Second Timothy 1.15-18

[This is part of a running series on translating Second Timothy. See the introductory post for more information — RB]

Phrasing/Translation: 2Ti 1.15-18

15 Οἶδας τοῦτο,
15 You know this,
    ὅτι ἀπεστράφησάν με
    that they have turned away from me—
    πάντες οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ,
    all those in Asia,
            ὧν ἐστιν Φύγελος καὶ Ἑρμογένης.
            among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

16 δῴη ἔλεος ὁ κύριος τῷ Ὀνησιφόρου οἴκῳ,
16 May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus,
    ὅτι πολλάκις με ἀνέψυξεν
    because many times he refreshed me.
    καὶ τὴν ἅλυσίν μου οὐκ ἐπαισχύνθη,
    He was not afraid of my chains,
    17 ἀλλὰ γενόμενος ἐν Ῥώμῃ σπουδαίως ἐζήτησέν με καὶ εὗρεν·
    17 but having arrived in Rome he diligently sought and found me.

18 δῴη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος εὑρεῖν ἔλεος
18 May the Lord grant him to find mercy
    παρὰ κυρίου
    from the Lord
    ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ.
    on that day.

    ὅσα ἐν Ἐφέσῳ διηκόνησεν,
    of all the service he rendered in Ephesus,
βέλτιον σὺ γινώσκεις.
you are well aware.


Verse 15

Οἶδας τοῦτο] Runge (Discourse Grammar) labels this a “meta-comment”; from an epistolary form-critical perspective it may also be seen as an instance of the “disclosure formula” (e.g. Marshall). The idea of both approaches is to recognize that this is an instance where the author steps back from his default voice and exhorts the reader/hearer to pay attention to what follows because it is important. In this case, τοῦτο looks ahead to the content of the subordinate clause that immediately follows. Note also that Οἶδας is in the second person singular (that is, the referent would be the addressee, Timothy). Many think that this letter was written to a larger group, but grammatical cues such as this may argue against that notion.

ὅτι ἀπεστράφησάν με] subordinate clause, this is the content referenced by “know this”.

πάντες οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ] Here Paul more fully describes who was turning away from him. This is likely not a reference to everyone, everywhere in Asia, who was a Christian. It is more likely a reference to subordinates of Paul in Asia. This scope is clarified by the next comment, a relative clause that sharpens the scope of “all those in Asia”.

ὧν ἐστιν Φύγελος καὶ Ἑρμογένης] Here Paul references two specific people, Phygelus and Hermogenes, among the group of “all those who are in Asia”. Because Paul goes to this level of detail here, it is likely that the previous reference is also a smaller group of people, not the mass of Asian Christendom.

Verse 16

δῴη ἔλεος ὁ κύριος] Here δῴη is the aorist optative of διδωμι. Occurrence of the optative is relatively rare in the NT, notable is use of the same verb (with same parsing) in verse 18 below.

ὅτι πολλάκις με ἀνέψυξεν] A subordinate clause, here providing the reason for Paul’s wish that the Lord bestow mercy on the household of Onesiphorus: “because many times he refreshed me”.

καὶ] In the above translation, what is one sentence in the Greek I have split into two English sentences. As I read the verse at present, this καὶ marks the beginning of a new clause, where two parts are joined by αλλα and a comparison is made. In the English, this makes more sense as a separate sentence. This instance of καὶ is necessary in that it marks development of the previous clause, but it need not be “Englished” literally (“and”) as inserting a sentence break in the translation recognizes its function.

καὶ τὴν ἅλυσίν μου οὐκ ἐπαισχύνθη] As noted above, this clause (“He was not afraid of my chains”) is involved in a contrast with the clause that follows it. This portion is the “Counterpoint” (cf. Runge, Discourse Grammar), providing a platform for contrast with what follows.

Verse 17

ἀλλὰ γενόμενος ἐν Ῥώμῃ σπουδαίως ἐζήτησέν με καὶ εὗρεν] This is the “Point” of the contrasted pair, the item Paul desires to make prominent. Onesiphorus “sought and found” Paul instead of shying away because Paul was in prison.

γενόμενος ἐν Ῥώμῃ] Runge (Discourse Grammar) calls this a “nominative circumstantial frame”. This is when a participle is fronted before the primary verb of the clause, providing background to the current situation. Here the background is “having arrived in Rome”, which provides more background to the main action of the clause, “[Onesiphorus] sought and found me”.

Verse 18

δῴη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος εὑρεῖν ἔλεος] Note the similarity with the first portion of v. 16 above. The verb is the same, the subject is the same (“May the Lord grant”). The one receiving is the same as well, in v. 16 it is “the house of Onesiphorus”, in v. 18 it is “him” (e.g., Onesiphorus). In v. 16 “mercy” is directly wished; in v. 18 it is wished for Onesiphorus to be able “to find mercy”. The wishes, however, are slightly different in that v. 18 has a more directly eschatological vibe to it. On this (optative, syntactic and lexical similarity) see Van Neste, Cohesion and Structure, 159.

παρὰ κυρίου] prepositional phrase, “from the Lord”, and according to the analysis is modifying (providing circumstance) to the infinitive εὑρεῖν (“to find”).

ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ] prepositional phrase, “in that day”. This as well modifies the infinitive εὑρεῖν, “to find”. Paul wishes that Onesiphorus, on that final day, will find mercy from the Lord. This prepositional phrase is doubly interesting with the use of the far demonstrative ἐκεῖνος, “that”, which creates some metaphoric distance between the present time (of the composition) and the time of “that day” (cf. Runge, Discourse Grammar). Secondly, the use of the article with ἡμέρᾳ could be seen and further stressing the nature of “that particular day”.

καὶ ὅσα ἐν Ἐφέσῳ διηκόνησεν] “and of all the service he rendered in Ephesus”. The correlative pronoun indicates a comparison of sorts; Paul is reminding the reader(s) that Onesiphorus served well, and that the reader(s) know about it.

ἐν Ἐφέσῳ] A spatial frame (Runge, Discourse Grammar), the larger structure isn’t about Onesiphorus’ service in general, it is specifically about the service he rendered in Ephesus. Also, ΕΝ ΕΦΕΣΩ is a great blog you should really have in your blog reader.

βέλτιον σὺ γινώσκεις] Note the verb here (γινώσκεις, “you know”) is also second person singular, modified by the adverb βέλτιον (only here in the NT). The pronoun σὺ is also second person. As the second person reference is grammaticalized in the verb itself, the existence of the pronoun could be seen to be emphatic, making the second person reference all the more prominent. The referent here is Timothy. Also worthy of note is how this set of verses begins with “you know this” (v. 15) and ends with “you are well aware”. A semantic chain (on semantic chains, cf. Van Neste, Cohesion and Structure) of knowing/being aware may be indicated, with vocabulary of cognition beginning and ending the section.

All in all, Onesiphorus’ example has been held up as worthy to Timothy; this in juxtaposition with the information that several in Asia have left Paul. The offshoot is to be like Onesiphorus, do not be like Phygelus and Hermogenes and those who are with them.

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