Flee to the mountains (Mk 13:14-13:14)

“But when you see

The desolating sacrilege

Set up

Where it ought

Not to be,

Let the reader

Understand!

Then those in Judea

Must flee

To the mountains!”

 

Ὅταν δὲ ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως ἑστηκότα ὅπου οὐ δεῖ, ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω, τότε οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ φευγέτωσαν εἰς τὰ ὄρη,

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:15-16, and in Luke, chapter 21:20-21.  However, only Matthew specifically mentioned the prophet Daniel, while Luke was more specific about the city of Jerusalem.  Mark said that Jesus warned them that when they saw the desolating sacrilege or cursed devastation (Ὅταν δὲ ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) standing or set up in the place where it should not be (ἑστηκότα ὅπου οὐ δεῖ), those reading this should understand (ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω) what was happening.  Then those people in Judea (τότε οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ) should flee or escape to the mountains or the hills (φευγέτωσαν εἰς τὰ ὄρη).  Head to the hills!  Maybe this is a reference to the Jewish revolt in 66-70 CE, when many Jews fled Judea as the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed.

The importance of Daniel (Mt 24:15-24:15)

“When you see

The desolating sacrilege

Standing in the holy place,

As was spoken of

By the prophet Daniel,

Let the reader understand!”

 

Ὅταν οὖν ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου ἑστὸς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ, ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω,

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:14, and in Luke, chapter 21:20, but only Matthew specifically mentioned the prophet Daniel.  Jesus warned that when they saw the desolating sacrilege or cursed devastation (Ὅταν οὖν ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) standing in the holy place (ἑστὸς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ), they would understand (ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω) what was happening.  Matthew explicitly named the prophet Daniel (τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου), chapter 9:27 and chapter 11:31, talking about the desolating abomination in the Temple.  In 175 BCE, the prince coming to destroy the high priest Onias III was probably King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who came to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary during the war against the Maccabees uprising.  During this time, the sacrifices and offerings ceased in the Temple.  Instead, they had these terrible abominations and desolations of the false idols.  Thus, the reference to Daniel is both eschatological about the end times as well as a reference to the political religious revolt of the Maccabees nearly 2 centuries earlier.

Historical Criticism

Historical bible criticism attempts to establish the historical milieu of a document.  This involves many things and various disciplines, such as linguistics, sociology, anthropology, and comparative literature studies of various kinds.  Certainly, it is important to establish the time, place, events, persons, general milieu, and sources.  All of this is necessary in order to help the reader understand this literary document.  The contemporary experience of reality should help to establish the meaning and significance of ancient texts, even though these ancient texts had a worldview different from that of the modern world.