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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

2 Peter 2



Other Authors
Verse 1

1.] Transition to the new subject. But (contrast to last verse) there were false prophets also (as well as the true prophets, just spoken of) among the people (of Israel. These words, more than any that have preceded, define the prophecies spoken of before as O. T. prophecies), as there shall be among you also ( καί with ἐν ὑμῖν. On ἔσονται, Bengel says “et jam esse cœperunt tunc.” It was so, see 2 Peter 2:9 ff.: still the future in ἔσονται is simple, and this first declaration a pure prophecy) false teachers (teachers of falsehood: cf. ψευδόλογος. In the case of ψευδοπροφῆται, the ψευδο- is ambiguous, whether subjective, pretenders to be prophets when they were not, or objective, prophesiers of false things: cf. for the latter Jeremiah 14:14, LXX, ψευδῆ οἱ προφῆται προφητεύουσιν …; ib. Jeremiah 14:15; Jer_23:25, al. fr.), the which ( οἵτινες, of a class: not simply identifying the individuals) shall introduce (shall bring in by the side of that teaching which ye have received. There is a hint of secrecy and unobservedness, but not so strong as in E. V. “shall privily bring in.” It is stronger in the παρεισέδυσαν of Jude 1:4) heresies ( αἱρέσεις here rather in the sense in which we now understand the word, new and self-chosen doctrines, alien from the truth: not sects (vulg.), which may be founded, but can hardly be said to be introduced) of destruction (whose end is destruction, Philippians 3:19. The expression is not to be resolved as E. V. (after Beza, as usual) by an adjective, “damnable heresies,” as it thereby loses its meaning, merely conveying the writer’s own [judgment of] condemnation), and denying (a remarkable word from St. Peter) the master (compare τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν ἰησοῦν χριστὸν ἀρνούμενοι, Jude 1:4) who bought them (reff. Ne, assertion of universal redemption can be plainer than this. “Ex hoc loco bene colligitur,” says Estius, endeavouring to escape the inference, “Christum redemisse quosdam reprobos, nimirum illos, qui redemptionis ejus secundum aliquos effectus facti sunt participes: cujusmodi erant hi, de quibus Petrus loquitur: utpote per fidem in baptismo regenerati, et peccatorum veniam consecuti, licet postea in veterem peccati servitutem lapsi.… Sed ne hino colligas, ad omnes omnino homines effectum redemptionis extendi.” Calvin passes it without a word. It may be noted that by the use of this particular predication for Christ here, those heresies seem especially to be aimed at, which denied or explained away the virtue of the propitiatory sacrifice of our Lord, by which He has bought us to Himself), bringing upon themselves (the construction is not very plain. Of the two participial clauses, … ἀρνούμενοι, and ἐπάγοντες …, one must be taken as equivalent to a finite verb, corresponding to παρεισάξουσιν above: unless indeed we understand καί to mean “even,” and make both participial clauses follow παρεισάξουσιν … as epexegetical of it. This, however, would leave the ἐπάγοντες awkwardly pendent, and requiring “and” to fill it up, as in E. V. As regards then the alternative before proposed, Huther thinks it most natural to regard ἐπάγοντες as a finite verb: “who, by denying &c., bring on themselves &c.:”—Winer, § 45. 6. a, prefers making both depend on παρεισάξουσιν, regarding them however not as co-ordinate, but ἐπάγοντες as a sequel added to the sentence οἵτινες.… ἀρνούμενοι. I much prefer taking καί as the simple copula, and regarding ἀρνούμενοι as standing in the place of a finite verb, co-ordinate with παρεισάξουσιν followed, as a consequence, by ἐπάγοντες κ. τ. λ.) swift (see note on ref., not speedy, but as Horneius in Huther, “inopinatam et inexspectatam”) destruction [cf. αἱρέσεις ἀπωλείας above]:

Verses 1-22

1–22.] DESCRIPTION OF ERRONEOUS TEACHERS WHO SHOULD ARISE: THEIR UNGODLY PRACTICES, AND CERTAIN DESTRUCTION. On the close parallelism with Jude 1:4-19, see in Prolegg. The fact will necessitate continual reference to that Epistle.

Verse 2

2. and many shall follow after (see on ch. 2 Peter 1:16) their licentiousnesses (the connexion of depraved moral conduct with erroneous doctrine was in the early ages of the church almost universal: see the Pastoral Epistles passim, and below 2 Peter 2:18-19. In (6) Jude, the two are expressed co-ordinately: τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν χάριτα μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν, κ. τὸν μόνον δεσπότην κ. κύρ. ἡμ. . χ. ἀρνούμενοι) on whose account (by reason of whom, i. e. from the ἀσέλγειαι of those who follow after the false teachers: for to these, and not to the false teachers themselves, is the οὕς most likely referable. It is those who, seeming to be in the way of truth, yet favour and follow false teachers, that cause most scandal to the way of truth itself) the way of truth (reff. and Ep. Barnab. 5, p. 734, “homo habens viam veritatis”) shall be evil spoken of (“ab iis qui foris sunt, discrimen ignorantibus verorum et falsorum Christianorum.” Bengel):

Verse 3

3.] and in (i. e. living in, girt about with, as their element, not as E. V. “through”) covetousness with feigned speeches (Wetstein quotes Artemid. i. 53, πλάσσειν δοκεῖἀγαθὸν ῥήτορσικαὶ πᾶσι τοῖς ἀπατεῶσι, διὰ τὸ τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ὄντα δεικνύειν τὰς τέχνας ταύτας) they will make gain of you (“quæstum ex vobis facient, ad quæstum suum vobis abutentur.” Gerh. See ref., and Athenag. xiii. 569, ἀσπασία ἐνεπορεύετο πλήθη γυναικῶν: Philo in Flacc. § 16, vol. ii. p. 536, ἐνεπορεύετο τὴν λήθην τῶν δικαστῶν (Huther). Pott tries to give the word the classic meaning of lucrari, ‘to gain over:’ “sectæ suæ conciliare conantur:” and this is borne out by Proverbs 3:14, LXX, κρεῖσσον αὐτὴν ἐμπορεύεσθαι, ἢ χρυσίου κ. ἀργυρίου θησαυρούς: but the other meaning seems better here. These false teachers would care not for their sect, but for their gain), for whom ( οἷς is the dat. incommodi: its antecedents being the subjects of the verb ἐμπορεύσονται, viz. the false teachers) the sentence (of God, decreeing their ἀπώλεια) from long since ( ἔκπαλαι cannot surely, as De Wette, be joined predicatively with τὸ κρῖμα, ‘the sentence from of old decreed,’ cf. οἱ πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρῖμα, Jude 1:4; in this case we should at all events expect τὸ κρῖμα τὸ ἔκπαλαι. Rather, with most Commentators, should ἔκπαλαι be taken adverbially with the following verb. The word is found, besides ref., in Arrian, Exp. Alex. i. 9, εἰς λογισμὸν τοῦ ἔκπαλαι: Jos. Antt. xvi. 8. 4, ἔκπαλαι μὲν συνεδρεύων αὐτῷ προσέκειτο: Plut. Aristid. p. 328 E, ἀνὴρ θυμοειδὴς κ. φιλοκίνδυνος, ἔκπαλαι πρὸς τὴν μάχην σπαργῶν. Phrynichus, p. 45, condemns it: ἀπόπαλαι, ἔκπαλαι· ἀμφοῖν δυσχέραινε, ἐκ παλαιοῦ γὰρ χρὴ λέγειν: where see Lobeck’s note) is not idle (i. e. is working itself out, is living and in action), and their destruction slumbereth not (i. e. is awake, and ready to seize them: ἀπώλεια being personified: for the verb, see reff.).

Verse 4

4.] First historical proof: the punishment of the apostate angels. Cf. Jude 1:6. For (connect with the position immediately preceding, οἷς τὸ κρῖμα κ. τ. λ.) if God spared not angels having sinned (how, is not here specified; but Jude, 2 Peter 2:6, is more particular: see note there. ἁμαρτησάντων, anarthrous, is not = τῶν ἁμ., “that sinned:” but carries a ratiocinative force, giving the reason of οὐκ ἐφείσατο: “for their sin”), but casting them into hell (the word is no where else found: but its meaning must be plain by analogy. Tartarus is no where else mentioned in the N. T. or LXX: there can be no doubt that it is used as equivalent to γέεννα. It seems best to take the verb absolutely, by itself, and join σειροῖς ζόφου to παρέδωκεν, as is done in E. V. So Huther after Calov., Pott, Wahl, al., against De Wette, Dietlein, al. The aor. participle is contemporary with the aor. verb παρέδωκεν, as in ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπε) delivered (them) over (“ παρέδωκεν is here, as often, used with an implied idea of punishment.” Huther) to dens (so with the reading in txt: σειρός, the same as σίρος, or σιῤῥός, properly a cave where corn is stored, so Demosth. p. 100 ult., ὀλυρῶν τῶν ἐν τοῖς θρᾳκίοις σιροῖς, also p. 135. 5. The form σειρός is found (as a var. read. in Demosth. also) in Pollux ix. 49; Phot. p. 504. 23; Varro de re rust. i. 57. The word is used for a wolf’s den, by Longus i. 11. The other reading, σειραῖς, has perhaps come from the δεσμοῖς ἀϊδίοις of (7) Jude, and would seem to suit the sense better: see there) of darkness (if the reading σειραῖς be retained, the expression is remarkably illustrated by Wisdom of Solomon 17:17, ἁλύσει σκότους ἐδέθησαν: and will probably mean, as there, that darkness itself is the chain, gen. of apposition) in custody (pres.: “being kept.” The readings are in great confusion, from the combined influence of (8) Jude, and our 2 Peter 2:9) unto (with a view to: or merely temporal, until: but this is not probable here, as the want of μεγάλης ἡμέρας, Jude 1:6, removes all definite allusion to the time of the judgment) judgment:

Verses 4-11

4–11.] Argument, enforced by three historical proofs, that God will assuredly punish these wicked persons. The protases, εἰ γὰρ.… καὶ ἀρχ. κόσμ.… καὶ πόλεις, have no single apodosis, properly so called, to answer to them, but the apodosis when it comes, is complicated with an additional protasis καὶ δίκαιον λὼτ κ. τ. λ. which causes it to consist of two members, the deliverance of the righteous, and the punishment of the wicked.

Verse 5

5.] Second historical proof—the flood. Wanting in Jude—and spared not the ancient world, but preserved (here first comes in the idea of the preservation of the righteous, which is worked out further in the next verse) Noah the eighth person (i. e. with seven others: according to the well-known formula, generally found in Greek with αὐτός: so Thucyd. ii. 79, ἐστρατήγει δὲ ξενοφῶν ὁ εὐριπίδου τρίτος αὐτός, and passim. But the shorter phrase is not without classic example: e. g. Plato, Legg. iii. p. 695 C, λαβὼν τὴν ἀρχὴν ἕβδομος, and other examples in Winer, § 37. 2: and in Wetstein. The numeral adj. must be taken with νῶε, not with κήρυκα) preacher of righteousness (the obvious construction would be, “as a preacher of righteousness:” so Huther: but we should thus be introducing an element logically extraneous to the context, which treats not of the purpose why the righteous are preserved, but simply of their preservation. And in these later Epistles, all considerations based on stricter views of the usage of the article before substantives are exceedingly unsafe. The fact, that Noah was thus a preacher of (moral) righteousness to the depravity of his age, is found alluded to in Jos. Antt. i. 3. 1,— ὁ νώεος δέ, τοῖς πραττομένοις ὑπʼ αὐτῶν δυσχεραίνων καὶ τοῖς βουλεύμασιν ἀηδῶς ἔχων, ἔπειθεν ἐπὶ τὸ κρεῖττον αὐτοὺς τὴν διάνοιαν καὶ τὰς πράξεις μεταφέρειν: Bereschith Rabba xxx. 6, in Wetst. “ κῆρυξ generationis diluvii, id est, Noachus:” al. in De Wette), bringing (= “when He brought,” or, “and brought:” contemporary with the ἐφύλαξεν above) the flood (anarthrous, as well known; in the earlier written reff. Matt., Luke, the art. is expressed) on the world (again anarthrous) of ungodly men (Dietlein, in his commentary, attaching 2 Peter 2:4 to 2 Peter 2:5, and believing the crime of the angels to be that in Genesis 6:2 (see note on Jude 1:6), holds that only one example is furnished by them both, as declaring God’s dealings with the old world; 2 Peter 2:7-8 giving corresponding testimony with regard to the new. But his reasons, as Huther has shewn, will not hold: seeing that, 1. the sentences are strictly co-ordinate with each other, 2 Peter 2:6; 2 Peter 2:5; 2 Peter 2:5; 2 Peter 2:4, all being simply coupled by καί: 2. there is no mention of the new world at 2 Peter 2:6, as there is none of the old at 2 Peter 2:4. 3. the angels cannot be part of the κόσμος ἀσεβῶν. And Dietlein’s idea, that if we take three examples, both members of the apodosis 2 Peter 2:9, will not be represented in 2 Peter 2:4, proves nothing, because that apodosis answers not to each of 2 Peter 2:4-6, separately, but to 2 Peter 2:4-7 generally: the idea of rescuing the righteous coming in as secondary, by the way. And the repetition of οὐκ ἐφείσατο, 2 Peter 2:4-5, by which Dietlein tries to strengthen his position, is in fact against him: marking off, as it does, expressly, 2 Peter 2:5 from 2 Peter 2:4, as a second example of God’s unsparing vengeance):

Verse 6

6.] Third historical proof: the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha, Jude 1:7. And burning to ashes (Suidas, τεφρώσας, ἐμπρήσας, σποδώσας. The aor. part. is contemporary with the aor. following) the cities of (gen. of apposition) Sodom and Gomorrha, condemned (them) ( κατέκρινεν, not imperf., but first aor. as παρέδωκεν and ἐφύλαξεν in the co-ordinate verses above) to (better than “with:” see reff.: not “eversione damnavit,” “funditus evertendo punivit,” as Gerh.: but “in cineres redigens damnavit ad eversionem,” as Pott, Wahl, Winer, De Wette, Huther) overthrow ( καταστροφή is the word used (ref. Gen.) in the history), laying down an example (cf. πρόκεινται δεῖγμα, Jude 1:7) of (i. e. that which might shew forth the fate of) those that should in after time live ungodly (so the E. V. well, but with “after”):

Verse 7

7.] and rescued (the contrast, the deliverance of the righteous, is here brought out at more length. This contrast is wanting in Jude, where only the punitive dealings of God are treated) righteous Lot ( δίκαιον, as repeating the δικαιοσύνη of 2 Peter 2:5; see also again, 2 Peter 2:8) distressed ( καταπονέω, properly to wear down or tire out by toil, as τῇ ἐνδείᾳ τῆς τροφῆς τὴν ἀλκὴν τοῦ θηρίου καταπονεῖν, Diod. iii. 37: ἡρακλῆς ὁ καταπονούμενος τῷ τῆς δηϊανείρας χιτῶνι, Pol. xl. 7. 3: hence to oppress, as in ref. Acts, or harass beyond bearing as here) by the behaviour of the lawless ( ἄθεσμοι, “homines nefarii, qui nec jus nec fas curant”) in licentiousness ( ἐν ἀσελγ. ἀναστροφή is to be taken together, as ἐν ἀσελγ. ἀναστρέφεσθαι; ἐν ἀσελγ. denoting the character of the behaviour or manner of life):

8] Explanation of καταπονούμενον. For by sight and hearing (these datives belong to ἐβασάνιζεν below, not as vulg., Erasm., al„ ungrammatically, to ὁ δίκαιος,—“adspectu et auditu justus erat,” nor as Gerh. to ἐγκατοικῶν: nor again are they to be understood of the Sodomites, as Wetstein,—“Lotus vultu eorum meretricio conspecto, et audita fama impudicitiæ eorum.…” It was by his own sight and hearing of what went on around him, that he ψυχὴν δικαίαν ἐβασάνιζεν.

βλέμμα is more usually of the look of a man from without: so in Demosth. Mid. in Wetst. τῷ σχήματι, τῷ βλέμματι, τῇ φωνῇ, and in numerous other examples in Wetst. The transition from this to the subjective sense is obvious) the righteous man, dwelling among them, day by day tormented his righteous soul with their lawless deeds (the form of the sentence is peculiar: that being represented as a deliberate act of Lot on himself, which was in fact the impression made on him by the lawlessness around him. The same way of speaking is common among us, when we say that a man “distresses himself” at any occurrence: cf. Isaiah 58:5, “a day for a man to afflict his soul,”— ἡμέραν ταπεινοῦν ἄνθρωπον τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ. The older expositors have curiously and characteristically missed the right sense: so Œc., πρὸς ζῆλον τῶν ἀσεβῶν αὐτῶν πράξεων ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας παρακαλούμενον, εἶτα βασανίζοντα τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ψυχὴν διὰ τῆς τούτων ἀποχῆς καὶ ἐγκρατείας (which he further expands afterwards): and similarly Thl.):

Verse 9

9.] (Apodosis; the last verse having been quasi-parenthetical, explanatory of καταπονούμενος. See above on 2 Peter 2:4) the Lord knoweth how (reff. The expression indicates both the apprehension of the manner of the act and the power to perform it) to rescue godly (men) out of temptation (as in ref. 1 Pet., where see note,—trials, persecutions, and the like), and to reserve unrighteous (men) under punishment (not as most, cruciandos: “to be punished,” E. V.: but as in 2 Peter 2:4, actually in a penal state, and thus awaiting their final punishment) to the day of judgment (the great final, doom: see reff.):

Verse 10

10.] but chiefly (cf. Jude 1:8) those who go after the flesh (more general here than in (9) Jude, where ἑτέρας defines the particular sin. Here, all following after unlawful carnal lusts is meant) in lust of pollution (lust, hankering after unlawful and polluting use of the flesh. The gen. is not to be resolved into an adjective, “cupiditas fœda,” as Wahl), and despise lordship (so in Jude 1:8, κυριότητα ἀθετοῦσιν: where see note). Darers (the construction suddenly alters to a description of the wicked persons who were the object in the former sentence. Cf. ref. and Thucyd. i. 70, where the Corinthians characterize the Athenians as καὶ παρὰ δύναμιν τολμηταί, καὶ παρὰ γνώμην κινδυνευταί), self-willed (see note on ref. Tit., where the word is explained. Both these plurals are used as substantives, in apposition with each other and with ‘they,’ the understood subject of the following verb), they tremble not (when) speaking evil of (this participial construction, meaning much the same as an infinitive, is common: see ref. and Acts 5:42; Acts 12:16; and Winer, § 45. 4. a) glories (what is meant by this, is somewhat doubtful: see on (10) Jude. We might take the word here, as there also, in its widest sense, as any dignities or glories, human or divine, were it not for the example there following. The vulg. has a curious rendering here: “sectas ( δόξας) non metuunt introducere blasphemantes:” whereas in Jude it renders “majestatem autem blasphemant:” on which Estius, “cur autem interpres eandem vocem hic sectas, apud Judam majestatem,—sun majestates transtulerit in sententia simili, seu potius eadem, mihi non liquet”);

Verse 11

11.] where (i. e. “in cases where:” nearly = whereas: so reff., and Thucyd. viii. 96, ὅπου γὰρ.… τοσαύτη ἡ ξυμφορὰ ἐπεγεγένητο, πῶς οὐκ εἰκότως ἠθύμουν) angels, being greater (than they) in strength and might (such is of necessity the meaning, and not the curious and hardly grammatical interpretation of Huther, “angels who are greater in strength and might than the other angels,” as, e. g., the archangel Michael in (11) Jude. This meaning would require ἄγγελοι οἱ ἰσχ. κ. δυν. μείζ. ὄντες. As it is, the ὄντες carries a slight ratiocinative force with it: “being,” i. e. “though they be:” and the thought is not, as Huther, a lame one, but shews forcibly the unbecomingness of their irreverence, seeing that even angels who are so far above them yet do not bring railing accusations against δόξαι), bring not against them (scil, δόξαι: in the interpretation, bad angels, fallen from their heavenly estate, but regarded here according to their essential condition as sons of glory. Cf. Milton’s “excess of glory obscured,” as descriptive of Satan,—an expression probably taken from the study of the original text in this place or in (12) Jude. The vulg. rendering, ‘adversum se,’ is clearly wrong: see below) before the Lord (“apud Dominum, judicem, eumque præsentem, reveriti, abstinent judicio,” Bengel. It is to me on the whole more probable that the words παρὰ κυρίῳ should have dropped out, as not occurring in (13) Jude, than that they should have been inserted owing to any idea of a contention in the divine Presence being there intended: for no such intention is apparent there, but rather the contrary) a railing judgment (= κρίσιν βλασφημίας, Jude 1:9. βλάσφημον, in allusion to βλασφημοῦντες above.

As a curiosity in the way of erroneous rendering and more erroneous exegesis founded on it, we may notice the vulg. here:—“ubi angeli fortitudine et virtute cum sint majores, non portant adversum se execrabile judicium:” and Lyra’s comment, “ubi, i. e. in pœna inferni: angeli, scil. mali: non portant, i. e. vix sustinent: execrabile judicium, i. e. pœnam.” Cf. Estius, h. l. and the extraordinary commentary of Feuardentius on this Epistle, in which he derives from this interpretation an argument à fortiori, “If angels cannot bear their punishment, how much less heretics, Luther, Calvin, Bucer, &c.”).

Verse 12

12.] Cf. Jude 1:10. In words this verse is very similar to that, but in meaning quite different: and this fact, so often occurring in the passage, strongly confirms the view of the common matter taken in the Prolegg., [ch. iv. § iii., and specially par. 11, p. 147.] See the separate sense of this verse and of Jude 1:10, in the notes on each verse. But (contrast to the angels, just mentioned) these, as irrational animals, born naturally (thus vulg. rightly, ‘naturaliter,’ according to the transposition in the text; φυσικά being nearly = ψυσικῶς. According to the other reading, φυσικά is a second epithet to ἄλογα ζῶα, as Œc.: κατʼ αἴσθησιν μόνον ζῶντα, οὐ κατὰ νοῦν κ. τὴν νοερὰν ζωήν) for (with a view to) capture and destruction (i. e. not to take and to destroy, but to be taken and destroyed. Wetst. quotes from the Rabbinical Bava Mezia, p. 85. 1, “Quidam vitulus, cum ad mactandum adduceretur, R. Judam accessit, caputque in ejus gremium reponens flevit. Sed ille, Abi, inquit, in hunc finem creatus es”), speaking evil (as they do: the part. includes the ground of their perishing) in the matter of things which they know not (thus, viz., by ἐν τούτοις, ἃ ἀγνοοῦσι, βλασφ. and not by ταῦτα, ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσιν, βλ., I prefer to resolve the attraction. We have βλασφημεῖν εἰς as analogous to βλασφ. ἐν: on the other hand ἀγνοεῖν ἐν might be tolerated, as ἀγνοεῖν περί, 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:13. But the former construction seems better; because, it being almost necessary to suppose οἷς neuter, not masculine, it is not so natural to have a neut. accus. after βλασφημεῖν, as a neut. dative with ἐν), in their corruption (in their practising, and following out, of this corruption to which they have devoted themselves) shall even perish (shall go on till they perish; not only being found in it, living in it, advancing in it, but going on also to its final issue, viz. eternal perdition).

Verses 12-22

12–22.] Further description and denunciation of these persons.

Verse 13

13 b, 14.] These verses most probably, as to construction, form an independent participial sentence, connected by apposition with what precedes. This is better than to consider them as all belonging to ἐπλανήθησαν in 2 Peter 2:15, which clearly is confined in its reference to its own sentence,—or as giving the ground of φθαρήσονται above. Imagining a pleasure delicate living for a day (the interpretations of ἐν ἡμέρᾳ have been various. Œc. gives it, τὴν ἀληθῆ κ. ἐπέραστον εὐφροσύνην κ. ἡδονὴν ἐν τῇ καθʼ ἡμέραν τιθέμενοι τοῦ λαιμοῦ ἀπολαύσει. And similarly Thl., Beza, al. But this seems inadmissible for ἐν ἡμέρᾳ. Some, as Erasm., Benson, Moras, E. V, al., take it for “in the daytime,” as implying absence of all shame; but this would give a very lame and frigid sense, and is inconsistent with τρυφήν, which is not revelling or rioting, but delicate living, which those who practise carry on as much in the daytime as by night, being the habit of their lives. Bede’s(14) explanation is remarkable: he understands ‘voluptas diei’ to mean true pleasure, “qua sancti quoque delectantur in Domino,” and “voluptas noctu” to be the unlawful pleasure of the ungodly. Then he takes ἡδονὴν τὴν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ together as predicate, understanding, “cum deliciis … vacent …, has tamen ipsi optimas et quasi lucifluas judicent.” Few will accept this, though it is very ingenious. There can be little doubt that the true rendering is as vulg. “voluptatem existimantes diei delicias:” Grot., “in diem, id est ad breve tempus:” Calv., Est., “Felicitatem statuunt in præsentibus deliciis.” And so Corn. a-Lap., De Wette, Huther, al. With this also agrees the article τήν and its position: “that delicate living which is but for a day”), spots (but σπιλάδες, Jude 1:12, where see note) and blemishes (disgraces, disfigurements, causing shame: ἐθέλεις δέ κε μῶμον ἀνάψαι, Od. β. 86), luxuriating in their deceits (i. e. as explained by Huther, in those things or materials of luxury, which they have fraudulently gotten, the abstract for the concrete. But, granting that interpretation as the words stand, there seems to be considerable doubt and difficulty about both reading and meaning. In Jude 1:12 they stand οὗτοί εἰσιν ἐν ταῖς ἀγάπαις ὑμῶν σπιλάδες συνευωχούμενοι ἀφόβως, instead of, as here, σπῖλοι καὶ μῶμοι ἐντρυφῶντες ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὐτῶν συνευωχούμενοι ὑμῖν. It seems hardly possible to imagine that there has not been some error in reading which has now become inveterate. And to this conclusion tends very much the testimony of C, which reads ἀπάταις in both places, and is thus nearly neutralized here. While therefore reading ἀπάταις, in deference to the weight of MSS, combined with critical principles, I have the strongest suspicion that ἀγάπαις is the original reading. The αὐτῶν is no witness against it, as De Wette thinks: the ἀγάπαι become αὐτῶν by their perversion of them while they συνευωχοῦνται ὑμῖν. And on this supposition, the meaning will be, that in their love-feasts (see on (15) Jude) they find occasion of luxuriating and delicate living, while feasting with you. This view is favoured also by the emphatic position of ἐντρυφῶντες. On the verb, Loesner says, “Philo de Jos. (34, vol. ii. p. 70), Josephum ait epulas quibus fratres exceperit jussisse fieri modicas, quod noluerit ταῖς ἑτέρων ἀτυχίαις ἐντρυφᾷν, inter aliorum penuriam dellciis uti”) while they feast with you (this at all events refers to the love-feasts, whatever be read above. See on (16) Jude),

Verse 14

14.] having eyes full of an adulteress (“quasi dicat, tam libidinosos eos esse, ut in ipsorum oculis quasi adulteræ habitent, seu ut adulteras semper in oculis ferant.” Horneius, in Huther) and that cannot be made to cease from sin (cf. ὁ παθῶν ἐν σαρκί, πέπαυται ἁμαρτίας, 1 Peter 4:1. Kypke quotes from Jos. B. J. vii. 37 (10. 2), ἀκατάπαυστον νεωτεροποιΐαν), laying baits for (Demosth., p. 241. 2, speaks of τῇ καθʼ ἡμέραν ῥᾳστώνῃ κ. σχολῇ δελεαζόμενοι) unstable souls (ref. The word occurs in Musæus, 295: βένθεα δʼ ἀστήρικτα καὶ ὑγρὰ θέμεθλα θαλάσσης: the signification, as here, unstable, unfixed, “in fide et pietatis studio nondum satis fundatus et formatus”), having a heart practised in covetousness (this construction, a gen. after γυμνάζεσθαι, is not without example: see Thomas Magister sub voce, and Hemsterhuis’s note. So some in Acts 22:3 (see note there), cf. Hom.-Clem. iv. 7 (vol. ii. p. 123, Migne), πάσης ἑλληνικῆς παιδείας ἐξησκημένος. The phrases, τόξων, οἰωνῶν, πολέμων, εἰδώς, are common in Homer: so οὐ πρὶν εἰδυῖα τόκοιο, Il. ρ. 5: διδασκόμενος πολέμοιο, π. 811: οὔτε τι ναυτιλίης σεσοφισμένος, Hesiod. ἔργ. κ. ἡμ. 649. The true account of such genitives seems to be, not, as Hemst. that the participles are taken as nouns, but as in ἀκούειν, αἰσθάνεσθαι, τινός, that they are partitive genitives), children of curse (i. e. as in ref. 2 Thess., ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας, John 17:12, persons devoted to the curse, accursed. But the E. V., “cursed children,” does not give the meaning, τέκνα being used in the original simply with reference to κατάρας.

Verse 15

15.] The last clauses, from ὀφθαλμούς to τέκνα, have no representatives in Jude. Now again the parallelism begins, cf. Jude 1:11; but the sentiment is more expanded here. The construction is altered, and becomes direct and regular, καταλιπόντεςἐπλανήθησαν. Which have forsaken the right way (ref.) and are gone astray (the aor. part. and aor. verb are contemporary: and both require, as so often, to be rendered by our English perfect; the English bare past not involving any present consequence, but rather leaving it to be inferred that the state predicated is over now), following out (this seems to be all that the ἐξ- implies; see on ch. 2 Peter 1:16. It is noticeable, that in (17) Jude the expression is ἐξεχύθησαν) the way of Balaam ( τῇ ὁδῷ, not merely figuratively, the way (of life), but literally, seeing that it was by a journey that Balaam displeased God: cf. the frequent repetition of the word in Numbers 22:23, and the words of the angel in ib. Numbers 22:32, οὐκ ἀστεία ἡ ὁδός σου ἐναντίον ἐμοῦ) (the son) of Bosor (Grot, supposes Bosor to be a corruption of the name פְּתוֹרָה, “Pethor,” Numbers 22:5 ; Vitringa, Observ. Sacræ, vol. i. pp. 936 f., maintains rightly that τοῦ βοσόρ rather signifies parentage than habitation, and that βοσόρ is a way of writing בְּעוֹר, Beor, owing to a peculiar pronunciation of the ע, which he traces in the formation of salio from עָלָה, and in the case of other sibilants from aspirates, as sal from ἅλς, septem from ἑπτά, sisto from ἵστημι . And he conjectures that, coupled with an intimation that the Galileans gave a softer sound than others to the ע, this may have been connected with the Galilean dialect which betrayed Peter on a memorable occasion, Matthew 26:73 . So far well: but he goes on also to say, that the Apostle had a mystical reason for choosing this form, in allusion to the temptation which Balaam cast before Israel, because בָּשָׂר signifies flesh, “elegante hoc lusu subinnuens, Bileamum, suadendo voluptatum carnalium exercitium, merito dicendum esse filium βοσόρ, id est, carnis.” It certainly is not beyond possibility that a Hebrew ear may have found such an allusion obvious: but the reference seems here rather to be to Balaam’s attempt to curse Israel, than to his subsequent temptation of them), who loved the wages of unrighteousness (viz. Which he vainly thought he might get by disobeying the command of God. See Bp. Butler’s masterly sermon on the character of Balaam, in his well-known volume),

Verse 16

16.] but had a rebuke for his own iniquity (what sort of a reproof, is shewn below. If any force can be given to ἰδίας, it will be found in the fact that the reproof came from an animal which was part of his own substance: he himself furnished the conviction of his own iniquity, from the animal on which he rode): a (or, “the:” we are never sure of our ground with anarthrous substantives in these later Epistles) dumb beast of burden ( ὑποζύγιον is apparently used as synonymous with ὄνος in ref. Matt. If so, the universal practice of riding on the ass in Palestine must be regarded as the reason) speaking (aor. part. contemporary with aor. verb following) in man’s voice (not, “by speaking in man’s voice:” the participial clause brings into notice the miraculous character of the incident) hindered (not in matter of fact, for Balaam went on his way: but subjectively, more as the imperfect is often used: “withstood,” or as E. V. “forbade”) the madness of the prophet (a discrepancy has been discovered between this and the Mosaic account, seeing that it was the angel, and not the ass, from whom the rebuke came, the ass having merely deprecated ill-treatment at Balaam’s hands. But the Apostle evidently regards not so much the words of rebuke uttered, as the miraculous fact, as being the hindrance. It was enough to have prevented his going onward, when the dumb animal on which he rode was gifted with speech to shew him his madness).

Verse 17

17.] These are wells without water (in (18) Jude, clouds without water. Œc. understands this, ἐπεικάζει αὐτοὺς πηγαῖς ἀνύδροις, ὡς ἀπολωλεκότας τὸ τῆς ζωῆς ὕδωρ, τουτέστι, τὸ τοῦ κηρύγματος καθαρὸν κ. πότιμον ὕδωρ. But this is going too far into specialities: the comparison, in both Epistles, is simply to that which may be expected to yield water, and yields none. In this case the πηγή seems to be the spring itself, which ought to send forth water but does not), and mists ( οὐκ εἴσι, φησί, διαυγεῖς ὥσπερ οἱ ἅγιοι οἱ ὄντες νεφέλαι, ἀλλʼ ὀμίχλαι, τουτέστι σκότους καὶ γνόφου μεστοί, ὑπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ πνεύματος ἐλαυνόμενοι. Comm. in Catena) driven along by a whirlwind ( λαῖλαψ, according to Aristotle de mundo, is πνεῦμα βίαιον καὶ ἐλούμενον κάτωθεν ἄνω), for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved (see (19) Jude. It is obvious that no just charge of inappropriateness can be brought against our passage because this clause occurs in a different connexion from that in Jude. There it is said of wandering stars, here of driven clouds: of each, with equal appropriateness: darkness being predicable of clouds, as well as of stars extinguished).

Verse 17-18

17, 18.] Further designation of these false teachers, and justification of it. Cf. Jude 1:12-13, which is here much abridged.

Verse 18

18.] Justification of the description. For, speaking great swelling things ( ὑπέρογκος is a classical word, occurring in Plato and Demosth., generally signifying excessive magnitude, as in μεγάλαι οὐσίαι κ. ὑπέρογκοι, Plut. Ep. iii. p. 317 C. δύναμις ὑπέρογκος as opposed to ταπεινή, Dem. p. 46. 16. Xen. Hell. v. 4. 58, uses it in the literal sense, γενομένης δὲ τῆς κνήμης ὑπερόγκου: and Plut. Lucull. 21, in a figurative,— φρόνημα τραγικὸν κ. ὑπὲρογκον ἐν ταῖς μεγάλαις εὐτυχίαις) of vanity (whose characteristic is ματαιότης: as in the genitive σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας, Romans 6:6, and the like: see Winer, § 30. 2. β) they allure (above, 2 Peter 2:14) in lusts ( ἐν ἐπιθ. describes the state of the tempters, and the element in which their laying of enticing baits is situated) by licentiousnesses ( ἀσελγ. are the instrument, the bait itself. Far better so, with Huther, than with De Wette to regard ἐν as = διὰ, and ἀσελγ. as in apposition with ἐπιθυμίαις. Œc. inverts this construction, δελεάζουσι διὰ τῆς σαρκικῆς ἐπιθυμίας ἐν ταῖς ἀσελγείαις) of the flesh those who are scarcely ( οὐκ ὀλίγως occurs in the Anthol xii. 205, in the sense of “not a little:” and as a var. read. in Plato, Alcib. ii. p. 149 A. It may signify here, by degrees, = κατʼ ὀλίγον: but the other,= ὀλίγου, seems more generally accepted as the sense [with very little space, or very little time, for such escape]) escaping from them who live in error (some take τοὺς ἑν πλ. ἀναστρ. as a clause co-ordinate and in apposition with τοὺς ὀλίγως ἀποφεύγοντας: but the other rendering is far better: these unhappy persons who are but just escaping from the influence of those who live in error (the heathen), are then laid hold of by these deceivers, enticing them with licentiousness),

Verse 19

19.] promising them liberty (these are the great swelling things which they speak; holding out a state of Christian liberty, which proves to be the bondage of corruption) while they themselves are (all the while: ὑπάρχω, of previous entity: see on Acts 16:20) slaves of corruption (cf. the same words occurring together in ref. Rom., αὐτὴ ἡ κτίσις ἐλευθερωθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς δουλείας τῆς φθορᾶς εἰς τὴν ἐλευθερίαν τῆς δόξης τῶν τέκνων τοῦ θεοῦ: which it is very likely St. Peter had in view: cf. ch. 2 Peter 3:15. They promise that liberty of the sons of God, being themselves in the bondage of corruption. φθορά here, moral decay of sin, ending in perdition): for by what (ever) a man is overcome, by the same he is also enslaved (cf. ref. John, πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν, δοῦλός ἐστιν τῆς ἁμαρτίας: and ref. Rom., ᾧ παριστάνετε ἑαυτοὺς δούλους εἰς ὑπακοήν, δοῦλοί ἐστε ᾧ ὑπακούετε. These passages were certainly in the Apostle’s mind. ἡττάομαι, generally found with a gen. of the agent, has here a dat. The classical rendering here would be “in whatever a man is overcome (by another), in that particular he is also enslaved (by that other).” But the context makes it clear that the datives are intended to designate the agent, not the mode).

Verse 20

20.] For if, having escaped (it might seem at first sight as if the ἀποφεύγοντας of 2 Peter 2:18 were meant: but on close inspection it is plain that this is not so, but that we are continuing the description of the δοῦλοι τῆς φθορᾶς, viz. the deceivers themselves: the ἥττηται and ἡττῶνται marking the identity) the pollutions (reff.) of the world, in (element and condition of their escape) knowledge ( ἐπιγνώσει, genuine and accurate knowledge: shewing that he is treating of men who have not been mere professors of spiritual grace, but real possessors of it) of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (expressed at length, to set forth more solemnly that from which they fall), but having again become entangled in these, they are overcome (the construction is ordinarily regarded as broken by the δέ, placed as if ἀποφύγωσιν and not ἀποφυγόντες had preceded: “if, after they have, &c., they are again entangled and overcome,” as E. V. But it is better to regard ἡττῶνται as the apodosis to both the participial clauses, and δέ as coupling them to each other), their last state is (we cannot say in English “has become,” for we thereby convey an idea that it was not always so, but has undergone a change) worse than the first ( αὐτοῖς, dat. incommodi. The saying is our Lord’s own: see reff. Matt. (20) L.).

Verses 20-22

20–22.] Further description of these deceivers as apostates from Christ, and designation of their terrible state as such.

Verse 21

21.] Reason of these last words. For it were (that use of the imperfect without ἄν, answering to the Latin “faciebam, ni:” see on Romans 9:3) better for them not to have known the way of righteousness (viz. the Christian life: cf. ἡ ὁδὸς τῆς ἀληθείας, 2 Peter 2:2) than, having known it (dat. instead of accus. by a very common attraction), to turn back (not perf., but aor.: now implying merely the final character of the act) from (out of, as out of a way) the holy commandment (the moral law of the gospel: here so designated, because it is of moral corruption that the Apostle is treating) delivered to them (cf. ref. Jude, τῇ ἅπαξ παραδοθείσῃ τοῖς ἁγίοις πίστει: where the arrangement of words is the same as here: παραδοθείσῃ being thrown forward and having the emphasis).

Verse 22

22.] Further description of their state by two proverbial expressions. There hath happened to them that of the true proverb (for construction, see reff.: and Lucian, dial. mort. viii. 1, τοῦτο ἐκεῖνο τὸ τῆς παροιμίας, ὁ νεβρὸς τὸν λέοντα), The dog gone back (i. e. “which has gone back:” ἐπιστρέψας is not a finite verb, but simply a predicate of κύων) to his own vomit (in ref. Prov. we have ὥσπερ κύων ὅταν ἐπέλθῃ ἐπὶ τὸν ἑαυτοῦ ἔμετον καὶ μισητὸς γένηται, οὕτως ἄφρων τῇ ἑαυτοῦ κακίᾳ ἀναστρέψας ἐπὶ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἁμαρτίαν. It may seem however somewhat doubtful, whether the proverbs, as here cited, be meant to be taken from Scripture, or rather not both of them from the popular parlance, as here expressed.

ἐξέραμα seems hardly to be found elsewhere than here (Schleusner cites Dioscorides vi. 19: adding “et alii,” but qu.?): the verb ἐξεράω occurs in ref., and Aristoph, Vesp. 993, Hippocrates, al. See Lobeck on Phryn. p. 64: and Schleusner in voce): and, The sow after washing (the middle sense must not be pressed: it is the word commonly used of men, transferred to an animal) to ( ἐπιστρέψασα is generally understood before εἰς. But it seems better, with Huther, to understand the proverb as self-contained, and elliptical, as in “Sweets to the sweet”: so, “The washed sow to the mire”) wallowing in the mire (if we read κύλισμ α, we must render “the place of wallowing.” In either case, the gen. βορβόρου imports that which characterizes the wallowing, and is a possessive gen. It is of, belongs to, mire).


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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 2 Peter 2:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

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