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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Wailing

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WAILING.—The expression of sorrow by loud cries is several times alluded to in the Gospels: Matthew 2:18 ‘In Rama was there a voice heard’; Matthew 11:17 ‘We have mourned unto you’ (cf. Luke 23:27, John 16:20). The Jewish custom is abundantly evidenced from the OT (see esp. Jeremiah 9:10; Jeremiah 9:17); in the Gospels only two instances are detailed, one at the death of Jairus’ daughter, and the other at Christ’s death. On both of these occasions mourning with loud cries is indicated (Matthew 9:23 ‘flute-players,’ ‘tumult’; Mark 5:38 ‘wailing’; Luke 23:27 ‘lamented,’ ἐθρήνουν). The word used in Mk l.c. is ἀλαλάζειν (cf. James 5:1 ὀλολύζειν, ‘howl’). In most other places the word translation ‘wail’ or ‘bewail’ is κόπτεσθαι, literally, to beat upon the breast, so that any outcry is inferred only. The phrase ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγὸς τῶν ὀδόντων was formerly translation ‘wailing and gnashing of teeth’ only in Matthew 13:42; Matthew 13:50; but now the Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 has brought these passages into line with the others where the same words occur, and correctly renders ‘weeping.’ See also Mourning.

T. Gregory.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Wailing'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/w/wailing.html. 1906-1918.

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