2 Peter 2:8
(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
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(8) For that righteous man.—This epithet, here thrice given to Lot, seems at first sight to be at variance with his willingness to remain, for the sake of worldly advantages, in the midst of such wickedness. But “righteous is a relative term; and in this case we must look at Lot both in comparison with the defective morality of the age and also with the licentiousness of those with whom he is here contrasted. Moreover, in the midst of this corruption he preserves some of the brighter features of his purer nomad life, especially that “chivalrous hospitality” (Genesis 19:2-3; Genesis 19:8) to which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews seems to point as a model: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Genesis 13:2). Add to this the fact of God’s rescuing him and his family, especially in connexion with the declaration that ten “righteous” people would have saved the whole city (Genesis 18:32), and his ready belief and obedience when told to leave all, and also the fact that Zoar was saved at his intercession (Genesis 19:21), and we must then admit that the epithet “righteous” as applied to Lot is by no means without warrant.

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 that righteous man dwelling among them - The Latin Vulgate renders this, "For in seeing and hearing he was just;" meaning that he maintained his uprightness, or that he did not become contaminated by the vices of Sodom. Many expositors have supposed that this is the correct rendering; but the most natural and the most common explanation is that which is found in our version. According to that, the meaning is, that compelled as he was, while living among them, to see and to hear what was going on, his soul was constantly troubled.

In seeing and hearing - Seeing their open acts of depravity, and hearing their vile conversation. The effect which this had on the mind of Lot is not mentioned in Genesis, but nothing is more probable than the statement here made by Peter. Whether this statement was founded on tradition, or whether it is a suggestion of inspiration to the mind of Peter, cannot be determined. The words rendered "seeing" and "hearing" may refer to the ACT of seeing, or to the object seen. Wetstein and Robinson suppose that they refer here to the latter, and that the sense is, that he was troubled by what he saw and heard. The meaning is not materially different. Those who live among the wicked are compelled to see and hear much that pains their hearts, and it is well if they do not become indifferent to it, or contaminated by it. "Vexed" his "righteous soul from day to day with" their "unlawful deeds."

Tortured or tormented his soul - ἐβασάνιζεν ebasanizen Compare Matthew 8:6, Matthew 8:29; Luke 8:28; Revelation 9:5; Revelation 11:10; Revelation 14:10; Revelation 20:10, where the same word is rendered "tormented." The use of this word would seem to imply that there was something active on the part of Lot which produced this distress on account of their conduct. He was not merely troubled as if his soul were passively acted on, but there were strong mental exercises of a positive kind, arising perhaps from anxious solicitude how he might prevent their evil conduct, or from painful reflections on the consequences of their deeds to themselves, or from earnest pleadings in their behalf before God, or from reproofs and warnings of the wicked. At all events, the language is such as would seem to indicate that he was not a mere passive observer of their conduct. This, it would seem, was "from day to day," that is, it was constant. There were doubtless reasons why Lot should remain among such a people, and why, when he might so easily have done it, he did not remove to another place.

Perhaps it was one purpose of his remaining to endeavor to do them good, as it is often the duty of good men now to reside among the wicked for the same purpose. Lot is supposed to have resided in Sodom - then probably the most corrupt place on the earth - for 16 years; and we have in that fact an instructive demonstration that a good man may maintain the life of religion in his soul when surrounded by the wicked, and an illustration of the effects which the conduct of the wicked will have on a man of true piety when he is compelled to witness it constantly. We may learn from the record made of Lot what those effect will be, and what is evidence that one is truly pious who lives among the wicked.

(1) he will not be contaminated with their wickedness, or will not conform to their evil customs.

(2) he will not become indifferent to it, but his heart will be more and more affected by their depravity. Compare Psalm 119:136; Luke 19:41; Acts 17:16.

(3) he will have not only constant, but growing solicitude in regard to it - solicitude that will be felt every day: "He vexed his soul from day to day." It will not only be at intervals that his mind will be affected by their conduct, but it will be an habitual and constant thing. True piety is not fitful, periodical, and spasmodic; it is constant and steady. It is not a "jet" that occasionally bursts out; it is a fountain always flowing.

(4) he will seek to do them good. We may suppose that this was the case with Lot; we are certain that it is a characteristic of true religion to seek to do good to all, however wicked they may be.

(5) he will secure their confidence. He will practice no improper arts to do this, but it will be one of the usual results of a life of integrity, that a good man will secure the confidence of even the wicked. It does not appear that Lot lost that confidence, and the whole narrative in Genesis leads us to suppose that even the inhabitants of Sodom regarded him as a good man. The wicked may hate a good man because he is good; but if a man lives as he should, they will regard him as upright, and they will give him the credit of it when he dies, if they should withhold it while he lives.

8. vexed—Greek, "tormented." Seeing and hearing: their wickedness was so open and shameless, that he not only heard the report of it, but saw them commit it, Isaiah 3:9.

Vexed; Greek, tormented, i.e. extremely afflicted and troubled his own soul, provoking himself to godly sorrow at the sight and fame of their unlawful deeds. His grief was voluntary, and he active in it; the like is said of Christ, on occasion of Lazarus’s death, John 11:33, where the margin reads, he troubled himself.

For that righteous man dwelling among them,.... Which is sometimes the lot of good men, to their great sorrow and grief, Psalm 120:5. Upon mentioning those words in Genesis 13:12 "and pitched his tent towards Sodom", but the men of Sodom were wicked, &c. says R. Eleazar (i);

"he is a righteous man that dwells between two wicked men, and does not learn their works;''

and such an one was Lot, whatever they are elsewhere pleased to say of him: "in seeing and hearing"; the Vulgate Latin version reads this in connection with the word "righteous", thus, "in seeing and hearing he was righteous": he could not bear to see their filthy actions, and hear their obscene language, but turned away from them, and shut his eyes, and stopped his ears, by which he appears to be a righteous and good man; though rather this belongs to what follows, seeing their wicked practices, and hearing their filthy talk:

vexed his righteous soul from, day today with their unlawful deeds; either "they vexed" him, as the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read; or rather "he vexed" himself; he fretted and teased himself, and became exceeding uneasy, and was put upon a rack and tortured, as the word signifies, continually, with their wicked actions; see Psalm 119:158.

(i) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 38. 2.

(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in {g} seeing and hearing, {h} vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

(g) Whatever way he looked, and turned his ears.

(h) He had a troubled soul, and being vehemently grieved, lived a painful life.

2 Peter 2:8. Explanation of the καταπονούμενον.

βλέμματι γὰρ καὶ ἀκοῇ] is to be joined neither with δίκαιος (Vulg.: adspectu et auditu Justus erat), nor with ἐγκατοικῶν (Gerhard), but with the finite verb; it was by seeing and hearing that Lot’s soul suffered, and is added in order more strongly to emphasize Lot’s painful position among the ungodly.

ψυχὴν δικαίαν ἀνόμοις ἔργοις ἐβασάνιζεν] “he vexed his righteous soul by the ungodly works,” i.e. his soul, because it was righteous, felt vexation at the evil which he was obliged to see and hear. “ἐβασάνιξειν serves to show that the pain at the sight of the sinful lives arose out of personal activity, out of inclination of the soul to the good, out of positive opposition to the evil” (Dietlein). The earlier interpreters have for the most part missed the correct idea; Calvin, Hornejus, Pott, de Wette, and the modern commentators generally, have interpreted correctly.[69]

[69] Cf. Xenophon, hist. Graec. I. 4, p. 407: ὥστʼ ἐνίους καὶ τῶν τυπτομένων, νομίμων δὲ ὄντων ἀνθρώπων, ἀδημονῆσαι τὰς ψυχὰς, ἰδόντας τὴν ἀσέβειαν; Only it must be observed that Lot was vexed at the godlessness in itself, not because he personally had to suffer by it.

2 Peter 2:8. βλέμματι γὰρ καὶ ἀκοῇ. Two interpretations are possible (1) Instrumental dative after ἐβασάνιζεν. “He vexed his righteous soul by what he saw and heard.” The objections are (a) the long interval that separates βλ. κ.τ.λ. from ἐβασάνιζεν, (b) that βλέμμα is never elsewhere used of the thing seen, but is used of sight from the subjective, emotional, and volitional point of view. Hence (2), reading δίκαιος without the article, and taking βλ. κ.τ.λ. with that word, we may translate with the Vulgate “aspectu et auditu Justus”. His instincts of eye and ear were nobler than those of the society around him. ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας. “Day in, day out.” Cf. ἡμέρα καθ ἡμέραν in Psalm 68:19. ἐβασάνιζεν. It is somewhat peculiar that the active should be used. “He vexed, distressed his righteous soul.” May it not be that in the use of the active a certain sense of personal culpability is implied? Lot was conscious that the situation was ultimately due to his own selfish choice (cf. von Soden).

8. for that righteous man …] Literally, the righteous man. We note the use of the term in this half-generic, half-individual, way as analogous to that of James 5:6.

vexed his righteous soul] Literally, tortured, as in Mark 5:7; Mark 6:48. It would have seemed scarcely necessary to point out that the words refer to the pain suffered by a man of sensitive moral nature at the sight and report of flagrant evil (comp. Ezekiel’s language (Ezekiel 9:4) as to those “that sigh and that cry” for the abominations done in Jerusalem) had not some patristic interpreters of authority (Theophylact and Œcumenius) seen in them a description of the self-inflicted ascetic discipline by which Lot maintained his purity. It may be noted that the “seeing” is peculiar to St Peter.

2 Peter 2:8. Ὁ δίκαιοςψυχὴν δικαίαν, the righteous manhis righteous soul) The reflex influence of grief is elegantly expressed. Lot tortured himself: and the guilty men of Sodom were his torment.—ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας, from day to day) Thus the Septuagint often renders יום יום.—ἔργοις) by deeds, spoken of.

Verse 8. - For that righteous man dwelling among them; literally, for the righteous man. It was through his own choice that he dwelt among the people of Sodom. The recollection of this grave mistake must have added bitterness to the daily distress caused by the sins of his neighbours (Genesis 13:11). In seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds. The words, "in seeing and hearing," are best connected with the verb that follows, not with "righteous" according to the Vulgate (though this would be the natural connection, if with the Vatican Manuscript we omit the article), nor with "dwelling among them." The literal translation is, "was tormenting his righteous soul." The sight of lawless deeds and the sound of wicked words were a daily grief to Lot. He distressed himself; he felt the guilt and danger of his neighbours, the dishonour done to God, and his own unhappy choice. St. Peter cannot mean (as OEcumenius and Theophylact suppose) that Lot's affliction was caused by the sustained effort to resist the temptation of falling into the like vices himself. The Greek words for "seeing" and "dwelling among" occur only here in the New Testament. 2 Peter 2:8Dwelling (ἐγκατοικῶν)

Only here in New Testament. Dwelling, and therefore suffering continually, from day to day.

In seeing (βλέμματι)

Only here in New Testament. Usually of the look of a man from without, through which the vexation comes to the soul. "Vexed his righteous soul."

Vexed (ἐβασανίζεν)

See on Matthew 4:24, torments. The original sense is to test by touchstone or by torture. See on toiling, Mark 6:48. Rev. gives tormented, in margin.

Unlawful (ἀνόμοις)

Rev., lawless. Only here in New Testament with things. In all other cases it is applied to persons.

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