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Bible Commentaries

International Critical Commentary NT

Jude 1

Verses 1-99

NOTES ON THE EPISTLE OF ST. JUDE

1. On the general form of Jude’s Address see notes on 1 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1, and Introductions to 1 and 2 Pet., pp. 79, 219. Jude has, in common with 2 Peter, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοῦλος, a similarly general description of those to whom the Epistle is directed, the verb πληθυνθείη, and the word εἰρήνη, which, however, is here combined with ἔλεος and�

Five personages of the name of Jude occur in apostolic or sub-apostolic times. (1) Judas Iscariot. (2) The Apostle Ἰούδας Ἰακώβου, Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13; John 14:22; this “son of James” is commonly identified with Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus. (3) Judas, the Lord’s brother, brother also of James, Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3, where he is named last or last but one. (4) Judas Barsabbas, Acts 15:22-33. (5) Judas, the last Jewish bishop of Jerusalem in the time of Hadrian, Eus. H.E. iv. 5. 3.

The author of our Epistle gives two descriptions of himself —(1)Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοῦλος: (2�2 Peter 1:1), and ver. 17 is generally understood to mean that he did not so regard himself. His brother James also was not an apostle. The second identifies our Jude with the brother of the Lord.


But why does he not call himself the brother of the Lord? Clement of Alexandria in his commentary, which still exists in a Latin version, answered the question thus—“Judas, qui catholicam scripsit epistolam, frater filiorum Joseph exstans ualde religiosus et cum sciret propinquitatem domini, non tamen dicit se ipsum fratrem eius esse, sed quid dixit? Judas seruus Jesu Christi utpote domini, frater autem Jacobi.” Zahn (Einleitung, ii. p. 84) adopts this explanation, which is probably correct. The sense is, “Jude, the slave, I dare not say the brother, of Jesus Christ, but certainly the brother of James.”

The description, “brother of James,” cannot have been needed as an introduction or recommendation, for the brethren of the Lord were all held in high esteem (Acts 1:14). Certainly Jude must have been well known to the people whom he is addressing. Nor can the description be taken to show that he is writing to Churches of Palestine or to Jewish Christians, by whom St. James was held in special honour. For, apart from the fact that St. James would not need his help, the brethren of the Lord were known to the Gentile Churches, for instance, to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 9:5), and may quite possibly have visited and preached in Corinth.

τοῖς ἐν θεῷ πατρί … κλητοῖς. “To the Called, which in God the Father are beloved and kept unto Jesus Christ.” The Father is our Father. Κλητοῖς is a substantive, as in Romans 1:6; 1 Corinthians 1:24. The word is not used by Peter in either of his Epistles, and belongs to the Pauline vocabulary; the same thing is true of ἅγιοι, ver. 3; ψυχικοί and πνεῦμα, ver. 19. Ἐν can hardly mean “by” for the preposition appears to be never to denote the agent. Nor is it possible to translate “who in God are beloved by me and kept unto Jesus Christ” because both participles must be reffered to the same agent. Yet again, there is no instance of ἐν Θεῷ being used in that general sense which belongs to ἐν Κυρίῳ or ἐν χριστῷ in the Pauline Epistles (unless 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1 are in point), and,even if there were, the sense required, “who in God are beloved by God” is not obtained without difficulty. But this seems to be the meaning. In ver. 21 St. Jude has ἑαυτοὺς ἐν�


The variants τοῖς ἔθνεσιν τοῖς ἐν Θεῷ and τοῖς ἐν Θεῷ πατρὶ ἡγιασμένοις have very little support. The letter was probably suggested by the embarrassment of the text; the former shows that at an early date the recipients of the Epistle were thought to have been Gentiles.

The Epistle cannot have been meant for the Church at large. It is directed to some group of Churches in which St. Jude was personally interested, and called forth by definite and peculiar circumstances.

3.�2 Peter 1:5, 2 Peter 1:10, 2 Peter 1:15, 2 Peter 1:3:14. These repeated phrases have caught St. Jude’s ear.

ἐπαγωνίζεσθαι is not used elsewhere in the New Testament; the preposition merely strengthens the verb, but the simple�Acts 16:4; 1 Corinthians 11:2, 1 Corinthians 11:15:3; 2 Peter 2:21; Spitta thinks that the use of the word here is suggested by this last passage.

ἃγιοι. “The saints” is here another name for Christians, as in Acts 9:13, Acts 9:32, Acts 9:41; Romans 12:13; Hebrews 6:10; Revelation 5:8, but the word is not used as a substantive by Mark, Luke, John (in Gospel or Epistles), James, or Peter. See Hort, Christian Ecclesia, pp. 56, 57. Ἡ πίαρις, in defence of which men are to contend, is not trust or the inner light, but a body of doctrine, dogmatic and practical, which is given to them by authority, is fixed and unalterable, and well known to all Christians. It is “your most holy faith,” ver. 20, a foundation on which the readers are to build themselves up. It combined intellectual and moral truth. See Sanday and Headlam on Romans 1:17. It had been attacked by men who turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness, that is to say, by Antinomians; but these men were mockers, ver. 18, and, from the emphasis with which Jude introduces his quotation from Enoch, ver. 14, we may presume that they mocked at the Parousia.


Jude’s language about the Faith is highly dogmatic, highly orthodox, highly zealous. His tone is that of a bishop of the fourth century. The character may be differently estimated, but its appearance at this early date, before Montanism and before Gnosticism, is of great historical significance. Men who used such phrases believed passionately in a creed.

Lachmann, and some of the older school of commentators, placed a comma after ὑμῖν, and took περὶ τῆς κοινῆς ἡμῶν σωτηρίας with γράψαι: but recent scholars generally reject this unnatural punctuation.

St. Jude says that he had been busy with, or intent upon, writing to his people περὶ τῆς κοινῆς σωτηρίας an ordinary pastoral Epistle dealing with general topics of instruction and exhortation, but found it necessary to change his plan and utter this stirring cry to arms. Evidently he is referring to some definite and unexpected circumstance. News had been brought to him of the appearance of the false teachers; possibly he had just received 2 Peter; if so, we can understand the use which he makes of that Epistle.

De Wette, Brückner, Spitta, Zahn think that the writing referred to by the γράφειν was not an ordinary Epistle, but a treatise of some considerable length; but the age was hardly one of treatises, and there is nothing in the text to support the idea.

4. παρειαέδυσαν γάρ. “For certain men have crept in privily, who of old were appointed in scripture unto this doom.” Γάρ introduces the reason of�2 Peter 2:1. Πάλαι is most naturally taken to mean in the Old Testament, in the many denunciations of false prophets. The word, however, does not always denote a long interval of time; hence Zahn and Spitta would render, “who were some time ago appointed in a writing for this doom,” and find here a direct reference to 2 Peter 2:3. But though the Greeks (more especially the poets; see references in Liddell and Scott) sometimes use πάλαι in a loose colloquial way, just as we use “long ago” of things that happened quite recently, we must not give the word this sense without good reason. Jude could hardly have spoken of 2 Peter as written πάλαι, unless he were looking back over a space of twently or thirty years. Unless we are to suppose that the two Epistles were separated by such an interval as this, the explanation of Zahn and Spitta can hardly be adopted.

Nevertheless we have here a reference to 2 Peter 2:3. As used by Jude, κρίμα has no meaning, for he has entirely omitted to say what the doom is. The best explanation of this curious difficulty is that he was writing in haste, with 2 Peter fresh in his mind, and that his words are suggested by οἷς τὸ κρίμα ἔκπαλαι οὐκ�

Some support for this view may be found in the weakness of the various explanations which have been found for κρίμα. Wiesinger, Hofmann, Schott find the key in παρεισέδυσαν, they have wickedly crept in, and this is their judgment. But, we must answer, the creeping in is their sin, not their punishment. Zahn also (Einleitung, ii. 80) goes back for his solution to the main verb; they have crept in, and their appearance is a judgment, not on them, but on the Church, inasmuch as it will lead to a sifting out of bad Christians from among the good. Cf. John 9:39, εἰς κρίμα ἐγὼ εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἦλθον, ἵνα οἱ μὴ βλέποντες βλέπωσι, καὶ οἱ βλέποντες τυφλοὶ γένωνται: the reader may refer to Westcott’s note upon this passage. But it seems evident that here the κρίμα is one which hangs over the intruders themselves. Huther found the explanation of κρίμα in the�

χάριτα. The grace is the πίστις, or the gospel (1 Peter 1:10); it promises a freedom which these impious men turn into lasciviousness.

τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν χριστὸν�2 Peter 2:1, τὸν�

5. ὑπομνῆσαι. cf. 2 Peter 1:12, ὑπομιμνήσκειν. 1:15. μνήμην ποιεῖσθαι: 1:13, 3:1, διεγείρειν ἐν ὐͅοιννσευ See note on σπουδήν, ver. 3. Either Peter has caught up and reiterated certain unimportant words from Jude, or Jude had read the first chapter of the Petrine Epistle and adopts from it words which, from their iteration there, were likely to catch the ear. The latter is the more probable view. Jude exhibits manifest tokens of haste, abbreviation, and confusion. A glance back at the preceding Epistle will show that St. Peter uses “remind” quite naturally, where he is recalling to the memory of his readers lessons that they had certainly often been taught. Jude “reminds” his people of the instances of judgment, none of which belonged to the catechism, and some of which, at least the story of Michael, may have been quite new to them. The δέ also is difficult. Probably we must find the antithesis in�

εἰδότας ἅπαξ πάντα. “Though once for all ye know all things.” But the things which Christians know once for all are those which are included in “the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” not historical instances of God’s wrath. Here again we have a confused reminiscence of καίπερ εἰδότας 2 Peter 1:12, where the words are quite intelligible.

For the comparison between the instances of Judgment as they are given in the two Epistles, see Introduction to 2 Peter, p. 221. The first instance, that of the destruction of the sinful Israelites in the desert, is peculiar to Jude. It reminds us of Hebrews 3:18; 1 Corinthians 10:5-11. Its introduction here disturbs the strictly chronological order of the instances given in 2 Peter.

ὃτι ὀ κύριος. “That the Lord, when He had brought the people safe out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed them which believed not.” By “the Lord” is no doubt meant Christ, cf. 1 Corinthians 10:4, 1 Corinthians 10:9. With τὸ δεύτερον cf. δευτερον, 1 Corinthians 12:28; ἐκ δευτέρον, Hebrews 9:28. Here it marks a strong contrast, and sharpens the point of the warning. “It is true that the Lord saved Israel from Egypt; yet notwithstanding He afterwards slew the faithless. So he has saved you, but so also He may slay you.”


The text of the verse is uncertain. א K L insert a second ὐμᾶς after εἰδότας. א, many Fathers, and versions place ἅπαξ after Κύριος (Θεός). For πάντα K L and others read τοῦτο. K L and many others have ὁ Κύριος· א C Κύριος A B and many versions with Didymus and Jerome Ἰησοῦς, and there is some inferior authority for ὁ Θεός. The second ὑμᾶς is probably a mere slip; the transposition of ἅπαξ may be due to a desire to provide an antecedent for τὸ δεύτερον though, if so, it involves a grammatical error, as ἅπαξ, cannot mean “firstly.” Τοῦτο for πάτα is again a slip, or an attempt at emendation. The variants Θεός and Ἰησοῦς for Κύροις are also emendations; the copyists did not feel quite certain what Jude meant.

6.�

“And the angels who kept not their own principality, but forsook their proper habitation, He hath kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Jude probably found σειραῖς in his copy of 2 Peter (see note on the corresponding passage), but it is just possible that he remembered to have read of “bonds” in Enoch. Ἀίδιος (it is an Aristotelian word, while αἰώιος is Platonist) occurs also in Romans 1:20. The absence of the article with�1 Peter 1:10.

The principality of the angels is the special government or province intrusted to them by God. The passage which lay at the foundation of Jewish belief on this point is Deuteronomy 32:8, ὅτεδιεμέριζεν ὁ ὕψιστος ἔθνη, ὠς διέσπειρεν υἱοὺς Ἀδάμ, ἔστησεν ὅρια ἐθνῶν κατὰ�


By the side of these ran another stream of tradition based on Gen. 6., according to which the sin of the fallen angels was lust. Justin, Apol. ii. 5, combines both, οἰ δʼ ἄγγελοι, παραβάντες τήνδε τὴν τάξυν, γυναικῶν μίξεσιν ἠττήθησαν.

St. Peter does not specify the sin of the fallen angels, but he is evidently referring to their�Genesis 6:0.; when he says that they kept not their own principality, of Deuteronomy 32:8. Yet after all he has not made his point clear. For how could either the false teachers or their victims be said μὴ τηρῆσι τὴν ἑαυτῶν�


7. The Third Instance; the Cities of the Plain.

Jude omits the Deluge, and here does not mention Lot.

ωσ̔ς Σόδομα καὶ Γοίμουρρα καὶ αἰ περὶ αὐτὰς πόλεις. The other cities were Admah and Zeboim, Deuteronomy 29:23; Hosea 11:8. There were five cities of the plain, but Zoar was spared. Τὸν ὅμοιον τρόπον τούτοις, “like these fallen angels”; here at last the�Genesis 38:24 and elsewhere. The ἐκ may, as Hofmann thinks, add the notion of going outside the moral law. In�2 Peter 2:6, 2 Peter 2:10 is greatly exaggerated here. Further, St. Peter does not fall into the error of saying that the sin of Sodom was like that of the angels, for the fallen angels could not be said�

δεῖγμα (here only in the New Testament) properly means “a sample” or “specimen”; it is here used in the sense of the classical παράδειγμα or the later ὑπόδειγμα (2 Peter 2:6), “a pattern,” or “example,” or “warning.” Πυρὸς αἰωνίου is best taken with δίκην: “they are set forth as a warning, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.” Jude omits all mention of Lot, fixing his mind only on the divine vengeance, and here again sharpens and hardens the words of St. Peter, ὑπόδειγμα μελλόντων�

8. οὗτοι, the false teachers of ver. 4. Ἐνυπνιάζεσθαι, “to dream.” Their dreams may be those of prophecy; these false teachers being also false prophets (2 Peter 2:1), who support their evil doctrines by pretended revelations; cf. Deuteronomy 13:1, Deuteronomy 13:3, Deuteronomy 13:5. This explanation is favoured by von Soden and Spitta, and is much the best. Or possibly, as some hold, “dream” may be used in the sense of “vain imagination.” The difficulty is that, though the Latin somnium is used in this sense, the Greek ἐνύπνιον is not. Nevertheless this is the interpretation of Clement of Alexandria, Strom. iii. 2. II, ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι (ὃ γὰρ ὓπαρ τῇ�

σἀρκα μιαίουσι. Here Jude is adapting 2 Peter 2:10, and the passages should be carefully compared. Peter says, “the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of trial, and keep the unjust under punishment till the day of judgment, but especially those who walk after the flesh … and despise lordship. Self-willed daring ones, they fear not to blaspheme dignities.” He has passed away from Sodom, and is speaking of the False Teachers; it is they who despise lordship and rail at dignities. Jude says that the false teachers are like the people of the cities of the plain in that they despise lordship and blaspheme dignities. But it is only by a great effort of exegesis that we can fasten these two charges on the people of Sodom. Jude has abbreviated and confused his text. For κυριότης and δοξα see notes on 2 Peter.

9. ὁ δὲ Μιχαήλ. “But Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a sentence of blasphemy, but said, May the Lord rebuke thee.” That is to say, “may the Lord rebuke thee for thy blasphemy.” Peter says that the angels will not bring against dignities “a railing accusation” (βλάσφημον κρίσιν), which is quite a different thing. See Introduction to 2 Peter, p. 217. Διακρίνεσθαι is used here in its proper sense, “to get a dispute decided,” “contend with an adversary in a court of law.” The dative διαβόλῳ is governed by διελέγετο. For κρίσις see 2 Peter 2:11. Ἐπιτιμήσαι is, of course, optative.

The incident is taken by St. Jude from the Assumption of Moses, as we are informed by Clement of Alexandria (Adumb. in Ep. Judae), Origen (de Princ. iii. 2. 1), and Didymus. The passage as given, perhaps loosely, by a Scholiast on Jude (text in Hilgenfeld, Nouum Testamentum extra Canonem receptum, i. p. 128) runs thus: τελευτήσαντος ἐν τῷ ὄρει Μωυσέως ὁ�Galatians 3:19, where Moses is called the μεσίτης of the law (the phrase in the Assumption as quoted by Gelasius Cyz. Acta Syn. Nicaen. ii. 18, p. 28, is τῆς διαθήκης μεσίτην : in the existing Latin version arbiter testamenti), it is also probably considerably older than that Epistle. Hilgenfeld thinks that it was written after 44 a.d.; others place it as early as 2 b.c. It is possible that Jude refers to the Assumption again in ver. 16.

10. οὗτοι δἐ … φθείρονται. “But these rail at whatsoever things they know not; and what they understand naturally, like the creatures without reason, in these things are they destroyed (or corrupted),” R.V. The things that they know not are κυριότης, δόξα, and generally the world of spirit to which these conceptions belong; the things which they understand are fleshly delight. Jude has made the rough-hewn sentence of 2 Peter 2:12 much smoother and clearer; see also vers. 13 and 17. In particular he has corrected the awkward iteration of φθορῖ φθοράν, φθειρονται, which is so characteristic of 2 Peter.

11. οὐαὶ αὐτουῖς. Outside of the Gospels this phrase is used only in 1 Corinthians 9:16 and in the Apocalypse. It is rare in later writers, but occurs in a Fragment of Clement of Alexandria (Dindorf, vol. iii. p. 492), οὐαὶ δὲ τοῖς ἔχουσι καὶ ἐν ὐποκρισει λαμβάνουσι, which is quoted in the Didache.

Jude’s fourth instance is Cain, who is not introduced by Peter, and whose mention here has caused difficulty. De Wette and Arnaud thought that Cain here was a type of all wicked men. Schneckenburger, Spitta, von Soden, and Kühl (the last with some hesitation) appeal to the Jerusalem Targum on Genesis 4:7, where Cain is represented as the first sceptic and sophist, and as saying, “Non est iudicium nec iudex, nec est aliud saeculum, nec dabitur merces bona iustis, nec ultio sumetur de improbis, neque per miserationem creatus est mundus, neque per miserationem gubernatur.” The Targum is later than Jude; but the same idea is found in Philo, from whom it is possibly derived. See references in Siegfried. This explanation would give tolerable sense, but is much too artificial. The name Cain, standing as it does without qualification, must mean Cain the murderer. See Wisd. 10:3 (a passage which was probably in Jude’s mind as he wrote ver. 7), where Cain is “the unrighteous man who fell away from her (Wisdom) in his anger, and perished himself in the rage wherewith he slew his brother.” Hence Grotius, Oecumenius, and others rightly account for his introduction here by supposing Jude to mean that the false teachers murder men’s souls. “Cain,” says Grotius. “fratri uitam caducam ademit; illi fratribus adimunt aeternam.” The same language has often been used in later times. We have before noticed the fiery zeal of Jude, and his tendency to exaggerate; see vers. 3, 7, 23.

The fifth instance is Balaam, who appears in 2 Peter also. Jude devotes less space to him, and again darkens the picture. Peter charges Balaam only with covetousness; Jude says that for the sake of money (μισθοῦ, genitive of price) the false teachers fling themselves into the πλάνη of Balaam—that is to say, into the sin of Baal Peor (Num. 25., 31:8; Revelation 2:14). Hence the verb ἐξεχύθησαν, which, like the Latin effundi in, is used of those who pour themselves out, fling themselves into sensual indulgence. Jude does not press the charge of greed and extortion so strongly as 2 Peter; he barely alludes to it here and in ver. 16; in his eyes the covetousness of the false teachers is as nothing in comparison with their uncleanness.


The sixth instance is Korah, who is not mentioned in 2 Peter.

Korah “gainsaid” Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16:0.) because Moses by God’s command had restricted the priesthood to the family of Aaron. He despised not God’s ordinances generally (as Huther, Ritschl, Alford, Kühl think), but this particular ordinance. Jude must mean that those of whom he is speaking defied the authorities of the Church, and claimed the right to make rules for themselves. So he speaks of them just below as�1 Peter 5:2. Here we find support for the explanation of δόξαι given on 2 Peter 2:10. The “dignities” whom these false teachers blaspheme were the rulers of the Church. We notice in this verse that Jude possesses a certain copia uerborum, three different nouns, ὁδός, πλάνη,�

12. οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἐν ταῖς�2 Peter 2:13. Οἱ before σπιλάδες is given by A B L, but omitted by א K on account of the difficulty which it creates.


For the meaning of σπιλάς see Orpheus, Lithica, 614 (ed. G. Hermann), where the agate is described as κατάστικτος σπιλάδεσσι, “dappled with spots” (Tyrwhitt thought that this treatise was composed as late as the reign of Constantius, but there is no reason for suspecting that the author invented this use of the word); Hesychius, σπιλάδες· μεμιασμένοι. Thus the word is merely a variant for the σπίλοι of 2 Peter.

The R.V. translates “these are they that are hidden rocks,” following the Etym. Mag., which explains σπιλάδες by ὕφαλοι πέτραι. But in the Anthology, xi. 390, the two are expressly distinguished—φασὶ δὲ καὶ νήεσσιν ἁλιπλανέεσσι χερείους τὰς ὑφάλους πέτρας τῶν φανερῶν σπολόδων and in Hom. Od. iii. the σπικάε of 298 are the same as the λισσὴ αἰπεῖά τε εἰς ἅλα πέτρν of 293. The epithet “hidden” therefore must be struck out, and with it the notion of a hidden danger. Further, σπιλάς means a rock, not only in the sea, or on the beach, but in land, see Soph. Trach. 678; Theocritus, Epigr. iv. 6. Thus the word does not include an allusion to shipwreck, not indeed to danger of any kind. Hence the statements of suidas,σπιλάδες· αί ἐν ὕδασι κοῖλαι πέτραι, and of Hesychius, σπιλάδες· αἰ περιεχόμεναι, τῇ θαλάσσῃ πειτραι (this he gives as an alternative explanation), are not strictly accurate. Nor is the note of Oecumenius, αἱ σπιλάδες τοῖ πλέουσιν ο͂λέθριοι,�

σπιλάς is feminine, hence there is a difficulty in the masculine article οἱ. We must supply either ὄντες or κεκλημένοι, and translate “these are the men who are spots,” or “these are the men who have been called spots.” The insertion of the article seems to show that Jude had in his mind some definite passage where these men or men like them had been actually spoken of as “spots.” Thus it becomes probable that he is here directly referring to 2 Peter 2:13. This is the opinion maintained by Spitta.

Dr. Chase dismisses this view with the remark that this (οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ) is a regular form in apocalyptic literature. See for in stances Zechariah 1:10; Revelation 7:14, Revelation 7:11:4, Revelation 7:14:4; Enoch 46. 3; Apoc. Peiri, 4. 7. 9. 14. 15. 16. The remark is true, but does not meet the point. The form is not specially apocalyptic (see Matthew 3:3, Matthew 3:17, and numberless other examples might be given from writings of all kinds). Either it points a reference to something that the readers know already, as in Revelation 11:4, ὁ͂υτοί εἰσιν αἱ δύο ἐλαῖαι, “these are the two olive trees” that you have read of in Zechariah 4:3, or it answers the question, Who are these? identifying two known persons or classes of persons. But it does not convey fresh information about the persons. Thus οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ βλασφμοῦντες τὴν ὁδὸν τῆς δικαιοσύνης is “these are the men who blaspheme the way of righteousness” (οὗτοι is subject). Jude is quite aware of this difference, and uses both forms correctly; thus we have, ver. 16, οὗτοί εἰσον γογγυσταί, “these men are murmurers”; and on the other hand, οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ πογεγραμμένοι, ver. 4, not οὗτοί εἰσι πογεγραμμένοι Hence it is not probable that he would write οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ σπιλάδες of for ουροί εοἠοι σπιλάδες. He must mean either “these are the men whom everybody calls spots” or “these are the men whom some particular person has called so.” The latter is the more probable, and Spitta’s opinion may therefore well be defended. An objection might be raised on the ground of Revelation 14:4, οὗτοί εἰσιν οἵ μετὰ γυναικῶν οὐκ ἐμολύνθησαν, παρθένοι γάρ εἰσιν· οὗτοι οἱ�

If we adopt the other rendering, “these are they that are rocks,” we must still regard the words as an allusion to some well-known passage. But none can be found. Περὶ τὴν πίστιν ἐναυά γησαν, 1 Timothy 1:19, is much too vague.

συνευωχούμενοι. Cf. 2 Peter 2:13. σποίλοι καὶ μῶμοι, ἐντρυφῶντες ἐν ταῖς�

ἀφόβως ἑαυτοὺς ποιμαίνοντες. “Shepherding themselves without fear.” Ἀφόβως must be taken with ποιμαίνονρες not with συνευωχούμενοι, with which it yields no good sense. Ποιμαίνειν is the verb which expresses the whole authority of Christ, or of the priest, over the flock. The instance of Korah, employed in ver. 2, shows that Jude is here thinking of the latter. These men defied the authority of their rulers, made themselves their own shepherds, and yet feared no harm. If we think of the way in which Balaam is mentioned in Revelation 2:14, it is tempting to suppose that one way in which they exhibited their lawlessness was by eating τὰ εἰδωλόθυτα at the Agape. Dr. Chase (article on Jude in Hastings Dictionary of the Bible) thinks there may be a reference here to Ezekiel 34:2, μὴ Βόσκουσιν ποιμένες ἑαυτούς.

νεφέλαι ἄνυδροι ὑπὸ�Ephesians 4:14.

δένδρα φθινοπωρινά. The epithet means more than autumnal. Φθυνόπωρον means not autumn, the season of fruit (τεθαλυῖα ὀπώρη: autumnus from augeo), but the “fall of the year,” the season just before winter, when growth has stopped, and the branches are bare. We may translate “trees in the fall” or even “trees in winter.” Ἀκαρπα is probably suggested by οὐκ�2 Peter 1:8. Δὶς�2 Peter 1:9, 2 Peter 2:20, and strengthening the expression. Ἐκριζωθέντα, they are already cut off from their root; the root is either the Church �

13. κύματα … αἰσχύνας “Wild waves of the sea, foaming up their own shames.” The language is tinctured by reminiscences of Greek poetry; cf. Moschus, Idyll. v. 5, ἁ δὲ θάλασσα κυρτὸν ἐπαφρίζῃ: Euripides, Herc. Fur. 851, θάλασσαν�Isaiah 57:20.

ἀστέρες πλανῆται. See note on ver. 6. We find an allusion to the sin of the planets also in Isaiah 14:12, where the king of Babylon is compared to the Day-star, son of the morning, who fell through pride. St. Jude here gives a more correct turn to the imagery than St. Peter, who speaks of springs and mists as punished by darkness, though at the same time he has departed somewhat from Enoch, who saw the stars of heaven imprisoned in a place of fire.


14. προεφήτευσε δὲ καὶ τούτοις. “But Enoch prophesied to these men also”; his words strike them as well as others.

ἕβδομος�Genesis 5:0.; Enoch lx. 8, xciii. 3; Book of Jubilees, 7. The quotation which follows is a combination of passages from Enoch. “And, lo, He comes with ten thousand of His holy ones to execute judgment upon them; and He will destroy the ungodly, and will convict all flesh of all that the sinners and ungodly have wrought and ungodly committed against Him,” 1:9; “Ye have slanderously spoken proud and hard words with your impure mouths against His greatness,” 5:4; cf. also 27:2: the translation here given is that of Mr. Charles.


The earlier Fathers regarded this passage as showing that Enoch was inspired; Clement of Alexandria, Adumb, in Ep. Judae, “his verbis prophetiam comprobat”; Tertullian, de cultu fem. i. 3, “eo accedit quod Enoch apud Judam apostolum testimonium possidet.” In the time of Jerome many viewed it as a proof that Jude was not inspired, de uir. ill. 4, “et quia de libro Enoch, qui apocryphus est, in ea assumit testimonium a plerisque reiicitur.” Augustine still held the more ancient and liberal view, de ciuitate dei, xv. 23, “scripsisse quidem nonnulla diuina Enoch illum septimum ab Adam negare non possumus, cum hoc in epistula canonica Judas apostolus dicat.”

After inserting this passage from Enoch, which speaks so distinctly of the coming of the Lord to judgment, St. Jude may have felt that no more remained to be said on this point; and this may have been the chief reason why he omitted the third chapter of 2 Peter.

16. γογγυσταί. The substantive occurs here only in the New Testament. In the LXX. γογγύζειν and διαγογγύζειν are used of the Israelites who complained against God and Moses, Exodus 15:24, Exodus 15:17:3; Numbers 14:29. So here these false brethren murmur not against the trials of life, but against their superiors, God and the δόξαι.


μεμψίμοιρος (this word again is ἅπαξ λεγόμενον) means “complaining of one’s lot,” “querulous.” But here again we must understand, not that the false teachers lacked the spirit of resignation, but that they were recalcitrant and grumbled against authority. Ἀμεμψαμοίρητας occurs, apparently in the sense of “uncomplaining,” in a letter found on a papyrus of the second century b.c.; see Deissmann, Bibelstudien, p. 211; omitted in Eng. tr.

καὶ τὸ οτόμα αὐτῶν λαλεῖ ὑπέρογκα. Cf. 2 Peter 2:18, ὑπέρογκα γὰρ ματαιότητος φθεγγόμενοι. Jude’s phrase bears resemblance to Psalms 143:0.(144.) 8, 11, ὧν τὸ στόμα ἐλάλησε ματαιότητα. But it is probable that here again he is quoting from the Assumption of Moses vii. 21, “et os eorum loquetur ingentia” (the Greek text is not extant). Θαυμάζειν πρόσωπον (the phrase does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, though we find βλέπειν εἰς πρόσωπον, Matthew 22:16: λαμβάνειν πρόσωπον, Luke 20:21) may come from Genesis 19:21; Leviticus 19:15, or from the Assumption of Moses v. 16, “qui enim magistri sunt doctores eorum illis temporibus erunt mirantes personas cupiditatum (Fritzsche corrects nobilitatum) et acceptiones munerum et peruendent iustitias accipiendo poenas.” It has been observed that Jude does not attack the covetousness of the false teachers except here and in the word μισθοῦ, ver. 11.

17. ὑμεῖς δὲ … Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. “But ye, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ὑμεῖς is placed in front of the sentence with great emphasis in opposition to the οὗτοι of ver. 16. A comparison with 2 Peter 3:2 will show that either Peter has greatly complicated the expression of Jude, or Jude has greatly simplified that of Peter. The latter seems more probable; see ver. 10 above. The substance of this apostolic warning may be found in 1 Timothy 4:1 (where the words τὸ δὲ Πνεῦμα ῥητῶς λέγει may introduce a prediction given orally by a Christian prophet); 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Acts 20:29. These passages show that similar admonitions were current. But the exact form of the prophecy, as it is here expressed, is found only in 2 Peter 3:3, and it is there given by an apostle as his own. Neither ῥῆμα nor the following λέγω need be taken to show that St. Jude was referring to mere words, for ῥῆμα is constantly used of scripture, and the phrase ἡ γραφὴ λέγει is familiar. But, even if the words are taken in their strict sense, the possibility of a direct quotation from 2 Peter is not excluded. St. Jude reminds his readers that the apostles had often said that mockers would come, and then proceeds to quote an apostolic document in which this saying was recorded in a particular shape. See Mansel, Gnostic Heresies, p. 70.


St. Jude here distinctly tells us that he was not an apostle himself.

18. ἐπʼ ἑσχάτου χρόνου …�2 Peter 2:10. The R.V. (text) translates “ungodly lusts,” finding here the same Hebraism as in αἱρέσεις�2 Peter 2:1; but St. Jude does not use this idiom (κρίσιν βλασφημίας, ver. 9, is certainly not an instance), and it is needless to force it upon him here.

St. Jude’s text differs from that of 2 Peter in the following points:—(1) He has ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου χρόνου for ἐπʼ ἐσχάτων τῶν ἡμερῶν. Cf. ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων, 1 Peter 1:20. Jude’s phrase is less Hebraistic than that of 2 Peter, and better Greek than that of 1 Peter. (2) He has ἐμπαῖκται alone; here again he corrects the rugged Hebraism, ἐν ἐμπαιγμονῇ ενμπαῖκται, as he had already corrected ἐν φθορᾷ φθαρήσονται, 2 Peter 2:12; Jude 1:10. (3) In κατὰ τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἐπιθυμίας πορευόμενοι he corrects another vulgarism; 2 Peter has ἰδίας. (4) The genitive τῶν�

Among modern commentators there is a growing tendency to adopt this view; the reader may consult the arguments of Spitta, Kühl, Zahn. But the question is crucial as to the relation between the two Epistles, and it cannot be denied that a heavy weight of authority lies in the other scale. Jülicher settles the question in a very off-hand way. “It appears to speak in favour of the priority of 2 Peter, that Jude, ver. 18, quotes something as an apostolical prophecy which might be derived from 2 Peter 3:3, yet at bottom it is given there also as a generally known prophecy” (Einleitung, p. 186). But 2 Peter certainly gives the warning as his own, and, if we make him the later, we must suppose that he has here made a very serious alteration in St. Jude’s text.

19. οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ�2 Peter 2:1. But in what sense did they separate? They may, as suggested on ver. 12, have kept a distinct Agape. Even this would not imply that they had definitely gone out from the Church. At a later date there were some who celebrated the Agape “without the bishop,” yet did not regard themselves as schismatics, though Ignatius strongly reproves their conduct as unlawful (Smyrn. viii.). Or they may have kept together at a separate part of the table. There was probably some visible sign of exclusiveness. But probably also the division would largely correspond to distinctions of class. The false teachers of whom Jude is speaking attached themselves to the rich (vers. 11, 16). But the rich would be in the main the educated. Thus we may see here a “separation” caused partly by wealth, displaying itself in insolent ostentation at the Agape; partly by social position, rebelling against the authority of officials who were not always men of much worldly consideration; partly by an assumption of intellectual superiority, of “knowledge.” The same dividing influences were working at Corinth, and amongst those to whom St. James wrote, and sprang naturally out of the constitution of the Church, which was strongly democratic on one side, strongly aristocratic on another. In early days, before the Church was wealthy or educated, and before the tradition of her discipline had established itself, a rich Christian, unless he was a very devout man, must have found himself in a very trying position. It was out of this state of things that Gnosticism arose. Gnosticism was the revolt of the well-to-do half-educated bourgeois class.


Here again we may note a resemblance between Jude and the Assumption of Moses, which, after the words already quoted, “et os eorum loquetur ingentia,” proceeds thus, “et super dicent Noli tu me tangere, ne inquines me in loco in quo uersor” (vii. 21; the text, however, is largely conjectural, and is followed by two or three lines which are quite illegible; see Hilgenfeld).

ψυχικοί, πνεῦμα μὴ ἔχοντες. “Sensual, not having the spirit.” Ψυχικός, opposed to πνευματικός, is a Pauline phrase resting on the peculiar Pauline psychology; see 1 Corinthians 2:14, 1 Corinthians 15:44. The word is found in James 3:15, but could not be used by St. Peter, in whose vocabulary ψυχή means the religious soul (See note on 1 Peter 1:9, and Introduction, p. 40). Nor is πνεῦμα used by St. Peter as it is here; to him πνεῦμα differs from ψυχή merely as ghost from soul. He speaks of the Holy Ghost as resting on man (1 Peter 4:14), but could hardly have spoken of true Christians as “having spirit,” because in his view all men are πνεύματα. St. Jude has here introduced into 2 Peter an alien vocabulary and an alien psychology; see notes on vers. 1, 3.


St. Jude means simply what he says, that these men were psychic, not spiritual. He has been taken to mean that the people against whom he is writing called the catholics “psychic,.” as did the Gnostics and Montanists. Thus his words have been twisted into an argument for the late date of the Epistle. This, however, is quite gratuitous.

20. ἐποικοδομοῦντες … πίστει. Ἑαυτούς respresents ὑμᾶς αὐτούς; see Matthew 3:9, Matthew 3:16:8; Blass, p. 35. For the superlative, ἁγιωτάτῃ, see 2 Peter 1:4. Here, as there, it is intensive (“most holy,” not “holiest”); the true superlative being exceedingly rare in the New Testament; see Blass, p. 33. Πίστις is again fides cui creditur, as in ver. 3. We may translate “building yourselves up by means of your most holy faith,” or “upon your most holy faith”; though, in this latter sense, ἐποικοδομεῖν is followed by ἐπί with accusative in 1 Corinthians 3:12, and by ἐπί with dative in Ephesians 2:20.

προσευχόμενοι is best taken with ἐν ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι: the believer prays in the Holy Spirit, as the prophet speaks in the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:3. It is possible to translate, with Luther, “build yourselves up by (or on) faith, in the Holy Spirit, through prayer.”

21. ἑαυτοὺς ἐν�1 Timothy 5:22; James 1:27. The “love of God,” coupled as it is here with the mercy of Christ, almost certainly means the love of God for man; they are to keep themselves safe within the covenant by obedience. Some commentators take the words to mean “love for God,” as in 2 Thessalonians 3:5. See note on ver. 1.

τὸ ἔλεος. Mercy is ascribed generally to God, as in 1 Peter 1:3; in the addresses of 1 and 2 Timothy and of 2 John, to God and Christ; here to Christ alone. Here again there is a possible reference to Enoch 27. 3, 4, “in the last days … the righteous … who have found mercy will bless the Lord of glory, the Eternal King.” They will bless Him for the mercy in accordance with which He has assigned them their lot. Εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον is by many commentators coupled with πηρήσατε. In this case, “keep yourselves unto eternal life” may be thought to correspond to “kept unto Jesus Christ,” who is Life Eternal, in ver. 1. Others find the connexion in προσδεχόμενοι τὸ ἕλεος, but it is difficult to find a satisfactory explanation for εἰς either with the participle or with the substantive. With the former, it must be taken to mean “waiting until” or “waiting with your eyes fixed upon,” with the latter, “mercy that leads to”; and none of these renderings is easy.

22, 23. The text of this passage is extremely uncertain. Some of the authorities give only two clauses, some have three, and there are variations in details. (1) Those which give two clauses are—(a) Clement of Alexandria, who twice quotes the verses, giving a different text each time, Strom. vi. 8. 65, καὶ οῦς μὲν ἐκ πυρὸς ἁρπάζετε, διακρινομένους δὲ ἐλεεῖτε Adumb. in Ep. Judae, “Quosdam autem saluate de igne rapientes, quibusdam uero miseremini in timore” (καὶ οὕς μὲν σώζετε ἐκ πυρὸς�Ezekiel 18:0, “et alios quidem de igne rapite, aliorum uero qui iudicantur miseremini” (οὓς μὲν ἐκ πυρὸς�


Most of the textual critics and commentators, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott, Keil, Alford, Spitta, adopt the text of A. Translate, “Some confute when they dispute, some save snatching them from fire, on some have mercy in fear.”

In this case we have διακρινομένους used in that sense which is borne by the verb in ver. 9. This is the proper sense of the verb, and it is hardly likely that Jude used it in any other. But is it possible that there were originally three clauses? in other words, can Jude be recommending three distinct courses of action towards three distinct classes of people? It is extremely difficult to distinguish them. Who are the “some who dispute,” who are neither to be saved nor pitied? Surely but two classes of opponents are in view. All would dispute, some would recant their error, some would not. The authority for three clauses is limited to A א, the Vulgate, Armenian, and Aethiopic.

Some follow the text of א, reading ἐλεεῖτε (ἐλεᾶτε) for ἐλέγχετε. Thus the R. V. renders, “On some have mercy who are in doubt; and some save, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear.” This reading is supported by one MS. only, and compels us to give διακρίνεσθαι a meaning which it bears in Matthew, Mark, Acts, Romans, James, but not in Jude. Again, the repetition of ἐλεεῖτε is not in Jude’s manner, and is objectionable in point of sense. Lastly, the difficulty about the three clauses still remains unbroken.

The Textus Receptus and A.V. follow K L P, translating, with Luther, “Of some have compassion making a difference; and others save with fear.” But διακρινόμενοι cannot possibly have this meaning. We must certainly correct the nominative, and read διακρινομένους.

Weiss adopts the text of B, upon which Westcott and Hort remark with justice that it “involves the incongruity that the first οὕς must be taken as a relative, and the first ἐλεᾶτε as indicative. Some primitive error evidently affects the passage. Perhaps the first ἐλεᾶτε, which is not represented in Syr-Bod Clem Hier is intrusive, and was inserted mechanically from the second clause.”

The knot of the whole difficulty is to be found in B, the text of which is either conflate or erroneous. The most probable solution is that the scribe of B, or of B’s archetype, meant to give a two-clause text, that by accident he wrote down the second clause first and then corrected himself, but did not delete ἐλεᾶτε διακρινομένους, and fell into another slip by omitting the participle in the second clause. Out of the confused text thus produced arose the readings of A א.

We may thus believe that there were originally but two clauses, but the order of these two is doubtful. We are left to choose between οὓς μὲν ἐλέγχετε (ἐλεεῖτε) διακρινομένους, οὓς δὲ σώζετε ἐκ πυρὸς�

Translate then finally, “Some save, plucking them from fire; some, who dispute, pity in fear.” Ἐκ πυρὸς ἁρπάζοντες is probably suggested by Amos 4:11, κατέστρεψα ὑμᾶς καθὼς κατέστρεψεν ὁ Θεὸς Σόδομα καὶ Γόμορρα, καὶ ἐγένεσθε ὡς δαλὸς ἐξεσπασμένος ἐκ πυρός : or by Zechariah 3:2, καὶ εἷπε Κύριος πρὸς τὸν διάβολον Ἐπιτιμήσαι Κύριος ἐν σοὶ διάβολε, καὶ ἐπιτιμήσαι Κύριος ἐν σοὶ ὁ ἐκλεξάμενος τὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ οὐκ ἰδοὺ τοῦτο ὡς δαλὸς ἐξεσπασμένος ἐκ πυρός; The former passage might well be recalled to St. Jude’s mind by ver. 7, the latter by ver. 9. Ἑν φόβῳ, “in fear of contamination.” “Pity them, yet fear, lest the same doom overtake yourselves.” The faith once for all delivered to the saints, ver. 3, most holy, ver. 20, is the one way of salvation; those who reject it are rooted out, ver. 12, and doomed to the fire. Cf. Mark 16:16, ὁ δὲ�

μισοῦντες … χιτῶνα. “Hating even the tunic spotted by the flesh.” St. Jude may be thinking of the garment that is infected with leprosy, Leviticus 13:47, though the word there used is ἱμάτιον. The χιτών was worn next to the skin, and therefore peculiarly liable to contamination. All contact with these moral lepers was to be avoided. Dr. Chase, however, finds here an allusion to the “filthy garments,” ἱμάτια ῥνπαρά, of Joshua the high priest in Zechariah 3:3; and this explanation would be possible, if we could be sure that the figure of the brand plucked from the burning is borrowed from this chapter. It may be questioned whether St. Jude contemplates only sorrowful avoidance of the company of these men, or actual excommunication (1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20), but his language is very strong.

24. τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ …�Romans 16:25 begins with the same words, τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ: cf. also Ephesians 3:20. Ἀπταίστους, “surefooted,” is used of a horse which does not stumble, Xen. Eq. i. 6, and of a good man who does not make moral stumbles, Epictetus, Frag. 62; M. Antoninus, v. 9. The word is probably suggested here by οὐ μὴ πταίσητέ ποτε, 2 Peter 1:10. Στῆσαι, “to make you stand,” is probably more than “to present,” though we may compare παραστῆσαι ὑμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ�Colossians 1:22, or Acts 6:6, οὓς ἔστησαν ἐνώπιον τῶν�Ephesians 6:13. For δόξης and�1 Peter 4:13.

25. K L P and the Textus Receptus insert σοφῷ before Θεῷ, probably from Romans 16:27; the same MSS. make the same addition in 1 Timothy 1:17. K P and Oecumenius omit διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Κυρίον ἡμῶν: the clause, though so familiar in the late doxologies, is found only here, Romans 16:27, and (in substance though not exactly in form) 1 Peter 4:11, and may possibly have been inserted with σοφῷ from Romans. On the other hand, Jude may be quoting Romans, or both St. Paul and St. Jude may be using a current form. K P again omit πρὸ παντὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος. These words remind us of the later “ut erat in principio,” and are not found in any other apostolic doxology. א, three cursives, and the Coptic omit πάντας. L, four cursives, and some Latin MSS. have αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Two cursives and Cassiodorus omit�

μόνῳ Θεῷ σωτῆρι ἡμῶν. Σωτήρ is used of God eight times in the New Testament, Luke 1:47; 1 Timothy 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:2:3, 1 Timothy 1:4:10; Titus 1:3, Titus 1:2:10, Titus 1:4, and here. Of these instances six are in the Pastoral Epistles. The word is used of Christ in fifteen places, of which five are in 2 Peter, five in Luke, John and Acts, one in Philippians, four in the Pastoral Epistles. Both uses are found in the ancient Hebrew documents used by St. Luke (1:47, 2:11). For μόνος Θεός see John 5:44, δόξαν παρὰ�Romans 16:27, μόνῳ σοφῷ Θεῷ, “to the only wise God”; here the first attribute qualifies the second, “to God who alone is wise”; 1 Timothy 1:17, μόνῳ Θεῷ, “the only God,” “who alone is God.” In the present passage it is open to question whether Jude means “to the only God,” or “to God alone,” but the commentators seem to be unanimous in preferring the former rendering. “The only God” is, as Spitta points out, an expression directed against the polytheism of the Gentiles. A close parallel in sense is to be found 1 Timothy 6:15, 1 Timothy 6:16. We must take such passages in connexion with others such as John 1:1; Romans 9:5; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:4, Jude 1:21, or the doxologies addressed to Christ, or the uses of Κύριος or of Σωτήρ.


Kühl, Schott, von Soden, Spitta connect σωτῆρι with διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, “God who is our Saviour through Jesus Christ,” but this construction is unexampled and barely possible; we should have expected τῷ σώσαντι ἡμᾶς. The use of διά in the doxologies is strongly in favour of translating, “Glory to God through Jesus Christ.”

δόξα is ascribed to God or Christ in all the doxologies except 1 Timothy 6:16: μεγαλωσύνη (a late word which occurs also in Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 8:1, and several times in Enoch, 5:4, 9, 12:3, 14:16; see Dr. Chase’s article on Jude in Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible) only here; for κράτος see 1 Timothy 6:16; 1 Peter 4:11, 1 Peter 4:5:11; Revelation 1:6, Revelation 5:13. Compare the doxologies of Clement of Rome and of the Martyrium Polycarpi given in the Introduction. Ἐξουσία, which generally signifies subordinate and delegated authority, is used of the power of God, Luke 12:5; Acts 1:7. Πρὸ παντὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος. “Before all eternity” glory was to God through Jesus Christ, and “now” is, and “to all the eternities” will be. Words could hardly express more clearly Jude’s belief in the pre-existence and eternity of Christ.

ἀμήν. See note on 1 Peter 4:11.

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Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on Jude 1". International Critical Commentary NT. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/jude-1.html. 1896-1924.