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2 Peter 2:9-17

Context
2:9 – if so, 1  then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials, 2  and to reserve the unrighteous for punishment 3  at the day of judgment, 2:10 especially those who indulge their fleshly desires 4  and who despise authority.

Brazen and insolent, 5  they are not afraid to insult 6  the glorious ones, 7  2:11 yet even 8  angels, who are much more powerful, 9  do not bring a slanderous 10  judgment against them before the Lord. 11  2:12 But 12  these men, 13  like irrational animals – creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed 14  – do not understand whom 15  they are insulting, and consequently 16  in their destruction they will be destroyed, 17  2:13 suffering harm as the wages for their harmful ways. 18  By considering it a pleasure to carouse in broad daylight, 19  they are stains and blemishes, indulging 20  in their deceitful pleasures when they feast together with you. 2:14 Their eyes, 21  full of adultery, 22  never stop sinning; 23  they entice 24  unstable people. 25  They have trained their hearts for greed, these cursed children! 26  2:15 By forsaking the right path they have gone astray, because they followed the way of Balaam son of Bosor, 27  who loved the wages of unrighteousness, 28  2:16 yet was rebuked 29  for his own transgression (a dumb donkey, 30  speaking with a human voice, 31  restrained the prophet’s madness). 32 

2:17 These men 33  are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm, for whom the utter depths of darkness 34  have been reserved.

1 tn The Greek is one long conditional sentence, from v. 4 to v. 10a. 2Pet 2:4-8 constitute the protasis; vv. 9 and 10a, the apodosis. In order to show this connection more clearly, a resumptive summary protasis – “if so,” or “if God did these things” – is needed in English translation.

2 tn Grk “from trial,” or possibly “from temptation” (though this second meaning for πειρασμός (peirasmo") does not fit the context in which Noah and Lot are seen as in the midst of trials, not temptation).

3 tn The adverbial participle κολαζομένους (kolazomenou") can refer either to contemporaneous time or subsequent time. At stake is the meaning of the following prepositional phrase (at the day of judgment or until the day of judgment). If the participle is contemporaneous, the idea is “to keep the ungodly in a state of punishment until the day of judgment.” If subsequent, the meaning is “to keep the ungodly to be punished at the day of judgment.” Many commentators/translations opt for the first view, assuming that the present participle cannot be used of subsequent time. However, the present participle is the normal one used for result, and is often used of purpose (cf., e.g., for present participles suggesting result, Mark 9:7; Luke 4:15; John 5:18; Eph 2:15; 2 Pet 2:1, mentioned above; for present participles indicating purpose, note Luke 10:25; John 12:33; Acts 3:26; 2 Pet 2:10 [as even most translations render it]). Further, the context supports this: 2:1-10 forms something of an inclusio, in which the final end of the false teachers is mentioned specifically in v. 1, then as a general principle in v. 9. The point of v. 3 – that the punishment of the false teachers is certain, even though the sentence has not yet been carried out, is underscored by a participle of purpose in v. 9.

4 tn Grk “those who go after the flesh in [its] lust.”

5 tn There is no “and” in Greek; it is supplied for the sake of English convention.

6 tn The translation takes βλασφημοῦντες (blasfhmounte") as an adverbial participle of purpose, as most translations do. However, it is also possible to see this temporally (thus, “they do not tremble when they blaspheme”).

7 tn Δόξας (doxas) almost certainly refers to angelic beings rather than mere human authorities, though it is difficult to tell whether good or bad angels are in view. Verse 11 seems to suggest that wicked angels is what the author intends.

8 tn Grk “whereas.”

9 tn Grk “who are greater in strength and power.” What is being compared, however, could either be the false teachers or “the glorious ones,” in which case “angels” would refer to good angels and “the glorious ones” to evil angels.

10 tn Or “insulting.” The word comes from the same root as the term found in v. 10 (“insult”), v. 12 (“insulting”), and v. 2 (“will be slandered”). The author is fond of building his case by the repetition of a word in a slightly different context so that the readers make the necessary connection. English usage cannot always convey this connection because a given word in one language cannot always be translated the same way in another.

11 tc ‡ Some witnesses lack παρὰ κυρίῳ (para kuriw; so A Ψ 33 81 1505 1881 2464 al vg co), while others have the genitive παρὰ κυρίου (para kuriou; so Ì72 1241 al syph,h**). The majority of witnesses (including א B C P 1739 Ï) read the dative παρὰ κυρίῳ. The genitive expression suggests that angels would not pronounce a judgment on “the glorious ones” from the Lord, while the dative indicates that angels would not pronounce a judgment on “the glorious ones” in the presence of the Lord. The parallel in Jude 9 speaks of a reviling judgment against the devil in which the prepositional phrase is entirely absent. At the same time, in that parallel Michael does say, “The Lord rebuke you.” (Hence, he is offering something of a judgment from the Lord.) The best options externally are the dative or the omission of the phrase, but a decision is difficult. Internally, the omission may possibly be a motivated reading in that it finds a parallel in Jude 9 (where no prepositional phrase is used). All things considered, the dative is to be preferred, though with much reservation.

12 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.

13 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.”

14 tn Grk “born for capture and destruction.”

15 tn Grk “with [reference to] whom.”

16 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.

17 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.

18 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).

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

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

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

22 tn Grk “full of an adulteress.”

23 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.

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

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

26 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.

27 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.

28 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.

29 tn Grk “but he had a rebuke.”

30 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.

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

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

33 tn Although some translations have simply “these” or “these people,” since in v. 14 they are described as having eyes “full of an adulteress,” men are in view.

34 tn Grk “utter darkness of darkness.” Verse 4 speaks of wicked angels presently in “chains of utter darkness,” while the final fate of the false teachers is a darker place still.



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