Lamentations 1:14
The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up.
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(14) Is bound by his hand . . .—The verb is not found elsewhere, but was probably a technical term for the twisting of the thongs by which the yoke was fastened, the “yoke” in this case being the transgressions of Judah, which were as a sore burden too heavy to be borne.

He hath made.—Better, it hath made; i.e., the yoke which was above her strength to bear.

The Lord.—It is noticeable that here, and in thirteen other passages in this book, the word Adonai is used instead of the more usual Jehovah, as though the latter, the covenant Name of the God of Israel, was less appropriate in the lips of one who was under His condemnation.

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.Bound by his hand - As the plowman binds the yoke upon the neck of oxen, so God compels Judah to bear the punishment of her sins.

They are wreathed, and ... - Or, they are knotted together, "they come up" etc. Judah's sins are like the cords by which the pieces of the yoke are fastened together Jeremiah 27:2; they are knotted and twined like a bunch upon the neck, and bind the yoke around it so securely that it is impossible for her to shake it off.

He hath made ... - Or, it hath made "my strength" to stumble. The yoke of punishment thus imposed and securely fastened, bows down her strength by its weight, and makes her totter beneath it.

The Lord - The third distich of the verse begins here, and with it a new turn of the lamentation. The title Adonai (properly, my Lord) is in the Lamentations used by itself in fourteen places, while the name Yahweh is less prominent; as if in their punishment the people felt the lordship of the Deity more, and His covenant-love to them less.

14. yoke … is bound by his hand—(De 28:48). Metaphor from husbandmen, who, after they have bound the yoke to the neck of oxen, hold the rein firmly twisted round the hand. Thus the translation will be, "in His hand." Or else, "the yoke of my transgressions" (that is, of punishment for my transgressions) is held so fast fixed on me "by" God, that there is no loosening of it; thus English Version, "by His hand."

wreathed—My sins are like the withes entwined about the neck to fasten the yoke to.

into their hands, from whom—into the hands of those, from whom, &c. Maurer translates, "before whom I am not able to stand."


Still the prophet eyeth God in all, and acknowledgeth his justice while he calls their afflictions the yoke of their transgressions, that is, which was put upon their neck, upon the same account that yokes are put about the necks of beasts that use to break hedges, &c. and bound to keep them fast. My punishments are twisted as cords, to make them more strong; I have a complication of judgments upon me, sword, famine, pestilence, captivity; they are not only prepared for my neck, but they are already put upon it. 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 yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand,.... That is, the punishment of her sins was laid upon her by the Lord himself; his hand was in it; it came from him; the Chaldeans were only instruments; and a heavy yoke this was. So the Targum renders it,

"the yoke of my rebellions is made heavy by his hand:''

they are wreathed, and come upon my neck; or, "twisted together" (b); as lines to make a cord; or as several cords to make a rope; or as branches of trees or withes are implicated and entwined; and so the Targum,

"they are twisted together as the branches of a vine.''

It denotes the complication of judgments upon the Jewish nation for their sins, with which they were holden as with cords; and which were like ropes about their necks, very heavy and distressing to them, and from which they could not deliver themselves. Mr. Broughton thinks the apostle has reference to this passage; and explains it by the sin that easily besets, or cunningly wraps about, Hebrews 12:1;

he hath made my strength to fall; by the weight of punishment laid upon her, which she could not stand up under, but sunk and fell: this may be understood of her strong and mighty men; her men of valour and courage, who yet stumbled and fell:

the Lord hath delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up; meaning the Chaldeans; nor were the Jews at last delivered from them by their own strength, but by the means of Cyrus the Persian conquering Babylon.

(b) "involutae", Vatablus; "perplexae", Pagninus, Montanus, Calvin; "contortae", Piscator, Grotius, Michaelis.

The {p} yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are knit together, and come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise.

(p) My heavy sins are continually before his eyes as he that ties a thing to his hand for a reminder.

14. is bound] The manifold sins of the people are likened to a complication of cords, attaching a yoke to the neck of a beast of burden, and keeping it secure in its place. Cp. note on “bands and bars” of Jeremiah 27:2. The Heb. verb, however, occurs here only, and the reading may be corrupt. The LXX (and so Vulg.), by the slightest possible change in reading the Heb. verb (involving only the transference of a diacritical mark), render “watch has been kept over mine iniquities,” obtaining the latter part of their rendering by taking the word pointed in MT. to mean yoke (‘ol) as though it were the preposition upon (‘al). We must then, for the sake of metrical division, take “by his hand” in connexion with “they are knit together,” and, as this leaves the next line (in the MT.) too short, Budde there inserts “a yoke” before “upon,” rendering, “They have come up as a yoke upon my neck; they have made my strength to fail.”

Verse 14. - Is bound...are wreathed. The transgressions of Jerusalem are likened to a heavy yoke. So numerous are they that they are said to be "wreathed," or twisted together, like ropes. Into their hands. The Hebrew has simply "into hands;" following a suggestion of the Septuagint. Budde would read, "Into the hands of adversaries." Lamentations 1:14In 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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