1 Peter 2:6 MEANING

1 Peter 2:6
(6) Wherefore also.--The mention of Jesus Christ brings the writer back again to his theme, viz., that the whole system to which his readers belong has undergone a radical change, and is based on Jesus and His fulfilment of the sufferings and glories of the Messiah. The right reading here is not "wherefore also," but because--i.e., the quotations are introduced in the same way as in 1 Peter 1:16; 1 Peter 1:24, as justifying the foregoing expressions.

It is contained in the scripture.--In the original the phrase is a curious one. "The scripture" never means the Old Testament as a whole, which would be called "the Scriptures," but is always the particular book or passage of the Old Testament. Literally, then, our present phrase runs, because it encloses or contains in that passage. Thus attention is drawn to the context of the quotation, and in this context we shall again find what made St. Peter quote the text.

Behold, I lay.--The sentence is taken from Isaiah 28:16, and, like the last, is adapted to the occasion out of both Hebrew and LXX. Gesenius on that passage gives evidence to show that the early Jewish explanation, current in our Lord's time, referred it to the Messiah; the later Rabbinical expositors, probably by way of opposition to the Christians, explained it to mean Hezekiah. In order to gain a clear conception of St. Peter's aim in the quotation, it is necessary to glance over the whole section contained in the 28th and 29th chapters of Isaiah. "The prophecy here cited," says Archbishop Leighton, "if we look upon it in its own place, we shall find inserted in the middle of a very sad denunciation of judgment against the Jews." Besides our present text, which is quoted also in Romans 9:33, our Lord's prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem is an amplification of Isaiah 29:3-4; His sharp censure of the corrupt traditions which had superseded the law of God (Matthew 15:7-9) is taken from Isaiah 29:13; St. Paul's image of the potter changing his purpose with the lump of clay (Romans 9:21), comes from Isaiah 29:16. Like one bright spot in the sad picture appears our verse, but only as serving to heighten the general gloom. St. Peter's quotation here, therefore, calling attention as it does to the context, is at least as much intended to show his Hebrew readers the sweeping away of the carnal Israel as to encourage them in their Christian allegiance. In the original passage the sure foundation is contrasted with the refuge of lies which the Jewish rulers had constructed for themselves against Assyria, "scorning" this sure foundation as a piece of antiquated and unpractical religionism. Nagelsbach (in his new commentary on Isaiah) seems to be right in interpreting the "refuge of lies" to mean the diplomatic skill with which Ahaz and the Jewish authorities flattered themselves their treaty with Egypt was drawn up, and the "sure foundation" opposed to it is primarily God's plighted promise to the house of David, in which all who trusted would have no cause for flight. In the Messianic fulfilment, those promises are all summed up in the one person of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:33; 2 Corinthians 1:20); and the "refuge of lies" in which the Jewish rulers had trusted was the wicked policy by which they had tried to secure their "place and nation" against the Romans (John 11:48).

In Sion.--In Isaiah it means that the people have not to look for any distant external aid, such as that of Pharaoh: all that they need is to be found in the city of David itself. Here, it seems to impress upon the Hebrew Christians that they are not abandoning their position as Hebrews by attaching themselves to Jesus Christ. It is they who are really clinging to Sion when the other Jews are abandoning her.

Shall not be confounded (or, ashamed).--Our version of Isaiah translates the Hebrew original by the unintelligible "shall not make haste." It really means, shall not flee. While all the Jewish rulers, who had turned faithless and trusted in their finesse with Egypt, would have to flee from the face of the Assyrians, those who preserved their faith in God would be able to stand their ground. This, of course, did not come literally true in the first instance, where a common temporal overthrow came upon faithful and faithless alike, from Babylon, though not from Assyria. In the Messianic fulfilment, however, the faith or unbelief of the individual makes all the difference to him: the overthrow of the many does not affect the few. St. Peter adds to "believe" the words "on Him" or "on it." which are found in neither the Hebrew nor the Greek of Isaiah, such an addition being quite in keeping with the Rabbinic method of quotation, which frequently alters words (comp. Matthew 2:6) to bring out the concealed intention more fully. The general quality of "faith" of which the prophet spoke, i.e., reliance on the promises of God, becomes faith in Him in whom the promises are fulfilled. For a like cause St. Peter prefers the LXX. "be ashamed" to the Hebrew "flee away," there being (except at the Fall of Jerusalem) no opportunity for actual flight. It comes to the same thing in the end: "shall not find his confidence misplaced."

Verse 6. - Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture; literally, because it contains in Scripture. There is no article according to the best manuscripts; and the verb (περιέχει) is impersonal; it is similarly used in Josephus, 'Ant.,' 11:07. Compare the use of the substantive περιοχή in Acts 8:32. St. Peter proceeds to quote the prophecy (Isaiah 28:16) to which he has already referred. Behold, I lay in Zion a chief Cornerstone, elect, precious. The passage is taken from the Septuagint, with the emission of some words not important for the present purpose. St. Paul quotes the same prophecy still more freely (Romans 9:33). The rabbinical writers understand it of Hezekiah, but the earlier Jewish interpreters regarded it as Messianic. And he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. The Hebrew words literally mean "shall not be in haste;" the Septuagint appears to give the general meaning. He that believeth (the Hebrew word הֶךאמִין, means "to lean upon, to build upon," and so "to trust, to confide") shall not be flurried and excited with vain fears and trepidation; his mind is stayed on the Lord.

2:1-10 Evil-speaking is a sign of malice and guile in the heart; and hinders our profiting by the word of God. A new life needs suitable food. Infants desire milk, and make the best endeavours for it which they are able to do; such must be a Christian's desires after the word of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is very merciful to us miserable sinners; and he has a fulness of grace. But even the best of God's servants, in this life, have only a taste of the consolations of God. Christ is called a Stone, to teach his servants that he is their protection and security, the foundation on which they are built. He is precious in the excellence of his nature, the dignity of his office, and the glory of his services. All true believers are a holy priesthood; sacred to God, serviceable to others, endowed with heavenly gifts and graces. But the most spiritual sacrifices of the best in prayer and praise are not acceptable, except through Jesus Christ. Christ is the chief Corner-stone, that unites the whole number of believers into one everlasting temple, and bears the weight of the whole fabric. Elected, or chosen, for a foundation that is everlasting. Precious beyond compare, by all that can give worth. To be built on Christ means, to believe in him; but in this many deceive themselves, they consider not what it is, nor the necessity of it, to partake of the salvation he has wrought. Though the frame of the world were falling to pieces, that man who is built on this foundation may hear it without fear. He shall not be confounded. The believing soul makes haste to Christ, but it never finds cause to hasten from him. All true Christians are a chosen generation; they make one family, a people distinct from the world: of another spirit, principle, and practice; which they could never be, if they were not chosen in Christ to be such, and sanctified by his Spirit. Their first state is a state of gross darkness, but they are called out of darkness into a state of joy, pleasure, and prosperity; that they should show forth the praises of the Lord by their profession of his truth, and their good conduct. How vast their obligations to Him who has made them his people, and has shown mercy to them! To be without this mercy is a woful state, though a man have all worldly enjoyments. And there is nothing that so kindly works repentance, as right thoughts of the mercy and love of God. Let us not dare to abuse and affront the free grace of God, if we mean to be saved by it; but let all who would be found among those who obtain mercy, walk as his people.Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture,.... Isaiah 28:16. This is produced as a proof of the excellency of Christ, as compared to a stone; and of his usefulness in the spiritual building; and of his being chosen of God, and precious, though rejected by men; and of the happiness, comfort, and safety of those that believe in him. That this prophecy belongs to the Messiah, is the sense of some of the Jewish writers: the Targum on it applies it to a mighty king; it does not mention the King Messiah, as Galatinus (u) cites it; but Jarchi expressly names him, and interprets it of him:

behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; Christ is here called a chief corner stone, as in Ephesians 2:20 because he not only adorns and strengthens the building, but unites the parts, and keeps them together, even all the saints, Jews or Gentiles, in all ages and places, whether in heaven or earth; and he, as such, is chosen of God for that purpose, and is precious both to God and man, on that account; and is a stone, not of men's laying, but of God's laying in his council, covenant, promises, and prophecies, in the mission of him into this world, and in the Gospel ministry; the place where he is laid is in Sion, the Gospel church, of which he is both the foundation and corner stone: and this account is introduced with a "behold", it being something very wonderful, and worthy of attention: to which is added,

he that believeth on him shall not be confounded: or "ashamed"; of the foundation and cornerstone Christ, nor of his faith in him; and he shall not be confounded by men or devils, neither in this world, nor in that to come; he shall have confidence before Christ, and not be ashamed at his coming; he shall be safe now, being laid on this stone; nor shall he be removed from it, or intimidated by any enemy, so as to flee from it; nor shall he make haste, as it is in Isaiah 28:16 to lay another foundation; and he shall be found upon this hereafter; so that his person and state will be safe, though many of his works may be burnt up,

(u) De Aroan. Cathol. Ver. l. 3. c. 21.

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