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Bible Commentaries

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Luke 21

Verses 1-4

Penury - Poverty. See this explained in the notes at Mark 12:41-44.

Verse 5

Goodly stones - Beautiful stones. Either referring to the large, square, and well-finished stones of which the eastern wall was built, or to the precious stones which might have been used in decorating the temple itself. See the notes at Mark 13:1.

Gifts - This word properly denotes anything devoted or dedicated to God. Anciently warriors dedicated to their gods the spoils of war - the shields, and helmets, and armor, and garments of those slain in battle. These were suspended in the temples. It would seem that something of this kind had occurred in the temple of Jerusalem, and that the people, to express their gratitude to God, had suspended on the pillars and perches of the temple gifts and offerings. Josephus mentions particularly a golden “vine” with which Herod the Great had adorned the columns of the temple (“Antiq.” xiii. 8). See also 2 Macc. 5:16; 9:16.

Verse 6

See the notes at Matthew 24:2.

Verses 7-36

Shall fall ... - No less than one million one hundred thousand perished in the siege of Jerusalem.

Shall be led away captive - More than 90,000 were led into captivity. See the notes at Matthew 24:0.

Shall be trodden down by the Gentiles - Shall be in possession of the Gentiles, or be subject to them. The expression also implies that it would be an “oppressive” subjection, as when a captive in war is trodden down under the feet of the conqueror. Anciently conquerors “trod on” the necks of those who were subdued by them, Jos 10:24; 2 Samuel 22:41; Ezekiel 21:29. The bondage of Jerusalem has been long and very oppressive. It was for a long time under the dominion of the Romans, then of the Saracens, and is now of the Turks, and is aptly represented by a captive stretched on the ground whose neck is “trodden” by the foot of the conqueror.

Until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled - This passage has been understood very differently by different expositors. Some refer it to the time which the Romans who conquered it had dominion over it, as signifying that “they” should keep possession of it until a part of the pagans should be converged, when it should be rebuilt. Thus it was rebuilt by the Emperor Adrian. Others suppose that it refers to the end of the world, when all the Gentiles shall be converted, and they shall “cease” to be Gentiles by becoming Christians, meaning that it should “always” be desolate. Others, that Christ meant to say that in the times of the millennium, when the gospel should spread universally, he would reign personally on the earth, and that the “Jews” would return and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. This is the opinion of the Jews and of many Christians. The meaning of the passage clearly is,

  1. That Jerusalem would be completely destroyed.
  2. That this would be done by Gentiles - that is, by the Roman armies.
  3. That this desolation would continue as long as God should judge it proper in a fit manner to express his abhorrence of the crimes of the nation - that is, until the times allotted to “them” by God for this desolation should be accomplished, without specifying how long that would be, or what would occur to the city after that.

To stand before the Son of man - These approaching calamities are represented as the “coming of the Son of man” to judge Jerusalem for its crimes. Its inhabitants were so wicked that they were not worthy to stand before him and would be condemned, and the city would be overthrown. To “stand before him” here denotes approbation, acquittal, favor, and is equivalent to saying that “they” would be free from these calamities, while they should come upon others. See Romans 14:4; Psalms 1:5; Psalms 130:3; Revelation 6:17. Perhaps, also, there is a reference here to the day of judgment. See the notes at Matthew 24:0.

Verses 37-38

See the notes at Matthew 21:17.

Came early in the morning - He returned early from the Mount of Olives, and taught in the temple. Our Saviour did not waste his mornings in idleness or sleep. He rose early and repaired to the temple. The people, also, flocked to the sanctuary to hear him. This example is at once an encouragement to early rising and to the early worship of God. It is a reproof of those who spend the part of the day best fitted for devotion in unnecessary sleep; and it shows the propriety, where it can be done, of assembling early in the morning for prayer and the worship of God. Early prayer-meetings have the countenance of the Saviour, and will be found to be eminently conducive to the promotion of religion. The whole example of Jesus goes to show the importance of beginning the day with God, and of lifting up the heart to him for direction, for the supply of our wants, and for preservation from temptation, before the mind is engrossed by the cares, and distracted by the perplexities, and led away by the temptations of this life. Commencing the day with God is like arresting evil at the fountain; prayer at any other time, without this, is an attempt to arrest it when it has swollen to a stream and rolls on like a torrent. Let the day be begun with God, and the work of piety is easy. Let the world have the ascendency in the morning, and it will be likely to have it also at noonday and at evening.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 21". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/luke-21.html. 1870.