Luke 19:41
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
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(41) He beheld the city, and wept over it.—This, and the tears over the grave of Lazarus (John 11:35), are the only recorded instances of our Lord’s tears. It is significant that in the one case they flow from the intensity of personal friendship, in the other from that of the intense love of country which we know as patriotism. Neither element of character could well be wanting in the perfect pattern of a holiness truly human.

Luke 19:41-44. He beheld the city and wept over it — As he drew nigh he looked on the city, and, notwithstanding he had already met with much ill usage from its inhabitants, and was at this very juncture to be put to death by them, yet, with a divine generosity and benevolence, which nothing can equal, he wept over it, in the view of the surrounding multitude, lifting up his voice and lamenting aloud the calamities which he foresaw were coming upon it. If thou hadst known, at least in this thy day — After thou hast neglected so many; thy day — The day wherein God still offers thee his blessings; the things which belong unto thy peace — And on which thy final happiness depends! but now they are hid from thine eyes — God will leave thee in his righteous judgment to this thy chosen ignorance and obstinate perverseness, till it end in thine utter ruin. For the days shall come — The time hastens on and will soon arrive; that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee — And thou shalt suffer all the hardships of the closest siege. The original phrase is, περιβαλουσιν χαρακα σοι, which Dr. Campbell renders, will surround thee with a rampart, observing, the word “χαραξ does not occur in any other place in the New Testament, but in some places wherein it occurs in the Septuagint, it has evidently the sense here given it. Indeed, a rampart or mound of earth was always accompanied with a trench or ditch, out of which was dug the earth necessary for raising the rampart. Some expositors have clearly shown that this is a common meaning of the word in Greek authors. Its perfect conformity to the account of that transaction given by the Jewish historian, is an additional argument in its favour.” And keep thee in on every side — So that, with all thy numerous inhabitants, thou neither shalt be able to resist nor to escape them. To the prophecy here uttered by Jesus, foretelling the principal circumstances of the siege of Jerusalem, the event corresponded most exactly. “For, when Titus attacked the city, the Jews defended themselves so obstinately, that he found there was no way to gain his purpose but to compass the city round with a trench and mound. By this means, he kept the besieged in on every side, cut off from them all hope of safety by flight, and consumed them by famine. The work which he undertook was indeed a matter of extreme difficulty, for the wall measured thirty-nine furlongs, or almost five miles, and the towers were thirteen in number, every one of them ten furlongs in compass. Nevertheless, the whole was finished in three days; for, to use the expression of Josephus, the soldiers in performing this work were animated by a divine impetus. Bell., Luke 6:13.” And shall lay thee even with the ground — Of this circumstance, see the notes on Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2. The description which Josephus has given of the taking of Jerusalem by Titus, may be considered as a comment upon these prophecies. Bell., Luke 7:18. “Thus was Jerusalem taken, in the second year of Vespasian’s reign, on the 8th day of September; and having been already five times surprised, it was again finally destroyed. Such was the end of the besieging of Jerusalem, when there was none left to kill, nor any thing remaining for the soldiers to get. Cesar commanded them to destroy the city and temple, only leaving certain towers standing, that were more beautiful than the rest, namely, Phaselus, Hippicos, and Mariamne, and the wall that was on the west side, meaning there to keep a garrison, and that they should be a monument of the prowess of the Romans, who had taken a city so well fortified, as by them it appeared to have been. All the rest of the city they so levelled,” answering to our Lord’s phrase, lay thee even with the ground, “that they who had not seen it before, would not believe that ever it had been inhabited.” And in the preceding chapter he says, “They destroyed the wall, and burned the outward part of the city.” Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation — “Our Lord here assigns the cause of the destruction of Jerusalem and her children. It was because that, when God visited them by his Son, the seed of Abraham and David, the Messiah, they did not know it, but rejected and crucified him. The destruction of the city and of her inhabitants, clearly foreseen by our Lord in all the circumstances thereof, was a scene so affecting, that it moved his tender soul, and made him weep. It seems the miseries of bitterest enemies had more influence to afflict and melt his soul, than the admiration, the acclamations, and hosannas of his friends to elate him with joy. His weeping was a wonderful instance of his humanity, and is so far from lessening the dignity of his character, that it exalts it infinitely. Were it worthwhile, the reader might be put in mind that the historians of Greece and Rome, to aggrandize their heroes, have been at pains to relate occurrences at which they shed tears; but this would be to fall egregiously below the greatness of the subject. Is it possible to have the least relish for goodness, and not be ravished with the man who has such a quick feeling of the miseries of others, as to weep for their misfortunes in the height of his own prosperity, especially if the objects moving his compassion are enemies, and his courage is such as to enable him to look without perturbation on the greatest disasters ready to fall on himself? See Matthew 20:18-19. Let wondering mortals, then, behold in this an example of compassion and generosity, infinitely superior to any thing that the heathen world can furnish! an example highly worthy of their admiration and imitation.” — Macknight.19:41-48 Who can behold the holy Jesus, looking forward to the miseries that awaited his murderers, weeping over the city where his precious blood was about to be shed, without seeing that the likeness of God in the believer, consists much in good-will and compassion? Surely those cannot be right who take up any doctrines of truth, so as to be hardened towards their fellow-sinners. But let every one remember, that though Jesus wept over Jerusalem, he executed awful vengeance upon it. Though he delights not in the death of a sinner, yet he will surely bring to pass his awful threatenings on those who neglect his salvation. The Son of God did not weep vain and causeless tears, nor for a light matter, nor for himself. He knows the value of souls, the weight of guilt, and how low it will press and sink mankind. May he then come and cleanse our hearts by his Spirit, from all that defiles. May sinners, on every side, become attentive to the words of truth and salvation.He wept over it - Showing his compassion for the guilty city, and his strong sense of the evils that were about to come upon it. See the notes at Matthew 23:37-39. As he entered the city he passed over the Mount of Olives. From that mountain there was a full and magnificent view of the city. See the notes at Matthew 21:1. The view of the splendid capital - the knowledge of its crimes - the remembrance of the mercies of God toward it - the certainty that it might have been spared if it had received the prophets and himself - the knowledge that it was about to put "him," their long-expected Messiah, to death, and "for" that to be given up to utter desolation - affected his heart, and the triumphant King and Lord of Zion wept! Amid all "his" prosperity, and all the acclamations of the multitude, the heart of the Redeemer of the world was turned from the tokens of rejoicing to the miseries about to come on a guilty people. Yet they "might" have been saved. If thou hadst known, says he, even thou, with all thy guilt, the things that make for thy peace; if thou hadst repented, had been righteous, and had received the Messiah; if thou hadst not stained thy hands with the blood of the prophets, and shouldst not with that of the Son of God, then these terrible calamities would not come upon thee. But it is too late. The national wickedness is too great; the cup is full: mercy is exhausted; and Jerusalem, with all her pride and splendor, the glory of her temple, and the pomp of her service, "must perish!"

For the days shall come ... - This took place under Titus, the Roman general, 70 a.d., about thirty years after this was spoken.

Cast a trench about thee - The word "trench" now means commonly a "pit or ditch." When the Bible was translated, it meant also "earth thrown up to defend a camp" (Johnson's "Dictionary"). This is the meaning of the original here. It is not a pit or large "ditch," but a pile of earth, stones, or wood thrown up to guard a camp, and to defend it from the approach of an enemy. This was done at the siege of Jerusalem. Josephus informs us that Titus, in order that he might compel the city to surrender by "famine," built a wall around the whole circumference of the city. This wall was nearly 5 miles in length, and was furnished with thirteen castles or towers. This work was completed with incredible labor in ten days. The professed design of this wall was "to keep" the city "in on every side." Never was a prophecy more strikingly accomplished.

Shall lay thee even with the ground ... - This was literally done. Titus caused a plow to pass over the place where the temple stood. See the notes at Matthew 24. All this was done, says Christ, because Jerusalem knew not the time of its visitation - that is, did not know, and "would not" know, that the Messiah had come. "His coming" was the time of their merciful visitation. That time had been predicted, and invaluable blessings promised as the result of his advent; but they would not know it. They rejected him, they put him to death, and it was just that they should be destroyed.

41-44. when beheld … wept—Compare La 3:51, "Mine eye affecteth mine heart"; the heart again affecting the eye. Under this sympathetic law of the relation of mind and body, Jesus, in His beautiful, tender humanity, was constituted even as we. What a contrast to the immediately preceding profound joy! He yielded Himself alike freely to both. (See on [1703]Mt 23:37.) Those who of old blotted out this sentence, as thinking that weeping was not becoming Christ’s perfection, seem to have forgotten that he was perfect man, and a sharer in all the natural infirmities of human nature (if weeping upon the prospect of human miseries deserveth no better name than an infirmity, being an indication of love and compassion). Those who think that it was idle for him to weep for that which he might easily have helped, seem to oblige God to give out of his grace, whether men do what he hath commanded them, and is in their power to do, yea or no. Christ wept over Jerusalem as a man, having compassion for these poor Jews, with respect to the miseries he saw coming upon them; as a minister of the gospel, pitying the people to whom he was primarily sent. And when he was come near, he beheld city,.... Of Jerusalem; being now nearer, and in a situation to take a full view of it, he lift up his eyes, and looking wistfully on it, and beholding the grandeur and magnificence of it, the number of the houses, and the stately structures in it, and knowing what calamities, in a few years, would come upon it; with which being affected, as man, he looked upon it,

and wept over it; touched with a tender concern for it, his natural passions moved, and tears fell plentifully from his eyes. This must be understood of Christ merely as man, and is a proof of the truth of his human nature, which had all the natural properties, and even the infirmities of it; and as affected with the temporal ruin of Jerusalem, and as concerned for its temporal welfare; and is not to be improved either against his proper deity, or the doctrines of distinguishing grace, relating to the spiritual and eternal salvation of God's elect; things that are foreign from the sense of this passage: some ancient Christians, and orthodox too, thinking that this was not so agreeable to Christ, but reflected some weakness and dishonour upon him, expunged this clause concerning his weeping; but we have another instance besides this; see John 11:35 and even the Jews themselves cannot think this to be unsuitable to the Messiah, when they represent the Shekinah, and God himself weeping over the destruction of the temple (p); and it is particularly (q) said by them of the Messiah, that he shall weep over the wicked among the Jews, according to Isaiah 53:5 and they encourage persons to mourn over Jerusalem: they say (r) whoever does any business on the ninth of Ab, (the day that city was destroyed,) and does not mourn over Jerusalem, shall not see its joy; but whoever does mourn over it, shall see its joy, according to Isaiah 66:10 (s).

(p) Zohar in Gen. fol. 114. 4. & in Exod. fol. 76. 1. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 3. 2. Prafat Echa Rabbati, fol. 89. 4. (q) Zohar in Exod. fol. 85. 2.((r) T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 30. 2.((s) T. Bab Bathra, fol. 60. 2. & Caphtor, fol. 118. 2.

{9} And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

(9) Christ is not delighted with destruction, no not even of the wicked.

Luke 19:41-44. Jesus weeps at sight of the city and laments its doom.—ὡς = when, as in many places in Lk.—ἔκλαυσεν ἐπʼ α., He wept aloud, like Peter (Mark 14:72).—δακρύειν = to shed tears silently; for a group of synonyms with their distinctive meanings vide under κλαίω in Thayer’s Grimm.41-44. Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.

. he beheld the city] The Temple was at that time magnificent with gilding and white marble, which flashed resplendently in the spring sunlight (Jos. B. J. v. 5, § 6), and the city was very unlike the crumbling and squalid city of to-day. But that “mass of gold and snow” woke no pride in the Saviour’s heart. Few scenes are more striking than this burst of anguish in the very midst of the exulting procession.

wept over it] Not merely edakrusen ‘shed silent tears’ as at the grave of Lazarus (John 11:35) but eklaasen ‘wept aloud;’ and that although not all the agonies and insults of four days later could wring from Him one tear or sigh.Luke 19:41. Ἰδὼν, having beheld) A new step in His approach to the city. The sight of it moved Him. It was on that very spot afterwards that the Roman siege of the city began. See on Matthew 24:15.—[ἔκλαυσεν, He wept) Behold before thee the compassionate King, amidst the very shouts of joy raised by His disciples! Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, and yet compels no man by force.—(V. g.) But who shall endure the sword which proceedeth out of His mouth, when He shall appear, borne on the white horse? Revelation 19:11, etc.—Harm., p. 446.]—ἐπʼ αὐτῇ, [over or] concerning it) not [over or] concerning Himself. Comp. ch. Luke 23:28.Verse 41. - He beheld the city. It was a very different view to what the traveller of the present day would see from the same spot. Though Jerusalem, when Jesus Christ was teaching on earth, was subject to the stranger Herodian, and the Herodian to the great Italian power, yet the beauty and glory of the city were remarkable. Still glittered in the midst of the great city that "mass of gold and snow" known as the temple. The far-extending suburbs were covered with the gardens and palaces of the wealthy Jews. But the mighty memories which hung so thickly round the sacred city and the glorious house of God after all constituted its chief charm. What might not that city have been! what splendid and far-reaching work might it not have done l and now the cup of its iniquities was just brimming over; only a few more short years, and a silence the most awful would brood over the shapeless ruins of what was once Jerusalem and her house on Zion, the joy of the whole earth. And wept over it. No merely silent tears of mute sorrow, but ἔκλαυσεν, he wept aloud. All the insults and the sufferings of the Passion were powerless to elicit from the Man of sorrows that expression of intense grief which the thought of the ruin of the loved city called forth. He drew nigh

"Again the procession advanced. The road descends a slight declivity, and the glimpse of the city is again withdrawn behind the intervening ridge of Olivet. A few moments, and the path mounts again; it climbs a rugged ascent, it reaches a ledge of smooth rock, and in an instant the whole city bursts into view....It is hardly possible to doubt that this rise and turn of the road was the exact point where the multitude paused again, and He, when he beheld the city, wept over it" (Stanley).

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