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Verse 29. Shall the sun be darkened, etc. The images here used are not to be taken literally. They are often used by the sacred writers to denote any great calamities. As the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars would be an inexpressible calamity, so any great catastrophe, any overturning of kingdoms or cities, or dethroning of kings and princes, is represented by the darkening of the sun and moon, and by some terrible convulsion in the elements. Thus the destruction of Babylon is foretold in similar terms, Isa 13:10; and of Tyre, Isa 24:23. The slaughter in Bozrah and Idumea is predicted in the same language, Isa 34:4. See also Isa 50:3; 60:19,20; Eze 32:7; Joe 3:15.

To the description in Matthew, Luke has added, Lu 21:25 there should be "distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts falling them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth." All these are figures of great and terrible calamity. The roaring of the waves of the sea denotes great tumult and affliction among the people, Perplexity means doubt, anxiety; not knowing what to do to escape. Men's hearts failing them for fear, or by reason of fear. Their fears would be so great as to take away their courage and strength.

{a} "shall be darkened" Isa 13:10; Eze 32:7; Am 5:20; Ac 2:20; Re 6:12

{b} "heavens shall be shaken" 2 Pe 3:10

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