gmx wrote: ↑
Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:11 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote: ↑
Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:39 am
It sounds like the author knows what happened.
Does it? To me it sounds like the author knows what happened in Mark 13.1-2: the temple fell, and its entire complex was totally destroyed.
I was primarily referring to verses 17-20, mentioning how bad it will be for nursing mothers and pregnant women, how people shouldn't stop to gather possessions, and how bad it would have been if the Lord hadn't shortened those days.
I believe all of those statements to be tropes. Prophetic summaries of how bad things are going to get will often include specific details: your young men will die in battle, their wives will be ravished, your cattle will be slaughtered or stolen, your yogurt will curdle, your children will catch lice, and so on. (I may have made a couple of those up at the end there, but you get the picture.) Vulnerable people, including the elderly but especially children and pregnant or nursing women, appear in these warnings, too:
2 Kings 8.11-12:
11 And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he was ashamed. And the man of God wept. 12 And Hazael said, "Why does my lord weep?" He answered, "Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel; you will set on fire their fortresses, and you will slay their young men with the sword, and dash in pieces their little ones, and rip up their women with child
15 Whoever is found will be thrust through, and whoever is caught will fall by the sword. 16 Their infants will be dashed in pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished.
14 Therefore a tumult will arise among your people
, and all your fortresses will be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were dashed in pieces with their children
16 Samaria shall bear her guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open
4 Ezra 5.8:
8 There shall be chaos also in many places, and fire shall often break out, and the wild beasts shall roam beyond their haunts, and menstruous women shall bring forth monsters
4 Ezra 6.21:
21 Infants a year old shall speak with their voices, and women with child shall give birth to premature children at three and four months
, and these shall live and dance.
Apocalypse of Elijah:
A double tribulation will increase over the whole land in those days. He will order kings to seize all women who are breast feeding to be brought to him bound and breast feed dragons to bring up their blood from their breasts and give them to the poisoned arrows.
Because of the difficulties in the cities he will also order every small child, twelve years and younger, to be seized and to be taught to throw arrows. The midwife who is upon earth will mourn. The one who has given birth will look up to heaven, saying, "Why did I sit at brick to bear children to the earth?"
The childless woman and the virgin will therefore rejoice, saying, "It is time for us to rejoice because we have no children on earth, but our children are in heaven."
I have found another reference to pregnant women having a hard time of it during an apocalyptic scenario. This one comes from an Egyptian apocalyptic text, the Oracle of the Potter
: "Much death will fall upon pregnant women."
I already gave my opinion as to the source of the motifs of fleeing to the mountains and leaving one's possessions behind:
1 Maccabees 2.27-28: 27 And Mattathias cried throughout the city with a loud voice, saying, "Whosoever is zealous of the law, and maintains the covenant, let him follow me." 28 So he and his sons fled unto the mountains [ἔφυγεν αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὰ ὄρη], and left all that ever they had in the city [καὶ ἐγκατέλιπον ὅσα εἶχον ἐν τῇ πόλει].
As for the tribulation and the shortening of days, I have posted stuff about that elsewhere
. Basically, the tribulation idea comes from Daniel 12.1, and the shortening of the days is an apologetic measure (inserted as a gloss into the text) taken to make up for the fact that the tribulation did not end with the coming of the son of man and all the glories which ought to have attended him.