Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Lamentations 1:17 - 1:17

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Lamentations 1:17 - 1:17


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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 (פֵּרֵשׁ בְּ, 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. סְבִיבָיו 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). בֵּינֵיהֶם, "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, Rosenmüller, 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; 2Ch 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 מָרָה , cf. Num 20:24; 1Ki 13:26. כָּל־עַמִּים (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.