Lamentations 5:3
We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows.
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(3) Our mothers are as widowsi.e., their husbands, though living, were carried into exile, and they were as destitute as though they had been deprived of them by death. The Chaldee paraphrase gives the same meaning to the last clause also, “We are like orphans.”

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.Our mothers are as widows - The particle "as" suggests that the whole verse is metaphorical. Our distress and desolation is comparable only to that of fatherless orphans or wives just bereaved of their husbands. 3. fatherless—Our whole land is full of orphans [Calvin]. Or, "we are fatherless," being abandoned by Thee our "Father" (Jer 3:19), [Grotius]. We are all of us without a king, (who is the common father of the country,) we are deprived of thy fatherly care and protection, many young children amongst us are left without an earthly parent.

Our mothers are as widows; either our great cities are like widows, wanting magistrates; or, our women that were married are left widows.

We are orphans and fatherless,.... In every sense; in a natural sense, their fathers having been cut off by the sword, famine, or pestilence; in a civil sense, their king being taken from them; and in a religious sense, God having forsaken them for their sins:

our mothers are as widows; either really so, their husbands being dead; or were as if they had no husbands, they not being able to provide for them, protect and deferred them. The Targum adds,

"whose husbands are gone to the cities of the sea, and it is doubtful whether they are alive.''

Some understand this politically, of their cities being desolate and defenceless.

We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows.
3. orphans and fatherless] the fathers being in exile and the mothers thus “as widows,” without protection.

Verse 3. - We are orphans and fatherless; i.e. "We are like the most desolate of beings," as the Targum already explains it. Hence in the next clause the mothers of Israel ere likened to widows. Lamentations 5:3Lamentations 5:3 is very variously interpreted by modern expositors. Ewald and Vaihinger understand "father" as meaning the king, while Thenius refers it specially to Zedekiah; the "mothers," according to Ewald and Vaihinger, are the cities of Judah, while Thenius thinks they are the women of Zedekiah's harem. But to call the women of the royal harem "mothers" of the nation, would be as unexampled as the attribution of the title to the cities of Judah. The second clause, "our mothers are like widows," contains a simile: they are not really widows, but like widows, because they have lost the protection which the mother of a family has in her husband. In like manner, the first clause also is to be understood as a comparison. "We are fatherless orphans," i.e., we are like such, as the Chaldee has paraphrased it. Accordingly, C. B. Michaelis, Pareau, Rosenmller, Kalkschmidt, and Gerlach have rightly explained the words as referring to the custom of the Hebrews: hominies omni modo derelictos omnibusque praesidiis destitutos, pupillos et viduas dicere; cf. Psalm 94:6; Isaiah 1:17; James 1:27.
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