2 Peter 2:10
But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Them that walk after the flesh.—Less definite than Jude 1:7. Here there is nothing about going away or astray, nor about the flesh being “other” than is allowed. This is natural; Jude’s remark applying to the inhabitants of the cities of the plain in particular, this to sensual persons generally.

In the lust of uncleanness.—Better, in the lust of pollutioni.e., the lust that causes pollution. The exact word occurs nowhere else; the same word, all but the termination, occurs in 2Peter 2:20, and nowhere else.

Despise government.—(Comp. “despise dominion,” Jude 1:8.) Our version is minutely perverse. The word translated “government” here and “dominion” in Jude is one and the same in the Greek: whereas the words translated in both places “despise” are different.

Presumptuous are they.—A fresh verse should begin here; the construction is entirely changed, and a fresh start made. From “the unjust” to “government” the reference is to ungodly and sensual people in general; here we return to the false teachers in particular. Audacious would be more literal than “presumptuous.” The word is found here only. On the change to the present tense, see Introduction, I., c, γ.

Speak evil of dignities.—The exact meaning of “dignities,” or “glories,” is not clear, either here or in Jude 1:8. The context in both places seems to show that spiritual powers alone are intended, and that earthly powers, whether civil or ecclesiastical, are not included, much less exclusively indicated. The construction here resembles that in 2Peter 1:19 : “Do not tremble in (or, while) speaking evil of dignities,” like “ye do well in taking heed.” These men deny the existence of, or irreverently speak slightingly of, those spiritual agencies by means of which God conducts the government of the world.

2 Peter 2:10-11. But chiefly them that walk after the flesh — Their corrupt nature; particularly in the lusts of uncleanness — Which are especially detestable in the eye of God; and the crimes they commit so much resemble those of Sodom, that it is the less to be wondered at if they share in its punishment; and with them may be joined those who despise government — The authority of their governors. Presumptuous Τολμηται, audacious, ready to venture upon any thing that may serve their purposes; self-willed — Uncontrollable in their own designs and ways; they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities — Of persons in the highest dignity. Whereas angels — When they appear before the Lord, (Job 1:6; Job 2:1,) to give an account of what they have seen and done in the earth; even those who are greater in power and might — Than the rest of those glorious beings; bring not railing accusation against them — With whom they contend, namely, the devil, (as Jdg 1:9,) or, when they speak of rulers, they speak honourably of them, Daniel 4:31; and, always avoiding all violence of language, they, with all calmness and decency, declare matters as they are, revering the presence of God, how much soever they may abhor the characters of wicked men.2:10-16 Impure seducers and their abandoned followers, give themselves up to their own fleshly minds. Refusing to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ, they act against God's righteous precepts. They walk after the flesh, they go on in sinful courses, and increase to greater degrees of impurity and wickedness. They also despise those whom God has set in authority over them, and requires them to honour. Outward temporal good things are the wages sinners expect and promise themselves. And none have more cause to tremble, than those who are bold to gratify their sinful lusts, by presuming on the Divine grace and mercy. Many such there have been, and are, who speak lightly of the restraints of God's law, and deem themselves freed from obligations to obey it. Let Christians stand at a distance from such.But chiefly - That is, it may be presumed that the principles just laid down would be applicable in an eminent degree to such persons as he proceeds to designate.

That walk after the flesh - That live for the indulgence of their carnal appetites. Notes, Romans 8:1.

In the lust of uncleanness - In polluted pleasures. Compare the notes at 2 Peter 2:2.

And despise government - Margin: "dominion." That is, they regard all government in the state, the church, and the family, as an evil. Advocates for unbridled freedom of all sorts; declaimers on liberty and on the evils of oppression; defenders of what they regard as the rights of injured man, and yet secretly themselves lusting for the exercise of the very power which they would deny to others - they make no just distinctions about what constitutes true freedom, and in their zeal array themselves against government in all forms. No topic of declamation would be more popular than this, and from none would they hope to secure more followers; for if they could succeed in removing all respect for the just restraints of law, the way would be open for the accomplishment of their own purposes, in setting up a dominion ever the minds of others. It is a common result of such views, that men of this description become impatient of the government of God himself, and seek to throw off all authority, and to live in the unrestrained indulgence of their vicious propensities.

Presumptuous are they - Τολμηταὶ Tolmētai - daring, bold, audacious, presumptuous men.

Self-willed - αὐθάδεις authadeis. See the notes at Titus 1:7.

They are not afraid to speak evil of dignities - The word rendered "dignities" here, (δόξας doxas,) means properly honor, glory, splendor; then that which is fitted to inspire respect; that which is dignified or exalted. It is applied here to men of exalted rank; and the meaning is, that they did not regard rank, or station, or office - thus violating the plainest rules of propriety and of religion. See the notes at Acts 23:4-5. Jude, between whose language and that of Peter in this chapter there is a remarkable resemblance, has expressed this more fully. He says, 2 Peter 2:8, "These filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities." It is one of the effects of religion to produce respect for superiors; but when men are self-willed, and when they purpose to give indulgence to corrupt propensities, it is natural for them to dislike all government. Accordingly, it is by no means an unfrequent effect of certain forms of error to lead men to speak disrespectfully of those in authority, and to attempt to throw off all the restraints of law. It is a very certain indication that men hold wrong opinions when they show disrespect to those in authority, and despise the restraints of law.

10. chiefly—They especially will be punished (Jude 8).

after—following after.

lust of uncleanness—defilement: "hankering after polluting and unlawful use of the flesh" [Alford].

government—Greek, "lordship," "dominion" (Jude 8).

Presumptuous—Greek, "Darers." Self-will begets presumption. Presumptuously daring.

are not afraid—though they are so insignificant in might; Greek, "tremble not" (Jude 8, end).

speak evil of—Greek, "blaspheme."

dignities—Greek, "glories."

But chiefly them: the apostle here applies the general doctrine delivered to false teachers, whose character he gives in several particulars; the sense is, that God reserves all wicked men to the day of judgment, but those especially that second their corrupt doctrine with a wicked conversation. The verb

reserve is to be repeated from the former verse.

That walk after the flesh; to walk after the flesh is either:

1. To follow the conduct of the sensual appetite, like brute beasts, which are led by sense, not by reason or judgment: or:

2. More especially it implies their giving up themselves to filthy lusts, probably unnatural ones, Judges 1:7, going after strange flesh.

In the lust of; i.e. through, or out of, implying the cause or spring from whence their actual uncleanness came, viz. their own lust.

Uncleanness; or, pollution; q.d. In the lust whereby they are polluted, or in their impure lusts.

And despise government; i.e. governors, or magistrates; as brotherhood for brethren, 1 Peter 2:17.

Presumptuous; Greek, bold, or daring, viz. because

they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

Self-willed; stubborn, refractory, addicted to their own ways, and therfore will not be ruled by others.

Dignities; or, glories, viz. rulers and magistrates, whom God hath made glorious, or on whom he hath put the honour of being above others, and made them his own lieutenants and vicegerents upon earth. But chiefly them that walk after the flesh,.... Not merely after the dictates of corrupt nature, as all men, and even God's elect do, in a state of unregeneracy; but "after strange flesh", as Jde 1:7 expresses it, after the flesh of men:

in the lust of uncleanness; not of fornication and adultery, but of sodomy, and sodomitical practices; sins exceeding great, not only contrary to the law and light of nature, but dishonourable to human nature; and are what prevail where idolatry, infidelity, errors, and heresies do; and which, as they are sins of the deepest dye, deserve the greater damnation, and are chiefly and more especially punished by God with great severity:

and despise government: of parents, to whom these proud boasters and blasphemers are generally disobedient; and of masters, pretending it to be contrary to their Christian liberty; and of magistrates on the same account, and as being a restraint upon their lusts; which is to despise the ordinance of God, his representatives, and to introduce anarchy and confusion, and to open a door to all manner of sin; and also the government of Christ, as head of the church, and King of Zion, whom they will not have to reign over them, and therefore reject his laws, and submit not to his ordinances; and likewise the government of the world itself by God; and so the Ethiopic version renders it, "despise their Creator"; denying his omniscience and his providence, giving out that he neither sees, observes, and takes notice of what is done in the world; nor does he himself do either good or evil, or concern himself about what is done by men.

Presumptuous are they; bold and daring, not fearing to speak against men of the most exalted character on earth, and against God himself in heaven; see Psalm 73:8.

Selfwilled; pleased with themselves, and their own conceits, their dogmas and opinions, with their high sense and profound judgment; and being obstinate in their sentiments, and resolutely bent to retain and defend them.

They are not afraid to speak evil of dignities; or "glories"; of the apostles, who were set in the first place in the church, and were the glory of Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:28; or of angels, styled thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers; or rather of civil magistrates, set in high places, and to whom glory and honour are due; which to do is contrary to the law of God, and of dangerous consequence, Exodus 22:28.

{5} But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of {k} dignities.

(5) He goes to another type of corrupt men, who nonetheless are within the bosom of the Church, who are wickedly given, and do seditiously speak evil of the authority of magistrates

(which the angels themselves that minister before God, do not discredit.) A true and accurate description of the Romish clergy (as they call it.)

(k) Princes and great men, be they ever so high in authority.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Peter 2:10. Compare Judges 1:8.

μάλιστα δέ) in close connection to what immediately precedes. The author passes from the general, to those against whom this epistle is specially directed. Dietlein introduces a foreign reference when he says: “the apostle means the false teachers in contrast to such ungodly persons as did not base their ungodliness on theoretically developed error.”

As in Jude, the false teachers are characterized in two respects. Whilst in 2 Peter 2:1-3 they are spoken of as yet to appear, they are here described as already present.

τοὺς ὀπίσωπορευομένους] cf. besides Judges 1:8 also 7, and the commentary on the passage.

σαρκός stands here without ἑτέρας, and must therefore be taken more generally. Buttmann (p. 160) wrongly translates σάρξ here by “lusts.”

ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ μιασμοῦ] μιασμοῦ is not to be resolved into an adjec.: cupiditas foeda, impura (Wahl);[70] but it is the objective genitive, and states that to which the ἐπιθυμια is directed (de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott, etc.).

μιασμός, ἅπ. λεγ., equivalent to pollutio. According to Schott, μιασμός is here used subjectively, “what to themselves is dishonouring to the human body, that they make the object of their wild lust.”

καὶ κυριότητος καταφρονοῦντες] cf. Judges 1:8, and the exposition.

τολμηταί] The author drops the construction hitherto adopted, and begins a new clause; the word is a ἅπ. λεγ. equal to “insolent, daring;” Luther: “thürstig” (i.e. bold, from the root tarr; in old High German, gaturstig; cf. Pischon, Erklär. der hauptsächl. veralteten deutschen Wörter in der Luth. Bibelübers. Berl. 1844, p. 7).

αὐθάδεις] to be found, besides here, only in Titus 1:7.

Most modern expositors understand the two words substantively; but as αὐθάδης is strictly an adject., it can here also be taken as such; thus Schott. It is improbable that they form a passionate exclamation (Schott). They may be either connected in a loose way as subject with οὐ τρέμουσι, or they may be regarded as an antecedent apposition to the subject of τρέμουσι (Hofmann).

δόξας οὐ τρέμουσι βλασφημοῦντες] For δόξας see Judges 1:8. The particip. stands here as in chap. 2 Peter 1:19. Vulg. strangely: sectas non metuunt (introducere, facere) blasphemantes.

[70] Hofmann also renders the idea by “impure desire, filthy lust,” which, taking μιασμοῦ as an attributive genitive, he interprets more closely thus: “a lust which brings defilement with it, since it pollutes not only him who gratifies it, but him also on whom it is gratified;” but in this interpretation the two expressions, “impure lust” and “lust which pollutes,” are erroneously taken as identical.2 Peter 2:10 a. μάλιστα δὲ τοὺς ὀπίσω σαρκὸςπορευομένους, “especially those who follow the flesh as their leader”. Cf. Matthew 4:19, 1 Timothy 5:15. In Isaiah 65:2 we have πορευομένοιςὀπίσω τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν. The writer now passes from the sin of Sodom to the sin of the Libertines. ἐπιθυμίᾳ μιασμοῦ. ἐπιθυμίᾳ is used of strong desire generally; “lust” in its older meaning. E.g. Luke 22:15. μιασμοῦ is a qualitative genitive, as in 2 Peter 2:1. αἱρέσεις ἀπωλείας: “a polluting desire”. κυριότητος καταφρονοῦντας. κυρ. cannot be taken in a purely abstract sense, “despising authority”. κυριότης is used in the abstract sense of the Lordship of Christ in Didache iv. 1. Honour him who speaks the word of God, ὡς κύριον, ὅθεν γὰρ ἡ κυριότης λαλεῖται, ἐκεῖ κύριός ἐστιν.

As is suggested by this passage in the Didache, we may conclude that by κυριότητος καταφρονοῦντας is meant a despising of the Lordship of Christ, which was the central theme of the apostolic teaching and preaching. The writer in 2 Peter 2:10 b, goes on to speak of their attitude towards δόξας, or “angelic beings”. Cf. Judges 1:8, κυριότητα δὲ ἀθετοῦσιν, δόξας δὲ βλασφημοῦσιν. It is true that in Colossians 1:16, κυριότητες form one of the ranks of angels in the false Gnostic teaching, but there is no indication that the Libertines here spoken of taught any elaborate angelology. On the contrary, they spoke lightly of the Unseen Powers generally. Their teaching seems to have been materialistic in tone. They were ὡς ἄλογα ζῷα γεγεννημένα φυσικὰ (2 Peter 2:12)—creatures of natural instinct, not employing the higher powers of reason (ἄλογα).10. but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness] Literally, in the lust of defilement, the genitive being either that of a characterising attribute, or implying that those of whom the writer speaks had fallen to a depth of baseness in which they seemed to desire impurity for its own sake, apart even from the mere pleasure of indulged appetite. (Comp. Romans 1:28.) In the parallel passage of Jude, 2 Peter 2:7, we have the addition “going after strange flesh.” The Apostle seems to have in view the darker forms of impurity which were common throughout the Roman Empire (Romans 1:24-28). St Paul uses the cognate verb in Titus 1:15.

and despise government] More literally, lordship, or, perhaps better, dominion. In Ephesians 1:21, Colossians 1:16 the word seems used of angelic authorities. Here apparently, as in Jude 2 Peter 2:8, the abstract noun is used as including all forms of authority, just as St Paul uses “power” in Romans 13:1-2.

Presumptuous are they] Better, Daring, or perhaps, Darers.

they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities] Better, they do not tremble as they blaspheme (or revile) glories. The last word may be used like “principalities” and “powers,” as including all forms of the dignity that gives glory, but the context seems to shew that it also is used with special reference to angels. This passage, with the parallel in Jude, 2 Peter 2:8-9, suggests the inference that the undue “worshipping of angels” in the Judaizing Gnosticism which had developed out of the teaching of the Essenes (Colossians 2:18) had been met by its more extreme opponents with coarse and railing mockery as to all angels whether good or evil, and that the Apostle felt it necessary to rebuke this licence of speech as well as that which paid no respect to human authority.2 Peter 2:10. Μάλιστα) chiefly. These will be especially punished.—ὀπίσω, after) The generic description is, the walking after the flesh: the specific, the walking after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness.—καὶ, and) There is a division, concerning impurity and blasphemy: after ——, and government ——. The latter subject is treated of immediately: presumptuous, etc.; the former, pleasure, etc., 2 Peter 2:13. Each of the two subjects discussed has a nominative case and finite verb. There is a further reference to the same two subjects (heads) at 2 Peter 2:18 : swelling: they entice.—κυριότητος καταφρονοῦντας, despising government) In this, which is the statement or proposition, he makes mention of government: shortly afterwards, in handling the subject, he speaks of dignities (δόξας), including the signification of the one in that of the other. Each of these, by an impressive Metonymia of the abstract for the concrete, seems to signify the angels, and those the fallen ones (although Horne on the Epistle of Jude takes it of the holy angels): for while it is here asserted, 2 Peter 2:11, that railing judgment is not to be brought by angels against dignities, Jude, 2 Peter 2:9, to the same purport, but in more definite language, asserts that this same railing judgment was not brought by the archangel against the devil. By government seems to be meant the prince of the fallen spirits; by dignities, the other fallen spirits. At least Jude also (Judges 1:8) retains the singular and the plural: they despise government, but speak evil of dignities. Each apostle shows that he is speaking of creatures whom the wicked do not know or understand (2 Peter 2:12). The angels who sinned, still, as the creatures of God, have a goodness, as Gerh. says on this passage, and in their exalted nature, which they received from the Creator, retain the indelible impress of majesty: comp. Luke 10:18-19; Matthew 12:26; Matthew 12:29; John 14:30; 2 Corinthians 4:4; and this we ought to regard with reverence, not on their account, but on account of God. Comp. Jam 3:9, note. For this is the most august mystery of the Divine judgment, which is passed upon angels: and into this no angel, no man, ought by his own authority to thrust himself; much less the wicked (Sir 21:27, ἐν τῷ καταράσασθαι ἀσεβῇ τὸν Σατανᾶν, αὐτὸς καταρᾶται τὴν ψυχὴν αὑτοῦ: When the ungodly curseth Satan, he curseth his own soul): and yet somehow or other these men, whom Peter and Jude point out, endeavoured to do so, turning all spiritual things upside down: 2 Peter 2:12; Judges 1:10; Judges 1:19. See the dignity of the saints, who shall have the power of judging angels: 1 Corinthians 6:3. See on Sasbout, f. 472, 480.—τολμηταὶ, presumptuous) although Michael did not presume, Judges 1:9. The nominative ease is followed immediately by the verb, are not afraid. Many put a comma in the sentence, τολμηταὶ, αὐθάδεις; but there is no reason why the substantive and adjective should not be joined together. Αὐθάδεια τολμὰν, self-will produces presumption: the words οὐ τρέμουσι, which follow presently, denote presumption.—οὐ τρέμουσι, are not afraid) although they have so very insignificant strength and power.—βλασφημοῦντες, speaking evil) Evil-speaking is their first crime; the root of which is first mentioned, presumption, pride. So the other crime, uncleanness, 2 Peter 2:14; the root of which is also first mentioned, luxury, 2 Peter 2:13.Verse 10. - But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness; literally, in the lust of pollution. The word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but the corresponding verb is found in several places (Titus 1:15; Hebrews 12:15; Jude 1:8). We observe that in this verse St. Peter passes from the future tense to the present. And despise government; rather, lordship (κυριότητος). St. Jude has the same word in verse 8. In Ephesians 1:21 and Colossians 1:16 it is used of angelic dignities. Here it seems to stand for all forms of authority. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities; literally, daring, self-willed, they tremble not when speaking evil of glories; or, they fear not glories, blaspheming. The word rendered "daring" (τολμηταί) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. These daring, self-willed men despise all lordship, all glories, whether the glory of Christ ("the excellent glory," 2 Peter 1:17), or the glory of the angels, or the glory of holiness, or the glory of earthly sovereignty. The next verse, however, makes it probable that the glory of the angels was the thought present to St. Peter's mind. It may be that, as some false teachers had inculcated the worship of angels (Colossians 2:18), others had gone to the opposite extreme (comp. Jude 1:8). The Vulgate strangely translates δόξας by sectas. Go after the flesh

Compare Jde 1:7.

Of uncleanness (μιασμοῦ)

Only here in New Testament. See on defilements, 2 Peter 2:20. Compare Jde 1:8.

Despise government

Rev., dominion. Compare Jde 1:8

Presumptuous (τολμηταὶ)

Only here in New Testament Lit., darers. Rev., daring.

Self-willed (αὐθάδεις)

Only here and Titus 1:7. From αὐτός, self, and ἥδομαι, to delight in. Therefore a self-loving spirit.

They tremble (τρέμουσιν)

Compare Mark 5:33. An uncommon word in the New Testament. Luke 8:47; Acts 9:6.

Dignities (δόξας)

Lit., glories. Compare Jde 1:8. Probably angelic powers: note the reference to the angels immediately following, as in Jde 1:9 to Michael. They defy the spiritual powers though knowing their might.

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