By reason of the exceeding greatness (th uperbolh). Instrumental case, "by the excess." That I should not be exalted overmuch (ina mh uperairwmai). Present passive subjunctive in final clause of uperairw, old verb to lift up beyond, only here in N.T. This clause is repeated at the end of the sentence. A thorn in the flesh (skolop th sarki). This old word is used for splinter, stake, thorn. In the papyri and inscriptions examples occur both for splinter and thorn as the meaning. In the LXX it is usually thorn. The case of th sarki can be either locative (in) or dative (for). What was it? Certainly it was some physical malady that persisted. All sorts of theories are held (malaria, eye-trouble, epilepsy, insomnia, migraine or sick-headache, etc.). It is a blessing to the rest of us that we do not know the particular affliction that so beset Paul. Each of us has some such splinter or thorn in the flesh, perhaps several at once. Messenger of Satan (aggelo Satana). Angel of Satan, the affliction personified. Buffet (kolapizh). See on Matthew 26:67 ; 1 Corinthians 4:11 ; see also "1Co 4:11" for this late and rare word from kolapo, fist. The messenger of Satan kept slapping Paul in the face and Paul now sees that it was God's will for it to be so.