|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:22-33 The apostle gives an account of his labours and sufferings; not out of pride or vain-glory, but to the honour of God, who enabled him to do and suffer so much for the cause of Christ; and shows wherein he excelled the false apostles, who tried to lessen his character and usefulness. It astonishes us to reflect on this account of his dangers, hardships, and sufferings, and to observe his patience, perseverance, diligence, cheerfulness, and usefulness, in the midst of all these trials. See what little reason we have to love the pomp and plenty of this world, when this blessed apostle felt so much hardship in it. Our utmost diligence and services appear unworthy of notice when compared with his, and our difficulties and trials scarcely can be perceived. It may well lead us to inquire whether or not we really are followers of Christ. Here we may study patience, courage, and firm trust in God. Here we may learn to think less of ourselves; and we should ever strictly keep to truth, as in God's presence; and should refer all to his glory, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for evermore.
Verse 22. - Hebrews. In the strictest sense those who still understood and spoke Aramaic, not Hellenists of the dispersion, who no longer knew the sacred language. (For the use of the word, see Acts 6:1; Philippians 3:4.) Israelites. Jews, not only by nation, but in heart and feeling (see John 1:48; Acts 2:22, etc.; Romans 9:4; Romans 11:1). The seed of Abraham. Alike literally and spiritually (see John 8:33-53; Romans 9:7; Romans 11:1). It may seem strange that St. Paul should have found it necessary to make this statement; but his Tarsian birth and Roman franchise may have led to whispered innuendoes which took form long afterwards in the wild calumny that he was a Gentile who had only got himself circumcised in order that he might marry the high priest's daughter (Epiphan., 'Haer.,' 30:16).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Are they Hebrews? so am I,.... The nation of the Jews were called Hebrews, not from Abraham, as some have (w) thought, through ignorance of the Hebrew language, which will by no means admit of such a derivation and etymology of the name; wherefore the Jewish writers never make mention of this opinion as among any of them; had they took their name from Abram or Abraham, they would rather have been called Abramires or Abrahamites, and not Hebrews; besides, Abraham himself is called an Hebrew, Genesis 14:13 and to be so called from himself, and not denominated from some other person or thing, can never be imagined, it would be most absurd and ridiculous; to which may be added, that the apostle in this verse makes mention of being the seed of Abraham, as a distinct character from that of Hebrews: others have been of opinion that the name is derived from "Habar", which signifies, "to pass over"; and was occasioned by one or other of the following events; either from Abraham's passing over the river Euphrates, when he came out of Mesopotamia into the land of Canaan, and so was called Abram, "Hahibri, the passer over", or the Hebrew (x), and so his posterity were called after him; or from the posterity of Canaan, who, after the confusion at Babel, settled in that part of Asia which lies between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean sea, and from them called the land of Canaan; and who were called by the Chaldeans, from whom they separated, and by the neighbouring nations, Hebrews, or passers over, because they passed over the river Jordan; and so Abraham passing over the river Euphrates to them, and learning their language, and continuing there, he was called an Hebrew also, and his posterity after him (y); or from Arphaxad, or Heber, passing over the river Tigris or Euphrates, and settling in the land of Canaan (z); but it is not likely that a nation should take its name from such an event: others think it a more probable opinion that Abraham was so called, and hence his posterity after him, from the name which the Canaanites gave to Mesopotamia, from whence he came; calling it Heber Hannahar, or the country beyond the river: just as we call foreigners Transmarines, or people beyond sea; and of this opinion were some of the Jewish writers (a); but not Mesopotamia, but Canaan, is called the land of the Hebrews, Genesis 40:15. The more commonly received opinion with the (b) Jews is, and which is most likely, that they are so called from Heber, the father of Peleg, in whose days the confusion of languages was made, and what is now called the Hebrew language being the first and original one, was retained in him and in his family; hence Shem is said to be the father of all the children of Heber, Genesis 10:21 that is, the Hebrews, as the same people are called the children of Israel from Israel, and the children of Judah from Judah, and sometimes they go by the name of Heber, as in Numbers 24:24 when as the Assyrians are called Ashur, from whom they have their name, so the Hebrews are called Heber, from whom they take their denomination: and it should be observed, that this is not only a national but a religious name, and those people were called so, because they were of the faith as well as the descendants of Heber; so Shem was the father of others, but in a peculiar manner the father of the children of Heber, because the religion he professed was continued with them; and so Abraham is particularly called the Hebrew, not only because he descended from Heber, but was of the same, religion; and so his posterity, not in the line of Ishmael, but of Isaac, are so called; and not as descending from Isaac in the line of Esau, but of Jacob; and hence it was not lawful for the Egyptians to eat bread with the Hebrews, not because they were of another nation, but because of another religion, Genesis 43:32. It seems that these false apostles were Jews, since it is not denied by the apostle, but granted; they were some such like false brethren as those who came from Judea to Antioch, and disturbed the church there, Acts 15:1 and whereas they boasted of their being Hebrews, the descendants of the ancient patriarch Heber in the line of Abraham; the apostle was able to match them in this, and asserts himself to be an Hebrew too, which he could do with the strictest truth, for he was an Hebrew of the Hebrews, he was an Hebrew by father and mother's side:
are they Israelites? so am I. The Jews were called Israelites from Israel, a name which was given to Jacob their ancestor, upon his wrestling with an angel, and prevailing over him; and was accounted an honourable one, or title of honour; for the people of Israel were they whom God chose for a peculiar people to himself above all others, brought them out of Egypt, fed them in the wilderness, and led them through it, and settled them in the land of Canaan, and bestowed upon them special and peculiar privileges; see Romans 9:4. The Jews are very extravagant in the praise of Israelites; they not only make them the favourites of God, beloved of him, because called children, and had the law given them (c), and extol them above all mankind; See Gill on Romans 3:9 but they even make them equal to the ministering angels, and say they are pure from sin as they, especially on the day of atonement (d), yea, more excellent than they (e): in this also the apostle could answer them, for he was of the stock of Israel, and of the tribe of Benjamin, a son of Jacob, or Israel; and was an Israelite indeed, as Nathanael, for all are not Israel that are of Israel:
are they the seed of Abraham? so am I: of this the Jews mightily boasted; see John 8:33 they reckon themselves, even the poorest among them, as the nobles and princes of the earth (f); and even other people have been fond of being reckoned of the stock of Abraham, as particularly the Lacedemonians,
"Areus king of the Lacedemonians to Onias the high priest, greeting: It is found in writing, that the Lacedemonians and Jews are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham:'' (1 Maccabees 12:20,21)
The Jews make a merciful disposition to men to be a sign and evidence of being of the seed of Abraham (g); but in a spiritual sense, an interest in Christ, and faith in him, denominate men to be truly Abraham's seed, and heirs of the promise: this is to be understood here in a natural sense, and of being of Abraham's seed in the line of Jacob, for otherwise the Ishmaelites and Idumeans were of the seed of Abraham; but they were his seed in that line in which the promised seed, the Messiah, was to come; though this was of no avail, without having the same faith Abraham had, and believing truly in Christ, as his spiritual seed do, whether they be Jews or Gentiles; however, the apostle was equal to them in this respect; he was of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, and above them in another, in that he was of Abraham's spiritual seed by faith in Christ Jesus.
(w) Artapanus apud Euseb. praepar. l. 9. c. 18. p. 420. Ambrosius sive Hilarius in Philippians 3.5. & alii. (x) Hicronymus in Ezek. c. 7. fol. 183. B. Theodoret. in Gen. Qu. 60. (y) Erpeuius. (z) Ar. Montan. Canaan, c. 9. Vid. Sigonium de Repub. Heb. l. 1. c. 1. p. 16. (a) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 42. fol. 37. 3. Vid. Jarchium in Gen. x. 21. & xiv. 13. & Aben Ezram in Exodus 21.2.((b) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 4. Targ. Jon. in Gen. x. 21. Sepher Cosri, par. 1. sect. 49. fol. 24. 2. R. Nehemiah in Bereshit Rabba, ut supra, Aben Ezra in Gen. x. 21. & xxxix. 14. & in Exod. i. 16. Kimchi in rad. (c) Pirke Abot, c. 3. sect. 14. (d) Pirke Eliezer, c. 48. (e) lb. c. 47. (f) Misn. Bava Kama, c. 8. sect. 6. (g) T. Bab. Betza, fol. 32. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. Hebrews … Israelites … the seed of Abraham—A climax. "Hebrews," referring to the language and nationality; "Israelites," to the theocracy and descent from Israel, the "prince who prevailed with God" (Ro 9:4); "the seed of Abraham," to the claim to a share in the Messiah (Ro 11:1; 9:7). Compare Php 3:5, "An Hebrew of the Hebrews," not an Hellenist or Greek-speaking Jew, but a Hebrew in tongue, and sprung from Hebrews.
2 Corinthians 11:22 Parallel Commentaries
2 Corinthians 11:22 NIV
2 Corinthians 11:22 NLT
2 Corinthians 11:22 ESV
2 Corinthians 11:22 NASB
2 Corinthians 11:22 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible