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Bible Commentaries
Lamentations 4

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

Colour. Hebrew, "gold." Septuagint, "silver;" (Haydock) denoting the patriarchs, (Theodoret) chiefs, (Vatable) or ornaments of the temple. (Calmet) --- It had formerly glittered with gold; now there was nothing but smoke and ruins. (Worthington)

Verse 2

Best. Hebrew, "gold of Phaz," in Colchis, Genesis ii. 11. (Calmet) --- In Solomon’s reign, they powdered their hair with gold dust. (Josephus, Antiquities viii. 7.) --- Vessels. Isaias xxx. 14.

Verse 3

Sea-monsters. Literally, Lamia. Hebrew Tannim. (Haydock) --- The lamia has a face like a woman, and a body like beasts; and is cruel, yet feeds its young. (Worthington) --- The fabulous lamia is supposed to destroy all children, (Diod. Sic. xx.; Ovid, Fast. vi.) and cannot be meant. But the sea dog, though most cruel will not neglect its young ones. (Calmet) --- Ostrich. Hebrew henim, (Haydock) "swans," Isaias xiii. 21., and Job xxix. 14. The ostrich is said to break some of its eggs. (Elian iv. 37.) -- Swans do the like, and devour their young; for which reason they are hated by the Indians. (Elian xiv. 3.) --- Septuagint, "their young (drajohs) have suckled the daughters of my people, so that they can find no remedy, like," &c. (Haydock) --- Though the ostrich has wings it never flies, but dwells in desert places. Such is the condition of the Israelites. (Theodoret) --- The ostrich forsakes its eggs. (Worthington) --- All are solicitous for themselves.

Verse 5

Scarlet. Literally, "yellow;" croceis. (Haydock) --- Hebrew means purple. Those who have been educated in the most delicate manner, are forced to feed on the most disgusting things, 4 Kings vi. 25., and xviii. 27., and Deuteronomy xxviii. 54.

Verse 6

In her. Sodom was destroyed by God. Her temporal misery was short. (Haydock) --- Jerusalem was exposed to greater afflictions (Calmet) here, (Haydock) and her ingratitude and abominations were greater, Ezechiel xvi. 46.

Verse 7

Old ivory. Whiteness shews its age. (Pliny, [Natural History?] iii. 8.) --- As it grows old it turns yellow, and loses much of its value. But the ancients had the art of dyeing it scarlet. (Virgil, Æneid xii.; Homer, Iliad iv.; Ovid ii. Am. v.) (Calmet) --- Hebrew poninim may signify (Haydock) "pearls," the shells of which are stained with a delicate red; though the epithet ruddy may mean "shining," in which sense purpureus is used. (Horace, iv. Od. 1.) --- The complexion of the Nazarites was fair, with a mixture of red, Canticle of Canticles v. 10. They were probably clothed in white, and were highly respected, 1 Machabees ii. 49., Amos ii. 11., and Numbers vi. 18. (Calmet)

Verse 8

Coals. Hebrew, "blackness." Septuagint, "soot." (Haydock) --- The people were naturally brown. Fasting and distress cause them to turn black, chap. v. 10., and Joel ii. 6. (Calmet) --- They were so changed, that old acquaintances knew not one another. (Worthington)

Verse 9

For. Literally, "by the barrenness of the earth." (Haydock) --- Such a death was, no doubt, more painful than to perish quickly by the sword. (Calmet)

Verse 10

Pitful. So their nature dictates. (Worthington) --- But hunger made them the reverse. Some think they slew their children, to prevent them being exposed to more cruel torments, (Calmet) as the people of Colchis do their sick. (Chardin.) --- Sodden: boiled or roasted; coxerunt, ver. 5., and Deuteronomy xxviii. 55. At the last siege of Jerusalem, this barbarity was manifested. (Calmet) (Josephus, Jewish Wars vii. 8.; Gr. 21.) See chap ii. 20. --- Daughter. So cities are styled. (Worthington)

Verse 12

Believed. God had so often protected this city against Sennacherib, Holofernes, &c. (Haydock) --- It had been also so strongly fortified, 2 Kings v. 6. (Calmet)

Verse 13

Priests. They too generally favoured (Haydock) the false prophets, chap. ii. 26., &c. They were judges, and condemned the innocent: or exposed (Calmet) the citizens to destruction, by not warning them to amend, (Haydock) and to submit to the Chaldeans. (Calmet) --- Impostors are called prophets, as they have the same outward appearance. (Worthington)

Verse 14

They. Septuagint, "Her guards have tottered in," &c. --- When. Protestants, "so that men could not touch their garments," as they were defiled. (Haydock) --- These hypocrites were afraid of touching blood, as they observed external ceremonies, while they disregarded the spirit of religion.

Verse 15

Depart. They were not ashamed to speak thus to others, or the citizens address the priests contaminated with blood. Even the Chaldeans looked upon the Jews with abhorrence, as an abandoned people. --- For they. Hebrew, "but they understood not, and wandered about. They, (Calmet) the Gentiles, said." (Haydock)

Verse 16

They, the Jews; or rather the prophet thus describes the Chaldeans, chap. v. 12., and Deuteronomy xxviii. 50.

Verse 17

Save. The Egyptians attempted it in vain, chap. xxxiv. 8., and xxxvii. 10.

Verse 18

Streets. There were enemies within as well as without. (Calmet)

Verse 20

Christ, &c. According to the letter, is spoken of their king, who is called the Christ; that is, the anointed of the Lord. But is also relates in the spiritual sense to Christ our Lord, suffering for out sins. (Challoner) (Isaias liii. 5.) (St. Augustine, City of God xviii. 33.) --- It literally speaks of Josias, or of Sedecias. (Worthington) --- Josias was slain by the Egyptians. (St. Jerome, in Zacharias xii.) --- But Sedecias seems chiefly to be meant. The people were much attached to him, though he was wicked; and they expected that he would have rescued them from the power of the Chaldeans, as his league with the neighbouring Gentiles (Calmet) seemed to insure, (Haydock) if they had proved faithful. (Calmet) --- But all was useless against the Lord. (Haydock)

Verse 21

Rejoice. Edom had manifested her joy at the misfortunes of Juda. The prophet hints at this with a cutting irony, Psalm cxxxvi. 7., and Abdias 11. --- Come, as at a feast. Edom was visited five years after the Jews, chap. xlix. 7. --- Naked. Septuagint, "and shalt pour it out," (Haydock) or vomit. (Calmet) (Grotius)

Verse 22

Accomplished, and sufficiently punished by exile, chap. l. 20., and Isaias xl. 2. --- Discovered. Genesis xliv. 16., and 3 Kings xvii. 18. (Calmet) --- In vain wouldst thou hid them. (Haydock)

Verse 65


Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Lamentations 4". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/lamentations-4.html. 1859.
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