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In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country.
"Those days" are the first days of Mary's pregnancy - of the pregnancy of a young girl - probably less than 15 years old - of the pregnancy of a young and unmarried girl living in a small village where such a thing would bring untold shame - no, not UNTOLD, but rather frequently told gossip, that would shame her, her family, and her child for ever. In THOSE days, Mary flees her village and heads for the far away hills.
As Bruce Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh (page 229) succinctly put it:
Travel for other than (religious purposes) was often considered deviant behavior in antiquity. While travel to visit family was considered legitimate, the report of Mary traveling alone into the "hill country" is highly unusual and improper.
* Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Bruce J. Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh, Social Science Commentary on ... The Synoptic Gospels; The Gospel of John; The Book of Acts; The Letters of Paul; The Book of Revelation; and others.
+ Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, Jewish Annotated New Testament, The Bible With and Without Jesus, Short Stories by Jesus, Entering the Passion of Jesus, and others.
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