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Lamentations 1:7

7. Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths.

7. Recordata est Jerusalem diebus afflictionis suae et penuriae suae, omnium desiderabilium suorum quae fuerunt a diebus antiquis, cum caderet populus ejus in manu hostis et nullus auxiliator ei: viderunt hostes, subsannarunt (vel, riserunt) super sabbatio (vel, cessatione) ejus.

 

He confirms the former verse when he says, that Jerusalem remembered her desirable things when she was afflicted by God’s hand, and reduced to extreme want. And he in-intimates by these words, that when Jerusalem was in its splendor, it did not sufficiently consider the blessings of God; for the despisers of God cram themselves with whatever flows from his bounty, and yet do not acknowledge him; for ingratitude is like an abyss which absorbs all the fullness of God’s blessings. Then the Prophet intimates that when Jerusalem flourished in wealth and in abundance of all things, when it was adorned with singular gifts, she became as it were inebriated, and never considered as she ought to have done, the benefits which God had bestowed on her. And now, when she was reduced to want and surrounded with extreme miseries, she remembered her desirable things, even the glory before mentioned; for by desirable things he means those gifts in which Jerusalem excelled as long as God manifested himself as a bountiful Father towards it.

I wonder how all have given this version, “Jerusalem remembered the days,” etc. Some rightly explain the passage, but all agree in giving a wrong version. But the meaning is sufficiently evident, Jerusalem remembered her desirable things in the days of her affliction and of her want, or of her groaning, or of her transmigration; for some derive the word from רוד, rud, which means to complain, or to migrate. Hence they render it “exile,” or migration. But others render it “complaint.” Others, again, derive it from מרד, mered, which sometimes means to fail, and render it “want,” or indigence. Why some have translated it “iniquities” I know not, and there is no reason for such a version. I do not approve of “complaint;” exile or want is the best word. 128128     The versions and the Targ. are evidently wrong here, and are not consistent with one another. There is no meaning except ב be considered as understood before ימי, “days.” The only difference among critics is about the meaning of מרוד. There is no different reading. It is rendered “rejections — ἀπωσμῶν,” by the Sept., “prevarication” by the Vulg., and “punishment” by the Syr Parkhurst and Blayney derive it from ירד, to come down, to descend. It means the descending or abasement’s to which Jerusalem had been subjected, and has the same meaning in Lamentations 3:19. “In the days of her affliction and of her abasement’s.” — Ed

The days of affliction he more clearly expresses, when he says, When the people fell into the hand of the enemy, and there was no helper. We now see what the Prophet means, even that Jerusalem was as it were roused from her lethargy when God afflicted her. For as the drunken, after being satiated, so sleep in their excess that they know and feel nothing, but seem half dead; so prosperity inebriated Jerusalem for a long time; but being at length awakened, she perceived whence she had fallen. As long, then, as she stood in her high place of honor, she did not consider God’s indulgence towards her; but after she was stripped of all her blessings, and became deeply afflicted, she then remembered her desirable things, that is, she at length began to perceive what she had lost, because she had fallen from the grace of God.

We may hence gather a useful doctrine; for what the Prophet relates of Jerusalem is seen almost in all mankind; but we must beware lest this should be true of us. For God has not only in a common manner dealt liberally hitherto with us, but he has also been pleased to favor us with evidences of favor even more than paternal; he has separated us from the unbelieving, and has bestowed on us many of his blessings. Let us now, then, take heed lest we become stupid while God deals liberally with us; but, on the contrary, let us learn to appreciate the blessings of God, and consider the end for which they have been given us, otherwise what is said here of Jerusalem will happen to us; for being too late awakened, we shall know that we were happy when God shewed himself a father to us. We see the same thing exemplified in Adam the first man; for though God adorned him with excellent gifts, yet being not content with his lot, he wished to exalt himself beyond due limits; after he fell and was reduced to extreme want, he then began to know what he had previously been, and what he had become through his fall. (Genesis 1:26, 27; 3:6,7.) But as this testimony of the Prophet is peculiarly suitable to the Church, let us know that we are warned by the example of Jerusalem, so that when God shews to us his bounty, his gifts ought as they deserve, to be valued, lest when too late we shall at length begin to acknowledge how desirable had been our previous condition. Then, in a word, Jeremiah here reproves the stupidity of the people, who did not know how desirable was their state, until they were deprived and plundered of all their blessings. He also says, from the days of old. By these words he probably intimates that the course of God’s kindness had been perpetual; for God had not for a short time been bountiful to that people, but had shewed them favors successively and continually.

When her people fell, etc. It was a heavier misery, because they had so long flourished. It is added, Seen, her have enemies, they laughed at her Sabbath, or at her cessation, which I do not dislike. But they who render it “leisure,” or idleness, either pervert or too much obscure the meaning of the Prophet. In the word “cessation,” there is an irony, for the enemies did not simply laugh at cessation, but did so in mockery, as they took this opportunity to taunt them for their religion. We know that the Sabbaths of the Jews were always hated by the heathens; and they were thereby subjected to many reproaches; for by way of reproach they called the Jews Sabbatharians. And when they wished ignominiously to traduce the whole service of God, as under the law, they named it “Sabbaths.” There is, then, no doubt but that the heathens reproachfully taunted the Jews because they observed the Sabbath; “See, now is the time to worship God.” And we also see that God upbraided the Jews in a similar way by saying,

“Until the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths.” (Leviticus 26:43.)

For when the Jews had the opportunity and leisure (when no enemies molested them) to observe the worship of God, they contemptuously profaned the Sabbaths. As, then, God’s worship had been so disgracefully neglected by them, God said, “The land itself shall in your stead keep the Sabbath;” how? it shall not be ploughed, it shall not bring forth fruit. (Leviticus 26:34, 35.) That cessation was called by God Sabbath, but not without a taunt; for he cuttingly reproved the Jews for having violated the Sabbaths, as was also done by Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 17:22, 27.) 129129     There are in this verse four lines, while there are only three in all the rest; but there is no ground for supposing an interpolation, as some have thought; for it is found in every Hebrew copy and in the versions, and the Targum. As to the last word, it is rendered by the Sept., “habitation,” or according to the Alexandrian copy, “emigration;” by the Vulg. “sabbaths;” and by the Syr. “sorrow.” The word is nowhere found to signify the Sabbath. It is either from שבה, to lead captive, as Parkhurst thinks, and means captivity, emigration; or from שבת, to cease, to come to an end, according to Blayney and Henderson, and may be rendered “discontinuance,” i.e., as a nation or a state, or “ruin.” But the former meaning agreeing with the Sept. is to be preferred, —
   When fall did her people, and she had no helper,
See her did oppressors, they laughed at her captivity.

    — Ed

It then appears to me probable that taunts were cast by enemies against the Jews, that they might now have a long and a continual Sabbath, while the city was deserted and no one dwelt there. For it would have been cold and unmeaning to say that the enemies laughed at the cessation of it. The Prophet would have no doubt used a different word, if his purpose had been to point out the blasphemy of enemies as to God’s worship. The enemies then saw and laughed at her cessation; but this cessation they called by way of reproach Sabbatharian. It follows, —


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