Warning Against a Threatened Plague of Brutal False Teachers
As of old there were false as well as true prophets, so it will be now. This leads the Apostle to speak about the false teachers, who if they have not already begun-he expects will trouble his readers. Prophets were important persons in the early Church: cp. Acts 11:27; 1 Corinthians 12:28.; 1 Corinthians 14:29.; Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 3:5; Ephesians 4:11. These teachers, who had doubtless been baptised, claimed, it would seem, to be prophets, and therefore to be outside ordinary rules and discipline: they put a 'private interpretation' on such matters. Hence they fell into the sin of pride, and rebelled against official authority; and of lust and covetousness, despising the laws of morality. The Apostle shows, by the example of the angels that sinned, and of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, that sure punishment is ready for them, but that God will preserve the faithful from their seductions. He writes in strong but very spiritual language, and is in accord with the rest of the NT. in teaching that the destruction of the unrepentant sinner is continuance in sin: see Ephesians 4:12. (RV), 19f; and cp. Mark 3:29; (RV) Romans 1:28; 2 Thessalonians 2:11. (RV) Hebrews 6:6.
This chapter should be carefully compared with St. Jude's Epistle.
1. Damnable heresies] RV 'destructive heresies.' The word 'heresy' is passing here from its older meaning of a 'school' or 'sect' (RM) to the modern meaning of 'false doctrine': cp. Acts 24:14; 1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20. Even denying the Lord] RV 'denying even the Master'; their evil lives were a denial of Christ's authority.
2. Pernicious ways] RV 'lascivious doings.'
3. Damnation] RV 'destruction': cp. 2 Peter 2:12, 2 Peter 3:7. With the rude but vigorous style of this and other vv. in the chapter cp. 1 Peter 3:17. St. Jude is more polished, but less strong.
4. The Apostle here follows Jewish tradition (cp. Revelation 20:1-3), as it is given in the book of Enoch, from which St. Jude expressly quotes.
5. Noah the eighth person] RV 'Noah with seven others': cp. 1 Peter 3:20.
6. Neither here nor elsewhere in Holy Scripture is it said that these cities were submerged. Zephaniah 2:9 is against such a belief.
7. Vexed with the filthy conversation] RV 'sore distressed by the lascivious life.'
9. Unto the day of judgment to be punished] RV 'under punishment unto the day of judgement.' God's punishment is remedial, and this v. gives just a gleam of hope for the false teachers.
11. Comparison with Judges 1:9 would suggest that the Apostle is here too referring to an apocryphal book, but if we did not know that Epistle we should more naturally think of Job 1 or Zechariah 3.
12. Natural brute beasts, made to be taken] RV 'creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken.' Shall utterly perish in their own corruption, and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness] RV 'shall in their destroying surely be destroyed, suffering wrong as the hire of wrongdoing.'
13. Sporting themselves with their own deceivings] RV 'revelling in their love-feasts.' Such a love-feast or common meal of the Christians is described in 1 Corinthians 11:20.; The abuses for which the Corinthians were rebuked led to the separation of the Holy Communion from such feasts. But though St. Jude has 'love-feasts' in the parallel passage, it is more than possible that 'deceivings' of AV and RM is right here. The Gk. words only differ by two letters, and if St. Jude used this Epistle he might well correct a difficult to a seemingly easy expression.
14. Cursed children] RV 'children of cursing,' a Hebrew mode of expression: cp. 1 Peter 1:14 it means that their whole character is worthy of execration.
15. Bosor] RV 'Beor,' as in Numbers 22:5, Balaam, as we learn from Revelation 2:14, taught Balak to try and ruin the Israelites by tempting them to uncleanness, and Balak had already offered him rewards (Numbers 22:7, Numbers 22:17). Thus he was like the false teachers in two respects.
16. Forbad] RV 'stayed.'
17. Wells without water, etc.] RV 'spring without water, and mists driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness hath been reserved.' The false teachers are as disappointing as springs without water, or as mists which promise moisture but are scattered by the wind: cp. Wisdom of Solomon 2:4 and Ephesians 4:14. The Day of the Lord will come to them, as Joel saw it (Joel 2:1.), 'with clouds and thick darkness '—a storm which will truly satisfy the thirsty land: see Intro.
18. Through much wantonness] RV 'by lasciviousness.' The repetition of this word points to the character of the false teachers. Repetition of this kind is frequent in 1 Pet.
Those that were clean escaped] RV 'those who are just escaping'; i.e. those who have become Christians, but are not far advanced in the Christian life; 'new-born babes,' as they are called in 1 Pet, who have still to 'grow unto salvation.'
19. Cp. John 8:34; Romans 6:16.
20. Knowledge of Christ is both the beginning and the end of Christian life: cp. 18 (RV). Latter end] RV 'last state': cp. Matthew 12:45 and Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:26.
21. Turn] RV 'turn back.'
22. The second proverb is not in Holy Scripture; the first comes from Proverbs 26:11.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 2 Peter 2". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany