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Lamentations 1:20

20. Behold, O LORD; for I am in distress; my bowels are troubled; mine heart is turned within me; for I have greviously rebelled: abroad the sword bereaveth, at home there is as death.

20. Vide Jehova, quia afflictio mihi, (vel, augustia,) viscera mea conturbata sunt (alii, contracta;) eversum est cor meum interme, quia rebellando rebellavi; fris orbat gladius, domi tanquam mors.


The people turn again to pray God: and what has been before said ought to be remembered, that these lamentations of Jeremiah differ from the complaints of the ungodly; because the faithful first acknowledge that they are justly chastised by God’s hand, and secondly, they trust in his mercy and implore his aid. For by these two marks the Church is distinguished from the unbelieving, even by repentance and faith. To sigh and to mourn in adversities, and to lament also their miseries, are common to both; but the children of God differ greatly from the ungodly, because they humble themselves under his mighty hand, and confess that they deserve to suffer punishment; and further, they cast not away the hope of salvation, but implore his mercy. Then the Prophet introduces again the people as praying God to look on them. For the ungodly pour forth their complaints into the air; and when at any time nature dictates to them that they ought to address God, yet no prayer arises from a sincere heart.

There is no doubt but that the Prophet here shewed to the faithful how they were to lament their common miseries, even so as patiently to bear the chastisements of God, and also to seek deliverance from him, though they had provoked his wrath. For when we see that we are pressed down by God’s hand, we do not murmur, but the knowledge of our sins humbles us, and faith moderates our mourning, which would otherwise exceed moderation. And when we thus humbly flee to God, we in a manner unburden our sorrows into his bosom, as it is said in the Psalms, “Cast (or roll) on God thy cares.” (Psalm 55:22.)

He then says first, See, Jehovah, for affliction is to me. He then expresses the manner of the affliction, because his bowels were bound, or troubled. The word is from, חמרchemer, which is doubled. Some derive it from חמור, chemur, an ass, and so render it “bound,” as when a. burden is fastened on an ass. But more probable is the opinion of those who derive the word from mortar or cement, for as cement is made by mixing water with lime and sand, and stirring them together, so by a metaphor the bowels are said to be stirred or troubled; 145145     Troubled,” or disquieted, is the rendering of all the versions, and also of the Targ. As it is a reduplicate, the verb means greatly troubled or greatly disturbed, or violently agitated. — Ed. and this explanation agrees better with what follows — for it is added, my heart is overturned. The reason is given, because the people by rebelling had rebelled, that is, had been very rebellious against God. We have said that the complaints of the godly differ from those of the ungodly, for they not only pray to God, but make also a sincere confession, so as to make it evident that they are justly chastised by God’s hand. At the beginning of the verse the faithful prayed, and now again they declare that they deserved what they suffered, because they had been very rebellious. Then Jeremiah proceeds with what he had begun to say respecting the grievousness of their punishment, Abroad, or without, he says, the sword bereaves, and at home it is like death; that is, “When we go abroad, the sword meets us; and when we hide ourselves at home, there also many deaths surround us.” He uses the particle of likeness, as, or like; as though he had said that nothing met them at home but what was deadly. 146146     The rendering of the Sept. is, —
   Abroad the sword has bereaved me, as death at home.

   To the same purpose is the Syr. and Arab. Having before referred to death by famine, he now adds the devastation of the sword. — Ed.
It now follows, —

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