Blessed are you that hunger now: for you shall be filled. Blessed are you that weep now: for you shall laugh.
Consider how much is conveyed in this figure.
1. Hunger and thirst are real things. We need no argument to prove this; we have all felt them for ourselves, even though it may have been in a very slight degree. Ay, how real they are He who spake of them well knew, for had He not but now ended His long fast of forty days in the wilderness?
2. They are active feelings that will assert themselves. The poor man may know his poverty, and yet be so accustomed to it as to have no wish to escape from it. The sick man may be too ill to want to get better, his only wish being to be let alone and die in peace. But hunger and thirst tell of a want within, a reaching after that without which they cannot be stilled.
3. They are intense, overpowering, and gain the mastery over the man, making him act contrary to the instincts of reason. What stories we have heard or read of the terrible extremities to which hunger or thirst have reduced men. Maddened by the desire of drink, they have drunk salt water, plunged into the sea to put an end to their sufferings, or drawn lots which should die to save the rest alive. Driven by gnawings of hunger, men have faced disgrace, and stooped to steal rather than suffer any longer.
4. They are universal, for they are felt by rich as well as poor; they are inseparable from our being, constituted as we are; they are God-implanted instincts.
5. They are lifelong. The man dying of thirst, able no longer to speak, opens his poor parched mouth, or looks his longing with his fevered eyes. The man perishing for lack of food holds out his thin, emaciated hands, and without a word begs for bread. But we need not to be told that Jesus is not speaking of bodily hunger, any more than of bodily poverty or bodily mourning. Just as the poverty He tells of may exist in the midst of the abundance of riches, and just as the mourning which He recommends may be found where eyes have never shed a tear, so hunger and thirst may be where there is plenty of food and drink. For every man is a sort of living sacrament. He has an outward and visible part — his body; but he has, too, an inward and spiritual part. And there is a close analogy between them. They have each similar feelings, desires, longings. And so the spirit of a man has its hunger and thirst. And this spiritual hunger and thirst are real things, are they not? They are active, asserting themselves, refusing to be ignored; they are intense, soul-agonizing, bringing, when unsatisfied, anguish and torment; they are universal, found in men of every age, and circumstance; they are life-long, with the man still as the breath of life quits his body.
(C. J. Ridgeway, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
WEB: Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.