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Jerusalem Mourned


(1) GThom 79:3
(2) Luke 23:27-31



(1) Thom 79:3

79 A woman in the crowd said to him, "Lucky are the womb that bore you and the breasts that fed you." 2He said to [her], "Lucky are those who have heard the word of the Father and have truly kept it. 3For there will be days when you will say, 'Lucky are the womb that has not conceived and the breasts that have not given milk.'" [Complete Gospels]


(2) Luke 23:27-31

27 A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28 But Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are surely coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.' 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us'; and to the hills, 'Cover us.' 31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"


Biblical Parallels

Amos 10:8

The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel,
       shall be destroyed.
    Thorn and thistle shall grow up
       on their altars.
    They shall say to the mountains, Cover us,
       and to the hills, Fall on us.

Isaiah 54:1

 Sing, O barren one who did not bear;
       burst into song and shout,
       you who have not been in labor!
    For the children of the desolate woman will be more
       than the children of her that is married, says theLord.

Proverbs 11:31

If the righteous are repaid on earth,
       how much more the wicked and the sinner!



John Dominic Crossan

Item: 100
Stratum: I (30-60 CE)
Attestation: Double
Historicity: -
Common Sayings Tradition: No


Jesus Seminar




JS Mtg





W Avg


Thom 79


L, T








Luke 23:27-31


L, T








From the commentary in The Five Gospels:

Like the complex in Luke 19:41-45, this group of sayings also constitutes a prophetic oracle. Luke has given it a narrative setting by introducing weeping women in v. 27 and then having Jesus respond to them: don't weep for me, weep for yourselves. Jesus then employs an analogy: in the future -- at the destruction of the city of Jerusalem -- they will congratulate those who have no children. Hos 10:8 is quoted to back up the prediction. These sentences have eschatological overtones that are reminiscent of the little apocalypse in Luke 21:5-36 and the parallels in Mark and Matthew. The Fellows of the Jesus Seminar could identify nothing in them that could be traced back to Jesus.


Gerd Luedemann

Luedemann [Jesus, 404]:

These verses are a Christian prophecy which 'was put into the mouth of Jesus on the way to the cross' (Bultmann) here by Luke. It reinforces the anti-Judaism of the Lukan passion story further. The lamentation should not be for Jesus but for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who will receive a harsh punishment. The lamenting women represent the Jewish people, which is a witness to the crucifixion (vv. 35,48). Verse 29, as a paraphrase of Isa. 54.1, is a kind of counterpart to 11.27. If there it was said of the mother of Jesus, 'Blsssed is the womb which bore you and the breasts which you sucked,' so here the opposite is said of the women of Jerusalem. Verse 30 takes up Hos. 10.8. Verse 31 gives the reason for the punishment coming upon Jerusslem with a proverb (cf. Prov. 11.31).



This poem originated as a contribution to the HODOS online community by Gene Stecher. It is published with Gene's consent but he explicitly retains full rights as the creative author. You welcome to use it for personal study and worship, but it should not be published in any other form without the author's prior consent. Index to Gene Stecher's poems

The population of Jerusalem, as censored at the end of 2002, was 680,400 people, of which 458,600 (67.4%) were Jews and 221,800 (32.6%) were non-Jews. 30,000 acres. 44.2% of population aged 0-19.

........the old city is roughly divided into four sections: Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Armenian. The Armenians are a Christian ethnic group from the area that is now northern Turkey.

The focus of much of the energy of Jerusalem has been on "Mt. Moriah." This is the original location of Solomons Temple. For the past several hundred years it has been the site of the Dome of the Rock mosque.

On the Eastern side of the old city (outside the walls) is East Jerusalem, the old Arab & Muslim section. On the Western side is the newer Jewish section.

All of the city is currently under the political control of Israel and has been since the 1967 "Six Days War." The old city was under the control of Jordan from 1945 until1967. From the end of World War I until 1945 it was under the British and for several hundered years prior to World War 1 it was under the control of the Ottoman Turkish Empire.

Jerusalem has the highest poverty rate of the three largest cities in Israel. In 2002, 22.2 percent of families in Jerusalem (not including eastern Jerusalem) had available income below the poverty line - which accounts for 27.9 percent of the total population and 38.8 percent of the children.

The areas with the highest residential density (less than 10 sq. meters per person) are almost exclusively located in Arab neighborhoods. The areas with medium-low density (10.1-18.1 meters per person) are located mainly in certain Arab neighborhoods, ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, and neighborhoods undergoing rehabilitation. The areas of the lowest density (30+ meters per person) are located mainly in the center of the city and the periphery.

......(There has been) a significant drop in the number of conferences (29 percent less) in Jerusalem and the number of participants (60 percent less) attending them, when compared to 1996. The overall situation in Israel has been similarly dire with a 36 percent drop in the number of conferences and a 61 percent decline in the number of participants respectively.

The Weeping and Wailing Factor

Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim,
    21st c. women in old city Quarters:
Fallen upon and covered by history's miseries,
    do they wail for the city or themselves?

1st c. Women wailing for Jesus,
    women weeping for self and children,
crying and wailing for Jairus' child,
    with Jerusalem's sons rendered helpless.

(Mk 5:39)

Jesus wept, but not very long afterward
    he sent the vendors scrambling for cover,
        signaling Jerusalem's visitation and mourning.

(Lk 19:41-45)

Who among you heard this temple word
    and kept it? For you have no need to mourn.
        Yes, these would be called the family of Jesus.

(Mk 3:31-35; Thom 99:1-3)

But not the nobody family of Armenian Mary
    who mourned a child who shouts at demons,
        them we' mourn, as well as their blind critics.

(Mk 3:21, 31-32; 6:2-3)

Yet Mary and her ilk had wailing, waiting,
    serving, bankrolling, cajoling, annointing power.
The Muslim cynic mother outwitted Jesus
    and the child rose up before her Jewish father.

(Mk 15:40-45; 14:3-9; 7:28-29; 5:39)

And the mourning for Jerusalem was
    like a distant echo at the synamosque
as the child ate a meal celebrating
    fruitfull wombs and milk filled breasts.

(Mk 5:43)

To identify the target, don't underestimate:

The weeping and wailing factor,
    otherwise known as the very long
        and very loud nonviolent protest,
            never necessarily gender specific,
                now much mourned for its absense
            from those motivational influences
        upon which any leader relies to
    escape the circle of reasoning
between the head and the naval.


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