Lamentations 3:51
Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.
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(51) Affecteth.—Better, harmeth, or causeth grief to.

The daughters of my city.—The words have been understood (1) of the maidens of Jerusalem (comp. Lamentations 1:4; Lamentations 1:18; Lamentations 2:20-21); and (2) of the daughter-towns which looked to it as their metropolis. Of these (1) is preferable.

3:42-54 The more the prophet looked on the desolations, the more he was grieved. Here is one word of comfort. While they continued weeping, they continued waiting; and neither did nor would expect relief and succour from any but the Lord.Or, "Mine eye" causeth pain to my soul, i. e. maketh my soul ache, because of the sad fate of the maidens (Lamentations 1:4, Lamentations 1:18, ...). 51. eye affecteth mine heart—that is, causeth me grief with continual tears; or, "affecteth my life" (literally, "soul," Margin), that is, my health [Grotius].

daughters of … city—the towns around, dependencies of Jerusalem, taken by the foe.


The eye and the ear are those organs of the body, by which the soul exerciseth its senses to bring in all objects, whether pleasant or sad, to the understanding to judge of them, according to the judgment of which upon them it is affected with joy or sorrow, desire or aversation, &c.; and the eye is the chiefest of these, because its evidence is more certain, and less subject to deceit. The prophet and most of the Jews were eye-witnesses to the evils which had befallen the Jews, and which at present were upon them; so as their hearts were the more affected. The word translated

affect is by some noted to signify to waste and consume, which are the effects of a deep affecting the heart with sad and miserable objects. Because of all the daughters of my city: our margin tells us that it may be also read more than all the daughters of my city; according to which the sense is, that he was more affected with the state of Jerusalem than the tenderest woman that had lived in it: but it is as well, if not better, in this place rendered causally, showing the reason of his deep affliction, viz. all those miseries he had seen fall upon all the Jewish nation, or upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Mine eye affecteth mine heart,.... Seeing the desolation of his country; the ruins of the city and temple of Jerusalem; and the multitudes of those that were slain, and carried captive; and the distresses the rest were in; this affected his heart, and filled it with grief; as his heart also affected his eyes, and caused them to run down in rivers of water, as before expressed; or, as the Targum,

"the weeping of mine eyes is the occasion of hurt to my soul or life;''

his excessive weeping endangered his life:

because of all the daughters of my city; not Anathoth, his native place, but Jerusalem; so the Targum,

"of Jerusalem my city.''

The meaning is, that his heart was affected at seeing the ruin of the inhabitants of Jerusalem; or of the towns and cities round about it, which that was the metropolis of. Some, as Jarchi, render it, "more than all the daughters of my city" (p); his heart was more affected with those calamities than those of the most tender sex, even than any or all of them.

(p) "supra cunctas filias civitatis meae"; so some in Vatablus; and Jarchi.

My eye {x} affecteth my heart because of all the daughters of my city.

(x) I am overcome with sore weeping for all my people.

51. affecteth my soul] The inflammation of eyes caused by continual weeping, or, better, the sights of misery on which he looks, add to his mental suffering.

the daughters of my city] either those whose untoward fate has been already lamented (Lamentations 1:4; Lamentations 1:18, Lamentations 2:10; Lamentations 2:21), or the villages, daughter towns of Jerusalem. For this sense cp. (with mg.) Numbers 21:25; Joshua 17:11. In Psalm 48:11 “daughters” has the same sense.

Verse 51. - Affecteth mine heart; rather, paineth me; literally, paineth my soul, the soul being mentioned as the centre of the feelings and emotions. The daughters of my city. The sad fate of the virgins of Jerusalem oppressed the spirit of the writer (pomp. Lamentations 1:4, 18; Lamentations 2:10, 21). Lamentations 3:51Lamentations 3:51, taken literally, runs thus: "Mine eye does evil to my soul" (עולל with ל signifies to inflict an injury on one, cause suffering, as in Lamentations 1:2, Lamentations 1:22; Lamentations 2:20), i.e., it causes pain to the soul, as the Chaldee has already paraphrased it. The expression does not merely signify "causes me grief" (Thenius, Gerlach); but the eye, weakened through incessant weeping, causes pain to the soul, inasmuch as the pain in the eye increases the pain in the soul, i.e., heightens the pain of the soul through the superaddition of physical pain (Ngelsbach). Ewald has quite missed the meaning of the verse in his translation, "Tears assail my soul," and in his explanatory remark that עוללה is used in a bad sense, like the Latin afficit; for, if עולל had this meaning, עיני could not stand for tears, because it is not the tears, but only the eyes weakened by weeping, that affect the soul with pain. Ewald is also wrong in seeking, with Grotius, to understand "the daughters of my city" as signifying the country towns, and to explain the phrase by referring to Lamentations 2:22. For, apart from the consideration that the appeal to Lamentations 2:22 rests on a false conception of that passage, the meaning attributed to the present verse is shown to be untenable by the very fact that the expression "daughters of my city" is never used for the daughter-towns of Jerusalem; and such a designation, however possible it might be in itself, would yet be quite incomprehensible in this present connection, where there is no other subject of lamentation, either before or after, than Jerusalem in its ruined condition, and the remnant of its inhabitants (Gerlach). "The daughters of my city" are the daughters of Jerusalem, the female portion of the inhabitants of the city before and after its destruction. Nor will what is added, "because of the daughters of my city," seem strange, if we consider that, even in Lamentations 1:4, Lamentations 1:18 and Lamentations 2:20-21, the fate and the wretched condition of the virgins of the city are mentioned as peculiarly deplorable, and that, in fact, the defenceless virgins were most to be pitied when the city fell; cf. Lamentations 5:11. But the objection of Bttcher and Thenius, that מכּל בּנות forms a harsh construction, whether we view it grammatically or in the light of the circumstances, inasmuch as מן, after "mine eye pains me," is unsuitable, whether taken in a causal or a comparative meaning: - this objection, certainly, has some truth in its favour, and tells against any attempt to take the words as indicating a comparison. but there is nothing against the causal meaning, if "mine eyes causes pain to my soul" merely signifies "my eye pains me," because the pain of the eye is the result of the profuse weeping. If those words, however, possess the meaning we have given above (the pain in the eyes increases the smart in the soul), then there is nothing strange at all in the thought, "The evil condition of the daughters of my city is so deplorable, that mine eyes fail through weeping, and the sorrow of my soul is thereby intensified." Gerlach has already refuted, though more fully than was necessary, the conjecture of Bttcher, that בּנות should be changed into בּכּות (from all the weeping of my city).
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