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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Luke 21

 

 

Verse 1

And he looked up (Αναβλεπσας δεAnablepsas de). He had taken his seat, after the debate was over and the Sanhedrin had slunk away in sheer defeat, “over against the treasury” (Mark 12:41). The word for “treasury” (γαζοπυλακιονgazophulakion) is a compound of γαζαgaza (Persian word for royal treasury) and πυλακηphulakē guard or protection. It is common in the lxx, but in the N.T. only here and Mark 12:41, Mark 12:43; John 8:20. Jesus was watching (Mark 12:41) the rich put in their gifts as a slight diversion from the intense strain of the hours before.


Verse 2

Poor (πενιχρανpenichran). A rare word from πενηςpenēs (πενομαιpenomai to work for one‘s living). Latin penuria and Greek πειναωpeinaō to be hungry are kin to it. Here only in the N.T. Mark 12:42 has πτωχηptōchē a more common word from πτωσσωptōssō to be frightened, to strike and hide from fear, to be in beggary. And Luke uses this adjective also of her in Luke 21:3.


Verse 3

More than they all (πλειον παντωνpleion pantōn). Ablative case after the comparative πλειονpleion f0).


Verse 4

All these did cast (παντες ουτοι εβαλονpantes houtoi ebalon). Constative second aorist active indicative covering the whole crowd except the widow.

Living (βιονbion). Livelihood as in Mark 12:44, not ζωηνzōēn principle of life.


Verse 5

As some spake (τινων λεγοντωνtinōn legontōn). Genitive absolute. The disciples we know from Mark 13:1; Matthew 24:1.

How (οτιhoti). Literally, “that.”

It was adorned (κεκοσμηταιkekosmētai). Perfect passive indicative, state of completion, stands adorned, tense retained in indirect discourse, though English has to change it. ΚοσμεωKosmeō old and common verb for orderly arrangement and adorning.

With goodly stones and offerings (λιτοις καλοις και ανατημασινlithois kalois kai anathēmasin). Instrumental case. Some of these stones in the substructure were enormous. “The columns of the cloister or portico were monoliths of marble over forty feet high” (Plummer). Cf. Josephus, War, V.5. The word ανατημαanathēma (here only in the N.T.) is not to be confused with ανατεμαanathema from the same verb ανατιτημιanatithēmi but which came to mean a curse (Galatians 1:8; Acts 23:14). So ανατεμαanathema came to mean devoted in a bad sense, ανατημαanathēma in a good sense. “Thus knave, lad, becomes a rascal; villain, a farmer, becomes a scoundrel; cunning, skilful, becomes crafty ” (Vincent). These offerings in the temple were very numerous and costly (2 Maccabees 3:2-7) like the golden vine of Herod with branches as tall as a man (Josephus, Ant. XV. ii.3).


Verse 6

As for these things (ταυταtauta). Accusative of general reference.

One stone upon another (λιτος επι λιτωιlithos epi lithōi). Stone upon stone (locative). Here both Mark 13:2; Matthew 24:2 have επι λιτονepi lithon (accusative). Instead of ουκ απετησεταιouk aphethēsetai (future passive) they both have ου μη απετηιou mē aphethēi (double negative with aorist passive subjunctive). It was a shock to the disciples to hear this after the triumphal entry.


Verse 8

That ye be not led astray (μη πλανητητεmē planēthēte). First aorist passive subjunctive with μηmē (lest). This verb πλαναωplanaō occurs here only in Luke though often in the rest of the N.T. (as Matthew 24:4, Matthew 24:5, Matthew 24:11, Matthew 24:24, which see). Our word planet is from this word.

The time is at hand (ο καιρος ηγγικενho kairos ēggiken). Just as John the Baptist did of the kingdom (Matthew 3:2) and Jesus also (Mark 1:15).

Go ye not after them (μη πορευτητε οπισω αυτωνmē poreuthēte opisō autōn). First aorist passive subjunctive with μηmē A needed warning today with all the false cries in the religious world.


Verse 9

Be not terrified (μη πτοητητεmē ptoēthēte). First aorist passive subjunctive with μηmē from πτοεωptoeō an old verb to terrify, from πτοαptoa terror. In the N.T. only here and Luke 24:37.

First (ΠρωτονPrōton). It is so easy to forget this and to insist that the end is “immediately” in spite of Christ‘s explicit denial here. See notes on Matthew 24:4-42; note on Mark 13:1-37 for discussion of details for Luke 21:8-36, the great eschatological discourse of Jesus


Verse 11

Famines and pestilences (λοιμοι και λιμοιloimoi kai limoi). Play on the two words pronounced just alike in the Koiné (itacism).

And terrors (ποβητρα τεphobēthra te). The use of τε τεte ποβητραte in this verse groups the two kinds of woes. This rare word ποβεωphobēthra is only here in the N.T. It is from phobeō to frighten, and occurs only in the plural as here.


Verse 12

But before all these things (προ δε τουτων παντωνpro de toutōn pantōn). In Mark 13:8; Matthew 24:8 these things are termed “the beginning of travail.” That may be the idea here. Plummer insists that priority of time is the point, not magnitude.

Bringing you (απαγομενουςapagomenous). Present passive participle from απαγωapagō an old verb to lead off or away. But here the participle is in the accusative plural, not the nominative like παραδιδοντεςparadidontes (present active participle, delivering you up), agreeing with υμαςhumas not expressed the object of παραδιδοντεςparadidontes “you being brought before or led off.” “A technical term in Athenian legal language” (Bruce).


Verse 13

It shall turn unto you (αποβησεται υμινapobēsetai humin). Future middle of αποβαινωapobainō It will come off, turn out for you (dative of advantage).

For a testimony (εις μαρτυριονeis marturion). To their loyalty to Christ. Besides, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”


Verse 14

Not to meditate beforehand (μη προμελεταινmē promeletāin). The classical word for conning a speech beforehand. Mark 13:11 has προμεριμναωpromerimnaō a later word which shows previous anxiety rather than previous preparation.

How to answer (απολογητηναιapologēthēnai). First aorist passive infinitive. It is the preparation for the speech of defence (apology) that Jesus here forbids, not the preparation of a sermon.


Verse 15

Your adversaries (οι αντικειμενοι υμινhoi antikeimenoi humin). Those who stand against, line up face to face with (note αντιanti -).

To withstand or to gainsay (αντιστηναι η αντειπεινantistēnai ē anteipein). Two second aorist active infinitives with αντιanti - in composition again. But these “antis” will go down before the power of Christ.


Verse 16

Shall they cause to be put to death (τανατωσουσινthanatōsousin). Future active of τανατοωthanatoō to put to death or to make to die (causative). Either makes sense here. Old and common verb.


Verse 17

Not a hair of your head shall perish (τριχ εκ της κεπαλης υμων ου μη αποληταιthrix ek tēs kephalēs humōn ou mē apolētai). Only in Luke. Second aorist middle subjunctive of απολλυμιapollumi with ου μηou mē (double negative). Jesus has just said that some they will put to death. Hence it is spiritual safety here promised such as Paul claimed about death in Philemon 1:21.


Verse 19

Ye shall win (κτησεστεktēsesthe). Future middle of κταομαιktaomai to acquire. They will win their souls even if death does come.


Verse 20

Compassed with armies (κυκλουμενην υπο στρατοπεδωνkukloumenēn hupo stratopedōn). Present passive participle of κυκλοωkukloō to circle, encircle, from κυκλοςkuklos circle. Old verb, but only four times in N.T. The point of this warning is the present tense, being encircled. It will be too late after the city is surrounded. It is objected by some that Jesus, not to say Luke, could not have spoken (or written) these words before the Roman armies came. One may ask why not, if such a thing as predictive prophecy can exist and especially in the case of the Lord Jesus. The word στρατοπεδωνstratopedōn (στρατοςstratos army, πεδονpedon plain) is a military camp and then an army in camp. Old word, but only here in the N.T.

Then know (τοτε γνωτεtote gnōte). Second aorist active imperative of γινωσκωginōskō Christians did flee from Jerusalem to Pella before it was too late as directed in Luke 21:21; Mark 13:14.; Matthew 24:16.


Verse 22

That may be fulfilled (του πληστηναιtou plēsthēnai). Articular infinitive passive to express purpose with accusative of general reference. The O.T. has many such warnings (Hosea 9:7; Deuteronomy 28:49-57, etc.).


Verse 24

Edge of the sword (στοματι μαχαιρηςstomati machairēs). Instrumental case of στοματιstomati which means “mouth” literally (Genesis 34:26). This verse like the close of Luke 21:22 is only in Luke. Josephus (War, VI. 9.3) states that 1, 100, 000 Jews perished in the destruction of Jerusalem and 97, 000 were taken captive. Surely this is an exaggeration and yet the number must have been large.

Shall be led captive (αιχμαλωτιστησονταιaichmalōtisthēsontai). Future passive of αιχμαλωτιζωaichmalōtizō from αιχμηaichmē spear and αλωτοςhalōtos (αλισκομαιhaliskomai). Here alone in the literal sense in the N.T.

Shall be trodden under foot (εσται πατουμενηestai patoumenē). Future passive periphrastic of πατεωpateō to tread, old verb.

Until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (αχρι ου πληρωτωσιν καιροι ετνωνachri hou plērōthōsin kairoi ethnōn). First aorist passive subjunctive with αχρι ουachri hou like εως ουheōs hou What this means is not clear except that Paul in Romans 11:25 shows that the punishment of the Jews has a limit. The same idiom appears there also with αχρι ουachri hou and the aorist subjunctive.


Verse 25

Distress (συνοχηsunochē). From συνεχωsunechō In the N.T. only here and 2 Corinthians 2:4. Anguish.

In perplexity (εν αποριαιen aporiāi). State of one who is αποροςaporos who has lost his way (αa privative and ποροςporos). Here only in the N.T. though an old and common word.

For the roaring of the sea (ηχους ταλασσηςēchous thalassēs). Our word echo (Latin echo) is this word ηχοςēchos a reverberating sound. Sense of rumour in Luke 4:37.

Billows (σαλουsalou). Old word σαλοςsalos for the swell of the sea. Here only in the N.T.


Verse 26

Men fainting (αποπσυχοντων αντρωπωνapopsuchontōn anthrōpōn). Genitive absolute of αποπσυχωapopsuchō to expire, to breathe off or out. Old word. Here only in N.T.

Expectation (προσδοκιαςprosdokias). Old word from προσδοκαωprosdokaō to look for or towards. In the N.T. only here and Acts 12:11.

The world (τηι οικουμενηιtēi oikoumenēi). Dative case, “the inhabited” (earth, γηιgēi).


Verse 27

And then shall they see (και τοτε οπσονταιkai tote opsontai). As much as to say that it will be not till then. Clearly the promise of the second coming of the Son of man in glory here (Mark 13:26.; Matthew 24:30.) is pictured as not one certain of immediate realization. The time element is left purposely vague.


Verse 28

Look up (ανακυπσατεanakupsate). First aorist active imperative of ανακυπτωanakuptō to raise up. Here of the soul as in John 8:7, John 8:10, but in Luke 13:11 of the body. These the only N.T. examples of this common verb.

Redemption (απολυτρωσιςapolutrōsis). Act of redeeming from απολυτροωapolutroō The final act at the second coming of Christ, a glorious hope.


Verse 29

The fig tree, and all the trees (την συκην και παντα τα δενδραtēn sukēn kai panta ta dendra). This parable of the fig-tree (Mark 13:28-32; Matthew 24:32-35) Luke applies to “all the trees.” It is true about all of them, but the fig tree was very common in Palestine.


Verse 30

Shoot forth (προβαλωσινprobalōsin). Second aorist active subjunctive of προβαλλωproballō common verb, but in the N.T. only here and Acts 19:33.

Summer (τεροςtheros). Not harvest, but summer. Old word, but in the N.T. only here (Mark 13:28; Matthew 24:32).


Verse 31

Coming to pass (γινομεναginomena). Present middle participle of γινομαιginomai and so descriptive of the process.

Nigh (εγγυςeggus). The consummation of the kingdom is here meant, not the beginning.


Verse 32

This generation (η γενεα αυτηhē genea hautē). Naturally people then living.

Shall not pass away (ου μη παρελτηιou mē parelthēi). Second aorist active subjunctive of παρερχομαιparerchomai Strongest possible negative with ου μηou mē all things be accomplished (εως αν παντα γενηταιheōs an panta genētai). Second aorist middle subjunctive of γινομαιginomai with εωςheōs common idiom. The words give a great deal of trouble to critics. Some apply them to the whole discourse including the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, the second coming and the end of the world. Some of these argue that Jesus was simply mistaken in his eschatology, some that he has not been properly reported in the Gospels. Others apply them only to the destruction of Jerusalem which did take place in a.d. 70 before that generation passed away. It must be said for this view that it is not easy in this great eschatological discourse to tell clearly when Jesus is discussing the destruction of Jerusalem and when the second coming. Plummer offers this solution: “The reference, therefore, is to the destruction of Jerusalem regarded as the type of the end of the world.”


Verse 33

My words shall not pass away (οι λογοι μου ου μη παρελευσονταιhoi logoi mou ou mē pareleusontai). Future middle indicative with ου μηou mē a bit stronger statement than the subjunctive. It is noteworthy that Jesus utters these words just after the difficult prediction in Luke 21:32.


Verse 34

Lest haply your hearts be overcharged (μη ποτε βαρητωσιν αι καρδιαι υμωνmē pote barēthōsin hai kardiai humōn). First aorist passive subjunctive of βαρεωbareō an old verb to weigh down, depress, with μη ποτεmē pote surfeiting (εν κρεπαληιen krepalēi). A rather late word, common in medical writers for the nausea that follows a debauch. Latin crapula, the giddiness caused by too much wine. Here only in the N.T.

Drunkenness (μετηιmethēi). From μετυmethu (wine). Old word but in the N.T. only here and Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:21.

Cares of this life (μεριμναις βιωτικαιςmerimnais biōtikais). Anxieties of life. The adjective βιωτικοςbiōtikos is late and in the N.T. only here and 1 Corinthians 6:3.

Come on you (επιστηιepistēi). Second aorist active subjunctive of επιστημιephistēmi ingressive aorist. Construed also with μη ποτεmē pote (επνιδιοςephnidios). Adjective in predicate agreeing with ημεραhēmera (day).

As a snare (ως παγιςhōs pagis). Old word from πηγνυμιpēgnumi to make fast a net or trap. Paul uses it several times of the devil‘s snares for preachers (1 Timothy 3:7; 2 Timothy 2:26).


Verse 36

But watch ye (αγρυπνειτε δεagrupneite de). ΑγρυπνεωAgrupneō is a late verb to be sleepless (αa privative and υπνοςhupnos sleep). Keep awake and be ready is the pith of Christ‘s warning.

That ye may prevail to escape (ινα κατισχυσητε εκπυγεινhina katischusēte ekphugein). First aorist active subjunctive with ιναhina of purpose. The verb κατισχυωkatischuō means to have strength against (cf. Matthew 16:18). Common in later writers. ΕκπυγεινEkphugein is second aorist active infinitive, to escape out.

To stand before the Son of man (στατηναι εμπροστεν του υιου του αντρωπουstathēnai emprosthen tou huiou tou anthrōpou). That is the goal. There will be no dread of the Son then if one is ready. ΣτατηναιStathēnai is first aorist passive infinitive of ιστημιhistēmi f0).


Verse 37

Every day (τας ημεραςtas hēmeras). During the days, accusative of extent of time.

Every night (τας νυκταςtas nuktas). “During the nights,” accusative of extent of time.

Lodged (ηυλιζετοēulizeto). Imperfect middle, was lodging, αυλιζομαιaulizomai from αυληaulē (court).


Verse 38

Came early (ωρτριζενōrthrizen). Imperfect active of ορτριζωorthrizō from ορτροςorthros late form for ορτρευωorthreuō to rise early. Only here in the N.T.

 


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 21:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-21.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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