1 Corinthians 10:2Context
and all were baptized 1 into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
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1 tc ‡ A number of witnesses, some of them important, have the passive ἐβαπτίσθησαν (ebaptisqhsan, “were baptized”) instead of the middle ἐβαπτίσαντο (ebaptisanto, “baptized [themselves]”) in v. 2 (so א A C D F G Ψ 33 al latt). However, the middle is not without its representation (Ì46c B 1739 1881 Ï Or; the original hand of Ì46 read the imperfect middle ἐβαπτίζοντο [ebaptizonto]). The passive looks like a motivated reading in that it is clearer and conforms to typical Pauline usage (his thirteen instances of the verb are all either active or passive). B. M. Metzger, in representing a minority opinion of the UBS Committee, suggests that the middle would have been appropriate for Jewish baptism in which the convert baptizes himself (TCGNT 493). But this assumes that the middle is a direct middle, a rare occurrence in the NT (and never elsewhere with this verb). Further, it is not really baptism that is in view in v. 2, but passing through the Red Sea (thus, a metaphorical use). Although the present editors agree with the minority’s resultant reading, it is better to take the middle as causative/permissive and the scribes as changing it to a passive for clarity’s sake. Translational differences are minimal, though some exegetical implications are involved (see ExSyn 427).