Luke 23:28
But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
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(28) Daughters of Jerusalem.—It is characteristic of the tenderness of our Lord’s sympathy that these were the first words recorded as coming from His lips after He left the presence of Pilate. The mocking, the scourging, the spitting, had all been borne in silence. Now He speaks, and His thoughts are of the far-off sufferings of others, rather than of those that were then falling upon Himself.

Luke 23:28-29. But Jesus turning, said, &c. — Jesus, who ever felt the woes of others more than he did his own, forgetting his distress at the very time that it lay heaviest upon him, turned about, and with a benevolence and tenderness truly divine, said to them, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, &c. — Not that they were to be blamed for weeping for him, but commended rather: those hearts were hard indeed, that were not affected with such sufferings of such a person; but he bids them weep not only for him, but also and especially for themselves, and for their children, namely, because of the destruction that was coming upon Jerusalem, which some of them would probably live to see, and share in the calamities thereof; or at least their children would, for whom it behooved them to be solicitous. For the days are coming in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, &c. — As if he had said, “The calamities about to fall on you and your children are most terrible, and call for the bitterest lamentations; for in those days of vengeance you will vehemently wish that you had not given birth to a generation whose wickedness has rendered them objects of the divine wrath to a degree that never was experienced in the world before. And the thoughts of those calamities afflict my soul far more than the feeling of my own sufferings.” These words sufficiently imply that the days of distress and misery were coming, and would fall on them and on their children; which indeed they did in a most awful manner; though at that time there was not any appearance of such an immediate ruin: nor would the wisest politician have inferred it from the present state of affairs. The prediction was especially fulfilled during that grievous famine which so miserably afflicted Jerusalem during the siege. For, as Josephus reports, (Bell., Luke 5:10,) mothers snatched the food from their infants out of their very mouths: and again, in another place, (Bell., Luke 5:12,) the houses were full of women and children, who perished by famine. But Josephus relates a still more horrid story, which our Lord, with his spirit of prophecy, had probably in view. He says, (Bell., Luke 6:3,) “There was one Mary, the daughter of Eleazer, illustrious for her family and riches. She, having been stripped and plundered of all her substance and provisions by the soldiers, out of necessity and fury killed her own sucking child, and having boiled him, devoured half of him, and covering up the rest, preserved it for another time. The soldiers soon came, allured by the smell of victuals, and threatened to kill her immediately if she would not produce what she had dressed. But she replied, that she had preserved a good part for them, and uncovered the relict of her son. Dread and astonishment seized them, and they stood stupified at the sight. ‘But this,’ said she, ‘is my own son, and this my work. Eat, for even I have eaten. Be not you more tender than a woman, nor more compassionate than a mother. But, if you have a religious abhorrence of my victim, I truly have eaten half; and let the rest remain for me.’ They went away trembling, fearful to do this one thing; and hardly left this food for the mother. The whole city was struck with horrors” says the historian, “at this wickedness; and they were pronounced blessed, who died before they had heard or seen such great evils.”

23:26-31 We have here the blessed Jesus, the Lamb of God, led as a lamb to the slaughter, to the sacrifice. Though many reproached and reviled him, yet some pitied him. But the death of Christ was his victory and triumph over his enemies: it was our deliverance, the purchase of eternal life for us. Therefore weep not for him, but let us weep for our own sins, and the sins of our children, which caused his death; and weep for fear of the miseries we shall bring upon ourselves, if we slight his love, and reject his grace. If God delivered him up to such sufferings as these, because he was made a sacrifice for sin, what will he do with sinners themselves, who make themselves a dry tree, a corrupt and wicked generation, and good for nothing! The bitter sufferings of our Lord Jesus should make us stand in awe of the justice of God. The best saints, compared with Christ, are dry trees; if he suffer, why may not they expect to suffer? And what then shall the damnation of sinners be! Even the sufferings of Christ preach terror to obstinate transgressors.Daughters of Jerusalem - Women of Jerusalem. This was a common mode of speaking among the Hebrews.

Weep for yourselves ... - This refers to the calamities that were about to come upon them in the desolation of their city by the Romans.

28. not for me, &c.—noble spirit of compassion, rising above His own dread endurances, in tender commiseration of sufferings yet in the distance and far lighter, but without His supports and consolations! See Poole on "Luke 23:27"

But Jesus turning unto them,.... These women being behind Christ, at the back of him; and he knowing who they were, and what they were doing, turns himself to them, and addressed them in the following manner: and said,

daughters of Jerusalem; or ye Jerusalem women; just as the inhabitants of Jerusalem are called daughters of Zion in Isaiah 3:16

weep not for me; signifying, that they need not be under any concern on his account, for he was very willing to die; he desired nothing more; this was that he came into the world about; nor was he afraid to die; death was no king of terrors to him; he went to the cross with the greatest courage and intrepidity: besides, his sufferings, though he knew they would be very great and painful, yet that they would be soon over; nor could he be long held in the power of death, but would be raised again, and go to his Father, and be exalted at his right hand, and which should be matter of joy: to which might be added, that hereby his Father's counsels and covenant, purposes and promises, would have their accomplishment, the law would be fulfilled, justice satisfied, and all the perfections of God glorified, and the salvation of his chosen people effected; which, as it was the joy set before him, is a ground of rejoicing to believers: not that weeping on account of his sufferings and death was sinful; for he had offered prayers to God with cries and tears himself on this head; nor that it was altogether unreasonable, stupid, and preposterous; but Christ's meaning is, that when things were rightly considered, there would be great reason to assuage their grief, on this account, and rather express it on another;

but weep for yourselves, and for your children; not themselves personally, but their nation and posterity; and either for sin, their own, and others; the sins of professors, and of the profane; particularly the sin of crucifying him, which would be more injurious to that people than to him, and do them more hurt than him, since they had imprecated his blood upon them, and their children; or rather, and chiefly on account of those distresses and calamities, that would come upon them, in a short time, for their rejection and crucifixion of him; on account of which he himself had wept over Jerusalem, and its inhabitants, Luke 19:41.

But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
Luke 23:28. ἐπʼ ἐμέ, ἐφʼ ἑαυτὰς are brought close together to emphasise the contrast = weep not for me, but for yourselves weep, hinting at the tragedies of Jerusalem’s fatal day. At such times the greatest joy, that of motherhood, is turned into the greatest misery (Holtzmann, H. C.). The mothers ever have the worst of it (J. Weiss in Meyer).

28. turning unto them said] The only recorded words between His condemnation and crucifixion. Pity wrung from Him the utterance which anguish and violence had failed to extort.

Daughters of Jerusalem] The wailing women were not therefore His former Galilaean followers, Luke 8:2-3.

for yourselves] Some of them at least would survive till the terrible days of the Siege.

and for your children] Comp. Matthew 27:25, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

Luke 23:28. [Μὴἐπʼ ἐμὲ, not—concerning Me) Already every moment Jesus was more and more directing His thoughts towards the coming glory. In the way that is pointed out in Zechariah 12:10, He does not forbid their ‘mourning’ for Him (but only in the way that they were now mourning for Him, viz. as if He and His cause were crushed for ever; whereas He and it were near their glorious triumph).—V. g.]—ἐφʼ ἑαυτὰςκαὶ ἐπὶ τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶνἰδοὺ, concerning yourselves—and concerning your children—behold) It is hereby indicated that the punishment about to be inflicted is near at hand. [Indeed that calamity was impending especially over the infants, and yet not so as that the women also who were lamenting Jesus could not live long enough to reach it.—Harm., p. 561.] Jesus Himself too wept for the city, and not for Himself. See ch. Luke 19:41, Luke 18:31-32. [How many men and women there are, who might, if they would, find no want of altogether serious causes for deploring their own state, but who devote the present day to careless security!—V. g.]

Verse 28. - But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem. This address to them by the Lord indicates that the majority at least of this company of sympathizing women belonged to the holy city. Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. Again here, as on the cross, the utter unselfishness of the dying Master comes out. His thoughts in his darkest hour were never of himself. Here, apparently, for the first time since his last interrogation before Pilate does our Lord break silence. Stier beautifully calls this the first part of the Passion sermon of Christ. The second part consisted of the "seven words on the cross." "Weep," said our Lord here It is noticeable that it is the only time in his public teaching that he is reported to have told his listeners to weep. "The same lips whose gracious breath had dried so many tears now cry on the way to the cross, 'Weep for yourselves, and for your children.'" Luke 23:28
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