And woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Woe unto them.—Better, alas for them, or woe for them. The tone is that of pity rather than denunciation. The hardships of a hurried flight would press most heavily on those who were encumbered with infant children, or were expecting childbirth. The same tenderness of sympathy shows itself in the words spoken to the daughters of Jerusalem in Luke 23:28-29. Perhaps the words point to the darker horrors of the siege, when mothers were driven, in the frenzy of starvation, to feed on their infants’ flesh (Jos. Wars, vi. 3, § 4).Matthew 5:40.
These directions were followed. It is said that the Christians, warned by these predictions, fled from Jerusalem to Pella, and other places beyond the Jordan; so that there is not evidence that a single "Christian" perished in Jerusalem - Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., lib. 3 chapter 6.
Mt 24:1-51. Christ's Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Warnings Suggested by It to Prepare for His Second Coming. ( = Mr 13:1-37; Lu 21:5-36).
For the exposition, see on Mr 13:1-37.See Poole on "Matthew 24:20".
and to them that give suck in those days; whose tender affection to their infants will not suffer them to leave them behind them; and yet such their weakness, that they will not be able to carry them with them; at least, they must be great hindrances to their speedy flight. So that the case of these is much worse than that of men on the house top, or in the field, who could much more easily leave their goods and clothes, than these their children, as well as had more agility and strength of body to flee. So , "women with child, and that give suck"; are mentioned together in the Jewish writings, as such as were excused from certain fasts, though obliged to others (g).And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 24:19. Αἱ μὲν γὰρ ἔγκυοι οὐ δυνήσονται φεύγειν, τῷ φορτίῳ τῆς γαστρὸς βαρυνόμεναι· αἱ δὲ θηλάζουσαι διὰ τὴν πρὸς τὰ τέκνα συμπάθειαν, Theophylact.Matthew 24:19-20 describe the pathos of the situation: woe to women with child, hey cannot get rid of their burden; and to women nursing, they cannot abandon their children as men can their money or their clothes (διὰ τὸν δεσμὸν τῆς φύσεως, Euthy. Cf. Chrys. and Theophy.). A touch this worthy of Jesus, sign mark of genuineness.Matthew 24:19. Οὐαὶ, woe!) This is not put by way of imprecation, but of indication. Neither is it an interdiction against the generating of children, but only a prediction of misery.—ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις, κ.τ.λ., to them that are with child, etc.) Because they will not be able to flee quickly. Godly women will share the common calamity; see Luke 23:29.Verse 19. - Woe unto them that are with child! The Lord, while he counsels flight, has a word of compassion for those poor mothers who are forced to have recourse thereto. The circumstances mentioned would impede flight and greatly increase danger and distress. The sufferings of mothers and children in the siege are narrated by the historian, and even such horrors as are indicated in Deuteronomy 28:53-56 were not unknown (see Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 5:10, 3; 6:3, 4; Eusobius, 'Hist. Eccl.,' 3:6, 7).
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