Wesley's Notes on the Bible
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2:1 But there were false prophets also - As well as true. Among the people - Of Israel. Those that spake even the truth, when God had not sent them; and also those that were truly sent of him, and yet corrupted or softened their message, were false prophets. As there shall be false - As well as true. Teachers among you, who will privately briny in - Into the church. Destructive heresies - They first, by denying the Lord, introduced destructive heresies, that is, divisions; or they occasioned first these divisions, and then were given up to a reprobate mind, even to deny the Lord that bought them. Either the heresies are the effect of denying the Lord, or the denying the Lord was the consequence of the heresies. Even denying - Both by their doctrine and their works. The Lord that bought them - With his own blood. Yet these very men perish everlastingly. Therefore Christ bought even them that perish.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
2:2 The way of truth will be evil spoken of - By those who blend all false and true Christians together.
And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
2:3 They will make merchandise of you - Only use you to gain by you, as merchants do their wares. Whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not - Was long ago determined, and will be executed speedily. All sinners are adjudged to destruction; and God's punishing some proves he will punish the rest.
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
2:4 Cast them down to hell - The bottomless pit, a place of unknown misery. Delivered them - Like condemned criminals to safe custody, as if bound with the strongest chains in a dungeon of darkness, to be reserved unto the judgment of the great day. Though still those chains do not hinder their often walking up and down seeking whom they may devour.
And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
2:5 And spared not the old, the antediluvian, world, but he preserved Noah the eighth person - that is, Noah and seven others, a preacher as well as practiser, of righteousness. Bringing a flood on the world of the ungodly - Whose numbers stood them in no stead.
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
2:9 It plainly appears, from these instances, that the Lord knoweth, hath both wisdom and power and will, to deliver the godly out of all temptations, and to punish the ungodly.
But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
2:10 Chiefly them that walk after the flesh - Corrupt nature; particularly in the lust of uncleanness. And despise government - The authority of their governors. Dignities - Persons in authority.
Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
2:11 Whereas angels - When they appear before the Lord, Job 1:6, Job 2:1, to give an account of what they have seen and done on the earth.
But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
2:12 Savage as brute beasts - Several of which in the present disordered state of the world, seem born to be taken and destroyed.
And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
2:13 They count it pleasure to riot in the day time - They glory in doing it in the face of the sun. They are spots in themselves, blemishes to any church. Sporting themselves with their own deceivings - Making a jest of those whom they deceive and even jesting while they are deceiving their own souls.
Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
2:15 The way of Balaam the son of Bosor - So the Chaldeans pronounced what the Jews termed Beor; namely, the way of covetousness. Who loved - Earnestly desired, though he did not dare to take, the reward of unrighteousness - The money which Balak would have given him for cursing Israel.
But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
2:16 The beast - Though naturally dumb.
These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
2:17 Fountains and clouds promise water: so do these promise, but do not perform.
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
2:18 They ensnare in the desires of the flesh - Allowing them to gratify some unholy desire. Those who were before entirely escaped from the spirit, custom, and company of them that live in error - In sin.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
2:19 While they promise them liberty - From needless restraints and scruples; from the bondage of the law. Themselves are slaves of corruption - Even sin, the vilest of all bondage.
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
2:20 For if after they - Who are thus ensnared. Have escaped the pollutions of the world - The sins which pollute all who know not God. Through the knowledge of Christ - That is, through faith in him, 2Peter 1:3. They are again entangled therein, and overcome, their last state is worse than the first - More inexcusable, and causing a greater damnation.
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
2:21 The commandment - The whole law of God, once not only delivered to their ears, but written in their hearts.
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
2:22 The dog, the sow - Such are all men in the sight of God before they receive his grace, and after they have made shipwreck of the faith. Prov 26:11.