Olshausen thinks that he wishes indirectly to refute the erroneous position of some (impenitent) Corinthians towards the incident with the incestuous person; that many, namely, had lamented much to the apostle about the solicitude which that unhappy person had caused to him; and that, in order to make these turn from him to themselves, he says that the question is not about him, but about them, that they should look to their own pain. But of this alleged direction to occupy themselves with their own pain, there is nothing whatever in what follows; and the apostle would have set forth in more precise terms a rebuke so weighty; it was not at all fitting here, where the touched heart beats only with mildness and forgivenes.

λελύπηκεν] Bengel says aptly: “contristatum habet.”

ἀλλʼ ἀπὸ μέρους κ. τ. λ.] but in part, that I may not burden him (with greater guilt), you all. ἀπὸ μέρους, which Paul adds φειδόμενος αὐτοῦ (Chrysostom), softens the thought in λελύπηκεν πάντας ὑμᾶς, while it expresses that the grief is only in a partial degree, not wholly and fully (as on the one immediately concerned), inflicted on all, i.e. on the whole church by means of moral sympathy; only quodammodo (see Fritzsche, Diss. I. p. 16 ff.), therefore, are the readers all affected by that grief as sharers in it. The ἵνα μὴ ἐπιβαρῶ (sc. αὐτόν) contains the purpose, for which he had added the softening limitation ἀπὸ μέρους. Beza, Calvin (in the Commentary), Calovius, Hammond, Homberg, Wolf, Estius, and others, following Chrysostom, agree with this punctuation and explanation; also Emmerling, Fritzsche, Rückert, de Wette, Osiander, Neander, Ewald. Yet Räbiger explains it as if Paul had written σχεδόν instead of ἀπὸ μέρους. But others read ἵνα μὴ ἐπιβ. πάντας ὑμ. together: he has not grieved me (alone and truly), but only in part (consequently you also); in order that I may not lay something to the charge of you all; for, if he had grieved me alone, you would all have been indifferent towards the crime. So Thomas, Lyra, Luther, Castalio, Zeger, Bengel, Wetstein, and others, including Flatt. Incorrectly, because οὐκ ἐμέ and ἀλλʼ ἀπὸ μέρους cannot be antitheses. Mosheim and Billroth separate πάντας and ὑμᾶς: he has not grieved me, but in part, that I may not accuse all, you; for I will not be unjust, and give you all the blame of having been indifferent towards that crime. At variance with the words; for, according to these, with this punctuation those whom Paul accuses ( ἐπιβαρεῖ) must appear to be not those indifferent, but those grieved by the incest. Olshausen also follows this punctuation, but finds in ἀπὸ μέρους, ἵνα μὴ ἐπιβ. πάντας a delicate irony (comp. also Michaelis, who, however, follows our punctuation), in so far as Paul would have held it as the highest praise of the Corinthians, if he could have said: he has grieved you without exception. Since he could not have said this, he wittily turns his words in this way: he has not grieved me, but, as regards a part, you, in order that I may not burden you all with this care. But this very wit and irony are quite foreign to the mild tone and the conciliatory disposition of this part of the Epistle. Hofmann takes οὐκ ἐμὲ λελύπ. as a question, after which there comes in with ἀλλά the contrast (nevertheless) which continues over 2 Corinthians 2:5 and includes 2 Corinthians 2:6; in this case ἀπὸ μέρους is temporal in meaning (yet “firstly is enough”); and ἵνα μὴ ἐπιβαρῶ πάντας ὑμᾶς, which is to be taken together, is meant to say that the apostle, if he expressed himself dissatisfied with what had been done by the majority, would burden the whole church with the pain of knowing that one of their members was under the ban of sin which remained unforgiven on the part of the apostle; lastly, the ὑπὸ τῶν πλειόνων stands in opposition to a minority, which had wished to go beyond the punishment decreed, a minority which is included in πάντας. But all this involved explanation is inadmissible, partly because the blunt question οὐκ ἐμὲ λελύπ., bringing forward so nakedly a sense of personal injury, would be sadly out of unison with the shrewdly conciliatory tone of the whole context; partly because ἀπὸ μέρους, taken of time, is as linguistically incorrect as at 2 Corinthians 1:14, and would also furnish the indelicate thought of a ἱκανότης with reservation, and till something further; partly because the complexity of thought, which is said to lie in ἐπιβαρῶ, is just imported into it; partly because the supposition that the minority of the church would have gone still further in the punishment than the resolution of the majority went, is without all ground, nay, is in the highest degree improbable after the reproach of too great indulgence, 5

On ἐπιβαρεῖν, comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; Dion. Hal. iv. 9, viii. 73; Appian, B. C. 4:31. Comp. βάρος of the burden of a feeling of guilt, Galatians 6:2.


Verses 5-11

2 Corinthians 2:5-11. Digression regarding the pardon to be granted to the incestuous person.

That the incestuous person is meant, as even Klöpper maintains in spite of his assumption of a lost intermediate letter, is denied by Tertullian (de Pudicitiâ, 13) simply for dogmatic-ascetic reasons. The exclusion, which Paul demanded in the first Epistle, 2 Corinthians 5:13, left open the possibility of a return to the communion of the church by the path of suitable penitence and expiation; as may be gathered also from 1 Corinthians 5:5, where the apostle’s threat of the higher excommunication, of the giving over to Satan, contemplates in this punishment the conversion and saving of the offender, and consequently shows clearly that in the apostle’s eyes the penal procedure of the church, even in the case of so grave a sin, was of a paedagogic nature in reference to the person of the evil-doer. The penance of the latter, however, as well as that of the whole church on his account (2 Corinthians 7:7 ff.), may have really been so deeply and keenly manifested, that Paul, in accordance with the now changed state of things, might express himself in such a mild, conciliatory way as he does here. And there is no sufficient ground in the passage for the assumption of an intermediate letter, or that there is here meant, not the unchaste person, but a slanderer rebuked by Paul in this intermediate letter (see Introd. § 1). Besides, the mild, soft tone of the present passage, if it referred to such a personal opponent, would not be in keeping with the quite different way in which, from chap. 10 onwards, he pours forth his apostolic zeal against his personal opponents and slanderers.


Verse 6

2 Corinthians 2:6. ἱκανόν] something sufficient is, etc. Regarding this substantive use of the neuter of the predicate adjective, see Matthiae, p. 982; Kühner, II. p. 45. Comp. Matthew 6:34.

τῷ τοιούτῳ] for one of such a nature; how forbearing it is here that no more definite designation is given!

ἐπιτιμια αὕτη] this punishment. What it was, every reader knew. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 2:3. ἐπιτιμία (which in classic writers denotes the franchise of a citizen, Demosthenes, 230, 10, al.), in the signification poena, like the Greek τὸ ἐπιτίμιον (Dem. 915, 1; 939, 27, al.), ἐπιτίμησις (Wisdom of Solomon 12:26), and τὸ ἐπιτίμημα (Inscript.), occurs only here in the N. T., but elsewhere also in Wisdom of Solomon 3:10, in ecclesiastical writers, and in acts of councils (not in Philo). It is not merely objurgatio (Vulgate; comp. Beza, Calvin, and others).

ὑπὸ τῶν πλειόνων] which by the majority (of the church) has been assigned to him. That the presbyterium is not meant (Augustine, Beza, Grotius, Valesius, and others), is shown by the article. There is a further question here, whether the excommunication enjoined by Paul, 5, was carried out or not (Beza, Calvin, Morus, Rückert, Hofmann). Most assume the former, so that they refer ἱκανόν to the sufficient duration of the excommunication.(141) But an accomplished full excommunication is not to be assumed on account of the very ὑπὸ τῶν πλειόνων; but it is probable that the majority of the church members, in consequence of the ἐξάρατε τὸν πονηρόν (1 Corinthians 5:13; comp. 2 Corinthians 2:2), had considered the sinner as one excommunicated, and had given up all fellowship with him. By this the majority had for the present sufficiently complied with the expressed will of the apostle. To the minority there may have belonged partly the most lax in morals, and partly also opponents of the apostle, the latter resisting him on principle.

Rückert, however, supported by Baur and Räbiger, regards Paul’s judgment ἱκανὸν κ. τ. λ., as a prudent turn given to the matter, by which, in order to avoid an open rupture, he represents what would have happened even without his will to be his own wish. But what justifies any one in attributing to him conduct so untruthful? The real and great repentance of the sinner (2 Corinthians 2:7) induced the apostle to overlook the incompleteness in carrying out his orders for excommunication, and now from real sincere conviction to pronounce the ἱκανόν and desire his pardon. Comp. above on 2 Corinthians 2:5-11. Had Paul not been really convinced that the repentance of the evil-doer had already begun (as even Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 183, is inclined to suppose), he would here have pursued a policy of church-discipline quite at variance with his character. Calvin judges very rightly of this passage: “Locus diligenter observandus; docet enim, qua aequitate et clementia temperanda sit disciplina ecclesiae, ne rigor modum excedat. Severitate opus est, ne impunitate (quae peccandi illecebra merito vocatur) mali reddantur audaciores; sed rursus, quia periculum est, ne is qui castigatur animum despondeat, hic adhibenda est moderatio, nempe ut ecclesia, simulatque resipiscentiam illius certo cognoverit, ad dandam veniam sit parata.”


Verse 7

2 Corinthians 2:7. So that you, on the contrary, rather (potius) pardon and comfort. This is the consequence which ensued, connected with the utterance of ἱκανὸν κ. τ. λ … Hence the notion of δεῖν (Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 754; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. ii. 2. 1) is not here to be supplied, as Billroth and Olshausen wish, following the older commentators. It is not said what ought to happen, but what, according to the apostle’s conception, ensued as a necessary and essential consequence of the ἱκανὸν κ. τ. λ. (Kühner, II. p. 564). The χαρίσασθαι, however, is not at variance with the reference to the adulterer (because forgiveness belongs to God

Bleek, Neander), for what is here spoken of in a general way is only the pardon, which the church imparts in reference to the offence produced in it, the pardon of Christian brethren (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:20).

τῇ περισσοτέρᾳ λύπῃ] through the higher degree of affliction, which, namely, would be the consequence of the refusal of pardon, and certainly of the eventual complete excommunicatio.

καταποθῇ] Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:54; 1 Peter 5:8. This being swallowed up is explained by some, of dying (Grotius, according to his view of an illness of the sinner), by others, of suicide, or of apostasy from Christianity (the latter is held by Theodoret, Pelagius, and others, also Flatt; Kypke and Stolz, following Chrysostom, Theophylact, and others, leave a choice between the two); or as conveying a hint that the λύπη bordering on despair might drive him into the world, and he might be devoured by its prince (Olshausen). The latter point: “by the prince of the world,” is quite arbitrarily imported. The sadness (conceived as a hostile animal) is what swallows up. The context gives nothing more precise than the notion: to be brought by the sadness to despair, to the abandoning of all hope and of all striving after the Christian salvation.(142) Comp. on καταπίνειν in the sense of destroying, Jacobs, Animadv. in Athen. p. 315.


Verse 8

2 Corinthians 2:8. κυρῶσαι εἰς αὐτ. ἀγάπ.] to resolve in reference to him lovei.e. through a resolution of the church to determine regarding him, that he be regarded and treated as an object of Christian brotherly love. On κυροῦν, of a resolution valid in law, comp. Herodotus, vi. 86, 126; Thuc. viii. 69; Polyb. i. 11. 3, i. 17. 1; Diod. Sic. ii. 9; Galatians 3:15; Genesis 23:20; 4 Maccabees 7:9. See Blomfield, ad Aesch. Prom. Gloss. 70, and Pers. 232. Here also (comp. on 2 Corinthians 2:6) Rückert again finds a prudent measure of the apostle, whereby the form, if not also the thing (the apostolic approval), is saved. A diplomacy, which would be the opposite of 2 Corinthians 1:13.


Verse 9

2 Corinthians 2:9. 2 Corinthians 2:9-10 are not to be placed in a parenthesis, nor 2 Corinthians 2:9 alone (Flatt); but the discourse proceeds without interruption. 2 Corinthians 2:9, namely, begins to furnish grounds for the κυρῶσαι εἰς αὐτὸν ἀγάπην, and, first of all, from the aim of the former Epistle, which aim (in reference to the relation to the incestuous person in the case of most of them at least) was attained, so that now nothing on this point stood in the way of the κυρῶσαι κ. τ. λ. “Correcta enim eorum segnitie nihil jam obstabat, quominus hominem prostratum et jacentem sua mansuetudine erigerent,” Calvi.

εἰς τοῦτο] points to the following ἵνα κ. τ. λ., comp. 2 Corinthians 2:1. It is: for this end in order that, et.

καὶ ἔγραψα is not to be translated as if it stood: καὶ γὰρ εἰς τοῦτο ἔγραψα (Flatt, following the older commentators), but as, rightly, in the Vulgate: “ideo enim et scripsi.” The καί, however, cannot be intended to mark the agreement with the present admonition (Hofmann), because Paul does not quote what he had written; but it opposes the written to the oral communication (comp. 2 Corinthians 7:12), and rests on the conception: I have not confined myself merely to oral directions (through your returning delegates), but—what should bind you all the more to observance

I have also written. This ἔγραψα, however, does not apply to the present Epistle (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Erasmus, Menochius, Wolf, Bengel, Heumann, Schulz, Morus, Olshausen, and others), but, as the whole context shows (comp. 2 Corinthians 2:3-4), to our first Epistle.(143)

τὴν δοκιμὴν ὑμ.] your tried quality (2 Corinthians 8:2, 2 Corinthians 9:13, 2 Corinthians 13:3; Romans 5:4; Philippians 2:22),—i.e. here, according to the following epexegesis, εἰ εἰς πάντα ὑπήκ. ἐστε: your assured submissiveness to me. The aim here stated of the first Epistle was, among its several aims (comp. 2 Corinthians 2:3-4), the very one, which presented itself here from the point of view of the connectio.

εἰς πάντα] in reference to everything, in every respect, therefore also in regard to my punitive measure against the incestuous man. Comp. phrases such as εἰς πάντα πρῶτον εἶναι (Plato, Charm. p. 158 A), and the like; εἰς πάντα is here emphatic.


Verse 10

2 Corinthians 2:10. A second motive for the κυρῶσαι εἰς αὐτὸν ἀγάπ. And to whomsoever (in order to hold before you yet another motive) you give pardon as to anything, to him I also give pardon. δέ, accordingly, is the simple μεταβατικόν. Rückert wishes to supply a μέν before γάρ in 2 Corinthians 2:9, so that 2 Corinthians 2:9 and 2 Corinthians 2:10 together may give the sense: “It was, indeed, my wish to find perfect obedience among you; but since you are willing to pardon him, I too am willing.” But here, too, this supplement is altogether groundless; nay, in this very case, where 2 Corinthians 2:9 is referred by γάρ to what goes before, the express marking of the mutual relation of the two clauses would have been logically necessary, and hence μέν must have been used. Further, the meaning contained in Rückert’s explanation would express an indifference and accommodation so strangely at variance with the apostolic authority, that the apostle would only have been thereby lowered in the eyes of his reader.

δέ τι χαρίζεσθε, καὶ ἐγώ] general assurance (and this general expression remains also in the reason assigned that follows), to which the present special case is subordinated. The reader knew to whom the ὅς and to what the τί were to be applie.

καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ κ. τ. λ.] Reason assigned for what was just said. “For this circumstance, that I also pardon him to whom you pardon anything, rests on reciprocity: what also I on my part have pardoned, if I have pardoned anything, I have pardoned with a regard to you”—i.e. in order that my forgiveness may be followed by yours. This definite meaning of διʼ ὑμᾶς (not the general: for your benefit, as Flatt, de Wette, Osiander, and many others have it) is, according to the context, demanded by τι χαρ., καὶ ἐγώ, in virtue of the logical relation of the clause containing the reason to this assurance. Paul, however, has not again written the present χαρίζομαι, but κεχάρισμαι, because he wishes to hold before his readers his own example, consequently his own precedent already set in the pardon in question. Between this κεχάρισμαι, however, and the χαρίζομαι to be supplied after καὶ ἐγώ, there is no logical contradiction. For in δέ τι χαρίζεσθε the act of the sinner is considered as an offence to the church; as such, the church is to forgive it, and then the apostle will also forgive it: but in καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ κεχάρισμαι it is conceived as a vexation to the apostle; as such, Paul has forgiven it, and that διʼ ὑμᾶς, for the sake of the church, in order that it too may now give free course to the pardon which the offence produced in it needed.(144) To this thoughtful combination of the various references of the act, and to the placable spirit by which the representation is pervaded, the intervening clause εἴ τι κεχάρισ΄αι corresponds, which is by no means intended to make the act of pardon problematical (de Wette), or to designate it only as eventual, turning on the supposition of the church granting forgiveness (Billroth), but contains a delicate reference back to 2 Corinthians 2:5, in this sense, namely: if—seeing that the sinner, according to 2 Corinthians 2:5, has not properly grieved me, but you—that which I designate as κεχάρισμαι is really this; for the having pardoned presupposes the pardoner to be the injured party, which Paul, however, 2 Corinthians 2:5, denied himself to be.

Against all versions, Fathers and expositors, Rückert has taken κεχάρισμαι passively(145) of the pardoning grace which Paul experienced through his conversion. The sense would thus be: “for whatever I have got pardoned, if I have got anything pardoned, I have got it pardoned for your sakes (in order as apostle of the Gentiles to lead you to salvation).” See my third edition. This exposition is incorrect, partly because there is nothing in the text to suggest an allusion to the apostle’s conversion; partly because this pardoning grace was to him so firm and certain, and, in fact, the whole psychological basis of his working, that he could not, even in the most humble reminiscence of his pre-Christian conduct (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10), have presented it as problematical by εἴ τι κεχάρισμαι; partly because with this problematical inserted clause the very ἐν προσώπῳ χριστοῦ (explained by Rückert: “on the countenance of Christ beaming with God’s grace”) would be at varianc.

ἐν προσώπῳ χριστοῦ] i.e. in conspectu Christi, comp. Proverbs 8:30, Sirach 32:4, denotes the having pardoned, in so far as it has taken place διʼ ὑμᾶς, in its fullest purity and truth. It has taken place in presence of Christ, so that He was witness of it. Interpretations at variance with the words are: in Christ’s stead (Vulgate, Ambrosiaster, Luther, Calovius, Wetstein, and others): by Christ, as an oath (Emmerling), and others. Hofmann, who without reason maintains that according to our view it must have run ὡς ἐν προσώπῳ χ., attaches the words to what follows, so that they would precede the ἵνα by way of emphasis, like τ. ἀγάπην, 2 Corinthians 2:4 (see on Romans 11:31), and the meaning would be: Christ should not be obliged to be a spectator of how Satan deprives His church of one of its members. This interpretation could only be justified if we were in any way by the context prepared for the ἐν προσώπῳ χ., thus taken as a specially tragic feature of the devil’s guile. Besides, the thought that the devil injures the church under the eyes of Christ, would be nowhere else expressed.

Observe, further, how, according to this passage, the penitence of the sinner, just as much as the removal of the offence to the church, is the aim of church-discipline, and hence its initiation and cessation are to be measured accordingly; but the Roman Catholic doctrine of indulgence(146) is at variance with this.


Verse 11

2 Corinthians 2:11. Aim of this pardon imparted διʼ ὑμᾶς: that we might not be overreached, etc. A being overreached by Satan, the enemy of Christ and of Christianity, would be the result if that pardon were refused to the sinner, and thereby his καταποθῆναι τῇ περισσοτέρᾳ λύπῃ were brought about; for thereby Satan would get a member of the church into his power, and thus derive advantage to our loss. On the passive πλεονεκτεῖσθαι, comp. Dem. 1035, 26. The subject is Paul and the Corinthian churc.

οὐ γὰρ αὐτοῦ κ. τ. λ.] “By Satan, I say, for his thoughts (what he puts forward as product of his νοῦς; comp. on 2 Corinthians 3:14, 2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 2 Corinthians 11:3) are not unknown to us.” νοήματα ἀγνοοῦμεν forms a paronomasia. These thoughts: 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:11. The discerning of them in the individual case is spiritual prudence, which we have in the possession of the νοῦς of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).


Verse 12-13

2 Corinthians 2:12-13. Since Paul, by mentioning the mood in which he had written his former Epistle (2 Corinthians 2:4), was led on to discuss the case of the conscious sinner and the pardon to be bestowed on him (2 Corinthians 2:5-11), he has only now to carry on the historical thread which he had begun in 2 Corinthians 2:4-5.(147) There he had said with what great grief he wrote our first Epistle. Now, he tells how, even after his departure from Ephesus, this disquieting anxiety about his readers did not leave him, but urged him on from Troas to Macedonia without halting. This he introduces by δέ, which after the end of the section, 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, joins on again to 2 Corinthians 2:4 (Hartung, Partik. I. p. 173; Fritzsche, Diss. II. p. 21). Billroth attempts to connect it with what immediately precedes: “His designs are not unknown to us; all the more I had no rest.” Against this may be urged, not that ἀλλά must have stood instead of δέ, as Rückert thinks (see Hartung, l.c. I. p. 171 f.; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 95); but rather that between the emphatically prefixed οὐ γὰρ αὐτοῦ, 2 Corinthians 2:11, and ἐλθὼν δέ, no logical relation of contrast exist.

εἰς τὴν τρωάδα] from Ephesus on the journey which was to take him through Macedonia to Corinth. 1 Corinthians 16:5-9.

εἰς τὸ εὐαγγ. τοῦ χ.] Aim of the ἐλθ. εἰς τ. τρωάδα: for the sake of the gospel of Christi.e. in order to proclaim this message of salvation (hence τοῦ χ. is genitivus objecti, see generally on Mark 1:1). He might, indeed, have come to Troas without wishing to preach, perhaps only as a traveller passing through it. All the more groundless is the involved connection of the εἰς τ. εὐαγγ. with the far remote ἄνεσιν (Hofmann).

καὶ θύρας κ. τ. λ.] when also (i.e. although, see Bornem. ad Xen. Symp. iv. 13; Kühner, ad Mem. ii. 3. 19) a favourable opportunity for apostolic work was given to me. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 16:9.

ἐν κυρίῳ] That is the sphere in which a door was opened to him: in Christ, in so far as the work opened up to him was not out of Christ (one outside of Christianity), but Christ was the element of it: ἐν κυρ. gives the specific quality of Christian to what is said by θύρ. μ. ἀν.

ἔσχηκα] The perfect vividly realizes the past event, as often in the Greek orators. Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:9, 2 Corinthians 7:5; Romans 5:2. See Bernhardy, p. 379.

τῷ πνεύματί μου] Dativus commodi. Paul has not put τῇ ψυχῇ μου, because here (it is different at 2 Corinthians 7:5) he wishes to express that his very higher life-activity, which has its psychological ground and centre in the πνεῦ΄α as the organ of the moral self-consciousness (comp. on Luke 1:46 f.), was occupied by anxious care as to the state of the Corinthians, so that he felt himself thereby, for the present, incapable of pursuing other official interests, or of turning his thoughts away from Corinthian concerns. Comp. 2 Corinthians 7:13; 1 Corinthians 16:18.

τῷ ΄ὴ εὑρεῖν] on account of not finding, because I did not find. Comp. Xenophon, Cyr. iv. 5. 9; often in Greek. See Winer, p. 308 [E. T. 344].

τίτον] whom he had sent to Corinth, and whose return he impatiently expected, in order to receive from him news of the effect of the former Epistl.

τὸν ἀδελφ. ΄ου] By ΄ου the closer relation of fellowship in office is suggested for ἀδελφ.

αὐτοῖς] the Christians in Troas. As to ἀποταξ. see on Mark 6:46.

ἐξῆλθον] from Troa.

εἰς ΄ακεδ.] Titus was therefore instructed by Paul to travel from Corinth back to Troas through Macedonia, and to meet with him again either there or here.


Verse 14

2 Corinthians 2:14. In Macedonia, however, he had met Titus, and, through him, received good news of the impression made by his former Epistle. See 2 Corinthians 7:6. Therefore he continues: But thanks be to God, etc., placing first not χάρις, as in most cases (2 Corinthians 8:16, 2 Corinthians 9:15), but τῷ θεῷ, because, in very contrast to his own weakness, the helping God, whom he has to thank, comes into his mind. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:57. Others here make a digression go on as far as 2 Corinthians 7:5, and refer the thanks to the spread of the gospel in Troas (Emmerling!) or Macedonia (Flatt, Osiander). Comp. Calvin and Bengel. Against the context; for, after the description of the anxiety and disquiet, the utterance of thanks must relate to the release from this state (comp. Romans 7:24 f.). The apostle, however, in the fulness of his gratitude to God, includes (and thereby makes known) his special experience of the guidance of divine grace at that time in the general thanksgiving for the latter, as he experiences it always in his calling. This also in opposition to Hofmann, who abides by the general nature of the thanksgiving, and that in contrast to the declaration that the apostle did not preach in Troas in spite of the good opportunity found ther.

τῷ πάντοτε θριαμβεύοντι ἡμᾶς] given rightly by the Vulgate: “qui semper triumphat nos,” is taken by many older expositors (Luther, Beza, Estius, Grotius, and others), and by some more recent (Emmerling, Flatt, Rückert, Olshausen, Osiander): who makes us always triumph.(148) It is certainly a current Greek custom to give to neuter verbs a factitive construction and meaning. See in general, Matthiae, p. 1104, 944; Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 250; Bähr, ad Ctes. p. 132; Lobeck, ad Aj. 40, 869. Comp. from the N. T., ἀνατέλλειν τὸν ἥλιον, Matthew 5:45; καίειν τι, Matthew 5:15; μαθητεύειν τινά, Matthew 28:19; from the LXX., βασιλεύειν τίνα, 1 Samuel 8:22; Isaiah 7:6, al. Comp. 1 Maccabees 8:13. θριαμβεύειν τινά is thus taken: to make any one a triumpher. Comp. χορεύειν τινά, to make any one dancei.e. to celebrate by means of dancing (Brunck, ad Soph. Ant. 1151; comp. Jacobs, ad Del epigr. x. 55, 90). The suitableness of the sense cannot be denied, but the actual usage is against it; for θριαμβεύειν τινά has never that assumed factitive sense, but always means triumphare de aliquo, to conduct, to present any one in triumph; so that the accusative is never the triumphing subject, but always the object of the triumph, as Plut. Thes. et Romans 4 : βασιλεῖς ἐθριάμβευσε καὶ ἡγεμόνας, also Plut. Mor. p. 318 B, θριαμβ. νίκην. Quite similar is the Latin triumphare aliquem. See in general, Wetstein; Kypke, II. p. 243. Comp. also Hofmann on the passage. Paul himself follows this usage, see Colossians 2:15. We are thus the less authorized to depart from it. Hence it is to be translated: who always triumphs over us (apostolic teachers)—i.e. who does not cease to represent us as his vanquished before all the world, as a triumpher celebrates his victories. In this figurative aspect Paul considers himself and his like as conquered by God through their conversion to Christ. And after this victory of God his triumph now consists in all that those conquered by their conversion effect as servants and instruments of God for the Messianic kingdom in the world; it is by the results of apostolic activity that God continually, as if in triumph, shows Himself to the eyes of all as the victor, to whom His conquered are subject and serviceable. For the concrete instance before us, this perpetual triumph of God exhibited itself in the happy result which He wrought in Corinth through the apostle’s letter (as Paul learned in Macedonia through Titus, 2 Corinthians 7:6). Note further, how naturally with Paul this very conception of his working, as a continual triumph of God over him, might proceed from the painful remembrance of his earlier persecution of the church of God, and how at the same time this whole conception is an expression of the same humility, in which he, 1 Corinthians 15:10, gives to God alone the glory of his working. Jerome, ad Hedib. 11, translates rightly: triumphat nos or de nobis, but quite alters the sense of the word again by the interpretation: “triumphum suum agit per nos.” Theodoret does not do justice to the notion of the triumph, when he merely explains it: ὃς σοφῶς τὰ καθʼ ἡμᾶς πρυτανεύων τῇδε κἀκεῖσε περιάγει δήλους ἡμᾶς ἅπασιν ἀποφαίνων. Wetstein is more exact, but also takes the element of leading about, and not that of celebrating the victory, as the point of comparison: “Deus nos tanquam in triumpho circumducit, ut non maneamus in loco, aut in alium proficiscamur pro lubito nostro, sed ut placet sapientissimo moderatori. Quem Damasci vicit, non Romae et semel, sed per totum terrarum orbem, quamdiu vivit, in triumpho ducit.” Comp. Krause, Opusc. p. 125 f. The conception of antiquity, according to which the θριαμβευόμενος is necessarily the conquered, is quite abandoned by Calvin,(149) Elsner, Bengel: “qui triumpho nos ostendit, non ut victos, sed ut victoriae suae ministros.” So also de Wette, and substantially Ewald: comp. Erasmus, Annot.

ἐν χριστῷ] Christ is the element in which that constant triumph of God takes place: no fact in which that consists has its sphere out of Christ: each is of specifically Christian quality.

The following καὶ τ. ὀσμὴν κ. τ. λ. declares what God effects through this His triumphing. That αὐτοῦ refers not to God (so usually, as also Hofmann, following the Vulgate), but to Christ (Bengel, Osiander), is shown by 2 Corinthians 2:15. The genitive τῆς γνώσ. αὐτ. is the genitive of apposition (comp. 2 Corinthians 1:22), so that the knowledge of Christ is symbolized as an odour which God everywhere makes manifest through the apostolic working, inasmuch as He by that means brings it to pass that the knowledge of Christ everywhere exhibits and communicates its nature and its efficacy. How does Paul come upon this image? Through the conception of the triumph; for such an event took place amid perfumes of incense: hence to assume no connection between the two images (Osiander) is arbitrary. To think of ointments (Oecumenius, Grotius), or of these as included (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Beza(150)), is alien to the first image; and it is as alien to suppose that a closed vessel, filled with perfume, is meant, and that the φανεροῦντι points to the opening of the same (Hofmann). Observe, moreover, that by διʼ ἡμῶν (since the ἡμεῖς are those conducted in the triumph, οἱ θριαμβευόμενοι) the thing itself finds its way into the image, and by this the latter loses in congruity.


Verse 15

2 Corinthians 2:15 f. Further confirmatory development of the previous καὶ τ. ὀσμὴν κ. τ. λ., in which, however, Paul does not keep to the continuity of the figure, but, with his versatility of view, now represents the apostolic teachers themselves as odou.

χριστοῦ εὐωδία] may mean a perfume produced by Christ, or one filled with Christ, breathing of Christ. The latter (Calvin, Estius, Bengel, Rückert, Osiander, and most expositors; comp. also Hofmann) corresponds better with the previous ὀσμὴ τῆς γνώσεως αὐτοῦ, and is more in keeping with the emphasis which the prefixed χριστοῦ has, because otherwise the εὐωδία would remain quite undefined as regards its essential quality. The sense of the figurative expression is: for our working stands in the specific relation to God, as a perfume breathing of Christ. The image itself is considered by most (comp. Ritschl in the Jahrb. für d. Th. 1863, p. 258) as borrowed from the sacrificial fragrance (so also Billroth, Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Osiander, Ewald), on which account appeal is made to the well-known ὀσμὴ εὐωδίας of the LXX., רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ, Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 1:13; Leviticus 1:17, al. But as Paul, wherever else he uses the image of sacrifice, marks it distinctly, as Ephesians 5:2, Philippians 4:18, and in the present passage the statedly used ὀσμὴ εὐωδίας does not stand at all, it is more probable that he was not thinking of an odour of sacrifice (which several, like Billroth, Ewald, Ritschl, find already in ὀσμή, 2 Corinthians 2:14), but of the odours of incense that accompanied the triumphal procession; these are to God a fragrance, redolent to Him of Christ. That in this is symbolized the relation of the acceptableness to God of the apostolic working, is seen from the very word chosen, εὐωδία, which Hofmann misconstrues by explaining τῷ θεῷ to God’s service.

καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀπολλ.] and among those, who are incurring eternal death; comp. 2 Corinthians 4:3. See on 1 Corinthians 1:18. Grotius strangely wishes to supply here κακωδία ex vi contrariorum. It is, in fact, the relation to God that is spoken of, according to which the working of the apostle is to Him εὐωδία, whether the odour be exhaled among σωζομένοι or ἀπολλυμένοι. Comp. Chrysostom. To take ἐν in the sense of operative on (Osiander) anticipates what follows. Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:3.—2 Corinthians 2:16 specifies now the different relation of this odour to the two classes. Paul, however, does not again use εὐωδία, but the in itself indifferent ὀσμή, because the former would be unsuitable for the first half, while the latter suits both halve.

ἐκ θανάτου εἰς θάνατον] an odour, which arises from death and produces death. The source, namely, of the odour is Christ, and He, according to the idea of the λίθος τοῦ προσκόμματος (Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8; Acts 4:11), is for those who refuse the faith the author of eternal death.(151) For them, therefore, in accordance with their inward attitude towards Him, Christ, the source of the odour, i.e. of the apostolic activity, is death, and also the effect is death, though Christ in Himself is and works eternal life. Comp. Matthew 21:44; Luke 2:34. Hence Christ, by means of the κρίσις which He brings with Him, is the source respectively of death and life, according as His preaching is accepted by one to salvation, is rejected by another to destruction. In the latter case the blame of Christ’s being θάνατος, although he is, as respects His nature and destination, ζωή, lies on the side of man in his resistance and stubbornness. Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:23, also John 9:39; John 3:18 f., John 12:48. “Semper ergo distinguendum est proprium evangelii officium ab accidentali (ut ita loquar), quod hominum pravitati imputandum est, qua fit, ut vita illis vertatur in mortem,” Calvin. Comp. Düsterdieck on 1 John, I. p. 166. This, at the same time, in opposition to Rückert, who objects that the apostolic activity and preaching can in no way be regarded as proceeding from θάνατος, and who therefore prefers the Recepta,(152) in which Reiche and Neander agree. Gregory of Nyssa remarks aptly in Oecumenius: κατὰ τὴν προσοῦσαν ἑκάστῳ διάθεσιν ζωοποιὸς ἐγένετο, θανατηφόρος εὔπνοια. Quite similar forms of expression are found in the Rabbins, who often speak of an aroma ( סַם, see Buxt. Lex. Talm. p. 1494; L. Cappellus on the passage), or odor vitae and mortis, see in Wetstein and Schoettge.

καὶ πρὸς ταῦτα τίς ἱκανός;] This no longer depends on the ὅτι of 2 Corinthians 2:15 (Hofmann), a connection to which the interrogatory form would be so thoroughly unsuitable that no reader could have lighted on it; but after Paul has expressed the great, decisive efficacy of his calling, there comes into his mind the crowd of disingenuous teachers as a contrast to that exalted destination of the office, and with the quickly interjected καί he hence asks with emotion: And who is for this (i.e. for the work symbolized in 2 Corinthians 2:15-16) fit? Who is qualified for this? The τίς is intentionally pushed towards the end of the question, in order to arrest reflection at the important πρὸς ταῦτα, and then to bring in the question itself by surprise. Comp. Herod. v. 33: σοὶ δὲ καὶ τούτοισι τοῖσι πράγ΄ασι τί ἔστι; Plat. Conv. p. 204 D: ἐρῶν τῶν καλῶν τί ἐρᾷ; Xen. Cyr. iv. 6, 8; Romans 8:24; Ephesians 4:9; Acts 11:17.


Verse 17

2 Corinthians 2:17. The answer to the foregoing question is not to be supplied, so that it should be conceived as negative ( εἰ δὲ μὴ ἱκανοὶ, χάριτος τὸ γινόμενον, Chrysostom, Neander, Hofmann, and others), but it is given, though indirectly, in 2 Corinthians 2:17 itself, inasmuch as the expression introduced by γάρ readily suggests to the reader the conclusion, that the subjects of ἐσμεν, i.e. Paul and his like, are the ἱκανοί, and that the πολλοί are not so. See Klotz, ad Devar. p. 240; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 83. If Paul had wished to convey in his question the negative statement, “No one is capable of this,” he could not but have added a limiting ἀφʼ ἑαντοῦ or the like (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:5), in order to place the reader in the right point of vie.

οἱ πολλοί] the known many, the anti-Pauline teachers.(153) Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:13; Philippians 3:18. See on οἱ πολλοί “de certis quibusdam et definitis multis,” Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 603; comp. also Romans 12:5. To understand by it the majority of the Christian teachers in general, is to throw a shadow on the apostolic church, which its history as known to us at least does not justif.

καπηλεὺοντες] belongs to ἐσμέν. The verb means (1) to carry on the business of a κάπηλος, a retailer, particularly a vintner; (2) to negotiate; (3) to practise usury with anything ( τὶ), in particular, by adulteration, since the κάπηλοι adulterated the wine (LXX. Isaiah 1:22), and in general, had an evil reputation for cheating ( κάπηλα τεχνήματα, Aesch. Fragm. 328 D). In this sense the word is also used by the Greeks of intellectual objects, as Plato, Protag. p. 313 D: οἱ τὰ μαθήματακαπηλεύοντες. Comp. Lucian, Hermot 59: φιλόσοφοι ἀποδίδονται τὰ μαθήματα ὥσπερ οἱ κάπηλοι, κερασάμενοί γε οἱ πολλοὶ καὶ δολώσαντες καὶ κακομετροῦντες. Philostr 16: τὴν σοφίαν καπηλεύειν. So also here: comp. the opposite ἐξ εἰλικρ. and 2 Corinthians 4:2. Hence: we practise no deceitful usury with the word of God, as those do, who, with selfish intention, dress up what they preach as the word of God palatably and as people wish to hear it, and for that end τὰ αὐτῶν ἀναμιγνύουσι τοῖς θείοις, Chrysostom. Comp. 2 Peter 2:3. Such are named in Ignat. Trall. (Interpol.) 6, comp. 10, χριστέμποροι, and are described as τὸν ἰὸν προσπλέκοντες τῆς πλάνης τῇ γλυκείᾳ προσηγορίᾳ.

ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐξ εἰλικρ.] but we speak ( λαλοῦμεν) as one speaks from sincerity of mind (which has no dealings with adulteration), so that what we speak proceeds from an honest heart and thought. Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:12. ὡς is as in John 1:14. On ἐκ, compare John 3:31; John 8:44; 1 John 4:5.

ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐκ θεοῦ] but as one speaks from God (who is in the speaker), as θεόπνευστος. Comp. Matthew 10:20; 1 Corinthians 14:25; 2 Corinthians 5:20. The ἀλλά is repeated in the lively climax of the thought. Comp. 2 Corinthians 7:11, and see on 1 Corinthians 6:11. Rückert strangely wishes to connect it with τὸν λόγον, and to supply ὄντα. So also Estius (“tanquam profectum et acceptum a Deo”), Emmerling, and others. That is, in fact, impossible after ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐξ εἰλικρ.

κατέναντι θεοῦ ἐν χριστῷ] Since neither ἀλλά nor ὡς is repeated before κατέναντι, Paul himself indicates the connection and division: “but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak before God in Christ,” so that the commas after the twice-occurring θεοῦ are, with Lachmann and Tischendorf, to be deleted. This in opposition to the opinion cherished also by Hofmann, that κατέναντι θεοῦ and ἐν χριστῷ are two modal definitions of λαλοῦμεν, running parallel with the foregoing point.

κατέναντι θεοῦ] before God, with the consciousness of having Him present as witness. Comp. Romans 4:17.

ἐν χριοτῷ] can neither mean Christi nomine (Grotius, comp. Luther, Estius, Calovius, Zachariae, Heumann, Schulz, Rosenmüller), nor de Christo (Beza, Cornelius a Lapide, Morus, Flatt), nor secundum Christum (Calvin), but it is the habitually employed expression in Christo. We speak in Christo, in so far as Christ is the sphere in which our speaking moves. Comp. 2 Corinthians 12:19; Romans 9:1. In Him we live and move with our speaking, οὐδὲν τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ σοφίᾳ ἀλλὰ τῇ παρʼ ἐκείνου δυνάμει ἐνηχούμενοι, Chrysostom.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 2:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/2-corinthians-2.html. 1832.

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