Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. looked up--He had "sat down over against the treasury"
probably to rest, for He had continued long standing as he taught in
the temple court
and "looking up He saw"--as in Zaccheus' case, not quite casually.
the rich, &c.--"the people," says
"cast money into the treasury, and many rich east in much"; that is,
into chests deposited in one of the courts of the temple to receive the
offerings of the people towards its maintenance
2. two mites--"which make a farthing"
the smallest Jewish coin. "She might have kept one" [BENGEL].
3. And he said--"to His disciples," whom He "called to Him"
to teach from it a great future lesson.
more than . . . all--in proportion to her means, which is God's
4. of their abundance--their superfluity; what they had to spare,"
or beyond what they needed.
of her penury--or "want"
--her deficiency, of what was less than her own wants
required, "all the living she had." Mark
still more emphatically, "all that she had--her whole subsistence."
Note: (1) As temple offerings are needed still for the
service of Christ at home and abroad, so "looking down" now, as then
"up," Me "sees" who "cast in," and how much. (2) Christ's
standard of commendable offering is not our superfluity, but our
deficiency--not what will never be missed, but what costs us some
real sacrifice, and just in proportion to the relative amount of that
PROPHECY OF THE
5-7. (See on
8. the time--of the Kingdom, in its full glory.
go . . . not . . . after them--"I come not
so very soon"
(2Th 2:1, 2)
9-11. not terrified--(See
end not by and by--or immediately, not yet
that is, "Worse must come before all is over."
10. Nation, &c.--Matthew and Mark
add, "All these are the beginning of sorrows," or travail pangs, to
which heavy calamities are compared
12. brought before, &c.--The book of Acts verifies all this.
13. for a testimony--an opportunity of bearing testimony.
18. not a hair . . . perish--He had just said
they should be put to death; showing that this precious promise
is far above immunity from mere bodily harm, and furnishing a key to
the right interpretation of the ninety-first Psalm, and such like.
Matthew adds the following
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many," the many or, the
most--the generality of professed disciples--"shall wax cold." But he
that endureth to the end shall be saved. Sad illustrations of the
effect of abounding iniquity in cooling the love of faithful disciples
we have in the Epistle of James, written about this period
referred to, and too frequently ever since
(Heb 10:38, 39;
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for
a witness, and then shall the end come"
God never sends judgment without previous warning; and there can be no
doubt that the Jews, already dispersed over most known countries, had
nearly all heard the Gospel "as a witness," before the end of the
Jewish state. The same principle was repeated and will repeat itself to
20, 21. by armies--encamped armies, that is, besieged: "the abomination
of desolation" (meaning the Roman ensigns, as the symbols of an
idolatrous, pagan, unclean power) "spoken of by Daniel the prophet"
"standing where it ought not"
"Whoso readeth [that prophecy] let him understand"
Then . . . flee, &c.--EUSEBIUS
says the Christians fled to Pella, at the north extremity of Perea,
being "prophetically directed"; perhaps
by some prophetic intimation still more explicit than this, which still
would be their chart.
23. woe unto--"alas for."
with child, &c.--from the greater suffering it would involve; as
also "flight in winter, and on the sabbath," which they were to "pray"
the one as more trying to the body, the other to the soul. "For then
shall be tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world,
nor ever shall be"--language not unusual in the Old Testament for
tremendous calamities, though of this it may perhaps be literally said,
"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be
saved, but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened"
(Mt 24:21, 22).
But for this merciful "shortening," brought about by a remarkable
concurrence of causes, the whole nation would have perished, in which
there yet remained a remnant to be afterwards gathered out. Here in
Matthew and Mark
are some particulars about "false Christs," who should, "if
possible"--a precious clause--"deceive the very elect." (Compare
24. Jerusalem . . . trodden down . . .
until, &c.--Implying (1) that one day Jerusalem shall cease to be
"trodden down by the Gentiles"
as then by pagan so now by Mohammedan unbelievers; (2) that this shall
be at the "completion" of "the times of the Gentiles," which from
(taken from this) we conclude to mean till the Gentiles have had their
full time of that place in the Church which the Jews in their
time had before them--after which, the Jews being again "grafted
into their own olive tree," one Church of Jew and Gentile together
shall fill the earth
What a vista this opens up!
25-28. signs, &c.--Though the grandeur of this language carries the
mind over the head of all periods but that of Christ's second coming,
nearly every expression will be found used of the Lord's coming in
terrible national judgments, as of Babylon, &c.; and from
Lu 21:28, 32,
it seems undeniable that its immediate reference was to the
destruction of Jerusalem, though its ultimate reference beyond
doubt is to Christ's final coming.
28. redemption--from the oppression of ecclesiastical despotism and
legal bondage by the total subversion of the Jewish state and the firm
establishment of the evangelical kingdom
But the words are of far wider and more precious import. Matthew
says, "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in
heaven," evidently something distinct from Himself, mentioned
immediately after. What this was intended to mean, interpreters are
not agreed. But as before Christ came to destroy Jerusalem, some
appalling portents were seen in the air, so before His personal
appearing it is likely that something analogous will be
witnessed, though of what nature it is vain to conjecture.
32. This generation--not "this nation," as some interpret it, which,
though admissible in itself, seems very unnatural here. It is rather as
34-37. surfeiting, and drunkenness--All animal excesses, quenching
cares of this life--(See on
36. Watch . . . pray, &c.--the two great duties which in prospect of
trial are constantly enjoined. These warnings, suggested by the need of
preparedness for the tremendous calamities approaching, and the total
wreck of the existing state of things, are the general improvement of
the whole discourse, carrying the mind forward to Judgment and Vengeance
of another kind and on a grander and more awful scale--not
ecclesiastical or political but personal, not temporal but eternal--when
all safety and blessedness will be found to lie in being able to
"STAND BEFORE THE
MAN" in the glory of His personal appearing.
37, 38. in the daytime--of this His last week.
abode in the mount--that is, at Bethany