by Mike Ratliff

35 ἐδάκρυσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς. John 11:35 (NA28)

35 Jesus shed tears. John 11:35 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In the passage I placed above (John 11:35) the words “shed tears” translates the Greek verb ἐδάκρυσεν (edakrysen) the third singular, aorist active indicative case of δακρύω (dakryō), it means to “shed tears” or even “a tear.” This is not the word for “weep” that we saw in Revelation 5:4 the other day in our post The Lion and the Lamb, Here is that verse from the Greek then my translation.

4 καὶ ἔκλαιον πολύ, ὅτι οὐδεὶς ἄξιος εὑρέθη ἀνοῖξαι τὸ βιβλίον οὔτε βλέπειν αὐτό. Revelation 5:4 (NA28)

4 And I was weeping greatly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Revelation 5:4 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In this passage the words “I was weeping” translate the Greek verb ἔκλαιον (eklaion) the first singular, imperfect active indicative case of κλαίω (klaiō), which means to “mourn or weep.” John added the adjective πολύ (poly) the accusative singular neuter case of πολύς (polys), which means “many, great, much.”

In the first instance Jesus shed a tear for dead Lazerus. In contrast in Revelation 5:4 John was mourning and grieving and weeping loudly over the fact that it appeared that no one would be able to open the scroll the Lord God Almighty was holding. In fact, the only time κλαίω is used of the Lord Jesus is when he wept over the city of Jerusalem in Luke 19:41, which only Luke mentions in the gospel record. Our Lord grieves over the shallowness of the people, who while now cheering His entry into the city, would soon be crying, “Crucify him, crucify him (Luke 23:21).

Another occurrence of κλαίω is in Luke 22:62, where as a result of Peter denying His Lord,  “he went out and wept bitterly.” Bitterly is πικρῶς (pikrōs) it is from  πικρός (pikros), “bitter, pungent,” and is used figuratively here for violent, uncontrolled wailing.

While there is much weeping and wailing now as we grieve over sin and death, there will come the day when our Lord will open that “Scroll” and redeem this fallen world.

Soli Deo Gloria!