2 Corinthians 2:2
For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?
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(2) Who is he then that maketh me glad?—The force of the “for,” with which the verse opens, lies below the surface. He had wished to avoid a visit that would cause sorrow to himself and others, and events had shown that he was right. But it might be said, perhaps had been said, that he didn’t seem to care about giving pain when he wrote, as, e.g., in 1Corinthians 4:18; 1Corinthians 5:2-7; 1Corinthians 6:5-8. “Yes,” is his answer; “but then the pain which I inflict” (the pronoun is emphatic) “gives to him who suffers it the power of giving me joy, and so works out an ample compensation;” a thought to which he returns in 2Corinthians 7:8. The abruptness of the question and the use of the singular number shows that he has the one great offender, the incestuous adulterer of 1Corinthians 5:1, before his mind’s eye. He sees him, as it were, and can point to him as showing how well the course he had taken had answered.

2:1-4 The apostle desired to have a cheerful meeting with them; and he had written in confidence of their doing what was to their benefit and his comfort; and that therefore they would be glad to remove every cause of disquiet from him. We should always give pain unwillingly, even when duty requires that it must be given.For if I make you sorry - "If when I should come among you, I should be called on to inflict sorrow by punishing your offending brethren by an act of severe discipline as soon as I came, who would there be to give me comfort but those very persons whom I had affected with grief? How little prepared would they be to make me happy, and to comfort me, amidst the deep sorrow which I should have caused by an act of severe discipline. After such an act - an act that would spread sorrow through the whole church, how could I expect that comfort which I should desire to find among you. The whole church would be affected with grief; and though I might be sustained by the sound part of the church, yet my visit would be attended with painful circumstances. I resolved, therefore, to remove all cause of difficulty, if possible, before I came, that my visit might be pleasant to us all." The idea is, that there was such a sympathy between him and them; that he was so attached to them, that he could not expect to be happy unless they were happy; that though he might be conscious he was only discharging a duty, and that God would sustain him in it, yet that it would mar the pleasure of his visit, and destroy all his anticipated happiness by the general grief. 2. For—proof that he shrinks from causing them sorrow ("heaviness").

if I—The "I" is emphatic. Some detractor may say that this (2Co 2:1) is not my reason for not coming as I proposed; since I showed no scruple in causing "heaviness," or sorrow, in my Epistle (the first Epistle to the Corinthians). But I answer, If I be the one to cause you sorrow, it is not that I have any pleasure in doing so. Nay, my object was that he "who was made sorry by me" (namely, the Corinthians in general, 2Co 2:3; but with tacit reference to the incestuous person in particular) should repent, and so "make me glad," as has actually taken place; "for … who is he then that?" &c.

When I am there, I have no refreshment or joy in that part of the citizens who are pagans, all my joy is in that part which are Christians, and constitute the church of God in that city: so as I could have had no pleasure or joy in my being there, if I had had nothing but occasion of sadness and heaviness from you, in whom was all my expectation of any joy or refreshing.

For if I make you sorry,.... That is, should he come among them, and be the means of fresh grief and sorrow:

who is he then that maketh me glad? such was his love and affection for them, and sympathy with them, that should they be grieved, he should grieve also; they were the only persons he could take any delight in at Corinth; wherefore should they be in heaviness, he would be so too, and then what pleasure would he have in being among them? since not a man of them would be in a condition and capacity to make him cheerful:

but the same which is made sorry by me. The Ethiopic version without any authority reads this clause, "except he whom I have made glad"; but the apostle is to be understood either of some particular man, the incestuous person, who had been made sorry, by that awful punishment of being delivered up to Satan, inflicted on him; or else the singular number being put for the plural collectively, is to be understood of all the members of the church at Corinth, who had been greatly grieved by the sharp reproofs he had given them; and therefore unless this trouble was removed, he could not expect to have much comfort and pleasure with them.

For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?
2 Corinthians 2:2. As reason for his undertaking not to come to his readers again ἐν λύπῃ, Paul states that he on his own part could not in this case hope to find any joy among them. Comp. 2 Corinthians 2:3. For if I afflict you, who is there also to give me joy, except him who is afflicted by me?i.e., if I on my part (ἐγώ is emphatic[138]) make you afflicted, then results the contradiction that the very one who is afflicted by me is the one who should give me joy. Against this view Billroth and Rückert object that εἰ μὴἐμοῦ is superfluous, and even in the way. No; it discloses the absurdity of the case conditioned by εἰ ἐγὼ λυπῶ ὑμᾶς. Pelagius, Bengel, and others, including Billroth, render: who yet so much gladdens me as he who lets himself be afflicted by me (which is a sign of amendment)? Comp. Chrysostom, and Theodoret, Erasmus, and others. So also Olshausen, who sees here an indirect warning to take the former censure more to heart. But against this perversion of ὁ λυπούμενος in a middle sense, we may decisively urge:—(1) that the sense of 2 Corinthians 2:2 would not stand in any relation to 2 Corinthians 2:1 as furnishing a reason for it; and (2) the οὐχ ἵνα λυπηθῆτε in 2 Corinthians 2:4. Rückert sees in εἰὑμᾶς an aposiopesis; then begins a new question, which contains the reason why he may not afflict them, because it would be unloving, nay, ungrateful, to afflict those who cause him so much joy. Hence the meaning, touchingly expressed, is: “I might not come to you afflicting you; for if I had done so, I should have afflicted those very ones who give me joy: this would have been unloving on my part.” This is all the more arbitrary, since, logically at least, it must have stood in the converse order: καὶ τίς ἐστιν ὁ λυπούμενος ἐξ ἐμοῦ εἰ μὴ ὁ εὐφραίνων με. Hofmann holds still more arbitrarily and oddly that εἰ γάρ is elliptical protasis, and ἐγὼ λυπῶ ὑμᾶς apodosis: if I come to you again in affliction, I make you afflicted, and who is there then who gladdens me, except him whom affliction coming from me befalls? The well-known omission of the verb in the protasis after εἰ is, in fact, a usage of quite another nature (see Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 213; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 497; Krüger, § lxv. 5. 11). Besides, this subtlety falls with Hofmann’s view of 2 Corinthians 2:1.

καί] also, expresses after the conditional clause the simultaneousness of what is contained in the apodosis, consequently without the interrogative form: there is also no one, etc. See Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 130 f.; Buttmann, neut. Gramm. p. 311 [E. T. 362].

ὁ λυπούμενος] does not mean the incestuous person (so, against the entire connection, Beza, Calovius, Cornelius a Lapide, Heumann); but the singular of the participle with the article denotes the one who gives joy, as such, in abstracto. Comp. 1 Peter 3:13, al.; Xen. Cyr. ii. 2. 20, al. Paul might have written τίνες εἰσὶν οἱ κ.τ.λ., but he was not under necessity of doing s.

ἐξ ἐμοῦ] source of the λυπεῖσθαι. See Bernhardy, p. 227; Schoem. ad Is. p. 348; Winer, p. 345 [E. T. 385]. Comp. ἀφʼ ὧν, 2 Corinthians 2:3; but ἐξ is “quiddam penitius,” Bengel.

[138] This emphasis is usually not recognised. But in the ἐγώ there lies a contrast to others who do not stand in such an intimate relation to the readers as Paul. Comp. Osiander.

2 Corinthians 2:2. εἰ γὰρ ἐγὼ κ.τ.λ.: for if I make you sorry, who then is he that makes me glad, but he who is made sorry by me? His argument is: When I make you sorry, it is that you may repent (see chap. 2 Corinthians 7:9), and so gladden me: my change of purpose was not prompted by the desire of giving pain, but on the contrary by my fear that, if I visited you as I had intended, you would sadden me: I should have had to grieve, and be grieved by those who are the source of my purest joy. With the introductory καὶ τίς, “Who then,” the implied answer being “No one,” cf. Mark 10:26, καὶ τίς δύναται σωθῆναι, and chap. 2 Corinthians 2:16.

2. For if I make you sorry] So all the principal English translators. But the rendering gives a false impression to a modern ear. The best equivalent in modern English is ‘if I pain you.’ The idea of sorrow for the sin does not appear to have been introduced as yet. The ‘I’ in this passage is emphatic; ‘if I, whose sole delight is to see you happy, inflict pain, it is with the object of bringing about happiness in the end.’ The connection of this verse with the preceding implied in the word ‘for’ seems to be as follows: “I wrote to cause pain, it is true, but it was in order that such pain should be removed before I came.” Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 7:8.

who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?] The apparent selfishness of this passage, in which St Paul appears to think that the grief he has caused is amply compensated for by the pleasure he receives from that grief, is explained by the words in the next verse, ‘having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.’ See note there. The meaning would seem to be that St Paul wished not to come to Corinth in sorrow, but in joy, and that this end was attained by the result of the rebukes of his Epistle, which produced pain, and pain reformation, and reformation a pure and heavenly joy on the part of all, of St Paul, of the Corinthian community, and of the offender himself, conditions obviously the most favourable to an Apostolic visit. Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 7:11-12, where the same idea is more fully expressed.

2 Corinthians 2:2. Λυπῶ, I make you sorry) either when present with you, or by letters.—καὶ τίς ἐστιν, and who is) The if has an apodosis consisting of two numbers, and who [καὶ τίς], and I wrote [καὶ ἔγραψα]: both, and, i.e. as well, as also.—εὐφραίνων με, that maketh me glad) by the sorrow of repentance.—εἰ μὴ, unless) It affords me no pleasure to have struck with sorrow by my reproofs the man, who now gives me joy by his repentance. I would rather it had not been necessary.—ὁ λυπούμενος, he, who is made sorry) He indicates the Corinthians, but more especially him who had sinned.—ἐξ ἐμοῦ, by me) ἀφʼ ὧν, from whom, in the following verse. These particles differ thus: ἀπὸ [coming from, or on the part of] applies to something more at large; ἐξ [out of, by means of], to something more within; comp. 2 Corinthians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:6.

Verse 2. - For if I make you sorry. The verse may be rendered. "For if I pain you, who then is it that gladdens me except he who is being pained by me?" The "I" being expressed in the original, is emphatic, and the verse has none of the strange selfish meaning which has been assigned to it, namely, that St. Paul thought "the grief which he had caused to be amply compensated for by the pleasure he received from that grief." It has the much simpler meaning that he was unwilling to pain those who gladdened him, and therefore would not pay them a visit which could only be painful on both sides, when the normal relation between them should be one of joy on both sides, as he has already said (2 Corinthians 1:24). The singular, "he who is being pained by me," does not refer to the offender, but to the Corinthians collectively. Who is he then, etc.? The "then" in the original is classically and elegantly expressed by καὶ, and (comp. James 2:4). 2 Corinthians 2:2If I make, etc.

I is emphatic, implying that there are enough others who caused them trouble.

Who then is he, etc.

The thought underlying the passage, 1:24-2:3, is that the apostle's own joy is bound up with the spiritual prosperity of the Church. Compare Philippians 4:1. As the helper of their joy he would receive joy through their faith and obedience. So long as their moral condition compelled him to come, bringing rebuke and pain, they could not be a source of joy to him. If I must needs make you sorry with merited rebuke, who can give me joy save you who are thus made sorry?

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