1 Peter 3
Expositor's Greek Testament
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
1 Peter 3:1-6. Duty of wives (Ephesians 5:21-24; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:4)—Submissiveness and true adornment.—τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν, your own husbands, the motive for submissiveness, Ephesians 5:22; Titus 2:4. St. Peter assumes knowledge of the reason alleged by St. Paul (Eph. l.c.; 1 Corinthians 9:3) after Genesis 3:16, αὐτός σου κυριεύσει.—καὶ εἰλόγῳ, even if in some cases your husbands are disobedient to the word (1 Peter 2:8), i.e., remain heathens in spite of the preaching of the Gospel. St. Paul found it necessary to impress upon the Corinthian Church that this incompatibility of religion did not justify dissolution of marriage (1 Corinthians 12:10 ff.).—ἄνευ λόγου, without word from their wives. Peter deliberately introduces λ. in its ordinary sense immediately after the technical τῷ λ.—an example of what the grammarians call antanaclasis and men a pun. In his provision for the present and future welfare of the heathen husbands whose wives come under his jurisdiction he echoes the natural aspiration of Jews and Greeks; so Ben Sira said, a silent woman is a gift of the Lord … a loud crying woman and a scold shall be sought out to drive away enemies (Sir 26:14; Sir 26:27) and Sophocles, Silence is the proper ornament (κόσμος) for women (Ajax 293). St. Paul forbids women to preach or even ask questions at church meeting (1 Corinthians 14:34 : at Corinth they had been used to prophesy and pray).—ἵνακερδηθήσονται, be won, cf. ἵνα κερδήσω in 1 Corinthians 9:20 ff. = ἵνασώσω, 1 Corinthians 9:22, (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:16.).

While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
1 Peter 3:2. ἐποπτεύσαντες, having contemplated; see on 1 Peter 2:12. τὴνὑμῶν. ἐν φόβῳ, cf. 1 Peter 1:17 and Ephesians 5:21. ὑποτασσόμενοι ἀλλήλοις ἐν φόβῳ Χριστοῦ· αἱ γυναῖκες: as no object is expressed, τοῦ θεοῦ must be supplied.—ἁγνήν not merely chaste but pure, cf. 1 Peter 1:22 and 1 Peter 3:4.

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
1 Peter 3:3. The description of the external ornaments proper to heathen society seems to be based on Isaiah 3:17-23. where the destruction of the hair, jewels and raiment of the daughters of Zion is foretold.—ἐμπλοκῆς τριχῶν, braiding of hair. 1 Timothy 2:9, πλέγμασιν καὶ χρυσίῳ refers to the golden combs and nets used for the purpose; cf. ἐμπλόκια, Isaiah 3:18, for שביסים. Juvenal describes the elaborate coiffures which Roman fashion prescribed for the Park and attendance at the Mysteries of Adonis: tot premit ordinibus tot adhuc compagibus altum aedificat caput (Sat. vi. 492–504). Clement of Alexandria quotes 1 Peter 3:1-4, in his discussion of the whole subject (Paed., III. xi.); and in regard to this particular point says ἀπόχρη μαλάσσειν τὰς τρίχας καὶ ἀναδεῖσθαι τὴν κόμην ἐντελῶς περόνῃ τινι λιτῇ παρὰ τὸν αὐχένακαὶ γὰρ αἱ περιπλοκαὶ τῶν τριχῶν αἱ ἑταιρικαὶ καὶ αἱ τῶν σειρῶν ἀναδέσειςκόπτουσι τὰς τρίχας ἀποτίλλουσαι ταῖς πανούργοις ἐμπλοκαῖς, because of which they do not even touch their own head for fear of disturbing their hair—nay more sleep comes to them with terror lest they should unawares; spoil τὸ σχῆμα τῆς ἐμπλοκῆς (p. 290. P).—περιθέσεως χρυσίων, i.e., rings bracelets, etc., enumerated in Isa. l.c.ἐνδύσεως ἱματίων. Stress might be laid on κόσμος, or the crowning prohibition regarded as an exaggeration intended to counteract an ingrained bias. In either case the expression points to a remarkable precedent for this teaching in Plato’s Republic IV., iii. ff. “Plato’s assignment of common duties and common training to the two sexes is part of a well-reasoned and deliberate attempt by the Socratic school to improve the position of women in Greece … Socrates’ teaching inaugurated an era of protest against the old Hellenic view of things.… In later times the Stoics constituted themselves champions of similar views” (Adam, ad loc.). Accordingly gymnastics must be practised by women as by men: ἀποδυτέον δὴ ταῖς τῶν φυλάκων γυναιξὶν ἐπείπερ ἀρετὴν ἀντὶ ἱματίων ἀμφιέσονται.

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
1 Peter 3:4. Yours be the secret man of the heart not the outward ornament. A better antithesis and a pretty paradox would be secured by supplying ἄνθρωπος with ὁ ἔξωθεν and taking κ. as predicate: your ornament be cf. οὕτως ἐκόσμουν ἑαυτάς (1 Peter 3:5). But the order in 1 Peter 3:3 is against this and a Greek reader would naturally think of the other sense of κ.= world universe and remember that man is a microcosm and “the universe the greatest and most perfect man” (Philo, p. 471 M.).—ὁ κρυπτὸς τῆς καρδίας ἄνθρωπος, the hidden man that is the heart (or which belongs to the heart) is the equivalent of the Pauline inner man (Romans 7:22), i.e., Mind as contrasted with the outward man, i.e., flesh (Rom. l.e., cf. 2 Corinthians 4:16). St. Peter employs the terms used in the Sermon on the Mount; cf. St. Paul’s ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ Ἰουδαῖος and περιτομὴ καρδίας, Romans 2:29.—ἐν τῷ ἀφθάρτῳ clothed in the incorruptible thing (or ornament, sc. κόσμῳ) contrasted with corruptible goldens; cf. Jam 2:2, ἀνὴρἐν ἐσθῆτι λαμπρᾷ.—τοῦπνεύματος, namely, the meek and quiet spirit. The adjectives are perhaps derived from the version of Isaiah 64:2, known to Clement of Rome (Ep. i. xiii. 4), ἐπὶ τίνα ἐπιβλέψω ἀλλʼ ἢ ἐπὶ τὸν πρᾳὺν καὶ ἡσύχιον καὶ τρέμοντά μου τὰ λόγια. Jesus professed Himself, πρᾳὺς καὶ ταπεινὸς τῇ καρδίᾳ. For πνεύματος compare πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης, Romans 1:4. In Romans 2:29, πν. is coupled with heart as contrasted with flesh and outwardness. which spirit or the posssesion of which reference.—πολυτελές suggests use of conception of Wisdom which is precious above rubies (Proverbs 3:15, etc.); cf. Jam 1:21; Jam 3:13, ἐν πρᾳύτητι σοφίας and description of the wisdom from above, Jam 3:17.

For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
1 Peter 3:5. ποτε refers vaguely to O.T. history as part of αἱθεόν. References to the holy women of the O.T. are rare in N.T. and this appeal to their example illustrates the affinity of Peter to Heb. (Hebrews 11:11; Hebrews 11:35). Hannah is the obviously appropriate type (cf. Luke 1 with 2 Samuel 1 f.); but Peter is thinking of the traditional idealisation of Sarah.

Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
1 Peter 3:6. ὡςκαλοῦσα. The only evidence that can be adduced from the O.T. narrative is Sarah laughed within herself and said … “but my lord is old” (Genesis 18:12). The phrase, if pressed, implies a nominal subjection as of a slave to her lord, but the context at any rate excludes any hope in God. Philo, who starts with the assumption that Sarah is Virtue, evades the difficulty; her laughter was the expression of her joy, she denied it for fear of usurping God’s prerogative of laughter (de Abr., ii. p. 30 M). The Rabbinic commentaries dwell upon the title accorded to Abraham and draw the same inference as Peter; but there are also traces of a tendency to exalt Sarah “the princess” as superior to her husband in the gift of prophecy, which St. Peter may wish to correct (as St. James corrects the exaggerated respect paid to Elijah, Jam 5:17).—ἧςτέκνα. Christian women became children of Sarah who is Virtue or Wisdom: (Philo) just as men became children of Abraham. But the fact that they were Christians is still in the background; the essential point is that they must do the works traditionally ascribed to Sarah (cf. Romans 4.; John 8.) and so justify their technical parentage, whether natural or acquired. Oec. compares Isaiah 41:2, Sarah your mother.—ἀγαθοποιοῦσαι the present participle emphasises the need for continuance of the behaviour appropriate to children of Sarah.—μὴπτόησιν, from Proverbs 3:25, LXX. Peter regards Sarah’s falsehood (Gen. l.c.) as the yielding to a sudden terror for which she was rebuked by God. Fearlessness then is part of the character which is set before them for imitation and it is the result of obedience to the voice of Wisdom. Rabbinic exegesis as sociates the ideas of ornament with the promised child and that of peace between husband and wife with the whole incident.

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
1 Peter 3:7. Duty of husbands to their wives. Application of principle πάντας τιμήσατε.—κατὰ γνῶσιν, for the woman is the weaker vessel—the pot—which the stronger—the cauldron—may easily smash (Sir 13:2). ὡς, κ.τ.λ. point with comma after γνῶσιν and τιμήν. σκεύει. The comparison of Creator and creature to potter and clay is found first in Isaiah 29:16, but is latent in the description of the creation (יצר) of Adam from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7 f.). In the prophets it is developed and applied variously (Isaiah 45:9 f., Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 18:6). In Sap. 15:7, there is an elaborate description of the maker of clay images, in which σκεῦος replaces πλάσμα and vessels which serve clean uses are distinguished from the contrary sort. Thence St. Paul adopts the figure and employs it to illustrate the absolute sovereignty of the Creator, as Isaiah had done (see Romans 9:21), distinguishing vessels intended for honour from those intended for dishonour. Lastly 2 Timothy 2:20 exemplifies the particular application of the figure, on which Peter’s use of σκεῦος rests—ἐν μεγάλῃ δὲ οἰκίᾳ (1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 4:17) … κ.τ.λ. The comparative ἀσθενεστέρῳ proves that both husband and wife are vessels and assists to exclude the notion that St. Paul could mean to call a wife the vessel of her husband in 1 Thessalonians 4:4.—ὡςζωῆς, inasmuch as they are also heirs with you of the grace (1 Peter 1:10; 1 Peter 1:13) of life (1 Peter 2:24): the heavenly inheritance is not distributed according to earthly custom, which gave the wife no rights of her own.—εἰςὑμῶν. If the prayers are those of all (1 Peter 3:8) compare 1 Corinthians 7. (τὴν ὀφειλὴν ἀποδιδότωἵνα σχολάσητε τῇ προσευχῇ). Peter teaches that married life need not—if the wife be properly honoured—hinder religious duties, as St. Paul feared (1 Corinthians 7:32 ff.). If ὑμῶν = you husbands (as v.l. συγκληρονόμοι requires) cf. Jam 5:4.

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
1 Peter 3:8 f. Sweeping clause addressed to all, inculcating detailed φιλαδελφία after Romans 12:10; Romans 12:15-17.

1 Peter 3:8. τὸτέλος, finally. Oecumenius brings out the possible connotations of the word goal and also the law for all love since love is the end of the law.—ὁμόφρονες, of one mind, united, an Epic word. St. Paul’s τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν but here wider than parallel expressing Romans 12:16, τὸ αὐτὸ εἰς ἀλλήλους φρονοῦντες.—συμπαθεῖς summarises χαίρειν μετὰ χαιρόντων κλαίειν μετὰ κλαιόντων of Romans 12:15; cf. Hebrews 4:15 (of Christ), Hebrews 10:34 (particular example of sympathy with “the prisoners”).—φιλάδελφοι, cf. 1 Peter 1:22; Romans 12:10, τῇ φιλαδελφίᾳ εἰς ἀλλήλους φιλόστοργοι.—εὔσπλαγχνοι, kind-hearted, in Ephesians 4:32 (only here in N.T.) coupled with kind … forgiving one another; epithet of Jehovah in Prayer of Manasses, 1 Peter 3:7 = compassionate, in accordance with metaphorical use of σπλάγχνα κ.τ.λ. derived from different senses of רחם. Here = ἐνδύσασθετὰ σπλάγχνα τῆς χρηστότητος, Col.—ταπεινόφρονες = τοῖς ταπεινοῖς συναπαγόμενοι, Romans 12:16, cf. Proverbs 29:23, LXX, insolence humbleth a man but the humble (ταπεινόφρονας) Jehovah stayeth with glory (κ. ὕβρις).

Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9. μὴκακοῦ, from Romans 12:17; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:15; Proverbs 20:22, Say not I will recompense evil (LXX τίσομαι τὸν ἐχθρόν): an approximation to Christ’s repeal of the lex talionis (Matthew 5:38 ff.) which Plato first opposed among the Greeks (see Crito., p. 49, with Adam’s note).—λοιδορίαν ἀντὶ λοιδορίας refers to pattern left by Christ (1 Peter 2:23).—τοὐναντίον, contrariwise.—εὐλογοῦντες with λοιδ., 1 Corinthians 4:21; cf. Romans 12:14, εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς διώκοντας Luke 6:28.—ὅτικληρονομήσητε, Christians must do as they hope to be done by. They are the new Israel called to inherit blessing in place of the Jews, who are reprobate like Esau; cf. Hebrews 12:17, ἴστε γὰρ ὅτι καὶ μετέπειτα θέλων κληρονομῆσαι τὴν εὐλογίαν ἀπεδοκιμάσθη. So St. Paul reverses the current view which identified the Jews with Isaac and the Gentiles with Ishmael (Galatians 4:22 ff.).

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
1 Peter 3:10-12 = Psalm 34:12-17 a. introduced by mere γάρ as familiar. The lips of Christians who wish to love life must be free from cursing and from guile as were Christ’s (cf. Isa. apud ii. 23). If Jehovah is to hear their petition as He heard Christ’s they also must turn from evil and do good (cf. ἀγαθοποιεῖν above) seeking peace within and without the Church.

1 Peter 3:10. Peter omits the rhetorical question τίς ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος, which introduces ὁ θέλων in the original (LXX = Hebrew) but is influenced by it in the substitution of the third for the second person throughout. The change of ἀγαπῶν (= Hebrew) to ἀγαπᾶν καὶ removes the barbarisms θέλων ζωήν and ἀγαπῶν ἰδεῖν (= Hebrew) and secures the balance between the clauses disturbed by the omission of the opening words.—ἰδεῖν ἡμ. ἀγαθάς is the natural sequel of the alteration of the original (days to see good), which is already found in the LXX (ἡμ. . ἀγαθάς).—ζωήν = earthly life in the original corresponding to days. The text adopted by Peter makes it mean eternal life, parallel good days. Only with this interpretation is the quotation pertinent to his exhortation: cf. that ye might inherit blessing (9) with fellow-inheritors of the grace of life (7).—παυσάτω, κ.τ.λ., parallel μὴλοιδορίαν (9); cf. 1 Peter 2:22 f.

Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
1 Peter 3:12. πρόσωπον Κυρίου, Jehovah’s face, i.e., wrath (Targum, the face of Jehovah was angry) as the following clause, to cut off the remembrance of them … shows; cf. Lamentations 4:16; Psalm 21:9. But Peter stops short and leaves room for repentance.

Ver, 13. κακώσων echoes ποιοῦντας κακά (as ζηλ. τοῦ ἀγ. echoes ποιησάτω ἀγαθόν); but the phrase comes also from O.T.: Isaiah 1:9, Κύριος βοηθήσει μοι· τίς κακώσει με;—τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ζηλωταὶ. The phrase sums up 1 Peter 3:11. All that was good in Judaism, however it may have been perverted, finds its fulfilment in the new Israel (Romans 10:2). Some Jews were zealots, boasting their zeal for the Lord or His Law, like Phinehas and the Hasmonaeans (1 Maccabees 2. passim): all Christians should be zealots for that which is good. So Paul says of himself as Pharisee that he was a zealot for his ancestral traditions (Galatians 1:14). For him as for the colleague of Simon the Zealot the word retained a flavour of its technical sense; cf. Titus 2:14, that He might cleanse for Himself a peculiar people, zealot of good (καλῶν) works; cf. similar use of ἀφωρισμένος = Pharisee (Romans 1:1). τοῦἀγ. in emphatic position.

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
1 Peter 3:14. ἀλλʼμακάριοι. Nay if ye should actually suffer—if some one, despite the prophet (1 Peter 3:13), should harm you—for the sake of righteousness, blessed are ye. Peter appeals to the saying, μακάριοι οἱ δεδιωγμένοι ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης (Matthew 5:10).—πάσχοιτε, ει with optative (cf. 1 Peter 3:17, εἰ θέλοι) is used to represent anything as generally possible without regard to the general or actual situation at the moment (Blass, Grammar, p. 213). The addition of καί implies that the contingency is unlikely to occur and is best represented by an emphasis on should. The meaning of the verb is determined by κακώσων above, if ye should be harmed, i.e., by persons unspecified (αὐτῶν).—δικαιοσύνην. perhaps suggested ζηλωταί, cf. 1Ma 2:27-29, πᾶς ὁ ζηλῶν τῷ νόμῳἐξελθέτωτότε κατέβησαν πολλοὶ ζητοῦντες δικ. καὶ κρίμα.—τὸν δὲ φόβονὑμῶν. An adaptation of Isaiah 8:12 f. LXX, τὸν δὲ φόβον αὐτοῦ μὴ φοβηθῆτε οὐδὲ μὴ ταραχθῆτε· κύριον αὐτὸν ἁγιάσατε καὶ αὐτός ἔσται σου φόβος. The scripture corresponding to the saying, Fear not them that kill the body; but fear rather him that can destroy both soul and body (Matthew 10:28 parallels Luke 12:4 f. where the description of God is modified). The sense of the original, fear not what they (the people) fear; Jehovah of Hosts Him shall ye count holy and let Him be the object of your fear, has been in part abandoned. For it is simpler to take the fear as referring to the evil with which their enemies try to terrify them, than to supply the idea that their enemies employ the means by which they themselves would be intimidated. Compare 1 Peter 3:6.—τὸν χριστόν, gloss on κύριον = Jehovah; cf. 1 Peter 2:3.—ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις sc. mere profession. Peter is probably thinking of the prescribed prayer, Hallowed be thy name, elsewhere in N.T. it belongs to God to sanctify Christ and men.—ἔτοιμοι ἀεὶ πρὸς ἀπολογίαν, ready for reply. The contrast between the inward hope (parallels sanctification of Christ in the heart) and the spoken defence of it is not insisted upon; the second δέ is not to be accepted. The use of the noun in place of verb is characteristic of St. Peter. The play upon ἀπολογίαν back-word and λόγον cannot be reproduced. Properly speech in defence, . is used metaphorically ([153] [154] παντί) here as by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:3, ἡ ἐμὴ ἀπολογία τοῖς ἐμὲ ἀνακρίνουσιν; where also, though another technical word is introduced, no reference is intended to formal proceedings in a court of law. St. Peter is thinking of the promise which he himself once forfeited lor unworthy fear, I will give you mouth and wisdom (Luke 21:14 f., Luke 12:11, uses ἀπολογεῖσθαι; Matthew 10:19, λαλεῖν).—παντιλόγον, to every one (for dative cf. 1 Corinthians 9:3) that asketh of you an account. The phrase (compare Demosthenes Against Onetor, p. 868, ἐνεκάλουν καὶ λόγον ἀπῄτουν) recalls the Parable of the Steward of Unrighteousness, of whom his lord demanded an account (Luke 16:1 ff.), as also the metaphor of 1 Peter 4:10, ὡς καλοὶ οἰκονόμοι.—μετὰ πραΰτητος καὶ φόβου, with meekness (cf. 1 Peter 3:4) and fear of God (Isa. l.c. has the same play on the senses of fear).—συνείδησιν ἔχοντες ἀγαθήν, intermediate step between διὰ σ. θεοῦ and the quasi-personification of σ. . in 1 Peter 3:21; so St. Paul says οὐδὲν γὰρ ἐμαυτῷ σύνοιδα (1 Corinthians 4:4) but goes on beyond the contrast between self-judgment and that of other men to God’s judgment. 1 Peter 3:17 supplies the explanation here.—ἵναἀναστροφήν, generalisation of Peter’s personal experience at Pentecost, when the Jews first scoffed and then were pierced to the heart (Acts 2:13; Acts 2:37). Misrepresentation is apparently the extent of their present suffering (17) and this they are encouraged to hope may be stopped. The heathen will somehow be put to shame even if they are not converted (1 Peter 2:12).—ἐν ᾧ, in the matter in respect of which; see 1 Peter 2:12.—ἐπηρεάζοντες, occurs in Luke 6:28, προσεύχεσθε περὶ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς, and therefore constitutes another hint of contact between St. Luke and Peter (cf. χάρις, 1 Peter 2:19). Aristotle defines ἐπηρεασμός as “hindrance to the wishes of another not for the sake of gaining anything oneself but in order to baulk the other”—the spirit of the dog in the manger. Ordinarily the verb means to libel, cf. λαλῆσαι δόλον (10).—ὑμῶνἀναστροφήν, your (possessive genitive precedes noun in Hellenistic Greek) good-in-Christ behaviour: ἑν Χριστῷ (1 Peter 4:14; 1 Peter 4:16) is practically equivalent to Christian, cf. if any is in Christ a new creature.

[153] cod. Purpureus. 6th century (fragments of all the Gospels).

[154] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
1 Peter 3:17. κρεῖττον, cf. 1 Peter 2:19 f., where χάρις κλέος correspond to μισθὸν περισσόν of the sources.—εἰ θέλοι τὸ θέλημα θεοῦ. Again optative implies that it is a purely hypothetical case (cf. 1 Peter 3:14). For the semi-personification of the will of God compare Ephesians 1:11, where the θέλημα has a βουλή; so Paul is Apostle through the will of God (1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1). For the pleonastic expression cf. the verbal parallel ἐάν τις θέλῃ τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ ποιεῖν, John 7:17. So God’s patience was waiting (1 Peter 3:20).

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
1 Peter 3:18. The advantage of suffering for well-doing is exemplified in the experience of Christ, who gained thereby quickening (1 Peter 3:21) and glory (1 Peter 3:22). How far the pattern applies to the Christian is not clear. Christ suffered once for all according to Hebrews 9:24-28; the Christian suffers for a little (1 Peter 3:10). But does the Christian suffer also for sins? St. Paul and Ignatius speak of themselves as περίψημα περικαθάρματα; compare the value of righteous men for Sodom. But even if Peter contemplated this parallel it is quite subordinate to the main idea, in which (spirit) even to the spirits in prison he went and preached them that disobeyed once upon a time when the patience of God was waiting in the days of Noah while the ark was being fitted out.… The spirits who disobeyed in the days of Noah are the sons of God described in Genesis 6:1-4. But there as in the case of Sarah St. Peter depends on the current tradition in which the original myth has been modified and amplified. This dependence supplies an adequate explanation of the difficulties which have been found here and in 1 Peter 3:21, provided that the plain statement of the preaching in Hades is not prejudged to be impossible. The important points in the tradition as given in the Book of Enoch (vi.–xvi. cf. Jubilees v.) are as follows: the angels who lusted after the daughters of men descended in the days of Jared as his name (Descent) shows. The children of this unlawful union were the Nephilim and the Eliud. They also taught men all evil arts so that they perished appealing to God for justice. At last Enoch was sent to pronounce the sentence of condemnation upon these watchers, who in terror besought him to present a petition to God on their behalf. God refused to grant them peace. They were spirits eternal and immortal wi.o transgressed the line of demarcation between men and angels and disobeyed the law that spiritual beings do not marry and beget children like men. Accordingly they are bound and their children slay one another leaving their disembodied spirits to propagate sin in the world even alter it has been purged by the Flood. But Christians believed that Christ came to seek and to save the lost and the captives; all things are to be subjected to Him. So Peter supplements the tradition which he accepts. For him it was not merely important as connected with the only existing type of the Last Judgment or an alternative explanation of the origin and continuance of sin but also as the greatest proof of the complete victory of Christ over the most obstinate and worst of sinners.—ἐν ᾧ sc. πνεύματι: as a bodiless spirit in the period between the Passion (18) and the Resurrection-Ascension (22).—καί, even to the typical rebels who had sinned past lorgiveness according to pre-Christian notions.—τοῖς ἐν φυλακῇ πνεύμασιν, the spirits in prison, i.e., the angels of Gen. l.c. who were identified with my spirit of Genesis 6:3, and therefore described as having been sent to the earth by God in one form of the legend (Jubilees, l.c.). The name contains also the point of their offending (Enoch summarised above); cf. 2 Peter 2:4; Judges 1:6; and the prophecy of Isaiah 51:1 (which Jesus claimed, Luke 4:8 f.), κηρῦξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν. These spirits were in ward when Christ preached to them in accordance with God s sentence, bind them in the depths of the earth (Jub. 1 Peter 5:6).—ἐκήρυξεν = εὐηγγελίσατο, cf. Luke 4:8. Before Christ came, they had not heard the Gospel of God’s Reign. Enoch’s mediation failed. But at Christ’s preaching they repented like the men of Nineveh; for it is said that angels subjected themselves to Him (1 Peter 3:22, cf. ὑποτάσσεσθαι, throughout the Epistle.—ἀπειθήσασίν ποτε, their historic disobedience or rebellion is latent in the narrative of Genesis 6. and expounded by Enoch; cf. 1 Peter 2:7)., 1 Peter 3:1, 1 Peter 4:17. In LXX ἀπ commonly = rebel (מרה).—ἀπεξεδέχετομακροθυμία, God’s long-suffering was waiting. The reading ἅπαξ ἐξεδέχετο is attractive, as supplying a reference to the present period of waiting which precedes the second and final Judgment (Romans 2:4; Romans 9:22) The tradition lengthens the period of πάρεσις (Romans 3:25); but St. Peter limits it by adding while the Ark was being fitted out in accordance with Gen. If Adam’s transgression be taken as the origin of sin the long-suffering is still greater. The idea seems to be due to ἐνεθυμήθην, I reflected, of the LXX, which stands for the unworthy anthropomorphism of the Hebrew I repented in Genesis 6:6. Compare for language Jam 5:7; Matthew 24:37 f.; Luke 17:26 f.—εἰς ἣν, sc. entered and.—ὀλίγοι κ.τ.λ. St. Peter hints that here in the typical narrative is the basis of the disciple’s question, εἰ ὀλίγοι οἱ σωζόμενοι (Luke 13:23).—ὀκτὼ ψυχαί so Genesis 7:7; ψ. = persons (of both sexes), cf. Acts 2:41, etc. The usage occurs in Greek of all periods; so נפש in Hebrew and soul in English.—διεσώθησαν διʼ ὕδατος, were brought safe through water. Both local and instrumental meanings of διʼ are contemplated. The former is an obvious summary of the whole narrative; cf. also διὰ τὸ ὕδωρ (Genesis 7:7). The latter is implied in the statement that the water increased and lifted up the ark (Genesis 7:17 f.); though it fits better the antitype. So Josephus (Ant. I., iii. 2) says that “the ark was strong so that from no side was it worsted by the violence of the water and Noah with his household διασῴζεται”. Peter lays stress on the water (rather than the ark as e.g., Hebrews 11) for the sake of the parallel with Baptism (Romans 6:3; cf. St. Paul’s application of the Passage of the Red Sea, 1 Corinthians 10:1 f.).

By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 3:21. Baptism is generally the antitype of the deliverance of Noah. Christians pass through water (in both senses) to salvation; in each microcosm are the sins which must be washed away and the remnant which is to be saved. Therefore the antitypical water saves us ( = τὸ ὕδωρ > διʼ ὕδατος) being οὐ σαρκὸς, κ.τ.λ.; cf. Titus 3:5.—βάπτισμα if not an interpolation explains ὁ ἀντ. which corresponding to the (pre-existent) type (cf. Hebrews 9:24 the earthly temple is ἀντίτυπα τῶν ἀληθινῶν). The following definition by exclusion contrasts Christian baptism with Jewish and pagan lustrations and also with the Deluge which was a removal of sin-fouled flesh from the sinners of old (1 Peter 4:6); the former affected the flesh and not the conscience (Hebrews 9:13 f.), the latter removed the flesh but not the spiritual defilement proceeding from past sin. σαρκός and συνειδήσεως stand before their belongings for emphasis and not merely in accordance with prevalent custom. For ἀπόθεσις ῥύπου compare Isaiah 4:4 (sequel of the description of the daughters of Zion which is used above 1 Peter 3:3), Jehovah shall wash away their filth (τὸν ῥύπον: LXX chivalrously prefixes of the sons and). ἐπερώτημα is explained by Oecumenius as meaning earnest, pledge as in Byzantine Greek law. Its use for the questions put to the candidate in the baptismal service (dost thou renou nee.…?) is probably due to St. Peter here. In ordinary Greek (Herodotus and Thucydides) it = question ἐπ. having no force, as if implying a second additional question arising out of the first). Here the noun corresponds to the verb as used in Isaiah 65:1, quoted by St. Paul in Romans 10:20, ἐμφανὴς ἐγενόμην τοῖς ἐμὲ μὴ ἐπερωτῶσι = (1) a seeking, quest after God or (2) request addressed to God (supported by εἰς cf. the formula ἔντευξις εἰς τὸ βασίλεως ὄνομα, a petition addressed to the king’s majesty). In the latter case Peter will still be thinking as above and below of the disobedient spirits who presented a petition (ἐρώτη σις) to God inspired by an evil conscience (see Enoch summarised above). At any rate συνειδ. is probably subjective or possessive rather than objective genitive. The believer who comes to baptism has believed in Christ and repented of his past sins, renounces them and the spirits which prompted them and appeals to God for strength to carry out this renunciation in his daily life.—διʼ ἀναστ. with σώζει; compare 1 Corinthians 15:13-17.

Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
1 Peter 3:22. Christ went into Heaven—and now is on God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1)—when angels and authorities and powers had subjected themselves to Him in accordance with prophecy (Psalm 8:7; cf. Hebrews 2:8; 1 Corinthians 15:24 ff.). For the orders of angels see also Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21. Clearly they include the rebels of 1 Peter 3:19 f. whom Jubilees calls the angels of the Lord (Jub. iv. 15) and Onkelos the sons of the mighty and their children (?) the giants.

The Expositor's Greek Testament - Nicoll

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