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But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

2:14 cursed children. This means, literally, “children of cursing,” evidently implying that, despite their religious facade, they remain under God’s curse of sin and death.

2:15 Balaam. Balaam could have been a true prophet of God, but became a false prophet because of covetousness. He actually “loved” (with an agape-type love!) money.

2:16 dumb ass speaking. Peter here confirms the historicity of the remarkable miracle when the ass spoke to Balaam with a human voice. For the story of Balaam, see Numbers 22–24, especially 22:28-33. Note also Joshua 13:22 for the sad end of Balaam the covetous prophet.

2:17 wells. This can better be read “springs.” Contrast John 4:14.

2:17 mist of darkness. Compare Jude 13. The false teachers are destined for the outer darkness of eternal hell.

2:18 great swelling words. “Vanity” here means “emptiness.” False teachers have the remarkable ability of clothing vapid thought in pseudo-intellectual verbiage.

2:18 clean escaped. “Clean escaped” should better read “just escaping.” The picture here is of people who have been given some information about God and His salvation and are interested in learning more, but they have not yet accepted Christ as Savior.

2:18 live in error. They have been associating with a crowd of people who literally “order their whole lives” around error—that is, willingly rejecting God and wanting nothing to do with living under His domain.

2:19 servants of corruption. These who are preaching freedom to these undecided inquirers are themselves slaves of corruption, in absolute bondage to sin.

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