2 Corinthians 11:25
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
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(25) Once was I stoned.—Here the Acts (Acts 14:19) give us the solitary instance at Lystra. The accuracy of the Apostle in referring to this form of suffering, where we can compare it with the history, may fairly be urged as evidence of a like accuracy in his other statements.

Thrice I suffered shipwreck.—Again we have a picture of unrecorded sufferings, which we must refer either to the period of his life between his departure from Jerusalem (Acts 9:30) and his arrival at Antioch (Acts 11:26), or to voyages among the islands of the Ægean Sea during his stay at Corinth or at Ephesus, or to that from Ephesus to Cæsarea in Acts 18:22.

A night and a day I have been in the deep.—Taken in their natural sense the words probably point to one of the shipwrecks just mentioned, in which, either swimming or with the help of a plank (as in Acts 27:44), he had kept himself floating for nearly a whole day, beginning with the night. They have, however, been referred by some writers to a dungeon pit, like that into which Jeremiah was cast (Jeremiah 38:6), in which the Apostle was either thrown or hid himself after the stoning at Lystra. Bede (Qucest. iii. 8) relates, on the authority of Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury—whose evidence, as a native of Tarsus, has here a special interest—that there was such a dungeon known by the name of Bythos (the word used here for “deep”) in his time at Cyzicus, and, if so, it is probable enough that the same use of the word may have prevailed in other cities. So at Athens there was a dungeon known as the barathron—a word used also for a “gulf.” On the whole, however, though the conjecture is interesting enough to deserve mention, there seems no adequate reason for adopting it.

11:22-33 The apostle gives an account of his labours and sufferings; not out of pride or vain-glory, but to the honour of God, who enabled him to do and suffer so much for the cause of Christ; and shows wherein he excelled the false apostles, who tried to lessen his character and usefulness. It astonishes us to reflect on this account of his dangers, hardships, and sufferings, and to observe his patience, perseverance, diligence, cheerfulness, and usefulness, in the midst of all these trials. See what little reason we have to love the pomp and plenty of this world, when this blessed apostle felt so much hardship in it. Our utmost diligence and services appear unworthy of notice when compared with his, and our difficulties and trials scarcely can be perceived. It may well lead us to inquire whether or not we really are followers of Christ. Here we may study patience, courage, and firm trust in God. Here we may learn to think less of ourselves; and we should ever strictly keep to truth, as in God's presence; and should refer all to his glory, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for evermore.Thrice was I beaten with rods - In the Acts of the Apostles there is mention made of his being beaten in this manner but once before the time when this Epistle was written. That occurred at Philippi; Acts 16:22-23. But there is no reason to doubt that it was more frequently done. This was a frequent mode of punishment among the ancient nations, and as Paul was often persecuted, he would be naturally subjected to this shameful punishment.

Once I was stoned - This was the usual mode of punishment among the Jews for blasphemy. The instance referred to here occurred at Lystra; Acts 14:19. Paley (Horae Paulinae) has remarked that this, when confronted with the history, furnished the nearest approach to a contradiction without a contradiction being actually incurred, that he ever had met with. The history Acts 14:19 contains but one account of his being actually stoned. But prior to this Acts 14:5, it mentions that "an assault was made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully and to stone them, but they were aware of it, and fled to Lystra and Derbe." "Now," Paley remarks, "had the assault been completed; had the history related that a stone was thrown, as it relates that preparations were made both by Jews and Gentiles to stone Paul and his companions; or even had the account of this transaction stopped without going on to inform us that Paul and his companions were aware of their danger and fled, a contradiction between the history and the Epistle would have ensued. Truth is necessarily consistent; but it is scarcely possible that independent accounts, not having truth to guide them, should thus advance to the very brink of contradiction without falling into it."

Thrice I suffered shipwreck - On what occasions, or where, is now unknown, as these instances are not referred to in the Acts of the Apostles. The instance of shipwreck recorded there Acts 27, which occurred when on his way to Rome, happened after this Epistle was written, and should not be supposed to be one of the instances referred to here. Paul made many voyages in going from Jerusalem to Tarsus, and to Antioch, and to various parts of Asia Minor, and to Cyprus; and shipwrecks in those seas were by no means such unusual occurrences as to render this account improbable.

A night and a day ... - The word used here (νυχθήμερον nuchthēmeron) denotes a complete natural day, or 24 hours.

In the deep - To what this refers we do not now certainly know. It is probable, however, that Paul refers to some period when, having been shipwrecked, he was saved by supporting himself on a plank or fragment of the vessel until he obtained relief. Such a situation is one of great peril, and he mentions it, therefore, among the trials which he had endured. The supposition of some commentators that he spent his time on some rock in the deep; or of others that this means some deep dungeon; or of others that he was swallowed by a whale (that is, a big fish), like Jonah, shows the extent to which the fancy is often indulged in interpreting the Bible.

25. The beating by Roman magistrates at Philippi (Ac 16:23) is the only one recorded in Acts, which does not profess to give a complete journal of his life, but only a sketch of it in connection with the design of the book, namely, to give an outline of the history of the Gospel Church from its foundation at Jerusalem, to the period of its reaching Rome, the capital of the Gentile world.

once was I stoned—(Ac 14:19).

thrice … shipwreck—before the shipwreck at Melita (Ac 27:44). Probably in some of his voyages from Tarsus, where he stayed for some time after his conversion, and from which, as being a seafaring place, he was likely to make missionary voyages to adjoining places (Ac 9:30; 11:25; Ga 1:21).

a night and a day … in the deep—probably in part swimming or in an open boat.

Thrice was I beaten with rods; this was by the pagans, for the Jews whipped malefactor with a whip which had three cords. We read of one of these times. Acts 16:23; and of a second, Acts 22:24, when the captain commanded he should be so punished, but he avoided it, by pleading he was a citizen of Rome.

Once was I stoned: of his stoning, read Acts 14:19, it was by a popular tumult at Lystra.

Thrice I suffered shipwreck: we read but of one time that Paul suffered shipwreck, Acts 27:18; which was none of the three times here mentioned, for it was after the writing of this Epistle. But though many of the acts and sufferings of this apostle were written, yet all were not.

A night and a day I have been in the deep: some by the deep here understand the inner prison, mentioned Acts 16:24, or some deep dungeon; but more probably he means, some time when, after a shipwreck, he might be put twenty-four hours to swim up and down the sea upon some broken part of the ship. It refers to some eminent danger Paul was in, of which the Scripture in no other place maketh mention particularly.

Thrice was I beaten with rods,.... Or "wands", by the Romans; for this was a Roman punishment, distinct from scourging with cords used by the Jews. There is mention made but of one time only that he was so beaten, elsewhere, and that is in Acts 16:22 which was at Philippi; but that he was so many times beaten in this way, there is no room to doubt:

once was I stoned. This was at Lystra, at the instigation of the Jews that came from Antioch and Iconium, Acts 14:19 by whom he was left for dead:

thrice I suffered shipwreck; neither of which are mentioned by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles; for the shipwreck he suffered as when he went to Rome was some time after the writing of this epistle, and therefore cannot be one of these here referred to

a night and a day I have been in the deep; some understand this of a well, called "Bythos", or "the deep", which was near Lystra, where the apostle was hid for such a space of time after his deliverance there; but this, were it so, he would scarcely reckon among his very great hardships and sufferings: others of a prison at Cyzicum in Asia, which, because of its very great height, was called "the depth of the sea", in which the apostle was imprisoned for such a time; but, we nowhere read that he ever was at that place, or preached there, and much less was imprisoned there; and had he, it is not likely that he should particularly point out such a short imprisonment, but would have let it pass in the general account of being in prisons before mentioned: but rather this is to be understood of the sea, often called the "deep" in Scripture, where by some accident he was cast, and was in it, as the Syriac version has it, , "where was no ship", or without one, being shipwrecked; or being cast, or having fallen into the sea, he was swimming in it, or was preserved by a broken piece of the ship, or by some other means, or by the wonderful providence of God for so long a time; though as sailing in those times was chiefly by coasting, this phrase may only signify that the ship in which he was was drove from the coast into the sea, and lost sight of the land for the space of a day and night, and lay floating about in the deep, which was reckoned very dangerous. The word "a night day", signifies a whole natural day, consisting of a night and a day; and is an Hebraism, and answers to , "the evening and the morning", which make a full day; see Genesis 1:5 Daniel 8:14.

{q} Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

(q) By the Roman magistrates.

2 Corinthians 11:25. τρὶς ἐραβδίσθην κ.τ.λ.: thrice was I beaten with rods, i.e., “virgis caesus sum,” a Roman, as distinct from the Fewish, method of scourging—distinct too from flagellation with thongs (Matthew 27:26). It was forbidden in the case of a Roman citizen by the Lex Porcia, but nevertheless St. Paul had endured it at Philippi (Acts 16:23; Acts 16:37), and barely escaped it at Jerusalem (Acts 22:25). We do not know the other two occasions alluded to.—ἅπαξ ἐλιθάσθην κ.τ.λ.: once was I stoned, i.e., at Lystra (Acts 14:19, and almost at Iconium, 2 Corinthians 11:5), thrice I suffered shipwreck, of the circumstances of which we have no record, for the shipwreck on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27.) was subsequent to this, a night and a day have I been (there seems to be no special reason here for the perf. in preference to the aorist) in the deep, probably after one of the shipwrecks (cf. Acts 27:44). For ποιεῖν with words of time cf. Acts 15:33; Acts 20:3, Jam 4:13.

25. Thrice was I beaten with rods] See Acts 16:22-23, and note on 2 Corinthians 11:23. This punishment is also said frequently to have caused the death of the victim. It was inflicted by the Romans on those who did not possess the privilege of Roman citizenship, Acts 22:25. A precisely similar scene to that in the Acts is recorded in Cicero in Verrem v. 62, where the victim is said to have uttered the well-known words, Civis Romanus sum. Cicero here invokes the ‘lex Porcia,’ by which the beating a Roman citizen with rods, which had been formerly lawful, was forbidden. See Livy, 2 Corinthians 10:9, “gravi poena si quis verberasset necassetve civem Romanum,” and cf. Sallust, Catilina, c. 51.

once was I stoned] See Acts 14:19. Clement of Rome, St Paul’s companion and friend (Php 4:3), says in a somewhat obscure passage (Ephesians 1:5) that St Paul was “seven times imprisoned, put to flight and stoned.”

thrice I suffered shipwrack] The shipwreck related in Acts 27 is not one of these, but occurred some time afterwards. We have no other account of those referred to here.

a night and a day] The Apostle here speaks of some terrible peril, compared to which even the shipwreck related in Acts 27 was a trifling one. Probably for twenty-four hours he was exposed to the dangers of the ocean, with but a plank between him and death. The Acts of the Apostles, we are once more constrained to remark, gives us but a scanty account of the labours and perils undergone by this undaunted soul. The word translated ‘a night and a day’ is but a single word in the original, and signifies a period of twenty-four hours, commencing with sunset. Some have thought that the expression here, ‘in the deep,’ is the same as the LXX. of Exodus 15:5, and that St Paul went down with the ship, and was delivered by a Divine interposition. So Wiclif, Tyndale and the Geneva and Rheims versions, following the Vulgate, seem to have interpreted this passage (in the depnesse of the see, Wiclif; in the depe of the see, Tyndale). But the expressions here and in Exodus 15:5 (LXX.) are not identical. Cranmer renders, in the deepe see. So Chrysostom, who explains it, ‘swimming on the sea,’ and the Syriac version, which translates, ‘without a ship in the sea.’

2 Corinthians 11:25. Τρὶς ἐναυάγησα, thrice I was shipwrecked) before the shipwreck at Melita (Malta).—ἐν τῷ βυθῷ) ὁ βυθὸς denotes anything deep: but when it is used absolutely, the sea, especially here, as being connected with the mention of shipwrecks. The LXX. generally translate מצולה by βυθός.—ἐπόιησα) I have spent, swimming. Many persons, who have been shipwrecked, thus contend with the waters for many hours, so that they may at last escape.

Verse 25. - Thrice was I beaten with rods. This alludes to scourgings inflicted by Gentile magistrates with the vitis, or vine stick, of soldiers, or with the fasces of lictors. Only one of these horrible scourgings, which likewise often ended in death, is narrated in the Acts (Acts 16:22). We do not know when the others were inflicted. In any case they were egregious violations of St. Paul's right of Roman citizenship; but this claim (as we see in Cicero's various orations) was often set at nought in the provinces. Once was I stoned. At Lystra (Acts 14:19). Thrice I suffered shipwreck. Not one of these shipwrecks is narrated in the Acts. The shipwreck of Acts 27, took place some years later. A night and a day I have been in the deep. An allusion, doubtless, to his escape from one of the shipwrecks by floating for twenty-four hours on a plank in the stormy sea. We have no right to assume that the deliverance was miraculous. The perfect tense shows St. Paul's vivid reminiscence of this special horror. "In the deep" means "floating on the deep waves." Theophylact explains the words ἐν βυθῷ to mean "in Bythos," and says that it was a place near Lystra, apparently like the Athenian Barathrum and the Spartan Caeadas - a place where the bodies of criminals were thrown. The word does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. 2 Corinthians 11:25Beaten with rods

Roman scourgings.


At Lystra, Acts 14:19.

Thrice I suffered shipwreck

The shipwreck at Malta, being later, is, of course, not referred to; so that no one of these three is on record.

A night and a day (νυχθήμερον)

A compound term occurring only here in the New Testament, and rarely in later Greek.

Have I been in the deep (ἐν τῷ βυθῷ πεποίηκα)

Lit., I have made (spent) a night and a day in the deep. For a similar use of ποιέω to make, see Acts 15:33; Acts 18:23; Acts 20:3; James 4:13. βυθός bottom or depth occurs only here. Of the event itself there is no record.

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