2 Peter ii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Lying teachers among you, some of which were already come, and many more were to follow, who shall bring in sects,[1] (heresies) leading to perdition, and deny the Lord who bought them, denying the divinity of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer; such were the disciples of Simon, and many after them. (Witham) — Sects of perdition; that is, heresies destructive of salvation. (Challoner)

Ver. 2. Many shall follow their luxuries, or lasciviousness, such as are related of the Nicolaites and Gnostics, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be blasphemed, or ill spoken of, by those who made no distinction betwixt true and false Christians. (Witham)

Ver. 3. They shall make merchandise of you, preaching such lying doctrine as might please the people, but through a motive of covetousness, and for their own gain. (Witham)

Ver. 4. If God spared not the Angels, &c. St. Peter here brings these examples of God’s justice. 1. Towards the rebellious angels that fell from heaven; 2. that of the general flood, or deluge; 3. when he destroyed Sodom and those other cities. First, angels that sinned, God by his justice delivered them, drawn down with infernal ropes into hell to be tormented, and to be reserved even for greater torments after the day of judgment. This seems to be the liberal sense of this fourth verse, which is obscure, and has divers reading in the Greek. In the examples of the deluge and of Sodom, St. Peter shews not only the severity of God’s judgments upon the wicked, but also his merciful providence towards the small number of the just, as towards Noe[Noah], a preacher of justice, the eighth and chief of those who were preserved in the ark, when he spared not the world that was of old, (literally, the original world) or wicked of those ancient times. When he delivered that just man, Lot, at the time he reduced Sodom and those other cities to ashes: for Lot was just both in sight and hearing, without being corrupted by what he saw and heard; chaste as to his eyes and ears, or as to all that could be seen or heard of him, when the wicked among whom he lived vexed and grieved his just soul by their impious deeds. God, therefore, who knows and approves the ways of the godly, preserves them by his providence amidst temptations. (Witham)

Ver. 9. To reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment, &c. That is, God many times does not punish the wicked in this life, he suffers them to run on in the ways of iniquity, with prosperity as to the enjoyment of a short and vain happiness in this world, but his judgments are most of all to be dreaded, when the punishments are reserved till the next life, as it will appear at the day of general judgment: and from the time of their death they shall be tormented in hell. (Witham)

Ver. 10. Especially those who walk after the flesh, &c. Such were the Gnostics, and divers of the first heretics, as well as many of them in after ages, who despise authority, contemn the laws, both of church and state; self-willed, full of self-love, lovers of their own infamous pleasures; blaspheming against God, his ministers, and against those who serve God. (Witham)

Ver. 11. Whereas angels, &c. By comparing this place with what we read in St. Jude, (ver. 9) he speaks of the good angels whom God employed to banish the rebellious angels out of heaven, and on other occasions, who, though they had greater strength and power given them by the Almighty, yet did not bear execrable judgment against themselves; i.e. one against another, or against those who at first had been happy spirits with them in heaven; did not exult over them with injuries and reviling reflections, but executed their commands in the name of God, saying, let the Lord command you. See Jude, ver. 9. (Witham) — Bring not an execrable judgment, &c. That is, they use no railing, nor cursing sentence; not even in their conflicts with the evil angels. (Challoner)

Ver. 12. But these men, &c. These infamous heretics of whom he speaks, like brutes, void of reason, naturally following the disorderly inclinations of their nature corrupted by sin, tend, or run headlong into the snares of the devil, to their own destruction and perdition, blaspheming against the mysteries of religion, and against what they do not understand. (Witham)

Ver. 13. Counting the delights of the day to be pleasure; such is their impiety and their folly, that they have no regard to all the punishments they make themselves liable to, if they can but pass their days in this short life, or even one day, in shameful pleasures and delights. They may be called the stains and blemishes, the shame and disgrace of mankind, on account of the abominations they practise in their rioting and banquetings.[3] See what St. Epiphanius relates of Gnostics. (Witham) — Delights; that is, the short delights of this world, in which they place all their happiness. (Challoner)

Ver. 14. And what is still an aggravation to the weight of their sins, they entice and allure others, unstable souls, not sufficiently grounded in faith and virtue, by promising them liberty and happiness, though they themselves be miserable slaves to their passions. At the same time they make dupes of them out of covetousness, to get a share of their money and riches. (Witham)

Ver. 15. In this they are like Balaam, of Bosor, (a town of the Madianites) who coveting the reward promised him, (Judges xi.) was willing, if God had permitted him, to have cursed the people of Israel: but God put a check to his madness, by making the ass which he rode upon speak with a human voice. (Witham)

Ver. 17. These are fountains without water. The like lively description is given of the manners of these heretics by St. Jude, so that the text of one of these apostles helps to expound the other. (Witham)

Ver. 20. For if flying, and been happily freed from the pollutions, the abominations, and corruptions of a wicked world, be upon your guard, and take great care not to be entangled again in these dangerous snares and nets, lest your latter condition (as Christ said, Matthew xii. 45.) be worse than the former, lest you be like a dog that returns to his vomit, or like a sow that is washed and wallows again in the mire. (Witham)


[1] Ver. 1. Sectas introducere, doxas, as this Greek word sometimes signifies; witness Aristotle, 4. Eth., where he puts as apposite, kata doxan, kai kat aletheian.

[2] Ver. 4. Rudentibus inferni detractos in tartarum tradidit cruciandos, in judicium reservari, seirais zophou (some few copies, adoutartarosas, paredoken eis krisin teteremenous; other manuscripts, teroumenous. Tartaroo must signify cast into a place, called tartaros, derived from taratto, turbo. The Rheims Testament hath, with ropes of hell drawn down; but the sense rather seems to be, delivered into chains, or into prison. Some would have tartarosas to signify, cast down into this region of the air. It is true divers of the ancient Fathers were of opinion, that devils are dispersed in the airy region, where they are punished and tormented; but these same Fathers do not deny, that there is in the inferior parts of the earth a place of torments for the devils and damned souls, into which (called also the abyss) the devils begged not to be sent and confined there. (Luke viii. 31.) This is the place called hell, tartarus, &c.

[3] Ver. 13. In conviviis, agapais, which reading Dr. Wells prefers before apatais, the common reading: in the Protestant translation, with their own deceivings.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

He warns them against false teachers, and foretells their punishment.

1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there shall be lying teachers among you, who shall bring in sects of perdition, and deny the Lord who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

2 And many shall follow their luxuries, through whom the way of truth shall be blasphemed:

3 And through covetousness with feigned words they shall make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time ceaseth not, and their destruction slumbereth not.

4 *For if God spared not the Angels that sinned, but delivered them, drawn down with infernal ropes into hell to be tormented, to be reserved unto judgment.

5 And spared not the original world, *but preserved Noe, the eighth person, a preacher of justice, bringing in the deluge upon the world of the impious.

6 *And reducing the cities of the Sodomites, and of the Gomorrhites into ashes, condemned them to be overthrown; making them an example to those that should after act wickedly:

7 And delivered just Lot, oppressed by the injustice and lewd conversation of the wicked:

8 For in sight and hearing he was just: dwelling among them, who from day to day tortured the just soul with wicked works.

9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation; but to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be tormented:

10 And especially them who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise authority, audacious, self-willed, they fear not to bring in sects, blaspheming:

11 Whereas Angels, though they are greater in strength and power, bring not an execrable judgment against themselves.

12 But these men, as irrational beasts, naturally tending to the snare, and to destruction, blaspheming those things which they know not, shall perish in their corruption.

13 Receiving the reward of injustice, counting the delights of a day to be pleasure; stains and blemishes, flowing in delicacies, rioting in their feasts with you,

14 Having eyes full of adultery, and of never ceasing sin: alluring unstable souls, having their heart exercised with covetousness, children of malediction:

15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, *having followed the way of Balaam, of Bosor, who loved the wages of iniquity:

16 But was rebuked for his insane folly: the dumb beast, subject to the yoke, *speaking with the voice of man, forbad the folly of the prophet.

17 *These are fountains without water, and clouds tossed with whirlwinds, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved.

18 For, speaking proud things of vanity, they allure in the desires of the flesh of lust, those who escape for a while such as live in error:

19 Promising them liberty, while they themselves are slaves of corruption: *for by whom a man is overcome, of the same also he is the slave.

20 For if flying from the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, *being again entangled in them, they are overcome: *their latter state is become unto them worse than the former.

21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of justice, than after they have known it, to turn back from that holy commandment which was delivered to them.

22 For, that of the true proverb hath happened to them: *The dog is returned to his own vomit, and, the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire.



4: Job iv. 18.; Jude i. 6.

5: Genesis vii. 1.

6: Genesis xix. 25.

15: Jude i. 11.

16: Numbers xxii. 28.

17: Jude i. 12.

19: John viii. 34.; Romans vi. 16. and 20.

20: Hebrews vi. 4. — ** Matthew xii. 45.

22: Proverbs xxvi. 11.