The Meaning of 2 Peter 2:22 Explained

2 Peter 2:22

KJV: But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

YLT: 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.'

Darby: But that word of the true proverb has happened to them: The dog has turned back to his own vomit; and, The washed sow to her rolling in mud.

ASV: It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire.

What does 2 Peter 2:22 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Peter compared the false teachers to unclean dogs and swine (cf. Matthew 7:6; Proverbs 26:11). Practice betrays nature. Dogs return to corruption that comes from within them: vomit. Pigs return to filth that they find outside themselves, even though their handlers may clean them up occasionally. [1] The false teachers in view do both things.
"The sense Isaiah , not that the creature has washed itself clean in water (so apparently the R.V.), still less that it has been washed clean (as A.V.), and then returns to the mud; but that having once bathed in filth it never ceases to delight in it." [2]
"Instead of being sheep, they were pigs and dogs ..." [3]
Peter"s statement about the false teachers in this verse is his most derogatory of them, and it brings his warning to avoid these heretics to its climax.
One writer argued that, "Gnosticism, in whatever stage or form, had little or nothing to do with these communities." [4] However, another scholar wrote in his excellent commentary that he saw some Gnostic influence. [5] Gnosticism exercised its major influence on Christianity in the second century.

Context Summary

2 Peter 2:12-22 - The Dark Way Of Animalism
The description of these false teachers is terrific! They are slaves to their brute instincts. They are as abusive as they are ignorant. They destroy and will be destroyed. They feast daintily in the broad daylight, instead of leading abstemious and sober lives. With them, the very church feasts were occasions for self-indulgence. Their eyes never ceased from the sin against which the Lord warns us in Matthew 5:28. Balaam is an awful example of such, torn, as he was, between the celestial vision of his spirit and the sensual appetite of his soul.
The will of man, as in Balaam's case, is always poising itself between its knowledge of good and evil and its strong bias toward evil. Only the help of God can correct this. Let us "who are just escaping," 2 Peter 2:18, r.v., from the meshes of the world, beware lest we be caught in the guiles and nets of false teaching, which would drag us back into the evils of the worldly life. It is in our heart-felt union with the Lord Jesus Christ alone that we can be permanently secure. [source]

Chapter Summary: 2 Peter 2

1  Peter warns of false teachers, showing the impiety and punishment both of them and their followers;
7  from which the godly shall be delivered, as Lot was out of Sodom;
10  and more fully describes the manners of those profane and blasphemous seducers

Greek Commentary for 2 Peter 2:22

It has happened [συμβεβηκεν]
Perfect active indicative of συμβαινω — sumbainō for which see 1 Peter 4:12. [source]
According to the true proverb [το της αλητους παροιμιας]
“The word The first proverb here given comes from Proverbs 26:11. Εχεραμα — Exerama is a late and rare word (here only in N.T., in Diosc. and Eustath.) from εχεραω — exeraō to vomit.The sow that had washed (ς λουσαμενη — hūs lousamenē). ς — Hūs old word for hog, here only in N.T. Participle first aorist direct middle of λουω — louō shows that it is feminine (anarthrous). This second proverb does not occur in the O.T., probably from a Gentile source because about the habit of hogs. Epictetus and other writers moralize on the habit of hogs, having once bathed in a filthy mud-hole, to delight in it.To wallowing “To rolling.” Late and rare word (from κυλιω — kuliō Mark 9:20), here only in N.T.In the mire (βορβορου — borborou). Objective genitive, old word for dung, mire, here only in N.T. J. Rendel Harris (Story of Ahikar, p. LXVII) tells of a story about a hog that went to the bath with people of quality, but on coming out saw a stinking drain and went and rolled himself in it. [source]
The sow that had washed [ς λουσαμενη]
ς — Hūs old word for hog, here only in N.T. Participle first aorist direct middle of λουω — louō shows that it is feminine (anarthrous). This second proverb does not occur in the O.T., probably from a Gentile source because about the habit of hogs. Epictetus and other writers moralize on the habit of hogs, having once bathed in a filthy mud-hole, to delight in it. [source]
To wallowing [εις κυλισμον]
“To rolling.” Late and rare word (from κυλιω — kuliō Mark 9:20), here only in N.T.In the mire (βορβορου — borborou). Objective genitive, old word for dung, mire, here only in N.T. J. Rendel Harris (Story of Ahikar, p. LXVII) tells of a story about a hog that went to the bath with people of quality, but on coming out saw a stinking drain and went and rolled himself in it. [source]
In the mire [βορβορου]
Objective genitive, old word for dung, mire, here only in N.T. J. Rendel Harris (Story of Ahikar, p. LXVII) tells of a story about a hog that went to the bath with people of quality, but on coming out saw a stinking drain and went and rolled himself in it. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 2 Peter 2:22

John 13:10 He that is washed - wash his feet [ὁ λελουμένος - νίψασθαι]
The A.V. obliterates the distinction between λούω , to bathe, to apply water to the whole body, and νίπτω , to wash a part of the body. Thus, when Dorcas died (Acts 9:37) they bathed her body ( λούσαντες ). The proverb in 2 Peter 2:22, is about the sow that has been bathed all over ( λουσαμένη ). On the other hand, he who fasts must wash ( νὶψαι ) his face (Matthew 6:17). Both verbs are always used of living beings in the New Testament. The word for washing things, as nets, garments, etc., is πλύνω . See Luke 5:2. All three verbs occur in Leviticus 15:11(Sept.). [source]
John 10:6 Parable [παροιμίαν]
The word occurs but once outside of John's writings (2 Peter 2:22). The usual word for parable is παραβολή , which is once rendered proverb in the A.V. (Luke 4:23, changed to parable by Rev.), and which occurs nowhere in John. For the distinction see on Matthew 13:3. [source]
John 10:6 This parable [ταυτην την παροιμιαν]
Old word for proverb from παρα — para (beside) and οιμος — oimos way, a wayside saying or saying by the way. As a proverb in N.T. in 2 Peter 2:22 (quotation from Proverbs 26:11), as a symbolic or figurative saying in John 16:25, John 16:29, as an allegory in John 10:6. Nowhere else in the N.T. Curiously enough in the N.T. παραβολη — parabolē occurs only in the Synoptics outside of Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 11:19. Both are in the lxx. Παραβολη — Parabolē is used as a proverb (Luke 4:23) just as παροιμια — paroimia is in 2 Peter 2:22. Here clearly παροιμια — paroimia means an allegory which is one form of the parable. So there you are. Jesus spoke this παροιμια — paroimia to the Pharisees, “but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them” Second aorist active indicative of γινωσκω — ginōskō and note ην — ēn in indirect question as in John 2:25 and both the interrogative τινα — tina and the relative α — ha “Spake” (imperfect ελαλει — elalei) should be “Was speaking or had been speaking.” [source]
Acts 16:33 Washed their stripes [ἔλουσεν ἀπὸ τῶν πληγῶν]
Properly, “washed them from ( ἀπό ) their stripes.” The verb λούειν , expresses the bathing of the entire body (Hebrews 10:23; Acts 9:37; 2 Peter 2:22); while νίπτειν commonly means the washing of a part of the body (Matthew 6:17; Mark 7:3; John 13:5). The jailer bathed them; cleansing them from the blood with which they were besprinkled from the stripes. [source]
2 Peter 1:3 His own [ἰδίᾳ]
Of frequent occurrence in Peter, and not necessarily with an emphatic force, since the adjective is sometimes used merely as a possessive pronoun, and mostly so in Peter (1 Peter 3:1, 1 Peter 3:5; 2 Peter 2:16, 2 Peter 2:22, etc.). [source]
2 Peter 1:3 All things that pertain unto life and godliness [παντα τα προς ζωην και ευσεβειαν]
“All the things for life and godliness.” The new life in Christ who is the mystery of godliness (1 Timothy 3:16). Ευσεβεια — Eusebeia with its cognates Genitive of the articular first aorist active participle of ιδιαι δοχηι και αρετηι — kaleō Christ called Peter and all other Christians.By his own glory and virtue So B K L, but Aleph A C P read αρετη — idiāi doxēi kai aretēi (either instrumental case “by” or dative “to”). Peter is fond of idios (own, 1 Peter 3:1, 1 Peter 3:5; 2 Peter 2:16, 2 Peter 2:22, etc.). “Glory” here is the manifestation of the Divine Character in Christ. For aretē see note on 1 Peter 2:9, note on Philemon 4:8, and note on 2 Peter 1:5. [source]
2 Peter 1:3 By his own glory and virtue [ιδιος]
So B K L, but Aleph A C P read αρετη — idiāi doxēi kai aretēi (either instrumental case “by” or dative “to”). Peter is fond of idios (own, 1 Peter 3:1, 1 Peter 3:5; 2 Peter 2:16, 2 Peter 2:22, etc.). “Glory” here is the manifestation of the Divine Character in Christ. For aretē see note on 1 Peter 2:9, note on Philemon 4:8, and note on 2 Peter 1:5. [source]

What do the individual words in 2 Peter 2:22 mean?

Has happened to them the thing of the TRUE proverb A dog having returned to [its] own vomit and A sow having washed to [her] rolling place in [the] mire
συμβέβηκεν αὐτοῖς τὸ τῆς ἀληθοῦς παροιμίας Κύων ἐπιστρέψας ἐπὶ τὸ ἴδιον ἐξέραμα καί Ὗς λουσαμένη εἰς κυλισμὸν βορβόρου

συμβέβηκεν  Has  happened 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: συμβαίνω  
Sense: to walk with the feet near together.
αὐτοῖς  to  them 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
τὸ  the  thing 
Parse: Article, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
τῆς  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἀληθοῦς  TRUE 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: ἀληθής  
Sense: true.
παροιμίας  proverb 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: παροιμία  
Sense: a saying out of the usual course or deviating from the usual manner of speaking.
Κύων  A  dog 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: κύων  
Sense: a dog.
ἐπιστρέψας  having  returned 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἐπιστρέφω  
Sense: transitively.
τὸ  [its] 
Parse: Article, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἴδιον  own 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: ἴδιος  
Sense: pertaining to one’s self, one’s own, belonging to one’s self.
ἐξέραμα  vomit 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: ἐξέραμα  
Sense: vomit.
Ὗς  A  sow 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ὗς  
Sense: swine.
λουσαμένη  having  washed 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Middle, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: λούω  
Sense: to bathe, wash.
εἰς  to  [her] 
Parse: Preposition
Root: εἰς  
Sense: into, unto, to, towards, for, among.
κυλισμὸν  rolling  place 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: κύλισμα 
Sense: thing rolled, rolled (wallowed) mud or mire.
βορβόρου  in  [the]  mire 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: βόρβορος  
Sense: dung, mire.

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