2 Corinthians 11:26
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
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(26) In journeyings often.—Again we enter on a list of activities and sufferings of which this is the only, or nearly the only, record. Some of them may be referred to journeys (as above) before his arrival at Antioch; some, probably, to that from Antioch to Ephesus through the interior of Asia Minor (Acts 18:23; Acts 19:1); some to excursions from Ephesus. The “perils of waters” (better, rivers) point to the swollen torrents that rush down in spring from the mountain heights of the Taurus and other ranges, and render the streams unfordable. “Robbers” infested, then as now, well-nigh every high-road in Syria and Asia Minor, as in the parable of the Good Samaritan (see Note on Luke 10:30), and the story of St. John and the young robber, as reported from Clement of Alexandria by Eusebius (Hist. iii. 23). Of the “perils from his own countrymen,” we have instances enough up to this time at Damascus (Acts 9:23), at Jerusalem (Acts 9:29), at Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, and Lystra (Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5-19), at Thessalonica, and at Corinth (Acts 17:5-13; Acts 18:12). Of “perils from the heathen” we find examples at Philippi (Acts 16:20) and Ephesus (Acts 19:23). City and wilderness (possibly the Arabian desert of Galatians 1:17; possibly the high table-lands of Armenia and Asia Minor) and sea were alike fruitful in dangers. As if with something like a climax he reserves the word “false brethren,” such as those of Galatians 2:4, as the last and worst of his trials.

2 Corinthians 11:26-27. In journeyings — For the sake of preaching the gospel; often — In which I have been exposed to a variety of dangers, from waters, robbers, my own countrymen, and the heathen. In perils in the city — From tumults. Of these dangers, frequent mention is made in the Acts: as in Damascus; after that, in Jerusalem; then in Antioch, in Pisidia, Iconium, Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth, and Ephesus; all before the writing of this epistle. In dangers in the wilderness — Of perishing by want, or by wild beasts; in the sea — From storms and pirates; among false brethren — Who, amidst specious pretensions of love and affection, secretly watched, if not to destroy me, at least to injure my character, and ruin my usefulness. In weariness — Through my incessant labours; and painfulness — Or fatiguing toil. The latter of the words here used, μοχθος, implies more than κοπος, the former, namely, such hard labour as caused great fatigue. In watchings often — Continuing many nights without sleep, which might happen from various causes, besides that mentioned Acts 20:11, when he continued his discourse till break of day. In hunger and thirst — Not having the necessaries of life at hand. In cold and nakedness — Having no place where to lay my head, and no convenient raiment to cover me; and yet appearing before noblemen, governors, and kings, and not being ashamed.

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.In journeyings often - Of course subject to the fatigue, toil, and danger which such a mode of life involves.

In perils of waters - In danger of losing my life at sea, or by floods, or by crossing streams.

Of robbers - Many of the countries, especially Arabia, through which he traveled, were then infested, as they are now, with robbers. It is not impossible or improbable that he was often attacked and his life endangered. It is still unsafe to travel in many of the places through which he traveled.

By mine own countrymen - The Jews. They often scourged him; laid wait for him and were ready to put him to death. They had deep enmity against him as an apostate, and he was in constant danger of being put to death by them.

By the pagan - By those who had not the true religion. Several instances of his danger from this quarter are mentioned in the Acts .

In the city - In cities, as in Derbe. Lystra, Philippi, Jerusalem, Ephesus, etc.

In the wilderness - In the desert, where he would be exposed to ambushes, or to wild beasts, or to hunger and want. Instances of this are not recorded in the Acts , but no one can doubt that they occurred, The idea here is, that he had met with constant danger wherever he was, whether in the busy haunts of people or in the solitude and loneliness of the desert.

In the sea - see 2 Corinthians 11:25.

Among false brethren - This was the crowning danger and trial to Paul, as it is to all others. A man can better bear danger by land and water, among robbers and in deserts, than he can bear to have his confidence abused, and to be subjected to the action and the arts of spies upon his conduct. Who these were he has not informed us. He mentions it as the chief trial to which he had been exposed, that he had met those who pretended to be his friends, and who yet had sought every possible opportunity to expose and destroy him. Perhaps he has here a delicate reference to the danger which he apprehended from the false brethren in the church at Corinth.

26. In—rather, "By": connected with 2Co 11:23, but now not with "in," as there, and as in 2Co 11:27, where again he passes to the idea of surrounding circumstances or environments [Alford, Ellicott and others].

waters—rather, as Greek, "rivers," namely, perils by the flooding of rivers, as on the road often traversed by Paul between Jerusalem and Antioch, crossed as it is by the torrents rushing down from Lebanon. So the traveller Sport lost his life.

robbers—perhaps in his journey from Perga to Antioch in Pisidia. Pisidia was notorious for robbers; as indeed were all the mountains that divided the high land of Asia from the sea.

the heathen—Gentiles.

in the city—Damascus, Ac 9:24, 25; Jerusalem, Ac 9:29; Ephesus, Ac 19:23.

false brethren—(Ga 2:4).

In journeyings often; in travellings from place to place for the propagation of the gospel.

In perils of waters; in the Greek, rivers, which were many in those countries through which he travelled.

Of robbers; such as waited to rob passengers by the high-way.

By mine own countrymen, the Jews, who were mortal enemies to Paul, whom they looked upon as an apostate from their religion.

In the city; in many cities where he preached the gospel, as we find in the Acts of the Apostles.

In the wilderness; in wildernesses through which he was forced to pass.

In the sea; storms and shipwrecks.

Among false brethren; false teachers and private persons, who corrupted the Christian religion, and were as great enemies to the apostle as any he had.

In journeying often,.... Through several countries and kingdoms to preach the Gospel, as he did from Jerusalem round about to Illyricum:

in perils of waters; by the floods being out, which made it very troublesome and dangerous travelling, especially to persons on foot, as was the case of our apostle:

in perils of robbers; for though he had seldom much to lose, yet was in danger of being ill used, and of his life being taken away by such ruffians:

in perils by my own countrymen; the Jews, who bore an implacable hatred to him, because of the doctrines of grace he preached, in opposition to the works of the law of Moses, whether moral or ceremonial; and who generally were concerned in stirring up the Gentiles against him wherever he came:

in perils by the Heathen; the Gentiles, who were incensed against him for inveighing against their idols and idolatrous worship, and other wicked and enormous practices they were addicted to; particularly at Ephesus, by the means of Demetrius the shrine maker, Acts 19:23,

in perils in the city; in any and every city he came into; for bonds and affliction abode him everywhere, as at Jerusalem, Damascus, Antioch, Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonica, &c.

in perils in the wilderness; by robbers and wild beasts, through hunger and thirst, and by the sands in hurricanes and tempests; though this may be understood not strictly of desert places, but of the country in distinction from the city; See Gill on Matthew 3:1 where travelling is difficult and dangerous, and the people more rustic and uncivil: the phrase, , "in perils of the wildernesses", is a Rabbinical one (p); as is also , "peril in the sea" (q), next mentioned:

in perils in the sea; not only by shipwreck, but through pirates, and the ill usage of mariners, want of provisions, &c.

in perils among false brethren; who pretended to be Christians, but "judaized", teaching the necessity of observing circumcision, and other ceremonies of the law, in order to salvation; these, as the apostle always warmly opposed, so they were sworn enemies to him, and ever sought to do him what mischief they could.

(p) Sepher Cosri, fol. 296. 2.((q) Sepher Cosri, fol. 297. 2.

In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
2 Corinthians 11:26 f. After the parenthesis of 2 Corinthians 11:24-25, the series begun in 2 Corinthians 11:23 is now continued, dropping, however, the instrumental ἐν, which is not to be supplied, and running on merely with the instrumental dative—through frequent journeys, through dangers from rivers, etc. The expression ὁδοιπορ. πολλάκις is not to be taken as saying too little, for Paul was not constantly engaged in journeys (comp. his somewhat lengthy sojourns at Ephesus and at Corinth); wherefore he had the less occasion here to put another expression in place of the πολλάκις which belonged, as it were, to the symmetry of the context (2 Corinthians 11:23; 2 Corinthians 11:27). Hofmann wrongly joins πολλάκις with κινδύνοις, and takes πολλάκ. κινδύνοις as in apposition to ὁδοιπορίαις: “journeys, which were often dangers.” As if Paul were under the necessity of expressing (if he wished to express at all) the quite simple thought: ὁδοιπορίαις πολλάκις ἐπικινδύνοις (journeys which were often dangerous), in a way so singularly enigmatical as that which Hofmann imputes to him. Besides, if the following elements are meant to specify the dangers of travel, the two points ἐκ γένους and ἐξ ἐθνῶν at least are not at all specific perils incident to travel. And how much, in consequence of this erroneous connection of ὁδοιπορ. πολλάκ. κινδυν., does Hofmann mar the further flow of the passage, which he subdivides as ποταμῶν κινδύνοις, ληστῶν κινδύνοις, ἐκ γένους κινδύνοις κ.τ.λ. down to ἐν θαλάσσῃ κινδύνοις, but thereafter punctuates: ἐν ψευδαδέλφοις κόπῳ κ. μόχθῳ ἐν ἀγρυπνίαις, πολλάκις ἐν λιμῷ κ. δίψει, ἐν νηστείαις πολλάκις ἐν ψυχ. κ. γυμν.[338] In this way is lost the whole beautiful and swelling symmetry of this outburst, and particularly the essential feature of the weighty anaphora, in which the emphatic word (and that is in 2 Corinthians 11:26 ΚΙΝΔΎΝΟΙς) is placed first (comp. e.g. Hom. Il. x. 228 ff., i. 436 ff., ii. 382 ff., v. 740 f.; Arrian, Diss. i. 25; Quinctil ix. 3. Comp. also 2 Corinthians 11:20; 2 Corinthians 7:2; Php 3:2; Php 4:8, al.).

κινδ. ποταμῶν κ.τ.λ.] The genitive denotes the dangers arising from rivers (in crossing, swimming through them, in inundations, and the like) and from robbers. Comp. Heliod. ii. 4 65: κινδύνοι θαλασσῶν, Plat. Pol. i. p. 332 E; Euthyd. p. 279; Sir 43:24.

The κινδύνοις each time prefixed has a strong oratorical emphasis. Auct. ad Herenn. iv. 28. There lies in it a certain tone of triump.

ἘΚ ΓΈΝΟΥς] on the part of race, i.e. on the part of the Jews, Acts 7:19; Galatians 1:14. The opposite: ἐξ ἐθνῶν.

ἐν πόλει, in city, as in Damascus, Jerusalem, Ephesus, and others; the opposite is ἐν ἐρημίᾳ, in desert. On the form of expression, comp. ἐν οἴκῳ, ἐν ἀγρῷ, ἐν μεγάρῳ, and the like. Xen. de rep. Lac. viii. 3 : ἐν πόλει καὶ ἐν στρατιᾷ καὶ ἐν οἴκῳ.

ἐν ψευδαδέλφοις] among false brethren, i.e. among Judaistic pseudo-Christians, Galatians 2:4, οἱ ὑπεκρίνοντο τὴν ἀδελφότητα, Chrysostom. Why should not these, with their hostile and often vehement opposition to the Pauline Christianity (comp. Php 3:2), have actually prepared dangers for him? Rückert, without reason, finds this inconceivable, and believes that Paul here means an occasion on which non-Christians, under cover of the Christian name, had sought to entice the apostle into some danger (? κινδύνοις).—2 Corinthians 11:27. ΚΌΠῼ Κ. ΜΌΧΘῼ] by trouble and toil; comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8.[339] Then with ἘΝ ἈΓΡΥΠΝ. there again appears the instrumental ἘΝ. On ἘΝ ΛΙΜῷ Κ.Τ.Λ., comp. Deuteronomy 28:48.

] by frequent fastings. Here precisely, where ἐν λιμῷ κ. δίψει, and so involuntary fasting, precedes, the reference of νηστ. to voluntary fasting is perfectly clear (in opposition to Rückert, de Wette, Ewald). Comp. on 2 Corinthians 6:5. Estius aptly observes: “jejunia ad purificandam mentem et edomandam carnem sponte assumta.” Comp. Theodoret and Pelagius.

[338] So that πολλάκ. ἐν λιμῷ κ. δίψει would belong to ἀγρυπνίαις, and πολλάκ. ἐν ψύχει κ. γυμνότητι, to νηστείαις, each as a circumstance of aggravation; while both ἐν ἀγρυπνίαις and ἐν νηστείαις belong to κόπῳ κ. μόχθῳ.

[339] From these passages, combined with Acts 20:31, we may at the same time explain the ἀγρυπνίαι, which Hofm. interprets of night-watchings in anxiety about the pseudo-Christians. This results from his error in thinking that all the points in ver. 27 are to be referred to ἐν ψευδαδέλφ.

2 Corinthians 11:26. ὁδοιπορίαις πολλ. κ.τ.λ.: in journeyings often (of the extent of which the Acts gives us some idea; their dangers are now enumerated), in perils of rivers, sc., from swollen torrents dangerous to ford (Stanley notes that Frederick Barbarossa was drowned in the Calycadnus, not far from Tarsus; see Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire, p. 23, for several illustrations of the dangers of the Pisidian highlands), in perils of robbers, on account of whom travelling in Asia Minor was, and still is, dangerous (the district of Perga and Pamphylia which St. Paul traversed on his first missionary journey was notorious for brigands; see Strabo, xii., 6, 7), in perils from my kindred, i.e., persecutions at the hands of the Jews which he had suffered (see Acts 9:23; Acts 9:29; Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5; Acts 14:19; Acts 17:5; Acts 17:13; Acts 18:12, 1 Thessalonians 2:15), and from which he was yet to suffer more (Acts 20:3; Acts 21:31; Acts 23:12; Acts 25:3), in perils from the Gentiles as, e.g., at Iconium (Acts 14:5), at Philippi (Acts 16:20) and at Ephesus (Acts 19:23), in perils in the city (Acts 21:31 and passim), in the desert (Arabia (?), Galatians 1:17), in the sea, i.e., in town and country, by land and by water, in perils among false brethren, i.e., probably the Judaisers who were his bitter opponents (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:13 and Galatians 2:4).

26. in perils of waters] Literally, rivers (flodis, Wiclif). Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:30. When bridges were rare, such perils were frequent. What they are, even now, in less civilized regions, the recent loss sustained by our troops in Afghanistan (in April, 1879) by a sudden spate, after several regiments had crossed the same river in perfect safety, may serve to shew us. Stanley refers also to the fate of Frederick Barbarossa at a place not far from Tarsus. See also Conybeare and Howson’s St Paul, 1. 457.

in perils of robbers] What these were in Judaea in those times we may learn from the well-known parable recorded in St Luke 10. The danger to the traveller in Palestine and the neighbourhood from bands of wandering Bedouins is still almost as great if the traveller in those parts ventures about without the protection afforded by a caravan. Mr Cyril Graham and other recent travellers have recorded their detention by the Arabs until rescued or ransomed.

in perils by my own countrymen] (of kyn. So Wiclif, literally. Cf. Acts 7:19; Galatians 1:14, in the Greek). These were not the least among the dangers St Paul had to encounter, as Acts 9:23; Acts 9:29; Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5; Acts 14:19; Acts 17:5; Acts 17:13; Acts 18:12 testify. And doubtless there are many such dangers which have been allowed to remain entirely unrecorded, but which may be imagined from what we read, and above all from the yet more serious dangers which befel the Apostle in consequence of his visit to Jerusalem, recorded in Acts 21, the record of which takes up the remainder of the book. Cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16, St Paul’s first extant Epistle, written, be it remembered, from Corinth.

by the heathen] See Acts 16:19-39; Acts 19:23-34.

in the city] See last note, and Acts 9:23; Acts 9:29, as well as 2 Corinthians 11:32 of this chapter.

in the wilderness] Translated desert in Acts 8:26. Cf. St Matthew 14:13; Matthew 14:15. It means any place void of inhabitants. Hunger and thirst, as well as robbers, were among the perils thus to be endured. If any one should object that the Apostle thus repeats himself, it may be observed that the expressions here used are arranged in pairs, and are intended to shew that wherever he was, and whatever he did, the Apostle was in danger.

in the sea] Not a mere repetition. “There are many perils in the sea,”—pirates, for instance, especially in days long past—“short of shipwreck.” Alford.

among false brethren] Cf. Galatians 2:4 and 2 Corinthians 11:13 of this chapter. It refers, no doubt, chiefly to the Judaizing teachers (see 2 Corinthians 11:22), but need not be confined to them. Any one who falsely pretends to be a disciple of Christ may be thus described. Cf. Acts 20:29; 2 Peter 2 (throughout); 1 John 2:18-19; 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7; 2 John 1:9; 3 John 1:9; Judges 4, 7-16; Revelation 2:2; Revelation 2:15; Revelation 2:20.

2 Corinthians 11:26. Ὁδοιπορίαις, in journeyings) See Acts.—ἐν ψευδαδέλφοις, among false brethren) This danger is most distressing; being added to the others contrary to expectation [παρὰ προσδοκίαν], it has a pleasing effect. [These men were bitter and pestiferous, although not destitute of the appearance of good. Galatians 2:4.—V. g.]

Verse 26. - In journeyings often. In those days and in those countries journeys were not only perilous and fatiguing, but also accompanied with many severe hardships and discomforts. In perils of waters; rather, of rivers. In all countries which, like parts of Greece and Asia Minor, abound in unbridged mountain torrents, journeys are constantly accompanied by deaths from drowning in the sudden rush of swollen streams. In perils of robbers. Then, as now, brigandage was exceedingly common in the mountains of Greece and Asia. In perils from mine own countrymen; literally, from my race. These are abundantly recorded in the New Testament (Acts 9:23, 29; Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5, 19; Acts 20:3, etc.; 1 Thessalonians 2:15, 16; Philippians 3:2) From the heathen. They were generally instigated by the Jews (Acts 16:19-39, 17:5; 19:23-34, etc.). In the city. As at Damascus, Jerusalem, Philippi, Thessalonica, Beroea, Ephesus, etc. - "in every city" (Acts 20:23). In the wilderness. As, for instance, in travelling through the wild waste tracts of land between Perga and Antioch in Pisidia, or thence to Lystra and Derbe; or over the mountain chains of Taurus to the cities of Galatia. In the sea. Storms, leaks, pirates, mutinies, etc. Among false brethren. The word only occurs elsewhere in Galatians 2:4. 2 Corinthians 11:26Perils of rivers

From the sudden swelling of mountain streams or flooding of dry water-courses. "The rivers of Asia Minor, like all the rivers in the Levant, are liable to violent and sudden changes, and no district in Asia Minor is more singularly characterized by its water-floods than the mountainous tract of Pisidia, where rivers burst out at the bases of huge cliffs, or dash down wildly through narrow ravines" (Conybeare and Howson, i., ch. 6).


The tribes inhabiting the mountains between the table-land of Asia Minor and the coast were notorious for robbery. Paul may have encountered such on his journey to the Pisidian Antioch, Acts 13:14.

Mine own countrymen

Conspiracies of the Jews at Damascus, Lystra, Thessalonica, Beroea, etc.

The Gentiles

As at Philippi and Ephesus.

False brethren

Judaizing Christians, as Galatians 2:4.

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