2 Corinthians 5:2
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed on with our house which is from heaven:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) For in this we groan.—The “groaning” here, and in 2Corinthians 5:4, may, of course, be a strong way of expressing the burden and the weariness of life, but taken in connection with what we have already seen in the Epistle, as pointing to the pressure of disease, we can scarcely fail to find in it the utterance of a personal or special suffering. (See Notes on 2Corinthians 1:8-9.)

Earnestly desiring to be clothed upon.—The words have suggested the question whether St. Paul spoke of the “spiritual body” to be received at the resurrection (1Corinthians 15:42-49), or of some intermediate stage of being, like that represented in the visions which poets have imagined and schoolmen theorised about, in the visions of the world of the dead in the Odyssey (Book 11), in the Æneid (Book vi.), in Dante’s Divina Commedia throughout. The answer to that question is found in the manifest fact that the intermediate state occupied but a subordinate position in St. Paul’s thoughts. He would not speak overconfidently as to times and seasons, but his practical belief was that he, and most of those who were then living, would survive till the coming of the Lord (1Corinthians 15:52; 1Thessalonians 4:15). He did not speculate accordingly about that state, but was content to rest in the belief that when absent from the body he would in some more immediate sense, be present with the Lord. But the longing of his soul was, like that of St. John (Revelation 22:20), that the Lord might come quickly—that he might put on the new and glorious body without the pain and struggle of the “dissolution” of the old. In the words “be clothed upon” (literally, the verb being in the middle voice, to clothe ourselves, to put on) we have a slight change of imagery. The transition from the thought of a dwelling to that of a garment is, however, as in Psalm 104:1-3, sufficiently natural. Each shelters the man. Each is separable from the man himself. Each answers in these respects to the body which invests the spirit.

5:1-8 The believer not only is well assured by faith that there is another and a happy life after this is ended, but he has good hope, through grace, of heaven as a dwelling-place, a resting-place, a hiding-place. In our Father's house there are many mansions, whose Builder and Maker is God. The happiness of the future state is what God has prepared for those that love him: everlasting habitations, not like the earthly tabernacles, the poor cottages of clay, in which our souls now dwell; that are mouldering and decaying, whose foundations are in the dust. The body of flesh is a heavy burden, the calamities of life are a heavy load. But believers groan, being burdened with a body of sin, and because of the many corruptions remaining and raging within them. Death will strip us of the clothing of flesh, and all the comforts of life, as well as end all our troubles here below. But believing souls shall be clothed with garments of praise, with robes of righteousness and glory. The present graces and comforts of the Spirit are earnests of everlasting grace and comfort. And though God is with us here, by his Spirit, and in his ordinances, yet we are not with him as we hope to be. Faith is for this world, and sight is for the other world. It is our duty, and it will be our interest, to walk by faith, till we live by sight. This shows clearly the happiness to be enjoyed by the souls of believers when absent from the body, and where Jesus makes known his glorious presence. We are related to the body and to the Lord; each claims a part in us. But how much more powerfully the Lord pleads for having the soul of the believer closely united with himself! Thou art one of the souls I have loved and chosen; one of those given to me. What is death, as an object of fear, compared with being absent from the Lord!For in this - In this tent, tabernacle, or dwelling. In our body here.

We groan - compare note, Romans 8:22. The sense is, that we are subjected to so many trials and afflictions in the present body; that the body is subjected to so many pains and to so much suffering, as to make us earnestly desire to be invested with that body which shall be free from all susceptibility to suffering.

Earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house ... - There is evidently here a change of the metaphor which gives an apparent harshness to the construction. One idea of the apostle is, that the body here, and the spiritual body hereafter, is a house or a dwelling. Here he speaks of it as a garment which may be put on or laid off and of himself as earnestly desiring to put on the immortal clothing or vestment which was in heaven. Both these figures are common in ancient writings, and a change in this manner in the popular style is not unusual. The Pythagoreans compared the body to a tent, or hut, for the soul; the Platonists liken it to a vestment - Bloomfield. The Jews speak of a vestment to the soul in this world and the next. They affirm that the soul had a covering when it was under the throne of God, and before it was clothed with the body. This vestment they say was "the image of God" which was lost by Adam. After the fall, they say Adam and all his posterity were regarded as naked.

In the future world they say the good will be clothed with a vestment for the soul which they speak of as lucid and radiant, and such as no one on earth can attain - Schoettgen. But there is no reason to think that Paul referred to any such trifles as the Jews have believed on this subject. He evidently regarded man as composed of body and soul. The soul was the more important part, and the body constituted its mere habitation or dwelling. Yet a body was essential to the idea of the complete man; and since this was frail and dying, he looked forward to a union with the body that should be eternal in the heavens, as a more desirable and perfect habitation of the soul. Mr. Locke has given an interpretation of this in which he is probably alone, but which has so much appearance of plausibility that it is not improper to refer to it. He supposes that this whole passage has reference to the fact that at the coming of the Redeemer the body will be changed without experiencing death; (compare 1 Corinthians 15:51-52); that Paul expected that this might soon occur; and that he earnestly desired to undergo this transformation without experiencing the pains of dying. He therefore paraphrases it, "For in this tabernacle I groan, earnestly desiring, without putting off this mortal, earthly body by death, to have that celestial body superinduced, if so be the coming of Christ shall overtake me in this life, before I put off this body."

With our house - The phrase "to be clothed upon with our house" seems to be harsh and unusual. The sense is plain, however, that Paul desired to be invested with that pure, spiritual, and undecaying body which was to be the eternal abode of his soul in heaven. That he speaks of as a house (οἰκητήριον oikētērion), a more permanent and substantial dwelling than a tent, or tabernacle.

2. For in this—Greek, "For also in this"; "herein" (2Co 8:10). Alford takes it, "in this" tabernacle. 2Co 5:4, which seems parallel, favors this. But the parallelism is sufficiently exact by making "in this we groan" refer generally to what was just said (2Co 5:1), namely, that we cannot obtain our "house in the heavens" except our "earthly tabernacle" be first dissolved by death.

we groan—(Ro 8:23) under the body's weaknesses now and liability to death.

earnestly desiring to be clothed upon—translate, "earnestly longing to have ourselves clothed upon," &c., namely, by being found alive at Christ's coming, and so to escape dissolution by death (2Co 5:1, 4), and to have our heavenly body put on over the earthly. The groans of the saints prove the existence of the longing desire for the heavenly glory, a desire which cannot be planted by God within us in vain, as doomed to disappointment.

our house—different Greek from that in 2Co 5:1; translate, "our habitation," "our domicile"; it has a more distinct reference to the inhabitant than the general term "house" (2Co 5:1) [Bengel].

from heaven—This domicile is "from heaven" in its origin, and is to be brought to us by the Lord at His coming again "from heaven" (1Th 4:16). Therefore this "habitation" or "domicile" is not heaven itself.

We are so confident of such a blessed state, that we passionately desire to be invested into it; and this groaning is also an evidence of it, for the desire of grace shall not be made frustrate; desirous that our mortality may put on immortality, and our corruption may put on incorruption. It is against the nature of man to desire death, which is the stripping or unclothing the soul of flesh; but not to desire that the garment of immortality may be put upon mortality, which is that our house from heaven, which is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:1. For in this we groan earnestly,.... Meaning either for this happiness we groan, or rather in this tabernacle we groan. These words are a reason of the former, proving that the saints have a building of God; and they know they have it, because they groan after it here; for the groanings of the saints are under the influence and direction of the Spirit of God, who makes intercession for them, as for grace, so for glory, according to the will of God: and this groaning is further explained by

desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven; by which is meant not the glorified body in the resurrection morn; for though the bodies of the saints will be glorious, incorruptible, powerful, and spiritual, they are not said to be celestial, nor will they be from heaven, but be raised out of the earth: besides, the apostle is speaking of an habitation the soul will go into, and is desirous of going into as soon as it removes out of the earthly house of the body, and of a clothing it desires to be clothed with as soon as it is stripped of the garment of the flesh: wherefore, by the house from heaven must be meant the heavenly glory, which departed souls immediately enter into, and are arrayed with, even the white and shining robes of purity, perfection, and glory they shall be clothed with, as soon as ever their tabernacles are unpinned and dissolved. The Jews indeed speak of a celestial body which the soul shall be clothed with immediately upon its separation from the earthly body, and much in such figurative terms as the apostle does in this, and the following verse;

"when a man's time is come, say they (d), to go out of this world, he does not depart until the angel of death has stripped him of the clothing of body, (see 2 Corinthians 5:4) and when the soul is stripped of the body, by the angel of death, it goes , "and is clothed with that other body", which is in paradise, of which it was stripped when it came into this world; for the soul has no pleasure but in the body, which is from thence, and it rejoices because it is stripped of the body of this world, "and is clothed with another perfect clothing".''

And a little after,

"the holy blessed God deals well with men, for he does not strip men of their clothes until he has provided for them other clothes, more precious and better than these, except the wicked of the world, who return not to their Lord by perfect repentance; for naked they came into this world, and naked (see 2 Corinthians 5:3) they shall return hence.''

And in another place (e),

"the soul does not go up to appear before the Holy King, until it is worthy to be clothed , "with the clothing which is above".''

(d) Zohar in Exod. fol. 62. 1, 2.((e) Zohar in Exod. fol. 92. 2. Vid. fol. 84. 3. & in Gen. fol. 49. 3. & Caphtor, fol. 18. 2. & 78. 2.

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be {a} clothed upon with our house which is from {b} heaven:

(a) He calls the glory of immortality, which we will be as it were clothed with, a garment.

(b) Heavenly, not that the substance of it is heavenly, but rather the glory of it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 5:2. Confirmation of the certainty expressed in 2 Corinthians 5:1, not an explanation why he should precisely mention the fact that he has such comfort in the prospect of death (Hofmann)—as if, instead of οἴδαμεν, λέγομεν or some similar verbum, declarandi had precede.

καὶ γάρ] does not here any more than elsewhere mean merely for (see, on the other hand, Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 138), but it means for also, so that καί is connected with ἐν τούτῳ. Previously, namely, the case was supposed: ἐὰνκαταλυθῇ; to which this καὶ γὰρ ἐν τούτῳ now corresponds, so that the train of thought is: “we know that, in case our present body shall have one day been destroyed, we have a body in heaven; for if this were not so, we should not already in the present body be sighing after the being clothed upon with the heavenly.”[208] This longing is an inward assurance of the fact that, if our earthly house, et.

καὶ γὰρ ἐν τούτῳ] The emphasis is on ἐν: for also in this. Not merely perhaps after the κατάλυσις supposed as possible (2 Corinthians 5:1) shall we long for the heavenly body, but already now, while we are not yet out of the earthly body but are still in it, we are sighing to be clothed upon with the heavenly. This is proved to be the right interpretation by the parallel in 2 Corinthians 5:4, where our ἐν is represented by οἱ ὄντες ἐν. On καί, also, in the sense of already or already also, see Hartung, l.c. p. 135; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Gorg. p. 467 B; Fritzsche, ad Lucian. p. 5 ff. With τούτῳ, according to the supposition of Grotius and others, including Fritzsche and Schrader, σώματι is to be mentally supplied, so that, as is often the case in the classic writers, the pronoun is referred to a word which was contained only as regards the sense in what preceded. See Fritzsche, Diss. I. p. 47; Hermann, ad Viger. p. 714; Seidler, ad Eur. El. 582. Rückert wrongly thinks that Paul in that case must have written ἐν αὐτῷ. This prevalent phenomenon of language applies, in fact, equally in the case of all demonstrative and relative pronouns; see the passages in Matthiae, p. 978 f. Seeing, however, that the following τὸ οἰκητήριον ἡμ. τὸ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ proves that Paul also, in ἐν τούτῳ, was regarding the body under the figure of a dwelling, and seeing that he himself in 2 Corinthians 5:4 has expressly written τῷ σκήνει instead of τούτῳ, the supplying of τῷ σκήνει is to be preferred (so Beza and others, including Olshausen, Osiander, Neander, Ewald[209]). Others take ἐν τούτῳ as propterea (see on John 16:20; Acts 24:16), and refer it partly to what was said in 2 Corinthians 5:1, as Hofmann: “on account of the death in prospect” (comp. Estius, Flatt, Lechler, p. 138), or Delitzsch, p 436: “in such position of the case;” partly to what follows, which would be the epexegesis of it (Erasmus, Usteri, Billroth, the latter with hesitation). So also Rückert: in this respect. But the parallel of 2 Corinthians 5:4 is decidedly against all these views, even apart from the fact that that over which we sigh is in Greek given by ἐπί with the dative or by the accusative, and hence Hofmann’s view in particular would have required ἐπὶ τούτῳ or τοῦτο.

τὸ οἰκητήριονἐπιποθοῦντες contains the reason of the sighing: because we long for, etc. Paul himself gives further particulars in 2 Corinthians 5:4. Hofmann wrongly thinks that Paul explains his sighing from the fact, that his longing applies to that clothing upon, instead of which death sets in. The latter point is purely imported in consequence of his erroneous explanation of ἐν τούτῳ. It is the sighing of the longing to experience the last change by means of the being clothed upon with the future body. This longing to be clothed upon with the heavenly body (not, as Bengel and many of the older expositors would have it: with the glory of the transfigured soul, to which view Hofmann also comes in the end, since he thinks of the eternal light in which God dwells and Christ with Him lives) extorts the sighs. Against the reference of ἐπενδύσ. to an organ of the intermediate state, see on 2 Corinthians 5:3, Remark. According to Fritzsche, the participle is only a continuation of the discourse by attaching another thought: “in hoc corpore male nos habentes suspiramus et coeleste superinduere gestimus.” But in that case no logical reference would be furnished for καί; besides, it seems unwarrantable to supply male nos habentes, since Paul himself has added quite another participle; and in general, wherever the participle seems only to continue the discourse, there exists such a relation of the participle to the verb, as forms logically a basis for the participial connection. Comp. Ephesians 5:16. According to Schneckenburger, στενάζομεν ἐπιποθοῦντες stands for ἐπιποθοῦμεν στενάζοντες, so that the chief fact is expressed by the participle (Nägelsbach on the Iliad, pp. 234, 280, ed. 3; Seidler, ad Eur. Iph. T. 1411; Matthiae, p. 1295 f.). An arbitrary suggestion, against the usage of the N. T., which is different even in the passages quoted by Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 275 [E. T. 320], and to be rejected also on account of 2 Corinthians 5:4, στενάζομεν βαρούμ.

The distinction between οἰκία and οἰκητήριον is rightly noted by Bengel: “οἰκία est quiddam magis absolutum, οἰκητήριον respicit incolam,” house—habitation (Judges 1:6; Eur. Or. 1114; Plut. Mor. p. 602 D; 2Ma 11:2-3; 2Ma 2:15).

τὸ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ] that which proceeds from heaven; for it is ἐκ θεοῦ, 2 Corinthians 5:1. God furnishes from heaven the resurrection-body (1 Corinthians 15:38) through Christ (Php 3:21), in the case of the dead, by means of raising, in the case of the living, by means of transforming (1 Corinthians 15:51). The latter is what is thought of in the present passag.

ἐπενδύσασθαι] With this Paul passes to another but kindred figure, namely, that of a robe, as also among the Rabbins (Schoettgen, Hor. p. 693) and the Neo-Platonists (Gataker, ad Anton. p. 351; Bos, Exercit. p. 60; Schneckenburger, Beitr. p. 127) the body is frequently represented as the robe of the soul. See also Jacobs, ad Anthol. XII. p. 239. But he does not simply say ἐνδύσασθαι, but ἐπενδύσασθαι, to put on over (which is not to be taken with Schneckenburger of the succession; see, on the contrary, Plut. Pelop. 11 : ἐσθῆτας ἐπενδεδυμένοι γυναικείας τοῖς θώραξι, Herod. i 195: ἐπὶ τοῦτον ἄλλον εἰρίνεον κιθῶνα ἐπενδύνει), because the longing under discussion is directed to the living to see the Parousia and the becoming transformed alive. This transformation in the living body, however, is in so far an ἐπενδύσασθαι, as this denotes the acquisition of a new body with negation of the previous death (the ἐκδύσασθαι). This is not at variance with 1 Corinthians 15:53, where the simple ἐνδύσασθαι is used of the same transformation; for in that passage τὸ φθαρτὸν τοῦτο is the subject which puts on, and, consequently, τὸ φθαρτὸν τοῦτο ἐνδύεται is quite equivalent to ἐπενδυόμεθα, because in the latter case, as at the present passage, the self-conscious Ego[210] is the subject.

Regarding ἐπιποθεῖν, in which ἐπί does not make the meaning stronger (ardenter cupere), as it is usually taken, but only indicates the direction of the longing (πόθον ἔχειν ἐπί τι), see Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 30 f.

[208] If that οἰκοδομὴν ἐκ θεοῦ ἔχομεν were not correct, it would be absurd, instead of being contented with the earthly habitation, to be longing already in it after being clothed upon with the heavenly habitation. Quite similar is the argument in Romans 8:22.

[209] See also Klöpper in the Jahrb. für deutsche Theol. 1862, p. 13.

[210] The inward man. He is put on with the earthly body, and sighs full of longing to put on over it the heavenly body.2 Corinthians 5:2-3 and 2 Corinthians 5:4 form two parallel sentences, both introduced by καὶ γάρ, of which either may be used to elucidate the other. Both bring out the Apostle’s shrinking from death, i.e., the act of dying, and his half-expressed anxiety that he may survive until the Day of Christ (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:15).2. For in this] i.e. this tabernacle.

we groan] Cf. Romans 8:23.

to be clothed upon] i.e. to put on in addition. See 1 Corinthians 15:53. “The flesh will not be annihilated, but spiritualized, glorified and beautified, as the human body of Christ was at the Transfiguration.” St Jerome, cited by Bp Wordsworth. The Greek for the ‘fisher’s coat’ spoken of in John 21:7 is, as Dean Stanley reminds us, derived from the word used here.

with our house] Rather, dwelling-place. The word house (οἰκία) is more absolute, dwelling-place (οἰκητήριον) has reference to the inhabitant. Bengel.2 Corinthians 5:2. Ἐν τούτῳ, in this) The same phrase occurs, ch. 2 Corinthians 8:10, and elsewhere.—στενάζομεν, we groan) The epitasis[25] follows, we do groan being burdened, 2 Corinthians 5:4.—οἰκητήριον, a dwelling-place, a domicile) οἰκία, a house, is somewhat more absolute; οἰκητήριον, a domicile, has reference to the inhabitant.—τὸ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ) which is from heaven: ἐξ here signifies origin, as, of the earth, John 3:31. Therefore this domicile (abode) is not heaven itself.—ἐπενδύσασθαι, [to have the clothing put upon us] to be clothed upon) It is in the Middle voice: ἔνδυμα, the clothing, viz., the body: hence the expression, being clothed [2 Corinthians 5:3], refers to those living in the body; ἐπένδυμα, the clothing upon, refers to the heavenly and glorious habitation, in which even the body, the clothing, will be clothed. As the clothing of grass is its greenness and beauty, Matthew 6:30, so the heavenly glory is the domicile and clothing of the whole man, when he enters into heaven.

[25] See App. Strengthening of the words already used by something additional on their repetition.—ED.Verse 2. - In this we groan. Since we have the firstfruits of the Spirit, who assures us of that future building from God, we, in this earthly tent, "groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit the redemption of our body" (Romans 8:23). To be clothed upon; rather, to further clothe ourselves with. Here the metaphors of a tent and a garment - the "wandering tent" and the "mortal vesture of decay" - are interfused in a manner on which only the greatest writers can venture The corruptible yearns to clothe itself with the incorruptible, the mortal with immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53). The glorified body is compared to an over garment, House; rather, habitation (oiketerion). In this

Tabernacle. As if pointing to his own body. See on 1 Corinthians 15:54.

Earnestly desiring (ἐπιποθοῦντες)

The participle has an explanatory force, as Acts 27:7, "because the wind did not suffer us." We groan because we long. Rev., longing. The compounded preposition ἐπί does not mark the intensity of the desire, but its direction.

To be clothed upon (ἐπενδύσασθαι)

Only here and 2 Corinthians 5:4. Compare ἐπενδύτης fisher's coat, John 21:7 (see note). Lit., to put on over. The metaphor changes from building to clothing, a natural transformation in the mind of Paul, to whom the hail-cloth woven for tents would suggest a vesture.

House (οἰκητήριον)

Not οἰκία house, as 2 Corinthians 5:1. This word regards the house with special reference to its inhabitant. The figure links itself with building, 2 Corinthians 5:1, as contrasted with the unstable tent.

From heaven (ἐξ οὐρανοῦ)

As from God, 2 Corinthians 5:1.

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