8. "Enoch" (v14-16)
Men of the character Jude is repudiating here
will assuredly come under judgement. Several of his phrases have already said or
strongly implied this. But now a specially telling example:
"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam,
prophesied of these, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his
holy ones, to execute judgement upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly
among them of all their ungodly deeds, which they have ungodly committed, and of
all their hard speeches, which ungodly sinners have spoken against
It used to be maintained that these words must be
a quotation from the Enoch of Genesis 5, which had survived through three
millenia as part of an oral tradition.
But this will not do. There is a 'Book of Enoch',
extant today, which was in circulation amongst Jews and Christians in the first
century, and the words of v. 14 are an explicit quotation from it, whilst v. 15
is an effective paraphrase of, and a big improvement on, the dieas of judgement
which come elsewhere in 'Enoch'.
That this work was not written by the original
Enoch is evident at first reading. So the fact has to be faced that here is Jude
plainly and unashamedly bolstering up his argument with a quotation from a book
with not divine authority, and which is a palpable forgery after the manner that
became fashionable in that epoch. Even if it is urged (rightly) that the words
in question are actually a distorted quotation from Deuteronomy 33:2, pirated by
'Enoch', the problem still remains that Jude explicitly attributes them to
"Enoch, the seventh from Adam".
There is an easy solution to this problem in one
word which has been mistranslated and generally overlooked: autois, "of these".
But this dative case should read "to these" (R.V.), "for these". (Another
possibility, "by these", is clearly inadmissible here.)
This word makes all the difference. Jude is now
seen to be asserting rather sardonically: These bad men have a 'scripture' which
they esteem highly; then why do they not take notice of what it says of them?
This is what is sometimes called the argument ad hominem -- coming down to the
level of your opponent, accepting for the moment his assumptions without
necessarily agreeing to them, and then proceeding to show that the 'authority'
he quotes disallows the truth of his conclusion. Similarly, in the parable about
the rich man in hell, Jesus took over the main ideas of the Pharisees about the
hereafter, but he was careful to make plain how absurd he judged them to be
("Studies in the Gospels", Chapter 138, H.A.W.). So also Jude here, by the way
he says: "to these Enoch prophesied...."
In this case the sentiment of verse 14 is
thoroughly Biblical, even though the original words in Deuteronomy 33 appear in
a very different context.
Jude's "to these" becomes the more effective when
it is seen as an element in a rather scornful repetitious tactic: verses 8
(R.V.), 10, 12, 14, 16. (What a contrast with Peter's use of "these" -- 2 Pet.
1:4,8,9,10,12 -- with reference to "exceeding great and precious
Even the mention of Enoch as "the seventh from
Adam" (claimed as the author of this spurious prophecy) seems to have special
point, for he was probably removed out of persecution to a divine sanctuary
(Heb. 11:5, s.w. 7:12), and this deliverance took place only a short while
before the first thousand years of human history had expired. If these men Jude
denounced took this apocryphal writing so seriously, couldn't they get the
message, and apply it to Christian flight from Jerusalem as portending a titanic
judgement on the city?
Well, the next verse sets it out plainly enough
for them. The fourfold repetition of "all" and "ungodly" could hardly be more
forceful in its effect. But the Greek text does actually put even more point to
it by the way in which "Ungodly sinners!" is saved up to the end of the sentence
as a final explosive reprobation.
These men are "murmurers, complainers", who speak
"hard words" against the Lord by speaking against those whom He has appointed to
His work. Here are echoes once again of Israel in the wilderness (Exod. 14:11;
15:24; 16:2; 17:2,3; Num. 11:1-6; 14:2,8,11; 16:41; 20:2; 21:5; Deut. 1:27, LXX;
9:7; Josh. 9:18; Psa. 106:25; 1 Cor. 10:10; John 6:41,43)., and especially of
Korah's rebellion (Num. 16:11). That graphic Greek word "complainers" describes
men who are not satisfied with their own lot. And since "their mouth" (their
spokesman) speaks "great swelling words" (used about Daniel in Dan. 5:12, LXX),
after the manner of the Judaistic "Satan" who was such a thorn in the flesh to
Paul (2 Cor. 11:13-15,22ff), this further allusion to Korah (following on v. 11)
comes in very appropriately. As also does the final phrase: "having men's
persons in admiration because of advantage" -- those who deliberately sought to
work mischief in the early ecclesias found that it paid to parade the high
qualification of rabbinic education and scholarship which their leaders
Paul's counter to such was a warning against
"fables and endless genealogies....profane and old wives' fables....profane and
vain babblings....Jewish fables and commandments of men" (1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2
Tim. 2:16; Tit. 1:14). But Jude had other methods, as v. 14 clearly shows: even
their Jewish fables denounce them.