2 Corinthians Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern
1. I would like you to bear with me in a little foolishness — please do bear with me!
2. For I am jealous for you with God’s kind of jealousy; since I promised to present you as a pure virgin in marriage to your one husband, the Messiah;
Compare the second part of the verse 3:3a&N.
3. and I fear that somehow your minds may be seduced away from simple and pure devotion to the Messiah, just as Havah was deceived by the serpent and his craftiness.
Compare the third part of the verse 3:3a&N.
4. For if someone comes and tells you about some other Yeshua than the one we told you about, or if you receive a spirit different from the one you received or accept some so-called “good news” different from the Good News you already accepted, you bear with him well enough!
A demonic spirit different from the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh, which you received. See Ga 1:6-9&N.
You bear with him. Compare v. 19.
5. For I don’t consider myself in any way inferior to these “super-emissaries.”
6. I may not be a skilled speaker, but I do have the knowledge; anyhow, we have made this clear to you in every way and in every circumstance.
I may not be a skilled speaker. Sha'ul is responding to the criticism of 10:10. Compare 1С 1:17,2:1-5.
7. Or did I sin in humbling myself so that you could be exalted, in proclaiming God’s Good News to you free of charge?
8. I robbed other congregations by accepting support from them in order to serve you.
9. And when I was with you and had needs, I did not burden anyone: my needs were met by the brothers who came from Macedonia. In nothing have I been a burden to you, nor will I be.
10. The truthfulness of the Messiah is in me, so that this boast concerning me is not going to be silenced anywhere in Achaia.
11. Why won’t I ever accept your support? Is it that I don’t love you? God knows I do!
12. No, I do it — and will go on doing it — in order to cut the ground from under those who want an excuse to boast that they work the same way we do.
Al 1С 9:4-19 Sha'ul gave several reasons for his proclaiming the Good News to you free of charge. Here anew reason is given at v. J2; also see below (12:13-15) for yet another. But the Corinthians are so sensitive about their pocketbooks — as is obvious from the way Chapters 8-9 are written — that Sha'ul cannot state explicitly to them at this time perhaps the most important reason why he will not accept their support. It is that he does not want them to feel that they have done God a favor and discharged their duty to God by giving money to Sha'ul. He will not permit them to attempt to earn a ticket to heaven by a legalistic work; only those less proud of their giving (w. 8-9) can be entrusted to give. Further, Sha'ul is sparing the Corinthians the guilt they would feel if he accepted their commitment to support him, and they then failed to live up to that commitment — as seems to be highly probable, given their behavior in regard to the collection for the Judean brothers, as reported in Chapters 8-9.
13. The fact is that such men are pseudo-emissaries: they tell lies about their work and masquerade as emissaries of the Messiah.
14. There is nothing surprising in that, for the Adversary himself masquerades as an angel of light;
15. so it’s no great thing if his workers masquerade as servants of righteousness. They will meet the end their deeds deserve.
Pseudo-emissaries, who of course are not really "super-emissaries" (11:5, 12:11) at all, are actually inspired by Satan, the Adversary (2:11, 12:7; see Mt 4:1N). The biiffoonish red-suit-and-pitchfork image makes light of mankind's archenemy, who masquerades as an angel of light, perverting everything good to evil use in order to prevent people from trusting God. New Age religionists sometimes report encounters with beings of light; I wonder if they have read this passage.
16. I repeat: don’t let anyone think I am a fool. But even if you do, at least receive me as a fool; so that I too may do a little boasting!
17. What I am saying is not in accordance with the Lord; rather, this conceited boasting is spoken as a fool would speak.
18. Since many people boast in a worldly way, I too will boast this way.
19. For since you yourselves are so wise, you gladly put up with fools!
20. You put up with it if someone makes slaves of you, exploits you, takes you in, puffs himself up, slaps you in the face.
21. To my shame, I must admit that we have been too “weak” to do such things! But if anyone dares to boast about something — I’m talking like a fool! — I am just as daring.
At least receive me as a fool, as you receive these other fools, the false emissaries, so that I too, like them, may do a little boasting. Putting himself in the position of the Corinthians victimized by the false emissaries' superficial glamor, Sha'ul does a bit of controlled boasting himself in order to win them back (see 1С 9:19-23&NN). To do this, he must protest repeatedly (here, v. 23; 10:12, 18; 12:1, 6, 11) how foolish it is to boast; otherwise they would merely take him at his word and compare his claims with those of the others. But Sha'ul's real attitude toward such boasting (see 10:17) is summed up at Pp 3:8 — compared with knowing the Messiah Yeshua as his Lord, he regards all such boasts as garbage!
22. Are they Hebrew-speakers? So am I. Are they of the people of Isra’el? So am I. Are they descendants of Avraham? So am I.
23. Are they servants of the Messiah? (I’m talking like a madman!) I’m a better one! I’ve worked much harder, been imprisoned more often, suffered more beatings, been near death over and over.
Are they Hebrews?... Israelites?... descendants of Avraham? So am I. Sha'ul identifies himself as a Jew, as do Messianic Jews today. See Ac 13:9N. And he does not call himself a "Christian" (see Ac 11:26N). But he does proclaim himself a servant of tbe Messiah; Messianic Jews must not, in their zeal to identify with their Jewishness, mute the fact that they serve Yeshua.
I'm speaking like a madman! See vv. 16-21N.
24. Five times I received “forty lashes less one” from the Jews.
25. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea.
26. In my many travels I have been exposed to danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the desert, danger at sea, danger from false brothers.
"Forty lashes less one," a set phrase in Jewish law. For certain offenses, the Oral Torah prescribes forty lashes. The practice was to give thirty-nine, allowing a margin of one for error in counting, lest the prescribed punishment be unjustly exceeded, which would be far worse than meting out slightly less. Why would the Jews, that is, a non-Messianic Jewish court, have ordered him to be lashed? Because of the strong reactions he stirred up as he proclaimed the Good News — which is to say. on trumped-up charges or for no good reason (compare Ac 13:50-51; 14:2-5, 19-20; 17:5-8, 13; 18:12-17; 19:9; 21:27-36; 24:2-9; 25:2-11). Is this evidence of a particularly virulent form of hardheartedness among Jews? It is indeed evidence of hardheartedness, but such is not unique to Jews; for Sha'ul's next remark is. "Three times I was beaten with rods": this was a Roman punishment with which the Corinthians were familiar, so that he did not need to add, "by the Romans." Gentiles were quite capable of hardheartedness. venial behavior and disregard of justice where Sha"ul was concerned (see Ac 16:19-24, 19:23-34.22:25-29, 25:9).
Once I was stoned by a mob of Jews and Gentiles (Ac 14:19). No wonder he speaks of being exposed to danger from, among other things, my own people and Gentfles.
27. I have toiled and endured hardship, often not had enough sleep, been hungry and thirsty, frequently gone without food, been cold and naked.
28. And besides these external matters, there is the daily pressure of my anxious concern for all the congregations.
29. Who is weak without my sharing his weakness? Who falls into sin without my burning inside?
30. If I must boast, I will boast about things that show how weak I am.
31. God the Father of the Lord Yeshua — blessed be he forever — knows that I am not lying!
32. When I was in Dalmanuta, the governor under King Aretas had the city of Dalmanuta guarded in order to arrest me;
33. but I was lowered in a basket through an opening in the wall and escaped his clutches.
Compare 4:7-12,6:4-10,1С 4:9-13.
This incident, reported at Ac 9:23-25, is an example of how weak and dependent on others Sha'ul was; about such things, I will boast. He begins here to answer those who criticize his "weakness" (10:10), referred to ironically at v. 21 above. The subject was reintroduced at v. 29, he puts "weakness" in proper perspective at 12:9-10, and he mentions it once again at 13:3-4.
- chapter 1
- chapter 2
- chapter 3
- chapter 4
- chapter 5
- chapter 6
- chapter 7
- chapter 8
- chapter 9
- chapter 10
- chapter 11
- chapter 12
- chapter 13