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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Lamentations 1

Verse 1

Lam 1:1. This hook consists chiefly of the lamentations of Jeremiah over the sad condition of Jerusalem and the people for whom it was the capital. The book was written after the destruction of the city and thus after the "3rd captivity." In view of this fact all of the statements regarding that event should be regarded as history. Other remarks will occur in course of the book that are mournful predictions of future sorrows in store for his beloved people. Some statements will be made concerning the future of Babylon, and still others will come of a favorable character pertaining to the return of Israel from captivity. City sit solitary refers to the desolated and isolated situation of Jerusalem. This very condition was predicted in Isa 1:3. Become tributary means to become in subjection to another country.

Verse 2

Lam 1:2. Israel had doted on many nations but none of them stood by her now.

Verse 3

Lam 1:3. Because has no word in the original and If retained at all it should be understood in the light of the connection, The first clause should read, "Judah is gone into captivity to suffer affliction and servitude.” Overtook her between th-e straits means her enemies found her in trouble and took ad-vantage of it.

Verse 4

Lam 1:4. Ways of Zion means the roads leading to the city where the national feasts had been observed. They mourned (figuratively speaking) because no one was passing over them to attend the feasts. The rest of the verse is on the same subject.

Verse 5

Lam 1:5. Her adversaries means the Babylonians who had become chief or exalted above the people of Judah. But the prophet admits that such a sad state of affairs was just because it was from the Lord as a punishment for her many transgressions. Her children means the citizens of Judah who had gone into captivity.

Verse 6

Lam 1:6. The beauty referred to was the national and religious excellence of the city of Zion. The hart is of the deer family and is timid, especially when he is pursued in a wilderness in which he had become impoverished through the want of food. The princes or leaders are compared to this creature because they had been pursued by the enemies from a foreign land.

Verse 7

Lam 1:7. Jerusalem remembered means the people who had lived in that city but had been taken into a strange land. (See verse 8.) After they got to Babylon they fulfilled the statement of this verse, which was also prophesied in Psalms 137.

Verse 8

Lam 1:8. Jeremiah again admits that Ills people had sinned grievously and for that reason she had gone into captivity. To despise means to belittle or look upon with contempt. Jerusalem had heen so humiliated that her former admirers now considered her condition to be one of disgrace.

Verse 9

Lam 1:9. Filthiness is in her skirts is a figurative way of saying the guilt of Jerusalem is evident, referring to the religious corruptions of the nation as well as the personal iniquity of the leaders. Remembereth not her last end means that Jerusalem waa unthoughtful as to the outcome of her course. Came down wonderfully refers to the completeness of the fall of the City. The prophet then expresses his per;- aonal sense of affliction at the downfall of his countrymen.

Verse 10

Lam 1:10. This verse has direct ref-erence to the event of 2Ki 24:13.

Verse 11

Lam 1:11. The invasion of Babylon into Judah resulted in conditions of famine in various places. This caused the people to offer their cherished personal belongings for food to relieve the soul, that is, to restore their vitality. And again the prophet "takes It to heart" and considers the condition of distress among his people as his own personal sorrow.

Verse 12

Lam 1:12. Jeremiah's personal afflic-tion refers to the sympathy he has for hla beloved people, therefore the language of the verse is a reflection of patriotism.

Verse 13

Lam 1:13. We know that Jeremiah was a righteous man and was never the direct target of the Lord's shafts Of anger. Hence, while he was personally affected by the situation, most or his remarks were made on behalf of the people.

Verse 14

Lam 1:14. Being a member of the nation of Judah, Jeremiah would have to share in the national disgrace. However, God never forsook him but bestowed upon him and other righteous individuals the personal favor that had been promised. It will be well here for the reader to see the note in connection with 2Ki 22:17.

Verse 15

Lam 1:15. Mighty men refers to the princes and others who were leaders in the nation who had been taken into captivity (2Ki 25:14-16). When Jeremiah says me he is impersonating the nation as a whole. The last part of the verse is a figurative description of the siege of Jerusalem and the downfall that followed.

Verse 16

Lam 1:16. This verse refers to the personal grief of Jeremiah over the distress of the people of Judah. He calls those people my children as an expression of the affection he has for his fellow countrymen.

Verse 17

Lam 1:17. The spreading forth of the hands is a gesture calling for help in distress. Zion (or Jerusalem) is represented as a woman in pain and sorrow but seeking In vain for assistance. This is because the Lord had forsaken his people and regarded them as unclean. The comparison to a woman in this condition was based on a law of Moses concerning such women (Lev 15:19-33). Of course we should understand that she was classed as unclean ceremonially and hence was required to submit to the ritualistic formula for cleansing. And the chief uncieanness of Judah was ceremonial or spiritual in that idolatry was the outstanding evil. And in keeping with the procedure under the law, Judah was put away from God for a period of national cleansing in the land of her captivity which did completely cleanse her of this iniquity.

Verse 18

Lam 1:18. The pronoun I ia related to Jerusalem in the preceding verse. While Jeremiah is the framer of the language, he is speaking for the people who were guilty of the sins that have been the cause of God's wrath. The virgins and young men are especially named in the complaint about the captivity. They were not any more guilty of sin than the elders, but the growth of a nation depends on the reproduction of the species and the young persona are the ones upon whom the increase of citizens generally depends. For this reason it would be more regrettable for them to be taken.

Verse 19

Lam 1:19. I still refers to Jerusalem (as representative of the nation of Judah) and she is complaining of the unfaithfulness of her lovers which is a figurative reference to the Idolatrous nations. In the Bible a comparison is made between spiritual and temporal love, and unfaithfulness in one is compared to that in the other. Judah had flirted with idolatrous nations and accepted them into her bosom (figuratively speaking), but now those nations had "jilted” her. They not only did that, but also took from her the necessities of life (had thrown the city into famine) which caused even the priests and elders to give up the ghost and die.

Verse 20

Lam 1:20. Bowels in the Bible means the affections when used figuratively. The sad experience that Judah was in was having a depressing effect on her affections and causing deep grief. But again the prophet makes her admit the rebellion that had provoked this punishment from God. Outside the city, abroad, the nation was suffering the effects of the sword, and In the capital the people were dying from famine.

Verse 21

Lam 1:21. The first half of this verse continues Judah's complaint of her enemies, and she even mentions the attitude of the enemies who had been the instrument in God's hand for the chastisement of His people. The rest of the verse is against that instrument because God never would tolerate any jubilant attitude from those whose services had been used for the punishment of the unfaithful nation.

Verse 22

Lam 1:22. The language truly repre-sents the feeling of Judah against the Babylonians, but the remarks are worded by the prophet and are an inspired prediction of the vengeance of God upon that heathen people. That vengeance was destined to come upon them after the nation of the Jews has been put through the treatment necessary for the complete cure from her national corruption of idolatry,
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Lamentations 1". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/lamentations-1.html. 1952.