Mark 13


Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple, 1, 2.

His disciples inquire when this shall be, and what previous

sign there shall be of this calamity, 3, 4;

which questions he answers very solemnly and minutely, 5-27;

illustrates the whole by a parable, 28, 29;

asserts the absolute certainty of the events, 30, 31;

shows that the precise minute cannot be known by man, 32;

and inculcates the necessity of watchfulness and prayer, 33-37.


Verse 1. See what manner of stones] Josephus says, ANT. b.

xv. chap. 11: "That these stones were white and strong, FIFTY feet

long, TWENTY-FOUR broad, and SIXTEEN in thickness." If this

account can be relied on, well might the disciples be struck with

wonder at such a superb edifice, and formed by such immense

stones! The principal contents of this chapter are largely

explained in the notes on Matt. 24:, and to these the reader is

requested to refer.

Verse 6. Saying, I am] The Christ, is added by eight MSS.,

Coptic, Armenian, Saxon, and four of the Itala.

Verse 8. The beginnings] For αρχαι, many MSS. and versions

have αρχη, the beginning, singular.

Verse 9. Councils] συνεδρια, Sanhedrins. The grand

Sanhedrin consisted of seventy-two elders; six chosen out of each

tribe; this was the national council of state; and the small

Sanhedrins, which were composed of twenty-three counsellors.

Synagogues] Courts of justice for villages, &c.,

consisting of three magistrates, chosen out of the principal

directors of the synagogue in that place.

Rulers] Or governors. The Roman deputies, such as Pontius

Pilate, &c.

Kings] The tetrarchs of Judea and Galilee, who bore this name.

See Mr 6:27.

Verse 10. And the Gospel must first be published among all

nations.] Many of the Evangelistaria omit this verse. Its proper

place seems to be after verse the thirteenth. Mr 13:13

Verse 11. Neither-premeditate] This is wanting in BDL, five

others, Coptic, AEthiopic, Vulgate, Itala. Griesbach leaves it

doubtful. On this verse see Mt 10:19.

Verse 14. Let him that readeth understand] What he readeth,

is added by D, and three of the Itala, perhaps needlessly.

Verse 15. House-top] See Clarke on Mt 24:17.

Verse 20. Had shortened those days] Because of his chosen,

added by D, Armenian, and five of the Itala. See Mt 24:22.

Verse 30. This generation] ηγενεααυτη, This very race of

men. It is certain that this word has two meanings in the

Scriptures; that given in the text, and that above. Generation

signifies a period of a certain number of years, sometimes more,

sometimes less. In De 1:35; 2:14, Moses uses the word to point

out a term of thirty-eight years, which was precisely the number

in the present case; for Jerusalem was destroyed about

thirty-eight years after our Lord delivered this prediction. But

as there are other events in this chapter, which certainly look

beyond the destruction of Jerusalem, and which were to take place

before the Jews should cease to be a distinct people, I should

therefore prefer the translation given above. See Clarke on Mt 24:34.

Verse 32. Neither the Son] This clause is not found either in

Matthew or Luke; and Ambrose says it was wanting in some Greek

copies in his time. To me it is utterly unaccountable, how Jesus,

who knew so correctly all the particulars which he here lays down,

and which were to a jot and tittle verified by the event-how he

who knew that not one stone should be left on another, should be

ignorant of the day and hour when this should be done, though

Daniel, Da 9:24, &c.,

could fix the very year, not less than five hundred years before

it happened: how he in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwelt

bodily, and all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, should not

know this small matter, I cannot comprehend, but on this ground,

that the Deity which dwelt in the man Christ Jesus might, at one

time, communicate less of the knowledge of futurity to him than at

another. However, I strongly suspect that the clause was not

originally in this Gospel. Its not being found in the parallel

places in the other evangelists is, in my opinion, a strong

presumption against it. But Dr. Macknight, and others, solve this

difficulty in the following manner. They suppose the verb οιδεν

to have the force of the Hebrew conjugation Hiphel, in which verbs

are taken in a causative, declarative, or permissive sense; and

that it means here, make known, or promulge, as it is to be

understood in 1Co 2:2. This intimates that this secret was not

to be made known, either by men or angels, no, not even by the

Son of man himself; but it should be made known by the Father

only, in the execution of the purposes of his justice. I am

afraid this only cuts the knot, but does not untie it.

Verse 34. Left his house] οικιαν, family. Our blessed Lord

and Master, when he ascended to heaven, commanded his servants to

be faithful and watchful. This fidelity to which he exhorts his

servants consists in doing every thing well which is to be done,

in the heart or in the family, according to the full extent of the

duty. The watchfulness consists in suffering no stranger nor

enemy to enter in by the senses, which are the gates of the soul;

in permitting nothing which belongs to the Master to go out

without his consent; and in carefully observing all commerce and

correspondence which the heart may have abroad in the world, to

the prejudice of the Master's service. See Quesnel.

Verse 35. Watch ye therefore] The more the master is

expected, the more diligent ought the servants to be in working,

watching, and keeping themselves in readiness. Can one who has

received the sentence of his death, and has no right to live a

moment, need any admonition to prepare to die? Does not a

prisoner who expects his deliverance, hold himself in continual

readiness to leave his dungeon?

Verse 36. He find you sleeping.] A porter asleep exposes the

house to be robbed, and well deserves punishment. No wonder that

the man is constantly suffering loss who is frequently off his


Our Lord shows us in this parable: 1. That himself, ascended to

heaven, is the man gone from home. 2. That believers collectively

are his family. 3. That his servants are those who are employed

in the work of faith and labour of love. 4. That the porter

represents the ministers of his Gospel, who should continually

watch for the safety and welfare of the whole flock. 5. That

every one has his own work-that which belongs to himself and to

none other, and for the accomplishment of which he receives

sufficient strength from his Lord. 6. That these servants and

porters shall give an account to their Lord, how they have

exercised themselves in their respective departments. 7. And that

as the master of the family will certainly come to require this

account at a time when men are not aware, therefore they should be

always watchful and faithful. And, 8, That this is a duty

incumbent on every soul of man, What I say unto you, I say unto

ALL, WATCH! If, after all these warnings, the followers of God be

found careless, their misery and condemnation must be great.

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