1 Peter 2:8
And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) And a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.—Another quotation, no doubt suggested by the word “a stone,” but conveying a totally different metaphor. Here there is no thought whatever of the stone as a material for building; the thought is that of a mass of rock on the road, on which the terror-stricken fugitives stumble and fall. The words are taken from Isaiah 8:14, and are translated directly from the Hebrew. The LXX. not only makes nonsense, but can again be hardly acquitted of “guile” (1Peter 2:1) in its endeavour to make out the best possible case for Israel by deliberately inserting the word “not” twice over. We shall find St. Peter in 1Peter 3:14 quoting the verses which immediately precede our present citation, and again the point lies in the context. The words are no mere phrase hastily caught up to serve the turn. They come out of the great Immanuel section of Isaiah, and immediately involve, like the quotation in 1Peter 2:6, the sharp contrast between the Jews who trust in Immanuel (the presence of God with Israel) and the Jews who do not, but rely on “confederacies.” To the one party, the Lord of Hosts will be “for a sanctuary;” but to the other party, who are described as “both houses of Israel,” and specially as the “inhabitant of Jerusalem,” He will be “for a stone of striking, and for a rock of stumbling over,” and also “for a snare.” The “sanctuary” does not seem to mean a temple (though this would connect it with the preceding words of St. Peter), but rather such a “sanctuary” as that of Bethel (Genesis 28:18), a consecrated stone to which a man might flee as an asylum. In the flight of terror before the face of the Assyrians the very stone which afforded right of sanctuary to those who recognised and trusted it, was a vexatious and dangerous obstacle, a trap full in the way to those who did not. Once more, therefore, the Hebrews of the Dispersion, in separating themselves from “both houses of Israel” and the “inhabitant of Jerusalem,” were obeying the warnings of the Immanuel prophecy, which every Hebrew recognised as Messianic. Though the coupling of these passages of the Old Testament together certainly seems to show traces of the influence of St. Paul (comp. Romans 9:32-33), yet St. Peter must have been present and heard “the Lord of Hosts” Himself put them together (Luke 20:17-18), and probably St. Paul’s use of the passages is itself to be traced back to the same origin.

Stumble at the word, being disobedient.—It seems better to arrange the words otherwise: which stumble, being disobedient to the word. The participle thus explains the verb. “‘A stone of stumbling’ He is to them; and the manner of the stumbling is in being disobedient to the gospel preaching” (Leighton).

Whereunto also they were appointedi.e., unto stumbling. The present commentator believes that when St. Peter says that these unhappy Jews were appointed to stumble, he primarily means that the clear prophecies of the Old Testament which he has quoted marked them for such a destiny. It was no unforeseen, accidental consequence of the gospel. It had never been expected that all who heard the gospel would accept it. Those who stumbled by disbelief were marked out in prophecy as men who would stumble. Thus the introduction of the statement here has the direct practical purpose of confirming the faith of the readers by showing the verification of the prophecy. Still, in fairness, we must not shirk the further question which undoubtedly comes in at this point. Even though the moment of their appointment to stumble was that of the utterance of the prophecy, it cannot be denied that, in a certain sense, it was God Himself who appointed them to stumble. It will be observed, however, from the outset, that our present passage casts not a glance at the condition of the stumbling Jews after death. With this caution, we may say that God puts men sometimes into positions where, during this life, they almost inevitably reject the truth. This is implied in the very doctrine of election—e.g., in 2Thessalonians 2:13, where, if God selects one man out of the hundred to a present salvation through belief of truth, it seems to follow logically that the ninety and nine are appointed to have no share in that salvation, so far as this life is concerned, through disbelief of truth. These things remain as a trial of faith. It suffices that we know for certain that God is Love. He has “brought us forth at His own option by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (James 1:18). We have but to prize more highly our own present salvation, and to trust His love for that fuller harvest of which we are but the firstfruits. In some way even their stumbling will ultimately prove His love, to them as well as to us.

2:1-10 Evil-speaking is a sign of malice and guile in the heart; and hinders our profiting by the word of God. A new life needs suitable food. Infants desire milk, and make the best endeavours for it which they are able to do; such must be a Christian's desires after the word of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is very merciful to us miserable sinners; and he has a fulness of grace. But even the best of God's servants, in this life, have only a taste of the consolations of God. Christ is called a Stone, to teach his servants that he is their protection and security, the foundation on which they are built. He is precious in the excellence of his nature, the dignity of his office, and the glory of his services. All true believers are a holy priesthood; sacred to God, serviceable to others, endowed with heavenly gifts and graces. But the most spiritual sacrifices of the best in prayer and praise are not acceptable, except through Jesus Christ. Christ is the chief Corner-stone, that unites the whole number of believers into one everlasting temple, and bears the weight of the whole fabric. Elected, or chosen, for a foundation that is everlasting. Precious beyond compare, by all that can give worth. To be built on Christ means, to believe in him; but in this many deceive themselves, they consider not what it is, nor the necessity of it, to partake of the salvation he has wrought. Though the frame of the world were falling to pieces, that man who is built on this foundation may hear it without fear. He shall not be confounded. The believing soul makes haste to Christ, but it never finds cause to hasten from him. All true Christians are a chosen generation; they make one family, a people distinct from the world: of another spirit, principle, and practice; which they could never be, if they were not chosen in Christ to be such, and sanctified by his Spirit. Their first state is a state of gross darkness, but they are called out of darkness into a state of joy, pleasure, and prosperity; that they should show forth the praises of the Lord by their profession of his truth, and their good conduct. How vast their obligations to Him who has made them his people, and has shown mercy to them! To be without this mercy is a woful state, though a man have all worldly enjoyments. And there is nothing that so kindly works repentance, as right thoughts of the mercy and love of God. Let us not dare to abuse and affront the free grace of God, if we mean to be saved by it; but let all who would be found among those who obtain mercy, walk as his people.And a stone of stumbling - A stone over which they, stumble, or against which they impinge. The idea seems to be that of a cornerstone which projects from the building, against which they dash themselves, and by which they are made to fall. See the notes at Matthew 21:44. The rejection of the Saviour becomes the means of their ruin. They refuse to build on him, and it is as if one should run against a solid projecting cornerstone of a house, that would certainly be the means of their destruction. Compare the notes at Luke 2:34. An idea similar to this occurs in Matthew 21:44; "Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken." The meaning is, that if this foundation-stone is not the means of their salvation, it will be of their ruin. It is not a matter of indifference whether they believe on him or not - whether they accept or reject him. They cannot reject him without the most fearful consequences to their souls.

And a rock of offence - This expresses substantially the same idea as the phrase "stone of stumbling." The word rendered "offence," (σκάνδαλον skandalon) means properly "a trap-stick - a crooked stick on which the bait is fastened which the animal strikes against, and so springs the trap," (Robinson, Lexicon) then "a trap, gin, snare"; and then "anything which one strikes or stumbles against; a stumbling-block." It then denotes "that which is the cause or occasion of ruin." This language would be strictly applicable to the Jews, who rejected the Saviour on account of his humble birth, and whose rejection of him was made the occasion of the destruction of their temple, city, and nation. But it is also applicable to all who reject him, from whatever cause; for their rejection of him will be followed with ruin to their souls. It is a crime for which God will judge them as certainly as he did the Jews who disowned him and crucified him, for the offence is substantially the same. What might have been, therefore, the means of their salvation, is made the cause of their deeper condemnation.

Even to them which stumble at the word - To all who do this. That is, they take the same kind of offence at the gospel which the Jews did at the Saviour himself. It is substantially the same thing, and the consequences must be the same. How does the conduct of the man who rejects the Saviour now, differ from that of him who rejected him when he was on the earth?

Being disobedient - 1 Peter 2:7. The reason why they reject him is, that they are not disposed to obey. They are solemnly commanded to believe the gospel; and a refusal to do it, therefore, is as really an act of disobedience as to break any other command of God.

Whereunto they were appointed - (εἰς ὅ καὶ ἐτέθησαν eis ho kai etethēsan.) The word "whereunto "means unto which. But unto what? It cannot be supposed that it means that they were "appointed" to believe on him and be saved by him; for:

(1) this would involve all the difficulty which is ever felt in the doctrine of decrees or election; for it would then mean that he had eternally designated them to be saved, which is the doctrine of predestination; and,

(2) if this were the true interpretation, the consequence would follow that God had been foiled in his plan - for the reference here is to those who would not be saved, that is, to those who "stumble at that stumblingstone," and are destroyed.

Calvin supposes that it means, "unto which rejection and destruction they were designated in the purpose of God." So Bloomfield renders it, "Unto which (disbelief) they were destined," (Critical Digest) meaning, as he supposes, that "into this stumbling and disobedience they were permitted by God to fall." Doddridge interprets it, "To which also they were appointed by the righteous sentence of God, long before, even as early as in his first purpose and decree he ordained his Son to be the great foundation of his church." Rosenmuller gives substantially the same interpretation. Clemens Romanus says it means that "they were appointed, not that they should sin, but that, sinning, they should be punished." See Wetstein. So Macknight. "To which punishment they were appointed." Whitby gives the same interpretation of it, that because they were disobedient, (referring, as he supposes, to the Jews who rejected the Messiah) "they were appointed, for the punishment of that disobedience, to fall and perish."

Dr. Clark supposes that it means that they were prophesied of that they should thus fall; or that, long before, it was predicted that they should thus stumble and fall. In reference to the meaning of this difficult passage, it is proper to observe that there is in the Greek verb necessarily the idea of designation, appointment, purpose. There was some agency or intention by which they were put in that condition; some act of placing or appointing, (the word τίθημι tithēmi meaning to set, put, lay, lay down, appoint, constitute) by which this result was brought about. The fair sense, therefore, and one from which we cannot escape, is, that this did not happen by chance or accident, but that there was a divine arrangement, appointment, or plan on the part of God in reference to this result, and that the result was in conformity with that. So it is said in Jde 1:4, of a similar class of people, "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation." The facts were these:

(1) That God appointed his Son to be the cornerstone of his church.

(2) that there was a portion of the world which, from some cause, would embrace him and be saved.

(3) that there was another portion who, it was certain, would not embrace him.

(4) that it was known that the appointment of the Lord Jesus as a Saviour would be the occasion of their rejecting him, and of their deeper and more aggravated condemnation.

(5) that the arrangement was nevertheless made, with the understanding that all this would be so, and because it was best on the whole that it should be so, even though this consequence would follow. That is, it was better that the arrangement should be made for the salvation of people even with this result, that a part would sink into deeper condemnation, than that no arrangement should be made to save any. The primary and originating arrangement, therefore, did not contemplate them or their destruction, but was made with reference to others, and notwithstanding they would reject him, and would fall. The expression "whereunto" (εἰς ὅ eis ho) refers to this plan, as involving, under the circumstances, the result which actually followed. Their stumbling and falling was not a matter of chance, or a result which was not contemplated, but entered into the original arrangement; and the whole, therefore, might be said to be in accordance with a wise plan and purpose. And,

continued...

8. stone of stumbling, &c.—quoted from Isa 8:14. Not merely they stumbled, in that their prejudices were offended; but their stumbling implies the judicial punishment of their reception of Messiah; they hurt themselves in stumbling over the corner-stone, as "stumble" means in Jer 13:16; Da 11:19.

at the word—rather, join "being disobedient to the word"; so 1Pe 3:1; 4:17.

whereunto—to penal stumbling; to the judicial punishment of their unbelief. See above.

also—an additional thought; God's ordination; not that God ordains or appoints them to sin, but they are given up to "the fruit of their own ways" according to the eternal counsel of God. The moral ordering of the world is altogether of God. God appoints the ungodly to be given up unto sin, and a reprobate mind, and its necessary penalty. "Were appointed," Greek, "set," answers to "I lay," Greek, "set," 1Pe 2:6. God, in the active, is said to appoint Christ and the elect (directly). Unbelievers, in the passive, are said to be appointed (God acting less directly in the appointment of the sinner's awful course) [Bengel]. God ordains the wicked to punishment, not to crime [J. Cappel]. "Appointed" or "set" (not here "FORE-ordained") refers, not to the eternal counsel so directly, as to the penal justice of God. Through the same Christ whom sinners rejected, they shall be rejected; unlike believers, they are by God appointed unto wrath as FITTED for it. The lost shall lay all the blame of their ruin on their own sinful perversity, not on God's decree; the saved shall ascribe all the merit of their salvation to God's electing love and grace.

And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; i.e. a stone at which they stumble, a rock at which they are offended; and so it implies Christ not to be the cause of their stumbling, but the object of it; they of their own accord, and through the pravity of their nature, without any just occasion given by him, being offended, either because cause they find not that in him which they expected, viz. outward encouragements; or find that in him which they do not like, the holiness of his law, and purity of his doctrine, contrary to their corruptions and lusts, and especially his requiring of them faith in him for the justification of their persons, which was so contrary to the pride of their hearts, and which was one great reason of the Jews stumbling at him, as seeking to establish their own righteousness, and therefore not submitting to the righteousness of God, Romans 9:32,33, compared with Romans 10:3. This stumbling includes not only their falling into sin, but into destruction too, the punishment of sin, Isaiah 8:14,15; whereof Christ can be no more than the inculpable occasion, but their own unbelief the proper cause.

Which stumble at the word, being disobedient; these words may have a double reading: one according to our translation; and then the sense is, that stumble at the word of the gospel, i.e. are disobedient to it, in rejecting Christ therein offered to them: or, that stumble, being disobedient to the word; i.e. stumble at Christ preached to them in the word, and therefore will not obey it; they show that they are offended at Christ, by their not receiving his doctrine, nor accepting his offers.

Whereunto also they were appointed; either this may refer:

1. To 1 Peter 2:6, where Christ is said to be laid (the same word in the (greek with that which is here translated by appointed) in Sion, as a chief corner-stone, elect and precious, on whom whosoever believeth, shall not be confounded. The apostle then adds, that even these unbelievers were appointed (viz. in their external vocation, as being taken into covenant with God) to be built on Christ by faith but they stumbled, by their unbelief, at the word of the gospel, and consequently at this stumbling-stone. And then it is a high aggravating the unbelief of the Jews, that they, being God’s peculiar people, should reject that salvation which was sent to them, and to the first offer of which they were designed, Acts 13:26,46,47. Or:

2. To the words immediately going before, which stumble at the word, being disobedient; and then the sense is, (speaking concerning the reprobate Jews), that God appointed them to this stumbling, in his decreeing not to give them faith in Christ, but to leave them to their unbelief, and to punish them justly for it: see Romans 9:17 1 Thessalonians 5:9 Judges 1:4. The scope of the apostle in this whole verse seems to be, to keep weak Christians from being offended at the multitude of unbelievers, and especially at their seeing Christ rejected by the Jewish rulers and doctors; and this he doth by pointing them to the Scripture, where all this was long since foretold, and therefore not to be wondered at now, nor be any occasion of offence to them: see the like, John 16:1,4. And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence,.... The apostle alludes to Isaiah 8:14 and which is a prophecy of the Messiah; see Gill on Romans 9:33 and had its accomplishment in the unbelieving and disobedient Jews; who stumbled at his birth and parentage; at the manner of his birth, being born of a virgin; at the meanness of his parents, his supposed father being a carpenter, and his mother, Mary, a poor woman, when they expected the Messiah would have sprung from some rich and noble family; and at the place of his birth, which they imagined was Galilee, from his education and conversation there; they stumbled also at his education, and could not conceive how he should know letters, and from whence he should have his wisdom, having never been trained up in any of their schools and academies, or at the feet of any of their doctors and Rabbins; but, on the other hand, was brought up and employed in the trade of a carpenter; they stumbled at his outward meanness and poverty, when they expected the Messiah would be a rich, powerful, and glorious monarch; and so at the obscurity of his kingdom, which was not of this world, and came not with observation, when they dreamt of an earthly and temporal one, which should be set up in great splendour and glory; and they stumbled likewise at the company he kept, and the audience that attended him, being the poorer sort of the people, and the more illiterate, and also such who had been very profane and wicked, as publicans and harlots; moreover, they stumbled at his ministry, at the doctrine he preached, particularly at the doctrine of his divinity, and of spiritual communion with him, by eating his flesh, and drinking his blood, and at the doctrines of distinguishing grace; and so at his miracles, by which he confirmed his mission and ministry, some of these being wrought on the sabbath day, and others they imputed to diabolical influence and assistance, in a word, they stumbled at his death, having imbibed a notion that Christ abideth for ever, and especially at the manner of it, the death of the cross; wherefore the preaching of Christ crucified always was, and still is, a stumbling block unto them:

even to them which stumble at the word; either the essential Word, Christ Jesus, as before; or rather at the doctrine of the Gospel, at that part of it which respects a trinity of persons in the Godhead; because their carnal reason could not comprehend it, and they refused to submit to revelation, and to receive the witness of God, which is greater than that of men; and at that part of it which regards the deity of Christ, and that for this reason, because he was a man, and in order to enervate the efficacy of his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, and fearing too much honour should be given to him; and also at that part of the word which concerns the distinguishing grace of God, as eternal personal election, particular redemption, and efficacious grace in conversion; against which the carnal mind of man is continually cavilling and replying, and, in so doing, against God himself, charging him with cruelty, injustice, and insincerity; and particularly at that part of the word which holds forth the doctrine of free justification, by the righteousness of Christ; this was the grand stumbling block of the Jews, who sought for righteousness, not by faith, but, as it were, by the works of the law, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and of the spirituality of the law, and of themselves, and their own righteousness, of which they had an overweening opinion:

being disobedient; to the Gospel revelation, and unwilling to submit their carnal reason to it; this is the source and cause of their stumbling at Christ and his Gospel: it is worth while to compare this with the paraphrase of Isaiah 8:14 which passage is here referred to; and the paraphrase of it runs thus,

""if ye obey not", his word shall be among you for revenge, and for a stone smiting, and for a rock of offence to both houses of the princes of Israel, and for destruction and offence to those who are divided upon the house of Judah, &c.

whereunto also they were appointed; both to stumble at the word of the Gospel, and at Christ, the sum and substance of it, he being set in the counsel and purpose of God, as for the rising of some, so for the stumbling and falling of others; and also to that disobedience and infidelity which was the cause of their stumbling; for as there are some whom God appointed and foreordained to believe in Christ, on whom he has determined to bestow true faith in him, and who have it as a pure gift, in consequence of such appointment; so there are others, whom he has determined to leave in that disobedience and infidelity into which the fall brought and concluded them, through which they stumble at Christ, and his word, and, in consequence thereof, justly perish; but this is not the case of all; there are some who are the objects of distinguishing grace and favour, and who are described in the following verse.

And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 2:8. οἱ προσκόπτουσι] links itself on to ἀπειθοῦσι κ.τ.λ.: “that is to those who,” etc., not to what follows, as if εἰσι were to be supplied: “they who stumble are those who are,” etc.

προσκόπτειν has here the same meaning as that contained in the last words, but the turn of the thought is different; there, it is shown what Christ is become to the unbelievers, namely, the ground of their destruction; here, on the contrary, that they are really overtaken by this destruction; Lorinus explains προσκόπτουσι incorrectly: verbo offenduntur et scandalizantur, id blasphemant et male de illo loquuntur.

τῷ λόγῳ ἀπειθοῦντες] It is better to connect τῷ λόγῳ with ἀπειθοῦντες than with προσκόπτουσι (either: “who at the word are offended,” or: “who by the word suffer hurt”). For, on the one hand, the leading idea προσκ. would be weakened by its connection with λόγῳ; and, on the other, the nearer definition requisite is supplied of itself from what precedes; it would, too, be inappropriate “that λόγος should of a sudden take the place of Christ, who in 1 Peter 2:7 is, as λίθος, the object of προσκ.” (Brückner). Wolf: qui impingunt, nempe: in lapidem illum angularem, verbo non credentes: quo ipso et offensio ipsa et ejus causa indicatur.

εἰς ὃ καὶ ἐτέθησαν] εἰς ὅ not equal to ἐφʼ ᾧ, “on account of which;” nor is it equal to εἰς ὅν (sc. λόγον or λίθον); Luther: “on which they are placed;” or similarly Bolten: “they stumble at that, on which they should have been laid” (he makes εἰς ὅ refer to the omitted object of προσκ.), but it points rather to the end of ἐτέθησαν.[122]

τίθημι] is here, as frequently in the N. T., “to appoint, constituere” (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:9). It is clear from the connection of this verse with the preceding, that εἰς ὅ does not go back to 1 Peter 2:5 (Gerhard: in hoc positi sunt, videlicet, ut ipsi quoque in hunc lapidem fide aedificarentur). It may be referred either to ἀπειθεῖν (Calvin, Beza, Piscator, and others) or to προσκόπτειν and ἀπειθεῖν (Estius, Pott, de Wette, Usteri, Hofmann, Wiesinger,[123] etc.), or, more correctly, to ΠΡΟΣΚΌΠΤΕΙΝ (Grotius, Hammond, Benson, Hensler, Steiger, Weiss), since on the latter (not on ἈΠΕΙΘΕῖΝ) the chief emphasis of the thought lies, and ΕἸς Ὃ Κ.Τ.Λ. applies to that which is predicated of the subject, that is, of the ἈΠΕΙΘΟῦΝΤΕς, but not to the characteristic according to which the subject is designated. The ΠΡΟΣΚΌΠΤΕΙΝ it is to which they, the ἈΠΕΙΘΟῦΝΤΕς, were already appointed, and withal on account of their unbelief, as appears from the Τῷ ΛΌΓῼ ἈΠΕΙΘ. This interpretation alone is in harmony with the connection of thought, for it is simply the ΠΙΣΤΕΎΟΝΤΕς and ἈΠΕΙΘΟῦΝΤΕς, together with the blessing and curse which they respectively obtain, that are here contrasted, without any reference being made to the precise ground of faith and unbelief. Vorstius correctly: Increduli sunt designati vel constituti ad hoc, ut poenam sive exitium sibi accersant sua incredulitate.

Following the construction of 1 Peter 2:7 adopted by him, Hofmann takes ΟἹ ΠΡΟΣΚΌΠΤΟΥΣΙΝ not as an adjunct referring to what precedes, but as protasis to the subsequent ΕἸς Ὅ, which, according to him, contains the apodosis expressed in the form of an exclamation. This interpretation falls with that of 1 Peter 2:7. Besides, it gives rise to a construction entirely abnormal, and of which there is no other example in the N. T., either as regards the relative pronoun[124] or the method here resorted to, of connecting apodosis with protasis. The words are added by the apostle in order to show that the being put to shame of unbelievers, takes place according to divine determination and direction. Oecumenius[125] is not justified by the context in laying special stress on the personal guilt of unbelief; or Aretius, in answering the question: quis autem illos sic posuit? by non Deus certe, sed Satan tales posuit.

[122] The application to the Word or to Christ occurs already in the older commentators; thus Beda says: in hoc positi sunt i. e. per naturam facti sunt homines, ut credant Deo et ejus voluntati obtemperent; and Nicol. de Lyra, applying it specially to the Jews: illis data fuit lex, ut disponerentur ad Christum secundum quod dicitur Galatians 3. lex paedagogus noster fuit in Christo; et ipsi pro majore parte remanserunt increduli.

[123] Different interpreters seek in various ways to soften the harshness of the dea here presented. Thus Estius, by explaining ἐτέθησαν only of the permission of God; Pott, by paraphrasing the idea thus: “their lot seemed to bring this with it;” Wiesinger, by asserting that “the passage here speaks of the action of God as a matter of history, not of His eternal decrees.” But what justifies any such softening down? While Hofmann, in the 1st edition of his Schriftbeweis, I. p. 210, says precisely: that God has ordained them to this, that they should not become obedient to His word, but should stumble at it and fall over it; in the 2d ed. I. p. 237, it appears that the meaning only is: “that the evil which befalls them in the very fact of their not believing, is ordained by God to those who do not obey His message of salvation, as a punishment of their disposition of mind.” Schott agrees with this view. But in it the idea of ἐτέθησαν in relation to ἀπειθοῦντες is arbitrarily weakened; since Schott expressly says that unbelievers, by their own state of mind, “appoint themselves to unbelief,” he can look on unbelief only in so far as the result of a divine decree, that God has appointed faith impossible with a carnal disposition. But a limitation of this kind is here all the more inappropriate, that Peter in the passage makes no allusion to the disposition which lies at the foundation of unbelief. Hofmann in his commentary says: “it is the word which is preached to them that they refuse to obey, but by the very fact of their doing so they stumble at Christ and fall over Him, as over a stone that lies in the way. Both are one and the same thing, named from different sides; the one time from what they do, the other from what is done to them.” Yet these are two different things; the one the cause, the other the effect.

[124] Hofmann, indeed, appeals to Matthew 26:50; but the interpretation of this passage is so doubtful that it cannot be relied upon; cf. the various interpretations in Meyer on this passage; in Winer, p. 157 [E. T. 207 f.]; in Buttmann, p. 217.

[125] Οὐχ ὡς ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰς τοῦτο ἀφωρισμένοις, εἴρηται· οὐδευία γὰρ αἰτία ἀπωλείας παρὰ τοῦ πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλοντος σωθῆναι βραβεύεται· ἀλλὰ τοῖς ἑαυτοῖς σκευή κατηρτικόσιν ὀργῆς καὶ ἡ ἀπείθεια ἐπηκολούθησε, καὶ εἰς ἣν παρεσκεύασαν ἑαυτοὺς τάξιν ἐτέθησαν. Thus also Didymus: ad non credendum a semetipsis sunt positi; and Hornejus: constituti ad impingendum et non credendum ideo dicuntur, quia cum credere sermoni Dei nollent, sed ultro eum repellerent, deserti a Deo sunt et ipsius permissione traditi ut non crederent et impingerent.8. which stumble at the word] The “word,” as before, is the sum and substance of the Gospel. Men opposing themselves to that word, looking on it as an obstacle to be got rid of, were as those who rush upon a firm-fixed stone, and who falling over it are sorely bruised.

whereunto also they were appointed] Attempts have been made to soften the apparent fatalism of the words by carrying the antecedent of the “whereunto” as far back as 1 Peter 2:5, and seeing in the words the statement that even those who stumbled were appointed, as far as God’s purpose was concerned, to be built up on Christ. It is, however, all but obvious that this puts a forced and artificial meaning on the Apostle’s words. What he really affirms is that it is part of God’s appointed order that the disobedient should stumble and be put to shame. And it may be noted that this way of looking on things is eminently characteristic of him. In the treachery of Judas he read the lesson that “the Scripture must needs have been fulfilled” (Acts 1:16). Stumbling, however, was not necessarily identical with falling irretrievably (Romans 11:11).1 Peter 2:8. Οἱ προσκόπτουσι, τῷ λόγῷ ἀπειθοῦντες, who stumble, not believing the word) In 1 Peter 2:7, he expressed the different judgments of believers and unbelievers respecting Christ; now he sets forth the difference itself between believers and unbelievers. Many construct προσκόπτουσι τῷ λόγῳ, stumble at the word. But προσκόπτουσι, put absolutely (as in John 11:9), is derived from προσκόμματος, the word quoted from Isaiah; and the declaration follows, τῷ λόγῳ ἀπειθοῦντες, not believing the word, as ch. 1 Peter 4:17, Τὶ τὸ τέλος τῶν ἀπειθούντων τῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ εὐαγγελίῳ; What shall be the end of those who obey not the Gospel of God? and certainly ch. 1 Peter 3:1, εἴ τινες ἀπειθοῦσι τῷ λόγῳ: If any obey not the word. It is in the Gospel-word that the preciousness of Christ is set forth: they who do not believe the word, despise Christ, and stumble at Him.—εἰς ὃ καὶ ἐτέθησαν, to which also they were appointed) Which refers to stumble: they who do not believe, stumble; they who stumble are also appointed for stumbling. This appointment follows unbelief and stumbling, as even the intensive particle, also, and the order of this clause which is placed last, signify. And yet stumble is present. They were appointed has the force of a past tense; by which it is implied, that by a most just judgment of God, unbelievers stumble more and more from day to day. Are appointed answers to I lay (or appoint), 1 Peter 2:6; but with some difference: for God is said, in the active, to appoint Christ and the elect: unbelievers, in the passive, are said to be appointed. Comp. Romans 9:22, note.Verse 8. - And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense. St. Peter combines Isaiah 8:14 with his first quotations, as St. Paul also does (Ram. 9:33), both apostles quoting from the Hebrew, not from the Septuagint, which is quite different, inserting two negatives. The living Stone is not only made the Head of the corner to the confusion of the disobedient, but becomes also to their destruction a Stone of stumbling; they fall on that Stone, and are broken (Matthew 21:44). That Stone is a Rock (πέτρα), the Rock of Ages, the Rock on which the Church is built; but to the disobedient it is a Rock of offense (πέτρα σκανδάλου). Σκάνδαλον (in Attic Greek σκανδάληθρον) is properly the catch or spring of a trap, which makes animals fall into the trap; then a stumbling-block - anything which causes men to fall. We cannot fail to notice how St. Peter echoes the well-remembered words of our Lord, recorded in Matthew 16:18, 23. Peter was himself then a πέτρα σκανδάλου, a rock of offense. Even to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedient; literally, who being disobedient stumble at the Word - the relative referring back to "them which be disobedient" in ver. 7. This seems better than (with Huther and others) to take τῷ λόγῳ with ἀπειθοῦντες, "who stumble, being disobedient to the Word." Ἀπειθοῦντες, literally," unbelieving," contains here, as frequently, the idea of disobedience, willful opposition. St. Peter seems to come very near to St. John's use of Λόγος for the personal Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. Whereunto also they were appointed. "Whereunto" (εἰς ὄ) cannot refer back to ver. 5; God had appointed them to be built up in his spiritual house, but they were disobedient. It must refer either to ἀπειθοῦντες - sin is punished by sin; for sin in God's awful judgment hardens the heart; the disobedient are in danger of eternal sin (Mark 3:29, according to the two oldest manuscripts) - or, more probably, to προσκόπουσιν; it is God's ordinance that disobedience should end in stumbling; but that stumbling does not necessarily imply condemnation (see Romans 11:11). The word, the preaching of Christ crucified, was to the Jews a stumbling-block (1 Corinthians 1:23). But not all stumbled that they might fall. Nevertheless, perseverance in disobedience must end in everlasting death.
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