1 Peter 3:6
Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters you are, as long as you do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Even as Sara.—A definite example of the general fact just alleged. St. Peter seems rather to have argued from what every one would feel must have been the case than from explicit records. Sara’s usual subjection is clearly seen in the one instance to which St. Peter refers (Genesis 18:12), where Sara, though not addressing Abraham, but speaking to herself, calls him “my lord.” People show their usual habits of mind more freely in speaking to themselves.

Whose daughters ye are.—A very misleading version, following the Vulgate. What St. Peter says is, whose children ye became, or were made. There was a definite period in their past lives at which they came to be—what they were not before—children of Sara. Have we not here, therefore, a distinct proof that these readers of the Epistle were Gentiles and not Jewesses? Not so. The phrase, “which hoped in God,” pointing as it does to the coming of the Messiah, prepares us to understand how these Hebrew women became Sara’s children. It was only by entering into her hope and attaching themselves to Jesus Christ, for whose coming she had looked. St. Peter has already been insisting on the nothingness of the fleshly descent, the “corruptible seed.” As has been pointed out on 1Peter 1:24, this doctrine was not first taught by St. Paul, for St. Peter had heard it from the Baptist (Matthew 3:9) and from our Lord Himself (John 8:39). Whether persons were naturally Jews or Gentiles, they could not be children of Abraham without voluntarily becoming so by embracing his principles—i.e., by becoming Christians. The participial clauses which follow will need no change of translation, for they express not the act or process by which these ladies became children of Sara, but the condition on which they would remain her children. A very similar passage occurs in Hebrews 3:14 : “We have become partakers of the Christ, if (for the future) we hold,” &c. (Comp. also 1Thessalonians 3:8; Hebrews 3:6.)

Do well.—See 1Peter 2:12; 1Peter 2:15; 1Peter 2:20. The word means, of course, general good behaviour, especially in all wifely duties. As this is a condition of remaining Sara’s children, it is implied that it was a characteristic of Sara. Some critics would even put in a parenthesis all the words from “even as” to “ye are,” and attach these participles (as they are in the Greek) to the last clause in 1Peter 3:5, thus: “adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands (as Sara, for instance . . . whose daughters ye were made), doing well, and not being afraid,” &c. This is, however, somewhat cumbrous, and leaves the clause “whose daughters ye became” a little too bald.

Are not afraid with any amazement.—Though this translation is grammatically possible, it does not make such good sense as to translate, are not afraid of any alarm. It is, in fact, a quotation from or allusion to Proverbs 3:25, as Bengel points out, where “Be not afraid of sudden fear” is rendered in the LXX. by these same peculiar words. The “Wisdom” in that passage, which brings the calmness with it, is Christ, and it is Christ who must be understood in Proverbs 3:26 : “the Lord shall be thy confidence.” To be afraid of sudden alarms and panics argues a lack of trust in God’s providence and power, and would, therefore, be unbecoming the daughters of Sara, who “hoped in God.” The “alarms” which they naturally might fear are, of course, quite general, but especially here, we may suppose, dread of what their unbelieving husbands might do to them. (Comp. 1Peter 3:13 et seq.)

3:1-7 The wife must discharge her duty to her own husband, though he obey not the word. We daily see how narrowly evil men watch the ways and lives of professors of religion. Putting on of apparel is not forbidden, but vanity and costliness in ornament. Religious people should take care that all their behaviour answers to their profession. But how few know the right measure and bounds of those two necessaries of life, food and raiment! Unless poverty is our carver, and cuts us short, there is scarcely any one who does not desire something beyond what is good for us. Far more are beholden to the lowliness of their state, than the lowliness of their mind; and many will not be so bounded, but lavish their time and money upon trifles. The apostle directs Christian females to put on something not corruptible, that beautifies the soul, even the graces of God's Holy Spirit. A true Christian's chief care lies in right ordering his own spirit. This will do more to fix the affections, and excite the esteem of a husband, than studied ornaments or fashionable apparel, attended by a froward and quarrelsome temper. Christians ought to do their duty to one another, from a willing mind, and in obedience to the command of God. Wives should be subject to their husbands, not from dread and amazement, but from desire to do well, and please God. The husband's duty to the wife implies giving due respect unto her, and maintaining her authority, protecting her, and placing trust in her. They are heirs together of all the blessings of this life and that which is to come, and should live peaceably one with another. Prayer sweetens their converse. And it is not enough that they pray with the family, but husband and wife together by themselves, and with their children. Those who are acquainted with prayer, find such unspeakable sweetness in it, that they will not be hindered therein. That you may pray much, live holily; and that you may live holily, be much in prayer.Even as Sara obeyed Abraham - Sarah was one of the most distinguished of the wives of the patriarchs, and her case is referred to as furnishing one of the best illustrations of the duty to which the apostle refers. Nothing is said, in the brief records of her life, of any passion for outward adorning; much is said of her kindness to her husband, and her respect for him. Compare Genesis 12:5; Genesis 18:6.

Calling him Lord - See Genesis 18:12. It was probably inferred from this instance, by the apostle, and not without reason, that Sarah habitually used this respectful appellation, acknowledging by it that he was her superior, and that he had a right to rule in his own house. The word lord has the elementary idea of ruling, and this is the sense here - that she acknowledged that he had a right to direct the affairs of his household, and that it was her duty to be in subjection to him as the head of the family. In what respects this is a duty, may be seen by consulting the notes at Ephesians 5:22. Among the Romans, it was quite common for wives to use the appellation lord, (dominus), when speaking of their husbands. The same custom also prevailed among the Greeks. See Grotius, in loc. This passage does not prove that the term lord should be the particular appellation by which Christian wives should address their husbands now, but it proves that there should be the same respect and deference which was implied by its use in patriarchal times. The welfare of society, and the happiness of individuals, are not diminished by showing proper respect for all classes of persons in the various relations of life.

Whose daughters ye are - That is, you will be worthy to be regarded as her daughters, if you manifest the same spirit that she did. The margin here, as the Greek, is children. The sense is that if they demeaned themselves correctly in the relation of wives, it would be proper to look upon her as their mother, and to feel that they were not unworthy to be regarded as her daughters.

As long as ye do well - In respect to the particular matter under consideration.

And are not afraid with any amazement - This passage has been variously understood, Some have supposed that this is suggested as an argument to persuade them to do well, from the consideration that by so doing they would be preserved from those alarms and terrors which a contest with superior power might bring with it, and which would prove as injurious to their peace as to their character. Rosenmuller explains it, "If ye do well, terrified by no threats of unbelieving husbands, if they should undertake to compel you to deny the Christian faith." Doddridge supposes that it means that they were to preserve their peace and fortitude in any time of danger, so as not to act out of character, through amazement or danger. Calvin, Benson, and Bloomfield understand it of that firmness and intrepidity of character which would be necessary to support their religious independence, when united with pagan husbands; meaning that they were not to be deterred from doing their duty by any threats or terrors, either of their unbelieving husbands, or of their enemies and persecutors. Dr. Clarke supposes that it means that if they did well, they would live under no dread of being detected in improprieties of life, or being found out in their infidelities to their husbands, as those must always be who are unfaithful to their marriage vows. The word rendered "amazement" ptonsis - does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means terror, trepidation, fear; and the literal translation of the Greek is, "not fearing any fear." It seems to me that the following may express the sense of the passage:

(1) There is undoubtedly an allusion to the character of Sarah, and the object of the apostle is to induce them to follow her example.

(2) the thing in Sarah which he would exhort them to imitate, was her pure and upright life, her faithful discharge of her duties as a woman fearing God. This she did constantly wherever she was, regardless of consequences. Among friends and strangers, at home and abroad, she was distinguished for doing well. Such was her character, such her fidelity to her husband and her God, such her firm integrity and benevolence, that she at all times lived to do good, and would have done it, unawed by terror, undeterred by threats, To whatever trial her piety was exposed, it bore the trial; and such was her strength of virtue, that it was certain her integrity would be firm by whatever consequences she might have been threatened for her adherence to her principles.

(3) they were to imitate her in this, and were thus to show that they were worthy to be regarded as her daughters. They were to do well; to be faithful to their husbands; to be firm in their principles; to adhere steadfastly to what was true and good, whatever trials they might pass through, however much they might be threatened with persecution, or however any might attempt to deter them from the performance of their duty. Thus, by a life of Christian fidelity, unawed by fear from any quarter, they would show that they were imbued with the same principles of unbending virtue which characterised the wife of the father of the faithful, and that they were not unworthy to be regarded as her daughters.

6. Sara—an example of faith.

calling him lord—(Ge 18:12).

ye are—Greek, "ye have become": "children" of Abraham and Sara by faith, whereas ye were Gentile aliens from the covenant.

afraid with any amazement—Greek, "fluttering alarm," "consternation." Act well, and be not thrown into sudden panic, as weak females are apt to be, by any opposition from without. Bengel translates, "Not afraid OF any fluttering terror coming from without" (1Pe 3:13-16). So the Septuagint, Pr 3:25 uses the same Greek word, which Peter probably refers to. Anger assails men; fear, women. You need fear no man in doing what is right: not thrown into fluttering agitation by any sudden outbreak of temper on the part of your unbelieving husbands, while you do well.

Even as Sara; after ger name was changed from Sarai, my lady, to Sarah, simply a lady or princess, because kings were to come of her, Genesis 17:15,16: yet even then she obeyed Abraham; and this is spoken in commendation of her obedience.

Calling him lord; not merely in compliment, but in reality, hereby acknowledging his authority and her own subjection.

Whose daughters ye are; not only according to the flesh, but spiritually, according to the promise.

Ye are; either ye are made or become, viz. by imitation of her faith and holiness, as well as ye are by kindred and succession; or, ye are declared and known to be, as the phrase is elsewhere used, John 15:8.

As long as ye do well; follow her in good works, 1 Timothy 2:10.

And are not afraid with any amazement; or, afraid of any amazement, any thing frightful, or which might terrify you, taking amazement for the object or cause or fear, as 1 Peter 3:14 Psalm 53:5 Proverbs 3:25; and the sense may be, either, so long as ye perform your duty with a resolute mind, and keep from that which is contrary to your faith; or, as long as you subject yourselves to your husbands willingly, cheerfuly, and without slavish fear of being losers by your obedience, and faring the worse for your patience and submission. Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham,.... Going along with him wherever he went, as from Chaldea to Canaan, and into Egypt, and the land of the Philistines, saying the words he put into her mouth, Genesis 12:5 and doing the things he bid her do, Genesis 18:6 "calling him lord"; or "my lord", as the Syriac and Ethiopic versions render it, and as it appears she did from Genesis 18:12. The Jews use this instance to the same purpose the apostle does, saying (p),

"the wife ought to take care of the family, to educate her children, to serve and minister to her husband in all things, "calling him her own lord"; which is what we learn from the example of Sarah, who called Abraham her lord, saying, "my lord is old".

Whose daughters ye are; meaning not by natural descent, though they were, these being Jews the apostle writes to, but by grace, and in a spiritual sense; just as those are the children of Abraham, who walk in the steps of his faith, whether they be Jews or Gentiles; so such are the daughters of Sarah, the children of the free woman, who imitate her in faith and obedience; that is, they appear, and are declared to be so:

as long as ye do well: do acts of beneficence and hospitality to strangers, and proper objects, as Sarah did, and all and every good work, according to the will of God, from love, and in faith, and with a view to his glory; and particularly obey and live in subjection to their husbands, as she did: and are not afraid with any amazement; are not deterred from doing well, nor scared by the terrors and menaces of wicked men, either their own husbands, or others; or who with fortitude and intrepidity of mind continue in the discharge of their duty to God and men, and particularly to their husbands, following them, and obeying their lawful commands, as Sarah did in Egypt, and in Gerar, though she exposed herself to great danger: this is said, because women are timorous, and apt to be frightened at everything, from the performance of their duty,

(p) Sepher Musar apud Drus. de Quaesitis, Ephesians 54. & in loc.

Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are {5} not afraid with any amazement.

(5) Because women are by nature fearful, he gives them to understand that he requires of them that subjection, which is not wrung out from them either by force or fear.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 3:6. ὡςκαλοῦσα. The only evidence that can be adduced from the O.T. narrative is Sarah laughed within herself and said … “but my lord is old” (Genesis 18:12). The phrase, if pressed, implies a nominal subjection as of a slave to her lord, but the context at any rate excludes any hope in God. Philo, who starts with the assumption that Sarah is Virtue, evades the difficulty; her laughter was the expression of her joy, she denied it for fear of usurping God’s prerogative of laughter (de Abr., ii. p. 30 M). The Rabbinic commentaries dwell upon the title accorded to Abraham and draw the same inference as Peter; but there are also traces of a tendency to exalt Sarah “the princess” as superior to her husband in the gift of prophecy, which St. Peter may wish to correct (as St. James corrects the exaggerated respect paid to Elijah, Jam 5:17).—ἧςτέκνα. Christian women became children of Sarah who is Virtue or Wisdom: (Philo) just as men became children of Abraham. But the fact that they were Christians is still in the background; the essential point is that they must do the works traditionally ascribed to Sarah (cf. Romans 4.; John 8.) and so justify their technical parentage, whether natural or acquired. Oec. compares Isaiah 41:2, Sarah your mother.—ἀγαθοποιοῦσαι the present participle emphasises the need for continuance of the behaviour appropriate to children of Sarah.—μὴπτόησιν, from Proverbs 3:25, LXX. Peter regards Sarah’s falsehood (Gen. l.c.) as the yielding to a sudden terror for which she was rebuked by God. Fearlessness then is part of the character which is set before them for imitation and it is the result of obedience to the voice of Wisdom. Rabbinic exegesis as sociates the ideas of ornament with the promised child and that of peace between husband and wife with the whole incident.6. even as Sara obeyed Abraham] The tense which St Peter uses would seem to imply a reference to some special instance of obedience, but, as the history of Genesis supplies no such instance in act, we are left to infer that he saw in her use of “my lord,” in speaking of her husband (Genesis 18:12), a representative utterance that implied a sense of habitual subordination. It seems strange to refer to literature like that of the sixth satire of Juvenal in illustration of an Epistle of St Peter, but there can be no clearer evidence that the general corruption of the Empire had extended itself to the life of home, and that over and above the prevalence of adultery and divorce, the wives of Rome, and we may believe also, of the cities that followed in the wake of Rome, had well-nigh thrown aside all sense of the reverence which the Apostle looked on as essential to the holiness, and therefore the happiness, of married life.

whose daughters ye are] whose daughters ye became. If the words were addressed to women who were converts from heathenism, we might see in the words a suggestive parallel to those of St Paul, that Abraham was the father of “all them that believe though they be not circumcised” (Romans 4:11), that “they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). Taking this view there would be a special interest in the fact that St Peter, the married Apostle, told the female converts from among the Gentiles that they were as truly daughters of Sarah as their husbands, if believing, were sons of Abraham. On the assumption which has been adopted throughout these notes, as on the whole the most probable, that the Epistle was really addressed, as it purports to be, to the Jews of the dispersion, the words have another significance. The daughters of Sarah according to the flesh are told that they only became truly her children when they reproduced her character. The words, on this view, present a striking parallelism to those in which St Paul speaks of Abraham as being “the father not of the circumcision only, as such, but of those who walk in the steps of Abraham’s faith” (Romans 4:12).

as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement] The construction of the Greek sentence is not quite clear, and admits of being taken either (1) as in the English version, or (2) treating the words “as Sara obeyed.… whose daughters ye became” as a parenthesis, we may refer the words “doing well” to the “holy women” of 1 Peter 3:5. On the whole (1) seems preferable. It may be questioned whether the words “so long as” rightly represent the force of the participle. If we adopt the rendering given above (“ye became”) that meaning is clearly inadmissible, and we have to see in the two participles the process by which Christian women became daughters by doing good and not being afraid. The word for “amazement” does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, but the cognate verb is found in Luke 21:9; Luke 24:37. The noun itself meets us in the LXX. of Proverbs 3:25. It implies the crouching, shuddering fear of one who is overwhelmed with terror. In warning the women to whom he writes against such a fear, St Peter seems to be guarding them against the unwisdom of rushing from one extreme to the other. The Christian wives of unbelieving husbands, whether Jews or heathens, might often have much to bear from them, but if they were always shewing their terror, cowering as if they expected the curse or the blow, that very demeanour was certain to make matters worse. It was a tacit reproach, and therefore would but irritate and annoy. Wisely therefore does the Apostle urge on them a different line of action. “Be certain,” he seems to say, “that you are doing what is right and good, and then go about the daily tasks of your household life with a cheerful intrepidity.” Two interpretations may be noticed only to be rejected, (1) that which takes the second clause as meaning “be not afraid of anything that causes terror,” and (2) that which renders it “doing good, even though you are not afraid,” as though stress were laid on their good conduct being spontaneous and not originating in fear.1 Peter 3:6. Ὡς, even as) The particle used in bringing forward an example.—ὑλήκουσε, obeyed) Genesis 18:6.—κύριον, lord) Genesis 18:12, Septuagint, ὁ δὲ κύριός μου. Also 1 Samuel 1:8 : καὶ εἴπεν αὐτῇ, Ἐλκανᾶ ὁ ἀνὴρ αὐτῆς, Ἄννα· καὶ εἶπεν, ἰδοὺ ἐγώ κύριε·τί ἐστί σοι ὅτι κλαίεις; And Elkanah her husband said to her, Hannah! and she said, Here am I, my lord: and he said, why weepest thou?αὐτὸν, him) although he was born of the same father: Genesis 20:12.—ἐγενήθητε, ye have become) he says; not ye are [as Engl. Vers.] He addresses those that believe even of the Gentiles.—τέκνα, daughters) Daughters ought to imitate their mother, as the sons Abraham.—ἀγαθοποιῦσαι, doing well) This also depends upon adorned [1 Peter 3:5; Engl. Vers, differently].—καὶ μὴ, and not) Comp. 1 Peter 3:13; 1 Peter 3:16; 1 Peter 3:15. You need fear no man in doing what is right.—φοβούμεναι, fearing) Anger assails men, fear women.—πτόησιν, [fluttering] terror) coming upon them from without; 1 Peter 3:14, note. Proverbs 3:25, Septuagint: Καὶ οὐ φοβηθήσῃ πτόησιν ἐπελθοῦσαν· And thou shalt not be afraid of sudden terror.Verse 6. - Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. St. Peter singles out Sarah, as the mother of the chosen people. She obeyed her husband habitually (the imperfect ὑπήκουεν is the reading of some of the oldest manuscripts; the aorist, also well supported, would represent her obedience as a whole, the character of her life now past); she called him lord (comp. Genesis 18:12, ὁ δὲ κύριος μου πρεσβύτερος.) Whose daughters ye are; literally, whose children ye became. This is another indication that the Epistle is addressed, not only to Jewish Christians, but also, and that in large measure, to Gentile converts. Gentile women became by faith the daughters of Sarah; just as we read in St. Paul's Epistles that "they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham" (Galatians 3:7); and that Abraham is "the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised" (Romans 4:11); comp. Galatians 4:22-31, where St. Paul tells us that we, like Isaac, are the children of promise; children, "not of the bondwoman, but of the free." As long as ye do well. This clause represents one Greek word ἀγαθοπιοῦσαι ("doing good"). Some commentators regard the words from "even as Sara" to "whose daughters ye are" as a parenthesis, and refer the participle to "the holy women" mentioned in ver. 5. This does not seem natural. It is better to regard the second half of this verse as a continuous sentence, and to understand the participle as meaning "if ye do well." The doing well, etc., is a mark that Christian women have become children of Sarah by faith. And are not afraid with any amazement. The Greek word for "amazement" (πτόησις) does not occur in any other place of the New Testament, though we meet with the corresponding verb in Luke 21:9; Luke 24:87. There seems to be a reference to Proverbs 3:25, "Be not afraid of sudden fear ' (καὶ οὐ φοβηθήσῃ πτόησιν ἐπελθοῦσαν), Πτσήσις is "dismay, scared terrified excitement," very different from the calm thoughtful φόβος, the fear lest they should fail in proper respect for their husbands, and that out of the holy fear of God, which St. Peter inculcates upon wives (ver. 2). The Christian wife might often experience cruel treatment from an unbelieving husband, but she was not to live in a flutter of excited terror; she was to be calm and quiet, trusting in God. As to the construction, the accusative may be cognate, as the Authorized Version takes it; or the accusative of the object, as in Proverbs 3:25. The last view is, perhaps, the -most suitable: "And are not afraid of any sudden terror." Amazement (πτόησιν)

Rev., terror. Compare the kindred verb πτοηθῆτε, be terrified, Luke 21:9; Luke 24:37; on which, see note. The word means a scare, or nervous excitement.

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