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What the Bible says about tears

The following is excerpted from a report on tears by Mary Beth Swan. The Bible (Strong’s Concordance) provides 697 references for verses associated with crying (weep, cry, tears). One of the first Bible references for tears is in the book of Genesis when Abraham wept over the death of Sarah….
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

The following is
excerpted from a report on tears by Mary Beth Swan.

The Bible (Strong’s Concordance) provides 697 references for
verses associated with crying (weep, cry, tears).

One of the first Bible references for tears is in the book
of Genesis when Abraham wept over the death of Sarah. Hannah wept before the Lord in her barren
state. Esau wept over his father Isaac,
asking for a blessing. King David writes
prolifically in the Psalms of his tears before the Lord, even saying they were
his portion day and night.

The Bible provides accounts of tears of grief (as above,
also David weeping over the death of Absolom, Jairus’s daughter and the death
of Jesus Christ). Others wept tears of
repentance and sin-sorrow (Israel as they stood to hear the scriptures read and
were broken over not following the Lord their God and His law, David as Nathan
confronts him, Ninevah when Jonah finally goes there to pronounce God’s
judgment, Peter after the rooster crowed
for the third time). Jeremiah was called
the Weeping Prophet, authoring the book of Jeremiah and the Lamentations of
Jeremiah. Jeremiah wept for the pride of
Judah. Israel cried to God in
affliction. Professional mourners
attended the deaths in New Testament times.
Jairus’s daughter’s death may have been one instance of this. The commentaries vary.

God is called “Comforter” (Jeremiah, for example) and the
God of all comfort. God’s law and His
love are described as comfort-givers.
The body of believers is called to comfort, also. II Corinthians 1:3-5. “Blessed be God, even
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of mercies, and the God of all
comfort; who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort
them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are
comforted of God. For the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so
our consolation also abounds by Christ.”

The second occasion of the tears of Jesus takes place as He
travels to Jerusalem,
just after the triumphal entry is described.
“And when he came into view of the city, as he approached it he broke
into loud weeping, exclaiming; ‘Oh that at this time you knew, yes, even you,
on what your peace depends! The time will come for you when your enemies will
throw ramparts around you, and encompass you, and shut you in on every side,
and raze you to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not
leave one stone upon another.’”-Luke 19:41-44. (Montgomery New Testament) He prophetically announced the destruction of
the Temple. The
Greek word used is for weeping in this verse is
klaioo, meaning to weep audibly, to burst into tears.
See also this blog on the mystery of tears.

Comments (16)

  • Tear contain different chemicals from you If you shed a tear because of an onion that tear has certain chemicals in it When you weep before the Lord there is something in that tear when you mourn a death or you cry because of laughter scientists have studied this it is worth your time to look into this. Jesus is the scientist He loves science

  • My favorite picture of Christ that I was willing to hang on my wall is one of HIM with his head back and a large smile on his face if not laughter. What is your perspective on laughter and its role for a disciple? I don’t really know what the Bible has to say about laughter except those joyous occassions in the OT and the parties in the NT.

  • I am praying and studying in order to teach a four week or whenever series on tears in God’s word.
    I have been studying for close to a year off and on. It is amazing to me to see how much emphasis is put on tears in the Scriptures. I read your article and would like to use it in the study with your permission of course and will certainly credit where it came from.
    Thank you.
    Diana Cofield


  • Hello everyone, thanks for the site. I have often read in the Word about crying, weeping, and mourning. I love how God in the Lord Jesus Christ is not emotionless but rather has righteous emotions and He, Jesus, was not always a stoic type or silently serene as some portray Him, rather, He wept and cried aloud and also laughed and rejoiced. He loves human kind and He loves each individual and His desire is for our best and to save us.

    When I was growing up my mom always let me know it is alright for a man to cry at things that are worthy of crying. Sadly in our world people often think men should not cry because that is a sign of weakness. Guess what: Jesus WEPT and HE is THE STRONGEST of ALL! He is NOT a sissy! Look what HE went through for us! Ofcourse, I try not to cry over trivial things.

    I often find myself weeping and breaking into tears when I read about and consider the Fall of man, and the angelic fall, how a beautiful beloved being like Lucifer could throw away all he had and reject the loving Lord who created him, and become Satan the Devil and Enemy of God and mankind. I also weep about the fallenness of the world and the animal kingdom and how bad things have become, and, I cry for the hurting, abused, victimized, wounded people in the world.

    My tears lead to me wanting to do what I can to help people, be it through spreading and sharing the Gospel message and also through helping in charities and to feed the needy and poor. We are all poor and all of us need to depend on the Lord Jesus every moment of every day.

    I love you all in Christ and I thank you for this opportunity.

  • The bible speaks of tears in heaven.Christians will shed tears at their losses at the Judgement Seat of Christ.Motives will be examined for faithful service.Tears will also be shed at the Great White Throne Judgement at the realization of eternal hell for Christ rejectors.Thank the Lord he will wipe away all the tears of the born again.
    Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. We need to shed many tears over the lost now, so they will not shed tears of horror at the Great White Throne!

  • That was a beautiful comment, on topic and I thank you. I know the doctors can give you a drug to try to prevent the emotions, but I feel that the Holy Spirit is leading me, through my overly emotional state. I have got it bad, I can’t pray out loud, tear up in church, even reading silently to myself.
    My hope is in Christ and that he will lead me to do His will… That is nothing to cry about. Rejoice in The Lord

  • When I “broke” in mid life I was introduced to a kindly pastor and every time I talked with him privately I cried but he did not flinch and waited, and then prayed hopefully for and with me. But I felt as if I was not right , or confused. Then an old friend gave me some information which you will find here http://www.rc.org and I realised that I was actually attempting to use the natural healing process we all have in us and that only needs the relaxed loving attention, and “non-judgement” of an adult listener. It is just that the hardness of life for many centuries has shut us off from using it. I have always been greatly endcouraged to realise that Jesus showed it and so did many men of God in the bible. No matter how sad or scary the situation, if you can fully release the grief or terror you can once more think clearly and make good decisions. He is indeed our “mighty counsellor”.

  • Thank you Rhonda. I will follow your suggestion. Intuitively it makes sense.

    To George. Allow the tears and grief to flow until finished, without trying to stop yourself. Ideally find someone to sit with you and listen warmly without interruption. Agree to how long per “session” and stop when time is up. The benefit accumulates. But also, offer it up to God. Imagine Jesus is with you. I used to do that while standing in the shower. The tears and the grief will empty like a bucket witha hole in the bottom. They will flow and flow seemingly without end and then one day the last drop falls and it is over. For each person and each source of grief the bucket is a different size and you dont know until the last drop. Even in the midst of all that and even if it takes yearswe can live in love and hope.

  • I never understood this and I thought I was nutts,,lol,, but im the same way! all I can do in church is cry! I cant pray aloud ,speak, read, sing….nuthin! do you have anymore to say on this topic to help me out with this?

  • You are using instinctive natural healing process. Normally it is blocked by society conditioning, so you must be in a very safe and loving place. The message you are getting is perfectly “contradicting ” all of the false message and judgement in past hurts etc and you are “discharging” those old recordings. Show this and explain it to your community and Ask that they just relax and welcome your healing. It will do them all good too to practice that. They can pray that you are able to continue until you have drained the last drop no matter how long that takes. You will be amazed at the eventual result. “Go with the flow”. site:http://personlookup.com.site:http://personlookup.com.au

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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