2 Peter 2:14
Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
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(14) Of adultery.—Literally, of an adulteress. This verse has no counterpart in Jude.

That cannot cease from sin.—Literally, that cannot be made to cease from sin. (Comp. attentively 1Peter 4:1.) It was precisely because these men refused to “suffer in the flesh,” but, on the contrary, gave the flesh all possible licence on principle, that they could not “cease from sin.”

Beguiling.—Strictly, enticing with bait. We have the same word in 2Peter 2:18, James 1:14, and nowhere else. If “deceits” be the right reading in 2Peter 2:13, this clause throws some light on it. In any case, the metaphor from fishing, twice in this Epistle and only once elsewhere, may point to a fisherman of Galilee. (Comp. Matthew 17:27.)

With covetous practices.—Better, in covetousness. The word is singular, as in 2Peter 2:3, according to all the best MSS. and versions.

Cursed children.—Rather, children of malediction. So Rheims; Wiclif has “sones of cursynge.” They are devoted to execration; malediction has adopted them as its own. (Comp. “son of perdition,” John 17:12; 2Thessalonians 2:3.)

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.Having eyes full of adultery - Margin, as in the Greek, "an adulteress;" that is, gazing with desire after such persons. The word "full" is designed to denote that the corrupt passion referred to had wholly seized and occupied their minds. The eye was, as it were, full of this passion; it saw nothing else but some occasion for its indulgence; it expressed nothing else but the desire. The reference here is to the sacred festival mentioned in the previous verse; and the meaning is, that they celebrated that festival with licentious feelings, giving free indulgence to their corrupt desires by gazing on the females who were assembled with them. In the passion here referred to, the "eye" is usually the first offender, the inlet to corrupt desires, and the medium by which they are expressed. Compare the notes at Matthew 5:28. The wanton glance is a principal occasion of exciting the sin; and there is much often in dress, and mien, and gesture, to charm the eye and to deepen the debasing passion.

And that cannot cease from sin - They cannot look on the females who may be present without sinning. Compare Matthew 5:28. There are many men in whom the presence of the most virtuous woman only excites impure and corrupt desires. The expression here does not mean that they have no natural ability to cease from sin, or that they are impelled to it by any physical necessity, but only that they are so corrupt and unprincipled that they certainly will sin always.

Beguiling unstable souls - Those who are not strong in Christian principle, or who are naturally fluctuating and irresolute. The word rendered beguiling means to bait, to entrap, and would be applicable to the methods practiced in hunting. Here it means that it was one of their arts to place specious allurements before those who were known not to have settled principles or firmness, in order to allure them to sin. Compare 2 Timothy 3:6.

An heart they have exercised with covetous practices - Skilled in the arts which covetous men adopt in order to cheat others out of their property. A leading purpose which influenced these men was to obtain money. One of the most certain ways for dishonest men to do this is to make use of the religious principle; to corrupt and control the conscience; to make others believe that they are eminently holy, or that they are the special favorites of heaven; and when they can do this, they have the purses of others at command. For the religious principle is the most powerful of all principles; and he who can control that, can control all that a man possesses. The idea here is that these persons had made this their study, and had learned the ways in which men could be induced to part with their money under religious pretences. We should always be on our guard when professedly religious teachers propose to have much to do with money matters. While we should always be ready to aid every good cause, yet we should remember that unprincipled and indolent men often assume the mask of religion that they may practice their arts on the credulity of others, and that their real aim is to obtain their property, not to save their souls.

Cursed children - This is a Hebraism, meaning literally, "children of the curse," that is, persons devoted to the curse, or who will certainly be destroyed.

14. full of adultery—literally, "full of an adulteress," as though they carried about adulteresses always dwelling in their eyes: the eye being the avenue of lust [Horneius]. Bengel makes the adulteress who fills their eyes, to be "alluring desire."

that cannot cease—"that cannot be made to cease from sin."

beguiling—"laying baits for."

unstable—not firmly established in faith and piety.

heart—not only the eyes, which are the channel, but the heart, the fountain head of lust. Job 31:7, "Mine heart walked after mine eyes."

covetous practices—The oldest manuscripts read singular, "covetousness."

cursed children—rather as Greek, "children of curse," that is, devoted to the curse. Cursing and covetousness, as in Balaam's case, often go together: the curse he designed for Israel fell on Israel's foes and on himself. True believers bless, and curse not, and so are blessed.

Having eyes; he mentions the eyes, both because they let in the objects of lust into the heart, Job 31:1 Matthew 5:28, and because the signs of lust in the heart appear especially in the eyes, Genesis 39:7 Proverbs 6:25.

Full of adultery; full of an adulteress, which either may be a Hebraism, the concrete being put for the abstract, as drunken for drunkenness, and thirsty for thirst, Deu 29:19; or it may be a proverbial expression of the wretchedness of such men’s hearts, when they still carried an adulteress in their eyes.

That cannot cease from sin; never satisfied with looking upon, or still looking about for, such objects as might inflame their lusts; or still seeking with wanton looks to entice others to folly.

Beguiling; either alluring them by their wantonness to embrace their false doctrines, promising them pleasures and carnal liberties, 2 Peter 2:18; or enticing them to lewdness, by instilling false doctrines into them, which tend to licentiousness.

Unstable souls; those that were not well grounded in the faith and doctrine of holiness, who might therefore easily be drawn aside.

An heart they have exercised with covetous practices; a heart wholly intent upon getting gain, accustomed to it, and skilful in it.

Practices; the word is in the plural number, to show that the seducers had several arts and ways of exercising their covetousness.

Cursed children; Greek, children of the curse. It may be taken either actively, for such as were causes of a curse, brought a curse with them; or passively, for such as were worthy of a curse, or obnoxious to it; as children of wrath, Ephesians 2:3.

Having eyes full of adultery,.... For the seventh command is not only violated by unclean actions, and obscene words, but also by unchaste looks: and so the Jews explain (k) that precept,

""thou shalt not commit adultery", Exodus 20:14; you shall not go after your hearts, nor after "your eyes"; says R. Levi, the heart and the "eye" are sin's two brokers.''

Hence we read (l) of , "one that commits adultery with his eyes"; See Gill on Matthew 5:28; compare Job 31:1. Some read the words, "having eyes full of the adulteress": that is, having a lewd and infamous woman always in mind and sight, continually looking at her and lusting after her:

and that cannot cease from sin: which may be understood either of these wicked men, who are like the troubled sea, that cannot rest, but are continually casting up the mire and dirt of sin out of their polluted heart; who live and walk in sin, and are always committing it, their conversation being nothing else but one continued series of sinning; nor can they do otherwise, since they are slaves to their lusts, and are carried away with the force and power of them: or of their eyes, which were always rolling after unlawful objects; their eyes and their hearts were only, and always, for their lust, as the prophet says of others, that they were but for their covetousness, Jeremiah 22:17; a sin also which reigned in these men:

beguiling unstable souls: such as were unsteady in their principles, and unstable in their ways; were like children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, not being rooted in Christ, nor established in the faith; these, as the serpent beguiled Eye, they corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ; imposed false doctrines on them, and deceived them by false glosses and outward appearances; and by fair words and good speeches, and by their wanton looks and carnal lusts, they allured them into the sin of adultery; or ensnared them, drew them into the net and snare of Satan, and so they were taken and led captive.

An heart they have exercised with covetous practices; an immoderate love of money, a covetous desire after it, is the root of all evil, the bane of religion, and source of heresy, and is a vice which has always prevailed among false teachers; and the character here given well agrees with Simon Magus, the father of heresies, and his followers: hence care is always taken to insert, among, the characters and qualifications of Gospel ministers, that they be not greedy of filthy lucre, 1 Timothy 3:3; this iniquity, when it is a reigning one, and is become an habit, as it was in the persons here described, for it had its seat in their heart, they were habituated to it, and continually exercised it in a multitude of instances and wicked practices, is insatiable and damnable:

cursed children; or "children of the curse"; which may be understood either actively, children that do curse, as children of disobedience are such as commit acts of disobedience; so these were cursing children, who, though their mouths might not be full of cursing and bitterness, as openly profane sinners be, yet they inwardly, and from their hearts, cursed the true followers of Christ, and their principles; or passively, cursed children who were under the curse of the law, and from which there was no redemption for them, but at the last day will have the awful sentence pronounced on them, Go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.

(k) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 3. 3. (l) Vajikra Rabba, sect. 23. fol. 165. 1. Vid. A. Gell. Noct. Attic. l. 3. c. 5.

{7} Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

(7) He condemns those men, showing even in their behaviour and countenance an unmeasurable lust, making trade of the souls of vain persons, as men exercised in all the crafts of covetousness, to be short, as men that sell themselves for money to curse the sons of God in the same way Balaam did, whom the dumb beast reproved.

2 Peter 2:14 has no parallel in Jude.

Description of the sensual lust of the eye of the false teachers.

ὀφθαλμούς ἒχοντες μεστούς μοιχαλίδος] The adulterous lust is depicted in their eyes; in the expression: μεστοὺς μοιχαλίδος, the lust after the μοιχαλίς, revealing itself in the eyes, is designated as a being filled of the eye with it, since they look at nothing else but this. The interpretation of Hornejus is not to the point: quasi dicat, tam libidinosos eos esse, ut in ipsorum oculis quasi adulterae habitent, seu ut adulteras semper in oculis ferant.

Hofmann explains μεστός τινος by reference to Plato, Sympos. 194 B, here equivalent to: “to be entirely engrossed, preoccupied with something.”

It is wrong to suppose (as Dietlein does) that it is here in any way stated that a female member of the house, into which they had forced themselves, had already fallen a victim to their seduction. Calvin even[75] had connected this verse closely with the preceding, as Schott and Hofmann do; but it is not easy to understand why the persons here described should have had adulterous desires only at the feasts.

καὶ ἀκαταπαύστους ἁμαρτίας] “not satiated, unsatisfied in sin,” i.e. eyes, in which is reflected the restless desire after ever fresh sin; in ἁμαρτία, the reference is chiefly to sensual sins.

δελεάζοντες] 2 Peter 2:18, and Jam 1:14 : “to allure, to entice;” quasi pisces hamo captare (Beza).

ψυχὰς ἀστηρίκτους] ἀστήρικτος (chap. 2 Peter 3:16), not: “wanton” (Luther), but: in fide et pietatis studio nondum satis fundatus et formatus (Gerhard).

This idea is doubtless connected more closely with what precedes than with what follows (Hofmann), so that the sense is: they entice them, so as to satisfy their fleshly lusts on them.

καρδίανἔχοντες] Third vice:[76] covetousness. The construction of the verb ΓΕΓΥΜΝΑΣΜΈΝΗΝ, c. gen., occurs also in the classics (Philostratus: 2. 15: ΘΑΛΆΤΤΗς ΟὔΠΩ ΓΕΓΥΜΝΑΣΜΈΝΟΙ; 3. 2 Peter 1 : ΝΈΣΤΟΡΑ ΠΟΛΈΜΩΝ ΠΟΛΛῶΝ ΓΕΓΥΜΝ.; 10. 2 Peter 1 : ΣΟΦΊΑς ἬΔΗ ΓΕΓΥΜΝΑΣΜΈΝΟΝ): “a heart practised in covetousness;” Calvin is quite unwarranted in interpreting πλεονεξία here by: cupiditates; cf. 2 Peter 2:3.

ΚΑΤΆΡΑς ΤΈΚΝΑ] cf. Ephesians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:3 : “men, who have incurred the curse;” an expression of profoundest displeasure; similar to σπῖλοι καὶ μῶμοι, 2 Peter 2:13. It is doubtful whether it is to be connected with the preceding or with the subsequent passage; the first combination is preferable, because in it the language is more passionate. In the other case the construction, from 2 Peter 2:10 med. onwards, might be taken thus: ΤΟΛΜΗΤΑῚ ΑὐΘΆΔΕΙς, as introducing the section down to ΤΡΥΦΉΝ, 2 Peter 2:13; ΣΠῖΛΟΙ ΚΑῚ ΜῶΜΟΙ that from there to ἜΧΟΝΤΕς, 2 Peter 2:14; and ΚΑΤΆΡΑς ΤΈΚΝΑ that as far as ΠΑΡΑΦΡΟΝΊΑΝ, 2 Peter 2:16.

[75] Calvin: Isti vos ac coetum vestrum foedis maculis aspergunt: nam dum epulantur vobiscum, simul luxuriantur in suis erroribus, amores meretricios et perditam incontinentiam oculis gestuque exprimunt.

[76] Hofmann erroneously says that this states “not a third, but a second characteristic of their nature, the avaritia, along with the luxuria,” for in the first half of this verse they are accused of something which is identical neither with luxuria nor with avaritia, and this even if ὀφθαλμ. ἔχοντες be closely connected with the preceding passage.

2 Peter 2:14. ἀκαταπαύστους ἀμαρτίας. For use of genitive with this verb, cf. 1 Peter 4:1. See Grammatical Note. δελεάζοντες. Cf. 2 Peter 2:18 and Mayor’s note on Jam 1:14, “entice or catch by a bait”. κατάρας τέκνα. Cf. τέκνα ὑπακοῆς, 1 Peter 1:14.

14. having eyes full of adultery] The Greek gives literally the somewhat strange figure, having eyes full of an adulteress. The phrase is probably connected with a recollection of our Lord’s words as to the sin of looking on a woman, to lust after her, being equivalent to adultery (Matthew 5:28). St John’s mention of the “woman Jezebel” in the Church of Thyatira (Revelation 2:20-22) suggests the thought that there may have been some conspicuous woman of that type of character present to St Peter’s thoughts, who at once encouraged her followers to bring their dainties—even though they were things that had been sacrificed to idols,—to the Agapae of the Christian Church, and when they were there held them fascinated by her wanton beauty. The spell thus exercised is further described as causing a restlessness in evil. The eyes that were thus attracted could not “cease from sin.”

beguiling unstable souls] The Greek word for “beguiling” may be noted as one of those which St Peter had in common with St James. It means primarily to “take with a bait, or in a snare,” and in James 1:14 is rightly rendered “enticed.” The idea suggested is that the false teachers attended the Agapae as seducers of the innocence of others.

a heart they have exercised with covetous practices] Better, trained in covetousness. The words have an adequate meaning if we take “covetousness” in its ordinary sense. Greed of gain as well as wantonness characterised the false teachers. (See note on 2 Peter 2:3.) In not a few instances, however, there is so close a connexion between the Greek word and sins of impurity (comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 5:11; Ephesians 5:3; Ephesians 5:5) that it is not unreasonable to see that meaning here also. The idiomatic use of the English phrase “taking advantage” of a woman’s weakness, presents a like association of thought.

cursed children] Better, children of a curse. The Apostle falls back on the old Hebrew idiom of expressing character by the idea of sonship. So we have “children of obedience in 1 Peter 1:14. “Children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). The “son of perdition” (John 17:12).

2 Peter 2:14. Μοιχαλίδος, of an adulteress) An adulteress has gained possession of their eyes, that is, alluring desire. The parallel word is, from sin.—δελεάζοντες, enticing) with those eyes to disgraceful deeds of the flesh.—καρδίαν, the heart) Besides the eyes, mention is also made of the heart: Ezekiel 6:9.—κατάρας, of cursing) not of blessing in Christ, 1 Peter 3:9. Cursing especially follows covetousness. See the following verses.

Verse 14. - Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; literally, of an adulteress. Compare our Lord's words in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:28), which may have been in St. Peter's thoughts. For the second clause, comp. 1 Peter 4:1, "He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin." Beguiling unstable souls; rather, enticing. The word δελεάζοντες, from δέλεαρ, a bait, belongs to the art of the fowler or fisherman, and would naturally occur to St. Peter's mind. He uses it again in verse 18 of this chapter (comp. also James 1:14). The word for "unstable" (ἀστηρίκτους) occurs only here and in 2 Peter 3:16. It is a word of peculiar significance in the mouth of St. Peter, conscious, as he must have been, of his own want of stability in times past. He would remember also the charge once given to him, "When thou art converted, strengthen (στήριξον) thy brethren" (Luke 22:32). An heart they have exercised with covetous practices; rather, trained in covetousness, according to the reading of the best manuscripts, πλεονεξίας. This is the third vice laid to the charge of the false teachers. They had practiced it so long that their very heart was trained in the habitual pursuit of gain by all unrighteous means. Cursed children; rather, children of curse. Like "the son of perdition," "children of wrath," "children of disobedience," "son of Belial," etc. 2 Peter 2:14Eyes

Another illustration of Peter's emphasis on sight. It is the instrument of evil no less than of good. Compare Matthew 5:28.

Adultery (μοιχαλίδος)

Lit., an adulteress, but used as an adjective Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4.

That cannot cease (ἀκαταπαύστους)

Only here, in New Testament. Compare hath ceased (1 Peter 4:1).

Beguiling (δελεάζοντες)

Only here, 2 Peter 2:18, and James 1:14. From δέλεαρ, a bait. An appropriate word from Peter the fisherman. Rev., enticing.

Unstable (ἀστηρίκτους)

A compound of the word at 1 Peter 5:10, stablish. See note there, and see on 2 Peter 1:12.

An heart they have exercised (καρδίαν γεγυμνασμένην ἔχοντες)

The A. V. is awkward. Better, Rev., having a heart exercised. Exercised is the word used for gymnastic training, from which gymnastic is derived.

With covetous practices

The A. V. follows the old reading, πλεονεξίαις. The best texts read πλεονεξίας, covetousness. Rev., therefore, rightly, in covetousness.


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