False prophets; in allusion to the "more sure word of prophecy" spoken of in chap 2 Peter 1:19; as much as to say, I have indeed commended to you the study of the prophets; but beware of the false prophets, who will come, as in ancient times, under the guise of true prophets.
The people; under the Old Testament dispensation.
The Lord that bought them; by dying as a propitiation for their sins. 1 John 2:2. False teachers have always abounded, who, by erroneous doctrines and unholy practices, have brought ruin upon themselves and others. All should therefore take heed not only how they hear, but what they hear; should prove all things by the Bible, and hold fast that which is good.
The way of truth; which the gospel reveals.
Shall be evil spoken of; shall be brought into reproach and discredit by the ungodly lives of these false teachers and those who follow them.
With feigned words; covering over their base ends with a fair show of godliness.
Make merchandise; should treat them not as immortal beings for whom Christ died, but in the way in which they thought they could gain the most money out of them.
Slumbereth not; is certainly and speedily coming. When men are so pleased with error as liberally to pay for it, many will engage in its propagation.
For if God spared not the angels; verses 2 Peter 2:4-8 are all connected with verse 2 Peter 2:9, thus: "For if God spared not the angels-and spared not the old world-and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, condemned them-and delivered just Lot-these examples show that the Lord knoweth," etc
Saved Noah; Genesis 7:1-24.
Sodom and Gomorrah; Genesis 19:16-25.
When a professing Christian for worldly purposes becomes intimately connected with the wicked, he may expect them to be occasions of vexation and sorrow, if they do not prove the means of his ruin.
Facts as well as the declarations of the Bible testify to the justice of God, and to the certainty that, though he may bear long with the wicked, yet if they continue in sin they will not go unpunished.
But chiefly them; that is, but especially those of the unjust men just spoken of.
Dignities; such magistrates and persons in official or elevated stations as God requires should be treated with respect, and should be obeyed in all their lawful commands.
Against them; against the dignities that oppose them in the execution of God’s commands. See Judges 1:9. Angels, and those who are in temper like them, will not rail even against the wicked; and those who do, show that they are wicked themselves.
Riot in the daytime; openly and shamelessly, while common transgressors are content to riot in the night. Romans 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:7.
Cannot cease; not for want of natural power, but of disposition. Licentiousness and the love of money in professors of religion are decisive marks of hypocrisy, and show that those who live in these sins are heirs of destruction.
Bosor; answering to the Hebrew Beor. Numbers 22:5.
Who loved the wages of unrighteousness; he desired permission to curse Israel that he might receive from Balak the promised reward.
Numbers 22:1-41. So these false teachers have in view their own private gain, verse 2 Peter 2:3.
These are wells without water; an apt description of these boastful false teachers who came under the guise of godly men, but who had no true goodness themselves, and could impart no profit to their followers.
Clouds; empty and windy clouds, that promise rain only to disappoint the husbandmen.
The mist of darkness; the gloom of thick darkness.
Great swelling words of vanity; making, after the fashion of such men, large professions of their own light and knowledge, and large promises of good to others.
Through the lusts of the flesh-wantonness; by turning the true doctrine of Christian liberty into licentiousness, and teaching men that the gospel gives license to indulge in fleshly lusts. Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16; Judges 1:4.
Were clean escaped; or, according to another reading, "were scarcely escaped"; and therefore could be easily drawn back again into the company of the wicked.
Liberty; false liberty, which gave license to fleshly lusts. See note to the preceding verse.
The latter end is worse with them than the beginning; professors of religion who go back again into sin, become worse in character and condition than they were before.
Men may break off outward sins and profess religion without becoming holy. But they will be extremely apt to go back again; and when they do, they prove that they never had true religion, or were made "partakers of the divine nature." They never had a change of heart, or were "born of God."
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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 2 Peter 2". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany