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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - 2 CORINTHIANS 12

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    12:1 {I must needs glory} (kaucasqai dei). this is the reading of B L Latin Syriac, but Aleph D Bohairic have de while K M read de. The first is probably correct. He must go on with the glorying already begun, foolish as it is, though it is not expedient (ou sumferon). {Visions} (optasias). Late word from optazw. See on Lu 1:22; Ac 26:19. {Revelations of the Lord} (apokaluyeis kuriou). Unveilings (from apokaluptw as in #Re 1:1). See on 2Th 1:7; 1Co 1:7; 14:26. Paul had both repeated visions of Christ (#Ac 9:3; 16:9; 18:9; 22:17; 27:23f.) and revelations. He claimed to speak by direct revelation (#1Co 11:23; 15:3; Ga 1:12; Eph 3:3, etc.).

    12:2 {I know a man} (oida anqrwpon). Paul singles out one incident of ecstasy in his own experience that he declines to describe. He alludes to it in this indirect way as if it were some other personality. {Fourteen years ago} (pro etwn dekatessarwn). Idiomatic way of putting it, the preposition pro (before) before the date (Robertson, _Grammar, p. 621f.) as in #Joh 12:1. The date was probably while Paul was at Tarsus (#Ac 9:30; 11:25). We have no details of that period. {Caught up} (harpagenta). Second aorist passive participle of harpazw, to seize (see on #Mt 11:12). {Even to the third heaven} (hews tritou ouranou). It is unlikely that Paul alludes to the idea of seven heavens held by some Jews (_Test. of the Twelve Pat._, Levi ii. iii.). He seems to mean the highest heaven where God is (Plummer).

    12:3 {I do not know} (ouk oida). Paul declines to pass on his precise condition in this trance. We had best leave it as he has told it.

    12:4 {Into Paradise} (eis paradeison). See on Lu 23:43 for this interesting word. Paul apparently uses paradise as the equivalent of the third heaven in verse #2. Some Jews (_Book of the Secrets of Enoch_, chapter viii) make Paradise in the third heaven. The rabbis had various ideas (two heavens, three, seven). We need not commit Paul to any "celestial gradation" (Vincent). {Unspeakable words} (arreta remata). Old verbal adjective (a privative, retos from re"), only here in N.T. {Not lawful} (ouk exon). Copula estin omitted. Hence Paul does {not} give these words.

    12:5 {But on mine own behalf} (huper de emautou). As if there were two Pauls. In a sense there were. He will only glory in the things mentioned above, the things of his weaknesses (#11:30).

    12:6 {I shall not be foolish} (ouk esomai afrwn). Apparent contradiction to #11:1,16. But he is here speaking of the Paul "caught up" in case he should tell the things heard (condition of the third class, ean and first aorist subjunctive thels"). {Of me} (eis eme). To my credit, almost like dative (cf. en emoi in #1Co 14:11).

    12:7 {By reason of the exceeding greatness} (tei huperbolei). Instrumental case, "by the excess." {That I should not be exalted overmuch} (hina me huperairwmai). Present passive subjunctive in final clause of huperairw, old verb to lift up beyond, only here in N.T. this clause is repeated at the end of the sentence. {A thorn in the flesh} (skoloy tei sarki). this old word is used for splinter, stake, thorn. In the papyri and inscriptions examples occur both for splinter and thorn as the meaning. In the LXX it is usually thorn. The case of ti sarki can be either locative (in) or dative (for). What was it? Certainly it was some physical malady that persisted. All sorts of theories are held (malaria, eye-trouble, epilepsy, insomnia, migraine or sick-headache, etc.). It is a blessing to the rest of us that we do not know the particular affliction that so beset Paul. Each of us has some such splinter or thorn in the flesh, perhaps several at once. {Messenger of Satan} (aggelos satana). Angel of Satan, the affliction personified. {Buffet} (kolafizei). See on Mt 26:67; 1Co 4:11 for this late and rare word from kolafos, fist. The messenger of Satan kept slapping Paul in the face and Paul now sees that it was God's will for it to be so.

    12:8 {Concerning this thing} (huper toutou). More likely, "concerning this messenger of Satan." {That it might depart from me} (hina apostei af' emou). Second aorist active (intransitive) subjunctive of afistemi in final clause, "that he stand off from me for good."

    12:9 {He hath said} (eireken). Perfect active indicative, as if a final word. Paul probably still has the thorn in his flesh and needs this word of Christ. {Is sufficient} (arkei). Old word of rich meaning, perhaps kin to Latin _arceo_, to ward off against danger. Christ's grace suffices and abides. {Is perfected} (teleitai). Present passive indicative of tele", to finish. It is linear in idea. Power is continually increased as the weakness grows. See #Php 4:13 for this same noble conception. The human weakness opens the way for more of Christ's power and grace. {Most gladly rather} (hedista mallon). Two adverbs, one superlative (hedista), one comparative (mallon). "Rather" than ask any more (thrice already) for the removal of the thorn or splinter "most gladly will I glory in my weaknesses." Slowly Paul had learned this supreme lesson, but it will never leave him (#Ro 5:2; 2Ti 4:6-8). {May rest upon me} (episkenwsei ep' eme). Late and rare verb in first aorist active subjunctive with hina (final clause), to fix a tent upon, here upon Paul himself by a bold metaphor, as if the Shechinah of the Lord was overshadowing him (cf. #Lu 9:34), the power (dunamis) of the Lord Jesus.

    12:10 {Wherefore I take pleasure} (dio eudokw). For this noble word see on Mt 3:17; 2Co 5:8. The enemies of Paul will have a hard time now in making Paul unhappy by persecutions even unto death (#Php 1:20-26). He is not courting martyrdom, but he does not fear it or anything that is "for Christ's sake" (huper cristou). {For when} (hotan gar). "For whenever," indefinite time. {qen I am strong} (tote dunatos eimi). At that very time, but not in myself, but in the fresh access of power from Christ for the emergency.

    12:11 {I am become foolish} (gegona afrwn). Perfect active indicative of ginomai. In spite of what he said in verse #6 that he would not be foolish if he gloried in the other Paul. But he feels that he has dropped back to the mood of #11:1,16. He has been swept on by the memory of the ecstasy. {For I ought to have been commended by you} (egw gar wfeilon huf' humwn sunistasqai). Explanation of "ye compelled me." Imperfect active wfeilon of ofeilw, to be under obligation, and the tense here expresses an unfulfilled obligation about the present. But sunistasqai is present passive infinitive, not aorist or perfect passive. He literally means, "I ought now to be commended by you" instead of having to glorify myself. He repeats his boast already made (#11:5f.), that he is no whit behind "the super-extra apostles" (the Judaizers), "though I am nothing" (ei kai ouden eimi). Even boasting himself against those false apostles causes a reaction of feeling that he has to express (cf. #1Co 15:9; 1Ti 1:15f.).

    12:12 {Of an apostle} (tou apostolou). "Of the apostle" (definite article). Note the three words here for miracles wrought by Paul (semeia, signs, terata, wonders, dunameis, powers or miracles) as in #Heb 2:4.

    12:13 {Wherein ye were made inferior} (ho hesswqete). First aorist passive indicative of hessoomai, the text of Aleph B D instead of the usual hetteqete from the common hettaomai to be inferior or less from the comparative hettwn. See hesswn in verse #15. ho is the neuter accusative with the passive verb (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 479). {Forgive me this wrong} (carisasqe moi ten adikian tauten). Consummate irony to the stingy element in this church (cf. #11:9).

    12:14 {Third time I am ready to come} (triton touto hetoimws ecw). Had he been already twice or only once? He had changed his plans once when he did not go (#1:15f.). He will not change his plans now. this looks as if he had only been once (that in #Ac 18). Note the third use of katanarkaw (#11:9; 12:13,14). They need not be apprehensive. He will be as financially independent of them as before. "I shall not sponge on you." {Not yours, but you} (ou ta humwn, alla humas). The motto of every real preacher. {To lay up} (qesaurizein). For this use of the verb see #1Co 16:2 (#Mt 6:19-21; Jas 5:3).

    12:15 {I will most gladly spend and be spent} (hedista dapanesw kai ekdapaneqesomai). Both future active of old verb dapanaw (#Mr 5:26) to spend money, time, energy, strength and the future passive of ekdapanaw, late compound to spend utterly, to spend out, (ek-), to spend wholly. Only here in N.T.

    12:16 {I did not myself burden you} (egw ou katebaresa humas). First aorist active of late verb katabarew, to press a burden down on one. Only here in N.T. {Crafty} (panourgos). Old word from pan, all, and ergo, to do anything (good or bad). Good sense is skilful, bad sense cunning. Only here in N.T. and Paul is quoting the word from his enemies. {With guile} (dolwi). Instrumental case of dolos, bait to catch fish with. The enemies of Paul said that he was raising this big collection for himself. Moffatt has done well to put these charges in quotation marks to make it plain to readers that Paul is ironical.

    12:17 {Did I take advantage} (epleonektesa). Paul goes right to the point without hedging. For this verb from pleon and ecw, to have more, see on 2Co 2:11; 7:2. {By any one of them} (tina--di' autou). An anacoluthon for tina is left in the accusative without a verb and Di' autou takes up the idea, "as to any one by him." {Whom} (hwn). The genitive relative is attracted from the accusative hous into the case of the unexpressed antecedent touton). me expects the negative answer as does meti in #18.

    12:18 {The brother} (ton adelfon). Probably the brother of Titus (cf. #8:18). {Did Titus take advantage of you?} (meti epleonektesen humas titos?). That puts the issue squarely. {By the same Spirit} (twi autwi pneumati). That translation refers to the Holy Spirit and makes the case instrumental. The locative case, "in the same spirit," makes it mean that Paul's attitude is the same as that of Titus and most likely is correct, for "in the same steps" (tois autois icnesin) is in locative case.

    12:19 {Ye think all this time} (palai dokeite). Progressive present indicative, "for a long time ye have been thinking." {We are excusing ourselves} (apologoumeqa). He is not just apologizing, but is in deadly earnest, as they will find out when he comes.

    12:20 {Lest by any means, when I come, I should find you not such as I would} (me pws elqwn ouc hoious qelw heurw humas). An idiomatic construction after the verb of fearing (foboumai) with me pws as the conjunction and with ouc as the negative of the verb heurw (second aorist active subjunctive of heuriskw), me the conjunction, ouc the negative. See Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 995. {And I be found} (kagw heureqw). Same construction with first aorist passive subjunctive. {Such as ye would not} (hoion ou qelete). Neat change in voice just before and position of the negative here. {Lest by any means} (me pws). Still further negative purpose by repeating the conjunction. With graphic pen pictures Paul describes what had been going on against him during his long absence. {Backbitings} (katalaliai). Late and rare word. In N.T. only here and #1Pe 2:1. If it only existed nowhere else! {Whisperings} (yiqurismoi). Late word from yiqurizw, to whisper into one's ear. An onomatopoetic word for the sibilant murmur of a snake charmer (#Ec 10:11). Only here in N.T. {Swellings} (fusiwseis). From fusiow, to swell up, late word only here and in ecclesiastical writers. Did Paul make up the word for the occasion? See on 1Co 4:6 for verb. {Tumults} (akatastasiai). See on #2Co 6:5.

    12:21 {When I come again} (palin elqontos mou). Genitive absolute. Paul assumes it as true. {Lest my God humble me} (me tapeinwsei me ho qeos mou). Negative final clause (me and first aorist active subjunctive), going back to foboumai in #20. He means a public humiliation as his fear. The conduct of the church had been a real humiliation whether he refers to a previous visit or not. {That have sinned heretofore} (twn proemartekotwn). Genitive plural of the articular perfect active participle of proamartanw to emphasize continuance of their sinful state as opposed to me metanoesantwn (did not repent) in the aorist tense.

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