Re: John 11:35

From: Edgar Foster (
Date: Wed Jun 17 1998 - 19:21:18 EDT

---Jim West wrote:

> At 02:05 PM 6/17/98 -0700, you wrote:

> >According to the Johannine Gospel account, EDAKRUSEN hO IHSOUS when
he arrived at the tomb of Lazarus. The question I have is, WHY?? Why
did Jesus weep before resurrecting Lazarus? The TEV indicates that he
was "touched" by the weeping of Martha, Mary, and the Jews present
consoling them. Others (Murray, Borchert) say that Jesus wept out of
anger. The interpretation of this verse seems to hinge on John 11:33,



> >Thanks,

> >Edgar Foster

>>I tend to agree with Beasley-Murray here. The context of the
pericope is such that Jesus is rightly angered because of the
denseness and unbelief of his followers. (Almost a Marcn theme, by
the way). Thus, he cries out of frustration because of sorrow (at
their hardness and stupidity).

> Best,

> Jim

Dear Jim and Steve,

Thanks for your input. Previously, I have always interpreted Jesus'
weeping as a sign of his compassion and FILEI for Lazarus. I have not
abandoned this position, but I find the alternative views suggested by
most German scholars fascinating. Both Murray's and Borchert's
arguments could be summed up as follows:

(1.) As pointed out by Schnackenburg, "The word EMBRIMASQAI . . .
indicates an outburst of anger, and any attempt to reinterpret it in
terms of an internal emotional upset caused by grief, pain, or
sympathy is illegitimate" (See Murray 193).

(2.) Earlier, I said that Murray views Jesus' weeping as evidence of
his anger. Let me slightly correct this statement. Murray does in fact
say that Jesus is angry on this occassion, but he says that Jesus
possibly wept for a different reason:

"It is possible that the tears were motivated by the unbelief that
caused him anger (as Hoskyns strongly contended, 405). It is, however,
more likely that they were brought about by the sight of the havoc
wrought among people through sin and death in this world. It would be
harmonious with what we know of Jesus in this Gospel if anger by
reason of unbelief was balanced with grief over the tragedy of the
human situation" (Murray 193-194).

(3.) Borchert perspicuously observes: "John carefully used a different
word (DAKRUEIN) for Jesus' tears, a word that is not used elsewhere in
the New Testament. It was almost as though the evangelist wanted to
send a signal to his readers not to misinterpret Jesus' weeping . . .
Accordingly, I would maintain that Jesus' weeping here is directly
related to the failure of his followers to recognize his mission as
the agent of God" (Borchert 360).

Borchert's argument stirs my interest in the word DAKRUEIN. I would
like to do both a diachronic and synchronic study of this word. Any
input would be greatly appreciated.


Edgar Foster

Classics Major

Lenoir-Rhyne College

Get your free address at

b-greek home page:
To post a message to the list,
To subscribe,
To unsubscribe,[]

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:49 EDT