1 Peter 1:24
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass wither, and the flower thereof falls away:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) For all flesh is as grass.—The citation is from Isaiah 40:6-8, and varies between the Hebrew and the LXX. in the kind of way which shows that the writer was familiar with both. But the passage is by no means quoted only to support the assertion, in itself ordinary enough, that the Word of the Lord abideth for ever. It is always impossible to grasp the meaning of an Old Testament quotation in the mouth of a Hebrew without taking into account the context of the original. Nothing is commoner than to omit purposely the very words which contain the whole point of the quotation. Now these sentences in Isaiah stand in the forefront of the herald’s proclamation of the return of God to Sion, always interpreted of the establishment of the Messianic kingdom. This proclamation of the Messianic kingdom comprises words which St. Peter has purposely omitted, and they contain the point of the quotation. The omitted words are, “the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people”i.e., Israel—“is grass.” Immediately before our quotation went the words, “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together;” statements which so shocked the LXX. translator that he entirely omitted 1Peter 1:7, and changed the previous verse so as to make some difference between Jew and Gentile (as Godet points out on Luke 3:6), into “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.” i.e., to Israel, “and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” The comment of Bishop Lowth on the original passage will well bring out what St. Peter means here: “What is the import of [the proclamation]? that the people, the flesh, is of a vain temporary nature; that all its glory fadeth, and is soon gone; but that the Word of God endureth for ever. What is this but a plain opposition of the flesh to the Spirit; of the carnal Israel to the spiritual; of the temporary Mosaic economy to the eternal Christian dispensation?” Here, then, St. Peter is quoting one of the greatest of Messianic prophecies; and his Hebrew readers would at once understand the Hebrew method of the quotation, and see that he was calling attention to the absolute equality of Jew and Gentile there proclaimed. Generation of the corruptible seed, physical descent from Abraham, was “the glory of the flesh” (observe that according to the best text St. Peter does not follow the LXX., and insert “of man,” but follows the Hebrew, and says “all the glory thereof,” i.e., of the flesh). On this “the Spirit of the Lord” had breathed (Psalm 104:30); and the merely fleshly glory had withered like grass. But “the word of our God,” which, mark well, St. Peter purposely changes into “the Word of the Lord,” i.e., of Jesus Christ, incidentally showing his Hebrew readers that he believed Jesus Christ to be “our God”—this “abideth for ever.” The engendering by this is imperishable, i.e., involves a privilege which is not, like that of the Jewish blood, transitory: it will never become a matter of indifference whether we have been engendered with this, as is the case now (Galatians 6:15) with regard to the “corruptible seed;” no further revelation will ever level up the unregenerate to be the equals of the regenerate. And in this regeneration “all flesh” share alike. The teaching of the Baptist, who fulfilled this prophecy, is here again apparent. (See Matthew 3:9.)

1 Peter 1:24-25. For all flesh — Every human creature, is transient and withering as grass — The word χορτος, here rendered grass, denotes not only what we generally call grass, but all kinds of herbs; and among the rest, those which have stalks and flowers. And all the glory of man — His learning, wisdom, wealth, power, dignity, authority, dominion; as the flower of grass — Which is yet more frail than the grass itself. The grass withereth of itself, if not cut down by the scythe of the mower; and the body of man gradually wastes away and perishes, even if it be not cut off by some unexpected stroke; and the flower thereof falleth away — Drops its blooming honours, and falls dying to the ground; and thus precarious and uncertain are all the dependances which we can place on perishing creatures. But the word of the Lord — His revealed truth, by which you are regenerated or begotten again to a lively hope of a heavenly inheritance; endureth for ever — Always remains true and infallible, a foundation on which we may safely build our present confidence and future hopes. The reader will recollect that this is a quotation from Isaiah 40:6-8; “where the preaching of the gospel is foretold and recommended, from the consideration that every thing which is merely human, and among the rest the noblest races of mankind, with all their glory and grandeur, their honour, riches, beauty, strength, and eloquence; as also the arts which men have invented, and the works they have executed, all decay as the flowers of the field. But the incorruptible seed, the gospel, called by the prophet the word of the Lord, shall be preached while the world standeth; and the divine nature, which it is the instrument of conveying to believers, will remain in them to all eternity. James likewise hath illustrated the brevity and uncertainty of human life, with its glory, by the same figures, James 1:11.” 1:17-25 Holy confidence in God as a Father, and awful fear of him as a Judge, agree together; and to regard God always as a Judge, makes him dear to us as a Father. If believers do evil, God will visit them with corrections. Then, let Christians not doubt God's faithfulness to his promises, nor give way to enslaving dread of his wrath, but let them reverence his holiness. The fearless professor is defenceless, and Satan takes him captive at his will; the desponding professor has no heart to avail himself of his advantages, and is easily brought to surrender. The price paid for man's redemption was the precious blood of Christ. Not only openly wicked, but unprofitable conversation is highly dangerous, though it may plead custom. It is folly to resolve, I will live and die in such a way, because my forefathers did so. God had purposes of special favour toward his people, long before he made manifest such grace unto them. But the clearness of light, the supports of faith, the power of ordinances, are all much greater since Christ came upon earth, than they were before. The comfort is, that being by faith made one with Christ, his present glory is an assurance that where he is we shall be also, Joh 14:3. The soul must be purified, before it can give up its own desires and indulgences. And the word of God planted in the heart by the Holy Ghost, is a means of spiritual life, stirring up to our duty, working a total change in the dispositions and affections of the soul, till it brings to eternal life. In contrast with the excellence of the renewed spiritual man, as born again, observe the vanity of the natural man. In his life, and in his fall, he is like grass, the flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away. We should hear, and thus receive and love, the holy, living word, and rather hazard all than lose it; and we must banish all other things from the place due to it. We should lodge it in our hearts as our only treasures here, and the certain pledge of the treasure of glory laid up for believers in heaven.For all flesh is as grass - That is, all human beings, all men. The connection here is this: The apostle, in the previous verse, had been contrasting that which is begotten by man with that which is begotten by God, in reference to its permanency. The forher was corruptible and decaying; the latter abiding. The latter was produced by God, who lives forever; the former by the agency of man, who is himself corruptible and dying. It was not unnatural, then, to dwell upon the feeble, frail, decaying nature of man, in contrast with God; and the apostle, therefore, says that "all flesh, every human being, is like grass. There is no stability in anything that man does or produces. He himself resembles grass that soon fades and withers; but God and his word endure forever the same." The comparison of a human being with grass, or with flowers, is very beautiful, and is quite common in the Scriptures. The comparison turns on the fact, that the grass or the flower, however green or beautiful it may be, soon loses its freshness; is withered; is cut down, and dies. Thus, in Psalm 103:15-16;

"As for man, his days are as grass;

As a flower of the field, so he flourisheth;

For the wind passeth over it and it is gone,

And the place thereof shall know it no more."

So in Isaiah 40:6-8; a passage which is evidently referred to by Peter in this place:

"The voice said, Cry.

And he said, What shall Icry?

All flesh is grass,

And all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.

The grass withereth,

The flower fadeth,

When the wind of Jehovah bloweth upon it:

continued...

24. Scripture proof that the word of God lives for ever, in contrast to man's natural frailty. If ye were born again of flesh, corruptible seed, ye must also perish again as the grass; but now that from which you have derived life remains eternally, and so also will render you eternal.

flesh—man in his mere earthly nature.

as—omitted in some of the oldest manuscripts.

of man—The oldest manuscripts read, "of it" (that is, of the flesh). "The glory" is the wisdom, strength, riches, learning, honor, beauty, art, virtue, and righteousness of the NATURAL man (expressed by "flesh"), which all are transitory (Joh 3:6), not OF MAN (as English Version reads) absolutely, for the glory of man, in his true ideal realized in the believer, is eternal.

withereth—Greek, aorist: literally, "withered," that is, is withered as a thing of the past. So also the Greek for "falleth" is "fell away," that is, is fallen away: it no sooner is than it is gone.

thereof—omitted in the best manuscripts and versions. "The grass" is the flesh: "the flower" its glory.

All flesh; all men as born of the flesh, and in their natural state, in opposition to regenerate men, 1 Peter 1:23.

All the glory of man; whatever is most excellent in man naturally, and which they are most apt to glory in.

The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: see Jam 1:10. All men, as born of corruptible seed, are frail, mortal, and perishing; they spring up like grass, and look beautiful for a while, but are very weak and tender, and in a little time they are cut down by death, and wither away; and while they live, are, in a good measure, nothing but grass in another form; the substance of their life is greatly by it; what is the flesh they eat, but grass turned into it? and this mortality is not only the case of wicked men, as the Jews (l) interpret the word, but of good men; even of the prophets, and preachers of the Gospel; and yet the word of God spoken by them continues for ever: the passage referred to is in Isaiah 40:6.

and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass; all outward things which are in esteem with men, and render them glorious to one another, as riches, honour, wisdom, strength, external righteousness, holiness, and goodness; all which are fading and transitory, like the flower of the field; but the Gospel continues, and reveals durable riches, and honour with Christ; and true wisdom and strength with him, and spiritual knowledge, in comparison of which, all things are dross and dung; and an everlasting righteousness; and true holiness in him: some have thought respect may be had to the legal dispensation, and to all the glory and stateliness and goodliness of the worship and ordinances of it, which were to endure but for a time, and are now removed; and the Gospel dispensation has taken place of them, which will continue to the end of the world:

the grass withereth, and the flower thereof fadeth away; and so fading are all the above things,

(l) Targum, Jarchi, & Kimchi, in Isaiah 40.6.

{14} For all {l} flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

(14) A reason why we need this heavenly birth, that is, because men, though their glory may not be great, are by nature void of all true and sound goodness.

(l) The word, flesh, shows the weakness of our nature, which is chiefly to be considered in the flesh itself.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 1:24-25. Quotation from Isaiah 40:6; Isaiah 40:8, slightly altered from the LXX. in order to confirm the eternal endurance of the word by a passage from the Old Testament.[107]

διότι, as in 1 Peter 1:16; the passage here quoted not only confirms the idea ΜΈΝΟΝΤΟς, but it gives the reason why the new birth has taken place through the living and abiding word of God (so, too, Hofm.). The reason is this, that it may be a birth into life that passes not away.

ΠᾶΣΑ ΣΆΡΞ i.e. πᾶς ἄνθρωπος; caro fragilitatem naturae indicat (Aretius); not “all creature existence,” embracing both stones and plants, etc. (Schott), for of a plant it cannot be said that it is ὡς χόρτος.

ὡς χόρτος] is to be found neither in the Hebrew text nor in the LXX.

ΚΑῚ ΠᾶΣΑ ΔΌΞΑ ΑὐΤῆς] instead of ΑὐΤῆς, the LXX. has ἈΝΘΡΏΠΟΥ; in Hebrew, חַסְדּוֹ. Incorrectly Vorstius: Ap. nomine carnis et gloriae ejus intelligit praecipue legem Mosis et doctrinas hominum; Calvin again rightly: omne id quod in rebus humanis magnificum dicitur.

ἘΞΗΡΆΝΘΗ Ὁ ΧΌΡΤΟς Κ.Τ.Λ. gives the point of comparison, that wherein the ΣΆΡΞ and its ΔΌΞΑ resemble the ΧΌΡΤΟς and its ἌΝΘΟς; but it does not emphatically assert that “the relation of the flesh to its glory in point of nothingness is quite the same as that of the grass in its bloom” (Schott).

ΚΑῚ ΤῸ ἌΝΘΟς ΑὐΤΟῦ ἘΞΈΠΕΣΕ] ΑὐΤΟῦ, if it be the true reading, is an addition made by Peter, for it is to be found neither in the LXX. nor in the Hebrew text. By the preterites ἘΞΗΡΆΝΘΗ and ἘΞΈΠΕΣΕ the transitoriness is more strongly marked; cf. Jam 1:11; Jam 5:2.—1 Peter 1:25. Instead of ΚΥΡΊΟΥ, the LXX. have ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ ἩΜῶΝ, אֱלֹֽהֵינוּ. ΚΥΡΊΟΥ can hardly have been written on purpose by Peter “because he had in his mind Christ’s word” (Luthardt). James refers to the same passage here cited by Peter, without, however, quoting it verbatim.

In the following words the apostle makes the application: τοῦτο δέ ἐστιν] τοῦτο is not used “substantively here,” as the predicate of the sentence equal to: that is; i.e. eternally abiding word of God is the word of God preached among you (Schott); but it refers back simply to the preceding ΤῸ ῬῆΜΑ ΚΥΡΊΟΥ, and is equivalent to: this word, of which it is said that it remaineth for ever, is the word which has been preached among you.

ΤῸ ῬῆΜΑ ΤῸ ΕὐΑΓΓΕΛΙΣΘΈΝ] Periphrasis for the gospel. In the O. T. it denotes the word of promise, here the gospel. Peter identifies them with each other, as indeed in their inmost nature they are one, containing the one eternal purpose of God for the redemption of the world, distinguished only according to different degrees of development.

ΕἸς ὙΜᾶς] i.e. ὑμῖν; in the expression here used, however, the reference to the hearers comes more distinctly into prominence; cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:9, and Lünemann in loc.

In the last words Peter has spoken of the gospel preached to the churches to which he writes, as the word of God, by which his readers are begotten again of the incorruptible seed of divine life, so that, as such, in obedience to the truth thus communicated to them, they must sanctify themselves to unfeigned love of the brethren.

[107] The context in no way indicates that the apostle had particularly desired to make emphatic “that natural nationalities, with all their glory, form but a tie for these earthly periods of time” (Schott).1 Peter 1:24 f. = Isaiah 40:6-8, adduced as endorsement of the comparison instituted between natural generation and divine regeneration, with gloss explaining the saying of Jehovah (cf. Hebrews 1:1 f.). The only divergences from the LXX (which omits—as Jerome notes, perhaps through homoedeuton—quia spiritus dei flavit in eo: vere foenum est populus; asuit foenum cecidit flos) are that ὡς is inserted before χ. (so Targum), and that αὐτῆς is put for ἀνθρώπου (so Heb., etc.) and Κυρίου for τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν (in accordance with the proper reading of Jehovah in the omitted verse).24. For all flesh is as grass] The words have a two-fold interest: (1) as a quotation from the portion of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 40:6-8) with which the Apostle must have been familiar in connexion with the ministry of the Baptist, and (2) as presenting another coincidence with the thoughts and language of the Epistle of St James (James 1:10-11), itself, in all probability, an echo of that prophecy. The passage is quoted almost verbally from the LXX. translation, the words “of man” taking the place of the “thereof” of the Hebrew. In “the word (rhêma) of the Lord” we have a different term from the Logos of 1 Peter 1:23. It has, perhaps, a slightly more concrete significance and may thus be thought of as pointing more specifically to the spoken message of the Gospel. It is doubtful, however, looking to the use of the word in Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 6:5; Hebrews 11:3; Ephesians 6:17, whether any such distinction was intended, and it is more probable that St Peter thought of the two terms as equivalents, using the word rhêma here, because he found it in the LXX. This “word of God,” abiding for ever, was the subject of the Gospel message, but is not necessarily identified with it. It was proclaimed to men by the heralds of glad tidings even as Christ had proclaimed it.1 Peter 1:24. Πᾶσα σὰρξ, all flesh) Isaiah 40:6-8. Flesh, that is, man by old descent.—ὡς χόρτος, as grass) The Septuagint does not contain ὡς, as,[12] nor αὐτοῦ, its, in the next clause.—δόξα, glory) The wisdom, strength, riches, and righteousness of man.—ἐξηράνθη, is dried up) from the roots.—ὁ χόρτος, the grass) that is, the flesh.—ἄνθος, the flower) that is, its glory.—ἐξέπεσε, is wont to fall away) in the highest degree.

[12] Hence the omission of the word ὡς in this place is both approved of in the margin of the 2 Ed. as the better reading, and is noticed in the Germ. Vers. In like manner presently, the reading αὐτῆς is preferred to the reading ἀνθρώπου, which was held in more esteem by the larger Ed., in the margin of Ed. 2, and in the Germ. Vers.—E. B.

Lachm. omits ὡς, with AC (but Tisch. claims C in favour of ὡς) and MSS. of Vulg. both Syr. Versions, and Origen. Tisch. inserts ὡς, with B (judging from silence of collators), C (according to Tisch.), MSS. of Vulg. and Memph. and Orig. 1,226a. Also αὐτῆς is read by ABC Vulg. both Syr. Memph. Orig. Ανθρώπου is read by Rec. Text, with inferior authority. Also αὐτοῦ is added after ἄνθος by C Vulg. Memph. But AB, the best MS. of Vulg. (Amiat.), both Syr. Versions, and Origen, omit it.—E.Verse 24. - For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away. St. Peter quotes Isaiah 40:6-8, in illustration of his assertion that the Word of God abideth forever. The quotation is from the Septuagint. St. Peter follows that version in omitting part of ver. 7; but he slightly varies the words, writing (according to the most ancient manuscripts), "all the glory thereof," instead of "all the glory of man;" and in the next verse, "the Word of the Lord," instead of "the Word of our God." The first variation shows an acquaintance with the original Hebrew. St. James refers to the same passage from Isaiah in James 1:10, 11. Of man

Following the reading ἀνθρώπου, in the Septuagint, Isaiah 50:6, which Peter quotes here. But the best texts read αὐτῆς, of it, or, as Rev., thereof.

Withereth (ἐξηράνθη)

Literally, the writer puts it as in a narrative of some quick and startling event, by the use of the aorist tense: withered was the grass. Similarly, the flower fell (ἐξέπεσεν). Lit., fell off, the force of ἐκ.

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