I have received
At the hands of the Jews
The forty lashes less one.”
ὑπὸ Ἰουδαίων πεντάκις τεσσεράκοντα παρὰ μίαν ἔλαβον,
Paul said that five times (πεντάκις), he had received (ἔλαβον) at the hands of the Jews (ὑπὸ Ἰουδαίων) the forty lashes less one (τεσσεράκοντα παρὰ μίαν). Only this Corinthian letter used the word πεντάκις, that means five times. The forty lashes less one was a Jewish synagogue punishment, since according to Deuteronomy, chapter 25:1-3, they could not give more than 40 lashes. “Suppose two persons have a dispute and enter into litigation. The judges decide between them, declaring one to be in the right and other to be in the wrong. If the one in the wrong deserves to be flogged, the judge shall make that person lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of lashes proportionate to the offense. Forty lashes may be given him not more. If more lashes than these are given, your neighbor will be degraded in your sight.” Whenever there was a dispute, the judge should rule on who is right and wrong. The most extreme punishment for the guilty person was forty lashes. No one should be degraded, since there was continual respect for every human person, right or wrong. Thus, they only gave 39 lashes so that they would not go over 40. That was the kind of punishment that Paul had received five times at various synagogues. There was no exact indication of when these five times were. Have you ever seen any person being whipped on the back?