VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
2 CORINTHIANS 12
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
Above fourteen years ago (pro etwn dekatessarwn). Above, of A.V., is due to a misunderstanding of the Greek idiom. Lit., before fourteen years, that is, fourteen years ago, as Rev.
Caught up (arpagenta). Compare Dante:
"Thou knowest, who didst lift me with thy light" "Paradiso," i., 75.
The verb suits the swift, resistless, impetuous seizure of spiritual ecstasy. See on Matt. xi. 12; and compare Acts viii. 39; 1 Thess. iv. 17; Apoc. xii. 5.
Third heaven. It is quite useless to attempt to explain this expression according to any scheme of celestial gradation. The conception of seven heavens was familiar to the Jews; but according to some of the Rabbins there were two heavens - the visible clouds and the sky; in which case the third heaven would be the invisible region beyond the sky. Some think that Paul describes two stages of his rapture; the first to the third heaven, from which he was borne, as if from a halting-point, up into Paradise.
Unspeakable words (arrhta rhmata). An oxymoron, speaking which may not be spoken.
At least one text of the Septuagint gives ajnaskolopizw in Esther vii. 10, of Haman's being hanged. 159 See further, on Gal. ii. 20. The explanations of the peculiar nature of this affliction are numerous. Opinions are divided, generally, between mental or spiritual and bodily trials. Under the former head are sensual desires, faint-heartedness, doubts, temptations to despair, and blasphemous suggestions from the devil. Under the latter, persecution, mean personal appearance, headache, epilepsy, earache, stone, ophthalmia. It was probably a bodily malady, in the flesh; but its nature must remain a matter of conjecture. Very plausible reasons are given in favor of both epilepsy and ophthalmia. Bishop Lightfoot inclines to the former, and Archdeacon Farrar thinks that it was almost certainly the latter.
Messenger of Satan (aggelov Satan). The torment is thus personified. Messenger is the word commonly rendered angel in the New Testament, though sometimes used of human messengers, as Luke vii. 24, 27; ix. 52; Jas. ii. 25; see also on the angels of the churches, Apoc. i. 20. Messenger and Satan are not to be taken in apposition - a messenger who was Satan - because Satan is never called aggelov in the New Testament. Messenger is figurative, in the sense of agent. Satan is conceived in the New Testament as the originator of bodily evil. Thus, in the gospel narrative, demoniac possession is often accompanied with some form of disease. Compare Luke xiii. 16; Acts x. 38, and see on 1 Corinthians v. 5.
Buffet (kolafizh). Connect with messenger, which better suits depart; not with thorn, which would be a confusion of metaphor, a stake buffeting. For the verb, meaning to strike with the fist, see Matt. xxvi. 67; Mark xiv. 65; 1 Pet. ii. 20. Compare Job ii. 5, 7, where the Septuagint has ayai touch, and epaise smote.
My strength. The best texts omit my, thus turning the answer into a general proposition: strength is perfected in weakness; but besides the preeminent frigidity of replying to a passionate appeal with an aphorism, the reference to the special power of Christ is clear from the words power of Christ, which almost immediately follow. Compare 1 Cor. ii. 3, 4; 2 Cor. iv. 7; Heb. xi. 34. Rev., rightly, retains my italicized. May rest upon (episkhnwsh). Only here in the New Testament. The simple verb skhnow to dwell in a tent is used by John, especially in Revelation. See on John i. 14. The compound verb here means to fix a tent or a habitation upon; and the figure is that of Christ abiding upon him as a tent spread over him, during his temporary stay on earth.
For Christ's sake. This may be taken with all the preceding details, weaknesses, etc., endured for Christ's sake, or with I take pleasure, assigning the specific motive of his rejoicing: I take pleasure for Christ's sake.
I ought to have been commended of you. You ought to have saved me the necessity of recounting my sufferings, and thus commending myself as not inferior to those preeminent apostles (ch. xi. 5).
Were wrought (kateirgasqh). The testimony was decisive. They were fully wrought out.
Forgive, etc. Ironical.
Whisperings (yiqurismoi). Psithurismoi, the sound adapted to the sense. Only here in the New Testament. Secret slanders. In Sept., Eccl. x. 11, it is used of the murmuring of a snake-charmer. 161 Yiquristhv whisperer, occurs Rom. i. 29.
Swellings (fusiwseiv). Only here in the New Testament. Conceited inflation. For the kindred verb fusiaw to puff up, see on 1 Corinthians iv. 6.
Tumults (akatastasiai). See on ch. vi. 5.
Shall bewail (penqhsw). Lament with a true pastor's sorrow over the sin.
Many (pollouv). With special reference to the unchaste.
Sinned - already (prohmarthkotwn). Rev., heretofore. Only here and ch. xiii. 2. The perfect tense denotes the continuance of the sin. Heretofore probably refers to the time before his second visit.
Have not repented (mh metanohsantwn). The only occurrence of the verb in Paul's writings. Metanoia repentance, occurs only three times: Rom. ii. 4; 2 Cor. vii. 9, 10.
Of the uncleanness (epi th akaqarsia). Connect with bewail, not with repent. There are no examples in the New Testament of the phrase metanoein ejpi to repent over, though such occur in the Septuagint. Lasciviousness (aselgeia). See on Mark vii. 22.