Hebrews 12:15
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
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(15) Lest any man fail.—Rather, whether any one be falling back from the grace of God. The defection of one member of the community brings loss and danger to the whole body. The last words of Hebrews 10:26 will show what is implied in this “falling back from the grace of God.”

Any root of bitterness.—It is clear that Deuteronomy 29:18, though not formally quoted, is before the writer’s mind. In that chapter Moses had again brought before the people the covenant which, nearly forty years before, had been made and ratified “in Horeb” (see Hebrews 9:18-20). With especial solemnity he sets before them the sin and terrible punishment of idolatry, “Lest there should be among you man or woman . . . whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood.” The marginal note on the last words (“poisonful herb”) explains their true meaning—that which springs from the root is not merely bitter, it is also poisonous. Again, therefore (see Hebrews 10:27-28; Hebrews 10:30), the apostasy to which the Hebrew Christians were tempted is compared with the sin committed by those who by idolatry fell away from God’s ancient covenant; and as one idol-worshipper in a community might bring into it a root of bitter poison, so one apostate from the Christian faith would bring trouble and defilement on the Church. In Acts 8:23 St. Peter makes reference to the same chapter of Deuteronomy as he speaks to Simon Magus, who, above all other men, proved a root of bitter poison in the early Church.

Many.—Rather, the many (according to the best reading)—i.e., the whole community.

Hebrews 12:15-16. Looking diligently — With the greatest attention, watchfulness, and care, for yourselves and each other; for Christ hath ordained that the members of the same church or society should mutually watch over one another, and the whole body over all the members, to their mutual edification; lest any man fail of the grace of God — That is, come short of it, or do not obtain it, as the same verb is rendered, Romans 3:23. It means also to be deficient in any thing, Matthew 19:20; sometimes to come behind, 1 Corinthians 1-7; and sometimes to be destitute, Hebrews 11:37; which different senses of the expression are nearly allied to each other, and seem all to be here included; lest any root of bitterness springing up, trouble you — The apostle here alludes to Deuteronomy 29:18, Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away from the Lord, lest there should be a root that beareth gall and wormwood; and he primarily intends, lest there be any person whose heart is inclined to apostacy from the gospel. He may mean, however, also, lest any evil disposition, such as covetousness, ambition, anger, malice, envy, revenge, should spring up in any person or number of persons, and destroy the peace and harmony of the Christian society. In general, any corruption, either in doctrine or practice, is a root of bitterness, which, springing up, would trouble others, and might defile many. See note on Deuteronomy 29:18. Lest there be any fornicator — Lest any, not following after universal holiness, should be suffered to fall even into gross sin, particularly that of fornication, a sin which is most directly and particularly opposed to that holiness which the apostle has been exhorting the believing Hebrews to press after, as an attainment without which they should not see the Lord; or profane person — One who treats sacred things with contempt, or who despiseth or makes light of spiritual blessings; who neglects God’s worship, speaks irreverently of him, and of his word and ordinances; and who, in the whole of his behaviour, shows that he has no just sense of God and his attributes, or of religion, and therefore is ranked among the most flagitious sinners, 1 Timothy 1:9. As Esau — “We do not read that Esau was a fornicator, nor does the apostle say that he was addicted to that vice. By putting a comma after the word fornicator, and by connecting the words, or profane person, with what follows, Esau will be called only a profane person: this he showed himself to be by selling his birthright for a mess of pottage. It is true, Jacob proposed to him to sell these, not, however, as taking advantage of his necessity, but,” as Macknight thinks, “because he had heard him on former occasions speak contemptuously of his birthrights. For what else could put it into Jacob’s mind to make the proposition? Therefore, when, instead of going into his father’s tent, where he might have got food, Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, he showed the greatest profanity; for in the family of Abraham the birthright entitled the eldest son to spiritual as well as temporal privileges; he had a right to the priesthood, Exodus 19:22; and to a double portion, Deuteronomy 21:17; and was lord over his brethren, Genesis 27:29; Genesis 27:37; Genesis 49:3. Further, in that family the firstborn, as the root of the people of God, conveyed to his posterity all the blessings promised in the covenant: such as a right to possess the land of Canaan, and to be the father of him in whom all nations were to be blessed, and to explain and confirm these promises to his children in his dying blessing to them, of which we have a remarkable example in Jacob, Genesis 49.” See note on Genesis 25:29-34.

12:12-17 A burden of affliction is apt to make the Christian's hands hang down, and his knees grow feeble, to dispirit him and discourage him; but against this he must strive, that he may better run his spiritual race and course. Faith and patience enable believers to follow peace and holiness, as a man follows his calling constantly, diligently, and with pleasure. Peace with men, of all sects and parties, will be favourable to our pursuit of holiness. But peace and holiness go together; there can be not right peace without holiness. Where persons fail of having the true grace of God, corruption will prevail and break forth; beware lest any unmortified lust in the heart, which seems to be dead, should spring up, to trouble and disturb the whole body. Falling away from Christ is the fruit of preferring the delights of the flesh, to the blessing of God, and the heavenly inheritance, as Esau did. But sinners will not always have such mean thoughts of the Divine blessing and inheritance as they now have. It agrees with the profane man's disposition, to desire the blessing, yet to despise the means whereby the blessing is to be gained. But God will neither sever the means from the blessing, nor join the blessing with the satisfying of man's lusts. God's mercy and blessing were never sought carefully and not obtained.Looking diligently - This phrase implies close attention. It is implied that there are reasons why we should take special care. Those reasons are found in the propensities of our hearts to evil; in the temptations of the world; in the allurements to apostasy presented by the great adversary of our souls.

Lest any man fail - As every man is in danger, it is his personal duty to see to it that his salvation be secure.

Fail of the grace of God - Margin, "fail from." The Greek is, "lest any one be wanting or lacking" - ὑστερῶν husterōn. There is no intimation in the words used here that they already had grace and might fall away - whatever might he true about that - but that there was danger that they might be found at last to be deficient in that religion which was necessary to save them. Whether this was to be by losing the religion which they now had, or by the fact that they never had any however near they may have come to it - the apostle does not here intimate, and this passage should not be used in the discussion of the question about failing from grace. It is a proper exhortation to be addressed to any man in the church or out of it, to inquire diligently whether there is not reason to apprehend that when he comes to appear before God he will be found to be wholly destitute of religion.

Lest any root of bitterness springing up - Any bitter root. There is doubtless an allusion here to Deuteronomy 29:18. "Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood." The allusion there is to those who were idolaters, and who instead of bearing the fruits of righteousness, and promoting the piety and happiness of the nation, would bear the fruits of idolatry, and spread abroad irreligion and sin. The allusion, in both cases, is to a bitter plant springing up among those that were cultivated for ornament or use, or to a tree bearing bitter and poisonous fruit, among those that produced good fruit. The reference of the apostle is to some person who should produce a similar effect in the church - to one who should inculcate false doctrines; or who should apostatize; or who should lead an unholy life, and thus be the means of corrupting and destroying others. They were to be at especial pains that no such person should start up from among themselves, or be tolerated by them.

Trouble you - By his doctrines and example.

And thereby many be defiled - Led away from the faith and corrupted. One wicked man, and especially one hypocrite in the church, may be the means of destroying many others.

15. lest any … fall—Greek, "lest any (namely, through sloth in running) failing," or "falling short of the grace of God … trouble you." The image is taken from a company of travellers, one of whom lags behind, and so never reaches the end of the long and laborious journey [Chrysostom].

root of bitterness—not merely a "bitter root," which might possibly bring forth sweet fruits; this, a root whose essence is "bitterness," never could. Paul here refers to De 29:18, "Lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood" (compare Ac 8:23). Root of bitterness comprehends every person (compare Heb 12:16) and every principle of doctrine or practice so radically corrupt as to spread corruption all around. The only safety is in rooting out such a root of bitterness.

many—rather, "the many," that is, the whole congregation. So long as it is hidden under the earth it cannot be remedied, but when it "springs up," it must be dealt with boldly. Still remember the caution (Mt 13:26-30) as to rooting out persons. No such danger can arise in rooting out bad principles.

To further their pursuit of peace and holiness, he metaphorically proposeth a caution against what might stop them in it, which he properly specifieth and exemplifieth in Esau, Hebrews 12:15-17.

Looking diligently: episkopountev notes a very strict and severe inspecting themselves; its primitive, skopein, signifieth such a looking to a thing, as those who, in shooting, aim at the mark; and the preposition adds intention to the action, signifying a most earnest care in Christians over themselves, in them over others, and in ministers over them all.

Lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any person among them should fail of grace offered in the gospel to it, and never have it, Titus 2:11,12; or apostatize from the profession of it, by seduction or persecution, Hebrews 4:1 10:38 2 Corinthians 6:1: compare Galatians 1:6 3:3.

Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you; a metaphor borrowed from plants, to which roots are proper, and which was used by Moses before, Deu 29:18: a root bearing a poisonful herb; intending by it such persons, whose nature, words, and works, are so bitter unto God, as gall and wormwood are to men; such as apostatized from God to idols. The apostle intending hereby the hindering the springing up and growing of errors, heresies, or immoralities, as profaneness, filthiness, &c., which are apt to infect churches, and, as they spread, to molest, trouble, and disturb them, and to keep them from pursuing holiness, Hebrews 3:8 Hosea 12:14 Galatians 1:7 Jam 3:14.

And thereby many be defiled; lest by but one such poisonous root, a whole church of Christians may be infected and poisoned, their sin being as apt to spread and diffuse itself, as leaven, 1 Corinthians 5:6, to taint the whole lump, Galatians 5:9: and how early, even in the apostles’ time, for want of obeying this caution, were the primitive churches corrupted, both in doctrine and morals, by loose, filthy heretics among them!

Looking diligently,.... Acting the part of bishops, or overseers, as the word signifies; and so this exhortation either respects officers of the church of the Hebrews, whose business it was more especially to inspect into the principles and practices of the members of it, and take care that they did not imbibe false doctrines, or live immoral lives; or rather the several members of the church, whose business it is to watch over one another, since this epistle seems to be written to the whole church.

Lest any man fail of the grace of God; not the free favour and love of God in Christ, which is everlasting, unchangeable, and from whence there is no separation; nor the grace of God implanted in the heart in regeneration, which is incorruptible, never failing, but always remains, as do faith, hope, and love; but either the whole doctrine of the Gospel, which is a declaration of the grace of God; or particularly the doctrine of free justification by the righteousness of Christ, which men may receive in vain, and fall from, 2 Corinthians 6:1 to which these Hebrews might be prone: and such "fail" of it, who either come short of it, do not come up to it, receive and embrace it; or who having professed it, drop it and deny it: now such should be looked after, and such a case should be diligently looked into; because the glory of God, the honour of Christ, the good of souls, and the well being, and even the continuance of the church state are concerned:

lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; the Alexandrian copy reads , "the many", the common people, the private members of the church; though it may intend either things or persons: it may design things; and these either the corruption of nature in general, which is a root that lies hidden in a man's heart; and is a root or gall of bitterness; and is apt to spring up, and bring forth bitter fruit, and gives trouble both to a man's self and others; and is of a defiling nature, in particular sins; such as malice, strife, and contention, covetousness, lust, pride, oppression, idleness, &c. which make bitter work, and occasion great trouble in churches, oftentimes: or errors and heresies, which sometimes, like roots, lie under ground, secret and undiscovered; and are bitter ones in their effects, bringing ruin and swift destruction on the souls of men; and these sometimes spring up in churches, while ministers and members are asleep, or not so diligent and watchful as they should be; and occasion great trouble, and are very infectious, and defiling: moreover, persons may be designed; which agrees well with Deuteronomy 29:18 from whence this phrase is taken; and with the instance in the following verse, such as all immoral persons, and false teachers, particularly self-justiciaries, that preach the doctrine of justification by the works of the law: this was the capital mistake, and rooted error of the Jewish nation; and a bitter one it was; it produced many bitter fruits of pride and vain glory; and this sprung up in the church, and troubled and defiled many there and elsewhere, being spread by the abettors of it; see Acts 15:24. Now, care should be taken, that no such person be in churches, holding such an error; because of the glory of God, Father, Son, and Spirit; the comfort of souls; the peace of the church, and the growth and increase of it, which must be hurt by such men and doctrines; so , "a sinful root", is used for a "wicked man", in the Apocrypha:

"In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying, Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us: for since we departed from them we have had much sorrow.'' (1 Maccabees 1:11)

and , "a root of bitterness", signifies, in Jewish writings (u), an error, or heresy, in opposition to a root of faith, or a fundamental doctrine.

(u) Cosri, Orat. 1. fol. 35. 1.

{10} Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any {f} root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

(10) We must study to edify one another both in doctrine and example of life.

(f) That no heresy, or backsliding be an offence.

Hebrews 12:15-16. Further amplification of διώκετε τὸν ἁγιασμόν, Hebrews 12:14. That endeavour after holiness is not only to be in active exercise in the case of each one with regard to his own person; it is also, in equal degree, to be watchful that the Christian brethren preserve themselves free from immorality.

The subject in ἐπισκοποῦντες consists, as in διώκετε, Hebrews 12:14, with which the participle is conjoined, of all members of the congregation, not specially the presidents thereof (Hebrews 13:17) or ἐπίσκοποι (Böhme); and ἐπισκοπεῖν signifies: to direct one’s view to a thing with close attention or solicitude.

μή τις ὑστερῶν ἀπὸ τῆς χάριτος τοῦ θεοῦ] is no independent clause, so that would have to be supplemented (so the majority, as also Böhme, Tholuck, Bloomfield, Ebrard, and Maier). For the choice of the tempus periphrasticum would be here unnatural and justified by nothing.[119] The words are a mere introducing of the subject, which is then further resumed by μή τις ῥίζα κ.τ.λ., in such wise that ἘΝΟΧΛῇ forms the common predicate to both parts of the sentence introduced by ΜΉ (Heinrichs, Bleek, de Wette, Delitzsch, Alford, Kurtz, Ewald).

ΜΉ ΤΙς ὙΣΤΕΡῶΝ Κ.Τ.Λ.] that no one, in that he remains far from the grace of God, i.e. in that he turns the back upon the grace of God which was afforded him in Christ, by immorality withdraws from it, and loses it (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). The unusual ὑστερεῖν ἀπό τινος is consequently by no means equivalent in signification to the ordinary ὙΣΤΕΡΕῖΝ ΤΙΝΟς. While the latter would represent the coming short of the possession of the divine grace absolutely, as an objective result, the former includes the idea of voluntary activity or of one’s own culpability. Comp. Sir 7:34 : ΜῊ ὙΣΤΈΡΕΙ ἈΠῸ ΚΛΑΙΌΝΤΩΝ. Analogously stands also the mere ὙΣΤΕΡΕῖΝ, Numbers 9:7 : ΜῊ ΟὖΝ ὙΣΤΕΡΉΣΩΜΕΝ ΠΡΟΣΕΝΈΓΚΑΙ ΤῸ ΔῶΡΟΝ ΚΥΡΊῼ. Numbers 9:13 : ἌΝΘΡΩΠΟς, ὋςὙΣΤΕΡΉΣῌ ΠΟΙῆΣΑΙ ΤῸ ΠΆΣΧΑ.

ΜΉ ΤΙς ῬΊΖΑ ΠΙΚΡΊΑς ἌΝΩ ΦΎΟΥΣΑ ἘΝΟΧΛῇ] that, I say, no root (plant) of bitterness (of which the fruit is bitterness)—i.e. a man[120] in whom, in consequence of his unholy walk, the bitter fruit of everlasting perdition is ripening—growing up (as in the case of a plant, of which the root was before covered with earth) cause trouble or disquiet (to the congregation). The words are moulded after the LXX. of Deuteronomy 29:18, according to the corrupted text of the Cod. Alexandr.: μή τις ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν ῥίζα πικρίας ἄνω φύουσα ἐνοχλῇ καὶ πικρὶα (distorted from the original text contained in the Cod. Vatic.: μή τις ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν ῥίζα ἄνω φύουσα ἐν χολῇ καὶ πικρίᾳ). That the reading in the Cod. Alex. of the LXX. only arose from a regard to our passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Jos. Hallet, Wolf, Delitzsch, Hofmann, and others) is not probable, since the author elsewhere in the O. T. citations follows the form of text in the Cod. Alex.

πικρίας] Chrysostom: οὐκ εἶπε πικρά, ἀλλὰ πικρίας· τὴν μὲν γὰρ πικρὰν ῥίζαν ἔστι καρποὺς ἐνεγκεῖν γλυκεῖς, τὴν δὲ πικρίας ῥίζανοὐκ ἔστι ποτὲ γλυκὺν ἐνεγκεῖν καρπόν· πάντα γάρ ἐστι πικρά, οὐδὲν ἔχει ἡδύ, πάντα πικρά, πάντα ἀηδῆ, πάντα μίσους καὶ βδελυγμίας γέμοντα.

ἐνοχλεῖν] in the N. T. only here (and Luke 6:18?).

καὶ διʼ αὐτῆς μιανθῶσιν οἱ πολλοί] and by it the many (the multitude or the great mass) become defiled (namely, by infection), i.e. likewise led astray into an unholy walk. Comp. Galatians 5:9.

[119] Hofmann will on that account have indeed added in thought, but then have this explained not as a mere copula, but in the sense: there being present.

[120] Comp. 1Ma 1:10 : καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἐξ αὐτῶν ῥίζα ἁμαρτωλός, Ἀντίοχος Ἐπιφανής.

Hebrews 12:15. ἐπισκοποῦντες μή τις ὑστερῶν … “watching” “taking the oversight” (thoroughly scrutinising as in the case of sick persons,” Chrys.) addressed not to the teachers or rulers but to all. The object of this supervision is to prevent the defection of any one of their number. “As if they were travelling together on some long journey, in a large company, he says, Take heed that no man be left behind; I do not seek this only, that ye may arrive yourselves, but also that ye should look diligently after the others” (Chrys.), and cf. M. Arnold’s In Rugby Chapel. μή τις ὑστερῶν … may be construed either by supplying , or by supposing a break at θεοῦ (so Davidson), or by carrying on the τις ὑστερῶν to ἐνοχλῇ. The simplest seems to be the first: “lest any be failing (= fail) of the grace of God,” i.e., lest he never reach the blessings which the grace of God offers. Cf. Hebrews 4:1. Another contingency to be guarded against by careful watching is expressed in μή τις ῥίζα πικρίας … words borrowed from Deuteronomy 29:18, μή τίς ἐστιν ἐν ὑμῖν ῥίζα ἄνω φύουσα ἐν χολῇ καὶ πικρίᾳ, “lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you”. As in Deuteronomy so here the bitter root which might spring up and bring forth its poisonous fruit among them, was one of their own members who might lead them astray or introduce evil practises and so the whole community [οἱ πολλοί] might be defiled [μιανθῶσιν], i.e., rendered unfit for that approach to God and fellowship with Him to which they were urged in the preceding verse. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, Galatians 5:9, where also it is a person that is referred to.

15. lest any man fail of the grace of God] Lit. “whether there be any man who is falling short of,” or possibly “falling back from the grace of God.” We have already noticed that not improbably the writer has in view some one individual instance of a tendency towards apostasy, which might have a fatal influence upon other weary or wavering brethren (comp. Hebrews 3:12).

lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you] The words “root of bitterness” are a reference to Deuteronomy 29:18, “a root that beareth gall and wormwood,” or, as in the margin, “a poisonful herb.” Here the LXX. in the Vatican MS. has ἐν χολῇ, “in gall,” for ἐνοχλῇ, “should trouble you.” But the Alexandrian ms., which the writer habitually follows in his quotations, has ἐνοχλῇ. Some have supposed that there is a curious allusion to this verse, and to the reading “in gall” in the apparent reference to this Epistle by the Muratorian canon as “the Epistle to the Alexandrians current under the name of Paul, but forged in the interests of Marcion’s heresy,” which adds that “gall ought not to be mixed with honey.” The allusion is, however, very doubtful.

many be defiled] Rather, “the many.” Comp. 1 Corinthians 5:6 (“a little leaven”); 1 Corinthians 15:33 (“evil communications”); Galatians 5:9.

Hebrews 12:15. Μή τις ὑστερῶν, lest any one should fail) through sloth in running.—μή τις ῥίζα πικρίας ἄνω φύουσα ἐνοχλῇ, lest any root of bitterness springing above [upwards] trouble you) Deuteronomy 29:18, LXX., lest any root of bitterness be in you, springing up in gall and bitterness. But the apostle wrote for ἐν χολῇ (in gall), ἐνοχλῇ, in exactly as many letters (though transposed). Ἐνοχλῇ may even formerly have been introduced in the LXX.: or the apostle first may have thus written. At all events, the expression has been thus appropriately inflected, to the recommendation of the study of peace. The apostle did not write ἐν χολῇ, as the transposition of the πικρίας [ῥίζα πικρίας, instead of ῥίζαἐνπικρίᾳ, in Deut.] shows. In the Hebrew, the man who thinks very wickedly is himself called שרש, a root, which also agrees with the context of the apostle. Sweet peace is utterly destroyed by bitterness. The adverb above (upwards) is opposed to root, which is below; comp. Isaiah 37:31.—πολλοὶ, many) Deuteronomy 29:19, “to add the drunken to (with) the thirsty,” namely, soil or ground, [answering to root, which is metaphorical. Wet and thirsty land answers to drunkenness and thirst.]

Verse 15. - Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God (i.e. fall short of it; or, ὑστερῶν being here followed by ἀπὸ, the idea may be rather that of falling back from it); lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many (or, according to the more probable reading, the many, i.e. the general community) be defiled. In this, the usual rendering of the verse, is supplied, so as to make μήτις ὑστερῶν mean "lest there be any one that fails." But this is not necessary; the verb ἐνοχλῇ ("trouble you") may be common both to the first μήτις and to μήτις ῤίζα, thus: "Lest any one failing... lest any root... trouble you." The sentence may have been broken off after its first clause in order to bring in the appropriate quotation from Deuteronomy 29:18, which in our A.V. runs thus: "Lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood." The Vatican text of the LXX. has Μήτις ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν ῤίζα ἄνω φύουσα ἐν χολῇ καὶ πικρίᾳ: the Alexandrian, which seems to be followed here, has Μήτις ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν δίζα πικοίας ἄνω φύουσα ἐκογλῆ καὶ πικρίᾳ. The reference in the speech of Moses is to the future possibility of any "man, or we man, or family, or tribe" turning from the LORD to go and serve the gods of the nations, and so involving, not only themselves, but even the whole people in a curse. The figure is that of a plant being allowed to grow of such a nature at its root as to bear bitter and pernicious fruit. There is no special allusion in the word "bitterness" to disturbance of "peace" by dissensions; for this is not the idea in the original passage, nor is it carried out in the following verses of the Epistle. (Cf. Acts 8:23, "Thou art in the gall of bitterness (εἰς χολὴν πικρίας)") Hebrews 12:15Looking diligently (ἐπισκοποῦντες)

A.V. gives diligently as the force of ἐπὶ; but ἐπὶ signifies direction rather than intensity. The idea is exercising oversight. Only here and 1 Peter 5:2.

Fail of (ὑστερῶν ἀπὸ)

Rend. "fall back from," implying a previous attainment. The present participle marks something in progress: "lest any one be falling back."

Root of bitterness (ῥίζα πικρίας)

From lxx, Deuteronomy 29:18. A bad man in the church. Ῥίζα of a person, 1 Macc. 1:10.

Springing up (ἄνω φύουσα)

The participle pictures the springing up in progress; the root gradually revealing its pernicious character.

Trouble (ἐνοχλῇ)

Only here and Luke 6:18, see note.

Many be defiled (μιανθῶσιν οἱ πολλοί)

Rend. "the many": the majority of the church. For the verb see on John 18:28.

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