John Bengel Commentary - 1 Corinthians 15:55 - 15:55

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John Bengel Commentary - 1 Corinthians 15:55 - 15:55

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1Co 15:55. Ποῦ σου, θάνατε, τὸ κέντρον; ποῦ σου, ᾅδη, τὸ νῖκος;) Hos 13:14, LXX.-ποῦ ἡ δίκη (νίκη) σου, θάνατε; ποῦ τὸ κέντρον σου, ᾅδη; Heb. אהי דבריך מות אהי קטבך שאול, i.e., where are thy plagues, O death? where, O grave, is thy destruction?-See by all means, Olearii diss. inaug. on Redemption from hell. In this hymn of victory, where signifies that death and hell were formerly very formidable: now circumstances are changed. Θάνατος, death, and ᾅδης, hell [the unseen world beneath], are frequently used promiscuously; but yet they differ, for the one can never be substituted for the other: Hell is in fact opposed to heaven; death, to life, and death precedes; hell is more profound; death receives the bodies without the souls, hell receives the souls, even without the bodies, not only of the wicked, but also of the godly, and that, before the death of Christ, Gen 37:35; Luk 16:23. Therefore they are mentioned in connection with each other; and it is said in gradation, death and hell: comp. Rev 20:13-14; Rev 6:8; Rev 1:17 : and in these passages it is evident, that the word grave cannot be substituted for hell. Furthermore, because the discussion here turns upon the resurrection of the body, therefore hell is only once named, death often, even in the following verse.-τὸ κέντρον, the sting) having a [plague-causing or] pestilential [Heb. “Where are thy plagues?”] poison. Paul transposes the victory and the sting; which is more agreeable not only to the gradation of the Hebrew synomyms, but also makes a more convenient transition to the following verse, where sting and strength are kindred terms. A stimulus or goad is a larger κέντρον; comp. Act 26:14; a sting or prick [aculeus] is a less κέντρον; sometimes they may be used promiscuously, when we overlook the quantity [i.e., a quantity of less aculei is tantamount to a stimulus or stimuli]; we may even kick against the pricks in thorns.-ᾅδη, O hell, [grave, Engl. V.]) It does not here denote the place of eternal punishment, but the receptacle of souls, which are again to be united with their bodies at the resurrection. There is nothing here said now any longer of the devil; comp. Heb 2:14 : because the victory is snatched out of his hands, earlier than out of those of death, 1Co 15:26.-νῖκος) LXX. δίκη or νίκη: Paul sweetly repeats νῖκος; comp. the preceding verse. The rarity of the word is well suited to a song of victory.