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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
2 Peter 2

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-10

2 Peter 2:1-10 a.

Analysis:—Warning against the false prophets with reference to their inevitable punishment, illustrated by three examples

1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall he false teachers among you, who[FN1] privily[FN2] shall bring in damnable heresies,[FN3] even[FN4] denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways,[FN5] by reason of whom the way of truth[FN6] shall be evil spoken of 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of[FN7] you: whose judgment now of a long time[FN8] lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not 4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains[FN9] of darkness, to be reserved[FN10] unto judgment; 5And 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; 6And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an 7 ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered[FN11] just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation[FN12] of the wicked: 8(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds:) 9The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation,[FN13]and to reserve the unjust[FN14] unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Connection:—The Apostle, having exhorted them to give attention to the prophecy of Holy Scripture, 2 Peter 1:19, now warns them against the false prophets, delineating their character and adverting to their fearful end. As he often takes up the words of our Lord in the first Epistle, so he doubtless alludes here to passages like Matthew 24:11-12; Matthew 7:15 : “Beware of false prophets.” He makes the transition with reference to the false prophets in Israel, in order that the believers to whom he wrote might not be alarmed at the appearance of erroneous teachers. Paul also had prophesied concerning such erroneous teachers, Acts 20:29-30. Those seducers are referred to in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, the first of John, and the book of Revelation, but especially in the Epistle of Jude. In those writings they are mostly described as already existing.

[Alford remarks that ψευδο, in the latter, is ambiguous, the word being either subjective=pretenders, not real prophets, or objective=prophesiers of false things; cf. for the latter, Jeremiah 14:14, LXX, ψευδῆ οἱ προφῆται προφητεύουσιν….; ib. Jeremiah 14:15; Jeremiah 23:25.—M.] Dietlein: “Not a prophet or teacher who prophesies or teaches falsehood, but one who is not a prophet and yet falsely pretends to be one, cf. 2 Corinthians 11:13; Revelation 2:2.—[Better make ψευδο, in ψευδοδιδάσκολοι, ambiguous, and understand not only unauthorized pretenders, but also teachers of falsehood.—M.]—παρεισάξουσι, not to bring forward, but to bring in beside, introduce secretly. In Jude occurs the similar term παρεισέδυσαν, they crept in through a false door. Bengel: “Beside the salutary doctrine of Christ.—Αἳρεσις from αἱρέω, a doctrine, a school, a sect. In the New Testament it is applied to the religious parties among the later Jews, contending with one another, Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 26:5; in a bad sense, Acts 24:5; Acts 24:14; Acts 28:22. So especially, Titus 3:10. “A man that is an heretic….. reject.” It denotes voluntary, deliberate deviating from purely Christian articles of belief, leading to divisions in the Church, cf. Herzog, Real. Encycl. Art. Häresie.—Ἀπωλείας intensifies the idea of αἱρέσεις. Not all heresies are equally pernicious, not all lead so decidedly to destruction. [Doubtful whether this distinction can be drawn; it certainly does not pertain ad rem; these false teachers, who surreptitiously bring in false teaching by the side of the true faith, bring upon themselves destruction. Their end is destruction, cf. Philippians 3:19.—M.]

Deniers of the Master that bought them.—Winer assumes that the two Participles ἀρνούμενοι and ἐπάγοντες are not cöordinate to each other, but that καὶ—ἐπάγοντες is to be connected with the principal verb thus: “Who shall bring in corrupting heresies, and also, denying the Lord, bring upon themselves swift destruction;” too artificial. Others take καί for even, “even denying the Lord,“ but this use of καί cannot be substantiated. Huther proposes to take the Participle ἐπάγοντες as the verbum finitum, but without any analogy. The construction, however, becomes quite simple by taking the three Participles coördinate and alike dependent on ἕσονται, and making ἐπάγοντες to refer to the two classes of seducers, without distinguishing them from each other. This precludes the necessity of changing the construction while καὶ retains its usual signification. The second form of seducers is a species of the former. The terms παρεισάξουσιν and ἐπάγοντες correspond: they introduce their errors by stealth, but they draw upon themselves open and manifest destruction. [The reader has Fronmüller’s construction in the translation, and may think it less artificial than awkward. The construction of Alford (who takes καὶ as the simple Copula, and regards ἀρνούμενοι as standing in the place of the finite verb, cöordinate with παρεισάξουσιν, followed, as a consequence, by ἐπάγοντες κ. τ. λ.) seems least difficult; he renders “and denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”—M.]

Of the Master that bought them.—δεσπότης denotes an absolute ruler [an autocrat,—M.] of bondmen or slaves. It is used of God the Father, Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; Revelation 6:10. Here the context requires us to apply it to Christ, cf. Judges 4, and Revelation 1:8, where Christ is called the Almighty. This term suits ἀγοράζειν better than κὐριος.—, 1 Peter 1:18, has λυτροῦσθαι for ἀγοράζειν, the former of which indicates the infinitely precious ransom, generally ἐξαγοράζειν, to buy back from, out of, Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5. The simple ἀγοράζειν occurs at 1 Corinthians 6:20; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 14:3-4. Calov: “The ransom is the blood of Christ, Matthew 20:28. Hebrews, to whom it has been paid, is God, who chiefly held us in prison, whereas the devil is only His prisonkeeper, from the hands of whom Christ has delivered us, Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:14. God in virtue of His justice required a ransom for our deliverance; in virtue of His mercy He accepted the ransom, which Christ paid for us.”—Gerlach says: “These erroneous teachers had already become Christians, they had already experienced the saving effects of redemption, and had really left the service of the devil in Judaism or Paganism for the service of Christ.” In support of this view 2 Peter 2:21 may be cited. But ἀγοράζειν is generally used to denote absolutely the vicarious satisfaction of Christ extending to all men, and consequently also to these false teachers; it is not used with the limitation that the effect of it has been experienced, as Calvin maintains, cf. 1 Timothy 2:6; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:14. Gerhard makes use of the illustration of a Christian ruler who pays a certain ransom for the redemption of prisoners into the hands of the Turkish Sultan. Those prisoners are truly redeemed, although they should refuse to accept the benefit of their liberation and continue in their bonds.

Deniers of the Master.—Their wickedness is the more enormous, because they deny their greatest Benefactor, in the service and confession of whom they ought cheerfully to die. The manner of their denial is not further defined. Bengel adds: “By their doctrine and works.” Perhaps it is the same kind of denial as that of the false teachers in 1 John 2:23; 1 John 4:2; 1 John 5:12; 2 John 1:7; 2 John 1:9. The denial of the historical Christ, at once God and Man in one Person, as held and afterwards developed by the Gnostics into an anti-christian doctrine, partly with highly dangerous practical consequences.—Their denial may have had particular reference to the virtue of His sacrificial death and to His royal power over us, as His bondsmen.—[St. Peter, in inditing these words, doubtless felt deeply his own conduct in this respect, for notwithstanding the warning of Jesus, he denied Him thrice under the most painful circumstances. Matthew 26:70; Matthew 26:72.—M.] ταχινὴν ἀπώλειαν; ἀπώλεια, destruction, ruin in temporal and eternal death. This will be sudden, cf. 2 Peter 1:14; their end will be attended with terrors, Psalm 73:19. Destruction shall overtake them swiftly, 1 Thessalonians 5:3, just as the coming of Christ will be sudden.

2 Peter 2:2. And many shall follow after their licentiousnesses.—Cf. Matthew 24:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:17. Errors, particularly those which give free scope to the flesh, are very contagious. [For an account of the Gnostic false teachers see below under Doctrinal and Ethical, No4.—M.] ἀσελγείαις, licentiousnesses, dissolute habits, unclean living. We see from 2 Peter 2:19 that a false liberty [really libertinism.—M.] was the gospel of those false teachers. They confounded Christian liberty with unbridled license. The roots of the bold antinomian tendency, which we find in the second century among the Carpocratians and other Gnostics, descend to the middle of the first century. “The haughtiness of false spirituality and unbridled sensuality with them went hand-in-hand.” Gerlach. De Wette exhibits gross confusion in the remark that “αἱρέσεις being called here all of a sudden, ἀσέλγειαι, can only be explained from Judges 4.”

By reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.—δἰ οῦς; refer the relative to those who are seduced. The way of truth is an expression taken from the Old Testament, cf. Genesis 24:48; Psalm 139:24; Jeremiah 18:15; Amos 8:14. The right manner of worshipping and serving God. So Acts 19:9; Acts 19:23. As a way to a traveller such is true religion to us men. It is evil spoken of among the heathens and the worldly-minded [Bengel: “ab iis qui foris sunt, discrimen ignorantibus verorum et falsorum Christianorum.”—M.] who charge Christianity with the sins of false Christians. “They are wont to say: Look at the fruits of the Christian religion! The inference, although false, does harm, because it confirms those who draw it in their aversion to the truth and to Christ Himself.” Roos.—Peter in his first Epistle, 1 Peter 4:14, and Paul in Romans 2:24 (cf. James 2:7) allude to this evil speaking. [Oecumenius describes the Nicolaitans and Gnostics as most “unholy in their doctrines and most licentious in their lives.” Clem. Alex. states as a reason for his own writing, that false teachers, professing the name of Christians, and yet living shameless lives, have brought infamy (βλασφημίαν) upon the Christian name, even among the Gentiles, and that it was necessary to disabuse their minds of this illusion, and to vindicate the Gospel of Christ. See Wordsworth, who is very rich in illustrations on this subject.—M.]

2 Peter 2:3. And in covetousness with feigned words they will make merchandise of you.—ἐν πλεονεξία; not only the lust of money, but also the lust of honour and pleasure. Ἐν is significant and denotes that they were sunk and immersed in it.—Πλαστοῖς λόγοις, another expression characteristic of Peter, with speeches deceitfully conceived and invented [“speciously fashioned in fair forms so as to allure and deceive,” Wordsworth; Wetstein quotes Artemid1, 53, πλάσσειν δοκεῖ……ἀγαθὸν ῥήτορσι……καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς ἀπατεῶσι, διὰ τὸ τὰ μὴ ὅντα ὡς ὅντα δεικνύειν τὰς τέχνας ταύτας.—M. ] Cf. 2 Peter 1:16; Romans 16:18. Perhaps the reference is to fictitious stories of the life of Jesus and the Apostles.—Ἐμπορεύεσθαι, to trade ( James 4:13), to import goods, to traffic, to make gain of, to overreach, cheat, cf. Hosea 12:1; Proverbs 3:14; to deal in a thing, and to acquire a thing by traffic, is construed with the Accusative. Winer, p255, German ed, quotes from Josephus: ἐμπορ. τὴν ὥραν τὴν τοῦ σώματος, to trade in the beauty of the body; and from Philo: ἐνεπορεύετο τὴν λήθην τῶν δικαστῶν, he made profit of the forgetfulness of the judges. Hence Winer inclines to the rendering, “they will seek to get profit out of you, to make gain of you,” or as Dietlein puts it, “they will cheat you” (beschachern).—[The 6 th ed. of Winer, Engl. Transl, does not contain these quotations. Winer says plainly, p236, that the word here means, “make merchandise of you.”—M.] Gerlach: “They will sell you for coin the doctrines of their own inventing,” cf. 1 Timothy 6:5; Titus 1:11. The equally proven sense, “to cheat, to deceive,” seems to be most simple.

For whom judgment from of old lingereth not.—οἶς τὸ κρίμα ἔκπαλαι. De Wette thinks it necessary to connect κρίμα and ἔκπαλαι, as if it were the judgment from of old decreed and predicted ( [Alford renders “for whom the sentence from long since is not idle”—after Bengel: “non est otiosum,” who explains: i.e, “plane viget unum idemque est judicium super omnes peccantes, quod in animo Judicis sine intermissione agitatur dum erumpit: et in iis, qui puniti in Scriptura memorantur, ostenditur quid ceteros maneat; tametsi peccantes putant, illud cessare ipsique dormitant.”]

And whose destruction slumbereth not.—An original expression, peculiar to Peter. It is generally used only of men, as is shown in the passage from Plato cited by Huther: μηδὲν δεὶσθαι νυστάζοντος δικαστοῦ. Gerlach: “Punitive judgments live in God’s immutable decree and break forth at the appointed time, and the specific instances recorded in history teach us what is in store for all. God is awake as the Judges, while He seems to be sleeping; but they, the recreants, sleep the sleep of security, while they seem to be awake in undisturbed activity and work.” Hugo extends the expression to stings of conscience, which form already a part of hell, in Gerhard, p195.

2 Peter 2:4. For if God spared not the angels that had sinned.—Now follow three examples in illustration of ἔκπαλαι, which clearly exhibit the punitive justice alongside the saving justice of God.—εἰ γάρ. Winer, de Wette and al. assume here the existence of an anacoluthon; but the apodosis of the three pratases 1.—εἰ γάρ; 2. καὶ ἀρχ. κόσμ; 3. καὶ πόλεις.—M.] occurs at 2 Peter 2:9, although couched in more general terms than might have been expected, respect being had to the exhibition of Divine justice to the pious.

Spared not.—Bengel: “Severe judgment is announced upon those of whom we should have expected that they would be spared.” Complete the sentence thus: “If He did not spare those who stood higher and enjoyed greater dignity, much less will He spare the less.” [But in order to bring this out ἀγγέλων ἁμαρτησάντων should be rendered without the article, viz.: “For if God spared not angels having sinned,” then supply, “much less will He spare these false teachers.”—M.]

That had sinned.—In Judges 6, we have the addition, “who kept not their principality, but left their own habitation,” or according to Stier, “who left their original true dominion and dignity,” cf. John 8:44. Dietlein supposes on untenable grounds that 2 Peter 2:4-5 belong together, and that Peter therefore stands up as an authority that Genesis 6:2, refers not to the Sethites, but to angels; that he alludes more particularly to that last form of the development of sin when they entered into sexual relations with the daughters of men. As to Genesis 6:2 we are unable to abandon the view that it relates to the amalgamation of the Sethites and Cainites, cf. Luke 20:34-36. (Dettinger, Tübinger Zeitschrift, 1835, 1; Evangelische Kirchenzeitung, 1858, No29.)—ἁμαρτησ. ἀγγ. above, probably would never have been interpreted otherwise than as setting forth the first fall in the realm of spirits, unless the passage, Jude 67, had been believed to contain a reference to a πορνεία on the part of angels. But this view is founded on a false interpretation of τούτοις, which belongs not to the first mentioned angels, but clearly to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, hence the masculine τούτοις. So Keil. It, is alleged in the Evangelische Kirchenzeitung that ἐκπορν. is only used to describe that kind of incontinence which violates an existing bond, that Genesis 6 refers, to matrimony, while 2 Peter 2:3 discountenances altogether all reference to angels; that angels indeed denote sometimes fallen angels, 1 Corinthians 6:3 (against Stier); that Jude must not be interpreted by the book of Enoch, which, at the time when that Epistle was written, was perhaps not even extant (?). Hence the sinning on the part of angels in our passage can only be understood of the revolt of Satan and his associates, 1 John 3:8; 1 John 3:10. Kurtz, Delitzsch and al. interpret differently, while Keil (Lutherische Zeitschrift, 1855, 2), defends our view of Genesis 6:2 and 2 Peter 2:4, on weighty grounds. The angel interpretation is found in Justin, Athenagoras, Cyprian and al.; also in the Syrian Church; in the Hellenistic and Palestinian synagogue; the Sethite interpretation is held by writers of the Middle Ages, but also earlier by Julius Africanus, Ephrem the Syrian and al.; also by Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin.

But cast them in bonds of darkness into hell and committed them.—σειρά from εἴρειν, to tie, bind, wind(?), a cord, a rope, a band, a noose, not a chain. Judges 6 has instead, δεσμός, a bond, a band, a fetter. [But the most authentic reading (see Appar. Crit. on 2 Peter 2:4) is σειροῖς from σειρός=σίφος or σιῤῥός, σιρός, properly a cave where corn is stored (Demosth.); a pit, a wolf’s den; in that case render “dens of darkdess.” Cf. Alford and the Lexica.—M.]

Bonds of darkness.—The Book of Wisdom of Solomon 17:18, in connection with the plagues of Egypt, uses the following expression: “ἀλύσει σκότους ἐδέθησαν, they were bound with indissoluble (?) bonds of darkness.” As the bonds here are only a figure of the binding (?) power of darkness, so they are doubtless in our passage. Hence Bengel: “Darkness itself keeps them bound and is to them like a chain.” Jude 56 is more explicit: “he hath reserved them (bound) in everlasting chains under darkness.” In both passages ζόφος, profound, extreme darkness, is used for σκότος. Judges 13. gives both words to express the highest degree of darkness. Although these bonds must not be taken literally, the darkness must not be confined to the darkness of their wickedness, but should be taken to denote real darkness, and the custody in which they are kept, a real custody. But this custody of the evil angels, says Bengel, is as yet preliminary, and the servants of hell may still remain on earth, Luke 8:31; Ephesians 2:2; Acts 5:3; Acts 13:10; just as prisoners of war are sometimes permitted to go beyond the place of their confinement.—Ταρταρώσας, another term peculiar to Peter and not found in the LXX. Grotius rightly remarks that it denotes in Classic Greek to cast down into Tartarus, not to condemn to Tartarus. Nor does τάρταρος occur either in the N. T. or in the LXX.; the Greeks conceived it to be the lowest region of the earth, full of darkness and cold, not a region in the air, as Grotius, quoting Plutarch, supposes. So Tertullian, Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, Theodoret. It is=ἄβυσσος, while ᾅδης describes the abode of the dead in general, and γέεννα denotes the final place of punishment, the lake of fire, Revelation 20:10-14; Matthew 25:44, consequently the preliminary place of confinement and state of spirits, similar to what Sheol is for men. Huther connects παρέδωκε with σειραῖς; but the most simple construction is to connect ταρταρώσας with σειραῖς.

Being kept unto judgment.—Εἰς κρίσιν τηρουμένους belong together. A judgment has probably been passed upon them already, but the final judgment is still in store for them, cf. Matthew 8:29; Revelation 20:10; James 2:19. The Epistle of Jude amplifies “unto the judgment of the great day.”—Τηρουμένους, as criminals that are now reserved for judgment [from a present point of view.—M.] Winer, p358.—“They are as unable to work themselves out of their darkness as is a prisoner to extricate himself from his chains.”—Roos. But this author errs when he continues: “Just as the word prison, Job 36:13, and the term hell, 1 Samuel 2:6, do not describe a place, but a condition, so the term tartarize with reference to the apostate angels does not describe a being locked up in a bad place, but rather the translation to a bad condition. These angels, be they wherever they may, are in a tartaric condition.” The latter is true, but the abstraction, which precedes it, is not biblical.—Grotius sees in their being reserved a particular reference to their inability of going beyond the confines of the place assigned to them, and of doing any thing without permission. Stier calls attention to the deep irony which he detects in these words, whereby the Almighty holds those mighty ones up to derision, an irony of the initial judgment of their perverse doings. “They would not keep their first estate and appointed habitation, and for this they must now, in virtue of the new power exerted against them by the Creator, be sadly kept and held fast unto guilt and punishment in the state of sin of which they made deliberate choice.” This is perhaps too ingenious.

2 Peter 2:5. And spared not the old world, but preserved Noah, the eighth person, a herald of righteousness.—The second example, which is not given by Jude, is taken from the flood.

The old world, the world primeval. Dietlein: “Not absolutely the antediluvian race; it includes impersonal creation in so far as it surrounded that primordial race and being, as it were, its body, participated both in its corruption and punishment.”—Ὄγδοον Νῶε. As the Apostle in 1 Peter 3:20, attaches importance to the small number of the saved, so he does here in the case of Noah and his wife, three sons and their three wives; cf. on this use of the ordinal, Winer, p263. “The eight souls are contrasted with the most numerous world of the ungodly.”—Bengel. Among the Patriarchs Noah is the tenth. There is here consequently no room for a prophetico-symbolical reference. The allusion is plainly to the small number of the saved at all times. [Wordsworth: “Seven is the number of completion and rest, the Sabbatical number: and in Enoch—the seventh from Adam—who walked with God, and did not die, but was translated from the turmoil of this world to a heavenly rest, and taken up to God, there appears to be a figurative adumbration of the Sabbath of heavenly rest, which remaineth to the people of God, Hebrews 4:9.” Wordsworth has this note with reference to Judges 1:14 : “Enoch, the seventh from Adam,” and thinks that Peter not only calls attention to the fact that Noah was saved with seven others, but that it places him as it were at the highest point of the climax.—M.]

Herald, preacher of righteousness.—He stood up against the world, denounced its unrighteousness and corruption, and exhorted it to repentance and conversion. Διακοσύνη. Huther: “Here not=righteousness of faith, but in the Old Testament sense=piety exhibited in obedience to the will of God.” [Alford: The fact that Noah was thus a preacher of (moral) righteousness to the depravity of his age, is found alluded to in Joseph. Antiq., I, 31,—Ὁ Νώεος δὲ, τοἳς πραττομένοις ὑπ̓ αὐτῶν δυσχεραίνων καὶ τοῖς βουλεύμασιν ἀηδως ἔχων, ἔπειθεν ἐπὶ τὸ κρεῖττον αὐτοὺς τὴν διάνοιαν καὶ τὰς πράξεις μεταφέρειν. Bereschith Rabba, XXX:6, in Wetstein: “κῆρυξ generationis diluvii, id Esther, Noachus.”—M.]

Bringing the flood upon the world of the ungodly.—κατακλυσμόν from κατακλύζω, the deluge, confluence of the seas, cf 2 Peter 6. מַבּוּל Genesis 6:17.—Ἐπάξας, that which here is referred to the operation of God, is described in 2 Peter 2:1, as the guilt of man. The two should go together. [Human depravity the cause of Divine punishment.—M.]

2 Peter 2:6. And burning to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.—The third example is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, cf. Judges 7.—Τεφροῦν from τέφρα, to burn to ashes.—Καταστροφῇ κατέκρινεν. Dietlein and al. translate: “He condemned them actually by overthrow;” but we prefer rendering with de Wette, Huther and al.: “He condemned them to overthrow,” like κατακρίνειν θανατῷ, Matthew 20:18; Mark 10:33.—Καταστροφή, cf. Genesis 19:29, LXX. 2 Timothy 2:14; Jude amplifies, see 2 Peter 2:7.—Ὑπόδειγμα τεθεικώς=παράδειγμα: Jude has δεῖγμα, proof, figure, example, similitude, by which something is shown, cf. James 5:10; Hebrews 4:11; Hebrews 8:5; John 13:15.—Dietlein strangely accounts for the use of the word by Peter’s preference for ὑπό. The Perfect is very emphatic, being usually employed to denote an action completed, conceived as continuing in its effects, cf. Winer, p286. Bengel: “It was an irrefragable monument of God and of the Divine judgment.”—Peter probably alludes here to 3 Maccabees 2:5.

2 Peter 2:7. And delivered righteous Lot, etc.—Καταπονούμενον, cf. Acts 7:24, καταπονέω to wear down or tire out, to oppress, to harass beyond bearing (Alf.). Connect with ὑπὸ τῆς—ἀναστροφῆς. Others join ὑπὸ with ἐῤῥύσατο, rendering “out of the power of the bad conversation, under the influence of which he had been left,” cf. Winer, p386.—Ἐν ἀσελγείᾳ ἀναστροφή, cf. 1 Peter 1:17.—Ἂθεσμος from θεσμός, a lawless, abandoned Prayer of Manasseh, an antinomian; Bengel: “One who sins against nature;” Gerhard: “One who cares neither for right nor law.” Only here and eh. 2 Peter 3:17.

2 Peter 2:8. For seeing and hearing the righteous man, etc.—Parenthetical explanation of καταπονούμενον. Instead of the lawless tormenting his soul, it was Hebrews, the righteous Prayer of Manasseh, who tormenting his righteous soul.—Βλέμματι καὶ ἀκοῇ belong to ἐβασάνιζεν. Wherever he turned and saw and heard, his soul was distressed at the wickedness that surrounded him. The sense here is similar to John 11:33, where it is said of Jesus that He ἐτάραξεν ἑαυτόν. Dietlein: “Pain at one’s own sin and at sin in general must not only be felt, but it must be a pain effected by the soul itself by reason of its turning to God.”—Καταπονούμενον denotes the passive side of the pain. Bede connects δίκαιος with βλέμματι καὶ ἀκοῇ, and renders, “righteous because he did not suffer himself to be seduced by seeing and hearing.”—Ἀνόμοις ἔργοις denotes the object of his distress.

2 Peter 2:9. The Lord knoweth, etc.—The apodosis is expressed in terms which apply the preceding examples not only to the lawless, but also to the pious.—Οἷδε. Knowledge and power combined. Κύριος, God the Father, according to 2 Peter 2:4.—εὐσεβεῖς, those who like Noah and Lot walk in faith in the living God.

Out of temptation, cf. 1 Peter 1:6; 1 Peter 4:12; Matthew 6:13; Matthew 26:41; Luke 8:13; Acts 20:19; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Timothy 6:9; Hebrews 3:8; James 1:2; Revelation 3:10.—To deliver (rescue,) cf. Jeremiah 39:11; Jeremiah 39:18; Jeremiah 45:5; Exodus 18:10.—Κολαζομένους τηρεῖν.—Some take κολ. as Future, but Winer remarks that this is unnecessary, because the idea of the Future is already implied in τηρεὶν εἰς ἠμέραν; and the Present seems to have been chosen intentionally in order to show that their punishment has already begun before the last judgment, cf. 2 Peter 2:4.

2 Peter 2:10. But chiefly those who go after the flesh.—Jude 2 Peter 2:7, applies to the cities of the plain that which here is affirmed of the false teachers, viz, “Πόλεις…. ἐκπορνεύσασαι καὶ ἀπελθοῦσαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας. Then in 2 Peter 2:8 it is said of the false teachers, that “likewise these…. defile the flesh.” The comparison of the two passages will show that Jude amplifies and explains more fully than is the case in our passage. Stier interprets ἐκπορνεύειν with reference to the next following expression, as=excess of debauchery, to commit fornication out of all rule and order, beyond the limits of nattire.—Ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας, besides the horrors of sensuality, mentioned in Genesis 19:5, and Romans 1:27, refers evidently to the terrible sins of Sodom, which are enumerated in Leviticus 18:22-24 among the horrors of the Canaanite heathen.—Our passage, on the other hand, is kept more in general; they seek their pasture in the flesh, in all manner of sensuality, they go in their infamous lust after every flesh.

In lust of defilement.—Ἐπιθυμίᾳ μιασμοῦ, not as Dietlein contends, “in lust, which is defilement,” nor like Huther, “in lust after impure, polluting enjoyment,” for where does μιασμός signify “polluting enjoyment?” It denotes defilement, stain, intercourse; connect it with the lust of concupiscence, 1 Thessalonians 4:5; cf. Romans 1:24-27; Ephesians 4:18-19. Μιασμός also peculiar to Peter, and found only here in the New Testament. The description of these erroneous teachers reminds us of the Balaamites and Nicolaitanes in Revelation 2:14-15; Revelation 2:20; Revelation 2:24, in whom we recognize a stem of the fourfold Gnosticism of the second century. The circumstance that Peter now passes from the Future ἔσονται, 2 Peter 2:1, to the Present, must not be turned with de Wette into a reason for suspecting the genuineness of this Epistle. It may be accounted for in part by the Apostle’s prophetically exalted frame of mind, for his fiery language shows him throughout as a φερόμενος ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου (cf. 2 Peter 1:21,) and in part by the fact that the beginnings of those melancholy phenomena were already stirring. A forger of that capacity, which the Epistle presupposes, would have consistently adhered to the position he had taken at 2 Peter 2:1.

And despise lordship.—The first mark of those false teachers was the denial of Christ, 2 Peter 2:1; the second, covetousness, 2 Peter 2:3; the third, unbridled sensuality, 2 Peter 2:10; the last, arrogant despising of lordship. Κυριότητος καταφρονοῦντας. Judges 8 has κυριότητα ἀθετοῦσι, which goes further than καταφρ., and is its consequence. Κυριότητα should be taken in a general sense; every and any lordship, whatever shall be and shall be called Lord, all Divine and human authority. So Stier. The word must not be limited to the dignity of Christ’s lordship, because that had already been referred to 2 Peter 2:1. Dietlein applies it to Divine and superhuman powers, cf. Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16; Colossians 2:18; Calvin, to earthly governments; Huther understands it of the Divine Being, because all power and authority repose in It; while with reference to the book of Enoch he explains δόξαι of the halo of glory surrounding the Being of God.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. We must not believe that those false teachers passed theoretically from the denial of Christ’s redeeming grace and lordship to their moral libertinism and sensual enormities; the usual psychological course is rather that the heart is first corrupted, that the will is sold to sin, and that then the understanding becomes darkened.

2. The account of the angels given in 2 Peter 2:4 falls in with what the Bible teaches concerning angels in general, and must not excite in us the suspicion that it is apocryphal. It is doubtless founded on special revelations.

3. It is remarkable that anti-Christian phenomena, similar to those which threatened to overthrow the foundation of the Church in the beginning, spring up in our time. Stier refers more particularly to the rapidly spreading, fearful doctrines of the liberty of the flesh, and to the sins darkly skulking among the ungodly men of our time, especially to self-abuse.

4. [The principal heresies which sprung up in the Apostolical age, and developed themselves before the close of the first century, were:

1. Simonianism, or the opinions held by followers of Simon Magus, who taught that the three Persons of the Trinity were only three revelations of the same Person, and that Simon was the great power which emanated from the invisible God. Neander thinks it possible that the words of which Simon made use are contained in the apocryphal writings of the Simonians; see Jerome’s Comm. on Matthew, 24 : “Ego sum sermo Dei ( λόγος), ego sum speciosus, ego paracletus.”

2. Docetism, or the doctrine of the Docetæ, who denied the reality of the human body of Christ, of His crucifixion, resurrection and ascent to heaven.

3. The doctrine of the Nicolaitans, who were noted for their licentiousnesses.

4. Ebionism, or the heresy of the Ebionites, who denied the Divinity of Christ, and maintained that He was a mere Prayer of Manasseh, descended from Joseph and Mary.

5. The doctrine of the Cerinthians; who separated Jesus from Christ, and asserted that Christ descended from the Father into the person of Jesus at His baptism, in the form of a dove, preached during His ministry and worked miracles, that at the end of His ministry Christ flew away from Jesus, and did not suffer death, and that only the man Jesus was crucified.

These all “denied the Lord that bought them.”—M.]

5. [The following note of Wordsworth on evil angels embodies much valuable information. He says: This passage and the parallel in St. Judges 6, are two important texts on the present condition and future destiny of evil angels, and, consequently, of those persons who yield to their solicitations (cf. Matthew 25:41); these two texts declared:

1. That some angels sinned, and, as a penalty for their sin, were cast out of their original habitation; and,

2. That they have been committed in custody to chains of darkness; and that they are now being kept in them, and they there endure some punishment.

3. That they there remain even to the end of the world, and are reserved there for the judgment of the great day.

This appears also from the language of the devils themselves to Christ: “Art thou come to torment us before the season (καιροῦ) of judgment?” See Matthew 8:29; Luke 8:31.

It is also evident from our Lord’s words, describing the transactions of the great day. He there pre-announces that He will then say to them on the left hand, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, that hath been prepared for the devil and his angels.” They are, therefore, not yet cast into it.

It is also further apparent from the Apocalypse, revealing the casting of the devil into the lake of fire, as an event which has not taken place, but is yet future, Revelation 20:10.

4. Comparing also these texts with other portions of Holy Scripture ( 1 Peter 5:8), where the devil is compared to a roaring lion walking about, seeking whom he may devour; and ( Revelation 20:7), where Satan is described as loosed; and with the clear assertions of the Apostolic writings, describing his present liberty, energy, and influence, and designating him as “the prince of the power of the air” (ἀέρος, not αἰθέρος, Ephesians 2:2), and as “the god of this world” ( 2 Corinthians 4:4), we must conclude, that the chains of darkness, of which the Apostles St. Peter and St. Jude speak, and to which Satan and his associates are now confined, and in which they will be kept even till the day of judgment, are of such power as to restrain them from ever recovering their place in the regions of light; but not such as to prevent them from exercising great power over those persons in the lower world who allow themselves “to be taken captive by them at their will.” See Wordsw. on Ephesians 2:2, and Revelation 20:1-8.

The book of Enoch in like manner describes the evil angels as chained under the earth, till the day of judgment, when they will be cast into the lake of fire. See there Enoch5:16; 10:6; 14:4; 21:6; 22:4. Huther, p205. Cf, also, the Catena here, p91, where we read, that “at the end of the world, Christ will condemn to severer punishment those evil angels whom He has already shut up (in the abyss), and this He will do by casting them into everlasting fire.” And Bede says here: “The apostate angels are yet to be condemned to the penalties of the final judgment; for although they have already received the nether regions of the murky air as a prison house, which, when compared with the bright glories of heaven, where they once dwelt, may be called an inferno, yet there is a deeper gulf below, which awaits them.”

Accordingly, Jerome (in Ephesians 6) delivers it as the opinion of all the doctors of the Church, that “the devils have now their abode in the space between heaven and earth.” And Augustine (de Civ, Dei, 8, 22) says, “that the devils dwell in this nether air, and being cast down from heaven for their sin, they are here pre-condemned as in a prison, suitable to their sin.” And it is asserted as an article of the Catholic faith by Irenæus (1, 2), that “Jesus Christ will come again hereafter, to raise all bodies, and to judge all men, and to cast the rebel angels into everlasting fire.” Justin Martyr, Origen, in Numbers, cap. 22, Irenæus (5, 26), and Eusebius (4, 17), were of opinion “that the devils never openly blasphemed God before the publication of the Gospel, because they did not know till then what their future punishment would be,” which opinion, whether true or no, shows that those ancient writers did not imagine that the devil has, as yet, been cast into hell. See the discourse of Joseph Mede; Works, p25, Disc. 5.—M.]

6. [The Gnostic teachers, says Wordsworth, despised and annulled κυριότητα, or lordship, in various ways:

1. With regard to God the Father, the Κύριος Κυρίω, Lord of Lords. Tillemont (2, pp17, 23), “all who took the name of Gnostics distinguished the Creator of the world from the God who reveals Himself by His Son; thus they made two gods,” i.e., they despised lordship by their dualism.

2. With regard to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Ebionites, as we have seen above, regarded Jesus as a mere man; the Cerinthians separated Jesus from Christ, and denied the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, by which He had acquired universal lordship over the Church and the world; they also invoked other mediators in place of Christ. They denied the Lord that bought them, and would not call Him Lord (Iren1,1.).

3. With regard to earthly rules, by affirming themselves to be free to do all things, and to be exempt from all civil restraints. See more in Wordsworth, from whom this note is taken in a condensed form.—M.]

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The history of the Divine judgments an earnest monitor for all times.—The great comfort of the doctrine of universal redemption,—It is not enough that we teach sound doctrine, we must also denounce false teachers.—The rise of false teachers among the people of God is a historical necessity, 1 Corinthians 11:19; Matthew 7:15.—In how many different ways may Christ be denied?—Which is the greatest gain?

Chrysostom:—“We admire Abraham, Lot and Moses, because they shone like bright stars in the darkness of night, because they were as roses among thorns, and as sheep among countless wolves.”

The pious are distressed at the wickedness of the godless, 1. because it sullies the glory of God; 2. because it shows that they are tyrannized by Satan; 3. because it conduces to their condemnation.

Gerhard:—“The pious are not preserved from every distress and affliction, but they are rescued from them, so that the help of God is so much the more manifest. Thus it fared with Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, Daniel and the three men in the furnace.”

Starke:—Try the spirits whether they are of God, 1 John 4:1. Although they wear a rough garment ( Zechariah 13:4), ye shall know them by their fruits, and shall not take up with their party.—God has no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked, Ezekiel 23:11.—No wonder that the many take the broad way that leadeth to condemnation, because they find in it so many things which are agreeable to the flesh.—A false and godless teacher is apt to have more followers than a true and godly teacher, but his condemnation also will be so much the greater, because he draws many people into his own destruction, Acts 5:36-37.—To delay is not to annul [German proverb: Aufgeschoben ist nicht aufgehoben.—M.]. God is long-suffering; He forbears long, but His punishment is terrible. O! Prayer of Manasseh, may His long-suffering lead thee to repentance, Romans 2:4.—The devils are condemned, but their full judgment, without any hope of redemption, is yet future, Matthew 8:29.—Let us walk in the light, if we would escape the darkness of hell, 1 John 1:7.—God has His elect and pious ones among the great multitude of the ungodly, whom He can and will miraculously preserve from universal punishment, Malachi 3:17.—No country is so fertile, no city so beautiful, glorious and rich, but that they may be laid waste and destroyed, if their sins multiply.—God has many ways of saving His people: one way is His preserving them from communion with evil, and His strengthening them spiritually to endure evil with patience, 2 Corinthians 1:6.—Should not the sincere servants of God be pained and grieved, if their teaching, prayers and exhortations notwithstanding, it fares ill with their congregations? Woe to you, over whom they sigh! their sighs will rest heavily on you, Jeremiah 13:17.—The sufferings of believers are only temporal; their redemption is at the door, 2 Corinthians 1:9-10. If not before, a happy death is sure to bring perfect redemption, Psalm 73:17; Psalm 73:19.—As there are degrees among believers, and as some excel others in spiritual gifts, and as they will be distinguished in glory, so there is also a difference in point of sin and punishment among the ungodly. Some excel others in wickedness; so the punishment of some will excel that of others, Hebrews 10:29.

Lisco:—The enemies of the citizens of the kingdom.

Roos:—If the kingdom of God cometh with power, the power of darkness is also astir. False teachers should stir up and incite the children of light diligently to search for the truth, and instantly and believingly to pray God for more enlightenment.

[ 2 Peter 2:4. Critici Sacr. Thes., 2, 789, “De malorum angelorum Ταρταρώσει.”

2 Peter 2:9. South, Three sermons, Works, vol6, pp121, 169, 209.

1. Deliverance from temptation, the privilege of the righteous.

2. Cause of the deliverance of the pious out of temptation.

3. Deliverance from temptation, why to be reputed a great mercy.—M.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - οἵτινες of a class, not simply identifying the individuals. Alford.—M.]

FN#2 - παρεισάξουσιν, to bring in by the side of (παρὰ), introduce surreptitiously.—M.]

FN#3 - αἱρέσεις, heresies, i. e., self-chosen doctrines repugnant to the truth.—M.]

FN#4 - Both ἀρνούμενοι and ἐπάγοντες are to be connected with παρεισάξουσιν. They are not, however, co-ordinate to each other; as ἐπάγοντες must be annexed to the clause οἵτινεςἀρνούμενοι, Winer, p368.—M.]

[German: But there arose also false prophets among the people.… who privily shall bring in self-chosen doctrines of destruction, and deniers of the Master who bought them, people that bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Translate: But there were.… heresies of destruction and denying ….—M.]

FN#5 - ἀσελγείαις, A. B. C. K. L. Cod. Sin, ἀσελγίαις. Rec, ἀπωλείαις.—M.]

FN#6 - A, Cod. Sin. (?) read δόξα for ὁδὸς.—M.]

[German:.… their licentiousness.…—M.]

FN#7 - Cod. Sin, ἐκπορ. (**ἐνπορ.).—M.]

FN#8 - ἔκπαλαι, ex olim, Bengel.—M.]

[German: And snared in covetousness.… deceive you.

Translate: And in covetousness.… make merchandise of you.…—M.]

FN#9 - σειροῖς, A. B. C. Cod. Sin.: σιροῖς ζόφοις (**ζόφου); Rec, al, σειραῖς.—M.]

FN#10 - Rec, al, τετηρημένους; A. C. **al,κολαζομένους τηρεῖν; Cod. Sin, κολαζομένους τηρῖν. B, (Mai) C.* K. L, Alford. “The readings are in great confusion from the combined influence of Jude and 2 Peter 2:9 below.” Alford.—M.]

Dietlein prefers the reading, τετηρημένους=those which once should have been reserved? Lachmann: κολαζομένους τηρεῖν.

[German:.… but cast them in bonds of darkness into hell, and committed them, in order to be reserved unto the final judgment.—M.]

[German:.… and preserved only Noah.… the herald of righteousness.

Translate:. … but preserved Noah, preacher of. …—M.]

[German:.… condemned them to overthrow, laying down an example of warning for those.… Translate:.… laying down an example of those.—M.]

FN#11 - ἐῤῥύσατο, Rec, A. B. * * C, al. ἐρύσατο, B. *, Alford.—M.]

FN#12 - τῆς ἐν ἀσελγείᾳ ἀναστροφῆς—one idea. Behaviour in licentiousness=licentious behaviour.—M.]

[German:.…. righteous Lot.… of the lawless.—M.]

[German: For in seeing and hearing.… distressed his righteous soul at (on account of) their immoral deeds.—M.]

FN#13 - πειρασμῶν, Cod. Sin. (*).—M.]

FN#14 - ἀδίκ. δὲ πεφυλασκισμένους (** improb. πεφ.) εἰς. Cod. Sin.—M.]

[German:.… in lust of defilement, and despise government.—M.]


Verses 11-22

2 Peter 2:10-22 (10b-22)

Analysis:—Further description of the false teachers; their radical corruptness and daring scoffing; their perilous state.

10bPresumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities,[FN15] 11Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation 12 against them before the Lord.[FN16] But these,[FN17] as natural brute beasts[FN18] made[FN19] to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not;[FN20] and shall utterly perish[FN21] in their own corruption: 13And shall receive[FN22] the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot[FN23] in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings[FN24] while they feast with you;[FN25] 14Having eyes full of adultery,[FN26] and that cannot cease from sin;[FN27] beguiling unstable souls: a heart they have exercised with covetous practices;[FN28] cursed children:[FN29] 15Which have forsaken the[FN30] right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor,[FN31] who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s[FN32] voice forbade the madness of the prophet 17 These are wells without water, clouds[FN33] that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.[FN34] 18For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean[FN35] escaped from them who live in error 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same[FN36] is he brought in bondage 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord[FN37] and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning 21 For it had been better[FN38] for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from[FN39] the holy commandment 22 delivered unto them. But[FN40] 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.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

2 Peter 2:10 b. 11. Darers, self-willed, etc.—τολμηταί.—Here begins a new section. Peter anticipates the future here, as well as in the first Epistle. Before his prophetic eye, the false teachers, who were afterwards to arise, appear as already present. This word, peculiar to Peter, denotes bold, daring, audacious, or insolent men. [The word occurs only here, but is found in Joseph, B. III:10, 12, and Thucid, I:70; in the latter passage, the Corinthians describe the Athenians as καὶ παρὰ δύναμιν τολμηταί, καὶ παρα̇ γνώμην κινδυνευταί.—M.]

Αὐθάδεις from αὐτός and ἀδέω, self-willed, presumptuous persons, Titus 1:7.—Βλασφημοῦντες, on the Participle, see Winer, pp357–372.—Δόξας, not: glorious attributes of God, but angelic powers, majesties, as is evident from the next verse and the Epistle of Jude. The reference is doubtless to the angels Surrounding the throne of the Most High, cf. Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16.

[Wordsworth:—What are δόξας or glories here? Doubtless the word δόξα is chosen, as the word κυριότις before, for its large and general import. It signifies,—

1. The, μεγαλοπρεπὴς δόξα, the excellent glory, the Divine Shechina of the Godhead itself, 2 Peter 1:17.

2. The glory of the Incarnate Word, John 1:14; James 2:1.

3. The glory of the Holy Ghost.

The false teachers blasphemed the glory of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, by disparaging the Creator and Redeemer, and by ascribing the work of the Divine Sanctifier to their own magical arts, and by calumniating the prophecies of Holy Scripture, given by His inspiration.

4. They denied the resurrection of the flesh, and thus they derogated from the future glories of Christ, when He “will come in His glory ( Matthew 25:31) and in the glory of His Father” ( Matthew 16:27), and when “He will be glorified in His saints” ( 2 Thessalonians 1:10); and in “their glorious bodies, fashioned to be like unto His glorious body,” Philippians 3:21. See 1 Peter 1:11, the only other passage in N. T, beside Judges 8, where δὸξα is found in the Plural, as here.

5. They spake evil of the glory of the holy angels. The Simonians represented them as the offspring of Simon Magus, who “was glorified by many as God.” See Catena here, p93, where it is truly said, “Peter here refers to the Simonians, who blended licentiousness with ungodliness,” and they traduced the holy angels as rebels against God; See Iren, I, 23, 1. And the successor of Simon Magus, Menander, called himself the Saviour, and affirmed that he could impart knowledge greater than that of the angels, Iren, I, 23, 5.

6. They spake evil of earthly dignities, which are images and glories of God’s majesty ( Romans 13:1-3), and are even called gods ( Psalm 82:6), as man himself Isaiah, in his headship over woman, 1 Corinthians 11:7.

7. They spake evil of the glories of the natural world ( 1 Corinthians 15:40), ascribing their creation to the operation of the Demiurge, hostile to the Supreme God.—M.]

Dietlein applies it both to the Divine dignity of Christ and to the angels, and afterwards adds that even Satan is included among the glories that are evil spoken of. Stier, with most modern commentators, explains: “The angels, although greater in strength and might, do not pass before the Lord a railing sentence on the majesties; they know and perhaps announce the judgment, but leave it in humility to the one Lord, aware that they, as well as the evil powers, are before His face; any other word of self-willed abuse appears to them as a railing of those who are as yet spared the executive judgment, and really as a railing of the power and long-suffering of God, and therefore they abstain therefrom.” He agrees with Gerlach, who says: “Even if the Lord in His own presence charges them with the execution of the (preliminary) sentence on such high (evil) spirits, they do not utter it in the form of self-willed railing.” But this interpretation is not without grave objections1 Δόξαι are made to denote angelic and demoniac powers; since, according to this view, κατ’ αὐτῶν is referred to evil spirits, logical consistency requires that δόξας also be referred to them. But is it probable that these are called δόξαι, glories? This reminds one of lucus a non lucendo. The railing is to consist in saying that they are only phantoms and superstitious ideas. This would be denial, not railing2. The reference in 2 Peter 2:4, with which our passage is connected, being to evil angels, it would be very surprising to have in 2 Peter 2:11 an abrupt reference to good angels. The qualifying μείζονες applies much better to evil angels than to good ones, to whom it belongs as a matter of course, and its application to them would be rather weak. Moreover, ἄγγελοι here answer to the τολμηταί of the preceding verse, and we have, therefore, to assume a similar disposition in these3. φέρειν κρίσιν, 2 Peter 2:11, is said to mean “to pass a sentence”; but it will be difficult to verify this rendering, although ἐπιφέρειν is used in the Epistle of Judges, 4. But would that be a railing judgment, a railing decision in the same sense, in which the false teachers pass it, if the good angels were to give a true, although a harsh judgment of the evil angels? For βλασφημεῖν means to defame one, to speak evil of one, contrary to the truth5. Οὐ φέρουσι is evidently related to οὐ τρέμουσι, and this relation would be entirely effaced if φέρειν were rendered to pass (judgment). These reasons could be overlooked only because it was thought necessary to expound this passage by the parallel passage in Jude. But this changes the true point of view. We must endeavour to explain our passage independently of that in Jude, and this leads to the result that the angels are evil angels, that φέρειν means to bear (Luther), and βλάσφημου κρίσιν=βλασφημίας κρίσιν, cf. Judges 9, the judgment on their railing at God. The sense is as follows: “The wrath of God and the judgment which God passes on them in judgment of their railing, are unbearable to the evil angels, who have stronger shoulders than those false teachers, how much more then ought these to tremble at blaspheming the angelic majesties, cf. 2 Peter 2:4.” It is not known to us what those blasphemings were. It is evident from ἐν οἶς ἀγνοοῦσι, 2 Peter 2:12, that the reference could not have been to terrestrial majesties, governments and princes.—Ὅπου=cum, where, whereas, 1 Corinthians 3:3.—κατ’ αὐτῶν=καθ’ ἑαυτῶν.—Παρὰ κυρίῳ, before the Lord, in the face of the Lord, or from the Lord, with Him the Judges, cf. Acts 26:8; 1 Peter 2:20; Winer, p413. De Wette’s remark that the sense in our passage is incoherent is superficial and unjust.

2 Peter 2:12. But these, as irrational animals, etc.—ἄλογα.—Evil angels know and feel the wrath of God; those false teachers are inferior to them, they are like animals that know nothing of a higher world. They are φυσικά, they belong altogether to the sphere of nature; it is as if they had no soul and still less a spirit. They are not led by reason, but only by their natural appetites, cf. Psalm 49:13, 21; Psalm 141:10. Some take φυσικά for φυσικῶς.—[Bede here excellently remarks that there is a resemblance between these false teachers and brute beasts, in that both are led by their fleshly appetites to fall into snares and destruction. Cf. Bava Mezia, quoted by Wetstein, p 2 Peter706: Quidam vitulus, cum ad mactandum adduceretur, R. Judam accessit, caputgue in ejus gremium reponens flevit. Sed ille, abi, inquit, in hunc finem creatus es.—M.]

Γεγεννημένα.—This is their natural destination, for this purpose they are created, i. e., to be caught by men, and to be killed for their use. Εἰς ἅλωσιν καὶ φθορὰν, both to be taken passively, not actively.—“Peter may be supposed to allude to their falling as prisoners into the hands of the government, and their suffering punishment according to human laws.” Roos. Ἐν οἶς ἀγνοοῦσι βλασφημοῦντες, attraction for ἐν ἐκείνοις ἀγνοοῦσι, like חֵרֵף בְּ, 2 Samuel 23:9, קְלֵּל בְּ, Isaiah 8:21, Winer, p651. Dietlein sees in ἐν τούτοις the sphere in which the railing takes place, cf. 1 Peter 2:12. Therein lies the ground of their perishing, that which constitutes their guilt and distinguishes them from brute beasts.—Ἐν τῇ φθορᾷφθαρήσονται. Φθορά is inward, moral corruption and the spiritual death to which it leads, cf. 2 Peter 1:4. The verb denotes outward destruction and future condemnation.—Their outward destruction here is still followed by retribution hereafter, the reward of their unrighteousness.

2 Peter 2:13. Receiving the reward of unrighteousness.—Κομιούμενοι, cf. 1 Peter 1:9. The participial sentences which follow must not be connected with ἐπλανήθησαν, which does not contain the leading thought of this paragraph, but they belong to what precedes and explain the unrighteousness of those false teachers, which unrighteousness should be taken in a general sense (cf. Luke 13:27; Romans 1:18). Some of these participles are subordinate to the preceding ones, e. g., εὐωχούμενοι, but most of them are coördinate.

Deeming revelling in the daytime their highest pleasure.—Ἡδονὴν ἡγούμενοι.—They know no other pleasure than τρυφή, rendered by the Syriac, deliciæ, voluptuousness, revelling, luxurious living.—Τὴν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ. Oecumenius=καθ’ ἡμέραν, [The Gnostics were renowned for such excesses. Jerome (adv. Lucif., p53) says, tunc Nicolaus diu nocthque nuptias facens obscoenas, etc.; and Epiphanius, haer., 25, gives one of their maxims, “that a man had no hope of everlasting life, ἐαν μὴ καθ’ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν λαγνεύῃ.”—M.]

They are full of spots and blemishes, revelling in their deceits, while they feast with you.—Σπὶλοι, in Judges 12 σπιλάδες, from σπιλόω, to stain, to soil. Both are identical in point of meaning, only the one is an adjective, the other a substantive. Stains, spots on garments, or in the face, moral stain.—Μῶμος= blame, disgrace [disfigurements, causing shame. Alford.—M], peculiar to Peter. They are people full of spots and disgrace, who stain the body of Christ and themselves, Deuteronomy 32:5. The two words must not be connected with ἐντρυφῶντες, as de Wette maintains, but they stand by themselves.—Ἐντρυφῶντες ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὑτῶν, they revel in the gain of their deceits. The abstr. pro concreto. [A good sense may be obtained if the reading ἀγάπαις, cf. Judges 12, be retained. They called their gatherings ἀγάπαι, love-feasts, but they were occasions of revelry.—If ἀπάταις be retained, the remark of Windischmann (Vind. Petr., p45) will be found useful: “St. Peter would not call these heretical feasts by an honourable name (ἀγάπας), but styles them ἀπάτας, and describes their true character by adding the word ἐντρυφῶντες.” There is also a similar paranomasia or play on the words ἀπάτη and ἀγάπη in 2 Thessalonians 2:10.—M.]—Συνευωχούμενοι from εὐωχία, ἔχω, ὀχή and εὐ, explained by Pollux, of public banquets.

2 Peter 2:14. Having eyes full of an adulteress, etc.—Dietlein has the curious notion that the allusion is to some female member of a house into which they had crept, who had already become the victim of their seduction. Μοιχαλίδος is more pregnant than the reading ὀφθαλμοὺς μεστοὺς μοιχαλίας, which evidently originated with later transcribers. Hornejus explains it well: “adulteresses dwell, as it were, in their eyes.” But this does not yet account for the Singular. Respect is probably had to the harlot in Proverbs 2:16; Proverbs 6:24. Ἀκαταπαύστος connected with ὀφθαλμοὺς: full of ungratified lust of sin, insatiable in it. Another most pregnant term, peculiar to Peter, cf. 1 Peter 4:1. Lustfulness is reflected in their eyes.

Luring unstable souls—children of malediction.—Δελεάζοντες from δέλεαρ, a bait to allure and attract with a bait, as does a fowler to catch birds, or a fisherman to catch fish, [Wordsworth: “A word twice used in this Epistle, see 2 Peter 2:18; and a metaphor likely to occur to St. Peter, the fisherman of Galilee, to whom our Lord said, Matthew 17:27, βάλε ἄγκιστρον, cast a hook.”—M.]

Ἀστηρίκτους, cf. 2 Peter 3:16, a peculiar expression, explained by Jerome thus: “Souls which are not yet strong through the love of Christ,” and therefore easily turn hither and thither.—Γε̇γυμνασμέυην, practised, exercised, schooled.—Πλεονεξίαις, covetousness in its various kinds and forms, cf. 1 Peter 2:1; 2 Peter 2:3, especially also the lust of honour and enjoyment. Erasmus interprets it by rapinae.—Children of malediction, according to the Hebraism=persons devoted to and worthy of the curse, cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 : Psalm 109:17, etc. Calov: “From the throat he passes to the eyes, the tongue, the heart, and the life.”

2 Peter 2:15. Having forsaken the right way they are gone astray.—Gerhard gives the following connection: “He illustrates the covetousness of the false teachers by the example of Balaam, who once, by his love of lucre, suffered himself to be beguiled into cursing the people of Israel, cf. Judges 11.” Another point of comparison, which is not made prominent here, is the commingling of the Divine and the worldly, hypocrisy and allurement to harlotry, Numbers 25:1. etc; Numbers 31:16; Revelation 2:14.—Τὴν εὐθεῖαν ὁδὸν. This is the way of revealed truth, 2 Peter 2:2; of righteousness, 2 Peter 2:15. It is called sometimes the way of the Lord, Genesis 18:19; Judges 2:22; Acts 18:25; the way of peace, Isaiah 59:8; Romans 3:17, the way of Wisdom of Solomon, Proverbs 4:11, the way of life, Proverbs 10:17; the way of salvation, Acts 16:17.—They were consequently persons who at one time had taken the right way, but had now backslidden.—Πλανᾶσθαι, to go astray, to err, take a wrong way, a figure denoting the various by-roads into which they get, and the uncertainty which attends their aberration, cf. Matthew 24:5; John 7:12; 2 Timothy 3:13.

Following after the way of Balaam, etc.—Ἐξακολουθήσαντες, [See Bp. Butler’s Sermon “Upon the character of Balaam.”—M.]

2 Peter 2:16. But was rebuked for his peculiar iniquity.—Ἔλεγξιν δὲ ἔσχεν, he received not punishment, but a rebuking conviction, as indicated below. Παρανομία=ἀδικία. He clearly knew that it was the will of God that he should not curse the people: yet he resisted it.—Ἰδίας. Dietlein: “The perversion of the law peculiar to him, and the archetype of the same perversion in the false prophets,” Far-fetched.—Huther arbitrarily takes it in the sense of αὑτοῦ. It rather denotes that the transgression was peculiar in that he transgressed the will of God, Numbers 22:12, while complying with His commandment, which gave him up to the counsel of his heart, Numbers 22:20; Numbers 22:35.

A dumb beast of burden, etc.—Ὑποζύγιον, a yoke-beast, a beast of burden, especially an ass, Matthew 21:6, ἄφωνον, in antithesis to the human voice. The antithesis between ἄφωνον and ἀνθρώπου φωνῇ φθεγξάμενον is designed to bring out the miraculous character of the incident.—Ἐκώλυσε. De Wette says: “It was not the ass that forbade him, but the angel, Numbers 22:22. etc.” But this is not a discrepancy between our passage and the Mosaic account, for God made use of that dumb animal to prevent his going onward, while the angel suffered him afterwards to pass on to punishment, as de Wette himself observes. Gerhard: “Balaam was able and ought to have seen, from so uncommon a miracle, that his way was perverse.” In the Epistle of Jude, 2 Peter 2:11, two additional examples are given, that of Cain and that of the company of Korah; the reward of Balaam being only briefly introduced.—Παραφρονία, folly, senselessness, madness. It is madness indeed to fight against God, Psalm 109:3; Acts 5:39. It Isaiah, says Luther, an unequal fight, if old pots will fight with rocks; for let it happen as it will, the pots will come to grief.—Προφήτου. The Mosaic account shows that revelations were made to him, Numbers 22:8; Numbers 22:13; Numbers 22:18-19; Numbers 23:5; Numbers 23:16; Numbers 24:16-17; but also that his soul was open to influences of the kingdom of darkness, Numbers 24:1. etc.; Numbers 23:1. Ambrose, Gregory of Nyssa and Theodoret infer from the latter passages that he was a prophet of the devil. Compare on the enigmatical character of Balaam, Kurtz, Getchichte des alten Bundes, 455 [and Butler’s Sermon on the Character of Balaam.—M.]

Ver17 These are wells without water.—Two figures are now introduced to describe the influence of the false teachers upon others. Calov sees here a reference to Jeremiah 2:13, where God Compares Himself to a fountain of living waters, and the idols, so much run after by the many, to broken cisterns, that can hold no water. “They contain no water of wholesome wisdom and living consolation.” Oecumenius: “They have lost the water of life.” Augustine: “He calls them wells, because they had received the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, without water, because they do not live agreeably to their knowledge.” Proverbs 10:11 states the contrary. We are especially reminded of Proverbs 21:6, the original of which refers to scattering mist, to dispersing vanity, cf. Proverbs 14:24; Isaiah 35:7. Umbreit suggests the well-known mirage. The thirsty traveller in the desert perceives a moving sheen which he takes for a stream or a lake, hastens to it, but, reaching it, is bitterly disappointed, for it all dissolves into empty vapour.—Huss: “Where you find a well without water, you find dirt and mire. So these contain no water of inflowing grace, but the mire of wickedness. No wonder, seeing that they have forsaken the fountain of living water.” They are not hallowing, but polluting wells.

Clouds driven along by a whirlwind.—Νεφέλαι ὑπὸ λαίλαπος ἐλαυνόμενοι. Dietlein incorrectly renders fogs, alleging them to be clouds with the lateral idea of inward absence of clearness. [If the reading ὁμίχλαι be retained, render “mists.” See Appar. Crit. Comm. in Catena: οὐκ εἴσι, φησί, διαυγεῖς ὥσπερ οἱ ἅγιοι οἱ ὄντες νεφέλαι, ἀλλ’ ὀμίχλαι, τουτέστι, σκότους καὶ γνόφου μεστοί, ὑπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ πνεύματος ἐλαυνόμενοι.—M.] Λαίλαψ.Gerhard produces the definition of Aristotle, who describes it as a violent wind turning upward and downward, cf. Mark 4:37; Luke 8:23; LXX. Job 38:1; Jeremiah 25:32.—Ἐλαυνόμεναι, used of ships driven to and fro by strong winds, James 3:4, and of the possessed driven by demons, Luke 8:29. The parallel passage in Judges 12reads: νεφέλαι ἄνυδροι (cf. Proverbs 25:14) ὑπὸ ἀνέμων περιφερόμεναι, clouds which promise rain, but give none because they are chased away by the wind. Jude adds three other figures. Peter’s point of comparison is different; with him the emphasis rests on ἐλαύνεσθαι, which is designed to denote the inconsistency, the wavering and Unquietness of the false teachers. Huther says that νεφέλαι denotes inward emptiness.—Huss: “Clouds driven along by the wind produce a tempest and obscure the splendour of the sun, so in like manner those, false teachers disturb the peace of souls and obscure the Sun of righteousness by the darkness of error.”

For whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever.—Οἶς ζόφος. De Wette observes that ἀστέρες πλανῆται, Judges 12, is here left out and that οἰς ζόφος. of is inappropriately put down; most unfair, for Peter as well as Jude use the figure with reference to the false teachers. Dietlein rightly replies that “if Peter had found ἀστέρες πλανῆται, which would be even more telling in connection with his οἶς ζπ́φος than νεφέλαι, he would hardly have omitted those words.” [Add that darkness is predicable of clouds driven by the wind as well as of wandering stars; the charge of inappropriateness is therefore unfounded.—M.] The relative οἷς necessarily belongs to οὖτοι, not to πηγαί or νεφέλαι, which would require αἶς.

Blackness of darkness denotes extreme darkness, Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30.

Reserved.—Reverts to the judgment of the angels, 2 Peter 2:4; cf. 1 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 3:7; 2 Peter 3:17. Stier: “That blackness of the judgment is reserved, spared, laid in store for them which is due to the darkness of their sin.” A dark life is justly punished with darkness, especially because of the seduction of so many souls.—Εἰς αἰῶνα, it is reserved for them down to the remotest periods in time to eternity, no matter what changes may take place with the earth and the world.

2 Peter 2:18. Speaking great swelling words of vanity, they entice, etc.—Ὑπέρογκα from ὅγκος, bulk, exceeding bulk, swelling, figuratively, pride. Judges 16, has: τὸ στόμα αὐτῶν λαλεῖ ὑπέρογκα Luther: “Proud words with nothing to back them,” hollow, vain phrases, bombast. Want of mind, want of power and emptiness are generally concealed under a hollow sound of words.—Δελεάζουσιν, see 2 Peter 2:14.—Bengel: “They pretend, as if they were lights of the Church, over-great things, but these wells, these clouds yield nothing.—Ἐν επιθυμίαις σαρκός. Gerhard: “These are the bait with which they attract others,”—Ἀσελγείαις in apposition with ἐπιθυμίαις. We may also translate with Huther: “They entice in the lusts of the flesh (i. e. insnared, in them, ruled by them) by licentiousness those, etc.”—Ὅντως in truth, in sincerity and not only in the mask of hypocrisy [but ὀλίγως=ὀλίγου, cf. Appar. Crit. seems preferable.—M.]—Ἀποφυγόντας suits ὀλίγως better than ὄντως.—Τοὺς ἐν πλάνῃ ἀναστρεφομένους dependent on ἀποφυγόντας. Huther: “Those from whom the deceived persons had separated, non-christians, especially the heathen, who spend their life in error, ἐν πλάνῃ.”

2 Peter 2:19. Promising them liberty, etc.—The subject of their great swelling speeches turns especially on liberty, that Isaiah, on the false liberty of living as they pleased, of indulging the flesh to the full. Grotius refers to certain Gnostics, whom Irenæus reports to have boasted that their soul had been liberated from all moral restraints, as if Christ had acquired for us the liberty to sin. [This was the doctrine of Simon Magus and his followers.—M.] A promise similar to Genesis 3:5; cf. 1 Peter 2:16; they use liberty as a cloak of maliciousness, cf. Galatians 5:13.

Slaves of corruption, 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 2:12, of those sins and vices which end in perdition.—Ηττηται, by whom a man is permanently overcome, of him he has also become the slave, cf. 1 Samuel 17:9. He cites martial law; by whom a man is overcome in war, by him also is he enslaved. Those persons are brought by Satan into the slavery of sin and death, cf. John 8:34; 1 John 3:8; Romans 6:16.

2 Peter 2:20. For having escaped the pollutions of the world, etc.—The question Isaiah, which is the subject of this verse? Huther thinks that we must understand the false teachers, because of the connection of this verse with the clause at the end of the preceding verse. Then the γάρ would refer back to the φθορα of 2 Peter 2:19. But the hypothetical form of this verse is against Huther, whereas the false teachers are introduced before as very decided persons, although it may be said that the reality is here expressed hypothetically, as is so often the case. But since ὄντως ἀποφυγόντας ( 2 Peter 2:18) belongs to the deceived, it is better to apply ἀποφυγόντες here with Bengel, and al. to the same persons. But then we have to supply before 2 Peter 2:20, the sentence: “As the, false teachers are themselves slaves of corruption, so they make those whom they deceive slaves of corruption: for—.” Μιάσματα occurs here only in the New Testament, but μιασμός, 2 Peter 2:10, stain, pollution. The reference to noxious particles floating in the air, called by physicians miasma, is out of the question here, for the word was not used in this sense at the time the Epistle was written, although, as Gerhard shows, those exhalations are an apt figure of sin.—Ἐν ἐπιγνώσει, cf. 2 Peter 1:2-3; 2 Peter 1:8; 2 Peter 3:18. Here also it denotes vital knowledge.—Ἐμπλακέντες. Gerhard: “This word is very emphatic; it describes those who become entangled with snares and ropes; 2 Timothy 2:4 it is used of those who are so entangled with the affairs of this life, that they are unable to please Him any longer whom they stand pledged to serve. The LXX. use it for נָפַל to fall, Proverbs 28:18, from animals which fall, if they become entangled in snares and traps”.—Ἡττῶνται, they return again into the slavery of sin and Satan, from which they had been delivered.

Their last state is worse than the first, appears to have been a proverbial mode of speech, cf. Luke 9:26; Matthew 12:45; Matthew 27:64. Grotius cites a passage in Hermas, 2 Peter 3:2, which evidently has respect to this place: “Quidam tamen ex iis maculaverunt se et projecti sunt de genere justorum et iterum redierunt ad statum pristinum, atque etiam deteriores quam prius evaserunt.”—τὰ πρῶτα is the condition anterior to their conversion; τὰ ἔσχατα, the state of entire captivity in sin and its corruption. The reason being, that as there is no standing still in the way of a secure sinner, the power of sin, and with it also the guilt and punishment, have become so much the greater.

2 Peter 2:21. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness.—Γὰρ does not introduce the proof, but the explanation and confirmation of the preceding proposition. It were better for them if they had no such great guilt. Chrysostom: “Do not sin after forgiveness, suffer thyself not to be wounded after thy healing, nor to be stained after grace. Think, O Prayer of Manasseh, that guilt is greater after forgiveness, that the renewed wound is more painful after healing, and that the stain is more troublesome after grace. He therefore is ungrateful for forgiveness who sins again; he is unworthy of health who wounds himself anew, and he deserves not to be cleansed who stains himself after grace.”—Ἦν, Imperf. Ind. where we use the Conjunctive (cf. Winer, p327.) [Translate: “For it were better,” etc.—M.]—Ὁδὸν δικαιοσύνης. Gerhard: “The doctrine of Christ, of the Gospel, which points out the way how to acquire righteousness before God and eternal life.” Cf. 2 Peter 2:2.

Than having known it, to turn back, etc.—ἐπιγνοῦσιν. Supply ἐστι or ἦν a well known attraction.—ἐπιστρέψαι. to turn to something and return, cf. Mark 13:16; Luke 8:55; Acts 3:19. Huther considers ὑποστρέψαι. the true reading; de Wette prefers the former.

From the holy commandment.—Ἐντολῆς that part of the fore-mentioned way of righteousness which comprises the doctrine of morals, and especially the cardinal commandment of love, John 13:34; John 15:12; 1 John 3:23. But it may also denote the whole of the doctrines of Christ, as a commandment that must be believed and practised, as we have it in John 12:49; John 15:10. It is called holy on account of its origin, substance and end, on account of its contrast to the pollutions of the world, and because it is the means of man’s holiness.

Delivered to them, cf. Judges 3.

2 Peter 2:22. But it is happened to them that saying of the true proverb.—Their relapse into their old sinfulness is elucidated by two similes taken from the animal world, with reference to 2 Peter 2:12.—Συμβέβηκε δέ The truth of that proverb has been fulfilled in them, cf. Matthew 7:6.—Παροιμία (from οἶμος, way) a proverb, wisdom by the way, in the street.—Κύων, the first proverb with a slight variation is taken from Proverbs 26:11. The Participle must not be changed into its finite verb, but δεικτικῶς should be taken as referring to a case really under observation, see Winer, p369.

The dog, etc.—Ἐξέραμα from ἐξεράω, to throw out, to vomit.—Εἰς supply ἐπιστρέψασα—Κύλισμα, something rolled, and=κυλινδήθρα, a place for horses to roll in, the place of wallowing.—Βόρβορος, dirt, filth, mire. The second proverb is not found among Solomon’s; it seems to be taken from popular tradition, although parallels are by no means wanting. Grotius produces several from Aratus and Philo. Similar passages are found in the Rabbinical writings. Augustine adds: “See how terrible is that to which he compares them; for it is a terrible thing: a dog, etc.—What wilt thou be in the sight of God?”

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. Luther and other evangelical teachers show that the prophecy of Peter met its fulfilment not only in the first age of the Church, but especially in the papacy. Gerhard, e. g., mentions the written words of Ulric, bishop of Augsburg, about A.D 2 Peter800: “Popes, bishops and clergymen rush so passionately into voluptuousness, that they perpetrate the most horrible and unnatural vices.” Sixtus IV, says Gerhard, was a Sodomite, and granted leave to cardinals with whom he was on terms of intimacy, to indulge this vice during three summer-months. Paulus Jovinus affirms the same atrocity on the part of Leo x. Consult, for the fulfilment of the other marks of false teachers, Gerhard and Calov on the respective passages.

2. Augustine specifies four kinds of destruction or death. The first death is the death of the soul, if through sinning it becomes separated from God, who is the life of the soul, as the soul is the life of the body. The second death is that of the body, when it becomes separated from the soul. The third is the second death of the soul, when, in a state of separation from God and the body, it endures punishment. The fourth and last death is the death of the whole Prayer of Manasseh, when the soul, without God, but with the body, will have to suffer eternal punishment.

3. As Christ has His forerunners and types, so has antichrist his. To these belong Balaam in particular. “The souls of oracular personages, prophets, magicians and enchanters like Balaam resemble the strings of a lute, which vibrate in unison with kindred notes, and reëcho them. The true prophets who were in sympathy with God, caught those notes of sympathy from above, but the false and devilish prophets caught them from beneath ( Exodus 7:11); those like Balaam caught them from both directions without being able to identify them until their heart inclined more to one or the other.” Richter, Hausbibel.—The history and character of Balaam affords us important insight into the nature of prophecy.

4. Spiritual and carnal adultery, says Gerhard, go mostly hand-in-hand. The devil is a liar and an unclean spirit, John 8:44; Luke 11:24, and hence incites those whom he holds captive in his bonds to the propagation of lies and impure lusts. Those strong spirits of the post-Apostolic age, who began to stir in the time of Peter, and whose rise he foresaw, were wont to indulge in such swelling words: “Only a small standing pool can be polluted by unclean things that are poured into it, not so the ocean, which receives every thing, because it is conscious of its greatness; so little men are overpowered by meats; but he that is an ocean in power (ἐξουσία) receives every thing without being polluted thereby.” So says Porphyry. See Neander. “We must,” (Clement of Alexandria reports them to have said) “fight lust in the enjoyment of lust, for it is no great thing to abstain from lust if it has not been tasted, but it is a great thing to indulge lust without being overcome by it.” Those false teachers have met their brethren in the restorers of the flesh and the Latter Day Saints. What sophisms and powerful errors may not be brought forth in the last days of the Church!

5. What we read here of extreme darkness, is by no means in conflict with those passages which speak of fiery flames and the lake of fire; for as intense heat and intense cold prevail in different localities here on earth at one and the same time, so the Scripture informs us that there are very different localities in the wide extent of the lower world.

6. If those who have truly escaped from the pollutions of the world, may again be entangled therein, then Holy Scripture teaches that relapsing from the state of grace is possible,—a doctrine denied by the Calvinistic School on untenable grounds.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The great folly of preferring momentary pleasure to eternal happiness. Salvation may be gained or lost in one moment of time.—“Sin is fruitful: it does not end where it begins; the sin that succeeds another is usually the punishment of that which precedes it, and that which precedes, mostly the cause of that which follows.” Gerhard.—An unfortified mind opens the gate and the door to false teachers.—Stability of mind is a precious jewel.—Wicked men who fan the sparks of carnal lust in others, are able by means of such inflaming to do with them what they please.—“As soon as the heart is removed from trust in God, from glorying in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, so soon all seductions have again free entrance into the same. At first menresist for awhile, but by and by their courage flags and they are overcome at last.” Rieger.—The most wretched slavery is the service of sin, for sin is the greatest tyrant.—“Those who lead a disgraceful and a vicious life, are threatened not simply with transient punishment in fire.” Augustine.—The great danger of relapse: 1. The greater the measure of grace received, the greater the punishment, Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:26-27. 2. Conversion is increasingly difficult in the case of those who have fallen from grace, just as a disease is more difficult to cure on its return than at its first occurrence.—How does relapse take place? It is usually not sudden, but gradual. Remissness in watching and prayer, indifference to the punishment of the Spirit are its precursors. The company of pious Christians is exchanged for that of vain worldlings; the reading of entertaining books is substituted for the study of the wholesome word of God, and Christian liberty is enlarged to its utmost limits. If, to crown the whole, deceivers step in, the relapse is completed.—A relapsed person is more dangerous to others, “because knowing Christianity, he is able to hurt it more seriously by cunning than another who never knew it.” Roos.

Starke:—The deceits of sin and Satan degrade many men not only to the level of brutes, but in many points below it. O hateful monsters, ye fare worse than dumb brutes, Isaiah 1:3.

2 Peter 2:13. Excellent portraiture of Romish false teachers! but the evangelical Church, alas, is not free from such shameful blemishes. O Lord, heal this great hurt, Psalm 12:2.—The wicked, as he seeks rest in sin of every kind, seeks it also in debauchery, but does not find it, although he fancies to find it forthwith, fresh lusts evermore disquiet him again and urge him to sin, so that he is a veritable slave of sin.—Every human heart is sinful, but if it is thoroughly trained and practised in sin, it is altogether imbedded in corruption and nigh to the curse. O accursed Prayer of Manasseh, tremble and pray without ceasing: “O God, create in me a pure heart,” and exercise thyself hereafter in godliness, 1 Timothy 4:7. He that is devoted to covetousness, has already departed from the right way, 1 Timothy 6:10; Luke 12:15.—Wilt thou and canst thou compel God to prevent thy wickedness by miracles? If thou wilt not suffer His word to deter thee from evil, He will allow it, but, look, what He will do, Luke 16:30-31.—Many words, little power! Falsehood-mongers are deceivers. The reverse is equally true. Happy the cities and countries which have teachers after the pattern of Paul, 2 Corinthians 7:16; 2 Corinthians 4:2.—None wants to be a servant, none a slave of the fiend, but all sinners are the slaves of their lusts, of their belly, of their flesh and of the worst enemy of their temporal and eternal happiness, John 8:34.—Mark the deceit of the devil and of sin; they show thee not fire and sword, the gallows and the wheel, but portray only that which pleases and attracts; yet if thou sufferest thyself to be entangled and caught, all those things will follow, and damnation at the last, Hebrews 3:13. Fearful to hear, but true; relapses are dangerous and finally incurable Hebrews 10:26-27.—Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall, 1 Corinthians 10:12.—O Prayer of Manasseh, thou makest so much of outward cleanliness in dress, in ornament and beautifying, but in the natural state of thy soul thou art like unclean dogs and sows. Remember that in proportion as thy soul is more noble than thy body, so shouldest thou the rather provide for her cleansing and beautifying.

Lisco:—The fearful relapse into sin.—The fearful end of the enemies of the Kingdom.

[ 2 Peter 2:12. Dwight: Punishment of the Wicked, its Nature. Theol. V, 470.

2 Peter 2:5. Lightfoot: The Way of Balaam. Works, VII, 78.

2 Peter 2:19. Blair, H.: On the Slavery of Vice. Serm. IV, 201.

Collyer, W. B.: Christianity compared with Deism. On Scripture Comparison.

2 Peter 2:20. Smalridge, Bp.: The Danger of Relapsing. Sermons, 547.

2 Peter 2:20-21. Simeon, C.: Apostates in a Worse State than Ever. Works, XX, 333.

Tholuck, A.: Light from the Cross, p41.—M.]

Footnotes:

FN#15 - German: “The fool-hardy, haughty ones—tremble not to speak evil of glories.”

Translate: “Darers, self-willed,—they tremble not while railing at glories.”—M.]

FN#16 - German: “Whereas angels, although greater in strength and might, do not bear their judgment of railing (i. e., the sentence passed on their railing) which is given against them before (=by) the Lord.”—M.]

παρὰ κυρίῳ cancelled by Lachmann and Tischendorf.

FN#17 - Cod. Sin. reads αὐτοὶ for οὗτοι.—M.]

FN#18 - ἄλογα ζῶα=irrational animals.—M.]

FN#19 - γεγεννημένα, Rec. A2, Sin; γεγεννημένα, A1. B. C, Theile.—M.]

FN#20 - ἀγνοοῦντες βλασφημοῦσιν, Cod. Sin.—.M.]

FN#21 - Rec, Sin,C2, al, καταφθαρήσονται; καὶ φθαρήσονται, A. B1, al, Theile, Alford.

Translate: “But these, as irrational animals, born naturally for capture and destruction, speaking evil of things which they know not, shall even perish in their corruption.”—M.]

FN#22 - For κομιούμενοι, B, Cod. Sin, read ἀδικούμενοι.—M.]

FN#23 - Cod. Mosq. for τρυφήν, τροφήν.—M.]

FN#24 - ἀγάπαις, A. B. (Mai), Vulg, al.—M.]

So Lachmann, as in Judges 12. But it is more probable that a transcriber changed ἀπάταις into ἀγάπαις, than the reverse, ἀπάταις sustained by A. C. G. K, al. αὐτῶν also, which is critically established, favours only ἀπάταις is and not ἀγάπαις, as has been pointed out by Gerhard and de Wette.

FN#25 - Translate: “Receiving, as they shall (Alf.), the reward of unrighteousness. Deeming revelling in the daytime their highest (so German) pleasure, they are full of (German) spots and disgrace, revelling in their deceits, while they feast with you.”—M.]

FN#26 - μοιχαλίας, A, Cod. Sin.—M.]

FN#27 - ἀκαταπάστους, A. B. ἀκαταπαύστου, Cod. Colbert.—ἁμαρτίαις, Cod. Sin.—M.]

FN#28 - πλεονεξίας, A. B. C, Sin, al, Lach, Tisch. [πλεονεξίαις, Rec, Theile, al.—M.] Huther cites examples from the Classics for the constr. with Genitive.

FN#29 - Translate: “Having eyes full of an adulteress, and that cannot be made to cease from sin; luring unstable souls, having a heart practised in covetousness (Germ, selfishness), children of malediction.”—M.]

FN#30 - τὴν before εὐθεῖαν omitted by [A. B. C. K. L.] Griesb. [Alf.] al.

FN#31 - For βοσόρ, βεώρ, B.; βεώορσορ, Sin.—δς omitted by B.—M.]

FN#32 - Cod. Sin. omits ἐν before ἀνθρώπου.—M.]

FN#33 - καὶ ὁμίχλαι, A. B. C, Sin, al, Griesb, Tisch. Alf.—M.] ὁμἰχλαι from ὁμίχω, mists, vapours. [νεφέλαι, Rec, L, Theile.—M.]

FN#34 - Εἰς αἰῶνα omitted by B—M.] Lachm, Tischend.; it may have been inserted from Jude, [but found in Rec, A. C. L, al; and retained in German version.—M.]

FN#35 - 2 Peter 2:18. Rec. with A. B, al. reads ὀλίγως, Griesbach on good authority ὄντως, which appears to be the more difficult reading. [Cod. Sin, τοῦ ὄντως (**τοὺς ὀλίγως) ἀποφεύγ.—M.] Lach, Tisch, al. prefer ἀποφεύγοντας, being on the point of escaping.

[Translate: “Speaking great swelling words of vanity, they entice in lusts by licentiousness of the flesh those who were only just escaping (Germ, who were in truth escaping) from them who live in error.”—M.]

FN#36 - 2 Peter 2:19, [ Cod. Sin. omits καὶ after τούτῳ.—M.]

FN#37 - Insert ἡμῶν after κυρίου, Cod. Sin, A. C. L, al.—M.]

FN#38 - κρίσσον for κρεῖττον, Cod. Sin. κρεῖσσον, A.—M.]

FN#39 - εις τὰ ὀπίσω ἀνακάμψαι ἀπὸ τῆς, Cod. Sin.] εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω ὑποστρέψαι ἀπό, Lachmann. [ἐπιστρέψαι ἐκ τῆς, K. L, Theile, al.; ὑποστρέψαι ἐκ τῆς, B. C, Alford, al.—M.]

FN#40 - Omit δέ after συμβέβηκεν, A. B, Cod. Sin.—M.] Lachm, Tischend.; it seems to be a later addition. [Rec, C. K. L, Theile, al. insert it.—M.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 2 Peter 2:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/2-peter-2.html. 1857-84.

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Saturday, December 14th, 2019
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