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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Mark 13



Verse 1


The spring-stones of the arches of the bridge which spanned the valley of Tyropoeon (the cheese-makers), and connected the ancient city of David with the royal porch of the temple, measured twenty-four feet in length by six in thickness. Yet these were by no means the largest in the masonry of the temple. Both at the southeastern and southwestern angles stones have been found measuring from twenty to forty feet long, and weighing above one hundred tons (Edersheim, “Temple”).

Verse 2

Thrown down ( καταλυθῇ )

Rather, loosened down. A very graphic word, implying gradual demolition.

Verse 3

Note the particularity of detail in Mark. He adds, over against the temple, and the names of the four who asked the question. With the following discourse compare Matthew 24.

Verse 6

In my name ( ἐπί )

Lit., upon. Basing their claims on the use of my name.

Verse 7

Rumors of wars

Wyc., opinions of battles. Such as would be a cause of terror to the Hebrew Christians; as the three threats of war against the Jews by Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. There were serious disturbances at Alexandria, a.d. 38, in which the Jews were the especial objects of persecution; at Seleucia about the same time, in which more than fifty thousand Jews were killed; and at Jamnia, near Joppa.

Troubled ( θροεῖσθε )

Θροέω is, literally, to cry aloud.


Between the prophecy and the destruction of Jerusalem (a.d. 70) occurred: A great earthquake in Crete, a.d. 46 or 47: at Rome, on the day on which Nero entered his majority, a.d. 51: at Apameia, in Phrygia, a.d. 53; “on account of which,” says Tacitus, “they were exempted from tribute for five years:” at Laodicea, in Phrygia, a.d. 60: in Campania, a.d. 63, by which, according to Tacitus, the city of Pompeii was largely destroyed.


During the reign of Claudius, a.d. 41-54:, four famines are recorded: One at Rome, a.d. 41,42; one in Judaea, a.d. 44; one in Greece, a.d. 50; and again at Rome, a.d. 52, when the people rose in rebellion and threatened the life of the emperor. Tacitus says that it was accompanied by frequent earthquakes, which levelled houses. The famine in Judaea was probably the one prophesied by Agabus, Acts 11:28. Of the year 65 a.d., Tacitus says: “This year, disgraced by so many deeds of horror, was further distinguished by the gods with storms and sicknesses. Campania was devastated by a hurricane which overthrew buildings, trees, and the fruits of the soil in every direction, even to the gates of the city, within which a pestilence thinned all ranks of the population, with no atmospheric disturbance that the eye could trace. The houses were choked with dead, the roads with funerals: neither sex nor age escaped. Slaves and freemen perished equally amid the wailings of their wives and children, who were often hurried to the pyre by which they had sat in tears, and consumed together with them. The deaths of knights and senators, promiscuous as they were, deserved the less to be lamented, inasmuch as, falling by the common lot of mortality, they seemed to anticipate the prince's cruelty” (“Annals,” xvi., 10-13).

Verse 9

Sorrows ( ὠδίνων )

Rev., rightly, travail; for the word is used especially of birth-throes.

Shall ye be beaten ( δαρήσεσθε )

The verb literally means to skin or flay, and by a slang usage, like our phrase to tan or hide, comes to mean to cudgel or beat.

Verse 11

They lead ( ἄγωσιν )

Present subjunctive; better perhaps, may be leading. While you are going along in custody to the judgment-seat, do not be worrying about your defences.

Take no thought beforehand ( μὴ προμεριμνᾶτε )

See on Matthew 6:25.

Verse 14


See on Matthew 24:15.

Verse 15


See on Matthew 24:17.

Verse 19

The creation which God created

Note the peculiar amplification, and compare Mark 13:20, the elect or chosen whom he chose.

Verse 20


See on Matthew 24:22.

Verse 22

Shall shew ( δώσουσιν )

Lit., shall give. A few editors, however, read ποιήσουσιν ,shall make or do.

Verse 24

Light ( φέγγος )

The word is used in the New Testament wherever the light of the moon is referred to. Compare Matthew 24:29, the only other instance. It occurs also in Luke 11:33, but meaning the light of a lamp.

Verse 25

The stars of heaven shall fall

A rendering which falls very far short of the graphic original: οἱ ἀστέρες ἔσονται ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πίπτοντες :the stars shall be falling from heaven. So Rev., thus giving the sense of continuousness, as of a shower of falling stars.

Verse 27

From the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven ( ἀπ ' ἄκρου γῆς ἕως ἄκρου οὐρανοῦ )

From the outermost border of the earth, conceived as a fiat surface, to where the outermost border of the heaven sets a limit to the earth. Compare Matthew 24:31. Mark's expression is more poetical.

Verse 28


See on Matthew 24:32.


See on Mark 11:8.

Verse 29

Come to pass ( γινόμενα )

The present participle, and therefore better as Rev., coming to pass; in process of fulfilment.

Verse 33

Watch ( ἀγρυπνεῖτε )

The word is derived from ἀγρεύω , do hunt, and ὕπνος ,sleep. The picture is of one in pursuit of sleep, and therefore wakeful, restless. Wyc.'s rendering of the whole passage is striking: See! wake ye and pray ye!

Verse 34

A man taking a far journey ( ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος )

The A. V. is incorrect, since the idea is not that of a man about to go, as Matthew 25:14; but of one already gone. So Wyc., gone far in pilgrimage; and Tynd., which is gone into a strange country. The two words form one notion - a man abroad. Rev., sojourning in another country.

Verse 35

Watch ( γρηγορεῖτε )

A different word from that in Mark 13:33. See also Mark 13:34. The picture in this word is that of a sleeping man rousing himself. While the other word conveys the idea of simple wakefulness, this adds the idea of alertness. Compare Mark 14:38; Luke 12:37; 1 Peter 5:8. The apostles are thus compared with the doorkeepers, Mark 13:34; and the night season is in keeping with the figure. In the temple, during the night, the captain of the temple made his rounds, and the guards had to rise at his approach and salute him in a particular manner. Any guard found asleep on duty was beaten, or his garments were set on fire. Compare Revelation 16:15: “Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments. The preparations for the morning service required all to be early astir. The superintending priest might knock at the door at any moment. The Rabbis use almost the very words in which scripture describes the unexpected coming of the Master. “Sometimes he came at the cockcrowing, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later. He came and knocked and they opened to him” (Edersheim, “The Temple”).

Verse 37


The closing and summary word is the stronger word of Mark 13:35: Be awake and on guard.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Mark 13:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, August 24th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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