Peter & Jude vs Pseudo-Enoch on Angels

Carl Friedrich Keil (1807-1888)
Commentary on Genesis 6:1-8,
Pentateuch, fn. 1, pp. 84-85.

2 Peter 2:4 & Jude 1:6 Do Not Reference Angel Marriages.

Nor do 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6 furnish any evidence of angel marriages. Peter is merely speaking of sinning angels in general (ἀγγέλων ἁμαρτησάντων) whom God did not spare, and not of any particular sin on the part of a small number of angels. And Jude describes these angels as τοὺς μὴ τηρήσαντας τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχήν ἀλλὰ ἀπολιπόντας τὸ ἴδιον οἰκητήριον, “those who kept not their princedom, their position as rulers, but left their own habitation.”

In like manner” to whom?

There is nothing here about marriages with the daughters of men or the begetting of children, even if we refer the word τούτοις [these] in the clause τὸν ὅμοιον τούτοις τρόπον ἐκπορνεύσασαι [“in like manner to these committing fornication”] in Jude 1:7 to the angels mentioned in Jude 1:6. For ἐκπορνεύειν, the commission of fornication, would be altogether different from marriage—that is to say, from a conjugal bond that was permanent even though unnatural. But it is neither certain nor probable that this is the connection of τούτοις.

Huther, the latest commentator upon this Epistle, who gives the preference to this explanation of τούτοις, and therefore cannot be accused of being biased by doctrinal prejudices, says distinctly in the 2nd Ed. of his commentary, “τούτοις [these] may be grammatically construed as referring to Sodom and Gomorrah, or per synesin [by notional agreement] to the inhabitants of these cities; but in that case the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah would only be mentioned indirectly.” There is nothing in the rules of syntax, therefore, to prevent our connecting the word with Sodom and Gomorrah. And it is not a fact, that “grammaticae et logicae praecepta [rules of logic and grammar] compel us to refer this word to the angels,” as G.v. Zeschwitz says. But the very same reason which Huther assigns for not connecting it with Sodom and Gomorrah, may be also assigned for not connecting it with the angels—namely, that in that case the sin of the angels would only be mentioned indirectly.

We regard Philippi’s explanation as a possible one, namely, that the word τούτοις [these (in v. 7)] refers back to the ἄνθρωποι ἀσελγεῖς [lascivious men] mentioned in verse 4, and as by no means set aside by De Wette’s objection, that the thought of verse 8 would be anticipated in that case. For this objection is fully met by the circumstance, that not only does the word οὗτοι [these], which is repeated five times from verse 8 onwards, refer back to these men, but even the word τούτοις [these] in verse 14 also.

Angels are not flesh.

On the other hand, the reference of τούτοις [these] to the angels is altogether precluded by the clause καὶ ἀπελθοῦσαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας [“and going after strange flesh”], which follows the word ἐκπορνεύσασαι [“giving themselves over to fornication”]. For fornication on the part of the angels could only consist in their going after flesh, or, as Hoffmann expresses it, “having to do with flesh, for which they were not created,” but not in their going after other, or foreign flesh. There would be no sense in the word ἑτέρας [strange] unless those who were ἐκπορνεύσαντες [“giving themselves over to fornication”] were themselves possessed of σάρξ [flesh]. So that this is the only alternative, either we must attribute to the angels a σάρξ or fleshly body, or the idea of referring τούτοις [these] to the angels must be given up.

When Kurtz replies to this by saying that “to angels human bodies are quite as much a ἑτέρα σάρξ [strange flesh], i.e., a means of sensual gratification opposed to their nature and calling, as man can be to human man,” he hides the difficulty, but does not remove it, by the ambiguous expression “opposed to their nature and calling.” The ἑτέρα σάρξ [strange flesh] must necessarily presuppose an ἰδία σάρξ [same flesh].

Is Jude alluding to the Book of Enoch?

But it is thought by some, that even if τούτοις [these] in Jude 1:7 do not refer to the angels in Jude 1:6, the words of Jude agree so thoroughly with the tradition of the book of Enoch respecting the fall of the angels, that we must admit the allusion to the Enoch legend, and so indirectly to Genesis 6, since Jude could not have expressed himself more clearly to persons who possessed the book of Enoch, or were acquainted with the tradition it contained.

Now this conclusion would certainly be irresistible, if the only sin of the angels mentioned in the book of Enoch, as that for which they were kept in chains of darkness until the Judgment Day, had been their intercourse with human wives. For the fact that Jude was acquainted with the legend of Enoch, and took for granted that the readers of his Epistle were so too, is evident from his introducing a prediction of Enoch in verses 14 and 15, which is to be found in ch. i. 9 of Dillmann’s edition of the book of Enoch.

But it is admitted by all critical writers upon this book, that in the book of Enoch (which has been edited by Dillmann and is only to be found in an Ethiopic version): (1) there are contradictory legends concerning the fall and judgment of the angels; (2) that the book itself is composed of earlier and later materials; and (3) that those very sections (ch. 6-16:106, etc.) in which the legend of the angel marriages is given without ambiguity, belong to the so-called book of Noah, i.e., to a later portion of the Enoch legend, which is opposed in many passages to the earlier legend.

There are many angelic sins in the Book of Enoch.

The fall of the angels is certainly often referred to in the earlier portions of the work; but among all the passages adduced by Dillmann in proof of this, there is only one (19:1) which mentions the angels who had taken wives. In the others, the only thing mentioned as the sin of the angels or of the hosts of Azazel, is the fact that they were subject to Satan, and seduced those who dwelt on the earth (54:3-6), or that they came down from heaven to earth, and revealed to the children of men what was hidden from them, and then led them astray to the commission of sin (64:2). There is nothing at all here about their taking wives.

Moreover, in the earlier portions of the book, besides the fall of the angels, there is frequent reference made to a fall, i.e., an act of sin, on the part of the stars of heaven and the army of heaven, which transgressed the commandment of God before they rose, by not appearing at their appointed time (vid., 18:14-15; 21:3; 90:21, 24, etc.); and their punishment and place of punishment are described, in just the same manner as in the case of the wicked angels, as a prison, a lofty and horrible place in which the seven stars of heaven lie bound like great mountains and flaming with fire (21:2-3), as an abyss, narrow and deep, dreadful and dark, in which the star which fell first from heaven is lying, bound hand and foot (88:1, cf. 90:24).

Enoch References Isaiah.

From these passages it is quite evident, that the legend concerning the fall of the angels and stars sprang out of Isaiah 24:21-22 (“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall visit the host of the height [המּרום צבא, the host of heaven, by which stars and angels are to be understood on high i.e., the spiritual powers of the heavens] and the kings of the earth upon the earth, and they shall be gathered together, bound in the dungeon, and shut up in prison, and after many days they shall be punished”), along with Isaiah 14:12 (“How art thou fallen from heaven, thou beautiful morning star!”), and that the account of the sons of God in Genesis 6, as interpreted by those who refer it to the angels, was afterwards combined and amalgamated with it.

The nature of the angels’ sin must be determined by the context of Jude.

Now if these different legends, describing the judgment upon the stars that fell from heaven, and the angels that followed Satan in seducing man, in just the same manner as the judgment upon the angels who begot giants from women, were in circulation at the time when the Epistle of Jude was written—we must not interpret the sin of the angels, referred to by Peter and Jude, in a one-sided manner, and arbitrarily connect it with only such passages of the book of Enoch as speak of angel marriages, to the entire disregard of all the other passages, which mention totally different sins as committed by the angels, that are punished with bands of darkness. But we must interpret it from what Jude himself has said concerning this sin, as Peter gives no further explanation of what he means by ἁμαρτῆσαι [sinned].

Now the only sins that Jude mentions are μὴ τηρῆσαι τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχήν [“kept not their first estate”] and ἀπολιπεῖν τὸ ἴδιον οἰκητήριον [“left their own habitation”]. The two are closely connected. Through not keeping the ἀρχή (i.e., the position as rulers in heaven) which belonged to them, and was assigned them at their creation, the angels left “their own habitation” (ἴδιον οἰκητήριον); just as man, when he broke the commandment of God and failed to keep his position as ruler on earth, also lost “his own habitation” (ἴδιον οἰκητήριον). That is to say, not paradise alone, but the holy body of innocence also, so that he needed a covering for his nakedness, and will continue to need it, until we are “clothed upon with our hose which is from heaven” (οἰκητήριον ἡμῶν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ).

Jude never alludes to angel fornication.

In this description of the angels’ sin, there is not the slightest allusion to their leaving heaven to woo the beautiful daughters of men. The words may be very well interpreted, as they were by the earlier Christian theologians, as relating to the fall of Satan and his angels, to whom all that is said concerning their punishment fully applies. If Jude had had the πορνεία [fornication] of the angels, mentioned in the Enoch legends, in his mind, he would have stated this distinctly, just as he does in verse 9 in the case of the legend concerning Michael and the devil, and in verse 11 in that of Enoch’s prophecy.

Examples of Jude’s deviation from Enoch.

There was all the more reason for his doing this, because not only do contradictory accounts of the sin of the angels occur in the Enoch legends, but a comparison of the parallels cited from the book of Enoch proves that he deviated from the Enoch legend in points of no little importance. Thus, for example, according to Enoch 54:3, “iron chains of immense weight” are prepared for the hosts of Azazel, to put them into the lowest Hell, and cast them on that great day into the furnace with flaming fire. Now Jude and Peter say nothing about iron chains, and merely mention “everlasting chains under darkness” and “chains of darkness.” Again, according to Enoch 10:12, the angel sinners are “bound fast under the earth for seventy generations, till the day of judgment and their completion, till the last judgment shall be held for all eternity.” Peter and Jude make no allusion to this point of time, and the supporters of the angel marriages, therefore, have thought well to leave it out when quoting this parallel to Jude 1:6.

Conclusion: Do not give heed to Jewish fables.

Under these circumstances, the silence of the apostles as to either marriages or fornication on the part of the sinful angels, is a sure sign that they gave no credence to these fables of a Jewish gnosticizing tradition. [“Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.” (Titus 1:14)]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s