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Verses 20-21

Matthew 24:20-21. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter For the inclemency of the season, the badness of the roads, the shortness of the days, will all be great impediments to your flight: neither on the sabbath day That you may not raise the indignation of the Jews by travelling on that day, and so meet with that death out of the city which you had endeavoured to escape by removing from it. Besides, many of them would have scrupled to travel far on that day; the Jews thinking it unlawful to walk above two thousand paces, (two miles,) on the sabbath day. In the parallel place in Mark, this latter clause, about the sabbath day, is not mentioned. For then shall be great tribulation Never had words a more sad or full accomplishment than these: for the miseries which befell this people about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, were such as no history can parallel. Within the city the fury of the opposite factions was so great that they filled all places, and even the temple itself, with continual slaughters. Nay, to such a pitch did their madness arise, that they destroyed the very granaries of corn which should have sustained them, and burned the magazines of arms which should have defended them. By these means, when the siege had lasted but two months, the famine began to rage, and at length reduced them to such straits, that the barbarities which they practised are not to be imagined; see Josephus, Bell., Matthew 6:11. Even the mothers ate their own children, ibid., Matthew 7:8. In short, from the beginning of the siege to the taking of the city, there were slain by faction, by famine, by pestilence, and by the enemy, no less than one million one hundred thousand in Jerusalem. So that, as Josephus himself observes, in his preface to his history of this war: “If all the calamities which the world, from the beginning, hath seen, were compared with those of the Jews, they would appear inferior.” And again, in another place he says, “To speak in brief, no other city ever suffered such things, as no generation from the beginning of the world was ever more fruitful of wickedness.” And that the peculiar hand of Providence was visible in this destruction of the nation, the same author affirms. For, having described the vast multitudes of people that were in Jerusalem when it was besieged, he says, Bell., Matthew 7:17, “This multitude was assembled together from other places, and was there, by the providence of God, shut up. as it were, in a prison.” Besides, he tells us that Titus himself took notice that the Jews were urged on by God himself to their destruction.

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