…and ye would not!

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!(Matthew 23:37)

While driving the white Civic to Joy in Vermont, I listened several times to 3Ne 10 and finally was brought to understand, at least in part, this phrase, which has confused me for so long.

Generally, the phrase is thought to mean: but ye would not be gathered. While this is certainly a correct interpretation, it is not the only one. We could add to this interpretation: but ye would not (follow my example and) gather your brethren, and this: but ye (like a chicken pecking other members of its flock), rather, drove off those who would be protected and nourished.

It would not be surprising if there were other valid interpretations. I did not realize that one possible explanation this form of expression is to allow for more to be communicated than is possible when communicating unambiguously.

 

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