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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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CRY.—The term ‘cry’ occurs in the NT with various shades of meaning corresponding to different Greek words, which express sometimes articulate, sometimes inarticulate utterances; in some cases it connotes strong emotion, in others a more or less heightened emphasis is all that is expressed.

According to classical usage, the Gr. terms employed in the NT may be thus distinguished: ‘καλεἵν denotes “to cry out” for a purpose, to call; βοᾶν, to cry out as a manifestation of feeling; κράζειν, to cry out harshly, often of an inarticulate and brutish sound’ (Grimm-Thayer, s.v. βοάω), κραυγαζειν is the intensive of κράζειν. The corresponding nouns are βοἡ, ‘a cry for help,’ and κραυγἠ, ‘outcry, clamour’ (both rare in NT). To these should be added the use of φωνεῖν = ‘to cry’ (most freq. in Lk.).

In classifying the NT usage of the term, it will be convenient to group the instances in each case under the Greek equivalents.

A. (1) ‘to cry’ or ‘cry out’ (= κράζειν, ἀνακράζειν:

(a) of articulate cries, followed by words uttered (often with ‘saying’ or ‘and said’ added): of joy, Mark 11:9 and ||; Matthew 21:15 (children crying in the temple, ‘Hosanna’); of complaint or distress, Mark 10:48 || Luke 18:39, Matthew 20:31 (Bartimaeus); Matthew 14:30 (Peter crying out while walking on the water);* [Note: Probably here should be added Matthew 15:23 (‘she crieth after us’), where articulate cries seem to be meant, though the words uttered are not given.] Mark 1:23 || Luke 4:33 (ἀνέκραξεν; Lk. adds ‘with a loud voice’); Mark 9:24; Luke 4:41 (demons crying out and saying), cf. Mark 3:11; Mark 5:7; of the angry cries of the multitude, Matthew 27:23, Mark 15:13-14 [Note: In || passages Luke 23:21 has ἑτεφώνουν λέγοντες, John 19:6ἑκραύγασαν λέγοντες.] (cf. Acts 21:36); in ref. to Jesus, of solemn and impressive utterance, John 7:37 (cf. John 1:15; John 7:28; John 12:44).

(b) of inarticulate cries: with ref. to the possessed, Mark 5:5 (cf. Luke 8:28 ἀνακράξας); Mark 9:26 || Luke 9:39; of the disciples, Matthew 14:28 (‘and they cried out for fear’); with ref. to Jesus, of the cry on the cross (prob. inarticulate), Matthew 27:50 (‘cried … with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit’). [Note: In the || passages Mark 15:37 has ἀφεὶς φωνὴν μεγάλην, and Luke 23:46φωνὴσας φωνῃ μεγαλῃ.]

(2) ‘To cry’ or ‘cry out’ (= κραυγάζειν):

(a) of articulate utterances [cf. (1) (a) ]: of joy, John 12:13 (‘Hosanna’); of distress, Matthew 15:22 (Canaanitish woman … ‘cried, saying’: cf. v. 23); with ref. to Jesus, of utterance under strong emotion, John 11:43 (‘Lazarus, come forth!’).

(b) of undefined or inarticulate utterance: in the quotation from Isaiah 42:2, cited in Matthew 12:19 (‘He shall not strive nor cry’ [κραυγάσει], i.e. indulge in clamorous self-assertion).

(c) ‘Cry’ = κραυγή: ‘the loud cry of deeply stirred feeling of joyful surprise’: Luke 1:42 (Elisabeth’s greeting of the Virgin-mother: ‘she lifted up her voice with a loud cry); the midnight cry, Matthew 25:6 (‘Behold the bridegroom cometh’).

For Hebrews 5:7 see below under B.

(3) ‘To cry’ or ‘cry out’ (= βοᾷν, ἀναβοᾷν, ἐπιβοᾷν):

(a) of articulate utterances: of solemn and impressive emphasis (= to speak with a high, strong voice), Matthew 3:3 || Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23 (all in the quotation from Isaiah 40:3 ‘the voice of one crying,’ etc.); of distressful appeal, Luke 9:38; esp. ‘to cry for help to’ (= ועק אל in OT), Luke 18:7 (the elect who day and night); ref. to Jesus, of the cry of agony on the cross (‘My God, my God,’ etc.), Mark 15:34 and || Matthew 27:48.

In this connexion the passage in James 5:4 deserves notice: ‘Behold the hire of your lahourers … crieth out (κράζει); and the cries (βοαί) of them that reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.’ Here the verb is used of crying for vengeance (cf. Habakkuk 2:11) and the noun (βοαί) of cries for help. The latter sense is esp. frequent in the Psalms (e.g. Psalms 5:2; Psalms 18:6; Psalms 18:41 etc.), corresponding to the Heb. שָׁוַע and derivatives. This word is ‘used exclusively of crying for help’ (Driver).§ [Note: Parallel Psalter, p. 441.] Though frequent in the Psalms (LXX Septuagint and Heb.), it occurs rarely in the NT.

(b) of cries of joy, pain (inarticulate): of joy, Galatians 4:27 (quotation from Isaiah 54:1); cf. of pain, Acts 8:7 (of unclean spirits crying with a loud voice).

(4) ‘To cry,’ ‘cry out,’ or ‘cry aloud’ (= φωνεῖν, ἐπιφωνεῖν):

(a) emphatic, followed by words uttered, Luke 8:8; Luke 8:54; cf. Luke 1:42 (ἀνεφώνησεν, ‘she spake out,’ Authorized Version; ‘lifted up lier voice,’ Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885); of angry cries of multitude (ἐπιφωνεῖν), Luke 23:21.

(b) of the inarticulate cries of the possessed, Mark 1:23 (‘and the unclean spirit … crying with a loud voice’).

(c) ‘cry’ = φωνή, esp. in the phrase φωνῇ μεγάλῃ, ‘with a loud voice or cry,’ added to verbs.

B. ‘Crying’ in Hebrews 5:7.—This passage, which has direct reference to our Lord, calls for special notice here: ‘Who, in his days of flesh, having offered up, with strong crying (μετὰ κραυγῆς ἰσχυρᾶς) and tears, prayers and supplications unto him that was able to save him out of death,’ etc. The ref. is doubtless primarily to Gethsemane (so Delitzsch, Westcott), though ‘a wider application of the words to other prayers and times of peculiar trial in our Lord’s life’* [Note: Westcott.] is not excluded. Schoettgen (ad loc.) [Note: Cited in Westcott, ib.] quotes a Jewish saying which strikingly illustrates the phrase: ‘There are three kinds of prayers, each loftier than the preceding: prayer, crying, and tears. Prayer is made in silence; crying, with raised voice: but tears overcome all things.’ The conjunction of the terms mentioned often occurs in OT, esp. in the Psalms, e.g. Psalms 39:13 :

‘Hear my prayer, O Lord,

And give ear unto my cry (שועתי);

Hold not thy peace at my tears.’

Also Psalms 61:2, and cf. Psalms 80:5-6.

The close association of the idea of prayer with that of ‘crying’ or ‘cry’ may be illustrated from the Gospels, esp. perhaps in the case of our Lord’s cries on the cross (Matthew 27:46; Matthew 27:50, Luke 23:46). According to Jewish tradition, in the solemn prayer for forgiveness uttered by the high priest on the Day of Atonement in the Holy of Holies, the words אנא השם כפר ‘O Lord, forgive,’ were spoken with heightened voice, so that they could be heard at a distance.

Literature.—Art. ‘Call’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible i. 343f., and the Gr. Lexicons under the various Gr. terms (esp. Grimm-Thayer).

G. H. Box.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Cry'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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