23:28 But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, 1 do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves 2 and for your children. 23:29 For this is certain: 3 The days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore children, and the breasts that never nursed!’ 4 23:30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 5 ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ 6 23:31 For if such things are done 7 when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” 8
1 sn The title Daughters of Jerusalem portrays these women mourning as representatives of the nation.
2 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.
3 tn Grk “For behold.”
4 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.
5 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).
7 tn Grk “if they do such things.” The plural subject here is indefinite, so the active voice has been translated as a passive (see ExSyn 402).
8 sn The figure of the green wood and the dry has been variously understood. Most likely the picture compares the judgment on Jesus as the green (living) wood to the worse judgment that will surely come for the dry (dead) wood of the nation.