Lamentations 1:7
Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths.
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(7) Jerusalem remembered.—Better, remembereth. The present is contrasted with the past. Still. the “sorrow’s crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.”

That she had in the days of old.—Better, which have been since the days of old.

Did mock at her sabbaths.—The noun is not found elsewhere, but is connected with that commonly rendered “sabbath.” It seems coined as a word of pregnant meaning to express at once the enforced sabbaths of the untilled land (Leviticus 26:34-35), and the sabbaths, no longer festivals, but conspicuous for the absence of any religious rites, which had followed on the destruction of the Temple.

Lamentations 1:7. Jerusalem remembered in her affliction and misery. The word מרודים, here rendered misery, frequently signifies banishment and captivity. The LXX. render it απωσμων, rejections, or expulsions; all her pleasant things — All her former riches and glory, and the various benefits she enjoyed from God’s favour and protection, particularly the honour and happiness of having his peculiar presence in the temple, and among his people, and the manifestation he gave of his will by the prophets. Nothing is more natural than for persons, who have fallen into adversity, to recollect the advantages they had formerly possessed, and to feel an aggravation of their sufferings in proportion to the greatness of the contrast. The adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths — Not considering the excellent uses those days were designed for; namely, to give men a proper degree of relaxation from labour; leisure to attend upon the service of God, and learn the duties of religion; and to celebrate the creation of the world, that wonderful effect of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness, which can never be sufficiently extolled. The heathen writers, it must be observed, commonly ridicule the Jews’ celebration of their sabbaths as a mark of their sloth and idleness.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.Jerusalem remembers in the days of her affliction,

And of her homelessness,

All her pleasant things which have been from the days of old:

Now that her people fall by the hand of the adversary,

And she hath no helper;

Her adversaries have seen her,

They have mocked at her sabbath-keepings.

The word rendered "homelessless" means wanderings, and describes the state of the Jews, cast forth from their homes and about to be dragged into exile.

Sabbaths - Or, sabbath-keepings, and the cessation from labor every seventh day struck foreigners as something strange, and provoked their ridicule.

7. remembered—rather, "remembers," now, in her afflicted state. In the days of her prosperity she did not appreciate, as she ought, the favors of God to her. Now, awakening out of her past lethargy, she feels from what high privileges she has fallen.

when her people fell, &c.—that is, after which days of prosperity "her people fell."

mock at her sabbaths—The heathen used to mock at the Jews' Sabbath, as showing their idleness, and term them Sabbatarians [Martial, 4.4]. Now, said they ironically, ye may keep a continuous Sabbath. So God appointed the length of the captivity (seventy years) to be exactly that of the sum of the Sabbaths in the four hundred ninety years in which the land was denied its Sabbaths (Le 26:33-35). Maurer translates it "ruin." But English Version better expresses the point of their "mocking," namely, their involuntary "Sabbaths," that is, the cessation of all national movements. A fourth line is added in this stanza, whereas in all the others there are but three. So in La 2:19.


The inhabitants of Jerusalem, now that they are in affliction and misery, have time to remember their former mercies, and with how many desirable things God had once blessed them, and compare her former state before she fell into the enemies’ hands, with her present state now she is in their power. Now it is an affliction to them to hear her enemies mock at her sabbaths, which while they enjoyed they abused. Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries,.... When carried captive, and in exile in a foreign land; when surrounded with distresses and calamities of various kinds; which are a means sometimes of rubbing up and refreshing the memories of persons with those good things they take little notice of in the times of prosperity; the worth of such things being best known and prized by the want of them: even

all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old; her civil and religious liberties; the word, worship, and ordinances of God; the temple, altars, and courts of the Lord; the ark of the testimony, the symbol of the divine Presence; and the revelation of the will of God by the prophets; their peace, prosperity, and enjoyment of all good things: these were remembered

when her people fell into the hand of the enemy; the Chaldeans. The Targum is,

"into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the wicked, and he oppressed them:''

and none did help her; not the Egyptians, her allies and confederates, in whom she trusted:

her adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths; as the Heathens used to do; calling the Jews Sabbatarians (o); by way of derision; representing them as an idle lazy people, who observed a seventh day merely out of sloth, and so lost a seventh part of time (p); or they mocked at them for keeping them in vain; since, notwithstanding their religious observance of them, they were suffered to be carried captive out of their land; or, as Jarchi thinks, the Chaldeans mocked at them for keeping their sabbaths strictly, now they were in other lands, when they neglected them in their own country; or they jeered them with their weekly and yearly sabbaths; suggesting to them that now they had leisure enough to observe them; and that their land ceased from tillage with a witness now: some think, that because of the observance of a sabbath, they were obliged to by their law, therefore the Heathens made them work the harder, and imposed greater tasks upon them on that day than on others, like the Egyptians of old; though the words may be rendered, "they mocked at her cessations" (q); from joy and pleasure, peace and comfort, and the enjoyment of all good things; so the Targum,

"the enemies saw her when she went into captivity; and they mocked at the good things which ceased out of the midst of her.''

(o) "Quod jejunia sabbatariorum". Martial. l. 4. Epigr. 4. (p) "----Cui septima quaeque fuit lux Ignava, et partem vitae non attigit ullam". Juvenal. Satyr. 5. (q) "irrident cessationes ejus", Junius & Tremellius; "rident propter cesstiones", Piscator.

Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people {i} fell into the hand of the enemy, and none helped her: the adversaries saw her, and mocked at her {k} sabbaths.

(i) In her misery she considered the great benefits and commodities that she had lost.

(k) At her religion and serving of God, which was the greatest grief to the godly.

7. The v. should, like the rest, be tripartite, whereas as it stands it has four lines. Löhr and others (probably rightly) consider “All her … old” as a gloss. We should then omit the “in” of the first clause.

miseries] The original word is a rare one (cp. Lamentations 3:19), and probably means wanderings (as mg.).

desolations] mg. (more literally) ceasings. The original word occurs here only. Its apparent connexion with the root whence “sabbath” comes was the cause of the rendering in the Vulg. followed by A.V.Verse 7. - Remembered; rather, remembereth. Miseries. The Hebrew is difficult, and perhaps means wanderings. At her sabbaths; rather, at her extinguishment. The word has nothing to do with the sabbaths; indeed, a reference to these would have been rather misplaced; it was no subject of wonder to the Babylonians that the Jews celebrated a weekly day of rest, as they had one of their own (sabattu). Doleful consideration and description of the dishonour that has befallen Jerusalem. In these verses the prophet, in the name of the godly, pours out his heart before the Lord. The dreadful turn that things have taken is briefly declared in Lamentations 1:1 in two clauses, which set forth the fall of Jerusalem from its former glory into the depths of disgrace and misery, in such a way that the verse contains the subject unfolded in the description that follows. We have deviated from the Masoretic pointing, and arranged the verse into three members, as in the succeeding verses, which nearly throughout form tristichs, and have been divided into two halves by means of the Athnach; but we agree with the remark of Gerlach, "that, according to the sense, היתה למס and not היתה כּאלמנה is the proper antithesis to רבּתי בגּוים." איכה is here, as in Lamentations 2:1; Lamentations 4:1-2, an expression of complaint mingled with astonishment; so in Jeremiah 48:17; Isaiah 1:21. "She sits solitary" (cf. Jeremiah 15:17) is intensified by "she has become like a widow." Her sitting alone is a token of deep sorrow (cf. Nehemiah 1:4), and, as applied to a city, is a figure of desolation; cf. Isaiah 27:10. Here, however, the former reference is the main one; for Jerusalem is personified as a woman, and, with regard to its numerous population, is viewed as the mother of a great multitude of children. רבּתי is a form of the construct state, lengthened by Yod compaginis, found thrice in this verse, and also in Isaiah 1:21, elegiac composition; such forms are used, in general, only in poetry that preserves and affects the antique style, and reproduces its peculiar ring.

(Note: On the different views regarding the origin and meaning of this Yod compaginis, cf. Fr. W. M. Philippi, Wesen u. Ursprung des Status constr. im Hebr. S. 96ff. This writer (S. 152ff.) takes it to be the remnant of a primitive Semitic noun-inflexion, which has been preserved only in a number of composite proper names of ancient origin e.g., מלכּיחדק, etc.]; in the words אב, אח, and חם, in which it has become fused with the third radical into a long vowel; and elsewhere only between two words standing in the construct relation see Ges. 90; Ewald, 211.)

According to the twofold meaning of רב (Much and Great), רבּתי in the first clause designates the multiplicity, multitude of the population; in the second, the greatness or dignity of the position that Jerusalem assumed among the nations, corresponding to the שׂרתי במּדינות, "a princess among the provinces." מדינה, from דּין (properly, the circuit of judgment or jurisdiction), is the technical expression for the provinces of the empires in Asia (cf. Esther 1:1, Esther 1:22, etc.), and hence, after the exile, was sued of Judah, Ezra 2:1; Nehemiah 7:6, and in 1 Kings 20:17 of the districts in the kingdom of Israel. Here, however, המּדינות are not the circuits or districts of Judah (Thenius), but the provinces of the heathen nations rendered subject to the kingdom of Israel under David and Solomon (corresponding to הגּויים), as in Ecclesiastes 2:8. Jerusalem was formerly a princess among the provinces, during the flourishing period of the Jewish kingdom under David and Solomon. The writer keeps this time before his mind, in order to depict the contrast between the past and present. The city that once ruled over nations and provinces has now become but dependent on others. מס (the derivation of which is disputed) does not mean soccage or tribute, but the one who gives soccage service, a soccager; see on Exodus 1:11 and 1 Kings 4:6. The words, "The princess has become a soccager," signify nothing more than, "She who once ruled over peoples and countries has now fallen into abject servitude," and are not (with Thenius) to be held as "referring to the fact that the remnant that has been left behind, or those also of the former inhabitants of the city who have returned home, have been set to harder labour by the conquerors." When we find the same writer inferring from this, that these words presuppose a state of matters in which the country round Jerusalem has been for some time previously under the oppression of Chaldean officers, and moreover holding the opinion that the words "how she sits..." could only have been written by one who had for a considerable period been looking on Jerusalem in its desolate condition, we can only wonder at such an utter want of power to understand poetic language.

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