2 Corinthians 8:15
As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
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(15) He that had gathered much.—The quotation is from one of the readings of the LXX. version of Exodus 16:18. The work of love was, in the Apostle’s thoughts, like the manna in the wilderness. In the long-run all would be filled, each according to his several necessities.

8:10-15 Good purposes are like buds and blossoms, pleasant to behold, and give hopes of good fruit; but they are lost, and signify nothing without good deeds. Good beginnings are well; but we lose the benefit, unless there is perseverance. When men purpose that which is good, and endeavour, according to their ability, to perform also, God will not reject them for what it is not in their power to do. But this scripture will not justify those who think good meanings are enough, or that good purposes, and the mere profession of a willing mind, are enough to save. Providence gives to some more of the good things of this world, and to some less, that those who have abundance might supply others who are in want. It is the will of God, that by our mutual supplying one another, there should be some sort of equality; not such a levelling as would destroy property, for in such a case there could be no exercise of charity. All should think themselves concerned to relieve those in want. This is shown from the gathering and giving out the manna in the wilderness, Ex 16:18. Those who have most of this world, have no more than food and raiment; and those who have but little of this world, seldom are quite without them.As it is written - see Exodus 16:18.

He that had gathered much ... - This passage was originally applied to the gathering of manna by the children of Israel. The manna which fell around the camp of Israel was gathered every morning. All that were able were employed in gathering it; and when it was collected it was distributed in the proportion of an omer, or about five pints to each man. Some would be more active and more successful than others. Some by age or infirmity would collect little; probably many by being confined to the camp would collect none. They who had gathered more than an omer, therefore, would in this way contribute to the needs of others, and would be constantly manifesting a spirit of benevolence. And such was their willingness to do good in this way, such their readiness to collect more than they knew would be demanded for their own use, and such the arrangement of Providence in furnishing it, that there was no want; and there was no more gathered than was needful to supply the demands of the whole.

Paul applies this passage, therefore, in the very spirit in which it was originally penned. He means to say that the rich Christians at Corinth should impart freely to their poorer brethren. They had gathered more wealth than was immediately necessary for their families or themselves. They should, therefore, impart freely to those who had been less successful. Wealth, like manna, is the gift of God. It is like that spread by his hand around us every day. Some are able to gather much more than others. By their skill, their health, their diligence, or by providential arrangements, they are eminently successful. Others are feeble, or sick, or aged, or destitute of skill, and are less successful. All that is obtained is by the arrangement of God. The health, the strength, the skill, the wisdom by which we are enabled to obtain it, are all his gift. That which is thus honestly obtained, therefore, should be regarded as his bounty, and we should esteem it a privilege daily to impart to others less favored and less successful.

Thus, society will be bound more closely together. There will be, as there was among the Israelites, the feelings of universal brotherhood. There will be on the one hand the happiness flowing from the constant exercise of the benevolent feelings; on the other the strong ties of gratitude. On the one hand the evils of poverty will be prevented, and on the other the not less. though different evils resulting from superabundant wealth. Is it a forced and unnatural analogy also to observe, that wealth, like manna, corrupts by being kept in store? manna if kept more than a single day became foul and loathsome. Does not wealth hoarded up when it might be properly employed; wealth that should have been distributed to relieve the needs of others, become corrupting in its nature, and offensive in the sight of holy and benevolent minds? Compare James 5:2-4. Wealth, like manna, should be employed in the service which God designs - employed to diffuse everywhere the blessings of religion, comfort, and peace.

15. (Ex 16:18; Septuagint). As God gave an equal portion of manna to all the Israelites, whether they could gather much or little; so Christians should promote by liberality an equality, so that none should need the necessaries of life while others have superfluities. "Our luxuries should yield to our neighbor's comforts; and our comforts to his necessities" [J. Howard]. This quotation would incline us to think, that the abundance mentioned in the latter part of the former verse, as also the equality mentioned in the end of it, is rather to be understood with reference to the good things of this life, than with reference to spiritual blessings, or to temporal and spiritual put together, balancing one another to make an equality. For certain it is, that this quotation referreth to manna, which was the bread God afforded for the bodies of his people in the wilderness, though, considered typically, it is rightly by the apostle called spiritual meat, 1 Corinthians 10:3; signifying that bread which came down from heaven, which Moses could not give, as Christ tells us, John 6:32,58. These words are quoted from Exodus 16:18, though more agreeably to the Septuagint than to our translation. The history is this: The manna being fallen, the text saith, Exodus 16:17, that some gathered more, some less; but it so fell out, by the providence of God ordering it, that when they came and measured what they had gathered, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack. Now of this the apostle makes an argument to press the Corinthians to this charitable act. The force of which lies in this: As it was in the case of manna; there were some that gathered more, others that gathered less, yet all had enough; so it will be as to the riches of the world that men gather, though some gather more, and others gather less, yet men will find, that those that have gathered little, (have less estates than others), using what they have to the glory of God, and according to the Divine rule, will have no lack; and those that have gathered much, if they do not distribute it according to the will of God, will find that they have nothing over; God will shrink their heap into some equality to those whom at God’s command they would not relieve: Ecclesiastes 5:10: He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver. The wisdom of the Divine providence hath not ordained levelling, nor made all men equal in their portions of the good things of this life; but he hath willed such an equality as every one may eat, (unless he or she that will not work), either from the sweat of their own faces, or from the charity of others. Besides, nature craveth no great things, but is satisfied with a little; so that he that hath gathered little shall have no lack, if he can but moderate the excesses of his appetite; and he that hath gathered much hath nothing over, what is either necessary for himself and his family, or what he ought to part with for the relief of others at the command of God. As it is written,.... In Exodus 16:18

he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; respect is had to the history of the manna, a sort of food God prepared for the Israelites in the wilderness; and which were gathered by them every morning, by some more, by others less; and yet when it came to be measured, every man had his "omer" and no more, one had nothing over, and the other not at all deficient; each man had his proper and equal quantity; and which, by the Jews (w), is looked upon as a miracle that was wrought: many useful instructions may be learned from this history, as that as there was a general provision made by God for the Israelites, good and bad, and the mixed multitude that came from Egypt with them; so there is an universal providence of God which reaches to all creatures, even to the vegetable, to the birds of the air, and beasts of the field, to all the individuals of human nature, and to the bad among them as well as the good; though to the latter it is more special, who of all men have the least reason to be distrustful and uneasy: and as that provision was daily, so is that providential supply which all creatures have from God; he is to be trusted to, and depended on daily; application is to be made to him every day for daily bread; nor should there be any anxious concern for the morrow. Moreover, as the Israelites, though the manna was prepared for them, were to rise in the morning and gather it before the sun waxed hot; so notwithstanding the providence of God, and the daily care he takes of men, yet diligence, industry, and the use of means are highly commendable. And as some gathered more and others less, yet upon measuring it with the "omer", there was an entire equality, one had not more nor less than another; so upon the winding up of things in Providence, such as have gathered much riches in the morning of life, in the evening of death will have nothing over, nor anything to show more than others; and they that have gathered little will appear to have had no lack; both will have had food and raiment, and no more, only with this difference, some will have enjoyed a richer diet and clothing, and others a meaner, and both suitable to their circumstances in life; which may instruct us to depend upon divine Providence, daily to be content with such things as we have, and to make a proper use of what is gathered, whether more or less, and not only for ourselves, but for the good of others. This discovers the egregious folly of such, who are anxiously concerned for the gathering and amassing much worldly riches together; which when they have done, they lay it up for themselves, and do not make use of it for common good, neither for the good of civil society, nor the interest of religion. Let it be observed, that those Israelites who from a selfish covetous disposition, and distrust of divine Providence, left of their manna till the morning, "it bred worms and stank": which was by the just judgment of God inflicted as a punishment; for otherwise it was capable of being kept longer. So when covetous mortals lay up for themselves for time to come, and do not communicate to the necessities of others, such a practice breeds and produces worms, moth, and rottenness in their estates, which gradually decrease, or are suddenly taken from them, or they from them: such an evil disposition is the root and cause of many immoralities in life; it greatly prejudices professors of religion in things spiritual; and it tends to their everlasting ruin, to breed that worm of an evil conscience that will never die, and to render their persons stinking and abominable, both in the sight of God and men.

(w) Jarchi & Aben Ezra in Exodus 16.18. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 76. 3.

As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
2 Corinthians 8:15. καθὼς γέγραπται κ.τ.λ.: as it is written, sc., in the words of Scripture, “He that gathered (we must understand σύλλεξας from Exodus 16:17) much had nothing over; and he that gathered little had no lack,” sc., because each gathered enough manna for his own needs and no more. That each Christian Church may have enough for its necessities, not its luxuries, is what St. Paul contemplates as desirable and possible by mutual generosity in giving. The true text (ABF) of the LXX in Exodus 16:18 has τὸ ἔλαττον for τὸ ὀλίγον, which however is found as an early correction in A[65], and also in Philo.

[65]A Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).15. as it is written] In Exodus 16:18. “In this miracle St Paul perceives a great universal principle of human life. God has given to every man a certain capacity and a certain power of enjoyment. Beyond that he cannot find delight. Whatever he heaps or hoards beyond that, is not enjoyment but disquiet.” Robertson.2 Corinthians 8:15. Γέγραπται, it is written) Exodus 16:18, οὐκ ἐπλεόνασεν ὁ τὸ πολὺ, καὶ ὁ τὸ ἔλαττον, οὐκ ἠλαττόνησεν. The article τὸ adds to it the force of a superlative [τὸ πολὺ, the most; τὸ ἔλαττον, the least].—ὁ τὸ πολὺ, he who the most) viz. συλλέξας, gathered. There is a similar expression, Numbers 35:8, ἀπὸ τῶν τὰ πολλὰ, πολλά.—οὐχ ἐπλεόνασε) he had not more than an homer.Verse 15. - As it is written (Exodus 16:17, 18, LXX.). The reference is to the gathering of manna.
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