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Jeremiah laments Jerusalem's misery, and she is directed to sue carn.
estly for mercy and pardon.
I L OW hath the LORD covered the daughter of Zion with a
Il cloud in his anger, [and] cast down from heaven unto
the earth the temple, the beauty of Israel, and remembered not 2 the ark his footstool in the day of his anger! The LORD hath
swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and hath not pitied: he hath thrown down in his wrath the strong holds of the daughter of Judah ; he hath brought (them) down to the ground: he hath polluted the kingdom and the princes thereof, even the royal family which he had chosen himself. He hath cut off in (bis) fierce anger all the horn of Israel : he hath drawn back his right hand, his wonted assistance, from before the enemy, and
he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, (which] devoureth 4 round about. He hath bent his bow like an enemy; he stood
with his right hand as an adversary, and slew all (that were] pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion,
the honourable, the reverend and the young ; he poured out his 5 fury like fire. The Lord was as an enemy, like a lion : he
hath swallowed up Israel, he hath swallowed up all her palaces :
he hath destroyed his strong holds, and hath increased in the 6 daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation. And he hath
violently taken away his tabernacle, as (if it were of] a garden ; as if it was a hovel or shed in a garden, contemptible and easily re. moved : he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten
in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the 7 king and the priest. The LORD hath cast off his altar, he hath
abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces ; they have made a noise in the house of the LORD, as in the day of a solemn feast ; but a very different noise, not the shout of worshippers, but of enemies ; not
the dying groans of victims, but of the worshippers themselves. 8 The Lord hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of
Zion : he hath stretched out a line in righteousness, he hath not
withdrawn his hand from destroying : therefore he made the * rampart and the wall to lament: they languished together. g Her gates are sunk into the ground ; he hath destroyed and
broken her bars : her king and her princes Care] among the Gentiles : the law [is] no [more ;] her prophets also find no vision from the LORD ; her priests and nobles are gone, the book of the law is destroyed, her worship is impracticable, some of
her prophets are captives, others have no vision, or none that is 10 comfortable. The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the
ground, [and] keep silence : they have cast up dust upon their
heads ; they have girded themselves with sackcloth ; the virIl gins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground. Mine
eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is pour ed upon the earth, or, I am wounded to the liver, and my gall is poured out, for the destruction of the daughter of my people ;
because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of 12 the city. They say to their mothers, who once lived in affluence,
Where [is] corn and wine ? when they swooned as the wound
ed in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into 13 their inother's bosom. What thing shall I take to witness for
thee? what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem ? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion ? as if he had said, I am quite at a lo88 10 find any simile strong enough; where can we find such an instance
of distress 2 for thy breach [is] great like the sea ; there can be 14 no means found to stop the inundation : who can heal thee? Thy
prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to. turn away thy captivity ; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment; they
have not dealt plainly, but have deceived thee with false hoftes and 15 flattering prophecies, which have hastened thy ruin. All that pass
by clap (their) hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the
daughter of Jerusalem, (saying, Is] this the city that (men) 16 call The perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth ? All
thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee : they hiss and gnash the teeth : they say, We have swallowed (her) up : certainly this [is] the day that we looked for ; we have found,
we have seen [it,] we expected it would come to this, and we could 17 wish for nothing more. The LORD hath done [that] which he
had devised; he hath fulfilled his word, that he hath commanded in the days of old ; that is, the threatenings of his law, (Let'. xxvi. 16.) he hath thrown down, and hath not pitied : and he hath
caused (thine) enemy to rejoice over thee, he hath set up the 13 horn of thine adversaries. Their heart cried unto the LORD, O
wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day
and night : give thyself no rest : let not the apple of thine eye 19 cease. Arise, cry out in the night : in the beginning of the
watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the LORD : lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young
children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street. . 20 Behold, O LORD, and consider to whom thou hast done this.
Shall the women eat their fruit, (and) children of a span long?
shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the 21 LORD? The young and the old lie on the ground in the streets :
my virgins and my young men are fallen by the sword; thou hast
slain (them) in the day of thine anger ; thou hast killed [and] 22 not pitied. Thou hast called as in a solemn day my terrors
round about, so that in the day of the Lord's anger none escal) ed nor remained : those that I have swaddled and brought up
hath mine enemy consumed; wherever I turn, I see terrors coming as thick as I have seen worshippers coming from all parts, in the days of our feasts.
1. TTTE must acknowledge that it is just in God to take away
VV those privileges which men abuse. Israel had many glorious advantages above other nations, but they grew careless, disobedient, and presumptuous ; therefore God was righteous in taking them away. He destroyed the tabernacle, which they had neglected ; made the ways of Zion mourn, which they had forsaken ; he caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to cease, which they had deserted and profaned; he took away the prophets, whom they had ill treated, and the law which they had forgotten. Let us take warning by this ; for if we do not value and improve our christian privileges, God will take them away. Let us remember, whence we have fallen, and repent, lest he come quickly and take his candlestick from us.
2. In God's dealings with his church, it is good to take notice of the accomplishment of his word. This Israel is often reminded of, that the Lord hath done what he hath proposed and devised, and fulfilled the word which he commanded in the days of old. There is a constant agreement between the declarations of God's word, and the events of his providence ; and the more carefully we compare them together, the greater reason we shall see to acknowledge that his judgments are right, and to be afraid of his just indignation.
3. The want of faithfulness and plainness in christian ministers, is one source of national calamities. It is their duty to discover to men their iniquities, and to show them their sins, in order to prevent their everlasting banishment from God and happiness. If they flatter them, and address them as if all was well, when they know, or have reason to believe, that they are yet in their sins, they are false prophets, are accessary to the ruin of souls, and endanger their own salvation. We should therefore allow them to deal plainly with us, because they are thereby consulting our happiness, as well as discharging their own duty.
4. Prayer ought to be our business, and will be our best relief in time of trouble. An instructive view is here given us of the nature of prayer, and that fervency in it which we ought to manifest, v. 19. It is crying to the Lord, lifting up the hands toward him, with earnestness and importunity, pouring out the heart like water ; so free and full and particular should our supplications be. Is any man afflicted, let him thus pray ; stir up himself to take hold on God; and he will in the best time and way deliver him out of all his distresses.
The prophet in this chapter encourages the people to resignation, and
10 trust in the divine mercy; he vindicates the goodness of God in all his dispensations, and the unreasonableness of murmuring under them; he recommends self examination and repentance ; and then, from their experience of former deliverances, encourages them to look to God for the pardon of their sins, and retribution 10 their en.' emies. The chapter is poetical, like the former ; but as may be seen by the length of the verses, is of different measure : it contains twen. ty two periods, according to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet ; and each period contains three verses, which have all the same initial letter.
IT [AM] the man (that) hath seen affiction by the rod of his 2 1 wrath ; representing the case of his country as his own. He
hath led me, and brought (me into) darkness, but not (into) light. 3 Surely against me is he turned, he who was formerly kind to me ; 4 he turneth his hand (against me] all the day. My flesh and my 5 skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. He hath
builded against me, and compassed (me) with gall and travel. 6 He hath set me in dark places, as (they that be] dead of old. 7 He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out ; there is no
possibility of my escape : he hath made my chain heavy ; I am 8 like a malefuctor strongly fettered. Also when I cry and shout, 9 he shutteth out my prayer. He hath inclosed my ways with
hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked ; I try every way 10 and place to get out of my trouble, but cannot. He was) unto 11 me (as) a bear lying in wait, (and as) a lion in secret places. He
hath turned aside my ways, cut off my retreat, and turned full uf. 12 on me, and pulled me in pieces : he hath made me desolate. He 13 hath bent his bow, and sct me as a mark for the arrow. He
hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins; he 14 hath given me morial and incurable wounds. I was a derision to
all my people ; or, the people of my enemies ; [and] their song all 15 the day. He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me 16 drunken with wormwood. He hąth also broken my teeth with
gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes ; or, deceived me 17 with ashes, giving me ashes instead of bread. And thou hast re
moved my soul far off from peace : I forgat prosperity, and 18 despaired of its return. And I said, My strength and my hope is 19 perished from the LORD: Remembering mine affliction and my 20 misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath (them) still
in remembrance, and is humbled in me; I have still new occa21 sions to recollect them. This I recall to my mind, that is, this which
follows; I have yet stores of comfort, therefore have I hope. 22 [It is of ] the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, be23 cause his compassions fail not. [They are) new every mornVol. V.
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24 ing : great [is] thy faithfulness. The LORD [is] my portion, 25 saith my soul ; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD (is) good 26 unto them that wait for him, to the soul (that) seeketh him. (It
is] good that a (man) should both hope and quietly wait for the 27 salvation of the LORD. [It is) good for a man that he bear the 28 yoke in his youth. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, be
cause he hath borne [it] upon him; when it is laid upon him he 29 is disposed to serious reflection and consideration. He putteth his
mouth in the dust ; if so be there may be hope of regaining the 30 divine favour. He giveth (his] cheek to him that smiteth him ;
he submits to injuries from men : he is filled full with reproach. 31 For the LORD will not cast off for ever : But though he cause 32 grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of
his mercies ; he will plead the cause of his people, and bring them 33 out of captivity. For he doth not affilict willingly, nor grieve 34 the children of men. To crush under his feet all the prisoners 35 of the earth, by violence or fraud, To turn aside the right of a
man before the face of the most High, without any regard to 36 him, To subvert a man in his cause, the LORD approveth not ;
but is displeased with these things, and will punish them ; as if he had said, shough God gave the Israelites into the hands of their ene emies, yet he disapproved of their inhuman and cruel conduct, and
will reckon with them for it. 37 Who [is] he [that] saith, and it cometh to pass, (when) the 38 LORD commandeth [it] not? Out of the mouth of the most
High proceedeth not evil and good ? or, doth not evil and good
come from him ? that is, however they may boast, he overrules 39 their designs. Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man 40 for the punishment of his sins ? Let us search and try our ways, 41 and turn again to the LORD. Let us lift up our heart with (our) 42 hands unto God in the heavens. We have transgressed and have
rebelled: thou hast not pardoned; hast not removed thy judgment: 43 from us. Thou hast covered thy face with apger, and persecuted 44 us : thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. Thou 'hast covered
thyself with a cloud, that (our) prayer should not pass through. 45 Thou hast made us (as) the offscouring and refuse in the midst 46 of the people. All our enemies have opened their mouths 47 against us. Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and 48 destruction. Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for 49 the destruction of the daughter of my people. Mine 'eye trick50 leth down and ceaseth not, without any intermission, Till the 51 LORD look down and behold from heaven. Mine eye affecteth
mine heart because of all the daughters of my city ; or, because
of the desolation of the city and country, and the calamities which I 52 see in the towns and cities about Jerusalem. Mine enemies chas53 ed me sore, like a bird without cause. They have cut off my
life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me; this was applica.
ble to Jeremiah literally, and, figuratively to others; all are deo 54, scribed as one person in deep distress. Waters flowed over mine