The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people. –Lamentations 4:10
This verse caught my eye today. I want to figure out what it means. The book of Lamentations is about the punishment of Israel because of sin. Obviously it wasn't just the men that were sinning, the women played a part in it too. But what does this verse mean. I’m quite sure they weren't eating their children.
If I replace some of the words with the definitions in the notations it might make more sense. “The hands of the compassionate women have boiled their own children: they were their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people. “
That doesn't help.
Let’s check out some of the cross-references.
Behold, O Lord, and consider to whom thou hast done this. Shall the women eat their fruit, and children of a span long? Shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord? -Lamentations 2:20
No! They’re not eating their children, I just know it.
The word meat is used throughout the bible for nourishment. A woman can be nourished by her children in ways other than actually eating them. That sounds like a good thing. But think of all the women who have a baby because they want to be loved. What happens to that baby when it grows up?
And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straightness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates. -Deuteronomy 28:57
During a time of trouble she is wanting of things, secretly. I know I've been there before, in many ways I’m there right now. In our society women are taught to put their children first in everything. Most times even ahead of their husbands. It is makes sense that the woman would look to her children to be fulfilled. A child is not meant to fill our needs, God is. We are meant to fill our child’s needs, but not to make them sodden.
Dictionary.com defines sodden as
1. Soaked with liquid or moisture; saturated.
2. Heavy, lumpy, or soggy, as food that is poorly cooked.
3. Having a soaked appearance.
4. Bloated, as the face.
5. Expressionless, dull, or stupid, especially from drunkenness.
6. Lacking spirit or alertness; inert; torpid; listless.
7. Archaic, boiled.
I've seen children who are soaked in everything, with everything they need handed to them. They often do look expressionless and dull. What do they have to strive for? I’m sure that raising children like that can lead to the fall of a nation.
So it is possible that this verse is about cannibalism, but in so many ways it applies to our lives today.