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Lamentations 1:5

5. Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy.

5. Fuerunt inimici ejus in caput; hostes ejus feliciter egerunt (fuerunt in pace, שלו;) quia Jehova afflixit eam super magnitude scelerum, ejus; parvuli ejus the enemy. Profecti sunt in exilium coram adversario.

 

He first says that her enemies had become the head; and by this expression he doubtless means power; and this way of speaking he borrowed from Moses, for these are his words,

“Thou shalt be the head and not the tail,
in a high place, not obscure.” (Deuteronomy 28:13.)

He then says, that enemies were the head, that is, ruled over them. And the opposite of that is to be understood, even that they had become the tail, that is, were under the feet as it were of their enemies. And he says that her enemies had acted successfully, even because Jehovah had afflicted her. He here laments after the common practice, as ungodly men are wont to do; but he mixes instruction with his mourning, and shews that God, in a state of things so turbulent and confused, appeared as a righteous judge. He then recalled them to the consideration of God’s hand, when he said that her enemies had acted successfully, because God had afflicted her. Jerome renders the words, “because Jehovah hath spoken.” He derives the verb from הגה, ege, which means to speak or to meditate. But this is an evident mistake, as we shall find another presently in this very chapter. There is no doubt but that the Prophet intimates that the cause of all evils was, that God had afflicted her, even on account of the greatness of her impieties, or of her sins. He now then begins to shew that there is no reason why the Jews should be swallowed up with grief and despair, if only they considered whence their evils proceeded. He thus begins to call their attention to God’s judgment. This indeed of itself would not have been sufficient; but he afterwards points out a fruitful source of consolation. But we shall see these things mentioned in their due order.

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