|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-16 Is any afflicted? Let him pray; and let him in prayer pour out his complaint to God. The people of God do so here; they complain not of evils feared, but of evils felt. If penitent and patient under what we suffer for the sins of our fathers, we may expect that He who punishes, will return in mercy to us. They acknowledge, Woe unto us that we have sinned! All our woes are owing to our own sin and folly. Though our sins and God's just displeasure cause our sufferings, we may hope in his pardoning mercy, his sanctifying grace, and his kind providence. But the sins of a man's whole life will be punished with vengeance at last, unless he obtains an interest in Him who bare our sins in his own body on the tree.
Verse 10. - Was black like an oven. The translation is misleading; there is no real parallel to Lamentations 4:8. Render, gloweth. It is the feverish glow produced by gnawing hunger which is meant. The terrible famine; rather, the burning heat of hunger. Hariri, the humoristic author of the cycle of stories in rhymed Arabic prose and verse, called 'Makamat,' puts into the mouth of his ne'er do well Abu Seid very similar words to describe a famished man -
"Dess Eingeweide brennend nach Erquickung sehrein,
Der nichts gegessen seit zwei Tagen oder drein."
(Ruckert's adaptation, third Makama.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Our skin was black like an oven, because of the terrible famine. Or "terrors and horrors of famine"; which are very dreadful and distressing: or, "the storms of famine"; see Psalm 11:6; or, "burning winds" (u); such as are frequent in Africa and Asia; to which the famine is compared that was in Jerusalem, at the siege of it, both by the Chaldeans and Romans; and as an oven, furnace, or chimney becomes black by the smoke of the fire burnt in it, or under it; so the skins of the Jews became black through these burning winds and storms, or burnings of famine; see Lamentations 4:8. So Jarchi says the word has the signification of "burning"; for famine as it were burns up the bodies of men when most vehement.
(u) "horrorum famis", Montanus; "terrores, vel tremores", Vatablus; "procellas famis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "exustiones", Pagninus, Calvin; "adustiones famis", Stockius, p. 281.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. As an oven is scorched with too much fire, so our skin with the hot blast of famine (Margin, rightly, "storms," like the hot simoom). Hunger dries up the pores so that the skin becomes like as if it were scorched by the sun (Job 30:30; Ps 119:83).
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