Luke 23:33-43

Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine

The story of Jesus' crucifixion and his dialogue with the criminals who were crucified with him resonates with the stories of the great war epics in the ancient world. One of the major motifs in the battle stories of antiquity are the taunts that are given between various adversaries. In the story of David and Goliath, Goliath taunts the soldiers of Israel: "Send out a man who will fight with me, you cowards!" He mocks them. When David comes out to fight Goliath, he in turn taunts Goliath and says, "The Lord God will give you into my hand and I will cut off your head!" This is in response to Goliath saying, "What, have they sent out a little flea to fight with me?" These taunting speeches are part of the warrior stories of antiquity.

Another example are the stories of the Iliad and the classic battle between Achilles and Hector. I'll read you just a part of the speeches, the taunts that Hector and Achilles have before their battle. Hector after running three times around the city of Troy with Achilles chasing him, finally stands his ground with the encouragement of the Goddess Athena and speaks:

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