2 Peter 2:4
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
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(4-8) Three instances of divine vengeance, proving that great wickedness never goes unpunished.

(4) For if God.—The sentence has no proper conclusion. The third instance of God’s vengeance is so prolonged by the addition respecting Lot, that the apodosis is wanting, the writer in his eagerness having lost the thread of the construction. The three instances here are in chronological order (wanton angels, Flood, Sodom and Gomorrha), while those in Jude are not (unbelievers in the wilderness, impure angels, Sodom and Gomorrha). Both arrangements are natural—this as being chronological, that of St. Jude for reasons stated in the Notes there. (See on 2Peter 2:5.)

The angels that sinned.—Better, the angels for their sin: it gives the reason why they were not spared, and points to some definite sin. What sin is meant? Not that which preceded the history of the human race, commonly called the fall of the angels—of that there is no record in the Old Testament; and, moreover, it affords no close analogy to the conduct of the false teachers. St. Jude is somewhat more explicit (Jude 1:6); he says it was for not keeping their own dignity—for deserting their proper home; and the reference, both there and here, is either to a common interpretation of Genesis 6:2 (that by “the sons of God” are meant “angels”), or, more probably, to distinct and frequent statements in the Book of Enoch, that certain angels sinned by having intercourse with women—e.g., Enoch vii. 1, 2; cv. 13 (Lawrence’s translation). Not improbably these false teachers made use of this book, and possibly of these passages, in their corrupt teaching. Hence St. Peter uses it as an argumentum ad hominem against them, and St. Jude, recognising the allusion, adopts it and makes it more plain; or both writers, knowing the Book of Enoch well, and calculating on their readers knowing it also, used it to illustrate their arguments and exhortations, just as St. Paul uses the Jewish belief of the rock following the Israelites. (See Note on 1Corinthians 10:4.)

Cast them down to hell.—The Greek word occurs nowhere else, but its meaning is plain—to cast down to Tartarus; and though “Tartarus” occurs neither in the Old nor in the New Testament, it probably is the same as Gehenna. (See Note on Matthew 5:22.)

Into chains of darkness.—Critical reasons seem to require us to substitute dens, or caves, for “chains.” The Greek words for “chains” and for “caves” here are almost exactly alike; and “caves” may have been altered into “chains” in order to bring this passage into closer harmony with Jude 1:6, although the word used by St. Jude for “chains” is different. (See Note there.) If “chains of darkness” be retained, comp. Wisdom Of Solomon 17:17. There still remains the doubt whether “into chains of darkness” should go with “delivered” or with “cast down into hell.” The former arrangement seems the better.

2 Peter 2:4. For if — Or since, as ει γαρ may be here rendered; God spared not the angels that sinned — “The angels seem to have been placed originally in a state of trial. Those who stood are called in Scripture, the holy angels. The sin of the angels is spoken of likewise, John 8:44, and Jude, 2 Peter 2:6, as a thing well known. Perhaps it was handed down by tradition from Adam and Eve, for the memory of it seems to have been preserved among the heathens in the fable of the Titans warring against the gods. What the sin of the angels was is not well known. Jdg 1:6, says, They kept not their first estate, or their own principality, as την εαυτων αρχην may be properly rendered, but left their proper habitation. Hence their sin, by many, is thought to have been pride, and a discontent with their station. See 1 Timothy 3:6. But whatever it was, considering their high intellectual powers, they might easily have avoided it; and therefore God did not spare them, as he spared Adam and Eve, who, on account of the greatness of the temptation spread for them by the evil angels, and their own inexperience, were fit objects of mercy.” But cast them down to hell — The bottomless pit, a place of unknown misery. The original expression, αλλα σειραις ζοφου Ταρταρωσας, is rendered by Macknight, But with chains of darkness confining them in Tartarus. The word Tartarus, he observes, is not found in the LXX., nor anywhere in the New Testament but here. Its meaning, therefore, must be sought for among the Greeks. Homer represents Tartarus, Iliad, 8. ver. 13, as “a deep place under the earth, where there are iron gates and a brazen entrance.” It is derived from a word expressive of terror, and signifies the doleful prison in which wicked spirits are reserved till they shall be brought out to public condemnation and execution. In like manner, Hesiod speaks of Tartarus as a place far under ground, where the Titans are bound with chains in thick darkness. But on other occasions the Greek writers speak of Tartarus as in the air, and at the extremity of the earth. Hence the epithet Ταρταρον ηεροεντα, airy Tartarus. The Jews, as appears from Job 2:2, thought that at least some of the fallen angels were permitted to wander up and down the earth, and to tempt men. This was the doctrine of the evangelists likewise, who speak of the devil tempting our Lord; and of Peter, who represents him as a roaring lion walking about, &c., 1 Peter 5:8; as also of St. Paul, who insinuates that evil spirits have their habitation in the air, Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:11-12. Wherefore seeing the Greeks named the place where they supposed the Titans, the enemies of the gods, were confined, Tartarus, it was natural for Peter, when writing in the Greek language, concerning confining the evil angels in the place where they were shut up, to call it Tartarus, although his idea of Tartarus was different from that of the Greeks. Because it is said, Revelation 20:3, that Satan was cast, εις αβυσσον, into the abyss, and Luke 8:31, that the devil besought Jesus that he would not command them to go out, εις αβυσσον, into the abyss, Estius infers that Tartarus and Hell are the same; and that the greatest part of the angels who sinned are confined there, though some of them are allowed to roam about on the earth, tempting men. See Macknight and Doddridge. Reserved unto judgment — The full execution and open manifestation thereof. From this it follows that the angels who sinned are not at present suffering the punishment due to them for their crimes; but, like malefactors, they are kept in durance till the time come when they are to be punished with the wicked of mankind, whom they have seduced. Whitby hath shown that this was the opinion of all the Christian writers for five centuries. And it is agreeable to our Lord’s doctrine, who says, the fire into which wicked men are to be cast, is fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

2:1-9 Though the way of error is a hurtful way, many are always ready to walk therein. Let us take care we give no occasion to the enemy to blaspheme the holy name whereby we are called, or to speak evil of the way of salvation by Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. These seducers used feigned words, they deceived the hearts of their followers. Such are condemned already, and the wrath of God abides upon them. God's usual method of proceeding is shown by examples. Angels were cast down from all their glory and dignity, for their disobedience. If creatures sin, even in heaven, they must suffer in hell. Sin is the work of darkness, and darkness is the wages of sin. See how God dealt with the old world. The number of offenders no more procures favour, than their quality. If the sin be universal, the punishment shall likewise extend to all. If in a fruitful soil the people abound in sin, God can at once turn a fruitful land into barrenness, and a well-watered country into ashes. No plans or politics can keep off judgments from a sinful people. He who keeps fire and water from hurting his people, Isa 43:2, can make either destroy his enemies; they are never safe. When God sends destruction on the ungodly, he commands deliverance for the righteous. In bad company we cannot but get either guilt or grief. Let the sins of others be troubles to us. Yet it is possible for the children of the Lord, living among the most profane, to retain their integrity; there being more power in the grace of Christ, and his dwelling in them, than in the temptations of Satan, or the example of the wicked, with all their terrors or allurements. In our intentions and inclinations to commit sin, we meet with strange hinderances, if we mark them When we intend mischief, God sends many stops to hinder us, as if to say, Take heed what you do. His wisdom and power will surely effect the purposes of his love, and the engagements of his truth; while wicked men often escape suffering here, because they are kept to the day of judgment, to be punished with the devil and his angels.For if God spared not the angels that sinned - The apostle now proceeds to the proof of the proposition that these persons would be punished. It is to be remembered that they had been, or were even then, professing Christians, though they had really, if not in form, apostatized from the faith 2 Peter 2:20-22, and a part of the proofs, therefore, are derived from the cases of those who had apostatized from the service of God. He appeals, therefore, to the case of the angels that had revolted. Neither their former rank, their dignity, nor their holiness, saved them from being thrust down to hell; and if God punished them so severely, then false teachers could not hope to escape. The apostle, by the "angels" here, refers undoubtedly to a revolt in heaven - an event referred to in Jde 1:6, and everywhere implied in the Scriptures. When that occurred, however - why they revolted, or what was the number of the apostates - we have not the slightest information, and on these points conjecture would be useless. In the supposition that it occurred, there is no improbability; for there is nothing more absurd in the belief that angels have revolted than that men have; and if there are evil angels, as there is no more reason to doubt than that there are evil men, it is morally certain that they must have fallen at some period from a state of holiness, for it cannot be believed that God made them wicked.

But cast them down to hell - Greek ταρταρώσας tartarōsas - "thrusting them down to Tartarus." The word here used occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, though it is common in the Classical writers. It is a verb formed from Τάρταρος Tartaros, Tartarus, which in Greek mythology was the lower part, or abyss of Hades, ᾍδης Hadēs, where the shades of the wicked were supposed to be imprisoned and tormented, and corresponded to the Jewish word Γεέννα Geenna - "Gehenna." It was regarded, commonly, as beneath the earth; as entered through the grave; as dark, dismal, gloomy; and as a place of punishment. Compare the Job 10:21-22 notes, and Matthew 5:22 note. The word here is one that properly refers to a place of punishment, since the whole argument relates to that, and since it cannot be pretended that the "angels that sinned" were removed to a place of happiness on account of their transgression. It must also refer to punishment in some other world than this, for there is no evidence that This world is made a place of punishment for fallen angels.

And delivered them into chains of darkness - "Where darkness lies like chains upon them" - Robinson, Lexicon. The meaning seems to be, that they are confined in that dark prisonhouse as if by chains. We are not to suppose that spirits are literally bound; but it was common to bind or fetter prisoners who were in dungeons, and the representation here is taken from that fact. This representation that the mass of fallen angels are confined in "Tartarus," or in hell, is not inconsistent with the representations which elsewhere occur that their leader is permitted to roam the earth, and that even many of those spirits are allowed to tempt men. It may be still true that the mass are con fined within the limits of their dark abode; and it may even be true also that Satan and those who axe permitted to roam the earth are under bondage, and are permitted to range only within certain bounds, and that they are so secured that they will be brought to trial at the last day.

To be reserved unto judgment - Jde 1:6, "to the judgment of the great day." They will then, with the revolted inhabitants of this world, be brought to trial for their crimes. That the fallen angels will be punished after the judgment is apparent from Revelation 20:10. The argument in this verse is, that if God punished the angels who revolted from Him, it is a fair inference that He will punish wicked people, though they were once professors of religion.

4. if—The apodosis or consequent member of the sentence is not expressed, but is virtually contained in 2Pe 2:9. If God in past time has punished the ungodly and saved His people, He will be sure to do so also in our days (compare end of 2Pe 2:3).

angels—the highest of intelligent creatures (compare with this verse, Jude 6), yet not spared when they sinned.

hell—Greek, "Tartarus": nowhere else in New Testament or the Septuagint: equivalent to the usual Greek, "Gehenna." Not inconsistent with 1Pe 5:8; for though their final doom is hell, yet for a time they are permitted to roam beyond it in "the darkness of this world." Slaves of Tartarus (called "the abyss," or "deep," Lu 8:31; "the bottomless pit," Re 9:11) may also come upon earth. Step by step they are given to Tartarus, until at last they shall be wholly bound to it.

delivered—as the judge delivers the condemned prisoner to the officers (Re 20:2).

into chains—(Jude 6). The oldest manuscripts read, "dens," as Alford translates: the Greek, however, may, in Hellenistic Greek, mean "chains," as Jude expresses it. They are "reserved" unto hell's "mist of darkness" as their final "judgment" or doom, and meanwhile their exclusion from the light of heaven is begun. So the ungodly were considered as virtually "in prison," though at large on the earth, from the moment that God's sentence went forth, though not executed till one hundred twenty years after.

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell: elsewhere called the deep, Luke 8:31, and the bottomless pit, Revelation 9:1 11:7 17:8 20:1,3. This implies a change:

1. Of the state of those sinning angels, that whereas before it was the highest among the creatures, now it is the lowest.

2. Of their place, that whereas they were before the throne of God with the rest of the angels, they are now thrust down into a lower place, agreeable to their sin and misery. What place that is we find not expressed in Scripture, and therefore we are not to be over curious in our inquiries after it; but may rest satisfied, that they are excluded from the place of their primitive happiness, and are in a place where they are afflicted with the pain both of loss and sense.

And delivered them into chains of darkness: either to be bound, or held with darkness as with chains; or kept in chains under darkness, as Judges 1:6; where darkness may imply the misery and horror of their condition, and chains, their obduracy in their wickedness, their despair of deliverance, their expectation of future judgment, Hebrews 10:27, together with the providence and power of God, watching over and holding them in that condition, till final vengeance come upon them. It is a metaphor taken from malefactors condemned, who are bound in chains, and kept in the dungeon till execution.

To be reserved; so kept that they cannot escape.

Unto judgment; viz. that of the last day, the time of their full torment, in which the wrath of God, which they feel in a great measure now, will come upon them to the utmost.

For if God spared not the angels that sinned..... By whom are meant the devil and his angels; who are spirits created by God and as such were good; their first estate which they left was pure and holy, as well as high and honourable; they, were at first in the truth, though they abode not in it; they were once among the morning stars and sons of God, and were angels of light; their numbers are many, and therefore are here expressed in the plural number, "angels", though it cannot be said how large; a legion of them was in one man; one at first might be in the rebellion, and draw a large number with him into it, at least was at the head of it, who is called Beelzebub, the prince of devils: what their first sin was, and the occasion of it, is not easy to say; it is generally thought to be pride, affecting a likeness to, or an equality with God; since this was what man was tempted to by them, and by which he fell, as they are thought to do; and because this is the sin of such who fall into the condemnation of the devil; 1 Timothy 3:6 and is the sin, that goes before a fall in common; as it did before the fall of man, so it might before the fall of angels, Proverbs 16:18. The passage in John 8:44 seems most clearly of any to express their sin, which was "not abiding in the truth"; in the truth of the Gospel, particularly the great truth of the salvation of men, by the incarnate Son of God; and which they could by no means brook and which might spring from pride, they not bearing the thought that the human nature should be exalted above theirs; hence the Jews, in opposing Christ as the Messiah and Saviour, are said to be of their father the devil, and to do his lusts; and Judas that betrayed him, and fell from his apostleship, and the truth, is called a devil; and the heresies of men, respecting the person and office of Christ, are styled doctrines of devils; and men that have professed this truth, and afterwards deny it, are represented in the same irrecoverable and desperate case with devils, and must expect the same punishment, John 8:44, and also it may be observed on the contrary, that the good angels that stand, greatly love, value, esteem, and pry into the truths of the Gospel; particularly the scheme of man's salvation, by the incarnation, obedience, sufferings, and death of Christ: now these

God spared not; or "had no mercy on", as the Arabic version renders it; he did not forgive their sin, nor provide a Saviour for them; but directly, and at once, notwithstanding the dignity and excellency of their nature, in strict justice, and awful severity, without any mercy, inflicted due punishment on them; wherefore it cannot be thought that false teachers, who, as they, abide not in the truth, but deny and oppose it, should escape the vengeance of God:

but cast them down to hell; they were hurled out of heaven, from whence they fell as lightning, into the "lowest", or inferior places, as the Syriac version renders it; either into the air, as in Ephesians 2:2 or into the earth; as in Revelation 12:9 or into the deep, the abyss, the bottomless pit, where they are detained, as in a prison, Luke 8:31 though for certain reasons, and at certain times, are suffered to come forth, and rove about in this earth, and in the air: and these, when removed from their ancient seats in heaven, were not merely bid to go away, as the wicked will at the day of judgment; or were "drove" out, as Adam was from the garden of Eden; but "cast down"; with great power, indignation, wrath, and contempt, never to be raised and restored again:

and delivered them into chains of darkness: leaving them under the guilt of sin, which is the power of darkness, and in black despair; shutting them up in unbelief, impenitence, and hardness of mind; being holden with the cords of their sins, and in the most dreadful state of bondage and captivity to their lusts, in just judgment on them; and in the most miserable and uncomfortable condition, being driven from the realms of light, deprived of the face and presence of God, in the utmost horror and trembling, and fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation to consume them; and in utter darkness, without the least glimmering of light, joy, peace, and comfort; and where there is nothing but weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and being also under the restraints of the power and providence of God, and not able to stir or move, or do anything without divine permission; and being likewise, by the everlasting, unalterable, and inscrutable purposes and decrees of God, appointed to everlasting wrath and destruction; by which they are consigned and bound over to it, and held fast, that they cannot escape it:

to be reserved unto judgment: to the day of judgment, to the last and general judgment; the judgment of torment, as the Syriac version here calls it; the words may be rendered, "and delivered them to be kept at judgment, in chains of darkness"; when they will be in full torment, which they are not yet in; and then they will be cast into the lake of fire prepared for them, and be everlastingly shut up in the prison of hell from whence they will never more be suffered to go out; till which time they are indeed under restraints, and are held in by Christ, who has the power of binding and loosing them at pleasure; and who then, as the Judge of men and devils, will bring them forth, and pass and execute sentence on them. The Jews give an account of the dejection, fall, and punishment of the angels, in a manner pretty much like this of Peter's, whom they speak of under different names; so of the serpent that deceived Adam and Eve, whom they call Samael, and because of that sin of his, they say (k) that the Lord

"cast down Samael and his company from the place of their holiness, out of heaven;''

and of Aza and Azael, angels, who, they say, sinned by lusting after the daughters of men, they frequently affirm, that God cast them down from their holiness (l), and that he , "cast them down below in chains" (m); and that God cast them down from their holiness from above; and when they descended, they were rolled in the air--and he brought them to the mountains of darkness, which are called the mountains of the east, and bound them "in chains" of iron, and the chains were sunk into the midst of the great deep (n): and elsewhere they say (o), that God cast them down from their holy degree, out of heaven--from their holy place out of heaven--and bound them in "chains" of iron, in the mountains of "darkness".

(k) Sepher Bahir in Zohar in Gen. fol. 27. 3.((l) Zohar in Gen. fol. 25. 3.((m) lb. fol. 32. 3.((n) Midrash Ruth in Zohar in Gen. fol. 45. 1. 2. vid. fol. 77. 3.((o) Zohar in Numb. fol. 84. 1. vid. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 6. 4. & 9. 4. & Raziel, fol. 14. 2. & 18. 2.

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to {c} hell, and delivered them into {d} chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

(c) So the Greeks called the deep dungeons under the earth, which should be appointed to torment the souls of the wicked in.

(d) Bound them with darkness as with chains: and by darkness he means that most miserable state of life that is full of horror.

2 Peter 2:4. From here to 2 Peter 2:6 three examples of divine judgment; cf. Judges 1:5 ff.

First example: the fallen angels, Judges 1:6.

εἰ γάρ] The apodosis is wanting; Gerhard supplies: οὐδʼ ἐκείνοις φείσεται. In thought, if not in form, the latter half of 2 Peter 2:9 constitutes the apodosis (Winer, 529 f. [E. T. 712 f.], de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger, and the more modern writers generally). The irregularity of the construction is explained by the fact that the third example is dwelt on at much length.

ὁ Θεὸς ἀγγέλων ἁμαρτησάντων οὐκ ἐφείσατο] The nature of the sin is not stated; otherwise in Jude.[65] What sin the apostle refers to is only faintly hinted at by the circumstance that the example of the flood immediately follows. It is less likely (against Wiesinger) that 2 Peter 2:20 contains any reference to it, for in that verse other sins are conjoined with the ὈΠΊΣΩ ΣΑΡΚῸςΠΟΡΕΎΕΣΘΑΙ.

] “but (when he) having cast (them) down into Tartarus, hath delivered them over to the chains of darkness, as being reserved unto the judgment.” σειραῖς ζόφου is mostly taken in connection with ΤΑΡΤΑΡΏΡΑς (sc. δεδεμένους) (de Wette: “but cast them down into hell with chains of darkness”); but, since the added ΖΌΦΟΥ shows that the ΣΕΙΡΑΊ are designated as fetters, which belong to the darkness of Tartarus (not: “fetters which consist in darkness” (Schott), nor: “fetters by which they were banished into darkness,” as Hofmann explains), the enchaining could only have take place there, and therefore (with Calov, Pott, Steinfass, Hofmann, Wahl, s.v. παραδίδωμι) it is preferable to connect the words with ΠΑΡΈΔΩΚΕΝ (as opposed to de Wette, Brückner, Dietlein, Wiesinger, etc.).[66]

Instead of σειραῖς ζόφου, Jude has: ΔΕΣΜΟῖς ἈΪΔΊΟΙς; ΖΌΦΟς is not Tartarus itself, but the darkness of Tartarus; the word is to be found only here and in Jude.

ΤΑΡΤΑΡΟῦΝ does not mean: tartaro adjudicare (Crusius, Hypomn. I. p. 154), but: “to remove into Tartarus” (cf. Homer, Il. viii. 13: ἤ μιν ἑλὼν ῥίψω εἰς τάρταρον ἠερόεντα). The expression ΤΆΡΤΑΡΟς occurs nowhere else either in the N. T. or LXX. It is not equal to ᾍΔΗς, which is the general term for the dwelling-place of the dead. Nor does the author use it as synonymous with ΓΕΈΝΝΑ, for that is “the place of final punishment, the hell fire” (Fronmüller), but it is used to designate “the place of preliminary custody.”

ΠΑΡΈΔΩΚΕΝ here, as often, used with the implied idea of punishment.

ΕἸς ΚΡΊΣΙΝ ΤΗΡΟΥΜΈΝΟΥς] ΚΡΊΣΙς is the final judgment (ΚΡΊΣΙς ΜΕΓΆΛΗς ἩΜΈΡΑς); “as those who are reserved for the judgment;” Luther inexactly: “in order to reserve them.”

On the reading: παρέδωκεν εἰς κρίσιν κολαζομένους τηρεῖν, the infin. ΤΗΡΕῖΝ is dependent on ΠΑΡΕΔ., and ΚΟΛΑΖ. states, not: the purpose for which, but the condition in which, they are reserved for judgment; the Vulg. therefore translates inexactly: tradidit cruciandos, in judicium reservari. Dietlein, in opposition to all reliable authorities, insists on reading: ΤΕΤΗΡΗΜΈΝΟΥς, which, moreover, he incorrectly paraphrases: “as those who once should have been kept;” it must rather be: “as those who (until now) have been kept.”

[65] Fronmüller is wrong in asserting that the apostasy of Satan is meant here; it cannot be doubted that the sin meant here is the same as that of which Jude speaks, and it is not that apostasy; see my Comment. on Jude.

[66] When Brückner says: “the expression becomes more drastic if the act of casting into Tartarus be completed only by the binding with chains,” this supports the construction to which he objects. Schott translates altogether unwarrantably: “but has fastened them down into the depths with chains of darkness.”

2 Peter 2:4-10 a. A historical illustration of the Divine judgment on the wicked, and care of the righteous.

“God spared not angels who sinned, but having cast them into Tartarus, gave them over to chains of darkness, reserving them for judgment. He spared not the ancient world, but guarded Noah, with seven others, while the impious world was overwhelmed by a flood. So Divine judgment was extended to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were overwhelmed by ashes, and overthrown by earthquake, as an example of what is in store for impious persons, while righteous Lot was delivered, grieved and wearied as he was by the profligate life of the lawless. For day after day this man with his righteous instincts, in his life among them, was vexed with the sight and sound of their lawless deeds. In all this we have a proof that the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of trial, and to keep the ungodly under discipline until the day of judgment, especially those who follow the polluting lusts of the flesh and despise authority.”

4. For if God spared not the angels that sinned] Better, spared not angels, there being no article in the Greek. Here the nature of the sin is not specified. We may think either of a rebellion of angels headed by Satan, such as Milton has represented in Paradise Lost, or of the degradation of their spiritual nature by sensual lust, as in Genesis 6:2. Looking to the more definite language of Jude, 2 Peter 2:6-8, where the guilt of the angels is placed on a level with that of Sodom, it seems probable that the Apostle had the latter in his thoughts.

but cast them down to hell] Literally, cast them into Tartarus. The use of a word so closely bound up with the associations of Greek mythology is a phenomenon absolutely unique in the New Testament. A compound form of the same word had been used of Zeus as inflicting punishment on Cronos and the rebel Titans. (Apollodorus, Bibl. 1. 1.) Here it is used of the Almighty as punishing rebellious angels.

delivered them into chains of darkness] The MSS. present two readings, one giving a word which literally means a “rope,” as in the LXX. of Proverbs 5:22, and may, therefore, rightly be rendered “cords,” “bonds,” or “chains,” so agreeing with the thought of Wis 17:17 (“they were bound with a chain of darkness”) and Jude, 2 Peter 2:6, and the other a noun which has probably the meaning of “dens” or “caves.” The latter is the best supported, having A, B, C and א in its favour. The two words differ but by a single letter, (1) σειραῖς, and (2) σειροῖς, and as (2) was the less familiar of the two and (1) agreed better with the “everlasting chains” (or “bonds”) of Jude 2 Peter 2:6, the change was a natural one for transcribers to make.

to be reserved unto judgment] Literally, being reserved. The judgment in Jude, 2 Peter 2:6, is defined as that of the “great day.” Here it is left undefined, but it is natural to refer it to the same great day of doom. As far as the text goes, it indicates a difference of some kind between the angels who are thus imprisoned, and the “demons” who torment and harass men on earth, but it would be hazardous to dogmatise with undue definiteness, on the strength of this passing allusion, as to the condition of these inhabitants of the unseen world.

2 Peter 2:4. Εἰ, if) The Apodosis is contained in 2 Peter 2:9.—ἀγγέλων, angels) The most noble of created beings: Romans 8:38, note.—οὐκ ἐφείσατο, spared not) Thus also 2 Peter 2:5. A severe judgment is intimated against those, whom you might have supposed likely to escape.—σειραῖς) σειρὰ, a twisted rope, of twig, hemp, hair, etc. Thus δεσμοῖς, in chains, Judges 1:6.—ζόφου, of darkness) Darkness itself keeps them prisoners, and is as a chain. Wis 17:17, Septuagint, ἁλύσει σκότους ἐδέθησαν, they were bound with a chain of darkness.—ταρταρώσας) The noun is ὁ καὶ ἡ τάρταρος, plural τάρταρα; the verb, ταρταρόω: it does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, nor in the Septuagint. Therefore the meaning must be sought for from other sources, from Homer, Hesiod, and Plato: according to whom Tartarus is the lowest place in nature; most dreadful with darkness and cold. Whence Hesychius: τάρταρος, ὁ ὑπὸ τὴν γῆν κατώτατος τόπος, Tartarus, the lowest place beneath the earth. Eustathius, on the Iliad, book vii., τάρταρος, ὅς φερωνύμως τετάρακται, ἀὴρ ὑπόγαιος καὶ ἀνήλιος, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ψυχρός, κ.τ.λ., Tartarus, which, in accordance with its name, is in confusion [deriving Τάρταρος from ταράσσω], is a thick haze[6] under ground without the sun, and on this account is also cold. And this idea is confirmed by the word ζόφου, of darkness, here used. Thence ταρταροῦν, from ταρταρόω, is to sentence and consign to Tartarus, or darkness. Similar forms are θανατόω, κατιόω, κυκλόω, πυρόω, σκοτόω, σταυρόω, ταπεινόω, φιμόω. But it is possible for slaves of Tartarus to dwell also on earth: Luke 8:31; Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 9:11; Revelation 9:14; Revelation 12:9, etc.: just as it is possible for one taken captive in war to walk even beyond the place of his captivity. Step by step, therefore, the angels who have sinned, are given to Tartarus (ταρταροῦνται).—παρέδωκεν, delivered) them; just as the judge delivers the prisoner to the officers. Compare Revelation 20:2.—εἰς κρίσιν τηρουμένους, reserved unto judgment) the judgment of the great day, Judges 1:6.

[6] The lower air or haze (ἀηρ) is opposed to the pure upper air (αἰθήρ). See Hom. Il. xiv. 288.—T.

Verse 4. - For if God spared not the angels that sinned; rather, angels when they sinned ; there is no article. St. Peter is giving proofs of his assertion that the punishment of the ungodly lingereth not. The first is the punishment of angels that sinned. He does not specify the sin, whether rebellion, as in Revelation 12:7; or uncleanness, as apparently in Jude 1:6, 7, and Genesis 6:4. Formally, there is an anacoluthon here, but in thought we have the apodosis in verse 9. But cast them down to hell. The Greek word, which is found nowhere else in the Greek Scriptures, is ταρταρώσας, "having cast into Tartarus." This use of a word belonging to heathen mythology is very remarkable, and without parallel in the New Testament. (The word τάρταρος occurs in the Septuagint, Job 40:15. Compare also the Septuagint rendering of the name of Job's daughter Keren-Happuch, Ἀμαλθαίας κέρας, the horn of Amalthaea; and the word σειρῆνες in Isaiah 43:20.) Apparently, St. Peter regards Tartarus not as equivalent to Gehenna, for the sinful angels are "reserved unto judgment," but as a place of preliminary detention. Josephus, quoted by Professor Lumby in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' speaks of the oldest heathen gods as fettered in Tartarus, ἐν Ταρτάρῳ δεδεμένους ('Contra Apion,' 2:33). And delivered them into chains of darkness. The Revised Version "pits" represents the reading of the four oldest manuscripts; but the variations in two of them (the Sinaitic and Alexandrine have σειροῖς ζόφοις), and the fact that σειρός seems properly to mean a pit for the storage of corn, throw some doubt upon this reading. The other reading σειραῖς, cords, may possibly have arisen from the parallel passage in Jude 1:6, though the Greek word for "chains" is different there. The chains consist in darkness; the pits are in darkness, Παρέδωκε, delivered, is often used, as Huther remarks, with the implied idea of punishment. It is simpler to connect the chains or pits of darkness with this verb than (as Fronmuller and others) with ταρταρώσας, "having cast them in bonds of darkness into Tartarus" (comp. Wisd. 17:2, 16, 17). To be reserved unto judgment; literally, being reserved; but the readings here are very confused. St. Jude says (verse 6) that the sinful angels are reserved "unto the judgment of the great day." Bengel says, "Possunt autem in terra quoque versari mancipia Tartari (Luke 8:31; Ephesians 2:2; etc.) sic ut bello captus etiam extra locum captivitatis potest ambulare." But in the case of a mystery of which so little has been revealed, we are scarcely justified in assuming the identity of the angels cast into Tartarus with the evil spirits who tempt and harass us on earth. 2 Peter 2:4The angels

No article. Angels. So Rev. Compare Jde 1:6.

Cast them down to hell (ταρταρώσας)

Only here in New Testament. From Τάρταρος, Tartarus. It is strange to find Peter using this Pagan term, which represents the Greek hell, though treated here not as equivalent to Gehenna, but as the place of detention until the judgment.

Chains of darkness (σειραῖς ζόφου)

Σειρά is a cord or band, sometimes of metal. Compare Septuagint, Proverbs 5:22; Wisd. of Sol. 17:2, 18. The best texts, however, substitute σιροῖς or σειροῖς, pits or caverns. Σιρός originally is a place for storing corn. Rev., pits of darkness.

Of darkness (ζόφου)

Peculiar to Peter and Jude. Originally of the gloom of the nether world, So Homer:

"These halls are full

Of shadows hastening down to Erebus

Amid the gloom (ὑπὸ ζόφον)."

Odyssey, xx., 355.

When Ulysses meets his mother in the shades, she says to him:

"How didst thou come, my child, a living man,


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