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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Mark 13:8

 

 

"For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The beginnings - For αρχαι, many MSS. and versions have αρχη, the beginning, singular.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/mark-13.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Mark 13:8

These are the beginnings of sorrows.

The beginnings of sorrows

I. The value of these facts in relation to the life and character of the Lord. He is the prophet of the church. He was a revealer of secrets. His word was verified to the letter. The church lives in evil times on the word of her unseen Lord.

II. There is also a suggestion of the connection of sorrows and sins. Jerusalem’s fate is a series of such sorrows. They arise out of religious unfaithfulness and moral deterioration. Nations are doomed by their own acts.

III. If we do not and will not learn the Divine uses of adversity, then the things we regret, and which are most painful to us, will only prove to be the beginnings of sorrows. If lesser Divine chastisements do not raise us to higher moods of being, there must be held in reserve some hotter fire of discipline. We should immediately yield to the disciplines of God. (The Preachers Monthly.)

The Christian’s support in troublous times

Whatever happens, we must calm ourselves by remembering that the great Christ is still in heaven, ruling by the changeless laws of righteousness. In presence of extraordinary events, the ordinary methods of God’s grace and providence will seem too slow, and the common gospel too calm; but it is exactly at such times that we most need to maintain our faith in them. (R. Glover.)

Horrors of famine at the siege of Jerusalem

During this dreadful time, the extremity of the famine was such, that a Jewess of noble family, urged by the cravings of hunger, slew her infant child, and prepared it for a meal. She had actually eaten one-half of it, when the soldiers, attracted by the smell of food, threatened her with instant death if she refused to show them where she had hidden it. Intimidated by this menace, she immediately produced the remains of her son; but, instead of sitting down to eat, they were utterly horror struck; and the whole city stood aghast, when they heard the horrible tale, congratulating those whom death had hurried away from such heartrending scenes. Indeed, humanity at once shudders and sickens at the narration; nor can any one of the least sensibility reflect upon the pitiable condition to which the female part of the inhabitants must at this time have been reduced, without experiencing the tenderest emotion of sympathy, or refraining from tears, when he reads our Saviour’s pathetic address to the women who bewailed Him as He was led to Calvary; for in that address He evidently refers to these very horrors and calamities.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Mark 13:8". The Biblical Illustrator. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/mark-13.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be earthquakes in divers places; there shall be famines: these things are the beginning of travail.

Not merely wars and conflicts between kingdoms, but natural disorders, are not to be understood as signs of the end, these things being more or less the natural order of things upon the earth which was cursed for Adam's sake, and among the unregenerated populations of Adam's posterity. The true sign shall be something within "themselves."


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/mark-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For nation shall rise against nation,.... The nations of the world one against another, and the Romans against the Jews, and the Jews against them:

and kingdom against kingdom; which is a synonymous phrase with the former, and what the Jews call, מלות שונות, "different words", expressing the same thing, often used in their commentaries:

and there shall be earthquakes in divers places; of the world:

and there shall be famines: especially in Judea, as in the times of Claudius Caesar, and at the siege of Jerusalem:

and troubles; public ones of various sorts, as tumults, seditions, murders, &c. This word is omitted in the Vulgate Latin, and Ethiopic versions.

These are the beginnings of sorrows; as of a woman with child, as the word signifies; whose pains before, though they are the beginnings and pledges of what shall come after, are not to be compared with those that immediately precede, and attend the birth of the child: and so all those troubles, which should be some time before the destruction of Jerusalem, would be but small, but light afflictions, the beginning of sorrows, in comparison of what should immediately go before, and attend that desolation; See Gill on Matthew 24:7, Matthew 24:8.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/mark-13.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

These are the beginnings of sorrows — “of travail-pangs,” to which heavy calamities are compared. (See Jeremiah 4:31, etc.). The annals of Tacitus tell us how the Roman world was convulsed, before the destruction of Jerusalem, by rival claimants of the imperial purple.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/mark-13.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

8. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

[These are the beginnings of sorrows.] Isaiah 66:7,8: Before she travailed she brought forth; before the labour of pains came she was delivered, and brought forth a male. Who hath heard such a thing? Does the earth bring forth in one day, or is a nation also brought forth at once? For Sion was in travail and brought forth her sons.

The prophet here says two things:--

I. That Christ should be born before the destruction of Jerusalem. The Jews themselves collect and acknowledge this out of this prophecy: "It is in the Great Genesis [Bereshith Rabba] a very ancient book: thus R. Samuel Bar Nachaman said, Whence prove you, that in the day when the destruction of the Temple was, Messias was born? He answered, From this that is said in the last chapter of Isaiah, 'Before she travailed she brought forth; before her bringing forth shall come, she brought forth a male child.' In the same hour that the destruction of the Temple was, Israel cried out as though she were bringing forth. And Jonathan in the Chaldee translation said, Before her trouble came she was saved; and before the pains of childbirth came upon her, Messiah was revealed." In the Chaldee it is, A king shall manifest himself.

"In like manner in the same book: R. Samuel Bar Nachaman said, It happened that Elias went by the way in the day wherein the destruction of the Temple was, and he heard a certain voice crying out and saying, 'The holy Temple is destroyed.' Which when he heard, he imagined how he could destroy the world: but travelling forward he saw men ploughing and sowing, to whom he said, 'God is angry with the world and will destroy his house, and lead his children captives to the Gentiles; and do you labour for temporal victuals?' And another voice was heard, saying, 'Let them work, for the Saviour of Israel is born.' And Elias said, 'Where is he?' And the voice said, 'In Bethlehem of Judah,'" &c. These words this author speaks, and these words they speak.

II. As it is not without good reason gathered, that Christ shall be born before the destruction of the city, from that clause, "Before she travailed she brought forth, before her bringing forth came [the pangs of travail], she brought forth a male child"; so also, from that clause, Is a nation brought forth at once? for Sion travailed and brought forth her children, is gathered as well, that the Gentiles were to be gathered and called to the faith before that destruction; which our Saviour most plainly teacheth, verse 10, "But the gospel must first be preached among all nations." For how the Gentiles, which should believe, are called 'the children of Sion,' and 'the children of the church of Israel,' every where in the prophets, there is no need to show, for every one knows it.

In this sense is the word pangs or sorrows, in this place to be understood; and it agrees not only with the sense of the prophet alleged, but with a most common phrase and opinion in the nation concerning the sorrows of the Messiah, that is, concerning the calamities which they expected would happen at the coming of the Messiah.

"Ulla saith, The Messias shall come, but I shall not see him. So also saith Rabba, Messias shall come, but I shall not see him; that is, he shall not be to be seen. Abai saith to Rabba, Why? Because of the sorrows of the Messias. It is a tradition. His disciples asked R. Eliezer, What may a man do to be delivered from the sorrows of Messias? Let him be conversant in the law and in the works of mercy." The Gloss is, "the terrors and the sorrows which shall be in his days." "He that feasts thrice on the sabbath day shall be delivered from three miseries, from the sorrows of Messiah, from the judgment of hell, and from the war of Gog and Magog." Where the Gloss is this, "'From the sorrows of Messias': for in that age, wherein the Son of David shall come, there will be an accusation of the scholars of the wise men. The word sorrows denotes such pains as women in childbirth endure."


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Bibliography
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/mark-13.html. 1675.

The Fourfold Gospel

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there shall be earthquakes in divers places1; there shall be famines2: these things are the beginning of travail.

  1. There shall be earthquakes in divers places, etc. Great natural disturbances would constitute the third sign. That these preceded the destruction of Jerusalem, there is abundant historic evidence. Alford enumerates the earthquakes as follows: (1) A great earthquake in Crete, A.D. 46 or 47. (2) One at Rome when Nero assumed the manly toga, A.D. (3) One at Apamaea in Phrygia, mentioned by Tacitus, A.D. 53. (4) One at Laodicea in Phrygia, A.D. 60. (5) One in Campania, A.D. 62 or 63.

  2. There shall be famines. There were an indefinite number of famines referred to by Roman writers, and at least one pestilence during which thirty thousand perished in Rome alone. All these signs are mentioned by unbelieving writers such as Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Philostratus, and Seneca, who speak of them because of their importance and not with any reference to the prophecy of Christ.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". "The Fourfold Gospel". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/mark-13.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Scofield's Reference Notes

sorrows

birthpangs. Answering to the "seals." (Revelation 6.) Revelation 6:1-17.

The death-agony of this age is the birth-agony of the next.


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Mark 13:8". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/mark-13.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

Ver. 8. The beginning of sorrows] The sorrows and throes of child birth, ωδινων, which are nothing so bad at first, as in the birth.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/mark-13.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

8. ἔσονται ἔσονται] By these repetitions majesty is given to the discourse.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/mark-13.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Mark 13:8. ταραχαὶ, troubles) in the great and lesser world [macrocosmo et microcosmo].


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/mark-13.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Mark 13:7"


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Mark 13:8". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/mark-13.html. 1685.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

8. ἐγερθήσεται κ.τ.λ. Almost verbatim the same in all three. Only here is ἐγειρ. ἐπί τινα found in N.T. Cf. ἐπεγερθήσονται Αἰγύπτιοι ἐπʼ Αἰγυπτίουςπόλις ἐπὶ πόλιν καὶ νομὸς ἐπὶ νομόν (Isaiah 19:2). Thus far (6, 7, 8 a) we have had religious and social corruptions and conflicts; the disciples are now told that certain natural portents will precede the end, earthquakes and famines, to which some texts add a third. See crit. note.

ὠδίνων. Of travail (R.V.) is better than “of sorrows” (A.V.). But it is not certain that the idea of “birth-pangs” is to be understood, the pangs which accompany the birth of a new dispensation. That idea belongs more to the persecutions which are mentioned next (9–13).


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Bibliography
"Commentary on Mark 13:8". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/mark-13.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

8. Earthquakes — Convulsions of this kind marked this period in various parts of the known world. At Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, the beautiful cities of Asiatic Greece, these signs were given, as mentioned by Grotius. The cities of Laodicea, Hierapolis, and Colosse were completely overthrown. Rome was twice visited by this fearful sign during this period. But perhaps Jerusalem herself was warned most loudly by a terrible earthquake, accompanied by thunders, lightnings, and overwhelming storms. Famines and pestilences, (Luke 21:11,) the FOURTH SIGN, are ever attendant upon general civil commotions and wars. The cessation of the labours of husbandry produces scarcity; exposure, hardship, and the effluvium of the dead produce pestilences. The Greek words for famine and pestilence have a very similar sound, limos and loimos.

And famine and pestilence are so conjoined in experience that it was a Greek proverb, after limos comes loimos. Josephus says, that the famine under Claudius Cesar (predicted by Agabus, Acts 11:28) was so severe that at Jerusalem many died of starvation.

To these Luke adds, there shall be “fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” On this FIFTH SIGN Dr. Clarke makes the following concise summary.

Josephus, in his preface to the Jewish Wars, enumerates these: 1st. A star hung over the city like a sword; and a comet continued a whole year. 2d. The people being assembled at the feast of unleavened bread, at the ninth hour of the night, a great light shone about the altar and the temple, and this continued for half an hour. 3d. At the same feast, a cow led to sacrifice brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple! 4th. The eastern gate of the temple, which was of solid brass, and very heavy, and could hardly be shut by twenty men, and was fastened by strong bars and bolts, was seen at the sixth hour of the night to open of its own accord! 5th. Before sun-setting there were seen over all the country, chariots and armies fighting in the clouds, and besieging cities. 6th. At the feast of Pentecost, when the priests were going into the inner temple by night, to attend their service, they heard first a motion and noise, and then a voice as of a multitude, saying, LET US DEPART HENCE. 7th. What Josephus reckons one of the most terrible signs of all was, that one Jesus, a country fellow, four years before the war began, and when the city was at peace and plenty, came to the feast of tabernacles, and ran crying up and down the streets, day and night: “A voice from the east! a voice from the west! a voice from the four winds! a voice against Jerusalem and the temple! a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides! and a voice against all the people!”

Though the magistrates, endeavored by stripes and tortures to restrain him, yet he still cried with a mournful voice, “Woe, woe to Jerusalem!” And this he continued to do for several years together, going about the walls and crying with a loud voice: “Woe, woe to the city, and to the people, and to the temple;” and as he added, “Woe, woe to myself!” a stone from some sling or engine struck him dead on the spot! It is worthy of remark that Josephus appeals to the testimony of others, who saw and heard these fearful things. Tacitus, a Roman historian, gives very nearly the same account with that of Josephus. (Hist., lib. 5.)

These are the beginnings of sorrows — Terrible as all these omens seem, they are small compared to the miseries of the siege and downfall of the holy city.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/mark-13.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many places. There will be famines. These are the beginnings of birth pains.”

Jesus then explained further. Wars between nations will necessarily come, for that is what man is like. Earthquakes and famines will occur, as they have throughout history, for that is what nature is like. But these will only introduce what is to follow. And certainly we know that in the first century there were a number of wars, devastating earthquakes and terrible famines. For the dreadful famine in the time of Claudius see Acts 11:27-30, and Jerusalem experienced a number of earthquakes, including one around the time of Jesus’ resurrection (Matthew 28:2). Laodicea, for example, was destroyed by a terrible earthquake which shook the whole of Phrygia in 61 AD. Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed by volcanic action not long after. But Jesus was warning that these must not be seen as direct portents. What He was basically saying was that the troubles of a troubled world, portentous though they may seem to those involved, should not cause excessive speculation about the future. They would simply be reminders that there will be yet more troubles to come.

‘Birth pains.’ A woman’s birth pains were a common illustration to suggest the introduction of further trouble. All were aware of the initial contractions which were an early signal of a coming birth. Jesus may have had in mind what the later Rabbis called the Messianic birthpangs which would precede the Messiah and introduce the end of the age, but probably not, for He stressed that these did not introduce anything, ‘the end is not yet’, and furthermore He knew that the Messiah had already come. Birth pains are regularly used as an illustration in Scripture (Isaiah 26:17; Isaiah 66:8; Jeremiah 22:23; Hosea 13:13; Micah 4:9-10) where they simply mean the start of trouble.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/mark-13.html. 2013.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Mark 13:8. ἔσονται σεισμοὶ, etc., there will be earthquakes in places; there will be famines. Here again the briefest reading without connecting particles ( καὶ, καὶ) is to be preferred, as suiting the abrupt style congenial to the prophetic mood. The καὶ ταραχαί after λιμοὶ may have fallen out of (122) (123) (124) (125) by homoeoteleuton ( ἀρχαὶ following immediately after), but after earthquakes and famines disturbances seems an anticlimax.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/mark-13.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

For nation, &c. Quoted from Isaiah 19:2.

against = upon. Greek. epi. App-104.

and. Figure of speech Polysyndeton, App-6.

in. Greek. kata. App-104.

the beginnings = a beginning. See App-155.

sorrows = birth-pangs.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/mark-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows , [ oodinoon (Greek #5604)] - 'of travail-pangs,' to which heavy calamities are compared. (See Jeremiah 4:31, etc.) The annals of Tacitus tell us how the Roman world was convulsed, before the destruction of Jerusalem, by rival claimants of the imperial purple.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/mark-13.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
nation shalt
2 Chronicles 15:6; Isaiah 19:2; Jeremiah 25:32; Haggai 2:22; Zechariah 14:13; Revelation 6:4
famines
Acts 11:28
these
Matthew 24:8
sorrows
"The word in the original importeth the pains of a woman in travail."
Psalms 48:6; Isaiah 37:3; Jeremiah 4:31; 6:24; 13:21; 22:23; 49:24; 50:43; Micah 4:9,10; 1 Thessalonians 5:3

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/mark-13.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

Peter, James, John, and Andrew. Matthew says only: "the disciples." "In private" must mean "away from the crowds." The temple's destruction had been announced more or less in public (Matthew 23:38; Matthew 24:2).


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Mark 13:8". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/mark-13.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.


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