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Lamentations 2:21

21. The young and the old lie on the ground in the streets: my virgins and my young men are fallen by the sword; thou hast slain them in the day of thine anger; thou hast killed, and not pitied.

21. Jacuerunt in terra per compita puer et senex; virgines meae et adolescentes mei ceciderunt gladio; occidisti in die irae tuae; mactasti et non pepercisti.

 

Here he relates in the person of the Church another calamity, that the young and the aged were lying prostrate in the streets; and he joins children to the old men, to shew that there was no difference as to age. Then he says that dead bodies were lying promiscuously in public places. He adds, that virgins and young men had fallen by the sword; by which he confirms the previous clause, for there is nothing new said here, but only the manner is shewn by which they had been slain; for slain by the sword had been the young men and young women without any distinction; the enemies at the same time had not spared the old, while they killed the very flower of the people.

But the Prophet at the same time shews that all this was to be ascribed to God, not. that the Jews might expostulate with him, but that they might cease vainly to lament their calamities, and in order that they might on the contrary turn to God. Hence he does not say that the young and the old had been slain by the enemies, but by God himself. But it was difficult to convince the Jews of this, for they were so filled with rage against their enemies, that they could not turn their thoughts to the consideration of God’s judgments. This, then, is the reason why the Prophet makes God the author of all their calamities; Thou, he says, hast slain in the day of thy wrath; thou hast killed and not spared. And though the people seem here in a manner to contend with God, we must yet bear in mind the design of the Prophet, even to teach the people to look to God himself, so that they might know that they had to do with him. For there ought to be a passing from one truth to another, so that men, conscious of their sins, should first give glory to God, and then humbly deprecate the wrath which they have deserved. It follows at length, —

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