But we were gentle in the midst of you (alla egenhqhmen nhpioi en meswi umwn). Note egenhqhmen (became), not hmeqa (were). This rendering follows hpioi instead of nhpioi (Aleph B D C Vulg. Boh.) which is clearly correct, though Dibelius, Moffatt, Ellicott, Weiss prefer hpioi as making better sense. Dibelius terms nhpioiunmoglich (impossible), but surely that is too strong. Paul is fond of the word nhpioi (babes). Lightfoot admits that he here works the metaphor to the limit in his passion, but does not mar it as Ellicott holds. As when a nurse cherishes her own children (w ean tropo qalph ta eauth tekna). This comparative clause with w ean ( Mark 4:26 ; Galatians 6:10 without ean or an) and the subjunctive (Robertson, Grammar, p. 968) has a sudden change of the metaphor, as is common with Paul ( 1 Timothy 5:24 ; 2 Corinthians 3:13 ) from babes to nurse (tropo), old word, here only in the N.T., from trepw, to nourish, troph, nourishment. It is really the mother-nurse "who suckles and nurses her own children" (Lightfoot), a use found in Sophocles, and a picture of Paul's tender affection for the Thessalonians. Talpw is an old word to keep warm, to cherish with tender love, to foster. In N.T. only here and Ephesians 5:29 .