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Lamentations 3:4

4. My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones.

4. Senio confecit earnera meam (senescere fecit, ad verbum) et pelletn meam (vel, cutem;) confregit ossa mea.

 

These, as it evidently appears, are metaphorical words. Illness often makes people to look old, for from pain proceeds leanness: thus the skin is contracted, and the wrinkles of old age appear even in youths. As, then, sorrows exhaust moisture and strength, hence he is said to grow old who pines away in mourning. This is what the Prophet now means. God, he says, has made my flesh and my skin, to grow old, that is, he hath worn me out, within and without, so that I am almost wasted away.

He then adds, He hath broken my bones This seems to be hyperbolical; but we have said elsewhere that this simile does not in every instance express the greatness of the sorrow which the faithful feel under a sense of God’s wrath. Both David and Hezekiah spoke in this way; nay, Hezekiah compares God to a lion,

“As a lion,” he says, “has he broken my bones.”
(Isaiah 38:13.)

And David says at one time that his bones wasted away, at another that they were broken, and at another that they were reduced to ashes; for there is nothing more dreadful than to feel that God is angry with us. The Prophet, then, did not only regard outward calamities, but the evidence of God’s vengeance; for the people could see nothing else in their distresses except that God was their enemy — and this was true; for God had often exhorted them to repentance; but upon those whom he had found incurable, he at length, as it was just, poured forth his vengeance to the uttermost. This, then, was the reason why the Prophet said, that God had broken his bones. He then adds, —

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