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Put Thou My Tears Into Thy Bottle

It is true that the Roman emperors collected their tears in these beautiful Roman glass vases. Seal them with wax and delivered them to the grieving loved ones. Collecting tears in a cup was a practice common to the entire Mediterranean area and certainly not limited to the Caesars. However to have the tears of Caesar was a special honor.  Roman glass provided a beautiful and delicate vessel for fragrant oils and perfumes and for the collecting of tears. 

Long before the founding of Rome in 753 BC there were tear cups, sometimes they were referred to as tear bottles or vases but they shared a common tradition, they were used to collect the tears of the mourners at the death of the loved ones. The tear shaped cups had a flaring rim which was placed under the eye to catch the tears as they were shed.  The cup was then corked or waxed and stored as a reminder of the life of the one who passed away.  The shedding of tears was a significant part of showing grief.  Professional mourners were hired at funerals. Jeremiah 9:17-22, Amos 5:16, in the Mishnah, Rabbi Judah ruled that “even the poorest in Israel should hire not less than two flutes and not one waiting woman".  

King David was inspired to prophesy about the coming Messiah and many of the Psalms.  One of the most touching references to the Saviors supernal atonement and his suffering for the sins of the world was recorded in these words put though my tears into thy bottle Psalms 56:8. The moving and tender request that Heavenly Father not forget the tears of the Savior is consistent with Jesus acting as the great advocate for mankind in the Garden of Gethsemane.

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