1 tc The MT reads אֲעִידֵךְ (’a’idekh), Hiphil imperfect 1st person common singular + 2fs suffix from עָדָה (’adah, “to testify”): “[How] can I testify for you?” However, Latin Vulgate comparabo te reflects the reading אֶעֱרָךְ (’e’erakh), Qal imperfect 1st person common singular from עָרַךְ (’arakh, “to liken”): “[To what] can I liken [you]?” The verb עָרַךְ (’arakh) normally means “to lay out, set in rows; to get ready, set in order; to line up for battle, set battle formation,” but it also may denote “to compare (as a result of arranging in order), to make equal” (e.g., Pss 40:6; 89:6 [HT 7]; Job 28:17, 19; Isa 40:18; 44:7). The BHS editors suggest the emendation which involves simple orthographic confusion between ר (resh) and ד (dalet), and deletion of י (yod) that the MT added to make sense of the form. The variant is favored based on internal evidence: (1) it is the more difficult reading because the meaning “to compare” for עָרַךְ (’arakh) is less common than עָדָה (’adah, “to testify”), (2) it recovers a tight parallelism between עָרַךְ (’arakh, “to liken”) and דָּמָה (damah, “to compare”) (e.g., Ps 89:6 [HT 7]; Isa 40:18), and (3) the MT reading: “How can I testify for you?” makes little sense in the context. Nevertheless, most English versions hold to the MT reading: KJV, RSV, NRSV, NASB, NIV, TEV, CEV. This textual emendation was first proposed by J. Meinhold, “Threni 2,13,” ZAW 15 (1895): 286.
2 tc The MT reads מָה אַשְׁוֶה־לָּךְ וַאֲנַחֲמֵךְ (mah ’ashveh-lakh va’anakhamekh, “To what can I compare you so that I might comfort you?”). The LXX reflects a Vorlage of מִי יוֹשִׁיעַ לָךְ וְנִחַמְךָ (mi yoshia’ lakh vÿnikhamÿkha, “Who will save you so that he might comfort you?”). This textual variant reflects several cases of orthographic confusion between similarly spelled words. The MT best explains the origin of the LXX textual variants. Internal evidence of contextual congruence favors the MT as the original reading.
3 tn The ו (vav) prefixed to וַאֲנַחֲמֵךְ (va’anakhamekh, “I might comfort you”) denotes purpose: “so that….”
4 tn Heb “as great as the sea.”
5 tc The MT reads כָּיָּם (kayyam, “as the sea”), while the LXX reflects a Vorlage of כּוֹס (kos, “a cup”). The textual variant is probably due to simple orthographic confusion between letters of similar appearance. The idiomatic expression favors the MT.
6 sn The rhetorical question implies a denial: “No one can heal you!” The following verses, 14-17, present four potential healers – prophets, passersby, enemies, and God.