The first epistle of st. Peter 1: 1-2: 17



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Of the same nature doubtless are the “spiritual sacrifices” which St Peter contemplates as offered up in that “spiritual house” which is the Christian community. Acts of self-oblation to God for the service of the community are described as performed in the invisible House inasmuch as they take their meaning from its encompassing presence and are the manifestations of its reality, the acts which set forth its abiding state. The House as the dwelling-place of God is defined simply by the presence of His indwelling Spirit, and these acts of self-oblation for the community are signs that His inspiring and uniting and ordering Spirit is indeed present. In this sense they are (positively even more than negatively) emphatically “spiritual” sacrifices. Compare Phil. 3:3 (according to the only natural construction), oiJ pneuvmati qeou' latreuvonte" (opposed to the upholders of circumcision for Christians), answering by contrast to Heb. 8:5, oi{tine" [sc. iJerei'"º uJpodeivgmati kai; skia'/ latreuvousin tw'n ejpouranivwn, and 13:10, oiJ th'/ skhnh'/ latreuvonte": and the same idea of spiritual or living sacrifice, by Christ and therefore also by Christians in Him, is indicated in the Epistle to the Hebrews in other striking language, 9:14, eij" to; latreuvein qew'/ zw'nti preceded by o}" dia; pneuvmato" aijwnivou eJauto;n proshvnegken a[mwmon tw'/ qew'/ (cf. 7:15 f., iJereu;" e{tero", o}" ouj kata; novmon ejntolh'" sarkivnh" gevgonen, ajlla; kata; duvnamin zwh'" ajkataluvtou). It is worth notice that in the same Epistle (13:15 f.) the twofold reference of sacrificial service, towards God and towards men, is likewise expressed, but under the form of two kinds of sacrifice, not, as with St Paul and apparently St Peter, under the form of two aspects of the same sacrificial life.

Qusiva" stands for sacrifices in the widest sense of the word. The verb quvw, G2604, from which it is derived, meant originally not “to slaughter” but “to smoke,” “to cause to smoke,” and so was applied to the typical ancient mode of, as it were, conveying a sacrificed object or offering of any kind to the gods, namely by converting it into smoke ascending towards the heavens. In the LXX. qusiva, G2602, retains this breadth of usage, being by far the commonest rendering not only of jb'z:, H2284, the most general term denoting the sacrifice of a living victim, but also of hj;n“mi, H4966, a tribute or gift, the most general word for sacrifices or offerings of a vegetable nature, though occasionally used in the same comprehensive sense as qusiva, G2602, itself. It thus includes every thing whatsoever that, having been a human possession, is solemnly surrendered to God. The other passages of the N.T. in which the qusivai of Christians are directly or indirectly referred to have all been already mentioned, Rom. 12:1; Eph. 5:1, 2 (indirect); Heb. 13:15 f.; and with reference to individual qusivai Phil. 2:17; 4:18. If we go on to ask what class of Jewish sacrifices were intended to supply the type of sacrifice here contemplated, the language of at least Romans and Hebrews is decisive for wholly retrospective sacrifices, sacrifices of thanksgiving, not of expiation. Heb. 13:15 distinctly speaks of qusivan aijnevsew", which carries us back to Ps. 49:14 (50:14) (hd:/T, H9343), the sacrifice of “praise” opposed to the sacrifice of bulls and goats; the phrase being repeated at the end of the Psalm (Ps. 50:23) and again Ps. 106:22 (107:22); 115:8 (116:17); having been originally used [Lev. 7:12 (2 LXX.), 13 (3), 15 (5) with jb'z:prefixed] for a special form of the Levitical peace- or thankoffering (qusiva swthrivou) (cf. Knobel-Dillmann on Lev. 7:11 f.; Delitzsch on Heb. 13:15). Compare the rabbinical saying preserved in the Midrash Rabba on Leviticus 22:29 (Par. 27 fin.), “All sacrifices shall hereafter cease; but the thank-offering (br"q;, H7928, + hd:/T, H9343) shall never cease.”

eujprosdevktou" qew'/, acceptable to God] St Paul four times uses eujprovsdekto", G2347, once (Rom. 15:16) for the Gentile collection on behalf of the Palestinian Jews considered as an oblation (prosforav, G4714). It is not used in the LXX. or Apocrypha (the simple dektov", G1283, being preferred in this sense, with devcomai, G1312, and prosdevcomai, G4657, for verbs); but it was known to Greek religion (Schol. on Aristoph. Pax 1054, shmeivoi" tisi; katanoei'n eij eujprovsdekto" hJ qusiva), and also to ordinary Greek language (Plut. Praec. Ger. Reip. 801 C). It represents here the eujavreston tw'/ qew'/ of Rom. 12:1, and the eij" ojsmh;n eujwdiva" of Eph. 5:2, an image derived from the ascending fragrance of sacrifices consumed by fire, often spoken of in the Pentateuch and Ezekiel; while all three modes of expression are united in Phil. 4:18, with dektov", G1283, substituted for eujprovsdekto", G2347. The order of the words pneumatika;" qusiva" eujprosdevktou" (not qusiva" pneumatika;" eujprosdevktou") indicates that the sense is not “spiritual and acceptable” but “spiritual and so acceptable.” Whatever might be the reflex and disciplinary value of external or ritual sacrifices, such as were offered by Gentiles and by Jews alike, they were not such as could be directly acceptable to God as worshipped in the light of the Gospel revelation, or even in the light of the prophetic revelation. The only sacrifices for the offering of which the spiritual House of God was constituted, and which God who is Spirit could receive with joy, were acts of self-surrender on the part of the living spirits of men.

dia; jIhsou' Cristou', through Jesus Christ] With this full name St Peter concludes the sentence, disregarding the fact that our Lord was already referred to throughout its earlier part (1 Pet. 2:4). It would have been ambiguous to say dij aujtou': and further St Peter may have wished to lay the greater emphasis on the medium whereby the spiritual sacrifices were acceptable to God, by keeping this office distinct from that of the Cornerstone. The preposition diav, G1328, expresses strictly intermediateness, the most definite form of which is what we call instrumentality. It is used in reference to our Lord in the N.T. in a great variety of relations, as between God and the universe and especially man, and again as between man and God, or between men as sharers in Divine gifts. It is absent from all the passages of St Paul which relate to sacrifice (in Eph. 5:1, 2 indeed unavoidably), but stands virtually as here in Heb. 13:15 (dij aujtou' ajnafevrwmen k.t.l.: cf. vs. 21). Compare however St Paul’s thanksgivings said to be “through Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:8; 7:25; Col. 3:17); the Amen of men to God through Him answering to the Yea of God to men in Him in 2 Cor. 1:20; and the fruit of righteousness being to God’s glory and praise through Him in Phil. 1:11. But further, this use of diav, G1328, prefixed to our Lord’s name cannot be separated from the similar use of ejn, G1877, the force of which is indeed more fundamental, though less easy to seize. Taken by itself diav, G1328, suggests individuality or distinctness of being, ejn, G1877, suggests unity or community of being, while each idea is needed as a complement to the other. The mediation taught in the Bible is the mediation of a Head having many members: it is expressed in another form by St Paul in a single startling phrase (1 Cor. 3:23), uJmei'" de; Cristou' Cristo;" de; qeou'. This use of ejn, G1877, is specially characteristic of Ephesians, and is used in Eph. 3:12 in reference to access to the Father. Here, where the subject is sacrifice, mediation takes a special form. The fundamental fact of human existence is that it is a mediated existence, and all human action is true and right in so far as it is done in recognition of this mediation, that is, ultimately, “wrought in God” (John 3:21). Sacrifice, the test of the reality of love to God and to man, is then most true and right when it is, so to speak, merged in the sacrifice of Him who offered up Himself as our Head, His historical sacrifice being further the manifestation of His eternal relation to His Father and to man. It is “through Jesus Christ” that all things human are “acceptable to God,” but the sacrifices offered by men most of all, because it is in Christian sacrifice that the very meaning of faith in His mediation is most exactly expressed.

6. diovti perievcei ejn grafh'/, Because it stands thus in writing] Diovti is the true reading, not dio; kaiv. For the latter no authority whatever is certainly known; it is probably a mere misprint of Erasmus, though perpetuated in the Received Text. On the use of diovti, G1484, see the note on 1 Pet. 1:16.

Again, the true text is ejn grafh'/, not ejn th'/ grafh'/ (Syrian), nor hJ grafhv (an early and perhaps Alexandrian correction).



perievcei ejn grafh'/, a singular construction, for which the only other example usually cited is in a supposititious letter of Darius Hystaspes in Jos. Antiq. xi.4, 7, bouvlomai givnesqai pavnta kaqw;" ejn aujth'/ (th'/ ejpistolh'/) perievcei. But it occurs also in Origen on Gen. 6:9 (2:30 fin.), perievcei ejn toi'" e[mprosqen o{ti [Ezhse Lavmec k.t.l., and in Adamantius, De recta fide (Cent. iii.—iv.) i. (p. 16, ed. Wetst.), ou{tw" perievcei ejn th'/ grafh'/. Perievcw, originally to comprehend, include, contain, was naturally used of books as “containing” their subject matter (Diod. i.4; ii.1; iii.1 c Plut. 11.697 E; 717 A; 736 C): and the substantive periochv, G4343, was also sometimes used of the summary of the contents of a book (Schol. Thucyd. i.131; and in Latin, Ausonius and Sulpicius of Carthage). But periochv, G4343, occurs as clearly, without reference to the idea of contents, for a clause, a sentence, or even a short passage; so Cic. ad Att. xiii.25, 3 (of dictating by totas periocav" as opposed to syllabatim); Stob. Ecl. Eth. ii.6, 3 (p. 22, 3 Mein.), fravsw de; kai; tajkroteleuvtion th'" perioch'", e[cei dj ou{tw" k.t.l.; Did. Trin. iii.36 init., kai; th;n e[cousan parj jIwavnnh/ periochvn Au{th dev [John 17:3]; Gregent. Disp. p. 606, tiv de; ejmfaivnei au{th hJ perioch; tou' stivcou [verse] Kai; plh'qo" eijrhvnh" (Ps. 71:7; but see below); Jo. Mosch. Prat. Spir. 32, katj oijkonomivan qeou' hjneginwvsketo to; eujaggevlion ejn w|/ uJph'rcen hJ perioch; hJ levgousa Metanoei'te k.t.l. The use in Acts 8:32, hJ de; perioch; th'" grafh'" h}n ajnegivnwsken h\n au{th JW" provbaton k.t.l., is probably intermediate, “the words of the passage of Scripture which he was reading were these” (see Meyer, who however wrongly disputes the existence of the sense last mentioned); and the same may be the sense in the passage of Gregentius cited above. This secondary use of the substantive is probably derived from a transition in the meaning of the verb from the idea of contents as included matter to that of contents as actual words. Thus 1 Macc. (1 Macc. 15:2), 2 Macc. (2 Macc. 11:16), and Josephus (Antiq. xii.4, 11; xiii.4, 9; xiv.10, 11) speak of epistles which perievcousi to;n trovpon tou'ton (cf. Acts 23:25; 2 Macc. 1:24), and 2 Macc. (2 Macc. 9:18; 11:22) of epistles periecouvsa" ou{tw": so John Malal. Chronogr. (ix. p. 216), to; ou\n h[dikton proetevqh perievcon ou{tw" jEn jAntioceiva/ k.t.l., and (xviii. p. 449), ajnhvgagen ajpokrivsei"...periecouvsa" ou{tw" Kouavdh" basileu;" k.t.l.; Did. in Ps. 38:5, JEtevra de; perievcei grafhv [i.e. reading: the reading palaistav" has been discussed] jIdou; palaiav" k.t.l.: and thence it is an easy step to the impersonal sense “it stands thus,” “there are these words,” which we find here. It is to be remembered that e[cw, G2400, and at least most of its compounds, have intransitive senses which are quite as legitimate though not as common as their transitive senses; and further that we have examples of impersonal as well as intransitive uses in the common ou{tw" e[cei, eu\ e[cei, and the rare ajpevcei (Mark 14:41).

ejn grafh'/ is an obscure phrase as to its precise sense, though there can be no doubt as to its substantial force. This is the only place in the N.T. where grafhv, G1210, stands strictly in the singular without the article (pa'sa grafh; qeovpneusto" in 2 Tim. 3:16 is virtually plural) except pa'sa profhteiva grafh'" in 2 Pet. 1:20. Now in at least some books of the N.T. grafhv, G1210, in the singular, in accordance with Jewish usage, means not Scripture as a whole, probably not even a single book or larger part of Scripture, but a single passage of Scripture (Mark 12:10; Luke 4:21; Acts 1:16 c James 2:8 & c.), Scripture itself being habitually denoted by the plural aiJ grafaiv (Matt Mark Luke John Acts (2 Peter) St Paul). The use of hJ grafhv in St John and St Paul is not improbably the same as with the other writers; but it is capable of being understood as approximating to the collective sense. Nothing however but a distinct and recognised use of this sort, such as we do not find, would render probable a corresponding use without the article, so that “in Scripture” is barely more than possible here. Nor again in the absence of tiniv or any similar adjunct is the sense “in a passage of Scripture” probable. The most natural rendering is simply “in writing,” as Sir. 39:32; 42:7; 44:5; also (LXX.) 2 Chr. 2:11 and apparently 21:12 (cf. Ps. 86:6 (87:6); Ezek. 13:9; 1 Chr. 28:19), commonly expressed in classical Greek by the corresponding adjective e[ggrafo". Thus perievcei ejn grafh'/ is equivalent to “it stands written”: compare St John’s resolved formula of quotation e[stin gegrammevnon (John 2:17; 6:31, 45; 10:34; 12:14). That the quotation was authoritative, though not expressed, was doubtless implied, in accordance with the familiar Jewish use of the words “said” “written” & c. (see Surenhusius, Bibl. Catall. 1-11).

jIdou; tivqhmi ejn Siw;n livqon ejklekto;n ajkrogwniai'on e[ntimon, Behold I lay in Zion a stone (that is) elect, a cornerstone (that is) held precious] In this quotation from Isa. 28:16 there is a variation of reading as to the order of ejklektovn and ajkrogwniai'on. There is a preponderance of ancient authority for placing ejklektovn first. Against this order is plausibly urged its agreement with the order in the LXX. but this consideration is weakened by the absence of other assimilations to the LXX. in our MSS. (such as would have been the insertion of polutelh'), and more than counterbalanced by the strong temptation to a Greek scribe to join ajkrogwniai'on closely to livqon and to keep the other two epithets together as they stand in 1 Pet. 2:4. Moreover, as we shall see, this order suits the Hebrew sense, which would be known to St Peter and would not be known to Greek scribes.

The changes from the LXX. in the quotation are considerable. jIdouv stands for jIdou; ejgwv… tivqhmi ejn Siwvn for ejmbavllw, G1833, (so B Crypt; ejmbalw' aAQ) eij" ta; qemevlia Seiwvn… polutelh' is omitted after livqon and eij" ta; qemevlia aujth'" after e[ntimon: the ejpj aujtw'/ after oJ pisteuvwn is absent from the original LXX. (so B Crypt) but found in most MSS. and was doubtless inserted before the Christian era. Now comparison of St Peter’s quotation of this passage with St Paul’s in Rom. 9:33 shews that the first differences from the LXX. and Hebrew in St Peter are found also in Rom., viz. the omission of ejgwv, G1609, and the substitution of the simple tivqhmi ejn for ejmbavllw, G1833, (or ejmbalw') eij" ta; qemevlia, not to speak of ejpj aujtw'/ in the last clause. On the other hand, whereas St Paul replaced the words describing the cornerstone by those of Isa. 8:14 about the stone of stumbling (cf. Orig.-Ruf. in Ep. Rom. iv.619), St Peter retains the cornerstone, and departs from the LXX. only by dropping the (for his purpose) superfluous polutelh' (which is merely the LXX. equivalent for the twice repeated “stone”) and the concluding words about “foundations,” in accordance with his silence as to foundations in the preceding context. It is morally certain that St Peter borrowed from St Paul those peculiarities in his mode of quoting the passage which he has in common with him; and hardly less so that St Paul was not

following any antecedent version other than the LXX. but freely adapting the LXX. itself. Neither he nor St Peter had occasion to cite the reference, twice repeated in the Hebrew and the LXX. to the laying of foundations. Isaiah’s words include the sense of the quotation as given by St Peter, though they also contain other matter. Moreover tivqhmi, G5502, though too vague a word to represent adequately ds'y:, H3569 (most commonly rendered qemeliovw, G2530), may be a reminiscence of such passages as II Isa. 46:13, “I give (or place) in Zion salvation,” ˆt'n:, H5989, being often legitimately expressed by tivqhmi, G5502.

St Peter has already employed in his own manner (vs. 4) some leading words of this verse of Isaiah: he now quotes the verse itself, doubtless not merely to fortify himself by its authority, but to indicate that the function of the stone of which he has been speaking had been pointed to by ancient prophecy, and prepared for by the yet more ancient counsel of God. In this thought lies the force of jIdou; tivqhmi: it introduces emphatically a prophetic announcement of God’s purpose for Israel.

“For Israel.” This is contained in ejn Siwvn. Not only was the prophetic preparation made within Israel, but its fulfilment also, our Lord Himself, came first to Israel: to Israel belongs His primary title of Christ or Messiah: this original relation to Israel is the starting point of His relation to mankind generally, and His universal Church does not supersede Israel, but is its expansion.

The probable construction of the next words is to take ajkrogwniai'on, corresponding to hN:Pi, H7157 (“corner” for “cornerstone”) in the Hebrew, as virtually a substantive with e[ntimon for its adjective, just as livqon has ejklektovn for its adjective, “Behold I lay in Zion a stone that is elect, a cornerstone that is held precious.”

On ejklektovn and e[ntimon see on 1 Pet. 2:4. jAkrogwniai'o" is not found elsewhere except in Christian literature: but there is a little classical evidence for the simple form gwniai'o", which also occurs in the peculiar LXX. of Job 38:6 (livqo" gwniai'o"). It is impossible to say whether it was meant here to be masculine (sc. livqon) or neuter (as the plural ejpigwvnia from the adjective ejpigwvnio" in Aquila Ps. 143:12 (144:12)).

By the stone Isaiah probably meant the Divine king or kingdom of Israel founded in David, the true strength and bond of the nation, resting securely on the promise of Jehovah and alone capable of holding together the elements of the people in opposition to the forces tending to draw them asunder. Thus in Ps. 2:6 Jehovah speaks, “Yet I have stablished my king on Zion my holy mountain” (cf. Ps. 110:2). The two adjectives, “proved” (as in the Hebrew) or “elect” (as in the LXX.), and then “held precious” express at once the pre-eminence of this element of national strength and security over any institution of neighbouring states and its essential connexion with its invisible founder, in whose eyes it was choice and precious. But the Apostles could attach to the sentence a more definite meaning, since they had come to know the true Son of David, and to see the beginnings of a larger Zion.

kai; oJ pisteuvwn ejpj aujtw'/, And he that believeth on it] In the original (as in the earliest LXX. text) no object of faith is named; and the sense appears to be “he who, knowing this, is constant or faithful,” “he who, keeping the Divine establishment of this cornerstone in memory, refuses to be shaken in mind.” The insertion of ejpj aujtw'/ (referring to the stone) in the later forms of the LXX. was however natural enough, and it became entirely appropriate when our Lord Himself was revealed as the true King of Israel, and the true bond of unity among men.

ouj mh; kataiscunqh'/, shall not be put to shame] If the Hebrew text vyjiy: alø, “shall not hasten,” is right, the meaning probably is “will not flee away in terror, but patiently abide” (cf. Isa. 30:7, 15 f.): but the text (see Cheyne) is not free from suspicion. The LXX. at all events, rightly or wrongly, seem to have read v/byE alø. The verb v/B, H1017 (in the LXX. nearly always aijscuvnomai, kataiscuvnomai) is common in the Psalms and Prophets to express a state of at once bewilderment and humiliation arising from the baffling of hopes or enterprises. It is repeatedly used with a negative particle (as here in the LXX.) for the result of hope or faith in God; so Ps. 21:6 (22:6); 24:3, 20 (25:3, 20); 30:2, 18 (31:2, 18) c Isa. 29:22; 45:16, 17; 49:23; 50:7; Joel 2:26; and (in the Apocrypha) Sir. 2:10; 15:4. No word could better express the collapse and frustration of a life not built up on faith in a Divine Cornerstone sustaining and unifying human existence and human society.

7. uJmi'n ou\n hJ timh; toi'" pisteuvousin, For you therefore is the preciousness, (even for you) who believe] These apparently simple words are very difficult. The various interpretations fall under three heads: (1) Some take uJmi'n as “in your eyes,” the sense of price being retained. We are familiar with this interpretation from the A.V., “unto you that believe he is precious.” It came from a note of Erasmus, which was at once followed by both Luther and Tindale. In this form the translation is simply impossible, not merely difficult: it makes hJ timhv the predicate, while it can be only the subject. But even if this error be avoided, as it is in the first marginal reading of R.V., “In your sight...is the preciousness,” the interpretation remains inadmissible. Erasmus did good service by insisting that hJ timhv must refer back to e[ntimon, but he strangely assumed, in opposition to 1 Pet. 2:4, that e[ntimon must express the acceptance of the Stone by Christians after its rejection by the Jews; and the result is to make the sentence into a feeble and yet obscure explanation of vs. 6, in spite of its introduction by ou\n, G4036.

(2) The next interpretation, the commonest in recent books, starting from the sense “honour” for hJ timhv (as vulg. honor), takes uJmi'n as “conferred upon you” (so second margin of R.V. “For you...is the honour”). It understands hJ timhv as the opposite of kataiscunqh'/, accordingly making this sentence a repetition in positive form of what was said negatively in the preceding line. Here too the result is a weak and superfluous statement, with a singular use of ou\n, G4036, and the connexion between timhv, G5507, and e[ntimo", G1952, is completely lost.

(3) The alternative therefore remains to take uJmi'n in the easy sense “for you,” “in reference to you,” and hJ timhv as expressing the force of e[ntimon (and implicitly of the associated epithet ejklektovn): “For you therefore...is the preciousness” (so the text of R.V.). That is, It is you that are concerned in the preciousness of which Isaiah speaks: for you that stone is before God of great price; the benefit of its high prerogatives accrues to you. It is tempting to go a step further, and interpret uJmi'n as implying that the preciousness of the Stone was communicated to those who had faith therein (“to you belongs the preciousness”), so that, as living stones built up in union with that elect and precious Cornerstone, they shared Christ’s glory in God’s sight, and derived for themselves from Christ prerogatives of election and preciousness (cf. 1 Pet. 2:9, 10). But this is an idea which St Peter could hardly have failed to develop more clearly if he had had it distinctly in view; and moreover, the sense thus given to the dative is too far removed from any sense which can possibly be given to the corresponding dative ajpistou'sin.

If we take the dative as simply a dative of reference, retaining the LXX. sense of e[ntimo", G1952, for hJ timhv, the sentence stands in close connexion not only with both clauses of the quotation in 1 Pet. 2:6 but with vv. 4, 5, and also with the verses that follow, for which it is a needed intermediate link. Its difficulty of course lies in the word timhv, G5507, which in strictness means either “price” or “honour,” but not “preciousness.” But it is difficult to see what word exactly expressing preciousness could have been fitly used in this place; and the concrete term for “price,” recalling to the reader e[ntimon (=ejn timh'/), would naturally, as we have seen, in such a context borrow enlargement of sense from the closely related meaning “honour.”

Then follows toi'" pisteuvousin, and in this position it does not limit uJmi'n but justifies it. JUmi'n is quite absolute, and analogous to eij" uJma'" in 1 Pet. 1:4, th'" eij" uJma'" cavrito" in 1:10, uJmi'n dev in 1:12, th;n feromevnhn uJmi'n cavrin in 1:13, and dij uJma'" in 1:20: it means “you Christians to whom I am writing.” The force of ou\n, G4036, is to appeal to the preceding line: “the preciousness belongs to you because you are they that believe, and he that believeth on the Cornerstone, saith the prophet, shall in no wise be confounded: faith is the condition for forming a part of the spiritual temple, and so being united to the Cornerstone.” For the appended toi'" pisteuvousin cf. John 1:12; 1 John 5:13.

ajpistou'sin de; livqo"...gwniva", but for such as are disbelieving (the Psalmist’s word is true), The stone which the builders rejected, the same was made the head of the corner] This is the true reading, not ajpeiqou'sin, which probably comes from ajpeiqou'nte" in 1 Pet. 2:8, which in like manner is altered (B vg.) into ajpistou'nte" by assimilation to this verse. jApistevw is to be a[pisto", G603, i.e. without pivsti", G4411; and accordingly its shade of meaning varies with the conception of pivsti", G4411. Absent from the LXX. it has in Wisdom and 2 Macc. (as also in [Mark] Mark 16:11; Luke 24:11, 41) the common classical sense “distrust,” which indeed underlies all the modifications of sense. In the four other places of the N.T. where it is used, it stands always in direct contrast to some word expressing some kind of faith occurring in the immediate context, Mark 16:16 to pisteuvw, G4409, (Acts 28:24 to peivqomai,) Rom. 3:3 (ajpistiva, G602) to pivsti", G4411, and 2 Tim. 2:12 to pistov", G4412, (cf. John 20:27). So here it is simply the negation of pisteuvw, G4409. The Cornerstone, originally proclaimed to the outward Israel, lost its value in respect of them, because they believed not: so St Paul says (Rom. 11:20) of the natural branches of God’s olive tree: th'/ ajpistiva/ ejxeklavsqhsan, su; de; th'/ pivstei e{sthka".

The article is omitted (ajpistou'sin) probably because unbelievers were regarded as not forming a definite body like the sum of Christian congregations; they were simply a drifting and promiscuous residuum, Jewish and heathen alike. There may also be a subtle hint of the possibility of unbelief stealing in presently within the body of the faithful (cf. Heb. 3:19 — 4:3); see Wiesinger, whose treatment of this part of the verse is excellent.

jApistou'sin is often taken directly with ejgenhvqh, “the stone rejected by the builders became to the unbelieving as a head of the corner”; but this way of understanding it distinctly imports into the term “head of the corner” an unfavourable sense, which it bears neither in the Psalm nor in any quotation of it elsewhere, and which is intrinsically meaningless. The appeal which some make to Luke 20:17 (cf. Matt. 21:44), “Every one that falleth on that stone shall be broken,” is irrelevant, for to;n livqon ejkei'non (tou'ton) expressly carries the reader away from kefalh;n gwniva" to a different function of the Stone; and so the reference in the next clause is to Dan. 2:34, 35, 44 (the stone cut out without hands). This difficulty led some of the older critics to accept too readily from the Syriac Vulgate the omission of the whole of the quotation in 1 Pet. 2:7 from livqo" o{n to gwniva" kaiv. The true solution is apparently to take ajpistou'sin as simply a dative of reference, dependent not on the single verb ejgenhvqh, but on the quotation from livqo", G3345, to gwniva" taken as a whole, —“for such as are unbelieving [the Psalmist’s word is true], The stone which the builders rejected &c.”: that is, by an easily intelligible imperfection of the sentence the quotation itself takes the place of some such phrase as to; livqon...genhqh'nai eij" kefalh;n gwniva", which would have been cumbrous and lifeless. Thus the point of the application lies not in o}n ajpedokivmasan alone, much less in ejgenhvqh eij" kefalh;n gwniva" alone, but in o}n ajpedokivmasan as enhanced in force by combination with ejgenhvqh eij" kefalh;n gwniva". The N.T. has other examples of the application of written words by means of a dative of reference (Matt. 13:14; Luke 18:31; Jude 14).

The first word of the quotation in the best MSS. is livqo", G3345, not livqon (by a common attraction) as in the LXX. and in apparently all MSS. of the three parallel quotations in the Gospels. With this trifling exception, probably made with a view to the subsequent kai; livqo" proskovmmato" k.t.l., the LXX. of Ps. 118:22 is exactly followed as far as gwniva", even to the insertion of ou|to", G4047, which in the LXX. had probably been meant to give clearness after the use of the accusative livqon.

Psalm 118 is certainly of late date, probably composed for the consecration of the second temple (as described in Ezra 6). Ps. 118:22 is apparently a reminiscence of Isa. 28:16. It is at least conceivable that, as Dr Plumptre conjectures (Bibl. Stud. p. 275f.), the image of the rejected stone was suggested by some actual incident in the rebuilding, the finding at last, in consequence of some kind of Divine intimation, that a stone, which had been cast contemptuously aside by the architects, was in truth the best fitted for the head of the corner. But, whether there was some such external occasion as this or not, the fresh thought added to Isaiah’s image is explicable by the circumstances of the time. The original ideal of Davidean kingship had soon been grievously obscured. Both kings and people had contributed towards making the Jewish state like any heathen state in its neighbourhood, as though it had no special cornerstone. Then had come the Captivity, out of which a purified remnant had returned. For the moment there seemed to be at least a promise of a restoration of the primitive kingship in the hopes that gathered round the governor Zerubbabel, himself a descendant of David, as may be gathered from the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah. The sense that the invisible rule of Jehovah was the true foundation of the state, by whomsoever ruled externally, was once more strong. Thus the stone which the mundane builders, kings and people, had been despising, was now in this resurrection of the nation recognised in its binding power as the true head of the corner. “From Jehovah,” men learned to say, “this cornerstone came, and it is marvellous in our eyes.”

In the N.T. the verse is quoted on three occasions. First, according to the testimony of all three Synoptists, our Lord Himself made appeal to it in speaking to the priests, scribes, and elders in the temple, immediately after pronouncing His parable of the Wicked Husbandmen; the primary point of connexion being the Divine reversal of the contemptuous judgment of the men in authority, husbandmen of the vineyard and builders of the house: but there is no definite appropriation of the office of the Stone. St Peter on the other hand, in his defence of the healing of the lame man at the Beautiful gate of the temple, declares plainly to the rulers and all the people of Israel (Acts 4:8-11), “This man [Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom ye crucified] is the stone that was set at nought (ejxouqenhmevno") of you the builders, which became the head of the corner”: and in this chapter (1 Pet. 2:4) he applies the words in the same manner. He, the true Son of David, the true King of Israel, was in His own person that Cornerstone of which till now there had been only indistinct anticipations, the Cornerstone of a larger Israel, destined to be coextensive with the human race.

ajpedokivmasan] On the difference between this Greek word, implying rejection after trial, and the original Hebrew word see note on 1 Pet. 2:4. It is naturally retained here because Christ’s rejection by the Jews was the result of His ministry among them. So it is used in Mark 8:31 || Luke 9:22 “suffer and be rejected of the elders and high priests and scribes” (|| Matt. 16:21 having “suffer” only), and again in Luke 17:25 “suffer and be rejected of this generation” (the two passages together making up the “rulers” and “people” of Acts).

oiJ oijkodomou'nte"] In 1 Pet. 2:4 St Peter had substituted the comprehensive word ajnqrwvpwn. Here, in quoting the Psalm itself, he doubtless felt that it had a special force with reference to the authorities of various kinds (compare the three classes in Mark and Luke, just cited, religious office, civil office, learning: also for the heathen rejection 1 Cor. 1:18-31), in whose eyes our Lord was worse than useless for the only kind of building up of institutions of which they had any conception.

The phrase “head of the corner” occurs nowhere but in this Psalm. Some understand it of the highest stone of the building, citing Zech. 4:7 in illustration; but it seems to be only a poetical name for the cornerstone; and this sense further is much more appropriate for St Peter’s purpose. It is likewise perhaps not fanciful to surmise that he would associate it with St Paul’s language about Christ as the Head of the body (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23: cf. Col. 1:18; 2:10, 19), the connexion of sense being much more than verbal.

8. kai; livqo" proskovmmato" kai; pevtra skandavlou, and (for them He is) a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence] This double phrase comes originally from Isaiah 8:14, occurring in the prophecy of Emmanuel which belongs to the troubles of the reign of Ahaz, and in that particular part of it which is directed against the inclination of the people to lean on the power of Syria, on Rezin and Remaliah’s son. The warning not to fear what “this people” feared, or count holy what they counted holy, turns to a command to count Jehovah Sabaoth holy, and make Him the object of fear, and a declaration that He Himself should be for a sanctuary or holy place, but also for a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to both kingdoms, for a gin and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that many should stumble and fall and be broken, and be snared and taken. The hortatory part of the passage is taken up by St Peter in 1 Pet. 3:14 f.; while here he incorporates the prophetic declaration.

The LXX. translators apparently shrank from the plain sense, and boldly substituted a loose paraphrase containing a negative which inverts Isaiah’s drift, kai; oujc wJ" livqou proskovmmati sunanthvsesqe ªaujtw'/º oujde; wJ" pevtra" ptwvmati. St Paul (Rom. 9:33) substitutes a literal rendering of the Hebrew, and St Peter follows him (cf. Aq. eij" livqon proskovmmato" kai; eij" stereo;n skandavlou). The “stone of stumbling” (proskovmmato") is the loose stone lying in the way, against which the traveller “strikes” his foot, from 5g"n:, H5597, to “smite,” proskovptw, G4684, (so, Heb. and LXX. Jer. 13:16; Ps. 91:12; Prov. 3:23). The “rock of offence” (skandavlou) is the native rock rising up through the earth of the way, which trips up the traveller and almost makes him fall, from lv'K;, H4173 to “totter.” Isaiah probably adds the second phrase because the Rock (rWx, H7446) was much used in the O.T. as a designation of God as the God of Israel (Deut. 32:4, 15, 18, 30, 31 (cf. 37); 1 Sam. 2:2; 2 Sam. 23:3; Ps. 18:2, 31, 46 c Isa. 17:10): Rock of strength and security though He were to His people, He would also be found a Rock of stumbling beneath their path when they departed from the right way (cf. Isa. 28:13; Jer. 6:21; Hos. 14:9). The single word skandavlou, as used in this connexion by St Paul and St Peter, pointed back to characteristic language of our Lord Himself as well as of the Evangelists on His being a “stumblingblock” to the Jews who refused Him (Matt. 11:6 || Luke 7:23; Matt. 13:57 || Mark 6:3; Matt. 15:12; (17:27;) Matt. 26:31, 33 || Mark 14:27, 29; John 6:61 (; 16:1)); as St Paul elsewhere (1 Cor. 1:23; cf. Gal. 5:11) pronounced a crucified Christ to be to the Jews distinctly a stumblingblock.

As regards the precise grammatical construction, we cannot naturally take livqo", G3345, and pevtra, G4376, with ejgenhvqh, because eij" kefalh;n gwniva" expresses what the stone became for the faithful. Rather the connexion is directly with ajpistou'sin: “for them that disbelieve this is true A stone which the builders c and [for them He is] a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.”

oi} proskovptousin tw'/ lovgw/ ajpeiqou'nte", who stumble at the word, rebelling (against it)] The reading ajpistou'nte", which has some good authority, may safely be rejected as derived from ajpistou'sin dev; see above p. 118, on 1 Pet. 2:7 (ajpistou'sin).

jApeiqevw, to be ajpeiqhv", G579, is literally to be disobedient; but it expresses in the first instance rather a state of mind and temper than a line of conduct. It is related in sense to ajpistevw, G601, nearly as peivqomai to pevpoiqa. In the LXX. it chiefly stands for rr"s;, H6253, “to be stubborn,” sa'm;, H4415, “to reject,” and hr:m;, H5286, “to rebel,” words of positive rather than negative sense; and on the whole in most places the biblical use is best expressed by “rebel” or “be rebellious.” It was probably suggested to St Peter by St Paul’s use of it in Rom. 10 and 11, the starting point of which is his quotation in 10:21 from II Isa. 65:1, pro;" de; to;n jIsrah;l levgei {Olhn th;n hJmevran ejxepevtasa ta;" cei'rav" mou pro;" lao;n ajpeiqou'nta kai; ajntilevgonta (cf. Isa. 30:9). It was specially appropriate for St Peter’s purpose, because at the close of the three chapters Rom. 9-11 St Paul had stretched its force to cover the Gentile godlessness, in order to “shut up” Jew and Gentile into a parity of destiny (11:30-32). But near the end of the epistle, 15:31, he evidently has only the stubborn Jews in view in i{na rJusqw' ajpo; tw'n ajpeiqouvntwn ejn th'/ jIoudaiva/: compare Acts 14:2; 19:9 (an instructive passage); Heb. 3:18; 4:6, 11. On the other hand, in Heb. 11:31 it is somewhat unexpectedly used of the men of Jericho as opposed to Rahab; and in Eph. 2:2; 5:6 oiJ uiJoi; th'" ajpeiqiva" are undoubtedly the heathen. St Peter himself repeats the word 1 Pet. 3:1, 20; 4:17.

It is idly disputed whether tw'/ lovgw/ goes with proskovptousin or with ajpeiqou'nte". Either of these two words might doubtless easily stand absolutely; but the position rather suggests that it belongs to both, by a natural and common Greek usage too much ignored by commentators, i.e. “stumble at the word, being rebellious against it.” The order would be a strange one, if St Peter did not contemplate “the word” as itself the occasion of stumbling, while 1 Pet. 3:1 and 4:17 suggest it to be the authority rebelled against. Very possibly the idea was suggested by Isa. 28:13 (not LXX.), which stands only three verses earlier than the passage quoted in 1 Pet. 2:6. It is there said that the word of Jehovah shall be to the people “Precept upon precept, rule upon rule...that they may go, and stumble backward, and be broken and snared and taken” (a series of verbs similar to the series in Isa. 8:15); and the word of Jehovah is evidently represented as itself becoming the stumblingblock.

The same idea occurs, though more obscurely, in the Gospels. In the interpretation of the Parable of the Sower we read (Matt. 13:21 || Mark 4:17), “when persecution or affliction has arisen dia; to;n lovgon eujqu;" skandalivzetai (-ontai).” Here “the word” has in St Mark no further definition, while St Matthew calls it “the word of the kingdom” and St Luke “the word of God.” Again note Matt. 15:12, Oi\da" o{ti oiJ Farisai'oi ajkouvsante" to;n lovgon ejskandalivsqhsan, apparently in reference to “Not that which entereth into the mouth” & c., and John 6:60 f. (on the living Bread), Sklhrov" ejstin oJ lovgo" ou|to": tiv" duvnatai aujtou' ajkouvein…...Tou'to uJma'" skandalivzei; Thus from the first the Apostles were familiar with the thought that a word or utterance coming direct from God is liable to become itself a stumblingblock to men through the demands which it makes, or the trenchant force with which it contradicts prejudices and conventions.

Here (as again in 1 Pet. 3:1) the word spoken of is the definite Christian word so often spoken of in the Acts, called sometimes “the word of God,” sometimes “the word of the Lord,” sometimes absolutely, as here, “the word” (Acts 8:4; 10:36; 11:19; 14:25; 16:6; 17:11; 18:5, to take only unambiguous cases). A typical instance of such stumbling at this “word” on the part of the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia is described Acts 13:44-49. That which led especially to its power of making them stumble was the largeness of its message, its character as “the word of God’s grace” (Acts 14:3; 20:32; cf. 20:24).

There is no real force in the difficulty which some have felt in the transition from stumbling at the Stone to stumbling at “the word.” The primary subject-matter of the word, the primary occasion of stumbling which it contained, was Christ as the Cornerstone. Each form of speech implies the other.

ajpeiqou'nte", rebelling against it] The addition of this participle explains the reason of the stumbling. “The word” was felt to contain exacting claims over those who accepted it, which the unbelieving Jews refused to admit; in other words, they rebelled against it; as St Paul said to them at Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:46), they “thrust it away from them” (ajpwqei'sqe); and so it became to them a stumblingblock. Similarly St Peter (1 Pet. 4:17) speaks of tw'n ajpeiqouvntwn tw'/ tou' qeou' eujaggelivw/, which is the opposite of St Paul’s uJpakouvein tw'/ eujaggelivw/ (2 Thess. 1:8; Rom. 10:16). jApeiqevw in Acts and Romans is probably derived from II Isa. 65:2, quoted in Rom. 10:21.

eij" o} kai; ejtevqhsan, whereunto also they were appointed] The reference of eij" o{ is naturally to the principal verb of the preceding clause (proskovptousin), ajpeiqou'nte" being subordinate and practically adverbial. jEtevqhsan, a somewhat vague word in itself, expresses simply the ordinance of God, perhaps with the idea of place added, that is place in a far reaching order of things. The coincidence with jIdou; tivqhmi ejn Siw;n livqon in 1 Pet. 2:6 can hardly be accidental. The Cornerstone in Zion and the men who should stumble at it were both of God’s appointing. For this use of tivqhmi, G5502, cf. Acts 13:47, Tevqeikav se eij" fw'" ejqnw'n from II Isa. 49:6 (so aAQ*); 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11, eij" o} ejtevqhn ejgw; kh'rux k.t.l. (perhaps suggested by Jer. 1:5, 18); John 15:16, e[qhka uJma'" i{na uJmei'" uJpavghte kai; karpo;n fevrhte; and less clearly Rom. 4:17 from Gen. 17:5; Heb. 1:2. All attempts to explain away the statement, as if e.g. it meant only that they were appointed to this by the just and natural consequences of their own acts, are futile. True as that would be, it is not the truth that St Peter wished to insist on here. When we try to think of both views together, they seem to contradict each other: but the same apparent contradiction lies in truth in all attempts to combine in thought Divine action and human or natural action. Throughout St Peter is maintaining the primal purpose of God as the true origin of the new or Christian order of things, and here he adds that even the rejection and the rejectors of that order had a place in that primal purpose. These four mysterious words become clearer when we carry them back to what is doubtless their real source those three central chapters of Romans (Rom. 9-10), of which the apostasy of Israel is the fundamental theme. What is there said (9:17) of Pharaoh, and (9:22) of the vessels of wrath is more explicitly awful than St Peter’s short phrase. But if we pursue St Paul’s argument to the end, we see that his purpose is to draw the utmost range of human perverseness within the mysterious folds of God’s will, so that nothing should be left outside, that God’s will may be seen at last in the far future accomplishing its purpose of good. The stumbling of the Jews was for the salvation of the Gentiles (11:11): to be the unconscious instruments of this expansion of God’s kingdom was the destiny appointed for them (eij" o} kai; ejtevqhsan). But they were not cast utterly away for ever. The mercy which their stumbling had brought nigh to the Gentiles would in the depths of God’s unsearchable judgements be for them too. If it was an overwhelming thought that God Himself had appointed them unto stumbling, it was at last the only satisfying thought, for so it was made sure that they were in His hands and His keeping for ever.

9. St Peter has now ended what he has had parenthetically to say about them that stumbled, and he returns to complete his unfinished description of the privileges of the Christian converts, as believers in the Living Stone, uJmei'" dev catching up uJmi'n ou\n hJ timhv.


uJmei'" de;...eij" peripoivhsin, But ye are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession] Most of the language of this verse is taken either from II Isa. 43:20 or from Exod. 19:5 f. Gevno" ejklektovn comes by a slight modification from II Isa. 43:20, “I have given...rivers in the waterless land, to afford drink to to; gevno" mou to; ejklektovn.” The LXX. here combines two separate phrases, apparently from having a text with no second suffix, the Hebrew being “my people, my chosen.” It is not easy to see why gevno", G1169, was adopted here for µ[', H6638 (twice only elsewhere in Isa., Isa. 22:4; 42:6) instead of the infinitely commoner laov", G3295: but it was convenient for St Peter as describing the people specially under the primary relation of common descent. So St Stephen speaks (Acts 7:19) of to; gevno" hJmw'n (practically from Exod. 1:9); St Paul at Antioch addresses Jews thus (Acts 13:26) [Andre" ajdelfoiv, uiJoi; gevnou" jAbraavm, and he talks of ejn tw'/ gevnei mou Gal. 1:14; ejk gevnou" jIsrahvl Phil. 3:5, where he is referring with pride and affection to his own Jewish origin. The image, as applied to the new Israel, would remind the converts that as members of it they were bound together by a specially close and dear tie of brotherhood. The epithet “chosen” had several bearings: it reminded them that their position was due to the free choice of God; it called attention to their distinctness from the promiscuous throng of men out of whom they had been chosen; and it fixed their thoughts on the purpose of God’s choice, that is, on the work which He designed for them as a chosen race: of one aspect of this work he soon speaks.

Next, however, come two or three phrases from Exod. 19:5 f., part of the words which God is described as speaking to the people by the mouth of Moses on the approach to Sinai: “and now if ye hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, ye shall be to me lao;" periouvsio" from all the nations, for mine is all the earth, and ye shall be to me basivleion iJeravteuma kai; e[qno" a{gion.” St Peter takes first the remarkable phrase of the LXX. basivleion iJeravteuma. The original has µynIh}Ko tk,l,m]m', “a kingdom of priests.” But the LXX. translators apparently had before them a text in which the final tof the construct state was replaced by h(hk;l;m]m'), with the sense “a kingdom, priests.” (This supposition is not necessary if Lagarde is right in saying (Anm. z. Griech. Uebers. d. Prov. p. 4) that “the three letters hstat the end of a word were not themselves written, but expressed by a stroke at the upper end of the consonant preceding them,” and if this remark applies to the Pentateuch as well as Proverbs.) This is precisely the text which we find represented in the Apocalypse, which often borrows phrases of the O.T. directly from the Hebrew as well as from the LXX. Apoc. 1:6, kai; ejpoivhsen hJma'" (or hJmi'n) basileivan, iJerei'" tw'/ qew'/ kai; patri; aujtou': and again virtually 5:10, kai; ejpoivhsa" aujtou;" tw'/ qew'/ hJmw'n basileivan kai; iJerei'". The LXX. translators apparently meant basivleion as a substantive, “a kingdom, a priesthood”. So the author of 2 Macc. clearly understood the words, ajpodou;" th;n klhronomivan aujtou' pa'si kai; to; basivleion kai; to; iJeravteuma kai; to;n aJgiasmovn (2 Macc. 2:17); and again Philo, De sobr. 13 (i.402), though he takes the word basivleion in the sense of “palace” (his reference De Abr. 12 (ii.9) is ambiguous). None however of the known meanings of basivleion fit precisely into the context. Occasionally both in the LXX. (1 Kings 14:8; 1 Chr. 28:4; Dan. 7:22) and again in the Fathers (as also Plut. Agis 11; Or. Sib. iii.159) it denotes kingship, and twice (Ps.-Clem. Rom. 11.6, 9; Gaius ap. Eus. H.E. iii.28, 2) it is applied to the future kingdom of Christ or God, but it never means “kingdom” in a more concrete sense. Here however it seems to be intended to express the unusual conception of a body of kings (as presbutevrion, G4564, a body of elders), and in like manner iJeravteuma, G2633, denotes a priesthood in the sense “body of priests” (cf. stravteuma, G5128); on iJeravteuma, G2633, see the note on 1 Pet. 2:5. Thus also the Targums and the Syriac have the paraphrase “kings and priests.” But St Peter, if we may judge by the careful parallelism of his four clauses, is not likely to have used basivleion and iJeravteuma, G2633, as separate and independent designations: otherwise in combining and arranging phrases from different sources he could hardly have failed to write basivleion kai; iJeravteuma. This difficulty might be avoided without loss of the original substantival sense of basivleion, if we might translate the phrase “a kingdom [which is also] a priesthood”: but the apposition is too harsh and obscure to be probable. There remains the adjectival sense assumed in the Old (European and Italian) and Vulgate Latin regale sacerdotium, in both Syriac versions, as also by at least Clement of Alexandria (Coh. iv. p. 52), Origen (Cels. iv.32; v.10; Exh. Mart. 5), and Theophylact; while Didymus (Cramer, Catena, and Matthaei, Epist. Cath. p. 199, give the Greek, the authorship being fixed by the Latin, Migne, P.G. xxxix.1763) distinctly takes basivleion as a substantive. The resulting sense is virtually the converse of that of the Hebrew: a kingdom of priests or priestly kingdom (regnum sacerdotale Vulg.) becomes a royal priesthood. In Exodus “kingdom” is little more than a synonym of “people” or “nation” (cf. 1 Kings 18:10; 2 Chr. 32:15; Ps. 78:6 (79:6); 104:13 (105:13); cf. II Isa. 60:12, & c.) with the idea of government by the Divine King added: and Israel was a kingdom of priests because its relation to the other kingdoms or nations of the world was that of a priesthood within a nation to the rest of the nations, having a special consecration, a special nearness to God, a special service to be rendered to Him. Under the Exile the prophetic spirit (II Isa. 61:6) saw this function of Israel recognised by the nations of the earth, evidently as a function destined to be for the blessing of those who thus recognised it, “Ye shall be named the priests of Jehovah, men shall call you the ministers of our God” (for “ministers” see the same word in Joel 1:9, 13; 2:17): cf. II Isa. 60:3-14; 66:18-23; Zech. 8:22 f. This language answers exactly to a part of the office which the Christian Church, the new Israel, was to exercise towards mankind. St Peter doubtless meant by iJeravteuma, G2633, not a mere aggregate of individual priests but a priestly community. Such a priesthood is doubtless shared by each member of the community in due measure, but only in so far as he is virtually an organ of the whole body; and the universality of the function is compatible with variations of mode and degree as to its exercise.

It is less easy to see in what sense St Peter termed the new Israel a royal priesthood. It would certainly be unsafe to attribute to him the idea of the kingship of Christians which in the Apocalypse (Apoc. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6: cf. 3:21; 20:4; 22:5) is associated with priesthood; this interpretation or adaptation of Exodus having been apparently suggested by Daniel 7:18, 22, 27. Far more probably the kingship of Him to whom the priesthood here spoken of is consecrated is intended and alone intended. It was to God speaking as King that the original saying was implicitly referred in Exodus; and an apostle, present with the Lord during His Ministry, could not but remember the emphasis and comprehensiveness with which He had respected God’s Kingship. Priesthood to Him was essentially priesthood to a King and service to a Kingdom. Thus in this one pair of words, in which alone the substantive stands in the place occupied by the emphatic adjectives in the other pairs, the emphasis is practically shared by both words.

Compare Clem. Adumb., “Regale autem dixit quoniam ad regnum vocati sumus et sumus Christi” (doubtless cristoiv, not Cristou': cf. Strom. 2.4, p. 438, where cristoiv must be read for crhstoiv); Ecl. Proph. 44. Didymus (Cramer and Matthaei, as well as the Latin) explicitly deduces the double character of the ejklekto;n gevno" as basivleion and iJeravteuma, G2633, from Christ’s union of the two offices of King and Priest, distinct till then. He is partially followed by Theophylact and by Beda.

[Eqno" a{gion is the next phrase here as in Exodus, where it is joined on by kaiv, G2779. The people of God was also one of the nations: its “holiness” was its distinguishing feature. The holiness here spoken of is consecration, but consecration to a holy God, i.e. One perfectly spotless, perfectly flawless, and consecration involving the obligation to strive after likeness to this His character. See on 1 Pet. 1:15, 16. This combination e[qno" a{gion is unique; elsewhere, viz. in Deut. (Deut. 7:6; 14:2, 20; 26:19; 28:9); II Isa. 62:12; Dan. 12:7, we have lao;" a{gio". [Eqno" for the most part represents µ[', H6639, a word rarely applied to the Jewish nation (the predictions of its greatness in the Pentateuch and the usage of the early chapters of Joshua are the most considerable exceptions), and commonly (especially in the plural) applied to heathen nations: such examples however as Ps. 33:12; Isa. 26:2; 58:; and still more Ps. 106:5; Zeph. 2:9, shew the danger of assuming, as is often done, that it was applied to the Jewish nation in its secular aspect only. In the Epistles of the N.T. and the Apocalypse, this one passage excepted, it is never used of Israel. In the historical books it is so used only in sentences spoken to, by, or of persons of another nation (Luke 7:5; 23:2; Acts 10:22; 24:3, 10, 17; 26:4; 28:9; John 11:48; 18:35) and that chiefly with personal pronouns in the genitive, except in John 11:50, where it seems to denote the population as distinguished from the community (cf. Isa. 9:2 Heb.; 26:15 Heb. and the Pentateuchal passages noticed above), and John 11:51 f., where the Evangelist repeats the word from the lips of Caiaphas in place of laov", G3295, with a significance derived from subsequent events. For St Peter’s purpose its use in Exodus was a sufficient justification: but it had further a propriety as thus addressed to the Christians of Asia Minor, who were like a foreign nation in the midst of their heathen neighbours (cf. 1 Pet. 1:1, parepidhvmoi" diaspora'"; 2:11, wJ" paroivkou" kai; parepidhvmou").



lao;" eij" peripoivhsin, “a people for God’s own possession” (R.V.), comes substantially but not literally from the same passage, the preceding verse, “then ye shall be a peculiar possession unto me above all peoples, for mine is all the earth” (Exod. 19:5). The word hL;gUs], H6035 (see Dillmann on Exod. 19:5), a special, personal, private, or exclusive possession, stands here alone: but in three similar passages of Deut. (Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 26:18) it is preceded by µ[', H6639, people, the LXX. rendering being lao;" periouvsio", and the same full phrase the LXX. have introduced here. This is the form employed by St Paul in writing to Titus (Titus 2:14). Another allied word, periousiasmov", is employed Ps. 134:4 (135:4); Eccl. 2:8; while in the two remaining passages recourse is had to o} peripepoivhmai (1 Chr. 29:3) and eij" peripoivhsin (Mal. 3:17 kai; e[sontaiv moi, levgei Kuvrio" Pantokravtwr, eij" hJmevran h}n ejgw; poiw' eij" peripoivhsin). This last passage was doubtless at least one source of St Peter’s phrase. Not only is it the single passage in which the LXX. render hL;gUs]by eij" peripoivhsin, but its true sense is closely related to St Peter’s sense. Of those who feared Jehovah and regarded His name it is said, “And they shall be to me, saith Jehovah Sabaoth, in the day which I make, for a special possession,” i.e. “in my great appointed day they shall be to me for a special possession”; where the Greek like the Hebrew is ambiguous as to the reference of eij" peripoivhsin, but the construction is rightly understood by Jerome. But a second source, containing both laov", G3295, and the verb peripoievomai, was undoubtedly II Isa. 43:20 f., which furnished the first phrase gevno" ejklektovn. There, after potivsai to; gevno" mou to; ejklektovn, the next words are (vs. 21) laovn mou o}n periepoihsavmhn ta;" ajretav" mou dihgei'sqai. The last words, compared with St Peter’s o{pw" ta;" ajreta;" ejxaggeivlhte, leave no doubt that he has taken the exact phrase of the LXX. in Malachi to express the substance of the phrase of the LXX. in Isaiah. Strangely enough eij" peripoivhsin occurs likewise (but in other senses) in 1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:14; Heb. 10:39; cf. eij" ajpoluvtrwsin th'" peripoihvsew" in Eph. 1:14. A nearer connexion of sense may be found in Acts 20:28, th;n ejkklhsivan tou' qeou', h}n periepoihvsato (made a special possession for Himself) dia; tou' ai{mato" tou' ijdivou. In Isaiah periepoihsavmhn itself rests on some confusion of text (possibly of ytrxywith ytvry), for the original means “I formed or fashioned for myself”: but practically the Greek sense is implied in the Hebrew, the people which God forms for Himself becomes His own possession. The sense of St Peter’s phrase at all events is plain, plainer than it would have been had the somewhat uncouth and ambiguous word periouvsio", G4342, been retained. He calls the Christians “a people for [God’s own] special possession”; literally perhaps rather “for gaining in special possession,” but the distinction was probably not contemplated, the phrase being analogous to e.g. eij" katavscesin (Gen. 17:8; Ezek. 33:24, & c.), eij" klhronomivan (1 Kings 8:53; Ps. 32:12 (33:12) & c.). He is anxious to claim afresh for Christian use the idea, which in various forms is so prominent in the O.T., of a community of men who do in a special sense belong to the Lord of the whole earth, who not only are holy to Him but are emphatically His own.

No special stress lies here on laov", G3295. It is the usual representative of µ[', H6639, which is indeed rendered by e[qno", G1620, above a hundred times, but by laov", G3295, more than twelve times as often. Though often difficult to distinguish in sense from rWG, H1591, and employed freely in both singular and plural for foreign and heathen peoples, µ['is the more dignified word of the two, and by usage is more suggestive of organisation and constitution. It thus naturally became (1) the word which in the mouth of Jews could be used without further definition than the article as the designation of their own people (“the people”); and (2) the word used in speaking of their relation to Jehovah as their God by covenant (“the people of Jehovah,” “My people”). In the Gospels, Acts, and Hebrews oJ laov" frequently denotes the Jewish people (so also 2 Pet. 2:1: cf. Jude 5). In the other books it naturally has this use only in quotations: but it is remarkable that, with the exception of two or three transitional instances in Hebrews (Heb. 4:9; 11:25; 13:12), its transference to the new Israel is likewise throughout the N.T. confined to quotations and (Titus 2:14; Apoc. 18:4) borrowed phrases.

o{pw" ta;" ajreta;" ejxaggeivlhte, that ye may tell forth the excellencies] These words correspond to ta;" ajretav" mou dihgei'sqai in the LXX. rendering of II Isa. 43:21. Dihgou'mai is the commonest rendering of rp's;, H6218, to “rehearse,” “declare”; while ejxaggevllw, G1972, best rendered to “tell forth,” seven times represents the same verb in the Psalms, and occurs similarly three times in Ecclesiasticus, and that in parallelism to dihgevomai, G1455, or ejkdihgevomai, G1687. Both verbs frequently denote mere narration: but ejxaggevllw, G1972, is the more vivid word, and has often the accessory force of declaring things unknown.

ta;" ajretav" stands in Isaiah for ytiL;hiT]“my praise” (sing.). It stands thus for the same Hebrew word in three other places of Isaiah (Isa. 42:8, 12 for the singular; 63:7 for the plural), and ajrethv, G746, twice in the Minor Prophets for d/h, H2086, “glory” or rather “majesty.” These are all the instances for the O.T.; in the O.T. ajrethv, G746, is thus not used at all in the sense of “virtue.” In the Apocrypha it is freely used for “virtue”; but in one place (AddEsth. 14:10) it is used as in the LXX. ajnoi'xai stovma ejqnw'n eij" ajreta;" mataivwn, “to open the mouth of the Gentiles with the praises (to sing the praises) of vain [idols].” Moreover Sir. 36:19 has in the best MSS. (as Dr Field has pointed out) plh'son Siw;n ajretalogiva" sou, “Fill Zion with thy praise (|| “with thy glory thy people”). Similarly in Ps. 30:5 (29:5) Symmachus has ajretalogiva for hN:rI, H8262, the song of joy. (This curious word ajretalogiva is also found in Manetho, Apotel. iv.447, and in some MSS. of Strabo xvii.1.17, in a sense connected with the obscure term ajretalovgo", applied both in Greek and in Latin to wandering story-tellers (see reff. in Mayor on Juv. xv.16), perhaps originally as the encomiasts of great houses or great men: cf. Auson. Epist. 13, JPwmaivwn u{pato" ajretalovgw/ hjde; poihth'/ Aujsovnio" Pauvlw/: speu'de fivlou" ijdevein.)

This peculiar use of ajrethv, G746, ceases to be anomalous when the word is traced through its early history, as is admirably done by Leopold Schmidt, Ethik d. alten Griechen, i.295-301. He shews that originally it denoted “whatever procures for a person or a thing preeminent estimation, whether of a practical, a moral, an intellectual, or a material nature,” being thus applied by Homer (as was partly seen by Plutarch, De audiendis poetis 6, ii.24 C) to every kind of conspicuous advantage, beauty, swiftness, cleverness, martial or gymnastic prowess, and even success granted by the gods. Hence came the verb ajretavw, to prosper, and hence (as frequently used by Philo) to be fruitful. Schmidt points out, after Nitzsch, that in the early time the conception of an eminent quality or advantage is inseparably blended in ajrethv, G746, with that of the impression which it makes on others, that is, with praise, renown, or prestige, sometimes the one conception predominating, sometimes the other. The Homeric poems and hymns, Hesiod, Tyrtaeus, Theognis, Simonides, Pindar (with whom ajrethv, G746, is a favourite word) amply illustrate the twofold usage, which indeed is sometimes perceptible in the prose literature of the fifth and even the fourth century. The rise of ethical reflexion in the days of Socrates and the Sophists gradually caused the word to be exclusively applied to intrinsic eminence of various kinds, and especially moral eminence, i.e. virtue; and the Stoics gave fixity to the limitation found in their predecessors. Hence the term ajretalovgo" (-logiva) and the usage of ajrethv, G746, assumed by the translators of the Prophets and the author of the additions to Esther, may safely be regarded as local survivals, preserving exclusively one side of the comprehensive sense universal in early times, as the familiar usage belonging to the later literary language has exclusively preserved the other.

But, as in the case of e[ntimo", G1952, the word may have been welcome here to St Peter because to most Greek ears it would suggest intrinsic excellencies, and both senses would be equally appropriate with ejxaggeivlhte: indeed here too the one sense involves the other, for all praises of God must be praises either of His excellencies or of His acts as manifestations of His excellencies. Although neither the apostle

nor any other early Christian was likely to have chosen independently such a word as ajretaiv in its common Greek sense in speaking of God, its accidental consecration in the current version of the Prophets might easily seem to justify a secondary application in this sense. So understood, it is nearly equivalent to ta; megalei'a tou' qeou', the term employed by St Luke for the subject of the praises uttered on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11 after the LXX. and Ecclus.). The context suggests that Rom. 11:33-36, perhaps with 8:28-39, may have been present to St Peter’s mind as summed up in the one word. (Philo several times speaks of the ajrethv, G746, or ajretaiv of God in the sense “virtues” or “excellencies”: Quis rer. div. 22, p. 488; De nom. mut. 34, p. 606; De somn. i.16, p. 635; 43, p. 658;—all cited by Loesner in loco.) “Excellencies” (R.V.) is the best English rendering: to a certain extent it represents both senses.

The manner in which the Asiatic Christians were to tell forth the excellencies of God is left undefined. Doubtless this office of theirs was meant to be as comprehensive as the command in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:16), of which the image in the next clause reminds us. Every ajrethv, G746, which was seen shining in them would be the manifestation of a corresponding ajrethv, G746, in God. How much the evidence of the lives of Christians as seen by the heathen was in St Peter’s thoughts is shewn at once by the next passage (1 Pet. 2:12), as well as by others in the Epistle.

The initial o{pw", G3968, must refer to all the preceding part of the verse. Its purpose is to shew that the various prerogatives there set forth, as expressed in ejklektovn, basivleion iJeravteuma, a{gion, and eij" peripoivhsin, had not been bestowed on the Christians for their own sake, but to enable them to discharge the office of telling forth the excellencies of God.

tou' ejk skovtou" uJma'" kalevsanto" eij" to; qaumasto;n aujtou' fw'", who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light] No direct antecedent for these words can be found in either O.T. or N.T., though the transition from heathenism as a passage from light to darkness is much dwelt on in Eph. 5:8-14 (cf. Col. 1:12 f., where the reading kalevsanti for iJkanwvsanti is Western only). Yet the phrase was probably suggested by Eph. 1:17-19 (cf. Col. 1:26 f.). At all events a similar thought must be contained in qaumastovn, which cannot but mean much more than marvellously bright or marvellously pure. God’s marvellous light is not so much the object of vision as its medium (“in thy light shall we see light”). It is marvellous not only by its own glory or its quickening power, but by the marvels which it brings to view and the marvellous powers for beholding them which it calls forth and educates. Clement of Rome’s famous words (ch. 36) are therefore a just paraphrase as far as they go, “Through Him (Jesus Christ) let us gaze into the heights of the heavens; through Him we behold as in a mirror His spotless and supernal countenance; through Him the eyes of our heart were opened; through Him our dull and darkened mind burgeons anew into the light” (qaumasto;n aujtou' probably not original). The Divine calling spoken of in 1 Pet. 1:15 included in its scope various purposes (2:21; 3:9; 5:10). Here it is spoken of as a calling by God to a sharing of His marvellous light, an admission to some power of reading the mysteries of life aright by seeing them in a measure in the same light in which they are seen by Him who created them and disposes them. This calling into God’s light is thus analogous to the new life received through the word of the living and abiding God (1:23). It is thus fitly chosen as the characteristic act of Him whose excellencies the Christians were to tell forth, because it was on their use of the realm of vision thus opened to them that their power of exhibiting Him to men in grateful praise would depend.

10. oi{ pote ouj lao;" nu'n de; lao;" qeou', oiJ oujk hjlehmevnoi nu'n de; ejlehqevnte", who aforetime were not a people, but now are a people, of God; who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy] All the salient words here come from Hosea 1, 2: ouj lao;" qeou' from ouj laov" mou in Hos. 1:9 bis and 2:23; lao;" qeou' from laov" mou in 2:1, 23; oujk hjlehmevnoi from oujk hjlehmevnh in 1:6, 8 (and 2:23 AQ); and ejlehqevnte" from hjlehmevnh in 2:1 (and ejlehvsw 2:23 AQ). In Rom. 9:25 f. St Paul makes up four lines, partially of direct quotation, from the same passage of Hosea, placing at their head kalevsw, perhaps derived from Hos. 1:4 & c., kavleson to; o[noma aujtou' (aujth'"), but in the same stronger sense in which St Peter used kalevsanto" in 1 Pet. 2:9. At all events there can be little doubt that St Paul’s quotation suggested St Peter’s allusion. In Hosea the subject is the return of rebellious Israel to allegiance to its true Lord: whereas St Paul appropriates the prophetic language as expressing the admission of the Gentiles. St Peter’s reference, taken by itself, is capable of either interpretation, but (apart from the probable dependence on Romans) it is more appropriate as addressed to former Gentiles than as addressed to former Jews. All the words selected for quotation suggest not a repentance but a transition from an evil state not preceded by an anterior allegiance.

It is not obvious whether ouj laov" should be taken absolutely, or whether the final qeou' should be taken with both ouj laov" and laov", G3295. Both are free from difficulty as to the Greek. The former interpretation throws however a degree of stress on the supposed distinctive meaning of laov", G3295, which is not justified by evidence elsewhere, and involves a gratuitous departure from both Hosea and St Paul. It is at least safest to understand the words as meaning “which aforetime were not a people of God, but now are a people of God.” There is again nothing in the context to suggest that the omission of the article in the second place is insignificant. St Peter was more likely to treat the Christians of Asia Minor as a people of God than as the people of God: compare kai; aujtoi; laoi; aujtou' e[sontai (according to the more probable reading) in Apoc. 21:3.

The contrast of tense between oujk hjlehmevnoi and ejlehqevnte", lost in the ruder LXX. is that between the long antecedent state and the single event of conversion which ended it. Here St Peter departs from St Paul’s th;n oujk hjgaphmevnhn hjgaphmevnhn (a modification of part of Hosea 2:23) in order to retain Hosea’s earlier language in 1:6, 8; 2:1: but in so doing he brings out the more clearly the force of St Paul’s own teaching at the conclusion of his argument (Rom. 11:30), w{sper ga;r uJmei'" pote; hjpeiqhvsate tw'/ qew'/, nu'n de; hjlehvqhte k.t.l. The mercy and the withholding of mercy are of course named only in reference to the signal mercy of the gift of the Gospel. That either heathen or unbelieving Jew was at any time unvisited by God’s mercy is a thought that could have found no access to the mind of either apostle.




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