Thus said Jehovah of Hosts: Consider ye, and call for mourning women, And they come, And to the wise women send, and they come,
Jeremiah 9:17 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Call for the mourning women - Those whose office it was to make lamentations at funerals, and to bewail the dead, for which they received pay. This custom continues to the present in Asiatic countries. In Ireland this custom also prevails, which no doubt their ancestors brought from the east. I have often witnessed it, and have given a specimen of this elsewhere. See the note on Matthew 9:23. The first lamentations for the dead consisted only in the sudden bursts of inexpressible grief, like that of David over his son Absalom, 2 Samuel 19:4. But as men grew refined, it was not deemed sufficient for the surviving relatives to vent their sorrows in these natural, artless expressions of wo, but they endeavored to join others as partners in their sorrows. This gave rise to the custom of hiring persons to weep at funerals, which the Phrygians and Greeks borrowed from the Hebrews. Women were generally employed on these occasions, because the tender passions being predominant in this sex, they succeeded better in their parts; and there were never wanting persons who would let out their services to hire on such occasions. Their lamentations were sung to the pipe as we learn from Matthew 9:23. See the funeral ceremonies practiced at the burial of Hector, as described by Homer: -
Οἱ δ' επει εισαγαγον κλυτα δωματα, τον μεν επειτα
Τρητοις εν λεχεεσσι θεσαν, παρα δ' εἱσαν αοιδους,
Θρηνων εξαρχους, οἱ τε στονοεσσαν αοιδην
Οἱ μεν αρ' εθρηνεον, επι δε στεναχοντο γυναικες.
Il. lib. 24., ver. 719.
"Arrived within the royal house, they stretched
The breathless Hector on a sumptuous bed,
And singers placed beside him, who should chant
The strain funereal; they with many a groan
The dirge began; and still at every close
The female train with many a groan replied."
St. Jerome tells us that even to his time this custom continued in Judea; that women at funerals, with dishevelled hair and naked breasts, endeavored in a modulated voice to invite others to lament with them. The poem before us, from the seventeenth to the twenty-second verse, is both an illustration and confirmation of what has been delivered on this subject, and worthy of the reader's frequent perusal, on account of its affecting pathos, moral sentiments, and fine images, particularly in the twenty-first verse, where death is described in as animated a prosopopoeia as can be conceived. See Lototh's twenty-second Prelection, and Dodd. The nineteenth verse is supposed to be the funeral song of the women.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
2 Chronicles 35:25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spoke of Josiah in their lamentations to this day...
Job 3:8 Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.
Ecclesiastes 12:5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish...
Amos 5:16,17 Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the LORD, said thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways...
Matthew 9:23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,
Mark 5:38 And he comes to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and sees the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.
the mourning women. Those whose office it was to mournful dirges, and make public lamentations at funerals.
Jeremiah 9:17 Parallel CommentariesAlmighty Armies Consider Cunning Hosts Mourning Skilful Skillful Thought Wailing Weeping Wise WomenAlmighty Armies Consider Cunning Hosts Mourning Skilful Skillful Thought Wailing Weeping Wise WomenTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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