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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary
1 Thessalonians 2

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

1.] γάρ refers back to ὁποίαν, ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:9; ‘not only do strangers report it, but you know it to be true.’ He makes use now of that knowledge to carry out the description of his preaching among them, with a view, by recapitulating these details, to confirm them, who were as yet but novices, in the faith.

κενή] It is evident from 1 Thessalonians 2:2 ff., that this does not here apply to the fruits, but to the character of his preaching: the result does not appear till 1 Thessalonians 2:13. And within this limitation, we may observe that the verb is γέγονεν, not ἐγένετο; to be understood therefore not of any mere intent of the Apostle at the time of his coming among them, but of some abiding character of his preaching. It cannot then be understood as Koppe,—‘veni ad vos eo consilio … ut vobis prodessem, non ut otiose inter vos viverem:’ and nearly so Rosenm. It probably expresses, that his εἴσοδος was and continued ‘no empty scheme’ (‘no light matter,’ as we say; οὐχ ἡ τυχοῦσα, Chrys.), but an earnest, bold, self-denying endeavour for their good. This he proceeds to prove.


Verses 1-16

1–16.] He reminds the Thessalonians of his manner of preaching among them (1–12, answering to ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:9 a): praises them for their reception of the Gospel, and firmness in persecution (13–16, answering to ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:9 b).


Verse 2

2.] προπαθόντες, having previously suffered: reff. On the fact, see Acts 16.

ἐπαῤῥησιασ.] Lünemann seems to be right (against De W.) in rendering it we were confident, not ‘we were free of speech.’ See however, on the other side, Ellic.’s note.

ἡμῶν, because all true confidence is in God as our God. This word reproduces the feeling with which Paul and Silas opened their ministry among them: διὰ τὸν ἐνδυναμοῦντα θεὸν τοῦτο ποιῆσαι τεθαῤῥήκαμεν. Œcum.

λαλῆσαι is infinitive of the object after ἐπαῤῥησ.—we had the confidence to speak: as E. V., were bold to speak. This seems more probable than with De W., Mey. on Ephesians 6:20, and Ellic., to regard it as the epexegetical inf. “defining still more clearly the oral nature of the boldness.” Chrys. can hardly be quoted on that side, as Ellic. doubtfully.

τοῦ θεοῦ, for solemnity, to add to the weight of their εἴσοδος.

ἐν πολλῷ ἀγῶνι] in (amidst) much conflict, viz. under outward circumstances conflicting much with our work: and therefore that work could be no κενόν, which was thus maintained.


Verse 3

3. παράκλησις] exhortation to you, viz. our whole course of preaching. Supply is, not ‘was;’ cf. λαλοῦμεν below. “The two senses of παράκλησις, exhortation and consolation, so easily passing into one another (compare 1 Thessalonians 2:11), are suggestive of the external state of the early church, sorrowing amid the evils of the world, and needing as its first lesson to be comforted; and not less suggestive of the first lesson of the Gospel to the individual soul, of peace in believing.” Jowett.

ἐκ] having its source in.

πλάνης] here probably error. “The word is used transitively and intransitively. In the former case, it is ‘imposture’ (Matthew 27:64) or ‘seduction’ (Ephesians 4:14): in the latter and more usual, error.” Lünem.

ἀκαθαρσίας] hardly, as Chrys., ὑπὲρ μυσαρῶν πραγμάτων οἷον γοήτων κ. μάγων,—though such a reference is certainly possible, considering the vile degradation of that class at the period,—but here apparently of the impure desire of gain, cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:5, where ἐν προφάσει πλεονεξίας seems to correspond with ἐξ ἀκαθαρσίας. Still such a meaning seems to want example. If it be correct, this represents (Lün.) the subjective side, the motive, as ἐκ πλάνης the objective side, the ground.

ἐν δόλῳ] this of the manner, or perhaps, as Ellic., the ethical sphere, in which: ‘nor did we make use of deceit to win our way with our παράκλησις.’ See 2 Corinthians 2:17.


Verse 3-4

3, 4.] Reasons why he ἐπαῤῥησιάσατο λαλῆσαιἐν πολλῷ ἄγῶνι:—viz. the true and single-minded character of his ministry, and his duty to God as the steward of the Gospel.


Verse 4

4.] καθώς, according as, in proportion as.

δεδοκιμ.] see reff.,—we have been approved,—thought fit: cf. πιστὸν ἡγήσατο, 1 Timothy 1:12. Lünem. cites Plut. Thes. 12: ἐλθὼν οὖν ὁ θησεὺς ἐπὶ τὸ ἄριστον, οὐκ ἐδοκίμαζε φράζειν αὐτὸν ὅστις εἴη. We must not introduce any ascertained fitness of them in themselves into the idea ( οὐκ ἂν ἐξελέξατο, εἰ μὴ ἀξίους ἐγίνωσκε Thl.: so Chr., Œc., Olsh.): it is only the free choice of God which is spoken of. On πιστευθ. τὸ εὐαγγ. see reff., and Winer, edn. 6, § 32. 5.

οὕτως answers not to the following ὡς, but to the preceding καθώς, and is emphatic—‘even so.’

ἀρέσκοντες, in the strict sense of the present tense,—going about to please,—striving to please.

ὡς belongs to the whole sentence, not merely to ἀνθρ. ἀρέσκ. (as Lün.): for in that case the second member would involve almost too harsh an ellipsis.

ἡμῶν, of us,—not said generally, of all men: but of us, Paul and Silvanus and Timotheus. As Lünem. justly observes against De W., τὰς καρδίας here and τὰς ἑαυτ. ψυχάς below, are conclusive against imagining that St. Paul in this place is speaking of himself alone. Yet Conyb. renders it, ‘my heart,’ and τὰς ἑ. ψ., ‘my own life.’


Verse 5

5 ff.] Proofs again of the assertions of 1 Thessalonians 2:3-4. For neither did we become conversant (see reff. γενέσθαι ἔν τινι, in re quadam versari; so οἱ μὲν ἐν τούτοις τοῖς λόγοις ἦσαν, Xen. Cyr. iv. 3. 23. On the impracticability of maintaining a passive sense in the form ἐγενήθημεν, see above, on ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:5) in speech of (consisting of) flattery (not ‘incurring repute of flattery,’ as Hamm., Le Clerc, Michael., al. (similarly as to meaning, Pelt), which would be irrelevant, as he is not speaking of what others thought of their ministry, but of their own behaviour in it. On κολακ. Lün. quotes Theophrastus, Charr. 2,— τὴν δὲ κολακείαν ὑπολάβοι ἄν τις ὁμιλίαν αἰσχρὰν εἶναι, συμφέρουσαν δὲ τῷ κολακεύοντι,—and Ellic. remarks, “It seems more specifically to illustrate the ἐν δόλῳ of 1 Thessalonians 2:3, and forms a natural transition to the next words, the essence of κολακεία being self-interest: ὁ δὲ ὅπως ὠφέλειά τις αὐτῷ γίγνηται εἰς χρήματα καὶ ὅσα διἀ χρημάτων, κόλαξ. Aristot. Eth. Nic. iv. 12 ad fin.”) as ye know, nor ( ἐγενήθημεν) in pretext (employed in that which was meant to be a pretext, not ‘in occasione avaritiæ,’ as vulg. and Le Clerc; nor is πρόφασιςspecies,’ as Wolf) of (serving to conceal) avarice; God is witness ( τῆς μὲν κολακείας αὐτοὺς ἐκάλεσε μάρτυρας, δῆλα γὰρ τοῖς ἀκούουσι τῶν κολάκων τὰ ῥήματα· τῆς δὲ πλεονεξίας οὐκέτι αὐτούς, ἀλλὰ τὸν τῶν ὅλων ἐπόπτην. Thdrt., and similarly Chrys. But perhaps it is simpler, seeing that no ὑμεῖς is expressed with οἴδατε, to refer θεὸς μάρ. to the whole).


Verse 6

6.] ζητοῦντες belongs to ἐγενήθημεν above.

ἐξ ἀνθρώπων, emphatic: τὴν γὰρ ἐκ θεοῦ καὶ ἐζήτουν κ. ἐλάμβανον. Œc. The real distinction here between ἐκ and ἀπό seems to be, that ἐκ belongs more to the abstract ground of the δόξα, ἀπό to the concrete object from which it was in each case to accrue. This is strictly correct, not, as Ellic., who has misunderstood my distinction, ‘artificial and precarious:’ nor is it ever safe to assume identity of meaning, in St. Paul’s style, of different prepositions, except where the form of the sentence absolutely requires it. The glory which they sought was not at all to come out of human sources, whether actually from the Thessalonians or from any others.

δυνάμενοι] though we had the power.

ἐν βάρει εἶναι] Thdrt., Est., Grot., Calov., all., refer this to πλεονεξ. mentioned above, and understand it of using the power of living by the gospel, which St. Paul, &c. might have done, but did not: so ἐπιβαρεῖν, 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; καταβαρεῖν, 2 Corinthians 12:16; ἀβαρῆ ἐμαυτὸν ἐτήρησα, ib. 2 Corinthians 11:9. But the words are separated from the πλεονεξία by the new idea beginning at ζητοῦντες, to which, and not to the former clause, this is subordinated. I therefore take them with Chrys. (Œc., Thl., undecided), Ambrst., Erasm., Calv., &c., Olsh., De W., Lün.,—as equivalent to ἐν τιμῇ εἶναιεἰκὸς γὰρ τοὺς παρὰ θεοῦ πρὸς ἀνθρώπους ἀποσταλέντας, ὡσανεὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ νῦν ἥκοντας πρέσβεις, πολλῆς ἀπολαῦσαι τιμῆς. Chr.

βάρος is used of importance, dignity,—‘weight,’ as we say: e.g. Diod. Sic. iv. 61, ἀπὸ τούτων τῶν χρόνων ἀθηναῖοι, διὰ τὸ βάρος τῆς πόλεως, φρονήματος ἐνεπίμπλαντο, κ. τῆς τῶν ἑλλήνων ἡγεμονίας ὠρέχθησαν, and in this sense St. Paul’s Epistles were called βαρεῖαι, 2 Corinthians 10:10. Cf. also βάρος δόξης, where however βάρος is used sensu proprio, as opposed to ἐλαφρόν, 2 Corinthians 4:17. Render therefore, when we might have stood on our dignity. Heins., Pisc., Hamm., understand the words of ecclesiastical censures—‘quum severitatem exercere apostolicam posset,’—and oppose them to ἐγεν. ἤπιοι below: but see there.

ὡς χρ. ἀπ.] not: ‘as the other Apostles’ (Grot., Pelt, referring to 1 Corinthians 9:5, but ungrammatical), but as (being) Apostles of Christ. It is simpler to take ἀπόστολοι here in its wider sense, than to limit the sentence to St. Paul alone.


Verse 7

7.] ἀλλά contrasts, not with the mere subordinate clause of the last verse ( δυνάμ. κ. τ. λ.), but with its whole sense, and introduces the positive side of their behaviour—q. d. ‘so far from being any of the aforesaid, we were …’

ἐγενήθ., as before, with a reference to God enabling us.

ἤπιοι, mild: so Od. β. 47, πατὴρ δʼ ὡς ἤπιος ἦεν: Herodian iv. 1, ἤπιον ἄρχοντα κ. πατέρα: Pausan. Eliac. ii. 18, βασιλέα γὰρ οὐ τὰ πάντα ἤπιον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ μάλιστα θυμῷ χρώμενον ἀλέξανδρον τοῦ φιλίππου (Wetst.): see also Herod. iii. 89: and Ellic.’s note here. Surely the reading νήπιοι, being (1) by far the commoner word, (2) so easily introduced by the final ν of the preceding word, can hardly, in the teeth of the sense, come under consideration: seeing too that the primary authorities are not unanimous.

ἐν μέσῳ ὑμ.] i.e. ‘in our converse with you;’ but with an allusion to our not lifting ourselves above you;— ὡς εἷς ἐξ ὑμῶν, Œc. It is best to retain the comma after ὑμῶν, not as Lün., to place a colon: for though there is a break in the construction, it is one occasioned by the peculiar style of the Apostle, which should not be amended by punctuation. The emphasis on ἑαυτῆς should not be lost sight of—as when a nurse (a suckling mother) cherishes (reff.) her own children. See Galatians 4:19, for the same figure.


Verse 8

8.] οὕτως belongs to εὐδοκοῦμεν, and is the apodosis to ὡς above.

ὁμειρόμενοι] ὁμείρεσθαι is found in reff. only (and in both, the MSS. differ), except in the glossaries. Hesych., Phavor., and Phot. explain it by ἐπιθυμεῖν. Thl. says, τουτέστι, προσδεδεμένοι ὑμῖν, κ. ἐχόμενοι ὑμῶν, παρὰ τὸ ὁμοῦ κ. τὸ εἴρω, τὸ συμπλέκω: and Phot. gives ὁμοῦ ἡρμόσθαι as its meaning. But as Lünem. observes after Winer, edn. 6, § 16, B.b), “This is suspicious, 1) because the verb here governs a genitive and not a dative, 2) because there is no instance of a similar verb compounded with ὁμοῦ or ὁμός. Now as in Nicander (Theriaca, 2:402) the simple form μείρεσθαι occurs in the sense of ἱμείρεσθαι, it can hardly be doubted that μείρεσθαι is the original root, to which ἱμείρεσθαι and ὁμείρεσθαι (having the same meaning) are related, having a syllable prefixed for euphony. Cf. the analogous forms κέλλω and ὀκέλλω,— δύρομαι and ὀδύρομαι,— φλέω and ὀφλέω,— αὔω, and ἰαύω, &c., and see Kühner, i. p. 27.”

It will thus perhaps be best rendered by loving you, earnestly desiring you.

εὐδοκ.] not present, but imperfect, without an augment, as is also generally the aorist εὐδόκησα in N. T.: see Winer, § 12. 3. a: we delighted; ‘it was my joy to …’ Conyb.

τὰς ἑαυτ. ψυχάς, as remarked above, shews beyond doubt that he is including here Silas and Timotheus with himself.

μεταδοῦναι will not strictly apply to τὰς ἑαυ. ψυχ., but we must borrow from the compound verb the idea of giving, or offering.

The comparison is exceedingly tender and beautiful: as the nursing-mother, cherishing her children, joys to give not only her milk, but her life, for them,—so we, bringing up you as spiritual children, delighted in giving, not only the milk of the word, but even (and here it was matter of fact) our own lives, for your nourishment in Christ. And that, because ye became (the passive form ἐγενήθητε must not be pressed to a passive meaning, as in my earlier editions: see on ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:5) very dear to us.


Verse 9

9.] Proof of the dearness of the Thessalonians to Paul and his companions: not of ἐγενήθ. ἤπιοι, to which it would be irrelevant,—nor of their readiness to give their lives, &c. (as Ellic.), for this verse does not refer to dangers undergone, but to labour, in order not to trouble any. It is no objection to this (Ellic.) that διότι κ. τ. λ. is a subordinate causal member of the preceding sentence, seeing that it is precisely St. Paul’s habit to break the tenor of his style by inserting confirmations of such clauses.

μνημ. is indic. ( γάρ).

τ. κόπον κ. τ. μόχθον] a repetition (reff.) to intensify—as we should say labour and pains: no distinction can be established.

νυκτός first, not merely because the Jews and Athenians (‘Athenienses inter duos occasus,’ Plin. N. H. ii. 77) so reckoned it, but for emphasis, being the most noteworthy, and the day following as matter of course. See besides reff. Acts 20:31.

ἐργαζόμενοι (reff.) in its strict meaning of manual labour—viz., at tent-cloth making, Acts 18:3.

πρ. τὸ μὴ ἐπιβ.] in order not to burden any of you, viz. by accepting from you the means of sustenance. One can hardly say with Chrys., ἐνταῦθα δείκνυσιν ἐν πενίᾳ ὄντας τοὺς ἄνδρας: for we know St. Paul’s strong feeling on this point, 2 Corinthians 11:9-10.

εἰς ὑμᾶς, to you—not quite = ὑμῖν: the latter represents the preaching more as a thing imparted, this as a thing diffused. On the supposed inconsistency of the statement here with the narrative in Acts 17, see Prolegomena, § ii. 3, and note.


Verse 10

10.] ὑμεῖς μάρτ., of the outward appearance.

ὁ θεός, of the heart.

ὁσίως κ. δικ.] Cf. Plato, Gorg. p 507 A, B,— καὶ μὴν περὶ μὲν ἀνθρώπους τὰ προσήκοντα πράττων δίκαιʼ ἂν πράττοι, περὶ δὲ θεοὺς ὅσια,—and Polyb. xxiii. 10. 8, παραβῆναι κ. τὰ πρὸς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους δίκαια κ. τὰ πρὸς τ. θεοὺς ὅσια. This distinction, perhaps “precarious” (Ellic.) where the words occur separately, or seem to require no very precise application, is requisite here where both divine and human testimony is appealed to.

ὑμῖν τ. πιστ.] not the dat. commodi (Ellic.), nor ‘towards you believers,’ nor is it governed by ἀμέμπτως, but as Œc., Thl., Lünem., dat. of the judgment, as in 2 Peter 3:14, σπουδάσατε ἄσπιλοι κ. ἀμώμητοι αὐτῷ εὑρεθῆναι. For otherwise we lose the force of the slight emphasis on ὑμ. τοῖς πιστ., q. d. ‘whatever we may have seemed to the unbelieving:’ “tametsi aliis non ita videremur,” Bengel. See Bernhardy, p. 337 f. The charge of want of point, brought by Jowett against the words to τοῖς πιστεύουσιν, hence appears to be unfounded. The former verse having referred to external occupation, in which he must have consorted with unbelievers, he here narrows the circle, to speak of his behaviour among the brethren themselves.


Verses 10-12

10–12.] General summary of their behaviour and teaching among the Thessalonians.


Verse 11

11.] καθάπερ refers what follows to what has gone before, as co-ordinate with it.

ὡς ἕνα ἕκαστ ὑμᾶς] The construction is that of nouns in apposition, in cases where the one designates the individuals of whom the other is the aggregate. In this case the noun of larger designation generally comes first. The simplest instance that can be given is ταῦτα πάντα, where ταῦτα is the aggregate, πάντα the individualizing noun (whereas in πάντα ταῦτα, ταῦτα is the individuals, and πάντα merely the adjective designation of their completeness): so here ἕνα ἕκαστον ὑμῶνὑμᾶς differs very little from πάντας ὑμᾶς. As regards the participles, the simplest way of constructing them is to supply ἐγενήθημεν, which has just preceded. Ellicott would rather regard them as an instance of St. Paul’s common participial anacolutha, which may also be: but here the construction is simple without such a supposition. Both παρακλ. and παραμυθ. seem here best taken, with Lünem., as applying to exhortation, but in a sense nearly allied to consolation: see note on 1 Thessalonians 2:3. The subject of the exhortation follows, εἰς τὸ κ. τ. λ.: and this would be closely connected with their bearing up under trouble and persecution: cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:14 ff.


Verse 11-12

11, 12.] Appeal to the detailed judgment of each one, that this was so. This ὁσίως κ. δικαίως κ. ἀμέμπτως in their judgment is substantiated by the fact, that οἱ περὶ τὸν παῦλον busied themselves in establishing every one of them in the faith.


Verse 12

12. μαρτυρόμ.] see reff.: it strengthens the two former participles; conjuring. This is the sense of the verb not only in later but in earlier writers also: see reff.

εἰς τὸ … belongs to all three participles preceding: the εἰς implying the direction, and, of course, in a subjective sentence, consequently the purpose of their action.

καλοῦντος, pres. because the action is extended on to the future by the following words.

βασιλείαν and δόξαν must not be incorporated by the silly ἓν διὰ δυοῖν: God calls us to His kingdom, the kingdom of our Lord Jesus, which He shall establish at His coming: and He calls us to His glory,—to partake of that glory in His presence, which our Lord Jesus had with Him before the world began; John 17:5; John 17:24. See Romans 5:2.


Verse 13

13.] διὰ τοῦτο is best and most simply referred, with Lünem., to the fact announced in the preceding words—viz. that God καλεῖ ὑμᾶς εἰς, &c. Seeing that He is thus calling you, your thorough reception of His word is to us a cause of thanksgiving to Him. That διὰ τοῦτο is made thus ‘to refer to a mere appended clause’ (Ellic.) is no objection: see above on 1 Thessalonians 2:9. It is surely not possible with Jowett, to refer διὰ τοῦτο ‘to the verses both before and after.’

καὶ ἡμεῖς] We also, i.e. as well as πἀντες οἱ πιστεύοντες ἐν τῇ ΄ακεδ. κ. ἐν τῇ ἀχ., ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:7.

παραλαβόντες ἐδέξασθε] The former verb denotes only the hearing, as objective matter of fact: the latter, the receiving into their minds as subjective matter of belief: see reff.

ἀκοῆς παρʼ ἡμῶν is perhaps to be taken together—of hearing (genitive of apposition) from us—i.e. ‘which you heard from us.’ So Est., Pelt, Olsh., Lünem., all. Or παραλ. παρʼ ἡμῶν may be taken together, as De W., strongly objecting to the construction ἀκοῆς παρʼ ἡμῶν, and understanding by λόγος ἀκοῆς the preached word (Wort der Künde). Lünem. answers,—that the construction ἀκοῆς παρʼ ἡμῶν is unobjectionable, as ἀκούειν παρά τινος occurs John 1:41, al., and substantives and adjectives often retain in construction the force of the verbs from which they are derived (Kühner, ii. 217, cites from Plato, Alcib. ii. p. 141, οἶμαι δὲ οὐκ ἀνήκοον εἶναι ἔνιά γε χθιζά τε καὶ πρώϊζα γεγενημένα):—that De W.’s rendering is objectionable, because thus no reason is given for separating παρʼ ἡμῶν from παραλ., and because ἀκοῆς is superfluous and vapid if the same is already expressed by παραλαβ. παρʼ ἡμῶν. On the other rendering, which is adopted and defended also by Ellicott, there is a significant contrast, St. Paul distinguishing himself and his companions, as mere publishers, from God, the great Source of the Gospel.

τ. θεοῦ] of (i.e. ‘belonging to,’ ‘coming from,’ not ‘speaking of,’ as Grot., al., see below) God (i.e. which is God’s. But we must not supply ‘as,’ with Jowett: no subjective view of theirs being implied in these words, but simply the objective fact of their reception of the word from Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus).

ἐδέξ.] See above on παραλ. Ye received it (being) not (no ‘as’ must be inserted: he is not speaking of the Thessalonians’ estimate of the word, but (see above) of the fact of their receiving it as it really was) the word of men (having man for its author), but as it is in reality, the word of God, which (Bengel, al., take ὅς as referring to θεός: but the Apostle uses always the active ἐνεργεῖν of God, cf. 1 Corinthians 12:6; Galatians 2:8; Galatians 3:5; Ephesians 1:11; Philippians 2:13 al.,—and (reff.) the middle (not passive) of things) is also (besides being merely heard) active in you that believe.


Verse 14

14.] Proof of this ἐνεργεῖται,—that they had imitated in endurance the Judæan churches.

ὑμεῖς γάρ resumes ὑμῖν above.

μιμηταί] not in intention, but in fact. (On ἐγενήθητε, see on ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:5.) Calvin suggests the following reason for his here introducing the conflict of the Judæan churches with the Jews: ‘Poterat illis hoc venire in mentem: Si hæc vera est religio, cur eam tam infestis animis oppugnant Judæi, qui sunt sacer Dei populus? Ut hoc offendiculum tollat, primum admonet, hoc eos commune habere cum primis Ecclesiis, quæ in Judæa erant: postea Judæos dicit obstinatos esse Dei et omnis sacræ doctrinæ hostes.’ But manifestly this is very far-fetched, and does not naturally lie in the context: as neither does Olsh.’s view, that he wishes to mark out the judaizing Christians, as persons likely to cause mischief in the Thessalonian church. The reason for introducing this character of the Jews here was because (Acts 17:5 ff.) they had been the stirrers up of the persecution against himself and Silas at Thessalonica, to which circumstance he refers below. By the mention of them as the adversaries of the Gospel in Judæa he is carried on to say that there, as well as at Thessalonica, they had ever been its chief enemies. And this is a remarkable concidence with the history in the Acts, where we find him at this time, in Corinth, in more than usual conflict with the Jews (Acts 18:5-6; Acts 18:12).

On ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ Œc. remarks, εὐφυῶς διεῖλεν· ἐπειδὴ γὰρ καὶ αἱ συναγωγαὶ τῶν ἰουδαίων ἐν θεῷ εἶναι δοκοῦσι, τὰς τῶν πιστῶν ἐκκλησίας καὶ ἐν τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἐν τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ λέγει εἶναι.

συμφυλέτης, ὁμοεθνής, Hesych. Herodian says, πολίτης, δημότης, φυλέτης, ἄνευ τῆς σύν, συνέφηβος δὲ καὶ συνθιασώτης κ. συμπότης μετὰ τῆς σύν· ὅτι καὶ πρόσκαιρος αὐτῶν ἡ κοινωνία, ἐπὶ δὲ τῶν προτέρων οὐχ ὁμοίως. And this criticism seems just: the Latins also using civis meus not concivis, of the enduring relation of fellow-citizen,—but commilito meus, not miles meus, of the temporary relation of fellow-soldier. See Scaliger, in Lobeck on Phrynichus, p. 471 (also p. 172). Ellicott would regard these words merely as supererogatory compounds belonging to later Greek. These συμφυλέται were not Jews wholly nor in part, but Gentiles only. For they are set in distinct contrast here to οἱ ἰουδαῖοι.

τὰ αὐτὰ καθώς] The proper apodosis to τὰ αὐτά would be , or ἅπερ. But such inaccuracies are found in the classics: Kühner (ii. 571) cites from Plato, Phæd. p. 86 A, εἴ τις διϊσχυρίζοιτο τῷ αὐτῷ λόγῳ ὥσπερ σύ: so also Legg. p. 671 C Xen. An. i. 10. 10.

αὐτοί, not ‘we ourselves,’ as Erasm., al.: but the members of the Judæan churches mentioned above. The same construction occurs in Galatians 1:22-23.


Verse 15

15. τῶν καί] The repeated καί serves for enumeration.

τὸν κύρ. ἀποκτ. ἰησ. is thus arranged to give prominence to τὸν κύρ., and thus enhance the enormity of the deed: it should be rendered who killed Jesus the Lord, τὸν κύρ. being in a position of emphasis.

κ. τοὺς προφήτας] belongs to ἀποκτεινάντων (see Matthew 23:31-37; Acts 7:52), not to ἐκδιωξ. as De W. His objection, that all the prophets were not killed, is irrelevant: neither were they all persecuted. The ἰδίους of rec. appears to have been an early insertion: Tert. ascribes it to Marcion.

ἐκδιωξ.] drove out by persecution, viz. from among you, Acts 17:5 ff.,—not for the simple verb διωξ. (De W.), nor does the preposition merely strengthen the verb (Lünem.),—but it retains its proper meaning ( ὁ δῆμος αὐτῶν ἐξεδίωξε τοὺς δυνατούς, οἱ δὲ ἀπελθόντες … Thuc. i. 24), and the aorist refers it to a definite event, as in the case of ἀποκτεινάντων: when their habit is spoken of, the participles are present, e.g. ἀρεσκόντων and κωλυόντων below.

ἡμᾶς refers to Paul and Silas.

θεῷ μὴ ἀρεσκ.] The μή gives a subjective sense: not exactly that of Bengel, al., ‘Deo placere non quærentium.’ For in strictness, as Ellicott, the shade of subjectivity is only to be found in the aspect in which the subject and the participle is presented to the reader: and therefore can hardly be reproduced in English. Compare on the usage, Winer, edn. 6, § 55. 5, g. β, and Ellicott’s note here. In πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐναντίων, most Commentators, and recently Jowett (see above), have seen the odium humani generis ascribed to the Jews by Tacitus (Hist. 1 Thessalonians 2:5), and by several other classic authors (Juv. Sat. xiv. 103 ff. Diod. Sic. xxxiv. p. 524, &c.). But it is hardly possible that St. Paul, himself a Jew, should have blamed an exclusiveness which arose from the strict monotheism and legal purity of the Jew: and besides this, the construction having been hitherto carried on by copulæ, but now dropping them, most naturally goes on from ἐναντίων to κωλυόντων, in that they prevent, and thus κωλ. specifies wherein the ἐναντιότης consists, viz. in opposing the salvation of mankind by the Gospel. So that the other seems to be irrelevant (so nearly Lünem.).


Verse 15-16

15, 16.] Characterization of the Jews as enemies of the Gospel and of mankind. Jowett’s note is worth quoting: “Wherever the Apostle had gone on his second journey, he bad been persecuted by the Jews: and the longer he travelled about among Gentile cities, the more he must have been sensible of the feeling with which his countrymen were regarded. Isolated as they were from the rest of the world in every city, a people within a people, it was impossible that they should not be united for their own self-defence, and regarded with suspicion by the rest of mankind. But their inner nature was not less repugnant to the nobler as well as the baser feelings of Greece and Rome. Their fierce nationality had outlived itself: though worshippers of the true God, they knew Him not to be the God of all the nations of the earth: hated and despised by others, they could but cherish in return an impotent contempt and hatred of other men. What wonder that, for an instant (? on all this see below), the Apostle should have felt that this Gentile feeling was not wholly groundless? or that he should use words which recall the expression of Tacitus: ‘Adversus omnes alios hostile odium?’ Hist. 1 Thessalonians 2:5.”


Verse 16

16. εἰς τό] not of the result merely, ‘so that,’—but of the intention, not of the Jews themselves, but of their course of conduct, viewed as having an intent in the divine purposes: as so often in St. Paul.

ἀναπλ.] to bring up the measure of their sins to the prescribed point.

πάντοτε] ταῦτα δὲ καὶ πάλαι ἐπὶ τῶν προφητῶν κ. νῦν ἐπὶ τοῦ χριστοῦ κ. ἐφʼ ἡμῶν ἔπραξαν, ἵνα πάντοτε ἀναπληρωθῶσιν αἱ ἁμαρτίαι αὐτῶν, Œcum. The idea is, not of a new measure having to be filled πάντοτε, but of their being πάντοτε employed in filling up the measure.

But (this their opposition to God and men shall not avail them: for) the (predestined, or predicted, or merited) wrath (of God) came upon them (he looks back on the fact in the divine counsels as a thing in past time, q. d. ‘was appointed to come:’ not ‘has come.’ No sense of anticipation need be sought in ἔφθασεν in later Greek, except when it governs an accusative of the person, as ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:15; see reff.) to the utmost (to the end of it, i.e. the wrath: so that it shall exhaust all its force on them: not ‘at last’ Wahl, al.: nor to be taken with ἡ ὀργή, the wrath which shall endure to the end ( ἡ εἰς τ.?), as Thl., Œc., al.: nor to be referred to the Jews, ‘so as to make an end of them,’ De W.).


Verse 17

17.] ἡμεῖς δέ resumes the subject broken off at 1 Thessalonians 2:13; the δέ introducing a contrast to the description of the Jews in 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16.

ἀπορφανισθέντες] ὀρφανός is properly used, as with us, of children who have lost their parents. But it is found in a wider sense, e.g. John 14:8,—Pind., Isthm. vii. 16, ὀρφανὸν μυρίων ἑτάρων,—Olymp. ix. 92, ὀρφανοὶ γενεᾶς ( ὀρφ. τέκνων, Dion. Hal. Antt. i. p. 69, Kypke): Hesych.: ὀροφανός, ὁ γονέων ἐστερημένος καὶ τέκνων (compare the similitude, 1 Thessalonians 2:7). The word ἀπορφανίζω occurs Æsch. Choëph. 247, of the eagles’ brood deprived of their parents. Here it is used in deep affection, the preposition giving the sense of local severance, which is further specified by ἀφʼ ὑμῶν following. There is no occasion to press the metaphor, as Chrys., al.

πρὸς καιρὸν ὥρας] for the space of an hour, i.e. for a very short time: it is a combination of the expressions πρὸς καιρόν and πρὸς ὥραν, see reff. It refers, not to his present impression that the time of separation would still be short (as Flatt and De W.), for this the past participle ἀπορφανισθέντες forbids, but to the time alluded to in that past participle—when we had been separated from you for the space of an hour.

προσώπ. οὐ κ.] datives of the manner in which (i.e. as Ellic. ‘marking, with the true limiting power of the case, the metaphorical place,’ which in the interpretation of the metaphor would be manner or form, ‘to which the sense is restricted’) no separation in heart took place.

περισσοτ. ἐσπ.] the more abundantly (because our separation was so short. Lünem. says well: “Universal experience testifies, that the pain of separation from friends and the desire of return to them are more vivid, the more freshly the remembrance of the parting works in the spirit, i.e. the less time has elapsed since the parting.” Therefore the explanation of Œc. and Thl., after Chrys., is unpsychological: περισσοτέρως ἐσπουδάσαμεν, ἢ ὡς εἰκὸς ἦν τοὺς πρὸς ὥραν ἀπολειφθέντας. Luth., Bretschn., De W., and Ellic. understand it ‘the more,’ i.e. than if I had been separated from you in heart: but the above seems both simpler and more delicate in feeling) endeavoured (implies actual setting on foot of measures to effect it) in much desire (i.e. very earnestly) to see your face.


Verse 17

17–3:13.] He relates to them how he desired to return after his separation from them: and when that was impracticable, how he sent Timotheus: at whose good intelligence of them he was cheered, thanks God for them, and prays for their continuance in love and confirmation in the faith.


Verse 18

18.] Wherefore (as following up this earnest endeavour) we would have come (had a plan to come: “not ἐβουλόμεθα, which would indicate merely the disposition: see Philemon 1:13-14” (Lün.)) to you, even I Paul (the introduction of these words here, where he is about to speak of himself alone, is a strong confirmation of the view upheld above (on ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:9) that he has hitherto been speaking of himself and his companions. The μέν answers to a suppressed δέ, q. d. περὶ δὲ τῶν ἄλλων οὐ νῦν ὁ λόγος, or the like. Grot., al., think the suppressed δέ refers to the rest having intended it once only, but the Apostle more times, taking κ. ἅπ. κ. δίς with ἐγ. μ. παῦ.), not once only but twice (literally, ‘both once and twice:’ not used widely ( ἅπ. κ. δίς), but meaning that on two special occasions he had such a plan: see ref. The words refer to ἐσπουδάσ., not to ἐγὼ μ. π.,—see above), and (not ‘but:’ the simple copula, as in Romans 1:13, gives the matter of fact, without raising the contrast between the intention and the hindrance) Satan (i.e. the devil: not any human adversary or set of adversaries, as De W., al.; whether Satan acted by the Thessalonian Jews or not, is unknown to us, but by whomsoever acting, the agency was his) hindered us (reff.).


Verse 19

19.] accounts for this his earnest desire to see them, by the esteem in which he held them. The words ἔμπρ. τ. κυρ. ἡμ. ἰησ. κ. τ. λ. must not be transposed in the rendering (“construi hæc sic debent, τίς γ. ἡμ. ἐλπἔμπρ. τ. κυρἢ οὐχὶ κ. ὑμ.” Grot.): for the Apostle, after having asked and answered the question τίς γὰρ κ. τ. λ., breaks off, and specifies that wherein this hope and joy mainly consisted, viz. the glorious prospect of their being found in the Lord at His appearing. But he does not look forward to this as anticipating a reward for the conversion of the Thessalonians (Est., al.), or that their conversion will compensate for his having persecuted the Church before, but from generous desire to be found at that day with the fruits of his labour, and that they might be his boast and he theirs before the Lord: see 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 2:16.

On στέφ. καυχ., see reff. and Soph. Aj. 460.

ἢ οὐχὶ καὶ ὑμεῖς] The , as Ellic., ‘introduces a second and negative interrogation, explanatory and confirmatory of what is implied in the first:’ see Winer, edn. 6, § 57. 1. b.

καί, ‘as well as others my converts.’

ἐν τῇ αὐτ. παρ, further specifies the ἔμπρ. τοῦ κυρίου.


Verse 20

20.] γάρ sometimes serves to render a reason for a foregoing assertion, by asserting it even more strongly, q. d. ‘it must be so, for the fact is certain.’ So Soph. Philoct. 746, “ δεινόν γε τοὐπίσαγμα τοῦ νοσήματος.” “ δεινὸν γάρ, οὐδὲ ῥητόν:” see Hartung, Partikell. i. p. 474. I should be inclined to ascribe to 1 Thessalonians 2:20, on this very account, a wider range than 1 Thessalonians 2:19 embraces: q.d. you will be our joy in the day of the Lord: for ye are (at all times, ye are, abstractedly) our glory and joy. This seems to me far better than, with Ellic., to regard the γάρ as only ‘confirmatory and explicative.’

 


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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-thessalonians-2.html. 1863-1878.

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Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
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