11. All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul: see, O Lord, and consider; for I am become vile.
11. Totus populus ejus gementes, quae rentes panem, diderunt desiderabilia sua (hoc est, quicquid habebant pretiosum) Pro cibo ad revocandum animan: vide, Jehova, et aspice, quia facta sum vilis (aut, contempta.)
The Prophet here complains that all the citizens of Jerusalem were constantly groaning through want and famine. He first says, that all were sighing. The word "people" is collective, and hence he uses the plural number, UMyxnan, nanechim. Then he says that they were all sighing; but he expresses also the reason, because they were seeking bread. To seek bread is indeed common to all; but by this word he intimates extreme want., as though he had said, that they begged their bread. He then compares them to beggars, who go about here and there to seek bread.
He says also, that they gave the most precious things for meat, to recover the soul. Here he refers more clearly to famine, for he says that in a manner they suffered want. Others render the last clause, "to refresh the soul," which is not unsuitable. But the Prophet no doubt meant to denote a deficiency as to the support of life, when he said, that they gave whatever precious thing they had to restore their souls, as it were from death to life.
A prayer follows, See, Jehovah, and look, for I am become vile. We said yesterday, that the complaints which humbled the faithful, and, at the same time, raised them to a good hope, and also opened the door to prayers, were dictated by the Spirit of God. Otherwise, when men indulge in grief, and torment themselves, they become exasperated; and then to be kindled by this irritation is a kind of madness. The Prophet, therefore, in order to moderate the intensity of sorrow, and the raging of impatience, recalls again the faithful to prayer. And when Jerusalem asks God to see and to look, there is an emphasis intended in using the two words; and the reason given does also more fully shew this, because she had become vile;1 so that the Church set nothing else before God, to turn him to mercy, but her own miseries. She did not, then, bring forward her own services, but only deplored her own miseries, in order that she might obtain the favor of God. It follows, --