1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
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(9) But ye.—Like St. Paul in 2Thessalonians 2:13, St. Peter turns with an outburst of triumph to the happier and more practical and attractive theme. All the most splendid titles of the old Israel belong in a fuller sense to these Hebrews who have joined the new Israel. In 1Peter 2:5 they are bidden to aim at being what here they are said to be. (Comp. Colossians 3:3; Colossians 3:5.)

A chosen generation.—Better, a chosen, or elect race. As originally the clan of Abraham was selected from among “all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2), so out of the clan of Abraham after the flesh were these men selected to be a new clan, or race. They are not merely individuals selected one by one and left in isolation, but a tribe consolidated, only the bond henceforth is not merely one of common physical descent.

A royal priesthood, an holy nation.—These words are a direct quotation from Exodus 19:6, according to the LXX. version. The Hebrew has “a kingdom of priests,” as in Revelation 1:6 (according to the best reading); which would mean, God’s organised empire, every member of which is a priest. Nor is the thought far different here. The word “royal” does not seem intended to imply that every Christian is a king, or of royal birth (though that, of course, may be shown from elsewhere), but describes his belonging to the King as we might speak of the royal apartments, the royal borough, the royal establishment, or even of the royal servants. The substitution, therefore, of “royal priesthood” for “kingdom of priests” brings out more clearly the personal relation to the Personal King. But if the writer had said” royal priests,” the notion of organisation would have slipped out of sight altogether. By way of compensation, therefore, it is restored in the substitution of “priesthood” (see Note on 1Peter 2:5) instead of “priests.” This, and the next phrase, “an holy (i.e., consecrated) nation,” describe the whole Israelite nation as they stood beneath Mount Sinai. This must be taken into consideration in dealing with the doctrine of the Christian ministry. The sacerdotal office was as common to all Israelites under the Law as it is to all the new Israel under the Gospel.

A peculiar people.—This curious phrase is literally, a people for a special reservation. It is, no doubt, intended to represent Exodus 19:5, though it differs both from the Greek and the Hebrew, the variation being due to a recollection of the Greek of two other passages of the Old Testament (Isaiah 43:21; Malachi 3:17). The word rendered “peculiar” means properly “making over and above,” and would be represented in Latin by the word peculium, which means a man’s private pocket-money, as, for instance, the money a slave could make by working over hours, or such as a wife might have apart from her husband. When children speak of a thing being their “very own” it exactly expresses what we have here. From this sense of “making over and above,” by working out of hours, the word comes in other places to mean “earning by hard work,” in such a way as to establish peculiar rights of property over the thing earned. So in Acts 20:28, where St. Paul is probably thinking of the passage of Isaiah above referred to, both the hard earning and the special possession are intended: “the Church of God, which He won so hard for His very own, by His own blood.” Here, perhaps, the thought of “earning” is less obvious, and it means “a people to be His very own.” Comp. 1Thessalonians 5:9, and Ephesians 1:7, where (according to Dr. Lightfoot) it means “for a redemption which consists of taking possession of us for His own.”

That ye should shew forth the praises.—This is an adaptation, though not exactly according to the LXX., of Isaiah 43:21, which passage is brought to St. Peter’s mind by the word rendered “peculiar.” The word “praises” is put here in accordance with the English version there. The Greek means “virtues,” or “powers,” or “excellencies,” a rare word in the New Testament (see 2Peter 1:3). And the word for “shew forth,” which is nowhere else found in the New Testament, means by rights “to proclaim to those without what has taken place within.” This strict signification is very suitable here. St. Peter says that God has taken us for a people peculiarly near to Him, and the purpose is, not that we may stand within His courts and praise Him, but that we may carry to others the tidings of what we have been admitted to see. This was the true function of the old Israel, “Do My prophets no harm” (Psalm 105:15). They were not elect for their own sake, but to act as God’s exponents to the world. This function they abdicated by their selfish exclusiveness, and it has descended to the new Israel. St. Peter and St. Paul are at one.

Of him who hath called you out of darkness.—This is to be understood of the Father, not of Christ. For one thing, the act of calling is almost always ascribed in the New Testament to God Himself; and for another thing, it is probable that St. Peter regards our Lord as Head of this “people of God,” just as He is corner-stone of the Temple, and High Priest of the hierarchy. The act of calling (literally it is, ‘who called, not “who hath called”) was that of sending the preachers of the gospel to them, i.e., St. Paul and his followers (comp. 1Peter 1:12; 1Peter 1:25). Here again, then, we have St. Peter speaking in praise of St. Paul’s mission, and, indeed, speaking in the same tones of unbounded admiration: “His marvellous light.” But could Hebrew Christians be said to have gone through so great a change in becoming believers? Had they been in “darkness?” We may answer that St. Peter’s use of the word “marvellous” is no affectation of sympathy. He himself found the change to be what he here describes, therefore there is no difficulty in supposing that other Hebrews should have found it so too. Besides which, the state of the Jews immediately before Christ and without Him is often described as “darkness.” (See Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79.) This very passage is quoted a few years later by St. Clement of Rome (chap. 36), as applying to himself among others, and Dr. Lightfoot has clearly established that St. Clement was a Jew.

1 Peter


1 Peter 2:9.

The Revised Version, instead of ‘praises,’ reads excellencies--and even that is but a feeble translation of the remarkable word here employed. For it is that usually rendered ‘virtues’; and by the word, of course, when applied to God, we mean the radiant excellencies and glories of His character, of which our earthly qualities, designated by the same name, are but as shadows.

It is, indeed, true that this same expression is employed in the Greek version of the Old Testament in Isaiah 43. in a verse which evidently was floating before Peter’s mind. ‘This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise.’

But even while that is admitted, it is to be observed that the expression here does not merely mean that the audible praise of God should be upon the lips of Christian people, but that their whole lives should, in a far deeper sense than that, be the manifestation of what the Apostle here calls ‘excellencies of God.’

I. Here we get a wonderful glimpse into the heart of God.

Note the preceding words, in which the writer describes all God’s mercies to His people, making them ‘a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation’; a people ‘His own possession.’ All that is done for one specific purpose--’that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness.’ That is to say, the very aim of all God’s gracious manifestations of Himself is that the men who apprehend them should go forth into the world and show Him for what He is.

Now that aim may be, and often has been, put so as to present an utterly hard and horrible notion. That God’s glory is His only motive may be so stated as to mean nearly an Almighty Selfishness, which is far liker the devil than God. People in old days did not always recognise the danger that lay in such a representation of what we call God’s motive for action. But if you think for a moment about this statement, all that appears hard and repellent drops clean away from it, and it turns out to be another way of saying, ‘God is Love.’ Because, what is there more characteristic of love than an earnest desire to communicate itself and to be manifested and beheld? And what is it that God reveals to the world for His own glory but the loftiest and most wondrous compassion, that cannot be wearied out, that cannot be provoked, and the most forgiving Omnipotence, that, in answer to all men’s wanderings and rebellions, only seeks to draw them to itself? That is what God wants to be known for. Is that hard and repellent? Does that make Him a great tyrant, who only wants to be abjectly worshipped? No; it makes Him the very embodiment and perfection of the purest love. Why does He desire that He should be known? for any good that it does to Him? No; except the good that even His creatures can do to Him when they gladden His paternal heart by recognising Him for what He is, the Infinite Lover of all souls.

But the reason why He desires, most of all, that the light of His character may pour into every heart is because He would have every heart gladdened and blessed for ever by that received and believed light. So the hard saying that God’s own glory is His supreme end melts into ‘God is Love.’ The Infinite desires to communicate Himself, that by the communication men may be blessed.

II. There is another thing here, and that is, a wonderful glimpse of what Christian people are in the world for.

‘This people have I formed for Myself,’ says the fundamental passage in Isaiah already referred to, ‘they shall show forth My praise.’ It was not worth while forming them except for that. It was still less worth while redeeming them except for that.

But you may say, ‘I am saved in order that I may enjoy all the blessings of salvation, immunities from fear and punishment, and the like.’ Yes! Certainly! But is that all? Or is it the main thing? I think not. There is not a creature in God’s universe so tiny, even although you cannot see it with a microscope, but that it has a claim on Him that made it for its well-being. That is very certain. And so my salvation--with all the blessedness for me that lies wrapped up and hived in that great word--my salvation is an adequate end with God, in all His dealing, and especially in His sending of Jesus Christ.

But there is not a creature in the whole universe, though he were mightier than the archangels that stand nearest God’s throne, who is so great and independent that his happiness and well-being is the sole aim of God’s gifts to him. For every one of us the Apostle means the word, ‘No man liveth to himself’--he could not if he were to try--’and no man dieth to himself.’ Every man that receives anything from God is thereby made a steward to impart it to others. So we may say--and I speak now to you who profess to be Christians--’you were not saved for your own sakes.’ One might almost say that that was a by-end. You were saved--shall I say?--for God’s sake; and you were saved for man’s sake? Just as when you put a bit of leaven into a lump of dough, each grain of the lump, as it is leavened and transformed, becomes the medium for passing on the mysterious transforming influence to the particle beyond, so every one of us, if we have been brought out of darkness into marvellous light, have been so brought, not only that we may recreate and bathe our own eyes in the flooding sunshine, but that we may turn to our brothers and ask them to come too out of the doleful night into the cheerful, gladsome day. Every man that Jesus Christ conquers on the field He sends behind Him, and says, ‘Take rank in My army. Be My soldier.’ Every yard of line in a new railway when laid down is used to carry materials to make the next yard; and so the terminus is reached. Even so, Christian people were formed for Christ that they might show forth His praise.

Look what a notion that gives us of the dignity of the Christian life, and of the special manifestation of God which is afforded to the world in it. You, if you love as you ought to do, are a witness of something far nobler in God than all the stars in the sky. You, if you set forth as becomes you His glorious character, have crowned the whole manifestation that He makes of Himself in Nature and in Providence. What people learn about God from a true Christian is a better revelation than has ever been made or can be made elsewhere. So the Bible talks about principalities and powers in heavenly places who have had nobody knows how many millenniums of intercourse with God, nobody knows how deep and intimate, learning from Christian people the manifold wisdom which had folds and folds in it that they had never unfolded and never could have done. ‘Ye are My witnesses,’ saith the Lord. Sun and stars tell of power, wisdom, and a whole host of majestic attributes. We are witnesses that ‘He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.’ Who was it that said

‘‘Twas great to speak a world from naught,

‘Tis greater to redeem?’

‘Ye are saved that ye may show forth the praise of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.’

III. Lastly, we have here a piece of stringent practical direction.

All that I have been saying thus far refers to the way in which the very fact of a man’s being saved from his sin is a revelation of God’s mercy, love, and restoring power. But there are two sides to the thought of my text; and the one is that the very existence of Christian people in the world is a standing witness to the highest glory of God’s name; and the other is that there are characteristics which, as Christian men, we are bound to put forth, and which manifest in another fashion the excellencies of our redeeming God.

The world takes its notions of God, most of all, from the people who say that they belong to God’s family. They read us a great deal more than they read the Bible. They see us; they only hear about Jesus Christ. ‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image’ nor any likeness of the Divine, but thou shalt make thyself an image of Him, that men looking at it may learn a little more of what He is. If we have any right to say that we are a royal priesthood, a chosen nation, God’s ‘possession,’ then there will be in us some likeness of Him to whom we belong stamped more or less perfectly upon our characters; and just as people cannot look at the sun, but may get some notion of its power when they gaze upon the rare beauty of the tinted clouds that lie round about it, if, in the poor, wet, cold mistiness of our lives there be caught, as it were, and tangled some stray beams of the sunshine, there will be colour and beauty there. A bit of worthless tallow may be saturated with a perfume which will make it worth its weight in gold. So our poor natures may be drenched with God and give Him forth fragrant and precious, and men may be drawn thereby. The witness of the life which is Godlike is the duty of Christian men and women in the world, and it is mainly what we are here for.

Nor does that exclude the other kind of showing forth the praises, by word and utterance, at fit times and to the right people. We are not all capable of that, in any public fashion; we are all capable of it in some fashion. There is no Christian that has not somebody to whom their words--they may be very simple and very feeble--will come as nobody else’s words can. Let us use these talents and these opportunities for the Master.

But, above all, let us remember that none of these works--either the involuntary and unconscious exhibition of light and beauty and excellencies caught from Him; or the voluntary and vocal proclamations of the name of Him from whom we have caught them--can be done to any good purpose if any taint of self mingles with it. ‘Let your light so shine before men that they may behold your good works and glorify’--whom? you?--’your Father which is in heaven.’

The harp-string gives out its note only on condition that, being touched, it vibrates, and ceases to be visible. Be you unseen, transparent, and the glory of the Lord shall shine through you.

1 Peter 2:9-10. But ye — Who have been born again of incorruptible seed, and have purified your souls by obeying the truth, &c., (1 Peter 1:22-23,) and have tasted that the Lord is gracious, (1 Peter 2:3,) and are built up upon him as lively stories; ye, who bear this character are a chosen generation Εκλελτον γενος, an elect race; all such, and such only, have that title, and other titles of a similar import, in the New Testament. See on Ephesians 1:3-7; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14. A royal priesthood — Kings and priests unto God, Revelation 1:6. As princes, you have power with God, and victory over sin and Satan, the world and the flesh: as priests, ye are consecrated to God for the purpose of offering spiritual sacrifices; a holy nation — Under Christ, your King; a peculiar or purchased people, as λαος εις περιποιησιν is rendered in the margin; that is, a people who, being purchased by the blood of Christ, and dedicated to, and accepted of, God, are taken into covenant with him, and are his in a peculiar sense. See on Titus 2:14; that ye should show forth — In your spirit and conduct, in all your tempers, words, and works; the praises — Τας αρετας, the virtues, that is, the perfections; the wisdom, power, goodness, truth, justice, mercy, the holiness, the love; of him — Christ, or the Father, in and through Christ; who hath called you out of darkness — Out of that state of ignorance and error, sin and misery, in which you lay formerly involved; into his marvellous light — The light of knowledge, wisdom, holiness, and happiness, into which you are now brought. Which in time past were not a people — (Much less the people of God,) but scattered individuals of many nations. This is a quotation from Hosea 2:23, where the conversion of the Gentiles is foretold, as the Apostle Paul informs us, Romans 9:25. Upon which passages see the notes; which had not, formerly, obtained mercy — Namely, the pardoning, saving mercy of God; but now — In consequence of repentance, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; have obtained mercy — Are forgiven, accepted, and made God’s children.

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.But ye are a chosen generation - In contradistinction from those who, by their disobedience, had rejected the Saviour as the foundation of hope. The people of God are often represented as his chosen or elected people. See the notes at 1 Peter 1:2.

A royal priesthood - See the notes at 1 Peter 2:5. The meaning of this is, probably, that they "at once bore the dignity of kings, and the sanctity of priests" - Doddridge. Compare Revelation 1:6; "And hath made us kings and priests unto God." See also Isaiah 61:6; "But ye shall be named priests of the Lord; men shall call ye ministers of our God." It may be, however, that the word royal is used only to denote the dignity of the priestly office which they sustained, or that they constituted, as it were, an entire nation or kingdom of priests. They were a kingdom over which he presided, and they were all priests; so that it might be said they were a kingdom of priests - a kingdom in which all the subjects were engaged in offering sacrifice to God. The expression appears to be taken from Exodus 19:6 - "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests" - and is such language as one who had been educated as a Jew would be likely to employ to set forth the dignity of those whom he regarded as the people of God.

An holy nation - This is also taken from Exodus 19:6. The Hebrews were regarded as a nation consecrated to God; and now that they were cast off or rejected for their disobedience, the same language was properly applied to the people whom God had chosen in their place - the Christian church.

A peculiar people - Compare the notes at Titus 2:14. The margin here is purchased. The word "peculiar," in its common acceptation now, would mean that they were distinguished from others, or were singular. The reading in the margin would mean that they had been bought or redeemed. Both these things are so, but neither of them expresses the exact sense of the original. The Greek λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν laos eis peripoiēsin) means, "a people for a possession;" that is, as pertaining to God. They are a people which he has secured as a possession, or as his own; a people, therefore, which belong to him, and to no other. In this sense they are special as being His; and, being such, it may be inferred that they should be special in the sense of being unlike others (unique) in their manner of life. But that idea is not necessarily in the text. There seems to be here also an allusion to Exodus 19:5; "Ye shall be a peculiar treasure with me (Septuagint λαὸς περιούσιος laos periousios) above all people."

That ye should show forth the praises of him - Margin, "virtues." The Greek word (ἀρετὴ aretē) means properly "good quality, excellence" of any kind. It means here the excellences of God - His goodness, His wondrous deeds, or those things which make it proper to praise Him. This shows one great object for which they were redeemed. It was that they might proclaim the glory of God, and keep up the remembrance of His wondrous deeds in the earth. This is to be done:

(a) by proper ascriptions of praise to him in public, family, and social worship;

(b) by being always the avowed friends of God, ready ever to vindicate His government and ways;

(c) by endeavoring to make known His excellences to all those who are ignorant of Him; and,

(d) by such a life as shall constantly proclaim His praise - as the sun, the moon, the stars, the hills, the streams, the flowers do, showing what God does. The consistent life of a devoted Christian is a constant setting forth of the praise of God, showing to all that the God who has made him such is worthy to be loved.

Who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light - On the word called, see the notes at Ephesians 4:1. Darkness is the emblem of ignorance, sin, and misery, and refers here to their condition before their conversion; light is the emblem of the opposite, and is a beautiful representation of the state of those who are brought to the knowledge of the gospel. See the notes at Acts 26:18. The word marvelous means wonderful; and the idea is, that the light of the gospel was such as was unusual, or not to be found elsewhere, as that excites wonder or surprise which we are not accustomed to see. The primary reference here is, undoubtedly, to those who had been pagans, and to the great change which had been produced by their having been brought to the knowledge of the truth as revealed in the gospel; and, in regard to this, no one can doubt that the one state deserved to be characterized as darkness, and the other as light. The contrast was as great as that between midnight and noonday. But what is here said is substantially correct of all who are converted, and is often as strikingly true of those who have been brought up in Christian lands, as of those who have lived among the pagans. The change in conversion is often so great and so rapid, the views and feelings are so different before and after conversion, that it seems like a sudden transition from midnight to noon. In all cases, also, of true conversion, though the change may not be so striking, or apparently so sudden, there is a change of which this may be regarded as substantially an accurate description. In many cases the convert can adopt this language in all its fulness, as descriptive of his own conversion; in all cases of genuine conversion it is true that each one can say that he has been called from a state in which his mind was dark to one in which it is comparatively clear.

9. Contrast in the privileges and destinies of believers. Compare the similar contrast with the preceding context.

chosen—"elect" of God, even as Christ your Lord is.

generation—implying the unity of spiritual origin and kindred of believers as a class distinct from the world.

royal—kingly. Believers, like Christ, the antitypical Melchisedec, are at once kings and priests. Israel, in a spiritual sense, was designed to be the same among the nations of the earth. The full realization on earth of this, both to the literal and the spiritual Israel, is as yet future.

holy nation—antitypical to Israel.

peculiar people—literally, "a people for an acquisition," that is, whom God chose to be peculiarly His: Ac 20:28, "purchased," literally, "acquired." God's "peculiar treasure" above others.

show forth—publish abroad. Not their own praises but His. They have no reason to magnify themselves above others for once they had been in the same darkness, and only through God's grace had been brought to the light which they must henceforth show forth to others.

praises—Greek, "virtues," "excellencies": His glory, mercy (1Pe 2:10), goodness (Greek, 1Pe 2:3; Nu 14:17, 18; Isa 63:7). The same term is applied to believers, 2Pe 1:5.

of him who hath called you—(2Pe 1:3).

out of darkness—of heathen and even Jewish ignorance, sin, and misery, and so out of the dominion of the prince of darkness.

marvellous—Peter still has in mind Ps 118:23.

light—It is called "His," that is, God's. Only the (spiritual) light is created by God, not darkness. In Isa 45:7, it is physical darkness and evil, not moral, that God is said to create, the punishment of sin, not sin itself. Peter, with characteristic boldness, brands as darkness what all the world calls light; reason, without the Holy Spirit, in spite of its vaunted power, is spiritual darkness. "It cannot apprehend what faith is: there it is stark blind; it gropes as one that is without eyesight, stumbling from one thing to another, and knows not what it does" [Luther].

But ye; ye believers, in opposition to those reprobates that are disobedient to the word. He shows that those dignities and privileges, which were mentioned by Moses as belonging to their forefathers, did much more belong to them; and that they had the real exhibition in Christ, of those good things whereof their fathers had but a taste, and which the rest of the Jews had lost by their unbelief.

Are a chosen generation; a people chosen of God, not only out of the world, but from among the rest of your own nation, and not only to an external adoption, and outward privileges, (as the whole body of the nation was), but to eternal salvation.

A royal priesthood; or, kingdom of priests. He called them an holy priesthood, 1 Peter 2:5, now he calls them a royal priesthood, to show that they were made not only spiritual priests, but spiritual kings; which privilege they had not as Jews, but as believers, who are all of them as priests in respect of God, to whom they are consecrated, and to whom they offer up spiritual sacrifices; so kings in respect both of their enemies, over whom they are victorious, and of the kingdom they are hereafter to inherit.

An holy nation; Moses calls your fathers an holy people, Deu 7:6, in respect of their separation from the impurities of the Gentiles, their dedication to God, and the many laws God gave them, obliging them to external and ceremonial purity, whereby they were admonished of internal and real holiness; but ye are a holy nation in respect of that true and inward holiness itself, whereof that ceremonial holiness was but a signification. He seems particularly to allude to Isaiah 62:12.

A peculiar people: Exodus 19:5, it is a peculiar treasure; so the same word is rendered, a special people, Deu 7:6, and, a peculiar people, Deu 14:2; the word used by the LXX. implying as much; but Malachi 3:17, where we render it jewels, the LXX. use the same word which Peter doth here, which is as much as, a people of acquisition, or which God hath acquired to himself for his peculiar possession or treasure. God had rescued the Israelites from their Egyptian bondage, and taken them to be his peculiar people above all others, and claimed a right to them, and counted them precious, as having redeemed them with a strong hand, and got possession of them at the expense of so much power, and so many miracles. This deliverance of theirs was the type of Christ’s delivering the church from the tyranny of Satan, the spiritual Pharaoh, and the world, the spiritual Egypt, and a state of sin, the worst bondage; upon the account whereof God’s people are called a peculiar people, or a people thus acquired, Titus 2:14, and a purchased possession, Ephesians 1:14, where the same word is likewise used. That ye should show forth, &c.: this notes the end of all these privileges vonchsafed them, viz. that they should glorify God in the enjoyment of them. He seems to refer to Isaiah 43:7,21: This people have I formed for myself, ( or acquired, as the LXX. hath it), they shall show forth my praise.

Show forth; publish and declare, both in words and deeds, that others may be excited to glorify, God in the like manner. The praises of him; or virtues, that wisdom, power, goodness, righteousness, truth &c., which God hath manifested in his vouchsafements to you, and in the acknowledgment of which he may be glorified.

Who hath called you; by an effectual calling, according to his purpose, Romans 8:28.

Out of darkness; the darkness of ignorance, unbelief, sin, and misery. The time before the publication of the gospel, was a time of darkness, Matthew 9:16 Luke 1:79.

Into his marvellous light; the light of knowledge, faith, holiness, comfort: see Ephesians 5:8. It is called marvellous, because men see what they never saw before, wonderful things out of God’s law, Psalm 119:18; and because it is a marvellous thing, that they who sat in so gross darkness should be translated into so glorious a light.

But ye are a chosen generation,.... Or "kindred"; the phrase is to be seen in the Septuagint, on Isaiah 43:20, to which, and the following verse, the apostle refers here, and in another part of this text. The allusion is throughout to the people of Israel in general, who, in an external way, were all that is here said; but was only true in a spiritual sense of such as were chosen and called among the Jews: and who were a "generation or kindred"; being regenerate, or through abundant mercy begotten, and of an incorruptible seed born again; and were akin to God, he being their Father, and they his children by adopting grace, and which was made manifest by their new birth; and also akin to Christ, he being their head, husband, Father, and brother, and they his members, spouse, children, and brethren; and to the saints, being of the same household and family in heaven and in earth; having the same Father, Lord, Spirit, faith, baptism, and they all brethren: and they were a "chosen" generation or kindred; being famous, and in high esteem with God, and accounted by him for a generation; he having chosen them above all kindreds, tongues, people, and nations, and that from all eternity; and of his own sovereign good will and pleasure; and not on account of their faith, holiness, and good works; and to special benefits, to the relation and kindred they are in, to grace here, and glory hereafter; to regeneration and sanctification, and to salvation and eternal life; just as Israel, as a nation, were chosen above all others, because of the love of God to them, and for no other reason, to many external privileges and favours, which others did not enjoy: now the apostle mentions this character first, because God's eternal election is the source and spring of all spiritual blessings, which provides and secures them, and according to which they are bestowed, and with which they are inseparably connected:

a royal priesthood; referring to Exodus 19:6, where the Israelites are called a "kingdom of priests"; which the Chaldee paraphrase renders, kings, priests; see Revelation 1:6 a character which one of the Jewish commentators says (y) shall return to the Jews , "in time to come"; and well agrees with all the people of Christ, whether Jews or Gentiles, who are all of them kings, through their relation to Christ; and at the present time have a kingdom which cannot be moved, or taken away from them; being not only brought into the Gospel dispensation, the kingdom of the Messiah, and having a right to all the privileges and immunities of it, but have also the kingdom of grace set up within them, or grace, as a reigning principle, implanted in them; which lies not in anything external, but in righteousness and true holiness, in inward peace, and spiritual joy; and they have the power of kings over sin, Satan, and the world; and the riches of kings, being possessed of the riches of grace now, and entitled to the riches of glory in another world; they live like kings, they wear royal apparel, the robe of Christ's righteousness; they sit at the king's table, and feed on royal dainties; and are attended on as kings, angels being their life guards, and ministering spirits to them; and hereafter they shall reign with Christ on earth, and that for the space of a thousand years, and, after that, for ever: being raised up from a low estate, to inherit the crown of glory, to wear the crown of life and righteousness, and possess the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world, of which they are now heirs: and they are "priests", as well as kings; being made so by Christ, and through his priestly office; are anointed with the Holy Ghost, and sanctified by his grace, and allowed to draw near to God, and offer up by Christ their spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise; and are enabled and assisted to offer up the sacrifice of a broken heart, and their bodies also, and even their lives when called to it; the allusion is to the kingdom and priesthood being formerly together, and which met in Christ, Zechariah 6:13 and in his people. The Jews were wont to call the priestly dignity and office , "the crown of the priesthood" (z):

an holy nation; referring to the same place in Exodus 19:6 where the Israelites are so called, being separated by God from other nations, and legally and externally sanctified by him; as all the true Israel of God are sanctified, or set apart by God the Father, in eternal election, to real and perfect holiness; and are sanctified or cleansed from sin, by the blood and sacrifice of Christ; and are internally sanctified by the Spirit of God; have principles of holiness wrought in them, from whence they live holy lives and conversations:

a peculiar people; as the Israelites are called a "peculiar treasure", Exodus 19:5 to which the reference is: God's elect are a peculiar people, to whom he bears a peculiar love; they are chosen by him to be a special people above all others, and have peculiar blessings bestowed on them, and peculiar care is taken of them; they are the Lord's, his treasure, his jewels, his portion and inheritance, and therefore he will preserve and save them; they are a people for acquisition, purchase, and possession, as the words may be rendered; whom God has obtained, procured, and purchased for himself, with the precious blood of his Son; hence the Syriac version renders them, , "a redeemed company": the same with the church God has purchased with his blood, Acts 20:28 and the purchased possession, Ephesians 1:14 and which are redeemed and purified to be, and appear to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works, Titus 2:14 the end of all which grace being bestowed upon them in election, redemption, and regeneration, is,

that ye should show forth the praises of him; that is, God, who has chosen them into a spiritual kindred and relation, made them kings and priests, sanctified them by his Spirit, and redeemed them by his Son, as a peculiar people; all which laid them under obligation to show forth with their lips, and in their lives and conversations, his "virtues": we read, "praises"; and so the Syriac version; that is, the power, wisdom, goodness, love, grace, and mercy of God, and the commendations of them, displayed in the above instances: the apostle seems to have his eye on Isaiah 43:21, where the Septuagint use the same word for "praise", as here: next follows a periphrasis of God, and in it an argument, or reason for speaking of his virtues, and showing forth his praise:

who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; which is to be understood, not of an external call by the ministry of the word only; for many are called in this sense, who are not chosen, redeemed, and sanctified; but of an internal, special, powerful, holy, and heavenly calling, by the Spirit and grace of God: and this is, "out of darkness"; out of the darkness of the law, under the former dispensation, which was as night, in comparison of the Gospel day; and out of that darkness which the Jews were particularly in, in and about the coming of Christ, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and the spirituality of the law; having lost all right notions of the Messiah, and the true sense of the Scriptures, and were carried away with the traditions of the elders, and led by blind guides, the Scribes and Pharisees; out of this darkness, as well as what is common to men, in a state of unregeneracy, having no sight of themselves, their sin, and misery, nor knowledge of divine things, of God in Christ, and of salvation by him, and of the work of the Spirit upon the heart, they were called,

into his marvellous light: by which they saw the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the insufficiency of their righteousness, their need of Christ, and salvation by him; and astonishing it was to them, that they who were born blind, and were brought up in darkness, and were darkness itself, should be made light in the Lord; and the objects they saw were amazing to them; everything in a spiritual way was marvellous in their eyes; especially the sun of righteousness, the light of the world, and also the wonderful things out of the law, or doctrine of Christ, the Gospel, and the surprising love and grace of God, in the whole, and in the several parts of their salvation: it was with them, as if a child, from the moment of its birth, was shut up in a dungeon, where there was not the least crevice to let in the least degree of light, and should continue here till at years of maturity, and then be brought out at once, at noonday, the sun shining in its full strength and glory, when that particularly, and all objects about him, must strike him with wonder and surprise. The Syriac version renders it, "his most excellent light"; the apostle seems to refer to the form of praise and thanksgiving used by the Jews, at the time of the passover; who say (a),

"we are bound to confess, to praise, to glorify, &c. him who hath done for our fathers, and for us, all these wonders; he hath brought us out of bondage to liberty; from sorrow to joy, and from mourning to a good day, , "and out of darkness into great light"; and from subjection unto redemption.

This was also part of their morning prayer (b),

"I confess before thee, O my God, and the God of my fathers, that thou hast brought me out of darkness into light.

And it is to be observed, that the third Sephira, or number, in the Jewish Cabalistic tree, which answers to the third Person in the Trinity, among other names, is called, "marvellous light" (c),

(y) Baal Hatturim in loc. (z) Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 13. Tzeror Hammot, fol. 78. 3.((a) Misn. Pesachim, c. 10. sect. 5. Haggada Shel Pesach, p. 23. Maimon. Hilchot Chametz Umetzah, c. 8. sect. 5. (b) T. Hieros. Beracot, c. 4. fol. 7. 1.((c) Cabala Denudata, par. 2. p. 8.

{8} But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

(8) On the other hand, he describes the singular excellency of the elect, and also lest any man should doubt whether he is chosen or not, the apostle calls us back to the effectual calling, that is, to the voice of the gospel sounding both in our ears and minds by the outward preaching and ordinances, by which we may certainly understand that everlasting decree of our salvation (which otherwise is most secret and hidden) and that through the only mercy of God who freely chooses and calls us. Therefore only this remains, faith, that by all means possible we set forth the great goodness of the most mighty God.

1 Peter 2:9. ὑμεῖς δέ] The apostle returns again to his readers, contrasting them with the unbelievers (not “with the people of Israel,” as Weiss thinks) he had just spoken of. The nature of believers, as such, is described by the same predicates which were originally applied to the O. T. church of God (cf. Exodus 19:5-6), but have found their accomplishment only in that of the N. T. Schott justly remarks that “what in 1 Peter 2:5 had been expressed in the form of an exhortation, is here predicated of the Christians as an already present condition.”

γένος ἐκλεκτόν] after Isaiah 43:20 (עַמִּי בְחִירִי, LXX.: γένος μου τὸ ἐκλεκτόν); cf. also Deuteronomy 7:6 ff.; Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:1-2; Isaiah 45:4, etc. This first designation sets forth that the Christians, in virtue of God’s love, have been elected to be a people which no longer belongs to this world; cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:1.

βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα] after Exodus 19:6, LXX. (in Hebrew מַמְלֶכֶת בֹּהֲנִים, “a kingdom of priests”); most interpreters take it as simple combination of the two ideas: “kings and priests.” Still it is more correct to regard ἱεράτευμα as the principal idea (cf. 1 Peter 2:3), and βασίλειον as a more precise definition: “a royal priesthood.” Several commentators explain: “a priesthood possessing a royal character,” inasmuch as it not only offers up sacrifices (1 Peter 2:5), but exercises sway (over the world); cf. Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10 (Wiesinger). Weiss (p. 125), on the other hand: “a priesthood serving Jehovah the King, just as we speak of the royal household.” Since all the other predicates express the belonging to God, the second explanation deserves the preference, only it must be modified so far as to include in βασίλ. not only the relation of service, but that also of belonging to and participation in the glory of the king founded thereon. Schott is not justified in assuming that Peter did not intend to convey the force of the Greek, but that of the Hebrew expression: מַמְלֶכֶת בֹּהֲנִים, namely: “a kingdom which consists of priests.” It is inadequate to understand, with Hofmann, by the term: “a priesthood of princely honours,” or βασίλειον as equal to, magnificus, splendidus (Aretius, Hottinger, etc.), or to find in it the expression of the highest freedom[126] (subject only to God) (de Wette).

ἜΘΝΟς ἍΓΙΟΝ] in like manner after Exodus 19:6, LXX. (גּוֹי קָדוֹשׁ).

ΛΑῸς ΕἸς ΠΕΡΙΠΟΊΗΣΙΝ] corresponding passages in the O. T. are Deuteronomy 7:6 (עַם סְגֻלָּה), Malachi 3:17 (סְגֻלָּה), and especially Isaiah 43:21, LXX.: ΛΑΌΝ ΜΟΥ ὋΝ ΠΕΡΙΕΠΟΙΗΣΆΜΗΝ ΤᾺς ἈΡΕΤΆς ΜΟΥ ΔΙΗΓΕῖΣΘΑΙ (עַם־זוּ יָצַרְתִּי לִי תְּהִלָּתִי יְסַפֵּרוּ). The words following show that the apostle had this last passage chiefly in his mind; still it must be noted that this idea is contained already in Exodus 19:5 (ΛΑῸς ΠΕΡΙΟΎΣΙΟς). ΠΕΡΙΠΟΊΗΣΙς is strictly the acquiring (Hebrews 10:39); here, what is acquired, possession; neither destinatus (Vorstius) nor positus (Calovius) is to be supplied to ΕἸς, they would not correspond with the sense; ΕἸς is here to be explained from Malachi 3:17, LXX.: ἜΣΟΝΤΑΊ ΜΟΙΕἸς ΠΕΡΙΠΟΊΗΣΙΝ; on ΕἾΝΑΙ ΕἸς, cf. Winer, p. 173 [E. T. 229]; in sense it is equivalent to ΛΑῸς ΠΕΡΙΟΎΣΙΟς, Titus 2:14. Schott attributes to this expression an eschatological reference, explaining: “a people destined for appropriation, for acquisition;” this is incorrect, for, understood thus, it would fall out of all analogy with the other expressions. The apostle does not here state to what the Christian church is destined, but what she already is; “her complete liberation from all cosmic powers is not,” as Brückner justly remarks, “an acquiring on God’s side, but only the final redemption of those whom He already possesses.” Schott’s assertion, that in the N. T. ΠΕΡΙΠΟΊΗΣΙς has always an eschatological reference, is opposed by Ephesians 1:14; cf. Meyer in loc.

Although a difference of idea founded on the etymologies of γένος, ἔθνος λαός is not to be pressed;[127] yet it must be observed that by these expressions, as also by ἱεράτευμα, Christians are spoken of as a community united together in itself, and although diverse as to natural descent, they, as belonging to God (and all the names employed by the apostle point to this), form one people, from the fact that God has joined them to Himself.

ὅπως τὰς ἀρετὰς ἐξαγγείλητε τοῦ κ.τ.λ.] ὅπως connects itself, after Isaiah 43:21, in the first instance with what immediately goes before, in such a way, however, that the preceding ideas point towards it as their end.

τὰς ἀρετάς] thus the LXX. translate תְּהִלָּה in the above-mentioned passage (in general, in the LXX., ἀρετή occurs only as the translation of הוֹד, Habakkuk 3:3, Zechariah 6:13; ἀρεταί as the translation of תְּהִלָּה, Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 42:12; Isaiah 43:21, and of תְּהִלּוֹת, Isaiah 63:7); accordingly the Alexandrine translators understand by הוֹד and תְּהִלָּה in the passages in question, not the “glory or praise” of God, but the object of the glory, that is, the excellence or the glorious attributes of God. Peter took the word, in this meaning of it, from them.[128]

ἐξαγγείλητε] cf. Isaiah 42:12, LXX.: τὰς ἀρετὰς αὐτοῦ ἐν ταῖς νήσοις ἀπαγγελοῦσι; ἐξαγγέλλειν; strictly, iis qui foris sunt nunciare quae intus fiunt (Xen. Anab. ii. 4. 21), is employed for the most part without this definite application; in the LXX. the translation of סִפֵּר; in the N. T. in this passage only; it is possible that Peter thought of the word here in its original force (Bengel, Wiesinger).

τοῦ ἐκ σκότους ὑμᾶς καλέσαντος] i.e. ΘΕΟῦ, not ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ; ΚΑΛΕῖΝ is almost uniformly attributed to God.

ΣΚΌΤΟΥς, not equivalent to, miseria (Wahl), but is used to designate the whole unhappy condition of sin and lying in which the natural and unregenerate man is, cf. Colossians 1:13; here employed, no doubt, with special reference to the former heathenism of the readers.

ΕἸς ΤῸ ΘΑΥΜΑΣΤῸΝ ΑὙΤΟῦ Φῶς] To render Φῶς by cognitio melior (Wahl), is arbitrarily to weaken the force of the word; it is rather the complete opposite of ΣΚΌΤΟς, and denotes the absolutely holy and blessed nature—as ΑὙΤΟῦ shows—of God. The Christian is translated from darkness to the light of God, so that he participates in this light, and is illumined by it.[129] Schott incorrectly understands by σκότος: “heathen humanity left to itself,” and by τὸαὑτοῦ φῶς: “the church;” the church lives in God’s light, but it is not the light of God.

καλεῖν is here applied, as it is by Paul, to the effectual, successful calling of God.

θαυμαστόν (cf. Matthew 21:42) denotes the inconceivable glory of the φῶς Θεοῦ.

[126] Clemens Al. interprets: regale, quoniam ad regnum vocati sumus et sumus Christi sacerdotium autem propter oblationem quae fit orationibus et doctrinis, quibus adquiruntur animae, quae afferuntur Deo.

[127] Steiger draws the following distinction: γένος is the race, people of like descent; ἔθνος, a people of like customs; λαός, people as the mass. Schott thinks that ἔθνος includes within it a reference to the intellectual and moral characteristics of the people, and that λαός points to its being gathered together under one Lord. In this urging of distinctions—which are not even correctly drawn—is to be found the reason why Schott exchanges the Greek expression βασιλ. ἱεράτευμα for the Hebrew, because ἱεράτευμα is not analogous to the other three designations, whilst βασίλεια is so, as a national community.—Peter certainly, in selecting these expressions, did not reflect on the original distinction of the ideas, but made use of them simply as they were presented to him in the O. T.

[128] It is arbitrary to understand the word to mean only this or that attribute of God; nor must the meaning, as is done by Gerhard, be limited to the virtutes Dei, quae in opere gratuitae vocationis et in toto negotio salutis nostrae relucent. Schott’s interpretation is linguistically incorrect: αἱ ἀρεταί equal to τὰ μεγαλεῖα τ. Θ. (Acts 2:11), “the great deeds of God.” Cornelius a Lapide entirely misses the point in explaining: virtutes, quas Christus in nobis operatur, humilitatem, caritatem, etc.; and Salmeron: virtutes Christi, quas in diebus carnis suae exhibuit.

[129] Wiesinger disputes this interpretation, holding that what is meant is “that light which has appeared to the world in Christ;” but is not this light the light of God?—Certainly φῶς is here not i. q. Χριστός. According to de Wette, αὑτοῦ designates the light as the work of God, and consequently a different thing from the φῶς which He is Himself.

1 Peter 2:9 f. The Church, God’s new people, has all the privileges which belonged to the Jews. In enumerating them he draws upon a current conflation of Isaiah 43:20 f., ποτίσαι τὸ γένος μου το ἐκλεκτὸν (1) λαόν μου ὃν περιεποιησάμην (4) τὰς ἀρετάς μου διηγεῖσθαι with Exod. 19:65, ὑμεῖς δὲ ἔσεσθέ μοι βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα (2) καὶ ἔθνος ἅγιον (3) ἔσεσθέ μοι λαὸς περιούσιος (4) ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν (1); and Psalm 107:14, καὶ ἐξήγαγεν αὐτοὺς καὶ ἐκ σκιᾶς θανάτουἐξομολογησάσθων τῷ κυρίῳ τὰ ἐλέη αὐτοῦ καὶ τὰ θαυμάσια αὐτοῦ τοῖς υἱοῖς τῶν ἀνθρώπων—to which is appended Hosea 1:6; Hosea 1:8.—γένος ἐκλεκτόν, Isa. l.c. LXX (Heb., my people my chosen); γένος, race implies that all the individual members of it have a common Father (God) and are therefore brethren (cf. υἱοὶ γένους Ἁβραάμ, Acts 13:26); cf. 1 Peter 1:1; 1 Peter 1:6.—βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα, a royal priesthood, from Exod. l.c. LXX (Heb., a kingdom of priests = Revelation 1:6, βασιλείαν ἱερεῖς). Christians share Christ’s prerogatives. The priesthood is the chief point (see 1 Peter 2:5) it is royal. Clement of Alexandria says: “Since we have been summoned to the kingdom and are anointed (sc. as Kings)”. The comparison of Melchizedek with Christ perhaps underlies the appropriation of the title.—ἔθνος ἅγιον, to the Jew familiar, with the use of ἔθνη for Gentiles, as much a paradox as Christ crucified. But λαός, the common rendering of עם in this connexion is wanted below, and St. Peter is content to follow his authority.—λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν, a people for possession = עם סגלה. The source of the Greek phrase is Malachi 3:17, but the Hebrew title variously rendered occurs in the two great passages drawn upon. Deut. (Deuteronomy 17:6, etc.) has λαὸς περιούσιος which is adopted by St. Paul (Titus 2:14); but the phrase εἰς π. is well established in the Christian vocabulary, Hebrews 10:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:14, and the whole title is apparently abbreviated to περιποίησις in Ephesians 1:14.—ὅπωςἐξαγγείλητε, from Isa. l.c. + Ps. l.c., the latter containing the matter of the following designation of God. In Isa. τὰς ἀρετάς μου stands for תהלהי my praise; and this sense reappears in Esther 14:10. ἀνοῖξαι στόμα ἐθνῶν εἰς ἀρετάς ματαίων, the praises of idols. Elsewhere it stands for הוד. glory (Habakkuk 3:3; Zechariah 6:13). In the books of Maccabees (especially the fourth) it has its ordinary sense of virtue, which cannot be excluded altogether here. The whole clause is in fact the pivot on which the Epistle turns. Hitherto Peter has addressed himself to the Christians and their mutual relations, now he turns to consider their relations to the outside world (1 Peter 1:2 f.). In 2 Peter 1:3, . corresponds to θεία δύναμις, a sense which might be supported by Ps. l.c. (for discussion of other

Very uncertain—evidence see Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 95 ff., 362) and the events of Pentecost (see especially Acts 2:11).—τοῦφῶς is derived from Ps. l.c.; the natural antithesis light is readily supplied (cf. Ephesians 5:8; Ephesians 5:14); darkness = heathenism in cf. 10.

9. But ye are a chosen generation] The glories that attach to the company of believers in Christ are brought before us in a mosaic of Old Testament phraseology. The “chosen generation” comes from Isaiah 43:20, the “royal priesthood” from the LXX. of Exodus 19:6, where the English version has more accurately “a kingdom of priests.” We note the recurrence of the thought in Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10. The same passage supplies the “holy nation.”

a peculiar people] This somewhat singular word calls for a special note. The English translators appear to have used the term in its strictly etymological and almost forensic sense. The people of Christ, like Israel of old, were thought of as the special peculium, the possession, or property, of God. The adjective, however, has acquired in common usage so different a meaning that it would be better to translate the words, a people for a special possession. The noun or the cognate verb is found in the LXX. of the “special people” of Deuteronomy 7:6, in the “jewels” of Malachi 3:17. The context shews however that Isaiah 43:21 was most prominently in the Apostle’s thoughts, “This people have I formed for myself (or, gained as a possession for myself); they shall shew forth my praise.” In Ephesians 1:14 the noun is rendered by “purchased possession,” in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, 2 Thessalonians 2:14, by “obtaining,” in Hebrews 10:39 by “saving.” The primary idea of the Greek verb is that of acquiring for oneself by purchase or otherwise, and the noun accordingly denotes either the act of acquiring or that which is so acquired. Cranmer’s Bible gives “a people which are won:” the Rhemish Version “a people of purchase.”

that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you] The word for “praises” is that commonly used by Greek ethical writers for “virtue,” and is so rendered in Php 4:8 and 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Peter 1:5. St Peter’s choice of the term was determined apparently, as intimated in the preceding note, by its use in the LXX. of Isaiah 43:21. Here, since the associations of the word in English hardly allow us to speak of the “virtues” of God, “excellences” would perhaps be a more adequate rendering: the Greek word, though connected both by Greek ethical writers (Aristot. Eth. Nicom. iii. 1) and by St Paul (Php 4:8) with the thought of praise, cannot well itself have that meaning. The almost uniform reference, throughout the New Testament, of the act of calling to the Father, justifies the conclusion that St Peter so thinks of it here.

Darkness is, of course, the natural symbol for man’s ignorance of God (comp. John 8:12, Acts 26:18, Ephesians 5:8-13, Romans 13:12), as light is for the true knowledge of Him. The epithet “marvellous,” or wonderful, as applied to that light is peculiar to St Peter. Looking to the stress laid on the glory of the Transfiguration in 2 Peter 1:16-18, we may, perhaps, see in this passage the impression which had been made upon him by what he had then seen of the “marvellous light” of the Eternal. Into that light, of which what he had seen was but the outward symbol, not he only but all who believed in Christ had now been called.

1 Peter 2:9. Ὑμεῖς δὲ, but ye) Supply are. After the mention of a subject so sorrowful he consoles the pious; as 2 Thessalonians 2:13.—γένοςεἰς περιποίησιν, a generationfor a peculiar possession) He twice mentions two remarkable sentences, which signify the relation of believers, as towards their Father and towards their God: Isaiah 43:20-21, Septuagint, τὸ γένος μου τὸ ἐκλεκτόν· λαόν μου ὃν περιεποιησάμην, τὰς ἀρετάς μου διηγεῖσθαι: My nation [“people”], My chosen: My people whom I have reserved as a possession [“formed”] for Myself, to “show forth My praises.” Exodus 19:5-6, λαὸς περιούσιος ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν, βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα, καὶ ἔθνος ἅγιον: a peculiar people from all the nations, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation. Περὶ in composition often denotes something surviving: as περιγίνεσθαι, to conquer, the enemy being driven back; περιποιεῖσθαι, to reserve something, when you give up the rest; περιβιοῦν, not to put to death; περιόντες, שרידים, the surviving, Job 27:15. And thus for סגלה the Septuagint has περιούσιος, Exodus, as quoted above, etc.; περιουσιασμὸς and περιποίησις, Malachi 3:17. Peter does not add, ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν ἔθνων, from all the nations; because he honours the Gentiles also with this title: 1 Peter 2:10.—ἐκλεκτὸν) chosen, excellent.—βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα, ἔθνος ἅγιον, λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for a peculiar possession) A kingdom of priests is a Hebrew expression. God is a king; His priests are the faithful: Revelation 1:6. Comp. 2 Samuel 8:18 with 1 Chronicles 18:17. A holy nation, the property of God. Περιποίησις in the abstract is the same as περιούσιος in the concrete, in the Septuagint. Comp. Ephesians 1:14, note.—τὰς ἀρετὰς, His excellencies) His wonderful glory in this verse, His mercy in the following verse, His goodness in 1 Peter 2:3.[15] St Paul only once uses the word ἀρετὴ, Php 4:8, of the righteous: St Peter, in this one passage only of this Epistle, of God: in the second Epistle, ch. 1 Peter 1:3, he employs it a second time of God, and in 1 Peter 2:5 (of the same chapter) he uses it of the faithful. The Hebrew is תהלתי at the passage already quoted; which word in Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 42:12; Isaiah 63:7, the Septuagint translates by ἀρετὰς, just as they put ἀρετὴ for הוד, Habakkuk 3:3; Zechariah 6:13. Eustathius on Hom. Odyss. Σ., ἀρετὴν οὐ μίαν τινὰ λέγει, ἀλλὰ τὸ εὔδαιμον τῆς ζώῆς καὶ μακαριστὸν, ἢ καὶ πᾶσαν δεξιότητα, οὐ μόνον τὴν κατὰ φρένας, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν κατὰ ἔργα καὶ οἰκονομίαν καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα: he does not speak of any one excellency, but of the happiness and blessedness of life, or even all cleverness, not only in mind, but in deed and in management, and things of this kind. And so he says everywhere.—ἘΞΑΓΓΕΊΛΗΤΕ, should show forth or declare) The sense is, that ye acknowledge and declare. Septuagint, Isaiah 42:12, ΤᾺς ἈΡΕΤᾺς ΑὐΤΟῦ ἘΝ ΤΑῖς ΝΉΣΟΙς ἈΝΑΓΓΕΛΟῦΣΙ, they shall declare His praises in the islands. Ἐξ in ἐξαγγείλητε expresses the ignorance of many, to whom the faithful ought to declare the excellencies of God.—τοῦ) of God: 2 Peter 1:3, note.

[15] Comp. Numbers 14:17.—V. g.

Verse 9. - But ye are a chosen generation. The pronoun "ye" is emphatic. St. Peter is drawing a contrast between the disobedient and unbelieving Jews and Christian people whether Jews or Gentiles; he ascribes to Christians, in a series of phrases quoted from the Old Testament, the various privileges which had belonged to the children of Israel. The words, "a chosen generation" (γένος ἐκλεκτόν), are from Isaiah 43:20, Γένος μου τὸ ἐκλεκτόν. The Cornerstone is elect, precious; the living stones built thereupon are elect likewise. The whole Christian Church is addressed as an elect race, one race, because all its members are begotten again of the one Father. A royal priesthood. Instead of "holy," as in ver. 5, St. Peter has here the epithet "royal." He follows the Septuagint Version of Exodus 19:6; the Hebrew has "a kingdom of priests." The word "royal" may mean that God's elect shall sit with Christ in his throne, and reign with him (Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:10), and that in some sense they reign with him now over their lower nature, their desires and appetites; or, more probably, the priesthood of Christians is called "royal" because it belongs to the King - "a priesthood serving Jehovah the King, just as we speak of 'the royal household'" (Weiss, quoted by Huther). An holy nation. Also from Exodus 19:6. The Israelites were a holy nation as separated from the heathen and consecrated to God's service by circumcision. Christians of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, are one nation under one King, separated to his service, dedicated to him in holy baptism. A peculiar people. The Greek words. λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν, represent the words, עַם סְגֻלָּה, of Deuteronomy 7:6, translated by the LXX. λαὸν περιούσιον, "a special people" (Authorized Version). St. Paul also has this translation in Titus 2:14. The Hebrew word סְגֻלָּה in Malachi 3:17 is rendered by the LXX. εἰς περιποίησιν, by the Authorized Version "my jewels." The children of Israel are called סְגֻלַּת יְחוָה, as the peculium, the private, special, treasured possession of God. God says of them, in Isaiah 43:21, "This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise;" rendered by the LXX. Λαόν μου ο}ν περιεποιησάμην τὰς ἀρετάς μου διηγεῖσθαι, God hath now chosen us Christians to be the Israel of God; the Christian Church is his peeulium, his treasure, "a people for God's own possession" (Revised Version). The literal meaning of the Greek words used by St. Peter is "a people for acquisition," or "for keeping safe," the verb having the sense of "gaining, acquiring," and also that of "preserving, keeping for one's self" (comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:9; also Acts 20:28, "The Church of God, which he purchased (η}ν περιεποιήσατο) with his own blood"). That ye should show forth the praises of him. That ye should tell out, publish abroad. The verb is found nowhere else in the New Testament. The word translated "praises" (ἀρετάς, literally, "virtues"), so very common in classical writers, occurs in the New Testament only here, 2 Peter 1:3, 5, and Philippians 4:8. Here St. Peter is quoting from the Septuagint Version of Isaiah 43:21 (the word is similarly used in Isaiah 42:12 and Isaiah 63:7). Perhaps the best rendering is that of the Revised Version, "excellencies." Who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. He had chosen them before the foundation of the world; he called them when they received the gospel: "Whom he did predestinate, them he also called." He called them out of the darkness of ignorance and sin. The Gentiles walked in utter darkness, in less measure the Jews also. The light of his presence is marvelous, wonderful; those who walk in that light feel something of its irradiating glory. 1 Peter 2:9Generation (γένος)

Better, Rev., race: a body with a common life and descent.

Nation (ἔθνος). People (λαὸς)

The distinction between these three words cannot be closely pressed. Race emphasizes the idea of descent; nation, of community. Λαὸς people, occurring very often in the Septuagint, is used there mostly of the Israelites, the chosen people. The same use is also frequent in the New Testament; but it is employed in a more general sense, as by Luke 2:10. It would seem that this idea, however, in its metaphorical and Christian application, the chose Israel of God, directed Peter's choice of the word, since he adds, a people for God's own possession.

Peculiar (εἰς περιποίησιν)

Lit., a people for acquisition. Rev., a people for God's own possession. Wyc., a people of purchasing. Cranmer, a people which are won. The word occurs 1 Thessalonians 5:9, rendered obtaining (Rev.); Ephesians 1:14, God's own possession (Rev.). See Isaiah 43:21 (Sept.), where the kindred verb occurs: "This people have I formed for myself (περιεποιησάμην).

Shew forth (ἐξαγγείλητε)

Only here in New Testament. Proclaim, tell abroad.

The praises (τὰς ἀρετὰς)

Lit., the virtues. So Rev., excellencies. The word occurs Isaiah 43:21 (Sept., see above), and is rendered praise. See, also, Isaiah 42:12 (Sept.), "Declare his praise (ἀρετὰς) in the islands."

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