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Lamentations 1:12

12. Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.

12. Non ad voc omnes qui transitis per viam? Aspicite et videte, an sit dolor sicut dolor meus, qui factus est mihi, quia affixit me (vel, dolore affecit) Jehova in die excandescentiae irae suae.


The beginning of the verse is variously explained. Some read it interrogatively, “Is it nothing to you who pass by the way?” Others more simply, “I see that I am not cared for by you; to you my sorrow is nothing.” Some again read thus, “Let it not be a sorrow to you;” and others, “Let not sorrow be upon you,” that is, let not what I have happen to you; so that it is a prayer expressive of benevolence.

What I prefer is the interrogation, Is it nothing to you who pass by the way? for the letter, ה, He, the note of a question, is often omitted. But were it read affirmatively, the meaning would not be unsuitable: “It does not concern you who pass by,” as though Jerusalem, in its lamentations, felt grieved that all those who passed by were not touched either with pity or with sorrow. 138138     It is evidently taken as לו by the Sept., the Vulg., and the Targ.; but as a negative by the Syr., and the sentence is taken as a question: and this gives the best meaning. — Ed

But she addressed those who passed by, that she might more fully set forth the greatness of her calamity. For. had she directed her words to neighbors alone, there would not have been so much force in them; but when she spoke to strangers, she thus shewed that her calamity was so great, that it ought to have roused the sympathy of men from the remotest parts, even while on their journey. And she asks them to look and see. The order is inverted, for she said before, “See, Jehovah, and look.” Then Jerusalem asked God, first to turn his eyes to see her calamities, and then attentively to notice them: but now for another purpose she says, look ye and see, that is, consider how evident is my calamity, which otherwise might have been in a measure hidden from you. Look ye, she says, is there a sorrow like my sorrow? she adds, which is come to me: some render the words actively, “which Jehovah has brought on me;” but the other version is more correct, for it is more literal. Jerome’s rendering is, “who has gleaned me;” and צעלל olal, means sometimes to glean, nor do I wish to reject this interpretation. But what follows is incorrectly rendered, as in a former instance, by Jerome, “of which Jehovah has spoken:” for he derived the verb, as before stated, from הגה, ege; but it comes from יגה, ige, as it is evident from the letter ו, vau, being inserted. There is then no doubt but that the Church intimates that God was the author of that sorrow which she deplored.

And it is necessary to know this, lest men should be carried away into excesses in their mourning, as it frequently happens. For the majesty of God imposes a check, when we perceive that we have to do with him. Simple and bare knowledge of this is not, indeed, sufficient, for, as it has been said, the ungodly, while they know that their sorrows proceed from God, yet murmur against him: but it is nevertheless the beginning of patience and meekness when we have a regard to God. It was, then, for this reason that Jerusalem said that she had been afflicted by God.

And it is added, In the day of the indignation of his wrath. Here the Prophet wished to express the grievousness of God’s vengeance, by mentioning the indignation of wrath. Some render חרום, cherun, “fury;” but as the word “fury” is too harsh, the word “indignation,” or great heat (excandescentia) is not unsuitable. We must, however, bear in mind the design of the Prophet, which was to shew that God’s vengeance had been so dreadful, as though his wrath had all been on a flame against Jerusalem: and this is more fully confirmed in the following verse, —

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