Lamentations 2:10
The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.
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(10) The elders of the daughter of Zion . . .—The despondency of the people is indicated by the outward signs of woe. Instead of taking counsel for the emergency, the elders sit, like Job’s friends (Job 2:11-13), as if the evil were inevitable. The maidens, who had once joined with timbrels and dances in festive processions, walk to and fro with downcast eyes.

Lamentations 2:10-13. The elders, &c., sit upon the ground, and keep silence —

These and the other expressions of this and the two following verses betoken the deepest mourning and sorrow. Mine eyes do fail with tears — My sight is become dim with weeping. My bowels are troubled — As they were when he foresaw these calamities coming, Jeremiah 4:19-20. My liver is poured upon the earth — My vitals seem to be dissolved, and have lost all their strength. “That the mental passions.” says Blaney, “have a considerable influence upon the habit of the body in various instances, is a fact not to be questioned. And experience daily shows, that a violent uneasiness of mind tends greatly to promote a redundance and overflowing of vitiated bile. The liver is the proper seat of the bile, where its secretions are carried on. Hence the prophet’s meaning in this place seems to be, that he felt as if his whole liver was dissolved and carried off in bile, on account of the copious discharge brought on by continual vexation and fretting. Job expresses the same thing, Job 16:13, where he says, He poureth out my gall upon the ground.” Because the children and sucklings swoon in the streets — For want of sustenance. As the wounded — As those who are not presently despatched, but die a lingering death. What thing shall I take to witness for thee? — What instance can I bring of any calamity like thine, that such an example may be some mitigation of thy complaints. For thy breach is great, like the sea, &c. — The breach made in thee is like the breaking in of the sea that overflows a whole country, where no stop can be put to the inundation.

2:10-22 Causes for lamentation are described. Multitudes perished by famine. Even little children were slain by their mother's hands, and eaten, according to the threatening, De 28:53. Multitudes fell by the sword. Their false prophets deceived them. And their neighbours laughed at them. It is a great sin to jest at others' miseries, and adds much affliction to the afflicted. Their enemies triumphed over them. The enemies of the church are apt to take its shocks for its ruins; but they will find themselves deceived. Calls to lamentation are given; and comforts for the cure of these lamentations are sought. Prayer is a salve for every sore, even the sorest; a remedy for every malady, even the most grievous. Our business in prayer is to refer our case to the Lord, and leave it with him. His will be done. Let us fear God, and walk humbly before him, and take heed lest we fall.Her gates are sunk into the ground - So completely destroyed, that one might suppose they had been swallowed up in an abyss.

Her king - The prophet's lamentation, occupied before chiefly with the buildings of the city and temple, now turns to the people, beginning with their temporal rulers.

The law is no more - The Jewish Law, the Torah, came to an end when it no longer had a local habitation. Its enactments were essentially those not of a universal religion, but of a national religion, and the restoration of the nation with a material temple was indispensable to its continued existence. It was only when elevated to be a universal religion, by being made spiritual, that it could do without ark, temple, and a separate people.

Her prophets also find ... - With the Torah, the special gift of prophecy also ceased, since both were unique to the theocracy; but it was not until the establishment of Christianity that they were finally merged in higher developments of grace.

10. (Job 2:12, 13). The "elders," by their example, would draw the others to violent grief.

the virgins—who usually are so anxious to set off their personal appearances to advantage.


Sitting upon the ground, keeping silence, throwing dust on their heads, girding themselves with sackcloth, hanging down the head, were all of them postures, and actions, and gestures of mourners. The meaning of this whole verse is, that the whole city of Jerusalem was in a very sad state and condition, and all persons in it in a mournful posture; not the common people only, but the gravest of their magistracy and ministry, those who were wont to sit in the chairs of magistracy and of teachers. Their young women also, which used to be most brisk and frolic, those whose condition was furthest off from sorrow, and who were least disposed to it, were now all of them drowned in floods of it.

The elders of the daughter of Zion sit on the ground, and keep silence,.... Who used to sit in the gate on thrones of judgment, and passed sentence in causes tried before them; or were wont to give advice and counsel, and were regarded as oracles, now sit on the ground, and dumb, as mourners; see Job 2:13;

they have cast up dust upon their heads; on their white hairs and gray locks, which bespoke wisdom, and made them grave and venerable:

they have girded themselves with sackcloth: after the manner of mourners; who used to be clothed in scarlet and rich apparel, in robes suitable to their office as civil magistrates:

the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground: through shame and sorrow; who used to look brisk and gay, and walk with outstretched necks, and carried their heads high, but now low enough. Aben Ezra interprets it of the hair of their heads, which used to be tied up, but now loosed and dishevelled, and hung down as it were to the ground.

The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.
10. In this and the two following vv. we have the picture of the state of things in Jerusalem after the king, etc. (Lamentations 2:9) had been carried into exile. The half-starving people are left behind in their sufferings.

They have cast up dust upon their heads] Cp. 2 Samuel 13:19; Job 2:12.

sackcloth] Cp. Nehemiah 9:1.

Verse 10. - They have cast up dust, etc. A sign of mourning (Joshua 7:6; 2 Samuel 13:19; Job 2:12). Lamentations 2:10The whole of the people have sunk into deep sorrow over this misfortune. The elders, as the counsellors of the city, sit on the ground in silence, from deep sorrow; cf. Job 2:8, Job 2:13, and regarding the tokens of sorrow, Job 2:12; Jeremiah 4:8; Jeremiah 6:26, etc. the virgins of Jerusalem have renounced their gaiety and bowed their head, sorrowing, to the ground; cf. Lamentations 1:4.
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