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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
2 Peter 2

 

 

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Verse 1

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

But - in contrast to the prophets "moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21). Also - as well as the true prophets (2 Peter 1:19-21). Paul had already testified the entrance of false prophets into the same churches (Acts 20:29-30). Among the people - Israel. He is writing to believing Israelites primarily (note, 1 Peter 1:1). Such a 'false prophet' was Balaam (2 Peter 2:15).

There shall be - already symptoms were appearing (2 Peter 2:9-22; Jude 1:4-13). False teachers , [ pseudodidaskaloi (Greek #5572)] - teachers of falsehood. In contrast to the true teachers, whom his readers are to give heed to (2 Peter 3:2).

Who - such as [ hoitines (Greek #3748)], 'the which' shall. Privily - not at first openly and directly, but by the way, bringing in error by the side of the truth [ pareisaxousin (Greek #3919)]. Rome objects, Protestantism cannot point out the exact date of the beginnings of the false doctrines added to the original truth; we answer, Peter foretells that the first introduction of them would be stealthy and unobserved (Jude 1:4).

Damnable , [ apooleias (Greek #684)] - 'of destruction;' entailing destruction (Philippians 3:19) on all following them. Heresies - self-chosen doctrines, not emanating from God (cf. "will-worship," Colossians 2:23).

Even - going even to such a length as to deny both in teaching and practice. Peter knew, by bitter repentance, what a fearful thing it is to deny the Lord (Luke 22:61-62).

Denying - Him whom, above all they ought to confess. Lord , [ despoteen (Greek #1203)] - 'Master and Owner' (cf. Jude 1:4). Whom the true doctrine teaches to be their OWNER by right of purchase. 'Denying Him who bought them, that He should be thereby their Master. Even the ungodly were "bought" by His "precious blood." It shall be their bitterest self-reproach in bell, that, as far as Christ's redemption was concerned, they might have been saved. The denial of His propitiatory sacrifice is included (cf. 1 John 4:3).

Bring upon themselves - (cf. 'God bringing in the flood upon the world,' 2 Peter 2:5). Man bridge upon himself the vengeance which God brings upon him.

Swift - swiftly descending: as the Lord's coming shall be. As the ground swallowed up Korah and Dathan, and "they went down quick (alive) into the pit." Compare Jude 1:11.


Verse 2

And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. Follow [ exakoloutheesousin (Greek #1811)] out Follow , [ exakoloutheesousin (Greek #1811)] - out. Pernicious ways , [apoleiais]. 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, read [ aselgeiais (Greek #766)] 'licentiousnesses' (Jude

4). False doctrine and immoral practice go together (2 Peter 2:18-19). By reason of , [ di' (Greek #1223) hous (Greek #3739)] - 'on account of whom,' namely, the followers of the false teachers.

The way of truth shall be evil spoken of - `blasphemed' by those without, who lay on Christianity itself the blame of its professors' evil practice. Contrast, 1 Peter 2:12.


Verse 3

And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Through , [ en (Greek #1722)] - 'in covetousness' as their element (2 Peter 2:14, end: contrast 2 Corinthians 11:20; 2 Corinthians 12:17). Of a long time - in God's eternal purpose. "Before of old," Jude 1:4.

Lingereth not , [ argei (Greek #691)] - though sinners think it lingers. 'Is not idle' (Ecclesiastes 8:11-12). Damnation , [ apooleia (Greek #684)] - 'destruction' (note, 2 Peter 2:1). Personified. Slumbereth not - though sinners slumber.


Verse 4

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

If. The consequent member of the sentence is virtually contained in 2 Peter 2:9. If God in past time has punished the ungodly and saved His people, He will be sure to do so also in our days (cf. end of 2 Peter 2:3). Angels - the highest of intelligent creatures (cf. Jude 1:6), yet not spared when they sinned.

Hell , [ Tartaroosas (Greek #5020)] - 'Tartarus:' nowhere else in New Testament or Septuagint: equivalent to Geenna. Not inconsistent with 1 Peter 5:8 : though their final doom is hell, for a time they are permitted to roam beyond it in 'the darkness of this world.' Slaves of Tartarus ('the abyss,' or "deep," Luke 8:31; "the bottomless pit," Revelation 9:11) may come upon earth. Step by step they are given to Tartarus, until at last they shall be wholly bound to it.

Delivered - as the judge delivers the condemned prisoner to the officers (Revelation 20:2). Into chains. 'Aleph (') A B C read [seirois] 'dens' (Alford). This, however, may, in Hellenistic Greek, be equivalent to [ seirais (Greek #4577)] "chains" (cf. Jude 1:6). They are "reserved" unto hell's "mist of darkness" as their final "judgment." Meanwhile their exclusion from the light of heaven is begun. Satan and his demons are free to hurt us only to the length of their chain, like a chained dog. "Darkness" is their 'chain.' So the ungodly were virtually 'in prison,' though at large on the earth, from the moment that God's sentence went forth, though not executed until 120 years after (1 Peter 3:19).


Verse 5

And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Eighth - i:e., Noah and seven others. Contrasted with the densely people "world of the ungodly." Preacher - not only "righteous" himself (cf. 2 Peter 2:8), but also "a preacher of righteousness:" adduced against the licentiousness of the false teachers (2 Peter 2:2), who have no prospect but destruction, even as it overtook the ungodly in Noah's days.


Verse 6

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

With - `TO overthrow' (Alford). Ensample - `of (the fate that should befall) those who in after time should live ungodly' (cf. Jude 1:7).


Verse 7

And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: Filthy conversation , [ en (Greek #1722) aselgeia (Greek #766) anastrofees (Greek #391)] - 'behaviour in licentiousness' (Genesis 19:5).

The wicked , [ athesmoon (Greek #113)] - 'lawless:' who set at defiance the laws of nature, man, and God. The Lord reminds us of Lot's faithfulness, not of his sin in the cave: so in Rahab's case.


Verse 8

(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

Vexed , [ ebasanizen (Greek #928)] - 'tormented.'


Verse 9

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

Knoweth how. He is at no loss for means, even when men see no escape.

Out of - not actually from. Temptations - trial. To be punished , [ kolazomenous (Greek #2849)] - 'being punished:' as the fallen angels (2 Peter 2:4) under sentence, awaiting its final execution. Sin is already its own penalty: hell will be its full development.


Verse 10

But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Chiefly - they especially will be punished (Jude 1:8). After - following after. Lust of uncleanness , [ miasmou (Greek #3394)] - defilement. Government , [ kurioteetos (Greek #2963)] - "dominion" (Jude 1:8). Presumptuous , [ tolmeetai (Greek #5113)]. Self-will begets presumption: presumptuously 'daring.' Are not afraid - though so insignificant in might. [ Ou (Greek #3756) tremousin (Greek #5141), 'tremble not' (Jude 1:8, end).]

Speak evil of - Greek, 'blaspheme.' Dignities , [ doxas (Greek #1391)] - 'glories.'


Verse 11

Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

Which are - though they are. Greater - than these blasphemers. Jude cites Michael as an instance. Railing accusation - Greek, 'blaspheming judgment' (Jude 1:9). Against them - against "dignities" (for instance, the fallen angels). Before the Lord - in the presence of the Judge they reverently abstain from judgment (Bengel). So 'Aleph (') B C but A, Vulgate, omit. How great is the dignity of the saints who, as Christ's assessors, shall hereafter judge angels! Meanwhile, railing judgments, though true, against dignities, being uttered irreverently, are of the nature of 'blasphemies' (1 Corinthians 4:4-5). If superior angels dare not, as in the presence of God, speak evil even of bad angels, how awful the presumption of those who speak evil of good "dignities!" (Numbers 12:8; Numbers 16:2-3, Korah, etc.; 2 Samuel 16:7-8, Shimei; Jude 1:11.) The angels who sinned still retain the impress of majesty. Satan is still "a strong man:" "prince of this world." Under him are "principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world." We are to avoid irreverence as to them, on account of God: a warning to those who use Satan's name in blasphemy. 'When the ungodly curseth Satan, he curseth his own soul.'


Verse 12

But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

(Jude 1:10; Jude 1:19.) But - in contrast to the "angels" (2 Peter 2:11). Natural ... made. Transposed in 'Aleph (') A B C. 'Born natural' - i:e., born in their very nature as irrational animals, to be taken and destroyed (Greek, 'unto capture and destruction' [ fthoran (Greek #5356), corruption], note, Galatians 6:8 : cf. below).

Brute , [ aloga (Greek #249)] - 'irrational.' In contrast to angels that 'excel in strength.' Beasts , [ zooa (Greek #2226)] - 'animals' (cf. Psalms 49:20).

Speak evil of - `in the case of things which they understand not.' Compare presumption, the parent of subsequent Gnostic error, producing an opposite, though kindred error-`the worshipping of good angels' (Colossians 2:18, "intruding into those things which he hath not seen").

Shall utterly perish - literally, 'shall be corrupted in their own corruption' (Jude 1:10). [ Fthora (Greek #5356) is both corruption, the seed, and destruction, the developed fruit.]


Verse 13

And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Receive , [komioumenoi] - 'shall carry off as their due.'

Reward of - i:e., for their "unrighteousness" (Alford). Also, unrighteousness shall be its own reward (Revelation 22:11). "Wages of unrighteousness" (2 Peter 2:15) has a different sense. The earthly gain gotten, by "unrighteousness" in the day time; Greek, 'counting the luxury which is in the day time (not restricted to night, as ordinary revelling. Or, Vulgate, "the luxury which is comprised in a day." So Hebrews 11:25, and Hebrews 12:16, Esau) to be pleasure,' i:e., their chief good.

Spots - in themselves. Blemishes - disgraces: bringing blame [ moomoi (Greek #3470)] on the Church and Christianity. Sporting themselves [ entrufoontes (Greek #1792)] -'luxuriating ' Sporting themselves , [ entrufoontes (Greek #1792)] - 'luxuriating.' With - `IN.'

Deceivings - or passively, 'deceits:' luxuries gotten by deceit (cf. Matthew 13:22; Ephesians 4:22). While deceiving others, they are deceived themselves (cf. Philippians 3:19). "Their own," in opposition to "you." 'While partaking of the love-feast with you,' they are 'luxuriating in their own deceivings' or 'deceits' (to which answers Jude 1:12, end. Peter presents the positive side, Jude the negative. 'Feeding themselves without fear'). So 'Aleph (') C but B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Sahidic versions (as Jude) [ agapais (Greek #25)] 'in their own love-feasts.' "Their own" will imply, they make the love-feasts subserve their own self-indulgent purposes.


Verse 14

Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

Full of adultery. B C [ moichalidos (Greek #3428)], 'an adulteress,' as though they carried about adulteresses always in their eyes-the avenue of lust (Horneius). Bengel, 'the adulteress who fills their eyes is alluring desire' ['Aleph (') A, moichalias (Greek #3428)].

That cannot cease - `that cannot be made to cease from sin.' [ Akatapaustous (Greek #180), 'Aleph (') C akatapastous (an Hellenistic form, from pazoo, the same as pauomai (Greek #3973), A B).]

Beguiling , [ deleazontes (Greek #1185)] - 'laying baits for.' Unstable - not firmly established in faith.

Heart - not only the eyes, the channel, but the heart, the fountain-head of lust (Job 31:7, "Mine heart walked after mine eyes").

Covetous practices. So B but 'Aleph (') A C, Vulgate, singular 'covetousness.' Cursed children - Greek, 'children of (i:e., devoted to) curse.' Cursing and covetousness, as in Balaam's case, often go together. The curse he designed for Israel fell on Israel's foes and himself. True believers bless, and curse not, so are blessed.


Verse 15

Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; Have. Some seducers are spoken of as already come, others as yet to come. Following - out, Greek.

The way - (Numbers 22:5; Numbers 22:23; Numbers 22:32; Isaiah 56:11.) Son of Bosor - the same as Beor. This form was adopted because the kindred Basar means flesh. Balaam is justly termed son of carnality, as covetous, and enticer of Israel to lust. Loved the wages of unrighteousness - and therefore wished (in order to gain them from Balak) to curse Israel, whom God blessed, and at last gave the hellish counsel, that the only way to bring God's cures on Israel was to entice them to fleshly lust and idolatry, which go together.


Verse 16

But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

Was rebuked , [ elengxin (Greek #1649) de (Greek #1161) eschen (Greek #2192)] - 'had a conviction:' an exposure of his specious wickedness on being tested (from elengchoo (Greek #1651), to convict upon testing).

His , [ idias (Greek #2398)] - his own beast convicted him of his own iniquity. Dumb , [ afoonon (Greek #880) ... foonee (Greek #5456)] - 'voiceless speaking in a man's voice:' marking the marvelous miracle.

Ass , [ hupozugion (Greek #5268)] - 'beast of burden.' The donkey was most used in riding in Palestine. Forbade. It was not the words of the donkey (for it merely deprecated his beating it), but the miraculous fact of its speaking at all, which withstood Balaam's perversity. Indirectly the donkey, directly the angel, rebuked his worse than asinine obstinacy. The donkey turned aside at the sight of the angel; but Balaam, after God had said, 'Thou shalt not go,' perservered in wishing to go for gain. Thus, the donkey, in act, forbade his madness. How awful a contrast-a mute beast forbidding an inspired prophet!


Verse 17

These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. Wells - "clouds," in Jude 1:12-13, both promising (cf. 2 Peter 2:19) water, but yielding none. So their "great swelling words" are found, on trial, to be but "vanity" (2 Peter 2:18).

Clouds. 'Aleph (') A B C read [ homichlai (G3658a)] 'mists:' dark, not bright as "clouds" often are; whence the latter is applied to the saints: fit emblem of the children of darkness. "Clouds" is inserted from Jude 1:12, where it is appropriate - "clouds ... without water" (promising what they do not perform); not here.

Mist , [ zofos (Greek #2217)] - blackness: 'the chilling horror accompanying darkness' (Bengel).


Verse 18

For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

Allure , [ deleazousin (Greek #1185)] - 'lay baits for.' Through - `IN' the lusts of the flesh being the element IN which they lay their baits. Much wantonness , [ aselgeiais (Greek #766)] - 'by licentiousnesses,' the bait which they lay. Clean escaped , [ ontos (Greek #5607)] - 'really,' 'Aleph ('); but A B C, Vulgate [ oligos (Greek #3641)], 'scarcely,' or 'for a little time:' scarcely have they escaped from them who live in error (the ungodly world), when they are allured by these seducers into sin again (2 Peter 2:20).


Verse 19

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. Promise them liberty - instances of their "great swelling words" (2 Peter 2:18). The liberty which they propose is such as fears not Satan, nor loathes the flesh. Pauline language, adopted by Peter: cf. John 8:34; Romans 6:16-22; Romans 8:15; Romans 8:21; Galatians 5:1; Galatians 5:13 : cf. 1 Peter 2:16, note; cf. 2 Peter 3:15.

Corruption - note, 2 Peter 2:12. Of whom - `by whatever ... by the same,' etc.


Verse 20

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

After they - the seducers 'themselves' have escaped (2 Peter 2:19; note, Hebrews 6:4; Hebrews 6:6). Pollutions - which bring "corruption" (2 Peter 2:19).

Through - `IN.' Knowledge , [ epignoosei (Greek #1922)] - 'full knowledge.' The Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ - designating in full the great and gracious One from whom they fall. Latter end is worse ... than the beginning. Peter remembers Christ (Luke 11:26). "Worse" stands opposed to "better" (2 Peter 2:21).


Verse 21

For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. The way of righteousness - "the way of truth" (2 Peter 2:2): "the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour." Turn - back again [ eis (Greek #1519) ta (Greek #3588) opisoo (Greek #3694)], 'Aleph (') A, Vulgate; omitted in B C. From the holy commandment - the Gospel, which enjoins holiness: in opposition to their corruption [ hagias (Greek #40)]. Not that it makes holy, but because it ought to be kept inviolate.

Delivered - once for all.


Verse 22

But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

But. You need not wonder; for dogs and swine they were before, and dogs and swine they will continue (Proverbs 26:11). They 'scarcely' (2 Peter 2:18) have escaped from their filthy folly, when they again are entangled in it. Then they seduce others who have in like manner 'for a little time escaped from them that live in error' (2 Peter 2:18). Peter quoted Proverbs in his first letter (2 Pet. 1:7; 2:17; 4:8,18 ): another proof that both letters come from the same writer.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Peter 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-peter-2.html. 1871-8.

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