That ye receive her in the Lord
This is one thing he recommends her to them for, that they would receive her in a kind and friendly manner into their houses, and into their hearts' love and affections; admit her to their private meetings, and into church fellowship with them, and that as one that was in the Lord, and belonged to him; and also in his name, and for his sake:
as becometh saints;
that is, both that they would treat her with that humanity, courteousness, Christian affection, and respect, as became them who were saints by calling and profession; and that they would use her as being one of the saints, a godly, holy person, and as such an one ought to be used, by virtue of the communion of saints:
and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you:
what her business was at Rome is not known; whether it was only to visit the saints; or whether it was to have a cause tried in any court of judicature there; or whether she came upon worldly business, as Lydia of Thyatira was at Philippi to sell her purple, when the Apostle Paul was there, it matters not: whatever assistance they could give her, either by directing her where the saints lived; or by giving her proper counsel and advice; or helping her forward in her worldly affairs; or whatever she was concerned in, this is desired; and is another thing for which the apostle recommends her to them, adding this reason,
for she hath been a succourer of many;
or "a patroness of many" of the saints in necessity and distress. The word that is here used, (prostathv) , is, as Harpocratian says F11 the name by which such were called by the Athenians, (oi twn metoikwn proesthkutev) , "that were over the sojourners", who had the care and direction of them. And such was this woman to the poor saints in Cenchrea, and the strangers that came thither; not as being in such an office by the order and appointment of the church, but what she cheerfully and voluntarily took up herself and performed at her own expense, otherwise there would not be so much in the character as to deserve such peculiar notice, nor she be so worthy of praise and commendation: moreover, the apostle observes, that he also partook of her succour and assistance,
and of myself also;
which would hardly have been the case had she been one that had only the care of the poor sisters of the church, which was the office of the deaconess: but she being a rich generous woman, and the apostle having shared in her bounty, gratefully acknowledges it; and he the rather mentions it, as knowing it would the more endear her to the saints at Rome, who would take more notice of her for the respect she had shown to him.
F11 Lexic. decem Orator. p. 255.