1 Corinthians 2:8
Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
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(8) They would not have crucified.—The conduct of the princes and rulers of this world, alike Jewish and Gentile, illustrates and proves the previous assertion (John 8:19; John 19:9).

Lord of glory.—In striking contrast to the ignominy of the crucifixion.

2:6-9 Those who receive the doctrine of Christ as Divine, and, having been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, have looked well into it, see not only the plain history of Christ, and him crucified, but the deep and admirable designs of Divine wisdom therein. It is the mystery made manifest to the saints, Col 1:26, though formerly hid from the heathen world; it was only shown in dark types and distant prophecies, but now is revealed and made known by the Spirit of God. Jesus Christ is the Lord of glory; a title much too great for any creature. There are many things which people would not do, if they knew the wisdom of God in the great work of redemption. There are things God hath prepared for those that love him, and wait for him, which sense cannot discover, no teaching can convey to our ears, nor can it yet enter our hearts. We must take them as they stand in the Scriptures, as God hath been pleased to reveal them to us.Which none of the princes - None of those rulers who were engaged in the crucifixion of the Messiah, referring both to the Jewish rulers, and the Roman governor.

Knew - They did not perceive or appreciate the excellency of his character, the wisdom of his plan, the glory of his scheme of salvation. Their ignorance arose from not understanding the prophecies, and from an unwillingness to be convinced that Jesus of Nazareth had been truly sent by God. In Acts 3:17, Peter says that it was through ignorance that the Jews had put him to death; see the note on this place.

For had they known it - Had they fully understood his character, and seen the wisdom of his plan, and his work, they would not have put him to death; see the note on Acts 3:17. Had they seen the hidden wisdom in that plan - had they understood the glory of his real character, the truth respecting his incarnation, and the fact that he was the long expected Messiah of their nation, they would not have put him to death. It is incredible that they would have crucified their Messiah, knowing and believing him to be such. They might have known it but they were unwilling to examine the evidence. They expected a different Messiah, and were unwilling to admit the claims of Jesus of Nazareth. For This ignorance, however, there was no excuse. If they did not have a full knowledge, it was their own fault. Jesus had performed miracles which were a complete attestation to his divine mission John 5:36; John 10:25; but they closed their eyes on those works, and were unwilling to be convinced - God always gives to people sufficient demonstration of the truth, but they close their eyes, and are unwilling to believe. This is the sole reason why they are not converted to God and saved.

They would not have crucified - It is perfectly manifest that the Jews would not have crucified their own Messiah, "knowing him to be such." He was the hope and expectation of their nation. All their desires were centered in him. And to him they looked for deliverance from all their foes.

The Lord of glory - This expression is a Hebraism, and means "the glorious Lord;" or the "Messiah." Expressions like this, where a noun performs the office of an adjective, are common in the Hebrew language - Grotius supposes that the expression is taken from that of "the King of glory," in Psalm 24:7-9 -

Lift up your heads, O ye gates,

Be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors,

And the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory?

Jehovah, strong and mighty.

Jehovah, mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates;

Lift them up, ye everlasting doors;

And the King of glory shall come in.


8. Which—wisdom. The strongest proof of the natural man's destitution of heavenly wisdom.

crucified … Lord of glory—implying the inseparable connection of Christ's humanity and His divinity. The Lord of glory (which He had in His own right before the world was, Joh 17:4, 24) was crucified.

Which none of the princes of this world knew; which Divine wisdom neither Caiaphas, nor Pontius Pilate, nor any considerable number of the rulers of this age, whether amongst the Jews or amongst the heathens, understood, though they heard of it.

For had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; for if they had so known it, as to have believed and been persuaded of it, they would never have nailed to the cross that person, who was the Head and Fountain of it, and the Lord of glory; both with respect to his Divine nature, as to which he was God blessed for ever, and also as Mediator, being the Author of glory to those who believe. Nor would this ignorance at all excuse their crucifying of Christ, because it was not invincible, they had means sufficient by which they might have come to the knowledge of him, and have understood what he was; so as their ignorance was affected and voluntary. Which none of the princes of this world knew,.... Meaning not the devils, as some have thought, who had they known what God designed to do by the death of Christ, would never have been concerned in bringing it about; nor so much the political governors of the Roman empire, particularly in Judea, as Herod and Pontius Pilate, who also were entirely ignorant of it; but rather the ecclesiastical rulers of the Jewish church state, called , "this world", in distinction from , "the world to come", or times of the Messiah; see Hebrews 2:5 such as the priests, Scribes, and Pharisees, the Rabbins and learned doctors. These knew nothing of the wisdom of the Gospel, or the wise counsels of God concerning salvation by Christ; they knew not the Messiah when he came, nor the prophecies concerning him; the Jews and their rulers did what they did through ignorance, and fulfilled those things they knew nothing of; see Acts 3:17.

for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. They would have received him, believed in him, and not put him to death: a very great character is here given of Christ, "the Lord of glory", or the glorious Jehovah; reference seems to be had to Psalm 24:7 where he is called, "the King of glory", and is an argument of his true and proper deity: he is so called because possessed of all glorious perfections, and is the brightness of his Father's glory; the same honour and glory are due to him as to the Father; and the same ascriptions of glory are made to him by angels and men. This is an instance of what the ancients call a communication of idioms or properties, whereby that which belongs to one nature in Christ, is predicated of his person, as denominated from the other: thus here the crucifixion of him, which properly belongs to his human nature, and that to his body only, is spoken of his person, and that as denominated from his divine nature, "the Lord of glory"; and he being so, this rendered his crucifixion, sufferings, and death, in human nature, efficacious to answer all the purposes for which they were endured.

{7} Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the {h} Lord of glory.

(7) He takes away another objection: why then, how comes it to pass that this wisdom was so rejected by men of the highest authority, that they crucified Christ himself? Paul answers: because they did not know Christ such as he was.

(h) That mighty God, full of true majesty and glory: now this place has in it a most evident proof of the divinity of Christ, and of the joining of the two natures in one in him, which has this in it, that which is proper to the manhood alone is confirmed of the Godhead joined with the manhood. This type of speech is called, by the old fathers, a making common of things belonging to someone with another to whom they do not belong.

1 Corinthians 2:8. Ἥν] Parallel with the preceding ἥν, and referring to Θεοῦ σοφίαν (Calvin, Grotius, and most commentators, including Flatt, Rückert, de Wette, Osiander, Hofmann), not to δόξ. ἡμῶν (Tertullian, contra Marc. v. 6, Camerarius, Pott, Billroth, Maier); for the essential point in the whole context is the non-recognition of that wisdom.[366]

εἰ γὰρ ἔγνωσαν κ.τ.λ[367]] parenthetical proof from fact for what has been just asserted; for the ἀλλά in 1 Corinthians 2:9 refers to ἫΝ ΟὐΔΕῚςἜΓΝΩΚΕΝ. The crucifixion of Christ, seeing that it was effected by Jewish and heathen rulers together, is here considered as the act of the ἄρχ. τ. αἰῶν. collectively.

τὸν Κύριον τῆς δόξης] Christ is the Lord, and, inasmuch as His qualitative characteristic condition is that of the divine glory in heaven, from which He came and to which He has returned (John 17:5; Luke 24:26; Php 3:20 f.; Colossians 3:1-4, al[368]), the Lord of glory. Comp Jam 2:1. In a precisely analogous way God is called, in Ephesians 1:17, Ὁ ΠΑΤῊΡ Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς. Comp Acts 7:2; Psalm 24:7; Hebrews 9:5. In all these passages the expression of the adjectival notion by the genitive has rhetorical emphasis. Comp Hermann, a[372] Viger. p. 887. This designation of Christ, however, is purposely chosen by way of antithesis to ἐσταύρωσαν; for Ὁ ΣΤΑΥΡῸς ἈΔΟΞΊΑς ΕἾΝΑΙ ΔΟΚΕῖ, Chrysostom. Had the ἌΡΧΟΝΤΕς known that ΣΟΦΊΑ ΘΕΟῦ, then they would also have known Christ as what He is, the ΚΎΡΙΟς Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς, and would have received and honoured instead of shamefully crucifying Him. But what was to them wisdom was simply nothing more than selfish worldly prudence and spiritual foolishness; in accordance with it Annas and Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod, acted. Comp., generally, Luke 23:34; Acts 3:17.

[366] The simple uniform continuation of the discourse by ἥν has a solemn emphasis here, as in Acts 4:10, and especially often in the Epistle to the Ephesians. All the less reason is there for taking it, with Hofmann, as equivalent in this verse to ταύτην (Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 243 [E. T. 282]), and as introducing a new principal sentence. The asyndetic similar co-ordination of several relative clauses is, from Homer onward (see Ameis on the Odyss. xxiii. 299, append.), a very common usage in the classics also.

[367] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[368] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[372] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.1 Corinthians 2:8. ἣν οὐδεὶς κ.τ.λ.: “which (wisdom) none of the rulers of this age has perceived”—all blind to the significance of the rise of Christianity.—ἔγνωκεν, a pf., approaching the pr[351] sense (novi) which f1οἶδα had reached, but implying, as that does not, a process—has come to know, won the knowledge of.—οἱ ἄρχοντες κ.τ.λ., repeated with emphasis from 1 Corinthians 2:6sc. “the rulers of this (great) age,” of the world in its length of history and fulness of experience (see 1 Corinthians 10:11, and note; cf. Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 3:5, Romans 16:25 f.). The leaders of the time showed themselves miserably ignorant of God’s plans and ways in dealing with the world they ruled; “for if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”. The Lord of glory is He in whom “our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7) has its manifestation and guarantee—first in His earthly, then in His heavenly estate (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:43; 1 Corinthians 15:49).—τῆς δόξης, gen[352] of characterising quality (cf. Ephesians 1:17, Acts 7:2). This glory of the Son of God the disciples saw (John 1:14); of it believers now partake (Romans 8:29 f.), and will partake in full hereafter (2 Corinthians 3:18, Php 3:21, etc.), when it culminates in a universal dominion (1 Corinthians 15:23-29, Php 2:9 ff., Hebrews 1). Paul’s view of Christ always shone with “the glory of that light” in which he first saw Him on the road to Damascus (Acts 22:11). Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, Pilate and the Roman court (cf. Acts 13:27 f., 1 Timothy 6:13) saw nothing of the splendour clothing the Lord Jesus as He stood before them; so knowing, they could not have crucified Him. The expression κύριος τῆς δόξης is no syn[353] for Christ’s Godhead; it signifies the entire grandeur of the incarnate Lord, whom the world’s wise and great sentenced to the cross. Their ignorance was a partial excuse (see Luke 23:34, Acts 13:27); but it was guilty, like that of Romans 1:18 f. The crucifiers fairly represented worldly governments. Mark the paradox, resembling Peter’s in Acts 3:15 : “Crux servorum supplicium—eo Dominum gloriæ affecerunt” (Bg[354]). The levity of philosophers in rejecting the cross of Christ was only surpassed by the stupidity of politicians in inflicting it; in both acts the wise of the age proved themselves fools, and God thereby brought them to ruin (1 Corinthians 1:28). For εἰἄν, stating a hypothesis contrary to past fact (the modus tollens of logic), see Bn[355] § 248; and cf. 1 Corinthians 11:31.

[351] present tense.

[352] genitive case.

[353] synonym, synonymous.

[354] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

E. Burton’s Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in the N.T. (1894).8. which none of the princes of this world knew] These words seem to be written for the instruction of the class of persons who attach importance to the opinions of those high in position and influence—the princes, or rather rulers of this world, its statesmen. Such persons, the Apostle points out, are apt, in spite of, or rather in consequence of, their worldly wisdom, to make strange mistakes. The crucifixion of Christ was a memorable instance of the shortsightedness of worldly policy. Not a single calculation of those who compassed the Saviour’s death was destined to be fulfilled. Pilate did not escape the emperor’s displeasure. Caiaphas (St John 11:50) did not save Jerusalem. The Scribes and Pharisees did not put down the doctrine of Jesus.

the Lord of glory] The majesty of the Lord, designedly contrasted, says St Chrysostom, with the ignominy of the Cross. Perhaps there is also an allusion to “our glory” in the last verse, of which He is the source. Cf. St James 2:1.1 Corinthians 2:8. Ἣν, which) a reference to wisdom.—οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀρχόντωνἔγνωκεν, none of the princes—knew) none, almost none, nay, none at all, as [quâ] a prince. The antithesis to this predicate is in the but 1 Corinthians 2:9; to the subject, in the but 1 Corinthians 2:10.—τὸν Κύριο, the Lord) who surpasses all princes.—ἐσταύρωσαν) The cross, the punishment of slaves. It was with this the Lord of glory was slain.Verse 8. - Had they known it; literally, had they recognized; had they got to know it. The apostles often dwell on this ignorance as being in part a palliation for the sin of rejecting Christ (see especially Acts 3:17; Acts 13:27; comp. Isaiah 2:1). Jews and Romans, emperors, procurators: high priests, Pharisees, had in their ignorance conspired in vain to prevent what God had foreordained. The Lord of glory. This is not a mere equivalent of "the glorious Lord," in Psalm 24:10. It is "the Lord of the glory," i.e. "the Lord of the Shechinah" (comp. Ephesians 1:17, "the Father of the glory "). The Shechinah was the name given by the Jews to the cloud of light which symbolized God's presence. The cherubim are called, in Hebrews 9:5, "cherubim of glory," because the Shechinah was borne on their outspread wings (see, however, Acts 7:2; Ephesians 1:17). There would have been to ancient ears a startling and awful paradox in the words "crucified the Lord of glory." The words brought into juxtaposition the lowest ignominy and the most splendid exaltation. Lord of glory

The Lord whose attribute is glory. Compare Psalm 29:1; Acts 7:2; Ephesians 1:17; James 2:1.

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