on 2-peter 2 :4
For if God spared not the angels - The angels were originally placed in a state of probation; some having fallen and some having stood proves this. How long that probation was to last to them, and what was the particular test of their fidelity, we know not; nor indeed do we know what was their sin; nor when nor how they fell. St. Jude says they kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation; which seems to indicate that they got discontented with their lot, and aspired to higher honors, or perhaps to celestial domination. The tradition of their fall is in all countries and in all religions, but the accounts given are various and contradictory; and no wonder, for we have no direct revelation on the subject. They kept not their first estate, and they sinned, is the sum of what we know on the subject; and here curiosity and conjecture are useless.
But cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness - Αλλα σειραις ζοφου ταρταρωσας παρεδωκεν εις κρισιν τετηρημενους· But with chains of darkness confining them in Tartarus, delivered them over to be kept to judgment; or, sinking them into Tartarus, delivered them over into custody for punishment, to chains of darkness. Chains of darkness is a highly poetic expression. Darkness binds them on all hands; and so dense and strong is this darkness that it cannot be broken through; they cannot deliver themselves, nor be delivered by others.
As the word Tartarus is found nowhere else in the New Testament, nor does it appear in the Septuagint, we must have recourse to the Greek writers for its meaning. Mr. Parkhurst, under the word ταρταροω, has made some good collections from those writers, which I here subjoin.
"The Scholiast on Aeschylus, Eumen., says: Pindar relates that Apollo overcame the Python by force; wherefore the earth endeavored ταρταρωσαι, to cast him into Tartarus. Tzetzes uses the same word, ταρταροω, for casting or sending into Tartarus; and the compound verb καταταρταρουν, is found in Apollodorus; in Didymus' Scholia on Homer; in Phurnutus, De Nat, Deor., p. 11, edit. Gale; and in the book Περι Ποταμων, which is extant among the works of Plutarch. And those whom Apollodorus styles καταταρταρωθεντας, he in the same breath calls ῥιφθεντας εις Ταρταρον, cast into Tartarus. Thus the learned Windet, in Pole's Synopsis. We may then, I think, safely assert that ταρταρωσας, in St. Peter, means not, as Mede (Works, fol., p. 23) interprets it, to adjudge to, but to cast into, Tartarus; ῥιπτειν εις Ταρταρον, as in Homer, cited below. And in order to know what was the precise intention of the apostle by this expression, we must inquire what is the accurate import of the term Ταρταρος. Now, it appears from a passage of Lucian, that by Ταρταρος was meant, in a physical sense, the bounds or verge of this material system; for, addressing himself to ΕΡΩΣ, Cupid or Love, he says: Συ γαρ εξ αφανους και κεχυμενης αμορφιας ΤΟ ΠΑΝ εμορφωσας, κ. τ. λ. 'Thou formedst the universe from its confused and chaotic state; and, after separating and dispersing the circumfused chaos, in which, as in one common sepulchre, the whole world lay buried, thou drovest it to the confines or recesses of outer Tartarus -
'Where iron gates and bars of solid brass
Keep it in durance irrefrangible,
And its return prohibit.'
"The ancient Greeks appear to have received, by tradition, an account of the punishment of the 'fallen angels,' and of bad men after death; and their poets did, in conformity I presume with that account, make Tartarus the place where the giants who rebelled against Jupiter, and the souls of the wicked, were confined. 'Here,' saith Hesiod, Theogon., lin. 720, 1, 'the rebellious Titans were bound in penal chains.'
Τοσσον ενερθ' ὑπο γης, ὁσον ουρανος εστ'απο γαιης.
Ισον γαρ τ' απο γης ες ΤΑΡΤΑΡΟΝ ηεροεντα.
'As far beneath the earth as earth from heaven;
For such the distance thence to Tartarus.'
Which description will very well agree with the proper sense of Tartarus, if we take the earth for the center of the material system, and reckon from our zenith, or the extremity of the heavens that is over our heads. But as the Greeks imagined the earth to be of a boundless depth, so it must not be dissembled that their poets speak of Tartarus as a vast pit or gulf in the bowels of it. Thus Hesiod in the same poem, lin. 119, calls it -
ΤΑΡΤΑΡΑ τ' ηεροεντα μυχῳ χθονος ευρυοδειης·
on 2-peter 2 :4
For if God spared not the angels that sinned - The apostle now proceeds to the proof of the proposition that these persons would be punished. It is to be remembered that they had been, or were even then, professing Christians, though they had really, if not in form, apostatized from the faith 2 Peter 2:20-22, and a part of the proofs, therefore, are derived from the cases of those who had apostatized from the service of God. He appeals, therefore, to the case of the angels that had revolted. Neither their former rank, their dignity, nor their holiness, saved them from being thrust down to hell; and if God punished them so severely, then false teachers could not hope to escape. The apostle, by the "angels" here, refers undoubtedly to a revolt in heaven - an event referred to in Jde 1:6, and everywhere implied in the Scriptures. When that occurred, however - why they revolted, or what was the number of the apostates - we have not the slightest information, and on these points conjecture would be useless. In the supposition that it occurred, there is no improbability; for there is nothing more absurd in the belief that angels have revolted than that men have; and if there are evil angels, as there is no more reason to doubt than that there are evil men, it is morally certain that they must have fallen at some period from a state of holiness, for it cannot be believed that God made them wicked.
But cast them down to hell - Greek ταρταρώσας tartarōsas - "thrusting them down to Tartarus." The word here used occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, though it is common in the Classical writers. It is a verb formed from Τάρταρος Tartaros, Tartarus, which in Greek mythology was the lower part, or abyss of Hades, ᾍδης Hadēs, where the shades of the wicked were supposed to be imprisoned and tormented, and corresponded to the Jewish word Γεέννα Geenna - "Gehenna." It was regarded, commonly, as beneath the earth; as entered through the grave; as dark, dismal, gloomy; and as a place of punishment. Compare the Job 10:21-22 notes, and Matthew 5:22 note. The word here is one that properly refers to a place of punishment, since the whole argument relates to that, and since it cannot be pretended that the "angels that sinned" were removed to a place of happiness on account of their transgression. It must also refer to punishment in some other world than this, for there is no evidence that This world is made a place of punishment for fallen angels.
And delivered them into chains of darkness - "Where darkness lies like chains upon them" - Robinson, Lexicon. The meaning seems to be, that they are confined in that dark prisonhouse as if by chains. We are not to suppose that spirits are literally bound; but it was common to bind or fetter prisoners who were in dungeons, and the representation here is taken from that fact. This representation that the mass of fallen angels are confined in "Tartarus," or in hell, is not inconsistent with the representations which elsewhere occur that their leader is permitted to roam the earth, and that even many of those spirits are allowed to tempt men. It may be still true that the mass are con fined within the limits of their dark abode; and it may even be true also that Satan and those who axe permitted to roam the earth are under bondage, and are permitted to range only within certain bounds, and that they are so secured that they will be brought to trial at the last day.
To be reserved unto judgment - Jde 1:6, "to the judgment of the great day." They will then, with the revolted inhabitants of this world, be brought to trial for their crimes. That the fallen angels will be punished after the judgment is apparent from Revelation 20:10. The argument in this verse is, that if God punished the angels who revolted from Him, it is a fair inference that He will punish wicked people, though they were once professors of religion.
on 2-peter 2 :4
2:4 Cast them down to hell - The bottomless pit, a place of unknown misery. Delivered them - Like condemned criminals to safe custody, as if bound with the strongest chains in a dungeon of darkness, to be reserved unto the judgment of the great day. Though still those chains do not hinder their often walking up and down seeking whom they may devour.