|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-11 The prophet sometimes speaks in his own person; at other times Jerusalem, as a distressed female, is the speaker, or some of the Jews. The description shows the miseries of the Jewish nation. Jerusalem became a captive and a slave, by reason of the greatness of her sins; and had no rest from suffering. If we allow sin, our greatest adversary, to have dominion over us, justly will other enemies also be suffered to have dominion. The people endured the extremities of famine and distress. In this sad condition Jerusalem acknowledged her sin, and entreated the Lord to look upon her case. This is the only way to make ourselves easy under our burdens; for it is the just anger of the Lord for man's transgressions, that has filled the earth with sorrows, lamentations, sickness, and death.
Verse 7. - Remembered; rather, remembereth. Miseries. The Hebrew is difficult, and perhaps means wanderings. At her sabbaths; rather, at her extinguishment. The word has nothing to do with the sabbaths; indeed, a reference to these would have been rather misplaced; it was no subject of wonder to the Babylonians that the Jews celebrated a weekly day of rest, as they had one of their own (sabattu).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries,.... When carried captive, and in exile in a foreign land; when surrounded with distresses and calamities of various kinds; which are a means sometimes of rubbing up and refreshing the memories of persons with those good things they take little notice of in the times of prosperity; the worth of such things being best known and prized by the want of them: even
all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old; her civil and religious liberties; the word, worship, and ordinances of God; the temple, altars, and courts of the Lord; the ark of the testimony, the symbol of the divine Presence; and the revelation of the will of God by the prophets; their peace, prosperity, and enjoyment of all good things: these were remembered
when her people fell into the hand of the enemy; the Chaldeans. The Targum is,
"into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the wicked, and he oppressed them:''
and none did help her; not the Egyptians, her allies and confederates, in whom she trusted:
her adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths; as the Heathens used to do; calling the Jews Sabbatarians (o); by way of derision; representing them as an idle lazy people, who observed a seventh day merely out of sloth, and so lost a seventh part of time (p); or they mocked at them for keeping them in vain; since, notwithstanding their religious observance of them, they were suffered to be carried captive out of their land; or, as Jarchi thinks, the Chaldeans mocked at them for keeping their sabbaths strictly, now they were in other lands, when they neglected them in their own country; or they jeered them with their weekly and yearly sabbaths; suggesting to them that now they had leisure enough to observe them; and that their land ceased from tillage with a witness now: some think, that because of the observance of a sabbath, they were obliged to by their law, therefore the Heathens made them work the harder, and imposed greater tasks upon them on that day than on others, like the Egyptians of old; though the words may be rendered, "they mocked at her cessations" (q); from joy and pleasure, peace and comfort, and the enjoyment of all good things; so the Targum,
"the enemies saw her when she went into captivity; and they mocked at the good things which ceased out of the midst of her.''
(o) "Quod jejunia sabbatariorum". Martial. l. 4. Epigr. 4. (p) "----Cui septima quaeque fuit lux Ignava, et partem vitae non attigit ullam". Juvenal. Satyr. 5. (q) "irrident cessationes ejus", Junius & Tremellius; "rident propter cesstiones", Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. remembered—rather, "remembers," now, in her afflicted state. In the days of her prosperity she did not appreciate, as she ought, the favors of God to her. Now, awakening out of her past lethargy, she feels from what high privileges she has fallen.
when her people fell, &c.—that is, after which days of prosperity "her people fell."
mock at her sabbaths—The heathen used to mock at the Jews' Sabbath, as showing their idleness, and term them Sabbatarians [Martial, 4.4]. Now, said they ironically, ye may keep a continuous Sabbath. So God appointed the length of the captivity (seventy years) to be exactly that of the sum of the Sabbaths in the four hundred ninety years in which the land was denied its Sabbaths (Le 26:33-35). Maurer translates it "ruin." But English Version better expresses the point of their "mocking," namely, their involuntary "Sabbaths," that is, the cessation of all national movements. A fourth line is added in this stanza, whereas in all the others there are but three. So in La 2:19.
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