And they answered and said unto him, where,
&c.] That is, either the Pharisees put this question to Christ, who demanded of him when the kingdom of God would come, ( Luke 17:20 ) or rather the disciples, to whom Christ more especially directed his discourse, ( Luke 17:22 ) who hearing of the distinction that would be made of persons in these dismal times, ask where it should be; not where the persons would be left, but whither the others would be taken, and by whom: and he said unto them,
wheresoever the body is;
the carcass of the Jewish nation, as at Jerusalem chiefly, and in whatsoever place:
thither will the eagles be gathered together;
the Roman army, whose ensign was the eagle; these will come, seize upon them, and take them and devour them, as they did: the Persic version renders it, "vultures"; (See Gill on Matthew 24:28). These words can by no means be understood of sinners fleeing to Christ for eternal life and salvation; nor of the gathering of saints to him, at the last day; for how fitly soever such persons may be compared to "eagles", the word "body", or "carcass", as in ( Matthew 24:28 ) and which is so read in some copies here, is not so suitable to Christ; and especially at his glorious appearing; and besides, the words are an answer to a question, where such persons would be, who would be taken and destroyed, when others would be left, or preserved; and manifestly refer to the body, or carcass of the Jewish people at Jerusalem, and other fortified places; where they should think themselves safe, but should not be so, the Roman armies gathering about them, and seizing them as their prey: it is yet a more strange interpretation, which is proposed by a very learned man F9; that by the "eagle" is meant, Christ; and by "the body", or "carcass", the church in the times of antichrist; and by "gathering" to it, the coming of Christ: for though Christ may be said to bear and carry his people, as the eagle bears and carries its young upon its wings, which he observes from ( Exodus 19:4 ) ( Deuteronomy 32:11 ) ( Isaiah 63:9 ) yet not a single eagle, but "eagles", in the plural number, are here mentioned; which shows, that not a single person, as Christ, but many are here intended, even legions of Roman soldiers: nor can the church of Christ be compared to a dead and filthy carcass, in the worst of times, even in the times of antichrist; for however forlorn, distressed, and afflicted her condition is, she is kept alive, and in some measure pure from antichristian pollutions; and is represented by a woman, to whom two wings of a great eagle are given (wherefore she should rather be designed by the eagles) to fly with into the wilderness, where she is preserved and nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, ( Revelation 12:14 ) . Nor is Christ's coming ever expressed by the gathering of him to his people; but on the other hand, they are always said to be gathered unto him; see ( 2 Thessalonians 2:1 ) .