King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Lamentations 5

The Jewish nation supplicating the Divine favour.

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The Jewish nation supplicating the Divine favour

1 Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach.

2 Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens.

3 We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows.

4 We have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold unto us.

5 Our necks are under persecution: we labour, and have no rest.

6 We have given the hand to the Egyptians, and to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread.

7 Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities.

8 Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand.

9 We gat our bread with the peril of our lives because of the sword of the wilderness.

10 Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.

11 They ravished the women in Zion, and the maids in the cities of Judah.

12 Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured.

13 They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood.

14 The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their musick.

15 The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning.

16 The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!

17 For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim.

18 Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it.

19 Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation.

20 Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time?

21 Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.

22 But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. The prayer, &c. This title is not in Heb. Sept. &c. Theodoret has passed over the chapter, as if he doubted of its authenticity. It does not follow the order of Heb. letters like the preceding, and seems to be a form of prayer for those who retired into Egypt. C. — Jeremias foresees what would happen, and prays as the people would do. W.

Ver. 2. Aliens. The Idumeans seized and kept possession of the southern parts.

Ver. 3. Father. Many had none surviving, and all had lost their king. W.

Ver. 4. Water. Even this was not given for nothing.

Ver. 6. Hand; engaged to serve Egyptians, Babylonians, (C.) or other nations, to procure sustenance. W.

Ver. 7. Iniquities. This was the usual complaint of the Jews, (C. xxxi. 29.) as if they had committed no offence themselves. If any virtuous people were involved in common ruin, they bore it with resignation, and acknowledged that they had deserved it. 1 Esd. ix. 6. and 2 Esd. i. 6. Est. xiv. 6. Dan. iii. 29.

Ver. 8. Servants. One had command over another. Mat. xxiv. 45. The Chaldees were like slaves, and the race of Cham was condemned to servitude. Gen. ix. 26. C. — The Jews had formerly dominion over Edom, &c. who now treated them so cruelly. M. Lyran.

Ver. 9. Sword. Any one might kill us.

Ver. 11. Oppressed. Heb. “afflicted.” Brutal insolence prevailed. C.

Ver. 12. Hand. Thus Leonidas was treated, after his head was cut off, by Xerxes. Herod. vii. 238.

Ver. 13. Indecently, like the Sodomites. Heb. “they made the young men grind” at the mill, in their prison, (H.) as Samson (Judg. xvi. 21.) and Sedecias (according to the Sept. C. lii. 11.) were forced to do. To grind is often used in a bad sense; but it is not necessary to adopt it here. C. Amama. — The Chaldees treated their captives without pity or shame. H. — Wood; burdens, or stumbling-blocks, unless they were crucified; or, “roasted,” if we admit a small alteration in the Heb. C. iv. 10. C. — They were forced to grind naked, and were beaten with staves. W.

Ver. 14. Gates, where sentence was usually passed. H. — The Jews had judges at Babylon, (Dan. xiii. 5.) but not at first, nor everywhere.

Ver. 16. Crown, used at feasts; (C.) or, we have lost the sovereign power. W.

Ver. 17. Dim, the natural consequence of extreme want. 1 K. xiv. 27.

Ver. 18. Foxes, which were very common. Judg. xv. 4. Thus, Horace says:

Agros atque lares patrios, habitandaque fana

Apris relinquet et edacibus lupis. Epod. 16.

Ver. 21. Convert. Thy grace must work upon our hearts, (C.) before we can expect redress, (H.) and an end of our banishment. T. Grot. — Beginning, when our fathers observed the law. S. Tho. M. See C. xxxi. 18. S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. ii. and iv. W.

Ver. 22. Thou hast. We might read with an interrogation, (H.) in Heb. “Hast thou?” &c. The Jews superstitiously repeat the last verse, for fear of ending the book in an ominous manner, as they do at the end of Isaias and Malachias. C. — Having treated us so severely, stop thy hand. W. — But I perceive it will be in vain to beg for redress till the seventy years be expired. M.