Paul is telling his Thessalonian buddies that God's wrath has come at last to the mean Jews (countrymen) nearby.

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 ESV For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last! But since we were torn away from you blah blah blah...

What wrath? From who? From God? The story of Paul in Thessalonica in Acts 17 doesn't show any retribution towards the persecuting Jews. What is Paul talking about?

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    Are you sure it's those (perhaps not necessarily Jews?) in Thessalonica that are being referred to and not the ones in Judea? I would have thought the latter were the most likely choice. Dec 13, 2014 at 3:00

1 Answer 1


From a straight-forward reading of First Thessalonians, it is hard to understand what wrath God wrought upon the Jews to such an extent that Paul would have expected his readers to understand just what he was alluding to. We need to think outside the box and consider that New Testament writings were often amended after they had been written.

It appears that 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 is widely regarded as an interpolation - see for example, An Introduction to the New Testament, pp 166, 463, by Raymond E. Brown. Its polemic against the Jews is quite at odds with Paul's usual treatment of the Jews and the fact that he, himself, was a proud Jew. It is consistent with late first-century condemnation of the Jews. The wrath of God is considered an unmistakeable allusion to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, and the death of so many at Roman hands.

  • Nice question. Nice answer. Dec 13, 2014 at 17:51

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