23:27 A great number of the people followed him, among them women 1 who were mourning 2 and wailing for him. 23:28 But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, 3 do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves 4 and for your children. 23:29 For this is certain: 5 The days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore children, and the breasts that never nursed!’ 6 23:30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 7 ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ 8
1 sn The background of these women is disputed. Are they “official” mourners of Jesus’ death, appointed by custom to mourn death? If so, the mourning here would be more pro forma. However, the text seems to treat the mourning as sincere, so their tears and lamenting would have been genuine.
2 tn Or “who were beating their breasts,” implying a ritualized form of mourning employed in Jewish funerals. See the note on the term “women” earlier in this verse.
3 sn The title Daughters of Jerusalem portrays these women mourning as representatives of the nation.
4 sn Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves. Judgment now comes on the nation (see Luke 19:41-44) for this judgment of Jesus. Ironically, they mourn the wrong person – they should be mourning for themselves.
5 tn Grk “For behold.”
6 tn Grk “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the breasts that have not nursed!”
sn Normally barrenness is a sign of judgment, because birth would be seen as a sign of blessing. The reversal of imagery indicates that something was badly wrong.
7 sn The figure of crying out to the mountains ‘Fall on us!’ (appealing to creation itself to hide them from God’s wrath), means that a time will come when people will feel they are better off dead (Hos 10:8).