They are the kind who worm their way into households and captivate vulnerable women who are weighed down with sins and led astray by various passions,
I. THE ARTS OF THE SEDUCERS. "For of this sort are they who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women."
1. They were of a most proselytizing spirit. Like the Pharisees, they would compass sea and land to make one proselyte.
2. They practised unworthy arts. They wormed their way insidiously into the confidence of families. There was a deceitful and tricky method of gaining access to their victims.
3. They used their stratagems to snare women rather than men. They knew that women, as the weaker vessels, were more accessible to soft blandishments and specious pretences of piety. They counted upon an accession of female converts as, above all things, most contributing to the success of their propaganda.
II. THE CHARACTER OF THEIR VICTIMS. "Silly women laden with sins, led away by divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." These victims of their specious arts were morally and intellectually prepared for them.
1. They were, morally, under the sway of evil passions and desires, full, no doubt, of "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life." Such women would welcome a short cut to peace, or any reconciliation between religion and worldliness that could be devised by the arts of apostasy. The words seem to point to the weight of former sins burdening the conscience, from which they hoped to be released under easier conditions than those prescribed by the gospel.
2. They were incapable, through their sinful life, of attaining a true knowledge of the truth. They were" silly women," with light, frivolous, unbalanced judgments; "ever learning" - with a morbid love of novelties in religion, an insatiable curiosity for the mysteries promised by their false guides, and a constant craving for an adaptation of doctrinal views to their evil desires - "and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Because their hearts had become indurated through an evil life, and so made inaccessible to the truth. - T.C.
Lead captive silly women.
(H. D. M. Spence, D. D.)
(T. Fuller.)Revelation 17.). Josephus also states that the Pharisees especially had found much support amongst women ("Antiq." 17:02). Compare the account, moreover, of the rich Fulvia of Rome, who was induced by two Jewish impostors to furnish a considerable sum of gold, under the supposition that it was for the temple at Jerusalem ("Antiq." 18:03).
(Van Oosterzee.)1. As they are impudent, so they are of a fraudulent, subtle, sly, insinuating temper; they vent not their errors openly (especially, not at first) but they secretly and slily creep into private houses, and there they sell their wares (Jude 1:4), they privily bring in damnable heresies (2 Peter 2:1; Galatians 2:4). Truth loveth the light and seeks no corners.
2. These impostors observe a method in seducing silly women, who. being the weaker sex, are sooner won over to their way, as being less able to withstand the shock of a temptation. As warriors go about a city observing where the wall is weakest, lowest, and unguarded, and there they make their greatest assault; and as thieves set not upon strong, armed men, but upon weak, unarmed ones, so seducers love not to set upon strong, grounded, judicious, discerning Christians, but it is the weak and ignorant which cannot discern their frauds, but like children are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, that become their prey (Proverbs 14:15; Romans 16:18; Ephesians 4:14); man is, or at leastwise should be, more strong and prudent to resist temptations than women are. They catch not grave and truly pious matrons, but light women which prefer their lusts before Christ. It is the light chaff which is tossed with every wind, when the massy wheat abides in the floor.
(T. Hall, B. D.)
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