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LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH.
THE Lamentations of Jeremiah are very properly distributed into five chapters, each of them containing a
distinct elegy, consisting of twenty-two periods, according to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
They were not composed till after the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, and the depopulation of the country by the transmigration of all its inhabitants; which events are described not at all in the style of prophetick predictions, but alluded to and bewailed as what had been already fully accomplished and brought to pass. We cannot admire too much the full and graceful flow of pathetick eloquence, in which the author pours forth the effusions of a patriotick heart, and piously weeps over the ruins of his venerable country. Never was there a more rich and elegant variety of beautiful images ranged together within so small a compass, nor more happily chosen and applied. But it was before observed, that the Prophet's peculiar talent lay in working up and expressing the passions of grief and pity; and unhappily for him, as a man and a citizen, he met with a subject
but too well calculated to give his genius its full display. Dr. Blayney. Perhaps the most perfect and regular elegiack composition in the world, is the Lamentations of Jeremiah ; as the
Prophet mourns in this book over the destruction of the temple and the holy city, and the overthrow of the whole state, he assembles all the affecting images which a subject so melancholy could suggest. The com. position is uncommonly artificial. By turns, the Prophet and the city Jerusalem are introduced, as pouring forth their sorrows; and, in the end, a chorus of the people send up the most earnest and plaintive supplications to God. The lines of the original, as may in part appear from our translation, are longer than is usual in other kinds of Hebrew poetry; and the melody is rendered thereby more flowing, and better adapted to the querimonious strain of elegy. Dr. Blair.
Before CHRIST about 588.
comfort her : all her friends have dealt Before CHAP. I.
treacherously with her, they are be- about 588. 1 The miserable estate of Jerusalem by reason come her enemies.
of her sin. 12 She complaineth of her 3 Judah is gone into captivity be-
cause of affliction, and + because of + Heb. for the be righteous.
great servitude: she dwelleth among sertilude. LT OW doth the city sit solitary, the heathen, she findeth no rest: all 11 that was full of people ! how is her persecutors overtook her between she become as a widow ! she that the straits. was great among the nations, and 4 The ways of Zion do mourn, beprincess among the provinces, how is cause none come to the solemn feasts : she become tributary!
all her gates are desolate: her priests 2 She a weepeth sore in the night, sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she and her tears are on her cheeks : l is in bitterness. among all her lovers she hath none to 5 Her adversaries care the chief, izpes.
Chap. I. ver. 1.—she that was great among the nations, Ps. cxxxvii. 7; Ezek. xxv. 3, 6, 8, 12, 15; xxvi. 2; &c.] See what is said of David's conquests and sove- xxviii. 24 ; xxix. 6, 7; Obad. ver. 10–14. Dr. Blayney. reignty over the neighbouring states, 2 Sam. viii. 1-1 3. Judah is gone into captivity &c.] Many Jews, to 14; x. 6—19; of the extent of his son Solomon's do- avoid the miserable servitude of the Chaldeans, hare minions, 1 Kings iv. 21, 24; of the power of Judah in betaken themselves to a voluntary transmigration to the reign of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. xvii. 10, 11; and other nations, hoping there to find rest; but even there also in that of Uzziah, 2 Chron. xxvi. 6—8. Dr. have these Babylonian persecutors overtaken them, so Blayney.
that they are surprised in those straits, which could no 2. — all her lovers &c.] Those, that courted her alli- way be avoided. * Bp. Hall. ance in the time of her prosperity, not only universally 5. Her adversaries are the chief,] They have got the failed and deserted her in the time of need, but most of advantage over her, and she is become their vassal: and them turned against her, and took a malignant pleasure thus the judgment, that Moses threatened the Jews in aggravating her misfortunes. See Jer. xlviii. 27; upon their disobedience, is fulfilled, Deut. xxviii. 43, 44,
d Jer. 52. 28.
press of the
& 14. 17.
The miserable estate of Jerusalem. CHAP. I.
She complaineth of her grief. Before her enemies prosper; for the LORD | against them: he hath spread a net Before about 588. hath afflicted her for the multitude of for my feet, he hath turned me back: about 588.
28. her transgressions: her d children are he hath made me desolate and faint
6 And from the daughter of Zion 14 The yoke of my transgressions
fall, the Lord hath delivered me into 7 Jerusalem remembered in the their hands, from whom I am not able days of her affliction and of her to rise up. miseries all her || pleasant things that 15 The Lord hath trodden under she had in the days of old, when her foot all my mighty men in the midst people fell into the hand of the of me: he hath called an assembly enemy, and none did help her: the against me to crush my young men : adversaries saw her, and did mock at the Lord hath trodden || the virgin, 1. Or, the wine her sabbaths.
the daughter of Judah, as in a wine- virgin, &c. 8 Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; | press. Heb. is therefore she + is removed : all that 16 For these things I weep; f mine f Jer. 13. 17. removing, or, honoured her despise her, because eye, mine eye runneth down with ch. 2. 18.
they have seen her nakedness: yea, water, because the comforter that
9 Her filthiness is in her skirts; me: my children are desolate, be-
Jacob, that his adversaries should be 10 The adversary hath spread out round about him: Jerusalem is as a 101,11 his hand upon all her l pleasant menstruous woman among them.
things: for she hath seen that the 18 | The LORD is 8 righteous; for g Dan. 9. 7.
heathen entered into her sanctuary, I have rebelled against his † come Deut. 23. 3. whom thou didst command that e they mandment: hear, I pray you, all peo
should not enter into thy congrega-ple, and behold my sorrow: my vir-
gins and my young men are gone
bread; they have given their pleasant 19 I called for my lovers, but they !.0r, to make things for meat || to relieve the soul : deceived me: my priests and mine come again. see, O Lord, and consider; for I am elders gave up the ghost in the city, become vile.
while they sought their meat to re-
there be any sorrow like unto my sor- | distress : my h bowels are troubled; }
the sword bereaveth, at home there is
Or, It is nothing.
“ That their enemies should be the head, and they has ordered her to be exposed to shame, like a common should be the tail. W. Lowth.
harlot: see note on Jer. xiii. 22. W. Lowth. 7.- did mock at her sabbaths.] The heathen writers 9. Her filthiness is in her skirts;] The Prophet procommonly ridicule the Jewish sabbaths, as a mark of ceeds in comparing the Jewish people to a woman, the sloth and idleness of the people; without consider-whose filthiness is exposed to the publick view. But, ing the excellent uses that day was designed for, namely, | as he continues, notwithstanding such degrees of sin, to give men leisure to attend upon the service of God, they would not believe or consider what would be the and learn the duties of religion. W. Lowth.
end of their wickedness. Poole. 8. — because they have seen her nakedness:7 She is 13. From above hath he sent fire into my bones,] That stripped of all her ornaments, and carried naked and is, a judgment as consuming as fire in the bones, so bare into captivity. As she has defiled herself with that the strength of the Jews was exhausted. Poole. idolatry, called spiritual adultery in Scripture; so God | 15. — trodden - as in a winepress.] God's vengeance
the misery of Jerusalem. Before there is none to comfort me: all mine were pleasant to the eye in the taber- Before about 583. enemies have heard of my trouble ; nacle of the daughter of Zion: he about 588.
they are glad that thou hast done it ; poured out his fury like fire.
swallowed up all her palaces: he hath
away his || tabernacle, as if it were of Isai. 5.5.
a garden : he hath destroyed his places | Or, hedge. CHAP. II.
of the assembly: the LORD hath 1 Jeremiah lamenteth the misery of Jerusalem. caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths 20 He complaineth thereof to God.
to be forgotten in Zion, and hath H OW hath the Lord covered the despised in the indignation of his 11 daughter of Zion with a cloud anger the king and the priest. in his anger, and cast down from 7 The Lord hath cast off his altar, heaven unto the earth the beauty he hath abhorred his sanctuary, he of Israel, and remembered not his hath † given up into the hand of the + Heb, ikut footstool in the day of his anger! enemy the walls of her palaces; they “P
2 The Lord hath swallowed up all have made a noise in the house of the the habitations of Jacob, and hath not LORD, as in the day of a solemn pitied: he hath thrown down in his feast.
wrath the strong holds of the daugh- 8 The Lord hath purposed to + Heb. made ter of Judah; he hath + brought them destroy the wall of the daughter of
down to the ground : he hath pol- Zion : he hath stretched out a line,
+ destroying: therefore he made the + Heb.
are among the Gentiles: the law is 4 He hath bent his bow like an no more ; her prophets also find no 5 Ps. 74. 9. + Heb. all enemy: he stood with his right hand vision from the LORD. of the eye. as an adversary, and slew f all that 10 The elders of the daughter of
is often thus compared in the prophetical writings. See gress of the enemy; just as God says, Jer. xxi. 4, that Isai. Ixiii. 3; Rev. xiv. 19, 20; xix. 15. W. Lowth. He would turn aside the weapons of war, which were in
21. — thou wilt bring the day that thou hast called, &c.] the hands of the Jews, so as to prevent their hindering The day, when Thou wilt execute Thy judgments upon the Chaldean army from entering the city. Dr. Blaythe Babylonians, and other nations hostile to the Jews, ney. will certainly come at Thy appointed time. W. Lowth, 6. — his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden :] As if Poole.
| it were no better than a tent or cottage, set up in a The destruction of Jerusalem affords us a melancholy garden or vineyard, whilst the fruit is gathering, and and alarming instance of Divine justice. The severity then to be taken away again. Compare Isai. i. 8. W. of this justice appears, not only in the city's being taken, | Lowth. and the people exposed to the fury of their enemies, and 7. — they have made a noise &c.] The enemies tricarried into captivity; but more especially in the burn- umphed in the desolation of the temple with as loud a ing of the temple, and the suppression of the Divine noise, as the people were wont to make there in celeservice. After such an example as this, no one can brating the praises of God on a solemn festival. Comdoubt but that God will severely revenge the contempt pare Ps. lxxiv. 4. Dr. Blayney. which men offer to His covenant, His worship, and the 8. — he hath stretched out a line,) To mark out the invitations of His mercy. Ostervald.
extent of what was to be pulled down. Dr. Blayney.
See the note on Isai. xxxiv. 11; also on Jer. xlvü. 6. Chap. II. ver. 1. - remembered not his footstool] See 9. - the law is no more ;) The priests and Levites, note at i Chron. xxviii. 2.
whose office it is to instruct the people in the law, are 3. — he hath drawn back his right hand from before the dispersed among the heathen; and that part of the law, enemy,] That is, the right hand of Israel himself, his which regards the publick worship of God, is rendered exertions of strength being rendered ineffectual by God, impracticable by the temple's being destroyed. W. or turned away from obstructing or opposing the pro- | Lowth.
Deut. 28. 15.
ch. 1. 16.
CHA P. II.
thereof to God. efore Zion sit upon the ground, and keep 16 All thine enemies have opened Before about 558. silence: they have cast up dust upon their mouth against thee: they hiss about 588
their heads; they have girded them- and gnash the teeth : they say, We
| found, we have seen it.
the daughter of my people; because days of old: he hath thrown down, | Or, faint. the children and the sucklings |swoon and hath not pitied: and he hath in the streets of the city.
caused thine enemy to rejoice over
13 What thing shall I take to wit- night: give thyself no rest; let not
like the sea: who can heal thee? toward him for the life of thy young
2:14. 14 Thy prophets have seen vain children, that faint for hunger in the 14. & 23. 16. and foolish things for thee: and they top of every street.
have not discovered thine iniquity, to 20 | Behold, O LORD, and con-
children || of a span long ? shall the | Or, + Heb. by the 15 All that pass * by clap their priest and the prophet be slain in the with their
hands at thee; they hiss and wag sanctuary of the LORD?
lem, saying, Is this the city that men the ground in the streets : my virgins d Ps.48. 2. call a The perfection of beauty, The and my young men are fallen by the joy of the whole earth ?
sword; thou hast slain them in the day
11. — my liver is poured upon the earth,] Compare severely punished us, so that in His dispensation there Job xvi. 13. Dr. Blayney.
appear no marks of pity: He hath set up our enemies, 13. What thing shall I take to witness for thee] With and made them to triumph over His people, but in all this what example of like misery shall I go about to comfort He hath but justified His truth, and fulfilled His word. thee? Bp. Hall.
Poole. The word “command” is sometimes used for - thy breach is great like the sea :) Like the break- any part of the covenant which God had engaged Himing in of the sea, that overflows a whole country, where self to perform. See Ps. cv. 8; cxi. 9. W. Lowth. no stop can be put to the inundation. W. Lowth.
18.- O wall of the daughter of Zion, &c.] As the 14. — they have not discovered thine iniquity, &c.] They wall and ramparts are said to lament, ver. 8, because have not given the people a just sense of their iniquities, their ruins are objects of lamentation; so here devout in order to avert God's judgment; but rather flatter | persons, upon the destruction of the city, direct their thern in their sins, with the hope of impunity. See prayers to God, as if the ruins themselves did entreat Jer. v. 31; xiv. 14. W. Lowth.
Him to have compassion on the miseries of that place, - false burdenst The Hebrew word is usually which He had chosen for His peculiar residence. W. translated “burden,” and generally signifies a burden- | Lowth. some prophecy : see the note on Jer. xxiii. 33. But it 19. — in the top of every street.] The same phrase likewise imports prophecy in general : see Prov. xxx. 1 ; | occurs, chap. iv. 1; Isai. li. 20; Nahum iii. 10; and xxxi. 1: and so it is used here; for Jeremiah complains , perhaps signifies “in every street;" (W. Lowth ;) or of those impostors, who prophesied of peace, and soothed at the extremity of the streets at either end. Dr. Blaymen in their sins to their final destruction. W. Louth. ney.
15. All that pass by clap their hands at thee ;] See | 20. — Shall the women eat their fruit, &c.] We find note at Job xxvii. 23.
| by comparing this verse with chap. iv. 10, that God 17.- he hath fulfilled his word that he hath command- / brought upon them that terrible judgment, which He ed] God hath not surprised us by these providences ; | had denounced against them, if they continued to proHe gave us notice what He would do, and hath done voke Him; namely, that they should “eat the flesh of no more than what He threatened long since, Lev. xxvi. | their own sons and daughters," Lev. xxvi. 29; Deut. 16, &c.; Deut. xxviii. 15, &c. It is true He hath / xxviii, 53; Jer. xix. 9. W. Lowth.
Before CHRIST about 588.
CHRIST about 588.
me in the ashes.
The faithful bewail their calamities. LAMENTATIONS.
God's mercies a proper se of thine anger; thou hast killed, and 12 He bath bent his bow, and set Before
me as a mark for the arrow. 22 Thou hast called as in a solemn 13 He hath caused the + arrows of day my terrours round about, so that his quiver to enter into my reins. in the day of the Lord's anger none 14 I was a a derision to all my peo- a Jer. 20.7. escaped nor remained: those that I ple; and their song all the day. have swaddled and brought up hath 15 He hath filled me with † bitter- + Heb. mine enemy consumed.
ness, he hath made me drunken with
wormwood. CHAP. III.
16 He hath also broken my teeth
2 He hath led me, and brought me 19 || Remembering mine affliction | Or,
3 Surely against me is he turned; the gall.
membrance, and is + humbled in me. + Heb. bowed. 4 My flesh and my skin hath he 21 This I + recall to my mind, † Heb. make made old; he hath broken my bones. therefore have I hope.
5 He hath builded against me, and 22 | It is of the Lord's mercies compassed me with gall and travel. that we are not consumed, because
6 He hath set me in dark places, his compassions fail not. as they that be dead of old.
23 They are new every morning :
my soul; therefore will I hope in 57.
| 25 The Lord is good unto them
26 It is good that a man should
11 He hath turned aside my ways, 27 It is good for a man that he
28 He sitteth alone and keepeth
Jer. 10. 16.
22. Thou hast called as in a solemn day my terrors grits and stones. Compare Ps. cii. 9; Job vi. 7. W. round about,] Terrours came upon me on every side | Lowth. by Thy appointment; just as multitudes used to flock 17.— I forgat prosperity.] I have been a stranger to to Jerusalem at the times of the solemn feasts. The prosperity long enough to wear the remembrance of it phrase "fear or terrour on every side,” is elsewhere out of my mind : so Joseph, speaking of the seven years used by Jeremiah to express great misery and desola- of famine, saith, that “plenty shall be forgotten in the tion, Jer. vi. 25; xx. 3 ; xlvi. 5; xlix. 29. W. Lowth. land of Egypt," Gen. xli. 30. By the same figure the
Prophet Isaiah, describing happy times, saith, “the Chap. III. ver. 2.- darkness, - light.] “Darkness” former troubles are forgotten," chap. Ixv. 16. W. is a common emblem of distress, as “light” is of pros- | Lowth. perity. Dr. Blayney.
19. — wormwood and the gall.] See note on Jer. 16. He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, | ix. 15. &c.] In this and the foregoing verse, the Prophet ag | 27. – that he bear the yoke in his youth.] It is good gravates the calamities of his people by such expres- to be inured betimes to bear those useful restraints sions as imply, that, instead of any support or comfort, which arise from a sense of the duty we owe to God, they find nothing but miseries and afflictions : see note and the obedience we ought to pay to His laws. W. on Jer. ix. 15. The Septuagint render the latter part Lowth. of the verse, “He hath fed me with ashes,” that is, 28. He sitteth alone &c.] The discipline of affliction We fare as hard as those who feed upon bread baked in makes a man serious and thoughtful, it disposes him to ashes, whose teeth are in danger of being broken by reflect on himself and his ways, and instructs him to