Lamentations 1:16
For these things I weep; my eye, my eye runs down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed.
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(16) For these things . . .—The unparalleled misery finds vent in a flood of bitterest tears. We note the emphasis of iteration in “mine eye, mine eye.” On “relieve,” see Note on Lamentations 1:11; and on “desolate,” see Note on Lamentations 1:13.

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.The Lord hath trodden under foot - Or, אדני 'ădonāy has made contemptible (i. e. put into the balance, made to go up as the lighter weight, and so made despicable) "my war-horses" (put metaphorically for heroes).

In the midst of me - They had not fallen gloriously in the battlefield, but remained ignominiously in the city.

Assembly - Or, "a solemn feast;" the word especially used of the great festivals Leviticus 23:2. אדני 'ădonāy has proclaimed a festival, not for me, but against me.

The Lord hath trodden ... - Or, "אדני 'ădonāy hath trodden the winepress for the virgin daughter of Judah." See Jeremiah 51:14 note. By slaying Judah's young men in battle, God is trampling for her the winepress of His indignation.

16. (Jer 13:17; 14:17). Jerusalem is the speaker.

mine eye, mine eye—so La 4:18, "our end … our end"; repetition for emphasis.


For these sore afflictions, and for my sins that have caused them, and for these impressions of Divine wrath which I discern in them, Lord! I that am thy prophet, and we that are Israelites indeed, weep, and that plentifully; having neither thee present with us as formerly to be our hope or comfort, nor any friend that will deal by us as friends sometimes do by others in swooning fits to fetch back their souls.

My children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed; either the other cities of Judah, (Jerusalem was the mother city,) or my people, my inhabitants, are wasted, destroyed, and made desolate, because the enemy hath prevailed. For these things I weep,.... The congregation of Judah, the godly among them, particularly Jeremiah, who represented them, wept for the sins the people had been guilty of, and for the punishment inflicted on them, or the sore calamities that were brought upon them. The Targum goes into particulars, and paraphrases it thus,

"for the little ones that are dashed in pieces, and for the women big with child, whose bellies are ripped up, the congregation of Israel saith, I:weep:''

mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water: which doubling of the words seems to express the vehemency of her passion; the greatness of the grief she was overwhelmed with. The Targum is,

"my both eyes flow with tears as a fountain of water:''

because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me; meaning God himself, who is the principal comforter of his people: saints may be comforters of one another, by relating to each other their gracious experiences; praying with one another, and building up each other in their most holy faith; by behaving in a kind, tender, and loving manner to each other; forgiving mutual offences; and conversing together about the glories of heaven, and being for ever with the Lord; but these sometimes are at a distance; or, like Job's friends, are miserable comforters. Ministers of the Gospel are by their character and office "Barnabases", "sons of consolation"; are trained up, appointed, and sent by the Lord to comfort his people; which they do by preaching the Gospel to them purely; by opening the Scriptures of truth clearly; by administering ordinances faithfully, and in all directing to Christ: but these sometimes are removed afar off by persecution or death; or those who bear this name do not perform their work aright. God is the chief comforter of his people; God, Father, Son, and Spirit: the Father comforts with his gracious presence; with views of covenant interest, and of the firmness and stability of it; with the precious promises of the word; with his everlasting and unchangeable love; and with discoveries of his pardoning grace and mercy. The Son is a comforter; one of the names of the Messiah with the Jews (c) is "Menachem", "the Comforter"; and who they say is here meant; and he is called the Consolation of Israel, Luke 2:25; who comforts by bringing near his righteousness and salvation; by his peace speaking blood, and atoning sacrifice; by directing to his fulness, and favouring with his presence. And the Holy Spirit is another comforter; who comforts by taking of the things of God, Christ, and the Gospel, and showing them to the saints; by opening and applying the promises to his people; by being the spirit of adoption, and the seal, earnest, and pledge of eternal glory: and thus, by being a comforter, the Lord "relieves the souls" of his people, under the weight of sin, the temptations of Satan, and the various afflictions of life; and prevents their fainting, and returns their souls, as the word (d) signifies; or fetches them back, when fainting and swooning away: but sometimes he withdraws himself, and stands at a distance, at least in their apprehensions; and this is matter of great grief and sorrow to them; which was the case of the church at this time:

my children are desolate: those which should help and relieve her, and be a comfort to her, were destitute themselves: or, were "destroyed" (e), and were not; and which was the cause of her disconsolate state, as was Rachel's, Jeremiah 31:15;

because the enemy prevailed; that is, over them, as the Targum adds; over her children; and either put them to death or carried them captive.

(c) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2. Echa Rabbati, fol. 50. 1.((d) "reducens animam meam", V. L. Montanus; "qui restituat", Tigurine version. (e) "perditi", V. L.

For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed.
16. For these things] The particulars rehearsed in the last three vv. open again the floodgates of tears.

mine eye, mine eye] This repetition spoils the metre, and arises in all probability from a copyist’s error.

mine eye runneth down with water] See Lamentations 3:48, and cp. the phrase “to weep one’s eyes out.”Verse 16. - For these things, etc. After the reflections of vers. 13-15, the poet gives vent anew to his bitter grief. Mine eye, mine eye. A repetition quite in Jeremiah's manner; comp. Jeremiah 4:19; Jeremiah 6:14 (repeated Jeremiah 8:11); Jeremiah 22:29; 23:25. The Septuagint and Vulgate, however, have "mine eye" only once. Relieve my soul (see on ver. 11). This is specially mentioned in Lamentations 1:10. The enemy has spread out his hand over all her jewels (מחמדּיה, the costly treasures of Jerusalem which were plundered), and even forced into the sanctuary of the Lord to spoil it of its treasures and vessels. C. B. Michaelis, Thenius, Gerlach, Ngelsbach, etc., would restrict the meaning of מחמדּיה to the precious things of the sanctuary; but not only are there no sufficient reasons for this, but the structure of the clauses is against it. Neither does the expression, "all our precious things," in Isaiah 69:10, signify merely the articles used in public worship on which the people had placed their desire; nor are "all her pleasant vessels" merely the sacred vessels of the temple. In the latter passage, the suffix in מחמדּיה refers to Jerusalem; and inasmuch as the burning of all the palaces of the city (ארמנתיה) has been mentioned immediately before, we are so much the less at liberty to restrict "all her precious vessels" to the vessels of the temple, and must rather, under that expression, include all the precious vessels of the city, i.e., of the palaces and the temple. And Delitzsch has already remarked, on Isaiah 64:10, that "under מחמדּיה may be included favourite spots, beautiful buildings, pleasure gardens; and only the parallelism induces us to think especially of articles used in public worship." But when Thenius, in the passage now before us, brings forward the succeeding words, "for she hath seen," as a proof that by "all her pleasant things" we are to understand especially the vessels and utensils of the temple, he shows that he has not duly considered the contents of the clause introduced by כּי (for). The clause characterizes the enemy's forcing his way into the sanctuary, i.e., the temple of Jerusalem, as an unheard of act of sacrilege, because גּוים were not to enter even into the קהל of Jahveh. The subject treated of is not by any means the robbing of the temple - the plundering of its utensils and vessels. The prohibition against the coming, i.e., the receiving of foreigners into the "congregation," is given, Deuteronomy 23:4, with regard to the Ammonites and Moabites: this neither refers to the jus connubii (Grotius, Rosenmller), nor to the civil rights of Jewish citizens (Kalkschmidt), but to reception into religious communion with Israel, the ecclesia of the Old Covenant (קהל יהוה). In Deuteronomy 23:8, the restriction is relaxed in favour of the Edomites and Egyptians, but in Ezekiel 44:7, Ezekiel 44:9, in accordance with the ratio legis, extended to all uncircumcised sons of strangers. Hence, in the verse now before us, we must not, with Rosenmller and Thenius, restrict the reference of גּוים to the Ammonites and Moabites as accomplices of the Chaldeans in the capture of Jerusalem and the plundering of the temple (2 Kings 24:2); rather the גּוים are identical with those mentioned in the first member of the verse as צר, i.e., the Chaldeans, so called not "because their army was made up of different nationalities, but because the word contains the notice of their being heathens, - profane ones who had forced into the sanctuary" (Gerlach). But if we look at the structure of the clauses, we find that "for she saw," etc., is parallel to "for the enemy hath boasted" of Lamentations 1:9; and the clause, "for she saw nations coming," etc., contains a further evidence of the deep humiliation of Jerusalem; so that we may take כּי as showing the last step in a climax, since the connection of the thought is this: For the enemy hath boasted, spreading his hand over all her precious things, - he hath even forced his way into the sanctuary of the Lord. If this is mentioned as the greatest disgrace that could befall Jerusalem, then the spreading out of the hands over the precious things of Jerusalem cannot be understood of the plundering of the temple. The construction ראתּה גּוים בּא is in sense exactly similar to the Latin vidit gentes venisse, cf. Ewald, 284, b; and on the construction צוּיתה לא יבאוּ, cf. Ewald, 336, b. בּקהל לך does not stand for בּקהלך (lxx, Pareau, Rosenmller), for הקהל is not the congregation of Judah, but that of Jahveh; and the meaning is: They shall not come to thee, the people of God, into the congregation of the Lord.
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