Amplified: These are springs without water and mists driven along before a tempest, for whom is reserved forever the gloom of darkness. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NET: These men are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm, for whom the utter depths of darkness have been reserved. (NET Bible)
NJB: People like this are dried-up springs, fogs swirling in the wind, and the gloom of darkness is stored up for them. (NJB)
NLT: These people are as useless as dried-up springs of water or as clouds blown away by the wind--promising much and delivering nothing. They are doomed to blackest darkness (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: These men are like wells without a drop of water in them, like the changing shapes of whirling storm-clouds, and their fate will be the black night of utter darkness (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: These are springs without water, and mists driven by a tempest, for whom the blackness of the darkness has been reserved. (Wuest: Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: These are wells without water, and clouds by a tempest driven, to whom the thick gloom of the darkness to the age hath been kept;
|THESE ARE SPRINGS WITHOUT WATER: houtoi eisin (3PPAI) pegai anudroi: (Torrey's Topic "Fountains & Springs") (Job 6:14, 15, 16, 17; Jer 14:3; Hos 6:4; Jude 1:12; Jude 1:13)
Peter paints "word pictures" which powerful demonstrate that false teachers offer nothing because they have nothing to offer!
In a parallel passage Jude writing of those who have crept into the church and are turning the grace of God into licentiousness...
"These men are like wells without a drop of water in them" (Phillips) and are as "useless as dried-up springs of water" (NLT) is a striking picture of these "empty cisterns" which would be a major disappointment to a thirsty tongue in a hot and dry land.
Clearly "these" refers not to their victims but to the false teachers and now illustrates their deceptive character and as you might imagine "are" is present tense indicating that these men are continually manifesting the character Peter describes here.
Springs (4077) (pege) refers to a source that is not stagnant (like a well) but a source that gushes out or flows like a spring (James 3:11, 12) or a fountain "living" and leaping forth out of the ground. Jesus used pege figuratively to refer to a spiritual well or source of inner nourishment (Jn 4:14, cp Jn 7:37-39) even as He was sitting by a literal well (Jn 4:6).
Friberg - (1) literally spring, fountain, (living) well, as a source of water; to be distinguished from frear (cistern or reservoir for storing surface water) (cf. Jn 4.6 and Jn 4.11); (2) metaphorically, the fountain of the water of life, identified in Jn 4.14 as eternal life; (3) figuratively in Mk 5.29 as a hemorrhaging, issue or flow of blood; (4) metaphorically and plural in 2Pe 2.17 presumptuous sinners who resemble dried up springs.
Jesus used pege figuratively to refer to the fountain of the water of life in Jn 4:14 as associated with eternal life.
Mark uses pege to refer to the flow of blood that ceased when she touched Jesus' garment (Mark 5:29, cp Lk 8:46, 47)
This word pege was used as a symbol of the promised future satisfaction saints will enjoy at the "springs of the water of life" (Rev 7:17; Re 21:6), keeping in mind that Scripture often uses water as a metaphor for truth which nourishes and sustains spiritual life, Solomon for example writing that "The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn aside from the snares of death." (Pr 13:14, contrast Lam 2:14)
Pege - 11x in 10 v. NAS renders pege as - flow(1), fountain(1), spring(1), springs(5), well(3).
There are some 100 uses of pege in the Septuagint (LXX) -- Ge 2:6; 7:11; 8:2; 14:7; 16:7; 24:13, 16, 29, 30, 42, 43, 45; Ex 15:27; Lev 11:36; 12:7; 20:18; Nu 33:9; 34:11; Deut 8:7, 15; 33:13; Jos 15:7, 9; 17:7; 18:15, 16, 17; 19:29, 37; 21:29; Jdg 7:1; 15:19; 2Sa 17:17; 1Ki 1:9; 18:5; 2Ki 3:19, 25; 2Chr 32:3, 4f; Neh 2:13; Esther 1:1; 10:3; Job 38:16; Ps. 18:15; 36:9; 42:1; 68:26; 74:15; 104:10; 114:8; Pr 4:21; 5:15, 16, 18; 6:11; 8:23, 28; 9:18; 10:11; 13:14; 14:27; 16:22; 18:4; 25:26; Eccl. 12:6; Song 4:12, 15; Is 12:3; 35:7; 41:18; 49:10; 58:11; Je 2:13; 9:1; 17:13; 51:36; Ezek 25:9; Ho 13:15; Joel 3:18
A flowing fountain in the desert would draw men to itself because it promises water to drink. These false teachers promise but fail to produce. In marked contrast to the "promises" the false teachers make, God's promise of an ever flowing source of water of life is sure and steadfast for He is faithful and has the power to fulfill every promise He makes. The false teachers entice the unstable to fix their eyes on the temporal & the trivial, whereas the Word of God and His true teachers direct our eyes to the eternal & the excellent.
Without water (504)(anudros from a = without + húdor = water) means waterless, which can describe a dry place or a desert (Lxx of Isa 43:19, cf Mt 12:43). In the present context anudros refers metaphorically to person who teaches and behaves in a way without value to others.
Kenneth Wuest - Anudros is "an oriental expression where the green verdure excites the traveler's hope of water, only to have it often disappointed. Such are these false teachers. Where one looks for a clear spring of water, the living Word of God, there is a spring gone dry." (Wuest)
The picture is of teachers who aroused great expectations which they are unable to fulfill. These men have no "life giving water" to dispense in the end only deluding those who have placed their trust in them. What is unbelievable is that the false teachers could make people believe their empty promises and enticements. The followers actually believed they were getting “water” (springs without water = looks like a spring but has no water & therefore is really NOT a spring!)
What a contrast these deceivers are to the True Teacher Jesus who said that
False teachers present a pretense of "spiritual water" to quench the thirsty soul, but they actually have nothing to give. In this way they were like "broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jer 2:13 cf Is 58:11, Pr 10:11, 13:14). You may drink repeatedly at the broken cisterns of the world and never find satisfaction, but you may take one drink of the Living Water through faith in Jesus Christ, and you will be satisfied forever.
These false teachers remind one of the OT false prophets who spoke lies (God described their words as like "straw" rather than "grain" Jer 23:28) to the Jews remaining in Judah even after God had punished the 10 northern tribes with exile into Assyria (Jer 23:28), God's assessment of these OT prophets closely parallels Peter's description in this chapter --
Like the metaphors (a metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them) of dried up water and mist, these men can offer nothing because they have nothing (spiritually beneficial) to offer.
John Calvin - They show by these two metaphors, that they had nothing within, though they made a great display.
Steven Cole says this comparison of these men to waterless springs "means that like a dry oasis in the desert or a cloud that looks like rain, but just blows over, these false teachers promise to quench your thirst, but they don’t deliver. These men were eloquent and persuasive. But rather than calling people to holiness and love for God, they appealed to their fleshly lusts and greed. They told them that God didn’t want them to deprive themselves of the pleasures of sex. They said, “We’re under grace! We’re free from the law. So indulge yourselves!”...As with all false teaching, there is both truth and error mingled together in those statements. God created sex to be enjoyed between a man and a woman who are committed to one another in marriage. In that context, it is a good gift to be enjoyed. But taken out of that context and pursued just to fulfill lust, it leads to slavery to sin. The world has psychologized lust as “sexual addiction,” but Peter calls it being a slave of corruption. The same is true when a person yields to greed, often expressed by compulsive gambling or stealing. He isn’t “addicted,” as if he were the victim of a disease. Rather, he has willingly become the slave of sin. Beware of any teaching that appeals to your fleshly desires, outside of the boundaries that God has prescribed for proper enjoyment. Sex and material things have their rightful place. But when they become the consuming object of our lives, we’ve fallen prey to false teaching." (A Sad Portrait to Study)
The very nature of hypocrisy is that one does not have what he pretends to have.
Wiersbe has a poignant comment
MISTS DRIVEN BY A STORM: kai homichlai hupo lailapos elaunomenai (PPPFPN):
Here we see the KJV has a different Greek word (nephele) translated "clouds". The best Greek manuscripts have homichlai instead and thus the preferred translation is "mists" which describes an atmospheric condition that darkens the sky but not so thick as actual clouds. A dark of the sky would hold the promise of rain, but sometimes the storm would blow by, leaving the land dry and hot. The false teachers similarly seemed to promise spiritual "rains", but were all show with no substance (cf. Jude 1;12).
Ryrie - The barrenness of the false teachers mocks the thirsty soul who sincerely wants to learn God's way from them. mists driven by a storm. These mists, like the false teachers, seem to promise refreshment but in reality do no good. the black darkness. I.e., eternal torment (cf. Mt. 8:12). (The Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers)
The NLT paraphrases it "as clouds blown away by the wind--promising much and delivering nothing."
Needy people go to them for refreshment and for relief from spiritual thirst but are disappointed.
Storm (2978) (lailaps) refers to a whirlwind, a tempestuous wind, a squall or a violent wind.
The 2 other uses of lailaps are in the gospels describing the disciples in the boat with Jesus as the tempestuous wind whipped up a great a storm, Mark and Luke recording the same event...
Vincent adds that lailaps is
These false teachers were like these violent "storms" producing theatrics, noise, motion, and something to watch, but nothing profitable happens. In fact, their "storms" ultimately brought destruction to their adherents.
The farmer sees the clouds and prays they will empty rain on his parched fields but clouds are not much good at watering dry fields! The false teachers have nothing to give spiritually because they are spiritually dead and thus empty. What a sad, tragic picture Peter is painting of "mists" (or clouds) that portend the promise of precious rain to placate a prolonged drought on the land...then suddenly a windstorm sweeps in and drives the promising clouds away. Hopes are dashed and parched tongues are left unsatisfied. And so it is with the lot of those who follow these spiritual charlatans who make promises of health and wealth and worldly success and are in no way able to deliver. And the lives of their followers lie fallow, barren and unfruitful. Surely these false teachers are "earning" their just recompense! Woe! This chapter is characterized by a dramatic use of word pictures (and metaphors) building in momentum to reach its dramatic climax in the last description in 2 Peter 2:22 - Notes).
Wycliffe Bible Commentary has an interesting note...
J. Vernon McGee as always has a salty but relevant comment writing that...
FOR WHOM THE BLACK DARKNESS HAS BEEN RESERVED: ois o zophos tou skotous teteretai (3SRPI): (Torrey's topic "Darkness" ISBE has an excellent short article on "Darkness" as described in Scripture.) (2Pet 2:4; Mt 8:12; 22:13; 25:30;Jude 1:6 Jude 1:13)
This chapter begins with a message for believers to beware of false teachers, but in this section the emphasis is for false teachers to beware for they are doomed unless God grants them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.
Black (2217) (zophros) blackness, the blackness of (i.e., the densest) darkness, gloom of the nether world in Homer (see below), groom (as shrouding like a cloud). Zophos describes darkness that ranges from partial to total and conveys a suggestion of foreboding and gloom and in here specifically referring to the thick darkness associated with the region of those who are lost, "a designation for the underworld." Zophos is used two times each by Peter and Jude--twice to describe the darkness in which fallen angels are now held (2Pe 2:4; Jude 6) and twice to describe the coming final judgment (2Pe 2:17; Jude 13).
Liddell-Scott - the gloom of the world below, nether darkness.
Zophos is used 5 times in the NAS and is translated: black, 2; darkness, 2; gloom, 1.
Hebrews 12:18 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind,
2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;
17 These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black (= zophos) darkness (= skotos) has been reserved.
Jude 1:6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,
13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black (= zophos) darkness (= skotos) has been reserved forever.
Marvin Vincent writes that zophos is
Darkness (4655) (skotos from skia = shadow thrown by an object. Skia it can assume the meaning of skotos and indicate the sphere of darkness) is literally that sphere in which light is absent.
The phrase "the outer darkness" refers to the place of punishment or exclusion from God Who is light!
Skotos is used 30 times in the NAS -- Matt. 4:16; 6:23; 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; 27:45; Mk. 15:33; Lk. 1:79; 11:35; 22:53; 23:44; Jn. 3:19; Acts 2:20; 13:11; 26:18; Rom. 2:19; 13:12; 1 Co. 4:5; 2 Co. 4:6; 6:14; Eph. 5:8, 11; 6:12; Col. 1:13; 1 Thess. 5:4, 5; 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Pet. 2:17; 1 Jn. 1:6; Jude 1:13 and is translated "darkness" every time! Click (or here) for more in depth discussion of the Biblical concept of "Darkness". See Torrey's Topic Darkness
NIDNTT explains that
Skotos can refer to literal darkness as occurred on the day of Jesus' crucifixion (Mt 27:45) or darkness as opposed to light in the creation (2Cor 4:6).
Skotos is used as another name for the place of punishment, eternal misery and eternal separation from God (the meaning of skotos here in 2Peter) .
Skotos figuratively can refer to spiritual or moral darkness (including a lack of understanding) as in the following examples
Absence of light leaves room for evil and sin. In this sense darkness may be described as evil.
In his first epistle Peter used skotos figuratively explaining to the believers that...
Darkness is used to describe the spiritual powers of Satan and his evil empire...
In Acts 13:11 skotos is used to refer to physical blindness or inability to see (literally)
Note that skotos is the essence of darkness, darkness itself and as applied to sin is the essence of sin. On the other hand the closely related word skotia speaks more of the consequence of darkness, and so the consequences of sin is the darkness that man has to live in, that darkness entering into Adam in the Garden of Eden.
Ponder what Peter is saying in view of John's declaration...
The opposite of light is absolute darkness. Where God is there can be no darkness. Conversely where the darkness is indicates separation from God. God’s children have been "qualified... to share in the inheritance of the saints in light... delivered... from the domain of darkness and transferred... to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Col 1:12-13-notes Col 1:12-13). The children of the devil, especially his servants who masquerade as ambassadors of light, walk around in spiritual darkness (and separation from God) today, but their darkness is but a foretaste of the utter "black darkness" that awaits them when they die. Not only is their eternal destiny of purposeless existence horrible but Peter graphically describes their present life as utter emptiness and purposelessness. All life lived without the spiritual goals of glorifying God and worshiping Him is an empty and purposeless existence.
Jesus described the ultimate destiny of the lost declaring...
Earlier Peter had reminded his readers...
Jude has a parallel description writing that...
"The gloom of darkness is stored up for them" (NJB) or even more literally "the blackness of darkness."
Here Peter once again sounds the knell of doom for the false teachers consigning them to "black darkness" which is simply beyond human comprehension.
Black as explained above (see zophos) describes darkness that ranges from partial to total and conveys the idea of foreboding and gloom and here specifically referring to the thick darkness associated with the region of those who are lost.
The addition of "black" to "darkness" (skotos, the essence of darkness) would seem unnecessary but is Peter's way of "multiplying" the horror and terror of the deserved fate of these men. Jesus uses a similar description three times in Matthew, stating for example that
Wiersbe has an instructive note writing that...
Calvin says Peter pronounces
Wayne Barber makes a distinction between the two Greek words, skotos and skotia...in his sermon on 1John (1Jn 1:5-10 - Evidence of Christianity)
Has been reserved (5083) (tereo> used 4x in this epistle Click for all 4 uses) (Click for in depth study on tereo) means to keep in view, keep one's eye upon, to observe attentively. Laid up and kept is the idea. The verb signifies keeping as the result of guarding. In the present context tereo means to keep in store "the chilling horror associated with darkness" for these false teachers.
Tereo describes "the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard (tereo) over Jesus" (Mt 27:54)
After the Philippian chief magistrates had Paul and Silas beaten with rods "and...inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard (tereo) them securely" (Ac 16:23).
Herod after putting James to death with the sword, seized Peter and he "was kept (tereo) in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God." (Acts 12:5) Prisons are no match for prayers, however, as both friend and foe soon learned (read Acts 12).
The perfect tense conveys the thought that it “has been reserved at some time in the past with the present result that it is kept in store” and thus presents their doom as permanently, firmly fixed and indubitably certain. The wicked are reserved for hell and hell is in turn reserved for the wicked (cf 2 Peter 2:9-note).
Pretending to be ministers of the gospel, these men have bad news not good news to offer. People go to them for bread and get a stone. The penalty for such deception is an eternity (see parallel verse Jude 1:13 which adds "forever") in the blackness of darkness . Their fate is in stark contrast to every believer's
In his book Modern Heresies, John Krumm says,
John Piper sums up this verse with a call for discernment