For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fights, within were fears.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For, when we were come into Macedonia . . .—His feeling has led him back to the narrative from which he had digressed in 2Corinthians 2:13. He had come from Troas full of anxiety and agitation. He arrived in Macedonia. Much remained the same. His body was still suffering from want of rest, even though his spirit had found relief in the thought that the coming of Titus could not now be far off. (Comp. “our flesh” here, with “I had no rest for my spirit” in 2Corinthians 2:13.)
Without were fightings, within were fears.—We have no knowledge to what the first clause refers. It is natural to think either of dangers and persecutions from the heathen, or, probably, of conflicts with the party of the circumcision, or, as he calls them in Philippians 3, of the “concision,” at Philippi. The “fears” manifestly refer to his alarm and anxiety about the effect produced by his first Epistle.2 Corinthians 7:5-7. For when we were come into Macedonia — From Ephesus, not finding Titus; our flesh — That is, we ourselves; had no rest — Fearing he had not been well received by you; but we were troubled on every side — Εν παντι, in every place, or thing; without — From the unbelieving Jews and Gentiles; were fightings — Furious and cruel oppositions; within — From our brethren; were fears — Lest they should be seduced: or, he means, that in his own mind there were fears and anxieties on account of the Corinthians. Nevertheless, God, that comforteth those that are cast down — Τους ταπεινους, the humble, debased, or those brought low, namely, by affliction or distress; comforted us by the coming of Titus — With good tidings from you. And by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in — Or among; you — which he discovered to us; when he told us your earnest desire — To rectify what was amiss; your mourning — Or grief, for what had offended God, and troubled me. Your fervent mind toward me — Your zeal to vindicate my character as an apostle, and to support my authority; so that I rejoiced the more — For his consolation than for his coming; or, more than in other circumstances I could have done. Some critics think that the apostle’s expression in the former clause, την υμων επιποθησιν, rendered, your earnest desire, should be translated, your vehement longing; namely, to see the apostle, their spiritual father.2 Corinthians 1:16; compare the notes, 2 Corinthians 2:12-13.
Our flesh had no rest - We were exceedingly distressed and agitated. We had no rest. The causes of his distress he immediately states.
But we were troubled on every side - In every way. We had no rest in any quarter. We were obliged to enter into harassing labors and strifes there, and we were full of anxiety in regard to you.
Without were fightings - Probably he here refers to fierce opposition, which he met with in prosecuting his work of preaching the gospel. He met there, as he did everywhere, with opposition from Pagans, Jews, and false brethren. Tumults were usually excited wherever he went; and he preached the gospel commonly amidst violent opposition.
Within were fears - Referring probably to the anxiety which he had in regard to the success of the Epistle which he had sent to the church at Corinth. He felt great solicitude on the subject. He had sent Titus there to see what was the state of the church and to witness the effect of his instructions. Titus had not come to him as he had expected, at Troas 2 Corinthians 2:13, and he felt the deepest anxiety in regard to him and to the success of his Epistle. His fears were probably that they would be indisposed to exercise the discipline on the offender; or lest the severity of the discipline required should alienate them from him; or lest the party under the influence of the false teachers should prevail. All was uncertainty, and his mind was filled with the deepest apprehension.into Macedonia, what he did and suffered there, we have a short account, Acts 20:1-38. He saith his
flesh had no rest, he met with incessant storms of persecution; and was
troubled both by Jews and Gentiles in all places where he came.
Without were fightings; by persons that were without the Christian church; such were the generality of the Jews and Gentiles;
within were fears; and by false brethren within, or with his own fears, lest those violent dealings should be temptations to Christians, being yet tender and young in the faith, to relapse and apostatize. 2 Corinthians 2:12 and where he met with him, and had the agreeable account from him of the state of this church; but here, as elsewhere, they had their troubles:
our flesh had no rest; that is, their outward man, their bodies; they were continually fatigued with preaching, disputing, fighting; what with false teachers, and violent persecutors, they had no rest in their bodies; though, in their souls, they had divine support and spiritual consolation; and it was no small addition to their joy to hear of the flourishing condition of this church:
but were troubled on every side; from every quarter, by all sorts of enemies; see 2 Corinthians 4:8.
Without were fightings, within were fears; there seems to be an allusion to Deuteronomy 32:25. They had continual combats with false teachers, and furious persecutors, without the church, or in the world, or in their bodies; and within the church, or in themselves, in their own minds, had many fears, lest any should be discouraged by the violence of persecutions, or be drawn aside by the doctrines of the false apostles: and as it was with the apostles in these respects, so it is with private believers: without are fightings; their outward conversation in this life is a warfare; partly with false teachers, with whom they fight the "good fight of faith", contend for the doctrine of faith, using the spiritual weapons of the Scriptures of truth; and partly with the men of the world, to whose rage and contempt they are exposed, and among whom they endure a great fight of afflictions, with patience, and in the exercise of faith, whereby they gain the victory over the world and partly with Satan, their avowed adversary, and implacable enemy, against whom they wrestle in the strength of Christ, making use of the whole armour God provided for them, by the help of which, through divine grace, they come off more than conquerors; and partly with the lusts and corruptions, or open prevailing iniquities which are in the world, to which they oppose themselves, and, by the power of God keeping them, are preserved from: not that their only fightings are thus without; for there is, as it were, a company of two armies within them, sin and grace, flesh and spirit, opposing each other: and hence, as well as from other causes, are "fears within"; about their interest in everlasting love, electing grace, and the covenant of grace; about the presence of God with them, and the truth of grace in them; about their interest in Christ, their sonship, their final perseverance, and enjoyment of the heavenly glory: and though these fears are not their excellencies, but their infirmities, yet this will be more or less their case, till that state takes place, when there will be no more fightings, no more fears.For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2 Corinthians 7:5. In all our tribulation, I say, for even after we had come to Macedonia we had no rest.
In this καί, even, Paul refers back to what was stated in 2 Corinthians 2:12-13; but it does not follow that with Flatt we should regard what lies between as a digressio.
ἔσχηκεν] as in 2 Corinthians 2:13. Still B F G K (not א), Lachmann, have the reading ἔσχεν, which appears to be original and altered into accordance with 2 Corinthians 2:13.
ἡ σὰρξ ἡμῶν] our flesh, denotes here, according to the connection, the purely human essence as determined by its corporeo-psychical nature, in its moral impotence and sensuous excitability, apart from the divine πνεῦμα, without whose influence even the moral nature of man (the human πνεῦμα with the νοῦς) lacks the capacity for determining and governing the ethical life. Comp. on Romans 4:1; John 3:6. The σάρξ with its life-principle the ψυχή is by itself morally incapable even in the regenerate man, and stands too much in antagonism to the divine πνεῦμα (see on Galatians 5:17), not to have unrest, despondency, etc., occurring even in him when he confronts the impressions of struggle and suffering. Comp. Matthew 24:41. No doubt the expression in this passage seems not to agree with the τῷ πνεύματί μου in 2 Corinthians 2:12; but there, where, besides, Paul is speaking simply of himself, he speaks only of inward unrest, of anxious thoughts in the moral consciousness; whereas here (where he includes also Timothy) he speaks of outward (ἔξωθεν μάχαι) and inward (ἔσωθεν φόβοι) assaults, so that that which lies, as it were, in the middle and is affected on both sides is the σάρξ. Rückert brings in here also his groundless hypothesis regarding an illness of the apostl.
ἀλλʼ ἐν παντὶ θλιβόμενοι] Paul continues as if he had written previously: οὐκ ἤμεθα ἄνεσιν ἔχοντες, or οὐκ ἐν ἀνέσει ἤμεθα, or οὐχ ἥσυχοι ἤμεθα, or the like. Quite similar departures from the construction are found also in the classics. See Matthiae, p. 1293; Fritzsche, Dissert. II. p. 49. Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:7, εἰδότες, and the remark on it. It arises from vividness of excitement as the thought proceeds. Comp. Kühner, II. p. 617. Buttmann, neut. Gram. p. 256 [E. T. 298].
ἔξωθεν μάχαι, ἔσωθεν φόβοι] The omission of ἦσαν gives greater prominence to the short, concise representation. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Pelagius, Calvin, Grotius, Bengel, Wetstein, and others, also Schrader, explain ἔξωθεν and ἔσωθεν as extra and intra ecclesiam; and of this various interpretations are given; Chrysostom holding that the former applies to unbelievers, the latter to the weak brethren; Theodoret: that the former applies to the false teachers, the latter to the weak brethren; and Grotius: that the former applies to the Jews and heathen, the latter to the false teachers. But after ἡ σὰρξ ἡμῶν (see above), and on account of φόβοι, it is more in keeping with the context to refer it to the subject: from without struggles (with opponents, who may have been Christian or non-Christian), from within (from our own minds) fears. The latter are not defined more precisely; but it is in keeping with the contrast of χαρῆναι afterwards in 2 Corinthians 7:7 to think of fears regarding the circumstances of the Corinthians, and in particular regarding the effect of his former Epistle on them (comp. also 2 Corinthians 2:12). Hofmann holds, without any basis in the text, that Paul was apprehensive lest the conflicts to be undergone by him (probably with the Jews) might degenerate into persecutions.
 Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde, I. p. 56, has wrongly objected to this interpretation that Paul would have said ἡ ψυχὴ ἡμῶν. He might have done so, hut there was no need for it; the σάρξ rather corresponds with the ἔξωθεν most naturally as that which is first affected from without.2 Corinthians 7:5-12. HE WAS COMFORTED TO LEARN FROM TITUS THAT HIS REBUKE HAD BEEN PROFITABLE. Cf. throughout 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8, a passage strikingly like this in its human sympathy and kindliness.For, when we were come into Macedonia] See Acts 20:1 and ch. 2 Corinthians 2:13.
our flesh had no rest] The word translated rest means rather ease, remission of care. The phrase is precisely the same as in ch. 2 Corinthians 2:13, with the substitution of ‘flesh’ for ‘spirit.’ The change of expression is noticeable, and must imply that St Paul’s inward anguish, like that of other men, seriously affected his bodily health. See Robertson’s note. There is a peculiar vividness in the Greek and in ch. 2 Corinthians 2:13 here, which can hardly be reproduced in a translation.
without were fightings, within were fears] Literally and more emphatically, fightings without, fears within (without forth figtyngis and dredis withynne, Wiclif). The first were probably controversies with gainsayers such as always attended St Paul’s fervent preaching of the Gospel. A ‘door,’ we read, had been opened to him at Troas (see note on ch. 2 Corinthians 2:12). What results were likely to follow from this we learn from Acts 13:45; Acts 14:4-5; Acts 14:19; Acts 16:19; Acts 17:5-8; Acts 17:13, &c. What the fears were scarcely needs explanation. They related to the mission of Titus and its reception by the Corinthians.2 Corinthians 7:5. Σὰρξ, flesh) This is used in a large sense; weigh well the word φόβοι, fears.—θλιβόμενοι) [troubled] afflicted, viz., we were.—ἔξωθεν, without) on the part of the Gentiles.—ἔσωθεν, within) on the part of the brethren, comp. 1 Corinthians 5:12, 2 Corinthians 4:16.Verse 5. - For, when we were come into Macedonia. "For even when we came." The word "affliction" reminds St. Paul to resume the thread of the narrative which makes this letter almost like an itinerary. He has spoken of his trials in Ephesus (2 Corinthians 1:8) and in the Troad (2 Corinthians 2:12, 13), and now he tells them that even in Macedonia he was no less troubled and agitated. Our flesh had no rest. External troubles assailed him as well as inward anxiety. "Had" seems here to be the best reading (B, F, G, K); not "has had," which may be borrowed from 2 Corinthians 2:13. Rest; rather, remission, respite. But we were troubled on every side; literally, but in everything being afflicted. The style, in its picturesque irregularity, almost seems as though it were broken by sobs. Without were fightings, within were fears. "From without battles, from within fears." No light is thrown on these "battles." The Acts of the Apostles has no details to give us of this brief stay in Macedonia. The "fears" were doubtless still connected with anxiety as to the reception of Titus, and of his First Epistle (1 Corinthians 12:20).
Rev., relief. See on liberty, Acts 24:23.
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