“Woe to the world because of the stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to that person through whom the stumbling block comes! Bible

“woe.” The Greek word is ouai (#3759 οὐαί; pronounced ooh-eye’). For an explanation of the meaning of “woe,” see commentary on Matthew 11:21. In the phrase, “Woe to the world,” the “world” is put by metonymy for the people in the world, and woe to them because of the skandalon (#4625 σκάνδαλον) that are in the world. A skandalon is technically the movable stick or trigger of a trap; a trap-trigger; then, a trap or snare; and then any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall, thus a “stumbling block.” Here, a skandalon could be translated as a stumbling block, a trap or snare, or even a “death trap,” since final and ultimate death is the result of being caught in the world’s trap. In this context, “woe” is an expression of warning of grief and disaster that is coming. Woe to the world, and especially “woe,” a warning about divine retribution, to the person who is so caught up in the Devil’s trap that he or she becomes a trap to others.

Commentary for: Matthew 18:7