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Lamentations 3:6

6. He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old.

6. In tenebris jacere me fecit tanquam mortuos seculi.

 

Here he amplifies what he had before said of poison and trouble; he says that he was placed in darkness, not that he might be there for a little while, but remain there for a long time; he hath made me, he says, to dwell in darkness. But the comparison which follows more clearly explains the Prophet’s meaning, as the dead of ages. The word עולם, oulam, may refer to future or past time. Some say, as the dead for ever, who are perpetually dead. But the Scripture elsewhere calls those the dead of ages who have been long buried, and have decayed, and whose memory has become nearly extinct. For as long as the dead body retains its form, it seems more like a living being; but when it is reduced to ashes, when no bone appears, when the whole skin and nerves and blood have perished, and no likeness to man remains, there can then be no hope of life. The Scripture then calls those the dead of ages, who have wholly decayed. So also in this place the Prophet says, that he dwelt in darkness, into which he had been cast by God’s hand, and that he dwelt there as though he had been long dead, and his body had become now putrid.

This way of speaking appears indeed hyperbolical; but we must always remember what I have reminded you of, that it is not possible sufficiently to set forth the greatness of that sorrow which the faithful feel when terrified by the wrath of God. He then adds, —

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