Vale of tears

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The phrase vale of tears (Latin vallis lacrimarum) is a Christian phrase referring to the tribulations of life that Christian doctrine says are left behind only when one leaves the world and enters Heaven. The term "valley of tears" is also used sometimes.

The phrase appears in some translations of Psalm 84:6, which describes those strengthened by God's blessing: even in the valley of tears (Hebrew: עֵמֶק הַבָּכָא‎) they find life-giving water. The Latin Vulgate (4th century) uses the phrase "valle lacrimum" in Psalm 84:7 (the equivalent of Psalm 84:6 in English translations). Wycliffe's Bible (1395) reads "valei of teeris," and the Bishop's Bible (1568) reads "vale of teares." The King James Version (1611), however, reads "valley of Baca," and the Psalter in the Book of Common Prayer (1662) follows the Coverdale Bible (1535) and reads "vale of misery."

The phrase also occurs in the writings of Jerome (c. 347–420)[1] and Boniface (c. 675–754),[2] but was perhaps popularized by the hymn "Salve Regina", which at the end of the first stanza mentions "gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle", or "mourning and weeping in this valley of tears". The phrase also appears in "Be still, my soul" (1855), the English translation of the German Lutheran hymn.[3]

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  1. ^ Jerome, In Hieremiam prophetam libri vi 5 (CSEL 59, p. 299, line 17); Tractatus lix in psalmos 83 (CCSL 78, line 132); Tractatus lix in psalmos 136 (CCSL 78, line 7)
  2. ^ Boniface and Lull, Epistolae 112, 129
  3. ^ "Be Still, My Soul". Cyberhymnal. Retrieved 2012-06-24.