1 Timothy 5:13
And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
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(13) And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house.—The first fervour of their devotion and renunciation of self will have cooled, their very occupation will become a snare to them—the going about to the various dwellings for the object of consoling, instructing, assisting, would give them, now that their minds were no longer exclusively turned to religious thoughts, and their hearts were no more alone filled by Jesus, many an opportunity of wasting precious hours, of indulging in frivolous, if not in harmful, conversation; and this the Apostle seems to have feared would be the result of these visits, and the fruit of their work, if the younger sisters were enrolled in the official list, for he speaks of such becoming “not only idle, but tattlers also and busy bodies, speaking things which they ought not.”

5:9-16 Every one brought into any office in the church, should be free from just censure; and many are proper objects of charity, yet ought not to be employed in public services. Those who would find mercy when they are in distress, must show mercy when they are in prosperity; and those who show most readiness for every good work, are most likely to be faithful in whatever is trusted to them. Those who are idle, very seldom are only idle, they make mischief among neighbours, and sow discord among brethren. All believers are required to relieve those belonging to their families who are destitute, that the church may not be prevented from relieving such as are entirely destitute and friendless.And withal - In addition to the prospect that they may marry again, there are other disadvantages which might follow from such an arrangement, and other evils to be feared which it is desirable to avoid.

They learn to be idle - That is, if supported by the church, and if without the settled principles which might be expected in those more aged and experienced, it may be feared that they will give themselves up to an indolent life. There would be a security in the age and established habits of these more advanced in life, which there could not be in their case. The apostle does not mean that widows are naturally disposed to be idle, but that in the situation referred to there would be danger of it.

Wandering about from house to house - A natural consequence of supposing that they had nothing to do, and a practice not only profitless, but always attended with mischief.

Tattlers also - Literally, "overflowing;" then overflowing with talk; praters, triflers. They would learn all the news; become acquainted with the secrets of families, and of course indulge in much idle and improper conversation. Our word "gossipers" would accurately express the meaning here. The noun does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. The verb occurs in John 3:10; rendered, "prating against."

And busy-bodies - see the notes on 2 Thessalonians 3:11. The word means, probably, "working all round, overdoing," and then "an intermeddler." Persons who have nothing to do of their own, commonly find employment by interesting themselves in the affairs of their neighbors. No one likes to be wholly idle, and if anyone is not found doing what he ought to do, he will commonly be found engaged in doing what he ought not.

Speaking things which they ought not - Revealing the concerns of their neighbors; disclosing secrets; magnifying trifles, so as to exalt themselves into importance, as if they were entrusted with the secrets of others; inventing stories and tales of gossip, that they may magnify and maintain their own consequence in the community. No persons are commonly more dangerous to the peace of a neighborhood than those who have nothing to do.

13. withal—"at the same time, moreover."

learn—usually in a good sense. But these women's "learning" is idleness, trifling, and busybodies' tattle.

wandering—Greek, "going about."

from house to house—of the members of the Church (2Ti 3:6). "They carry the affairs of this house to that, and of that to this; they tell the affairs of all to all" [Theophylact].

tattlers—literally "trifling talkers." In 3Jo 10, translated "prating."

busybodies—mischievously busy; inconsiderately curious (2Th 3:11). Ac 19:19, "curious," the same Greek. Curiosity usually springs from idleness, which is itself the mother of garrulity [Calvin].

speaking—not merely "saying." The subject-matter, as well as the form, is involved in the Greek word [Alford].

which they ought not—(Tit 1:11).

The apostle here gives some other reasons, why he would not have widows too young taken into the ministry of the church.

And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; they being young, and having no business at home, nor any husbands to conduct and govern them, are subject to be gadding up and down;

and not only idle, but tattlers also; and to be tattling idly and impertinently, and that not only of their own, but others’ concerns;

and busybodies, interesting themselves in the matters of other persons and families;

speaking things which they ought not, and in the multitude of words, folly being never wanting, they are prone to speak things which they ought not: from whence we may deserve, that nothing more becometh Christians than a gravity and composedness of behaviour and speech, a government of their tongues, and considering aforehand well what they speak.

And withal they learn to be idle,.... Being at ease, and without labour, living at the expense of the church: "wandering about from house to house"; having nothing else to do: such an one is what the Jews (z) call , "the gadding widow"; who, as the gloss says,

"goes about and visits her neighbours continually; and these are they that corrupt the world.''

Of this sort of women must the Jews be understood, when they say (a), it is one of the properties of them to be "going out", or gadding abroad, as Dinah did; and that it is another to be "talkative", which agrees with what follows:

and not only idle, but tattlers also; full of talk, who have always some news to tell, or report to make of the affairs of this, or the other person, or family:

and busy bodies; in the matters of other persons, which do not concern them:

speaking things which they ought not; which either are not true, and, if they are, are not to be spoken of, and carried from place to place: this is a very great inconvenience, the apostle observes, arising from the admission of such young widows to be relieved and maintained at the church's charge.

(z) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 22. 1.((a) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 45. fol. 40. 3.

{11} And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

(11) Another reason: because they are for the most part gossips and busybodies, and idly roving up and down, neglecting their charge and duty.

1 Timothy 5:13. Ἅμα δὲ καὶ ἀργαὶ μανθάνουσι περιερχόμεναι τὰς οἰκίας] By far the greater number of expositors connect μανθάνουσι immediately with περιερχόμεναι, “they learn to run about in houses” (Luther; so, too, de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee). But μανθάνειν with the partic. does not mean learn; it is “observe, perceive, remark;” μανθάνειν, in the sense of learn (“accustom oneself”), has always the infinitive (comp. 1 Timothy 5:4). Leo therefore takes it here as “be wont to;” but this sense only occurs in the preterite. Winer (pp. 325 f. [E. T. p. 436]) thinks it probable that ἀργαὶ μανθάνουσι are to be taken together, “they learn idleness” (or “they learn to be lazy;” so in the second edition of this commentary; so, too, Hofmann). It is in favour of this construction that the chief emphasis is laid on ἀργαί; but no passage can be found confirming it.[184] Besides, the position of ἈΡΓΑΊ shows that it belongs to the subject. Bengel had taken refuge in supplying something explaining it: discunt quae domos obeundo discuntur, i. e statum familiarum curiose explorant. Buttmann (pp. 260 f.) agrees with this explanation, only that he regards the supplied words: statum, etc., as too arbitrary and sweeping; he observes: “what they learn ΠΕΡΙΕΡΧΌΜΕΝΑΙ Τ. ΟἸΚ. is sufficiently indicated, not indeed grammatically, but in sense, by ἈΡΓΑΊ, ΦΛΥΑΡΟΊ, ΠΕΡΙΈΡΓΟΙ, ΛΑΛΟῦΣΑΙ ΤᾺ ΜῊ ΔΈΟΝΤΑ.” But if, as Buttmann thinks, we are to assume here an anacolouthon, it would be more natural to find the hint of what is to be supplied in the ΠΕΡΙΕΡΧΌΜΕΝΑΙ Τ. ΟἸΚ., so that the meaning would be: they learn ΠΕΡΙΕΡΧΌΜΕΝΑΙ this very ΠΕΡΙΈΡΧΕΣΘΑΙ.

On the construction ΠΕΡΙΕΡΧΌΜΕΝΑΙ ΤᾺς ΟἸΚΊΑς, comp. Matthew 4:23 : ΠΕΡΙῆΓΕΝ ὍΛΗΝ ΤῊΝ ΓΑΛΙΛΑΊΑΝ.

, “talkative” (Luther), only occurs here; the verb ΦΛΥΑΡΈΩ in 3 John 1:10. Theophylact: ΠΕΡΙΟΔΕΎΟΥΣΑΙ ΤᾺς ΟἸΚΊΑς, ΟὐΔῈΝ ἈΛΛʼ Ἢ ΤᾺ ΤΑΎΤΗς ΕἸς ἘΚΕΊΝΗΝ ΦΈΡΟΥΣΙ, ΚΑῚ ΤᾺ ἘΚΕΊΝΗς ΕἸς ΤΑΎΤΗΝ. Calvin: ex otio nascebatur curiositas, quae ipsa garrulitatis est mater.

ΚΑῚ ΠΕΡΊΕΡΓΟΙ, “inquisitive,” Luther (likewise ἍΠ. ΛΕΓ.; but in 2 Thessalonians 3:11 : ΜΗΔῈΝ ἘΡΓΑΖΟΜΈΝΟΥς, ἈΛΛᾺ ΠΕΡΙΕΡΓΑΖΟΜΈΝΟΥς), forms a peculiar contrast to the preceding ἈΡΓΑΊ; Chrysostom: Ὁ ΓᾺΡ ΤᾺ ἙΑΥΤΟῦ ΜῊ ΜΕΡΙΜΝῶΝ ΤᾺ ἙΤΈΡΟΥ ΜΕΡΙΜΝΉΣΕΙ ΠΆΝΤΩς.

] added to define further what precedes.

In these two verses Paul sets forth the danger of receiving young widows into the class of church-widows. It is not improbable that there were definite instances, and these caused the apostle to speak in this general way.

[184] Winer, indeed, quotes two passages, one from Plato, Euthyd. 276b: οἱ ἀμαθεῖς ἄρα σοφοὶ μανθάνουσι, and the other from Dio Chr. 55. 558: ὁ Σωκράτης ὅτι μὲν παῖς ὢν ἐμάνθανε λιθοξόος τὴν τοῦ πατρὸς τέχνην, ἀκηκόαμεν. Buttmann remarks on the first, that the addition σοφοί (which is quite meaningless) is rejected on MS. authority, and on the other that it is of quite a different nature. In both, cases he is clearly right.

1 Timothy 5:13. ἅμα δὲ καί is Pauline. See reff.

It is best to assume an omission of εἶναι, not necessarily through corruption of the text, as Blass supposes (Gram. p. 247). On the example cited by Winer-Moulton, Gram. p. 437 from Plato, Euthyd. p. 276 b, οἱ ἀμαθεῖς ἄρα σοφοὶ μανθάνουσιν, and Dio. Chrys. lv. 558, Field notes, “Although the reading in Plato may be doubtful, there is no doubt of the agreement of St. Paul’s construction with later usage”. Field adds two from St. Chrysostom T. vii. p. 699 a: τί οὖν; ἂν παλαιστὴς μανθάνῃς; T. ix. p. 259 b: εἰ ἰατρὸς μέλλοις μανθάνειν. He notes that the correlative phraseology, διδάξαι (or διδάξασθαι) τινὰ τεκτόνα, χαλκέα, ἱππέα, ῥήτορα, is to be found in the best writers.

It is impossible to connect μανθ. περιερχ. as Vulg., discunt circuire domos; for, as Alf. says, “μανθάνω with a participle always means to be aware of, take notice of, the act implied in the verb”. Here, e.g., the meaning would be “they learn that they are going about,” which is absurd. Bengel’s view, that μανθάνουσι is to be taken absolutely, is equally impossible: “being idle, they are learners,” the nature of the things they learn to be inferred from the way they spend their time. Von Soden connects μανθ. with τὰ μὴ δέοντα; suggesting that they learnt in the houses referred to in 2 Timothy 3:6 what was taught there (ἂ μὴ δεῖ, Titus 1:11).

περιερχόμεναι τὰς οἰκίας: These last words may possibly refer to the house to house visitation, going about (R.V.), which might be part of the necessary duty of the Church widows; but which would be a source of temptation to young women, and would degenerate into wandering (A.V.).

οὐ μόνον δὲἀλλὰ καί is a Pauline use of constant occurrence. See Romans 5:3; Romans 5:11; Romans 8:23; Romans 9:10; 2 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 8:19; Php 2:27 [οὐδὲ μόνον]; 2 Timothy 4:8. Also in Acts 19:27, 3Ma 3:23.

ἀργαί, φλύαροι, περίεργοι: A series of natural causes and consequences. The social intercourse of idle people is naturally characterised by silly chatter which does not merely affect the understanding of those who indulge in it, but leads them on to mischievous interference in other people’s affairs.

φλύαροι: φλυαρεῖν is found in 3 John 1:10, prating. φλύαρος is an epithet of φιλοσοφία in 4Ma 5:10; and in Proverbs 23:29 ([283] [284]) φλυαρίαι ὁμιλίαι ἐνφιλόνικοι are among the consequences of excessive wine-drinking.

[283] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[284] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

περίεργοι: See 2 Thessalonians 3:11, μηδὲν ἐργαζομένους ἀλλὰ περιεργαζομένους. In Acts 19:19 τὰ περίεργα, curious arts, means the arts of those who are curious about, and pry into, matters concealed from human knowledge, impertinent to man’s lawful needs.

λαλοῦσαι τὰ μὴ δέοντα expresses the positively mischievous activity of the φλύαροι, as περίεργοι. Compare Titus 1:11, διδάσκοντες ἃ μὴ δεῖ. In both passages μή is expressive of the impropriety, in the writer’s opinion, of whatever might conceivably be spoken and taught; whereas τὰ οὐ δέοντα would express the notion that certain specific improper things had, as a matter of fact, been spoken. See Winer-Moulton, Gram. p. 603.

13. they learn to be idle] Insert ‘also’; R.V. they learn also to be idle. The position of ‘idle’ and the stress in the next clause ‘not only idlers but’ point to this construction, making ‘idle’ predicate, though no infinitive ‘to be,’ ‘to become,’ is inserted. The rendering of Bp Wordsworth, Grimm and others, ‘Being idle they are learners running about from house to house,’ gives indeed ‘an oxymoron—a common figure of speech with St Paul.’ But the authority for ‘learn’ in so absolute a sense is very doubtful, since everywhere, e.g. in 1 Timothy 2:11. ‘let a woman learn in silence,’ and 2 Timothy 3:7, ‘always learning and never able to come to the full knowledge,’ there is much more in the context of connected phrase and subject.

wandering about from house to house] Lit. ‘the houses’ that made up the Christian settlement: so 2 Timothy 3:6, ‘they that creep into our houses.’ Compare 3 John 1:14, ‘our friends salute thee.’

tattlers also and busybodies] The first word occurs again only as participle in 3 John 1:10, ‘tattling of us with evil words.’ ‘Its derivation (connected with fluere) points to a babbling profluent way of talking.’ Bp Ellicott. ‘Busybodies,’ prying round into other people’s business; so 2 Thessalonians 3:11, ‘not busy, but busybodies.’ Hence its use for ‘magical arts,’ Acts 19:19. Contrast the epithet of the younger women, Titus 2:5 (best mss.) ‘busy at home,’ which is not found elsewhere.

1 Timothy 5:13. Μανθάνουσι περιερχόμεναι, they learn going about) This participle is not put for the infinitive, but the genus, ‘learning,’ is reprehended: the species follows, they learn the things which are learned by going about from house to house, i.e. they curiously pry into the state of families. The Mimesis[42] lies in this, that the expression used is, they learn. For elsewhere those things are only said to be learned which are good. But these women learn by going about, they search out all things; and thence their progress is progress in the wrong direction.—τὰς οἰκίας, houses) 2 Timothy 3:6.—φλύαροι, [tattlers] triflers) in respect to words.—περίεργοι busybodies) in respect to deeds.—λαλοῦσαι, speaking) This word is construed with they leanr. They speak out all that they have learned.—τὰ μὴ δέοντα) ἃ μὴ δεῖ, Titus 1:11.

[42] A figure, whereby the word which the party reprehended would use is alluded to; as here these young widows would call their inquiries by the favourable term, learning. They learn (the genus), says Paul; but the speeies of learning they learn is what is to be learnt by going about visiting houses.—ED.

Verse 13. - Also to be for to be, A.V.; going for wandering, A.V. Also seems unnecessary, as "withal" seems to represent ἅμα καὶ. Learn to be idle (ἀργαὶ μανθάνουσιν). This is a construction which has no similar passage in Greek to support it, except one very doubtful one in Plato, 'Euthudemus' (vol. 4. p. 105, Bekker's edit.). But the other constructions proposed, viz. to construe μανθάνουσι, "they are inquisitive, or, curious," as Grotius and substantially Bengel; or to take περιερχόμεναι after μανθάνουσι, "they learn to go about" (Vulgate, De Wette, etc.), cannot be justified by examples either, as μανθάνειν has always either an accusative ease or an infinitive mood after it, unless it is used in quite a different sense, as in the passage from Herod., 3:1, quoted by Alford: Διαβεβλημένος... οὐ μανθάνεις, "You are slandered without being aware of it." In this difficulty it is best to take the sense given in the A.V. and the R.V., following Chrysostom, etc., and of moderns Winer, Ellicott, Alford, etc., which the general turn and balance of the sentence favors. Going about (περιερχόμεναι); comp. Acts 29:13, where there is the same idea of reproach in the term. It is used in a good sense in Hebrews 11:37. Tattlers (φλύαροι); only here in the New Testament, and once only in the LXX. (4 Macc. 5:10), but common in classical Greek. It means "a trifling silly talker." The verb φλυαρέω occurs in 3 John 1:10. Busybodies (περίεργοι); only here and Acts 19:19 in the New Testament or LXX., but not uncommon in classical Greek, in the sense in which it is used here. The verb περιεργάζεσθαι occurs in 2 Thessalonians 3:11 in the same sense, "meddling with what does not concern you." 1 Timothy 5:13They learn (μανθάνουσιν)

To be taken absolutely, as 1 Corinthians 14:31; 2 Timothy 3:7. They go about under the influence of an insatiable curiosity, and meet those who "creep into houses and take captive silly women" (2 Timothy 3:7), and learn all manner of nonsense and error.

Going about (περιερχόμεναι)

oP. Comp. Acts 19:13.

Tattlers (φλύαροι)

N.T.o. Comp. 4 Macc. 5:10. The verb φλυαρεῖν to prate, 3 John 1:10.

Busybodies (περίεργοι)

In this sense only here. Comp. τὰ περίεργα curious arts, Acts 19:19. The participle περιεργαζομένοι busybodies, 2 Thessalonians 3:11. See note. Rend. the whole passage: "And withal, being also idle, they learn, gadding about from house to house; and not only (are they) idle, but tattlers also, and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not."

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