A. Suffering as a Christian (4:12–19)
12 Beloved, do not be shocked at the fiery ordeal that is coming upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you, 13 but rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ, in order that you may also rejoice, being glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 For none of you should suffer as a murderer or a thief or a criminal or a meddler, 16 but if [someone suffers] as a Christian, he should not be ashamed, but he should glorify God by this name. 17 Because it is the time to begin the judgment with the house of God, and if [it happens] first with us, what will be the result for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely delivered, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 19 So then, those suffering according to the will of God should by doing good entrust themselves to a faithful Creator.
12 Using the same gentle address with which he started his previous major section (2:11–4:11), our author turns toward the future. All the careful and considerate living possible will not prevent persecution, as 3:14 has already implied, and in fact it is already upon them. Thus he encourages the Christians in Asia Minor, “do not be shocked” as if what is happening were “strange,” using vocabulary familiar from 4:4. 1 John 3:13 also instructs Christians not to “wonder … if the world hate you.” Here the idea is a little stronger: Do not think it is foreign; do not think that this ought not to happen. In 4:4 the unbelieving culture considered the behavior of Christians something foreign to human behavior, something that ought not to happen. Here the Christians are instructed not to think the same about their persecution by the pagan culture. Unlike the Jews who had for generations been a foreign and culturally distinct minority in the diaspora (and suffered as all such minorities suffer) and since the persecution under Antiochus IV Epiphanes (cf. 1 and 2 Maccabees) had had a developed theology of suffering and martyrdom, these Gentile converts had no experience of being a cultural minority. Before their conversion they were perfectly at home in their city. And instead of rebelling against God they had accepted the gospel message. But now they were experiencing cultural isolation and personal hostility, not what they might have expected as the blessing of God. Well might they have wondered if something had not gone wrong. Thus our author reassures them: persecution is not something “strange” or foreign to their existence as Christians. 1 What is happening is right in line with Christ’s predictions (Matt. 5:11–12; 10:34; Mark 13:9–13; John 15:18–20).
Indeed, what is happening to them has a good purpose. It is a “fiery ordeal … to test you.” The image here is clear. Although the term “fiery ordeal” or “burning” appears elsewhere in the NT only in Rev. 18:9, 18, in the Greek OT it appears significantly in Prov. 27:21: “A proof [fire] for silver and a [refining] fire for gold, but a man is tested by the praises [coming out] through his mouth.” This picture of a refiner’s fire was picked up in the Intertestamental period as a picture for testing (therefore “to test you”; cf. 1:6, where this term also appears in 1 Peter). Wisd. 3:1–6 reads in part,
God tested them and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace he proved them,
And as a whole burnt offering he accepted them.
And Sir. 2:1–6 states,
My son, when you come to serve the Lord,
Prepare your soul for testing.
Set your heart aright and endure firmly,
And be not fearful in time of calamity.…
For gold is proved in the fire,
And men acceptable [to God] in the furnace of affliction.
The same ideas occur in other literature of the period (Jdt. 8:25–27; 1QS 1:17–18; 1QS 8:3–4; 1QM 17:8–9; 1QH 5:16) as well as in later literature (cf. Did. 16:5). 2 Thus these Christians are to see what is happening to them as a refining process that will reveal the genuineness of their faith (God’s goal in allowing the test) and therefore be to their ultimate benefit. While painful, this type of suffering is not something they should think strange, but something they should welcome. 3
13 There is a second reason why the readers should not think their ordeal is strange: it is the same type of thing that Christ received and thus it is an indication of their identification with him. They are therefore to “rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ.” But in what sufferings of Christ do they share? 4 Peter has used the phrase (or equivalent words) in 1:11 and will use it again in 5:1; a verbal form of the same idea appears in 2:21, 3:18, and 4:1. In all these passages the reference is to Christ’s suffering during his life on earth, especially his death on the cross. Paul refers to the sufferings of Christ in 2 Cor. 1:7 and Phil. 3:10 (the only other places in the NT where the two ideas of sharing and suffering appear together; cf. Rom. 8:17; 2 Cor. 4:10–11; Col. 1:24 for similar expressions using different words), yet these contexts contain no reference to Christ’s own death, but rather to his suffering in the church. 5 Thus, while it is possible that we are here experiencing a reflection of Paul’s teaching, it seems more likely that Peter means something slightly different. Instead of focusing on Christ’s present suffering in the church, Peter focuses on the church’s sharing in Christ’s foundational suffering, not in a salvific sense (there is no hint in 1 Peter that this sharing either forgives their sin or adds to the work of Christ), but in a sense of identification and real unity. In other words, as the Christians suffer because of their identification with Christ, they enter into the experience of Christ’s own sufferings. This experience creates a re-imaging of their own suffering, which will allow them to see the real evil 6 as an advantage as their perspective shifts. This process is precisely what each of the passages in 1 Peter that use this language does; each encourages a re-imaging of suffering as an identification with Christ (and thus a type of imitatio Christi is encouraged in how they behave in the suffering situation) that will lead to an eventual participation in his glory. 7
It is because of this re-imaging of suffering that the Christians can be instructed to “rejoice” (as in Matt. 5:11–12; Luke 6:22–23; Heb. 10:32–39; Jas. 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:6; cf. the literature cited there), for they obtain an eschatological perspective on their problems. This perspective becomes explicit in the promise that they will “also rejoice, being glad when his glory is revealed.” On the one hand, there will be a corresponding participation in the glory of Christ for those who now share in Christ’s sufferings (as in Luke 12:8 [and parallels]; Rom. 8:17; Heb. 10:32–39; 11:26; 13:12–14), which will indeed lead to exaltation. 8 On the other hand, while this revelation of Christ’s glory is future (cf. 1:5, 7, 13 for the idea of the revelation of Christ, 4:11 for the idea of glory), they can rejoice now in the evidence that they belong to him (their suffering) because they anticipate the coming joy. This anticipated eschatological joy is a theme common to 1 Peter and James (Jas. 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:6).
14 Thus it follows that “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed.” In this verse there is a clear dependence on such sayings of Jesus as Matt. 5:11–12: “Blessed are you whenever they insult and persecute and make all types of evil accusations against you on my behalf” (paralleled in Luke 6:22). On the one hand, they are blessed now if this is the case (on the meaning of “blessed” see the comment on 3:14). The very persecution is a sign of their blessedness. On the other hand, they are “insulted because of the name of Christ.” To be so insulted is not simply to receive a rebuke (2:12; 3:16; 4:5), but as is the case in the contexts in which the term appears elsewhere in the NT and the Greek OT (Isa. 37:3; Pss. 89:51–52; 102:8–9; Ps. 69(68):10 as picked up in Rom. 15:3; Matt. 27:44; Heb. 11:26; 13:13), it means to be rejected by the society (or even by humanity). And the reason they are rejected is “the name of Christ”; that is, because of their association with Christ either because of their lifestyle or because of their direct confession (cf. Mark 9:37, 39, 41). 9 Thus it is that because of their association with Christ their social group now rejects them; they are outcasts. But that is not their true state, for Peter tells them they are blessed.
Their blessing consists of the fact that in that situation “the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon” them. 10 This experience of the Spirit of God is what Jesus promised in Matt. 10:19–20, “When they deliver you up … for what you are to say will be given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11–12). Stephen experienced the glory of God in his martyrdom (Acts 7:55; he was, of course, a man full of the Spirit, 6:15), and so would other martyrs later (Mart. Pol. 2:2; Pass. Perp. and Fel. 1:3; Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. 5.1.34–35). Thus those suffering for Christ experience through the Spirit now the glory they are promised in the future (1:7; 5:4; cf. 2 Cor. 4:17; Col. 3:4). Indeed, their very suffering is a sign that the reputation (glory) of God is seen in them, that the Spirit rests upon them. They can indeed count themselves blessed. 11
15 But our author hastens to add that not all who suffer can consider themselves blessed (indicating he is making a caveat by “for”). Only those who suffer because they are Christians fit this category. On the other hand, no Christian should even consider risking suffering as a common criminal (unless, of course, the charge is a cover-up for the real charge of being a Christian, as often happens under some regimes). To underline his point Peter mentions two specific categories of criminals, murderer and thief, which would receive a knowing “of course not” nod from his readers, and then adds the summary term “criminal” to cover other types of evil activity condemned by law. 12
But then our author tacks on a fourth term, “meddler,” repeating the “as” to underline it as an addition. This may be his real concern in the list. It is an unusual term, appearing here for the first time in Greek, perhaps a coinage of Peter. The word allotriepiskopos comes from two root words, allotrios, “belonging to another,” and episkopos, “overseer.” The meanings suggested include “one who has an eye on others’ possessions,” “the unfaithful guardian of goods committed to him,” “one who meddles in things that do not concern him,” and an “informer.” 13 The Christian writers who later use this term (probably picking it up from 1 Peter) appear to prefer the third of these meanings, “one who interferes in someone else’s business.” 14 That also seems the most likely meaning considering the roots from which the word is formed. Thus it is probable that our author is concerned that Christians in their rejection of idolatry and pagan morality or their zeal for the gospel not put their noses (or worse) into situations in which they ought not to be involved and thus justly earn the censure of pagan culture for transgressing culturally approved limits. Gentle persuation is one thing; denouncing idolatry in a temple courtyard is another, as might also be interfering in the affairs of another family, however well meaning it might be. No Christian should disgrace Christ by being guilty of such things.
16 On the other hand, no believer should be ashamed of being charged with being a Christian. The term “Christian” was a word coined by Gentiles (Acts 11:26), probably as a term of abuse, for those they perceived as in some way committed to a person called “Christ,” either due to their open confession or their lifestyle (e.g., avoidance of the behaviors listed in 4:3). 15 The verse appears to assume that one could be judicially charged as a Christian. While simply calling oneself a Christian may not have been illegal until the time of Pliny (A.D. 110, the period of Trajan), it is clear that believers were identified by that title by A.D. 50 and persecuted as being Christians by A.D. 64 (Nero’s persecution). It is likely that the name was used in the mob and judicial actions that dogged Paul’s steps and those of his companions (Acts 16:19–40; 17:5–10; 19:24–40), which belong to the category of events predicted in the Synoptic Gospels (Matt. 10:17–22; Mark 13:9–13; Luke 12:11–12; 21:12–17), for surely their opponents called them something, and what other title was available (even if the legal basis for the attacks may have been “introducing an illegal religion” or “forming an illegal association,” both of which were prohibited under Roman law)? Thus there is no reason to argue that this passage envisages a period later than the 60s; certainly it does not require a post-100 date. 16
One should not be “ashamed” of such a charge, the shame in question being the social disgrace and embarrassment that they might feel keenly on being hauled into court in a small city. Instead of feeling shame, they could hold their heads high, for they can “glorify God,” or bring honor to him (cf. 4:11). They will glorify God simply by properly bearing the name “Christian.” 17 Their willingness to suffer and the fact that their allegiance to Christ and his lifestyle is the only charge that can properly be brought against them (as opposed to “murderer” or “thief” or some lesser criminal charge, e.g., “tax evader”) will bring honor, not to themselves or to their cause but to God himself. Surely that is reason enough to suffer with joy and pride.
17 Yet even if suffering has a good purpose, a further explanation of why it is happening is necessary. The reason, according to our author, is quite simple, “it is the time to begin the judgment.” God’s judgment has already been cited several times in 1 Peter (1:17; 2:23; 4:5–6) and “the judgment” can only indicate the final judgment (Acts 24:25; Rom. 2:2–3; Heb. 6:2; 2 Pet. 2:3; Jude 4; Rev. 17:1; 18:20), a judgment that the OT indicated would begin with God’s people and in God’s own temple. “Pass through the city … and smite.… And begin at my sanctuary” (Ezek. 9:5–6 RSV; Jer. 25:29; Mal. 3:1–6). This theme was developed as a concept of purifying judgment in Intertestamental Judaism: “Therefore, he did not spare his own sons first.… Therefore they were once punished that they might be forgiven” (2 Bar. 13:9–10; cf. 13:1–12). “For the Lord first judges Israel for the wrong she has committed and then he shall do the same for all the nations” (Test. Benjamin 100:8–9; cf. the Dead Sea Scrolls 1QS 4:18–21; 1QH 8:30–31; 9:10; 11:8–10). The early church picked up this theme and pointed out situations in which God was judging and purifying his church (e.g., 1 Cor. 11:31–32). 18 Thus our author sees the final judgment as beginning now in the church, God’s house or temple (cf. 2:5), a judgment that will purify it.
But this fact should not frighten the Christians or cause them to wonder, “Is this what I signed up for?” For if God is this hard with the church, how much harder will he be with “those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (Cf. Luke 23:31; Heb. 10:28–31 for this form of argument.) 19 Since the Christians are those who have been obedient to the gospel (1:2, 14, 22), those who are disobedient are the people who have heard and rejected the demand of the gospel (2:8; 3:1), that is, the friends, neighbors, and spouses of the Christians who now reject and persecute them because of their deviation from the cultural norm. If God is hard on Christians, how severe indeed will he be with those who reject him! 20 The Christians are better off than they appear.
18 Our author backs up his argument with a citation of Prov. 11:31 from the Greek OT, “If the righteous is scarcely delivered, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (The Hebrew text reads, “If the righteous is requited on earth, how much more the wicked and the sinner!” RSV.) 21 The OT text focuses on a deliverance in this world, salvation from disease, enemies, or similar dangers. In our context the OT is reinterpreted within NT eschatological parameters (already set in 4:17, which this verse clearly is intended to parallel). The righteous person in the OT was one who obeyed God’s law; here it is the one who obeys the gospel. Similarly “the ungodly and the sinner” are not those disobeying Mosaic regulations, but those who refuse to submit to the demand of the gospel. The judgment is no longer this-worldly, but apocalyptic; in other words, the final judgment. The argument is the same as that in the OT but raised to a higher plane.
Peter obviously agrees with the teaching of the Gospels that it is hard for even believers to be saved. The last days, says Jesus, have been shortened to preserve the elect (perhaps to keep them from falling away, Mark 13:19–20). And asked if only a few will be saved, he responded, “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:23–24). Here again (as in 1:17) Peter warns that the testing of faith (cf. 1:6; 4:12; 5:8–9; 2 Cor. 13:5–7) is a serious test. Its fire will separate those who are truly committed to Christ from those whose commitment is shallow or partial. Peter has a confidence about an eternal inheritance (1:4), but it is a confidence that is not so unshakable that it cannot at the same time tell one “whom to fear” (Matt. 10:28, 32–33; cf. 1 Cor. 9:27; 2 Cor. 5:10–11; 1 Tim. 4:16).
Yet if this is the case with believers, what must be the case with unbelievers? Peter implies with Hebrews, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (10:31). And this, of course, is the witness of the NT. Those who have failed to submit to the demand of the gospel will be excluded from fellowship with God and not take part in the coming salvation (Matt. 7:21–23; 25:41, 46; Rev. 20:15). The seriousness of such a situation should itself be enough to encourage the readers in Asia Minor to persevere in the faith even under persecution, not worrying about the deeds of their persecutors with whom God will deal in his time (cf. 4:5).
19 How should the Christian live in the light of the above? Concluding the whole section 4:12–19 (“so then”), our author says simply: “those suffering according to the will of God should by doing good entrust themselves to a faithful Creator.” “Those suffering according to the will of God” are clearly the Christians who are suffering because they are Christians, not because they have committed a crime. That the suffering is according to God’s will has been a theme of the epistle (1:6; 2:15; 3:17; 5:6); thus their persecution does not mean that the world is out of control, but that God is working out his plan in their lives. These people should trust God (i.e., “entrust themselves”) by “doing good.” 22 What it means to do good has already been explained several times in the epistle (2:14–15, 20; 3:6, 17); it means simply doing those things which the culture (and God) views as good, for example obeying masters, following righteous laws, and submitting to husbands, within the limits prescribed by their primary obedience to Christ. Doing good despite the consequences is how one lives out the entrusting of oneself to God.
The inner attitude in doing this, then, is one of trust. The image of entrusting appears frequently in the NT (e.g., Luke 12:48; 1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 2:2), including that of entrusting people to God (Acts 14:23; 20:32). It means “to hand over something of value to the care of another.” 23 In our context one is handing over one’s most valuable possession, one’s very self, to God. The image is likely drawn from Ps. 31:5 (30:5 in Greek), “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.” Following Christ (who quoted this psalm during his persecution in Luke 23:46), they are to commit themselves to God, for he is “a faithful Creator.” The idea of God’s faithfulness is found not only in the OT passage, but also in several places in the NT (Rom. 9:6; 11:29; 2 Cor. 1:18; 2 Tim. 1:12; 2:13; Heb. 10:23). Surely it is to a faithful person that one would want to entrust anything, much less one’s self. But the term “Creator” is found only here in the NT, although the idea is common enough (John 1:3; Col. 1:15–16; Heb. 11:3; Jas. 1:17–18). 24 Yet Jesus apparently used the image of God as Creator as grounds for believing he should be trusted: Matt. 6:25–33; 10:29–31. That God gives a person life is surely an indication of his ability to care for the person; God knows what he is doing. That God is faithful indicates that he has not changed nor will change and can therefore be trusted. This is the God in whom one is to rest, although physically threatened. And this image fittingly sums up what our author has to say on persecution as he turns to strengthen the church’s internal defenses against it in the next section.
2 F. Lang, “πῦρ,” TDNT, VI, 950–51; E. T. Sander, ΠΥΡΩΣΙΣ and the First Epistle of Peter 4:12 (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1966), also summarized in HTR 60 (1967), 501; P. H. Davids, Themes in the Epistle of James that are Judaistic in Character (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Manchester, 1974), especially pp. 120–25, 139–48.
3 While it may be God’s will to allow the suffering (3:17), here as in the Intertestamental passages cited God is not seen as the one responsible for the suffering. Rather, evil persons, who will ultimately answer to him, or the devil (5:8–9) is responsible for malicious attacks, which God allows (as in Job) for his own purposes, turning intended evil into ultimate good. In Scripture suffering is never seen as good in itself or to be welcomed, but as an evil to be endured at times for a greater good.
4 The Greek term κοινωνεῖτε means “to share” or “to participate in.” Cf. F. Hauck, “κοινωνός,” TDNT, III, 804–809.
5 Paul is likely influenced here by the Damascus Christophany, for example Acts 9:4, where Christ indicates that he is suffering in the suffering of the church. Cf. S. Kim, The Origin of Paul’s Gospel (Tübingen/Grand Rapids, 1981), for a discussion of the influence of this event on Paul’s theology.
8 The “rejoice and be glad” structure is actually “be glad rejoicing” (χαρῆτε ἀγαλλιώμενοι), a finite verb intensified with a participle, which is a structure foreign to English and may be a semitism in Greek. Forms of this combination of verbs are found in Matt. 5:12; John 8:56; 1 Pet. 1:8; Rev. 19:7; similar intensification of joy is found in Matt. 2:10; Luke 1:14 (using the same two roots); John 3:29; Rom. 12:15; 1 Thess. 3:9.
9 This concept is very close to the rabbinic term lᵊšēm, “for the sake of.” The idea is expressed in a number of ways in the NT: Matt. 10:22; Mark 13:13; Luke 21:17; John 15:21; Acts 5:14; 9:16; 15:26; 21:13; 3 John 7; Rev. 2:3; 3:8.
10 There are both textual and grammatical difficulties here, but this translation seems to make the best sense. The neuter article before “of glory” (το͂ τῆς δόξης) appears to make most sense if it anticipates “Spirit” (also with a neuter article—καὶ το͂ τοῦ θεοῦ πνεῦμα), which follows after the “and.” The reasons for this interpretation are that (1) “the Spirit of God” was a stereotyped phrase that Peter would have tended not to break up, (2) naming glory first balances the “insult” of the first part of the verse just as “Spirit of God” balances the “name of Christ,” and (3) the often cited examples of the article’s being used alone (Matt. 21:21; 1 Cor. 10:24; Jas. 4:14; 2 Pet. 2:22), which would argue for a translation something like “the glory and the Spirit of God rest upon you,” all occur in stereotyped phrases, of which this is not one. For a contrary opinion see E. G. Selwyn, The First Epistle of St. Peter (London, 1969), pp. 223–24. The addition “and of power” has relatively strong textual support, but (1) the strongest textual evidence supports the reading translated above, (2) καὶ δυνάμεως is a longer reading, (3) it upsets the balance of the passage, and (4) it appears to be one of a number of attempts to clarify the difficult grammar mentioned above.
11 Some manuscripts add κατὰ μὲν αὐτοὺς βλασφημεῖται, κατὰ δὲ ὑμᾶς δοξάζεται (“on their part he is slandered, but on your part he is glorified”). P. R. Rodgers, “The Longer Reading of 1 Peter 4:14,” CBQ 14 (1981), 93–95, argues that this longer reading is original, for it conforms to Petrine style and vocabulary, needed explanation as early as the time of Cyprian (namely, a clarification that “he” refers to “the name” referred to earlier), and applies Isa. 52:5, a verse used frequently by the early church. While this is an interesting suggestion, we have not accepted it because (1) the textual evidence is for the most part both late and Byzantine, (2) the vocabulary and style are not so distinctively Petrine as to require that the same author wrote it, and (3) the allusion to Isa. 52:5 is hardly certain. Furthermore, it seems to interrupt the flow of Peter’s argument and thus is likely the gloss of a scribe inspired by 4:14.
12 Cognate forms of κακοποιός (“criminal”) appear at 2:12, 14 and 3:17, always with this general meaning. Cf. W. Grundmann, “κακοποιέω,” TDNT, III, 485–86. We do not agree with K. H. Schelkle, Die Petrusbriefe (Freiburg, 1980), p. 124, that on the analogy of 1 Cor. 5 and Eph. 4:28 Peter believes that the readers might really commit such crimes. While one cannot categorically rule out such a possibility, it seems more reasonable to see these terms as traditional examples of serious crimes and then the third as a summary.
13 H. W. Beyer, “ἀλλοτρι (ο)επίσκοπος,” TDNT, II, 620–22.
15 The term Χριστιανός stems from a Gentile milieu, for it assumes that “Christ” is no longer a title, Messiah or Anointed One, but a name, the surname of a certain Jesus, a development we see in the Pauline letters. One could hardly imagine a Jew’s calling a group he did not belong to “followers of the Messiah.” The other places where it is found in early Christian literature are: Acts 26:28 (in a Roman judicial situation); Did. 12:4 (accepted as a term for believers by a community in Asia Minor about A.D. 100); Ignatius, Eph. 11:2; Rom. 3:2; Pol. 7:3. Pagan writers also used it: Tacitus, Ann. 15.44; Suetonius, Nero 16.2 (both of these latter referring to the Neronian persecution of A.D. 64); Pliny, Epist. 10.96.1–3; Lucian, Alex. 25.38.
16 Contra F. W. Beare, The First Epistle of Peter (Oxford, 1958), pp. 30–35, 192–93. Cf. E. G. Selwyn, “The Persecutions in I Peter,” Bulletin of the Society for New Testament Studies 1 (1950), 39–50; J. Knox, “Pliny and I Peter: A Note on I Pet 4, 14–16 and 3, 15,” JBL 72 (1953), 187–89.
17 We are taking ἐν in an instrumental sense and “this name” as referring to its nearest antecedent, “Christian,” rather than “Christ” (v. 14). In this we reject the argument of E. G. Selwyn, The First Epistle of St. Peter, pp. 225–26, for a locative meaning for ἐν, and J. N. D. Kelly, The Epistles of Peter and of Jude, pp. 190–91, who argues on the basis of Mark 9:41 and 10:41–42 for the idiomatic sense “under the heading of.”
18 While Mark 13:8–9’s “beginning of woes” does not refer to the purification or judgment of the church, given the association of suffering with discipline in the church (Heb. 12:7–11), it is probably incorrect to separate the “messianic woes” concept from the purification concept as L. Goppelt, Der erste Petrusbrief (Göttingen, 1978), pp. 311–12, does.
19 This form of argument, if x is true, how much more is y also true, was known by the Jews under the title qal wāḥȏmer (light and heavy); that is, what applies in the less important case will certainly apply in the more important case. Cf. J. Bowker, The Targums and Rabbinic Literature (Cambridge, 1969), p. 315, for one listing of this and other rabbinic rules of interpretation. The earliest of these lists is attributed to Hillel, or the early part of the first century.
20 2 Thess. 1:3–10 contains a similar theme, although our passage lacks the concept of God’s paying back the persecutors for their injustices to the Christians, which Paul expresses explicitly.
21 On the reasons why the Septuagint adds μόλις to the Hebrew text in its translation, see J. Barr, “bʹrṣ—μόλις: Prov. 11:31, 1 Pet. 4:18,” JSS 20 (1975), 149–64. There is no evidence that our author was aware of the Hebrew text; thus he used the Septuagint without thinking about the issues Professor Barr discusses so helpfully.
22 The “themselves” is ψυχάς in Greek. As in 1:9, 22; 2:11, 25; 3:20, this term does not contrast soul with body, but refers simply to the person, perhaps with some overtones in context of the fact that the persecutors can injure their bodies but not affect their real selves (cf. Matt. 10:28).
23 Cf. C. Maurer, “παρατίθημι,” TDNT, VIII, 162–64.
24 The term is more common in Intertestamental literature, for example 2 Kings 22:32 (LXX); Sir. 24:8; 2 Macc. 1:24–25; 7:23; 4 Macc. 5:25; 11:5. It also appears in the Apostolic Fathers, for example 1 Clem. 19:2. Cf. W. Foerster, “κτίζω,” TDNT, III, 1000–1035, especially 1029.