1 Peter 2:24
Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
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(24) Who his own self.—This verse, like the “for you” in 1Peter 2:21, is intended to make the readers feel the claims of gratitude, not to set before them another point in which Christ was to be imitated. But at the same time it serves to enforce still more strongly the two points already mentioned—i.e., sinlessness and suffering. So far was Christ from “doing sins,” that He actually His own self bore ours, and in so doing endured the extremity of anguish “in His own body,” so that He could sympathise with the corporal chastisements of these poor servants; and “on the tree,” too, the wicked slave’s death.

Bare our sins . . . on the tree.—This brings us face to face with a great mystery; and to add to the difficulty of the interpretation, almost each word is capable of being taken in several different ways. Most modern scholars are agreed to reject “on the tree,” in favour of the marginal “to,” the proper meaning of the Greek preposition, when connected (as here) with the accusative, being what is expressed in colloquial English by the useful compound “on-to the tree.” It is, however, not obligatory to see motion consciously intended in this preposition and accusative everywhere. It is used, for instance, Mark 4:38, of sleeping on the pillow; in 2Corinthians 3:15, of the veil resting upon their hearts; in Revelation 4:4, of the elders sitting upon their thrones. This word, then, will give us but little help to discover the meaning of the word translated “bare.” (1) That verb means literally “to carry or take up,” and is used thus in Matthew 17:1, Mark 9:2, of taking the disciples up the Mount of Transfiguration; and in Luke 24:51, of Jesus being carried up into heaven: therefore Hammond, Grimm, and others would here understand it to be, “He carried our sins up with Him on-to the tree,” there to expiate them by His death. (2) A much commoner meaning of the word is that which it bears in 1Peter 2:5, “to offer up” (so also in Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 13:15; James 2:21). The substantive formed from it (Anaphora) is still the liturgical term for the sacrificial section of the Eucharistic service. This interpretation is somewhat tempting, because the very preposition here used, with the very same case, appears in James 2:21, and frequently in the Old Testament, together with our present verb, for “to offer up upon the altar.” In this way it would be, “He offered up our sins in His own body on the altar of the cross.” So Luther and others take it. This would be perfect, were it not for the strangeness of regarding the sins themselves as a sacrifice to be offered on the altar. The only way to make sense of it in that case would be to join very closely “our sins in His own body”—i.e., as contained and gathered up in His own sinless body, which might come to nearly the same thing as saying that He “offered up His own body laden with our sins” upon that altar. (3) Both these renderings, however, pass over the fact that St. Peter is referring to Isaiah 53. In the English version of that chapter, “hath borne,” “shall bear,” “bare,” appears in 1Peter 2:4; 1Peter 2:11-12, indifferently; but the Hebrew is not the same in each case, for in 1Peter 2:11 the word for “shall bear” is identical with that rightly rendered “carry” in 1Peter 2:4, and has not the same signification as that which appears as “to bear” in 1Peter 2:4; 1Peter 2:12. The difference between these two Hebrew roots seems to be that the verb sabal in 1Peter 2:11 means “to carry,” as a porter carries a load, or as our Lord carried His cross; while the verb nasa,’ used in 1Peter 2:4 and 1Peter 2:12, means rather “to lift or raise,” which might, of course, be the action preparatory to that other of “carrying.” Now, the Greek word which we have here undoubtedly better represents nasa’ than sabal, but the question is complicated by the fact that the LXX. uses it to express both alike in 1Peter 2:11-12, observing at the same time the distinction between “iniquities” and “sin,” while in 1Peter 2:4 (where again it reads “our sins” instead of “our griefs”) it adopts a simpler verb; and St. Peter’s language here seems to be affected by all three passages. The expression “our sins” (which comes in so strangely with the use of “you” all round) seems a reminiscence of 1Peter 2:4 (LXX.). The order in which the words occur is precisely the order of 1Peter 2:11, and the tense points to 1Peter 2:12, as well as the parallel use in Hebrews 9:28, where the presence of the words “of many” proves that the writer was thinking of 1Peter 2:12. We cannot say for certain, then, whether St. Peter meant to represent nasa’ or sabal. We have some clue, however, to the way in which the Greek word was used, by finding it in Numbers 14:33, where the “whoredoms” of the fathers are said to be “borne” by their children (the Hebrew there being nasa’). Many instances in classical Greek lead to the conclusion that in such cases it implies something being laid or inflicted from without upon the person who “bears.” Thus, in Numbers 14:33, it will be, “your children will have to bear your whoredoms,” or, “will have laid upon them your whoredoms.” In Hebrews 9:28 it will be, “Christ was once for all presented (at the altar), to have the sins of many laid upon Him.” Here it will be, “Who His own self had our sins laid upon His body on the tree.” Then comes a further question. The persons who hold the substitute theory of the Atonement assert that “our sins” here stands for “the punishment of our sins.” This is, however, to use violence with words; we might with as good reason translate 1Peter 2:22, “Who did, or performed, no punishment for sin.” St. Peter asserts that Christ, in His boundless sympathy with fallen man, in His union with all mankind through the Incarnation whereby He became the second Adam, actually took, as His own, our sins, as well as everything else belonging to us. He was so identified with us, that in the great Psalm of the Messianic sacrifice, He calls them “My sins” (Psalm 40:12), sinless as He was. (See St. Matthew’s interpretation of the same thought, Matthew 8:17.)

That we being dead.—Just as the former part of this verse is an expansion of “Christ suffered for us,” so the latter part is an expansion of “that ye should follow His steps.” The “we,” however, is too emphatically placed in the English. To St. Peter, the thought of our union with Christ is so natural, that he slips easily over it, and passes on to the particular point of union which he has in view. “He bore our sins on the tree, in order that, having thus become ‘lost’ to those sins, we might live to righteousness.” The words present, perhaps, a closer parallel to Colossians 1:22 than to any other passage; but comp. also Romans 6:2; Romans 6:8; Romans 6:11, and 2Corinthians 5:14, and Notes. St. Peter’s word for “dying” in this place is not elsewhere found in the New Testament, and is originally an euphemism for death; literally, to be missingi.e., when sin comes to seek its old servants it finds them gone.

With whose stripes ye were healed.—Observe how soon St. Peter reverts to the second person, even though he has to change the text he is quoting. Another mark of his style may well be noticed here, viz., his fondness for a number of co-ordinate relative sentences. (See 1Peter 1:8; 1Peter 1:12; 2Peter 2:1-3; and his speeches, Acts 3:13; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:10; Acts 10:38-39.) He is especially fond of finishing off a long sentence with a short relative clause, as here. Comp., for instance, 1Peter 2:8, 2Peter 2:17, also Acts 4:12, where it would be more correct to translate, “Neither is the salvation in any other, for, indeed, there is no second name under heaven which is the appointed name among men; in whom we must be saved”—i.e., if we are saved at all. The purpose of the little clause seems to be once more to make the good and ill-used servants feel, when the weals were smarting on their backs, that the Righteous Servant of Jehovah had borne the same, and that it had served a beneficial purpose, as they knew to their everlasting gratitude. Of course the “stripes” (in the original singular number, and literally weal) do not refer merely to the scourging. The words form a paradox.

1 Peter 2:24-25. Who his own self — In his own person, and by the sacrifice of himself, and not of another, (Hebrews 9:28,) bare our sins — That is, the punishment due to them; in his afflicted, torn, dying body on the tree — The cross, whereon chiefly slaves or servants were wont to suffer. The apostle alludes to Isaiah 53:12; He bare the sins of many. “The phrase, bearing sin, is often used in the Old Testament. It signifies sometimes the making atonement for sin, Leviticus 10:17; sometimes the suffering punishment for sin, Leviticus 22:9; Ezekiel 18:20; and sometimes the carrying away sin from the sight of God; as the scape-goat is said to do, Leviticus 16:22. The apostle uses here the first person, our sins, to show that Christ bare the sins of believers, in every age and country; and to make us sensible how extensive the operation of his death is in procuring pardon for sinners.” That we, being dead to sins — Or, as ταις αμαρτιαις απογενομενοι is more literally rendered, freed from sins

That is, from the guilt and power; from which, without an atonement, it was impossible we should be delivered. By whose stripes ye were healed — Of your spiritual disorders: evils infinitely greater than any which the cruelty of the severest masters can bring upon you. See on Isaiah 53:5. “By changing his discourse from the first to the second person, the apostle addressed those slaves who might be beaten unmercifully by cruel masters; because, of all the considerations by which they could be animated to patience, the most powerful was, to put them in mind of the painful stripes with which Christ was beaten, when he was scourged by Pilate’s order, (Matthew 27:26,) and to tell them, that with these stripes the wounds in their souls, occasioned by sin, were healed; wounds far more painful and deadly than those inflicted on them by their froward masters.” For ye were as sheep going astray — From their pastures, their shepherd, and his flock, and exposed to want and the danger of being lost in the wilderness, or destroyed by wild beasts; ye were wandering out of the way of truth and duty, of safety, holiness, and happiness, into the by-paths of error and sin, of guilt and misery — paths leading to certain destruction. But are now returned — Through the influence of divine grace; unto the Shepherd — The great Shepherd of the sheep, brought again from the dead, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; and Bishop — the kind Observer, Inspector, and Overseer; of your souls — Who has graciously received you under his pastoral care, and will maintain that inspection over you which shall be your best security against returning to those fatal wanderings. “Though in this passage the apostle addressed his discourse immediately to servants or slaves, yet, by giving titles to Christ which marked his relation to men of all ranks and conditions, he hath intimated that his exhortation to suffer unmerited evils patiently, is intended for all who profess the gospel.” 2:18-25 Servants in those days generally were slaves, and had heathen masters, who often used them cruelly; yet the apostle directs them to be subject to the masters placed over them by Providence, with a fear to dishonour or offend God. And not only to those pleased with reasonable service, but to the severe, and those angry without cause. The sinful misconduct of one relation, does not justify sinful behaviour in the other; the servant is bound to do his duty, though the master may be sinfully froward and perverse. But masters should be meek and gentle to their servants and inferiors. What glory or distinction could it be, for professed Christians to be patient when corrected for their faults? But if when they behaved well they were ill treated by proud and passionate heathen masters, yet bore it without peevish complaints, or purposes of revenge, and persevered in their duty, this would be acceptable to God as a distinguishing effect of his grace, and would be rewarded by him. Christ's death was designed not only for an example of patience under sufferings, but he bore our sins; he bore the punishment of them, and thereby satisfied Divine justice. Hereby he takes them away from us. The fruits of Christ's sufferings are the death of sin, and a new holy life of righteousness; for both which we have an example, and powerful motives, and ability to perform also, from the death and resurrection of Christ. And our justification; Christ was bruised and crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and by his stripes the diseases of our souls are cured. Here is man's sin; he goes astray; it is his own act. His misery; he goes astray from the pasture, from the Shepherd, and from the flock, and so exposes himself to dangers without number. Here is the recovery by conversion; they are now returned as the effect of Divine grace. This return is, from all their errors and wanderings, to Christ. Sinners, before their conversion, are always going astray; their life is a continued error.Who his own self - See the notes at Hebrews 1:3, on the phrase "when he had by himself purged our sins." The meaning is, that he did it in his own proper person; he did not make expiation by offering a bloody victim, but was himself the sacrifice.

Bare our sins - There is an allusion here undoubtedly to Isaiah 53:4, Isaiah 53:12. See the meaning of the phrase "to bear sins" fully considered in the notes at those places. As this cannot mean that Christ so took upon himself the sins of people as to become himself a sinner, it must mean that he put himself in the place of sinners, and bore that which those sins deserved; that is, that he endured in his own person that which, if it had been inflicted on the sinner himself, would have been a proper expression of the divine displeasure against sin, or would have been a proper punishment for sin. See the notes at 2 Corinthians 5:21. He was treated as if he had been a sinner, in order that we might be treated as if we had not sinned; that is, as if we were righteous. There is no other way in which we can conceive that one bears the sins of another. They cannot be literally transferred to another; and all that can be meant is, that he should take the consequences on himself, and suffer as if he had committed the transgressions himself.

(See also the supplementary notes at 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 4; 5; and Galatians 3:13, in which the subject of imputation is discussed at large)

In his own body - This alludes undoubtedly to his sufferings. The sufferings which he endured on the cross were such as if he had been guilty; that is, he was treated as he would have been if he had been a sinner. He was treated as a criminal; crucified as those most guilty were; endured the same kind of physical pain that the guilty do who are punished for their own sins; and passed through mental sorrows strongly resembling - as much so as the case admitted of - what the guilty themselves experience when they are left to distressing anguish of mind, and are abandoned by God. The sufferings of the Saviour were in all respects made as nearly like the sufferings of the most guilty, as the sufferings of a perfectly innocent being could be.

On the tree - Margin, "to the tree" Greek, ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον epi to xulon. The meaning is rather, as in the text, that while himself on the cross, he bore the sorrows which our sins deserved. It does not mean that he conveyed our sorrows there, but that while there he suffered under the intolerable burden, and was by that burden crushed in death. The phrase "on the tree," literally "on the wood," means the cross. The same Greek word is used in Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39; Acts 13:29; Galatians 3:13, as applicable to the cross, in all of which places it is rendered "tree."

That we, being dead to sins - In virtue of his having thus been suspended on a cross; that is, his being put to death as an atoning sacrifice was the means by which we become dead to sin, and live to God. The phrase "being dead to sins" is, in the original, ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ἀπογενόμενοι tais hamartiais apogenomenoi - literally, "to be absent from sins." The Greek word was probably used (by an euphemism) to denote to die, that is, to be absent from the world. This is a milder and less repulsive word than to say to die. It is not elsewhere used in the New Testament. The meaning is, that we being effectually separated from sin - that is, being so that it no longer influences us - should live unto God. We are to be, in regard to sin, as if we were dead; and it is to have no more influence over us than if we were in our graves. See the notes at Romans 6:2-7. The means by which this is brought about is the death of Christ (See the notes at Romans 6:8) for as he died literally on the cross on account of our sins, the effect has been to lead us to see the evil of transgression, and to lead new, and holy lives.

Should live unto righteousness - Though dead in respect to sin, yet we have real life in another respect. We are made alive unto God to righteousness, to true holiness. See the Romans 6:11 note; Galatians 2:20 note.

By whose stripes - This is taken from Isaiah 53:5. See it explained in the notes on that verse. The word rendered "stripes" (μώλωπι mōlōpi) means, properly, the livid and swollen mark of a blow; the mark designated by us when we use the expression "black and blue." It is not properly a bloody wound, but that made by pinching, beating, scourging. The idea seems to be that the Saviour was scourged or whipped; and that the effect on us is the same in producing spiritual healing, or in recovering us from our faults, as if we had been scourged ourselves. By faith we see the bruises inflicted on him, the black and blue spots made by beating; we remember that they were on account of our sins, and not for his; and the effect in reclaiming us is the same as if they had been inflicted on us.

Ye were healed - Sin is often spoken of as a disease, and redemption from it as a restoration from a deadly malady. See this explained in the notes at Isaiah 53:5.

24. his own self—there being none other but Himself who could have done it. His voluntary undertaking of the work of redemption is implied. The Greek puts in antithetical juxtaposition, OUR, and His OWN SELF, to mark the idea of His substitution for us. His "well-doing" in His sufferings is set forth here as an example to servants and to us all (1Pe 2:20).

bare—to sacrifice: carried and offered up: a sacrificial term. Isa 53:11, 12, "He bare the sin of many": where the idea of bearing on Himself is the prominent one; here the offering in sacrifice is combined with that idea. So the same Greek means in 1Pe 2:5.

our sins—In offering or presenting in sacrifice (as the Greek for "bare" implies) His body, Christ offered in it the guilt of our sins upon the cross, as upon the altar of God, that it might be expiated in Him, and so taken away from us. Compare Isa 53:10, "Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin." Peter thus means by "bare" what the Syriac takes two words to express, to bear and to offer: (1) He hath borne our sins laid upon Him [namely, their guilt, curse, and punishment]; (2) He hath so borne them that He offered them along with Himself on the altar. He refers to the animals upon which sins were first laid, and which were then offered thus laden [Vitringa]. Sin or guilt among the Semitic nations is considered as a burden lying heavily upon the sinner [Gesenius].

on the tree—the cross, the proper place for One on whom the curse was laid: this curse stuck to Him until it was legally (through His death as the guilt-bearer) destroyed in His body: thus the handwriting of the bond against us is cancelled by His death.

that we being dead to sins—the effect of His death to "sin" in the aggregate, and to all particular "sins," namely, that we should be as entirely delivered from them, as a slave that is dead is delivered from service to his master. This is our spiritful standing through faith by virtue of Christ's death: our actual mortification of particular sins is in proportion to the degree of our effectually being made conformable to His death. "That we should die to the sins whose collected guilt Christ carried away in His death, and so LIVE TO THE RIGHTEOUSNESS (compare Isa 53:11. 'My righteous servant shall justify many'), the gracious relation to God which He has brought in" [Steiger].

by whose stripes—Greek, "stripe."

ye were healed—a paradox, yet true. "Ye servants (compare 'buffeted,' 'the tree,' 1Pe 2:20, 24) often bear the strife; but it is not more than your Lord Himself bore; learn from Him patience in wrongful sufferings.

Who his own self; not by offering any other sacrifice, (as the Levitical priests did), but by that of himself.

Bare our sins; or, took up, or lifted up, in allusion to the sacrifices of the Old Testament, the same word being used of them, Hebrews 7:27 Jam 2:21. As the sins of the offerer were typically laid upon the sacrifice, which, being substituted in his place, was likewise slain in his stead; so Christ standing in our room, took upon him the guilt of our sins, and bare their punishment, Isaiah 53:4, &c. The Lord laid on him our iniquities, and he willingly took them up; and by bearing their curse, took away our guilt. Or, it may have respect to the cross, on which Christ being lifted up, {John 3:14,15 Joh 12:32} took up our sins with him, and expiated their guilt by undergoing that death which was due to us for them.

In his own body; this doth not exclude his soul but is rather to be understood, by a synecdoche, of his whole human nature, and we have the sufferings of his soul mentioned, Isaiah 53:10,12Jo 12:27; but mention is made of his body, because the sufferings of that were most visible.

On the tree; on the cross.

That we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; another end of Christ’s death, the mortification of sin, and our being freed from the dominion of it, Romans 6:2,6, and being reformed to a life of holiness.

By whose stripes ye were healed; viz. of the wound made in your souls by sin: this seems to relate to the blows that servants might receive of cruel masters, against which the apostle comforts them, and to the patient bearing of which he exhorts them, because Christ by bearing stripes, (a servile punishment), under which may be comprehended all the sufferings of his death, had healed them of much worse wounds, and spiritual diseases, the guilt of their consciences, and the defilement of their souls. Who his own self bare our sins,.... As was typified by the high priest bearing the sins of the holy things of the people of Israel, when he went into the most holy place, and by the scape goat bearing the iniquities of all the people unto a land not inhabited, and as was foretold by the Prophet Isaiah. The apostle here explains the nature and end of Christ's sufferings, which were to make atonement for sins, and which was done by bearing them. What Christ bore were "sins", even all sorts of sin, original and actual, and every act of sin of his people; and all that is in sin, all that belongs to it, arises from it, and is the demerit of it, as both filth, guilt, and punishment; and a multitude of sins did he bear, even all the iniquities of all the elect; and a prodigious load and weight it was; and than which nothing could be more nauseous and disagreeable to him, who loves righteousness, and hates iniquity: and these sins he bore were not his own, nor the sins of angels, but of men; and not of all men, yet of many, even as many as were ordained to eternal life, for whom Christ gave his life a ransom, whom he justifies and brings to glory; our sins, not the sins of the Jews only, for Peter was a Jew, and so were those to whom he writes, but of the Gentiles also, even the sins of all his people, for them he saves from their sins, being stricken for them. His "bearing" them was in this manner: he becoming the surety and substitute of his people, their sins were laid upon him by his Father, that is, they were imputed to him, they were reckoned as his, and placed to his account; and Christ voluntarily took them upon himself; he took them to himself, as one may take the debt of another, and make himself answerable for it; or as a man takes up a burden, and lays it on his shoulders; so Christ took up our sins, and "carried" them "up", as the word here used signifies, alluding to the priests carrying up the sacrifice to the altar, and referring to the lifting up of Christ upon the cross; whither he carried the sins of his people, and bore them, and did not sink under the weight of them, being the mighty God, and the man of God's right hand, made strong for himself; and so made entire satisfaction for them, by enduring the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and all that punishment which was due unto them; and thereby bore them away, both from his people, and out of the sight of God, and his vindictive justice; and removed them as far as the east is from the west, and made a full end of them; and this he himself did, and not another, nor by another, or with the help of another; not by the means of a goat, as the high priest, but by himself; though he was assisted in bearing his cross, yet he had no help in bearing our sins; angels could not help him; his Father stood at a distance from him; there was none to help; his own arm brought salvation to him; but

his own self, who knew no sin, nor did any, he by himself purged away our sins, and made reconciliation for them, by bearing them: and which he did

in his own body, and not another's; in that body which his Father prepared for him, and which he took of the virgin, and was free from sin; though not to the exclusion of his soul, which also was made an offering for sin, and in which he endured great pains and sorrows for sin: and all this

on the tree; the accursed tree, the cross; which is expressive both of the shame and pain of his sufferings and death. The end of which was,

that we being dead to sin; "to our sins", as the Alexandrian copy, and the Ethiopic version read; as all the elect are, through bearing their sins, and suffering death for them, so as that sin shall not be imputed to them; it is as though it never was; it is dead to them, and they to that, as to its damning power and influence; so as that they are entirely discharged from it, and can never come into condemnation on account of it, and can never be hurt, so as to be destroyed by it; nor by death, either corporeal or eternal, since the sting of death, which is sin, is taken away, and the strength of sin, which is the law, is dead to them, and they to that: in short, through the death of Christ they are so dead to sin, that it is not only finished, made an end of, and put away, but the body of it is destroyed, that it should not be served; which is an end subordinate to the former, and expressed in the next clause:

should live unto righteousness; live, and not die the second death, and live by faith on the righteousness of Christ, for justification of life, and soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world; which the grace of God teaches, and the love of Christ in bearing sin constrains to, and the redemption by his precious blood lays under an obligation to do; for those whose sins Christ has bore are not their own, but being bought with the price of his blood, they are bound to live to him who has a property in them, and a right to claim all obedience from them:

by whose stripes ye were healed; the passage referred to is in Isaiah 53:5 which is a prophecy of the Messiah, as is acknowledged by the Jews (g), who say (h),

"this is the King Messiah, who was in the generation of the ungodly, as it is said, Isaiah 53:5 "and with his stripes we are healed"; and for this cause God saved him, that he might save Israel, and rejoice with them in the resurrection of the dead.

Sin is a disease, a natural and hereditary one, an epidemic distemper, that reaches to all men, and to all the powers and faculties of their souls, and members of their bodies; and which is nauseous and loathsome, and in itself mortal and incurable; nor can it be healed by any creature, or anything that a creature can do. Christ is the only physician, and his blood the balm and sovereign medicine; this cleanses from all sin; through it is the remission of sin, which is meant by healing; for healing of diseases, and forgiving iniquities, is one and the same thing; see Psalm 103:3 on which latter text a learned Jew (i) has this note,

"this interpreters explain , "as expressive of forgiveness";

and the Jews say, there is no healing of diseases but it signifies forgiveness (k): it is an uncommon way of healing by the stripes of another. Some think the apostle alludes to the stripes which servants receive from their masters, to whom he was now speaking; and in order to encourage them to bear them patiently, observes, that Christ himself suffered stripes, and that they had healing for their diseases and wounds, by means of his stripes, or through his being wounded and bruised for them,

(g) Zohar in Exod. fol. 85. 2. Midrash Ruth, fol. 33. 2. Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 53. 3. & 90. 1.((h) R. Moses Haddarsan apud Galatin. de Areanis Cathol. Verit. l. 6. c. 2.((i) R. Sol. Urbin Ohel Moed, fol. 64. 1.((k) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 43. 1.

{26} Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

(26) He calls the servants back from considering the injuries which they are constrained to bear, to think instead on the greatness and the end of the benefit received from Christ.

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

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

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

The phraseology of this verse arose from a reference to the passage in Isaiah 53, and the actual fulfilment of the prophecy herein contained. The words of that chapter which were chiefly present to the mind of the apostle, are those of 1 Peter 2:12, LXX. καί αὐτὸς ἁμαρτίας πολλῶν ἀνήνεγκε (נָשָׂא); cf. also 1 Peter 2:11 : καὶ τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν αὐτὸς ἀνοίσει, (יִסְבֹּל) and 1 Peter 2:4 : οὗτος τ. ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν φέρει (נָשָׂא). The Hebrew נָשָׂא with the accus. of the idea of sin, therefore: “to bear sin,” is equivalent to, “to suffer the punishment for sin,” either one’s own or that of another. Now, as ἀνήνεγκε is in the above-quoted passage a translation of נָשָׂא, its meaning is: “He suffered the punishment for the sins of many.”[156]

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

[156] It admits of no doubt that נָשָׂא in connection with חֵטְא or עֲוֹן has the meaning above given; cf. Leviticus 19:17; Leviticus 20:19; Leviticus 24:15; Numbers 5:31; Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:5; Ezekiel 14:10; Ezekiel 16:58; Ezekiel 23:35, etc. (Lamentations 5:7 : סָבַל); generally, indeed, the LXX. translate this נָשָׂא by λαμβάνειν, but also by κομίζειν and ἀποφέρειν; in the passage quoted, Isaiah 53:4, by φέρειν; in Numbers 14:33, as in Isaiah 53:12, by ἀναφέρειν. This proves how unwarranted Hofmann (Schriftbeweis, II. 1, p. 465, 2d ed.) is in saying “that in view of the Greek translation of Isaiah 53:11-12, it is arbitrary to assume that ἀναφέρειν means simply to carry.” Of course every one knows that in and of itself ἀναφέρειν does not mean “to carry;” but from this it does not follow that the LXX. did not use it in this sense in the phrase above alluded to, the more so that they attribute to the word no meaning opposed to its classical usage; cf. Thuc. 1 Peter 3:18 : κινδύνου; ἀναφέρ.; Pol. 1:30: φθόνους καὶ διαβολὰς ἀναφέρ., see Pape, s.v. ἀναφέρω, and Delitzsch, Komment. z. Br. an die Hebr. p. 442.—Doubtless נָשָׂא אֶת־עֲוֹן, Leviticus 10:17, is said of the priests bearing away sin (making atonement), but there the LXX. translate נָשָׂא by ἀφαιρεῖν. Plainly there can here be no allusion to the meaning “to forgive sin.”

[157] Weiss is inaccurate when he asserts (p. 265) that the passages, Leviticus 19:17, Numbers 14:33, Lamentations 5:7, Ezekiel 18:19-20, allude to a vicarious suffering; these passages, indeed, speak of a bearing of the punishment which the sins of others have caused, but this is suffering with, not instead of others, without those who have done the sin being freed from its punishment.

[158] Schott, whilst admitting the above, asserts “that it will hardly be contradicted that in all the passages which speak of Christ’s death on the cross as a sacrifice, the cross must be presupposed to be that which served as altar.” This is decidedly to be contradicted, the more so that the animal sacrificed suffered death not upon, but before the altar.

[159] If ἀναφέρειν be here taken as equivalent to “to offer sacrifice,” as in Hebrews 7:27, not only would the thought—which Delitzsch (p. 440) terms a corrupt one—arise: per semet ipsum immolavit peccata nostra, but ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον would then have to be interpreted: “on the cross.” Luther: “who Himself offered in sacrifice our sins on His body on the tree.”—Here, too, Schott admits what is said above, but seeks to destroy its force as a proof, by claiming for ἀναφέρειν the sense: “to present or bring up in offering,” at the same time supplying—as it seems—as the object of offering, the body of Christ, which the expression of the apostle in no way justifies.

[160] Schott brings the baseless accusation against the circumlocution of the Syr. translation, “that in it peccata is to be taken differently in the first clause from the second;” in the former, as equivalent to “the punishment of our sin;” in the latter, as “the sin itself,” for peccata has the same meaning in both members, although the bearing of the sins consists in the suffering of the punishment for them. Comp. Numbers 14:33, where in the expression ἀνοίσουσι τὴν πορνείαν ὑμῶν, the word πορνεία has by no means the meaning “punishment for fornication,” although ἀναθέρειν τὴν πορνείαν means as much as “to suffer the punishment for fornication.”

[161] So, too, Schott, who interprets ἐν τῷ σώματι as equal to “in His earthly bodily life”(!).

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

Hofmann explains ἀναφέρεινἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον on the analogy of the phrase: ἀναφέρειν τι ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον, without, however, understanding the cross as the altar; the meaning then would be: “He lifted up His body on to the cross, thereby bearing up thither our sins, that is to say, atoning for our sins.” Although Hofmann admits that Peter had in his mind the passage in Isaiah, he nevertheless denies that ἀνήνεγκε has here the same meaning as there. In his Schriftbeweis, 1st ed., he gives a similar interpretation, only that there he says: “He took up our sins with Him, and so took them away from us.” He, however, justly adds that ἀναφέρειν has the same meaning here as in Hebrews 9:281 Peter 2:24. Christ was not only well-doer but benefactor.—τὰς ἁμ.… ἀνήνεγκεν comes from Isaiah 53:12, LXX, καὶ αὐτὸς ἁμαρτίας πολλῶν ἀνήνεγκεν (נשא usually translated λαμβάνειν), used also Hebrews 9:28. Christ is the perfect sin-offering: “Himself the victim and Himself the priest. The form of expression offered up our sins is due to the double use of חטאה for sin and sin-offering.—ἐν τῷ σώματι αὐτοῦ, a Pauline phrase derived from the saying, This is my body which is for you (1 Corinthians 9:24), explaining αὐτός of Isa. l.c.ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον, replaces the normal complement of ἀναφέρειν, ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον, in view of the moral which is to be drawn from the sacrificial language adopted. So Jam 2:21, ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον is substituted for ἐπάνω τῶν ξύλων of the original description of the offering of Isaac, Genesis 22:9. Christ died because He took our sins upon Himself (cf. Numbers 4:33, οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶνἀνοίσουσιν τὴν πορνείαν ὑμῶν). Therefore our sins perished and we have died to them, Colossians 2:14.—ἵναζήσωμεν. Compare Targum of Isaiah 53:10, “and from before Jehovah it was the will to refine and purify the remnant of His people that He might cleanse from sins their souls: they shall see the kingdom of His Christ an … prolong their days”.—ἀπογενόμενοι = (i.) die (Herodotus, Thucydides) as opposite of γενόμενοι come into being OR (ii.) be free from, as in Thuc. i. 39, τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων ἀπογενόμενοι. The Dative requires (i.), cf. Romans 6:2, οἵτινες ἀπεθάνομεν τῇ ἁμαρτία. The idea is naturally deduced from Isaiah 53, Christ bore our sins and delivered His soul to death, therefore He shall see His seed living because sinless.—οὗἰάθητε from Isaiah 53:5; μώλωπι properly the weal or scar produced by scourgeing (Sir 28:17, πληγὴ μάστιγος ποιεῖ μώλωπας) thus the prophecy was fulfilled according to Matthew 27:26, φραγελλώσας. The original has ἰάθημεν. The paradox is especially pointed in an address to slaves who were frequently scourged.24. who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree] Here again we have an unmistakeable reference to the language of Isaiah 53:12. The Apostle, though he has begun with pointing to the sufferings of Christ as an example, cannot rest satisfied with speaking of them only under that aspect. He remembers that his Lord had spoken of Himself as giving His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28), of His blood as that of a new covenant (Matthew 26:28). He must speak accordingly, even to the slaves whom he calls upon to follow in the footsteps of their Master, of the atoning, mediatorial, sacrificial aspects of His death. Each word is full of a profound significance. The Greek verb for “bare” (anapherein) is always used with a liturgical sacrificial meaning, sometimes, in a directly transitive sense, of him who offers a sacrifice, as James 2:21 (“Abraham … when he had offered Isaac”), Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 13:15, and in this very chapter (1 Peter 2:5); sometimes of the victim offered, as bearing the sins of those who have transgressed, and for whom a sacrifice is required, as in Hebrews 9:28 and the LXX. of Isaiah 53:12. Here, Christ being at once the Priest and the Victim, one meaning seems to melt into the other. He offers Himself: He bears the sins of many. But if there was a priest and a sacrifice, where was the altar? The Apostle finds that altar in the cross, just as many of the best commentators, including even Roman theologians like Estius and Aquinas, recognise a reference to the cross in the “we have an altar” of Hebrews 13:10. In the word for “tree,” used instead of that for “cross,” we have the same term as that in Galatians 3:13, where St Paul’s choice of it was obviously determined by its use in the LXX. of Deuteronomy 21:23. The word was somewhat more generic than “cross,” and included a whole class of punishments to which slaves were subject, impaling, the stocks (Acts 16:24), and the like. It is possible that St Peter, in writing to slaves, may have chosen it as bringing home to their thoughts the parallelism between Christ’s sufferings and their own (comp. the “non pasces in cruce corvos” of Horace Epp. 1:16, 50:48); but its occurrence in St Luke’s reports of his speeches in Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39 makes it more probable that it was simply a familiar term with him.

that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness] The Greek word for “being dead” is a somewhat unusual one, and is not found elsewhere in the New Testament. As a word it has to a certain extent an euphemistic character, like “departing,” “being away,” and is so far analogous to the exodos or “decease” of 2 Peter 1:15. The context leaves no doubt that the English rendering of the word fairly expresses its true meaning. “Having died” would perhaps give more accurately the force of the aorist participle. The thought presents another instance of parallelism between St Peter and St Paul (Romans 6:2; Romans 6:11; Galatians 2:19) so close that it at least suggests the idea of derivation. In both cases the tense used implies a single act at a definite point of time, and as interpreted by St Paul’s teaching, and, we may add, by that of St Peter himself (chap. 1 Peter 3:21), that point of time can hardly be referred to any other occasion than that of the Baptism of those to whom he writes. In that rite they were mystically sharers in the death and entombment of Christ, and they were made so in order that they might live to Him in the righteousness of a new life.

by whose stripes ye were healed] The word for “stripes” means strictly the livid mark or wheal left on the flesh by the scourge. Comp. Sir 28:17. We may well believe that the specific term was chosen rather than any more general word like “sufferings” or “passion,” as bringing before the minds of the slave readers of the Epistle the feature of greatest ignominy in their Lord’s sufferings (Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15), that in which they might find the closest parallelism with their own. When the scourge so freely used in Roman households left the quivering flesh red and raw, they were to remember that Christ also had so suffered, and that the stripes inflicted on Him were part of the process by which He was enabled to be the Healer of mankind. The words are cited from the LXX. of Isaiah 53:5.1 Peter 2:24. Ὃς, who) Peter infers, that we are able, and ought to follow the footsteps of Christ.—αὐτὸς ἀνήνεγκεν, Himself bare) αὐτουργία, personal exertion, becomes a servant, so that he himself should do what is to be done. [Er muss selber daran.—Not. Crit.] Jesus Christ Himself undertook the part of others: He did not substitute others for Himself, as they do at the present day, who assign [locant, let out] Canonical Hours to others. Peter agrees with Isaiah 53:11, Septuagint, καὶ τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν αὐτὸς ἁνοίσει, And He Himself shall bear their sins. Comp. Hebrews 9:28, note.—ἐν τῷ σώματι αὐτοῦ, in His own body) which was most afflicted.—ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον, upon the tree) Slaves were accustomed to be punished with the tree the cross, the fork.[22]—ἵνα, that) This word, that, declares that the expiation of sins, properly so called, was made on the cross of Christ: inasmuch as the fruit of it, and of it alone, was our deliverance from the slavery of sin.—ἀπογενόμενοι, being dead) This expression appositely describes our deliverance from the slavery of sin: for a slave is said to become the property of any one, γενέσθαι τινὸς. Ἀπὸ signifies separation; as Job 15:4, Septuagint, ἀπεποιήσω φόβον, thou castest off fear: German, ohne werden. The opposite term is πρσγενέσθαι in the Septuagint. The Body of Christ ἀπεγένετο, was presently taken away from that tree to which He had borne our sins: so ought we to be removed from sin.—τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ, to righteousness) Righteousness is altogether one; sin is manifold, to sins. Respecting righteousness, comp. Isaiah 53:11.—ζήσωμεν, we may live) in a free service.

[22] The furca consisted of two pieces of wood in the shape of the letter V, which pressed upon the neck and back, while the hands were bound to the two ends. A slave thus punished was called furcifer.—T.Verse 24. - Who his own self, bare our sins in his own body on the tree. St. Peter has thus far spoken of our Lord as our Example of patient endurance; but he seems to feel that, although this is the aspect of the Savior's sufferings most suitable to his present purpose, yet it is scarcely seemly to dwell upon that most momentous of all events, the death of Christ our Lord upon the cross, without mentioning its more solemn and awful import. A martyr may be an example of patient suffering; he cannot bear our sins. The apostle proceeds to unfold the contents of the ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν in ver. 21. The Lord died for us: but what is the meaning of the preposition? Was it that his example might stimulate us to imitate his patience and his holy courage? This is a true view, but, taken alone, it would be utterly inadequate. The death of the Son of God had a far deeper significance. The ὑπέρ used here and elsewhere is explained by the more precise ἀντί of Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6, in which last passage both propositions are combined. The Lord died, not only in our behalf, but in our stead. He gave "his life a ransom for many;" "he is the Propitiation for our sins." St. Peter exhibits here, with all possible emphasis, this vicarious aspect of the Savior's death. "He bore our sins himself." The pronoun is strongly emphatic; he bore them, though they were not his own. They were our sins, but he bore them - he alone; none other could bear that awful burden. He bare (ἀνήνεγκεν). The apostle is evidently quoting Isaiah 53:12, where the Hebrew verb is ▀and the Septuagint Version is Καὶ αὐτὸς ἁμαρτίας πολλῶν ἀνήνεγκε; comp. vers. 4 and 11 (in ver. 11 there is another Hebrew verb) of the same chapter. In the Old Testament "to bear sins" or "iniquity" means to suffer the punishment of sin, whether one's own sin or the sin of others (see Leviticus 5:1, 17, and many similar passages). In the description of the ceremonial of the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16. it is said (Ver. 22) that the scapegoat "shall bear upon him [the Hebrew is ; the Greek is λήψεται ὁ χίμαρος ἐφ ἑαυτῷ] all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited," where the scapegoat is represented as bearing the sins of the people and taking them away. Compare also the great saying of the Baptist, "Behold the Lamb of God. which taketh away the sin of the world!" where the Greek (ὁ αἴρων) may be rendered with equal exactness, "who beareth," or "who taketh away." The Lord took our sins away by taking them upon himself (comp. Matthew 8:17). As Aaron put the sins of the people upon the head of the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:21), and the goat was to bear them upon him unto a land not inhabited, so the Lord laid on the blessed Savior the iniquity of us all, and he bare our sins in his own body on to the tree, and, there dying in our stead, took them away. He bare them on himself, as the scapegoat bare upon him the iniquities of Israel. It was this burden of sin which made his sacred body sweat great drops of blood in his awful agony. He bare them on to the tree (ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον); he carried them thither, and there he expiated them (comp. Hebrews 9:28, "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many," where the same Greek word is used - ἀνενεγκεῖν). Another interpretation takes ἀναφέρειν in its sacrificial sense, as in Hebrews 7:27, and regards the cross as the altar: "He bore our sins on to the altar of the cross." The Lord is both Priest and Victim, and the verb is used in the sacred writings both of the priest who offers the sacrifice and of the sacrifice which bears or takes away sin. But the sacrifice which the Lord offered up was himself, not our sins; therefore it seems best to understand ἀναφέρειν here rather of victim than of priest, as in Hebrews 9:28 and the Greek Version of Isaiah 53:12. The thought of sacrifice was doubtless present to the apostle's mind, as it certainly was to the prophet's (see ver. 10 of Isaiah 53.). The word ξύλον is used for the cross twice in St. Peter's speeches in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39). It is also so used by St. Paul (Galatians 3:13). That we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. The Greek word ἀπογενόμενοι occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Bengel understands it differently. He says that as γενέσθαι τινός means "to become the slave of some one," so ἀπογενέσθαι may mean to cease to be a slave. But this would require the genitive, not the dative, ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις; and the ordinary translation is more suitable to the following context. The word is several times used in Herodotus in the sense of "having died;" more literally, "having ceased to be." The tense (aorist) seems to point to a definite time, as the time of baptism (comp. Romans 6:2, 11; Galatians 2:19, 20). Righteousness here is simply the opposite of sin - obedience, submission to the will of God. Bengel says, "Justitia tota una est; peccatum multiplex." By whose stripes ye were healed. The apostle is quoting the Septuagint rendering of Isaiah 53:5. The Greek μώλωψ means the mark or weal left on the flesh by a scourge (comp. Ecclus. 28:17, Πληγὴ μάστιγος ποιεῖ μώλωπας). The slaves, whom the apostle is addressing, might perhaps not infrequently be subjected to the scourge; he bids them remember the more dreadful flagellation which the Lord endured. They were to learn patience of him, and to remember to their comfort that those stripes which he, the holy Son of God, condescended to suffer are to them that believe healing and salvation. Faith in the crucified Savior lifts the Christian out of the sickness of sin into the health of righteousness. Bare (ἀνήνεγκεν)

See on 1 Peter 2:5. Bare up to the cross, as to an altar, and offered himself thereon.

The tree (ξύλον)

Lit., wood. Peter uses the same peculiar term for the cross, Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39.

Being dead (ἀπογενόμενοι)

Rev., more strictly, having died. Used here only in the New Testament. The rendering of the verb can be given only in a clumsy way, having become off unto sin; not becoming separate from sins, but having ceased to exist as regards them. Compare Romans 6:18.

Stripes (μώλωπι)

Lit., bruise. So Rev., in margin. Only here in New Testament; meaning a bloody wale which arises under a blow. "Such a sight we feel sure, as we read this descriptive passage, St. Peter's eyes beheld on the body of his Master, and the flesh so dreadfully mangled made the disfigured form appear in his eyes like one single bruise" (Lumby).

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