2 Peter 2:12
But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) But these, as natural brute beasts.—Omit “natural.” This verse appears to tell strongly in favour of the priority of our Epistle. The literary form of Jude 1:10, is so very superior; the antithesis (quite wanting here) between abusing what they cannot know and misusing what they cannot help knowing is so telling, and would be so easily remembered, that it is improbable that a writer who was willing to adopt so much would not have adopted in this respect also; and whichever writer is second, it is evident that he was willing to adopt his predecessor’s material almost to any extent. On the other hand, there is nothing improbable in a writer who knew this verse improving upon it by writing Jude 1:10. The verses, similar as they are in much of their wording, are very different in their general drift. Jude 1:10, is simply an epigrammatic description of these ungodly men; this verse is a denunciation of final ruin against them.

Made to be taken and destroyed.—Literally, born naturally for capture and destruction. “Natural” comes in better here as a kind of adverb than as an additional epithet to beasts. The force of it is that these animals cannot help themselves—it is their nature to rush after what will prove their ruin; but the false teachers voluntarily seek their own destruction against nature. This verse contains one of the repetitions noticed above (see on 2Peter 2:7) as characteristic of this Epistle. The word for “destruction” and “corruption” is one and the same in the Greek, the destroying being literal in the first case, moral in the second. Moreover, the word for “perish” is from the same root. “Like brutes born for capture and destruction, these men shall be destroyed in their destruction.” But such a translation would be misleading in English.

Shall utterly perish.—A reading of higher authority gives us, shall even perish.

In their own corruption.—“Own” may be omitted. Their present evil life anticipates and contains within itself the elements of their final destruction. Thus they “bring it upon themselves” (2Peter 2:1). The right division of the sentences here cannot be decided with certainty; the Apostle hurries on, in the full flood of his denunciation, without paying much attention to the precise form of his language. On the whole, it seems best to place only a comma at the end of 2Peter 2:12, with a full stop or colon at “unrighteousness,” and to make what follows part of the long sentence, of which the main verb is “are gone astray” in 2Peter 2:15.

2 Peter 2:12-14. But these — False teachers; as natural brute beasts — As irrational animals, led merely by their brutish inclinations, several of which, in the present disordered state of the world, seem to be made to be taken and destroyed by mankind. He speaks chiefly of savage beasts, which men for their own security and preservation hunt down and destroy; speak evil of things that they understand not — Namely, the mysteries of Christianity; or magistracy, the institution, use, and benefit whereof they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption — In that loose and abandoned course of life to which they have given up themselves, John 8:21; who account it pleasure to riot in the day-time — Reckon it their chief happiness to pursue, even in the broad light of day, those riotous and voluptuous courses, which one would suppose they would endeavour to conceal under the cover of night. See 1 Thessalonians 5:7; Isaiah 3:9. Spots they are — In themselves; and blemishes — To any church; sporting themselves with their own deceivings — Making a jest of those whom they deceive, and even jesting while they are deceiving their own souls; while they feast with you — When they join with you in the love-feasts. “The primitive Christians were used to feast together before they celebrated the Lord’s supper, because it was instituted by Christ after he had eaten the passover with his disciples. See 1 Corinthians 11:21. These previous suppers, it appears from Jude, 2 Peter 2:13, were called αγαπαι, love-feasts; because the rich, by feasting their poor brethren, expressed their love to them. But on these occasions, it seems, the false teachers and their disciples were guilty of great intemperance. Having eyes full of adultery — Many of them are as lewd as they are gluttonous. The Greek is, more literally, having eyes full of an adulteress; a very strong expression, implying their having an adulteress continually before their eyes; and that cannot — Or who act as if they could not; cease from sin; beguiling Δελεαζοντες, insnaring; unstable souls — Such as are not established in the faith and practice of the gospel. A heart exercised with covetous practices — Well experienced in such contrivances as are calculated to promote their gain and carnal interest. Cursed children — Persons worthy to be had in utter abomination, and peculiarly exposed to the curse of God.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 these, as natural brute beasts - These persons, who resemble so much irrational animals which are made to be taken and destroyed. The point of the comparison is, that they are like fierce and savage beasts that exercise no control over their appetites, and that seeM to be made only to be destroyed. These persons, by their fierce and ungovernable passions, appear to be made only for destruction, and rush blindly on to it. The word rendered "natural," (which, however, is lacking in several manuscripts), means "as they are by nature," following the bent of their natural appetites and passions. The idea is, that they exercised no more restraint over their passions than beasts do over their propensities. They were entirely under the dominion of their natural appetites, and did not allow their reason or conscience to exert any constraint. The word rendered "brute," means without reason; irrational. Man has reason, and should allow it to control his passions; the brutes have no rational nature, and it is to be expected that they will act out their propensities without restraint. Man, as an animal, has many passions and appetites resembling those of the brute creation, but he is also endowed with a higher nature, which is designed to regulate and control his inferior propensities, and to keep them in subordination to the requirements of law. If a man sinks himself to the level of brutes, he must expect to be treated like brutes; and as wild and savage animals - lions, and panthers, and wolves, and bears - are regarded as dangerous, and as "made to be taken and destroyed," so the same destiny must come upon men who make themselves like them.

Made to be taken and destroyed - They are not only useless to society, but destructive; and men feel that it is right to destroy them. We are not to suppose that this teaches that the only object which God had in view in making wild animals was that they might be destroyed; but that people so regard them.

Speak evil of the things that they understand not - Of objects whose worth and value they cannot appreciate. This is no uncommon thing among people, especially in regard to the works and ways of God.

And shall utterly perish in their own corruption - Their views will be the means of their ruin; and they render them fit for it, just as much as the fierce passions of the wild animals do.

12. (Jude 19).

But—In contrast to the "angels," 2Pe 2:11.

brute—Greek, "irrational." In contrast to angels that "excel in strength."

beasts—Greek, "animals" (compare Ps 49:20).

natural—transposed in the oldest manuscripts, "born natural," that is, born naturally so: being in their very nature (that is, naturally) as such (irrational animals), born to be taken and destroyed (Greek, "unto capture and destruction," or corruption, see on [2631]Ga 6:8; compare end of this verse, "shall perish," literally, "shall be corrupted," in their own corruption. Jude 10, naturally … corrupt themselves," and so destroy themselves; for one and the same Greek word expresses corruption, the seed, and destruction, the developed fruit).

speak evil of—Greek, "in the case of things which they understand not." Compare the same presumption, the parent of subsequent Gnostic error, producing an opposite, though kindred, error, the worshipping of good angels": Col 2:18, "intruding into those things which he hath not seen."

But these; the false teachers before mentioned.

As natural brute beasts; beasts which are void of reason, and follow only their sensual inclination.

Made to be taken and destroyed; being made for men’s use, and so to be a prey to them; while they hasten after their food, they are taken in nets and snares, and being taken are destroyed.

Speak evil of the things that they understand not; either the great mysteries of religion, whereof they are stupidly ignorant; or rather, dignities, before mentioned, which they, (not knowing, or not considering, them to be of God, and of so great use to men), following the inclination of their own corrupt natures, speak against.

And shall utterly perish in their own corruption; or, shall be corrupted in their own corruption, i.e. shall be utterly destroyed by their own fault and folly; penal corruption (or perdition) following upon sinful. The sum is: That as brute beasts, which have no reason, follow their brutish appetite, till it lead them into destruction, and where they sought their meat they find their death, Proverbs 7:23; so these false teachers, not being guided by reason, much less by the light of the Spirit, but merely by sway of their natural inclinations, in speaking evil of that ordinance which God hath honoured, shall bring upon themselves that destruction they have deserved. But these, as natural brute beasts,.... So far are these men from acting like the angels, that they are sunk below their own species, and are like beasts, and become brutish in their knowledge and behaviour; are like the horse and the mule, without understanding, act as if they were without reason; yea, are more stupid and senseless than the ox, or the ass, which know their owner, and their crib; and even in those things which they might, and do know by the light of nature, they corrupt themselves; and being given up to judicial blindness, and a reprobate mind, call good evil, and evil good, and do things that are not convenient, and which even brute beasts do not; and like as they are guided by an instinct in nature, to do what they do, so these men are led and influenced by the force and power of corrupt nature in them, to commit all manner of wickedness: and like them are

made to be taken and destroyed; or, as it may be rendered, "to take and destroy"; as beasts and birds of prey, such as lions, tigers, wolves, bears, vultures, hawks, &c. to which abusers of themselves with mankind, ravishers of women, extortioners, oppressors, thieves, robbers, and plunderers of men's properties, may be compared: or "to be taken and destroyed"; that is, they are made or appointed to be taken in the net and snare of Satan, are vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, and are afore ordained to condemnation and ruin: and this being their case, they

speak evil of the things they understand not; either of angels, of whose nature, office, and dignity, they are ignorant; and blaspheme them, by either ascribing too much to them, as the creation of the world, and divine worship, as were by some ancient heretics; or by speaking such things of them as were below them, and unworthy of them; or of civil magistrates, not knowing the nature and end of magistracy and civil government, and therefore spoke evil of them, when they ought to pray, and be thankful for them, and live peaceable and quiet lives under them; or of the ministers of the word, whose usefulness for the conversion of sinners and edification of saints were not known, at least not acknowledged by these men; hence they were traduced, and went through ill report among them, being as unknown by them; or of the Scriptures of truth, which heretical men do not truly know and understand, but wrest to their own destruction, or deny; and of the Gospel and the mysteries of it, which are things not seen, known, and understood by carnal men, and therefore are blasphemed, reviled, and reproached by them:

and shall utterly perish in their own corruption: of which they are servants, 2 Peter 2:19, in their moral corruption, in their filthy and unnatural lusts, which are the cause of their everlasting perdition and destruction, to which they are righteously appointed of God.

{6} But these, as natural brute beasts, {l} made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their {m} own corruption;

{6} An accurate description of the same persons, in which they are compared to beasts who are made for destruction, while they give themselves to fill their bellies: For there is no greater ignorance than is in these men: although they most impudently find fault with those things of which they know not: and it shall come to pass that they shall destroy themselves as beasts with those pleasures with which they are delighted, and dishonour and defile the company of the godly.

(l) Made to this end to be a prey to others: So do these men willingly cast themselves into Satan's snares.

(m) Their own wicked conduct shall bring them to destruction.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Peter 2:12. Compare Judges 1:10. With all their similarity the two passages are nevertheless very different. The characteristics are still further described in Judges 1:10, but here the punishment is promised to these men.

οὗτοι δέ] antithesis to ἄγγελοι; the predicate belonging to it is φθαρήσονται.

ὡς ἄλογα ζῶαφθοράν] Parenthetical thought in close relation to φθαρήσονται; Grotius: ita peribunt illi, sicut pereunt muta animantia.

γεγεννημένα φυσικά can hardly be translated: “born as sensuous beings to,” etc. (Wiesinger, and formerly in this commentary). φυσικά is meant rather to bring out that the irrational animals are, according to their natural constitution, born to ἅλωσις. Hofmann takes φυσικά as a second attribute added to γεγεννημένα by asyndeton, equal to: “by nature determined to ἅλωσις,” etc. But the only objection to this is that γεγεννημένα alone cannot well be considered as a special attribute. As regards the sense, it makes no difference whether φυσικά be placed before (Rec.) or after γεγενν.

εἰς ἅλωσιν καὶ φθοράν] According to Luther, a twofold rendering is possible: “First, those who take and strangle; second, who are to be taken, strangled, and slaughtered;” the latter is the only correct interpretation. The general interpretation is, “for taking and destroying;” Schott on the other hand translates, “for taking and consuming; “and Hofmann, in like manner, who holds that both are active ideas, “that they may be taken and consumed.” This interpretation of φθορά, however, is arbitrary, and all the more unwarranted, that in the subsequent ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν, φθορά cannot have this special meaning. According to N. T. usage, what is meant by φθορά here is the destruction to which the beasts are destined; cf. Colossians 2:22.

ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσιν βλασφημοῦντεςφθαρήσονται With regard to the construction, cf. “Winer, p. 583 [E. T. 784]. According to the usual interpretation, ἐν οἷς is dependent on βλασφημοῦντες, and is to be resolved into: ἐν τούτοις, ἃ ἀγνοοῦσιν, βλασφ. (Winer decides in favour of this; so, too, Wiesinger, and Buttmann, p. 128). But ἐν οἷς may also be dependent on ἀγνοοῦσιν, and be resolved: ταῦτα, ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσιν, βλασφημοῦντες. There is no other instance to be found of the construction βλασφημεῖν ἐν, although βλασφημεῖν εἰς occurs frequently. Buttmann accordingly says that by ἐν here (not the object strictly speaking, but) “rather the sphere is denoted, within which the evil-speaking takes place;” nor is the combination of ἀγνοεῖν with ἐν common, “yet it is not without example in later writings;” it is to be found in Test. XII. patr. in Fabricius cod. pseudepigr. V. T. p. 717. That ἀγνοεῖν, in the sense of it, may be joined with ἐν, is shown by the German expression, “to be ignorant in a matter.” Besides, in both constructions the sense is substantially the same. According to the connection with what precedes (2 Peter 2:10) and Judges 1:8; Judges 1:10, the δόξαι are to be understood as that which was unknown to them, and to which their slanders had reference. On account of this irrational evil-speaking, that will happen to them which is expressed in the words: ἐν τῇ φθορὰ αὐτῶν καὶ φθαρήσονται. φθορά has been understood here to mean moral corruption; thus de Wette-Brückner, Steinfass, Fronmüller; erroneously, however, for the word must have the same meaning in this passage as it had formerly; then, in this case, αὐτῶν does not refer to the Libertines, but to the ζῶα before mentioned, and καί is to be explained from the comparison with these. They (the Libertines) whose irrational slander of that of which they are ignorant, makes them like unto the irrational brutes, will also suffer φθορά, like the latter, who by nature are destined thereto. Entirely different from this, however, is the interpretation given by Hofmann. He resolves ἐν οἷς into ἐν τούτοις ἅ, and takes ἐν τούτοις with φθαρήσονται; that which, without knowing it, they speak evil of, is, according to him, the things of sense; he understands ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν to be in more definite and explanatory apposition to ἐν τούτοις, and φθορά actively, equivalent to “abuse.” In his view, then, the idea here expressed is that the Libertines by abusing, after their lusts, the things of sense, believing them to have nothing in common with God, fall a prey to destruction. The objections to this interpretation are, first, that ἐν οἷς is not applied to any of the verba near it, but to the remote φθαρήσονται; secondly, that a meaning is attributed to the second φθορά different from that of the first,—the one is taken as equivalent to “consumption,” the other to “abuse,”—and that neither of these significations belongs in any way to the word; thirdly, that the reference to the things of sense is in no way alluded to in the context; fourthly, that ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ cannot possibly be in apposition to ἐν τούτοις; and lastly, that, on this interpretation, we should have had ἀγνοοῦντες βλασφήμουσι instead of ἀγνοοῦσιν βλασφημοῦντες.[72]

[72] Schott agrees with Hofmann in regard to the application to things of sense, and to the interpretation of the meaning of the first φθορά, but differs from him in other points. He states the idea contained in the verse thus: “As irrational beasts, which … made to be taken and consumed … come to destruction, so these people shall perish; since they rail at those matters which they do not comprehend, they themselves shall perish in and with the destruction of those things against which they rail.” This interpretation is quite as unwarrantable as that of Hofmann.2 Peter 2:12. γεγεννημένα φυσικὰ—“born creatures of instinct”. Instinct is here distinguished from the rational centres of thought and judgment. They are ἄλογα ζῷα. Their chief characteristic is that they are “alive,” and have no sense of the moral issues of life. Like animals, they exist εἰς ἅλωσιν καὶ φθοράν. ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσιν βλασφημοῦντες = ἐν τούτοις ἃ … “Speaking lightly of things they are ignorant of”. Spiritually they are incapable. They know not what they do, in thus clouding moral issues, ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν καὶ φθαρήσονται. Here is a subtle example of the dependence of this epistle upon Jude. In Judges 1:10, we have ἐν τούτοις φθείρονται, referring to ὅσα δὲ φυσικῶςἐπίστανται. The sense in 2 Peter is confused, and there is no distinction between the two kinds of knowledge, although the intended meaning in both passages is the same. Cf. Romans 8:5-6.12. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed] Literally, as irrational merely natural animals born for capture and destruction. A different order of the words in some MSS. justifies the rendering born by their nature. The words express a strong indignation, at first sight scarcely reconcilable with the implied protest against a railing accusation. It must be remembered however that the whole context implies a depth of infamy and impurity for which no language could well be too strong in its scornful condemnation.

speak evil of the things that they understand not] Literally, speaking evil (or railing) in the things in which they are ignorant. The words point to the same form of railing as before. They present, as it were, the evil of which St Paul speaks (“intruding into those things which they have not seen,” Colossians 2:18) at its opposite pole. As, on the one hand, there was the danger of an undue reverence for angelic “dignities,” so, on the other, there was the peril of men acting irreverently, from the standpoint of an equally crass ignorance, and speaking of the mystery of spiritual evil, not with solemn awe, but with foolish talking and jesting.

and shall utterly perish in their own corruption] We cannot improve on the English rendering, but it fails to give the emphasis which is found in the Greek from the repetition of the same root both in the noun and the verb. Literally the clause runs, they shall be corrupted in and by their corruption, i.e. in St Paul’s words, of which these are in fact the echo, “they that sow to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption” (Galatians 6:8).2 Peter 2:12. Ἄλογα ζῶα, animals without reason) This differs widely from angels, Ps. 49:21.—φυσικὰ γεγεννημένα) born mere natural animals, ignoble from their very birth, and acting in accordance with their origin, φυσικῶς, naturally, Judges 1:10; following the natural guidance of their senses, in food, etc., and not knowing anything superior to these things, anything beyond what is natural, anything spiritual. There follows, in those things which they know not.—εἰς ἅλωσιν καὶ φθορὰν, for capture and destruction) Antithetical to men, who ought to have aimed at liberty (2 Peter 2:19) and heavenly glory.—βλασφημοῦντες, speaking evil) There ought to be great caution in our language.—ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν καταφθαρήσονται, they shall utterly perish in their own corruption) The destruction caused by iniquity, has for its just reward destruction full of misery. On another subject, the Septuagint has φθορᾷ καταφθαρήσῃ, thou wilt wear away, Exodus 18:18.Verse 12. - But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed. The order of the words in the best manuscripts favours the translation of the Revised Version, But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed. The word rendered "mere animals" is literally "natural" (φυσικά); comp. Jude 1:10, "what they know naturally (φυσικῶς) as brute beasts." Speak evil of the things that they understand not; literally, as in the Revised Version, railing in matters whereof they are ignorant. (For the construction, see Wirier, 3:66. 5, at the end.) The context and the parallel passage in St. Jude show that the δόξαι, the glories, are the things which the false teachers understand not and at which they rail. Good angels do not pronounce a railing judgment against angels that sinned. These men, knowing nothing of the angelic sphere of existence, rail at the elect and the fallen angels alike, lien should speak with awe of the sin of the angels; jesting on such subjects is unbecoming and dangerous. And shall utterly perish in their own corruption. The best manuscripts read here καί φθαρήσονται "shall also be destroyed in their own corruption." It seems better to take φθορά in the sense of "corruption" here, as in 2 Peter 1:4, and to suppose that St. Peter is intentionally playing on the double sense of the noun and its cognate verb than, with Huther, to refer the pronoun αὐτῶν, "their own," to the ἄλογα ζῶα, and to understand St. Peter as meaning that the false teachers, who act like irrational animals, shall be destroyed with the destruction of irrational animals. As natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed

This massing of epithets is characteristic of Peter. Natural (φυσικὰ), Rev., mere animals, should be construed with made, or as Rev., born (γεγεννημένα). Brute (ἄλογα), lit., unreasoning or irrational. Rev., without reason. Compare Acts 25:27. Beasts (ζῶα). Lit., living creatures, from ζάω, to live. More general and inclusive than beasts, since it denotes strictly all creatures that live, including man. Plato even applies it to God himself. Hence Rev., properly, creatures. To be taken and destroyed (εἰς ἅλωσιν καὶ φθοράν). Lit., for capture and destruction. Destruction twice in this verse, and with a cognate verb. Render the whole, as Rev., But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed.

Speak evil (βλασφημοῦντες)

Participle. Rev., rightly, railing. Compare 2 Peter 2:10, 2 Peter 2:11.

And shall utterly perish in their own corruption (ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν καὶ φθαρήσονται)

There is a play upon the words, which the Rev. reproduces by rendering, "shall in their destroying surely be destroyed." The and, which in the A. V. connects this and the preceding sentence, is rather to be taken with shall be destroyed, as emphasizing it, and should be rendered, as Rev., surely, or as others, even or also. Compare on the whole verse Jde 1:10.

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