A selicho in Nusach Ashkenaz for 10th Teves starts אזכרא מצוק אשר קראני

and contains a phrase, "לו חץ בְלִבִי יָרִיתִי" - - "would that I could shoot an arrow through my heart."

This seems an unusual phrase. I see it as qualitatively different from Iyob 3 (2) bewailing his birth "Would the day in which I was to be born be lost” where he does not actively contemplate death.

Are there other examples of Jewish texts (not necessarily Biblical) where the author describes how he wishes to actively arrange his own demise?

  • would 1 Samuel 31:4 count?
    – rosends
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 14:02
  • @Danno Good find. This shows someone committing suicide without the description previous to the act, unless we can construe the remarks to the weapon-bearer as implying suicide if he doesn't cooperate. Let's see what others say. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 14:06
  • I saw it as setting up his own murder which didn't pan out so he resorted to suicide.
    – rosends
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 14:29
  • @Danno Right. So let's see what others say. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 15:03
  • Can an argument be made for Judges 16:26 and forward?
    – rosends
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


Yona 4, 3:

ועתה יהוה, קח-נא את-נפשי ממני; כי טוב מותי מחיי: ‏

Therefore now, O Lord, take, I pray you, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

Genesis 27, 46 (here the whish is conditional):

וַתֹּ֤אמֶר רִבְקָה֙ אֶל־יִצְחָ֔ק קַ֣צְתִּי בְחַיַּ֔י מִפְּנֵ֖י בְּנ֣וֹת חֵ֑ת אִם־לֹקֵ֣חַ יַ֠עֲקֹ֠ב אִשָּׁ֨ה מִבְּנֽוֹת־חֵ֤ת כָּאֵ֙לֶּה֙ מִבְּנ֣וֹת הָאָ֔רֶץ לָ֥מָּה לִּ֖י חַיִּֽים׃

And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these who are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life be to me?

Genesis 30, 1 (according to Ramban "ואם אין שתמית עצמה בצער" , there is suicidal thinking):

וַתֵּ֣רֶא רָחֵ֗ל כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יָֽלְדָה֙ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב וַתְּקַנֵּ֥א רָחֵ֖ל בַּאֲחֹתָ֑הּ וַתֹּ֤אמֶר אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹב֙ הָֽבָה־לִּ֣י בָנִ֔ים וְאִם־אַ֖יִן מֵתָ֥ה אָנֹֽכִי׃

And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said to Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.


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