Luke 23:48
And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(48) To that sight.—The word is used by St. Luke-only in the New Testament, and exactly expresses the purpose of those who had come as to gaze on a “spectacle.” These had probably taken little or no part in the insults and taunts of the priests, and now they went away awed, partly by the darkness, partly by the solemn majesty of that awful death.

Smote their breasts, and returned.—Better, returned, smiting their breasts. Both the verb and participle imply continuous action.

23:44-49 We have here the death of Christ magnified by the wonders that attended it, and his death explained by the words with which he breathed out his soul. He was willing to offer himself. Let us seek to glorify God by true repentance and conversion; by protesting against those who crucify the Saviour; by a sober, righteous, and godly life; and by employing our talents in the service of Him who died for us and rose again.The things which were done - The earthquake, the darkness, and the sufferings of Jesus.

Smote their breasts - In token of alarm, fear, and anguish. They saw the judgments of God; they saw the guilt of the rulers; and they feared the farther displeasure of the Almighty.

Lu 23:47-56. Signs and Circumstances Following His Death—His Burial.

(See on [1739]Mt 27:51-56; [1740]Mt 27:62-66; and [1741]Joh 19:31-42).

See Poole on "Luke 23:47" And all the people that came together to that sight,.... To see the execution of Jesus; and some of them might be his inveterate enemies, and came to insult him, and did insult him; many of these, though not every individual of them:

beholding the things which were done; the eclipse, earthquake, &c.

smote their breasts; as conscious of guilt, and as fearing some dreadful judgment would fall upon them, and their nation, for this sin of crucifying Christ. The Persic version reads, "they went back, and kneeled down, and prostrated themselves to the ground"; as being in the utmost astonishment, confusion, fear, and dread:

and returned; to the city, and to their own houses, where they might more seriously, and with the greater composure of mind, reflect on these things.

And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 23:48. θεωρίαν, sight, here only (3Ma 5:24).—τὰ γενόμενα, the things that had happened; comprehensively, including the crucifixion and all its accompaniments. They had looked on and listened, and the result was regret that they had had anything to do with bringing such a fate on such a man.—τύπτοντες τ. σ., beating their breasts. Lk. has in mind Zechariah’s “they shall look on me whom they have pierced and mourn” (Luke 12:10).—ὑπέστρεφον, kept going away, in little groups, sad-hearted.48. all the people] Rather, all the crowds.

smote their breasts, and returned] Rather, returned, smiting their breasts. It must be remembered that the People had not acted spontaneously in this matter, but had been goaded on by the Priests.Luke 23:48. Θεωρίαν, sight) They who had been merely spectators [who previously had been stirred up by the high priests to raise the cry, Crucify Him, but who now were altogether differently disposed.—Harm., p. 577], were now revolving in their minds thoughts tending to salvation, and were being prepared for the Pentecost described in Acts 2; but those who had perpetrated the deed were for the most part in a state of agitation.—ταύτην, this sight) viz. of the cross.—τὰ γενόμενα, the things which had been done) at the death of Jesus. The sight (θεωρίαν) which they had sought for was attended with a sight (θεωρήσαντες τὰ γενόμενα) which they looked not for.Verse 48. - And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. We must remember that the condemnation of the Christ was no spontaneous deed of the multitude. Their miserable share in the act was suggested to them by their rulers. In the multitude very quickly revulsion of feeling sets in, and they often regret the past with a bitter, useless regret. The wave of sorrow which seems to have swept across those wavering, unstable hearts, which induced them to smite their breasts in idle regret, was a dim and shadowy rehearsal of the mighty sorrow and true penitence which will one day, as their prophet told them, be the blessed lot of the once-loved people when "they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son" (Zechariah 12:10).
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