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m Isa. 48. 10. 1 Cor. 3. 13.
ch. 1. 7.
n 2 Cor. 4. 10.
Phil. 3. 10.
Col. 1. 24.
2 Tim. 2. 10.
ἰσχύος ἧς χορηγεῖ ὁ Θεός· ἵνα ἐν πᾶσι δοξάζηται ὁ Θεὸς διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ᾧ ἐστιν ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων· ἀμήν.
Ο Matt. 5. 10, 11. λιώμενοι.
ch. 2. 20. & 3. 14.
p ch. 2. 20.
q Isa. 10. 12. Jer. 25. 29.
& 49. 12.
Luke 23 31. & 10. 12.
r Prov. 11. 31.
s Ps. 31. 6.
Luke 23. 46.
a Luke 24. 48. Rom. 8. 17, 18.
b Acts 20. 28.
1 Τim. 3. 3. Tit. 1. 7.
12 m ̓Αγαπητοὶ, μὴ ξενίζεσθε τῇ ἐν ὑμῖν πυρώσει πρὸς πειρασμὸν ὑμῖν γινομένῃ, ὡς ξένου ὑμῖν συμβαίνοντος· 13 " ἀλλὰ, καθὸ κοινωνεῖτε τοῖς τοῦ Χριστοῦ παθήμασι, χαίρετε, ἵνα καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀποκαλύψει τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ χαρῆτε ἀγαλ 14 ° Εἰ ὀνειδίζεσθε ἐν ὀνόματι Χριστοῦ, μακάριοι· ὅτι τὸ τῆς δόξης καὶ τὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ Πνεῦμα ἐφ' ὑμᾶς ἀναπαύεται· κατὰ μὲν αὐτοὺς βλασφημεῖται, κατὰ δὲ ὑμᾶς δοξάζεται. 15 P Μὴ γάρ τις ὑμῶν πασχέτω ὡς φονεὺς, ἢ κλέπτης, ἢ κακοποιός, ἢ ὡς ἀλλοτριοεπίσκοπος· 16 εἰ δὲ ὡς Χριστιανὸς, μὴ αἰσχυνέσθω, δοξαζέτω δὲ τὸν Θεὸν ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τούτῳ· 17 9 ὅτι ὁ καιρὸς τοῦ ἄρξασθαι τὸ κρῖμα ἀπὸ τοῦ οἴκου τοῦ Θεοῦ. Εἰ δὲ πρῶτον ἀφ' ἡμῶν, τί τὸ τέλος τῶν ἀπειθούντων τῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ εὐαγγελίῳ ; 18' καὶ εἰ ὁ δίκαιος μόλις σώζεται, ὁ ἀσεβὴς καὶ ἁμαρτωλὸς ποῦ φανεῖται; 195Ὥστε καὶ οἱ πάσχοντες κατὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὡς πιστῷ κτιστῇ παρατιθέσθωσαν τὰς ψυχὰς αὐτῶν ἐν ἀγαθοποιΐαις. V. 1 * Πρεσβυτέρους τοὺς ἐν ὑμῖν παρακαλῶ ὁ συμπρεσβύτερος καὶ μάρτυς τῶν τοῦ Χριστοῦ παθημάτων, ὁ καὶ τῆς μελλούσης ἀποκαλύπτεσθαι δόξης κοινωνός· 2 ο ποιμάνατε τὸ ἐν ὑμῖν ποίμνιον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπισκοποῦντες μὴ ἀναγ
when almost the whole Canon of the New Testament was complete. See 2 Pet. iii. 16.
12, 13. ἀγαπητοί] beloved, be not surprised, as by some strange thing (see v. 4), by the fire of persecution kindled for your trial.
Here is a caution against another dangerous error of the Gnostic Teachers, who said, that provided men had knowledge, they need not be mandyrs; and allowed men to comply with the requirements of their persecutors, and to eat meats offered to idols, rather than to suffer martyrdom. Cp. Rev. ii. 20, and the Introduction to the Second Epistle of St. Peter.
On the contrary, St. Peter, in his Epistles, declares the blessedness of suffering for Christ. This is one of their characteristics, probably derived from the writer's personal view of Christ's Glory, when Moses and Elias spake with Him of His Passion (Luke ix. 31) in the Transfiguration (Matt. xvii. 2). Cp. Tertullian, Scorp. 12, who quotes this passage, vv. 12-16.
The glory and happiness of suffering for God in the fire of persecution might also well occur to his mind at Pabylon, where he is writing, and where he would be cheered by a remembrance of the three faithful children walking unhurt in the fiery furnace, with the Son of God. (Dan. iii. 1-25.)
This mention of the near approach of a fiery trial, intimates that this Epistle was written a short time before the Neronian persecution, A.D. 64. See above, Introduction to this Epistle, p. 40, and the Introduction to St. Paul's Epistles to Timothy, pp. 417. 423, and below, v. 17.
15. μὴ γάρ] Cp. James i. 7.
ἀλλοτριοεπίσκοπος] one who sets himself up as an overseer and censor of what belongs to others; a judge of other men's servants. Cp. Rom. xiv. 4. James iv. 12. "Alieni speculator," Tertullian, Scorp. 12.
This word is applicable to those who assume spiritual functions which do not belong to them, and intrude into other men's dioceses; and it may be applied to those who call themselves successors of St. Peter, and yet, in contravention of his precept, claim to be "Episcopi Episcoporum."
16. Χριστιανός] a Christian; the name given first to believers at Antioch (Acts xi. 26), of which city St. Peter was Bishop. See note there, and Euseb. iii. 36.
17. ὅτι ὁ καιρός] for it is now the season of the beginning of judgment at the house of God. Here is another proof that this Epistle was written on the eve of Persecution, see vv. 12, 13. The time is now arrived for it: we are ripe for Persecution. no one, therefore, be perplexed or cast down, for it is now the season of the beginning of judgment at the house of God. Ye are tried by Him with temporal judgments, in order that ye may not be condemned with the world (1 Cor. xi. 32), but be purified by the furnace of trial, as silver and gold in the fire, i. 7. serve, he calls it a season, καιρός, not χρόνος, and thus suggests the comfortable reflection, that the tyranny of the enemy will soon be overpast. Ps. Ivii. 1.
"When holy men are punished," says Augustine, "this also proceeds from the just judgment of God. It is part of His discipline, which no righteous man is permitted to escape in this world. He chasteneth whom He loveth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth' (Heb. xii. 6). Hence the Apostle Peter, when exhorting the brethren to endure sufferings for the Name of Christ, thus speaks (vv. 15—18); and by these words He shows that the sufferings of the righteous proceed from the judgment of God, which begins with the house of God; whence we may infer, how awful will be the sufferings which are reserved for the ungodily: and so St. Paul says, we glory in you for your patience and faith in the persecutions and tribulations which ye endure, as a specimen of the just judgment of God'" (2 Thess. i. 4, 5. S. Augustine, Epist. ad Rom. i. 10).
Judgment must begin at the house of God, who out of His tender care for their well-doing will sooner punish-temporally I mean- -His own children (when they take pride in their own inventions, and soothe themselves in their own devices) than He will His professed enemies, that stand at defiance with Him, and openly fight against Him. These He suffereth many times to go on in their impieties, that He may make use of this oppression for the scourging those of His own household, and in the end get Himself the more glory by their destruction. But then, however judgment may begin at the house of God, most certain it is, that it shall not end there; but reach the house of the wicked oppressor also; and that, not with temporal judgments, as He did correct His own, but, without repentance, evil shall hunt them to their everlasting destruction (Ps. cxl. 11). God delighteth to get Himself honour, and to show the strength of His arm by scattering such proud Pharaohs in the imagination of their hearts (Exod. xiv. 17. Luke i. 52. Rom. ix. 17), when they are arrived at the highest pitch of their designs; then how suddenly do they consume, perish, and come to a fearful end! (Ps. lxxiii. 18.) Bp. Sanderson, iii. p. 342. See also above, on Acts ix. 3.
19. παρατιθέσθωσαν] let them commit: our Lord's own word on the cross. Luke xxiii. 46.
CH. V. 1. πρεσβυτέρους] the Presbyters : an indication of the organization of the Christian Church under a settled ministry in Asia Minor at this time. Cp. above, Acts xiv. 23, and on James v. 14.
ὁ συμπρεσβύτερος] your co-presbyter: the Apostle St. John calls himself the presbyter (2 John 1. 3 John 1), and in the third century S. Hippolytus calls his master, S. Irenæus (who was Bishop of Lyons), the blessed Presbyter (Philos. pp. 202. 222). A Presbyter is not called a Bishop by ancient Ecclesiastical writers, but a Bishop is often called a Presbyter. 2. ποιμάνατε] tend ye the fock that is among you: do not leave your own flock, in order to tend other people's flocks, as ἀλλοτριοεπίσκοποι (iv. 15), but tend the flock that is in you, ἐν ὑμῖν; make that your care. Observe the Aorist, which, as Dean Alford well observes, gathers together the whole work of teaching, feeding, watching, leading, into one act, occupying the entire life. On the sense of ποιμαίνειν see above, Introduction, p. 38, note. ἐπισκοποῦντες] overseeing the dock. The πρεσβύτεροι,
2 Cor. 1. 24. Phil.
2 Thess. 3. 9. 1 Tim. 4. 12. Tit. 2 7. d Isa. 40. 11.
καστῶς, ἀλλ ̓ ἑκουσίως· μηδὲ αἰσχροκερδῶς, ἀλλὰ προθύμως· 3° μηδ' ὡς κατακυριεύοντες τῶν κλήρων, ἀλλὰ τύποι γινόμενοι τοῦ ποιμνίου· 44 καὶ φανερω- 3.17 θέντος τοῦ ̓Αρχιποίμενος κομιείσθε τὸν ἀμαράντινον τῆς δόξης στέφανον. Ομοίως, νεώτεροι ὑποτάγητε πρεσβυτέροις, πάντες δὲ ἀλλήλοις τὴν ταπεινοφροσύνην ἐγκομβώσασθε· ὅτι ὁ Θεὸς ὑπερηφάνοις ὅτι ὁ Θεὸς ὑπερηφάνοις ἀντιτάσσεται ταπεινοῖς δὲ δίδωσι χάριν. 6 Ταπεινώθητε οὖν ὑπὸ τὴν κραταιὰν χεῖρα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἵνα ὑμᾶς ὑψώσῃ ἐν καιρῷ· 78 πᾶσαν τὴν μέριμναν ὑμῶν ἐπιρρίψ αντες ἐπ ̓ αὐτὸν, ὅτι αὐτῷ μέλει περὶ ὑμῶν.
επι 323 r. 5. 25 του 13, 20
John 10. 11.
2 Tim. 4. 8.
James 1. 12. ch. 1. 4. & 2 25. e Prov. 3. 34. Rom. 12. 16, 18. Eph. 5. 21. Phil. 2. 3. James 4. 6. f Job 22 29.
Matt. 23. 12.
8 * Νήψατε, γρηγορήσατε· ὁ ἀντίδικος ὑμῶν, Διάβολος, ὡς λέων ωρυόμενος περιπατεῖ ζητῶν τίνα καταπίῃ· 9' ᾧ ἀντίστητε στερεοὶ τῇ πίστει, αὐτὰ τῶν παθημάτων τῇ ἐν κόσμῳ ὑμῶν ἀδελφότητι ἐπιτελεῖσθαι. 10 * Ο δὲ Θεὸς πάσης χάριτος, ὁ καλέσας ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν αἰώνιον αὐτοῦ δόξαν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ὀλίγον παθόντας, αὐτὸς καταρτίσει, στηρίξει, σθενώσει, κα
Luke 12. 22. Phil. 4. 6. 1 Tim. 6. 8. i Eph. 4. 27. & 6. 11, 13. James 4. 7.
& 14. 11. & 18. 14.
g Ps. 37. 5. & 55. 23. Matt. 6. 25, 26. Heb. 13. 5. h Job 1. 7. Luke 21. 16. & 22. 31. 1 Thess. 5. 6. ch. 1. 13. & 4. 7. k 2 Cor. 4. 17. Heb. 10. 37. & 13. 21. ch. 1. 6.
presbyters, are said toкoney, to oversee; they are presbyters in age, and they are éniσкоnоi, overseers, as to office.
Hence, after the death of the Apostles, they who succeeded them in the Apostolic office, not presuming to take the name of Apostles, were called Episcopi; and thenceforth the name of Episcopus, which in the Apostolic age had been often applied, as here, to designate those who had the oversight of a rouvior or flock,- —was reserved for those who had the oversight of Pastors as well as of flocks; and who are now called Bishops. Cp. Acts xx. 17. 28, and see above, Note prefixed to the Third Chapter of St. Paul's first Epistle to Timothy, and notes on 2 Tim. ii. 1, 2. 3. μηδ ̓ ὡς κατακυριεύοντες τῶν κλήρων]
There is a slight paronomasia, or play upon the words, which gives an edge to this precept.
He had just said, Ye Presbyters, tend the flock of God that is among you, overseeing it, not of constraint, but willingly (1 Cor. ix. 16, 17), not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; and he now warns them not to behave themselves as lords over the Churches committed to their charge, which are not the heritages of man, but of the Lord. See on our Lord's words to St. Peter himself, Matt. xvi. 18, Moû тỳν èккλŋøíav. Consequently the usurpation of dominion and lordship over them is an encroachment on the prerogative and inheritance of the Lord Himself.
The word pot does not mean here Clergy apart from the Laity, nor does it mean Laity apart from the Clergy; but it signifies the Clergy and Laity, or People, united together. It designates Christian Churches, which are the Kλnpot or heritages of God, as the Israelites of old were, and are so entitled by Himself in His Holy Word, Deut. iv. 20, and ix. 29, and see Grotius here.
St. Peter happily uses the plural κλñpo; for, in Christian times, it is not one nation, as it had been of old, which is the chosen people and heritage of God, but all national Churches, all congregations of Pastors and People are heritages of the Lord : each "Church and each congregation," which every Pastor serves, is, in a mystical sense, as the English Ordinal declares, the Spouse and Body of Christ." By the word Kλñpo, therefore, we may understand here the faithful people of Christ, distributed in regular order into various dioceses, parishes, churches, and congregations, like the companies to which our Lord distributed the loaves and fishes by the hands of His Apostles. Mark vi. 40: cp. A Lapide here.
St. Peter appears to have written these words in a grateful remembrance of those which had been spoken to him by the Lord Himself; "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" "Feed
My sheep" (John xxi. 16). And he and others were warned against usurping lordship over the heritage of the Lord by Christ's language; "On this Rock (i. e., Myself) I will build of Me the Church." Let no man therefore treat it as his own. It is the Church of Me; and of Me only (Matt. xvi. 18). I have purchased it with My blood (Acts xx. 28). Let no man lord it over what belongs to the LORD.
Here is another caution from St. Peter's mouth, which may be commended to the consideration of those who call themselves his successors. "The Apostle forbiddeth dominari in cleris." But they who claim to be his successors are not afraid to "teach that their own judgments are infallible, and to make their definitions an universal Rule of Faith, and to require subjection to their laws and persons, as of necessity to salvation, and to be called Dominus Deus noster Papa'" (Gloss. in Extrav. Papæ, Johann. xxii. Tit. xiv. 4), &c., all which and much more is professed by VOL. II.-PART IV.
the Popes, and in their behalf. No modest man can deny that this amounts to as much as St. Peter's dominari in cleris, even to the exercising of such lordship over the Lord's heritage, the Christian Church, as will become none but the Lord Himself, whose heritage it is. Bp. Sanderson, iii. p. 283.
4. àpapávτivov] amaranthine; literally, woven of the flower called amaranth. (Bengel.)
5. ¿ykoμßwσaσle] clasp ye on humility; submitting yourselves one to another (cp. Eph. v. 21, àλλýλous as here) in the fear of God. Clasp it on as a garment (properly, a servile garment, eykóμßwua, Pollux iv. 119) clasped with a Tepóvn, fibula, or with a knot or belt; see Eustath. on Homer, Il. k. 133, and Suicer in v. p. 995, and Wetstein here. Bp. Pearson, Vind. Ignat. ii. cxiv. p. 579, ed. Churton; and Fritz, Opuscula, p. 259.
In illustration of this word we may refer to the reverential action of St. Peter, described John xxi. 7. But, as Alford well observes, The action which best illustrates this precept is that of our Blessed Lord Himself girding Himself with a napkin, as a servant, and pouring water into a basin and washing His Apostles' feet, in which St. Peter had a special part. See on John xiii. 4, 5, and our Lord's precept there, v. 14.
8. Aid Boxos] the devil. At the time which St. Peter is preannouncing, the Devil was, in the strictest sense of the term, a Devil, a Aiáẞoxos, a false accuser. For he devised all manner of calumnies against the primitive Christians, and instigated even their friends to bring them before the heathen tribunals, that they might be put to death. He was then especially "the false accuser of the brethren." Cp. Rev. xii. 10. The Lion goeth about seeking those who may be made the victims of his diaßoλal, and be cast ad Leones." See next note.
is λéwv wpvóμevos] as a lion roaring. This was the first form in which the Devil showed his enmity against the Church of Christ; and he was now about to wreak his fury on the two Apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul.
He was now "rugiens ut leo," roaring as a lion; but he was afterwards about to change that shape, and appear in a more specious semblance, "insidians ut draco," lurking in ambush as a dragon. See below on Rev. vi. 3, 4.
Well might he now be compared to a Lion. Many of the first martyrs, e. g. St. Peter's successor at Antioch, S. Ignatius (cp. 2 Tim. iv. 17), were cast to the Lions; and the popular cry at Rome was now soon to be, "Christianos ad Leonem!" (Tertullian, Apol. 40.) The devil went about as a Lion roaring, in the days of the first persecutions of the Church, and he will go about again roaring as a Lion in the last age-at the eve of the end. See Rev. xii. 12; xx. 7-9.
TEрITаTE] he walketh about, Job i. 7. Therefore, the Devil is not yet confined to Hell. See above on Matt. viii. 29. 9. eidóres] knowing that the same kinds of sufferings are being filled up by the brotherhood that is in every part of the world. " No temptation hath taken you but such as is common to man," 1 Cor. x. 13. Do not be cast down, as if the sufferings, which ye are called upon to endure, were new. perpetual, or partial. They are only a continuation of the sufferings of Christ (see Col. i. 24), and they will soon be consummated, and they are shared by all your brethren in the Churches of God throughout the world therefore resist the Devil, who is the author of these persecutions; standing fast and solidly grounded in faith, by which ye will be more than conquerors. Eph. vi. 16. 1 John v. 4.
10. καταρτίσει—θεμελιώσει] will perfect – will stablish: in
1 Heb. 13. 22.
m Acts 12. 12, 25.
n Rom. 16. 16.
1 Cor. 16. 20.
2 Cor. 13. 12.
1 Thess. 5. 26.
θεμελιώσει αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα, καὶ τὸ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων ἀμήν.
121 Διὰ Σιλουανοῦ ὑμῖν, τοῦ πιστοῦ ἀδελφοῦ, ὡς λογίζομαι, δι ̓ ὀλίγων ἔγραψα παρακαλῶν καὶ ἐπιμαρτυρῶν ταύτην εἶναι ἀληθῆ χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰς ἣν ἑστήκατε.
13 'Ασπάζεται ὑμᾶς ἡ ἐν Βαβυλώνι συνεκλεκτὴ, καὶ Μάρκος ὁ υἱός μου. † 14 'Ασπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἀγάπης.
the future tense. So A, B, and Griesb., Lach., Tisch., Alf. Elz. has the aorist optative here, KaTaρTíσαI.
This assurance of divine support comes very appropriately from St. Peter, in compliance with Christ's precept to him, "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke xxii. 32. Bengel.
12. dià Ziλovavov] By Silvanus, the faithful brother, as I reckon, or count him to be (Rom. viii. 18), I write to you in few words.
This is said to assure them, and the Churches at large, of the genuineness of the Epistle. It would be brought to them by Silvanus, the faithful brother, who would certify them from whom it came. This practice of the Apostles to send their Epistles to the Churches by the hands of tried and faithful friends, has been of signal use in establishing the Canonical authority of the New Testament. Cp. Eph. vi. 21.
There was something significant in this choice of Silvanus for the purpose here described, especially in connexion with the mention of St. Mark. Silvanus, or Silas, had been chosen by St. Paul at Antioch, about thirteen years before, in the place of St. Mark, who had left him in Pamphylia, and was a near kinsman of St. Barnabas (Col. iv. 10), who was led into an altercation with St. Paul, on account of his refusal to take Mark; and who also had before been led away by the influence of St. Peter at Antioch, in opposition to St. Paul, contending for the Evangelical liberty of the Gentile Christians. See on Acts xv. 3740. Gal. ii. 12, 13.
Silas, being chosen by St. Paul in place of Mark, accompanied that Apostle in his missionary tour in Syria and Cilicia, and in divers other parts of Asia Minor, especially Phrygia, Lycaonia, and Galatia, to Troas, and into Greece. He would therefore be known, in connexion with the Apostle St. Paul, to those Asiatic Churches which are addressed by St. Peter in the present Epistle, i. 1.
Silas had also been associated with St. Paul in writing the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, which had been published about ten years before the date of the present Epistle, and had, probably, by this time been circulated in Asia.
After the date of these two Epistles to the Thessalonians, the name of Silas, or Silvanus, vanishes for a time from the pages of the New Testament.
It does not occur after that time in the Acts of the Apostles, or in any of St. Paul's other Epistles.
But it re-appears in this present passage (1 Pet. v. 12), at the close of the ministry of St. Peter (see 2 Pet. iii. 1), which coincided in time with the close of the ministry of St. Paul.
It here re-appears in company with the name of St. Mark. Cp. note above, Phil. i. 1. And the name of Silas is here characterized by St. Peter with the honourable appellation faithful brother, as I reckon."
Here then we have a happy intimation of the harmony which subsisted among the Apostles and first preachers of Christ.
They were not exempt from human infirmities. The Apostle St. Peter faltered for a time through fear at Antioch, and had then been boldly resisted by St. Paul (see on Gal. ii. 11-14). The Evangelist St. Mark, the son of St. Peter in the faith (v. 13), and the kinsman of St. Barnabas (Col. iv. 10), had also faltered once for a season through fear, and had once forsaken St. Paul. (Acts xiii. 13; xv. 38.) St. Paul and St. Barnabas had formerly striven so sharply at Antioch on St. Mark's account, that they departed asunder for a time (Acts xv. 39), and St. Paul had chosen Silas, or Silvanus, as his companion in the room of St. Mark.
All these infirmities are recorded in the Holy Scriptures. The New Testament does not disguise the frailties of the first preachers of Christianity. Here is an evidence of its truth. But this is not all. We are left to gather from incidental notices scattered in different parts of the New Testament, that by the grace of God all these frailties and infirmities were corrected and amended; and that they were graciously overruled by God's Providence to the victory of Christian virtue, and to the good of the Church, and to His glory.
As has been already shown in another place, the strife of
St. Paul and St. Barnabas had now been healed, and Mark had been restored to the favour of St. Paul, and he afterwards was chosen to be the writer of a Gospel, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and with the aid of his spiritual father St. Peter, and he became the founder of the Church of Alexandria. See above, Acts xv. 39. Col. iv. 10, and Introduction to St. Mark's Gospel.
St. Peter now employs Silas to be the bearer of his Epistle to the Jewish Christians of Asia. He calls him the faithful brother, and he associates him with St. Mark, whom he calls "his son;" his son in the faith.
A bappy combination. Silas had been chosen by St. Paul in lieu of St. Mark, and had preached with him in Asia, and had been associated with him in writing his first Epistle. And St. Paul, in writing to the Galatians, who are addressed in this Epistle of St. Peter (see 1 Pet. i. 1), had recorded his own contention with St. Peter, on account of his conduct toward the Gentile Christians, and had related that his own friend St. Barnabas had been formerly drawn away from him by St. Peter. (Gal. ii. 13.)
But now all differences are at an end. St. Peter, the Apostle of the Circumcision, chooses Silas, St. Paul's friend and fellowlabourer in preaching and writing, to carry this Epistle to the Jewish Christians of Asia, where Silas had formerly preached in company with St. Paul. And by this choice, and by his reference to the Epistles of his "beloved brother Paul," as a part of divinely inspired Scripture (see 2 Pet. iii. 15), he proclaims to the Jewish Christians his own perfect union in Christian faith and in Christian love with the great Apostle of the Gentiles.
Here was a noble example of repentance, and of generous self-sacrifice, and of love for Christ and the Church.
St. Peter avouches to his readers that St. Paul's fellowlabourer among them, Silas, is "their faithful brother." He calls St. Mark his son, who had once faltered in the faith, but who had afterwards preached to them in Asia (see on Col. iv. 10. Philem. 24), and whom St. Paul, writing from Rome to the Churches of Phrygia, mentions as being there among his own tried and trusted friends, and calls him "sister's son to Barnabas."
St. Paul, as well as St. Peter, now also at the close of his career, writes to Timothy about the same time as the date of this Epistle of St. Peter, and bears witness that Mark “is profitable to him for the ministry." (2 Tim. iv. 11.) And St. Peter here joins Mark with Silas, who had once been preferred in his room.
So may all wounds be healed, and all differences cease in the Church of Christ. So may all falterers be recovered, and Christian charity prevail, and God's glory be magnified in all persons and in all things, through Jesus Christ!
δι' ὀλίγων ἔγραψα] I write in few words; with δι ̓ ὀλίγων, cp. dià Bpaxéwv, Heb. xiii. 22. The Epistle is short, relatively to the importance of the subject; and the Apostle might perhaps design to prepare them by these words to receive a second Epistle from him, on the second or polemical portion of the subject which now occupied his thoughts. See Introduction to that Epistle, below, pp. 69-72, and 2 Pet. iii. 1.
Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν πᾶσι τοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. ἀμήν.
Hence we may infer,
That the co-elect which is here mentioned at the close of the Epistle, in Babylon, is of the same character as those persons who had been designated as elect at the beginning of this Epistle. That is to say, this word (ovvEKλEKTY) co-elect designates a Christian congregation gathered principally from Jews of the dispersion, and thus associated, as co-elect in Christ, with those whom St. Peter at the beginning of this Epistle had addressed as the elect strangers of the dispersion of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. The preposition oùr is a link which connects the elect at Babylon with the elect in Asia.
Accordingly we find, that in the Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic Versions the word Church or Congregation is supplied here, to agree with σoveкλEKTη; and so our English Authorized Version, "The Church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you." The word ouVEKλEKTη is also understood in this sense by most Ancient Expositors.
The word seems to be left purposely elliptical, i. e. without a substantive adjoined. St. Peter would thus leave it to the reader to supply either ekkλŋσía, Church, or diaoropà, Dispersion; each of those two words being admissible and suitable, and neither to be excluded.
They to whom he writes are elect, and they are also the dispersion. The co-elect is a dispersion also; yet though she is dispersed and in Babylon, yet she is gathered together as a congregation in the Christian Sion, or Church Universal, and is coelect with other dispersed brethren who are gathered together in Christ.
ἐν Βαβυλῶνι] in Babylon.
What city is this Babylon?
(1) The reader's first impression is, that it is the Babylon of Assyria, the Babylon on the Euphrates.
(2) It is true, that another great City in the West was called figuratively among Jews by the name of Babylon; namely, Rome. See on Rev. xvii. 1-10.
(3) It is also true, that some ancient writers supposed Babylon to mean Rome here. See Papias in Euseb. ii. 15, and Vales. there.
(4) It is also probable, that this Epistle was written a short time only before St. Peter's death (ep. 2 Pet. iii. 1), and that he died at Rome (see Euseb. ii. 25).
(5) But these considerations seem to be overbalanced by others of greater weight.
Rome was called Babylon figuratively. But tropes are scarcely admissible in dates, especially in Epistles like the present, which is remarkable for its quiet tone. In details of tact, the literal meaning seems to be the true one: and if the literal meaning will stand, it ought not to be abandoned for a metaphorical
(6) The fact, that Rome was sometimes called Babylon figuratively, and that St. Peter was martyred at Rome, may probably have induced some in ancient and modern times to suppose, that the Babylon here mentioned is Rome; and may serve to account for that opinion.
(7) The city of Rome is mentioned in other places of the New Testament, and always by the name of Rome (Acts xviii. 2; xix. 21; xxiii. 11; xxviii. 14. Rom. i. 7. 15. 2 Tim. i. 17), except only in a poetical and prophetical book, the Book of Revelation, where a figurative name is in its proper place; and there though the word is used six times, yet it is never placed singly as Babylon, but always with an epithet, Babylon the Great (Rev. xiv. 8; xvi. 19; xvii. 5; xviii. 2. 10. 21).
(8) It has been alleged, indeed, that Babylon was now deserted, and that it is not probable that the Apostle St. Peter should have gone thither, and have sojourned there.
This opinion has been supported by high authorities, e. g. by Bp. Pearson (de successione Rom. Episcop. i. c. viii. vol. ii. pp. 348-53, ed. Churton), who supposed that the Babylon here mentioned is a Babylon in Egypt. Cp. Professor Blunt, Early Church, p. 59, and Hengstenberg on Rev. xiv. 8.
But it may be proved, that there were at this time large numbers of Jews resident in the province of Babylon, and not a few in Babylon itself. See Josephus, Ant. xv. 2. 2; xv. 3. 1; xvii. 2. 1-3; xviii. 9. 1; and xviii. 9. 7-9. Philo, Legat. ad Caium, § 36, p. 587. Theodoret (on Isa. xiii.) says that in his age Babylon was inhabited by Jews. Scaliger (in Euseb. p. 205), observes that from "the days of Salathiel even to the seventieth year after Christ, a Chief of the captivity was elected from the stock of David, and resided at Babylon." Cp. Basnage, Annal. Pol. Eccles. A. D. 46, pp. 561–3, and Dr. Lightfoot's Sermon on this text, Works, ii. pp. 1144-6, where he says, "Babylon was one of the greatest knots (i. e. centres) of the Jews in the world.
Need I tell you that there were multitudes of Jews in Babylon that returned not with Ezra? That there were in that country three Jewish Universities, and that there were ten tribes scattered in Assyria?" And it has been shown from Jewish usage, that the word Babylon need not be limited to the precise site of the ancient ruined city, but may be extended to its neighbourhood. See Wetstein, p. 698, and Vitringa in Rev. xviii. 2, “Judæi maximè Babylonem occupabant." Rennel, Geogr. of Herod. sect. xv., "So great a number of Jews was found in Babylonia, as is astonishing; they are spoken of by Josephus as possessing towns and districts in that country about forty years after Christ; they were in great numbers in Babylon itself." Biscoe on the Acts, i. p. 88. Wieseler, Chronol. p. 557. Mayerhoff, p. 128. Dr. Davidson's Introduction, iii. pp. 362–366. Cp. Huther, Einleitung, p. 23, and on this passage, p. 180, and Dean Alford, p. 387.
(9) There does not seem, therefore, to be any cause for discarding the literal meaning of the word Babylon here. On the contrary, there are strong reasons, why, with many learned and able expositors, we should adhere to it.
If St. Peter had been writing from Rome or from any place to the west of Asia, he would not, in his enumeration of the Asiatic districts at the beginning of his Epistle, have mentioned Pontus first, the most eastern region of Asia. He would not have begun his enumeration with the most distant western district, and have proceeded, as he does, in a westerly direction, till he ends with Bithynia; but he would have reversed the order; he would have begun with Bithynia at the west, and would have ended with Pontus in the east.
This is what St. John does in the Apocalypse in writing from Patmos on the west of Asia. He begins with Ephesus on the west, and proceeds in an easterly direction, and ends with Laodicea in the east. Rev. i. 11; ii. 1; iii. 14.
A similar order is observed by St. Paul, writing from Rome. See Col. iv. 13. 16.
There is no exception to this principle in the enumeration in the Acts of the Apostles, ii. 9-11. There the Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and dwellers in Mesopotamia are placed first, for special reasons; the writer is not addressing an epistle to them, but he is speaking of the region from which they came to Jerusalem, and he naturally begins with those at a distance from it, and with those who were first expatriated from it. See the note there.
The Geographical order adopted by St. Peter is precisely that which would naturally occur to a person writing from Mesopotamia, and sending forth an Epistle to be read in succession by Christian communities in different regions of Asia. He begins
with Pontus, because (if we suppose him in Mesopotamia) that region was nearest to him, and his Epistle would reach Pontus first, and pass on from it to other regions in order,-Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
Therefore the date of the Epistle being Babylon, we are led to conclude, that it was written in the literal or eastern Babylon on the Euphrates; and not in the figurative or western Babylon, on the Tiber, Rome.
(10) There were also some special reasons for a mission of St. Peter to the east, especially to the Jewish Christians of those parts. He was the Apostle of the Circumcision (Gal. ii. 7). Assuredly it was fit that he, who had a special charge to feed Christ's flock (John xxi. 16), should go and seek the lost sheep of the house of Israel; that is, the remnant of the Two Tribes at Babylon, and the Ten Tribes in Assyria.
Besides, the Jews of those parts who had come to Jerusalem for the great annual festivals, and had heard him preach at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost after the Ascension of Christ, and many of whom had been baptized by him on that day, and many doubtless had been led from those regions to Jerusalem on other great festivals in succeeding years, were well acquainted with the name and person of the Apostle of the Circumcision.
Among those devout Jews who are enumerated by St. Luke in the Acts as present at the day of Pentecost, the first mentioned are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, that is, those who dwelt in the neighbourhood of Babylon. For as is well said by one of the best historians and geographers of Poets, Milton, describing the condition of the East in our Lord's age:
"There Babylon, the wonder of all tongues,
(Paradise Regained, iii. 280.)
See on Acts ii. 9-11. They had come from their own land to Jerusalem, and had been evangelized by St. Peter there. Surely it was very reasonable that St. Peter should go from Jerusalem
to Babylon to confirm those in the faith, who had come from the neighbourhood of Babylon to Jerusalem, and had been received into the Christian Sion there, by the ministry of the word of God preached by the Apostle St. Peter. See above on i. 1.
There were also special reasons why such an Epistle as the present should be written from Babylon. Babylon is Babel. It had been the source of confusion of tongues. Its very name means confusion. But now, under the influence of divine grace, the curse of Babel is removed. The Holy Spirit, who came down at Pentecost at Sion, reverses the curse of Babel. At Babel mankind was scattered abroad, with a jargon of tongues. At Pentecost the Holy Ghost comes down in fiery tongues, and preaches the one Gospel in all tongues. He enables the Apostle St. Peter, who received the gift of tongues at Pentecost (1 Pet. i. 12), to preach the one Gospel to the dispersed of Israel in Babylonia and the East. Thus Sion is built up in Babylon; the city of Confusion becomes the city of Peace.
Besides, Babylon had been the enemy and persecutor of Sion. It had carried Judah into captivity. But now it has become subject to Christ. It is His captive. It submits to His mild sway and easy yoke. He has His elect there. His Apostle preaches there. This is in perfect unison with all God's dispensations.
The Syrian Antioch was the city of Antiochus, the persecutor of God's people, the type of Antichrist. But in course of time, Antioch became the place where the faithful were first called Christians (see on Acts xi. 26). At Antioch Paul and Barnabas had been ordained to the Apostleship, and had been sent forth to evangelize the Gentile world (Acts xiii. 1, 2). And there St. Peter himself had presided as Bishop of the Church : see above, Introduction, p. 41.
Rahab or Egypt had also been the persecutor of God's
people. But in His own time God made a highway in Egypt for Christ (Isa. xix. 31), especially by the preaching there of St. Peter's son in the faith, St. Mark, at Alexandria. Euseb. ii. 16.
In like manner, Babylon is now visited by St. Peter, and has heard the Gospel of Christ, and is the place whence this Epistle goes forth to the Churches of Asia and the world. From the city of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, who wrote to the provinces of the Assyrian Empire, "Peace be multiplied to you," now proceeds the word of the Apostle, "to the elect strangers of Asia; Grace and Peace be multiplied unto you" (See i. 2).
Thus the prophecy is fulfilled; the Egyptian shall serve God with the Assyrian, and Israel shall be the third with Egypt and Assyria (Isa. xix. 24); and I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon with them that know me (see Ps. lxxxvii. 4).
Finally, the Apostle of the Circumcision, St. Peter, is thus seen to have carried the Gospel to the eastern limits of the Roman Empire. Thence he goes westward in order to seal his preaching with his blood (see Tertullian c. Marcion.iv. 5. Euseb. ii. 25; above, Introduction to this Epistle, p. 44). He goes from the Eastern Babylon in Assyria, to the Western Babylon in Italy. He goes from Babylon to Rome. He thus gives evidence of God's love to His own people, and having followed Christ to the end, and having finished his course with joy, like the Sun from East to West, he is associated with the Apostle of the Gentiles, his beloved brother St. Paul, in dying a martyr's death in the capital of the Heathen world, and having there gone down in a glorious sunset he will rise to bliss in Christ. Μάρκος ὁ υἱός μου] Marcus, my son. See above on i. 1, and on Acts xv. 39. Col. iv. 10. Introduction to the Gospel of St. Mark, p. 111.
14. piλhμati àɣánŋs] with a kiss of love. See on 1 Thess. v. 26. Rom. xvi. 16. 1 Cor. xvi. 20. 2 Cor. xiii. 12.