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Jude 1:4-7

Context
1:4 For certain men 1  have secretly slipped in among you 2  – men who long ago 3  were marked out 4  for the condemnation I am about to describe 5  – ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil 6  and who deny our only Master 7  and Lord, 8  Jesus Christ.

1:5 Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts 9  once for all 10 ) that Jesus, 11  having saved the 12  people out of the land of Egypt, later 13  destroyed those who did not believe. 1:6 You also know that 14  the angels who did not keep within their proper domain 15  but abandoned their own place of residence, he has kept 16  in eternal chains 17  in utter 18  darkness, locked up 19  for the judgment of the great Day. 1:7 So also 20  Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring towns, 21  since they indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire 22  in a way similar to 23  these angels, 24  are now displayed as an example by suffering the punishment of eternal fire.

1 tn Grk “people.” However, if Jude is indeed arguing that Peter’s prophecy about false teachers has come true, these are most likely men in the original historical and cultural setting. See discussion of this point in the note on the phrase “these men” in 2 Pet 2:12.

2 tn “Among you” is not in the Greek text, but is obviously implied.

sn The infiltration referred to by the phrase slipped in among you was predicted by Peter (2 Pet 2:1), Paul (e.g., Acts 20:29-30), and OT prophets.

3 tn Or “in the past.” The adverb πάλαι (palai) can refer to either, though the meaning “long ago” is more common.

4 tn Grk “written about.”

5 tn Grk “for this condemnation.” τοῦτο (touto) is almost surely a kataphoric demonstrative pronoun, pointing to what follows in vv. 5-18. Otherwise, the condemnation is only implied (in v. 3b) or is merely a statement of their sinfulness (“ungodly” in v. 4b), not a judgment of it.

6 tn Grk “debauchery.” This is the same word Peter uses to predict what the false teachers will be like (2 Pet 2:2, 7, 18).

sn Turned the grace of our God into a license for evil. One of the implications that the gospel in the apostolic period was truly a gospel of grace was the fact that the enemies of the gospel could pervert it into license. If it were a gospel of works, no such abuse could be imagined. Along these lines, note Rom 6:1 – “Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase?” This question could not have even been asked had the gospel been one of works. But grace is easily misunderstood by those who would abuse it.

7 tc Most later witnesses (P Ψ Ï sy) have θεόν (qeon, “God”) after δεσπότην (despothn, “master”), which appears to be a motivated reading in that it explicitly links “Master” to “God” in keeping with the normal NT pattern (see Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; 2 Tim 2:21; Rev 6:10). In patristic Greek, δεσπότης (despoth") was used especially of God (cf. BDAG 220 s.v. 1.b.). The earlier and better witnesses (Ì72,78 א A B C 0251 33 81 323 1241 1739 al co) lack θεόν; the shorter reading is thus preferred on both internal and external grounds.

sn The Greek term for Master (δεσπότης, despoths) is the same term the author of 2 Peter used (2 Pet 2:1) to describe his Lord when he prophesied about these false teachers. Since δεσπότης is used only ten times in the NT, the verbal connection between these two books at this juncture is striking. This is especially so since both Peter and Jude speak of these false teachers as denying the Master (both using the same verb). The basic difference is that Peter is looking to the future, while Jude is arguing that these false teachers are here now.

8 tn The terms “Master and Lord” both refer to the same person. The construction in Greek is known as the Granville Sharp rule, named after the English philanthropist-linguist who first clearly articulated the rule in 1798. Sharp pointed out that in the construction article-noun-καί-noun (where καί [kai] = “and”), when two nouns are singular, personal, and common (i.e., not proper names), they always had the same referent. Illustrations such as “the friend and brother,” “the God and Father,” etc. abound in the NT to prove Sharp’s point. For more discussion see ExSyn 270-78. See also Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1

9 tn Grk “knowing all things.” The subject of the participle “knowing” (εἰδότας, eidota") is an implied ὑμᾶς (Jumas), though several ancient witnesses actually add it. The πάντα (panta) takes on an adverbial force in this context (“fully”), intensifying how acquainted the readers are with the following points.

sn That Jude comments on his audience’s prior knowledge of what he is about to tell them (you have been fully informed of these facts) may imply that they were familiar with 2 Peter. In 2 Pet 2:4ff., the same illustrations from the OT are drawn. See the note on the following phrase once for all.

10 tc ‡ Some translations take ἅπαξ (Japax) with the following clause (thus, “[Jesus,] having saved the people once for all”). Such a translation presupposes that ἅπαξ is a part of the ὅτι (Joti) clause. The reading of NA27, πάντα ὅτι [] κύριος ἅπαξ (panta {oti [Jo] kurio" {apax), suggests this interpretation (though with “Lord” instead of “Jesus”). This particle is found before λαόν (laon) in the ὅτι clause in א C* Ψ 630 1241 1243 1505 1739 1846 1881 pc co. But ἅπαξ is found before the ὅτι clause in most witnesses, including several important ones (Ì72 A B C2 33 81 623 2344 Ï vg). What seems best able to explain the various placements of the adverb is that scribes were uncomfortable with ἅπαξ referring to the readers’ knowledge, feeling it was more appropriate to the theological significance of “saved” (σώσας, swsas).

sn In this translation, Jude is stressing that the readers have been informed once for all of the OT illustrations he is about to mention. Where would they get this information? Most likely from having read 2 Peter. Earlier Jude used the same adverb to indicate that these believers had a written record of the faith. This seems to be his implication here, too. Thus, for the second time Jude is appealing to the written documents of the early church as authoritative as opposed to the messages of the false teachers. As the 1st century began to draw to a close, the early church found itself increasingly dependent on the letters and gospels of the apostles and their associates. Once those apostles died, false apostles and false teachers sprang up, like wolves in sheep’s clothing (cf. Acts 20:29-30). To combat this, some of the latest books of the NT stressed the authority of what had been written (so Hebrews, Jude, Ephesians, 1 John). Although these writers anticipated the return of the Lord, they also braced their audiences for a delay of the parousia (the second coming of Christ) by suggesting that when they were gone the NT documents should guide them.

11 tc ‡ The reading ᾿Ιησοῦς (Ihsous, “Jesus”) is deemed too hard by several scholars, since it involves the notion of Jesus acting in the early history of the nation Israel. However, not only does this reading enjoy the strongest support from a variety of early witnesses (e.g., A B 33 81 1241 1739 1881 2344 pc vg co Or1739mg), but the plethora of variants demonstrate that scribes were uncomfortable with it, for they seemed to exchange κύριος (kurios, “Lord”) or θεός (qeos, “God”) for ᾿Ιησοῦς (though Ì72 has the intriguing reading θεὸς Χριστός [qeos Cristos, “God Christ”] for ᾿Ιησοῦς). In addition to the evidence supplied in NA27 for this reading, note also {88 322 323 424c 665 915 2298 eth Cyr Hier Bede}. As difficult as the reading ᾿Ιησοῦς is, in light of v. 4 and in light of the progress of revelation (Jude being one of the last books in the NT to be composed), it is wholly appropriate.

sn The construction our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ in v. 4 follows Granville Sharp’s rule (see note on Lord). The construction strongly implies the deity of Christ. This is followed by a statement that Jesus was involved in the salvation (and later judgment) of the Hebrews. He is thus to be identified with the Lord God, Yahweh. Verse 5, then, simply fleshes out what is implicit in v. 4.

12 tn Or perhaps “a,” though this is less likely.

13 tn Grk “the second time.”

14 tn Grk “and.” Verse 6 is a continuation of the same sentence begun in v. 5. Due to the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

15 tn Grk “who did not keep their own domain.”

sn The idea is that certain angels acted improperly, going outside the bounds prescribed by God (their proper domain).

16 sn There is an interesting play on words used in this verse. Because the angels did not keep their proper place, Jesus has kept them chained up in another place. The same verb keep is used in v. 1 to describe believers’ status before God and Christ.

17 sn In 2 Pet 2:4 a less common word for chains is used.

18 tn The word ζόφος (zofos, “utter, deepest darkness”) is used only five times in the NT: two in 2 Peter, two in Jude, and one in Hebrews. Jude 6 parallels 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 13 parallels 2 Pet 2:17.

19 tn The words “locked up” are not in Greek, but is expressed in English as a resumptive point after the double prepositional phrase (“in eternal chains in utter darkness”).

20 tn Grk “as.”

21 tn Grk “the towns [or cities] surrounding them.”

22 tn Grk “strange flesh.” This phrase has been variously interpreted. It could refer to flesh of another species (such as angels lusting after human flesh). This would aptly describe the sin of the angels, but not easily explain the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. It could refer to the homosexual practices of the Sodomites, but a difficulty arises from the use of ἕτερος ({etero"; “strange,” “other”). When this is to be distinguished from ἄλλος (allos, “another”) it suggests “another of a different kind.” If so, would that properly describe homosexual behavior? In response, the language could easily be compact: “pursued flesh other than what was normally pursued.” However, would this find an analogy in the lust of angels (such would imply that angels normally had sexual relations of some sort, but cf. Matt 22:30)? Another alternative is that the focus of the parallel is on the activity of the surrounding cities and the activity of the angels. This is especially plausible since the participles ἐκπορνεύσασαι (ekporneusasai, “having indulged in sexual immorality”) and ἀπελθοῦσαι (apelqousai, “having pursued”) have concord with “cities” (πόλεις, poleis), a feminine plural noun, rather than with Sodom and Gomorrah (both masculine nouns). If so, then their sin would not necessarily have to be homosexuality. However, most likely the feminine participles are used because of constructio ad sensum (construction according to sense). That is, since both Sodom and Gomorrah are cities, the feminine is used to imply that all the cities are involved. The connection with angels thus seems to be somewhat loose: Both angels and Sodom and Gomorrah indulged in heinous sexual immorality. Thus, whether the false teachers indulge in homosexual activity is not the point; mere sexual immorality is enough to condemn them.

23 tn Or “in the same way as.”

24 tn “Angels” is not in the Greek text; but the masculine demonstrative pronoun most likely refers back to the angels of v. 6.



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