Lamentations 1:22
Let all their wickedness come before you; and do to them, as you have done to me for all my transgressions: for my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.
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(22) Let all their wickedness . . .—The prayer for a righteous retribution, the first natural prayer of the outraged, reminds us of Psalms 69, 109, 137, yet more strongly of the language of the prophet himself in Jeremiah 18:21-23. It is something more than a prayer for revenge, and rests on the underlying thought that righteousness requires the punishment. By some critics, it may be noted, Psalms 69, 109 have, on the strength of this parallelism, been ascribed to Jeremiah

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.They have heard ... - Or, "They heard that I sigh," that I have "no comforter."

Thou wilt bring the day ... - literally, thou hast brought "the day thou hast proclaimed, and they shall be like unto me." The day of Judah's punishment was the proof that the nations now triumphing over Jerusalem's fall would certainly be visited.

22. Such prayers against foes are lawful, if the foe be an enemy of God, and if our concern be not for our own personal feeling, but for the glory of God and the welfare of His people.

come before thee—so Re 16:19, "Babylon came in remembrance before God" (compare Ps 109:15).

This verse is another prophetical curse or imprecation, several of which we meet with in holy writ, Psalm 109:6-9 137:8 Jeremiah 11:20 18:23, and in many other texts; which would incline us to think that our Saviour’s precept, Matthew 5:44, to pray for those that persecute us, backed by his own example, Luke 23:34, and Stephen’s; Acts 7:60, is either to be interpreted of praying for the forgiveness of their sins, (we ought to desire the eternal condemnation of none,) or to be restrained to such as are our personal enemies, not the common enemies of the church of God. Our Saviour’s precept most certainly is not to be so interpreted, but that we may lawfully pray for such evils to the implacable enemies of the church and people of God, as may restrain and weaken their hands, and put them out of a capacity of wasting the Lord’s heritage: we are only obliged by it to wish well to their souls, and to desire no evil against them out of private revenge or malice, but only out of love to God, and zeal for his glory; but for their outward prosperity in their courses of enmity we ought no more to pray than against their eternal salvation; for this were to beg of God to encourage his enemies in their enmity against him. And though Jeremiah were a greater prophet than any of us can pretend to be, and had revelations of particular future contingencies which we have not; yet every one may prophesy a ruin to the enemies of God’s church and people, and such as rejoice in their ruin; God never using a rod against his people which he doth not at last burn, nor ever countenacing inhumanity in any, but much less when it is rooted in a malice against himself, and his interest in the world. Let all their wickedness come before thee,.... The Targum adds,

"in the day of the great judgment;''

but it seems to refer to present time, at least to the time fixed by the Lord for their ruin; and which the church imprecates, not from a spirit of revenge, but from a holy zeal for the glory of God; desiring that the wickedness of her enemies might be remembered by the Lord, so as to punish them in righteous judgment for the same:

and do unto them as thou hast done unto me for all my transgressions; she owns that what was done to her was for her sins, and therefore could not charge God with injustice; only she desires the same might be done to her enemies, who were equally guilty: some render it, "glean them" (q); or rather, "gather them as a vintage"; or as grapes are gathered: "as thou hast gathered me"; as thou hast took me, and cast me into the winepress of thy wrath, and there hast trodden and squeezed me; see Lamentations 1:15; so do unto them:

for my sighs are many, and my heart is faint; her sighs were many because of her afflictions, and her heart faint because of her sighing.

(q) , Sept. "vindemia", V. L. Vatablus.

{t} Let all their wickedness come before thee; and do to them, as thou hast done to me for all my transgressions: for my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.

(t) Of desiring vengeance against the enemy, See Geneva Jer 11:20 and See Geneva Jer 18:21

22. For my sighs are many] The connexion is, I have had my punishment. Do thou then proceed to inflict upon them their share. For the sentiment, as contrasted with N.T. teaching, cp. Jeremiah 18:20 ff.Verse 22. - For my sighs are many. This is not mentioned as the reason why God should punish Jerusalem's enemies; we ought rather to understand, either from ver. 20, "Behold, my distress;" or simply, "Deliver me."

Lamentations 1:16 concludes this series of thoughts, since the address returns to the idea presented in Lamentations 1:12, and the unprecedented sorrow (Lamentations 1:12) gives vent to itself in tears. "Because of these things" refers to the painful realities mentioned in Lamentations 1:13-15, which Jerusalem has experienced. The form בּוכיּה is like the feminine form פּריּה in Psalm 128:3; Isaiah 17:6; cf. Ges. 75, Rem. 5. The repetition of "my eye" gives greater emphasis, and is quite in the style of Jeremiah; cf. Jeremiah 4:19; Jeremiah 6:14 (Jeremiah 8:11), Jeremiah 22:29; Jeremiah 23:25; the second עיני is not to be expunged (Pareau and Thenius), although it is not found in the lxx, Vulgate, Arabic, and some codices. On ירדה , cf. Jeremiah 9:17; Jeremiah 13:17; Jeremiah 14:17. In these passages stands דמעה, but here מים, as the stronger expression: the eye flows like water, as if it were running to the ground in water. Gesenius, in his Thesaurus, appositely cites the German "sich die Augen aus dem Kopfe weinen" with which the English corresponds: "to weep one's eyes out of his head". Still stronger is the expression in Lamentations 3:48. But the sorrow becomes thus grievous, because the weeping one has none to comfort her; friends who could comfort her have faithlessly forsaken her (cf. Lamentations 1:2, Lamentations 1:9), and her sons are שׁוממים, i.e., destroyed, not "astonished" (Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 19:8), but, as in Lamentations 1:13, made desolate, i.e., made so unhappy that they cannot bring their mother comfort in her misery. On משׁיב , cf. Lamentations 1:11. "Because the enemy hath become strong," i.e., prevailed (גּבר as in Jeremiah 9:2).
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