2 Corinthians 6:15
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
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(15) What concord hath Christ with Belial?—The passage is remarkable as being the only occurrence of the name in the New Testament, all the more so because it does not appear in the Greek version of the Old. The Hebrew word signifies “vileness, worthlessness;” and the “sons of Belial” (as in Deuteronomy 13:13; 1Samuel 2:12; 1Samuel 25:17) were therefore the worthless and the vile. The English version, following the Vulgate, translates the phrase as though Belial were a proper name, and this has led to the current belief, as shown in Milton’s poems, that it was the name of a demon or fallen angel, the representative of impurity—

“Belial came last, than whom a spirit more lewd,

Fell not from heaven, or more gross to love

Vice for itself.”—Paradise Lost, i. 490.

“Belial, the dissolutest spirit that fell,

The sensualest, and, after Asmodai,

The fleshliest incubus.”—Paradise Regained, ii. 204.

St. Paul’s use of the word would seem to imply that some such belief was floating among the Jews in his time. A strange legend, which possibly had a Jewish origin (it is referred to certain necromantici), is found in an obscure and forgotten book (Wierus: Pseudo-Monarchia Dæmonum), to the effect that Solomon was led by a certain woman to bow before the image of Belial, who is represented as worshipped by the Babylonians. Of that worship there is no trace in history; and Milton seems to have recognised this—

“To him no temple stood

Nor altar smoked.”

But if the name had gathered these associations round it, we can understand St. Paul’s using it as representing, or, as it were, personifying, the whole system of impure cultus that prevailed in the worship of Aphrodite at Corinth.

With an infidel.—So many later associations have gathered round the word, that it may be well to remind the reader that it does not mean, as commonly with us, one who has rejected the faith, but simply one who has not as yet received it.

6:11-18 It is wrong for believers to join with the wicked and profane. The word unbeliever applies to all destitute of true faith. True pastors will caution their beloved children in the gospel, not to be unequally yoked. The fatal effects of neglecting Scripture precepts as to marriages clearly appear. Instead of a help meet, the union brings a snare. Those whose cross it is to be unequally united, without their wilful fault, may expect consolation under it; but when believers enter into such unions, against the express warnings of God's word, they must expect must distress. The caution also extends to common conversation. We should not join in friendship and acquaintance with wicked men and unbelievers. Though we cannot wholly avoid seeing and hearing, and being with such, yet we should never choose them for friends. We must not defile ourselves by converse with those who defile themselves with sin. Come out from the workers of iniquity, and separate from their vain and sinful pleasures and pursuits; from all conformity to the corruptions of this present evil world. If it be an envied privilege to be the son or daughter of an earthly prince, who can express the dignity and happiness of being sons and daughters of the Almighty?And what concord - (συμφώνησις sumphōnēsis). Sympathy, unison. This word refers properly to the unison or harmony produced by musical instruments, where there is a chord. What accordance, what unison is there; what strings are there which being struck will produce a chord or harmony? The idea is, then, there is as much that is discordant between Christ and Belial as there is between instruments of music that produce only discordant and jarring sounds.

Hath Christ - What is there in common between Christ and Belial, implying that Christians are governed by the principles, and that they follow the example of Christ.

Belial - Βελίαλ Belial or Βελίαρ Beliar, as as it is found in some of the late editions. The form Beliar is Syriac. The Hebrew word בּליּצל beliya‛al means literally without profit; worthlessness; wickedness. It is here evidently applied to Satan. The Syriac translates it "Satan." The idea is, that the persons to whom Paul referred, the pagan, wicked, unbelieving world, were governed by the principles of Satan, and were "taken captive by him at his will" (2 Timothy 2:26 compare John 8:44), and that Christians should be separate from the wicked world, as Christ was separate from all the feelings, purposes, and plans of Satan. He had no participation in them; he formed no union with them; and so it should be with the followers of the one in relation to the followers of the other.

Or what part - (μερὶς meris). Portion, share, participation, fellowship. This word refers usually to a division of an estate; Luke 10:42; Acts 8:21 note; Colossians 1:12 note. There is no participation; nothing in common.

He that believeth - A Christian; a man the characteristic of whom it is that he believes on the Lord Jesus.

With an infidel - A man who does not believe - whether a pagan idolater, a profane man, a scoffer, a philosopher, a man of science, a moral man, or a son or daughter of gaiety. The idea is, that on the subject of religion there is no union; nothing in common; no participation. They are governed by different principles; have different feelings; are looking to different rewards; and are tending to a different destiny. The believer, therefore, should not select his partner in life and his chosen companions and friends from this class, but from those with whom he has sympathy, and with whom he has common feelings and hopes.

15. Belial—Hebrew, "worthlessness, unprofitableness, wickedness." As Satan is opposed to God, and Antichrist to Christ; Belial being here opposed to Christ, must denounce all manner of Antichristian uncleanness [Bengel].

he that believeth with an infidel—Translate, "a believer with an unbeliever."

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? By Belial, in this text, very good interpreters understand the devil; judging that the apostle here opposeth Christ, who is the Head of Believers and of the church, to him who is the head of all unbelievers, and the god of the world. The term is used only in this place in the New Testament, but very often in the Old Testament, to express men notoriously wicked and scandalous, Deu 13:13 Judges 19:22 1 Samuel 1:16 2:12 25:17 2 Samuel 16:7 2 Chronicles 13:7. The Hebrews themselves are not agreed in the etymology of it; Psalm 101:3, a wicked thing is called a thing of Belial (as may be seen in the margin of our bibles); so as the argument is drawn from our duty of conformity to our Head; Christ hath no fellowship with the devil, therefore we ought to have no unnecessary communion with such who manifest themselves to be of their father the devil, by their doing his works; nor hath Christ any communion with the sons of Belial.

Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? What part or portion, that is, what society or communion, hath a believer with one that beheveth not? What hath he to do with him? It was a usual phrase amongst the Jews, Joshua 22:25,27. Some by this part understand, what portion in the life to come? In which sense it teacheth us, that we should maintain intimate and elective communion in this life only with such as we would gladly have our portion with in another life. But the most judicious interpreters think this is not intended in this place.

And what concord hath Christ with Belial?.... The word "Belial" is an Hebrew word, and is only used in this place in the New Testament, but often in the Old; this word is differently read and pronounced, some copies read it "Beliar", and accordingly in the Ethiopic version it is "Belhor", and by Jerom read (i) Belvir"; but he observes, that it is more rightly called Belial": in some copies it is "Belias", and so Tertullian (k) read it; and Jerom (l) says, that most corruptly read it "Belias", for "Belial": some derive it from "Beli", and "Alah", and signifies "without ascent"; one in a very low condition, of low life, that never rises up, and comes to any thing; to which Kimchi's etymology of the word seems to agree, who says (m), that Belial is a wicked man, , "who does not succeed, and does not prosper": others say it signifies (n) one that is , "Beli Ol, without a yoke", without the yoke of the law; so Jarchi explains children of Belial, in Deuteronomy 13:13 without yoke, who break off the yoke of God; and so say (o) the Talmudists,

"children of Belial, are children that break off , "the yoke of heaven" (i.e. the law) from their necks;''

lawless persons, who are under no subjection to God or man: others (p) derive it from "Jaal", and "Beli", and so it signifies one that is unprofitable, does no good, and is good for nothing; and it is applied in Scripture to any wicked person, or thing; it is commonly rendered by the Chaldee paraphrast, a "wicked man"; and by Aquila and Suidas it is interpreted, "an apostate", and so it is rendered here in the Arabic version; sometimes the corruption of nature is called "Belial" by the Jews (q), than which nothing can be more contrary to Christ; it is also a name of the devil; by Hesychius, "Beliar" is interpreted "a dragon", by which name the devil is sometimes called; and here the Syriac version is, "what concord hath Christ with Satan?" most interpreters by Belial understand the devil, who has cast off the yoke of obedience to God, and is unprofitable, yea, noxious and hurtful to men; between whom and Christ there is no concord, but a perpetual enmity; and as there is no concord between Christ personal, and Belial the devil, so what can there be between Christ mystical the church, which goes by the name of Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:12 and wicked men, the sons of Belial; who have cast away the law of the Lord, are not subject to the law of God, nor can they be, and are become unprofitable to themselves, and others?

or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? such have no part, and shall have no part or portion in one and the same thing; the believer's part and portion are God, Christ, and an eternal inheritance; the unbeliever's part and portion will be in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; and therefore what part, society, or communion, can they have with one another?

(i) De Nominibus Hebraicis, fol. 106. K. (k) De Corona, c. 10. (l) Comment. in Ephes. iv. 27. (m) Sepher Shorashim, rad. (n) Hieronym Quaestasive Trad. Heb. in Lib. Reg. fol. 74. I. Tom. 3. & in Ephes. iv. 27. R. Abraham Seba in Tzeror Hammor, fol. 141. 4. & 142. 2.((o) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 111. 2.((p) Philip Aquinas, Schindler, Cocceius, &c. (q) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 148. 3. & 149. 2.

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what {k} part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

(k) What can there be between them?

2 Corinthians 6:15. The five different shades given to the notion of fellowship vouch for the command which the apostle had over the Greek language.

Regarding the use of δέ before a new question with the same word of interrogation, see Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 169.

Βελίαρ] Name of the devil (the Peshito has Satan), properly בְּלְיַּעַל (wickedness, as concrete equivalent to Πονηρός); hence the reading Βελίαλ (Elzevir, Lachmann) is most probably a correction. The form βελίαρ, which also occurs frequently in the Test. XII. Patr. (see Fabricius, Pseudepigr. V. T. I. pp. 539, 587, 619, al.), in Ignatius as interpolated, in the Canon. Ap., and in the Fathers (see Wetstein, critical remarks), is to be explained from the not unfrequent interchange of λ and ρ in the common speech of the Greek Jews. In the O. T. the word does not occur as a name. See, generally, Gesenius, Thesaurus, I. p. 210.

συμφώνησις, harmony, accord, only here in the N T., not in the LXX. The Greeks say συμφωνία and σύμφωνον (with πρός, Polyb. vi. 36. 5; Plat. Lach. p. 188 D); the simple form φώνησις in Pollux ii. 111.

On μερίς, share, comp. Acts 8:21. The two have no partnership with one another, possess nothing in common with one another. The believer has, in Christ, righteousness, peace, etc., all of which the unbeliever has not, and one day will have μερὶς τοῦ κλήρου τῶν ἁγίων, Colossians 1:12. In strict logic ἢ τίς μερὶςἀπίστου did not belong to this series of elements of proof, since it contains the proposition itself to be proved, but it has come in amidst the lively, sweeping flow of the discourse.

2 Corinthians 6:15. τίς δὲ συμφώνησις κ.τ.λ.: and what concord has Christ with Belial? or what portion has a believer, sc., a Christian (see Acts 16:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:2, etc.), with an unbeliever, sc., a heathen (see on 2 Corinthians 4:4 above)? בְּלִיעַל = worthlessness is frequently rendered παράνομος (Deuteronomy 13:13, 1 Kings 20:13) or ἀνομία (Psalm 17:5) by the LXX; they never treat it as a proper name, although Theodotion does so at Jdg 19:22, and it is so regarded in later literature (e.g., Test. XII. Patriarch. and Orac. Sibyll., iii., 63, 73). Here it is the personification of ἀνομία, just as Christ is the personification of δικαιοσύνη; the contrast is that between Christ and Satan (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:21). See Charles’ Ascension of Isaiah, pp. lv. ff., for the identification of Beliar with Satan. The Hebrew form, Belial, with a substitution of r for l, is written βελίαρ in the best Greek MSS. (see crit. note).

15. Belial] This word, derived from two Hebrew ones signifying ‘of no profit,’ was used in the O.T. (e.g. Deuteronomy 13:13; 1 Samuel 2:12) in the phrase ‘child,’ ‘son’ or ‘daughter of Belial,’ to signify a worthless person, and generally (as in Deuteronomy 15:9, in the Hebrew) as a substantive signifying worthlessness. It seems to have been personified among the later Jews (some such personification seems clearly indicated by the language of the Apostle), and to have become a synonym for Satan. Similarly we find the idea of Belial presented in Jdg 19:22 personified by Milton in Paradise Lost, Book I. 490. But we must guard against importing the imaginations of the poet into the interpretation of the Scriptures.

2 Corinthians 6:15. Βελιαρ, Belial) The LXX. always express in Greek words the Hebrew, בליעל; but here Paul uses the Hebrew word for the purpose of Euphemism [avoiding something unpleasant by the use of a term less strictly appropriate]. This word is an appellative, 1 Samuel 25:25, and occurs for the first time in Deuteronomy 13:14. Hiller, Onom. S. p. 764. Belijahal, without ascending; i.e., of the meanest condition, of a very low and obscure rank. Paul calls Satan Belial. Nevertheless Satan is usually put ir antithesis to God, Antichrist to Christ. Wherefore Belial as being opposed to Christ, seems here also to denote all manner of Antichristian uncleanness.

Verse 15. - Concord; literally, harmony or accord. The word does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament or in the LXX. The adjective sumphonos occurs in 1 Corinthians 7:5. Christ with Belial (see 1 Corinthians 10:21), Belial. Here used in the form Beliar, as a proper name, because no Greek word ends in the letter τ. In the Old Testament it does not stand for a person, but means "wickedness" or "worthlessness." Thus in Proverbs 6:12 "a naughty person" is adam belial. "A son of Belial" means "a child of wickedness" by a common Hebraism (Deuteronomy 13:13; Judges 19:22). And hence, since Belial only became a proper name in later days -

"To him no temples rose,
No altars smoked."
Perhaps, as has been conjectured, this clause, which contains two such unusual words, may be a quotation. It is, however, no ground of objection that Belial does not occur elsewhere in St. Paul, for until the pastoral Epistles he only uses diabolos twice (Ephesians 4:27; Ephesians 6:11). What part, etc.? This is not, like the other clauses, an illustration, but the statement of the fact itself which "has come in amidst the lively, sweeping flow of the discourse." With an infidel; i.e. with an unconverted Gentile. 2 Corinthians 6:15Concord (συμφώνησις)

Only here in the New Testament. From σύν together, φωνή voice. Primarily of the concord of sounds. So the kindred συφωνία, A.V., music, see on Luke 15:25. Compare σύμφωνος with consent, 1 Corinthians 7:5; and συμφωνέω to agree, Matthew 18:19; Luke 5:36, etc.

Belial (βελίαρ)

Beliar. Belial is a transcript of the Hebrew, meaning worthlessness or wickedness. The Septuagint renders it variously by transgressor, impious, foolish, pest. It does not occur in the Septuagint as a proper name. The form Beliar, which is preferred by critics, is mostly ascribed to the Syriac pronunciation of Belial, the change of l into r being quite common. Others, however, derive from Belyar, Lord of the forest. Here a synonym for Satan. Stanley remarks that our associations with the word are colored by the attributes ascribed to Belial by Milton ("Paradise Lost," B. ii.), who uses the word for sensual profligacy.

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