Vincent Word Studies - 2 Corinthians 2:14 - 2:14

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Vincent Word Studies - 2 Corinthians 2:14 - 2:14

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Causeth to triumph (θριαμβεύοντι)

This rendering is inadmissible, the word being habitually used with the accusative (direct objective) case of the person or thing triumphed over, and never of the triumphing subject. Hence, to lead in triumph. It occurs only here and Col 2:15. It is not found in any Greek author later than Paul's date. It is derived from θρίαμβος a hymn to Bacchus, sung in festal processions, and was used to denote the Roman “triumph,” celebrated by victorious generals on their return from their campaigns. The general entered the city in a chariot, preceded by the captives and spoils taken in war, and followed by his troops, and proceeded in state along the sacred way to the Capitol, where he offered sacrifices in the temple of Jupiter. He was accompanied in his chariot by his young children, and sometimes by confidential friends, while behind him stood a slave, holding over his head a jewelled crown. The body of the infantry brought up the rear, their spears adorned with laurel. They shouted “triumph!” and sang hymns in praise of the gods or of their leader. Paul describes himself and the other subjects of Christ's grace under the figure of this triumphal pomp, in which they are led as trophies of the Redeemer's conquest. Render, as Rev., which always leadeth us in triumph in Christ. Compare 2Co 10:5.

The savor of His knowledge

According to the Greek usage, savor and knowledge are in apposition, so that the knowledge of Christ is symbolized as an odor communicating its nature and efficacy through the apostle's work, “permeating the world as a cloud of frankincense” (Stanley). For a similar usage see on 2Co 1:22. The idea of the Roman triumph is still preserved in this figure. On these occasions the temples were all thrown open, garlands of flowers decorated every shrine and image, and incense smoked on every altar, so that the victor was greeted with a cloud of perfume. Compare Aeschylus on the festivities at the return of Agamemnon from Troy:

“The altars blaze with gifts;

And here and there, heaven high the torch uplifts

Flame, - medicated with persuasions mild,

With foul admixture unbeguiled -

Of holy unguent, from the clotted chrism

Brought from the palace, safe in its abysm.”

“Agamemnon,” 91-96, Browning's Translation.