Matthew 24:17-19. Let him who is on the house-top not come down It is well known that the houses of the Jews, as well as those of the ancient Greeks and Romans, were flat on the top, for them to walk upon, and had usually stairs on the outside, by which they might ascend and descend without coming into the house. In the walled cities, these flat-roofed houses usually formed continued terraces from one end of the city to the other, which terraces terminated at the gates. The meaning therefore here is, Let not him who is walking on the house-top come down to take any thing out of his house; but let him instantly pursue his course along the tops of houses, and escape out of the city gate as fast as he possibly can. Neither let him which is in the field, &c. Our Saviour makes use of these expressions to intimate, that their flight must be as sudden and hasty as Lot’s was out of Sodom. And the Christians escaping just as they did was the more providential, because afterward all egress from the city was prevented. And wo unto them that are with child, &c. For such will not be in a condition to flee, neither will they be well able to endure the distress and hardships of the siege. This wo was sufficiently fulfilled in the cruel slaughters which were made both of the women and children, and particularly in that grievous famine which so miserably afflicted Jerusalem during the siege. See notes on Deuteronomy 28:53-57.
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