1:8 Yet these men, 1 as a result of their dreams, 2 defile the flesh, reject authority, 3 and insult 4 the glorious ones. 5 1:9 But even 6 when Michael the archangel 7 was arguing with the devil and debating with him 8 concerning Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a slanderous judgment, but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!” 1:10 But these men do not understand the things they slander, and they are being destroyed by the very things that, like irrational animals, they instinctively comprehend. 9
1 tn The reference is now to the false teachers.
2 tn Grk “dreaming.” The participle ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι (enupniazomenoi, “dreaming”) is adverbial to the pronoun οὗτοι (|outoi, “these”), though the particular relationship is not clear. It could mean, “while dreaming,” “by dreaming,” or “because of dreaming.” This translation has adopted the last option as Jude’s meaning, partially for syntactical reasons (the causal participle usually precedes the main verb) and partially for contextual reasons (these false teachers must derive their authority from some source, and the dreams provide the most obvious base). The participle ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι was sometimes used of apocalyptic visions, both of true and false prophets. This seems to be the meaning here.
4 tn The construction with the three verbs (“defile, “reject,” and “insult”) involves the particles μέν, δέ, δέ (men, de, de). A more literal (and pedantic) translation would be: “on the one hand, they defile the flesh, on the other hand, they reject authority, and on another hand, they insult the glorious ones.”
5 sn The glorious ones refers to angelic beings rather than mere human beings, just as in 2 Pet 2:10 (on which this passage apparently depends). Whether the angelic beings are good or evil, however, is difficult to tell (hence, the translation is left ambiguous). However, both in 2 Pet 2:11 and here, in Jude 9, the wicked angels seem to be in view (for not even Michael insults them).
6 tn The word “even” is not in Greek; it is implied by the height of the contrast.
7 sn According to Jewish intertestamental literature (such as 1 En. 20), Michael was one of seven archangels.
8 tn The sentence structure is a bit different in Greek. Literally it reads: “But Michael the archangel, when arguing with the devil and disputing.”
9 tn Or “they should naturally comprehend.” The present tense in this context may have a conative force.
sn They instinctively comprehend. Like irrational animals, these false teachers do grasp one thing – the instinctive behavior of animals in heat. R. Bauckham (Jude, 2 Peter [WBC], 63) notes that “Though they claim to be guided by special spiritual insight gained in heavenly revelations, they are in fact following the sexual instincts which they share with the animals.” Jude’s focus is somewhat different from Peter’s: Peter argued that, like irrational animals who are born to be caught and killed, these men will be destroyed when destroying others (2 Pet 2:12). Jude, however, does not mention the destruction of animals, just that these false teachers will be destroyed for mimicking them.