Reading Acts

Like the poor in spirit in the first beatitude, those who mourn (πενθέω) can refer to those who are literally mourning a death. But the verb is used for any kind of sadness or grief. For example, 1 Corinthians 5:2, Paul suggests the church ought to be mourning over the sin of a member of their church (rather than having pride in their acceptance of the man who has been caught in sin).

Comforting those who mournThis beatitude may allude to Isaiah 61:1-4, specifically verse 3 (McKnight, Sermon on the Mount, 41). When the anointed one (messiah) comes, he will comfort all who mourn and will give them a “crown of beauty” instead of ashes (mourning), and an oil of joy instead of mourning.  In the context of Isaiah 61, those who have returned from the exile live under oppression still, and are in a state of despair over the delay of…

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