The church that is at Babylon
The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, supply the word "church", as we do. Some, by "Babylon", understand Rome, which is so called, in a figurative sense, in the book of the Revelations: this is an ancient opinion; so Papias understood it, as F5 Eusebius relates; but that Peter was at Rome, when he wrote this epistle, cannot be proved, nor any reason be given why the proper name of the place should be concealed, and a figurative one expressed. It is best therefore to understand it literally, of Babylon in Assyria, the metropolis of the dispersion of the Jews, and the centre of it, to whom the apostle wrote; and where, as the minister of the circumcision, he may be thought to reside, here being a number of persons converted and formed into a Gospel church state, whereby was fulfilled the prophecy in ( Psalms 87:4 ) perhaps this church might consist chiefly of Jews, which might be the reason of the apostle's being here, since there were great numbers which continued here, from the time of the captivity, who returned not with Ezra; and these are said by the Jews F6 to be of the purest blood: many of the Jewish doctors lived here; they had three famous universities in this country, and here their Talmud was written, called from hence F7 Babylonian. The church in this place is said to be
elected together with you;
that is, were chosen together with them in Christ, before the foundation of the world, to grace here, and glory hereafter; or were equally the elect of God as they were, for as such he writes to them, ( 1 Peter 1:2 ) and this the apostle said in a judgment of charity of the whole church, and all the members of it, being under a profession of faith in Christ; and nothing appearing to the contrary, but that their faith was unfeigned, and their profession right and sincere. This Church, he says,
wishes all peace, happiness, and prosperity of every kind,
and so doth Marcus,
my son; either, in a natural sense, his son according to the flesh; since it is certain Peter had a wife, and might have a son, and one of this name: or rather in a spiritual sense, being one that he was either an instrument of converting him, or of instructing him, or was one that was as dear to him as a son; in like manner as the Apostle Paul calls Timothy, and also Titus, his own son. This seems to be Mark the evangelist, who was called John Mark, was Barnabas's sister's son, and his mother's name was Mary; see ( Colossians 4:10 ) ( Acts 12:12 Acts 12:25 ) . He is said F8 to be the interpreter of Peter, and to have wrote his Gospel from what he heard from him; and who approved of it, and confirmed it, and indeed it is said to be his.
F5 Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 15.
F6 T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 69. 2. & 71. 2. & Gloss. in ib.
F7 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 24. 1.
F8 Papias apud Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 39. Tertullian. adv. Marcion, l. 4. c. 5. Hieron. Catalog. Script. Eccl. sect. 2. 18.