|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:14-18 There is as much danger from false brethren, as from open enemies. It is dangerous having to do with those who would be enemies to such a man as Paul. The Christians at Rome were forward to meet him, Ac 28, but when there seemed to be a danger of suffering with him, then all forsook him. God might justly be angry with them, but he prays God to forgive them. The apostle was delivered out of the mouth of the lion, that is, of Nero, or some of his judges. If the Lord stands by us, he will strengthen us in difficulties and dangers, and his presence will more than supply every one's absence.
Verse 16. - Detente for answer, A.V.; no one took my part for no man stood with me, A.V.; all for all men, A.V.; may it not for I pray God it may not, A.V.; account for charge, A.V. Defence (ἀπολογίᾳ). "The technical word in classical Greek for a defence in answer to an accusation;" as Acts 22:1 (where see note for further illustration), and Philippians 1:7. Took my part; παρεγένετο R.T., for συμπαρεγένετο T.R., which occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in Luke 23:48, in a somewhat different sense. The simple παραγίνομαι is very common in the New Testament, but nowhere in the technical sense in which it is used here. In classical Greek both forms are common in the sense of "coming to aid," "standing by any one," "assisting." Here it represents the Latin assistere or adesse in its technical sense of "standing by" an accused person as friend or assistant, to aid and abet them in their defence. Powerful men sometimes brought such a multitude of assistants as to overawe the magistrate, as Orgetorix the Helvetian, when summoned to trial, appeared with ten thousand followers, and so there was no trial. Paul, like his Lord and Master, of whom it is written, "All his disciples forsook him and fled," had no one to stand with him in his hour of need.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
At my first answer no man stood with me,.... Meaning, that when he made his first defence against the charges laid unto him in one of the courts of judicature in Rome, no man appeared in his cause, to speak to his character, to be a witness for him, or plead his cause:
but all men forsook me; all his friends, all that came with him from Judea, or from Asia; see 2 Timothy 1:15 being timorous of coming into danger, and of the loss of their lives; as the disciples of Christ were, when he was apprehended, who all at that time forsook him and fled:
I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge; that this sin may not be imputed to them, or they be punished for it, but that it might be pardoned; so differently does he express himself on the account of these, than on the account of the coppersmith; he sinning through malice, wilfully and obstinately, these through surprise, temptation, and weakness.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. At my first answer—that is, "defense" in court, at my first public examination. Timothy knew nothing of this, it is plain, till Paul now informs him. But during his former imprisonment at Rome, Timothy was with him (Php 1:1, 7). This must have been, therefore, a second imprisonment. He must have been set free before the persecution in A.D. 64, when the Christians were accused of causing the conflagration in Rome; for, had he been a prisoner then, he certainly would not have been spared. The tradition [Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.251] that he was finally beheaded, accords with his not having been put to death in the persecution, A.D. 64, when burning to death was the mode by which the Christians were executed, but subsequently to it. His "first" trial in his second imprisonment seems to have been on the charge of complicity in the conflagration; his absence from Rome may have been the ground of his acquittal on that charge; his final condemnation was probably on the charge of introducing a new and unlawful religion into Rome.
stood with me—Greek, "came forward with me" [Alford] as a friend and advocate.
may it not be laid to their charge—The position of "their," in the Greek, is emphatic. "May it not be laid to THEIR charge," for they were intimidated; their drawing back from me was not from bad disposition so much as from fear; it is sure to be laid to the charge of those who intimidated them. Still Paul, like Stephen, would doubtless have offered the same prayer for his persecutors themselves (Ac 7:60).
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