490. Sitting on the Ground

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Isaiah 3:2626And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground. (Isaiah 3:26). Her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.
Sitting on the ground was a posture which denoted deep distress. When Job’s friends came to sympathize with him, “they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great” (Job 2:1313So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great. (Job 2:13)). When the Jews were in captivity, it is said, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion” (Psa. 137:11By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. (Psalm 137:1)). Jeremiah also alludes to the same custom in Lamentations 2:10; 3:2810The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground. (Lamentations 2:10)
28He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. (Lamentations 3:28)
. The same idea is represented in a more intensified form in the expressions, “wallow thyself in ashes” (Jer. 6:2626O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us. (Jeremiah 6:26)) and “roll thyself in the dust” (Mic. 1:1010Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust. (Micah 1:10)).
Most of the Roman coins which were struck in commemoration of the capture of Jerusalem have on one side the figure of a woman sitting on the ground, usually, though not in every instance, under the shade of a palm tree. The figure is generally represented with one hand to the head, which rests upon it inclining forward, and the other hanging over the knee, thus presenting a picture of great grief. In one instance, however, the hands are tied behind the back. These coins were issued during the reigns of Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian, some of them being struck in Judea, and come in Rome. They are of gold, silver, and brass, and give an apt illustration of the custom referred to in the text. Representations and descriptions of all these coins may be found in Madden's History of Jewish Coinage, etc., chap. 8.