1 Peter 3:5
For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
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(5) For after this manner.—Here we have not only the ground of the foregoing precepts, but also of the assurance that God sets a value on such embellishments. It had been accepted by Him in the holy women of old who hoped in Him, and would be accepted again. “The Apostle enforces his doctrine by example,” says Leighton: “the most compendious way of teaching.” By “holy women” he means, not only holy in character, but “sainted”—consecrated by their memories being recorded for our reverence in Holy Writ.

Who trusted in God.—It is a great pity that “trusted” should have been substituted for the original “hoped.” The position of Sara and the holy women of the Old Testament was one of expectancy, of looking forward to the fulfilment of a promise; and the description of them as such is intended to make the readers of the letter feel the difference of their position. To them the promise to Sara was accomplished. The expression contains a reference to the mention of God in the last verse.

Adorned themselves, being in subjection.—The imperfect tense of the verb means “used to adorn themselves.” They took daily pains thus to adorn themselves, and spent, perhaps, as long in the process as the other ladies over their toilette. The participle which is added explains more fully the “after this manner.” Their subjection was their ornament.

1 Peter 3:5-6. For after this manner — Namely, with inward holiness and outward plainness; in old time — In the patriarchal ages; the holy women who trusted in God — And therefore did not act thus from servile fear, but from true piety, and are consequently worthy to be imitated; adorned themselves — Their adorning, according to St. Peter here, was, 1st, Their meek subjection to their husbands; 2d, Their quiet spirit, not afraid or amazed; and, 3d, Their unblameable behaviour, doing all things well. Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham — See Genesis 12:5; Genesis 18:6; calling him lord — In token of her subjection; for the ancients, by giving titles of respect to their superiors, acknowledged their own inferiority. Therefore, by mentioning the reverence with which Sarah spake of Abraham, the apostle intimates that she entertained the highest respect for him, and a just sense of her own subjection to him. Sarah was considered by the Jewish women as an illustrious pattern of a dutiful wife; whose daughters — Or children, in a spiritual, as well as natural sense; ye are — Or show yourselves to be, and that ye are entitled to the same inheritance; as long as ye do well — Discharge all your conjugal duties conscientiously. Sarah being constituted by God the mother of all believers, (Galatians 4:26,) even as Abraham was made their father, the believing women of Pontus, by imitating Sarah’s virtues, became her children, though not descended from her. And are not afraid with any amazement — So terrified with the apprehension of any danger or prejudice that may arise to you on account of your piety, as to be discouraged from your duty, or induced, through fear of displeasing your husbands, to do actions contrary to your religion. For, while the apostle enjoined wives to be in subjection to their husbands, he cautioned them against committing sin, especially the sin of idolatry, either from a desire to please their husbands, or from a fear of offending them.

3:1-7 The wife must discharge her duty to her own husband, though he obey not the word. We daily see how narrowly evil men watch the ways and lives of professors of religion. Putting on of apparel is not forbidden, but vanity and costliness in ornament. Religious people should take care that all their behaviour answers to their profession. But how few know the right measure and bounds of those two necessaries of life, food and raiment! Unless poverty is our carver, and cuts us short, there is scarcely any one who does not desire something beyond what is good for us. Far more are beholden to the lowliness of their state, than the lowliness of their mind; and many will not be so bounded, but lavish their time and money upon trifles. The apostle directs Christian females to put on something not corruptible, that beautifies the soul, even the graces of God's Holy Spirit. A true Christian's chief care lies in right ordering his own spirit. This will do more to fix the affections, and excite the esteem of a husband, than studied ornaments or fashionable apparel, attended by a froward and quarrelsome temper. Christians ought to do their duty to one another, from a willing mind, and in obedience to the command of God. Wives should be subject to their husbands, not from dread and amazement, but from desire to do well, and please God. The husband's duty to the wife implies giving due respect unto her, and maintaining her authority, protecting her, and placing trust in her. They are heirs together of all the blessings of this life and that which is to come, and should live peaceably one with another. Prayer sweetens their converse. And it is not enough that they pray with the family, but husband and wife together by themselves, and with their children. Those who are acquainted with prayer, find such unspeakable sweetness in it, that they will not be hindered therein. That you may pray much, live holily; and that you may live holily, be much in prayer.For after this manner, in the old time - The allusion here is particularly to the times of the patriarchs, and the object of the apostle is to state another reason why they should seek that kind of ornament which he had been commending. The reason is, that this characterized the pious and honored females of ancient times - those females who had been most commended of God, and who were most worthy to be remembered on earth.

Who trusted in God - Greek, "Who hoped in God;" that is, who were truly pious. They were characterized by simple trust or hope in God, rather than by a fondness for external adorning.

Adorned themselves - To wit, with a meek and quiet spirit, manifested particularly by the respect evinced for their husbands.

Being in subjection unto their own husbands - This was evidently a characteristic of the early periods of the world; and piety was understood to consist much in proper respect for others, according to the relations sustained toward them.

5. after this manner—with the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit (compare the portrait of the godly wife, Pr 31:10-31).

trusted—Greek, "hoped." "Holy" is explained by "hoped in (so as to be 'united to,' Greek) God." Hope in God is the spring of true holiness [Bengel].

in subjection—Their ornament consisted in their subordination. Vanity was forbidden (1Pe 3:3) as being contrary to female subjection.

Holy women; and therefore worthy of imitation.

Who trusted in God; whose only hope was in God, and therefore their care to please him.

Adorned themselves; viz. with a meek and quiet spirit, counting that the best ornament.

For after this manner in the old time,.... In ages past, the years of many generations, since the time that God created man upon earth; in the times before the flood, and after it; in the times of the patriarchs, judges, kings, and prophets of Israel, under the Old Testament dispensation. The apostle exhorts and encourages to this inward dress and ornament, from the antiquity of it: for in this way, and after this fashion,

the holy women also: who were sanctified by the Spirit of God, and lived holy lives and conversations, such as Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Ruth, Hannah, and others:

who trusted in God; that he would send the Messiah, and make good all his promises, judging and believing him to be faithful to his word, and able to fulfil whatever he had promised, as Sarah, Hebrews 11:11. Such holy and believing women as these are worthy of imitation in their adorning and dress, and who, in the manner before described by the apostle, adorned themselves; or this was the adorning which they sought after, valued, and chiefly regarded; not what was external, but internal: and which lay in meekness and humility, and in a quiet deportment, and in

being in subjection unto their own husbands; according to their original make, and natural relation, and the laws of God, and of creation; which is more becoming and adorning than plaiting of hair, wearing of gold, or costly raiment, and recommends them more, both in the sight of God and men; nothing being a more indecent and uncomely sight than a woman not in subjection to her husband.

{4} For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

(4) An argument taken from the example of women, and especially of Sarah, who was the mother of all believers.

1 Peter 3:5-6. οὕτω γάρ] ground for the exhortation: ὧν ἔστω, etc., by the example of the saintly women of the O. T. οὕτω refers back to what precedes.

ποτὲ καὶ αἱ ἅγιαι γυναῖκες] ποτέ, i.e. in the time of the Old Covenant.

ἅγιαι: because they belonged to the chosen people of God (Schott), and their life was sanctified and consecrated to God in faith.

αἱ ἐλπίζουσαι εἰς [ἐπὶ] Θεόν] cf. 1 Timothy 5:5. This nearer definition is subjoined not only because hope in God, i.e. in the fulfilment of His promises, was the characteristic mark of the piety of these holy women, rooted as it was in faith, but specially “to explain why it did not, and could not, occur to them ever to delight in empty show” (Hofmann).[172]

With ἐκόσμουν ἑαυτάς, cf. 1 Timothy 2:9.

ὙΠΟΤΑΣΣΌΜΕΝΑΙ ΤΟῖς ἈΝΔΡΆΣΙΝ is linked on to ἘΚΌΣΜΟΥΝ ἙΑΥΤΆς, showing wherein lay the proof that they had adorned themselves with the meek and quiet spirit. There is but one (de Wette) characteristic indeed here mentioned, but, according to the connection, it is the chief manifestation of that spirit. It is incorrect to resolve (as was formerly done in the commentary) the participle into: “from this fact, that.”—1 Peter 3:6. ὡς Σάῤῥα ὑπήκουσε τῷ Ἀβραάμ] A simple comparison of the contents of the two passages is a sufficient refutation of de Wette’s supposition that, in the words before us, there is a reference to Hebrews 11:11.

Ὡς: particula allegandi exemplum: Bengel. Sarah is mentioned, because, as the wife of Abraham and ancestress of the people of Israel, she had especial significance in the history of redemption.[173]

ὙΠΉΚΟΥΣΕ refers not merely to the single case which the apostle had particularly before his mind, but denotes the habitual behaviour of Sarah towards Abraham: the aor. is used here as in Galatians 4:8 (de Wette, Wiesinger, Schott).

ΚΎΡΙΟΝ ΑὐΤῸΝ ΚΑΛΟῦΣΑ] she showed herself submissive to the will of Abraham in this, that she called him ΚΎΡΙΟς. The allusion is here to Genesis 18:12 (cf. also 1 Samuel 1:8, LXX.).

Ἧς ἘΓΕΝΉΘΗΤΕ ΤΈΚΝΑ] Lorinus: non successione generis, sed imitatione fidei; Pott incorrectly explains the aorist by the future (ἜΣΕΣΘΕ); the translation, too, of the Vulg.: estis, is inexact; Luther is right “whose daughters ye are become.” As Paul calls the believing heathen, on account of their faith, children of Abraham, so Peter here styles the women who had become Christians, children of Sarah.

ἀγαθοποιοῦσαι] does not belong to ὙΠΟΤΑΣΣΌΜΕΝΑΙ, as if Ὡς ΣΆῤῬΑΤΈΚΝΑ were a parenthesis (Bengel, Ernesti, etc.), but to ἘΓΕΝΉΘΗΤΕ, not, however, as stating how they become (Weiss, p. 110 f.)[174] or “have become” children of Sarah (to the first interpretation the aorist ἐγενήθητε is opposed, to the latter the pres. partic.), but as showing the mark by which they proved themselves children of Sarah. It may be resolved into: “since,” or: “that is to say if,” etc. It is grammatically incorrect to see in ἀγαθοποιοῦσαι the result of ἧς ἐγενήθητε τέκνα, and to explain: “in this way have they become the children of Sarah, that they are now in accordance therewith ἀγαθοποιοῦσαι and μὴ φοβούμεναι” (Schott). By ἀγαθοποιεῖν is to be understood here not specially benevolence (Oecum.);[175] the word denotes rather the whole moral activity of Christian life in its fullest extent, although here, as the connection shows, with particular reference to the marriage relation.

ΚΑῚ ΜῊ ΦΟΒΟΎΜΕΝΑΙ ΜΗΔΕΜΊΑΝ ΠΤΌΗΣΙΝ] ΠΤΌΗΣΙς equals ΦΌΒΟς (Pollux v. 122: ΣΥΣΤΟΛῊ, ΘΌΡΥΒΟς, ΤΑΡΑΧΉ), in the N. T. ἍΠ. ΛΕΓ. (Luke 21:9; Luke 24:37, the verb ΠΤΟΗΘΈΝΤΕς is connected with ἜΜΦΟΒΟΙ ΓΕΝΌΜΕΝΟΙ); it denotes not the object causing fear, but the fear itself which is felt; and it can be looked on either objectively as a power threatening man, or laying hold of him (as Proverbs 3:25, LXX.: ΚΑῚ Οὐ ΦΟΒΗΘΉΣῌ ΠΤΌΗΣΙΝ ἘΠΕΛΘΟῦΣΑΝ; 1Ma 3:25 : Ἡ ΠΤΌΗΣΙς ἘΠΙΠΊΠΤΕΙ ἘΠῚ ΤᾺ ἜΘΝΗ; the synonymous terms ΦΌΒΟς, ΤΡΌΜΟς, are used also in a like manner), or taken in a sense purely subjective. Most commentators understand ΠΤΌΗΣΙς here in the first of these senses, only they do not take the conception strictly by itself, but identify it with that which causes fear; in the first edition of this commentary the second meaning is attributed to ΠΤΌΗΣΙς: ΦΟΒΕῖΣΘΑΙ ΠΤΌΗΣΙΝ equal to ΦΟΒΕῖΣΘΑΙ ΦΌΒΟΝ: “to experience fear” (Mark 4:41; Luke 2:9; cf. Winer, p. 210 f. [E. T. 280]); but this explanation is opposed by the fact “that in such a connection the substantive must be taken not in idea only, but in form also from the verb” (Brückner). The idea here is quite as universal as in ἈΓΑΘΟΠ.; and accordingly it must be conceived as the fear generally which the enmity of the unbelieving world occasions to believers; still, according to the connection, the apostle had doubtless in his mind more particularly the conduct of heathen men towards their Christian wives.

Luther’s translation is inexact: “if ye … are not so fearful.” The rendering of Stephanus is incorrect, s.v. πτόησις: jubentur mulieres officium facere etiam, cum nullus eas metus constringit i. e. sponte et ultro.

[172] According to Schott, this addition is meant to express that “the complete development of the Christian church, to which they belonged, was only as yet an object of hope;” but this introduces a reference which the words do not contain.

[173] Schott applies ὡς to that which directly precedes, in this sense: that “the conduct of the holy women was regulated only according to the standard of Sarah.” Hofmann thus: that Sarah “is mentioned as a shining example of the conduct of holy women.” Both are wrong, since neither is alluded to by ὡς.

[174] It must be held, with “Wiesinger, Brückner, and Schott, in opposition to Weiss and Fronmüller, that it is more natural to take these words as applying to Gentile-Christian rather than to Jewish-Christian readers. For inasmuch as the latter, before their conversion, were already τέκνα τῆς Σάῤῥας, some allusion must have been made to their not having been so in a right manner, and as they now had become. It does not follow from John 8:39 (as Weiss thinks) that an allusion of this kind was unnecessary.

[175] Μετὰ τοῦ εὐκόσμου καὶ πρέποντος Χριστιανοῖς κόσμου καὶ ἐλεήμονας αὐτὰς εἶναι παραινεῖ, μηδὲν ὑποβλεπόμενας τὸν ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνδρῶν αὐτῶν διὰ τοῦτο ἐκλογισμόν.

1 Peter 3:5. ποτε refers vaguely to O.T. history as part of αἱθεόν. References to the holy women of the O.T. are rare in N.T. and this appeal to their example illustrates the affinity of Peter to Heb. (Hebrews 11:11; Hebrews 11:35). Hannah is the obviously appropriate type (cf. Luke 1 with 2 Samuel 1 f.); but Peter is thinking of the traditional idealisation of Sarah.

5. For after this manner in the old time] It is obvious from the special instance given in the next verse that the Apostle has in his mind exclusively the saintly wives and mothers of the Old Testament. The names of Penelope, Andromache, Alcestis, which are familiar to us as patterns of wifely excellence, were not likely to have come within the horizon of his knowledge.

who trusted in God] More accurately, who hoped in God. It may be noted that the same inadequate rendering is found in the Authorized Version of Romans 15:12, and Philem. 1 Peter 3:22. The idea of “trust” is, of course, not far removed from that of “hope,” but the variation of rendering was a needless one, and ought therefore to have been avoided.

being in subjection unto their own husbands] The repetition of the same verb as that used in 1 Peter 3:1 and ch. 1 Peter 2:13, should, be noticed as reproducing what might almost be called the key-note of the Epistle. It occurs again in ch. 1 Peter 3:22, 1 Peter 5:5.

1 Peter 3:5. Αι ἅγιαι γυναῖκες, the holy women) most worthy of imitation.—αἱ ἐλπίζουσαι, who hoped) Hope in God is true holiness. This epithet is a part of the subject.—ὑποτασσόμεναι, being in subjection) The adorning of the matrons in the old time is explained by the words, being in subjection (of which subjection Sara is an example), doing well, and not fearing, etc.

Verse 5. - For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God; rather, who hoped in God (εἰς Θεόν); whose hope was set toward God and rested in God. Bengel says," Vera sanctitas, spes in Deum." St. Peter is the apostle of hope. Adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands. The apostle bids Christian women to consider the example of the saintly women of the Old Testament. With their hope resting upon God, they could not care for finery and costly jewels. They adorned themselves with the more costly ornament of a meek and quiet spirit: they showed their meekness by living in subjection to their husbands. Submission to authority is the key-note of this part of the Epistle. 1 Peter 3:5Adorned (ἐκόσμουν)

Imperfect tense. Were accustomed to adorn.

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