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Bible Commentaries
Lamentations 4

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-11

Lam 4:1-11

Judgments against the ungodly inhabitants of Judah

(Lamentations 4:1-11)

How is the gold become dim! [how] is the most pure gold changed! The stones of the sanctuary are poured out at the head of every street. The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, How are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter! Even the jackals draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: The daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness. The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: The young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them. They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: They that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills. For the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom, That was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands were laid upon her (Lamentations 4:1-6).

A people once viewed as gold for value in the eyes of God were now considered worthless earthen vessels. Mothers did not take care of their children, and so they were compared to the ostrich that lay its eggs’ and left them to hatch and fend for themselves’. Judah s sins were greater than that of Sodom“ s, and so” her punishment is greater. Sodom was destroyed mercifully by Jehovah God in a moment whereas Judah suffered day in and day out with famine, pestilence, and sword. Judah’s children were filled with thirst and hunger until death set in.

Her nobles were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk; They were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was as of sapphire. Their visage is blacker than a coal; They are not known in the streets: Their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick. They that are slain with the sword are better than they that are slain with hunger; For these pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field. The hands of the pitiful women have boiled their own children; They were their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people. Jehovah hath accomplished his wrath, he hath poured out his fierce anger; And he hath kindled a fire in Zion, which hath devoured the foundations thereof (Lamentations 4:7-11).

The health of Judah was gone. They were withered away in hunger, and their skin clung tightly to their bones for want of food. Mothers took their own children’ and boiled them in pots for food. Such acts indicate that God’s wrath has been poured out upon the people for their gross sin.

Verses 12-20

Lam 4:12-20

Judgment against the prophet and priest of Judah

(Lamentations 4:12-20)

The kings of the earth believed not, neither all the inhabitants of the world, That the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem. It is because of the sins of her prophets, [and] the iniquities of her priests, That have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her. They wander as blind men in the streets, they are polluted with blood, So that men cannot touch their garments. Depart ye, they cried unto them, Unclean! depart, depart, touch not! When they fled away and wandered, men said among the nations, They shall no more sojourn [here]. The anger of Jehovah hath scattered them; He will no more regard them: They respected not the persons of the priests, they favored not the elders (Lamentations 4:12-16).

The prophet and priest should have guided Judah in the paths of righteousness; however, they’ perverted the word of God (Jeremiah 23:36) and murdered just men who desired Jehovah’s standards (cf.’Jeremiah 26:7 ff).

All of Judah’s affliction of death by sword, pestilence, and famine had occurred due to the corrupt work of the prophet and priest. Now they were fully exposed! The cry in the street when a prophet or priest was seen was, out of the way! Here comes one who is unclean (cf. Leviticus 13:45).

Our eyes do yet fail [in looking] for our vain help: In our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save. They hunt our steps, so that we cannot go in our streets: Our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come. Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the heavens: They chased us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness. The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Jehovah, was taken in their pits; Of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations (Lamentations 4:17-20).

Both before the destruction of Jerusalem and after, God s people sought after help in the wrong place. Egypt was sought after in Jeremiah 37:7 and apparently another nation was looked to now. Some placed their hope in Zedekiah, Jehovah s anointed king; however, when Zedekiah was captured, all hope must have disappeared before their eyes. The people and shepherds held on to the bitter end in their rebellion.

Verses 21-22

Lam 4:21-22

Israel’s hope lay in the future Messiah

(Lamentations 4:21-22)

Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz: The cup shall pass through unto thee also; thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked (Lamentations 4:21).

Edom is used as a representative of all Jehovah s enemies as indicated by Isaiah 34:8 ff and Jeremiah 49:7. They better enjoy their temporary peace because the Lord would certainly visit them and make them drink the cup of His wrath.

The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; He will no more carry thee away into captivity: He will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will uncover thy sins (Lamentations 4:22).

Jehovah had completed what He set out to accomplish; i.e., the destruction of Judah for her iniquity that she refused to repent of. Edom (all Jehovah’s enemies) would be the next to be exposed.

God’s Anger Is Satisfied

Questions on Lamentations 4:1-22

Open It

1. What once-treasured possession of yours has lost its value and significance over the years?

2. If you could restore something important from history that is now in ruins, what would you want restored? Why?

Explore It

3. What was scattered throughout the streets? (Lamentations 4:1)

4. What contrasts did the writer make between Jerusalem in her glory and Jerusalem in her shame? (Lamentations 4:1-12)

5. How did the children fare in the siege of Jerusalem? (Lamentations 4:2-4)

6. What happened to the wealthy? (Lamentations 4:5)

7. How did Zion’s punishment compare with that of Sodom? (Lamentations 4:6)

8. How were the arrogant and self-confident brought down? (Lamentations 4:7-12)

9. What were the reasons for the siege? (Lamentations 4:13-20)

10. How were the prophets and priests punished? (Lamentations 4:14-16)

11. Why were the people disappointed in their ally? (Lamentations 4:17)

12. What was Judah powerless to avert? (Lamentations 4:18-20)

13. What did the future hold for Edom? (Lamentations 4:21)

14. What was Zion’s hope? (Lamentations 4:22)

Get It

15. What have you lost that was once precious to you?

16. How would you compare your walk with the Lord today to your spiritual life five years ago?

17. What role does godly discipline play in the life of your church?

18. In what ways do we disregard the consequences of sin?

19. Who are some of today’s false prophets?

20. What false securities have kept you from relying on the Lord?

21. How would you describe your hunger for God?

22. How is the Lord a hope and comfort to you in times of trouble?

Apply It

23. What can you do to restore a relationship in need of renewal?

24. What is one thing you can do to renew your hope in the Lord?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Lamentations 4". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/lamentations-4.html.
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