Vincent Word Studies - 2 Corinthians 2:17 - 2:17

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Vincent Word Studies - 2 Corinthians 2:17 - 2:17


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Which corrupt (καπηλεύοντες)

Only here in the New Testament. From κάπηλος a huckster or pedler; also a tavernkeeper. The κάπηλοι formed a distinct class among the Greek dealers, distinguished from the ἐυπόροι merchants or wholesale dealers. So Plato: “Is not retailer (καπήλους) the term which is applied to those who sit in the market-place buying and selling, while those who wander from one city to another are called merchants?” (“Republic,” 371; compare “Statesman,” 260) The term included dealers in victuals and all sorts of wares, but was especially applied to retailers of wine, with whom adulteration and short measure were matters of course. Galen speaks of wine-dealers καπηλεύοντες τοὺς οἴνους playing tricks with their wines; mixing the new, harsh wines, so as to make them pass for old. These not only sold their wares in the market, but had καπηλεῖα wine-shops all over the town, where it was not thought respectable to take refreshments. The whole trade was greatly despised. In Thebes no one who had sold in the market within the last ten years was allowed to take part in the government. So Plato, speaking of the evils of luxury and poverty: “What remedy can a city of sense find against this disease? In the first place, they must have as few retail traders as possible” (“Laws,” 919. The whole passage is well worth reading). The moral application of the term was familiar in classical Greek. Lucian says: “The philosophers deal out their instructions like hucksters.” Plato: “Those who carry about the wares of knowledge, and make the round of the cities, and sell or retail them to any customer who is in want of them, praise them all alike; though I should not wonder if many of them were really ignorant of their effect upon the soul; and their customers equally ignorant, unless he who buys of them happens to be a physician of the soul” (“Protagoras,” 313). Paul here uses the term of those who trade in the word of God, adulterating it for the purpose of gain or popularity. Compare 1Ti 6:5, Rev. In the “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” occurs the word χριστέμπορος a Christ-monger (ch. xii., 5).