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2 Peter 2:12-16

Context
2:12 But 1  these men, 2  like irrational animals – creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed 3  – do not understand whom 4  they are insulting, and consequently 5  in their destruction they will be destroyed, 6  2:13 suffering harm as the wages for their harmful ways. 7  By considering it a pleasure to carouse in broad daylight, 8  they are stains and blemishes, indulging 9  in their deceitful pleasures when they feast together with you. 2:14 Their eyes, 10  full of adultery, 11  never stop sinning; 12  they entice 13  unstable people. 14  They have trained their hearts for greed, these cursed children! 15  2:15 By forsaking the right path they have gone astray, because they followed the way of Balaam son of Bosor, 16  who loved the wages of unrighteousness, 17  2:16 yet was rebuked 18  for his own transgression (a dumb donkey, 19  speaking with a human voice, 20  restrained the prophet’s madness). 21 

1 tn 2 Pet 2:12 through 16 constitute one cumbersome sentence in Greek. It is difficult to tell whether a hard break belongs in the middle of v. 13, as the translation has it, or whether the compounding of participles is meant in a loosely descriptive sort of way, without strong grammatical connection. Either way, the sentence rambles in a way that often betrays a great “vehemence of spirit” (A. T. Robertson, Grammar, 435). The author is obviously agitated at these false teachers who are to come.

2 tn The false teachers could conceivably be men or women, but in v. 14 they are said to have eyes “full of an adulteress.” This can only refer to men. Hence, both here and in v. 17 the false teachers are described as “men.”

3 tn Grk “born for capture and destruction.”

4 tn Grk “with [reference to] whom.”

5 tn There is no conjunction joining this last clause of v. 12 to the preceding (i.e., no “and consequently”). The argument builds asyndetically (a powerful rhetorical device in Greek), but cannot be naturally expressed in English as such.

6 tn This cryptic expression has been variously interpreted. (1) It could involve a simple cognate dative in which case the idea is “they will be utterly destroyed.” But the presence of αὐτῶν (autwn; their, of them) is problematic for this view. Other, more plausible views are: (2) the false teachers will be destroyed at the same time as the irrational beasts, or (3) in the same manner as these creatures (i.e., by being caught); or (4) the false teachers will be destroyed together with the evil angels whom they insult. Because of the difficulties of the text, it was thought best to leave it ambiguous, as the Greek has it.

7 tn There is a play on words in Greek, but this is difficult to express adequately in English. The verb ἀδικέω (adikew) as a passive means “to suffer harm,” or “to suffer an injustice.” The noun ἀδικία (adikia) means “unrighteousness.” Since the Greek verb has a wider field of meaning than the English, to translate it as suffer an injustice is unwarranted, for it implicitly attributes evil to God. As R. Bauckham notes, “in English it is impossible to translate ἀδικούμενοι as a morally neutral term and ἀδικίας with a morally pejorative term, while retaining the play on words” (Jude, 2 Peter [WBC], 265).

8 tn Grk “considering carousing in the daytime a pleasure.”

9 tn Or “carousing,” “reveling.” The participle ἐντρυφῶντες (entrufwnte") is a cognate to the noun τρυφή (trufh, “carousing”) used earlier in the verse.

10 tn Grk “having eyes.” See note on “men” at the beginning of v. 12.

11 tn Grk “full of an adulteress.”

12 tn Grk “and unceasing from sin.” Some translate this “insatiable for sin,” but such a translation is based on a textual variant with inadequate support.

13 tn Grk “enticing.” See note on “men” at the beginning of v. 12.

14 tn “People” is literally “souls.” The term ψυχή (yuch) can refer to one’s soul, one’s life, or oneself.

15 tn Grk “having hearts trained in greediness, children of cursing.” The participles continue the general description of the false teachers, without strong grammatical connection. The genitive κατάρας (kataras, “of cursing”) is taken attributively here.

16 tn Although many modern translations (e.g., NASB, TEV, NIV, CEV, NLT) read “Beor” here, this is due to harmonization with the OT rather than following a variant textual reading. The Greek text of NA27 reads “Bosor,” an otherwise unattested form of the name of Balaam’s father.

17 tn “Wages of unrighteousness” in Greek is the same expression found in v. 13, “wages for harmful ways.” The repetition makes the link between the false teachers and Balaam more concrete.

18 tn Grk “but he had a rebuke.”

19 tn The Greek word ἄφωνος (afwno") means “mute, silent” or “incapable of speech.” For reasons of English style the word “dumb” was used in the translation. Despite the potential for misunderstanding (since “dumb” can refer to a lack of intellectual capability) more dynamic glosses were judged to be inelegant.

20 tn Grk “a voice of a (man/person).”

21 sn Balaam’s activities are detailed in Num 22—24 (see also Num 31:8, 16).



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