Jude 1:12
These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
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(12-19) Three-fold description of the ungodly, corresponding to the three examples just given. The divisions are clearly marked, each section beginning with “These are” (Jude 1:12; Jude 1:16; Jude 1:19).

(12-15) Description corresponding to Cain.

(12) These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you.—Rather, These are the rocks in your feasts of charity, banqueting with you fearlessly (see next Note); or, These are they who banquet together fearlessly, rocks in your feasts of charity. The former is preferable. But in any case we must probably read rocksi.e., that on which those who meet them at your love-feasts will be wrecked (see Notes on 1Corinthians 11:20-22)—not “spots,” which is borrowed from 2Peter 2:13. But it is just possible that as spiloi, St. Peter’s word, may mean either “spots” or “rocks” (though most commonly the former), so St. Jude’s word (spilades) may mean either “spots” or “rocks” (though almost invariably the latter). In an Orphic poem of the fourth century, spilades means “spots “; but this is rather late authority for its use in the first century. Here “rocks” is the safer translation. St. Peter is dwelling on the sensuality of these sinners, and for him “spots” is the more obvious metaphor. St. Jude, in tracing an analogy between them and Cain, would be more likely to select “rocks.” These libertines, like Cain, turned the ordinances of religion into selfishness and sin: both, like sunken rocks, destroyed those who unsuspectingly approached them. On the difference of reading respecting the word for “feasts of charity,” or “love-feasts,” see Note on 2Peter 2:13. Possibly the name Agapæ for such feasts comes from this passage. Had it been common when St. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 11, he would probably have made a point of it; love-feasts in which there was no love. (Comp. 1Peter 5:14.)

Feeding themselves without fear. “Without fear” goes better with “feasting with you”; but the Greek admits of either construction. “Feeding themselves” instead of the poorer members of the flock; whereas feeding the poor was one great object of the love-feasts. Others explain, “feeding themselves” (literally, pasturing themselves) instead of waiting to be tended by the shepherds. The former is better, the scandal being similar to that described in 1Corinthians 11:21. (Comp. Isaiah 56:11, which St. Jude may possibly have had in his mind; and see above, second Note on Jude 1:8.)

Clouds without water.—Comp. Proverbs 25:14. The meaning is not that these men bring much food to the love-feasts and give nothing away: there is no longer any allusion to the love-feasts. Rather, these men are ostentatious generally, and yet do no good inflated and empty. (See on 2Peter 2:17.)

Carried about of winds.—More literally, borne past (without giving any rain) by winds; or, perhaps, driven out of their course (and so showing their flimsiness) by winds.

Trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit.—There is no such strange contradiction in the Greek, nor in any of the earlier English versions. The meaning rather is, autumn trees (which ought to be full of fruit, and yet are) without fruit; in allusion, probably, to the barren fig-tree. Others, less simply, explain “trees in late autumn”—i.e., stripped and bare. But for this we should expect “winter trees” rather than “autumn trees.”

Twice dead.—Utterly dead, and hence “plucked up by the roots.” Spiritually these men were “twice dead” in having returned, after baptism, to the death of sin. The writer piles up metaphor on metaphor and epithet on epithet in the effort to express his indignation and abhorrence. The epithets here are in logical order: in autumn, fruitless, dead, rooted up.

(13) Foaming out their own shame.—More literally, shames, their shameful acts. Isaiah 57:20 is probably in St. Jude’s mind: “The wicked are like the troubled sea, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.”

Wandering stars.—Nothing is gained by understanding comets, which have their orbits, and do not wander, in St. Jude’s sense, any more than planets do. The image is that of stars leaving their place in the heavens, where they are beautiful and useful, and wandering away (to the utter confusion of every one who directs his course by them) into sunless gloom, where their light is extinguished, and whence they cannot return. This simile suits the “false teachers of 2 Peter better than the “ungodly” of Jude. Would the writer of 2 Peter have neglected to avail himself of it?

(14) And Enoch also.—On the Book of Enoch, and this famous quotation from it, see Excursus at the end of the Epistle. The following passage from Irenæus (IV. Xvi. 2) shows that he was acquainted with the book, and throws light on St. Jude’s use of it:—“Enoch also, pleasing God without circumcision, was God’s ambassador to the angels, although he was a man, and was raised to heaven, and is preserved even until now as a witness of the just judgment of God. For the angels by transgression fell to earth for judgment, while a man, by pleasing God, was raised to heaven for salvation.” The mission of Enoch to the fallen angels is narrated in the Book of Enoch, 12-16.

The seventh from Adam.—This is not inserted without special meaning. It was scarcely needed to distinguish the son of Jared from the son of Cain; in that case it would have been more simple to say, “the son of Jared.” It either points to the extreme antiquity of the prophecy, or else to the mystical and sabbatical number seven. Enoch (see preceding Note) was a type of perfected humanity, and hence the notion of “divine completion and rest” is perhaps suggested here. Thus, Augustine, in his reply to Faustus the Manichæan (xii. 14):—“Enoch, the seventh from Adam, pleased God and was translated, as there is to be a seventh day of rest, in which all will be translated who during the sixth day of the world’s history are created anew by the incarnate Word.” Several of the numbers connected with Enoch in Genesis seem to be symmetrical, and intended to convey a meaning.

With ten thousands of his saints.—Or, among His holy myriadsi.e., encircled by them. (Comp. Deuteronomy 33:2; Hebrews 12:22.)

(15) To execute judgment.—The Greek phrase occurs only here and John 5:27.

To convince.—Better, to convict. (Comp. John 8:46, and see Notes on John 16:8, and on 1Corinthians 14:24.) The words “among them” must be omitted, as wanting in authority.

Hard speeches.—Comp. John 6:60, the only other place where this epithet is applied to words. The meaning is somewhat similar in each case: harsh, repulsive, inhuman. It does not mean “hard to understand.” Nabal (1Samuel 25:3) has this epithet with the LXX., where the Authorised version has “churlish.” In the Ethiopic version of the Book of Enoch there appears to be nothing to represent “hard speeches . . . spoken” in this passage.

(16-18) Description corresponding to Balaam.

(16) Complainers.—Literally, discontented with their lot. Men who “shape their course according to their own lusts” can never be content, for (1) the means of gratifying them are not always present, and (2) the lusts are insatiable. Such was eminently the case with Balaam, in his cupidity and his chafing against the restraints which prevented him from gratitifying it. There is a possible reference to this verse in the Shepherd of Hermas (Sim. IX. xix. 3).

Great swelling words.—See Note on 2Peter 2:18.

Having men’s persons in admiration.—More simply, admiring persons (so the Rhemish version)—i.e., having regard to people of distinction, as Balaam to Balak. These ungodly men were courtiers, flatterers, and parasites.

Because of advantage.For the sake of advantagei.e., to gain something by it: like “for reward” (Jude 1:11). Exactly Balaam’s case. Note that each half of the verse falls into an irregular triplet.

(17) But, beloved.—Better, as in Jude 1:20, But ye, beloved. “Ye” is emphatic in both cases: “ye,” in contrast to these impious men. All previous English versions insert the “ye.” While taking the form of an exhortation, the passage still remains virtually descriptive. “Be not ye deceived by their impudent boasting and interested pandering, for these are the scoffing sensualists against whom the Apostles warned you.”

Spoken before of the apostles.—The old use of “of” for “by,” like “carried about of winds” (Jude 1:12). (Comp. 2Peter 2:19.) St. Jude implies that this warning of the Apostles is well known to those whom he addresses. This appeal to the authority of Apostles would be more naturally made by one who was not an Apostle, but cannot be regarded as decisive. See Introduction, I., and Note on 2Peter 3:2, to which, however, this is not quite parallel, for the writer there has already declared himself to be an Apostle (2Peter 1:1). There is nothing to show that the author of our Epistle regards the Apostles as considerably removed in time from himself. “In the last time is their expression, not his; and by it they did not mean any age remote from themselves. (Comp. 1John 2:18; 2Timothy 3:1-2; 2Timothy 3:6; Hebrews 1:2; 1Peter 1:20.)

(18) How that they told you.—Or, perhaps, used to tell you: but we cannot infer from this that oral teaching exclusively is meant. This, again, leaves the question of the writer’s position open. Had St. Jude written “how that they told us,” it would have been decisive against his being an Apostle.

There should be mockers.—Better, that there shall be scoffers. The quotation is direct, and is introduced formally by a word which in Greek commonly precedes a direct quotation. This, however, scarcely amounts to proof that the quotation is from a written document. The word for “mockers” here is the same as that translated “scoffers” in 2Peter 3:3. The translation should be the same in both passages.

In the last time.—These words had better come first: that in the last time there shall be scoffers.

Who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.—Better, walking according to their own lusts of impieties. The force of the genitive may be merely adjectival, as the Authorised version renders it: but as it may indicate the things lusted for, it is better to keep a literal rendering of it.

(19) Description corresponding to Korah.

(19) These be they.—Better, These are they—for the sake of making the openings of Jude 1:12; Jude 1:16; Jude 1:19 exactly alike, as they are in the Greek.

Who separate themselves.—“Themselves” must be omitted, the evidence against it being overwhelming. “Who separate:” who are creating a schism, like Korah and his company; claiming to be the chief and most enlightened members in the community to which they still profess to belong, though they turn upside down its fundamental principles. The context rather leads us to suppose that these libertines claimed to be the only “spiritual” Christians, inasmuch as they said that to their exalted spiritual natures the things of sense were purely indifferent, and might be indulged in without loss or risk; while they taunted other Christians, who regulated their conduct carefully with regard to such things, with being psychic or “sensuous.” Note the three-fold division of the verse.

Sensual.—The Greek word is psychic, and has no English equivalent; “sensuous” would perhaps be best. The LXX. do not use it, but it occurs six times in the New Testament. Four times (1Corinthians 2:14; 1Corinthians 15:44; 1Corinthians 15:46) it is translated “natural” (see Note on 1Corinthians 2:14); once (James 3:15), “sensual,” with “natural” in the margin; and here simply “sensual.” In 1Corinthians 15:44; 1Corinthians 15:46, the moral meaning is in the background; in the other three passages the moral meaning is prominent and is distinctly bad. Psychic is the middle term of a triplet of terms, “carnal, psychic, spiritual.” “Carnal” and “spiritual speak for themselves—the one bad, the other good. Psychic, which comes between, is much closer to “carnal,” and with it is opposed to “spiritual.” This is more clearly seen in the Latin equivalents—carnalis, animalis, spiritalis. The carnal man is ruled by his passions, and rises little above the level of the brutes. The psychic man is ruled by human reasoning, and human affections, and does not rise above the world of sense. The spiritual man is ruled by his spirit—the noblest part of his nature—and this is ruled by the Spirit of God. He rises to and lives among those things which can only be “spiritually discerned.” Our Christian psychology is seriously affected by the absence of any English word for psychic—the part of man’s nature which it represents is often lost sight of.

Having not the Spirit.—Or, perhaps, because they have no spirit. The Holy Spirit may be meant, although the Greek word has no article; but more probably spiritual power and insight is what is meant. These men had allowed the spiritual part of then nature, of which they talked so much, to become so buried in the mire of sensual indulgence and human self-sufficiency, that it was utterly inoperative and practically non-existent. The form of negative used in the Greek seems to imply that their “having no spirit” is the reason why they are justly called “sensuous.”

Each of these three descriptions (Jude 1:12-19) is shorter than the preceding one. The writer hurries through an unpalatable subject to the more pleasing duty of exhorting those faithful Christians for whose sake he is writing.

Jude 1:12. These — Ungodly teachers; are spots — Blemishes; in your feasts of charity — Or love-feasts, as αγαπαις is rendered by many interpreters. Commentators, however, are not agreed what sort of feasts they were. Some think they were those suppers which the first Christians ate previous to their eating the Lord’s supper, of which St. Paul is supposed to have spoken 1 Corinthians 11:21; but which, in consequence of the abuse of them by persons of a character like those here described, were soon laid aside. Others think Jude is speaking of the ancient love-suppers, which Tertullian hath described, (Apol., chap. 39,) and which do not seem to have been accompanied with the eucharist. These were continued in the church to the middle of the fourth century, when they were prohibited to be kept in the churches. Dr. Benson observes, “they were called love-feasts, or suppers, because the richer Christians brought in a variety of provisions to feed the poor, the fatherless, the widows, and strangers, and ate with them to show their love to them.” When they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear — Abandoning themselves to gluttony and excess, without any fear of God, or jealousy over themselves, and so bringing a great reproach on the gospel, and the religion of Christ. Clouds without water — Promising fertilizing showers of instruction and edification, but yielding none, or making a show of what they have not; see on 2 Peter 2:17; carried about of winds — Of temptation hither and thither, without any command of themselves, into various sorts of wickedness. Trees without fruit — The original expression, δενδρα φθινοπωρινα, is rendered by Macknight, withered autumnal trees; the latter word being derived from φθινοπωρον, which, according to Scapula, signifies, The decline of autumn drawing toward winter. Or, according to Phavorinus, it signifies a disease in trees which withers their fruit; a sense of the word which Beza has adopted in his translation. The translation of the Vulgate, arbores autumnales infructuoscæ, gives the same sense with that of Macknight, and suggests, he thinks, a beautiful idea. For, “in the eastern countries, the finest fruits being produced in autumn, by calling the corrupt teachers autumnal trees, Jude intimated the just expectation which was entertained of their being fruitful in good doctrine: but by adding ακαρπα, without fruit, he marked their uselessness, and the disappointment of their disciples.” Twice dead — First in the stock, and afterward in the graft; first by nature, and afterward by apostacy. Or dead under the Mosaic dispensation, (those ungodly teachers being mostly of the Jewish nation,) and though at first apparently quickened on their reception of the gospel, yet, through the abuse of its doctrines and privileges, dead and barren a second time: plucked up by the roots — As hopeless and irrecoverable. “There is a striking climax in this description of the false teachers: they were trees stripped of their leaves, and withering; they had no fruit, being barren that season: they were twice dead, having borne no fruit formerly: lastly, they were rooted out, as utterly barren.”

1:8-16 False teachers are dreamers; they greatly defile and grievously wound the soul. These teachers are of a disturbed mind and a seditious spirit; forgetting that the powers that be, are ordained of God, Ro 13:1. As to the contest about the body of Moses, it appears that Satan wished to make the place of his burial known to the Israelites, in order to tempt them to worship him, but he was prevented, and vented his rage in desperate blasphemy. This should remind all who dispute never to bring railing charges. Also learn hence, that we ought to defend those whom God owns. It is hard, if not impossible, to find any enemies to the Christian religion, who did not, and do not, live in open or secret contradiction to the principles of natural religion. Such are here compared to brute beasts, though they often boast of themselves as the wisest of mankind. They corrupt themselves in the things most open and plain. The fault lies, not in their understandings, but in their depraved wills, and their disordered appetites and affections. It is a great reproach, though unjust to religion, when those who profess it are opposed to it in heart and life. The Lord will remedy this in his time and way; not in men's blind way of plucking up the wheat with the tares. It is sad when men begin in the Spirit, and end in the flesh. Twice dead; they had been once dead in their natural, fallen state; but now they are dead again by the evident proofs of their hypocrisy. Dead trees, why cumber they the ground! Away with them to the fire. Raging waves are a terror to sailing passengers; but when they get into port, the noise and terror are ended. False teachers are to expect the worst punishments in this world and in that to come. They glare like meteors, or falling stars, and then sink into the blackness of darkness for ever. We have no mention of the prophecy of Enoch in any other part or place of Scripture; yet one plain text of Scripture, proves any point we are to believe. We find from this, that Christ's coming to judge was prophesied of, as early as the times before the flood. The Lord cometh: what a glorious time will that be! Notice how often the word ungodly is repeated. Many now do not at all refer to the terms godly, or ungodly, unless it be to mock at even the words; but it is not so in the language taught us by the Holy Ghost. Hard speeches of one another, especially if ill-grounded, will certainly come into account at the day of judgment. These evil men and seducers are angry at every thing that happens, and never pleased with their own state and condition. Their will and their fancy, are their only rule and law. Those who please their sinful appetites, are most prone to yield to ungovernable passions. The men of God, from the beginning of the world, have declared the doom denounced on them. Such let us avoid. We are to follow men only as they follow Christ.These are spots - See the notes at 2 Peter 2:13. The word used by Peter, however, is not exactly the same as that used here. Peter uses the word, σπἶλοι spiloi; Jude, σπιλάδες spilades. The word used by Jude means, properly, "a rock" by or in the sea; a cliff, etc. It may either be a rock by the sea, against which vessels may be wrecked, or a hidden rock "in" the sea, on which they may be stranded at an unexpected moment. See Hesyehius and Pollux, as quoted by Wetstein, "in loc." The idea here seems to be, not that they were "spots and blemishes" in their sacred feasts, but that they were like hidden rocks to the mariner. As those rocks were the cause of shipwreck, so these false teachers caused others to make shipwreck of their faith. They were as dangerous in the church as hidden rocks are in the ocean.

In your feasts of charity - Your feasts of love. The reference is probably to the Lord's Supper, called a feast or festival of love, because:

(1) it revealed the love of Christ to the world;

(2) it was the means of strengthening the mutual love of the disciples: a festival which love originated, and where love reigned.

It has been supposed by many, that the reference here is to festivals which were subsequently called "Agapae," and which are now known as "love-feasts" - meaning a festival immediately "preceding" the celebration of the Lord's Supper. But there are strong objections to the supposition that there is reference here to such a festival.

(1) there is no evidence, unless it be found in this passage, that such celebrations had the sanction of the apostles. They are nowhere else mentioned in the New Testament, or alluded to, unless it is in 1Co. 11:17-34, an instance which is mentioned only to reprove it, and to show that such appendages to the Lord's Supper were wholly unauthorized by the original institution, and were liable to gross abuse.

(2) the supposition that they existed, and that they are referred to here, is not necessary in order to a proper explanation of this passage. All that it fairly means will be met by the supposition that the reference is to the Lord's Supper. that was in every sense a festival of love or charity. The words will appropriately apply to that, and there is no necessity of supposing anything else in order to meet their full signification.

(3) there can be no doubt that such a custom early existed in the Christian church, and extensively prevailed; but it can readily be accounted for without supposing that it had the sanction of the apostles, or that it existed in their time.

(a) Festivals prevailed among the Jews, and it would not be unnatural to introduce them into the Christian church.

(b) The custom prevailed among the heathen of having a "feast upon a sacrifice," or in connection with a sacrifice; and as the Lord's Supper commemorated the great sacrifice for sin, it was not unnatural, in imitation of the heathen, to append a feast or festival to that ordinance, either before or after its celebration.

(c) This very passage in Jude, with perhaps some others in the New Testament (compare 1 Corinthians 11:25; Acts 2:46; Acts 6:2), might be so construed as to seem to lend countenance to the custom. For these reasons it seems clear to me that the passage before us does not refer to "love-feasts;" and, therefore, that they are not authorized in the New Testament. See, however, Coleman's Antiquities of the Christian church, chapter xvi., Section 13.

When they feast with you - Showing that they were professors of religion. Notes at 2 Peter 2:13.

Feeding themselves without fear - That is, without any proper reverence or respect for the ordinance; attending on the Lord's Supper as if it were an ordinary feast, and making it an occasion of riot and gluttony. See 1 Corinthians 11:20-22.

Clouds they are ... - Notes, 2 Peter 2:17. Compare Ephesians 4:14.


12. spots—So 2Pe 2:13, Greek, "spiloi"; but here the Greek is spilades, which elsewhere, in secular writers, means rocks, namely, on which the Christian love-feasts were in danger of being shipwrecked. The oldest manuscript prefixes the article emphatically, "THE rocks." The reference to "clouds … winds … waves of the sea," accords with this image of rocks. Vulgate seems to have been misled by the similar sounding word to translate, as English Version, "spots"; compare however, Jude 23, which favors English Version, if the Greek will bear it. Two oldest manuscripts, by the transcriber's effort to make Jude say the same as Peter, read here "deceivings" for "love-feasts," but the weightiest manuscript and authorities support English Version reading. The love-feast accompanied the Lord's Supper (1Co 11:17-34, end). Korah the Levite, not satisfied with his ministry, aspired to the sacrificing priesthood also: so ministers in the Lord's Supper have sought to make it a sacrifice, and themselves the sacrificing priests, usurping the function of our only Christian sacerdotal Priest, Christ Jesus. Let them beware of Korah's doom!

feeding themselves—Greek, "pasturing (tending) themselves." What they look to is the pampering of themselves, not the feeding of the flock.

without fear—Join these words not as English Version, but with "feast." Sacred feasts especially ought to be celebrated with fear. Feasting is not faulty in itself [Bengel], but it needs to be accompanied with fear of forgetting God, as Job in the case of his sons' feasts.

clouds—from which one would expect refreshing rains. 2Pe 2:17, "wells without water." Professors without practice.

carried about—The oldest manuscripts have "carried aside," that is, out of the right course (compare Eph 4:14).

trees whose fruit withereth—rather, "trees of the late (or waning) autumn," namely, when there are no longer leaves or fruits on the trees [Bengel].

without fruit—having no good fruit of knowledge and practice; sometimes used of what is positively bad.

twice dead—First when they cast their leaves in autumn, and seem during winter dead, but revive again in spring; secondly, when they are "plucked up by the roots." So these apostates, once dead in unbelief, and then by profession and baptism raised from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, but now having become dead again by apostasy, and so hopelessly dead. There is a climax. Not only without leaves, like trees in late autumn, but without fruit: not only so, but dead twice; and to crown all, "plucked up by the roots."

These are spots: see 2 Peter 2:13.

In your feasts of charity; feasts used among the primitive Christians, to show their unity among themselves, and promote and maintain mutual charity, and for relief of the poor among them.

Feeding themselves without fear; unreasonably cramming themselves, without respect to God or the church.

Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; empty, making a show of what they have not, Proverbs 25:14; and inconstant: see 2 Peter 2:17.

Trees whose fruit withereth; he compares them to trees, which having leaves and blossoms, make a show of fruit, but cast it, or never bring it to maturity, or it rots instead of ripening; so these here make a show of truth and holiness, but all comes to nothing.

Without fruit; without any good fruit, (which only deserves to be called fruit), brought forth by them, either in themselves or followers, who never get any real benefit by them.

Twice dead; wholly dead; dead over and over; dead by nature, and dead by that hardness of heart they have contracted, or that reprobate sense to which God hath given them up.

Plucked up by the roots; and so never like to bear fruit, and fit only for the fire; it notes the incurableness of their apostacy, and their nearness to destruction.

These are spots in your feasts of charity,.... Or "love". The Jews speak , "of a feast of faith" (b). These here seem to be the Agapae, or love feasts, of the primitive Christians; the design of which was to maintain and promote brotherly love, from whence they took their name; and to refresh the poor saints, that they might have a full and comfortable meal now and then: their manner of keeping them was this; they began and ended them with prayer and singing; and they observed them with great temperance and frugality; and they were attended with much joy and gladness, and simplicity of heart: but were quickly abused, by judaizing Christians, as observing them in imitation of the passover; and by intemperance in eating and drinking; and by excluding the poor, for whose benefit they were chiefly designed; and by setting up separate meetings for them, and by admitting unfit persons unto them; such as here are said to be spots in them, blemishes, which brought great reproach and scandal upon them, being persons of infamous characters and conversations. The allusion is either to spots in garments, or in faces, or in sacrifices; or to a sort of earth that defiles; or else to rocks and hollow stones on shores, lakes, and rivers, which collect filth and slime; all which serve to expose and point out the persons designed. The Alexandrian copy and some others read, "these are in their own deceivings, spots", instead of as in 2 Peter 2:13,

when they feast with you; which shows that they were among them, continued members with them, and partook with them in their solemn feasts, and were admitted to communion; and carries in it a kind of reproof to the saints, that they suffered such persons among them, and allowed them such privilege, intimacy, and familiarity with them:

feeding themselves without fear; these were like the shepherds of Israel, who fed themselves, and not the flock, and were very impious and impudent, open and bare faced in their iniquities, neither fearing God nor regarding man,

Clouds they are, without water; they are compared to clouds for their number, being many false prophets and antichrists that were come out into the world; and for their sudden rise, having at once, and at an unawares, crept into the churches; and for the general darkness they spread over the churches, making it, by their doctrines and practices, to be a dark and cloudy day, a day of darkness, and gloominess, a day of clouds, and of thick darkness, a day of trouble, rebuke, and blasphemy; and for the storms, factions, rents, and divisions they made; as also for their situation and height, soaring aloft, and being vainly puffed up in their fleshly mind; as well as for their sudden destruction, disappearing at once. And to clouds "without water", because destitute of the true grace of God, and of true evangelical doctrine; which, like rain, is from above, from heaven; and which, like that, refreshes, softens, and fructifies. Now these false teachers looked like clouds, that promised rain, boasted of Gospel light and knowledge, but were destitute of it, wherefore their ministry was uncomfortable and unprofitable,

Carried about of winds; either of false doctrines, or of their own lusts and passions, or of Satan's temptations:

trees whose fruit withereth: or "trees in autumn"; either like to them, which put forth at that season of the year, and so come to nothing; or like to trees which are bare of leaves as well as fruit, it being the time when the leaves fall from the trees; and so may be expressive of these persons casting off the leaves of an outward profession, of their going out from the churches, separating from them, and forsaking the assembling together with them, when what fruit of holiness, and good works, they seemed to have, came to nothing; and so were

without fruit, either of Gospel doctrine, or of Gospel holiness and righteousness; nor did they make any true converts, but what they made were like the Pharisees, as bad, or worse than themselves; and from their unfruitfulness in all respects, it appeared that they were not in Christ the true vine, and were not sent forth by him, nor with his Gospel, and that they were destitute of the Spirit of God,

Twice dead; that is, entirely, thoroughly, and really dead in trespasses and sins, notwithstanding their pretensions to religion and godliness; or the sense may be, that they were not only liable to a corporeal death, common to them with all mankind, but also to an eternal one, or to the death both of soul and body in hell. Homer calls (d) those "twice dead", that go to hell alive: or rather the sense is this, that they were dead in sin by nature, as all men are, and again having made a profession of religion, were now become dead to that profession; and so were twice dead, once as they were born, and a second time as they had apostatized:

plucked up by the roots; either by separating themselves from the churches, where they had been externally planted; or by the act of the church in cutting them off, and casting them out; or by the judgment of God upon them,

(b) Zohar in Exod. fol. 36. 3, 4. (d) Odyss. l. 12. lin. 22.

{10} These are spots in your {l} feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without {m} fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

(10) He rebukes most sharply with many other notes and marks, both their dishonesty or filthiness, and their sauciness, but especially, their vain bravery of words and vain pride, joining with it a grave and heavy threatening from an ancient prophecy of Enoch concerning the judgment to come.

(l) The feasts of charity were certain banquets, which the brethren who were members of the Church kept altogether, as Tertullian sets them forth in his apology, chap. 39.

(m) Impudently, without all reverence either to God or man.

Jude 1:12. A further description of these false teachers; comp. 2 Peter 2:13; 2 Peter 2:17.

οὗτοί εἰσιν [οἱ] ἐν ταῖς ἀγάπαις ὑμῶν σπιλάδες] In the reading οἱ, ὄντες is either, with de Wette, to be supplied; thus: “these are they who are σπιλάδες in your ἀγάπαις;” or οἱ is to be joined to συνευωχούμενοι (comp. Jude 1:16; Jude 1:19; so Hofmann). That by ἀγάπαις the love-feasts are to be understood, is not to be doubted. Erasmus incorrectly takes it as = charitas, and Luther as a designation of alms.

The word σπιλάδες is usually explained = cliffs (so also formerly in this commentary). If this is correct, the opponents of Jude are so called, inasmuch as the love-feasts were wrecked on them (de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger), i.e. by their conduct these feasts ceased to be what they ought to be; or inasmuch as they prepared destruction for others, who partook of the love-feasts (Schott and this commentary). It is, however, against this interpretation that σπιλάς does not specially indicate cliffs, but has the more general meaning rocks (Hofmann: “projecting interruptions of the plain”), and the reference to being wrecked is not in the slightest degree indicated.[35]

Stier and Fronmüller take ΣΠΙΛΆΔΕς as = ΣΠῖΛΟΙ, 2 Peter 2:13; this is not unwarranted, as ΣΠΙΛΆς, which is properly an adjective (comp. ΣΠΟΡΆς, ΦΥΓΆς, ΛΟΓΆς), may be derived as well from ΣΠῖΛΟς = filth (comp. Γῆ ΣΠΙΛΆς = clayey soil; so Sophocles, Trach. 672, without γῆ), as from ΣΠΊΛΟς = a rock (comp. ΠΟΛΥΣΠΙΛΆς). In this case ΣΠΙΛΆΔΕς may either be taken as a substantive = what is filthy, spots (these are spots in your agapé; so Stier and Fronmüller), or as an adjective, which, used adverbially (see Winer, p. 433), denotes the mode and manner of συνευωχεῖσθαι (so Hofmann). The former construction merits the preference as the simpler.

Apart from other considerations, ΣΠῖΛΟΙ ΚΑῚ ΜῶΜΟΙ in 2 Peter are in favour of taking ΣΠΙΛΆΔΕς here in the sense of ΣΠῖΛΟΙ.

] The verb ΕὐΩΧΕῖΣΘΑΙ[36] has not indeed by itself a bad meaning, signifying to eat well, to feast well, but it obtains such a meaning here by the reference to the agapé. The συν placed before it may either refer to those addressed, with you, see 2 Peter 2:13, where ὑμῖν is added to the verb (Wiesinger, Schott, Fronmüller, Hofmann); or to those here described by Jude, feasting together, i.e. with one another. Against the first explanation is the objection, that according to it the εὐωχεῖσθαι in their agapé would render those addressed also guilty (so formerly in this commentary); but against the second is the fact that the Libertines held no special love-feasts with one another, but participated in those of the church. The passage, 2 Peter 2:13, is decisive in favour of the first explanation.

The connection of ἀφόβως is doubtful; de Wette-Brückner, Arnaud, Schott, Fronmüller unite it with συνευωχούμενοι; Erasmus, Beza, Wiesinger, Hofmann, with ἑαυτοὺς ποιμαίνοντες. In this commentary the first connection was preferred, “because the idea συνευωχ. would otherwise be too bare.” This, however, is not the case, because if the verse is construed, as it is by Hofmann, it has its statement in what goes before; but if σπιλάδες is taken as a substantive, as it is by Stier and Fronmüller, then συνευωχ. is more precisely determined by the following ἀφόβωςποιμαίνοντες, whilst it is said that they so participate in the agapé that their feasting was a ἀφόβως ποιμαίνειν ἑαυτούς. Erasmus takes the latter words in a too general sense: suo ductu et arbitrio viventes; Grotius, Bengel, and others give a false reference to them after Ezekiel 34:2, understanding “that these feed themselves and not the church” (comp. 1 Peter 5:2), and accordingly Schneckenburger thinks specially on the instructions which they engage to give; but this reference is entirely foreign to the context. According to de Wette, it is a contrast to “whilst they suffer the poor to want” (1 Corinthians 11:21); yet there is also here no indication of this reference.

νεφέλαι ἄνυδροι] is to be understood no more of the agapé (de Wette, Schott), but generally. νεφ. ἄνυδρ. are light clouds without water, which therefore, as the addition ὑπὸ ἀνέμων παραφερόμεναι makes prominent, are driven past by the wind without giving out rain; comp. Proverbs 25:14. This figure describes the internal emptiness of these men, who for this reason can effect nothing that is good; but it seems also to intimate their deceptive ostentation[37]; the addition serves for the colouring of the figure, not for adducing a special characteristic of false teachers; Nicolas de Lyra incorrectly: quae a ventis circumferuntur i. e. superbiae motibus et vanitatibus.

In the parallel passage, 2 Peter 2:17, two images are united: πηγαὶ ἄνυδροι καὶ ὁμίχλαι ὑπὸ λαίλαπος ἐλαυνόμεναι.

According to the reading περιφερόμεναι, the translation would be: “driven hither and thither;” παραφερόμεναι denotes, on the other hand, driven past. A second figure is added to this first, by which the unfruitfulness (in good works) and the complete deadness of these men are described; in the adjectives the gradation is obvious.

δένδρα φθινοπωρινά] are not a particular kind of trees, such as only bare fruit in autumn, but trees as they are in autumn, namely, destitute of fruit (de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott, etc.). It is arbitrary to desert the proper meaning of the word, and to explain φθινοπωρινά according to the etymology of φθίνειν by arbores quarum fructus perit illico = frugiperdae (Grotius; so also Erasmus, Beza, Carpzov, Stier. “which have cast off their fruit in an unripe state”).

ἄκαρπα] not: “whose fruit has been taken off” (de Wette), but “which are without fruit” (Brückner). Whether they have had fruit at an earlier period, and are now destitute of it, is not said. “The impassioned discourse proceeds from marks of unfruitfulness to that of absolute nothingness” (de Wette). δὶς ἀποθανόντα] Beza, Rosenmüller, and others arbitrarily explain δίς by plane, prorsus. Most expositors retain the usual meaning; yet they explain the idea twice in different ways; either that those trees are not only destitute of fruit, but also of leaves (so Oecumenius, Hornejus, and others); or that they bear no fruit, and are accordingly rooted out; or still better, δίς is to be referred to the fact that they are not only fruitless, but actually dead and dried up.[38] That Jude has this in his view, the following ἐκριζωθέντα shows. Several expositors have incorrectly deserted the figure here, and explained this word either of twofold spiritual death (Beza, Estius, Bengel, Schneckenburger, Jachmann, Wiesinger, Schott), or of death here and hereafter (so Grotius: neque hic bonum habebunt exitum, neque in seculo altero), or of one’s own want of spiritual life and the destruction of life in others. All these explanations are without justification. ἐκριζωθέντα is in close connection with δὶς ἀποθανόντα; thus, trees which, because they are dead, are dug up and rooted out;[39] thus incapable of recovery and of producing new fruit (Erasmus: quibus jam nulla spes est revirescendi). This figure, taken from trees, denotes that those described are not only at present destitute of good works, but are incapable of producing them in the future, and are “on this account rooted out of the soil of grace” (Hofmann). It is incorrect when Hofmann[40] in the application refers δὶς ἀποθανόντα to the fact that those men were not only in their early heathenism, but also in their Christianity, without spiritual life. There is no indication in the context of the distinction between heathenism and Christianity. Arnaud observes not incorrectly, but too generally: tous ces mots sont des métaphores énergiques pour montrer le néant de ces impies, la légèreté de leur conduite, la stérilité de leur foi et l’absence de leurs bonnes oeuvres.

[35] The explanation of Arnaud: les rochers continuellement battus par les flots de la mer et souillés par son écume (after Steph.: σπιλάς), is unsuitable; since, when the Libertines are called cliffs, this happens not because they are bespattered and defiled by others, but because others are wrecked on them.

[36] An explanation of this word is found in Xenophon, Memorabilia, lib. iii.: ἔλεγε (namely, Socrates) δὲ καὶ ὡς τὸ εὐωχεῖσθαι ἐν τῇ Ἀθηναίων γλώττῃ ἐσθίειν κάλοιτο. Τὸ δὲ εὐ προσκεῖθαι, ἔφη ἐπὶ τῷ ταῦτα ἐσθίειν, ἅτινα μήτε τὴν ψυχὴν, μήτε τὸ σῶμα λυποίη, μήτε δυσεύρετα εἴη; ὥστε καὶ τὸ εὐωχεῖσθαι τοῖς κοσμίως διαιτμωένοις ἀνετίθει. However, εὐωχεῖσθαι sometimes occurs in classical Greek in a bad sense.

[37] Calvin: vanam ostentationem taxat, quia nebulones isti, quum multa promittunt, intus tamen aridi sunt. Bullingcr: habent enim speciem doctorum veritatis, pollicentur daturos se doctrinam salvificam, sed veritate destituuntur et quovis circumaguntur doctrinae vento.

[38] Fromnüller, incorrectly: “trees which have at different times suffered fatal injury by frosts or from insects.”

[39] Fronmüller, linguistically incorrect: “trees which still remain in the earth, but which are shaken loose by their roots.”

[40] “If, when they became Christians, a fresh sap from the roots, by which they were rooted in the soil of divine grace, appeared to establish them in a new life out of their heathen death in sin, yet this new life was to them only a transition into a second and now hopeless death.”

Jude 1:12. οὖτοί εἰσιν [οἱ] ἐν ταῖς ἀγάπαις ὑμῶν σπιλάδες συνευωχούμενοι. Dr. Chase quotes Zechariah 1:10 f., Revelation 7:14, Enoch xlvi. 3, Secrets of Enoch, vii. 3 xviii. 3, xix. 3, etc., for the phrase οὗτοί εἰσιν, adding that it was probably adopted by St. Jude from apocalyptic writings, for which he clearly had a special liking. On the early history of the Agape, see my Appendix C to Clem. Al. Strom. vii. The parallel passage in 2 Peter (on which see n.) has two remarkable divergencies from the text here, reading ἀπάταις for ἀγάπαις and σπῖλοι for σπιλάδες. There has been much discussion as to the meaning of the latter word. It is agreed that it is generally used of a rock in or by the sea, and many of the lexicographers understand it of a hidden rock, ὕφαλος πέτρα, see Thomas Mag., σπιλάς, Ἀττικῶς· ὕφαλος πέτρα, Ἕλληνες, Etymol. [795]., σπιλάδεςαἱ ὑπὸ θάλασσαν κεκρυμμέναι πέτραι, ὅθεν καὶ ὕφαλος ἄνθρωπος λέγεται ὁ κεκρυμμένος καὶ πανοῦργος, ib. κατασπιλάζοντες, κατακρύπτοντες, ἀπὸ μεταφορᾶς τῶν ὑφάλων πετρῶν, αἵτινες ὑπὸ ὕδατος καλυπτόμεναι τοῖς ἀπρούπτως προσπελάζουσι κίνδυνον ἐπιφέρουσι (both cited by Wetst.). The same explanation is given by the scholiast on Hom. Od. ver 401–405, καὶ δὴ δοῦπον ἄκουσε ποτὶ σπιλάδεσσι θαλάσσηςἀλλʼ ἀκταὶ προβλῆτες ἔσαν σπιλάδες τε πάγοι τε. See Plut. Mor. 101 B, εὐδία σπιλάδος, which Wytt. translates “tranquillitas maris caecam rupem tegentis,” ib. 476 A, Oecumenius on this passage, αἱ σπιλάδες τοῖς πλέουσιν ὀλέθριοι, ἀπροσδοκήτως ἐπιγενόμεναι (? -νοις), and ἐξαίφνης, ὥσπερ σπιλάδες, ἐπάγοντες αὐτοῖς τὸν ὄλεθρον τῶν ψυχῶν. Wetst. also quotes Heliod. ver 31, θαλάσσῃ προσείκασας ἂν τοὺς ἄνδρας αἰφνιδίῳ σπιλάδι κατασεισθέντας. The compound κατασπιλάζω joined with the parallel case of ὕφαλος justifies, I think, this sense of σπιλάς, which is rejected by most of the later commentators.[796] Cf. also the use of ναυαγέω in 1 Timothy 1:19. Scopulus is used in a similar metaphoric sense, see Cic. in Pis. 41 where Piso and Gabinius are called “geminae voragines scopulique reipublicae”. Others take σπιλάδες in the very rare sense of “spots,” or “stains,” like σπίλοι in 2 Peter. The only example of this sense seems to be in Orph. Lith. 614, but Hesych. gives the interpretation σπιλάς, μεμιασμένοι. I agree with Bp. Wordsworth and Dr. Chase in thinking that the metaphor of the sunken rocks is more in harmony with the context.

[795] Codex Ruber (sæc. ix.), at the British Museum; it derives its name from the colour of the ink.

[796] Dr. Bigg denies this meaning on the strength mainly of two quotations, Hom. Od. iii. 298, ἀτὰρ νῆάς γε ποτὶ σπιλάδεσσιν ἔαξαν κύματα, where, he says, the σπιλάδες are identical with λισσὴ αἰπεῖά τε εἰς ἅλα πέτρη of 293; and Anthol. xi. 390, φασὶ δὲ καὶ νήεσσιν ἁλιπλανέεσσι χερείους τὰς ὑφάλους πέτρας τῶν φανερῶν σπιλάδων. In both of these I think the word refers to the breakers at the bottom of the cliffs: in the latter it is said that hidden rocks are more dangerous than visible reefs. Compare Diod. iii. 43, ὄρος δὲ ταύτῃ παράκειται κατὰ μὲν τὴν κορυφὴν πέτρας ἀποτομάδας ἔχον καὶ τοῖς ὕψεσι καταπληκτικάς, ὑπὸ δὲ τὰς ῥίζας σπιλάδας ὀξείας καὶ πυκνὰς ἐνθαλάττους.

How are we to account for the gender in οἱσπιλάδες συνευωχούμενοι? Are we to suppose the gender of σπιλάς was changed or forgotten in late Greek (cf. Winer, pp. 25, 38, 73, 76)? If so, the forgetfulness seems to have been confined to this author. Or is this a coustructio ad sensum, the feminine being changed to masculine because it is metaphorically used of men (Winer, pp. 171, 648, 660, 672), cf. Revelation 11:4, οὗτοί εἰσιν αἱ δύο λυχνίαι αἱ ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου ἑστῶτες and B’s reading παραφερόμενοι below? Or may we take σπιλάδες as expressing a complementary notion in apposition to συνευωχούμενοι? The last seems the best explanation though I cannot recall any exact parallel. An easier remedy would be to omit the article (with [797] and many versions), as suggested by Dr. Chase in Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible, ii. p. 799b, translating: “these are sunken rocks in your love-feasts while they feast with you”.

[797] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

συνευωχούμενοι. Is used in the parallel passage of 2 Peter with a dat. as in Luc. Philops 4, Jos. Ant. iv. 8, 7.

ἀφόβως ἑαυτοὺς ποιμαίνοντες. If we take σπιλάδες as complementary to συνευωχούμενοι, it is better to take ἀφόβως with ποιμ.: if we omit the article and take σπιλάδες to be the predicate, συνευωχούμενοι will be an epexegetic participle, which will require strengthening by ἀφόβως. Generally ἀφ. is used in a good sense, but we find it used, as here, of the want of a right fear in Proverbs 19:23, φόβος Κυρίου εἰς ζωὴν ἀνδρί, ὁ δὲ ἄφοβος κ.τ.λ., Proverbs 15:16, κρεῖσσον μικρὰ μερὶς μετὰ φόβου Κυρίου ἢ θησαυροὶ μεγάλοι μετὰ ἀφοβίας, Sir 5:5, περὶ ἐξιλασμοῦ μὴ ἄφοβος γίνου, προσθεῖναι ἁμαρτίαν ἐφʼ ἁμαρτίαις. The phrase ἑαυτοὺς ποιμ. recalls Ezekiel 34:8, ἑβόσκησαν οἱ ποιμένες ἑαυτοὺς, τὰ δὲ πρόβατά μου οὐκ ἐβόσκησαν, but there does not seem to be any reference to spiritual pastors in Jude; and ποιμαίνω has probably here the sense “to fatten, indulge,” as in Proverbs 28:7, ὃς δὲ ποιμαίνει ἀσωτίαν, ἀτιμάζει πατέρα, Proverbs 29:3, ὃς δὲ ποιμαίνει πόρνας, ἀπολεῖ πλοῦτον, Plut. Mor. 792 B, Ἄτταλον ὑπʼ ἀργίας μακρᾶς ἐκλυθέντα κομιδῇ φιλοποίμην ἐποίμαινεν ἀτεχνῶς πιαινόμενον. We may compare 1 Corinthians 11:27 f., Jam 5:5, 1 Timothy 5:6.

νεφέλαι ἄνυδροι ὑπὸ ἀνέμων παραφερόμεναι. The character of the innovators is illustrated by figures drawn from the four elements, air, earth, sea, heaven (αἰθήρ). Spitta points out the resemblance to a passage in Enoch (chapters ii.–v.), which follows immediately on the words quoted below, Jude 1:14-15. The regular order of nature is there contrasted with the disorder and lawlessness of sinners. “I observed everything that took place in the heaven, how the luminaries … do not deviate from their orbits, how they all rise and set in order, each in its season, and transgress not against their appointed order.… I observed and saw how in winter all the trees seem as though they were withered and shed all their leaves.… And again I observed the days of summer … how the trees cover themselves with green leaves and bear fruit.… And behold how the seas and the rivers accomplish their task. But as for you, ye have not continued steadfast; and the law of the Lord ye have not fulfilled … and have slanderously spoken proud and hard words (below Jude 1:15, περὶ πάντων τῶν σκληρῶν ὦν ἐλάλησαν κατʼ αὐτοῦ) with your impure mouths against his greatness.“For the metaphor cf. Ephesians 4:14. In the parallel passage of 2 Peter the first figure is broken into two, πηγαὶ ἄνυδροι, ὁμίχλαι ὑπὸ λαίλαπος ἐλαυνόμεναι. Perhaps the writer may have thought that there was an undue multiplication of causes; if the clouds were waterless, it was needless to add that they were driven past by the wind. We find the same comparison in Proverbs 25:14 : “As clouds and wind without rain, so is he that boasteth himself of his gifts falsely”. [The LXX is less like our text, suggesting that Jude was acquainted with the original Hebrew. C[798]] For the use of ὑπό with ἀνέμων see my note on Jam 3:4.

[798]. Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

δένδρα φθινοπωρινὰ ἄκαρπα. φθινοπωρινός is an adjective derived from τὸ φθινόπωρον, which is itself, I think, best explained as a compound of φθίνουσα ὀπώρα (cf. φθίνοντος μηνός), meaning the concluding portion of the ὀπώρα. This latter word is, according to Curtius, compounded of ὀπ-, connected with ὀπίσω, ὄπισθεν, and ὥρα = “the later prime”. We find ὥρα used by itself both for the spring with its flowers and, more rarely, for the summer with its fruits, as in Thuc. ii. 52, ὥρα ἔτους. Perhaps from this double use of the word may have come the ambiguity in the application of ὀπώρα, of which Ideler says that “it originally indicated, not a season separate from and following after the summer, but the hottest part of the summer itself, so that Sirius, whose heliacal rising took place (in the age of Homer) about the middle of July, is described as ἀστὴρ ὀπωρινός Il. Jude 1:5). In early times it would seem that the Greeks, like the Germans (Tac. Germ. 26), recognised only three seasons—winter, spring, summer, and that the last was indifferently named θέρος or ὀπώρα: compare Arist. Aves 709, πρῶτα μὲν ὥρας φαίνομεν ἡμεῖς ἦρος, χειμῶνος, ὀπώρας, with Aesch. Prom. 453, ἦν δʼ οὐδὲν αὐτοῖς οὔτε χείματος τέκμαρ οὔτʼ ἀνθεμώδους ἦρος οὔτε χείματος τέκμαρ οὔτʼ ἀνθεμώδους ἦρος οὔτε καρπίμου θέρους βέβαιον. But though ὀπώρα was thus used strictly for the dog-days, when the fruit ripened, it was also vaguely used for the unnamed period which ensued up to the commencement of winter. Thus Hesiod (Op. 674) μηδὲ μένειν οἷνόν τε νέον καὶ ὀπωρινὸν ὄμεβρον καὶ χειμῶνʼ ἐπιόντα: and ὀπώρα appears as a definite season by the side of the others in a line ot Euripides, qnoted by Plutarch (Mor. 1028 F), from which it appears that he assigned four months each to summer and winter, and two to spring and ὀπώρα:—

φίλης τʼ ὀπώρας διπτύχους ἦρος τʼ ἴσους

(where the epithet φίλης deserves notice). It is said that the author of the treatise De Diaeta (c. 420 B.C.), which goes under the name of Hippocrates, was the first to introduce a definite term (φθινόπωρον or μετόπωρον) for the new season, the word ὀπώρα being reserved for the late summer, according to the definition of Eustath. on Il. Jude 1:5, ὀπώρα ὥρα μεταξὺ κειμένη θέρους καὶ τοῦ μετʼ αὑτὴν μετοπώρου. And so we find it used by Aristotle (Meteor. ii. 5), αἱ χάλαζαι γίνονται ἔαρος μὲν καὶ μετοπώρου μάλιστα, εἶτα τῆς ὀπώρας χειμῶνος δὲ ὀλιγάκις, and by Theophrastus (περὶ Σημείων, 44), ἐὰν τὸ ἔαρ καὶ τὸ θέρος ψυχρὰ γίνηται, ἡ ὀπώρα γίνεται καὶ τὸ μετόπωρον πνιγηρόν.

There is a good deal of inconsistency about the exact limits of the seasons, as is natural enough when we remember that they were first distinguished for purposes of agriculture and navigation, as we see in Hesiod’s Works and Days. Each season brings its own proper work, and the farmer or merchant is reminded of the return of the season by various signs, the rising and setting of stars, especially of the Pleiades and Arcturus, the sun’s passage through the signs of the zodiac, the reappearance of the birds, etc. A more strictly accurate division was made by the astronomers, who distinguished between the various kinds of rising and setting of the stars, and divided the year into four equal parts by the solstices and equinoxes. In the year 46 B.C. Julius Caesar introduced his revised calendar, which assigned definite dates to the different seasons. Thus spring begins a.d. vii. id. Feb. (Feb. 7), summer a.d. vii. id. Mai. (May 9), autumn a.d. iii. id. Sext. (Aug. 11), winter a.d. iv. id. Nov. (Nov. 10).

To turn now to the commentators, I may take Trench as representing their view in his Authorised Version, p. 186, ed. 2, where he says, “The φθινόπωρον is the late autumn … which succeeds the ὀπώρα (or the autumn contemplated as the time of the ripened fruits of the earth) and which has its name παρὰ τὸ φθίνεσθαι τὴν ὀπώραν, from the waning away of the autumn and the autumn fruits.… The deceivers of whom St. Jude speaks are likened to trees as they show in late autumn, when foliage and fruit alike are gone.”

I have stated above what I hold to be the origin of the word φθινόπωρον. Trench’s explanation is ambiguous and unsuited to the facts of the case, as will be seen from the criticisms in Lightfoot’s Fresh Revision, p. 135: “In the phrase ‘autumn-trees without fruit’ there appears to be a reference to the parable of the fig-tree.… At all events the mention of the season when fruit might be expected is significant.” He adds in a note, “Strange to say, the earliest versions all rendered φθινοπωρινά correctly.[799] Tyndale’s instinct led him to give what I cannot but think the right turn to the expression, ‘Trees with out frute at gadringe (gathering) time,’ i.e. at the season when fruit was looked for. I cannot agree with Archbishop Trench, who maintains that ‘Tyndale was feeling after, though he has not grasped, the right translation,’ and himself explains φθινοπωρινὰ ἄκαρπα as ‘mutually completing one another, without leaves, without fruit’. Tyndale was followed by Coverdale and the Great Bible. Similarly Wycliffe has ‘hervest trees without fruyt,’ and the Rheims version ‘trees of autumne unfruiteful’. The earliest offender is the Geneva Testament, which gives ‘corrupt trees and without frute’.… The Bishops’ Bible strangely combines both renderings, ‘trees withered (φθίνειν) at fruite gathering (ὀπώρα) and without fruite,’ which is explained in the margin, ‘Trees withered in autumne when the fruite harvest is, and so the Greke woord importeth’.”

[799] This agreement is probably owing to their dependence on the Vulgate “arbores auctumnales infructuosae”.

The correctness of the interpretation, given by Lightfoot alone among modern commentators, is confirmed by a consideration of the context. The writer has just been comparing the innovators, who have crept into other Churches, to waterless clouds driven past by the wind. Just as these disappoint the hope of the husbandman, so do fruitless trees in the proper season of fruit. If φθινοπωρινά were equivalent to χειμερινά, denoting the season when the trees are necessarily bare both of leaves and fruit, how could a tree be blamed for being ἄκαρπον? It is because it might have been, and ought to have been a fruit-bearing tree, that it is rooted up.

δὶς ἀποθανόντα ἐκριζωθεντα. Schneckenburger explains, “He who is not born again is dead in his sins (Colossians 2:13), he who has apostatised is twice dead,” cf. Revelation 21:8, Hebrews 6:4-8, 2 Peter 2:20-22. So the trees may be called doubly dead, when they are not only sapless, but are torn up by the root, which would have caused the death even of a living tree.

12. These are spots in your feasts of charity] Here also, as in 2 Peter 2:13, the MSS. vary between “deceits” (ἀπάταις) and “feasts of charity, or love” (ἀγάπαις), but the evidence preponderates for the latter reading. Some MSS., including the Sinaitic, insert the words “these are murmurers …,” which now stand in Jude 1:16, at the beginning of this verse. The word rendered “spots” (σπιλάδες) is not the same as that in 2 Peter 2:13 (σπῖλοι), and in other Greek writers has the sense of “reefs” or “rocks below the sea.” It is possible that St Jude may have looked on the two words as identical in meaning, but it is obvious, on the other hand, that the word “rocks,” though it suggests a different image, gives a perfectly adequate sense to the whole passage. The false impure teachers who presented themselves undetected in the Christian love-feasts were as sunken rocks, and, if men were not on their guard, they might easily, by contact with them, “make shipwreck” of their faith (1 Timothy 1:19). On these love-feasts and their relation to the life of the Apostolic Church see notes on 2 Peter 2:13.

when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear] Better, feasting with you without fear, pasturing themselves. The adverb is more naturally joined in the Greek with the participle that precedes it, and the English “feeding,” suggesting, as it does, in this context simply the act of eating, fails to give the force of the Greek word for “feed,” which, as being that used in Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:2, expresses the idea of the pastoral office. What St Jude means is that these teachers of impurity, instead of submitting themselves to the true “pastors” of the Church, came in, like the false shepherds of Ezekiel 34:1-2; Ezekiel 34:8; Ezekiel 34:10, to “feed themselves,” i.e. to indulge their own lusts in defiance of authority.

clouds they are without water] The “clouds” take the place of the “wells” of 2 Peter 2:17. The difference of imagery makes it probable that there may have been a difference of a like kind in the previous verse, and so far confirms the interpretation as to the “rocks” in the first clause of the verse. A like comparison is found in Proverbs 25:14 (“Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain”). Men look in the hot climate of the East to the cloud as giving promise of the rain from heaven. It is a bitter disappointment when it passes away leaving the earth hard and unrefreshed as before. So men would look in vain to these false teachers, shifting alike in their movements and their teaching, borne to and fro by “every wind of doctrine” (comp. Ephesians 4:14), for any spiritual refreshment.

trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit] Literally, autumn-withering trees. This may mean either simply “autumnal trees,” as “in the sere and yellow leaf” that is the forerunner of decay, or “trees that wither just at the very season when men look for fruit,” and which are therefore fit symbols of the false teachers who are known “by their fruits.” The use of a cognate word in Pindar (Pyth. v. 161) suggests, however, that the part of the compound word that corresponds to “autumn” may, like our “harvest,” be taken as a collective expression for the fruits of that season, and so the term, as used by St Jude, would mean “trees that wither and blight their fruit instead of bringing it to maturity.” The addition of “without fruit” is accordingly not a mere rhetorical iteration, but states the fact that the withering process was complete. The parable implied in the description was familiar to the disciples from the teaching both of John the Baptist and our Lord (Matthew 3:10; Matthew 7:16-20; Luke 13:6-9, and the Miracle of the Barren Fig-tree, Matthew 21:19).

twice dead] Better, that have died twice, stress being laid on the repetition of the act of dying. It is not easy to fix the precise meaning of the phrase, either as it affects the outward imagery or the interpretation of the parable which it involves. Probably the tree is thought to die once when it ceases to bear fruit, and a second time when the sap ceases to circulate and there is no possibility of revival. So with the false teachers, there was first the blighting of the early promise of their knowledge of the truth, and then the entire loss of all spiritual life. The end of such trees was that they were “rooted up” and cast into the fire (Matthew 3:10). In the interpretation of the parable, this may refer to the sentence of excommunication by which such offenders were excluded from fellowship with the Christian society, or to the judgment of God as confirming, or, it may be, anticipating that sentence.

Jude 1:12. Ἐν ταῖς ἀγάπαις ὑμῶν, in your agapæ [love-feasts]) in your banquets by which brotherly love is nourished.—σπιλάδες) As there is a Paronomasia between Peter and Jude on the words ἀγάπαις and ἀπάταις, so there is an instance of Homonymia[5] between the same writers in the words σπῖλοι, 2 Peter 2:13, and σπιλάδες, in this passage: for σπιλάδες may be taken for “spots” (maculæ), as the Vulgate renders it: comp. Jude 1:23 : whence Hesychius has σπιλάδες, μεμιασμένοι, polluted, at the same time showing a Metonymia[6] in this place. But he also says, σπιλάδες, αἱ περιεχόμεναι τῇ θαλάσσῃ πέτραι, the rocks which are surrounded by the sea. Moreover στιλὰς also denotes a storm; and this very notion, of which we have remarked an example on Chrysostom, respecting the priesthood, p. 375, is approved by Œcumenius. Let the reader make his choice. This metaphor is followed by four others; from the air, the earth, the sea, the heaven.—συνευωχούμενοι ἀφόβως, feasting themselves without fear) Sacred feasts are to be celebrated with fear; [which is opposed to luxury.—V. g.] Feasting is not faulty in itself: therefore without fear ought to be connected with this verb.—ἑαυτοὺς, themselves) not the flock.—δένδρα φθινοπωρινὰ) Φθίνων, that is, μὴν, the last part of the month: thus φθινόπωρον, the end of the autumn: thence δένδρον φθινοπωρινὸν, a tree of such art appearance as that which presents itself at the end of the autumn, without leaves and fruit. There is here a gradation, consisting of four members. The first, and flowing from it the second, has reference to the fruit: the third, and flowing from it the fourth, has reference to the tree itself.—ἄκαρπα, without fruit) trees which produce nothing serviceable for food.—δὶς) twice; that is, entirely: with reference to their former state, and their Christian state.—ἐκριζωθέντα, plucked up by the roots) This is the last step in the process here mentioned.

[5] For HOMONYMIA and PARONOMASIA, see Append.—E.

[6] See Append.

Verses 12, 13. - The next two verses carry on the description of the men in a running fire of epithets and figures, short, sharp, and piercing, corresponding also at certain points with 2 Peter 2:13-17. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear. What is referred to appears not to be ordinary friendly gatherings or occasions for the interchange of affection, but the well-known agapae, or love-feasts, of the primitive Church, the meals provided in connection with the Lord's Supper, at which rich and poor sat down together. In adopting the rendering "spots," the English Version follows Tyndale, Cranmer, the Genevan, and the Rhemish, and is followed by some good interpreters on the ground that the term, though formally different, is essentially the same as that in 2 Peter 2:13. The word itself, however, properly means "rocks," and therefore the point may be that their immoral conduct makes these men like treacherous reefs, on which their fellows make shipwreck. So the Revised Version gives "hidden rocks" in the text, and transfers "spots" to the margin. The "without fear," which is usually attached to the third clause, is connected by some with the second, in which case it expresses the reckless, irreverent spirit in which these men joined in the sacred agape. The last clause, "feeding [or, 'pasturing'] themselves," describes them further as having no regard to the proper object of these love-feasts in ministering to Christian fellowship and the holy sense of brotherhood, but as using them simply as a means for the saris-faction of their own appetites and the furtherance of their own base ends. Compare the evils referred to by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:21, and the description of the shepherds in Ezekiel 34, and Isaiah 56:11. "They are like shepherds," says Humphry, "that have themselves for their flocks, feasting themselves, not their sheep, and doing this without fear of the chief Shepherd, who has his eye upon them." Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; or, carried past by winds. Like rainless clouds, the sport of the uncertain breezes, yielding nothing for the fruitfulness of earth, these empty, volatile, inconstant men disappoint the expectation of the Church and do it no service. Trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots. The Authorized Version is less happy than usual in its rendering of the first clause. The Revised Version, in adopting "autumn trees" instead of "trees whose fruit withereth," returns to the renderings of the earlier versions, Wickliffe giving "harvest trees," Tyndale and Cranmer "trees without fruit at gathering-time," and the Rhemish "trees of autumn." The idea of uselessness and unfruitfulness, which was expressed in the previous figure, is repeated, but in a more absolute form, in this new figure. The late autumn is not the time, from the Eastern point of view, for the putting forth of fruit. The tree then becomes bare, barren, leafless. So is it with these men. Nor is it only that they have no fruit to show. The capacity of fruitfulness is extinct within them. The possibility of recovering it is gone from them. They are as dead to all good service as trees are which are rooted out as hopelessly useless. The phrase, "twice dead," may mean no more than "utterly dead." The point, however, is rather this - that they are dead, not only in respect of barrenness - which is a death in life - but in respect of the extinction of all vitality. Raging (or, wild) waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; or shames, as the original gives it; that is to say, shameful deeds, or, it may be, the degrading lusts which inspire their unlicensed life (Huther). This comparison recalls at once the figure in Isaiah 57:20. Wandering stars, to whom is (or, has been) reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. In the Book of Enoch (chapter 18:14) the angel shows the prophet "a prison for the stars of heaven, and for the host of heaven," and in the next verse it is explained that "the stars that roll over the fire are they who have transgressed the command of God before their rising, because they did not come forth in their time." It is possible that Jude had this in mind here, as the language of earlier chapters of the same book may have suggested others of Jude's figures. If the "wandering stars" are to be identified with any particular order of the heavenly bodies, it will be with the comets rather than the planets, the movements of the former seeming, to the common eye, so much the more erratic. The doom which is declared to be in reserve, no doubt takes its form so far from the immediate figure of the comet vanishing into the unseen. But the idea expressed is not so much that of suddenness as that of certainty and irreversibility. It is the doom which Christ himself pronounces to be prepared (Matthew 25:41), and, therefore, inevitable and perpetual. In confirmation of this statement of the certainty of the doom, the readers are next reminded of the Lord's judicial coming, and of that as the subject of prophecy. The prophecy in question, though not one of those recorded in the canonical Hebrew Scriptures, seems to have been familiar enough to the readers to make it a natural and pertinent thing to quote it. So Paul cites heathen authors or common popular sayings in support of his statements. Jude 1:12Spots (σπιλάδες)

Only here in New Testament. So rendered in A. V., because understood as kindred to σπῖλοι (2 Peter 2:13); but rightly, as Rev., hidden rocks. So Homer, ("Odyssey," iii., 298), "the waves dashed the ship against the rocks (σπιλάδεσσιν)." See on deceivings, 2 Peter 2:13. These men were no longer mere blots, but elements of danger and wreck.

When they feast with you

See on 2 Peter 2:13.

Feeding (ποιμαίνοντες)

See on 1 Peter 5:2. Lit., shepherding themselves; and so Rev., shepherds that feed themselves; further their own schemes and lusts instead of tending the flock of God. Compare Isaiah 56:11.

Without fear (ἀφόβως)

Of such judgments as visited Ananias and Sapphira. Possibly, as Lumby suggests, implying a rebuke to the Christian congregations for having suffered such practices.

Clouds without water

Compare 2 Peter 2:17, springs without water. As clouds which seem to be charged with refreshing showers, but are borne past (παραφερόμεναι) and yield no rain.

Whose fruit withereth (φθινοπωρινὰ)

From φθίνω or φθίω, to waste away, pine, and ὀπώρα, autumn. Hence, literally, pertaining to the late autumn, and rightly rendered by Rev., autumn (trees). The A. V. is entirely wrong. Wyc., harvest trees. Tynd., trees without fruit at gathering-time.

Twice dead

Not only the apparent death of winter, but a real death; so that it only remains to pluck them up by the roots.

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