Luke 23:30
Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(30) Then shall they begin to say to the mountains.—The imagery was natural in a limestone country such as Judæa, subject to earthquakes. Commonly, such catastrophes were dreaded, and men prayed against them. The time was coming when the dens and caves which usually offered a place of refuge from invading armies (Isaiah 2:19) would prove insufficient, and men would cry, as they had done of old (comp. Hosea 10:8, from which the words are quoted), to the mountains to fall on them.

Luke 23:30-31. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us, &c. — Proverbial expressions, to signify their desire of any shelter or refuge; and so very desirous were they of hiding themselves, that some thousands of them crept even into the common sewers, and there miserably perished, or were dragged out to slaughter. (Bell., Luke 6:9.) For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry — If the Romans are permitted by Heaven to inflict such heavy punishments on me, who am innocent, how dreadful must the vengeance be which they shall inflict on the nation, whose sins cry aloud to heaven, hastening the pace of the divine judgments, and rendering the perpetrators as fit for punishments as dry wood is for burning. The expression is proverbial; and was in frequent use among the Jews, who compared a good man to a green tree, and a bad man to a dead and dry one. It is as if our Lord had said, If a righteous person suffer thus, what will become of the wicked? Of those who are as ready for destruction, as dry wood is for the fire? Compare Ezekiel 20:47, with Ezekiel 21:3, where God’s burning every green and every dry tree is explained to be, his destroying the righteous and the wicked together. See also Psalm 1:3, where a good man is compared to a green tree full of leaves: and both Christ and John the Baptist resemble bad men to dry, dead, and barren trees.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.To the mountains, Fall on us ... - This is an image of great calamities and judgments. So great will be the calamities that they will seek for shelter from the storm, and will call on the hills to protect them. The same figure is used respecting the wicked in the day of judgment in Revelation 6:16-17. Compare also Isaiah 2:21. 30. mountains … hills, &c.—(Ho 10:8), flying hither and thither as they did in despair for shelter, during the siege; a very slight premonition of cries of another and more awful kind (Isa 2:10, 19, 21; Re 6:16, 17). See Poole on "Luke 23:27" Then shall they begin to say,.... The Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions read, "then shall ye begin to say"; the tribulation being so great, as never was the like since the creation of the world, nor never will be to the end of it; and being so sore pressed with the sword and famine; with the enemy without, and divisions, robberies, and murders within; and their miseries being inexpressible, and intolerable, they will seek to go into the holes of the rocks, and caves of the earth, as is prophesied of them, Isaiah 2:19 and as Josephus says, many of them did, when the city was taken; and, like those in Hosea 10:8 will say, "to the mountains fall on us, and to the hills cover us"; will choose rather that the mountains and hills round about Jerusalem, should fall upon them, and they be buried under the ruins of them, than live in such terrible distress, or fall into the hands of their enemies! Compare with this Revelation 6:15. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 23:30. τοῖς ὄρεσι, τοῖς βουνοῖς: the reference is to Palestine, a land of mountains and hills, and the prayer of the miserable that a hill may fall on them and bury them under its ruins (quoted from Hosea 10:8).30. to the mountains, Fall on us] Comp. Hosea 10:8. Hundreds of the Jews at the end of the siege hid themselves in subterranean recesses, and no less than 2000 were killed by being buried under the ruins of these hiding-places (Jos. B. J. vi. 9, § 4). We cannot fail to see in these events something of what St John calls “the wrath of the Lamb,” Revelation 6:16. Even a terror is entreated as a relief from yet more horrible calamities.Luke 23:30. Τότε, then) then in particular (or at last), more than now.—ἄρξονται, they shall begin) viz. “the barren” shall begin, in answer to those by whom they Mere called ‘blessed.’ The same language shall be used afterwards also, Revelation 6:10 [At the opening of the sixth seal, the kings, etc., said to the mountains, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne,” etc.].—λέγειν τοῖς ὃρεσι, πέσετε ἐ, ἡμᾶς· καὶ τοῖς βουνοῖς, καλύψατε ἡμᾶς) So Hosea 10:8, LXX., καὶ ἐροῦσι τοῖς ὄρεσι, καλύψατε ἡμᾶς· καὶ τοῖς βουνοῖς, πέσετε ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς.—ὃρεσι, to the mountains) Often men have been covered [buried] beneath mountains. It is a great addition to the terror, when that which is horrible in itself is wished for by way of a shelter. See Revelation 6:16.Verse 30. - Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. The allusion, in the first place, was to the awful siege of Jerusalem and to the undreamed-of woes which would accompany it; and in the second place, to the centuries of misery and persecution to which the children of these "daughters of Jerusalem" would, as Jews, be subjected in all lands. Hills (βουνοῖς)

Only here and Luke 3:5.

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