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35 head ; (then) I said, I am cut off. I called upon thy name, O 56 LORD, out of the low dungeon. Thou hast heard my voice : 57 hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. Thou drewest
near in the day (that) I called upon thee : thou saidst, Fear not. 58 O LORD, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast 59 redeemed my life. O Lord, thou hast seen my wrong ; judge 60 thou my cause. Thou hast seen all their vengeance, (and) all 61 their imaginations against me. Thou hast heard their reproach, 62 O LORD, [and] all their imaginations against me; The lips of
those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the 63 day. Behold their sitting down and their rising up ; I [am] 64 their music. Render unto them, or, thou wilt render umto them
a recompense, O Lord, according to the work of their hands 65 against us. Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them; 66 or, the curses threatened against the enemies of thy people. Perse
cute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD, where thou rulest supreme, and from whence they can go no where, but thou canst reach them.
THE practical reflections that may be drawn from this chapter
of them have been illustrated and recommended at large. It is sufficient now to observe, that it is particularly suited to the case of those who are in affliction. It directs them to observe the hand of God in it; not to be surprized if their afflictions be long and heavy, and if God seems to shut out their prayer. It is our duty in such cases to humble ourselves before him, and to acknowledge that it is of his mercies that we are not consumed. It is unreasonable to complain of the punishment of our sins ; and our duty to search and try ourselves ; to repent, and return to God; and continue in prayer, though we are not immediately answered. We are to hope and wait for his salvation ; and in the mean time to observe the mercies that are continued, which are new every morning ; to call to mind former kindnesses, and all his promises. No condition is so desolate, but the thoughts of God may afford relief. He does not afflict willingly, and will at length have compassion. In the mean time let us rejoice in him as our portion. By accommodating ourselves to his providence, considering our ways, repenting, and returning to him, we shall find unspeakable and everlasting benefit; he will at length wipe away all tears, and turn our sighs and groans into everlasting praise.
CHAP. IV. In which the pitiful state of Zion is bewailed, as contrasted with its
ancient prosperity ; the national calamities are tenderly lamented ; and the ruin of the Edomites predicted; see Psalm cxxxvii. 7. Obad. X. 12. 1 '!
gold, the gildings of the temple, changed ! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street; there were many streets which led to the temple, at the ends of which the
ruins appeared; from whence there used to be the most beautiful 2 prospects. The precious sons of Zion, the princes and priests,
comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitch3 ers, the work of the hands of the potter! Even the sea mon
sters, the very dragons, draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones : the daughter of my people (is become]
cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness, and are forced through 4 famine to neglect their own children. The tongue of the sucking
child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst : the young 5 children ask bread (and) no man breaketh [it] unto them. They
that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills ; they seek their food in
the most nasty places, and lie on dunghills without strength to raise 6 themselves up. For the punishment of the iniquity of the daugh
ter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and ro hands stayed on her ; it were better 80 have been at once burned in their
houses, than to endure the horrors of a siege, and dic by famine. 7 Her Nazarites, or nobles, were purer than snow, they were
whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, 8 their polishing (was) of sapphire : Their visage is blacker than
a coal ; they are not known in the streets : their skin cleaveth to their bones ; it is withered, it is become like a stick; their temperate diet contributed to their health and beauty, but, through famine and hardship, they were reduced to skeletons. A beautiful 9 but dreadful conirest. (They that be] slain with the sword' are
better than (they that be] slain with hunger : for these pine away, stricken through, for (want of] the fruits of the field; it
18 better to'die by a sudden stroke than such a lingering death. 10 The hands of the pitiful women have sodden, or boiled, their own
children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughIl ter of my people.* The Lord hath accomplished his fury; he Itants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem,
hath poured out his fierce anger, and fulfilled his iliredtening's that they should eat their children, (see Deut. xxxii. 22. Jer. xxi.
14;) and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the 12 foundations thereof. The kings of the earth, and all the inhab
* This happened in three instances to the Jews, in the siege of Sumaria, in the siege of Jerusalem, hvihe Chaldeans, and stterward by the Romans. It is remarkable that we never rend of such another instance in history.
which were so well fortified, and had been in some instances sò mi13 raculously foreserved. For the sins of her prophets, [and] the
iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in
the midst of her, the blood of God's faithful prophets and people. 14 They have wandered [as] blind (men) in the streets, they have
polluted themselves with blood, so that men could not touch their garments; there were so many dead carcasses, that they
could not go by without touching them, and 80 were polluted them15 selves, and fiolluted others. They cried unto them, Depart ye ;
(it is) unclean ; depart, depart, touch not : when they fled away and wandered,* they said among the heathen, They shall no
more sojourn (there ;) they shall never return to their own land, 16 The anger of the LÒRD hath divided them; he will no more
regard them : they respected not the persons of the priests,
they favoured not the elders ; no respect was shown to their char11 acter and office. As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain
help : in our watching we have watched for a nation [that] 18 could not save (us ;] ihat is, the Egyptians. They hunt our
steps, that we cannot go in our streets ; they have raised their batteries so high, as to shoot us in the streets ; or it may rather refer to their watching at the corners of the streets for those that
lay hid : our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is 19 come. Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the
heaven: they pursued us upon the mountains, they laid wait for 20 us in the wilderness. The breath of our nostrils, the anointed
of the LORD, was taken in their pits, or toils ; Zedekiah was taken like a wild beast, of whom we said, Under his shadow we
shall live among the heathen ; we might have enjoyed some gove 21 ernment and religion there. Réjoice and be glad, O daughter of
Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz ;t yet the cup also shall
pass through unto thee : thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make 22 thyself naked. The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplish
ed, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity ; thou shalt not be utterly cast off, thy captivity shall be short : he will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will discover thy sins ; he will show how great they have been, by his heavier judgment upon chee, upon whom he will inflict a long and lasting frunishment.
REFLECTIONS. 1. EE how dreadful a calamity famine is, and let us be thankful
that we do not experience it. It is represented as worse than mortal wounds, yea, worse than the destruction of Sodom. A hor.
* This I understand of the heathen upbraiding them : they used to call the heathen unclean, and bid them de part, now they take up the language, and apply it to the Jews ; Depart yr unilean, or polluted, depreti defort.
+ This is spoken ironically; like Spiomon, "Rejoice, young man in thy youth;" shra majest do so for a time.
rible description of what doubtless was a fact; children that could not shift for themselves, crying for bread; parents forced to neglect them ; even those who have been delicately fed and clothed perishing on dunghills ; and women eating their own children. How thankful should we be for public peace, that we have food convenient for ourselves and families ; and when we sit down to a plentiful table, let us make a serious, solemn business of acknowledging the bounty of God.
2. We are taught that no privileges will secure a sinful nation. Here we see the temple destroyed ; its gold blackened, the Lord's anointed carried captive, the priests, elders, and Nazarites of Israel, destroyed ; and all this was the effect of their own sin. Even the heathen remarked this, and upbraided them with their pretended sanctity. If persons who profess religion and boast of their privileges, are wicked, and abuse them, all the world will cry shame on them, and the righteous God will make them contemptible and miserable.
3. God can deprive men of those comforts from which they expected most satisfaction. While the Jews had a king and priests, they thought they should at least enjoy some security and repose ; but God deprived them of both. If we make any creatures the breath of our nostrils ; if they be too dear to us, and our lives be bound up in theirs, it will be just in God to take away their breath ; to convince us of our folly, and lead us to glorify him, in whose hand our breath is, and whose are all our ways.
4. Observe the difference between God's treatment of his people and his enemies. The punishment of Zion was indeed great and dreadful, yet it was soon accomplished; they were not utterly cast off. But the punishment of Edom was equally great, and there was no restoration. If God's people sin, they shall suffer; but their affliction is a fatherly chastisement ; and when the end is answered, it shall be removed ; while his enemies, especially those who insult over the unfortunate, and rejoice in the calamity of the church, shall be utterly destroyed. Let it therefore be our desire to be chastened of the Lord, rather than to be condemned with
ters, representing the nation as groaning under their calamities, and
A greater variety of beautiful, tender, and pathetic images, all expressive’of deep dis. tress and sorrow. were never more happily chosen and applied, than in these incomparable clegies of Jeremiah
orphans, and fatherless, our mothers [are) as widows, destitute te of all help, and exposed to all wrong. . We have drunken our
water for money ; our wood is sold unto us, whereas before we 5 had plenty of both. Our necks (are) under persecution : we
labour, [and] have no rest ; we are slaves to our enemies, and 6 have no rest on our sabbaths. We have given the hand (to] the
Egyptians, (and to) the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread;
we have sold ourselves for slaves among those people to whom we 7 Aled for shelter. Our fathers have sinned, (and are) not; they
are dead; and we have borne their iniquities; undergone the
punishment of them ; by following their transgressions, and not 8 taking warning by their calamities, we are quite ruined. Servants
have ruled over us ; the Chaldeans allowed their servants 10 ofia
press them, and did not interpose: (there is) none that doth de9 liver [us] out of their hand. We gat our bread with (the perii
of] our lives, because of the sword of the wilderness; if they
went out of the city into the plain to get provisions, they were de10 stroyed by the sword. Our skin was black like an oven, because Il of the terrible famine. They ravished the women in Zion, (and) 12 the maids in the cities of Judah. Princes are hanged up by their
hand, by the hand of the Chaldeans: the faces of the elders were 13 not honoured. They took the young men to grind, and the
children fell under the wood ; under the burdens of wood; they
did the work of slaves, and great burdens were luid upon children, 14 so that they fainted under them. The elders have ceased from
the gate, the young men from their music; they can no longer 15 entertain themselves or us. The joy of our heart is ceased ; our
dance is turned into mourning; all entertainments and diversions 16 are at an end. The crown is fallen (from) our head : wo unto
us, that we have sinned ! our kings and priests, and all our glory, 17 are gone because of our sins. For this our heart is faint ; for 18 these things] our eyes are dim. Because of the mountain of
Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it as in desolate 19 places. Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from
generation to generation ; all our comfort is derived from thine
eternity, unchangeableness, and faithfulness to thy promises. 20 Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, [and] forsake us so long 21 time ? Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turn
ed ; renew our days as of old ; restore us to our former flourish
ing state. The prophet then concludes with an humble expostula22 tion. But thou hast utterly rejected us; or, wilt thou utterly
reject us ? thou art very wroth against us ; or, thou hast been wroth with us exceedingly.
E are here taught one general lesson, which cannot be
too often inculcated, that it is sin which deprives us of our most valuable blessings. After the melancholy detail which