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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Peter 2

Verse 1

2 Peter 2:1 . Ἐγένοντο δὲ καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται , But there were also false prophets ) An antithesis to the true prophets of the Old Testament, concerning whom see ch. 2 Peter 1:19 . Καἰ , also . λαῷ , among the people ) of Israel. He is writing to Israelites. An example of a false prophet is given, 2 Peter 2:15 . ἔσονται ) there shall be ; and even at that time there had begun to be. A prophecy, already given, is now repeated, ch. 2 Peter 3:2 ; Jude 1:4 ; Jude 1:14 . ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι , false teachers ) Antithetical to the true teachers of the New Testament. παρεισάξουσιν , shall privily bring in ) παρὰ , beside the salutary doctrine respecting Christ. αἱρέσεις ἀπωλείας ) heresies , not only bad, but of the worst character, ruinous or abandoned . καὶ ) even . The epithet swift , added to the word perdition , which is repeated, is suitable. τὸν ἀγοράσαντα αὐτοὺς , Him who bought them ) To the confession of whom they ought to have been devoted, even to death: ch. 2 Peter 1:16 . δεσπότην ) whom the true doctrine testifies to be Lord . ἀρνούμενοι , denying ) in doctrine and works: Jude 1:4 . They deny that He truly came in the flesh, and thus they take away altogether the mystery of redemption: 1 John 4:2-3 . ἐπάγοντες , bringing on ) Man brings upon himself: God brings upon him, as an avenger: 2 Peter 2:5 . ταχινὴν , swift ) On account of the speedy coming of the Lord.

Verse 2

2 Peter 2:2 . Πολλοὶ , many ) How sad! ἀσελγείαις ) Others read ἀπωλείαις ; [5] but ἈΣΈΛΓΕΙΑΙ is read in Peter and other places in the plural, whereas ἈΠΏΛΕΙΑΙ is not: and wantonness is that bait which draws many to follow them ; Jude 1:4 . That following is succeeded at length by destruction: whereas wantonness , not perdition, so meets the gaze [at once], that men are led to speak evil of the way of truth: and this also is the crime, by which the punishment mentioned in 2Pe 2:6 is incurred. In such a variation of readings it is easy to bring forward arguments for either of the two: but it is unnecessary to do so, since the decision ought to be made on the authority of manuscripts. See App. Crit., edit, ii., on this passage. διʼ οὓς , on account of whom ) It refers to of them . ἡ ὁδὸς , the way ) 2 Peter 2:15 ; 2 Peter 2:21 .Genesis 24:48; Genesis 24:48 , דרך אמת , ἘΝ ὉΔῷ ἈΛΗΘΕΊΑς (Septuagint), in the way of truth . βλασφημηθήσεται , shall be evil spoken of ) by those who are without, and know not how to distinguish between true and false Christians.

[5] ABC Vulg. read ἀσελγείαις . Rec. Text has ἀπωλείαις , without any very old authority. E.

Verse 3

2 Peter 2:3 . Πλεονεξίᾳ , covetousness, avarice ) 2 Peter 2:14 . πλαστοῖς , feigned ) as dealers do. ὑμᾶς ἐμπορεύσονται ) The writers of the Septuagint put ἐμπορεύεσθαι with an accusative for the Hebrew סחר , Genesis 34:21 ; Proverbs 3:14 ; Ezekiel 27:21 , ed. Vat. The meaning is, they shall make merchandise of you: they shall deceive; take money. Pliny says, respecting certain physicians, Nor is it doubtful, that all these, hunting after reputation by some novelty, immediately make merchandise of our lives. Plin., book xxix., chapter 1. οἷς , to whom) It tends to the consolation and protection of the righteous, that the punishment of the ungodly is fully described before the mention of their wicked deeds. ἔκπαλαι ) as it were from of old, from the fall of the angels. οὐκ ἀργεῖ ) is not inactive; that is, is altogether vigorous. It is one and the same judgment which hangs over all sinners, and which is revolved in the mind of the Judge without intermission, until it breaks forth; and in the case of those who are mentioned in Scripture as being punished, it is shown what awaits others; although sinners think that it lingers, and they themselves slumber. ἀπώλεια αὐτῶν , their destruction) the destruction, to which they will be adjudged. Thus also judgment and destruction are mentioned in connection, ch. 2 Peter 3:7 . οὐ νυστάζει , does not slumber) The same word is used, Mat 25:5 note. Compare knoweth, 2 Peter 2:9 .

Verse 4

2 Peter 2:4 . Εἰ , if ) The Apodosis is contained in 2 Peter 2:9 . ἀγγέλων , angels ) The most noble of created beings: Romans 8:38 , note. οὐκ ἐφείσατο , spared not ) Thus also 2 Peter 2:5 . A severe judgment is intimated against those, whom you might have supposed likely to escape. σειραῖς ) σειρὰ , a twisted rope , of twig, hemp, hair, etc. Thus δεσμοῖς , in chains , Jude 1:6 . ζόφου , of darkness ) Darkness itself keeps them prisoners, and is as a chain. Wis 17:17 , Septuagint, ἁλύσει σκότους ἐδέθησαν , they were bound with a chain of darkness . ταρταρώσας ) The noun is ὁ καὶτάρταρος , plural τάρταρα ; the verb, ταρταρόω : it does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, nor in the Septuagint. Therefore the meaning must be sought for from other sources, from Homer, Hesiod, and Plato: according to whom Tartarus is the lowest place in nature; most dreadful with darkness and cold. Whence Hesychius: τάρταρος , ὁ ὑπὸ τὴν γῆν κατώτατος τόπος , Tartarus, the lowest place beneath the earth . Eustathius, on the Iliad, book vii., τάρταρος , ὅς φερωνύμως τετάρακται , ἀὴρ ὑπόγαιος καὶ ἀνήλιος , καὶ διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ψυχρός , κ . τ . λ ., Tartarus, which, in accordance with its name, is in confusion [deriving Τάρταρος from ταράσσω ], is a thick haze [6] under ground without the sun, and on this account is also cold . And this idea is confirmed by the word ζόφου , of darkness , here used. Thence ταρταροῦν , from ταρταρόω , is to sentence and consign to Tartarus , or darkness . Similar forms are θανατόω , κατιόω , κυκλόω , πυρόω , σκοτόω , σταυρόω , ταπεινόω , φιμόω . But it is possible for slaves of Tartarus to dwell also on earth: Luke 8:31 ; Ephesians 2:2 ; Revelation 9:11 ; Revelation 9:14 ; Revelation 12:9 , etc.: just as it is possible for one taken captive in war to walk even beyond the place of his captivity. Step by step, therefore, the angels who have sinned, are given to Tartarus ( ταρταροῦνται ). παρέδωκεν , delivered ) them; just as the judge delivers the prisoner to the officers. Compare Revelation 20:2 . εἰς κρίσιν τηρουμένους , reserved unto judgment ) the judgment of the great day , Jude 1:6 .

[6] The lower air or haze ( ἀηρ ) is opposed to the pure upper air ( αἰθήρ ). See Hom. Il. xiv. 288. T.

Verse 5

2 Peter 2:5 . Ἀρχαίου , ancient ) antediluvian. ὄγδοον Νῶε , Noah the eighth person ) Noah and his family were eight in number. Raphelius shows that this use of numerals prevailed among the Greeks. Compare 1 Peter 3:20 . To the eight souls is opposed the universe , the densely peopled world of the ungodly . δικαιοσύνης κήρυκα , a preacher of righteousness ) Not only was he himself righteous, but he had also preached righteousness to the world. κατακλυσμὸν , the flood ) Although therefore the godly are saved, the wicked cannot hope that they shall be saved with them.

Verse 6

2 Peter 2:6 . Πόλεις , cities ) There were therefore sins of the same description in the neighbourhood of Sodom, Gomorrha, etc. τεφρώσας καταστροφῇ , turning them into ashes with an overthrow ) The words καταστρέφειν and καταστροφὴ are thus used, Genesis 19:25 ; Genesis 19:29 , Septuagint. τεθεικὼς , placing ) [rendering them]. It was an imperishable memorial of God and of the Divine judgment.

Verse 7

2 Peter 2:7 . Δίκαιον , righteous ) Genesis 19:1 ; Genesis 19:7 . ἀθέσμων , of the lawless or impious ) of those who sinned against nature. ἐν ἀσελγείᾳ , in wantonness ) Genesis 19:5 .

Verse 8

2 Peter 2:8 . Ὁ δίκαιος ψυχὴν δικαίαν , the righteous man his righteous soul ) The reflex influence of grief is elegantly expressed. Lot tortured himself: and the guilty men of Sodom were his torment. ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας , from day to day ) Thus the Septuagint often renders יום יום . ἔργοις ) by deeds, spoken of.

Verse 9

2 Peter 2:9 . Οἶδε ) knows , and remembers: even when men know not any aid. The instances alleged show this. There is no doubt as to the will of the Lord. εὐσεβεῖς , the godly ) such as Noah and Lot, godly and righteous men. ῥύεσθαι , to rescue ) There are more examples, Jeremiah 39:11 ; Jeremiah 39:18 ; Jeremiah 45:5 . ἀδίκους ) the unrighteous and ungodly: such as many, who have been lately mentioned. κολαζομένους ) to be punished: a future event, and yet expressed in the present; because the punishment is certain and imminent.

Verse 10

2 Peter 2:10 . Μάλιστα ) chiefly . These will be especially punished. ὀπίσω , after ) The generic description is, the walking after the flesh: the specific, the walking after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness . καὶ , and ) There is a division, concerning impurity and blasphemy: after , and government . The latter subject is treated of immediately: presumptuous, etc. ; the former, pleasure, etc. , 2 Peter 2:13 . Each of the two subjects discussed has a nominative case and finite verb. There is a further reference to the same two subjects (heads) at 2 Peter 2:18 : swelling: they entice . κυριότητος καταφρονοῦντας , despising government ) In this, which is the statement or proposition, he makes mention of government: shortly afterwards, in handling the subject, he speaks of dignities ( δόξας ), including the signification of the one in that of the other. Each of these, by an impressive Metonymia of the abstract for the concrete, seems to signify the angels, and those the fallen ones (although Horne on the Epistle of Jude takes it of the holy angels): for while it is here asserted, 2 Peter 2:11 , that railing judgment is not to be brought by angels against dignities , Jude, 2 Peter 2:9 , to the same purport, but in more definite language, asserts that this same railing judgment was not brought by the archangel against the devil . By government seems to be meant the prince of the fallen spirits; by dignities, the other fallen spirits . At least Jude also ( Jud 1:8 ) retains the singular and the plural: they despise government, but speak evil of dignities . Each apostle shows that he is speaking of creatures whom the wicked do not know or understand ( 2Pe 2:12 ). The angels who sinned, still, as the creatures of God, have a goodness, as Gerh. says on this passage, and in their exalted nature, which they received from the Creator, retain the indelible impress of majesty: comp. Luke 10:18-19 ; Matthew 12:26 ; Matthew 12:29 ; John 14:30 ; 2 Corinthians 4:4 ; and this we ought to regard with reverence, not on their account, but on account of God. Comp. James 3:9 , note. For this is the most august mystery of the Divine judgment, which is passed upon angels: and into this no angel, no man, ought by his own authority to thrust himself; much less the wicked ( Sir 21:27 , ἐν τῷ καταράσασθαι ἀσεβῇ τὸν Σατανᾶν , αὐτὸς καταρᾶται τὴν ψυχὴν αὑτοῦ : When the ungodly curseth Satan, he curseth his own soul ): and yet somehow or other these men, whom Peter and Jude point out, endeavoured to do so, turning all spiritual things upside down: 2 Peter 2:12 ; Jude 1:10 ; Jude 1:19 . See the dignity of the saints, who shall have the power of judging angels: 1 Corinthians 6:3 . See on Sasbout, f. 472, 480. τολμηταὶ , presumptuous ) although Michael did not presume , Jude 1:9 . The nominative ease is followed immediately by the verb, are not afraid . Many put a comma in the sentence, τολμηταὶ , αὐθάδεις ; but there is no reason why the substantive and adjective should not be joined together. Αὐθάδεια τολμὰν , self-will produces presumption : the words οὐ τρέμουσι , which follow presently, denote presumption . οὐ τρέμουσι , are not afraid ) although they have so very insignificant strength and power . βλασφημοῦντες , speaking evil ) Evil-speaking is their first crime; the root of which is first mentioned, presumption, pride . So the other crime, uncleanness , 2 Peter 2:14 ; the root of which is also first mentioned, luxury , 2 Peter 2:13 .

Verse 11

2 Peter 2:11 . Ὅπου ) where , used for when . A particle suitable for reproof: 1 Corinthians 3:3 . ἄγγελοι , angels ) and moreover the archangel. That which Peter had in mind, as either already known to his readers, or as not yet to be disclosed, Jude afterwards expressed. The Epistle of each is in a remarkable manner parallel with the other. ἰσχύϊ ) Right is defended by strength ; and these are both in agreement with each other. Men are little [dwarfs] in both respects; angels are greater; God is best and greatest. μείζονες , greater ) A grave pleasantry: greater than mere petty men. οὐ φέρουσι κατʼ αὐτῶν , do not bring against them ) that is, do not assail dignities, etc ., Jude 1:9 . παρὰ Κυρίῳ ) before the Lord . They abstain from judgment, through reverence of the Judge and His presence. βλάσφημον ) That is sometimes railing , which is spoken against any one with truth, but in an unbecoming manner. Judgment belongs to God, not to angels.

Verse 12

2 Peter 2:12 . Ἄλογα ζῶα , animals without reason ) This differs widely from angels, Ps. 49:21. φυσικὰ γεγεννημένα ) born mere natural animals , ignoble from their very birth, and acting in accordance with their origin, φυσικῶς , naturally , Jude 1:10 ; following the natural guidance of their senses, in food, etc., and not knowing anything superior to these things, anything beyond what is natural, anything spiritual. There follows, in those things which they know not . εἰς ἅλωσιν καὶ φθορὰν , for capture and destruction ) Antithetical to men, who ought to have aimed at liberty ( 2Pe 2:19 ) and heavenly glory . βλασφημοῦντες , speaking evil ) There ought to be great caution in our language. ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν καταφθαρήσονται , they shall utterly perish in their own corruption ) The destruction caused by iniquity, has for its just reward destruction full of misery . On another subject, the Septuagint has φθορᾷ καταφθαρήσῃ , thou wilt wear away , Exodus 18:18 .

Verse 13

2 Peter 2:13 . Κομιούμενοι , bearing off [being about to “receive”]) willingly. ἡδονὴν ) that pleasure which man ought chiefly to aim at. [7] ἩΓΟΎΜΕΝΟΙ , esteeming ) A similar phrase occurs, ch. 2 Peter 3:15 . ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ) in the day of your love-feasts, whatever that day in each case may be, without any concern, whatever to-morrow may be about to bring with it. σπῖλοι καὶ μῶμοι ) They are spots in themselves; disgraces , which provoke others to blame the Church itself. As spots most shamefully disfigure the brightest objects, so do these men disgrace your love-feasts. ἐντρυφῶντες ) sporting themselves , so that they indulge themselves, and mock at others. The verb has a middle sense. It is used in the Septuagint, followed by ἐν , Isaiah 55:2 ; Isaiah 57:4 . ἈΠΆΤΑΙς [8] ) deceivings . Jude 1:12 , ἐν ταῖς ἀγάπαις ὑμῶν , in your feasts: Peter, making an important alteration in the letters, ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὐτῶν , in their deceivings . An anonymous writer in MS. Catena, praised by Mill: οὐ διʼ ΑΓΑΠΗΝ καὶ τὸ μεταλαβεῖν ἁλῶν , φησὶ , συνευωχοῦνται ὑμῖν , ἀλλὰ διὰ τὸ καιρὸν εὑρίσκειν τῆς πρὸς γυναῖκας ΑΠΑΤΗΣ ἐπιτήδειον : It is not, he says, for the sake of LOVE, and of sharing your salt, that they feast with you, but that they may find a convenient opportunity of deceit with regard to your wives . At any rate, it is evident from this, that Peter alludes to the love-feasts ; because each of them adds, feasting with you , and the one, sporting themselves , the other, feeding themselves . συνευωχούμενοι ὑμῖν ) feasting with you . Εὐωχία , a splendid feast, especially a sacred one; ἈΠῸ ΤΟῦ Εὖ ἜΧΕΙΝ ΤΟῪς ΣΥΝΙΌΝΤΑς ΕἸς ΕὐΦΡΟΣΎΝΗΝ ΤΙΜῇ ΤΟῦ ΘΕΊΟΥ , ΚΑῚ ΕἸς ἌΝΕΣΙΝ ἙΑΥΤΟῪς ΚΑΘΙΈΝΑΙ : from the fact, that those who assemble at a feast in honour of the god, have good cheer, and give themselves to indulgence . See Eust., fol. 281, ed. Rom.

[7] And which contains all things else in it. V. g. (Counting luxury the summum bonum. E.)

[8] Ἀπάταις is supported by A corrected, C, Memph. and later Syr., and so Rec. Text and Tisch.; but ἀγάπαις by A later corrected, B Vulg. Theb. Syr., and so Lachm. E.

Verse 14

2 Peter 2:14 . Μοιχαλίδος , of an adulteress ) An adulteress has gained possession of their eyes, that is, alluring desire. The parallel word is, from sin . δελεάζοντες , enticing ) with those eyes to disgraceful deeds of the flesh. καρδίαν , the heart ) Besides the eyes , mention is also made of the heart: Ezekiel 6:9 . κατάρας , of cursing ) not of blessing in Christ, 1 Peter 3:9 . Cursing especially follows covetousness . See the following verses.

Verse 15

2 Peter 2:15 . Ἐξακολουθήσαντες τῇ ὁδῷ τοῦ Βαλαὰμ , following the way of Balaam ) See note on Jude 1:8 , from Isaiah 56:0 Βοσὸρ , Bosor ) This and Beor are synonyms. Hill. Onom., pp. 700, 763, 774. Lightfoot (Hor. in Act., p. 270) thinks that sigma was written by Peter among the Babylonians by a Chaldaism for צ .

Verse 16

2 Peter 2:16 . Ὑποζύγιον ἄφωνον · προφήτου , a dumb beast: of the prophet ) A fine antithesis. So great was the madness of Balaam, that an ass must speak, rather than it should pass unreproved. ἄφωνον ) without a voice of man.

Verse 17

2 Peter 2:17 . Οὗτοί εἰσι , these are ) From 2Pe 2:10-16 the character of false teachers has been described; now their very plan of proceeding is described, which they use towards their disciples. πηγαὶ , wells ) A well and a cloud promise water: so these men boast ὑπέρογκα , great swelling words , as though they were the lights of the Church; comp. 2 Peter 2:10 ; 2 Peter 2:19 , at the beginning; but these wells and these clouds give no supply. Those great swelling words are of vanity . νεφέλαι , [9] clouds ) impostors. [10] οἷς , to whom ) This does not refer to wells and clouds , but to these . The definition is put for the thing defined, ἀστέρες πλανῆται , wandering stars . Comp. Jude 1:13 , note. ὁ ζόφος τοῦ σκότους , the mist of darkness ) ζόφος is the chilling horror [horror algidus] with which darkness ( σκότος ) is attended. Comp. note on Hebrews 12:18 . τετήρηται , is reserved ) For this reason especially, that they carry off to destruction so many souls. See the following verses.

[9] The reading καὶ ὁμίχλαι ( and mists ) is preferred by the margin of both Editions , and so also the Germ. Version. E. B.

[10] Nebulones, dissipated impostors . T.

ABC Vulg. support καὶ ὁμίχλαι ; but Rec. Text νεφέλαι , with Syr. Version and later Uncial MSS. E.

Verse 18

2 Peter 2:18 . Σαρκὸς ἀσελγείας ) Σὰρξ ἀσελγείας is most polluted flesh . Many have written ἀσελγείαις instead of ἀσελγείας , [11] by an easy slip of the pen into rhythm after the word ἐπιθυμίαις . τοὺς ὀλίγως ἀποφεύγοντας τοὺς ἐν πλάνἀναστρεφομένους , those, who for a little time had escaped from them who live in error ) τοὺς repeated, is not put in apposition, but the word ἀποφεύγοντας (comp. 2Pe 2:20 ) governs the clause τοὺς ἐν πλάνἀναστρεφομένους , to make it known what it is that they have escaped; and these ἀναστρεφόμενοι are either the same false teachers, or others. There is here an accusative case governing an accusative; as in Luke 18:9 , ἐξουθενοῦντας τοὺς λοιπούς , despising others . Instead of ὀλίγως , some read ὄντως [12] . The copyists with equal readiness hastily put either of these words for the other. The compound verb ἀποφεύγειν has of itself such force, that even without the adverb ὄντως , it denotes those who truly escape , 2 Peter 2:20 ; 2 Peter 1:4 ; but ὀλίγως , for a short time, added to the verb, adds remarkably to the sense of the passage. No sooner have some escaped from those who live in error, than these wretched men are afresh ensnared by them. Such haste is expressed in 2 Peter 2:21-22 , on account of which indeed the fool remains a fool, Proverbs 26:11 , the dog a dog, the sow a sow. In the Critical Apparatus it has accidentally happened that I have given less weight to the reading, ὀλίγως , than the margin of the text and the arguments inclined me.

[11] AB(?)C Theb. read ἀσελγείαις ; and so Rec. Text and Lachm. But Vulg. and both Syr. Versions, and inferior, viz. cursive, MSS. read ἀσελγείας ; and so Tisch. E.

[12] AB Vulg. read ὀλίγως : C and Rec. Text ὄντως , with less authority. E.

Verse 19

2 Peter 2:19 . Ἐλευθερίαν , liberty ) so as neither to he afraid of the devil, nor to loathe the flesh. ᾧ γάρ τις ἥττηται ) for he by whom any one has permitted himself to be overcome, and has yielded himself vanquished . τούτῳ καὶ δεδούλωται , by him also is he held in bondage ) 1 Samuel 17:9 . Theocr. Idyll. xxii. 71:

Σὸς μὲν ἐγὼ , σὺ δʼ ἐμὸς κεκλήσεαι , εἴκε κρατήσω ·

I will be thine, and thou shalt be mine, if I gain the victory .

Verse 20

2 Peter 2:20 . Ἀποφυγόντες , after they have escaped ) This is spoken of those who are enticed, as in 2 Peter 2:18 . And these are entangled in the calamity of those who ensnare them: they are overcome . μιάσματα , pollutions ) bringing corruption . τούτοις ) to these, the impure. δὲ , but ) This particle marks the antithesis between two participles. χείρονα , worse ) Antithetical to better , 2 Peter 2:21 .

Verse 21

2 Peter 2:21 . Ἢ ἐπιγνοῦσιν , than when they have known it ) Understand it is , from it had been . παραδοθείσης , delivered to them ) Jude 1:3 .

Verse 22

2 Peter 2:22 . Δὲ , but ) You may wonder that they thus turn back: but there is little room for wonder; for they were before, and they still continue, dogs and swine. παροιμίας , proverb ) משׁלי , Septuagint, παροιμίαι Σολομῶντος , the Proverbs of Solomon, Proverbs 1:1 ; also Proverbs 26:11 , ὥσπερ κύων ὅταν ἐπέλθἐπὶ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἔμετον , καὶ μισητὸς γένηται , κ . τ . λ ., as a dog, when he returneth to his vomit, and becometh hateful, etc. Peter had frequently quoted the Proverbs of Solomon in his former Epistle, 1 Peter 1:7 , 1Pe 2:17 , 1 Peter 4:8 ; 1 Peter 4:18 , and now he quotes them also in the other. This may be added to the other arguments, which show that both the Epistles are the production of one and the same writer. ἐξέραμα , vomit) Animals which live among men more easily contract the stomach [which takes place in the act of vomiting] than those which are wild. It is a word which is rarely met with; and Gataker notices some traces of Iambic verse,

Κύων ἐτιστρέψας ἐπʼ ἴδιον ἐξέραμʼ ,

Ὗς θʼ ἡ λουσαμένη εἰς χύλισμα βορβόρου .

Who would not loathe the vomit of sin?

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Peter 2". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.