|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:15-18 The apostle mentions the constancy of Onesiphorus; he oft refreshed him with his letters, and counsels, and comforts, and was not ashamed of him. A good man will seek to do good. The day of death and judgment is an awful day. And if we would have mercy then, we must seek for it now of the Lord. The best we can ask, for ourselves or our friends, is, that the Lord will grant that we and they may find mercy of the Lord, when called to pass out of time into eternity, and to appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
Verse 16. - Grant for give, A.V. Grant mercy (δώη ἔλεος). This connection of the words is only found here. The house of Onesiphorus. It is inferred from this expression, coupled with that in 2 Timothy 4:19, that Onesiphorus himself was no longer living; and hence ver. 18 (where see note) is thought by some to be an argument for prayers for the dead. The inference, further strengthened by the peculiar language of ver. 18, though not absolutely certain, is undoubtedly probable. The connection between this and the preceding verse is the contrast between the conduct of Phygelus and Hermogenes and that of Onesiphorus. They repudiated all acquaintance with the apostle in his day of trial; he, when he was in Rome, diligently sought him and with difficulty found him. and oft refreshed him with Christian sympathy and communion, acting with no less courage than love. He was no longer on earth to receive a prophet's reward (Matthew 10:41), but St. Paul prays that he may receive it in the day of Christ, and that meanwhile God may requite to his family the mercy he had showed to St. Paul. Refreshed me (ἀνεψυξε); literally, revived me. Only here in the New Testament, but comp. Acts 3:19. Chain (ἅλυσιν); in the singular, as Ephesians 6:20; Acts 28:20 (where see note).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus,.... Who seems to have been one of Asia, and of Ephesus, and is an exception from the general apostasy, or from those that turned away from the apostle; and therefore he prays that the Lord would show mercy to his family; that he would give regenerating grace and mercy to such of them as were without it, or pardoning grace and mercy, or the great mercy of eternal life and salvation by Christ; and this doubtless was a prayer in faith, upon the promises of God, and upon instances and examples, in which God has remarkably shown mercy to the families of good men, who have faithfully served him, and abode in his interest in times of trouble; thus the house of Obed Edom was blessed for the sake of the ark, that was taken care of by them; the reasons of this prayer and good wishes follow:
for he oft refreshed me; both with his Christian visits, and spiritual conversation, which to the apostle, in the heat of his affliction and persecution, were like a fan in hot weather, cooling and reviving, as the word signifies; and also by supplying him with the necessaries of life, as food and raiment, or money to purchase them with. He answered to his name, which signifies, "one that brings profit": he is said to be one of the seventy disciples; See Gill on Luke 10:1 and afterwards to be bishop of Corone:
and was not ashamed of my chain; the Syriac version adds, "with which I am bound"; in which he lay, or by which he was held, and led by a soldier; see Acts 28:16. Onesiphorus was not ashamed of the apostle, though he was bound with a chain; nor was he ashamed of the cause for which he suffered: and the apostle proposes him to Timothy, as an example worthy of imitation, in those times of defection. See 2 Timothy 1:8.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. The Lord give mercy—even as Onesiphorus had abounded in works of mercy.
the house of Onesiphorus—He himself was then absent from Ephesus, which accounts for the form of expression (2Ti 4:19). His household would hardly retain his name after the master was dead, as Bengel supposes him to have been. Nowhere has Paul prayers for the dead, which is fatal to the theory, favored by Alford also, that he was dead. God blesses not only the righteous man himself, but all his household.
my chain—Paul in the second, as in his first imprisonment, was bound by a chain to the soldier who guarded him.
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