Lamentations 2:12
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 mothers' bosom.
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(12) They say . . .—The words seem to paint what was actually passing before the writer’s eye, but may be the vivid present which represents the past. The children cried for food, and their mothers had none to give them. They were like wounded men at their last gasp, and breathed out their life as they clung in their despair to their mothers’ breasts.

2:10-22 Causes for lamentation are described. Multitudes perished by famine. Even little children were slain by their mother's hands, and eaten, according to the threatening, De 28:53. Multitudes fell by the sword. Their false prophets deceived them. And their neighbours laughed at them. It is a great sin to jest at others' miseries, and adds much affliction to the afflicted. Their enemies triumphed over them. The enemies of the church are apt to take its shocks for its ruins; but they will find themselves deceived. Calls to lamentation are given; and comforts for the cure of these lamentations are sought. Prayer is a salve for every sore, even the sorest; a remedy for every malady, even the most grievous. Our business in prayer is to refer our case to the Lord, and leave it with him. His will be done. Let us fear God, and walk humbly before him, and take heed lest we fall.They say - Or, "They keep saying:" it was an oft-repeated cry, even while expiring upon their mother's bosom. 12. as the wounded—famine being as deadly as the sword (Jer 52:6).

soul … poured … into … mothers bosom—Instinctively turning to their mother's bosom, but finding no milk there, they breathe out their life as it were "into her bosom."


The little children, ignorant of the cause of the failure of their usual food, called to their mothers for it as formerly, being ready to faint and die, as men mortally wounded, for want of spirits and blood, use to faint, and died in their mothers’ arms; for so I had rather interpret the phrase poured out their souls, than (as some) understand by souls the desires of their souls, for he is speaking of sucklings as well as more grown children: the phrase is capable of both senses.

They say to their mothers, where is corn and wine?.... Not the sucklings who could not speak, nor were used to corn and wine, but the children more grown; both are before spoken of, but these are meant, even the young men of Israel, as the Targum; and such as had been brought up in the best manner, had been used to wine, and not water, and therefore ask for that as well as corn; both take in all the necessaries of life; and which they ask of their mothers, who had been used to feed them, and were most tender of them; but now not seeing and having their usual provisions, and not knowing what was the reason of it, inquire after them, being pressed with hunger:

when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city; having no food given them, though they asked for it time after time, they fainted away, and died a lingering death; as wounded persons do who are not killed at once, which is the more distressing:

when their soul was poured out into their mothers' bosom; meaning not the desires of their souls for food, expressed in moving and melting language as they sat in their mothers' laps, and lay in their bosoms; which must be piercing unto them, if no more was designed; but their souls or lives themselves, which they gave up through famine, as the Targum; expiring in their mothers' arms.

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 mothers' bosom.
12. corn and wine] Omit “and wine,” not only from the nature of the case, and for the sake of correct metre, but because the Heb. word is not that elsewhere used in combination with “corn.”

their soul is poured out, etc.] They swoon as the unhappy mother clasps them in her arms.

Verse 12. - Corn. Either in the sense of parched corn (comp. Leviticus 23:14; 1 Samuel 17:17; Proverbs 27:22) or a poetic expression for "bread" (comp. Exodus 16:4; Psalm or. 40) Lamentations 2:12The impotence of human comfort, and the mockery of enemies. Lamentations 2:11. The misery that has befallen the people is so fearful, that sorrow over it wears out one's life. "Mine eyes pine away because of tears," is the complaint of the prophet, not merely for himself personally, but in the name of all the godly ones. "Mine eyes pine" is the expression used in Psalm 69:4. On חמרמרוּ מעי, cf. Lamentations 1:20. The expression, "my liver is poured out on the earth," occurs nowhere else, and is variously explained. That the liver is fons sanguinis, and thus the seat of the animal life (Rosenmller, Thenius), cannot be made out from Proverbs 7:23. This passage rather forms a proof that among the Hebrews, according to a view widely prevalent in ancient times, the liver was considered the seat of sensual desire and lust (cf. Delitzsch's Bib. Psychology, Clark's translation, p. 316). But this view is insufficient as an explanation of the passage now before us. Besides, there are no proofs to show that "liver" is used for "heart," or even for "gall," although Job 16:13 is unwarrantably adduced in support of this position. A closely related expression, certainly, is found in Job 30:16; Psalm 42:5, where the soul is said to be poured out; but the liver is different from נפשׁ, the principle of the corporeal life. If the liver was called כּבד because, according to Galen, de usu partium, vi. 17 (in Gesen. Thes. p. 655), omnium viscerum et densissimum et gravissimum est, then it may be regarded, instead of מעים, as the chief bodily organ through which not merely lust, but also pain, is felt; and the pouring out of the liver on the earth may thus mean that the inner man is dissolved in pain and sorrow, - perishes, as it were, through pain. For it is evident from the context, and universally admitted, that it is the effect of pain in consuming the bodily organs that is here meant to be expressed. שׁבר בּת עמּי is a genuine Jeremianic expression (cf. Jeremiah 6:14; Jeremiah 8:11, Jeremiah 8:21, etc.), which again occurs in Lamentations 2:13, Lamentations 3:47-48, and Lamentations 4:10. In what follows, some harrowing details are given regarding the destruction of the daughter of Zion. בּעטף for בּהעטף, while (or because) children and sucklings were pining away on the streets of the city. This figure of heartrending misery is further carried out in Lamentations 2:12, for the purpose of vividly setting forth the terrible distress. Gerlach is wrong in thinking that the writer brings forward such sad scenes as would be likely to present themselves in the period immediately after the destruction of the city. For, the fact that, in Lamentations 2:10, the eye of the mourner is directed to the present, is far from being a proof that Lamentations 2:11 and Lamentations 2:12 also treat of the present; and the imperfect יאמרוּ, Lamentations 2:12, is not parallel in time with ישׁבוּ, Lamentations 2:12, but designates the repetition of the action in past time. "The children say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine?" i.e., Give us bread and wine, or, Where can we eat and drink? Corn and must (as in Jeremiah 31:12, etc.) are mentioned as the usual means of nourishment of the Israelites. דּגן, "corn," is used poetically for bread (cf. Psalm 78:24), - not pounded or roasted grain, which was used without further preparation (Thenius), and which is called קלי, Leviticus 23:14; 1 Samuel 17:17; 2 Samuel 17:28. The sucklings poured out their soul, i.e., breathed out their life, into the bosom of their mothers, i.e., hugging their mothers, although these could not give them nourishment; cf. Lamentations 4:4.
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