2 Peter 2:5
And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
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(5) And spared not the old world.—The fact that the Flood is taken as the second instance of divine vengeance gives us no clue as to the source of the first instance. In the Book of Enoch the Flood follows closely upon the sin of the angels, as in Genesis 6 upon that of the sons of God, so that in either case the first instance would naturally suggest the second.

Noah the eighth person.—According to a common Greek idiom, this means Noah and seven others; and the point of it is that the punishment must have been signal indeed if only eight persons out of a whole world escaped. The coincidence with 1Peter 3:20 must not pass unobserved, especially as there the mention of “spirits in prison” immediately precedes, just as here, the angels in “caves of darkness.” The suggestion that eight is here a mystical number (the sabbatical seven and one over) is quite gratuitous; as also that “eighth” may mean eighth from Enos, which would be utterly pointless, there being neither mention of Enos nor the faintest allusion to him. (Comp. Clement I. vii. 6; ix. 4; and see Note on 2Peter 2:9.)

Bringing in the flood upon the world.—“In” should be omitted. The phrase is exactly parallel to “bring upon themselves swift destruction “in 2Peter 2:1. The word for “bring” is the same in both cases.

2 Peter 2:5. And spared not the old — The antediluvian; world, but saved Noah — Interposed amidst the general ruin for the preservation of one good man and his family; the eighth person, a preacher, &c. — Bishop Pearson translates this clause, the eighth preacher of righteousness; supposing that Enoch, (Genesis 5:24,) from whom Noah was descended, was the first preacher of righteousness, and that all the intermediate persons were likewise preachers thereof, and that Christ preached by them all. But of this there is no evidence; and it seems certain that Enoch could not be the first preacher of righteousness: Adam was, in a wonderful manner, fitted to perform that office in the first world, as Noah was in the second; and what excellent instructions both might give, is easy to be conceived! Bishop Pearson adds, that if the above-mentioned sense of the passage be not admitted, it may be understood as denoting, not the order in which Noah was ranked, but merely the number of persons that were with him, namely, Noah with seven others, or Noah one of eight. By terming Noah a preacher, κηρυκα, a crier, or herald, of righteousness, Peter intimates that all the time Noah was preparing the ark, he proclaimed to the antediluvians the destruction of the world by a flood, that from the dread of that impending judgment of God they might be brought to repentance. His preaching, however, it appears, was attended with little or no success. Bringing in the flood — In a gradual, but irresistible manner; upon the world of the ungodly — Whose numbers stood them in no stead.

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.And spared not the old world - The world before the flood. The argument here is, that he cut off that wicked race, and thus showed that he would punish the guilty. By that awful act of sweeping away the inhabitants of a world, he showed that people could not sin with impunity, and that the incorrigibly wicked must perish.

But saved Noah the eighth person - This reference to Noah, like the reference to Lot in 2 Peter 2:7, seems to have been thrown in in the progress of the argument as an incidental remark, to show that the righteous, however few in number, would be saved when the wicked were cut off. The phrase "Noah the eighth," means Noah, one of eight; that is, Noah and seven others. This idiom is found, says Dr. Bloomfield, in the best writers - from Herodotus and Thucydides downward. See examples in Wetstein. The meaning in this place then is, that eight persons, and eight only of that race, were saved; thus showing, that while the wicked would be punished, however numerous they might be, the righteous, however few, would be saved.

A preacher of righteousness - In Genesis 6:9, it is said of Noah that he was "a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God;" and it may be presumed that during his long life he was faithful in reproving the wickedness of his age, and warned the world of the judgment that was preparing for it. Compare the notes at Hebrews 11:7.

Bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly - Upon all the world besides that pious family. The argument here is, that if God would cut off a wicked race in this manner, the principle is settled that the wicked will not escape.

5. eighth—that is, Noah, and seven others. Contrasted with the densely peopled "world of the ungodly."

preacher—not only "righteous" himself (compare 2Pe 2:8), but also "a preacher of righteousness": adduced by Peter against the licentiousness of the false teachers (2Pe 2:2) who have no prospect before them but destruction, even as it overtook the ungodly world in Noah's days.

And spared not the old world: the world, for men in the world, viz. those that lived in it before the flood.

But saved Noah the eighth person; viz. together with the other seven, his wife, three sons, and their wives, 1 Peter 3:20. Noah may be particularly named, because God had a special respect to him, and for his sake spared others.

A preacher: constituted to be so by Divine authority and commission.

Of righteousness: i.e. not only:

1. Of the righteousness of God, who had threatened to destroy the world for its wickedness; but:

2. Of the righteousness of Christ upon all them that should believe. It is not to be doubted but he preached the same righteousness whereof he himself was heir, and that was the righteousness of faith, Hebrews 11:7; and this he did not in words only, but in his actions; in that he built the ark for the saving himself and his household, which was a type of the salvation of believers by Christ. And:

3. Of the righteousness of sanctification, in his exhorting the men that then were to repentance and holiness, if possibly thereby they might prevent the approaching deluge.

Bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; the whole multitude of wicked men then living in the world.

And spared not the old world,.... In distinction from the present world, that now is; which was, as it were, formed anew out of that which was destroyed by the deluge. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "the original world"; and the Ethiopic version, "the first world"; it designs the ancient inhabitants of the world, as it was from the beginning, before the flood; who, being wicked, were not spared by God, but had just punishment inflicted on them:

but saved Noah the eighth person; not the eighth from Adam, as Enoch is said to be the seventh from him, Jde 1:14 for he was the tenth; nor is it to be read with the following clause, "the eighth preacher of righteousness"; but he was the eighth person, or one of the eight persons, saved from the flood; see 1 Peter 3:20 hence the Ethiopic version, rather as a paraphrase than a version, renders it, "but caused to remain seven souls with Noah; whom he saved"; Hottinger (p) and Dr. Hammond (q) observe, from the Arabic writers, that the mountain on which the ark rested, and a town near it, were called Themenim; that is, "the eight", from the number of persons then and there saved:

a preacher of righteousness; of the righteousness of God, in all his ways and works, and in case he should destroy the world by a flood, as he had threatened; and of civil and moral righteousness among men, both by words, during the building of the ark, and by works, by his own example, in his righteous life and conversation; and of the righteousness of faith, or of Christ, by which he was justified and of which he was an heir, Hebrews 11:7, the Jews (r) say that Noah was a prophet; and they represent him also, as a preacher, and even tell us the very words he used in his exhortations to the old world (s), saying,

"be ye turned from your evil ways and works, lest the waters of the flood come upon you, and cut off all the seed of the children of men:''

but though Noah, a preacher of righteousness, was saved, false teachers cannot expect to escape divine vengeance; who only are transformed as ministers of righteousness, but in truth are ministers of unrighteousness; opposers of the righteousness of Christ, and live unrighteous lives and conversations, and so their end will be according to their works:

bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; or "the ungodly of the world", as "the ungodly of the earth" (t); see Psalm 75:8 though here it indeed means a whole world of wicked men, all but a very few, which were destroyed by the flood. This expresses both the wickedness of the men of that generation, the imagination of the thoughts of whose heart were evil continually; and whose lives were filled up with uncleanness, violence, rapine, oppression, injustice, and corruption, of all sorts; and likewise the large numbers of them, there was a whole world of them; and yet this did not secure them from the wrath of God, but served to stir it up the more; wherefore false teachers and their followers must not build upon their numbers, or hope to be screened from just punishment on that account; since a world of ungodly men were, for their wickedness, at once swept away, with a flood of God's bringing upon them; causing that very useful and serviceable element of water to be the means of their destruction; for this was not a casual thing, which came of itself, or by chance, but was of God himself, who broke up the fountains of the great deep, and opened the windows of heaven, and destroyed at once all mankind, men, women, and children, and every living creature, excepting what were with Noah in the ark: and since they were persons of such a character as here described, it is not to be thought their punishment is ended here; it is the general notion of the Jews (u), that

"the generation of the flood shall have no part in the world to come, nor shall they stand in judgment.''

(p) Smegma Orientale, p. 251, 252. (q) In loc. (r) Aben Ezra in Genesis 8.21. (s) Pirke Eliezer, c. 22. (t) Targum in Psal. xlvi. 8. (u) Misna Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 3. Vajikra Rabba, sect. 4. fol. 149. 1. Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 89. 2.

And spared not the {e} old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a {f} preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

(e) Which was before the flood: not that God made a new world, but because the world seemed new.

(f) For one hundred and twenty years, he did not cease to warn the wicked both by word and deed, of the wrath of God hanging over their heads.

2 Peter 2:5. Second example: the flood; this is peculiar to the author of this epistle; cf. the corresponding section in Jude. καὶ ἀρχαίου κόσμου οὐκ ἐφείσατο] The clausal formation is the same as that in 2 Peter 2:4. Subaudienda est particula: εἰ (Gerhard). The words which follow on this tell in what the οὐκ ἐφείσατο consisted: κατακλυσμὸν κ.τ.λ.; there is no mention here of a “destruction” (Schott) of the world.

ἀρχ. κόσμος, i.e. mundus antediluvianus.

ἀλλʼἐφύλαξε] The thought of the deliverance of the righteous is connected with that of the destruction of the ungodly; cf. 2 Peter 2:7.

ὄγδοον belongs not to κήρυκα (Heinsius, Lightfoot, and Schwegler in his nachapost. Zeitalter, I. p. 515; cf., as opposed to him, Hilgenfeld, Clement. p. 185), but directly to Νῶε; Luther correctly: Noah with seven others; cf. Winer, p. 234 [E. T. 312]; Buttmann, p. 26. There is nothing to show that the number eight has a mystical meaning here (Dietlein).[67] The mention of it naturally arose from the recollection of the event; at the same time, however, it marks the small number of the saved contrasted with that of those who perished (Bengel, Schott, etc.). Besides, Noah and those with him, as also Lot afterwards, are taken by the author as types of the ΕὐΣΕΒΕῖς (2 Peter 2:9), on whom the judgment of God will not come.

ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗς ΚΉΡΥΚΑ is added as the reason of God’s preservation (ἘΦΎΛΑΞΕ) (thus, too, Wiesinger). By ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗ is to be understood here, not the condition of being justified (Wiesinger), but a believing and godly bearing towards God; otherwise in Hebrews 11:7.

ΚΑΤΑΚΛΥΣΜΌΝ] Matthew 24:38-39; Genesis 5:17, LXX. Heb. מַבּוּל: the verb ΚΑΤΑΚΛΎΖΕΙΝ, chap. 2 Peter 3:6.

ΚΌΣΜῼ ἈΣΕΒῶΝ] antithesis to ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗς ΚΉΡΥΚΑ; the world is thus named, inasmuch as it had become the dwelling-place of ungodly humanity.

ἘΠΆΞΑς] on this form of the aorist, see Buttmann, Ausf. Gr. § 114, s.v. ἄγω.

[67] “Peter looked upon Noah as the bearer of the eight, and saw in the church saved from the flood a holy eight, making a final close to the old world.”


With regard to its position, Dietlein insists that this verse is intimately connected with 2 Peter 2:4, so that “the judgment of imprisonment on the angels must be considered as one and the same event with the Noachic flood;” that the judgment on the ἀρχαῖος κόσμος, 2 Peter 2:4-5, must be distinguished from the judgment of God within the second world (2 Peter 2:6); and that the latter only, not the former, must be regarded as the example, strictly so called; thus, too, Schott. But the whole structure and mode of expression of this section is opposed to any such division; for (1) The clauses are simply co-ordinate (as 2 Peter 2:5 is joined to 2 Peter 2:4, so is 2 Peter 2:6 to 2 Peter 2:5, merely by καί); (2) The ἀρχαῖος κόσμος is mentioned only here, not in 2 Peter 2:4; (3) What is stated in 2 Peter 2:6 is not brought prominently forward as an event taking place in the new world; (4) In the idea of the κόσμος ἀσεβῶν the angels cannot be included, since the flood came on the ungodly men only; and it is arbitrary and strange to assume that the flood buried mankind “in the depths, and those spirits which in sin had taken up their abode with them” (Schott). It is arbitrary to regard the judgment on Sodom as the only proper example, since no other position is given to the judgments mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4-5 than to that in 2 Peter 2:6. The chief reason for the division lies in 2 Peter 2:9, which consists of two members, due, however, to the two foregoing examples. From the fact that only one of the members applies to 2 Peter 2:4, it does not follow that there no special example can be intended, the less so that the leading idea is not “the deliverance of the righteous,” but “the confinement of the ungodly.” Equally little is proved by the repetition of the verb: οὐκ ἐφείσατο, which serves rather to mark off the ἀρχαῖος κόσμος from the ἀγγελ. ἁμαρτ., not to unite them into one idea. Even Brückner has rejected the view of Dietlein and Schott. Hofmann, too, while questioning it, approaches it very closely when he says: “The judgment of the flood was also a judgment upon those spirits which had become involved in the sin and in the fate of the race of men then living.”

2 Peter 2:5. ἀρχαίου κόσμου. The article is omitted, which is not a mark of illiteracy. This chapter is prophetic in form, and the omission of the article is characteristic of that style. Cf. Job 3:10, Jdg 5:5. (See Mayor, Ed. xxxiv. xxxv.). δικαιοσύνης κήρυκα. κηρ. in this sense is used in N.T. only here, and in 1 Timothy 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:11. 2 Peter again borrows from Jewish tradition as to the preaching of Noah. Cf. Jos. Antiq. i. 3, 1, Clem. Rom. i. 7. κατακλυσμόν, cf. Matthew 24:38-39, Luke 7:27, Genesis 6:17. ἐπάξας. Aorist participle implies co-incident action. “He saved N.… while he sent, etc.” ἐπάγω is used of “setting-on,” “letting loose,” e.g. “dogs”. Odyssey, xix. 445, Xen. Cyr. x. 19. ὄγδοον. “with seven others”. Classical Greek usage is to add αὐτόν. There is much difficulty as to the significance of the numeral. The reference is no doubt to the number of Noah’s family. The numeral is placed in a prominent place in the sentence to lay stress on the small number saved out of the inhabited world, as a striking example of mercy in the midst of judgment, cf. 1 Peter 3:20. Cf. P. Petr. iii. 28. ὅτι ἐδραγματοκλέπτει τρίτος ὤν (bis), cf. Abbott, J. G §. 562

5. and spared not the old world …] The à fortiori argument is continued, and enters on the series of typical examples of judgments which St Peter had heard from our Lord’s lips in Luke 17:26-29. In regard to this instance we note the parallelism with 1 Peter 3:20, extending even to the stress laid on the number of those who were rescued from the destruction—“Noah, the eighth person,” is, according to a common idiom, equivalent to “Noah and seven others.” The nouns in the clause that follows are remarkable as being all without the article in the Greek.

bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly] The description of Noah as “a preacher of righteousness” has no verbal counterpart in the language of the Old Testament, but it is obviously implied in the substance of the narrative.

2 Peter 2:5. Ἀρχαίου, ancient) antediluvian.—ὄγδοον Νῶε, Noah the eighth person) Noah and his family were eight in number. Raphelius shows that this use of numerals prevailed among the Greeks. Compare 1 Peter 3:20. To the eight souls is opposed the universe, the densely peopled world of the ungodly.—δικαιοσύνης κήρυκα, a preacher of righteousness) Not only was he himself righteous, but he had also preached righteousness to the world.—κατακλυσμὸν, the flood) Although therefore the godly are saved, the wicked cannot hope that they shall be saved with them.

Verse 5. - And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person; rather, as in the Revised Version, the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others. "The eighth" is a common classical idiom (generally with the pronoun αὐτός) for a with seven others." Mark the close parallelism with 1 Peter 3:20, where, as here, the apostle impresses upon his readers the fewness of the saved. A preacher of righteousness. The Old Testament narrative does not directly assert this; but "a just man and perfect," who "walked with God" (Genesis 6:9), must have been a preacher (literally, "herald ") of righteousness to the ungodly among whom he lived. Josephus, in a well-known passage ('Ant.,' 1:03, 1), says that Noah tried to persuade his neighbours to change their mind and their actions for the better. Bringing in the Flood upon the world of the ungodly. The Revised Version renders, when he brought a Flood upon the world. In the Greek there is no article throughout this verse. In verse 1 the ungodly are represented as bringing upon themselves swift destruction; here God brings the punishment upon them. The same Greek verb is used in both places. In one place St. Peter gives the human, in the other the Divine, aspect of the same events (comp. Clement I, 7 and 9). 2 Peter 2:5Saved (ἐφύλαξεν)

Rev., preserved. See on 1 Peter 1:4, and compare "the Lord shut him in" (Genesis 7:16).

Noah the eighth person

So the A. V., literally. Rev. is more perspicuous however: Noah with seven others. Compare 1 Peter 3:20.

A preacher (κήρυκα)

Lit., a herald. Compare the kindred verb κηρύσσω, to preach, everywhere in New Testament. The word herald is beautifully suggestive, at many points, of the office of a gospel minister. In the Homeric age the herald partook of the character of an ambassador. He summoned the assembly and kept order in it, and had charge of arrangements at sacrifices and festivals. The office of the heralds was sacred, and their persons inviolable; hence they were employed to bear messages between enemies. The symbol of their office was the herald's staff, or caduceus, borne by Mercury, the herald-god. This was originally an olive-branch with fillets, which were afterward formed into snakes, according to the legend that Mercury found two snakes fighting and separated them with his wand, from which circumstance they were used as an emblem of peace. Plato ("Laws," xii., 941) thus speaks of the fidelity entailed by the office: "If any herald or ambassador carry a false message to any other city, or bring back a false message from the city to which he is sent, or be proved to have brought back, whether from friends or enemies, in his capacity of herald or ambassador, what they have never said - let him be indicted for having offended, contrary to the law, in the sacred office and appointment of Hermes and Zeus, and let there be a penalty fixed which he shall suffer or pay if he be convicted." In later times, their position as messengers between nations at war was emphasized. In Herodotus (i., 21), the word herald is used as synonymous with apostle. "Alyattes sent a herald (κήρυκα) to Miletus in hopes of concluding a truce, etc. The herald (ἀπόστολος) went on his way to Miletus." A priestly house at Athens bore the name of κήρυκες, heralds.

Bringing in (ἐπάξας)

The verb may be said to be used by Peter only. Besides this passage and 2 Peter 2:1, it occurs only at Acts 5:28, where Luke probably received the account from Peter as the principal actor: "ye intend to bring upon us (ἐπαγαγεῖν) this man's blood."

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