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1 Jer. 13. 17. 2 Job 7. 3. 3 Heb. for the greatness of servitude. 7 Heb. is become a removing, or, wandering. Or, desirable. 9 Deut. 23.5. 18 Heb. pass by the way.
5 Jer. 52. 28.
Deut. 28. 13, 14. 6 Or, desirable. 10 Or, to make the soul to come again. 11 Or, It is nothing.
their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up.
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 their meat to relieve their souls.
15 The LORD hath trodden 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 13the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a winepress.
16 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 children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed.
17 Zion spreadeth forth her hands, and there is none to comfort her: the LORD hath commanded concerning Jacob, that his adversaries should be round about him: Jerusalem is as a menstruous woman among them.
22 Let all their wickedness come before 18 The LORD is righteous; for I have thee; and do unto them, as thou hast done rebelled against his "commandment: hear, unto me for all my transgressions: for I pray you, all people, and behold my sor- my sighs are many, and my heart is faint. 13 Or, the wine-press of the virgin, &c. 14 Jer. 13. 17, and 14. 17. Chap. 2. 18. 15 Heb. bring back. 16 Dan. 9. 7. 17 Heb. mouth. 18 Isa. 16. 11. Jer. 48. 36. 19 Or, proclaimed.
20 Behold, O LORD; for I am in distress: my bowels are troubled; mine heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: abroad the sword bereaveth, at home there is as death.
21 They have heard that I sigh: there is none to comfort me: all mine 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.
LAMENTATIONS.-An opinion has been entertained that these Lamentations are the same which are mentioned, in 2 Chron. xxxv. 25, as having been composed upon occasion of the death of king Josiah. But these compositions appear most clearly not to refer to the death of any one person, but to lament the ruin of a city and a people. The more general and probable impression on the subject is that which is conveyed in the title which we find prefixed to the Lamentations in the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Arabic versions:-" And it came to pass, after that Israel had been carried away captive, and Jerusalem laid waste, that Jeremiah sat weeping, and lamented with this lamentation over Jerusalem, and said," &c. That this is also the impression retained in the East appears from the fact that, at Jerusalem, Jews, Christians, and Moslems concur in regarding with veneration a certain grotto, at the foot of a large quarry, a little to the north of the present town, beyond the Damascus gate, with which they associate the name of Jeremiah, believing that it was some time the residence of the prophet. The grot is large, and on one side of it, about eight feet from the ground, is a rocky shelve, which is alleged to have been his bed. Near this is also pointed out the spot where he is supposed to have composed his Lamentations over the holy city. At present it is in the exclusive possession of the Turks, and is usually shut up.
Bishop Lowth speaks largely of the Lamentations in his 22nd Lecture. They are evidently written in metre, and consist of a number of plaintive effusions which, in his opinion, are composed upon the plan of the funeral dirges-all upon the same subject, and uttered without connection, as they arose in the mind in a long course of separate stanzas ; and which were afterwards put together and formed into a collection or correspondent whole. The nature and design of the poem neither required nor admitted a methodical and artificial arrangement and sequence of ideas. “In the character of a mourner," says Lowth," the prophet celebrates in plaintive strains the obsequies of his ruined country. Whatever presented itself to his mind in the midst of desolation and misery, whatever struck him as particularly wretched and calamitous, whatever the instant sentiment of sorrow dictated, he pours forth in a kind of spontaneous effusion. He frequently pauses, and, as it were. ruminates upon the same object; frequently varies and illustrates the same thought with different imagery, and a different choice of language; so that the whole assumes the appearance rather of an accumulation of corresponding sentiments, than an accurate and connected series of different ideas, arranged in the form of a regular treatise." He afterwards adds:—“ In my opinion there is not extant any poem, which displays such a happy and splendid selection of imagery in so concentrated a state." Blayney says, “We cannot too much admire the full and the graceful flow of that pathetic eloquence in which the prophet pours forth the effusions of a patriotic heart, and piously weeps over the ruins of his venerable country." Dr. South also, in his own peculiar manner, says of this book:—“ One would think that every letter was wrote with a tear, every word the sound of a breaking heart; that the author was a man compacted of sorrows, and disciplined to grief from his infancy; one who never breathed but in sighs, nor spoke but in a groan."
The Lamentations are very properly divided into five chapters. The original marks this as the proper division; the four first chapters being acrostical, so that the termination of the alphabet completes the poem, while the distinction of initials naturally divides each into twenty-two distinct periods, according to the number of letters contained in the Hebrew alphabet. In the two first chapters, each period begins with its proper initial, and consists of a triplet (as appears even in our translation), except in the seventh period of the first chapter, and the nineteenth of the second, which have each a supernumerary line. In the third chapter every period contains three verses which have all the same initial letter, so that the acrostical series comprehends sixty-six verses. The fourth chapter resembles the three former in metre, but the periods are only couplets. The fifth chapter, which is not acrostical, also consists of couplets, but the measure is considerably shorter.
11. They have given their pleasant things for meat.”—A striking illustration of this is given by Mr. Roberts:-"The people of the East retain their little valuables, such as jewels and rich robes to the last extremity. To part with that which has perhaps been a kind of heir-loom in the family, is like parting with life. Have they sold the last wreck of their other property; are they on the verge of death?-the emaciated members of the family are called together, and some one undertakes the heart-rending task of proposing such a bracelet, or armlet, or ear-ring, or pendant of the fore
head, to be sold. For a moment all are silent, till the mother or daughters burst into tears, and then the contending feelings of hunger, and love for their 'pleasant things,' alternately prevail. In general the conclusion is to pledge, and not to sell their much-loved ornaments; but such is the rapacity of those who have money, and such the extreme penury of those who have once fallen, that they seldom regain them." (Oriental Illustrations,' p. 483.) Under such circumstances, and particularly in times of public calamity, often happens that jewels and other property of the most valuable description, are disposed of for the merest trifle, that a little bread may be obtained "to relieve the soul."
How hath the LORD covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger!
2 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.
6 And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: 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 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.
Psal. 80. 12, and 89. 40. Isa, 5. 5. 4 Or, hedge.
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: he poured out his fury like fire.
5 The Lord was as an enemy: he hath swallowed up Israel, he hath swallowed up all her palaces: he hath destroyed his strong holds, and hath increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation.
3 He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel: he hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about.
4 He hath bent his bow like an enemy: • Heb, made to touch. 2 Heb. all the desirable of the eye.
5 Heb. shut up,
8 The LORD hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from 'destroying therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament. they languished together.
9 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.
10 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 virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.
11 Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings "swoon in the streets of the city.
12 They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine? when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers' bosom.
13 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? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee?
14 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.
• Heb. swallowing up.
15 All that pass 10by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the
7 Psal. 74. 9. 8 Or, faint. 19 Lev. 26. 16. Deut. 28. 15.
daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call "The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?
16 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.
17 The LORD hath done that which he had devised; he hath fulfilled his word that he had commanded in the days of old: he hath thrown down, and hath not pitied : and he hath caused thine enemy to rejoice over thee, he hath set up the horn of thine adversaries.
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 LORD?
21 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 not pitied.
22 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 hath mine enemy consumed. 9 Jer. 2. 8, and 5. 31, and 14. 14, and 23. 16. 10 Heb. by the way. 11 Psal. 48. 13 Jer. 14. 17. Chap. 1. 16. 14 Or, swaddled with their hands.
18 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 cease.
19 Arise, cry out in the night in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord :
Verse 11. "My liver is poured upon the earth.”—Among the Hebrews the liver not less than the heart was regarded as the seat of the passions and affections. This shows the sense in which such passages as the present are to be understood. Here, as with regard to many other of the bodily organs as mentioned in Scripture, there is not only a literal sense capable of univocal interpretation, but a metaphorical import that cannot be communicated by any literal version, unless when the same metaphorical signification happens to exist also in the language into which the translation is made. Dr. J. M. Good touches on this subject in the preface to his translation of the Song of Songs, and is disposed to contend that such allusions, in order to convey their real signification, should be rendered not literally but equivalently; and we so far agree with him as to think, that the force and delicacy of many passages must be neces sarily impaired and their true meaning lost, when the name merely is given, in a language where that name does not involve the same metaphorical idea. Pursuing the subject, Dr. Good says: "In Psalm xvi. 9, My heart is glad and my glory rejoiceth,' as it occurs in our common version, is literally, My heart is glad and my liver rejoiceth.' Yet who could behold such an interpretation without a smile? or who, if he were to behold it, would admit that the original was fairly translated?" Among ourselves, in like manner, the spleen is supposed to be the region of disappointment and melancholy. But were a Jew to be told, in his own tongue, that the inimitable Cowper had long laboured under the spleen, he would be ignorant of the meaning of his interpreter; and, when at last informed of it, might justly tell him, that although he had literally rendered the words, he had by no means conveyed the idea.
18. "The apple of thine eye."-There is a distinct word to denote the pupil, or "apple," of the eye; and that is not
here used. The original is, literally, "the daughter of thine eye," which it is certainly better to understand of a tear than of the pupil of the eye. It is quite in unison with Oriental usage to call the "daughter of the eye" the tear which issues from it; and so taken in this place, the expression not only seems more poetical, but conveys a clearer meaning, equivalent to, "Let not thy tears cease."
32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
34 To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth,
35 To turn aside the right of a man before the face of "the most High,
36 To subvert a man in his cause, the LORD approveth not.
Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the LORD commandeth it not?
38 Out of the mouth of the most High
proceedeth not "evil and good?
39 Wherefore doth a living man "complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? 40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.
41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.
42 We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned.
43 Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us thou hast slain, thou hast not
44 Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.
4 Or, rolled me in the ashes.
1 Heb. sons.
13 Psal. 33.9.
5 Heb. good. 601, remember.
To Heb. from his heart.
15 Or, mur.
7 Heb. bowed.
11 Or, a superior.