Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Lamentations 1:5 - 1:5

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Lamentations 1:5 - 1:5


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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 (שָׁלוּ, cf. Jer 12:1). This unhappy fate Zion has brought on herself through the multitude of her own transgressions. Her children (עֹולָלִים, children of tender age) are driven away by the enemy like a flock. The comparison to a flock of lambs is indicated by לִפְנֵי. 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. כְּאַיּלִים has been rendered ὡς κριοὶ by the lxx, and ut arietes by the Vulgate; hence Kalkschmidt, Böttcher (Aehrenl. S. 94), and Thenius would read כָּאֵילִים, against which Rosenmüller 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 כְּאַיָּלִים 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 רֹודֵף 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 (2Ki 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 בְּלֹא־כֹחַ (without strength, i.e., in weakness) are pursued and caught.