In the passage of Luke where Jesus is carrying the Cross, he turns and addresses the weeping women witnessing his Passion:

“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children.."

Then he prophesies about a certain group of people:

...for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’

At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ (Luke 23:29-30)

Who are these people He is describing that are saying this horrible things?

The New American Standard footnote says that Jesus is generically saying that his disciples are called to carry the Cross, but I think that is a little vague.

I'm just wondering if there are any interpretations of the Church Fathers, or any contemporary scholars that lean upon historical Christianity.

  • "Sons of Scotland... I see in you a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of tyranny..."
    – Narnian
    Sep 10, 2013 at 16:02
  • 1
    I feel like there should be a parallel with Lk 11:27-28 - a reversal of that blessing, so that the destruction of the Temple (here) is made into an inverted image of Christ's incarnation through Mary / faith in the word (there); a revelatory picture of what rejection of Christ really is. I have no basis for this but I am struck by the parallel.
    – James T
    Sep 10, 2013 at 16:23
  • @Narnian Is that a brilliant quote from one of favorite movies about William Wallace?
    – user5286
    Sep 10, 2013 at 16:48
  • @CharlesAlsobrook Aye... I am William Wallace...
    – Narnian
    Sep 10, 2013 at 16:49
  • @James T I just heard while listening to my audiobible, " They called to the mountains and the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!'" Rev. 6:16...not sure if there is any direct connection though...
    – user5286
    Sep 10, 2013 at 20:13

2 Answers 2


Jesus was speaking prophetically of what would occur to His people Israel--not just women--in both AD 70, when the Roman general Titus sacked Jerusalem, and in an unspecified time when the whole world, including Israel, would experience the wrath of God during the Great Tribulation, which is described in detail in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

In other words, "daughters of Jerusalem" is a synecdoche: a part (daughters) for the whole (Israel). Whether the women Jesus was addressing were hired mourners or actual disciples of Jesus whose tears and gestures were heartfelt, Jesus' words to them had a double significance.

First, within a generation of His ascension, Rome would invade Jerusalem, and the second temple ("Herod's temple) in Jerusalem would be destroyed. Jesus prophesied about this earlier in Matthew 24:2. The huge stones of the temple that were "torn down" in such a way that not one would be left standing on the other are still visible today in Jerusalem.

Second, during what has been called The Great Tribulation (again, see Matthew 24, especially vv.9 and 21) Satan's "false prophet" and "antichrist" will deceive not only Israel, but the entire world, and during the various calamities that befall the world during those days (viz., the judgments of the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls of Revelation 6-16) the unbelieving inhabitants of not only Jerusalem but of the entire world will prefer death over life.

Their cries (taken from Hosea 10:8 and repeated in Revelation 6:16) reflect their panic, helplessness, and hopelessness in the face of "the wrath of the Lamb." Remarkably enough, however, they will still not repent and turn to God (Revelation 9:20, 21); rather, they will plead for a quick end to their suffering through death.

Jesus' words in Luke 24:31 comprise a proverb. As the NET Bible points out in its notes, "The green tree stands for good conditions resulting from God’s blessing and the dry tree for bad conditions resulting from divine judgment. If God allowed innocent Jesus to perish in times of His blessing, what would happen to guilty Jerusalem when God judged her?"

This proverb is characterized by the "how much more" line of reasoning; that is, if something bad happens in the best of conditions (the green), how much more will something even worse happen in the worst of conditions (the dry).

As terrible as the destruction of Jerusalem was for her inhabitants in AD 70, the destruction that occurs during the Great Tribulation will make General Titus's invasion look like a romp in the park by comparison.

In other words, “If the Romans condemned to death the one they admitted to be innocent, how would they deal in the future with those whom they found guilty?” That future, again, had a double aspect, the first aspect would be fulfilled in AD 70, and the second during the ruthless seven-year reign of the man of sin (the antichrist), whose power, not unlike that of Rome, will be manifest, and not just in part of the world as in Rome's heyday, but in the entire world.


Rhetorician I can't comment yet, but would like to tell you you'r explanation is amazing both in its detail and clarity. I can't explain the answer any better myself, so I will just leave my own thoughts and possibly some bias from what I've been taught.

As explained above we see in the second fulfillment of this prophecy that in the time of the end things will be so miserable that people will wish they where dead and any parent doesn't want to see their own child suffer. Luke 23;29 states that "Happy are the barren women" because they will not have to watch their children suffer . This also doubles as a warning. The end times are no time to be starting a family. Mark 13;8-13 NIV translation. NWT here We see from 8-13 that the end times are going to be chaotic and also that your own family will betray you.

This isn't just what I'm taking away from that chapter. The bible comes right out and says it. Mark 13;17-19.

The people Jesus is describing are those who have not come to know him and do not observe all of gods commandments. I think that the reference to the mountains and hills falling over them and covering them is to provide shelter from gods anger. Some will "weep and gnash their teeth" because they thought they were serving god, but where in fact involved in false religion and where thus destroyed. They were tricked so they are understandably angry. Matthew 13;40-42

You could say this next article is biased, but it has a lot of good information and graphs that illustrate the first and second coming. The first article in this magazine covers the first and second fulfillment of that prophecy. The second breaks down and explains Jesus's parable of the wheat and the weeds.

You must log in to answer this question.