2 Corinthians 11:16
I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.
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(16) I say again, Let no man think me a fool . . .—The stinging word is repeated from 2Corinthians 11:1. He protests against the justice of the taunt. He pleads that, even if they think him “insane” (this, rather than mere foolishness, is probably the meaning of the word), they will give him the attention which, even in that case, most men would give—which they, at least, were giving to men to whom that term might far more justly be applied.

2 Corinthians 11:16-17. I say again — He premises a new apology to this new commendation of himself; let no man think me a fool — In boasting thus of myself; let no one think I take any pleasure in doing it, or that I do it without a very strong reason. Let the provocation I have received be considered: let the necessity of the circumstance, and the importance of my character, be duly weighed, and I shall surely be excused. But if otherwise — If any one do think me foolish herein, yet bear with my folly, and hear me patiently without offence; that I may boast myself a little — As well as others. That which I speak — On this head; I speak it not after the Lord — Not by any immediate direction or inspiration from Christ; nor after his example, and in such a way as seems worthy of him; but as it were foolishly, &c. — In such a manner as many may think foolish, and indeed would be foolish, were I not compelled to it in order that I may vindicate my apostleship, and confirm you in the truth.

11:16-21 It is the duty and practice of Christians to humble themselves, in obedience to the command and example of the Lord; yet prudence must direct in what it is needful to do things which we may do lawfully, even the speaking of what God has wrought for us, and in us, and by us. Doubtless here is reference to facts in which the character of the false apostles had been shown. It is astonishing to see how such men bring their followers into bondage, and how they take from them and insult them.I say again - I repeat it. He refers to what he had said in 2 Corinthians 11:1. The sense is, "I have said much respecting myself which may seem to be foolish. I admit that to boast in this manner of one's own self in general is folly. But circumstances compel me to it. And I entreat you to look at those circumstances and not regard me as a fool for doing it."

If otherwise - If you think otherwise. If I cannot obtain this of you that you will not regard me as acting prudently and wisely. If you will think me foolish, still I am constrained to make these remarks in vindication of myself.

Yet as a fool receive me - Margin, "Suffer;" see 2 Corinthians 11:1. Bear with me as you do with others. Consider how much I have been provoked to this; how necessary it is to my character; and do not reject and despise me because I am constrained to say that of myself which is usually regarded as foolish boasting.

That I may boast myself a little - Since others do it and are not rebuked, may I be permitted to do it also; see 2 Corinthians 11:18-19. There is something sarcastic in the words "a little." The sense is, "Others are allowed to boast a great deal. Assuredly I may be allowed to boast a little of what I have done."

16. I say again—again taking up from 2Co 11:1 the anticipatory apology for his boasting.

if otherwise—but if ye will not grant this; if ye will think me a fool.

yet as a fool—"yet even as a fool receive me"; grant me the indulgent hearing conceded even to one suspected of folly. The Greek denotes one who does not rightly use his mental powers; not having the idea of blame necessarily attached to it; one deceived by foolish vanities, yet boasting himself [Tittmann], (2Co 11:17, 19).

that I—The oldest manuscripts read, "that I, too," namely, as well as they, may boast myself.

I say again, Let no man think me a fool: I know that he, who is much in magnifying and praising himself, ordinarily is judged to be a fool; but though I do so, let me not lie under that imputation. There is a time for all things; a time for a man to cease from his own praises, and a time for him to praise himself. The time for the latter is, when the glory of God, or our own just vindication, is concerned; both which concurred here: the apostle was out of measure vilifled by these false apostles; and the glory of God was eminently concerned, that so great an apostle and instrument in promoting the gospel, should not be exposed to contempt, as a mean and despicable person, or as an impostor and deceiver.

If otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little; but if you will judge me a fool, be it so; yet receive me as such, while I boast a little.

I say again, let no man think me a fool,.... For praising himself, or speaking in his own commendation; which he was obliged to do, in vindication of his own character, against the false apostles, for the sake of the Gospel he preached, and for the advantage and welfare of the Corinthians; that they might not be imposed upon and carried away with the insinuations of these deceitful men; wherefore he desires them once more, that if he must be accounted a fool for speaking in his own behalf;

if otherwise, says he, if they could not be persuaded that he acted a wise part, but must be looked upon as a fool, for what he said of himself,

yet as a fool receive me; or "suffer me", or bear with my folly: he desires that he might have, and use the liberty which fools have usually granted to them, to speak out the truth, and all they know, which is not always allowed to wise men:

that I may boast myself a little; in a few instances, and for a small space of time; he suggests, that the false apostles boasted much of themselves, and they bore with them, and had done so for a great while; and therefore it was no unreasonable request he made, that they would also suffer him to boast of himself a little, especially since there was such an absolute necessity for it.

{7} I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.

(7) He goes forward boldly, and using a vehement irony or type of taunting, desires the Corinthians to pardon him, if for a time he argues as a fool before them, who are wise, along with those other wise ones, as he talks about those external things such as his stock, his ancestors, and valiant acts.

2 Corinthians 11:16. I repeat it: let no one hold me for irrational; but if not, receive me at least as one irrational (do not reject me), in order that I too (like my opponents) may boast a little. Thus Paul, after having ended the outpouring of his heart begun in 2 Corinthians 11:7 regarding his gratuitous labours, and after the warning characterization of his opponents thereby occasioned (2 Corinthians 11:13-15), now turns back to what he had said in 2 Corinthians 11:1, in order to begin a new self-comparison with his enemies, which he, however, merely introduces—and that once more with irony, at first calm, then growing bitter—down to 2 Corinthians 11:21, and only really begins with ἐν ᾧ δʼ ἄν τις τολμᾷ κ.τ.λ. at 2 Corinthians 11:21.

That, which is by πάλιν λέγω designated as already said once (2 Corinthians 11:1), is μή τίς με δόξῃ ἄφρ. εἶναι and εἰ δὲ μή γεκαυχήσωμαι, both together, not the latter alone (Hofmann). The former, namely, lay implicite in the ironical character of 2 Corinthians 11:1, and the latter explicite in the words of that vers.

εἰ δὲ μή γε] sed nisi quidem. Regarding the legitimacy of the γε in Greek (Plato, Pol. iv. p. 425 E), see Bremi, ad Aesch. de fals. leg. 47; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 527; Dindorf, ad Dem. I. p. v. f. praef. After negative clauses εἰ δὲ μή follows even in classical writers (Thuc. i. 28. 1, 131. 1; Xen. Anab. iv. 3. 6, vii. 1. 8), although we should expect εἰ δέ. But εἰ δὲ μή presupposes in the author the conception of a positive form of what is negatively expressed. Here something like this: I wish that no one should hold me as foolish; if, however, you do not grant what I wish, etc. See in general, Heindorf, ad Plat. Parm. p. 208; Buttmann, ad Plat. Crit. p. 106; Hartung, Partik. II. p. 213; and in reference to the N. T., Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 254 f.

κἄν] certe, is to be explained elliptically: δέξασθέ με, καὶ ἐὰν ὡς ἄφρονα δέξησθέ με. Comp. Mark 6:56; Acts 5:15. See Wüstemann, ad Theocr. xxiii. 35; Jacobs, ad Anthol. XI. 16; Winer, p. 543 [E. T. 729].

ὡς ἄφρονα] in the quality of one irrational, as people give an indulgent hearing to such a on.

μικρόν τι] accusative as in 2 Corinthians 11:1 : aliquantulum, may deal in a little bit of boasting.


16. I say again] Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 10:8, 2 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:6. “Three times he has attempted to begin his boast. First he is interrupted by the recollection of the hollowness of the boast of his opponents: again, he is checked by the difficulty of pressing it on men so perverted by the influence of their false teachers; and again, when he is led aside to answer the charge arising from his refusal of support. Now once more he returns to the point, and now for the first time carries it through.” Stanley.

Let no man think me a fool] This reiterated appeal to the Corinthians is due to the fact that St Paul keenly feels the unsuitableness of such boasting to the Christian character. See ch. 2 Corinthians 12:6, and notes on ch. 2 Corinthians 10:8, 2 Corinthians 11:1. “Observe how, when about to enter upon his own praises, he checks himself.” Chrysostom.

if otherwise] Or else (Tyndale. Cranmer, Geneva), i.e. but even if you do regard me as a fool.

yet as a fool receive me] i.e. ‘Receive me, even though you must receive me as a fool.’

that I may boast myself] Rather (with Vulgate, Cranmer, Geneva, Rhemish) that I also, i.e. as the false teachers have done (see the first four chapters of the first Epistle). Our version copies Tyndale here.

a little] The original is stronger; ‘a little bit,’ as we say.

2 Corinthians 11:16. Πάλιν λέγω, I say again) He begins this new subject of boasting with a prefatory repetition of the anticipatory mitigation [προθεραπείαν] from 2 Corinthians 11:1, which certainly no man that is a fool, ἄφρων uses.—μὴ, let not) a particle of prohibition, let no man think, that I am a fool. This clause is not put in the way of parenthesis, but the meaning of the word λέγω, I say, falls upon this very clause.

Verses 16-33. - Apology by contrast. Verse 16. - I say again. St. Paul evidently feels an almost invincible repugnance to begin to speak of his own works. He has twice swerved away from the task (2 Corinthians 10:8; 2 Corinthians 11:1, 6) to speak of collateral topics. Now at last he begins, but only (to our grievous loss) to break off abruptly in ver. 33, before the story of his past sufferings has been much more than begun. A fool... boast. Here, again, we have the two haunting words of this section (see note on ver. 1; 1 Corinthians 15:36; 1 Corinthians 13:3). "Boast" occurs sixteen times in these three chapters alone. That I; rather, that I also. 2 Corinthians 11:16
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