Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Lamentations 1:12 - 1:22

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Lamentations 1:12 - 1:22

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The Lament of the City and the Answer of the Lord

v. 12. Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?
Will none of those who are witnesses of her misery and shame take the proper notice of her calamity? Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of His fierce anger. The greatness of Jerusalem's misery was so unusual that men seeing it were bound to conclude that there was a special hand and work of God in it. The picture is that of an outcast by the wayside begging the passers-by for at least some show of sympathy. And it may be said that Jerusalem, in this instance, prefigures Christ, whom the language is prophetically made to suit.

v. 13. From above hath He sent fire into my bones,
which are here thought of as organs of the body that are first to feel a racking pain, and it prevaileth against them, so that the very vital powers are affected; He hath spread a net for my feet, to entangle her in His judgments; He hath turned me back, making it impossible to become free from the meshes of the net; He hath made me desolate and faint all the day. The city is thus pictured as a person whose happiness is destroyed and whose health is broken.

v. 14. The yoke of my transgressions is bound by His hand,
sin being not only a taskmaster, but a yoke pressing the sinner down, with God Himself, as it were, holding the reins firmly twisted round His hand, so that escape is impossible; they are wreathed, the many cords of sin being woven together increasing the load, and come up upon my neck, binding the sinners to their willful transgressions; He hath made my strength to fall, so that it is entirely broken; the Lord hath delivered me into their hands from whom I am not able to rise up, whom she did not have the strength to resist.

v. 15. The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me,
slaying them while they were engaged in the defense of the city; He hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men, the very expression setting forth the strange contrast and the severity of the punishment; the Lord hath trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a wine-press. Cf Isa_63:2-3.

v. 16. For these things I weep,
giving free rein to her tears, mine eye, mine eye, runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me, the friends to whom she might have looked for words and deeds which would restore her soul having forsaken her; my children are desolate because the enemy prevailed, the enemy being still in power, with the result that the inhabitants of Jerusalem were destroyed, that they perished most miserably.

v. 17. Zion spreadeth forth her hands,
in a gesture imploring help, and there is none to comfort her; the Lord hath commanded concerning Jacob that his adversaries should be round about him, his very neighbors being his enemies and seeking his destruction. Jerusalem is as a menstruous woman among them, shut out from intercourse with people and from attendance at the Temple-worship. These facts impress Jerusalem as being important and true; she must admit their justice.

v. 18. The Lord is righteous,
just in His treatment of the rebellious city; for I have rebelled against His commandment. Hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow, since she feels the need of sympathy; my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity, this fact showing the very climax of her afflictions.

v. 19. I called for my lovers,
the nations which had professed an interest of true affection, but they deceived me; my priests and mine elders gave up the ghost in the city, both the spiritual and the temporal rulers expiring in the neighborhood of the Sanctuary of Jehovah, while they sought their meat to relieve their souls, the very nobles of the people being obliged to seek food of any kind whatsoever, if it only would suffice to preserve their lives.

v. 20. Behold, O Lord, for I am in distress,
she implored Him to observe how badly she fared. My bowels are troubled, being violently excited with excessive grief; mine heart is turned within me, for I have grievously rebelled, the punishment being altogether deserved, in the full measure in which it struck her. Abroad the sword bereaveth, as the battle demanded its victims; at home there is as death, namely, by famine and pestilence.

v. 21. They have heard that I sigh,
the former friends and allies being fully aware of her groaning; there is none to comfort me, for they all ignore her trouble. All mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that Thou hast done it, rejoicing over the Lord's punishment upon Zion. Thou wilt bring the day that Thou hast called, the day of wrath with whose coming the Lord had threatened for many years, and they shall be like unto me, for the Lord would visit her enemies as He had punished her.

v. 22. Let all their wickedness come before Thee,
for a just punishment, and do unto them as Thou hast done unto me for all my transgressions, according to the same righteous judgment; for my sighs are many, and my heart is faint. This is not a vindictive prayer, but a plea for justice, which repentant believers of all times may well send up to the throne of God. The very punishment of God upon rebellious children is intended to change into a blessed experience of good.