Lamentations 5:14
The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their music.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Have ceased from the gate.—The gate in an Eastern city was the natural place of meeting for the elder citizens as for counsel and judgment (Ruth 4:1; Joshua 20:4), and also for social converse (Job 29:7; Proverbs 31:23). The “music” of this verse and the “dancing” of the next point to a like interruption of the social joys of the young.

5:1-16 Is any afflicted? Let him pray; and let him in prayer pour out his complaint to God. The people of God do so here; they complain not of evils feared, but of evils felt. If penitent and patient under what we suffer for the sins of our fathers, we may expect that He who punishes, will return in mercy to us. They acknowledge, Woe unto us that we have sinned! All our woes are owing to our own sin and folly. Though our sins and God's just displeasure cause our sufferings, we may hope in his pardoning mercy, his sanctifying grace, and his kind providence. But the sins of a man's whole life will be punished with vengeance at last, unless he obtains an interest in Him who bare our sins in his own body on the tree.The gate - The gate was the place for public gatherings, for conversation, and the music of stringed instruments. 14. Aged men in the East meet in the open space round the gate to decide judicial trials and to hold social converse (Job 29:7, 8). Our grave men were wont to sit and execute judgment in the gates, but now there is no such thing. Our young men were wont to play on music, and to have their merry meetings, but they are also ceased. The elders have ceased from the gate,.... Of the sanhedrim, or court of judicature, as the Targum; from the gate of the city, where they used to sit and try causes; but now there was nothing of this kind done:

the young men from their music; vocal and instrumental; the latter is more particularly specified, though both may be intended; neither were any more heard; their harps were hung upon the willows on the banks of Euphrates, which ran through the city of Babylon, Psalm 137:1.

The elders have ceased from the {h} gate, the young men from their music.

(h) There were no more laws nor form of commonwealth.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. from the gate] the place of social enjoyment and conversation, answering to our clubs and other places of entertainment. See on Jeremiah 14:2.Verse 14. - From the gate. The place where the elders, technically so called, assembled for legal proceedings, and where the citizens in general met together for social concourse (comp. Genesis 19:1; Ruth 4:11; Psalm 69:12; Amos 5:12, 15; Daniel 2:49). From their music (comp. Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9). Further description of the miserable condition under which the congregation languishes. Lamentations 5:8. "Servants rule over us," etc. עבדים are not the Chaldean soldiers, who are in 2 Kings 24:10 designated the servants of Nebuchadnezzar (Pareau, Rosenmller, Maurer); still less the Chaldeans, in so far as they, till shortly before, had been the subjects of the Assyrians (Kalkschmidt); nor the Chaldean satraps, as servants of the king of Babylon (Thenius, Ewald); nor even "slaves who had been employed as overseers and taskmasters of the captives while on the march" (Ngelsbach); but the Chaldeans. These are called servants, partly because of the despotic rule under which they were placed, partly in the sense already indicated by C. B. Michaelis, as being those qui nobis potius, si pii fuissemus, servire debuissent, in accordance with the analogous designation of Jerusalem as a princess among the countries of the world, Lamentations 1:1.
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