“broadsword.” An unusual word for “sword,” occurring only here and in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:16; 2:12, 16; 6:8; 19:15, 21). The Greek is rhomphaia (#4501 ῥομφαία). It has several meanings. It was a large sword, usually two edged, which was used by non-Greek-speaking peoples, especially the Thracians. We can rightly refer to it as a “broadsword.” Also, rhomphaia was used of a long Thracian javelin, and also a kind of long sword usually worn on the right shoulder. The word appears very often in the Septuagint, and was the word used for the sword of Goliath. This long, broad, two-edged sword would pass through Mary’s soul as the life of her son developed. The fact that it can refer to a Thracian spear also points to one of the final acts of violence towards her son when the Roman soldier pierced Christ’s side with a spear (cp. Thayer; BDAG).
“soul.” The Greek word often translated “soul” is psuchē (#5590 ψυχή; pronounced psoo-kay’), and it has a large number of meanings, including the physical life of a person or animal; an individual person; or attitudes, emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Here it refers to the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of Mary. With all that happened to Jesus in his life, she would feel as if she had been pierced by a sword. [For a more complete explanation of “soul,” see Appendix 7: “Usages of ‘Soul’”].