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2 Peter 2:4-5

Context

2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, 1  but threw them into hell 2  and locked them up 3  in chains 4  in utter darkness, 5  to be kept until the judgment, 2:5 and if he did not spare the ancient world, but did protect Noah, a herald of righteousness, along with seven others, 6  when God 7  brought a flood on an ungodly world, 8 

1 tn The participle ἁμαρτησάντων (Jamarthsantwn) could either be attributive (“who sinned”) or adverbial (“when they sinned”). The relation to the judgment of the false teachers in v. 3 suggests that the objects of God’s judgment are not in question, but the time frame for the execution of justice is. If the participle is taken temporally, the point of comparison is not as acute. The objection that the illustrations following (the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah) are viewed temporally does not mitigate this translation, for in both instances only the time of executing judgment is in view. Further, in both instances the OT notes that God withheld punishment for a long time.

2 tn Grk “casting them into Tartarus” or “holding them captive in Tartarus.” This verb, ταρταρόω (tartarow), occurs only here in the NT, but its meaning is clearly established in both Hellenistic and Jewish literature. “Tartarus [was] thought of by the Greeks as a subterranean place lower than Hades where divine punishment was meted out, and so regarded in Israelite apocalyptic as well” (BDAG 991 s.v.). Grammatically, it has been translated as an indicative because it is an attendant circumstance participle.

3 tn Grk “handed them over.”

4 tc The reading σειραῖς (seirai", “chains”) is found in Ì72 P Ψ 33 1739 Ï vg sy, while σιροῖς (sirois [or σειροῖς, seirois], “pits”) is found in א A B C 81 pc. The evidence is thus fairly evenly divided. Internally, the reading adopted here (σειραῖς) is a rarer term, perhaps prompting some scribes to replace it with the more common word. However, this more common term is not a synonym and hence does not follow the normal pattern of scribes. As well, the use of the genitive ζόφου (zofou) in “chains of darkness” is a bit awkward (a rare genitive of place), perhaps prompting some scribes to change the imagery to “pits of darkness” (in which case ζόφου is an attributive genitive). A further point that complicates the issue is the relationship of 2 Peter to Jude. Jude’s parallel (v. 6) has δεσμοῖς (desmois, “chains”). Apart from the issue of whether 2 Peter used Jude or Jude used 2 Peter, this parallel suggests one of two possibilities: either (1) since these two books obviously have a literary relationship, σειραῖς is original, or (2) early scribes, recognizing that these two books shared their material, changed σειροῖς to σειραῖς to conform the wording, at least conceptually, to Jude 6. On balance, σειραῖς looks to be original because scribes were not prone to harmonize extensively between books other than the Gospels (although 2 Peter and Jude do display some of this harmonizing). Further, such harmonization is often, if not usually, verbally exact, but δεσμοῖς is not a variant here.

5 tn The genitive ζόφου (zofou) is taken as a genitive of place. See previous note for discussion.

6 tn “Along with seven others” is implied in the cryptic, “the eighth, Noah.” A more literal translation thus would be, “he did protect Noah [as] the eighth…”

7 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been repeated here for clarity, although this is somewhat redundant with the beginning of v. 4.

8 tn Grk “a world of the ungodly.”



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