Gaius mine host
There was one Gaius a Macedonian, that was with the apostle at Ephesus, ( Acts 19:29 ) ; and another Gaius of Derbe, that accompanied him into Asia, ( Acts 20:4 ) ; whether either of these, as the latter seems more probable, was this person, is not certain. However, it seems very likely that it is the same Gaius the apostle baptized at Corinth, ( 1 Corinthians 1:14 ) ; and some have thought him to be the same that the Apostle John wrote his third epistle to, and indeed the characters of hospitality and generosity there given him well agree with this, who was not only the apostle's host that entertained him in a kind and liberal manner, but of all the saints:
and of the whole church, saluteth you;
that is, of the church at Corinth, to whom he was kind and hospitable, even to as many as stood in need of his assistance; or of the church of Christ in general, being beneficent and liberal to all Christian strangers that came that way, lodged them at his house, and provided every thing proper and convenient for them. Dr. Lightfoot thinks that there was a public hospital or receptacle for strangers at Corinth, in imitation of the Jews, who had a place adjoining to their synagogues to entertain travellers in; and that Gaius was the chief officer and overseer of this house, who, discharging his trust well, is deservedly commended. That the Jews had places near their synagogues for such a purpose is, certain. It is said F2,
``why do they sanctify (or consecrate the day?) that travellers may do their duty, who eat, and drink, and sleep in the synagogue.''The gloss on it is,
``not the synagogue itself, but the chambers which were near the synagogue, are called the synagogue, and from thence they heard the consecration.''And elsewhere F3 it is said,
``in the synagogues they neither eat nor drink--but there is a place near the synagogue where travellers used to sleep and eat;''and then follows what is said before. And Maimonides F4 observes,
``there is no sanctification (of the sabbath) but in the place where the meal is eaten; so a man may not sanctify in one house, and eat in another; but if he sanctifies in this, he must eat in this; but why do they sanctify in the synagogue? because of travellers who eat and drink there.''Upon which his commentator remarks F5, that
``they do not eat in the synagogue at all, but they eat, (tonkh tybl Kwmoh tybb) , "in a house near the synagogue", where they sit at the time of hearing the sanctification.''But whether there was such an house at Corinth near the place of public worship, or any where else for this purpose, is not certain; and to make Gains only an overseer over such an house, though a faithful one, greatly sinks his character; since one would conclude from hence, that his entertainment of the apostle, and other saints, was at his own expense.
Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you;
whom the apostle is said to leave at Corinth, ( 2 Timothy 4:20 ) , and at another time to send along with Timotheus into Macedonia, if the same person is intended; for these do not seem so well to accord with his being in such an office, which must require attendance, and would not admit of going from place to place with the apostle, or of being sent by him. The city, of which he was chamberlain, was the city of Corinth, where the apostle and this Erastus were, when this epistle was wrote. The word translated "chamberlain", is often used for a steward; and here it signifies such an officer as had the care of the city chest or coffer, and distributed the public money; and seems to answer to the "quaestor urbanus", or city treasurer, among the Romans, whose business it was to receive the city accounts, and disburse at all occasions of public expenses; so that this was a place of honour and trust; hence it appears, that though not many, yet some rich and honourable were called by grace, and embraced the Gospel. His name signifies beloved, and is the same with David in Hebrew. What nation he was of is not certain, whether a Roman, a Greek, or Jew; one of this name is reckoned among the seventy disciples, and it said to be bishop of Paneas, or of the Philippians; (See Gill on Luke 10:1).
Quartus a brother;
not of Tertius, nor of Erastus, nor of the apostle according to the flesh, as some have thought, but a brother in a spiritual relation. This man, as appears from his name, was a Roman; probably had before lived at Rome, and therefore sends his salutations to the Christians there: he is mentioned among the seventy disciples, and said to be bishop of Berytus; (See Gill on Luke 10:1).
F2 T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 101. 1.
F3 Gloss. in T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 3. 2.
F4 Hilchot Sabbat, c. 29. sect. 8.
F5 Maggid. Misnah in ib.