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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Jude 1

Verse 1

I. Judges 1:1, Judges 1:2. Greeting.

II. Judges 1:3-16. The ungodly men.

(a) 3, 4, ’I was writing a pastoral letter to you when the news that certain ungodly men have crept in obliged me to address you with a special admonition.’ (b) 5-7. ’I would remind you—though as Christians you already know all I can tell you—that the examples of Israel and of the angels prove that it is possible to fall away from grace, and that a punishment—of which the destruction of the cities of the plain is a visible demonstration—assuredly follows.’ (c) 8-13. ’So it is with these men, who now show themselves so insolent, ignorant, and bestial. That which is most dreary, desolate, and disappointing in nature is a type of their hypocrisy, and, like wandering comets, they are destined for darkness at last, from which they shall never again come forth.’ (d) 14-16. ’It is to them that Enoch’s prophecy of judgment applies—to these selfish schemers who abuse the gift of speech.’ III. Judges 1:17-23. ’Remember the mockers of whom the Apostle forewarned you. Here they are—these unspiritual men who make separations among the believers. Do you abide in the one faith, with prayer in the Holy Spirit, trust in the love of God, and hope of Christ’s mercy. And in that hope have mercy yourselves as far as may be on those who are falling victims to this plague which is among you.’ IV. Judges 1:24, Judges 1:25. ’May the only God our Saviour keep you firm, to whom be glory through Christ.’

Greeting which Introduces a Pastoral Letter Written to Meet an Inroad of Blasphemous False Teaching. Exhortation. Doxology

1. To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called] RV ’to them that are called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ.’

To them that are sanctified (RV ’called’)] One word in the Gk., which, like ’saints’ in Judges 1:3, is used as a name for Christians. This greeting, taken together with Judges 1:20., shows that our most holy faith, which was once for all delivered unto the saints, is based upon the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit is not expressly named in the greeting, but His agency is implied. It is He who has kept and will keep the readers for Christ; He makes them live in the Father, who is the source of love, as Christ is of mercy, and as the Holy Spirit Himself is of peace. In (RV) God] In Him all men live and move and have their being (Acts 17:28), and in Him the life of Christians is hid with Christ (Colossians 3:3). God’s love embraces in Himself those whom He loves. The expression is difficult, but the thought is deep. Here, as in much else that he says, St. Jude shows a mind near akin to St. Paul’s.

2. As St. Paul in his two Epistles to Timothy, so St. Jude adds mercy to the ’grace and peace’ of the ordinary apostolic salutation.

3. When I gave.. it was needful] RV ’while I was giving.. I was constrained’: see Intro. Our (RV) common salvation is the result of Christ’s work, which is a fact that nothing can alter, on which all alike, Apostle and disciple, strong and weak, may base their life: the faith which was once for all (RV) delivered to the saints is the declaration of this fact, and must be defended, or it may be forgotten or denied.

4. From this v. to Judges 1:19 this Epistle must be compared with 2 Pet. The only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ] RV ’our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.’ These men did not refuse to believe in God, though they rebelled against Him, and by their lasciviousness abused His grace. In Christ, as Master and Lord, they would not believe. Their unbelief, rebellion, and lasciviousness correspond to the unbelief of Israel, the rebellion of the angels, and the lasciviousness of the cities of the plain (Judges 1:5-7).

5. Though ye once knew this] RV ’though ye know all things once for all,’ i.e. because they are Christians, and have learnt the whole Christian creed (cp. Hebrews 6:2); or perhaps (a deeper thought) because they have as Christians ’the Spirit in their mind’(cp. Ephesians 4:17, Ephesians 4:23), and ’need not that any man teach them’ (1 John 2:27).

A curious reading of some MSS is noticed in RM—’Jesus’ for the Lord. It recalls Hebrews 4:8, as the rest of the v. does Hebrews 3:17-19.

6. First estate] RV ’principality.’

7. Vengeance] RV ’punishment.’ The fire may be called eternal, because the destruction wrought by it remains. The Gk., however, would allow us to take example with of eternal fire—’ as an example of eternal fire, suffering punishment’ (RM).

8. Likewise] RV ’Yet,’ i.e. in spite of such a warning. Also these filthy dreamers] RV ’these also in their dreamings,’ i.e. their perverted faith and life is like a dream, sentimental and unpractical.

9. With this v. cp. 2 Peter 2:11. St. Jude, however, does not say at all the same thing, and refers to a certain apocryphal Jewish book called ’The Assumption of Moses’; cp. Judges 1:11, Judges 1:14, and 2 Timothy 3:8. Though he refers to such books, he does not necessarily imply that the stories he read in them are true. Even in sermons we sometimes hear references to stories or speeches in Shakespeare or Milton, which we listen to as illustrations, not as being true to fact.

10. As brute beasts] RV ’like the creatures without reason.’

11. Cain] The Jews spoke of Cain as the first ’freethinker,’ and these unbelievers would be his followers in that respect. Holy Scripture, however, tells us that Cain destroyed his brother, and these men were doing the same. The mention of Balaam brings in a new fault—their treacherous, hypocritical greed. Core] RV ’Korah’: cp. Numbers 16.

12. Feasts of charity] RV ’love feasts’: cp. 2 Peter 2:13. Feeding themselves] RV ’shepherds that feed themselves’: cp. Ezekiel 34:8, Trees whose fruit withereth] RV ’autumn trees’; they are twice dead, for the dying year is a symbol of death, and being plucked up by the roots is a symbol of the second death, from which there is no return to life: cp. Revelation 21:8.

13. Raging waves] RV ’wild waves.’ Wandering stars] i.e. comets, whose return no man sees.

14. Enoch also.. prophesied of these] RV ’To these also Enoch.. prophesied,’ i.e. to these as well as to the men to whom the prophecy is addressed in the apocryphal book of Enoch. Cometh] RV ’came.’

Ten thousands of his saints] RM ’his holy myriads’: cp. Deuteronomy 33:2; Zechariah 14:5.

15. Convince] RV ’convict.’

16. Having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage] RV ’shewing respect of persons for the sake of advantage.’

17. Of the apostles] RV ’by the apostles’: cp. 2 Peter 3:2.

19. Separate themselves] RV ’make separations,’ i.e. they break up the Church into parties and sects: cp. 1 Corinthians 1:12.

Sensual] RM ’natural or animal’: cp. v. 10. Spirit] RV ’Spirit,’ i.e. the Holy Spirit.

22, 23. And of some, etc.] RV ’and on some have mercy, who are in doubt; and some save, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear’; but RM, ’the Greek text in this passage (“and.. fire”) is somewhat uncertain.’ The garment spotted by the flesh] cp. Zechariah 3:2. and Leviticus 13:47-59. There is contagion in their error like that of a plague. In their efforts to save others they must beware of this.

24. Falling] RV ’stumbling’: cp. Romans 11:11; 1 Peter 2:8. Faultless] RV ’without blemish’: cp. Ephesians 1:4 (RV); Colossians 1:22; (RV) Hebrews 9:14; (RV) 1 Peter 1:19.

25. The only wise God our Saviour] (cp. Romans 16:27 RV). RV ’the only God our Saviour.’ God is called Saviour elsewhere in NT. only in 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 1:3; Titus 2:10; Titus 3:4, and Luke 1:47; (from OT.). Now and ever] RV ’before all time, and now, and for evermore.’ The word for ’be’ is not expressed in the Gk., but may rightly be supplied, though at first sight it does not seem to go well with ’before all time’ (RV). ’Is,’ however, would be less forcible, for in this blessing St. Jude ’contends for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.’ Whatever ungodly men may think, he says, ’Let God’s proper glory be rendered to Him.’

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Jude 1". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/jude-1.html. 1909.