Lamentations 1:19
I called for my lovers, but they deceived me: my priests and mine elders gave up the ghost in the city, while they sought their meat to relieve their souls.
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(19) I called for.—Better, to. The “lovers,” as in Lamentations 1:2, are the former allies of Judah.

My priests and mine elders.—The pressure of the famine of the besieged city is emphasised by the fact that even these, the honoured guides of the people, had died of hunger. On the phrase that follows, see Lamentations 1:11. A conjectural addition, at the end of the verse, “and found not,” is supplied in the LXX and Syriac versions; but rhetorically there is more force in the aposiopesis, the suggestive silence, of the Hebrew.

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.I called for ... - Rather, to "my lovers."

While they sought their meat - literally, "for they sought food for themselves to revive their souls." Complete the sense by adding, "and found none."

19. lovers—(La 1:2; Jer 30:14).

elders—in dignity, not merely age.

sought … meat—Their dignity did not exempt them from having to go and seek bread (La 1:11).


I desired help of my allies and confederates who courted my friendship and alliance in any prosperity, but they failed mine expectation, none of them either would or could succour me. My misery was such through the famine, that not only my common people, but those of the best rank in the city, magistrates and priests, fainted as they went along the street seeking bread to satisfy their hunger.

I called for my lovers, but they deceived me,.... Either her idols, with whom she had committed spiritual adultery, that is, idolatry; but these could not answer her expectations, and help her: or the Egyptians, that courted her friendship, and with whom she was in alliance, and in whom she trusted; and these, in the times of her distress, she called upon to make good their engagements, but they disappointed her, and stood not to their covenant and promises, but left her to stand and fall by herself; this Jerusalem said, according to the Targum, when she was delivered into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar; but these words, "they deceived me", it makes to be the Romans, that came with Titus and Vespasian, and built bulwarks against Jerusalem:

my priests and mine elders gave up the ghost in the city; or died in the city of Jerusalem; not by the sword of the enemy, but through famine; and so, in the Arabic language, the word (i) signifies to labour under famine, and want of food, and perish through it; and if this was the case of their priests that officiated in holy things, and of their elders or civil magistrates, what must be the case of the common people?

while they sought their meat to relieve their souls; or "fetch (k) them back"; which were just fainting and dying away through hunger; and who did expire while they were begging their bread, or inquiring in one place after another where they could get any, either freely or for money.

(i) "esurivit et fame ac inedia laboravit", Golius, col. 556. (k) "et reducerent animam suam", Montanus.

I called for my lovers, but they deceived me: my priests and my elders gave up the ghost in the city, while they {s} sought their food to relieve their souls.

(s) That is, they died for hunger.

19. my lovers] See on Lamentations 1:2.

meat to refresh their souls] See on Lamentations 1:11. The LXX add (but unnecessarily, and with injury to the metre), and found it not.

Verse 19. - For my lovers; render, to my lovers (see on ver. 2). Lamentations 1:19Lamentations 1:19 is not a continuation of the direct address to the nations, to whom she complains of her distress, but merely a complaint to God regarding the sorrow she endures. The perfects קראתי, רמּוּני, are not preterites, and thus are not to be referred to the past, as if complaint were made that, in the time of need, the lovers of Jerusalem forsook her; they rather indicate accomplished facts, whose consequences reach down to the present time. It was not merely in former times, during the siege, that Jerusalem called to her friends for help; but even now she still calls, that she may be comforted by them, yet all in vain. Her friends have deceived her, i.e., shamefully disappointed her expectations. From those who are connected with her, too, she can expect neither comfort nor counsel. The priests and the elders, as the helpers and advisers of the city, - the former as representing the community before God, and being the medium of His grace, the latter as being leaders in civil matters, - pined away ( ,גּועexspirare; here, to pine away through hunger, and expire). כּי is a temporal particle: "when they were seeking for bread" to prolong their life ('השׁיב נ as in Lamentations 1:11). The lxx have added καὶ οὐχ ευ, which Thenius is inclined to regard as a portion of the original text; but it is very evidently a mere conjecture from the context, and becomes superfluous when כּי ne is taken as a particle of time.
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