Lamentations 1:13
From above has he sent fire into my bones, and it prevails against them: he has spread a net for my feet, he has turned me back: he has made me desolate and faint all the day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) From above . . .—The words are probably figurative. The judgments that had fallen on Jerusalem were as a fire from heaven, piercing even to “the joints and marrow,” the innermost recesses of life.

He hath turned me back . . .—The phrase points not to the defeat and flight of battle, but, completing the figure of the net, paints the failure of every effort to escape. The word for “desolate” implies, as in the case of Tamar (2Samuel 13:20), an utter, hopeless misery.

Lamentations 1:13-16. From above hath he sent fire into my bones — Calamities as consuming and as afflictive as fire in the bones. He hath spread a net for my feet — Hath brought me into a most miserable condition, in which I am so entangled that I cannot extricate myself nor escape from it. Thus the prophet teaches Jerusalem to look beyond the Babylonians, and to see the sin-avenging hand of God in her sufferings. As if he had said, It is God himself that hath sent these evils upon me; he hath stirred up my enemies against me, and they are no more than the rod of his anger. The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand, &c. — He has, as it were, gathered my iniquities and the iniquities of my people together, and made a yoke of them to put upon me, so that I am weighed down by them, and by the judgments inflicted on account of them. They are wreathed, and come up upon my neck — My punishments are twisted with my sins as cords to make them strong: I have a complication of judgments upon me, sword, famine, pestilence, captivity; and they are not only prepared for my neck, but are already put upon it. He hath made my strength to fall, &c. — All my valiant men, the strength of my nation, is broken, and I am so fallen that I am not able to rise again. The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men, &c. — The destruction which is made by war is frequently expressed by treading under foot: see note on Jeremiah 50:26. He hath called an assembly against me to crush, &c. — Instead of those solemn assemblies that were wont to be called together in the midst of me by the sound of trumpet, to celebrate my solemn feasts, God hath called an assembly of Chaldeans to lay me in ruins, and crush my people. The Lord hath trodden the daughter of Judah as in a wine-press — That people, which was formerly chosen by Jehovah, and secured against all violent attempts by his immediate and almighty protection, he has now given up to the fury of their enemies, to afflict them with such severity that their blood has been shed in the streets of Jerusalem as wine from the wine-press. For these things I weep, &c. — For these sore afflictions, and for my sins which have caused them, and for these tokens of divine wrath which I see in them I weep so plentifully, and am in such distress, that mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul — Namely, God; is far from me — Hath withdrawn himself, is departed from me in displeasure, and beholds me afar off. My children are desolate — The other cities of Judah, under Jerusalem, the mother city, or my people, are wasted, destroyed, and made desolate, because the enemy hath prevailed — And effected his purpose.1:12-22 Jerusalem, sitting dejected on the ground, calls on those that passed by, to consider whether her example did not concern them. Her outward sufferings were great, but her inward sufferings were harder to bear, through the sense of guilt. Sorrow for sin must be great sorrow, and must affect the soul. Here we see the evil of sin, and may take warning to flee from the wrath to come. Whatever may be learned from the sufferings of Jerusalem, far more may be learned from the sufferings of Christ. Does he not from the cross speak to every one of us? Does he not say, Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Let all our sorrows lead us to the cross of Christ, lead us to mark his example, and cheerfully to follow him.It prevaileth - Or, hath subdued.

He hath turned me back - Judaea, like a hunted animal, endeavors to escape, but finds every outlet blocked by nets, and recoils from them with terror and a sense of utter hopelessness.

13. bones—a fire which not only consumes the skin and flesh, but penetrates even to my "bones" (that is, my vital powers).

prevaileth against—not as Rosenmuller, "He (Jehovah) hath broken them"; a sense not in the Hebrew.

net—(Eze 12:13); image from hunting wild beasts. He has so entangled me in His judgments that I cannot escape.

turned me back—so that I cannot go forward and get free from His meshes.

Nun.

By

fire he means a judgment as consuming and as afflictive as fire in the bones, which had consumed the strength of the Jews.

He hath spread a net for my feet; that is, God had brought them into a condition wherein they were entangled, and could not get out. The holy man owneth God as the first cause of all the evil they suffered, and entitles God to their various kinds of afflictions, both in captivity and during the siege, looking beyond the Babylonians, who were the proximate instrumental cause. From above hath he sent fire into my bones,.... Which the Targum interprets of her fortified cities, towns, or castles; as Jerusalem, more especially the temple, and the palaces of the king and nobles in it; which, though burnt by the fire of the Chaldeans, yet, this being according to the determination and by the direction of the Lord, is said to be sent from above, from heaven; so that they seemed to be as it were struck with lightning from heaven; unless it should be thought rather to be understood of the fire of divine wrath, of which the people of the Jews had a quick sense, and was like a burning fever in them:

and it prevails against them; or "it" (z); that is, the fire prevails against or rules over everyone of the bones, to the consumption of them: or rather, "he rules over it" (a); that is, God rules over the fire; directs it, and disposes of it, according to his sovereign will and pleasure, to the destruction of the strength of the Jewish nation:

he hath spread a net for my feet; in which she was entangled, so that she could not flee from the fire, and escape it, if she would. The allusion is to the taking of birds and wild beasts in nets; if God had not spread a net for the Jews, the Chaldeans could never have taken them; see Ezekiel 12:13;

he hath turned me back; her feet being taken in the net, she could not go forward, but was obliged to turn back, or continue in the net, not being able to extricate her feet: or, "turned me upon my back"; as the Arabic version; laid me prostrate, and so an easy prey to the enemy; or, as the Targum,

"he hath caused me to turn the back to mine enemies:''

he hath made me desolate and faint all the day; the cities being without inhabitants; the land uncultivated; the state in a sickly and languishing condition; and which continued so to the end of the seventy years' captivity.

(z) "et desaeviit in ea", Munster, Tigurine version; "et contrivit ipsum"; so some in Vatablus. (a) "Et dominatus est ea", Montanus, Vatablus, Piscator.

From above hath {o} he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made me desolate and faint all the day.

(o) This declares that we should acknowledge God to be the author of all our afflictions to the intent that we might seek him for remedy.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. Zion likens herself to one whose inmost parts are being consumed, as with flame. Cp. Jeremiah 20:9; Job 30:30; Psalm 102:3.

it prevaileth against] it subdueth, or, in the sense of the cognate root in Syriac, chastiseth.

He hath spread a net for my feet] Cp. Jeremiah 50:24; Ezekiel 12:13; Job 18:8 ff.

13–15. Notice the accumulation of figures under which the destruction of the city is represented, fiery rain, toils of a net, a blocking of the way, a yoke laid on the neck, a sacrificial banquet, the treading of grapes in a winepress.Verse 13. - Three figures - fire, a net, sickness, for the calamities which have come upon Jerusalem. From above; i.e. from heaven. Spread a net for my feet, as though I were a wild beast (comp. Jeremiah 18:22). Turned me back. The consequence of being entangled in the net was that he could go no further, but fell into the hands of his pursuers. The loss of all her magnificence (Lamentations 1:7) brings to the remembrance of the sorrowing city, in her trouble, the former days of her now departed glory. "Jerusalem" is not the totality of those who are carried away (Thenius), but the city personified as the daughter of Zion (cf. Lamentations 1:6). "The days of her affliction," etc., is not the direct object of "remembers," as Pareau and Kalkschmidt assume, with the lxx; the object is "all her pleasant things." If "the days of her affliction" were also intended to be the object, "all her pleasant things" would be preceded by the copula w, which Pareau indeed supplies, but arbitrarily. Moreover, the combination of the days of misery with the glory of bygone days is inappropriate, because Jerusalem feels her present misery directly, and does not need first to call them to remembrance. "The days of her affliction," etc., is the accusative of duration. Living through the times of her adversity, Jerusalem thinks of former happy times, and this remembrance increases her sorrow. מרוּדים occurs only here, in Lamentations 3:19 and in Isaiah 58:7 : in meaning it is connected with רוּד, vagari, and signifies roaming, - not voluntary, but compulsory, - rejection, persecution; while the adjective מרוּדים, found in Isaiah, is, as regards its form, taken from מרד, which is cognate with רוּד. מחמדּים or מחמוּדים (Lamentations 1:11, Kethib) is perhaps used in a more general sense than מחמדּים, Lamentations 2:4 and Lamentations 1:11 (Qeri), an signifies what is costly, splendid, viz., gracious gifts, both of a temporal and spiritual kind, which Israel formerly possessed, while מחמדּים signifies costly treasures. "The days of old" are the times of Moses and Joshua, of David and Solomon. In the words, "when her people fell," etc., the days of misery are more exactly specified. The suffix in ראוּה refers to Jerusalem. צרים are the foes into whose power Jerusalem fell helplessly, not specially the escorts of those who were carried away (Thenius). They made a mockery of her משׁבּתּים. This word is ἅπ. λεγ. It is not identical in meaning with ,שׁבּתותsabbata (Vulgate, Luther, etc.), though connected with it; nor does it signify deletiones, destructions (Gesenius), but cessationes. This last rendering, however, is not to be taken according to the explanation of Rosenm׬ller: quod cessasset omnis ille decor, qui nominatus este ante, principatus et prosper rerum status; but rather as L. Cappellus in his nott. crit. expresses it: quod nunc terra ejus deserta jacet nec colitur et quasi cessat et feriatur, though he does not quite exhaust the meaning. As Gerlach rightly remarks, the expression is "evidently used with reference to the threatenings given in the law, Leviticus 26:34-35, that the land would observe its Sabbaths, - that it will keep them during the whole period of the desolation, when Israel is in the land of his enemies." We must not, however, restrict the reference merely to the uncultivated state of the fields, but extend it so that it shall be applied to cessation from all kinds of employment, even those connected with the worship of God, which were necessary for the hallowing of the Sabbath. The mockery of enemies does not apply to the Jewish celebration of the Sabbath (to which Grotius refers the words), but to the cessation of the public worship of the Lord, inasmuch as the heathen, by destroying Jerusalem and the temple, fancied they had not only put an end to the worship of God of the Jews, but also conquered the God of Israel as a helpless national deity, and made a mock of Israel's faith in Jahveh as the only true God.
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