Philippians 2:26
For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that you had heard that he had been sick.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) For he longed after you all. . . .—The two clauses of the verse are distinct from each other. St. Paul’s first reason for sending Epaphroditus was in itself a sufficient one, that in his convalescence he yearned for home, and needed a change thither. The original is strong, because he was continually longing (see Philippians 1:8; Philippians 4:1) for you all. But besides this he was “full of heaviness,” or more properly, distressed and uneasy, because of the effect which the news of his apparently fatal illness might cause at home.

2:19-30 It is best with us, when our duty becomes natural to us. Naturally, that is, sincerely, and not in pretence only; with a willing heart and upright views. We are apt to prefer our own credit, ease, and safety, before truth, holiness, and duty; but Timothy did not so. Paul desired liberty, not that he might take pleasure, but that he might do good. Epaphroditus was willing to go to the Philippians, that he might be comforted with those who had sorrowed for him when he was sick. It seems, his illness was caused by the work of God. The apostle urges them to love him the more on that account. It is doubly pleasant to have our mercies restored by God, after great danger of their removal; and this should make them more valued. What is given in answer to prayer, should be received with great thankfulness and joy.For he longed after you all - He was desirous to see you all, and to relieve your anxiety in regard to his safety. 26. For—reason for thinking it "necessary to send" "Epaphroditus. Translate as Greek, "Inasmuch as he was longing after you all."

full of heaviness—The Greek expresses the being worn out and overpowered with heavy grief.

because that ye had heard that he had been sick—rather, "that he was sick." He felt how exceedingly saddened you would be in hearing it; and he now is hastening to relieve your minds of the anxiety.

For he longed after you all; he gives them the first reason of his present sending, not that Epaphroditus was unwilling to stay longer with him, but because he was greatly concerned for all of them of the church at Philippi, who had his heart, as they had Paul’s, Philippians 1:8 4:1 Romans 1:11; solicitous to be with them to do their souls good.

And was full of heaviness; especially, considering their great affection to him, whom they had intrusted in this service, he was in such distress for them, that his spirits were even ready to fail him {as Matthew 26:37} from sympathy, 2 Corinthians 11:29.

Because that ye had heard that he had been sick; knowing how much the certain report of his dangerous sickness in those circumstances, when they could understand nothing of his recovery, would affect them. For he longed after you,.... This verse and Philippians 2:28 contain the reasons of the apostle's sending him; and the first is, because he had a very vehement and longing desire after all of them; to see them, as the Syriac and Ethiopic versions add, and as it is read in the Alexandrian and Claromontane copies, and in others: it was not the city of Philippi he longed to see, which might be his native place, nor his natural relations and family, but the church there; and not the officers of it only, the bishops and deacons, but all the members of it, rich and poor, high and low, strong and weak believers:

and was full of heaviness: almost pressed down, quite disheartened and dispirited, ready to sink and die away, not so much with his own disorder and illness, as with sorrow on account of the church at Philippi:

because that ye had heard that he had been sick: he understood that the news of his sickness had reached them, and he knew how distressing it would be to them, that it would cut them to the heart, and press them heavily, fearing they should never see his face, nor hear his voice more. We have here an instance of that mutual love, tender affection and sympathy; which were in the first churches, and what subsisted between ministers and people; see how they loved one another! but, alas! this first love is left.

For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Php 2:26. State of mind (ἦν with participle) of Epaphroditus, which supplied the motive for the ἀναγκ. ἡγησ. κ.τ.λ.[141]

The imperfect is used (ἦν), because Paul transports himself to the time when the readers shall receive this epistle. Then is Epaphroditus again among them; but he was previously longing, etc.

ἀδημονῶν] in anxiety. Comp. on Matthew 26:37.

ὅτι ἠσθ.] that he was sick. How the Philippians received this information, remains an open question, as also how Epaphroditus learned that they had heard it.

[141] The supposition that Paul, in specifying this ground, wished to prevent the so speedy return of the man from being interpreted to his disadvantage (Hofmann), assumes the existence of a certain distrust, for which there is no basis in the text. Besides, Epaphroditus had in fact accomplished the purpose of his mission.Php 2:26. ἐπειδή. Only three times elsewhere in Paul. The difference between it and ἐπεί is tersely stated by Ell[7]. (ad loc.), who notes that it “involves the quasi-temporal reference which is supplied by δή, and thus expresses a thing that at once ensues (temporarily or causally) on the occurrence or realisation of another”.—ἐπιπ. ἦν. A common N.T. construction. Perhaps the use of the imperfect may be due to Aramaic influence (see Schmid, Atticismus, iii., p. 113 ff.). In classical Greek it is fairly frequent with the perfect and pluperfect. See Kühner, Ausführl. Gramm., ii., p. 35, n. 3—πάντας. The Apostle wishes to disarm all prejudices against Epaphr.—ἀδημονῶν. “In sore anguish.” In its two other occurrences in N.T. it describes the agony in Gethsemane. While not found in LXX (but several exx. in Symmachus) it occurs a few times in later Greek. The derivations usually given are doubtful.—ἠκούσατε. Probably we must suppose that the Philippians, on hearing that Epaphrod. was ill, had written a letter to which this is the answer.—ἠσθένησε. We might translate, “had fallen sick,” an ingressive aorist. But with the same tense in Php 2:27, perhaps it is better to look upon the aorist as summing up the whole experience of Epaphrod. as a single fact, and viewing it in this light. This is a common Greek usage (see Burton, MT[8]., p. 20).

[7] Ellicott.

[8] . Moods and Tenses (Burton, Goodwin).26. For] Here lay the “necessity,” in St Paul’s view, of his friend’s return to the Philippians; in Epaphroditus’ longing for them, and their love and anxiety in regard of him.

he longed] The Greek is full and emphatic, he was (in a state of) longing, of home-sickness. See note on Php 1:8.—Doubtless the feeling was a recent if not a present one; and in an English letter we should say accordingly, “he has been in a home-sick condition.”

after you all] A reading which has considerable support is “to see you all.” The precise phrase thus formed occurs Romans 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Timothy 1:4. Perhaps this is a reason for deciding against it here, as it might be a transcriber’s reminiscence.

Observe the still recurring “you all.” Epaphroditus may have been in some way involved in those differences between sets and circles at Philippi (see above, on Php 1:27, &c.) which gave St Paul anxiety. So he emphasizes Epaphroditus’ impartial affection for them.

was full of heaviness] Better, [has been] sore troubled. The word is used of our blessed Lord’s “sore trouble” in the Garden, Matthew 26:37; Mark 14:33. By derivation (see Lightfoot here) it probably suggests the restlessness of profound dislike, shrinking from loathed pain or grief.—We see a character of great sensitiveness and tenderness.

ye had heard, &c.] An English letter-writer would more naturally, say you have heard that he has been ill. The reference is to comparative recency, and present results. See Introduction, p. 16.Php 2:26.[27] Ἀδημονῶν) Hesychius has, ἀδημονῶν, ἀγωνιῶν· ἀδημονῶ, ἀκηδιῶ, ἀγωνιῶ. Ἀκηδιῶν, worn out with grief. Acedia, languor in spiritual things.—ἠκούσατε, ye have heard) and on that account have been anxious.

[27] Ἐπιποθῶν, longing for) Something of nature may have been mixed up with this; but when grace is the predominant element, all things are estimated by love.—V. g.Verse 26. - For he longed after you all. The verb is strengthened by the preposition: "was eagerly longing." Perhaps it should be rendered. he "is longing;" like "I count it necessary," in Ver. 25. And was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. "Full of heaviness" (ἀδημονῶν) is the word used of our blessed Lord in his agony (Matthew 26:37). Some derive it from ἄδημος, he away from home; others, more probably, from ἄδην, in the sense of loathing, weariness, satiety. The word implies heart-sickness, restless; unsatisfied weariness, produced by some overwhelming distress. Was full of heaviness (ἦν ἀδημονῶν)

Rev., was sore troubled. Used of Christ in Gethsemane, Matthew 26:27.

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