|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-12 What a change is here! Sin tarnishes the beauty of the most exalted powers and the most excellent gifts; but that gold, tried in the fire, which Christ bestows, never will be taken from us; its outward appearance may be dimmed, but its real value can never be changed. The horrors of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem are again described. Beholding the sad consequences of sin in the church of old, let us seriously consider to what the same causes may justly bring down the church now. But, Lord, though we have gone from thee in rebellion, yet turn to us, and turn our hearts to thee, that we may fear thy name. Come to us, bless us with awakening, converting, renewing, confirming grace.
Verse 10. - The pitiful women. Strange contrast between the compassionate nature of woman (comp. Isaiah 49:15) and the dread horrors of this moral as well as physical catastrophe (comp. note on Lamentations 2:20).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children,.... Such as were naturally, and agreeably to their sex, pitiful and compassionate; merciful to the poor, as the Targum; and especially tenderhearted to their own offspring; yet, by reason of the soreness of the famine, became so cruel and hardhearted, as to take their own children, and slay them with their own hands, cut them to pieces, put them into a pot of water, and make a fire and boil them, and then eat them, as follows:
they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people: at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. This strange and unnatural action was foretold by Moses, Deuteronomy 28:56; and though we have no particular instance of it on record, as done at the siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, yet no doubt there was, as may be concluded from the words: and at the siege of it by the Romans, when many things here spoken of had a fuller accomplishment, we have a remarkable instance of it, which Josephus (a) relates; an illustrious woman, named Mary, pressed with the famine, slew her own son, a sucking child, boiled him, and ate part of him, and laid up the rest; which was found by the seditious party that broke into her house, which struck them with the utmost horror; See Gill on Lamentations 2:20.
(a) De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 3. sect. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. (La 2:20; De 28:56, 57).
pitiful—naturally at other times compassionate (Isa 49:15). Josephus describes the unnatural act as it took place in the siege under Titus.
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