Attention! has pledged to build one church a year in Uganda. Help us double that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 21

Verse 1

Luke 21:1 . Ἀναβλέψας , having looked up ) from His hearers to others. [Whatever thou mayest do, Jesus looks at thee also, and at thy action, and the intention with which thou doest it. V. g.]

Verse 2

Luke 21:2 . Τινὰ καὶ χήραν ) He saw a certain woman, and her too a widow .

Verse 3

[3. Ἀληθῶς , of a truth, in real fact ) Luke very frequently coincides with Mark; but Mark loves Hebrew modes of expression more than Luke does. Luke employs the Greek ἀληθῶς more frequently than the Hebrew ἀμήν . So the rest of the Evangelists are liberal in their employment of the term Rabbi , which Luke never uses. As Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles; so Luke, the companion of Paul, had especial regard to the Gentiles in his writings. Harm. , p. 474.]

Verse 5

Luke 21:5 . Ἀναθήμασι , dedicatory offerings ) There were various precious memorials dedicated to it for ever. See Josephus. [Such are in our day, for instance, banners, monumental slabs, and other things of the kind, which are wont to be hung up and erected in temples (churches). V. g.]

Verse 6

Luke 21:6 . Ταῦτα , these things ) The Subject. The Predicate follows, which is subdivided into Subject and Predicate. These things are of such a kind, that the days are coming when, etc. So the LXX., 2 Kings 1:4 : ἡ κλίνη ἐφʼ ἧς ἀνέβης ἐκεῖ , οὐ καταβήσἀπʼ αὐτῆς , the bed upon which thou hast ascended there (the Nominative pendent forming the subject), thou shalt not go down from it [the predicate; subdivided into subject and predicate].

Verse 7

Luke 21:7 . Οὖν , therefore ) A particle expressing astonishment, combined with assent. σημεῖον , sign ) Both parts of the answer meet the question concerning the sign; Luke 21:11 ; Luke 21:25 .

Verse 8

Luke 21:8 . Ὁ καιρὸς ἤγγικε , the time draweth near [hath drawn near]) viz. the time of the Messiah. The thing itself in the thesis (the general proposition) is true. Mark 1:15 [“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand”]. The true Messiah has many characteristic marks, one of which is, the true time, to wit of both Advents. But false Messiahs and impostors boastingly alleged a false time for Jerusalem being ennobled by the setting up of the kingdom of God, at the very time when destruction was about immediately to assail it: Luke 21:24 .

Verse 9

Luke 21:9 . Πολέμους , wars ) amongst equals. ἀκαταστασίας , [Engl. Vers. ‘commotions’] seditions ) of inferiors against superiors, and intestine divisions, whereby the κατάστασις , established constitution , of states is swept away. These are the preludes of further wars . It is in this chapter especially that Luke presents to us the words of the Lord in language varied from that in which Matthew and Mark record them: Luke 21:15 [“I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay;” comp. with Mark 13:11 , “Take no thought before-hand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost .” Comp. also, Mat 10:19 ], 20, etc. [221] So also, instead of wars and rumours of wars in Matthew [ Luk 24:6 ] and Mark [ Luk 13:7 ], Luke says here, wars and seditions .

[221] “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” Comp. with Mark 13:14 , “When ye shall see the, abomination of desolation , spoken of by Daniel, standing where it ought not ” (in Matthew 24:15 , “stand in the holy place ”); the phrases in Mark being altered from their Jewish form by Luke, into one more intelligible to the Gentiles for whom he wrote. E. and T.

Verse 10

Luke 21:10 . Τότε ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς , then said He to them ) It is indicated by the introduction of this formula, that a short pause intervened before He spake. So in Luke 21:29 .

Verse 11

Luke 21:11 . Φόβητρά τε καὶ σημεῖα , both fearful sights and signs ) A Hendiadys. [222] These seem to have been in the lower region of the sky. Comp. with this, Luke 21:25 , where greater signs are represented as about to follow. Not all prodigies are to be despised. See Josephus again.

[222] i.e. One idea expressed by two words; meaning fearful signs . E. and T.

Verse 12

Luke 21:12 . Πρὸ , before ) Πρὸ does not here so much denote time (comp. Matthew 24:9 , “ Then [ τότε ] shall they deliver you up to be afflicted,” etc.; following after the “pestilences, earthquakes,” etc., in Luk 21:7 ), as the chief weight of events [what is to be weighed in the mind above all else], as in 1 Peter 4:8 . [223]

[223] Πρὸ πάντων , “ Above all things have fervent charity;” after having said, “The end of all things is at hand.” The πρὸ πάντων , “ before all things,” does not mean time in reference to the previous ‘end.’ E. and T.

Verse 13

Luke 21:13 . Ἀποβήσεται , it shall turn out ) with salvation as its issue: Philippians 1:19 [“This shall turn to my salvation”]. ὑμῖν , to you ) In Mark, ch. Luke 13:9 , it is αὐτοῖς , “a testimony to [‘against’] them .” The apostles were about to discharge the function of a testimony in relation to them .

Verse 14

Luke 21:14 . Θέσθε , lay it down as settled ) Make this your one labour, that ye give yourselves no labour. [It is, in truth, the best kind of study, to commit one’s self to God. V. g.]

Verse 15

Luke 21:15 . Ἐγὼ , I ) In Matthew 10:20 , this is attributed to “the Spirit of the Father ;” whereas now Jesus speaks in accordance with His state in His exaltation. δώσω , I will give ) being always most immediately present with you. στόμα , a mouth ) Refer to this presently after the word ἀντειπεῖν , to gainsay . Often speech was given to the martyrs, even after their tongue had been cut out, in Africa, Belgium, etc. See Wits. Misc. T. 2, p. 901, et seqq. [Also comp. Casp. Sagittarii de martyrum cruciatibus, Ed. ii., 1696, p. 285, seqq. Add the observations made on Mark 16:17 . E. B.] σοφἰαν , a wisdom ) To this refer presently after the word ἀντιστῆναι , to resist . Wisdom is power. ἀντικείμενοι , the adversaries ) It is easy to act as adversaries of believers; it is not easy to gainsay or resist them.

Verse 16

Luke 21:16 . Καὶ ὑπὸ even [Engl. Vers. not so well, ‘both’] by parents , not merely by strangers not related to you. [It is less appropriate to understand the declaration in this passage of the parents of Peter or of John ( Mar 13:3 ), than of the parents of the remaining apostles or disciples. V. g.] θανατώσουσιν , they shall put to death ) some: as James the brother of John.

Verse 18

Luke 21:18 . Θρὶξ , an hair ) A proverbial expression. οὐ μὴ ἀπόληται , shall not perish ) namely, without the special providence of God, without its reward, before its time. Most of the apostles, or at least some of them, lived beyond the destruction of Jerusalem.

Verse 19

Luke 21:19 . Ὑπομονῇ ὑμῶν ) in your patience , to which ye have been called. A Paradox. The world tries to obtain the safety of its followers’ souls by repelling force with force. Not so the saints: Revelation 13:10 [“He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.” But, “Here is the faith and patience of the saints”]. κτήσεσθε ) ye shall obtain (ensure) the safety of (Matthew 24:13 [He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved]), with enjoyment and lasting advantage to yourselves. [224] ψυχὰς , your souls ) Even though ye should lose all other things. [Patient endurance is the most conducive of all things. By struggling and kicking back against (the pricks) we consult worst for our true interest. V. g.]

[224] Κτήσεσθε is the reading of AB Origen 1,295 d : ‘possidebitis’ in a and Vulg.: ‘acquirers’ in c . Κτήσασθε (‘adquirite,’ gain or ensure the safety of ; not possess as Engl. Vers., which would be κέκτησθε ) is the reading of D d and Rec. Text. Bengel’s words are “cum usufructi vestri,” literally, with the usufruct of yourselves . E. and T.

Verse 20

Luke 21:20 . Στρατοπέδων ) with armies , legions. γνῶτε , know ye ) The siege will not be relaxed (raised) until the city be destroyed. The Jews, in their obstinacy, when the siege had already reached its height, supposed notwithstanding that the siege would be raised.

Verse 21

Luke 21:21 . [ Τότε , then ) Where all human prudence fails, there Christians who bear the name with truth are helped by the word and guidance of their Master and their Lord. V. g.] αὐτῆς , of it ) viz. the city: in which in the meantime they are directed to ‘tarry:’ ch. Luke 24:47 ; Luke 24:49 . οἱ ἐν ταῖς χώραις , who are in the country-regions ) who live in the towns and villages: see on Matthew 24:16 [“Let them flee into the mountains”].

Verse 22

Luke 21:22 . Ἐκδικήσεως ) of full exacting [the force of ἐκ ] of vengeance : Matthew 23:35 [“That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias”]. The vengeance seizes upon those who do not flee; see Luke 21:23 ; Exodus 9:19-20 . “Whoever does not flee, after having been thus warned, and is thereby involved in the coming vengeance, let him take the consequences. This word has great emphasis, 2Ma 6:14 . γεγραμμένα , which are written ) For instance in Daniel.

Verse 23

Luke 21:23 . Ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς , on the earth [but Engl. Vers. in the land ]) even outside of Judea. The same phrase occurs in Luke 21:25 ; but with greater force, Luke 21:35 . [225] [The omission of the particle ἐν is favoured as well by the margin of both Editions, as also by the Germ. Vers. E. B. [226] ] ἘΝ Τῷ ΛΑῷ ΤΟΎΤῼ , in the case of [‘upon’] this people ) who have despised so great grace vouchsafed from heaven. [The introduction of the appellation ‘Israel’ is avoided in this case. V. g.]

[225] “Upon the earth” “On the face of the whole earth.” This makes Bengel’s interpretation of the words, Luke 21:23 , more probable than that of Engl. Vers E. and T.

[226] ABCD ac Vulg. omit ἐν . Rec. Text has it, without any of the oldest authorities. E. and T.

Verse 24

Luke 21:24 . Ἔσται πατουμένη ) This conveys the idea of something more than πατηθήσεται , shall be trodden down ; it shall be (and continue) in a trodden down state , as also in a desecrated state: comp. note on 1 Timothy 1:9 . The Derivation and sense of the old name of the city, Jebus, is in consonance with this. [227] So in Revelation 11:2 , et seqq. , “They shall tread under foot the holy city forty and two months;” although there the angel is speaking of a certain one time of its being trodden under foot, and that a very remarkable one; whereas in Luke the Lord is speaking of all the times of its being so trodden. In fact, in whatever way you explain the “forty and two months,” Jerusalem has been already, for a longer period than that, trodden down by the Romans, the Persians, the Saracens, the Franks, the Turks; and it shall continue hereafter to be trodden down until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Moreover “the times of the Gentiles” are the times appointed to the Gentiles wherein they are to be permitted to tread down the city: and these times shall be terminated upon the conversion of the Gentiles being most fully consummated: Romans 11:25 [“Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved”]; Revelation 15:4 [“All nations shall come and worship before Thee”]; for certainly the Gentiles, whilst treading down Jerusalem, are themselves meanwhile unbelievers. The expression, “the times of the Gentiles,” is used as “the time of figs,” and “the time of the dead:” Mark 11:13 ; Revelation 11:18 . It is not to be inferred from this that the temple and its worship of shadowy types is going to be restored; but yet there will be many at that time there, as indeed even at the present time there are some to be found, who are worshippers bearing the Christian name, and there shall be many too of these belonging to the people of Israel: and it is in the same last time that God and Magog shall make this assault: Revelation 20:9 . Ἄχρι , until , forms a tacit limitation in the verses. From this verse to Luke 21:27 , are summarily comprehended all the times which are about to follow the destruction of the city down to the termination of all things. καιροὶ ἐθνῶν ) the times of the Gentiles, i.e. which are peculiarly their own. Αὐτῶν is not the expression used, but the term ἘΘΝῶΝ , of the Gentiles , is repeated, in order to show the correspondence of the event with the prediction. The article is not added. The times of Israel , which would have continued uninterruptedly, if Israel had been obedient, Psalms 81:13-16 , are interrupted by times of Gentiles . These latter times had their own intervals of suspension, as in the Fourth and Twelfth centuries. The plural, καιροί , is therefore used. A certain time of the Gentiles was fulfilled when Constantine was emperor; and then the treading down of Jerusalem abated; but not lastingly. The times during which the Christians held Jerusalem were brief intervals, if you compare them with the times in which the [unconverted] Gentiles held the city.

[227] Judges 19:10 , Jebus = one who treads under foot. E. and T.

Verse 25

Luke 21:25 . Σημεῖα , signs ) different from those of which Luk 21:11 speaks. ἐν ἡλίῳ , in the sun ) The language is to be taken literally (not figuratively): because the earth, sea , and heaven (sky), are distinctly enumerated. [Those things (objects in nature) which are made mention of in the first days of Creation, are here set down in an inverted order: 1. The sun and the moon with the stars; 2. The earth and the sea; 3. The heaven. V. g.] [ ἐπὶ τῆε γῆς , upon the earth ) See Luke 21:26 ; Luke 21:35 . V. g.] συνοχὴ , ἀπορία , ἀποψυχόντων ) distress, perplexity, fainting , form an ascending climax. ἐθνῶν ) of all nations : to which are opposed individual men , including also Jews. See following verse. ἤχους ) The common reading is ἠχούσης . [228] But the idea expressed is not that the sea and the agitated water or waves roar ; but there is an ἦχος , roaring , of the sea, and a σάλος ( salum ), agitation of the water , whereby the ear and also the eye are struck. Comp. Psalms 46:4 (3), ἤχησαν καὶ ἐταράχθησαν τὰ ὓδατα αὐτῶν , their waters roared and were troubled . Ἦχος is neuter also, as well as masculine, as we have shown in the Appar. Crit., p. 546 [Ed. ii., p. 208]. There are four clauses, all alike having the idea of terror connected with them: ΚΑῚ ἜΣΤΑΙ ΣΗΜΕΙΑ ἘΝ ἩΛΊῼ ΚΑῚ ΣΕΛΉΙῌ ΚΑῚ ἌΣΤΡΟΙς · ΚΑῚ ἘΠῚ Τῆς Γῆς ΣΥΝΟΧΗ ἘΘΝῶΝ · ἘΝ ΑΠΟΡΙΑ ἬΧΟΥς ΘΑΛΆΣΣΗς ΚΑῚ ΣΆΛΟΥ · ΑΠΟΨΥΧΟΝΤΩΝ ἈΝΘΡΏΠΩΝ , Κ . Τ . Λ . The words ἘΝ ἈΠΟΡΊᾼ are more closely connected with the words immediately following, than with those which go before, whether ἬΧΟΥς ΚΑῚ ΣΆΛΟΥ be the Genitive of the object, or the Genitive of time [ with perplexity by reason of the roar and agitation of the sea ; or else, with perplexity during the time that (whilst) the sea is roaring, and is agitated ]. The Genitive of the object may seem, no doubt, in this passage to give an unusual and forced (strained) construction, because ἀπορία , if it denotes want [as here, want of means of escape, and of knowledge what to do ], is wont to have the Genitive of the subject-matter [the object of the want], as ἀπορία σίτου , χρημάτων , κ . τ . λ .; but there is no deficiency of analogous phrases, such as, ἘΞΟΥΣΊΑ ὙΜῶΝ , “power over you,” 1 Corinthians 9:12 ; τὸ ὑμέτερον ἔλεος , the mercy shown towards you , Romans 11:31 ; ὁ φόβος τῶν Ἰουδαίων , fear arising from the Jews , John 7:13 ; ταραχαὶ σκιᾶς θανάτου , Job 24:17 , in which passage the word ΤΑΡΑΧΑῚ [ ΤΆΡΑΧΟς in the Vatican MS.] answers to בלהות , as בהלה is rendered by ἈΠΟΡΊΑ in Leviticus 26:16 . If this be not deemed a satisfactory explanation, ἬΧΟΥς ΚΑῚ ΣΆΛΟΥ ought to be taken as expressing the Genitive of time, as ΧΕΙΜῶΝΟς , ΝΥΚΤῸς , ΣΑΒΒΆΤΟΥ , are used. [ ΘΑΛΆΣΣΗς , of the sea ) by reason of joy. Psalms 96:11-13 [“Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof Before the Lord, for He cometh”], Psalms 98:7-9 . V. g.]

[228] D supports, as Rec. Text, ἠχούσης . But ABCLX read ἤχους ; a , ‘sonus;’ c , ‘sonitus, and so the Vulg. “præ confusione sonitus’ [et (in some copies)] maris et fluctuum.” E. and T.

Verse 26

Luke 21:26 . Φίβου καὶ προσδοκίας , fear and expectation [“looking after”]) fear , viz. of things present; expectation , viz. of things future. Not even the saints shall be altogether exempt from some degree of terror: comp. ch. Luke 24:37-38 [The disciples, after the resurrection, were on the sudden appearance of Jesus at first “terrified and affrighted.” ‘Joy’ suceeds in Luk 24:41 ]: but soon they will recover themselves. αἱ γὰρ δυνάμεις , for the powers ) This is now no longer a mere sign, but one of those things which are coming on the earth .

Verse 27

[27. Ἐρχόμενον , coming ) viz. to judgment. See Luke 21:36 . ἐν νεφέλη , in a cloud ) The Singular. Comp. the note on Matthew 24:30 (“Whilst He shall have in His train many chariots ; Plural; He shall ride in one chariot in particular: Singular). V. g.]

Verse 28

Luke 21:28 . Ἀρχομένων , when these things are beginning ) Comp. the expression, “the beginning,” in Matthew 24:8 . For this reason refer these things to Luke 21:8-10 , et seqq. : and in this passage He is treating of the preparation for nearer events; but ( δὲ ) in Luke 21:34-35 , He is treating of the preparation for the last events of all. ἀνακύψατε καὶ ἐπάρατε , look up, and lift up your heads ) in order that as soon as possible ye may perceive the event answering to your expectation, and may with joy embrace it (welcome it). Comp. ch. Luke 24:5 [Not as the disciples after the resurrection, who, with “faces bowed down to the earth,” “sought the living among the dead”]; Job 10:15 [If I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head ]. In the LXX. Version ἀνακύψαι is used to express, “to lift up the head ;” also ἆραι κεφαλὴν , Judges 8:28 . ἀπολύτρωσις , deliverance [ redemption ) from many miseries, Luke 21:12 ; Luke 21:16-17 . Deliverance from the miseries which befell the Jews. [So long, to wit, as the shadows of the Levitical law, along with the City and Temple, were standing, the kingdom of GOD, or the free exercise of the Christian religion, did not as yet enjoy unrestricted scope. This is compared to the loveliness of the summer , Luke 21:30-31 : but old things must first be taken away, V. g.]

Verse 29

Luke 21:29 . Συκῆν , the fig-tree ) A tree frequently met with, and early in shooting forth. πάντα ) all the trees, good and bad.

Verse 30

Luke 21:30 . Ἀφʼ ἐαυτῶν , of your own selves ) even though no one should inform you of the fact. This is also to be understood in the Apodosis [“When ye see these things, etc., know that the kingdom of God is nigh, though no one should inform you of the fact ”]. γινῶσκετε ) ye know .

Verse 31

Luke 21:31 . Ἡ βασιλεία , the kingdom ) to which the old city must give place. [See ch. Luke 9:27 . After the wicked vine-dressers (husbandmen to whom the vineyard was let) having been slain, the vineyard was let out to others: Matthew 21:41 ; Matthew 21:43 . V. g.]

Verse 32

Luke 21:32 . [ Ἡ γενέα αὕτη , this generation ) A period of forty years elapsed between this discourse and the destruction of Jerusalem. V. g.] πάντα γένηται , all things be fulfilled ) He is speaking of those things which formed the subject of the question in Luke 21:7 . and which are discussed from Luk 21:8 to Luke 21:24 ; although not even is the appendix added, Luke 21:25-27 , altogether excluded; for once that the beginning has been made, all the other events successively go forward without intermission, and are continually coming to pass, and roll onward towards the end.

Verse 34

Luke 21:34 . Μήποτε βαρηθῶσιν , lest at any time your hearts be weighed down [“be overcharged”]) βάρος expresses drowsy torpor: Matthew 26:43 . ἐν κραιπάλκαὶ μέθῃ , with surfeiting and drunkenness ) κραιπάλη is the headache and sickness which the previous day’s drunkenness entails. [229] ΜΕΡΊΜΝΑΙς ΒΙΩΤΙΚΑῖς , the cares of life ) in planting, purchasing costly garments, gardens, houses, etc.: ch. Luke 17:27-28 [As in the days of Noah, and those of Lot]. αἰφνίδιος ) sudden , unexpected, unforeseen. The same epithet occurs in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 [“When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child”]. Refer to this the, for , in Luke 21:35 . ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς , upon you ) To these are opposed all the rest of the world, who are mere dwellers on the earth [ τοὺς καθημένους ἐπὶ πρόσωπον πάσης τῆς γῆς ]. The character of the latter is expressed in ch. Luke 17:27-28 . ἘΚΕΊΝΗ , that ) the last day. In antithesis to αὕτη , this generation, Luke 21:32 . The universality of its visitation is in consonance with this view. See Luke 21:35 .

[229] Latin crapula , Th. ἁρπ - ἁζω , carpo, rapio; which would form ἁρπάλη , ῥαπάλη and so κραιπάλη . E. and T.

Verse 35

Luke 21:35 . Ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς καθημένους ἐπὶ πρόσωπον πάσης τῆς γῆς ) LXX. in Jeremiah 25:29 , has ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς καθημένους ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς . Comp. ὑμᾶς , you , the antithesis to this, in Luke 21:34 , where see the note.

Verse 36

Luke 21:36 . Ἀγρυπνεῖτε , watch ) Mark 13:33 . ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ δεόμενοι [ praying always ], praying at every season ) ch. Luke 18:1 . At every season or time , whether these things [Luke 21:28 ; Luk 21:31 ], which are about to be immediately, are had regard to [viz. ταῦτα πάντα ( Luk 21:31-32 ), these nearer events, which are about to befall the city . Not. Crit.], or that (more remote) day, the day of the Son of Man : Luke 21:28 ; Luke 21:34 . This brief sentence comprises the whole discourse concerning the city and the universal world. ἐκφυγεῖν , to escape ) suddenly. σταθῆναι ) As to the force of this word, see on Matthew 12:25 . [“ Σταθῆναι , to be made to stand by another, to stand by the help of another; στῆναι , by one’s own strength.” Ammonius.]

Verse 37

[37. Τὰς ἡμέρας , [“in the day time”] during the days ) This refers to the days immediately preceding: comp. ch. Luke 19:47 [“He taught daily in the temple ”]. For the Saviour, Matthew 23:39 ; Matthew 24:1 , left the temple: a fact which Luke sets down later, inasmuch as being connected closely (cohering) with ch. Luke 22:1-2 (The chief priests sought how they might kill Him, as in ch. Luk 19:47 ); although in Matthew and Mark somewhat of the discourse of Jesus is inserted between (His leaving the temple and His celebration of the Passover). Harm. , p. 482.]

Verse 38

Luke 21:38 . Πᾶςλαὸς ὤρθριζε , all the people used to come early in the morning ) Very different was their conduct a little after, ch. Luke 23:18 [“Away with this man,” etc.]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 21". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.