1. Likewise--Greek, "In like manner," as "servants" in
their sphere; compare the reason of the woman's subjection,
your own--enforcing the obligation: it is not strangers ye are
required to be subject to. Every time that obedience is enjoined
upon women to their husbands, the Greek, "idios," "one's
own peculiarly," is used, while the wives of men are designated only by
heauton, "of themselves." Feeling the need of leaning on one
stronger than herself, the wife (especially if joined to an
unbeliever) might be tempted, though only spiritually, to enter
into that relation with another in which she ought to stand to "her
(1Co 14:34, 35,
"Let them ask their own [idious] husbands at home"); an
attachment to the person of the teacher might thus spring up, which,
without being in the common sense spiritual adultery, would still
weaken in its spiritual basis the married relation [STEIGER].
that, if--Greek, "that even if." Even if you have
a husband that obeys not the word (that is, is an unbeliever).
without the word--independently of hearing the word
preached, the usual way of faith coming. But BENGEL, "without word," that is, without direct
Gospel discourse of the wives, "they may (literally, in
oldest manuscripts, 'shall,' which marks the almost objective
certainty of the result) be won" indirectly. "Unspoken acting is
more powerful than unperformed speaking" [ŒCUMENIUS]. "A soul converted is gained to itself,
to the pastor, wife, or husband, who sought it, and to Jesus Christ;
added to His treasury who thought not His own precious blood too dear
to lay out for this gain" [LEIGHTON]. "The
discreet wife would choose first of all to persuade her husband to
share with her in the things which lead to blessedness; but if this be
impossible, let her then alone diligently press after virtue, in all
things obeying him so as to do nothing at any time against his will,
except in such things as are essential to virtue and salvation" [CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA].
2. behold--on narrowly looking into it, literally, "having
chaste--pure, spotless, free from all impurity.
fear--reverential, towards your husbands. Scrupulously
pure, as opposed to the noisy, ambitious character of worldly
3. Literally, "To whom let there belong (namely, as their
peculiar ornament) not the outward adornment (usual in the sex which
first, by the fall, brought in the need of covering, Note,
plaiting--artificial braiding, in order to attract admiration.
wearing--literally, "putting round," namely, the head, as a
diadem--the arm, as a bracelet--the finger, as rings.
apparel--showy and costly. "Have the blush of modesty on thy
face instead of paint, and moral worth and discretion instead of gold
and emeralds" [MELISSA].
4. But--"Rather." The "outward adornment" of jewelry, &c., is
forbidden, in so far as woman loves such things, not in so far as she
uses them from a sense of propriety, and does not abuse them.
Singularity mostly comes from pride and throws needless hindrances to
religion in the way of others. Under costly attire there may be a
humble mind. "Great is he who uses his earthenware as if it were plate;
not less great is he who uses his silver as if it were earthenware"
[SENECA in ALFORD].
hidden--inner man, which the Christian instinctively
hides from public view.
of the heart--consisting in the heart regenerated and
adorned by the Spirit. This "inner man of the heart" is the subject of
the verb "be,"
Greek: "Of whom let the inner man be," namely, the distinction
in that--consisting or standing in that as its element.
not corruptible--not transitory, nor tainted with corruption, as
all earthly adornments.
meek and quiet--meek, not creating disturbances:
quiet, bearing with tranquillity the disturbances caused by
others. Meek in affections and feelings; quiet in words,
countenance, and actions [BENGEL].
in the sight of God--who looks to inward, not merely outward
of great price--The results of redemption should correspond to
its costly price
5. after this manner--with the ornament of a meek and quiet
spirit (compare the portrait of the godly wife,
trusted--Greek, "hoped." "Holy" is explained by "hoped in
(so as to be 'united to,' Greek) God." Hope in God is the
spring of true holiness [BENGEL].
in subjection--Their ornament consisted in their subordination.
Vanity was forbidden
as being contrary to female subjection.
6. Sara--an example of faith.
calling him lord--
ye are--Greek, "ye have become": "children" of Abraham
and Sara by faith, whereas ye were Gentile aliens from the
afraid with any amazement--Greek, "fluttering alarm,"
"consternation." Act well, and be not thrown into sudden panic,
as weak females are apt to be, by any opposition from without. BENGEL translates, "Not afraid OF
any fluttering terror coming from without"
So the Septuagint,
uses the same Greek word, which Peter probably refers to. Anger
assails men; fear, women. You need fear no man in doing what is
right: not thrown into fluttering agitation by any sudden outbreak of
temper on the part of your unbelieving husbands, while you do
7. dwell--Greek, "dwelling": connected with the verb,
knowledge--Christian knowledge: appreciating the due relation of
the sexes in the design of God, and acting with tenderness and
forbearance accordingly: wisely: with wise consideration.
them . . . giving honour to the wife--translate
and punctuate the Greek rather, "dwelling according to knowledge
with the female (Greek adjective, qualifying 'vessel'; not as
English Version, a noun) as with the weaker vessel (see on
Both husband and wife are vessels in God's hand, and of God's making,
to fulfil His gracious purposes. Both weak, the woman the
weaker. The sense of his own weakness, and that she, like
himself, is God's vessel and fabric, ought to lead him to act
with tender and wise consideration towards her who is the weaker
fabric), giving (literally, 'assigning,'
'apportioning') honor as being also (besides being man and wife)
heirs together," &c.; or, as the Vatican manuscript reads, as to those
who are also (besides being your wives) fellow heirs." (The reason why
the man should give honor to the woman is, because God gives
honor to both as fellow heirs; compare the same argument,
He does not take into account the case of an unbelieving wife,
as she might yet believe.
grace of life--God's gracious gift of life
(1Pe 1:4, 13).
that your prayers be not hindered--by dissensions, which prevent
united prayer, on which depends the blessing.
8. General summary of relative duty, after having
detailed particular duties from
of one mind--as to the faith.
having compassion one of another--Greek, "sympathizing"
in the joy and sorrow of others.
love as brethren--Greek, "loving the brethren."
pitiful--towards the afflicted.
courteous--genuine Christian politeness; not the tinsel of the
world's politeness; stamped with unfeigned love on one side, and
humility on the other. But the oldest manuscripts read,
"humble-minded." It is slightly different from "humble," in that it
marks a conscious effort to be truly humble.
9. evil--in deed.
blessing--your revilers; participle, not a noun after
knowing that--The oldest manuscripts read merely, "because."
are--Greek, "were called."
inherit a blessing--not only passive, but also active; receiving
spiritual blessing from God by faith, and in your turn blessing others
from love [GERHARD in
ALFORD]. "It is not in order to inherit a blessing
that we must bless, but because our portion is blessing." No
railing can injure you
Imitate God who "blesses" you. The first fruits of His blessing
for eternity are enjoyed by the righteous even now
10. will love--Greek, "wishes to love." He who loves
life (present and eternal), and desires to continue to do
so, not involving himself in troubles which will make this life a
burden, and cause him to forfeit eternal life. Peter confirms his
refrain--curb, literally, "cause to cease"; implying that our
natural inclination and custom is to speak evil. "Men commonly think
that they would be exposed to the wantonness of their enemies if they
did not strenuously vindicate their rights. But the Spirit promises a
life of blessedness to none but those who are gentle and patient of
evil . . . guile--First he warns against sins of the
tongue, evil-speaking, and deceitful, double-tongued speaking;
next, against acts of injury to one's neighbor.
11. In oldest manuscripts, Greek, "Moreover
(besides his words, in acts), let him."
ensue--pursue as a thing hard to attain, and that flees
from one in this troublesome world.
12. Ground of the promised present and eternal life of
blessedness to the meek
The Lord's eyes are ever over them for good.
ears . . . unto their prayers--
(1Jo 5:14, 15).
face . . . against--The eyes imply
favorable regard; the face of the Lord upon (not
as English Version, "against") them that do evil, implies that
He narrowly observes them, so as not to let them really and lastingly
hurt His people (compare
13. who . . . will harm you--This fearless confidence
in God's protection from harm, Christ, the Head, in His sufferings
realized; so His members.
if ye be--Greek, "if ye have become."
followers--The oldest manuscripts read "emulous," "zealous of"
good--The contrast in Greek is, "Who will do you
evil, if ye be zealous of good?"
14. But and if--"But if even." "The promises of this life
extend only so far as it is expedient for us that they should be
fulfilled" [CALVIN]. So he proceeds to state the
exceptions to the promise
and how the truly wise will behave in such exceptional cases. "If ye