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
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).
treats what is certain
to befall as already accomplished and as their final and permanent
NASB Usage: came(1),
happen(1), happened(3), happening(1), taken place(1).
Sumbaino - 8x in 8v -
Mark 10:32 They were on the road
going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they
were amazed, and those who followed were fearful. And again He took the
twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to
Luke 24:14 And they were talking (walking together on the Road to
Emmaus) with each other about all these things which had taken
Comment: "All these things"
refers to all the varied circumstances and events that had taken place
surrounding the Crucifixion. These events all happened close together
(they "walked together" so to speak), but they did not just happen by
chance, but came together in the foreknowledge and providential working
Acts 3:10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to
sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were
filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Acts 20:19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with
trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews;
Acts 21:35 When he got to the stairs, he was carried by the soldiers
because of the violence of the mob; (YLT = it happened he was
borne by the soldiers)
1Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an
example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends
of the ages have come.
1Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you,
which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were
happening to you;
Comment: Literally sumbaino
means to walk together. Here Peter pictures the fiery ordeal (trial) as
that which we should not be surprised at. Our natural tendency is to
pull away rather than "walk together" with the trials in our life. The
trial "walks together" with us in our journey and what happens is used
by God to make us more Christlike. In short the suffering, trials and/or
persecutions we will all face in varying degrees and in different
seasons are not accidental but providential The "go together" with God's
will for our lives.
2Peter 2:22 It has happened to them according to the true
proverb, "A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, after washing,
returns to wallowing in the mire."
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
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
from a = negates + letho [from lanthano] = to escape notice,
means literally not to escape notice. Alethes = true, sincere,
real, correct, faithful, trustworthy, genuine, veracious. (See study on related word
Alethes means conforming to reality, unconcealed,
manifest or in accordance with fact. It 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).
Renn - The quality of being
“true” in the sense of being “endowed with integrity, honesty” describes
Christ (Mt 22: 6; 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 -
Matthew 22:16 And they sent their
disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know
that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth
(aletheia), and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.
Mark 12:14 They came and said to Him, "Teacher, we know that You are
truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but
teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar,
John 3:33 "He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this,
that God is true.
John 4:18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have
is not your husband; this you have said truly."
John 5:31 "If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true.
32 "There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony
which He gives about Me is true.
John 6:55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true
John 7:18 "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is
seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there
is no unrighteousness in Him.
John 8:13 So the Pharisees said to Him, "You are testifying about
Yourself; Your testimony is not true." 14 Jesus answered and said
to them, "Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true,
for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know
where I come from or where I am going.
John 8:17 "Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of
two men is true.
John 8:26 "I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but
He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him,
these I speak to the world."
John 10:41 Many came to Him and were saying, "While John performed no
sign, yet everything John said about this man was true."
John 19:35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is
true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also
John 21:24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and
wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
Acts 12:9 And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know
that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was
seeing a vision.
Romans 3:4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every
man be found a liar, as it is written, "THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN
YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED."
2 Corinthians 6:8 by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report;
regarded as deceivers and yet true;
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is
honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything
worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely
so that they may be sound in the faith,
1 Peter 5:12 Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard
him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this
is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!
2 Peter 2:22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A
DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to
wallowing in the mire."
1 John 2:8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you,
which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away
and the true Light is already shining.
27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you,
and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing
teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as
it has taught you, you abide in Him.
3 John 1:12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and
from the truth itself; and we add our testimony, and you know that our
testimony is true.
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
(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
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
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)
Returns (1994)(epistrepho) return to a point or area where one has been
before, in this case to their own regurgitated gastric contents.
(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
have licked up their own vomit again,
returning to the same errors and impieties that they had once cast off
and seemed to detest and loathe, and wallowing in that filthiness from
which they appeared once to be really cleansed.
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
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)
"A pig that is washed goes back to
her wallowing in the mud." 2 Peter 2:22
The pig, though washed, was a pig still. The outward washing could not
change the inward propensity of the animal. Is it not so with multitudes
of baptized people? Outward reformation must never be confounded with
"And when people escape from the wicked ways of the world by
learning about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get
tangled up with sin and become its slave again, they are
worse off than before." 2 Peter 2:20
The hearts of such people were never
renewed, their natures were never changed. This they proved by their
return to the propensities of their natural hearts.
AND A SOW AFTER WASHING...TO WALLOWING IN THE MIRE: kai: us lousamene (AMPFSN)
eis kulismon borborou:
(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
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
Peter’s point is
that mere religious profession or even outward change does not change a
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.
What do my choices
today and this past week, this past year, etc loudly proclaim about who I
For heaven's sake, we need to be honest with ourselves!
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,
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
Do not give what is holy to dogs, and
do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under
their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (Mt 7:6-note)
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
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain
about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these
things, you will never stumble (2Pe 1:10-note).
The writer of Hebrews gives
a strong warning to after being exposed to the truth, turn away from the
For if we go on sinning willfully
after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a
sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and
the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who
has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of
two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he
will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has
regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was
sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace (Note: The writer is
implying that these had hard the truth, possibly even that they had
professed the truth)? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine,
I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a
terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb
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...
their payment be? Three things, Peter says. First, "For if, after they
have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are
overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first."
Secondly, he says, they are like dogs which "return to their own vomit."
They can't escape the shackles of their old life. Having gotten rid of
their internal corruption, they find themselves returning to it again.
Thirdly, he says, like pigs after washing, they "return to wallowing in
the mire." They return again to the external corruption which they once
had. What graphic terms Peter uses! Washing a pig does not change its
heart; he still remains a pig. In the same way, a false prophet will
always remain that, no matter how flattering his words, no matter how
well he dresses. (What
Are The Wages Of The False Teachers)
William MacDonald reminds us that
This passage should not be used
to teach that true believers may fall from grace and be lost. These
people never were true believers. They never received a new nature. They
demonstrated by their last state that their nature was still unclean and
evil. The lesson is, of course, that reformation alone is not only
insufficient, but is positively dangerous, because it can lull a person
into a false security. Man can receive a new nature only by being born
again. He is born again through repentance toward God and faith in our
Lord Jesus Christ (Ed: See comment on repentance below).
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or
Comment: See passages
that emphasize the importance of repentance, a doctrine
which a number of modern pulpits have "jettisoned"! Jonah 3:8,10
2Ki 17:13 2Chr 30:6 Pr 1:23 Isa 22:12 Jer 25:5 Ezekiel 14:6 18:30,
31, 32 33:11 Da 4:27 Hos 14:2 Joel 2:12 Mal 3:7 Ro 2:4 Rev 2:21 Mt
3:2 4:17 11:20 12:41 Mk 1:4,15 6:12 Lk 13:3, 5 15:7,10 16:30 24:47
Acts 2:38 3:19 5:31 8:22 26:20 17:30 20:21 2Co 7:9, 10 12:21
2Ti2:25 2Pe 3:9
Warren Wiersbe summarizes the
characteristics of these false teachers:
We may detect them by their
exaltation of themselves instead of Christ; their counterfeit talk and
“great swelling words”; their emphasis on making money; their great
claims that they can change people; and their hidden lives of lust and
sin. For the time being we cannot stop them except by teaching the Word
sincerely, but one day God will expose them and judge them...
It is a startling fact that there are many people in our
churches who have never truly been born again, but who are convinced
that they are saved and going to heaven!
They have had “an experience,” and perhaps look better (like the
sow) and feel better (like the dog), but they have not been made better
as “partakers of the divine nature. Perhaps Peter recalled Judas, one of
the Twelve, who was a tool of the devil and was never born again. Up to
the very end, the other disciples did not know the truth about Judas and
thought he was a spiritual man!
W: Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament. 1989. Victor
Spurgeon ("Man's Thoughts and
As for peace in the hour of death, he
who is not pardoned while living is not likely to be pardoned when
dying. Nine out of ten, perhaps nine hundred and ninety-nine out of
every thousand of professed death-bed salvations are a delusion.
We have good facts to prove that. A certain physician collected notes of
several hundred cases of people who professed conversion when they
thought they were dying. These people did not die as they had expected
to, but continued to live. In the case of all but one they lived just as
they had lived before, though when they were thought to be dying they
appeared as if they were truly converted. Do not look forward to a
death-bed salvation, it is a mere snare of Satan.
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
has some sound advice for all saints in these last, deceptive, difficult
Believers today do well to heed Peter’s warning against
false teachers, to learn how to discern truth for
themselves, and to teach it to others. The false teachers will
themselves meet destruction and others will be destroyed by them. But
Christians can wage spiritual warfare more effectively if they
know their spiritual enemies, the techniques that heretics use, and
the end result of their deception." (bolding added) is, in itself, not
similar) and we do not think and speak falsely but rightly when we
describe the relationship as one of similarity.
J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor)
J Vernon McGee
summarizes this section in his unique pithy style
In this chapter Peter has dealt very
definitely with the apostasy that was coming into the church through
false teachers who were creeping in and teaching false doctrines,
teaching that which is contrary to the Word of God. Peter says that they
pervert the truth of God, and they do it for their own advantage. These
false teachers exalt themselves instead of exalting Christ. They do not
use the Word of God except for a few little proof texts that more or
less clothe their teaching with a pious halo. They use big words which
are counterfeit words. They try to impress people that they are very
intellectual, and they are interested in making money. They claim that
they can change people. I know that I will get into trouble by saying
this, but I think you ought to examine very carefully anyone who claims
to have a supernatural power to heal or to perform miracles. Another
thing that sometimes identifies a false teacher is that he is living
secretly in lust and sin. You and I cannot fight these false teachers;
I’m not attempting to fight them; I’m just trying to expose them. But
one day God is going to expose them, and He is going to judge them.
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary)
Peter 2:21-22 Mp3)