Luke 13:31-35 – Jesus Laments about Jerusalem


Luke 13:31-35


Pharisees warn Jesus about Herod Antipas. Jesus responds that he will not face death until he arrives at Jerusalem.


Laments over cities, their crimes, their failures, and their leaders are common in the prophetic books of the Old Testament. Jesus speaks as a prophet in this scene as he learns that a ruler is opposing him and as he speaks about Jerusalem’s resistance to God’s prophets. These verses foretell Jesus’ death even as they convey his deep regret for the city’s refusal to receive comfort and protection from him. Jesus will address related statements to Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44.

References to animals in Jesus’ statement deserve attention. When he calls Herod Antipas (Herod the Great’s son) a “fox,” he underscores his deceit and ruthlessness (not slyness). Jesus also likens himself to a hen who gathers her chicks together for safety. This is one place where scripture employs maternal imagery of Jesus and the intensity of his commitment to those who are vulnerable.