And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And this voice which came from heaven we heard.—Rather, And this voice we heard borne from heaven: We were ear-witnesses of the voice coming from heaven, as we were eye-witnesses of His majesty. It was no vision, it was no hallucination. We all heard, and we all saw; so that I have the highest authority for what I would now impress upon you. A voice which I myself heard borne from heaven to earth, in the midst of glory which I myself saw, foretelling the glory that is yet to come.
In the holy mount.—It is, perhaps, not even “partly right” to say that the epithet “holy” indicates a view of the event later than that of the Evangelists, and points to a miracle-loving age. Rather, it indicates a view many centuries older than the Evangelists—that wherever God had specially manifested Himself was “holy ground” (Exodus 3:5; Josh. V. 15. Comp. Genesis 28:16-17; Exodus 19:12; Acts 7:33.) The expression would be natural to any Jew speaking of the Transfiguration. (See Introduction, I. c.)
When we were with him in the holy mount - Called "holy" on account of the extraordinary manifestation of the Redeemer's glory there. It is not certainly known what mountain this was, but it has commonly been supposed to be Mount Tabor. See the notes at Matthew 17:1.
holy mount—as the Transfiguration mount came to be regarded, on account of the manifestation of Christ's divine glory there.
we—emphatical: we, James and John, as well as myself.We; I, and James, and John.
Heard: the apostle avoucheth himself to have been an ear-witness, as well as eye-witness, of Christ’s glory, hereby intimating that there was as much certainty of the gospel, even in a human way, as could possibly be obtained of any thing that is done in the world, seeing men can be humanly certain of nothing more than of what they perceive by their senses: compare 1Jo 1:1,3.
The holy mount; so called, not because of any inherent holiness in it, but because of the extraordinary manifestation of God’s presence there; in the same sense as the ground is called holy where God appeared to Moses and to Joshua, Exodus 3:5 Joshua 5:15.
when we were with him; and saw his glory, and the glory of Moses and Elias, and were so delighted with his company, and theirs, and with communion with him, that Peter, in the name of the rest, desired to stay there:
in the holy mount; the Ethiopic version reads, "in the mountain of his sanctuary"; and so Grotius understands it of Mount Moriah, on which the temple was built, called the holy hill, and the holy hill of Zion; and supposes that this voice was heard in the temple, and that it refers to John 12:28, but without any foundation; for the mount on which Christ was transfigured is here meant; and which was either, as is generally said, Tabor, a mountain in Galilee; or it may be Lebanon, which was near Caesarea Philippi, in the parts of which Christ then was: and it is called "holy", from his presence or transfiguration on it, who is the Holy One; just as the land on which Moses was, and the city and temple of Jerusalem, and Mount Sion, and Sinai, are called "holy", from the presence of the holy God there, Exodus 3:5. Now such a declaration of the honour and glory of Christ, as the Son of God, being made by God the Father, in a voice from heaven, which the apostles heard with their ears, at the same time that they saw with their eyes his human body glorified in an amazing manner, was to them a confirming evidence that he would come again in power and glory; and upon this evidence they declared, and made known to the saints, the power and coming of Christ; though not on this evidence only, but also upon the more sure word of prophecy, which entirely agrees with it.And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2 Peter 1:18. καὶ ταύτην … ἐνεχθεῖσαν; the author is anxious to show prominently that he has been an ear-witness of that divine voice, as well as an eye-witness of the μεγαλειότης of Christ.
ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐνεχθ. is added by way of emphasis, in order to lay stress on the fact that Christ received that testimony directly from heaven.
ἐν τῷ ὄρει τῷ ἁγίῳ] From the epithet τῷ ἁγίῳ it must not, with Grotius, be concluded that the reference here is to the hill on which the temple stood, and that what is alluded to is not the transfiguration, but the incident recorded in John 12:28. Without any reason, de Wette asserts that that epithet (instead of which Matthew 17:1 has: ὑψηλόν) betrays a view of the case more highly coloured with the belief in miracles than that of the apostles, and belonging to a later period; Calvin already gives the correct interpretation: montem sanctum appellat, qua ratione terra sancta dicitur, in qua Mosi Deus apparuit; quocunque enim accedit Dominus, ut est fons omnis sanctitatis, praesentiae suae odore omnia sanctificat; Dietlein: “the ‘in the holy’ is added, not to designate the mountain, but in order to distinguish it on account of this event;” so, too, Brückner and the modern commentators generally.2 Peter 1:18. ἐν τῷ ὄρει τῷ ἁγίῳ. The phrase indicates a view of the place and incident which has been taken up into and sanctified in the religious consciousness of the Church. The Gnostic Acts of Peter use the phrase “in monte sacro”. ἅγιος signifies a place where Jehovah manifested Himself, cf. Exodus 3:5, Isaiah 52:1.18. And this voice which came from heaven we heard …] More accurately, as better expressing the force of the special word used here as in the previous verse, And this voice borne from heaven we heard.… The “we” is emphatic, as giving prominence to the fact of the personal testimony of the Apostle and his two brother-disciples.
when we were with him in the holy mount] It has been urged by some critics that the description of the Mount of the Transfiguration by the term which in Old Testament language was commonly applied to Zion (Psalm 2:6) indicates the phraseology of a later age than that of the Apostles. It is obvious, however, in answer, that the scene of the manifestation of the Divineglory of which he speaks could not appear as other than “holy ground”—holy as Horeb had been of old (Exodus 3:5; Acts 7:33)—to the Apostle who had been there. Comp. Joshua 5:15. Whether, as the Gospel narrative indicates, it was on the heights of Hermon (Matthew 16:13), or, as later tradition reported, on Mount Tabor, it would remain for ever as a consecrated spot in the Apostle’s memory. It may, perhaps, be inferred from the tone in which he thus speaks of it, that he assumes that his readers had already some knowledge of the fact referred to.2 Peter 1:18. Ἡμεῖς, we) John also was still alive.—ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, from heaven) from God.—τῷ ἁγίῳ, the holy) The mountain was holy from that very circumstance; at any rate, at that very time.Verse 18. - And this voice which came from heaven we heard; rather, and this voice borne from heaven we heard. The pronoun is emphatic; we, the apostles who had that high privilege. They heard the voice when it was borne (ἐνεχθεῖσαν; he repeats for emphasis the remarkable word of verse 17) from heaven, they heard it come from heaven. When we were with him in the holy mount. This description of the Mount of the Transfiguration supposes a knowledge of the history in St. Peter's readers; but it gives no support to the theory of a post-apostolic date. Mount Horeb was "holy ground," because God appeared there to Moses, because it was the scene of the giving of the Law. Mount Zion was a holy hill, because God had chosen it to be a habitation for himself; the Mount of the Transfiguration was holy, because there God the Son manifested forth his glory. God hallows every place which he pleases to make the scene of his revealed presence. This whole passage shows the deep and lasting impression which the Transfiguration made on those who were privileged to witness it (comp. John 1:14).
Note the same word in the account of Pentecost (Acts 2:6), where the A. V. obscures the meaning by rendering, when this was noised abroad; whereas it should be when this voice was heard.
Which came (ἐνεχθεῖσαν)
Lit., having been borne. See on 2 Peter 1:17. Rev., This voice we ourselves (ἡμεῖς, we, emphatic) heard come (better, borne) out of heaven.
It is scarcely necessary to notice Davidson's remark that this expression points to a time when superstitious reverence for places had sprung up in Palestine. "Of all places to which special sanctity would be ascribed by Christ's followers, surely that would be the first to be so marked where the most solemn testimony was given to the divinity of Jesus. To the Jewish Christian this would rank with Sinai, and no name would be more fitly applied to it than that which had so constantly been given to a place on which God first revealed himself in his glory. The 'holy mount of God' (Ezekiel 28:14 :) would now receive another application, and he would see little of the true continuity of God's revelation who did not connect readily the old and the new covenants, and give to the place where the glory of Christ was most eminently shown forth the same name which was applied so oft to Sinai" (Lumby).
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