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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
1 Peter 2

 

 

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Verse 1-2

1 Peter 2:1-2. ἀποθεμενοι οὖνἐπιποθήσατε] The admonition which commences here stands, as οὖν shows, in close connection with what precedes; in 1 Peter 2:22 the apostle had exhorted to unfeigned love one of another, which love he shows to be conditioned by ἁγνίζειν ἐν τῇ ὑπακοῇ τῆς ἀληθείας, and grounded on ἀναγεγεννημένον εἶναι; from this deducing the ἀποτίθεσθαι πᾶσαν κακίαν κ. τ. λ., he now exhorts ἐπιποθεῖν τὸ λογικὸν γάλα. The apostle’s intention, explaining at once the connection of this with the foregoing admonition, and the relation in which the thought of the participial clause ἀποθέμενοι stands to that of the imperative ἐπιποθήσατε, is that the Christians should show themselves τέκνα ὑπακοῆς (1 Peter 1:14), not each for himself, but united together, an οἶκος πνευματικός (1 Peter 2:5), γένος ἐκλεκτόν κ. τ. λ. (1 Peter 2:9). Schott acknowledges this reference (unjustifiably denied by Hofmann) to the unity of the church; it explains why the apostle mentions those sins only which stand in direct antagonism to the φιλαδελφία ἀνυπόκριτος (1 Peter 1:22). The participle ἀποθέμενοι stands to ἐπιποθήσατε in the same relation as ἀναζωσάμενοι to ἐλπίσατε in chap. 1 Peter 1:13; it is therefore then not equal to postquam deposuistis, but expresses the continued purification of the Christian; comp. Ephesians 4:22; Hebrews 12:1; specially also Colossians 3:8; and for the whole passage, James 1:21.

πᾶσαν κακίαν κ. τ. λ.] Calvin: non est Integra omnium enumeratio quae deponi a nobis oportet, sed cum de veteri homine disputant Apostoli, quaedam vitia praeponunt in exemplum, quibus illius ingenium designant. κακία means here, as in Colossians 3:8, not generally: “wickedness,” but specially “malice,” nocendi cupiditas (Hemming). πᾶσαν denotes the whole compass of the idea: “every kind of malice.” The same is implied by the plural form in the words following ὑποκρίσεις, etc.; in πάσας καταλαλίας both are combined. The same and similar ideas to those here expressed are to be found conjoined elsewhere in the N. T.; comp. Romans 1:29-30. “The admonitions which follow are in essential connection with this comprehensive exhortation; comp. chap. 1 Peter 2:22 ff.; especially chaps. 1 Peter 3:8 ff., 1 Peter 4:8 ff., 1 Peter 5:2 ff.” (Wiesinger). For the force of the separate terms, comp. Lexicon. Augustin: malitia maculo delectatur alieno; invidia bono cruciatur alieno; dolus duplicat cor; adulatio duplicat linguam; detrectatio vulnerat famam.

καταλαλία occurs only here and in 2 Corinthians 12:20; in the classics the verb is to be found, never the subst.—1 Peter 2:2. ὡς ἀρτιγέννητα βρέφη] is not to be connected with ἀποθέμενοι, but with what follows. It does not mark the childlike nature of the Christians, but, in view of the goal of manhood yet afar off, is meant (referring to 1 Peter 1:23 : ἀναγεγεννημένοι) to designate the readers as those who had but recently been born again.(108) In Bengel’s interpretation: denotatur prima aetas ecclesiae N. T., a false reference is given to the expression. The particle ὡς is not here either used with a comparative force only; comp. chap. 1 Peter 1:14.

τὸ λογικὸν ἄδολον γάλα ἐπιποθήσατε] γάλα is not here contrasted with βρῶ΄α, as in 1 Corinthians 3:2, or with στερεὰ τροφή, as in Hebrews 5:12; but it denotes the word of God, in that it by its indwelling strength nourishes the soul of man. The term γάλα, as applied by the apostle, is to be explained simply from the reference to ἀρτιγέννητα βρέφη (Wiesinger, Schott, Hofmann). This view results quite naturally from the comparison with chap. 1 Peter 1:22-23. If Peter had intended to convey any other meaning, he would have indicated it so as to have been understood.(109)

λογικόν] does not state an attribute of evangelical doctrine: “rational;” Gualther: quod tradit rationem vere credendi et vivendi, nor even in the sense that this (with Smaleius in Calov.) might be inferred: nihil credendum esse quod ratione adversetur; but it is added in order to mark the figurative nature of the expression γάλα (to which it stands related similarly as in chap. 1 Peter 1:13 : τῆς διαν. ὑμ. to τὰς ὀσφύας), so that by it this milk is characterized as a spiritual nourishment. Luther: “spiritual, what is drawn in by the soul, what the heart must seek;” thus, too, Wiesinger, Schott, Brückner, Fronmüller, Hofmann. It has here the same signification as in Romans 12:1, where it does not mean “rational” as contrasted with what is external (de Wette). The interpretation on which λογικὸν γάλα is taken as equal to γάλα τοῦ λόγου, lac verbale, is opposed to the usus loquendi (it is supported by Beza, Gerhard, Calov., Hornejus, Bengel, Wolf, and others). Nor less so is the suggestion of Weiss (p. 187), that by “ λογικόν is to be understood that which proceeds from the λόγος (i.e. Word);” thus γάλα λογικόν would be the verbal milk of doctrine.(110) The second adjective: ἄδολον ( ἅπ. λεγ.), strictly “without guile,” then “pure, unadulterated,” is not meant to give prominence to the idea that the Christians should strive to obtain the pure gospel, unadulterated by heretical doctrines of man, but it specifies purity as a quality belonging to the gospel (Wiesinger, Schott).(111) It is, besides, applicable, strictly speaking, not to the figurative γάλα, but only to the word of God thereby denoted (Schott).(112)

ἐπιποθήσατε] expresses a strong, lively desire, Philippians 2:26. Wolf: Ap. alludit ad infantes, quos sponte sua et impetu quodam naturali in lac maternum ferri constat. The conjecture of Grotius: ἐπιποτίζετε, is quite unnecessary.

ἵνα ἐν αὐτῷ αὐξηθῆτε] ἵνα, not ἐκβατικῶς, but τελικῶς; it states the purpose of the ἐπιποθήσατε. ἐν is more significant than διά, equivalent to “in its power.” The verb αὐξηθῆτε, used in connection with ἀρτιγενν. βρέφη, denotes the ever further development and strengthening of the new life. Although the aim which the apostle has in view in his exhortation is to mark the destination of Christians to be an οἶκος πνευματικός, still it is incorrect to affirm that αὐξηθῆτε has reference, not to the growth of the individual, but (with Schott) only to the transforming of the church as such, “to the conception of a building which is being carried up higher and higher to its completion.” Apart from the fact that αὐξάνεσθαι plainly refers back to ἀρτιγ. βρέφη, and is not equivalent to “to be built up,” it must be remarked that the church can become what it should be only by individual members growing up each of them ever more and more to the ἀνὴρ τέλειος.

εἰς σωτηρίαν] omitted in the Rec., states the final aim of all Christian growth. Schott’s explanation, that by σωτηρία “the final glorious transfiguration of the church” is meant, is only a consequence of his erroneous and one-sided reference of the apostle’s exhortation to the church as such.


Verse 3

1 Peter 2:3. εἰ [ εἴπερ] ἐγεύσασθε, ὅτι κ. τ. λ.] Based on the Old Testament passage, Psalms 34:9 : γεύσασθε καὶ ἴδετε, ὅτι χρηστὸς κύριος; the words καὶ ἴδετε are omitted, not being suitable to the figure γάλα.

εἰ is here, as in 1 Peter 2:17, hypothetical indeed: “if,” but it does not express a doubt; thus Gerhard correctly explains εἴπερ: non est dubitantis, sed supponentis, quod factum sit. Comp. Romans 8:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:6.

γεύομαι is used here of inward experience, comp. Hebrews 6:4-5; it alludes to the figurative γάλα, inasmuch as the Christian tastes, as it were, of the kindness of the Lord in the spiritual milk tendered to him. The apostle takes for granted that the Christians had already made inward experience of the goodness of their Lord ( κύριος; in the Psalms, God; here, Christ), not merely in the instruction which preceded baptism, or in baptism itself (Lorinus), or cum fidem evangelii susceperunt (Hornejus), but generally during their life as Christians; as the new-born child, not once only, but ever anew refreshes itself on the nourishment offered by a mother’s love. With such experience, it is natural that believers should ever afresh be eager for the spiritual nourishment, in the imparting of which the χρηστότης of the Lord is manifested: nam gustus provocat appetitum (Lorinus).(113)

ὅτι, not equal to quam (Grotius), but: “that.”

χρηστός, “kind, gracious,” not exactly suavis (Grotius: ut a gustu sumta translatio melius procedat); in this sense it would be more applicable to γάλα than to κύριος.

Several interpreters assume that in χρηστός Peter plays upon the word χριστός; but this is more than improbable.


Verse 4-5

1 Peter 2:4-5. The structure of this new exhortation is similar to that of the previous sentence, to which it belongs in thought, externally ( ὅν) as internally, inasmuch as the imperative ( οἰκοδομεῖσθε) is preceded by a participle ( προσερχόμενοι), and an adjunct introduced by ὡς, defining the subject more nearly.

Starting from κύριος the apostle says: πρὸς ὃν προσερχόμενοι] προσέρχεσθαι (elsewhere in the N. T. always construed with the dative) denotes the going spiritually to the Lord; the Christian does indeed already live in union with Christ, but this does not exclude the necessity of becoming united ever more completely with Him (thus also Hofmann).(114) Luther incorrectly: “to whom ye have come,” as if it were the part. praet.; Hornejus well puts it: non actum inchoatum, sed continuatum designat.

λίθον ζῶντα] in apposition to ὅν; it is not necessary to supply ὡς (Wolf). What follows shows that the apostle had in his mind the stone mentioned in the prophecies, Psalms 118:22 and Isaiah 28:16 (cf. Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; Romans 9:33). The want of the article points to the fact that the apostle was more concerned to lay stress on the attribute expressed in λίθος ζῶν, than to draw attention to the fact that in these passages of the O. T. Christ is the promised λίθος. In using this term, Peter had already in view the subsequent οἰκοδομεῖσθε. The church is the temple of God, the individual Christians are the stones from which it is built; but Christ is the foundation-stone on which it rests. In order that the church may become ever more completed as a temple, it is necessary that the Christians should unite themselves ever more closely with Christ. The apostle enlarges on this thought with reference to those predictions.

The explanatory adjective is added, as in 1 Peter 2:2, to the figurative λίθον; and by it, on the one hand, the expression is marked as figurative, ne quis tropum nesciret (Bullinger); and, on the other, the nature peculiar to this stone is indicated. ζῶντα is to be taken here as in John 6:51 and similar passages. Flacius correctly: dicitur Christus lapis vivus, non tamen passive, quod in semet vitam habeat, sed etiam active, quia nos mortuos vivificat.(115)

ὑπὸ ἀνθρώπων μὲν ἀποδεδοκιμασμένον] a nearer definition, according to Psalms 118:22. What is there said specially of the builders, is here applied generally to mankind, in order that a perfect antithesis may be obtained to the παρὰ δὲ θεῷ. The want of the article τῶν does not warrant a toning down of the interpretation to mean “by men,” i.e. by some or by many men (Hofmann). The thought is general and comprehensive; the article is wanting in order to emphasize the character of those by whom Christ is rejected, as compared with God (Schott). Believers are here regarded “as an exception” (Steiger).

παρὰ δὲ θεῷ ἐκλεκτὸν, ἔντιμον] after Isaiah 28:16; Peter has, however, selected two attributes only; “that is to say, he passes over the characteristics of the stone itself, and its relation to the building, giving prominence only to its value in the sight of God” (Steiger). Both adjects. form the antithesis to ἀποδεδοκ.; ἐκλεκτός is neither equal to eximius (Hemming) nor to προεγνωσμένος (Steiger); but: “elect,” i.e. chosen as the object of love; cf. 1 Timothy 5:21.

παρὰ θεῷ] not: a Deo (Vulg.), but: ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ, coram Deo, Deo judice, “with God.” Worthy of note is the “antagonism between the human judgment and the divine” (Wiesinger), the former given effect to in the crucifixion, the latter in the glorification of Christ.—1 Peter 2:5. καὶ αὐτοὶ ὡς λίθοι ζῶντες οἰκοδομεῖσθε] καὶ αὐτοί places the Christians side by side with Christ (Wiesinger inappropriately takes αὐτοί as also applying to the verb οἰκοδομ.). As He is a living stone, so are they also living stones, i.e. through Him. The explanation: cum lapidibus comparantur homines, qui, quoniam vivant, vivi lapides nominantur (Carpzov, Morus), is inadequate. Further, ὡς λίθοι ζῶντες states the qualities which the readers already possessed, not those which they were to obtain only through the οἰκοδομεῖσθαι (Schott); that unto which they should be built is stated in what follows.

οἰκοδομεῖσθε is, according to the structure of the sentence, not indicative (Hornejus, Bengel, Gerhard, etc.; more recently, Wiesinger, Weiss, Hofmann), but imperative (Beza, Aretius, Hottinger, Steiger, de Wette-Brückner, Luthardt, Schott, etc.). The objection, that the verses following are declarative, may be quite as well used for the imperative force of that which precedes them.(116) If 1 Peter 2:4-5 serve as the basis of the foregoing exhortation, this turn of the thought would also be expressed. Several interpreters (as Luther and Steiger) incorrectly regard the verbal form as middle; it is passive: “be ye built up,” i.e.let yourself be built up,” i.e. by Christ, as the foregoing πρὸς ὃν προσερχόμενοι shows. Corresponding with the reading ἐποικοδο΄εῖσθε super illum, i.e. Christum, is generally understood; an unnecessary supplement; the thought is: that (not: on which) the Christians should let themselves be built up, to that, namely, which the following words state.

οἶκος πνευματικός εἰς ἱεράτευμα ἅγιον] In the Rec. without εἰς the two conceptions are co-ordinate, both stating the end of the οἰκοδο΄εῖσθαι: “to the spiritual house, to the holy priesthood;” but if the reading οἰκ. πν. εἰς ἱεράτ. ἅγ. be adopted, then “ ἱεράτ. ἅγ. is the further result of the being built up to the spiritual house” (Brückner). Hofmann holds that οἶκος πν. is in apposition to the subject contained in οἰκοδο΄εῖσθε, and that εἰς ἱεράτευ΄α ἅγ. alone is directly dependent on οἰκοδο΄εῖσθε; the former view is, however, more expressive, inasmuch as it prominently shows that the Christians should be built up to a spiritual house, οἶκος πν. contains the expression of the passive, ἱεράτ. ἅγ., on the other hand, that of the active relation of the church to God (Wiesinger, Schott, Brückner). The dissimilarity of the two ideas seems to be opposed to the reading εἰς, since an οἶκος cannot be transformed into a ἱεράτευ΄α; but this difficulty disappears if it be considered that the house here spoken of is built of living stones. It is clearly not the case that εἰς serves only to facilitate an otherwise abrupt transition to a new idea (de Wette, Wiesinger).

οἶκος means, in the first instance, “house,” and not “temple;” nor does the attribute πνευ΄ατικός mark it as a temple. We must either hold by the conception “house” (Luthardt, Hofmann),(117) or assume that by the house Peter thought of the temple. The latter view deserves the preference on account of the close connection with what follows; comp. the passages 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Peter 4:17.

πνευ΄ατικός is the house raised from “living stones,” in contradistinction to the temple built from dead ones, inasmuch as their life is rooted in the Spirit of God, and bears His nature on it.(118)

ἱεράτευμα is here not the “office of priest” (2 Maccabees 2:17), but the “priesthood” (comp. Gerhard: coetus s. collegium sacerdotum); comp. 1 Peter 2:9; Exodus 19:6; “not instead of ἱερεῖς ἅγιοι, but including the essential idea of a community” (de Wette). It has unjustly been maintained that if the reading εἰς be adopted, ἱεράτευ΄α must be understood of the priestly office. ἅγιον subjoined to ἱεράτευ΄α does not mark a characteristic of the ἱεράτευ΄α of the New as distinguishing it from that of the Old Testament, but one which belongs essentially to the ἱεράτευ΄α (of course “as ordained by God,” Hofmann) as such. Here, too, there lies in the connection of thought a special emphasis on ἅγιον, inasmuch as without sanctification the priestly calling cannot be truly fulfilled.

ἀνενέγκαι πνευ΄ατικὰς θυσίας] is closely conjoined both in form (see Winer, p. 298 f. [E.T. 399f.]) and purport with what precedes, pointing out as it does the function of the ἱεράτευ΄α. This consists, as under the Old Covenant, in offering sacrifice. The word ἀναφέρειν, which is never used by Paul, has not indeed in the classics, but in the LXX., in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and in the Epistle of James, the meaning “to sacrifice,” strictly speaking “to bring the offering to the altar.”

The θυσίαι which the N. T. priesthood, i.e. the Christian church in all its members, has to offer are called πνευματικαί, because they have their origin in the πνεῦ΄α, and bear on them its nature and essence. Calvin says in what they consist: inter hostias spirituales primum locum obtinet generalis nostri oblatio, neque enim offerre quicquam possumus Deo, donec illi nos ipsos in sacrificium obtulerimus, quod fit nostri abnegatione; sequuntur postea preces et gratiarum actiones, eleemosynae et omnia pietatis exercitia. Cf. with this Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15-16.

εὐπροσδέκτους τῷ θεῷ] εὐπρόσδεκτος (Romans 15:16), equivalent to εὐάρεστος (Romans 12:1; Romans 14:18; Philippians 4:18, and other passages).

διὰ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ] belongs not to οἰκοδο΄εῖσθε (Beda), but either to εὐπροσδ. τ. θεῷ (Luther: per Christum fit, ut et mea opera a Deo aestimentur, quae alias non culmo digna haberet; Bengel, Steiger, Wiesinger, Hofmann, etc.), or to ἀνενέγκαι (Grotius, Aretius, de Wette, Weiss, etc.).(119) No doubt Hebrews 13:15 might be appealed to in support of the latter construction; but in favour of the former are—(1) That the ἀνενέγκαι as a priestly function stands in such close connection with ἱεράτευ΄α ἅγ., that it seems out of place to suppose a medium ( διὰ ἰησ. χρ.) in addition; and (2) With ἀνενέγκαι πνευ΄. θυσίας the idea is substantially completed, εὐπροσδ. being a mere adjunct, to which therefore διὰ . χρ. also belongs.

REMARK.

In this description of the Christians’ calling, the apostle’s first object is not to state the difference between the church of the Old and that of the New Covenant, but to show distinctly that in the latter there is and should have been fulfilled what had aforetime indeed been promised to the former, but had appeared in her only in a typical and unsatisfactory way. The points of difference are distinctly set forth. Israel had an house of God—the Christian church is called to be itself that house of God. That house was built of inanimate stones, this of living stones; it is a spiritual house. Israel was to be an holy priesthood, but it was so only in the particular priesthood introduced into the church; the Christian church is called to be a ἱεράτευμα ἅγιον in this sense, that each individual in it is called upon to perform the office of priest. The sacrifices which the priests in Israel had to offer were beasts and the like; those of the Christians are, on the other hand, spiritual sacrifices, through Christ well-pleasing to God.

The idea of a universal priesthood, here expressed, is opposed not only to the catholic doctrine of a particular priesthood, but to all teaching with regard to the office of the administration of word and sacrament which in any way ascribes to its possessors an importance in the church, resting on divine mandate, and necessary for the communication of salvation (i.e. priestly importance).


Verse 6

1 Peter 2:6 gives the ground for the exhortation contained in 1 Peter 2:4-5 by a quotation of the passage, Isaiah 28:16, to which reference was already made in 1 Peter 2:4.

διότι] cf. 1 Peter 1:24.

περιέχει ἐν τῇ γραφῇ] an uncommon construction, yet not without parallel, see Joseph. Antt. xi. 7: βούλομαι γίνεσθαι πάντα, καθὼς ἐν αὐτῇ (i.e. ἐπιστολῇ) περιέχει; indeed περιέχειν is more than once used to denote the contents of a writing, see Acts 23:25; Joseph. Antt. xi. 9: καὶ μὲν ἐπιστολὴ ταῦτα περιεῖχεν. Either περιοχή (or τόπος) must, with Wahl, be supplied here as subject; or better, περιέχει must be taken impersonally as equal to, continetur; cf. Winer, p. 237 [E. T. 316]; Buttmann, p. 126.

The words of the passage in the O. T. (Isaiah 28:16) are quoted neither literally from the LXX. nor exactly according to the Hebrew text. In the LXX. it is: ἰδού, ἐγὼ ἐμβάλλω εἰς τὰ θεμέλια σιὼν (instead of which we have here, exactly as in Romans 9:33 : ἰδού, τίθημι ἐν σιὼν) λίθον πολυτελῆ (this adject. here omitted) ἐκλεκτὸν ἀκρογωνιαῖον (these two words here transposed) ἔντιμον εἰς τὰ θεμέλια αὐτῆς (the last two words εἰςαὐτῆς here left out) καὶ πιστεύων ( ἐπʼ αὐτῷ added) οὐ μὴ καταισχυνθῇ (Romans 9:33 : καὶ πᾶς πιστεύων ἐπʼ αὐτῷ οὐ καταισχυνθήσεται). Whatever may be understood by the stone in Zion, whether the theocracy, or the temple, or the house of David, or the promise given to David, 2 Samuel 7:12; 2 Samuel 7:16 (Hofmann), this passage, which certainly has a Messianic character,—inasmuch as the thought expressed in it should find, and has found, its fulfilment in Christ,—is not here only, but by Paul and the Rabbis (see Vitringa, ad Jes. I. p. 217), taken to refer directly to the Messiah, who also, according to Delitzsch (cf. in loc.), is directly meant by the stone (“this stone is the true seed of David, manifested in Christ”). Luther, following Oecumenius and Theophylactus, assumes that Christ is called λίθος ἀκρογων. because He has united Jew and Gentile together, and out of both collected the one church; this Calvin, not entirely without reason, calls a subtilius philosophari. In the words: καὶ πιστεύων κ. τ. λ., πιστεύων corresponds to προσερχόμενοι, 1 Peter 2:4. οὐ μὴ καταισχυνθῇ does not refer to the glory which consists for the believer in this, “that he, as a λίθος ζῶν, will form part of the οἶκος πν.” (Wiesinger), but to “the final glory of salvation which is the aim of the present πιστεύειν” (Schott); cf. 1 Peter 2:2 : εἰς σωτηρίαν.(120)


Verse 7

1 Peter 2:7. ὑμῖν οὖν τιμὴ τοῖς πιστεύουσιν] Conclusion, with special reference to the readers, ὑμῖν, drawn from 1 Peter 2:6 ( οὖν), and in the first instance from the second half of the O. T. quotation, for τοῖς πιστεύουσιν evidently stands related to πιστεύων ἐπʼ αὐτῷ, hence the definite article. On the position of τοῖς πιστ., cf. Winer, p. 511 [E. T. 687]; only, with Winer, it must not be interpreted: “as believers, i.e. if ye are believers,” but: “ye who are believers.”

From the fact that τιμή echoes ἔντιμον, it must not be concluded that τιμή here is the worth which the stone possesses, and that the meaning is: “the worth which the stone has, it has for you who believe” (Wiesinger). The clause would then have read perhaps: ὑμῖν οὖν λίθος ἐστι τιμή, or the like. τιμή stands rather in antithesis to καταισχυνθῆναι, and takes up positively what had been expressed negatively in the verse immediately preceding. Gerhard: vobis, qui per fidem tanquam lapides vivi super eum aedificamini, est honor coram Deo (so, too, de Wette-Brückner, Weiss, Schott); ὑμῖν, sc. ἐστι: “yours therefore is the honour;” the article is not without significance here; the honour, namely, which in that word is awarded to believers (Steiger).

τοῖς πιστεύουσιν] an explanatory adjunct placed by way of emphasis at the end.

ἀπειθοῦσι [ ἀπιστοῦσιν] δέ] antithesis to τοῖς πιστεύουσιν; ἀπειθεῖν denotes not only the simple not believing, but the resistance against belief; thus also ἀπιστοῦσιν here, if it be the true reading. Bengel wrongly explains the dative by: quod attinet; it is the dat. incommodi (Steiger, de Wette, etc.). The words: λίθος ( λίθον) … γωνίας, are borrowed literally from Psalms 118:22, after the LXX. What is fatal for unbelievers in the fact that the stone is become the corner-stone ( κεφ. γων. equals λιθ. ἀκρογ.) is stated in the following words, which are taken from Isaiah 8:14 : לְאֶבֶן נֶגֶף וּלְצוּר מִכְשׁוֹל. γωνίας, as the corner-stone, must not be understood, with Gerhard and Steiger, as one on which one stumbles and falls. This is not contained in the idea, corner-stone, in itself.">(121) In a manner similar though not quite identical, these passages of the O. T. are woven together by Paul in Romans 9:33. The words do not denote the subjective conduct of the unbelievers (according to Luther, the occasion of stumbling or offence which they find in the preaching of the cross), but the objective destruction which they bring upon themselves by their unbelief (Steiger, de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott, Fronmüller); cf. Luke 20:17-18, where the corner-stone is also characterized as a stone of destruction for unbelievers. It is therefore without any foundation that Hofmann asserts “the thought that, to the disobedient, Christ is become the corner-stone seems impossible,” if ἀπειθοῦσιν be taken as the dat. incommodi. So that it is in no way necessary to accept a construction so uncommon as that adopted by Hofmann, who considers the two clauses: ὑμῖνοἰκοδομοῦντες to be, with an omitted ὤν, in apposition to the following οὗτος, looking on τιμή as a kind of personal designation of the stone, and separating the three following expressions: εἰς κεφ. γων., λιθ. προκόμμ., and πέτρα σκανδ. in such a way as to refer the first to believers and the other two to unbelievers, although no such division is anywhere hinted at.


Verse 8

1 Peter 2:8. οἱ προσκόπτουσι] links itself on to ἀπειθοῦσι κ. τ. λ.: “that is to those who,” etc., not to what follows, as if εἰσι were to be supplied: “they who stumble are those who are,” etc.

προσκόπτειν has here the same meaning as that contained in the last words, but the turn of the thought is different; there, it is shown what Christ is become to the unbelievers, namely, the ground of their destruction; here, on the contrary, that they are really overtaken by this destruction; Lorinus explains προσκόπτουσι incorrectly: verbo offenduntur et scandalizantur, id blasphemant et male de illo loquuntur.

τῷ λόγῳ ἀπειθοῦντες] It is better to connect τῷ λόγῳ with ἀπειθοῦντες than with προσκόπτουσι (either: “who at the word are offended,” or: “who by the word suffer hurt”). For, on the one hand, the leading idea προσκ. would be weakened by its connection with λόγῳ; and, on the other, the nearer definition requisite is supplied of itself from what precedes; it would, too, be inappropriate “that λόγος should of a sudden take the place of Christ, who in 1 Peter 2:7 is, as λίθος, the object of προσκ.” (Brückner). Wolf: qui impingunt, nempe: in lapidem illum angularem, verbo non credentes: quo ipso et offensio ipsa et ejus causa indicatur.

εἰς καὶ ἐτέθησαν] εἰς not equal to ἐφʼ , “on account of which;” nor is it equal to εἰς ὅν (sc. λόγον or λίθον); Luther: “on which they are placed;” or similarly Bolten: “they stumble at that, on which they should have been laid” (he makes εἰς refer to the omitted object of προσκ.), but it points rather to the end of ἐτέθησαν.(122)

τίθημι] is here, as frequently in the N. T., “to appoint, constituere” (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:9). It is clear from the connection of this verse with the preceding, that εἰς does not go back to 1 Peter 2:5 (Gerhard: in hoc positi sunt, videlicet, ut ipsi quoque in hunc lapidem fide aedificarentur). It may be referred either to ἀπειθεῖν (Calvin, Beza, Piscator, and others) or to προσκόπτειν and ἀπειθεῖν (Estius, Pott, de Wette, Usteri, Hofmann, Wiesinger,(123) etc.), or, more correctly, to προσκόπτειν (Grotius, Hammond, Benson, Hensler, Steiger, Weiss), since on the latter (not on ἀπειθεῖν) the chief emphasis of the thought lies, and εἰς κ. τ. λ. applies to that which is predicated of the subject, that is, of the ἀπειθοῦντες, but not to the characteristic according to which the subject is designated. The προσκόπτειν it is to which they, the ἀπειθοῦντες, were already appointed, and withal on account of their unbelief, as appears from the τῷ λόγῳ ἀπειθ. This interpretation alone is in harmony with the connection of thought, for it is simply the πιστεύοντες and ἀπειθοῦντες, together with the blessing and curse which they respectively obtain, that are here contrasted, without any reference being made to the precise ground of faith and unbelief. Vorstius correctly: Increduli sunt designati vel constituti ad hoc, ut poenam sive exitium sibi accersant sua incredulitate.

Following the construction of 1 Peter 2:7 adopted by him, Hofmann takes οἱ προσκόπτουσιν not as an adjunct referring to what precedes, but as protasis to the subsequent εἰς , which, according to him, contains the apodosis expressed in the form of an exclamation. This interpretation falls with that of 1 Peter 2:7. Besides, it gives rise to a construction entirely abnormal, and of which there is no other example in the N. T., either as regards the relative pronoun(124) or the method here resorted to, of connecting apodosis with protasis. The words are added by the apostle in order to show that the being put to shame of unbelievers, takes place according to divine determination and direction. Oecumenius(125) is not justified by the context in laying special stress on the personal guilt of unbelief; or Aretius, in answering the question: quis autem illos sic posuit? by non Deus certe, sed Satan tales posuit.


Verse 9

1 Peter 2:9. ὑμεῖς δέ] The apostle returns again to his readers, contrasting them with the unbelievers (not “with the people of Israel,” as Weiss thinks) he had just spoken of. The nature of believers, as such, is described by the same predicates which were originally applied to the O. T. church of God (cf. Exodus 19:5-6), but have found their accomplishment only in that of the N. T. Schott justly remarks that “what in 1 Peter 2:5 had been expressed in the form of an exhortation, is here predicated of the Christians as an already present condition.”

γένος ἐκλεκτόν] after Isaiah 43:20 ( עַמִּי בְחִירִי, LXX.: γένος μου τὸ ἐκλεκτόν); cf. also Deuteronomy 7:6 ff.; Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:1-2; Isaiah 45:4, etc. This first designation sets forth that the Christians, in virtue of God’s love, have been elected to be a people which no longer belongs to this world; cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:1.

βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα] after Exodus 19:6, LXX. (in Hebrew מַמְלֶכֶת בֹּהֲנִים, “a kingdom of priests”); most interpreters take it as simple combination of the two ideas: “kings and priests.” Still it is more correct to regard ἱεράτευμα as the principal idea (cf. 1 Peter 2:3), and βασίλειον as a more precise definition: “a royal priesthood.” Several commentators explain: “a priesthood possessing a royal character,” inasmuch as it not only offers up sacrifices (1 Peter 2:5), but exercises sway (over the world); cf. Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10 (Wiesinger). Weiss (p. 125), on the other hand: “a priesthood serving Jehovah the King, just as we speak of the royal household.” Since all the other predicates express the belonging to God, the second explanation deserves the preference, only it must be modified so far as to include in βασίλ. not only the relation of service, but that also of belonging to and participation in the glory of the king founded thereon. Schott is not justified in assuming that Peter did not intend to convey the force of the Greek, but that of the Hebrew expression: מַמְלֶכֶת בֹּהֲנִים, namely: “a kingdom which consists of priests.” It is inadequate to understand, with Hofmann, by the term: “a priesthood of princely honours,” or βασίλειον as equal to, magnificus, splendidus (Aretius, Hottinger, etc.), or to find in it the expression of the highest freedom(126) (subject only to God) (de Wette).

ἔθνος ἅγιον] in like manner after Exodus 19:6, LXX. ( גּוֹי קָדוֹשׁ).

λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν] corresponding passages in the O. T. are Deuteronomy 7:6 ( עַם סְגֻלָּה), Malachi 3:17 ( סְגֻלָּה), and especially Isaiah 43:21, LXX.: λαόν ΄ου ὃν περιεποιησά΄ην τὰς ἀρετάς ΄ου διηγεῖσθαι ( עַם־זוּ יָצַרְתִּי לִי תְּהִלָּתִי יְסַפֵּרוּ). The words following show that the apostle had this last passage chiefly in his mind; still it must be noted that this idea is contained already in Exodus 19:5 ( λαὸς περιούσιος). περιποίησις is strictly the acquiring (Hebrews 10:39); here, what is acquired, possession; neither destinatus (Vorstius) nor positus (Calovius) is to be supplied to εἰς, they would not correspond with the sense; εἰς is here to be explained from Malachi 3:17, LXX.: ἔσονταί ΄οι εἰς περιποίησιν; on εἶναι εἰς, cf. Winer, p. 173 [E. T. 229]; in sense it is equivalent to λαὸς περιούσιος, Titus 2:14. Schott attributes to this expression an eschatological reference, explaining: “a people destined for appropriation, for acquisition;” this is incorrect, for, understood thus, it would fall out of all analogy with the other expressions. The apostle does not here state to what the Christian church is destined, but what she already is; “her complete liberation from all cosmic powers is not,” as Brückner justly remarks, “an acquiring on God’s side, but only the final redemption of those whom He already possesses.” Schott’s assertion, that in the N. T. περιποίησις has always an eschatological reference, is opposed by Ephesians 1:14; cf. Meyer in loc.

Although a difference of idea founded on the etymologies of γένος, ἔθνος λαός is not to be pressed;(127) yet it must be observed that by these expressions, as also by ἱεράτευμα, Christians are spoken of as a community united together in itself, and although diverse as to natural descent, they, as belonging to God (and all the names employed by the apostle point to this), form one people, from the fact that God has joined them to Himself.

ὅπως τὰς ἀρετὰς ἐξαγγείλητε τοῦ κ. τ. λ.] ὅπως connects itself, after Isaiah 43:21, in the first instance with what immediately goes before, in such a way, however, that the preceding ideas point towards it as their end.

τὰς ἀρετάς] thus the LXX. translate תְּהִלָּה in the above-mentioned passage (in general, in the LXX., ἀρετή occurs only as the translation of הוֹד, Habakkuk 3:3, Zechariah 6:13; ἀρεταί as the translation of תְּהִלָּה, Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 42:12; Isaiah 43:21, and of תְּהִלּוֹת, Isaiah 63:7); accordingly the Alexandrine translators understand by הוֹד and תְּהִלָּה in the passages in question, not the “glory or praise” of God, but the object of the glory, that is, the excellence or the glorious attributes of God. Peter took the word, in this meaning of it, from them. ἀρεταί equal to τὰ μεγαλεῖα τ. θ. (Acts 2:11), “the great deeds of God.” Cornelius a Lapide entirely misses the point in explaining: virtutes, quas Christus in nobis operatur, humilitatem, caritatem, etc.; and Salmeron: virtutes Christi, quas in diebus carnis suae exhibuit.">(128)

ἐξαγγείλητε] cf. Isaiah 42:12, LXX.: τὰς ἀρετὰς αὐτοῦ ἐν ταῖς νήσοις ἀπαγγελοῦσι; ἐξαγγέλλειν; strictly, iis qui foris sunt nunciare quae intus fiunt (Xen. Anab. ii. 4. 21), is employed for the most part without this definite application; in the LXX. the translation of סִפֵּר; in the N. T. in this passage only; it is possible that Peter thought of the word here in its original force (Bengel, Wiesinger).

τοῦ ἐκ σκότους ὑμᾶς καλέσαντος] i.e. θεοῦ, not χριστοῦ; καλεῖν is almost uniformly attributed to God.

σκότους, not equivalent to, miseria (Wahl), but is used to designate the whole unhappy condition of sin and lying in which the natural and unregenerate man is, cf. Colossians 1:13; here employed, no doubt, with special reference to the former heathenism of the readers.

εἰς τὸ θαυ΄αστὸν αὑτοῦ φῶς] To render φῶς by cognitio melior (Wahl), is arbitrarily to weaken the force of the word; it is rather the complete opposite of σκότος, and denotes the absolutely holy and blessed nature—as αὑτοῦ shows—of God. The Christian is translated from darkness to the light of God, so that he participates in this light, and is illumined by it.(129) Schott incorrectly understands by σκότος: “heathen humanity left to itself,” and by τὸαὑτοῦ φῶς: “the church;” the church lives in God’s light, but it is not the light of God.

καλεῖν is here applied, as it is by Paul, to the effectual, successful calling of God.

θαυμαστόν (cf. Matthew 21:42) denotes the inconceivable glory of the φῶς θεοῦ.


Verse 10

1 Peter 2:10. A reference to Hosea 2:23, linking itself on to the end of the preceding verse, in which the former and present conditions of the readers are contrasted. This difference the verse emphasizes by means of a simple antithesis. The passage in Hosea runs: וְרִחַמְתִּי אֶת־לֹא רֻחָמָה וְאָמַרְתִּי לְלֹא־עַמִּי עַמִּי־אַתָּה, LXX.: ἀγαπήσω τὴν οὐκ ἠγαπημένην καὶ ἐρῶ τῷ οὐ λαῷ μου· λαός μου εἶ σύ (the Cod. Alex. and the Ed. Aldina have at the commencement the additional words: ἐλεήσω τὴν οὐκ ἠλεημένην).

οἱ ποτὲ οὐ λαός] Grotius, Steiger, Weiss incorrectly supply: θεοῦ. λαός is here used absolutely (Bengel: ne populus quidem, nedum Dei populus). οὐ belongs not to ἦτε to be supplied, but is closely connected with λαός, equivalent to “no-people.” In like manner οὐκ ἠλεημένοι as equal to “not-obtained mercy.” “The meaning is not that they once were not what they now are, but that they were the opposite of it” (Wiesinger). But οὐλαός is a people who, in their separation from God, are without that unity of life in which alone they can be considered by Him as a people; or, more simply, who do not serve God who is the true King of every people; cf. Deuteronomy 32:21, and Keil in loc. De Wette is hardly satisfactory: “they were not a people, inasmuch as they were without the principle of all true nationality, the real knowledge of God,” etc.; now they are a people, even a people of God, inasmuch as they not only serve God, but are received also by God into community of life with Himself.

οἱ οὐκ ἠλεημένοι, νῦν δὲ ἐλεηθέντες] The part. perf. denotes their former and ended condition. Standing as it does here not as a verb, but as a substantive, like οὐλαός, it cannot be taken as a plusquam-perf. part. (in opposition to Hofmann). The aorist part. points, on the other hand, to the fact of pardon having been extended: “once not in possession of mercy, but now having become partakers of it” (Winer, p. 322(130) [E. T. 431]).


Verse 11-12

1 Peter 2:11-12. A new exhortation: the central thought is expressed in the beginning of 1 Peter 2:12. The apostle, after describing its peculiarly lofty dignity, considers the Christian church in its relation to the non-Christian world, and shows how believers must prove themselves blameless before it by right conduct in the different relations of human life. The condition necessary for this is stated in 1 Peter 2:11.

ἀγαπητοί] This form of address expresses the affectionate, impressive earnestness of the following exhortation.

παρακαλῶ (sc. ὑμᾶς) ὡς παροίκους καὶ παρεπιδήμους]; cf. Psalms 39:13, LXX.

ὡς, as in 1 Peter 1:14.

πάροικος, cf. 1 Peter 1:17, in its strict sense: Acts 7:6; Acts 7:29, equal to, inquilinus, he who dwells in a town (or land) where he has no civil rights; cf. Luke 24:18. In Ephesians 2:19 it stands as synonymous with ξένος, of the relation of the heathen to the kingdom of God.

παρεπίδημος, cf. 1 Peter 1:1. The home of the believer is heaven, on earth he is a stranger. Calvin: sic eos appellat, non quia a patria exularent, ac dissipati essent in diversis regionibus, sed quia filii Dei, ubicunque terrarum agant, mundi sunt hospites; cf. Hebrews 11:13-15. A distinction between the two words is not to be pressed here; the same idea is expressed by two words, in order to emphasize it the more strongly. Luther inexactly translates παρεπίδημοι by “pilgrims.”

Even if ἀπέχεσθαι be the true reading, the words ὡς παροίκους κ. τ. λ. must be connected with παρακαλῶ (as opposed to de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger), for they show in what character Peter now regarded his readers (Hofmann)(131) in relation to the following exhortations, and have reference not simply to the admonition ἀπέχεσθαι; as Weiss also (p. 45) rightly remarks. Probably, however, ἀπέχεσθε is the original reading, and was changed into the infinitive in order to make the connection with παρακαλῶ more close. ἀπέχεσθαι presents the negative aspect of sanctification, as chap. 1 Peter 2:1 : ἀποθέμενοι.

τῶν σαρκικῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν] similar expressions in Galatians 5:10; Ephesians 2:3; 2 Peter 2:18. The ἐπιθυμίαι are σαρκικαί, because they have their seat in the σάρξ. Wiesinger improperly says that “the lusts which manifest themselves outwardly” are here meant, for all ἐπιθυμίαι tend to, and do, manifest themselves outwardly, if there be no ἀπέχεσθαι. Schott assumes, without reason, that the ἐπιθυμίαι are here considered “as something outside of the Christian community, and manifesting itself only in the surrounding heathen population;” they are indeed peculiar to the unbelieving world; but the Christian, too, has them still in his σάρξ, though he can and should prevent them from having a determining power over him, inasmuch as in the world over which they rule he is a πάροικος καὶ παρεπίδημος.(132) This sequence of thought lies plainly indicated in the close connection of the exhortation with what precedes (as opposed to Hofmann).

αἵτινες στρατεύονται κατὰ τῆς ψυχῆς] is not a definition of the σαρκικαί, but as αἵτινες, equal to “as those which,” shows, explains the nature of the ἐπιθυμίαι σαρκικαί, thus giving the reason of the exhortation.

στρατεύειν is not: “to lay siege to” (Steiger), but: “to war,” “fight against,” as in James 4:1 (Romans 7:23 : ἀντιστρατεύεσθαι).

ψυχή has here its usual meaning; it is neither: vita et salus animae (Hornejus, Grotius), nor: ratio (Pott: libidines, quae nos impellunt ad peragenda ea, quae rationi contraria sunt); nor does it mean: “the new man” (Gerhard: totus homo novus ac interior, quatenus est per Spiritum s. renovatus), nor: the soul, “in so far as it is penetrated by the Holy Spirit” (Steiger), nor: “life as determined by the new Ego” (Schott); but it is here simply, in contradistinction to σῶμα, the spiritual substance of man of which Peter says that it must be sanctified (chap. 1 Peter 1:22), and its σωτηρία is the end of faith (chap. 1 Peter 1:9); thus also de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger, Hofmann, Fronmüller. In the natural man the ψυχή is under the power of the ἐπιθυμίαι σαρκικαί (which according to James 4:1 have their dwelling ἐν τοῖς μέλεσιν; cf. also Romans 7:23); in him who is regenerate, it is delivered from them, yet the ἐπιθυμίαι seek to bring it again into subjection, so that it may fail of its σωτηρία;—in this consists the στρατεύεσθαι κατὰ τῆς ψυχῆς.—1 Peter 2:12. τὴν ἀναστροφὴν ὑμῶν (chap. 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Peter 1:17) ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἔχοντες καλήν] ἐν τοῖς ἔθν.: “among the Gentiles;” for the churches to whom Peter wrote were in Gentile lands.

ἔχοντες καλήν: Luther inexactly: “lead a good mode of life;” καλήν is a predicate: “having your mode of life good (as one good);” cf. chap. 1 Peter 4:8.

ἔχοντες (antithesis to ἀπέχεσθε, 1 Peter 2:11) is not here put for the imperative, but is a participle subordinate to the finite verb; if ἀπέχεσθαι be read, there is here, as in Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:16, an irregularity in the construction by which the idea contained in the participle is significantly made prominent.

ἵνα ἐν καταλαλοῦσιν κ. τ. λ.] “that in the matter in which they revile you as evil-doers they may, on the ground of the good works they themselves have beheld, glorify God,” i.e. in order that the matter which was made the ground of their evil-speaking, may by your good works become to them the ground of giving glory to God.

ἵνα states the purpose; not for ὥστε; ἐν is not: ἐν χρόνω, as in Mark 2:19 (Pott, Hensler), for the καταλαλεῖν and the δοξάζειν cannot be simultaneous; nor is it: pro eo quod (Beza), such a construction has no grammatical justification; but ἐν specifies here, as in verb. affect., the occasioning object (cf. chap. 1 Peter 4:4), and the relative refers to a demonstrative to be supplied, which stands in the same relation to δοξάζωσι as ἐν to καταλαλοῦσιν. It is not then τοῦτο, but ἐν τούτῳ, which is to be supplied (Steiger, de Wette, Wiesinger, Hofmann). If τοῦτο were to be supplied it would be dependent on ἐποπτεύσαντες; but such a construction is opposed by the circumstance that it is not this participle, but δοξάζωσι, which forms the antithesis to καταλαλοῦσι. The participle is interposed here absolutely (as in Ephesians 3:4 : ἀναγινώσκοντες), and ἐκ τῶν καλῶν ἔργων is connected with δοξάζωσι, the sense being: “on account of your good works.” Steiger specifies the καλὰ ἔργα as that which occasions the καταλαλεῖν,—and later the δοξάζειν τὸν θεόν,—but the subsequent ἐκ τῶν καλῶν ἔργων does not agree with this; de Wette gives: “the whole tenor of life;” the connection with what precedes might suggest the ἀπέχεσθαι τῶν σαρκ. ἐπιθυμιῶν;(133) but it is simpler, with Hofmann, to understand by it generally the Christian profession.

With κακοποιοί, cf. 1 Peter 2:14; 1 Peter 4:15; John 18:30. Brückner, Wiesinger, Weiss (p. 367) justly reject the opinion of Hug, Neander, etc., that κακοποιός here, in harmony with the passage in Suetonius, Vit. Ner. c. 16: Christiani genus hominum superstitionis novae et malificae, is equivalent to “state criminal.” In the mouth of a heathen the word would signify a criminal, though not exactly a vicious man; one who had been guilty of such crimes as theft, murder, and the like (cf. 1 Peter 4:15), which are punished by the state(134) (cf. 1 Peter 2:14).

ἐκ τῶν καλῶν ἔργων] The καλὰ ἔργα, in the practice of which the ἀναστοφὴ καλή) of the Christians consists, are here presented as the motive by which, when they see them, the heathen are to be induced to substitute the glorifying of God for their evil-speaking; as the Christians too, on their part, are often exhorted to holiness of life, that thus they may overcome the opposition of the Gentiles, cf. chap. 1 Peter 3:2. Hofmann incorrectly interprets ἐκ τ. καλ. ἔργων ἐποπτεύοντες: “if the heathen judge of your Christianity by your good works;” for ἐποπτεύειν does not mean “to judge of.” With ἐκ τ. καλ. ἔργωνδοξάσωσι τ. θεόν, comp. Christ’s words, Matthew 5:16, which, as Weiss not without reason assumes, may have here been present to the apostle’s mind.

ἐποπτεύοντες] “goes back in thought to the καλὰ ἔργα, in harmony with the linguistic parallel in 1 Peter 3:2 and the grammatical parallel in Ephesians 3:4” (de Wette). It makes no essential difference in the sense whether the present or, with the Rec., the aorist be read (see critical remarks). The word occurs only here and in 1 Peter 3:2, where it is used with the accusative of the object (for the subst. ἐπόπτης, see 2 Peter 1:16). It expresses the idea of seeing with one’s own eyes, more strongly than the simple ὁρᾷν. There is no reference here to the use of the word as applied to those who were initiated into the third grade of the Eleusinian mysteries.

ἐν ἡ΄έρᾳ ἐπισκοπῆς] ἐπισκοπή is in the LXX. a translation of פְּקֻדָּה, the visitation of God, whether it be to bless (Job 10:12) or to chastise (Isaiah 10:3); ἡ΄έρα ἐπισκοπῆς is therefore the time when God gives salvation, or the time when He punishes, be it in the general sense (Beda: dies extremi judicii), or more specially with reference either to the Christians or the heathen.

The connection of thought seems to point decisively to that time as meant when the καταλαλοῦντες shall be brought to repentance and faith, that is, to “the gracious visitation of the heathen” (Steiger); as καιρὸς τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς σου, Luke 19:44, is used with regard to the Jews. This interpretation is to be found already in the Fathers and in many later commentators, as Nicol. de Lyra, Erasm., Hemming, Vorstius, Beza, Steiger, de Wette, Wiesinger, Hofmann, etc. On the other hand, Oecumenius, Wolf, Bengel, etc., apply the ἐπισκοπή not to God, but understand by it the ἐξέτασις of the Christians at the hands of the heathen. But for this there is absolutely no ground. Luther’s interpretation: “when it shall be brought to light,” is wrong; it is equivalent to that of Gerhard: simplicissime accipitur de visitatione illa divina, qua Deus piorum, innocentiam variis modis in lucem producit.

Akin to this is the view held by some of the scholastics, that ἐπισκοπή is to be understood of the trial of the Christians by affliction; see Lorinus in loc.

REMARK.

At variance with this explanation is that given by Schott, who interprets the passage in this way: In order that the heathen may glorify God in the day of judgment, from this that (by the fact that) they slander you as evil-doers in consequence of your good works of which they are witnesses. The idea that the undeserved calumnies of the heathen serve at last to the glorification of God, is in itself right and appropriate as a basis for the exhortation given in the context. The resolution, too, of ἐν into ἐν τούτῳ, ὅτι, has grammatically nothing against it; Meyer even allows it to be possible in Romans 2:1; cf. Hebrews 2:18, where Lünemann has recourse to a like construction, though with a somewhat inadequate explanation. Still, more than one objection may be urged against this interpretation—(1) A reference is given to δοξάζειν different from what is contained in καταλαλεῖν, inasmuch as it is taken, as in 1 Corinthians 6:20, in the sense of: “by action;” (2) δοξάζειν must be thought of as something which the heathen bring about “without knowing or willing” it, whereas the apostle does not let fall a hint of any such nearer definition; (3) δοξάζειν can only in a loose sense be conceived of as an act of the heathen; it is simply the result of what they do (of their καταλαλεῖν); and (4) In comparing these words with those of Christ, Matthew 5:16 : ὅπως ἴδωσιν ὑμῶν τὰ καλὰ ἔργα καὶ δοξάσωσι τὸν πατέρα ὑμῶν τὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, the thought cannot be got rid of that Peter had this passage here in his mind. Schott’s objection, that “ δοξάζειν τὸν θεόν is a strange and, specially here, a doubly inappropriate expression for conversion to Christianity, whilst the connection of the verb thus taken with ἐξ, as equal to: in consequence of, is a hard and inelegant construction,” amounts to very little, since in the acceptation of the passage which he calls in question the verb is by no means made to bear any such meaning.


Verse 13-14

1 Peter 2:13-14. The apostle now goes on to name the different relations of life ordained of God in which the Christian should show his holy walk. First of all, an exhortation to obey those in authority.

ὑποτάγητε] the aor. pass. is used here, as it often is, with a middle, not a passive—as Wiesinger thinks—force. It is not: “be made subject,” but “make yourselves subject” (cf. ταπεινώθητε, chap. 1 Peter 5:6).(135) The more liable liberty in Christ was to be misunderstood by the heathen, and even to be abused by the Christians themselves, the more important it was that the latter should have inculcated upon them as one of their principal duties this ὑποτάσσεσθαι (1 Peter 2:18, chap. 1 Peter 3:1) in all circumstances of life.

πάσῃ ἀνθρωπίνῃ κτίσει] κτίσις is here, in accordance with the signification peculiar to the verb κτίζειν: “to establish, to set up,” the ordinance, or institution (“an ordinance resting on a particular arrangement,” Hofmann). In connection with the attribute ἀνθρωπίνη, this expression seems to denote an ordinance or institution established by men (so most expositors, and formerly in this commentary). But it must be noted that κτίζειν (and its derivatives) are never applied to human, but only to divine agency; besides, the demand that they should submit themselves to every human ordinance would be asking too much. It is therefore preferable to understand, with Hofmann, by the term, an ordinance (of God) applying to human relations (“regulating the social life of man”(136)). By the subsequent εἴτε εἴτε, the expression is referred in the first instance to the magistracy; but this does not justify the interpretation of it as equal directly to: “authority,” or even: persons in authority (Gerhard: concretive et personaliter: homines, qui magistratum gerunt). That Peter’s exposition of the idea had direct reference to persons in authority, is to be explained from the circumstance that the institution possessed reality only in the existence of those individuals.(137) At variance with this view is de Wette’s (following Erasmus, Estius, Pott) interpretation of the expression: “to every human creature, i.e. to all men.” Not only, however, the singular circumlocution: κτίσις ἀνθρωπίνη for ἄνθρωπος,—for which de Wette wrongly quotes Mark 16:15 and Colossians 1:23,—but the very idea that Christians should be subject to all men,—and in support of it no appeal can be made either to chap. 1 Peter 5:5 or to the following exhortation: πάντας τιμήσατε,—is decisive against this view.(138) The fact that Peter places the general term πᾶσα κτίσις first, is explained most naturally in this way: that it was his intention to speak not of the magistracy merely, but also of the other institutions of human life.

The motive for the submission here demanded is given by διὰ κύριον, i.e. χριστόν (not θεόν, as Schott thinks), which must be taken to mean: “because such is the will of the Lord,” or, with Hofmann: “out of consideration due to Christ, to whom the opposite would bring dishonour.” The latter, however, is the less likely interpretation. Still less natural is it to say, with Wiesinger, that this adjunct points to the θεῖον in ordinances under which human life is passed. Incorrectly Huss: propter imitationem Dei i. e. Christi.

In the enumeration which follows, the apostle is guided by the historical conditions of his time. It must be remarked that ὑποτάσσεσθαι is inculcated not only with regard to the institutions of the state, but to the persons in whom these are embodied, and this quite unconditionally. Even in cases where obedience, according to the principle laid down in Acts 4:19, is to be refused, the duty of the ὑποτάσσεσθαι must not be infringed upon.

εἴτε βασιλεῖ] βασιλεύς is here the name given to the Roman emperor; cf. Joseph, de bello jud. v. 13, § 6. Bengel: Caesari, erant enim provinciae romanae, in quas mittebat Petrus.

ὡς ὑπερέχοντι] ὡς here also assigns the reason; ὑπερέχειν expresses, as in Romans 13:1, simply the idea of sovereign power; non est comparatio cum aliis magistratibus (Calvin). In the Roman Empire the emperor was not merely the highest ruler, but properly speaking the only one, all the other authorities being simply the organs through which he exercised his sway.—1 Peter 2:14. εἴτε ἡγεμόσιν] ἡγε΄όνες praesides provinciarum, qui a Caesare mittebantur in provincias (Gerh.).

ὡς διʼ αὐτοῦ, etc.] διʼ αὐτοῦ does not, as Gerh., Aretius, and others take it, refer to κύριον, but to βασιλεῖ. The ἡγε΄., although ὑπερέχοντες too, are so not in the same absolute sense as the βασιλεύς. They are so in relation to their subordinates, but not to the βασιλεύς.

εἰς ἐκδίκησιν κακοποιῶν, ἔπαινον δὲ ἀγαθοποιῶν] is joined grammatically to πε΄πο΄ένοις, not to ὑπερέχοντι also (Hofm., Schott); yet, from the fact that the ἡγε΄όνες are sent by the βασιλεὺς εἰς ἐκδίκησιν κ. τ. λ., it is implied that the latter, too, has an office with respect to ἐκδίκησις κ. τ. λ.(139)

Oecumenius arbitrarily narrows the thought when he says: ἔδειξε καὶ αὐτὸς πέτρος τίσι καὶ ποίοις ἄρχουσιν ὑποτάσσεσθαι δεῖ, ὅτι τοῖς τὸ δίκαιον ἐκδικοῦσιν. The apostle insists rather, without reserve, on submission to the ἡγεμόνες, because (not if) they are sent by the emperor to administer justice.(140)

ἐκδίκησις, here as often: “punishment;” ἔπαινος, not precisely: “reward,” but: “laudatory recognition.”

ἀγαθοποιός is to be found only in later authors, in N. T. ἅπ. λεγ. The subs. occurs chap. 1 Peter 4:19.


Verse 15

1 Peter 2:15. ὅτι] gives the ground of the exhortation: ὑποτάγητε κ. τ. λ.

οὕτως ἐστὶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ] with οὕτως; cf. Winer, p. 434 [E. T. 584]; Buttm. p. 115: “of such a nature is the will of God.” Schott gives the sense correctly: “In this wise is it with the will of God.” The position of the words is opposed to a connection of οὕτως with ἀγαθοποιοῦντας (Wiesinger, Hofmann).

ἀγαθοποιοῦντας] sc. ὑμᾶς; ἀγαθοποιεῖν, in Mark 3:4; Acts 14:17 the word has reference to deeds of benevolence. Here, on the other hand, it is used in a general sense: to do good, with special reference to the fulfilment of the duties towards those in authority.

φιμοῦν τὴν τῶν ἀφρόνων ἀνθρώπων ἀγνωσίαν] φιμοῦν (cf. 1 Timothy 5:18) here in the cognate sense of: “to put to silence,” Wiesinger; “the ἀγνωσία is here conceived of as speaking; cf. v. 12: καταλαλοῦσι ὑμ. ὡς κακοποιῶν.”

ἀγνωσία (except here, only in 1 Corinthians 15:34) is the self-caused lack of any comprehension of the Christian life. Because they are without this, they in their foolishness (hence ἀφρόνων ἀνθρώπων) imagine that its characteristic is not ἀγαθοποιεῖν, but κακοποιεῖν. Beda incorrectly limits οἱ ἄφρονες ἄνθρωποι to those persons in authority; but the reference is rather quite general to the καταλαλοῦντες, 1 Peter 2:12.


Verse 16

1 Peter 2:16. ὡς ἐλεύθεροι] is not, as Lachm., Jachmann, Steiger, Fronmüller think, to be joined with what follows (1 Peter 2:17),(141) but with a preceding thought; either with ἀγαθοποιοῦντας (Beda, Luther, Calvin, Wiesinger, Hofm.), or with ὑποτάγητε (Chrys., Oecum., Gerhard, Bengel, de Wette, Schott, etc.). The latter of these connections deserves the preference, not because in the former a change of construction would take place, but because the special point to be brought out here was, that the freedom of the Christians was to be manifested in submission to (heathen) authorities. What follows shows this, inasmuch as those Christians who had not attained unto true freedom, might easily be led to justify their opposition to those in power on the ground of the liberty which belonged to them in Christ. ὡς ἐλεύθεροι states the position which the Christians are to take up inwardly towards the authorities; their subjection is not that of δοῦλοι, since they recognise them as a divine ordinance for the attainment of moral ends.(142)

καὶ μὴ ὡς ἐπικάλυμμα ἔχοντες τῆς κακίας τὴν ἐλευθερίαν] καί is epexegetical: “and that,” since what follows defines the idea ἐλεύθεροι first negatively and then positively.

ὡς belongs not to ἐπικάλυμμα, but to ἔχοντες: “and that not as those who have.”

ἐπικάλυμμα is the more remote, τὴν ἐλευθερίαν the proximate, object of ἔχοντες: “who have the ἐλευθερία as the ἐπικάλυμμα τ. κακ.”

ἐπικάλυμμα, ἅπ. λεγ.; for its original meaning, cf. Exodus 26:14, LXX.; here used metaphorically (cf. Kypke in loc.). The sense is: “not as those to whom their freedom serves as a covering for their κακία” (cf. 2 Peter 2:19; Galatians 5:13), i.e. who seek to conceal their wickedness by boasting of their Christian freedom. This is the exact reverse of the Pharisaism of those who seek to conceal the wickedness of the heart by an outward conformity to the law.

ἀλλʼ ὡς δοῦλοι θεοῦ] expresses positively the nature of the truly free. True liberty consists in the δουλεία θεοῦ (Romans 6:16 ff.); it refers back to the τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, and further still to διὰ κύριον.


Verse 17

1 Peter 2:17. Four hortatory clauses suggested to Peter by the term ἀγαθοποιοῦντας; in the last he returns, by way of conclusion, to the principal theme. In the first three there is a climax.(143)

πάντας τιμήσατε] πάντας must not, with Bengel, be limited to those: quibus honos debetur, Romans 13:7,(144) nor to those who belong to the same state (Schott); it expresses totality without any exception.

τι΄ᾷν is not equivalent to ὑποτάσσεσθαι (de Wette); but neither is it equal to, civiliter tractare (Bengel); the former is too strong, the latter too weak; it is the opposite, positively stated, of καταφρονεῖν, and means: to recognise the worth ( τι΄ή) which any one possesses, and to act on the recognition (Brückner, Weiss, Wiesinger, Schott). This exhortation is all the more important for the Christian, that his consciousness of his own dignity can easily betray him into a depreciation of others. It refers to the τι΄ή which is due to man as man, and not first in respect of any particular position he may hold (Flacius: unicuique suum locum et debita officia exhibete.)

τὴν ἀδελφότητα ἀγαπᾶτε] ἀδελφότης, also in chap. 1 Peter 5:9, corresponding to our: brotherhood, i.e. the totality of the Christian brethren, cf. ἱεράτευμα, 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 2:9. The apparent contradiction of Matthew 5:44, here presented, where love to enemies is also enjoined, is to be explained on the following principle: that the ἀγάπη is differently conditioned, according as it has different objects. In perfect harmony with its inmost nature, it can exist only between Christians, for only among them is there community of life in God, cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:22. Pott interprets ἀγαπᾷν here superficially by “entertain goodwill to.”

τὸν θεὸν φοβεῖσθε] cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:17; a command not only of the Old, but of the New Testament, inasmuch as a lowly awe before the holy God is an essential feature of the filial relation to God.

τὸν βασιλέα τι΄ᾶτε] Reiteration of the command (1 Peter 2:13) as a conclusion to the whole passage; cf. Proverbs 24:21, φοβοῦ τὸν θεὸν, υἱὲ, καὶ βασιλέα.

τι΄ᾷτε has here the same meaning as previously: “show to the king the respect which pertains to him as king;” what that is the apostle has explained in 1 Peter 2:13. Hornejus(145) incorrectly thinks that in the conjunction of the last two commands, he can here discover an indication of the limits by which obedience to the king is bounded.

The difference in the tenses of the imperative, in the first exhortation the imperat. aor., in the three others the imperat. pres., is to be regarded as accidental, rather than as in any way arising from the substance of the command.(146)


Verse 18

1 Peter 2:18. An exhortation to the slaves, extending from this verse to the end of the chapter.

οἱ οἰκέται] οἰκέτης, properly speaking, “a domestic,” a milder expression for δοῦλος. It is improbable that Peter employed this term in order to include the freedmen who had remained in the master’s house (Steiger).

οἱ οἰκ. is vocative; nor is chap. 1 Peter 1:3 (as Steiger thinks) opposed to this.

ὑποτασσόμενοι] It is quite arbitrary to supply ἦτε (Oecumenius, etc.), or to assert that the participle is used here instead of the imperative. The participle rather shows that the exhortation is conceived of as dependent on a thought already expressed; not on 1 Peter 2:17 (de Wette), but on 1 Peter 2:13, which 1 Peter 2:11-12 serve to introduce; ὑποτάγητεκύριον, the institution of the household implied in the relation of servant to master, is comprehended in the general term πᾶσα ἀνθρωπ. κτίσις.

ἐν παντὶ φόβῳ] φόβος (vid. 1 Peter 1:17) is stronger than reverentia, it denotes the shrinking from transgressing the master’s will, based on the consciousness of subjection, cf. Ephesians 6:5.(147) Doubtless this shrinking is in the case of the Christian based on the fear of God, but the word φόβος does not directly mean such fear, as Weiss (p. 169) holds and seeks to prove, especially from the circumstance that Peter in chap. 1 Peter 3:6; 1 Peter 3:14 condemns the fear of man, forgetting, however, that this fear too may be of different kinds, cf. in loco.

παντί is intensive. πᾶς φόβος is: every kind of fear; a fear wanting in nothing that goes to make up true fear.

τοῖς δεσπόταις] cf. 1 Timothy 6:1, Titus 2:9, equals τοῖς κυρίοις, Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22.

οὐ ΄όνον τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς καὶ ἐπιεικέσιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς σκολιοῖς] The moral conduct of the servant, which consists in ὑποτάσσεσθαι towards the master, must remain unchanged, whatever the character of the latter may be; the chief emphasis, however, rests here on ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς σκ.

ἀγαθοί here is equal to “kind;” for ἐπιεικής, cf. 1 Timothy 3:3; it does not mean “yielding” (Fronmüller), but, properly speaking, one who “acts with propriety,” then “gentle.”

σκολιός, literally, “crooked,” “bent,” the opposite of straight, denotes metaphorically the perverse disposition; Philippians 2:15, synonymous with διεστραμμένος; in Proverbs 28:18, σκολιαῖς ὁδοῖς πορευό΄ενος forms the antithesis to πορευό΄ενος δικαίως (cf. Luke 3:5). It has the same force in the classics (Athen. xv. p. 695; σκολιὰ φρονεῖν, opp. to εὐθέα φρονεῖν). It denotes, therefore, such masters as conduct themselves, not in a right, but in a perverse manner towards their servants—are hard and unjust to them; Luther’s “capricious” is inexact.(148)


Verse 19

1 Peter 2:19. τοῦτο γὰρ χάρις, εἰ] The ground of the exhortation. τοῦτο refers to the clause beginning with εἰ.

χάρις has not the special meaning “grace” here, as if it were to be explained, either with the older commentators: gratiam concilians; or as if by it were to be understood “the gift of grace” (Steiger: “it is to be regarded as grace, if one can suffer for the sake of God;” so, too, Schott), or “the condition of grace” (Wiesinger: “in the ὑπομένειν is manifested the actual condition of grace”); for this expression is not parallel with κλέος, 1 Peter 2:12 : and how can a summons be issued in a manner so direct, to the performance of a duty, by representing it either as a gift of grace or a proof of a state of grace? Besides, Wiesinger alters the term “grace” into “sign of grace.”

Some commentators, on account of 1 Peter 2:20, explain χάρις as synonymous with κλέος, but without any linguistic justification; thus already Oecumenius (Calvin: idem valet nomen gratiae quod laudis; qui patienter ferunt injurias, ii laude digni sunt). In profane Greek χάρις denotes either the charm or the loveliness, or also the favour which one person has for another (to which are linked on the meanings, expressions of goodwill and thanks). Both senses are to be found in the Scriptures.(149) If the first signification be adopted, the enduring of the adversity of which Peter here speaks is characterized as something lovely; and so Cremer (see under χάρις, p. 576) seems to take it. But it is more natural to hold by the second sense, and to explain “this is favour,” as equal to “this causes favour.” Several interpreters explain χάρις as equal directly to “delight,” substituting for the substantive the adjective “well-pleasing,” and supplying παρὰ τῷ θεῷ from 1 Peter 2:20. Thus Gerhard: hoc est Deo gratum et acceptum; de Wette: “Favour with God, i.e. well-pleasing before God;” so, too, Hofmann. But both of these are open to objection. Hofmann no doubt gives as the ground of his supplement: “that the slave who lived up to the apostle’s injunction has to look for the approval of none.” This is, however, surely an unjustifiable assertion. It is not clear why Peter did not add the words supplied if he had them in his mind; χάρις and κλέος in 1 Peter 2:20 are therefore—in consideration of 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 2:15—to be taken quite generally. The following clause indicates a good behaviour, by which the καταλαλία of the heathen is to be put to silence.

εἰ διὰ συνείδησιν θεοῦ ὑποφέρει κ. τ. λ.] εἰ refers back to τοῦτο; διὰ συνείδησιν θεοῦ is placed first by way of emphasis. συνείδησις θεοῦ is neither “God’s knowledge of us” (Morus: quia Deus conscius est tuarum miseriarum; similarly Fronmüller: “on account of the knowledge shared by God, since God knows all”), nor is it “conscientiousness before God” (Stolz); but θεοῦ is the object. genit. (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:7; Hebrews 10:2), therefore the meaning is: the (duty-compelling) consciousness of God. Calov: quia conscius est, id Deum velle et Deo gratum esse; so, too, de Wette, Schott, etc. A metonymy does not require to be assumed (Grotius: per metonymiam objecti dicitur conscientia ejus, quod quis Deo debet). Steiger introduces what is foreign to it when he extends the idea so as to include the conscious knowledge of the divine recompense. In διὰ συνειδ. θεοῦ is expressed substantially the same thought as in ὡς θεοῦ δοῦλοι, 1 Peter 2:16, and διὰ τ. κύριον, 1 Peter 2:13; διὰ τὴν συνείδησιν without θεοῦ is to be found in Romans 13:5.

ὑποφέρει τις λύπας] ὑποφέρειν: “to bear the burden put on one;” the opposite of succumbing under a burden, cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Timothy 3:11; nevertheless, the apostle seems here to have in mind more the antithesis to being provoked to anger and stubbornness (Hofmann).

λύπαι here: outward afflictions.

πάσχων ἀδίκως] “whilst (not although) he suffers wrong (from the master, i.e. undeserved on the part of the slave).”

It is not suffering itself, but patient endurance in the midst of undeserved suffering, and that διὰ συνείδησιν θεοῦ, which Peter calls a χάρις.

This thought, general in itself, is here applied to the relation of servant to master.


Verse 20

1 Peter 2:20. ποῖον γὰρ κλέος] Gerhard: interrogatio respondet h. 1. negationi; this interrogation brings out the nothingness, or at least the little value of the object in question; cf. James 4:14; Luke 6:32.

κλέος, not sc. ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ (Pott), but quite generally, for the thought “refers back to the point of view, stated in 1 Peter 2:12-15, from which this exhortation is given” (Wiesinger).

εἰ ἁμαρτάνοντες καὶ κολαφιζόμενοι ὑπομενεῖτε] The two participles stand in the closest connection with each other, so that ἁμαρτάνειν is to be conceived as the cause of the κολαφίζεσθαι. Luther’s translation is accordingly correct: “if ye suffer punishment on account of your evil deeds;” the only fault to be found with this is, that it weakens the force of the idea ὑπομένειν.

ὑπομένειν is synonymous with ὑποφέρειν; the sense is: “it is no glory to show patience in the suffering of deserved punishment.” The view of de Wette, that Peter referred only “to the reluctant, dull endurance of a criminal who cannot escape his punishment,” misses the apostle’s meaning, and is correctly rejected by Brückner and Wiesinger. Steiger remarks justly: “that when any one endures patiently deserved punishment, he is only performing a duty binding on him by every law of right and authority.” “ ὑπομενεῖτε is in the future with reference to the standpoint of the exhortation” (Wiesinger).

κολαφίζειν: apud LXX. non occurrit, in N. T. generaliter pro plagis ac percussionibus. Matthew 26:67; 1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 12:7 (Gerh.); the strict signification is “to give blows with the fist, or slaps on the ear.” Bengel: poena servorum eaque subita.

ἀλλʼ εἰ ἀγαθοποιοῦντες καὶ πάσχοντες ὑπομενεῖτε] The interpretation of Erasmus: si quum beneficiatis et tamen affligamini, suffertis, is incorrect, for between ἀγαθοπ. and πάσχ. there exists the same relationship as between ἁμαρτάνοντες and κολαφιζόμενοι;(150) Luther correctly: “if ye suffer on account of good-doing;” cf. 1 Peter 3:17.

τοῦτο γὰρ χάρις παρὰ θεῷ] before these words

γάρ is the correct reading—the apodosis taken out of ποῖον κλέος: “this is true praise,” must be added to what precedes, and these words form the basis of an argument in which τοῦτο refers to εἰ ἀγαθοποιοῦντεςὑπομενεῖτε. The meaning is: because this in God’s sight is a χάρις (not equal to: in the judgment of God, cf. Luke 2:52), therefore it is a κλέος.


Verse 21

1 Peter 2:21 gives the ground of the exhortation to bear undeserved suffering patiently, by a reference to the sufferings of Christ.

εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ ἐκλήθητε] εἰς τοῦτο refers to εἰ ἀγαθοποιοῦντεςὑπομενεῖτε. Many interpreters incorrectly make it apply only to suffering as such; but, as Hemming rightly remarks: omnes pii vocati sunt, ut patienter injuriam ferant.

The construction with εἰς occurs frequently; cf. Colossians 3:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:14.

In harmony with the connection, οἱ οἰκέται is to be thought of as the subject to ἐκλήθητε; accordingly it is the slaves in the first instance, not the Christians in general, who are addressed (as in chap. 1 Peter 3:9; 1 Peter 3:14; 1 Peter 3:17); but as this κληθῆναι applies to them not as slaves but as believers, it holds true at the same time of all Christians.

ὅτι καὶ χριστὸς ἔπαθεν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν] ὅτι: such suffering is part of a Christian’s calling, for Christ also suffered: ἔπαθεν is here the emphatic word; and with it καί also must be joined (which Fronmüller erroneously interprets by “even”). Wiesinger incorrectly takes καί with ἔπαθεν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν in this sense, that, as Christ suffered for us, “so we should endure affliction for Him, for His sake, and for His honour and glory in the world,” thus introducing a thought foreign to the context. The obligation to suffer under which we who are Christ’s people are laid, from the very fact that Christ also suffered, is for us all the greater that the sufferings of Christ were ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν (not: ἀνθʼ ἡμῶν, but “for our advantage”), and therefore such as enable us to follow the example which He has left us in His sufferings. Inasmuch as ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν implies that Christ suffered not for His own sins, but for ours, we are no doubt justified in recognising these sufferings as undeserved, but not in concluding, with Hofmann, that ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν is meant to mark only the undeservedness of Christ’s sufferings.

ὑμῖν ὑπολιμπάνων ὑπογραμμόν] ὑπολιμπάνω, ἅπ. λεγ. Another form of ὑπολείπω (used of the leaving behind at death, Judith 8:7). Bengel: in abitu ad patrem. ὑπογραμμός ( ἅπ. λεγ.): specimen, quod imitentur, ut pictores novitiis exemplaria dant, ad quae inter pingendum respiciant: equivalent in sense to ὑπόδειγμα, John 13:15 ( τύπος; 2 Thessalonians 3:9). It is not Christ’s life in general that is here presented by way of example, but the patience which He showed in the midst of undeserved sufferings.(151) The participle is connected with ἔπαθεν ὑπ. ὑμ. as giving the nearer definition of the latter: He thus suffered, as in doing so to leave you an example, withal to the end that, etc.(152)

ἵνα ἐπακολουθήσητε τοῖς ἴχνεσιν αὐτοῦ] Sicut prior metaphora a pictoribus et scriptoribus, ita haec posterior petita est a viae duce (Gerhard); with ἐπακολ. cf. 1 Timothy 5:10; 1 Timothy 5:24.

ἴχνος, besides here, in Romans 4:12 ( στοιχεῖν τοῖς ἴχνεσι) and 2 Corinthians 12:18 ( περιπατεῖν τοῖς ἴχνεσι).


Verse 22

1 Peter 2:22. The first feature in the exemplary nature of Christ’s sufferings: His innocence.

After Isaiah 53:9, LXX.: ἀνομίαν οὐκ ἐποίησε, οὐδὲ δόλον ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ (Cod. Alex. οὐδὲ εὑρέθη δόλος ἐν τῷ στ. αὐτοῦ). Gerhard: nec verbo nec facto unquam peccavit. The second half of the sentence expresses truth in speech. With δόλος, cf. chap. 1 Peter 2:1, John 1:48. For the difference between εὑρίσκεσθαι and εἶναι, cf. Winer, p. 572 [E. T. 769].


Verse 23

1 Peter 2:23. The second feature: the patience of Christ in His sufferings. A reference, however slight, to Isaiah 53:7, cannot but be recognised.

ὃς λοιδορούμενος οὐκ ἀντελοιδόρει, πάσχων οὐκ ἠπείλει] De Wette and Wiesinger rightly draw attention to the climax between λοιδορ. and πάσχων, ἀντελοιδ. and ἠπείλει; λοιδορία omnis generis injuriae verbales; παθήματα omnis generis injuriae reales (Gerhard).

ἀντιλοιδ. ἅπ. λεγ.; cf. ἀντιμετρέω, Luke 6:38.

ἠπείλει, is here used of threat of vengeful recompense. The announcements of divine judgment on unbelievers, to which Christ more than once gave expression, are of a different nature, and cannot be considered as an ἀπειλεῖν, in the sense in which that word is here used. Comp. with this passage the exhortation of the apostle, chap. 1 Peter 3:9.

παρεδίδου δὲ τῷ κρίνοντι δικαίως] παρεδίδου not in a reflexive sense: “He committed Himself” (Winer p. 549 [E. T. 738]; de Wette),(153) neither is causam suam (Gerhard, etc.) nor κρίσιν (from κρίνοντι) to be supplied; the supplement is rather λοιδοροῦσθαι and πάσχειν (Wiesinger, Schott). Luther’s translation is good: “He left it to Him.”(154)

Didymus arbitrarily understands παρεδίδου of Christ’s prayer for His enemies;(155) the meaning is rather that Christ left it to the God who judges justly to determine what should be the consequences of the injustice done to Him on those who wrought it. That His desire was only that they should be punished, is not contained in παρεδίδου (similarly Hofmann). Consequently the reference formerly made in this commentary to Jeremiah 9:20; Jeremiah 20:12, as illustrative of the passage, is erroneous. With τῷ δικαίως κρίνοντι, cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:17 : τὸν ἀπροσωπολήπτως κρίνοντα, “a direct designation of God, whose just judgment is the outcome of His being” (Wiesinger).


Verse 24

1 Peter 2:24. A further expansion of the ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, 1 Peter 2:21.

ὃς τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν αὐτὸς ἀνήνεγκεν κ. τ. λ.] “Who Himself bore our sins on His body to the tree.”

ὅς, the third relative clause; though a climax too, cannot fail to be recognised here: He suffered innocently,—patiently (not requiting evil for evil),—vicariously, for us, still it must not be asserted that this third clause predicates anything of Christ in which He can be an example for us (Hofmann); the thought here expressed itself contradicts this assertion.

The phraseology of this verse arose from a reference to the passage in Isaiah 53, and the actual fulfilment of the prophecy herein contained. The words of that chapter which were chiefly present to the mind of the apostle, are those of 1 Peter 2:12, LXX. καί αὐτὸς ἁμαρτίας πολλῶν ἀνήνεγκε ( נָשָׂא); cf. also 1 Peter 2:11 : καὶ τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν αὐτὸς ἀνοίσει, ( יִסְבֹּל) and 1 Peter 2:4 : οὗτος τ. ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν φέρει ( נָשָׂא). The Hebrew נָשָׂא with the accus. of the idea of sin, therefore: “to bear sin,” is equivalent to, “to suffer the punishment for sin,” either one’s own or that of another. Now, as ἀνήνεγκε is in the above-quoted passage a translation of נָשָׂא, its meaning is: “He suffered the punishment for the sins of many.” καὶ διαβολὰς ἀναφέρ., see Pape, s.v. ἀναφέρω, and Delitzsch, Komment. z. Br. an die Hebr. p. 442.—Doubtless נָשָׂא אֶת־עֲוֹן, Leviticus 10:17, is said of the priests bearing away sin (making atonement), but there the LXX. translate נָשָׂא by ἀφαιρεῖν. Plainly there can here be no allusion to the meaning “to forgive sin.”">(156)

This suffering of punishment is, in the case of the Servant of God, of such a nature that by it those whose the sin is, and for whom He endures the punishment, become free from that punishment; it is therefore a vicarious suffering.(157) Since, then, Peter plainly had this passage in his mind, the thought here expressed can be no other than this: that Christ in our stead has suffered the punishment we have merited through our sins, and so has borne our sins. But with this the subsequent ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον, which means not “on the tree,” but “on to the tree” does not seem to harmonize. Consequently it has been proposed to take ἀναφέρειν in the sense which it has in the phrase: ἀναφέρειν τι ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον (cf. James 2:21; Leviticus 14:20; 2 Chronicles 35:16; Baruch 1:10; 1 Maccabees 4:53); cf. 1 Peter 2:5; where τὸ ξύλον would be conceived as the altar (Gerhard: Crux Christi fuit sublime illud altare, in quod Christus se ipsum in sacrificium oblaturus ascendit, sicut V. Testamenti sacrificia altari imponebantur). But against this interpretation, besides the fact that ἀναφέρ. is thus here taken in a sense different from that which it has in Isaiah 53, there are the following objections: (1) That in no other passage of the N. T. is the cross of Christ represented as the altar on which He is offered;(158) (2) That neither in the O. T. nor in the N. T. is sin anywhere spoken of as the offering which is brought up to the altar.(159) ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον might be explained by assuming a pregnant construction, as in the Versio Syr., which runs: bajulavit omnia peccata nostra eaque sustulit in corpore suo ad crucem,(160) that is: “bearing our sins He ascended the cross” But the assumption of such a construction is not necessary, since ἀναφέρειν can quite well be taken to mean “carrying up,” without depriving the word of the signification which it has in the passage in Isaiah, since “carrying up “implies “carrying.” In no other way did Christ bear our sins up on to the cross than by suffering the punishment for our sins in the crucifixion, and thereby delivering us from the punishment. The apostle lays special stress on the idea of substitution here contained, by the addition of αὐτός, which, as in Isaiah 53:11, stands by way of emphasis next to ἡ΄ῶν; but by ἐν τῷ σώ΄ατι αὐτοῦ—not “in,”(161) but “on His body”—we are reminded that His body it was on which the punishment was accomplished, inasmuch as it was nailed to the cross and died thereon. It is quite possible that this adjunct, as Wiesinger assumes, is meant at the same time to serve the purpose of expressing the greatness of that love which moved Christ to give His body to the death for our sins; but that there is in it any special reference to the sacramental words of the Lord (Weiss, p. 273), is a conjecture which has nothing to support it. The addition of ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον is explained by the fact itself, since it is precisely Christ’s death on the cross that has redeemed us from the guilt and power of our sins. Peter also uses the expression τὸ ξύλον to denote the cross, in his sermons, Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39. It had its origin in the Old Testament phraseology, עֵץ, rendered ξύλον by LXX., denoting the pole on which the bodies of executed criminals were sometimes suspended; cf. Deuteronomy 21:22-23; Joshua 10:26. Certainly in this way attention is drawn to the shame of the punishment which Christ suffered; but it is at least doubtful, since there is no reference to it in any way, whether Peter, like Paul, in Galatians 3:13, used the expression with regard to the curse pronounced in Deuteronomy 21:22 (as Weiss, p. 267, emphatically denies, and Schott as emphatically asserts). Bengel is entirely mistaken in thinking, that by the adjunct ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον the apostle alludes to the punishment of slaves (ligno, cruce, furca plecti soliti erant servi).

REMARK 1. The interpretation of many of the commentators is wanting in the necessary precision, inasmuch as the two senses, which ἀναφέρειν has in the different phrases: ἀναφέρειν τὰς ἁμαρτίας and ἀναφέρειν τι ἐπὶ τ. θυσιαστήριον, are mixed Up with each other. Vitringa (Vix uno verbo ἔμφασις; vocis ἀναδέρειν exprimi potest. Nota ferre et offere. Primo dicere voluit Petrus, Christum portasse peccata nostra, in quantum illa ipsi erant imposita. Secundo ita tulisse peccata nostra, ut ea secum obtulerit in altari), while drawing, indeed, a distinction between the two meanings, thinks that Peter had both of them in his mind, which of course is impossible.

Hofmann explains ἀναφέρεινἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον on the analogy of the phrase: ἀναφέρειν τι ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον, without, however, understanding the cross as the altar; the meaning then would be: “He lifted up His body on to the cross, thereby bearing up thither our sins, that is to say, atoning for our sins.” Although Hofmann admits that Peter had in his mind the passage in Isaiah, he nevertheless denies that ἀνήνεγκε has here the same meaning as there. In his Schriftbeweis, 1st ed., he gives a similar interpretation, only that there he says: “He took up our sins with Him, and so took them away from us.” He, however, justly adds that ἀναφέρειν has the same meaning here as in Hebrews 9:28. Wiesinger has adopted this interpretation, as also, in substance, Delitzsch, Hebraerbrief, p. 442 f. In the 2d edition of the Schriftbeweis, Hofmann has withdrawn this explanation; but, on the other hand, he erroneously asserts that ἀναφέρειν here is “the ἀναφέρειν of Hebrews 7:27.”

Schott justly combats Hofmann’s view, that the sufferings of Christ for our sins consisted essentially only in what befell Him as the result of our sins, and maintains, in opposition to it, the substitution of Christ. His own interpretation, however, of our passage is equally inadmissible, since he attributes to ἀναφέρειν the meaning: “to bring up or present in offering;” yet adding to the idea of “offering” an object other than ἁμαρτίας which stands with ἀνήνεγκεν, thus giving to the one word two quite different references. Schott makes σῶμα χριστοῦ the object of “offering,” taking it out of the supplementary clause: ἐν τῷ σώματι αὐτοῦ; but this he is the less justified in doing, that he explains these words by “in His earthly corporeal life.”

This is not the place to enter fully into Schott’s conception of the propitiation wrought by Christ’s death on the cross. Though it contains many points worthy of notice, it is of much too artificial a nature, ever to be considered a just representation of the views of the apostle.

Luthardt interprets: “He bore His body away from the earth up to God. No doubt it was not an altar to which Christ brought His body up; but the peculiarity lies precisely in this, that His body should at the same time hang on the accursed tree.” “Away from the earth to God” is evidently an addition; and had Peter wished to emphasize the cross as the accursed tree, he would have added τῆς καταρᾶς.(162)

REMARK 2.

This interpretation agrees substantially with that given by de Wette-Brückner and Weiss; yet de Wette’s reference to Colossians 2:14 is inappropriate, inasmuch as that passage has a character entirely different, both in thought and expression, from the one here under consideration. Weiss is wanting in accuracy when he says that “Christ ascended the cross, and there bore the punishment of our sins,” since already in the sufferings which preceded the crucifixion, the bearing of our sins took place.

Nor can it be conceded to these commentators that the idea of sacrifice was absent from the conception of the apostle. Its existence is erroneously disputed also in Isaiah 53, in spite of the אָשָׁמ, 1 Peter 2:10. No doubt prominence is given, in the first instance, to the idea of substitution; but Weiss ought not to have denied that this thought is connected in the mind of the prophet, as in that of the apostle, with the idea of sacrifice, especially as he himself says that the idea of substitution is that upon which the sin-offering is based, Leviticus 17:11. And was there any other substitutionary bearing of sin than in the sacrifice? It must not, however, be concluded that each word in the expression, and especially ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον, must have a particular reference to the idea of sacrifice.

ἵνα ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ἀπογενόμενοι] Oecumenius: ἀπογενόμενοι· ἀντὶ τοῦ, ἀποθαυόντες; cf. Romans 6:2; Romans 6:11 (Galatians 2:19). Bengel’s rendering: γίνεσθαι τινός fieri alicujus dicitur servus, ἀπὸ dicit sejunctionem; Germ. “to become without,” which Weiss (p. 284) supports, is inappropriate here, since ἀπογίγνεσθαι in this sense is construed with the genitive. For the dative, see Winer, p. 398 [E. T. 532]. ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις corresponds to the foregoing τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν. The use of the aor. part, shows that the being dead unto sin is the condition into which we are introduced by the fact that Christ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν αὐτὸς ἀνήνεγκεν κ. τ. λ. The actions of the Christians should correspond with this condition; this the apostle expresses by ἵνατῇ δικαιοσύνῃ ζήσωμεν; cf. Romans 6.

δικαιοσύνη means here not: justification or righteousness, as a condition of him whose sins are forgiven, but it is the opposite of ἁμαρτία: righteousness which consists in obedience towards God and in the fulfilling of His will. The clause, introduced here by the final particle ἵνα (as in 1 Peter 1:18), does not give the primary aim of Christ’s substitutionary death: that, namely, of reconciliation, but further the design: that of making free from the power of sin. Weiss (p. 285) is wrong in thinking that Peter “did not here conceive the redemption as already completed in principle by the blood of Christ,” but “accomplished in a purely physiological way, by the impression produced by the preaching of His death and the incitement to imitation which(163) it gave.” Thus Pfleiderer also. The refutation of this is to be found in what follows.

οὗ τῷ μώλωπι [ αὐτοῦ] ἰάθητε] Isaiah 53:5, LXX.; return to the direct form of address: μώλωψ is, properly speaking, marks left by scourging (Sirach 28:17, πληγὴ μάστιγος ποιεῖ μώλωπας); therefore, taken strictly, the expression has reference to the flagellation of Christ only; but here it stands as a pars pro toto (Steiger) to denote the whole of Christ’s sufferings, of which His death was the culminating point.

By ἰάθητε the apostle declares that, through the suffering of Christ (of course by the instrumentality of faith), the Christians are translated from the sickness of a sinful nature into the health of a life of righteousness.


Verse 25

1 Peter 2:25. ἦτε γὰρ ὡς πρόβατα πλανώμενοι] This explanatory clause ( γάρ) points back, as the continuance in it of the direct address ( ἰάθητεἦτε) shows, in the first instance, to the statement immediately preceding οὗ τῷ μώλωπι ἰάθητε, but at the same time also to the thought ἵνατῇ δικαιοσύνῃ ζήσωμεν, to which that assertion is subservient. For the foregoing figure a new one is substituted, after Isaiah 53:6 : LXX. πάντες ὡς πρόβατα ἐπλανήθημεν; if πλανώμενοι be the correct reading, then from it the nearer definition of πρόβατα is to be supplied, the sheep are to be thought of as those which have no shepherd (Matthew 9:36 : ὡσεὶ πρόβατα μὴ ἔχοντα ποιμένα; comp. Numbers 27:17; 1 Kings 22:17).

For the figure describing the state of man separated in his sin from God, comp. Matthew 18:12-13; Luke 15:4 ff.

ἀλλʼ ἐπεστράφητε νῦν] ἐπεστράφητε is, in harmony with the uniform usage of Scripture, to be taken not in a passive (Wiesinger, Schott), but in a middle sense: “ye have turned yourselves.”(164) Luther translates: “but ye are now turned.” The word ἐπιστρέφειν means to turn oneself away from ( ἀπό, ἐκ), towards something ( ἐπί, πρός, εἰς), (sometimes equal to: to turn round); but it is not implied in the word itself that the individual has formerly been in that place towards which he has now turned round, and whither he is going (therefore, in Galatians 4:9, πάλιν is expressly added). Weiss (p. 122) is therefore wrong when from this very word he tries to prove that by ποι΄ήν God, and not Christ, is to be understood, although the term sometimes includes in it the secondary idea of “back;” cf. 2 Peter 2:21-22.

ἐπὶ τὸν ποι΄ένα καὶ ἐπίσκοπον τῶν ψυχῶν ὑ΄ῶν] cf. especially Ezekiel 34:11-12; Ezekiel 34:16, LXX.: ἐγὼ ἐκζητήσω τὰ πρόβατά ΄ου καὶ ἐπισκέψο΄αι αὐτά, ὥσπερ ζητεῖ ποι΄ὴν τὸ ποί΄νιον αὐτοῦ τὸ πλανώ΄ενον ἀποστρέψω; besides, with ποι΄ήν, Psalms 23:1; Isaiah 40:11. From the fact that in these passages God is spoken of as the shepherd, it must not be concluded, with Weiss, that ποι΄ὴν καὶ ἐπίσκοπος refers not to Christ, but to God. For not only has God, calling Himself a shepherd, promised a shepherd (Ezekiel 34:24, LXX.: ἀναστήσω ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς ποιμένα ἕνατὸν δοῦλον μου δαυίδ, Ezekiel 37:24), but Christ, too, speaks of Himself as the good Shepherd; and Peter himself, in chap. 1 Peter 5:4, calls Him ἀρχιποι΄ήν. In comparison with these passages, chap. 1 Peter 5:2 is plainly of no account. All interpreters—except Weiss—rightly understand the expressions here used as applying to Christ. The designation ἐπίσκοπος would all the more naturally occur to the apostle, as it was, like ποι΄ήν, the name of the presidents of the churches who were, so to speak, the representatives of the One Shepherd and Bishop, the Head of the whole church.

τῶν ψυχῶν ὑ΄ῶν belongs, as the omission of the article before ἑπίσκοπον shows, to both words; with the expression, cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:9; 1 Peter 1:22.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-peter-2.html. 1832.

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Monday, October 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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