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Bible Commentaries
2 Thessalonians 3

Milligan on Paul's Epistle to the ThessaloniansMilligan on Thessalonians

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Verse 1

1, 2. ‘Nor do we only pray for you, we ask further that you, Brothers, should pray for us, and especially that the word of the Lord may have the same swift and glorious course everywhere that it has already had amongst you. To this end do you pray that we may he rescued from the perverse and evil men who are at present placing obstacles in our path—for it is not every one who has a true faith in Christ.’

1. Τὸ λοιπὸν προσεύχεσθε κτλ.] The request is another proof of the closeness of the bond which the Apostles recognized as existing between their ‘brethren’ and themselves (Intr. p. 44), while as regards its contents (for the sub-final ἵνα see note on 1 Thessalonians 4:1) it is significant that in the first instance it is of the furtherance of their work rather than of any ease or advantage to themselves that they think.

For τὸ λοιπόν cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:1 note, and for προσεύχεσθε περί 1 Thessalonians 5:25 note.

ὁ λόγος τ. κυρίου] ‘the word of the Lord’ Jesus in accordance with the general practice of the Epp. (Add. Note D). The use of the title in the present section is very marked, occurring as it does four times in vv. 1–5.

τρέχῃ] ‘may run’ emphasizing the living, active nature of the word in the Apostles’ eyes, and their ardent desire that it may speed ever onward on its victorious course: cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:8. The figure, which falls in with St Paul’s well-known fondness for metaphorical language from the stadium (Romans 9:16, 1 Corinthians 9:24 ff., Galatians 2:2; Galatians 5:7, Philippians 2:16, 2 Timothy 4:7), is derived from the O.T., see especially Psalms 147:4 (146:15) ἕως τάχους δραμεῖται ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ, and the splendid imagery of Psalms 18. (19.) directly cited in Romans 10:18. Findlay aptly recalls Vergil’s lines on Fama beginning ‘Mobilitate viget, viresque adquirit eundo’ (Aen. 4:175 ff.).

καὶ δοξάζηται] the inner recognition following on (καί consec.) the outward progress of the word: cf. Acts 13:48 ἀκούοντα δὲ τὰ ἔθνη ἔχαιρον καὶ ἐδόξαζον τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ, and for the thought see Titus 2:10. On the deepened significance of δοξάζω in Bibl. Gk. see SH. p. 44, and for the slightly stronger ἐνδοξάζω cf. 1:10, 1:12. As illustrating the N.T. usage, the following invocation from the long magical papyrus P.Lond. 1. 121, 502 ff. (3./a.d.) is noteworthy: κυρία ῏Ισις ... δόξασόν με (μοι Pap.), ὡς ἐδόξασα τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ υἱοῦ(ς) σου Ὥρου (cf. Reitzenstein Poimandres p. 22 n.5).

καθὼς κ. πρὸς ὑμᾶς] For this use of πρός with acc. cf. 1 Thessalonians 3:4 note, and for the fact see 1 Thessalonians 1:5 ff; 1 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

Verse 2

2. καὶ ἵνα ῥυσθῶμεν κτλ.] a second and more personal need for which the prayers of the Thessalonians are asked, and which, though independent of the first, is closely connected with it: cf. Romans 15:30 f., and note the striking verbal parallel in Isaiah 25:4 ἀπὸ ἀνθρώπων πονηρῶν ῥύσῃ αὐτούς. Thdt.: διπλῆ μὲν ἡ αἴτησις εἶναι δοκεῖ, μία δὲ ὅμως ἐστί. τῶν γὰρ πονηρῶν ἀνθρώπων ἡττωμένων, ἀκωλύτως καὶ ὁ τοῦ κηρύγματος συντρέχει λόγος.

For the meaning of ῥμσθῶμεν (late pass. aor., WSchm. p. 131) = eripiamur (Beza) rather than liberemur (Vg.), see the note on 1 Thessalonians 1:10, and contrast the construction with ἀπό, not ἐκ, in the present passage, laying stress perhaps on the deliverance itself rather than on the power from which it is granted, cf. Romans 15:31, 2 Timothy 4:18, and from the LXX. Exodus 2:19 ἐρρύσατο ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τῶν ποιμένων. For a late instance of ῥύεσθι ἀπό see P.Lond. 2:413, 2:3 f. (4./a.d.) ε[ὔχομ]αι ς[.]ῶ τῷ θεῷ περὶ [τῆ]ς ς[ωτ]ηρίας ἵνα ῥύσει σαὶ ἀπό. ...

τ. ἀτόπων κ. πονηρῶν ἀνθρώπων] Ἄτοπος, originally = ‘out of place,’ ‘unbecoming,’ is used in class. Gk. especially in Plato in the sense of ‘marvellous,’ ‘odd’ (e.g. Legg. 1:646 b τ. θαυμαστοῦ τε καὶ ἀτόπου), from which the transition is easy to the ethical meaning of ‘improper,’ ‘unrighteous’ in later Gk., e.g. Philo Legg. Alleg. 3. § 17 (1. p. 97 M.) παρʼ ὃ καὶ ἄτοπος λέγεται εἶναι ὁ φαῦλος· ἄτοπον δέ ἐστι κακὸν δύσθετον, and such a passage from the Κοινή as P.Petr. 3:43 (3), 3:17 f. (3./b.c.), where precautions are taken against certain discontented labourers ἵνα μὴ ἄτοπ[ό]ν τι πράξωσιν: cf. also B.G.U. 757, 21 (1/a.d.) where ἕτερα ἄτοπα are ascribed to certain marauders who had pulled to pieces a farmer’s sheaves of wheat, and the very interesting public notice contained in P.Fior. 99 (1./2. a.d.) to the effect that the parents of a prodigal youth will no longer be responsible for his debts or for ἄτοπόν τι πράξη[ι].

It is in this sense accordingly, implying something morally amiss, that, with the exception of Acts 28:6, the word is found in the LXX. and the N.T. (Job 4:8; Job 11:11 &c., Prov. 24:55 (Proverbs 30:20), 2 Maccabees 14:23, Luke 23:41, Acts 25:5), and in the passage before us it is best given some such rendering as ‘perverse’ or ‘froward’ rather than the ‘unreasonable’ of A.V., R.V.

Similarly πονηρός (as frequently in the LXX., e.g. Genesis 37:20, Psalms 77. (78.) 49, Esther 7:6; cf. Hatch Essays p. 77 f.) is used not so much of passive badness as of active harmfulness, while the prefixed art. shows that the writers have here certain definite persons in view, doubtless the fanatical Jews who at the time were opposing their preaching in Corinth (Acts 18:12 ff.), as they had already done in Thessalonica and Beroea (Acts 17:5; Acts 17:13): cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:14 ff.

οὐ γὰρ πάντων ἡ πίστις] ‘for not to all does the Faith belong’ (Luth. denn der Glaube ist nicht jedermanns Diag). For a similar meiosis cf. Romans 10:16 ἀλλʼ οὐ πάντες ὑπήκουσαν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ. As illustrating the form of the sentence, Wetstein quotes the proverbial saying, οὐ παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ἐς Κόρινθον ἐσθʼ ὀ πλοῦς (Strabo 8:6. 20).

Verse 3

3–5. ‘We have spoken of the want of faith in certain quarters. However this may be, know assuredly that the Lord is faithful. He will set you in a firm place. He will protect you from the attacks of the Evil One. And seeing that He will do this, we have confidence that you on your part will not come short, but will continue as at present to do the things which we are enjoining. May the Lord direct you into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.’

3. Πιστός] recalling the πίστις of the previous verse. For a similar word-play cf. Romans 3:3.

ος στηρίξει ὑμ. κτλ.] Not only will the Lord ‘set them in a firm place’ (στηρίξει, for form, WM. p. 110), but He will also ‘protect’ φυλάξει, Vg. custodiet) them there from external assaults: cf. for the thought John 17:12. For στηρίζειν (1 Thessalonians 3:2 note) cf. 1 Peter 5:10 ὁ δὲ θεὸς πάσης χάριτος ... αὐτὸς καταρτίσει, στηρίξει, σθενώσει, and for the constr. φυλάσσειν ἀπό cf. Psalms 140. (141.) 9 φύλαξόν με ἀπὸ πάγιδος ἧς συνεστήσαντό μοι, and see Buttmann p. 192.

ἀπὸ τ. πονηροῦ] The precise sense to be attached to these words is best determined by the meaning assigned them in the petition of the Lord’s Prayer ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ (Matthew 6:13), of which we have apparently a reminiscence here (cf. Colossians 1:13, and see Feine Jesus Christ und Paulus p. 252 f.). As the general consensus of modern scholarship is to understand πονηροῦ there as masc. rather than as neut. in accordance with the predominant usage of the N.T. (Matthew 5:37; Matthew 13:19; Matthew 13:38, Ephesians 6:16, 1 John 2:13 f., 3:12a, 5:18 f. as against Luke 6:45, Romans 12:9), and the unanimous opinion of the Gk. commentators, we follow the same rendering here, and translate ‘from the evil one’: a rendering, it may be noted further, which forms a fitting antithesis to ὁ κύριος of the preceding clause, and is moreover in thorough harmony with the prominence assigned shortly before to the persons of Satan and his representative (2:1–12), and more especially to the evil men (πονηρῶν ἀνθρώπων) of the preceding clause. See further Lft.’s note ad loc. and the same writer’s Revision of the Engl. N.T.3 p. 269 ff., and especially the exhaustive discussion by Chase The Lord’s Prayer p. 112 ff.

Verse 4

4. πεποίθαμεν δέ κτλ.] The assurance that it is the Lord Who is protecting the Thessalonians gives the Apostles a corresponding confidence that the Thessalonians themselves will faithfully fulfil their part. Chrys.: δεῖ μὲν γὰρ τὸ πᾶν ἐπʼ αὐτὸν ῥίπτειν, ἀλλʼ ἐνεργοῦντας καὶ αὐτούς, τοῖς πόνοις ἐμβεβηκότας καὶ τοῖς ἀγῶσι.

For ἐν κυρίῳ (see 1 Thessalonians 4:1), as the ground with correspondingly new resources in which all St Paul’s hopes and desires are centred, cf. Galatians 5:10, Ephesians 4:17, Philippians 2:19; Philippians 2:24, and for ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς, instead of the class, dat., as marking the direction of the confidence displayed cf. Matthew 27:43, 2 Corinthians 2:3, Psalms 124. (125.) 1.

ὅτι ἃ παραγγέλλομεν κτλ.] For a similar use of ὅτι introducing the objective statement of the Apostle’s confidence cf. Philippians 2:24. Under ἃ παραγγέλλομεν must be understood not such injunctions as had already been given (e.g. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12), but rather, as the resumption of the same verb in v. 6 proves, those that immediately follow, and which, on account of their hardness, are further prefaced by a short ejaculatory prayer.

For παραγγέλλω see 1 Thessalonians 4:11 note, and as bringing out the idea of transmission contained in the word cf. P.Grenf. 1:40, 6 f. (2./b.c.) ἔκρινον γράψαι σοι ὅπως εἰδὼς παραγγείλης καὶ τ[οῖς] ἄλλοις ἱερεῦσι.

Verse 5

5. Ὁ δὲ κύριος κατευθύναι κτλ.] Ὁ κύριος can only be the Lord Jesus as in vv. 1, 3, 4, any reference to the Holy Spirit (as Basil de Spiritu sancto c. 21 and most of the Gk. commentators) being outruled if only on the ground that ὁ κύριος is never so employed in the N.T. (not even in 2 Corinthians 3:18).

For κατευθύνω see 1 Thessalonians 3:11 note: its metaphorical use is further illustrated by Aristeas 18 κατευθύνει τὰς πράξεις καὶ τὰς ἐπιβολὰς ὁ κυριεύων ἁπάντων θεός.

εἰς τ. ἀγάπην τ. θεοῦ κ. εἰς τ. ὑπομονὴν τ. χριστοῦ] The close parallelism of the two clauses makes it natural (as in 2:13) to understand the genitives in the same way, and as the subjective interpretation of the second clause is rendered almost necessary by the regular meaning of ὑπομονήν in the N.T., ‘constancy,’ ‘endurance’ (1 Thessalonians 1:3 note) not ‘patient waiting’ (ἀναμονήν cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:10), we are similarly led to think of τ. ἁγαπὴν τ. θεοῦ as the love which is God’s special characteristic, and which He has displayed towards us; cf. Romans 5:5; Romans 8:39, 2 Corinthians 13:13, Ephesians 2:4, and see Abbott Joh.Gr. p. 84.

The use of the art. before χριστοῦ is significant as emphasizing the connexion of the ‘patience’ spoken of not merely with the earthly trials of the Saviour, but with these trials as the inevitable lot of the suffering servant of Jehovah. Cf. for the general thought Hebrews 12:1 f., Revelation 3:10, and see Ign. Romans 10:3 ἔρρωσθε εἰς τέλος ἐν ὑπομονῇ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, where however Lft. (ad loc.) inclines to the meaning ‘patient waiting for Christ.’

Verse 6

6–12. ‘In order, however, that this happy result may be attained, we again on our part urge you—and yet not we, but the Lord—not in any way to associate with a brother who is not living a well-ordered life in accordance with our teaching. For you yourselves cannot but be conscious that you ought to follow our example. When we were with you, we did not depend on others for our support. Rather in toil and moil, night and day, we worked that we might not lay an unnecessary burden upon any of you. You must not indeed suppose that we have not the right to maintenance, but we waived our right in order to set an example for you to follow. And not only so, but we gave you a positive precept to this effect. For you cannot have forgotten that while we were with you, we were in the constant habit of urging upon you that “If any will not work, neither let him eat.” And we are the more led to go back upon this, because information is reaching us regarding certain of your number who are living ill-ordered lives, and, instead of attending to their own business, are busy with what does not concern them. It is such as these that we urge and entreat in the Lord Jesus to attend quietly to their own work and earn their own living.’

6. Παραγγέλλομεν δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί] In introducing their παραγγελία the Apostles adopt a tone at once of affection and of authority—of affection, because it is to their ‘brethren’ that they appeal, and of authority, because it is as the representatives of one Jesus, Who had been made known both as Lord and Christ, that they enforce their charge.

ἐν ὀνόματι τ. κυρ. Ἰης. Χρ.] practically synonymous here with διὰ τ. κυρ. Ἰης. (1 Thessalonians 4:2 note), though the introduction of the common O.T. periphrasis (cf. Exodus 5:23, Deuteronomy 18:22, Jeremiah 11:21) lays greater stress on the personality and consequent authority of the person Spoken of: cf. 1:12 note, and for a full discussion of this and similar expressions see the exhaustive monograph by W. Heitmüller Im Namen Jesu (Göttingen, 1903).

A similar usage occurs in the Κοινή where ὄνομα with the gen. often stands for the dat. of the name of the person addressed, e.g. Ostr. 670 Πανίσκος ... ὀνό(ματι) [ὀνό(ματος), Wilcken] Πασήμιος κτλ. (other exx. in Herwerden).

στέλλεσθαι ὑμᾶς κτλ.] Στέλλειν originally = ‘set,’ ‘place,’ and hence ‘bring together,’ ‘make compact’ as e.g. of shortening the sails of a ship (Hom. Il. 1:433, Od. 3:11), by a natural transition came to denote generally ‘restrain,’ ‘check,’ and is found in the midd. in the sense of ‘draw or shrink back from’ anything, whether from fear (Hesych.: στέλλεται· φοβεῖται) or any other motive as in Malachi 2:5 ἀπὸ προσώπου ὀνόματός μου στέλλεσθαι αὐτόν, 3 Maccabees 1:19 αἱ καὶ προσαρτίως ἐσταλμέναι (‘die sich gang zurückgezogen halten’ Kautzsch, and cf. Grimm’s note ad loc.): cf. Hipp. Vet. med. 10 (ed. Foesius) οὔτʼ ἂν ἀπόσχοιντο ὧν ἐπιθυμεοῦσιν, οὔτε στείλαντο, and see the old gloss quoted in Steph. Thesaur. s.v. where στέλλεσθαι is explained by ἀφίστασθαι, ἀναχωρεῖν. This gives the clue to its meaning here (Vg. ut subtrahatis vos) and in 2 Corinthians 8:20 στελλόμενοι (Vg. devitantes) τοῦτο μή τις ἡμᾶς μωμήσηται, the only other place where it is found in the N.T. Thdt.: τὸ στέλλεσθαι ἀντὶ τοῦ χωρίζεσθαι τέθεικε. The compound ὑποστέλλω (-ομαι) is used in the same sense in Acts 20:20; Acts 20:27, Galatians 2:12, Hebrews 10:38; cf. Deuteronomy 1:17, Job 13:8, Sap. 6:7 (8).

παντὸς ἀδελφοῦ] Notwithstanding his faults, the title of ‘brother’ is not, denied to the disorderly person, even while duty to the ‘brotherhood’ requires that he be avoided; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:11.

ἀτάκτως] See Add. Note G.

κατὰ τ. παράδοσιν κτλ.] For παράδοσιν see 2:15 note, and for παρελάβετε see 1 Thessalonians 2:13 note.

The marginal reading παρελάβοσαν is well-attested, and, if adopted, must have its subj. supplied from the collective ἀπὸ παντὸς ἀδελφοῦ. The termination in -οσαν receives however scanty warrant from the papyri (Moulton Prolegg. p. 52), and in the present instance may have originated ‘in an ocular confusion with -οσιν (παράδοσιν) in the corresponding place of the line above’ (WH.2 Notes p. 172).

Verse 7

7. αὐτοὶ γὰρ αἴδατε] Cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:11 &c.; Intr. p. 44.

μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶς] The verb μιμέομαι, repeated in v. 9, is found elsewhere in the N.T. only in Hebrews 13:7, 3 John 1:11; it occurs several times in the apocr. books of the O.T., cf. also Aristeas 188 μιμούμενος τὸ τοῦ θεοῦ διὰ παντὸς ἐπιεικές. For the thought of the present passage see 1 Thessalonians 1:6 note.

οὐκ ἠτακτήσαμεν] another instance of meiosis (cf. v. 2, 1 Thessalonians 2:15), embodying the ground of the Thessalonians’ knowledge just spoken of. For ἀτακτέω see Add. Note G.

Verse 8

8. δωρεάν] ‘gratis’ as frequently in the LXX. (Genesis 29:15, Exodus 21:2 &c.): cf. Romans 3:24, 2 Corinthians 11:7, also P.Tebt. 5, 249 ff. (2./b.c.) ἐπιρίπτειν ... ἔργα δωρεὰν μηδὲ μισθῶν ὑφειμένων ‘to impose labour gratis or at reduced wages.’ In John 15:25 (LXX.), Galatians 2:21 the word has the further sense of ‘uselessly,’ ‘without sufficient cause.’

ἄρτον ἐφάγομεν] a general expression for taking food of any kind (cf. Mark 3:20, Luke 14:1), corresponding to the Heb. àÈëÇìÎìÆçÆí (Genesis 3:19; Genesis 3:4 Regn. 4:8).

αλλʼ ἐν κόπῳ κτλ.] See the notes on 1 Thessalonians 2:9, and as further illustrating the meaning of the phrase νυκτ. κ. ἡμ. cf. Magn. 163, 7 f. ἀδιαλείπτως θέντα τὸ ἔλαιον ἡμέρας τε καὶ νυκτός.

Verse 9

9. οὐχ ὅτι οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν] a limitation introduced to avoid any possible misconception as to the Apostolic claim to gratuitous support: cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:6 and especially 1 Corinthians 9:4; 1 Corinthians 9:7-14 where St Paul traces this same ‘right’ (ἐξουσίαν, v. 4) to the enactment of the Lord Himself (v. 14, Luke 10:7 f.); see also 1 Timothy 5:18, Didache 13:1 πᾶς δὲ προφήτης ἀληθινὸς ... ἄξιός ἐστι τῆς τροφῆς αὐτοῦ.

For this later sense of ἐξουσία (primarily ‘liberty of action’) to denote a definite ‘claim’ or ‘right,’ with the further idea of ‘authority’ over others, cf. its frequent technical use in the papyri in connexion with wills and contracts, e.g. P.Oxy. 491, 3 (2./a.d.), ἐφʼ ὃν μὲν περίειμι χρόνον ἔχειν μ[ε] τὴν τῶν ἰδίων ἐξου[σί]αν ‘so long as I survive I am to have power over my own property,’ 719, 25 (2./a.d.) ἐξουσίας σοι οὔσης ἑτέροις παρ[αχωρεῖν] ‘the right resting with you to cede to others.’

For the use of οὐχ ὅτι = οὐ λέγομεν ὅτι (... ἀλλά) in the N.T. for the purpose of avoiding misconception cf. 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 3:5, Philippians 4:17; WM. p. 746.

ἀλλʼ ἵνα ἑαυτοὺς τύπον κτλ.] a second, and in the present instance, the main reason of the Apostles’ self-denying toil: not only did they desire to remove any hindrance from the free diffusion of the Gospel (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:9), but also by their own daily lives and conduct to impress more forcibly upon their converts’ hearts the real significance of their message.

For ἑαυτούς with reference to the 1st pets. plur. cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 note. It is of interest to notice that this usage does not seem to have extended to the sing. except in the case of very illiterate documents, e.g. B.G.U. 86, 5 (2./a.d.) συνχωρῶ μετὰ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ τελευτὴν τοῖς γεγονόσι α[ὑτ]ῷ ἐκ τῆς συνούσης αὑτοῦ γυναικός (cf. Moulton C.R. 15:441, 18:154). With τύπος (1 Thessalonians 1:7 note) cf. the use of ὑποτύπωσις in 1 Timothy 1:16, 2 Timothy 1:13, the metaphor there, according to Lft. (on Clem. R. Cor. 5. ad fin.), being due to the art of sculpture, ‘the first rough model.’

Verse 10

10. καὶ γὰρ ὅτε ἦμεν κτλ.] Cf. I. 3:4, the only difference being that, in view of v. 6, τοῦτο παρηγγέλλομεν is substituted for προελέγομεν. For similar references by St Paul to his previous public teaching cf. 1 Corinthians 11:23; 1 Corinthians 15:1.

ὅτι εἴ τις οὐ θέλει κτλ.] ‘that if any one is not willing (Beng.: ‘nolle vitium eat’) to work, neither let him eat.’ Pelag.: ‘Haec sit inquietudinis non solum poena, sed etiam emendatio.’

For ὅτι which is here equivalent to little more than our inverted commas see WM. p. 683 n.1, and for illustrations of the maxim, which was apparently a proverbial Jewish saying based on Genesis 3:19, see the passages cited by Wetstein, especially Bereschith R. 2:2 ‘ego vero si non laboro, non edo, ’ 14:12 ‘ut, si non laborat, non manducet’: cf. also Didache 12:3 εἰ δὲ θέλει πρὸς ὑμᾶς καθῆσαι, τεχνίτῆς ὤν, ἐργαζέσθω καὶ φαγέτω. According to Reach (Agrapha, p. 240 ff., Paulinismus, p. 409 f.) the saying in its present form may have been derived from a legion of the Lord Himself.

For εἰ ... οὐ see WM. p. 599, Jannaris, § 1807b, and for the strong negative μηδέ (ne quidem) with the imperative cf. Ephesians 5:3.

Verse 11

11. ἀκούομεν γάρ κτλ.] Fresh news from Thessalonica had reached the writers since the despatch of their first Epistle, perhaps through the bearer of that Epistle on his return, of such a character as to lead them to single out the offenders, who were evidently known to them, for direct rebuke.

For the pres. ἀκούομεν instead of the perf. cf. 1 Corinthians 11:18 (Burton, § 2, Gildersleeve Syntax § 204), and for its construction with the acc. and part. to describe an actually existing state see Buttmann p. 302 f.

μηδὲν ἐργαζομένους ἀλλὰ περιεργαζομένους] ‘doing no business but being busy bodies’—a translation suggested by Ellic. which has the merit of preserving the play of words in the original: cf. Beza ‘nihil agentes, sed inaniter satagentes,’ Est. ‘nihil operantes, sed circumoperantes,’ and amongst more modern renderings Ew., Schm. ‘keine Arbeit treibend, sondern sich herumtreibend,’ Zöckl. ‘nicht schaffend, sondern vielgeschäftig,’ Jowett ‘busy only with what is not their own business.’ The same play on the original Gk. words is found in Dem. Philippians 4:15 σοὶ μὲν ἐξ ὧν ἐργάζει καὶ περιεργάζει τοὺς ἐσχάτους ὄντας κινδύνους. For other exx. of paronomasia from the Pauline Epp. see v. 13, Romans 1:20; Romans 12:3, 1 Corinthians 7:31, 2 Corinthians 4:8, Philippians 3:2 f. (WM. p. 794 f., Blass, p. 298 f.).

Περιεργάζομαι, ἅπ. λεγ. N.T. (cf. περιεργός Acts 19:19, 1 Timothy 5:13), is found in the same sense as here in Sirach 3:23 (24) ἐν τοῖς περισσοῖς τῶν ἔργων σου μὴ περιεργάζου: cf. Plato Apol. 19 b, where it is said of Socrates in an accusatory sense, περιεργάζεται ζητῶν τά τε ὑπὸ γῆς καὶ τὰ ἐπουράνια, and for a significant ex. from the inscriptions see C.I.A. 111. 74, 14 f. ὃς ἂν δὲ πολυπραγμονήσῃ τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ ἢ περιεργάσηται, ἁμαρτίαν ὀφιλέτω κτλ. Quintilian defines περιεργία as ‘supervacua operositas’ (8:3. 8:55): cf. M. Anton. 10:2 τούτιις δὴ κανόσι χρώμενος, μηδὲν περιεργάζου.

Verse 12

12. τ. δὲ τοιούτοις παραγγέλλομεν κτλ.] The παραγγελία is now addressed directly to the ἄτακτοι themselves in so far as they possess the above-mentioned characteristics—τοῖς τοιούτοις, cf. Matthew 19:14, Romans 16:18, 1 Corinthians 5:11.

For παρακαλοῦμεν cf. I. 2:12 note, and for ἐν κυρ. Ἰης. Χρ. cf. I. 4:1 note.

ἵνα μετὰ ἡσυχίας κτλ.] It is not enough that they should not be disorderly, they must also work, and that too ‘with quietness’ for their own maintenance.

Ἡσυχία (elsewhere in N.T. only Acts 22:2, 1 Timothy 2:11 f.; cf. ἡσυχάζειν I. 4:11, and for a class. parallel [Dem.] Exord. Or. 1445 ἔχειν ἡσυχίαν καὶ τὰ ὑμέτερα αὐτῶν πράττειν) differs from ἠρεμία in denoting tranquillity arising from within rather than from without (Ellic. on 1 Timothy 2:2).

For the force of μετά see the note on I. 1:6, and cf. P.Lond. 1. 44, 17 f. (2./b.c.) μεθʼ ἡσυχίας ἀναλύειν.

Verse 13

13–15. ‘On the other hand as regards the rest of you, Brothers, we exhort you not to fail in doing the right thing, but to persevere in your honourable course. And in order that you may do this, there is nothing for it but to mark the man who is disregarding what we have said in this Epistle, and not in any way to associate with him, in order that thereby he may be shamed. And yet in saying this, we need hardly caution you that you are not to treat him as if he were in any sense an enemy, but rather to counsel him as a brother.’

13. Ὑμεῖς δέ] ‘But you’—whatever may have been the conduct of others. Thdt.: μὴ νικήσῃ τὴν ὑμετέραν φιλοτιμίαν ἡ ἐκείνων μοχθηρία.

μὴ ἐνκακήσητε] Ἐνκακέω (for form, WH.2 Notes p. 157 f.) from κακός ‘cowardly’ is found elsewhere in N.T. only in Luke 18:1, 2 Corinthians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 4:16, Galatians 6:9, Ephesians 3:13 : cf. Polyb. 4:19. 10 τὸ μὲν πέμπειν τὰς βοηθείας ... ἐνεκάκησαν ‘they omitted through cowardice to send assistance.’

For the use of the aor. subj. in 2nd pers. after μή, which is comparatively rare in Paul, see Moulton Prolegg. p. 122 ff.

καλοποιοῦντες] ‘doing the fair, the noble thing’ rather than ‘conferring benefits’ (ἀγαθοποιοῦντες): cf. the double exhortation in 1 Timothy 6:18 ἀγαθοεργεῖν, πλουτεῖν ἐν ἔργοις καλοῖς.

The verb καλοποιέω is not found elsewhere in the N.T. (for similar compounds, Lob. Phryn. p. 199 f.), but for the thought see Galatians 6:9 τὸ δὲ καλὸν ποιοῦντες μὴ ἐνκακῶμεν, where, as here, καλός carries with it the thought not only of what is right in itself (I. 5:21 note), but of what is perceived to be right (1 Timothy 5:25 τὰ καλὰ πρόδηλα), and consequently exercises an attractive power. See further for this sense of καλός the interesting discussion by Lock, St Paul p. 117 ff.

Verse 14

14. τῷ λόγῳ ἡμῶν διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς] ‘our word (sent) through the (present) epistle’ (Th. Mops. interpr.: ‘uerba quae per epistolam loquimur’). The interpretation favoured by some of the older commentators by which διὰ τ. ἐπιστ. is rather to be connected with what follows in the sense ‘by means of a letter (from you) do you notify’ (cf. Tind. sende vs worde of him by a letter) is exposed to the well-founded objections that it is inconsistent with the natural order of the words, and with the use of the demonstrative τῆς (I. 5:27 note), which points to an existing letter rather than to one to be written afterwards.

τοῦτον σημειοῦσθε] ‘of this man take note’ (Vg. hunc notate). Σημειόομαι (ἅπ. λεγ. N.T.) means to ‘mark or notify for oneself,’ and from being used in a neutral or even favourable (Psalms 4:7) sense came also to have the idea of disapprobation connected with it, e.g. Polyb. 5:78. 2 (of a sinister omen) σημειωσάμενοι τὸ γεγονός. The ordinary usage of the word is illustrated by Aristeas 148 παραδέδωκεν ὁ νομοθέτης σημειοῦσθαι τοῖς συνετοῖς εἶναι δικαίους, O.G.I.S. 629, 168 (Palmyra, 2./a.d.) ὁ κράτιστος ἐσημ(ε)ιώσατο ἐν τῇ πρὸς Βάρβαρον ἐπιστολῇ.

It may be added that with the grammarians σημείωσαι is used in the sense of ‘nota bene, ’ and that in the ostraca and papyri σεσημείωμαι is the regular term for the signature to a receipt or formal notice, as when in P.Oxy. 237. 7:29 (2./a.d.) the prefect gives legal validity to the ὑπομνηματισμός by the words ἀνέγνων· σεσημ(είωμαι).

μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι αὐτῷ] lit. ‘not to mix yourselves together up with him’ (Vg. ne commisceamini cum illo, Beza ne commercium habete cum eo)—the expressive double compound being found elsewhere in the N.T. only in 1 Corinthians 5:9 μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι πόρνοις: cf. Hosea 7:8 A Ἐφράιμ ἐν τοῖς λαοῖς αὐτοῦ συνανεμίγνυτο. For the corresponding adj. in the Κοινή see P.Oxy. 718, 16 f. (2./a.d.) ἀρούρας τῆς βασιλικῆς συναναμίγους εἶναι τῇ ὑπαρ[χούσῃ μοι τῇ.

ἵνα ἐντραπῇ] ‘in order that he may be put to shame’ (Vg. ut confundatur, Beza ut erubescat), following the late metaphorical sense of ἐντρέπω, cf. Psalms 34. (35.) 4, 1 Corinthians 4:14, Titus 2:8, and from Κοινή the such passages as P.Par. 47, 3 f. (2./b.c.) [ε]ἰ μὴ μικρόν τι ἐντρέπομαι, 49, 29 f. (2./b.c.) γίνεται γὰρ ἐντραπῆναι. The corresponding subst. ἐντροπή (= αἰσχύνη) is found in 1 Corinthians 6:5; 1 Corinthians 15:34. For its sense of αἰδώς as in class. Gk. (e.g. Soph. Oed. Col. 299) cf. the late magical papyrus P.Lond. 1. 46, 16 f. (4./a.d.) δὸς ἐντροπὴν τῷ φανέντι πρὸ πυρός.

In the midd. the verb = ‘reverence,’ and contrary to class, usage is construed in the Bibl. writings with the acc., e.g. Sap. 2:10, Mark 12:6, Hebrews 12:9.

Verse 15

15. καὶ μὴ ὡς ἐχθρόν κτλ.] a clause added to prevent any possible misunderstanding of the foregoing. Throughout the conduct enjoined has in view the final amendment of the offender (Th. Mops.: ‘ut modis omnibus increpatione, obsecratione, doctrina reducatis eum ad id qued honestum est’): cf. Didache 15:3 ἐλέγχετε δὲ ἀλλήλους μὴ ἐν ὀργῇ ἀλλʼ ἐν εἰρήνῃ, and Clem. R. Cor. 14:3 χρηστευσώμεθα αὐτοῖς [τοῖς ἀρχηγοῖς τῆς στάσεως] κατὰ τὴν εὐσπλαγχνίαν καὶ γλυκύτητα τοῦ ποιήσαντος ἡμᾶς.

For the softening effect of ὡς ‘as if he were an enemy’ cf. Blass p. 246 n.1, and for ἡγέομαι and νουθετέω see the notes on 1 Thessalonians 5:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, respectively. As further illustrating the ‘stronger’ sense of ἡγέομαι in the former passage see M. Anton. 4:1 where the best texts read ὁρμᾷ μὲν πρὸς τὰ ἡγούμενα (‘moves towards things preferred’) in the sense of προηγούμενα in the parallel passage 5:20 (see Crossley’s note ad loc.).

Verse 16

16. ‘May the Lord, from whom all peace comes, Himself give you His peace at all times and in all ways. The Lord be with you all.’

16. Αὐτὸς δέ κτλ.] For αὐτὸς δέ see 1 Thessalonians 3:11 note, and for ὁ κύρ. τ. εἰρ., here evidently the Lord Jesus (cf. v. 5), see 1 Thessalonians 5:23 note. The Hellenistic opt. δῴη (for δοίῃ) is found again in the N.T. in Romans 15:5, 2 Timothy 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:18 (WSchm. p. 120). For διὰ παντός ‘continually,’ as distinguished from πάντοτε ‘at all times’ see Westcott’s note on Hebrews 9:6, and cf. P.Lond. 1:42, 1:6 (cited in note on 1 Thessalonians 1:3).

The v.l. ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ (A*D*G 17 Vg Go) doubtless arose through the desire to conform a somewhat awkward phrase (cf. παντὶ τρόπῳ Philippians 1:18, κατὰ πάντα τρόπυν Romans 3:2) to the more common expression (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:8, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Corinthians 2:14, 1 Timothy 2:8).

μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν]—even with the disorderly brother, cf. v. 18 and for πάντων used with a similar emphasis see the Benedictions in 1 Corinthians 16:24, 2 Corinthians 13:13.

Verse 17

17, 18. ‘I add this salutation with my own hand, signing it with my name Paul, as I am in the habit of doing. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.’

17. Ὁ ἀσπασμὸς τῇ ἐμῇ χειρὶ Παύλου] Cf. 1 Corinthians 16:21, Colossians 4:18, and for a similar use of ἀσπασμός in the Κοινή see P.Oxy. 471, 67 f. (2./a.d.) ἀναμενόντων ... τὸν ἀσπασμόν ‘waiting to salute him,’ and cf. the note on ἀσπάζομαι 1 Thessalonians 5:26.

Παύλου is gen. in apposition with ἐμῇ in accordance with a common Gk. idiom (Kühner3 § 406, 3).

ὅ ἐστιν σημεῖον κτλ.] namely the fact of St Paul’s writing the salutation with his own hand, and not merely the insertion of the immediately preceding words, which as a matter of fact are found elsewhere only in two of his Epp. (1 Cor., Col.). Because however St Paul does not always pointedly direct attention to the autographic nature of the salutations is in itself no proof that he did not write them: cf. Intr. p. 92 and see Add. Note A. In the present instance he may have considered a formal attestation of the clearest kind the more necessary in view of the false appeals that had been made to his authority in Thessalonica (see note on 2:2).

οὕτως γράφω] with reference to the characters in which vv. 17, 18 were written, which the Thessalonians would henceforth recognize as his: cf. Galatians 6:11. Any reference to an ingeniously-framed monogram (Grot.: ‘certum quendam nexum literarium’) used by the Apostle for his signature is quite unnecessary.

Verse 18

18. ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου κτλ.] The substance of the Pauline ἀσπασμός, embodying the Apostle’s favourite idea of ‘grace,’ and by the significant addition of πάντων extending it to ‘all’ alike, even those whom he had just found it necessary to censure (cf. v. 16 note).

As in the First Ep. (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:28 note) a liturgical ἀμήν has found its way into certain mss. (àcADGKLP).

Bibliographical Information
Milligan, George. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 3". "Milligan on Paul's Epistle to the Thessalonians". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gmt/2-thessalonians-3.html.
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