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Bible Commentaries
Luke 21

International Critical Commentary NTInternational Critical

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Verses 1-99

21:1-4. The Widow’s Mites. Mark 12:41-44. The incident is not recorded by Mt. The saying respecting “widows’ houses” might lead to the preservation of this narrative. Mk. and Lk. give both neither.

1. Ἀναβλέψας. Mk. has καθίσας. The long discussions had wearied Him, and He had been sitting with downcast or closed eyes.

εἶδεν τοὺς βάλλοντας … πλουσίους. Either, “He saw the rich who were casting,” etc. Or, “He saw those who were casting … rich people.” The former is better. In either case the imperf. part. expresses what was continually going on: vidit eos qui mittebant munera sua in gazophylacium divites (Vulg.).

τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον. We are not sure that there was a separate building the Treasury. But the thirteen trumpet-mouthed boxes which stood in the spacious Court of the Women appear to have been known as the Treasury. These Shoparoth or “trumpets” were each of them inscribed with the purpose to which the money put into them was to be devoted. See Edersh. The Temple, p. 26. Besides these there was the strong-room whither their contents were taken from time to time. This, however, of be meant here. Comp. John 8:20.

Both in LXX and in Josephus we find sometimes τὰ γαζοφυλάκια (Nehemiah 10:38., Nehemiah 10:13:9; B. J. v. 5. 2, vi. 5, 2), sometimes τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον (2 Kings 23:11; 2Ki_1 Mac. 14:49; Ant. xix. 6, 1): and we cannot say that there is any difference of meaning.

2. πενιχράν. Exodus 22:25; Proverbs 28:15, 29:7; but nowhere else in N.T. Vulg. and l have pauperculam: see also Vulg. of Isaiah 66:2. Note the τινα.

λεπτά δύο. See on 12:59. The exact amount would not be visible from a distance. Jesus knew this, as He knew that it was all that she had, supernaturally. It was not lawful to offer less than two perutahs or mites. This was therefore the smallest offering ever made by anyone; so that Bengel’s remark on the two mites is out of place: quorum unum vidua retinere potuit. She could have kept both.

3. Ἀληθῶς λέγω ὑμῖν. Introduces something contrary to the usual view. Here, as in 9:27 and 12:44, Lk. has�

ἐκ τοῦ ὑστερήματος. Comp. 2 Corinthians 8:14, 2 Corinthians 8:11:9; Judges 19:20; Psalms 33:10. Whereas they had more than they needed for their wants, she had less: they had a surplus, and she a deficit. Yet out of this deficient store she gave,—gave all she had.

The Latin Versions vary much in rendering both expressions: de exuperantia (s), de eo quod superfuit illis (e), de quo super illis fuit (a), fre> (f), ex abundanti (Vulg.): de exiguitate sua (a), de inopia suo (e r), de minimo suo (d), ex eo quad deest illi (f Vulg.).

πάντα τὸν βίον. All that she had to support her at that time: comp. 8:43, 15:12, 30; Song of Solomon 8:7; Soph. Phil. 933, 1283.

5-36. The destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem foretold. Matthew 24:1-36; Mark 13:1-32. The section falls into three divisions: the Occasion of the Prophecy (5-7), the Prophecy (8-28), the Exhortation to Vigilance based on the Parable of the Fig Tree (29-36). Edersheim has shown in detail how different contemporary Jewish opinion respecting the end of the world was from what is contained in this prediction, and therefore how untenable is the hypothesis that we have here only a reflexion of ordinary Jewish tradition (L. & T. 2. pp. 434-445).

5-7. Lk. gives no indication of time or place. Mk. and Mt. tell us that it was as Jesus was leaving the precincts that the remark of the disciples was made. The discourse as to the comparative merits of the offerings made in the Temple would easily lead on to thoughts respecting the magnificence of the temple itself and of the votive gifts which it received.

5. τινων λεγόντων. Mt. and Mk. tell us that these were disciples.

Here again Cod. Bezae has a reproduction of the gen. abs in Latin. quorundam dicentium: comp. Ver. 26.

λίθοις καλοῖς. Some of the stones of the substructure were enormous. The columns of the cloister or portico were monoliths of marble over forty feet high. See Josephus, whose account should be read in full (B. J. v. 5), Tacitus (Hist. v. 12), Milman (Hist. of the Jews, 2. bk. 16, p. 332), Edersheim (Temple, p. 21.), Renan (V. de J. p. 210). “It is almost impossible to realise the effect which would be produced by a building longer and higher than York Cathedral, standing on a solid mass of masonry almost equal in height to the tallest of our church spires” (Wilson, Recovery of Jerusalem, p. 9).

ἀναθήμασιν. Mt. and Mk. say nothing about the rich offerings, which were many and various, from princes and private individuals (2 Malachi 3:2-7): e.g. the golden vine of Herod, with bunches as tall as a man (Jos. B. J. v. 5, 4; Ant. xv. 11, 3: comp. 17:6, 3; 18:3, 5, 19:6, 1). Illic immensæ opulentiæ templum (Tac. Hist. v. 8, 1). For�Malachi 3:17; Hdt. i. 183, 6. Here only in N.T.

On the relation between�Galatians 1:8; Trench, Syn. v.; Crerner, Lex. p. 547. In MSS. the two words are often confounded. Here א A D X have�

6. ταῦτα ἅ θεωρεῖτε. Nom. pendens: comp. Matthew 10:14, Matthew 10:12:36; John 6:39, John 6:7:38, John 6:15:2, John 6:17:2; Acts 7:40.

ἐλεύσονται ἡμέραι. “Days will come”: no article. Comp. 5:35, 17:22, 19:43, 23:29.

οὐκ�Psa_1. p. 295.

7. Just as Lk. omits the fact that the remark about the glorious buildings was made as Jesus was leaving the temple (ver. 5), so he omits the fact that this question was asked while Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives. Mt. knows that it was “the disciples” who asked; but the interpreter of Peter knows that Peter, James, John, and Andrew were the enquirers. Both state that the question was asked κατʼ ἰδίαν.

πότε οὖν ταῦτα ἔσται; They accept the prediction without question, and ask as to the date, respecting which Christ gives them no answer: comp. 13:23, 24, 17:20. Perhaps they considered that this temple was to be destroyed to make room for one more worthy of the Kingdom. Their second question, τί τὸ σημεῖον, shows that they expect to live to see the preparatory catastrophe.

8-28. The Prophecy. The Troubles which will follow the Departure of Christ—False Christs, Wars, Persecutions (8-19), The Destruction of Jerusalem (20-24). The Signs of the Return of the Son of Man (25-28). The record of the prediction in Mt. and Mk. is similarly arranged. But in all three records the outlines of the two main events, with their signs, cannot always, be disentangled. Some of the utterances clearly point to the Destruction of Jerusalem; others equally clearly to the Return of the Christ. But there are some which might apply to either or both; and we, who stand between the two, cannot be sure which one, if only one, is intended. In its application to the lives of the hearers each event taught a similar truth, and conveyed a similar warning; and therefore a clearly cut distinction between them was as little needed as an exact statement of date. Some of the early commentators held that the whole of the prophecy refers to the end of the world without including the fall of Jerusalem.

8. πλανηθῆτε. “Be led astray?” The verb is used nowhere else in Lk. It implies no mere mistake, but fundamental departure from the truth: John 7:47; 1 John 1:8, 1 John 1:2:26, 1 John 1:3:7; Revelation 2:20, Revelation 12:9, Revelation 20:3-10, etc. “Deceive” (AV.) would rather be�James 1:26: comp. 1 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 6:3).

ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου. Christ’s name will be the basis of their claim. We know of no false Messiahs between the Ascension and the fall of Jerusalem. Theudas (Acts 5:36), Simon Magus (Acts 8:9), the Egyptian (Acts 21:38) do not seem to have come forward as Messiahs. Dositheus, Simon Magus, and Menander might be counted among the “many antichrists” of 1 John 2:18, but not as false Christs. We seem, therefore, at the outset to have a sign which refers rather to Christ’s return than to the destruction of Jerusalem.

9.�1 Corinthians 14:33; 2 Corinthians 6:5, 2 Corinthians 6:12:20; James 3:16; Proverbs 26:28; Tob, 4:13. In Josephus we have abundant evidence of such things. Tacitus says of this period—opimum casibus, atrox præliis, discors seditionibus, ipsâ etiam pace sævum. Quatuor Principes ferro interempti. Trina bella civilia, plura externa ac plerumque permixta (Hist. i. 2, I).—πτοηθῆτε. only here and 24:37: Mt. and Mk. have θροεῖσθε.

δεῖ. It is so ordered by God: Comp. 13:33, 17:25, 19:5, 24:7, 26, 44.

οὐκ εὐθέως. First, with emphasis: “Not immediately is the end.” For “by-and-by” as a translation of εὐθέως see on 17:7. By τὸτέλος is not meant τὸ τέλος ὠδίνων (comp. Matthew 24:8), but πάντων τὸ τέλος (1 Peter 4:7), the end of the world and the coming of the Son of Man.

10. Τότε ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς A new introduction to mark a solemn utterance, The τότε with ἔλεγεν is unusual; but that does not make the combination of τότε with ἐγερθήσεται (Beza, Casaubon, Hahn) probable,

D, Syr-Cur. Syr-Sin. a d e ff2 i l r omit the words.

ἐγερθήσεται ἔθνος ἐπʼ ἔθνας. Only here and in the parallel use of ἐγείρεσθαι ἐπί τινα found in N.T. Comp, ἐπεγερθή σονται Αἰγύπτιοι ἐπʼ Αἰγυπτίους … [ἐπεγερθήσεται] πόλις ἐπὶ πόλιν καὶ νομὸς ἐπὶ νομόν (Isaiah 19:2).

11. After describing the general political disturbances which shall precede the end, Jesus mentions four disturbances of nature which shall also form a prelude: earthquakes, famines, pestilences, and terrible phenomena in the heaven. Lk. alone mentions the λοιμοί (elsewhere in a metaphorical sense: Acts 24:5; Proverbs 21:24; Psalms 1:1; Psa_1 Mac. 15:21). Lk. alone also mentions the φόβηθρά τε καὶ σημεῖα. On the prodigies which preceded the capture of Jerusalem see Jos. B. J. 6:5, 3; Tac. Hist. v. 13.

According to the better text (א B L, Aegyptt. Arm. Aeth.) κατὰ τόπους belongs to λοιμοὶ καὶ λιμοί, not (as in Mk.) to σεισμοὶ μεγάλοι (A D, Latt.).Syr-Sin. has “in divers places” with both. Many authorities (א A D L, de Boh.) have λιμοὶ κ. λοιμοί. For the paronomasia comp. ζωὴν καὶ πνοήν (Acts 17:25); γινώσκεις ἃ�Acts 8:30); ἔμαθεν�Hebrews 5:8); ὀναίμην in Ὀνήσιμος (Philemon 1:20); τινὲς τῶν κλάδων ἐξεκλάσθησαν (Romans 11:17). Some Latin, Syriac, and Aethiopic authorities here insert et hiemes (tempestates), “probably from an extraneous source written or oral” (WH. 2. App. p. 63). Comp. the addition of καὶ ταραχαί in Mark 13:8. And as regards the terrors generally comp. 4 Esdr. v. 4-10.

12-19. Calamities specially affecting the Disciples; Persecution and Treachery. While Lk. and Mk. emphasize the persecution that will come from the Jews, Mt. seems almost to confine it to the Gentiles (but see Matthew 10:17-19). Jn. also records that Christ foretold persecution (15:18-21), and in particular from the Jews (16:2, 3). The Acts may supply abundant illustrations. Note that Lk. has nothing about “the Gospel being preached to all, the nations” (Mark 13:10; Matthew 24:14). Would he have omitted this, if either of those documents was before him ?

12. πρὸ δὲ τούτων. The prep. is certainly used of time, and of superiority in magnitude. Persecutions are among the first things to be expected. The tendency of Mt. to slur the misdeeds of the Jews is conspicuous here. While Lk. mentions τὰς συναγωγάς and Mk. adds συνέδρια, Mt. has the vague term θλίψιν.

13.�Philippians 1:19. More probably to the truth of the Gospel. For the verb comp. Job 13:16; Job_2 Mac. 9:24.

14. προμελετᾷν. The regular word for conning over a speech: here only in N.T. Mk. has the less classical προμεριμνᾷν. Comp. Matthew 10:20, and see on 12:11. Hahn would make the word mean anxiety about the result of the defence.

15. ἐγὼ γάρ. With emphasis: “all of that will be My care.” In the parallel assurances in Matthew 10:20 and Mark 13:11 it is the help of the Holy Spirit that is promised. In form this verse is peculiar to Lk. By στόμα is meant the power of speech; by σοφία the choice of matter and form. Comp. ἐγὼ�Exodus 4:12), and δέδωκα τοὺς λόγους μου εἰς τὸ στόμα σου (Jeremiah 1:9).

ἀντιστῆναι. This refers to σοφία (Acts 6:10) as�

16. καὶ ὑπὸ γονέων. “Even by parents” (RV.) rather than “both by ants” (AV.). Cov. also has “even.” Comp. 12:52, 53; Matthew 10:35 for similar predictions of discord in families to be produced by the Gospel.

θανατώσουσιν. This verb is in all three accounts. It cannot be watered down to mean “put in danger of death” (Volkmar): ver. 18 does not require this evasion. Comp. ἐξ αὐτῶν�Matthew 23:34) and ἐξ αὐτῶν�Luke 9:49). Here ἐξ ὑμῶν naturally means “some of you Apostles.” Three of the four who heard these words—James, Peter, and Andrew—suffered a martyr’s death.

17. καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι. This verse is found in the same form in all three, excepting that Mt. inserts τῶν ἐθνῶν after πάντων, which is in harmony with his omitting synagogues as centres of persecution (24:9). For the paraphrastic future see on 1:20.

18. καὶ θρὶξ … οὐ μὴ�John 10:28 is in substance closely parallel. This is more satisfactory than to take it literally and supply sine præmio, ante tempus (Beng.); or supply from Matthew 10:29 ἄνευ τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν (Hahn). The proverb is used of physical preservation, Acts 27:34; 1 Samuel 14:45; 2 Samuel 14:11; 1 Kings 1:52.

19. ἐν τῇ ὑπομονῇ ὑμῶν. “In your endurance” of suffering without giving way; whereas μακροθυμία is patience of injuries without paying back. See Trench, Syn. liii.; Lft. on Colossians 1:11, Colossians 1:3:12; Wsctt on Hebrews 6:12. The Latin Versions often confuse the two words.

Here we have patientia (e f ff2 i q r s Vulg.), tolerantia (a), sufferentia (d). These three translations are found also 8:15. In no other Gospel does ὑπομονή occur; and in no Gospel does μακροθυμία occur.

κτήσεσθε τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν. “Ye shall win your souls,” or “your lives.” This confirms the interpretation given above of ver. 18. There the loss of eternal salvation is spoken of as death. Here the gaining of it is called winning one’s life. See on 9:25 and 17:33 In Mt. (24:13, 10:22) and Mk. (13:13) this saying is represented by “He that endureth (ὑπομείνας) to the end, the same shall be saved.” Neither Lk. nor Jn. use ὑπομένειν in this sense.

The reading is uncertain as regards the verb. A B some cursives, Latt. Syr. Arm. Aeth. and best MSS. of Bob., Tert. Orig. support κτήσεσθε, which is adopted by Treg. WH. RV. and Weiss; while א D L R X G D etc., some MSS. of Bob., Const-Apost Bas. support κτήσασθε, which is adopted by Tisch. Neither reading justifies “possess your souls,” a meaning confined to the perf. Cov. has “holde fast” but nearly all others have “possess,” following in verb, though not in tense, the possidebitis of Vulg. Other Lat. texts have adquiretis (c ff2 l) or adquirite (d i). See last now on 18:12.

20-24. The Destruction of Jerusalem.

20. κυκλουμένην. “Being compassed”: when the process was completed it would be too late; comp. Hebrews 11:30. No English Version preserves this distinction: but Vulg. has videritis circumdari, not circumdatam. (a e). Instead of this Mt. and Mk. have “the abomination of desolation,” etc.

ἡ ἐρήμωσις. The word is freq. in LXX, but in N.T. occurs only here and the parallels. The disciples had been expecting an immediate glorification of Jerusalem as the seat of the Messianic Kingdom. It is the desolation of Jerusalem that is really near at hand.

21. τότε … τὰ ὄρη. Verbatim the same in all three. What follows, to the end of ver. 22, is peculiar to Lk. By “the mountains” is meant the mountainous parts of Judæa: but ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῆς (see on 8:7) refers, like εἰς αὐτήν, not to Judæa, but to Jerusalem.

χώραις “Land-estates” (12:16), “country” as opposed to the town. See Blass on Acts 8:2. The Jews who fled from the country into Jerusalem for safety greatly increased the miseries of the siege. It is probably to this prophecy that Eusebius refers when he speaks of “the people of the Church in Jerusalem being commanded to leave and dwell in a city of Peræa called Pella, in accordance with a certain oracle which was uttered before the war to the approved men there by way of revelation” (H. E. 3:5, 3). The flight to Pella illustrates the prophecy; but we need not confine so general a warning to a single incident. It is important to note that the wording of the warning as recorded here has not been altered to suit this incident. Marcion omitted vv. 18, 21, 22.

Vulg. and Lat. Vet. are misleading in translating it ἐν ταῖς χώραις in regionibus The Frag. Ambrosiana (s) give more rightly in agris. See old. Latin Biblical texts, 2. p, 88.

22. ἡμέραι ἐκδικήσεως. Comp. LXX of Deuteronomy 32:35; Hosea 9:7; Ecclus. 5:9. In what follows note the characteristic construction, and verb, and adjective. There is an abundance of such utterances throughout the O.T. Leviticus 26:31-33; Deuteronomy 28:49-57; 1 Kings 9:6-9; Micah 3:12; Zechariah 11:6; Daniel 9:26, Daniel 9:27. The famous passage in Eus. H. E. 2:23, 20should be compared, in which (like Origen before him) he quotes as from Josephus words which are in no MS. of Josephus which is extant: “These things happened to the Jews to avenge (κατʼ ἐκδίκησιν) James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus, that is called the Christ. For the Jews slew him, although he was a very just man.”

23. οὐαὶ … ἡμέραις. Verbatim the same in all three. For�Job 15:24 we have�Job 7:11, Job 18:14, Job 20:22. In class. Grk.�1 Corinthians 7:26; 1 Thessalonians 3:7; 2 Corinthians 6:4, 2 Corinthians 6:12:10; Psalms 106:6, Psalms 106:13, Psalms 106:19, Psalms 106:28; Ps. Song of Solomon 5:8). See small print on ver. 25. The meaning of ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς is determined by τῷ λαῷ τούτῳ. The latter means the Jews, and therefore the former means Palestine (AV. RV.) and not the earth (Weiss). For the Divine ὀργή comp. 1 Mac. 1:64, Malachi 1:2:49; Mal_2 Mac. 5:20; PS. Sol. 2:26, 17:14. The ὀργή is provoked by the people qui tantam gratiam cælestem spreverit (Beng.).

24. καὶ πεσοῦνται μαχαίρης. This verse and the last words of Ver. 23 are peculiar to Lk. Note the characteristic πάντα, periphrastic future, and ἄχρι. The often repeated assertion of Josephus, that 1,100,000 perished in the siege and 97,000 were carried into captivity (B. J. 6:9, 3) is quite incredible: they could not have found standing-ground within the walls. The sexcenta millia of Tacitus (Hist. v. 13, 4), if taken literally, is far too many for the number of those besieged: but sexcenti need not mean more than “very many.” Perhaps 70,000 is an ample estimate.

The phrase ἐν στόματι μαχαίρας occurs Genesis 24:26; Genesis 10:28; ἐν στόματι ρομφαίας, 6:21, 8:24; ἐν στόματι ξἰφους, Joshua 10:30, Joshua 10:32, Joshua 10:35, Joshua 10:37, Joshua 10:39. The plur. στόματα μαχαίρης is found Hebrews 11:34 In the best MSS. substantives in ρα form gen. and dat. in ρης and ρῃ (WH, 2. App. p. 156).

ἔσται πατουμένη. See on 1:20, and see also Burton., § 71.Plus sonat quam πατηθήσται (Beng.): it expresses the permanent condition, la domination écrasante (Godet). Comp. the LXX of Zechariah 12:3, θήσομαι τὴν Ἰερουσαλὴμ λίθον καταπατούμενον πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν.1 Jerusalem has more often been under the feet of Gentiles than in the hands of Christians. Romans, Saracens, Persians, and Turks have all trampled upon her in turn.

The Latin Versions vary much: erit calcata (dδ) erit incalcata (e), erit in concalcation (a), concalcabitur (r), calcabitur (Vulg.).

ἄχρι οὖ. See on 2:20: ἄχρις οὗ is possibly correct Romans 11:25; Hebrews 3:13.

καιροι ἐθνῶν. As stated already, the whole of this verse is peculiar to Lk., and some have supposed that the last part of it is in addition made by him. It is not necessary to charge him with any such licence; although it is possible that oral tradition has here, as elsewhere, paraphrased and condensed what was said. The “seasons of the Gentiles” or “opportunities of the Gentiles” cannot be interpreted with certainty. Either (1) Seasons for executing the Divine judgments; or (2) for lording it over Israel; or (3) for existing as Gentiles; or (4) for themselves becoming subject to Divine judgments; or (5) opportunities of turning to God; or (6) of possessing the privileges which the Jews had forfeited. The first and last are best, and they are not mutually exclusive. Comp. ἄχρι οὗ τὸ πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν εἰσέλθῃ (Romans 11:25), where the whole section is a comment on the promise that the punishment of Israel has a limit. The plur. καιροί corresponds with the plur. ἔθνη: each nation has its καιρός but comp. ἔως πληρωθῶσιν καιροὶ τοῦ αἰῶνος (Tob. 14:5), where the whole passage should be compared with this.

25-28. The Signs of the Second Advent. Lk. here omits what is said about shortening the days and the appearance of impostors (Matthew 24:22&-26; Mark 13:20-23). On the latter subject he has already recorded a warning (17:23, 24).

25. ἐν ἡλίῳ κ. σελήνῃ κ. ἄστροις. “In sun and moon and stars.” In Mt. and Mk. the three words have the article. All English Versions prior to RV. wrongly insert the article here, Cov. with “sun,” the rest with all three words. Similar language is common in the Prophets: Isaiah 13:10; Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:10, Joel 3:15: comp. Isaiah 34:4; Haggai 2:6, Haggai 2:21, etc. Such expressions indicate the perplexity and distress caused by violent changes: the very sources of light are cut off. To what extent they are to be understood literally cannot be determined: but it is quite out of place to introduce here the thought of Christ as the sun and the Church as the moon, as do Ambr. and Wordsw. ad loc. (Migne, 15:1813). The remainder of this verse and most of the next are peculiar to Lk.

συνοχή occurs only here and 2 Corinthians 2:4 in N.T.; but comp. 8:45, 19:43, 12:50. In LXX it is found Judges 2:3; Job 30:3; Jeremiah 52:5; Micah 5:1. In Vulg. Jerome carelessly uses pressura both for συνοχή here and for�

ἐν�Isaiah 28:2, Isaiah 28:29:6, 30:30; Ezekiel 38:22; Psalms 42:7, Psalms 55:7, Psalms 88:7. See Stanley, Jewish Church, 1. p. 130.

It is uncertain whether ἠχους is to be accented ἠχοῦς as from ἠχώ or ἤχους as from ἦχος (4:37; Hebrews 12:19; Acts 2:2). See WH. 2. App. p. 158. The reading ἠχούσης (D Γ Δ Λ Π etc.) is a manifest correction: the evidence against it (א A B C L M R X and Versions) is overwhelming. For the gen. after�


The arescentibus of Lat. Vet. and Vulg. is remarkable; but a has a refrigescentibus and d has deficientium.1 Of these three words refrigescere best represents�Numbers 11:32; 2 Samuel 17:19. Comp, τοὶ δʼ ἰδρῶ�Acts 12:11 It only in N.T.) as denoting the expectation of an unfavourable result. For this use of�

τῇ οἰκουμένῃ. See on 4:5.

αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται. Comp. τακήσονται πᾶσαι αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν (Isaiah 34:4). The verb which Lk. substitutes is one of which he is fond (6:38, 48, 7:24; Acts 2:25, Acts 4:31, Acts 16:26, Acts 17:13). By αἱ δυνάμεις τ. οὐρ. is meant, not the Angels (Euthym.), nor the cosmic powers which uphold the heavens (Mey. Oosterz), but the heavenly bodies, the stars (De W. Holtz. Weiss, Hahn): Comp. Isaiah 40:26; Psalms 33:6. Evidently physical existences are meant.

27. καὶ τότε ὄψονται. “Not till then shall they see.” Not ὄψεσθε: there is perhaps a hint that those present will not live to see this. This verse is in all three: comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 2 Thessalonians 1:2:8; Revelation 1:8, Revelation 19:11-16.

28. This word of comfort is given by Lk. alone. Only here in N.T. is�Job 10:15, and contrast Luke 13:2; [Jn.] 8:7, 10. The disciples present are regarded as representatives of believers generally, Only those who witness the signs can actually fulfil this injunction.

ἀπολύρωσις. At the Second Advent. Here the word means little more than “release” or “deliverance,” without any idea of “ransom” (λύτρον). See Sanday on Romans 3:24, Abbott on Ephesians 1:7, and Wsctt. Heb. pp. 295-297. Comp. Enoch, 51:2.

29-33. The Parable of the Fig Tree. Matthew 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-32.

29. καὶ εἶπεν. This marks the resumption of the discourse after a pause: comp. 9:5. More often Lk. uses εἶπεν δέ or ἔλεγεν: 14:12, 20:41, etc. For εἶπεν παραβολήν see on 6:39. Lk. alone makes the addition καὶ πάντα τὰ δέδρα: see on 6:30 and 7:35. Writing for Gentiles, Lk. preserves words which cover those to whom fig trees are unknown.

30. προβάλωσιν. Here only without acc. We must understand τὰ φύλλα. In Jos Ant. 4:8, 19 καρπόν is added: comp. Acts 19:33.

ἀφʼ ἑαυτῶν γινώσκετε. “Of your own selves ye recognize:” i.e. with out being told. For ἐαυτοῦ, -ῶν, of the 2nd pers. comp. 12:1, 33, 16:9, 15, 17:3, 14, 22:17, 23:28. It occurs in class. Grk. where no ambiguity is involved.

There is no justification for rendering θέρος “harvest,” which would be θερισμός (10:2). In N.T. θέρος occurs only in this parable.

32. ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη. This cannot well mean anything but the generation living when these words were spoken: 7:31, 11:29-32, 50, 51, 17:25; Matthew 11:16, etc. The reference, therefore, is to the destruction of Jerusalem regarded as the type of the end of the world. To make ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη mean the Jewish race, or the generation contemporaneous with the beginning of the signs, is not satisfactory. See on 9:27, where, as here, the coming of the Kingdom of God seems to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem.

33. ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ. Comp. 2 Peter 3:10; Hebrews 1:11, Hebrews 1:12; Revelation 20:11, 21:1; Psalms 102:26; Isaiah 51:6. A time will come when everything material will cease to exist; but Christ’s words will ever hold good. The prophecy just uttered is specially meant; but all His sayings are included. Comp. οὐδὲ γὰρ παρῆλθεν ὐπʼ αὐτῶν λόγος (Addit. Esth. 10:5).

οὐ μὴ παρελεύσονται. So also in Mark 13:31, but in Matthew 24:35 παρέλθωσιν, which A R X etc. read here and A C D X etc. read in Mk. As the subj. is the usual constr, in N.T. after οὐ μή, copyists often corrected the fut. indic. to aor. subj. Comp. Mark 14:31; Matthew 15:5; Galatians 4:30; Hebrews 10:17, etc. The Old Latin MSS. used by Jerome seem here to have read transient … transient. Our best MSS. of the Vulgate read transibunt … transient. Jerome may have forgotten to correct the second transient into transibunt: or he may have wished to mark the difference between παρελεύσονται and παρέλθωσιν. Cod. Brix. with the Book of Dimma and some other authorities has transibunt … præteribunt. See Hermathena, No 19. p. 386.

34-36. Concluding Warning as to the Necessity of Ceaseless Vigilance. Comp. Matthew 25:13-15; Mark 13:33-37. The form of this warning differs considerably in the three Gospels. Not many words are common to any two of them; and very few are common to all three. It should be noted that here as elsewhere (10:7 = Tim. 5:18, 24:34 = 1Co_5), Lk. in differing from Mt. and Mk. agrees with S. Paul. Comp. with this 1 Thessalonians 5:3 See Lft. Epp. p. 72.

34. For προέχετε δὲ ἑαυτοῖς see on ver. 30 and 12:1; and for βαρηθῶσιν see on 9:32.

κρεπάλῃ. Not “surfeiting,” but the nausea which follows a debauch: crapula. Here only in bibl. Grk. For this and μέθη (Romans 13:13; Gal. v. 21) see Trench, Syn. lxi.; and for the orthography see WH. 2. App. p. 151.

μερίμναις βιωτικαῖς. The adj. occurs 1 Corinthians 6:3, 1 Corinthians 6:4: but is not found in LXX, nor earlier than Aristotle. Comp. πρὸς τὰς βιωτικὰς χρείας ὑπηρετεῖν (Philo, Vit. Mo. 3:18).

The remarkable rendering soniis for μερίμηαις in Cod. Bezae has long attracted attention, and has been regarded by some as a manifest Gallicism. It is confidently connected with the French soins. But the connexion is not certain. The word may be a form of somniis, and the transition from “turbing dreams” to “perplexities” and “own” would not be difficult, The word occurs once in the St. Gall MS. of the Sortes, and soniari occurs four times. It was therefore a word which was established in use early in the sixth century. Whether it is original in the text of D, or is a later substitution, is much debated. Here other renderings are sollicitudinibus (a e), cogitationibus (b f), curis (Tert. Vulg.). The prevalent Old Latin rendering was sollicitudines (a b d f) both in 8:14 and Matthew 13:22 (comp. Mark 4:19); and the translator of Irenæus has sollicitudinibus here. see Scrivener, Codex Bezae, pp. 44, 45 Rendel Harris, p. 26; and an excellent review in the Guardian, May 18, 1892, p. 743.

ἐφνίδιος. Here, but not 1 Thessalonians 5:3 or Wisd. 17:14, this form is best attested. WH. Intr. 309, App. 151. The Latin renderings are repentaneus (a), subitaneus (d e), repentina (f Vulg.).

ἡ ἡμέρα ἐκείνη. This is the one expression which in section is common to all three accounts. Comp. 10:12, 17:31. The day of the Messiah’s return is meant.

ὡς παγίς. According to the best authorities (א B D L, a b c e ff2 1 Boh., Tert.) these words belong to what precedes, and the γάρ follows ἐπεισελεύσεται, not παγίς. The whole recalls φόβος καὶ βόθυνος καὶ παγὶς ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἐνοικοῦντας ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς (Isaiah 24:17). The resemblance between the passages, and the fact that ἐπεισελεύσεται suits the notion of a παγίς (“noose” or “lasso”), accounts for the transposition of the γάρ. Originally α παγίς (πήγνυμι) is that which holds fast: Psalms 91:3; Proverbs 7:23; Ecclesiastes 9:12. Here most Latin texts have laqueus, but Cod. Palat. has muscipula.

35-36. Note the characteristic repetition of πᾶς.

35. πάσης τῆς γῆς. Not the land of the Jews only. Possibly καθημένους indicates that, as at the flood. and at Belshazzar’s feast, people are sitting at ease, eating and drinking, etc. (17:27): but it need not mean more than inhabiting. Comp. μάχαιραν ἐγὼ καλῶ ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς καθημένους ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς (Jeremiah 25:29). For ἐπὶ προς. π. τ. γῆς Comp. 2 Samuel 18:8. The phrase is Hebraistic.

36.�Ephesians 6:18; Hebrews 13:17; 2 Samuel 12:21; Psalms 126:1; Proverbs 8:34.

The οῦν (A C R, b c ff2. Syrr. Aeth. Arm.) for δέ (א B D, a d e) probably comes from Matthew 25:13 and Mark 13:35,

ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ 18:1 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17 are in favour of taking these words with δεόμενοι (Wic. Gen. Rhem. AV.) rather than with�

κατισχύσητε. This is the reading of א B L X 33, Aegyptt. Aeth. and is adopted by the best editors. It properly means “prevail against”. (Matthew 16:18; Jeremiah 15:18; 2 Chronicles 8:3; comp. Luke 23:23; Isaiah 22:4; Wisd. 17:5). The καταξιωθῆτε of A C D R, Latt. Syrr. Arm., Tert. perhaps comes from 20:35.

σταθῆναι. “To hold your place.” comp. Τότε στήσεται ἐν παρρησία πολλῇ ὁ δίκαιος (Wisd. 5:1). It is clear from 11:18. 18:11, 40, 19:8; Acts 2:14, Acts 5:20, Acts 11:13, Acts 17:22, Acts 25:18, Acts 27:21, etc., that σταθῆναι is not to be taken passively of being placed by the Angels (Matthew 24:31). Comp. τίς δύναται σταθῆναι; (Revelation 6:17). For the opposite of σταθῆναι see 23:30; Revelation 6:16: comp. 1 John 2:28.

The Apocalypse of Jesus

Hase (Gesch. Jesu, § 97). Colani (J. C. et les croyances messianiques de son temps). and others think that Jesus had penetration enough to foresee and predict the destruction of Jerusalem, but they cannot believe that He was such a fanatic as to foretell that He would return in glory and judge the world. Hence they, conclude that these predictions about the Parusia were never uttered by Him Keim sees that Mark 13:32 cannot be an invention (Jes. of Naz. 5. p. 241): in some shape or other Jesus must have foretold His glorious Return. therefore this eschatological discourse is based upon some genuine utterances of Jesus; but has been expanded into an apocalyptic poem with the help of other material. Both Keim and some of those who deny the authenticity of any prediction of Christ’s Return assume the existence of an apocalypse by some Jewish Christian; as the source from which large portions of this discourse are taken. Weizsäcker holds that the apocalypse was Jewish, and was taken from a lost section of the Book of Enoch. Weiffenbach. followed by Wendt and Vischer, upholds the theory of a Jewish-Christian original.

But did this spurious apocalypse, the existence of which is pure conjecture. supply Lk. with what he has recorded 11:49-51. 13:23-27, 35, 17:23, 37. 18:8, 19:15, 43, 20:16? Did it supply Mt. with what he has recorded 7:22, 10:23, 19:28, 21:44. 13:7. 25:31, 26:64? Mk. also with the parallels to them passages? That all three derived these utterances from Apostolic tradition is credible. Is it credible that a writing otherwise unknown and by an unknown author should have had such enormous influence? And its influence does not end with the three Evangelists. It has contributed largely to the Epistles of S. Paul. especially to the very earliest of them. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:16, 1 Thessalonians 2:4:6, 1 Thessalonians 2:17, 1 Thessalonians 2:5:1 Thessalonians 2:1-3;, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. And it would seem to have influenced much of the imagery in Revelation. which foretells wars. famine, pestilence. and persecution (6:4, 5, 8, 9), and the Return of the Saviour accompanied by the armies of heaven (19:11-16). This supposed fictitious apocalypse is assigned to A.D. 68, or thereabouts; and therefore long after the Pauline Epistles were written. Apostolic tradition, which is known to have existed, is a far safer hypothesis. See Godet. ad loc. (2. PP. 430 ff.), whose remarks have been, freely used in this note. See also Briggs, The Messiah of the Gospels, T. & T. Clark. 1894, ch. 4. where this “Apocalypse of Jesus” is critically discussed, with special reference to the theory of Weiffenbach and others that the assumed Jewish-Christian apocalypse consisted of these three portions:—(a) the�Mark 13:7, Mark 13:8=Matthew 24:6-8=Luke 21:9-11; (β) the θλίψις, Mark 13:14-20=Matthew 24:15-22; (γ) the παρουσία, Mark 13:24-27=Matthew 24:29-31=Luke 21:25-27.Luke 21:1 Briggs points out the insignificance of the fact that ideas such as these are found in Jewish pseudepigrapha. These ideas were by them derived from the O.T.. which was the common source of both canonical and uncanonical apocalypses, whether Jewish or Christian. Jesus uses this source on other occasions, and there is nothing unreasonable in the belief that He uses it here. The cosmical disturbances foretold (vv. 25-27) “belong not only to the theophanies and the Christophanies of prophecy, but also to the theophanies and Christophanies of history In both the Old Testament and the New. They represent the response of the creature to the presence of the Creator” (p. 155). Both Briggs and Nösgen (Gesch. J. C. Kap. 9.), give abundant references to the literature of the subject in Beyschlag (L.J.), Hilgenfeld (Einl. 1. N.T.), Holsten (die syn. Ev..), Immer (Ntl. Theol.), Mangold in Bleek (Einl. 1. N.T.), Pfleiderer (Urchristen.), Pressensé (J.C.) Spitta (die Offbg. des Joh.) and Wendt (Lehre Jesu). See also especially D. E. Haupt (Eschatolog Aussagen Jesu in d. syn. Evang., Berlin, 1895).

37, 38. General Description of the last Days of Christ’s Public Ministry.

37. τὰς ἡμέρας. “During the days.” From the other narratives we infer that this covers the day of the triumphal entry and the next two days. It is, therefore, retrospective, and is a repetition, with additional detail, of 19:47. The contrast with τὰς δὲ νύκτας, “but during the nights,” is obvious. It is not clear whether ἦν belongs to ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ or to διδάσκων, which probably ought to follow (א A C D L R X G Δ Λ Π) and not precede (B K) ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ.

ἐξερχονμενος ἡμλίζετο εἰς. “Leaving (the temple) He used to go and bivouac on” (4:23, 7:1, 9:61, 11:7). Comp. μηκέτι αὐλισθῆτε εἰς Νινευή (Tobit 14:10), ὑπὸ τοὺς κλάδους αὐτῆς αὐλισθήσεται (Ecclus. 14:26). On the M. of Olives He would be undisturbed (22:39). For καλούμενον see on 6:15, and for Ἐλαιων see on 19:29. It is not probable that εἰς τὸ ὄρος is to taken with ἐξερχονμενος, but the participle of motion has influenced the choice of preposition.

38. ὤρθριζε πρὸς αὐτόν. Another condensed expression: “rose early and came to Him.” The verb occurs here only in N.T., but is freq. in LXX. Twice we have the two verbs combined. αὐλίσθητι ὧδε … καὶ ὀρθριεῖτε αὔριον εἰς ὁδὸν ὑμῶν (Judges 19:9); αὐλισθῶμεν ἐν κώμαις· ὀρθρίσωμεν εἰς�Song of Solomon 7:11, Song of Solomon 7:12). The literal meaning is the right one here, although ὀρθρίζω may mean “seek eagerly” (Ps. 77:34; Ecclus. 4:12, 6:36; Wisd. 6:14). Contrast Psalms 127:2; Psa_1 Mac. 4:52, Malachi 4:6:33, 11:67; Gospel of Nicodemus xv. The classical form ὀρθρεύω is always used in the literal sense.

Most MSS. of Vulg. here have the strange rendering manicabat ad eum, which is also the rendering in Cod. Brix. (f), the best representative of the Old Latin text on which Jerome worked. But G has mane ibat, which may possibly be Jerome’s correction of manicabat, a word of which Augustine says mihi non occurrit. See Rönsch, It. und Vulg. p. 174. Other renderings are—vigilabat ad eum (d), de luce vigilabant ad eum (a), ante lucem veneibat ad eum (e r), diluculo conveniendum erat (Tert.). See on 16:26.

Five cursives (13, 69, 124, 346, 556), which are closely related, here insert the pericope of the Woman taken in Adultery, an arrangement which was perhaps suggested by ὤρθριζε here and ὄρθρου John 8:2. The common origin of 13, 69, 124, 346 is regarded as certain. See Scrivener. Int. to Crit. of N.T. i. pp. 192, 202, 231; T.K. Abbott, Collation of Four Important MSS. of the Gospels, Dublin, 1877. “The Section was probably known to the scribe exclusively as a church lesson, recently come into use; and placed by him here on account of the close resemblance between vv. 37, 38 and [Jo] 7:53, 8:1, 2. Had he known it as part of a continuous text of St. Johns Gospel. he was not likely to transpose it” (WH. ii. App. p. 63).

Vulg. Vulgate.

Beng. Bengel.

A A. Cod. Alexandrinus, sæc. v. Once in the Patriarchal Library at Alexandria; sent by Cyril Lucar as a present to Charles 1. in 1628, and now in the British Museum. Complete.

B B. Cod. Vaticanus, sæc. 4. In the Vatican Library certainly since 15331 (Batiffol, La Vaticane de Paul 3, etc., p. 86).

G G. Cod. Harleianus, sæc. ix. In the British Museum. Contains considerable portions.

Δ̠Δ. Cod. Sangallensis, sæc. ix. In the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland. Greek and Latin. Contains the whole Gospel.

אԠא Cod. Sinaiticus, sæc. iv. Brought by Tischendorf from the Convent of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai; now at St. Petersburg. Contains the whole Gospel complete.

Tisch. Tischendorf.

D D. Cod. Bezae, sæc. vi. Given by Beza to the University Library at Cambridge 1581. Greek and Latin. Contains the whole Gospel.

X X. Cod. Monacensis, sæc. ix. In the University Library at Munich. Contains 1:1-37, 2:19-3:38, 4:21-10:37, 11:1-18:43, 20:46-24:53.

L L. Cod. Regius Parisiensis, sæc. viii. National Library at Paris. Contains the whole Gospel.

Orig. Origen.

L. & T. Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.

V. de J. Vie de Jésus.

Jos. Josephus.

Trench, Trench, New Testament Synonyms.

Sin. Sinaitic.

AV. Authorized Version.

Syr Syriac.

Cur. Curetonian.

Aegyptt. Egyptian.

Arm. Armenian.

Aeth. Ethiopic.

Boh. Bohairic.

WH. Westcott and Hort.

Tert. Tertullian.

RV. Revised Version.

Cov. Coverdale.

Mey. Meyer.

Nösg. Nösgen.

Latt. Latin.

Treg. Tregelles.

R R. Cod. Nitriensis Rescriptus, sæc. 8. Brought from a convent in the Nitrian desert about 1847, and now in the British Museum. Contains 1:1-13, 1:69-2:4, 16-27, 4:38-5:5, 5:25-6:8, 18-36, 39, 6:49-7:22, 44, 46, 47, 8:5-15, 8:25-9:1, 12-43, 10:3-16, 11:5-27, 12:4-15, 40-52, 13:26-14:1, 14:12-15:1, 15:13-16:16, 17:21-18:10, 18:22-20:20, 20:33-47, 21:12-22:15, 42-56, 22:71-23:11, 38-51. By a second hand 15:19-21.

Bas. Basil.

Lat. Vet. Vetus Latina.

Eus. Eusebius of Cæsarea

Burton. Burton, N.T. Moods and Tenses.

1 This use of πατέω, “I tread,” as = καταπατέω, “I trample on,” is classical: Plat. Phædr. 248 A; Soph. Aj. 1146; Ant. 745; Aristoph. Vesp. 377: The meaning is certainly not “shall be inhabited by” (Hahn), as in Isaiah 42:5. Comp. Revelation 9:2; PS. Song of Solomon 7:2, Song of Solomon 2:2.

Ambr. Ambrose.

Wordsw. Wordsworth (Chr.)

Wic. Wiclif.

Rhem. Rheims (or Douay).


C. Cod. Ephraemi Rescriptus, sæc. 5. In the National Library at Paris. Contains the following portions of the Gospel: 1:2-2:5, 2:42-3:21, 4:25-6:4, 6:37-7:16, or 17, 8:28-12:3, 19:42-20:27, 21:21-22:19, 23:25-24:7, 24:46-53.

These four MSS. are parts of what were once complete Bibles, and are designated by the same letter throughout the LXX and N.T.

M M. Cod. Campianus, sæc. ix. In the National Library at Paris. Contains the whole Gospel.

1 Deficientium hominum a timore: another reproduction of gem abs. in Latin. Comp. 3:15, 9:43, 19:11, 21:5, 24:36, 41.

Euthym. Euthymius Zigabenus.

De W. De Wette.

Wsctt. Westcott.

Lft. J. B. Lightfoot,* Notes on Epistles of S. Paul.

Gen. Geneva.

Tyn. Tyndale.

1 Holtzmann (Handcomm. on Matthew 24:4-34, Eng. tr. p. 112) Makes the divisions thus: (a) Matthew 24:4-14; (β) 15-28; (γ) 29-34.

K K. Cod. Cyprius, sæc. ix. In the National Library at Paris. Contains the whole Gospel.

Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on Luke 21". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/luke-21.html. 1896-1924.
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