Mark 13:35
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
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(35) The master of the house.—Better, the Lord of the house. The Greek word is not the same as that commonly rendered the “goodman” or “master” of the house.

At even, or at midnight.—The four times correspond roughly to the four watches of the night, beginning at 9 P.M., 12, 3 A.M., 6 A.M. The words may be noted as having left, and having been intended to leave, on St. Peter’s mind, the impression that the promise of the coming of his Lord was undefined as to times or seasons, which is so prominent in 2 Peter 3. Each of the seasons named has had its counterpart, we may well believe, embracing many centuries of the world’s history.

13:28-37 We have the application of this prophetic sermon. As to the destruction of Jerusalem, expect it to come very shortly. As to the end of the world, do not inquire when it will come, for of that day and that hour knoweth no man. Christ, as God, could not be ignorant of anything; but the Divine wisdom which dwelt in our Saviour, communicated itself to his human soul according to the Divine pleasure. As to both, our duty is to watch and pray. Our Lord Jesus, when he ascended on high, left something for all his servants to do. We ought to be always upon our watch, in expectation of his return. This applies to Christ's coming to us at our death, as well as to the general judgment. We know not whether our Master will come in the days of youth, or middle age, or old age; but, as soon as we are born, we begin to die, and therefore we must expect death. Our great care must be, that, whenever our Lord comes, he may not find us secure, indulging in ease and sloth, mindless of our work and duty. He says to all, Watch, that you may be found in peace, without spot, and blameless.Watch ye - Be diligent, faithful, and waiting for the return of your Lord, who will come at an unexpected hour.

Master of the house - Denoting here the Lord Jesus.

At even, or at midnight, or ... - This refers to the four divisions into which the Jews divided the night.

35. Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning—an allusion to the four Roman watches of the night. See Poole on "Mark 13:34"

Watch ye therefore,.... Against false Christs, and false prophets; over yourselves, and the whole church; for the words are particularly addressed to the disciples of Christ:

for ye know not when the master of the house cometh; when Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven, and in earth, is named, who is a Son in his own house, is an high priest over the house of God, and Lord of his church and people, whom he has bought with his blood, and provides for with his grace, and by his Spirit, when he will come to break up housekeeping with the Jews, and bring his wrath upon them to the uttermost: whether

at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning. This is agreeably to the division of the night among the Jews, who speak of the first watch, the middle of the night, the cock crowing, and morning, as distinct from each other. The three first of these we have in one passage (q):

"every day they remove the ashes from the altar, "at cock crowing", or near it, either before, or after it; and on the day of atonement, "at midnight"; and on the feast days, "at the first watch",''

the same with the evening here: and elsewhere the morning and cock crowing are distinguished (r);

"for a last of the congregation, how long may a man eat and drink? until the pillar of the morning ascends, (or until it is morning,) the words of R. Eliezer ben Jacob; R. Simeon says, until cock crowing.''

And so the phrase, from cock crowing till morning, is used by them (s). The Romans also divided the night in like manner, into evening, the dead of the night, or midnight, cock crowing, and the morning (t). The allusion seems to be to the time of the president of the temple's coming into it, who had the management of the affairs of it, and of appointing to each priest his work: it is said (u),

"whoever would remove the ashes from the altar, rose up early, and washed himself before the president came; but in what hour does the president come? not at all times alike: sometimes he comes, , "at cock crowing", or near it, before it, or after it; and the president comes and knocks for them, and they open to him; and he says unto them, whosoever has washed himself, let him come and cast lots: they cast lots, and he is worthy whom he counts worthy.''

Such who understand these words of Christ's coming by death, or at judgment, apply these seasons to the several ages of men, as childhood, youth, manhood, and old age.

(q) Misn. Yoma, c. 1. sect. 8. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 20. 9. & Zebachim, c. l. 96. 2.((r) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 2. 2. & Taanith, fol. 12. 1.((s) T. Bab. Zebachim, fol. 20. 2.((t) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 4. c. 20. (u) Misn. Tumid. c. 1. sect. 2.

Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
Mark 13:35. ὀψὲ ἢ, etc.: the night divided, Roman fashion, into four watches: 6–9, 9–12, 12–3, 3–6. Before the exile the Jews divided the night into three parts.—μεσονύκτιον: vide at Luke 11:5 on this word, found also in Acts 16:25; Acts 20:7.—ἀλεκτοροφωνία is a ἅπαξ λεγ. in N. T.

35. at even, or at midnight] On the night watches see above, ch. Mark 6:48. In the Temple the priest, whose duty it was to superintend the night sentinels of the Levitical guard, might at any moment knock at the door and demand entrance. “He came suddenly and unexpectedly, no one knew when. The Rabbis use almost the very words in which Scripture describes the unexpected coming of the Master, when they say, Sometimes he came at the cockcrowing, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later. He came and knocked, and they opened to him.” Mishnah, Tamid, 1. 1, 2, quoted in Edersheim’s The Temple and its Services, p. 120.

Mark 13:35. Γρηγορεῖτε, watch) Watchfulness, the foundation of all duties, is enjoined not only on the porter, but on all the servants.—μεσονυκτίον, at midnight) Matthew 25:6.

Mark 13:35Watch (γρηγορεῖτε)

A different word from that in Mark 13:33. See also Mark 13:34. The picture in this word is that of a sleeping man rousing himself. While the other word conveys the idea of simple wakefulness, this adds the idea of alertness. Compare Mark 14:38; Luke 12:37; 1 Peter 5:8. The apostles are thus compared with the doorkeepers, Mark 13:34; and the night season is in keeping with the figure. In the temple, during the night, the captain of the temple made his rounds, and the guards had to rise at his approach and salute him in a particular manner. Any guard found asleep on duty was beaten, or his garments were set on fire. Compare Revelation 16:15 : "Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments." The preparations for the morning service required all to be early astir. The superintending priest might knock at the door at any moment. The Rabbis use almost the very words in which scripture describes the unexpected coming of the Master. "Sometimes he came at the cockcrowing, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later. He came and knocked and they opened to him" (Edersheim, "The Temple").

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