Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Lamentations-Chapter 4

Lam 4.1-22 is again written in acrostic form with each verse beginning with the next successive letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Jeremiah writes about the destruction of the Temple, Jerusalem, and the people because of their sins. But there is hope that this destruction will stop, Zion will be preserved, and what will happen to their now triumphant enemies.

v 1…How (“eichah”) dark the gold (of the Temple-1 Kings 6.21; and the people-1 Pet 2.5) has become; how the pure gold has become changed! The sacred (kodesh) stones are poured out (the stones of the Temple, but it also alludes to the people) at the corner of every street.

v 2…The precious sons of Zion (all inhabitants), weighed against (comparable) fine gold (once precious), how they are regarded as earthen jars (now of little value), the work of a potters hands (and shattered because of sin)!

v 3…Even jackals offer the breast, they nurse their young; but the daughter of my people (Jewish women) has become cruel like ostriches in the wilderness (indifferent to their offspring).

v 4…The tongue of the infant cleaves to the roof of its mouth because of thirst (no nourishment); the little ones ask for bread but no one breaks it for them (none to distribute).

v 5…Those who ate delicacies are desolate in the streets (reduced to nothing); those reared in scarlet (tola-Psa 22.10; Isa 1.18) embrace ash pits (to find something to eat).

v 6…For the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom (no prophets were sent to Sodom to warn it over and over again), which was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her (like the Chaldeans who afflicted the Jews for a long time; this made things worse).

v 7…Her Nazarites (consecrated ones, meaning the princes and rulers) were purer than snow; they were whiter than milk (held in high esteem); they were more ruddy in body than rubies (had a healthy glow), their polishing (shape) was like lapis lazuli (sapphires; all of this together means that the princes at one time were beautiful in form).

v 8…Their appearance (now) is blacker than soot (coal), they are not recognized in the streets (because they look different); their skin is shriveled on their bones (excessive weight loss), it is withered, it has become wood (no moisture).

v 9…Better are those slain with the sword than those slain with hunger; for they pine away, being stricken for lack of the fruits of the field.

v 10…The hands of compassionate women (formerly tender) boiled their own children; they became food for them because of the destruction of the daughter of my people (during the siege-Deut 28.57).

v 11…The Lord has accomplished his wrath; he has poured out his fierce anger (a parallelism); and he has kindled a fire in Zion which has consumed its foundations (total destruction of Jerusalem, proving Yehovah is a holy and righteous God who punishes sinners).

v 12…The kings of the earth did not believe (prior to this), nor did any of the inhabitants of the world (land), that the foe and the enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem (it had been taken by Pharaoh Shishak and King Yoash of Israel in 1 Kings 14 and 2 Kings 14, but it had been refortified to such a degree that it looked impregnable and protected by Yehovah)

v 13…Because of the sins of her prophets (false ones) and the iniquities of her priests (the false teachers); who have shed in her midst the blood of the righteous (like in Jer 26.7-8, 6.13, 23.11, 27.10 and Ezek 22.25).

v 14…They wandered, blind in the streets (blind leaders of the blind); they were defiled with blood so that no one could touch their garments (for fear of ritual impurity; they had killed so many a person would become unclean by touching them).

v 15…”Depart! Depart!” they (the people of the city said to the prophets and priests) cried of themselves. “Depart, depart, do not touch!” So they fled and wandered; they among the nations said, “They shall not continue to dwell among us (they did not want them).”

v 16…The presence (face) of the Lord has scattered them (in 586 BC and later in 70 AD); he will not continue to regard them (look with mercy). They (enemies) did not honor (lift up their faces) the priests, they did not favor the elders (no compassion on them).

v 17…Yet our eyes failed; looking for help was useless. In our watching we have watched for a nation (Egypt) that could not save.

v 18…They (Babylon) hunted our steps so that we could not walk in our streets; our end drew near, our days were finished (as a nation; they realized God had forsaken them, the city and the Temple).

v 19…Our pursuers were swifter (with their cavalry) than the eagles of the sky (Deut 28.49). They chased us on the mountains; they waited in ambush for us in the wilderness (b’midbar-where Zedekiah was captured).

v 20…The breath of our nostrils, the Lord’s anointed (King Zedekiah), was captured in their pits, of whom we had said, “Under his shadow we shall live among the nations (live safe under his protection).”

v 21…Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwells in the land of Uz (Job 1.1, 4.1; Gen 36.8-11, 40-42; Gen 46.13; Jer 49.7-22; Oba 1-2; Ezek 25.12-14; Amos 1.11-12. In Jewish rabbinics, Edom was a code word for Rome eventually, especially after 70 AD-Psa 137-7. Christianity became the religion of Rome, so Edom became a word for Christianity also), but the cup (God’s punishment) will come around to you as well, you will become drunk and make yourself naked (filled with shame).

v 22…The punishment of your iniquities has been completed, O daughter of Zion (that generation will now experience mercy); he will exile you no longer. He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will expose your sins (Edom rejoiced when Jerusalem fell; Rome rejoiced when Jerusalem fell, and Christianity comes out of Rome and have been rejoicing over the fall of Israel and has taught that the “church” has replaced Israel, with all the blessings going to Christianity now, but all of that is false doctrine and is being exposed).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Festivals of the Lord, The Tanak, The Temple, Tying into the New Testament

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