2 Corinthians 9:4
Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.
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(4) Lest haply if they of Macedonia . . .—The Greek for “Macedonians” has no article, and the word is meant to stir up something like an esprit de corps. “Surely you Achaians won’t allow Macedonians to come and see that you fall short of what I told them about?” It is a probable, but not, as some have thought, a necessary inference, that neither of the two unnamed brethren of 2Corinthians 8:18; 2Corinthians 8:22, were of that province. What he now indicates is, that it is, at all events, probable that when he comes to pay his deferred visit he will be accompanied by Macedonians. If, then, they were still not ready, there would be shame for him; how much more for them!

In this same confident boasting.—Literally, in this confidence of boasting; but the better MSS. give “in this confidence” only. The word so translated (hypostasis), literally, “that which stands under, the base or ground of anything,” has the interest of a long subsequent history in metaphysical and theological controversies, of which we find, perhaps, the first trace in Hebrews 1:3, where it appears as “person,” and Hebrews 11:1, where it is rendered “substance.” (See Notes on those passages.) In Hebrews 3:14, it has the same meaning as in this passage.

9:1-5 When we would have others do good, we must act toward them prudently and tenderly, and give them time. Christians should consider what is for the credit of their profession, and endeavour to adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things. The duty of ministering to the saints is so plain, that there would seem no need to exhort Christians to it; yet self-love contends so powerfully against the love of Christ, that it is often necessary to stir up their minds by way of remembrance.Lest haply if they of Macedonia - If any of the Macedonians should happen to come with me, and should find that you had done nothing. He does not say that they would come with him, but it was by no means improbable that they would. It was customary for some of the members of the churches to travel with Paul from place to place, and the conversation was constant between Macedonia and Achaia. Paul had, therefore, every reason to suppose that some of the Macedonians would accompany him when he should go to Corinth. At all events it was probable that the Macedonians would learn from some quarter whether the Corinthians were or were not ready when Paul should go to them.

should be ashamed ...}}We (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed ... - "In this," says Bloomfield, "one cannot but recognize a most refined and delicate turn, inferior to none of the best Classical writers." Paul had boasted confidently that the Corinthians would be ready with their collection. He had excited and stimulated the Macedonians by this consideration. He had induced them in this way to give liberally, 2 Corinthians 8:1-4. If now it should turn out after all that the Corinthians had given nothing, or had given stintedly, the character of Paul would suffer. His veracity and his judgment would be called in question, and he would be accused of trick, and artifice, and fraud in inducing them to give. Or if he should not be charged with dishonesty, yet he would be humbled and mortified himself that he had made representations which had proved to be so unfounded. But this was not all. The character of the Corinthians was also at stake. They had purposed to make the collection. They had left the impression in the mind of Paul that it would be done. They had hitherto evinced such a character as to make Paul confident that the collection would be made. If now by any means this should fail, their character would suffer, and they would have occasion to be ashamed that they had excited so confident expectations of what they would do.

4. if they of Macedonia—rather as Greek, "if Macedonians."

unprepared—with your collection; see 2Co 9:2, "ready," Greek, "prepared."

we, not to say ye—Ye would naturally feel more ashamed for yourselves, than we (who boasted of you) would for you.

confident boasting—The oldest manuscripts read simply "confidence," namely, in your liberality.

For if I should come, and any of the members of the churches of Macedonia, who have heard me boasting of you as a people very forward in this charitable work, and when they are come they should find you had done nothing, only talked much of your readiness, both I should be ashamed, and you also might see some cause to blush, which I, who consult your honour and reputation equally with my own, would prevent.

Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me,.... The apostle had determined to come himself, though he was afterwards prevented by Providence, but could not be certain of the coming of the Macedonian brethren with him; however, as it was probable that some of them would come, whose hearts were so much in this work, therefore he judged it fit and proper to send the brethren before hand, in case they should come:

and find you unprepared; not so ready for this service as had been boasted of, and the collection not finished, which had been begun a year ago.

We (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting; or "in this same substance", or "subsistence of boasting": a boasting, which, he thought, they had the most solid and substantial ground and foundation to proceed upon; which, should it come to nothing, must cause shame both in the apostles, who had so largely, and with so much assurance, boasted of them; and in the Corinthians, who must be put to the blush, when it should be told them how much they had been boasted of with respect to their readiness, and yet were unprepared: so "hope", expectation, confidence, is rendered by the Septuagint "boasting", Proverbs 11:7 and in Psalm 39:5 the word here used. And some copies, and also the Vulgate Latin version, only read, "in this substance", or glorying, and leave out boasting as superfluous.

Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same {a} confident boasting.

(a) The word which he uses signifies a mind so steady and established that it cannot be moved by any terror or fear.

2 Corinthians 9:4. Lest perhaps, etc.; this is to be guarded against by the παρεσκευασμένοι ἦτε.

ἐὰν ἔλθωσι κ.τ.λ.] if there shall have come, etc., namely, as giving escort after the fashion of the ancient church. See Acts 17:14-15, al.; 2 Corinthians 1:16; 1 Corinthians 16:6; Romans 15:24.

Μακεδόνες] Macedonians without the articl.

ἀπαρασκευάστους] not in readiness (often in Xen., as Anab. i. 5. 9); ἀπαράσκευος is more frequent, and the two words are often interchanged in the MSS.; see Bornemann, ad Xen. Anab. 1:1. 6. Here it is equivalent to: so that you are not ready to hand over the money; the expression is purposely chosen in reference to 2 Corinthians 9:2.

ἡμεῖς] see 2 Corinthians 9:3. But because this being put to shame in the case supposed would have involved the Corinthians as its originators, Paul with tender delicacy (not serene pleasantry, as Olshausen thinks), moving the sense of honour of the readers, adds parenthetically: ἵνα μὴ λέγωμεν ὑμεῖς.

ἐν τῇ ὑποστάσει ταύτῃ] in respect of this confidence, according to which we have maintained that you were in readiness. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:17; Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 11:1; LXX. Psalm 39:7; Ezekiel 19:5; Ruth 1:12; and passages in Wetstein; Suicer, Thes. II. p. 1398. So Calvin, Beza, Erasmus Schmid, Calovius, Wolf, Bengel, Rosenmüller, and others, including de Wette, Osiander, Hofmann. But others take it as quite equivalent to ἐν τῷ μέρει τούτῳ, 2 Corinthians 9:3 : in hac materia, in hoc argumento (gloriationis). Comp. Vulgate: in hac substantia. So Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, Castalio, Estius, Kypke, Munthe, and others, including Schrader, Rückert, Olshausen, Ewald. Linguistically correct, no doubt (Polyb. iv. 2.1; Casaubon, ad Polyb. i. 5. 3, p. 111; Diodorus, i. 3; comp. also Hebrews 1:3, and Bleek, Heb. Br. II. 1, p. 61 f.), but here a point quite unnecessary to be mentioned. And why should we depart from the meaning: confidence, when this is certain in the usage of the N. T., and here, as at 2 Corinthians 11:17, is strikingly appropriate? The insertion of ἵνα μὴ λ. ὑμεῖς forms no objection (this in opposition to Rückert), since certainly the putting to shame of the apostle in regard to his confidence would have been laid to the blame of the Corinthians, because they would have frustrated this confidence; hence there is not even ground for referring that insertion merely to καταισχ. exclusive of ἐν τ. ὑποστ. τ. (Hofmann). Lastly, the explanation of Grotius: in hoc fundamento meae jactationis, has likewise, doubtless, some support in linguistic usage (Diodor. i. 66, xiii. 82, al.; LXX. Psalm 69:2; Jeremiah 23:22, al.), but falls to the ground, because τῆς καυχ. is not genuine.

2 Corinthians 9:4. μή πως ἐὰν ἔλθωσι κ.τ.λ.: lest by any means, if there come with me any of Macedonia (not “they of Macedonia,” as A.V.; it is probably a fair inference from this verse that the unnamed “brethren” of 2 Corinthians 8:18; 2 Corinthians 8:22 were not Macedonians), and find you unprepared, i.e., with the collection still incomplete, we—that we say not, ye (which is what he really wishes to convey to them)—should be put to shame in this confidence, i.e., should be shamed because of our exaggerated statements. ὑπόστασις = substratum or substance (Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 11:1) is sometimes used in the LXX as = “ground of hope” (Ruth 1:12, Psalm 38:6, Ezekiel 19:5), and thus it came to mean “confidence,” as here (see reff.).

4. lest haply] The earlier editions have happily (paraventure, Tyndale), with the same meaning as in the text.

they of Macedonia] We should rather say in English any Macedonians. From this it has been inferred that the brethren sent previously were not Macedonians. See ch. 2 Corinthians 8:17-24.

we (that we say not, you)] The ‘we’ is emphatic. We have another instance here of what we might call the gentlemanly instinct of the Apostle. See note on ch. 2 Corinthians 7:3. ‘I should be ashamed of my confidence, and, might I not add, you also would be ashamed that I should have expressed it.’

confident boasting] The word ‘boasting’ is omitted by most recent editors. It is absent from the best MSS. and versions, and has probably been introduced from ch. 2 Corinthians 11:17. The rendering in this case must be ‘in this confidence’ i.e. which I have had in you. Some would render by ‘foundation’ or ‘substance’ (in hoc substantia, Vulg.), the latter being the literal rendering of the word (see Hebrews 11:1, also 2 Corinthians 1:3 where it is translated person); but in Hebrews 3:14, as in Classical Greek and in the LXX., it means and is rendered confidence. It means originally (1) that on which one takes one’s stand; or (2) that which stands beneath us. Hence in later Greek theology it came to mean person, as the underlying entity at the root of all apparent being. Compare our English words understand, understanding, which however, like the Latin substantia, have had a different history, and have arrived at a different signification.

2 Corinthians 9:4. Ὑμεῖς, ye) much more so [you would feel still more ashamed than we].—ὑποστάσει, stedfast confidence) [concerning your liberality], ch. 2 Corinthians 11:17.

Verse 4. - They of Macedonia; rather, Macedonians; i.e. any friends from Macedonia (Acts 20:4). Shall Achaians have to blush before Macedonians? We, that we say not ye. Nothing can exceed the delicacy of this touch. St. Paul asks them to be ready with their contributions for his sake, not for their own; that he may not have to blush for his generous words respecting them, whereas really the discredit would be simply theirs. Confident boasting; rather, confidence. The reading "of boasting" is not genuine here. For the word hypostasis in the sense of "confidence," see 2 Corinthians 11:17; Hebrews 3:4. The use of the word to represent the "Persons" of the Blessed Trinity is later. The other sense of the word, "substance" (or underlying base of attributes), is found in Hebrews 1:3. 2 Corinthians 9:4Confident boasting (ὑποστάσει)

Primarily something put under, foundation, ground; so substance (sub, stans, standing under), substantial quality: thence steadiness, confidence. Compare Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 11:1. In the Septuagint the word represents fifteen different Hebrew words.

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