Grasshopper shall be a burden bible verse

Grasshopper shall be a burden bible verse

Young’s Literal Translation
Also of that which is high they are afra >

When they shall be afraid of that which is high –

10. Being so feeble, they are afraid to trust themselves to ascend steps, stairs, etc., without help. And when they look upwards, their heads turn giddy, and they are ready to fall.

11. Fears shall be in the way – They dare not walk out, lest they should meet some danger, which they have not strength to repel, nor agility to escape. A second childishness has taken place – apprehensions, fears, terrors, and weakness.

12. The almond tree shall flourish – ינאץ yenaets, not flourish, but fall off. The hair begins to change, first gray, then white; it having no longer that supply of nutritive juices which it once had, this animal vegetable withers and falls off. The almond tree, having white flowers, is a fit emblem of a hoary head; or as Hasselquist says, who observed the tree in full flower in Judea, “like an old man with his white locks.”

13. The grasshopper shall be a burden – Even such an inconsiderable thing as a locust, or a very small insect, shall be deemed burdensome, their strength is so exceedingly diminished. In cases of the gout, especially in old men, the shadow of a person passing by puts them to acute pain! How much less can they bear the smallest pressure! But probably the words refer to the man himself, who, bent at the loins, and his arms hanging down, exhibits some caricature of the animal in question. The poor grasshopper has become a burden to himself. Another interpretation has been given of the grasshopper; but I pass it by as impertinent and contemptible; such commentators appear as if they wished to render the text ridiculous.

14. Desire shall fail – Both relish and appetite for food, even the most delicate, that to which they were formerly so much attached, now fails. The teeth are no longer able to masticate the food, or have all dropped out; the stomach no longer able to digest any thing; and, as the body is no longer capable of receiving nourishment, appetite and relish necessarily fail.

15. Because man goeth to his long home – אל בית עולמו el beith olamo, “to the house of his age;” the place destined to receive him, when the whole race or course of life shall be finished; for עולם olam takes in the whole course or duration of a thing; if applied to a dispensation, such as the Law, it takes in its whole duration; to the life of man, it takes in the whole life; to time, it includes its whole compass; to eternity, it expresses its infinite duration. So old age terminates the olam, the complete duration of human life; and when life is no longer desired, and nutrition ceases, the olam of man is terminated. My old MS. Bible translates it, The hous of his everlastingness.

16. He is just departing into the invisible world; and this is known by the mourners going abount the streets, the long hollow groans and throat rattlings which proceed from him; the sure prognostications of the extreme debility and speedy cessation of those essential animal functions next mentioned.

The Ancestral Home
John Van Nest Talmage was born at Somerville, New Jersey, August 18, 1819 He was the fourth son in a family of seven brothers and five sisters. The roots of the Talmage genealogical tree may be traced back to the year 1630, when Enos and Thomas Talmage, the progenitors of the Talmage family in North America, landed at Charlestown, Massachusetts, and afterwards settled at East Hampton, Long Island. Dr. Lyman Beecher represents the first settlers of East Hampton as “men resolute, enterprising, acquainted …
Rev. John Gerardus Fagg— Forty Years in South China

A Prayer when one Begins to be Sick.
O most righteous Judge, yet in Jesus Christ my gracious Father! I, wretched sinner, do here return unto thee, though driven with pain and sickness, like the prodigal child with want and hunger. I acknowledge that this sickness and pain comes not by blind chance or fortune, but by thy divine providence and special appointment. It is the stroke of thy heavy hand, which my sins have justly deserved; and the things that I feared are now fallen upon me (Job iii. 25.) Yet do I well perceive that in wrath …
Lewis Bayly— The Practice of Piety

Solomon’s Repentance
Twice during Solomon’s reign the Lord had appeared to him with words of approval and counsel–in the night vision at Gibeon, when the promise of wisdom, riches, and honor was accompanied by an admonition to remain humble and obedient; and after the dedication of the temple, when once more the Lord exhorted him to faithfulness. Plain were the admonitions, wonderful the promises, given to Solomon; yet of him who in circumstances, in character, and in life seemed abundantly fitted to heed the charge …
Ellen Gould White— The Story of Prophets and Kings

Genesis 50:10
When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, near the Jordan, they lamented loudly and bitterly; and there Joseph observed a seven-day period of mourning for his father.

Job 17:13
If the only home I hope for is the grave, if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness,

Job 30:23
I know you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living.

Jeremiah 9:17
This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Cons >

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What does Ecclesiastes 12:5–7 mean?

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Answer Wiki

This section of Ecclesiastes is an ancient poem on growing old.

Here are the specific verses you mention within this poem:

“When people are afraid of things above and of terrors along the way; when the almond tree blooms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails,

when the human goes to the eternal abode, with mourners all around in the street;

before the silver cord snaps and the gold bowl shatters; the jar is broken at the fountain and the wheel is broken at the cistern;

before dust returns to the earth as it was before and the life-breath returns to God who gave it.”

The poem being so old the expressions can be somewhat obscure but we can ascertain the meanings, if not in precise specificity certainly in the general. Here are some suggestions as to the meanings of the above verses you cite.

“When people are afraid of things above and of terrors along the way”

With advanced age, our increased weakness physically and mentally produce an increased fear of heights and of things falling on us and intruders as we are less able to stand safely or to resist aggression.

The gray hairs that generally come with age.

“the grasshopper drags itself along”

Once so full of spring and life, now increasingly dragging oneself along this life as desires in general fade.

“before the silver cord snaps and the gold bowl shatters; the jar is broken at the spring and the wheel is crushed at the pit;”

People have given various meanings to these poetical expressions. Here are some suggestions. The silver cord may refer to the spinal cord and more metaphorically to the spirit of man himself. An expression of movement/life being broken-of ending.

The golden bowl could mean that of the skull which houses the brain. This which separates us so significantly from the animals is slowly broken down for so many with advanced age.

“the jar is broken at the fountain and the wheel is broken at the cistern;”

In keeping with the metaphors about the body, the jar broken at the fountain may refer to that of the heart and the blood flow. The fountain being the heart and the jar breaking meaning that the “water” no longer flows to and from its source. the second phrase being a poetical repeat of the same concept.

I once spent a significant amount of time caring for an elderly man up to his death and wrote a few lines about the experience using this poem as the backdrop. Here it is:

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Ecclesiastes 12:5

Also when they shall be afraid of [that which is] high
Not of the most high God, before whose tribunal they must shortly appear, as some; but rather of high places, as high hills, mountains, towers which aged persons are afraid to go up, because of the feebleness and weakness of their limbs, their difficulty of breathing, and the dizziness of their heads; and fears [shall be] in the way ;
they do not care: to go abroad, being afraid of every little stone that lies in the way, lest they should stumble at it, and fall: some understand this of their fears of spirits, good or bad; but the former sense is best; and the almond tree shall flourish ;
which most interpret of the hoary head, which looks like an almond tree in blossom; and which, as it comes soon in the spring, whence it has its name of haste in the Hebrew language; see ( Jeremiah 1:11 Jeremiah 1:12 ) ; and is a sure sign of its near approach; so gray hairs, or the hoary head, sometimes appear very soon and unexpected, and are a sure indication of the approach of old age; which Cicero F8 calls “aetas praecipitata”,

“and the top of thy backbone shall bunch out, through leanness, like the almond; and the ankles of thy feet shall be swelled.”

Some, as Ben Melech observes, understand it of the genital member, and of coitus, slighted and rejected, because of the weakness of the body; all desires of that kind being gone, as follows; and desire shall fail ;
the appetite, for food, for bodily pleasures, and carnal delights; and particularly for venery, all the parts of the body for such uses being weakened, The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it, “the caper tree shall be dissipated”, or “vanish”, or “[its fruit] shall shrink”; so Dr. Smith, who understands it of the decrease of the flu > F12 : and so Munster F13 interprets the word of the berries of the caper tree; because man goeth to his long home ;
the grave, as the Targum, the house appointed for living, where he must lie till the resurrection morn; his eternal house, as Cicero calls it F14 ; and so it may be rendered here, “the house of the world”, common to all the world, where all mankind go: or, “to the house of his world” F15 ; whether of bliss or woe, according as his state and character be, good or bad: Theognis F16 calls it the dark house of “hades”, or the invisible state; and then this must be understood with respect to his separate soul, and the mansion of it; and Alshech says, every righteous man has a mansion to himself; see ( John 14:2 ) ; and the mourners go about the streets ;
the relations of the deceased; or those that go to their houses to comfort them; or the mourning men and women, hired for that purpose. FOOTNOTES:

F8 Fam. Epist. l. 11. Ep. 58.
F9 R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 83. 1.
F11 Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 4. c. 8. col. 494.
F12 Avicenna spud Schindler. Lexic. col. 10.
F13 Dictionar. Chaldaic. p. 13.
F14 Tusculan. Quaest. l. 2. prope finem.
F15 ( wmle tyb la ) “ad domum seculi sui”, Pagninus. Montanus, Vatablus, Mercerus.
F16 ( gnwmai ) v. 1008. vid. v. 244.

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Grasshopper shall be a burden bible verse

[when]
גַּ֣ם (gam)
Conjunction
Strong’s Hebrew 1571: Assemblage, also, even, yea, though, both, and

[men] fear
יִרָ֙אוּ֙ (yi·rā·’ū)
Verb – Qal – Imperfect – third person masculine plural
Strong’s Hebrew 3372: To fear, to revere, caus, to frighten

the heights
מִגָּבֹ֤הַּ (mig·gā·ḇō·ah)
Preposition-m | Noun – masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 1364: Elevated, powerful, arrogant

and dangers
וְחַתְחַתִּ֣ים (wə·ḥaṯ·ḥat·tîm)
Conjunctive waw | Noun – masculine plural
Strong’s Hebrew 2849: Terror

of the road,
בַּדֶּ֔רֶךְ (bad·de·reḵ)
Preposition-b, Article | Noun – common singular
Strong’s Hebrew 1870: A road, a course of life, mode of action

when the almond tree
הַשָּׁקֵד֙ (haš·šā·qêḏ)
Article | Noun – masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 8247: Almond (tree)

blossoms,
וְיָנֵ֤אץ (wə·yā·nêṣ)
Conjunctive waw | Verb – Hifil – Conjunctive imperfect – third person masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 5006: To spurn, treat with contempt

the grasshopper
הֶֽחָגָ֔ב (he·ḥā·ḡāḇ)
Article | Noun – masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 2284: Locust, grasshopper

loses its spring,
וְיִסְתַּבֵּ֣ל (wə·yis·tab·bêl)
Conjunctive waw | Verb – Hitpael – Conjunctive imperfect – third person masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 5445: To carry, be burdensome, to be gravid

and the caper berry
הָֽאֲבִיּוֹנָ֑ה (hā·’ă·ḇî·yō·w·nāh)
Article | Noun – feminine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 35: Provocative of desire, the caper berry

shrivels—
וְתָפֵ֖ר (wə·ṯā·p̄êr)
Conjunctive waw | Verb – Hifil – Conjunctive imperfect – third person feminine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 6565: To break up, to violate, frustrate

for then
כִּֽי־ (kî-)
Conjunction
Strong’s Hebrew 3588: A relative conjunction

man
הָאָדָם֙ (hā·’ā·ḏām)
Article | Noun – masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 120: Ruddy, a human being

goes
הֹלֵ֤ךְ (hō·lêḵ)
Verb – Qal – Participle – masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 1980: To go, come, walk

to
אֶל־ (’el-)
Preposition
Strong’s Hebrew 413: Near, with, among, to

his eternal
עוֹלָמ֔וֹ (‘ō·w·lā·mōw)
Noun – masculine singular construct | third person masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 5769: Concealed, eternity, frequentatively, always

home,
בֵּ֣ית (bêṯ)
Noun – masculine singular construct
Strong’s Hebrew 1004: A house

and mourners
הַסֹּפְדִֽים׃ (has·sō·p̄ə·ḏîm)
Article | Verb – Qal – Participle – masculine plural
Strong’s Hebrew 5594: To tear the hair and beat the breasts, to lament, to wail

walk
וְסָבְב֥וּ (wə·sā·ḇə·ḇū)
Conjunctive waw | Verb – Qal – Conjunctive perfect – third person common plural
Strong’s Hebrew 5437: To turn about, go around, surround

the streets.
בָשּׁ֖וּק‪‬‪‬‪‬ (ḇaš·šūq)
Preposition-b, Article | Noun – masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 7784: A street

Verse 5. – Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high . There is no “when” in the original, which runs, “Also, or yea, they fear on high.” “They” are old men, or, like the French on , “people” indefinitely; and the clause says that they find difficulty in mounting an ascent, as the Vulgate renders, Excelsa quoque timebant . Shortness of breath, asthmatic tendencies, failure of muscular power, make such an exertion arduous and burdensome, just as in the previous verse a similar cause rendered singing impossible. The description is now arriving at the last stage, and allegorizing the closing scene. The steep ascent is the via dolorosa , the painful process of dying, from which the natural man shrinks; for as the gnome says –

Τοῦ ζῇν γὰρ οὐδεὶς ὡς ὁ γηράσκων ἐρᾷ
“None dotes on life more than the aged man.” The old man is going on the appointed road, and fears shall be in the way ; or, all sorts of fears (plural of intensity) are in the path ; as in his infirm condition he can walk nowhere without danger of meeting with some acc >And the almond tree shall flourish ; or, is in blossom . The old man is thus figured from the observed aspect of this tree. It blossoms in winter upon a leafless stem, and its flowers, at first of a pale pink color, turn to a snowy whiteness as they fall from the branches. The tree thus becomes a fit type of the ar >

“Temporibus geminis canebat sparsa senectus;ETT*>

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Ecclesiastes

King James Version (KJV)

Ecclesiastes 12:5

“Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:”

King James Version (KJV)

Ecclesiastes 12:5 Context

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Other Translations

Also when they shalbe afraid of that which is high, and feares shall bee in the way, and the Almond tree shall flourish, and the grashopper shall be a burden, and desire shall faile: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners goe about the streets:
– King James Version (1611) – View 1611 Bible Scan

Furthermore, men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street.
– New American Standard Version (1995)

yea, they shall be afraid of `that which is’ high, and terrors `shall be’ in the way; and the almond-tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goeth to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets:
– American Standard Version (1901)

And he is in fear of that which is high, and danger is in the road, and the tree is white with flower, and the least thing is a weight, and desire is at an end, because man goes to his last resting-place, and those who are sorrowing are in the streets;
– Basic English Bible

they are also afraid of what is high, and terrors are in the way, and the almond is despised, and the grasshopper is a burden, and the caper-berry is without effect; (for man goeth to his age-long home, and the mourners go about the streets;)
– Darby Bible

Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
– Webster’s Bible

yes, they shall be afraid of heights, and terrors will be in the way; and the almond tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goes to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets:
– World English Bible

Also of that which is high they are afraid, And of the low places in the way, And the almond-tree is despised, And the grasshopper is become a burden, And want is increased, For man is going unto his home age-during, And the mourners have gone round through the street.
– Youngs Literal Bible

Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and terrors shall be in the way; and the almond-tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall drag itself along, and the caperberry shall fail; because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets;
– Jewish Publication Society Bible

Bible commentary

Wesley’s Notes for Ecclesiastes 12:5

12:5 Afraid – The passion of fear is observed to be most incident to old men. High – When they walk abroad they dread to go up high or steep places. Fears – Lest as they are walking, they should stumble, or fall. The almond – tree – Their heads shall be as full of grey hairs, as the almond – tree is of white flowers. The grasshopper – They cannot endure the least burden, being indeed a burden to themselves. Desire – Of meats, and drinks, and music, and other delights, which are vehemently desired by men in their youth. Goeth – is travelling towards it, and every day nearer to it. Long home – From this place of his pilgrimage into the grave, from whence he must never return into this world, and into the state of the future life, which is unchangeable and everlasting. Mourners – Accompany the corpse thro’ the streets to the grave.

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Grasshopper shall be a burden bible verse

Ecclesiastes 12:5 . When they shall be afraid, &c. — The passion of fear is observed to be most inc >Of that which is high — Of high things, lest they should fall upon them; or of high places, as of going up hills or stairs, which is very irksome to them, because of their weakness, weariness, g >And fears shall be in the way — Lest, as they are walking, they should stumble, or fall, or be thrust down, or some infirmity or evil should befall them. And the almond-tree shall flourish — Their heads shall be as full of gray hairs as the almond-tree is of white flowers. And the grasshopper shall be a burden — If it acc >And desire shall fail — Of meats, and drinks, and music, and other delights, which are vehemently desired by men in their youth. Because man goeth — Is travelling toward it, and every day nearer to it. To his long home —

From this place of his pilgrimage into the grave, from whence he must never return into this world, and into the state of the future life, which is unchangeable and everlasting. And mourners go about the streets — Accompany the corpse through the streets to the grave.

Fears . in the way – Compare Proverbs 26:13.

The almond tree – The type of old age. Many modern critics translate “The almond shall be despised,” i. e., pleasant food shall no longer be relished.

The grasshopper – Rather: “the locust.” The clause means, heaviness and stiffness shall take the place of that active motion for which the locust is conspicuous.

Desire – literally, the caper-berry; which, eaten as a provocative to appetite, shall fail to take effect on a man whose powers are exhausted.

Long home – literally, “eternal (see Ecclesiastes 1:4 note) house;” man’s place in the next world. Without attributing to the author of Ecclesiastes that deep insight into the future life which is shown by the writer of the Epistles to the Corinthians, we may observe that He by whom both writers were inspired sanctions in both books (see 2 Corinthians 5:1-6) the use of the same expression “eternal house.” In 2 Corinthians means that spiritual body which shall be hereafter; and it is placed, as it is here (see Ecclesiastes 12:3), in contrast with that earthly dissolving house which clothes the spirit of man in this world.

Mourners – The singing women who attend funerals for hire (see Matthew 9:23).

fears … in the way—Even on the level highway they are full of fears of falling, &c.

almond … flourish—In the East the hair is mostly dark. The white head of the old among the dark-haired is like an almond tree, with its white blossoms, among the dark trees around [Holden]. The almond tree flowers on a leafless stock in winter (answering to old age, in which all the powers are dormant), while the other trees are flowerless. Gesenius takes the Hebrew for flourishes from a different root, casts off; when the old man loses his gray hairs, as the almond tree casts its white flowers.

grasshoppers—the dry, shrivelled, old man, his backbone sticking out, his knees projecting forwards, his arms backwards, his head down, and the apophyses enlarged, is like that insect. Hence arose the fable, that Tithonus in very old age was changed into a grasshopper [Parkhurst]. “The locust raises itself to fly”; the old man about to leave the body is like a locust when it is assuming its winged form, and is about to fly [Maurer].

a burden—namely, to himself.

desire shall fail—satisfaction shall be abolished. For “desire,” Vulgate has “the caper tree,” provocative of lust; not so well.

long home—(Job 16:22; 17:13).

mourners—(Jer 9:17-20), hired for the occasion (Mt 9:23).

They shall be afraid; the passion of fear is observed to be most inc >

Of that which is high; either,

1. Of high things, lest they should fall upon them. Or rather,

2. Of high places, of going up hills or stairs, which is very irksome to them, because of their weakness, and weariness, ar, d g >

Also they shall be afraid and terrified (two words expressing the same thing, which is very frequent in the Hebrew) of that which is high in the way . When they walk abroad, they will dread to go up any high or steep places.

And fears shall be in the way, lest as they are walking, they should stumble, or fall, or be thrust down, or some infirmity or mischief should befall them.

The almond tree shall flourish; their heads shall be as full of grey hairs as the almond tree is of white flowers. Such metaphors are not unusual in other authors. Hence Sophocles calls a grey or hoary head flowery , and again, covered with white flowers .

The grasshopper shall be a burden, if it doth acc >the locust (as the ancient interpreters and many others render it; or, as ours and some others, the grasshopper , which comes to the same thing; for these two sorts of insects are much of the same nature and shape) shall be a burden to itself . And by the locust or grasshopper may be understood, either,

1. The old man himself, who bears some resemblance to it; in shape, by reason of the bones sticking out; in the constitution of the body, which is dry and withering; and in the legs and arms, which are slender, the flesh being consumed. Or,

2. The back, which fitly follows after the head, upon which the almond tree flourished, in which the strength of the body lay, and which formerly was able to bear great burdens, but now, through its weakness and crookedness, is a burden too heavy for itself. And some of the Jewish and other interpreters understand this word, which others render locust or grasshopper , to be some part of the body, either the back-bone , or the head of the thigh bone , or the ankle-bone , any of which may well be sa >Desire , to wit, of meats, and drinks, and music, and other carnal delights, which are vehemently desired by men in the heat of their youth, but are unsavoury to old men; of which see an instance 2 Samuel 19:35 . It is true, the former expressions are metaphorical, but the two next following are proper, and to be understood literally; and so may this clause also.

Man goeth, is travelling towards it, and every day nearer to it than other,

to his long home; from this place of his pilgrimage into the grave, from whence he must never return into this world, and into the state and place of the future life, which is unchangeable and everlasting.

The mourners; either such as were hired to that end, of whom See Poole “Jeremiah 9:17” ; See Poole “Matthew 9:23” , See Poole “Matthew 11:17” , or true mourners, near relations, and dear friends, accompany the dead corpse through the streets to the grave.

and fears shall be in the way; they do not care: to go abroad, being afraid of every little stone that lies in the way, lest they should stumble at it, and fall: some understand this of their fears of spirits, good or bad; but the former sense is best;

and the almond tree shall flourish; which most interpret of the hoary head, which looks like an almond tree in blossom; and which, as it comes soon in the spring, whence it has its name of haste in the Hebrew language; see Jeremiah 1:11; and is a sure sign of its near approach; so gray hairs, or the hoary head, sometimes appear very soon and unexpected, and are a sure indication of the approach of old age; which Cicero (h) calls “aetas praecipitata”,

“age that comes hastily on;”

though the hoary head, like the almond tree, looks very beautiful, and is venerable, especially if found in the way of righteousness, Leviticus 19:32;

and the grasshopper shall be a burden; meaning either, should a grasshopper, which is very light, leap upon an aged person, it would give him pain, the least burden being uneasy to him; or, should he eat one of these creatures, the locusts being a sort of food in Judea, it would not sit well, on his stomach: or the grasshopper, being a crumpled and lean creature, may describe an old man; his legs and arms emaciated, and his shoulders, back, and lips, crumpled up and bunching out; and the locust of this name has a bunch on its backbone, like a camel (i): Bochart (k) says, that the head of the thigh, or the hip bone, by the Arabians, is called “chagaba”, the word here used for a locust or grasshopper; which part of the body is of principal use in walking, and found very troublesome and difficult to move in old men; and Aben Ezra interprets it of the thigh: the almond tree, by the Rabbins, as Jarchi says, is interpreted of the hip bone, which stands out in old age: and the Targum, of this and the preceding clause, is,

“and the top of thy backbone shall bunch out, through leanness, like the almond; and the ankles of thy feet shall be swelled.”

Some, as Ben Melech observes, understand it of the genital member, and of coitus, slighted and rejected, because of the weakness of the body; all desires of that kind being gone, as follows;

and desire shall fail; the appetite, for food, for bodily pleasures, and carnal delights; and particularly for venery, all the parts of the body for such uses being weakened, The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it, “the caper tree shall be dissipated”, or “vanish”, or “its fruit shall shrink”; so Dr. Smith, who understands it of the decrease of the fluids, as he does the former clause of the solid parts of the body; and the berries of this tree are said to excite both appetite and lust (l): and so Munster (m) interprets the word of the berries of the caper tree;

because man goeth to his long home; the grave, as the Targum, the house appointed for living, where he must lie till the resurrection morn; his eternal house, as Cicero calls it (n); and so it may be rendered here, “the house of the world”, common to all the world, where all mankind go: or, “to the house of his world” (o); whether of bliss or woe, according as his state and character be, good or bad: Theognis (p) calls it the dark house of “hades”, or the invisible state; and then this must be understood with respect to his separate soul, and the mansion of it; and Alshech says, every righteous man has a mansion to himself; see John 14:2;

and the mourners go about the streets; the relations of the deceased; or those that go to their houses to comfort them; or the mourning men and women, hired for that purpose.

(h) Fam. Epist. l. 11. Ephesians 58. (i) R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 83. 1.((k) Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 4. c. 8. col. 494. (l) Avicenna spud Schindler. Lexic. Colossians 10. (m) Dictionar. Chaldaic. p. 13. (n) Tusculan. Quaest. l. 2. prope finem. (o) “ad domum seculi sui”, Pagninus. Montanus, Vatablus, Mercerus. (p) v. 1008. v >Geneva Study Bible

(k) To climb high because of their weakness, or they stoop down as though they were afraid lest anything should hide them.

(l) They will tremble as they go, as though they were afraid.

(m) Their head will be as white as the blossoms of an almond tree.

(n) They will be able to bear nothing.

5 . also when they shall be afraid of that which is high ] The description becomes more and more enigmatic, possibly, as some have thought, because the special forms of infirmity referred to called for a veil. The first clause, however, is fairly clear if we omit the interpolated “ when .” They (the indefinite plural, with the force of the French on ) shall be afraid of a height, or hill. The new form of the sentence, the opening words also, indicate that the picture of the storm has been completed, and that symbolism of another kind comes in. We see, as it were, another sl >

“Multa senem circumveniunt incommoda; vel quòd

Quærit et inventis miser abstinet, ac timet uti,

Vel quòd res omnes tim >

“Many the troubles that attend the old;

For either still he sets his mind on gains

And dares not touch, and fears to use his gains,

Or deals with all things as with chill of fear.”

Horace, Ep. ad Pis. 169–71.

So Aristotle among the characteristics of age notes that the old are δειλοὶ καὶ πάντα προφοβητικοὶ (tim >Rhet . ii. 23). The interpreters who carry the >i.e. of the gathering storm-clouds, but for the reasons above given, that interpretation seems untenable.

and the almond tree shall flourish ] The true meaning is to be found, it is believed, in the significance of the Hebrew name for almond tree ( Sheked = the early waking tree, comp. Jeremiah 1:11), and the enigmatic phrase describes the insomnia which often attends old age. The tree that flourishes there is the tree of Vigilantia or Wakefulness. As might be expected, the discordant interpretations of commentators multiply, and we may record, but only in order to reject them, the more notable of these. (1) The almond blossoms represent the white hairs of age. Those blossoms are, however, pink and not white, and few persons would find a likeness in the two objects thus compared. (2) The verb rendered “shall flourish” has been derived from a root with the meaning “to loathe—scorn—reject,” and the sentence has been explained either (2) he (the old man) loathes the almond, i.e. has no taste for dainties, or (3) turns away from the almond tree, i.e. has no welcome for the messenger of spring, or (4), with the same sense as (2), “the almond causes loathing.” Anatomical expositors strain their fancies to find in the almond that which answers to (5) the thigh bone, or (6) the vertebral column, or some other part of the body which age affects with weakness. Into the discussion what part best answers to the almond we need not follow them.

and the grasshopper shall be a burden ] The word translated “grasshopper” is one of the many terms used, as in 2 Chronicles 7:13, for insects of the locust >autochthones , “sprung from the soil.” Such an ornament is to the old man more than he cares to carry, and becomes another symbol of his incapacity to support the least physical or mental burden. As before we note a w >Hist. Anim . v. 30) names them as a delicacy, and the Arabs are sa >pelvis which becomes sharp and prominent in age, (3) for the stomach which swells with dropsy, (4) for the ankles swelling from the same cause, and so on through various other members.

and desire shall fail ] The word translated “desire” is not found elsewhere in the Old Testament, and this rendering rests on a somewhat doubtful etymology. The LXX. version, which may be admitted as shewing in what sense the word was taken at a very early date, and with which the Rabbinic use of the word agrees, gives κάππαρις , which the Vulgate reproduces in capparis , i.e. the caper or Capparis spinosa of botanists. It is in favour of this rendering that it preserves the enigmatic symbolism of the two previous clauses, while “desire” simply gives an abstract unfigurative term, out of harmony with the context. Possibly indeed the name was given to the plant as indicating its qualities as a restorative and stimulant (Plutarch, Sympos .; Athenæus, Deipnos , ix. p. 405). The pickled capers of modern cookery are the buds of the shrub, but the berries and leaves are reputed to possess the same virtues. Hence one of the Epicures in Athenæus ( Deipnos . ix. p. 370) takes Νὴ τὸν κάππαριν (By the caper!) as a favourite oath, just as a modern gourmet might swear by some favourite sauce. So understood the meaning of the passage seems fairly clear. The caper-berry shall fall , i.e. shall no longer rouse the flagging appetite of age. There shall be a longa oblivio of what the man had most delighted in. It would seem indeed from the account of the capparis given by Pliny ( Hist. Nat. xx. 59) that its medicinal virtues were of a very varied character. It was a remedy for paralysis and diseases of the k >Ideal Biography in the Introduction , ch. iii. So understood the Debater speaks with a scorn like that of Eurip >Suppl . 1060) of the attempts of the old to revive their flagging desires and avert the approach of death.

μισῶ δ ʼ ὅσοι χρῄζουσιν ἐκτείνειν βίον

λουτροῖσι , καὶ στρωμναῖσι καὶ μαγέυμασιν .

“I hate them, those who seek to lengthen life

With baths, and pillows, and quack-doctor’s drugs.”

Substantially most commentators agree in this meaning. The anatomical school, however, >

because man goeth to his long home ] Literally, to the house of his eternity, i.e. to his eternal home. The description of the decay of age is followed by that of death as the close of all, and for a time, perhaps to link together the two symbolical descriptions, the language of figurative imagery is dropped. The “eternal home” is, of course, the grave (the phrase is stated by Ginsburg to be in common use among modern Jews), or more probably, Sheol , or Hades, the dwelling-place of the dead. In Tob 3:6, “the everlasting place” seems used of the felicity of Paradise, and it is, at least, obvious that the thought of immortality, though not prominent, is not excluded here. The term Domus æterna appears often on the tombs of Rome in Christian as well as non-Christian inscriptions, probably as equivalent to the “everlasting habitations” of Luke 16:9, and in these cases it clearly connotes more than an “eternal sleep.” An interesting parallel is found in the Assyrian legend of Ishtar, in which Hades is described as the “House of Eternity,” the “House men enter, but cannot depart from; the Road men go to, but cannot return” ( Records of the Past , i. 143).

the mourners go about the streets ] Literally, in the singular, the street or market-place. The words bring before us the most prominent feature of Eastern funerals. The burial-place was always outs >Rabbin. Blumenlese , pp. 256, 257) examples such as the following, “The palms wave their heads for the just man who was like a palm”—“If the fire falls upon the cedar what shall the hyssop on the wall do?” It is obvious that such elegies would often take the form of a figurative description of death, and that which follows in the next verse may well have been an echo from some such elegy.

Verse 5. – Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high . There is no “when” in the original, which runs, “Also, or yea, they fear on high.” “They” are old men, or, like the French on , “people” indefinitely; and the clause says that they find difficulty in mounting an ascent, as the Vulgate renders, Excelsa quoque timebant . Shortness of breath, asthmatic tendencies, failure of muscular power, make such an exertion arduous and burdensome, just as in the previous verse a similar cause rendered singing impossible. The description is now arriving at the last stage, and allegorizing the closing scene. The steep ascent is the via dolorosa , the painful process of dying, from which the natural man shrinks; for as the gnome says –

Τοῦ ζῇν γὰρ οὐδεὶς ὡς ὁ γηράσκων ἐρᾷ
“None dotes on life more than the aged man.” The old man is going on the appointed road, and fears shall be in the way ; or, all sorts of fears (plural of intensity) are in the path ; as in his infirm condition he can walk nowhere without danger of meeting with some acc >And the almond tree shall flourish ; or, is in blossom . The old man is thus figured from the observed aspect of this tree. It blossoms in winter upon a leafless stem, and its flowers, at first of a pale pink color, turn to a snowy whiteness as they fall from the branches. The tree thus becomes a fit type of the ar >

“Temporibus geminis canebat sparsa senectus;ETT*>

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