Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
Sorrow and Wailing over the Fall of Jerusalem and Judah
(Note: Keil has attempted, in his German translation of this and the next three chapters, to reproduce something of the alphabetic acrosticism of the original (see above, p. 466); but he has frequently been compelled, in consequence, to give something else than a faithful reproduction of the Hebrew. It will be observed that his example has not been followed here; but his peculiar renderings have generally been given, except where these peculiarities were evidently caused by the self-imposed restraint now mentioned. He himself confesses, in two passages omitted from the present translation (pp. 591 and 600 of the German original), that for the sake of reproducing the alphabeticism, he has been forced to deviate from a strict translation of the ideas presented in the Hebrew. - Tr.)
1 Alas! how she sits alone, the city that was full of people!
She has become like a widow, that was great among the nations;
The princess among provinces has become a vassal.
2 She weeps bitterly through the night, and her tears are upon her cheek;
She has no comforter out of all her lovers:
All her friends have deceived her; they have become enemies to her.
3 Judah is taken captive out of affliction, and out of much servitude;
She sitteth among the nations, she hath found no rest;
All those who pursued her overtook her in the midst of her distresses.
4 The ways of Zion mourn, for want of those who went up to the appointed feast;
All her gates are waste; her priests sigh;
Her virgins are sad, and she herself is in bitterness.
5 Her enemies have become supreme; those who hate her are at ease;
For Jahveh hath afflicted her because of the multitude of her transgressions:
Her young children have gone into captivity before the oppressor.
6 And from the daughter of Zion all her honour has departed;
Her princes have become like harts [that] have found no pasture,
And have gone without strength before the pursuer.
7 In the days of her affliction and her persecutions,
Jerusalem remembers all her pleasant things which have been from the days of old:
When her people fell by the hand of the oppressor, and there was none to help her,
Her oppressors saw her, - they laughed at her times of rest.
8 Jerusalem hath sinned grievously, therefore she hath become an abomination:
All those who honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness;
And she herself sighs, and turns backward.
9 Her filth is on her flowing skirts; she remembered not her latter end;
And so she sank wonderfully: she has no comforter.
"O Jahveh, behold my misery!" for the enemy hath boasted.
10 The oppressor hath spread out his hand upon all her precious things;
For she hath seen [how] the heathen have come into her sanctuary,
[Concerning] whom Thou didst command that they should not enter into Thy community.
11 All her people [have been] sighing, seeking bread;
They have given their precious things for bread, to revive their soul.
See, O Jahveh, and consider that I am become despised.
12 [Is it] nothing to you, all ye that pass along the way?
Consider, and see if there be sorrow like my sorrow which is done to me,
Whom Jahveh hath afflicted in the day of the burning of His anger.
13 From above He sent fire in my bones, so that it mastered them;
He hath spread a net for my feet, He hath turned me back;
He hath made me desolate and ever languishing.
14 The yoke of my transgressions hath been fastened to by His hand;
They have interwoven themselves, they have come up on my neck; it hath made my strength fail:
The Lord hath put me into the hands of [those against whom] I cannot rise up.
15 The Lord hath removed all my strong ones in my midst;
He hath proclaimed a festival against me, to break my young men in pieces:
The Lord hath trodden the wine-press for the virgin daughter of Judah.
16 Because of these things I weep; my eye, my eye runneth down [with] water,
Because a comforter is far from me, one to refresh my soul;
My children are destroyed, because the enemy hath prevailed.
17 Zion stretcheth forth her hands, [yet] there is none to comfort her;
Jahveh hath commanded concerning Jacob; his oppressors are round about him:
Jerusalem hath become an abomination among them.
18 Jahveh is righteous, for I have rebelled against His mouth.
Hear now, all ye peoples, and behold my sorrow;
My virgins and my young men are gone into captivity.
19 I called for my lovers, [but] they have deceived me;
My priests and my elders expired in the city,
When they were seeking bread for themselves, that they might revive their spirit.
20 Behold, O Jahveh, how distressed I am! my bowels are moved;
My heart is turned within me, for I was very rebellious:
Without, the sword bereaveth [me]; within, [it is] like death.
21 They have heard that I sigh, I have no comforter:
All mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad because Thou hast done it.
Thou bringest the day [that] Thou hast proclaimed, that they may be like me.
22 Let all their wickedness come before Thee,
And do to them as Thou hast done to me because of all my transgressions;
For my sighs are many and my heart is faint.
The poem begins with a doleful meditation on the deeply degraded state into which Jerusalem has fallen; and in the first half (Lam 1:1-11), lament is made over the sad condition of the unhappy city, which, forsaken by all her friends, and persecuted by enemies, has lost all her glory, and, finding no comforter in her misery, pines in want and disesteem. In the second half (Lam 1:12-22), the city herself is introduced, weeping, and giving expression to her sorrow over the evil determined against her because of her sins. Both portions are closely connected. On the one hand, we find, even in Lam 1:9 and Lam 1:11, tones of lamentation, like signs from the city, coming into the description of her misery, and preparing the way for the introduction of her lamentation in Lam 1:12-22; on the other hand, her sin is mentioned even so early as in Lam 1:5 and Lam 1:8 as the cause of her misfortune, and the transition thus indicated from complaint to the confession of guilt found in the second part. This transition is made in Lam 1:17 by means of a kind of meditation on the cheerless and helpless condition of the city. The second half of the poem is thereby divided into two equal portions, and in such a manner that, while in the former of these (Lam 1:12-16) it is complaint that prevails, and the thought of guilt comes forward only in Lam 1:14, in the latter (Lam 1:18-22) the confession of God's justice and of sin in the speaker becomes most prominent; and the repeated mention of misery and oppression rises into an entreaty for deliverance from the misery, and the hope that the Lord will requite all evil on the enemy.
Doleful consideration and description of the dishonour that has befallen Jerusalem. In these verses the prophet, in the name of the godly, pours out his heart before the Lord. The dreadful turn that things have taken is briefly declared in Lam 1:1 in two clauses, which set forth the fall of Jerusalem from its former glory into the depths of disgrace and misery, in such a way that the verse contains the subject unfolded in the description that follows. We have deviated from the Masoretic pointing, and arranged the verse into three members, as in the succeeding verses, which nearly throughout form tristichs, and have been divided into two halves by means of the Athnach; but we agree with the remark of Gerlach, "that, according to the sense, היתה למס and not היתה כּאלמנה is the proper antithesis to רבּתי בגּוים." איכה is here, as in Lam 2:1; Lam 4:1-2, an expression of complaint mingled with astonishment; so in Jer 48:17; Isa 1:21. "She sits solitary" (cf. Jer 15:17) is intensified by "she has become like a widow." Her sitting alone is a token of deep sorrow (cf. Neh 1:4), and, as applied to a city, is a figure of desolation; cf. Isa 27:10. Here, however, the former reference is the main one; for Jerusalem is personified as a woman, and, with regard to its numerous population, is viewed as the mother of a great multitude of children. רבּתי is a form of the construct state, lengthened by Yod compaginis, found thrice in this verse, and also in Isa 1:21, elegiac composition; such forms are used, in general, only in poetry that preserves and affects the antique style, and reproduces its peculiar ring.
(Note: On the different views regarding the origin and meaning of this Yod compaginis, cf. Fr. W. M. Philippi, Wesen u. Ursprung des Status constr. im Hebr. S. 96ff. This writer (S. 152ff.) takes it to be the remnant of a primitive Semitic noun-inflexion, which has been preserved only in a number of composite proper names of ancient origin e.g., מלכּיחדק, etc.]; in the words אב, אח, and חם, in which it has become fused with the third radical into a long vowel; and elsewhere only between two words standing in the construct relation see Ges. 90; Ewald, 211.)
According to the twofold meaning of רב (Much and Great), רבּתי in the first clause designates the multiplicity, multitude of the population; in the second, the greatness or dignity of the position that Jerusalem assumed among the nations, corresponding to the שׂרתי במּדינות, "a princess among the provinces." מדינה, from דּין (properly, the circuit of judgment or jurisdiction), is the technical expression for the provinces of the empires in Asia (cf. Est 1:1, Est 1:22, etc.), and hence, after the exile, was sued of Judah, Ezr 2:1; Neh 7:6, and in Kg1 20:17 of the districts in the kingdom of Israel. Here, however, המּדינות are not the circuits or districts of Judah (Thenius), but the provinces of the heathen nations rendered subject to the kingdom of Israel under David and Solomon (corresponding to הגּויים), as in Ecc 2:8. Jerusalem was formerly a princess among the provinces, during the flourishing period of the Jewish kingdom under David and Solomon. The writer keeps this time before his mind, in order to depict the contrast between the past and present. The city that once ruled over nations and provinces has now become but dependent on others. מס (the derivation of which is disputed) does not mean soccage or tribute, but the one who gives soccage service, a soccager; see on Exo 1:11 and Kg1 4:6. The words, "The princess has become a soccager," signify nothing more than, "She who once ruled over peoples and countries has now fallen into abject servitude," and are not (with Thenius) to be held as "referring to the fact that the remnant that has been left behind, or those also of the former inhabitants of the city who have returned home, have been set to harder labour by the conquerors." When we find the same writer inferring from this, that these words presuppose a state of matters in which the country round Jerusalem has been for some time previously under the oppression of Chaldean officers, and moreover holding the opinion that the words "how she sits..." could only have been written by one who had for a considerable period been looking on Jerusalem in its desolate condition, we can only wonder at such an utter want of power to understand poetic language.
In this sorrow of hers she has not a single comforter, since all her friends from whom she could expect consolation have become faithless to her, and turned enemies. בּכו תבכּה, "weeping she weeps," i.e., she weeps very much, or bitterly, not continually (Meier); the inf. abs. before the verb does not express the continuation, but the intensity of the action Gesenius, 131, 3, a; Ewald, 312]. בּלּילה, "in the night," not "on into the night" (Ewald). The weeping by night does not exclude, but includes, weeping by day; cf. Lam 2:18. Night is mentioned as the time when grief and sorrow are wont to give place to sleep. When tears do not cease to flow even during the night, the sorrow must be overwhelming. The following clause, "and her tears are upon her cheek," serves merely to intensify, and must not be placed (with Thenius) in antithesis to what precedes: "while her sorrow shows itself most violently during the loneliness of the night, her cheeks are yet always wet with tears (even during the day)." But the greatness of this sorrow of heart is due to the fact that she has no comforter, - a thought which is repeated in Lam 1:9, Lam 1:16, Lam 1:17, and Lam 1:21. For her friends are faithless, and have become enemies. "Lovers" and "friends" are the nations with which Jerusalem made alliances, especially Egypt (cf. Jer 2:36.); then the smaller nations round about, - Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, and Phoenicians, with which Zedekiah had conspired against the king of Babylon, Jer 27:3. Testimony is given in Psa 137:7 to the hostile dealing on the part of the Edomites against Judah at the destruction of Jerusalem; and Ezekiel (Eze 25:3, Eze 25:6) charges the Ammonite and Tyrians with having shown malicious delight over the fall of Jerusalem; but the hostility of the Moabites is evident from the inimical behaviour of their King Baalis towards Judah, mentioned in Jer 40:14.
With Lam 1:3 begins the specific account of the misery over which Jerusalem sorrows so deeply. Judah has gone into exile, but she does not find any rest there among the nations. "Judah" is the population not merely of Jerusalem, but of the whole kingdom, whose deportation is bewailed by Jerusalem as the mother of the whole country. Although יהוּדה designates the people, and not the country, it is construed as a feminine, because the inhabitants are regarded as the daughter of the land; cf. Ewald, 174, b [and Gesenius, 107, 4, a]. 'מעני וגו has been explained, since J. D. Michaelis, by most modern expositors (Rosenmller, Maurer, Ewald, Thenius, Ngelsbach), and previously by Calvin, as referring to the cause of the emigration, "from (because of) misery and much servitude;" and in harmony with this view, גּלתה יהוּדה has been understood, not of the deportation of Judah into exile, but of the voluntary emigration of the fugitives who sought to escape from the power of the Chaldeans by fleeing into foreign countries, partly before and partly after the destruction of Jerusalem. But this interpretation neither agrees with the meaning of the words nor the context. Those fugitives cannot be designated "Judah," because, however numerous one may think they were, they formed but a fraction of the inhabitants of Judah: the flower of the nation had been carried off to Babylon into exile, for which the usual word is גּלה. The context also requires us to refer the words to involuntary emigration into exile. For, in comparison with this, the emigration of fugitives to different countries was so unimportant a matter that the writer could not possibly have been silent regarding the deportation of the people, and placed this secondary consideration in the foreground as the cause of the sorrow. מעני is not to be taken in a causal sense, for מן simply denotes the coming out of a certain condition, "out of misery," into which Judah had fallen through the occupation of the country, first by Pharaoh-Necho, then by the Chaldeans; and רב עבדה does not mean "much service," but "much labour." For עבדה does not mean "service" (=עבדוּת), but "labour, work, business," e.g., עבדת המּלך, "the service of the king," i.e., the service to be rendered to the king in the shape of work (Ch1 26:30), and the labour connected with public worship (Ch1 9:13; Ch1 28:14, etc.); here, in connection with עני, it means severe labour and toil which the people had to render, partly for the king, that he might get ready the tribute imposed on the country, and partly to defend the country and the capital against those who sought to conquer them. Although Judah had wandered out from a condition of misery and toil into exile, yet even there she found no rest among the nations, just as Moses had already predicted to the faithless nation, Deu 28:65. All her pursuers find her בּין המּצרים, inter angustias (Vulgate). This word denotes "straits," narrow places where escape is impossible (Psa 116:3; Psa 118:5), or circumstances in life from which no escape can be found.
Zion (i.e., Jerusalem, as the holy city) is laid waste; feasts and rejoicing have disappeared from it. "The ways of Zion" are neither the streets of Jerusalem (Rosenmller), which are called חוּצות, nor the highways or main roads leading to Zion from different directions (Thenius, who erroneously assumes that the temple, which was situated on Moriah, together with its fore-courts, could only be reached through Zion), but the roads or highways leading to Jerusalem. These are "mourning," i.e., in plain language, desolate, deserted, because there are no longer any going up to Jerusalem to observe the feasts. For this same reason the gates of Zion (i.e., the city gates) are also in ruins, because there is no longer any one going out and in through them, and men no longer assemble there. The reason why the priests and the virgins are here conjoined as representatives of the inhabitants of Jerusalem is, that lamentation is made over the cessation of the religious feasts. The virgins are here considered as those who enlivened the national festivals by playing, singing, and dancing: Jer 31:13; Psa 68:26; Jdg 21:19, Jdg 21:21; Exo 15:20. נגות (Niphal of יגה) is used here, as in Zep 2:13, of sorrow over the cessation of the festivals. Following the arbitrary rendering, ἀγόμενοι, of the lxx, Ewald would alter the word in the text into נהוּגות, "carried captive." But there is no necessity for this: he does not observe that this rendering does not harmonize with the parallelism of the clauses, and that נהג means to drive away, but not to lead captive.
(Note: See, however, Sa1 20:2, with Keil's own rendering, and Isa 20:4, with Delitzsch's translation. - Tr.)
והיא, "and she (Zion) herself" is in bitterness (cf. Rut 1:13, Rut 1:20), i.e., she feels bitter sorrow. In Lam 1:6, Lam 1:7, are mentioned the causes of this grief.
Her adversaries or oppressors, in relation to her, have become the head (and Judah thus the tail), as was threatened, Deu 28:44; whereas, according to Deu 28:13 in that same address of Moses, the reverse was intended. Her enemies, knowing that their power is supreme, and that Judah has been completely vanquished, are quite at ease, secure (שׁלוּ, cf. Jer 12:1). This unhappy fate Zion has brought on herself through the multitude of her own transgressions. Her children (עוללים, children of tender age) are driven away by the enemy like a flock. The comparison to a flock of lambs is indicated by לפני. But Zion has not merely lost what she loves most (the tender children), but all her glory; so that even her princes, enfeebled by hunger, cannot escape the pursuers, who overtake them and make them prisoners. Like deer that find no pasture, they flee exhausted before the pursuer. כּאיּלים has been rendered ὡς κριοὶ by the lxx, and ut arietes by the Vulgate; hence Kalkschmidt, Bttcher (Aehrenl. S. 94), and Thenius would read כּאילים, against which Rosenmller has remarked: perperam, nam hirci non sunt fugacia animalia, sed cervi. Raschi had already indicated the point of the comparison in the words, quibus nullae vires sunt ad effugiendum, fame eorum robore debilitato. The objections raised against כּאיּלים as the correct reading are founded on the erroneous supposition that the subject treated of is the carrying away of the princes into exile; and that for the princes, in contrast with the young, no more suitable emblem could be chosen than the ram. But רודף does not mean "the driver," him who leads or drives the captives into exile, but "the pursuer," who runs after the fugitive and seeks to catch him. The words treat of the capture of the princes: the flight of the king and his princes at the taking of Jerusalem (Kg2 25:3.) hovered before the writer's mind. For such a subject, the comparison of the fugitive princes to starved or badly fed rams is inappropriate; but it is suitable enough to compare them with harts which had lost all power to run, because they had been unable to find any pasture, and בּלא־כח (without strength, i.e., in weakness) are pursued and caught.
The loss of all her magnificence (Lam 1:7) brings to the remembrance of the sorrowing city, in her trouble, the former days of her now departed glory. "Jerusalem" is not the totality of those who are carried away (Thenius), but the city personified as the daughter of Zion (cf. Lam 1:6). "The days of her affliction," etc., is not the direct object of "remembers," as Pareau and Kalkschmidt assume, with the lxx; the object is "all her pleasant things." If "the days of her affliction" were also intended to be the object, "all her pleasant things" would be preceded by the copula w, which Pareau indeed supplies, but arbitrarily. Moreover, the combination of the days of misery with the glory of bygone days is inappropriate, because Jerusalem feels her present misery directly, and does not need first to call them to remembrance. "The days of her affliction," etc., is the accusative of duration. Living through the times of her adversity, Jerusalem thinks of former happy times, and this remembrance increases her sorrow. מרוּדים occurs only here, in Lam 3:19 and in Isa 58:7 : in meaning it is connected with רוּד, vagari, and signifies roaming, - not voluntary, but compulsory, - rejection, persecution; while the adjective מרוּדים, found in Isaiah, is, as regards its form, taken from מרד, which is cognate with רוּד. מחמדּים or מחמוּדים (Lam 1:11, Kethib) is perhaps used in a more general sense than מחמדּים, Lam 2:4 and Lam 1:11 (Qeri), an signifies what is costly, splendid, viz., gracious gifts, both of a temporal and spiritual kind, which Israel formerly possessed, while מחמדּים signifies costly treasures. "The days of old" are the times of Moses and Joshua, of David and Solomon. In the words, "when her people fell," etc., the days of misery are more exactly specified. The suffix in ראוּה refers to Jerusalem. צרים are the foes into whose power Jerusalem fell helplessly, not specially the escorts of those who were carried away (Thenius). They made a mockery of her משׁבּתּים. This word is ἅπ. λεγ. It is not identical in meaning with ,שׁבּתותsabbata (Vulgate, Luther, etc.), though connected with it; nor does it signify deletiones, destructions (Gesenius), but cessationes. This last rendering, however, is not to be taken according to the explanation of Rosenmller: quod cessasset omnis ille decor, qui nominatus este ante, principatus et prosper rerum status; but rather as L. Cappellus in his nott. crit. expresses it: quod nunc terra ejus deserta jacet nec colitur et quasi cessat et feriatur, though he does not quite exhaust the meaning. As Gerlach rightly remarks, the expression is "evidently used with reference to the threatenings given in the law, Lev 26:34-35, that the land would observe its Sabbaths, - that it will keep them during the whole period of the desolation, when Israel is in the land of his enemies." We must not, however, restrict the reference merely to the uncultivated state of the fields, but extend it so that it shall be applied to cessation from all kinds of employment, even those connected with the worship of God, which were necessary for the hallowing of the Sabbath. The mockery of enemies does not apply to the Jewish celebration of the Sabbath (to which Grotius refers the words), but to the cessation of the public worship of the Lord, inasmuch as the heathen, by destroying Jerusalem and the temple, fancied they had not only put an end to the worship of God of the Jews, but also conquered the God of Israel as a helpless national deity, and made a mock of Israel's faith in Jahveh as the only true God.
But Jerusalem has brought this unutterable misery on herself through her grievous sins. חטאה is intensified by the noun חטא, instead of the inf. abs., as in Jer 46:5. Jerusalem has sinned grievously, and therefore has become an object of aversion. נידה does not mean εἰς σάλον (lxx), or instabilis (Vulgate); nor is it, with the Chaldee, Raschi, and most of the ancient expositors, to be derived fromנוּד: we must rather, with modern expositors, regard it as a lengthened form of נדּה, which indeed is the reading given in twenty codices of Kennicott. Regarding these forms, cf. Ewald, 84, a. נדּה (prop. what one should flee from) signifies in particular the uncleanness of the menstrual discharge in women, Lev 12:2, Lev 12:5, etc.; then the uncleanness of a woman in this condition, Lev 15:19, etc.; here it is transferred to Jerusalem, personified as such an unclean woman, and therefore shunned. הזּיל, the Hiphil of זלל (as to the form, cf. Ewald, 114, c), occurs only in this passage, and signifies to esteem lightly, the opposite of כּבּד, to esteem, value highly; hence זולל, "despised," Lam 1:11, as in Jer 15:19. Those who formerly esteemed her - her friends, and those who honoured her, i.e., her allies - now despise her, because they have seen her nakedness. The nakedness of Jerusalem means her sins and vices that have now come to the light. She herself also, through the judgment that has befallen her, has come to see the infamy of her deeds, sighs over them, and turns away for shame, i.e., withdraws from the people so that they may no longer look on her in her shame.
In Lam 1:9 the figure if uncleanness is further developed. Her uncleanness sticks to the hems or skirts of her garment. טמאה is the defilement caused by touching a person or thing Levitically unclean, Lev 5:3; Lev 7:21; here, therefore, it means defilement by sins and crimes. This has now been revealed by the judgment, because she did not think of her end. These words point to the warning given in the song of Moses, Deu 32:29 : "If they were wise, they would understand this (that apostasy from the Lord brings heavy punishment after it), they would think of their end," i.e., the evil issue of continued resistance to God's commands. But the words are especially a quotation from Isa 47:7, where they are used of Babylon, that thought she would always remain mistress, and did not think of the end of her pride; therefore on her also came the sentence, "Come down from thy glory, sit in the dust," Isa 47:1, cf. Jer 48:18.
Jerusalem has now experienced this also; she has come down wonderfully, or fallen from the height of her glory into the depths of misery and disgrace, where she has none to comfort her, and is constrained to sigh, "O Lord, behold my misery!" These words are to be taken as a sign from the daughter of Zion, deeply humbled through shame and repentance for her sins. This is required by the whole tenor of the words, and confirmed by a comparison with Lam 1:11 and Lam 1:20. פּלאים is used adverbially; cf. Ewald, 204, b [Gesenius, 100, 2, b.] There is no need for supplying anything after הגדּיל, cf. Jer 48:26, Jer 48:42; Dan 8:4, Dan 8:8,Dan 8:11, Dan 8:25, although לעשׂות originally stood with it, e.g., Joe 2:20; cf. Ewald, 122, c [and Gesenius' Lexicon, s.v. גּדל]. The clause כּי הגדּיל, which assigns the reason, refers not merely to the sighing of Jerusalem, but also to the words, "and she came down wonderfully." The boasting of the enemy shows itself in the regardless, arrogant treatment not merely of the people and their property, but also of their holy things.
This is specially mentioned in Lam 1:10. The enemy has spread out his hand over all her jewels (מחמדּיה, the costly treasures of Jerusalem which were plundered), and even forced into the sanctuary of the Lord to spoil it of its treasures and vessels. C. B. Michaelis, Thenius, Gerlach, Ngelsbach, etc., would restrict the meaning of מחמדּיה to the precious things of the sanctuary; but not only are there no sufficient reasons for this, but the structure of the clauses is against it. Neither does the expression, "all our precious things," in Isa. 69:10, signify merely the articles used in public worship on which the people had placed their desire; nor are "all her pleasant vessels" merely the sacred vessels of the temple. In the latter passage, the suffix in מחמדּיה refers to Jerusalem; and inasmuch as the burning of all the palaces of the city (ארמנתיה) has been mentioned immediately before, we are so much the less at liberty to restrict "all her precious vessels" to the vessels of the temple, and must rather, under that expression, include all the precious vessels of the city, i.e., of the palaces and the temple. And Delitzsch has already remarked, on Isa 64:10, that "under מחמדּיה may be included favourite spots, beautiful buildings, pleasure gardens; and only the parallelism induces us to think especially of articles used in public worship." But when Thenius, in the passage now before us, brings forward the succeeding words, "for she hath seen," as a proof that by "all her pleasant things" we are to understand especially the vessels and utensils of the temple, he shows that he has not duly considered the contents of the clause introduced by כּי (for). The clause characterizes the enemy's forcing his way into the sanctuary, i.e., the temple of Jerusalem, as an unheard of act of sacrilege, because גּוים were not to enter even into the קהל of Jahveh. The subject treated of is not by any means the robbing of the temple - the plundering of its utensils and vessels. The prohibition against the coming, i.e., the receiving of foreigners into the "congregation," is given, Deu 23:4, with regard to the Ammonites and Moabites: this neither refers to the jus connubii (Grotius, Rosenmller), nor to the civil rights of Jewish citizens (Kalkschmidt), but to reception into religious communion with Israel, the ecclesia of the Old Covenant (קהל יהוה). In Deu 23:8, the restriction is relaxed in favour of the Edomites and Egyptians, but in Eze 44:7, Eze 44:9, in accordance with the ratio legis, extended to all uncircumcised sons of strangers. Hence, in the verse now before us, we must not, with Rosenmller and Thenius, restrict the reference of גּוים to the Ammonites and Moabites as accomplices of the Chaldeans in the capture of Jerusalem and the plundering of the temple (Kg2 24:2); rather the גּוים are identical with those mentioned in the first member of the verse as צר, i.e., the Chaldeans, so called not "because their army was made up of different nationalities, but because the word contains the notice of their being heathens, - profane ones who had forced into the sanctuary" (Gerlach). But if we look at the structure of the clauses, we find that "for she saw," etc., is parallel to "for the enemy hath boasted" of Lam 1:9; and the clause, "for she saw nations coming," etc., contains a further evidence of the deep humiliation of Jerusalem; so that we may take כּי as showing the last step in a climax, since the connection of the thought is this: For the enemy hath boasted, spreading his hand over all her precious things, - he hath even forced his way into the sanctuary of the Lord. If this is mentioned as the greatest disgrace that could befall Jerusalem, then the spreading out of the hands over the precious things of Jerusalem cannot be understood of the plundering of the temple. The construction ראתּה גּוים בּא is in sense exactly similar to the Latin vidit gentes venisse, cf. Ewald, 284, b; and on the construction צוּיתה לא יבאוּ, cf. Ewald, 336, b. בּקהל לך does not stand for בּקהלך (lxx, Pareau, Rosenmller), for הקהל is not the congregation of Judah, but that of Jahveh; and the meaning is: They shall not come to thee, the people of God, into the congregation of the Lord.
Besides this disgrace, famine also comes on her. All her people, i.e., the whole of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, sigh after bread, and part with their jewels for food, merely to prolong their life. The participles נאנחים, מכקשׁים, are not to be translated by preterites; they express a permanent condition of things, and the words are not to be restricted in their reference to the famine during the siege of the city (Jer 37:21; Jer 38:9; Jer 52:6). Even after it was reduced, the want of provisions may have continued; so that the inhabitants of the city, starved into a surrender, delivered up their most valuable things to those who plundered them, for victuals to be obtained from these enemies. Yet it is not correct to refer the words to the present sad condition of those who were left behind, as distinguished from their condition during the siege and immediately after the taking of the city (Gerlach). This cannot be inferred from the participles. The use of these is fully accounted for by the fact that the writer sets forth, as present, the whole of the misery that came on Jerusalem during the siege, and which did not immediately cease with the capture of the city; he describes it as a state of matters that still continues. As to מחמוּדיהם, see on Lam 1:7. השׁיב נפשׁ, "to bring back the soul," the life, i.e., by giving food to revive one who is nearly fainting, to keep in his life (= השׁיב רוּח); cf. Rut 4:15; Sa1 30:12, and in a spiritual sense, Psa 19:8; Psa 23:3. In the third member of the verse, the sigh which is uttered as a prayer (Lam 1:9) is repeated in an intensified form; and the way is thus prepared for the transition to the lamentation and suppliant request of Jerusalem, which forms the second half of the poem.
The lamentation of the city. - Lam 1:12. The first words, לוא אליכם, are difficult to explain. The lxx have οἱ πρὸς ὑμᾶς; but the reading ought certainly to be οἴ π. ὑ.. The Vulgate is, o vos omnes; the Chaldee, adjuro vos omnes. They all seem to have taken לוא as an exclamation. Hence Le Clerc and others would read לוּא; but in this case one would require to supply a verb: thus, Le Clerc renders utinam adspiciatis, or, "O that my cry might reach you!" But these insertions are very suspicious. The same holds true of the explanation offered by J. D. Michaelis in his edition of Lowth on Hebrew Poetry, Lect. xxii.: non vobis, transeuntes in via, haec acclamo (viz., the closing words of Lam 1:11): this is decidedly opposed by the mere fact that passers-by certainly could not regard a call addressed to Jahveh as applying to them. Without supplying something or other, the words, as they stand, remain incomprehensible. Ngelsbach would connect them with what follows: "[Look] not to yourselves...but look and see...." But the antithesis, "Look not upon yourselves, but look on me (or on my sorrow)," has no proper meaning. If we compare the kindred thought presented in Lam 1:18, "Hear, all ye peoples, and behold my sorrow," then לוא seems to express an idea corresponding to שׁמעוּ נא. But we obtain this result only if we take the words as a question, as if לוא = הלוא, though not in the sense of an asseveration (which would be unsuitable here, for which reason also הלוא is not used); the question is shown to be such merely by the tone, as in Exo 8:22; Sa2 23:5. Thus, we might render the sense with Gerlach: Does not (my sighing - or, more generally, my misery - come) to you? The Syriac, Lowth, Ewald, Thenius, and Vaihinger have taken the words as a question; Ewald, following Pro 8:4, would supply אקרא. But such an insertion gives a rendering which is both harsh and unjustifiable, although it lies at the foundation of Luther's "I say unto you." Hence we prefer Gerlach's explanation, and accordingly give the free rendering, "Do ye not observe, sc. what has befallen me, - or, my misery?" The words are, in any case, intended to prepare the way for, and thereby render more impressive, the summons addressed to all those passing by to look on and consider her sorrow. עולל is passive (Poal): "which is done to me." Since הוגה has no object, the second אשׁר does not permit of being taken as parallel with the first, though the Chaldee, Rosenmller, Kalkschmidt, and others have so regarded it, and translate: "with which Jahveh hath afflicted me." With Ewald, Thenius, Gerlach, etc., we must refer it to לי: "me whom Jahveh hath afflicted." The expression, "on the day of the burning of His anger," is pretty often found in Jeremiah; see Jer 4:8, Jer 4:26; Jer 25:37, etc.
In Lam 1:13-15, the misfortunes that have befallen Jerusalem are enumerated in a series of images. "Out from the height (i.e., down from heaven) hath He sent fire into my bones;" ויּרדּנּהּ is rendered by Luther, "and let it have the mastery" (Ger. und dasselbige walten lassen). Thenius explains this as being correct, and accordingly seeks to point the word ויּרדּנּהּ, while Ewald takes רדה to be cognate with רתח, and translates it "made them red-hot;" and Rosenmller, following N. G. Schrder, attributes to רדה, from the Arabic, the meaning collisit, percussit lapide. All these explanations are not only far-fetched and incapable of lexical vindication, but also unnecessary. The change of vowels, so as to make it the Hiphil, is opposed by the fact that רדה, in the Hiphil, does not mean to cause to manage, rule, but to read down, subdue (Isa 41:2). In Kal, it means to tread, tread down, and rule, as in Jer 5:31, where Gesenius and Deitrich erroneously assume the meaning of "striding, going," and accordingly render this passage, "it stalks through them." The lexically substantiated meaning, "subdue, rule, govern, (or, more generally,) overpower," is quite sufficient for the present passage, since רדה is construed not merely with בּ, but also with the accusative: the subject is אשׁ, which is also construed as a masc. in Jer 48:45; and the suffix ־נּה may either be taken as a neuter, or referred to "my bones," without compelling us to explain it as meaning unumquodque os (Rosenmller, etc.). The bones are regarded as bodily organs in which the pain is most felt, and are not to be explained away allegorically to mean urbes meas munitas (Chaldee). While fire from above penetrated the bones, God from beneath placed nets for the feet which thus were caught. On this figure, cf. Jer 50:24; Hos 7:12, etc. The consequence of this was that "He turned me back," ita ut progredi pedemque extricare non possem, sed capta detinerer (C. B. Michaelis), - not, "he threw me down backwards," i.e., made me fall heavily (Thenius). "He hath made me desolate" (שׁוממה), - not obstupescentem, perturbatam, desperatam (Rosenmller); the same word is applied to Tamar, Sa2 13:20, as one whose happiness in life has been destroyed. "The whole day (i.e., constantly, uninterruptedly) sick," or ill. The city is regarded as a person whose happiness in life has been destroyed, and whose health has been broken. This miserable condition is represented in Lam 1:14, under another figure, as a yoke laid by God on this people for their sins. נשׂקד, ἅπ. λεγ., is explained by Kimchi as נקשׁר או נתחבר, compactum vel colligatum, according to which שׂקד would be allied to עקד. This explanation suits the context; on the other hand, neither the interpretation based on the Talmudic סקד, punxit, stimulavit, which is given by Raschi and Aben Ezra, nor the interpretations of the lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate, which are founded on the reading נשׁקד, harmonize with על, which must be retained, as is shown by the words עלוּ על־צוּארי. Ewald supposes that שׂקד was the technical expression for the harnessing on of the yoke. "The yoke of my transgressions" (not "of my chastisements," as Gesenius, Rosenmller, and Ewald think) means the yoke formed of the sins. The notion of punishment is not contained in פּשׁעי, but in the imposition of the yoke upon the neck, by which the misdeeds of sinful Jerusalem are laid on her, as a heavy, depressing burden which she must bear. These sins become interwoven or intertwine themselves (ישׂתּרגוּ), after the manner of intertwined vine-tendrils (שׂריגים, Gen 40:10; cf. remarks on Job 40:17), as the Chaldee paraphrase well shows; and, through this interweaving, form the yoke that has come on the neck of the sinful city. Veluti ex contortis funibus aut complicatis lignis jugum quoddam construitur, ita h. l. praevaricationis tanquam materia insupportabilis jugi considerantur (C. B. Michaelis). עלה is used of the imposition of the yoke, as in Num 19:2; Sa1 6:7. The effect of the imposition of this yoke is: "it hath made my strength to stumble (fail)." Pareau, Thenius, Vaihinger, and Ngelsbach assume God as the subject of the verb הכשׁיל; but this neither accords with the current of the description, nor with the emphatic mention of the subject אדני in the clause succeeding this. Inasmuch as, in the first member of the verse, God is not the subject, but the address takes a passive turn, it is only the leading word על that can be the subject of הכשׁיל: the yoke of sins which, twined together, have come on the neck, has made the strength stumble, i.e., broken it. This effect of the yoke of sins is stated, in the last member, in simple and unfigurative speech: "the Lord hath given me into the hands of those whom I cannot withstand," i.e., before whom I cannot maintain my ground. On the construction בּידי לא אוּכל, cf. Ewald, 333, b; Gesenius, 116, 3. קוּם is here viewed in the sense of standing fast, maintaining ground, as in Psa 18:39; and, construed with the accusative, it signifies, to withstand any one; its meaning is not surgere, which Thenius, following the Vulgate, would prefer: the construction here requires the active meaning of the verb.
In Lam 1:15 this thought is further carried out. סלּה and סלה, "to lift up," is only used in poetry; in Psa 119:118 it takes the Aramaic meaning vilipendere, as if in reference to things that can be lifted easily; here it means tollere, to lift up, take away (lxx ἐξῇρε, Vulgate abstulit), tear away forcibly, just as both meanings are combined in נשׂא: it does not mean to outweigh, or raise with a jerk, - the warriors being regarded as weighty things, that speedily were raised when the Chaldean power was thrown into the scale (Thenius, and Bttcher in his Aehrenl. S. 94). This meaning is not confirmed for the Piel by Job 28:16, Job 28:19. קתא מועד does not mean to summon an assembly, i.e., the multitude of foes (Raschi, Rosenmller, Gesenius, Neumann), but to proclaim a festival (cf. Lam 2:22), because in Lam 1:4 and Lam 2:6 (cf. Lev 23:4) מועד denotes the feast-day, and in Lam 1:21 קתא יום means to proclaim a day. עלי means "against me;" for those invited to the feast are the nations that God has invited to destroy the youths, i.e., the young troops of Jerusalem. These celebrate a feast like that of the vintage, at which Jahveh treads the wine-press for the daughter of Judah, because her young men are cut off like clusters of grapes (Jer 6:9), and thrown into the wine-press (Joe 3:13). The last judgment also is set forth under this figure, Isa 63:2.; Rev 14:19., Rev 19:15. לבּתוּלת יהוּדה, "to (for) the virgin of Judah;" her young men are regarded as a mass of grapes, whose life-sap (blood) is trodden out in the wine-press. As to the expression 'בּתוּלת בּת י, see on Jer 14:17. "The addition of the word 'virgin' brings out the contrast between this fate, brought on through the enemy, at God's command, and the peculiar privilege of Judah as the people of God, in being free from the attacks of enemies" (Gerlach).
Lam 1:16 concludes this series of thoughts, since the address returns to the idea presented in Lam 1:12, and the unprecedented sorrow (Lam 1:12) gives vent to itself in tears. "Because of these things" refers to the painful realities mentioned in Lam 1:13-15, which Jerusalem has experienced. The form בּוכיּה is like the feminine form פּריּה in Psa 128:3; Isa 17:6; cf. Ges. 75, Rem. 5. The repetition of "my eye" gives greater emphasis, and is quite in the style of Jeremiah; cf. Jer 4:19; Jer 6:14 (Jer 8:11), Jer 22:29; Jer 23:25; the second עיני is not to be expunged (Pareau and Thenius), although it is not found in the lxx, Vulgate, Arabic, and some codices. On ירדה , cf. Jer 9:17; Jer 13:17; Jer 14:17. In these passages stands דמעה, but here מים, as the stronger expression: the eye flows like water, as if it were running to the ground in water. Gesenius, in his Thesaurus, appositely cites the German "sich die Augen aus dem Kopfe weinen" with which the English corresponds: "to weep one's eyes out of his head". Still stronger is the expression in Lam 3:48. But the sorrow becomes thus grievous, because the weeping one has none to comfort her; friends who could comfort her have faithlessly forsaken her (cf. Lam 1:2, Lam 1:9), and her sons are שׁוממים, i.e., destroyed, not "astonished" (Jer 18:16; Jer 19:8), but, as in Lam 1:13, made desolate, i.e., made so unhappy that they cannot bring their mother comfort in her misery. On משׁיב , cf. Lam 1:11. "Because the enemy hath become strong," i.e., prevailed (גּבר as in Jer 9:2).
The complaint regarding the want of comforters is corroborated by the writer, who further developes this thought, and gives some proof of it. By this contemplative digression he breaks in on the lamentation of the city, as if the voice of the weeping one were choked with tears, thus he introduces into the complaint a suitable pause, that both serves to divide the lamentation into two, and also brings a turn in its contents. It is in vain that Zion stretches out her hands (פּרשׁ בּ, to make a spreading out with the hands) for comforters and helpers; there is none she can embrace, for Jahveh has given orders against Jacob, that those round about him should act as oppressors. סביביו are the neighbouring nations round about Israel. These are all of hostile disposition, and strive but to increase his misery; cf. Lam 1:2. Jerusalem has become their abomination (cf. Lam 1:8), since God, in punishment for sins, has exposed her before the heathen nations (cf. Lam 1:8). בּיניהם, "between them," the neighbouring nations, who live round about Judah. The thought that Jahveh has decreed the suffering which has come on Jerusalem, is laid to heart by her who makes complaint, so that, in Lam 1:18, she owns God's justice, and lets herself be roused to ask for pity, Lam 1:19-22.
Starting with the acknowledgment that Jahveh is righteous, because Jerusalem has opposed His word, the sorrowing one anew (Lam 1:18, as in Lam 1:12) calls on the nations to regard her sorrow, which attains its climax when her children, in the bloom of youth, are taken captives by the enemy. But she finds no commiseration among men; for some, her former friends, prove faithless, and her counsellors have perished (Lam 1:19); therefore she turns to God, making complaint to Him of her great misery (Lam 1:20), because the rest, her enemies, even rejoice over her misery (Lam 1:21): she prays that God may punish these. Gerlach has properly remarked, that this conclusion of the chapter shows Jerusalem does not set forth her fate as an example for the warning of the nations, nor desires thereby to obtain commiseration from them in her present state (Michaelis, Rosenmller, Thenius, Vaihinger); but that the apostrophe addressed to the nations, as well as that to passers-by (Lam 1:12), is nothing more than a poetic turn, used to express the boundless magnitude of this her sorrow and her suffering. On the confession "Righteous is Jahveh," cf. Jer 12:1; Deu 32:4; Ch2 12:6; Psa 119:37, etc. "Because I have rebelled against His mouth" (i.e., His words and commandments), therefore I am suffering what I have merited. On מרה , cf. Num 20:24; Kg1 13:26. כּל־עמּים (without the article, which the Qeri supplies) is a form of expression used in poetry, which often drops the article; moreover, we must here bear in mind, that it is not by any means the idea of the totality of the nations that predominates, but nations are addressed merely in indefinite generality: the expression in the text means nations of all places and countries. In order to indicate the greatness of her grief, the sorrowing one mentions the carrying into captivity of the young men and virgins, who are a mother's joy and hope.
Lam 1:19 is not a continuation of the direct address to the nations, to whom she complains of her distress, but merely a complaint to God regarding the sorrow she endures. The perfects קראתי, רמּוּני, are not preterites, and thus are not to be referred to the past, as if complaint were made that, in the time of need, the lovers of Jerusalem forsook her; they rather indicate accomplished facts, whose consequences reach down to the present time. It was not merely in former times, during the siege, that Jerusalem called to her friends for help; but even now she still calls, that she may be comforted by them, yet all in vain. Her friends have deceived her, i.e., shamefully disappointed her expectations. From those who are connected with her, too, she can expect neither comfort nor counsel. The priests and the elders, as the helpers and advisers of the city, - the former as representing the community before God, and being the medium of His grace, the latter as being leaders in civil matters, - pined away ( ,גּועexspirare; here, to pine away through hunger, and expire). כּי is a temporal particle: "when they were seeking for bread" to prolong their life ('השׁיב נ as in Lam 1:11). The lxx have added καὶ οὐχ ευ, which Thenius is inclined to regard as a portion of the original text; but it is very evidently a mere conjecture from the context, and becomes superfluous when כּי ne is taken as a particle of time.
Since neither comfort nor advice is to be found with men, Jerusalem makes her complaint of need to God the Lord. "See, Jahveh, that I am distressed. My bowels glow." חמרמרוּ, the passive enhancing form, from חמר, is found, besides, only in Lam 2:11, where the clause before us is repeated, and in Job 16:16, where it is used of the countenance, and can only mean to be glowing red; it is scarcely legitimate to derive it from חמר, Arab. h[mr, to be made red, and must rather be referred to Arab. chmr, to ferment, rise into froth; for even in Psa 55:9 חמר does not mean to be red, but to rise into froth. מעים, "bowels," are the nobler portions of the internal organs of the body, the seat of the affections; cf. Delitzsch's Biblical Psychology (Clark's translation), p. 314ff. "My heart has turned within me" is an expression used in Hos 11:8 to designate the feeling of compassion; but here it indicates the most severe internal pain, which becomes thus agonizing through the consciousness of its being deserved on account of resistance to God. מרו for מרה, like בּכו ekil, Jer 22:10; Jer 30:19, etc. Both forms occur together in other verbs also; cf. Olshausen, Gram. 245, h [Ewald, 238, e; Gesen., 75, Rem. 2]. But the judgment also is fearful; for "without (מחוּץ, foris, i.e., in the streets and the open country) the sword renders childless," through the slaughter of the troops; "within (בּבּית, in the houses) כּמּות, like death." It is difficult to account for the use of כּ; for neither the כ of comparison nor the so-called כveritatis affords a suitable meaning; and the transposition of the words into sicut mors intus (Rosenmller, after Lצwe and Wolfsohn) is an arbitrary change. Death, mentioned in connection with the sword, does not mean death in general, but special forms of death through maladies and plagues, as in Jer 15:2; Jer 18:21, not merely the fever of hunger, Jer 14:18; on the other hand, cf. Eze 7:15, "the sword without, pestilence and hunger within." But the difficulty connected with כּמּות is not thereby removed. The verb שׁכּל belongs to both clauses; but "the sword" cannot also be the subject of the second clause, of which the nominative must be כּמּות, "all that is like death," i.e., everything besides the sword that kills, all other causes of death, - pestilences, famine, etc. כּ is used as in כּמראה, Dan 10:18. That this is the meaning is shown by a comparison of the present passage with Deu 32:25, which must have been before the writer's mind, so that he took the words of the first clause, viz., "without, the sword bereaves," almost as they stood, but changed וּמחדרים into בּבּית כּמּות, - thus preferring "what is like death," instead of "terror," to describe the cause of destruction. Calvin long ago hit the sense in his paraphrase multae mortes, and the accompanying explanation: utitur nota similitudinis, quasi diceret: nihil domi occurrere nisi mortale (more correctly mortiferum). Much light is thrown on the expression by the parallel adduced by Kalkschmidt from Aeneid, ii. 368, 369: crudelis ubique Luctus, ubique pavor, et plurima mortis imago.
From speaking of friends, a transition is made in Lam 1:21 to enemies. Regarding the explanation of Rosenmller, audiverunt quidem amici mei, a me implorati Lam 1:19, quod gemens ego...imo sunt omnes hostes mei, Thenius observes that it introduces too much. This remark is still more applicable to his own interpretation: "People (certainly) hear how I sigh, (yet) I have no comforter." The antithesis introduced by the insertion of "yet" destroys the simplicity of arrangement among the clauses, although C. B. Michaelis and Gerlach also explain the passage in the same manner. The subject of the words, "they have heard," in the first clause, is not the friends who are said in Lam 1:19 to have been called upon for help, nor those designated in the second clause of Lam 1:21 as "all mine enemies," but persons unnamed, who are only characterized in the second clause as enemies, because they rejoice over the calamity which they have heard of as having befallen Jerusalem. The first clause forms the medium of transition from the faithless friends (Lam 1:19) to the open enemies (Lam 1:21); hence the subject is left undefined, so that one may think of friends and enemies. The foes rejoice that God has brought the evil on her. The words 'הבאת וגו, which follow, cannot also be dependent on כּי ("that Thou hast brought the day which Thou hast announced"), inasmuch as the last clause, "and they shall be like me," does not harmonize with them. Indeed, Ngelsbach and Gerlach, who assume that this is the connection of the clause "Thou hast brought," etc., take 'ויהיוּ כ adversatively: "but they shall be like me." If, however, "they shall be," etc., were intended to form an antithesis to "all mine enemies have heard," etc., the former clause would be introduced by והם. The mere change of tense is insufficient to prove the point. It must further be borne in mind, that in such a case there would be introduced by the words "and they shall be," etc., a new series of ideas, the second great division of the prayer; but this is opposed by the arrangement of the clauses. The second portion of the prayer cannot be attached to the end of the verse. The new series of thoughts begins rather with "Thou hast brought," which the Syriac has rendered by the imperative, venire fac. Similarly Luther translates: "then (therefore) let the day come." C. B. Michaelis, Rosenmller, Pareau, etc., also take the words optatively, referring to the Arabic idiom, according to which a wish is expressed in a vivid manner by the perfect. This optative use of the perfect certainly cannot be shown to exist in the Hebrew; but perhaps it may be employed to mark what is viewed as certain to follow, in which case the Germans use the present. The use of the perfect shows that the occurrence expected is regarded as so certain to happen, that it is represented as if it had already taken place. The perfects in Lam 3:56-61 are taken in this sense by nearly all expositors. Similarly we take the clause now before us to mean, "Thou bringest on the day which Thou hast proclaimed (announced)," i.e., the day of judgment on the nations, Jer 25, "so that they become like me," i.e., so that the foes who rejoice over my misfortune suffer the same fate as myself. "The day [which] Thou hast proclaimed" has been to specifically rendered in the Vulgate, adduxisti diem consolationis, probably with a reference of the proclamation to Isa 40:2. - After this expression of certainty regarding the coming of a day of punishment for her enemies, there follows, Lam 1:22, the request that all the evil they have done to Jerusalem may come before the face of God, in order that He may punish it (cf. Psa 109:15 with Lam 1:14), - do to them as He has done to Jerusalem, because of her transgressions. The clause which assigns the reason ("for many are my sighs," etc.) does not refer to that which immediately precedes; for neither the request that retribution should be taken, nor the confession of guilt ("for all my transgressions"), can be accounted fore by pointing to the deep misery of Jerusalem, inasmuch as her sighing and sickness are not brought on her by her enemies, but are the result of the sufferings ordained by God regarding her. The words contain the ground of the request that God would look on the misery (Lam 1:20), and show to the wretched one the compassion which men refuse her. לבּי is exactly the same expression as that in Jer 8:18; cf. also Isa 1:5. The reason thus given for making the entreaty forms an abrupt termination, and with these words the sound of lamentation dies away.