her-moj'-e-nez (Hermogenes, literally "born of Hermes," a Greek deity, called by the Romans, "Mercury," 2 Timothy 1:15):

1. Where Did He "Turn Away"?:

Hermogenes was a Christian, mentioned by Paul as having, along with Phygellus and "all that are in Asia," turned away from him. It is not clear when or where the defection of those Asiatic Christians from the apostle took place, whether it was at Rome at the time of Paul's second imprisonment there, and especially on the occasion of his being brought before the emperor's supreme court, to be tried on a charge now involving the death penalty, or whether it was at some previous time in Ephesus.

2. Was It in Ephesus?:

If it was the latter, then the meaning is that Paul wishes to inform Timothy, or perhaps only to remind him, how in Ephesus, where Timothy was the presiding minister of the church, these persons, Phygellus and Hermogenes with many more, had turned away from him, that is, had refused to submit to his authority, and had rejected the Christian doctrine which he taught. This latter meaning, referring the "turning away" to some previous occasion in Ephesus, is thought by some expositors to be the probable signification, owing to the fact that the verb "they be turned away" is in the aorist tense, referring to a time long past when the apostle wrote.

3. Unlikelihood of It Being in Ephesus:

On the other hand there is no evidence that there ever was a time when "all they which are in Asia" (the King James Version) turned away from obedience to Paul. Whatever may have been the disloyalty and disobedience of individuals--and this certainly existed; see, e.g., Acts 20:29 f--yet, certainly the New Testament does not show that all that were in Asia, the Christian community as a whole, in Ephesus and Miletus and Laodicea and Hierapolis and Colosse and other places, repudiated his apostolic authority.

4. Probalility of It Being in Rome:

If the words "all they which are in Asia" refer to all the Christians from the proconsular province of Asia, who happened to be in Rome at the time of Paul's second imprisonment there, it can easily be understood that they should turn away from him at that testing time. It is impossible to say exactly what form their desertion of the apostle assumed. Their turning away would likely be caused by fear, lest if it were known that they were friends of the prisoner in the Mamertine, they would be involved in the same imprisonment as had overtaken him, and probably also in the same death penalty.

It is altogether in favor of a reference to Rome, that what is said about Phygellus and Hermogenes and their turning away from Paul is immediately followed by a reference to Onesiphorus, and to the great kindness which he showed, when he sought the apostle but very diligently in Rome. On the whole, therefore, a reference to Rome and to the manner in which these persons, named and unnamed, from Asia, had deserted Paul, seems most probable.


John Rutherfurd

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'HERMOGENES'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.