Jeremiah 8:18

18. When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me.

18. Roborate meum (vel, quum vellem roborare me) super dolorem, super me cor meum infirmum est.


Interpreters explain differently the word ytyglbm, mebelgiti. Some take m, mem, in the sense of b, beth; but others, with whom I agree, regard it as a servile, deriving the word from glb, belag; and this letter is prefixed to it to shew that it is a noun. The t, tau, also at the end, is a servile.1

The Prophet then means, that he sought strength in his sorrow, but that his heart was weak. He no doubt, I think, sets forth in this verse the perverse character of the people, -- that they sought through their obstinacy to drive away every punishment. This could not indeed be referred to himself, or to those who were like him, as we know how fearful are God's servants with regard to his wrath; for as the fear of God prevails in their hearts, so they are easily terrified by his judgment; but hypocrites and wicked men ever harden themselves as far as they can. They then strengthened themselves against God, and thought in this way to be conquerors. Since they thus perversely contended with God, the Prophet sets forth here the great hardness of the people: I would, he says, strengthen myself in my sorrow; but my heart is within me weak; that is, "In vain are these remedies tried; in vain have ye hitherto endeavored to strengthen yourselves, and have sought fortresses and strongholds against God; for sorrow will at length prevail, as the Lord will add troubles to troubles, so that ye must at length succumb under them."

He means the same when he says, his heart was within him weak: "I have, "he says, "been oppressed with sorrow, when I thought I had strength enough to resist." For thus the ungodly think manfully to act, when they madly resist God; but at length they find by the event that they in vain seek thus to strengthen themselves; for our heart, he says, will become within us weak, and debility itself will at last oppress and overwhelm us.


Grant, Almighty God, that since we have been abundantly taught by ancient examples how insane they are who bend not under thy threatenings, and repent not in due time while thou invitest them to repentance, -- O grant, that we may wholly give up ourselves to be disciplined by thee, and that we may not only bear with submissive minds to be chastised, but also learn by thy warnings to return without delay to thee, and that we may so remain in obedience to thee, that with unceasing perseverance we may fight under thy banner, until having at length finished our warfare, we shall enjoy that blessed rest which has been prepared for us by Christ our Lord. -- Amen.

1 The ancient versions and the Targum all differ as to the meaning of this word; and it is difficult to make the original to agree with any of them. The word, as in the received text, is a verbal noun from Hiphil, with a iod affixed to it, and is either a personal noun in the feminine gender, "my consoler, "or "strengthener, "meaning his own soul,-or a common noun, "my consolation, "or "strength, "meaning God. But Schultens, regarding the verb as signifying to smile or to laugh, and thinking that it means here the laugh of misery or of contempt, renders it "O thou (i.e., the daughter of Sion) that grinnest at me for pain, "and sayest, "within me the heart is sick." The Targum seems to favor this view, as it mentions the division of the people. Blayney, according to several copies, divides the word thus, ytyg ylbm, and considers the one as a negative, and the other a verbal noun from hhg, to heal, and renders the verse thus:-

Sorrow is upon me past my remedying,
My heart within me is faint.

Still the simplest way, and the most suitable to the passage, is to take the word as a common noun, signifying consolation, comfort or strength, and to consider the words as addressed to God,-

My strength! within me is sorrow, Within me is my heart faint.

"Faint, "that is, through grief. It is rendered "grieve, "or "is sorrowful, "by all the ancient versions and the Targum.-Ed.