on 1-peter 2 :8
A stone of stumbling - Because in him all Jews and Gentiles who believe are united; and because the latter were admitted into the Church, and called by the Gospel to enjoy the same privileges which the Jews, as the peculiar people of God, had enjoyed for two thousand years before; therefore they rejected the Christian religion, they would have no partakers with themselves in the salvation of God. This was the true cause why the Jews rejected the Gospel; and they rejected Christ because he did not come as a secular prince. In the one case he was a stone of stumbling - he was poor, and affected no worldly pomp; in the other he was a rock of offense, for his Gospel called the Gentiles to be a peculiar people whom the Jews believed to be everlastingly reprobated, and utterly incapable of any spiritual good.
Whereunto also they were appointed - Some good critics read the verse thus, carrying on the sense from the preceding: Also a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense: The disobedient stumble against the word, (or doctrine), to which verily they were appointed. - Macknight.
Mr. Wakefield, leaving out, with the Syriac, the clause, The stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, reads 1 Peter 2:7, 1 Peter 2:8 thus: To you therefore who trust thereon, this stone is honorable; but to those who are not persuaded, (απειθουσι), it is a stone to strike upon and to stumble against, at which they stumble who believe not the word; and unto this indeed they were appointed; that is, they who believe not the word were appointed to stumble and fall by it, not to disbelieve it; for the word of the Lord is either a savor of life unto life, or death unto death, to all them that hear it, according as they receive it by faith, or reject it by unbelief. The phrase τιθεναι τινα εις τι is very frequent among the purest Greek writers, and signifies to attribute any thing to another, or to speak a thing of them; of which Kypke gives several examples from Plutarch; and paraphrases the words thus: This stumbling and offense, particularly of the Jews, against Christ, the corner stone, was long ago asserted and predicted by the prophets, by Christ, and by others; compare Isaiah 8:14, Isaiah 8:15; Matthew 21:42, Matthew 21:44; Luke 2:34; and Romans 9:32, Romans 9:33. Now this interpretation of Kypke is the more likely, because it is evident that St. Peter refers to Isaiah 8:14, Isaiah 8:15 : And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, etc. The disobedient, therefore, being appointed to stumble against the word, or being prophesied of as persons that should stumble, necessarily means, from the connection in which it stands, and from the passage in the prophet, that their stumbling, falling, and being broken, is the consequence of their disobedience or unbelief; but there is no intimation that they were appointed or decreed to disobey, that they might stumble, and fall, and be broken. They stumbled and fell through their obstinate unbelief; and thus their stumbling and falling, as well as their unbelief, were of themselves, in consequence of this they were appointed to be broken; this was God's work of judgment. This seems to be the meaning which our Lord attaches to this very prophecy, which he quotes against the chief priests and elders, Matthew 21:44. On the whole of these passages, see the notes on Matthew 21:42-44 (note).
on 1-peter 2 :8
And a stone of stumbling - A stone over which they, stumble, or against which they impinge. The idea seems to be that of a cornerstone which projects from the building, against which they dash themselves, and by which they are made to fall. See the notes at Matthew 21:44. The rejection of the Saviour becomes the means of their ruin. They refuse to build on him, and it is as if one should run against a solid projecting cornerstone of a house, that would certainly be the means of their destruction. Compare the notes at Luke 2:34. An idea similar to this occurs in Matthew 21:44; "Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken." The meaning is, that if this foundation-stone is not the means of their salvation, it will be of their ruin. It is not a matter of indifference whether they believe on him or not - whether they accept or reject him. They cannot reject him without the most fearful consequences to their souls.
And a rock of offence - This expresses substantially the same idea as the phrase "stone of stumbling." The word rendered "offence," (σκάνδαλον skandalon) means properly "a trap-stick - a crooked stick on which the bait is fastened which the animal strikes against, and so springs the trap," (Robinson, Lexicon) then "a trap, gin, snare"; and then "anything which one strikes or stumbles against; a stumbling-block." It then denotes "that which is the cause or occasion of ruin." This language would be strictly applicable to the Jews, who rejected the Saviour on account of his humble birth, and whose rejection of him was made the occasion of the destruction of their temple, city, and nation. But it is also applicable to all who reject him, from whatever cause; for their rejection of him will be followed with ruin to their souls. It is a crime for which God will judge them as certainly as he did the Jews who disowned him and crucified him, for the offence is substantially the same. What might have been, therefore, the means of their salvation, is made the cause of their deeper condemnation.
Even to them which stumble at the word - To all who do this. That is, they take the same kind of offence at the gospel which the Jews did at the Saviour himself. It is substantially the same thing, and the consequences must be the same. How does the conduct of the man who rejects the Saviour now, differ from that of him who rejected him when he was on the earth?
Being disobedient - 1 Peter 2:7. The reason why they reject him is, that they are not disposed to obey. They are solemnly commanded to believe the gospel; and a refusal to do it, therefore, is as really an act of disobedience as to break any other command of God.
Whereunto they were appointed - (εἰς ὅ καὶ ἐτέθησαν eis ho kai etethēsan.) The word "whereunto "means unto which. But unto what? It cannot be supposed that it means that they were "appointed" to believe on him and be saved by him; for:
(1) this would involve all the difficulty which is ever felt in the doctrine of decrees or election; for it would then mean that he had eternally designated them to be saved, which is the doctrine of predestination; and,
(2) if this were the true interpretation, the consequence would follow that God had been foiled in his plan - for the reference here is to those who would not be saved, that is, to those who "stumble at that stumblingstone," and are destroyed.
Calvin supposes that it means, "unto which rejection and destruction they were designated in the purpose of God." So Bloomfield renders it, "Unto which (disbelief) they were destined," (Critical Digest) meaning, as he supposes, that "into this stumbling and disobedience they were permitted by God to fall." Doddridge interprets it, "To which also they were appointed by the righteous sentence of God, long before, even as early as in his first purpose and decree he ordained his Son to be the great foundation of his church." Rosenmuller gives substantially the same interpretation. Clemens Romanus says it means that "they were appointed, not that they should sin, but that, sinning, they should be punished." See Wetstein. So Macknight. "To which punishment they were appointed." Whitby gives the same interpretation of it, that because they were disobedient, (referring, as he supposes, to the Jews who rejected the Messiah) "they were appointed, for the punishment of that disobedience, to fall and perish."
Dr. Clark supposes that it means that they were prophesied of that they should thus fall; or that, long before, it was predicted that they should thus stumble and fall. In reference to the meaning of this difficult passage, it is proper to observe that there is in the Greek verb necessarily the idea of designation, appointment, purpose. There was some agency or intention by which they were put in that condition; some act of placing or appointing, (the word τίθημι tithēmi meaning to set, put, lay, lay down, appoint, constitute) by which this result was brought about. The fair sense, therefore, and one from which we cannot escape, is, that this did not happen by chance or accident, but that there was a divine arrangement, appointment, or plan on the part of God in reference to this result, and that the result was in conformity with that. So it is said in Jde 1:4, of a similar class of people, "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation." The facts were these:
(1) That God appointed his Son to be the cornerstone of his church.
(2) that there was a portion of the world which, from some cause, would embrace him and be saved.
(3) that there was another portion who, it was certain, would not embrace him.
(4) that it was known that the appointment of the Lord Jesus as a Saviour would be the occasion of their rejecting him, and of their deeper and more aggravated condemnation.
(5) that the arrangement was nevertheless made, with the understanding that all this would be so, and because it was best on the whole that it should be so, even though this consequence would follow. That is, it was better that the arrangement should be made for the salvation of people even with this result, that a part would sink into deeper condemnation, than that no arrangement should be made to save any. The primary and originating arrangement, therefore, did not contemplate them or their destruction, but was made with reference to others, and notwithstanding they would reject him, and would fall. The expression "whereunto" (εἰς ὅ eis ho) refers to this plan, as involving, under the circumstances, the result which actually followed. Their stumbling and falling was not a matter of chance, or a result which was not contemplated, but entered into the original arrangement; and the whole, therefore, might be said to be in accordance with a wise plan and purpose. And,
on 1-peter 2 :8
2:8 Who stumble, whereunto also they were appointed - They who believe not, stumble, and fall, and perish for ever; God having appointed from all eternity, he that believeth not shall be damned.