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The antithesis of ‘blessed’ or ‘happy’, as in Luke 6: 24 ff. where Jesus laments the unhappy condition before God of those who are rich, complacent, and self-satisfied, compared with the poor and the persecuted (Luke 6: 20–23) who are blessed. Two Jewish towns, Chorazin and Bethsaida, are condemned as miserable and doomed (Matt. 11: 21) and contrasted with the potential for repentance in the Gentile cities Tyre and Sidon. Three woes (disasters) are predicted for the inhabitants of the earth (Rev. 8: 13); this is a theme frequently met in Jewish writings of this period, that there will be a time of bitter suffering, the ‘Messianic woes’, sometimes expressed as birth-pangs, preceding the dawn of salvation, a belief expressed by Paul in terms of the cross (2 Cor. 5: 14).

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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