2 Peter

2:1-10a

The Argument Proper

3. Remedies for doubt, 1:16-3:13

ii] A defense of Divine judgment

Argument

Peter begins by specifically referring to the false teachers, and their "fabricated stories" which deny the righteous judgment of God in the last day, v1-3. He then presents a series of historical events in scripture which prove the very opposite of what the false teachers propose - there will indeed be a future day of judgment, v4-10a.

 
Issues

i] Context: See 1:16-21

 

ii] Background: See 1:1-2

 

iii] Structure: Peter's defense of divine judgment presents as follows:

Argument #3, v1-10a:

the false teachers and their "fabricated stories", v1-3;

the righteous judgment of God evidenced in scripture, v4-10a.

 

iv] Interpretation:

After a few select words addressed to the false teachers, Peter identifies some scriptural evidence for the righteous judgment of God: God's judgment of the angels, v4; God's judgment of the prediluvian world of Noah, v5; God's judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, v6. Peter then focuses on the example of the righteous man who does not face judgment, as compared with those who are held over for final judgment. Lot is not painted in the Old Testament as a good man, but rather as a compromised man of faith living in a corrupt world and burdened by that corruption. For a believer, not only is the righteous judgment of God a reality, it is good news because it entails an ultimate release from that burden.

 
Text - 2:1

A defense of Divine judgment, 2:1-10a: i] The false teachers with their "fabricated stories", living licentious lives and inevitably facing the very thing they deny, the righteous judgment of God, v1-3.

de kai "but .... also" - The de is probably adversative and kai adjunctive, as NIV. "But even in those days there were false prophets", Phillips.

en + dat. "among" - [there were false prophets] in [the people, as also there will be false teachers] in [you]. Local, expressing space, "within your fellowship", or accompaniment / association, "among you." "False prophets" refers to those operating at the time of the Old Testament prophets, during the inter-testamentary period, and in the first century, the apostolic age, during the formation of the New Testament. The "false teachers" operating at the time of this letter, contradict apostolic tradition, and so are in a sense, false prophets.

wJV "just as" - Comparative.

apwleiaV (a) gen. "destructive [heresies]" - [who will secretly bring heresies] of destruction. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "heresies".

arnoumenoi (arneomai) pres. mid. part. "[even] denying" - [even] denying [the master]. The participle is adverbial, possibly consecutive, expressing result; "with the result that they deny even the Master."

ton agorasanta (agorazw) aor. part. "who bought [them]" - the one having bought [them]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, as NIV.

epagonteV (epagw) pres. part. "bringing" - The participle is adverbial, probably consecutive, expressing result; "their conduct will result in their own speedy destruction", Barclay.

eJautoiV dat. pro. "on themselves" - [bringing upon] themselves [swift destruction]. Dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to bring upon."

 
v2

Along with their devaluing of the righteous judgment of God, the false teachers have a serious ethical problem. Throughout the letter Peter identifies their problem as sexual, financial and self-affirming (proud). This behavior is typical of a Greek Platonic / Gnostic view of life where a dichotomy is established between the spirit / soul and the flesh, prompting either a guilt-free / judgment-free licentious lifestyle, or an ascetic lifestyle. Here the criticism has a sexual overtone; "licentious ways", NAB. Neyrey suggests that Peter's critique is somewhat stereotyped and so the false-teachers may not be as overtly corrupt as implied, although both Bauckham and Davids disagrees. However we may rate their immoral behavior, it is bringing the Christian church into disrepute.

autwn gen. pro. "[will follow] their" - [and many will follow] them. Genitive of direct object after the ek prefix verb "to follow."

taiV aselgeiaiV (a) dat. "depraved conduct" - sensuality, licentiousness. Dative of reference / respect; "with respect to their licentious behavior."

di (dia) + acc. "-" - Causal, "because of, on account of; "because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed", ESV.

thV alhqeiaV (a) gen. "[the way] of truth" - [because of whom the way] of the truth [will be blasphemed, spoken evil of]. The genitive is adjectival, attributive; "the true way." "The right way", Gen.24:48.

 
v3

A motive for the actions of the false teachers is supplied with the word "greed, covetousness, lust." This may entail gathering followers for financial gain, so Bauckham, or in a more metaphorical sense of gaining (exploiting) converts to their own point of view, so Davids. They may regard the apostolic teaching about the day of judgment as "cleverly invented stories", but Peter makes the same charge against them and states that the very thing they deny, namely the righteous judgment of God, is awaiting them, so Neyrey.

en "in" - in [covetousness they will exploit you]. Possibly instrumental, expressing means, "by means of", or cause, "because of their covetousness nature."

logoiV (oV) dat. "with [fabricated] stories" - with [made up] words. The dative is instrumental, expressing means; "by means of."

oi|V dat. pro. "their [condemnation]" - to whom [the judgment announced long ago does not linger]. Dative of reference / respect; "concerning whom ...."

autwn gen. pro. "their [destruction]" - [and the destruction] of them [does not slumber]. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, although it could be treated as verbal, objective; "concerning whom their judgment from long ago does not linger and their destruction does not slumber." MHT III regards the use here as a Semitism. "Long ago sentence was passed on them and it has never been revoked. Their doom is not asleep", Barclay.

 
v4

ii] The reality of a day of judgment is reflected both in the character of God and in his past dealings with mankind, v4-10a. This passage consists of single 1st. class conditional sentence, the protasis covering v4-8, and the apodosis v9-10a; "if as is the case, God did not spare angels having sinned ......(v5) and if he did not spare the ancient world ...... but protected Noah ...... (v6) and if he condemned the cities ....... (v7) and if he (but??) rescued righteous Lot ...... (v9) then God knows how to rescue the pious out of trial and how to keep unrighteous ones being punished (who are being punished) for a day of judgment." If God's righteous judgment has fallen on rebellious humanity in past ages, then it will fall on the false teachers and their disciples "who follow the corrupt desires of the flesh and despise (apostolic) authority." The righteous, on the other hand, those who foster the fruits of faith (love, joy, peace, etc.,) and despise the "depraved conduct of the lawless", will be rescued in the day of judgment.

gar "for" - Here explanatory rather than causal, supporting Peter's contention that condemnation faces the false teachers and all who live like them.

ei "if" - Introducing a 1st. class conditional clause where the condition is assumed to be true."

aJmarthsantwn (aJmartanw) gen. aor. part. "when they sinned" - [if God did not spare angels] having sinned. The participle is usually taken as adverbial, temporal, genitive of direct object after the verb "to spare / prevent", but "angels" is the genitive direct object which means that the participle modifies "angels", ie., it is adjectival, attributive, "angels who have sinned."

alla "but" - but [he delivered them to chains of gloom, having been cast into Tartarus, being kept for judgment]. Strong adversative.

tartarwsaV (tartarow) aor. pas. part. "sent them to hell" - having been cast into Tartarus. The participle is adverbial, probably instrumental, expressing means; "by casting them into the nethermost world / hell."

seiraiV (a) dat. "[putting them] in chains" - [he delivered them] to chains [of gloom]. Dative of indirect object of paredwken, "to deliver over", the dative of direct object "them" being assumed. Taking the genitive zofou, "gloom", as adjectival, attributive, we have "he committed them to gloomy incarceration (the dark pit of hell) by casting them into the nethermost world."

throumenouV (threw) pres. pas. part. "to be held" - being kept. The NIV, as with most translations, take this participle as adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to be kept / held for punishment / judgment." Although anarthrous (without an article), Davids suggests it serves as a substantive; "those being kept for judgment."

eiV + acc. "for [judgment]" - Here expressing purpose / end-view. The eschatological judgment, so Bauckham.

 
v5

The example of the flood, of judgment on the ancient world along with the preservation of Noah and his family, serves to illustrate the fact that judgment will fall on the ungodly and that such does not hinder the deliverance of a righteous remnant. "The implication is that God can bring the final judgment upon the world and spare the righteous while destroying the unrighteous", Davids.

kai "if" - and. Standing for kai ei, "and if", so introducing a coordinate protasis for the conditional clause commenced in v4.

kosmou (oV) gen. "the [ancient] world" - [he did not spare ancient] world. Genitive of direct object after the verb "to spare."

epaxaV (epagw) aor. part. "when he brought [the flood] on" - having brought upon [world of ungodliness a flood]. The participle is adverbial, temporal, as NIV.

kosmw/ (oV) "its" - world, humanity, earth. Dative of direct object after the epi prefix participle "having brought upon."

asebwn gen. adj. "ungodly people" - ungodly ones. The adjective serves as a substantive, the genitive being idiomatic / of content; "consisting of ungodly people", Davids.

alla "but" - but [he preserved eighth, Noah, a preacher of righteousness]. Strong adversative. "And if God did not spare humanity at the time when he brought the flood on the world, other than Noah, the preacher of righteousness whom he preserved, along with seven others ......., then ...."

dikaiosunhV (h) gen. "[a preacher] of righteousness" - The adjective may be treated as adjectival idiomatic / attributive, "a preacher who proclaimed righteousness", or verbal, objective. "Righteousness" possibly in the sense of "that herald of an upright life", Cassirer, although more likely, "Noah preached repentance and those who obeyed were saved", cf., 1Clem.7:6. That Noah preached to his generation was a view widely accepted in 1st. century Jewish teaching, cf., Jubilees, although it is not recorded in Genesis.

ogdoon adj. "and seven others" - eighth [Noah]. Technically the adjective serves as a substantive, "the eighth man", with Noah standing in apposition, but it is an idiomatic construction of the time with the sense "Noah and seven others", BDF #248.5. The seven were of course, Noah's wife, his three sons and their wives.

 
v6

Peter notes a second prototype of divine eschatological judgment. The flood and Sodom and Gomorrah "exemplify the pattern of two destructions by water and fire", Bauckham.

kai "if" - and if [he judged the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah]. Standing for kai ei, "and if", so introducing a coordinate protasis for the conditional clause commenced in v4.

katastrofh/ (h) dat. "-" - in destruction, ruin. This dative variant is best taken as a dative of indirect object, "he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction"; "the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah he condemned to utter ruin", Cassirer.

tefrwsaV (tefrow) aor. part. "by burning them to ashes" - having reduced to ashes. The participle may be taken as attendant circumstance, expressing action accompanying the verb "to condemn", "he condemned ...... and reduced them to ashes", or adverbial, probably instrumental, expressing means, "by reducing them to ashes", although possibly temporal, "when he reduced them to ashes."

teqeikwV (tiqhmi) perf. part. "and made them" - making them. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to condemn", "he condemned ..... and made them ......", or adverbial, modal, expressing manner, "making them an example." "We know that in that catastrophe God provided an example of what is going to happen to the impious", Barclay.

uJpodeigma (a) acc. "an example" - Accusative complement of the assumed direct object "them" of the attendant participle "making".

mellontwn (mellw) gen. pres. part. "of what is going to happen" - of the things happening, coming. The participle serves as a substantive.

asbesin dat. adj. "to the ungodly" - Dative of interest, disadvantage; "for the ungodly, impious."

 
v7

Righteous Lot, distressed by the oppressive evil surrounding him, is rescued from judgment, v7-8. Again, God's judgment of the unrighteous is enacted while preserving the righteous - Sodom and Gomorrah condemned to extinction, but Lot is rescued. Note the stress Peter places on Lot's distress on having to live in proximity to the lawlessness of his community. Is Peter aligning this distress with those who are having to put up with the behavior of the false teachers? A comparison with Jude is interesting at this point.

kai "and if" - It seems likely that at this point kai again introduces another coordinate protasis for the conditional clause, kai ei, "and if [as is the case, righteous Lot, being oppressed by the conduct of the wicked in licentiousness (v8) because the/that righteous man, dwelling in/among them day-by-day, tormented his righteous soul, in/by seeing and hearing, in/by their lawless deeds, (v7, errusato) was delivered, (v10) then ....." We may have expected an adversative alla here instead of kai, as in v5; "God did not spare the ancient world ...... but protected Noah ..." = "God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah ........ but rescued Lot ......" "Lot, on the other hand, he rescued ....", Cassirer.

kataponoumenon (kataponew) pres. mid./pas. part. "who was distressed" - [but he delivered righteous Lot] being oppressed. The participle is adjectival, attributive, as NIV. The word takes the sense "to cause distress through oppressive means", BDAG.

uJpo + gen. "by" - by [the conduct, lifestyle, way of life]. Expressing agency.

en + dat. "[the depraved conduct]" - [of the wicked] in [licentiousness, sensuality]. Local, sphere; "within the sphere of licentious living." The phrase is usually translated as if an attributive adjective limiting "conduct"; "immoral behavior", Berkeley, "sensual conduct", ESV, as NIV.

twn aqesmwn adj. "of the lawless" - of the wicked. The adjective serves as a substantive, the genitive being verbal, subjective.

 
v8

gar "for" - because [the/that righteous man, dwelling in/among them day-by-day, tormented his righteous soul, in/by seeing and hearing, in/by their lawless deeds]." Introducing a causal clause explaining why Lot was "distressed".

egkatoikwn (egkatoikew) pres. part. "living" - The participle is adverbial, best taken as temporal; "while that righteous man was living among them day-by-day." Davids notes Green's suggestion in his BECNT commentary that the participle is possibly causal, "because of ..."

en dat. "among [them]" - Local, space, or accompaniment / association.

ex (ek) + gen. "[day] after [day]" - [day] from [day]. Idiomatic phrase, "day after day" = "day-by-day."

ergoiV (on) dat. "the [lawless] deeds" - The dative is instrumental, expressing means; "his upright soul was tortured by their lawless behavior."

blemmati .... kai akoh/ dat. "he saw and heard" - in/by seeing ... and hearing. The dative is instrumental, expressing means; "by what he heard and what he saw."

 
v9

We now come to the apodosis of the conditional sentence, the "then" clause. Given that God has, in the past, condemned the unrighteous and saved the righteous, it is not unreasonable to propose an eschatological judgment of cursing and blessing, v9. This day of judgment, for Peter, is particularly applicable to the false teachers "who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority", ESV, v10a.

- "if this is so, then ..." - then [the Lord knows how to deliver godly ones from test / trial and how to keep unrighteous ones, being punished, to a day of judgment].

rJuesqai (rJuomai) pres. inf. "how to rescue" - As with threin, "to keep / hold", the infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what the Lord knows, namely, how to rescue the godly and "how to keep the wicked under punishment to await the day of judgment", Barclay.

ek + gen. "from [trials]" - Expressing separation; "away from." "How to protect his people from the spread of wickedness", Junkins, although Peter's perspective is eschatological, then, not now. For now we live like Lot, confronted, and constantly tempted by evil.

kalazomenouV (kolazw) pres. pas./mid. part. "for punishment" - being punished. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "unrighteous ones"; "the wicked who face chastisement / punishment."

eiV + acc. "on [the day]" - to, into [day]. Here expressing reference / respect; they face chastisement / punishment with respect to the eschatological day of judgment, ie., not now, but then, in that coming day.

krisewV (iV ewV) gen. "of judgment" - The genitive is adjectival, limiting "day", attributive, "judgment day", idiomatic / temporal, "the day when judgment will take place", Davids.

 
v10a

touV .... poreuomenouV (poreuomai) pres. part. "those who follow" - [the Lord knows how to keep unrighteous ones ..... (v10a) especially] the ones going [after flesh in lust of defilement]. The participle serves as a substantive, accusative coordinate object of the infinitive "to keep."

opisw + gen. "-" - after [flesh]. Here as a spacial preposition; "especially those who proceed on their way, hot in pursuit of the flesh", Wuest. Davids takes this to mean "to give oneself to fornication." Behind this choice of words lays the situation recorded in Sodom and Gomorrah, with lust mingling with idolatry, of going after other deities, cf., LXX poreuesqai opisw, "went after", Deut.4:3, etc. Peter's language may well be metaphorical, such that the false teachers are not actually into fornication, nor idolatry, but their devaluing of the day of judgment puts them in the category of an evil-liver.

en + dat. "[the corrupt desire]" - in desire. The preposition here is most likely adverbial, possibly attendant, "in connection with", or context, "in the context of", standard, "according to", MHT IV. The prepositional phrase so formed with the dative epiqumia, "desire", and its modifying attributive genitive miasmou, "of defilement" = "corrupt desire", MHT IV, "defiling passion", "depraved lust", NRSV, "abominable lusts", NEB, .... is a rather "ambiguous phrase", Davids. Again, commentators identify Biblical allusions in the language.

katafronountaV (katafronew) aor. part. "despise" - [and] the ones despising, scorning, looking down on. The participle serves as a substantive; "and those who despise authority." The accusative article touV for "the one's following" applies.

kuriothtoV (hV htoV) gen. "authority" - authority, power, lordship, dominion. Genitive of direct object after the kata prefix verb "to look down on." Those who are "characterized by contempt for authority", Barclay. The singular "authority" probably indicated "divine authority."

 

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