And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars
This is the second sign of the destruction of Jerusalem: it is observable that this, and some of the following signs, are given by the Jews, as signs of the Messiah's coming; whereas they were forerunners of their ruin, for the rejection of him who was already come. They suppose the Messiah will come in the seventh year, or the year of rest and release:
``On the seventh year (they say F8) will be (twmxlm) , "wars": and in the going out, or at the close of the seventh year, the son of David will come.''Which wars, the gloss says, will be between the nations of the world, and Israel. Here wars may mean the commotions, insurrections, and seditions, against the Romans, and their governors; and the intestine slaughters committed among them, some time before the siege of Jerusalem, and the destruction of it. Under Cureanus the Roman governor, a sedition was raised on the day of the passover, in which twenty thousand perished; after that, in another tumult, ten thousand were destroyed by cut-throats: in Ascalon two thousand more, in Ptolemais two thousand, at Alexandria fifty thousand, at Damascus ten thousand, and elsewhere in great numbers F9. The Jews were also put into great consternation, upon hearing the design of the Roman emperor, to put up his image in their temple:
see that ye be not troubled;
so as to leave the land of Judea as yet, and quit the preaching of the Gospel there, as if the final destruction was just at hand;
for all these things must come to pass;
these wars and the reports of them and the panic on account of them; these commotions and slaughters, and terrible devastations by the sword must be; being determined by God, predicted by Christ, and brought upon the Jews by their own wickedness; and suffered in righteous judgment, for their sin:
but the end is not yet;
meaning not the end of the world, but the end of Jerusalem, and the temple, the end of the Jewish state; which were to continue, and did continue after these disturbances in it.
F8 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 97. 1. & Megilia, fol. 17. 2. Zohar in Exod. fol. 3. 3, 4.
F9 Vid. Joseph. Antiq. l. 20. c. 6. & de Bello Jud. l. 2