2 Peter 2:17 MEANING

2 Peter 2:17
(17) These are wells.--Or, springs; same word as John 4:6. These men are like dried-up watering-places in the desert, which entice and mock the thirsty traveller; perhaps leading him into danger also by drawing him from places where there is water. (Comp. Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 14:3.) The parallel passage, Jude 1:12-13, is much more full than the one before us, and is more like an amplification of this than this a condensation of that--e.g., would a simile so admirably suitable to false guides as "wandering stars" have been neglected by the writer of our Epistle? A Hebrew word which occurs only twice in the Old Testament is translated by the LXX. in the one place (Genesis 2:6) by the word here used for "well," and in the other (Job 36:27) by the word used in Jude 1:12, for "cloud." Thus the same Hebrew might have produced "wells without water" here and "clouds without water" in Jude. This is one of the arguments used in favour of a Hebrew original of both these Epistles. Coincidences of this kind, which may easily be mere accidents of language, must be shown to be numerous before a solid argument can be based upon them. Moreover, we must remember that the writers in both cases were Jews, writing in Greek, while thinking probably in Hebrew, so that the same Hebrew thought might suggest a different Greek expression in the two cases. When we have deducted all that might easily be accounted for in this way, and also all that is perhaps purely accidental, from the not very numerous instances of a similar kind that have been collected, we shall not find much on which to build the hypothesis of these Epistles being translations from Hebrew originals. (See Introduction to Jude, II.)

Clouds that are carried with a tempest.--Better, mists driven by the storm-wind. Wiclif has "myistis." The words for "clouds" and "carried about" in Jude 1:12, are quite different, so that our version creates a false impression of great similarity. The idea is not very different from that of the "wells without water." These mists promise refreshment to the thirsty soil (Genesis 2:6), and are so flimsy that they are blown away before they do any good. So these false teachers deceived those who were thirsting for the knowledge and liberty promised them by raising hopes which they could not satisfy.

To whom the mist of darkness.--Better, for whom the gloom of darkness. (See Note on Jude 1:6.) "For ever" is wanting in authority; the words have probably been inserted from the parallel passage in Jude.

Verse 17. - These are wells without water. St. Peter has spoken of the vices of the false teachers; he goes on to describe the unprofitableness of their teaching. They are like wells without water; they deceive men with a promise which they do not fulfill. In Jude 1:12 there is a slight difference - "clouds without water" (comp. Jeremiah 2:13). Clouds that are carried with a tempest; better, mists driven by a tempest. The best manuscripts have ὁμίχλαι, mists, instead of νεφέλαι, clouds; they are driven along by the tempest; they give no water to the thirsty land, but only bring darkness and obscurity. The Greek word for "tempest" (λαῖλαψ) is used by St. Mark and St. Luke in their account of the tempest on the Sea of Galilee. To whom the mist of darkness is reserved for over; rather, as in the Revised Version, the blackness of darkness. The words are the same as those of Jude 1:13 (comp. verse 4 of this chapter; also 2 Peter 3:7; and 1 Peter 1:4, where the same verb is used of the inheritance reserved in heaven for the saints). The words "for ever" are omitted in the Vatican and Sinaitic Manuscripts; it is possible that they may have been inserted from the parallel passage in St. Jude; but they are well supported here.

2:17-22 The word of truth is the water of life, which refreshes the souls that receive it; but deceivers spread and promote error, and are set forth as empty, because there is no truth in them. As clouds hinder the light of the sun, so do these darken counsel by words wherein there is no truth. Seeing that these men increase darkness in this world, it is very just that the mist ofdarkness should be their portion in the next. In the midst of their talk of liberty, these men are the vilest slaves; their own lusts gain a complete victory over them, and they are actually in bondage. When men are entangled, they are easily overcome; therefore Christians should keep close to the word of God, and watch against all who seek to bewilder them. A state of apostacy is worse than a state of ignorance. To bring an evil report upon the good way of God, and a false charge against the way of truth, must expose to the heaviest condemnation. How dreadful is the state here described! Yet though such a case is deplorable, it is not utterly hopeless; the leper may be made clean, and even the dead may be raised. Is thy backsliding a grief to thee? Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved.These are wells without water,.... Which look large and deep, promise much, and have nothing in them; so these men looked like angels of light, transformed themselves as ministers of righteousness, had a form of godliness, and boasted of their great knowledge; promised great advantages to their followers, but were like deceitful brooks, or dry wells, and so disappointed those that came to them, and attended on them; having nothing but the filth and slime of error and iniquity, being destitute both of the grace of God, comparable to water, and of the truth of heavenly doctrine, which is like the rain that fills the wells, pools, and fountains.

Clouds that are carried with a tempest; these false teachers may be compared to clouds for their number, for many antichrists and false prophets soon came into the world; and for their sudden rise in the churches, into which they crept privily and unawares; and because of the general darkness they spread, for when errors and heresies prevail it is a dark and cloudy day with the churches, a day of gloominess and darkness, of thick darkness, a day of trouble, rebuke, and blasphemy; and because of the height of them, especially light clouds, as these are compared to, who are high in their own conceits and imaginations, and think, and give out themselves to be some great persons; and also because of their sudden destruction, which lingers and slumbers not, but comes upon them in a moment, and their glory passes away like the morning cloud: and these may be said to be as clouds "carried with a tempest": of their own lusts and passions, by which they are governed, and are led, and carried away with the force of them, and have no power to resist them, being under the dominion of them, and captives to them; and of Satan's temptations, who works effectually in them, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, and being taken in his snare, are led captive by him at his will: Jude says, "carried about of winds", Jde 1:12, with every wind of false doctrine, like meteors in the air; are never at a point, always unsteady and unsettled, and ready to embrace every new and upstart notion:

to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever; the nature of their punishment is expressed by "darkness", the blackest darkness, the mist of darkness, and which Jude calls blackness of darkness, the same with utter darkness; and which signifies a most forlorn and uncomfortable condition, and is a righteous judgment, and just retaliation upon them who studied to darken counsel by words without knowledge; and the certainty of their punishment is signified by its being "reserved", even as the happiness of the saints, and the safety and sureness of it are represented by an inheritance reserved in heaven: and as God has his treasures, magazines, and stores of grace and mercy, felicity and glory, for his people; so he has his wrath and vengeance reserved, laid up in store with him, and sealed up among his treasures, which he will surely bring forth in his own time: and the duration of this punishment is "for ever"; it is a worm that never dies, a fire that is never quenched, Isaiah 66:24 Mark 9:44; it is everlasting fire and burnings, the smoke of which ascends for ever and ever.

Courtesy of Open Bible