Lamentations 1:13
From above hath 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.
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(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.



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.

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. Lamentations 1:13In Lamentations 1:13-15, the misfortunes that have befallen Jerusalem are enumerated in a series of images. "Out from the height (i.e., down from heaven) hath He sent fire into my bones;" ויּרדּנּהּ is rendered by Luther, "and let it have the mastery" (Ger. und dasselbige walten lassen). Thenius explains this as being correct, and accordingly seeks to point the word ויּרדּנּהּ, while Ewald takes רדה to be cognate with רתח, and translates it "made them red-hot;" and Rosenmller, following N. G. Schrder, attributes to רדה, from the Arabic, the meaning collisit, percussit lapide. All these explanations are not only far-fetched and incapable of lexical vindication, but also unnecessary. The change of vowels, so as to make it the Hiphil, is opposed by the fact that רדה, in the Hiphil, does not mean to cause to manage, rule, but to read down, subdue (Isaiah 41:2). In Kal, it means to tread, tread down, and rule, as in Jeremiah 5:31, where Gesenius and Deitrich erroneously assume the meaning of "striding, going," and accordingly render this passage, "it stalks through them." The lexically substantiated meaning, "subdue, rule, govern, (or, more generally,) overpower," is quite sufficient for the present passage, since רדה is construed not merely with בּ, but also with the accusative: the subject is אשׁ, which is also construed as a masc. in Jeremiah 48:45; and the suffix ־נּה may either be taken as a neuter, or referred to "my bones," without compelling us to explain it as meaning unumquodque os (Rosenmller, etc.). The bones are regarded as bodily organs in which the pain is most felt, and are not to be explained away allegorically to mean urbes meas munitas (Chaldee). While fire from above penetrated the bones, God from beneath placed nets for the feet which thus were caught. On this figure, cf. Jeremiah 50:24; Hosea 7:12, etc. The consequence of this was that "He turned me back," ita ut progredi pedemque extricare non possem, sed capta detinerer (C. B. Michaelis), - not, "he threw me down backwards," i.e., made me fall heavily (Thenius). "He hath made me desolate" (שׁוממה), - not obstupescentem, perturbatam, desperatam (Rosenmller); the same word is applied to Tamar, 2 Samuel 13:20, as one whose happiness in life has been destroyed. "The whole day (i.e., constantly, uninterruptedly) sick," or ill. The city is regarded as a person whose happiness in life has been destroyed, and whose health has been broken. This miserable condition is represented in Lamentations 1:14, under another figure, as a yoke laid by God on this people for their sins. נשׂקד, ἅπ. λεγ., is explained by Kimchi as נקשׁר או נתחבר, compactum vel colligatum, according to which שׂקד would be allied to עקד. This explanation suits the context; on the other hand, neither the interpretation based on the Talmudic סקד, punxit, stimulavit, which is given by Raschi and Aben Ezra, nor the interpretations of the lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate, which are founded on the reading נשׁקד, harmonize with על, which must be retained, as is shown by the words עלוּ על־צוּארי. Ewald supposes that שׂקד was the technical expression for the harnessing on of the yoke. "The yoke of my transgressions" (not "of my chastisements," as Gesenius, Rosenmller, and Ewald think) means the yoke formed of the sins. The notion of punishment is not contained in פּשׁעי, but in the imposition of the yoke upon the neck, by which the misdeeds of sinful Jerusalem are laid on her, as a heavy, depressing burden which she must bear. These sins become interwoven or intertwine themselves (ישׂתּרגוּ), after the manner of intertwined vine-tendrils (שׂריגים, Genesis 40:10; cf. remarks on Job 40:17), as the Chaldee paraphrase well shows; and, through this interweaving, form the yoke that has come on the neck of the sinful city. Veluti ex contortis funibus aut complicatis lignis jugum quoddam construitur, ita h. l. praevaricationis tanquam materia insupportabilis jugi considerantur (C. B. Michaelis). עלה is used of the imposition of the yoke, as in Numbers 19:2; 1 Samuel 6:7. The effect of the imposition of this yoke is: "it hath made my strength to stumble (fail)." Pareau, Thenius, Vaihinger, and Ngelsbach assume God as the subject of the verb הכשׁיל; but this neither accords with the current of the description, nor with the emphatic mention of the subject אדני in the clause succeeding this. Inasmuch as, in the first member of the verse, God is not the subject, but the address takes a passive turn, it is only the leading word על that can be the subject of הכשׁיל: the yoke of sins which, twined together, have come on the neck, has made the strength stumble, i.e., broken it. This effect of the yoke of sins is stated, in the last member, in simple and unfigurative speech: "the Lord hath given me into the hands of those whom I cannot withstand," i.e., before whom I cannot maintain my ground. On the construction בּידי לא אוּכל, cf. Ewald, 333, b; Gesenius, 116, 3. קוּם is here viewed in the sense of standing fast, maintaining ground, as in Psalm 18:39; and, construed with the accusative, it signifies, to withstand any one; its meaning is not surgere, which Thenius, following the Vulgate, would prefer: the construction here requires the active meaning of the verb.
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