One of themselves ( τις ἐξ αὐτῶν )
Ἁυτῶν refers to the gainsayers, Titus 1:9, Titus 1:10. Τις refers to Epimenides, contemporary with Solon, and born in Crete b.c. 659. A legend relates that, going by his father's order in search of a sheep, he lay down in a cave, where he fell asleep and slept for fifty years. He then appeared with long hair and a flowing beard, and with an astonishing knowledge of medicine and natural history. It was said that he had the power of sending his soul out of his body and recalling it at pleasure, and that he had familiar intercourse with the gods and possessed the power of prophecy. He was sent for to Athens at the request of the inhabitants, in order to pave the way for the legislation of Solon by purifications and propitiatory sacrifices, intended to allay the feuds and party discussions which prevailed in the city. In return for his services he refused the Athenians' offers of wealth and public honors, and asked only a branch of the sacred olive, and a decree of perpetual friendship between Athens and his native city. He is said to have lived to the age of 157 years, and divine honors were paid him by the Cretans after his death. He composed a Theogony, and poems concerning religious mysteries. He wrote also a poem on the Argonautic Expedition, and other works. Jerome mentions his treatise On Oracles and Responses, from which the quotation in this verse is supposed to have been taken. According to Diogenes Laertius (i. 10) Epimenides, in order to remove a pestilence from Athens, turned some sheep loose at the Areopagus, and wherever they lay down sacrificed to the proper God: whence, he says, there are still to be found, in different demes of the Athenians, anonymous altars. Comp. Acts 17:22, Acts 17:23.
The Cretans, etc.
The words Κρῆτες - ἀργαί form a hexameter line.
Always ( ἀεὶ )
Liars ( ψεῦσται )
In Pastorals here and 1 Timothy 1:10. Once in Paul, Romans 3:4. Mostly in John. The Cretan habit of lying passed into a verb, κρητίζειν tospeak like a Cretan = to lie: also into a noun, κρητισμός Cretan behavior = lying. Similarly, the licentiousness of Corinth appeared in the verb κορινθιάζεσθαι topractice whoredom, and in the noun κορινθιαστής awhoremonger. Comp. Ov. Artis Amat. i. 296.
“non hoc, centum quae sustinet urbes
Quamvis sit mendax, Creta negare potest.”
“Crete, which a hundred cities doth maintain,
Cannot deny this, though to lying given.”
A familiar saying was τρία κάππα κάκιστα thethree worst K's, Κρῆτες, Καππάδοκαι, Κίλικες CretansCappadocians, Cilicians.
Evil beasts ( κακὰ θηρία )
Rude, cruel, and brutal.
Slow-bellies ( γαστέρες ἀργαί )
Better, idle -bellies. Rev. gives the correct idea, idle gluttons. They are so given to gluttony that they are mere bellies. Comp. Philemon 3:19. Γαστὴρ , elsewhere in N.T. always in connection with childbearing. So mostly in lxx, but in a few instances as here. See Job 20:23; Psalms 17:14; Job href="/desk/?q=job+20:14&sr=1">Job 20:14as the rendering of קֶרֶב, bowels. Ἁργός idleoP. However such words may have befitted the pagan seer, it is not pleasant to regard them as taken up and endorsed by the great Christian apostle, who thus is made to stigmatise as liars, beasts, and gluttons a whole people, among whom he had himself so successfully labored that several churches had been founded in a short time. They are strange words from a venerable Christian minister to a younger minister to whom he had intrusted the care of those very souls; and, in any case, are superfluous, as addressed to one who must have known the characteristics of the Cretans quite as well as the writer himself.