I realise that this is a seemingly obvious question and easily dismissed by "the lexicon says...", but I'm having real trouble getting my head around the sense of the later part of P.Oxy.1065 ὥσπερ οἱ θεοὶ οὐκ ἐφείσαντό μου οὕτως κἀγὼ θεῶν οὐ φείσομαι (lines 7-9).
Is not withholding something a good or a bad thing? The most educated guess I can come up with is that the gods have not spared him some trouble that has happened in his life, but the second part of that, the κἀγὼ θεῶν οὐ φείσομαι is proving difficult on the grey matter.
Likewise the adverb of the participle φειδομένως at 2 Cor.9:6. Is that meant as a good or a bad thing? Does it assume a "more is better" mentality among the Corinthians? Understanding the sense is perhaps based on an assumed contrast between the εὐλογία, and the φείδομαι. While I do think that is methodologically sound, I would like to suggest that perhaps such a way of dealing with it can be jumped to too quickly, especially when the thing with which it is contrasted is not well understood - like mooring a boat on a floating log. Let me say that actually, I disagree with the reference material that I have seen on this verse, because it seems to me that εὐλογία here is not the same εὐλογία as in from "speak", but from λογία "collection", as in get some "good εὐ" handfuls (of seed) collected together when you sow and you will get a good handful of stalks together when you reap. I guess the apostle was trying a pun or wordplay on the εὐλογία in verse 5, but that it is a homophonic neologism rather than taking it as a concrete expression of the blessing of God (as in the LXX). But using resources sparingly is a good thing that would suppose something like ὁ σπείρων φείδεται σπόρον* (This is not a quote, I made this up), the uses of φείδομαι talk about sparing rational beings (angels and humans). That is to say that the seeds are saved from something that would happen to them, perhaps death (according to the (pseudo-)science of that time)/ being thrown to the ground.
φείδομαι in NT usage is a positive thing - keeping some bad things away from someone or something., I haven't got a library (within 3,000 km) that I would expect to find reference books in, so that I can actually see the Loeb, but it seems that the usage in Plut. Alex. 25 (and 28 for ὑποφειδομένως "restrain oneself a little") are in both cases referring self-restraint and that is seen as a virtue - to be taken in a good sense. That would suit the first φειδομένως - handling and saving money is a virtue, but the second φειδομένως doesn't seem natural. It seems to imply that there is a choice about how much grain to harvest, i.e. to say that it seems to say that the sower (who has now taken on the role of reaper) can see a lot of stalks and only cuts a few, and leaves the rest (spares them from undergoing the "ordeal" of being cut down). I find that strange. It is strange because this verb seems to assume a conscious decision on the part of the person doing a harmful action. Who is the sparer in the second φείδομαι/φειδομένως, the grammar says it is the sower come reaper, and the weight of Greek suggests that that is seen as an ethically good thing. I don't think that "In a scanty or meager manner" holds the right sense for this, and "sparingly" looks like one of those translations that I used to do in undergraduate Greek classes Spare (for the meaning) + ing (for the participle) + ly (for the adverb), without really thinking about it. I guess the third ed. of BDAG captures the sense of the English and expresses about the Greek.
Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas on this understanding of the Greek?