Lamentations 1:2
She weeps sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she has none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) She weepeth sore in the night.—The intensity of the sorrow is emphasised by the fact that the tears do not cease even in the time which commonly brings rest and repose to mourners. The “lovers” and the “friends” are the nations, Egypt (Jeremiah 2:36), Edomites, Moabites, and others, with which Judah had been in alliance, and which now turned against her. (Comp. Psalm 137:7; Ezekiel 25:3-6; Jeremiah 40:14, for instances of their hostility, and specially Lamentations 4:21.)

Lamentations 1:2. She weepeth sore in the night — In the Hebrew, according to the idiom of that language, it is, Weeping she weepeth, which our old English version renders, She weepeth continually. The expression, in the night, is interpreted by some to signify her condition was so unhappy that, though oppressed with calamities, she did not dare to utter her complaints, unless secretly in the night, for fear of irritating her enemies. Among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her — Those nations that courted her alliance in the time of her prosperity, or those allies, whose friendship she courted by sinful compliances, have forsaken her in her affliction, and joined with her enemies in insulting over her. “Several of the neighbouring princes sent their ambassadors to Zedekiah, Jeremiah 27:3, &c., to engage him, as appears from the context, to join them in a confederacy against the power of the king of Babylon. But they not only universally failed, and deserted Judah in the time of need, but most of them turned against her, and took a malignant pleasure in aggravating her misfortunes.” See Blaney and the margin.1:1-11 The prophet sometimes speaks in his own person; at other times Jerusalem, as a distressed female, is the speaker, or some of the Jews. The description shows the miseries of the Jewish nation. Jerusalem became a captive and a slave, by reason of the greatness of her sins; and had no rest from suffering. If we allow sin, our greatest adversary, to have dominion over us, justly will other enemies also be suffered to have dominion. The people endured the extremities of famine and distress. In this sad condition Jerusalem acknowledged her sin, and entreated the Lord to look upon her case. This is the only way to make ourselves easy under our burdens; for it is the just anger of the Lord for man's transgressions, that has filled the earth with sorrows, lamentations, sickness, and death.Lovers ... friends - i. e. the states in alliance with Judaea, and all human helpers. 2. in the night—even in the night, the period of rest and oblivion of griefs (Job 7:3).

lovers … friends—the heathen states allied to Judah, and their idols. The idols whom she "loved" (Jer 2:20-25) could not comfort her. Her former allies would not: nay, some "treacherously" joined her enemies against her (2Ki 24:2, 7; Ps 137:7).

Gimel.

All her hours are hours of sadness, she doth not only mourn in the day time, but in the night also, when she should rest; her cheeks are like the grass in the morning, hanging full of drops, as if her head were a fountain of water, and her eyes rivers of tears. In her prosperity she had a great many friends that sought and courted her favour, with whom she made leagues and confederated (such were the Egyptians, Assyrians, &c.); but they were now so far from helping the Jews, that they helped their enemies, and dealt treacherously with them, becoming themselves enemies instead of assistants to them. She weepeth sore in the night,.... Or, "weeping weeps" (i); two weepings, one for the first, the other for the second temples (k); and while others are taking their sleep and rest; a season fit for mourners, when they can give their grief the greater vent, without any interruption from others; and it being now a night of affliction with her, which occasioned this sore weeping. Jarchi observes, that it was in the night that the temple was burnt:

and her tears are on her cheeks; continue there, being always flowing, and never wholly dried up; which shows how great her grief was, and that her weeping was without intermission; or otherwise tears do not lie long, but are soon dried up, or wiped off:

among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her; as the Assyrians formerly were, Ezekiel 23:5; and more lately the Egyptians her allies and confederates, in whom she trusted; but these gave her no assistance; nor yielded her any relief in her distress; nor so much as spoke one word of comfort to her:

all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies; those who pretended great friendship to her, and were in strict alliance with her, acted the treacherous part, and withdrew from her, leaving her to the common enemy; and not only so, but behaved towards her in a hostile manner themselves; for "the children of Noph and Tahapanes", places in Egypt confederate with the Jews, are said to "have broken the crown of their head", Jeremiah 2:16. The Targum interprets the "lovers" of the "idols" she loved to follow, who now could be of no use unto her by way of comfort.

(i) "plorando plorat", Vatablus; "plorando plorabit", Pagninus, Montanus. (k) T. Sanhedr. ib. Colossians 2.

She weepeth bitterly in the {c} night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her {d} lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.

(c) So that she takes no rest.

(d) Meaning the Egyptians and Assyrians who promised help.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. in the night] The time of natural silence and darkness is made a part of the picture in order to heighten the effect. The absence of the distractions of the day intensifies the sense of bereavement.

her lovers (cp. Lamentations 1:19) … her friends] the neighbouring states, with whom in the sunshine of prosperity she was on friendly terms (cp. Jeremiah 4:30; Jeremiah 30:14). Such were Chaldaeans, Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites (2 Kings 24:2), Edomites (Psalm 137:7), Tyrians (Ezekiel 26:3), Egyptians (Ezekiel 17:17; Ezekiel 29:6 ff.). For these last cp. Lamentations 4:17; Jeremiah 37:5; for Edom Lamentations 4:21 f.; and for Ammon, Jeremiah 40:14; Ezekiel 25:3-7.

her friends … enemies] In the original there is a figure of paronomasia (’ohăbçha, ’oyĕbîm).Verse 2. - In the night. Not only by day, but even in the season of rest and unconsciousness. Her lovers... her friends; i.e. the neighbouring peoples, with which Judah had formed alliances, such as Egypt (Jeremiah 2:36), Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon (Jeremiah 27:3). This is a favourite phrase of Jeremiah's (comp. Jeremiah 3:1; Jeremiah 4:30; Jeremiah 22:20, 22; Jeremiah 30:14), but also of Hosea (Hosea 2:5, 7, 10, 12, 13; Hosea 8:9) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 16:33, 36, 37; 23:5, 9, 22). The national God was conceived of as the Husband of the nation; and the prophets retained this idea and elevated it, just as they did circumcision and many other Eastern traditions. The account given regarding the arrest of the chief officers of the temple and of the city, and concerning their transportation to Riblah, where Nebuchadnezzar caused them to be executed, agrees with 2 Kings 25:18-21, except in some unimportant variations, which, however, do not alter the sense; the explanation has been already given in the commentary on that passage. In 2 Kings, the account of the appointment of Gedaliah as the governor of Judah, together with that of his assassination by Ishmael, which follows the narrative just referred to, is here omitted, because the matter has bee already more fully stated in the passage Jeremiah 40:7 on to Jeremiah 43:7, and had no close connection with the object of the present chapter. Instead of this, there follows here, in Jeremiah 52:28-30 (as a continuation of the remark made, Jeremiah 52:27, "Thus was Judah carried away captive out of his own land"), a calculation of the number of the Jews taken to Babylon at the three deportations: in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, 3023 Jews; in the eighteenth year, 832 souls from Jerusalem; and in the twenty-third year, 745 souls, - in all, 4600 persons. The correctness of these data is vouched for by the exactness of the separate numbers, and the agreement of the sum with the individual items. In other respects, however, they present various difficulties. There is, first, the chronological discrepancy that the second deportation is here placed in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, in contradiction with Jeremiah 52:12, according to which, the deportation after the taking of Jerusalem occurred in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar; and 832 souls could not well be carried out of Jerusalem during the siege. This difference can be settled only by assuming that this list of deportations was derived from another source than the preceding notice regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, in which the years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign were reckoned in some other way than elsewhere in Jeremiah and in the books of Kings, probably from the date of the actual commencement of his reign, which followed a year after he first appeared in Judah, from which his reign is dated elsewhere; see Comm. on Daniel at Daniel 1:1. According to this mode of computation, the seventh year would correspond to the eighth of the common reckoning, and be the year in which Jehoiachin was carried away to Babylon, together with a large number of the people. But this does not agree with 3023, which is given as the number of those who were carried away; for, at that time, according to 2 Kings 24:14, 2 Kings 24:16, as many as 10,000 Jews, or, according to another view of these verses, even 18,000, were carried away to Babylon. This difference does not permit of being explained in any way. Ewald (History of the People of Israel, iii. p. 738) accordingly assumes that in Jeremiah 52:28, after שׁבע, the word עשׂרה has been omitted, as in 2 Chronicles 36:9, where the age of Jehoiachin is given; hence he thinks that, instead of "in the seventh," we must read "in the seventeenth year of Nebuchadnezzar." On such a view, the reference would be to a deportation which took place under Zedekiah, a year before the capture, or during the time of the siege of Jerusalem, and that, too, out of the country districts of Judah in contrast with Jerusalem, Jeremiah 52:29. This supposition is favoured not merely by the small number of those who are said to have been carried away, but also by the context of the narrative, inasmuch as, in what precedes, it is only the capture of Jerusalem and the deportation of the people in Zedekiah's time that is treated of. Ngelsbach has objected to this supposition, that it was not likely the great mass of the people would be carried away during the war, at a time when the approach of the Egyptian army (cf. Jeremiah 37:5) was an object of dread. But the objection does not weaken the supposition, since the former rests on two presuppositions that are quite erroneous: viz., first, that the deportation took place before the defeat of the auxiliary army from Egypt, where as it may have followed that event; and secondly, that the Chaldeans, by keeping the hostile Jews in the country, might have been able to get some assistance against the Egyptian army, whereas, by removing the hostile population of Judah, they would but diminish the number of the enemies with which they had to contend. We therefore regard this conjecture as highly probable, because it is the means of settling all difficulties, and because we can thereby account for the small number of those who were carried away in the deportations during and after the destruction of Jerusalem.

Regarding the third deportation, which was effected by Nebuzaradan (Jeremiah 52:30) in the twenty-third, or, according to another reckoning, in the twenty-fourth year of Nebuchadnezzar, i.e., in the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem, we have no other information; for the statement of Josephus, Antt. x. 9. 7, that Nebuchadnezzar made war upon the Ammonites and Moabites in that year, has not been placed beyond a doubt, and is probably a mere inference from this verse, taken in connection with the prophecies in Jeremiah 48 and 49. Yet there is nothing improbable in the statement, viewed by itself. For it must be borne in mind that, after the appointment of Gedaliah as governor, and the departure of the Chaldean hosts, many Jews, who had fled during the war, returned into the country. Hence, in spite of the fact that, after the murder of Gedaliah, a multitude of Jews, fearing the vengeance of the Chaldeans, fled to Egypt, many may have still remained in the country; and many other fugitives may not have returned till afterwards, and given occasion to the Chaldeans for removing other 745 disturbers of the peace to Babylon, four or five years after Jerusalem had been laid in ashes. This deportation may have taken place on the occasion of the subjugation of the Moabites, Ammonites, and Idumeans, or during the war with the Phoenicians, possibly because they had rendered assistance to these nations against the Chaldeans. These verses thus contain nothing to justify the assumption of M. von Niebuhr (Gesch. Assyr. und Babels, S. 58, note) and Ngelsbach, that they are a gloss. The paucity of those who were carried away is not to be attributed to a desire on the part of the writer of this inserted portion to represent the calamity as not so very terrible after all; nor is it due to the substitution of the number of the Levites for that of the entire people, - two wholly arbitrary assumptions: it is completely explained by a consideration of the historical circumstances. The best of the population of Judah had already been carried away, and Zedekiah and his counsellors must have said to themselves, when they rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, that the latter would not spare this time; thus they must have defended themselves to the utmost, as is shown by the very fact that the siege of Jerusalem lasted eighteen months. In this manner, war, pestilence, and famine carried off a great number of the population of Jerusalem; so that, of men who were able-bodied and fit for war, and who could be carried into exile, not more than 4600 fell into the hands of the Chaldeans. During the war, also, many had concealed themselves in inaccessible places, while the lowest of the people were left behind in the country to cultivate the fields. Still more strange might appear the circumstance that the sum-total of those who were carried away to Babylon, viz., 10,000 with Jehoiachin, and 4600 under Zedekiah, - 14, 600 in all, - is evidently disproportionate to the number of those who returned to Jerusalem and Judah under Zerubbabel, which number is given in Ezra 2:64 at 42, 360, exclusive of men and maid servants. For this reason, Graf is of opinion that still later deportations may have taken place, of which no mention is made anywhere. This assumption, however, has little probability. On the other hand, we must consider these points: (1.) In the accounts given of those who were carried away, only full-grown and independent persons of the male sex are reckoned, while, along with fathers, both their wives and their children went into exile. (2.) Even so early as the first capture of Jerusalem in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, a number of prisoners of war, perhaps not inconsiderable, came to Babylon; these might unite with the thousands of their brethren who were carried thither at a later period. (3.) When the exiles had settled down in Babylon, and there found not only a means of livelihood, but even in many instances, as is clear from several intimations, attained to opulence as citizens, many, even of those who had been left in the country, may have gone to Babylon, in the hope of finding there greater prosperity than in Judah, now laid waste and depopulated by war. (4.) From the time when the 10,000 were carried away with Jehoiachin, in the year 599 b.c., till the return under Zerubbabel, 536 b.c., 63 years, i.e., nearly two generations, had passed, during which the exiles might largely increase in numbers. If we take all these elements into consideration, then, in the simple fact that the number of those who returned amounts to nearly three times the numbers of those given as having been carried away under Jehoiachin and Zedekiah, we cannot find such a difficulty as entitles us to doubt the correctness of the numbers handed down to us.

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