For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of
The apostle was very desirous that the Corinthians might be thoroughly acquainted with the trouble that had lately befallen them; partly because it would clearly appear from hence what reason he had to give thanks to God as he had done; and partly, that they might be encouraged to trust in God, when in the utmost extremity; but chiefly in order to remove a charge brought against him by the false apostles; who, because he had promised to come to Corinth, and as yet had not come, accused him of lightness and inconstancy, in as much as he had not kept his promise. Now to show that it was not owing to any such temper and disposition of mind in him, he would have them know, that though he sincerely intended a journey to them, yet was hindered from pursuing it, by a very great affliction which befell him: the place where this sore trouble came upon him, is expressed to be in Asia: some have thought it refers to all the troubles he met with in Asia, for the space of three years, whereby he was detained longer than he expected; but it seems as though some single affliction is here particularly designed: many interpreters have been of opinion, that the tumult raised by Demetrius at Ephesus is here meant, when Paul and his companions were in great danger of their lives, ( Acts 19:21-41 ) , but this uproar being but for a day, could not be a reason why, as yet, he had not come to Corinth: it seems rather to be some other very sore affliction, and which lasted longer, that is not recorded in the Acts of the Apostles: the greatness of this trouble is set forth in very strong expressions,
as that we were pressed out of measure.
The affliction was as an heavy burden upon them, too heavy to bear; it was exceeding heavy, (kay' uperbolhn) , even to an "hyperbole", beyond expression; and
that is, above human strength, the strength of nature; and so the Syriac renders it, (Nlyx Nm) , "above our strength"; but not above the strength of grace, or that spiritual strength communicated to them, by which they were supported under it: the apostle adds,
insomuch that we despaired even of life;
they were at the utmost loss, and in the greatest perplexity how to escape the danger of life; they greatly doubted of it; they saw no probability nor possibility, humanly speaking, of preserving it.