Darby's Bible Synopsis
Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,
The following commentary covers Chapters 18 and 19.
Chapter 18 contains an important principle of the dealings of God, unfolded at that period. God would judge the individual according to his own conduct; the wicked nation was judged as such. Neither was it, in fact, judged for the iniquity of the fathers. The present iniquities of the people made the judgment which their fathers had merited suitable to their own actions. But now, with respect to His land of Israel, the principle of government laid down in Exodus 34:7 was set aside, and souls belonging, as they did individually, to Jehovah, would individually bear the judgment of their own sins. God would pardon the repenting sinner. For He has no pleasure in the sinner's death. The government of Israel on earth is still the subject. Every one shall be judged according to his ways [See Note #1]. Chapter 19 describes the captivity of Jehoiakim, afterwards that of Jeconiah, and finally the complete decay of the house of David.
It is important to remark that it is temporal judgment in death which is spoken of here. The question treated of is the allegation of Israel that they, according to the principle laid down in Exodus, were suffering for their fathers' sins. The prophet declares that this principle is not that on which God will act with them, that the soul or life of every one belonged to God, one as another, and that in judgment He would deal with each for his own sins, not the son for the father's; and then proceeds to lay down the principles on which He would deal in mercy and judgment; but the judgments are temporal judgments, and the death physical death in this world. If the wicked turned from his ways, he would live and not die-not be cut off for the sins he repented of; so of the wicked, he shall surely die, his blood shall be upon him. So the soul that sinneth, it shall die. It is not the father, nor the son because of a father's sins; the soul or person himself that sins shall die, each for his own. The emphasis is on "it."
And say, What is thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions.
And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men.
The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt.
Now when she saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her whelps, and made him a young lion.
And he went up and down among the lions, he became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, and devoured men.
And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, by the noise of his roaring.
Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit.
And they put him in ward in chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon: they brought him into holds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel.
Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.
And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches.
But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.
And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground.
And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.