Lamentations 1
Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary


In these Jeremias laments in a most pathetic manner the miseries of his people, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, in Hebrew verses, beginning with different letters according to the order of the Hebrew alphabet. (Challoner) --- In the first chapter the order is exactly observed, but in the three next phe comes before ain, either for some mystery to us unknown, or by the derangement of transcribers, who perhaps thought that those verses were better connected, as they seem to be, (Calmet) though this is not very clear. (Haydock) --- In such pieces the sentiments of a pensive heart are poured out without much connection. (Worthington) --- The Greeks style this word Greek: threnoi, and Hebrew kinoth, or lamentations. (Haydock) --- St. Jerome, (2 Paralipomenon xxxv. 25.) thinks it was the first composition of Jeremias, and sung at the death of Josias. (Worthington) (St. Jerome, in Zacharias xii. 11.) --- The eulogy of the king seems to belong to him rather than to Sedecias, chap. iv. 20. (Calmet) --- Yet it might afterwards be applied to the latter, (Haydock) and to the ruin of Jerusalem, Ecclesiasticus xlix. 8. (St. Jerome, Pref.; Theodoret, &c.) --- The city is represented standing, and sometimes in ruins. Chap. v. seems to have been written after the rest, ver. 4, 18. (Calmet) --- It is not acrostic like them. The prophet alludes to the wretched condition of the Jews, after the murder of their Messias; and hence the Church makes use of the lamentations on the anniversary of our Saviour's passion, inviting all sinners, both Jews and Gentiles, to repent: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God." (Worthington) --- Many passages are applicable to a soul fallen into sin, as the commentary under the name of St. Jerome, (Haydock) compiled by Rabanus, (Du Pin) shews. (Haydock)

City. David had conquered many. Jerusalem was long considered as the finest city in those parts. --- Tributary. It had been so to the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Chaldeans, 4 Kings xxiv. 1. From this and similar passages, it would seem that the city was still existing: yet in others it appears to have been demolished. Here then the prophet declares what it had been: (Calmet) unless he wrote part after the death of Josias. (Haydock) --- The beholders are astonished at the change and misery of the city. (Worthington)

Night; privately, or without ceasing. --- Friends, who had made a league with Sedecias, chap. xxvii. 3., and xlviii. 26.

Rest. Many returning to join Godolias, chap. xl. 7. (Calmet) --- The Jews who beheld their brethren led away to Babylon, retired into Egypt, but were in misery. (Worthington)

Feast, thrice-a-year. This was the most charming sight, when all the nation met to adore God, and to renew their friendship with one another. (Calmet)

Lords. Literally, "at the head," (Haydock) which Moses had threatened, Deuteronomy xxvi. 1, 43. (Calmet) --- This would be most cutting. (Worthington)

Beauty; princes' palaces, but particularly the temple, ver. 10. (Calmet) --- Rams, fleeing from place to place to seek relief. (Worthington)

Of all. She compares her past happiness with her present chastisement. --- Sabbaths, or days of rest. The pagans derided them as so much lost time. Ignava et partem vitז non attigit ullam. (Juvenal v.; Seneca, apud St. Augustine, City of God vi. 11.) --- If none of their legislators thought of such an institution, it was because they had not the spirit of Moses: their feasts were dissolute. (Calmet)

Unstable. Hebrew also, "removed," (Haydock) like a woman unclean. (Calmet) --- Such were excluded from places of prayer, and were not allowed to touch a sacred book, or to pronounce God's name. Their husbands could not look at their face, nor give them any thing, but laid it down for them to take. (Buxtorf, Syn. 31.) --- No condition could be more distressing. (Calmet)

End in her prosperity, to avert this misfortune. (Haydock) --- Idolatry is a spiritual adultery, (Worthington) and one of the worst species of filth. (Haydock)

Church. Deuteronomy xxxiii. 1., and Ezechiel xliv. 9. The Chaldeans disregarded the ordinance.

O. Hebrew of the Masorets, "It is." (Calmet) --- Protestants, "Is it nothing to you, all?" &c. (Haydock) --- But the Vulgate is much clearer, and approved by many Protestants, lu being often used as an exclamation, Genesis xvii. 18. (Calmet) --- Vintage. He has plundered all, ver. 22. (Haydock) --- The king took a great deal, and his general the rest, 4 Kings xxiv., and xxv. (Worthington)

Bones: fortresses. (Theodoret) --- I am like one in a burning fever, Ezechiel xxiv. 4. (Calmet) --- Chastised. Literally, "instructed." This is the good effect of affliction. (Haydock)

Watched. This metaphor is not too harsh, chap. xxxi. 28. The Masorets prefer, (Calmet) "is bound by his hand." (Protestants) But miskad is explained (Haydock) by the Septuagint, &c., in the sense of the Vulgate. God lays the yoke on my neck suddenly. My iniquities are like bands, and Nabuchodonosor has power over me.

Mighty. Hebrew, "magnificent" princes, (Luke xxii. 25.) or warriors. --- Time of vengeance. All in animated. Hebrew also, "a troop" of Chaldeans, chap. ii. 22. --- Juda. God, as the first cause, punishes the Jews by war.

Then. They surround the city, to starve the inhabitants, ver. 8.

Me. Egypt attempted to relieve Juda, to no purpose, ver. 2. (Calmet) --- It could not, or at least did not, prove of any service to the Jews, chap. ii. 18. (Worthington)

Alike, by famine, &c. (Calmet) (Worthington) --- Ubique pavor et plurima mortis imago. (Virgil, ֶneid ii.)

Done it. They conclude that I am cast off for ever. But when I shall be comforted, their turn will come; (Calmet) or rather they will feel the scourge soon after me. --- Consolation. Hebrew, "which thou hast appointed." (Haydock) (Chap. xlviii. 26., &c., and Ezechiel xxv., &c.)

Let. He prays not for their ruin, but predicts it; and wishes rather that they would be converted. (Calmet)

Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary

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