The beginning of travail (arch odinwn). The word means birth-pangs and the Jews used the very phrase for the sufferings of the Messiah which were to come before the coming of the Messiah (Book of Jubilees, 23:18; Apoc. of Baruch 27-29). But the word occurs with no idea of birth as the pains of death ( Psalms 18:5 ; Acts 2:24 ). These woes, says Jesus, are not a proof of the end, but of the beginning.