Beating their breasts (Lk 23:48-23:48)

“When all the crowds

Who had gathered

For this spectacle

Saw what had taken place,

They returned home,

Beating their breasts.”

καὶ πάντες οἱ συνπαραγενόμενοι ὄχλοι ἐπὶ τὴν θεωρίαν ταύτην, θεωρήσαντες τὰ γενόμενα, τύπτοντες τὰ στήθη ὑπέστρεφον.

Luke uniquely said that when all the crowds that had gathered there (καὶ πάντες οἱ συνπαραγενόμενοι ὄχλοι) for this spectacle (ἐπὶ τὴν θεωρίαν ταύτην) saw what had taken place (θεωρήσαντες τὰ γενόμενα), they returned home (ὑπέστρεφον), beating their breasts (τύπτοντες τὰ στήθη).  This is another unique use of Luke with the word συνπαραγενόμενοι that means to be present together, come together, or stand by, not found in any other biblical literature.  The same is true about the word θεωρίαν that means a viewing, a spectacle, or a sight.  Only Luke made this comment that this crucifixion was a spectacular event, so that when it was over, people went away in mourning, beating their breasts.  Have you ever been to a spectacular event?

The distressed city of Nineveh (Nah 2:6-2:9)

“The river gates

Are opened.

The palace trembles.

It is decreed

That the city

Be exiled.

Its slave women were

Led away,


Like doves,

Beating their breasts.

Nineveh is

Like a pool

Whose waters

Run away.



They cry.

But no one turns back.

Plunder the silver!

Plunder the gold!

There is no end

Of treasure.

There is an abundance

Of every precious thing.




Hearts faint!

Knees tremble!

All loins quake!

All faces grow pale!”

Nahum painted this picture of chaos in Nineveh.  He said that the river gates were opened, so that the palace and the people in it were trembling.  The people of this city were going to go into exile.  The slave women were led away, moaning like doves and beating their breasts.  The whole city of Nineveh had become like an overflowing pool.  People were saying stop, but no one was listening.  No one turned back as they keep on fleeing.  Meanwhile, there was a great plunder of their treasures of gold, silver, and the other abundant precious things.  Everywhere there was devastation, desolation, and destruction in this great city.  Hearts were fainting, while kneels were trembling.  Their faces grew pale as their loins shook.