Luke 21


The poor widow casting two mites into the treasury, 1-4.

the destruction of the temple foretold, 5, 6.

The signs of this desolation, 7.

False Christs, 8.

Wars, 9, 10.

Earthquakes and fearful sights, 11.

Persecutions against the godly, 12-19.

Directions how to escape, 20-22.

The tribulation of those times, 23-28.

The parable of the fig tree, illustrative of the time when they

may expect these calamities, 29-33.

The necessity of sobriety and watchfulness, 34-36.

He teaches by day in the temple, and lodges by night in the

mount of Olives, and the people come early to hear him, 37, 38.


Verse 1. The rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.]

See all this, from Lu 21:1-4, explained on Mr 12:41-44.

Verse 2. A certain poor widow] A widow miserably poor; this is

the proper import of πενιχραν, and her being miserably poor

heightened the merit of the action.

Two mites.] Which Mark says, Mr 12:42, make a

farthing or quadrans, the fourth part of an AS, or penny, as

we term it. In Plutarch's time we find the smallest piece of brass

coin in use among the Romans was the quadrans, but it appears that

a smaller piece of money was in circulation among the Jews in our

Lord's time, called here, and in Mark, Mr 12:42, a

lepton, i.e. small, diminished, from λειπο, I fail. In

ancient times our penny used to be marked with a deep indented

cross, dividing the piece into four equal parts, which, when

broken in two, made the half-penny, and, when broken into four,

made the fourthing, what we have corrupted into farthing. Probably

the Roman quadrans was divided in this way for the convenience of

the poor. Our term mite seems to have been taken from the animal

called by that name; for as that appeared to our ancestors to be

the smallest of all animals, so this being the smallest of all

coins was called by its name. Junius says that mite was a small

base coin among the Dutch. Our word mite seems to be a contraction

of the Latin minutum, a small thing, whence the French miete, a

crumb, a very small morsel. See Clarke on Mr 12:41.

Verse 5. Goodly stones] Or, costly stones. It has been thought

by some that this relates not so much to the stones of which the

temple was built, as to the precious stones with which it was

decorated. For an account of the stones of the temple,

See Clarke on Mr 13:1.

And gifts] Or, consecrated things, αναθημασι. αναθημα

properly signifies a thing consecrated to sacred uses: αναθεμα

signifies a thing devoted to a curse, or to destruction. They both

come from the same root, ανατιθημι, I lay up, separate; and though

two meanings cannot be more opposite than those assigned to these

words, yet in the words themselves a short vowel (ε) in the place

of a long one (η) makes all the difference between blessing and


Verse 6. One stone upon another This was literally fulfilled.

See Mt 24:2.

Verse 8. Many shall come in my name] Usurping my name: calling

themselves the Messiah. See Mt 24:5. Concerning this prediction

of the destruction of Jerusalem, and its literal accomplishment,

see the notes on Mt 24:1-42.

Verse 9. Commotions] Seditions and civil dissensions, with which

no people were more agitated than the Jews.

Verse 11. Fearful sights] What these were the reader will find

in detail on Mt 24:7.

Verse 12. Synagogues] Or, assemblies, &c. See these all

explained on Mr 13:9.

Verse 13. It shall turn to you for a testimony.] That is, it

shall turn out on your part for a testimony to them (your

persecutors) that you are thoroughly persuaded of the truth of

what you teach, and that you are no impostors.

Verse 14. Settle it therefore, &c.] See Clarke on Mt 10:19.

Verse 15. I will give you a mouth and wisdom] στομα, a mouth,

must appear plain to every person to be used here for a ready

utterance, or eloquence in speaking. They shall have an abundance

of wisdom to know what to say; and they shall have an irresistible

eloquence to say what they ought.

Verse 18. But there shall not a hair of your head perish.] A

proverbial expression for, Ye shall not suffer any essential

injury. Every genuine Christian shall escape when this desolation

comes upon the Jewish state.

Verse 19. In your patience] Rather, your perseverance, your

faithful continuance in my word and doctrine. Ye will preserve

your souls. Ye shall escape the Roman sword, and not one of you

shall perish in the destruction of Jerusalem. Instead of κτησασθε,

possess, or preserve ye, I read κτησεσθε, ye shall preserve.

This reading is supported by AB-B, five others; both the Syriac,

all the Arabic, AEthiopic, Vulgate, all the Itala except two,

Origen, Macarius, and Tertullian.

Verse 22. These be the days of vengeance] See Clarke on Mt 24:21.

Verse 24. They shall fall by the edge of the sword] Those who

perished in the siege are reckoned to be not less than eleven

hundred thousand. See Mt 24:22.

And shall be led away captive] To the number of ninety-seven

thousand. See Josephus, War, b. vi. c. ix. s. 2, 3, and on

Mt 24:31.

Trodden down of the Gentiles] Judea was so completely subjugated

that the very land itself was sold by Vespasian; the Gentiles

possessing it, while the Jews were either nearly all killed or led

away into captivity.

Of the Gentiles be fulfilled.] Till the different nations of the

earth, to whom God shall have given the dominion over this land,

have accomplished all that which the Lord hath appointed them to

do; and till the time of their conversion to God take place. But

when shall this be? We know not. The nations are still treading

down Jerusalem, and the end is known only to the Lord.

See Clarke on Mt 24:31.

Verse 25. The sea and the waves roaring] Figuratively pointing

out the immense Roman armies by which Judea was to be overrun and


Verse 26. Men's hearts failing them for fear] Or, Men fainting

away through fear, (αποψυχοντων,) being ready to die.

Coming on the earth] Or, Coming upon this land, οικουμενη. See

this translation of the word vindicated in Clarke's note on "Lu 2:1".

Verse 29. He spake to them a parable] Illustrated all these

predicted facts by the simile of a fig tree.

See this explained, Clarke "Mt 24:32".

Verse 31. The kingdom of God is nigh at hand.] After the

destruction of the Jewish state, the doctrine of Christ crucified

shall be preached every where, and every where prevail.

Verse 32. This generation] This race of men; but see on

Mt 24:34, and Mr 13:30.

Verse 34. Take heed to yourselves] See our Lord's parable,

relative to this matter, explained, Mr 13:34.

Be overcharged] Literally, be made heavy, as is generally the

case with those who have eaten or drank too much. Take heed that

ye be not rendered secure by an improper use of lawful things: do

not make this earth your portion: expect its dissolution, and

prepare to meet your God.

Verse 35. The face of the whole earth.] Or, of this whole land.

The land of Judea, on which these heavy judgments were to fall.

See Lu 21:25; see also Lu 2:1.

Verse 36. Watch ye therefore, and pray always] Perhaps we should

connect εςπαντικαιρω, continually, with αγρυπνειτε, watch,

as it appears to be the most natural order. Indeed the word

continually belongs equally to both watch and pray; and no man

is safe, at any time, who does not attend to this advice as

literally as possible.

That shall come to pass] That is, the tribulations which are on

their way to overwhelm and destroy the Jewish people. These are

sufficiently stated in the preceding verses.

To stand before the Son of man.] To be acquitted, and to be

condemned, are expressed, in Ro 14:4, by

standing and falling. Those who were faithful to the grace they

had received were not only not destroyed in the destruction of

Jerusalem, but became heralds of the grace and mercy of God to the

nations. Thus they were counted worthy to stand before the Son of

man-to minister salvation in his name.

Verse 37. And in the day time] Or, every day-ταςημερας. This

probably relates to the four last days of his life already


Abode in the mount] He taught all day in the temple, and

withdrew every evening, and lodged in Bethany; a town at the foot,

or on the declivity of the mount of Olives.

See Clarke on Mt 21:17.

Verse 38. The people came early] He returned early from the

mount of Olives, and the people came early in the morning to the

temple to hear his teaching. For practical observations on the

awful subject of this chapter, see Matt. 24 at the end.

See Clarke on Mt 24:51

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