The apostle in this chapter proceeds upon the same subject, in
vindicating himself against the false teachers, and giving proof of his
apostleship; he takes notice of a very remarkable and unusual vision he
was favoured with; makes mention of an uncommon temptation of Satan,
how he was delivered from it, and the use it was of to him; excuses his
boasting to the Corinthians; lays the blame of it upon them who obliged
him to do it, though they had such undeniable proofs of his apostleship
among them; signifies he intended to come and see them, and expresses
his strong affection for them, and good will towards them; removes the
calumnies of covetousness, guile, and craftiness; reproves them for
their sins, and threatens them in case of impenitence. Though in some
respects glorying was not so convenient, and quite disagreeable to the
apostle himself, yet such were his circumstances, that it was become
necessary for him to do it, and therefore goes on with it; and to his
character, qualifications, labours, sufferings, and deliverances, adds
the visions and revelations of the Lord he had been honoured with,
\\#2Co 12:1\\ and singles out a very particular one, which he describes
by the time when, about fourteen years ago; by the person who saw it,
himself, whom he speaks of in the third person, that there might be as
little appearance of boasting as possible; by the place where it was
seen, the third heaven, into which he was caught; by the form or manner
of the vision, or the circumstance and condition in which he was when
he saw it, of which he could give no account; as whether in or out of
the body, \\#2Co 12:2\\, which last circumstance is repeated to denote
the certainty of it, and his ignorance as to this part of it; for the
truth of which he appeals to God, \\#2Co 12:3\\, and affirms again,
that such an one as he had described was caught up to paradise; by
which he explains what he meant by the third heaven, and further
declares, that being there he heard words unutterable, \\#2Co 12:4\\.
Now though this vision was matter of glorying, yet since he was the
person that was so highly honoured with it, he would not dwell any
longer on it, but rather speak of his infirmities, as he afterwards
does, \\#2Co 12:5\\, yet if he had shown a design of boasting, it would
not have been acting a foolish part; however, he thought it best to
forbear, lest it should lead any into too high an opinion of him,
\\#2Co 12:6\\, and indeed, these high enjoyments were apt to fill
himself with pride and vanity, wherefore God, in his infinite wisdom,
thought fit to take some methods to humble him; which leads him to give
an account of a sore temptation that befell him, which was grievous to
him, and in which he was buffeted by Satan; the end of which was to
keep down his pride, and hide it from him, \\#2Co 12:7\\. The use this
was of to him, and how he behaved under it, and the request he made to
the Lord to be freed from it, are declared in \\#2Co 12:8\\, to which
he received an answer, which was full and satisfactory, gave him
pleasure, and determined him to glory in his infirmities, \\#2Co 12:9\\,
which he does in \\#2Co 12:10\\, and gives an enumeration of them, and
his reason for glorying in them: and whereas he knew he should be
chargeable with folly, in glorying in other things as he had done, he
blames the Corinthians for it, who had obliged him to it; for had they
engaged as they should have done in the vindication and commendation of
him, there would have been no need of his own; and they were furnished
with matter and arguments enough for such a purpose, since it must have
been a plain case to them that he was not inferior to the chief of the
apostles, \\#2Co 12:11\\, of which they had a full demonstration,
partly by the signs, wonders, and mighty deeds which were done in the
midst of them by him, \\#2Co 12:12\\, and partly by the gifts of grace
bestowed on them through his ministry, on account of which they did not
come short of any other churches; unless it was in this, that they had
the Gospel preached without charge unto them, \\#2Co 12:13\\, the
apostle goes on to acquaint them that he had a third time intended to
come and see them, when he would be no more burdensome and chargeable
to them than he had been before; have no regard to theirs but to them,
acting the part of a father that lays up for his children, but takes
nothing from them, \\#2Co 12:14\\, and expresses his strong affection
for them, even though they should show but little to him, and his
earnest desire to be serviceable to them, and the pleasure he should
take therein, \\#2Co 12:15\\, and whereas it was suggested by the false
teachers, that though he did not take money of them in person, he had
used some underhand crafty methods by the means of others to drain them
of it, \\#2Co 12:16\\, he replies and vindicates his innocence, by
putting the question to them in general; whether he had made any gain
by any persons he had sent to them, \\#2Co 12:17\\, and particularly
inasmuch as he had sent Titus and another brother, whether he had made
any gain of them, and whether the apostle and he were not of the same
spirit; and whether they did not take the same steps, \\#2Co 12:18\\,
and then observes, that all the pains that he took in the vindication
of himself, was not so much on his own account as theirs, even for
their edification, that that might not be hindered, for whom he had the
most endeared affection: and for the truth of all this he appeals to
God, \\#2Co 12:19\\, and closes this chapter with observing the many
evils which were among them, which he feared he should find among them,
when he came, unrepented of; and which would be matter of grief and
humiliation to him, and oblige him to use that severity among them
which would not be agreeable to them, \\#2Co 12:20\\.