Matthew 24:22. Except those days should be shortened, &c. If these wars and desolations were to continue for any length of time, none of the Jews would escape destruction; they would all be cut off, root and branch. For the calamities will be so severe that, like fire, they would soon consume all, and leave nothing for themselves to prey on. But for the elect’s sake For the sake of those Jews that shall embrace the gospel; those days shall be shortened The elect, is a well-known appellation in Scripture and antiquity for the Christians; and the Christian Jews, partly through the fury of the Zealots on the one hand, and the hatred of the Romans on the other; and partly through the difficulty of subsisting in the mountains without houses or provisions; would in all probability have been almost all destroyed, either by sword or by the famine, if the days had not been shortened. But providentially the days were shortened. Titus himself was desirous of putting a speedy end to the siege, having Rome, and the riches and pleasures there, before his eyes. Some of his officers proposed to him to turn the siege into a blockade, and since they could not take the city by storm, to starve it into a surrender; but he thought it not becoming to sit still with so great an army; he feared lest the length of the time should diminish the glory of his success. The besieged, too, helped to shorten the days, by their divisions and mutual slaughters; by burning their provisions, which would have sufficed for many years, and fatally deserting their strongest holds, where they could never have been taken by force, but by famine alone. Indeed, Jerusalem was so well fortified, and so well fitted to sustain a longer siege, that it could not have been taken in so short a time by the enemy without, had it not been for the factions and seditions within. Titus himself could not but ascribe the success to God, as he was viewing the fortifications after the city was taken. His words to his friends were very remarkable. “We have fought,” said he, “with God on our side, ο Θεος ην ο των δε ερυματων Ιουδαιους καθεκων , it is God who hath pulled the Jews out of these strong holds; for what could the hands of men, or machines, do against these towers?” God, therefore, in the opinion of Titus, as well as of the evangelist: shortened these days. After the destruction of Jerusalem too, God inclined the heart of Titus to take some pity upon the remnant of the Jews, and to restrain the nations from exercising the cruelty that they would have exercised against them. At Antioch, particularly, the senate importuned him to expel the Jews from the city: but he answered that their country being laid waste, there was no place to receive them. They then requested him to deprive the Jews of their former privileges; but those he permitted them to enjoy as before. Thus, for the elect’s sake those days of persecution were shortened.
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