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Luke 21:20-24

Context
The Desolation of Jerusalem

21:20 “But when you see Jerusalem 1  surrounded 2  by armies, then know that its 3  desolation 4  has come near. 21:21 Then those who are in Judea must flee 5  to the mountains. Those 6  who are inside the city must depart. Those 7  who are out in the country must not enter it, 21:22 because these are days of vengeance, 8  to fulfill 9  all that is written. 21:23 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! For there will be great distress 10  on the earth and wrath against this people. 21:24 They 11  will fall by the edge 12  of the sword and be led away as captives 13  among all nations. Jerusalem 14  will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 15 

1 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

2 sn See Luke 19:41-44. This passage refers to the events associated with the fall of Jerusalem, when the city is surrounded by armies.

3 tn Grk “her,” referring to the city of Jerusalem (the name “Jerusalem” in Greek is a feminine noun).

4 sn The phrase its desolation is a reference to the fall of the city, which is the only antecedent present in Luke’s account. The parallels to this in Matt 24:15 and Mark 13:14 refer to the temple’s desolation, though Matthew’s allusion is clearer. They focus on the parallel events of the end, not on the short term realization in a.d. 70. The entire passage has a prophetic “two events in one” typology, where the near term destruction (a.d. 70) is like the end. So the evangelists could choose to focus on the near time realization (Luke) or on its long term fulfillment, which mirrors it (Matthew, Mark).

5 sn Fleeing to the mountains is a key OT image: Gen 19:17; Judg 6:2; Isa 15:5; Jer 16:16; Zech 14:5.

6 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

7 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

8 tn Or “of punishment.” This is a time of judgment.

9 tn The passive construction with the infinitive πλησθῆναι (plhsqhnai) has been translated as an active construction for simplicity, in keeping with contemporary English style.

10 sn Great distress means that this is a period of great judgment.

11 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

12 tn Grk “by the mouth of the sword” (an idiom for the edge of a sword).

13 sn Here is the predicted judgment against the nation until the time of Gentile rule has passed: Its people will be led away as captives.

14 tn Grk “And Jerusalem.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

15 sn Until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled implies a time when Israel again has a central role in God’s plan.



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