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Lamentations 5:2

2. Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens.

2. Haereditas nostra devoluta est ad exteros, domus nostrae ad alienos.


A catalogue of many calamities is now given by the Prophet, and as I have reminded you, for this end, that he may obtain God’s favor for himself and for the whole people. It was by no means a reasonable thing, that the inheritance of the elect people should be given to aliens; for we know that the land had been promised to Abraham four hundred years before his children possessed it; we know that this promise had been often repeated, “This land shall be to you for an inheritance.” For though God sustained all nations, yet he was pleased to take a peculiar care of his people. In short, no land has ever been given to men in so singular a way as the land of Canaan to the posterity of Abraham. As, then, this inheritance had been for so many ages possessed by the chosen people, Jeremiah does not without reason complain that it was turned over to aliens.

In the second clause he repeats the same thing; but he shews that the Jews had not only been robbed of their fields, but had been cast out of their houses, a more grievous and disgraceful thing. For it sometimes happens, that when one loses his farm, his fields, and vineyards, his house remains to him untouched; but the Prophet here amplifies the misery of his own nation, that they were not only deprived of their fields and possessions, but that they were also ejected from their own houses, and others had possession of them. For it is a sight deemed affecting even among heathens, when one unworthy of any honor succeeds in the place of another eminent in wealth and dignity. Well known are these words, —

O house of Aucus! How ruled by an unequal master! 223223     O domus Anci! Quam dispari domino dominaris!

As Tarquinius had succeeded and taken possession of the kingdom, the heathen poet upbraidingly said that the house of Ancus had passed over to those who were at first exiles and fugitives, but afterwards became proud and cruel tyrants. So also in this place Jeremiah says that aliens dwelt in the houses of the people. It follows, —

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