Them that sin rebuke before all
This the apostle adds to the above rule, to show that he was far from screening wicked ministers, or elders, guilty of flagitious crimes, and gross enormities: for these words, though they may be applied unto, and may hold good of all offenders, that are members of churches; yet they seem chiefly to regard elders, even such who sin, who continue to sin, who live in sin, in some notorious sin or another; which is evident and known, to the great scandal of religion, and dishonour of the Gospel: and so some read the words, "them that sin before all, rebuke"; not only admonish once and again, but degrade them from their office, and withdraw from them, as from other disorderly persons, and cut them off, and cast them out of the church, and that in a public manner; and so the Arabic version renders it, "before the congregation": which was done only in case of notorious offences: and which rule is observed by the Jews, and runs thus F8;
``a wise man, an elder in wisdom, and so a prince, or the father of the sanhedrim, that sins, they do not excommunicate him (with Niddui) always (ayohrpb) , "publicly", unless he does as Jeroboam the son of Nebat and his companions; but when he sins other sins, they chastise him privately.''The end is,
that others also may fear;
that other elders, or other members of the church, or both, may fear to do the same evil things, lest they incur the same censure and punishment: the Syriac version reads, "other men"; and the Arabic version, "the rest of the people". The phrase seems to be taken out of ( Deuteronomy 13:11 ) ( 17:13 ) .
F8 Maimon. Talmud Tora, c. 7. sect. 1.