1 Corinthians 4:13

Being defamed we intreat (dusphmoumenoi parakaloumen). The participle dusphmoumenoi is an old verb (in I Macc. 7:41) to use ill, from dusphmo, but occurs here only in the N.T. Paul is opening his very heart now after the keen irony above. As the filth of the world (w perikaqarmata tou kosmou). Literally, sweepings, rinsings, cleansings around, dust from the floor, from perikaqairw, to cleanse all around (Plato and Aristotle) and so the refuse thrown off in cleansing. Here only in the N.T. and only twice elsewhere. Kaqarma was the refuse of a sacrifice. In Proverbs 21:18 perikaqarma occurs for the scapegoat. The other example is Epictetus iii. 22,78, in the same sense of an expiatory offering of a worthless fellow. It was the custom in Athens during a plague to throw to the sea some wretch in the hope of appeasing the gods. One hesitates to take it so here in Paul, though Findlay thinks that possibly in Ephesus Paul may have heard some such cry like that in the later martyrdoms Christiani ad leones. At any rate in 1 Corinthians 15:32 Paul says "I fought with wild beasts" and in 2 Corinthians 1:9 "I had the answer of death." Some terrible experience may be alluded to here. The word shows the contempt of the Ephesian populace for Paul as is shown in Acts 19:23-41 under the influence of Demetrius and the craftsmen. The offscouring of all things (pantwn peripshma). Late word, here only in N.T., though in Tob. 5:18. The word was used in a formula at Athens when victims were flung into the sea, peripshma hmwn genou (Became a peripshma for us), in the sense of expiation. The word merely means scraping around from peripsaw, offscrapings or refuse. That is probably the idea here as in Tob. 5:18. It came to have a complimentary sense for the Christians who in a plague gave their lives for the sick. But it is a bold figure here with Paul of a piece with perikaqarmata.