The first part of verse 23 refers to the mission the twelve which is about to begin, the disciples are going to go through the towns of Israel. But what does it mean they will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes (v. 23b)? “This is one of the most problematic verses in the Bible” (Wilkins, Matthew, 394). There are several options for understanding this difficult verse.
First, the “towns of Israel” is an unusual way to describe the short-term mission. They are going to the towns of Galilee, but Israel as a geographical area no longer exists. Some therefore expand this to all of the Jewish communities in the Diaspora. As Nolland suggests, this is unlikely. For Nolland, Jesus’s point is the twelve will not have fled all the villages in Palestine until the Son of Man comes (Matthew
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