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THE LAMENTATIONS OF

JEREMIAH.

INTRODUCTION.

THE Lamentations of Jeremiah were composed soon after the de

struction of Jerusalem and the captivity of Judah. They are divided into five distinct chapters, which are so many beautiful elegies, bewailing those sad events.

CHAP. I.

In which Jerusalem's misery for her sins is related, with her complaint,

and confession of God's righteousness.

1 L O W doth the city sit solitary, [that was) full of people !

It show] is she become as a widow ! she (that was) great

among the nations, (and) princess among the provinces, (how] 2 is she become tributary! She weepeth sore in the night, and

her tears [are) on her cheeks, like a sincere mourner when alone : among all her lovers, or allies, she hath none to comfort (her :) all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are be3 come her enemies. Judah is gone into captivity because of

affliction, and because of great servitude ; because they had afflicted and oppressed their brethren : she dwelleth among the hea

then, she findeth no rest : all her persecutors overtook her 4 between the straits, or, in the narrow passages. The ways of

Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts ; the ways that lead to Zion, which used to be crouded on those occasions : all her gates are desolate : her priests sigh, her virgins

are afflicted, and she [is] in bitterness ; all her mirth and gaiety 5 are gone. Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper ;

for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her trans

gressions : her children are gone into captivity before the ene6 my. And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is depart

ed : her princes are become like harts [that] find no pasture, and they are gone without strength before the pursuer ; not like a hunted deer, wearied out in the chase ; but like one ready to die with hunger before the chase began, which therefore only makes

a feeble, short effort, and then drops down : a most expressive 7 simile. Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and

of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, God's presence, mis temple, his ordinances, and propheta, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her : the adversaries saw her, [and] did mock at her sab

baths; or, laughed at her discontinuing them, as if she had only 8 kept them out of sloth. Jerusalem hath grievously sinned ; there

fore she is removed : all that honoured her despise her, because

they have seen her nakedness : yea, she sigheth, and turneth 9 backward. Her filthiness [is] in her skirts, it is visible on her

garments ; she remembereth not her last end ; therefore she came down wonderfully; all is the effect of her sin : she had

no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction : for the enemy 10 hath magnified (himself.] The adversary hath spread out his

hand upon all her pleasant things, upon her rich furniture, jewels, and plate : for she hath seen (that) the heathen entered into

her sanctuary, whom thou didst command (that) they should Il not enter into thy congregation. All her people sigh, they seek

bread; they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul : see, O LORD, and consider ; for I am become

vile. 12 [Is it] nothing to you, all ye that pass by ? behold and see if

there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted (me) in the day of his fierce anger. * From above hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them ; I am like a person struck with light. ning, which has broken my bones and pierced my vitals : he hath

spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made 14 me desolate [and] faint all the day. The yoke of my transgres

sions, the burden of my iniquities, is bound by his hand : they are wreathed, [and] come up upon my neck : he hath made my

strength to fall, the LORD hath delivered me into their] hands, 15 [from whom] I am not able to rise up. The LORD hath trod

den under foot all my mighty (men) in the midst of me: he hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men : the LORD hath trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, fair

and delicate as she was, (as) in a winepress ; she was crushed to 16 pieces by the Chaldeans, as grapes in a press. For these [things]

I weep ; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because

the comforter that should relieve my soul, is far from me : my 17 children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed. Zion

spreadeth forth her hands in supplication, and there is) none to comfort her : the LORD hath commanded concerning Jacob, [that] his adversaries (should be] round about him : Jerusa

A beautifel apostrophe, much admired by the critics. The plaintiff, having no friend or companion to open his grief to, is forced to implore the pity of strangers and passengers. Jt intimates that no words were necessary to raise compassion, it was sufficient to look on his case, to see that his sorrow was unequalled: it intimates also, that he had met with little compassion from some that had passed by; and that therefore be expostulated with others.

lem is as a menstruous woman among them, one set apart as

unclean. 18 The Lord is righteous ; for I have rebelled against his com

mandment: hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sor

row : my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity. 19 I called for my lovers, (but] they deceived me : my priests

and mine elders gave up the ghost in the city, while they sought 20 their meat to relieve their souls. Behold, O LORD ; for I sam]

in distress : my bowels are troubled; mine heart is turned ' within me; for I have grievously rebelled : abroad the sword

bertaveth, at home (there is) as death, or certain death by fam21 ine. They have heard that I sigh: (there is) none to comfort

me : all inine enemies have heard of my trouble ; they are glad that thou hast done [it :] thou wilt bring the day [that]

thou hast called, and they shall be like unto me ; Thou wilt exe22 cute like judgments upon them, as thou hast foretold. Let all their

wickedness come before thee, that is, it shall come ; and do unto them, or, thou wilt do unto them, as thou hast done unto me for all my transgressions : for my sighs (are) many, and my heart [is] faint.

REFLECTIONS.

1. THE distress of nations ought to afflict every human heart.

1 See what calamities war makes ; and what great reason we have to be thankful that we have not been witnesses of, or sharers in, such terrible desolations. We have reason to pity and pray for those who have ; and to bless God for peace and plenty. But O, think of those who are now returning to their houses and possessions, and find them all waste and desolate ; and offer up earnest prayers that God would support and provide for them,

2. The distresses of the church will particularly affect every pious heart. These the prophet tenderly laments. It is great joy to good men to see the church prosperous, and the ways to Zion crouded; and grievous to see her assemblies broken up by persecution ; or her ways neglected by those who have no good reason for such neglect ; to see their places empty, though they can pursue their business or pleasure ; and thus throw contempt upon sacred things. It is grievous to hear the wicked mocking at their sabbaths. But pious men will not look ipon them as less honourable, delightful, and advantageous on that account.

3. Let us acknowledge the hand and righteousness of God in all our afflictions. This is often mentioned, righteous art thou, O Lord. It becomes us to acknowledge this before him, and before men. It is a great comfort that we can apply to him and expect relief from him. Too many when afflicted are apt to adopt the passionate complaints of the prophet; but it would be better for them to observe and adopt his expressions of humiliation, and his prayers for support.

CHAP. II.

Jeremiah laments Jerusalem's misery, and she is directed to sue carni

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 3 royal family which he had chosen himself. He hath cut off in (his)

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 removed : 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. & 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, Her gates are sunk into the ground ; he hath destroyed and broken her bars : her king and her princes (are] 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 vir- . Il gins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground. Mine

eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured 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 afluence,

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 mother'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 loss to find any simile strong enough ; where can we find such an instance

of distress? 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 hones and i5 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, (Lev. 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 18 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 escaped nor remained : those that I have swaddled and brought up

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