Lamentations 4:10
The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) The hands of the pitiful women.—See Note on Lamentations 2:20.

Lamentations 4:10-11. The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children — The affection of a mother toward her children is the strongest of all natural affections, and yet the famine hath forced that tender sex to divest themselves of it, and to boil and eat their own children. Thus was the prophecy of Moses, Deuteronomy 28:53; Deuteronomy 28:57, most awfully fulfilled; where see the notes, and on chap. Lamentations 2:20. The Lord hath accomplished his fury, &c. — God’s anger hath effected an entire destruction, so as not to leave one stone upon another.4:1-12 What a change is here! Sin tarnishes the beauty of the most exalted powers and the most excellent gifts; but that gold, tried in the fire, which Christ bestows, never will be taken from us; its outward appearance may be dimmed, but its real value can never be changed. The horrors of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem are again described. Beholding the sad consequences of sin in the church of old, let us seriously consider to what the same causes may justly bring down the church now. But, Lord, though we have gone from thee in rebellion, yet turn to us, and turn our hearts to thee, that we may fear thy name. Come to us, bless us with awakening, converting, renewing, confirming grace.Pitiful - i. e. tender-hearted, compassionate. meat is used for food Psalm 69:21. What is here stated actually occurred during the siege of Jerusalem by Titus. 10. (La 2:20; De 28:56, 57).

pitiful—naturally at other times compassionate (Isa 49:15). Josephus describes the unnatural act as it took place in the siege under Titus.

sodden—boiled.

Caph.

This was according to what God had threatened in case of disobedience, Deu 28:57, and a thing which hath often happened in sieges, 2 Kings 6:29. Such things did happen in the last destruction of Jerusalem, as we read in Josephus; and though we read of no such thing happening in the siege of it by Nebuchadnezzar, yet that there were some such sad instances appears from this text. The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children,.... Such as were naturally, and agreeably to their sex, pitiful and compassionate; merciful to the poor, as the Targum; and especially tenderhearted to their own offspring; yet, by reason of the soreness of the famine, became so cruel and hardhearted, as to take their own children, and slay them with their own hands, cut them to pieces, put them into a pot of water, and make a fire and boil them, and then eat them, as follows:

they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people: at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. This strange and unnatural action was foretold by Moses, Deuteronomy 28:56; and though we have no particular instance of it on record, as done at the siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, yet no doubt there was, as may be concluded from the words: and at the siege of it by the Romans, when many things here spoken of had a fuller accomplishment, we have a remarkable instance of it, which Josephus (a) relates; an illustrious woman, named Mary, pressed with the famine, slew her own son, a sucking child, boiled him, and ate part of him, and laid up the rest; which was found by the seditious party that broke into her house, which struck them with the utmost horror; See Gill on Lamentations 2:20.

(a) De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 3. sect. 4.

The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. Cp. ch. Lamentations 2:20, and Jeremiah 19:9.

pitiful] (hitherto) compassionate. For this meaning, as opposed to its modern sense, pitiable, cp. Latimer, Sermons, p. 391. “Because I speak here of orphans, I shall exhort you to be pitiful unto them.”—Bible Word Book.

sodden] boiled (cp. Exodus 12:9); the participle of to seethe, for which see 2 Kings 4:38.Verse 10. - The pitiful women. Strange contrast between the compassionate nature of woman (comp. Isaiah 49:15) and the dread horrors of this moral as well as physical catastrophe (comp. note on Lamentations 2:20). Sucking infants and little children perish from thirst and hunger; cf. Lamentations 2:11-12. פּרשׂ equals פּרס, as in Micah 3:3, to break down into pieces, break bread equals divide, Isaiah 58:7; Jeremiah 16:7. In Lamentations 4:5 it is not children, but adults, that are spoken of. למעדנּים is variously rendered, since אכל occurs nowhere else in construction with ל. Against the assumption that ל is the Aramaic sign of the object, there stands the fact that אכל is not found thus construed with ל, either in the Lamentations or elsewhere, though in Jeremiah 40:2 ל is so used. Gerlach, accordingly, would take למעדנּים adverbially, as meaning "after their heart's desire," prop. for pleasures (as to this meaning, cf. Proverbs 29:17; 1 Samuel 15:32), in contrast with אכל לשׂבע, to eat for satisfaction, Exodus 16:3; Leviticus 25:19, etc. But "for pleasure" is not an appropriate antithesis to satisfaction. Hence we prefer, with Thenius, to take אכל ל in the sense of nibbling round something, in which there is contained the notion of selection in the eating; we also take מעדנּים, as in Genesis 49:20, to mean dainties. נשׁמּוּ, to be made desolate, as in Lamentations 1:13, of the destruction of happiness in life; with בּחוּצות, to sit in a troubled or gloomy state of mind on the streets. האמנים, those who (as children) were carried on purple (תּולע for שׁני rof תּו towla`at תּולעת, cochineal, crimson), embrace (i.e., cling to) dung-heaps, seek them as places or rest.
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