Page images

55 head; [then] I said, I am cut off. I called upon thy name, O 56 LORD, out of the low dungeon. Thou hast heard my voice: 57 hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. Thou drewest near in the day [that] I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. 58 O LORD, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast 59 redeemed my life. O LORD, thou hast seen my wrong; judge 60 thou my cause. Thou hast seen all their vengeance, [and] all 61 their imaginations against me. Thou hast heard their reproach, 62 O LORD, [and] all their imaginations against me; The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the 63 day. Behold their sitting down and their rising up; I [am] 64 their music. Render unto them, or, thou wilt render unto them

a recompense, O LORD, according to the work of their hands 65 against us. Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them; 66 or, the curses threatened against the enemies of thy people. Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD, where thou rulest supreme, and from whence they can go no where, but thou canst reach them.



HE practical reflections that may be drawn from this chapter are too many to be distinctly specified. The most important of them have been illustrated and recommended at large. It is suf ficient now to observe, that it is particularly suited to the case of those who are in affliction. It directs them to observe the hand of God in it; not to be surprized if their afflictions be long and heavy, and if God seems to shut out their prayer. It is our duty in such cases to humble ourselves before him, and to acknowledge that it is of his mercies that we are not consumed. It is unreasonable to complain of the punishment of our sins; and our duty to search and try ourselves; to repent, and return to God; and continue in prayer, though we are not immediately answered. We are to hope and wait for his salvation; and in the mean time to observe the mercies that are continued, which are new every morning; to call to mind former kindnesses, and all his promises. No condition is so desolate, but the thoughts of God may afford relief. He does not afflict willingly, and will at length have compassion. In the mean time let us rejoice in him as our portion. By accommodating ourselves to his providence, considering our ways, repenting, and returning to him, we shall find unspeakable and everlasting benefit; he will at length wipe away all tears, and turn our sighs and groans into everlasting praise.


In which the pitiful state of Zion is bewailed, as contrasted with its ancient prosperity; the national calamities are tenderly lamented; and the ruin of the Edomites predicted; see Psalm cxxxvii. 7. Obad.

X. 12.

HOW is the gold become dim! [how] is the most fine


gold, the gildings of the temple, changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street; there were many streets which led to the temple, at the ends of which the ruins appeared, from whence there used to be the most beautiful 2 prospects. The precious sons of Zion, the princes and priests, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitch3 ers, the work of the hands of the potter! Even the sea monsters, the very dragons, 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, and are forced through 4 famine to neglect their own children. The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young 5 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; they seek their food in the most nasty places, and lie on dunghills without strength to raise 6 themselves up. For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her; it were better to have been at once burned in their houses, than to endure the horrors of a siege, and die by famine. 7 Her Nazarites, or nobles, were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, 8 their polishing [was] 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; their temperate diet contributed to their health and beauty, but, through famine and hardship, they were reduced to skeletons. A beautiful 9 but dreadful contrast. [They that be] slain with the sword are better than [they that be] slain with hunger for these pine away, stricken through, for [want of] the fruits of the field; ie is better to die by a sudden stroke than such a lingering death. 10 The hands of the pitiful women have sodden, or boiled, their own

children they were their meat in the destruction of the daugh11 ter of my people.* The LORD hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and fulfilled his threatenings that they should eat their children, (see Deut. xxxii. 22. Jer. xxi. 14;) and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the 12 foundations thereof. The kings of the earth, and all the inhab

This happened in three instances to the Jews. in the siege of Samaria, in the siege of Jerusalem, by the Chaldeans, and afterward by the Romans. It is remarkable that we never Fead of such another instance in history.

Itants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem, which were so well fortified, and had been in some instances só mi13 raculously preserved. For the sins of her prophets, [and] the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her, the blood of God's faithful prophets and people: 14 They have wandered [as] blind [men] in the streets, they have polluted themselves with blood, so that men could not touch their garments; there were so many dead carcasses, that they could not go by without touching them, and 80 were polluted them15 selves, and polluted others. They cried unto them, Depart ye; [it is] unclean; depart, depart, touch not: when they fled away and wandered, they said among the heathen, They shall no more sojourn [there;] they shall never return to their own land. 16 The anger of the LORD hath divided them; he will no more regard them they respected not the persons of the priests, they favoured not the elders; no respect was shown to their char17 acter and office. As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help in our watching we have watched for a nation [that] 18 could not save [us ;] that is, the Egyptians. They hunt our steps, that we cannot go in our streets; they have raised their batteries so high, as to shoot us in the streets; or it may rather refer to their watching at the corners of the streets for those that lay hid: our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is 19 come. Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the

heaven: they pursued us upon the mountains, they laid wait for 20 us in the wilderness. The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was taken in their pits, or toils; Zedekiah was taken like a wild beast, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen; we might have enjoyed some govs 21 ernment and religion there. Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz ;t yet the cup also shall pass through unto thee: thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make 22 thyself naked. The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity; thou shalt not be utterly cast off, thy captivity shall be short: he will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will discover thy sins; he will show how great they have been, by his heavier judgment upon thee, upon whom he will inflict a long and lasting punishment.




EE how dreadful a calamity famine is, and let us be thankful that we do not experience it. It is represented as worse than mortal wounds, yea, worse than the destruction of Sodom. A hor.

This I understand of the heathen upbraiding them they used to call the heathen unclean, and bid them depart, now they take up the language, and apply it to the Jews; Depart ye unclean, or polluted, depart, defert.

+ This is spoken ironically; like Solomon, “Rejoice, O young man in thy youth;” shea may est do so for a time.

rible description of what doubtless was a fact; children that could not shift for themselves, crying for bread; parents forced to neglect them; even those who have been delicately fed and clothed perishing on dunghills; and women eating their own children. How thankful should we be for public peace, that we have food convenient for ourselves and families; and when we sit down to a plentiful table, let us make a serious, solemn business of acknowledging the bounty of God.

2. We are taught that no privileges will secure a sinful nation. Here we see the temple destroyed; its gold blackened, the Lord's anointed carried captive, the priests, elders, and Nazarites of Israel, destroyed; and all this was the effect of their own sin. Even the heathen remarked this, and upbraided them with their pretended sanctity. If persons who profess religion and boast of their privileges, are wicked, and abuse them, all the world will cry shame on them, and the righteous God will make them contemptible and miserable.

3. God can deprive men of those comforts from which they expected most satisfaction. While the Jews had a king and priests, they thought they should at least enjoy some security and repose; but God deprived them of both. If we make any creatures the breath of our nostrils; if they be too dear to us, and our lives be bound up in theirs, it will be just in God to take away their breath; to convince us of our folly, and lead us to glorify him, in whose hand our breath is, and whose are all our ways.

4. Observe the difference between God's treatment of his people and his enemies. The punishment of Zion was indeed great and dreadful, yet it was soon accomplished; they were not utterly cast off. But the punishment of Edom was equally great, and there was no restoration. If God's people sin, they shall suffer; but their affliction is a fatherly chastisement; and when the end is answered, it shall be removed; while his enemies, especially those who insult over the unfortunate, and rejoice in the calamity of the church, shall be utterly destroyed. Let it therefore be our desire to be chastened of the Lord, rather than to be condemned with the world.


This is as it were an Epiphonema, or conclusion to the preceding chap ters, representing the nation as groaning under their calamities, and humbly supplicating the divine favour.*




EMEMBER, O LORD, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach among the heathen. Our inher 3 itance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens. We are

• A greater variety of beautiful, tender, and pathetic images, all expressive of deep distress and sorrow. were never more happily chosen and applied, than in these incomparable elegies of Jeremiah.

orphans, and fatherless, our mothers [are] as widows, destitute of all help, and exposed to all wrong. We have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold unto us, whereas before we 5 had plenty of both. Our necks [are] under persecution: we labour, [and] have no rest; we are slaves to our enemies, and 6 have no rest on our sabbaths. We have given the hand [to] the Egyptians, [and to] the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread; we have sold ourselves for slaves among those people to whom we 7 fled for shelter. Our fathers have sinned, [and are] not; they are dead; and we have borne their iniquities; undergone the punishment of them; by following their transgressions, and not 8 taking warning by their calamities, we are quite ruined. Servants have ruled over us; the Chaldeans allowed their servants to op press them, and did not interpose: [there is] none that doth de9 liver [us] out of their hand. We gat our bread with [the peril of] our lives, because of the sword of the wilderness; if they went out of the city into the plain to get provisions, they were de10 stroyed by the sword. Our skin was black like an oven, because 11 of the terrible famine. They ravished the women in Zion, [and] 12 the maids in the cities of Judah. Princes are hanged up by their hand, by the hand of the Chaldeans: the faces of the elders were 13 not honoured. They took the young men to grind, and the · children fell under the wood; under the burdens of wood; they did the work of slaves, and great burdens were laid upon children, 14 so that they fainted under them. The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their music; they can no longer 15 entertain themselves or us. The joy of our heart is ceased; our

[ocr errors]

dance is turned into mourning; all entertainments and diversions 16 are at an end, The crown is fallen [from] our head: wo unto

us, that we have sinned! our kings and priests, and all our glory, 17 are gone because of our sins. For this our heart is faint; for 18 these [things] our eyes are dim. Because of the mountain of

Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it as in desolate 19 places. Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation; all our comfort is derived from thine eternity, unchangeableness, and faithfulness to thy promises. 20 Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, [and] forsake us so long 21 time? Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old; restore us to our former flourishing state. The prophet then concludes with an humble expostula22 tion. But thou hast utterly rejected us; or, wilt thou utterly reject us? thou art very wroth against us; or, thou hast been wroth with us exceedingly.




E are here taught one general lesson, which cannot be too often inculcated, that it is sin which deprives us of pur most valuable blessings. After the melancholy detail which

« EelmineJätka »