Jeremiah 9:1

1. Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!

1. Quis ponet caput meum aquas, et oculum meum fontem lachrymarum? et deflebo die et nocte (hoc est, dies et noctes) interfectos filiae populi mei.


He follows the same subject. During times of tranquillity, when nothing but joyful voices were heard among the Jews, he bewails, as one in the greatest grief, the miseries of the people; and being not satisfied with this, he says, Who will set, or make, my head waters, and my eye a fountain of tears? He intimates by these words, that the ruin would be so dreadful that it could not be bewailed by a moderate or usual lamentation, inasmuch as God's vengeance would exceed common bounds, and fill men with more dread than other calamities.

The meaning is, that the destruction of the people would be so monstrous that it could not be sufficiently bewailed. It hence appears how hardened the Jews had become; for doubtless the Prophet had no delight in such comparisons, as though he wished rhetorically to embellish his discourse; but as he saw that their hearts were inflexible, and that a common way of speaking would be despised, or would have no weight and authority, he was constrained to use such similitudes. And at this day, there is no less insensibility in those who despise God; for however Prophets may thunder, while God spares and indulges them, they promise to themselves perpetual quietness. Hence it is, that they ridicule and insult both God and his servants, as though they were too harshly treated. As then, the same impiety prevails now in the world as formerly, we may hence learn what vehemence they ought to use whom God calls to the same office of teaching. Plain teaching, then, will ever be deemed frigid in the world, except it, be accompanied with sharp goads, such as we find employed here by the Prophet1He adds --

1 This verse is connected by some with the last chapter: and it seems to belong to it. It forms in all the Hebrew MSS. the 23d verse of the preceding chapter (Jeremiah 8:23). The phrase, Ntyaym, "who will give," means a wish, "O that my head," etc., or "May my head," etc. The Septuagint, the Vulgate, the Arabic, and the Targum express it literally, "Who will give;" but the Syriac has, "O, I wish my head were turned into water." -- Ed.