1 Thessalonians 2:15
Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) Who both killed.—A tremendous invective against the Jews, the purpose of which is (1) to show the deep sympathy of St. Paul with the persecuted Thessalonians, and his indignation against the persecutors; (2) to make them see still more deeply the value of their faith by the efforts made to keep it from them. Objection is often made to St. John’s Gospel on the ground that no born Jew could have written of “the Jews” in the bitter way so common in that book, or viewed them so completely as a separate body from himself. This passage, in an indubitable epistle of “a Hebrew of the Hebrews.” seems a satisfactory answer. The memories of St. Stephen’s speech (Acts 7:52) seem to be waking in the mind of him who was once a persecuting Jew himself.

Have persecuted.—Take the marginal version, “chased” (not “have chased”) “us violently out of Thessalonica.”

They please not God—(though to serve and please Him was the special purpose for which the nation was set apart, ) “and are at cross purposes with all mankind.” The historian Tacitus gives, as a characteristic of the race, “an attitude of hostility and hatred towards all others.” Juvenal makes the same accusation.

2:13-16 We should receive the word of God with affections suitable to its holiness, wisdom, truth, and goodness. The words of men are frail and perishing, like themselves, and sometimes false, foolish, and fickle; but God's word is holy, wise, just, and faithful. Let us receive and regard it accordingly. The word wrought in them, to make them examples to others in faith and good works, and in patience under sufferings, and in trials for the sake of the gospel. Murder and persecution are hateful to God, and no zeal for any thing in religion can excuse it. Nothing tends more to any person or people's filling up the measure of their sins, than opposing the gospel, and hindering the salvation of souls. The pure gospel of Christ is abhorred by many, and the faithful preaching of it is hindered in many ways. But those who forbid the preaching it to sinners, to men dead in sin, do not by this please God. Those have cruel hearts, and are enemies to the glory of God, and to the salvation of his people, who deny them the Bible.Who both killed the Lord Jesus - see the notes on Acts 2:23. The meaning here is, that it was characteristic of the Jews to be engaged in the work of persecution, and that they should not regard it as strange that they who had put their own Messiah to death, and slain the prophets, should now be found persecuting the true children of God.

And their own prophets - see the Matthew 21:33-40; Matthew 23:29-37 notes; Acts 7:52 note.

And have persecuted us - As at Iconium Acts 14:1, Derbe, and Lystra Acts 14:6, and at Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. The meaning is, that it was characteristic of them to persecute, and they spared no one. If they had persecuted the apostles themselves, who were their own countrymen, it should not be considered strange that they should persecute those who were Gentiles.

And they please not God - Their conduct is not such as to please God, but such as to expose them to his wrath; 1 Thessalonians 2:16. The meaning is not that they did not aim to please God - whatever may have been the truth about that - but that they had shown by all their history that their conduct could not meet with the divine approbation. They made extraordinary pretensions to being the special people of God, and it was important for the apostle to show that their conduct demonstrated that they had no such claims. Their opposition to the Thessalonians, therefore, was no proof that God was opposed to them, and they should not allow themselves to be troubled by such opposition. It was rather proof that they were the friends of God - since those who now persecuted them had been engaged in persecuting the most holy people that had lived.

And are contrary to all men - They do not merely differ from other people in customs and opinions - which might be harmless - but they keep up an active opposition to all other people. It was not opposition to one nation only, but to all; it was not to one form of religion only, but to all - even including God's last revelation to mankind; it was not opposition evinced in their own country, but they carried it with them wherever they went. The truth of this statement is confirmed, not only by authority of the apostle and the uniform record in the New Testament, but by the testimony borne of them in the classic writers. This was universally regarded as their national characteristic, for they had so demeaned themselves as to leave this impression on the minds of those with whom they had contact. Thus Tacitus describes them as "cherishing hatred against all others" - adversus omnes alios hostile odium; Hist. v. 5. So Juvenal (Sat. xiv. 103, 104), describes them.

Non monstrare vias eadem nisi sacra colenti,

Quaesitum a.d. fontem solos deducere verpos.

"They would not even point out the way to any one except of the same religion, nor, being asked, guide any to a fountain except the circumcised." So they are called by Appollonius "atheists and misanthropes, and the most uncultivated barbarians" - ἀθεοι καὶ μισανθρώποι καὶ ἀφεῦστατοι τῶν βάρβαρῶν atheoi kai misanthrōpoi kai apheustatoi tōn barbarōn; Josephus, Contra Apion ii. 14. So Diodorus Siculus (34:p. 524), describes them as "those alone among all the nations who were unwilling to have any contact (or intermingling - επιμιξιας) epimixias with any other nation, and who regarded all others as enemies" καὶ πολεμίους ὑπολαμβάνειν πάντας kai polemious hupolambanein pantas. Their history had given abundant occasion for these charges.

15. the Lord Jesus—rather as Greek, "Jesus THE Lord." This enhances the glaring enormity of their sin, that in killing Jesus they killed the Lord (Compare Ac 3:14, 15).

their own—omitted in the oldest manuscripts.

prophets—(Mt 21:33-41; 23:31-37; Lu 13:33).

persecuted us—rather as Greek (see Margin), "By persecution drove us out" (Lu 11:49).

please not God—that is, they do not make it their aim to please God. He implies that with all their boast of being God's peculiar people, they all the while are "no pleasers of God," as certainly as, by the universal voice of the world, which even they themselves cannot contradict, they are declared to be perversely "contrary to all men." Josephus [Against Apion, 2.14], represents one calling them "Atheists and Misanthropes, the dullest of barbarians"; and Tacitus [Histories, 5.5], "They have a hostile hatred of all other men." However, the contrariety to all men here meant is, in that they "forbid us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved" (1Th 2:16).

Who both killed the Lord Jesus; no wonder then though they have persecuted you, and the believing Jews their countrymen. They killed the Lord Jesus by the hands of Pilate, crying: Crucify him, crucify him. Though it was by God’s determinate counsel, and the Roman power, yet by the Jews’ malice they killed him; Matthew 21:38: This is the heir; let us kill him.

And their own prophets; of their own nation, and directed and sent particularly to them of God; so that it was no new thing in them thus to do. Not that these individual Jews who persecuted Paul killed the prophets, but they were of the same nation, the same blood, and of the same spirit with them, and were the children of them, that killed the prophets, as our Saviour charged them, Matthew 23:31. The spirit of persecution was natural to them, it descended from one generation to another; their kings were guilty of it, their priests, their false prophets, and the common people. And though better things might be expected of the Jews than any other people, yet thus they did. And it was not only because of the new doctrine or worship that the apostle preached, for they killed their own prophets before them; but it was their love to their lusts, hatred of reproof, enmity to holiness, &c., that was the cause. And Christ himself chargeth them with the same things, Matthew 23:37: O Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, & c.; and foretells it as that which they would yet practise, Matthew 23:34.

And they please not God; by the figure called meiosis; it is meant they highly displeased God, and were haters of God, and hated, and now rejected, of him. Though they had the advantages and reasons to please God above all other people, having had the law and ordinances of his worship among them, yet they pleased not God, and particularly in their persecutions of the gospel and the apostles, though they might think that therein they did God good service, as John 16:2.

And are contrary to all men; contrary in their worship, laws, and customs. Or rather, contrary to all men, in hindering the course of the gospel appointed for men’s salvation. And despising all other nations in comparison of themselves, they were apt to be seditious, and raise tumults every where, and to disdain familiarity and common friendship with the Gentiles. Who both killed the Lord Jesus,.... For though Pilate condemned him to death, and the Roman soldiers executed the sentence, yet it was through the malice and envy of the Jews that he was delivered to him, who brought charges against him, and insisted upon the crucifixion of him; and who are therefore said to have taken him with wicked hands, and crucified and slain him; and to have killed the Prince of life, and to have been the betrayers and murderers of him; and therefore it is no wonder that such persons should persecute the followers of Christ, whether in Judea or elsewhere:

and their own prophets; whom God sent unto them; these they not only mocked and misused, and persecuted, but many of them they put to death, as Isaiah and others; and though this was done by their fathers, yet the present generation were the children of them that killed the prophets; and showed themselves to be of the same principles, and by their practices approved of what they had done: hence our Lord addresses the city of Jerusalem thus, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets", Matthew 23:31. The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions leave out the phrase "their own", and so does the Alexandrian copy; but it stands in the Syriac and Arabic versions, and is rightly retained, it having an emphasis in it; these prophets being of their own nation, born among them, and raised up in the midst of them, and sent unto them particularly, and yet were so used; and therefore it need not seem strange that they should treat in an ill manner persons of a lower character, that did not agree with them; the consideration of which serves to support under reproach and persecution; see Matthew 5:12.

And have persecuted us; the apostles of Christ; have drove us out of our own country, and pursued us from place to place, and caused us to flee from one city to another:

and they please not God: though they reckoned themselves his chosen people, the favourites of heaven, and whom God delighted in; but neither their persons nor their actions were pleasing to him, their carnal minds being enmity to him, to his law and to his Gospel; and they in the flesh, or in an unregenerate estate, and without faith in Christ, without which it is impossible to please God, and their actions such as before described:

and are contrary to all men; not only Christians, but Heathens; to all the Gentiles, who are called all men, the nations of the world, the world, and the whole world; they were contrary to these, both in their religious and civil principles, and had an aversion to them, of which the following is a full instance.

{13} Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; {14} and they please not God, and are contrary to {i} all men:

(13) He prevents an offence which might be taken, because the Jews especially above all others persecuted the Gospel. That is no new thing, he says, seeing that they slew Christ himself, and his Prophets, and have banished me also.

(14) He foretells the utter destruction of the Jews, lest any man should be moved by their rebellion.

(i) For the Jews would neither enter into the kingdom of God themselves, nor allow others to enter in.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Thessalonians 2:15-16. As to the occasion of this invective, see on 1 Thessalonians 2:14.

καί] not signifying even; also not to be connected with the next καί, both … and; but τῶν καί means who also, and proves the propriety of the preceding statement from the analogous conduct in 1 Thessalonians 2:15. Grotius (comp. Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Pelagius): Quid mirum est, si in nos saeviunt, qui dominum nostrum interfecerunt …?… Non debent discipuli meliorem sortem exspectare quam magistri fuit.

Moreover, τὸν κύριον emphatically precedes, and is separated from Ἰησοῦν in order to enhance the enormity of the deed.

καὶ τοὺς προφήτας] De Wette and Koch unite this with ἐκδιωξάντων; Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Calvin, Musculus, Bengel, Pelt, Schott, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bloomfield, Alford, Hofmann, Auberlen, and most critics, more correctly refer it to ἀποκτεινάντων. In the catalogue of the sins of the Jews which Paul here adduces, he begins directly with that deed which formed the climax of their wickedness—the murder of the Son of God, of Jesus the Messiah. In order to cut off all excuses for this atrocious deed of the Jews, as that they had done it in ignorance, not recognising Jesus as the Son of God, Paul adds, going backwards in time, that they had already done the same to the Old Testament prophets, whom, in like manner, they had murdered against their better knowledge and conscience. Christ Himself accuses the Jews of the murder of the prophets, Matthew 23:31; Matthew 23:37, Luke 11:47 ff; Luke 13:34; and Stephen does the same, Acts 7:52; with which passages comp. 1 Kings 19:10; 1 Kings 19:14 (see Romans 11:3); Jeremiah 2:30; Nehemiah 9:26.

καὶ ἡμᾶς ἐκδιωξάντων] and have persecuted us. ἡμᾶς refers not to Paul only (Calvin), also not to Paul and Silas only (de Wette, Koch, Alford), or to Paul and the companions who happened to be with him at Thessalonica (Auberlen); but to Paul and the apostles generally (Estius, Aretius, Bengel, Koppe, Flatt, Pelt, Schott). The preposition ἐκ in ἐκδιωξάντων strengthens the verbal idea. In an unjustifiable manner, Koppe and de Wette (the latter appealing to Luke 11:49 and Ps. 118:157, LXX.) make it stand for the simple verb.

καὶ Θεῷ μὴ ἀρεσκόντων] and please not God. Erroneously Wieseler on Galatians 1:10, p. 41, note, and Hofmann: live not to please God; similarly Bengel, Koppe, Flatt, and Baumgarten-Crusius: placere non quaerentium; for after the preceding strong expressions that would be flat. Rather the result is inferred from the two preceding statements, namely, the consequences of the obstinacy of the Jews, with which they persecute the messengers of God, is that they please not God, that is, are hateful to Him (Θεοστυγεῖς, Meiosis).

καὶ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐναντίων] and are hostile to all men. Grotius, Turretin, Michaelis, Koppe, Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Koch, Bloomfield, Jowett, and others, erroneously find here expressed the narrow exclusiveness, by means of which the Jews strictly separated themselves from all other nations, and about which Tacit. Hist. v. 5 (“adversus omnes alios hostile odium”); Juvenal, Sat. xiv. 103 ff.; Diod. Sic. xxxiv. p. 524; Philostr. Apollon. v. 33; Joseph, c. Apion. ii. 10, 14, wrote. For (1) that hostile odium and desire of separation among the Jews was nothing else than a shrinking from staining themselves and their monotheistic worship by contact with idolaters. But Paul would certainly not have blamed such a shrinking, which was only a fruit of their strict observance of their ancestral religion. (2) If 1 Thessalonians 2:16 begins with an independent assertion, κωλυόντωνσωθῶσιν would denote nothing essentially new, but would only repeat what was already expressed in ἡμᾶς ἐκδιωξάντων, 1 Thessalonians 2:15. (3) It is grammatically inadmissible to understand the words καὶ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐναντίων as an independent assertion, and thus to be considered as a general truth. For the participle κωλυόντων (1 Thessalonians 2:16) must contain a causal statement, as it is neither united with καί, nor by an article (καὶ κωλυόντων κ.τ.λ. or τῶν κωλυόντων κ.τ.λ., or τῶν καὶ κωλυόντων κ.τ.λ.), and thus is closely and directly connected with the preceding, and giving a reason for it, i.e. explaining wherefore or in what relation the Jews are to be considered as πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐναντίοι. Thus the thought necessarily is: And who actually proved themselves to be hostilely disposed to all men since they hindered us from publishing the gospel to the Gentiles, and thus leading them to salvation. That is to say, the gospel offers salvation to every one, without distinction, who will surrender himself to it. But the Jews, in opposing themselves with all their might to the publication of this free and universal gospel, prove themselves, in point of fact, as enemies to the whole human race, in so far as they will not suffer the gospel, which alone can save men, to reach them. So Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Calovius, Bern. a Piconio, Schott, Alford, Hofmann, and others correctly interpret the words; also Wieseler on Galatians 1:10, p. 49, note, and Auberlen, only that he would incorrectly unite καὶ Θεῷ μὴ ἀρεσκόντων with κωλυόντων, which would only be tenable if, instead of the simple connected clause καὶ Θεῷ μὴ ἀρεσκόντων, the more definitely separating form τῶν Θεῷ κ.τ.λ. had been put.[38]

ΚΩΛΥΌΝΤΩΝ ἩΜᾶς] hindering us, namely, by contradictions, calumnies, laying snares for our life, etc. Comp. Acts 9:23 ff; Acts 13:45; Acts 17:5; Acts 17:13; Acts 22:22. Unnecessarily, Pelt, Schott, de Wette, Koch, seeking to hinder; for the intrigues of the Jews are an actual hindrance to the preaching of the apostle,—certainly not an absolute, but a partial hindrance, conditioned by opportunity of place and influence.

ἡμᾶς] as above, us the apostles.

τοῖς ἔθνεσιν] to the Gentiles, with emphasis; for it was the preaching to the Gentiles that enraged the Jews. τοῖς ἔθνεσιν resumes the previous ΠᾶΣΙΝ ἈΝΘΡΏΠΟΙς, as that expression comprehended the non-Jewish humanity, i.e. the Gentile world.

λαλῆσαι] is not to be taken absolutely, so that it would be equivalent to docere (Koppe, Flatt), or would require τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ for its completion (Piscator), but is to be conjoined with ἽΝΑ ΣΩΘῶΣΙΝ in one idea, and the whole is then another expression for εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, but in a more impressive form.

ΕἸς ΤῸ ἈΝΑΠΛΗΡῶΣΑΙ Κ.Τ.Λ.] to fill up their sins always. εἰς does not denote the result = ὭΣΤΕ or quo fit ut (Musculus, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, Grotius, Koppe, Flatt, Pelt, Schott, Baumgarten-Crusius, Koch, Bloomfield), but the object, the design; and that not of κωλυόντων (Hofmann), as this is a dependent clause, but of the whole description. But it expresses not the ultimate design which the Jews themselves, in their so acting, had either consciously (Oecumenius: φησὶ γάρ, ὅτι πάντα ἃ ἐποίησαν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι, σκοπῷ τοῦ ἁμαρτάνειν ἐποίουν, τουτέστιν ἤδεισαν, ὅτι ἁμαρτάνουσι καὶ ἡμάρτανον) or unconsciously (de Wette: they do it, though unconsciously, to the end, etc.; Auberlen), so that an ironical expression would have to be assumed (Schott). But in entire conformity with the Pauline mode of thought, which delights to dive into the eternal and secret counsels of God, it expresses the design which God has with this sinfulness of the Jews. So, correctly, Piscator. God’s counsel was to make the Jews reach in their hardness even to the extreme point of their sinfulness, and then, instead of the past long-suffering and patience, the severity of anger and punishment was to commence.

ἀναπληρῶσαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας] to fill up their sins, i.e. to fill up the measure destined for them, to bring them to the prescribed point; comp. LXX. Genesis 15:16; 2Ma 6:14.

αὐτῶν] refers to the subject of the preceding verses—the Jews.

ΠΆΝΤΟΤΕ] emphatically placed at the end, is not equivalent to ΠΆΝΤΩς or ΠΑΝΤΕΛῦς (Bretschneider, Olshausen), on all sides, in every way (Baumgarten-Crusius), but merely involves the notion of time, always, that is, the Jews before Christ, at the time of Christ, and after Christ, have opposed themselves to the divine truth, and thus have been always engaged in filling up the measure of their iniquities. (Oecumenius: Ταῦτα δὲ καὶ πάλαι ἐπὶ τῶν προφητῶν καὶ νῦν ἐπὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἐφʼ ἡμῶν ἔπραξαν, ἵνα πάντοτε ἀναπληρωθῶσιν αἱ ἁμαρτίαι αὐτῶν.) When, however, the apostle says that this ἈΝΑΠΛΗΡΟῦΝ ΤᾺς ἉΜΑΡΤΊΑς is practised by the Jews ΠΆΝΤΟΤΕ, at all times, his meaning cannot be that the Jews had at any given moment, thus already repeatedly, filled up the measure of their sins (Musculus), but he intends to say that at every division of time the conduct of the Jews was of such a nature that the general tendency of this continued sinful conduct was the filling up of the measure of their sins. Paul thus conceives that the Jews, at every renewed obstinate rejection of the truth, approached a step nearer to the complete measure of their sinfulness, ἜΦΘΑΣΕ ΔῈ ἘΠʼ ΑὐΤΟῪς Ἡ ὈΡΓῊ ΕἸς ΤΈΛΟς] but the wrath has come upon them even to the end. The Vulgate, Luther, Beza, Wolf, erroneously take δέ in the sense of ΓΆΡ. Rather, ΔΈ forms the contrast to ἈΝΑΠΛΗΡῶΣΑΙ ΠΆΝΤΟΤΕ (not to the whole preceding description), in so far as the increase of the divine wrath is contrasted to the continued wicked conduct of the Jews.

ΦΘΆΝΕΙΝ] contains, in classical usage, the idea of priority in time. Schott thinks that this idea must also be here preserved, whilst he finds indicated therein the ὈΡΓΉ breaking forth upon the Jews citius quam exspectaverint vel omnino praeter opinionem eorum. Incorrectly; for when ΦΘΆΝΕΙΝ is united not with the accusative of the person (comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:15), but with prepositions (ΦΘΆΝΕΙΝ ΕἼς ΤΙ, Romans 9:31 [see Fritzsche in loco]; Php 3:16; φθάνειν ἄχρι τινός, 2 Corinthians 9:14; ΦΘΆΝ. ἘΠΊ ΤΙΝΑ, Matthew 12:28; Daniel 4:25), then, in the later Greek, the meaning of the verb “to anticipate” is softened into the general meaning of reaching the intended end. The aorist ἜΦΘΑΣΕ is not here to be taken in the sense of the present (Grotius, Pelt), also not prophetically instead of the future (Koppe: mox eveniet iis; Flatt: it will certainly befall them, and also it will soon befall them; and so also Schott, Bloomfield, Hilgenfeld, Zeitschr. f. wissensch. Theol., Halle 1862, p. 239), but reports in quite a usual manner a fact which already belongs to the past.

ἡ ὀργή] sc. Θεοῦ, does not mean the divine punishment, which certainly in itself it may denote (Erasmus, Musculus, Cornelius a Lapide, Flatt, Schott, de Wette, Ewald), but the divine wrath. The article denotes either the wrath predicted by the prophets (Theophylact, Schott), or generally the wrath which is merited (Oecumenius).

ΕἸς ΤΈΛΟς] belongs to the whole sentence ἜΦΘΑΣΕὈΡΓΉ, and denotes even to its (the wrath’s) end, i.e. the wrath of God has reached its extreme limits, so that it must now discharge itself,—now, in the place of hitherto long-suffering and patience, punishment must step in. The actual outbreak of the wrath, the punishment itself, has thus not yet occurred at the composition of this Epistle. To interpret the words of the destruction of Jerusalem as already happened, would be contrary to the context. On the other hand, it is to be assumed that Paul, from the by no means dark signs of the times, had by presentiment foreseen the impending catastrophe of the Jewish people, and by means of this foresight had expressed the concluding words of this verse. It is accordingly an unnecessary arbitrariness when Ritschl (Hall. A. Lit. Z. 1847, No. 126) explains the words ἔφθ.… τέλος as a gloss. Incorrectly, Camerarius, Er. Schmid, Homberg, Koch, and Hofmann understand ΕἸς ΤΈΛΟς in the sense of ΤΕΛΈΩς, penitus. Also incorrectly, Heinsius, Michaelis, Bolten, Wahl: postremo, tandem. Others erroneously unite εἰς τέλος with Ἡ ὈΡΓΉ, whilst they supply ΟὖΣΑ, and then either explain it: the wrath which will endure eternally or to the end of the world (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Theodoret, Fab. Stapulens., Hunnius, Seb. Schmid, and others); or: the wrath which will continue to work until its full manifestation (Olshausen); or lastly: the wrath which shall end with their (the Jews’) destruction (Flatt). In all these suppositions the article must be repeated before ΕἸς ΤΈΛΟς. Erroneously, moreover, de Wette refers ΕἸς ΤΈΛΟς to the Jews, although he unites it with the verb: “so as to make an end of them.” So also Bloomfield and Ewald: “even to complete eradication.” The apostle rather preserves the figure used in ἈΝΑΠΛΗΡῶΣΑΙ; namely, as there is a definite measure for the sins of the Jews, at the filling up of which the divine wrath must discharge itself; so also there exists a definite measure for the long-suffering patience of God, whose fulness provokes divine punishment. Comp. also Romans 2:5.

[38] The article τῶν, wanting before καὶ Θεῷ μὴ ἀρεσκόντων, makes it likewise impossible to make the two last καί in ver. 15 to signify, with Hofmann, “both … and.”

REMARK.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, Baur (see Introd. § 4) finds a “particularly noticeable” criterion for the spuriousness of the Epistle. “The description has a thoroughly un-Pauline stamp,” and, besides, betrays a dependence on the Acts. First of all, the comparison of the Thessalonian church with the Palestinian churches is “far-fetched,” although nothing is more simple, more natural, and more unforced than these very parallels, since the tertium comparationis consists simply in this, that both were persecuted by their own countrymen, and both endured their persecutions with similar heroic courage. The parallels are further “inappropriate” to Paul, as he does not elsewhere hold up the Jewish-Christians as a pattern to the Gentile-Christians. As if the repeated collections which the apostle undertook for the poor churches of Palestine had not demonstrated by fact that his love extended itself equally to the Jewish as to the Gentile churches! As if the words of the apostle, in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15, did not express a high esteem for the Palestinian Jewish-Christians! As if, in Romans 15:27, the Gentile churches are not called debtors to the Jewish-Christians, because the spiritual blessings of Christianity reached the Gentiles only from the mother church of Jerusalem! As if Paul himself, after the fiercest persecutions, and after openly manifested obstinacy, did not always cleave to his people with such unselfish and solicitous love, that he could wish in his own person to be banished and driven from Christ, who was his all in all, in order by such an exchange to make his hardened and always resisting fellow-countrymen partakers of salvation in Christ! But if such were his feelings toward the unconverted among his people, why should he not have been proud of those among them who believed? Why should he not have recognised the heroic faith of the Palestinian brethren, and recognised and praised the stedfastness of a Gentile church as an imitation and emulation of the pattern given by these?

Further, the mention of the persecutions of the Palestinian Christians was inappropriate, because Paul could not speak of them “without thinking of himself as the person principally concerned in the only persecution which can have come properly into consideration.” But how little importance there is in such an inference is evident from this, that Paul elsewhere does not shun openly to confess his share in the persecutions of the Christians, although with a sorrowful heart (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:15 “The Lord, even Jesus” (cf. Acts 2:36). προφ. may go either with ἀποκτ. or with ἐκδιωξάντων.15. who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets] Revised reading, simply the prophets.

Christ represented His death as the culmination of the murders of the ancient prophets (Luke 11:47-52; Luke 13:31-33; Luke 20:9-16); St Stephen had said the same thing in Paul’s hearing, with poignant force (Acts 7:52). Now the Apostle takes up the accusation.

More exactly, killed the Lord, (even) Jesus; or, changing the grammatical form but retaining the order of the Greek words, The Lord they slew, Jesus,—as well as the prophets. This sets the deed in an appalling light. To have killed the Lord—Who bears a title that belongs to God, and “Him whom they were bound to serve” (Jowett); (comp. 1 Corinthians 2:8 : They “crucified the Lord of glory”); that Lord being Jesus their Saviour (comp. Acts 4:12), and such an one as Jesus was known to be! The double name, emphasized in each part, brings into striking relief at once the Divine authority and the human character of Christ. Comp. Acts 2:36 (“Him did God make both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified!”); also the parable of Luke 20:9-18, Mark 12:1-11, “The husbandmen said, This is the heir; come, let us kill him!”

and have persecuted us] Better, and drave us out (R. V.), words which echo those of Christ in Luke 11:49 : “I will send them prophets and apostles; and some of them they will kill and persecute.” Already Christ, like the prophets, had been killed; and now His apostles were driven out, “fleeing from city to city” (Matthew 23:34) to avoid the like fate. Read the account of Paul’s departure from Jerusalem in Acts 9:28-30; and his later experience there, Acts 21-23; also the narrative of James’ death and Peter’s escape from Herod’s prison, in Acts 12:1-9. Paul and Silas had now been hunted all the way from Philippi to Corinth by Jewish malignity, and it was only the authority and good sense of the Roman Governor, Gallio, that made it possible for him to remain in the latter city. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:26 : “In perils from mine own countrymen.”

and they please not God] Omit they, and put a comma only before this clause, for it is immediately continuous with the last: more exactly, and are not pleasing to God. This is an instance of what the grammarians call meiosis or litotes, the studiously restrained and smooth expression covering intense feeling; as where the Apostle says, “I praise yon not,” meaning severe blame (1 Corinthians 11:17; 1 Corinthians 11:22). Their unpleasingness to God was due not to these wicked acts alone, but to their whole conduct. Comp., in the O.T., such sayings as Isaiah 65:5 : “These are a smoke in My nostrils;” and Jeremiah 32:30. By contrast, the Apostle spoke of himself as “not pleasing men, but God” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

and are contrary to all men] At war both with God and men! The sense of God’s displeasure often shews itself in sourness and ill-temper towards one’s fellows. Unbelief and cynicism go together. The rancour of the Jews against other nations at this time was notorious. Tacitus, the Roman historian, writing in the next generation, remarks on their “adversus omnes alios hostile odium” (Histor. 1 Thessalonians 2:5). This animosity culminated in the war against Rome (a.d. 66–70), and brought a fearful retribution.

The quarrel between Judaism and the world, alas, still continues, as the Judenhasse of Germany and Russia testifies. Jewish hatred has been more than repaid by Christian persecution. The antipathy is powerfully impersonated in Shakespeare’s Shylock. The Jew says of his debtor, “I hate him, for he is a Christian.” And Antonio in turn:

“You may as well use question with the wolf,

Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;

You may as well do anything most hard,

As seek to soften that (than which what’s harder?)

His Jewish heart.”

But we may hope that better feelings will prevail in the future on both sides. St Paul is thinking, however, not of the Jewish sentiment in general, but of the opposition of his people to the rest of the world on that one point which concerned him so deeply, viz. the salvation of men through Christ.1 Thessalonians 2:15. Ἀποκτεινάντων, who have killed) This is indeed the sin of the whole people, their greatest sin, and one not yet acknowledged.—προφήτας, the prophets) This word is construed with who have killed. That former guilt of theirs [in killing the prophets] woke up in all its strength then especially, when they slew the Lord Himself.—ἡμᾶς, us) the apostles.—ἐκδιωξάντων, who have cast out by persecution) Luke 11:49, note.—μὴ ἀρεσκόντων) not seeking to please.—ἐναντίων, and are adverse [contrary]) The Jews regarded the Gentiles with aversion, and were unwilling at that time that the word should be preached to them.Verse 15. - Who both killed the Lord Jesus; emphatic, to point out the greatness of their wickedness. And their own prophets; or, as some manuscripts read, and the prophets. This crime was often laid to the charge of the Jews: thus, by our Lord, "Ye are witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets" (Matthew 23:31); and by the protomartyr Stephen, "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?" (Acts 7:25.) And have persecuted us; literally, driven us out, as Paul and Silos were expelled from Thessalonica. And they please not God, but are contrary to all men. The hatred and contempt which the Jews bore to other nations is noticed by Tacitus, Juvenal, and other heathen writers. Thus Tacitus writes of them: "They are faithful to obstinacy, and merciful toward themselves, but toward all others are actuated by the most irreconcilable hatred (odium humani generis)." And Juvenal says, "They will not show the road to one who was not of their religion, nor lead the thirsty person if uncircumcised to the common spring." Perhaps, however, the apostle refers here, not to the enmity of the Jews to the human race in general, though perfectly cognizant of their bigotry and intolerance; as this enmity was a perversion of their peculiar distinction as he people of God; but rather to their opposition to his preaching the gospel to the Gentiles - to their extreme reluctance that the Gentiles along with themselves should be admitted into the kingdom of God. Persecuted (ἐκδιωξάντων)

Rev. more literally and correctly, drave out. The word only here, though it occurs as an alternative reading, Luke 11:49. Probably with special reference to his own expulsion from Thessalonica. Acts 17:5-10.

Contrary to all men

Tacitus (Hist. v. 5) describes the Jews as stubborn in their faith, prompt in kindly offices to each other, but bitterly hostile toward everybody else: Juvenal (Sat. xiv. 102 f.) says that they observe and respect whatever Moses has taught in his mystical volume; not to show the way except to one who practices the same rites, and to show the well only to the circumcised.

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