2 Peter 2:22 It has happened (3SRAI) to them according to the true proverb, "A DOG RETURNS (AAPMSN) TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, after washing (AMPFSN) returns to wallowing in the mire." (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: There has befallen them the thing spoken of in the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and, The sow is washed only to wallow again in the mire. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NET: They are illustrations of this true proverb: "A dog returns to its own vomit," and "A sow, after washing herself, wallows in the mire." (NET Bible)
NLT: They make these proverbs come true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and "A washed pig returns to the mud." (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Alas, for them, the old proverbs have come true about 'a dog returns to his own vomit', and "the sow that had been washed going back to wallow in the muck". (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: But it has happened to them according to the true saying: a dog returns to his own vomit, and a sow, having been bathed, to its rolling in mire. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and happened to them hath that of the true similitude; 'A dog did turn back upon his own vomit,' and, 'A sow having bathed herself -- to rolling in mire.'
|IT HAS HAPPENED TO THEM ACCORDING TO THE TRUE PROVERB A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT: sumbebeken (3SRAI) autois to tes alethous paroimias kuon epistrepsas (AAPMSN) epi to idion exerama: (Pr 26:11)
Happened (4819) (sumbaino from sun = together with + baino = to walk, to go) literally means to walk together, of things that happen with one another, thus together and is used in the NT to mean to happen close together. It conveys the idea of circumstances coming together or happening together (coming to pass, befalling concomitantly) to form an event. It is like a confluence of happenings coming together in a given event. Sumbaino means to turn out or to come about, with idea of that what is occurring is doing so in connection with other events.
Webster on happen - to come into being or occur as an event, process, or result. The English dictionaries often quality that what happened was by chance. However we know that God is sovereign, in total control and that absolutely nothing happens by chance (in the sense that it was not in His full control and knowledge before it happened - see comments below on 1Peter 4:12, cp trials in Acts 20:19).
The perfect tense treats what is certain to befall as already accomplished and as their final and permanent state!
NASB Usage: came(1), happen(1), happened(3), happening(1), taken place(1).
Sumbaino - 8x in 8v -
Sumbaino - 20 verses in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Ge 41:13; 42:4, 29, 38; 44:29; Ex 1:10; 3:16; 24:14; Lev 10:19; Deut 18:22; Josh 2:23; Esther 2:11; 6:13; Job 1:22; 2:10; 42:11; Isa 3:11; 41:22; Jer 32:23; Da 2:1. Septuagint Lexicon = to happen to, to befall [someone] = Ge 42,4; it happens that, it comes to pass that = Ge 41,13; what happened to them = Ge 42,29
True proverb - Peter is stamping the proverb in 2Pe 2:22 as in accord with reality. The description of the dogs and pigs is generally true of the behavior in these animals.
True (227) (alethes from a = negates + letho [from lanthano] = to escape notice, be hid; See related word aletheia) is an adjective which literally describes that which does not escape notice. Thus alethes describes that which is manifest, that which is unconcealed, that which conforms to reality (and thus is genuine), that which is in accordance with facts, that which is real (authentic, not imaginary).
Alethes is used to describe Jesus several times in the Gospels - Mt 22:16; Mk 12:14; Jn 7:18.
Alethes describes that which is true, sincere, real, correct, faithful, trustworthy, genuine, veracious.
Alethes can mean loving or speaking the truth (truthful) (Mt 22:16, Mk 12:14, Jn 7:18, 2Cor 6:8). God Himself is referred to as true (Jn 3:33, 8:26, Ro 3:4). Other things described as true include testimony (Jn 5:31,32, 8:13, 14, Jn 19:35, 21:24, 3Jn 1:12), grace (1Pe 5:12), proverb (2Pe 2:22), true commandment (1Jn 2:8).
Alethes describes that which conforms to reality, that which is unconcealed, that which is manifest, that which is in accordance with facts, that which is characterized by reality (and thus is genuine), that which is real (authentic, not imaginary). Alethes is used to describe Jesus several times in the Gospels - Mt 22:16; Mk 12:14; Jn 7:18.
Renn - The quality of being “true” in the sense of being “endowed with integrity, honesty” describes Christ (Mt 22:16; Mk 12:14; Jn 7:18); God (Jn 8:26; Ro 3:4); and human beings (2Co. 6: 8). In a number of places, alethes denotes the quality “true” in the sense of “that which is in accord with truth” (e.g., Jn 5:31ff.; Jn 8:13ff.; Php. 4:8; Titus 1:13; 1Jn 2: 8, 27).
Vine - Alethes means "primarily, "unconcealed, manifest" (a, negative, letho, "to forget," = lanthano, "to escape notice"), hence, actual, "true to fact," is used (a) of persons, "truthful," Mt 22:16 ; Mk 12:14 ; Jn 3:33 ; 7:18 ; 8:26 ; Ro 3:4 ; 2Co 6:8 ; (b) of things, "true," conforming to reality, Jn 4:18 , "truly," lit., "true;" Jn 5:31,32 ; in the best texts, Jn 6:55 (twice), "indeed". (True, Truly, Truth - Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words)
Friberg - true; (1) of statements that agree with facts true (Titus 1.13); (2) of things characterized by reality genuine, true, real (Jn 6.55); substantivally true thing, fact (Jn 19.35); (3) of persons characterized by integrity trustworthy, truthful, honest (Ro 3.4), opposite pseudes (lying, false)
BDAG (summarized) - 1. Pertaining to being truthful and honest, truthful, righteous, honest of persons. 2. Pertaining to being in accordance with fact, true of things, especially that which is spoken: 3. Pertaining to being real, real, genuine, not imaginary (Pr 1:3Lxx)
NASB Usage: real(1), true(21), truly(1), truth(1), truthful(2).
Alethes - 26x in 25v -
Alethes - 13v in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Ge 41:32; Dt 13:14; Neh 7:2; Job 5:12; 17:10; 42:7, 8; Pr 1:3; 22:21; Isa 41:26; 43:9; Da 8:26; 10:1
Proverb (3942) (paroimia from pará = by, beside + oímos = a way, a highway) is literally something "by the way", a byword which is a short saying illustrating a general principle. It describes a pithy maxim giving expression to some observed event whose content has allegorical import. It also describes a brief communication containing truths designed for initiates and as such can be a veiled saying in which especially lofty ideas are concealed (used especially this way by John)
The fact that "proverb" is singular indicates that the message conveyed by the two examples is essentially the same, namely both point out examples of repulsive actions and to the character that these actions reveal. Simply put dogs will act like dogs thus showing that they were dogs all along and the same for pigs. The false actions of the teachers reflect who they really have been all along - false teachers. Furthermore this proverb was well known among the rabbis and the actions described was well known among the pagans.
In Peter's day dogs were not pampered pets like they are today! The Jews in fact spoke of the hated Gentiles as “dogs” because a dog was nothing but a filthy scavenger who ran in packs and lived on garbage! Peter chooses a word which is the epitome of disrespect and revulsion to describe these false teachers who have known the truth but have turned away from it.
Michael Green - The dog which has got rid of the corruption inside it through vomiting it up cannot leave well enough alone; it goes sniffing around the vomit again. The pig that has got rid of the corruption outside by means of a scrubbing cannot resist rolling in the mud.
William Barclay - Peter ends with contempt. These evil men are like dogs who return to their vomit (Proverbs 26:11) or like a sow which has been scrubbed and then goes back to rolling in the mud. They have seen Christ but are so morally degraded by their own choice that they prefer to wallow in the depths of sin rather than to climb the heights of virtue. It is a dreadful warning that a man can make himself such that in the end the tentacles of sin are inextricably around him and virtue for him has lost its beauty. (2 Peter 2- William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)
Vomit (1829) (exerama) means that which is thrown out (vomited). The picture here is not just of a dog "sniffing" the vomitus, but of actually lapping up what had been disgorged. Both dogs and pigs were considered vile by the Jews. The action of the dog (and the pig) reveals its true nature. The false teachers appeared to be renewed persons, having made professions of faith, but their false teaching and persistent practice revealed that they were still lost apostates.
Matthew Henry describes them as those who
J R Lumby - Altogether become abominable: — To describe in all its horror the abysmal depth to which these false teachers have sunk, the apostle makes use of two proverbs, one of which he adapts from the Old Testament (Proverbs 26:11), while the other is one which would impress the Jewish mind with a feeling of utter abomination. The dogs of the East are the pariahs of the animal world, while everything pertaining to swine was detestable in the eyes of the Israelite. But all the loathing which attached to these outcasts of the brute creation did not suffice to portray the defilement of these teachers of lies and their apostate lives. It needed those other grosser features — the return to the disgorged meal; the greed for filth, where a temporary cleansing serves, as it were, to give a relish for fresh wallowing — these traits were needed ere the full vileness of those sinners could be expressed. (J. R. Lumby, D. D.) (The Biblical illustrator)
Vance Havner - The Bible compares us to different animals and some of the comparisons are not very complimentary. It says, "Don't be like a mule" (Ps. 32:9); a mule is usually backward about going forward! Jesus says that His sheep know Him and that sheep follow the shepherd; a sheep is not at home in a mudhole and a Christian is not satisfied to live in sin. There is an animal that feels at home in a mudhole; the Bible classifies the false teachers who return to their native habitat of sin with sows wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:22). We need to brush up on our Bible zoology. (2 Peter 2:22 Comment)
AND A SOW AFTER WASHING...TO WALLOWING IN THE MIRE: kai: us lousamene (AMPFSN) eis kulismon borborou:
Washing (3068) (luo) means to bathe oneself and specifically refers to washing the whole body and not part of it. The middle voice indicates that the washing was not forcibly applied against the pig's will but that the pig the washing himself. It pictures however an outer cleansing not an internal cleansing. The clear implication is that these false teachers had been fully exposed to the genuine gospel yet internally remained "full of dead men's bones". By the way don't press the proverb too far. Peter is not alluding to washing as a picture of baptism. The picture implies an outward cleansing form "defiling conduct". But the outward cleansing was readily undone by the pig's innate natural urge to find "relief" by returning to the mire. A pig can stay clean only a short time and then must head for the nearest mud hole. We do not condemn a pig for acting like a pig because it has a pig’s nature. If we saw a sheep heading for the mire, we would be concerned!
Peter’s point is that mere religious profession or even outward change does not change a person’s heart. These “professors but not possessors” seemed to some (especially the gullible) to have experienced salvation, but in due time they drifted back to the life that was a true reflection of their inner nature. Certainly the dog feels better after emptying his stomach, but it is still a dog. “Having an experience” did not change the dog's nature. In fact it only served as further proof of his “cannine nature,” because he came back and just like a dog lapped up his own vomit. What a disgusting picture of these vile false teachers!
The principle brought out by Peter calls for us all to apply this truth to our lives and reflect on our choices. Our choices are seen to be consistent with what we are. A good tree bears good fruit, a brackish spring pours forth brackish water, and the pig returns to wallowing in the mire.
For heaven's sake, we need to be honest with ourselves!
The dog and pig in this context picture temporary external change resulting from conformity to a false profession of faith much like a chameleon blends with its surroundings whatever they might be. True faith is fruitful faith. False "faith" is shown by absence of good fruit (see Peter's earlier comments 2Pe 1:8, 9-note, 2Pe 1:10-note). Ignorance in the spiritual realm is not bliss but leads to fleshly indulgence. Unsaved people lack spiritual intelligence (Hos 4:6), and this causes them to give themselves to all kinds of fleshly and worldly indulgences (Acts 17:30; Ep 4:17 18, 19-note). Since we were born with a fallen nature it is natural for us to live sinful lives. Nature determines appetites and actions. A dog and a pig behave differently because they have different natures.
Jesus also used the designations "dogs" and "swine" in speaking of those opposed to God and his Word
The principle of the animal illustrations is that like these animals, these false teachers were never what they seemed to be on the outside. They had never experienced a changed heart and been made new creatures in Christ (2Cor 5:17-note). To the contrary, they were still old creatures in Adam! (cp 1Co 15:22) And so it should not surprise us that return to those things that reflect their true nature. These charlatans are like dirty pigs which can be washed (cp Jesus' comparison of Pharisees to white washed tombs Mt 23:27) on the outside but on the inside are still dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1-note) and filled with hostility toward God and His will (Col 1:21-note) Their hearts had never been washed clean by the blood of the Lamb and thus they were unable to behave in any way but "unclean". The irony is that the punishment for these fakers is that they incur a greater bondage to sin than before they masqueraded as teachers of the liberating truth of the Gospel! It is because of the very fact that false professors of a (pseudo) "new birth" return to their "pre-Christ" way which makes the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints so important. In other words those who persevere to the end of their life and never renounce their faith, prove by this perseverance that they are truly new creatures in Christ. This doctrine does not say that a person merits heaven by their personal perseverance in the faith but that they the fact that they do persevere proves there possess a power outside themselves which enables them to keep on keeping on.
The importance of perseverance in the faith helps us appreciate Peter’s earlier warning
The writer of Hebrews gives a strong warning to after being exposed to the truth, turn away from the truth...
Ray Stedman - A review of the whole chapter shows that yielding to the money-mad, sex-obsessed, materialistic and anti-authoritarian drives of modern society are indications that an individual's heart is not in touch with the lordship of Christ, but has succumbed to the delusions of the devil instead. Pride in knowledge is the point of attack. (Commentary of 2 Peter Chapter Two)
Ron Ritchie sums up the fate of these fakes...
William MacDonald reminds us that
Warren Wiersbe summarizes the characteristics of these false teachers:
Spurgeon ("Man's Thoughts and God's Thoughts")
Alan Carr - A person’s true nature will always come out! Just as a dog may be taught obedience and tricks, he will always be a dog and will have a dog’s nature and will eat his own vomit. A pig can be bathed, bowed and buffed to a high gloss, but it will always be a pig and will head straight for the wallow when turned loose. (Ill. Men can look good in church, but live in sin in the world. You will always do after you own nature!) This is why Christians can be assured of their security in Jesus. A new nature wants to avoid sin and please God. We are not reformed, we have been transformed – 2Co 5:17; 2 Pe1:4. (Sermons and Outlines)
Kenneth Gangel has some sound advice for all saints in these last, deceptive, difficult days
J Vernon McGee summarizes this section in his unique pithy style