Lamentations 1:9
Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembers not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy has magnified himself.
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(9) Her filthiness.—The picture of pollution is pushed to its most loathsome extreme. The very skirts of the garment are defiled.

She remembereth not . . .—Better, she remembered not. It was her recklessness as to the future (comp. Deuteronomy 32:29, for the phrase) which brought her down to this “wonderful” and extreme prostration.

O Lord, behold my affliction.—The words are not those of the prophet, but of Zion, anticipating the dramatic personation which begins systematically at Lamentations 1:12.

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.Her filthiness is in her skirts - Her personal defilement is no longer concealed beneath the raiment Jeremiah 13:22.

She came down wonderfully - Jerusalem once enthroned as a princess must sit on the ground as a slave.

9. Continuation of the image in La 1:8. Her ignominy and misery cannot be concealed but are apparent to all, as if a woman were suffering under such a flow as to reach the end of her skirts.

remembereth not … last end—(De 32:29; Isa 47:7). She forgot how fatal must be the end of her iniquity. Or, as the words following imply: She, in despair, cannot lift herself up to lay hold of God's promises as to her "latter end" [Calvin].

wonderfully—Hebrew, "wonders," that is, with amazing dejection.

O Lord, behold—Judah here breaks in, speaking for herself.

for the enemy hath magnified himself—What might seem ground for despair, the elated insulting of the enemy, is rather ground for good hope.


He persisteth in his comparison of the Jewish people, either to a sluttish, nasty woman, or to an impudent woman that is not ashamed to expose her nastiness or wickedness to the view of all.

She remembereth not her last end, therefore she came down wonderfully; that is, the Jews never considered, or would not believe, what those degrees of sin would at last bring them to, and that hath been the cause of that prodigious calamity into which God had brought them.

O Lord, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself: the prophet turns himself to God, whom he desires to behold the affliction of this people, that is, with a pitiful, compassionate eye. It is a very usual thing in Holy Scripture to signify the acts. of the heart by the acts of the inward and outward senses, those especially of the memory, eye, and ear, because objects must be first brought in by the senses before they can affect the soul. Hence (the Scripture speaking of God after the manner of men) the servants of God desiring God to have compassion on them, show them favour, &c., desire him to behold and look upon their affliction. Her filthiness is in her skirts,.... Her sin is manifest to all, being to be seen in her punishment. The allusion is to a menstruous woman, to whom she is compared, both before and after; whose blood flows down to the skirts of her garments, and there seen; by which it is known that she is in her separation. So the Targum,

"the filthiness of the blood of her separation is in her skirts; she is not cleansed from it, nor does she repent of her sins:''

she remembereth not her last end; she did not consider in the time of her prosperity what her sins would bring her to; what would be the issue of them; nay, though she was warned by the prophet, and was told what things would come to at last, yet she laid it not to heart; nor did she lay it up in her mind, or reflect upon it; but went on in her sinful courses:

therefore she came down wonderfully; or, "with wonders" (u); from a very exalted estate to a very low one; from the height of honour and prosperity to the depth of distress and misery; to the astonishment and wonder of all about her, that so flourishing a city and kingdom should be brought to ruin at once, in so strange a manner; see Daniel 8:24;

she had no comforter; as none to help her against her enemies, Lamentations 1:7; and to prevent her ruin; so none to pity her, and have compassion upon her, and speak a comfortable word to her now she was in it:

O Lord, behold my affliction: not with his eye of omniscience only, which he did, and, of which she had no doubt; but with an eye of pity and compassion: thus Zion is at once and suddenly introduced, breaking out in this pathetic manner, being in great affliction and distress, having none else to apply to; and the enemy bearing hard upon her, and behaving in a very insolent and audacious manner, transgressing all bounds of humanity and decency; and therefore hoped the Lord would have compassion on her, though she had sinned against him:

for the enemy hath magnified himself; behaved haughtily both against God and his people; attributing great things to himself; magnifying his own power and wisdom.

(u) "mirabiliter", Montanus, Vatablus.

{l} Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her latter end; therefore she hath been wonderfully abased: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself.

(l) She is not ashamed of her sin, although it is revealed.

9. is she come down wonderfully] Cp. Isaiah 47:1.Verse 9. - She remembereth not, etc.; rather, she thought not upon, etc. An allusion to Isaiah 47:7. O Lord, behold, etc. This is the language in which the "sigh" (ver. 8) finds expression. With Lamentations 1:3 begins the specific account of the misery over which Jerusalem sorrows so deeply. Judah has gone into exile, but she does not find any rest there among the nations. "Judah" is the population not merely of Jerusalem, but of the whole kingdom, whose deportation is bewailed by Jerusalem as the mother of the whole country. Although יהוּדה designates the people, and not the country, it is construed as a feminine, because the inhabitants are regarded as the daughter of the land; cf. Ewald, 174, b [and Gesenius, 107, 4, a]. 'מעני וגו has been explained, since J. D. Michaelis, by most modern expositors (Rosenmller, Maurer, Ewald, Thenius, Ngelsbach), and previously by Calvin, as referring to the cause of the emigration, "from (because of) misery and much servitude;" and in harmony with this view, גּלתה יהוּדה has been understood, not of the deportation of Judah into exile, but of the voluntary emigration of the fugitives who sought to escape from the power of the Chaldeans by fleeing into foreign countries, partly before and partly after the destruction of Jerusalem. But this interpretation neither agrees with the meaning of the words nor the context. Those fugitives cannot be designated "Judah," because, however numerous one may think they were, they formed but a fraction of the inhabitants of Judah: the flower of the nation had been carried off to Babylon into exile, for which the usual word is גּלה. The context also requires us to refer the words to involuntary emigration into exile. For, in comparison with this, the emigration of fugitives to different countries was so unimportant a matter that the writer could not possibly have been silent regarding the deportation of the people, and placed this secondary consideration in the foreground as the cause of the sorrow. מעני is not to be taken in a causal sense, for מן simply denotes the coming out of a certain condition, "out of misery," into which Judah had fallen through the occupation of the country, first by Pharaoh-Necho, then by the Chaldeans; and רב עבדה does not mean "much service," but "much labour." For עבדה does not mean "service" ( equals עבדוּת), but "labour, work, business," e.g., עבדת המּלך, "the service of the king," i.e., the service to be rendered to the king in the shape of work (1 Chronicles 26:30), and the labour connected with public worship (1 Chronicles 9:13; 1 Chronicles 28:14, etc.); here, in connection with עני, it means severe labour and toil which the people had to render, partly for the king, that he might get ready the tribute imposed on the country, and partly to defend the country and the capital against those who sought to conquer them. Although Judah had wandered out from a condition of misery and toil into exile, yet even there she found no rest among the nations, just as Moses had already predicted to the faithless nation, Deuteronomy 28:65. All her pursuers find her בּין המּצרים, inter angustias (Vulgate). This word denotes "straits," narrow places where escape is impossible (Psalm 116:3; Psalm 118:5), or circumstances in life from which no escape can be found.
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