Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,
19:1 For the princes - Jehoahaz, Jehoiachim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.
And say, What is thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions.
19:2 What - What resemblance shall I use to set out the nature, deportment, and state of the mother of these princes? Thy - One of whom was upon the throne at once, and therefore the prophet speaks to one at a time. Mother - The land of Judea, and Jerusalem, the chief city of it, the royal family of David. Lioness - Tho' chosen of God to execute justice; yet they soon degenerated into the fierce and ravening nature of the lioness. Lay down - Associated, and grew familiar with neighbour kings, called here lions; fierce and bloody. Her whelps - Her sons, successors to the crown. Young lions - Either foreign princes and kings, or some of the fierce, unjust, tyrannizing princes at home.
And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men.
19:3 Brought up - Advanced, caused him to take the throne after the slaughter of Josiah. One - Jehoahaz the second son of Josiah. Became - Soon shewed his fierce, cruel, and bloody disposition.
The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt.
19:4 The nations - The Egyptians heard what he did.
Now when she saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her whelps, and made him a young lion.
19:5 Made him - King, and infused the lion - like maxims into him.
And he went up and down among the lions, he became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, and devoured men.
19:6 He - Jehoiachim. Went up - He continued eleven years on the throne; whereas Jehoahaz was taken as soon as he first ventured out. The lions - Heathen kings, with whom he entered into leagues. He became - Fierce, ravenous, unsatiable.
And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, by the noise of his roaring.
19:7 He knew - By taking them, he came to know their places, which are here called, what he made them, desolate. Roaring - By the perpetual violent threats of this cruel king.
Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit.
19:8 The nations - Which were tributary to Nebuchadnezzar. Set against - By order of the king of Babylon. The provinces - Which belonged to the Babylonish kingdom.
And they put him in ward in chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon: they brought him into holds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel.
Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.
19:10 Thy mother - O thou prince of Israel. By the waters - In a very fruitful soil. Full of branches - Full of children; when Josiah died, he left four behind him, beside other branches of the royal line.
And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches.
19:11 Strong rods - Many excellent persons endowed with qualifications befitting kings, that they might sway the scepter. Exalted - Above the ordinary majesty of other kingdoms. Thick branches - This kingdom equalled, if not excelled, the greatest neighbour - kingdoms, and her kings exceeded all their neighbouring kings, in riches and power.
But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.
19:12 The east wind - God raised up the king of Babylon to pull up this sinful kingdom. Dried up - Blasted all her fruit, deposed her king, captivated him, his family, and the whole kingdom. Strong rods - All the choice men.
And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground.
19:13 She - A few of the branches of the last pruning. In the wilderness - Tho' Babylon was in a very fruitful place, yet the cruelty of the Babylonians, made it to the Jews as terrible as a wilderness.
And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.
19:14 Fire - The fire of rebellion, kindled by Zedekiah, who is of the blood - royal. No strong rod - The regal dignity is ceased.