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Bible Commentaries

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

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

2 Peter 2:1. From here onwards: a description of the false teachers, who were to arise in the church, and a warning against them.

ἐγένοντο δὲ καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται] δέ: antithesis to what goes before. καί: “also,” that is, besides the true prophets mentioned in chap. 2 Peter 1:21. The expression: ψευδοπροφήτης, already in the O. T. LXX., e.g. Jeremiah 6:13, frequently in the N. T., not after the analogy of ψευδολόγος: “one who prophesies falsely,” but: “one who falsely gives himself out for a prophet,” on the analogy of ψευδάδελφος, ψευδαπόστολος.

ἐν τῷ λαῷ] i.e. among the people of Israel. These words are in form a principal clause, but in thought a secondary clause: as there were false prophets in Israel, so will there be also among you, etc.

ὡς καὶψευδοδιδάσκαλοι] ἔσονται; designates the ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι as such, who would arise only in the future. They are afterwards pictured as actually present; see on this, the Introd. § 2, p. 281. The expression ψευδοδιδ. is in the N. T. ἅπ. λεγ.; Wiesinger and Brückner interpret: “such as teach lies;” Dietlein and Fronmüller: “such as lyingly pretend to be teachers.” The analogy of ψευδοπροφ., with which it is here contrasted, makes the last the preferable interpretation (thus, too, Hofmann). Both result in the same sense (Schott); what the ψευδοπροφῆται were in the O. T., the ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι are in the N. T.

οἵτινες] equivalent to quippe qui, “such as.”

παρεισάξουσι] cf. Jude 1:4 : “to introduce by the side of,” with the secondary idea of secrecy.(61)

αἱρέσεις ἀπωλείας] αἱρέσεις, according to N. T. usage, “party-divisions,” cf. 1 Corinthians 11:19 (synonymous with σχίσματα); Galatians 5:20 (synonymous with διχοστασίαι); also Titus 3:10, which have their origin in false doctrine; thus Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott, etc.; Hofmann, too, says that the word is to be taken in no sense different from that which it has elsewhere in the N. T., but then interprets it as equivalent to “particular systems of opinion,” thus attributing to it a meaning which it has nowhere else. Others take αἵρεσις here to mean “false doctrine, heresy” (Bengel, de Wette, Fronmüller). This interpretation is better suited to the connection, and especially to the verb παρεισάγειν. In the N. T., doubtless, the word has not this meaning, yet Ignatius already uses it with this force. ἀπωλείας (which is not to be resolved into the adject. “destructive”) designates the heresies as those which lead to ἀπώλεια; cf. 2 Peter 2:2-3.

καὶ τὸν ἀγοράσανταἀπώλειαν] Winer (5th ed. p. 399 f.) translates: “since they also, denying the Lord, draw upon themselves swift destruction;” but the connection of καί with ἐπάγοντες, so far removed from it by τὸν ἀγοράσαντα κ. τ. λ., cannot be justified. Fronmüller connects the member of the clause beginning with καί not with the relative clause οἵτινες, but with ἔσονται ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι. This construction was formerly supported in this commentary, with the remark, however, that a particular species of false doctrine was not, as Fronmüller assumes, indicated here, but that the participial clause more nearly defined the ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι, καί being here put in the sense of: “and withal;” this construction, however, is anything but natural. The καί must undoubtedly be connected with the clause immediately preceding, though not as a simple copula, but in the sense of “also;” thus de Wette and Wiesinger,(62) taking καί as an intensification, equivalent to “even:” “whilst they deny even the Lord who bought them.” On the other hand, Hofmann does not admit any such intensification, and takes καί as equivalent to “also,” in the sense of addition, and interprets: “with their particular systems they break up the unity of the church, which, however, they do not do without at the same time denying the Lord.” But, on this interpretation, it is not clear why the author did not put the finite verb instead of the partic. ἀρνούμενοι; the thought, too, that they break up the unity of the church, is simply imported. The participle shows that this clause is meant to serve as an explanation or a more precise definition of what goes before. De Wette’s view, accordingly, is to be preferred to that of Hofmann; it is, however, also possible that Schott is right in assuming an irregularity of the construction, in that the author, led astray by the participle ἀρνούμενοι, wrote the participle ἐπάγοντες instead of the finite verb ἐπάξουσι; in which case καί must be taken as a simple copula.

The participle ἐπάγοντες is connected in a loose fashion with what precedes, in the sense: “by which they,” etc. The ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι are more precisely characterized as: τὸν ἀγοράσαντα αὐτοὺς δεσπότην ἀρνούμενοι; with ἀρνούμενοι, cf. Jude 1:4; Bengel correctly: doctrina et operibus. By δεσπότην Christ is here meant; the author speaks of Him thus, in order to lay stress on the fact that they deny that Christ is the Lord; ἀγοράσαντα αὐτούς is added by way of emphasis: they deny the Lord who “bought” them, i.e. procured them for Himself by paying the purchase price. This does not only serve to emphasize more strongly what is reprehensible in the ἀρνεῖσθαι, but points out also that they deny the act to which allusion is made, and by which He has become their Lord. With ἀγοράζειν, cf. 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Revelation 5:9; the blood of Christ must be thought of as the purchase price.

ἐπάγοντες ἑαυτοῖς ταχινὴν ἀπώλειαν] With ἐπάγ. ἑαυτοῖς, cf. 2 Peter 2:5, as also Acts 5:28. ἑαυτοῖς indicates that they prepare an ἀπώλεια not only for others ( αἱρέσεις ἀπωλείας), but for themselves.

With ταχινήν, see chap. 2 Peter 1:14, not: a speedy ἀπώλεια; Hornejus correctly: inopinatam et inexspectatam; the destruction will come over them suddenly, and before they are aware of it (Schott, Fronmüller, Hofmann).


Verse 2

2 Peter 2:2. καὶ πολλοὶ ἐξακολουθήσουσιν] The activity of these ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι would not be without result; cf. 2 Timothy 2:17. With ἐξακολ. cf. chap. 2 Peter 1:16.

αὐτῶν ταῖς ἀσελγείαις] i.e. their ἀσέλγειαι will serve as a rule to many, so that they give themselves up to them; cf. Jude 1:4. The connection of erroneous doctrine with sensual excesses is shown in 2 Peter 2:18-19.

διʼ οὓςβλασφημηθήσεται] διʼ οὕς, not: “by whom;” Vulg.: per quas; but: “on account of whom;” they (either the ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι, or those led astray by them, or both) by their ἀσέλγειαι give those who are not Christians occasion for βλασφημία against the ὁδὸς τῆς ἀληθείας; cf. 1 Timothy 6:1; Romans 2:24. ὁδὸς τῆς ἀληθείας (Barnab. c. v.: via veritatis), a designation of Christianity or of the Christian religion (cf. on the expression ὁδός, Acts 9:2; Acts 19:9; Acts 19:23; Acts 22:4; Acts 24:14; Acts 16:17; Acts 18:25), in so far as it is the form of life in harmony with divine truth (not leading to the truth).


Verse 3

2 Peter 2:3. καὶ ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ] i.e. as it were encompassed by covetousness, living in it, governed by it; it is incorrect to translate ἐν by διά. πλαστοῖς λόγοις] ἅπ. λεγ., i.e.with deceitfully invented words,”(63) which are not in accordance with truth; incorrectly Hofmann: “artfully contrived doctrines.”

ὑμᾶς ἐμπορεύσονται] “they will seek gain of you;” Gerhard: quaestum ex vobis facient, ad quaestum suum vobis abutentur; thus, too, Wiesinger, Schott, de Wette-Brückner; cf. also Winer, p. 209 [E. T. 279]; this meaning of the verb c. acc. in classical Greek is sufficiently assured.(64) The πλαστοὶ λόγοι are not, as Hofmann supposes, “to be thought of as the merchandise which they bring to the market, in order to be repaid for such instruction,” but as the means by which they carry on the ἐ΄πορεύεσθαι. Steinfass translates ἐ΄πορεύεσθαι as equivalent to: to buy, and ὑ΄ᾶς as the direct object of purchase; thus Pott too: vos sectae suae conciliare conantur. It is undeniable that the object traded in may stand in the accusative (cf. Proverbs 3:14, LXX.), but the context here is opposed to this, partly on account of the ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ, partly because this thought is already contained in the preceding verse. Fronmüller incorrectly renders the word by “to deceive.”

By deceitful words as to Christian freedom, etc., they sought to delude others, and, in accordance with their covetous desires, to make gain of them; cf. 2 Peter 2:13-14, and Jude 1:16.

οἷς τὸ κρῖμα ἔκπαλαι οὐκ ἀργεῖ] οἷς: dat. incommodi; refers to the subj. in ἐ΄πορεύσονται. τὸ κρῖ΄α is the judgment of God ordering the ἀπώλεια. ἔκπαλαι is not to be combined with τὸ κρῖ΄α into one idea, equal to: κρῖ΄α ἔκπαλαι αὐτοῖς προγεγρα΄΄ένον; cf. Jude 1:4 (Pott, de Wette); such a mode of combination is to be found nowhere in the N. T. It belongs rather to οὐκ ἀργεῖ. There is not, as de Wette insists, any contradiction involved in this connection, especially as οὐκ ἀργεῖ is a positive idea; strictly: “is not inactive, does not tarry;” the idea of haste is not implied in it (de Wette). ἔκπαλαι sets forth prominently that for a long time the judgment has, as it were, been approaching, that is, ever since it was given and pronounced; it is living, and will come in due time. It is possible that ἔκπαλαι refers to the judgments mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4, formerly put into execution (Dietlein, Scott, Wiesinger), which, however, Hofmann disputes.

καὶ ἀπώλεια αὐτῶν (2 Peter 2:1) οὐ νυστάζει] νυστάζειν, strictly: “to nod,” then: to slumber (only elsewhere in Matthew 25:5; there, however, in its literal meaning), is used in the classics in a figurative sense; Plato, de repub. iii. 405 C: μηδὲν δεῖσθαι νυστάζοντος δικαστοῦ. Steinfass inexactly: “to become sleepy.”


Verse 4

2 Peter 2:4. From here to 2 Peter 2:6 three examples of divine judgment; cf. Jude 1:5 ff.

First example: the fallen angels, Jude 1:6.

εἰ γάρ] The apodosis is wanting; Gerhard supplies: οὐδʼ ἐκείνοις φείσεται. In thought, if not in form, the latter half of 2 Peter 2:9 constitutes the apodosis (Winer, 529 f. [E. T. 712 f.], de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger, and the more modern writers generally). The irregularity of the construction is explained by the fact that the third example is dwelt on at much length.

θεὸς ἀγγέλων ἁμαρτησάντων οὐκ ἐφείσατο] The nature of the sin is not stated; otherwise in Jude.(65) What sin the apostle refers to is only faintly hinted at by the circumstance that the example of the flood immediately follows. It is less likely (against Wiesinger) that 2 Peter 2:20 contains any reference to it, for in that verse other sins are conjoined with the ὀπίσω σαρκὸς πορεύεσθαι.

ἀλλὰ σειραῖς ζόφου τηρου΄ένους] “but (when he) having cast (them) down into Tartarus, hath delivered them over to the chains of darkness, as being reserved unto the judgment.” σειραῖς ζόφου is mostly taken in connection with ταρταρώρας (sc. δεδεμένους) (de Wette: “but cast them down into hell with chains of darkness”); but, since the added ζόφου shows that the σειραί are designated as fetters, which belong to the darkness of Tartarus (not: “fetters which consist in darkness” (Schott), nor: “fetters by which they were banished into darkness,” as Hofmann explains), the enchaining could only have take place there, and therefore (with Calov, Pott, Steinfass, Hofmann, Wahl, s.v. παραδίδωμι) it is preferable to connect the words with παρέδωκεν (as opposed to de Wette, Brückner, Dietlein, Wiesinger, etc.).(66)

Instead of σειραῖς ζόφου, Jude has: δεσ΄οῖς ἀϊδίοις; ζόφος is not Tartarus itself, but the darkness of Tartarus; the word is to be found only here and in Jude.

ταρταροῦν does not mean: tartaro adjudicare (Crusius, Hypomn. I. p. 154), but: “to remove into Tartarus” (cf. Homer, Il. viii. 13: μιν ἑλὼν ῥίψω εἰς τάρταρον ἠερόεντα). The expression τάρταρος occurs nowhere else either in the N. T. or LXX. It is not equal to ᾅδης, which is the general term for the dwelling-place of the dead. Nor does the author use it as synonymous with γεέννα, for that is “the place of final punishment, the hell fire” (Fronmüller), but it is used to designate “the place of preliminary custody.”

παρέδωκεν here, as often, used with the implied idea of punishment.

εἰς κρίσιν τηρου΄ένους] κρίσις is the final judgment ( κρίσις ΄εγάλης ἡ΄έρας); “as those who are reserved for the judgment;” Luther inexactly: “in order to reserve them.”

On the reading: παρέδωκεν εἰς κρίσιν κολαζομένους τηρεῖν, the infin. τηρεῖν is dependent on παρεδ., and κολαζ. states, not: the purpose for which, but the condition in which, they are reserved for judgment; the Vulg. therefore translates inexactly: tradidit cruciandos, in judicium reservari. Dietlein, in opposition to all reliable authorities, insists on reading: τετηρη΄ένους, which, moreover, he incorrectly paraphrases: “as those who once should have been kept;” it must rather be: “as those who (until now) have been kept.”


Verse 5

2 Peter 2:5. Second example: the flood; this is peculiar to the author of this epistle; cf. the corresponding section in Jude. καὶ ἀρχαίου κόσμου οὐκ ἐφείσατο] The clausal formation is the same as that in 2 Peter 2:4. Subaudienda est particula: εἰ (Gerhard). The words which follow on this tell in what the οὐκ ἐφείσατο consisted: κατακλυσμὸν κ. τ. λ.; there is no mention here of a “destruction” (Schott) of the world.

ἀρχ. κόσμος, i.e. mundus antediluvianus.

ἀλλʼἐφύλαξε] The thought of the deliverance of the righteous is connected with that of the destruction of the ungodly; cf. 2 Peter 2:7.

ὄγδοον belongs not to κήρυκα (Heinsius, Lightfoot, and Schwegler in his nachapost. Zeitalter, I. p. 515; cf., as opposed to him, Hilgenfeld, Clement. p. 185), but directly to νῶε; Luther correctly: Noah with seven others; cf. Winer, p. 234 [E. T. 312]; Buttmann, p. 26. There is nothing to show that the number eight has a mystical meaning here (Dietlein).(67) The mention of it naturally arose from the recollection of the event; at the same time, however, it marks the small number of the saved contrasted with that of those who perished (Bengel, Schott, etc.). Besides, Noah and those with him, as also Lot afterwards, are taken by the author as types of the εὐσεβεῖς (2 Peter 2:9), on whom the judgment of God will not come.

δικαιοσύνης κήρυκα is added as the reason of God’s preservation ( ἐφύλαξε) (thus, too, Wiesinger). By δικαιοσύνη is to be understood here, not the condition of being justified (Wiesinger), but a believing and godly bearing towards God; otherwise in Hebrews 11:7.

κατακλυσ΄όν] Matthew 24:38-39; Genesis 5:17, LXX. Heb. מַבּוּל: the verb κατακλύζειν, chap. 2 Peter 3:6.

κόσ΄ῳ ἀσεβῶν] antithesis to δικαιοσύνης κήρυκα; the world is thus named, inasmuch as it had become the dwelling-place of ungodly humanity.

ἐπάξας] on this form of the aorist, see Buttmann, Ausf. Gr. § 114, s.v. ἄγω.

REMARK.

With regard to its position, Dietlein insists that this verse is intimately connected with 2 Peter 2:4, so that “the judgment of imprisonment on the angels must be considered as one and the same event with the Noachic flood;” that the judgment on the ἀρχαῖος κόσμος, 2 Peter 2:4-5, must be distinguished from the judgment of God within the second world (2 Peter 2:6); and that the latter only, not the former, must be regarded as the example, strictly so called; thus, too, Schott. But the whole structure and mode of expression of this section is opposed to any such division; for (1) The clauses are simply co-ordinate (as 2 Peter 2:5 is joined to 2 Peter 2:4, so is 2 Peter 2:6 to 2 Peter 2:5, merely by καί); (2) The ἀρχαῖος κόσμος is mentioned only here, not in 2 Peter 2:4; (3) What is stated in 2 Peter 2:6 is not brought prominently forward as an event taking place in the new world; (4) In the idea of the κόσμος ἀσεβῶν the angels cannot be included, since the flood came on the ungodly men only; and it is arbitrary and strange to assume that the flood buried mankind “in the depths, and those spirits which in sin had taken up their abode with them” (Schott). It is arbitrary to regard the judgment on Sodom as the only proper example, since no other position is given to the judgments mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4-5 than to that in 2 Peter 2:6. The chief reason for the division lies in 2 Peter 2:9, which consists of two members, due, however, to the two foregoing examples. From the fact that only one of the members applies to 2 Peter 2:4, it does not follow that there no special example can be intended, the less so that the leading idea is not “the deliverance of the righteous,” but “the confinement of the ungodly.” Equally little is proved by the repetition of the verb: οὐκ ἐφείσατο, which serves rather to mark off the ἀρχαῖος κόσμος from the ἀγγελ. ἁμαρτ., not to unite them into one idea. Even Brückner has rejected the view of Dietlein and Schott. Hofmann, too, while questioning it, approaches it very closely when he says: “The judgment of the flood was also a judgment upon those spirits which had become involved in the sin and in the fate of the race of men then living.”


Verse 6

2 Peter 2:6. Third example: The overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah; cf. Jude 1:7.

This verse also is still dependent on εἰ. Schott, without any adequate reason, asserts that the author “has even here forgotten the construction of his expression in the protasis with εἰ.”

πόλεις σοδόμων καὶ γομόῤῥας] The gen. as apposition.

τεφρώσας] Suidas: equivalent to ἐμπρήσας, σποδώσας: “by burning them to ashes, by reducing them to ashes.”

καταστροφῇ κατέκρινεν] not equal to eversione s. subversione damnavit i. e. unditus evertendo punivit (Gerhard, Dietlein, Schott), but καταστροφῇ is the dative of reference; see Buttmann, p. 144; cf. κατακρ. θανάτῳ, Matthew 20:18; Pott correctly: in cineres redigens damnavit ad eversionem; thus also Wahl, de Wette, Wiesinger, Steinfass, Fronmüller, Hofmann; only it must be here remarked that κατακρίνειν includes within it the punishment, the putting into execution of the judgment of condemnation—which Hofmann, without reason, denies, cf. Romans 8:3.

It is incorrect to connect καταστροφῇ with τεφρώσας (Bengel).

καταστροφή, in the N. T. besides here, only in 2 Timothy 2:14; there, however, in a figurative sense; the same word occurs in the narrative of the destruction of the cities of the plain, Genesis 19:29, LXX.

ὑπόδειγμα μελλόντων ἀσεβεῖν τεθεικώς] Jude 1:7; with ὑπόδειγμα, not equal to “example,” but to “type,” cf. James 5:10; Hebrews 4:11, etc. The perf. τεθεικώς corresponds with the πρόκεινται, Jude 1:7; Hofmann correctly: “God has made them, as the perf. shows, a lasting type of those who ever afterwards should live a godless life.”(68)


Verse 7

2 Peter 2:7. Contrast to the divine justice in punishing, which is not to be found in Jude. Wiesinger: “The expansion of the thought, introduced by the mention antithetically of Noah, 2 Peter 2:5, gains, by the co-ordination ( καί) of the deliverance of Lot, independent value, and prepares the way for the double inference, 2 Peter 2:9.”

καί] has not here an adversative force (Jachmann), but is simply the copulative particle.

δίκαιον λώτ] δίκαιος here like δικαιοσύνη, 2 Peter 2:5.

καταπονούμενον] besides here, in Acts 7:24 (2 Maccabees 8:2, where, however, it is doubtful whether the reading should be καταπονούμενον or καταπατούμενον); Pott, Schol. Soph. in Trachin. v. 328, verba: ἀλλʼ εἴεν ὠδινοῦσα exponit per καταπονουμένη.

ὑπὸ τῆςἐῤῥύσατο] ὑπό belongs not to ἐῤῥύσατο, but to καταπον.; cf. Winer, p. 330 [E. T. 461];—with ἐν ἀσελγ. ἀναστροφή, cf. 1 Peter 1:17.

ἀθέσμων, besides here only in chap. 2 Peter 3:17 : homines nefarii, qui nec jus nec fas curant (Gerhard).


Verse 8

2 Peter 2:8. Explanation of the καταπονούμενον.

βλέμματι γὰρ καὶ ἀκοῇ] is to be joined neither with δίκαιος (Vulg.: adspectu et auditu Justus erat), nor with ἐγκατοικῶν (Gerhard), but with the finite verb; it was by seeing and hearing that Lot’s soul suffered, and is added in order more strongly to emphasize Lot’s painful position among the ungodly.

ψυχὴν δικαίαν ἀνόμοις ἔργοις ἐβασάνιζεν] “he vexed his righteous soul by the ungodly works,” i.e. his soul, because it was righteous, felt vexation at the evil which he was obliged to see and hear. “ ἐβασάνιξειν serves to show that the pain at the sight of the sinful lives arose out of personal activity, out of inclination of the soul to the good, out of positive opposition to the evil” (Dietlein). The earlier interpreters have for the most part missed the correct idea; Calvin, Hornejus, Pott, de Wette, and the modern commentators generally, have interpreted correctly.(69)


Verse 9

2 Peter 2:9. This verse in thought, though not in form, constitutes the apodosis to the preceding clauses beginning with εἰ. The thought, however, is expressed in a more extended and general manner; the special application follows in 2 Peter 2:10.

οἶδε] Knowledge is conceived at the same time as a divine power.

κύριος] i.e. God, 2 Peter 2:4.

εὐσεβεῖς, like Noah and Lot.

ἐκ πειρασμοῦ ῥύεσθαι] cf. 1 Peter 1:6.

ἀδίκους δέ] like the fallen angels, etc.

εἰς ἡμέραν κρίσεως κολαζομένους τηρεῖν] κολαζ. is not used here with a future force: cruciandos (Bengel, Calvin, Winer, who, in his 5th ed. p. 405, resolves the clause thus: ἀδίκ. τηρεῖ ( ὥστε) κολάξειν, and others), but it must be taken as a real present; it refers to the punishment which they suffer even before the last judgment unto which they are kept ( τηρεῖν); cf. on 2 Peter 2:4. Thus also Wiesinger, Schott, Brückner.


Verse 10

2 Peter 2:10. Compare Jude 1:8.

μάλιστα δέ) in close connection to what immediately precedes. The author passes from the general, to those against whom this epistle is specially directed. Dietlein introduces a foreign reference when he says: “the apostle means the false teachers in contrast to such ungodly persons as did not base their ungodliness on theoretically developed error.”

As in Jude, the false teachers are characterized in two respects. Whilst in 2 Peter 2:1-3 they are spoken of as yet to appear, they are here described as already present.

τοὺς ὀπίσωπορευομένους] cf. besides Jude 1:8 also 7, and the commentary on the passage.

σαρκός stands here without ἑτέρας, and must therefore be taken more generally. Buttmann (p. 160) wrongly translates σάρξ here by “lusts.”

ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ μιασμοῦ] μιασμοῦ is not to be resolved into an adjec.: cupiditas foeda, impura (Wahl);(70) but it is the objective genitive, and states that to which the ἐπιθυμια is directed (de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott, etc.).

μιασμός, ἅπ. λεγ., equivalent to pollutio. According to Schott, μιασμός is here used subjectively, “what to themselves is dishonouring to the human body, that they make the object of their wild lust.”

καὶ κυριότητος καταφρονοῦντες] cf. Jude 1:8, and the exposition.

τολμηταί] The author drops the construction hitherto adopted, and begins a new clause; the word is a ἅπ. λεγ. equal to “insolent, daring;” Luther: “thürstig” (i.e. bold, from the root tarr; in old High German, gaturstig; cf. Pischon, Erklär. der hauptsächl. veralteten deutschen Wörter in der Luth. Bibelübers. Berl. 1844, p. 7).

αὐθάδεις] to be found, besides here, only in Titus 1:7.

Most modern expositors understand the two words substantively; but as αὐθάδης is strictly an adject., it can here also be taken as such; thus Schott. It is improbable that they form a passionate exclamation (Schott). They may be either connected in a loose way as subject with οὐ τρέμουσι, or they may be regarded as an antecedent apposition to the subject of τρέμουσι (Hofmann).

δόξας οὐ τρέμουσι βλασφημοῦντες] For δόξας see Jude 1:8. The particip. stands here as in chap. 2 Peter 1:19. Vulg. strangely: sectas non metuunt (introducere, facere) blasphemantes.


Verse 11

2 Peter 2:11. Compare Jude 1:9. What Jude says specially of the archangel Michael is here more generally affirmed of angels. In this its generality the thought is hardly intelligible; the necessary light is obtained only by comparing it with Jude (de Wette). If the priority of this epistle be assumed, the thought here expressed must have reference to Zechariah 3:2 (thus Schott, Steinfass, Hofmann).

ὅπου] cannot stand here as assigning the reason, as it sometimes does in the classics, since it refers back not to τολμηταί, but to δόξας οὐ κ. τ. λ.; but neither is it equal to “whilst even, since even;” this use can nowhere be established. It is meant rather to indicate the similarity of the relationship (with respect to the δόξαι).(71) The adversative relationship lies not in the particle, but in the thought.

ἄγγελοι] according to the parallel passage, not evil, but good angels.

ἰσχύϊ καὶ δυνάμει μείζονες ὄντες] The comparative expresses the relation in which they stand either to the τολμηταί or to the δόξαι. The latter reference deserves the preference, since—and to this Hofmann has called attention, Schriftbew. I. p. 460—it is understood of itself that angels are more powerful than men (Wiesinger, Schott, Steinfass).

οὐ φέρουσικρίσιν] φέρειν κρίσιν (Jude: ἐπιφέρεις κρίσιν) does not mean “to endure a judgment” (Luth.), but “to pronounce a judgment.”

βλασφημόν, with an eye to βλασφημοῦντες.

κατʼ αὐτῶν] not adversum se (Vulg.), but αὐτῶν goes back to δόξας (Calvin, Beza, Hornejus, Wolf, de Wette, and all the more modern interpreters, with the exception of Fronmüller), by which are to be understood here—as in Jude—the diabolical powers. The opposite interpretation, according to which the meaning should be that the wicked angels are not able to bear the judgment of God on their blasphemy (Luther, Fronmüller, etc.), is opposed not only to the language ( βλάσφημος κρίσις equal to κρίσις βλασφημίας) but to the context.

παρὰ κυρίῳ] These words, the genuineness of which is doubtful, may not be explained with Bengel: apud Dominum … reveriti, abstinent judicio; for, as Hofmann justly remarks, παρὰ κυρ. “belongs to that which is denied, and does not explain why that does not happen which is denied.” “The conception is, that angels appear before God, and, before His throne, tell what evil spirits are doing in the world.” Cf. Winer, p. 369 [E. T. 493].


Verse 12

2 Peter 2:12. Compare Jude 1:10. With all their similarity the two passages are nevertheless very different. The characteristics are still further described in Jude 1:10, but here the punishment is promised to these men.

οὗτοι δέ] antithesis to ἄγγελοι; the predicate belonging to it is φθαρήσονται.

ὡς ἄλογα ζῶαφθοράν] Parenthetical thought in close relation to φθαρήσονται; Grotius: ita peribunt illi, sicut pereunt muta animantia.

γεγεννημένα φυσικά can hardly be translated: “born as sensuous beings to,” etc. (Wiesinger, and formerly in this commentary). φυσικά is meant rather to bring out that the irrational animals are, according to their natural constitution, born to ἅλωσις. Hofmann takes φυσικά as a second attribute added to γεγεννημένα by asyndeton, equal to: “by nature determined to ἅλωσις,” etc. But the only objection to this is that γεγεννημένα alone cannot well be considered as a special attribute. As regards the sense, it makes no difference whether φυσικά be placed before (Rec.) or after γεγενν.

εἰς ἅλωσιν καὶ φθοράν] According to Luther, a twofold rendering is possible: “First, those who take and strangle; second, who are to be taken, strangled, and slaughtered;” the latter is the only correct interpretation. The general interpretation is, “for taking and destroying;” Schott on the other hand translates, “for taking and consuming; “and Hofmann, in like manner, who holds that both are active ideas, “that they may be taken and consumed.” This interpretation of φθορά, however, is arbitrary, and all the more unwarranted, that in the subsequent ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν, φθορά cannot have this special meaning. According to N. T. usage, what is meant by φθορά here is the destruction to which the beasts are destined; cf. Colossians 2:22.

ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσιν βλασφημοῦντεςφθαρήσονται With regard to the construction, cf. “Winer, p. 583 [E. T. 784]. According to the usual interpretation, ἐν οἷς is dependent on βλασφημοῦντες, and is to be resolved into: ἐν τούτοις, ἀγνοοῦσιν, βλασφ. (Winer decides in favour of this; so, too, Wiesinger, and Buttmann, p. 128). But ἐν οἷς may also be dependent on ἀγνοοῦσιν, and be resolved: ταῦτα, ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσιν, βλασφημοῦντες. There is no other instance to be found of the construction βλασφημεῖν ἐν, although βλασφημεῖν εἰς occurs frequently. Buttmann accordingly says that by ἐν here (not the object strictly speaking, but) “rather the sphere is denoted, within which the evil-speaking takes place;” nor is the combination of ἀγνοεῖν with ἐν common, “yet it is not without example in later writings;” it is to be found in Test. XII. patr. in Fabricius cod. pseudepigr. V. T. p. 717. That ἀγνοεῖν, in the sense of it, may be joined with ἐν, is shown by the German expression, “to be ignorant in a matter.” Besides, in both constructions the sense is substantially the same. According to the connection with what precedes (2 Peter 2:10) and Jude 1:8; Jude 1:10, the δόξαι are to be understood as that which was unknown to them, and to which their slanders had reference. On account of this irrational evil-speaking, that will happen to them which is expressed in the words: ἐν τῇ φθορὰ αὐτῶν καὶ φθαρήσονται. φθορά has been understood here to mean moral corruption; thus de Wette-Brückner, Steinfass, Fronmüller; erroneously, however, for the word must have the same meaning in this passage as it had formerly; then, in this case, αὐτῶν does not refer to the Libertines, but to the ζῶα before mentioned, and καί is to be explained from the comparison with these. They (the Libertines) whose irrational slander of that of which they are ignorant, makes them like unto the irrational brutes, will also suffer φθορά, like the latter, who by nature are destined thereto. Entirely different from this, however, is the interpretation given by Hofmann. He resolves ἐν οἷς into ἐν τούτοις , and takes ἐν τούτοις with φθαρήσονται; that which, without knowing it, they speak evil of, is, according to him, the things of sense; he understands ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν to be in more definite and explanatory apposition to ἐν τούτοις, and φθορά actively, equivalent to “abuse.” In his view, then, the idea here expressed is that the Libertines by abusing, after their lusts, the things of sense, believing them to have nothing in common with God, fall a prey to destruction. The objections to this interpretation are, first, that ἐν οἷς is not applied to any of the verba near it, but to the remote φθαρήσονται; secondly, that a meaning is attributed to the second φθορά different from that of the first,—the one is taken as equivalent to “consumption,” the other to “abuse,”—and that neither of these significations belongs in any way to the word; thirdly, that the reference to the things of sense is in no way alluded to in the context; fourthly, that ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ cannot possibly be in apposition to ἐν τούτοις; and lastly, that, on this interpretation, we should have had ἀγνοοῦντες βλασφήμουσι instead of ἀγνοοῦσιν βλασφημοῦντες.(72)


Verse 13

2 Peter 2:13. κομιούμενοι μισθόν ἀδικίας] is subjoined by way of explanation to what precedes.(73)

Cf. 1 Peter 1:9.

μισθὸν ἀδικίας] not equivalent to μισθὸν ἄδικον (Wolf), but: “the reward for unrighteousness.”

ἡδονὴν ἡγούμενοι] This and the following participles, as far as the end of 2 Peter 2:14, are connected with what precedes, as descriptive of the ἀδικία; it is less probable that, as Hofmann assumes, a new period begins with ἡδονὴν ἡγούμενοι and ends with 2 Peter 2:16. The three kinds of ἀδικία here spoken of are: 1, luxurious living; 2, fornication; 3, covetousness. De Wette: “they who count it pleasure.”

τήν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τρυφήν] ἐν ἡμέρᾳ is by Oecumenius interpreted as equal to καθʼ ἡμέραν, but this is not in accordance with the usage. Several interpreters (Benson, Morus, Fronmüller, Hofmann) take ἡμέρα, here as in contrast to the night. This, however, is inappropriate, for it is not easy to see why they should not regard the τρυφή in the night as a pleasure. Gerhard is better: per τὴν ἡμέραν intelligitur praesentis vitae tempus; Luther, “temporal luxurious living” (de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott). It stands by way of contrast to the future, to which the fut. κομιούμενοι refers.

σπῖλοι καὶ μῶμοι] is either to be connected with what follows: “who as σπ. καὶ μῶμοι riot” (de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger), or they are independent expressions of displeasure, like τολμηταὶ αὐθάδεις formerly in 2 Peter 2:10, and κατάρας τέκνα afterwards (Schott, Fronmüller) subjoined to what precedes by way of apposition (Hofmann); the latter is most in harmony with the animated form of address. Instead of σπῖλοι, Jude has σπιλάδες; σπῖλοι (less commonly σπίλοι) is equivalent to “spots of dirt,” cf. Ephesians 5:27.

μῶμοι: ἅπ. λεγ., commonly: blame, shame; here: “blemishes.”(74)

ἐντρυφῶντες ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὐτῶν] ἐντρυφῶντες points back to τρυφήν, and may not therefore be taken, with Hofmann, in the weakened meaning of, “to take delight in anything,” which it probably has in Isaiah 55:2, LXX.; it is not to be connected with the following ὑμῖν in the sense of: illudere, ludibrio habere, but means, as it commonly does: “to riot;” ὑμῖν belongs to συνευωχούμνοι.

ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὐτῶν is explained from 2 Peter 2:3; 2 Peter 2:14; they practised deceit in this way, that they succeeded in procuring earthly advantage to themselves, by praising their vain wisdom (Wiesinger, Fronmüller); since ἐντρυφᾷυ denotes the actual rioting, ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὐτῶν cannot state the object of their ἐντρυφᾷν, that is, “the lies with which they practise deceit” (Hofmann; or, according to Schott: “their deceiving appearance of wisdom”). The opinion of Wolf and others, that ἀπάται means the love-feasts, inasmuch as they—in opposition to their real nature—are abused by these individuals to their own profit, requires no refutation.

συνευωχούμενοι ὑμῖν] is subordinate to what precedes. They rioted in their deceits, that is to say, by enjoying themselves at the feasts of those among whom they had obtained an entrance by deceit.

Luther’s translation is mistaken: “they make a show of your ( ὑμῶν instead of αὐτῶν) alms (incorrect interpretation of ἀγάπαις), they revel with what is yours” (instead of: “with you”).


Verse 14

2 Peter 2:14 has no parallel in Jude.

Description of the sensual lust of the eye of the false teachers.

ὀφθαλμούς ἒχοντες μεστούς μοιχαλίδος] The adulterous lust is depicted in their eyes; in the expression: μεστοὺς μοιχαλίδος, the lust after the μοιχαλίς, revealing itself in the eyes, is designated as a being filled of the eye with it, since they look at nothing else but this. The interpretation of Hornejus is not to the point: quasi dicat, tam libidinosos eos esse, ut in ipsorum oculis quasi adulterae habitent, seu ut adulteras semper in oculis ferant.

Hofmann explains μεστός τινος by reference to Plato, Sympos. 194 B, here equivalent to: “to be entirely engrossed, preoccupied with something.”

It is wrong to suppose (as Dietlein does) that it is here in any way stated that a female member of the house, into which they had forced themselves, had already fallen a victim to their seduction. Calvin even(75) had connected this verse closely with the preceding, as Schott and Hofmann do; but it is not easy to understand why the persons here described should have had adulterous desires only at the feasts.

καὶ ἀκαταπαύστους ἁμαρτίας] “not satiated, unsatisfied in sin,” i.e. eyes, in which is reflected the restless desire after ever fresh sin; in ἁμαρτία, the reference is chiefly to sensual sins.

δελεάζοντες] 2 Peter 2:18, and James 1:14 : “to allure, to entice;” quasi pisces hamo captare (Beza).

ψυχὰς ἀστηρίκτους] ἀστήρικτος (chap. 2 Peter 3:16), not: “wanton” (Luther), but: in fide et pietatis studio nondum satis fundatus et formatus (Gerhard).

This idea is doubtless connected more closely with what precedes than with what follows (Hofmann), so that the sense is: they entice them, so as to satisfy their fleshly lusts on them.

καρδίανἔχοντες] Third vice:(76) covetousness. The construction of the verb γεγυ΄νασ΄ένην, c. gen., occurs also in the classics (Philostratus: 2. 15: θαλάττης οὔπω γεγυ΄νασ΄ένοι; 3. 2 Peter 1 : νέστορα πολέ΄ων πολλῶν γεγυ΄ν.; 10. 2 Peter 1 : σοφίας ἤδη γεγυ΄νασ΄ένον): “a heart practised in covetousness;” Calvin is quite unwarranted in interpreting πλεονεξία here by: cupiditates; cf. 2 Peter 2:3.

κατάρας τέκνα] cf. Ephesians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:3 : “men, who have incurred the curse;” an expression of profoundest displeasure; similar to σπῖλοι καὶ μῶμοι, 2 Peter 2:13. It is doubtful whether it is to be connected with the preceding or with the subsequent passage; the first combination is preferable, because in it the language is more passionate. In the other case the construction, from 2 Peter 2:10 med. onwards, might be taken thus: τολ΄ηταὶ αὐθάδεις, as introducing the section down to τρυφήν, 2 Peter 2:13; σπῖλοι καὶ ΄ῶ΄οι that from there to ἔχοντες, 2 Peter 2:14; and κατάρας τέκνα that as far as παραφρονίαν, 2 Peter 2:16.


Verse 15-16

2 Peter 2:15-16. Comparison with Balaam; cf. Jude 1:11. The comparisons with Cain and Korah are wanting here.

καταλιπόντες εὐθεῖαν ὁδὸν κ. τ. λ.] with εὐθ. ὁδ. cf. Acts 13:16; the words connect themselves closely with ἐπλανήθησαν, to which then the subsequent participial clause is added by way of a more precise definition. With ἐξακολουθ. cf. chap. 2 Peter 1:16, 2 Peter 2:2. The conjunction of this verb with τῆ ὁδῷ is explained by the circumstance that ὁδός is here taken in a figurative sense: manner of life, conduct.

The form βοσόρ, Heb. כְּעוֹר, arises from a peculiar pronunciation of ע; Grotius is wrong in regarding the word as the corrupted name of the country, פְּחוּרָה, Numbers 22:5. Several commentators: Krebs, Vitringa, Wolf, Grotius, etc., assume that there is here an allusion to the counsel which Balaam gave to the Midianites to the corrupting of the Israelites (Numbers 31:16; Revelation 2:14) (so, too, Dietlein); but, according to 2 Peter 2:16, the reference is rather to the intended cursing of the people of Israel, to which certainly Balaam, for the sake of reward, was inclined; hence: ὃς μισθὸν ἀδικίας (see 2 Peter 2:13) ἠγάπησεν. Although such inclination on his part is not definitely mentioned in Numbers 22:1-20, still, judging from the narrative of the ass, it is to be presupposed; cf., too, Deuteronomy 23:5. Corroboration from the rabbinical writings, see Wetstein.—2 Peter 2:16. ἔλεγξιν δὲ ἔσχεν ἰδίας παρανομίας] “but he received (suffered) rebuke (blame) for his trespass;” his παρανομία (not equivalent to vesania (Vulg.), but synonymous with ἀδικία) consisted in this, that he was willing, for the sake of the reward, if God permitted it, to curse Israel, and for this reason went to Balak. ἰδίας stands here in place of the pers. pron. αὑτοῦ. Dietlein presses ἰδίας, by translating: “belonging to him,” and adds by way of explanation: “to him who must be looked upon as the prototype of the false prophets.” Wiesinger, on the other hand, sees the significance of ἰδίας in this, that “he who was a prophet to others, had to suffer rebuke of an ass for his own παρανομ.” But neither the one nor the other is alluded to in the context.

That which follows states in what the ἔλεγξις consisted.

ὑποζύγιον] properly: a beast that bears a yoke, here as in Matthew 21:5, designation of the ass.

ἄφωνον] in contrast to human speaking.

ἐν ἀνθρώπο φωνῇ φθεγξάμενον] does not state the reason of the ἐκώλυσε, but emphasizes the miraculous nature of the occurrence ( ἄφωνονφωνῇ).

ἐκώλυσε τὴν τοῦ προφήτου παραφρονίαν] Schott understands Balaam’s παραφρονία to be his striking of the ass; Wiesinger: “his folly, in setting himself against the angel;” but it is more correct to understand by it the aforenamed παρανομία, which the angel opposed. Hofmann rightly observes: “the signification of the verb does not imply that it is left undone, but simply that opposition is offered to what is done or is intended to be done; cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:16.”(77) The word παραφρονία, “folly,” ἅπ. λεγ. (the verb in 2 Corinthians 11:23), unusual in the classics also, instead of which παραφροσύνη or παραφρόνησις; see Winer, p. 90 [E. T. 118].

τοῦ προφήτου] (cf. Numbers 24:4) stands in emphatic antithesis to ὑποζύγιον ἄφωνον.


Verse 17

2 Peter 2:17. Description of the teachers of false doctrine from another point of view, in as far as by making a false show of freedom they seduce others to immorality. First, a double comparison, of which the second only occurs in Jude 1:12.

οὗτοί εἰσι πηγαὶ ἄνυδροι] The point of comparison lies in the deceptiveness of a πηγή, which is without water; it awakens an expectation which it does not fulfil (as a contrast, cf. Proverbs 10:11; Isaiah 58:11).

πηγή here (which Hofmann wrongly disputes) means, as in John 4:6 : a spring well; fontes enim proprie sic dicti non carent aqua (Gerhard).

καὶ ὁμίχλαι ὑπὸ λαίλαπος ἐλαυνόμεναι] ὁμίχλη properly mist, here clouds of mist, as the plural already goes to prove, as well as the fact that it is not the mist, but the misty clouds, which must be regarded as foretelling rain.

λαίλαψ, according to Aristotle (lib. de mundo), equal to πνεῦμα βίαιον καὶ εἱλούμενον κάτωθεν ἄνω; Mark 4:37. The point of comparison is the same here as in the previous figure, only that by ὑπὸ λαίλ. ἐλαυν. their want of consistency (not: their punishment) is more pointedly referred to.(78)

οἷς τετήρηται] so, too, in Jude 1:13; it connects itself with οὔτοι, not with ὁ΄ίχλαι, as Hofmann maintains, for how can this relative clause express “the dissolving of vapour into nothing”?


Verse 18

2 Peter 2:18. Cf. Jude 1:16.

ὑπέρογκα γὰρ ματαιότητος φθεγγόμενοι] The γάρ does not serve to explain the figurative words, 2 Peter 2:17 (as formerly in this commentary), for, as Hofmann justly says, “the description of their conduct contained in this verse goes far beyond those figurative statements as to their nature.” It must be referred either, with Wiesinger, to the judgment expressed in 2 Peter 2:17,

οἷςτετηρ. being included,—or, as is done by Hofmann, to the relative clause only; the former is probably the more correct view.(79)

ὑπέρογκος, “swelling;” in the classics used also of style. ΄αταιότης gives the nature of the swelling, high-sounding speeches (“the proud words,” Luther); Luther aptly: “since there is nothing behind them.” The word φθεγγό΄ενοι (besides in Acts 4:18, to be found only here and in 2 Peter 2:16) is here the more appropriate that it is used chiefly of loud speaking.

δελεάζουσιν] Cf. 2 Peter 2:14.

ἐν ἐπιθυ΄ίαις σαρκὸς ἀσελγείαις] ἐν is commonly taken as equivalent to διά, and ἀσελγ. as an apposition to ἐπιθ.: “through the lusts of the flesh, through debauchery” (de Wette, Brückner, Wiesinger, probably Schott too); but thus there is a felt want of a καί, or of a second ἐν, and the ἐπιθυ΄ίαι of the seducers, too, are not to be considered as the means of allurement. Hofmann explains: “by means of fleshly lusts, which they awaken in them, through acts of wantonness, the enjoyment of which they hold out to them;” but here relations are introduced to which the text makes no allusion. It is therefore better to take ἐν ἐπιθυ΄ίαις σ. as designating the condition of the seducers, and ἀσελγείαις as the dat. instrum.: “in the lusts of the flesh (i.e. taken in them, governed by them) they allure by voluptuousness those who,” etc.; Steinfass correctly: “it is part of their ἐπιθ. σαρκ. that they seek to allure the members of the church;” he is wrong, however, when he explains the ἀσελγείαις as that to which they allure them. Luther translates wrongly: “through lasciviousness to fleshly lust;” ἐν ἐπιθυ΄ίαις is not equal to εἰς ἐπιθυ΄ίας.

τοὺς ὀλίγως ἀποφεύγοντας] ὀλίγως, ἅπ. λεγ., is hardly to be found elsewhere. It expresses both time and measure, and corresponds to the English: “hardly, just” (thus also Schott). Wiesinger and Hofmann understand it only of measure, equivalent to “little;” Hofmann understands it of space: “they are a little way escaped from those who walk in error.” The pres. of the verb shows that they are, as it were, still in the act of flight from their former condition, and are not yet firmly established in the new; cf. 2 Peter 2:14 : ψυχὰς ἀστηρίκτους.

τοὺς ἐν πλάνῃ ἀναστρεφομένους] not an adjunct co-ordinate with what goes before; Luther: “and now walk in error;” but the accus. is dependent on ἀποφεύγοντας, and οἱ ἐν πλάνῃ ἀναστρεφό΄ενοι are those from whom the persons who are being seduced have separated themselves, those who are not Christians, especially the heathen, who lead a life ἐν πλάνῃ (Wiesinger, Schott, Brückner, Fronmüller, Hofmann); Steinfass incorrectly understands by the expression the ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι.


Verse 19

2 Peter 2:19. ἐλευθερίαν αὐτοῖς ἐπαγγελλόμενοι] Explanation of the ὑπέρογκα ματ. φθεγγόμενοι; the high speeches have as their contents the praise of liberty.

ἐπαγγελλόμενοι; they assure, promise, those who submit to their guidance that they will conduct them to true liberty.

αὐτοὶ δοῦλοι ὑπάρχοντες τῆς φθορᾶς] A sharp antithesis to ἐλευθ. ἐπαγγελλ.: “though they themselves are slaves of φθορά.” By φθορά moral corruption is generally understood, but elsewhere in the N. T. the word never has this meaning; it should rather be taken in the same sense as that which it has in 2 Peter 2:12. In Romans 8:21 it denotes the opposite of δόξα, which Hofmann wrongly denies. Schott erroneously takes it to mean “the things of sense;” but these, though they be given up to φθορά, yet cannot be directly defined as φθορά itself.(80) The chief emphasis lies on δοῦλοι. The general statement: γάρ τις ἥττηται, τούτῳ καὶ δεδούλωται, serves to show that the term is applied to them not without justification. The verb ἡττᾶσθαι (with the exception of in this passage and in 2 Peter 2:20, to be found only in 2 Corinthians 12:13) is in classical Greek often used as a passive and construed with ὑπό, and, in harmony with its meaning, frequently with the genitive, and sometimes also with the dative. The latter is the case here: “to whom any one succumbs.” The dat. with δεδούλωται expresses the relation of belonging to: to him he is made the slave, i.e. whose slave he is. Schott arbitrarily asserts that ἥττηται with the dat. brings out that the being overcome “is voluntary and desired on principle.”


Verse 20

2 Peter 2:20 gives an explanation ( γάρ, equal to: namely) of the statement contained in 2 Peter 2:19, that those there described are the δοῦλοι τῆς φθορᾶς, after that the general remark: δεδούλωται has been applied to them. Almost all interpreters hold that in this verse the same persons are the subjects as in 2 Peter 2:19; so that the ἀποφυγόντες refers to those with the description of whom the author has throughout the whole chapter been engaged. Bengel, Fronmüller, Hofmann are of a different opinion. They assume that ἀποφυγόντες refers to those who are led astray, and that the latter accordingly, and not the seducers, are to be regarded as the subject of the clause. In favour of this view may be urged the term ἀποφυγόντες, which seems to refer back to the ἀποφευγόντας in 2 Peter 2:18. But, on the one hand, it is certainly unnatural to consider those to be the subjects here who are the objects in 2 Peter 2:18, especially as 2 Peter 2:19 has the same subject as 2 Peter 2:18; and, on the other, it would be more than surprising if the apostle did not, from here onwards, continue the description of those of whom the whole chapter speaks, but should, all of a sudden, treat of entirely different persons,—and this without in any way hinting at the transition from the one to the other; in addition to this, there is the circumstance that ἡττῶνται corresponds much too directly with ἥττηται.

εἰ γάρ] The reality, as frequently, expressed hypothetically. Without any reason, Grotius would read: “ οἱ γάρ” instead of εἰ γάρ.

ἀποφυγόντες] The participle is not to be resolved by “although,” but by “after that.”

τὰ μιάσματα τοῦ κόσμου] τὰ μιάσματα, a form occurring only here; 2 Peter 2:10 : μιασμός.

τοῦ κόσμου, here in an ethical sense, as composed of those who walk (2 Peter 2:18) ἐν πλάνῃ, or, with Wiesinger: “as the dominion over which sin rules,” “the defilements which belong to the world.” Without sufficient reason, Hofmann takes τὰ μιάσματα τ. κ. in a personal sense, and thinks that it means, in the first instance, “those individuals who are the abomination and blemishes of the non-Christian world, and that τούτοις δέ refers to the Christians whom Peter designates as the σπίλοι κ. μῶμοι of the church.” But nothing in the context hints at this, and it is arbitrary to understand by τούτοις other μιάσματα than those designated by that word itself.

ἐν ἐπιγνώσει τοῦ κυρίουχριστοῦ] i.e. by their having come to the knowledge of Christ.

τούτοις (i.e. μιάσμασι) δὲ πάλιν ἐμπλακέντες ἡττῶνται] ἐμπλακέντες is valde emphaticum; ἐμπλέκεσθαι enim dicuntur, qui tricis et laqueis implicantur (Gerhard). The particle δέ places in antithesis either the two participles: ἀποφυγόντες and πάλιν ἐμπλακέντες, or the first participle and the finite verb ἡττῶνται; the former construction is to be preferred as the more correct.

γέγονεν αὐτοῖςτῶν πρώτων] The same words are to be found in Matthew 12:45; Luke 11:26;(81) τὰ πρῶτα: the former condition, in which they were before their conversion; τὰ ἔσχατα: their subsequent condition, into which they have come after their falling away, i.e. the condition of complete slavery to the φθορά, from which there is no hope of redemption: with the thought, cf. Hebrews 10:26-27.


Verse 21

2 Peter 2:21. κρεῖττον γὰρ ἦν αὐτοῖς] The same use of the imperf. where we should employ the conjunct., Mark 14:21 : καλὸν ἦν αὐτῷ; cf. on the constr. Winer, p. 265 [E. T. 352].

μὴ ἐπεγνωκέναι τὴν ὁδὸν τῆς δικαιοσύνης] ὁδὸς τῆς δικαιοσ. is not: “the way to virtue,” or “the way of salvation which leads to the moral condition of righteousness” (Schott), but a designation of Christianity in so far as a godly righteous life belongs to it; cf. 2 Peter 2:2.(82)

ἐπιγνοῦσιν] The dat. instead of the accus., dependent on αὐτοις; by an attraction not uncommon in Greek.

ἐπιστρέψαι] is to be taken here in the sense of: “to turn back to the former things;” cf. 2 Peter 2:22, as in Mark 13:16; Luke 17:31, where it is connected with εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω; in Luke 8:55, nevertheless, it is used in the same sense without adjunct; see critical remarks.

ἐκ τῆςἐντολῆς] With παραδοθείσης αὐτοῖς, cf. Jude 1:3.

ἁγία ἐντολή is the law of the Christian life, cf. 1 Timothy 6:14; here mentioned because the passage treats of the moral corruption of the false teachers.


Verse 22

2 Peter 2:22. The two proverbial expressions which form the close bring out how contemptible is the conduct just described.

συμβέβηκε αὐτοῖς] “it has happened to them,” “has befallen them.”

τὸ τῆς ἀληθοῦς παροιμίας] The same construction, Matthew 21:21 : τὸ τῆς συκῆς; παροιμία denotes a figurative speech or mode of expression generally. ἀληθοῦς is added in order to bring out that the proverb has here too proved true; the author employs the singular παροιμίας, because the two proverbs following have one and the same meaning.

κὑων ἐπιστρέψαςἐξέραμα] The verse of the O. T. Proverbs 26:11, LXX., runs: ὥσπερ κύων ὅταν ἐπέλθῃ ἐπὶ τὸν ἑαυτοῦ ἔμετον μισητὸς γενῆται, οὕτως ἄφρων τῇ ἑαυτοῦ κακίᾳ ἀναστρέψας ἐπὶ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἁμαρτίαν; in spite of the similarity, it is yet doubtful whether the writer had this passage in his eye; probably he took this παροιμία, like that which follows,—which can be traced to no written source,—from popular tradition.

ἐπιστρέψας] is not to bo taken as a verb fin., but the predicate is, after the manner of proverbial expression, joined without the copula to the noun (Winer, p. 331 [E. T. 443]): “a dog that has returned to its ἐξέραμα” ( ἅπ. λεγ.: “what has been vomited”).

ὗς λουσαμένηβορβόρου] ἐπιστρέψασα may be supplied from what precedes, but thus this second παροιμία would lose its independence; breviloquence is natural to proverbs (Winer, p. 547 [E. T. 735]); εἰς, according to the sense, points sufficiently to a verb of motion to be supplied: “a sow that has bathed itself, to the κύλισμα βορβόρου.”(83)

κύλισμα ( ἅπ. λεγ.), equal to κυλίστρα: the place for wallowing. The genit. βορβὁρου ( ἅπ. λεγ.) shows the nature of the κυλίσμα where the swine wallow; the other reading, κυλισμόν, indicates the act of wallowing.

Similar passages are to be found in the Rabbis. Cf. Pott in loc.

 


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

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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