2 Peter 2
Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
'Chap. 2:1-22.] Description of erroneous teachers who should arise: their ungodly practices, and certain destruction. On the close parallelism with Jude 1:4-19, see in Prolegg. The fact will necessitate continual reference to that Epistle.

1.] Transition to the new subject. But (contrast to last verse) there were false prophets also (as well as the true prophets, just spoken of) among the people (of Israel. These words, more than any that have preceded, define the prophecies spoken of before as O. T. prophecies), as there shall be among you also (καί with ἐν ὑμῖν. On ἔσονται, Bengel says “et jam esse cœperunt tunc.” It was so, see vv. 9 ff.: still the future in ἔσονται is simple, and this first declaration a pure prophecy) false teachers (teachers of falsehood: cf. ψευδόλογος. In the case of ψευδοπροφῆται, the ψευδο- is ambiguous, whether subjective, pretenders to be prophets when they were not, or objective, prophesiers of false things: cf. for the latter Jeremiah 14:14, LXX, ψευδῆ οἱ προφῆται προφητεύουσιν …; ib. 15; 23:25, al. fr.), the which (οἵτινες, of a class: not simply identifying the individuals) shall introduce (shall bring in by the side of that teaching which ye have received. There is a hint of secrecy and unobservedness, but not so strong as in E. V. “shall privily bring in.” It is stronger in the παρεισέδυσαν of Jude 1:4) heresies (αἱρέσεις here rather in the sense in which we now understand the word, new and self-chosen doctrines, alien from the truth: not sects (vulg.), which may be founded, but can hardly be said to be introduced) of destruction (whose end is destruction, Philippians 3:19. The expression is not to be resolved as E. V. (after Beza, as usual) by an adjective, “damnable heresies,” as it thereby loses its meaning, merely conveying the writer’s own [judgment of] condemnation), and denying (a remarkable word from St. Peter) the master (compare τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν χριστὸν ἀρνούμενοι, Jude 1:4) who bought them (reff. Ne, assertion of universal redemption can be plainer than this. “Ex hoc loco bene colligitur,” says Estius, endeavouring to escape the inference, “Christum redemisse quosdam reprobos, nimirum illos, qui redemptionis ejus secundum aliquos effectus facti sunt participes: cujusmodi erant hi, de quibus Petrus loquitur: utpote per fidem in baptismo regenerati, et peccatorum veniam consecuti, licet postea in veterem peccati servitutem lapsi.… Sed ne hino colligas, ad omnes omnino homines effectum redemptionis extendi.” Calvin passes it without a word. It may be noted that by the use of this particular predication for Christ here, those heresies seem especially to be aimed at, which denied or explained away the virtue of the propitiatory sacrifice of our Lord, by which He has bought us to Himself), bringing upon themselves (the construction is not very plain. Of the two participial clauses, … ἀρνούμενοι, and ἐπάγοντες …, one must be taken as equivalent to a finite verb, corresponding to παρεισάξουσιν above: unless indeed we understand καί to mean “even,” and make both participial clauses follow παρεισάξουσιν … as epexegetical of it. This, however, would leave the ἐπάγοντες awkwardly pendent, and requiring “and” to fill it up, as in E. V. As regards then the alternative before proposed, Huther thinks it most natural to regard ἐπάγοντες as a finite verb: “who, by denying &c., bring on themselves &c.:”—Winer, § 45. 6. a, prefers making both depend on παρεισάξουσιν, regarding them however not as co-ordinate, but ἐπάγοντες as a sequel added to the sentence οἵτινες.… ἀρνούμενοι. I much prefer taking καί as the simple copula, and regarding ἀρνούμενοι as standing in the place of a finite verb, co-ordinate with παρεισάξουσιν followed, as a consequence, by ἐπάγοντες κ.τ.λ.) swift (see note on ref., not speedy, but as Horneius in Huther, “inopinatam et inexspectatam”) destruction [cf. αἱρέσεις ἀπωλείας above]:

2. and many shall follow after (see on ch. 1:16) their licentiousnesses (the connexion of depraved moral conduct with erroneous doctrine was in the early ages of the church almost universal: see the Pastoral Epistles passim, and below vv. 18, 19. In Jude, the two are expressed co-ordinately: τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν χάριτα μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν, κ. τὸν μόνον δεσπότην κ. κύρ. ἡμ. . χ. ἀρνούμενοι) on whose account (by reason of whom, i. e. from the ἀσέλγειαι of those who follow after the false teachers: for to these, and not to the false teachers themselves, is the οὕς most likely referable. It is those who, seeming to be in the way of truth, yet favour and follow false teachers, that cause most scandal to the way of truth itself) the way of truth (reff. and Ep. Barnab. 5, p. 734, “homo habens viam veritatis”) shall be evil spoken of (“ab iis qui foris sunt, discrimen ignorantibus verorum et falsorum Christianorum.” Bengel):

3.] and in (i. e. living in, girt about with, as their element, not as E. V. “through”) covetousness with feigned speeches (Wetstein quotes Artemid. i. 53, πλάσσειν δοκεῖ … ἀγαθὸν ῥήτορσι … καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς ἀπατεῶσι, διὰ τὸ τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ὄντα δεικνύειν τὰς τέχνας ταύτας) they will make gain of you (“quæstum ex vobis facient, ad quæstum suum vobis abutentur.” Gerh. See ref., and Athenag. xiii. 569, Ἀσπασία ἐνεπορεύετο πλήθη γυναικῶν: Philo in Flacc. § 16, vol. ii. p. 536, ἐνεπορεύετο τὴν λήθην τῶν δικαστῶν (Huther). Pott tries to give the word the classic meaning of lucrari, ‘to gain over:’ “sectæ suæ conciliare conantur:” and this is borne out by Proverbs 3:14, LXX, κρεῖσσον αὐτὴν ἐμπορεύεσθαι, ἢ χρυσίου κ. ἀργυρίου θησαυρούς: but the other meaning seems better here. These false teachers would care not for their sect, but for their gain), for whom (οἷς is the dat. incommodi: its antecedents being the subjects of the verb ἐμπορεύσονται, viz. the false teachers) the sentence (of God, decreeing their ἀπώλεια) from long since (ἔκπαλαι cannot surely, as De Wette, be joined predicatively with τὸ κρῖμα, ‘the sentence from of old decreed,’ cf. οἱ πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρῖμα, Jude 1:4: in this case we should at all events expect τὸ κρῖμα τὸ ἔκπαλαι. Rather, with most Commentators, should ἔκπαλαι be taken adverbially with the following verb. The word is found, besides ref., in Arrian, Exp. Alex. i. 9, εἰς λογισμὸν τοῦ ἔκπαλαι: Jos. Antt. xvi. 8. 4, ἔκπαλαι μὲν συνεδρεύων αὐτῷ προσέκειτο: Plut. Aristid. p. 328 e, ἀνὴρ θυμοειδὴς κ. φιλοκίνδυνος, ἔκπαλαι πρὸς τὴν μάχην σπαργῶν. Phrynichus, p. 45, condemns it: ἀπόπαλαι, ἔκπαλαι· ἀμφοῖν δυσχέραινε, ἐκ παλαιοῦ γὰρ χρὴ λέγειν: where see Lobeck’s note) is not idle (i. e. is working itself out, is living and in action), and their destruction slumbereth not (i. e. is awake, and ready to seize them: ἀπώλεια being personified: for the verb, see reff.).

4-11.] Argument, enforced by three historical proofs, that God will assuredly punish these wicked persons. The protases, εἰ γὰρ.… καὶ ἀρχ. κόσμ.… καὶ πόλεις, have no single apodosis, properly so called, to answer to them, but the apodosis when it comes, is complicated with an additional protasis καὶ δίκαιον Λὼτ κ.τ.λ. which causes it to consist of two members, the deliverance of the righteous, and the punishment of the wicked.

4.] First historical proof: the punishment of the apostate angels. Cf. Jude 1:6. For (connect with the position immediately preceding, οἷς τὸ κρῖμα κ.τ.λ.) if God spared not angels having sinned (how, is not here specified; but Jude, ver. 6, is more particular: see note there. ἁμαρτησάντων, anarthrous, is not = τῶν ἁμ., “that sinned:” but carries a ratiocinative force, giving the reason of οὐκ ἐφείσατο: “for their sin”), but casting them into hell (the word is no where else found: but its meaning must be plain by analogy. Tartarus is no where else mentioned in the N. T. or LXX: there can be no doubt that it is used as equivalent to γέεννα. It seems best to take the verb absolutely, by itself, and join σειροῖς ζόφου to παρέδωκεν, as is done in E. V. So Huther after Calov., Pott, Wahl, al., against De Wette, Dietlein, al. The aor. participle is contemporary with the aor. verb παρέδωκεν, as in ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπε) delivered (them) over (“παρέδωκεν is here, as often, used with an implied idea of punishment.” Huther) to dens (so with the reading in txt: σειρός, the same as σίρος, or σιῤῥός, properly a cave where corn is stored, so Demosth. p. 100 ult., ὀλυρῶν τῶν ἐν τοῖς Θρᾳκίοις σιροῖς, also p. 135. 5. The form σειρός is found (as a var. read. in Demosth. also) in Pollux ix. 49; Phot. p. 504. 23; Varro de re rust. i. 57. The word is used for a wolf’s den, by Longus i. 11. The other reading, σειραῖς, has perhaps come from the δεσμοῖς ἀϊδίοις of ║ Jude, and would seem to suit the sense better: see there) of darkness (if the reading σειραῖς be retained, the expression is remarkably illustrated by Wisd. 17:17, ἁλύσει σκότους ἐδέθησαν: and will probably mean, as there, that darkness itself is the chain, gen. of apposition) in custody (pres.: “being kept.” The readings are in great confusion, from the combined influence of ║ Jude, and our ver. 9) unto (with a view to: or merely temporal, until: but this is not probable here, as the want of μεγάλης ἡμέρας, Jude 1:6, removes all definite allusion to the time of the judgment) judgment:

5.] Second historical proof—the flood. Wanting in Jude—and spared not the ancient world, but preserved (here first comes in the idea of the preservation of the righteous, which is worked out further in the next verse) Noah the eighth person (i. e. with seven others: according to the well-known formula, generally found in Greek with αὐτός: so Thucyd. ii. 79, ἐστρατήγει δὲ Ξενοφῶν ὁ Εὐριπίδου τρίτος αὐτός, and passim. But the shorter phrase is not without classic example: e. g. Plato, Legg. iii. p. 695 c, λαβὼν τὴν ἀρχὴν ἕβδομος, and other examples in Winer, § 37. 2: and in Wetstein. The numeral adj. must be taken with Νῶε, not with κήρυκα) preacher of righteousness (the obvious construction would be, “as a preacher of righteousness:” so Huther: but we should thus be introducing an element logically extraneous to the context, which treats not of the purpose why the righteous are preserved, but simply of their preservation. And in these later Epistles, all considerations based on stricter views of the usage of the article before substantives are exceedingly unsafe. The fact, that Noah was thus a preacher of (moral) righteousness to the depravity of his age, is found alluded to in Jos. Antt. i. 3. 1,—ὁ Νώεος δέ, τοῖς πραττομένοις ὑπʼ αὐτῶν δυσχεραίνων καὶ τοῖς βουλεύμασιν ἀηδῶς ἔχων, ἔπειθεν ἐπὶ τὸ κρεῖττον αὐτοὺς τὴν διάνοιαν καὶ τὰς πράξεις μεταφέρειν: Bereschith Rabba xxx. 6, in Wetst. “κῆρυξ generationis diluvii, id est, Noachus:” al. in De Wette), bringing (= “when He brought,” or, “and brought:” contemporary with the ἐφύλαξεν above) the flood (anarthrous, as well known; in the earlier written reff. Matt., Luke, the art. is expressed) on the world (again anarthrous) of ungodly men (Dietlein, in his commentary, attaching ver. 4 to ver. 5, and believing the crime of the angels to be that in Genesis 6:2 (see note on Jude 1:6), holds that only one example is furnished by them both, as declaring God’s dealings with the old world; vv. 7, 8 giving corresponding testimony with regard to the new. But his reasons, as Huther has shewn, will not hold: seeing that, 1. the sentences are strictly co-ordinate with each other, ver. 6: ver. 5: ver. 5: ver. 4, all being simply coupled by καί: 2. there is no mention of the new world at ver. 6, as there is none of the old at ver. 4:3. the angels cannot be part of the κόσμος ἀσεβῶν. And Dietlein’s idea, that if we take three examples, both members of the apodosis ver. 9, will not be represented in ver. 4, proves nothing, because that apodosis answers not to each of vv. 4, 5, 6, separately, but to vv. 4-7 generally: the idea of rescuing the righteous coming in as secondary, by the way. And the repetition of οὐκ ἐφείσατο, vv. 4, 5, by which Dietlein tries to strengthen his position, is in fact against him: marking off, as it does, expressly, ver. 5 from ver. 4, as a second example of God’s unsparing vengeance):

6.] Third historical proof: the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha, Jud 1:7Jud 1:7. And burning to ashes (Suidas, τεφρώσας, ἐμπρήσας, σποδώσας. The aor. part. is contemporary with the aor. following) the cities of (gen. of apposition) Sodom and Gomorrha, condemned (them) (κατέκρινεν, not imperf., but first aor. as παρέδωκεν and ἐφύλαξεν in the co-ordinate verses above) to (better than “with:” see reff.: not “eversione damnavit,” “funditus evertendo punivit,” as Gerh.: but “in cineres redigens damnavit ad eversionem,” as Pott, Wahl, Winer, De Wette, Huther) overthrow (καταστροφή is the word used (ref. Gen.) in the history), laying down an example (cf. πρόκεινται δεῖγμα, Jude 1:7) of (i. e. that which might shew forth the fate of) those that should in after time live ungodly (so the E. V. well, but with “after”):

7.] and rescued (the contrast, the deliverance of the righteous, is here brought out at more length. This contrast is wanting in Jude, where only the punitive dealings of God are treated) righteous Lot (δίκαιον, as repeating the δικαιοσύνη of ver. 5: see also again, ver. 8) distressed (καταπονέω, properly to wear down or tire out by toil, as τῇ ἐνδείᾳ τῆς τροφῆς τὴν ἀλκὴν τοῦ θηρίου καταπονεῖν, Diod. iii. 37: Ἡρακλῆς ὁ καταπονούμενος τῷ τῆς Δηϊανείρας χιτῶνι, Pol. xl. 7. 3: hence to oppress, as in ref. Acts, or harass beyond bearing as here) by the behaviour of the lawless (ἄθεσμοι, “homines nefarii, qui nec jus nec fas curant”) in licentiousness (ἐν ἀσελγ. ἀναστροφή is to be taken together, as ἐν ἀσελγ. ἀναστρέφεσθαι; ἐν ἀσελγ. denoting the character of the behaviour or manner of life):

8] Explanation of καταπονούμενον. For by sight and hearing (these datives belong to ἐβασάνιζεν below, not as vulg., Erasm., al„ ungrammatically, to ὁ δίκαιος,—“adspectu et auditu justus erat,” nor as Gerh. to ἐγκατοικῶν: nor again are they to be understood of the Sodomites, as Wetstein,—“Lotus vultu eorum meretricio conspecto, et audita fama impudicitiæ eorum.…” It was by his own sight and hearing of what went on around him, that he ψυχὴν δικαίαν ἐβασάνιζεν.

βλέμμα is more usually of the look of a man from without: so in Demosth. Mid. in Wetst. τῷ σχήματι, τῷ βλέμματι, τῇ φωνῇ, and in numerous other examples in Wetst. The transition from this to the subjective sense is obvious) the righteous man, dwelling among them, day by day tormented his righteous soul with their lawless deeds (the form of the sentence is peculiar: that being represented as a deliberate act of Lot on himself, which was in fact the impression made on him by the lawlessness around him. The same way of speaking is common among us, when we say that a man “distresses himself” at any occurrence: cf. Isaiah 58:5, “a day for a man to afflict his soul,”—ἡμέραν ταπεινοῦν ἄνθρωπον τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ. The older expositors have curiously and characteristically missed the right sense: so Œc., πρὸς ζῆλον τῶν ἀσεβῶν αὐτῶν πράξεων ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας παρακαλούμενον, εἶτα βασανίζοντα τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ψυχὴν διὰ τῆς τούτων ἀποχῆς καὶ ἐγκρατείας (which he further expands afterwards): and similarly Thl.):

9.] (Apodosis; the last verse having been quasi-parenthetical, explanatory of καταπονούμενος. See above on ver. 4) the Lord knoweth how (reff. The expression indicates both the apprehension of the manner of the act and the power to perform it) to rescue godly (men) out of temptation (as in ref. 1 Pet., where see note,—trials, persecutions, and the like), and to reserve unrighteous (men) under punishment (not as most, cruciandos: “to be punished,” E. V.: but as in ver. 4, actually in a penal state, and thus awaiting their final punishment) to the day of judgment (the great final, doom: see reff.):

10.] but chiefly (cf. Jude 1:8) those who go after the flesh (more general here than in ║ Jude, where ἑτέρας defines the particular sin. Here, all following after unlawful carnal lusts is meant) in lust of pollution (lust, hankering after unlawful and polluting use of the flesh. The gen. is not to be resolved into an adjective, “cupiditas fœda,” as Wahl), and despise lordship (so in Jude 1:8, κυριότητα ἀθετοῦσιν: where see note). Darers (the construction suddenly alters to a description of the wicked persons who were the object in the former sentence. Cf. ref. and Thucyd. i. 70, where the Corinthians characterize the Athenians as καὶ παρὰ δύναμιν τολμηταί, καὶ παρὰ γνώμην κινδυνευταί), self-willed (see note on ref. Tit., where the word is explained. Both these plurals are used as substantives, in apposition with each other and with ‘they,’ the understood subject of the following verb), they tremble not (when) speaking evil of (this participial construction, meaning much the same as an infinitive, is common: see ref. and Acts 5:42, Acts 5:12:16; and Winer, § 45. 4. a) glories (what is meant by this, is somewhat doubtful: see on ║ Jude. We might take the word here, as there also, in its widest sense, as any dignities or glories, human or divine, were it not for the example there following. The vulg. has a curious rendering here: “sectas (δόξας) non metuunt introducere blasphemantes:” whereas in Jude it renders “majestatem autem blasphemant:” on which Estius, “cur autem interpres eandem vocem hic sectas, apud Judam majestatem,—sun majestates transtulerit in sententia simili, seu potius eadem, mihi non liquet”

Henry Alford - Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

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