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Lamentations 2:12

12. They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine? when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mother’s bosom.

12. Matribus suis dicunt, Ubi triticum et vinum? cum evanescunt (in evanescendo ipsos, ad verbum) tanquam vulneratus (aut, mortuus; dum evanescunt Ergo tanquam vulnerati, aut, mortui; est numeri enallage) in compitis urbis (iterum repetit,) et cum se effundit (vel, effunditur) anima eorum in sinum matrum ipsorum.


There is either a personification in the words of the Prophet, or he speaks now of another party, for he cannot refer now to children sucking their mothers’ breasts, for they could not have expressly said, Where is corn and wine? and the use of wine is not allowed to infants. Then the words of the Prophets extend further, for not infants, but children somewhat grown up, could have thus spoken. And in this view there is nothing unreasonable or forced, for he spoke of little children, and to little children he joined infants. 159159     That young children and infants are spoken of, is evident from the end of the verse; the one died in the streets, and the other in the mother’s bosom. The question, “Where is corn,” &c., is to be understood of the children, young boys and girls. — Ed. And now he refers only to one party, even that children, who could now speak, complained to their mothers that there was no bread nor wine, that is, no means of support, no food.

If, however, any one prefers a personification, I do not object; and this view would not be unsuitable, that even infants by their silence cried for food; for the tears of children speak more efficaciously than when one gives utterance to words.

However this may be, the Prophet intimates that such was the scarcity, that children died in the bosom of their mothers, and in vain sought food and cried that they were without support. He then says that they said to their mothers; 160160     To correspond with the former verse, the versions render this, “They said to their mothers.” The verb is, indeed, in the future tense, and it might be rendered, “To their mothers would they say;” for the Hebrew future may be thus rendered, —

   12. To their mothers would they say,” Where is corn and wine?”
When they fainted as one wounded in the streets of the city,
When they poured out their life into the bosom of their mothers.

    — Ed
by which expression he means that their complaints were the more pitiable, because their mothers could afford them no help. And we know how tender and affectionate are the feelings of mothers, for a mother would willingly nourish her own child, not only with her own milk, but even, if possible, with her life. When, therefore, the Prophet says that children cried to their mothers, he means to represent a sad spectacle, and which ought justly to produce horror in the minds of all. Where is bread and wine? he says, even when they vanished away (some say “fainted,” but I prefer, as I have said, this rendering) as a dead man in the streets; and further, when they poured out, a sadder thing still, — when they poured out their souls into the bosom of their mothers. It now follows, —

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