Mark 5:38
And he comes to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and sees the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(38) Wailed greatly.—The word used is the same as that in 1Corinthians 13:1, in connection with the “tinkling” (or better, clanging) sound of a cymbal, and, formed as it is from an interjection, alala, is applied to the inarticulate cries either of despair or victory.

Mark 5:38-42. He seeth the tumult — The crowd of people that wept and wailed greatly — Greek αλαλαζοντας πολλα, howling much, as some render the word. “From several passages of Scripture, (see Jeremiah 9:17; Jeremiah 16:6-7; Ezekiel 24:17,) it appears that the people of the East used to bewail the dead by tearing their hair, and cutting their flesh, and crying most bitterly. Nor did the relations of the deceased content themselves with these expressions of violent grief. They hired persons of both sexes, whose employment it was to mourn over the dead in the like frantic manner, and who besides sung doleful ditties, in which honourable mention was made of the age, the beauty, the strength, the courage, the virtues, and the actions of the deceased, with an intention to increase the sorrow of the afflicted relations. In process of time they accompanied these lamentations with music, particularly of flutes, (Josephus, Bell., Mark 3:8,) a custom which prevailed likewise in the West. Ovid, Fast., lib. 6, Cantabant mæstis tibia funeribus. But the Jews were forbidden to tear their hair and cut their flesh in mourning for the dead, (Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1,) because such expressions of grief were inconsistent with resignation to the divine will, and looked as if they had no hope of their friends’ resurrection. Hence the apostle’s precept, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Sorrow not as others which have no hope. Besides, these rites were practised by the heathen, as a kind of sacrifices to the manes of the dead.” — Macknight.5:35-43 We may suppose Jairus hesitating whether he should ask Christ to go on or not, when told that his daughter was dead. But have we not as much occasion for the grace of God, and the comfort of his Spirit, for the prayers of our ministers and Christian friends, when death is in the house, as when sickness is there? Faith is the only remedy against grief and fear at such a time. Believe the resurrection, then fear not. He raised the dead child to life by a word of power. Such is the gospel call to those who are by nature dead in trespasses and sins. It is by the word of Christ that spiritual life is given. All who saw it, and heard of it, admired the miracle, and Him that wrought it. Though we cannot now expect to have our dead children or relatives restored, we may hope to find comfort under our trials.The tumult - The confusion and weeping of the assembled people.

Wailed - Making inarticulate, mournful sounds; howling for the dead.

38. And he cometh—rather, "they come."

to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly—"the minstrels and the people making a noise" (Mt 9:23)—lamenting for the dead. (See 2Ch 35:25; Jer 9:20; Am 5:16).

See Poole on "Mark 5:35" And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue,.... Along with him, and the three disciples above mentioned; and the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions read, "and they came", the above persons:

and seeing the tumult; the throng and crowd of people, of relations, friends, neighbours, and acquaintance, on this occasion, all in a hurry, and in one motion or another, expressing their concern by words and gestures.

And them that wept and wailed bitterly; the mourning women, the same with the "preficae" of the Romans, who sung mournful songs, and made hideous noises, being hired for this purpose; as also those who played doleful tunes on musical instruments; See Gill on Matthew 9:23.

And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Mark 5:38. θεωρεῖ: what was I going on within the house appealed to both eye and ear; here the scene is described from the spectacular side—a multitude of people seen making a confused din (θόρυβον), in which sounds of weeping and howling without restraint (πολλά) are distinguishable.—καὶ after θόρυβον is epexegetic, and κλαίοντας and ἀλαλάζοντας special features under it as a general. Flute playing (Matthew 9:23) not referred to.38. them that wept] These were the hired mourners, chiefly women; whose business it was to beat their breasts (Luke 8:52), and to make loud lamentations at funerals; comp 2 Chronicles 35:25; Jeremiah 9:17-18; Amos 5:16. The Rabbinic rule provided for the poorest Israelite at least two flute-players, and one mourning woman. “A Ruler of the Synagogue, bereaved of his only child, may well have been prodigal in the expression of his grief.”Mark 5:38. Ἀλαλάζοντας, them that chanted the funeral dirge) in order to diminish and soothe the sorrowful thoughts of the mourners.Verse 38. - St. Matthew here says (Matthew 9:23) that when Jesus came into the ruler's house, he" saw the minstrels (τοὺς αὐλητὰς)," i.e. the flute-players, "and the people making a noise." This was the custom both with Jews and with Gentiles, to quicken the sorrow of the mourners by funeral dirges. The record of these attendant circumstances is important as evidence of the fact of death having actually taken place. Seeth (θεωρεῖ)

Rev., beholdeth. See on Mark 5:15.

Wailing (ἀλαλάζοντας)

A descriptive word of the hired mourners crying al-a-lai!

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