Lamentations 5:18
Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it.
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(18) Foxes.—Better, jackals, who are thought of as haunting the ruins of Jerusalem. (Comp. Psalm 63:10.)

5:17-22 The people of God express deep concern for the ruins of the temple, more than for any other of their calamities. But whatever changes there are on earth, God is still the same, and remains for ever wise and holy, just and good; with Him there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. They earnestly pray to God for mercy and grace; Turn us to thee, O Lord. God never leaves any till they first leave him; if he turns them to him in a way of duty, no doubt he will quickly return to them in a way of mercy. If God by his grace renew our hearts, he will by his favour renew our days. Troubles may cause our hearts to be faint, and our eyes to be dim, but the way to the mercy-seat of our reconciled God is open. Let us, in all our trials, put our whole trust and confidence in his mercy; let us confess our sins, and pour out our hearts before him. Let us watch against repinings and despondency; for we surely know, that it shall be well in the end with all that trust in, fear, love, and serve the Lord. Are not the Lord's judgments in the earth the same as in Jeremiah's days? Let Zion then be remembered by us in our prayers, and her welfare be sought above every earthly joy. Spare, Lord, spare thy people, and give not thine heritage to reproach, for the heathen to rule over them.The foxes - Or, jackals. As these animals live among ruins, and shun the presence of man, it shows that Zion is laid waste and deserted. 18. foxes—They frequent desolate places where they can freely and fearlessly roam. Foxes and other wild beasts, which flee from places inhabited for fear of men inhabiting, and are much in desolate places. The mountain of Zion, where the temple once stood, and people met to worship God, was now a desolate, unfrequented place, so as will beasts ran up and down there.

Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate,.... Meaning either the city of Jerusalem in general, or the temple in particular, which both lay in ruins: but the latter gave the truly godly the greatest concern; that the seat of divine Majesty should be in such a condition; that the public exercises of religion should cease, and there be no more opportunities of waiting upon God, and worshipping him as heretofore; their civil interest, and the loss of that did not so much affect them as the interest of religion, and what that suffered:

the foxes walk upon it: as they do in desolate places, shunning the company of men; but here they walked in common, and as freely as in the woods and deserts: this was fulfilled in the destruction of the second temple, as well as the first. R. Akiba (c) and his companions were walking together; they saw a fox come out of the holy of holies; they wept, but he laughed or rejoiced; they wept, that in the place where the stranger that drew near should die, now foxes walked upon it; he laughed or rejoiced, because, as this prophecy was fulfilled, so would others that predicted good things.

(c) T. Bab. Maccot, fol. 24. 1. 2.

Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it.
18. foxes] mg. jackals. The words imply that a considerable time has passed since the overthrow of the Temple.

Lamentations 5:18The request that the judgment of wrath may be averted, and that the former gracious condition may be restored. Lamentations 5:17 and Lamentations 5:18 form the transition to the request in Lamentations 5:19-22. "Because of this" and "because of these [things]" refer mainly to what precedes, yet not in such a way as that the former must be referred to the fact that sin has been committed, and the latter to the suffering. The two halves of the verse are unmistakeably parallel; the sickening of the heart is essentially similar to the dimness coming on the eyes, the former indicating the sorrow of the soul, while the latter is the expression of this sorrow in tears. "Because of this (viz., because of the misery hitherto complained of) the heart has become sick," and the grief of the heart finds vent in tears, in consequence of which the eyes have become dim; cf. Lamentations 2:11. But this sorrow culminates in the view taken of the desolation of Mount Zion, which receives consideration, not because of its splendid palaces (Thenius), but as the holy mountain on which the house of God stood, for "Zion" comprehended Moriah; see on Psalm 2:6; Psalm 9:12; Psalm 76:3. The glory formerly attaching to Mount Zion (Psalm 48:3; Psalm 50:2) is departed; the mountain has been so much laid waste, that jackals roam on it. שׁוּעלים are not properly foxes, but jackals (as in Psalm 63:11), which lodge among the ruins. הלּך is an intensive form, meaning to rove or roam about.
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