Lamentations 1:18
The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow: my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) The Lord is righteous . . .—An echo from Jeremiah 12:1; 2Chronicles 12:6. Misery does its work, and issues in repentance. The suffering comes from the all-righteous Judge. It is, perhaps, significant that with this beginning of conversion the name “Jehovah” reappears.

All people . . .—Better, all peoples. Those addressed are the heathen nations, who are summoned to gaze on the desolate mourners.

Lamentations 1:18-19. The Lord is righteous, for I have rebelled, &c. — He does me no wrong in dealing thus with me, nor can I charge him with any injustice. Observe, reader, whatever the troubles are which God is pleased to inflict upon us, we must own that in them he is righteous: we neither know him nor ourselves, if we do not acknowledge this. Jerusalem owns the equity of God’s actions by confessing the iniquity of her own. Hear, I pray you, all people — See note on Lamentations 1:12. My virgins and my young men are gone into captivity — Thus it is said, 2 Chronicles 36:17, that the Chaldeans had “no compassion upon young men or maidens.” I called for my lovers, but they deceived me — They proved like the brooks in summer to the thirsty traveller, Job 6:15. The Egyptians and her other allies are intended, who made court to her in her prosperity, and promised her assistance, but in the day of her adversity and necessity were alienated from her, and cast her off. Thus we are commonly deceived and disappointed in those creatures that we set our hearts upon, and put our trust in. Happy they that have made God their friend, and keep themselves in his love, for he will not deceive them! My priests and mine elders gave up the ghost in the city — The famine hath consumed the most honourable as well as the meaner people. While they sought their meat to relieve their souls — While they went about seeking for bread to keep them alive. The LXX. add, και ουχ ευρον, and found none, with whom the Syriac agrees. But no such words appear in the Hebrew copies, although the thing is implied, for they would not have died if they had found what they sought.

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.People - peoples, pagan nations. 18. The sure sign of repentance; justifying God, condemning herself (Ne 9:33; Ps 51:4; Da 9:7-14).

his commandment—literally, "mouth"; His word in the mouth of the prophets.

Koph.

The prophet either directeth those that feared God what they should say, or expresseth what many of them did say in the name of the rest, acknowledging both the Lord’s justice and faithfulness, because they had been disobedient to the commandments of God.

Hear, I pray you, & c.; In these words the prophet only personates a passionate woman begging pity of all because her children were taken from her.

The Lord is righteous,.... Or, "righteous is he the Lord" (g); in all these dispensations of his providence, how afflictive and severe soever they may seem to be; however the enemies of the church and people of God might transgress just bounds, and act the cruel and unrighteous part; yet good men will always own that God is righteous in all his ways, and that there is no unrighteousness in him; though they sometimes know not how to reconcile his providences to his promises, and especially to his declared love and affection to them; see Jeremiah 12:1; the reason, clearing God of all injustice, follows:

for I have rebelled against his commandment; or, "his mouth" (h): the word of his mouth, which he delivered by word of mouth at Mount Sinai, or by his prophets since; and therefore was righteously dealt with, and justly chastised. The Targum makes these to be the words of Josiah before his death, owning he had done wrong in going out against Pharaohnecho, contrary to the word of the Lord; and the next clause to be the lamentation of Jeremiah upon his death: though they are manifestly the words of Jerusalem or Zion, whom the prophet personates, saying,

hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow; directing herself to all compassionate persons, to hearken and attend to her mournful complaint, and to consider her sorrow, the nature and cause of it, and look upon her with an eye of pity in her sorrowful circumstances:

my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity; in Babylon; being taken and carried thither by the Chaldeans; had it been only her ancient men and women, persons worn out with age, that could have been of little use, and at most but of a short continuance, the affliction had not been so great; but her virgins and young men, the flower of the nation, and by whom it might have been supported and increased; for these to be carried away into a strange land must be matter of grief and sorrow.

(g) "justus ipse est Jehovah", Cocceius. (h) "ori ejus", Pagninus, Montanus; Piscator, Cocceius.

The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow: my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. I have rebelled against his commandment] See on Lamentations 1:5. The Targ. strangely explains the v. as having reference to Josiah’s defeat and death at Megiddo (b.c. 608).

Verse 18. - People; render, peoples. Lamentations 1:18The complaint regarding the want of comforters is corroborated by the writer, who further developes this thought, and gives some proof of it. By this contemplative digression he breaks in on the lamentation of the city, as if the voice of the weeping one were choked with tears, thus he introduces into the complaint a suitable pause, that both serves to divide the lamentation into two, and also brings a turn in its contents. It is in vain that Zion stretches out her hands (פּרשׁ בּ, to make a spreading out with the hands) for comforters and helpers; there is none she can embrace, for Jahveh has given orders against Jacob, that those round about him should act as oppressors. סביביו are the neighbouring nations round about Israel. These are all of hostile disposition, and strive but to increase his misery; cf. Lamentations 1:2. Jerusalem has become their abomination (cf. Lamentations 1:8), since God, in punishment for sins, has exposed her before the heathen nations (cf. Lamentations 1:8). בּיניהם, "between them," the neighbouring nations, who live round about Judah. The thought that Jahveh has decreed the suffering which has come on Jerusalem, is laid to heart by her who makes complaint, so that, in Lamentations 1:18, she owns God's justice, and lets herself be roused to ask for pity, Lamentations 1:19-22.

Starting with the acknowledgment that Jahveh is righteous, because Jerusalem has opposed His word, the sorrowing one anew (Lamentations 1:18, as in Lamentations 1:12) calls on the nations to regard her sorrow, which attains its climax when her children, in the bloom of youth, are taken captives by the enemy. But she finds no commiseration among men; for some, her former friends, prove faithless, and her counsellors have perished (Lamentations 1:19); therefore she turns to God, making complaint to Him of her great misery (Lamentations 1:20), because the rest, her enemies, even rejoice over her misery (Lamentations 1:21): she prays that God may punish these. Gerlach has properly remarked, that this conclusion of the chapter shows Jerusalem does not set forth her fate as an example for the warning of the nations, nor desires thereby to obtain commiseration from them in her present state (Michaelis, Rosenmller, Thenius, Vaihinger); but that the apostrophe addressed to the nations, as well as that to passers-by (Lamentations 1:12), is nothing more than a poetic turn, used to express the boundless magnitude of this her sorrow and her suffering. On the confession "Righteous is Jahveh," cf. Jeremiah 12:1; Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Chronicles 12:6; Psalm 119:37, etc. "Because I have rebelled against His mouth" (i.e., His words and commandments), therefore I am suffering what I have merited. On מרה , cf. Numbers 20:24; 1 Kings 13:26. כּל־עמּים (without the article, which the Qeri supplies) is a form of expression used in poetry, which often drops the article; moreover, we must here bear in mind, that it is not by any means the idea of the totality of the nations that predominates, but nations are addressed merely in indefinite generality: the expression in the text means nations of all places and countries. In order to indicate the greatness of her grief, the sorrowing one mentions the carrying into captivity of the young men and virgins, who are a mother's joy and hope.

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