|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 5. - Our necks are under persecution. Persecution is here compared to a yoke. But this rendering and explanation hardly suit the phrase, which rather means, "We are pursued close upon our necks." The harassing conduct of the Babylonian conquerors is compared to the pursuit of a foe fast gaining upon a fugitive.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Our necks are under persecution,.... A yoke of hard servitude and bondage was put upon their necks, as Jarchi interprets it; which they were forced to submit unto: or, "upon our necks we are pursued" (s); or, "suffer persecution": which Aben Ezra explains thus, in connection with the Lamentations 5:4; if we carry water or wood upon our necks, the enemy pursues us; that is, to take it away from us. The Targum relates a fable here, that when Nebuchadnezzar saw the ungodly rulers of the children of Israel, who went empty, he ordered to sow up the books of the law, and make bags or wallets of them, and fill them with the stones on the banks of the Euphrates, and loaded them on their necks:
we labour, and have no rest; night nor day, nor even on sabbath days; obliged to work continually till they were weary; and, when they were, were not allowed time to rest themselves, like their forefathers in Egypt.
(s) "super colla nostra persecutionem passi sumus", Pagninus, Montanus, Calvin; "vel patimur", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. Literally, "On our necks we are persecuted"; that is, Men tread on our necks (Ps 66:12; Isa 51:23; compare Jos 10:24). The extremest oppression. The foe not merely galled the Jews face, back, and sides, but their neck. A just retribution, as they had been stiff in neck against the yoke of God (2Ch 30:8, Margin; Ne 9:29; Isa 48:4).
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