Thus saith the Lord of hosts, consider ye
The punishment that was just coming upon them, as Kimchi; or the words that the Lord was about to say unto them; as follows: and call for the mourning women, that they may come;
the same with the "praeficae" among the Romans; persons that were sent for, and hired by, the relations of the dead, to raise up their mourning; and who, by their dishevelled hair, naked breasts, and beatings thereon, and mournful voice, and what they said in their doleful ditties in praise of the dead, greatly moved upon the affections of the surviving relatives, and produced tears from them. This was a custom that early prevailed among the Jews, and long continued with them; and was so common, that, according to the Misnic doctors F3, the poorest man in Israel, when his wife died, never had less than two pipes, and one mourning woman; (See Gill on Matthew 9:23). Now, in order to show what a calamity was coming on them, and what mourning there would be, and what occasion for it; the Lord by the prophet, not as approving, but deriding the practice, bids them call for the mourning women to assist them in their lamentations: and send for cunning women, that they may come;
such as were expert in this business, and could mimic mourning well, and had the art of moving the affections with their voice and gestures.
F3 Miss. Cetubot, c. 4. sect. 4.