Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh
Which may be literally understood, either of the Jewish doctors, who pretended to be interpreters of dreams, as R. Akiba, R. Lazar, and others F14; or of the false teachers in the apostle's time, and of their filthy dreams, and nocturnal pollutions in them; which sense the Arabic and Ethiopic versions confirm; the former rendering the words thus, "so these retiring in the time of sleep, defile their own flesh"; and the latter thus, "and likewise these, who in their own sleep, pollute their own flesh"; as also of their pretensions to divine assistance and intelligence by dreams; and likewise may be figuratively understood of them; for false doctrines are dreams, and the teachers of them dreamers, ( Jeremiah 23:25 Jeremiah 23:27 Jeremiah 23:28 Jeremiah 23:32 ) , as are all those doctrines of men that oppose the trinity of persons in the Godhead; that contradict the deity and sonship of Christ; that depreciate any of his offices; that lessen the glory of the person and grace of the Spirit; that cry up the purity, power, and righteousness of human nature, and are contrary to the free grace of God. These arise from the darkness of the understanding, and a spirit of slumber upon them; are the fictions of their own brain, and of their roving imagination; are illusory and deceitful, and are in themselves vanities, and like dreams pass away. And the dreamers of these dreams may be said to "defile the flesh"; since they appear to follow and walk after the dictates of corrupt nature; and because by their unclean practices, mentioned in the preceding verse, they defile the flesh, that is, the body: all sin is of a defiling nature, and all men are defiled with it; but these were notoriously so; and often so it is, that unclean practices follow upon erroneous principles.
either the government of the world by God, denying or speaking evil of his providence; the Ethiopic version renders it, "they deny their own God", either his being, or rather his providence; or the dominion and kingly power of Christ, to which they cared not to be subject; or rather civil magistracy, which they despised, as supposing it to be inconsistent with their Christian liberty, and rejected it as being a restraint on their lusts; choosing rather anarchy and confusion, that they might do as they pleased, though magistracy is God's ordinance, and magistrates are God's representatives:
and speak evil of dignities;
or "glories"; the Arabic version reads, "the God of glory": this is to be understood either of angels, those glorious creatures, called thrones, dominions or ecclesiastical governors, who are set in the first and highest place in the church, and are the glory of the churches; or else civil magistrates, as before, who are the higher powers, and sit in high places of honour and grandeur. False teachers are injurious to themselves, disturbers of churches, and pernicious to civil government.
F14 T. Hieros. Maaser Sheni, fol. 55. 2, 3.