Matthew 24:20
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.

New Living Translation
And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath.

English Standard Version
Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.

New American Standard Bible
"But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.

King James Bible
But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Pray that your escape may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.

International Standard Version
Pray that it may not be in winter or on a Sabbath when you flee,

NET Bible
Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But pray that your escape will not be in winter, neither on the Sabbath.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Pray that it will not be winter or a day of worship when you flee.

Jubilee Bible 2000
But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter neither on the sabbath day,

King James 2000 Bible
But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

American King James Version
But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

American Standard Version
And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a sabbath:

Douay-Rheims Bible
But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the sabbath.

Darby Bible Translation
But pray that your flight may not be in winter time nor on sabbath:

English Revised Version
And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a sabbath:

Webster's Bible Translation
But pray ye that your flight may not be in the winter, neither on the sabbath:

Weymouth New Testament
"But pray that your flight may not be in winter, nor on the Sabbath;

World English Bible
Pray that your flight will not be in the winter, nor on a Sabbath,

Young's Literal Translation
and pray ye that your flight may not be in winter, nor on a sabbath;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

24:4-28 The disciples had asked concerning the times, When these things should be? Christ gave them no answer to that; but they had also asked, What shall be the sign? This question he answers fully. The prophecy first respects events near at hand, the destruction of Jerusalem, the end of the Jewish church and state, the calling of the Gentiles, and the setting up of Christ's kingdom in the world; but it also looks to the general judgment; and toward the close, points more particularly to the latter. What Christ here said to his disciples, tended more to promote caution than to satisfy their curiosity; more to prepare them for the events that should happen, than to give a distinct idea of the events. This is that good understanding of the times which all should covet, thence to infer what Israel ought to do. Our Saviour cautions his disciples to stand on their guard against false teachers. And he foretells wars and great commotions among nations. From the time that the Jews rejected Christ, and he left their house desolate, the sword never departed from them. See what comes of refusing the gospel. Those who will not hear the messengers of peace, shall be made to hear the messengers of war. But where the heart is fixed, trusting in God, it is kept in peace, and is not afraid. It is against the mind of Christ, that his people should have troubled hearts, even in troublous times. When we looked forward to the eternity of misery that is before the obstinate refusers of Christ and his gospel, we may truly say, The greatest earthly judgments are but the beginning of sorrows. It is comforting that some shall endure even to the end. Our Lord foretells the preaching of the gospel in all the world. The end of the world shall not be till the gospel has done its work. Christ foretells the ruin coming upon the people of the Jews; and what he said here, would be of use to his disciples, for their conduct and for their comfort. If God opens a door of escape, we ought to make our escape, otherwise we do not trust God, but tempt him. It becomes Christ's disciples, in times of public trouble, to be much in prayer: that is never out of season, but in a special manner seasonable when we are distressed on every side. Though we must take what God sends, yet we may pray against sufferings; and it is very trying to a good man, to be taken by any work of necessity from the solemn service and worship of God on the sabbath day. But here is one word of comfort, that for the elect's sake these days shall be made shorter than their enemies designed, who would have cut all off, if God, who used these foes to serve his own purpose, had not set bounds to their wrath. Christ foretells the rapid spreading of the gospel in the world. It is plainly seen as the lightning. Christ preached his gospel openly. The Romans were like an eagle, and the ensign of their armies was an eagle. When a people, by their sin, make themselves as loathsome carcasses, nothing can be expected but that God should send enemies to destroy them. It is very applicable to the day of judgment, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in that day, 2Th 2:1. Let us give diligence to make our calling and election sure; then may we know that no enemy or deceiver shall ever prevail against us.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 20. - Pray ye that, etc. (προσεύχεσθε ἵνα). He bids them pray to and worship God, in order that he may give them a favourable time for flight. The clause introduced with the final particle does not directly denote the subject of the petition, as our version gives the impression, but rather the aim of the petitioners (Morison). Not in the winter. He spake of personal hindrances in the last verse; here he speaks of external circumstances over which man has no control, except by prayer. The weather in winter, which means the rainy season, might render the roads impassable, and would, of course, prevent any hope of obtaining food by the wayside from cornfield or fruit tree. The sabbath day, which precluded any work or the use of beast of burden, and restricted a journey to something less than a mile. We must remember that until the final catastrophe the Christians observed such Mosaic restrictions (see Exodus 16:29; Acts 1:12). A flight for such a short distance would have been of no avail under the imperious circumstances which rendered escape advisable.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter,.... When days are short, and unfit for long journeys, and roads are bad, and sometimes not passable, through large snows, or floods of water; and when to dwell in desert places, and lodge in mountains, must be very uncomfortable: wherefore Christ directs to pray to God, who has the disposal of all events, and of the timing of them, that he would so order things in the course of his providence, that their flight might not be in such a season of the year, when travelling would be very difficult and troublesome. Dr. Lightfoot observes, from a Jewish writer (h), that it is remarked as a favour of God in the destruction of the first temple, that it happened in the summer, and not in winter; whose words are these:

"God vouchsafed a great favour to Israel, for they ought to have gone out of the land on the tenth day of the month Tebeth; as he saith Ezekiel 24:2 "son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this same day": what then did the Lord, holy and blessed? If they shall now go out in the winter, (saith he,) they will all die; therefore he prolonged the time to them, and carried them away in summer.''

And since therefore they received such a favour from him at the destruction of the first temple, there was encouragement to pray to him, that they might be indulged with the like favour when Jerusalem should be besieged again:

neither on the sabbath day: the word "day" is not in the Greek text; and some (i) have been of opinion, that the "sabbatical year", or the seventh year, is meant, when no fruits would be found in the fields, and a great scarcity of provisions among people; who would not have a sufficiency, and much less any to spare to strangers fleeing from their native places; but rather the sabbath day, or "day of the sabbath", as the Persic version reads it, is designed; and Beza says, four of his copies read it in the genitive case: and so four of Stephens's. And the reason why our Lord put them on praying, that their flight might not be on the sabbath day, was, because he knew not only that the Jews, who believed not in him, would not suffer them to travel on a sabbath day more than two thousand cubits; which, according to their traditions (k), was a sabbath day's journey; and which would not be sufficient for their flight to put them out of danger; but also, that those that did believe in him, particularly the Jerusalem Jews, would be all of them fond of the law of Moses, and scrupulous of violating any part of it, and especially that of the sabbath; see Acts 21:20. And though the Jews did allow, that the sabbath might be violated where life was in danger, and that it was lawful to defend themselves against an enemy on the sabbath day; yet this did not universally obtain; and it was made a question of, after the time of Christ, whether it was lawful to flee from danger on the sabbath day; of which take the following account (l).

"Our Rabbins teach, that he that is pursued by Gentiles, or by thieves, may profane the sabbath for the sake of saving his life: and so we find of David, when Saul sought to slay him, he fled from him, and escaped. Our Rabbins say, that it happened that evil writings (or edicts) came from the government to the great men of Tzippore; and they went, and said to R. Eleazar ben Prata, evil edicts are come to us from the government, what dost thou say? "shall we flee?" and he was afraid to say to them "flee"; but he said to them with a nod, why do you ask me? go and ask Jacob, and Moses, and David; as it is written, of Jacob, Hosea 12:12 "and Jacob fled"; and so of Moses, Exodus 2:15 "and Moses fled"; and so of David, 1 Samuel 19:18 "and David fled, and escaped": and he (God) says, Isaiah 26:20 "come my people, enter into thy chambers".''

From whence, it is plain, it was a question with the doctors in Tzippore, which was a town in Galilee, where there was an university, whether it was lawful to flee on the sabbath day or not; and though the Rabbi they applied to was of opinion it was lawful, yet he was fearful of speaking out his sense plainly, and therefore delivered it by signs and hints. Now our Lord's meaning, in putting them on this petition, was, not to prevent the violation of the seventh day sabbath, or on account of the sacredness of it, which he knew would be abolished, and was abolished before this time; but he says this with respect to the opinion of the Jews, and "Judaizing" Christians, who, taking that day to be sacred, and fleeing on it unlawful, would find a difficulty with themselves, and others, to make their escape; otherwise it was as lawful to flee and travel on that day, as in the winter season; though both, for different reasons, incommodious.

(h) Taachuma, fol. 57. 2.((i) Vid. Reland. Antiq. Heb. par. 4. c. 10. sect. 1. & Hammond in loc. (k) Maimon. Hilch. Sabbat, c. 27. sect. 1.((l) Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 23. fol. 231. 4.



Matthew 24:20 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Abomination of Desolation
19"But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20"But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. 21"For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.…
Cross References
Matthew 24:19
How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!

Matthew 24:21
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again.
Treasury of Scripture

But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

neither.

Exodus 16:29 See, for that the LORD has given you the sabbath, therefore he gives …

Acts 1:12 Then returned they to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which …

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