2 Peter 2:9
The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished:
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(9) The Lord knoweth.—This is the main sentence to which the various conditional clauses beginning 2Peter 2:4 (see Note there) have been leading. But the construction is disjointed, owing to the eagerness of the writer, and the main clause does not fit on to the introductory clauses very smoothly. Even the main clause itself is interrupted by the insertion of “to deliver the godly out of temptations.” What the writer specially wishes to prove is that “the Lord knoweth how to reserve the ungodly unto the day of judgment under punishment,” as is shown by the “for” connecting 2Peter 2:4 with 2Peter 2:3.

To be punished.—Rather, being punished, or under punishment. They are already suffering punishment while waiting for their final doom. The error in our version is parallel to that in Acts 2:47, where “such as should be saved” stands instead of “those who were being saved.” The participle is present, not future.

The same double moral—that God will save the righteous and punish the ungodly—is drawn from the same historical instance by Clement of Rome (Epistle to the Corinthians, xi.): “For his hospitality and godliness Lot was saved from Sodom, when all the country round was judged by fire and brimstone; the Master having thus foreshown that He forsaketh not them who set their hope on Him, but appointeth unto punishment and torment them who swerve aside.” Λ possible, but not a certain, reference to our Epistle. (See Note below on 2Peter 3:4.)

2 Peter 2:9. The Lord, &c. — This answers to 2 Peter 2:4, and closes the sense which was begun there; knoweth how to deliver — As if he had said, It plainly appears, from these instances, that the Lord hath both wisdom and power sufficient, or can find out ways and means, and will do so; to deliver the godly — Those who now suffer persecution; out of temptations

That is, trials and afflictions of various kinds; and to reserve — Or, keep in ward, as it were; (so τηρειν seems here to signify;) the unjust — The unrighteous, or ungodly; unto the day of judgment — Temporal and eternal; to be punished — In a most signal manner, or with a severity becoming their guilt and wickedness. “The multitude of the inhabitants of the old world, and of the cities of the plain, was, in the eye of God, no reason for not destroying them. He destroyed them all at once. On the other hand, the few godly persons among them were not overlooked by God because they were few, but preserved by an immediate interposition of his power. This last observation Peter makes to show that, notwithstanding God permits false teachers to arise and deceive many, he will preserve the sincere from being deluded by them, and at length will destroy them out of the church. By God’s keeping the unrighteous in ward to be punished at the day of judgment, we are taught that the punishment inflicted on the wicked in this life, will not hinder them from being punished in the next. The principal part of their punishment will be that which they shall suffer after the judgment.”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.The Lord knoweth ... - That is, the cases referred to show that God is able to deliver his people when tempted, and understands the best way in which it should be done. He sees a way to do it when we cannot, though it is often a way which we should not have thought of. He can send an angel to take his tempted people by the hand; he can interpose and destroy the power of the tempter; he can raise up earthly friends; he can deliver his people completely and forever from temptation, by their removal to heaven.

And to reserve the unjust - As he does the rebel angels, 2 Peter 2:4. The case of the angels shows that God can keep wicked men, as if under bonds, reserved for their final trial at his bar. Though they seem to go at large, yet they are under his control, and are kept by him with reference to their ultimate arraignment.

9. knoweth how—He is at no loss for means, even when men see no escape.

out of—not actually from.


to be punished—Greek, "being punished": as the fallen angels (2Pe 2:4), actually under sentence, and awaiting its final execution. Sin is already its own penalty; hell will be its full development.

The Lord knoweth; according to the common rule, that words of knowledge in Scripture connote affections, as Psalm 1:6. God’s knowing here implies not only his infinite wisdom, whereby he is never at a loss, but knows all the various ways whereby the godly may be delivered; but likewise his love and good will to them, whereby he is ready to do it, hath a heart for it: so the word is taken, Ecclesiastes 4:13 Amos 3:10; the text reads, will no more be admonished, the margin, knows not, &c.

How to deliver the godly; those that walk in the steps of just Lot and Noah, who was perfect in his generation. This concludes what the apostle began, 2 Peter 2:4: the sum is: If God spared neither wicked angels nor wicked men, destroying the old world and Sodom, but delivered Lot and Noah, righteous persons; he still hath wisdom, power, and will to deliver other godly men, and punish other wicked men.

Out of temptations; afflictions, Jam 1:2,12.

And to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: the Greek word is in the present tense, which may be understood, either:

1. As put for the future, and then the sense is as in our translation, that though God many times lets the wicked alone in this world, so that they escape present punishment, yet they shall not escape future torment; they are a while spared, but never pardoned; and when free from temporal evils, are reserved for eternal vengeance. Or:

2. It may be understood as in the present tense, which agrees well with the instances of God’s vengeance before mentioned, which was executed on wicked men in this world; and then the sense is: The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations when he sees fit, even in this life, and how to reserve those wicked men, whom he punisheth with temporal judgments here, to a much more severe and dreadful punishment at the day of judgment hereafter. That "fear him", as the Syriac version renders it; or that "rightly worship", as the Arabic; such as Noah and Lot, men that know God in Christ spiritually and experimentally; that believe in him, love him, fear him, worship him in spirit and truth, and live soberly, righteously, and godly. This verse is a conclusion from the preceding instances and examples, respecting both the mercy and justice of God; the mercy of God in delivering the godly and righteous "out of temptations"; by which are meant, not the temptations of Satan to sin, distrust, and despondency, though the Lord knows how, and is both able and willing to, and does deliver them from them; but afflictions and tribulations, such as Noah and Lot were exposed to; and which are so called, because they try the graces, particularly the faith and patience of the godly; and to deliver from these is the Lord's work: he grants his presence in them; he supports under them; he sanctifies them to them, and in his own time delivers out of them; for he knows how, and by what means, and when to do it, and is both able and willing: he has determined to do it, for the nature, measure, and duration of afflictions are fixed by him, and in his providence he does do it, as the instances before given prove.

And to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. This is that part of the conclusion from the above premises, respecting the justice of God; and by "the unjust" are designed, persons without a righteousness, and that are full of all unrighteousness, and take pleasure in it, and live unrighteous lives, committing acts of injustice, both with respect to God and men; and the Lord, that has reserved the fallen angels in chains of darkness unto judgment, knows how to reserve "in prison", as the Arabic version renders it, the souls of those in hell, and their bodies in the grave "unto the day of judgment"; of the last and general judgment, when Christ shall judge both quick and dead, and bring every secret thing to light, which that day shall declare, God has appointed to judge the world in; in order "to be punished" in soul and body, with everlasting and complete destruction, which, as yet, is not. This phrase, "the day of judgment", is used in Judith and is a Jewish one.

"Woe to the nations that rise up against my kindred! the Lord Almighty will take vengeance of them in the day of judgment, in putting fire and worms in their flesh; and they shall feel them, and weep for ever.'' (Judith 16:17)

The Lord {i} knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

(i) Has been long practised in saving and delivering the righteous.

2 Peter 2:9. This verse in thought, though not in form, constitutes the apodosis to the preceding clauses beginning with εἰ. The thought, however, is expressed in a more extended and general manner; the special application follows in 2 Peter 2:10.

οἶδε] Knowledge is conceived at the same time as a divine power.

κύριος] i.e. God, 2 Peter 2:4.

εὐσεβεῖς, like Noah and Lot.

ἐκ πειρασμοῦ ῥύεσθαι] cf. 1 Peter 1:6.

ἀδίκους δέ] like the fallen angels, etc.

εἰς ἡμέραν κρίσεως κολαζομένους τηρεῖν] κολαζ. is not used here with a future force: cruciandos (Bengel, Calvin, Winer, who, in his 5th ed. p. 405, resolves the clause thus: ἀδίκ. τηρεῖ (ὥστε) κολάξειν, and others), but it must be taken as a real present; it refers to the punishment which they suffer even before the last judgment unto which they are kept (τηρεῖν); cf. on 2 Peter 2:4. Thus also Wiesinger, Schott, Brückner.2 Peter 2:9. οἶδεν Κύριος, κ.τ.λ. Apodosis to protasis begun in 2 Peter 2:4. πειρασμοῦ. See Mayor’s note on Jam 1:2. The idea here is primarily of those surroundings that try a man’s fidelity and integrity, and not of the inward inducement to sin, arising from the desires. Both Noah and Lot were in the midst of mockers and unbelievers. This πειρασμός is the atmosphere in which faith is brought to full development. It was a condition even of the life of Jesus. ὑμεῖς δὲ ἐστε οἱ διαμεμενηκότες μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἐν τοῖς πειρασμοῖς μου (Luke 22:28). It is the word used by St. Luke of the Temptation (Luke 4:13). On the one hand, πειρασμός is not to be lightly sought (Luke 11:4), or entered into carelessly (Mark 14:38); the situation of πειρασμός may itself be the result of sin (1 Timothy 6:9). On the other hand, it is a joyous opportunity for the development of spiritual and moral strength (Jam 1:2; Jam 1:12). πειρασμός becomes sin only when it ceases to be in opposition to the will. The word is peculiar to the N.T. ἀδίκους δὲ εἰς ἡμέραν κρίσεως κολαζομένους τηρεῖν: “to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment”. The reference may be the same as in 1 Peter 3:19, τοῖς ἐν φυλακῇ πνεύμασιν, if we interpret “spirits in prison” as meaning those who had disobeyed the preaching of Noah, and to whom Christ preached. Cf. Book of Enoch, x. 4 f. ἡμέραν κρίσεως. This day is also the day of Parousia. The same expression is used in 2 Peter 3:7. It is called ἡμέρα κυρίου (2 Peter 3:10); ἡ τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμέρα (2 Peter 3:12). Three great results are brought about on that day. (1) The ungodly will suffer ἀπώλεια (2 Peter 3:7; cf. 2 Peter 2:1, 2 Peter 3:16). It is noteworthy that the ultimate fate of the fallen angels is not described except as κρίσις (2 Peter 2:4). (2) Dissolution of the material universe by fire (2 Peter 3:11, 2 Peter 3:7, 2 Peter 3:12, 2 Peter 3:10). (3) The righteous are promised “new heavens and a new earth”. In this new universe, or environment, righteousness has its home (2 Peter 3:13). The difficult passage (2 Peter 1:19), about the day-star, has reference to this ἡμέρα κυρίου, when the great Day shall dawn, and the sign of it shall cheer the hearts of the faithful, and the lamp of prophecy will be no longer needed.9. the godly … the unjust] Both adjectives are in the Greek without the article.

out of temptations] The word includes the trial of conflict with evil, as well as its alluring side. See note on 1 Peter 1:6.

to be punished] Literally, under punishment. The participle is in the present tense, and has no future or gerundial force. The ungodly are represented as being already under a penal process of some kind. If we take the Greek word for “punished” in the sense in which it was received by the Greek ethical writers (Aristotle, Rhet. i. 10), who distinguish between kolasis, as punishment inflicted for the good of the sufferer, and timôria as inflicted for the satisfaction of justice, the word chosen by St Peter at least admits the idea of the punishment being corrective. In the only other passage in which the word occurs (Acts 4:21) the verb implies a penalty inflicted in order to bring about a desired result. Looking to the fact that the words obviously refer to the case of Noah as well as that of Lot, we may find in them a point of contact with 1 Peter 3:19; 1 Peter 4:6. Those who are here said to be under punishment are the same as the “spirits in prison,” who were “judged” in order that they might “live.”2 Peter 2:9. Οἶδε) knows, and remembers: even when men know not any aid. The instances alleged show this. There is no doubt as to the will of the Lord.—εὐσεβεῖς, the godly) such as Noah and Lot, godly and righteous men.—ῥύεσθαι, to rescue) There are more examples, Jeremiah 39:11; Jeremiah 39:18; Jeremiah 45:5.—ἀδίκους) the unrighteous and ungodly: such as many, who have been lately mentioned.—κολαζομένους) to be punished: a future event, and yet expressed in the present; because the punishment is certain and imminent.Verse 9. - The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. We have here the apodosis corresponding with the conditional sentence beginning at verse 4. The three examples cited by St. Peter show that the Lord knows (and with the Lord knowledge involves power) how to deliver the righteous and to punish the wicked. The Greek words for "godly" and "unjust" are both without the article. The word rendered "to be punished" (καλαζομένους) is a present participle, not future, and is better rendered, as in the Revised Version, "under punishment." The wicked are already under punishment while awaiting the judgment; the Lord had taught this in the parable of Dives and Lazarus (comp. also Jude 1:6, 7, and verse 4 of this chapter). Aristotle makes a distinction between κόλασις and τιμωρία, the first being "chastisement inflicted for the good of those chastised;" the second, "punishment inflicted on the incorrigible for the satisfaction of justice" (see 'Rhet.,' 1:10); but it is doubtful whether this distinction exists in the New Testament (comp. Matthew 25:46). Therefore it seems dangerous to lay much stress on the use of the word κολαζομένους here (comp. Clement, I, 11.). Godly (εὐσεβεῖς)

Used by Peter only. Compare Acts 10:2, Acts 10:7. The reading at Acts 22:12, is εὐλαβής, devout. See on 2 Peter 1:3.

Temptation (πειρασμοῦ)

See on 1 Peter 1:6.

To reserve (τηρεῖν)

See on 1 Peter 1:4. Rev., keep, is not an improvement.

To be punished (κολαζομένους)

Only here and Acts 4:21, where the narrative probably came from Peter. The participle here is, lit., being punished, and therefore the A. V. is wrong. Rev., rightly, under punishment. Compare Matthew 25:46.

2 Peter 2:9 Interlinear
2 Peter 2:9 Parallel Texts

2 Peter 2:9 NIV
2 Peter 2:9 NLT
2 Peter 2:9 ESV
2 Peter 2:9 NASB
2 Peter 2:9 KJV

2 Peter 2:9 Bible Apps
2 Peter 2:9 Parallel
2 Peter 2:9 Biblia Paralela
2 Peter 2:9 Chinese Bible
2 Peter 2:9 French Bible
2 Peter 2:9 German Bible

Bible Hub

2 Peter 2:8
Top of Page
Top of Page