treasury chests: See study note on Mr 12:41.
needy: Or “poor.” The Greek word pe·ni·khrosʹ used here may denote a person who lacks the basic necessities of life or someone for whom life is a great struggle. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, it is used only here.
two small coins of very little value: Lit., “two lepta,” the plural form of the Greek word le·ptonʹ, meaning “something small and thin.” A lepton was a coin that equaled 1/128 of a denarius and was evidently the smallest copper or bronze coin used in Israel.—See Glossary, “Lepton,” and App. B14.
all the means of living she had: As shown in the study note on Lu 21:2, the coins that the widow put in the treasury chest were “two lepta,” the equivalent of 1/64 of a day’s wage. The lepton was the smallest coin used in Israel at that time. According to Mt 10:29, for an assarion coin (the equivalent of eight lepta), a person could purchase two sparrows, which were the cheapest birds used for food. So this widow had only half the amount needed to buy one sparrow, hardly enough for a single meal.
not a stone will be left upon a stone: See study note on Mt 24:2.
I am he: See study note on Mr 13:6.
disturbances: Or “disorders; uprisings.” The Greek word a·ka·ta·sta·siʹa has the basic meaning of unruliness, but it could also refer to opposition to established authority; insurrection; political turmoil. At 2Co 6:5, this term is rendered “riots” when describing the violent opposition faced by Paul.
end: Or “complete end; final end.”—See study note on Mt 24:6.
Nation: See study note on Mt 24:7.
rise: See study note on Mt 24:7.
pestilences: Or “widespread diseases; epidemics.” Of the three Gospel writers who recorded Jesus’ great prophecy about the time of the end, only Luke mentions this feature of the composite “sign.” (Lu 21:7; Mt 24:3, 7; Mr 13:4, 8) The three accounts are complementary. The only other Biblical occurrence of the Greek word for “pestilence” is at Ac 24:5, where it is used figuratively about a person who was perceived to be “a pest,” one who causes problems, a troublemaker or public menace.
fearful sights: Derived from the Greek verb pho·beʹo, meaning “to fear,” this word appears only here in the Christian Greek Scriptures. It evidently refers to terrifying events.
words: Or “forceful speech.” Lit., “a mouth.” Here the Greek word stoʹma is used synonymously for speech or the power of speech.
not even a hair of your heads will perish: By using hyperbole, Jesus left no doubt that his followers would be protected despite being “hated by all people.” (Lu 21:17) The context indicates that Jesus refers primarily to protection from spiritual or eternal harm rather than to protection from all physical harm. (Lu 21:16) Therefore, Jesus’ disciples do not expect to be miraculously delivered from abuse or even death. But they can be confident in Jehovah’s power to resurrect them from the dead. (Mt 10:39) The use of two Greek negatives with the verb in this verse emphatically expresses the certainty of Jesus’ promise. A similar meaning is conveyed by Jesus’ words to his disciples regarding God’s care for them: “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered.”—Lu 12:7; see study note on Mt 10:30.
endurance: The Greek noun hy·po·mo·neʹ is used in the Scriptures to denote courageous, steadfast, or patient “endurance” that does not lose hope in the face of obstacles, persecutions, trials, or temptations. The related verb hy·po·meʹno, rendered “to endure,” literally means “to remain (stay) under.” It is often used in the sense of “remaining instead of fleeing; standing one’s ground; persevering; remaining steadfast.”—Mt 10:22; Ro 12:12; Heb 10:32; Jas 5:11.
preserve your lives: Or “acquire (gain) your lives (souls).” The meaning of the Greek word psy·kheʹ, traditionally rendered “soul,” has to be determined by the context. (See Glossary, “Soul.”) It often refers to a person’s life, present or future. In this context, it has been rendered “your future lives” or “your real life.”
her: That is, the city of Jerusalem. In this context, the name Jerusalem in Greek is a feminine noun, though in some other contexts, it is neuter.
Judea: That is, the Roman province of Judea.
to the mountains: According to fourth-century historian Eusebius, Christians in Judea and Jerusalem fled across the Jordan River to Pella, a city in a mountainous region of the Decapolis.—See App. B10.
her: That is, the city of Jerusalem.—See study note on Lu 21:20.
days for meting out justice: Or “days of vengeance,” that is, divine vengeance and judgment. On an earlier occasion, in the synagogue of Nazareth, Jesus quoted part of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 61:1, 2) and applied it to himself, but the record does not say that he quoted the part concerning “the day of vengeance of our God.” (Lu 4:16-21) However, on this occasion, Jesus did proclaim “days of vengeance,” foretelling that Jerusalem would be surrounded by encamped armies. God’s vengeance was among the things written in the Hebrew Scriptures. The same Greek word here rendered “meting out justice” or “vengeance” occurs in the Septuagint at De 32:35; Jer 46:10 (26:10, LXX); and Hos 9:7. In these scriptures, the corresponding Hebrew terms are rendered “vengeance” or “reckoning.”
appointed times of the nations: Or “times of the Gentiles.” The Greek word kai·rosʹ (here the plural form is rendered “appointed times”) may refer to a point of time or a fixed or definite period of time or a “season” marked by certain features. (Mt 13:30; 21:34; Mr 11:13) It is used of “the appointed time” for Jesus’ ministry to begin (Mr 1:15) and the “appointed time” of his death (Mt 26:18). The term kai·rosʹ is also used with reference to future times or seasons within God’s arrangement or timetable, particularly in relation to Christ’s presence and his Kingdom. (Ac 1:7; 3:19; 1Th 5:1) In view of how the word kai·rosʹ is used in the Bible text, the expression “appointed times of the nations” evidently refers, not to a vague or indefinite time, but to a fixed period of time, one having a beginning and an end. The term “nations” or “Gentiles” translates the plural form of the Greek word eʹthnos, which was often used by the Bible writers to refer specifically to the non-Jewish nations.
see: See study note on Mt 24:30.
Son of man: See study note on Mt 8:20.
in a cloud: See study note on Mt 24:30.
illustration: Or “parable; lesson.”—See study note on Mt 13:3.
Heaven and earth will pass away: See study note on Mt 24:35.
my words will by no means pass away: See study note on Mt 24:35.
standing: In the Bible, this term is sometimes used to indicate that an individual or a group holds a favored or approved position with someone who has authority. (Ps 1:5; 5:5; Pr 22:29; Lu 1:19) For example, at Re 7:9, 15, a great crowd is shown to be “standing before the throne and before the Lamb,” indicating that they are favorably recognized by God and by Jesus.
lodge on the mountain: During the last four days of his earthly life, Jesus was active during the daytime in Jerusalem. At night, he and his disciples would leave the city to lodge in the village of Bethany on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, doubtless at the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.—Mt 21:17; Mr 11:11.