Matthew Henry Commentary - Lamentations 4:21 - 4:21

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Matthew Henry Commentary - Lamentations 4:21 - 4:21

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David's psalms of lamentation commonly conclude with some word of comfort, which is as life from the dead and light shining out of darkness; so does this lamentation here in this chapter. The people of God are now in great distress, their aspects all doleful, their prospects all frightful, and their ill-natured neighbours the Edomites insult over them and do all they can to exasperate their destroyers against them. Such was their violence against their brother Jacob (Oba 1:10), such their spleen at Jerusalem, of which they cried, Rase it, rase it, Psa 137:7. Now it is here foretold, for the encouragement of God's people,

I. That an end shall be put to Zion's troubles (Lam 4:22): The punishment of they iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion! not the fulness of that punishment which it deserves, but of that which God has designed and determined to inflict, and which was necessary to answer the end, the glorifying of God's justice and the taking away of their sin. The captivity, which is the punishment of thy iniquity, is accomplished (Isa 40:2), and he will no longer keep thee in captivity; so it may be read, as well as, he will no more carry thee into captivity; he will turn again thy captivity and work a glorious release for thee. Note, The troubles of God's people shall be continued no longer than till they have done their work for which they were sent.

II. That an end shall be put to Edom's triumphs. It is spoken ironically (Lam 4:21): “Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom! go on to insult over Zion in distress, till thou hast filled up the measure of thy iniquity. Do so; rejoice in thy own present exemption from the common fate of thy neighbours.” This is like Solomon's upbraiding the young man with his ungoverned mirth (Ecc 11:9): “Rejoice, O young man! in thy youth; rejoice, if thou canst, when God comes to reckon with thee, and that he will do ere long. The cup of trembling, which it is now Jerusalem's turn to drink deeply of, shall pass through unto thee; it shall go round till it comes to be thy lot to pledge it.” Note, This is a good reason why we should not insult over any who are in misery, because we ourselves also are in the body, and we know not how soon their case may be ours. But those who please themselves in the calamities of God's church must expect to have their doom, as aiders and abettors, with those that are instrumental in those calamities. The destruction of the Edomites was foretold by this prophet (Jer 49:7. etc.), and the people of God must encourage themselves against their present rudeness and insolence with the prospect of it. 1. It will be a shameful destruction: “The cup that shall pass unto thee shall intoxicate thee” (and that is shame enough to any man); “thou shalt be drunken, quite infatuated, and at thy wits' end, shalt stagger in all thy counsels and stumble in all thy enterprises, and then, as Noah when he was drunk, thou shalt make thyself naked and expose thyself to contempt.” Note, Those who ridicule God's people will justly be left to themselves to do that, some time or other, by which they will be made ridiculous. 2. It will be a righteous destruction. God will herein visit thy iniquity and discover thy sins; he will punish them, and, to justify himself therein, he will discover them, and make it to appear that he has just cause thus to proceed against them. Nay, the punishment of the sin shall so exactly answer the sin that it shall itself plainly discover it. Sometimes God does so visit the iniquity that he that runs may read the sin in the punishment. But, sooner or later, sin will be visited and discovered, and all the hidden works of darkness brought to light.