And there followed him a great company of people
Not only of the common people, but of the principal inhabitants of the city; for among these were the chief priests, Scribes, and elders: some went for one thing, and some another; some pitying, and others mocking at him, and all to see the melancholy sight, ( Luke 23:48 ) as is usual at executions: and what might make the crowd the greater, was the number of people in the city, which were come from all parts to the passover; as also the fame and character of the person, who was going to suffer:
and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him;
not that these were the same with the preficae of the Romans, or the (ihlemistriai) of the Grecians; for though the Jews had their (twnnwqm) , or mourning women, who were hired to assist in mourning; by using mournful gestures, tones, and songs, see ( Jeremiah 9:17 ) , yet public mourning was not allowed for persons that were executed as malefactors; and therefore it is the more remarkable, that here, and in ( Luke 23:48 ) any public tokens of sorrow should be expressed: for,
``those that are executed by the sanhedrim, (Nhyle Nylbatm) (Nya) , "they do not mourn for them"; but their near relations come and ask the peace of, or salute the witnesses, and they salute the judges, to show, that they have not any thing in their hearts against them, seeing they have passed a true sentence; but though they do not use mourning, lo, they grieve for them; for there is no grief but in the heart F18.''The reason why they did not mourn was, because their ignominy and death atoned for their crime F19: but it seems, there was a difference between those that were put to death by the order of the Roman government, and those that were put to death by the sanhedrim:
``all that are put to death by the government, although they are executed by the order of the king, and the law gives power to slay them, lo, "they mourn for them"; and they do not restrain any thing from them, and their substance goes to the king, and they are buried in the sepulchres of their fathers; but all that are put to death by the sanhedrim, "they do not mourn for them"; but they grieve for them; for there is no grief but in the heart; and they are not buried with their fathers, till their flesh is consumed; and their substance goes to their heirs F20.''And since Christ was condemned to death by the Roman governor, hence it may be public mourning was allowed of, and might be done without notice; but these still were not the mourning women, but persons that followed on their own accord: some expressed their concern and sorrow through a natural tenderness of spirit, and from a principle of humanity, being grieved that so useful and innocent a person, as Christ appeared to be, should be put to such a cruel and shameful death; and others from a spirit of gratitude, they, or their friends, having received cures from him, being healed by him of sicknesses, or dispossessed of devils; and others from a spiritual, as well as natural affection for him; among whom were his own mother and his mother's sister, and Mary Magdalene, and other women that followed him out of Galilee.
F18 Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 13. sect. 6. Vid. Misu. Sanhedrin, c. 6. sect 4.
F19 Jarchi & Bartenora in Misn. ib.
F20 Maimon. Hilch. Ebel. c. 1. sect. 9.