2 Corinthians 11:8
I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) I robbed other churches, taking wages of them.—The word for wages—strictly rations, or wages in kind, rather than in money—is found in Luke 3:14; Romans 6:23; 1Corinthians 9:7. Its use in the last-named passage had, perhaps, given occasion for a sneer. “He too can take wages when it suits his purpose.” From St. Paul’s point of view, if what he had received had been wages at all, he had been guilty of an act of spoliation. He had received wages from one employer while he was acting in the service of another.

11:5-15 It is far better to be plain in speech, yet walking openly and consistently with the gospel, than to be admired by thousands, and be lifted up in pride, so as to disgrace the gospel by evil tempers and unholy lives. The apostle would not give room for any to accuse him of worldly designs in preaching the gospel, that others who opposed him at Corinth, might not in this respect gain advantage against him. Hypocrisy may be looked for, especially when we consider the great power which Satan, who rules in the hearts of the children of disobedience, has upon the minds of many. And as there are temptations to evil conduct, so there is equal danger on the other side. It serves Satan's purposes as well, to set up good works against the atonement of Christ, and salvation by faith and grace. But the end will discover those who are deceitful workers; their work will end in ruin. Satan will allow his ministers to preach either the law or the gospel separately; but the law as established by faith in Christ's righteousness and atonement, and the partaking of his Spirit, is the test of every false system.I robbed other churches - The churches of Macedonia and elsewhere, which had ministered to his needs. Probably he refers especially to the church at Philippi (see Philippians 4:15-16), which seems to have done more than almost any other church for his support. By the use of the word "robbed" here Paul does not mean that he had obtained anything from them in a violent or unlawful manner, or anything which they did not give voluntarily. The word (ἐσύλησα esulēsa) means properly, "I spoiled, plundered, robbed," but the idea of Paul here is, that he, as it were, robbed them, because he did not render an equivalent for what they gave him. They supported him when he was laboring for another people. A conqueror who plunders a country gives no equivalent for what he takes. In this sense only could Paul say that he had plundered the church at Philippi. His general principle was, that "the laborer was worthy of his hire," and that a man was to receive his support from the people for whom he labored (see 1 Corinthians 9:7-14), but this rule he had not observed in this case.

Taking wages of them - Receiving a support from them. They bore my expenses.

To do you service - That I might labor among you without being supposed to be striving to obtain your property, and that I might not be compelled to labor with my own hands, and thus to prevent my preaching the gospel as I could otherwise do. The supply from other churches rendered it unnecessary in a great measure that his time should be taken off from the ministry in order to obtain a support.

8. I robbed—that is, took from them in order to spare you more than what was their fair share of contribution to my maintenance, for example, the Philippian Church (Php 4:15, 16).

wages—"subsidy."

to do you service—Greek, "with a view to ministration to you"; compare "supplied" (Greek, "in addition"), 2Co 11:9, implying, he brought with him from the Macedonians, supplies towards his maintenance at Corinth; and (2Co 11:9) when those resources failed ("when I wanted") he received a new supply, while there, from the same source.

He interpreteth the term of robbed other churches, by a taking wages of them; which indeed is no robbery, as he had proved, 1 Corinthians 9:1-27. All the robbery that was in it lay in this, that his maintenance, in strictness of right, should have been proportionably from this, as well as from other churches; but for some reasons (which he thinks fit to conceal) he refused to receive any thing from this church; but spared them, and lived upon the maintenance he had from other churches, while he was doing them service. Either he saw the members of this church were poor, or that there were some in this clulrch who would sooner have taken advantage to reproach him for it, and so have hindered the success of the gospel. Whatever it was that caused the apostle to do it, certain it is, that he did it, and make it a great piece of his glorying. I robbed other churches,.... Meaning the churches of Macedonia; not that what he had of them was by force and rapine, or by plundering of them, and spoiling of their substance, and living upon them against their wills, as soldiers use a conquered people, though the allusion is to such a custom; for what he had of theirs was freely communicated to him; as appears from the following verse: but because these churches from whom he received were poor, and the Corinthians whom he served were rich, he calls it a robbing of the former, though there was no injury in the case, for it was voluntary, because it was expended for the service of the latter:

taking wages of them to do you service; or "for your ministry"; either to supply their poor, or rather to support the ministry of the Gospel among them. The apostle continues the metaphor, taken from soldiers, to whom wages are due for their warfare; as are also to the ministers of the Gospel, the good soldiers of Jesus Christ; since no man goes a warfare at his own charges and expense but is for by those in whose service he is: and therefore, though the apostle did not think it advisable to ask for, and insist upon wages from them at that time, for his service among them, yet he took it of others in lieu of it; and this he mentions, partly to show that wages were due to him for his ministry, and partly to observe to them who they were beholden to for the support of the Gospel at first among them; as also to stir them up to be serviceable to other churches, as others had been to them.

I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 11:8. Further information as to the previous δωρεὰν κ.τ.λ.

ἐσύλησα] I have stripped, plundered, a hyperbolical, impassioned expression, as is at once shown by λαβὼν ὀψώνιον after it. The ungrateful ones are to be made aware, in a way to put them thoroughly to shame, of the forbearance shown to them.

The ἄλλαι ἐκκλησίαι meant were beyond doubt Macedonian. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:9.

λαβὼν κ.τ.λ.] contemporaneous with ἐσύλησα, and indicating the manner in which it was don.

ὀψώνιον] pay (see on Romans 6:23), i.e. payment for my official labou.

πρὸς τὴν ὑμῶν διακονίαν] Aim of the ἄλλας ἐκκλ. ἐσύλησα λαβὼν ὀψ., so that the emphatic ὑμῶν corresponds to the emphatic ἄλλας. Paul had therefore destined the pay taken from other churches to the purpose of rendering (gratuitously) his official service to the Corinthians, to whom he travelled from Macedonia (Acts 17:13 f., Acts 18:1) in order to preach to them the gospe.

καὶ παρὼν κ.τ.λ.] and during my presence with you I have, even when want had set in with me, burdened no one. He thus brought with him to Corinth the money received from other churches, and subsisted on it (earning more, withal, by working with his hands); and when, during his residence there, this provision was gradually exhausted, so that even want set in (καὶ ὑστερηθείς), he nevertheless importuned no one, but (2 Corinthians 11:9) continued to help himself on by Macedonian pecuniary aid (in addition to the earnings of his handicraft). Comp. on Php 4:15. Rückert thinks that Paul only sought to relieve his want by the manual labour entered on with Aquila, when the money brought with him from Corinth had been exhausted and new contributions had not yet arrived. But, according to Acts 18:3, his working at a handicraft—of which, moreover, he makes no mention in this passage—is to be conceived as continuing from the beginning of his residence at Corinth; how conceivable, nevertheless, is it that, occupied as he was so greatly with other matters, he could not earn his whole livelihood, but still stood in need of supplies! On πρὸς ὑμᾶς, which is not to be taken “after my coming to you” (Hofmann), comp. 1 Corinthians 16:6; Matthew 13:56.

κατενάρκησα] Hesychius: ἐβάρυνα, I have lain as a burden on no one. It is to be derived from νάρκη, paralysis, debility, torpidity; thence ναρκάω, torpeo, Il. viii. 328; Plat. Men. p. 80 A B C; LXX. Genesis 32:32; Job 33:19; hence καταναρκᾶν τινος: to press down heavily and stiffly on any one (on the genitive, see Matthiae, p. 860). Except in Hippocrates, p. 816 C, 1194 H, in the passive (to be stiffened), the word does not occur elsewhere in Greek; and by Jerome, Aglas. 10, it is declared to be a Cilician expression equivalent to non gravavi vos. Vulgate: “nulli onerosus fui.” Another explanation, quoted in addition to the above by Theophylact (comp. Oecumenius): “I have not become indolent in my office” (so Beza, who takes κατὰοὐδενός, cum cujusauam incommodo), would be at variance with the context. See 2 Corinthians 11:9. Comp. also 2 Corinthians 12:13-14. Besides, this sense would not be demonstrable for καταναρκ. but for ἀποναρκ. (Plutarch, Educ. p. 8 F).2 Corinthians 11:8. ἄλλας ἐκκλησίας ἐσύλησα κ.τ.λ.: I robbed other Churches, e.g., Philippi (Php 4:15. He expresses himself hyperbolically to bring out his meaning; συλᾷν is a very strong word, see Acts 19:37, Romans 2:22), taking wages of them (ὀψώνιον primarily means the rations supplied to a soldier, and thence his pay; see reff.), that I might minister unto you. διακονία is not used here in special reference to the collection for the Judæan Christians, as it was at 2 Corinthians 8:4, 2 Corinthians 9:1; 2 Corinthians 9:13, but in its most general sense; cf. 2 Timothy 4:11, Hebrews 1:14.—καὶ παρὼν κ.τ.λ.: and when I was present with you, i.e., during his first visit to Corinth (see Acts 18:1 ff.), and was in want (a condition which he recalls again, Php 4:12), I was not a burden on any man. νάρκη is the torpedo-fish, which paralyses its victims by contact, and then preys upon them; so καταναρκᾷν signifies “to oppress heavily”. The compound verb is not found elsewhere in Greek literature (we have ναρκᾷν in Genesis 32:25, Job 33:19); Jerome says (Ep. cxxi. ad Algasiam) that it is a Cilicianism, like ἡμέρα in 1 Corinthians 4:3.8. I robbed other churches] “An hyperbolical expression” (Meyer). And yet in one sense it was true, for the Corinthians were just as much bound to support the Apostle when at Corinth as any other Churches were when the Apostle was with them. And, therefore, if when at Corinth he availed himself of assistance from those other Churches, he was taking from them what they ought not to have been called upon to supply. Why he did so we are told in 2 Corinthians 11:12.

taking wages of them] The Philippian Church, we learn from Php 4:15-16 (cf. next verse), is the Church referred to. Their liberality, St Paul felt, was not likely to be cast in his teeth, therefore he readily accepted it. In later days he again received their bounty with a willingness which would not, he knew, be misconstrued. This is an instance of that minute but undesigned agreement in points of detail which constitutes so strong an argument for the genuineness of most of the Scriptures of the N. T. For the word translated wages see St Luke 3:14; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 9:7. It was most commonly used of a soldier’s pay, when given in kind.

to do you service] Rather, towards my support in my ministry to you.2 Corinthians 11:8. Ἐσύλησα, I robbed) He imputes to himself the receiving of payment, to which he was most justly entitled, as robbery, and afterwards as sloth and a burden, comp. notes on 1 Corinthians 9:17. This word and wages are figurative expressions derived from military affairs.—λαβὼν, taking wages) for my journey, when I came to you. The antithesis is present, when I was with you [2 Corinthians 11:9].Verse 8. - I robbed; literally, I ravaged, or plundered. The intensity of St. Paul's feelings, smarting under base calumny and ingratitude, reveals itself by the passionate expression which he here uses. Other Churches. The only Church of which we know as contributing to St. Paul's needs is that at Philippi (Philippians 4:15, 16). Taking wages. The expression is again impassioned. It is meant rather ironically than literally. Literally it means rations (1 Corinthians 9:7). I robbed (ἐσύλησα)

Only here in the New Testament, though it appears in the verb ἱεροσυλέω to commit sacrilege, Romans 2:22, and in ἱεροσύλοι robbers of churches, Acts 19:37. Originally to strip off, as arms from a slain foe, and thence, generally, to rob, plunder, with the accompanying notion of violence. Paul thus strongly expresses the fact that he had accepted from other churches more than their share, that he might not draw on the Corinthians.

Wages (ὀψώνιον)

See on Romans 6:23.

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